by Helen Wilson
Based on some situations originated by James Cameron.
Cora peered out of the living room window, watching the snowflakes flutter down, landing on the window and melting away. Her mother sat beside the roaring fire in the hearth, dozing quietly. As a figure approached the house, she leaned closer to the window to get a better view, but her warm breath steamed up the cold window, hampering her view. She sighed and wiped it away, leaving wet streaks of condensation across the glass. As the figure drew closer, she squinted to get a better view of him. A smile spread across her face as she recognized him. "Daddy!"
She ran to the door, throwing it open, suddenly hit by the freezing wind and snow. "Cora, come away from there and shut the door. You're letting the cold in," her mother warned, but Cora ran out into the night to her father. As she ran toward him, she noticed the package under his arm, wrapped in plain brown paper and tied with string.
He gently put it down on the ground before lifting his daughter up and holding her up to him. "How's Daddy's favorite girl?" He smiled, kissing her on the cheek. "Let's go on in before you catch your death of cold."
He held her in one arm, the package in the other, wrapping his coat around her. She snuggled up inside it as he made his way back toward the warmth of the house. He closed the door and set Cora down on the floor. He took off his wet jacket, hanging it by the fire to dry.
"Have you been good for your mummy tonight?"
Cora smiled and nodded her head. "Yes."
"Well, that's good, because good children get presents at Christmas, don't they?"
Cora nodded again, and Bert took hold of the box he had been carrying, the brown paper soggy where snowflakes had landed on it. He knelt down so he was level with Cora and held the package out to her. "This is for you."
Cora's eyes widened with excitement, the smile on her face growing even bigger. "Really?" She began untying the string and ripped off the paper, leaving it in piles around her. She pulled the lid off the box, finding layers of tissue beneath it.
Carefully, she unwrapped each layer and gasped as she revealed below the most elegant porcelain doll she had ever seen. She took it out of its box, admiring its beautiful, long, brown, wavy hair, its deep brown eyes, and the exquisite silk gown. "Is this really for me?" she asked in disbelief. She ran her fingers over its smooth face, feeling the perfect contours of its features. She laid it down in the box, hugging her father tightly. "Thank you, Daddy," she said excitedly.
Bert smiled. "It is the one you wanted, isn't it?"
Cora nodded. Bert remembered how every day, as they walked to school, Cora would stop and gaze in the shop window. How she would press her face up to the shop front, dreaming of playing with such a wonderful doll. She had asked for one many times, but it had cost so much, he hadn't been able to afford it. "Maybe next week," he had kept saying. Cora would sigh, and they would carry on along the road. He had scrimped and saved for months to buy it for her, but after she had helped her mother so much whilst she was ill, it was what she deserved. He felt contented to see her so happy after so much sadness.
Cora played with her new doll all night long, and took it everywhere with her. Whilst they ate, it sat in another chair next to her, when she went to sleep, it lay by her on the bed. Bert went into her bedroom as she lay sleepily in bed. "What are you going to call her?" he asked.
She thought for a moment before replying, "Elizabeth." She lifted the sheet, putting the doll next to her and cuddled up to it, her eyes closing.
Bert tucked the sheets up around her, kissed her on the cheek, and whispered, "Good night, Cora."