A Merry Little Christmas

"Carol, don't you dare speak to me like that," my father roared. I winced. Both of my parents were in their room, thinking that I couldn't hear anything. Even while trying to focus on the oh-so-interesting Military Channel (And I mean no sarcasm there. It really is a great channel), I couldn't block them out.

"I'll speak to you however I want," my mother said back stiffly. He voice was as loud as my father's; clearly this argument was on the verge of utter destruction…not that it wasn't already nearing that point.

I looked at the TV and tried to listen to the man talking about the evolution of tanks since WWII. However, it didn't keep me from hearing a faint smack, and someone tumbling to the floor. That was it. I headed for the front door. I tugged on my boots, called out to my parents that I was going to the park—not that they would care at the moment, and swiftly got as far away from the house as my legs would take me.

I felt warm tears rushing down my cheeks. I really didn't care that it was snowing and I only had my think white long sleeve on. I wasn't cold…much. It really didn't matter anyway. I just wanted to get out. It was bad enough that they fought, but then my own thoughts would say, they're getting a divorce. I really hated that thought. Neither of my parents said it yet, but I knew, in the back of my mind, that it was coming soon.

I reached the back, and with my bare hand, I brushed away the snow. My fingers got numb, and I curled up, my knees against my chest. I got some weird looks from some people, but I would give myself weird looks. I didn't have my coat, and the only winter clothing I did have on were my boots.

I looked around the park. Everything was covered with a silvery white. The trees were glistening with the falling sparkles, and the ground seemed like a cloud. The children were laughing, playing in the snow. They were making castles, and snowmen. Some were on the ground, making snow angels, and some were on sled, being pulled by their parents. I began to cry again. I remembered when my parents got along and didn't fight. I remembered when it was the three of us, just like that kid and his parents.

There was only one person who cold make me feel better at the moment. It was my best friend, Devon Ellington. He was probably my closest friend—since third grade. I wasn't one of the popular people, and I wasn't exactly social. He, on the other hand, was exactly everything I wasn't. He had a ton of friends, plus all of the girls, not to mention some guys, were pining after him. I didn't know if he was doing anything today, but I guess I would call him. I really needed him to tell me that it was okay and everything would be fine. I needed someone, anyone to tell me that.

I dialed his number, and I shivered slightly as I did so. Now I was getting cold, and my tears were frozen in their place. I just knew it. I put the phone to my ears and it began to ring. I hoped that he picked up. On the third ring, he did and I felt just a little tension ease away.

"Hey," he said, knowing it was me.

"Hi," I said softly. I didn't want him to know that I was crying—he hated it when I cried. It didn't stop him from picking up on the fact that I was entirely not okay.

"What's wrong?" he asked. I could hear music in the background, and people laughing. He was probably with Mike, Devon's friend, and some of the other guys. This was my cue to hang up.

"Oh, nothing," I lied. "Uh, you go have fun. I was bored and I just wanted to call. I'll see you later," I said. I hung up on him before he even got a chance to respond. I put my phone back in my pocket, and bit my bottom lip. I would have to go home soon if I didn't want to freeze to death out here, though it might serve my parents a lesson. Although, I don't think my death would keep them together. If I am alive now, and they still don't want to be together, how is it going to be if I was dead?

"Just a little more time," I told myself. I looked around, and noticed all the Christmas decorations around me. The stores had snowmen and Santa on their windows. There were tinsel and holly wreaths everywhere. Heck, there was even mistletoe above the door of the grocery store. It was bad enough that my parents were fighting, but the day before Christmas? That just made it even worse.

I shivered again and closed my eyes. I would get through this. I mean, divorce wasn't too bad, right? I just had to focus on school, bring that B in biology up to an A, and start looking for colleges. Next year was my senior year. I'd be even busier then. Yeah, I could do that. All I had to do was focus on school and college…and how to pay for college with my mediocre bookstore job.

Opening my eyes, I was surprised to find a familiar figure heading towards me. Devon was striding towards me quickly, his blond hair tussled and his blue eyes darkening with anger. Crap. It was always really bad whenever his eyes darkened. He even scared me whenever his eyes darkened. It wasn't often that they did, but it was scary all the same. I gulped and waited for his to reach me. He eventually did reach me, and he pulled me off the bench.

"Jesus Christ, Lacy," he said. He pulled off his own coat and put it around me. He started leading me to what I presumed to be his car. He was quite the all way, his arm around my shoulders and pulling me towards him. It scared me that he wasn't talking, but I didn't know what to say. We reached his car at the end of the path, and he let me in the passenger seat before moving around the car and stepping into the driver's seat. He pulled out of the parking lot, and headed off towards elsewhere. Looking at the roads, I knew that we were going to his house.

He was quiet still, and I closed my eyes and bit my bottom lip. I knew that he would want an explanation after this. After a short time, we pulled up into his driveway. I crawled out of the passenger seat and followed him to the front door. I caught a small glimpse at his face and I saw that he was battling emotions of confusion and anger. Man. I had a lot of explaining to do. From the looks of it, he wasn't going to let me get away with it any time soon.

He opened the door, let me in, and closed the door. He took my still freezing hand and led me to the upstairs living room. From the looks of it, his parents weren't home, not that it was a problem. We were always at each other's houses. This time, though, it was different. I swear that I felt a shiver go up and down my spine when he had his arms around me, and when he grabbed my hand. I really didn't know why, but it might be because I was old. Yeah, that was a logical explanation.

I sat down on the couch, and watched as Devon started freaking out. "What in the bloody hell led you to walk around without a jacket when it's only freaking twenty degrees out?" he asked. I knew he was mad, but even if he didn't want to show it, I knew he was worried too.

Trying to steer the conversation away from me, I asked, "When did you become British?" I tried my hardest to keep it in a light tone, but I failed miserably. My voice cracked and it was too high to be even considered normal. It wasn't a surprise that Devon didn't buy it.

"Don't change the subject on me," he said quietly. He finally stopped pacing, and looked at me. He sat next to me. He seemed to be looking right through me, as if he could see the truth. "What's wrong?"

I couldn't help it. Tears started to stream down my face. Now before you think this'll get all dramatic, I would just like to say that I never cried in front of anyone before. This would be the first time Devon has ever seen me cry. I never even cried when my dog died. I didn't cry when my dad didn't show up for my tenth birthday. Even if I did cry, it would only last about a couple seconds before I told myself to suck it up and be tough.

That was what I tried to do now. I wanted to stop. I didn't want to look like some weak little girl. That was a fear of mine, to be vulnerable. I just hated it. However, no matter how much I tried, I couldn't stop. I felt Devon's strong arms around me again, pulling me to his chest. His fingers ran up and down my spine, calming me down. He always knew what to do. With a small sniff, I finally pulled back and looked at him. I didn't know what to expect. I wondered if I should tell him.

Tell him, you idiot. He's your best friend. He should know. Besides, you have to tell someone about it sooner or later, my conscience told me.

For once, I didn't argue with my inner self. "I…" I began. I didn't know how to word it at all. Should I just come out with it? Should I lead up to it? With a sigh, I bit my lower lip. "My parents…they've been fighting a lot recently. Uh, today…one of my parents hit the other. I wasn't sure who but I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get out and I'm pretty sure that hitting your spouse isn't a good thing and that someone could sue and I'm expecting a divorce—," I started rambling, and for once, I was glad that he shut me up. He put a finger to my lips, bringing me to silence.

"You didn't have to tell me all of that," he said. "But I'm glad you did. I'm sorry you had to go through that…" He trailed off. I noticed that even when I did pull back, he never let me go. His arm was still laying on my shoulder, and his other hand was inches away from mine. "So, how are you?"

"I'm okay, I guess," I told him. "I mean, it's nothing too big."

He looked at me strangely, and for a second, I thought he was going to laugh at me. Instead, he just shook his head.

"What?" I asked, tilting my head to the side.

"You are so in denial," he said. "It's something big…but you don't have to go through it alone anymore. You've got me," he said cheekily.

I rolled my eyes mockingly. "Like you need anything inflating your ego," I said playfully. That was when he got a dangerous gleam in his eye. Uh-oh. He only gave me that look when…

"Now you wounded me," he said with a sly tone. He grinned, and pushed me onto the couch, tickling my sides. I laughed, and told him to stop. As I clutched my sides and tried to pry his fingers away from my ticklish spots, I realized that he was really the only one I needed. As long as I had his friendship, I was good for life. He always knew how to make me feel better, like now.

It was ages when I felt him stop. I was panting, and my face was flushed from laughing. His face loomed over mine, and he muttered something. I didn't catch it, but decided to leave it alone. Then a thought popped into my head. "You didn't have to come get me, you know," I said. "I told you that I was okay."

He just smiled slightly. "I wanted to come find you. I knew where you were going to be anyway. And besides, I knew there was something wrong."

"But you sounded busy on the phone. Weren't the guys disappointed when you left?" I asked again.

"I care more about you than I do about them," he said quietly. "I care a lot more…" he whispered. With that, I saw that his lips captured mine, kissing me softly. I blinked once before catching on. I wasn't sure if I was a good kisser or not, but I kissed him back anyway. We meshed together, creating our own universe. His lips were soft, and his kiss was slow. My arms found its way around his neck, and his rested on my waist.

Soon, our kiss grew deeper. His tongue ran along my bottom lip, begging for entrance. I opened my mouth, giving him what he wanted. He was the first to pull back, and I was disappointed when he did. He put his forehead to mine, and looked at me. He seemed to be fighting with himself about what to say.

"I guess I should tell you now…" he said, his voice husky. "I really like you, Lacy. I really, really do."

My breath caught, and I was left staring at him. After a few seconds, I found that my lips could turn into a smile. "I really like you too…" I said. "But where does this leave us?"

It was his turn to smile. He kissed me on the nose. "We're just going to have to wait and find out…starting with having ourselves a merry little Christmas."