“And it wasn’t here last night?”
Iggy leaned closer, her breath fogging the glass orb. “No. The Christmas lantern ran out of batteries, so I took it off the hook. When I brought it out this morning…” She gestured to the ornament swaying gently from a length of white ribbon.
“Those are the tiniest plants I’ve ever seen.” Oliver’s cheeks had turned red the moment he stepped out the front door and crunched into the snow.
Iggy stopped the swaying orb with one fingernail, studying the clump of miniscule ferns that framed the one blue-blooming plant in the center. “Is that forget-me-not?”
“Don’t ask me. They can’t be real, anyway.”
She dropped her hand. “Why not?”
“Because it’s sealed, obviously.”
Iggy peered all around the orb. “Huh.” Still, the green life soothed her eyes.
“Did Jim bring it for you?” Oliver craned his neck to try to see the neighbor’s house through the trees.
Iggy rolled her eyes. “As if he’d get off the couch this time of year. Should we take it inside?”
“Stop messing with it.” Iggy set the platter of cookies on the table and moved to hover protectively by the ornament.
Oliver nestled it back into the centerpiece. “Aren’t you gonna hang it on the tree?”
Iggy eyed the overloaded tree. “It’s too special for that.”
“I found just the spot. Come on.”
“I don’t know…”
Oliver picked it up, ignoring her. “It shouldn’t be left all alone out here.”
A buzz of anticipation swept over her as he reached up to an empty branch. Why? It was just a—
A slow burning flash swept over the tree, swelling to fill the room. “Oliver!” Iggy grabbed his arm. The tree began to morph into something…alive. Ferns arose all around the room, blue forget-me-nots exploding underfoot until the carpet was no more. In moments, Iggy’s living room was a garden full of intoxicating scents.
She closed her eyes and pinched her arm. When she looked up, Oliver was grinning at her.
“Merry Christmas, sis.”