Little Christmas Angel
By Dwayne G. Anderson
It was a beautiful sunset on December 23rd, two days until
Christmas. Snow fell from the sky, covering the streets like frosting on the
cake. Small crowds of people were gathered at the curbs singing Christmas
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh!"
Danny, who stood nearby waiting for the traffic to slow down so he could safely cross, was singing a carol of his own.
"On the first day of Christmas, I'm going to give Sawyer...a beautiful diamond ring!"
He opened the velvet box and kissed the ring. It would look much better on her finger than in the box. As Danny closed the box and slipped it back into his pocket, the cars crossing the street came to a complete stop. Happily, he skipped across the road. He was to meet his friends at the local diner for dinner.
* * * * *
"Hi guys!" said Danny as he sat down next to
Sawyer, "Merry Christmas!"
"You're too early Danny" said Woolie who sat in a chair that was crushed under his weight. "Christmas isn't for another two days!"
"I loved Christmas as a kid in Kokomo" said Danny. "And now, just think, I'm about to celebrate my first Christmas away from home!"
He casually slipped an arm around Sawyer and took her right hand into his. "After all, Christmas is the time of being with the people you love. Right Sawyer, my sweet?"
Sawyer giggles as Danny kissed her hand.
"May I take your order?" the waiter asked.
"Sure" said Danny. "Do you have frog legs?"
"Certainly" said the waiter.
"Well" said Danny with a chuckle, "wear pants and no one will know!"
(a drumroll and rimshot are performed offscreen)
"So tell us waiter" said Danny, "how fresh is the lobster?"
"It's pretty fresh, it already pinched me three times today!"
(another drumroll and rimshot are heard)
Everyone laughs again.
"I'll just have the soup of the day and a tuna fish sandwich" said Danny.
"Certainly sir! Now, may I take everyone else's order?"
* * * * *
As the gang waites for their food to arrive, Danny fidgets
in his pocket and carefully opens the box. But unfortunately, as he lifts the
ring out, it falls out of his pocket and drops to the floor where it rolls along
the hardwood. Danny gets down on all four limbs and crawls after it. None of the
others seem to notice. Finally, Danny catches the ring, just as a waiter steps
into his path carrying the meals of another family of customers. He trips over
Danny's tail, loses his balance and the food goes flying. Danny returns to his
seat with the ring back in his pocket, completely ignoring the confusion he's
unwittingly created as a trio of waiters clean up the mess. At last, another
waiter arrived with the food.
"Enjoy!" he said.
Everyone thanks the waiter and pays him for their meals. Danny raises his glass. "Here's to the upcoming holiday! May we all have a wonderful Christmas!"
Sawyer and the rest of the gang raise their glasses and clang them together. Tillie however does it too hard and cracks it.
"Oops!" she said.
T.W grabs one of the fortune cookies and breaks it open. He reads the message inside.
"You'll get an unexpected surprise very soon."
"Well, it is Christmas" said Sawyer. "And the season is fully of surprises!"
"It sure does!" said Tillie. "It comes in packages, boxes, and wrapped in ribbons!"
(drumroll and rimshot)
"You guys forget" said Danny, "Christmas is about being with family, friends, and the people you love."
"Are we gonna eat or talk?" asked an impatient Frances.
The gang begin to eat their meals. Danny dips his spoon into the soup and lifts it up to his mouth, when something outside the window catches his eye. He lowers his spoon.
"Danny, what's wrong?" asked Sawyer.
Danny declined to respond. He tilted his head slightly sideways towards the window with a sad look on his face. The others turn their heads to look out the window to see what he's looking at.
Across the street, they see a familiar blonde girl in a dirty torn dress reach into a garbage can and pull out a fish with nothing but the bones left. She grimaces and makes a face of disgust turning away, covering her mouth.
"Poor Darla" said Danny. "How the mighty have fallen."
Tillie leans back in her crushed chair, only to fall backwards, tripping up another waiter and his trays of food.
"If you ask me" she said as she sat up, "she got what she deserved."
Daniel declined to comment. He eyed his tuna fish sandwich, scoops it up in his napkin, rises from his seat, and walks outside. The others can only guess what will happen next.
"He wouldn't" said Frances.
"He might" said Woolie.
Outside, Danny walks across the street towards Darla.
"He is!" said Cranston.
* * * * *
As Danny steps onto the sidewalk, the tires of a passing
car splash snow into Darla's face. She stumbled around for a moment before
collapsing backwards against the trash can. It sways back and forth before
finally tumbling over, spilling its contents over Darla. Darla sputters and
gasps, tossing off bones, rotten apple cores, and pieces of paper off her dress,
when suddenly, a shadow envelopes her. She looks upwards to see Danny standing
Darla's despair turns into fury. "You!" she snarled pointing an angry finger at Danny. "This is all your fault!"
"Excuse me?!" asked Danny. "Don't go blaming this all on me! I'm not the one who flooded the stage!"
"Yeah, like I need you rubbing it in!" said Darla as she stood and brushed off her dress. "I used to be Darla Dimple, the most famous child starlet Hollywood has ever seen!"
She looks over her dress. "And now look at me! I've lost everything! My home, my career, my butler, my fans, everything! It's all gone! Now I'm reduced to scrounging for food in the trash and no one cares!" She angrily glares back upwards at Danny. "Yeah, that's me! Wonderful! Thank you for ruining my life Danny!"
Danny put his clenched hands to his hips.
"I didn't ruin your life Darla. You did that to yourself! It serves you right for being such a selfish spoiled brat!"
Darla's anger changes into sadness. Danny's frown melts away.
"I'm sorry, but, if it means anything to you..."
He offers her his sandwich. "...you look a little hungry. Go on take it."
With trembling hands, Darla slowly reaches for the sandwich and takes it from Danny's hands.
"Come on" he said taking her hand. "Let's get you out of this chill."
He led her back to the diner.
* * * * *
"Oh you're not serious!" said Frances.
"I can't believe you went and did that!" said Cranston. "Are you an idiot?!"
"Come on guys" said Danny, "have a heart. What was I supposed to do? Just leave her like that? It's Christmas, the season of giving, sharing, loving, and forgiving!"
He pours Darla a steaming cup of hot chocolate. "Man, you look terrible!" he said. "You look like you haven't eaten or bathed in months!"
"Danny, did you take Stupid Pills?" asked Cranston. "Have you forgotten what she almost did to us?!"
"She's only a child" said Danny. "Yes, she may be a selfish spoiled brat, but that's what happens to some people when they have too much fame and glory."
As Darla drinks her hot chocolate, Danny pushes his soup bowl in front of her.
"You need this a lot more than I do" he said.
Darla grabs the soup bowl with both hands and begins slurping it up.
"Wow!" said Danny, "you must have been really hungry!"
"Look at that" said Tillie. "She didn't even say `Thank you Danny'!"
Danny however only felt nothing but pity for the fallen child starlet.
"Darla" he began, "I know it's none of my business, but, don't you have a family? Where are your parents?"
"My mommy and daddy don't like me anymore" said Darla as set down the empty bowl soup. "I did something bad a few years ago, and now they don't ever want to see me again."
"It's no wonder" said Frances. Danny glares at her, then faces Darla again.
"I'm sure they didn't really mean it. Parents do get angry with their children from time to time, but all parents care for their children. A mother and father would never stop loving their child, even if she is a selfish spoiled brat."
"How can you be so nice to her considering what she did?!" said Cranston
"Guys please!" said Danny. "I know she tried to undermine us, and yes I know she got what she deserved, but it's Christmas! No one, especially such a young child, should be out on the streets on the most special time of the year."
Sawyer's lip began to quiver. Danny's words have taken quite an impact, plucking at the strings of her heart.
"I mean, how would you guys feel if you were in her shoes? Or rather, what's left of them?" asked Danny.
The others decline to answer. Pudge, Woolie, T.W, Tillie, and Sawyer wipe the tears dripping down their face.
"I know how she would feel" said T.W. "Yesterday, a car ran over my favorite shell. Which isn't so bad, but next time, could the driver please just wait till I'm out of it?!"
(drumroll and rimshot)
"Are you coming down with something?" asked Danny. "It must be from sleeping out in this cold. Where do you bunk at night anyway?"
"In an alley" said Darla.
"Well not tonight" said Danny. "You're coming home with me."
"Are you crazy?!" said Frances.
"Are you out of your mind?!" asked Cranston.
"Come on Darla" said Danny. "It's getting late. Let me take you to my place."
Danny takes Darla's hand and leads her out of the diner.
"I guess my fortune came true after all" said T.W.
"I'll never look at that boy the same way again" said Cranston.
* * * * *
Danny unlocked the door to his apartment and pushed it
open, leading Darla inside.
"Danny, why?" she asked. "Why are you being so good to me?"
"It's the Christmas holidays" said Danny. "Christmas is a time of giving, sharing, caring, and loving. Besides, it's against my nature to walk away from someone in need. Why do you think I even rallied all the animals together for a shot at stardom, before you intervened?"
"There you go again!" said Darla. "Rubbing it in!"
"Oh sorry" said Danny. "But that's just what happened."
He opened the closet and took out his camera. "Darla,
may I take a picture of you?"
"Huh?" asked Darla. "Why?"
"You know, just for fun."
"Alright, but if you send it to the papers, I'll sue!"
"Yeah right! Where are you going to get a lawyer? Or how will you even afford one?"
Darla realized that Danny was right. Danny snapped a photograph.
"I'll go prepare a nice hot bath for you" he said as he walked into the bathroom. "You look like you haven't bathed for months!"
"Max used to give me a bath every now and then" said Darla. "He did everything for me."
Danny scratched his head as he turned on the hot water. "I wonder whatever happened to the big guy himself?"
* * * * *
Darla found it hard to wash herself in the tub. This was
something new to her, Max had bathed her for the past few years, but now, she
was forced to do it herself.
"Think Darla!" she said to herself. "Remember how Max did it?" She took the brush, scrubbed across the soap bar, then began to scrub her back.
As she was doing this, she heard Danny on the phone. "Hello? Oh hi Sawyer! She's taking a bath now. Boy, she looked like she hasn't bathed for months! I sure hope she doesn't leave a dirty ring around the rim!"
As Darla continued to wash herself, the water began to take on a brown tint. Taking the shampoo, she poured it into her hair and scrubbed with both hands. After drying herself off and getting dressed in her rags, Darla pushed open the bathroom door, leaving a dirty ring around the rim of the bathtub.
"It's getting late" said Danny. "You can sleep in my bed. I'll sleep on the couch tonight. You deserve a good night's sleep after all those times of sleeping in an alley."
"I don't know what to say" said Darla.
"How about `thank you'? It would be a good start."
Danny tucked Darla in. "Sweet dreams" he said. Darla yawned and lay back on the pillow. Danny walked into the bathroom and shook his head at the sight of the dirty ring around the rim. Sighing to himself, he got the brush and began to clean it up.
* * * * *
The following morning, Danny made a poster with the
photograph he had taken of Darla. Walking into the police station with Sawyer,
he was about to post it up on the bulletin board among other missing children,
when he and Sawyer overheard a conversation between a police officer and a man
and woman in a nearby office.
"I'm sorry sir and madam. We've done all we could. Your daughter is nowhere to be found. I'm afraid we should just give up the search."
"Give up?! You can't be serious!"
"I'm terribly sorry sir. You and your wife should just go home and sleep it off tonight."
"How can we sleep knowing our baby is not safe?! She is out there! I just know it!"
"Madame, there is nothing more we can do."
"No! It cannot be! I can't believe it! I won't believe it!"
A door opened and a grief stricken middle aged blonde woman and black haired man trudged out.
"This will be yet another lonesome Christmas Richard" the woman sniffled.
"Anna, if the police won't help us, then it's up to us. If they can't find our daughter, we will!"
Of course, Danny and Sawyer had heard every word. Sawyer felt like crying.
As the grief stricken couple left the police station,
Danny walks into the office where they walked out.
"Pardon me sir, I know it's none of my business, but who were those two people?"
"They came here from New York City some time earlier this year searching for their missing daughter who ran away from home on Christmas Eve three years ago."
"Anna and Richard Dimple used to be so happy. Losing their only child really destroyed them emotionally, what a tragedy!"
The officer himself felt like crying. Danny however was awestruck at what he had heard.
"The Dimples?!" he said to himself. "Were those Darla's parents?!"
"If it's not too much trouble officer" said Danny, "may I have their address?"
* * * * *
The taxi pulled up in front of a large mansion in downtown
Hollywood. Danny and Sawyer climbed out after he thanked and paid the cabdriver.
Danny and Sawyer walked past the iron gates, down the pavement sidewalk, past
the cherry blossom trees, and up to the front door. Danny knocked on the door.
It was answered by the same man that Danny and Sawyer had seen at the police
"Mr. Dimple?" asked Danny.
"What do you want?" asked Richard. "I'm a very busy man. I have no time for idle chit-chat!"
"But we--!" Danny began.
"Please go away" said Richard, and he quickly shut the door.
"Well," said Sawyer, "that got us nowhere. Let's just leave Danny."
Danny wasn't about to give up. He slid the poster of Darla under the door. Richard had only turned his back to the door and taken a few steps away, when he heard the paper being slid under the door. He turned around, scooped up the paper and stared at it. His eyes widened in disbelief at the sight of Darla in a dirty dress. He quickly threw open the door.
"Where did you get this?!" he said frantically waving the poster at Danny. "Tell me now!"
"Well, I--" began Danny.
Richard calmed down. "I'm sorry I was rude to you earlier" said Richard. "Please, come in and we'll talk."
* * * * *
Richard sat in his chair and took in a great big puff of his cob-pipe. Danny
and Sawyer sat in on the nearby sofa. Hanging over the burning fireplace, was a
portrait of Richard, Anna, and a little girl who bore a striking resemblance to
a younger Darla Dimple.
"Three years ago tonight, Darla disappeared from our home. We haven't seen her since."
"What happened?" asked Danny.
"On Christmas eve, I along with my wife, attended a public ballet performance that Darla was performing. During the show, Darla purposely caused the others to fall, wanting to be the main star herself. The director was furious and she cut Darla from the show. When we got home, Anna and I sent Darla to her room without any supper. Later, we felt bad about what we had done, so we went to check on her. And...well...she was gone. Her window was open and there was no sign of her. We searched everywhere but she had vanished without a trace. We still have her presents wrapped up from a few years ago."
"So why did you come to Hollywood all the way from New York City?" asked Danny.
"Earlier this year, Anna and I read a newspaper article about how Darla's acting career had been destroyed. We came here to find her, selling our old home and leaving due to so many sad memories. We even brought everything from Darla's old bedroom, all her toys, even her bed. Anna spends many long hours alone in that room. We...miss our daughter...very deeply."
Sawyer wiped a tear dripping down her face.
"Come with me" said Richard as he stood up.
* * * * *
Richard opens the door to Darla's old bedroom. Inside on a
rocking chair, Anna sits weeping. It's a sad sight to see indeed. Sitting on the
bed, was a lone grey teddy bear which Richard picks up.
"This was Darla's favorite toy when she was very young. We gave it to her for her first birthday."
"Was it special to her?" asked Danny.
"Indeed" said Richard sadly. "She left it behind when she disappeared."
He wipes a lone tear from his eye.
"Will you...do me a favor Danny?"
"If you see Darla, give this to her" said Richard giving the teddy bear to Danny. "Tell her how much her parents miss her, and how our home isn't the same without her."
"Yes sir" said Danny as he took the bear.
* * * * *
Danny and Sawyer return to his apartment, but the moment
they step in, Danny hears a shriek.
"Where have you been?!" Darla demanded. "I'm hungry and you know it's wrong to let a child starve!"
"Give me a break Darla" said Danny. "I've been busy!"
"Get me something to eat before I start tearing up this place!"
"That's enough Darla!" said Sawyer.
Darla immediately calms down as Sawyer and Danny glare at her.
"Darla, don't you have feelings for anybody but yourself?! Have you no compassion?" said Sawyer.
"Richard was right about you" said Danny. "You're nothing but a spoiled selfish brat Darla!"
Darla stares at him in silence, declining to comment. Danny's frown fades. So does Sawyer's. Danny steps forth and pulls the teddy bear out of his pocket.
"What is that?" asked Darla.
"It's yours" said Danny. "You left it behind in New York City years ago."
Darla gasped. "Teddy!"
Danny gives the bear to Darla who hug it immediately.
"Where did you find him?" she asked.
"Richard gave him to us" said Danny.
"Richard Dimple" said Sawyer, joining Danny's side.
"Your dad" said Danny.
Darla's eyes open wide in disbelief.
"Your parents came all the way from New York City to find you" said Danny. "Which means you were wrong about them. They're not mad at you Darla. In fact, they were worried about you when you disappeared. They miss you very deeply."
Darla can't believe a word she's hearing.
"I'll bet if your mother was here" said Danny, "she'd have something for you to eat. They always have something to eat when you're hungry."
"Or something warm to put on if you're cold" said Sawyer. "Mother's are pack mules of love."
Darla hesitates to speak. Tears slowly begin to well up in her eyes.
"Darla?" asked Danny. "Do you want to go home?"
Darla stares at Danny and Sawyer, and then Teddy. What happens next is completely out of character for her.
Darla drops to her knees, tears slowly dripping down her face. "I...want...my...MOMMY!"
The sound of Darla's wails can be heard throughout the building. Sawyer gets down on one knee and takes the sobbing child into her arms. Danny also feels like crying.
* * * * *
"You've got to be kidding!" said Cranston.
"It's the right thing to do" said Danny. "There's no use trying to talk me out of it, my mind is made up!"
Cranston and Frances turn away. "I can't even look at you anymore Danny!" said Frances.
"Come on you two!" said Sawyer, "it's Christmas!"
"She's right" said Tillie. "I know Darla's a spoiled brat, but we've got to help reunite her with with her family!"
"Cranston, Frances, I'm asking you as a friend, help someone in need!" said Danny.
"Forget it!" said Frances.
"Boy, somebody took a grumpy pill!" said Woolie.
"Hey!" said Cranston. "Don't give us that look Danny! We're not going to let it change our...oh alright already! If it will get her out of our lives, we'll do anything! Right Frances?"
"Whatever" said Frances.
"Then it's settled" said Danny. "We've got to get Darla ready to reunite her with her family. But first, we'll have to make some changes in her."
"Yeah, a lot of changes" said Frances.
* * * * *
"No no no Darla!" said Danny. "You're not
supposed to slurp up your soup! You're supposed to use a spoon!"
Sawyer hands the child a spoon, helps her dip it in the soup, then brings it up to her mouth.
"I don't know if I can do this" said Darla.
"Of course you can!" said Danny. "Anyone can eat with a spoon, once they learn."
T.W gives her a fortune cookie which she cracks open. Inside is a message:
"What you desire more than anything shall soon be yours."
"I hope so" said Darla. "I'm tired of having no one to care for me."
* * * * *
Darla steps out of the dressing room in a women's clothing
department wearing a black dress and new shoes. Danny's eyes widen in disbelief.
"Ok, who gave her a black dress?!"
Frances and Cranston whistle innocently.
"It's Christmas, a time of happiness and joy!" said Danny.
Sawyer selects a green dress with red and white spots. Darla takes it and goes back into the dressing room. When she comes back out again, Danny and the others nod in approval.
"Perfect!" said Danny giving her a thumbs-up.
* * * * *
Night had fallen when the gang returned to the Dimple
mansion. Danny and Sawyer began to climb up the tree leading up to the window
where Darla had her old room.
"It's a good thing cats are good at climbing trees" said Danny. He reaches his hand down and pulls up Sawyer from the branch below.
"Ok Woolie, hand her over to us!"
Woolie picks up Darla with his trunk and lifts her up towards the two cats. Sawyer takes her into her arms and climbs further up the tree with Danny towards the window. Danny pushes the window open and jumps inside with Sawyer and Darla behind him.
Darla takes a few moments too look around her surroundings.
"I remember this place" she said. "This is my old room. There's my bed and all my toys! I feel so weird being here again after all this time."
"Better surprise your parents" said Danny. "Climb into bed and wait till morning."
Darla obeys and climbs into her bed.
Danny and Sawyer jump out the window back onto the tree. "Good luck!" he said to Darla as he closed the window. Darla pulls the covers over her head and falls fast asleep.
* * * * *
As the sun first appeared over the horizon, turning the
sky pink, Anna and Richard opened the door to Darla's bedroom and step in.
Seeing a child's empty room was a sad sight indeed. Not even the sunlight of the
early dawn could brighten up the mood. Tears fill Anna's eyes.
"Three years now we've experienced no joy this special time of the year" said Richard. Anna lowers her head and sadly shakes it slowly.
"It's no use" she said. "We may never see our daughter again."
Richard took Anna into his arms. "We must not give up hope Anna. Someday, we'll find her." Anna lifts her head. Something causes her eyes to widen.
"Richard, is it my imagination, or is someone sleeping in our daughter's bed?"
Richard closes his eyes, shakes his head, and reopens them. Anna blinks, but no matter how hard she tries, she can still see the shape of someone sleeping in the bed.
"Nah, it couldn't be" said Richard. "It can only be a dream." Richard pinched himself. "Ouch! No it isn't."
Anna keeps her eyes on the bed. What happened next stunned the two grief stricken parents.Darla throws the covers off her head and sits up in bed. "MOMMY! DADDY!" she cries.
Anna falls to her knees in disbelief as Darla jumps out of bed and runs towards her. Taking her long lost child into her arms, Anna starts crying in happiness. Richard joins his wife in the reunion with their daughter.
* * * * *
Outside, Danny and the rest of the gang are fast asleep
against the outside wall of the mansion. Danny heard Darla's scream and awoke.
"Sawyer! Everybody! Wake up!" he cried shaking Sawyer. Sawyer and the others immediately open their eyes.
"Listen!" said Danny.
From Darla's room, they hear a woman crying.
"How do you like that?" asked Cranston. "She's crying. I knew she wouldn't be happy to have Darla home!"
"No!" said Danny. "Mrs. Dimple is crying out of true joy, a joy from having her child home again, the greatest feeling of love a mother could ever wish for!"
The others look up at the window, smiling, except for Cranston and Frances(well, they are looking up at the window actually).
Cranston's eyes begin to water. "What's come over me?" he asked as he wiped his eyes dry. "Is this happiness?"
"It's probably guilt" said Frances.
Danny and Sawyer, having an arm around each other wipe a tear from their own eyes.
"Come on" said Danny, "our work here is done."
As the gang begin to leave, Richard peers out the window and sees them.
* * * * *
Waiting outside the main gates of the mansion for a taxi,
Danny and the rest of the gang are each looking back upon what they've achieved.
"We did good guys" said Danny. "Darla is back home with her parents and the Dimples are a family again. What more could they ask for?"
"I still feel guilty for helping her" said Cranston. "I will never be able to hold my head up high again."
"I couldn't agree" said Frances.
"Come on you two" said Danny, "doesn't it feel great knowing that you've done a good deed? Knowing that you've restored a family?"
"And what do we get out of it?" asked Frances.
"Nothing" said Cranston.
"It's Christmas!" said Danny. "It's the season of love and happiness!"He turned to Sawyer and took her by the hand. "Speaking of which...Sawyer?"
"Yeah Danny?" she asked.
"Sawyer..." asked Danny as he reached into his pocket, "...will you--?" But before Danny could pop the question with the ring, he and the gang hear Richard's voice.
"Danny my boy! Wait up!" Richard was running down the pavement towards the open gates of his mansion.
"Mr. Dimple!" said Danny. "How are you feeling?"
"I couldn't have been happier" said Richard. "Anna and I cannot thank you enough for bringing Darla home to us. When she disappeared three years ago, it was if all the happiness and joy in our lives had vanished with her. Now, the family is whole again, and it's all thanks to you."
"I can't take all the credit sir" said Danny. "My friends helped me."
"Thank you all" said Richard.
"You're welcome" said the gang.
"How's Anna?" asked Danny.
"She is well, thanks to each of you" said Richard. "I haven't seen her this happy since the day of our wedding."
"Take good care of Darla, ok?" said Danny.
"We shall" said Richard, "and we will make certain never to be so angry with her as we were years ago, for it was what tore our family apart." Richard puts an arm on the shoulders of Danny and Sawyer. Then before they can react, he pulls them close to him in an embrace.
"Normally, men like myself do not express their feelings, but I haven't experienced such true joy in all my life!" He puts down Danny and Sawyer and releases them.
"Come now" said Richard turning around to face his mansion with his arms outstretched. "Anna and I would like to invite all of you inside for a Christmas celebration. Consider it our way of thanking you all for bringing joy back into our lives!"
As Richard led Danny and the others back to his mansion, Cranston said to Danny, "perhaps we could all learn from your judgment Danny."
"It's my nature to help out" said Danny. "That's just the way I'm made."
* * * * *
"I'd like to make a toast" said Richard as he
raised his glass. "To all my new friends and my restored family. I couldn't
"Thank you" said Danny as he and the others raised their glasses.
"No Danny" said Richard. "Thank you, and your friends."
Everyone drank their eggnog.
"This calls for a little christmas carol!" said Woolie as he sat down at the piano.
"You can play piano?" asked Anna.
"Trust him" said Danny with a smile. "We've seen him in action."
Woolie begins to play "Jingle Bells", which everyone begins to sing.
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, Oh what fun it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh!"
"Dashing through the sky, in a snowdeer open sleigh" sang Pudge.
Woolie stops playing the piano. Everyone gives a funny look at Pudge.
"I believe you mean `Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh'" said Danny.
"Why are they called Reindeer if it snows?" asked Pudge.
(another drumroll and rimshot are heard)
"And another thing" said Pudge, "what are the names of Santa's eight reindeer again?"
"Actually, there's only two" said Danny. "Rudolph and Olive."
"Where did you get an answer like that?" asked Sawyer.
"Oh you know how the song goes?" asked Danny. "Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. Olive the other reindeer..."
(yet another drumroll and rimshot are heard offscreen)
Woolie continues to play where he left off. Everyone continues to sing, except for Danny who nudges Sawyer.
"Sawyer?" he asked as he took her hand.
"Yes?" she asked.
Danny smiled and pulled his hand back. Sawyer looked down at her hand and gasped, dropping her mouth open in surprise. On her finger, was a diamond ring.
"Is this what I think it is?" she asked.
"Do you want it to be?" asked Danny. Sawyer smiled and embraced him. "Does this answer your question?" she asked.
"Definately!" said Danny.
"Danny, I'm glad I love a caring soul such as you" said Sawyer.
"You flatter me" said Danny.
"Ahem" said a voice.
Danny and Sawyer look down to see Darla smiling up at them
in her green dress. She points upward. The two love struck cats look up to see
mistletoe hanging above them on the ceiling. They gaze downwards at each other.
Smiling, their faces move closer until the lips meet in passion.
"Come on everyone!" said Richard. "Gather round for a Christmas family portrait!"
Everyone gathers near the fireplace, with Sawyer and Danny standing next to each other.
"Say Cheese!" said Richard as he set up the camera.
There was a bright flash of light as the camera snapped the photograph.