Friday, December 23, 2016

As in Olden Days--Part Two


And . . .here's part two of the Sullivan's (and Gil's!) Christmas! If you missed the first part, you can find it here.



Gil rubbed his chin and met David’s gaze. “How we gonna do this?”
They six stood on the top of a hill, each of the guys dragging a sled.
“How about we give the girls a ride first?” Rafe suggested. “We can push them down, and then,” he raised an eyebrow and his lips tilted into a crooked grin,  “We’ll make them push us down.”
“Oh, yes, swell idea!” Gil agreed, setting the sled at the top of the hill. “All right, girls. Get on and we’ll send ya flying!”
“No, sending us flying would be taking us up in the plane,” Lily said, her eyes crinkling in a smile from beneath her scarf.
Gil suddenly turned serious. “No. Not when it’s icy like this. I won’t risk a crash on the runway.”
David nodded in agreement. “Tell you what, Lily. We’ll take you up when it warms out a bit, though I’m not sure how much longer that crop duster’s gonna survive going for a spin.”
“Are we gonna sled already?” Anne asked impatiently, taking a seat on one of the sleds.
Rafe looked down at her, and bent over as if to give her a shove. Instead, in one quick movement, he grabbed a handful of snow, and he threw it at her face.
For a quick second Anne gasped, speechless, and then she rolled off the side of the sled, and grabbed a fistful of snow. She threw it hard, and Rafe ducked out of the way just in time, causing the snowball to hit David square in the face.
He sputtered as the ich flakes fell down his scarf, and the cold hit his neck. Well, Anne had done it now. David rushed forward, and she squealed and ran.
Smack into Rafe.
Rafe held her while David pelted her with snow balls. He had only thrown two, however, when yet another one hit him in the face.
Sputtering, he looked up and saw Elaine standing off to the side, eyeing him as she dusted the snow off her hands.
Oh, she was in for it now. Leaving Anne to Rafe, he sprinted toward her, intent on returning the favor.
With a squeal she ran away from him, and ducked behind a pine tree.
Ah, so she was gonna make it difficult. Well, let it never be said that a Sullivan shirked from a  challenge. As he neared the tree she ran around it, and David put an extra burst of speed into his steps. How could she run that fast with so many layers on?
Not that it mattered. In a matter of seconds David reached her, and he lifted her from the ground. Her cheeks were red and her eyes dancing with laughter as he spun her around; all the while she fought to get away.
At last David set her down next to the tree. He leaned forward till his hands were on either side of her shoulders, pinning her so she couldn’t move. “Promise you won’t throw any more snow at me?”
He could see the mischief in her eyes as she contemplated. “What happens if I don’t agree?”
David wracked his brain to think of what to do. He couldn’t very well threaten to wash her face in the snow. An idea hit him, and he grinned down at her, his eyes sparkling with fun. “Then I’ll kiss you.”
Elaine gasped and covered her face with her hands. “David, you wouldn't!”
He leaned closer. “Promise?” he could see the flush that spread across her face, heightening the color in her already red cheeks.
He pressed a kiss to her nose. “You don’t have much time, Elaine.”
“Oh, David, you’re terrible!” 
The look  in her eyes told him he was anything but.
He pried one of her hands off her mouth, and she gasped with a smile, “Okay, I promise!”
David couldn’t hold back a chuckle as he stepped back and let her free. “Glad you decided. I was getting a bit worried.”
Elaine reached up and shoved him back, and then linked her arm with his and they started walking back toward the others, who were making their way down the hill in the sleds.  “David, you’re terrible!”
“Naw,” He grinned down at her. “I’m wonderful and I know it.”
She shook her head in exasperation. “You’ve been spending too much time with Rafe and Gil. They’re not good for your ego.”
David stopped and feigned shock. “Not good for my ego? On the contrary, I think they work wonders for it.”
“Oh, David!”
“Hey, Elaine, want a ride?” Rafe asked as he came puffing up the hill, pulling Anne on the sled behind him. Gil and Lily were on the other two sleds, almost at the bottom of the hill.
“Sure!” Elaine bounced on her toes in excitement.
Anne got off, and Elaine took her seat. Rafe made sure her coat was tucked up out of the way of the runners. “You ready?”
“Yes!”
“All right, here goes.” Rafe gave the sled a shove, and it raced down the hill toward Gil and Lily, picking up speed as it went.
Watching the sled, he stepped back and stood next to David. “You looked like you were having fun.”
David tried unsuccessfully to keep the smile off his face. “I was.”
Rafe leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially,  “Did you kiss her?”
“I threatened to.”
A sudden jab to the ribs made David chuckle. “What?”
Before Rafe could reply, Anne stepped up beside them. “I have a question for both of you.”
Immediately, Rafe crossed his arms and assumed a defiant stance. “Whatever it was, I didn’t do it.”
David rolled his eyes. Rafe always had something to do with it.
“What I want to know is . . . why did I see you two hanging mistletoe in every nook and cranny of the house?”
David frowned. “Oh, you saw?” It must have been when she came down the stairs. He glanced to Rafe, who gave a slight nod.
Anne stomped her foot impatiently. “Well, what are you doing?”
“We’re trying to get Gil to propose to Lily,” David said. “It was Rafe’s great idea to hang the mistletoe. He thought it would, you know, provide some, ahh, opportune moments.”
After listening to David, Anne raised an eyebrow. “You two are impossible. Will you ever grow up?”
“Aw, come on, Anny-anne.” Rafe used his pet name for her. “You gotta admit it’s a swell idea.”
She shook her head. “I’ll admit to no such thing. But.” She grinned. “I won’t say a word to Gil, though I bet that once he sees your handiwork he’ll know it was you two who did it.”
Rafe shrugged. “Maybe so. Hey, Anne,” he grabbed her shoulders, seized with a sudden idea. “Can you tell Elaine about it, and tell her to stay away? We want to be able to catch only Lily standing beneath it, so it'll be more fun. And it’ll be only her and Gil.”
With a roll of her eyes, Anne nodded. “I’ll tell her. I’ll also tell her my brothers are crazy.”
David grinned. “I think she already knows that. All right, come on you two. I motion we get down there and grab the sleds.”
“Yeah, I second that motion,” Rafe said. “Gil’s had enough turns on the sled for the day.”
With a whoop, he led the way down the hill, while David and Anne slipped their way down through the piles of powdery snow.

***

“So how was your day?” Mrs. Sullivan asked as she passed the salad to Lily. Her eyes traveled around the table before landing on David.
Taking it that he was to be the spokesperson, David quickly swallowed the bit of roast chicken that he had placed in his mouth a second before. “It was good. We picked up the house a bit, went sledding, and then decided to head into town for some lunch. We stayed in town for a little longer and walked around the shops. After that, we headed back home, and the girls made the wonderful supper.” He used a hand to sweep across the table. Roast chicken, rolls, salad, and mashed potatoes completed the Christmas eve meal. The dining room looked wonderful, too. The tall glass cabinet behind the table had bits of greenery stuck around it, and a red runner with a single candle. The table itself had a candle centerpiece, and the phone box on the wall behind the table hosted its own red candle.
Rafe nodded in agreement as he swallowed a bit of roll. “It is wonderful. You guys did great!”
Arching an eyebrow, Anne said. “We’re girls, not guys.”
Rafe dipped his head. “I’m sorry, you gals did a wonderful job.”
As everyone returned to eating, David turned his attention to Janie, who, at eight, was the youngest of the four Sullivan children. She was what mother called an “unexpected surprise”, having been born nearly ten years after Anne.
“And how was your time with mother and dad?”
She smiled at him excitedly. Her brown pigtails lay flat on her shoulders, and her dark, blue eyes shone. “We went to the store and got the rest of the gifts for everyone. But then we also went to the candy store, and daddy got me a peppermint stick.”
David grinned. “I bet that was just swell.”
She nodded as she placed another spoonful of potatoes in her mouth. “It was!”
Small talk was made as the meal was consumed, with the older people talking about the fun they’d had earlier, while Janie chimed in about the sights she had seen in town.
When the meal was over, the girls cleared the table, leaving the men to head into the living room.
David and Rafe took seats on the floor on either side of the doorway, much to the confusion of Dad, who sat on the couch. Gil glanced around the room for a moment as though wondering where to sit, and Mr. Sullivan patted the seat beside him. “Don’t be shy of sitting here, Gilbert. If my boys want to sit on the floor that’s fine, but there’s no need for you to do the same.”
As Gil took a seat on the cushion, David and Rafe exchanged a smug look. They were waiting for a certain someone to enter the doorway. And they were going to make sure she didn’t leave until Gil had joined her. David glanced up. Sure enough, the mistletoe was still in place at the corner of the doorway.
Leaning back against the wall to wait, David let his thought wander. He knew how the evening would go. As soon as the kitchen was clean, the girls would head into the living room with cups of steaming apple cider. Then Father would read the Christmas story according to Matthew, and everyone would be allowed to open one gift from beneath the tree.
After a round of carols, accompanied by Anne on the piano, everyone would head upstairs to bed. Lily and Elaine were staying with Anne over the weekend, instead of returning to the dorms at the college. Rafe and David would head over with Gil to spend the night and the Wilson’s house.
David's eyes wandered to the piles around the Christmas tree, and he chuckled to himself. He was looking forward to a gift , all right. But it wouldn't be anything that had been set under the tree. No, his gift  would be the look on Gil’s face when he realized they’d played a prank on him. And it would be priceless.
The sounds of pots and pans could be heard in the kitchen behind them, along with the occasional laughter and the hum of soft voices.
For a second David wanted to go in the kitchen and help, but he pushed the idea away. There were already five people there, and the kitchen wasn’t exactly the largest place ever. Besides, he had to stay here and make sure that Lily stayed put. He trusted Rafe with some things, but getting spirited Lily Stanford to stay in one place wasn’t one of them. If Lily knew they wanted her to stay, she’d do her best to move.
Just then, he heard her voice behind him. “What in the world are you two doing sitting on the floor?”
Lily stood in the doorway, one shoulder leaning against it, and the other hand on her hip.
David looked at Rafe, and as their eyes met, he gave a barely perceptible nod. Rafe stood and walked over to Gil, while David stood and faced Lily. “Well, after all that sledding we decided the floor was the best place for our backs.”
“Your backs?” She didn’t look convinced.
“Yeah.” David winked. “You don’t know just how hard it is to pull you ladies up that hill.” Ignoring the raised eyebrows Lily gave him, David turned to look behind him just in time to see a red flush creep its way up Gil’s face as his eyes landed on the plant above the doorway.
He grinned and stepped out of the way. “She’s ready, Gil.”
Rafe prodded Gil to a standing position, and Gil grudgingly took a step forward, sending David a heated glare. It was all David could do to keep a straight face.
Lily looked between the three of them, a bewildered look on her face.
Just as long as she stays standing where she is, David thought.
Gil stopped about a foot in front of her, and David stepped back. He could imagine what he was in for later on that night on the way to the Wilsons, but he pushed the thought from his mind.
Looking rather sheepish, Gil cleared his throat, and glanced down at Lily. “Seems we’ve been put in a rather delicate situation.”
David bit his lip to keep from laughing. The usually eloquent, full-of-himself Gil actually seemed intimidated.

And . . . the next part will be posted tomorrow! ;) Thanks for reading! 

6 comments:

  1. Oh, brother! Those two. I'm sure Gil did something to them later. At least I hope so. :) Looking forward to reading tomorrow's post.

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    1. Hmm, knowing Gil . . . xD Glad you're looking forward to it, Rebekah! Thanks so much for commenting! ^_^

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  2. I got the characters straight! Also, I completely forgot to say anything about this on the last part but it's set in Topeaka and that is very cool. *nods* Can't wait for tomorrow's post!

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    1. Hehe, good. ;) *nods* Yes, it is. I agree. More stories need to be set in KS. ;) So glad you're looking forward to it! :D

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  3. Ah, this story! It's so great! It's amazing! You need to write more about these guys ... I just love them so much!!! I've got to dash off and read the next part now, so bye! :D

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    1. Aww, thank so much, Kellyn! Seriously, your comments on all these parts so made my day. <3

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