I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
“Are we gonna have cake today?”
It was just the next in an already long list of excitable questions from the toddler who had been helping her prepare for the Christmas dinner they were hosting in their home later that evening. And by helping, she meant kneeling on the bar stool with her elbows on the counter and chin in her hands while she watched Michonne knead the dough for the rolls, all of which was just fine with Michonne if it meant keeping her little red velvet dress free from little floured handprints.
“We might,” Michonne said hopefully for her benefit as she dusted a little more flour over the dough. “Aunt Carol is bringing dessert, so I’m sure it will be something good.”
“And we’ll sing the song?”
Michonne glanced up at her, unsure of what the song was, but whatever it was, it didn’t seem out of the realm of possibility for the evening.
“We can sing some carols,” she allowed, a little smirk forming on her lips as she heard the back door open. “In fact, I’m sure your dad and brother would love to.”
“Love to what?” Rick asked as he rounded the corner with an armful off freshly chopped firewood.
“Sing Christmas carols,” she teased as he passed by on his way over to their fireplace.
“Oh,” he said in monotone as he just kept on walking.
She wasn’t wild about the idea of singing in front of others, even if they were her nearest and dearest, and she knew Rick would be even less so. It’s not that he was a Grinch, it just simply wasn’t him. But he showed his Christmas spirit in other ways like red and black check flannel shirt he’d dug out of his closet for the occasion. The only other time she’d seen that shirt was last Christmas, so she figured it was now his own little tradition, and it was as cute as could be.
“You know, I heard Daryl sayin’ how much he was lookin’ forward to that,” Rick deflected as he rejoined his girls in the kitchen, stopping at his daughter’s side and leaning down to get down to her level. “You should go find him out back. See if he wants to practice.”
Her chubby cheeks and naturally pouty lips contorted as she stared long and hard at her father, and he playfully mirrored her face with his own squinty eyes and pouty face, leaning in so close that their noses were touching. She was only four years old, but even she knew that the man of few words who dressed in all black and sulked around their house from time to time would probably not be interested in singing with her. Her father placed a kiss on her nose and she pulled away, then hopped off the stool, off to find her Uncle Daryl.
“She is so on to you,” Michonne said once she was out of earshot.
“It was only a matter of time with your influence,” he said as he stood and began to walk around the kitchen island over to her side.
“That’s my girl,” Michonne shrugged.
As he disappeared behind her, her hands slowed and a grin started to form on her lips in anticipation of what was coming, and he didn’t disappoint. His chest pressed against her back, arms slid around her waist, and his full, mostly white bearded chin pressed against her temple. The soft flannel of his shirt and heat radiating from his body only served to make his embrace that much warmer. She leaned her head back against his chest, breathing in the scent of soap still lingering on his skin and the freshly cut wood smell on his shirt, then tilted her chin up to meet his lips with hers.
“I love this shirt on you,” she murmured into his lips in the brief pause between the end of her kiss and the start of the next one he leaned in for.
She loved all of his shirts, though; the white t’s, the denim button downs, the occasional linen shirt, and even the old pearls snaps from the prison days.
“I’m gonna remind you of that tonight after everybody leaves…”
“Tonight?” she asked as she turned in the space between the counter and his body and placed her arms over his shoulders and crossed her wrists behind his head, careful not to touch his back with her flour-covered hands. “They don’t need us. Judith and Carl can run the show if we want to slip away for a bit…”
He tilted his head, pleasantly surprised by her proposition, and hooked his hands over her outstretched arms that bridged the gap between them.
“That sounds like somethin’ I would say,” he whispered as he leaned in to capture her lips with his and see just how game she was.
But the back door flung open, slamming against the wall, and the thud of small, but mighty steps barreling down the hall followed.
“Yes?” Rick called out through gritted teeth, frustrated with the interruption, as he pulled away from Michonne immediately stepped to her side so as not to get caught in the almost-act.
“I saw Mommy,” she started with breathless excitement as she reappeared in the kitchen.
“Saw Mommy what?” Michonne asked curiously as she watched the little girl climb back on the stool.
“Kissing Santa Claus.”
“What?” Rick asked.
“Daryl said you wanna sing that song.”
Michonne bit down on her lip, trying to stifle a grin as she looked up at the love of her life with his greyed out beard and red shirt, frowning at Daryl’s selection once he put it all together.
“You know Jingle Bells and Rudolph, right sweetheart?”
She nodded vigorously at her father.
“Perfect,” he said of the two most cloying, upbeat Christmas songs he could think of. “Then let Daryl know that’s what we’ll be singing, and don’t you leave his side until he knows every single word, OK?”
She narrowed her eyes at her father, again getting the sneaking suspicion she was the pawn in some sort of game going on between the adults even if she couldn’t quite figure out what that was. She looked over to her mother for reassurance who just nodded, agreeing with her father.
“OK…” she sighed as she climbed off the stool and started for the back door again.
“I feel like I need to go shave and change my shirt,” he mumbled, now feeling self-conscious about the comparison.
“Don’t you dare,” she warned as she grabbed a handful of his shirt in her hand and pulled him closer to recapture his lips with hers. “Later,” she whispered.
“Later, Mrs. Claus,” he agreed before snagging just one more kiss to tide him over until then.
(written by @birdnmouse)