“Good morning, Natalie,” Momma said to me with a smile. I nodded. Maybe what happened last night was all a really bad Christmas dream.
But it wasn’t. Darcy hobbled into the family room on his crutches. His knee cap was broken. He looked at me with an evil eye and hobbled into the kitchen.
“It wasn’t your fault, honey,” Momma said. Did she think I felt sorry? I didn’t feel sorry one bit for that Darcy. Ok maybe just a little. It was rotten having a broken foot but a broken knee?
“Can you hand me my crutches?” I asked. Momma nodded and handed them to me. I started to hobble into the restaurant.
“Look, who’s up,” Mr. Steve said to me. His face lightened up and then I saw that my Momma was behind me. Momma smiled back at him. I hobbled away not wanting to even think about my Momma liking Steve Matthews.
“Good morning, Miss Natalie,” Ms. Donna said to me. She smiled and put a plate of waffles on the table where Darcy was sitting.
“Good morning, Ms. Donna,” I said sitting at an empty chair at the table. Darcy gave me a look that clearly said I wasn’t welcome but I didn’t get up.
The door to the restaurant banged open and Emily Stewart walked into the restaurant with her grandfather not far behind.
“Mr. Stewart,” Ms. Donna started walking up to him. Emily walked to the table were Darcy and I were sitting.
“Move, clumsy,” Emily said. I got up. Not because I was afraid of this girl but because I really didn’t feel like fighting.
“My granddaughter would like an apology from both Natalie and Regina,” Mr. Stewart said. “We’ve already taken care of Erin.”
“What did Natalie do?” Momma asked. “Your granddaughter pulled her hair!”
“I did not! She told a lie about me in front of the entire school!” Emily cried.
“It wasn’t in front of the entire school,” Regina said. “Claire wasn’t there.” Emily balled up her fist.
“You! You assaulted me!” Emily shouted.
“Look, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be apologizing for but I’m sorry for whatever I did,” I said. I took one look at her before I walked out the door and hobbled down the road.
The log cabin was the first thing that caught my eye when I got close to town. Christmas lights hung from it and Mr. Rivers was on top of the roof trying to put a snowman on top of it. He waved and I smiled.
“Hello, Natalie,” Mrs. Rivers said. She had a box full of lights under her arm. “How’s the foot?”
“Still broken,” I sighed. Mrs. Rivers smiled.
“So what brings you down the road?” Mrs. Rivers asked.
“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I bet you heard about what happened at the Christmas party.”
“It’s all over town,” Mrs. Rivers said. “How Ms. Ross let things get so out of hand surprises me.”
“It was all Emily Stewarts fault. She pulled my hair in front of everybody and then denied it,” I said.
“A Stewart will do that to you,” Mrs. Rivers said taking some tinsel out of the box.
“And she came by today asking Regina and I to apologize. I understand Regina but what did I do?” I asked.
“From what Erin told me, you did nothing wrong but if you dig deeper into Emily Stewart’s past you might figure out why she feels like you should apologize,” Mrs. Rivers said putting the tinsel on the mail box.
There was no way I was digging into that girl’s past.
“I should probably go back home,” I huffed. “My mother doesn’t know I’m here.”
“Do you need a ride?” Mrs. Rivers asked me. I shook my head no and hobbled down the road.
When I got back to the B&B Emily and her grandfather were gone. I hobbled back to the couch in the family room and found a note.
If you know what’s best for you. You’ll stay away from Florida(especially Darcy!!)!!!!!!!!!!!!
No one needed to tell me who this was from.
“Nelson,” I said all serious.
“Yeah, Natalie,” Nelson said.
“I have a mission for you,” I whispered.
Nelson looked at me like I was crazy.
“Nelson, I need you to sneak into my mother’s room and get the catalog sitting on her dresser,” I whispered. “I would do it myself but my foot.”
“Why are you whispering?” Nelson asked.
“Haven’t you ever watched spy movies?” I asked.
“Sure,” Nelson shrugged.
“I’m pretending to be the Christmas Spy,” I said. Nelson nodded.
“I will get that catalog, sir. I mean ma’am,” Nelson said. He tiptoed up the stairs in a dramatic way. Boy, did he look funny.
After what seemed like forever, Nelson came back down with the catalog I wanted.
“What do you need this for?” Nelson asked.
“I need to find out what my mom wants for Christmas,” I said turning to the page with an index card stuck in it.
“Why don’t you just ask her?” Nelson asked.
“Cause that’s not how Baldwin’s do it,” I said. There was only one thing on the page. It was an ad for perfume. The perfume was called Christmas Dreams.
Perfume? Why in the world would my mother want perfume?
She wants to smell good for Steve a voice in my head said. No way. That was NOT the reason.
“How do you know if she wants perfume or this book,” Nelson said looking at the two pages.
The page where the lines of the index card touched was what she wanted and I knew she didn’t want the book. The book was called, How to Enjoy Christmas.
“This page had the side of the card with the lines,” I said. “And my mother could enjoy Christmas with all the bones in her body broken.”
“I need to go to the store,” I said. “Where’s the closet Wal-Mart?” Nelson laughed.
“There’s a little shop in town. I believe they sell perfume,” Nelson said. That would have to do.
“Will you take me?” I asked. Nelson shrugged. I hobbled off towards the family room where Ms. Donna was watching TV.
“Ms. Donna, I’m going out to go get my mom a Christmas present. Don’t worry, Nelson is coming with me,” I said. Ms. Donna nodded.
“Take Darcy with you,” Ms. Donna said. “DARCY!”
Darcy hobbled into the family room.
“Nelson and Natalie are going to town to get Christmas presents,” Ms. Donna said. “I want you to accompany them.”
Darcy groaned and then looked at me as if I had something to do with. I went through my suitcase and found my green fudge tin my dad had given me. It was where I kept my money.
“Let’s get this show on the road,” Darcy said as we walked down the road. He started to hobble ahead of Nelson and me. That boy is fast on crutches.
“Do you hear that?” Nelson asked me. It sounded like an engine. I was about to say yes but Nelson didn’t give me the chance. He pushed me into a ditch and hid along with me.
“What did you………” I started but then a car drove by real fast. It drove right on the ground I had just when walking on.
“People don’t know how to drive these days,” Nelson muttered helping me out of the ditch.
“Hurry up!” Darcy called from far down the road.
When Nelson and I got to the shop Darcy was already there looking around. A girl around fifteen was standing at the counter.
“Welcome to The Treasure Chest. My name is Paige,” The girl said. “And you must be Natalie.” I nodded.
“Darcy said you were looking for a perfume called Christmas Dreams. You’re in luck. We have one bottle left,” Paige said. Darcy had told her that? Funny, I didn’t even think he was listening.
Just as Paige reached under the counter to get the perfume the sound of glass ringed through my ears.