Copyright © 2008-2017 Boudreaux. All Rights Reserved.
“Son, I’m afraid you will have to come with us,” one of the officers told Noel as he put a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Your parents being dead, that makes you a ward of the court…”
“Oh no it don’t,” Aunt Lovey said firmly. “I got the paper right here in my pocket that is signed by his Daddy and his stepmama. Anything happen to them, Noel and his baby sister are mine. I keep a copy with me all the time, just in case.”
Just at that moment, Detective Spears walked up. “I heard over the radio that the ambulance was called to your house and then I heard about the plane crash. I came to see if there was anything I could do to help.”
“You can tell Barney Fife here to back off,” Noel said harshly. “My sister is dying and he is trying to haul me off somewhere so I can’t even say goodbye.”
“JOEY NOEL CLOCHE!” Noel looked over to Aunt Lovey and saw her hands on her hips and her foot tapping.
“I’m sorry, Detective, you too, officer.”
“Noel, I’m the one that should apologize,” the officer said. “I should not have made you think that I would stop you from seeing your sister. You go in to see her and we will stay here and straighten out this paperwork.”
“Nick, come with me,” Noel pleaded.
“Of course I will,” Nick assured him.
They held hands as they walked towards the room where Rachelle lay hooked up to all the machines. Noel cringed looking at all the tubes and wires on and in his tiny sister’s body. He walked up to the bed and took her small hand in his as tears streamed down his face. Nick stood beside him still holding his hand.
“It isn’t fair, Nick,” Noel whined. “To know there is a way to save her, but to know that it can’t be done,” he continued. “I wish Emily and Martha had never told me.”
“Grandpa Nick isn’t there anything you or me can do?” Nick asked. Noel blinked through his tears to see the old man standing at the foot of the hospital bed with tears falling into his beard.
“Nick, Noel, please know that it breaks my heart not to be able to help with this. Every year, another letter comes in from a child, sometimes even parents, begging me to save someone they know. It is without doubt the worst part of the job.”
“Well now, Nick you may not be able to do anything, but Emily here tells me that there is something you and I can do, Nicky,” Lovey announced with her hands on her hips.
“Aunt Lovey, are you sure?” Noel whispered.
“Noel, I promised your sainted momma that I would always watch over you and Little Rae. Nicky here is going to help me keep that promise.”
“Grandpa, what do I do?”
“Well there is one thing that you and Noel have to take care of first, Nicky,” Nick told him with a proud smile. “Although I really think it is just a formality at this point. I know you are both young, but there are some perks to being a not so mythical magical being. Do you Nicholas take Noel to be your helpmate and companion and one true love until death and beyond?”
“I do with all my heart,” Nicky said firmly.
“Do you Noel take Nicholas to be your helpmate and companion and one true love until death and beyond?”
“I do,” Noel said but his voice choked with emotion and it came out as a whisper. “I do with all my heart,” he repeated stronger.
Suddenly Nicky and Noel were dressed in matching red fur outfits with pure white fur trim. Nick and Emily’s clothes had changed to a matching set of golden robes with green trim.
“By the magic of Christmas, I now pronounce you Mr. and Mr. Santa Claus,” Nick said proudly. “And for my very last bit of Christmas magic….” He waved his hand and a sprig of mistletoe appeared over Nicky and Noel’s heads. The two boys kissed softly, but were stopped from taking their kiss into more passion by alarms from Rachelle’s bedside.
Nicky dropped Noel’s hands which he had been holding and grabbed one of Rachelle’s hands and one of Lovey’s. There was a silver glow and the sound of sleigh bells filling the room for a moment before all of the monitors beside Rachelle’s bed calmed and quieted back to the steady rhythms of a healthy little girl. Nurses and doctors rushed in as Rachelle started stirring and her little eyes started blinking. Within moments the little girl was sitting up in bed and smiling at her big brother.
“Noly, I don’t hurt anymore,” she told him sincerely. “I don’t hurt at all anywhere, not even where the needles were,” she said rubbing her little hands over the band aids where the IV’s had been removed. “I heard jingle bells and all the pain was gone, then I saw this really pretty lady all dressed in white. She looked just like that picture in your room of your mommy. She told me that you and Nicknick are going to take care of me and be my new daddies from now on. Can you be a big brother and a daddy at the same time?” she asked in confusion.
“I guess you can, because that’s what I am now, my princess,” Noel told her as he sat on the bed beside her and cuddled her close while wiping tears from his eyes. “Aunt Lovey is going to take care of both of us forever too.”
Rachelle held her arms out to Aunt Lovey, who immediately joined her two charges on the bed. They all three hugged tightly and Noel and Lovey continued to wipe tears from their faces. Rachelle finally pulled back and grinned.
“Aunt Lovey, you smell yummy, just like your pecan pie,” she announced. “OH! Aunt Lovey, your ears are pointy on top now.”
“That’s because your Aunt Lovey loves you so much that she gave you the most special gift anyone can ever get from someone else, and her pointy ears are part of how I thanked her for her gift, because I love you very much too,” Nick told her.
“Daddy Nicknick, Daddy Noly, can we go home now? I’m tired of hospitals,” Rachelle told them as she looked into their faces with her best little puppy dog eyes.
“I want to take a couple of pictures of your insides again, little miss,” the doctor said as he walked back into the room. “I need to understand what just happened here.”
“What just happened here was a Christmas miracle, Julian,” Nicholas told the doctor. “It was sort of like the year that you got that chemistry set you really wanted for Christmas, even though your parents were both out of work.”
“How…how would you know….No one but my family has ever….” The doctor sat down in a chair that suddenly appeared behind him.
“You’re getting the hang of things pretty quickly, Noel,” Emily said with a smile as she looked at the red and green chair the doctor was sitting in.
“Well, he’s the doctor, can’t have him getting hurt, now can we?” Noel giggled and grinned. “I think I can do something else for him too.” Suddenly a folder appeared in the doctor’s lap. The man snatched it up and starting flipping through the contents, his mouth and eyes opening wider with each scan he saw. “That should be all the images you were thinking of taking of Baby Rae. You will see in there that the cancer is all gone, all of it, completely.” He stood up and picked up Rachelle, setting her on his hip. “Oh and you should call your wife soon. I know you work long hours taking care of everyone here, but that administrator’s job is yours for the taking and you will be home a lot more, which should be good since you are going to have twins in about six months. Goodbye, doc.” He turned to look at his husband, because that was what Nicholas’ words had made them. “Well, Nicknick, what do we do now?”
“I think we go home and get to work,” Nick replied with a blush. “This is the busiest time of the year for us, you know.”
“Oh, you don’t get a honeymoon?” Aunt Lovey asked, making both teen boys blush profusely.
“The kids come first, Aunt Lovey,” Noel answered firmly.
“Spoken like a true Claus, my joyous Christmas bell,” Nick said with a grin.
“That’s what Noly’s name means,” Rachelle announced. “Joey Noel Cloche.. jo…joy… um Merry Christmas Bell.”
“I know princess,” Nick told her. “That is definitely what his name means, for sure. Now let’s all go home to the North Pole.”
*Author’s Note* Well, would you look at that? I actually finished another story. I know, it isn’t quite Christmas yet, but I have to listen to the characters that are talking at the time. Plus this gives you all plenty of advance notice to stay on the nice list for jolly not-so-old Santa and his Christmas bell.