Happy Black Friday! For those of you brave enough to go out and brave the traffic, the crowds, and the VIOLENCE…good luck! I’ve done some online shopping, and I’m happy with that. Speaking of which, some AMAZING deals on whencallstheheart.com, so send your special someone to the sight for some great Christmas ideas!

So, it’s #FanFictionFriday! DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED ALL OF SEASON 4!!! Just a little background: I saw a lot of #Hearties on the Facebook fan page predicting what was going to happen during the Christmas movie after the season ended with no trace of Jack. When we found out that he would be back at Christmas, several people started sharing thoughts of what they pictured it would be like. That got me thinking. What did I want to see happen? I did a bare minimum scenario, and it got such a huge response, that I decided to take it a step further. I teamed up with my dear friend, Sarah Nitsch, (I’ll tell you more about her later,) and we wrote a full, but very short, story. We now have 4 Christmas reunion stories, and 1 post-Christmas story. So, for your official kick-off to full-blown Christmastime, I present “A Dream Come True”, written by Kami Clements and Sarah Nitsch.  And below that, just for fun, a picture of my daughter eating a “Heartie breakfast” this morning! 

A Dream Come True

Jack and his fellow Mountie rode into town as silent as mice, and Jack felt a burden as heavy as an anvil lift from his shoulders.  How relieved he felt to have made it home, and for Christmas too!  He could never thank Superintendent Collins enough for giving him leave for the holiday, and this year he intended to truly make it the best Christmas ever for Elizabeth!  Jack reached into his pocket, and his fingers brushed over the locket inside: Elizabeth’s Christmas present.  He couldn’t wait to give it to her, and what’s more, he’d be able to put it around her neck himself.   Jack looked around at the darkened town.  10:15 and the streets were deserted.  He smiled as he remembered his mother’s light-hearted complaints at how early Hope Valley closed down, but tonight he was grateful.  It made it that much easier to arrive undetected.

“Let’s get you settled,” Jack suggested, not wanting to arrive in town, then simply abandon his new friend in new surroundings. 

But his companion saw directly through his thinly-veiled attempt, and desperately tried not to snicker.  “Constable, I’ve heard Miss Thatcher’s name everyday of this journey.  Go on!  I’ll be just fine at the hotel.” 

“Oh, the front desk closes at 10:00.  You can bunk here for the night.”  They had arrived at the jail. 

“You locking me up?”  Jack smiled, but didn’t get the chance to answer before the door opened, and Bill stepped out.

“Hey, I thought I heard voices.  Can I help you, Mounties?”  Then Jack’s face came into the light.  “Jack!” Bill exclaimed with genuine enthusiasm as he rushed down the steps to meet Jack with a hearty handshake.  “It’s mighty good to have you home!” 

“Good to be home, Bill,” Jack returned happily, then glanced around.  “But I’d prefer no one else knew about it just yet,” he added in a hushed tone.  He and Bill exchanged a knowing smile, then Jack indicated his fellow Mountie.  “You think you can take care of my friend here while I…run an errand?” 

“Glad to do it,” Bill winked.  Jack nodded his thanks, remounted, then hurriedly turned Sergeant around to head to Elizabeth’s row house.

Jack and Sergeant quietly padded their way up to Elizabeth’s home, Jack’s hands trembling with anticipation.  Oh, how he wanted to see Elizabeth!  How he wanted to take her in his arms, and never let go!  The depth and intensity of his feelings for her had only multiplied in their months apart, and he was anxious to show just how much he’d missed her. 

The house was completely dark, but Jack couldn’t wait!  He didn’t think Elizabeth would be too bothered being awakened for such an occasion.  He walked up the few steps, his boots matching the thud of his heart.  He took off his hat, smoothed back his hair, firmly knocked on the door, and waited with baited breath.  Nothing.  No lamp being lit, no sound of footsteps scurrying…nothing.  He knocked again, and waited…and waited.  Still nothing.  Jack’s breath began to quicken.  Calm down, he ordered himself, as he retraced his steps back to Sergeant.  She’s probably just working late at the school

Jack chuckled to himself as he trotted over to the school, wondering if he’d find her asleep on a stack of books like he had during the eviction crisis.  His excitement built back up, and he felt a smile brighten his face as he urged Sergeant into a canter.  Just the same, it felt like hours until Jack reached the school; then he only felt his heart drop to the pit of his stomach.  He jumped out of the saddle, and raced up the stairway to try the door.  Yes, it was open, but just like her house, completely dark inside.  There was no sign that anyone had been there for hours. 

Jack fought the desperation rising inside him, and tried to push the panic back; but he felt himself panting as he roughly ran a hand through his hair.  Where could she be???  All this time…from the moment he left, all he’d wanted was to come home to Elizabeth!  Then he gasped as an idea flashed in his head: Abigail’s!  Abigail would know where to find her!  “Please, God,” Jack prayed to the Almighty as he rode toward the café, “please let Abigail be awake.  Please let her know where Elizabeth is.”  As Jack ended his prayer, he saw a light in the window of the café, and his heart immediately lifted!  An instant answer to prayer!  He nervously made his way to the door, and rapped his fingers on the window.

♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

 

Abigail breathed out a long sigh and finally sat down after finishing Rosemary’s pie order for the Christmas Eve party.  She couldn’t believe it had taken her so long!  Things were much more difficult this year with Bill acting as sheriff; he couldn’t help out in the café as much.  Carson had stopped by to lend a hand, but he had his practice now.  And Clara hadn’t even come; it seemed everyone wanted a new Christmas dress this year, and Abigail didn’t want to add stress on her daughter-in-law.  “I really need to put that Help Wanted sign back up,” Abigail ruefully chided herself.  She’d just made up her mind to get ready for bed when a knock at her door made her gasp.  Who on earth? she wondered.  But nothing could have prepared her for the hopeful face that greeted her when she opened the door.  “Oh!” she quietly cried out at the shock of Jack in her doorway. Then a relieved laugh escaped as she reached out to give him a tight hug. “Jack!”  Then she stepped back and took him by the shoulders. “I’m so happy you’re safe!”

“Thank you, Abigail.  Believe me, so am I.  Abigail, I need your help. I can’t find Elizabeth anywhere!  Do you know where she is?”

Abigail smiled slyly.  “I might be able to assist you, Constable.”  Jack’s eyebrows raised expectantly.  “She sometimes stays the night here when she doesn’t want to be alone.”

Jack’s face flooded with relief, then he gestured inside. “May I?” he implored. 

“Of course, but quietly,” she hushed as she ushered him inside.

Jack took off his hat as he walked inside, then his eyes landed on the reason for his desperate quest.  He was grateful for the wall beside him to hold him up when he felt his strength wane.  He leaned against it, sighed inaudibly, and just looked at her.  She had fallen asleep grading papers.  Her hair fell around her shoulders in soft curls.  In Jack’s mind, she’d never looked more beautiful!

Abigail appeared beside him with a gentle hand on his shoulder, and he stood straight again.  “She’s missed you so much!” Abigail informed him. 

Of course he knew, but Jack was amazed at how comforted he felt with that simple statement.  Then, he wondered what kind of toll it had taken on her.  “How has she been, Abigail?  Really?” 

Abigail waved her hand and scoffed sweetly the way she often did with Cody. “You would have thought she was a Mountie herself with how she’s been soldiering on.”  Then Abigail turned thoughtful, and gave a motherly smile in Elizabeth’s direction.  “But she hasn’t been the same without you here.”

At that, Jack felt a sudden urgency to be close to Elizabeth, a protective instinct.  But he couldn’t go to her without expressing, in part, his immense gratitude to this amazing woman who had been such an influential part of their relationship.  “Thank you for taking such good care of her.  You really are such a blessing!” 

Abigail seemed to feel the change in him.  “I was happy to do it, Jack; and it is such a blessing having you home.”  She tossed him one more knowing smile, then said, “I’ll leave you to it.”  With that, she made a gracious exit, and disappeared up the stairs; wiping tears of happiness from her eyes.

Elizabeth stirred in her sleep, as if beckoning Jack to come closer.  Jack felt himself moving in slow motion, gazing at her the whole way.  He shook his head in awe of how angelic and peaceful she looked.  When he couldn’t take the separation a moment longer, he knelt beside her, and whispered with nostalgia, “Pergisci, bella.”  Then he gently touched his lips to hers.  Elizabeth started to respond in her sleep, and Jack’s heart sang.  His eyes glimmered with unshed tears as he watched her sigh, and whisper his name while still dreaming.  He smiled joyfully; his soul was finally at peace after so many months of turmoil.  Her eyes reluctantly and lazily fluttered open. Then they focused on Jack, and her brows knit together.

Elizabeth tried to convince herself that she was actually looking at Jack mere inches from her face. “Jack?” she questioned aloud.  She’d just been dreaming about him; surely seeing him now was only a lingering effect.  But he took her left hand, and kissed her engagement ring just as he had before he left, only his eyes never left hers.  Elizabeth felt her breath get caught in her chest, and her heartrate rapidly increasing.  Then Jack placed her palm to his cheek, and pressed a kiss there. 

“I’m home,” he whispered as he rubbed his thumb over her hand.  When Elizabeth felt the day’s growth on his face and heard his voice, she reasoned it must be reality. All the same, she felt compelled to utter, “Am I dreaming?  Please tell me I’m not dreaming!” 

Jack pulled her to a sitting position, and sat next to her.  A single tear escaped his eye as he took her face into his hands.  “Oh yes, you are.  And it’s a dream come true!”  He pressed his mouth over hers with a kiss Elizabeth had only felt in her dreams for so many months.  A cry escaped her throat, and Jack took her fully into his arms, pulling her impossibly closer to him.  She put her arms around his neck, and knew she was in heaven. He kissed her breathless, then finally pulled back to gaze at her. Elizabeth knew tears were streaming down her face, but Jack willingly wiped them away.

“I can’t believe you’re here!” Elizabeth exclaimed, running a hand through Jack’s hair.  “But, how?” 

“Superintendent Collins gave me leave for Christmas.  I rode as fast as I could!”  He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand.  “There’s no place I want to be more!” 

Elizabeth let out a delighted laugh that was half a cry, and clutched him to her.  “I love you, Jack!” she whispered, squeezing him tightly.

Jack breathed in Elizabeth’s scent, loving the feel of her soft hair caressing his face and his hands, as well as the sound of her voice saying those wonderful words.  He squeezed her back, and responded, “I love YOU, Elizabeth!”  He pulled back, but kept his arms around her.  “You don’t know how many times thoughts of this moment have kept me going, kept me alive even.  And when I finished with this one, I would pick a memory of you, and play it over and over in my mind until I had it perfect.”  His eyes emphasized the impact these thoughts had had.  “It saved me.  YOU saved me.  You really are my angel.” 

“Oh Jack,” Elizabeth sighed, moving her hand to his cheek again. 

Then Jack remembered her gift in his pocket, and gently released her to retrieve it.  “Oh!  That reminds me!  I was going to save this for Christmas, but…I think you should have it now.” He brought the locket into view, and Elizabeth gasped in delight as she held it in her hand.  It was golden and heart-shaped with intricate engravings of flowers.  And it looked quite old.  “It was my mother’s.  My father gave it to her the first time he had to go away.  She mailed it to me when I was up north.  It’s a miracle it even reached me!  But it’s to remind you that no matter where I am, my heart is with you.” 

Elizabeth sighed again.  “It’s really beautiful.  Thank you, Jack.” 

Jack smiled tenderly, and picked up the clasp.  “May I?” 

“Please.”  She turned, and picked up her hair.  Jack fastened the necklace on her neck, but kept hold of the clasp so she wouldn’t know he finished.  He leaned in, and whispered just behind her ear, “Merry Christmas,” then kissed her hair.  Then he stood, held out his hand, and said endearingly, “May I walk you home, Mrs. Thornton…almost?” 

Elizabeth giggled, took his hand, and replied, “You may, Constable Thornton.  And I’ll tell you all about the happenings of Hope Valley.”

They tiptoed out of the café, wrapped their coats around them, and held hands as they walked.  Jack felt as if he were walking on clouds as he listened to her lively retelling of town and classroom events.  Elizabeth caught him gazing adoringly, but almost absently at her.  She teasingly said, “Jack, you’re not paying attention.” 

He stopped, and turned her toward him with a nostalgic smile.  “Now that’s where you’re wrong,” he countered, and kissed her.

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