Part Three: In Which We Find Out What the Rosset Children Decide to Do
After a few minutes of brainstorming, Sariel felt that her idea was now big enough to talk with Adrian about. She could always count on her book-loving brother to have excellent additions to any plans she created.
With an excited smile, she jumped from her bed and rushed over to the boys’ room where she knew she would find her brother, probably reading his book.
To her surprise, Adrian was sitting in his bed without a book; he was staring into nothing with a thoughtful expression across his face.
“Adrian?” Sariel asked softly.
Her brother looked up with a start, as if suddenly recollecting his surroundings. His eyes focused on his sister. “Yes Sariel?”
“I have an idea…” she began.
Adrian’s face brightened. “Something we can do to help our parents?” he queried.
Sariel nodded. “Yes, although it may not be a very good one.”
“I’ve been trying to come up with something, but every effort has failed so far. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve thought of an idea! Please tell me it at once!”
Sariel’s excitement bubbled up to the surface immediately. “I want to decorate our house for Christmas.”
The light went from Adrian’s face and he slumped against his pillow. “But that’s impossible! Christmas trees and wreaths cost money! And besides, all our own decorations are miles deep below boxes and boxes of stuff from our old house!”
“That’s what I thought at first too,” Sariel said with a smile. “But after thinking about it for a little while, the idea just wouldn’t go away and more ideas how to do it without having to buy things came to me.”
Adrian looked at his sister blankly. “How?”
“Well, for starters, we can use a tree already growing in the woods behind our house.”
“Do we even have a tree small enough back there? I’ve never been in our woods and after all, we’ve only been here in this new house for a month.”
“I don’t know,” Sariel admitted, “but I know someone who would…”
“Talian?” Adrian’s voice filled with worry. “Are you sure we should include him in this?”
Sariel nodded. “Absolutely! You know as well as I do that we can’t do it without his help, however reluctant it might be.” She paused. “Speaking of Talian, where is he?”
Adrian sighed. “Still moping over the loss of his stupid Christmas presents probably.”
“Well then, this trip into the woods to find us a tree will do him some good.” Sariel jumped off Adrian’s bed. “I’ll go get him and tell him what he has to do for decorating our house to work.” She started off, and then turned around. “One more thing Adrian…I want this to be a surprise.”
Adrian gave her a puzzled look. “Now, how are we going to pull that off?”
Sariel grinned. “On Christmas Eve, I’ll convince Mom and Dad that we need some things from the grocery store. While they’re away, we’ll decorate.”
“Christmas Eve is only a week away!” Adrian exclaimed. “How will we find all the decorating stuff in that time?”
“We’ll do a lot of praying,” Sariel answered matter-of-factly. “But think of how happy they’ll be when they come home to a house decorated for Christmas!”
“We can at least try I guess,” Adrian answered slowly. “But don’t get your hopes up Sariel.”
As Christmas Eve inched its way closer, day by day, the Rosset children were kept so busy over their decorations that both Rosset parents wondered what had gotten into them. With the secret surprise only just around the corner, their excitement and happiness escalated.
“I finally found a perfect tree!” Talian announced in the boys’ bedroom where they had gathered to talk about their decorations.
Sariel clapped her hands. “Oh wonderful!”
Adrian looked doubtful. “Are you sure it will be the right height?” he asked with concern.
“Absolutely!” Talian said with satisfaction. “I measured the living room before measuring the tree and the tree is exactly three inches shorter than the living room ceiling.”
“That sounds right,” Adrian admitted, half to himself. “It isn’t scraggily, is it?”
“Scraggily?” Talian was shocked and offended. “I know a good tree when I see one bro, and this is one sweet tree.”
“Don’t talk slang,” Sariel reproved. “I’m glad you found a nice tree, but you know how Mom feels when you talk like that.”
“Alright, I won’t…but it is not scraggily,” Talian said with a glare at Adrian.
“We’ll come out and look at it before cutting it down,” Sariel said to soothe the feelings of both her brothers. “I found the box of ornaments down in our basement and looked through them. There’s plenty, but some of them were cracked and broken from the rough ride here.”
“I found some of Mom’s scented candles in a box down there too,” Adrian said. “I don’t know if any of them can still get lighted, but they’re Christmassy, right?”
“Oh, perfect! I hadn’t thought about candles!” Sariel exclaimed. “They’ll look really nice with the extra fir branches we’re putting over the fireplace.” She turned to Adrian. “Speaking of which, have you gotten Dad to teach you how to start a fire?”
“Not yet, but he promised he would tonight.”
Sariel clapped her hands, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “Oh, we’re going to make Mom and Dad so happy!”
“I sure hope so with all the work we’re putting into it,” Talian added grumpily.
Sariel looked at him. “For shame!” she said, folding her arms. “Imagine all the work they’ve put in on all those other Christmases when we didn’t do anything except open presents! Let’s give them a nice Christmas for a change.”
“Oh, by the way, Mr. Fledd was trimming his holly tree yesterday and I asked for some of the branches. He said I could have some any time!” Adrian exclaimed. “I almost forgot to tell you!”
“We’ll put those on our window sill that looks towards the driveway,” Sariel said, her hands out as if envisioning the picture it would make. “With a few candles, it’ll look gorgeous.” She sighed happily. “I can’t wait until Christmas Eve!”
“I think the kids are up to something honey,” Amaria said worriedly to her husband. “I caught Talian measuring the height of our living room yesterday.”
Darien smiled. “I know, Sariel’s been acting strange too. I came into the kitchen once and found her there. She jumped in a guilty way when I said her name.”
“Should we find out what they’re up too?” Amaria asked.
“I think as long as they aren’t disobeying our house rules…we should let them keep doing whatever they’re doing. It seems to be keeping them from sulking about having no Christmas presents.”
Amaria smiled. “Alright, whatever you say.”
Darien gave his wife a quick hug. “I promised Adrian I’d teach him how to light our fire, so I’ll be doing that next before I forget. When you see Talian, remind him not to track mud in the house. I had to clean up after him again this afternoon.”
“I promise,” Amaria answered.
Little did they know what their children really were up too…but they were about to find out.