Contibuting writers: Codename:Bluebird, OSIAgent35, Susanna, Lightning35, New Steve Fan, Bionic Girl, Rolajin, Arisnow, NASA Pilot 1, Equinox2008, HighSilverado, Jesslea, Danniegirl, Moonwalker66, AthenaOne, SaturnB1, MandyNicole, Moonbase256, Majors4ever, Cassopeia and Zenon
It was three days before Christmas. Oscar had given the holidays to his agents, telling them not to show up for work before the New Year.
Steve had bragged about spending his holiday vacation in the Bahamas when it fact he stayed at home, alone with his thoughts. He had recently lost both parents in a tragic accident and wasn't in the mood for socializing.
But little did he know that someone wasn't fooled and was onto him. So she decided to whip up a little Christmas feast for her friend.
She baked all the dishes he loved best and promised herself to give Steve the best Christmas ever and hopefully, ease the pain of losing his parents.
As she got ready to leave for Steve’s house, she heard a thud on her doorsteps. Carefully she went to inspect. As she opened the door she noticed a barely-dressed little boy sitting down on the step, shivering.
"Hey? Are you okay?" she asked concerned. The boy flinched at her presence and swiftly got up to leave. "No, don't go," she said softly. "What's your name? Did you lose your mommy?"
The boy wouldn't talk. He continued to shiver, huddle in a corner.
"Come inside to warm up. I'll make you some hot chocolate."
Although wary of the lady at first, the boy finally yielded and followed her inside.
She had been all set to bring the Christmas supper over to Steve's house but she felt this good deed was more pressing.
She set him in front of the fireplace and gave him milk and cookies. Afterwards she tries to get information out of the boy but to no avail.
She had to know he was so that she could call his parents. She did get his name, Scotty Mans, but his address was at a bit difficult for the boy to give.
Instead she decided to drive down the block to see if the boy recognized his house.
When they passed by a rundown house, the boy flinched. She then knew it was the right address. She stopped the car and clasped the boy's hand but he refused to follow her to the front door.
She knew then that the boy had obviously run away from an abusive family. She took him back to the car and drove back to her house. She picked up her Christmas feast and drove down to Steve's house with Scotty.
A knock at the door disturbed Steve's concentration on a book he'd been rapted into. He frowned and walked over to the door and opened it.
"Surprise Blue Eyes!"
"Cassie! What are you doing here? I thought you were going to spend Christmas at your parents."
Cassie led the shy boy inside the house and put the basket on the table. "Change of plans. By the way I'd like you to meet Scott. Scott, this is my friend Steve."
Scott hid behind Cassie's leg, intimidated by the tall figure standing over him with an extended arm.
"Nice to meet you, Scott." He threw Cassie an inquisitive look.
"Ah Scott why don't you sit on the sofa. I'll switch on the television. My friend Steve and I will unpack the goodies for the Christmas dinner."
"Christmas dinner?" Steve asked, puzzled.
Cassie nodded for Steve to follow her into the kitchen.
"So what's the story with the kid," Steve asked.
"I don't know. I found him on my doorsteps a few hours ago, all shivering and scared. He wouldn't tell me where he lived but I have a pretty good idea."
Steve glanced over at the sofa where Scott was sitting. "Seems like a nice boy. Do you think he's been abused?"
Cassie nodded. "The way he shied away from the house I showed him...yes. Steve I don't know what to do. I know his folks are going to be looking for him."
"Right now let's not worry about it. Let's have our Christmas dinner. I'm famished."
Cassie rolled her eyes. "And here I thought you were gone on vacation in the south so you would be alone. It's good that I know you better than that," she winked.
After a luscious meal and a wonderful comfy family-like evening, Steve invited Cassie and their new 'friend' to sleep over. In the morning they'd have to contact Oscar and discuss the boy's future.
On Christmas Day, Cassie called Oscar at his home to discuss Scott. Against his better judgement, he suggested they keep him for the next twenty-four hour while he contacted the authorities.
"If I hear anything about a missing boy, I'll let you know," he said reassuringly.
A week passed and still no news of a missing boy. Oscar and his team went to investigate the house Cassie told them was the boy's home.
When they entered they found the house empty. The occupants had moved out. Was it really Scott's home? From the scared look on the boy's face it was obviously the right house.
An investigation got under way. In the meantime Cassie offered to take care of the boy.
The preliminary investigation revealed that Scott's parents were involved in suspicious activities and were now fugitives from the law.
While they were being hunted down, Cassie decided to start adoption procedures to adopt Scott, which proved to be more difficult than she thought for Scott's parents were still alive and that despite their actions, she needed their approval.
A few days later, Scott's parents were found and arrested on a murder charge. While pending the inquest, and trial the boy remained in Cassie's custody.
And whenever he was on leave Steve would treat Cassie and Scott to wonderful outings. Steve and Scott started bonding and soon they were inseparable.
"I may have some good news," Oscar said as he dropped by Cassie’s house. "The boy's parents were found guilty of murder and have waved their rights to their son. It might be a tedious process but I believe adoption can be achieved...if you still want to boy, Cassie?"
"What kind a question is that, Oscar?! Of course I want to adopt Scott."
"There might be a small problem," Oscar cringed.
"Which is?" Steve asked.
Oscar didn't quite know how to put it, "Cassie, you're be a single mom and adoption may pose a problem in these conditions. Especially that you have a very dangerous job."
Cassie was afraid of that answer. She had considered every angle of that adoption, including her job and hoped that it wouldn't be an obstacle, given the situation with Scott's parents.
Yes of course, the wheels in Steve's mind were in motion, but what could he do?
"Could you what?" Oscar asked Steve, who was surprised he was caught thinking out loud.
"Oh nothing. I was just thinking out loud."
"And I bet I know exactly what you're thinking and I say go for it."
Steve wondered if Oscar was thinking along the same lines. Many times before had their signals crossed with rather embarrassing consequences.
"Go for what Oscar?"
Oscar winked at Steve and gave him a small shove toward the kitchen where I was fixing some hot chocolate for my guests.
"I don’t know if you and I are talking about the same subject, here, Oscar."
"I think we are." He nodded in direction of Cassie. "She really needs you know and you need her too."
"She's a free spirit, Oscar. I don't think she'd want me to..."
"Go ask her. You'll know."
Steve prefered being alone with Cassie to pop the question. "This isn't something you spring on a woman. I'll choose the right moment to do it."
"Don't wait too long, especially if you don't want her to lose the boy."
"What? What will happen?"
Oscar explained that Scott would go to an orphanage pending adoption by a couple. A single mother with a dangerous job is not a worthy candidate. But if she had a husband....
Steve was hesitant. He loved Cassie with all of his heart but marriage? Would she want to commit just to adopt the boy?
Steve asked Oscar to leave them alone for the night and that he'll see what he can do for both Cassie's and Scott's sakes.
After Scott was put to bed Steve asked Cassie to stay over the night in the guest bedroom so she could keep an eye on the boy in case he woke up and found her gone.
Steve waited for the tone of midnight to make his proposal.
He waited for everything to be just right. He sat Cassie on the sofa and just as he was about to make his proposal, Scott came down the stairs, rubbing his tired eyes.
Cassie got up and went to him. "What's the matter? Can't sleep?” When the boy shook his head, she picked him up and sat him on the sofa next to her and Steve.
"I don't want to leave here," he whimpered.
"You will not, Scott. We'll see to that," Steve blurted out, surprising Cassie.
"You heard Oscar. We can't make promises we may not be able to keep," Cassie chastised.
"I'm keeping this one, but I need your help."
Steve began squirming in his seat but finally plucked up the courage to pop the question.
"Will you marry me and give Scott and stable home?" he cringed slightly at the way it came out. A bit too bold he told himself.
Cassie was stunned. "Why Steve! I didn't spike the punch as far as I can tell. Where does this from?”
"I'm totally sober, 35. I've been thinking of asking you for quite some time but the moment never presented himself. Now it has."
Cassie was a bit stunned. It was happening so fast. Sure she loved 34, but was she in love with him? She needed to sort through her real feelings before giving an answer.
Steve respected Cassie's feelings and even if he could have used Scott as pressure tactic, he figured she'd come to see it on her own.
The rest of the holiday season went by with Cassie still mulling over Steve's proposal while taking care of the boy. Whenever she would look at Scott her heart would break knowing that she would lose him if she didn't do something.
But getting married is a pretty big decision, one that shouldn't be taken lightly. Could she be happy being married to her best friend? After all Cassie was a free spirit and couldn't see herself married. And what if it doesn't work out? This would ruin the best friendship she had.
What to do?
Cassie took some breathing space to consider his proposal. Steve was a bit disappointed that she needed that much time, believing that the feeling of love was definitely not mutual.
Scott started missing Steve coming over the house and thought that perhaps he had done something wrong to make his friend mad.
"Uncle Steve is very busy with his work. He'll come and visit us soon," Cassie reassured unconvincingly.
"I know he's mad at me," Scott chastised. "I want to see him," he wailed much to Cassie's chagrin.
Cassie knew that if she called Steve and asked him to come over this would create a tense situation for she hadn't made up her mind yet.
But the boy was very insistent and the more she waited, the more he blamed himself for Steve not being there.
Finally Cassie picked up the phone and dialed Steve's number.
Steve sped to Cassie's house thinking that he would get a positive answer, though she didn't give him any hint as to what to expect.
He arrived with a huge mug on his face. Cassie explained that Scott blamed himself for his not being at the house for the last couple of days, hence the reason why she called him.
"Oh! Is that all?" Steve asked, disappointment plastered all over his face.
Cassie masked her amusement at Steve's obvious disappointment. But she had something in mind later that was guaranteed to put a smile on his face.
Scott was so excited to see Steve that he didn't give the man a moment's peace the whole time he was there.
Although Scott kept Steve very busy our man did steal a few glances Cassie's way.
Now came time for Scott to go to bed. Naturally Steve agreed to read him a bedtime story. Once the boy was out like a light it was time for the grown ups to get together on the sofa in front of the TV with a cup of hot chocolate.
Cassie could sense the tension in the room as she was sitting next to Steve. She peaked over the rim of her cup and could see that she was torturing him with the waiting.
"I really appreciate your coming here tonight. Scott was starting to blame himself for your not being here."
"I'm sorry about that," Steve apologized. "It's just that I wanted to give you some breathing space."
"I know and I appreciate it. In fact it helped me a lot to sort things out."
"I could tell you that I need more time to consider your proposal but I think I've all the time I needed."
Steve didn't look up and waited for Cassie to continue.
“And I've decided......”
She just gave him a smile and Steve replied with one of his own. "Does that mean...yes?"
Again silence followed by a large smile and a tiny nod.
"That's good enough for me," said Steve who captured her lips in a tender kiss.
The kiss lingered until the boy cut in? "I can't sleep," he whined, rubbing his sleepy eyes.
Steve excited lifted him in the air and sat him on the sofa next to them. "Guess what Scott?"
Steve asked the boy very gently if he was okay for him to become his daddy.
Scott turned to Cassie before answering. "Would you like Steve to come live with us?"
The boy smiled almost mischievously. The idea of having Steve and Cassie as his new parents was a thrilled never experienced before. "I can stay with you both?" he asked to make certain this was for real.
Needless to say it was a sleepless night filled with excitement.
The next morning Steve got on the phone to Oscar to tell him the good news.
Now came the hard part of convincing the judge that Scott could have a stable home. Even if Steve and Cassie were to marry, there was no guarantee that they would get to adopt Scott.
A court hearing was set to hear the plea for Scott's adoption. Somehow everything went without a hitch.
The judge ruled in favour of the couple and soon after Steve and Cassie were married in a lavish ceremony, but the biggest smile came from the little boy whose wish came true for Christmas.
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