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Warmth

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Jubilee insisted on visiting every likely store in Paris until she had found the movie she was looking for in the original English. Spending Christmas Eve watching it was a tradition, she explained to Laura. They were not following any of the other Christmas traditions that Laura knew of – like ham, or presents, or a pine tree covered in tinsel – and she could not see how this one was so important. But in their fifth store, when Jubilee suddenly pounced on the DVD, and smiled so widely that Laura could see her fangs, she thought maybe she did understand. This was something that spoke of normality to her friend – something familiar that she could do without having to be reminded of all the changes in her life.

“You girls took ya time,” Logan called when they got back to the apartment. “You better have something ta show for it.”

“Only the greatest Christmas movie of all time!” Jubilee replied. Laura found herself distracted by spicy smells drifting from the tiny kitchen, but when she tried to enter Remy blocked her way, shaking a wooden spoon at her.

“Oh no, cher. This is for tomorrow – you don’t get to peek.”

“It better not all be for tomorrow,” came Logan’s low rumble. “Some of us plan on eatin’ tonight, too.”

“Laura, c’mon! You can’t miss the start.”

Die Hard was the movie Logan and Jubilee had watched on their very first Christmas together, she had said. Laura had expected them to want to watch it alone, and Jubilee’s assumption that she would join them made her feel unexpectedly warm. She felt warmer still when Remy brought everyone out a large bowl of potato soup, with day-old crusty baguette to go with it. The four of them all managed to fit on the same couch, Logan and Jubilee elbowing each other excitedly whenever Bruce Willis appeared on screen, Remy on the other end, pretending not to watch but stealing glances from under his long eyelashes.

Laura tried to follow the story, but she gradually found that she was blinking more often, and her head began to feel heavy, and Logan said, “Ya might as well go to sleep. Saint Nick won’t come otherwise, anyway.”

“I’m not a child,” she murmured, as she felt a blanket being draped over her arms and legs.

“Everyone’s a child at Christmas,” she thought Remy said, “especially Logan.”

She drifted to sleep to the sound of their bickering, her head resting on Jubilee’s shoulder, a soft smile on her face.