By Tenth Muse Top
Continued from Part I
By the light of her oil-lamp and the glow of the fire, Felicity watched the willowy dark stranger step lightly into the room. Shining black eyes examined her curiously. The stranger touched the door with long fingertips and it closed silently.
“Name?” Taking a pad from her dressing gown, the Matron Manager stood, pen in hand, poised to write up all the details she needed to start a sanction.
Santa, however, just stared at Matron, her right eyebrow arching quizzically, a faint smile playing on her soft lips.
In the gloom of her chair, Greymalkin raised her head to watch the humans, her alert ears pointing towards them.
“I asked you a question!” Felicity’s face was red with anger. “I will write you up and I will have compensation!”
Idly, Santa rubbed an invisible mark on the floorboards with the shiny toe of her black leather boot.
“We have a sayin’, where I come from,” she said mildly and then cleared her throat, gesturing towards Felicity with a graceful hand. “It is this: ‘Anger, no matter how hot it is, can never cook a yam.'” Looking at Felicity who was sucking her cheeks in, ready to explode, Vestah hoped for a realisation from the other woman, for even just a flicker of self-awareness. In its absence, she continued, “Although, it is true, it can fuel many other activities.”
It was only a little threat. Just a tiny, little threat…though it made no difference at all to the Matron Manager because she either missed it, or was just too busy ignoring it. Foiled for now, however, Felicity put the pad away.
Instead she turned her attention back to the business at hand. Stooping towards the hearth with the brush, Felicity was going to make a big show of sweeping up the mess, but noticing the stockings, she stopped. They were all crooked and messy!
“Look at this! Look at what you done! Was it worth all this for…for some stupid, expensive trick the kids didn’t even see?”
Vestah watched as the young woman angrily straightened stocking after stocking.
“It was not a trick. I can do it again.” Her deep, soft voice was calm, if confused. She folded her thumbs into her black belt.
“At what cost? I mean just how much money does that party trick actually cost?”
“It costs nothin’. It is just power.” Santa rolled her hands around her belt until they were on her hips and readied herself to demonstrate to this obstinate woman, one example of power. Another ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’ There were other examples, of course. Ones Ms Felicity J Kavanagh might appreciate a little less.
Greymalkin wagged her tail. She wondered if Santa Claus would actually pounce on Matron. Watching with keen interest, she really hoped so. It was not that the old grey cat didn’t like Felicity, in fact she did. It was just that, if Greymalkin hadn’t been such a mild-mannered cat, she would have scratched her a long time ago, the way a bad kitten earns a bite from her wise mama cat.
Standing on the stool to reach the last of the stockings, Felicity once again missed her opportunity to hear what was being said to her and alter her sarcastic tone.
“Ah. Power. How silly of me, I forgot! Budgetary requirements never affect the people in power. Never constrain them. It is us little folk who pay for your party tricks with our hard-earned taxes!!!”
Santa thought about the three wooden stools in the little attic room.
“There is constraint, or should I say, restraint, enough around here, if you ask me!”
“I beg your pardon?! What is that supposed to mean!?” Felicity swivelled around on the stool, hands on her own hips in a mocking, mirror pose of Santa Claus. This gave her a good feeling: she liked being taller than the haughty stranger!
Santa paused, we will get to that, she thought. Her right palm suddenly heating hot, energy flowing in to charge it quicker than the flames from a roaring outdoor fire could warm the body of a weary traveller. We will get to that.
Vestah Jones had magnificent powers of concentration – and right now she was doing things her way. In her own very particular order and, if that was in a roundabout-the-berry-bush kind of a way, in order to get to the truth, and if it took time, so be it. After all, she was a Mistress of Time.
“Not in power, Ms Kavannah: with power. People with power are different.”
“I wouldn’t know.” It was snapped back without thinking and Felicity climbed down off the stool. It was then that a thought struck her. Forcefully. She gasped and reeled to stare agape at Santa Claus.
The Matron Manager’s face paled. By the light of the fire and the snow-glow of the moon outside, her cheeks could be seen to drain to a sickly, sticky white. She was utterly unaware that she was actually clutching her own face in shock.
“Oh. My. God. You’re…”
“Yes. I. AM!” A note of humour mingled with infinite pride resonating in her voice, Santa struck a pose and sighed, her smile widening. Her boots were shiny, the cut of her coat, if she said so herself, slightly highwaywoman -at the right angle- and the beard was a dead giveaway. Santa beamed broadly at the young woman.
“Ho-HO!” It was jocular, but her deep voice carried unmistakeable authority.
Despite the shock and nausea assailing her senses, brave Felicity staggered on, desperately trying to get some sort of toehold in the situation.
“Oh…Ma’am – I am so, so sorry! Of COURSE you are!!! What was I thinking?”
Santa waved a placating, modest gesture in her direction. “It is quite alright,” but Felicity wasn’t listening.
“YOU are from the Inspectorate!”
Santa froze, her hands nearly on her hips, mid-new-pose.
“Sorry again, Ma’am!” Felicity coughed, straightened her nightdress and dressing gown and held out her hand.
“We are honoured and privileged to welcome an Agent from The Inspectorate of Charitable Institutes to our humble home!”
“No, Ma’am I am! I am! I am happy to greet you and truly sorry!” Felicity was off again, “If only you had let us know. I mean, you did. Well, not you, Ma’am obviously…Your office did…but if I had known, I would have–”
Santa Claus checked over her own shoulder, bewildered. She half expected to see an Inspector standing behind her there, but no, Felicity was addressing this panicky speech at her!
She briefly considered trying out another powerhouse ‘Ho, Ho, Ho!’ Then whether to bring her reindeer down from the roof. Or, in Africa, her sleigh was a chariot drawn by cheetahs! Now that was magic. Yet instinct told her that, after the spectacular back-firing of her first ‘Ho, Ho, Ho!’ any of these might just make the situation a whole lot worse.
She groaned inwardly and looked at Greymalkin.
The cat flicked her eyes towards Felicity and then looked back at Santa sympathetically. Pounce! She flexed her claws lazily. Wrestle her to the ground! Then a darker expression crossed Greymalkin’s face. Put her out in the snow. Santa blinked, her lips twitching close to a smile. She cleared her throat.
Felicity was still wringing her hands and pleading her case, almost running circles around Santa to show her compliance.
“As you can see, we are efficiently on track for Festive success, Madame Inspector! The stockings are up, the–”
Vestah, turning on a heel to follow the speaker, interrupted her smoothly,
“I am not from the Inspectorate. I am not an Inspector… Well… not that type… anyways.”
“What?!” Felicity was hauled up short and indignant. “Then who the hell are you?”
Santa smiled, bemused.
“Why Child, I am Santa Claus.”
“PLEASE!!! I do NOT have time for this! You and your whacko homespun wisdom! What are you? Where are you from? By what NAME are you KNOWN?” Felicity’s cheeks were scarlet again.
Santa Claus was stunned, for without knowing it, Felicity Kavanagh had just asked the three sacred questions, and she was compelled to answer them truly.
Gently, she placed her hands on the young woman’s shoulders, commanding her attention.
“Child. You are in the presence of the Spirit of Lovin’ Kindness. I am from a time before time, when time was timeless. I am known by my fame and by my many, many names. In the lands of the West, these great lands of yours, I go by the name of Santa Claus.” She brushed the hood from her head and took off the beard. “Look at me and see. See me and believe.”
“But you’re not Santa Claus! You’re–”
“I am what now?!” Frustrated, hands on hips, Santa stared the younger woman down.
“You’re just not…that’s all.” Felicity caught herself and rammed her hands into her pockets defensively. “Whoever hired you has got a lot to answer for, if you ask me.” She rallied “And DID you spit cookie on the fireplace?”
“Yes. I will clean it up. Stop changin’ the subject! I. Am. Santa. Claus.”
“But you can’t be Santa Claus, because you’re,” Felicity took a breath “You are…”
“No!” Felicity’s arms flailed about in panic, “I mean, I wasn’t going to say that…Of course you are, uh, black, I mean, I mean you’re…you’re…you are–”
Felicity was aware of the tall woman moving towards her. Of her presence, her scent, her eyes. Her vitality.
“A woman! You’re a woman!” Relief flooded the young woman’s voice, “I mean come on! All the images of Santa Claus are of a fat white guy with a beard!” A hint of sarcasm entered her voice, “Forgive me my cultural miseducation, but — hey — anyone who knows anything knows that Santa is a dude!”
Santa’s beautiful ebony face was now only eighteen inches away from her own. Planes of light from the fireplace played across Santa’s cheeks, making her face more angular and her lips softer and more beautiful. Cinnamon and tamarind filled the air and Felicity felt a dry heat warming the entire length of her body. She could almost hear cheetahs purring.
Santa’s voice was low and quiet.
“You forget. I. Am. Santa. Claus. I know what you are thinkin’. I know when you are lyin’. I know.”
Her gaze was mesmerising and Felicity was engulfed in the shining, dark eyes. Her whole body felt hot, her cheeks burning red. She felt the power — but she refused it.
There is no such thing as Santa Claus. No such person!
“Are you a burglar? Is that what that sack is for? To steal?! Are you going to hit me? Beat me? Bash me on the head?”
“Slap you on the butt, more like!” Santa’s eyes flashed real ire. “If that is the only way to get through to you, young woman, so help me, I will!”
It had been a long day. A long year: a lifetime of long years and something inside Felicity Jane Kavanagh just snapped. She stepped forward towards this unbelievable and impertinent council lackey and looked up into her face.
“I don’t care how exotic you think you are,” she said, “blow me.”
“Oh…my pleasure.” Santa leaned forward and blew gently over the top of Felicity’s head, freezing the young woman to the spot.
“Now, you wait there.”
With swift grace, Vestah Jones took the little wooden stool from beside the hearth and placed it a little way back from the fire. Then she stepped towards the chimney and looked skywards.
Arriving on the roof, Santa surveyed the scene. The reindeer had not noticed her. She snapped her fingers and the tail end of the blizzard, which was little more than snow flurries now anyway, stopped altogether, leaving Santa highlighted by starlight and moonlight.
Rudolph was flashing rainbow coloured light patterns on his nose, while Dancer and Prancer drummed complicated rhythms with their hooves, to which Vixen was voicing a slightly nasally song. Comet had her nose in a hay bag and was inhaling deeply with happy huffs. Cupid and Dasher canoodled behind a chimney pot. Only Blitzen, standing sentry duty with the Sleigh, noticed her sudden reappearance. He coughed, sheepishly.
“What’s with the woolly jumper impersonations?” Giggled Donner who was just rolling slowly back and forth on her back looking at the stars and waiting for another turn with the hay bag.
Blitzen tried again. “Guys – aHEM!!!”
There was silence. Nine reindeer faces peered at their Boss.
“Uh. Hello Santa.” Even noble Prancer looked sheepish.
Santa tapped her foot. “Are we aware that we are workin’ this night? And by we, I mean you?”
There was a chorus of affirmations:
“Oh yes, Ma’am, we’re right down with the awareness!”
“We are? I mean — we are!” This was from Rudolph.
Hands on hips, Santa just said, “Carry on.” She chortled to herself, shaking her head, but then waggled her fingertips so that magic sparkled from them in iridescent dust which mingled with the snow. She smiled at the deer. “Spread magic all, this night you may, this land is wracked and full of dismay, but remember that, when I ring my bell, you’d better be ready to fly as well!”
“Yes MA’AM!” “Aye, aye, Cap’n!” “You got it Santa!” Chorused the reindeer.
“Cool.” She turned to the Sleigh. “Right now I have got some business to attend to.”
Opening a big red metal box on the back of the Sleigh, Santa rummaged about in a leather bag, eventually producing a beautifully oiled, ebony-wood paddle which she polished carefully on her sleeve. She held it up, assessing its shine and condition by the bright moonlight.
Pleased with what she saw, Santa slid the paddle into a sheath inside her boot.
Placing her hand on the chimney stack, she disappeared.
After a moment, a deadpan voice said, “You think Santa’s gonna slap another log on the fire?”
“You wood say that!”
The reindeer fell about in mirth. “Well, someone or something’s getting a roasting…”
“AND it’s not the CHESTNUTS!!!” They chorused.
“Hay!” Shouted Rudolph.
“Bag!” Shouted back the reindeer and the party started up again.
Vestah Jones took a moment to settle into her human senses. She looked at the young woman, who stood frozen on the rug where she had left her. For Felicity, no time at all had passed. The last words she had spoken were still an angry imprint in her thoughts and weirdo Santa Claus was still freakily blowing in her hair.
Vestah paced quietly around her, gathering echoes of thoughts and emotions, remembering for the young woman a time when she was unconsolable, when she was beaten down with grief. She saw the journey of grit and determination to help get herself off the streets and then to help those less fortunate than herself, and she saw in that journey Felicity’s heart closing, her mind making little adjustments — putting rules where compassion should be — so that truly now the matron did not know the damage she was doing.
Eyes dark and hooded with sorrow and compassion, Vestah’s heart was conflicted. There was a problem here so deep…but one fact was true of Santa Claus: she was in it for the long haul and where goodness had gone astray, she would help it find its way back home.
“If you climb up a tree, you must climb back down the same tree.” She said to no one in particular.
“And then — you can climb a different tree!” Getting Felicity to climb back down was the first thing to be done and Santa focused a more predatory gaze on the young woman. She had no problem with that. No problem at all.
“Well.” She said to Greymalkin. “She did ask for it.”
Santa Claus stood back in front of Felicity and blew a soft breath over her head.
“Do. You. MIND?!” The Matron Manager tried to move, but found herself stuck to the floor! She could move her arms and body, but her feet were going nowhere!
“What the hell?!!”
Santa laid a calming hand on her shoulder.
“I do mind. I mind very much and by the time I have finished with you, young woman, you will find that you mind as much as me. I have tried to speak to you, and though you have eyes to see and a heart to hear, you have closed your good sense away from me…but you have turned it away from yourself too, Felicity Jane Kavanagh, and you cannot see how you hurt yourself, so I am goin’ to help you. With this good strong palm, and over my knee, I am goin’ to right some wrongs and help you to see.”
Felicity spluttered incoherently, her face flushing. Her eyes had widened at the sight of the ‘good, strong palm’ and she found herself breathless and more than a little disconcerted. This was not how Santa Claus should behave, even if she did believe in HIM, which she didn’t.
Santa unbuckled her belt and placed it on the couch. Then she slid the red robe from her shoulders and tidied that away as well. Now, more comfortable in black jodhpurs and crisp white shirt, she returned to the young woman and waggled her fingers in a lifting motion.
Despite herself, Felicity felt her arms rise away from her body. Santa’s hands were at the belt of her dressing gown and gently it was untied. The whole garment was pushed back with fingertips over her shoulders, dropping to be caught by Santa and tossed over the chair.
“Now.” Santa sat down on the stool, pulling her tight jodhpurs to rest comfortably on her arched thighs. The cuffs of her shirt were already turned back casually and she took a little time to fold them up further so that they rested neatly around her elbows.
She stretched her long legs out, bringing them together at the heels and then eased herself into a good sitting posture.
It was then that she looked at Felicity.
“Do you want to present yourself properly for this, or are you goin’ to require some assistance?”
Felicity Kavanagh, Matron Manager of the Council State Orphanage, drew herself up to her full height (which, even with Santa sitting down, was not terribly imposing) and said tightly, and a little more politely, although still with muted venom —
“Have you any idea who you are dealing with? Any idea at all?”
In the shadow of her chair, Greymalkin rolled her eyes, but Santa Claus did not laugh.
“I do.” She replied quietly, “You have no idea how much of an idea of you I have.”
She let out a soft long breath, reaching forward with her right arm as she did so.
Felicity felt the arm curl around her waist and then she was moving towards Santa’s lap. She could not resist Santa’s strength, physically, but she could fight back verbally.
“I suppose you think this proves something? That being all strong and weird makes you magical or something? Well, AS a matter of FACT, I — eeeeek!”
She was upended and face down over Santa’s lap with a swiftness and strength that stunned her! Gasping, Felicity could not quite believe that this was actually happening. Or that her nightdress was being lifted up over her thighs, over her bottom, and was now bunched up around her hips. In another quick movement, her undergarments were taken down to nestle mid-thigh. She clenched them between her legs, forbidding them to travel any further! She could feel the warmth of the fire on her bare skin…on her bottom!
“Oh. My. GOD!”
This is very out of order! How undignified is this!
And then something even stranger happened…Felicity Kavanagh, Matron Manager of the Council State Orphanage, heard the home’s resident cat speak!
“Felicitee hasss become immune to magick!” Greymalkin mewed helpfully to Santa Claus. “Slapping bottom a goood idea. Or…bite her.”
“Immune to magic?! Would you say this is true, Felicity?”
Before Felicity could reply, Santa barked, “Try bein’ immune to THIS!!!”
The palm landed on Felicity’s fat bottom with a resounding crack. Energy rippled through the upturned woman’s cheeks and she yelped in surprise.
“Ouch! This is totally unethical! YOU are SUPPOSED to be the Spirit of Loving Kindness, the very repository of Goodness, Charity and OWWWW!”
The palm had landed again, in exactly the same place and it stung! Oh how it stung!
“Owww! I protest! Wait! Owww! …Ooo!!! Stop that! You are a – Owww -hypocrite! Owww! I will have you knowwww this is not KIND! Ouchiee!”
The palm landed six more times, warming each buttock sharply, before Santa spoke again.
“I am not tryin’ to be kind. I am makin’ a point.”
Santa drew her palm softly up Felicity’s bottom and stroked back down again, before she calmly continued.
“I am makin’ a point about manners and the lack of them and that is why you are here.”
She spanked the wobbling bottom hard right over Felicity’s soft sit spot.
Felicity whimpered and tried to writhe away. One thought formed in her mind: ESCAPE! Kicking and squirming, she attempted a sideways slide off Santa Claus’ lap.
Greymalkin let out a series of little mews. To Felicity it sounded to all the world as though the cat were actually laughing at her.
“Screw you!” She shouted at the cat. “There will be no more munchies!”
“LANGUAGE!” This time the swat which accompanied the word took her breath away.
Santa organised the wriggling Matron with both hands. She would focus this young woman on her words, if it was that last thing she did, and she would hold her firmly in place as she did so. The nightdress was folded further back, neatly to Felicity’s waist, and her knickers were swept lower, despite the young woman’s resistance, which only earned her thighs a volley of hot slaps. Santa’s left hand found the place on Felicity’s back, just under the cotton nightdress, which pinned the wriggling woman down easily over her knees.
Strangely, Felicity found the sensation of Santa’s warm skin against her own comforting.
Santa patted the newly positioned buttocks in a businesslike manner. “You are not the first brat I have met, whose listenin’ apparatus is located in her behind, and I expect you wont be the last. I do not mind, this is a fine bottom to be havin’ a conversation with! Do you not agree?” She gave the cheeks a little slap.
Felicity groaned, but rallied once again.
“No! This is highly impertinent of you!”
Santa ignored her.
“So let me think now. To refer back to what you were sayin’… I…” The good, strong palm landed with a skilled sharpness, “am,” again it found its target, “a,” Santa smacked Felicity’s bottom with each word, “force,” this time it was harder, “for,” and even harder still, “good!”
Santa sounded ridiculously pleased with herself. So she repeated it.
“I AM a force for good. I am a FORCE for good. I… am a force…for GOOD!!!”
Eighteen rhythmic swats slapped Felicity’s bouncing rump.
“Do you feel me yet, little miss matron manager?”
Felicity squealed. “You are not good! This is bad. YOU are a OWWWWW!” A thunderous spank interrupted her and made her wriggle to get away, but Santa held her firmly in place.
“I may not be able to roast a yam with anger, but I can surely roast a rump, young lady!”
With this, Santa settled into the steady rhythm of an evenly-paced, but scalding spanking. Her aim was precise and her palm rang true with every single spank. The whole house echoed to the sounds of Santa’s palm striking Felicity’s fulsome bottom.
Throughout it all, Felicity kicked and wriggled and shrieked, but eventually the building fire in her rear end began to turn her interest to self-preservation.
“Alright!” She shouted. She took a ragged breath. “Alright.”
Santa Claus paused, studying the young woman’s reddening bottom with professional interest. Still room for plenty more cookin’ to be done, if needs be.
“Are you going to be still and listen?” She delivered three lighter swats to add weight to the question, enjoying the rippling rosy cheeks under her hand as she waited for a reply.
Felicity considered her options, her breath catching in her chest. Between the burning in her butt, the powerful thighs over which she was suspended, and the warm glow of the fire in the hearth, she tried to make sense of all this. Perspiration beaded her skin. Her hand drifted to Santa’s knee and she held onto it — as though the touch would anchor her to some reality she could actually recognise. It was then she felt Santa’s palm connect solidly — thrice — to the centre of her bottom, in stinging, solid spanks. She gasped and realised that she should answer the question quickly!
“Yes?” She said finally. The palm immediately stopped spanking her. She felt it rest across her bottom. Fingers soothing her skin mindfully.
“Good. Young Lady, is there anythin’ you wish to say to me?”
Felicity stared about her. Her mind was blank. All she could think about was the fact that her knickers were dangerously close to her ankles and might actually fall down altogether onto the floor. She found that thought highly perturbing!
Her bottom resonated with four more belting slaps, jolting her body against the well-muscled thighs and her attention back to her immediate predicament.
“OWWWWW! OW! OWWWW! AL-RIGHT!”
Right now, everything was just sensation, there was no thought process to be accessed, but from this space, she spoke without contrivance.
“I am sorry for being rude!” The palm connected with her sit spot a dozen times in a row, warming every side and in-between. She had been very rude and she knew it.
“I should never have spoken to you — to anyone — like that!” It rested on her burning cheeks. She gasped, relieved. Santa was listening!
“I believe you, Santa Claus. I believe you.”
Her bottom was comforted by gentle caresses.
Felicity knew she had to obey.
“I was surprised that you are black, Santa Claus. I am sorry.”
The expected volley never came: instead, to her surprise, she was righted back onto her feet and steadied as she found her balance. Santa was flashing a beautiful, humorous smile at her in response.
“That’s cool, I just hate liars.”
She watched as Felicity unselfconsciously rubbed her bottom through the nightdress and gestured kindly to the knickers around her ankles. “You may pull them back up now, if you like. Though we are very probably not done, yet.”
To give her privacy, Santa stood and walked away, but she continued to speak.
“There are eight Santa Claus, see? One for each of the great peoples. I am the African one and it has been awhile, you know? I have just been chillin’. My sisters, magical and blessed All, did a grand job… But for the last era, I’m a’wonderin’… Now, it is my turn again, and I am going to be ringin’ in some changes around here, let me tell you!”
Felicity, relieved that the conversation was no longer about her, asked. “What sort of changes?” She wondered if spankings were a part of Santa’s plans and, always a one to keenly research anything which would affect her own safety, determined to find out exactly what Santa Claus intended. For any future encounters. Which she hoped to avoid.
She rubbed her right buttock, wincing. A cold nose touched her hand gently. Greymalkin had hopped up onto the stool and proceeded to rub her ears against her fingers. It was incredibly comforting. Tears pricked Felicity’s eyes.
Santa poked one of the stockings above the fireplace, squeezing it to feel the coal within.
“For example, the last Duty Santa Claus turned my beautiful Temple of Creativity into an office! An office!!! Well… one of the Santas did. It was probably Mirabel, though she likes to be called Mirabilis, the Wonderful, because, well, she does love to delegate, y’know? …Although… it could have been Uzume, if she were goin’ through a dark phase. What do you get when you stop flowin? What do you think?” She waggled her fingers expressively at Felicity who shook her head, baffled. “Obsessed with order of course! And do you know, these days, there is a rule book? A rule book!”
She made the word sound obscene.
Felicity, who was rather fond of a hefty rule book herself, blushed nervously and glanced at the couch where she had discovered an apparently illegal volume. “You don’t like it? The, um, rule book, that is?”
“Well, you know, we have a sayin’, where I’m from.” Santa took a breath and then recited, ‘She who swallows a complete coconut, must have total trust in her anus!'” It was said as though it explained everything. She poked another stocking, curiously.
Bamboozled suddenly with mental images she found decidedly revolting, all Felicity could do was stare at Santa Claus, aghast. That was disgusting!
Greymalkin, however, was fascinated. “Give eee a whole fat mouse to seeee that I would.”
“A fat mouse? A whole fat mouse? I am tempted, Grey Paws, but …no.” Santa smiled.
Felicity looked from the cat to Santa and back again.
“I don’t understand.” she said.
“Just like with the coconut, if I swallow the rule book whole, I will have to crap it out again and I think it will get stuck! Get lodged right up me…” She grimaced comically and then saw the horrified look on Felicity’s face. “Never mind.”
“Owlsss give meee sssimilar issue.” Greymalkin hissed as though remembering a nasty interlude herself. “Don’t eat.” She advised the humans.
Santa Claus nodded, laughing, and returned her attention to the coal, her demeanour suddenly changing. “I need to know what is with all this coal? And where are the other two girls? Why is there only one of the three like-faced girls here?”
A chill ran through the Matron Manager. This was going to have to be handled carefully.
Santa raised an eyebrow. Her elegant body leaning against the fireplace.
“Handle what now?”
Felicity jumped. She had forgotten that Santa could do that!
“Well, the book… Your book, if it is the one I think it is…it’s in my offic — er — sitting room. I found it and took it there for….safekeeping… and… well we have rule books too, you know. Perhaps you would care to inspect them?”