The Gift

Wolf Creek, Montana, December 2003

Christmas at the Lansing household was, as always, busy and crowded and perfectly wonderful. This year they were joined by Rebecca’s family, now much closer than neighbors since her marriage to Eric. After the morning bustle of coffee, doughnuts and gifts, everyone trooped off to the annual Christmas skating show at the Wolf Den, where the hometown stars Eric, Becky, and Jamie Bowen performed for—and with—the fans most dear to them: the children of Wolf Creek.

While Becky prepared for bed that night, Eric lay in bed in his own old room, awash in a happy haze. A year ago, even through the joy of being with his family, he had been haunted by the heartache of a love that was slipping away. So much had changed since then. Now he had a new love that promised to be his forever, fulfilling seemingly everything he had ever dreamed of…

Almost, at least. And he knew his last wish, too, would come true at the proper time.

The door opened noiselessly, and Becky stepped in, wrapped in the pink flannel robe Eric’s sister Evelyn had given her. Her husband smiled warmly as he gazed at her, enjoying her beauty in the soft light of the bedside lamp.

It took him a long moment to realize she was holding a small white box tied with a red ribbon.

"What’s this?" he murmured in drowsy curiosity, sitting up against the headboard.

Smiling tenderly, Becky came to him and sat down on the edge of the bed. She placed the box on his lap. "I wanted to save the best for last."

Eric gave her a somewhat perplexed smile, then with eager fascination, he untied the bow and let the ribbon fall away. He lifted the lid from the box, and feeling a swell of childlike excitement at the mystery, pushed aside a thin layer of tissue paper.

Nestled upon a bed of more paper within the box, there lay a very small pair of skates. They were a young toddler’s beginner skates, new and white and shiny.

Something tightened in Eric’s gut, and he looked up at Becky in wonder.

His wife uttered a light, joyous laugh, and resting her hands on his bare shoulders, she leaned her head against his. She kissed his quirking lips, and then her hand found his, drawing it close to gently clasp his palm against her abdomen.

"Yes, Eric."

An electric sensation passed through Eric. He looked down at his hand which Becky held against her, then up into her shining eyes. There was no need for her to say anything more.

"Oh, Becky," he breathed, and drawing her into his arms, he kissed her and stroked her face. Her gift to him was the fulfillment of his last wish, the miracle that would make his life—their life—complete.

Eric Lansing was going to be a father.

© 2003 Jordanna Morgan