Over the summer, I posted “Hot Air Balloon,” an Owl City song fanfiction featuring the characters Arden and Ben. Well, today, they’re back for some holiday fun in this fanfiction based on Owl City’s song, “Peppermint Winter.”
December 24th. The day before the most wonderful day of the year. What’s December without it? And I was spending it with Arden. I stepped up on the porch, rubbed my gloved, but still chilly hands together, and pushed the doorbell. I stood there waiting. I pushed the bell again and stood waiting. I sighed, my breath producing a cloud in front of me, and wondered what could be taking her so long. I looked around taking in all the decorations. Arranged in the yard were hand-made, wooden figures, sort of like miniature Santa Clauses, except each held something different in its hands; one a spoon, another a sheep, another a string of sausage. There were thirteen in all. The figure to the left of the porch had fallen over, and I stepped off to straighten him up. He was holding a stack of pots. At this point Arden still hadn’t come to the door. Breathing in the cold, snow-fragranced air, I glanced up at the grey sky and wondered if I should just go home. A white flake hit me square in the face.
The door was suddenly ripped open. Arden was standing there, dressed in a sparkly green sweater, red leggings, and reindeer antlers. Bits of wrapping paper and tape hung from her like ornaments on a Christmas tree. “BEN! You came!” Her eyes, almost as sparkly green as her sweater, glowed with excitement at seeing me. Her excitement soon tripled when she saw the snow falling. “Is that SNOW?!?!? I loooooooooooove snow!!!!!”
I looked up as more white flakes hit my head, “Yep. There’s the snow.” Really, it’s Minnesota. Winters do nothing but storm here.
Arden stepped out of the house and tossed her arms upwards, “Snow, snow, SNOW! I hope it never stops! Look out below!”
“Arden, you’re going to get sick if you just wear that sweater out here. You better bundle up, ’cause … ” I started to say before I was interrupted.
“Here it comes!!!!” she shrieked happily, running outside, starry eyed.
“Arden! You don’t even have shoes on.” I sighed. “Do you want to catch a cold?”
She stopped jumping around. “No.”
“Then go inside and put on a jacket.”
She marched up the stairs, saluting at the top. “Sir, yes, sir! Right away sir!”
She walked inside her house, and I followed her. Brushing the snow off her hair, she gestured to the disaster zone, also known as the living room, in front of us. “I’m wrapping presents while my mom is doing some last minute shopping,” she explained.
Wrapping paper, bits and pieces and whole sheets, were flung from the couch in front of the big window to the Christmas tree on the other side of the room. Tape stuck to every surface imaginable. “I love Christmas. It’s so festive and fun, and there’s so much to do!” declared Arden happily.
I hated the holidays. They created messes and general chaos for a month or two. I would be thrilled once Christmas was over. My parents’ store, Sweet Shop, was filled with customers from Thanksgiving on, and none of us got a break until after the holidays were over. Except for me, this afternoon. Which I was spending with Arden.
“Don’t you just love the holidays, Ben?” she grinned at me, throwing herself on the couch in front of the window to watch the snow fall. “Hey, you want to help me with something?”
Guessing we were done with the outdoors for the moment, I unzipped my blue parka, folded it, and placed it on the couch arm. I added my matching hat, scarf, and gloves neatly on top. Past experience advised that I should proceed with caution when answering an Arden question. “With what?” I asked.
Arden scrambled up into a standing position on the couch, and before I could protest, did a less-than-graceful leap onto the floor and into the pile of wrapping paper, her arm knocking off my neatly folded pile. “Wee!” She giggled. “Can you help me finish wrapping presents, Ben?”
Refolding my coat, I sighed, and glanced around at the chaotic mess. “Yeah, I can help. Do you think we should clean …”
“Great! This is for my cousin.” She dug a book out of a large bag and placed it on the floor. She grinned and motioned for me to sit down beside her.
I joined her amidst the paper. Snatching at a half-destroyed roll of wrapping paper, she dragged it over to where she sat, spreading the brightly decorated paper out. “Wanna wrap the book? I’ll wrap this one!” She grabbed another box and another roll of wrapping paper.
I agreed and started to look around for a ruler. I didn’t see one. “Arden?” I asked.
“Mm-hmm?” she answered, trying to tape an edge down.
“Do you have the ruler?”
She looked up from the mountain of wrapping paper she was buried in. “A what? Why do you need a ruler for wrapping presents?”
“For measuring the paper and the present,” I explained, patiently.
She cocked her head at me, “You don’t use a ruler, silly. You guess.”
“How do you know if you have enough paper?” I asked puzzled.
“I don’t know until I try it. I’ll get you a ruler, though.”
Arden stood up and went into the kitchen to look for one. Then suddenly she was standing over me, the ruler pointed at my neck, as if it were a weapon. “You are now my subject!” she commanded in a surprisingly scary voice, though its terrorizing effect was broken by a giggle. “Bow before me, subject!”
I blinked. Did she really want me to bow? Were we already moving on to something else other than wrapping presents? Arden was hard to keep up with.
When she saw my confused look, she laughed. “I was joking! Here,” she tossed her “sword” in front of me, before settling back down on the cream colored carpet, squishing more wrapping paper beneath her.
I cringed at the destruction, but there was nothing I could do to save that sheet. I focused my attention on the job in front of me. Now that I had the right tools, I could wrap the present. I started by measuring how deep and how wide the gift was. Then, I measured exactly 4 inches extra on the wrapping paper.
Arden looked at me with a sort of amazed wonderment, “You do all that just to wrap a gift? How long does it take in your house? Days?”
“Only a few hours,” I commented, using the ruler to cut a straight line in the paper.
She added a few more pieces of tape on the gift she’d wrapped. “Now it’ll stay in place, at least until Christmas!”
I glanced over at her wrapping job. The paper was wrinkled and had been pieced together with tape, and there were a few rips.
“Isn’t it great? It looks kind of like a quilt!”
“That it does,” I kindly agreed with her, adding in my mind, maybe an old quilt that had been dragged behind a car. I turned back to my wrapping job, and gently folded the sides and taped them down.
Arden stared at me. “It’s….it’s…perfect!”
“Well, I don’t know about perfect. We still need some ribbon and bows. Want me to teach you … ”
Arden’s admiration of my gift-wrapping skills abruptly ended when she noticed the accumulation of snow on the ground. “It looks like a blizzard. There’s enough for a,” Arden interrupted herself, rushed out of the room, and dashed back a few seconds later, her arms full of a purple and green coat, orange hat, pink gloves, and a bright blue scarf. She dumped the rainbow of winter gear on the carpet. “Snowball fight!” she yelled, finishing her original sentence. As she tugged on her pale yellow snow boots she proclaimed, “Winter has finally begun!”
Stay tuned next week for part 2 of Arden and Ben’s winter tale.
If you’re curious about the rather unique Christmas decorations in Arden’s yard, they’re based on an Icelandic Christmas tradition. Here’s a link to a picture of them and some more information:
The song I based this fanfiction off of is “Peppermint Winter” by Owl City. In case you’ve never heard it, here you go!