Tuesday, January 16, 2018

One Small Wish: Day 14

Word Count: 84,012

Summary of Events:
Chelsea came over to Vaughan's apartment and they had a rather lengthy discussion about his future in the apartment. Fancy was wearied by the rather large order she was arranging, and got upset when the woman who'd ordered it claimed she'd gotten it all wrong. Vaughan was getting a makeup artist friend of Chelsea's to do him up in St. Nicholas makeup again so he could go tell Eirenna that he hadn't done what he had for her as St. Nicholas, he'd done it as himself . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"With their conversation apparently finished, Vaughan let his mind wander back to what he would be doing in about an hour's time.
He hadn't yet returned the St. Nicholas costume to TwoCities from Christmas Eve, mostly because of what had happened on Christmas Day and his moving into the apartment after that, so he'd head home and put that on as carefully as he could once this was done.
Being as it wasn't too tight-fitting Vaughan was hoping he'd be able to put the costume on over some clothes so that he could change out of his costume as well as remove the makeup before her eyes without being picked up for public indecency.
Then, because he was pretty sure it would be late enough in the afternoon by then, he would go to the Maple home and hope that he'd be able to find and approach little Miss Maple before he encountered her mother.
After all, even though her mother had accepted money from him to get home, he still had the black eye from her reaction to his gently touching her shoulder in an effort to get her to stop.
In fact, he'd had a time and a half explaining away the black eye as something of an accident in the moving process to Chelsea when she'd first seen it. He hadn't been sure how to explain that he'd been slugged in the eye by a woman he hadn't even been thinking about hitting on to Chelsea, seeing as she seemed to be exceedingly possessive of him in the presence of other women.
He was pretty confident that little Miss Maple would believe him when he removed the costume and makeup and showed her that he was just someone who'd been pretending; he hoped she'd also understand what he meant when he told her that he'd been forced to do it, and that he hadn't wanted to.
From what little he recalled of his encounter with her — lost in the haze of a hectic month — she had seemed an intelligent and perceptive child, especially considering her youth, so he was pretty sure she'd understand it, or that he'd be able to figure out how to explain it to her in plain language she could understand.
Being as he had little unscripted interaction with kids on his résumé he wasn't entirely sure how that was going to work. He was hoping it would be just as easy of thinking of how to explain legalese to a layperson, which he was pretty skilled at doing, but part of him wasn't wholly sure it would be.
There was, too, the potentiality that Miss Maple could interfere with his efforts to talk with her daughter, including preventing him from finishing — much less starting — to tell her what he wanted to, but he at least wanted to put in the effort of telling little Miss Maple for herself."

Monday, January 15, 2018

One Small Wish: Day 13

Word Count: 78,016

Summary of Events:
Fancy walked to TwoCities and observed the whole neighbourhood around it to be unpleasant due to its lack of trees; she was also unnerved at the lack of people she saw as she approached and entered the church — where she gratefully took earplugs due to the music volume. Vaughan saw Fancy come in, only to be treated like she was unwelcome by someone else, he chased her down and told her the truth before she could leave. Fancy thought about everything on the way home, incredibly appalled at it all. Vaughan stayed at the church purely to call them out for their treatment of Fancy that morning, and their behaviour otherwise before leaving the church in an uproar. Fancy described her brief experience at the church service to Grandma . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Grandma looked at Fancy like she thought Fancy was exaggerating.
"Once the song finished the woman beside me tried to shoo me out like I was some sort of an animal that belonged outside," Fancy went on. "I stood up to her, so she backed away from me like I had the Plague. I'm not lying to you Grandma, that's actually what happened."
"What a wretched place," Grandma said. "And they call it a church?"
"Apparently," Fancy replied. "I left after that, but a man followed me out and told me he'd done all this for us out of his own pocket, and he'd only gone back to that place today because he'd figured I'd show up, and he'd wanted to tell me that he'd done it by himself and that I should get away from that place as fast as possible, much less that I should never let Eirenna go back there ever again."
"It mustn't be a real church then," Grandma said.
"Well it calls itself a Christian Assembly," Fancy said. "Does that mean that it's fake?"
"It would certainly seem to me," Grandma replied. "I certainly hope that there are still good churches, though."
"I really don't care," Fancy said. "It's not like I'm going to go to one anytime soon."
Grandma sighed. "I'd like to know why that man associates himself with that church if he was wanting you to leave it."
"Apparently he was the actor behind the St. Nicholas character," Fancy said.
"As in they hired someone from outside to play the part?" Grandma asked.
"I don't know," Fancy replied. "Personally, though, I'd like to know why he did this."
"What do you mean?" Grandma asked.
"Well, he certainly seemed to have everything he could possibly want," Fancy replied.
"Meaning?" Grandma asked.
"He had really nice clothes, perfect hair, everything," Fancy replied. "He looked like one of those models on the billboards without a single thing out of place. Why would he care about us, especially if the rest of the people there didn't?"
"I wouldn't know," Grandma replied. "But I would be grateful that he did. Didn't you ask him?"
"No," Fancy replied. "I wasn't turning around and going back, even though he gave me more than enough money to take transit back here because I refused to let him drive me."
"He gave you money for transit?" Grandma asked.
"He said it'd be warmer than walking, not to mention it'd get me away from the place faster," Fancy replied.
"Did you thank him for that as well as for this?" Grandma asked, nodding at the Christmas tree.
"No," Fancy replied. "I didn't."
"He still deserves to be thanked even if he's associated with horrible people," Grandma said. "He certainly seems to be nice enough, after all."
"I don't care," Fancy said. "I should've been able to do this for us, and not had to depend on someone associated with such abhorrent people as those ones.""

Saturday, January 13, 2018

One Small Wish: Day 12

Word Count: 72,024

Summary of Events:
Fancy, Grandma, and Eirenna arrived home from the movie theatre to find the food, tree, and presents Vaughan had left them and Eirenna confessed everything to Fancy. Vaughan, set off by his aunt's gift for him, had something of a mild nervous breakdown and left his parents' house to stay with his grandparents. Fancy decided she'd like to go thank the church for giving Eirenna her wish, and decided to do it on Sunday. Vaughan discussed going to TwoCities on Sunday just in case someone in Eirenna's family came there on Sunday, so that he could tell them the truth.

Excerpt of the Day:
""What's gravy?" Eirenna asked.
"It's a sort of sauce for potatoes," Fancy replied.
"Is it brown?" Eirenna asked.
"Usually," Fancy replied.
"Is there a chicken?" Eirenna asked.
"No, there's a turkey, though," Fancy replied. "It's like a chicken, except bigger."
"Where is it?" Eirenna asked.
"In the sink," Fancy replied.
Eirenna looked at it, she seemed rather excited, almost like she was going to explode with it. Fancy felt more disconcerted at the idea someone had gotten into their house to put all of this here.
Suddenly Eirenna raced off to the living room. The light came on and a shriek split the air.
Fancy raced to the living room, only to stop short in astonishment.
Standing where, before they'd left, there had been nothing was a fully decorated Christmas tree, under which sat three presents.
Eirenna was visibly shaking as she stared at the tree. She turned and looked at Fancy.
"He came! He came! He came! He came!" she cried, getting louder with every repetition, as well as jumping closer to Fancy.
"Who came?" Fancy asked slowly.
Eirenna's elation seemed to dissipate as fast as it came on. She bowed her head and clasped her hands in front of herself, looking rather ashamed.
"Who came Eirenna?" Fancy asked.
"I didn't tell you the truth Mama," Eirenna said contritely.
"About what?" Fancy asked, just hoping her question would get answered.
"I wanted it to be a surprise," Eirenna said, looking up at Fancy earnestly.
Fancy decided she should maybe just let Eirenna say things and if she thought there were any gaps she could ask questions once Eirenna was done, after all, Eirenna didn't seem to be answering her questions.
"When we went out of the yard when we were playing, we did it to find money to take the bus and the train to go see St. Nicholas," Eirenna said. "Because he's the real Santa Claus. And when I went to Shelena's to play one time, we actually went on the bus and the train to go see St. Nicholas, and I wished for all this. We went with Deon, so we had a grown-up, but he wanted us to pay for it, so we looked for money. And I wanted to find out when St. Nicholas would come and give what I asked for, so I asked Deon to read the paper because I was scared you'd figure it out, and he told me St. Nicholas wouldn't give it to me, which was why I was crying. Miss Simonson and Alyssa didn't say anything about St. Nicholas not delivering trees. But I wanted it to be a surprise."
Fancy glanced over her shoulder at the kitchen, then glanced back at the tree — resplendently beautiful in spite of the fact that the lights weren't on — finally she looked at Eirenna.
Her daughter looked genuinely contrite, although her excitement at actually having her apparent wish come true looked to be causing her efforts to remain contrite to become shaky."

Friday, January 12, 2018

One Small Wish: Day 11

Word Count: 66,036

Summary of Events:
Fancy was making supper when Shelena's dad came over and gave her three tickets to go see a new kids' movie in theatres, which she accepted. Vaughan accompanied his grandparents to the home of his only maternal aunt and uncle who also lived in Portland for their Christmas gathering and got introduced to his abundant and largely unknown side of the family. Eirenna was wondering what she should do to make bedtime show up faster when she was informed that they were going to see a movie, which she had never done before. Vaughan, with the aid of Shelena's dad, delivered everything Eirenna had asked for and set up the Christmas tree . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
"Finally, Vaughan set the three presents, labelled in Grandma's neat cursive, on the skirt underneath the tree.
He crossed his arms and looked at the tree with satisfaction. For being the first Christmas tree he'd ever decorated, he thought he'd done a bang-up job. He was glad there were no women immediately present to critique him on it, though. Even if they didn't like it, he did, and he wanted to be able to bask in that for as long as he could.
"That's it?" Mr. Bain asked.
"Yes," Vaughan replied.
"Well then let's get out of here," Mr. Bain said.
Vaughan put his coat back on, reaching in the pocket to double-check that the note little Miss Maple had stuck to the front door was still there. The indomitable hope and optimism of children in its purest form was in that note, and Vaughan intended to keep the note for awhile, at least, to remember this.
Mr. Bain locked the door while Vaughan walked to his car.
"Thank you very much for your help Mr. Bain," Vaughan said. "I hope that you have a Merry Christmas."
"You too," Mr. Bain said, shaking Vaughan's hand.
Vaughan slipped into his car and started it before slowly and carefully reversing out of the driveway as Mr. Bain watched him.
He wasn't sure if Mr. Bain trusted him all that much more than he had when he'd first stopped by, but he was pretty sure Mr. Bain did trust him a little bit more, and that he'd genuinely meant his reciprocation.
And, even if he'd had to be tortured with the visits of what he was told was more than a thousand spoiled brats for the past month, and even though he'd had to deal with the costume, makeup, film crew, and other annoyingness that had been the delivering of the other gifts earlier, Vaughan had to say, this was probably one of the best Christmases he'd ever had.
Sure, he hadn't had a present at Uncle Joseph and Aunt Theresa's, but he'd been an unexpected guest, and sure he was probably just going to get more ties, watches, wallets, cell phone covers, or other things that looked remotely prestigious and lawyerly tomorrow — much less having to deal with the dysfunctional family that was Dad's side — but Vaughan really didn't feel like that mattered.
In fact, he could see what had been meant by whoever had first spoken the adage — which may well have even been Jesus — that it was better to give than to receive. He felt like nothing could ruin this Christmas because of the fact that he knew he'd given something that could well be considered the world to a little girl and her family who really, truly, genuinely deserved it. Even suffering through all that tomorrow would bring, he felt, wouldn't really be all that bad because of what he'd just done."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

One Small Wish: Day 10

Word Count: 60,087

Summary of Events:
Fancy had to take something downstairs, which unnerved her, before she talked to Eirenna about the suspected lie, which Eirenna explained wasn't a lie. Vaughan went to look at the house Eirenna called home and ended up meeting Shelena's dad, whom he solicited help in granting the wish from. Eirenna and Shelena discussed how St. Nicholas would get in through the window Eirenna was going to leave open for him without stepping on her bed, much less how all the Santa Clauses were phoneys. 

Excerpt of the Day:
"Sitting at yet another red light, Vaughan pulled out his cell phone and dialled Grandma and Grandpa's home number. He put his phone on speaker and set it on his lap.
After a few rings Grandma answered: "Hello Vaughan."
"Can I ask a favour of you Grandma?" Vaughan asked.
"What sort of favour is it?" Grandma asked.
"Well, I just realised that I'm pretty much booked solid until Saturday morning," Vaughan replied. "So to go buying a Christmas tree, decorations, gifts, and Christmas dinner fixings for the wish could be difficult, and I could end up missing out on important things; besides, I don't even know what goes into a Christmas dinner."
"So you want Grandpa and I to go track it down?" Grandma asked.
"I'll pay you back for it," Vaughan replied. "But, yeah, considering you guys have time before Saturday."
"We could do that," Grandma said.
"I'm sorry to bother you," Vaughan said.
"Nonsense Vaughan," Grandma scolded. "I understand completely, and I know your grandfather will too."
Vaughan edged his car forward as the traffic ahead of him hurried through the green light, bringing him closer to the intersection, but not fast enough for his liking.
"How many people does the dinner need to feed?" Grandma asked.
"Three," Vaughan replied. "An older woman, like, your guys' age or something, a woman probably closer to my age, and a six year old."
"Alright," Grandma said. "Considering there's an older woman involved I can buy real potatoes, not dried ones."
"Why?" Vaughan asked.
"An organisation our church supports does a lot of work with families in St. Johns and they've found that there are few people, especially younger people, who know what to do with a potato because it doesn't have instructions on the package."
"Oh," Vaughan said. "That's kind of weird."
"If you were never taught how to cook," Grandma said.
"I guess," Vaughan said.
"Any other particulars?" Grandma asked.
"Um, the girl specifically requested an angel topper for the tree," Vaughan replied as he was forced to stop without getting through the intersection again.
"Considering their financial state we're buying an artificial tree?" Grandma asked.
"I like real trees," Vaughan said.
"But if they can't afford to buy their own Christmas decorations, do you really think they'll be able to afford their own real tree next year?" Grandma asked. "And if they can't, then what's the point of giving them decorations?"
"I guess," Vaughan said.
"What about for the gifts?" Grandma asked.
"She asked for new slippers for her grandma and a new blanket for her mom," Vaughan replied.
"What about for her?" Grandma asked.
"She said having a Christmas tree and a Christmas dinner would be enough for her," Vaughan replied.
"Hm," Grandma said. "That is incredibly selfless of her, but I think she deserves a little something. I'll find something for her. When will you pick everything up?"
"Probably really no sense in bothering until Christmas Eve," Vaughan replied. "That's when I'm going to deliver it, after all.""

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

One Small Wish: Day 9

Word Count: 54,023

Summary of Events:
Vaughan and Chelsea went ice skating after having breakfast together again on Saturday morning and Vaughan tried his hand at a figure-skating manoeuvre, and did pretty well, considering he'd never tried figure skating before. Fancy began thinking about the explanation Eirenna had given for her tears the night before and how it couldn't possibly make sense, which left her worrying that Eirenna had lied to her. Vaughan went over to his grandparents' house for breakfast before sitting down to talk with his grandpa, the purpose of his visit; he started by conceding that it was up to him to grant the wish, and not the church . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Good," Grandpa said. "But then why are you here? I thought you wanted advice."
"I do," Vaughan replied. "Advice on how to . . . leave."
"TwoCities?" Grandpa asked.
"Yeah," Vaughan replied. "Like, should I just drop it cold turkey right now and leave them in the lurch for the final week? Or should I stick it out until the end of the St. Nicholas thing and then run for the hills?"
Grandpa sat silently and stared contemplatively at the floor beyond them.
"I mean, I, I guess I'm kind of reluctant to drop things now," Vaughan added. "Not because I've come to enjoy this whole St. Nicholas thing — because I haven't — but, yet, well, I guess I kind of want to anticipate how things are going to fall out and kind of outthink Mom and Dad in a way too, and stuff."
"What do you mean?" Grandpa asked.
"Well, um, I, I really only attend TwoCities because Mom and Dad have told me that if I want to live at their house I need to attend their church," Vaughan replied. "So I do; they also somewhat mildly threatened to kick me out if I didn't play St. Nicholas."
"Am I correct, then, to understand that you would like to have a place of your own secured before you do anything too drastic?" Grandpa asked. "Or at least something that would be interpreted as drastic?"
"Yeah, I guess," Vaughan replied.
"You aren't in any way reluctant to leave TwoCities?" Grandpa asked.
"No," Vaughan replied. "I mean, I'd be willing to drop it as fast as I can, after all, I've kind of alienated some pretty high-profile people in the church already."
"What do you mean?" Grandpa asked.
"Well, Pastor Rich's son, Quentin, the Children's Pastor, is in charge of reviewing all the entry forms," Vaughan replied. "So I gave the form for that girl who approached me to him, and he wanted to stop reading it as soon as he saw her address put her in St. Johns, but I made him read the whole thing, and then he made a jab at me for having only gone to law school, and, you know, not being a full-on practising lawyer yet, so I turned it back at him and called him out for not even having gone to Bible school, and yet, somehow, still having the authority to preach and stuff, and he threatened to hit me with a chair."
"Oh my," Grandpa said.
"I'd made a comment about how they aren't exercising honesty and integrity and thus could get fleeced by lawsuits because they have nothing written down," Vaughan said. "Then he made the jab at me, as if I couldn't authoritatively tell him what the law said without being a lawyer, so I basically insinuated that he isn't qualified to tell me anything about the Bible considering he hasn't even gone to Bible school.""

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

One Small Wish: Day 8

Word Count: 48,008

Summary of Events:
Shelena asked Eirenna if she'd heard whether or not she'd won and they speculated as to how St. Nicholas might deliver the wish. Vaughan presented the entry form to the Children's Pastor, only to get resoundingly rejected and rather frustrated. Fancy arrived at work and was informed by her employer that some arrangements she'd made had gone over more than favourably. Vaughan got home from another night as St. Nicholas and called his grandpa to arrange a visit for advice on how to proceed. Eirenna wanted to find out when St. Nicholas would deliver the presents so she could leave a window open for him to get in; she found the ad again in the paper and decided to ask Deon to read it for her because he'd helped her make her wish . . .

Excerpt of the Day:
""Well what are you wanting me to read?" Deon asked.
Eirenna startled and quickly drew the folded paper out of her pocket. She unfolded it and pointed at the ad.
"I'm not taking you back," Deon said firmly. "You blew your one chance."
"I don't wanna go back," Eirenna said. "I just want you to tell me if it says when the presents are delivered."
"You didn't see him," Deon said.
"I did, I snuck in, and I saw him, and I made my wish, and I made Shelena's wish," Eirenna replied. "And he said he'd give us our wishes."
Deon looked impressed, but somewhat unconvinced. He snatched the paper from her and held it closer to his face.
"One lucky child will win their entire wish, to be personally delivered by St. Nicholas on Christmas Eve," Deon read aloud. "That's all it's got."
Eirenna accepted the paper back and folded it up. "Thank you."
"I doubt he's gonna give you your wish," Deon said.
"Why?" Eirenna asked.
"'Cause that's a rich people's church," Deon replied.
"But St. Nicholas was rich, and he gave money to a man to pay for all his daughters' weddings," Eirenna said.
"If St. Nicholas existed he died before Columbus found America," Deon said. "This is just some guy in a costume, and the church he's at is the one giving the presents, and I know some people from that church and they're absolute–"
Deon looked at Eirenna, gathered his lips and moved them around, and then sighed.
"They're bad people," Deon said. "Terrible people. Mean people. Even though you got the right colour skin they don't care about you because you don't have a dad and you don't have any money."
Eirenna didn't know what to do or what to think. St. Nicholas had been so nice, even if he was someone playing pretend. He'd listened to her, and she was pretty sure he hadn't forgotten her wish. Why did it matter if she didn't have any money, or a papa who lived at her house?
"Sorry to crush your hopes like that," Deon said, although he didn't sound like he meant it. "But somebody was going to have to eventually."
He slipped back into his room and closed the door.
Eirenna stared at the door, which was plastered with signs she couldn't read, especially as tears blurred her vision.
She hurried out the back door and back home. She did her best to be as quiet as she could going into the house and returning her shoes to the closet, but once that was done she ran to her room, leapt onto her bed, and burst into sobs.
St. Nicholas had to come! He couldn't be a meanie! He'd looked so nice! Surely if Santa Claus didn't care whether people had a mama and a papa or not, or even if they had a Christmas tree or not, St. Nicholas couldn't care! Even if he was just someone pretending!"