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Thread: NS Monthly Challenge - #15 December 2010 - "Holiday Spirit" Entries

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    NS Monthly Challenge - #15 December 2010 - "Holiday Spirit" Entries

    Only two entries for this challenge so no voting. Also, both authors wished to remain anonymous.

    Story #1
    Story #2

    Thank you to our contributors, and please leave them a review.
    Last edited by westwingwolf; 8th January 2011 at 06:00.

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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge - #15 December 2010 - "Holiday Spirit" Entries

    Variations of Yule

    Twas the night before Christmas and the internet was down; the lord of the manor was flat on the ground, smacking at server buttons with a sneer. Merrily, she watched as she brushed back a tear.

    It wasn't exactly the hustle and bustle of carollers, made legendary by holiday movies. Chloe was the first to admit her Christmas spirit was a bit skewed.

    She, Lex, Clarissa and Robert had agreed they would handle some of the decorating, just to let the children have their mark on their home. Clarissa had insisted on making paper cutouts of Santa, his sleigh, and his reindeer. After a few frustrating minutes attempting the same rather complicated scissor work, Robert decided to cut out the bells and cartoonish trees his mother had traced on construction paper for him.

    Her husband had shown up to shame them all, with life-size silhouettes of every family member, even himself. For Chloe's, he had insisted on tracing all the way down her eighth-month bump, thereby including the new baby in the portrait. She was definitely going to have to make sure that monument to her epic weight gain did not survive to next year. She loved her babies, but it wasn't fun being five-foot-five and nearly as wide around the middle.

    After a dinner of Clarissa's choice – chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks – Chloe had armed her two eldest with scotch tape and permitted them to stick their artwork anywhere in the library that wasn't on a book or a vase. She and Lex sat on the sofa and watched as the room was decorated. To her chagrin, Chloe's hugely pregnant silhouette wouldn't fit anywhere except on one of the doors.

    “The bookshelves take up a lot of wall space,” her skittish husband said reasonably, no doubt remembering her many hormone surges during the second trimester. Chloe was convinced he hadn't dumped her then only because he loved her that much, and her breasts were bigger.

    “I can handle the truth,” she told him wryly. “It stares me in the face every time I try to make a turn.”

    On cue, the two children ran over to bolster her pregnant ego, using the phrases they had heard their father repeat so many desperate occasions.

    “You're GLOWING,” Robbie told her, using volume to stand in for the nuances in tone of voice that fascinated him in his father's speech.

    “You're still the same everywhere except the baby,” Clarissa said with assurance. “And your hair is pretty.”

    Chloe gathered her very complimentary children in to her sides, since she couldn't fit anyone on her lap anymore. She cuddled them and fluffed their fine blond hair.

    “It's okay, I don't mind. I have lots of company all the time now. Even when I go to work, I can still talk to baby,” she said fondly.

    “And you know how much your mother likes to talk,” Lex said teasingly. “I think the library has never looked better. We should celebrate with my special hot chocolate.”

    He took Robbie for a helper, while Clarissa stayed behind to set up her cartoons. She had made up a careful schedule of her holiday DVDs, so that each one would get a turn.

    Chloe gestured toward her laptop, and the girl hopped down to hand it over. She sat next to her mother and stretched her legs out flat with a pillow on top.

    “Thank you, sweetheart, you're a good helper,” Chloe told her daughter happily. Lex had even managed to get the internet running again,without having to wrestle too long with the castle's quirky wiring.

    Robbie and Lex returned, the little boy hefting a tray of cookies over his head, and Lex carrying two mugs in each hand. Of course, with his enviable grace and entirely streamlined form, he hadn't spilled a drop, she observed with frustration. It took her entire family helping to get her laptop stowed away, a drink in her hand, a pillow under her feet, and a child pressed warmly to either side. Lex made do with the chair and a book as he sipped his hot chocolate.

    When two sleepyheads were lying heavily on her arms, Chloe called out for Lex to pick up Robbie. He took the little boy over his shoulder, and put a hand down to help Chloe stand. She nudged Clarissa up, and took the girl's hand as they all headed for the bedrooms.

    “Do you think the baby will be born by my birthday,” she asked, bouncing as she yawned.

    “The baby needs another month, but probably in January, so that's the same month,” Chloe told her daughter quietly. “Don't wake up Robbie, though.”

    “I won't! So will I have to share my birthday party with the baby?”

    “No, that wouldn't be fair, you'll still have your birthday, just like Robbie has his.”


    "So, where's my present," Chloe asked coyly.

    Lex looked up from bothering the fireplace with unnecessary banking. "You're pregnant, aren't you?"

    She looked down at her belly and covered it with her palms, hoping baby wasn't listening. "Do you want to try that again, with more regard for TBA Luthor than a cheap way to avoid shopping?"

    Lex put another log on a fireplace and came back to kneel down in front of her.

    “You're not fat,” he insisted, reading her nose wrinkling correctly. “You're great with child, and that is something to be revered. The doctor said you're well within normal range.”

    Chloe stroked his face gently, but her mouth twisted into a scowl. “Did you see me earlier, using our daughter as a lapdesk? To sit on the sofa with my laptop, I need to borrow someone else's lap. That's not skinny!”

    “She was watching cartoons, she didn't mind,” he shrugged. “And she is the one who wanted another little brother.”

    His brazen attempt to blame Clarissa for her current discomfort brought a smile to Chloe's lips. Long before the children had realized they could have more siblings, he had been prone to comments that sent her brooding for the chance to hold a baby again.

    “We don't know it's a baby brother. You shouldn't side with her in that or she might be disappointed.”

    Lex was smoothing her belly, his eyes soft as he pictured the life within. “I will suspend all allowances until they love whoever they get,” he promised. “But your sister would appreciate it if you were a boy, and your mother would like you to consider a four hour labour.”

    His hands went to her back and pressed carefully, easing the pressure of the extra weight on her spine. Chloe sighed and threw her head back, folding her hands on top of her belly.

    “Do you care if it's a boy or girl?”


    In the space of her long blink, there was a kiss to the baby, a brief unabashed show of adoration Lex never would have allowed himself if he wasn't feeling rather hormonal. He paused, and his cheek rubbed along as if he was listening closely.

    “I know the four hour labour would be easier on you, but I'm happy with whoever shows up, and however long they take to arrive. It's strange though, you being pregnant again at Christmas – it's almost like the first time.”

    Clarissa's arrival had been almost two months early, after a long struggle to stop Chloe's labour. She remembered being elevated in a bed on drugs that made her sick, while the pains wouldn't stop coming. Eventually the doctors had to concede there was no stopping it, and to top it all off Clarissa was breech. Chloe had been able to deliver naturally, but it was a fight at every step to forestall a caesarian and let her try. Lex had yelled at everyone in the maternity ward by the time she finally succeeded. Her recovery was prolonged by all the drugs, and Clarissa was in the hospital for weeks.

    It wasn't a very good holiday, and by the time Chloe and Clarissa were both at home, it was January. When the next year rolled around, they didn't feel much like celebrating the actual day their daughter was born, and decided to make her coming-home day her birthday. It seemed fairer to make it a day they could all feel happy on; tradition became custom, to the point they rarely discussed anything other than her January birthday. She was old enough soon to hear the real story, but Chloe secretly hoped the little girl would keep a birthday that didn't remind Lex of that first nightmarish Christmas trying to keep her alive.

    Lex sat up next to her, curling an arm down the baby and another over her shoulders, and Chloe let herself doze on his shoulder. It was a good holiday for her family – all five of them.

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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge - #15 December 2010 - "Holiday Spirit" Entries

    Season of Bliss

    It was time. Time for the madness, angst, yelling, screaming, and fighting that was associated with Christmas, which would then give way to the hope for a new year. Today was the day for decorating the tree. Chloe realized that by the time the first of December rolled around, most people were out purchasing trees, trimming said trees, and putting up decorations for inside and outside of the home. She knew the ritual well, as did her children and the friends she invited to spend time at her home. But Chloe was not too terribly fond of that tradition. She disliked starting the ritual so far ahead of the actual event, which is why she had her own children and husband and friends under foot as she cooked. She chose to make it a party with the people she cared for the most; and that was why they were here now: to complete her particular ritual for Christmas.

    She heard the raucous laughter of the kids. It never failed to put a smile on her face. Her career as a foreign affairs blogger finally had a large enough readership that could support her and her family, although her incoming was unnecessary. She had enough time to spare that she could spend it with the love of her life and her children; and in the end, that was all that mattered. So it was with a profound sense of happiness and contentment that she began the preparations for her party a week and a half from Christmas. Finding the perfect tree so close to Christmas had been a family adventure.

    Chloe smelled his cologne, even over the food she was preparing, before he was fully in the room. He was happy and his voice held the smile that she knew to be on his face.

    “Everything smells good, Chloe. Such a whirling dervish of domesticity.”

    Chloe rolled her eyes when he chuckled. “Lex, either help me or –,” she was interrupted by the loud sound of a crash and maniacal laughter before she continued, “– go wrangle our kids.”

    She had meant to ask him to get out of the kitchen and put on a different Christmas cd, but the crash was vaguely alarming; not because she was afraid they were hurt, but because they sounded too happy. Lex seemed to understand the situation as he rushed from the room to attend to their children.

    Instead of a semblance of calm, Chloe heard running, childish squeals, and Lex’s deep laugh. It always amazed her how far from Smallville they had come. He was happy; genuinely and truly happy. And so was she. It was a miracle; and one that she cherished every day she got to live it. In the back of Chloe’s mind, she sometimes thought that it was a dream. She knew that Lex felt it too. Felt that one day they would wake up back in Smallville with a gaping hole where peace of mind could be; but that wasn’t going to happen because this was her life.

    Chloe was about to go see what Lex and the kids were doing, for the sudden silence did not bode well, when her cell phone began ringing. She sighed and answered her phone, her voice tinged with amused annoyance.

    “I sent you out an hour ago.”

    The reply was slightly frustrated, “Yeah, I’m fully aware. Traffic is a bitch. I’ll be there in ten minutes. I picked up everything you wanted and stopped by to get Leslie,” after a pause, Robert continued, “Leslie says that Lex owes her big time for the crap she’s had to put up with.”

    Chloe rolled her eyes, “I’m thinking that Lex will relish whatever vengeance Leslie decides to unleash.”

    There was more background talk and some laughing before Robert got back to her, “Ten minutes.”

    The phone clicked off and Chloe found herself chuckling. She loved them both.

    Lex came back into the kitchen with a child under each arm, Grant and Landon, and one, Larissa, trailing behind him. The two boys were giggling and Larissa, being the oldest at ten, looked indignant.

    Grant squealed and lunged out of Lex’s arms, “Mom! Landon made the lamp fall –,” Landon’s giggly outraged “Did not!” didn’t even break the flow of his words, ”– and it didn’t break and then Larissa said she was gonna tell but then she didn’t and then Landon and me ran into the room while Larissa chased us! Then I tripped her and Landon started laughing.”

    He said it all in one sentence in the unique way that kids of his age were able to accomplish. There was no pause and he was out of the breath at the end. Lex let him go quickly before he fell and hurt himself; and smiled at him indulgently. It was a soft look that would never have graced his face even five years ago. Being a father had changed him for the better.

    Before she even had a chance to process the word stream that Grant had loosed upon the room, Landon started his side, “And then Dad came and me and Grant tackled his legs and Larissa watched and then she jumped on his back! And then he grabbed us and we came here!”

    At this Larissa crossed her arms, rolled her eyes, and pushed her red hair behind her ear, but she didn’t deny it. Chloe took her son in her arms. His short, dirty blond hair was sticking up like a deranged mad scientist and his green eyes were wide and happy. Of course, Landon was also in the same state. Both of them were so goofy anyways and she adored that about them.

    Lex tousled Landon’s already unruly hair and set him on his feet, where he promptly took off running to the living room with his sister hot on his heels. Grant would have gone as well but he the front door opened and Robert came in with Leslie. He ran into his father’s arms, with a yelled “Dad!”, and launched himself into Robert’s arms. Robert lifted Grant to his arms. Chloe met them both in the living room and gave her husband and son a kiss. Lex did the same with Leslie.

    “Where are our two heathens, Lex? Oh and Lex? The next time you send me to your office to deal with that difficult broad you call a secretary, I will withhold for two weeks,” she said this so sweetly that it was hard to pinpoint when the desire for her children actually turned into a threat.

    Chloe loved Leslie so much for bringing humor into Lex’s life. He didn’t take himself so seriously any more and it was the best thing that could’ve happened to him. Lex swallowed and kissed his wife. He knew that she was not joking. Her withholding looked like skimpy outfits, teasing and no sex to show for it. It was hell.

    Larissa and Landon ran into the room to greet their mother and drag her away to one of the back rooms. Robert let go of Grant and watched as their son ran to join his friends, laughing all the way.

    Robert embraced Chloe and said thoughtfully, “Maybe we should see about teaching him a laugh that’s a little less maniacal.”

    Chloe shook her head, “Nah. His laugh will serve him well. Now go entertain the kids with Lex and send Leslie in here. It’s girl time.”

    Robert shook his head, “It will only serve him well when he’s drinking the blood of his enemy’s children after he’s taken over the world. Let’s go, Lex, the queen hath spoken!”

    She kissed the love her life and thanked whatever higher being allowed her this happiness. She had great friends in Lex and Leslie, an amazing son, a fun niece and nephew in Larissa and Landon, and a husband that fit her like no one else. Chloe knew that Lex had found the same happiness. In the end, that was all that ever mattered.
    Last edited by westwingwolf; 8th January 2011 at 06:17.

  4. #4
    walking with cavemen Senior Member Zannie's Avatar
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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge - #15 December 2010 - "Holiday Spirit" Entries

    Thanks for posting these fun stories, and thanks to the authors for writing them. I loved the happy domesticity of both of them, although naturally I must prefer happy domestic scenes where Chloe and Lex are married to each other!

    I actually had a story in mind that I was thinking of doing for this battle--one that also had Chloe and Lex with children--but I didn't have time to write it and I doubt I could have done it in the word limit anyway. I'm going to have to reconcile myself to the fact that I'm never going to be able to enter these!

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    looking for updates Senior Member somethingeasy's Avatar
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    Re: NS Monthly Challenge - #15 December 2010 - "Holiday Spirit" Entries

    Variations of Yule

    Her husband had shown up to shame them all, with life-size silhouettes of every family member, even himself. For Chloe's, he had insisted on tracing all the way down her eighth-month bump, thereby including the new baby in the portrait. She was definitely going to have to make sure that monument to her epic weight gain did not survive to next year. She loved her babies, but it wasn't fun being five-foot-five and nearly as wide around the middle.

    After a dinner of Clarissa's choice – chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks – Chloe had armed her two eldest with scotch tape and permitted them to stick their artwork anywhere in the library that wasn't on a book or a vase. She and Lex sat on the sofa and watched as the room was decorated. To her chagrin, Chloe's hugely pregnant silhouette wouldn't fit anywhere except on one of the doors.
    This was a fun fic… and I have to declare this one as my choice for a winner this month for this visual alone. The idea of Lex cutting out life size representatives of his family in cardboard was just too ludicrous for words. And yet, I can easily imagine Lex getting this kind of a crazy idea into his head and following it through. And with his brilliant eye for detail as well as his obsessive-compulsive tendency towards perfection, the cut-outs would be just amazing to behold, wouldn’t they?

    The whole fic was filled with silly, fun moments like that. I had to shake my head ruefully at the scene where all of Chloe’s kids rushed over to assure her that she still looked lovely, despite looking like she swallowed a medicine ball. It makes me wonder whether Chloe scared her kids as well as her husband with her mood swings through her pregnancy, lol!

    I enjoyed the little look that this ficlet provided me into the lives of a sappy, happy Christmassy goodness… where Lex’s and Chloe’s lives are quite uncomplicated, non-traumatic and filled with sweetness and humour. It’s nice, on occasion, to see the Chlex couple sit back and just relax… freed from all the Chlex authors who love to see them traumatized and miserable.


    Season of Bliss

    I was giggling to see that both the authors participating in this month’s challenge hit upon a very similar theme. Family Christmas. LOL! Even Zannie noted that SHE wanted to do one with family as well.

    But I really enjoyed the two different ways that the two authors handled the same theme. This ficlet was very enjoyable, and I liked the way that it focused on Chloe’s point of view, capturing her feelings of peace and contentment as she mused over the Christmas dinner that she was putting together for the family.

    LOL! I was completely fooled by the beginning painting Lex as Chloe’s husband, and the father to her kids. In fact, I actually had to re-read the last couple of paragraphs several times over in order to fully comprehend and understand that Lex was NOT Chloe’s life-partner. LOL! Someooone enjoys playing mind-games, eh?

    I tried NOT to resent Leslie and Robert for ‘getting in the way’ of the Chlex couple in this fic. Indeed, I can see that they both are lovely characters, with very sweet and personable personalities. I can imagine falling in love with them in an extended fic. BUT, in this short fic, there was still a small amount of resentment towards the two of them for ‘stealing’ Lex and Chloe away from each other.

    Like I mentioned, this was only because it was a short ficlet, where we only got a glimpse of Leslie’s and Robert’s characters. It might be fun to see these characters explored in an extended version of this fic.

    Thanks so much for the awesome fic!

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