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The elevator steadily rose until it reached the top floor housing the corporate offices of Macy's department store. The ding sounded, alerting the occupants as well as the floor's security of its arrival, and the doors opened to reveal two women. The security guard stepped forward to ask for credentials, but smiled and nodded when he immediately noted the gold shield on the brunette's belt.
Alex Cabot smiled and strode past the man on the way to the CEO's office while Olivia greeted the gentleman before lengthening her stride to catch up with her lover who had just knocked on the door at the end of the short hallway. Together, the women stepped across the threshold when a voice requested their entrance.
"Hello, Steven. It's good to see you again. Is everything prepared for today?" Alex asked, extending her hand to the CEO. The gray haired man smiled and stood to walk around the desk to receive the warm greeting.
"Alex, it's good to see you as well. Let me call down and make sure everything is set up. Give me just a minute," Steven replied, picking up the phone to make his inquiries while Alex and Olivia waited patiently.
Hanging up the receiver, he turned to greet the detective, apologizing for not acknowledging her presence earlier and Olivia just smiled and extended her hand. A few minutes later, the three were on their way to the elevator.
Just as the button had been punched to signal the elevator to return to their floor, a cell phone rang, and Olivia and Alex both reached for theirs, only to discover it was Steven's.
"Alex, something has come up that needs my immediate attention. I'm sorry that I won't be able to accompany you today. Mary will be there to greet you, but would you like me to call my assistant to go along?" Steven offered in apology.
The doors to the elevator opened, inviting them inside, and Alex replied, "I think we'll be fine by ourselves. I'll give you a call if we encounter any problems." The CEO nodded in agreement, and the two women stepped into the elevator for the ride to the toy department.
"Olivia, thank you for coming with me today; I know how much you cherish your days off, and I hate for you to have to spend your entire morning in a toy department of all places," Alex said in acknowledgement of her lover's sacrifice.
"Hey, I wouldn't miss this for the world. I think it's great that you're carrying on your family's Christmas tradition. You're going to make this a wonderful Christmas for the orphanage's children," Olivia replied, deeply moved by Alex's generosity.
Smiling, Alex explained, "My Great-grandfather was the one who came up with the idea. He talked Mr. Macy into allotting two hours before the store opened on the Monday before Christmas for the orphaned children to come in to give Santa their wish list. When Grandfather took over, he even insisted on playing Santa, and his assistant would write down each child's name and what they wanted. If the item was in the store, Grandfather would buy it and have it sent to the child on Christmas Eve. Father continued the tradition, but he drew the line at playing Santa Claus."
The doors to the elevator opened, and the two women stepped out into the world of toys. Olivia's eyes lit up just like those of a child when she saw the beautiful decorations, and Alex stood back and smiled, realizing that maybe it was a good idea after all to ask her lover to come along.
Mary quickly made her way to the new arrivals and nervously stated, "Ms. Cabot, we've got a real problem," and both Alex and Olivia turned their full attention to the frantic woman. Soon, all three were walking toward a side room where the employee motioned toward the corner of the room where an obviously inebriated Santa was slumped against the wall.
"A drunk Santa? Oh Lord, the children will be here any minute," Alex exclaimed as Mary nodded up and down and then pointed over at the nearby couch where an equally intoxicated elf was stretched out and snoring at the top of her lungs.
Olivia glanced at the wasted Santa and then at the tanked elf. Smiling, she told the employee to get everything ready for the children while she and Alex took care of the Santa problem. The woman eagerly left the room, glad that she wasn't given the task of fixing the problem with the jolly, fat man.
"Olivia, we can't do anything. There's not time to find a replacement Santa or elf. We're just going to have to do without them this year," Alex said, shaking her head in disappointment, but when her partner didn't answer, she looked up to see a gleam in the brown eyes.
"Oh, no," Alex protested when Olivia beckoned her closer with a crooked finger.
Fifteen minutes later, Santa and her elf stepped out of the dressing room and walked over to take their places on the two high backed chairs just as the children were let into the room to line up to sit on Santa's knee.
With the aid of a computer, the helpful elf sat by Santa's side keying in the name of each child along with each and every one of their wishes. Santa was amazed at how most of the children only asked for one item, and whenever the child was asked if there was anything else, each replied, "If I only get one thing, then there will be more for others." On more than one occasion, the elf noted a small tear track down Santa's beautiful face.
Two hours later, an exhausted Santa stripped off her hat and red suit, but she had to enlist the aid of her elf to remove the sticky beard. The very grateful elf kissed Santa gently and offered, "Olivia, I don't know how I can ever thank you. You've made this year's event one of the best ever."
"You don't need to thank me, Alex. I was glad to do it; just seeing the smiling faces of those children made the whole thing worthwhile. Hell, I'd sacrifice two hours in this suit every year, if it meant I was a part of making their Christmas special."
Kissing her lover once again, Alex asked, "Would you really mind doing this every year? I've always wanted to bring back this part of the tradition, but I don't make near the Santa you do. You're a natural with those kids."
"Alex, I'd love to be a part of something special like this. It reinforces Santa as the embodiment of the spirit of giving, and I only wish others could believe and understand the meaning instead of falling into all the commercialism," Olivia replied as Alex just smiled and wrapped her arms around her detective.
And so, from that Christmas on, the two lovers played the part of Santa and her elf, bringing joy and happiness into the lives of countless orphans and epitomizing the true spirit of giving.
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