Christmas Story Con’t Part…ten? Eleven.
All right, before anyone reads this and goes all….”waaahhh! She said this would be the alst one!!!!!’ You’re right. I did say that. It wasn’t a lie at the time. I really thought…I guess I just don’t understand how little story I can fit into 1000(ish) words. SO I asked my blog mates, and they might be okay with me posting more often until I get this sucker done. I hope no one gets too mad at me 🙂 *ducks*
Here are allt eh previous links, for anyone new:
Part One: Santa’s New Line: http://dontkickmycane.livejournal.com/146309.html
And today’s offering:
Both men watched him like hawks all through breakfast, offering him more food than he could possibly eat. They refused to let him help with cleaning up, even suggested he go back to his bed and sleep. They subsided when he took to the couch and sat quietly, flicking through television channels. He didn’t even realize he’d nodded off until Jack was shaking him gently.
Kriss blinked into the afternoon sun flooding the great room. It glowed warm across the hardwood floors and beamed brightly into his eyes. He sat up and rubbed at his face. “Mrf.”
Jack chuckled. “I just wanted to let you know that Dad and I were off to pick Cody up at the airport. You can come if you like, but we won’t be long.”
Kriss stilled. See Cody? Sooner if he went with them to pick him up from the airport. But did he want that to happen in a public place? He wasn’t even sure he wanted to see his old lover again with Jack and Peter there to look on.
“Maybe you need some more sleep. You look pale still.”
“No maybe about it. Look at you. You’re sweating. Are you sure you don’t need a doctor?”
Jack’s face took on a look of alarm.
Kriss nestled back into the couch, clasping a cushion against his chest. “I’m fine, really.”
“It’s been a stressful few days,” Jack agreed, though he still had dubious tone in his voice. “You know…if you need to, you can talk to me. To dad. We’re here for you. To listen. If you need.”
That was awkward. Kriss almost had to grin at the poor man’s discomfort. The last thing Jack really wanted was to sit and listen to Kriss’s problem. Kriss glanced up at him and was caught in the net of concern in Jack’s eyes. “That’s kind of you—”
“I mean it,” Jack tapped his leg. “Scoot.” He took a place on the couch next to Kriss. “I understand what you’re going through. Michael was a good man. Confused, maybe, and I didn’t make things easier for him, but he was my friend.” He wrapped his fingers together and leaned forward on his elbows. “Besides, we’ve all been down this road a couple times in the past. Back in high school, there was this huge accident. After a party. My girlfriend was killed so was Cody’s…” Jack scrubbed hand through his hair. “His boyfriend and a couple other kids. It was horrific. You don’t expect something like that to happen. Before that, I suppose I knew Cody was gay. We never talked about it. When he lost David, he…I don’t know. No one wanted to acknowledge what he really lost. It was hard for him, and we didn’t make it any easier. Eventually, he just…snapped. It’s never been the same between us, and I miss him.”
Silence settled into the rays of sunshine and the soft cushions, taking a warmth and gentlness that was almost soothing. Jack stared at the floor and Kriss watched him.
“Have you ever told him how much you miss him?” Kriss asked at last.
“I don’t really know that he wants to hear it.”
“He does. He misses you, too.”
“It would be nice to think so, wouldn’t it?” Jack looked up at him. “But you can’t know that. Not for sure.”
Kriss drew in a deep breath. It was the perfect opening. “Actually, I think I do.”
It was easy to imagine there was suspicion in Jack’s voice. Wariness. But nothing Kriss could do short of disappearing now could circumvent what would happen when Cody walked in that door. Best to meet it head on. If he failed, he failed. He already knew the consequences. Drawing in a deep breath and letting it out, he steadied himself and plunged in. “I think I know your brother. Or…knew him.”
Jack’s eyes narrowed. “How?”
“Last Christmas. I met him. We…”
Jack’s brows drew down into a deep frown.
“The thing is, we kind of had a falling out. I walked out and…something happened.”
“I’m not sure, exactly. But I wound up here. Michael found me. It’s really hard to explain.”
“What do you mean you’re not sure and you ‘wound up”? You don’t remember?”
“Not exactly, no. I wish I could explain better. I wish…Cody is going to see me here and wonder what happened. He probably thinks I just walked away and never looked back. But I didn’t know I had anything to look back on. I didn’t remember. Until now. Until you started talking about him and things, half-memories, started clicking into pace.” Kriss stopped talking.
Jack was staring at him like he had pointy ears and a bell on his hat.
“That’s a fucking load of coincidence, isn’t it?” he asked. His voice had turned harsh. Suspicious.
“I guess.” Kriss didn’t dare try to explain why it wasn’t coincidence at all. Jack was already looking at him like he was crazy. Or a criminal.
“Jack?” Peter’s voice carried from the kitchen. “Son, you ready?”
“I think you better go on your own. Dad. I’m going to stay and keep an eye on Kriss.”
“He okay?” Peter’s voice dropped as he poked his head over the rail. “Kriss, you all right, son?”
Kriss looked up, thankful Jack had his back to his father. “I’m fine, Mr. Stanton. Jack is just being cautious.” He managed a smile. “And I appreciate it.”
“Go on, Dad. I’ll take care of everything here.”
“All right. If you’re sure. Does he need a doctor?”
They spoke in unison and Kriss’ smile faltered.
“If you’re sure,” Peter said again.”
“I am Dad. Get going or you’ll be late. You know how much Cody hates airports.”
“Al right. Al right. I’m going. You boys try and relax.
Peter disappeared again and the back door opened and closed. A moment later, the sound of a car motor rumbled to life and dwindled down the street.
“I’ll get my things,” Kriss said, rising to his feet. “You won’t see me again. I’m sorry I took up your time.”
“Wait.” Jack’s hand closed about his wrist. “Sit.”
“What aren’t you telling me?”
“I don’t understand.”
“Amnesia?” Jack frowned. “Really? You expect me to believe that?”
“I—” He didn’t expect him to believe it. Who would? But he wouldn’t believe the truth, either.
“You have five seconds to tell me the truth before I arrest you and toss your ass in jail.”
“I didn’t do anything!”
Jack rose. “You are in my home under false pretenses.” His eyes narrowed, his nostrils flared. “Were you in Michael’s life under a cloud of lies, too?”
“No!” Kriss shot to his feet. “No! I swear. I loved him.”
“And what about Cody? Love him too?”
“Yes.” Kriss wobbled, swaying on his feet. “I still do. I—”
“Oh no you don’t.” Jack grabbed him by both arms. “No more fainting. The truth. Now.”
“I need to sit.”
Jack shook him. “Talk.”
“You wouldn’t believe me.” Kriss sagged in his grip. He felt nauseous, weak, and the feeling angered him because he couldn’t combat it. He didn’t know what to do. Cody had known what he needed, whenever this happened.
“Try me. Because if you think I’m going to let you upset my little brother, think again. Either you tell me the truth, or you can go the hell back to your empty little house and rot there.”
“Please.” Kriss gave in and crumpled, trusting his weight to Jack’s strong hold and his mercy. “I didn’t do any of this on purpose. I tried my best. I’m just an elf.”
A strained silence filled the room for the space of a heartbeat. “A what?” Jack asked, trying to right Kriss and look him in the eye. “What did you say?”