Merry Christmas Part 1
I sit opposite Dominic as I bite into my toast. His eyes are glued to his phone as they type away furiously. Being practically dead for 5 days must've sent the companies in freefall.
"Not exactly, Mae." Dominic glances up at me, his usual charm back again as he picks my thoughts. "But there are things that do require my attention."
He places his phone face down before resting his elbows onto the table.
"We should go out tonight."
I eye him as I take another bite.
"Really. I didn't take you as a celebrator."
"I'm not, but I do need to get out of your place. Get some breeze on my face. And, my car has been sitting outside a yoga building for five days now, and I know that it's probably been towed."
"I think you're fine. It's a private property car park for customers, and well you're an extension of me, so you should be fine."
"Nonetheless. We've both been inside for too long, and I wasn't exactly asking you, Mae."
I smile, shaking my head as my grin grew.
"I guess Dominic Aldrek is back. You were a lot more timid when you were recovering."
Dominic stands up his plate in his hand.
"I wasn't me, Mae. I will text you the address and the time I want you there." Dominic doesn't even allow me to reply and heads to the kitchen, placing his plate on the side, and heading to get his shoes. It makes sense now why his duffle bag is already by the door.
I stand up leaning against the wall as he heads down the stairs. He picks up the duffle bag slinging it over his shoulder.
"I will see you tonight, Mae."
I nod my head at Dominic as he opens the door. I wait until he rounds the stone steps before shutting the behind him.
It is good he is gone a part of me was considering calling my mum from the bathroom so she wouldn't overhear anything and then begin asking me complicated questions.
I head up the stairs pulling my laptop from the drawer and lift the top. Instantly I start the facetime call.
I wait patiently as the ringing continues. It has been nearly 10 months since I saw everyone, moving to the states was always going to be difficult, but missing birthdays, public holidays made it even harder.
Max's face pops up, he is talking to mum before he gives me his attention.
"Daniele." He waves his hand, frantically beckoning my mother towards him. "Mae's on the phone. Hi Mae." He waves at the screen, and I wave back, my face in a smile.
I lose Max's face suddenly it being replaced with a smaller version of him. I can hear Max's annoyance as Kenzo takes the iPad off him.
"Hi, Maisie," he screams, he presses his lips to the camera, and I do the same, making loud kissing sounds before removing his face from it.
"Hi, Kenny Benny. How's my favourite monster?" I ask.
"As monstrous as ever," mum replies in the distance. Kenzo pouts slightly, but my face on the screen makes it disappear quickly.
"I'm fine. Hey. Hey, look what Santa got me." Kenzo turns the tablet around to the mountain of wrapped boxes all various sizes stacked under the Christmas tree. He turned the table back around so he can see my expression. I place a hand over my mouth, my eyes wide.
"Wooh, you must've been perfect throughout the year, Kenny."
Kenzo nods his head wildly, his black hair fallen over his eyes.
"I've been the goodest. When are you coming over?"
My lips move to the side as I think up a good answer. Saying not until this time next year will be heart-breaking to them all, but then it is the truth.
Before I have a chance to reply the tablet is taken from Kenzo's grasp much to his annoyance and my mum comes into view, she is still looking down at Kenzo as she speaks, "don't ask your sister such difficult questions, Kenny." My mum turns her gaze to me.
"When are you coming home, Mae?" Her eyes look sad. This is not the first time I have stayed home for Christmas more times than not I was working. No rest for the wicked.
"I don't know. I've been working on a big project since October the 31st. If I want to make the deadline, I can't take time off."
My mother sighs the camera lowering slightly.
"But I will come down for my birthday, I promise," I say quickly hoping not to ruin the Christmas mood emanating from my family. "I've got to go, mum, I have dinner with a client later, and need to get dressed," I bit the inside of my cheek as I tell my mum a half-truth which she luckily bought.
I watch as she moves the iPad so that I can see her, Max and Kenzo smiling and waving.
"Love you, Mae," they all say.
"Love you too, guys." I kiss the camera before ending the call.
I flop back onto the bed, groaning. It was easier to do my job now that I live several hundred miles from home, but I still have to juggle the lies and half-truths, and to say it wasn't exhausting would be another lie.
I lay my fifth option of clothing on the bed. I glance at my watch. I have another two hours before I am defiantly going to be late, and I still need to shower, do my make-up and hair.
My phone buzzes, I pick up seeing the incoming facetime call from Stephan.
I pluck a gem from the bracelet and sprinkle it on my hair before sliding the unlock bar across. Immediately I am greeted by cheers and all-round happiness. Stephan is chatting to someone, unaware that I have answered the call.
"It's great to see you guys celebrating," I shout, catching his attention. His face lights up when he sees me, taking himself to a more secluded area so we can chat.
"Merry Christmas Luna," he said.
"Merry Christmas, I see everyone is in the festive mood."
"Yup, it's their favourite holiday. Mum has even got the matching jumpers out." He tilted the camera down so I could see the red Christmas jumper.
It had stitching of Christmas lights across his chests and Christmas trees at the bottom.
"Well look at that, you'd make saint Nick so proud."
Stephan laughs, taking a gulp of his beer. Theresa's hair appears at the bottom of the screen, and soon enough, the phone is in her hands.
"Let me talk to my daughter in law," she ordered to Stephan unnecessarily as she had already taken command of the phone.
Her attention turns to me as she speaks, "Merry Christmas, Luna, it's a shame you aren't spending it with us."
I pout before sighing.
"I know, I have a meeting with a client then I'm flying out to Moscow for a premiere of the new year's fashion line, and you know Theresa I'm not a big public holiday celebrator not after..." my voice trails off.
"I know dear not after your parents died. It's such a shame they were both only children." Theresa tuts shaking her head as though she is the reason for my fictional parent's death.
"Don't worry, Theresa, I'm sure they are more than pleased for me for getting you guys as my new family."
"Right you are, Luna, right you are."
Stephan came into focus rolling his eyes at his mother.
"Can I speak to my girlfriend now?"
Theresa blew me a kiss before handing the phone back to her son and heading back to the festivities.
"Moscow. Is that where you're heading?" He cocks his brow as he asks his question.
The one thing that I love about Stephan is that often he forgets about our arrangement. He didn't know who I was when I headed home, he was so wrapped up in the person I had made for him that to think I was anyone else was preposterous. He even went as far to have the money being taken out discreetly, that if anyone—including himself—saw any transactions it'd be under something as mundane as a purchase or a renewal of a subscription. He and Luna had been dating for three years, and he didn't even know my name.
"Yes," I reply, "you know, Zaytsev, the name you refuse to pronounce no matter how many times I try and get you to say it."
Stephan laughs, nodding his head.
"Yeah, I remember, it's that time already? You said in the new year you'd be heading up there."
"No, I said it's for the new year line. Anyway, I have to go and oversee the finishing touches maybe make some changes." I roll my eyes at the thought. "He's so particular about the smallest details whether I've used crystals or diamonds; they are the same thing just different forms."
"That man stresses you out, doesn't he?"
"He really does babe."
"I can see you're busy getting packed and everything. Let me know when you touch down and merry Christmas. I love you."
"I love you too." I blow him a kiss which he catches, holding it to his chest as I end the call.
I pick up a dress off the pile of clothes and bring it into the bathroom as I go to get showered.
A.N. Another two-parter! I wonder if Stephan bought her excuse? We also learnt that Luna's parents are dead. Let me know what you think, and most importantly, thanks for reading. See you next week.