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Holiday

"Hello! Welcome to the Sutter Home Bed and Breakfast."

That's my mom for you. Mary Sutter kept a small four room bed and breakfast open in our town for nearly forty years. Pictures of couples on a honeymoon, starving artists who just broke into their authorial fame and others covered cork boards in frames on the wall.

This summer, I received a notice from the city of Milwaukee.

"Miss Sutter, the property which is Sutter Family Bed and Breakfast is hereby declared Eminent Domain. It will be seized as of 12/31/19...

My heart sank. My family's lifeblood now becomes property of the city.

I was a praying, believing person. I overcame a lot. My mother would've been proud of me. I just needed something that didn't happen in modern times. A miracle.

As I closed the door for the night, I heard a pounding on the door.

"Listen, I don't know who you are but if you're gonba steal from me you're out of luck. I have nothing you want unless you're with the city."

"I'm sorry to bother you. I just need a place for my daughter and I for the night. I can pay extra for anything..."

Far be it from me to turn down soneone in need. My mom would've done anything for anyone.

"I'll be right there."

I walked to the door and saw a dark haired man with a sweet little girl hiding behind his leg.

"Hello, I'm Matthew. This is Joy. I'm really sorry to bother you but I saw the sign and the lights..."

"It's alright. I'm Lisa. Please, follow me."

The pair followed me to the living room. I saw that he had nothing with them.

"Y'all travel light, huh?"

Matthew laughed.

"Our bags are in the car. I justed wanted Joy settled before I got them."

"I understand."

I looked at the little girl.

"Hello there."

"Hi."

"Are you hungry?"

"Tired. Daddy, can I go to sleep now?"

Matthew looked at her.

"Could you show us to a room? I'd like to get her settled."

"Of course, follow me."

I led them to my favorite room. It was my old bedroom.

"Joy, would you lije to stay here tonight?" I ask.

Her eyes sparkled.

"Could I, Daddy? Please!"

Matthew smiled.

"Anything for you."

Joy smiled.

"Be good for Ms Lisa, okay? I'm going to get our things."

"Okay, Daddy."

Matthew left in a hurry. Joy looked at me.

"Are all of these yours?"

"Yes. My daddy bought them for me over the years. I have so many."

Joy smiled a little. I saw tears fall from her eyes.

"What's the matter?"

"You don't have a Mister Waddles."

I looked confused.

"No, I don't."

Joy smiled at me again.

"I couldn't sleep without Mister Waddles. He's the first stuffie Daddy bought me."

I smiled.

"Oh, in that case, I don't have Mister Waddles. I have Fuzzy."

Joy looked at me.

"Who's Fuzzy?"

I pointed to a rather large penguin.

"See him? That's Fuzzy. My daddy bought him for me when I was five. I had to have an operation. My daddy couldn't be there so when I woke up, I found my daddy holding Fuzzy."

Joy smiled.

"My daddy bought me Mister Waddles when I was a baby."

"How old are you now?"

She proudly stood up and held up four fingers.

"I'm four!"

I laughed. I didn't hear the door close.

"Alright, Missy, time to get your jammies on and get settled."

"Okay, Daddy!"

The little girl smiled at me. Before I could say or do anything, I felt little arms around my neck.

"Good night, Ms Lisa."

"Good night, Joy."

The next words made me cry a bit.

"I love you."

Matthew and I stood speechless for the briefest of moments before exiting the room. I looked at him.

"She never did that. She never does that, especially with women."

"Guess I'm special." I said.

He smirked.

"You must be. Her mother..."

I waited a few seconds.

"Died?" I asked.

"No. It would've been easier. She didn't want Joy. Pretty much told me take her. I didn't sign on for this with you."

I looked shocked.

"Part of me wants to apologize on behalf of the female gender and the other part wants to track her down and give her five minutes of right jabs."

Matthew laughed.

"That female isn't worth it. Believe me."

He looked around the room.

"This is a very nice place, Lisa. How long has it been here?"

"My parents ran it for thirty years. It'll be closing at the end of the year."

He looked concerned.

"Why?"

I explained about the city's order and other things. He looked genuinely concerned. Then, he smiled.

"Why are you smiling? I'm losing everything. This isn't just a business to me. I grew up in this house! My father's commanding officer delivered the news of his death on that very stoop. My mother died keeping this place running and I'm losing it."

Matthew's smile never budged.

"You're the first person who honestly didn't get awestruck by me. I'm surprised."

I looked at him, curious.

"What does that mean?"

"You really don't know who I am, do you?"

I sat for a minute.

"I'm sorry. I don't go out much. I'd rather read in my spare time than watch TV."

Matthew laughed.

"It's okay. Listen, my name is Matthew Richards. I'm here filming a movie. I'd love to help you however I can..."

I looked at him, nearly crying.

"This is surreal. I'm sorry I didn't know."

He laughed.

"It's fine, really. I just never saw Joy take to someone like she did to you."

"She's an amazing little girl."

I looked up, as did Matthew. The vegetation hanging from the ceiling fam made me laugh.

"Mistletoe?" He asks.

"Yeah. I put it up this year and I don't know why."

Matthew looked at me.

"Here, because tradition."

Under the mistletoe, he gave me a sweet kiss. The electricity coursing between us felt unbelievable. Within seconds, he pulled away from me.

"That was..." He started.

All I could do was blush.

"I should go. Good night, Lisa. Until tomorrow."

I had no response.

December 22, 2019 07:29

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