Things are not going well for the Way's family Christmas. Practical jokes, a badass santa and one cigarette burn seem to be causing a lot of trouble...
Ray and Raven’s house…
Ray’s step-daughter Shayla looked over at him. The two of them were watching ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ “Are you crying?” Shayla asked, raising her eye-brows.
Ray scowled. He took pride in being ‘the tough guy’ and hated people seeing his emotions “What are you, a robot?” He snapped “This happens to be a deeply emotional movie.”
Shayla’s Mom Raven came into the living room “Shayla, I need you to help me with something in the kitchen.”
“We gotta finish this first Raven, the kid’s never seen Miracle on 34th Street.” Ray said, his eyes glued to the screen.
“That’s because he always spent Christmas in Colombia with his Dad. And all we see there is Salvador and El Oso Save Christmas.” Raven reminded him. She was born in England but Shayla’s real Dad lived in Colombia so she went over there to live with him and a few months later gave birth to Shayla.
“Sounds like a classic.” Ray smiled.
“Mom, can we finish watching the movie please?” Shayla asked, making her eyes big as she turned around to look at her Mom.
“Okay.” Raven said, sitting on the arm of the chair and putting one hand on Shayla’s shoulder.
Shayla looked at the movie, grinned and then glanced at Ray. She knew what was about to happen and she couldn’t wait to see his re-action.
The movie continued for a couple of seconds when suddenly a disgusting alien creature with blue eyes popped up onto the screen and started screaming. Ray jumped out of his skin “Oh! What the hell is that? What the hell is that?”
“Inocente!” Shayla cried while her and Raven started laughing their heads off.
Ray was confused “What the hell?”
Shayla recovered from laughing enough to tell him “When you told me we were going to watch this movie, I got a joke copy from the internet.” Shayla giggled “You are the inocente!”
“Well, maybe I’m a little confused right now.” Ray said, switching off the TV and looking at them both “What is this inocente stuff?”
“In Colombia, practical jokes are a Christmas tradition.” Raven explained to him, still giggling with Shayla “The one that is fooled is the inocente.” Raven hi-fived Shayla and they both carried on laughing at Ray.
“We tell practical jokes on April Fool’s Day, okay?” Ray snapped “So do not do that again.”
Shayla got up, still laughing and Raven put her arm around her. They went into the kitchen together while Ray turned his attention back to the TV “Inocente.” He muttered under his breath and then called “Does it do again- Ah it’s ruined.”
A couple of hours later, Ray fished out three presents from under the tree “Okay.” He announced, going into the kitchen where Shayla and Raven were “Tonight, nine o clock sharp, we open one present each. Pyjamas. Which we sleep in. Tomorrow morning, 7AM, Shayla on the stairs for the Christmas picture. Then we open presents.”
“In Colombia, they open presents at midnight.” Shayla told him “And stay up all night.”
“I’m sure they do, but as you’ll notice from the absence of goats in the street,” Ray put on a strange accent for the next part “We are not in Colombia.” Raven and Shayla’s draws dropped until Ray put his hands up and laughed saying “Come on, I’m kidding.”
“Why can’t we mix a couple of Colombian traditions on?” Raven asked.
“Like fireworks.” Shayla grinned.
“Come on, you don’t have fireworks in Colombia.” Ray said, raising his eye-brows “You’re trying to make me the inocente again!” He picked up a Christmas cookie that Raven had cooked and iced and bit into it.
“No, we do.” Raven told him “At night, they sky is beautiful, very Christmassy.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.” Ray said, shaking his head.
“Look, every country has their own traditions.” Raven said, getting a little irritated but she loved Ray so she tried her best not to show it. But she loved Shayla too and knew how much she wanted a Colombian Christmas so she had to stand up for her as well “In our culture, for example, the baby Jesus is the one that brings the gift, not Santa Claus.” Shayla nodded in agreement, looking from her Mom to Ray.
“But that doesn’t make any sense.” Ray told them “How could a new-born baby carry all those presents? They don’t even know where their hands are.”
“At least a baby could fit through a chimney.” Shayla pointed out.
“How would you sit on baby Jesus’ lap? You’d squish it.” Ray rolled his eyes “Shayla, next year we’ll talk about some of your little Colombian traditions. Okay? Maybe.”
Shayla looked at Raven who just shrugged her shoulders helplessly “I know what ‘maybe’ means.” Shayla said angrily “It’s like you’re trying to take away my whole Christmas.” She stormed out of the room.
Ray sighed. The last thing he wanted to do was upset Shayla, especially on Christmas Eve. He looked to Raven for help. Raven just flipped her hair over her shoulder and carried on making Christmas cookies.
Ray went round to his son Gerard’s house. He knocked on the door really loudly and yelled “Ho, ho, ho, it’s me. Ho, ho, ho, it’s me.”
Gerard opened the door and said “Hey Dad, hi.”
Gerard’s boyfriend Frank waved and said “Hey.”
“Hey, I brought your presents.” Ray smiled, handing each of them a gift and putting two down on the sofa for his adopted grand-daughters Mia and Kat.
“Aren’t we seeing you tomorrow Ray?” Frank asked.
“These are your Christmas Eve gifts.” Ray told them “You know the drill. You open those up before bedtime, they’re pyjamas.”
Frank grinned and Gerard asked “Still keep the traditions alive, huh?”
“Well, someone has to.” Ray sighed “I got two Colombians at home trying to turn Christmas into Cinco de Mayo.”
Frank looked confused and Gerard asked “You know that’s Mexican, right?”
“Ah! Burrito, bur-right-o.” Ray said, shrugging his shoulders “Christmas should be Christmas. Picture on the stairs, hot chocolate, opening the presents. That was supposed to be the good thing about having a kid in the house again. I can have Christmas the way we used to.”
“I hear you, Ray. If I was home right now, I’d be mixing up a bathtub full of eggnog and trying to squeeze a greased hog into a Santa hat.” Frank told him “You don’t think I miss that?”
“Do you?” Ray asked, raising his eye-brows.
Frank sighed “The point is that those are memories that I’ll always have, but now I have the opportunity to create new memories with my new family that are gonna be just as special someday.”
Gerard smiled at him, a little touched by what he just said then turned to his Dad “No, Frank’s right. We create new traditions every year.”
“So, who’s ready to try the swing?” A shirtless guy wearing nothing but a pair of large red trousers walked in the living. A guy that Ray had never seen before. He quickly made his excuses and left.
At home, Raven was putting the turkey into the fridge to defrost for tomorrow. As she did, she said to Shayla “Okay, now remind me, we put this in the oven first thing tomorrow because Ray wants to eat at three o clock.” Shayla nodded and Raven sighed “Shayla, did you put this spider in the fridge?” She asked, bringing out a fake spider.
“Oh yeah. Inocente.” Shayla didn’t put any spark into her voice like she had when she’d pranked Ray.
“Aww what’s wrong?”
“I wanna have Christmas like they do in Colombia.” Shayla told her “Ray is messing everything up.”
“Shayla, try to understand.” Raven put her hand on Shayla’s shoulder “Ray has great memories with his kids when they were young, and he just wants to recreate them with you.”
Raven handed her back the fake spider and Shayla said thoughtfully “So, maybe the best gift I could give Ray would be Christmas like he used to have it?”
Raven smiled and cupped Shayla’s face with her hands “Ah you’re such a beautiful girl. One day you’re gonna grow up and I’m gonna miss all the things that you used to do as a little girl.”
“Okay.” Shayla grinned “But if this so-called Santa Claus doesn’t bring me a new dress, we’re going to have a big problem.” Shayla nodded at her Mom and walked out of the room.
Raven pulled a face as Shayla walked away. She totally hadn’t brought Shayla a new dress.
At around seven, Ray came back in “Where were you for so long?” Raven asked, dishing up some food for Shayla.
“Just a little last minute shopping.” Ray told her.
“Oh.” Raven nodded.
“What’s this?” Ray asked, looking at the food that Raven had made.
“Buñuelos.” Shayla said.
“Who? What?” Ray cried.
“Cheese fritters.” Raven explained “It’s a Colombian traditional Christmas food.”
“Okay, new rule.” Ray barked “From now on, we do Colombian things when we’re in Colombia; we do American things when we’re in America. That means no more of your food, no more of your music and especially no more of your crazy holidays!” Ray walked around the corner into the dining room.
Shayla looked up at her Mom, tears stinging her eyes. All she wanted was Christmas like back home…
“Inocente!” Ray yelled, his head popping back round the corner with a big grin.
“Ray!” Raven cried, all three of them laughing now.
“What did I say it wrong? You two are total inocentes! You should see the look on your faces.” Ray put the bags down on the table and laughed “And by the way, you know how hard it is to get fireworks on Christmas Eve?”
Shayla and Raven laughed excitedly “Go Shayla. Thank you.” Raven smiled at Ray and Shayla ran over to him and threw her arms around his waist. Ray laughed and hugged Shayla back.
“We’ll invite the whole family over tonight for a real Colombian Christmas.” Ray smiled.
Shayla grinned up at him “Thanks! I love you Ray.”
“Love you too Kiddo.”
Frank and Gerard’s house…
“Are you kidding me with this line?” Frank asked in a frustrated voice. They were in a line to meet Santa. His youngest daughter Mia (three years old) was in a push-chair and his boyfriend Gerard was holding their other daughter Kat (six years old) in his arms “I’m gonna ask Santa for the last forty-five minutes of my life back.”
“Oh would you cheer up?” Gerard smiled at him “We are in Santa’s village with our two beautiful daughters. Where were we a year ago?” They’d adopted Kat about eleven months ago and then adopted Mia four months ago.
“Uhh… We were at the beginning of this line.” Frank joked, rolling his eyes as he checked on Mia to see if she was okay.
“Okay, you know what? Somebody needs to get in the holiday… Son of a bitch!” He whipped around while Frank hissed something about Kat picking up on his language.
“What is it Daddy?” Kat asked.
They were looking at a group of carollers dressed in old-fashioned clothes, both men and women. They were singing “Let nothing you dismay remember, Christ, our Saviour…”
“Maybe it’s not them.” Frank said gently.
“Oh it’s them.” Gerard said grimly “It’s them.”
Three years ago, Gerard had formed a carolling group that were known as the Greensleevers. They would perform at charity event, hospitals etc. They were very popular. But last year, one of the carollers, Andrew, convinced the others to kick Gerard out of the group.
“Save us all from Satan’s power.” The carolling group sang and stood right next to the line for Santa Claus that Gerard, Frank and their daughters were in.
They finished their song and everyone around them started applauding except for Gerard, Frank and their daughter “Thank you.” Andrew smiled “We are the new Greensleevers.”
Frank looked away but Gerard stared out Andrew until he walked away. Gerard turned to Frank “The new Greensleevers?” He pointed to his cheek “Is there a slap mark on my face?” Frank tried to comfort him but he carried on “I mean, why is Edna singing the low harmony? It’s like people are applauding out of shock.”
“Let it go.” Frank said gently, patting his boyfriend’s shoulder.
“Okay, next!” Announced Santa’s elf.
“Finally!” Frank cried because they were next in line.
At that moment, a pathetic-looking Santa took the place of the one who had been sitting there before. It was obvious to everyone, even Mia, that this man wasn’t Santa. “Whoa!” Frank said to the elf “I’m sorry, can I… Could you… What happened to the other Santa? Listen, we’ve been waiting in this line for a really long time and we just want a Santa that actually looks like Santa.”
“Frank, it’s okay.” Gerard said “You don’t mind, do you Kat?”
“No, no, no, Gerard, it’s not okay!” Frank whined “This is Kat and Mia’s first Christmas with us. I wanna make sure everything is perfect.”
“Love you Daddy.” Kat smiled and Frank grinned then kissed her cheek.
“We’re gonna wait for the fat Santa.” Frank announced “All right?”
“I knew this would happen.” The elf sighed “I don’t know why we even hired this guy!”
“See? Even his elves agree with me.” Frank started moving Mia’s push-chair out of the line “Thank you.”
“I didn’t know Christmas made you so petty.” Gerard said, following him and raising his eye-brows.
At that moment the Greensleevers appeared again and started singing ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ “Lackluster!” Gerard yelled, pretending to cough as he did so “I hate you!” He pretended to cough again as he heckled them.
Gerard was packing all the Christmas presents, decorations and food into the back of the car while Frank put Mia and Kat in their car seats “When I was in charge, it was all about the music!” Gerard ranted “I mean, what’s with them tossing out candy canes after every carol? It’s pandering!”
“I think you made that clear when you tossed them back.” Frank sighed, finishing putting the kids in their seats and going to help him sort out the stuff in the boot.
“How am I supposed to get all this in the car?” Gerard moaned as the boot was nearly full and he still had quite a few more things to put in.
“Let me give you a hand with that.” A voice said from behind them. Frank and Gerard turned around.
It was the Santa that Frank had been complaining about in the queue. He swallowed and looked at Gerard who said “Thanks. Thanks, Santa.”
“Can’t call me that anymore.” He sighed heavily “Just got canned.”
Frank and Gerard’s stomachs twisted with guilt and their mouths fell open. Was it what they said that made him get fired? “Oh God… Really?” Frank asked.
“I guess a couple of people complained I wasn’t fat enough.” The guy shrugged his shoulders as he packed things into the back of the car by himself.
“Well, that’s terrible.” Gerard said awkwardly.
“That’s what I get for trying not to have a second heart attack.” The guy said, shutting the boot of the car. Everything was neatly inside “There you go. Always a way to make room. Take it from someone who lives in his car.”
“Umm… Well thank you so much.” Frank said, the knot in his stomach getting tighter.
Scott, the fake Santa, just smiled and said “No problem.” Before starting to make his way back to his car “Merry Christmas.”
“Wait, wait, please…” Frank said quickly “Let me give you a little something for your trouble.” He started fishing around in his wallet.
“No, no, it’s okay.” Scott said, waving his hands in the air.
“Do you really live in your car?” Gerard asked as Frank bit his lip and put his wallet away.
“Yeah, it’s not so bad.” Scott replied, turning to look at his car “It’s pretty roomy since the wife moved out.” He laughed but he didn’t sound happy.
Gerard and Frank exchanged a look “Why don’t you come over to our place for dinner tonight?” Gerard asked.
“Seriously?” Scott asked, looking confused. Frank shot Gerard a look but Gerard ignored him.
“Yeah, it’s Christmas Eve. You can’t spend it alone in your car.”
“Wow, that’s really nice of you guys.” Scott said. He was really touched that these guys wanted him to come over “Listen, can I bring anything? Ketchup, soy sauce, straws?”
“We’re good.” Gerard smiled.
“So, why don’t you follow us to our house?” Frank asked. He didn’t like the idea of Scott coming over; especially when he knew that it was his fault he was fired in the first place.
“Okay.” Scott nodded.
“In your house.” Gerard giggled at his own joke. Frank rolled his eyes and Scott just looked confused.
Frank started setting up an electric swing that Mia could sit in. It was meant to be for two year olds but Mia was still really tiny and wasn’t talking yet so Frank always thought of her as a two year old. Scott was telling them about his life “So, after I left the Marines, I just kind of travelled the world.” He explained to Frank “Now I go from town to town picking up odd jobs.”
“Oh! Kind of like the Hulk.” Gerard said, grinning as he came into the room with a glass of wine for himself and a beer for Scott.
Scott laughed “That’s weird. That was my nickname in the Corps…” Frank smiled at them “Because of my bad temper.” Frank’s smile disappeared.
Frank wanted to tell Scott that he was sorry for getting him fired and that it was his fault but at this point, he was terrified to do it.
Scott put his beer down “Anyway, thanks for having me over, having me for dinner, letting me do my laundry. It’s not been a good day.”
Frank took a deep breath “Um Scott, I have a confession to make.” He was finally gonna tell him.
“Yeah?” Scott asked.
“I-“ Just as he was about to start, Scott pulled a knife out of his boot “I didn’t clean the lint tray,” Frank said quickly but Scott had only pulled the knife out to remove something that wasn’t needed on Mia’s swing “So your clothes might be a little pilly.”
“Oh no problem.” Scott said as he put the knife back in his boot “That’s the least of my worries.” Frank looked at Gerard who looked equally as scared as he did “Thanks for everything. You guys made my day.”
“It’s the least we could do.” Gerard said awkwardly.
“What do you mean?” Scott asked him.
Gerard thought about it then shook his head “I don’t know what I was saying.”
Scott chuckled and walked out of the room. Once he left, Frank turned to Gerard and mouthed ‘Oh my God!’
“I just say we never tell him.” Gerard stuttered nervously.
“Exactly!” Frank said “We give him some money, a hot meal, laundry, I think we’re square.”
“Agreed.” Gerard took a deep breath and looked at the swing for Mia “Okay, how does this work?”
“I think you just press that button right here in the middle.” Frank pushed the button.
“Oh, my!” Gerard cried as the swung really high back and forth really fast.
“Well, that seems a little high, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, I’m not putting Mia in that. It’s like something astronauts train in.” Gerard scoffed.
“Ho, ho, ho, it’s me.” It was Ray “Ho, ho, ho, it’s me.”
“It’s your Dad.” Frank said to Gerard.
“Yeah, I got that.” Gerard sighed.
Gerard, Frank, Kat, Mia and Scott sat around the dinner table. Frank was feeding Mia and Gerard was talking to Scott “Well, that sounds like a stressful job to me.” Gerard said.
“Mmm.” Scott muttered, having a sip of his beer “Not as much as you’d think. They always made sure one of us had a blank so nobody knew who took the fatal shot.” Frank had been taking a sip of wine and spat it back into the glass as he said that “This was mighty tasty.” Scott smiled, putting his knife and fork down.
“My Daddy’s are great cooks.” Kat smiled.
“Yes they are.” Scott grinned at her “Well, I don’t want to overstay my welcome or you won’t have me back.” He laughed as he stood up. Gerard and Frank laughed too but it was nervous laughter “You guys enjoy the rest of your night. You’re good people.”
“Thank you!” Kat waved at him.
That was too much for Gerard and Frank. They looked at each other and Frank sighed “Scott. Wait, wait.” He walked up. Opened his mouth and said… “Don’t forget your laundry.”
Scott beamed “Oh! Thanks. Thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks. Merry Christmas.”
“Scott, Merry Christmas to you.” Gerard said, shaking his hand “And happy… Son of a bitch!” Again, Frank muttered something about Kat picking up on his language but Gerard ignored him and stormed over to the window. They could all hear the Greensleevers carolling outside their house.
“What?” Scott asked, looking really confused.
“It’s the new Greensleevers.” Frank sighed “They’re Gerard’s old carolling group. They kicked him out this year.”
Gerard whirled around to face them and yelled “I mean, it is one thing to kick me out of the group, but to rub my nose in it! I’m turning on the sprinkler.”
He went to walk off but Scott took his arm “Wait, wait, wait, wait. I know it feels good to get even, believe me. To see the fear in a man’s eyes is…” He looked at Frank who was still quite terrified “But there’s something that feels even better.” He put his hand on Gerard’s shoulder and said “Forgiveness.”
“Scott, you don’t understand!” Gerard cried “This group was my Dreamgirls. I was Effie.”
“You know what the best thing I did all day was?” Scott asked, looking between the two of them “Forgiving you for getting me fired.” Gerard and Frank looked down at the floor, feeling extremely guilty.
Frank picked up Mia and Scott took Kat’s hand. The five of them left the house and watched the Greensleevers finish singing jingle bells. As soon as they were done, Gerard nodded and said “Andrew. Ensemble. I know it’s no accident that you’re here on my street tonight. And I…” He turned around and glanced at Frank and Scott “I just wanted to say to you all that sound great, and Merry Christmas.” He took a deep breath. That had been hard to say to them.
Andrew laughed “Wow. Even your apology is off-key.”
“Not cool, buddy.” Scott said, letting go of Kat’s hand and moving Gerard to one side. He punched Andrew in the face as hard as he could.
Kat started laughing “Go Scott!” She cheered.
Gerard grabbed her hand “Well, I should probably scoot.” Scott said, waggling his hand as Andrew fell to the floor and the ensemble all gasped and went to see if he was okay.
“B-But what about forgiveness?” Gerard asked in disbelief as Scott grabbed his laundry.
“You were nice.” Scott said as he walked away “He was naughty.” Gerard and Frank smiled at each other as Scott ran off into the distance.
Mikey and Alexia's house...
"Do we really have to wear these ugly sweaters?" Penina asked, as she pulled on a disgusting black one with a sticky-out bobbly Santa Claus on the front.
"It's just so Grandma and Grandpa can see them." Alexia, her Mom, told her. She was wearing a sort-of knitted cardigan with several snowmen on them. Penina's older sister Jennifer was wearing a green one with elves on, her younger sister Callies was wearing a black one with random patterns on and her Dad Mikey was wearing a red one with a flat Santa on.
"My neck hole is too small." Callie cried, pulling it out as far as it would go so she didn't choke herself.
"Mine's itchy!" Penina complained, scratching herself.
"You know what?" Callie asked "I'd rather be itchy than chokey."
"Come on, Mikey. Hurry up." Alexia sighed. She was eager to get out of her own sweater and she was sick of the kids complaining.
Mikey fiddled around on his comptuer trying to get Skype connection to Alexia's Mom and Dad "Okay, here we go. Connecting." Mikey put his hand over his mouth and pretended to be a microphone "Come in, Florida, over. Mom? Dad?" He called Alexia's parents Mom and Dad because he was pretty close with them, even closer than Alexia was.
Suddenly Alexia's Dad answered and they could see only his eyes and forehead on the screen "Hello, Mikey."
Mikey laughed and then all five of them looked into the camera, smiled and said "Merry Christmas Eve!"
"Merry Christmas Eve!" Alexia's Dad, Henry, cheered.
"A little lower, Dad." Mikey said, meaning he needed to tilt the camera down lower so they could actually see his face.
In a low voice, Henry said "Merry Christmas Eve."
Mikey's laughed was genuine while Alexia's was a little forced "Thank you. And thanks for the sweaters." Alexia smiled.
Henry moved the camera down "You're welcome. You look beautiful in them, Darling."
"Where's Mom?" Mikey asked with a small pout.
"Mom is sinking fast."
"She's in the bathtub. Get it?" Mikey and Henry laughed while everyone else looked kind of confused.
"They have that claw foot." Mikey told them but still nobody understood "Hey Dad, here's the tree." He said, aiming the laptop around to face the Christmas tree they'd all decorated together a couple of weeks ago "And there's the ornament you sent us."
Alexia went over to the tree and lifted up the ornament a little so that Henry could see it properly "Right here. Right here." And then Mikey showed Henry the stockings hung on the chimney. As he did so, Alexia noticed something on the sofa "What the hell is that?" She cried "What is that? That looks like a cigarette burn." She walked over to it and rubbed it a little. It didn't come off "Was one of you smoking a cigarette?"
"What's going on?" Henry asked, a little confused by the whole thing as he could barely hear.
"No." Alexia's three daughters all said at once.
"Which one of you was smoking?" Alexia yelled.
"Not me. I have a respiratory problem." Mikey said quickly, worried that Alexia would get mad at him.
"Obviously, it wasn't you." Alexia sighed, going back into her spot between Penina and Jennifer and glaring at all three of them "Now, I've got a family of liars and smokers."
"Honey, come here. You've gotta see this." Henry called to his wife.
"Oh wow, did you shoplift all your Christmas presents, too?" Alexia asked in the tone she used when she got het up. Mikey turned around and looked concerned. It was Christmas Eve. Everyone was supposed to be happy "Jennifer, keep that ugly sweater on." She snapped as Jennifer tried to pull it off.
Mikey turned back to Henry "Anyway, Merry Christmas!" He cried with a jolly smile.
After the skype call, Alexia and Mikey sat all their kids in a row on the sofa and started talking about the cigarette burn "This is unacceptable," Alexia said "And I wanna know who did this. Hmm?"
All the kids looked at them with bored expressions so Mikey asked "Nobody, huh? I guess the couch did it to itself. I guess it came home after a tough day, lit up a cigarette and then it burned itself. Is that what happened!? Because that makes no sense!"
Jennifer looked bored, Penina looked angry and Callie looked upset. Alexia sighed "If whoever's responsible doesn't come forward, your father and I are just gonna have to punish all three of you."
"What?" Jennifer cried.
"Yeah." Alexia nodded.
"That's not fair." Callie said, pouting.
"I can forgive the smoking, but I can't forgive the lie." Mikey said.
"Or the smoking." Mikey added quickly, glancing at Alexia "No one wants to confess, huh?" Jennifer shook her head and crossed her arms. Penina copied her and frowned. Callie looked near tears "No? That's fine, because you know what happens next?" Mikey thought for a moment before saying "We cancel Christmas."
All the kids gasped and Alexia shot him a look that said 'don't be stupid.' "That's not fair!" Callie cried.
"Okay, Dad, sure." Jennifer laughed.
Mikey had a habit of making big pronouncements to the kids. One time, he told Callie that if she didn't put her dirty dishs in the dishwasher, he would put them in her bed. And he did. But that didn't bother Callie and she slept with them there. In the end, they ran out of clean plates, so Mikey had had to collect them all and put them in for her. He was good at making the threats but not very good at follow through.
"Okay, guess where I'm headed?" Mikey announced loudly "To take down the tree. That's right. This is your last chance." Mikey walked over to the Christmas tree.
"Come on, guys." Alexia said to the kids "Whoever did this, just take responsilibility. Don't put the rest of us through this. Callie?" Callie was still nears, Penina was starting to look upset but Jennifer still had her poker face "No?"
"This is really it. Okay. Here we go." Mikey said. He didn't wanna cancel Christmas. He just wanted one of the kids to confess. He made a grab for the tree and then stopped "Three, two, one..." He went for the tree again but pulled back a second time "Okay. Goodbye, Way Christmas." This time he really did grab the tree "Jennifer, I guess you're not getting that car."
"I was getting a car?" Jennifer cried. Penina looked jealous.
"No, I was lying, because that's what we do now. Way's are liars." He dragged the tree out of the room, down the corridor and into the back garden.
Jennifer's mouth was open because she couldn't believe her Dad had gone through with it. Callie had started crying silently and leaned back against the sofa in a sulk. Penina was just confused. They were cancelling Christmas just because of a burn mark on the sofa?
Jennifer, Penina and Callie sat in the living room. Mikey and Alexia had taken down all the Christmas decorations and now they were all upset "I can't believe it's all gone." Jennifer said "Dad never follows through."
Penina smiled sarcastically and raised an eye-brow at her "Are you sure one of your friends didn't burn the couch?"
"Hey, don't look at me!" Jennifer cried "Only one of us was ever caught playing with matches." Both of them looked at Callie.
"That was a year ago." Callie whined "Just admit you did it."
"You admit you did it!" Jennifer yelled.
The two of them were about to start a shouting match until Penina said "Okay, look, I have an idea." She stood up "Do you remember the movie Spartacus?" Jennifer and Callie both looked blank. Penina shook her head in disbelief and said "Here's what we do. Callie, you tell Mom and Dad it's your fault."
"I didn't do it!" Callie whimpered.
"It doesn't matter," Penina sighed heavily "Because after you confess, Jennifer and I will each confess to the same thing."
"How does that do anything?" Jennifer asked, rolling her eyes.
Penina sighed again and explained "They'll be so touched that we're protecting each other that they'll have to bring back Christmas."
"That's awesome." Callie grinned and nodded. Then frowned "How does it work again?"
In the kitchen Alexia and Mikey were starting to get worried "We're going to pass into legend." Alexia said "The parents who cancelled Christmas."
"I thought you'd be happy." Mikey said, feeling guilty.
"They'll write songs about us," Alexia muttered "Make one of those Christmas specials with those ugly little clay people."
Mikey sighed "You're the one who always says I shouldn't be such a pushover with the kids."
"So, this is where you decide to make your stand?" Alexia asked, raising her eye-brows "Really?"
Mikey sighed again "Okay, okay, look, don't worry. We're going to have Christmas. We've raised our kids right. Whoever did it will come forward." He paused "Or the other two will rat them out."
Alexia giggled and then Callie came into the kitchen followed by Penina and Jennifer "Mom? Dad?" Callie said quietly, twiddling her thumbs.
"Hey, Callie." Mikey said, glancing at Alexia and then back at his youngest daughter "What can we do for you?"
Callie stood there silently for a long moment while Jennifer and Penina crossed their arms and stared at the back of her head. And then she took a deep breath and said "I did it. I was playing with matches. I'm sorry."
Mikey was relieved "You... You did the right thing by confessing, but," As he talked, he walked towards the back door, his only thoughts about the Christmas tree "This is bad, Hunny. I mean, really bad, okay? Alexia, you wanna handle this?" And with that, he ran outside to get the tree.
Alexia rolled her eyes and stood up "Um... Callie, why didn't you say something?"
Penina and Jennifer stood behind her, shaking their heads and looking disappointed in her while Callie sighed and said "Mmm... I don't know."
Alexia nodded "Okay, well, your Father and I are extremely disappointed in you. So, go up to your room. Go on."
Callie turned around and looked at her older sisters "Penina!"
"We'll be up to talk to you in a minute." Alexia said, ushering her out of the room.
But Callie stopped "Jennifer!"
"What?" Jennifer asked innocently, shrugging her shoulders and smiling.
"Say something!" Callie cried.
"About what?" Penian asked innocently.
"I take it back!" Callie groaned.
"What is going on?" Alexia snapped.
"These guys were going to say they did it, too," Callie explained to her Mom "and you were going to be proud of all of us."
"Why would we do that?" Jennifer asked.
"I don't know what to believe with this kid." Penina said, shrugging her shoulders.
"Liars!" Callie shrieked "I didn't do it."
"Well, it wasn't me." Jennifer said angrily.
"Dont look at me!" Penina cried.
"Seriously?" Alexia cried.
Mikey dragged in the Christmas tree and heard them all arguing "Wait, nobody did it again?" He panted. Alexia sighed and rolled her eyes "No, that's fine. Guess what? Christmas is still cancelled! That's fine by me." Callie started crying again and her older sisters rolled their eyes and started sulking "Hey, memo to New Year's Eve and Easter: watch your back!" He snapped as he shoved the Christmas tree back out into the garden. He hated dragging the Christmas tree around.
"Honey?" Mikey asked later. All the kids had been sent to their rooms to think about who'd done it. Mikey and Alexia were in the living room. Alexia hummed in response "Would it really be so bad to back down?" Mikey sighed, sitting next to her.
"And have the kids never take any of our threats seriously again?" Alexia asked, not sure what to do at this point.
"Yeah." Mikey mumbled. They thought for a moment and then he said "Or the kids could realise that we're making a supreme sacrifice by giving up our power to save their Christmas."
Alexia nodded "Which would in a way be the greatest gift that we could ever give them."
Mikey nodded eagerly "And which would paradoxically make them respect us even more." Alexia looked confused "Okay, forget that. Go back one."
"Hey, guys." Penina said, coming down the stairs and into the living room. She sighed "I-It was me."
"What?" They both cried at the same time. They'd suspected Jennifer first. And then maybe Callie. But definitely not Penina.
Penina took a deep breath "I found a cigarette at school and when no one was home I... I tried it and I guess I held it too close to the couch." She sighed again "I'm so sorry! You can take my Christmas away, but don't take it from everyone else."
Mikey looked at her "That is very noble of you to care about the family, but you still smoked and lied. That's really bad." Penina nodded sadly and then Mikey said in a completely different tone "Now, help me grab the tree!"
They both smiled and walked away until Alexia said "Mikey. Mikey, Penina, come on back." They both walked back, Penina looking slightly scared. Alexia thought about it "Staring December 26th, you're grounded for a full week, and that includes New Year's Eve."
"But I was going to-"
"Yeah, non-negotiable. So..." Alexia shrugged her shoulders.
Penina took a deep breath and nodded "Fine."
"Everybody," Mikey yelled "It's official. Christmas is back on!"
Jennifer and Callie ran downstairs, both of them cheering. Penina smiled to herself "It is?" Callie grinned "What happened?"
"Doesn't matter!" Mikey cried happily "Stockings! Lights! Ornaments! Wreath! Go, go, go!"
Everyone including Penina ran around and started decorating the house ready for the next day.
On Christmas morning, the family sat in the living room opening presents. Mikey picked one up "All righty. Here's another one for Callie. Looks like a book." His talking sounded weird because he was wearing a snorkel. Penina was sat in a corner of the room, reading a book she'd recieved, Jennifer was texting her boyfriend Bob and Alexia was sipping a cup of coffee.
"I have a book already." Callie said.
"What is that?" Alexia suddenly asked "Oh, my God! The couch is smoking!"
The spot in which Penina had accidentally put her cigarette near was now letting off a lot of smoke. Mikey waved his hand over it. It was sunlight making it smoke. The sunlight must be reflecting off something. They looked around "It's the ornament!" Jennifer cried.
"Cool!" Callie grinned "It's like a magnifying glass."
Alexia and Mikey's mouths fell open in horror and they looked at each other. Penina looked confused too "Hey, how weird is that? It's burning a hole in the exact same place Penina was smoking in." Jennifer giggled oblviously.
"Oh, Jennifer." Alexia sighed.
Penina looked down at the ground "Penina, why did you take the blame?" Mikey asked her.
Penina looked up at him and smiled "I didn't want to lose Christmas."
Alexia ran her hands over her daughters head and Mikey grinned "That is so stinking beautiful."
"Mmm-hmm." Alexia nodded.
Alexia put one arm around Penina and then one around Callie. Mikey walked forward then said to Jennifer "Get in here."
"No." Jennifer protested, rolling her eyes.
Mikey grabbed her arm and pulled her into the group hug "Yes."
"No!" Jennifer cried but she was laughing at this point. The whole family was laughing.
"Dad!" Penina shrieked, giggling.
When they pulled away, Jennifer realised something "Okay, so, you were going to take Christmas away for something that none of us did?" She raised her eye-brows.
"Well, Christmas is about moving forward." Mikey said, looking scared as his family stood in a line in front of him, raising their eye-brows and smiling.
"I've never heard that." Penina said, pointing her finger at him as he tried to hug them all. He backed away.
"Actually, Honey, you did kind of shoot your mouth off." Alexia laughed at Mikey.
They all started saying things at him all at once so Mikey yelled "I made a mistake! I made a mistake... And people make mistakes. And they make up for those mistakes... By taking their family to Italy!"
Alexia shook her head in disgust as all the kids started shrieking with excitement and hugging their Dad tightly. Why couldn't Mikey just say something simple for once?
Christmas Day... The whole family having dinner at Ray and Raven's house...
The family sat around a large dinner table, laughing, pulling crackers and telling stories about how their Christmas Eve. Ray tapped his spoon on the edge of his glass causing everyone to be silent and then stood up "I wanted to make a speech." Ray cleared his throat "We talk a lot about tradition this time of year. But as much as we love our traditions, sometimes the best memories come from the times that are the most untraditional." At that moment, Mikey opened a present that Shayla handed him. A large purple 'snake' popped out and Mikey shrieked. Everyone laughed "We remember the year Mom and Dad went crazy." Mikey looked at Alexia and smiled "We remember the year Santa punched out the caroler." Gerard laughed and put his arm around Frank "But for me, this was the year that the word 'tradition' got a lot bigger."
"That was a beautiful speech Ray." Raven smiled "And now let's have some fireworks!"
The family ran out into the garden and Ray let off the fireworks. They all gazed up at the sky and smiled. Sure they were a weird family. But they were still a family.
Ray and Shayla sat in the living room watching a DVD that Gerard had made. The whole family were standing in a row singing 'Silent Night' until Gerard blocked the screen by conducting them and singing extremely loudly, drowning out the others. Ray and Shayla laughed as they watched "There's Gerard." Ray said as Gerard came out and Shayla laughed harder.
The moment that the family stopeed singing, the monster that Shayla had made appear in Miracle on 34th Street appeared on the screen and screamed loudly. Ray screamed and jumped while Shayla giggled "Oh! You did it again. You got me again." Ray sighed, ruffling Shayla's hair. She was a really sweet kid.
[A/N] - I hope you guys enjoyed this Christmas one-shot and I hope you all have a great day! :D