"On the night before Christmas, and down the street,

Sirens were wailing, roads covered in sleet.

Robbers were stealing presents galore,

Going through breaches in stranger's doors.

Kids began to alienate,

That loser who believed in Santa at eight.

All of the Christmas trees were lit,

Decorated in ornaments that looked like-"

"Jack!"

The man turned around guiltily to face his wife, who had her hands on her hips, looking at her husband angrily.

"Sorry Rose," Jack apologized, his voice slightly slurred. He's been drinking again, Rose thought.

Jack turned toward his son, who was lying in bed with a blank look on his face. "Do you want me to read you the real story Brett?"

"No Daddy."

"You sure?"

"Yes Daddy."

"Good. Go to sleep Brett."

"Okay Daddy."

Jack kissed his son's forehead, then turned to walk out of the room, looking away from his wife's glare and only stumbling slightly. Rose kissed Brett goodnight as well, then turned the lights off and closed the door. She knew that there was going to be yelling, and she wanted Brett to hear as little as possible.

As soon as the door was closed, Rose spun around and slapped her husband across the face. He merely blinked at her, to drunk to register the pain. "You can't drink in front of him!" she hissed. "You shouldn't even be drinking at all! And that story you were telling him was completely inappropriate! He's four years old Jack! Don't you dare try to take away his childhood by telling him those awful stories!"

"I wasn't trying to Rose," Jack defended.

That was the wrong thing to say. "You weren't trying to? Well, you sure aren't trying to stop doing things like that! Show some etiquette, please!" She stormed off, slamming the bedroom door. Jack could hear the faint click of the lock, and knew that it was going to be another night sleeping on the couch.

He furiously looked around for a blanket and pillow. Settling with the tattered old blanket that had seen better days, he wrapped the flimsy thing around his shoulders and groped for another beer. He was still shooting daggers at the closed door where his wife was. The last thing he needed was her antagonizing him about how to raise their kid, and he definitely didn't appreciate how she thought that he couldn't control his drinking in front of Brett. Sure, he had a hangover more often than not, he was still a good father. He even had the potential to be a better parent than her.

Jack smiled at the thought. His lips stretched out into a sadistic smile. He could be a better parent than Rose if he wanted to. Drinking was a particularly big pitfall that he hadn't suspected, but he could still do it. It was often difficult for him to put the beer down, but if he tried he could manage. But of course, he wouldn't do that to Rose. She could be a pain, but he still loved her. Mostly.

Casting one last longing look at the bedroom door directed to his soft bed, he lied down on the couch and snuggled with the bottle in hand.

Rose was fuming over Jack. She hated how he treated herself and Brett. She hated how he always had the offensive odor of beer and smoke surrounding him. She would have divorced him years ago if it weren't for her cultural beliefs that she should respect her husband. Lately, however, she started to think that she should just shout Screw it! and run far away from her husband with Brett. She knew that the feeling was completely mutual. The idea kept getting more and more alluring every night he came home drunk.

Once again, her eyes seemed to unconsciously seek out her sleeping pills. She tried to eliminate the thought, but it just kept coming back. She cautiously stepped forward, hand outstretched toward the pills. The thought had a universal existence constantly in her mind. She tried to pull her hand away, but it seemed as if it were drawn to the enticing bottleā€¦

For once, Brett woke up to the sound of silence. It was Christmas Day. Although he hoped that his parents were finally getting along, he knew that this wasn't the case.

He walked out of his room, tiptoeing to the living room. There was Daddy, hugging a bottle tightly to his chest. Brett loved his daddy, but knew better than to wake him. Instead, Brett grabbed a hairpin and picked at the lock on his mother's bedroom door. He knew that she always locked the door to keep Daddy out.

He opened the door slowly, taking in the sight. His mommy was lying on the bed, a strange white bottle in her hand. It wasn't often that she slept this late, but Brett didn't mind. He closed the door, glad that for once she was getting a good nights sleep, smiling at the still form of his mother, who was so deep in her sleep that her chest didn't even move.

Jack's face was a perfect mask, looking down at the slab of stone in front of him. Brett wasn't with him anymore. He was taken away. Jack didn't mind though. Sure, he'd miss the kid, but he was now free from obligations such as a family to take care of. He brought the bottle to his lips.