“Who’s coming tonight, Iz?” Nick asked Izabel as he tucked her into bed.
“Santa!” She screamed with delight as she wriggled against the covers.
“That’s right! But he won’t come if he knows you’re still awake. So you’ll go to sleep right after we kiss you goodnight?” Monroe said as he kissed her on the cheek, with Nick following suit.
“Goodnight, Daddy,” Izabel whispered to each of them before grinning widely as she closed her eyes so tight that they both knew she was doing it for the sake of showing them her sleeping intentions.
They grinned knowingly at each other before turning out the light and heading to their own bedroom down the hall. They climbed into bed with the expectation of being woken up at rather early hours of the morning by their daughter.
Although Nick started out with his arms wrapped around Monroe, as he was accustomed to do, not long after Monroe fell asleep, he found that he was too restless to sleep himself and pulled himself to one side of the bed, lying with his eyes wide open. He was anxious about Izabel’s belief in Santa Claus and what it would do to her as she grew up. Monroe, believing in Santa Claus himself, had been unperturbed.
He tried to keep in mind that Izabel was only four, and if anything troublesome were going to happen, it would when she was much older. Finally, he began to drift off.
He was still half awake when he heard a faint tapping that seemed to be coming from the roof. Puzzled, he climbed out of bed and opened the bedroom window. He leaned forward to see what was creating the dimly lit shadow on the ground when he felt strong hands pulling him back inside.
“You’re going to fall out the window that way. Come on,” Monroe said gruffly. Nick didn’t say anything as Monroe took his hand and led him downstairs. He was listening to the tapping on the roof as it become more pronounced. Before he knew it, Monroe was dragging him down their snow covered walkway and pointing animatedly at the sky.
“Wow,” Monroe said, impressed despite himself. “I mean, I knew, but I’d never seen him before.”
“Yeah,” Nick said, although he wasn’t sure that was an appropriate response, he was too stunned to say anything else. As he looked up into the sky, he saw a sleigh taking off of his roof into the thick, falling snow. It was being flown by nine reindeer, the one in front with a nose shining bright enough to cut through the murky weather.
They held each other’s hands tighter than before as they both watched until the sleigh was completely out of sight. They continued to stare at the empty space in the sky until Monroe gestured back to the house saying, “We should probably...”
“Right, yeah,” Nick said sheepishly. “Izzie will be up before long.”
“Too bad she didn’t see him,” Monroe said thoughtfully.
“Well, she already believes in him. So I think it’s alright,” Nick said as they walked back towards the house.
“Hey, I told you. No one else could live up there,” Monroe told him.
“You looked kind of surprised there yourself, Monroe,” Nick said laughing. Then he pointed upward as they walked through the doorway. Upon seeing the mistletoe, Monroe pulled Nick in and tilted him backwards before leaning down to give him a long kiss.
As Monroe finally pulled away, Nick commented dryly, “I suppose two grown men finding out Santa is real warranted that.”
“Well something did,” Monroe said as Nick nodded in agreement as they padded their way back to their bedroom.