Kim looked forward to finals as a matter of self-vindication. After a disastrous start to her freshman year she wanted to show the University what she could do. All her assignments had been done well, and on time. She felt like she breezed through the final exams.
Once the semester ended, however, apprehension and depression reared their ugly heads. She worried about Shego, who hadn't written in a couple weeks, and whose last letter had been oddly cryptic. She worried about the babies, she felt like a whale and there were still two months until her due date. Kim worried about the next semester, she felt like she was finally getting her academic act together and had no idea how much she might miss after the babies were born.
She spent time at the mall with Ron. She knew it only added to the gossip about him, but she needed his support right now. “You know, if I was going to have a boy I think we'd name him Ron.”
“Hey, have you considered Ronette.”
“No, and not going to.”
“Ahh, it would be a cute name.”
“It sounds like a Doo-wop group.”
While the Christmas rush kept working women busy, Monique or Bonnie found the time to take their breaks in the food court with Kim and Ron.
Their pastor, Dr. Delahooke, asked if Kim could play the part of the Virgin Mary in the Christmas Eve play. Kim worked hard on her lines, but he stopped by the house the next week and, greatly embarrassed, asked Kim to drop out of the role.
“Why?” Jean demanded.
The pastor looked uncomfortable.
“It's not your idea, is it?”
“No, I asked Kim to take the part. But there is, umm, a certain element in the church who--”
“Thought it inappropriate for an unwed mother to play the part of an unwed mother?”
“It's okay, Mom. There were a lot of lines to learn anyway.”
“I'm sorry, Kim.” He patted her hand, “You'd have been a good job. Thank you for taking it so well. You have every reason to be angry.”
“I won't be angry.”
“Well, I'm angry for you. I'm changing Sunday's text to the Sermon on the Mount, a few folks need a reminder.”
The Drs. Possible fielded calls every day from some contractor. Kim knew they were trying to get a place fixed up for her next semester, but it sounded like things were not going well. She once heard her father, who usually kept his composure, yelling into the phone, “WELL, FIX IT! DAMMIT!”
Jean tried to calm her husband down, “You know they never get things done when they're scheduled,” she reminded him.
“Then why do they give us dates when work will be completed?”
Kim got a late start to the mall on December twenty-fourth. Before she left she heard her mother pick up a phone call and call, in an excited voice, “James, come in here.” Her mom closed the door into the kitchen. It surprised Kim that the contractors even worked on Christmas Eve. Her father yelling at them must have built a fire under them.”
Jean Possible wanted to skip the Christmas Eve service entirely that year. She didn't know exactly with whom she was angry, but had a larger number of suspects than she cared to admit. Only the fact Kim seemed willing to go persuaded her to accompany her family to church that evening.
As the Virgin Mary, played by a high school senior, made her way from Nazareth, in the balcony, to the little town of Bethlehem, on the front platform, the unborn baby Jesus -- played by a pillow -- slipped out from under her robe and fell in the aisle.
As the laughter died down Jean Possible hugged her daughter, “Oh, Kimmie, I wouldn't have missed that for the world. I hope your delivery goes that easily.”
Back at home depression set in again. December twenty-fourth was the one-year anniversary of her trip to Mexico to be with Shego. She remembered asking Shego to spend this Christmas in Middleton and Shego agreeing. It felt like nothing had gone right since then.
And while her mom and dad must remember this was an important anniversary for her they seemed more upbeat than sympathetic. Didn't they realize what this day meant to her?
They insisted that Kim and her brothers go through the ritual of hanging their stockings up at the fireplace. They had given that up years earlier -- why were the stockings going up again now? If they were trying to cheer Kim up by reminding her of earlier days it was not going to work.
“Go to bed now, Kim.”
“It's only ten.”
“You need plenty of sleep -- besides you want to come downstairs early tomorrow. Santa is going to have a big surprise for you in your stocking.”
“Mom, I'm not in grade school any more.”
Her mother gave her a disgustingly wide and happy smile, “No, you're not. But Santa still has a surprise for you.”
Since their home was well built Kim didn't hear her mother make a phone call as soon as she had gone up to bed. She might have heard the front door open and movement downstairs an hour later if she hadn't been asleep.
A smaller bladder counts as one of the many inconveniences of pregnancy. Kim went into the bathroom at one, and again at four. At four she decided there was no point in going back to bed, she might as well go downstairs and see what her mom had bought for her.
Her father had left the Christmas tree lights on, which was unusual. They provided a dim light for the living room. Tim and Jim's stockings still hung on the fireplace, filled with things that probably exploded. Her own stocking was gone and Kim looked around the room.
“Oh, God,” she breathed. Someone was sleeping on the couch. Even though Kim couldn't see the sleeper's face the dark hair, which obscured her features, told Kim who it was. One shapely leg was visible, outside the blanket -- and on her foot was Kim's Christmas stocking.
Kim knelt by the couch and brushed the hair from the sleeper's face.
“Good morning, Princess. What time is it?”
“It's about four.”
“Can I sleep for another couple hours?”
“No, you can't. How did you get here? Did you escape?”
“I'm here legally, Pumpkin. I'm out on bail for the next few months at least -- maybe a year.”
“So, I'm still going to be here in the morning.” Shego kissed her gently, “I'm still going to be here for a lot of mornings.”
“Come upstairs. You can sleep in my bed.”
“Will you keep your hands off me until I've had a good night's sleep?”
“Okay, I promise I won't use my hands.”
Shego shook her head, “You're insatiable.”
“I'm going to take that as a compliment.”
Kim left the still sleeping Shego in her room and came downstairs around eight.
“Why didn't you tell me Shego was going to be here?” she demanded “How much time did we miss together?”
“Well Merry Christmas to you too. We didn't get the call it was even possible until yesterday morning -- and the paperwork wasn't done at court until the afternoon.”
“You still could have told me!”
“And ruin the surprise? What did you think when you saw her?”
“That this is the best Christmas of my life!” Kim threw her arms around her mother and gave her a kiss, “Thanks, Mom,” then repeated her actions with her father, “Thanks, Dad.”
“I hope you don't mind. I didn't know you were coming. I didn't get a Christmas present for you.”
“That's okay, Princess -- even if this makes two years in a row. Remember, I'm trying to get in touch with my Jewish roots.”
“Yes, but you don't mind giving Christmas presents to others, do you? I mean, I was really happy to see you this morning.”
“Yeah, I guess I don't mind giving Christmas presents… Are you going somewhere with this.”
“No, we're going somewhere with this. In the spirit of Christmas giving I called a family named O'Ceallaigh this morning.”
“Too late. They need to know they're going to be grandparents.”
“I won't go!”
“I'll go without you.”
“I certainly will.”
“Have a nice trip, say hello to Matt for me.”
Kim turned on the quivering lower lip and large teary eyes.
Shego laid her head on the table in resignation. “Not the puppy dog pout. You're worse than prison about telling me what to do with my life. When do we leave?”
“We leave in three days, the twenty-eighth. We'll come home on January second.”
--- The End ---
Chapter 10 of this story appears elsewhere as “Shego vs. Betty Director.”
“Homecoming” is the next piece of the planned story arc. As you might guess, it contains six chapters covering six days.