Disclaimer: All characters (besides Lailie) don't belong to me. Neither do brands or products that I might mention.
A/N: My first attempt at fanfiction writing. ;)
It takes me forever to get home. When they announced snow for the early evening hours, I didn't expect a middle sized snow storm to accompany me all the way from downtown Hartford to the outskirts. The 30 minute drive turns into a multi-hour escapade. I left the office at 4:30 sharp, looking forward to a nice and quiet pre Christmas Eve evening with my family. Now, at 6:45, I still have a third of the way to go and I have to rub my cold hands in front of the car's heating vent instead of the fireplace that awaits me at home.
Of course Rory was not happy, nicely said, when I called her an hour after I had left. The Huntzberger Family tradition is being disrupted by snow. I am quite happy she didn't blame me for being late, even though she told me to leave the office around noon since her mom had sensed snow for the evening. Never ever turn against your mother-in-law's prophecy, Huntzberger!
And how right she has been… Heavy snow flakes are still making their way down to earth, covering every available surface, especially the highway that is supposed to take me to my loved ones. I can't even make out the color or shape of the cars surrounding me. All I can see is the reddish shining back lights of the guy in front of me and I react whenever they moved an inch closer to my home with taking my foot from the brake.
Annoyed by the traffic reports (and the way too chipper radio reporter) announcing even more snow and traffic jams the length of the entire east coast shoreline I grab the CD case to get a more pleasant sort of entertainment. Unzipping it open, I groan when I see the first couple of discs: "Clifford the Big Red Dog," the audio book of course, "Christmas Songs with Princess Barbie," and, my all time favorite, "New and Exciting Stories from Teletubbyland". Silently cursing for, A: Rory apparently mixing up the CD cases, and B: me buying my daughter all these stupid CDs, I reach into my business case to fish for my cell. If I have all this time now, why not called some people…
"Hello Mr. Finley, how are you this fine evening?"
"Huntz! Don't get me started! I hate snow. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! And I hate women!"
"Whoa! Where did that come from?"
"You know how some of them, well, most of those charming creatures can talk you into anything? Yeah, I just decided I hate women! Honey, can you please go to the store and get some cranberries? Why, mate, why did I agree? Now I'm stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere and I'm pretty sure I even missed my turn 'cause I couldn't see the sign…"
I just have to cut him off.
"Relax buddy! First, I'm very impressed of your imitation of Miranda's voice. For a moment I could have sworn it was her talking! And, believe it or not, you're not the only one stuck in snow."
"How comes? Did the lovely Lorelai not predict tonight's disaster? You got a family weather forecast and still got stuck! Ha! You just made my day!"
"Want to laugh even more? – All I got for tonight's in-car entertainment is Dora the Explorer, a variety of Sesame Street characters and all their friends that could be appealing to you if you are six."
"Wow, you've got it bad… But Dora is actually pretty hot! Have you checked the backseat for a Barbie or one of those kiddy computers? They can challenge you pretty bad…"
"Stop it and don't make me think about my daughter's toys in any dirty kind of way! That's just… sick. So…, final confirmation of holiday plans? Did you check back with Rory on dinner for the 25th?"
"Finn! I called you a week ago and told you to talk to her about the time you were coming!"
"Calm down, mate, Miranda called her yesterday and everything is fine. Collin and his kin are coming as well."
"Great! And please don't spoil her again!"
"No, you know who! Wait for your own kids and spoil them but don't spoil mine."
"Not fair! You know I can't deny her anything! And you're even worse than me. See, another argument for me hating women from now on."
"Lailie is six. She wouldn't be included anyhow, would she? Just promise me to keep it down this time. You know what Rory did last year."
"Oh, how could I forget your lovely wife's antics? She took half of the gifts before I could even give them to my little princess and sent them to an orphanage the very next day."
"Hey, she's my princess, not yours and just promise! Oh, I think it's moving. Say hi to Miranda and I'll see you on the 25th!"
"Fine, later, mate!"
The cars keep moving at about 10 mph, slowly but surely. I turn into the driveway around 8. Funny how all streets within the neighborhood were cleared while outside you almost wished for Santa's sleigh to be able to move a couple of yards.
"You're late!" Speaking about terrors of being confronted by a six-year-old. There she is: dirty blond hair, two pigtails, round face with rosy cheeks, plaid jumper, long sleeved polo, white pantyhose, and bunny slippers.
Her lower lip is currently sticking out in a pouting manner, she sets her hands on her hips and starts tapping with the right foot.
I adore her.
"Daddy, you're late!"
I drop my briefcase, hitting something squeaky in the process. Still wearing my coat I get down on my knees to her eye level and kiss her cheek.
"Honey, I'm very sorry I'm late. You know, I had to go and check back with Santa. I wasn't sure we sent him a change of address card when we moved earlier this year. And I'm pretty sure you would've been very sad on Christmas morning if Santa didn't stop by just because he didn't know that the nicest little girl in the world moved."
Her expression changed from pouting to gasping at my mentioning of Santa Claus and then to excited.
"Did you really stop by? Was he very busy? Did you see the reindeers? How is Rudolph? Did you get to pet him? Can I come next time? Please, Daddy, please!"
"I'm sorry Pixie, you know the rules. Children are not allowed near Santa's home 'cause…"
"…'cause they might get mixed up with the elves, I know. Mean. But Daddy, maybe I could wear a sweater that says 'I'm not an elf, so please don't mix me up'? Grandma Lorelai says she got Mom a sweater like that and then took her to see Santa's house and they didn't mix her up!"
I groan inwardly.
"Really? Huh, we have to ask your Mommy about that. Maybe she still has that sweater somewhere and you can borrow it. But you see, it's Christmas Eve tomorrow and the next day it's Christmas Morning so even if we find that sweater, Santa will be pretty busy during the next couple of days. Maybe you can go next year."
"I really hope so!"
I kiss her again and get up to put my coat in the closet.
"So, what did you do today, Pixie?"
She giggles and gets all excited again.
"Oh, we got off from school early today and Mommy picked me up since Anna went to Mimigan to visit her parents for Christmas…"
"Excuse me, where did she go?"
I can't imagine Lailie's nanny going to a place called 'Mimigan'.
"Mimigan! You know that state up at the big lake, we went there last year to visit great aunt Patsy."
"Ah! Michigan! Please continue." I chuckle.
"Ya, right, Michigan! Anyways, Mommy picked me up and we went to have lunch with Grandma Lorelai and I helped Sookie make Christmas cookies and then we went to buy you a Christmas present."
She finishes with a big smile and her cheeks grow even rosier from excitement.
"Oh, a present for me?" I start whispering. "So, what did you get me?"
"Oh, it is so cute, Daddy! It's a..."
"Surprise!" Rory cuts Lailie off right where it got interesting. "Lailie, I told you that it's a secret and you're not allowed to tell Daddy."
Lailie starts to fumble with her fingers.
"But Daddy asked me and you always tell me that I have to tell Daddy and you the truth."
And she smirks. The famous Huntzberger smirk. I still proclaim that she already used it when she was only a couple of month old and started screaming just to get carried around for an hour or two. I'm convinced that I saw that smirk whenever I got to the bassinet to pick her up. Nobody believed me until she was about 2 and started using her smirk and her smiling in general to get people do stuff for her. As Finn said, it's near to impossible to deny her anything.
"Yeah, Ace, right. She was just telling me the truth. Right, Pixie?"
She nods proudly but still smirking.
Sometimes I think we're giving Rory a really hard time, whenever my Pixie and I combine forces. But she loves it. Rolling her eyes she sends Lailie to wash her hands for dinner and moves on to the kitchen. I follow her.
"So, Ace, I heard you had a very nice afternoon. Lunching with your Mom, her telling Lailie funny tales on how she can go and visit Santa's house with some kind of magical sweater…"
She smiles. I love her smile. I love her.
"I have no idea what you're talking about…"
"So, you didn't have lunch with Lorelai then?"
"Oh, well, we went to Stars Hollow and we did have lunch with Mom but I have no power about what my mother tells our daughter."
"But you were right there and could've stopped her! Now I have to find a new excuse for next year why Pixie and I can't go and visit Santa."
She still smiles; I sense an "I-know-something-that-you-do-not-know" simile.
"Oh honey, there are moments where I dare to leave her alone with my mother. By the way, you should stop calling her Pixie. It's getting old."
"You know that is very dangerous, leaving her alone with Lorelai. We can't even imagine how many weird things she has already told her and will tell her. And I'm not going to stop calling her Pixie. She's my Pixie! Everybody calls her Lailie or Lorelai but only I call her Pixie. I've been calling you Ace for 8 years now. Don't tell me you're sick of it."
Now I'm the one smirking since my Ace looks at me wide eyed.
"God, no, please don't stop! I mean… I almost shudder whenever you call me Rory because that's when you get serious. Not that I don't like you being serious it's just…"
I cut off her rambling by turning her around and pinning her against the fridge to kiss her.
"I don't think I said a proper hello to you this fine evening…" I whisper against her ear.
"Hello Mr. Huntzberger." She whispers.
"Hello Mrs. Huntzberger." I whisper back.
She grabs my tie and pulls me back to her mouth. We kiss for a few seconds before we get interrupted by an "Eeeew" sound, coming from the 3-foot-tall creature hiding behind the island.
I laugh and turn to my daughter, picking her up and tickling her tummy.
"Wait, one day you'll find a prince charming to wipe you off your feet and you'll be his princess then and I will find you two kissing in the kitchen."
"Never!" She giggles. "Never ever! That's just eeew!"
I put her back down on a barstool.
"Daddy, you know I'll always be your little princess. And only yours."
Every time she looks at me with her crystal clear blue eyes, something inside me wished that this was true. She's only six and I'm already dreading the day she might no longer be my little princess.
Shaking my head to get those thoughts out of it, I pick my Pixie back up to carry her over to the dining room. She snuggles her arms around my neck and gives me a peck on my cheek.
While she climbs into her chair I peek back into the kitchen to watch Rory making dinner. Or rather watching what she calls making dinner which is more or less heating something up that was made by some restaurant, our cook or Sookie. In today's case it's the latter ones creation we're about to enjoy.
"Ace, my Ace… Every year someone gives you a cooking class gift certificate for Christmas. And still we need other people fixing us dinner since neither Lailie nor I want to die young…"
She shoots me her famous death glare and I turn around smirking, walking back to the nicely set dinner table to be entertained by my lovely daughter.