Title: A Chapman Christmas
Warnings: Unapologetic Schmoop. Slight AU. Some swearing and adult content alluded to.
Word Count: 3,022
Summary: Justin brings a close friend with him for the family Christmas dinner
Disclaimer: The following story is completely fictional. I have no affiliation with A&E or the Chapman family because seriously, if I did, I wouldn't be writing this
A/N: I wrote this for a Christmas challenge on one of the Dog fanfiction/fansites. I know it's a early for a Christmas story but I just wanted to throw this out there
Leland stood in the doorway of the family house in Colorado watching his siblings playing in the snow and Justin's friend, Shay, on the snowmobile behind Duane Lee. He'd met Shay a few years ago when Justin came to visit the family and she hadn't forgotten that he tried to flirt shamelessly with her. She hadn't forgiven him either, and she probably never would.
When Duane Lee stopped the sled and got off, Justin quickly climbed on and took off across the yard with Shay still on the back. Leland saw her wrap her arms around Justin to keep herself from falling off, the smile on her face evidence that she was having the time of her life. As he watched his cousin with Shay, Bonnie came running up to the door and motioned for him to open it.
"Leland, come out side and play with us!"
"You have Duane Lee and Justin out there."
"Duane Lee told me to tell you to stop sulking and come outside. Come on!" Bonnie grabbed his hand, trying to pull him out and he laughed, gently dislodging himself from his little sister.
"Okay, Bonnie Jo. Let me get my coat and I'll be right out."
"You promise?" she asked him, sticking out her lower lip and pouting.
"Yes, I promise," he replied, ruffling her hair slightly and watching her run off before he turned to get his snow clothes. He quickly pulled on his snow pants, coat and boots before heading outside… and getting a face full of snow. Leland wiped the snow from his face, looking around to see who had thrown it at him. Duane Lee and Justin were helping Gary, Jodi and Dylan build snowmen and off to his left Lyssa, Abby, Cecile, Bonnie and Summer were making snow angels. The only one missing was…
"Come on, bounty boy, how good's your aim?" Shay peeked out from behind a tree and Leland shook his head.
"You had Bonnie come in to get me just for a snowball fight?" he asked, shaking his head and turning to walk away.
"I didn't send her in, Duane Lee did." Leland watched as she moved out from the behind the tree and leaned against it, gazing over at the girls.
"How about going for a ride?"
"Beg pardon?" He motioned towards the snowmobile and she studied him for a moment before nodding. Leland walked over to the snowmobile and started it as Shay positioned herself on the back of the seat. Once the engine roared to life, he sat in front of her and hit the gas. He could barely hear her over the noise the machine was making but he was sure she screamed as she threw her arms around him.
"How're you doing back there?"
"Are you sure you know what you're doing?"
"Of course! I grew up on these things!"
"Duane Lee said that too, and he had no idea what he was doing!"
"Just trust me on this," he told her and he felt her nod her head as she tightened her arms. Leland drove around the entire property, criss-crossing the trails more than once, intentionally going over hills so he could jump the sled. After landing a particularly high jump, he purposely hit the kill switch and took a moment to take in his surroundings.
"What's up? How come we stopped?"
"It's out of gas."
Shay looked at him in disbelief and tried to get a look at the gas meter. "I don't believe you."
"No, I'm serious!" he said, leaning over slightly to block her view.
"You dork, you hit the kill switch!" she said, hitting his shoulder. Leland laughed and stood, stretching his arms.
"Okay, you caught me."
"It's not very funny."
"Yeah, it was. You should have seen… hey!" He dove for the sled when he heard her trying to start it. Shay yelped as he crashed into her and they both fell to the ground. He looked down at her, trying to look menacing, but he couldn't help the smile that crept over his face.
"You should have seen the look on your face!" she mimicked, laughing along with him as they lay in the snow together.
"What, were you just gonna leave me out here?"
"It was a tempting idea, but you caught me before I could get anywhere." Leland shook his head at her as he helped her up. She intrigued him, she was fun… and she was playing hard to get.
"Come, my lady, your chariot awaits. We need to get you back before it gets too late," he said, bowing and holding a hand out to her. She hesitated for a moment before taking his hand and allowing him to help her onto the snowmobile.
"Thank you, kind sir." He smiled boyishly at her as he started the machine and she wrapped her arms tightly around him as they took off for the house.
*** *** *** *** ***
By the time they arrived, everyone had gone inside to warm up and the children had gathered in the living room, listening to Duane Lee as he began to read them a story. "'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house…"
Shay quietly slipped into the kitchen and put a kettle on the stove to warm up some water. Leland went to the cupboard and took out the hot chocolate mix before grabbing two cups and a spoon. She sent him a thankful smile and listened to Duane Lee, leaning up against the counter as she watched the children's reactions to the story.
When the kettle began to steam, Shay removed it from the stove-top and poured the water into the two cups, mixed in the coco powder and moved to sit on the couch next to Leland, handing him his cup. He smiled gratefully at her as she snuggled in next to him, tucking her legs carefully underneath her. Justin walked out of the bathroom and after noticing Shay and Leland on the couch, walked over to sit next to them.
"Hey, sweets. Have fun outside?" he whispered as he sat down next to her, gently rubbing her leg.
"If one were to ignore the fact that Leland tried to get me to believe that we ran out of gas while we were on the snowmobile, yeah, it was fun."
"Oh, sure, try to make me look like the Grinch."
"Well, you were. You tried to trick me and then tackled me into the snow!"
"He did what?" Justin asked, looking to his cousin as he tried not to laugh.
"Oh, and trying to abandon me is any better?"
"Who said that's what I was doing? The thought never even crossed my mind, I'm just an angel," she said, batting her eyes and smiling innocently.
"Huh. The only thing missing is a halo. Too bad you already have horns sticking out of your head." Shay scowled but there was a sparkle in her eyes as she lightly hit his arm and stuck her tongue out.
"Hey, guys, mom and dad are home!" Lyssa said, sticking her head into the room and ducking out as the kids ran for the front door.
"And the chaos ensues," Justin said with a sigh.
"Oh come on, it can't really be that bad."
"It's only Christmas Eve, just wait for tomorrow morning." Shay glanced up at Leland but as she opened her mouth to say something, Duane, Beth and Tim walked into the living room.
"Did you behave yourselves?" Tim asked, motioning towards Leland and Shay.
"Leland didn't," Shay said, putting on a pout, "he tried to trick me into thinking the snowmobile we were on was out of gas."
"Yeah, well, you didn't behave either; you were going to leave me out there."
"Was not. Besides, I would have come back for you."
"When? Tomorrow?" he asked sarcastically.
"No, maybe an hour later." Tim laughed lightly at the two as they fought playfully and made his way into the kitchen. Leland raised his arm, meaning to wrap it around Shay's shoulders when Beth spoke up.
"Shay, will you come help me finish up dinner?"
"Sure, Beth." She stood and walked into the kitchen, leaving Leland scowling on the couch as Justin chuckled at his cousin.
"Denied, brah," Duane Lee laughed, gaining him a glare from his younger brother.
*** *** *** *** ***
It took an hour in the kitchen as Beth, Teresa, Davina, Lyssa and Shay finished preparing the side dishes and appetizers for dinner. Once the table was set and everyone sat down, Duane began the prayer. Shay found herself sitting between Leland and Justin and as they all joined hands she kicked Justin's leg when he snickered at her.
"Lord, thank You for everything You have given us this year. Thank You for blessing us with our safety, love, and our families. We are thankful for being able to be together over this holiday season and to share this meal with each other. In Your name, Amen."
"Amen." Everyone released each other's hands and prepared to dig in when Duane cleared his throat.
"Just a quick side note. I'd like to ask the Lord to bless Shay for putting up with all of us this Christmas, and especially bless her for putting up with the boys and surviving." Shay blushed slightly as everyone laughed and she kicked Justin's leg again, causing him to wince.
"You hit the same spot," he told her, taking the potatoes as she passed them to him.
"What can I say, I have good aim." She sent him a sweet smile and turned her attention back to the table. "So, Duane, how did the hunt go?"
Duane eagerly filled Shay in on how the hunt had gone before switching to dropping not-so-subtle hints about her going back to Hawai'i with them after the holiday, with some help from Tim. They weren't blind, they had seen the way Leland had taken to Shay when they had first met. Duane sighed to himself as Shay joined a conversation between Duane Lee, Leland and Justin, knowing that if she would only open up to his son she would be a great addition to the family.
"Models aren't meant to be bounty hunters, they aren't built for it," Leland said, purposefully teasing Justin.
"Hey, at least I got the muscle and brains for it. Duane Lee on the other hand…" Justin trailed off as Duane Lee glared at him from across the table.
"Now, now, boys, it's Christmas Eve. You're supposed to be spreading love and gaiety."
"We're supposed to become gay?" Justin asked and Shay hit his shoulder.
"You know, I don't think singers aren't made to be bounty hunters, either."
"I only sing on the side, and who said I'm becoming a bounty hunter?" she shot at Duane Lee.
"Well, according to my dad and Tim, they're all for having you join the team."
"Really?" she asked, an eyebrow raised in disbelief as she glanced over at the head of the table.
"Oh, yeah. You'd stand out front and charm them out with your beautiful voice and smokin' hot body."
"Stop teasing me, Justin."
"I wasn't! At least, not really."
"You're right; she probably could charm the jumpers out of the house as long as they're of the opposite sex," Leland said, noticing the slight blush on Shay's face.
"I don't know; she could probably pull off getting the girl jumpers, too."
"Justin, I know where you sleep."
"Good point. I'm shutting up."
"Men," Shay said, shaking her head and finishing her food. Leland watched her for a few minutes, momentarily jealous of Justin for sharing a room with her for the week.
"Daddy, its Santa time!"
"Clean all of your plates in the sink and then we'll have Santa time." The little kids squealed and hurried to finish their food before washing them off in the sink, running off to the living room excitedly. Shay smiled as she stood; taking Leland and Justin's plates after making sure they were finished and cleaned them off in the sink before she followed the kids out to the living room where Duane was sitting in a chair near the tree.
"What's your name?"
"And what would you like for Christmas, Bonnie?" Shay leaned up against the wall as she listened to Duane play Santa with all the kids. When he finished with each one, he handed them their stocking to hang by the fireplace. Beth brought out a box and the kids gathered around her excitedly, reaching in and bringing out a small figurine. Starting with the figure of Santa in his sleigh, each reindeer was added to the line on top of the fireplace while Beth, Teresa and Davina helped name each deer. After putting the last figurine in place with some help from Lyssa, Abby walked over to Shay and tugged on her pants.
"Shay, will you sing us Christmas songs before we go to bed?" She began to say no but when all the little kids, and some of the older ones, begged her to sing, she reluctantly moved to stand in front of the fireplace. She started 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Town' nervously but grew more confident when Leland and Justin joined her.
By the time they had finished 'Rudolph', 'O, Christmas Tree', 'Winter Wonderland', and 'Silent Night', all of the little kids had fallen asleep and put in their rooms. Teresa brought out a tray with cups and a jug of eggnog as the adults gathered in the living room, watching Duane Lee attempt to put the star on top of the tree.
"You need any help there?"
"No, I got it." Shay laughed as she watched him balancing precariously on a ladder.
"Be careful, sweetheart," Teresa said, offering everyone a glass of eggnog.
"Don't worry, baby, I know what I'm doing."
"You said that about the snowmobile too, and I'm pretty sure I had to go save you."
"Shut up, Shay."
"You had to be saved by a girl?"
"That's sad, brah," Leland said, carrying a few presents into the room and placing them under the tree.
"You know, Shay," Beth said, nudging her slightly to get her attention, "it's a tradition for us to watch one of the Chapman men try to put the Christmas star on top of the tree."
"Yeah. It's quite entertaining, actually."
"I see that. I'll have to drop by more often." Teresa and Davina joined in on their laughter as they got glares from all the men.
"Hey, do I get any new toys this year? I've been good," Duane Lee asked, coming down after successfully getting the star in place.
"You'll just have to find out on Christmas morning like the rest of us," Duane told his son, standing up and stretching.
"We all should get to bed; Santa's coming soon and we need to get to sleep so he'll bring us our new toys." Beth shook her head and stood up with everyone else. "Good night, everyone."
*** *** *** *** ***
Leland was awakened in the middle of the night when he heard the creaking of the floorboards and rolled over to look at the time. It was 2:15, a little early for any of the kids to be up sneaking a look at the Christmas tree. Quietly, he rolled out of bed and left his room, heading for the kitchen. From the staircase, he saw a figure sitting on the table silhouetted by the moonlight. Smiling to himself he silently made his way down.
"Isn't it a little early to be up waiting to open presents?"
Shay spun around, obviously startled by his voice. "God, you scared me, Leland."
"Sorry. You okay?" he asked, taking a few steps into the room.
"Yeah, just couldn't sleep."
"That excited, huh? Have you been naughty or nice this year?"
"Wouldn't you like to know. I'll bet you get coal in your stocking."
"Ya think so?" He saw her smile as she laughed quietly and the sound made him shiver.
"Oh, I know so. Santa and I had a good, long talk."
"Really? Maybe I should've had a talk with him, too. You haven't exactly been the angel you make yourself out to be."
"Of course I have! I don't know what would make you think such a thing!" she said, making him laugh as she put on a shocked expression.
"Hm, I wonder," he trailed off with a smile and she giggled.
"I didn't wake you, did I?" Shay asked, standing and walking towards him, leaning her back against the door frame he stood in.
"Yeah, it's okay, though. I was having some trouble sleeping, too," he lied, reveling at her closeness. Even in the dark he could see her fascinating brown and green eyes, every little curl in her wavy hair. He heard her sigh, the soft sound bringing him out of his thoughts and he watched her as she gazed outside.
"It's so beautiful, the way the snow reflects the moon and how everything is shadowed."
"Amazing," he agreed, inching his way towards her when she suddenly turned to face him.
"Well, I guess I should get to bed."
"Wait, I… I just wanted to apologize for anything that I've done to hurt you or make you mad. I didn't mean to."
"It's okay, I haven't exactly been making things easy." She quieted as she looked up at him standing so close to her before something above them caught her eye and she looked up, drawing Leland's gaze up as well.
"I wonder where that came from."
"Magic," he replied, smiling because they both knew it had been there for a week.
"You planned this," she accused, though she smiled slightly.
"If I had planned this, it would have been more romantic with a ton of photographers to capture this moment for future generations." Shay had to laugh at the seriousness on his face before he joined her. When they quieted, he lifted a hand to brush against her cheek gently, slowly lowering his head. Shay closed her eyes and let him kiss her, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. Leland pulled away carefully, slipping an arm around her waist to hold her close.
"Merry Christmas, Shay."