The Spirit of Christmas should be a joyous person who can spread happiness around the world. Spir is anything but. His mood is as dark as the black clothes he wears. Danette is hired to change his clothing in hopes that his attitude will follow. Spir doesn’t want to cooperate. When she finally gets him out of his clothes, Danette discovers something harder than her job and much more enjoyable.
She shrugged. “This might not have been my calling from birth, like you, but this is my life. I can’t do anything else. My only talent is enhancing people so they are better, brighter versions of themselves, or so everyone thinks they are better and brighter.”
“And now you think you can make me better and brighter?”
“I’m not trying to make you better, Spir. From where I’m standing, you’re perfect already. I’m just trying to make you brighter.” She grinned. “Okay, not brighter. Just less dark. Hence all the gray.”
“What about it?”
“I’m not perfect.”
“Dude, have you looked in a mirror ever? There are men who would sell their souls and the souls of their dear mommas to have your looks.”
“I’m not bright like Kris.”
“And your point is what?”
“Women — fey women — have always ignored me and flocked to my brother.”
“That makes them blind or stupid or both. Kris is gorgeous and so are you. You’re identical. And did you ever stop to think they were flocking to him because he was the heir of the house? He’s the head of the House of Kringle, the top house in the winter clan. Women would have been flocking to him if he looked like a troll because of the power he now holds.”
Spir stared at her with wide, confused eyes.
“I think the only one hung up on you being his shadow is you, Spir. You let the opinions of a bunch of gold diggers and opportunists determine your self worth. You’re the spirit of Christmas. It can’t exist without you. Even those who don’t believe in Santa do acknowledge you. Have you even visited humans around Christmas time?”
He shook his head.
“Did your uncle?”
“I never saw him leave the North Pole.”
“Well there you go. You’re basing your opinion on false information that further perpetuates your feelings of inadequacy. I was always taught that presents and a jolly fat man in a red suit don’t make Christmas. It’s the feeling inside. The giving — not to be redundant — spirit. The love of family and brotherhood and togetherness. Everything else is icing on the cake.” She took his hand and squeezed it. “You’re the cake, Spir.”
His gaze went down to her hand and then back to her eyes. His earlier confusion had changed to surprise.
She released him and stepped back, clearing her throat. She’d gotten too wrapped up in her preaching. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to start lecturing you. It’s one of my bad habits.”
“It’s fine.” He raised the hand she’d held and looked at it as though he’d never seen it before. “It’s completely fine.” He lowered his hand and turned his attention back to her. A ghost of a smile tugged at his lips. “Your enthusiasm has rubbed off on me.”