This is the last chapter of my story which I was going to post tomorrow but because I will be away for the weekend I am posting it now.
Thank You again for all your wonderful comments and I hope you all have a very happy and safe holiday season.
TCOT Holiday Miracle Chapter 8
It was early in the morning Christmas Eve, and from his vantage point at the window of the hotel suite Perry Mason could see the streets of New York below starting to come to life, as well as Central Park to his left and Rockefeller Center with its giant Christmas tree to his right. The sight was amazing, even from a hotel room, but at that moment Perry was not observing the city or his surroundings. No, the attorney was concentrating on other matters…matters of the heart to be exact, matters that specifically involved the beautiful woman sleeping so peacefully in the next room.
He and Della had gotten to bed very late - or rather finally gotten to sleep very late. They had returned to the hotel at ten o'clock with her parents from the evening at the Kaplan's. Always paying attention to detail and making sure nothing was left to chance in order for his 'surprise' to be a success, Perry had made sure that a room would be available for the Streets. Once back at the Waldorf, Peggy and Bill thanked the attorney once again and embraced both him and their daughter. Having said their good-nights, they left Perry and Della to their own devices. Perry could tell Della was still wound up from the evening's events and had suggested having drinks in the lounge. It was quieter than the club and the couple found a table in a back corner of the dimly lit room.
Once seated and their drink order taken, Della looked at Perry wide eyed and still unbelieving. "I can't believe it Counselor. I still can't believe what you did for me and my parents. I don't think anything can top a surprise like that. By, the way, how did you manage to pull it off?"
There was a twinkle in the attorney's eye as he smiled his charming smiIe. "I guess I do owe you an explanation, but first I want to know something."
"And what would that be?"
"Are you happy?"
"Of course I'm happy. How could I not be? I'll never forget this and neither will mom and dad."
"That's why I did it, baby, so you could be happy. I knew something was making you miserable and when you told me what it was I knew I had to at least try to make it possible for them to come here. It breaks my heart to see you hurt or unhappy, so if I can do anything to make it better then it's easy, problem solved…just like that." Perry smiled and snapped his fingers.
"Just like that, huh?"
"Yes baby, just like that. And I would do it all again in a New York minute, if you'll pardon the phrase. I'll always do anything for you, all you have to do is ask." His voice was soft and he took her hand in his, stroking her arm up and down. "As for pulling it off, that was easy. After our talk, while you were taking a shower, I called Jim and asked if he could fly your parents down here and when. Then I called down to the desk and asked if there were rooms available, and finally I called your parents and spoke to them. They said they would love to come and see you so they spoke to Emma and the boys, decided they would spend Christmas here and New Year's in Florida. They thought it was a wonderful idea so we finalized the plans and that's how it happened. Like I said, it was easy." Perry laughed. "Everything I do should be so easy."
"I want to tell you what my parents and I talked about."
"Della, you don't have to tell me anything. Whatever happened is personal between you and your parents. I don't need to know. I didn't fly them here so you would tell me."
"I know that and I never for one minute entertained that thought. I just want to share it with you…if you want me to."
"As long as you insist, I would like nothing better. Go on, sweetheart, I'm listening."
Della smiled and took a breath. "It's simple really. It was all a misunderstanding. You know dad has his own company."
"Yes, I always admired your father for starting a business with next to nothing and turning it into a really successful architecture firm, especially since he lost the first business through no fault of his own. And it's great that your brother joined the firm."
"I've always been proud of him, too. Well, a few years ago, Dad hired Cory Sanders, a young up and coming architect with a wife and a year-old baby. Everything was perfect for Cory and Katie. They bought a nice house and had another baby last year. Then about six months ago, Cory got sick. At first no one thought anything of it, but he got worse and started missing work and wasn't able to get projects in on time. Dad called him in and spoke to him and he swore that everything was fine and he would make sure to finish everything."
Della stopped talking and Perry knew there was more. "But?" He prompted.
"But things only got worse. He was so sick that he couldn't work anymore and Katie didn't know what to do. She came to my dad and asked him to help her. He let her do the books from home so she could take care of Cory and their kids and he paid her out of a separate account. She didn't want Cory to know, so my dad just told him that the company was handling his medical bills. They have insurance but it doesn't cover daily living expenses or little extras. Katie begged him not to tell my mom because she didn't want anyone knowing about how tough things were and feeling sorry for her. Dad was setting up a meeting with Katie one day and Mom overheard him on the phone. He met Katie at a restaurant to give her some money. He pays her every two months so they have enough to cover Cory's medical bills. He didn't think it would cause so much pain and anguish for my mom – he was just honoring Katie's wish for not wanting anyone to know or worry. Mom misunderstood what was going on and thought Dad was having an affair. Both of us should have had faith in him and not jumped to conclusions. Dad would give you the shirt off his back. That's just who he is and we let him down."
Perry had been holding Della's hand the entire time she was talking and now he looked at her in amazement. "Yes, that's who he is and you, my girl are just like him. You are everything good about both of your parents: loving, caring, giving, smart, and beautiful…I could go on and on, but I think I'd rather show you." He moved his chair closer to Della's and leaned in to kiss her lips. The kiss started slowly and sweetly but very quickly became more passionate. Perry teased Della's mouth opened with his tongue, becoming almost intoxicated with the taste of her. When they finally broke away, both were breathless and it took Della a few minutes to regain her composure.
She locked eyes with the man she loved. "Do you want another drink Counselor?" She asked in a soft, sultry voice.
"No, I'm fine. I've had two and I think that's enough for now. How about you? Would you like me to call the waiter over and get you a refill?"
Della pushed her chair back, stood and held out her hand to Perry. "What I would like Mr. Mason, is to go upstairs right now."
"Are you tired baby? Do you want to go to bed?"
"Noooo, I'm definitely not tired, and yesss, I want to go to bed. You see, my parents thanked you but in all the excitement it seems that I've been slightly remiss in my own thank-you's and I can't let that happen. So, if you'll come with me, I'll see what I can do to rectify the situation."
Perry Mason didn't bother to call for the bill. Without a word he threw a couple of bills onto the table and grabbed Della's hand. That night their waiter went home and excitedly told his wife about the couple who left him a twenty-eight dollar tip for three drinks.
The attorney was brought out of his reverie by a pair of delicate hands winding their way around his waist. He turned and looked at Della, her hair tousled, her eyes still sleep laden. He brushed hair away from her face, tugged her closer and cradled her against him.
"Good morning gorgeous," he greeted her quietly. "Why are you up so early? I thought you'd sleep late, especially after all the excitement and ummm…'activity' from last night. Why don't you go back to sleep for a little while. I'll call and order breakfast later or we can go out, whatever you want."
Della looked up and gave Perry the spectacular smile he had missed the past few days. "Good morning to you too, Counselor. We did indeed have quite a bit of excitement last night, but I have a lot to do today. I want to see my parents, then all the women are having lunch at the Russian Tea Room and if I am not mistaken you and the rest of your friends, including Ben and my dad, have tickets to the basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Which is good because believe it or not, I actually have some last minute shopping to do…and Mr. Mason, tonight is Christmas Eve."
"So it is. Tell me, Miss Street, do you happen to have plans for this evening?"
"As a matter of fact I do. I have been invited to spend Christmas Eve with the most handsome, the most wonderful, most loving, amazing man in the whole world. However, there seems to be a glitch in the plans."
"Yes, really. All I know is that it's formal. Beyond that, I'm completely in the dark."
"Well, you know what they say, anticipation is half the fun."
"I believe sir, that the correct saying is that 'the anticipation is greater than the realization.'
"See, it's just like I said. At any rate, something tells me you'll have a wonderful time tonight. I happen to know your escort rather well and I know for a fact that he has a few surprises up his sleeve."
Della crossed her arms and raised her eyebrows. "Surprises huh? Well surprises or not, I have to get a move on. I have a lot to do before seven o'clock." Della extricated herself from Perry's embrace and turned to leave. When she got to the door of their bedroom, she whirled to face him again.
"Oh, you might give 'your friend' a message. Tell him his date just might have some surprises of her own up her sleeve."
Promptly at seven o'clock, the bedroom door opened and Della walked into the living room of the suite. Perry, freshly shaved and looking very debonair in his tuxedo, was sitting on the sofa watching a Christmas program. He looked up and for one heart-stopping moment had to remember to breathe.
Della, always beautiful, was tonight exquisitely, breathtakingly, drop-dead gorgeous. There was no other way to put it. The floor length taffeta ball gown in a deep red with a chiffon overlay and a tight sweetheart bodice fit her as if sewn directly onto her. The overlay was shot through with silver threads that perfectly complemented the platinum and diamond earrings and bracelet Perry had given her for her last birthday. A matching taffeta bolero jacket, silver shoes, and a silver evening bag perfectly accented the stunning gown. Perry stood up as walked toward her as if in a trance. When he finally reached her, he stood frozen, only his eyes moved as he took in every nuance of her outfit. Della smiled softly then reached up and caressed his face briefly.
Perry finally found his voice and took hold of Della's hand so he could kiss the inside of her wrist. "Della, my God, look at you…look how beautiful you are. I…there are no words to tell you." He kissed her soft curls, her forehead, and finally her delicate lids before pulling back to stare at her once more.
"I'm glad you approve, Mr. Mason. And may I say you look rather dashing yourself."
"Thank you, sweetheart. But I can guarantee that nobody will be paying attention to what I am wearing with you by my side. Are you ready to go?"
"Yes, I am although I am still curious as to where you're taking me."
"Well, the sooner we go, the sooner you will find out. Here, let me help you with your jacket."
Della handed Perry her jacket and turned as he helped her slip her arms in and pulled her back against him for a hug. He grabbed his overcoat and in a flurry of chiffon and perfume, they were out the door and on their way to Della's surprise evening.
Perry stopped at the desk in the lobby and asked Mike if their 'ride' was there. Mike smiled and said it would arrive momentarily. Della didn't miss the look that passed between them but before she could question them, Perry was leading her down the stairs and out the main doors of the hotel.
Once outside Della looked around for a cab, thinking that was what they were taking to the secret destination. Perry nudged her and nodded down the street. What she saw made her gasp in surprise and tears threaten to ruin her makeup. A gleaming black carriage pulled by a white horse bedecked in a shiny silver harness was approaching, the driver dressed in a top hat and sitting high atop the carriage. Perry took her hand and helped up into the carriage once it came to a stop in front of them. After making sure she was covered with a thick wool blanket, he put his arm around her and held her close.
Now it was Della's turn to be speechless. As the driver guided the white horse through the beautifully lit streets and around Central Park, Della focused on two things: the beautiful night and the handsome, sexy, wonderful man holding her in his arms.
"Are you warm enough, baby?" Perry asked, tucking her more closely to his side.
"Uh huh, all snuggly and warm. Perry, this is wonderful. It's a perfect night for a carriage ride. Where did you get the idea for this?"
"Remember the day we went for a walk through the park?"
"I'll never forget that day."
Perry smiled and kissed her forehead. "Neither will I. Well, I noticed the carriages drive through the park and I saw you staring at one. So, when we got back to the hotel and you were changing for dinner, I talked to Mike and had him call to make the reservation."
"You never cease to amaze me, Counselor. This is the most romantic thing you've ever done. I'm almost afraid to ask what comes after this."
"You're about to find out. Here we are."
Della looked past Perry at the building in front of them. She was so engrossed with the carriage ride that she didn't realize the driver had stopped in front of Tavern on the Green.
Both Perry and the driver helped Della from the carriage. The driver then wished them a nice evening and let them know he would be back for them later. Mason took his secretary's arm and led her down the brick path to the entrance of the restaurant. Once inside they were escorted to an empty room that Della learned had been set up for them. She was so overwhelmed all she could do was let Perry guide her to the table and pull out a chair so she could sit down. Apparently the menu had already been chosen because it didn't take long for their appetizer and a bottle of champagne to appear. Not long after that, the main course was served and when they were finished eating, Perry brought Della's hand to his lips and softly kissed her fingers. Music began to play and Della cocked her head to one side, a smile trembling at the corner of her lips. One March evening nine months prior, Perry and Della had spent the evening at Max and Judy's. That night the musical version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella starring Julie Andrewshad premiered on national television and since the children were on their Spring break from school, they were permitted to watch the performance. It was all Della could talk about for weeks and when the album hit the stores, Perry purchased one for her. Della loved all the music from the show but her very favorite was a song in the second act entitled 'Ten Minutes Ago', sung by the Prince and Cinderella after he first catches sight of her and sweeps her onto the dance floor. Although it was a fairy tale Della thought that song epitomized her and Perry's relationship since they had fallen in love from the first moment they met.
"Would you like to….?"
"Dance? Yes sir, I would love to."
Perry led Della out to the small wooden floor and held her close as the handsome vocalist sang his version of the song. The lawyer held his girl close and sang softly in her ear in his rich baritone voice.
Ten Minutes Ago I saw you,
I looked up when you came through the door
My head started reeling, you gave me the feeling
the room had no ceiling or floor.
Ten Minutes ago, I met you
and we murmured our how-do-you do's,
I wanted to ring out the bells and fling out my arms
and to sing out the news.
I have found her! She's an angel
with the dust of the stars in her eyes.
We are dancing, we are flying
and she's taking me back to the skies.
In the arms of my love I'm flying
over mountain and meadow and glen.
And I like it so well that for all I can tell
I may never come down again
I may never come down to earth again
We are dancing In the arms of my love I'm flying
We are flying
And she's taking me back to the skies
Over mountain and meadow and glen
And I like it so well that for all I can tell
I may never come down again
I may never come down to earth again
In the arms of my love I'm flying
The song ended and Perry led Della over to the window. "Look baby, it's snowing. I think we're going to have a white Christmas."
Tears streamed down Della's face as she struggled to let Perry know what she was feeling.
"Oh Perry, it's beautiful…this whole trip…everything has been perfect and I'll never forget it." Della turned inward and hugged the man she loved, never wanting to let go. At that moment, more than any other time she realized that Perry was her anchor and she would always be protected, taken care of and loved.
Perry kissed her curls and sat down on a nearby chair, pulling her down onto his lap. They were mere inches away and he could feel both their hearts pound as he took a deep breath in preparation for what he wanted to say.
"Della, you know I love you and I would do anything for you. I wasn't going to say anything because I know how you feel but I…that is I wanted to ask you and you'll probably say no, but I'm going to…I just have to ask you anyway…"
Long, delicate, red manicured fingers were gently placed on the lawyer's lips to silence him. As the snow fell outside, the stunning brunette with the sparkling eyes and the million dollar smile that had stolen the handsome attorney's heart the moment he saw her, spoke softly but firmly.
"I love you too, Perry. I love you more than you know…and I believe, Counselor that you have something that belongs to me."