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The Present That Was Left Behind – Chapter Five

The big night is here, the night of the play. The night that everyone has been waiting for. The cast of the show wait nervously in the wings, jostling for space in the darkness as the audience filter into the auditorium. June and Kelsey, the two presents, are in costumes made of boxes, wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper and tied with bows. Kelsey is in red, and June is in blue. Next to them stands Miles in his red and white fur costume, a fluffy white beard tied around his mouth. Behind them stand the reindeer, all 9 of them, dressed in reindeer suits with hoods that have the reindeer heads on them. Rudolph has a red nose from comic relief day over the reindeer nose on the costume.

Waiting nervously in the other wing is Hattie, in her matching suit to Miles’, and the three elves, in their long green shirts and tights, with bells on the end of their shoes and on their pointed hats so that they jingle whenever they move.

There is an atmosphere of nervous anticipation, and Miles is squeezing his hands together, listening to June’s quiet words of support. Soon enough, the lights are turned down and the hall becomes silent, a single spotlight following the head teacher as he walks onto the stage, coming to a stop in the middle.

“Well, this needs no introduction,” He says, preparing for his introduction. “The children of Year Ten have worked furiously hard recently to bring this to you, mainly on their own, but with the occasional use of Mrs Greenwood’s guiding hand.” He pauses for dramatic effect, “This is the story of ‘The Present That Was Left Behind’, with Miles Strongton as the leading man and Hattie Miller as his leading lady… Enjoy!” He walks off the stage, the spotlight dimming, causing him to trip on the stage. The lights are quickly flicked back on to let him see his way, revealing his shiny, flustered face.

In the wings, this brings Miles a moment of relief from his pre-show panic. It also receives a laugh from the audience of parents and pupils, who in return get a stern look from the embarrassed man. Once he has reached his seat, the room is once again plunged into darkness, allowing for Hattie to walk briskly onto the stage, illuminated by her own spotlight, and delivers her first line:

“It’s almost time, Santa, you need to get ready to set off.” Miles hurries onto the stage, not shy nerdy Miles Strongton at all, but Santa Claus himself.

-§§§-

The show ends with a bang, a raucous applause almost deafening Miles as he walks off stage with Hattie for the final time. She beams brightly at him and then skips off to get to the other side of the wings, where she will come on from for the final bow. As he stands there watching the parents through the crack in the curtain, Miles feels a small hand slip into his and turns around to find himself face to face with June. He grins.

“You did great out there.” She says with a small smile.

“Uh, thanks. You did too-” He begins but is cut off by the petite girl pulling his Santa’s beard off his face and giving him a kiss, their hands still wrapped together as they sidestep to the edge of the wing so no-one can see them. They can hear the announcements of the characters coming on to bow, but they don’t care, they are too engrossed in their personal little bubble. That is, of course, until Miles hears the name Santa Claus for the second time, being said in an irritated manner, and remembers that he needs to go on stage. He breaks away from June, who blushes slightly and looks down at their intertwined hands.

“I’ll be back in just a sec.” He says quickly and rushes on, pulling his beard back over his face as he does so. The other members of the cast are lined up along the edge of the stage, with just Hattie standing in the middle, looking at the wings expectantly for him to come on. She rolls her eyes playfully at him as he joins her and they take a bow for the audience, then join the others down the side of the stage.

“Where were you? What were you doing?” She hisses at him.

He stays silent, just giving her a cheeky knowing smile.

Finally.” She looks up into Miles’ shining eyes, grinning.  “I’m glad we’re all happy.”

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