Twelve Days of Christmas – Manny Style by Samj Chapter 3

Republisher’s Note: Here’s the third and sadly the last part of this delight AU tale.  It was published (02/16/02 12:18:08).

Twelve Days of Christmas Manny Style by Samj –  Part 3

On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love said to me…

“Do you miss all of this?”

Michelle looked around the hospital corridor at doctors and nurses bustling about.

“Maybe a little, sometimes,” she admitted. “But I don’t regret a single decision I’ve made – I just wouldn’t have been able to give you, or Maggie, or Tommy the attention you guys need if I’d stayed in medical school.”

“Not to mention that you’d still be in school 100 years from now,” Danny joked, regretting the question already.

“Yeah, there’s that too,” Michelle laughed. “I can’t believe I’ll actually graduate in May.”

Before Danny could respond, they were interrupted by Tommy, who demanded, “Me want one of those.”

“Tommy, we brought the toys for the kids in the hospital, remember? You have toys at home.”

“Not toy,” Tommy corrected. “Want that white thing.”

“You want a cast?” Michelle asked with some skepticism, pointing to the leg cast that the eight-year old patient was wearing.

Tommy nodded vigorously.

“Why don’t we wait a while on that, huh buddy?” Danny tried.

“Pwomise I get one?”

“I promise,” Danny answered, certain that his adventurous toddler would need one sooner or later.

Satisfied, Tommy went back to trying to help Maggie, Lizzie, and Marina hand out stockings to the younger patients.

Picking up their conversation where it had been left off Danny said, “I just don’t like the idea that you had to give up your dream because of me.”

“But I didn’t give up my dream,” Michelle argued. “My dream was the help people, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. It’s only the ‘how’ that’s changed.”

“You and Ross are going to make quite a team.”

“And if I can keep even one person from going through what I went through with Ben’s trial, it’ll all be worth it.”

“Michelle, Danny, we’re going to head up to the cancer ward next,” Eleni called over to them.

“Besides,” Michelle finished with a smile, leading her husband over to the elevators. “I still have the AIDS garden, and these volunteering opportunities – just without any more anatomy exams!”

“I kinda liked helping you study for those,” Danny whispered in her ear.

“Yeah, except you weren’t the one who had to still remember things the next morning.”

“So do you think you’ll need any help studying tonight?” Danny prompted.

“We’ll see, we’ll see.”
~~~~~
On the Tenth Day of Christmas my true love said to me….

“Danny, can you get the door please?”

Danny sighed and hit the suspend button on his laptop. “Fine, but if it’s another group of carolers, I won’t be held responsible for my actions.”

“If you aren’t nice, Daddy,” Maggie called, “Santa won’t bring you any presents.”

Danny couldn’t help but laugh at the thought of moving from Santa’s “bad boy” list to his “good” list.

“You know, Michelle,” Danny joked, “maybe we should’ve built the house at Laurel Falls. At least then we’d be harder to find.”

Michelle’s response fell on deaf ears as Danny stared in shock at the group of people in front of him.

“Danny, who’s at the door?” Michelle asked, walking into the foyer. “Danny,” she prompted again, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry, Baby,” Danny answered, shaking his head to clear it. “Remember how I told you that when I was a kid we all worked at my uncle’s restaurant?”

“Yes,” she agreed, still puzzled at the strange faces on her doorstep.

“Well,” he chuckled, “meet the waitstaff of Frederico’s.”

When Danny failed to say or do anything further Michelle prompted, “So these are people we like, right?”

“Of course,” Danny replied with indignation, looking at her as though she were speaking ancient Greek.

“So maybe we should let them come in out of the cold…” Michelle suggested.

“Oh man, I’m so sorry guys,” Danny apologized sheepishly. “Please, please come in.”

It’s a good thing we refurnished this room, Michelle thought as she directed all fifteen of Danny’s relatives into the “all purpose” room. That one couch just wouldn’t have cut it.

“Did you know about this?” Danny whispered in his wife’s ear.

Michelle just shook her head. “If I’d known we were having company, Sweetie, do you think I would’ve come to the door with green frosting in my hair?”

“You still look beautiful,” he assured her, pressing a quick kiss just above her ear.

“Everyone, please make yourself comfortable,” Michelle invited graciously. “I’m going to grab the kids before they make themselves sick eating frosting, and I’ll have Olga put on coffee and cocoa for all of you.”

“Don’t go to any trouble on our account,” one of the cousins protested. “We’re family, not guests.”

“No trouble at all,” Michelle assured them, practically gliding out of the room.

Danny couldn’t contain his excitement as he looked around the room. “I can’t believe you guys are here!”

“Yeah, we noticed,” Danny’s cousin Tony laughed.
*****
“Pilar said that Abuela’s still sleeping, but they should be out in an hour or so.”

“How is she, Danny, really?” Rosa asked.

“Her mind is still active, thank goodness, and she even has most of her mobility back, although she will be stuck in that wheelchair permanently now.”

“And Pilar?”

“Since Michelle’s trial and her nervous breakdown, she’s really just devoted herself to taking care of Abuela.”

“She must’ve done a very good job,” Isabella noted.

“Yeah, she did. And I think it’s been good for her, in a way – it’s helped her deal with her guilt.”

“But now?”

“But now, I think she needs to start living her life again – she needs school and friends and all the things she’s been denying herself because of her self-imposed penance.”

“Couldn’t she have that here in Springfield?” Isabella asked.

“No, because as long as she’s here she’s going to hide behind her guilt. Plus the memories…. Just talk to her, okay?”

“Don’t worry Danny,” Rosa assured him, “we can be very persuasive.”
*****
“So Aunt Carmen is now Princess of that little island?” Tony asked.

“Um, well, not exactly,” Michelle grinned. “The situation is a little complicated – her husband Edmund is sort of a cross between a prince, a president, and a dictator.”

“Oh, Aunt Carmen has plenty of experience being a dictator,” Anna laughed.

“Do you remember that one summer….”
*****
“Do you think we should invite the FBI agents in for cocoa and cookies?”

Now it was Michelle’s turn to give her husband an unbelieving look. “Let’s not push it, okay?”

“You’re amazing, you know, putting up fifteen of my relatives the day before Christmas Eve.”

“They’re family Danny,” Michelle answered simply. “But we’re definitely going to need a few extra tables for dinner you know.”

“Don’t worry, we’ve done this once or twice before,” Danny assured her.
~~~~~
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my true love said to me…..

“You’d think a Children’s Mass would be shorter than that.”

Michelle shifted a sleeping Tommy from one shoulder to the other and whispered, “On the bright side, it ought to be pretty easy getting them into bed.”

Maggie perked up just enough to protest, “Have to open presents first.”

“Tomorrow morning, kiddo,” Michelle told her. “After Santa comes.”

“One tonight?” Maggie persisted. “Just one?”

“We did let them open one last year on Christmas Eve,” Danny pointed out.

“Okay,” Michelle agreed. “But just one, and then straight to bed.”

As Michelle sat down on the couch and put her son down next to her, Maggie stumbled over to the tree and pulled out a large, elegantly wrapped package that she brought to her father.

“Open this one Daddy,” she instructed.

Danny looked a little surprised that Maggie had given him a present instead of immediately diving into one of her own.

“That’s a very special present,” Michelle informed him, biting her lip to keep from laughing. “Maggie picked it out all by herself, and she even gave the salesclerk the money for it.”

“Hey, that’s my big girl,” Danny praised.

“And the nice lady at the store wrapped it, because I’m not allowed to use scissors yet,” Maggie added.

“Which is a very good rule your Mommy has.”

“Daddy, open it already!” Maggie demanded, growing impatient with the preliminaries.

Danny unwrapped the box and opened the lid to discover a Hawaiian-style shirt covered with parrots.

Michelle could hardly contain the giggles welling up inside of her when she saw Danny’s face. Danny could barely speak, and he struggled for something appropriate to say.

“You need more pretty shirts, Daddy,” Maggie announced. “You wear too much black.”

“But your Mommy likes me in black,” Danny protested, fighting his own laughter.

Maggie brushed right over the comment as though her mother’s preferences were irrelevant. “Will you wear it tomorrow so everyone can see it?”

“Um, I think I’d better wear a suit tomorrow,” Danny hedged, knowing he’d never hear the end of it if his cousin Tony saw him in a parrot shirt.

At Maggie’s crestfallen expression, however, he added, “But I promise to wear it for our New Year’s party, so everyone can see it then. Is that a deal?”

“Deal,” Maggie agreed, solemnly shaking his hand.

“I guess that means it’s bedtime,” Michelle interrupted.

“My present -”

“I agreed to one present,” Michelle reminded her. “And Daddy opened one present. If I let you open one too, that’ll be two presents.”

Danny shook his head. “I can’t believe you’re arguing semantics with your own child.”

“Someday she’ll thank me.”

“Want present,” Maggie repeated.

Danny grabbed a small package off of the floor and handed it to Maggie. “Okay Little Miss Bossy, you can open this, but don’t blame us if Santa marks you off his list for being a bad girl tonight.”

Maggie eagerly ripped open the paper. “Socks?” she asked in confusion.

“Yes, those are socks,” Danny confirmed.

Turning to her mother she said, “Mommy, I already have socks. I wanted toys.”

“And if you’re lucky, you’ll get some tomorrow,” Danny predicted. “But for tonight, you get socks.”

“Socks aren’t a good present,” Maggie declared.

“Well, remember how we told you that lots of kids aren’t as lucky as you are, and they don’t have enough food and clothes and stuff?”

Maggie nodded and rubbed her eyes.

“Those kids would love to get socks, because they don’t have any. So you get socks to remind you how lucky you are that we have clothes, and food, and a house, and even toys.”

“Okay,” Maggie nodded. “If I get toys tomorrow, they can have my socks.”
~~~~~
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love said to me….

“Mm, what was that?”

Danny reluctantly opened one eye and informed his wife with a yawn, “Your idiot brother taking pictures of you drooling on my shoulder.”

“I don’t drool,” Michelle mumbled, unconsciously wiping at her mouth. Without opening her eyes she warned, “One more picture of me sleeping, Rick, and I’ll be forced to show everyone the pictures of you dressed as Hermie for your 4th grade Christmas pageant.”

Danny chuckled at the image and wondered where Michelle kept those pictures.

“There’s no reason to be cruel, Michelle,” Rick responded, but his sister had already drifted back into a doze.

Still under the glare of Danny’s one open eye, however, Rick explained, “I couldn’t resist – it was the definition of a Kodak moment.”

Danny opened both eyes to look at Michelle, sitting next to him on the couch with her legs curled up, then at Maggie and Tommy nestled between them and softly snoring. “Tell you what – put it in a nice frame and you can give it to me for my birthday next month.”

Rick snorted. “Do you honestly think that I’m going to get you a birthday present, Danny?”

“No, I think Michelle’s going to get something and make you sign the card, just like she did for Christmas. This’ll save her some trouble.”

“Okay,” Rick agreed. “But only because it’ll give me the opportunity to show off my photography skills.”

“Go barbeque something,” Danny muttered, closing his eyes again.

After hearing Rick walk away, Danny leaned down and kissed Michelle’s forehead.

“We have to start cleaning up,” Michelle groaned, only half-awake.

“That’s all taken care of,” Danny promised, glancing over at one of his cousins who was bringing in the last tray of glasses. “Did you have the Christmas that you wanted?”

Michelle looked down at the kids, then around the room at the tree, decorations, gifts, food, and family and answered truthfully, “I got the impossible – I got the perfect Christmas.”

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