This story takes place a few months after the kids have arrived at the Mall. Brady is already born. Amber and Lex are leader of the tribe and more or less everything falls in place and they start to life together. But in this story, Zoot isn’t death. He was able to leave before Lex could get him.
Early in the morning
" What does it mean, you haven’t seen him?" Lex shouts at Ryan which was on duty this morning.
" He must be gone, as i was on my round at the fountain" Ryan tries to explain, sad that he wasn’t able to hold back Bray from leaving.
" Hey, why are you shouting? The kids are still sleeping!" the boys turn arround just to face Amber.
" Loverboy is gone" Lex hiss at her, unable to hold back a little grin.
" What do you mean? " Amber asks unsure.
" Like i said it, he is gone again." Lex answers and turns to Ryan " And you will go back on duty, at the entrance of the serwers and don’t leave your postiion again, understand?" he looks at Ryan angrily. Ryan just nods and leave.
" And you should go to bed. Or do you want to wait for him?" Lex turns to Amber, which press her lips. Trying to be cool and not to start an arguement with Lex.
" Good night." is all she gets out and turn arround to walk back to her room. As she lays down again, she wasn’t able to sleep and she knows that she wouldn’t find any till he will be back…
" Do you really think this will work? " the younger boy looks up to his side. This white eyes full of questions.
" Hey, all that was your idea… besides then, why not? Till yet we have found everything." the older one wink at his companion. " But we need to hurry, everything need to be prepared for the next night."
During the next day
" What do you mean, this not of my buisness, are you kidding me " Amber looks at Bray reproachfully.
" That it’s no of your buisness and now please stop asking" Bray answers a bit frustrated, absolutly clueless what else he could say to Amber now. He has tried everything everytime she asks him about this night tours, but he can’t. He had promised that he wouldn’t say something and he stick by what he said. Especially now. Just one more night and everything will be done.
" Autsch, can you please help me." the boy with the dreadlocks shouts out.
" shshs, do you want to wake up the whole mall? " his brother hiss at him, alsways afraid that Lex could come arround the corner any time. Lex never trusted him and the fact that he was away the last nights, didn’t made it better.
Morning in the Mall
" Patsy, Patsy" wake up" Cloe runs into their bedroom, place her hands on Patsy and starts shaken it. " He was there! He has found us!" she screams in excitment and as Patsy startss to move, she runs to the next room. " Santa was there" she continues shouting till the whole mall was awake.
While she, Paul and Patsy place themself arround the big tree in front of the grill and check on all the packages under it, the others look at the trees with big eyes.
" Has anyone any clue, what happened that night?" Zandra asks.
One by one shakes their heads. " No, and how could all that happen while some had his duty shift?" Amber think out load.
" Why don’t you ask lovebroy?" Lex mumbles at her, angry and confused at the same time.
" Well, yeah i can explain…" a voice from behind let the whole group turn arround. " But before i do, i would like to see all of you open your gift first."
" Bray, what is that all about?" Amber turns to him
" Please trust me" he answers,
" Why should we …" Lex starts but was interrupt from a scream.
" The book… i got the book i wanted." Cloe shout out and was follwed by Patsy " and i got the doll i ever wanted. "
" What you you mean? You ever wanted?" Salene looks at the girls totally confused.
" I wanted the doll since i first saw her. Mum told me that maybe Santa would bring her. And he did" the little girl smiles all over her face.
" Right, so could all of you start to unwrapp your gift" Bray says again and watch the older ones cheking on the tree also. One by one found his package and open it.
" I can’t believe that." Trudy mumbles as she open her package and find a new purple pullover. " That was the pullover i wanted for christmas…"
" Oh gosh, i can’t believe it" Ryan jump up " the new console i wanted."
" How is it possible, that we all get what we wanted for christmas " Amber glance arround skeptically, while she also unwrapp her package and find the new kneepads.
" Very easy. But on thing first and i really want you all to stay cool. Especailly you Lex. He is here as a friend and that person, which has made this possible. " he looks serious at the others before he wave over the person arround the corner.
" You??? Lex shouts out and in just a second Ryan was by his side, ready to fight.
" Stop, i told you, he is there as a friend… and as a father" Bray steps between the boys and his brother. Looking over to Trudy, which also stands up and pulls Brady closer.
" What is that all about" she asks afraid.
" Yeah, explain yourself, right now." Amber steps besides Lex and place her hand on his arm, gesture him to calm down.
" Well…" Zoot starts and look over at Trudy and the baby" last time i was here, i was told that we need to build up a new future … for us… for her… and even days later, i wasn’t able to shake away that thought. … and maybe you are right… so i wntned to make a little start. I have known that mum has some old baby stuff left and i wanted to check on this." He looks at Trudy and the baby again. " I started to check on her cupboards and i have found mine and Brays christmas presents. I told him about it and we thought, that maybe the other parents also have bought the presents yet. So we started to check on that, each house from everyone of you… and we found them. The gifts from your parents."
" You mean…" Amber looks at him with big eyes before she turns back to the others. “Everyone really got the present they told their partens before?”. The others nod.
" Thats bullshit. And i will show you." Lex shouts again and grap the box with his name on it. " He opens it and the stops to move. He swallows hard…
" What is it?" Zandra walks to his side.
" A swiss army knife… "
" And? is this your present?" Zandra asks again, looking up to him.
Lex was unable to say something, he just nods at her and take out the knife. The knife his father promised him for christmas.
While that, Amber walks over to Bray. " You did the night tours because of this, right?"
" Yes… are we fine again?" he looks at her a bit unsure, but instead of an answer, Amber pull him into a hug. " You’re such an idiot."
Zoot watches the scene in front of him and for the first time since the virus has happened, he felt good. Really good.
" Thank you." a warm voice talks to him and he looks up, finding Trudy and Brady standing in front of him. " " You’re welcome." he nods a bit unsure. " Oh… and i have one thing for her… if you want to…" he mumbles and reach inside his jacket, pulling out an old teddy bear and hold it out to Brady.
“Merry Christmas.” he says with a little smile.
" Merry christmas." Trudy answers, also smiling.