Micki's Christmas

Authors: curious goods clerk

Hosted by VendrediAntiques.com

1: Seasonal Depression

Micki sighed, looking around the shop. It was the 23rd of December, and the first year after she had broken up with Lloyd. She'd never been without a boyfriend on Christmas, had never spent Christmas without an expensive dinner at a posh restaurant followed by gifts of exquisite gifts.

It made her a little sad and nervous. What would Christmas be like here at Curious Goods, with her cousin and an older man who was completely unrelated?

She and Ryan had bought a 6-foot tree, and it stood by the counter, decorated with a few ornaments and 3 strands of colorful lights. A star topped the tree, and a red velvet skirt covered the stand. It looked empty to her, without boxes wrapped in gold and silver colored paper, and leaded-crystal snowflake ornaments.

She was broken out of her reverie by Jack, carrying a paper bag of groceries up the stairs from the garage. She looked up at him and smiled, "Do you need any help?"

"As a matter of fact I do. We've got quite a few more bags of groceries in the car."

Mici and Jack made trips down to the car until all the groceries were upstairs in the kitchen, "Do we normally buy this much food?"

Jack smiled, "No, but I'm making Christmas dinner. And something special for Christmas Eve."

Micki's eyes lit, "What's that?"

"A old family tradition, but I'm not telling. You'll just have to wait and see."

"Well, then, do you need any help with Christmas dinner?"

"I would love some help, but not until tomorrow." Micki watched him start to put groceries away, and he looked up at her, "Are you trying to snoop through my groceries? Run along, Micki, I'll put these away."

Micki found herself reading on her balcony, pouring over the Manifest. She'd found over the past few months that it could be incredibly helpful to know who had bought what from Lewis.

It was cold, and Micki found herself depressed at the prospect of spending her future here.

She awoke with a start, shivering, feeling a hand on her shoulder, "Micki, it's freezing out here. Come on inside," Ryan said softly.

She stood, shivering violently, "I'm so cold..."

Ryan touched her hand, "You really are. Tell you what, I'll run you a hot shower."

"Micki smiled, rubbig her arms as she went in through the french doors to her room, "That sounds wonderful, thanks."

Micki came into the kitchen dressed in a long flannel nightie and plush slippers. Jack smiled when he saw her, We held dinner for you."

Micki shook her head, "I'm not hungry, but thanks. I'm going to go to bed."

2: Christmas Eve

"Micki's been in bed all day. Is she feeling all right?"

Ryan nodded, "I think so, yeah. She seems a little down, though."

Jack shook his head, "She's lost contact with most of her family, and she lost her fiancee this year. Christmas is hard when you don't have familiar people around you. I'll go talk to her."

Jack poured a cup of coffee, added cream and a touch of sugar, and went to knock on Micki's door. "Come in," her voice answered faintly.

Jack walked into the room and went to sit by her on the bed, "I brought you some coffee."

Micki sat up, forcing a smile, "Thank you, Jack."

Jack handed her the cup, hugging her as he did, "Have ou been in here crying all morning?"

She rubbed her hands across her puffy eyes, "Is it that obvious?"

"Well, a man can always tell. What's on your mind?"

"It's nothing."

"No it's not. Come on, Micki, what is it?"

She sighed, "I don't know, I'm just so sad. I guess I feel lonely, and...it doesn't feel like Christmas. I don't even want to get dressed."

"Well, you don't have to. Why don't you get out of bed, and join Ryan and I at the dining table. We're playing a nice game of Scrabble, but it's always better when you play, too."

Micki smiled a small smiled, "Okay."

Jack kissed her cheek, "Good. We'll set up a new game. Oh, and lunch is almost ready."

Micki emerged from her room 10 minutes later, and a smile lit her face, "Oh, it's beautiful!" she exclaimed. "Where did all this come from?"

Jack explained that Ryan had brought the Christmas tree upstairs from its spot by the register. Jack had brought his box of special Christmas ornaments, and Ryan had bought more - red and gold and silver glass balls, and plastic icicles, and a string of false cranberries.

"We'll decorate the tree after dessert tonight," Jack explained.

Dessert was a plum pudding, following a dinner of shepherd's pie. Ryan found a record of Christmas music, and they decorated the tree together. First the cranberry string went on, then Jack's ornaments: Peter's first Christmas ornament, Jack's wedding ornament, and ornament he had received from his parents when he moved out on his own, one from a friend when they had been released from the army, and many more.

He also had ornaments for Micki and Ryan, things he had seen that reminded him of them. Micki's was a red-headed ballerina, and Ryan's was a palette smudged with paint.

Micki had a wonderful time, drinking cider and hanging ornaments with Ryan and Jack. When she had dropped one, causing it to shatter on the wooden floor, Ryan shrugged and went to get the broom and dustpan. She thought to herself how nice it was not to be screamed at for breaking a $500 ornament.

When they were done, the tree was full of beautiful jewel-colored ornaments, candy-canes, and an angel, which Jack had bought for his new family here at Curious Goods.

The three stayed up well past midnight talking about Christmases gone passed, good and bad, and Micki went to bed happily exhausted.

3: Christmas Day

Christmas morning came, and Micki woke early to the smell of beef cooking. When she walked into the kitchen, there sat Jack, sipping coffee. He stood from the table and gave her a hug, "Good morning, and Merry Christmas!"

She hugged him back, "Merry Christmas, Jack. What is that wonderful smell?"

"Roast beef, an old family tradition. Closer to noon, I'll make the mashed potatoes, carrots, and green beans."

"That sounds wonderful!" she exclaimed, pouring herself a cup of coffee. She glanced over at the bed in the alcove of the room, "Where's Ryan?"

"He went outside to sketch. It's pretty cold out, I'm sure he'll be back in soon."

Micki smiled, "I'm sure."

Jack patted her arm, "Let's go sit by the tree."

Micki was surprised when she saw the presents under the tree, and her eyes lit, "Jack, did you do that?"

He laughed, "No...well, only part of it. Ryan is partly responsible."

Micki set her coffee down, "I'll be right back."

She came back from her room with an armful of presents, and was arranging them under the tree when Ryan came in, "Good morning, Micki."

"Good morning, and Merry Christmas, Ryan. Can we open presents now?"

Ryan laughed, amused by her enthusiasm, "Let me get a cup of coffee, first."

A few minutes later, Jack had distributed a surprising number of presents. He smiled, "Before we open presents, I just want to say how happy I am to be here with you both on Christmas."

Ryan voiced his agreement.

"This is the best Christmas I've ever had," Micki said happily, "I'm so happy to be spending it with the two of you."