“You said that already,” I mumbled to my cousin.  “I don’t know how much longer I can stay awake.” 

“But aren’t you excited?  How could you possibly sleep on a night like this?  So many things are happening all around us!” 

Though I didn’t look, I knew Mindy was sitting up next to me.  I could feel her energy seeping through the blankets to my side of our fort bed.  Every time we spent the night together, we made a fort bed like we did when we were ten.  Now that we are older, our forts aren’t nearly as elaborate and maybe we’ll grow out of it, but so far we haven’t.   

“I am excited for every new thing I know we are going to wake up to tomorrow.  But I will be more excited to get some sleep  before the sun comes up.” 

I readjusted so the flashlight Mindy was holding would not be shining into the wall directly in front of me.  I sighed when she started talking again and couldn’t believe I wasn’t allowed ear plugs.  Christmas Eve is the longest night when your cousin is only twelve.  I enjoyed spending time with Mindy, but the five-year age gap was exhausting on nights like this.  I was counting down the days we didn’t have to talk.  But really, I only wanted to escape from her parents.  Her parents always rubbed their two-story house in and never tried to help.  I knew exactly what to do for payback. 


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