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A Different Kind of Christmas Carol

by Zustara Orur

A story (C) 2002/2003 by ZUSTARA ORUR. Contact address: 1.2 May not be redistributed, commercial use prohibited!

Please see chapter 1 for standard disclaimer blurb and the dedication and acknowledgements section.


We were all hot and sweaty when we came back home again, mom was threatening in a humorous manner to ground the entire family without dinner and the rest of us played along in the charade with good humor. Dad then surprised us all by seizing his wife and giving her a really long kiss, asking her to send him to the bedroom and then follow herself! She laughed of course, but the faint blush on her cheeks told us the suggestion actually didn't sound half-bad to her...!

"You sure you guys are in your forties?" I asked all of a sudden. "Looks more like you're about our age", I added and slung an arm as best I could around Jeff's broad shoulders. They grinned back slightly embarrassed, then moved on out into the kitchen to start preliminary preparations for dinner.

"Will you be staying with us for the evening?", mom asked as we were hanging up our winter clothes again.

"Yeah, I was hoping you'd invite me!", he returned enthusiastically. "I don't think it's advisable I'll stay the night though."

A chuckle came from the kitchen in return. "That's all right, our house isn't very big after all", mom said, sounding a bit amused. "Will Timmy be joining you then?" I kind of jerked at hearing that.

"Uh... I dunno, really..." I looked at Jeff and nodded. He smiled back at me! "Yeah, seems he will, if it's okay with you then?"

"I wouldn't dream of keeping the two of you apart, and I suppose if I told him he had to stay at home he'd just climb out the bedroom window in the middle of the night and sneak off so that wouldn't do much good anyway. We'd have to nail everything shut in the entire house to keep him in." Her words made everyone smile.

Jeff went out into the kitchen with my mom and dad to see what was going on out there. I was just about to follow when Russ came up to me. "He'll come over tomorrow... Keith, I mean." I patted my brother on top of his head. "PROMISE you'll be there, okay?" He seemed a little anxious all of a sudden, very far from his normal, confident and outreaching demeanor.

"I promise. You can count on that, bro." He put his arms around me and I couldn't help grinning a bit. We've always been close him and me, but not quite that close. I cleared away his short fringe and gave him a kiss on his forehead and that seemed to make him calm down. He stepped back and smiled at me.

"He's bringing his Gamecube! He's got four controllers now so we can all play together! If you'd like?"

I patted his head again. "Sure, Russ. That would be fun."

"Great! Thanks!" With that, he was off again and ran back to his sisters' room to play more on that Gameboy I suppose. I'm so glad we're getting along him and I. Many of my friends also have brothers, and they do nothing but quarrel and fight all day long. Just like in a bad marriage I suppose... It's rather sad actually. Shouldn't your family be the most precious thing you've got in this world, really? Well, with one exception perhaps... If you got someone you love, like a boy or girlfriend, or possibly kids of your own. So, second-most precious thing?

I stood there and pondered such things when dad came out of the kitchen and took me into the living room.

"Hey, kiddo. Lost in deep thoughts?", he told me as we sat in the sofa, me just staring ahead at nothing in particular.

I turned towards him and smiled warmly at him. "Yeah, well... A little I guess."

"That's all right. We all need to think things over sometimes." We sat there together for a little while. I could hear quiet conversation from the kitchen and the sounds of the preparation of food going on there from Jeff and mom, and my little bro and sis laughing and yelling at each other as they played on her new toy. What Jo was up to I have no idea, possibly reading on her bed with headphones stuck over her ears so she wouldn't have to listen to the noise created by the rest of us. She'd recently started on my His Dark Materials Trilogy, and she said it was really good so far (only having read a bit more than half the first book). She'd immediately caught on that Lyra's an anagram of course, and other things too I really didn't think of until much later in the series. "So... Is it serious then?", dad asked me quietly.

"It's as serious as it can be, dad. Can't you tell?"

He coughed quietly and squirmed a bit. "Uh, yeah. Guess so." He paused for a little while, looking ahead himself, but not at nothing. Instead, he studied the Christmas tree. Then he turned back to me when he'd gathered the courage he needed. "Umm, well, I don't mean to pry, son, I know this is personal like you said to Russ earlier, but if you two are...uh...intimate, have you thought about using protection?"

I felt like laughing, but I thought that might make him embarrassed, so I kept a normal, serious face as I put a hand on his arm. "Dad, we're not THAT intimate. Not yet, anyway. Besides, we're both clean."

"I trust you are, Timmy, but are you certain...?"

I nodded firmly. "I know you trust me, and I trust Jeffrey just as much! Yes he is. If he said so, then it's true, period. End of story." I hesitated. "Besides, we've stuck our tongues far enough down each other's throats already that if we did carry something, we've both got it now." I couldn't help grinning a little, and my cheeks heated up slightly. I hadn't REALLY meant saying that...!

He smiled slightly back at me and patted my hand. "Alright, buddy. I just wanted to check with you, you know? Can't blame a dad for wanting to make sure his children are safe, can you? I mean, he's only got four of 'em!"

I smiled a big smile back at him. "No, I don't blame you! Anyway, if this was all mom's idea, please don't tell her what I said okay? Let's keep this strictly between the two of us." I gave him a serious look so he'd know I meant what I said.

Dad chuckled. "Don't worry. Your mother's already so taken with Jeffrey she would like to go to bed with him herself I think! Whether the two of you use condoms or not couldn't be further from her mind." Of course I blushed red as a tomato! He patted my hand again. "No, I won't tell her, no worries. We merely had a father-son conversation and that'll be all she ever knows about it."

"Thanks, dad!", I said with a slightly embarrassed grin.

"Oh... By the way... Have you noticed those looks your brother keeps shooting at the two of you? You don't suppose he also...?"

I frowned at him. "DAAD! Leave Russ alone for a bit okay? He's a little confused right now, it's not the time for a father-son talk with him. And DON'T tell mom about this either, PROMISE me!"

"All right, all right!", he chuckled. "I promise!" He paused for a second, having this really weird thoughtful/mischievous expression on his face. "Hm. Looks though like I might have to entrust the girls with carrying on the family name...!"

I punched him in the shoulder!

My family's a fairly rowdy bunch at dinner, especially when trying to decide on a mutual plan of action (being six people with five strong wills makes that a virtual certainty! Six people and five wills? Actually, I'm not that stubborn, I usually settle for any decent compromise. This time it was a ski trip that the kids wanted (the kids? Just listen to the way I talk, I'm ONE lousy year older than Jo, and I call her kid! Actually, it's not even fully a year, more like ten months, and she's WAY more independent than I am!). If we went two days after tomorrow, we could stay until past new year's, since both my parents were off from work anyway on vacation.

Some planning was done, like how we'd get there. Jeff said his family owned a van that could take all of us plus luggage. We were free to use it. Mom said, no way she was sitting in a van for almost a day when we could take a plane and be there in like an hour. We weren't rich, but we weren't poor either she stated with enough force to make sure dad didn't argue with her. They are good earners both of them, but all of us kids, we cost a lot of money. Saving away for our education, paying for good insurance, house, two cars, food and clothes and other miscellaneous stuff, it all adds up. They love us a lot though, and it's not as if they blame us for sucking them dry! They do it without complaint because they love us. And we love them...

Mom then wanted to know what Jeff wanted to be once he had finished with school, but Jeff was undecided so far. He was aiming at getting a pretty general education in high school and something more specific once going to university after having more time to think about it. Despite his reading and writing difficulties, he still wanted to major in English, and foreign languages interested him also. That, he said, you could learn without ever having to open a book, so he already had some vague plans to learn Chinese as his family owned a big apartment in Hong Kong. He'd considered staying there for maybe one or two years or so picking up the language and local culture, maybe some martial arts or even doing his university studies there. Now things were more cloudy since he didn't want to leave me, and hearing him state that with a level of loyalty that went far beyond even what existed between a bodyguard and his charge, well, it almost brought tears to my eyes again! Mom moved in quickly and said there was no hurry for any of us. We had several years left to think such things over and plan. Jeff smiled, patted me (and gave me a quick kiss, which made me want to get over to his chair and sit in his lap but it would look silly right at the dinner table!)... History was also a big interest for him, we got to know. Mom approved of that, being somewhat of a history buff herself.

We had dessert, and most of the talk then centered around dad and Jeff's mutual interest in football. Jeff said he still liked rugby better, but football had surely grown on him since first arriving to the states.

I was feeling a little mischievous, so suddenly I raised my voice. "Jeff once said football players are wussies for wearing so much protective gear!"

"Now did he, really?", dad replied coyly, seeing my facial expression.

Jeff laughed! "It was just meant as a joke! Anyone who play these sports for real knows it's not true!"

Dad chuckled his Dad-Chuckle again. "I think we all can agree to that, but I fear my son here couldn't tell a rugby ball from a soccer ball if his life depended on it! That's probably why he thought you were serious." Again I was blushing like a tomato and I was begging Jeff with my eyes to hide me! He even made a small pantomime where he opened up his coat and beckoned me to creep inside! The rest of the table laughed and I didn't quite know where to go. Then Jeff fixed everything with his kisses...!

"It seems someone's having an entirely different kind of dessert than the rest of us!", my mom said with a wink and a smile. "However much you two may be enjoying yourselves, this is still a dinner table and not the appropriate place for such activities. Have I made myself clear?"

"Yes, Mrs. Fairchild", Jeff returned teasingly. He was so proper and well-behaved under most circumstances, you'd sometimes forget he was just a teen. When he did let himself be playful it was a refreshing and delightful change!

Mom pretended to be offended. "Oh I'll get you for that young man!" She proceeded to chase us both out of the kitchen, and we fled back to the boys' room. Mom came into the room too and closed the door. Seeing that she wanted to talk, we sat down on my bed and she on one of the desk chairs which she'd rolled over from the other side of the (rather small) room and placed right in front of my bed.

"I understand you're very taken with each other right now", she started and held out her hands to us. We each took one of them in our own. "Who can blame you? However, I have to make sure you're safe! If I can't do that, what kind of mother would I be? I must ask you to be nice to each other, and careful. You two, you're so young, it's really easy to hurt each other's feelings without meaning to, or even knowing it!"

"Don't worry, Mrs. Fairchild", Jeff said softly, and mom didn't protest for not being called by her first name. "I love Timmy, there's nothing more important to me than his well-being!"

Suddenly I found myself in Jeff's arms, my head snuggled in to his cheek. "Mom", I spoke. "We know what not to say, because we're in love, okay?"

She gave us a collective mom-hug, and held us for a little while, then left the room quietly. Jeff held me for a little while longer before speaking. "Do you want me to call for Frank to come pick us up?", he asked.

"No, we can walk this time, can't we? I mean, sure it's cold, but not THAT cold!"

Jeff seemed pleased. "Yes Timmy, I'd like to walk with you." He paused, snuggling me in tighter. "Walk just with you. ONLY you..." One of his hands was on my butt again and it made me giggle!

"It seems to me you're more interested in staying here!", I teased him.

"Okay, let's go then!", he said with sudden eagerness and pushed me up on my feet again.

"You don't like me anymore!", I said with a fake pout.

It worked like a charm of course, just as intended. Jeff was upon me immediately, but he only gave me ONE lousy kiss! And it was only about six or seven seconds long as well, just barely enough to sate me right then! He silently promised more later though, much more. And other stuff besides as well, so I calmed myself down. We got dressed and said goodbye to the family (and even Jo wanted a hug from Jeffrey before we left!). Russ asked again (in a whisper in my ear that I barely heard as he hugged me), if we'd REALLY be back tomorrow which I promised him we would be. I also told him not to get any cookie-crumbs in my bed if he watched some late movie on TV, I would still be using that bed in the future I said so he couldn't do exactly as he wanted! My brother gave me a smile and promised to be good. With that, we turned towards the door and proceeded out into the snowy evening. It was a gentle snowfall just like the day before. The temperature had again gone up closer to the freezing point, so the flakes that came down were large and fluffy instead of small and hard like when it's really cold, and there was a slight breeze, just enough to make the snow swirl gently as it came down towards the ground. I stopped beneath a streetlight just half a block away from our house and looked straight up as flakes came floating towards me. I more sensed than heard Jeff stepping up behind my back, standing close next to me.

A flake struck the tip of my chin. I opened my mouth wide. A flake came towards one of my eyes, so I closed it automatically. The other followed suit out of reflex, and while I wasn't looking a large piece of white fluff sailed down my throat as I took a breath. I started coughing immediately! Jeff held me as the spasm passed quickly. He turned me around, and standing like that in the soft, comforting snowfall he took my face in his hands and kissed me. I'd never felt better in my life I think...!

After... Well, at least ten more kisses, some of which were long and passionate, and others short and almost aggressive, we finally managed to gather ourselves again.

"Will there ever be a time when we can stay near each other for more than five minutes without snogging each other's faces off?", Jeff asked in an amused voice.

I gave a quick giggle. "I hope not!", I returned. "Come on! I'll race you down the street!" I started running immediately without waiting for his reply.

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