The Christmas Wishbythecelt©
This was an easy story to write. I like Christmas and I believe that things happen during that season and especially on Christmas Eve that could not happen any other time. It is certainly not a time for bitterness or revenge. I hope you feel the same way.
Rather than post this in a series of chapters, I chose to post it all at once. It is long, so you may want to download and read later. Thanks.
Angel Love edited and made some suggestions that I wisely included. Thanks to her for making the story better.
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Madison Long let herself out of the room, carefully closing the door so as not to wake Bill. He was still sleeping after their session of sex and would be angry at her for leaving. He loved watching her dress. It gave him some sort of thrill she supposed. At first, she thought it was sexy and erotic. Now, it just seemed perverse. She walked quickly down the hall to the elevator, pushed the down button and was grateful that the doors opened without much delay. She pushed the button for the lobby and tapped her foot impatiently as the elevator descended the seven floors.
She thought about that afternoon with Bill. William Bethel, CFO at Zuc-Cor Int'l, one of the major contributors to Wishes Unlimited, her foundation. He had been anxious with her this time, even frightened, or so it seemed. He seemed to know that things between them had changed, that they were different. He was too quick, too hard, giving her no time to enter into the mood. He tried so hard to get her to a climax but without success. She tried to tell him to slow down, to be gentle, but he didn't listen. It was almost as if he knew this might be the last time for them. When the doors slid open, interrupting her thoughts, she walked swiftly through the lobby toward the exit without glancing left or right, her thoughts now changing to more practical matters. Once outside, she had the doorman signal her a cab.
The cab ride was short, traveling only four blocks from the Hilton Hotel to the corner of sixth and Lexington. She paid the cabby, and then walked west toward Union St. and the entrance to Wishes Unlimited. She wanted to walk in the front door as she usually did. She often had to leave during the day to see volunteers, make meetings with potential contributors and corporations offering their services to help her foundation. She had a parking slot in one of the private parking garages and this was her normal pattern of entry and exit. Her entrance at this time of the afternoon would arouse no interest in anyone's mind.
She went into her office, shut the door and reached for her phone. She pushed the button for Sherrie her assistant, and told her that she needed twenty minutes without any visitors. That taken care of, she kicked off her shoes and put her feet up on the desk and leaned back in her chair. Her office had no windows so she was alone. No one could see the look of pain on her face. No one could hear the soft cursing nor the glistening tears unshed in her blue eyes. No one could see her clenched hands or the tremors that coursed over her as she sat there. No one saw the battle taking place inside her as she fought the waves of depression and fear that washed over her. No one saw her face relax when she finally won the battle with herself.
What they would see was Madison Long, the calm, self-possessed Chairwoman who ran Wishes Unlimited, the foundation she had personally established five years ago to fulfill the wishes of kids with terminal cancer. Wishes Unlimited had grown so fast that it now had more than twenty-five full time workers scheduling and planning and escorting children in all sorts of exotic wishes. The money had come rolling in when Madison began fund-raising. Parker Long, Madison's husband had lent his support and he was able to direct her to several big companies who were looking for ways to be philanthropic with their money. Within the first year or two, they were able to begin helping more and more kids with their hopes and dreams and the media attention was enough to bring in even more money. Things grew and Wishes Unlimited began to fulfill its vast potential.
At first, Wishes was just a hope and a prayer that she shared with her sister-in-law, Carol Bishop. Carol had become her biggest supporter and later, her best friend. Now, she was President and second in command to Madison and the one person Madison could count on to always be there and always know what to do when things went wrong. It was Carol that Madison's thought turned to. She had a big problem and she needed someone to talk to. Carol was the obvious choice but she was also family. She was the wife of her only brother, George Bishop and was close to her father and mother. While they were normally traveling around the country, they were still influential in her and George's lives. What she told Carol could well get back to them and Madison could not let that happen.
The twenty minutes up, Madison put her thoughts on hold, picked up the phone and called her son, Parker Jr. He lived in Navy base housing with Evelyn, his wife of four years. He planned on staying in the service as a JAG lawyer for another term and then retire and go into business with his father, Parker Sr. Parker was a lawyer. One of the senior partners of Addison-Parker & Associate, Attorney's at Law. He and Phil Addison had started the firm twenty five years ago, a year after Parker and she were married. They had discussed it and she knew that Parker's dream was to start his own law firm. She was pregnant with Parker Jr. at the time and was at home.
The firm had been a success almost from the beginning. Parker and Addison took on cases that no one else would touch and began to build a reputation as winners. They even took pro bono cases for the recognition from the judges and it paid off in more cases. They expanded, brought in more lawyers and now the firm was one of the biggest in the city with more than a hundred lawyers and another fifty clerks at various levels of education. When Parker Jr. was sixteen months old, she got pregnant with Blair. She was happy raising their two children and building a home for them all.
Money soon became plentiful and they no longer had to put off buying the home they both wanted. It was a beautiful Tudor style home in the suburbs, with four big bedrooms, lots of space for the kids to play, a kitchen to die for and all the conveniences modern science could provide. They moved in when the kids were still young enough to grow into it. Things were great between them and the family was solid. The only thing wrong was the time Parker had to spend at the firm.
As the firm grew, so did the demands put on Parker Sr. He was working very long hours, spending more and more time away from home. Madison began to fret under the demands of two growing children and an absentee father. She let it go for a long time but finally, one weekend in early fall, when she was watching the kids play in the leaves that covered the yard, she told Parker that they had to talk. Parker was home for a change and he was sitting with her on their screened-in porch, enjoying one of the first warm days of the spring.
"Parker, we have to talk. I have a problem and I need you to help me solve it."
Parker looked at this wife, marveling at the way she continued to move his heart. She was a tall, slim brunette, with wide brown eyes and pale skin. She was tall, almost five feet, seven inches and always dressed to show off her figure. She had worked on her body after the birth of Blair and she still turned heads when she walked into a room. He had been attracted to her the first time he met her and his love for her had only gotten stronger as the years passed. They had been married now for fifteen years, but it seemed like only yesterday that she had agreed to be his wife.
"Any problem you have, I'll do anything necessary to solve it. Just tell me what it is and I'll slay any dragons you need slain to make it better."
His smile was typical. Nothing was ever too serious for him. He felt he could solve anything. Well, she hoped he would feel that way about this one.
"You're spending too much time away from us. I miss you, Jr. and Blair miss you. Sometimes the kids don't even see you during the week. It's only on the weekends that you're home. This has to stop."
Parker listened to this, not surprised by the words. He had been thinking the same thing. It had been almost three weeks since they had made love. Almost three weeks since he was home early enough to be with his kids. Making love to Madison was something he still loved doing and their love making was still passionate and fulfilling. But it had been three weeks!
"You're right. I know it and I've been thinking about it. I think I might just have an idea. Let me work it out with Addison and see what I can do. I miss you. I miss being with you. It's been too long for us."
Madison went to him and put her arms around his neck. She pulled his mouth to hers and kissed him with all the love and desire she had been keeping in check for the past month. She felt the way he responded and she ground herself against him to remind him of what he had been neglecting. She whispered in his ear and he dropped his hands down to her bottom and pulled her tight against his hardening. She squeezed herself to him and dropped one hand between them to cup him. His groan was all the validation she needed. She squeezed once and released him.
"See that you fix the problem soon. I don't want to have to go out and find someone else to fix it."
"It's a promise. Just give me a couple of days."
He watched as Madison rose and went out to call Jr. and Blair for lunch. Hopefully, they would share something more later that night. He smiled to himself, wondering again why he was so fortunate. All the things they had wanted had come true. Their beautiful children, a home that they both loved, good health for all and a marriage made in heaven. There was nothing more he could wish for except a great future for his children.
As promised, Parker rearranged his schedule, taking fewer cases, dropping all pro bono cases, turning over all active but unresolved issues to a few chosen junior lawyers and freed up his evenings and weekends. He was coming home on time every evening and the weekends became time for family affairs and traveling. The family grew together and Madison had what she hoped for: a husband that had time for his loving wife. She reveled in her duty as wife and lover and their sex life improved in all aspects. She was fully satisfied and she blossomed as never before.
The kids grew, did well in school with her help, were into several extra curricular activities requiring her to become a full time chauffeur. Parker Jr. was into sports and did well in football and basketball. He lettered in both and was very popular with the girls. Blair was a cheerleader, loved soccer and tennis and also did well with the boys. It was early in their years as junior high students that Parker and she sat both down and explained the birds and bees to them. It was made clear that the parents expected responsible behavior from both and made it clear the consequences of mistakes in judgment. The lessons seemed to take and both went through high school without problems.
Parker Jr. was the first to graduate and won an academic scholarship to Harvard. He wanted to major in law like his father. Since his father also graduated from Harvard, he had an in and did well his first year. He made friends easily and spent less and less time at home. He was the first of her two babies to grow up and leave the nest. Madison watched him grow and was proud, as was his father. The home fires burned brightly but with less intensity now that Blair was the only one left. Madison knew she would soon be going away but spent her time enjoying her while she could.
Blair was more modest in her desires and wanted to teach history. She finished high school with good grades and also got a scholarship, albeit a partial, to Vanderbilt University. It was the fall of 2000 that she went to school and left home. Madison was now alone and found herself suddenly without anything to do. She had no hobbies, no really close friends, her activities for the most part had always revolved around her two children. With them gone, her days seemed hollow and empty.
One evening when she was sitting with Parker after dinner, she went over, plopped herself down on his lap, put her arms around his neck and said, "Parker, I'm bored. I need something to do with my time. Help me think of something."
Parker put his arms around her, grabbed one breast and gently squeezed. "How about I give you something to do right now? I'll give you plenty of things to think about."
She laughed delightedly, pressed her mouth to his hungrily and, for the next hour, did think of several things to do to and with him. The evening passed in hot passion and she almost forgot her discomfort at being without her children, but not completely. As she was lying naked in his arms later, fully sated with lovemaking, she snuggled her face to his chest and repeated her question.
"I'm serious Parker. I need something to do with my days. Unless you want to stay home with me and we can do this all day. That would make me very happy."
Parker laughed, tried to make himself rise to the occasion, but even with her able assistance found himself done in by the intensity of their earlier passions. In defeat, he promised her that he would try to come up with some ideas and they could then make some plans. He knew she was serious and he was becoming concerned that idleness would not be good for her. They snuggled together and fell asleep in each other's arms.
It was a week later when Madison was in her Doctor's office waiting room that her inspiration struck. She was sitting there, reading an outdated Family Circle when a woman came in with a small girl. She couldn't help but overhear the conversation as they sat down in the seats next to her. The girl must have been about twelve or thirteen years old and she was looking decidedly unhappy. She was arguing with her mother.
"Why do I have to keep coming here mommy? He can't help me anymore. I know I'm going to die."
"You can't say that! There's always hope. You just have to keep trying. Please, Kirin, you have to!" The mother was close to tears and her grief was clearly worn on her sleeve.
The two continued to argue but they moved over to the corner where it was difficult to hear. Madison watched them out of the corner of her eye but couldn't make out the words. It was clear the mother was grief stricken and that the girl was resigned to her fate. The picture was heartbreaking. The two stood there, silent now but for the soft sobs of the mother. As she was about to go to the mother and offer her a shoulder, the receptionist opened the door and called, 'Kirin Conyers?'
The girl walked over to the receptionist and motioned her mother to stay behind. She went in with the nurse and the door closed. The mother then walked over to the seat beside Madison and sat down. She had stopped the tears but she was still emotional. Madison hesitated but then finally spoke to her. She asked if she could help and the mother shook her head no. Madison put her hand on her shoulder and repeated her offer. Finally the woman introduced herself as Madelyn Conyers.
"I'm sorry to be so rude. It's just so hard. My daughter has leukemia and everything we've tried has failed. The doctors have given her less than a year to live. She's made peace with it, but I haven't."
Madison listened and shared her pain but could offer nothing but support. Madelyn spoke of the bone marrow transplant that failed, the chemotherapy that made her daughter so sick and now, the refusal to try any more treatments. She was probably correct that since the drugs couldn't cure her, and only made her sick, it was a waste of what was left of her life.
It was when Madelyn spoke of the wish by her daughter to go to Disneyland before she died that things started to come together. Madelyn said that they were so deep in debt from the medical bills that they couldn't make the trip. She was heartbroken but they had borrowed against everything they owned and had nothing left to use as collateral. Madison was still thinking when the nurse called her to come back. Before she did, she asked Madelyn to write her name and phone number on a slip of paper and leave it for her at the reception desk. Madelyn agreed, thinking that Madison was willing to talk to her some more.
That night over dinner, Madison told Parker of her conversation with Madelyn and the tragedy of her daughter's leukemia. Parker listened, expressed his sympathy but wondered what they could do about it. Madison mentioned the trip and the wish of her dying daughter.
"I want to help. I want to make that little girl's dreams come true. I want to give that trip to her and her mother. That's what I want to do. I want to help kids like her and mothers like hers. The ones who have no hope left, but can still dream. I want to make those dreams come true. I want to start a cause, a foundation, something, to do that."
Parker listened and watched his wife's face light up. He saw the passion, the love and the caring so clearly that he was caught up in her vision before he even knew it. He wanted what she wanted, so much so that he began to think himself. What could he do? How could he give this dream to his own wife? Then, he had it!
"Here's what we'll do. First, you call that mother and you make that trip a reality. We'll pay for it. We can certainly afford it. And I want to do it for you. Call her."
Before Madison could even respond, Parker was on to the next item his busy mind had locked on.
"I'll set up a charitable foundation for you tomorrow. We'll make it a legal entity chartered in the state and listed as a non profit foundation. I'll take care of the paperwork tomorrow first thing and we can have a permit to operate by the end of the week. That will get you started."
"I can't believe this. We can make this happen! We can! Oh, my god! It's going to happen isn't it?"
"It's your dream and I told you, whatever I could do. This is right up my alley and it'll be a snap. You'll have your foundation by the end of the month. Another thing, we have to get some real contributors as soon as possible. And we need to put out the word. I know a few people in the medical field that can help you. They can screen out the real kids from the scams. I'll start tomorrow and you'll be able to start calling people by the end of the week. All you need now is a name and you're in business!"
"Wishes Unlimited. That's the name. That's also my goal for those kids."
"So be it. Wishes Unlimited it is."
That was the beginning. She did arrange the trip for Kirin to go to Disneyland with her mother and younger brother. It was a huge success and she was thrilled at the work that Parker did on her behalf. True to his word, she did have a charter by the end of the week and she had already gotten pledges from four of the wealthiest men in town. She also had a list of companies and contacts to call. She realized right away that she was going to need some help so she called her sister-in-law, Carol. Carol was a volunteer at the local hospital but she had some free time and immediately signed on. Together, they began to build the connections they needed to begin work.
Over the next few years, Wishes Unlimited continued to grow. She and Carol brought new people in, people that shared the vision they had and more and more companies climbed on the bandwagon, seeing the publicity that Wishes generated. Madison began to spend more and more of her time raising funds, meeting with contributors and making contacts in companies that wanted to help. Parker brought in several new contributors and some important men and women in the biggest companies. All were eager to help.