The Parting Of The Ways

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Christmas and Wedding Planning

“Mr Gardner says he’s never seen such raw talent, and he’s really excited. He’s writing to his friend Mr Schuller in Hollywood, who’s going to come and see me in the school musical next term!”

“We know Mark,” muttered Athene.

“It could mean a Hollywood film contract when we’ve finished at school.”

“We know Mark,” sighed Anthony.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted!”

“We know Mark!” shouted Mr Pennington, Anthony and Athene.

It had been a fortnight since Mark had been invited for his interview with Mr Gardner, after A Midsummer Nights Dream.

Julie had been offered an interview down but had turned it down. She had explained to Mark about her family commitments, and Mark seemed confused but not upset for long. He was going to be a film star!

Unsurprisingly Mark had talked about nothing else for a fortnight, and although they were very proud of Mark, Athene and Anthony had heard enough about it. Mr Wells though hadn’t stopped jumping for joy.

“Try telling Michael when we get home,” said Anthony, “you can bore him to sleep.”

Mark didn’t seem him though fortunately, and at this point, the car pulled into the driveway.

Simon and Nick were waving enthusiastically. Simon was balancing Michael on his hip, and Nick was trying to stop Nicole from getting run over by the car.

“Uncle Tony!” cried Niki as he got out of the car, “Aunty Athy!”

“What am I?” asked Mark, “chopped liver.”

“Hello there little princess,” said Anthony picking up Niki and kissing her on the forehead.

“How are you little one?”

“Mummy got another baby,” said Niki proudly.

“In her tummy?” asked Athene.

“Yes!”

“Not again,” groaned Mark.

“I’m afraid so Marky,” said Simon patting his brother on the back.

“That’s it,” shrugging in resign, “I’m moving to America.”

“Do you want a baby brother or sister?” asked Athene.

“Brother,” said Niki simply.

“But you’ve already got a little brother,” said Anthony.

“I’m the only girl,” said Niki proudly, “I’m special!”

“You’ll always be special to me Niki,” said Simon ruffling her golden hair as Anthony put her back down.

“Come!” said Niki grabbing Athene and Anthony’s wrists and half pulling them into the sitting room.

Hung over the fireplace in the sitting room were ten stockings with names embroidered on them.

“Do you know who those are for?” asked Athene.

“Santa Clause!” exclaimed Niki.

“Have you been a good girl?” asked Anthony.

Niki nodded enthusiastically.

“Are you sure?” he asked suspiciously.

“Think so,” she muttered.

“Well, I know so,” said Anthony giving her a huge kiss.

“What do you want for Christmas?”

“Dolly!”

“What are you going to call your dolly?” asked Athene.

“Athy!”

“Well, I’m honoured Cariad,” said Athene kissing her.

“Shall we go find your mummy and Aunty Izzy?”

“Ok,” said Niki taking one of their hands each as they went through to the kitchen.

Izzy and Celia were at the kitchen table flicking through bridal magazines.

“Here you go darling,” said Celia passing Niki some sultanas from when they had been making the mince pies.

“Fixed on a date yet?” asked Athene looking at some different hairstyles in one of the magazines.

“Well we wanted June,” shrugged Izzy, “but someone’s giving birth again then, and you lot won’t be back from school, so probably early July.”

“What colour are you going to wear?” asked Athene.

“Well white of course,” said Izzy.

“I think the question should be what colour are you going to wear,” said Celia.

“We can’t pick the dress for Niki until we know the colour for the Maid of Honour.”

“Aren’t you going to be the Maid of Honour?” stammered Athene.

“I am going to have to look after two babies, Michael and the new-born.”

“Besides ma Cherie,” said Izzy, “you’re as much of a sister to me as Celia.”

“Do you think I could possibly wear pink?” asked Athene nervously.

“I don’t see why not,” shrugged Celia.

“You will look, beautiful darling,” said Anthony giving her a kiss.

Niki pulled at Anthony’s trouser leg pouting slightly.

“You’ll be beautiful too sweetheart,” said Anthony lifting Niki on to his lap.

“Hobbitses?” asked Niki hopefully.

“If she doesn’t want Bilbo or Frodo, she wants one of your own stories. It drives Simon mad, he doesn’t have your imagination.”

“Why don’t I tell you a very special Christmas story, it’s got hobbits in it.”

Niki nodded enthusiastically, and Athene and Anthony left the others to wedding planning as they went through to the sitting room where Simon had just lit a fire.

“Santa!” sobbed Niki.

“What about him darling?” asked Simon.

Niki pointed to the roaring fire.

“Well little one,” said Anthony, “Santa does come through that fireplace. But he’s magical which makes him fireproof, he won’t get burnt if he comes through the fire.”

“Oh,” said Niki settling down comfortably onto Anthony’s lap.

“Thank you!” mouthed Simon beaming as he left.

“Are you ready for your special Christmas story?”

“Always ready,” laughed Athene.

“Yes!” nodded Niki.

“Once Upon a Time in a land far far away, there was a little Hobbit called Niki. Now all Hobbit’s are small, but this Hobbit was particularly small. She was bigger than her baby brother though, he was so small that Niki’s Mummy had to carry him everywhere.

One day, Niki’s Daddy sat her down and told her about the magic of Christmas. It wasn’t Niki’s first Christmas, but last year, Niki had been small to remember much of it. This year though was going to be very special.

He told her about Father Christmas, sometimes known as Santa Clause who delivered the presents with help from his elves. Now Father Christmas delivers presents to this world too, but elves are not like people on earth think they are.

Elves do have pointed ears, but they are not tiny on the contrary they are tall, beautiful and immortal. There are two types of magical elves, the warrior elves who fight to protect middle earth, and the other type who help Santa make and deliver all the presents, not just to the children in Middle Earth, but in all the other worlds as well.

Her Daddy told her, that if she truly believed, that on Christmas Eve when Niki was tucked up in bed like the good little Hobbit that she is, Father Christmas would deliver tiny little bags of sweets and wonderful toys.

He also told her that if there was snow when they woke up on Christmas morning, they would get luck for the rest of the year.

Niki the Hobbit prayed every night leading up to Christmas, that she would get visited by Father Christmas, and that it would snow on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Eve, Niki’s Mummy tucked her into bed snug and warm after she had said her prayers.

But even though Niki was very tired, she was far too excited to sleep. That night, she didn’t sleep very well, she kept drifting on and off. But Niki was sure that one time when she woke up she saw the face of a beautiful woman with long silvery blonde hair and bright blue eyes and pointed ears smiling at her. Maybe she had just dreamt it?

The next morning, she woke up and opened her eyes a fraction of an inch, and found a tiny little stocking hanging from the end of her bed. She emptied it on to her bed and found several coins, a large collection of boiled sweets and even an orange.

“Well, who’s been a good little Hobbit?” asked Daddy from the doorway.

“Santa and his elves must have thought you were a very good little girl to be so generous.”

“Do you want to go and check on the snow?”

Niki nodded enthusiastically, and her Daddy picked her up. They went to the front door in their pyjamas. And sure, enough outside the door there was a clear four inches of pure white untouched snow.

“It’s so pretty!” said Niki beaming as she looked at the snow.

Niki and her Daddy rushed inside and got dressed before going out to go and play in the snow. By the time that mummy come out, they had built a whole snow Hobbit family, even the baby in Mummy’s arms.

“Do you two want your presents?” asked Mummy.

“Yes!” exclaimed Daddy and Niki.

Daddy picked Niki up again and they went back inside to open their presents.

Niki got lots of lovely presents, including books and toys from her Mummy and Daddy, but once all the presents had been opened, there was still one left.

“It’s for you darling,” said her Mummy passing the last present to Niki.

Niki ripped the paper off the box and lifted off the lid.

Niki let a gasp of astonishment. Inside the box lying on a bed on tissue paper, was a beautiful china doll. It looked exactly like the woman from last night, even down to the elven pointed ears.

“It’s beautiful,” said Mummy looking at the doll as Niki cradled her.

It was the best Christmas Niki had ever had. The End.”

Niki clapped enthusiastically as he finished.

“You do know Tony,” asked Simon who had been listening in, “telling her all those elaborate stories just makes me look bad when I try reading her Peter Rabbit?”

“Sorry,” muttered Anthony biting his lip, “I won’t do it anymore.”

“I’m only joking,” chuckled Simon.

“But if you could write some down for me,” whispered Simon so Niki couldn’t hear, “that would help a load.”

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