Scrooge's Perfect Christmas

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Chapter 7

That’s when she heard silence, for what felt like a long time… and then talking. Her brows narrowed. Rebecca looked out of wonder after opening her eyes. She was surprised to find herself back in her real bedroom. The smoke and fire could not be seen at all.

Was it possible? Being in her bedroom in her ideal Christmas sent her back home, literally? She didn’t think it mattered and blocked it out of her mind. Rebecca then remembered a very big detail.

For the five years she hosted Christmas at her house, she never bothered buying gifts for everyone. She would make her housekeeper buy cheap things and claim them from her instead of Brittany. Though Brittany already did, Rebecca thought it should be changed. She had to get presents for her family.

“Oh goodness! Tomorrow is Christmas, isn’t it?” she whispered. She tried to think of something. “Oh, I know. They have been complaining about me not giving.” She grinned. “That’s perfect. I’ll go get them gifts.” Rebecca stood from her cowering spot. She gasped. “Oh, but the stores are gonna be closed. Hmm…” The former grouch looked around her bedroom.

Perhaps things from my room would help, she thought, but she then scoffed. And of course Josh and Brian’s rooms; I must get that heirloom of ours.

“This is definitely going to be interesting. Shopping for thirteen people with my home items. I must figure out what to use as wrapping paper. I don’t want them to know what I’m up to… at least not yet.” She went busy to work.

As the hours passed, no one save one knew she was home and wrapping presents. Most of her nieces and nephews grew worried, as did her siblings. Brenda arrived home at least an hour after searching for her. She came back with two strangers who happened to be looking for Rebecca.

Rebecca now and then would carefully walk to the other two bedrooms. She made sure not to enter when they were in there. She’d glance around, find a few things, and then hurried back. When she finished everything, she quietly and cautiously walked down the hall. Rebecca peered into the living room. A few relatives sat near Andrea’s laptop, including the strangers. They huddled together, pretending the fire on her screen was real.

She then realized a fact. If Rebecca pulled out the presents, her family would know she had to be planning something devious. She didn’t want that. Instead, she decided to bring them out while everyone’s sleeping. That way they could think someone came in and gave them surprise gifts – or at least, that’s what she hoped.

When dinner was ready, she didn’t know what to do. The former grouch knew they thought she had to be outside. She overheard some of her nieces and nephews talking. An idea popped in her mind. After everyone headed for the family room to eat, she walked to the front door.

Rebecca opened it, went outside for a moment to get the chills, and came back in. She closed the door as she naturally would. Gregory and Brenda rushed out of the family room. They were relieved to see her.

“Oh, thank God, you’re alright,” they chorused. Rebecca kept up her act. She held that attitude since high school. She could keep it going for a few more hours. The former grouch knew she could.

“Seriously? You were worried about me?” she asked sarcastically.

“Of course we were. You’re our sister,” Brenda replied. “Do you really think we’re mean all the time, like you?” Rebecca paused for dramatic effect.

“No, I suppose not,” she said. She felt her stomach rumble. “Goodness, I’m hungry. Dinner’s ready, I assume?” Her brother nodded.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” he asked.

“I’m fine.” She rolled her eyes. “I met a few new friends out there. They took care of me,” she said. Rebecca walked to the family room. “Come on. I’m famished.”

“Wait, Rebecca. Before you go in there?” Gregory brought up. He was too late. She entered through and saw the two strangers. Her eyes widened.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Becky, you’re safe!” Tammy exclaimed, hearing her voice. When she saw Tammy, she choked. After experiencing those times in her ideal Christmas, what she wanted most had to be holding her favorite sister in her arms. Her act fell apart as she hastened to her.

“Oh, I missed you so much,” she whispered after hugging her.

“I’m glad you’re back,” she said softly. Tammy smiled gently. “Did you finish those presents?” she whispered. Rebecca gave her a look of surprise. Tammy heard her gasp quietly; she chuckled. “You know how well I can hear. I won’t tell.”

“I’d love to see Heather’s face when she opens hers. She’s going to love it.”

Her other sister cleared her throat. Rebecca glanced around. Everyone gave her that daft expression. Only that time, she didn’t see the pain or horror like the others. She saw pure surprise. She bit her lip.

“Well… you did want the old Rebecca back, right?” she said.

“What happened out there?” Gregory wondered. She made a sly grin.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” she said. Hearing a teasing and smiling tone, her favorite sister raised a brow. Rebecca saw it. “What?”

“I’d believe you, sis,” she said.

“Then I’ll tell you later,” Rebecca said. She stood and looked at her family. “Come on. Let’s eat before the food gets cold.” The former grouch then saw the strangers. She cocked her head. “Uh… who are you?”

“Oh, uh, Becky, this is Anna and Travis,” Brenda introduced. “I went after you to bring you back, but then I bumped into them. They’ve been looking all over town for someone with your name. I thought maybe you were the one. You know there aren’t many Rebecca’s in town.”

She observed Anna and Travis. Something about them did remind her of someone. She couldn’t figure it out. It took her the entire dinner meal to realize they resembled a man she once slept with – the married man. After everyone finished their dessert, some of her nieces went to the living room. Certain nephews went to Josh and Brian’s rooms. Her siblings and the rest of her family stayed in the family room.

“Anna, Travis, would you mind helping me with the dishes?” Rebecca asked.

“I got the dishes, Miss Rebecca,” Brittany told her.

“You and Brenda did most of the work, Brittany. It’s my turn to help out,” she said sternly. Surprised, her housekeeper surrendered; if she was willing to help, she didn’t want to stop her. Rebecca looked at her children. “Would you mind?”

“Not at all,” they chorused. As the three walked to the kitchen with some dishes, she decided to speak. They conversed as they went back and forth to the two rooms.

“So, uh… I’m curious. Were you adopted?”

“We were,” Anna said shyly.

“Anna, speak up,” her brother said. He looked at Rebecca. “After our adoptive parents died, we’ve been trying to find one of our birth parents.”

“I take it you had trouble finding the father?” she wondered.

“No, we found him,” Anna said. She sighed. “He denied it, even when he was away from his wife. Which I don’t understand, if he is our birth father.”

“What’s his name?” she breathed out. Anna told her. She recognized the name immediately. “Yeah… that’s your father.”

“How do you know?” Travis asked.

“Because I promised I wouldn’t bother him if I got pregnant.”

They heard a sudden crash. A plate slipped from her daughter’s hands. It broke into pieces as leftover ham and sweet corn splattered across the floor. They looked at her.

“You’re our mother?” she whispered hoarsely.

“Then… your sister was right,” Travis said. The twins turned speechless and stood still. They stared at their mother.

“Relax, please. My family will think the worst if they come in now,” she said. She groaned. “It doesn’t matter. We shouldn’t be using these china plates for Christmas, anyways. I don’t even like them.” She rubbed her forehead. At that moment, Brittany hurried into the kitchen. She saw the broken plate. Rebecca sighed. “Brittany, could you please clean that up? I don’t want Anna to hurt herself.”

“But—”

“Anna, don’t back-talk,” Rebecca interrupted her. Anna blushed.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered.

“Miss Rebecca, why did you talk to her like that?” Brittany asked with shock.

“I’d rather explain later,” she said. She looked at her children. “Well, this certainly is a turn of events.” The former grouch paused to think. “I guess this means I will have to give that contractor a talk to. Consider the offer he and Brenda gave me.”

“What are you talking about?” Travis and Anna chorused.

“Do you really mean that, Miss Rebecca?” she asked. Brittany grew curious.

“I do.” She smiled at her children. “Besides our family is too big for this house – and I am not ready to sell it.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” Brittany sighed out. “I was afraid for the worst.”

“Let’s finish clearing off the table. I’ll get a few of my nephews to stick them in the dishwasher and hand-wash the rest.” She turned to her housekeeper. “Oh, and Brittany – after you finish your last task today, do take the next few days off.”

“What?” she exclaimed. “What’s gotten into you?” Rebecca chuckled.

“As I said, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Oh, I almost forgot.” She hastened to her and whispered in her ear. “Before you leave for home, I have something to give you. It’s a secret, so I don’t want you telling the family, okay?”

Brittany gave her a surprised, daft expression as she nodded slowly.

“As you wish, Miss Rebecca,” she whispered hoarsely.

The three hurried with cleaning the table. After that, her children headed to her room as she politely asked some of her nephews to wash the dishes. Her family certainly looked surprised with her manners.

Before entering her room, Rebecca glanced around the living room. She took a small statuette, a small painting someone had given her, and a stack of newspapers. Rebecca talked with Anna and Travis for hours on end until they were tired.

Meanwhile, her relatives stayed in the family room as they talked about several things. Half of her nieces and nephews had separate conversations. The rest conversed of something else together. Gregory, Brenda, Tammy, and Brittany talked about Rebecca.

“Did I really see Anna and Travis going with Rebecca to her room?” Brenda wondered. The housekeeper nodded.

“Don’t you find it odd she kept staring at them during dinner?” Gregory asked.

“Almost everyone did, Greg,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Did you find out what crashed?” Brittany nodded again.

“Someone dropped a plate. You won’t believe what happened. Becky was actually… polite. And when Anna was beginning to object cleaning up the broken plate, Becky stopped her. She actually told her not to talk back.” She paused for a moment. “It was almost… motherly.”

“Good gracious, that’s why I saw her eyes widen!” Brenda muttered with wide eyes. Her brother and the housekeeper gave her looks.

“What?” they chorused curiously. She looked at them.

“I think she recognized them when dinner was almost over,” she said. “My goodness, what if she is the Rebecca they’re looking for?”

“Then our family is getting a little too big,” Gregory thought aloud.

“Oh, goodness; I almost forgot,” Brittany spoke.

“What is it?” Gregory asked.

“Before I cleaned up the mess, Becky made the most interesting remark.”

“What did she say?” Brenda wondered.

“She said she would have to contact the contractor and consider the offer you and he gave her,” she whispered. The brother and sister gasped.

“What?” they whispered in surprise. She nodded.

“She said she’s not ready to sell the house, though.”

“Good, because I don’t think she ever should,” Brenda said.

“That’s probably her intent. We both know how protective she is about the family heirloom,” her brother said. The three nodded. Then they realized they left Tammy out of the conversation. “Oops; sorry, Tammy.”

“It’s okay. I was able to hear more than you think,” she said.

“What do you think?” Brenda asked.

“It would be wonderful if we have an extra part built to the house. If I know Becky, she’ll want it to match the house perfectly,” she said. “Maybe she’ll even go through that tool shed for once.”

“That would be nice,” Brittany commented. “It’s such a clutter in there. I have a hard time finding the stuff I need.”

“I’m a little nervous she might not have the money,” Gregory said.

“Why do you say that?” the housekeeper wondered.

“Because of the way you and she have spoken about the inheritance money,” Tammy said. “I overheard you two today. It’s possible she’s been using it throughout the years secretively. It would explain why she gets scared and furious when you bring it up. Which you shouldn’t.”

“Oh, come on.”

“Don’t do that, Greg. If she really does mean to change back to her old self, you should be encouraging it. You three have to stop being so mean to her.” She paused. She tried to listen to what they were doing. Nothing that her heightened senses helped her. Tammy sighed. “I’m going to bed. I’ll talk to you in the morning.” She stood and shakily used her wooden cane. Brenda sighed as well.

“You really need to get one of those canes,” she said.

“I will not be a laughing stock in public. I don’t like labels; you know that.” Tammy carefully walked out of the family room.

It didn’t take long for everyone to go to bed. The whole family was spread out through the house, bent in odd positions just to get some sleep. When Anna and Travis fell asleep, Rebecca peeked in the living room.

She carefully and stealthily moved all her presents under the tree. She smiled as she left the last present. Rebecca looked at her sleeping family. She pressed her lips thin to prevent giggling.

Oh, goodness; the construction must start soon, she thought.

The next morning, it was Christmas. Everyone became excited when they saw more presents under the Christmas tree, even Rebecca. She couldn’t wait to see their faces. She actually insisted on opening the gifts wrapped in newspapers.

“Why?” Alexis asked curiously.

“Because I’ve realized those weren’t there last night. Maybe someone came in and left them for us,” she said cleverly.

“It wouldn’t hurt,” Dylan spoke. Eventually, everyone agreed. Rebecca chose the one for Andrea. She gave it to her. Andrea opened it. She gasped when she saw it was a tape recorder.

“Aunt Becky, this is yours!” she cried. “How’d it—?” She looked at her aunt. Andrea saw her grin. “It’s from you, isn’t it?” She nodded. “Oh, thank you, Aunt Becky!”

“I figured it would help you make better observations. Even pick up conversations without having to write them down.”

“Oh, that’s a great idea,” Andrea said. She giggled and hugged her aunt. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” she said. The former grouch passed out all the others. “Heather, open yours next.” Her niece politely did so. She was careful to open the newspaper wrapping. It turned out to be a small jewelry box.

“Aunt Rebecca… I can’t accept this. I know how precious this is to you.”

“Oh, there’s more,” she said. Heather became nervous; she slowly opened the box. She gasped as her eyes widened with fright.

“It’s the heirloom!” she whispered hotly.

“What?” everyone, save Anna and Travis, cried. The two became shocked at their reaction. They wondered why.

“Why, Rebecca? You’re the one who inherited it, not me,” she said.

“That’s exactly why, Heather.” she replied. “You take care of your jewelry much better than I do. And with it being in your care, I know you will keep it safe.” She smiled. Heather hesitated.

“Uh, well… thank you, Au-aunt Becky. I – I – I will make sure not to ruin it.”

“I know you will. You’re talented with jewelry,” she said.

“Who’s next, Rebecca?” Gregory asked. She looked at him and smiled.

“How about Dylan, Alexis, and then you?” She watched them open their presents.

“What is this, Aunt Becky?” Dylan asked. It looked like leather all bundled up in an odd shape. He couldn’t figure it out. She giggled.

“It’s a case I made - of leather, so not only is it smooth; it’s firm.” She paused. “It should be good enough to protect your phone.” He laughed loudly and hugged her.

“It’s perfect,” he said. He pulled out his cell phone and placed it inside his new protective gear. The phone fit nice and snug inside it. He shook his head with a smile. Alexis opened hers next. She discovered her present was a big notepad.

“Where did you get this?” she asked curiously.

“I got it when I took an art class in college. I didn’t realize how terrible I was,” she said. “I couldn’t even handle two scheduled classes.” She giggled. “I know how much you appreciate art and music. I figured this would give you a push to actually show it.”

“Thank you,” she said, looking at her aunt. Then Gregory opened his present. His brows narrowed in confusion when he saw it. The gift was a piece of paper with a number on it.

“What?” he muttered.

“What is it?” Tammy asked curiously.

“What’s it say?” Brenda wondered.

“It says… 2,300.” He looked at Rebecca. “What does that mean?”

“It’s the money I’ve saved over the years,” she said.

“Saved? Then… what happened to the inheritance money?” he asked. Brenda hit him. He gave her a look while raising his hands in question. Rebecca sighed.

“I used it all to finish college.”

“Wait, where’s Brittany’s present?” Christina wondered.

“Where is she?” one of her nieces asked as she looked around.

“I let her have a few days off. I figured it would help for her present if she did so,” she said. She smiled. “You see—”

“Wait, what are you going to do with the money?” Gregory asked.

“I will use it to build two additional parts of the house.”

“What about the tool shed?” Tammy asked.

“Well, what do you think?” Rebecca asked curiously. “Should I improve it or make it spacious – a guest house or clubhouse?”

“Whoa; Aunt Becky, aren’t you overdoing it just a little?” Sean spoke. She glanced at him. His brows narrowed in worry.

“What? Is the humanitarian admitting he’s being upstaged?” she teased. He chuckled. “Besides, there’s another surprise. All of you might be overwhelmed about this piece of news.”

“What is it?” Brian asked. She sighed.

“It seems Anna and Travis have looked all over town for this Rebecca,” she said. “Out of random happenstance, Brenda bumped into them.” She paused for dramatic effect. “Everyone, meet a new addition of our family. Anna and Travis are my babies.”

Her entire family cried out as their eyes widened. Before they could fully react, the doorbell rang. Rebecca narrowed her brows and eyes. She stood to answer it. When she opened the door, she was surprised to see a well-built man in his 40s with graying brown hair. His ocean blue eyes sparkled as he looked at his high school girlfriend.

“Hiya, Becky,” he said with a smile. She gasped, recognizing his greeting.

“Is it… is it really you?” she whispered hoarsely. Rebecca reached out. He lightly grabbed her hand. She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. He nodded. She shook like a leaf before falling in his arms. Tears fell down her cheeks. “Oh, God!” He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head. “I’ve missed you so much.”

“And I’ve missed you,” he said. She tried to pick up her strength to look in his eyes.

“You know… I never answered your question.”

“I figured it was a ‘no’ when you left,” he whispered. She shook her head.

“I didn’t know what to say. It was overwhelming.”

“I can ask it again,” he said.

“No need.” With weakness in her smile, the tears continued falling. “My answer is yes.” He chuckled softly.

“I want to hear the whole thing,” he said smoothly. She chuckled with a hiccup.

“Yes, Nolan – I will marry you.”

Rebecca felt so blessed. She never thought Christmas could ever get better. The former grouch didn’t bother to think what she would be doing if she hadn’t taken that stroll. Things finally went right for her that her wishes came true.

She had her laughter and slightly cheery disposition back. Her charitable heart in its right place. Her family could actually be happy to see her. Not to mention, Nolan was back and never intended to leave her side. No Christmas could ever top that one. It was - as a matter of fact - perfect.

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