Holiday Memories

"It's got to be here somewhere," Rapunzel said, as she rummaged through the store room at the castle.

"It's been a long time, Princess," Eugene exclaimed, picking up boxes and opening them. He picked up a box and opened it revealing a doll sized dress.

"Uh, Rapunzel?" Eugene asked, holding up the dress for his wife to see. "What's this?"

Rapunzel looked up from digging and smiled. "Where did you find that, Eugene?" She took it out of his hands and held it delicately.

"I made that for Pascal," she answered, "when I was still living in the tower." She turned it over in her hand. "This must be over 18 years old, about how old I was when I made it."

"I remember Mother Gothel; what a witch she was using you for all that blonde hair."

Rapunzel frowned and placed the little dress on her lap. "I mean, yes she was a witch, Eugene. She had a spell book and she knew almost every one of them by heart. But, you know, she wasn't all that bad. You saw the worst side of her when you climbed that tower. She usually left me alone to do as I pleased."

Eugene raised an eyebrow and frowned. "Want to share some memories with me? I've got to hear these."

"Only if you share some of your memories with me," Rapunzel said. "I've heard very little about your time at the orphanage."

"Deal," Eugene said. "Go ahead."

"Well, I knew all about Christmas and Easter too, Eugene. My geography book covered many of the holidays celebrated around the world. Mother gave me more books to read, but I kept those in my closet."

Eugene studied her. "You were never allowed to leave, all you had was that pet frog for a companion."

"Chameleon, Eugene." Rapunzel laughed. "And yes, if Mother ever found out about him, she probably would have gotten rid of him. And yes, I was never allowed to leave, not even to see those lanterns. She'd change the subject every time I talked about leaving."

"So you just admitted that she needed you and used you for your hair and to keep herself young."

"Yes, that's true, Eugene, but she taught me to be strong and independent. She taught me about love and life. She taught me to think and have a mind of my own. She taught me hope and determination and gave me the strength to believe that someday I would meet a special someone that would get me out of the tower, especially take me to see my one big dream since I had been little. She didn't have to treat me well, Eugene. She could have kept me locked in the basement bound and gagged. She could have only used me for my hair. Instead, she raised me, taught me how to read and write and she showed me her love. She did deny me my dream, but if you hadn't stumbled inside that tower, I would have never seen those lanterns and my dream would never have been fulfilled."

Eugene smiled. "Those lanterns." He shook his head. "Well, as I do recall, you stood up to those thugs in the Snuggly Duckling. I couldn't believe I was looking at the same woman."

He reached out to touch her short brown hair. "You were so determined to see those lanterns."

"I knew what I wanted, Eugene. I was determined to see those lanterns and I did. I got to share them with someone special. It was so much more than I could ever ask for."

"It wasn't like I'd exactly agreed to do it. You did threaten me with that ridiculous frying pan."

Rapunzel shrugged. "Came in handy, didn't it?" She looked down at the box she was holding.

Eugene frowned. "What's in there?"

She held up his old satchel. "The one you put my crown into? You did tell me it came from the orphanage."

Eugene nodded. "Guess it's my turn isn't it?"

Rapunzel balled up her fists and put them on either side of her cheeks. :Go ahead. I'm all ears."

"Well, it was given to me by a leatherworker. He was a frequent visitor and used to give out presents to everyone at Christmastime. He gave me that, Princess. I've had that a long time. I kept everything in there, anything from change to small loaves of bread and food."

"Did that orphanage ever teach you anything? I know that you hated it there?"

"Well, I did get to read The Tales of Flynnagan Rider there," Eugene said, "and it gave me the courage to strike out on my own. And if I hadn't done that, I would never have met you and fallen in love."

"You did have other woman, Eugene. You told me you did."

Eugene shook his head and moved closer. "Yes, I did, but there is no one equal to you, Rapunzel. You're the only one that cared about me. You made me feel like I was someone more important than Flynn Rider. For once, I was comfortable just being plain old Eugene Fitzherbert."

He reached out to pull her closer. "And remember, you saved my life."

The two looked at each other and smiled.

"I've spent 20 years with the same woman and I'm looking forward to 20 more. I've never wanted anything than you and my children. You are my life, Rapunzel, without you I'm nothing. We belong together you and I, I knew it the night of the Lantern Festival. You were my new dream."

Rapunzel smiled. "And I knew you were mine, Eugene."

They smiled at each other. "Merry Christmas, Rapunzel."

"Merry Christmas, Eugene," she answered.

She leaned in a bit as Eugene pulled her closer. Their lips were about to touch when she heard a male voice call up the stairs.

"That would be Father," Rapunzel said, getting back to reality. "I guess it's time to exchange gifts."

"I guess you didn't find what you were looking for," Eugene said, smiling.

Rapunzel looked at all the boxes surrounding her.

"Yes I did, Eugene. I found you."

She looked up at his smiling face. "Come on, before we're late again."