We didn't talk much in the car, at least not to each other. All the way there Jareth would stare out the car window and make offhand comments about the Christmas display certain people had in front of their houses.
"…Why do they have all those doll things in front of their houses? It looks ridiculous."
"All those lights on, it's amazing they sleep at night…"
"This whole Holiday of yours is pointless"
I just stayed quiet the whole way and let him continue talking; I was really just hoping he didn't talk like that in front of my family.
'I could just tell them he's Jewish.' I thought briefly with a smile.
We arrived at my old house at around ten to three, which made us ten minutes early. The house had all the classic decorations; lights, plastic Santa Claus with the reindeer, and a festive Christmas wreath on the front door. There were a bunch of unfamiliar cars parked in the driveway and the street, so I figured my extended family must have arrived. Before getting out of the car, I figured I'd better explain some things to him.
"Okay look," I began, "If we're going to pull this off then you can't let anyone know you don't know what Christmas is or my family might start to suspect something is up, so just try to stay in the loop."
He smiled, "I'll do my best love."
I rolled my eyes, "Will you quit doing that?"
He grinned now, "But darling, if we're suppose to be together, it's only right that I have a pet name for you."
'This is going to be a really, really long night.'
As we walked closer to the door I could hear voices coming from inside, I recognized Karen right away, she was talking to a woman who I'm pretty sure was my grandma. I also heard Toby shouting something about football, so I figured he had gotten that football autographed by John Elway he had wanted so bad (how Dad and Karen managed to get it, I'll never know.) Once we reached the top step of the porch, I rang the doorbell and waited fro someone to answer. While we were waiting, Jareth, to my annoyance, grabbed my by the shoulder and pulled me much closer to him than I would have liked to be.
I froze for a few seconds, "Jareth, what are you doing?" I asked once I regained myself.
He smirked down at me, which made me inadvertently shiver with excitement (And then mentally berate myself for it). "As I've told you before, we're suppose to be dating, I'm just playing the part."
I could tell he was enjoying this, this pissed me off a lot, but even though I would never have admitted this at the time, a small part of me was glad he was.
Finally, the door opened. The person who answered was a very familiar eight year old with blond hair and big blue eyes. He grinned widely when he saw me.
"Sarah!" He yelled while hugging me around the waist, "You're here!"
I laughed, "It's great to see you too Toby."
When he finally let go, his gaze fell on Jareth and he raised an eyebrow, "Who's this?"
I was about to answer but Jareth beat me to it, "Hello there Toby," He said cheerfully while bending down to reach Toby's level, "My name is Jareth, it's nice to finally meet you."
Toby looked like he was going to respond when another familiar voice rang out, "Toby honey what are you doing? Let them in out of the cold."
The woman who walked forward was in her mid-forties; her hair has pulled back into a bun and was wearing a bright red dress. She gathered me into a big hug once she approached me.
"It's good to see you too Karen." I said while hugging her back.
Once she pulled away, I figured I'd better just introduce her to my 'boyfriend' now before she began asking questions, so I silently beckoned Jareth over.
"Karen," I began once he was next to me, "I'd like you to meet my…boyfriend, Jareth."
She let out a small gasp when she looked up at Jareth's smiling face.
"It's wonderful to finally meet you," He said cheerfully while taking her hand in his and kissing it, "Sarah's told me quite a bit about you and your family."
She let out a very loud giggle before catching herself. I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Following this was a small silence until Karen spoke again.
"Well, come on you too, the rest of the family is just dying to meet you Jareth."
As we heading toward the kitchen, Karen suddenly pulled me aside, "Sarah I can't believe you got a guy like that."
I inwardly wondered the same thing, "What do you mean?"
She looked at me like I was crazy (which I probably was for actually bringing the freaking Goblin King to meet my parents), "Well, he's absolutely gorgeous for one thing, where on earth did you meet him?"
I really wished she'd stop asking me these question, "Well actually Karen, Jareth is actually a king, Goblin King to be exact. He comes from underground and he's immortal with magical powers. I met him when I wished for him to take Toby away forever a couple of years ago."
Luckily, I managed to come up with a good cover, "He…he went to one of my shows and came backstage afterwards to congratulate me on my performance, we got to talking and sorta just…clicked."
Karen accepted that explanation despite the fact that I was probably so nervous I was sweating, luckily, Karen can be very gullible. I was about to walked past her when she once again grabbed me.
"What?" I asked not hiding my annoyance.
"What is he doing to the tree?" She asked.
"Wha-?" I looked up and my eyes widen when I saw Jareth over by the tree touching all the branches and ornaments, it almost looked like he was trying to make it fall over.
"Oh shit." I hissed as I ran over to stop him, when I reached him I pulled him away from the tree before it fell.
"What are you doing?" He sputtered sounding somewhat upset.
"I should be asking you the same question, why were you trying to destroy the tree?" I snapped back as softly as I could so no one would hear me.
"I wasn't," he protested, "I was just trying to figure out why you have a tree in the house."
"Well you could have just asked me." I argued.
"Alright, why is there a tree in the house?" He asked.
I sighed loudly, "It's a Christmas tree, people put them in there living rooms and decorate them, then on Christmas Eve all the presents are put under the tree and opened the next day." I explained, "Understand?"
He looked from me, to the tree, then back to me and nodded, "So it's tradition then."
"Yeah, it's tradition." I confirmed, "Now come on, lets go"
I took him gently by the arm and pulled him away from the tree towards the door Karen had just gone through.
When we entered the kitchen, I saw that my Uncle David and my Aunt Carla were sitting at the kitchen table sipping there drinks and laughing at a joke my Uncle Ned had just got through telling them. My cousin Lizzie was leaning against the wall talking on the phone while her sister, my cousin Jo was listening to Toby go on about all the presents he had gotten (she was always very fond of Toby).
Everyone was very happy to see me and almost every one of my female relatives as well as Uncle Ned (he's gay) congratulated me on finding someone as (as they put it) 'hot' as Jareth, when it came their turn to give me a hug. I sincerely hoped Jareth didn't hear any of them, the last thing someone like him needed was a further ego boost.
Once I had greeted all my relatives, I noticed something which confused me somewhat; my father was nowhere to be found. I was about to ask Karen where he was when I heard the front door open and shut, and a familiar male voice call out.
"We're in here Robert," Karen responded, "Come on and meet Sarah's boyfriend."
Once he was in sight, I gave my dad a big hug and kiss, "Merry Christmas Daddy."
"Merry Christmas to you too honey," Dad answered before giving me a kiss on the cheek, "Now what's this about a boyfriend?"
"That would be me sir," Jareth piped up while walking over to us, "Name's Jareth, Jareth King."
My dad stared at Jareth for a minute, then at me, then back at Jareth. I was starting to get a little uneasy, why wasn't he saying anything?
Finally, he stiffly raised his hand to shake Jareth's and said: "It's very nice to meet you."
Jareth smiled and grasped my dad's hand in his, "It's nice to meet you to sir."
"Um…I hope you don't mind me asking," Dad began.
"How old are you?" He finished.
"How old am I?" Jareth repeated, "972 years sir."
My jaw dropped, was he trying on purpose to screw this up? But then my dad did something I never would have expected; he laughed.
"972? Right, that's a good one." He said between laughs.
I was so relieved I momentarily stopped caring that Jareth had almost blown our cover. But I knew I was going to have a talk with him later about this.
"B-but really, how old are you?" Dad asked again once his laughter subdued.
"I'm 31." Jareth lied with ease.
"31?" Dad asked, "That would make you quite a bit older than Sarah here."
Same old overprotective dad, thinking quickly, I moved in between them and faced my father.
"N-now daddy, I'm 23 years old, I think I'm old enough to decide for myself who I want to be with."
"That's right Robert," Karen stated as she walked towards, "She's old enough to decide for herself."
I wanted tell her how interesting that sounded coming from someone would had put me on enough blind dates to bankrupt eHarmony, but instead I just smiled gratefully at her.
Dinner on Christmas Day was never a very quiet affair in our house. This year was no different. I was sitting between Jareth and Uncle Ned while my dad sat on the opposite end of the table. Every now and then he would look up at us for a fleeting moment before staring down at his plate again. I could tell that even though he did not dislike Jareth, he was still very wary of him due to our 'age difference'.
I had struck up a conversation with Uncle Ned about work. He also did some stage work but as a set designer, so we always had a lot to talk about. The only people not speaking were Jareth and Toby. I sat to Jareth's left, and on his right was Toby, who I noticed had been staring at Jareth for at least ten minutes, and as time went on this made me more and more nervous.
'Oh god he knows, he knows' I was thinking irrationally; because really, how could an eight year old boy figure it out when an adult couldn't?
Jareth seemed to have noticed as well because it looked like he was getting a bit tense. Finally he put his fork down and sharply turned his head to face Toby, who immediately looked away.
"Is everything alright Toby?" He asked calmly.
"Fine." Toby muttered so quickly I almost didn't catch it.
"Then can I asked why you were staring at me?"
Toby looked over at me, as if asking for help, I just smiled inwardly becoming nervous again. He turned his gaze back to Jareth, "Well, it's just that…you look kind of familiar and I, I feel like I've seen you somewhere before."
I almost choked on my diet soda. But Jareth only chuckled, "Well maybe you have."
He then turned his attention back to his meal while Toby watched him, looking very confused now.
"So Jareth," My father addressed him suddenly, "Tell us, what do you do for a living?"
It's like the whole world was against me today. But once again, Jareth handled the situation very well.
"I own my own business." He answered.
Dad and Uncle David both nodded, "Sounds interesting, good money?"
"Very." Jareth answered with a grin, "I quite enjoy my job, sometimes it feels like having my own kingdom."
That pretty much broke the ice, my Dad and Uncle spent the next hour or so chatting with Jareth and work and other things as well. It amazed me how well Jareth got on with my family but I was very happy that this whole thing was working out.
Once everyone had finished eating, Karen stood up to announce that it was time to open presents. The way we did this was every year on Thanksgiving; we have 'Secret Santa'. Everyone writes down their names on a piece of paper and puts it in a hat, then we all pick out a slip of paper and whoever's name is written on it, we buy that person a present. This year I had gotten Uncle David, I brought him a set of fancy looking pens with his name written on them.
As I opened my present which was from Aunt Clara, Jareth leaned over to whisper in my ear.
"Is this another tradition?" He asked.
"Of course, why else would we be doing it?" I answered.
The gift from Aunt Clara ended up being a very nice winter coat made of cotton and was a very nice shade red with a faux fur trim. Since I was so busy admiring it, I failed to notice Jareth inconspicuously conjure a small crystal. Once all the gifts had been exchanged we decided to head back to the dining room for dessert. But then, a loud 'ahem' made us all turn our attention to my 'boyfriend'.
"I'm sorry to interrupt," He began; I noticed that he had his hand behind his back. "But there is still one more gift to give out."
A smattering of mutters waved across my relatives and all I could do was wonder just what he was doing. Then from behind his back he pulled a long velvet box with a ribbon tied around it.
"This is for you my dear." He said and held in out in front of me.
I stood there for a minute not moving, wondering just what he was doing. Then I felt Karen give me a little nudge. Slowly, I reached out and took the box from him not once taking my eyes of his. I couldn't see anything in his eyes that made me think he was being insincere or playing a joke on me, so I carefully removed the ribbon and opened the box. I and every other female close enough to see the boxes contents gasped.
Inside was a white gold crossover heart pendant lined with small diamond. My breath caught in my throat while Karen, my Aunt and cousins all admired it.
"I take it that you are satisfied with it then?" Jareth said as more of a statement.
I didn't trust my mouth this time so I simply nodded. He smiled somewhat arrogantly.
"My Sarah that is quite a beautiful necklace." Aunt Clara commented.
"I'll say," Said Karen, "Well, let's go and have dessert now."
My aunt and cousins all headed back into the dining room followed by Karen. But before fully walking by me, she casually leaned over and in my ear whispered, "Marry him."
I almost choked on my own spit. I could have died of embarrassment right there, 'Please don't let him have heard that, please don't let him have heard that.' I silently prayed, but judging by the smirk he was now wearing, he had.
This was not turning out to be the Christmas I had in mind, but then again how could it be with Jareth the Goblin King around. At least he was playing along with everything, if not somewhat overdoing it. What happened next changed everything, not only how my day was going, but how I felt about him.
"Why did you do that?" I asked him as we walked slowly toward the dining room.
"Do what? Give you the necklace?" He asked even though he knew the answer already, "I was simply playing the-"
"Don't give me that again." I snapped moving in front of him, "The pet names I'll accept but you just gave me a diamond necklace, that's not 'playing the part' as you call it."
My outburst did not faze him and he simply moved past me. I caught up with him in the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room.
"Tell me then," he started once I was next to him, "What would you call it?"
"What would I call it? I call it-"
Just what I would call it I was never able to tell him, for I was interrupted by a series of 'ooo's from various members of my family. I stared at them feeling very confused until I noticed Lizzie pointing at something above me. Looking up, my cheeks flushed when I saw it: Mistletoe. Perfect.
"Uh oh, you guys are standing under the mistletoe," Jo said in a sing song voice, "You know what that means."
"What does that mean?" Jareth asked through his teeth.
"Nothing let's just move." I said quickly and started to walk forward.
"Uh uh Sarah." Karen called out, "You two are under the mistletoe, there has to be a kiss."
"Kiss?" Jareth repeated, a strange look appearing in his eyes.
I sighed with annoyance, "Yes, when two people stand under the mistletoe they have to kiss."
Jareth grinned, "Now this tradition I like."
"Come on you two, its Christmas law." Uncle Ned teased.
I knew there was no getting out of this (Like my family or Jareth would let me), so I figured that I'd better just get it over with. I went to give Jareth a quick peck on the lips, but he had other ideas. As soon my our lips touched he wrapped his arms around my back and refused to let go, while in the background I could vaguely hear cheers and wolf-whistles (as well as a gagging noise, probably from Toby.). It must have been at least fifteen seconds before we finally broke apart, but kissing him felt…nice. Very nice in fact. It had been so long since I had been kissed, but from what I remembered, this was different than any kiss I had ever received.
When he finally let me go, I couldn't stop staring at him. He was wearing a very satisfied smirk that would have any other time annoyed me to the point of wanting to slap him, but this time, I found myself thinking that he looked very sexy when he did that.
As the night dragged on it was clear to all of us that Toby was becoming tired. Finally at nine thirty, Karen insisted that he go to bed. Toby protested of course, until Jareth offered to tell him a story. This stopped all the protests (Toby had taken a liking to Jareth much to my surprise) and he eagerly ran upstairs with Jareth behind him.
Once they were gone Aunt Clara addressed me, "Sarah you are so lucky."
I forced a smile, "So I've heard."
"I mean it, he's so sweet and handsome, and that necklace he gave you? I can't remember the last time David has given me anything like that."
I was probably the only one to see Uncle David shot his wife an annoyed glare.
"My mom's right Sarah, I wish I had a boyfriend like that." Lizzie sighed.
"He is very smart." Uncle David commented.
"He is, and Sarah," Dad said to me directly, "I know I may have been a bit stiff towards Jareth before, but I cal tell that he is a good man and I'm very happy you found him."
Throughout all this I was waiting for something to jolt me awake, because this has to be a dream. My family actually liked Jareth. Jareth the evil child kidnapping goblin king who put me through the worst thirteen hours of my life (Of course they didn't know about that but still.)!
"um…" I tried to think of an excuse to leave, "I have to go find Jareth."
I heard Lizzie and Jo exchange 'ooo's again (that was getting irritating).
As I headed up the stairs and towards Toby's room, I could hear the sound of Jareth speaking very softly. I was about to reach out and grab the door handle when suddenly, the door opened and Jareth stood before. I let out a small gasp for shock to which Jareth brought his finger up to his lips and made a 'ssh' sound.
"He just fell asleep."
I slowly moved past him and opened Toby's door a crack to look inside, and saw him sleeping peacefully. Once I had closed the door, I turned back around to find he hadn't moved from his spot. There was an awkward silence that I really wanted to break.
"You told him a story then?" I asked.
He simply nodded.
"Which?" I asked, although I had a feeling I knew what the answer would be.
"The one about the beautiful girl and the Goblin King who fell in love her." He answered a bit stiffly.
My eyes dropped towards the floor. "The whole story?"
"Yes," He answered, "Well…actually, I did change a few things."
I looked back up at him now, "What things?"
He looked around for a second as if trying to find way to avoid answering, "The end of the story." He said finally.
In retrospect I probably should have expected that but I still somewhat surprised by his answer, and curious. "How did you end it?"
He stared right into my eyes now, his mismatched eyes boring into my green ones, "I told him…I told him that the beautiful girl stayed with the Goblin King in the end."
I closed my eyes for a moment, and when I opened them again, I asked: "Why did you do that?"
His expressions was one of sadness and perhaps even a hint of regret, I couldn't help but feel a little sad as I gazed at him.
"I suppose," He began softly, "it's because that's how I wish the story had ended."
With that he moved past me and headed down the stairs, leaving me alone to think. I knew he had meant that. I could hear the sincerity in his voice, and I could see it in his eyes. I couldn't believe he felt like that. I remembered that necklace he had given me, it was so beautiful, could he have honestly been trying to be nice to me by giving it to me? Was it really not just part of the act?
And then that kiss, I enjoyed that kiss; that was undeniable. At the time I would have felt horrible for it, I mean, Jareth was evil right? Wasn't he?
The more I thought the more regret I felt, and the more I found myself beginning to wish the story had ended that way too.
The ride home was almost exactly like the ride there. Only this time Jareth didn't make any comments about peoples decorations. He just stared out the window in silence, and I in turn just concentrated on the road.
When we walked into my apartment, the first thing Jareth did was magically change back into his 'king' outfit, complete with the big hairdo I remembered. I desperately wanted to say something to him, but I couldn't think of anything good, so I simply said:
"Thanks for helping me tonight."
He regarded me silently for a moment, "It was actually not that bad, you have a very nice family."
"Thanks," I answered, happy that he was talking to me again, "My family loved you."
He smiled, "Are you surprised?"
"Kind of." I answered honestly.
"You shouldn't be Sarah, everyone loves me." He stated.
It might sound a bit odd, but that made me smile. This was definitely the arrogant Goblin King I had come to know.
"Well I must be heading back now." He said and my heart dropped a little.
"Alright well," I began once again not sure what to say, "It was nice seeing you again."
He raised his eyebrows, "Was it?"
I knew the answer; I just wasn't sure about saying it. But I did in the end, "Yeah."
He didn't not moved or say anything, so I figured he wasn't going to. I turned around and headed towards my bedroom, fully expecting him to leave as soon as I turned my head. But then I heard his voice again.
"Oh Sarah?" He called out in a sing song voice.
I turned around to see what he wanted and almost jumped back when I saw that he had gone from being across the room to right in front of me, his face only inches away from mine. I wanted to back up a little, back he had me up against the wall; there was no escape. He stared into my eyes for a moment and then almost casually glanced upwards. He let out a fake gasp, "Oh my, what is that?" He pointed directly above us.
I looked up and became only a little bit irritated when I saw mistletoe hovering in the air above us.
"Jareth," I began to say, but before I could he wrapped his arms around me as he had earlier and pulled me even closer to him, so close I could feel his breath on my face.
"Now Sarah," he whispered huskily, "Don't forget, its tradition."
And then his lips met mine for the second time that night, and like the first, I found myself enjoying it and then responding. It was probably the best kiss I had ever received, and I was not afraid to admit it. When he finally pulled away I felt like I was on fire. My thoughts were running rapid in my mind and I could only think of one way to respond to that, I pulled him back down and kissed him again. He had been a bit surprised when I did that and opened his mouth, something I took full advantage of.
We eventually ended up lying on my bed, never once did we break the kiss, but finally we had to come up for air. As I lay their panting slightly, I realized that I was happy, happier than I had been all day. I was sure now that Jareth had been sincere about everything, the necklace, the kiss, and the story. I knew now that he really did care about me, and it was then that I realized that I cared about him too.
"You know," I said after catching my breath, "Now that my family has met you, they'll expect you to be there for our New Year's celebration."
He looked at me and chuckled happily. "Well I would hate to disappoint them." He said before pulling me into another kiss.
A/N: Merry Christmas Everybody!