Blue Christmas

"Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh! Ore the hills we go, laughing all the way!"Zack, Slater, and Screech sang loudly as they bounded through the dorm room door.

Alex pulled herself up from lying on the couch and rolled her eyes in annoyance. Then, she picked up a pillow and hurled it at the guys. Slater leaned to the left as Zack leaned to the right, leaving Screech wide open in the middle.

"Ha! Ha! AAAH!" Screech yelped as the pillow came smashing into his face knocking him backwards into Mike Roger's arms. Slater and Zack burst out laughing at the misfortune of their friend.

"You are not what I asked Santa for," Mike said tossing Screech back into a standing position.

"Well, you aren't exactly on my wish list either," Screech replied defensively straightening up his shirt collar.

"I heard you guys coming in, and I just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas before I headed out for the holidays. So,uh, Merry Christmas!"

"Merry Christmas, Mike!" Slater told him giving him the friendship handshake.

"Yeah, Merry Christmas, Mike!" Zack replied giving him a pat on the back.

"Aww, come here big guy!" Screech cheered giving him a hug.

Mike held his arms straight out and frowned, "If you show up anywhere near me this holiday break, I'm writing return to sender on your forehead and stuffing you in the first mail box I see."

"Just make sure you send me first class!" Screech replied arrogantly.

Mike shook his head and headed out the door, then turned one last time, "Merry Christmas!" he belted in a jolly Santa-like voice.

"Bah humbug!" Alex groaned from the couch.

"Way to spread that Christmas cheer, Alex," Slater teased Alex as he sat on the back of the sofa.

Alex rolled her eyes and dropped back on the sofa crossing her arms. Slater had a puzzled look on his face as he turned toward Zack and shrugged.

"She must be method acting again," Zack spoke up. "Let me guess, you got the part of a stingy miser who hates Christmas. You shouldn't have to practice much longer, you're very convincing." Zack teased as he peeked over the back of the couch.

"Come on, Alex, how can you not be happy? We get a month off for vacation," Slater grinned widely as he spoke the last part. He gave Zack a low five.

Alex continued to lay still with her arms folded as she replied, "How can I not be happy? Here's how I can not be happy." She pulled out a Christmas card from under her back and rigidly handed it up to Slater.

"Giving me a Christmas card makes you unhappy?" Slater frowned.

"That is the feeling stingy misers who hate Christmas would have toward Christmas cards, but I don't think a scrooge would give a Christmas card to begin with," Screech informed. "You're wrong, Zack. She still has some work to do."

Alex let out a disgusted sigh. "Read the card, Slater," she instructed.

Slater pulled the card out of the envelope and began reading silently.

"Aloud," Alex directed.

"Ok. Merry Christmas," Slater read, then, he stopped, closed the card and looked around at the others.

"How original," Zack said flatly.

"It gets better," Alex said icily.

Slater hesitantly reopened the card, clearly uncomfortable about reading the rest of the card. "And a Happy New Year," he finished quickly. "Well, that's it! You were right, Alex. It got better," Slater quickly closed the card and shoved it under his arm.

"Not so fast, Meathead! You left out the good part!"Alex jumped up and attempted to grab the Christmas card from him.

Slater tried to dodge Alex's grabbing hands. She poked him in the ribs, causing him to release his grip on the card.

"Got it!" she picked it up off the floor and climbed up onto a chair. She stood with perfect posture as she dramatically opened the card and cleared her throat. In her best stage voice, she read:

Slater,

Can you believe four months have passed since we last saw each other face to face? It's crazy, isn't it? And here I always had the childish hopes that we could spend the weekend's together, all of us, just like Zack had suggested. If only it were that easy, but life never makes anything easy. I think about us a lot. What would have happened if I would have gotten into Stansbury? Would we still be together?

Kelly called me over Thanksgiving break and told me some of what has been going on. It made me a little nostalgic for all things Bayside. Unfortunately, I'm not flying home for Christmas. I promised Mom I stay with her this year. She and my step dad moved here to be close to me and Eric especially for holidays. I guess there is no home for me in Palisades anymore.

Anyway, I was thinking… it's a crazy idea, but I was hoping you and the gang could fly out here. You'd get to have a white Christmas. We have so much to catch up on. I miss everyone. I miss you.

Well, there I go getting mushy. I'm sorry. I just saved a whale and you know how emotional that makes me.

Love Always,

Your Mama

"I'm guessing that Mama does not refer to the woman of whom birthed you, but is a term of endearment." She closed the card. Her audience, which now included a wide eyed Kelly and Leslie, all stood with their jaws dropped, except of course for Slater who held his jaw in place with his hand covering every facial feature but his eyes. Alex thought she might see tears. Suddenly, her jealousy was overcome by regret.

Slater stalked over and tore the card from her hand.

"Slater," she said softly.

He ignored her and slammed the door to his bedroom.

Kelly who was standing beside Zack, put her hand on his arm. "Maybe you should go check on him," she whispered. "I'm going to take care of Alex." Zack nodded and followed after Slater.

Opening the door slowly, he came in to see Slater lying in his bed reading the card in dim light.

"I don't know what to say," he honestly began, "Kelly thought I should check on you. It sounded like a good idea until I came in here. Now, it seems like a terrible idea. I'm awful at these kind of things," he pulled up the chair from the desk near Slater's bed.

"Yeah, you are," Slater couldn't help but laugh a little at Zack's statement.

Slater closed the card and laid it on his chest. They both sat silent for a minute.

"It's just… I can't believe she could do this to me!"

"I can. The guy who said hell hath no fury, he knew his stuff," Zack muttered.

"I mean, she waits four months then, decides to ask 'what if' and tell me 'I miss you'!"

"Yeah, man, jealous women should be locked in padded rooms until they get over it," Zack nodded with confidence, then, tilted his head toward Slater and lifted one eyebrow in confusion. "Wait. Are we talking about Alex?"

"Alex? Nah. That girl is like a bomb. I'm always on my guard ready for her to explode." Slater was sitting up in his bed now, ducking his head so it wouldn't hit the top bunk. "I'm talking about Jessie, Zack. We both agreed to call it quits since having a relationship across the country would be crazy. I've moved on, right? She's moved on, right?

"Why do I get the feeling you are convincing yourself you've moved on?"

"Why are you both asking so many questions? There is a pretty clear answer here," Screech butted in.

"Where did you come from?" Slater asked perplexed.

"From the living area, duh," Screech squeaked.

Slater hit a hand to his forehead and fell back onto the bed.

"Look, Slater, it's pretty obvious you still have feelings for Jessie. Maybe even deeper than the ones you have for Alex or you'd be in here wondering how Alex could have totally disregarded your feelings, invaded you privacy, and so on. It's pretty obvious from the card Jessie still has feelings for you. You and Jessie gave each other up unselfishly to keep the other from being hurt, and to keep from holding each other back. And Alex, well, she cares about you, but not enough to respect your feelings over her own."

Slater was sitting up in the bed now in complete awe.

"Well, I think that settles it, then," Zack jumped up grinning from ear to ear. "We're going to New York!"