Main Characters: Vin, JD, Chris, Buck
Disclaimer: The Magnificent Seven and its characters are the property
of MGM, Trilogy Entertainment, and the Mirisch Corporation.
Vin, Vin, look what me and Buck got! JD tore into the room, brandishing a shopping bag in one hand and a candy cane in the other.
I got somethin, too, JD, Vin said, just as excited as the younger boy. Hed been waiting for over an hour for JD to return from his shopping trip with Buck, so he could show him what hed found. Let me show Vins words trailed off as JD stuck the candy cane in his mouth and pulled an ornament from his bag.
Look! JD exclaimed, holding up the shiny silver star for Vin to admire. I saw it in a window, and Buck said we could get it for the top of our tree. Do you like it?
Vin just stared at the sparkling star for a long moment without saying a word, his eyes wide. He couldnt believe it. Hed never dreamed that JD might come home with a tree topper. That ruined everything.
Vin? Do you like it? JD repeated.
The seven-year-old swallowed hard past the lump in his throat, before finally nodding and saying, Its real pretty, JD. As JD smiled happily and placed the ornament back into his bag, Vin slowly folded the top over on his own bag and let it hang at his side.
What did you get, Vin? JD asked, pointing at the bag in Vins hand. Is it somethin for me?
Vin took a deep breath, masking his disappointment behind a forced smile. It werent nothin important, JD. Ill show you later, okay?
Okay, JD quickly agreed, running full speed out of the room with his treasure.
With slow, measured steps, Vin headed for the bedroom he shared with JD, and tucked the shopping bag under his bed before grabbing Cat and curling up dejectedly on top of his covers. He liked JDs tree topper, he really did, and he didnt blame JD, or Buck, because neither of them knew. How could they, when hed never told them. Even Chris, whod bought it for him, didnt know why he had been so excited when he saw it at the Christmas store.
Looks good, boys, Buck enthused, looking at the newly decorated tree that now resided in the family room. All we need is something to put on top. He looked expectantly at JD.
Vin, why dont you go-
Ill get it, Ill get it! JD shouted, cutting Chris off mid-sentence.
As the small boy left the room, aiming for his bedroom, Vins shoulders slumped. It was too late. He should have said something before, but now it was too late.
Whats wrong, Junior? Buck asked.
Vin looked down, his eyes filled with tears.
Cowboy? Chris questioned softly.
Vin just shook his head. It didnt matter any more.
I got it, Buck! JD announced, bursting back into the room with the star clutched tightly in his hand.
Chris looked from Vin to JD, realization dawning on his face. Buck, he said quietly. Vin picked out something for the top of the tree, too. He looked apologetically at the other man. I guess we should have talked about it, made the decision as a family.
JD, Buck said quietly, it looks like both you and Vin picked out a tree topper for our tree.
JD froze in place at Bucks words. He looked from Buck to Vin, his eyes wide.
Buck hesitated, torn, until a barely muffled sob filled the air, and then an expression of regret crossed the normally jovial mans face. JD, I know you really liked that star, but I was thinking that maybe we could use the one that Vin got this year, and use the other one next time.
JD, Buck started. He reached for the small boy, but JD backed away from him, his tree topper held tightly in his fingers.
No, JD repeated almost desperately. No.
Thats okay, we can use JDs, Vin whispered. I dont mind. His stomach twisted at his words. He did mind.
Seems to me you do mind, Chris said. He wrapped his arm around his son. Why dont you tell us whats so special about that ornament.
Vin looked down, his eyes still awash with tears. He took a shuddering breath, feeling Chris tighten his grip at the movement. My mama always had a angel, he finally said so softly it was almost inaudible, said it minded her a baby Jesus and the angels that sang.
Buck knelt down to his sons level. JD? Im guessing your star is awful special, too?
My mama had a star, JD said, his little voice shaking. When it was time for me to go to bed, shed turn off the lights, and Id sit on her lap and wed look at it together.
Chris and Buck exchanged a look.
Well, I dont see any reason why we cant use both of them.
Vins head came up at Chriss words, and he wiped at his eyes. It wasnt possible to use both of them, was it?
Sure, Buck agreed, resting his hand on JDs shoulder.
But Vin started, his voice catching. But theres only room for one.
Watch this, Cowboy.
As Vin watched in confusion, JD beside him, the two dads quickly moved the Christmas tree. Buck repositioned the furniture, setting a recliner into the corner, while Chris placed the tree in front of the back wall.
Buck studied the tree for a moment, then gave Vin a reassuring wink and smile. Just one more thing. He nodded at the tree, saying, I think this here tree needs a haircut.
Buck, trees dont get haircuts, JD protested.
The idea brought a small smile to Vins face, but it quickly faded. There was still only one tree, and two tree toppers.
This one does, Buck laughed. After a quick trip to the garage, he returned with clippers in hand, and, as Chris held the tree in place, pruned several branches back. When he was done, the tree was a little shorter, and there were two branches standing tall at the top, awaiting the trees final decorations.
Chris turned to the boys. Now we can use both of your tree toppers.
Vin let out the breath he hadnt even realized hed been holding. It was true. The tree had room for both JDs star and his own angel. He wiped at his face one last time.
JD, lets put yours on this side, Buck said, motioning for the boy to join him. He hoisted his son into the air, and smiled as JD placed his star on top of the tree.
Your turn, son, Chris added. A few seconds later, the angel had been retrieved from under the bed, and Vin had been lifted into the air beside JD. Reaching out carefully, he set the angel in place.
Perfect, Buck commented. When you stand on this side of the tree, you can see the star.
And when youre over there, JD said, pointing toward the other side of the room, you can see the angel.
Hows that, Junior? Buck asked.
Resting his head on Chriss shoulder as his father held him close, Vin sighed in contentment. It was perfect.