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A Special Christmas

by Katie McNamara

Remember WENN and all characters, except Celeste Singer and Andrew Elizabeth Booth belong to Rupert Holmes and AMC (sort of). I don’t know how well this would fit into the show (if AMC gave us more episodes) but I personally would like to see Jeff and Hilary back together right after Pearl Harbor, so I could fit this story in.

Christmas 1941

One night a few weeks before Christmas, Hilary lay on the couch with her head pillowed against Jeff’s leg as he casually let his fingers drift through her soft auburn hair. She hadn’t been this relaxed in a long time, and it felt wonderful. After a few more weeks of torturing, Hilary had finally confessed that she wasn’t married to someone else, and soon after, accepted Jeff’s proposal. A few days later, Jeff had surprised her with an engagement ring as an early Christmas present. Hilary had decided that this was going to be the final wedding and wanted desperately for her father to meet Jeffrey.

"Pumpkin," Hilary started softly. "What would you think of inviting our parents here for Christmas?" Jeff thought about the idea and nodded slightly before Hilary continued. "After all, I think its time I met your mother, and well, its time my parents knew about you," Hilary finished as she sat up and walked to a near by chair for a blanket.

Jeff sat up and let his eyes follow her across the room. "What do you mean its time they knew about me?" Jeff asked sternly.

Hilary sighed and turned back to Jeff. "I mean that they don’t know that we were...have been married," Hilary explained as she attempted to avoid Jeff’s angry glare. "Jeffrey, please listen to me. You see, when I was about eighteen, I met a man, fell in love and eventually he asked me to marry him. Of course before he could barely get the proposal out of his mouth, my mother decided to have a little talk with him. And, well, let's just say I never saw him again." Hilary sighed audibly as she dropped back down to the couch, facing Jeff, who now wore a gentle expression on is face. "I just don’t want her to do the same to you," Hilary explained with tears in her eyes.

Jeff reached over and pulled Hilary into a loving embrace. "Mittens, you have nothing to worry about. There’s nothing in this world that could ever take me away from you," Jeff comforted as he wiped away her tears. Hilary looked into Jeff’s eyes and smiled.

"Oh, Pumpkin. I don’t know what I’d do without you," she said before pulling Jeff’s mouth to hers in a deep kiss.

Jeff pulled away slowly and ran his fingers lightly through her hair. "Does this mean you want to postpone the wedding until after the New Year?" he asked.

"Not unless you want to give me a chance to change my mind," Hilary responded with a smile. "But it might be best to wait until after Christmas anyway."

Jeff smiled and shook his head as he sat back and pulled Hilary closer to him.

The next morning, over breakfast, Hilary looked up to discover Jeff watching her with an almost silly grin on his face. She smiled as she leaned across the table to give Jeff a light kiss. "Pumpkin, what are you thinking about?" she asked, finally catching his attention.

"I was just thinking about when my mother’s reaction when she meets you."

Hilary laughed as she stood and draped herself across Jeff’s lap. "That’s nothing. Imagine when my parents find out about you!"

"Well then, maybe now would be a good time to call and let them find out,"

"What!?" Hilary exclaimed.

"Go on," Jeff taunted.

Hilary shot him a dangerous look as she removed herself from Jeff’s lap and headed for the living room.

Jeff followed and watched from the doorway as Hilary squared her shoulders and took a deep breath, praying that her mother wouldn’t answer the phone. She picked up the phone and calmly told the operator the number to her parent’s home in Maine. Jeff walked closer and sat on the couch as Hilary waited to be connected.

"Hello," the voice on the other end said.

"Hi, Dad," Hilary said happily.

"Hilary!", Andrew Booth exclaimed. "How are you precious?"

"I’m fine Dad. Listen, how about you and mom coming down here for Christmas?"

"That sounds terrific." Andrew replied.

"Good. Because there’s someone very special I want you to meet," Hilary said as she reached over and took Jeff’s hand.

"Well, as long as he makes my little girl happy."

Hilary smiled and sat so she could lean against Jeff’s shoulder. "He does, Dad, and I hope you’ll love him as much as I do."

"I’m sure I will."

"Oh, Dad. Please don’t say anything to Mom. At least not yet."

"Okay, you have my word."

"Thanks, Dad. I love you."

"I love you, too. See you in a few weeks." Hilary hung up the phone and turned towards Jeff.

"I’m proud of you, Mittens," he whispered as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a deep kiss.

Hilary rested her hands against Jeff’s chest and pushed him away slightly. "Wait a minute. When are you going to invite your mother?"

"I already have, and she’s coming in next Saturday."

"Next Saturday! We’ve got so much to do!" Hilary said as she bolted from the couch.

"Mittens, it's all right. We’ve got almost two weeks. But right now, I think we should get ready for work," Jeff said as he stood and started up the stairs.

The next Saturday, Jeff and Hilary stood near the gate at the train station, waiting for Jeff’s mother. As the arrival time grew closer, Jeff became more and more excited. After the planed landed, Jeff quickly spotted his mother and moved closer to greet her.

"Mom!" Jeff shouted as he moved through the crowd and waved his arm. The older woman spotted her son and practically ran towards him.

"Jeffrey!" Celeste Singer cried as she wrapped her arms around her son. "Let me get a good look at you," she said in a motherly tone as Jeff planted a light kiss on her cheek.

Jeff smiled at his mother, then turned and reached for Hilary’s arm. "Mom, there’s someone I want you to meet. Hilary Booth, this is my mother, Celeste Singer."

Mrs. Singer looked Hilary up and down. She wasn’t sure she liked the tall attractive woman who stood before her, but she decided to hide her reservations for Jeffrey’s sake.

Jeff adjusted his arm around Hilary’s shoulders as he looked at his watch. "Oh my gosh! Hilary, if we don’t hurry, we’re going to miss your parents."

Jeff picked up his mother’s suitcase and led the two women back into the building. The three quickly found a bench near the window and waited for the Booth’s train to arrive.

Within a few short minutes, the passengers started exiting the train, all looking for their awaiting friends and family. Near the end of the line, Hilary spotted her parents and waved. A short time later, Andrew and Elizabeth Booth finally made their way towards their daughter after exiting the gate. Hilary hugged her father tightly with tears in her eyes, barely acknowledging her mother’s presence. Hilary pulled out of her father’s embrace and looked into his face. Her heart was warmed as she peered into the same kind features she remembered from her childhood.

Hilary hugged her father again and smiled. "Oh, Dad. It’s so good to see you!" Her smile faded as she saw her mother standing behind her father. Suddenly, all the pain and hurt she had felt years before came rushing back. Hilary approached her mother slowly and planted a light kiss on her cheek. Hilary straightened and felt Jeff place his hands on her shoulders. She was so glad to have him there. He always seemed to know when something was wrong. "Mom, Dad. This is Jeffrey Singer, my fiancée. Jeff, these are my parents, Andrew and Elizabeth Booth."

Andrew stepped forward to shake Jeff’s hand. "So, you’re the man who’s going to marry my daughter. Welcome to the family, son."

Jeff smiled and glanced at Hilary who let out a relieved breath as Jeff moved to greet Hilary’s mother.

Later that night, the two families sat around the dinning room table after diner laughing and chatting. "Hilary, that was a wonderful dinner. When did you learn to cook like that?" Andrew Booth commented as he leaned back in his chair and patted his stomach contentedly.

"Well it helps to have a husband who is so handy in the kitchen," Hilary said as she leaned to rest her arm on Jeff’s shoulder.

Jeff looked at her and smiled. "Very funny, darling. But she’s right. I do most of the cooking around here anyway."

"Anyway, it was a lovely dinner, Hilary. And I hope you’ll let me help with the dishes," Elizabeth requested as she stood and avoided the shocked stares of her husband and daughter.

"Elizabeth, let me do that. After all, it will give Hilary and I a chance to get to know each other," Celeste offered as she started carrying plates into the kitchen.

Sometime later as the two women were finishing with the dishes, Celeste decided to bring up something that had been bothering her. "Hilary, I don’t mean to sound nosy or anything, but this morning I noticed that Jeffrey introduced you as Hilary Booth.

Hilary sighed as she placed the last of the dishes into the cabinet before turning to face her mother in law. "Does it bother you that much?" Hilary asked, knowing exactly where this conversation was headed.

"No, but I worry about Jeffrey."

"Celeste, Jeffrey understands that I don’t use Singer as my professional name. And he knows that I will always be his wife. We’ve been together for fifteen years and it never seemed to bother him before," Hilary continued as she dried her hands on a dish towel.

Celeste opened her mouth to speak again, but instead turned on her heal and left the room.

That night, Jeff sat in bed reading a magazine while he waited for Hilary to finish in the bathroom. A few minutes later, Hilary came out of the bathroom and slipped under the covers. She lay back quietly and lost herself in her own thoughts.

Jeff looked over and smiled as he put down the magazine and rolled closer to Hilary. Hilary slid closer to Jeff and pulled the covers around her shoulders.

"Jeffrey, why do I have the feeling your mother doesn’t like me very much?" Jeff sat up and enveloped Hilary in his arms.

"Darling what do you mean? Of course she likes you."

Hilary shook her head. "When we were in the kitchen tonight, she asked me if I was planning to take your name when we get married. I tried to explain to her to that I have never used Singer as my professional name and in the fifteen years we’ve been together, its never been an issue between us."

"Hilary, you have to understand that my mother is extremely old fashioned. She believes that when a woman gets married she should take her husband’s name and there’s nothing we can do about that."

"I know. But some how I think its more than that."

Jeff shrugged his shoulders and rolled to turn off the light. "Don’t think about that now, Mittens. I’ll talk to her tomorrow. Just try to get some sleep," he whispered as Hilary laid her head against his chest and closed her eyes.

The next morning Jeff awoke early and walked down the stairs to find Hilary’s mother sitting on the couch in the living room. "Good morning, Mrs. Booth," Jeff said cheerfully as he walked into the room. Elizabeth looked up from her newspaper and turned toward Jeff.

"Oh, good morning Jeffrey," Elizabeth replied as Jeff poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down in a nearby chair.

"I trust you slept well?" Jeff asked as he sat back and picked up a section of the newspaper.

"Yes," Elizabeth answered quietly.

"Jeffrey, can I talk to you about something?" Jeff leaned forward and set the paper down on the coffee table.

"Sure, what is it?"

"It's about you and Hilary. Are you sure that you want to marry her? I’m not sure you together."

At about the same time, Hilary came down the stairs, but stopped when she heard voices.

Jeff sat back in his chair and exhaled audibly. "Mrs. Booth, Hilary and I love each other very much, and it doesn’t matter to either of us that I spent three summers working in a steel mill, or that while I was playing minor parts, Hilary was starring on Broadway," Jeff explained.

"You do realize that Hilary is a few years older than you, don’t you?" Elizabeth asked cunningly.

What are you trying to say?" Jeff asked warily as Elizabeth opened her mouth to speak again. "Never mind. I don’t think I want to know. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few things to take care of upstairs." Jeff walked quietly around the couch and stomped up the stairs until he felt two hands grab him by the collar and pull him into a deep kiss.

"What was that for?" Jeff asked after a few moments.

"To say thank you. I’m very proud of what you did down there, Pumpkin."

"You’re welcome, Mittens," Jeff whispered as he leaned to kiss Hilary again.

Hilary broke away slowly and gently caressed his cheek with her hand. "Jeffrey, I can’t wait until after Christmas. Let’s get married as soon as possible."

Jeff smiled happily. "Of course, darling. But I think we should have a little talk with our parents first."

That night after dinner, Jeff and Hilary gathered their families in the living room. Jeff stood in front of the couch and took a deep breath.

"We’ve gathered you all here because it has come to our attention that you have a problem with Hilary and I getting married."

The three older people sat silently before Elizabeth spoke up. "I don’t have a problem with it. It just seems to me that Hilary would be better off with someone with security."

Hilary finally snapped and walked to Jeff’s side. "Oh, be quiet, Mother. It’s you that would rather see me with someone with more money. I love Jeffrey, and there’s nothing you can do to take him away from me. Jeff and I are planning on getting married tomorrow afternoon, and you are all welcome to join us, but we’re going to leave that choice to you."

Hilary took a deep breath as she excused herself and left the room. Jeff quickly attempted to follow her but was stopped by Hilary’s father.

Andrew walked into the kitchen and found his daughter weeping quietly at the table. "Hilary, are you okay precious?" Andrew asked tenderly.

Hilary looked up and wiped her eyes quickly. "Yes, I’m fine. Oh, Dad. Why does she have to do this to me. I can’t lose him. I don’t know what I’d do if he left me again."

Andrew sat in the opposite chair and smiled. "Hilary, I’ve seen the way Jeff looks at you. I don’t think you have anything to worry about. I can tell that boy loves you very much."

Hilary smiled and reached over to wrap her arms around her father. "Thank you, Dad. You will be there tomorrow, won’t you?"

Andrew hugged his daughter tightly. "I wouldn’t miss it for the world."

Hilary smiled and planted a kiss on her father’s cheek.

Jeff knocked on the open door and walked into the kitchen. "Everything all right now?"

Hilary nodded as Jeff walked to her side and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "Much better," Hilary said as she looked up into Jeff’s eyes.

The next afternoon, Jeff and Hilary stood in front of a justice of the peace at city hall with only Hilary’s father present. The room fell silent as the justice asked if there were any objections until the door opened and Celeste and Elizabeth walked into the room without a word. The two women quietly took their seats, allowing the older man to continue. At the end of the ceremony, Hilary watched as her father hugged her mother and Jeff’s mother wipe away a few happy tears.

Later that night, the newlyweds joined their parents at Bella’s for a celebratory Christmas Eve dinner. Hilary turned her gaze from her new husband to her mother and mother-in-law.

"So what made you two change your minds?" Hilary asked with a smile.

"Well," Celeste answered, "we talked it over and it decided it was ridiculous to jeopardize our children’s happiness for something so silly. And we also realized that no matter what we do, there’s probably nothing we can do to stop you."

Hilary smiled. "You’re probably right about that, and I’m sure you’ll come to love us both in time."

A few days later Jeff and Hilary waved goodbye to their parents as the trio piled into a taxi that would take them to the airport. As the cab disappeared around the corner, Hilary closed the door and sighed contentedly. She turned toward Jeff and smiled as he leaned close and kissed her.

"Thank you," she whispered.

"For what?" Jeff asked as he cornered his wife against the door and kissed her again.

"For putting up with my mother."

Jeff smiled and wrapped is arms around Hilary. "Oh, it was no trouble at all," Jeff laughed as he looked deep in her eyes. "I love you, Mrs. Singer."

Hilary smiled as she reached up to caress Jeff’s cheek with her hand before pulling his mouth to hers in a deep kiss. "I love you too, Pumpkin."

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