“Hello, Mr. & Mrs. Claus. It’s truly inspirational to meet you. May I introduce you to my French Poodle Alba? Alba was born in Tuscany, and travelled first-class from Rome to come and be with us today. I wasn’t sure if I should bring my treasured child, but Great uncle Jack assured me that it was perfectly fine for her to eat with us at the table. ” Crystal, cleared her throat and extended her hand to Molly.
Molly hesitated before she shook the woman’s hand and jumped back as Alba snarled and moved forward to protect her mistress.
“Alba, you naughty child. Mrs. Claus wouldn’t hurt us. She’s our friend. Come pumpkin. Let’s move into the living room and put you down for a nap.” Crystal lifted the plump dog into her arms. Dyed pink pompoms on her ears bobbed along as Crystal struggled to carry the animal into the next room. She took the dog and plopped her on Molly’s antique sofa.
Jessie sighed and put her paws over her nose. Even she didn’t get on that couch and she lived here. Jessie had been so excited about meeting another dog that she had barely slept the night before. But now, she wasn’t sure she wanted to spend any time with Alba at all. But one look at the distressed look on Jack’s face made her determined to make Alba her friend.
Jessie got up and shook her coat. She slowly approached the couch with her ears down. As she got closer she could her a low rumbling coming from Alba’s throat. The rumbling rose to a crescendo of yaps as Jessie reached the couch. Jessie stopped just short of Alba’s pillow and sat on her haunches. She wavered her head from side to side curiously. How could any self-respecting dog be scared by that high pitched garble she thought.
Jessie stood up, walked up to Alba, and licked her across the face. Alba seemed surprised. She stopped in mid yap, shook her delicate ears, and tried to wipe her face on the seat of the sofa.
“Uh oh,” thought Jessie looking at the red color on Molly’s face. Molly stammered and threw several tea towels onto the table. She held her breath for a minute and with a quavering voice spoke. “Let’s eat. We have business to do Crystal. If you’re going to help your great uncle then you will need to work out a contract with Santa. Let’s finalize the arrangements over the dinner table. And… bring that thing you call a dog with you and get it off of my mother’s sofa.”
Molly stormed out to the kitchen leaving an unease in the room. From the kitchen Jessie could hear pots and pans being slammed on the marble island. “Better not upset her further,” thought Jessie. She obediently rose and went to her bowl in the dining room. She quietly sat in front of it. She took a gulp of water and watched Crystal.
“Humph,” said Crystal. She picked up her dog and staggered into the dining room. She went to place her at a place at the table when Santa interjected. “Better let her eat with Jessie if you don’t want to upset Molly further. I know your dog usually eats at the table but the bowls on the floor are made from the finest china, and she will be eating the same food as us. Besides, it will give us time to talk about our arrangements for the year . If things work out than maybe in the future when Jack feels like retiring you can replace him.”
Jessie didn’t hear any more of the conversation as Molly came out from the kitchen carrying two bowls. One for Jessie, and one for Alba. The bowl for Jessie was noticeably larger but even so Jessie gulped down the food and it was gone in no time.
Jessie licked the bowl clean and looked over to Alba. Alba was watching her out of the corner of her eye and taking small dainty bites of the lasagna. Between bites she washed her face with her paws and looked woefully at Crystal. She sighed loudly and then continued eating the food presented to her. After only four bites she pushed the bowl away from her with her nose and knocked the food on the floor. She stood up and turned her back on Jessie . She stomped over to Crystal’s side.
“Does my wuvy not like her supper,” said Crystal to the dog. “I’ll get you some proper food when were done talking here.” Crystal returned to the table and addressed Santa. I believe Mr. Claus we have agreed on a price and a date and time that you require my estimations. I will be pleased to provide you with my meteorological services but I must be going now. My Alba needs attention.“
Crystal roughly shoved back the chair and pulled out a silver chain from her purse. She gently clipped it on Alba’s collar and walked towards the door.
Jessie glanced at Molly. Molly’s eyes bulged and her neck was red. She was stammering and glaring at Santa.
The door slammed and Jack spoke. “I’d like to apologize for her. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe she doesn’t represent the Frosts well enough to take over for me. She certainly is besotted with that pampered pooch. I’ll start searching for another replacement Santa.”
“No Jack, she’s a good meteorologist. Perhaps, we can help her to see that there is a better way to share love with a companion animal. What do you think Jessie? Do you think we can do that?” The look in Santa’s eyes pleaded with Jessie to confirm his words.
Jessie was not at all sure that she could help but she barked and jumped forward in agreement. She would try to help Jack. She may not be successful but in the coming months she was going to try to help Crystal and make a friend of Alba.