Finally, Christmas Eve.
Tina was long gone to London. Sadly, I couldn’t see her go. I gazed at my phone in hope of receiving a message or a call from her. I sighed as I lifted myself from my bed. There was nothing fun to do when she wasn’t here. This was the first Christmas Eve since we became friends that she wasn’t with me. I shuffled downstairs, to the kitchen, where my mum was baking what I guessed was a cake.
“Hello Mary-Kate.” Mum proclaimed when she became aware of my presence.
“Hello mum.” I replied lazily while walking to the fridge to find something to eat.
“Someone is tired.” Mum laughed and I groaned in response. “I made some potato salad, if you are hungry.”
I nodded my head when I saw the salad in the fridge. I scooped some into a plate and walked over to the bar stool. I ate silently while mum continued to mix the cake mixture.
“So, tell me everything.” Mum started, making me snap my gaze towards her in confusion. “You know. You and Jason.”
“Oh.” I mumbled tossing a potato around my plate. “What do you want to know?”
“Well, first of all, do you love him?”
Mum’s question caught me off guard. I glanced at her before stammering a response. “Mum, we’ve only known each other for like a month. How can I be in love with him that fast? That’s got to be a record, right?” Mum laughed at my outburst but I didn’t let that stop me from stating my case. “I don’t really know him well either. Besides, dad doesn’t like him.”
“Aw, honey.” Mum sympathised with me. She placed her warm hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry. I fell in love with your dad the first time I laid my eyes on him. I didn’t know much about him and we were already planning on getting married. Both my parents disapproved but, as a young and rebellious woman I still married him and they learnt to accept him. Throughout the years I have got the opportunity to learn more about him and I love every single thing he has told me about himself.”
That made me smile a bit. So she proposed, “How about you invite him for dinner one night. Maybe next week?”
Bewildered by her suggestion, I blurted, “What about dad?”
“He will learn to accept him.” Mum shrugged her shoulders lazily before pouring the cake mix into a baking tray.
I stood from my chair and hugged her tightly, thanking her repeatedly.
“Okay.” Mum chuckled. “You can stop hugging me now.”
“Sorry, I’m just so happy.” I sang, a grin plastered on my face.
“That’s good. Now you can help me with preparing some snacks for tonight.” Mum concluded placing the baking tray into the oven.
“Yes ma’am.” I happily took on the delegation.
Every Christmas Eve, a household in the neighbourhood hosted a Christmas party. The year before last year was my family. However, half of the time, the Christmas party was flooded by the old folks. The young ones usually resorted in spending time with their friends. Without Tina here, I had no choice but to follow my parents to the party.
I looked at myself in the mirror, straightening my blue flare dress with lacy long sleeves. My hair was down, I had straightened it, to cover my ears from the cold. I took my phone from my bed and struggled to walk fast in my silver heels. It was a formal party well semi-formal really. I didn’t really look formal.
When I got to the bottom of the stairs mum was in a black long sleeved
dress that reached to her knees with black high heels. Dad was wearing a black
suit with a blue shirt and a black bow tie, matching mum’s dress.
“You ready?” Mum asked while passing the cake to me, while dad took the plate of fruit. “Let’s go.” Mum motioned opening the door.
We quickly filed out. We were welcomed by a rush of cold wind.
“Come on.” Dad said putting his free arm around my shoulder.
I walked as fast as I could with my heels but failed terribly. I ended up walking a little behind my parents. The party was being held two doors from ours. I could hear laughter and music playing the closer we got to the house. Mum politely knocked on the door and a woman with thick wavy hair and a baby pink cocktail dress answered with a grin plastered on her face.
“Hello Jane.” The woman, Mrs Jonathan exclaimed giving my mum a hug. She was one of the biggest gossipers in town. I didn’t really like her and I had valid reasons for it. First, everything you told her would be known by the whole town by the end of the day. Second, she always gave me kisses and informed me that I was the type of girl she hoped her son would marry. If only she knew her son was actually gay. Trust me, I had also liked him once upon a time until he told me his secret.
“Oh Mary-Kate.” She cooed giving me a hug and a wet kiss on my cheek. I resisted the urge to move away. “How are you my darling? You look beautiful as always!”
“Fine.” I faked a smile. “How about you Mrs Jonathan?”
“Molly, for you darling.” She gazed at me knowingly. “I am well. Come on in.” She pulled my family into her home.
A wave of warmth filled our faces. Old folks everywhere, drinking, laughing, talking. Why did I let my parents drag me into this again?
“Where do I put this?” I questioned ‘Molly’ holding the plate of cake in front of her face.
“Oh, on that table honey.” She pointed at a big table covered by different kinds of food. I started towards the table. “By the way Dylan is upstairs if you want to talk to someone your age.” She finished with a hopeful smile on her face.
She winked before whirling around. I just nodded and walked the opposite way. As fast as I could before my distaste could be visible on my face. What was wrong with that woman?
I placed the plate of cake on the table. I looked around and everyone seemed to be stuck in their own conversations. Why did I bother coming to this event when I was always isolated?
I felt my phone buzz against my hand. I glanced at the caller ID
I nearly screamed with happiness but I stifled it and ran up the stairs of the Jonathan house. I had to find a quiet place. When I reached the upstairs hallway I clicked the answer button.
“Hey girl.” Tina’s beautiful voice sang from the other side.
“Hey! I miss you so much!” I said into the phone.
“I miss you too.” She sighed. “What are you doing?”
“I’m at Mrs Jonathan’s house.” I slumped my shoulders.
“Oh right, the Christmas party.” She reciprocated my annoyance. “Has she already gave you the talk about her son?”
I sighed in reply before drifting away from a depressing topic, “So, how’s London?”
“Amazing!” she squealed. “There are some really hot guys here. Am totally fan-girling? right now.”
“What about Darren?” I questioned her, surprised at her revelation. She didn’t get to reply as I interrupted her when a Beep beep tone sounded on my phone. “Oh hold on Tina. There is another call coming through.”
I quickly answered the other person’s call. “Hello?”
“Kate, hey.” Jason’s voice sounded.
“Hey.” I responded, unsure and nervous. Craig’s words were still gnarling my brain.
“Where are you?” Jason queried, his voice raspier than usual.
“Oh, I’m at my neighbour’s house.”
“What are you doing there?”
“Nothing really.” I advised him lazily.
“Well, wanna hang out?” He suggested. I could hear the smile in his voice. A tinge of rebellion surfaced in me making me jitter in excitement.
“Hold on for a second.” I didn’t wait for his reply before clicking back to Tina.
“So who is it?” She commanded as soon as I said Hi.
“It’s Jason and he wants to hang out now.” Anticipation whirled in me.
“Well, why are you wasting your time talking to me? Go!”
“Okay. Bye. I love you.” I quickly cut the call.
“So?” Jason question as soon as I got back to talk to him. “You in?”
“Of course. I can’t stay in this hell any longer.” I laughed.
“Ok. See you at your house in a few?”
“Yes.” Eager, I cut the call before a voice behind startled me.
“Hell, huh?” I whirled around to face the owner of the voice.
“What are you doing? You scared me.” I clutched my chest.
“I am headed to the bathroom; in case you want to join me.” Dylan flirted.
I scoffed, leaving Dylan with a small satisfied smirk plastered on his lips. I descended the stairs as fast as I could in the heels. I didn’t bother to glance any other way, as my target was directly in front of me. I just had to wiggle through the swarm of bodies to make it to the door.
“Where are you going?” I gasped at dad’s voice.
“Nowhere, just looking for something to eat.” I replied nervously.
“Ok.” Dad hesitated, eyeing me curiously. He didn’t believe me. “Well, Mrs Jonathan wants to introduce you to some people.”
As cool as I could, I retorted, “I’m just going to get some water and food. I will be there soon.”
Dad’s kiss on my forehead caught me off guide. I glanced up at him in confusion. A frown was plastered on his face but he quickly replaced it with a small smile before walking away from me. I stood there puzzled of what I had just witnessed. Was Molly going to announce marriage between Dylan and I?
I had to escape before she made any sudden movements. Still perplexed, I headed towards the kitchen. No one was in sight. A small smile tugged on my lips at the sight of the back door. Determined I ran towards it and escaped victoriously. Thankful for a similar set up as our backyard, I crossed the Jonathan’s backyard and into the street.
I jogged lightly when I saw a figure sitting on the steps on the front porch. It was Jason. His dark hair gleamed under the pool of light above him.
“Hey.” I called to him.
He looked up and met me halfway. He gave me a quick hug. “Aren’t you cold?” Worried, he didn’t wait for my answer. He removed his grey hoodie and helped me to shrug into it. A waft of an earthly scent filled my nostrils. Did he buy a new cologne?
“Thank you.” I smiled, “Do you want to come in?”
“No. How about we take a walk instead?” He wheezed.
He took my hand and I felt a cold piercing chill go through me. This sudden and unexpected sensation made me want to detach my hand from his. However, his hand held onto mine tightly. I glanced up at him. He gazed ahead, jaw muscles tensed.
“You didn’t end up telling me why you wanted to go early yesterday.” Jason prodded, a hint of anger present in his voice.
“I felt sick.” I lied, obviously. I couldn’t tell Jason that his cousin had done something to perplex me.
“’ight.” He uttered, his voice now deep and strange. “Are you feeling
better now?” I felt the rumble of his voice in the pit of my stomach. Another
deep chill went through me. That had never happened to me before.
“Yes.” I whispered, suddenly feeling uneasy and timid. “So where are we going?”
“You’ll see when we get there.” I turned my head towards him. He was still clenching his jaw and his gaze focused ahead of him. I nudged at his hand, in attempt to escape. “Don’t worry, I ain’t gonna do anything to ya.”
Strange. When did he start speaking like that? I came to a halt. Jason took a few steps before stopping as well. “Jason?” He turned his body towards me. I glanced at his eyes, their usually specks of gold were bigger and more flooded, the blue barely noticeable. I stepped closer to ensure I wasn’t making things up, “What happened to your eyes?”
“Oh.” He averted his gaze. “That happens when I’m worried.”
Yesterday after we left the club, I was sure that he was worried. How
come I didn’t see this? Maybe it was because of the dark. I hesitated before
grazing my fingertips along his jaw. He was tensed and cold. “Are you sick?”
“Stop talking, okay?” He half yelled half whispered jerking away from my hand. “Lets just walk in silence.”
“But, where are we really going?” I probed. He started walking pulling me along with him. His grip on my wrist was getting tighter with every stride he took. If he didn’t let go of my wrist anytime soon, it was going to bruise, “Jason, where are we going?”
“Shut up. OK?” He hollered making me shrink in my already small self. His grip tightened more. Tears stung my eyes.
“Jason, you’re hurting me. Let go.” I pleaded trying to pry his hands from my wrists. He obeyed my command.
“I’m going back home.” I turned away from him before he could answer. However, someone blocked my way before getting far.
I looked up at the person, a woman to be exact. Before I could see what she looked like I felt a cold wave coil around my brain before I could block it. The world swayed around me. I called out Jason’s name, but there was no reply.
I felt arms catching me before everything went black.