New Year’s Eve for the Peterson family was an exciting one. Lily and Robert held a party for their new friends and co-workers, they also invited acquaintances and pretty much everyone they knew –Lily went as far to invite the bank teller and mailman over- while the adults had their party down stairs the teen’s had theirs in the basement, away from the alcohol. The basement was more of a ballroom, covered in comfortable coaches. Tia, Alex, Chris, Scarlet, Jasmine, Amber and Joseph were having their own decisions while watching TV and eating snacks that Lily left for them. Luna was running from the two groups.
None of the teenagers had to go downstairs as the basement had its own bathroom as well. In the corner of the room was a pile of pillows and blankets and overnight bags. Lily and Robert had insisted that everyone stay the night, either than risk the drive home with the kids and getting hit by one of the numerous drinks that were bound to be driving tonight.
“It’s getting closer to midnight.” Amber stated, with Jasmine cuddled to her side, falling asleep. She was talking to Scarlet, who was wearing her favourite outfit of black jeans and red oversized shirt that looked like a dress, and charcoal boots.
Most of the night she’s been keeping an eye on Chris and Tia, watching how they interacted with Alex, now that he was living with them, Scarlet wanted to know that he would be looked after, it has nothing to do with the fact Alex and Tia were now going out… nope, nothing. Fine she lied, she was worried about him, at first she thought Tia was dating him out of pity… that still hadn’t changed.
She didn’t know why she kept looking at Chris, he easily got caught in his own world and confused many, but he did have a lot of good qualities as well… he was good looking –not that she cared about that- he was kind, gentle, honest and when he did know something was wrong he’s stop everything he was doing to make sure the person was okay. He’s never pushed her to tell him anything, kind of like Alex, but for a very different reason.
Tia, was harder to get she was a lot like her brother, but she was smart, more observant and differently more protective, Scarlet was happy for Alex. Then she saw it. Tia looked at Alex, who was sitting next to her, more like cuddled into her side which was strange for him, he was also asleep, Alex wasn’t used to having to stay up all night and Tia told him she would wake him up when it was closer to midnight. It was strange for one of two reasons, one Alex never liked physical contact thanks to his dad’s abuse and two Alex never fall asleep around so many people.
Scarlet had always looked for Tia’s flaw, she knew Chris’ and that was… he was very easy to distract. But she had finally found Tia’s… she genuinely loved Alex, and thought the world of him.
The look Tia was giving him was one of simply adoration, protection, love, respect, caring, hope, tenderness and restraint that clearly showed that she would fall apart if Alex was taken away from her and wasn’t in her life… and Scarlet knew that it was the same with Alex.
It was a look that every person wanted to have and to show, a look most see on a face of someone in a happy marriage or relationship… even Scarlet secretly hoped someone would look at her like that, she hoped, but knew that it wasn’t likely.
“Tia.” Scarlet softly said “Can I speak with you for a moment?”
“Sure.” Tia said, tearing her gaze away from her boyfriend and to his hostile best friend.
“I need to talk to Joseph.” Chris said, standing up to where the boy was talking to his sister and her girlfriend. He knew that Scarlet wanted to talk to Tia and that Tia wouldn’t be able to move since Alex was asleep on her side.
Scarlet took his seat, she didn’t know who she was helping or what she was going to do, but something told her nothing was going to make Tia give up on Alex and sadly Alex was just as stubborn about it.
“What’s up?” Tia asked, looking at the mousy haired girl, moving Alex’s head to her lap so she could play with the soft white hair on his head.
“Look… about Alex.” Scarlet said, her usual harsh tone dropped and she used the tone that she saved for Alex, flighty as he was.
“Scarlet… I know you don’t like me… but Alex and I are going out or if you protest to my parent’s adopting him….”
“No.” Scarlet quickly said cutting Tia off from whatever she was talking about “I think you’re good for him, might give him more of a backbone, and I’m happy for you. I just wanted to remind you to be patient with him, and please don’t get mad at him. He scares very easily, for very obvious reasons; even then he’ll try to hide behind a joke or a laugh. You have to make him feel safe or else it’s nearly impossible to talk to him. And please… please remember that his not the best at expressing himself… but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you as much as you do him.”
“Scarlet…” Tia whispered, smiling at the nervous girl “Are you going soft?”
“I could say the same for you; it seems that we share the same weakness.”
Tia nodded looking down at the boy sleeping in her lap and conceded the point.
“I would never hurt him… and you should talk to Chris, he really likes you.” Tia told her
“I know you wouldn’t… and what, you’re not serious are you?” Scarlet asked, her face going a hundred shades of red.
“Yep… and thanks.”
“It’s hard to trust people with him… after what’s happen to him.” Scarlet said, trying to change the subject before Tia could ask if she liked her brother.
“Don’t blame yourself Scarlet.” Tia stated “That is one game that never ends; people could blame you and me since we knew what was going on and did nothing about it. But its Alex’s dad who is truly to blame, they were his actions… not ours and I’m being as positive as I can be… also nice try Scar… nice try.”
“Nice try for what?”
“Changing the subject… I mean you should talk to him.”
“It’s almost midnight.” Jasmine shouted from Ambers lap, pointing to the big screen that showed a street filled with people.
“Alex come on time to wake up.” Tia said, gently shaking Alex awake.
“Yes.” With that Scarlet walked over to the others as Tia helped Alex unto his feet.
“No problem Alex.”
“10!” everyone shouted in the house.
Tia and Alex walked over to others, Tia pulling Alex into a one armed hug. Scarlet went and sat next to Chris on a love seat.
Alex shot Tia a look before returning the hug.
As the old year ticked away and the new one came forward, Alex knew that he was surrounded by people who loved him.
Scarlet knew that the Peterson’s would look after him and she was glad for it, looking at Chris and giving him a smile one he seemed more than happy to return.
Tia smiled down at her boyfriend/ best friend and she realized that she was happy for the turn of events, her dad choosing here to love and her mum choosing this house, and how Alex was able to hold on long enough for her to help.
Amber and Jasmine looked at the Chris and Scarlet silently beating for when one of them would crack and tell the other how they fell.
Joseph was jealous how all his friends where finding people and he wasn’t able to, maybe one day… but it seemed that it wouldn’t be at the moment… all he could do was support them.
Alex began to tremble with excrement, Jasmine too… they were sure that this was a habit that would stay with them for the rest of their lives… not that the people they cared about cared.
Chris and Amber throw their arms around Jasmine and Scarlet… Scarlet let out a startled squeak –and it was a squeak no matter how much she denied it later.
“1! Happy new year.”
Tia quickly spined Alex to face her… once getting out of her shock Scarlet returned Chris’ hug… much to the shock of about everyone.
“New Year’s tradition.” Tia whispered, pulling Alex into a kiss… who kissed her back after a few seconds. Amber and Jasmine also joined in the tradition with Scarlet, Chris and Joseph telling them to ‘get a room’
This year is going to be the best one yet.