Chapter 1: No good deed goes unrewarded.
For Elise, Christmas was horribly dull. No one was around to share it with her. She didn't even bother to decorate her house. Who would see it? She couldn't help but feel her two-story home was painfully empty. The landlord didn't allow even the smallest of pets.
There she was, sitting on the couch in light blue flare bootleg jeans, peach color warm sweater and thick white socks that fought off the cold feeling of the winter just outside her house.
Elise sets her head in her hand as she was watching the Miser Brother's Christmas. She hates how everything dealing with the animation had changed. She stares at the TV screen she even begins talking to herself about it, criticizing it. "Is it me or were the animators just plain lazy with this one? Did they even put any effort to find a decent replacement for Dick Shawn? Snow Miser sounds like an old man. They ruined Mrs. Clause's character design and why does the North Wind look like Lord Barkis from Corpse Bride?!"
She would continue to surf the channels, but a knock at the door stops her. She looks at the door for the knocking to continue. "Who can that be in this kind of weather?"
She gets up, walks over to the door and looks through the peephole. Through it, she sees a small, old-looking woman shivering in the cold. Elise can't just let her stand outside. She opens the door to look at the woman. "May I help you?"
The woman nods to Elise. "Good evening. My car broke down a block from here and couldn't find anyone to help me. May I use your phone?"
Despite the old woman being a stranger, Elise nods with a small smile. "Of course! Please come in!" She steps aside and lets the woman in the house. The woman smiles back and takes a step inside. Elise looks at the woman. "The phone is on the coffee table. Would you like a warm cup of tea?"
The old woman smiles at the girl. "That's kind of you. Yes... That'll be lovely, thank you!" Elise smiles and mutes the TV so the woman can make her phone call. Then she makes her way to the kitchen. She pulls down her silver tin kettle from its cabinet.
After the old woman made her call, she joins Elise in the kitchen, just in time to see her pour the tea. The girl turns to the woman and asks politely. "Would you like some sugar in your tea?"
The woman smiles and shakes her head. "No, thank you." Elise smiles back and hands the woman her warm, steaming cup.
The two sits down at the table and get to know each other better. The guest finds it strange that there aren't any decorations out to display to others.
She finds it odder when noticing Elise is alone on Christmas Eve but doesn't push on the matter.
Looking around on the table, she spots something that caught her interest. She looks to Elise. "May I?" Elise glanced at her, confuse expression on her face. She turns her head and notices a sketch tablet in the corner of the table with a pencil on top of it. Thinking that's what the old woman motioned toward, she slides it over to her guest.
A few drawings caught her eyes as she slowly flips through the pages. Some of the drawings were okay, others mediocre but finding most of the pages filled up, she knows her host is passionate about art. "These are quite lovely, dear."
Elise smiles at the compliment. "Thank you. I love to draw. It's the only talent that I have. I draw whatever comes to mind. Even though most of them don't turn out as expected." She looks down to her cup, feeling the inner critic pounding down on her self-esteem.
The old woman gets to the last page then hands the sketch pad back to Elise. "I'm sure if you keep working on it, those pictures will come out right. Practice does make perfect, you know." Elise smiles warmly at the old woman. She felt happy to receive a little moral support.
A horn honks outside the house, where a tow truck waits. The old woman looks at Elise and stands from her seat. She hands her empty mug to her host. "Well, I guess that's my ride. Thank you for being so kind."
Elise nods and stands from the table. "Do you need a scarf or something? You were shivering when you came here."
The old woman smiles at Elise's kindness as a twinkle shines in her old blue eyes. "I will be alright, but let me give YOU something!" She digs in her pocket. Looking for something to give Elise as an award.
Elise places the mug given to her down and raises her hands in protest. "No, that's alright! You don't have to give me anything. I'm just happy that you're okay."
The woman takes Elise's hand and places something in it before closing the girl's hand. "I insist. Just remember this. Turn the gem and you might find someone that knows how it feels like as an outcast, like you. Or more like, that someone will find you! Count it as a thank you for being kinder than the people I have dealt with in my old days. Don't forget." Letting go of the girl's hand, the old woman walks out of the kitchen and out of the house.
Elise stands in the kitchen, watching her guest leave her home. Soon she was alone again. Feeling the object; in her palm, she looks down to find a ring with a small blue gem on it. Elise stands there staring at it. "A ring that's supposed to help someone who knows what an outcast must feel like find me? I wonder how..." She picks up the ring from her palm and examines it. Shrugging she turns the gem and looks around. Once nothing happens, her gaze fell back onto the ring. "It must be one of those good luck charms kind of things." She put the ring down on the counter and puts the cups into the sink, washes them and puts them out to dry.
After she finishes the dishes, Elise looks toward the ring. Walking over to the counter, she noticed that the gem had turn emerald-green. She picks the ring up and examines it, scratches the back of her raven-haired head.
She then yawns and stretches. Looking at the clock hanging on the wall, she realizes it's already passed eleven at night. She puts the ring on her finger and turns off the lights and the TV. She slowly walks upstairs as she becomes extremely sleepy. Once she enters her room, she collapses on her bed, falling fast asleep the second her head hit the pillow.