I was awoken from my slumber by a shout from the hallway.
“Nickole!” My father’s voice. I glanced at the clock. It was 6:35 AM. Dad didn’t believe in rising after 7:00, even though I’d been out all last night at a party with my friends. I stretched and looked in the mirror. I was a wreck. Silver glitter was still all over my body, making me look like a Meyer-esque vampire. I picked a piece out of my eye and yawned loudly, stretching my arms out beside me. I bumped something sharp, the pain instantly grabbing at my hand like frostbite.
“Shit,” I mutter. I had turned (and almost knocked down) the snowy white Christmas tree next to my bed. Luckily, it remained there, albeit undecorated. But that was my own decision. I think there’s a beauty in simplicity. The rest of my room was decorated similarly, with forest-green walls, and red framed movie posters hanging on the walls. I went all out for Christmas.
“Nickole!” The bellow came again, and I could already picture Dad’s eyes, smiling but stern, asking if I’d enjoyed last night. I had. Almost every night, my friends and I would head into the Alas de Angeles, drinking and dancing and having a great time. My dad didn’t exactly disapprove, but he didn’t share my same fun-loving attitude when it came to partying. He was more of a reader.
“Yes, Dad?” I eventually responded to him, turning the knob on my wrapping-paper-wrapped bedroom door.
“Hurry up, your mother and I need to talk to you about something!” He laughed his jolly laugh, and I smiled to myself, throwing on a pair of red skinny jeans and a green wool sweater and heading into the bathroom.
Inside, it was beach-themed, a warm change from the Christmas-bomb in my room. I rushed to get ready, wondering what my parents could possibly have to talk to me about. Maybe they were finally trying to crack down on my lifestyle? I knew Mom had never liked me to go out dancing every night, but I had fun. And I wasn’t doing anything illegal...
I used the restroom, washed my face, combed my hair, and swiped mascara on my dark lashes before sprinting downstairs, wondering what was possibly coming next.
There was my dad, sitting at our wooden kitchen table, hot chocolate in his hand. My mom was across from him, holding a chocolate muffin in her hand. Her short white hair could be perceived as an old lady’s style, but Mom’s eyes still radiated with youth and liveliness. She waved me over, looking more enthusiastic than ever before. I was apprehensive, because she got excited a lot. At least I now knew this was not going to be a ridiculing.
“Nicki!” My mother squealed with delight. I cautiously walked across the wood flooring to sit beside my mother, noticing Dad’s eyes lacked the same shine as my mother’s.
Dad cleared his throat. “We have to tell you something.” Oh great, what was it? There had never been many secrets in my family. I’d known about my dad’s job forever, and it wasn’t like I had anyone to tell. All of my friends already knew our “little” secret. They did work for him, after all.
“Nicki, do you know how Dad and I met?” My mother grasped Dad’s hand, squeezing it tightly. Well, that was definitely not what I was expecting to come next...
“Not really. All I know is that Grandpa wanted to retire or something….” I was puzzled. Why were they telling me this now? Wasn’t there something important they were going to talk to me about? Because if I was dragged out of my peaceful slumber just to hear some kind of love story, I was going to be hotter than the chocolate Dad was drinking.
“Well,” Mom continued, oblivious to my furrowed eyebrows, “Your Grandpa had been doing Dad’s job for almost a thousand years. He was getting tired of the job: the long hours, the demanding work. So, like the Santa Claus before him, your great grandpa, he decided to quit.”
Oh, sugarplums. I knew there was something I forgot to mention. My father is the Santa Claus, and I live with him and Mom in the North Pole. I mean, it’s no big deal, though.
Dad nodded along as she told the story, and took her place as narrator. “So I, being the only child of Grandma and Grandpa, had to become Santa Claus. However, I got lonely with only the elves for company. So I set off in search to find your mother.”
I raised my eyebrows. Why couldn’t he just have an elf as a wife? It wasn’t like they were little people, after all. No, no, humans have it all wrong. Elves are the same size, and exterior, as you and I. However, their nimble fingers, sharp (literally) ears, and ability to do magic differ from humans.
“So….what does this have to do with me?” I inquired, still confused.
“Nicki, Dad wants to retire.” Mom’s voice shook a little.
“You are the only daughter a Santa Claus has ever had. Until now, the new Santa has just been the son. But now….”
“What?” I demanded, still clueless.
“Nickole, you have to find a husband. A mortal husband. Nickole, you have to find and marry the next Santa Claus.”
“Mom, that’s ridiculous. I’m only 100 years old, which in human years, is like nineteen. How many nineteen-year-old human girls do you know that get married?”
“Well,” Mom’s voice wavered a bit. She was clearly a bit put-off by my response. “I thought you’d be excited, Nicki.”
“Well,” I said shortly. “I’m not. And I think you ought to find a different girl.” I didn’t want to give up my parties, my friends, my adventures. All of them, just so that some dude could get fat and happy. No, that was not me.
“Nicki,” Mom’s voice slowed a bit, and she didn’t break eye contact.
“You don’t get a choice.”