I slowly approach her, clad in her crisp white dressing gown on christmas morning. Sipping her cup of green tea with intense thought and apprehension. "Mama?" I say softly as not to startle her. She turns to me and a grin settles on her face that resembles mine except for the feminine cut of her jawline and the faint creases of aging that have rested upon each dip and curve. "Ah Frankie, Merry Christmas my darling." She almost whispers the way she did when I was a baby, wrapped up and tucked into my little cot. "I got you a present." I say in reply. And I hug her tightly and kiss her cheek. Something I haven't done since I was five years old. Tears fill her eyes as we hug for a long while, clinging to the only stability I really have left, my eyes become waterfalls.
I spread a blood red table cloth over the table and begin to lay out plates of food and drinks. Donna had gone to get him and he would be back soon. No doubt was present that Mikey had deliberately tried to out do me. And let's be honest, he probably had. "Here we are!" Called Donna and like when I was a child I ran to the front door the way I would to the tree every year. This was easily the best present ever. He was here! "Gee!" I screamed in an admittedly girlish voice and ran at him almost knocking his wheelchair over. "Fucking hell! First you-" Mikey yelled before his parents cut him off. "We're going to head upstairs for a little while, just so you two can have some time together, then we can all have dinner together." Donna smiled pleasantly ushering Mikey off to the stairs.
"So, this is what I got you!" I exclaimed hoping he'd like it. I unwrapped it for him and added "voila!"
"You're right." He said looking at the plain black shirt up and down. "Right about what?" I asked genuinely uncertain. "You're terrible at giving presents."
"You hate it?" A pit forming in my stomach. "No I don't. If it was from anyone else then yes, but it's from you. And that's a huge deal. Thanks." He adds and the little black butterflies flutter in my stomach as we share our first kiss under the mistletoe.
"Gee?" Mom asks a smile across her face.
"Yeah?" I reply the suspense killing me.
"Mikey and I got you something too. A holiday, to florida!"She beams and I'm filled with dread. "You loved it when you were little! And frankie can come too! A real family affair!" She exclaims turning pink with joy. I appreciated what she was doing but a holiday? Why would I want a holiday to florida? Sun? Vampires never get tans. But frank could come. My Frankie and I wanted him to have good memories of us together when I'm gone. He deserves this break too. More than anyone could ever see. Mom and Mikey both hugged and kissed me and for the first time it struck me like a runaway train, everything I had would soon be gone.
"Present 2!" I take my hand away from Gerards eyes. He looks at me curiously. "What is this supposed to be?" He asks at the sight of the bed I bruised every piece of bare skin exposed to put in Dayles living room. "Now we can sleep together, like we used to." I explain.
"Too many memories." Is Gerards solemn reply. "Well at least stay and have some lasagne, Dayle made it special. I'll take you home once you have eaten." I said sadly. He didn't want to stay with me. He hated me, he just didn't want to break me down yet. But I was pulling out all the steps to keep him strong, to make him want to live.
"Right well I'll put you on the bed whilst we eat, you'll be comfortable that way." I say falsely happy. Comfortable? He couldn't feel anything, emotionally or physically."Right, breathe in."
"Why?" He said rejecting his previous inhale.
"Makes you lighter." I smirk.
"You're an idiot." He laughs to my delight and again our lips are brought together. And he stayed, for what I prayed would not be the last time.