Chapter One ~ Getting the Story Right
Looking out across the newly fallen puffy white snow, Edward rubbed his strong chiseled chin and sighed. This was his favorite time of the year. During this month, he enjoyed these moments for himself, instead of the needs of others. It was during this time he replenished and rejuvenated his weary soul and prepared for the season before him. He wondered if this season would be the last. Believers, those who kept the true meaning of Christmas in their hearts, were becoming extremely rare. So rare, that he could only remember one in the last fifteen years.
Thinking back on the enchanting child, he couldn’t help but smile. Her heart was so pure, that it reminded him of the clearest of ice sickles that formed outside his bedroom window at home. Even today he could still see her tiny five-year-old hand as it reached lovingly and rubbed the velvety soft covered nose of his favorite reindeer, Seth. He watched her from the cover of the trees, not wanting to disturb the perfect moment. Her angelic smile warmed his heart, as she stared into Seth’s eyes, then the wind blew her dark chestnut hair giving her the illusion of a mystical fairy. She was true perfection. The purity of both her heart and spirit was evident.
He had embraced the family business as a small lad. His grandfather had been the first Santa Claus, the one that people named, Father Noel. Yes, Edward had spent his life with the responsibilities of being the grandson of the original Santa Claus. In the year 940 A.D., Nicholas Cullen began spreading joy to needy children. First, it was the village next to his home, then he spread his joy to the rest of the world. He, his wife Elizabeth, and his family had led a secretive life, hiding their true selves from others. Humans thought they were the only ones who inhabited this planet, however, they were not.
Humans were unaware of the immortal creatures who coexisted with them in their world, walking side by side with the mortals, never revealing to them their differences. There were witches, werewolves, vampires, elves; of which Nicholas’ family were members. Over time, legends were formed and tales were told of the immortals, though the tales were far from the truth. The myths and descriptions that were portrayed were so far removed from the truth that the immortals had no fear of being discovered. They didn’t sparkle in the sunlight, burn in the daylight, change only at a full moon, have pointy ears or warts on their noses. Most of these beings were unbelievably beautiful, incredibly strong, never died and possessed mystical gifts.
Nicholas was gifted with the ability to see the good or evil in humans. Using this gift, he was able to decide which child was deserving of a gift. His family, with their multitude of talents, made toys for each good girl or boy. On several occasions, humans had happened upon the location of their home and workshop. Thankfully for grandma Elizabeth’s gift, she had been able to erase their memories and they were once again protected. However, it was only a matter of time before the humans would become a problem and their secret was revealed.
The legend of flying reindeer and sleigh was also correct, other than the fact that the reindeer had strong names, not the simple names that the humans assigned them. Who the hell came up with such weird and horrible names? Cupid was a foolish name, not the name that signified the majesty that the regal reindeer deserved. The origins of the reindeer occurred when the Senior Veterinarian elf, Ephraim, used his gift to endow them with the ability to fly. Each Father Christmas had their own individual reindeer team who would remain with them until he decided to retire. After the reindeer were retired from duty, they enjoyed a life of being pampered.
With the help of his elfin family, Nicholas found a place far removed from the human settlements to set up a home and workshop. Unlike the humans, the cold did not affect elves, so the northernmost hemisphere was claimed and they began their construction. A grand home was built, along with a massive workshop, including homes for each of the elfin families. As time passed by, the once small community had grown into a medium-size town.
As the human population began to grow and expand into other regions of the world, it became apparent that Nicholas needed to curtail the distribution of gifts to the children to maintain the secrecy. He decided to concentrate his efforts to one specific day to deliver his gifts to the good girls and boys. After talking it over with his family, they decided that December twenty-fifth was the perfect day. It was one week before the end of the year, a time of reflection of one’s actions for the past year.
Four hundred and sixty years later, Nicholas turned the reins over to his son, Carlisle, who took up the reins, so to speak, and continued his father’s endeavors. The humans continued with their legends of the jolly old man who delivered presents, much of which was totally prosperous. Their Father Noel had come to be known as Santa Claus with white hair, long white beard, large round belly, wore a red suit and had a twinkle in his eyes. Out of all of the outlandish descriptions, only one was correct, though it only happened when a male elf found his mate and that was when his eyes would twinkle a golden color.
When Carlisle assumed the mantle passed down by Nicholas, he had yet to find his soul mate. However, he was so enthralled with performing his duties, that he only occasionally felt the loneliness. It was during his two hundredth year of serving as Father Christmas and continuing the tradition of spending a month away from the workshop before the big night, that he found his one true love. She was not a member of their elfin community but lived in a small island village in the northern region of the Americas; on one of its great lakes. Carlisle’s father had built a home in the woods there that overlooked the lake. Over time more and more humans began populating the small island home and named it Beaver Island.
On one magical winter’s night, Carlisle was walking along the beach enjoying the peace and serenity, when he happened upon a lovely, caramel-haired beauty with enchanting light green eyes. He hadn’t expected to see another elf on the island, since he had been here so many times before.
“Good evening. My name is Carlisle,” he said with a bow.
“Good evening. My name is Esmeralda, but you may call me Esme,” she replied in a thick Irish brogue. Esme was shocked to see another of her kind that was not part of the family. They had just arrived two days prior to settle on the delightful island that reminded them of their home, Ireland. Her father had brought them to the Americas to take part in the new life and prosperity that it claimed to provide.
“Esme was surprised to see another of our kind on the island,” Carlisle indulged with a crooked smile.
“I am as well. Are you here for work or pleasure?” Esme asked, as she tried to calm her racing heart.
“I am on holiday. My family owns a home on the island,” Carlisle explained.
“Are you here with your family?” Esme quizzed, not asking the question that she wanted answered most of all. Was he here with a wife?
Carlisle couldn’t help himself, but reached out and grasped Esme’s hand. Upon contact with her soft, warm flesh he felt a sand warmth encompassing his heart. “I have no wife. I am here alone.”
Esme looked at her hand encased in Carlisle’s strong one, then up to his face. When she looked into his ice-blue eyes, she saw a sparkle of gold in them. They were so beautiful, so alluring, and more than that, she could see her future in them. “No wife?” She murmured softly.
“No. There has never been anyone, there will never anyone, except you,” Carlisle declared.
They were married the next day and at the end of Carlisle’s month-long vacation he brought Esme back to his home. She was welcomed with loving arms by everyone. Esme knew and had heard the legends about Santa Claus, but was shocked to discover he truly existed. She thought it was just another legend that the humans had concocted once again. Humans were so imaginative.
Ten years later, Esme and Carlisle were blessed with the family they had created of three children. Edward who was their oldest and a set of twins that they named Alice and Rosalie. Edward, as the firstborn, and only son, embraced his heritage, learning everything he could about being the next Father Christmas. The gift he was born with was both a blessing and a curse. He had the ability to hear every thought of the human race. This was a blessing because he was able to determine what they were truly thinking, though it became tedious having to listen to not only the selfless and compassionate thoughts of some but their vile, evil thoughts as well. Over the years, he became able to block certain thoughts, which gave him a reprieve when he was out. His sister, Alice, had received the gift sedation. cause humans to fall into a deep sleep filled with dreams of happiness and joy. On Christmas Eve, before her father started out for his mission to deliver the toys, she would initiate a sleep spell that would make each of his recipients fall into a deep slumber, preventing them from seeing “Santa” enter their home.
His sister, Rosalie, was born with the gift of protection. She was able to project a shield around anything or anyone to hide them from threats. The shield would remain in place until she removed it. This was helpful, because she placed a protective shield around their home and elfin village, blocking it from the view and knowledge of the outside world. She also projected a shield around her father and his sleigh when he went out to deliver the gifts.
After four hundred years of service, Carlisle had decided to retire, and relinquish the duties of Father Christmas to his son Edward; who gladly accepted the honor. He had observed his father performing the duties and loved bringing joy to the deserving children of the world. However, much to his disappointment, children began to change in the mid-twentieth century. They became entitled, demanding the types and quantity of toys they wanted. So here he was a month before Christmas deciding if this would be the last time he would make the run as Santa Claus.
Walking into the house, he decided he needed his daily caffeine fix. Opening the cabinet above the coffee maker he looked at the glass container and groaned. There were only a few granules of the dark richness.
“Damn,” he groaned out loud. He hated that he had to go into town, and even worse that he wouldn’t be caffeinated. Someone could be seriously injured if they got in his way of his precious dark roast grounds. Changing out of his sleep pants, he slipped into clothes that wouldn’t draw attention to himself. He would be comfortable in shorts and no shirt in the cold weather, but that would definitely draw too much attention for someone who was trying to maintain a low profile. After donning a pair of 501 button fly jeans, his favorite Imagine Dragons tee-shirt, covering it with a blue checkered flannel shirt, he completed the look with a pair of Doc Martin boots. Looking in the mirror, he ran a brush through his dark caramel hair, trying to tame the numerous cowlicks that riddled his head. However, he finally decided that it was fruitless and let it stick up wherever it wanted.
Grabbing up the keys to the 1956 F100 candy apple red pickup, he made his way to the garage. It had been in the garage and kept in mint condition. When he or his family wasn’t on the island, their groundskeeper, Marcus, would start the engine once a week and take it out for a drive once a month. Edward walked out the back door and looked across the yard, seeing Seth and Garrett munching on their favorite vegetable feed.
“Guys, I am going into town,” Edward called out to them, opening his mind to their thoughts.
“Can we go?” Seth asked.
“Not this time. I am just going for some provisions,” Edward answered.
“Don’t forget about our needs,” Garrett reminded, with a grunt.
“Oh no. The last time you guys had it, you stank up the whole outside for miles,” Edward grimaced. “The town officials were looking everywhere for a possible gas leak.”
Both Seth and Garrett both neighed showing their teeth. They recalled how funny everyone’s faces were after they finished letting off some steam. Looking at each other then back to Edward, this time with sad pouty faces, they begged. “Please,” they both pleaded.
Edward looked at their pitiful eyes and smiled. “Okay, fine but only a twelve-pack and domestic not Heineken.”
Seth and Garrett neighed with excitement. They watched as Edward turned, shaking his head and went into the garage. They couldn’t wait to enjoy the bubbly goodness.