Holiday Reads Christmas Scene:
Wish Granted: A Very Merry “X”-mas
By Michelle A. Valentine ©
The hallways of the children’s hospital are alive with energy tonight as I walk hand-in-hand with Xavier through them. He’s here by special invitation to grant a couple Christmas Eve wishes for a few boys and girls who requested to meet him. My man dearly loves his fans, but the kids who look up to Xavier really mean a lot to him. He always makes time for them. But tonight, according to the information his manager, Jimmy, gave him, he’s not the only celebrity gracing the hallways of the this medical facility, which is why there’s so much fuss with triple security everywhere the eye can see.
“It’s right this way, X,” Jimmy says as he double checks the paperwork in front of him. “Room three-oh-three—Austin Mills—age eight.”
Xavier nods and worries his lower lip between his teeth as we round the corner and head into the oncology ward. For being the biggest, scariest looking man I’ve ever known, when it comes to children, he has a kind heart.
I give his hand a little squeeze just like I always do when I need to let him know that I’m here for him without saying a word.
He stares down at me, and my gaze locks onto his light blue eyes as one corner of his mouth turns up into a sad smile. “I’m glad you’re here, Anna. I hate seeing kids sick like this, and it takes a lot out of me when I do. Fucking cancer is an evil bitch with no mercy.”
I’m right there with him on that one.
“A cure can’t come soon enough, especially for these little guys. It’s unfair, and they shouldn’t have to go through this,” I say.
“I wish there was more that I could do for them.”
I place my free hand on his tattoo-covered forearm. “You being here…that brightens their day. I’ve seen the way you are with kids. They are in awe of you.”
“You know how I feel about that role model thing. I’m not the kind of person they should look up to.”
I raise one eyebrow. “And you know that I completely disagree with you on that—no matter what kind of shitty things you’ve done in your past. These kids don’t care about that at all. To them—you’re like Superman—real hero material, so stop beating yourself up over things you cannot change and focus on all the good you’ve done since you overcame your past.”
He leans in and kisses my lips. “You believe in me far too much, beautiful.”
I smile at him. “It’s not hard to have faith in someone who has an unbelievable heart.”
We round another corner and finally make it to Austin’s room. I let go of Xavier’s hand and nod toward the room. “Get in there and make that kid’s day.”
Xavier’s lips curve into a wicked smile as he leans in and whisper’s into my ear. “Tonight I plan on making your day.”
I giggle and then kiss his lips. “I’ll hold you to that.”
He winks at me while wearing a sly smirk and then dips through the doorframe into Austin’s room. I hover around just outside the door to watch Xavier in action. His tall frame paired with his broad shoulders seems even more intimidating when he steps up beside the bed in the room.
Xavier’s muscles work beneath the white button-down shirt he has on—completely straining against his impressive biceps as he stretches his hand out to the boy in the bed. “Hi Austin. I’m X.”
The child smiles as he shakes Xavier’s hand. “You know my name? Mom!” Austin whips his head in his mother’s direction who is sitting in a chair in the corner of the room. “He knows my name!”
“I heard.” His mother grins, and I can tell she’s doing her best to appear upbeat, but she fails to hide how truly tired she is in her eyes. My heart breaks for her. She tucks her dark brown hair behind her ear and then blots away the tears streaking down her face.
Jimmy passes a baseball hat to Xavier with his stage name, Phenomenal X, pasted across the front. Xavier pulls a Sharpie out of his back pocket and scrawls his name overtop his photo on the hat before he hands it to the boy. “Here you go, little man.”
“Wow…” Austin’s face lights up like he’s just been given the greatest gift on earth. He studies the signature for a moment before slapping the cap onto his head, completely covering his bald scalp. “Thank you so much.”
“You’re welcome, champ.”
Austin quickly shakes his head. “I’m no champ, but you are. I can’t wait until you win that belt. It’ll look great around your waist. You are going to get the belt, right?”
That earns a chuckle from Xavier. “I hope so. Brian “Razor” Rollins is pretty tough and will be really hard for me to beat.”
He waves his hand dismissively. “You’ll beat him no problem. I know you will. Are you worried about Assassin coming after you when you win the title?”
The mere mention of Rex’s stage name is enough to make my skin crawl. That man is the pariah of the wrestling world as far as I’m concerned.
“I’ll let you in on a little something.” Xavier leans in a bit toward Austin. “Assassin is the biggest chicken I’ve ever met, so I don’t think beating him will be a problem at all.”
I cover mouth with my hand to hold back the smile as my man talks a bit of trash about his nemesis at Tension. Rex better be prepared when the moment does come that he has to face Xavier. Xavier has been itching to get his hands on Rex, and when the moment finally does come, I suspect there will be one hell of a show.
Xavier takes a few pictures with Austin and spends close to an hour with the boy before Jimmy advises him that it’s time to meet with the next child who has requested to meet wrestling’s resident bad-boy, Phenomenal X.
“All right, buddy. Looks like it’s time for me to go. Anything I can do for you while I’m here?” Xavier asks the boy.
Austin stares up at him with hope in his eyes. “Can I have a hug?”
Without hesitation Xavier leans down and wraps arms around the kid, paying close attention to not put any tension on all the IV and oxygen tubing that’s attached to Austin.
Warmth fills me at the sight. I wish Xavier could see what I see when I look at him. He’s always so down on himself and convinced he’s not worth all the love and support he receives from his fans. In moments like this, when his walls come down and he exposes the side of himself that’s caring, I know he deserves all the praise.
Xavier pulls away and smiles. “Take care of yourself, and never stop fighting.”
“I’ll be like you, X. I’ll never give up.”
Tears sting at my eyes as I witness the true meaning of bravery and strength from this little boy. More than anything I wish I could reach inside his frail body and rip out every inch of cancer.
“See you around, champ.” Xavier holds out his fist and Austin pounds his into it.
When Xavier turns away from the bed and heads my direction, I can see that he’s fighting to keep his emotions in check. Tears fill his eyes but then quickly bats them away as he wraps his arm around me and leads me down the hallway.
I press myself against his side. He isn’t one to talk about his emotions, so I don’t dare push him to talk about what he’s feeling. The things I’ve learned about his childhood so far breaks my heart, and I’m glad he’s opened up to me as much as he has. One day, when he’s ready, I hope that he lets me in about everything that’s happened to him in his past.
For the next three hours Xavier repeats the scene that occurred in Austin’s room with three other children who have requested to meet him. He does an excellent job of showing each and every kid he meets how much he cares about them. He chats with them, and even plays a game of checkers with one. The few stories I’ve heard about from when he was a child are completely heartbreaking. He had it rough, and knows what it’s like to struggle as a kid, which is why I believe he loves giving back to his kid fans. Anyone who has ever seen him in action can tell it’s his most favorite part of his job.
“Last stop,” Jimmy says as we round the corner, heading to the last room on his list. “Jenny Stump—age fourteen.”
“A girl? That’s cool,” I say.
“I brought her a little something other than a hat.” Jimmy hands him a t-shirt and a pair of Phenomenal X inspired sunglasses.
Xavier flings the shirt over his shoulder and wraps his large fingers around the glasses. “Is she a cancer patient too?”
Jimmy nods. “Afraid so. It’s heartbreaking.”
We stop in front of the door and Xavier heads on in. It’s different from all the other rooms he’s been in. The child already has a visitor in her room.
A rather tall man who is only about an inch or two shorter than Xavier stands beside the bed. His hair is shaped into a funky black and blonde stripped Mohawk and he has a lip piercing, not to mention several other piercings in his ears. The clothes he has on screams rock and roll with his torn blue jeans and tight black T-shirt. Like Xavier, this guy’s arms are covered in intricate tattoos, giving him that bad-boy appearance. He’s super hot.
The man notices Xavier step into the room and his eyes widen. “Holy shit! You’re Phenomenal X!”
“Riff, language.” A sassy-looking redhead scolds the man and then smacks his arm.
Riff grimaces as he stares down at Jenny who is sitting up straight as a stick in her bed. “Sorry about that.”
Jenny waves her hand dismissively. “Don’t worry. I listen to your music. I’m not offended by cursing.”
Riff chuckles. “Touché, kid.” He then turns his attention to Xavier. “We’ve never met, but I’m a huge fan. Your finishing move kicks ass. I’ve been watching wrestling since I was a little kid, and you remind me of some of the greats that made Tension so famous. I’m Riff, lead guitarist for Black Falcon.”
“The hard-rock band? I know your music. I work out to some of your tracks.” Xavier walks over beside Riff and greats him with one of those weird guy handshake hug things. “Call me X.”
“Wow,” Jenny says in awe as she stares up at two of the biggest guys I’ve ever seen. “I can’t believe you’re both here in my room. It’s like a Christmas miracle.”
“Sweetheart, I’d hardly call us that,” Riff says. “You—you’re the real miracle in this room.”
And just like that Xavier and Riff find common ground in making Jenny’s Christmas wish special. Both men dote on her, taking their time to talk with her to find out about her interests. It’s amazing how these hugely successful men can turn into putty in one little girl’s hands.
After Xavier gives Jenny her presents, he hugs her one final time. “It was awesome to meet you. Let me know if you want to go to one of the shows when you feel up to it. I’ll make sure that happens.”
“Same goes for any of the Black Falcon shows,” Riff adds. “We’ll get you backstage and you can meet the rest of the guys.”
“That would be so amazing. I can’t wait to tell all of my friends about this.” The giddy expression on her face is priceless. “They’ll be so jealous that I have two of the hottest guys in the world in my room.”
Riff’s lips turn up into a cocky grin. “You’ll get no argument from me on that. I am pretty.”
The redhead that’s been next to Riff the whole time laughs. “Jenny, please don’t encourage him. If his head gets any bigger he won’t be able to fit through the door when we get home.”
Jenny stares up at the woman, still wearing a dreamy expression. “You are so lucky to be married to him, Aubrey.”
Riff throws his arm around Aubrey’s shoulders. “Hear that, Kitten. Consider yourself one lucky lady.”
Aubrey shakes her head. “You are absolutely too much.”
“But you love me anyway.”
“That I do.”
Riff whips his head toward Xavier. “X, it was great meeting you. If you ever want to come to a show, let me know.”
Xavier nods. “Thanks, man. Same goes for Tension.”
Riff grins. “I will definitely take you up on that.”
Both men come out of Jenny’s room and then Riff heads down the hallway with his arm around Aubrey. I have to admit, I’ve never heard of Black Falcon before, but then again living with my father didn’t expose me to much more than contemporary Christian music. I’ll have to look his band up because Riff is such a nice guy that I want to support his work.
“Ready, beautiful?” Xavier asks as he threads his fingers through mine.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this man. Not only am I insanely attracted to him, but I’m completely captivated by what’s on the inside of him too—his mind and his heart. He doesn’t give himself enough credit for being an amazing person, but as long as I’m around I plan on making sure he realizes how special he is to me every day. Xavier might’ve been busy granting wishes all evening long, but tonight I realize the love that we share for one another is all I’ll ever need this Christmas.
Phenomenal X:Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1G9Wcou
Amazon UK: http://goo.gl/NXj890
Google Books: https://goo.gl/2Buv9b
Rock My Bed:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/21Qhjnd