Chapter Twenty-FiveMature

His eyes snapped open, seeing the soft-grey light filtered through the windows to illuminate the room’s clutter. For a moment he’s confused as to why he was looking at a bright red sheet and in a nest-like bedding on the ground, it was a very comfortable pile of blankets, not in his bed or in the tree-house. Then he remembered that it was Christmas morning and he was in Chris’ room in the blanket fort that he helped build last night. This was conformed when he saw Chris sprawled out a few feet away, snoring at a moderate level, how he didn’t hear it before was beyond him, his holiday style nightwear was half covered, his Santa was off his head and on his pillow. When he looked in the other direction, his gaze fall on Tia, who was still asleep, that’s when Alex saw something on his baby blue pillow, a box and a note that had fallen off.

‘Dear Alex’ he read in Tia’s neat hand writing, happy that the note was for him, but he couldn’t help but be surprised. ‘Merry Christmas and knowing you, this will be the first one you’ve celebrated in a long time so I hope that you enjoy it. Moving here was the best thing to ever happen to my family because we met you (Cheesy I know). You mean the world to us and I promise that I will always be here to help and protect you. Always. Anyway Merry Christmas! Love always Tia.

When Alex opened the box he found a handmade bracelet, it was made out of parachute cord and it was forest green, on the back of the note Tia explained that it was a survival bracelet, just in case of emergency, could be undone and he would not only have a length of cord to use, but he would also have matches, wire, fishing hook, and a finger hook. Alex clipped it on his slim wrist and smiled at the practical gift.

“Oh… good you’re awake.” Robert said, looking into his son’s room. “Wow… what a fort I think this is one of the best ones they’ve built.”

Alex nodded and couldn’t help, but curse himself for being so on edge around Robert, still. It didn’t matter that he was learning sign language just by being around a family that uses it on a daily bases, it didn’t matter that Robert showed no signs of wanting to hurt or harm him in anyway, no matter how quite he was and no matter how many times he muttered and looked at the ground, just so Robert didn’t understand what he was talking about. None of that mattered because no matter how hard he tried… he still had trouble feeling comfortable around Robert, it wasn’t his fault. As if by some alarm or sixth sense that alerted her to Alex’s growing discomfort… Tia stretched, waking up.

“Merry Christmas dad.” Tia yawned, running a hand through her already messy hair.

“Merry Christmas and good morning.” Robert loudly laughed; it made Alex wonder how Chris wasn’t awake yet.  “Sweetie your hair is a mess. If you can wake up Chris, you can have a cup of coffee.”

As soon as Robert left from her field of vision, the room, Tia was already throwing a pillow at her brother’s stomach, the only way to wake him up… sadly.

“Wake up!” Tia yelled, aiming to kick or punch the boy if the boy didn’t move “Chris wake up! It’s Christmas.”

“Mmph!” Chris groaned; he really wasn’t a morning person and had a very hard time getting out of bed… when he didn’t have to “You just want coffee. Sis let me sleep.”

“Santa visited.” Tia bribed playing at the Christmas loving but tired boy’s weakness.

That caused Chris to get up, even if his movement’s where sluggish. They went to their rooms to wash up. The three met up and sat there, waiting for the signal to come down, Alex hummed absently his long slim fingers drawing pictures on the ground.

“Mum! Dad!” Tia impatiently yelled “Can we come downstairs yet? I want my coffee.”

“Oh hush.” Alex said, jumping at the loud sound “Be patient.”

“Be patient.” Tia mimicked, in a squeaky southern drawl. She may like the boy… but that little fact won’t stop her from teasing him.

“I don’t sound like that.” Alex huffed “You’re been around Scarlet, Amber and Jasmine too much; they put you up to this… didn’t they?”

“No, Alex… it’s fun to tease you.” Tia laughed behind her hand, as Alex’s checks heated up.

“Okay kids.” Lily shouted appearing at the bottom of the stairs video camera in hand, rolling off course. “What day is it?”

“Christmas.” They cheered in sync

“What are your names and ages?”

“I’m Christopher Pine Peterson and I’m seventeen years old.” Chris stated leaning against the walls of the stairs, his Santa hat on at an odd angle.

“I’m Laurentia Ivory Rosamund Peterson and I’m Seventeen as well, but I’m older than Chris.” Tia said with a smile on her face, she was never one to be outdone by anyone, even her own brother.

“I’m Alexander Frost Foster.” Alex said, blushing even deeper as they all stared at him, but you had to give them a break… this was the first time the boy said their full name… what they were an old fashioned family.  “and I’m also Seventeen… but I’m the youngest.”

“Okay.” Robert grinned at his family, one that soften his hard face “Honey… let’s stop teasing them. You three can come down and see what Santa had brought you!”

The three young adults paraded down the stairs like five-year olds, laughing and sounding more like a herd of awkward llamas than young adults or people really. Sitting around the living sat five piles of presents; on top of each was a stocking with the name of the owner embroidered down the front. Lily had made one for Alex, an Ocean blue with his name in white; in fact the others were in their favourite colours. Alex blue and white, Tia green and black, Chris red and green, Lily purple and blue, and finally Robert with green and brown.

Alex carefully went to his pile of goodies, under his stocking, with candy canes and lemon drops, sat a verity of different clothes in his favourite colours; blue, brown, green and black. He looked over each article of clothing as if he had never been given something so wonderful as this, it caused Lily and Robert, who were watching the young boy to see how he would react, to grin and hug each other, knowing they helped give this boy his first real Christmas and showed him that they loved him.

After a while they gathered around the piano, while Chris expertly played the tones –having learned every Christmas song known to man- while Tia, Alex and Lily sane. Robert watched, as every show needed an attendance, sometimes Tia and Lily would fall off and just listened to Alex sing. He had a very pleasant voice; soft, lilting, sounding like water and wind if either of the two elements could sing. When they finished they had a small lunch and went to settle down for a nap. Alex disappeared to his tree house, this time leaving the ladder down, knowing that Toa would eventually follow him up.

Alex just relaxed on his back, thinking about nothing when the heard the sound of rope snapping. Rolling onto his stomach he peered over the edge to say something to Tia, but he wasn’t greeted with his best friend/crushes smile, but much more menacing sneer.

That’s it Alex thought, the comment he was going to make dead in his throat Fate is going after me for surviving this long, must really hate my family, what did we do to deserve this. This is how it ends, in the tree house that he didn’t help be build, in a place I never wanted to move to, and completely alone.

Alex just looked at his death with a steady unstartling gaze, he wanted the man who was going to kill him watch the light go out in his eyes, hoping that the image would forever haunt him, drive him insane and make him regret what he had done for the rest of his life.

I hope Lily can return the cloths and I hop Tia won’t blame herself for this Alex thought with a sad smile as fate started to begin And I never got to tell her… tell her that I love her with all my heart.          

                   

The End

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