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Prove It

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Layna skipped down the stairs with glee. Tomorrow was Christmas Break, and today was the last day of school before the year 2007! Layna had gotten up this morning with joy in her heart, for she had been counting the days until Christmas Eve, Christmas, and the last day of school before break. Grinning, she had gotten ready for school in a heartbeat and nearly choked as she hurriedly ate her breakfast.

Her sister, Lilly, watched her run down the stairs from her room. She shook her head. 9 year olds…she thought exasperatedly and yawned as she tumbled out of bed to get ready for school. She hasn’t even realized that we have a 2hr. delay today because of the snow…Lilly shook her head and pulled her shirt on over her head. Bet she hasn’t even figured out that since we have a half-day and a two-hour delay, we only have about 1-2 hours of school… Lilly yawned again and headed to the bathroom to freshen up and pull her blonde hair into a ponytail once she had put her jeans and socks on. Once she realizes it, she’ll just come running up the stairs as usual… telling me about the big “news”…

Sure enough, Layna ran upstairs and hopped up and down in excitement as she told her sister about the 2hr. delay after Lilly had gotten out of the bathroom.

“… It’s so amazing! This is the best day ever! Christmas Eve and Christmas are just around the corner, and we only have 1-2hrs of school!” Layna said, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “And Santa’s coming! He’ll bring us lots and lots of presents!” She gasped. “I even bet he’s the one who made it snow so we could have only 1-2hrs. of school! Oh my gosh, this is… this is just completely amazing! I mean I knew Santa was magical but not to this extent! The magic level must be higher than… well anything anyone’s ever seen! I can’t believe it!”

Lilly rolled her eyes. Wow, she sure can talk… How long has she been blabbering on for? Hmmm… I’ll have to time her sometime… she thought. I can’t believe she still believes in Santa… I mean, come on…

“Layna,” Lilly interrupted. Her sister looked at her with wide eyes. “Do you really still believe in Santa?”

“Well, of course! Santa is real! How else do we get presents from him every single year?” Layna replied, innocently.

“Uhhhh… Let me think…” Lilly said sarcastically. “Maybe… I don’t know… our parents?”

“Our parents?” Layna laughed. “Whatever gave you that idea? Santa delivers the presents, not our parents!”

“Oh, of course. How silly of me! Santa is real. Yes, of course he is. And so is Easter Bunny and the Tooth Faerie,” Lilly replied, mockingly.

“Nah, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Faerie aren’t real,” Layna said, dismissively. “Santa’s real though. Mom and Dad told me so.”

“Yes, and when you were 7, they told you the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Faerie were real too,” Lilly said, impatiently as she gathered up her schoolbooks and backpack. “Listen, Layna, I don’t have time for this right now. I slept in for an hour and a half after I found out that there was a 2hr. delay. I gotta go. I’ll talk to you after school.” And with that, she headed downstairs and outside to walk to school.

Layna shrugged and gathered her stuff for school. Thirty minutes after Lilly left for school, Layna walked out the door to walk to her elementary school, which was right by the middle school Lilly went to. Her best friend, Megan, met her at the end of her driveway. Together, they walked towards the slightly small elementary school. Megan was reading while she was walking so Layna had to steer her out of the way of some cars when they crossed the street.

Finally, Megan looked up from her book as they crossed the medium-sized playground next to the school. Closing it, she stopped short in her tracks and put it back in her backpack. Layna waited loyally by her side while she did so.

“Layna, what’s the matter? I know something is wrong. I read 10 pages of my book while we were walking. Normally, you talk so much that I only read about 5 sentences. I’m your best friend, you can tell me anything,” Megan said, looking Layna straight in the eye.

“Megan, do you believe in Santa Claus?” Layna asked, after a moment’s hesitation.

“Well… I used to, but lately, I’ve been questioning his existence,” she said. “Why? You still believe in him, right?”

“I do, I do… It’s just… Well, my sister, Lilly, told me that it was just our parents leaving the presents by the tree… and that Santa wasn’t real. Do you think that she’s right?” Layna asked.

“Your sister told you that Santa wasn’t real? Hmmm… well, she’s four years older than you… I mean, she’s in 8th grade! She might know what she’s talking about…” Megan replied thoughtfully. “It could be true… How can Santa get to all the 5 zillion houses in the world all in one night, anyways? It’s not possible, even with the time changes…”

“I do see your point… The problem is, Lilly is… well, she’s always tricking me into believing something that’s not true… How do we know that she’s not doing it this time, too?” Layna asked. “I mean, it is kind of unbelievable about how Santa gets to all those houses in one night… but still…”

“Let’s talk about this during the walk home. We should get up to the front entrance before we’re late. Come on, Layna!” Megan said, walking through the playground to the short stretch of grass between the playground and the side of the school. Reluctantly, Layna followed.
*

*

*
Meanwhile back at the middle school, Lilly was at her locker, getting her gym bag. Ciarra and Claire, her two best friends, were waiting for her so they could walk to gym class together. They made quite a trio; a redhead, a brunette, and a blonde, all pretty tall.

“Hurry up, Lilly! We’re going to be late,” Claire said, impatiently, her red hair swinging as she turned to look around at the hallway.

“Don’t worry, Claire, we’ve got plenty of time. People are still in the hallway,” Ciarra said. “Still, we should get to the locker room. Ready, Lilly?”

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” she said, as she locked her locker. “Let’s go.” Claire, Ciarra, and Lilly walked down the hallway to the locker room. Lilly laughed and chatted with all her friends as they walked.

“So, what did you want to tell us during homeroom before the bell rang?” Ciarra asked.

“Yeah, I was wondering about that. What did you want to ask us?” Claire chimed in.

“Oh, I was just going to tell you about this conversation that I had with my sister this morning. It was really funny…” Lilly began.

“You mean, Layna? She’s 9yrs old, right? What did she want this time?” Claire asked.

“Well, Layna was all excited about Christmas, and the fact that we have only about 1-2hrs of school today, you know?” Ciarra and Claire nodded. “So, she comes up to tell me about the 2hr. delay even though I know about it already. And of course, I slept in about an hour and 30min today so I didn’t have much time. So, she’s bouncing around the room after I got out of the bathroom, telling me about how she thought Santa made it snow.”

“Wait, back up. She still believes in Santa? Wow,” Ciarra said. “I didn’t believe in Santa when I was 9yrs old.”

“Me neither,” Claire said. “I figured out the truth when I was about 7yrs old, actually.”

“I know, that’s what I was thinking. So I asked her if she really believed in Santa. And she says yes, because who else brings us presents every year? So I’m like, uhh… maybe our parents? And she laughs at that!” Lilly said, laughingly. “So I say, ‘Oh, of course. How silly of me! Santa is real. Yes, of course he is. And so is the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Faerie.’ And she says that she knows that the Tooth Faerie and the Easter Bunny aren’t real, but she says Santa is real because Mom and Dad said so. So I told her that when she was 7yrs old, Mom and Dad said the Tooth Faerie and the Easter Bunny were real too. Then of course, I had to leave for school. I just thought it was really funny how dumb Layna is not to figure it out by now!” Lilly laughed along with Ciarra and Claire as they entered the locker room and changed into their uniforms. Quickly, they headed out into the gym.

“How could anyone be that stupid as to not figure it out? I mean, I know your sister is smart and all, but I mean, come on…” Ciarra whispered as the teacher took attendance. Claire nodded in agreement. Soon, the discussion turned to the dance that night.
*

*

*

Finally, it was the end of the elementary kids’ day. They flooded out to the buses like bees flying to the sweetest flower in a garden. The walkers practically skipped home even though it was cold. Snowball fights were started in the streets. Megan and Layna ducked many times to avoid airborne snowballs.

“Okay, now about this whole Santa thing…” Megan began. “Your sister told you that he wasn’t real, correct?”

“Yup. That’s what she said,” Layna said.

“All right. Do you, or do you not, believe her?” Megan inquired.

“Well… I kind of believe her… and kind of don’t… Why are you asking me all these questions anyways?” Layna replied.

“I’m writing down your answers. I’m practicing to be a lawyer/detective/journalist,” Megan returned. Layna rolled her eyes, laughingly. “Okay. How do you want to go about proving this theory that Santa is not real?”

“Well… Let’s think about this. Lilly said that it was our parents putting the presents under the tree that are supposedly from Santa. Well, why don’t we see if we can find the Santa presents in their room?” Layna suggested.

“That sounds like a good idea. What if you can’t find them? Does that mean that Lilly was wrong? Or could your parents just have hid them in the trunk of their car or somewhere you can’t get to?” Megan inquired, jotting notes down in her notebook.

“That’s a good point… I’ll ask Lilly if she has any full-proof way to find out the truth,” Layna said.

“Well… okay. Tell me if you find out the truth! I’m going to my grandparents in Wisconsin for Christmas. Bye, I’ll see you after break!” Megan headed across the street to her house where her older brothers were ready to pelt her with snowballs as soon as she set foot in the driveway.

Layna grimaced at the brothers’ snowball attack and walked up her driveway and into the house to eat lunch. Lilly walked in 15 minutes later. Layna bolted up to see her. Lilly groaned. Now what? she wondered.

“Hey, Lilly! Remember that conversation we had earlier this morning? About Santa?” Layna asked.

“Uh huh…” Lilly started to make a sandwich for lunch as her sister was talking.

“Well, I was wondering if you had a method of finding out how to see if Santa is real or if he isn’t. Do you?” Layna asked eagerly.

“You want to know how to find out if Santa is real or not?” Lilly asked. Layna nodded eagerly. “Use your common sense.”

“Lilly…” Layna moaned, holding out Lilly’s name for several seconds. “Seriously, Lilly, please help me! Pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top?” Layna pouted.

“If I tell you, will you shut up?” Layna nodded eagerly. “Okay. Well the first thing you don’t want to do is try to look for the ‘Santa’ presents. Mom and Dad hide them somewhere that I have never found. I think it’s in their car. They probably move the presents to their room the night of Christmas Eve. Also, you’ll get in trouble if you look in their closets. Trust me, I know.”

“Then how do you find out, if you can’t look for the ‘Santa’ presents?” Layna asked, confused.

“Okay. You take your sleeping bag and put it in your room. If Mom and Dad ask, you say that you don’t want to have to make your bed in the morning so you’re going to sleep in the sleeping bag. After Mom and Dad go to bed, take your sleeping bag and prop it up against their door. You can use your pillow if it’s uncomfortable. Then you sit there with your back against the door. If you fall asleep, it’s okay. When Mom and Dad open the door to sneak downstairs, since the door opens inwards, you’re head will fall backwards onto the ground. Trust me, that will wake you up,” Lilly finished. “Now, can I please eat my lunch in peace?”

“Okay, thanks, Lilly!” Layna ran down to the basement to get her sleeping bag. Christmas Eve was in three days; she had to be ready.

The three days before Christmas Eve passed quickly. Lilly was reading a series of adventure novels by her favorite author, and Layna was emailing Megan with the latest information about her Santa case. They also played in the snow and sledded in the hill behind their house. Claire and Ciarra came over frequently for snowball fights and sled races. Lilly let Layna join them for the sake of not getting in trouble.

Finally, it was Christmas Eve. Layna had dressed for the occasion. She had put on earrings with bells on them and worn green and red. Privately, Lilly thought that she looked like a Christmas tree. Layna even had a red bow ponytail in her long blonde hair. Lilly wore her Christmas shirt and jeans. Her parents wore red and green, to match the occasion.

Christmas Eve dinner was excellent. Ham, mashed potatoes, and other Christmas foods were served. Dad didn’t even burn anything this year. The Christmas tree glowed in the dark with all the lights and ornaments that shone out from its branches. The family sure had fun decorating the tree this year.

Then, it was time to put out the cookies and milk for Santa and the carrot for Rudolph. Layna acted just as she always during this part of Christmas Eve. This part, she declared, was her favorite. With this done, Lilly, Layna, and their parents headed upstairs to bed so Santa could come.

At around 11pm when their parents had turned off their lights, Layna took her sleeping bag and pillow and set it up by the door. Lilly’s slight snores were heard in her room. Sighing with weariness, Layna leaned against the door and fell asleep.

Meanwhile, Mom and Dad were not asleep. They were, in fact, wide-awake, biding their time until midnight so they could sneak out to the tree and put the ‘Santa’ presents under them. They could also hear Lilly’s slight snores and figured that both children were asleep. So they gathered up the ‘Santa’ presents and quietly opened the door… and Layna’s head fell on their feet.

“Hi Mom. Hi Dad. What’s up?” she asked, grinning up at them from on the floor.
*

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*

Lilly woke to the sound of Layna’s excited voice on the stairs. She groaned and looked at the clock. It was only 7am. Layna ran into Lilly’s room and yelled that Santa had come. Lilly looked at Layna puzzled. Layna shook her head slightly, signifying that they were not to talk about it now.

Lilly shrugged and went downstairs with the rest of her family to open presents and look at stockings. Lilly got a new cell phone. She was very excited and almost as hyper as Layna was when she found out she got a new gaming system. The day came and went in a flurry of happiness. They went outside and played in the snow, and they played with their new presents, too. They ate the leftover ham for dinner, and it still tasted like it did on Christmas Eve.

At around 9pm, their parents were watching an adult movie on TV, and Lilly was sitting outside on the front porch, wrapped in a blanket, and sipping hot chocolate. The sky was black, and the stars twinkled brightly in the cold. The snow gleamed from the moonlight shining off of it. The door creaked open behind her, and Layna sat down next to her. Lilly silently gave her sister a share of the blanket. They sat in silence for a while.

Finally, Layna said, “I did what you told me to do… You know, about Santa.”

“Did it work? Because it sure didn’t seem that it did, with the way you were acting this morning and all,” Lilly replied, and took a sip of her hot chocolate.

“Oh, it worked, all right. They opened the door, holding the Christmas presents from ‘Santa’. I fell right on their feet,” Layna said, slowly. “They didn’t know what to say at first. I think they were crushed that their last child knew that Santa wasn’t real. So I pretended that I thought they were subbing in for Santa because he didn’t have time to come down the chimney. I asked if Santa had just dropped the presents in through the window. They seemed relieved and said that they did and that I should get to bed if they were ever going to get these presents from Santa downstairs. So I did.” Layna looked at Lilly. “Did I do the right thing?”

Lilly smiled back at her sister, genuinely. “Yes, Layna, you did the right thing.” Layna smiled with relief. Lilly continued. “You not only did the right thing, you did the mature thing. You were able to examine their feelings and realize that they would be crushed if they thought you didn’t believe in Santa anymore, so you pretended for them. That was the best thing you could have done and the sweetest.”

“Thanks, Lilly,” Layna said. “I’m glad to have the best sister in the world. No, in the universe!” Lilly laughed and Layna leaned on her shoulder as they watched the stars twinkle in the sky.

“I guess the man on the moon isn’t real, either,” Layna said after a moment.

“Nope,” Lilly replied. “It’s just that the moon looks like a face if you look closely.” Layna and Lilly squinted up at the moon.

“Hey, I see it!” Layna exclaimed. “But… what’s that figure on its nose?”

“Where?” Lilly asked, squinting up. Layna pointed. “Oh, that? Uhhhh… I don’t know. It looks like a miniature cowboy, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah, it does… And look, it looks like it’s waving its hat at us!” Layna said, laughingly. Then her face grew thoughtful. “Hey, Lilly. You don’t think…”

They looked at each other for a few seconds. Then they laughed in unison.

“Nah,” they both said in unison and headed inside to sit in the family room with their parents.





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