Episode 1114: Shining Star“It’s nice to see you in the spirit of things,” Paul’s mother Sarette said after praising how overboard he’d gone with decorating his home.
A full fragrant tree with a shining star on top nearly touched the ceiling, the branches decorated with candy canes, multicolored lights, and popcorn and cranberry strings. Nearly every inch of his house sported some sort of holiday finery, snowmen, Santa Claus, garlands and more.
“Your behavior over the last couple years has been… concerning, it’s so nice to come here and find everything so cheerful,” his mother enthused.
“It’s hardly cheerful to choose to spend Christmas alone,” his father pointed out. “This is ludicrous us visiting you for tea and a gift exchange. You should be at the estate tonight with our other dinner guests. How am I supposed to explain that yet again even though you live in the same city and we work in the same place you refuse to join us for Christmas. Do you realize how that makes our family look?”
“It makes it look like our son has someone special in his life who he isn’t ready to share with anyone else.” His mother gave Paul a knowing smile.
But she didn’t truly know, she clearly thought he had some secret new woman in his life.
What he really had was a daughter who he hoped would just pop up out of nowhere like she had at Halloween and she’d be so impressed with the effort he’d put in for the holiday that she’d introduce herself and it would open up this whole new door in his life.
Of course the odds of any of that happening, including Hope just showing up at his door again were slim to none. But that wouldn’t stop Paul from spending all day alone on the off chance she might make another appearance at his house.
“Everything okay? Aren’t you feeling well?” Hope’s mom, Michael, asked, pressing a hand to Hope’s forehead.
“I’m okay,” Hope replied, snuggled on the sofa watching the Christmas lights twinkle on the tree. She was just thinking about her biological dad but she wasn’t going to tell her mom that. She wasn’t going to say that she was worried that her dad’s Christmas might be every bit as sad and sorry as Halloween had been. At first sight she’d thought he was one of those curmudgeonly jerks who didn’t do holidays only to realize he was sad and lonely.
It made Hope sad thinking that might be how he was spending his Christmas the same way, on the sofa, in the dark, no decorations, no nothing.
“Why so glum, chum,” her mom prodded, “didn’t get your dream gift?”
“No, they were the best, really,” Hope said, “I loved them all so much, thank you.”
“Maybe this is that whole letdown that the magic of the season is coming to an end, I remember feeling that way when I was a kid,” her dad, Curran asserted. “Christmas doesn’t have to be behind us yet, we could go out for a drive tonight, look at all the lights, I know how much you love that.”
“I know exactly which neighborhoods to check out,” Hope said, immediately perking up at the prospect of seeing how her other father was doing, even if it would be just from a distance.