It’s a smooth peaceful drive home with Charls, to the sounds of Phil Collins, Coldplay, Donna Lewis, the Cranberries and more, playing from the radio. I have to say, I picked the perfect station for our ride home. I only wish the songs didn’t make me feel so sleepy. It was a two-hour drive after all.
I arrive home two hours later, strangely ten minutes before Lizzie even though she left before me. After parking my car in my driveway, Charls and I get out of the car and walk over to Lizzie’s front lawn.
Lizzie slips out of her front seat and waves to us.
“Hey, what happened?” I ask. “You left before us!”
Lizzie shrugs. “I don’t know. I guess I was driving slower than usual. I have a lot on my mind.”
I frown. “You sure you’re okay?”
Lizzie nods. “Don’t worry about me, I’m fine. I just need some sleep.” When I still keep staring at her, she laughs. “I’m fine! Go on! I’m sure your mom is eager to see you.”
I sigh. She is probably right. “Oh all right, but this isn’t over,” I say and then pull her in for a hug. “I’ll talk to you later.”
“All right. Night.”
I then take Charls hand and we walk back over to my yard, and then up to the front door of my house.
I reach over and gently ring the doorbell. After waiting for a minute, I ring it again. “Come on mom, open,” I mouth to myself.
I start walking back to my car to get my cell phone to call her, but then the door flies open.
“Abby!” my mom calls, and then she hurries down the steps to embrace me in a hug.
“Hey mom,” I say laughing. “Took you a while to answer the door!”
“I’m sorry! I was upstairs in my room!” She squeezes me harder. “It took you a while to get here! I started thinking that maybe you weren’t coming tonight.”
I pull away. “Oh, we had an end of quarter Christmas party that ran a little late. Also, I brought someone along with me.”
My mom frowns, but then smiles when she notices Charls standing at the door. “Ah, my future son in law.”
“Mom!” I hit her arm. “It’s a bit early to be talking like that!”
My mom laughs. “All right, if you say so. But I see it Abby. I think this one is a keeper.”
Honestly, I think she may be right, but still, I don’t want her to jinx it.
“Charls, it’s nice to see you again,” my mom says, greeting him back at the front door. “I’m glad you will be spending Christmas with us.”
“The pleasure is mine Mrs. Clawson,” Charls says with a smile.
“Always so formal. How have you been?”
“Good, just brushing up on my chess.”
My mother smirks. “Ah, so you are back again for another beating, huh?”
“You might just be surprised Mrs. Clawson. I might just give you a run for your money.”
My mother laughs. “We’ll see son, we’ll see.”
I chuckle and head into the house. It is nice to see my mom and Charls getting along so well. It already felt like he was part of the family. I am a bit surprised to not see Tommy, but I figure he is probably already asleep. I’ll talk to him in the morning.
Feeling a bit hungry, I go into the kitchen and grab some ingredients from the fridge. I know its late, but I could use a salad and I know Charls wouldn’t mind one either.
In fact, as I am cooking, he heads into the kitchen and stands beside me offering to help. I gladly accept, and soon we are cutting up vegetables together laughing and joking around as we do so.
We all then sit at the table and enjoy a bowl of Autumn salad. My mom even grabs a bowl herself, which I later find out, is because she came home late from work and hadn’t gotten around to eating dinner yet.
We have a great dinner chatting and laughing together at the table. Thankfully, my mom restrains herself from making wedding jokes again.
When everyone is finished, I walk the dishes to the sink and am about to wash them, when mom mother rushes over to stop me.
“You two should go to bed. You have had such a long drive.”
“Are you sure mom?” I ask, and she nods her head.
“Go on. You can help me plenty tomorrow when you both aren’t so exhausted.”
I then take Charls hand and lead him up to my room.
It is so nice to be back in my room again, let alone my bed. Charls and I change into our bedclothes and then climb into bed. As much as I would love to have a quick romantic session with him, I am too tired to move, and I can see that he is too. Within minutes of hitting my pillow, I cuddle up to him and drift off to sleep.
After I hug Abby goodnight, I watch her and Charls make their way together back over to her house. I can’t help but feel a little jealous. That could have been me and Michael if I had just been able to ask him back home with me.
I see Mrs. Clawson come running outside and give Abby a hug, and then make her way over to Charls. They were both laughing and seemed to be getting along. That is what I want with Michael. To see him and my dad in a room watching TV and laughing together. For him to be a part of my family. “Well, if you want that so bad, then why didn’t you just ask him?” I hear my head asking me. I sigh feeling more confused than ever. What was wrong with me?
I turn and smile as my dad walks down the porch steps and pulls me into a hug. “It is nice to have you back.”
I give him a squeeze. “It’s nice to be back. It has been a while.”
I’ll say!” my mother says, pulling me in for a hug. “We barely received any calls from you while you were away! And I thought Judy was bad.”
“Speaking of which,” I glance around, “where is Judy?”
“She is off visiting Aunt Viola. Don’t worry, she should be back before new year’s.”
I feel a bit disappointed. “Really? I was hoping to spend some time with her.”
My mom sighs. “I’m sorry honey, but she really wanted to go. Viola was going to London for business and Judy was quite taken with the idea of spending Christmas in London.”
“Wish I had been invited.”
My mom laughs. “I know. She would have loved to take you, but she had to leave Monday.”
“So, you hungry or anything thing? I have some leftover casserole in the fridge.”
I shake my head. “No, actually I’m just really tired.”
“Well you should head up to sleep then. We can talk some more in the morning.” We hear some laughter and turn to see Charls walking inside Abby’s house with Mrs. Clawson.
“Who is that?” my mother asks.
“Oh that’s Abby’s boyfriend Charls. Remember, he came to visit over the summer?”
“Oh!” My mom smiles. “Wow, she must really like this one if she is bringing him home for Christmas.”
I nod. “She does. They seem like a match made in heaven.”
My mother looks at me curiously. “How about you? Anything new with you and Michael?”
“W-what do you mean?” I stammer.
My mother raises her eyebrows. “Well, the last time we talked, it sounded like you two were getting serious.”
“We are.” I suddenly am feeling really exhausted. “Why?”
“I don’t know, I thought maybe you would have wanted to introduce us to him.”
I sigh. “You know, I’m just really tired. Could we maybe talk about this later?”
My mom nods. “Sure. You go get some rest. Sleep well.”
“Night.” I then turn and head into the house.
It is so nice to be back in my old room again. I am also happy to avoid talking about Michael with my mom. The whole thing was very complicated and I was too tired to even think about it. Remembering I left all my suitcases in the car, I go back downstairs and unload everything out. My mother helps me for a while until I have picked up the last suitcase and taken it to my room. I then change into my p.js.
I then slip into my bed marveling at how nice it feels to be lying on my mattress again. When I move out officially someday, I want a bed just like this one. That is, unless I can take this one with me.
I lay my head upon my pillows and try not to think so much about Michael and the whole “I love you” thing. But try as I might, I can’t seem to forget it. It had felt like a huge relief to hear him say it to me. It was almost as if I had been waiting to hear him say those words and he finally had. But now, for some reason, I was the one who was holding back. Why was that?
Taking a deep breath, I try to wipe these thoughts from my mind and relax. I was home on winter break, with my mother and father, and that was all that mattered.