Thirty – One
Gavin “Tinsel” Thompson
Peter got a ridiculous amount of toys this year. Most of them had buttons and made a lot of obnoxious noises. The rest were meant to be banged or thrown around. Like I don’t get enough headaches from his plethora of Elmo plushies and Yo Gabba Gabba action figures. He got a few books, which are always great, and then a whole lot of clothes. I then of course had the lovely task of trying to figure out what would be coming back with us and what was going to stay at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
It’s a nice Christmas morning. Mom made quiche and sticky caramel bread. Dad had Petey duty which is always amusing. I can’t help but wonder if he was ever that playful with me. I vaguely remember him playing with Kevin and Marit when they were really young, but I don’t remember it being as often. Then again, I heard somewhere that grandparents aren’t the same to their grandkids as they were to their own children. I guess it’s because the responsibility isn’t as much of a burden?
“Gav?” Princess calls from the back room. I turn and I see her standing in the doorway. “I need your big, manly, arms to open this for me!” She gestures to one of the whipped cream canistors.
I roll my eyes and go over, loosening it with ease, and handing it back to her. “You’re welcome.”
Princess only giggles. “I just needed an excuse to catch you under the mistletoe.”
I look at her, completely confused, and then I remember that the mistletoe was hung up over the backroom door still. I’d been so careful to not get caught under it with her despite all of her attempts to catch me. I’d locked lips with just about everyone that I work with – including Raven and Andy, several times I should add – all in an effort to not have to kiss her. Every year, she gets me one way or another. I just don’t want to lead her on. It’s all strictly lust at this point and that’s dangerous.
“Well?” She puckers up her lips.
I sigh and lean in to give her a quick peck on the cheek.
“That is not a kiss Gavin,” She says and grabs my shirt so I can’t leave. “I want a real one.”
“I’m only doing this because it’s Christmas,” I say before leaning in and kissing her lips softly. It lasted a bit longer than I wanted, but only because I wasn’t sure where the line between appropriate and satisfying was. There was a kind of energy though, a temptation if you will, to really kiss her more. I blame Megan for that. I feel desperate all over again.
“Thank you. That was definitely my favorite gift this year.” She smiles and bats her eyelashes. “Thanks for indulging me, again.”
“Yeah,” I mumble and I silentely scold myself for falling asleep with her on the couch. I definitely did not intend on that one happening. I was sitting on one end, she was on another, I fell asleep, and when I woke up the next morning she was all snuggled in under my arm and using me to stay warm.
That’s the last of the awkward moments for the day thankfully. Andy and I decide that it was a good idea to start loading up the car to get the toys back. Somehow we were going to get them all back in one trip. I stop with my armful of toys and my coffee when I see Megan in the parking lot.
“Oh shit,” Andy says. “Duck and cover?”
“Too late,” I say as I notice that she looks right at us. I can’t really tell what she’s about to do, but whatever it is, I didn’t expect what did happen.
She slipped on an icey patch, falling back – hard. I move forward to go see if she’s okay when Andy stops me. he points and we watch as she gets up and dusts herself off, looking a little perplexed, before she takes another step and slips all over again. This happens for literally a full two minutes before she gives up and sits there defeated and cries. I almost feel bad, but that doesn’t really last long. Besides, what kind of a moron wears high heels in the middle winter after a substantial snowfall? Seriously! Even more glee fills me when I watch as a car drives by her and sprays her with a nice bout of fresh powdery, dirty, snow.
I look at Andy, “It’s my Christmas miracle!”
“What?” He looks confused. “I thought it would be your dad giving you time off from midget. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love the kid, but damn it is nice to not have to answer to beck and call for a day.”
“That is really nice,” I say but shake my head. “But this is it right here.”
There are some things that nobody can give. Watching as someone begins to reap what they sew is one of them.
I wave at her. “Merry Christmas!”