A MMM Christmas Story
By Brei Betzold
Copyright © 2013 Brei Betzold
For as long as I have known Devi we have had a tradition. On Christmas Eve, Devi, Mags, Drake, Cris, Max and I have hung out. We drink too much and eat Chinese take-out. Once Jaks falls asleep we attempt to put his presents together from Santa Claus while drunk and giggling trying not to wake him up. This wasn’t difficult since that little boy, after we got him through the colic stage, sleeps like the dead. Only, a few years ago things changed, I watched my friend go from single mom to a married mother with two kids, and I couldn’t be more happy for her. We’ve had to readjust our tradition some though; instead of everyone piling on Devi’s living room floor waiting for a screeching Jaks to come running out barefoot, now we have a Christmas morning brunch after Santa has arrived.
This year I stayed Christmas Eve at the Taylor’s so I could help Devi and Ash with preparing for the brunch the next morning. We drank too much wine and giggled as Seth cursed everything girly. It was Caits first Christmas, they had bought her a gorgeous, handmade, fully furnished Victorian doll house that I swear was larger than my first apartment. Jaks had been begging for a violin of his own, which was now lying under the Christmas tree ready and waiting for Jaks to play. We wrestled items into stockings and arranged tiny furniture in spaces too small for adult hands but finally, we had everything in place for the morning.
After everything was under the tree we pulled out the Patron until Devi and Seth finally stumbled into their rooms. I passed out on the couch watching the lights on the Christmas tree twinkle with blurry eyes. Ash has bailed out earlier saying she had to be up early, she was staying for the brunch then heading off to her parents’ house. I had dinner with mom tonight then had planned on going over to Max’s parents’ house for Christmas dinner. Finally, my eyes fluttered closed and sleep pulled me under.
All too quickly I was woken by Jaks jumping on the couch by my feet screaming about Santa had come
“Shh” I whispered then grunted when Jaks landed on me giggling.
“Jules wake up, Santa was here” Jaks screeched in my ear.
“I heard” I said blandly then flipped us over and started tickling Jaks, his peals of laughter echoed through the quiet house. “Why don’t you go wake up mommy and daddy” I said when I finally stopped tickling him.
He was off like a shot, running back up the stairs squealing the entire time about Santa coming. I grinned at his excitement then pushed myself up off the couch so I could make some much needed coffee. We wouldn’t make it through the morning with a hyper Jaks without a good dose of caffeine.
Jaks ran back down the stairs with a blurry eyed Seth behind him, I stifled my giggle when Seth tripped on the bottom stair nearly falling. I put together a bottle for Cait while waiting for the coffee to finish. I filled four cups of coffee, grabbed sugar and creamer and set everything on a tray then headed back into the family room.
“Jules, I think I just fell in love with you” Seth mumbled when I sat the tray down.
“Jaks wait for everyone else” I said watching him nearly drool while staring at the violin.
“But Santa came” he whined.
“Jaks they’re on the way down, mommy had to change Cait’s diaper” Seth told him smiling.
Finally Devi came down carrying a grumpy Cait and plopped down on the couch beside Seth. I handed Devi the bottle, while Cait let out a sigh of happiness then quickly went to work polishing off breakfast.
“Can I now?” Jaks whined.
Seth looked over at Devi who mouthed “stocking first” as Seth answered with an evil grin.
We sat there watching Jaks tear through his stocking oohing and ahhing along the way. The little monster had brought in quite a haul.
After he finished he looked up at us impatiently “now can I see what Santa left?”
“Go for it” Devi said smiling at her son.
Jaks took off and stared reverently at the instrument, running a finger gently across the body “is this for me?” he whispered.
“Yes” Seth said proudly.
Jaks carefully picked up the violin, grabbing a cloth out of the case; he folded it, then tucked both the cloth and violin under his tiny chin and picked up the bow. He slowly ran the bow along the strings then gave us the widest smile I had ever seen on his face. He began playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star smiling the entire time.
When he was finished his eyes shined “it’s just what I wanted” he wailed while bouncing on his toes. He gently put the violin back in its case then turned to us. “Can we open presents now?”
Devi sat down by the tree with Cait “let Cait look at what Santa brought her first.”
Jaks pouted but climbed up on Seth’s lap and we watched as Devi showed Cait her doll house; then they went through her stocking. Finally when Cait was finished Devi began passing out gifts. I sat cozied up in a large chair watching with a smile on my face. I loved watching this, it was magical and something I never had growing up. I was getting a picture of what a childhood should be and it was amazing.
Wrapping paper flew; bows soared through the air, amongst squeals of glee and the gurgling laugh of a happy baby. I wanted this someday, family, laughs, and happiness. I sat there and smiled while Jaks and Cait experienced the magic of Christmas morning.
“Jules” Devi gasped.
“Hmm” I answered knocked out of my thoughts and looked over at my friend, my big sister for all intents and purpose.
“This is gorgeous.”
I grinned “I’m glad you like it” I said watching as Devi stared down at the locket I had made for her. It had a cherry tree enameled on the front then inside was a picture of Jaks, Cait, Seth and finally a picture of all three of them.
“Jules this is great” Seth said looking down at what I had made for him, it was a pick holder that hung from a simple ball chain. On the back I had etched the logo for My Misery Muse and his name; I’d made one for him, Jaks and Sam each with their name.
“Jaks has special picks in his” I told him “I remember you saying he was having trouble with holding a regular pick since his hands weren’t large enough. I made him some then filed them down, let me know how they work?”
Seth nodded looking down at Jaks matching necklace. He pulled one of the picks out and smiled “this should work great, thank you.”
I shrugged and blushed “no big deal.”
I’d made Cait a charm bracelet, I had plans on adding a new charm to it on Christmas and her birthday each year. I had made one for Quinn as well. I made Mags a locket like Devi’s only hers had a willow tree on front. I took great pleasure out of making gifts for my family.
All too soon the kids were playing with toys while the adults picked up wrapping paper. We had to wrangle it out of Cait’s hands along with the boxes that the toys had come in. Ash had finally woken up and was in the kitchen getting breakfast for Jaks, which he ignored so he could continue playing with his new toys.
After everything was cleaned up we started working on getting brunch ready, most of it just needed to be reheated and put out. We didn’t want to have to spend the morning cooking, well Ash and Devi cooking, I was on cleaning duty. I wasn’t much help when it came to cooking much to the chagrin of my mom, I never really took to cooking and baking.
People started trickling in, what was once a small gathering had turned into a large affair. Everyone in the band showed up along with most of the guys from the tattoo shop and other various friends. Merry Christmas’s were shouted, hugs were given until finally everyone had showed up. I sat in the family room with the guys from the tattoo shop laughing while snuggling with a sleepy, warm Cait.
“XAVIER” Devi shouted from the other room and then X came running around the corner hiding behind the couch. I giggled when Devi ran in the room looking for him waving around something in her hand.
“Xavier where the hell are you?” she ground out between her teeth.
Walt, one of our tattoo artists pointed over towards the couch and Devi walked around
then towards the sound of X whining. I glanced over to see Devi
smacking X with whatever it was in her hand.
“How could you, you fuckwit” Devi seethed.
“It’s creepy” he said while blocking her next blow.
“I know it is, but that didn’t mean you can microwave the bastard” she barked.
I bit my lip to stifle my laughter; I finally realized what she was holding.
“Whoever thought up the idea of the elf on a shelf has something wrong in the head” X said haughtily then keeled over laughing.
I noticed that the head was melted and had collapsed on itself, I couldn’t help myself as I joined X laughing. “X” I gasped “how long does it take” giggles “to melt the head of an elf?”
“I set it for fifteen minutes, she found it after about five.”
I snorted then giggled when Devi hit him again “my kitchen smells like melted plastic.”
I held Cait against my shaking chest while I laughed at their antics. Those two were worse than two year olds fighting over the same toy. Finally Devi through the doll at X then headed back into the kitchen. I could hear her giggling though as she walked away.
When Drake walked in shaking his head and stomping around like someone ran over his dog I wanted to give him a hug. I knew things between him and Mags were getting interesting and by the look of their faces when they came in earlier it wasn’t getting any better. I wanted to kick Mags in the shin for the way she was acting, she had this great guy who loved her and her daughter, and she was fighting him at every turn. What I wouldn’t give to have a decent guy in my life.
I sighed and Cait nuzzled my neck giving a sleepy sigh, I blinked back tears, I wouldn’t let my shit get in the way today. Max sat down next to me and I leaned into his body, while he tucked his arm around my shoulder giving it a squeeze.
“You okay?” he whispered in my ear.
“Sure” I said trying to sound chipper.
“Don’t do that, not with me” he growled lowly.
I faked a smile and glanced up at him “it’s Christmas of course everything is great.”
He sighed defeated and nodded “just let me know if you need anything.”
“You’ve already done enough” I told him and leaned up and kissed his cheek. Just then Sam walked in and I groaned, he looked at Max and me then walked over where Drake, Seth and X were talking. I tracked him from the corner of my eye, yea Mags was a fucking idiot. I would give anything to have a guy like one of those that profess their love for me.
Eventually we all ate brunch laughing and chatting about our plans for the rest of the day. Xavier and Devi bickered like siblings the entire time, eventually they began the traditional food fight. I laughed and smiled like I was supposed to the entire time. I chatted and talked about Christmas’s past but the entire time I was fighting down the green eyed monster as I watched those around me. Seth and Devi were looking at each other with love in their eyes, Drake and Mags giving each other glares in-between heated looks, Cris and Ash trying to be coy but failing at hiding what was going on between them.
Once brunch was finished we all flooded back into the family room to sit and watch as we opened presents. It was a mix of gag gifts and sentimental, laughs and thanks you’s were yelled across the room. I kept my eyes in the direction of Sam wanting to see his reaction when he opened my gift.
“Jules” X yelled I looked his way and smiled “thank you” I nodded as he waived around the leather bracelet I had braided for him with an X in the middle.
“You’re welcome” I murmured.
I opened gifts while dodging balls of wrapping paper when I came to one from Jaks. I looked up at smiled at the precocious five year old. I unwrapped a picture frame made of popsicle
s sticks and had to blink back tears, the
frame had “My most favorite Aunt” written on it then a picture of me snuggled
on the couch reading a book to Jaks and Cait. I covered my mouth with my
hand and tried to blink back the tears. Once the flood gates opened
though I couldn’t stop them, I traced their beautiful faces and looked up at Jaks
“Do you like it Aunt Jules?” Jaks asked quietly, I couldn’t speak so I opened my arms and he ran into them. I hugged him tightly.
“Love you monster” I whispered in his hair.
He looked up at me and gave me a grin just like his dads “I know” then he took off running.
I shook my head at him and wiped my face then put the frame aside but still kept stealing glances at it. It was by far the best Christmas present I had ever received.
I went back to opening the rest of my gifts, most of which were things for my jewelry making all while trying to watch Sam. When he opened my gift he smiled and looked up at me and mouthed thank you to me. I smiled back and nodded my head.
After the gifts were opened we once again went to work filling trash bags with wrapping paper. I had noticed Mags leaving the room earlier then Drake storming out of the house. I had no idea what that was about, but my friend needed to get her head out of her ass soon or she would lose out on what I was sure would be one of the greatest things in her life.
People once again handed out hugs and kisses before heading out to celebrate with their families. I stayed and helped clean up before hugging Seth and Devi and dropping kisses on the kid’s heads. I wanted to go back to the place I was staying but I knew that Max would never allow that. My best friend wanted me at his parents’ house for Christmas so that’s where I would be. The thought of spending time with Sam though made that idea sound more appealing.
I drove to Max and Sam’s parents’ house where Cris and mom would also have dinner. It was a quiet celebration compared to Seth and Devi’s. More gifts were exchanged and an amazing dinner was eaten. It was the perfect ending to a fabulous Christmas, I was able to covertly study Sam, or maybe not so covertly since Max had elbowed me in the ribs more than once. I had to check at one point if I had drool on my chin when he picked up his guitar and started playing Christmas carols.
Everything was perfect until their father stood up and made an announcement that sucked the joy out of the day. What had started out as a day of magic quickly turned into a day of grief, I hugged Max tight while he cried, watched as Sam stood there stoic. Max, Cris and I left shortly thereafter to go back to Cris’s house and to a waiting bottle of Patron. We all sighed in relief once midnight hit, the day was over. Though I still worried about Sam, he’d stood there as if everything fine though I could see the pain in his eyes. I fell asleep on Cris’s couch with Sam in mind and what I wouldn’t give to be able to hug him tight and insulate him from what was to come.