After Connor left for the court house, Daisy’s day slowed down. She soaked in the bathtub with honeysuckle bath beads for so long that the entire house smelled like honeysuckle by the time she was done. She took her sweet time picking out what she wanted to wear and painted her toenails to match. “Blue polish with silver glitter. Connor’s favorite Christmas colors,” she mused dreamily.
Then she commenced bumming around the house, that is until Rose and Joe called her into the kitchen to help them prepare the Christmas dinner. The Bailey’s and Coach Peggy would be eating with them when court was done. While Rose and Joe put the finishing touches on the holiday meal, Daisy set the table.
When the dinner preparations were done, she followed Rose into the back bedroom and sat on a corner of the bed while Rose wrapped the last of her Christmas packages. Of course, Daisy was forbidden to look at anything, so she had to sit there with her eyes shut. It didn’t really matter because she had already received her most important gift. Daisy stifled a joyous giggle as she peeked with one eye at the ring on her finger.
“That is a pretty ring you have on your hand, Daisy,” Rose noticed. “When did you get it?”
Daisy smiled dreamily. “Connor gave it to me this morning.” She rolled out across the bed, holding her hand high in the air, looking at the ring on her hand. “We picked them out together at the mall,” she added sweetly.
“Oh, so he’s wearing one too then?”
“Of course.” Daisy furrowed her eyebrows, slightly irritated by the comment.
Rose chuckled at Daisy’s defensive reaction.
The door bell rang and Daisy tumbled off the bed and shot out of the room like a rocket, leaving Grandma Rose in stunned shock at her speedy departure.
Daisy galloped down the hall and swung the front door open. “Connor!” She jumped into his arms.
Connor dropped the packages he was holding in order to catch her flying form. “Geez…” He laughed at her wild excitement. “Did you miss me, babe?!”
“Yes, I did. I missed you!” she admitted as she hugged him tight, refusing to let him go.
“Great day girl, you scared the tar out of me!” Davis, who was behind Connor, exclaimed in shock. “Let the boy go! You’re gonna squeeze the air right out of him!” Davis pushed his way passed the lovebirds into the house. “How does a little girl get so fast? It’s dang scary!”
“I know it, I know it. Isn’t she the fastest thing?” Peggy agreed as she made her way around the lovebirds into the house. With her big booming coaches voice she added, “Merry Christmas everybody, let’s get this party started!”
Rose and Joe hugged Davis and Peggy. “Merry Christmas, to the both of you! We’re so glad you were able to make it! We were not sure what time to expect you.”
“Yea well, we got out of there purdy quick,” Davis murmured as he passed them to go into the living room.
Davis’s tone gave Joe and Rose an uneasy feeling. They followed Davis into the living room wondering what his tone meant.
After Connor calmed Daisy down enough to let go of him, they picked up the packages and came inside to join the group. He placed his packages under the Christmas tree. Peggy and Davis did the same thing. Then they all took a relaxing seat in the living room, ready to discuss the court hearing.
Joe looked Davis in the eye. He could tell that something was bothering him. “What happened at the court house, Davis?”
Davis rubbed his forehead for a minute, thinking how to start. His slowness of speech alarmed Daisy. She shot Connor a suddenly worried look.
He just smiled his usual carefree smile and scratched her back, in an attempt to take her worry away. “It’s okay, babe,” he whispered. “Just give Dad a chance to explain.”
Davis cleared his throat. “Well, we were there in court right on time, but that Mr. Adams, he never showed his face. He paid bail, promising that he would not leave the country or skip out on his court date. But sure enough, he high-tailed it.” Davis looked at Joe. “We were advised to keep a good eye on Daisy and Connor. The Langley’s were also advised to keep a good eye on Maria and Andy. The police aren’t sure if Mr. Adams will try to escape the country or go on some kind of vengeance rampage.” Davis shook his head.
“I thought the judge refused to give him bail,” Daisy said.
“Well, this is a different case with a different judge. He was allowed bail with the second judge,” Davis explained.
“Escape the country,” Joe huffed “Where’s that jack-ass gonna go?”
“Well, he seems to have some pretty tight connections with Brazil,” Coach Peggy pointed out.
“Humph,” Joe squirmed in his chair, “He’ll be caught the minute his ugly mug hits an airport camera.”
“He has his own plane,” Coach Peggy added with a tinge of disgust. “He could already be out.”
“I think he’s left the country, Dad. I don’t think he would come looking for us. He would be an idiot to come after us now,” Connor shared his view.
“I’m not so sure, son. Mr. Adams doesn’t really think like a normal man.” Davis stared at the ground, thinking for a while longer. Then he looked back up at Joe. “I know you and Rose like to travel a lot but we could really use your help here… just until this guy is locked up again. I don’t like Daisy sleeping over here by herself. I would prefer that you two be here in the apartment with her. Could you cancel your next trip and hang around the house some just until this guy is caught?”
“You think he’ll come around here?” Rose queried with alarm.
“I got no idea.” Davis shrugged.
“I believe you’re right, Davis,” Joe agreed. He turned to Rose, “Get on the computer darling and cancel our tickets. I will call the Red Cross and explain that we need some time off.” Then he looked back at Davis. “Excuse us for a moment.”
After Joe and Rose exited the room, Davis turned to Daisy Ray, “I sure could use some of that eggnog of yours with a touch of happy juice in it. Did you see how I made my drink the last time?”
“Yes sir, I know how you like it. Peggy, do you want some?”
“Yes, that’d be nice. But I am not much for happy juice. You can skip that part for my drink please.” Peggy chuckled as she repeated Davis’s words. As far as she knew, no one called alcohol happy juice except the Greene’s and the Bailey’s.
In the kitchen, Connor started digging in the refrigerator to see what other types of drinks were available. “Ah, here we go. One lone peach tea.” He pulled it out and popped the top. “Split it with me, Day?”
“Sure,” Daisy mumbled from inside a cabinet as she searched for Grandpa Joe’s happy juice. “Here it is.”
Connor leaned against the counter watching her. “You sure you know what you’re do ‘in?” He took another swig of his tea with a skeptical look on his face.
“Well, how hard can it be? He just poured a bit in, that was it.”
“It all depends on ‘how happy’ you want him, I guess.” Connor chuckled at his little joke.
“Yea, I guess.” She smiled as she put the finished drinks on a tray and turned for a sip of his tea.
Connor’s eyebrows furrowed with a disturbing thought. “I hope all this stuff with Mr. Adams doesn’t scare you any.”
“No, I’m okay. I believe what you do. Mr. Adams should be more interested in trying to leave the country than chasing us around. He’ll be caught soon enough,” she stated confidently. “Plus…,” she grinned with a new thought, “… after Andy’s prayer I’m now fast as lightening, mean as hell and can kick without guilt, remember?!” She and Connor both laughed at the memory of Andy’s prayer.
“Yea, okay hot shot. Since you’re so tough, I’ll just stick with you.” He walked over and pulled her up close to him. “I want to add something to that prayer of Andy’s. Can I?”
“Kay.” She lay her head on his chest, listening.
Connor placed one hand on her hair and petted it slowly as he held her close. “Dear Lord, watch over Daisy and Maria. Keep ’em safe. I also ask that Mr. Adams be caught real soon, amen.” He kissed the top of her head softly. “If you need to go somewhere, tell me and I will take you, okay?”
“Kay.” Daisy remained in his arms for a few minutes, just enjoying the moment.
“Are you gonna give Dad his drink before… or after Christmas?”
“Oh yea, the drinks.” She carefully took the tray and left the kitchen, with Connor close behind.
In the living room, Davis had his arm around Peggy, talking quietly. Daisy placed their drinks on the coffee table in front of them.
Joe came back into the room. “Well, our flight plans are all cancelled. We will just hang around the house for a while until this Mr. Adams mess is cleared up.” Joe sat back down in his lazy-boy chair. “We didn’t much feel like going on that trip anyway, did we dear?” Joe looked at Rose as she returned to the room.
“No, they don’t really need us. There is another couple who is just as capable as Joe and I at running that fund raiser. I’m glad to stay home. Now it’s dinner time. Is anyone hungry?”
Connor grinned hungrily. “Dinner sounds great to me! I’m starving!”
“You’re always starving, Connor.” Rose laughed as she went around the room turning on all the Christmas lights. Next, she dimmed the over head electric lights. The soft shades of the Christmas lights sparkled their colors throughout the room, creating a lightly romantic, peaceful kind of atmosphere.
The dining table was set with Rose’s Christmas china. Everything was red, green or blue. Grandpa Joe placed a large Christmas ham in the center of the table. He had carefully sliced it earlier in the day (While the ladies were busy elsewhere in the house). Rose set mashed potatoes, collard greens, corn bread, and a broccoli casserole on the table.
“My goodness, Rose. You have really outdone yourself,” Peggy and Davis marveled at the table set before them.
“Thank you, I hope you all enjoy eating it as much as Joe and I enjoyed making it,” Rose said as she sat down in her chair.
Joe stood at the head of the table clearing his throat. “Well, we have a lot to be thankful for, and uh, this time around, I thought I would give a shot at saying so to God… myself… you know direct like.”
Everyone bowed their heads.
Joe cleared his throat again. “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for another lovely meal together with my family. Each member of this little family of mine is so very special to me. And what can I say about Peggy, my goodness, we are all so happy that Davis has found her. Please bless their upcoming wedding. For last, I’d like to ask that you assist the police in locating and apprehending Mr. Adams as quickly as possible. May he not have another chance to hurt anyone else. In Jesus name, amen.” Joe sat down quickly. He was still red as a tomato, as he always was whenever it came to praying but there was a new twinkle in his eye to match the red glow of his cheeks.
He was extremely happy that he didn’t seem to need someone else to talk to God for him. He could now do it himself, without help. He liked that. He had been experiencing this new freedom in prayer ever since he prayed a prayer of repentance with Mr. Langley during the Thanksgiving service a while back and frankly speaking, he was enjoying his new freedom immensely.
Joe graciously held his hands out to his family. “Please everyone, help yourselves to the food.”
Everyone began picking up dishes in front of them and passing them around. They all dug in with great gusto, appreciating the meal, family and the peaceful atmosphere that encompassed them all.
This time, when the meal was over, Daisy was the one who pushed up her sleeves to do the washing while Connor brought the dishes to her from the table. The others went into the living room to stretch out and relax.
When Daisy finished the last dish, she dried her hands and started to fix her sleeves but Connor took over and buttoned them for her then he combed his hands into her hair. “I love mess ‘in with your hair.” He smiled with fascination as the wild mass that bounced from his hands.
“I might wash dishes more often if I knew I’d get this kind of attention at the end of it.”
“You don’t have to wash dishes for attention from me.” He leaned in and gave her a simple kiss.
“What do I have to do then?” She smiled sweetly, curious as to what his answer might be.
“Just be my Daisy.” He stuck his hands into her hair and watched it fall again. “That’s so cool!”
“When we have our own house, will you kiss me every night after the dishes are done?”
“Every night for sure. You know how I am about traditions.”
“So…. can I consider this our new family tradition? Right next to get ‘in water on my head whenever you win a race?” She giggled.
Connor tapped her shoulders, one at a time, just like she were a knight. “I dub you the most kissable girl in all the land. You are to be kissed, every night, exactly after dishes, without fail. It is now a permanent tradition in the world of Connor and Daisy,” he declared in an official type voice.
“It is now a permanent tradition in the world of…. God, Connor and Daisy,” she corrected.
“That’s right, God, Connor and Daisy. It’s done,” he agreed with all his heart.
In the living room, everyone sat around the Christmas tree chatting. Connor and Daisy came in and took their place on the couch. Rose went to the tree and pulled out some gifts.
“Here Peggy, this is from Connor and Daisy.” Rose handed the present to Peggy and everyone watched curiously as she opened it.
“Oh, it is beautiful! Thanks, you guys!”
“When we saw the silver frame at the store, Connor and I could just see you and Davis inside it.”
“I think I can see us in it too.” Peggy looked at Davis warmly. Davis gave her a squeeze and kissed the side of her face affectionately.
Rose picked up another gift. “Here Joe darling, this is for you! It is from me.” Rose’s eyes were bright. She wanted to see his face when he opened it.
Joe opened the small package. “WOW! Thank You! Whooooo darl ‘in! It’s two tickets to the next Jaguar football game! This is great!” Everyone cheered right along with Joe and tried to get him to promise the second ticket to them. Of course, the second ticket was going to Rose without question but they tried anyway.
Rose passed around a few more gifts. She finally came across a small box from Davis. “Here ya go, Connor, this is for you.” Rose tossed the tiny box in his direction and he caught it mid-air. When he opened it, he found the car keys to the Firebird inside.
“What’s this, Dad?”
“Well son, I think you need your own car. I bought a truck this week for myself. It is still sitting on the lot, of course. You and I can go pick it up later. But I want to give my Firebird to you. There is one condition though.” Davis smiled.
“I want you to teach Daisy to drive it. Her birthday is coming up in February, and I imagine she will want her license when she hits 16.” Davis winked at Daisy. “Won’t ya darling?”
“Yes sir, I would.” Daisy beamed a beautiful smile for his thoughtfulness.
“So Connor, help your old man out by teaching her to drive. I’m scared too.” Davis winked again in Daisy’s direction. Daisy playfully roller her eyes at him this time. “And you two can share the car together.” Davis smiled at his son, proud that he had a son that he could trust.
“Thanks Dad! That’s great!” Connor was surprised and happy at the same time.
“After we finish here we can drive down to the lot and pick up my truck.”
“Great,” Connor agreed enthusiastically.
Rose then passed around a few more gifts until the only gifts left under the tree were for people who had not come by the house yet.
“I’ll get a trash bag for all this wrapping paper on the floor,” Peggy offered.
“That’s a good idea.” Rose began balling trash up in her lap.
Peggy moved around the room bagging trash as Joe made more eggnog drinks for himself and Davis.
Connor turned to Daisy on the couch. He wrapped his arms around her and whispered. “The Pastor came by the other day to see me.”
“He found that CD of your Dad and Mom giving their testimony in church. He brought it over and gave it to me,” Connor whispered in her ear.
“After we go get Dad’s truck, do ya wanna take a drive and listen to it?”
“Yeah, let’s do that.”
“Come on Connor. Peggy and I are ready to go,” Davis boomed as he grabbed the trash bag from Peggy.
Connor took Daisy’s hand. “Right behind ya Dad.”
Downstairs, Davis tossed the trash in the dumpster and they were off to fetch Davis’s brand new Christmas truck.