Nora Krank: We skip Christmas.
Spike Frohmeyer: You're skipping Christmas! Isn't that against the law?
from Christmas With The Kranks
Elizabeth Webber was overworked and underpaid; she never imagined that she would still be working at Kelly’s five years later. It was something that she necessarily couldn’t control after she had become pregnant with her son Cameron. She needed to provide for him plain and simple. Her dreams of becoming an Artist were indefinitely put on the back burner.
“Hey Elizabeth, can you take table four for me? I have to run in the kitchen and help Mike.”
“Sure.” Elizabeth absently replied.
She walked over to table four never bothering to look up at the gentleman. She pulled out her pad from her waitress sack and waited for him it order. When she received no reply she lifted her head, she was taken back as she stared into the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.
“Can I take your order, Sir?”
“Sir? I’m no Sir, call me Jason.” he responded crossing his arms over his firm chest.
“No problem, what would you like Jason?” she asked pulling the pen from behind her ear.
“I’ll take the number 3. Can I have my French fries extra crispy?”
“Yea, coming right up.” Elizabeth answered stammering away from his table. She had to get away from him; the way his mouth moved as he spoke was driving her insides crazy.
Elizabeth put in his order and began to fill the salt and pepper shakers. The ringing of bells indicated that a new customer had arrived in the diner. The sounds of little feet pounding away at the hardwood floor filled the air. A genuine smile appeared on her face as she saw a small hand come into view reaching for the cookie jar.
“Cameron Webber, don’t you dare touch those cookies before you eat dinner.” Elizabeth scolded him.
“But Mommy, I want a chocolate chip cookie. You said if I did well in school today that I get a cookie. Well mommy I did good in school.” He said with a stern nod of his head.
Jason smirked at the boy’s logical reasoning with his mother. ‘His mother.’ He thought to himself. He never would have guessed that a woman her age would be a mother to a four year old. Well he assumed the child was four, he reminded him of Michael. A child that he had given up years ago, but still had an aching pain in his heart.
“I said no young man, don’t you use my words against me either. You eat dinner first then I will decide if you get that cookie.” Elizabeth stated firmly placing her hands on her hips.
“Okay.” Cameron replied defeated slinking back into the wooden swivel stool. “Since cookies are off the table can we talk about Christmas?”
Elizabeth began to worry her bottom lip which Jason immediately noticed, causing him to stir in his seat. She gazed at his table as Tammy brought out his order. Thoughts of wanting him under her Christmas tree infiltrated her mind. She grabbed a towel under the counter and dabbed at her brow. She couldn’t believe that just looking at the man was making her heart flutter.
“Mommy, I said can we talk about my Christmas list to Santa?”
“I was thinking we skip Christmas this year.”
Cameron couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mother’s mouth. Skipping Christmas was just unheard of; tears began to well in his eyes. All he wanted was the new Chuggin Charlie motorized train.
“You're skipping Christmas. Isn’t that against the law! That doesn’t mean that Santa will, right?” Cameron pouted sticking out his lip.
Jason wasn’t one to eavesdrop but in the line of business he was in he couldn’t help but be aware of his surroundings. He listened intently to the boy and his mother’s conversation. He gathered from her tortured bottom lip that she wasn’t going to be financially able to provide Christmas for her son this year. He didn’t know why he had taken such an interest in this woman; he didn’t even know her name.
“Okay, we won’t skip Christmas.” She told her son. There was no way she could let her little boy down. If she had to find another job to get him that one toy he asked for she was willing to do anything.
“Yay.” Cameron shouted in triumph.
“Alright Cam, make sure you eat everything on your plate.” She told him placing a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in front of him.
Jason watched Elizabeth’s retreating form disappear behind the swinging wooden doors leading into the kitchen. He approached Cameron with caution not wanting to startle the boy.
“Hi, my name is Jason. What’s yours?”
“Mommy, said I shouldn’t talk to strangers.” He replied slurping a noodle past his lips.
“You have a smart mommy.” He smiled at the boy. “I just was curious what you asked Santa for Christmas.”
The boy’s eyes lit up at the mention of Santa. He told Jason in great detail about the newest Chuggin Charlie motorized vehicle.
Jason chuckled at the boy’s enthusiasm for this toy. Elizabeth walked back out to the front counter to see Jason and her son enthralled in deep conversation. Normally she would be concerned that a stranger was taking interest in her child, but something about Jason had her at ease.
“Hey Cameron, looks like you finished all of your dinner. Mike has a fresh batch of cookies in the kitchen. Why don’t you go ask him for one?”
“Yes.” He pumped his fist and jumped down from the stool running into the kitchen.
“Your son is full of energy.” He laughed taking a seat.
“Yes he is.”
“I didn’t mean to cause any trouble…” he said motioning to the kitchen where he saw Cameron happily enjoying a cookie.
“It’s okay, thank you for keeping him company.” She said cleaning off the counter after removing Cam’s plate.
“If you don’t mind me asking, why did you tell him that you may have to skip Christmas this year?” he asked staring at her intently.
“I’m a single mother. Cameron’s father ran out on me when he found out I was pregnant. It’s just me and him. Between paying the rent for my tiny apartment and making sure he has food and clothes. There’s not much else left for toys.” Elizabeth rattled off, unsure why she just told her life story to a complete stranger. “I’m sorry; you didn’t need to know all of that.”
“Don’t apologize, sounds like you needed a kind ear to listen.” Jason said grabbing her tiny hand into his. He absently began to run his thumb back and forth across the back of her hand, causing the temperature to rise in both of their bodies.
“Jason!” Emily screeched wrapping her arms around his waist.
Elizabeth quickly withdrew her hand and rushed off to the kitchen.
“Damn it.” Jason growled pinching the bridge of his nose.
“What?” Emily asked totally clueless. “Who was that girl?”
“I don’t know, but I sure do intend to find out.” Jason answered pulling out his cell phone. “Bernie, I need you to find the Chuggin Charlie motorized train.”