Day 17 - Santa Encounter
Taylor Raines Walker and Andrew Donovan*

*Taylor is played by Natalia Livingston and a grown-up Andrew Donovan is played by Samuel C. Hunt.

Taylor furiously snapped pictures of Andrew from the cordoned off area of the square as he sat in a huge, ornate oakwood chair passing out candy canes and little trinkets to merry little children eager to talk to the Big Man With the Bag. Andrew had taken on the job of playing Santa at Horton Square because he said he wanted to buy her something really great this year, something to celebrate their two years of being a couple. Though she had tried to tell him she didn't need anything extravagant, that him just being in her life was more than enough for her, he wouldn't hear of it. He wanted her to feel special even though she always did when she was with him...

A stressed out-looking mother of three carrying a baby and multiple shopping bags headed for the platform where Santa sat. She looked exhausted and nearly stumbled climbing up the steps. Andrew was immediately up on his feet, catching her and the baby in time. Even the bags somehow remained intact in his strong arms.

"Are you okay?" He asked in his jolliest voice.

"No harm done, thanks to you… Santa," the mother said. She plopped the baby on his lap as he settled back into the huge chair. The other two children with her - a boy and a girl - bounced anxiously on the balls of their feet as the baby fussed and Andrew tried to subdue him by rubbing his back gently. In time, the baby had quieted and was even leaning into Andrew while the mom snapped off pictures.

Taylor smiled widely. Andrew was going to be a great father one day, just like his own dad Shane was. The thought made her heart thump wildly. She loved Andrew so much. She wanted to be the mother of his children and the woman in his life forever. She never thought after Quinn, she could trust or love someone so completely again, but she did. Oh, she did.

The mom took the baby and it was her little boy's turn on Santa's lap. He tugged on Andrew's fake beard and poked his pillow-enhanced stomach. "Are you sure you're the real Santa?" The boy asked skeptically. "You're really skinny and young-looking."

Andrew laughed. "Why, yes, I'm the real Santa. Mrs. Claus will have me plenty fat by Christmas Eve, I promise you that. Now tell me, have you been naughty or nice this year?"

The boy declared he had been super-nice. He didn't even complain, he said, when his little baby brother cried all night long. "Well isn't that impressive?" Santa-Andrew said. "And what do you want this year?"

The boy proceeded to rattle off a slew of things he wished for - from Star Wars ships to Power Rangers figures. Taylor hoped he wouldn't be disappointed come Christmas morning.

The line moved forward and the boy's sister went up. She talked to Santa for such a long time that people got frustrated and walked away, grumbling about time constraints.

When the little family of four was gone, Andrew tugged at his apparently scratchy beard and sought Taylor's eyes in the crowd of Horton Square. He stood up and held out his hand to her. "Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas," he said. "Why don't you come sit on Santa's lap and tell me what you want this year?"

She blushed. "I think I'm a little too grown up for that."

"Nonsense. You're never too grown up for Santa, Taylor."

"How do you know my name?" She teased.

He tapped his forehead. "Santa knows all. Now come up here." She grasped his black-gloved hand and allowed herself to be tugged up onto the platform. She laughed as he angled her just right so she collapsed directly onto his lap.

"Hey, Santa," Taylor said with a cheeky smile. "Is that a candy cane in your pocket or -"

"It's not a candy cane," he said, wiggling his hips so she could feel the way she was turning him on. He was insatiable.

She laughed and blushed all at the same time. "Now, young lady, have you been naughty or nice this year?" Andrew asked.

"You should already know that. After all, you know everything, don't you?"

"You're right. I seem to recall you've been rather nice with some moments of naughty." He quickly nuzzled her neck with his scruffy faux-bearded chin and she laughed.

"What if some of the kids see you getting fresh with someone other than Mrs. Claus?"

"You know I'm smooth and won't get caught." He winked at her. He really was a smooth operator. "So what do you want this year?"

Taylor shrugged. "Hmm, I don't know. Maybe some slippers and perfume or something."

"Bor-ring," Andrew said. "Think bigger."

"I really don't need -"

"Since when is Christmas about needing things? It's about the spirit of giving and Santa wants to give you the brass ring."

Taylor's eyes widened. He chuckled at her expression. "Do I mean that literally?" He murmured.

"Do you?" Taylor asked hesitantly. It was almost too much to hope for that he would want to marry her.

"You'll find out Christmas Day either way," Andrew said, giving her a wink. Her heart slammed wildly against her ribcage. "Anything else you want this year?"

"Just to spend time with my sexy Mr. Claus."

"I think that can be arranged. My shift is over in about an hour and then we can take a magical ride on my sleigh."

"Is that what you're calling it now?" Taylor teased.

"Ho ho ho. Funny girl," Andrew said with a laugh.

A gaggle of children suddenly raced over to Santa and Taylor reluctantly hopped off of his lap. She wanted to blow him a kiss but settled for squeezing his shoulder. She loved him. God, did she ever love that man.