It’s missing a comma here and there, but without further ado, chapter one for you all as a reminder of where things left off and hints on what’s to come. Thanks for reading!
A long list of troubles
Sandra’s list of troubles was a mile long.
“It is not a “mile long,” Cappie, her treasured guardian who had raised her after her parents were lost at sea, admonished. “It really only has three things on it.”
“Well, they are really big things, Cappie, with loads of little things under them which leads to it feeling like it’s a mile long. Maybe two miles long.” Sandra added the last part with a bit of defiance. At the moment, she didn’t like having her troubles downplayed.
Cappie just sighed at her. “Let me hear them again then.”
Sandra plopped in a seat at the table in the galley on the Mistletoe and began to recite her list using her fingers for drama.
“First, of course, is Jason. We’ve been looking for him for more than a month. And not just us. Every single fairy in the seen world and the unseen world has been instructed to find him and, so far, not a single real clue has turned up.”
“. . .squawk! . . . tired of Jason . . . squawk! . . . heart breaker . . .”
“Squawk!” Sandra said to her talking parrot. “You can be naughty sometimes and I’d still come look for you if you were missing.”
Squawk flew out the door to perch on the tugs rail in protest of her calling him “naughty.” Of course she’d look for him, he thought, but squawked out nothing. It was a totally different matter. He was insulted she had compared the two. He hadn’t liked Jason when he was Sandra’s boyfriend and started taking up all her time and he really didn’t like him after he broke her heart by breaking up with her. Now that he was missing and taking up all their time for fun thinking about where he might be, Squawk was really, really, not liking him. Not to mention, it seemed Jason was the king of fairies and Squawk, like many, did not care for fairies.
“Yes,” Cappie was saying. “Jason is a huge concern. But not your concern alone as you have pointed out. His mother is actually in charge of that search and you need to let her be the lead.”
Christina Annalise was the headmistress of St. Annalise Academy on the island of St. Annalise that Sandra and Cappie called home. Jason was Christina’s adopted son and had not told even her what route he was going when he had left to join the fairy realm to learn more about who he really was and what it meant to be the apparent king of fairies. No one had heard from him in months. Both Christina and Sandra had assumed it was because he was busy with his new role and had chosen to break, at least for a while, from his life with all of them. While it seemed outrageously rude, to both of them, not to write or call, it wasn’t out of Jason’s character and definitely not out of the character of a fairy. Generally speaking, Shan fairies, the ruling party and haughtier side of the fairy realm, felt no need to keep anyone apprised of any of their comings and goings. Most beings that were not fairies were simply beneath them.
“I’m so worried about him, Cap. I can’t have him be gone in the same kind of way mom and dad were gone. One minute they’re there and the next they just aren’t and no one has ever been able to figure out what happened. That’s how it’s going with Jason and that’s hard.”
“Oh, sweetheart,” Cappie said, pulling her beautiful Santa girl over and hugging her. “I understand. I just hate to see you so troubled. What else is on the list?”
“Gunny, of course,” Sandra said, standing up and pacing again. “The fairies are still refusing to give him up until they know where Jason is which is absolutely ridiculous since not only did Jason break up with me, he didn’t even want me to know where he was going. So, obviously, I’m not the one hiding him.” Her voice got loud with frustration. She was beyond annoyed that the Supreme Esteemed Fairy Council refused to release Gunny still. Santa had thought he had successfully negotiated his release a couple of times but it fell through for no valid reason both times.
Sandra missed him. Gunny was not the easiest person in her life but he was one of the most important. Their relationship had been complicated from the start. They met competing to be South Pole Santa and when she was selected over him, Gunny had, at first, rebelled. To put it more accurately, he had sulked. Then he had Santanapped her last year which had not endeared him to her at all. It had taken a lot of effort, but their fragile relationship had seemed on the cusp of something more than friendship when the fairies had whisked him away, and held him for ransom, in exchange for Jason.
Sandra missed them both which was a complicated mess all on its own.
“Third big item,” she said out loud to help dismiss that uncomfortable topic in her head. “I have twelve very kind children whose names have been drawn from nearly a million entries. A million Cappie!” She repeated that last part because she still could not begin to believe it. Kind acts were washing over the world thanks to her request for children to help her perform random acts of kindness – RAKS as they were often known as — and then send in what they had done. From those lists of kindnesses, twelve children were going to get to visit the North Pole and she had ideas brewing in her head for making it even bigger in the future.
“I know they will like getting to meet the elves and Santa but I just want to make sure it is an extra special time for them.”
“Sandra, really. That is hardly worth worrying on since no children have ever been so lucky and these children are nice to begin with! Of course they are going to love it – even if they do nothing at all.”
Sandra just frowned at her. She knew she had time to figure it out since she wasn’t planning on them visiting until later in the year but she loved to plan early and it was really important to her that it be “just right.”
“What is item number four?” Cappie asked a little too sweetly suspecting there wasn’t more than three items on Sandra’s “mile long list.”
“Four is that no real progress has been made now for months on getting the South Pole Village barge finished. Not through the Christmas season, of course, and not since Gunny has been gone. Spencer and Birdie and even Crow once in a while have been trying to help with it but they just aren’t the same as having Gunny managing it all. Cappie, they put up two walls in the wrong place! How is that even possible?”
“Walls can come down,” Cappie assuringly said. The South Pole Village barge was Sandra’s new love. She had always lived on the Mistletoe and loved it, and always would love it, but her new responsibilities as South Pole Santa meant she would need to leave the Mistletoe for a new home in her new role. Working with Gunny, they had figured out that a large barge could be built to duplicate North Pole Village. It could be towed by the Mistletoe all around the seas if necessary and that would be South Pole Santa’s new home. She loved the most that the barge, dubbed South Pole Village, meant she could work from anywhere and still be South Pole Santa. Spencer and Birdie, her very best friends, had been trying to keep some work on the barge happening without Gunny, and using Gunny’s brother Crow, but none of them really understood construction.
“Okay, any items past those four?” Cappie asked politely.
Sandra looked at her and flashed her first smile since they had started their chat. Talking things out with Cappie always made her feel better. “Not really. Just stuff. Okay, the list isn’t a mile long.”
“Ahoy!” a voice called out from the deck and Cappie leapt up, smiling. She knew the voice of their neighbor, long-time friend and now Cappie’s official boyfriend, well. Thomas Jackson, had his arm around Cappie by the time Sandra joined them on deck. Despite his show of affection for Cappie, he was clearly there for Sandra, this visit, as he looked directly at her.
“There’s news,” he said. “Rio has found us a way in.”