Even though Christmas is over, there’s still one more part in my Owl City fanfiction, Peppermint Winter, to enjoy. Last week, Arden gave Ben his present, and now it’s time to see what Ben received from his family!
I started my walk home, the scarf Arden had made me keeping my neck toasty warm. What a shame it was so strange looking. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I certainly couldn’t wear it in public. I stamped the snow off my boots and opened the door. “Hey.”
“Nice scarf,” my brother snickered sarcastically. Trevor couldn’t even be pleasant on Christmas.
My grandmother greeted me with a hug. “Benjamin! Where were you? You weren’t here to say hi to me. I was so disappointed. And where’s your coat, young man? It’s cold out there!”
“My coat!” I snapped my fingers and dug out my phone. I hit Arden’s name.
My grandmother watched me. “Kids and their cell phones these days,” she sighed and sat back down next to a texting Trevor.
Hiya! When I said I wanted to talk later, I didn’t mean this soon! Lololololololololol
Arden tended to overuse the “LOLs.”
I left my coat.
Oh, yeah you did! That’s right, I took it. Lololol Do you want me to walk it over?
No problem! See ya in a few lolololol
I locked my phone again and sat down on the floor, since my grandmother and brother were on the couch. I heard the doorbell ring, and I jumped back up.
“Here’s your coat, Ben!” Arden handed it to me.
“Thank you,” I said, relieved to have it back.
“Who’s at the door, Benjamin?” asked my grandmother.
“It’s just his little friend,” muttered Trevor. “She’s as cool as -45, uhhh, whatever.”
“-459.67, actually,” Arden piped up. She walked through the door, saw my grandmother, and waved. “Hi! I’m Arden Hart!”
“Hello, young lady,” my grandmother greeted her. “Why don’t you come in and get warmed up?”
“Thanks!” grinned Arden as she walked into the living room. “I’m not cold though. All the joy in my heart is ablaze, and it’s keeping me warm.”
My grandmother looked at her suspiciously, wondering if Arden was being smart with her. “Well, that’s a nice thought.”
“Yes, I love all this holiday cheer!” affirmed Arden in her usual enthusiastic way. “Heaven knows where it goes but it returns every year, and I am so happy it does!” she declared.
“Want me to take your coat?” I broke into their conversation. I was feeling uneasy with Arden there, not knowing what she might say next.
Arden unzipped it and handed it to me. “There you go!”
“Thanks,” I said.
“You must be Ben’s grandmother,” she turned back to my grandmother with a smile.
“Yes, I am,” my grandmother said, still looking at her with suspicion.
“My grandmother is in Iceland, since that’s where my mom’s from.” Arden started to launch into a story.
Just then, my mom and dad walked in. “Hello. You’re Arden, right?” asked my mom.
“Yep, that’s me!” she said, twisting around to see them. “I was dropping off Ben’s coat. He left it at my house this morning. It’s nice to meet you, Mr. and Mrs. Sweet.”
“Nice to meet you, too, Arden,” my mom said pleasantly. “You can stay here while we open presents, if you’d like.”
“Sure!” said Arden sitting down on the arm of the sofa.
“Benjamin, start with this one.” My mother handed me an unwrapped brown box. “This is from your Aunt Kate.”
Opening the box, I found another wrapped package inside. I very carefully and gently ran my finger along the bottom of the package until I popped the tape loose. I slowly folded back the paper to reveal ten pairs of socks.
“Wasn’t that nice of Aunt Kate to get you socks. You know, Ben, you do need some new socks. Make sure you send her a thank you note.”
“Yes, Mom,” I replied, not as excited about the socks as she was.
“All right, then, here’s our gift.” My mom handed me a square-shaped package. Once again, I carefully tucked my fingers under the wrapping, popped the tape free, and started to slowly fold the wrapping paper back.
“You’re doing it all wrong, Ben!” Arden cried from her perch above me. “How can you stand to go so slow?” She slid down to the floor, leaned over, and ripped a section of paper free from the box. “You just have to rip it!”
At once I saw part of the word “Trek” on the box. I’d started collecting the DVDs of all the Star Trek series since I received my first set last year for Christmas. Usually I liked to carefully unwrap my gifts, but between seeing what it was and Arden’ urging me to rip it open, I quickly finished tearing off the wrapping. It was the entire series of Enterprise in a beautiful boxed set .“Thank you,” I told my parents gratefully.
“Here’s another one for you, Benjamin,” said my mom, handing me a soft-feeling present. I tore it open, now excited over what might be inside. “Socks?” I asked blankly, looking up at my mom as I held five pairs up.
“I saw you needed some more, Ben,” she explained. “so I thought I would wrap them up.”
“Thanks,” I said, sitting the socks to the side. I tried to feel grateful for the socks.
“Now you have to open my present, Benjamin,” my grandmother insisted from the couch. She handed me a box, one that could hold the complete set of Deep Space Nine. That would be a great gift. With that possibility in mind, I ripped off the wrapping and tore through the box. Inside were ten pairs of brand new socks. I just stared at them, trying to recover. Socks certainly weren’t as awesome as Deep Space Nine especially considering I had already gotten fifteen pairs of them. “Well, thank you,” I said to my grandmother, trying to be polite.
Arden startled everyone with an outburst. “Socks? I love socks! You can do so many things with socks. You are so lucky! You can wear them, of course, make sock puppets, use them as Christmas stockings, make a sock garden – which I did once, and it was really cool …” Arden chattered on about the usefulness of socks and the fate of her sock garden which she forgot to water.
“Here are some more socks for you, bro.” Trevor tossed his gift to me. “Mom told everyone you needed them. Guess you won’t anymore,” Trevor snorted with laughter. I unwrapped his gift and added five more pairs of socks to the pile.
“There’s another present for you, Benjamin! It’s from Grandma in Arizona.” Much like the package I opened before, it was a long box almost the exact same size as the previous one. Both grandmothers couldn’t have given me socks, could they? I couldn’t go slowly. I had to see if it was something different. I ripped off the wrapping and tore through the box to find ten more pairs of socks. Maybe I was still sleeping, and I was in some horrible nightmare. I pinched my arm hard to see if I was truly awake. Yes, it hurt and yes, I was awake.
“More socks!” cried Arden. “Can you imagine what we could make with all those socks? We could make a stuffed snowman, and I’ve always wanted to make those rice packs you heat up, ” continued an excited Arden. “You are so lucky!”
Forty pairs of socks. What in the world was I going to do with forty new pairs of socks? I was momentarily distracted as Arden’s phone dinged and vibrated.
She checked it and said, “Oops! I have to be getting home. My cousins are coming over. Thank you for letting me stay, Mrs. Sweet.”
I stood up, shaking off the bits of wrapping clinging to me and offered Arden her coat.
She yanked it on, and I walked her to the door. “Oh, Ben, I almost forgot.” She handed me something. “I told my grandmother in Iceland all about you, and she wanted to get you something for Christmas, too. Merry Christmas!” She skipped down the stairs and turned back towards me for a second, “Oh, and Ben?”
I nodded, “Yeah?”
“You should come over tomorrow. We can do something with all those socks!” She called as she ran across the snow back to her house.
“Sure,” I agreed with a sigh. At least I could get rid of some of those socks if I gave some to Arden to do whatever she wanted with them.
“Bye!” she called one last time before I heard the door to her house shut.
I looked down at the present in my hand. It was covered with red and white sparkly paper that looked like peppermint. I tore the paper, and crumbled it up and stuck it in my pocket. There, in my hand, lay five more pairs of socks, beautifully knitted by hand, I guessed. “Forty-five new pairs of socks. I ended up with forty-five new pairs of socks.” I muttered. I shook my head and sighed and walked back into my house.
Thanks for reading Peppermint Winter! Next week we’ll be taking a trip back in time to Victorian-era England so stick around! 🙂