A fresh start

Chapter 31: Christmas Day

Well everyone, here we are at the grand finale of the story. It's been a great run and once I again, I would like to thank my co-author A Writer With Mixed Interests and I would like to thank the rest of you for reading. Thank you. Here's the final chapter, ladies and gentlemen. As usual...Enjoy.

The next morning, Lee's eyes opened to the early morning of Christmas day. He jumped out of bed and for no reason, sang a Christmas carol to himself.

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging

Not only green when summer's here,
But also when it's cold and drear.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging

He opened the few gifts under his tree that had been given to him by his family and a couple others, receiving some nice things (including a watch that looked a bit expensive, but who was complaining?). His phone beeped, and received a text message from Kenny wishing him a Merry Christmas.

He text back the same greeting before opening the remainder of his gifts. He got from Omid which was Lee's picture in a photo frame that they used during the olden days. Those were hard to get nowadays.

Lee made a mental note to thank him later, and jokingly hoped to himself that their cat hadn't destroyed any of their presents. He had a "grand" time cleaning up the wrapping paper once he was done and wondered what to do until he could leave the house. There wasn't much he could do since most areas were closed for the holiday.

As he went to go and make himself some coffee, he heard the doorbell ring and went to go and answer it. When he opened the door, he next expected to see his family standing on the other side.

"Hey son!" John greeted.

Lee was surprised as he didn't think he would see them again until New Year's. But nonetheless, he was happy to see them. "Holy shit, you guys made it."

"Lee, what did I say about swearing?" Katherine raised her eyebrows. Although her sons were well into their thirties, she was still opposed to some of the language they used.

But Lee only chuckled as he hugged his mother.

"The strikes cleared up a lot quicker than we thought." John explained as they walked inside to get out of the cold and into the warm.

"We took the first bus here." Blake added.

Lee smiled again. "I appreciate all of you being here, I really do," he mused, closing the door behind them. "You can all sit down anywhere while I start a pot of coffee. How's that sound?"

"Sounds good to me." John agreed as he took a seat on the couch.

Blake, in the meantime, turned on Lee's TV and tried to find something good to watch.

Lee shook his head, walking into the kitchen. His dad liked his coffee black (how in the world, he didn't know), and his mom liked two sugars and cream. He could hear the 1982 version of A Christmas Carol playing on his TV. After ten minutes, he brought out four cups of coffee into the living room.

"Thank you, sweetie," Katherine smiled.

"Thanks son." John thanked, accepting the coffee.

"Thanks bro." Blake was the last one to thank.

The Everett family was together again. While they were watching TV, Lee was debating whenever or not to tell them about his plan to propose to Carley or not.

Although, he wasn't too worried about how they would react since his family seemed to love Carley. Maybe he should tell them later, or surprise them after? He smiled to himself thinking about it.

The movie would have been peaceful, if Blake didn't make a comment about every little scene. But he had always been like that, and it was why the Everetts had never gone to the movie theater much during Lee and Blake's childhoods.

As the movie came to an end, Lee checked his new watch to see the time was now reaching midday and he had yet to prepare a Christmas meal, but he didn't think his family would be here and had nothing to cook.

"Lee, we forgot to mention that we stopped by a store on the way here and picked up a turkey." John spoke up.

"Really?" Lee inquired. Problem solved, he thought to himself.

"It's in the kitchen," Katherine spoke up.

"Should we get a start on cooking?" John offered. He was always the best cook in the family.

Lee nodded, even though he knew that his dad would do most of the cooking as he would always shoo others out of "his kitchen" whenever he did so.

While John prepared dinner, Lee and Blake set the table together. After Blake went back into the living room, Lee finally made the decision to tell only his father so far since he was the only one who would not act super surprised and spoil the whole thing.

Lee decided to approach John when Katherine went into the bathroom and Blake was engrossed in another movie. "Hey, Dad. Mind if we talk?" He kept the box with the engagement ring inside his pocket.

"Sure Lee." John replied after he placed the turkey into the oven.

Lee turned around to make sure that no one else was listening, and he began. "Well, you know how I feel about Carley, right?"

John nodded. He seemed to know where this was heading.

At that, Lee sighed. "I think I'll just get straight to the point. Dad, how would you feel if I asked Carley to marry me?" At that, he pulled the box put of his pocket and showed the ring to his father.

John certainly looked surprised, but in a good way. He raised a great smile across his face and tried not to yell. "Son, that's wonderful. You're going to propose?"

"That I am," Lee nodded once, smiling. "She's at home with her own family, so I won't be doing it until later."

"Well, I wish you best of luck, Lee." John replied, patting his son upon his back a few times.

"Thanks," Lee answered. He and John walked back into the living room to wait with the others until the dinner was ready.

"Dinner might not be done until a couple of hours." John reminded everyone as he took a seat onto the couch.

Lee was fine with that. This was turning out to be a better day than what he expected.

After the family of four finished their dinner together, the time reached around 7:00 PM and it was time for Lee to meet Carley at her home after she was coming back from her family's hotel. Lee's family in the meantime had checked themselves into a hotel in Atlanta.

"Guys, I have an errand to run for a bit," Lee announced to his family, but only John knew what he meant by the word "errand." "I'll be back in a little while." He rubbed his pocket where he had placed the boxed ring.

"Alright, Lee," Katherine responded, although she was a little confused because most places were closed on Christmas.

"See ya, Lee." Blake waved him off like it was nothing.

Lee proceeded outside and walked towards Carley's house to see if she was home yet.

He could see her house from his, only a few down to the right, and noticed Carley just pulling up her driveway in her car. He decided to wait until she went inside before he began walking. Lee took the time to look at some of the lights as he walked past some of the houses, and rang Carley's doorbell when he arrived.

It took only a few seconds for Carley to answer. She smiled and hugged Lee as a greeting. "Hey Lee, Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas yourself," Lee responded, returning the hug and patting her back. Carley invited him inside and closed the door and took a seat in the living room.

First, Lee decided to make small talk. "So, you like those candles I got for you?"

"Oh, they're beautiful, Lee." Carley thanked as she took a seat on the same couch. "Did you like the sweater I got for you?"

"I did, going to wear it first thing tomorrow," Lee promised. "Thank you."

"You're welcome." Carley nodded. "I've had my dinner and was going to make some pudding. You up for some?"

"Sure," Lee nodded. Why not? It would be kind of weird for him to jump straight to the point for a second time. And besides, he liked visiting Carley as they had been dating for around seven months.

It did not take long for Carley to prepare some Christmas desert. She brought out two plates and set them down at her table, inviting Lee to sit down.

"How's your family?" Lee inquired. He had met them a few times and they seemed like genuinely nice people; unlike his ex-wife's family whom had hated his guts for no reason.

"They're good." Carley answered after taking a bite out of her desert. "We all spent all day together and exchanged gifts, had dinner, and watched some movies together. How about you?"

"Mine actually came to see me, and I wasn't expecting it," Lee smiled. "But I'm glad they came. We basically did the same thing you did. Except Blake wouldn't shut up with the damn comments."

Carley chucked in response. "That sounds like your brother all right. But at least you spent time with them; I'd hate to be alone on Christmas."

"Don't we all," Lee agreed with a sigh. He wanted to have the (hopefully) highlight of his day happen soon.

Once they were done with desert, Carley made them both some coffee and they both decided to watch a little TV together in silence. Lee did one more check to see if he had the ring on him. Soon he was going to make his move.

Once again, he knew that he couldn't be nervous. He had enough confidence; he just needed to find the right words.

"Such a wonderful, Christmas." Carley sighed as she leaned her head back.

It was now or never. Lee cleared his throat to begin.

"Carley?" he asked. He took the remote and turned off the television. He felt more confident, knowing that he had Carley's full attention. He took a deep breath. "We've been friends since I first moved to this neighborhood, all those months ago." Here, the shorter woman nodded. "And it didn't take us long to begin dating. These seven months have been some of the happiest in my life, and I hope these joyful times can last for a long time more. We can have a future together, the two of us. Face whatever challenges we come across, together. So..." He got up from the couch and pulled the ring out of his pocket, opening it. "Will you marry me?"

Carley's mouth dropped open and she placed her hand to her mouth, her eyes widening in shock. She had been with Lee for quite a while now, but never before had she expected for him to ask her to marry him. Without saying anything, Carley raised a huge smile and took her hand away from her mouth. "Yes...Yes Lee! I will marry you!"

Lee had a tingling feeling in his body then, but it was a good kind. With a wide smile, he held out the ring to slip onto Carley's finger, and she gratefully accepted. He was not expecting her to throw her arms around him, but she did just that.

Together, the two held each other in a tight embrace. Lee could not believe that she said yes, but he promised that he would protect her and be there for her until death itself. Several months back, he was living a miserable life with his ex-wife, but then he moved to this quiet little neighborhood and made the best of friends, settled in for a new life, and now he had a fiancé.

Life in the neighborhood never got better than this.

And this concludes our neighborhood story, ladies and gentlemen. If always wanted to write one of these stories where life is normal and characters from season 1, season 2 and 400 days all interact with each other. I know we didn't put in everyone, but we got most of them in the story, even the minor the characters. It felt great writing this story and once again, thank you, everyone.

Now regarding the sequel to The Walking Dead: Fight for Survival. I know some of you are looking forward to it, but before I start that one, A Writer With Mixed Interests and I have another co-written story coming this week somewhere. It probably won't be as long as this one, but it's still average length so keep your eyes out for that story. Until next time, folks, ciao.

Assassin's Creed Master out.

Disclaimer: The Walking Dead is owned by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, and Telltale Games.

The cast:

Dave Fennoy voice of Lee Everett

Melissa Hutchison voice of Clementine

Nicole Vigil voice of Carley

Gavin Hammon voice of Kenny

Cissy Jones voice of Katjaa

Max Kaufman voice of Kenny Jr. "Duck"

Mara Junot voice of Christa

Owen Thomas voice of Omid

Sam Joan voice of Doug

Trevor Hoffmann voice of Ben Paul

Nikki Rapp voice of Lilly

Terence McGovern voice of Larry

Nick Herman voice of Glenn

Scott Porter voice of Luke

Brian Sommer voice of Peter Joseph Randall

Brian Bremer voice of Nick

Andrew "Kid Beyond" Chaikin voice of Carlos

Louisa Mackintosh voice of Sarah

Shay Moore voice of Rebecca

Dorian Lockett voice of Alvin

Julia Farmer voice of Sarita

Anthony Lam voice of Ed

Rebecca Schweitzer voice of Diana

Kiff VandenHeuvel voice of Walter

Wylie Herman voice of Matthew

Dan White voice of Mike

Christine Lakin voice of Jane

Erin Yvette voice of Bonnie

Erin Yvette voice of Molly

Peter Edward Mussad voice of Shawn Greene

Michael Madsen voice of William "Bill" Carver

Owen Thomas voice of Troy

Cissy Jones voice of Shel

Brett Pels voice of Becca

Jace Smykel voice of Wyatt

Brandon Bales voice of Eddie

Anthony Lam voice of Vince

Michael Ark voice of Arvo

(Unknown actress) voice of Natasha