Seventeen: The Season's Greeting
Four months ago, I was a loner--or loser, depending on who’s talking.
Three months ago, I fell in love.
One month ago, I waited...
For the girl I love because it’s what she needed--what we both needed.
At the beginning of this ice-cold December month, I finally realized that Prescilla isn’t necessarily mad at me, or trying to forgive me.
I’ve been going about this all wrong. The space she needs is to figure out her own mind and I think if I would have pulled my head out of my ass a lot sooner, things could have gone much smoother, quicker.
It was the end of November when she saw Winnie come onto me... When she saw something that dug up the memory of the man she hadn’t forgiven. Her father, the first man to break her heart.
It took my breath away when that clicked for me.
Prescilla’s need to be alone has very little to do with me and everything to do with her. In a way, I think I was holding her back.
So, I stopped going after her. I let her go.
We haven’t talked in weeks, and though I’m still fucking holding on because I love her more than anything in the world, I’m starting to lose hope that she’ll ever come back to me.
Until next time,
“You’re coming home with me for Christmas.”
I close my journal with a resounding snap. “Why on earth would I do that?” I ask Tommy.
“Because you spent Thanksgiving alone,” he states point-blank. “And because you’re my boy and because-- fuck you there’s no getting out of this.”
I chuckle and shake my head. Though I truly have no way out of this--no excuse or already made plans. My parents who I’ve spoken little to and seen even littler of, are going to some tropical island for the holiday. Thanksgiving was a similar ordeal.
“Besides, I already told my mom that last week,” he admits, fiddling with an ornament on my Christmas tree.
I may be alone but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a little seasonal decorating. I have some good memories of Christmas in this house. Maybe that’s why the decor looks staggeringly similar to how it did the last Christmas I spent here.
“I guess that settles it then,” I laugh. “But that’s tomorrow, you couldn’t have told me sooner so I could get presents?”
Tommy raises his hands in surrender. “Sorry man, I had to do it this way. Couldn’t take the chance of you backing out and spending the holiday alone like a modern-day Scrooge.”
“Scrooge didn’t decorate,” I point out, glancing at my front page magazine-worthy decor.
“Touche,” he chuckles and then stands giving me a pointed stare. “My mom expects me to return with you, so if you could get your ass upstairs and grab shit for tomorrow, that would save me a world of hurt.”
“Alright,” I cave. “But I’m taking my car.”
Christmas morning is a little different than I remember, but just as warming.
Tommy’s mom wakes us up with a loud jingle bell and to my surprise, her big softy of a jock son dashes down the stairs to rip into his presents immediately. We spend a good hour surrounding the tree, opening presents and stuffing our faces with the contents of our stockings.
It’s after we get dressed for the day that the guests arrive. More importantly, a very familiar sheriff named Jeff and his family.
The moment I catch sight of Prescilla my elbow jerks to the left, striking Tommy in the gut. “Did I ever mention that my mom and Jeff work together and his family usually comes over for Christmas dinner?” He groans.
Anger is not what I feel in that moment. If anything I’m fucking elated. It’s been a week or two since I’ve seen her face and I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed her until now.
She walks toward me--us, in a creamy white dress that reveals her legs and molds to every curve of her body like I wish to. “Hey guys.” Her gaze flicks to Tommy and then lingers on me. I swear that I can see the relief in her eyes that I’m feeling.
“Tommy, get the thing!” His mom, Sonja, suddenly shouts our way.
I watch as Prescilla smiles brightly, bright enough to make my breathing hitch in astonishment.
“I’ll get it,” she tells Tommy, stopping him from leaving and then disappears down the hall. I have half a mind to follow her, but then I remember her need for space and that I can’t keep going after her like I was doing.
Tommy sighs next to me and pulls me toward the living room. “Come on buddy, we’ve got games to play.”
Sonja stops us in the entryway. “Did you hang it?” She asks Tommy.
He shakes his head. “Prescilla took the honors this year.”
I have no idea what they’re talking about but it must be a decoration, my mind flicks to either a star or something for the tree.
“Oh perfect, I’ll help her hi--Did you tell Arnie about it?” She questions in a chiding manner. Tommy holds his hands up in front of him. “No, I didn’t say a word, I promise.”
She pinches his cheek and walks off.
I give Tommy a curious look but he just shakes his head with a grin. “You’ll find out later.”
We play a quick game of chess that Tommy is startlingly good at until dinner is ready. I sit next to Pre at the table, struggling not to grab her hand that rests on the table so close to my own-- I swear it twitches every five fucking seconds from the urge to do so.
I make it through the chatter, the silence and tension between Prescilla and I, even while Tommy blatantly stares at us. He has it in his mind that we’re just delaying our inevitable reunion.
A very large part of me really fucking hopes that might be true.
When dinners finishes I can’t get away fast enough, or with any more reluctance. Everyone files into the living room and when I see the only spots left for Prescilla and I are on the fucking love seat, I nearly fall to my knees.
I stop in the entryway, ready to just announce my leave to end my suffering when Pre brushes against my side and Tommy shouts, “Santa babies!”
Every ones eyes turn to us and I look next to me in time to catch Prescilla looking up at the mistletoe above us.
It then clicks that the mistletoe was the mysterious item... the same one that Prescilla had hung.
She had no idea it would us under it, I internally jab at myself.
When I meet Prescilla’s gaze, I feel my face heat and my heartbeat start to pick up.
“Kiss her!” Tommy shouts. “Or forfeit and I will!”
I know he’s only joking but I still scowl at him the moment the words leave his mouth.
Prescilla takes a small step closer to me and I cup the sides of her face in my hands. She tenses ever so slightly and I refrain from looking into her eyes, afraid of what I’ll see--or what I won’t see.
I run my thumb over her lower lip and think about how long it’s been since I felt it’s softness. And even though I long to know that feeling again, I lean down and press my lips to her cheek.
I knew it was the right thing to do, because as soon as my lips make contact with her smooth skin, Prescilla sighs in relief and relaxes under my touch.
I immediately tear myself away from her and address the room. “I’m going to head home--”
“Ha! You actually think you can leave?” Tommy interrupts, holding his stomach as he laughs. I seem to have missed the joke.
Sonja clears her throat. “What Tommy means to say, is that I would really love it if you stayed for dessert at least.”
I go to decline, But Pre touches my arm softly and speaks before I can. “Sonja’s homemade cheesecake is to die for. You should stay, Arnie.”
There isn’t a possibility of me saying no to her. And when I look over and see that she’s looking at me with kind blue eyes, I know without a doubt that I’m staying.
I take my seat and almost gasp when Prescilla sits next to me and the heat of her thigh presses against mine.
“Oh!” Sonja gasps suddenly. “Prescilla brought her yummy creme pie! You have got to try it, Arnie!.
I go still at her words, preparing myself. I’m right to. Tommy instantly snorts and bursts into laughter all over again.
Clearly aware of the innuendo, Prescilla blushes and fixes her attention on the window.
Sonja gives Tommy a look and says, “Since my son seems to be in jovial holiday spirit, let’s play some games.”
“We are all aware of the mistletoe now, ” she winks at me. “Whoever calls out the secret word--that won’t be said again until then--the most, gets a secret prize.”
On the ottoman next to the tree, Tommy picks up a wrapped present and shakes it in indication.
The other games turn out to be pretty fun and actually succeed in distracting me from focusing on the woman at my side. The last game hits differently though.
“In this one,” Sonja explains. “You tell your partner your favorite thing about them out loud and whisper the second to them.”
Prescilla is my partner and once everyone in the room goes, I turn to her and freeze.
Everything about her is my favorite. There’s not a damn thing about her that doesn’t make me struggle to breathe or function normally.
I clear my throat and say the first thing that comes to my mind. It just tumbles out. “I love everything about you.”
To hide my tomato red face, I lean in close to whisper in her ear but freeze once again as her scent and warmth wrap around me like a starving python.
I don’t know how long I’m stuck there, breathing her in, losing my sense... but I enjoy every second.
My moment of weakness ends when Prescilla’s hand grips my arm and she subtly pushes me back. I’m thankful, and devastated.
The pain I’m feeling clears up when she states aloud, “My favorite thing about you is your strength.” She then cups one side of my face as she leans close and whispers to me, And how deeply you love.”
My breathing hitches when her soft lips skim my jaw as she pulls back.
“Oh! You two are such darlings, you win!” Sonja claps. I meet her gaze and then catch Tommy’s dramatic wink. “Next we sing!” She cheers. Groaning, Tommy begins setting up the stuff of karaoke.
Everyone sings. I find out exactly why Tommy was reluctant to--he sucks. Bad. Probably no worse than me.
And of fucking course, Prescilla has the voice of an angel. We end up winning that game, too.
When the end of the night comes around, Tommy is announced the winner of the present, since he manages to catch every single person with the mistletoe game. The prize turns out to be a box full of confetti because apparently, he wins every year and his parents had set him up.
It was a good way to end the night.
Even better, was when I was informed I had to take Prescilla home because her parents drank too much hard cider with their dessert.
“Thank you, Arnie.” Prescilla chews her lip and abruptly brings into a hug. I try not to squeeze her too tight but it’s hard because she fits against me so damn perfectly.
The porch light behind her head makes her hair glow and she looks more angelic than ever, more tempting as she looks up at me with her stunning eyes.
She lifts her hands and rests her palms on either side of my face. I lean down so she doesn’t have to stand on her toes to kiss me like usual.
Her lips fall dangerously close to mine and as my grip tightens on her, crushing her form against me, it’s nearly impossible to resist moving my mouth the slightest bit to kiss her for the first time in weeks.
Prescilla’s breathing is heavy, I’m pretty much holding her up entirely and I have to clench my eyes shut and take a last deep breath of her scent before I can sum up the strength to resist the sheer need coursing through me.
And I do resist, after, we part ways once more.