Snow Pixie – Chapter 3
As promised each Friday leading up to the release I will be posting a chapter of Snow Pixie. No part of this post or blog may be reproduced without written consent from Author Isabelle Saint-Michael or Elven Life Productions President M. Kat Thomas. Thank you for reading.
We arrived at Justin’s “cousin’s” home shortly after leaving the hospital. The home had actually been a piece of property Markus Kringle, the current Santa and Justin’s uncle, had acquired almost one hundred years ago in the city of Chicago because he got a good deal on it. Since then paper had changed hands to make sure it passed down through the family every decade or so.
Even now the Victorian brownstone was well maintained. Dark hardwood steps and banisters leading to the floors above gave it a warm feeling. Of course, Joy visiting each year to decorate it helped too. Reaching out, I gripped the back of a green overstuffed couch and smiled. It was the closest thing to home I had known for the last century before I fell asleep. Before that I stayed in drafty boarding houses each year.
“So where have you been all this time?” Justin asked, breaking my train of thought.
“I wish I knew. I just sort of popped into existence yesterday. I was expecting it to be nineteen fifty-four, not two thousand sixteen,” I explained.
“What happened all those years ago? We all expected to see you at the show Christmas Day, and when we arrived you were nowhere to be found.” His concern shone in his eyes. “We spent months looking for you.”
I thought about the question long and hard. “I thought Jerry was the one,” I answered simply.
“Your skating partner?” Justin asked as he ducked into the kitchen. I heard the sounds of clicking and clanking before he returned with a tray of cookies and tea. Walking into the living room, he set the tray down on the table and patted the couch seat beside him.
“You are so much like your mother it is as if Lucus didn’t play any part in making you,” I teased.
Flashing me a smile that showed off his dimples, which more than a few women found swoon-worthy, brought back happy memories. With a shrug he handed me a cup. “I think I’m all right with that.”
I laughed despite myself. I already felt lighter. “Yes, I thought Jerry was the one,” I said, and suddenly my memories turned sad and bitter. “He wasn’t though. That became painfully clear.”
I nodded. “He didn’t even show up.”
“That’s horrible. We didn’t know. I should have suspected something when he said he hadn’t seen you and then introduced us to his fiancé from the chorus line.” Justin’s face was a mask of concern.
“Brunette, red lips, and legs up to the sky?” I asked.
“Honestly, I don’t really remember,” he offered apologetically. “I think we all just assumed you had decided to spend Christmas elsewhere at the news your partner was engaged. Then year after year you didn’t come back.”
“I faded from public memory and soon from all of yours,” I finished his statement.
“Hey now, I never forgot you. The Kringles never forget anyone. It is both our gift and burden,” he said finally with a heavy sigh. His eyes turned apologetic as he stared at me. “So what really happened?”
“I went to my father and explained I had a challenger for my heart. Someone kind who would gladly resist the chill,” I shrugged. “He never came. I waited and he never came for me. I went looking for him and found him with her. So I left. I went and found my father, and told him I was done feeling. I was done with pain. I had him turn my heart to ice and then I shattered it.”
Justin stared at me slack-jawed. “So you are walking around without a heart? You mean figuratively, because last I checked everyone needs a heart. It’s why driving a stake through Vampires will kill them. Nobody survives without one.”
“The Winters do. Surely you’ve heard that Winter has no heart?” I pointed out.
“Yeah, but they mean the season, not the person,” he retorted.
“Oh, go suck on a jingle bell! There is no winter without my family. Just like there is no Christmas or Yule without the Kringles,” I couldn’t help but snap.
“Actually, there is both a Christmas and a Yule without us. We had nothing to do with either of those. We just add to the season.” He said it with such a matter-of-fact tone I felt like flicking him in the forehead.
“You know what I mean,” I argued.
“So, you’re heartless. Is that what made you so cranky? Shouldn’t you be all emotionless?” he asked.
“I don’t know, according to you I should be dead.”
“You should be! If your heart was destroyed, you should be dead. I totally believe that there is a magic that would allow you to remove it and even freeze it to keep from aging, but destroying it should kill you. I mean, it kills Vampires and they’re nigh indestructible. It even kills Dragons. How can a Pixie not die?” Justin had stood up and cleared the teacups. Somewhere in all this chatting I had consumed cookies and tea without noticing.
“Snow Pixies aren’t real Pixies. We’re Elementals. You know that!”
Then Justin did what he did best. He defused everything with a warm chuckle and a big hug. “You get so wound up. I’m just glad to see you back.”
“Hmmpfff,” I responded, crossing my arms.
“Well what do you say we get you settled in to this new world, then we can worry about everything else? Do you want to stay here or the Pole?” he asked, clapping his hands together.
I took a deep breath through my nose and exhaled slowly. Taking my time I looked around the brownstone and ran my fingers over the many smooth wood panels. “I think I belong here. I can do the Harbinger job from here.”
Justin suddenly looked uncomfortable. “What’s wrong?” I asked.
“We have a Harbinger,” he explained.
“Really? Is Jack finally helping out?” I asked hopefully. It would be wonderful to see my brother.
“No, not so much. He’s been preoccupied. His oldest just started university this year.”
“Wait, my brother? Jack Frost? Mr. I’m-never-settling-down, I’m as frozen as father, has children?” I couldn’t believe what I was asking.
“Yup. He met a nice girl about twenty years ago and settled down. They have three daughters,” Justin couldn’t help but give one of his goofy grins when he told me.
“Wow! What about Dad?” I was compelled to ask.
“I don’t know lately. I haven’t seen him in over ten years. It was when Gwen and I broke up. Uncle Mark and Dad both see him a couple times a year. I’m sure I would know if anything was wrong.” Justin reached for another cookie but he stopped instantly at the sound of a new voice.
“Don’t you dare! You had to suck it in at your last tux fitting. If I have to avoid cookies for the next several weeks, so do you.” A warm but firm female voice snapped at him from the doorway. Justin dropped the cookie back on the plate like he’d snuck it out of Grandma’s cookie jar.
I turned to look at the owner of the voice that could successfully command Justin Kringle to do anything. Short and curvy with a long tangled mess of chocolate-brown curls stood a woman that could only be “the fiancé”. I smiled and stepped forward, extending my hand. “Hi, you must be Justin’s fiancé?”
At first she stared at it and I was afraid I had offended her. Then with what appeared to be a sniff in my direction she relaxed noticeably and took my hand. “Yes, I’m sorry. I’m Grace. I hope I didn’t scare you. Justin has gained almost ten pounds in the last month and it is enough to make his tuxedo pull.”
Despite myself I laughed and shot him a mocking look. “You’re not supposed to start working on the Santa physique until you are officially promoted.” Grace snorted beside me.
“How do you know I haven’t been?” he said, shifting back and forth from foot to foot.
“Easy, you would have sent someone else to check on me. Santa is way too busy this time of year. Honestly, I’m surprised you have time with the Holidays rapidly approaching, and from the sounds of it, a wedding,” I pointed out.
“True, I am busy, but I couldn’t just let someone you didn’t know come.”
Grace wrapped an arm around his waist and gave him an affectionate squeeze. “I wouldn’t want one of my friends waking up after a sixty year nap and not seeing anyone they knew.”
“You’re both sweet, but I’ll be all right. I just need to get to a bank and then call back Officer Flynn so I can give him a statement. Can one of you tell me where I can get a ‘sell’ phone and what I do with it once I get it?” I reached for the little gold bag that Justin had handed me.
The two of them engaged in a quick discussion composed of only meaningful glances before looking back at me. Grace turned to Justin. “Why don’t you head back to the Pole? I’ll stay and help Susan get settled in.”
“Suzy,” I said, correcting her.
Grace blinked at me. “I’m sorry?”
“Call me Suzy. This time of year I’m Suzy Snowflake,” I explained.
Grace looked back and forth between Justin and I. When he nodded she shrugged and looked back at me. “Like Suzy Snowflake the song? ‘Here comes Suzy Snowflake dressed in a snow white gown’…” she started singing.
“Yes, Rosemary Clooney sang that after meeting me at a club one night People loved it.” I laughed at the memory of getting tipsy and frosting all our martinis.
“Ok, Suzy Snowflake it is. If you wouldn’t mind my company, I would be happy to help you get settled in.”