Tue Dec 4, 2012, 06:31 PM
WillParkinson (16,476 posts)
New story I'm working on...
(Not perfect. I know it needs some spots edited.)
Nuttin' For Christmas
By Will Parkinson
"Oh I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas,
Mommy and Daddy are mad,
Oh I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas,
Cuz I ain't been nuttin' but bad."
Eli Avery ignored the music in the background and checked the list again. It just couldn't be true. It simply couldn't. All these years and his name was still there? How could it be? He had to fix this. He just had to make it right.
"Beebs," Eli began, then hesitated, "I need to take some time off. Is that okay?"
Beebs Twilliger, Eli's supervisor looked over his square-rimmed glasses and peered down silently from the catwalk. His gaze made Eli uncomfortable.
"Again Eli? You do this every year. What's so important that you need time off now? You know we just finished the holiday run and we need to start gearing up for next year. You're the only one who ever asks for time off. Can you tell me why?"
Eli sighed and rubbed a hand over his cheek. He knew this was going to happen. It's just that now might be his last chance to make sure that next year, the last year, his name wouldn't be on the list. He shuddered to think what would happen if that came to pass.
"Beebs, really, I just need some personal time. I've got something I have to do and it's really important.
"Oh Eli” Beebs said, casting a look that simply dripped pity, “Please, tell me it's not about him again. You can't let this go on. You can't help him. No one can. He's a lost cause."
Eli felt his face heat.
"No!" he spat. "He is not a lost cause! I can fix this, I know I can. I just need time. Please Beebs. Give me some time."
Beebs carded his hand through his long gray hair.
"I'll give you till the next run, Eli," he murmured. "That's all. If you don't fix this before then you'll have to admit it's useless and never speak of it again. Do you promise?"
Eli's grin grew enormous.
"I swear to you, Beebs. Thank you!"
He bolted toward the door, grateful to have this chance. He wouldn't mess up. He couldn't. The love of his life depended on it.
Tommy Kennedy was panting heavily. He towered over the boy laying at his feet, breath coming in ragged gasps.
"You gonna get up?" he demanded.
The boy moaned and rolled over, clutching his side.
"That's what I thought," he crowed. "Who else? Any of you sorry lot? Anyone?" he roared.
The others looked at him, then down at the beaten boy before backing away.
"Guess that'll teach you not to mess with me," he said, tugging down his shirt and tucking it back into his pants.
"Mr. Kennedy, fighting again? This is--what--the third time this month?"
The voice of the principal, Jack Bryce, brought Tommy up short. He glared defiantly at the man, daring him to do--something.
"My office, Mr. Kennedy. Now, please," Bryce groaned, his voice strained. Turning to the other students he pleaded, "Someone please help Mr. Larsen to the nurse."
Tommy strode to the office, head held high. He wasn't ashamed of what he'd done and that would only make them take more notice of him and leave him alone. The principal told the secretary to hold any calls before pulling Tommy into the office. Knowing the routine, Tommy plopped on the heavy leather sofa. He took his glasses out of his pocket and put them back on, causing his bright blue-green eyes to seem larger and more vibrant than usual.
"Well," the principal began, "What was it this time, Tommy?"
"Kei wouldn't leave me alone. He kept harping about what he got for Christmas and then asked me in front of everyone what Santa had brought me."
"You beat him up for that?"
Tommy grinned and gave a slight shrug. It had seemed like such a good idea at the time.
"Mr. Kennedy, I'm going to have to contact your parents. This has got to stop. You're nearly seventeen years old. Isn't it time to grow up?"
"Go ahead. They won't care. They never do," Tommy said belligerently.
He knew it was true. The principal had tried talking to the Kennedy's before, but they were always too busy with their charity work and their fundraisers to worry about Tommy.
With a resigned sigh Bryce pulled a paper from the desk drawer, "I'm sorry, Tommy," he said, "but I'm afraid you're suspended for the next three days. When you return one or both of your parents must accompany you."
Tommy stood, took the paper from his principal's hand, and stalked out the door, slamming it hard as he exited.
Eli made good time getting to Harmon Grove New Jersey. It was a long way from home, but he'd made the trip in just a few hours. He was grateful they'd dropped him in front of Tommy's house. He glanced up. The place was still intimidating. He'd been here every year, but the house never looked inviting at all, even during the holidays. Sure there were plenty of decorations and lights, but the house just seemed--empty. The beveled glass heavy oak door had a fancy wreath hung from it, the Western cedar siding was twinkling with multi-color lights, the bay window had displayed the perfect tree, all glittery and shiny with garland and tinsel, hand-blown glass orbs, and an insanely bright star atop. It was picture perfect, but no matter how he looked at it, Eli hated it.
He was about to knock, expecting the butler to answer this year, too, when he noticed a figure slinking down the sidewalk toward the circular drive. It was him! Now that he was close Eli hadn't a clue as to what he should do. Run to him or away? Eli's hands began to sweat in the heavy woolen mittens, but it was too chilly to remove them. Just as he was about to try and get out of sight he was stopped in his tracks by the most beautiful blue-green eyes he had ever seen.
"Who're you?" Tommy snarled.
"Um--I'm Eli. Eli Avery. It's good to finally meet you Tommy," he whispered, hand extended.
Tommy looked at the hand and then back to the person holding it out.
"What do you want?" he asked, voice rough. Had he been crying? No, of course not. Since his name was on the list that wasn't possible.
"I came to talk to you, actually."
"Go away. I don't want to talk to no one."
Eli was pushed aside as Tommy threw open the door, yelled out "Carl!" and slammed it in Eli's face.
"Okay." Eli mumbled to himself, "That seriously could have gone better."
He waited a couple moments, watching his warm breath make strange patterns in the cold morning air, then shrugged his shoulders and rang the bell. It took only a minute before an older man, tall and gaunt, opened the door and looked down at him.
"Yes? May I help you?"
"I'd like to speak with Tommy, please."
"I'm sorry Master Kennedy is not available to receive visitors. Thank you."
Eli dashed inside before the door could fully close.
"Now see here young man," the butler sputtered, "this is private property. Leave here at once or I shall notify the authorities!"
Eli ignored him and flew up the stairs to Tommy's room. He threw open the door and found Tommy sitting cross-legged on the floor, staring down at something in his hand.
"Tommy?" he called softly.
Tommy flinched, jumped to his feet and turned, thrusting whatever was in his hand deep into his front pants pocket.
"What the hell are you doing in my room?" he screeched. "Carl! Who let this kid in here?"
Carl appeared at that moment, grabbed Eli by his jacket and began to drag him away.
"Wait! Please!" Eli begged. "I just wanted to give something to Tommy. Just give me a minute, please?"
"Wait Carl," Tommy struck a pose, arms crossed against his chest. "Why are you here?" he asked Eli.
"I wanted to give you something. Please? It'll just take a moment."
Tommy beckoned Eli over to him. Eli approached cautiously and held out a box, wrapped in silver and red paper, topped with a large bow made of blue ribbon.
"What's this then?" Tommy asked, obviously curious.
"Merry Christmas, Tommy," he managed to squeak.
After handing off the box Eli turned and ran to the door, pulled it open and disappeared into the bitter chill.
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