Summary: Merry Christmas!! I don't care if it's July really, in my world it's Christmas.
Rating/Disclaimer: No no no no no. If you really must, see other chapters.
Authors Notes/Thank you's: Um...thanks to everyone that's reviewed, now I have to come up with something original for the next project!! Although I'm busy enough as it is. Also again to DevDev aka Devon, thank you so much for helping me with this and Getting Back To Business.
Tally Ho!!!! (Don't ask me, apparently every British person says it...)
"Wake up, sleepyhead!" Tommy yelled, standing at the door to his guest room, which Kim had made her home for the past five days.
It ws 7.30 am on Christmas morningm and Christmas tends to be the time which brings out the inner child in people. This year was no exception.
"What time is it?" Kim asked, yawning as she opened the door to her room and looked out into the hallway. "Merry Christmas, by the way."
"Same to you. It's 7.30, and you said your dad was coming at about eight to bring around the presents. I thought I'd better check you were awake."
"Thanks. Not that it actually matters, as I'm not allowed to open them til after lunch at your parents house anyway," Kim grumbled, following Tommy's lead to the kitchen and sitting at the table.
"You know my mother would kill me if you broke the Oliver family tradition," Tommy defended. "I'm not allowed to open even one present til everyone's finished their meal. I never have been."
"Ah, diddums. That still doesn't change the fact that I'm not a member of your family, and technically can do what I like," Kim grumbled, shuffling to the fridge for some orange juice. "Please? You don't have to tell anyone."
The last five days had been a strange mixture of tension and delirious happiness. The tension was mainly due to Kim's revelation and the fact that she wouldn't make a definite decision as to whether to stay in Angel Grove. Tommy was still also fighting the urge to track down the guy in prison and do something that he would regret.
He didn't blame Kim for keeping it from him for so long, with a reaction like the one he was currently experiencing it was a wonder she'd decided to tell him at all. Or did that give him a hint of her feelings?
The delirious happiness came from both of them, a mixture of general Christmas spirit and happiness that they were in each other's lives again. Only Kim knew what her decision was, in her heart she couldn't picture anything less. But she still couldn't regret teasing Tommy about it at regular intervals.
"No, that's not possible."
"Even though your mom and dad don't know that I'm coming and just think I'm some random female you met a week ago?"
"Because I'd be forced to kill you, and your evil plot to spread enjoyment of opening presents all the way through the day would have been foiled," Tommy told her. "You really should get some help for that impatience of yours."
"Yeah right, keep dreaming. Look, it's Christmas, please cut me some slack!!" Kim moaned. Suddenly an idea came into her head, and she grinned widely. This didn't escape Tommy, who asked warily,
"Look, I know what my mom has bought me. A bracelet, okay? And it would go really well with what I was planning to wear to your parents. Can I open it now pleeeaaasseeee?"
"No, no and thrice no!" Tommy said, pretending to look annoyed, although secretly he was enjoying the little charade.
"Um...is thrice a word?" Kim asked.
"It is now if it wasn't before, and stop being picky. Just imagine how many presents you'll get to open after lunch."
Kim looked at him, and from the evil look in her smile, Tommy realised what she was going to do a second too late. She bolted from her seat at the kitchen table and ran past Tommy to the living room, where the presents were in bags, ready to be put in the car later on that day.
Kim knew exactly which bag she was looking for, and as she pulled out a present confided, "Did I mention that I lied? I have no idea what she's bought me this year."
"You are evil," Tommy said, watching from the doorway, knowing that it was useless to try and stop her. Kim ripped the gaudy wrapping paper from the present, and pulled out a jewellery box. "Looks like you could have been right after all."
"I doubt it," Kim said. "I got a bracelet last year, when I could have done with some money, so I sold it and made the mistake of telling her. I'm surprised I got a present at all." She carefully opened the box. "But she had to forgive me when I reminded her she's returned every single birthday present I've ever bought her."
"What is it?" Tommy asked, moving forward to get a better look.
"A watch," she said, pulling out a delicate looking watch with a turquoise strap. "Well, I was close."
"And was it worth waiting all of ten minutes for?"
"Ha ha, I'm splitting my sides," Kim retorted, attaching the watch to her tiny wrist and discarding the now empty box and crumpled wrapping paper. "Just don't tell your mom or whoever it was that had the presence of mind to start the tradition."
"That would be my dad, but I'll take your point. I don't think we want any more causes for complaint than are absolutely necessary."
"Are your parents taking sides between you and David?" Kim asked.
"No, they're staying out of it pretty well, actually. But I know that they wish we could just hurry up and sort everything out again," Tommy said.
"Uh-huh," Kim said, suddenly lost in thought for a couple of moments. She shook herself out of her self-induced reverie and said, "Well, having a split family does have its disadvantages."
"You miss your mom, yeah?" Tommy asked, sitting beside her on the couch. In all his worries about his family problems, he had neglected to remember that Kim had a fair few of her own.
"Not as much as I did. She...I don't know if it's just because I've grown up, or because of what happened or whatever, but she's not the same to me anymore. Even though my dad's never been around that much in my life, I miss him more than I do my mom, which must sound really weird," she admitted.
Then came a knock on the door. "That's him now, I guess," Tommy said, but remained motionless. "Kim, you don't have to come and spend the day with my family. I will totally understand if you want to go and be with your dad and brother today."
Kim paused, as though she was thinking it over. Then she raised her eyes to meet his, and said "No, don't be stupid. I wouldn't miss this for the world, if only because I'm supposed to answer your certain question today. If I go to my dad's, I'll probably stay the night, and you'll die of anticipation."
Tommy smiled to himself as he went to answer the door to Kim's dad and brother. Although he shouldn't set herself up for a fall, he was pretty sure that Kim wouldn't be so at ease with him if she was only going to tell him that she'd be going back to Seattle the next day.
*4572 Roachford Street, 11:30 am*
"I can't wait to see your mom's face when she realises who you've brought to this little gathering," Kim said as they pulled up outside Tommy's family home.
"Me neither. You okay with those bags?" Tommy said, getting out of the car and taking the bags that lay on one side of the back seat.
"Yep, fine. Do you see David's car?" Kim asked as she took her share of the present-filled bags and waited for her companion to lock the doors.
"No, I don't think he's here yet, although they might have walked over here."
"Are you okay with the showdown you've got planned?" Kim said worriedly.
"I'd hardly call it a showdown. Just...talking," Tommy clarified, but he was getting a bit agitated about having to face his brother and ex-girlfriend in the same room, and parents there to break up the fight. "But yeah, I'm not exactly calm about it."
"You'll be fine," Kim reassured as they walked up the drive. "Your mom won't let you kill each other, so the worst you could get is a couple days in hospital if he gets a lucky punch in."
"Remind me never to come to you when I'm looking for sympathy," Tommy grumbled, reaching the doorway and ringing the bell. "You're not very good at it."
"I speak my mind."
"As if I hadn't noticed," Tommy said, but his planned comeback was interrupted by the sight of his mother at the door looking as though she had opened the door to the past.
"What--who," Janice stuttered. Although she had known that Tommy was bringing someone to the dinner, she had truly believed that it would be some random female to show David that he wasn't the only one with a girlfriend. She had not expected him to bring Kim along, if only for the fact that she didn't know they had been in contact for the last four months.
Suddenly actuely aware of the fact that she was staring at Kim as though she was an alien from Neptune, Janice smiled and said, "Kim, it's so nice to see you after all this time, and you might as well be a stranger as well, Tommy."
"Does that mean no presents?" her son joked as they walked inside.
"I wish, but then that would mean we see even less of you."
"He is in the den downstairs, watching whatever sport they put on at this time on Christmas Day to get husbands out of doing any work," Janice informed them. "Tommy, do you want to go down and get him? Kim--"
"Is there anything that I can do to help?" she interrupted.
"Yes," Janice said, barely concealing her relief. "Would you like to come and help me with the vegetables? I forgot to put the meat in on time and now I'm all behind."
Tommy disappeared down the stairs to the basement, and Kim followed Janice to the kitchen.
"Do you want to peel some potatoes?" Janice said, gesturing to a pile of potatoes almost as high as the ceiling. "The peeler should be there someplace."
Kim rolled up the sleeves of the crimson shirt that she was wearing and got to work. There was a companionable silence for a few minutes, before Janice broke the silence.
"Kim, you know I don't mean to be rude, but you were the last person I'd expect to see Tommy bringing here today. Please tell me it's not just to get back at David and Kat?"
"It's not," Kim assured her. "We'd been in contact for the last...four months now, and I'm back in Angel Grove for about a month. He offered me a place to stay instead of the hotel I was going to stay in."
"How have you been?" Janice asked. She was a psychotherapist, but even if she hadn't been, could tell that there had been something wrong with her son's old girlfriend.
"I'm okay now," Kim said, discarding one potato in favour of another, "but there was a time when I wasn't."
"Good." Janice said, and meant it sincerely. Tommy had been more distraught by Kat's betrayal than he had let on, and Janice was not sure how this day was going to go. "Can I let you in on a secret?"
"Sure," Kim said, looking at her curiously.
"I'm worried about how Kat and David are going to be when they see you here. I was already worried when they both accepted the invitation, but now..."
"Don't worry about it," Kim said, even though she was more than a little worried herself. "They're adults now."
"Hmm," Janice said, obviously not completely convinced.
"My thoughts exactly."
Ten minutes later, just when Kim's hands were really starting to hurt from peeling potatoes, the doorbell rang.
"Do you want me to go and get it?" she asked.
"No, I don't want two dead people on our doorstep, or at least on Christmas Day," Janice decided, wiping her hands on her apron. "I'll go, and warn them..."
The words 'mountain out of a molehill' came to mind, but Kim said nothing and started on another potato. Soon she was joined in the kitchen by Tommy and his father John.
"Is Janice going to tell them that you two are here?" John asked after the usual pleasantries had been made.
"Yep, her exact words were 'to warn them that you two are here'," Kim informed them.
"World War 3 comes to mind, but I'm sure it will be okay," Tommy said. "I'm not planning on starting a food fight, although it would be a good way to get rid of that mountain of potatoes," he added, eyeing the many potatoes that lay innocently in a colander.
It will be okay? Famous last words.
"Well, I'm finally full," John declared. "That was a great meal, Janice."
That seentiment was echoed around the table. Many were true in their sentiments, but glad that the meal was finished. It had been awkward, to say the least.
Kim and Kat had somehow ended up sitting opposite each other, with Tommy and David beside their respective companions. It had turned into the Cold War rather than World War 3, hardly a word was spoken even between Kim and Kat, who had been good friends once upon a time. Janice and John had done their best to keep the conversation going, but it had come to a futile end.
"How about we retire to the den to open presents?" Janice said.
"Yeah, we still have all ours to open," Tommy said, elbowing Kim under the table. She gave him an annoyed glare, then laughed.
"I suppose all your presents are back in Seattle, Kim?" Kat enquired frostily.
"No, my dad brought those from his side of the family over this morning, and my mom's arrived a couple days before I left Seattle," Kim informed her sweetly.
"Enough of this, let's get down to opening them," David said, casting a slightly annoyed glance in his girlfriend's direction.
The family moved from the spacious, decorated dining room to the den in the basement, where all the presents had been left. For over an hour the opening of presents was drawn out, and hardly a dud gift was among them.
"I left yours at home," Tommy whispered to Kim, who had just been desperately trying to muster up enthusiasm for a pair of socks from an unknown Aunt Maud.
"Don't worry, yours is at home as well," she whispered back. Then something occured to her, and she asked, "Was it on purpose, or your bad memory?"
"A little of both," he admitted. "And any cracks and I'll tell my dad when you got that watch."
"My lips are sealed," she promised.
"I don't get it," David said. "Why can't I speak to my own brother?"
"Because you made your choice. You chose me over him when we got found out, and now you can't exactly turn back, can you?" Kat said, while watching her ex-boyfriend and Kim debate over whether the socks were big enough to use as hammocks.
"I can if he's my own flesh and blood," David retorted. "Once this is over, we both have to talk to him. Don't tell me that you haven't even felt a slight smidgen of guilt throughout the whole thing?"
"Of course I have," Kat said. Another wistful glance, and then, "But how can things ever be the same?"
"Well, they don't have to be the same, but maybe we can get something better out of this," David said.
"I was so awful when I walked in on you two, though. How we move on from that?"
"Apologize, and ask to start over, as friends," David reasoned. "Shall we call in on him after we leave here?"
Kat paused for a moment, taking time to think. She wanted his friendship, and nothing more anymore. And he had been the one to hold out the olive branch...maybe it wasn't too late to start repairing what they had been above all else, friends. And it really hadn't been fair of her to keep David away from his brother, even though it had been because she had been afraid David would do the honourable thing and call their relationship quits.
*422C Eastside Avenue*
"I'm still full," Tommy complained.
"I thought you were going to say you were still hungry," Kim said, flopping down on the sofa. "Is tonight going to be the first time you ever miss a meal?"
Tommy threw a cushion at her. "You're mistaking me for Rocky." He lifted her legs up and sat on the other side of the sofa. There was a silence for a few moments, before he spoke again. "So..."
"You want to know what I'm going to do," Kim summarized.
She took a deep breath. This wasn't going to be easy. Giving up....
Don't think about it, Kim
"I'm going back to Seattle tomorrow."
From her position she could only see part of his face, but she knew Tommy Oliver, and she knew that he would be devastated. That was why...
"Do you think you could put up with having a permanent houseguest?" she asked quietly.
Tommy's head snapped up when she said those words. She had sounded so serious, but now? "What do you mean?" he asked cautiously, not wanting to build hopes up like he had before, only to have them dashed by six words.
"Well, I don't want to be homeless after I clear all of my stuff out of my old apartment, do I?" she teased gently.
"You- you mean, you're staying?" he said, trying to get this clear in his head.
"If you'll have me," she ascertained. "I thought I could be your Christmas present," she added with a grin on her face. "That, and I had no idea what to get you."
"Of course I'll have you," Tommy said, unable to stop grinning. Unable to resist, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her, a long, breathless kiss that they shared for what seemed like forever. They could have stayed that way until the end of time, if it wasn't for them being rudely interrupted by the doorbell.
Kim pulled away, and said "I think you'd better get that."
"Leave it," Tommy pleaded. "It isn't every day I get a Christmas present like this."
Kim smirked, but sat back up. "I have a feeling I know who it is. Now go."
Tommy pouted, but did as he was told. He opened the door to David and Kat, and was not the least bit surprised.
"Can we come in??" David asked.
"Sure," Tommy mumbled, suddenly shy for no reason at all. He led David and Kat into the living room, to find Kim getting ready to disappear. "Where are you going?"
"You guys need to talk," she shrugged. "Is it okay if I call my dad?"
"Don't have to ask," he replied, and she left the room, shutting the door behind her.
Who knows what was said between those three? Kim never asked, and none of them ever told. David and Kat left an hour later, and Tommy went to find Kim.
My girlfriend he secretly thought. And the only one I've ever really loved.
He opened the door to her bedroom to find her lying on her bed, looking at the ceiling. "World War 3 has been averted," he announced.
"Good," she said. "Um...when do you have to be back at work?"
"Not till after New Year's," he said. "Why do you ask?"
"I was wondering if you want to go on a road trip to Seattle with me," Kim asked. "Mainly because I never want to be away from you again, but also because Ben and Jane might kill me when I tell them I'm going back To California."
Tommy laughed. "That scary?"
"No, but I really want you to come," Kim admitted.
"It's a good thing I never want to be away from you again either, or we might have problems."
"Not that I want to sound like a present-crazed fiend or anything, but I've given you yours, so where's mine?" Kim asked innocently.
"You've been a present-crazed fiend all day, it's a bit late to stop now," Tommy said. "But...well, it's not exactly a present as such...more of a comforting gesture."
"Are you going to give me the gift of oxygen?" Kim said.
"Ha ha. Look..." he paused, trying to find the right words. Emotions had never come easily to him, but it seemed as though all that was about to change. "I didn't want to put you under any pressure, the one thing I wanted to give you was an engagement ring."
Kim's face said it all, a mixture of shock, pleasure and dubiousness.
"And then I remembered that you would never let me go shopping without you-" his reward for that comment was a return of the elbowing she had received at the dinner table, "And I seem to remember you saying about five years ago that you didn't want to get engaged or married before you were...twentysix, was it?"
"Yeah," she said quitely, her emotions also threatening to get the better of her.
"So I thought, that maybe, this Christmas, we could promise to be...I don't know what the correct term is. Engaged to be engaged??" Tommy looked to Kim, and realised that she was nodding her head vigorously while crying her eyes out. He pulled her into his arms, and realised that he was crying as well.
Once they had both regained their composure, even though the smiles they wore threatened to become permanent, a thought occured to Kim. "What would you have done if I said I was going to stay in Seattle for good?" she enquired.
Tommy grimaced. "That's what the backup pair of socks were for."
Crying and tears turned into laughter and smiles.
It seems that Christmas wishes, even when they were made three Christmases ago, can still come true.
****Yay, I'm finished!!! Please review and tell me what you thought.****