Chapter Twenty-FourMature


On Christmas Eve Alex had shut himself into his room, so he could finish wrapping presents to put under the tree… a soft knock was heard from his door, removing Alex from his thoughts back into the real world.

“Come in.” Alex called, sticking the last piece of tape in place.

“Hi.” Chris said with a wide smile on his face “You’re ready to open some presents?”

“What?” Alex asked leaning back against his bed “It’s only Christmas Eve.”

“I know.” Chris told him, he was breathless from the excitement and it showed on his face “What didn’t anyone tell you that we open family presents on Christmas Eve and the presents from Santa on Christmas morning?”

“No they didn’t and do you still believe in Santa?”

“Come on, it’s time to open presents! I’ll help you bring your down.” Chris said, ignoring the tease from Alex, in turn for something better.

Alex just shrugged at Chris’ childish behaviour and started to pick up some of the presents while Chris took the others, bringing them down stairs to put under the large fresh tree. The pile under the tree was already sizeable and Alex felt his face flush at how small and poorly wrapped his gifts were, but he hoped they liked them.

“You know some of those are for you, right?” Tia whispered into Alex’s ear, causing him to jump and his blush to deepen in colour.

Tia’s signature smug grin had made an appearance at Alex’s panicked expression, she also enjoyed the fact that she could make him blush without even trying.

“Quite being mean sis.” Chris said, shoving his sister lightly “But she’s right, some of them are for you Alex. So, just smile and say thank you when it’s your turn.”

“Okay dears; get by the tree for a picture!” Lily said while waving her camera around. She had arrived back at the house last night and she was extremely happy to be with her children.  

Chris and Tia dutifully went and sat in front of the tree, while Alex hung back by the love seat, smiling as he watched the family traditions he thought only existed in the movies.

“Alex dear, you too.” Lily said pointing to Alex then to the tree.

“Don’t you just want your children in it?” Alex asked confusion was clear in his voice.

“We want all out children.” Lily said looking at Alex confused; she thought that they made it clear that Robert and herself thought of him as their son. “So get in there!”

“Come on Alex!” Chris whined at the small boy “Let’s take the picture already, so we can open the presents.”

Alex laughed, but went to join them anyway; he was planning to sit between the two to even out the colours. Chris with his bright red jumper that glowed against his creamy skin, while Tia wore a deep sapphire blue short sleeved top, Alex was wearing the same thing he did every Christmas a simple slivery blue button up, the only difference being someone was there to see him wear it. When he started to sit down, he learned that Tia had other plans for him… pulling the small boy into her lap, Alex looked at her wanting to know why she did it, but the look she was giving him made Alex stay on her lap and accept the fact she wasn’t going to let him go any time soon. They smiled for the camera; not knowing that Lily was taking photo’s the entire time, before
passing out the presents.

“Normally we open them in age order; oldest to youngest.” Lily explained as she sat next to Robert, Tia pulling Alex next to her and Chris sitting between the two groups “So Robert goes first.”

They went around the room each opening a single present at a time. In the end Alex had been given a brand new coffee machine –much to Tia’s delight as well- from Robert, several new books from Lily that come from different genres, several different albums of people he thought Alex should listen to from Chris and a new set of pens and a new jacket from Tia.

“Okay… now I want you kids to bring your gifts into your rooms.” Robert said “Lily and I will being you a cup of hot chocolate and don’t stay up too late.”

“Hot chocolate.” Chris cheered throwing his arms up in the air in pure joy.

They quickly brought their new belongings into their rooms and change into their nightwear. Alex was brushing his hair when Tia and Chris barged into his room, laughing and talking.

“Hey.” They said together, if it wasn’t for the different parents thing and the two week gab they’ve passed for twin with the way they talked together, not identical or mirror what with the different looks, but fraternal was passable.

“Here’s your hot chocolate.” Chris said, handing him a steaming blue mug with snowflakes in it and a long silver spoon sticking out of it. The handle was topped with a ceramic angel.

“Thanks.” Alex sighed, taking a grateful sip “What’s up?”

“Well… growing up we always had a tradition for the kids to get together on Christmas Eve. We used to build a giant fort in Harmony’s or Tia’s rooms and watch movies until we fall asleep. We were wondering if you wanted to join us in my room for the traditional Christmas sleepover.” Chris shouted in excrement.

“Sure.” Alex said grinning like a snowman in a blizzard “What movies are we going to watch?”

“Oh… the usual Christmas movies.” Tia told him “The more important part is making the fort and this year Chris has the perfect room! It’s huge and he has a giant television. This is going to be epic.”

“That’s my line.”

The three of them created a masterpiece of a fort, balancing books on top of sheets, piling blankets and pillows onto the ground in front of the TV, making a mess while they did it, but they loved every second of it. At last, they had all settled in tuning off the lights and turning on the first movie, which was Jack Frost. Chris was dead to the world before the opening credits ended, leaving Tia and Alex to watch the movie,

“Merry Christmas, Alex.” Tia whispered “It’s after Midnight.”

“Merry Christmas to you as well Tia.” Alex whispered back “This is the best Christmas ever.”

“It’s only just started.” Tia giggled.

“And it’s already the best.”

“I’m really glad we moved here.” Tia admitted “And I’m really glad that I met you.”

“Oh… that reminds me.” Alex said, reaching into his pillow case and pulling out a worn notebook. The binding was held together with tape, layers upon layers of tape, until it was more type than it was binding.

Alex handed the book to Tia without another word, which in response was to turn the light on her phone, reading the first page. When she closed the book she gave Alex a questioning look.

“It’s for you.” Alex said playing with the sheet in his hands “The day you moved in I started another journal. You asked about them, well and the thing is that I spend a lot of time on my own; that I wrote to keep myself occupied. This is the one I started when you moved in. I couldn’t think about what to give you and I know you’re curious about my life. I’m really bad at explaining things. Now you can read or see every encounter from the moment we met until yesterday afternoon from my point of view. Merry Christmas.”

“You wrote me a book.”

“If you don’t like it… I can get you something else.” Alex quickly and shyly told her, he was scared that she didn’t like it, who’d want to read about his life anyway.

“You wrote me a book.” Tia repeated “This is, hands down, the most amazing present anyone has ever given me.”

Alex’s smiled a genuine smile, rare and showing off his white teeth, pleased that he had made Tia happy. Tia wanted to remember that smile, and she made sure she did, one that was so rare, it was like someone making a love one happy, and Alex couldn’t stop the growing warmth and glow that seemed to be radiating from his middle and chest. They talked for a bit longer and Alex drifted off with the movie still playing in the background. Tia pulled a small pain box on Alex’s pillow, with a little note next to it, before pulling his blanket more securely around his shoulders, placing a small kiss on his forehead and then settling into her own sleeping bad, falling asleep with a grin on her face.                     

The End

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