DECORATING SPIRIT by Zenobia Renquist
She's making sure Christmas comes more than once this year.
The Spirit of Christmas should be a joyous person who can spread happiness around the world. Spir is anything but. His mood is as dark as the black clothes he wears.
Danette is hired to change his clothing in hopes that his attitude will follow. Spir doesn’t want to cooperate. When she finally gets him out of his clothes, Danette discovers something harder than her job and much more enjoyable.
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Santa's Helpers: Decorating Spirit
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Copyright ©2012 Zenobia Renquist
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"Wow." Alex's awe-filled voice filtered past the dressing room door. She swung it open and exited like a model strutting down the runway. "This is gorgeous."
"See?" Danette shook her head. "All that fussing for nothing."
"Yes, yes. You were right. I was wrong. I bow to your expertise."
"You used to bow to my expertise before you went and got yourself married and pregnant. Now you think being away from me for a few months gives you the right to talk back. I know you, Alex, and I know your style. You used to trust me with stuff like this all the time."
Before becoming the bride of Santa Claus, Alex had been an exotic dancer, and Danette had been her manager. Danette had been in charge of everything from Alex's clothing to her music, sometimes even choreographing Alex's dance routines. They'd become best friends because Alex trusted Danette completely. "I still do."
"Then why are you giving me such a hard time about all this?"
Alex grinned and stuck out the tip of her tongue. "I love it when you get all stern and stuff."
"You're a closet masochist."
The woman shrugged before she started twirling so her skirt billowed around her.
Danette stepped close to Alex and said in a low voice, "I made sure the skirt was made of enough wrinkle-resistant material so it could be bunched up for easy access."
"I love you, Danette. You know me so well."
Noel cleared his throat. From the light blush dusting his cheeks, Danette guessed he'd heard her. Her gaze went to his pointed ears. They resembled normal ears in size and length but with a little point at the top. The size and shape of the ears was a distinguishing feature between elves, which Noel was, and fey like Kris. Danette had been told there were others, but that was the easiest to identify.
He said, "I shall inform sire of the good news." He bowed and then left the room.
Alex scrunched her nose in his direction. "Such a prude, that one."
"He's fine. You're the one who's got no morals."
"I'm also the one who made the Aurora Borealis outshine the stars."
"Yes, you did. Meteorologists around the world are still freaking out about it. If you and Kris could have sex on a regular schedule, that might lessen the panic in the human population."
"Regular and sex should never be in the same sentence. Sex should be spontaneous and hot, just the way Kris and I like it."
"Why do I get the feeling that's the way you like it, and Kris is just following your bad example?"
"Naughty example. Get it right."
"Kris is right. You are going to be chronicled as the worst Mrs. Claus ever."
"I don't care what everyone else thinks. Kris loves me, and the way I am gets results. Speaking of results, how's it going with your other problem child?"
"Oh, don't even ask about him."
Alex referred to the other reason Kris had hired Danette. Kris's identical twin brother Spir, who was also known as the Spirit of Christmas. Spir and Kris were identical in every single way except for their hair. Spir's was black and waist length. The black clothing Spir swathed himself in was the reason he was Danette's second project. Kris hoped Danette could convince his brother to wear clothing more fitting his station, hoping a color change might somehow improve Spir's mood.
Danette doubted changing his color scheme would change him. Kris and Spir were day and night, physically and mentally. Kris smiled easily and had a good humor about everything, even his wife's antics. Spir prowled around the winter palace snapping at everyone and cussing up a storm. Danette never had trouble finding him. She just followed the sounds of horrified gasps and fleeing women.
She didn't know how other Spirits of Christmas had acted, but Danette was sure Spir would be remembered as the worst. How someone with his attitude could bring good cheer and brotherly love to anyone was a mystery to her. But then, this would be his first year on the job. His uncle, black-haired identical twin to Kris and Spir's father, had held the job prior.
That was how the House of Kringle worked. When twins were born, and they weren't born often, their hair color decided who donned the mantle of Santa Claus and who became the Spirit of Christmas. Danette didn't find that fair, and Spir's attitude denoted he didn't either.
But she'd been hired to do a job. She would do it even if Spir avoided her and yelled at her on the few occasions when she managed to corner him. They were at a stalemate, but she had a trap planned today. Christmas was a few days away. Even if a change of clothing didn't help Spir's attitude, Danette wanted to know she had tried.
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