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I buttoned up Geoff’s shirt, leaving the top one undone to expose a little bit of casual neck, and a hint of freckled chest.

“You look perfect,” I assured, pecking him on the lips.

From there, we were able to leave, for Christmas Eve. Dad pulled up outside Aunty Melissa and Uncle Stuart’s house. We paused and I caught Mum’s eye in the rear vision mirror before she glanced down.

“We have to go in there,” I insisted. “It’s Christmas Eve. This is what we do. This is what we’ve done for years. We’ve always gone over for dinner with all the family at Aunty Melissa and Uncle Steve’s house.”

Mum nodded solemnly, then opened the door without staying anything. Dad, Geoff and I also packed out of the car, carrying in Christmas presents and a platter of chocolates. We were greeted first by their dog, Scout, who raced towards the gate and pressed his paws against the mesh.

“Hello, Scout.”

Geoff bent down with a smile and reached over the mesh. He stroked his fingertips over Scout’s dark fur.

“Merry Christmas, buddy.”


Abbey Sim is the founder of Huldah Media. She is a creative writing, law and theology student who lives on the lands of the Dharug people in Sydney, Australia. Abbey desires to explore themes of hope, love and longing through her storytelling. She is the author of 'Shadow' and 'From the Wild'.

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