And yet, warm.
You’re woken up by this exceptional sensation sprawling across your forehead. Jack is standing above you, his left hand on your head as he checks your temperature.
“What’s the story, morning glory?” he says, smiling. He lifts his hand from your brow. “You’re warm.”
Feeling much better—though still not 100%—you shoot him a “no duh, I’m going to feel warm to you” look. He laughs in response. “You look a lot better. Here, I made you this. Drink up.”
In his oven mitt-ed right hand he holds a mug of (your favorite hot drink).
Your comforter draped around your shoulders, you sit up and take the piping hot beverage from him, wrapping your hands around it. He goes and sits down in the middle of the room, looking around and occasionally back to you as you sip away. The only sounds are that of the fire popping and sputtering in the fireplace.
You notice that your book is closed and sitting patiently in front of it. Did he finish it already? How late is it, anyway? You look outside and see stars twinkling in a navy blue night sky, the bright moon barely visible from your point of view.
“It’s a good book,” you hear him say, breaking you from the window’s view. “I see why you’re reading it.”
You begin to nod in agreement, but are stopped by a sudden question. “How did you know I was reading it?”
An “uh-oh” expression takes over his countenance as his ears turn a light pink. “Yesterday wasn’t the first day I’ve been in your house,” he confesses. “I only wanted you to believe in me, so I tried just about everything that I could. I only stayed for a little bit though, I didn’t creep around or anything!”
More confused than upset, you stare into your (beverage name) and try to remember anything odd happening before you first brought Jack into your house that would have involved him coming indoors.
You smile. He must have noticed the book in your hand as you slept.
“Thank you,” you begin. He raises his eyebrow, puzzled as to why you’re thanking him instead of telling him to get out. “For the blanket. It was really kind of you. I’m sorry I didn’t believe in you and thank you sooner.”
He smiles, eyes twinkling. “No problem. Everything worked out in the end, didn’t it?”
“Yup,” you respond. “I’m really happy I can see you. I’ve always dreamt about having my own adventure. I’ve had so much fun, and I’ve learned so much about Jack Frost.”
He chuckles. “Glad to hear it.”
A pause. You finish off your drink.
He suddenly looks like he’s forgotten something very important. “Oh! How could I be so stupid? You already know a lot about me, but I know close to nothing about you!” He takes a seat closer to you, looking up at you like a child ready for story time. “Tell me about yourself, I want to hear everything!”
It takes a couple of seconds for you to register what just happened. You start to get worried. Tell him about myself? What is there to tell??
You take a deep breath and begin. “Um, well…”
You had no idea that you could manage to talk so much about yourself. It’s just so easy to talk to him. You tell him about all of your favorites—your favorite foods, color(s), television shows, places to go, et cetera. You tell him about your hobbies (reading being one of them, of course), what you like to do in your spare time. You tell him about your family and friends, inserting funny stories about them that you randomly remember here and there. You describe your personality as you know it to the best of your ability. He never interrupts you or even starts to look bored the entire time that you’re speaking.
“And uh, yeah. That’s all I can really think of right now…” you trail off.
He leans back on his hands. “Wow,” he exhales. He smiles yet again. “You are one interesting person.”
You blush lightly at the compliment.
“Any questions for me?”
You don’t really have any. You think you’ve pretty much caught the jist of who he is and what he’s like based off of the past couple of days. Jack Frost, spirit of winter, has control over snow, the cold, ice, frost, and can fly using the wind. Mischievous, carefree, loves and really knows how to have fun. Probably uses his abilities to not only have a good time but to also mess with people when he gets bored. Excellent chef. Highly charismatic. Energetic, smart, and caring when he wants to be. He has his own share of problems but can easily bounce back from more serious sentiments to his usual lightheartedness. Gone unseen for his close to 300 year existence because no one believed well enough in him until you came around.
One question finally makes its way to the front of your brain.
“Is anyone else real?” you ask. “I mean, you said yesterday that spirits—plural, spirits—like you couldn’t be seen unless people, usually kids, believed in you. Who are the others?”
“Ah, just the usual,” he says as he stands up. “You know, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, the Easter Bunny.”
“Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. They’re all real? But I was told that three of those four were all really my parents, and that the Sandman was just a legend explaining why we have good dreams!”
He shakes his head. “That’s what they just want you to believe. You see, you have to grow up eventually. The day you lose your last baby tooth tells the Guardians—that’s what those big four are called—that you’re not a child anymore. They wean you off of them, seeing you less and less until you don’t believe in them so you can take what they have given you in your childhood and use it in life. You barely notice it either since you’re more concerned with a more grown-up life than the magic of any of them anymore.” He anticipates your next question. “Ever had a dream so realistic that you have a rough time determining if it was reality or just a dream? The Sandman can conjure those up and have your folks dream them, making them believe that they’re the ones who put presents under the tree, a quarter under your pillow, or hid eggs in the backyard. The Guardians and their helpers put little pieces of evidence in real life to help support this idea that it’s all your parents. In truth, they’re all still very real and present in the lives of kids. They’re the Guardians of Childhood, ensuring that each child has wonder, hopes and dreams in their lives. Or something like that,” he finishes with a wave of his hand.
You sit there, absorbing all of the information.
“But you…you’re not a Guardian?” you finally manage to ask.
He shakes his head again. “No way. Too many deadlines, too many rules, too much stress. That’s not for me at all.”
“So you’re just a spirit with some incredible powers.”
He shrugs. “Pretty much. Kind of like the Leprechaun.” He leaves the room.
Your head is swimming. It’s time for another nap.
Jack returns, cloak tied around his neck and staff in his hand.
“Going somewhere?” you ask, curious.
“Yup,” comes the reply. He looks at you, smiling. “I may not be one of the Big Four, but I do have a pretty important job. I’ve been cooped up in here for a little too long. After all, if there’s no me, there's no snow, no winter.” He winks and opens the door and takes a step out.
You get up, your comforter falling from you. “Wait!”
He turns around and puts his hand on your shoulder. He looks straight into your eyes. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon. There’s a blizzard that needs to be delivered to Moscow.” He turns back around and steps outside. You take a few steps after him. A gust of wind lifts him up high into the air.
You suddenly remember something. How could you have forgotten to tell him this earlier?
“Jack! I forgot to tell you something!” you yell after him.
He looks back at you questioningly before he flies off.
“My name is…”