Now, on to part one of my new Christmas story, A Finnish Christmas. Please feel free to comment at the end, and come back tomorrow for part two!
Armo Takala stared at the tickets in his hand, then back to the black lettered sign decorating the entrance to WhitmanUniversity.
He had yet to decide how to approach giving these tickets to her. Until of course he had boarded the bus from SFCC and had somehow along the way arrived at her college.
He knew she absolutely was obsessed with this band, thanks to a little bird in his ear.
He wanted to surprise her, but he could not think of a creative way to do so.
Was he really one of those people who was limited to one surprise a year when it came to doing something special for the people he cared for.
He walked through the entrance, and glanced around at the snow covered pines and among the buildings, again marveling at how small the campus was compared to the falls.
Apparently, according to Adeline, the students here had taken to calling this place Narnia when it snowed. Looking around he could see why, as the image of the school was very Narnian-esque.
Though he did expect Narnia to have more trees. Apparently the windstorm of last year had done a lot of damage on this place.
Cowles Memorial Library, the sign on the building to his left read. Where Adeline worked at. Armo silently hoped her bosses would not mind him interrupting like this. Del was down to her second to last day of school for 2016, and he knew she had a lot to get done before going onto her last semester ever in college.
Armo trudged across the white glittering lawn, delighting in the snow crunching under his boots while scrunching his nose at the bitter chill in the air. He loved winter, and he loved snow. It reminded him so much of....
Armo paused for a moment, trying to push away the feelings of melancholy from his mind. He knew good and well he would not be able to go back home once he had started school here in the United States. It was hard though. He had not seen his family in almost three whole years.
At least there was skype, he sent up a quick prayer of thanks for the ability of modern inventions that enabled him to stay close to his parents, despite the fact that they lived far away.
Once reaching the library, Armo stomped the snow off his boots, glancing from the sign that read Caution, Wet Floor, to the big winding staircase that lead to a second floor that was undoubtedly chock full of students studying last minute for finals. Despite having visited here several times for study sessions with his favorite girl, he was still quite baffled as to how big it was.
He turned left, and then proceeded to make another left, down a long hallway full of offices for all the librarians who offered their services to the students. Towards the end of the pale blue hallway, past a long line of miscellaneous artwork painted by the art students, Armo turned right into the back room the Adeline worked at.
"Hi, Armo," Adeline's boss, Sarah, greeted him enthusiastically.
"Hi Mrs. Gilbert," he greeted back, Sarah smiled.
"Armo, you know I told you before to call me Sarah, considering how close you are to Del and all," Armo turned pink, while the archival student gave him a sympathetic glance.
"Ignore her," she murmured. "Sarah has a knack for teasing other people when it comes to their relationships. Adeline just went shelving and should be back in a few minutes".
Armo nodded to the archival student, ashamed of himself as he could not remember her name, before he sat down to wait for Adeline to get back.
"How were your finals at the falls?" Sarah asked, tuning from her computer to address him.
"Um, good, they went. Still have one more. Then won't know until grades are officially in later this week".
Sarah nodded. "That was always the hardest part for me in college. The post final burn as well as the anxiety to know if I did well enough to have made it another semester".
Armo smiled. He really did like Del's boss, even though she sure could be talkative.
After several minutes of unavoidable smalltalk, Armo kicked himself for not messaging Adeline sooner and asking when she was actually free. He did not have to worry for long, though, as after a few more agonizingly long minutes, Del returned with her cart.
"I hate how squeaky these carts can get," Del complained tiredly, appearing to be very much in the state of sleep deprivation. "I feel like I am bothering the whole entire library when I go and shelve".
Sarah nodded sympathetically. "After the new year my husband said he would be in to give us a hand with fixing the carts, you will have to hang on until then though".
"All right," Del said, smiling ruefully as she put her annoyingly squeaky cart up against its place by the table. It was then she noticed Armo.
"Armo!" she exclaimed. "What are you doing here?" she smiled as she came over to give him a hug, which Armo accepted gladly, relieved that his moment of small talk was over.
"Surprise," he said as he pulled the two tickets from his winter coat. "Happy Christmas".
Adeline blinked, then took the tickets from him. "You don't mean?" she started to squeal excitedly as she read the name of the band on the tickets.
“Oh my goodness, Armo!” she wrapped her arms around his neck. “How did you know?”
“Well,” Armo looked at her ruefully. “The very talkative Rene told me you have bit of obsession with group, no?”
Adeline smirked. “She called me out. Oh well, I cannot wait!”
“Let me guess,” Sarah said, smiling from her desk. “Christ and Country?” she knew her Senior student worker all too well. Whenever she got obsessed with something, it was hard for her usually quiet self to stop talking about it.
“How could you have possibly have guessed?” Adeline said over her shoulder, before her boss returned back to her work. Del’s green eyes returned to Timo’s blue ones.
“My host mother say she give us ride downtown. We could be there, say, 4:30? That will give us plenty of time to get down there for the VIP”.
“Wait,” Adeline trailed off as she looked at the tickets again. “Armo, the band’s regular tickets are fairly inexpensive, but VIP? I cannot imagine how much VIP must have cost you”.
Armo looked down to his feet somewhat shyly. “You are worth it, though,” he murmured.
Del leaned forward to give him a slight peck on the cheek. “You do so much for me, and I love you and thank you for it. Now, if you want to hang out here and study, I should be done with my shift in about an hour. Then we can work on school stuff together".
Armo’s eyes met hers as he nodded. Adeline saw a whole mixture of emotions in his blue irises, from happiness, to affection, to, could she really detect a hint of loneliness?
Something was bothering her Finn.
Just what could it be though? What could possibly be getting to him during his favorite time of year?
Emily was determined to find out.