The Law of Mistletoe
Suzy was confused when Arthur set her with the task of hanging lights around the edges of the Dayroom.
"Wot for? The room is bright enough as it is." She looked sideways at the tangled ball of wires and small colored bulbs in her hands. "An' anyway, these lights are teeny-tiny. Ain't no way they'd give off enough light for this place."
Arthur was on the other side of the room, securing a circle of tree branches decked with leaves to the wall with a nail. "They're not for light per se; they're for fun. To make this place look more festive."
Scoffing, Suzy said, "This is a conference room, Artie. I don't think it's 'posed to be festive." She paused, twisting the wires around in her hand. "Why do we need to be festive anyway? Is it your, eh, birthday?"
Arthur shook his head laughing. "No, but on Earth it's almost time for the holidays, and I thought that maybe this year we could celebrate in the House too. It's fun."
Wondering how stringing up some colored lights could possibly be any sort of fun, Suzy shrugged her shoulders. "Eh, I guess so. I kind of remember doing something like this once… with plants. Weren't supposed to eat 'em or you'd get sick, but they were a really nice red color. Got any of those?"
"Ah no, but maybe we can find something like it. I like those plants too," Arthur said as he nailed the last branch to the wall. He stepped back, looking at his handiwork and gave it a nod of approval. "I'll do the lights, if you want. This is easy; you can put these over the doors instead." Arthur handed her a handful of bendy sprigs with small white berries. Each sprig was tied up with a red bow.
"Wot for and why the door?" Suzy asked, climbing the ladder Arthur had been using with nails in her mouth and a hammer in her hand.
"It's mistletoe," Arthur said, coloring a bit as he answered. "I-I thought that since we're decorating, we might as well go all out."
"Ah," Suzy said as her hammer came down hard on the plant. A couple of the berries fell off and hit the floor with a small thud. "Not very pretty looking though."
"It's still a fun little thing," Arthur said. He was trying in vain to untangle the lights that Suzy had given back to him. "It's the kissing plant."
Suzy scrunched up her face and made a disapproving sound. "The plant kisses you? Yuck."
Arthur shook his head, laughing. "No! It's a plant with a special tradition. If two people are caught standing or walking under it, they have to kiss each other."
"Still doesn't sound much better." Climbing down the ladder, Suzy dragged it over to the other doorway and nailed the rest of it in place. That was when she got an idea. "Hey Artie, anyone who walks under it together has to kiss?"
Busy trying to straighten out the lights, Arthur mumbled a quick "yes" which then led into a series of curses and threats that if the lights did not begin to untangle anytime soon, they would most surely suffer an untimely end.
When Dame Primus called a meeting early the next day, Suzy made sure to make it there before the meeting and the fun started. She wasn't the first one there however; Dame Primus had beaten her, but arriving early for the look on old Primey's face alone was nearly worth taking the extra time out of her morning to get ready.
"Good day, Susanna. It's.. quite a surprise to find you here so early."
"Yeah, well, I thought it be good to mend my ways a little and start arriving on time, right?"
Dame Primus stared at her blankfaced and quickly took a seat in her regal high-back chair. It wasn't as slick looking as Arthur's, whose chair was right beside Dame Primus', but it was still mightily imposing. Suzy couldn't help but chuckle at how confused the old biddy looked as she started to thumb through a stack of papers, mumbling how it might very well be the end of Creation because of Suzy's early arrival and how Arthur went a bit overboard on his decorating.
That was when everyone started to arrive.
Arthur was first, of course, chatting companionably with his Chief Aide, Monday's Noon. Monday's Dawn was in tow, throwing in comments from behind, asking something about the lights she had seen in the hall. Upon his arrival, Arthur didn't have to be told what to do when he and Noon walked through the doorway. He kind of gestured upward and quietly explained what it all meant. Noon glanced around, suddenly looking shy and planted a kiss on Arthur's cheek. Then he turned to give Dawn a quick little kiss as well. To Suzy's surprise, Arthur looked a bit upset, but proceeded into the Dayroom to take his seat. Noon followed him, asking him what was wrong.
Before Dawn could get into the Dayroom, however, Saturday's Dusk pushed himself past her, bidding her a gruff good day. She openly scowled at him.
Everyone in the Dayroom paused in their conversations to look at Suzy.
"You two have to kiss."
Dawn opened her mouth to say something, but Dusk cut her off. "Excuse me?"
"It's the law of the toe," she said and the two looked even more confused. "Artie made me put it up, so its law is his Law. Pucker up."
Suzy heard a thudding sound and turned to see that Arthur's head was now facedown on the conference table.
"But I don't want to kiss you!"
Dawn seemed to be struggling with the grip her cousin had on her arm. He was trying to pull her forward, but she continued to pull back. That was until Dusk succeeded in dragging an almost sick-looking Dawn into a tight embrace and kissed her gently on the mouth. Dusk then let her go and walked on to take his seat as if nothing had happened.
Dawn glared at Suzy and did the same.
More Denizens began to arrive and soon everyone who passed through the Dayroom door had kissed at least one person. It was funny to see the reactions everyone gave when they were told what they had to do when walking underneath the plant. And every time someone objected, Suzy simply explained how Arthur was the one who wanted it up, and because of it, they had to do what the "toe" said.
Wednesday's Times were the last to arrive together, and when they passed under the doorway of the Dayroom, Suzy cried out, "Stop! Obey the toe and kiss!"
Wednesday's Dawn looked dumbstruck and Suzy explained the great and magical law that came with the plant hanging over their heads. Sunscorch looked happy for some reason and leaned over to kiss Dawn on the cheek. She accepted it, with what looked like a smile, and went to her seat.
"Well, Dawn's not under it anymore," Suzy said, giggling. "So now you and the doc need to pucker up."
Doctor Scamandros turned beet red, but Sunscorch on the other hand growled something about not wanting to kiss the doctor, (with no offense of course). Suzy said he had to because he was standing under the plant, so Sunscorch jumped up and tore the mistletoe from the door, flinging it across the room at Suzy.
"Now I'm not under it," Sunscorch said icily as he and the doctor took their respective seats. Doctor Scamandros didn't say anything but was still pretty red when he sat down.
"Hey!" Suzy shot Sunscorch a look. "That wasn't nice! I'm only obeying the law."
Sunscorch glared right back at her. "Your law has been vetoed."
She wouldn't be licked yet. Suzy dragged the ladder she and Arthur had used yesterday to decorate over to the door and climbed on up, shouting at Sunscorch as she went. "Arthur should… do something to you for breaking his law. You know?" Winding the sprig around the head of the nail, Suzy clamored down the ladder in a huff and tripped over the last step, falling into the doorway.
"You really need to develop a sense of balance."
The voice startled her and a bad, itchy feeling crept between her shoulder blades. Suzy glanced at the conference table in a panic. To her horror two seats were empty… hers and one other. Moving in slow motion, she turned to see Monday's Dusk towering over her with a frown on his face.
"Obey the law!" Suzy heard someone shout. She wasn't quite sure who it was, but right then she didn't care. She could find out later. Somehow.
"The law?" Monday's Dusk asked as Suzy pushed herself from the floor.
"The law of the toe," someone else said. "The thing above your head."
Dusk looked up and said flatly, "That's a plant."
"But it means you have to kiss her."
Dusk kept looking more and more confused. "Why?"
Arthur explained and Suzy could feel her face tightening in anger when Arthur took the liberty of embellishing a bit on the kissing part.
Without a word, Dusk dropped to one knee, pulled Suzy forward into a surprisingly gentle embrace and lightly kissed her mouth.
"There, can I come in now?" Dusk asked.
Suzy nodded, scrubbing her lips with the back of her hand.