Turing this into a full story... longer chapters to come... changed the rating so that I play with a little more freedom in the content... Thank you so much for your reviews and input... They are truly appreciated!
The season's upon us, it's that time of year
Brandy and eggnog, there's plenty of cheer
There's lights on the trees and there's wreaths to be hung
There's mischief and mayhem and songs to be sung
There's bells and there's holly, the kids are gung-ho
True loves finds a kiss beneath fresh mistletoe
Some families are messed up while others are fine
If you think yours is crazy, well you should see mine
Hawk's Christmas Party:
Hank walks up and leans against the bar next to Nico. "Seems this is not Ms. O'Brien's first rodeo." Nico glances at Hank with a smirk. Maggie is mingling among
several guests and wives of players. Nico had noticed that Maggie had gone full throttle debutante this evening. "No, no it is not, I have seen her charm a king, a
congressman and an occasional aristocrat." Nico takes a sip from his drink. "Maybe Pittman knew what he was doing after all." Hank walks away from Nico and up to
Maggie. He engages her in a conversation with Coach and Matt. Matt notices Dani's wanders through the crowd. She sees Nico near the bar and decides to fill the
vacant space next to Nico. Nico smiles and turns and retrieves a glass of champagne from the passing waiter. "You look lovely this evening, Dr. Dani." Dani is
flattered especially since this was likely the fortieth outfit she put on for this party. "Thank you." Nico hands her a glass of champagne. "Here, start with this." Dani
smiles and takes the glass from his hand. She surveys the party. "Maggie is quite the hostess." Nico smiles at Dani. "Dani, Maggie is of the manor born. This is
natural to her."
Maggie notices both of them and makes her way over to Nico and Dani. She smiles warmly as she takes Dani's free hand. "That is a gorgeous dress, Dani." She
gently raises Dani's hand to have her model a bit. "Stunning, a Mishka Santos?" Dani nods an affirmation but is surprised that Maggie would know the designer from a
glance at the dress. She thinks maybe they have more in common than she originally thought. Maggie leans in and gives Nico a quick hug. "Would you mind if I stole
the Doctor away for a few? I could use a wingman." Nico smiles and waves. Maggie sweeps Dani's arm into hers and introduces her around the party. Though Dani
was uncomfortable at first, she is surprised how welcome and included Maggie is making her feel. She is genuine and warm. There is an unmistakable charm and
grace that radiates from Maggie. She is beginning to understand why Nico and Marshall are and were so fond of her.
They find themselves alone for a few moments, Maggie hands Dani another glass of champagne. "Oh I shouldn't… I have to drive." Maggie smiles. "Enjoy yourself, I
will make sure that the drivers get you and your car home. It is why I hired them." Dani takes her advice and decides to let her hair down a gets and glass for herself
as well as the two settle into chairs for a bit of a rest. "I understand your kiddos are spending the holiday with your ex-husband and your mother is off to the islands."
Dani is surprised that Maggie would know such a detail but then again… she is like a mini me version of Nico so it really should no longer be a shock. "Yes, it is going
to be a quiet day for me for a change." Maggie smiles warmly. "I am having a bit of an impromptu celebration, if you would like to come." Dani had dreaded the
thought of a Christmas alone. She contemplates for a moment and decides that this might be just what the Doctor ordered for the holiday blues that have taken hold
of her. "Actually, that sounds wonderful, I would love too." Several people are approaching, all vying for Maggie's attention. Before she turns to acknowledge them,
she touches Dani's arm. "Wonderful, I will send you the details. If you would excuse me, it seems some of our younger players are turning into ruffians." Maggie exits
with numerous people in tow.
Matt enters the room and takes the seat across from Dani. "Hi there, seems you and Ms. Maggie are the belles of the ball this evening. Honestly she makes this
political stuff look like a walk in the park." "Yes… This is quite the party." Dani smiles at Matt feeling the tug on her heartstrings. He is looking quite dapper this
evening. Matt and Dani chat for a few moments longer. Nico notices their interaction from across the room. Maggie sneaks up unnoticed at his side. She whispers.
"Green is best left for the wreaths and the Grinch, my dearest." She takes a sip from her glass as she nudges Nico's side. "It's complicated." He smiles as he glances
down at Maggie. "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Nico laughs. "Einstein?" Maggie winks. "Hey… dear old Albert was quite a stud."
Coach approaches the pair. "May I steal our lovely hostess for a dance?" Maggie takes coaches arm as he escorts her to the dance floor.
Nico finds his way back to Dani as the party is winding down. He joins her at a table. "Hey there." Dani looks up at Nico with a smile. "Hey yourself." Dani is happy to
have a few moments with Nico. "Seems the party has been a success." Dani gazes around the room. "It appears to have gone well. Maggie always had a knack for
this kind of thing." Curiosity is aroused in Dani (among other things when Nico is around) about the relationship between Maggie and Nico. They know each other too
well. Nico is too comfortable around her. Dani cannot put her finger on what it is… What nags her is that the relationship is too intimate to be just from serving in the
military together. The caveat is that she was just as close or even closer to Marshall. Dani resigns herself to just enjoy Nico's company. The questions can wait for the
fuzziness of the champagne to wear off. The party is winding down and it is time for Cinderella to find her carriage.
Maggie wanders into Nico's office and pops into one of the chairs in front of the desk. "Hey Neeks." Nico half looks up wonder what Maggie is up to. "Mags?" Maggie
gives him an sly grin so he knows that Maggie is up to something. He sets down the document he was reviewing and gives Maggie his full attention. "So what are
your plans." Nico narrows his eyes since he knows exactly what Maggie is referring to. "Aren't you shipping up to Boston?" Maggie narrows hers as well mocking
Nico's seriousness. "Not this year, but I have found myself in possession hefty box of Miss Dora Belle's pumpkin cookies and a rather adequate bottle of Christmas
Bourbon." Nico looks up with a warm smile. "You my dear, play dirty." Maggie winks at him. "Wonder who on earth I could have possibly picked that up from?" She
stands up and heads for the door. "So the brown stone… say Sixish Christmas Eve?" "How could I possibly resist Miss Dora Belle's cookies." From the doorway,
Maggie looks over her shoulder. "Excellent."
Maggie is walking up to her car as Dani is pulling in. Dani waves to get her attention. She rolls down her window to speak to Maggie. "Hey… do you have time for a
coffee?" Maggie knows that Dani has been trying to figure out her out for some time. Maggie looks at her watch. "Sure." She walks to the passenger side of Dani's car
and hops in.
Dani and Maggie grab a table and coffees. Dani is unsure where to start so Maggie takes the lead. "Dani… if you have a question ask me… just ask." Dani sips her
coffee while she contemplates which question to ask first. "Maggie, something bothers me. Did you… have you… and." Dani stops in the middle of the sentence.
Maggie looks up at her amused. "Dani, relax. Since it is the season of giving, let me give you the gift of a little peace… it may not be peace on earth but perhaps
peace of mind." Maggie reaches down into her jacket and pulls out a dollar. She hands it to Dani with a smirk. At this point, there is no mystery as to what that
particular gesture means. "I know that Nico showed you a dossier on me. But I know Nico and there are likely several details that he would not have put into the
document." Maggie takes a sip before continuing. Dani is ready to jump out of her seat in anticipation of what Maggie is going to say. Maggie is very aware of Dani's
state of mind and is resisting the ingrained urge to be a cat with a ball of yarn. "What he would have left out is that I was raised Irish Catholic in Boston. I am the
youngest of seven. I have two older sisters and three older brothers and a twin brother who is still technically older by four minutes. My father was an Admiral in the
Navy and my mother was a stay at home socialite." Dani is slightly confused but is sure that is Maggie's intention. "Two of my brothers are in the Navy. The other two
run the family businesses. My sisters are total whack jobs who specialize in being pretentious, spoiled, bitches… which they have apparently turned into a bon fide
occupation." Maggie pauses again. "What Marshall and Nico told you was true. I am from an old money Boston family… debutante balls and all. But what he left
The light bulb goes off in Dani's head. The phrase that Maggie used to describe her sisters; Dani has heard her use it before… when they met… when she described
Nico's first …. "Nico was married to your sister?" Maggie taps her nose. Dani is astonished. That is the last thing that she expected it to be. It never dawned on her
that there would be people from Nico's past. He would have belonged to a family… it never occurred to her even though it is obvious. "Yes… Dani, I have known Nico
since I was sixteen. He and my sister married young. But, the rest of what you know is also true. I did serve with Nico and Marshall… Nico is the reason I became a
Marine." Maggie realizes that she has stunned Dani with what she has revealed.
"Can I ask how you ended up so close to Marshall?" Maggie smiles as she thinks of Marshall. "Dani, honestly I never knew what it was. I met Marshall through Nico…
then on my own. We were always thick as thieves. It was just how it always was…. No rhyme or reason." Dani reads the slight hit of melancholy in her voice. "You
miss him don't you?" Maggie meets Dani's gaze. "Every damn day."
Back at the HQ:
Dani drops Maggie back off at her car. As Maggie opens her car door, Dani turns to head to the building. "Remember Doctor. D… I do work for the CIA…" She gives
Dani a wink and a smile. Dani is back at the building since she has a meeting with Coach. She passes Nico in the hallway. She cannot help but give him a huge smile.
Nico notices. "Aren't we in a good mood." She is bubbling from the inside out. "Yes… Yes I am." Nico's eyes follows her as she passes by. He can't help but smile.
Nico arrives at Maggie's family brown stone on the Upper Westside. Maggie greets him at the door with a warm hug and kiss. She takes his coat in the foyer. Nico
knows his way around the brown stone from his previous life. Maggie has Christmas music playing. The house is beautifully decorated from top to bottom. There is a
fire burning in the fireplace. The whole house is warm and cozy. Nico makes himself comfortable on the couch in front of the fire. He can smell the tantalizing scents
of dinner cooking in the kitchen as they waft through the room. Maggie returns with a glass of her Dad's famous Christmas bourbon. Everything sends his mind back
to Christmas past. He smiles… how Dickens. It has been a long time.
The doorbell rings. Maggie yells from the kitchen for Nico to please answer the door. Nico gets up and heads towards the foyer. He opens the door to reveal Dani
standing on the threshold. Nico breaks into a huge smile as he welcomes her in. He takes her coat and escorts her toward the fireplace. Maggie pops in from the other
room. She greets Dani with a hug and a kiss and wishes her a Merry Christmas. There is a honk from outside as Maggie's cell signals a text. She pulls it out with a
smile and a wink. "I think that is my cue." Nico realizes that Maggie has set him up. Maggie goes into the foyer to retrieve her coat. Nico stops her with a sly look.
"Nico… you know my father would seriously kick my prodigal ass if I wasn't at midnight mass." Nico helps Maggie with her coat. He turns her towards him. "Mags… do
you know how much I love you…" She smiles at him. "Loves you more." She kisses him on the cheek and gives him a big hug. "Miss Dora Belle's cookies are in the
kitchen." She winks as she opens the door. "Bye, Dani!"
Dani is at the entrance of the living room. She smiles at Nico as he closes the door behind Maggie. She too realizes that they have been royally set up. But there are
certainly worst ways to spending an evening. This is definitely a way to cure the Christmas blues.
"Well, why don't we get you a glass of Maggie's father's famous Christmas bourbon." Nico shows Dani the way into the kitchen. He checks the simmering pots. Maggie
has left him his very favorite Christmas dinner. He is amazed at what Maggie has done for him. He forgot what it was like to have someone know his heart's desire
without having to ask. As he is pouring the glass, his cell phone dings with a text message.
"Santa came early… check under the tree… loves… M"
Dani looks at the smile that has crossed Nico's face and it makes her heart come alive with the long forgotten flutters of romance. Nico looks up at Dani as he hands
the glass to her. Dani takes a sip. "Wow is that good... and strong." Nico smiles. "That is why it's famous … and only made once a year." He shakes his cell phone.
"Seems the surprises are not over." Nico takes Dani's hand and leads her toward the Christmas tree.
There are four beautifully wrapped packages with tags attached. Nico reaches down to read the tags. He hands Dani one of the packages and takes the one for him.
"Well, shall we see what Miss Maggie has planned for us now?" Dani cannot help but smile. This is turning into magical night. Dani opens her package to reveal flannel
PJ bottoms with a long sleeve t-shirt and fuzzy socks. Nico looks up and sees what is in Dani's package. Nico opens his to reveal similar items. Dani can see the
sentimental smile on Nico's face. There is a note in the bottom of Nico's box. He takes it out and slips it into his pocket but doesn't read it right way. Nico motions for
Dani to open the smaller box. Inside, there are movies… "Holiday Inn" and the "The Family Stone." The fourth package has a note for Nico to open on Christmas… it is
from Maggie to him.
Dani gives him a quizzical look about the gifts. Nico still has the smile on his face. "It's a long, long story and we have all night." He winks as he helps her to her feet.
Dani falls into him as Nico catches her. He plants a sweet kiss on her lips. "Why don't you have a seat while I see to dinner." He walks her to the couch and heads for
the kitchen. He pauses for a moment and pulls out the note from Maggie.
As you wish… XOXO M