1. Regan looked at her baby girl, who’s skin was the perfect match of her dark skin andher husband’s milky white complexion. Other than that it was difficult to say how thebaby would look in the future. Sticking to the winter and holiday theme Jack andAgnes had started, Regan and Claus agreed to call their daughter Mistletoe, after theflowers that brought so much romance around the holidays.
2. With nothing to do while her husband was out and her daughter wassleeping, Regan would exercise in front of the TV, even though her bodyimmediately bounced back after having Mistletoe, Regan had to keep in shapefor her job.
3. Claus was at work even when he was home, he always had reports to write up,especially since he was doing an extra investigation on a closed case. Every minutehe would look up from the computer screen and stare at the baby. She had beenhome a week but he still couldn’t believe that she was here and she was his. Clausthought that Mistletoe was the most beautiful thing in the world.
4. He was completely entranced by the little person. He grinned at how big the hugebottle seemed when placed beside his tiny daughter and he turned to mush whenshe grabbed the bottle with one hand and his thumb with the other.
5. Claus finally caught up with Kate Winter, his father’s ex-wife who left suddenly.He stood on the woman’s porch, trembling with anticipation. However, hissister’s words about understanding a father’s love for his child came back. Whatif Kate had found out something that could put Jack behind bars? Would Clausreally be able to out the man who had raised him? If his father felt for him whathe felt for his own daughter, then that was some strong, nearly suffocatingfeeling.
6. “Hello Claus. My you look like your father, even moreso now than at your party. Iheard you’re now a father yourself?”“Yes I am. It’s good to see you Kate.”“You said you needed to ask me something. Is everything okay?”“I guess so. I just wanted to know why you left Daddy so suddenly.”Kate blinked. “Strange things happened in that house Claus, I don’t think yourmother liked having me there.”“But there was something else, wasn’t there?”
7. Kate stared at Claus. “I don’t want to sound like a freak, kids already think I’m awitch. Your mother’s ghost, she was restless. I saw Agnes in my dreams, she kepttelling me to get away from her kids. But she also told me to get away from Jackbefore it was too late. Later I came to find that he only married me so I couldbabysit you and your sister. But I didn’t like you much, and Agnes seemed to knowit.”
8. “You were our house keeper while my Mom was alive. Were you there the morningmy mother died?” Kate sighed. “Please Kate, you have to tell me.”“I was cleaning the kitchen, they were arguing again. There was a thump and Jack’svoice for a while, and then there was nothing. I continued cleaning, it wasn’t mybusiness. I didn’t know until the next day that Agnes was dead.”
9. “What do you think happened Kate?”“He said she slipped and hit her head, perhaps she did.” Kate bit her nail “I’muncomfortable with this Claus. Perhaps you should go.”Claus stared at Kate for a while, he was too close. “What was on the computerKate?”“Clause, leave.” The woman pushed him toward the door, Claus frowned as thedoor was shut in his face.
10. Claus went home and picked up his daughter, holding her small, warm body wascomforting. “Mistletoe, Daddy is obsessing.” He told her finally coming to grips withthis whole situation. He was suddenly obsessing over his mother’s death, obsessingover his trust and mistrust of his father, obsessing, obsessing, obsessing.
11. Claus climbed into bed beside his wife without even changing his clothes, after heput Mistletoe to bed he was suddenly exhausted.
12. After her exercise the next morning Regan bounded into the bedroom. Shemused at how Claus had wallowed from his side of the bed to hers, it didn’tmatter, in a minute they would be all over the bed anyway. Regan pranced ontothe bed, jumping up and down until she woke her husband. She wantedattention and she wanted it now.
13. That evening Jack came over to see how his new grandchild was living. He frownedat the shack Claus had chosen to move his young family into. Jack rung thedoorbell not happy at all with his son’s living arrangements. He was caught offguard when Regan bounded out the door and greeted him, he figured he wouldnever get used to his daughter-in-law’s childish antics.
14. “What do you want?” Claus demanded coming outside behind his wife.Jack gave his son a bored look, “I want to see my granddaughter.”Regan grabbed Jack’s arm, “We just put her to bed but I don’t know if she’ssleeping yet. Come on.”
15. When Regan picked the baby up she gurgled her displeasure. Regan tiltedMistletoe up so that Claus could see her, he grunted his approval and wavedgoodbye. “Wait, you’re not staying?”“Nope, I have my own family to get home to.”
16. In a few weeks, Regan’s fun with her husband had caught up with her. She foundherself with her head in the toilet spewing partially digested food and bile. She neverhad sickness with Mistletoe, and hoped that this pregnancy wouldn’t be rough.
17. In a few months, it was time for Mistletoe’s birthday, Claus was so excited he didn’teven waste time bathing and changing out of his sweaty uniform. He picked up hisdaughter and took her to the cake he’d bought for her. Regan stood in thebackground with a party horn while Claus sang happy birthday.
18. Agnes’ genes presented themselves in her first grandchild, the girl had Agnes’blond hair and Claus’ blue eyes which he inherited from Jack.
19. Jack came over after the party, he was taken aback by his granddaughter’sblond hair and couldn’t help but grin when he saw the blue eyes blazing outof Mistletoe’s head. “Claus!” He shouted, his son groaned which amusedJack. “How close are you to solving our family mystery?”
20. “Maybe you should just tell me what happened, and we can get this over and donewith.”Jack smirked. “Why don’t you just drop it? I’ve raised you, we had a happy life andlook at the man you turned out to be. Why should it matter what happened to awoman you don’t even remember?”
21. “Because she was my mother.”“And I’m your father, you’re my son and I love you.”“She loved me too and she was senselessly murdered.”“Murdered? I would never have murdered Agnes. I played a role in her death but I didn’tmurder her.”
22. “Manslaughter then?” Claus questioned.“Yes.” Jack smiled. “But you’ll never prove it.”“Are you going to tell me what happened?”“One day, but not tonight.”“So you came over here to taunt me?”“But of course, you’re amusing.” Jack twinkled his fingers at his son and left.
23. Regan invited her friend Melissa over the next day. The two were reconnecting andMelissa marveled over her friend’s round stomach, unable to believe that Reganhad found a man who was willing to give her the five children she wanted. Melissalived in a house with four other adults, she couldn’t even fathom a house with fivescreaming kids and two adults.
24. Claus sat at the computer listening to the women chatter on and on about childrenand families. It amused him, especially when Melissa voiced her inability to grasp ahouse filled with kids. In truth Claus couldn’t either, but he knew he loved hisdaughter and already loved his unborn child.
25. Later Mistletoe demanded her father’s attention by screaming loudly from her crib.Claus picked her up and set her on the floor. “This won’t do, we’ll have to teach yousome words won’t we?” He smiled at his daughter and got to work teaching herdifferent words, Mistletoe was amused by her father’s actions when she said aword right. Especially ‘Dada’, she understood that this was how she was supposedto refer to the man who played with her all the time.
26. From the one who she called ‘Mama’ she learnt a new way to move around, this wayshe enjoyed because it stopped her from getting rug burns on her knees and she gota better view of her surroundings.
27. One day Mistletoe’s Mama started screaming, and her friend came and took her away.This would be the day Mistletoe met the new baby, Mistletoe won’t remember thisparticuler day but there will be many others like it.
28. Mama brought home a little person who looked just like her and Mistletoe learntthat his name was Ice. He was a boy like Daddy and he was her new little brother.Her parents told her that she was now a big sister and would have a lot ofresponsibility, one of which would be looking out for her new brother butMistletoe was more interested in her xylophone toy than the small person whocried all the time.
29. Mistletoe got a new room, one she shared with her brother. She hated being lockedin a room with the screaming baby.
30. Mistletoe was just happy that her parents didn’t forget abouther now that they had a new baby.
31. Even with two young children, Regan still jumped her husband whenever shecould, not that Claus was complaining.