Bernard was called down the next day. He hurried down the stairs, though he didn't want to. It was still painful seeing Curtis as the head-elf. He found Santa, Carol, and Curtis

waiting for him.

"You called me, Santa?" He asked. He tried his best to put his bangs in front of his eyes. But they were irritating and had to fix it.

"Yes, I did. Um... How are you doing, Bernard?"

"I'm fine. You asked me this yesterday."

"So he did." Carol said. "Well, um... why aren't you working yet?" He went a bit red in the face.

"I guess I'm not ready for it yet." He replied.

"I see..." Santa began. "Why don't you go back upstairs?" He nodded and hurried up the stairs, once more. Curtis sighed, and got up and left, without saying a word.

"What are you going to do?" Carol turned to her husband with a concerned look.

"I have no choice."

"There has to be another way!"

"There is no other way! I have to do it."

Carol put her arms around his waist, and sighed deeply.

Later in the day, Bernard was in his room, reading again. Abby came in.

"Santa would like to see you, Bernard." She said very quietly.

"Again?" He asked. He set his book down on the nightstand and followed her down the stairs. Santa was with his wife, Curtis, and all the other elves. They looked troubled.

Bernard was thinking that something bad was going to happen.

"Bernard, I'm sorry." Carol said, putting a hand on his shoulder. Now he was certain that something bad was happening.

"What is it, Santa?" He asked.

"Look, I'm sorry I had to tell you to stop being Head-elf." He said. "But... If you're not going to work at all. Then I don't see any reason for you to continue staying here."

"Yes, I understand." Bernard replied, with tears going down his cheeks. "I'll go and get my things later." He headed for the door.

"Stop!!" Curtis yelled. "Santa, you can't make Bernard leave! It's my fault. I insulted him and he got angry. It's all my fault. Please, don't make him go."

"Curtis..." Santa started. "I respect your honesty. But that was a terrible thing for you to do."

"Santa, don't make Curtis leave either." Bernard said quietly. "I'm the reason he wanted to get me back. I threw the rag on Curtis, he threw it back, I ducked, and it hit you. I got

him in trouble."

"Bernard, I respect you for your honesty as well. And I made a mistake making you leave. I would be honored if you would return as head-elf." Bernard was still in tears, but

smiled. "Of course, if it's alright with Curtis?"

"Yeah, it is." He replied. "I'm still going to get your job. But, I'm not going get it by dirty ways." Bernard smiled at Curtis. "What?"

"You care about me." He said.Curtis glared at him.

"I do not."

"Admit it, number 2!"

"You care about me too."

"I do not!"

"Do too!" Santa smiled. It was good to hear them bickering again. Everything was back to normal.

"Fine, I do. But, I still don't like you."

"I don't like you either." Curtis said smugly.

"I've got an idea!" An elf named Joey yelled. "Let's all play some Tinsel Football." Everyone cheered.

"Come on, Bernard." Curtis said, dragging him outside.

"Okay, Curtis..." Joey said. "You go over there. You guys over here and Bernard, you stay over at the end zone."

"Oh, I'm not playing."

"Come on!" Another elf said. "You have to. Please?" Bernard gave in. The game started shortly after.

"Hike!" An elf yelled, as the other one grabbed the ball. Santa was running toward them.

"I'm going to win this time." He said, trying to grab the ball. "Give me the ball."

"JOEY!" Joey caught the ball was running to the end zone. Santa was coming fast toward him, so he threw it to Curtis.

"I got it!" He yelled back. "Bernard, catch!" He threw it to Bernard.Santa tried to dive toward the ball, but fell flat on his face.

"Alright..." He caught the ball and threw it on the ground at the end zone. They all cheered.

"Great game, you guys." Santa said, panting. "Great game..."

"Great job, Bernard!" Joey yelled, giving him a high five.

"Thanks. Now, come on, you guys. Back to work!" They all rushed into the factory to start making toys. Bernard was back patrolling the workshop and he couldn't be happier.