Here’s part two of the story, CHRISTMAS WISH. Once more, thanks to Heather for being my beta!
Karl Bob Zeidrich looked as worn as he felt. Donating marrow was not exactly the easiest thing in the world to do. The worst thing was trying to follow the doctor’s orders to take it easy while running a working ranch. Mary had insisted that her brother-in-law rest. The young woman had given orders to the hands to let her know if they caught Karl near the ranching operations. That was why Karl was on the sofa attempting to relax.
The knock on the door caused Karl to groan. “It’s open!” Karl called out.
Mrs. Brackney walked in the living room and looked around. “Little ears about?”
“If ya talkin’ about Pete, boy’s still out with your husband. Somethin’ ‘bout ‘male bondin’ time.’ Pretty sure that it was just an excuse to take the kids fishin’.” Karl sat up from where he had been laying on the sofa. “Reason ya don’t want my kid brother around?” He sounded as hostile as he looked.
“I’d really appreciate it if Peter never knew we had this conversation, Karl Bob.” Jessie sat on the recliner. “You know we took the kids in to the city to go shopping and see Santa.” Karl just nodded. “Well, Santa’s helper stopped me to tell me what Peter’s Christmas wish is.”
“Heidi comin’ home? Or Heidi gettin’ a silver halo?” Karl inquired knowingly.
Nodding, Jessie looked serious. “Peter asked for another present. I need help getting the present in his stocking.”
Confused and slightly hurt that he didn’t know what his kid brother wanted, Karl leaned forward. “I’ll help. What’s Pete’s Christmas wish?” Mrs. Brackney pulled out a beautiful silver locket with an opal and an amethyst set in the center. “Kinda girly, Jess.” Karl stated the obvious with a raised eyebrow.
Rolling her eyes, Mrs. Brackney chuckled. “Yeah, Karl, kinda girly, but I’m pretty sure Peter could never afford this out of his pocket. He doesn’t have access to his trust fund.”
“It isn’t for him. It’s for Mary. The stones are their birthstones. The locket has Peter’s picture in it.”
Karl sighed deeply as he held out his hand. Mrs. Brackney placed the locket in the open palm. “Kid’s got one heck of a heart in him.” The room was silent as Karl stared at the locket. “It’ll wind up in his stockin’. Promise ya that Pete will get one wish this year.”
“That’s all we can hope for.” Mrs. Brackney whispered as she stood to her feet. “You’ve been looking tired lately. Do I need to talk to your father about how much work you’re doing?”
“Nah, it’s nothin’, Mrs. Brackney. I’ll be up and around directly.” Karl hoped Mrs. Brackney wouldn’t ask why Karl looked ragged.
“Alright, son, I’ll leave you alone. For now.” Mrs. Brackney stated before she left.
It wasn’t long until there was another knock on the door. “It’s open!” Karl called out again.
Mary smiled softly as she managed to walk in with Alexandria on one hip and a bowl of soup in her hand. “Mary Zeidrich, ya gotta quit treatin’ me like I’m an invalid!” Karl groaned as he started to stand.
“Sit back down!” Mary snapped at her younger brother-in-law. “Alexandria and I just came to make sure her uncle eats. If you’ll watch Alexandria, I can go get the rest of the food.”
“I got a kitchen in here. Don’t need you…”
“And I didn’t need your help to raise this one.” Mary interrupted as she set Alexandria in Karl’s lap. “But it sure makes my life easier to have someone to share the load.”
The last sentence was almost word for word what Karl had told Mary when he moved in to the “Mother-in-Law Apartment” that Mary’s house had vacant. “Great, throw back my words at me.” Karl smirked before he took a sip of the soup.
Karl motioned for Mary to sit down. “Gettin’ kinda bored talkin’ ta myself. Sure could use the company.”
“Let me get my dinner, and I’ll talk your ear off. We have to decide what to get Peter for Christmas.”
“A horse now that we’ve got the boy over here?” Karl inquired as Mary walked towards the door.
“We’re not spending that much money.” Mary responded.
“Doesn’t mean we have to spoil the boy. We’ll teach him the value of a dollar if it’s the death of me.” Mary called over her shoulder.
Karl looked at the girl in his arms. “Why do I feel like I’m raisin’ two of ya, Margaret Alexandria? Sure feels like I’ve got a ten year old son and a baby girl. Not that I’m gonna complain one bit. We just gotta get your mama ta understand that Christmas is about spoilin’ kids like she and I were never spoiled.”