“Two heartbroken women, two unexpected romances, and one unforgettable Christmas – Love has no boundaries or time zones.”
The Christmas lights twinkled brightly, painting the snow-draped town of Surrey in hues of red and green. In a cozy cottage named Rosehill, sat Iris Simpkins, with tears blurring her vision and heartbreak souring the festive air. Across the Atlantic, in a mansion shimmering under the Los Angeles sun, Amanda Woods was nursing the same emotion. Two women, bound by heartache, both in dire need of an escape.
Chapter 1: “The Heartbreak Holiday”
The English countryside was gasping under the weight of the first snow, a single candle flickered through the frosted window of Rosehill cottage. Iris was hunched over her laptop, her hazel eyes scanning the screen of a home exchange site. Her heart twinged, replaying the moment her long-term boyfriend and her so-called best friend announced their engagement at her office Christmas party.
“I need a change,” she murmured, her fingers dancing over the keyboard, typing up a brief description of her quaint cottage.
Simultaneously, across the ocean in Los Angeles, Amanda Woods, an incredibly successful woman owning her own company, was reeling from a harsh discovery. Her boyfriend Ethan had cheated on her. This, coupled with the stress of running her thriving advertising company, spurred her into seeking solitude. In her sprawling mansion, she happened upon Iris’s listing. A charming getaway in an English village seemed like the retreat she needed. She fired off a message to Iris, proposing a two-week house swap.
In Surrey, Iris’s eyebrows shot up as she saw Amanda’s luxurious LA home. It looked like something out of a movie, contrasting against her modest, cozy haven. An impulsive decision was made, fueled by the need to escape the ghosts of heartbreak. A swift exchange of messages later, the two women had made arrangements for the drastic change of scenery.
Amanda packed her bags with an uncharacteristic lack of enthusiasm. She looked around her house, a place too big for one person, her heart heavy with regret and disappointment. Yet, a faint glimmer of hope sparked within her, the prospect of the holiday offering an escape from her bittersweet reality.
Meanwhile, Iris prepared for her adventure, leaving her snow-laden village and trading it for the sun-soaked beaches of California. With shaky excitement, she set off for Heathrow, hugging her dear old cottage one last time before she left.
As they embarked on their respective flights, little did they know that this Christmas would be unlike any other. Both women, nursing their freshly broken hearts, were about to find more than an escape in their swapped homes.
The coincidental connection of heartbreak had brought them together, leading them to trade places on the map. But what lay ahead was an unpredictable roller coaster of emotions, experiences, and most importantly, an opportunity to heal and find love anew. Lost in the cacophony of their heartaches, they were unaware that this holiday would change their lives in the most unexpected ways.
Thus, Amanda and Iris began their journey, stepping out of their comfort zones and into each other’s lives, unknowingly paving the path for a heartwarming and comedic Christmas romance adventure, where love, they would discover, was the most unexpected holiday guest.
Chapter 2: “Unexpected Encounters”
Amanda and Iris, both mentally prepared for seclusion and certainly not for any romantic encounters, are thrown off balance when they face unexpected companionship.
Amanda, awoken by blustering cold winds rattling the English cottage, wonders if she’s made the right decision to swap her luxurious LA mansion for this charming yet freezing corner of Surrey. She had been hoping for solitude. A quiet hideaway to nurse her heartbreak, but life seems to have other plans.
Out for a brisk walk that morning, she bumps into a handsome stranger. The sparkling grey eyes, dishevelled hair, and a crooked smile of the man standing in front of her were far from the solitude she had been expecting. He introduces himself as Graham, Iris’s elder brother, who’s come looking for his sister, unaware of the home exchange. Over hot tea and cozy blankets, they talk about their lives, their pasts, and their dreams, and before they know it, the sun is setting.
The connection is palpable between Amanda and Graham, and she struggles to ignore the butterflies that flutter in her stomach whenever he laughs or casually brushes her hand. But she’s here on a break from men, love and relationships, she reminds herself, yet she can’t help but anticipate their next meeting.
Meanwhile, some 5000 miles away, Iris is trying to adjust to the flip-flop weather and the opulent lifestyle of LA. The sun shines brightly outside, contrasting her gloomy mood. A stark contrast to the quiet of the English countryside, the city is audacious, lively and full of spirit just like the man she bumps into while buying groceries; Ethan, a mutual friend of Amanda’s ex-boyfriend.
Ethan, with his sparkling blue eyes and charismatic laughter, drags Iris out of her comfort zone and into a world she has only seen in movies. He introduces her to beach bonfires, gourmet burgers, and the LA life in all its glory. His charm is irresistible and Iris finds herself helplessly drawn towards him despite the guarded walls she had built around her heart.
Both Amanda and Iris, while trying to escape their past, find themselves entangled in a whirlwind of emotions yet again. They had come seeking solace and solitude, but their encounters with Graham and Ethan shake their resolve. They are faced with another potential heartbreak, but they also have a chance at love, the unexpected surprise of their holiday.
Their hearts lay bare with the prospect of new relationships. But they struggle, juggle their emotions, and fight an internal battle between the need for companionship and the fear of another heartache. As the sun dips into the horizon on both sides of the Atlantic, the women, with memories of their unexpected encounters fresh in their minds, ponder over what the future holds.
The chapter closes with Amanda gazing at the wintry English landscape and Iris at the sun-kissed LA skyline, both women contemplating their new romantic prospects. Will they build walls around their hearts or allow love to sneak in once again? Only time will tell in the unfolding journey of their holiday.
Chapter 3: “Cross-cultural Christmas”
Fireworks of divergent Christmas traditions exploded as Iris and Amanda’s lives moved to the rhythm of exchanges, heartbreaks, and encounters. The anticipation of something new coupled with the fear of the unknown created a jumbled knot of excitement and anxiety within them.
In California, Iris was experiencing a wildly contrasting Yuletide. The usually mild and rainy English Christmases were a world away from the warm, beachside holiday she was having. Amanda’s luxurious mansion was a far cry from her quaint cottage back in Surrey, but it was a welcome change, an escape.
She curiously explored the modern, minimalistic house, its vast rooms filled with expensive gadgets and chic furniture. Iris was fascinated by Amanda’s home office, the multitude of screens, the looming Hollywood sign in the near distance.
One particularly sunny morning, she decided to have a swim in Amanda’s pool, something she’d never even dreamt of doing on Christmas day. As she swam laps under the bright Californian sun, she felt an odd sense of joy.
On Christmas Eve, she was invited to a beach bonfire party by some of Amanda’s neighbours. She saw the gorgeous Californian sunset as she sat on a beach, the Pacific Ocean stretching out before her. A bonfire reflected in her eyes, a glass of chilled Rosé in her hand. The lively crowd, the strumming guitars, the laughter, everything felt alien yet oddly comforting.
Back in England, Amanda was having an entirely new experience. The hustle and bustle of Los Angeles felt a world away as she woke up to the quaint silence of the Surrey countryside. The snow outside added a magical charm to the thatched-roof cottage, its cosy interior filled with antique furniture and vintage pieces.
She found herself fumbling with manual kitchen appliances, shivering in the cold despite the old fireplace roaring with warmth, and walking for hours in the snow. Amanda spent her days exploring the charming English village, its stone-paved streets filled with tiny shops and cute cafés.
On Christmas Day, Graham, Iris’s brother, invited her to a traditional English Christmas dinner. Amanda found herself in the middle of a large, boisterous family, with kids running around and everyone waltzing to some old Christmas carol. She learnt to pull Christmas crackers, wore a paper crown, and enjoyed a hearty meal of roast turkey and Christmas pudding. The simplicity and warmth of the celebration touched her.
The week went by in a blur. As Amanda lit the last candle on a small Christmas tree, she felt a pang of sadness. She had come to love the peace and tranquility of her new surrounding; The blissful isolation from the chaos of L.A, the simplicity of the place and its people, and of course, the ever-so-charming Graham.
Meanwhile, Iris, attending a New Year’s eve party in a breathtaking Malibu beach house, looked out at the ocean. The California coast was sparking with fireworks, the party was in full swing, but she couldn’t help but miss the quiet, the peace, and the snow-covered Surrey.
They were both living the other’s life, experiencing the other’s version of Christmas. They were discovering the beauty of new cultures, the warmth of different traditions, the joy of unexpected friendships. Yet, they couldn’t shake off the feeling of something essential missing in their perfect holiday, an imminent longing for their old lives, and the fear of their soon-to-be-over affairs. Little did they know that their lives were soon going to take another exciting, unexpected turn.
Chapter 4: “Romantic Revelations”
Amanda woke up to the scent of freshly baked bread wafting through her narrow English bedroom window. For a moment, she didn’t know where she was, but then she remembered – the quaint English cottage, the charming pub owner, and the entirely unexpected turn her holiday had taken. She was here, in an unfamiliar land, experiencing emotions that she hadn’t felt in years.
Downstairs, she found Graham, Iris’s older brother, just finishing off his usual morning toast. “Morning,” he greeted her with a warm smile that made her heart flutter. She couldn’t help but fall for his English charm – the gentle humor, the understated charisma, and the way he made her feel special. They spent the morning exploring the beautiful rural landscapes, their bond deepening with each passing hour.
Across the pond in sunny California, Iris was navigating her own romantic revelation. Miles, Amanda’s composer friend, was unlike any man she’d ever met. He was passionate, driven, and sensitive. Above all, he seemed to understand her in a way that no one ever had.
One evening, they sat by a bonfire on the Santa Monica beach, the city lights flickering along the coastline. Miles hesitated for a moment then started playing a melody on his guitar. It was soft and tender, the song seeming to fill all the empty corners of Iris’s heart. It was a moment of profound connection between them.
However, amidst all these warm emotions, a disconcerting thought lingered in their minds. They had let their guards down, let someone else in and what for? They both were terrified of the inevitable heartbreak when their holiday ended, and they’d have to return home, leaving these newfound relationships behind.
Back in England, Amanda and Graham had a similar conversation at a small local pub. They both knew what was coming, but the words hung heavy in the air between them. Graham sighed, “So, what are we doing, Amanda?” His voice was steady, but his eyes betraying the fear of an impending goodbye.
In California, Miles echoed Graham’s sentiment to Iris as they sat on the beach, their fingers entwined in the sand. “What happens when the holiday ends, Iris?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper. Their situations mirrored each other’s beautifully, yet tragically, each couple trapped within the confines of their ticking holiday romance.
Despite the fear, Amanda and Iris decided to face their feelings head-on. Both women, miles apart, whispered the same answer, “I don’t know, but let’s enjoy the rest of our time together.” After all, they didn’t travel halfway across the world to live in fear. It was time to seize the moment, embrace the uncertainty and take a leap of faith.
As the chapter closed, both couples were left at the precipice of an emotional cliffhanger. Their feelings for each other were undeniable, and yet their imminent departures loomed over them like a punishing storm cloud. The joys of new love were swiftly being replaced by the dread of parting, leading them to question: “Is it better to have loved and lost? Or never to have loved at all?”
Chapter 5: “Navigating New Love”
The early morning air was crisp in England, the dew settled on the grass around the cottage, sparkling in the dim light of dawn. Amanda stirred, finding herself tangled in the sheets of an unfamiliar bed, Graham’s lingering scent engulfing her senses. Across the globe, the calming sound of waves crashing against the shore was a reminder to Iris of her unusual surroundings, Miles’ warm eyes flashed in her mind, catching her breath. Both Amanda and Iris were having a hard time reconciling their reality, a world which now encompassed blooming romance in the most unlikely settings.
Amanda, more of a woman of walls, had unknowingly let Graham charm his way into her life. His British accent was soothing and his demeanor comforting, his wit always met with her own, making their conversations lengthy and saturated with laughter. He had a way of making her forget about her complicated life waiting in the states, making her feel at ease. However, the looming fear of another heartbreak was a constant storm brewing in the back of her mind. She had opened up to Graham and unveiled parts of her she didn’t know existed – vulnerability, tenderness, a longing for companionship. Exposing these emotions came at a cost: the constant knot of anxiety that she was setting herself up for a colossal fall.
Meanwhile, in sunny California, Iris was also facing her own emotional whirlwind with Miles. His smile was contagious, warming her heart like a cozy California sunset. Their shared inclination for classic movies and spontaneous adventures made every day an exciting venture. The companionship that she missed back home was suddenly filled by his presence, and she found herself smiling more in these few days than she had ever done in months. However, Iris was aware that this new bond was as fragile as it was beautiful. The looming deadline of her return to England cast a shadow over her happiness, the constant fear that this ephemeral romance would turn into another heartbreak.
Amanda and Iris, both torn between their love and fear, struggled to navigate their newly found relationships. They were aware of the transient nature of their romances, but the pull of their heart was too powerful to resist. They were caught in a paradox, a struggle between holding on and letting go. The thrill of new love was intoxicating, making them question the outcomes.
The days were filled with shared laughter, stolen kisses, comforting hugs, and late-night conversations that made their hearts flutter. Graham’s British humor had Amanda in splits, while Miles’ unbridled enthusiasm for film had Iris falling even deeper for him. But every night, alone in their beds miles apart, the fear would seep in. The fear of losing the men they were falling for, the fear of being left heartbroken once again and the fear of the unavoidable goodbyes.
Would the love they found on this holiday be strong enough to withstand the realities of distance and time? Or were they setting themselves up for inevitable heartbreak, a tragic end to their fairytale romance? Amanda and Iris were not certain. All they knew was the present, the feeling of being loved, and the desire to make the most of their remaining days.
The women were walking a tightrope of new love, each step they took was shaking the balance, threatening to tip over into the depths of heartache. But with each passing day, the bond with their respective partners only got stronger, the looming goodbyes becoming more challenging to bear.
They found themselves at a crossroads, torn between their new love and the impending reality. As the holiday neared to an end, the challenge to navigate this new love only grew steeper. They were both falling, faster than they ever thought they could, into a love that was as unexpected as it was intense.
Their holiday, supposed to be an escape from their heartbreaks, seemed to have become a voyage into unexplored territories of love and fear. The possibility of losing this newfound love was a daunting thought, but they knew, even if this ended in heartbreak, they would never forget these days of love, laughter, and the Christmas that changed their lives forever.
Chapter 6: “The Clash of Reality”
As the festive cheer of Christmas started to fade, the reality of New Year’s imminent arrival began to cast a ominous shadow over Amanda and Iris’ hearts. They were no longer the heartbroken women seeking solace in strangers’ homes. They’d unexpectedly found elements of joy, warmth, and yes, even love, thousands of miles away from their original heartbreak.
In the quiet English countryside, buried beneath layers of snow and sentiments, Amanda and Graham’s romance had blossomed. The reticence that Amanda had carried from her past breakup had been replaced by an insurmountable affection, a comfort she hadn’t known she was capable of feeling again. She had willingly succumbed to the charm and charisma of someone else’s homeland and brother. Yet, the ticking clock never ceased its duty, constantly reminding her of the impending expiration of these enchantments.
Across the Atlantic, under the Californian sky, Iris had been experiencing emotions she’d deemed far-fetched in her London life. Miles, the endearing friend of Amanda’s ex and now the harbinger of her happiness, had woven a different world for her—a world where she no longer felt like the secondary character in her own life’s story. But with every passing minute, the Pacific Ocean seemed to grow wider, its unfathomable depth echoing the abyss that her impending departure would leave in her heart.
Amanda, sitting in front of the fireplace, glanced at the calendar. The date seemed to scream at her, the impending doom nearing with each passing second. Beside her, Graham was lost in thought. He knew, just as she did, that their enchanting love story was at the mercy of the calendar and the distance between two continents. The thought left a bitter taste in his mouth.
Meanwhile, under the blanket of the Californian stars, Iris and Miles sat on the beach, the waves of the Pacific whispering tales of parting and longing. Miles had made Iris believe in herself again, in her beauty, her worth, her right to love and be loved. But as the ocean waves crashed and receded, Iris couldn’t help but liken the ebb and flow to her present situation. Just like the waves, she feared that her newfound love would retreat as quickly as it had approached.
Caught between their blossoming love and the impending separation, both Amanda and Iris were left perplexed. As the holiday neared its end, their emotions spiraled into a tumult, a whirlwind of love, longing, and the looming heartbreak.
Amanda, in a bid to move past the uncertainty, decided to spend the day with Graham. They visited the quaint town and the local farmers market, strolled along the icy creek, and laughed under the frosty English sun. However, underneath the shared smiles, their hearts feared the inevitable goodbye.
On the other hand, Iris chose to lay bare her fears to Miles. Under the bright Californian sun, they sat in a park, their hands entwined, while Iris confessed her apprehensions. Miles listened patiently, understanding the turmoil Iris was going through. His heart ached for her but also for himself. His mornings had started to revolve around her laughter, his evenings around her stories. The thought of not having her around was equally daunting for him.
Each embrace, each stolen kiss, each glance filled with love was now tinged with an underlying sadness. Would these memories be enough to fill the void their departure would leave, they wondered? As their last days together dwindled down, Amanda and Iris braced themselves for the farewell they never wanted to face. Their hearts cried silent prayers, hoping against hope for a miracle in the clash of reality.
Chapter 7: “The Power of Love”
In a whirlwind of romance, passion, and wine-filled evenings, New Year’s Eve was quickly upon them. It was an event they had been both waiting for and dreading, knowing it was the finality of their holiday, the last page of this enchanting chapter.
Iris, having blossomed under California’s golden sun, had fallen for Miles with an intensity she never knew she held within herself. His persistent charm, infectious laughter, and generous heart had chipped away at her guarded walls, caught unguarded in the carefree holiday spirit.
Equally, Amanda, facing the biting English winter, found warmth in the arms of Graham. She had initially seen him as a distraction, a charming and handsome stranger. Now, she was looking at him through a different lens, the lens of genuine affection.
Their romances, forged in the renewed senses of self and the liberating spirit of a new environment, had been as swift as they were profound, leaving both couples gripped in a spell of deep affection.
On that night, rather than being swept in the joy of the holiday, they were seized by a sense of urgency. Their hearts weighed heavy with the bittersweet taste of goodbye. Iris and Amanda had both attempted to prepare themselves for this moment, but nothing could have prepared them for the way it felt, for the depth of emotion.
Iris, in her Californian beach house, looked at the Pacific Ocean, shimmering under the starlight. Miles, next to her, a comforting presence, radiated warmth that was contagious. They were a picture of serenity, echoing the comforting sounds of the ocean waves. Hidden behind their quiet smiles were whispers of longing and unspoken promises.
Back in Surrey, Amanda and Graham were in the charming cottage, bathed by the soft light of the fireplace. The magic of the flickering fire reflected in their eyes, and the sweet silence screamed the words they wanted to say. Their separation was imminent, yet they both basked in the warmth of each other’s arms, choosing to bury the impending farewell in the recesses of their minds.
Both couples chose to live in the moment. Iris and Amanda, having learned from their past mistakes, were careful to not let fear of future heartbreak taint their present happiness. It was a lesson they had learned the hard way, back in their own homes, when love had felt more like a battlefield than a sanctuary.
By the time the fireworks burst in the night sky, signaling the arrival of the New Year, emotions were running high. The women exchanged tender kisses with their lovers, and for a moment, the world seemed to stand still. They held onto each other a little longer, knowing that with every passing second, their return to reality was near.
However, amidst the sparkling fireworks and heartfelt speeches, both couples made a brave decision. A decision that spoke volumes about the deep feelings they had nurtured in this short time. They decided to continue their romances, to keep their hearts tethered across oceans.
Iris and Miles, and Amanda and Graham, promised to fight for their love, to cross the bridges and break the walls that their geography presented. They knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but they also knew that they had stumbled upon something precious, something worth fighting for.
As they welcomed the New Year, their hearts were filled with hope and trepidation. The uncertainty of their future loomed, but nestled within it was the promise of a love story that was only just beginning.
That night, they went to sleep with a myriad of emotions, of fears and excitement, heartbreak and happiness. They were standing on the edge of an unknown future. But they were not afraid. They had found love in unexpected places, and they were willing to fight for it.
In the quiet hush of the night, under the glimmering stars, their hearts beat in rhythm with each other’s, whispering an unspoken vow, a pledge to make it work, no matter the distance, the time difference, or the hurdles. Love, they knew, was worth the risk. Because without love, life was merely a succession of mundane moments strung together in monotony.
The end of their holiday was near, but they were just at the cusp of a new journey, a journey that was nerve-wracking, electrifying, and worth every bit of the uncertainty. As they said their silent goodnights, their hearts echoed with the power of love and the promise of new beginnings. They had found love in a hopeless place, and they wouldn’t let it go. Not without a fight.
In the romantic chaos of the New Year, they had found a battle worth fighting for. A love worth crossing oceans for. The power of love never ceased to amaze them, and as they sat under the starlit skies of their temporary homes, they were reminded of why they had taken this leap of faith: love, in all its terrifying and beautiful glory, was always worth it. And so, they decided to seize it with both hands and hope for the best, come what may.
Chapter 8: “New Beginnings”
Iris pushed open the door of her English cottage, the dull afternoon light casting long, eerie shadows on the empty rooms. Her heart felt as bleak as the winter landscape outside, the joy and warmth of California suddenly too far, too distant. She had left Miles behind, his searing kisses and comforting words still etched into her memory. The house did not feel welcoming; instead, it seemed to emphasize her loneliness.
At the same time, living through a similar melancholic state, Amanda stepped into her gigantic mansion in Los Angeles. The emptiness echoed as an uncomfortable reminder of Graham’s absence. Their laughter, conversations, and shared glances in the cozy cottage now felt like a dream that was evaporating with every passing second.
The women spent the first few days in solitude, their minds incessantly revisiting those stolen moments of happiness and yearning every evening. The crystal-clear California beaches and the lush English countryside had woven a romantic narrative that seemed too captivating to be real. Yet, reality was now, more than ever, overwhelming.
In this paradoxical time, the two women found solace in their work, drowning their longing in late-night deadlines and client meetings. Yet, every silent night under the star-studded sky and every beam of morning sunlight would invariably remind Iris of Miles’ playful smile, his comforting touch, and his heart-melting serenades. Similarly, Amanda would remember Graham’s intoxicating scent, his suave English accent, and his tenderly expressive eyes with every bedtime story she read to her clients’ children.
The inevitable heartache, however, did not mean surrender. Iris and Amanda were determined to keep those sparks of love, kindled in the warmth of the holidays, alive. Iris started sharing her daytime with Miles, their video calls filled with smiles, laughter, and stories from different continents. The time difference was tricky, but love knows no clockwork.
Meanwhile, Amanda and Graham found solace in handwritten letters and voice messages filled with affectionate greetings and anecdotes. The physical distance seemed irrelevant as their bond deepened over shared struggles and dreams. Indeed, this was new, exciting, and terrifying for both, but as they navigated through the labyrinth of their complex emotions, they found their love becoming stronger, resilient like an unbreakable bond.
And so, days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, marked by longing, hope, and an unwavering resolve to keep their love stories alive. The women missed the warmth of their lovers, their shared laughter, and the comfort in their loving gazes. However, they remained firm in their resolve – they would walk this tightrope, gripping onto the rope of their love, their faith their only safety net.
But fate had some other plans. One morning, Iris woke up to the sound of her doorbell. As she sleepily opened the door, she was surprised to see a smiling Miles standing there, holding a cup of takeaway coffee and a bunch of daisies. As for Amanda, she received a letter from Graham, not in the familiar cursive but in an envelope bearing not his handwriting. As she unfolded the paper, she let out a gasp. It was a one-way ticket to England.
Their journey had not been smooth, but it had been worth it. Love, in the end, knows no borders or rules. It is a chronic, beautiful conundrum that defies explanation. Their love story was like a symphony of high notes and low notes, now reaching a perfect crescendo. As Iris and Amanda stared into the eyes of their lovers, they found a sense of home, one that transcended physical boundaries.
After all, love was about finding your home in another person’s heart, and they had found theirs in these men from different continents. They had started this journey to escape heartbreak but ended up discovering love in its truest form.
The ending was not an ending, but a lovely beginning. A beginning of a love story that spanned countries, cultures, and time zones. A love that started as a holiday escapade but turned into a lifelong romance. Their story was a testament to the fact that love knows no boundaries, no distances, and no odds. It was a love that they would cherish, nurture, and protect for a lifetime. This was their Christmas miracle, a true holiday romance.
Some scenes from the movie The Holiday written by A.I.
INT. AMANDA’S LUXURIOUS LOS ANGELES HOME – NIGHT
AMANDA, an attractive, self-made businesswoman, stares emotionlessly at her BREAKING UP BOYFRIEND, ETHAN. Ethan visibly nervous.
I can’t do this, Amanda… We’re done!
Amanda maintains her composure. She’s heard this before.
And what’s your reason this time, Ethan?
Ethan stutters, unable to find a response.
EXT. IRIS’S ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
IRIS, a dreamy and romantic writer, is having an almost identical break-up, but she’s not as composed as Amanda.
Iris’s boyfriend, JASPER, exits their home in a hurry.
I can’t give you what you want, Iris!
Iris sobs at the door, watching as Jasper drives away.
INT. AMANDA’S L.A. HOME / INT. IRIS’S ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
Amanda and Iris, on different sides of the world, both find THE SAME WEBSITE on their laptops: “HOME-SWAP FOR THE HOLIDAYS?”
A mutual decision is made.
TO BE CONTINUED…
EXT. AIRPORT – DAY
Iris, with fear and excitement in her eyes, descends from a plane in sunny L.A. At the same moment, Amanda, wearing sunglasses, arrives in snowy England.
Two broken hearts on two different continents…and just like that, their lives took a detour. Welcome to the “Heartbreak Holiday.”
INT. LAX AIRPORT – DAY
Iris, a petite brunette with a British accent, exits the plane with a look of apprehension. She’s nervous, yet eager to embrace her new environment.
INT. HEATHROW AIRPORT – DAY
Similarly, Amanda, a tall blonde American woman, arrives in England, visibly out of her comfort zone.
EXT. AMANDA’S BEACH HOUSE – NIGHT
Iris is welcomed by the mild, California weather and the breathtaking view of the beach house.
(Whispers to herself)
I could get used to this.
INT. IRIS’S ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
Amanda enters the cozy cottage, charmed by its quaintness and simplicity.
(Smiles to herself)
Quite different, but not bad.
EXT. AMANDA’S BEACH HOUSE – DAY
Iris has a chance encounter with MILES, a handsome, charismatic American with a witty sense of humor.
You’re not at all like anyone I know.
Take that as a compliment, Iris.
INT. LOCAL PUB – NIGHT
Amanda, looking out of place, meets GRAHAM, Iris’s attractive, and charming brother. Their connection is instant.
I didn’t expect to meet someone like you here.
Life is full of surprises.
As the scene ends, both women find themselves falling for their respective new acquaintances, unaware of how much their lives are about to change.
As destiny would have it, both women, through their heartbreaks, have stumbled upon an unexpected romance. Little did they know, the best is yet to come.
INT. IRIS’S ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
Amanda, mid-30s, recently single, from sunny California, explores the quaint rural English cottage. She finds a SNOW GLOBE amidst books on the shelf, shakes it and watches the snowfall engulfing a mini English town. A knock on the door. Amanda opens to find GRAHAM, 40s, ruggedly handsome, Iris’s brother.
Hi, I’m Graham, Iris’s brother. You must be Amanda?
Yes, nice to meet you, Graham.
They share a warm handshake, slightly lingering as they maintain eye contact.
EXT. CALIFORNIA BEACH – NIGHT
Iris, introverted British writer, is at a beach bonfire party, surrounded by AMANDA’S FRIENDS. She spots MILES, 30s, a struggling musician, playing the GUITAR by the fire.
(offers her a marshmallow)
Ever had a s’more, Iris?
I’m afraid we Brits are not privy to such marshmallow charm.
Miles laughs, their chemistry building as they roast marshmallows by the fire.
EXT. ENGLISH COTTAGE – BACKYARD – MORNING
Amanda finds Graham chopping wood for the fireplace. She approaches, unable to resist his charm, and a playful conversation ensues.
You always start your morning like this?
Only when it’s freezing, and by the way, welcome to an English Christmas.
EXT. CALIFORNIA BEACH – DAY
Miles teaches Iris to surf. Despite numerous falls, Iris laughs. Their relationship deepens. She shouts from the water.
(falls into water, then surfaces)
Is surfing a prerequisite for Christmas here?
Miles laughs as the screen FADES OUT on their laughter and joy, hinting at their blossoming love.
INT. ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
Graham, a rugged yet gentle man in his 30s, stands in front of the fireplace, a bottle of wine in one hand and two glasses in the other.
(raises a glass)
To new beginnings.
Amanda, a stress-ridden woman in her 30s who’s started to learn the meaning of relaxation, smiles and clinks glasses with him.
And to unexpected romances.
EXT. CALIFORNIA BEACH – NIGHT
Miles, a goofy but kindhearted man in his early 30s, sits next to Iris, a woman in her 30s with a newfound sense of confidence.
(pointing at the stars)
That one’s Orion, the hunter.
Iris giggles, leaning into him.
And the only constellation we both seem to know.
Miles laughs and puts his arm around her as they continue to look up at the star-filled sky.
INT. ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
Amanda and Graham sit in silence, enjoying the fire. Suddenly, Amanda breaks the silence.
Graham, what happens after the holiday?
Graham looks at her, smiles, and puts his hand over hers.
We’ll figure it out, Amanda.
EXT. CALIFORNIA BEACH – NIGHT
Miles and Iris make a small bonfire. Miles strums a few chords on his guitar. Iris looks at him worriedly.
Miles, what happens after the holiday?
Miles stops strumming, takes a deep breath, and looks at Iris.
We’ll figure it out, Iris.
They both share a smile, each uncertain about the future but willing to face it together.
INT. ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
Amanda sits with Graham in the cozy, dimly lit cottage, a fire crackling gently in the background. She takes a deep breath, glancing at him nervously.
Graham, there’s something I need to talk to you about…
Before you say anything, I’ve something for you.
He pulls a tiny box from his pocket and hands it to her. Her eyes widen in surprise.
INT. BEACHHOUSE – CALIFORNIA – NIGHT
Meanwhile, under the California sky, Iris and Miles sit on the beach, the ocean lapping at their feet. Miles is strumming his guitar, but Iris seems distracted.
Miles, I’m not sure what to do. I mean, we both like each other, but…
But we can make this work, right?
INT. ENGLISH COTTAGE – NIGHT
Amanda opens the box to reveal a tiny charm, carved into the shape of a heart. Tears well up in her eyes, filled with mixed emotions.
It’s beautiful, Graham…but…
I know. It’s not an engagement ring, just a promise I want to make. We’ll find a way, Amanda.
INT. BEACHHOUSE – CALIFORNIA – NIGHT
Meanwhile, Miles looks at Iris earnestly. She gazes back, torn between her feelings and the rational fears that she holds.
Let’s take it one day at a time, Iris. No rush, no pressure.