Winter Solstice fell upon us, and with that came Christmas. It was going to be a different one. I had spent the last few years celebrating Christmas alone. Sure I was invited to many parties, and I enjoyed them all. However Lorhen County prided itself on Christmas being a strictly family holiday. Those who didn’t leave town for the rest of the year, and those who stayed, hardly left home.
This year however, I had Sonic with me. I had no clue what his Christmas traditions were, or if he had any, or even if South Islanders celebrated Christmas at all, or if they had a different holiday entirely! I tried to ask him, but he only said that South Islanders borrowed most of their traditions from us humans, which I found peculiar. If South Island had little-to-no contact with us, how did they borrow so much of our traditions? I had another dilemma as well: what was I gonna give Sonic as a gift? He was a minimalist. I got the impression he was something of a wanderer, with little possessions. What could I give him that he did not already have?
It was a chilly December night. Luana and I went to a large lot a little ways outside of town to pick out a Christmas tree. I remembered Christmas trees. Amy always had one in her house. It was always so lavish and grand. But that was Amy for you: she was the hub for parties.
One of Ayanna’s “guy friends (though her looks at him suggested otherwise…)” helped us haul a pine tree back to the house. I don’t know how Luana managed to find a space in all her grandfather’s clutter. However, we managed to stick it into the corner of the living room. Afterwards, we had some hot cocoa, and chatted for a bit, Ayanna and her friend left the house, leaving the two of us alone. Luana slapped her hands into her lap.
“Well, looks like I need to bring the decorations in for tomorrow” she announced.
“It’ll take no sweat getting all your stuff up with my help!”
Luana chuckled dryly.
“Sonic, the point is to do it slowly, be fully immersed in it! Could you at least try to take it easy for me?”
I blew a raspberry.
“I make no promises!”
Luana playfully rolled her eyes at me.
Just then, the doorbell rang. We jumped, and exchanged glances. I sped up the stairs and into my room. We worked out a routine that I would always hide when the doorbell rang. If it was someone we knew, then no problem! But if it was someone suspicious, well, we knew what to do.
I threw on my disguise and peeked from the stairway to watch. Luana slowly approached the door. She unlocked the keyholes, and cautiously opened it. When she saw who it was, she froze in shock. It was a woman. She had the same hair color as Luana, though more wavy and curly and with stormy blue eyes like Luana. She was wearing a fancy coat and leather gloves.
“Mom…!?” Luana exclaimed.
“Luana…” the woman said, coldly.
Then, she walked in, leaving Luana still dumbfounded by the door. I ducked back into the hallway and listened.
“What are you doing here?”
“My boss insisted on taking a holiday. So I thought I’d take this time to come visit.”
“Nowhere else to go, huh?”
There was anger, and no small amount of annoyance in Luana’s voice. I was getting a bad feeling… I peeked back around again. They were no longer standing in the entryway, but had moved to the living room.
“You still have all your grandfather’s stuff in here? I would’ve thought you would have cleared the house of junk by now.”
“Gee, I wouldn’t know why, mother.”
“Luana, don’t be so sour! You know it’s not healthy to live in a house with so much clutter and dust!”
“I am aware, mother.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Where did you get those scars from? Did you fall off a ladder or something?”
Luana cleared her throat, aggravated.
“You could say that…”
“Shame, it takes a lot away from your face.”
Even I retorted at that comment. I thought Luana looked cool, even if she got them from horrid circumstances!
I heard Luana clear her voice again.
“Sonic, come on down, we have a guest.”
I was surprised she called me so soon. Slowly, I descended down the stairs, careful not to be too quick. I cautiously took a seat next to Luana. The woman was shocked.
“Who’s this?” She exclaimed.
“This is my friend Sonic. He came to stay with me last Summer.” I was curious why she didn’t use my alternate name. She looked at me.
“Sonic, this is Lily Dockinson, my mother.”
“Nice to meet you.”
I could tell Mrs. Dockinson didn’t take my greeting so well. She said nothing and turned to Luana.
“You’re taking in borders, Luana?” She asked.
Luana shook her head.
“No,” she rebuttled confidently, “He’s living with me.”
Her mother looked at me again. I never thought I’d be uneasy of a glance from an Overlander. Now it seemed to be Mrs. Dockinson’s turn to clear her throat.
“You understand how…odd that sounds?”
“I am aware.”
There was another moment of silence. Then, Luana stood up.
“Well, I’m sure you want to bring your things in, so…Let’s go ahead and get that done.”
Mrs. Dockinson nodded and Luana followed her to the door. Before she stepped outside, Luana said to me:
“Are you okay if she takes your room for a bit?”
“Of course, I’ve spent most of my nights sleeping outside anyway. I’m just a little confused though. Are you two not-?”
“Close? No, not at all,” she responded, bitterly, “Believe me, I would rather her sleep on the couch than you.”
And with that, she marched outside. This was going to be awkward.
I silently carried my mother’s things up to Sonic’s room. I was fuming. How dare my mother show up uninvited? Does she think I’m going to cater to her for her entire visit? Well she thought wrong! She would not be allowed to stay here long. She didn’t deserve it.
“Luana, do you really understand what you’ve gotten yourself into? A woman should not be living alone with her partner!”
“He’s not my partner! He’s my friend. Even if he was, what would it matter to you?” I hissed, “You have no say in my life. I am a grown woman and I decide who stays in my house!”
“Your grandfather shouldn’t have willed this house to you. You’ve been spoiled to be given everything. You have no experience in responsibility!”
“Well, you wouldn’t really know, now would you?” I snapped.
Mother didn’t respond.
I took a deep breath.
“Sonic and I are going to be up a little longer playing some video games. You know where the bathroom is. Goodnight.”
And with that, I marched out of the room.