*Hands out virtual cookies and hot cocoa to everyone*
Today marks the first day, and first part, of the two stories I will be posting over the weekend and into next week. This is all part of Faith's Twelve days of Christmas linkup that can be found over on her blog if you just click the link below the image.
This first story, in a nutshell, deals with the youngest sibling of the Ross family finding an abandoned kitten, as other members of the family prepare for the holiday in light of all that has occurred in their lives over the past year.
So without further ado, here is:
Sam took a deep breath in the crisp cold December air.
According to the locals, though, this weather was quite chilly for this time of year. The three inches of snow on the ground was also unusual as well.
The young man with his chin length blonde locks tied back with a reindeer bandanna did not mind though. He started walking briskly toward town, hands shoved in his pockets as he counted his icy breaths on the air. He did not have a particular destination in mind, only that he planned on trying to get some Christmas shopping done for his siblings.
It was so fun going out like this on his own. He normally hated interacting with strangers, but the fact that he and his sibling’s nutty acapella band had been somewhat successful in touring had gotten him accustomed to the fact that he was going to have to have these kinds of interactions in his life, lisp or no lisp.
Cashiers were usually easier to deal with, especially around the holidays. They were in such a hurry most of the time that they hardly paid any attention to him other than to tell him his total. Then he gave them the cash and that was that. No more, no less.
This was the very first time he had really gotten to explore the city on his own since moving here with his siblings so that he and they could pursue their music careers. He had told Chase he would be out for the day, and his older brother had smiled and slipped him his Starbucks gift card, which had enough left on it for a large peppermint hot coco. His sister Sadie had told him to bundle up, which of course he had ignored. Both of them never asked when he would be back. It was only 9:00am after all.
Upon reaching the city, a mere ten minutes walk from their new house, Sam immediately hooked a right and headed in the direction of the shopping district, eager for his hot coco before he started to window shop over at the mall, searching for anything that might inspire him for a gift. Plus, he just loved the decorations and magic of this time of year. His siblings were always too loud and noisy whenever he went out shopping with them. This way, he could enjoy the stores and the decorations at his own leisure before he had to get back home.
Finally spotting a Starbucks, he stepped inside, appreciating the warmth despite the fact he loved being in the cold. Inhaling deeply, Sam took in the aromas of brewing coffee and pastries. He always loved the smell of a coffee shop. He could never quite bring himself to stand the taste of it, but he loved the aroma of it. He hoped that his parents could smell coffee up in heaven too, for that had to be what heaven smells like.
“Hi, what can I get you,” a sweet girl who looked to be around Sam’s age, greeted him as he walked up to the counter. Sam, despite his reservation of strangers could not help but smile back at her. He was in the Christmas spirit after all.
“Peppermint cocoa, thmall,” the sweet barista smiled at him, writing his order down on a red cup as he paid.
“You must be new to town,” she asked, trying to make conversation as she brewed his drink.
This caught Sam off guard. What happened to the rushed salesperson persona? She must just be too sweet and was immune to it.
He nodded, unsure of what to say as he looked down to his feet. Sometimes he wished he was brave enough to overcome his speech issue and face the world. His siblings had still been awfully supportive of him though. Nate had even told him he was proud of him for coming out of his shell be trying to interact with the fans more in the VIP sessions. That was big coming from him.
“Here you go,” the girl said, handing his coca to him. Sam smiled his thanks before heading back outside, but not before he noticed the note scrawled in curly sharpie script on his cup.
You have a sweet smile. I hope you enjoy Nashville and have a Merry Christmas!
Alice, that sure was a pretty name, Sam thought to himself, smiling as he made his way down the long lane of shopping strips, towards the mall, sipping his cocoa. He had purposely gotten a small so that he would have enough left to buy another one for his walk home. Maybe he would even refill Austin’s card as a Christmas gift to him, and a little thank you.
Sam smiled even bigger as he entered the mall to find it nearly deserted, a prime reason why he chose to come here at this time a day. He immediately veered toward the bookstore, knowing exactly what to get his sister-in-law. She had been eying the leather bound classic of Jane Austen’s most notable works, and it just so happened that it was priced at a bargain and within Adam’s budget.
He smiled. The money he had was yet another secret. He got his share of the band’s earnings from touring and album sales. He had wanted to make a little extra though, and had actually been working some extra hours at the kennel. He had almost been too shy to approach the kindly, grandmotherly lady at first, but as he went up to her and asked for a job, he did not know what it was about her that put him at ease.
Working with animals was fine. He could make beat box noises around them all he cared to, and no one, not even potential clients, seemed to mind. The best part of it was he actually had made enough to get each of his siblings decent presents, along with setting a little aside.
He prided himself of having money skills, with Tim helping him budget initially. For being as eccentric and random as his big brother was known to be. He was sharp as a whip with math, and actually held a secondary teaching certification that he wanted to update now that they moved. Not that he doubted their ability to make it in the music industry. He just wanted options so that he could still support Chloe if push came to shove.
He picked up the leather bound book of Jane Austen classics, noting that the price was cheaper than it was originally made out to be. Tucking it under his arm, he headed towards the CD section, as his curiosity got the better of him.
Sure enough, it was there. Sam was pleased to note that there were only three copies left. Hopefully that meant that there would be a big payday coming for him and his siblings at end of the year.
Something distracted him by tugging on his jacket. He turned and noticed a little girl who could not have been any older that eight, studying him intently.
“Thorry to bother you mithter, but you looked like the guy who makes the drumming noises with his mouth in that one band”.
Sam smiled, pointing to his band’s Christmas CD and nodding to her enthusiastically, giving her a quick little demonstration that made the little girl giggle.
“My name ith Sam,” he said, suddenly not so ashamed of his speech. The girls eyes lit up.
“You talk like I do,” she said excitedly. “I thought that I wath the only one! People alwayth are mainkin fun of me and being mean. Now I know I thill (still) can do good things dethpite how I talk”.
Sam was too taken aback to really know what to say at the moment. He looked down at the little girl, and she stared back at him with twinkling eyes. Suddenly, he grabbed a copy of the CD from the rack, shoved it under his arm with the book, and turned back to face the little girl.
“Ith...Ith anyone with you?” he asked. No way could a girl her age could really be traversing the mall all by herself.
The little girl tilted her head, studying him. “My grandma works at the candy thore. The (she) lets me come to the bookshop and read thince (since) the (she) knows the owner. All I have to do is thay (stay) out of trouble”.
Sam got down to her level and looked her in the eyes. “How would you like it if I got this CD here for you, as long as you take me to vithit your grandma”.
He did not think the little girl’s eyes could get any wider with delight, but they did. “Oh boy, that would be the greatht Chrithmth present ever”.
Sam’s face broke out into his trademark grin as he smiled ear to ear, not helping but feeding off her enthusiasm. He offered his hand to her as he straightened back up, which she gladly accepted as the pair made it on their merry way to the cash register.
Later, the two had finally made it over to the sweet shop where - Sam suddenly realized he had never asked for the little girl’s name - her grandmother was supposedly employed.
“Grandma, Grandma,” the girl shouted enthusiastically as she let go of Sam’s hand and ran into the store. An older women who appeared to be in her early 60s stopped in the middle of her task of straightening a rack of candy canes.
“What is it Mary,” the woman smiled sweetly at her overly enthused granddaughter.
“I meant, meet,” she contorted her face as she struggled to find the right word. “Thith ith my favorite drummer from that band I like,” she smiled as she gestured to Sam, who nodded in greeting, suddenly feeling extremely self conscious.
“Sir, I am sorry if my granddaughter bothered you,” she looked to him, concerned. “She knows that she is not supposed to”.
“Mam’n,” Sam cut her off. “The did not bother me one bit. I was just doing some Chrithmath shopping and got curious and wanted to see if our CD was on the racks. The came up to me and tharted (started) talking, and,” he gestured to Mary, unsure if there was anything more he could really say.
“He talkth like I do!” Mary told her grandmother enthusiastically. The grandmother smiled and nodded.
“I bought her a copy of the CD, I hope you don’t mind”, Mary pulled it out of the bag and was eagerly showing it to her grandmother.
“Mind,” the grandmother lifted her hand to her mouth, momentarily taken aback. “Sam, I don’t know how to thank you”.
“No thankth is needed,” he responded turning to Mary. “May I see that for just one moment?”
Mary smiled and handed the CD off to him. Sam immediately took it out of the plastic shrink wrap and opened it up, suddenly realizing something. The grandmother smiled and went behind the counter, bringing forth a red sharpie marker.
“Something festive for the season, you know,” she told him.
“And my favoth color,” Sam smiled at her as he uncapped the pen, signing a note to whom he considered to be his number one fan on the cd.
“Have a Merry Crthmath,” he told her as he returned the pen to the grandmother and the CD to Mary.
“Thank you Sam,” Mary said, hugging him.
As soon as Sam said his goodbyes, he turned to leave the candy store, still having plenty of shopping to do himself. He was stopped by the grandmother, who came hurrying out the store after him.
“You have no idea how happy you made my granddaughter. She is so sensitive about how she talks that,” the woman could not finish, too overcome with emotion. Sam went over to embrace her.
“The made me happy too, I,” he could not find the words to truly express the deep well of gratitude he felt for this woman and her granddaughter.
The grandmother pulled back, two pairs of blue eyes, one young, reserved, yet grateful. The other old and full of wisdom and unspeakable joy. Sometimes, words were just not needed to communicate.
The woman hurried back inside her store as Sam stared after her. His mind full of a dozen thoughts all at once.
Later, Sam was headed back taking a shortcut through an alleyway so that he might be able to make it back to Starbucks for a second cup of cocoa and get home before dark.
Suddenly, a box rustled beneath a pile of trash as he was passing the Pizza parlor.
Sam paused, staring at the box warily, when it moved again.
Curiosity got the better of the 19-year-old, as he shoved the packages he was carrying underneath his arm and hurried over to investigate.
Scrunching his nose at the smell of the garbage, and taking a quick glance around to make sure this was not a ploy and no one was about to jump him, Sam then creeped over and peered into the box.
Meow, a tiny, mangy kitten looked up at him with sad, soulful eyes.
Sam’s heart broke at the sight. Who in their right mind would leave a little kitten to die, especially around Christmas time?
“Hey there,” he murmured, forgetting all about the time and the fact it was about to get dark soon as he stroked the kitten with his index finger. The little creature purred, rubbing it’s head into Sam’s palm in response.
“Who wath mean to you and left you to die?” Sam whispered, not really expecting an answer but knowing what he had to do.
Sam scooped up the kitten, carefully depositing it in the pocket of his army coat and making sure she was safe before continuing on his way back to the Starbucks. He would need help to do what he planned to do, and he knew just the person to ask.
Upon entering the Starbucks, he spotted the pretty barista who had helped him earlier that day. For a moment, he froze, realizing that he would have to talk with her, until he mentally kicked himself and approached her.
“Um, hi,” he said shyly.
“Hi, I see you have been Christmas shopping,” he looked confused for a moment, before she pointed out his bags, to which he glanced down at ruefully, then back at her.
“I wath wondering. I know we don’t know each other, but I could use thome help”.
Her green eyes twinkled merrily. “Daddy always said to never refuse help to anyone who asked, and that a stranger was a friend you just ain’t met yet. How…” Alice gasped when the kitten decided to make an appearance, poking it’s head out of his pocket and meowing up at Sam.
“I am new to town, and I don’t know where the pet thore ith (is),” Sam told her, gesturing down to the kitten.
“Oh goodness, she is so adorable!” Alice scratched the kitten on the head, which had only produced the same results as when Sam had done the same.
“Where did you find her?”
“In a box in an ally by the pitha parlour,” Sam said, cringing at his lisp.
“Oh poor baby! What meanie would do something like this to you? Around Christmastime too!”
Alice turned her attention from the Kitten to Sam. “I am off in 20 minutes. Let me make you another hot coco. Then I will drive us to the pet store. It’s Sam, right?”
Adam smiled and nodded, extending a hand to her. “Alith?” he asked in return. He may have hated to socialize, but he was not totally inadequate!
“Yes,” Alice said, smiling as she shook his hand. “Let me go make you a coco, my treat! Sit anywhere you would like”.
Sam did as he was told, staking out a table for himself in the corner of the coffee shop, smiling as he felt the kitten move within his pocket.
Later, Sam and Alice entered the local Pets Mart, and looked around.
“We thoud (should) get her groomed firth (first),” he said, looking towards the grooming station.
Alice nodded, smiling as she followed Sam to the grooming station.
“Hello,” she greeted the middle aged lady. She had sensed Adam’s insecurity with facing strangers and caught his grateful look out of the corner of her eye.
“How can I help you,” she smiled.
“Well, we found this kitten left in a box in an alleyway,” Alice gestured to the kitten as Sam produced her from his pocket. “She could use a bit of cleaning up, as you can see”.
The lady took her from Sam, the orange ball of mangy fur shivered in her hands.
“Oh, you poor thing,” She crooned. “I will get her fixed up right away for you”.
Sam and Alice took a seat off to the side. “I hope the will be okay,” Adam murmured, not knowing if she would be one of those cats who hated water or not.
“I am sure she will be fine,” Alice said with a smile. “Why don’t we look around for some things for her while we wait.
Sam nodded, and together the pair headed off towards the cat section to buy all the essentials that were required for caring for a kitten.
Later, Alice drove into the driveway of Sam’s home. “It was nice meeting you, Sam,” she smiled as the kitten, now a vibrant, clean orange, was nestled snugly in Sam’s coat.
“It was nice meeting you, too,” he said, smiling. "Feel free to come by anytime".
Alice scratched the kitten on her head, smiling as she purred at the touch. “I think I might take you up on that”.
Sam opened the car door, raising his lanky form out into the cold night air. Alice handed him his packages after he had emerged.
“Take care of her!” She called as she drove off. Sam was too happy to respond verbally, giving her a wave as she drove off instead.
“Well, little un (one), looketh like I am gonna have to find a way to introduce you to my thbilingth (siblings),” Sam suddenly looked at the house, strung and lit brightly with colored lights thanks to the handiwork of Chase and Sadie, filled with a sense of foreboding.
At least two of his five siblings hated cats.
He looked down at the orange head. What was he gonna do?
A/N: I hope you enjoyed part one of this story. Part two is coming tomorrow. While you are here please feel free to look around my blog and check out some of the other stories I have done or am currently working on, Saving Camelot in particular!
Hope you guys enjoy your day and whatever holiday preparations you are busy with and come back tomorrow for part two! Please feel free to comment!