Claiming Christmas

Page 16

Three Years Later
“Wake up, Daddy. It’s Christmas Day,” my wife says, rousing me from my slumber.
I groan and roll over, coming face to face with my two-year-old daughter, Lanie.
“Dada,” she says, giving me a toothy grin.
“Hey, angel,” I smile, dropping a kiss on her chestnut curls as she cuddles in next to me.
“Time to get up, sleepyhead. Santa’s been,” my wife says excitedly, moving into my line of vision as she lays down next to us.
“Mama,” Lanie giggles and pats her mama’s face with a chubby hand, her blue eyes dancing.
We were up until 2 AM wrapping presents and getting everything prepared for when my family arrives later. Rosie and her husband, Dex, with their little boy, and my mom and stepfather are all coming here for Christmas Day. They flew in the day before yesterday and are staying in a hotel in the next town. We would’ve had them stay here, but we’re having some renovations to extend our home, making it impossible for us to accommodate guests.
“Come on!” Jess urges, bouncing up and down on the bed and making Lanie giggle again. Anyone would think Jess was the child, excited at the prospect of opening all her presents from Santa Claus.
I scoop up my daughter, blow a raspberry on her neck that makes her shriek with laughter, and hop out of bed. Jess quickly follows, and we head downstairs into the living room, where a giant Christmas tree stands in the corner. The smell of pine hits my nose, and I inhale deeply, absorbing the aroma of Christmas itself.
Jess has done a fantastic job of decorating the house, although I’m pretty sure her remit was, 'if it doesn’t move, decorate it.' There are twinkling fairy lights, tinsel, baubles, snowflakes, and banners everywhere. I’m not complaining. I’d let my wife hang tinsel off my cock if it made her happy.
I put Lanie down, and she waddles towards the giant tree to investigate the presents beneath it, clapping her little hands happily. We haven’t gone mad. Much as we love our daughter, we don’t want to spoil her. At two years old, she doesn’t yet understand what all the fuss is about, but we want her to grow up knowing the true meaning of Christmas, not the commercial madness that seems to overshadow the most important element—family. So, we agreed on a budget for gifts and donated half to a local charity for homeless children so they, too, would have gifts to open today.
The last three years with Jess have been the happiest years of my life. It’s hard to believe now that we danced around each other for months at work before a snowstorm finally forced us to admit our feelings for each other. Those two nights together at the station contain some of my most precious memories—along with our wedding day and the day Lanie was born. Hell, every fucking day with my beautiful wife and daughter is more precious than any gift beneath the tree.
Jess plucks out a small silver-wrapped box tucked into one of the branches as I sink onto the floor next to Lanie. “Can you give that to Daddy, sweet pea?” she asks, handing the small package to our daughter.
Lanie turns to face me. “For Dada,” she says, giving me the sweetest smile.
I look up at Jess in confusion. “I thought we said we weren’t buying gifts for each other.”
Jess shrugs. “It’s only a little something.”
I tear the paper off the package and open the box to reveal…
“A pregnancy test?” My eyes snap to Jess’s. “You’re pregnant?”
She grins and nods. “Like I said, it’s only a little something. About the size of a pea right now.”
I stand and wrap her up in my arms, kissing her fiercely. “Just when I thought I couldn’t be any happier, you go and prove me wrong.”
“It just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it?” she murmurs, her hazel eyes adoring on my face.
I claim her mouth in another kiss, tender and sweet. No words can express how much I love this woman in my arms. “The best is yet to come, baby. The best is yet to come.”