Home > A Seagrove Christmas

A Seagrove Christmas
Author: Rachel Hanna

 

Chapter One

 

 

There was just something about Christmas.

It had always been Julie’s favorite holiday, and having a new son had only made it more special this year. Even though she had Vivi too, a son was different than a granddaughter.

She could watch her new son grow into a man every day. She fed him, cleaned up his skinned knees, and made him do his homework. Being a grandmother was a part-time job, and it was usually only the fun stuff. Being a mom meant doing the hard stuff, too.

She watched as Dawson held Dylan on his shoulders next to the Christmas tree. They had to get an artificial one because Dylan was allergic to the real ones, and she had to admit she kind of liked the big fake one. It was perfectly symmetrical and didn’t drop needles all over her floor. Plus, it had given her an excuse to go out and buy a bunch of Christmas ornaments to inaugurate the new tree.

This year, she’d gone with a blue and silver theme. Dawson said it reminded him of a Christmas tree Elvis might’ve had at Graceland, but Julie didn’t let it bother her. She was full of joy this holiday season, and none of her husband’s teasing was going to get her riled up.

“Reach higher,” Dawson said, rising up on his tiptoes so that Dylan could put the flashy silver star on the top.

“Don’t you boys knock my tree over, or I’ll throw those freshly baked chocolate chip cookies right into the ocean out there!”

Dylan giggled. She loved the sound of his laughter. After seeing him those first few times at the camp, she’d wondered what it would take to see him happy again. He’d gone through so much in his brief life, with his mother’s abandonment and the death of his father. All she wanted now was for him to live a long, healthy, happy life, and she would do whatever she had to to make that happen.

“Got it!” Dylan said, out of breath from reaching as far as his little arms would take him. Dawson lowered him to the ground, and Dylan dramatically fell back onto the floor, splayed out like he’d just run a marathon.

“Now, go grab that box of ornaments from the attic,” Dawson directed. He was firm with his new son, which was a different side of Dawson she hadn’t seen before. He wanted to grow him into a good, solid man and upstanding citizen. He was the kindest father Julie had ever seen. Sometimes, she found herself wishing she’d raised her children with him instead of Michael, but then she wouldn’t have had Colleen and Meg. Regrets were useless anyway.

“Do you think he can carry that big box down the stairs?” Julie asked as she craned her head, watching him run up the stairs.

Dawson chuckled. “I wouldn’t have sent him otherwise. Besides, I needed a minute alone with my hot wife.” He grabbed her hand and pulled her close, pressing his lips to hers. That just never got old.

“Yeah, we don’t get a lot of alone time anymore, do we?” she said, smiling.

“No, but it’s so worth it. I know he’s eight years old, but I feel like he’s always been my son.” Her heart swelled when he said things like that. Dawson gave Dylan all the attention a father should give, and she knew what a blessing that was for both of them.

“He’s almost nine, you know,” she said. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and Dylan would turn nine on Sunday. They had a big family dinner planned, and she couldn’t wait to see the look on his face when he got the video gaming system he’d wanted so badly. Dawson had already said he was going to impose limits on it. He didn’t want his son to stare at a screen all day. The environment outside was way too rich and beautiful to ignore and stare at a fake world.

Julie heard Dylan bounding back down the stairs, breaking their intimate moment. “This thing is heavy!”

“Use those muscles, boy!” Dawson said as he walked over and met him at the bottom of the stairs. He took the box from Dylan.

“Can I go get a snack from Miss Lucy?”

“Miss Lucy is with her family this week, remember?” Julie said, reminding him. Lucy loved cooking for Dylan. She often said he reminded her of her grandson. Dawson had given her the week off to go spend time with him and the rest of her family in Mississippi, so they’d had to fend for themselves on Thanksgiving.

Dawson had done an outstanding job with the turkey, while Dixie had brought the most delicious stuffing. Janine, the world’s worst cook, had smartly brought a pre-made cake from a bakery. SuAnn brought pound-cake, of course, and Julie had cooked the sides. It had been the most fun Thanksgiving she’d ever had. Every person she loved was sitting around the table, and that was more than she could ever ask for in her life.

“I forgot,” Dylan said.

“But there are some snacks in the fridge. Just don’t eat too much before bed, okay?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he said before he scurried off into the kitchen.

Dawson opened the box and looked at Julie. “How are we supposed to get more ornaments on this tree?”

“We aren’t putting them all on there. This box has some family ornaments that I’d like to put up, though. Like this one,” she said, pulling one out of the tissue paper and smiling. “Colleen made this in third grade.”

“Aw. A cute little doggie,” Dawson said, taking it from her hand.

Julie stared at him. “It’s a snowman.”

Dawson laughed. “Glad she didn’t become an artist.” She smacked him on the arm playfully.

“And look at this. My grandmother knitted this little stocking ornament when Meg was born.”

He smiled. “You know what I love about this Christmas?”

“What?”

“That it’s now our family. Not yours and not mine. Ours.”

She smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “Forever.”

* * *

Colleen stared at the computer screen, trying to get her eyes to focus. Thanksgiving had been so much fun, but she’d eaten too much, couldn’t sleep, and she was still exhausted. Besides, who wanted to work at all during the holiday season?

“How’s it coming?” Tucker asked, walking up behind her. Everyone else in the office was off today, but they had work to do if his new toy was going to take off this holiday season.

“Well, I just sent the report to Ted, and the numbers are looking great. You know we’re on the best toy list for this Christmas season?”

Tucker grinned. “Seriously? Oh, Colleen, I think this might be our big break!”

She stood up and faced him. “I’m so proud of you, Tuck. All the hard work is paying off.”

He pulled her into a tight embrace. “I couldn’t do any of this without my best friend. Thanks for believing in me, Colleen.”

“Always.”

As they stood there, hugging in her cubicle, she was so thankful to have found a man like Tucker. Some days, she didn’t know what she did to deserve him. He was always kind to her and everyone else. He went out of his way to help people. He loved his career, and he was a kid at heart. Being around Tucker was pure joy.

“What do you say we go get some lunch?”

Colleen rubbed her stomach. “Great idea. I’m starving.” She picked up her purse just as the phone on her desk rang. Sighing, she reached over and picked it up. “This is Colleen. How can I help you?” She listened for a moment, and then her mouth dropped open. “Can you hold just a moment, please?”

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