I promise to do regular updates while I'm writing! Please forgive typos as this is a work in progress!
“Is it a real kiss if it’s under mistletoe?” Jamie asked as he unrolled the top of the brown paper bag and lifted out David’s half of their salad sandwich.
David sat forward in his chair among the second hand books and listened, just as Jamie knew he would. Even in the days when he was still on the streets and rarely responded to the young man’s ramblings, Jamie always knew that the quiet homeless man had listened. It seemed a long time since those days and David was clean and a whole lot healthier, but some things hadn’t changed. He still listened, and Jamie knew that David cared.
“I mean, it wasn’t even real mistletoe. Does it make a different if it was just plastic holly?” Jamie continued and looked down at his half of their shared lunch, taking a bite while the question hung between them.
“Did it feel real?” David finally asked.
“I think so,” Jamie said with the hint of a naughty smile. “It wasn’t just a peck and he didn’t have to kiss me, because it wasn’t actually mistletoe.” The smile broadened. “And he had really soft lips.”
David reached down to retrieve his coffee mug from the floor and took a sip. “Sounds like a real kiss to me then,” he said and bit the corner of the sandwich.
Jamie giggled. “I think so too.”
They chewed on their sandwiches each lost in their own thoughts, each thankful for the company. That was until their quiet contemplation was shattered by a loud expletive from the front of the store. Jamie looked up grinned at the string of grumbles that followed it. “I think John’s Christmas spirit left with Santa.”
David cocked his head and made out things like “bloody mess” and “damn tree.” He smiled and shook his head. “Don’t let that fool you. John is enjoying himself.”
“Getting rid of all the Christmas stuff?” Jamie asked while he leaned forward to peek around the bookshelf.
“No, John loves being here, in the shop.”
A little further forward and Jamie could just make out John going through a box of books at the front counter. The frown lines of his outburst already gone from his face as he rifled through a stack of pristine diaries.
“Margins really has filled a hole for him,” Jamie mumbled and ducked back just in time to avoid being caught when John looked up. He shared a smile with David knowing how much the small bookshop had done for him too. “I always said this place housed more than just books.”