Friday, December 25, 2009

something from the archives: magic, or the holiday special - part 2

and here's part two. merry christmas to those who celebrate it! (part one posted yesterday, in case you missed it.)








Magic, or the Holiday Special
*part two*



“Snowflake…how many kids do you think there are?” Kyle asked Maria as she peeked out into the crowded room. They were in full Christmas regalia, and were trying to stand as unobtrusively as possible behind the tree.

“I don’t know Santa, but I’m guessing 500.”

“They’d better be grateful for all the wrapping.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’ll be the kid’s favorite part.”

“WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING BEHIND THE TREE?” Isabel demanded shrilly.

“Nothing,” answered Maria, “We’re just scoping out the place.”

“Isabel, the sheer number of kids is frightening,” Kyle complained getting himself an elbow in the stomach from Maria and a glare from the Christmas Nazi herself.

“Don’t you dare complain. Santa in the chair now! Snowflake, you stand next to him! And if I hear any words of complaint you will live to regret them. This better go off without a hitch!”

*****

What on Earth could she get Michael for Christmas?

Her parents had been more than happy to include him in their small celebration. It always surprised her how much they genuinely liked Michael. But he had become an invaluable part of the Crashdown, and she knew her parents appreciated how hard he had to work to make a living, how hard he worked to keep his independence.

They weren’t the only ones proud of him. Liz had seen the changes in Michael, he was a far different person from when they had first met. He was so much more open, so much more willing to accept things happened. Even when he couldn’t control them. Although it was almost a relief he hadn’t changed so much that things he couldn’t control still made him crazy.

But this line of thought wasn’t helping her divine what the perfect gift for Michael would be.

Music? No, he probably already owned every Metallica CD available.

Books? Other than Ulysses she couldn’t think of what else to get him. Although if he liked Joyce, perhaps he’d get a kick out of Faulkner. The Sound and the Fury. That was definitely going on her list.

Films? She’d seen his movie collection, she didn’t think she had anything to contribute, especially not anything he’d appreciate.

She didn’t just want to get him a book.

Why was it always so complicated to go shopping for guys?

Clothes? Well his favorite gray t-shirt was definitely wearing thin, and she knew he needed more shirts, he was always using the same button-down. So maybe a nice button-down shirt, in black. Michael would look good in black.

House wares? While he could use some things for his apartment, she couldn’t see him appreciating anything from Crate and Barrel for Christmas.

Maybe he needed a new wallet? But that was boring.

He’d probably like a video game, but she had no idea how to purchase that for him.

She flipped through the latest issue of Real Simple it had an article that was list gift ideas, maybe that would help.

Pajamas? Michael wearing a pair of black silk pajama bottoms, his muscles rippling as they got ready for bed…Liz shook her head suddenly. Where on Earth had that thought come from? A definite maybe though.

Soaps he wouldn’t appreciate. Candles even less. No makeup or jewelry.

Dominoes? Didn’t every guy need a set of dominoes. And according to the article it was a gift that gave a sense of perspective. And they were pretty.

Black button-down, black silk pajama bottoms, set of dominoes, and a copy of The Sound and the Fury. Perfect. Michael was guaranteed to at least like one of them.

*****

“Ok kid, here’s a special treat from Santa,” Kyle shoved the gift Maria was handing him into the boy’s lap and pushed him towards his parents. “Was that one the last one?”

“Yep.”

“Then let’s get the hell out of here,” Kyle grabbed Maria’s hand and together they made a run for it.

*****

“Wow, dinner was great,” Michael said to Liz as they climbed up to Liz’s balcony.

“Really?”

“No, not really. It was just the holiday special.”

“I know, it’s kind of the point.”

“But your parents were really great. Very welcoming.”

“Well, I’ve told you before they think you’re great.”

“I know. I guess I thought you were joking.”

“I thought you didn’t think I had a sense of humor?”

“Why would you say that?” surprised by her words, Michael looked at Liz. “Liz, you may not be known as a comic genius, but I never doubted that you could laugh. The truth is you don’t laugh enough, and you should. You have a beautiful laugh.”

“Um…ok…do you want to open your presents? Mom and Dad insist on waiting an hour before heading out to the rink.”

“Ok…I brought you something as well.”

“You didn’t have to Michael.”

“I wanted to.”

Liz looked at the packages Michael placed in her lap, and slowly opened her gifts, beholding them in silence as she realized the thought and caring that had been put into assembling the packages. “Oh Michael, did you draw this?”

“Yeah. Do you like the songs?”

“What? Oh on the CD, yeah, they’re great. But Michael I can’t believe you drew me.

That was so thoughtful,” Liz flung herself into Michael’s embrace, the detail of his present overwhelming her senses momentarily. His arms clenched reflexively around her and he held her tightly.

*****

“Kyle, Maria…I’ve been looking for you two.”

“Please Isabel no more…” Kyle’s voice trailed off into a groan.

“Guys, I just wanted to thank you. You were great sports. And the kids loved you as Santa.”

“And you looked sexy in your suit!”

“Ahem. Did you not learn anything?” Isabel asked pointedly.

“Yep, that Kyle looks good when he’s being goofy.”

“You two are hopeless,” Isabel flounced off barely dignifying the pair with a goodbye.

“So Snowflake?”

“Yes Santa?”

“How ‘bout we go get some food.”

“Sounds good to me.”

*****

“It’s not a big deal Liz. Do you think you can let me open my presents?”

“Michael, this is the best gift ever. I love it. And Michael, it is a big deal to me.” Liz said as she settled onto Michael’s lap and handed him his packages.

“Ok, I can’t wait anymore,” Michael tore through the wrapping paper. “Dominoes?”

“Yeah, do you know how to play?”

“Not really…but it probably comes with instructions. Thanks Liz.”

“Keep looking. That’s only the first of the guy gifts.”

“Ok. What are these?” Michael asked pulling out two different black pieces of fabric.

“A shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms.”

“I like the color.”

“Me too, I think you look hot in black.”

“Really?”

“Did I just say that out loud?”

“Yeah. Liz, a copy of The Sound and the Fury! I love it!”

“I knew you’d like at least one.”

“Are you kidding me? I love them all. Thanks.” Michael tightened his hold on Liz, inclining his head to give Liz a quick peck on the cheek, only to unintentionally press his lips against hers.

They both drew back startled, and looked deeply into each other’s eyes.

“Michael?” Liz whispered.

“I’m sorry.”

“No—“ Michael silenced Liz’s protest, kissing her once more, and this time their embrace spiraled out of control. Taking a breath Michael leaned his forehead against Liz’s.

“You know what Parker?”

“No, what?”

“I think that was my favorite present.”

“Really. Well, here at Casa Parker we like to make the holidays special.”

“You sure do!” Michael smiled at Liz, promises shining in his eyes. “Let’s go ice-skating.”

“Okay,” Liz said as she followed Michael back into her bedroom. “Michael?”

“Yeah.”

“Is it just Christmas magic?”

“Nah,” Michael scratched his eyebrow and looked into Liz’s eyes. “It’s our magic.”

“Good.”


The End

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