A CHRISTMAS STORY
14-year-old Luna Evans sighed, as she watched yet another taxi drive by. She had been waiting for 35 minutes, and her mother hadn't come yet. She knew she was busy, and that the theatre often held her back, but really… Wasn't her daughter important too? Luna just hated feeling this way, because she knew how much acting and performing meant to her mother. Sometimes she just thought that life wasn't fair.
And to top it all, it was December 1st. Christmas was getting closer, which she was both happy and sad because of. She loved Christmas more than anything. She loved the trees and the snow – if you were in a part of the world where that happened. She was in LA this year, but it was okay. The only sad part about it was, that she would be going to New York in the middle of the night, on the 25th. Her mother was like that. She thought it was a great night to travel, because no one else did.
Luna let out a sigh, and leaned against the wall. She had really hoped they could have a normal Christmas this year. She couldn't count all those different states she'd celebrated Christmas in. It was a lot, a lot. And now they were moving to New York, and her wish about going back to Albuquerque to spend Christmas with her aunt and uncle, wouldn't be coming true. Aunt Gabriella had asked though, plenty of times.
Luna couldn't help but smile, when a bright yellow taxi finally stopped in front of her. Her mother rushed out of the passenger's seat, and gave her a big hug.
"Hi sweetie!" Sharpay mumbled, pressing her lips to her hair, "I'm so sorry I'm late, I got held back because there was a problem with the costumes, and I had to help before the new guy started."
"Couldn't you just help on Monday?" Luna suggested, as she opened the backseat door, and threw her bag in there, "Y'know, and have a good, nice, calming weekend?"
"No!" Sharpay said, a bright smile coming onto her lips, "'Cuz I won't be there on Monday!"
Luna just looked like a big question mark, not knowing how to respond to that.
"I've got a surprise for you!" Sharpay smiled, and grabbed her hand. She led her to the trunk, and opened it, showing her all their baggage fitted in there.
"We're not moving to New York?" Luna hopefully questioned, though she knew it was unlikely. Her mother's new job meant the world to her. It was a huge thing. Though Sharpay's career was on its highest, she couldn't pass on this opportunity. But a girl could still dream, couldn't she?
"No…" Sharpay quickly said, brushing her hair away from her face "But! I talked to Ryan last night, and… Since the new guy at the theatre is starting already Monday, we really don't have stay here, so Ryan suggested that… That was celebrate Christmas with him, Gab and the kids in Albuquerque!"
Luna almost couldn't believe it, "For real?"
"Yeah," Sharpay smiled, and closed the trunk, while hugging her daughter close, "For real, honey. We're going to the airport, and we'll be in Albuquerque by 5 this afternoon!"
Luna happily hugged her mother, but then hurried around the yellow cab, and into the backseat. Sharpay followed around the car as well, seating herself next to the driver.
"Where to?" he asked.
"The airport," Sharpay replied, and gave Luna a quick glance.
The driver nodded, and drove out of the spot, while Luna happily watched her school fade out of her vision. She had been to some sort of Christmas gathering there, since eight this morning. And now she was never going to go back there. After they left Albuquerque, they'd go to New York, so she'd never see her friends again… But it was okay, really. Nothing could get her down right now, because she was going to Albuquerque.
She was going home.
She hadn't seen Ryan and Gabriella in almost eight years. They'd moved around so much, that taking time to visit the family, just wasn't possible. Her mother hated staying in the same place for a long time, but Luna herself, was getting tired of moving around. But there was nothing she could do. She knew she had to follow along, but a whole month just spending time with her family was the best thing Luna could imagine. She was sure this was gonna be the best Christmas ever.
When the big house came into vision, with the neat front yard, and two cars parked right outside, she almost couldn't contain her excitement.
"I- I talked to Ryan," Sharpay told her, as the car came to a stop, "He said you're gonna have to share a room with Cassie, but it's only for a month, so you'll live."
"Cassie?" Luna questioned, as she jumped out of the car, and took a closer look at the house again. It was sooo big. She'd only ever lived in apartment buildings.
"Yeah, you don't remem-" Sharpay cut herself off, "Of course you don't, you've never met. Cassie is only eight years old, of course. But Ryan assured me she's no trouble. And you'll both be going to school, so you won't really notice her."
Luna stopped, "School?"
"Yeah, you're going to school with Jake," Sharpay said, taking all their suitcases out of the trunk, with help from the driver, "You surely didn't think I'd let you stay out of school for a month?"
"But what's the point of going, when we're moving, in like, three weeks?" Luna asked, grabbing her suitcase, as they made their way up to the house.
Sharpay couldn't help but laugh at her silliness, "If you don't go to school, you'll get used to just playing around, and then when you- when you start in your new school in New York, you'll get really confused, and not be able to follow. Do you see?"
Luna let out sigh, and happily rang the doorbell. Sometimes her mother just overanalyzed everything. What could three weeks of staying home do? She'd stay home herself, until she had to start on her new job in New York as well. How come she was so different from her daughter?
Luna didn't get to think for very long, because the door was opened, to reveal her aunt Gabriella, who held a big smile on her face. The Latino woman opened her arms wide, and enveloped her niece in a big bear hug. Luna just loved her aunt. When they finally met, they had so much to talk about. Luna knew she didn't act or remind anyone of her mother, only in appearance. She was much more calm, kinda like her uncle Ryan. And Gabriella was that as well. Actually, Luna had never really met anyone as efficient as her mother. Thank God, she hadn't.
"Hi…" Gabriella whispered, pressing their bodies closer, "I've missed you so much, Luna, you wouldn't believe."
"I've missed you too!" Luna exclaimed, as they pulled apart and looked at each other, "You look like yourself though. Still hot and smexy."
Gabriella laughed, "And you've grown so much. Luckily your mom has been very good at sending us pictures, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to recognize you."
Luna smiled again, and leaned in for another hug, it broke soon though, when they heard a loud bang next to them, where Sharpay had dropped their suitcases, with a thud. She took off her jacket, and threw it on the staircase, smiling at her brother's wife.
"Hello Gab." Sharpay smiled, and kissed her lightly on the cheek, "Who does the other car outside belong to? Surely, you and my dear brother doesn't have enough money to have two?"
"Well…" Gabriella started, "Actually, I need to tell you abo-"
"And where do we sleep?" Sharpay cut her off, not wanting to listen to her sister-in-law, she had too much stuff going on right now, "Do I get the guest room upstairs, while Luna sleeps with Cassie?" she continued, as she made her way into the living room, looking around happily, "And where's Ry? Did he-?" she stopped, when she saw a man sitting in the couch, "Excuse me, but what are you doing here?"
The man looked up, and immediately, she recognized his eyes.
"Troy?" Sharpay questioned, as she sat down on the coffee table, in front of him, "Hey… what are you doing here? Visiting for a nice weekend, cup of coffee?"
Troy looked confused, "No." he said, "I live here."
Sharpay was about to choke in her own spit, "You what!?"
"I live here." Troy repeated, studying her face really hard, "And you're here for Christmas, am I right?"
Sharpay didn't respond, she just shot up from her seat, and went into the kitchen, where she could hear Gabriella and Luna talking. They were sitting by the oak table, she realized, and they didn't see her right away. She just stopped, and planted her hands on her hips, staring at them, until Luna finally looked up, and saw her mother.
"Mom?" she tried, eyes wide.
Gabriella turned around, and gulped slightly, when she realized what had happened.
"What-?" Sharpay said, almost biting her own tongue off, she really didn't know how to put this, "What's he doing here, Gabriella?" her voice was quivering, and you could tell she was really angry, "You know we don't get along? Do you remember what happened at Zeke's wedding? Seriously, does he live here?"
Gabriella nodded, "Yeah, he does. He was in some sort of financial trouble, and since we have plenty of room, we offered him the spare guest room. I'm sorry if it interferes with your 'plan'-" she dared to use air quotes, "-but I was about to tell you. He lives here, and that's it. The kids love him, though."
"I-" Sharpay still didn't know how to put her thoughts into words, "I just-" she cut herself off, and rushed out of the kitchen, slamming the bathroom door behind her, as she went in there.
Luna turned to her aunt, "Who is it?" she questioned. She didn't really know what they were going on about, but apparently someone – whom her mother didn't like – was living here, and Luna knew her mother well enough to understand, that it'd ruin the great Christmas spirit. If there even was one to begin with.
Gabriella grabbed her hand and squeezed it tight, "An old friend of mine from high school. Old boyfriend to be exact. His name is Troy. He and your mom have some sort of history – no, not romantically," she added, when she saw the look in Luna's eyes, "Your mother sort of liked him, I believe, but I was dating him. And they never got along either, they always fought."
"Mom fights with everyone." Luna just replied, a sad smile on her lips.
They sat in silence for a few seconds, none of them knowing what to say, but luckily they didn't have to figure something out, because the front door opened, and they could hear the chattering voices of Ryan, Jake and Cassie.
"We're home!" Ryan said, as he walked into the kitchen, his shoes leaving a trail of mud.
"Ryan!" Gabriella hissed, standing up to take one of the grocery bags from him, before he dropped them, "I just cleaned the floors this morning."
Ryan looked down, and softly bit his lip, "…sorry." He muttered.
Gabriella sighed, and placed the bags on the table, already starting to unpack them, while Ryan turned to Luna, a big smile on his lips.
"Is this really Luna Evans I see here?" he questioned, as he studied her up and down, "Did she really grow that much into a woman since I last laid eyes on her?"
Luna couldn't help but giggle because of his corniness. She could, when it came to acting, singing and performing, clearly tell he had once shared a womb with her mother. At that point, they were very much alike, except for the fact that her mother took it way more serious that Ryan did. He just did it for fun.
He seemed to think for a second, before locking eyes with her, "Do I get a hug, then?" he asked her.
Luna quickly stood up and wrapped her arms around her uncle, enjoying the close contact. Ryan had been the closest thing she ever got to a dad. When she saw him. Otherwise, she'd just had her mother, "I've missed you a whole lot," she murmured, trying not to let the tears fall. It was hard though.
"Aw, you've grown so much!" Ryan said, as they parted, "I can't believe this is my niece. You're so beautiful. Just like…"
"Just like my mother, I know." Luna finished. She got so tired of hearing it. Everyone who knew her mother, told her that she was the younger version of her. And Luna knew it too. She looked so much like her mother, that it was scary.
"Daddy!" someone cried, and they all turned around to find a little dark-haired girl running into the kitchen, a darker and older boy right behind her, "Daddy!" she mumbled, hugging Ryan close, around the waist, "Jake's teasing me."
"Be nice to your sister, Jake," Gabriella lectured from the counter, without even turning to look at him.
Jake rolled his eyes, "Yeah, sure mom."
"You should show Luna around the house instead," Ryan suggested, "And Cassie babe, you can show her your room. You're gonna have to share it, remember I told you that?"
Cassie nodded a bit, and took a step closer to Luna, reaching for her hand, "Hi, I'm Cassie. You're really pretty."
Luna couldn't help but smile, "Thank you. You too." She told the young girl.
Jake eyed her up and down, before turning towards the hallway, "Come with me, I'll show you around."
Luna nodded, and her and Cassie followed Jake into the hallway and upstairs, while Ryan turned to help Gabriella put away the groceries – what was left of them.
"She's grown, huh?" he mumbled.
Gabriella nodded, "We don't see her enough."
"I know," Ryan said, as he closed the fridge, "But I better go find Sharpay and tell her about Troy. Is she upstairs?"
"No." Gabriella quickly said, "She locked herself in the bathroom, when she found out about Troy."
Ryan seemed to let the information sink in, "I see…" he mumbled and bit his lip, "I better go talk to her."
"Yeah," Gabriella said, as he turned to leave, "You better do, 'cuz I'm not having a fucked up December. I wanna have fun."
Cassie decided to play with one of her dolls, while Jake went to do some homework, so Luna thought it would be nice to look around the house. Cassie and Jake's tour wasn't really the most detailed one, and she hadn't been in this house in so long. She remembered her mom used to talk about an attic of some sort.
This house had belonged to Sharpay and Ryan's grandparents. And after they died, Ryan had gotten the house, and he and Gabriella had moved in there. There were pictures around the house from when her mom was a child, it was really funny, but also kinda sad to look at. Her mother's life seemed to have gone by so fast. She was like, old now. She was 39. Her life was like, rolling by so quickly, and Luna couldn't understand why she wanted to live it this way. Why didn't she want to settle down and maybe get a husband? Luna would love it if she ever got a sibling as well. But it didn't look like it would ever happen.
She found the way to the attic, and looked around to see if anyone was watching her. She wasn't quite sure if she was allowed to be there, but she wanted to check it out, so she hurried up there, making as little noise as possible. However, when she stuck her head through the door, she found someone else.
"Hey…" she muttered, closing the door safely behind her.
The other person looked up, and shot her a smile, "Hi. You must be Luna then?"
"And you must be Troy." Luna smiled, as she sat down on an old rocking chair, a few metres away from him. She studied him for a second or two, and couldn't help but think Gabriella must have been some girl, if she had dated him. He had to be around 39 as well, since that was her mother's age, but he still looked very good. Well, not that she liked him or anything. It was weird that he wasn't married yet.
"Yeah, I am." He said, nodding his head a bit, as he closed the book he was reading, "It's nice to meet you, Luna. You surely do look like your mom."
Luna laughed, "Thanks, I get that a lot. It's nice to meet you as well. You're staying here all Christmas?"
"I live here," Troy shrugged, "I have nowhere else to go, 'cuz I don't want to stay at my parents' place. My dad can be really expectant at times, and I think I let him down. Gab and Ry were nice enough to let me stay here."
"They're nice people." Luna replied, as she let out a sigh, "…I wish I was here more. But mom's so busy."
"You guys travel a lot, don't you?" Troy questioned, as he seemed to get into the conversation.
Luna nodded, "We're moving to New York after Christmas. It's so annoying. Just when I find friends one place, she gets a new job, and we have to more again."
"That's the thing about being a theatre actress, I think." Troy said, "She doesn't do movies and stuff, does she?"
Luna shrugged, "I don't care really. I hate her job. I wish she could be like a normal parent. If she worked at a food store, at least we could stay at the same place all the time."
"A food store, really?" Troy teased, laughing, "I know I haven't talked to your mom in ages, and therefore not really know her, but the Sharpay I knew in high school, definitely didn't want to work with food. She'd be very mad, if she even heard you suggesting that."
"Scchy!" Luna hissed, dramatically placing a finger on her lips, "It has to stay between us!"
Troy laughed again, "I'd never rat you out…"
They sat in a comfortable silence for awhile, just looking at each other, and Luna looking around the attic, also. She picked up an old ball, without much air in it, and started throwing it up and down. Suddenly though, Gabriella's head poked through the door.
"Hey you two…" she smiled, surprised, "Dinner's ready. I didn't know you were up here, Luna. I thought you were with Cassie."
"She was playing with dolls." Luna replied, as she stood up, and placed the ball on the rocking chair, "So I found Troy."
"You two get along then?" Gabriella asked, turning to glance at Troy, who just smiled, and stood up as well, "That's great," she said, "But c'mon down, the others are already ready to eat."
"Did Sharpay feel better then?" Troy asked, as he, as the last person, closed the door behind them.
"Oh yeah," Gabriella giggled.
"So? You like it here so far?" Sharpay questioned Luna, as she stood in the doorway to her room, saying goodnight, "I mean, are they nice to you?"
Luna resisted to roll her eyes, "Of course they're nice mom!" she said, "They're family. Troy is very nice too." She dared to wink.
Sharpay was the one to roll her eyes for real, "Don't even think about thinking about it! Troy is… an idiot. And I never got along with him, so I'm gonna stay away from him as much as possible. And don't get too attached, we won't see him again, you know."
Luna's happiness just floated away, by the reminding of their moving-plans, "No…" she said, as she placed her head on the pillow and turned away from her mom, "Goodnight."
Sharpay was confused by the weird action, but thought it was just a teenager acting weird, so she went outside and softly closed the door. Cassie had been asleep for awhile, she they shouldn't wake her. She looked around for a second, and then made her way downstairs. She had been the unfortunate one to get the couch. Troy had the guest room, dang him, so she didn't even get a real bed for a month! How nice it could be when they moved to The Big Apple.
Troy, Ryan and Gabriella were watching TV downstairs, so she settled for one of the chairs, pulling her feet up beneath herself. They were watching old reruns of Friends.
"Did she get settled, alright?" Gabriella questioned, turning her head towards her sister-in-law.
Sharpay nodded, "Yeah, it was okay. I don't think she's very happy though…"
Gabriella could sense the sad tone in Sharpay's voice, and was about to say something, but Troy sniggered, which didn't go unnoticed by Sharpay, who turned to him, fire in her eyes. She was ready for a fight, if it was needed.
"What was that?" she asked, her eyes getting smaller and smaller, as a cat's.
Troy shrugged his shoulders, "Nothing…" he said, and by the look she held, he added, "Nothing! I swear."
She held a stern look, when she turned to Ryan, "Am I aloud to throw him out of my 'bedroom'?"
Ryan let out a sigh, and turned off the TV, "You'll really have to decided that yourself, sis." He said, as he stood up, and grabbed Gabriella's hand, "Let's go upstairs and sleep, hon."
Gabriella nodded, and the lovely couple hurried out of the room, and Sharpay and Troy immediately threw themselves at the other.
"Get out, I want to sleep!"
"No way, I was watching that!" Troy replied, reaching out for the remote, but Sharpay grabbed it before he had the chance;
"Get out, Troy!" she whined, "I'm tired. I wanna sleep."
"You can sleep while I watch this…" he said, and pointed at the TV.
"No, you're annoying me," Sharpay said, biting her lip slightly, "Get into your room, I won't let you ruin my Christmas."
"I was here before you!" Troy argued, but stood up nonetheless, and left the room, angrily stomping all the way upstairs.
"Yes, but I deserve to be here more than you do!" Sharpay yelled after him, before slamming the remote onto the coffee table.
"Why do I have a feeling, that this is gonna be a veeeery long month?" Ryan asked, as he turned to look at his wife.
"You're not the only one with that feeling, Ry," Gabriella replied, tiredly closing her eyes, "I have it too. I wish we hadn't let Sharpay stay here."
"But we wanted to spend time with her for once," Ryan said, as he turned out the light, and rested himself better, "But maybe they'll both settle down tomorrow?"
"We can only hope," Gabriella whispered, as she snuggled closer to Ryan, "Night. I love you."
"I love you too."
Okay, first part done. I hope you liked this. So far, I've planned 7 parts, and the 5 of them are written. I really hope I'll be able to finish the last two parts before the end of December, where I've planned on posting them. I dunno if I will, so if I don't, expect them in the New Year, when I'm feeling better, even though it's supposed to be here for Christmas.
I'm really sorry about the lack of updates from my side, I really am, but truth is, I've just received (last Monday) the bad news of me being ill with some serious sickness in my stomach, and other organs. There isn't really a cure, just a lot of stuff you can eat, drink and do, to make it get better. So now I'm trying to do that, and it really means lack of updates. I only manage to go to school, read updates, do my stuff and then sleep. I'm really sleepy too, so my life's just a big mess. My doctor and my mom predicts I should feel a whole lot better in the new year, so I'm crossing my fingers. I really don't want to have this sickness in break-out for the rest of my life.
And oh!, for this fic I was inspired by a Danish 'Christmas Calendar', which people from Denmark reading this, might recognize, but it's not gonna be like that at all, it's just the beginning there's a bit alike. So yeah.
Disclaimer; I don't own High School Musical or Jul i Valhal (Christmas in Valhalla).