It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

 by Pauline


For word: As always, my thanks to Diane for her beta. I hope that you enjoy this Christmas tale. I’ve given Lee a break from all the intrigue and injury.



“Aren’t you ready yet?”  Chip teased as he watched Lee knotting his tie. “And they say women take a long time getting ready.”


Lee sighed. “I suppose I should be grateful that the Admiral isn't making us wear some ridiculous costume.”


      “Come on, Lee, lighten up, it’s Christmas.” Although Lee always joined in the festive activities at the institute, Chip got the impression that Lee did not enjoy this time of year. He noticed there had never been a tree decorating Lee’s home.


     “I’m not a party person,” Lee finished his tie and turned from the mirror. “Okay, let’s get this over with.”


“You make it sound like a death sentence. I get it.  You don’t like parties.”  Even at Annapolis, Lee had always been reluctant to talk about Christmas.  Third year he had finally consented to spending the holiday with Chip and his family and Chip had seen another side of his friend that year.  Lee had relaxed and let down the barriers that he usually maintained.  After that, Lee had spent several Christmases with Chip and his family and had become a Morton in all but name.




Nelson had sent a car for them.  Chip wasn’t sure whether it was to make sure that his reluctant Captain made it to the party, or because he simply wanted them to relax and enjoy themselves.  Lee was not a big drinker.  Beside him in the back seat, Lee was clearly not looking forward to the evening ahead; he kept fiddling with his tie and looked distinctly uneasy.  Lee could handle whatever was thrown at him while at sea, and usually took most things in his stride, so why was he acting so nervous tonight?


“Relax, Lee.”


Lee frowned at him. “I’ll be glad when this is over.”


Morton shook his head. “You'll enjoy yourself more if you relax.”  Chip was looking forward to the evening, which he planned to spend with Lindsey.


Lee looked at him with suspicion. “Don’t even think about it, Mister,” he warned.


“What?” Chip asked innocently.


“I know that look, you’re plotting something.  If you’re planning on match making you can forget it.”


Chip held up his hands. “The thought never entered my mind.”


“I’m going to hold you to that.”


“What’s going on with you tonight anyway?”  Chip wondered again if it had something to do with Christmas. Although Lee never talked about it, he knew that Lee’s early years had not been easy after his father’s death.  He had asked Lee if he had any plans for the holiday, but Crane had been evasive.


Lee shrugged. “Sorry, it’s nothing; I’d rather be somewhere else is all.”


“Yeah, I know – like in your cabin doing paperwork.  I know you, Lee Crane. So does the Admiral.”  It was clear that Lee was wound up over something and Nelson would notice his mood immediately.  The two had become close since Lee joined the Institute.




They were approaching the institute and the car slowed as it pulled off the road and through the gates then continued to the administration building.


The Institute gala Christmas party was in full swing.  It was being held in the cafeteria, which had been decorated by the institute staff for the occasion.  There was a large Christmas tree that nearly reached the ceiling, decorated with lights, glass balls and tinsel, with a big pile of brightly wrapped gifts beneath it.  A buffet was spread out on tables along one wall, with a large punch bowl in the centre of one of the tables.


“Chip, it’s about time you got here,” Lindsey Jamieson greeted, slipping her arm under Chip’s as the two officers entered.


Lee smiled as he watched his friend being dragged away.  He’d slipped easily into Captain mode, putting on the braid for the crew and their wives/girlfriends.  He usually went home to his mother for Christmas, but this year he had his own plans.  It was his first Christmas in the lighthouse, and he wanted it to be a new start in more ways than one.  He had invited his mother for the holiday.  He would have extended the invitation to Chip, but his friend had already accepted an invitation to spend Christmas with Lindsey and her father and Lee did not want to make Chip feel guilty, so had not said anything.


He ordered a Club soda and surveyed the buffet, he wasn’t really hungry, but he needed to give the impression that he was eating something, if only to satisfy his CMO.  Lee didn’t intend to stay, only long enough to for fill his obligation to the institute. He had a lot to do at home, including two trees to decorate, before he picked his mother up from the airport. 


After filling his plate with a selection from the buffet, he sat down at one of the tables that were scattered around the room.   The Admiral hadn’t appeared to have noticed him arrive.  Lee had also debated inviting Nelson to Christmas dinner, but he knew that Nelson usually spent the day with his sister Edith, not that Lee wouldn’t be happy to have Edith come along, despite her flirting with him.  But he was not sure, although he and Nelson had become close friends, he was still a junior officer and employee and he knew that certain people already disapproved of his friendship with the older man; saying that Nelson gave him too much autonomy and that he took advantage.


“Are you going to eat that or continue to look at it?”


Lee looked up and smiled. “Hi Jamie, take a seat,” he invited, aware that there was probably an ulterior motive for the doctor’s appearance.


“Don’t mind if I do,” Jamieson dropped into the chair opposite.


“Chip tells me that he is spending Christmas day with you and Lindsey.  Those two must be getting serious,” Lee ventured in an attempt to deflect the conversation from his appetite.


Jamieson frowned as he picked Chip and his daughter out in the crowded room. “I was hoping that Lindsey would find herself a nice safe doctor.”


“What’s wrong with Chip?  You don’t think he’s good enough for your daughter?” Lee asked, a little surprised by the doctor’s reply.


“Heavens no. It’s what we do...well it’s dangerous, and I wouldn’t want to see her get hurt.”


“Don’t worry, Jamie, I don’t intend to let anything happen to Chip. He’s important to me, too.”


Jamieson smiled at him. “Is that why you take all the risks?”


“Something like that, plus it’s my job as Captain.”


“Well, Captain, spare a thought for your CMO the next time you put yourself in danger.  You’re important to all of us.”


“Thanks Jamie,” Lee raised his glass. “Merry Christmas.”


“Merry Christmas, Lee.”






Lee couldn’t help grinning to himself as he opened the door to the tower room where he had stashed the trees and decorations.  He was really pleased with the way this part of the lighthouse had turned out.  He’d had the walls reduced in height and had tall windows installed on three sides, giving a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape and ocean; it reminded him of Seaview’s observation nose.  Topped by a domed ceiling, the room was decorated in pale blue and white, with a denim blue carpet.  Two 2 seater white leather settees, matching foot stool and a glass and chrome coffee table finished the sunroom.


The larger of the two trees, a seven foot blue pine, was for this room and Lee couldn’t wait to see what it would look like when it was decorated.  He started dressing the tree with blue LED star lights, winding them through the branches. It took him a few minutes to weave the lights around the seven foot tree and when he had finished, he added silver droplet baubles, hanging them carefully on the tips of the branches.  Finally he finished off with tinsel and a star on the top.  After turning on the lights, he stood back to look at the tree and nodded to himself in satisfaction.  Caught up in the magic of the moment, he couldn’t resist turning off the main lights.  Set against the view of the dark ocean, the tree looked truly enchanting and he sat down, relaxing on one of the settees and stretched his leg out in front of him. Perfect.


He could have sat there all night, but he still had the other tree to decorate as well as the rest of the preparations.  Fortunately, he already had the turkey and all the trimmings, so he didn’t need to worry about the food shopping.  Being away at sea had not given him much time to get everything ready. Luckily, the institute party had been held early enough to give those of the crew that needed to get away, time to get home for the holiday.


His other tree, a Douglas fir, was slightly smaller at 6 ft. and was for the living room of the main house.  He carried everything from the sunroom into the house and set the tree in one corner of the living room. Turning his attention to the large cardboard box containing the decorations, he found the multi-coloured lights and set about putting them on the tree.





Lee opened his eyes to sunlight streaming in. Was it really morning already? It seemed that he had only gone to bed a few minutes earlier, after staying up late, putting the final touches on the decorations. He still had one thing to add to the tree. He was going to string some popcorn like his mom used to do when he was young. Throwing back the quilt, he climbed out of bed and headed for the shower.


It was a cool 54 degrees and Lee dressed in sweats before leaving the house for his usual morning run along the beach.  The sun was a pale globe behind the cloud that was beginning to burn away under its heat.  It promised to be another sunny day.  At home in New England, there would be snow.  If he was honest with himself, the reason he was reluctant to go home for Christmas was that there were too many memories there of the happy times when his father had been alive.  He loved his mother, and he knew that she had tried to make him happy, but Christmas never had the same magic for him since then.


He started slow, letting his muscles warm up. Lee enjoyed the beach at this time of day, listening to the sound of the surf and the cry of the gulls. The beach swept around in a gentle curve, the sea sparkling in the early sunlight, the white foaming waves breaking gently on the golden sand.  He felt so fortunate to live here near the sea that he loved. Reaching the end of the beach, where the cliffs jutted out into the ocean, he could go no further and he started back the way he had come.  He was getting hungry and looking forward to breakfast.  The one thing he missed about his apartment was being able to go to the deli for cinnamon rolls in the morning.





Doctor Will Jamieson locked his car and made his way towards the medical centre.  He had a few last minute things to take care of, and then he was off home to get ready for his daughter’s arrival tomorrow, along with Chip Morton.  It would be good to have company on Christmas Day.  Will contemplated whether he should have invited Lee Crane.  He had a nagging suspicion that their Captain was spending the holiday alone at that remote lighthouse he now called home.


Pushing through the door, he entered the foyer and headed for the elevators.  His mind was going over the end of cruise report he had to approve and sign, as well as some letters his secretary should have ready for him. It being Christmas Eve, he was planning on letting her leave by lunchtime and he didn’t intend to be far behind her.  He punched the call button for the elevator and waited for it to arrive.  The medical centre was quiet and he hoped that it would remain that way.  Please don’t let some hapless idiot break something.


Shaking his head at the thought, Jamieson stepped into the elevator car and pressed the button for the second floor.  His office was close to ICU so that he could keep an eye on his favourite patient when he was ensconced here in Med Bay.  As many patients as possible had been sent home for the holiday and the floor was almost deserted when he arrived.  There would be doctors and staff on call in case of emergency, and he himself would be on standby for anything relating to Seaview’s crew, but he still hoped that he wouldn’t be needed.  Apart from Crane, the other crew members most likely to get themselves in trouble were Riley, Kowalski and Patterson, especially Riley and he wondered what the rating was doing for the holiday.


“Good morning, Miss Garrett,” he greeted his secretary with a smile.


“Morning, Doctor, that report is waiting for you on your desk and I’ll bring these letters through for signature shortly.  Can I get you some coffee?” she offered.


“No thank you, I can manage to get my own coffee,” he smiled as he headed into his own office and poured himself a cup of coffee, before sitting at his desk.  Taking a sip, he was reminded of his nagging Nelson and Crane on their consumption of coffee.  Maybe you need to listen to your own advice, he told himself.  Setting the cup aside, he turned his attention to the folder on his desk.





Lee waited at arrivals among the crowd waiting for the appearance of a friend or loved one.  There was a hum of excitement as the passengers from his mothers’ flight started to walk into the terminal.  He caught snippets of conversation between the people standing next to him.  As his mother appeared he smiled and waved.  She caught sight of him and waved back. 


It took a minute for him to find his way through the crowd to meet her. “Hi, Mom, did you have a good flight?”


“Yes, thank you, dear,” she gave him a kiss on the cheek before casting a critical eye over him. “I hope that you have been taking care of yourself?”


Lee grinned. “I’m fine Mom.” He took her arm. “Let’s grab your bags; I’ve got the car outside.”


“That little red sports job?”


“Yes, I still have the Cobra,” Lee laughed at his mother’s indulgent tone.  She never openly criticised his choice of vehicle, but he could hear it in her voice.


"How are Admiral Nelson and that nice secretary of his?”


So she hadn’t given up trying to play matchmaker. He knew that she wanted him to settle down and find a wife.  “They are fine, Mom and no; I am not going out with Angie.”


“I don’t know why not! It’s obvious she likes you, and you are not getting any younger. I would like grandchildren one day.”


It was only natural that she wanted grandchildren, but that wasn’t going to happen any time soon and certainly not with Angie.  She did flirt with him, but they were only friends, nothing more “Give me a break, Mom, we’re friends and you know that the only lady in my life is Seaview.”


His mother shook her head in silent answer as they reached the carousel.




“Isn’t this a little remote?” His mother commented as she surveyed the lighthouse from the car as they approached; it felt like the middle of nowhere.


“Nah, it’s peaceful and quiet,’s a lighthouse,” he grinned, as if that explained everything.


Eileen Crane glanced at her son; Lee had always had a fascination with the sea and lighthouses.  She wasn’t sure where he’d got it from as neither she nor Lee’s father had any connection to the sea.  Before his death, Lee’s father had wanted his son to go into the family business, but he hadn’t been interested.


He pulled up in front of the house and she wondered again how he managed to get his 6 ft.1 in. frame into and out of the small car.  She waited while he came around to her side and opened the door for her. 




A traditional wreath decorated the front door, and inside there were garlands, lights and candles decorated every room.


“Oh, Lee, it looks wonderful,” she smiled in delight.  It appeared that Lee took after her with his interior design talent.


“Thanks, I thought we could string some popcorn for the tree later.”


“Of course we can, and I’m going to bake your favourite cookies, cakes and pies.”  She was determined that this was going to be a perfect Christmas for her son in his new home. “Now where is the kitchen?”


Lee's smile broadened in amusement. “Don’t you want to see your room first?”


She waved off the suggestion. “There’s plenty of time for that later.  I want to get started.  I hope you’ve got enough provisions.”


“There are only the two of us,” Lee reminded her.


“So, you can freeze what we don’t need and have it later.  You need to eat more.” She badgered gently, nudging him in the ribs.  She tried to keep her maternal instincts in check, but sometimes he needed reminding to take better care of himself.


“You sound like Jamie.” Lee chuckled as he led the way into the kitchen.





They had spent a pleasant afternoon; Lee helped her with the baking, something that he’d enjoyed doing when he was young.  When Lee was a boy, he would get so excited at Christmas.  After they had all gone to bed, Lee would sneak back down to try and get a peak at the gifts under the tree.  His father would usually catch him, and send him back to bed with a smack on his rear end.


Eileen really enjoyed having this time with him. Lee very rarely seemed to make it home these days.  She should speak to Admiral Nelson about giving Lee more time off.  She hadn’t seen him since last fall, when he had come home injured.  She never saw him that Christmas and she wondered where he had gone.  She liked to think that he had spent Christmas with Chip Morton or the Admiral.  She knew that Chip would not knowingly let Lee spend Christmas alone.


Sipping her wine, she watched him surreptitiously over the rim of her glass.  It was good to see her son in such a relaxed and cheerful mood.  She was aware that it had been a tough year for him, although he never talked about it; news of Seaview’s achievements sometimes made the news, although she suspected those events were only the ones that they wanted people to know about.  It worried her, especially after Seaview had sunk the first year that Lee had taken over command.  How could they have strayed into a derelict mine field?  Thank goodness that most of the crew had escaped unhurt.  She had a feeling that there was a lot more went on at the Nelson Institute than scientific research, and that her son was a lot more involved in that than being Seaview’s Captain warranted.





Nelson was pleased to find Lee’s office in darkness and the door locked.  He’d half expected to find his workaholic Captain doing paperwork.  However, it seemed that his suspicion had been unfounded.  Nelson’s sister had wanted to know why he had not invited Lee for Christmas, and he had to admit that he didn’t know what Lee was doing for the holiday this year.  Lee usually went home for Christmas. Or so he told everyone.  Nelson suddenly realised that he hadn’t seen Lee at the party last evening, but he had sent a car for his two senior officers and was sure that Chip would have made sure Lee came to the party.  Anyway, what Lee did in his own time was his own business, but Nelson didn’t like the thought of Lee spending Christmas day alone.  Heading for the elevator to his penthouse, Nelson debated whether to call Lee at home, but if Lee thought that he was checking up on him, he would not be happy.


His footsteps echoed in the empty corridor as he past the silent offices, their occupants gone for the holiday.  Nelson was planning to attend midnight mass with his sister; maybe he would bump into Chip Morton and could ask him if he knew what Lee was doing.  The elevator door slid open and he stepped inside the empty car, Christmas carols were still playing softly from the P.A.  The institute was not completely deserted; there were still security staff on duty.  Nelson smiled to himself as a thought came to mind.  “It wouldn’t hurt to have a quiet word with the guard on the gate to have him contact him if Lee should turn up.  He would call the gate as soon as he reached the penthouse.





Lee was stretched out in an armchair, beer in hand as he gazed out at the darkness beyond the windows.  There was only a light wind and the sea was calm, the sky was clear and there were probably stars sparkling.   It still felt strange not to have snow at Christmas.  The temperature in Santa Barbara rarely dropped lower than the mid thirties and it never snowed.  He took a swig of his beer, drinking it straight from the bottle, before glancing across at his mother.  The film she had been watching was ending, he noticed.


“Would you like anything else to eat?” she asked.


“No thanks, I couldn’t manage anything else,” he assured her.  He couldn’t remember the last time that he had eaten so much.  The amount of food his mother had prepared would be enough to feed the whole crew.  He was about to lever himself out of the chair when there was a loud boom and he spotted a bright flare of light from somewhere out at sea.  “What was that?”  Getting up he moved to the window.  He could see something on fire out on the water.  Leaving his beer on the window ledge, he hurried through to the kitchen and out the door, running towards the beach.


“Lee, what is it?” his mother called after him.


“Call the Coast Guard, there’s a boat on fire,” he called back to her.


Reaching the waters edge, he paused only to remove his shoes before dived into the ocean, gasping as he hit the cold water.  Waves broke over him as he started to swim.  Diving under the waves he struck out in the direction of the boat.  If there were any survivors in the water, they would need help fast.  He was a strong swimmer and even fully clothed, he made good speed towards the burning craft.  When he was close, he stopped and trod water.  Shaking the water out of his eyes, he looking around him for anyone in the sea.  Burning pieces of wreckage floated on the surface and he could feel the heat from the fire.  He spotted someone floating nearby and swam over.  The woman, her clothing shredded by the explosion, was barely conscious.  “It’s all right, I’ve got you,” he told her.


As he started towing her back towards the beach, he could hear a chopper overhead. Good, they could search for additional survivors.  He concentrated on the woman; she appeared to be unconscious and was probably in shock.  It took him a little longer to get back to shore with the woman, but finally he reached the shallows and carried her up the beach to where his mother was waiting.


“Lee, are you all right?” his mother asked.


“Fine,” he panted, laying the woman on a blanket that his mother had spread out on the sand, and dropped to his knees beside her.  He checked for a pulse and was relieved to find one.


“Is she?”


“She’s alive,” he turned her into the recovery position and wrapped the blanket around her.  The evening air on his wet clothes made him cold and he started to shiver.


“You need to get out of those wet clothes,” his mother told him as he handed him a large bath towel.


“Thanks,” he rubbed his hair before pulling his shirt off and wrapped the towel around his shoulders feeling the warmth slowly returning to his body.  He watched for a moment as off shore, the helicopter hovered over the wreck, its powerful searchlight playing over the water.  He wondered if they had found someone; he doubted that the woman had been alone on the boat.  A man was lowered down from the helicopter and he pulled another body from the water back up with him.


Because of the remoteness of the location, it seemed a life time until the emergency services arrived and took charge of the situation.  There were suddenly flashing lights and sirens everywhere.  A paramedic approached Lee and asked if he was okay.  Lee assured him that he was fine and did not need medical attention.  The last thing he wanted was to be hauled off to hospital on Christmas Eve.  All he needed was a shower and maybe a cup of something hot to drink.  He was much too busy assisting his rescued victim to the ambulance to notice there was a TV crew reporting the boat accident.






Dressed in pyjamas and a warm robe, Lee sat at the kitchen table, his hands wrapped around a mug of hot chocolate.  The woman and one other survivor had been airlifted to hospital and quiet had once more descended over the lighthouse. Hell of a way to spend Christmas Eve.  But he was glad that he had been able to save the woman.


“Are you sure you’re all right, Lee?” his mother said, worriedly.


Lee smiled. “Yes, Mom, I’m fine.”


She reached across the table and put a hand on his arm. “That was very brave, I’m proud of you.”


Lee shrugged. Compared with some of the things he’d done, it had been easy. “It’s part of what I do.”


“Yes, but you’re on leave.”


Lee sipped his chocolate. “Maybe, but I’m never really off duty.”


“That’s your trouble, you never take a proper holiday.  I’m going to have words with that Admiral Nelson,” His mother replied, chastising.


Lee couldn’t help laughing at the picture that formed in his mind.


“You might well laugh my boy,” she frowned, “but just you wait, Lee Crane.”


Lee yawned and looked at his watch. “It’s past midnight, I think it’s time we were in bed or Santa won’t come,” he joked, grinning.


His mother shook her head at him.  “Off with you, then.”


Getting to his feet, he took his mug with him and headed for the stairs. “Goodnight, Mom.”


“Goodnight, Son.  Merry Christmas.”





Still in her nightgown and robe Edith Nelson looked at her reflection in the mirror and ran a hand through her loose flowing red hair. It was Christmas day and for once she decided that hair and makeup could wait until later, she needed coffee.  It was going to be a busy day, although there was only going to be the two of them for Christmas this year, she still had a lot to do.


Leaving the guest bedroom, she made her way through to the kitchen, pausing in the family room to switch on the TV.  She flicked through several channels, but found nothing of interest, so leaving it on, she continued into the kitchen.  She didn’t usually eat a big breakfast, but Harry would want a cooked breakfast.  She had heard him in the shower and he should be putting in an appearance shortly. By the time she had her own breakfast of cereal, toast and coffee on a tray ready to eat in front of the TV, her brother arrived.


“Morning, Edith.”


“Morning, Harry, coffee is ready.  What do you want for breakfast?”


“That’s all right, you go ahead and eat. I can fix my own breakfast.”


“Okay, if you’re sure,” Edith picked up her tray and took it through to the family room and settled herself on the couch with the remote.  The news was on and she determined that they could do without all the doom and gloom on Christmas day.  She was about to switch channels when a report of an explosion on a boat, and a dramatic rescue by the residence of a converted lighthouse came on.  She watched as the camera turned from the reporter to an ambulance, where a tall, slim figure wrapped in a blanket stood talking to a paramedic.  Edith almost choked on her cereal as she recognised the man as Lee Crane.  “Harry, come look at this, quick,” she called to her brother.


“What is it?” Nelson asked from the doorway, a mug of coffee in his hand.


“Quick, it’s Lee, he’s on TV.” She turned from the TV and beckoned to him.


“What?”  By the time he’d joined Edith on the couch, the camera had turned back to the reporter.


“Lee rescued a woman from a burning boat last night,” Edith told him.


“Is he all right?” Harry asked anxiously.


“He seemed fine, but I didn’t get to see him properly.


Muttering under his breath, Nelson put down his coffee and reached for the extension.







Also busy in the kitchen, Eileen Crane picked up the receiver from the wall phone. “Hello, Eileen Crane speaking.”


There was a pause while she listened to the person on the other end.


“Admiral, how nice to hear from you,” she said cheerfully, pleased that Nelson should think to call on Christmas day. “Yes, Lee is fine; do you want to speak to him?”


Another pause as Nelson explained that he had seen the news and was calling to check on Lee.


“Why don’t you come over, I’m sure that Lee will be pleased to see you.”  She smiled as Nelson replied that he did not think Lee would be pleased if he knew that Nelson was checking up on him, and that he did not want to impose. “It’s no imposition and I won’t tell Lee that part.”


Nelson thanked her and she hung up.


“Who was that?”  Lee asked as he walked in and headed for the coffee pot.


“It was Admiral Nelson. I invited him over.  You don’t mind, do you?”


Lee turned from pouring himself coffee and smiled. “No, I was going to invite him, but I thought that he might have other plans.”  Lee took a cookie from the jar and took a bite.


“Lee Crane, you are not eating cookies for breakfast,” she chastised.


“Why not, it’s Christmas, can’t I have cookies for breakfast for once.  Geez, as if I don’t get enough nagging from Jamie,” he grumbled leaning back against the worktop.


Eileen Crane couldn’t help smiling at her son.  It was good to know that someone other than her was looking out for his health.


Any further conversation was interrupted by a knock on the door. 




“I wonder who that is, the Admiral can’t have arrived so quickly,” Lee speculated as he headed off to the answer the door.


“Chip, what are you doing here?” Lee asked upon finding not only Chip at his door, but Lindsey and Jamie as well.


“Hope you don’t mind us dropping in, but we heard about last night,” Chip told him.


“Yes, of course – come in,” Lee stood back and held the door open.  Last night, how did they know about that?  Unless...  Lee led them through into the living room, when his mother appeared.


“More of your friends, dear?  Chip, it’s lovely to see you,” she gave him a quick hug and a peck on the cheek.


“Mom, this is Lindsey, and of course you know Jamie,” Lee introduced.


“Pleased to meet you, dear,” she gave Lindsey a hug.


“The place looks great. When did you do all this?” Chip asked.


“Now you know why I was in a hurry to get away from the party,” Lee grinned.

“How did you know about last night?”


“Oh, it was on the news.” His mother informed him.


Lee groaned and shook his head. “Oh, no.  That’s why the Admiral rang.”


“Yeah, you’re a hero, buddy,” Chip slapped him lightly on the shoulder.


“Is it too early to offer anyone a drink?” his mother asked.


“Maybe coffee, Mom,” Lee suggested, although right now he could have done with something stronger.


“I’ll help you,” Lindsey offered, following Mrs Crane into the kitchen.




Soon everyone was seated, drinking coffee and eating the selection of nibbles that his mother had placed on the coffee table.


“Will you stay for lunch?” Mrs Crane asked, glancing at her son for approval.


Will Jamieson looked uncertain. “I don’t know, we wouldn’t want to put you to any trouble.”


“It’s okay Jamie, Mom has made enough to feed the whole crew,” Lee joked. “Besides, I was hoping you would stay.  I wanted this Christmas to be special and...”  He ducked his head self-consciously and shot a glance at Chip. “It wouldn’t be the same without my second family.”


Jamieson smiled. “In that case, how can we refuse?  Thank you.”


“Great,” Lee helped himself to another cookie and relaxed in the armchair.  The only person needed to make his family complete was the Admiral.  He was grateful that the incident last night had made the news, if it had caused things to turn out the way they had.  He made a mental note to ring the hospital later and find out how the couple from the boat were doing.


As if on cue, a knock at the door signalled the arrival of Nelson.  “I’ll go,” his mother said, putting a restraining hand on Lee’s shoulder as he started to rise.






Nelson smiled, pleased to see that his Captain and friend was indeed okay after his late night swim.


“Admiral,” Lee pushed to his feet, smiling broadly.


“Hello, Lee,” Nelson looked around at the smiling faces. “I see we are not the only ones who saw the news,” he commented.


“No, Admiral,” Lee blushed.


Nelson chuckled at Lee’s embarrassment.  It never ceased to surprise him that Lee could change from the stubborn, self-assured, resilient and sometimes reckless Captain of Seaview, into a shy and at times, vulnerable young man.  They were all guilty of forgetting that beneath the front Lee presented to the world there was human being with needs and emotions.


“Oh, for goodness sake, Harry!” Edith pushed past him. “Lee,” she walked up to him and gave him a kiss.


“You will stay for lunch, won’t you, Harry?  Can I call you Harry?" Eileen Crane interrupted, looking very pleased with the turn of events.


“Yes, you must.  After all, the family wouldn’t be complete without its father,” Jamieson inserted.


Nelson felt pride at the doctor’s comment. Yes, this was his family and watching Edith with Lee, he envied her familiarity with him.  Although he never admitted it, he looked on Lee as a son.  “All right, on one condition, that you all come to me for dinner tomorrow.”


There was a chorus of acceptances and Lee gave him a shy smile. Edith had turned to talk to his mother.  Nelson walked up to him and drew him into an embrace. “Merry Christmas, Lad.”













Happy Christmas Everyone