It was Christmas Eve and Eddie found himself alone again. It was much different than when he was a kid, when he was surrounded by family and laughter and love. It got worse every year. People passed away and family members became distant. And now, finally, he was alone. He’d never gotten married or had kids and there was a part of him that wished, more than anything that he could have that life … that he could have that flawless Christmas.

Closing his eyes, he imagined what it would be like. A wife. Kids. The smell of a freshly cut tree. The world would be a very different place and he could almost smell the scent of cinnamon and evergreen in the air as he closed his eyes. He felt a warmth rise inside him as he wished harder, as he wished life could be different. He dreamed of a different time when things were simpler, when Christmas was magical again.

Then, he felt something graze his cheek and he opened his eyes to see a woman staring up at him, pulling away from a kiss. She smiled, her arms wrapped around him as he found his wrapped around hers. He felt disoriented and glanced down at his body. His normal sweats and tee were gone, replaced by a finely tailored suit.

“Edward?” the woman asked, smiling up at him. “Are you okay, honey?”

“Yeah,” he said, his voice much deeper and confident. “I was just thinking.”

“Thinking? I’m going to have to work harder next time if you were thinking under the mistletoe.” She caressed his face. “Come on, the kids are waiting by the tree. It’s time for The Night Before Christmas.” She gave him a peck on the cheek and walked into the kitchen and Edward took in his surroundings. It felt like a different time, everything very vintage and almost perfect. He then saw himself in the hall mirror. He was a different man, hair slicked back in a suit and … memories began to flood his mind. He was a father and a husband, an attorney and the year was 1961. He was … a family man with two boys and a wife he loved dearly.

Straightening his tie, he smiled at his reflection and took a deep breath. This was the life he’d always dreamed of and he knew he’d never be alone again as he took his place in front of the tree, his boys hanging on every word as he read them a Night Before Christmas, Edward’s beautiful wife at his side.

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