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“Daddy?” Small hands tugged gently on his hair and Oleander looked up at the little girl perched on his shoulders. Bright blue eyes peeked out from behind dark strawberry blonde curls before one hand was pointing towards one of the store windows. “Do you think Mommy would like that for Christmas?”

“I think she’ll love anything that you pick out,” Even as he said it, his gaze followed the pointing finger towards the store in question. Since he had promised Sage that she’d get to help him find a present for Leora this year, he was following every little direction that his daughter gave him.

On the opposite end of the mall, he was sure Leora was doing the same for Kian. It was easier to shop with the kids when they split up and then switched when they met up for lunch.

With the huge crowd, it was hard to make out what exactly Sage had seen but as he got closer it wasn’t hard to see why she asked. The journals were what had caught her eye, if the chattering going on above his head was anything to go by, but he was focused on the handcrafted jewelry.

“I have a better idea, Sprout.” He lifted her over his head and down to the ground as they entered the store. The nickname was enough to get her to quiet down and listen but she followed along eagerly.

Stopping before the jewelry cases, he knelt down and pointed through the glass to a pair of charms that were studded with various different tiny gems. “Remember those charm bracelets that Uncle Case got for you and your mother?” He waited for her to nod and for the realization to dawn on her before continuing. “Let’s get her some new charms and get them engraved with yours and Kian’s names.”

And he could get a matching charm for Sage’s bracelet so that she and Leora would have mother-daughter charms. Kian didn’t have a bracelet like the girls but he could get them matching journals too.

“But Daddy…” Sage’s lip stuck out in a pout and she tapped her fingers on the glass of the case, “This is supposed to be my present. Do I have to get the one with Kian’s name on it too?”

Oleander shook his head and sighed. When she was younger, she wanted to do everything for and with her older brother. It was so much easier then. Now she wanted to be more independent and not share as much with Kian.

“He doesn’t know what to get your mother either so we’ll get it for him and let him give it to her.” For a minute, he wasn’t sure if it was enough of a compromise to get rid of the pout. It hadn’t been one of the more emotional days with Sage so he was hoping to quell the storm before there was even a chance for it to brew. When the smile bloomed, he mentally sighed in relief.

“Only so long as he knows that I picked out which charm was his.” The sassy little quip had him chuckling as he lifted her up again to pick out the charms. Oleander kept an eye on her interests as well and made sure the guy behind the counter had a third charm to engrave once Sage bounced off to look at the journals.

By the time the charms were engraved and he had gotten journals for his son and wife, Sage was already antsy to go. Now that she had found her present for her mother, Sage was ready to meet up and shop with her instead.

It was easier to keep track of her in the crowd when she was riding on his shoulders but he managed to not lose her in the crowd of humans. The Christmas rush always made him wish that he could use his magic as a faerie to track his entire family but Leora banned that during the Christmas season. Something about him cheating and figuring out his gifts.

Sage found them seconds after he did. With the charms hidden in one of his pockets and the journals tucked into the inside of his jacket, there wasn’t a chance that either of them would see what they bought. Both Leora and Kian were bad at hiding their attempts to see what he had bought.

“Everything go okay?” Leora asked as he leaned down to kiss her. She knew just as well he did how frustrating it could be to shop with Sage.

“Perfect. We only stopped in every single store until she found something.”

She laughed at him as he sunk into the plastic chair next to her. He’d take a short break and let Kian finish his lunch before they went off to finish the shopping. Then came, in his opinion, was the worst part of the entire holiday.

Wrapping paper was the bane of his existence.


I know it’s a day late but I promised my co-blogger a holiday post and here it is!