Chapter Twenty-Five: Christmas
It had been a long time since Jim had an old fashioned Christmas like this. He had vague memories of his very early childhood with Sam and his mom. But those had long since faded. They were only brief snapshots in the mind now.
Last Christmas, his mother had already been quite ill and it was hard to be festive and celebrate anything. He’d tried for Lily, but fortunately she had been young enough she cared mostly about the paper than the meager presents he’d given her.
He had vowed then that this Christmas would be different for both of them, but then he’d lost his job, and it had looked bleak again.
If there was such thing as a Christmas miracle, Jim had experienced it.
They all got up early, of course.
Lily could hardly contain herself to wait and really, Jim was like a big kid himself. Only Spock came down much more sedately.
While Lily ran around the house noticing that Santa had eaten her cookies and drank her milk, Jim took the coffee Spock had made him gratefully.
A few years back his mother had given him one of those Christmas sweaters. It had a reindeer on the front that looked more like a moose really, with a string of lights hanging off his antlers. They lit up with some battery hidden in the material. He hadn’t worn it last year because as before it hadn’t been a very festive year last year, but he’d put it on this time, and was delighted by the eyebrow raise it had elicited from Spock.
“Daddy! Daddy! Santa was here!”
Jim grinned. “I know. Let’s go see what you got.”
They ran to the living room, well Lily did, Jim and Spock followed at a far slower pace, and Lily saw the pink and purple bike waiting there. She squealed with delight.
As Jim watched her fuss over the gift, his gaze strayed to his stocking hung by the chimney. Not so much with care as it was quite crooked.
But the thing that Jim noticed was that some sort of paper now stuck out of his stocking. One that had not been there when he and Spock went to bed.
With a frown, Jim went over to his stocking even as Lily started tearing through the wrapping paper of her other presents.
He pulled out the paper, unfolded it, and stared.
It was the deed to the farmhouse and it had been stamped PAID. It was all in his name.
Spock walked over to him. “Is something wrong?”
Jim waved the paper. “Do you know anything about this?”
“What is it?”
“The deed to the house. It says it’s all paid off but…Spock, did you do this?”
Spock shook his head. “I did not.”
“Are you sure? Because it wasn’t there last night and…”
“Jim, I am sure. Vulcans do not lie. I had nothing to do with that paper or paying off your house.”
“Well. What the hell?” Jim glanced at Lily. “Angel, can you come here a second?”
Lily reluctantly left the coloring book she had been leafing through to come to where he and Spock stood by the stockings.
Jim bent down and scooped her up so that she was relatively eye level with the two of them.
“Do you know who put these papers in Daddy’s stocking.”
“Uh. Yeah. Not Santa. Really, who put them there?”
Lily scrunched up her face. “Santa, Daddy.”
Jim shook his head. “Did someone tell you to put them in Daddy’s stocking?”
“Okay.” He exhaled. “Did you see who did then?”
“No, Daddy. But it was Santa.”
“Jim,” Spock said softly. “It seems clear that Lily does not know where they came from either other than Santa Claus. As you know, you put her to bed yourself.”
Spock was right. But still.
There was no Santa. Well, other than Jim himself. So…
“Angel, was this the wish you wanted for Daddy? The one on your list?”
Lily smiled. “No, Daddy.”
“Did Daddy get the present you wanted for him from Santa?” Jim asked then.
Lily pointed to Spock, smiled and nodded.
Jim laughed. “You asked for Spock?”
“I asked Santa for a present to make Daddy happy. And he gave you Spock.”
Jim grinned as he looked toward Spock. “Yeah I guess he did. Santa’s awesome.”
“Okay, sweetie. Spock and I happen to know about a present from Santa that’s going to make you very happy. So why don’t we get it for you?”
Jim put his wiggly excited daughter down, but then turned quickly to Spock. “I meant that, by the way.”
“If you’re my gift from Santa I must have been very very good.” He leaned in and thoroughly kissed Spock. Then he held up the papers again. “I don’t know who’s behind this and maybe the idea someone was in the house without us knowing should freak me out, but…I thought I was going to have to sell this place when we went to San Francisco. And now? Having this place for my daughter someday?”
“Very good news.”
“Yeah. And it sure looks legit.”
“Then it probably is, Jim. Whoever is behind it, wanted it to be in the spirit of Santa, so perhaps, we should just view it that way and be thankful.”
Jim nodded. “You’re right. Let’s get that present.”
He led Lily over to the wrapped cat accessories while Spock went up to Jim’s bedroom to fetch the cat carrier which held the little orange ball of fluff.
Jim sat on the floor next to Lily as she tore open the paper on a litter box and scoop. He withheld a laugh when he could see how confused she was. Then she opened a pet bed. And then finally, a bag of kitten food.
Then Spock arrived and placed the carrier in front of her. He opened the cat carrier and the kitten tumbled out.
Lily clapped with glee. “A kitty!”
Okay, those totally weren’t tears in his eyes, Jim swore.
Spock knelt down next to him and Jim knew that Spock’s dark eyes didn’t look extra moist either. No way.
They shared a look. Of love. Of happiness. Of the future.
And somewhere sleigh bells jingled, but Jim was sure he must have imagined them.