Usuki Singing Stars #11: Patricia's Holiday Miracle - Part Five
As soon as she woke up on Christmas morning, Patricia immediately jumped out of bed, flung on her clothes, and ran down the stairs towards her jacket and boots. Ever since she came home last night, Patricia knew that she had to present the locket she borrowed to Elizabeth on Christmas Day. If Elizabeth finds out that her father had kept it for so long, then maybe she'll realize how much he loves her and she'll forgive him! Patricia thought excitedly.
But her joyous and perfect plan was postponed when her mother walked downstairs and asked her, "Patricia, where in Neopia are you going on Christmas Day? Have you forgotten to go gift shopping this year?"
"Umm, no," said Patricia nervously, "I was just going to go out for a short while-"
Ms. Winston sighed and shook her head. "It's Christmas Day, Patricia Winston, and I was hoping that we could spend this day as a family." She smiled at Brayden and Alan, who were busy opening their presents and cheering as they threw wrapping paper in the air. "Just promise me that you will stay for the morning, okay? Then you can leave after you have opened your presents."
"Oh alright," Patricia sighed. She followed her mother into the living room and watched as Alan played with the blue car she gave him while Brayden sucked on a plastic candy cane. Marc barked with joy as he played with a purple squeaky ball that 'Santa' had given him.
"Here you go, Brayden," Ms. Winston cooed as she handed a sparkly purple bag to the baby Shoyru. Brayden watched as his mother pulled out a red and white blanket that she had bought from the NC Mall.
"Aboot!!" Brayden cried as he grabbed the blanket. As he was sucking on a corner of his new blanket, Ms Winston pulled out a baby elf hat from a stocking and placed it on Brayden's head. Brayden giggled with delight at the sound the hat's jingle bell made.
After opening the Usuki doll and play set her mother got her, Patricia quickly got off a sofa chair and asked her mother, "Now may I go, please? I need to go give Mr. Ridgewood a gift I found for him."
"So that's where you wanted to go so badly." Ms. Winston smiled. She nodded her approval. "Don't forget to wish Mr. Ridgewood a Merry Christmas for me and you can also bring him as many gingerbread cookies as you want."
Patricia nodded and ran to the kitchen. She was pleased to see that her mother was reading the cookbook she had chosen for her, and she went "aww" at the sight of Brayden petting Marc, who wagged his tail while he watched Alan play with his new plushie.
"Elizabeth!! Elizabeth!!!" Patricia banged the front door as loud as she could while she shouted for Elizabeth to open it. Remembering that the golden locket was in her right coat pocket, Patricia knew that she HAD to show the locket to its real owner before the day ended. Please, just please open the door! Patricia begged silently.
Finally, after ten minutes of shouting and banging, Elizabeth opened the front door and frowned at the faerie Shoyru in front of her. "What do you want now?!?! I was getting pretty tired of seeing you with your little friends-although it was only for a couple of days. But don't you know by now that I will never forgive my father!! Never! Now good day and Merry Christmas."
"Wait!" Patricia shouted, slamming her left foot in front of the door to stop it from closing. Without hesitating, Patricia pulled out the locket from her coat and handed it to Elizabeth. The purple Ixi gasped when she saw the picture of the baby Ixi.
"Why, this little baby is me!" Elizabeth exclaimed. "Where in Neopia did you find this locket? Did somebody give it to you?"
"I got this from your father," Patricia explained. "Mr. Ridgewood got this locket for you when you were a baby. When he had to pound you, however, he had decided to keep the locket to remind him of the beautiful daughter that he had loved very dearly." Patricia eyed Elizabeth with a serious look. "Don't you see, Elizabeth? Mr. Ridgewood does love you! He has always loved you and he will always love you! The only reason he had pounded you was because he wanted to give you a better life with more opportunities. And to think you claimed that you never want to see him in your life." After a final glance, Patricia began to turn away and walk back home.
But Elizabeth grabbed her left shoulder. "Please. Please, can you bring me to my father?" Elizabeth looked at the locket in her hands again. "I think it's time for me to see him again. If he does love me... if he truly, truly loves me... then I must visit him on Christmas Day. But will you take me to him, young Shoyru?" Patricia nodded and quickly ran as fast as she could, with Elizabeth running right behind her.
When they reached Mr. Ridgewood's porch, Patricia pulled out the spare key from under the door mat and opened the door for herself and Elizabeth. Wide-eyed and nervous, Elizabeth followed Patricia inside the house and gasped when she saw a very frail Ixi lying on the living room couch. "Father!" Elizabeth wailed, running to her father and kneeling at his side.
Mr. Ridgewood opened his eyes and looked up at Elizabeth with a delirious look on his face. "Who... who are you?" he asked. "Are you Patricia?"
"No, Mr. Ridgewood," said Patricia, dampening a towel in a water filled bowl while she spoke. "This is your daughter, Elizabeth Ridgewood. She's here because I showed her that locket I borrowed from you yesterday." After placing the damp towel on Mr. Ridgewood's sweaty forehead, Patricia got up and noticed a manuscript on the living room's end table. As soon as she saw the title, she picked the manuscript up and handed it to Elizabeth.
"'A Memoir of Elizabeth'," Elizabeth read aloud. She looked at her ill father and asked, "What is this? Why have you written a memoir of me?"
Mr. Ridgewood gave her a hoarse laugh. "It's just an account of the time that we had together, dear Lizzie. I was hoping that I could somehow contact you through this new series of mine, but I guess I don't need to anymore!" He placed a hoof on Elizabeth's cheek and smiled. "I'm glad I saw you again, dearest daughter."
"Oh, Father," Elizabeth wept. "I'm so sorry that I haven't tried to find you! It's just that... well, I've always been angry at you for what you did. I thought you were a horrible, mean father who abandoned his daughter so that he could be a free man. But then your little friend showed me this locket that you kept," She showed her father the locket around her neck," and she also told me how much you loved me. Now I want to tell you that I love you too! And as long as you are ill, I will devote the rest of this year to help nurse you back to health."
"Thank you," said Mr. Ridgewood. After a quick coughing fit, he looked up at Patricia and gestured a hoof towards a little purple box that was lying on the edge of the table. Patricia nodded, opened the gift box, and gasped when she saw a shining golden locket lying on top of a small bed of cotton balls.
"Merry Christmas," said Mr. Ridgewood. "And thank you... for everything." Not wanting to disturb his time with Elizabeth, Patricia placed a golden bookmark on the table and quickly made her way out of the house, with her new locket strung around her neck.
When she approached her house, Patricia saw Ms. Winston and Alan building a snowman while Marc barked at falling snowflakes. Feeling a bit peaceful today, Patricia made her way inside and took off her coat and boots. As soon as he heard the door close, Brayden began crawling towards Patricia, who scooped him up in her arms.
Brayden nuzzled his head on his sister's shoulder, and then distracted himself by looking at Patricia's locket. Patricia smiled. "Welcome to the family, Brayden," she whispered, "and Merry Christmas."
Brayden smiled. "Akabaka," he replied.
To all of my Neofriends: True friends are a gift that I treasure all year long. The funnest part about the holiday season is the time I get to spend with you guys while we await the excitement that Christmas Day brings. I thank all of you for your patience, praise, humor, and love. Thank you for every little thing that you gave me; a joke, advice, and the courage to say this dedication. May our friendships last in the new year to come. May you all have the merriest Christmas yet!
And of course, to my beloved USS groupies: This past year has been a wild-ish ride for all of my characters, but your support really encouraged me to continue their stories in 2011 and hopefully extend them into 2012. it is uncertain how long the Usuki Singing Stars will appear in the Neopian Times, but I'll always be thankful for the many readers and writers who will stop by my stories for a quick read or two. I have learned so much this year that I'm certain that next year's batch of adventures would be just as good as this year's. Although it was never said, every story written this year was secretly dedicated for all of my adoring fans! This series wouldn't have continued without any of you, so thank you dearly for your support.
From everybody at The Usuki Singing Stars: Merry Christmas and Happy Year!