I Saw Poppa Kissing Santa Claws
It was bedtime on Christmas Eve and Remy had carried a freshly bathed and pajamad three year old down the hall. Holding her with one arm while the other rubbed her back, he proceeded to tell her a good night story about Santa Clause and the eight reindeer that only came to "good girl's houses that fall asleep right away." He knew she would never believe it but with her yawning and resting her head on his shoulder, he thought it was worth a try. With another pat of her back and smoothing of her long, auburn hair, Remy laid her down in her birthday-new Princess bed and tucked her in.
"Not tired, poppa." She yawned and blinked up at him as he sat down, beside her on the bed.
Remy smiled and winked, "Yea, ya are, petite." With another big yawn from her, Remy was surprised she could open her mouth that wide. "Goodness, I think you need to go to sleep, right quick." He leaned over and kissed her forehead as she blinked her eyes closed but tried several times to force them back open. Remy smiled as the "night night tea" Tante Mattie offered him had worked. "Bonne nuit, petite." The only light on, in her room, was a lamp with a dollhouse that was also a nightlight. The lamp sat on a small table, beside the bed, and in shutting off the lamp part, the small dollhouse illuminated with a tiny glow, in case she needed to get up during the night. Remy had thought it was a smart invention and stood up to leave the room.
Rhythm had fallen asleep and slept fairly hard, kicking covers this way and that while changing positions to ultimately turn herself around so that her head was at the foot of her bed. Red footed pajamas had become too hot under thick covers so, she had kicked them off and turned every few minutes to find a cool spot. She ended up on her stomach with her left leg hanging off the side of the bed and her right arm sandwiched underneath her. Her long hair became unruly and started to resemble a rat's nest on one side. She had been sleeping for a few hours and didn't notice the two times Remy poked in to see if she was still asleep to cover the handling of gifts from his closet to under the tree, in the downstairs living room.
In switching positions again, she struggled and whined when she tried to free her right arm, causing her to shift again and throw herself onto the floor, next to the bed. Rhythm whimpered and sat up, dizzily. "Poppa?" When she heard no reply, Rhythm started to panic. Crawling on all fours, she made her way to the door that was cracked open, and nudged it open more to peer into the hallway. It was dark, with exception of a nightlight Remy kept in the guest bathroom, next to her room. she struggled to get to her feet and held onto the wall as she inched her way over to the stairs.
Stepping down, one stair at a time, Rhythm held onto the wooden support posts of the bannister and made her way down to the middle mark of the staircase. She sat down and rest her head against one sturdy beam as she looked between the posts to find Remy and another man talking and laughing, in the living room, behind them roared a large, warm fire in the antique stone fireplace. "Poppa," she whispered and rubbed a tired right eye with the back of her right hand.
Remy had gone into the kitchen to pour them both a cup of coffee and when he came back, his visitor in a red sweater, blue jeans and black cowboy boots situated himself in a plush arm chair to the left of the fireplace, opposite the tall, brightly decorated tree. Handing the extra cup to his guest, Remy took a seat on the guest's lap.
Rhythm squinted and shoved her head closer, trying to get a better look at the guest Remy was talking and laughing with but the blaze of the fire was too bright and created a white glow around both of them. "Santa? Poppa?"
The guest, with his thick black hair that went every which direction, sipped his coffee invitingly and as he brought the cup to his lips, for another sip, he paused. With a sniff and a sly glance out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a tiny anklet watching them from the stairs. "I uh, think we're bein' stared at. You have rather large pixies, Gumbo."
Remy leaned closer and placed his cup down, on the table, behind the chair, making it seem like he leaned in for a kiss. "Dat's prolly my petite. she's s'posed ta be in bed, sleepin'." Both kept their whispers low so only they heard the other. Remy stood up and looked in her general direction. "C'mere, petite." When she didn't move, he slowly made his way over to the bottom of the stairs and opened his arms for her. "Bad dream?"
Rhythm stood up and held onto the posts as she stepped down the stairs, one by one. "No."
Remy scooped her up when she reached his level and rubbed her back as he turned back to his guest. "Logan, this is Rhythm, ma petite fille. Petite, this is poppa's friend, Logan."
Laying her head on his shoulder, Rhythm smiled and waved flirting with the stranger. "Where Santa, poppa?"
Logan smiled and laughed quietly as he stood up and approached the two. "He's got a few more houses to get to, darlin."
In raising her head and giving Logan a quizzical look, her attention was turned back to Remy.
"What ya doin' up, Boo? Bad dream? Need some water?" Remy rubbed her back and kissed her cheek. She was still hot from sleep and her pajamas which made her face flush.
Rhythm shook her head no and threw her arms around Remy, not wanting him to scold her for being out of bed without a reason.
Remy returned the hug and excused them from Logan as he carried her back upstairs to bed. "Potty?" Remy tried once more for an answer of why she had gotten up and stared at them through the posts.
Her arms pulled back from him and she nodded. She yawned as she was carried into the bathroom and helped onto the "big girl's potty." When she finished, she was cleaned up and helped to wash her hands and dry them before being carried back to bed.
Remy hadn't bothered to turn on any of the lights but looked confused at her bedding being in complete disarray. When he laid her back down, he righted the blanket but stopped as a tiny voice mentioned it was too hot to sleep under. "Okay," folding the heavy blanket down to the end of her bed, he stood up and retrieved a lighter baby blanket from the top drawer in her white and pink three-drawer dresser that sat on the opposite wall of the bed. Holding it up, Remy showed her, "better?"
Rhythm nodded and yawned again as the pillow was cool and soft and lulled her to sleep with its fluffiness. She was tucked in again and kissed on her cheek as she fell asleep, mumbling about Mr. Santa Claws with the black hair.
"Merry Christmas, petite. See you in de morning." Remy watched her for a little while and carefully tiptoed out of the room, closing her door to leave a crack and then returned to his guest.