Music Box

A Lurlinemas Story

Everyone knew about the Lurlinemas. It was a time, for most children, for playing, laughing, giving and receving presents. A child usually went to sleep the on Lurlinemas Eve with a smile on their face in anticipation for the next morning.

Elphaba Thropp hated The Lurlinemas.

She woke up that morning, and felt the cold winter freeze whip at her face. She shivered at drew up her sheets. The only thing on her mind was the conversation she had with Frex the night before.

Elphaba had been doing her winter homework when she heard someone walk briskly through the door. She jerked her head up to see her father standing in the doorway.

"Elphaba tonight some other governors from neighboring states are coming over for Lurlememas Eve, so you are to stay in your room, and don't make a sound. Is that clear?"

"Yes Father." Was Elphaba's simple reply. It was like this every year.

"Alright then." He said, and started to leave. "Oh, and don't come out tomorrow either. I have something special planned for Nessa, and I do not want you to ruin it for her."

"Yes Father, I know.

"What did you say?" He said snappily

"Nothing Father." He glared at her but walked away without saying anything else.

Elphaba sighed. It was the same every year. But it wasn't like being left out of family things was new to her. But sometimes she wished once that she could feel the joy that her sister and other children felt when The Lurlinemas came around.

As she did every year, Elphaba read for the first few minutes, then slowly closed the book and inched her way toward the door. She smiled at the clear hallway, and made her way to the top of the stairs where she could at least pretend she was part of the celebration too.

Pretending was always fun, until reality or in other words her father catching her slaps her in the face. She crouched down, and hid her bright green skin away from the light.

Elphaba smiled as Nessa squealed, when she lifted a doll out of a package. She pretended it was her getting a gift, but ushered that imaginary image out of her brain, thinking it selfish. It was her fault afterall, Elphaba thought, that Nessa was in a wheelchair. She should allow her to be happy.

As she leaned her head against the railing, she began to fall asleep,

"Mama, what are you gonna name the baby?" asked Elphaba, as she swung her legs against the low counter.

Melena, her mother, smiled at the little girl. "I don't know yet honey, i don't know if the baby's a boy or a girl. But if the baby's a girl, I want her name to have something to do with roses.

"Is she gonna be like me?" The little girl asked. Melena sighed. She knew what the little child was refering too. " I don't that yet either."

"I don't want her to. I want her to be pretty, not like a toad." She scowled as she said this, and then wistfully added, "Daddy said I was a toad."

"Your not a toad, little one, your as much of a little girl as any girl. I wouldn't care if the little baby looked like you. I'd hope she would be as sweet as you, my little lilly pad." Elphaba smiled up at her mother. A pause ensued, as Melena placed the remnints of lunch in the pantry. She came back to where the little girl was sitting.

"Fabala do you know what tomorrow is?"

"No" She said.

"Tomorrow, is The Lurlinemas. Its a great time of the year where families get together. There's lots of singing and gift-giving too." Elphaba eyes lit up and the sound of singing and gift-giving. She hopped off of the low counter.

"Can I give you a gift" She asked, concerned.

"Yes, but I have one for you first." Melena said and took the small child's hand and led her away from the kitchen. She sat the little girl on the couch, went to her bedroom, and came back with a small box.

"Whats that Mama?" The little girl asked peering observantly at the box in her mothers hand. It was covered by fabric, and painted on it was an angel with a white gown, surrounded by animals of all different shapes or sizes.

"Fabala, do you know the song I sing to you every night as you fall asleep." The little girl nodded.

"Well this is a music box with the tune to the song. Just turn the little handle until it clicks, and then the music will play." The little green child did this and hummed along with the tune as it played on the little box."Thank You Mama. Are there Animals or animals on it?

"You decide."

"Animals. I like Animals. They're usually very nice." Elphaba replied. Melen smiled and then got serious for a moment.

"Now Elphaba, whenever papa or any other person is mean to you, just play this music box and you can think of me. Because, remember I love you little one. I don't see an odd little girl with green skin. I see Elphaba Thropp, the smart and lovely little girl. Remember always that your mother loves you, and even when I'm not around, you'll always have this music box to comfort you."

Elphaba nodded as she took this in. She was confused though. Wasn't her mother always going to be around?

Melena seemed calmer now somehow than she was before. "Now go on and play a bit in your room before your nap.

Elphaba scurried off, holding the music box with two hands."

Elphaba blinked her eyes open. Had she really fallen asleep? She got up to stretch her legs, inly to find two larger legs standing in front of her.

"'What are you doing out of your room, you little ungrateful wretch?" Frex said, anger building up with every word.

"I...." She was speechless, she had never gotten caught before.

"Are you trying to ruin this happy day for your sister??!!?? Your lucky I even let you stay here during The Lurlinemas!"

"No..I just-"

"Get back to your room. I'll deal with you later." He started to wheel off Nessa.

She started to go to her room, but stopped and turned around.

"Where's my music box?"

"What?"

"I said." She breathed in and out deeply. "Where is my music box?"

Frex simply glared at her.

"Nessa go to your room please. Breakfast will be ready soon." Nessa nodded and left the room.

"What music box? I don't ever remember me taking a damn music box from you." He said coldly.

"It was a gift from my mother just before Nessa was born." She made sure she didn't say 'Before Mother died.'

"It was in my hands one day, and now its gone. I don't think I'd lose something like that." She didn't dare meet his eyes.

"The only explaination is that you took it, or one of the servants took it by mistake."

Frex nearly snorted.

"Anything from your mother doesn't rightfully belong to you anyway. I probably took this music box of hers and burned it up with the other items that belonged to her."

"I know you have it." Elphaba replied darkly. She didn't why she knew, she just knew.

Frex's anger began to rise again as her turned around to face the skinny child.

"How dare you talk back to me!" He shouted as he slapped her face hard enough to throw her down. But Elphaba refused to hit the floor. She merely staggered back.

Frex than roughly grabbed his oldest dauhgter by the arm and nearly threw her into her small bedroom. "Don't even think about coming out for the rest of today and tomorrow!"

He started to walk toward Nessa's room, when he stopped and frowned. Music box. Music Box?? Could it be that music box??

He distinctly remembered the night after the birth of Nessa and the death of Melena, hearing a lullibye tune coming from his green daughter's bedroom. He opened the door swiftly, and not exactly quietly. The child only stirred. Frex looked everywhere for the music, when he realized it was coming from Elphaba's hands. He looked over her, and saw the little music box cupped in them.

He realized what the tune was. It was the song that Melena used to sing every night to Elphaba. He never could figure out how she could love his frog of a daughter. And now she would never get to sing it to his beautiful, perfect Nessarose. He didn't care for a minute that she was crippled. That was Elphaba's fault in his eyes, which only made him detest his green daughter more. Anger and hatred filled him when he looked on the face of sleeping Elphaba. With one swift moment, he plucked the music box from her green fingers. She didn't deserve it, Frex decided. He would give it to Nessa next Lurlinemas, so she would get to listen to her mother's song that she never got to hear.

In present day, Frex shook off this memory. He was still correct, he decided. Elphaba didn't deserve the music box, because she had heard it many times before.

It didn't matter to him that Nessa never once listened to the music box.

Nothing would give Elphaba more satisfaction right now to go sobbing in her pillow. Not once had she ever defied her father. Now her hated her even more. She swallowed up her tears and decided that the only way she would get her music box, her last memory of her mother, her first and last happy Lurlinemas, back was to take it.

When she heard Frex walking down the stairs with Nessa, she slipped from her room once more and started her search. She resolved her search to her father's study, and a very dangerous spot if she were to be caught. She started walking there when something caught her eye.

Nessa's door to her room was slightly ajar, and through it she could see something perched on top of her dresser. Without thiking, Elphaba opened the door more to reveal her music box sitting on top of the dresser. Angry thoughts filled her head. Father had given it to Nessa? She was about to reach for it, when she stopped. Stealing from her father was one, but stealing from Nessa.....She didn't know if she could do it.

She sat on Nessa's big and comfortable bed for a while, and thought about. What broke her from her thoughts was a wheelchair sitting right in front of her.

"Nessa, I'm sorry, umm, I shouldn't be in here." Elphaba mumbled.

"Its alright, I brought you some biscuits from dinner." Nessa said, and gave her two slightly warm biscuits.

"Thank you." Elphaba said eating them hurridly. Meanwhile Nessa wheeled over toher dresser and picked up the music box, and wheeled back to Elphaba.

"I never really understood what it was for. Papa said it was mothers and she wanted me to have it, but I never really played it that much. It never made me feel better when I was sad, and it kept me up when I tried to sleep. I never felt that it was for I know why. I heard that whole conversation between you and Papa." She handed Elphaba the music box.

Elphaba felt tears starting to start. "I remember everything now. How could I have forgotten? She sand this song to me every night." She gripped the music box, and began to turn the nob on the side. "But what about Papa? He might noticed it gone."

"Don't worry about Papa, I'll just say I gave it to you as a gift." She smiled, and Elpahaba although still concerned, started to leave the room with the music box in both hands.

"Happy Lurlinemas Elphaba."

"Happy Lurlinemas Nessa."

Elphaba smiled as she headed back to her room. For the first time she felt joy on the Lurlinemas. She continued to smile as the tune played from the music box in her hands, patching her heart with something that was lost long ago.