Life After Dark

Chapter 108

~ Christmas: Merry Christmas, Baby ~

"Love means never having to say you're sorry."

"Oh, is that what it means?" Lucky asked the television screen. He slid lower on the sofa and he rocked his feet from side to side on the coffee table. The movie 'Love Story' stared back at him and he wondered just ironic that he find that movie on so late at night. Whatever happened to the timeless Christmas classics like 'Scrooged'?

"Talking to yourself, kiddo?" Carrie asked, stepping down into the den to join her housemate. She flung her coat, scarf and purse into the first available chair and slowly walked over to where Lucky sat on the sofa. She glanced at the television and grimaced. Her eyes went back to Lucky and she asked, "What are you doing up so late?"

"I wanted to be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas," he said with a faint smile. He patted the space next to him, indicating that she should take a load off. "So, Merry Christmas, Mrs. J."

"Yeah, what's so merry about it?" she mumbled to herself. She kicked off her ankle boots and plopped down beside him. She grabbed a handful of popcorn that was in the bowl that he balanced on his lap and she mimicked his position by sitting low on the sofa. "Merry Christmas, Luckster. By the way, we can drop the Mrs. J stuff. Call me Carrie, okay?"

Lucky raised his eyebrows in surprise. "Sure thing, Carrie. So…um…how did dinner with Dawn and the others go?"

"There was no dinner," she said quietly, keeping her eyes on Ryan O'Neal. Damn men to hell, she thought, choking back a stray sob.

"Oh, no?" Lucky asked, stealing a glance at her profile. She looked sad, but she was determined to hold it together. For a moment, he could see Dawn in her face and he made himself brush the thought aside. His mind returned to the present problem at hand. Something happened over at the mausoleum and he wondered if she'd share it with him.

"Nope," she answered. She shook her head as an image of Stefan came to mind. She had spent most of Christmas Eve driving around Port Charles, trying to clear her mind of the thoughts of him. She thought she had been successful, but she knew that she was only kidding herself. A man like Stefan couldn't be forgotten in one night or two. It would take her weeks to get over him. Stop lying to yourself, girl, she scolded herself. Getting over Stefan would take much longer than that. Much, much longer.

"I'm sorry to hear about that," he told her. He glanced at her again and felt out of place when he saw her bottom lip quiver. What the hell happened over there, he wondered again. "Carrie, I-"

"Did you eat?" she asked. Suddenly, her maternal instincts chose to free her from her melancholy. She had plenty of time to dwell in her self-pity, but right now, she had someone else to focus on. Lucky had better watch out.

"Aw, Carrie," he grimaced, recognizing the look in her eyes. "I ate, okay? Really, I did."

"You had better not lie to me, Lucas Lorenzo Spencer," she told him. "And, I had better not find junk food wrappers in my trash. What did you eat?"

"I went to Kelley's and had a heaping bowl of chili. Is that okay?"

"Don't be flip with me, boy," Carrie said with a teasing smile. "Yeah, I guess that's better than a Big Mac. What else did you have?"

"You've had my Aunt Ruby's chili. Isn't that enough?" he asked, laughing softly.

"Yeah," she agreed with a faint chuckle. "I guess it is."

Their voices faded and the sad, tragic tale of 'Love Story' demanded their attention. A few sniffles were the only evidence that the ending had touched them. Neither surrendered to tears, but the stillness of the room signaled that more went on in their minds than either was willing to admit.

Carrie released a deep sigh as the credits began to roll. She glanced at her silent companion and before he could mask it, she saw a glimmer of sadness and confusion in his sapphire blue eyes. Feeling her eyes on him, he blinked twice and the emotions faded. She refused to let him off that easy. "What's wrong, Lucky? Talk to me."

I think I'm in love with your daughter. Lucky didn't say the words…utter the confession…make the admission, but the sentiment was there. It beat strongly in his chest and pumped wildly through his veins. He'd been trying to deny it or at the very least, make sense of it. He didn't *want* to love Dawn…well, not in that way. But it seemed to him that the harder he tried, the stronger the feeling became. Augh, he inwardly groaned, being in love with her was insane. She might be attracted to him, but she couldn't love him back. She wouldn't.


"Nothing, Carrie. Nothing's wrong." He smiled at her and took a moment to plant a chaste kiss on her cheek. "I'm fine, Carrie. Merry Christmas."

Carrie sat quietly in the den long after Lucky had left her. Another movie came and went, and the sun began to rise in the east. And, still she sat. She should move, go to bed, or maybe take a shower, but still she sat. Rolling over onto her side, she thought about she and Lucky. They made quite a pair. Both of them were in hiding, and on Christmas, no less. Oh, yeah, they made quite a pair.


"Her lips are devil red
And her skins the color mocha
She will wear you out
She's living la Vida loca"

Nikolas lowered the volume on the television set as he pulled his sleeping wife into his arms. She snuggled against him, and he smiled to himself. Yesterday had been one of the most emotionally draining days he had ever experienced, but she had been right there beside him. She had loved him through it, and now, he was watching Miguel love her in the video. Hmm, he wasn't so sure he liked that-

"Not another take," Dawn mumbled against Nikolas' chest. "Please, we'll get it right."

"Dawn?" He gently shook her. "Sweetheart, it's the video."

"I know, but-" She opened her eyes and saw Nikolas staring back at her. "What?" she asked, stifling a yawn.

"You tell me. You were saying that you'd get it right. Care to elaborate? Did they push you too hard during the making of that wretched video?"

"Wretched?!" she burst into a fit of giggles. "Nikky, it wasn't wretched. It was stylish, sophisticated and fun. And, that dancing in the rain stuff wasn't me. I told you that so don't harp on it again!"

"I wouldn't think of harping on it again," he said, lowering himself on the bed so that they were eye to eye. "Just as long as you understand my position. You are not to over extend yourself under any circumstances. Are we clear?" he asked her, lightly caressing her lower lip with his forefinger.

"As crystal," she said before drawing his finger into her mouth.

"Naughty woman," he mumbled. He quickly replaced his finger with his mouth. His lips, tongue and teeth wrecked havoc on her sensitive flesh and low moans came from deep within her. Her sounds of satisfaction encouraged Nikolas to celebrate their first Christmas with passion and rapturous joy. His fingers slid underneath the silk straps of her nightgown and were in the process of removing the bothersome fabric from her body when she stiffened in his arms. He immediately pulled away from her. "What's wrong?"

"Ssh." Dawn raised a finger to her lips and became still. She appeared deep in thought, as if she was waiting for something. She stiffened again and then a bright smile lit up her face and her eyes.

"Dawn! What is it?" Nikolas asked, becoming a little frantic as she continued to lie still. "Is it the baby?"

"Yes!" she beamed. "Nikky, we're okay!" she quickly added to reassure him. "Give me your hand."

He held out his hand to her and she put it against the lower part of her abdomen. "Give it a second, okay," she whispered to him. "It doesn't feel like it did last week. It was a little stronger this time."

"Okay," Nikolas replied, subconsciously holding his breath. The parents-to-be held themselves very still as they waited, and finally, their child moved. "Oh, my! Dawn! Did you feel that?"

"Yes!" she laughed. "Wait. Maybe it will happen again."

They waited and the movement returned. "Wow," Nikolas whispered, looking down at where their hands rested. He slid down the bed until his eyes were level with her abdomen. Carefully, he pulled the hem of her skirt up until her torso was exposed. His fingers lightly stroked her bare, slightly protruding flesh as he began to whisper, "Merry Christmas, baby. Your mother and father love you very much." He kissed the place where the movement had occurred and when he raised his head to look at Dawn, he saw that her eyes glistened with unshed tears, as did his.

"That was beautiful," she said, wrapping her arms around him as he became eye level with her again. "I love you so much, and the three of us will be very happy together."

"Yes, we will," he vowed. "We most certainly will."


"Jingle bells
Jingle bells
Jingle all the way…"

Gina shook her head as her doorbell continued to sing. At first, the singing doorbells had seemed like a good idea, but now… Well, as soon as possible, she planned to change the doorbell back to its original sound. She should have known better than to exchange gag gifts with Sly and Jordan, she silently chided herself.

Upon reaching the door, she looked through the peephole. She smiled and quickly unlocked the door. "Merry Christmas!" she exclaimed as Tommy entered her apartment.

"Merry Christmas, yourself," he laughed as she pulled him into a hug. "I know I'm early, but-"

"Don't worry about it," she said, kissing him soundly on the cheek. "I'm happy that yours was the first face I saw today. But, how were you able to sneak out?"

He shrugged. "I just did." He took her hand and led her to her sofa. He pulled off his overcoat and then sat down beside her. "I wanted to see you before I saw anyone else, so here I am."

"Oh, that's so sweet," she said, blushing. She readjusted her robe so that it covered her pajamas. "I wish I had known that you were coming, though. I could have put on something a little bit more appropriate."

"You look fine," he told her. He reached for his coat and stuck his hand inside the inside pocket. He pulled out a neatly packaged gift and handed it to her. "I wanted to give this to you when it was just the two of us. I hope you like it."

Gina smiled as her fingers dug into the wrapping paper. "I'm sure I'll love it."

"Well, I hope you don't break it!" he said, teasing her. "The way you're handling that wrapping paper, the gift might not stand a chance."

"Oh, you!" With one final tug, she ripped the paper from the box. She carefully removed the lid and then the tissue paper. A look of surprise and happiness brightened her hazel eyes and she was almost rendered speechless.

Chapter 108, Part 2

~ Christmas: Merry Christmas, Baby ~

"No, Eve. No," AJ said, emphatically shaking his head. He picked up a partially clothed Michael and held the baby protectively in his arms. "No way. No how. No."

"Aw, AJ!" she said with a playful frown. "He'd be so cute! Come on! Don't be such a spoilsport."

"I'm not being a spoilsport," he replied, indignantly. "I'm looking out for my son and there is absolutely no way on earth, I'll let you put that," he said, gesturing wildly with his free hand, "*thing* on him!"

"Thing?!" Eve said, laughing. She held up the article in question and shook it in AJ's face. "This is not a thing. It's a cute little outfit. It's a Santa Claus suit for goodness sakes!"

"Yeah, when you say it like that, it's all safe and unassuming, and maybe kinda cute even, but years from now…Michael won't think it's any of that," AJ said, defending his son.

"Oh, please." Eve waved his concerns away with a hand. "He'll be just fine."

"You're right about that!" He dodged her and left his bedroom to go back into Michael's nursery. He set the baby in his crib and then went to his dresser. He began opening drawers, searching for something.

"What are you doing?" Eve asked. With her arms folded across her chest, she leaned in the doorway.

"Finding something decent for him to wear. Ah-ha!" AJ pulled out a pair of tiny black jeans and a matching denim shirt. He held the items up for Eve's perusal before he went to his son. "Like these, Mikey?" he asked as he lifted Michael from the crib and took him to the changing table.

Eve left her station in the doorway to get a better look. She didn't recognize the clothing and she frowned. "Where did you get those? Did Carly-"

"No," he growled. "These are a special gift from a nice young lady, right, Michael?"

"Ba-ba-ba!" Michael said, in agreement. The baby grinned, revealing four white teeth.

"Emily gave this to you?" she asked, extending her finger to the giggling baby, who happily took it. "That was nice of her."

"Please, Eve. This is the time for miracles, but come on. Em? Come and talk to me after all of her tirades? Give me a break." AJ rolled his eyes at the thought, but the grimace on his face soon faded into a smile. "Nope, this gift was from Dawn."

"No way!" Eve said. She supported Michael's back as AJ pulled the shirt on. Michael stared at her as she spoke. "She didn't give these to you, did she, Michael?"

"Oh, yes she did!" AJ told her as he finished buttoning up Michael's shirt. "She likes us, doesn't she, son?"

"Oh, no!" Eve said, shaking her head in disbelief as a mischievous grin came to AJ's lips. "I still don't believe you. When did she give it to you?"

"Last week, she called me up and told me that she had some Christmas gifts for Michael and wanted to know if she could drop them off-"

"So, she came by here?" Eve asked, suspicion in her brown eyes as she waited for AJ to slip up.

"You got it, sweetie," AJ said, grinning from ear to ear as he continued to tease her. "She came by, we chatted and she asked if I minded if she came by again. Guess what I told her."

"What?" she asked, dryly.

"I told her that she was welcome in my home anytime, and I also added that if she ever wanted a *real* man-"

"You did *not* tell her that!" she said, lightly punching him in the arm.

AJ laughed and so did his son. "I'm kidding around, Eve. She did come by and I did tell her to feel free to stop by anytime."

"And the rest?" Eve asked, planting her hands firmly on her hips. "Spit it out, fella. Are you two-timing me?"

"Well," he began with a twinkle in his hazel eyes, "she seemed kinda interested, so I- Ow!" Rubbing his arm, where Eve had just hit him, he asked, "What was that for?"

"For your constant teasing about my friend. You think you're just adorable, but my patience is-"

"-that of a saint," he said, finishing the sentence for her. "Teasing you about Dawn is fun, but you know that other than Michael, there's no one I'd rather spend Christmas with. You do know that, right?"

Smiling, Eve nodded. "Now, I do."

"Good," AJ said. He looked at his son and back at Eve. With a loving smile on his face, he said, "Regardless of Carly and my family's refusal to support my decisions, this is the best Christmas I've ever had. Thanks for sharing it with me, Dr. Lambert."

"It was my pleasure."


"Are you okay?"

Emily looked into Jordan's gentle, supportive brown eyes and nodded. She said, "With you by my side, I'll be just fine. You will stay by my side, won't you?"

"Maybe. We'll see," he teased. They stood outside AJ's door for several more moments, neither moving an inch. Jordan chuckled softly, and looked down at her again. "Emmie, are we going in or what?"

"We're going in! Just give me a second, okay?" she said. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Confident, that she was ready, she opened her eyes and immediately pushed the doorbell.

"I'm right here," Jordan said, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.

"I know," she gave him a grateful smile.

Seconds later, the door swung open and they were greeted by Eve. "Merry Christmas!" she said, as she opened the door. Upon recognizing the visitors, at first, she didn't know whether to let them in or turn them away. The hopeful look in Emily's brown eyes got to Eve and she quickly ushered the young couple inside.

"Merry Christmas, Eve," Jordan said, smiling at the older woman.

"Merry Christmas, Jordan…Emily," Eve said. "I doubt if you two came here to see me. I'll get AJ for you."

"Thanks, Eve, and Merry Christmas," Emily said as Eve left to retrieve her oldest brother.

"You can do this, Emmie," Jordan reassured her.

"I hope so," Emily replied. "I said some pretty rotten things to him. What if he refuses to see me?"

"He won't," Jordan said with conviction. "It's Christmas, a time for forgiveness. He won't turn you away."

"If you say so," she mumbled, unconvinced. She glanced around the apartment and was mildly surprised at all of the decorations. Someone had gone to great lengths to promote the holiday with a decorative tree, stockings above the fireplace and Christmas cards on the mantle. She was embarrassed knowing that she hadn't even bothered to send her brother a Christmas card. Boy, did she have a lot of nerve to come calling now. Maybe they should just leave before-

"Emily?" AJ said, entering the living room with Michael in his arms. Feeling shy, the baby burrowed his face against AJ's neck as his eyes darted from Emily and Jordan. The pair seemed vaguely familiar, but he wasn't too sure about them.

"AJ! Michael!" she gasped. She made a tentative step towards them. Her eyes rested on her little nephew. "He's gotten so much bigger."

"Yeah, he's gained a few pounds," AJ said with pride. He looked at the quiet, young man who stood behind his sister. He offered Jordan a smile as he said, "Hi, Jordan. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," Jordan replied. He placed his hand at the small of Emily's back, gently prodding her as a silence intruded upon the room.

"AJ, I wanted to talk to you. Could we?" she asked, biting her lower lip. Her eyes shone with sincerity and then relief when AJ nodded.

"Jordan, would you mind taking Michael to Eve?"

"No problem," Jordan said. He took the baby from AJ and smiled when the baby grinned at him. "He's got more teeth, Emmie," he laughed.

"I see," she said softly. She gave her nephew a kiss on the cheek and then backed away as he and Jordan moved past her to go in search of Eve.

"So," AJ said, rubbing his hands together, "what brings you here?"

"I…um…well, I wanted to…well, apologize for…everything," she said, subconsciously holding her breath.

"Oh, yeah," he said, keeping his emotions in check. AJ turned away from her and moved to sit in his favorite chair, the recliner. He indicated with his hand that she should sit down, too. After she was settled, he asked, "Why?"

"Why what?" she asked, confused.

"Why apologize? You were convinced that my having a role in my son's life was a fate worst than death. Why the change? I don't get it, Em."

"I was wrong to say those things-"

"Yes, you were, but you believed it," he said, his voice catching in his throat. He cleared his throat and said, "Do you still believe it?"

She swallowed hard. Damn, this was hard, she thought. Suddenly feeling hot, she shrugged out of her overcoat. Pale, delicate hands smoothed the wrinkles out the wrinkles on her short, black skirt until she was finally able to look into AJ's hazel eyes again. She saw sadness and dismay there and she almost looked away. But, she didn't. She came there with something to say and she would say it. "I don't know what to believe, AJ. I want to be able to look you in the eyes and tell you that I know you'll be a good father to Michael, but I'm not sure that I can."

"So, why did you come over here, today, huh, Em? Why this day of all days?" he asked. "I don't need to hear this from you today-"

"AJ, wait!" Em said, as AJ rose from his chair. She waited for him to sit down again before she spoke. "I didn't come here today to hurt you. I can here to tell you why I feel the way I do. Would you listen to me? Please?"

He drew a long breath. "Sure, Em. Talk. I'm listening."

She took a deep breath and slowly released the air. Keeping her gaze steady on his, she said, "It's because of the alcohol-"

"Oh, please!" he said, angrily. "I don't do that anymore, and do you honestly think I'd start that back up again now?"

"I don't know!" she said, shaking her head. "I know how easy it is to fall, AJ! I've been there. Remember? Living can be so hard and taking something to make it go away is so easy. I *know*."

"I know you know, Em. I was *there* for you, remember? I was right there, and I saw you fight your way back. Whether or not you care to remember it, but I was there for you, Em, and I believed in you. Why can't you believe in me? I haven't taken a drink for almost two years! Why I am still being judged by something I *used* to do? Why do you refuse to see me for the man I am today? How would you like it if every time I looked at you, all I saw was a junkie? How would that make you feel?" he asked, choking back a sob.

"I don't look at you like that," she began quietly. "I nev-"

"Oh, but you do, Em. You more so than anybody," he said, interrupting her. He blinked away his unshed tears and continued. "I've been aware of it the whole time. I've seen how you compared me to Jason, and how Jason, no matter what he's done, always comes up on top in your eyes. I *knew* why, but I didn’t want to believe it. But, Em, can you explain to me how…just *how* I'm supposed to give up my son the way you suggested? How I'm supposed to punish my child for my past? I don't understand it."

"I was wrong, okay?" she said, moving to kneel before him. She took his hands in hers and said, "I did all those things, and I was wrong. I'm sorry, AJ, but every time, I looked at you, I saw…"

"You saw what, Em?" he asked. "What did you see?"

Emily shook her head. She would *not* say that to him. She wouldn't dare tell him that she saw the man who took their brother away from her. She swallowed back a sob in an effort to compose herself. Instead, she said, "I saw a man who failed, and I was afraid that you'd do it again. I didn't want Michael to have to suffer for it."

"I'm not a failure, Em," he told him, shaking his head. "I may be a lot of things, but a failure is not one of them. I'm a survivor, and I'll teach Michael to be a survivor, too. I know that in our family things can get rough and self-doubt can creep in. I can teach Michael how to fight it. I can love him and be a father to him because I *am* his father."

Tears trickled down Emily's face as she listened to her brother's impassioned statement. She slowly nodded her head. "I know that you love him. I'm sorry for ever doubting that you did. I can see it so very clearly and I know that Michael knows it, too. Oh, AJ, I'm so sorry." She broke down and began to cry. AJ pulled her into his arms and rocked her back and forth. "I hope you can forgive me, and that you'll let me back into your life again."

"I forgive you," he told her. "I'm so sorry that it came to this, but I'm so happy to have my little sister back again. I love you, Em. Merry Christmas, sweetheart."

"I love you, too, AJ," she whispered against his shoulder, clinging on tightly to him. "Merry Christmas."


"No, Keesha. No," Jason said, emphatically shaking his head. He wrapped the terry cloth towel around his waist and turned to face her. "No way. No how. No."

"Aw, Jason!" Keesha said, laughing as she stamped her bare feet on the carpeted floor. "Just this once. Please???"

"No!" he said, shaking his head again. "I'm not doing it!"

He turned from her and with his back to her, began to rummage through the dresser drawers for underwear. He knew the moment she moved and came towards him. His back became less rigid and he waited for her touch. He didn't have to wait long as her arms soon circled his waist.

"What if I told you that you'd be fulfilling a secret fantasy of mine?" she murmured suggestively.

"Keesha…" he groaned, "baby, please, don't go there."

"But, Jason…" she moaned, "baby, it's true. I've fantasized about you…" She kissed his back. "…like that…" She kissed his back again. "…for me, and the fantasy was so good."

"Oh, yeah?" he asked, breathlessly as their eyes locked in the mirror. "Want to hear about my fantasy?" he asked her, as he moistened his lips with the tip of his tongue.

Keesha grinned. "Sure!"

Jason turned in her arms and within seconds, they faced each other. He pulled her close against him, his hands resting on her backside. "In my fantasy…there's me…you…and…"

"Yeah?" she asked, becoming excited as his voice deepened to a low growl.

"…and, you, my love, are dressed in an Easter Bunny costume. So very sexy."

Keesha's eyes narrowed as he began to shake with laughter. "That's not funny!"

"Exactly! Which is why I'm not putting on that stupid Santa Claus costume! No way, sweetheart. Ask me almost anything else, and I'll probably say yeah, but ixnay on the St. Nick costume. It ain't happening." Jason kissed the tip of her nose before he released her and began to dress.

"Almost and probably," she mumbled. "What a husband you turned out to be!" She pouted and stamped into their walk-in closet.

"I heard that!" he called out to her, chuckling to himself. He zipped and buttoned his black jeans and then pulled his blue sweater over his head. A knock at the door prevented him from pulling on his socks, and barefoot, he padded to the door.

With a smile on his face, Jason opened the door. There on the other side stood little, Gracie Lee. Lowering her head, her shiny, black hair shielded her face from his gaze. Jason resisted the urge to lift her chin so that their eyes met, and instead, he squatted down so that they were more or less on eye level. "Good morning, Gracie," he said, softly. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas," she mumbled, keeping her eyes lowered to the ground.

"Keesha is still getting dressed. Is there something I can help you with?" he asked, silently hoping that she would take a chance and look at him.

But, she didn't. She shook her head. "I-I came for you. Georgie…he didn't mean to, but…"

"What happened?" Jason gently prodded. "We won't be angry. Everyone makes mistakes. It's okay."

"He made a mistake in bed," she whispered loudly. "He didn't mean to and now, he's scared. Please, don't hurt him."

"I won't," Jason said, reassuring her as he rose to his full height. He patted her head and said, "I'll give him some fresh clothes, new sheets, and he'll be just fine. Are you coming with me? If you want, you can wait for-"

"Hey!" Keesha said, surprised as she exited the closet. Good thing she dressed inside, she thought, with a wry smile. She looked at their serious faces and asked, "What's going on?"

"Georgie wet the bed," Jason shrugged. "I'll take care of it. See you both in a little bit."

"Thank you for coming to tell us," Keesha said, as she smiled at the little girl. "I see that you dressed yourself," she said, admiring the red corduroy jumper and matching white turtleneck sweater. "You did an excellent job. Does everything fit okay?"

Without raising her eyes to Keesha, Gracie nodded.

Keesha felt saddened by the child's distance. She wanted to draw her out. Maybe she had just the thing. She went to her dresser and grabbed a small bag, which sat on top. She went back to Gracie and held out her hand. "Come with me."

Gracie took her hand and allowed Keesha to lead her to the big king size bed. Keesha dropped the bag on the bed and then helped Gracie sit down on the edge. After the child was comfortable, Keesha sat beside her. Keesha reached for the bag and opened it, so that the little girl could see what was inside. "Would you like for me to do your hair?" Keesha asked as Gracie reached inside the bag to pull out a brush and a few barrettes.

Gracie looked at the tiny red and white barrettes and then she looked at Keesha. She smiled, "Yes, please."

"Okay, let's get started," Keesha replied. As she brushed through the little girl's silky hair, she wondered how Jason fared. She then wondered that after spending just one night with the adorable pair, how would she and Jason willingly let them go…or if they would-

"Merry Christmas, Miss," Gracie said with a smile, unknowingly interrupting Keesha from her thoughts.

"Merry Christmas, sweetie."

"Hey!" Jason said, returning to the room with Georgie right on his heels, "what's going on in here?"

"We're getting ready," Keesha said. She swept the brush through Gracie's hair one final time and was surprised when Georgie positioned himself for his session with her.

"Me, too," he told her.

"Okay. You, too." As she began to brush his hair, she locked eyes with Jason. Their conversation was silent as they wished each other a Merry Christmas and marveled at the two who would share it with them.

(Song credit: "Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin)

Chapter 9

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