A sequel to A Little Christmas Mischief
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It was after midnight and outside an unexpected snow had begun to fall.
Upstairs two small boys snuggled into their warm blankets and one little boy dreamed of Santa Claus.
Downstairs an exhausted Murdoch, Cip, and Maria had finally arranged the boys’s presents under the tree. Cip and Maria sat on the sofa and Murdoch in a chair while they admired their work and sipped on wine. All three were thinking the same thing-how quiet it was when the boys were asleep.
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Finally Murdoch slowly climbed the stairs, he peeked into his sons’s rooms and found two sleeping angels. After kissing each head, Murdoch retired to his own warm bed. He expected his sleep would only last a few hours-if he was lucky.
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The shout caused the sleeping father to bolt from his bed, he stumbled into the hall and headed toward the noise. Murdoch saw Scott’s door open and headed for his older son’s room first. When he entered he found Scott and Johnny standing at the window looking at the snow.
“Hey Scott, did Santa come?” Johnny asked as he stared out the window to the snow covered yard, concerned that the weather had kept Santa away.
Scott put his arm around his little brother’s shoulders. “Don’t worry Johnny, Santa is used to snow.”
This information relieved Johnny, he knew his big brother knew a lot of things.
A very tired father smiled at his younger boy’s concern about Santa possibly missing their house. After a jaw cracking yawn Murdoch stooped next to Johnny, “Come on boys I think I heard a noise down stairs a little while ago.”
Johnny bounced on his toes and clapped his hands, “Really Papi?”
Scott grabbed Johnny’s hand, “Come on little brother let’s go see.”
Murdoch stood and followed two excited boys to the great room.
Two sets of eyes widened at the treasure before them, “Ooh!” Two sets of voices filled the room.
“Well boys, looks like Santa made it through the storm.” Murdoch sat in his big chair while the boys sat on the rug and eyed the pretty packages.
“Can we open them?” Scott tried to keep his voice calm but didn’t succeed.
“Please Papi.” Johnny chimed in.
“Well I’m not sure if mamacita doesn’t want you boys to eat breakfast first.” He could smell the coffee Maria had brewing in the kitchen. Murdoch wanted to laugh when he saw the devastated looks on his boys’s faces. He gave in.
“Alright, I guess we could open them, but, then I want you to eat everything Maria fixes you boys for breakfast.” Murdoch waited for an answer.
Two heads nodded agreement then turned back to the tree and the gifts.
Johnny suddenly stopped mid reach and looked to his stocking at the fireplace. He whispered, “Scott, coal?” He pointed to his full stocking.
Scott was a little concerned when he saw how heavy his stocking looked too. “I don’t know Johnny.”
Murdoch noticed how the boys stared at the stockings. “Maybe we better check those first, what do you think boys?”
They both nodded but Johnny was not sure he really wanted to know.
Each one took his proffered stocking and dumped the contents on the rug.
A combined sigh of relief, then giggles as each one popped a piece of candy in their mouths.
“No more candy until after breakfast.” Murdoch tried to sound stern but failed at the looks on his boy’s happy faces.
Scott took charge since he was the older son and passed out the packages.
Johnny was disappointed when Scott had the biggest package under the tree.
Scott jumped in Murdoch’s lap and hugged his father. Inside was a new saddle with the Lancer L on it. “Thank you father, thank you. Uh...you told Santa what I wanted.” Scott couldn’t control the ear to ear smile on his face. He hoped Johnny missed that he thanked Papa instead of Santa.
Scott got down and sat by his saddle and rubbed the leather, the rest of his gifts all but forgotten.
Johnny was dismayed at being the recipient of the smallest package under the tree. He held the box and didn’t attempt to open it.
“What did Santa bring you Johnny?” Murdoch his his smile behind his cup of coffee that he had gratefully accepted from Maria.
Johnny held up the little box, “Don’t think Santa brung nothing.”
Murdoch was tempted to correct his son’s English but decided to continue the ruse. “Why do you think it’s nothing?”
“Nothin’ in it.” Johnny was shaking the box.
“Well, you won’t know till you open it.”
“Yes Johnny, open it.” Scott suddenly was interested in the little box too.
Johnny sighed and shrugged his shoulders, “kay.” He ripped the paper off and opened the box. “Piece of paper.” He help it up to his father. “What it’s say?” Johnny kneeled by Murdoch’s leg and waited to hear what Santa wrote.
“Well son, it’s directions from Santa.”
Johnny was sure it was a warning from Santa about a pile of coal waiting for him, somewhere on the ranch.
Taking pity on his son Murdoch continued reading. “It says to go to the barn.”
Johnny wasn’t sure he wanted to, but figured he better. He didn’t want to make Santa any madder at him.
“Come on Johnny, let’s go see what Santa brought you.” Scott took Johnny’s hand and pulled him from the rug.
“All right boys but we have to bundle up first, Maria will be mad if you get colds.”
Finally everyone was sufficiently garbed for the trip. Murdoch took a small hand in each of his and they headed for the barn.
After Murdoch opened the door he motioned for the boys to enter the barn.
“OOOOOHHH!” Johnny ran to the golden pony he had seen the other day. He looked to his father, then reached out and patted the pony’s head.
“Santa brought it early and asked me to keep it for him since his sleigh would be so full of toys. You, young man, were not supposed to be in the corral to see the pony.”
Johnny shuffled his foot in the straw and finally looked up at his father, “Sorry Papi.” Then suddenly, “Santa wont take the back pony, will he?” Johnny was concerned.
“No Johnny the pony is yours.”
Relieved that the golden pony was here to stay Johnny hugged it and rubbed his face into the white mane.
That night a little boy dreamed of one day riding his golden pony across the pastures of Lancer.
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Hope y’all have a Merry Christmas and that Santa brings you your heart’s desire. EJ