Scrooge's Perfect Christmas

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Chapter 6

“You must go, Miss Rebecca,” Santa gently said, keeping his eyes on her. “You cannot stay here forever. Your family will miss you.”

“They don’t care about me,” she said.

“That cannot be true,” Mrs. Claus said. She placed an arm around her. “Have they ever asked how you are? Or whether the old you will be back or not?” Rebecca recalled a few conversations like that. She sighed and turned to Santa.

“You said the only way for me to leave is to see my ideal Christmas,” she said. He nodded. “I don’t want to see it though. If it continues on from the last visit, I’m afraid of what will happen. Tammy won’t be there.”

“She must mean a lot to you,” she said. Rebecca nodded. She bowed her head as she explained.

“Tammy listens. No one but her ever really listened to me. She’s more understanding than them.” She paused. “I think… I think after she lost her vision… more than just her four senses heightened. It’s like she could understand what I was thinking.” She gulped and sighed. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I’m normally not this open,” she said. It stayed quiet for a while.

“What do you want, Miss Rebecca?” Santa asked. She looked at him.

“I… I want to stop fighting,” she whispered. “I want to give in.” She slowly shook her head. “My family would be better off without me.” They realized what she meant.

“That cannot be true,” the Clauses chorused.

“You are important to them, more than you think. More than they know,” Santa said. “What do you suppose they would be doing now if you weren’t alive?”

“I don’t know,” she said softly.

“After your parents died, did you see your family?” Mrs. Claus asked.

“Once or twice… not all together,” she whispered. “They were depressed, I suppose. That’s because mother and father died though – not because of me.”

“Yes, but what did you do after you graduated?” Santa asked. She sighed as she remembered.

“I moved into the house I inherited. And they’ve been bugging me since then,” she said. She looked at Mrs. Claus. “I didn’t ask for that house. Brenda’s the youngest. She should’ve gotten it. My sisters and brothers…” She gulped. “They kept trying to ask for all sorts of things. And all I ever did was block them out. I never helped them.” Rebecca paused to cradle her head with her hands. “I should’ve,” she whispered.

“Doing that – don’t you think that helped your family?” Mrs. Claus said. “They learned to make connections and have resources. You pushed them away, and they gained experience. You could have joined them to earn the same.”

“Think about it when you see your family again,” Santa said. Rebecca glanced at them. She studied their faces. As she realized what they meant, her eyes widened in shock. Her mouth dropped.

“Are you trying to get me to leave? Am I that bad?” she asked.

“That’s not it, dear, not it at all,” Mrs. Claus replied. “We are merely trying to let you know you cannot leave your family behind. You can’t stay here forever, dear. It’s not the way things work in life. You shouldn’t give up.”

“Trust me, Miss Rebecca. My wife doesn’t lie, and neither do I,” he said. She shook her head; Rebecca felt cornered. She knew what they were attempting. Rebecca also knew they were right. The grouch didn’t want to do it, though.

“Must I go?” she asked forcefully.

“Yes, my dear,” the Clauses chorused sympathetically.

Rebecca waited a moment before moving the food tray aside. She stood and sighed nervously. She didn’t want to, but she knew she had to do it. The grouch had already changed before eating. All she needed were her coat and scarf, which had been neatly placed near her. She put them and her snowshoes on.

“I’m ready then,” Rebecca whispered.

With gentle smiles, Mr. and Mrs. Claus led her to the same big, empty plot of snow. Looking at it one last time, it reminded Rebecca how beautiful the snow looked in her city. She glanced at the holiday couple and smiled faintly.

“I’ve been nothing but trouble to you… and yet you give so much kindness. And so much faith in me,” she said. “It makes me wonder if I’m really all worth it.”

“Well, you’ll find that out, won’t you, dear?” Mrs. Claus said with a smile.

“Remember, Miss Rebecca. Christmas is not something to dread,” he said. Rebecca shook her head gently as she chuckled.

“Thank you.” She hugged them. “I’ll try to remember that.” She then pulled away and looked at the plot of snow. Rebecca nervously sighed. “Here I come,” she whispered.

Please let it be something happy, she thought.

She closed her eyes. And after a few steps forward, she opened her eyes. Rebecca sighed with disappointment. No lights, no ornaments, no bright colors – it made her sick. The Christmas colors from her dimension trips got to her. She wanted light; she wanted life.

Rebecca glanced around. Her family still sat on the living room floor. Nicole’s tears had been rubbed off and dried. The coals they had received were put away in a pile. She eyed the pile before speaking up.

“What are you doing?” she asked, almost curiously.

“We’re waiting for you,” Brenda said quietly. “You call all the shots, remember?”

Since it’s obviously not… I guess I’ll have to make it happy, she thought.That put a wry grin on Rebecca’s face. It made her family shudder.

“In that case, let’s pull out the ornaments. I have an idea,” she said.

“We’re not going to break them again, are we?” Alexis whispered. Brenda nudged her. Alexis winced.

“No…” she said slowly. “We’re going to put them on the tree.” They looked at her daftly again. “And don’t give me that look. I know what I’m doing.” She turned toward some of her nephews. “Dylan, Brian, find the candles. Christina, find the matches. Josh and Brenda, get the ornaments. And Nicole… find your glitter.” Nicole grew excited.

“My glitter? What color do you want?” she asked.

“Any color that pops with green,” she said with a smile. Her niece hurried off to the family room as the others searched for their items. She turned again. “Oh, and Gregory.” He eyed her carefully. “Find a picture of Tammy.”

“What?” he asked blankly.

“You heard me,” she said sternly. “Don’t make me change my mind.”

“But—”

“Greg, don’t say it. Don’t say I made you destroy the pictures. Don’t make me close my eyes. I’m not ready to do that,” she whispered hotly. He gulped and walked away nervously. She turned to see one of her nieces cowering. Rebecca sighed. “I almost forgot. Andrea, would you mind getting something for me?”

“What?” she whispered.

“I want to see your notebook,” she said. Andrea eyed her.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. I’ve always been curious of what you’ve written, and I never get to read any of it,” she said. “I want to see how talented you are.”

While she went off to get her notebook, Rebecca’s other nieces and nephews returned. She made almost everyone put ornaments and glitter on the tree. Sean and Alexis were lighting the candles. Heather and Brittany made popcorn strings.

Her brother and sister could’ve helped; they were too speechless and somewhat frightened to do so. She still had no manners, but she actually got the family to make their house livelier. They wondered what got her to do that. Rebecca looked at them.

“Come on, you two. Are you gonna help or what?” she asked rhetorically. Gregory put down the picture of Tammy as Andrea came back. She put her notebook down to help out. He and Brenda took some popcorn strings. They laid them out on the Christmas tree. After everyone finished, they stepped back to look at it.

“My goodness, it looks like Christmas again,” Brenda said.

“There’s one thing missing,” Rebecca said. She walked toward the front door and flipped all of the light switches. All of the rooms in sight lit up instantly. “Now it looks like Christmas.” She held a small smile.

“I’m surprised, Rebecca. What made you get into the colorful spirit?” Gregory asked. She thought for a moment. She could have responded with an honest answer, but she didn’t do that. Instead, she decided to go rhetorical on his booty.

“Do you really want me to answer that?”

“Don’t even start, Rebecca,” Brenda said. Rebecca looked at her.

“You’re right. I won’t. I at least want to do this.” She picked up a candle. “Let’s hold a candle up, shall we?” Everyone did so. “I want to have a moment’s silence for Tammy. If it weren’t for me being so harsh that day, she would be with us right now.”

Her brother and sister gave her another daft look. They couldn’t believe she actually admitted a mistake. They did stay quiet, though; everyone was, for two full minutes. They waited for someone to speak up.

“I miss you, mum,” Heather whispered. Rebecca wrapped an arm around her.

“I know, Heather. I’m sorry,” she whispered to her. Brenda and Gregory widened their eyes as they looked at each other.

“What did you say, Aunt Rebecca?” Brian asked. She looked at her nephew.

“You heard me,” she said. “I never meant for that to happen. If I knew what was going to happen, I would change it in a heartbeat.”

“Oh, please,” Dylan scoffed. “You cared more about the family heirloom than you did her. I was there, Aunt Rebecca.”

“You were at the front of the pack, Dylan,” she said harshly. She pulled away from Heather. “Of course you would say that.”

“Leave him alone, Rebecca,” Gregory spoke up.

“Oh, come off it. If you had gotten it, you would have sold it in a heartbeat. I know you’re tight in money,” she argued. His eyes widened, giving her the same daft expression.

“Are you kidding? We’re all tight in money. You’re not helping us at all. You haven’t given us a cent!” he yelled. His arms flung around. The candle he held went all over the place; wax flying out. The flame of his candle licked a glittered branch.

The Christmas tree suddenly caught on fire. Branch by branch, the fire spread; most of the women screamed as everyone save Rebecca ran away from the tree. Rebecca panicked. She ran to the kitchen, grabbed an extinguisher, and hurried back to her tree. She couldn’t figure out how to use it. Her fingers kept slipping.

“I can fix it. I can fix it,” she whispered hotly. “Let me do this, please!”

“Pull the pin!” two of her nieces yelled. She did so and squeezed the lever to discharge its contents. No matter what she did, though, it wouldn’t help. Even with her family starting a train to pour water on the tree.

The fire grew worse; its flames became so long that it touched the coffee table and Andrea’s notebook. When she realized that's where she put it, tears poured down Andrea’s cheeks. The water helped a little, but the fire continued spreading. Rebecca saw that.

“Get everyone out!” she yelled to Sean. He nodded. He saw her hurrying to the guest bedroom. Was she crazy? What went on in her mind?

“What are you doing, Becky? Get back here!” Brenda yelled at her.

I have to get it. It’s been in our family for generations. I can’t let it be destroyed, she thought. She looked for the jewelry box. Rebecca couldn’t find it. She quickly went to her bedroom.

“Where is it?” she whispered. Rebecca coughed a couple of times before covering her mouth as black smoke rolled down the hallway to the bedrooms.She couldn’t find the jewelry box at all. Where could it be?

The smoke hurt her eyes. She groaned, full of fright. Rebecca cowered to a wall as she closed her eyes tight. She kept her mouth covered with a sleeve from her shirt.

I don’t want to die, she thought. I can’t. My family needs me.

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