Claudia was walking out from her house and was going to the shed. Now Julia and Griffens' home. She opened the door to see Charlie working on but she dosen't know what. "Hey Char whatcha up too?" "Oh Claude. I om..didn't see you come in." He was hovering over something he didn't want her to see. "I'm kinda busy can you go somewhere else?" He asks her. "Well i was just wondering where you were." "That's Nice." He says going back to the thing he was working on. "Well if you need me I'm in the kitchen." Claudia says. "Okay Claude," He looks at her motioning for her to get out of the shed. She leaves. she wanders back into the kitchen and finds Bailey looking for something. "Hey Bai." She sounds happy to see him. "Oh hey Claude, have you seen that stuff you know that I printed out for Annie?" "No..Bai?" Claudia asks. '"What Claude I'm in a hurry." Bailey sounds tense. "Well I was wondering when are we going to get a Christmas tree?" She asks. "Gee Claude, why do you want a Christmas Tree for I thought we agreed that we weren't getting one." "You mean you and Julia agreed. I didn't AGREE with you on anything. Besides Owen would like it. He could use a distraction." "Oh. Well omm.. look we can talk about it later. I have to go and meet Annie. Bye." He ran out the door. "Bye." She sounded upset. Not even her favorite brother had time for her. "Fine." She thought to herself if no one else will get one I will. She decided to call up Reed. "Hey Reed this is Claudia." "Hey Claude what's up?" "Not much, I was wondering are you busy this afternoon?" She asked hoping he would say no. "Well not really, why?" He sounded confused. "Well you see I was wondering, I mean you don't have too, but if want too could you take me to get a tree. My brothers and sister don't have the time." She said. "Sure. Love too." "Great thanks!" Claudia said. "Sure, I will pick you up in fifteen minutes." Claudia hung up the phone and brushed her hair she wanted to look nice for Reed. Finally fifteen minutes later he honked his car horn and she flew out the door. She was very excited to see him. "So where do you want to go?" He asked smiling. "Oh you know just down the street. The lot..." She looked at him. "Okay." He smiled back They arrived at the tree lot. "Well about this one." Reed asked. "No, too bushy." Claudia said starring at Reed. " What about that one over there." Reed was pointing at the tree. "No too thin." Reed was getting annoyed. That was about the tenth tree they looked at. "Not to rush you or anything, Claude, but I kinda have practice in an hour." He sai.d "Oh..Well the one over there is fine then." Her smile faded she was enjoying her time with Reed. They paid for the tree and Reed hooked it up to his car. "Thanks for taking me to the tree lot, it really helped out a lot." "No problem. Glad I could help." Reed said. They started taking up the tree up the fifty three flight of stairs to get to the house. Reed opened the door for Claudia. "Hello, Hello anyone home." Claudia yelled. "Yeah in here. What the hell is that?" Her sister knew what it was but was wondering why Claudia had a tree. "Duh Jule, it's a tree." " I know what it is but I thought we weren't going to get one." Julia said. "Yeah well I decided too. Have a problem with it?" She was getting defensive. "No." Her sister said with a little attitude. Just then Griffen came into the room. "Calm down Julia what are you going to do. do you want us as husband and wife to celebrate Christmas by putting presents under the table?" He said as he smiled at Claudia. She smiled back. Claudia brought up the tree holder and Griffen placed the tree in it. "Well i guess I better get going." Reed said. "Oh okay." Claudia said. " I'll call you later." He smiled at Claudia and he left. After setting up the tree and decorating it it was ready to be seen. Griffen turned off all of the lights.. "1,2,3" Owen said. Everyone laughed. '"It's pretee.." Owen's face grew bright. " I think it is too." Griffen said. "Beautiful..Well Griffen come on we have dishes to do." Julia said. Claudia remembered Charlie telling her about his Cancer. How now he couldn't do as many things himself and needed help. She decided to go upstairs and play her violin. It was "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas." In the second octave. She knew she was playing wonderfully and knew her mom was playing with her. After playing for a half hour her sister yelled up to her. "Claude. Reed's on the phone." "Thanks Jule." She was happy now because Reed actually called her. "Hey Reed." "HI Claudia, listen I was wondering well If you know the dance? Well if you wanted. Oh nevermind. just meet me after school at my locker tomorrow okay?" He asked. "Sure." She sounded upset she thought he would ask her to the winter dance. She said goodbye and hung up the phone. She wandered downstairs to find her sister working on something. Claudia wandered through the fridge looking for something to eat. "Claude do you think you could make a little less noise?" Julia asked "Sorry..What are you working on anyway?" Claudia asked her sister "Oh just some bills." Julia sounded annoyed. "What did Reed say?" Julia asked. Claudia was surprised her sister actually wanted to know. "Not much...He just wanted to meet me after school though." "Mmm.." Julia managed to put in. " I thought he was going to ask me to the dance." Claudia said. Julia stopped what she was doing. She couldnt beleive Claudia said that. "What dance?" Julia asked. "Oh..The Christmas Dance." Claudia imagined her and Reed dancing together. She liked talking about Reed with her sister. Oh Claude, not too sound cold or anything but Reed is a senior, your a freshman, there is no way it is going to work out." Julia said. "Julia you don't know that." She snapped. "Claudia I just don't want you to get your hopes up. I don't want to see you get hurt." Julia said to her.' "Oh well thanks for caring." Claudia said and headed for her room. The first bell rang at school the next day and she ran into her new friend Kari. "Hey Kari." Claudia said. "Hi Claude, what's up?" Her friend asked. "I don't know I am just hoping Reed Isley will aske me to the dance." She said. "Reed Isley. He's a cutie." Kari said. "I know.." Claudia said to herself. After school ended Claudia went to Reed's locker as she promised. "Hey Claudia. You came." "Yeah. so what did you want to talk about?" She asked. "Oh yeah. You know the dance and all?" "Yeah." Claudia was getting really excited now. "Well I was wondering if you wanted to go with me. You know just as friends. Your fun to be around I think It would be fun to go with you." Reed said. "I would love to go with you." She quickly said. "Okay then. See you tomorrow." He smiled. "Bye." She couldnt wait to get home and tell Julia what happened. "Claudia." Reed yelled at last period on Friday. She turned around. "Oh Hi Reed." She smiled "What color corsage do you want?" He asked her. "Red."She smiled. "Great. See you in a few." He left. Claudia arrived home at four and realized she only had two hours until he would come. They were going to go out to eat before the dance. She went into the kitchen and found Charlie. He didn't look to good. "Char are you okay. You don't look so well." She looked worried. "Fine. Don't worry about me go on and get ready now." He smiled. "Okay." She went upstairs and got dressed, put on some make up and brushed her hair. she looked really nice. "Claude." Julia said outside Claudia's bedroom door. '"Oh come on in Jule." Her sister came in. "Wow, you look really nice." Julia was happy to see her sister going to her first dance. "What time is it?" Claudia asked "Om. 5:45. What time is Reed picking you up?" "In fifteen minutes." She grabbed her sweater and they both went downstairs. "Wow. Claude is that you." Her brother Bai asked. "Yes Bai it's me." She smiled as well did Bailey. "You look very nice Claude." Charlie added. "Yeah hold on I want to get a picture." Julia said. She noticed that Charlie looked really sick. He went into the bathroom and threw up. "Char are you sure you'll be okay?" She asked worringly. "Yeah don't worry." Just then Julia came back with the camera. "Okay smile." She shot the picture. Just then the doorbell rang. Griffen answered. "Claude, Reed's here." Griffen yelled. "Okay Claude have fun." Bai said. " I will. Thanks again Jule for taking me and stuff." She said. "Your welcome." She gave her sister a quick hug. "Bye." She said. "Bye." Everyone said back. She saw Reed at the door. "You look really nice." He said and handed her the corsage. They got into the car. "So. I was thinking we go to Jacob's." He said. "Wow. Jacob's. THat place is so expensive." She said. "Yeah but I am paying and your worth it." He said. Now Claudia was really happy. They arrived at Jacob's and both ordered Fettucini Alfredo. After staying there for a while they arrived at the dance. "So do you want to dance?" Reed asked. "Yeah." She smiled. Everyone was looking at her. Everyone in the whole school thought she was so lucky to be going to the dance with Reed Isley. They danced for quite a while and then Claudia decided to get some punch. She brought back the punch and felt kind of weird. "Claude, are you okay." Reed asked concerningly. " I don't know I feel kind of sick. Like something is wrong." "Do you want to take a walk." He asked. "Yeah some fresh air would be nice." She said back. They walked around the school and Claudia decided she needed to go home. "Reed, I know this is a really nice dance and all but I don't feel well, I feel like something is wrong. Can you take me home?" SHe asked. "Sure Claude." He said. Claudia liked that he was so understanding. They got into the car. Arrived at Claudia's house a few minutes later. Reed walked her to the door. "Thanks for a really nice time." Claudia said. "I really enjoyed it too." Reed agreed, He gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Night Claudia. Hope you feel better soon." Then he left down the stairs. "Bye." SHe couldn't believe it. She had a really nice time and she had to feel sick. She went inside and Griffen was there. "Claude your home early." He said. "Yeah. Where is everyone?"She asked. "Well since your home we might as well go." Griffen said. "Go where." She wondered "The hospital." He said softly. "The hospital. Oh my god. It's Charlie isn't it." She was really worried. "Yeah." He said back. Took her by her hand and they drove to the hospital. Griffen and Claudia were in the car. Claudia was sullen and quiet not knowing what was wrong with Charlie. Griffen tried to comfort her. "So how was the dance?" He asked "Good. It was fun. Why is Charlie in the hospital?" She didn't care about the dance Charlie was sick with Cancer and in the hospital now. " He was just not feeling well so we took him to the hospital and they admitted him. I decided to come back and wait for you. I didn't want to interupt your fun with Reed." He said. "Thanks." She calmed down. "Hey everything is going to okay." He smiled. Claudia smiled back They arrived at the hospital. THis was the very same hospital where her parents were taken the night they died. She was scared to go in but she did. She saw Julia, and Bailey in the waiting room. "Bailey.!" She was happy to see him. "Oh Claude, good to see you." He said. He gave her a hug. "So what is going on. What is wrong with Charlie?" She had tears coming to her eyes. "Claude. He is going to be okay. The doctor is going to talk with us soon." She said. Claudia went over to Julia and sat down beside her. They didn't even talk to each other. THey just waited around for the doctor. Too scared to think what could happen. About an hour later the doctor came. "Hello are you the Salingers?" The doctor was examining his chart. "Yes." Julia said. "Well not much to report. He is doing much better. Just a little scare. Nothing to be worry about he should be able to leave tomorrow just in time for Christmas Eve." The doctor said. "Great. That is just great." Bailey said. "Can I see him?" Claudia asked. "Of course." Then the doctor left. "I wanna go talk with Charlie is that okay." She asked her siblings. "Yeah go on in Claude." Julia said. Nervous Claudia walked into Charlie's room. He was awake. "Charlie." Claudia was so happy to see him. She ran to give him a hug. "Heya Claude. Good to see you too." He smiled. Claudia hated seeing her brother hooked up to all of these machines. " I was so worried Charlie." She started to cry. "Oh..I am fine. don't worry. THe doctor said it is normal for this to happen. I am going to be fine." He said. "Okay." She calmed down a little. "So, how was the dance. Did you have fun?" "Yes. I did."She said. "That's good. I knew you would." He was getting really tired now. "Charlie do you want me to leave. I mean your tired. I could leave if you wanted." Claudia said. "No, Claude I want you to stay. Can you just stay on the chair over there." "Yes." She was very happy Charlie asked her that. Charlie fell asleep. THen Julia came in the room. "Hi Claude. Did you get to talk with him?" "yeah he fell asleep though and asked me to stay with him." "Okay.Well I hope you had fun tonight. I am going to the cafeteria with Bai and Griffen is there anything you want?" Julia asked. "No. I just want to stay with Charlie." Her sister touched her hand and just left. The next day Charlie wa able to come home just intime for Chrismas Eve. THe whole family including Owen and Thurber were in the living room singing carols. It was a tradition to do that. They decided to open gifts Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. They just told Owen that Santa came a little early. "Wait before we open anymore gifts there something special i want to give Claudia." He said. He went to get it. and came back a few moments later. "Here Claude. Remember when I asked you to leave the shed cause I was working on something. Well it was for you from me it isn't much but I thought you might like it." He smiled and handed the gift to her. She opened it up. Everyone was looking at her. Even Thurber. She opened it up and inside was a picture frame with Claudia and Charlie at a special event. "Charlie. I love it. Thank you." She had tears coming to her eyes and she ran over to hug Charlie. "Your welcome. I love you and Merry Christmas." He said. "Merry Christmas." Everyone said together. They all opened gifts now and started celebrating Christmas together as a Party of Six..Seven if you include Thurber... The end.