Hullo Everyone :D! So It's been forever since I've written anything, and since I love the holidays so much, I figured I'd write something Christmas-related. It's basically just a lot of fluff with a tad bit of storyline. I'm hoping to get it all out before Christmas day. It'll be about three parts.
There were multiple things that I loved about Christmas, the most prominent being that, on December 24th, it was the Walsh's turn to hold the holiday. My cousins on my mother's side, the Higgins, got Easter, and my mother's parents had dibs on Thanksgiving.
But on Christmas, every single person on that side of family flocked to our house. My mother cooked the dinner, and I set up the tree. We lit a fire in my fireplace and I got to choose my favorite Christmas music to play. Best of all, I didn't have to go outside in the freezing weather. When everyone else had to pile into their cars and start the journey home, all I had to do was climb upstairs and change into my pajamas.
Although multiple things were getting on my nerves right now, like the increasingly-threatening snow and the fact that my car radio had crapped out, the fact that I wasn't at home on Christmas Eve was, above everything else, gnawing at my mind.
See, the Higgins had moved out to California this past summer because of my Uncle Charlie's job. It seemed that the more they settled down in their new town right on the coast, the more excited they became. My Aunt Diana suggested that they might be able to hold Christmas this year. "Oh, Sarah! It's the perfect idea," she had told my mother. "Christmas is the perfect time to have everyone visit to see the house! How about we switch up the order, just this once? You can have Easter this year, and everyone can fly out to California the day before Christmas Eve and stay a few days!"
Yeah, it was a perfect idea, except for the fact that I, Morgan Sarah Walsh, positively refused to fly.
I wouldn't have minded that much if the Walshs had to give up one Christmas Eve so that someone else could host it. Hell, if I couldn't be home, the beautiful coast of California would be my next choice. The snow was never my thing to begin with.
But I had only been on a plane once. I was nine, on my way to Florida, and I had sobbed loudly the entire two and a half hours down. I wasn't about to go through that again, especially all the way across the United States, and my extreme fear of heights seemed to slip everyone's mind when they purchased their plane tickets.
Despite the fact that the heat in my car was barely even working, I was absolutely fuming.
I saw my dad about four or five times a year, but he always drove down to Long Island to see me. I hadn't been to his house in northern New York since I was seven years old, back when I called it my house, too. After the divorce was taken care of, my mom moved out, taking my brother and me with her.
And now, because my brother, Shaun, was away at college and my mom was currently on her way to the far side of the country, I was forced to take my car up to a place that, in my opinion, was far enough north to be considered Canada.
The snow was falling so heavily that it was almost like having a sheet in front of my windshield. I drove slowly through the upturned slush on the street, but all I really wanted to do was stomp on the acceleration and plow through it to relieve some of my frustration.
"Oh, spend Christmas with your father this year, Morgan!" I mumbled angrily under my breath, mimicking my mother. "Drive up there in seven inches of a snow while the rest of us are in California! What a lovely idea that is!" I blew the strands of hair out of my face and clamped my hands even tighter around the steering wheel, cursing my family's "bright" ideas.
I checked the directions and turned onto a highway exit. I had been driving for multiple hours now, and I was getting close to the small town where I had spent the early years of my childhood. Even so, I wasn't the least bit excited to be back. The only thing that remotely lessened my terrible mood was the thought of seeing my father two months earlier than usual.
The endless evergreens finally started to turn into a couple buildings that were spaced pretty far apart. The convenience store, bank, post-office, and two small grocery stores just about made up the town. A small diner and a few office buildings had been added since I had last been here, but all in all it hadn't changed much.
The sidewalks and the street were completely deserted. It could've been the snow, but then again, the population of the town was extremely low to begin with. A few lonely strands of Christmas lights were wrapped in the trees and a couple shops had wreaths in the windows next to the "We're closed" signs.
I knew my father's house was about a mile past town, but I wasn't sure how exactly to get there. I glanced down at the sheet of paper that was lying on the passenger's seat. In my mother's neat cursive writing, the directions were scribbled all the way down the page. My eyes scanned the piece of paper, looking for where I had last left off, but the blaring sound of a car horn forced me to look up again.
A white car was heading straight towards me. I jammed on the brake, but the wheels just slid against the icy road. The other car tried to swerve, but it only fishtailed instead. The driver jammed on his brakes, too, and the skidding noise was piercing. I shut my eyes, tightened my hands on the wheel, and braced myself for the crash, but the sudden jolt never came. I slowly opened my eyes to see that the two cars were head-to-head, but they hadn't collided.
Staring straight ahead through the windshield, I breathed heavily, nearly hyperventilating. The driver opposite me got out of his car and walked around to the front, examining the small gap between our license plates. "Wow," he murmured, scratching the back of his neck. Two more inches, and our cars would have smashed together.
The boy casually looked from one car to the other, as if this near death experience wasn't thrilling enough for him. Then my brain snapped back into my head and my notoriously horrible temper reared up. I got out of my car, slamming my door before I stomped toward this stranger.
"What is your problem!?" I yelled, approaching him.
He looked up and blinked a few times, appearing puzzled. "My problem?" he asked finally. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but it seems you were the one looking down instead of on the road…"
"It seems you were the one who was in my lane!" I accused.
The boy nonchalantly glanced around at the snow-covered street. "In all honesty, we were both in each other's lanes. The streets here aren't exactly the widest."
I couldn't understand how he was so calm about this situation. I was never the best at controlling my temper, especially when there was adrenalin pumping through my blood, and his composure was just making it worse.
"Do you know how close you came to hitting me!?" I screamed, pointing furiously at the two cars.
He shrugged, causing the fresh snowflakes that had collected on his jacket to slide off. "Roughly two inches. And I'm not trying to be impolite, but it was as much your fault as it was mine."
One more step forward put me directly in front of him, almost as close as our cars were currently situated. Even though he was more than a head taller than me, I glared up at him as if I was the least bit intimidating. I raised my arm as if to take a swing at his face, but he closed his hand around my wrist, narrowed his eyes, and stared at me curiously.
"Don't I know you?" he asked.
"No," I snapped, yanking my arm out of his light grasp and turning back toward my car. I began to trudge away from him through the snow, but he followed me.
He tried to navigate around me, attempting to get another glance at my face. "Are you sure?"
I clenched my teeth. "Yes." I started yanking on the handle of the car door, but the frost had already glued it shut.
"You look really familiar…"
Before the sentence was barely out of his mouth, I turned on my heel and pointed directly at his nose. "The only thing you're going to be familiar with is the imprint of the back of my hand on the side of your face if you don't turn around, get back in your car, drive away, and leave me alone."
His eyes widened before he put his hands up defensively. "Woah… My God, alright. I just thought you were someone I knew…" He stuck his hands in his pockets and retreated back to his white car. "Merry Christmas," he murmured before getting in. He then backed up, swerved around me, and drove off, just like I had told him to do.
After a few more fruitless tries, I finally got the door to swing open. Upon getting back in the car, I cranked up the barely-existent heat, shook the snowflakes from my hair, and attempted to thaw my fingers. I made sure to read the directions before I started up the car, and then I was on my way again.
Now that I was standing on the doorstep almost a full eleven years later, the house seemed so much smaller. For the most part, though, my father hadn't changed it around so much. The beige colored siding was still in tact, none of the three maple trees had been cut down, and my old tire swing, although seemingly ready to collapse at any second, was still hanging from a branch.
I knocked once again, louder this time, figuring that my dad just couldn't hear me over the television. With my over-night bag draped over one of my shoulders, I rubbed my hands together for warmth. The front door finally swung open, and a second later my father was in the doorway.
"Morgan!" he said, pulling me in for a hug.
"How was the drive up? Nasty weather, huh?" he asked.
I shrugged. "Yeah… It was fine." I didn't feel like plunging into the whole I-almost-had-a-head-on-collision story. For one, I didn't want to worry him. I was also slightly embarrassed of my outburst, now that both the adrenalin and my temper had lessened.
He held me out at an arms length. "Did you grow?" he asked, thankfully changing the subject.
I smirked. "No, Dad. I haven't grown since seventh grade, and I saw you four months ago."
He laughed and ushered me in, closing the door behind me. "You look older every time I see you, is all…" He took my coat and draped it over the couch, murmuring as he did so, but I really wasn't listening. My eyes were scanning over everything in the house; being here was like a very vague flashback.
"…And I was figuring that you could stay in your old room. It's kind of like an office now, but the bed is still there, and the walls are still purple and all. I just put a desk and a computer in there… It may be a little cluttered, so if you'd rather, you can sleep in the living room. The couch pulls out, if you remember, and… Morgan?"
"Hm?" I turned back to my Dad and allowed his words to sink in for a second. "Oh, yeah… Yeah, that's fine. I'll just take my stuff upstairs, okay? I'll be right back."
The room was, as he had warned me, a bit cluttered, but it wasn't something I couldn't deal with for two days. I put my bag on the purple floral-patterned bedspread and, after looking around for a bit, retreated back downstairs.
My father was sitting at the table with the morning's newspaper in his hand. He looked up as I entered and watched as I stared around at the kitchen. "Place hasn't changed much, has it?" he asked.
I shook my head and half-smiled. "No, it hasn't. It's weird to be here…"
His expression fell. "Your mother didn't make you come, did she, kiddo? When she called and asked me if it was okay if you spent Christmas here, she made it seem as if you wanted to, but I know how Sarah can be sometimes…"
"No, of course not!" I lied. "I want to be here…" I averted my eyes, staring down at the tabletop instead. My statement was somewhat far from the truth, as this entire thing really had been my mother's idea. She had insisted that I come up here so I didn't have to spend Christmas alone, but my dad didn't need to know that. There was no point in hurting his feelings.
He smiled. "Good. I'm glad you decided to come."
I nodded and forced a smile, too, but quickly changed the subject. "So what're the plans for dinner, then?" I asked.
"Well, I've got some good news. The original plans were take-out, but…"
"Oh, that's right… You don't cook," I remembered.
My father's forehead creased. "Hey now… Give me some credit, alright? Kevin Walsh can now cook fried eggs, for your information."
I laughed. "Dad, do you really plan on having fried eggs for Christmas dinner?"
He got up from the table and went to refill his mug of coffee. "I was getting to that, if you'd let me finish rather than insulting my cooking abilities. The Hendersons invited us over tonight. You remember them, don't you?"
I furrowed my eyebrows together, thinking. The name certainly sounded familiar, but I couldn't remember how I knew it.
"Jill and Tom from next door? Have three boys?"
"Oh! Oh yeah!" I exclaimed, the memory resurfacing to the front of my mind. I didn't recall too much about them, but I remembered that those three boys had more energy than I'd ever seen in one household. They used to be all over the place, bouncing off the walls and driving their mother crazy.
Since the town had always been so small, there were a limited number of kids around our age. My brother and I had spent a lot of time with the three boys from next door. Pete was the oldest. He was three years older than me, so, for the most part, he used to hang out with my brother. Eric was my age, and Caleb was two years younger than him.
I had spent most of my time with Eric, although it had been unwillingly. Eric was always the target of Pete's torture and Caleb's irritation, so, as a result of being the middle-kid who got hell from both his brothers, he'd take out his provocation on me. My most prominent memories of Eric were the ones that consisted of him approaching me in my front yard or at the small playground by our houses. He'd then proceed to bug me in any way he could, whether it was stealing my jump-rope or trying to push me in a puddle of mud. He was the bane of my seven-year-old existence until the day that my horrible temper flared and I socked him one right in the face.
"So how about it, Morgan?" my father asked, breaking me out of my daze. "You wanna go over for dinner tonight?" When I hesitated, he raised an eyebrow. "If not, it's not too late to order some take-out or something…"
"Nah, let's go over there tonight," I agreed, but my voice didn't sound too confident. After all, I had decked one of their sons.
Nonetheless, my father was probably so sick of take-out after so many years of living without anyone who had the ability to follow a recipe. He seemed so excited about the invitation, and the Hendersons had probably forgotten all about the incident, anyway.
I decided that maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. If I couldn't be at home for Christmas Eve, I at least wanted to be somewhere with a home-cooked meal and a decorated tree.
"You sure, Kiddo?"
"Yep. Absolutely." I flashed him an assuring smile.
He returned the expression and nodded once. "Alright. Great! We'll head over there around five, sound good?"
Reviews and Feedback would be greatly appreciated :) Will update soon.