This novella depicts some events of Talbott’s Christmas, a lonely teen in an unconventional relationship with a supernatural being calling himself Gary. The first novella – Believing is Seeing – is from Gary’s point of view, and Act II is told by Talbott. I recommend to those novellas first, then continue with this one.
„I never been to Christmas celebrations for real” Gary chimed in. He was exited and I was barely awake. Today was my last school day of the year. And I wasn’t excited. Two weeks from now on? Alone with my parents? Or alone? I preferred the latter. But I should rather say without my parents, because I was never alone since I got together with Gary. Gary. He was still speaking. „… and I want to spend every moment of it with you.”
The hell he was talking about? I was so caught up in my head, I missed like the 80% of his happy rambling. Why was I so anxious? For the first time in forever I wasn’t looking for the Holidays alone.
„Do you have any detailed plan?” I asked him hoping that this will make him tell me again what he wanted to do.
„I did not planned anything through” he said grinning, we were laying in my bed tangled together, I still couldn’t muster the strength to start my preparation for my last school day. „But I want to go on a date, to the Christmas Market, then to the cinema to watch some sappy Christmas movie.”
„What do you want to watch? Any preferences?”
„No… I don’t even know what movies are trending now.”
„Okaaay” I answered thinking it through. „If we can’t find anything we can always watch something on the big flat screen my parents have in the living room.”
„Fine by me… But…” I saw his hesitation, and I understood instantly. He wanted to be present by my side, snuggle close to me, not be the invisible, a bodyless apparition he was for so long.
I didn’t want to make him feel sad, so I said hastily. „We can sneak in the living room after my parents went to bed. Their bedroom is on the other side of the flat, so if we tune the volume down, we should be fine.”
His eyes sparkled happily, so I knew that was the best answer possible I could give. He contemplated something behind my head on the bedside wall, before speaking up again.
„Can I accompany you to the family dinner on Christmas Eve?”
I swallowed hard. There was nothing I wanted more than he to be by my side during that hell of an awful and boring dinner. But how could he come along when I wasn’t even… I caught myself spilling my thoughts too late, when I realized I was speaking, the it was halfway out. So I should have had very well finish it.
„I would be the happiest creature on Earth if you could be there with me, but… I haven’t even come out to my parents. Not that they don’t know or at least suspect something already. But they think that if no one says anything about it, it won’t turn into a reality to be dealt with.”
Gary kissed me, then turned me so my back was against his chest, his arms sneaked around me, pulling me so close, I was completely enveloped in his warmth. He pressed butterfly kisses on my nape, my neck, on the silky skin behind my ear. His lips were a bit chilly, and shivers run up and down along my spine as the touch of his lips were immediately followed by the heat of this breath.
„It’s settled then” he whispered in my ear. „I’ll be there with you. Invisible, but I’ll be right by your side nonetheless. And I promise I won’t do anything suspicious.” Unless they do something to hurt your feelings, I could hear floating around us unspoken.
„It will certainly be bearable if you can be there” I whispered back and almost let myself succumb to sleep again, but Gary wouldn’t let me oversleep. I clambered out of the bed – leaving Gary’s body heat behind – and went to get ready for my day.
Our date the day before Christmas dinner with my parents was utterly beautiful. Perfect even. We wandered around the Christmas Market hand in hand, and to stave off the cold we got mulled wine to sip and various streetfoods to eat. Gary wanted to try everything and I wouldn’t want to be the one to hold him back.
At the end of the day we cuddled close together on the comfy couch in the living room, belly aching from everything we managed to eat during that evening. But it was a good kind of ache, the ’I won’t need popcorns for the movie’ kind. We were watching Home alone, and regardless the fact that I already saw it countless times and knew it by heart it was still new to Gary.
So everything was wonderful, and I needed that perfection desperately before facing my parents at the dinner table. I would never understand why they were requesting my presence on each and every Christmas Eve when they were at best ignoring me during the whole year.
When I woke up that day, I was alone in my bed. It was almost painful to stretch my limbs under the covers without Gary’s warmth. He was invisible again, but I could feel his lingering presence in my room. When invisible, he couldn’t speak, but he could make his presence evident with gusts of wind or object swinging, falling…
The day itself was a torture. My parents were like actors casting for the show of their lives. Everything had to be perfect. The decoration, the food, the guests, the photos taken with everyone. And everything was perfect. Seemingly. Except it wasn’t. How could anything be perfect where Gary couldn’t appear? Where we couldn’t be together?
Time during dinner seemed to pass excruciatingly slow. Dishes arrived without an end, and everyone around me was chatting vividly. My temple throbbed with the incessant humming of the conversations bouncing from the walls and high ceiling of the dining room. Conversations I wasn’t part of. I was picking the food on my plate but was barely able to eat anything. Most of the times I was invisible for everyone and it was fine by me.
And then my parents started to speak about me. My plans and dreams for the future… and everything they said were their expectations towards me. I did not want any of their dreams. I just wanted Gary and a moderately boring 9 to 5ish job to able to provide for the both of us. And their rambling went on endlessly, and I felt myself collapse under the guests’ scrutiny and approving gazes they were piercing me with.
They were approving my parents, not me. They did not know anything about me. They did not want to know about me. Or Gary. The most important thing in my life. God, how much I wanted Gary by my side at that moment. I wanted to grab his hand and shout my feelings for him to everyone’s face in the room.
Gary chose that exact moment to disappear from the room. I couldn’t feel is presence anymore. I couldn’t help it but to feel betrayed. Gary promised to stay by my side… even invisible… And now here I was utterly and helplessly alone.
Then the persistent ring of the main entrance’s doorbell cut through the laughter and loud conversation. A momentary silence fell on the dinning room. My parents shared an irritated look, clearly not expecting anyone to barge into their perfect Christmas dinner. Whoever wanted to gain entry to this posh party, clearly wasn’t taking no for an answer.
„Martin” my mum ordered the old man she hired as a butler for the evening „would you please be so kind to check the door? Whoever it is, please tell them it is a private event and their presence would be better appreciated in a more appropriate time.”
Jesus. I fought the urge to roll my eyes hearing her fancy words. Martin, just tell them to make themselves scarce. I translated her flashy little speech. Wouldn’t it be grand? My mother talking like any other puny mortals without a pedigree worth nothing in the end?
Sounds of calamity made the heads turn in the direction of the main entrance. I couldn’t hear any of the words said to the new visitor, but it was obvious that Martin did his best to keep someone from entering the private party in the flashy restaurant. Was he alright alone? Or did he need help to get rid of the unwanted visitor? Either way, I saw an opportunity to escape.
„Maybe I should check on Martin” I got to my feet and looked at my mum then my dad. „He’s old, he could use some backup, I think.”
Before my mum could object or interject that they were paying Martin exactly for be able to handle situations like this, I already was halfway through the great hall’s door. I run to the main entrance shouting to Martin to hang on. When I arrived, I stopped abruptly and dumbfounded when I noticed who wanted to come in. He absolutely was a sight for sore eyes.
It was Gary, wearing an elegant pea coat over something looked like high quality suit, exactly the one my parents requested all guests to wear. He looked stunning in his black coat, dark suit trousers, his pale white skin complemented with his rosegold locks. He absolutely was an stunning apparition to look at.
I have long ceased to wonder how he changed his appearances – I mean his clothes because his facial features and rosegold locks never changed. Every night we shredded our clothes together before falling on the bed in each other’s embrace, but every time his clothes evaporated to thin air till next morning. And every time I finished dressing, he stood before me in new crisp set of garments.
He looked at me, and our eyes met. His pale gaze sparkled, and a happy smile lighted up his handsome face. My heart skipped a beat and my breath hitched. He was stunning as ever. Martin eyed him wearily, but before he could utter a word, Gary spoke fist.
„Talbott!” He flashed a million watt smile at me. „I got your invitation a bit late. But I managed to get away from work.”
„Do you know this man, young sir?” Martin asked still wary. I was the only one he called liked that. It was so much grandfatherly warmth in those two words, my heart hurt every time I got called ’young sir’.
„Yes, off course” I returned Gray’s smile, and played along. „I invited him. This way, Gary. Wow, you look fantastic” I told him, when he got to my side and linked his arm through mine.
„I studied you all along those boring evenings and parties. I am sure that my appearance and manners will meet your parents’s approval.”
„Except your gender. They will very much disagree on that matter.” I muttered.
„Do you fancy me to turn into a pretty girl?” He snickered beside me, nudging me with his elbow.
„Why would I want that?” I looked at him incredulous. I would never want to change anything on this gorgeous man.
Gary’s arrival to the party and me explaining who he was to me, what we meant to each other was the best bomb to upturn my parents’ picture perfect and mind-numbingly boring party. My mother was beside herself hearing the news about us, my father was frantic explaining that all of it was a misunderstanding. He almost got a heart attack when I contradicted him, not letting him turn down my relationship as a teenage fling.
I introduced Gary as my boyfriend, and he introduced himself as a college student telling everyone that we had met in a café we both liked to sit in and study. Some of the diner guests were accepting, encouraging even. Some of them showed no interest in us, but the wast majority sided with my parents. They thought of us as outrageous. So we decided to leave the party as soon as it was possible.
“What do you think will happen?” Gary asked me quietly while we walked down the street searching for some place open during Christmas Eve, where we could wait for the stupid party to end and decide what to do next.
“Nothing unexpected” I answered calmly. A few weeks ago it seemed to be an unconquerable task to come out to anyone except for Eliza. And now I was weightless. The large boulder finally rolled down from my shoulder not holding me back anymore.
“What do you mean?” Gary was nervous on my behalf.
“They will tell me that I can live in their house till I come of age. But I won’t be leaving my room if not necessary” explained him along with a careless shrug.
“And it is not unexpected how?” Gary started to freak out. He was cute when he was worrying for me, and furious at my parents.
“I overheard them a few days back. They already decided to throw me out the moment I become twenty if I don’t change my ways. Since I won’t, my life with them is about to end. But I don’t worry, I’ll get a job, and temporarily I’ll move in with Eliza.”
“And will it be enough for you?” Was Gary doubting himself? Us?
“Much lesser still would be enough only if I had you.” I stopped, got his hands in mine, making him turn to face me. “Tell me I can have you forever. Please, Gary… Let us be together. Let this moment be the start of our forever…”
“Okay. Yes. I’ll stay. You are the only one, I could ever be with. Can we start our forever with a kiss in the falling snow?”
A few minutes before it started to snow, the white covered every hurt, all the pain, leaving us in the middle of a Christmas miracle.
“Kiss me then, Gary, I want it all to start already.”