Disclaimer: This story is completely fictional. The characters are real, but the plot and the paces that the author puts them through is completely made-up. I do not know nor am I affiliated with any members of the Backstreet Boys. The photos that the Enquirer has of myself and a very naked Nick Carter, the ones with the handcuffs and the steel canopy bed are completely bogus as I never used handcuffs, only nylons, so as not to leave any marks.
As I was shooting for a nice short story, the scene with Nick freakin' with
the Johan Paulik-looking orphan was unfortunately deleted. C'est la vie!
In any case, I hope that y'all enjoy the story and have a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year.
He had gotten completely lost twice so he breathed a sigh of relief as he finished parking in front of the large Victorian looking building and cut off the engine. Getting out of the car, he pushed the button on his keychain and locked it, then clicked another button on his keychain that activated the alarm as he walked towards the house. He knew he was in the right place when he recognized a few of the other cars parked on the street as those of his bandmates.
He walked up the stairs and knocked on the front door, then waited patiently for a reply. It came a few seconds later, as the door swung open by a shorter lady in her 50's. He smiled and greeted her pleasantly.
"Hi there. I'm here with..."
The woman smiled slightly, the action causing the lines near her mouth to crinkle slightly.
"Mr. Littrell" the woman said, "We've been expecting you. Your friends are already here. Come in."
Brian walked in through the door that the lady held for him and turned to face her as she shut the door behind him.
The lady turned and smiled, then led the way deeper into the house. "We thought you had gotten lost, your friends were beginning to wonder if they were going to have to call the police and report you missing."
Brian blushed deeply and smiled. "I did get a little lost once or twice...or maybe three times. I've never been to..."
The lady chuckled. "Yes. I suppose you've never really hung around this part of Orlando."
Brian nodded absently, reflecting on the truth of the woman's statement. Up until a few days ago, he had never been to this neighborhood, nor had he ever heard of the "Christmas Wishes Program." Howie had suggested that the guys do something for charity for the holidays, something that would benefit kids and something that would be a little more involved than writing a check to some faceless charity and then taking a tax deduction from that at the end of the year.
Howie had investigated and come up with this idea, that the guys would spend some time at the Orlando orphanage, and each band member would take one of the orphans under their wing and try to give them a great Christmas, having them stay with them over the holidays. Brian and the other guys had supported the idea wholeheartedly as they enjoyed the idea.
Still blushing red, Brian smiled as the lady opened a door at the end of the long hall to a large room filled with people. As he walked through the door, he immediately recognized his friends in the band and they greeted him warmly.
"Brian! Good of you to make it!" Kevin called from the center of a group of young girls and guys.
AJ and Howie were similarly surrounded by clusters of kids, talking with each other and among themselves. Brian smiled and mingled through each of the groups, chatting with the kids, shaking the hands of the guys and giving hugs to several of the girls who professed to be his biggest fan.
Brian was having so much fun just hanging out and talking with the kids that, several hours later as the other guys began to pair off with the kid they had chosen, Brian realized that he'd forgotten the real purpose of their visit. Brian stood up, inquiring of the location of the bathroom, and followed the directions that he had been given.
On the way back from the bathroom, Brian took his time and looked around the building. Brian had never been to an orphanage before and was surprised by the look of this one. He smiled as inwardly, he realized he had expected something different, something out of the movie, "Annie" with kids living in run-down cramped quarters. He almost laughed at that mental image, realizing that he almost did expect a Carol Burnett type of character to preside over the place. This orphanage made Brian think of something more like an academy or a military school for kids of all ages.
Lost in his thoughts, Brian made his way back to the room. As he opened the door, his eye was drawn to the corner, where a group of bigger kids were standing over a small, younger brown-haired boy with a brace on his leg. Brian walked quietly over to the group to see what was happening, guessing that it wasn't anything good.
"Hey hop-along!" the one older boy laughed cruelly, "You didn't come over and talk with the rock stars. Afraid they wouldn't want a cripple?!?"
"Yeah, gimpy!" teased a teenaged girl, "Better beat it. They probably wouldn't want to deal with damaged goods like you."
Brian shook his head and let out the breath he didn't even realize he had been holding. "Kids." he thought, "just being mean because he's wearing a brace."
Brian walked over behind the older boy and coughed politely. The young man turned around and immediately turned crimson with embarrassment. Brian smiled inwardly as he realized that didn't even have to say a word as he, and the other kids, slunk away from the small boy, knowing they'd been caught doing something they shouldn't have.
Brian sat down beside the kid on the floor.
The little boy looked up at Brian with a mix of fear and awe.
Brian smiled at the little boy. "I'm Brian."
The little boy nodded. "I know. They told us all your names so that we would know who each of you were when you were here. My name is Brian too."
Brian's smile turned into a grin. "Really? That's awesome!"
The little boy smiled a little smile and nodded. "I keep mixing up Howie and AJ and Kevin, though. I can't remember which is which. I was worried when you didn't show up with the rest of the guys. You're one of the one I could remember easiest cause we have the same name."
Brian chuckled. "AJ is the one with the sunglasses. Howie has the curly hair, and Kevin looks like..."
Brian's eyes widened at the young boy's description and his chuckle quickly turned into a full out belly laugh.
"Um...well...yeah." Brian replied, still laughing. "How do you know what a hippie looks like?"
The little boy dropped his gaze into his lap. "I don't. That's what the lady that cleans my room said."
Brian began to giggle again at the idea of Kevin being compared to a hippie. He'd have to tell him about that some time soon. Brian sobered up as he looked over at the young kid, who was still staring down at his lap, looking very forlorn.
"Don't let those kids get you down," he said. "They're just acting stupid."
The little boy looked up at Brian, almost studying him.
"Did you know that when I was born" Brian said with frown, "I had a hole in my heart and the doctors didn't think I'd live to get really old, or if I did, I wouldn't be able to run or play or anything."
The little boy's eyes widened and he shook his head. "Really? I didn't know that."
Brian nodded. "Yep. But I beat the odds. I grew up and had a normal life."
The little boy smiled a little. "Did you used to get teased?"
Brian nodded. "About a lot of things, actually. I think that there are kids getting teased everywhere in the world. It's a not real fun part of growing up. The trick to getting past it is to just ignore the kids that tease you. They only get satisfied if they know that their teasing is getting to you. They'll stop once they see that their teasing isn't affecting you."
The little boy sighed. "But they're right, though."
Brian looked down at the kid. "How do you mean?"
The little boy pointed to his brace. "No one wants a crippled kid. I've even heard the lady that cleans my room say that I'd have been placed in a home ages ago if I wasn't a cripple."
Brian sat and thought about what the kid had said for a second and then shook his head. "Don't believe anything they say. People are stupid sometimes, Brian, believe me. I know some that are so stupid that you wonder how they ever make it out of bed in the morning."
The boy looked up at Brian and smiled. "Really?"
Brian smiled back, "Yup. Dumb as dirt."
The little boy giggled and Brian laughed, thankful that he could cheer the kid up.
"Hey. Wanna come stay with me over the holidays?"
The little boy looked flabbergasted. "M-mme?
Brian nodded. "Yeah. Come and hang out with me and my wife for Christmas and we'll have a great time. It'll be fun!"
The little boy nodded vigorously. "OK. If you're sure..."
Brian nodded, "Yeah. I'm sure."
Brian got up and held his hand out to the little boy, helping him up.
"Let's go grab your things and we can go get something to eat." Brian said as the two of them, hand in hand, made their way over to the lady that had let Brian in. As they approached, Brian saw her smile and nod approvingly.
After they packed up a bag with little Brian's stuff, the two Brian's headed out to Brian's car and put the bag in the backseat.
Brian looked at his watch and then started up the car. "Wanna head over to the mall and grab a quick bite to eat? Maybe do some shopping?"
The little boy nodded and away they went.
The food court at the mall was packed and Brian smiled at his luck as two tables of people got up as they began to walk away from the McDonald's with their full trays. Brian sat down at the closest table and turned to see his smaller namesake making his way slowly towards him, carefully balancing his tray as he hobbled through the busy room.
Brian felt something stir within him, a sense of familial pride at the fact that the little boy carried his own tray, and didn't ask for any help or anything. As he reached the table, Brian smiled to him as he sat down and the two began to eat.
About midway through his burger, the young boy wiped his mouth and hands on his napkin and leaned back a little from his tray.
"So, um...is your wife gonna be OK with having me over for the holidays?"
Brian chewed and swallowed the last of his burger and then wiped his mouth, "Leighanne's thrilled at the idea. She was really very supportive when we discussed it and I think she'll really take a shine to you."
The little boy looked up at him, "Really?"
Brian smiled and nodded. "Yeah. You're a likeable little guy."
The little boy blushed and picked up his burger and began to finish it off. After they had finished their meal and washed their hands, Brian and the little boy walked through the mall, looking in all the windows and picking out prospective christmas presents. Brian had amassed a few bags of stuff, but still hadn't seemed to find anything that really sparked the kid's interest. Brian had made sure that they had walked through the mall's two toy stores, but the kid didn't seem too interested in toys.
As they made their way to the central area of the mall, Brian saw that it was decorated up like the North Pole and that Santa was sitting in a chair in the center. Brian remembered when he was little, his mom used to take him to sit on Santa's knee and tell him what they wanted. Brian smiled and leaned down to talk with his smaller charge.
"Did you want to go sit with Santa? We can get a nice picture made of the three of us afterwards."
The little boy looked up at Brian and nodded, then the two walked over to the end of the line and waited their turn. Brian watched as the little boy hobbled up the steps to the chair where the mall Santa sat and held his arms up as the Santa picked him up and sat him on his knee. The Santa leaned his head down and talked with the little boy, then nodded vigorously. Brian saw the little boy grab the beard once more and whisper something else into the mall Santa's ear, then the Santa nodded again and set the boy down. The mall Santa then looked up and motioned for Brian to walk over for the picture. Brian handed the helper elf his bags, then he walked up to where the two were standing.
The mall Santa laughed as he stood side by side with Brian and the little boy. Brian leaned down and picked up the boy and held him between himself and Santa and three smiled as the elf snapped their picture. Brian let the young boy down and watched him hobble over to the elf that had taken the picture. As soon as he was out of earshot, Brian turned to the Santa and smiled.
The Santa chuckled merrily. "Brian Littrell. I know. My daughter is gonna have a fit! Is that your kid?"
Brian smiled. "He's an orphan. My group is fostering a group of orphans over the holidays and making sure they have a merry Christmas."
"If you don't mind me asking.." Brian said, leaning his head closer to the Santa, "What did he ask you for, for Christmas?"
The Santa sighed. "I shouldn't tell you, but, well, when I asked what he wanted for Christmas, he said that he wanted a mommy and a daddy that loved him. He said he wanted to be able to walk and run like all the other kids. He said that above all, he really wanted your wife to like him, so that he wouldn't spoil your Christmas. He's a really good kid."
Brian stood there, stunned by the thoughtfulness and simplicity of what the little boy had wished for. He grabbed his bags and walked over to where the little boy was waiting for to see the developed picture of the three of them.
Brian leaned over and smiled. "So, did you tell Santa what you wanted for Christmas?"
The little boy nodded hopefully. "Yep. I hope I was good enough this year to get it. I've asked for the same thing for the last two years, but I guess I've not been good enough to get it."
Brian was about to say something when the elf-lady re-appeared and smiled as he handed them two copies of the picture.
The boy giggled, pointing out the silliness of his facial expression. Brian smiled and payed the elf for the photos and then the two walked back to shopping. Several stores away, they looked into a pet store and the little boy tugged on Brian's shirt.
"Can we go in there?"
Brian nodded. "Sure!"
The two made their way through the shop, looking at the birds and fish and ferrets in the aquariums and cages. As they reached the back of the store, the little boy laughed and made his way over to the glass enclosure where the store kept its cats and dogs. The little boy looked up and asked if he could go in and see the puppies. Brian looked at the cages and saw that most looked uninhabited. The little boy pointed at one in the lower right part of the room.
"There's a puppy!"
Brian smiled and pushed open the door for the little boy, letting him hobble in and over to the cage where he deftly popped open the latch of the cage and opened the door.
Brian smiled as the boy reached in to pet the puppy, then turned as he saw one of the store personnel approach.
Brian opened the door and walked out of the room as the clerk approached him.
The young clerk smiled and nodded. "Yeah. I know. The girls up front just told me who you are."
Brian laughed, he had seen them begin to turn a different color and claw at each other when he came in. He guessed that they were fans.
"If you don't mind me saying so, Mr. Littrell, I don't think you want that dog."
Brian turned to look at the young boy and saw the puppy stagger out of the cage and fall into the boy's lap, causing both to laugh.
"Why? What's wrong with it?" he asked curiously.
"It's back leg is fused. It was born that way, it seems. That's why it's the last puppy in the store. Nobody wants a dog like that. The operation to fix it's leg will be pricey and people would just rather not bother when they can get another dog without any problems like that."
Brian nodded. "Thanks for telling me. I didn't know..."
The young man held up his hand. "If your little boy does want a dog, I have some that will be ready in a week or so that are 100% healthy. You can bring him back to see those, then."
Brian looked back to the room where the little boy was laughing as the little puppy climbed up his lap and licked his face.
"What about that little puppy...what's gonna happen to it?"
The manager shrugged. "We've had it for a while and no one's shown any interest. I'll probably take it to the APS and have them put it down. It'd be the humane thing to do."
Brian felt his heart sink and his eyes get moist at the idea of putting the little puppy down. "Oh...yeah...humane." he replied sadly.
The young man nodded and then added, "If you need anything else, just ask me."
Brian nodded and walked back into the room where the little boy's laughter resounded loudly off the glass walls.
"Hey Bri...got your hands full, huh?" Brian said, forcing a smile.
The little boy laughed and nodded. "Yeah. I've always wanted a puppy."
Brian frowned. "The manager said that if you wanted a normal puppy, that he had some coming in next week."
The little boy shook his head. "What's wrong with this one?"
Brian knelt down beside the little boy. "Well...it's back leg is fused."
The little boy's eyes filled with tears as he held the puppy close to his chest. "Does that make it any less worthy of love and a home?"
Brian's heart snapped into his throat at the sight of the little boy and the puppy and he shook his head. "No. No it doesn't." Brian whispered as he fought the swell of tears in his eyes and got back up to his feet.
"It's only fitting that a cripple like me would want a crippled dog. I could love it, even if it has a problem with its back leg."
Brian nodded and let the little boy play with the dog a while longer. He looked at his watch and realized that they'd better head back to his house. As the two walked away from the pet store, Brian noticed a distinct change in the boy's attitude, having gone from careful, guarded and withdrawn to happy and boisterous, just in the time that they spent within the pet store playing with the puppy.
Brian suggested that the two of them head home so that they would have time to unpack the stuff and get ready for dinner.
The two made it home and unloaded the car, putting the items into the living room so that they could wrap them later. Brian took a bag of items that he had gotten for the younger boy and hid them behind the sofa. The two walked into the kitchen and Brian saw a note on the frigerator. Leigh Anne had just gone out to get some groceries. Brian smiled at the younger boy. "Well....She'll be back. She's gone out to get some groceries."
The young boy nodded, looking at the framed wedding print on the wall of the kitchen. "So you're just married, huh?"
Brian smiled and nodded. "Yep. Leigh was the one for me. I knew it from the moment I woke up from my heart operation and there she was, standing by my bed, waiting for me.
The little boy smiled and then jumped as he heard the door behind him open.
"Brian. I'm home."
Brian smiled and looked over the younger boy's head. "Hey Leigh. Come on in here and meet our guest."
The little boy squirmed in his seat as he turned around in time to see a woman, arms laden with bags, walk up behind him.
"Hey there little guy. I'm Leighanne." Leighanne said, a smile lighting up her face as she immediately noticed the little boy.
"I'm Brian. It's nice to meet you."
Leighanne's eyes widened and her smile turned into a grin. "Another Brian in the house, huh?"
The young boy giggled. "Can't get too much of a good thing, huh?"
Brian and Leighanne both laughed uproariously at the little boy's reply.
Brian watched as his wife instantly bonded with his young charge, laughing and playing with the young boy, only remarking once on his leg as they played. Leighanne glanced up at the clock and ushered the two out into the living room so that she could start dinner. Brian offered to help, but Leighanne insisted they go wrap presents. Brian relented, knowing how many presents he had to wrap that evening.
As they sat down, the little boy watched Brian cut the paper and then wrap each one. After a while, he joined in, wrapping a few gifts himself. Brian smiled as the young boy imitated his moves exactly.
"So....how do you like Leighanne?"
The little boy beamed. "She's nice! I see why you like her."
Brian smiled as they finished wrapping the presents and the little boy sat closer to Brian, letting him drape his arm over his shoulders.
"You'll be getting to meet my mom and dad. They're coming down with my older brother tomorrow."
The little boy smiled. "Your mom?"
Brian nodded. "She's nice too. If you like Leigh, you'll love my mom."
The little boy grinned.
"Dinner's ready guys!" Leighanne called from the dining room.
After dinner was over, Brian took the young boy upstairs to show him where he would be staying. He showed him the bathroom in his room and where the extra towels were kept. The boy blushed slightly then asked if Brian could help him with his brace so that he could take a bath before bed. Brian nodded and turned on the water in the tub, letting it heat up before stopping up the tub. As the bath water collected, Brian stepped out into the bedroom where the young boy had taken off his one shoe and was starting to take off his shirt.
"Need any help?"
The little boy pulled off his shirt and nodded. "Just need some help getting the brace off, and then getting in and out of the tub."
Brian nodded and untied the little boy's shoe and began to unbuckle the rather complex brace.
"Wow....they didn't make it easy for you, huh?"
The little boy smiled. "It's not so bad, once you've done it a few times."
Brian smiled as the last buckle on the brace popped loose and he pulled it slowly off the little boy's leg. He then helped him take off his pants and underwear. The boy blushed as Brian rubbed his hand along the immobilized leg.
"It doesn't work right." the boy said, "The lady at the orphanage said that there's some operation or something that might help it...but the doctor that explained it to her talked over her head and she didn't understand. She just said she remembered him saying that it was really expensive."
Brian laughed. "Doctor's tend to do that. My doctors did that to me before my heart operation. It kinda made me mad."
The little boy nodded in agreement, "Yeah. Tell me about it."
Brian smiled and then leaned over. "Want me to pick you up and put you in the tub, or just walk over there with you and help you in?"
The little boy looked up at Brian and nodded. "You can pick me up. I trust you."
Brian smiled and picked up the little boy, depositing him slowly in the nice warm water.
"There you go!" Brian said. "Let me get you some shampoo and a washcloth."
Brian retrieved the shampoo and the washcloth and then sat down across the bathroom on the toilet seat.
"If you need help, just tell me."
The little boy smiled. "OK. I'll just need some help getting up to wash off."
"So. Are you and Leighanne gonna have kids?"
Brian smiled. "I hope so. I really love kids. My family is pretty big and all."
The little boy smiled. "You'll make a really good Dad."
Brian giggled. "I hope so. I'll give it my best shot."
The little boy splashed some water and laughed. "Yeah. You'll be great."
Brian helped the boy get up some time later and rinse off, then he helped him towel off, and, after an attack of the tickle monster that left the little boy screeching with laughter, Brian helped him get dressed for bed.
As Brian was shutting off the bathroom light, Leighanne opened the door and walked in.
"Hey boys. Just wanted to tell little Brian goodnight, and tuck him in."
The little boy smiled widely as Brian and Leighanne sat down on opposite sides of the bed and tucked him in. As Brian reached up to shut off the light beside the bed, the little boy reached out and grabbed his arm.
"Thanks for taking me in for Christmas."
Leighanne bent over and hugged the little boy tightly. "It's our pleasure, sweetie. You sleep well."
Brian turned off the light and leaned down and kissed the boy on the forehead. "See you in the morning."
Brian closed the door behind him and headed downstairs to wrap the few presents he had picked up for the little boy. As he sat on the sofa wrapping a box, Leighanne walked in and sat down beside him, her arm snaking around his waist.
Brian nodded, and then told her all of what happened that day, from finding him at the orphanage, to the mean kids, the visit with Santa and the little boy's wishes, to the pet store and the little dog with the fused back leg.
Leighanne sighed and hugged him tightly after he finished and then smiled. "Makes you wanna have a kid, huh?"
Brian smiled and nodded.
Leighanne kissed him on the lips and got up off the sofa. "Maybe it's time for us to consider it, then. There's one kid upstairs that seems to think the world of you...and I can see that you think the world of him too! He would make a fine son and the love you have for him already will only grow."
A wide-eyed Brian looked up at his wife who smiled and then headed up to their bedroom.
Brian picked up the phone and called the orphanage, hoping that someone would be there this late in the evening.
"Hello?" came the voice of an older lady.
"Hello. This is Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys. I had a question about the little boy that's staying with me..."
Brian's conversation lasted for over an hour, and at the end, he smiled as he wrapped up the last of it. "I'll be by to pick up the paperwork tomorrow. Thank you."
Brian then dialed information and made a few other calls, then he headed upstairs to bed.
The next morning, Brian smiled as Leighanne and "little Brian" headed out early to go shopping. Leighanne asked if she could take him shopping with her for a while while Brian ran the errands that he had to do, namely picking up his parents and brother at the airport.
Brian left out after them and had completed his errands with plenty of time to get to the airport and collect his siblings. Brian told his mom about the little boy staying with them over the holidays and she insisted that they go by a mall so that she could pick up a few presents for him. After their shopping, Brian and his family headed back to his place. Brian opened the door and smiled as Leighanne came down the stairs and hugged him.
"He's upstairs taking a nap. He was all tired out after shopping."
Brian smiled and nodded, understanding what the little boy was going through as he too had been run ragged shopping with his relatives as well.
Brian and his mother crept upstairs and Brian pointed to the room where the little boy was sleeping. Brian's mom Jackie, smiled and quietly opened the door, gasping as she saw the sleeping tot.
"Oh Brian...he's adorable!" she gushed as she gazed lovingly at the sleeping boy.
Brian nodded and beamed a smile. "He's a really great kid!"
Brian's smile didn't seem to waver for the rest of the day as, a little later on, little Brian came down on his own and proceeded to charm his parents and his brother. Brian almost laughed as he watched as his mother naturally assumed the role of doting grandmother to little Brian.As for little Brian's part, he was elated that Brian's parents and brother seemed so taken with him.
The next day was a hustle and bustle of activity, shopping for food and drinks, getting some dishes for the Christmas dinner prepared early and making way for the giant ham and turkey that Brian had gotten for the dinner. Little Brian sat in the kitchen with Leighanne and Brian, eyeing the two foodstuffs with a mixture of awe and surprise.
"Whoa! That's a lot of ham and turkey!"
Brian laughed. "Yeah. Tonight's dinner and tomorrow's breakfast will just be my mom, dad, brother, Leigh Anne, you and myself, but Christmas dinner will be all of us and my cousin Kevin and his family."
Little Brian's eyes boggled. "WOW! We better get a bigger table!"
Brian laughed. "We're gonna put all the extensions in the table...and add a second smaller table to the end. I think we'll all fit."
Leighanne stirred one of the pots on the stove and then looked over at the little boy and smiled.
"Having a good time here?"
The little boy nodded. "This is amazing. I've never seen a Christmas like this before."
Leighanne smiled. "Well...it'll only get better. Tonight should be fun. We'll have a nice dinner and then get dressed up and go to church.
Then tomorrow we can wake up early and see what Santa brought us."
Little Brian nodded. "That sounds like fun."
Christmas Eve mass was something that little Brian had never experienced before and so he watched the procession with a rapt expression. After the service was over, Brian got up and looked to his left to see that the young boy had fallen asleep in the pew. Brian picked the small boy up in his arms and together they all made their way home. The next morning, little Brian woke up early, put his leg brace on, and crawled out of bed. He went down the hall to Brian and Leighanne's room and knocked quietly on the door. He opened the door and went over to Brian's side of the bed, leaning up and grabbing his hand.
"Brian. Wake up. Can we go see if Santa came?"
Brian's eyes opened slowly and focused, then he smiled and leaned over and grabbed little Brian, pulling him up onto the bed and tickling him, causing him to yelp and laugh. Leighanne woke up and smiled, helping little Brian fight back and pin down her husband while little Brian tickled him back .
After they had finished, Brian picked up the young boy and they all went down to the living room. Little Brian gasped as the christmas tree was just surrounded by presents, almost to the point of being overshadowed by them. As he approached the tree on one side, one of the boxes gave a yip and little Brian jerked away from it.
"Um....I think there's something alive in this one." the young boy said as he hobbled back to Brian, putting his arms around Brian's leg.
Brian leaned over and picked up the tag off the side of the box.
"Hmmm...it says it's for you." Brian said, barely containing a knowing smile.
Little Brian hobbled over to the side of the box and was just about to pull on the ribbon when a bark came from within the box. He turned to face Brian and Leighanne with a smile that lit up his whole face as he realized what was inside the box. In an instant, the young boy had the top off the box and was lifting the puppy out.
Brian looked over to Leighanne, whose face was wet with tears at the sight of the little boy with his dog. Brian got up and grabbed an envelope off the box. He walked over and sat down beside the young boy.
"This envelope is yours too."
Brian opened the envelope and held up a card.
Brian smiled. "It's for your puppy. He's scheduled to get an operation to fix his leg....on Dec 29th."
Brian held up another sheet of paper, with several cards stapled to each.
"What are those?" the little boy asked.
"These are appointment cards for you to go to a special doctor and get your leg fixed too."
The little boy yelped and clapped his hands around Brian's neck, hugging him tightly.
"But the lady at the orphanage said that the operation was too expensive." the little boy gasped.
Brian wiped away some of the tears that had begun to fall from his eyes. "Well...I figured that it is only fitting that a dog that's going to have it's leg fixed would need a little boy with a fixed leg to run and play with."
The little boy hugged Brian again then sat down on his lap. Leighanne walked up behind the two and sat down beside them as Brian pulled out another envelope and opened it. The little boy gasped as Brian pulled out a set of signed adoption papers from the envelope.
"Brian...how would you like to live here, for good? What do you think of the idea of having me and Leighanne as your Daddy and Mommy?"
The little boy grabbed at Brian and hugged him tightly, then got up and hugged Leighanne. He sat back down on Brian's lap and held onto his hand.
"I'd like that more than anything in the world."
The boy looked up at Brian and frowned, then he got up and put his arms around Brian's neck.
"I'm sorry. I didn't get you anything for Christmas."
Brian felt warm tears fall freely down his cheeks. "Oh, little buddy, believe me, you did. I got the best present in the world in you."