I'll Be Home For Christmas
by: LunarEclipse 360
A/N: I'm sorry for not posting this on Thanksgiving. I wanted to, but I wasn't satisfied with what I wrote and I decided a while ago that I didn't want to put out something that I wasn't happy about. But, getting around that, I present to you my new Christmas story. How many chapters will it have? I have no idea, but I know that it won't go past 10 chapters. Also, forgive any grammar or spelling mistakes, this story will not be looked over by my beta.
I'm dreaming tonight
Of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know
It's a long road back
I promise you
It hadn't crossed his mind as much as it had in the past few weeks. He hadn't even realized how much he missed it until he was listening to his mother beg him to come home for the Christmas holiday. There was a part of him that hadn't wanted to say 'yes,' but he couldn't possibly deny her; not when she sounded so vulnerable. Thinking back on it, however, he wished he hadn't. Going home meant facing his father. Going home meant confronting the problems he left behind. He didn't think he was ready for it. He knew he wasn't ready for it.
At twenty-seven, Troy was the youngest member of his company to be a top executive; a feat that he spent years working hard to achieve. But success comes with its pros and cons. The con being that his social life was non-existent. The pro being that he could get out of returning home. In all honesty, he hadn't stepped foot inside the house he grew up in since he was twenty-one. After an argument with his father, he stopped going home. His mother tried to convince him to come home, but he always made an excuse that he was too busy with work. It was wrong, yes, especially since his mother was just an innocent bystander in the feud between him and his father, but he just couldn't face the man. But years of being angry at him didn't seem to suppress the longing to see the woman who gave birth to him.
Pulling his thoughts back to the present, he pressed the intercom on his desk. "Martha, I need you to book a seat on the next flight to New York for me."
"Any particular airport?"
"JFK, if you can."
"It's going to be difficult, seeing as Christmas is in two days, but I'll see what I can do."
"No problem, boss."
Sighing, he turned his attention to the window, staring down at the street below. Although his mother had called almost a week ago, begging him to come home, he had put off booking a flight to New York. He was still on the fence about going back, but figured there were two outcomes to trying to get a flight just two days before. He could either get a seat on the next flight or he could not which would result in him having to call his mother and make up some excuse about why he couldn't come after he had already said he was going. For the sake of not having to hear the disappointment in his mother's voice, he hoped that Martha, his secretary, could find him a flight.
"Mr. Bolton," the intercom chirped.
"I've gotten you a seat on a flight that leaves tonight at nine."
"Is that the earliest one?"
"It's the only one."
"Alright. Print out the conformation number and leave it on your desk before you go home."
"Mr. Bolton." Lifting his gaze from the papers in front of him, he looked into the warm brown eyes of his secretary. "I'm leaving, and if you don't leave soon, you're going to be late for your flight."
"I'm just going to finish these, then I'll be on my way."
"Alright," she responded, a bit skeptical, "well, I guess I'll see you when you get back." He nodded. "Good night."
"Night, and Merry Christmas."
She smiled. "Merry Christmas to you, too, Mr. Bolton."
His bright blue eyes watched her disappear from the doorframe. Returning to the pile of papers, he quickly went over the remaining ones; signing what needed to be signed. When he finished, he filed them away in his desk and stood. He looked at his phone and figured he had just enough time to run home, change, pack, and get to the airport. He was cutting it close, but he was confident he could make it.
In record time, Troy made it home and quickly changed out of his suit and into something a bit more comfortable. He packed the first things he could get his hands on and placed the suitcase into the trunk of his car. Without breaking any laws, he sped towards the airport, hoping not to get caught in traffic. He parked in the long term lot and quickly went to check in. He was surprised about the amount of people that were traveling, but hoped that he would be able to make it through security before it was time for his plane to board.
As he stood on line for the security check point, his mind began to wander. Without meaning to, he thought back to the last time he saw his parents; back to that fight that he'd gotten into with his father. The fight that ended with Troy catching the first flight back to L.A. He hated to reminisce about that night, but the more he tried not to think about it, the more he thought about it. Sighing, he brought his mind back to the present and noticed that he had reached the end of the line. Grabbing on of the bins, he began to unfasten his belt; placing it, his sneakers and his jacket into one of the large containers to put through the x-ray machine. He took off his watch and turned off his cellphone before dropping both into a smaller, rounder container and handing it to the man on the other side of the machine. He, then, proceed to step through the metal detector when the TSA agent gave him the green light to do so. Once cleared, he retrieved his things; slipping his sneakers and belt back to their appropriate places.
He reached his designated gate within minutes and took a seat in the waiting area. Turning back on his phone, he checked the time to see how long until boarding took place. Seeing he still had a few minutes, the black iPhone went into his pocket and he sat back into his seat. His eyes scanned the terminal around him, watching the various people. Looking towards the window, he stared at the stationary 747 as it waited to be boarded.
"Excuse me." Turning towards the voice, he was nearly knocked breathless by the pair of coffee-colored eyes staring back at him. "I think this is yours," she said, holding out the iPhone that he swore he had just placed into his pocket. Searching the offending pocket that he thought he put it in, he found that his phone was, in fact, not there and the one in her hand was, indeed, his.
"Thank you," he said, taking it from her. "I didn't even realize that I completely missed my pocket."
She smiled. "Well, then it's a good thing that I saw it and not someone else. Who knows what they would have done."
He returned the smile, finding hers to be contagious. "Certainly is." He held out his hand to her. "I'm Troy Bolton," he said, figuring he'd introduce himself.
"Gabriella Montez." She placed her hand in his and shook it.
"It's nice to meet you, Gabriella."
"Nice to meet you, too."
"Attention all passengers on all flights going to the Mid-west and the Northeast," came a voice over the loud speaker, "because of a possible blizzard forming in the Northern Rockies, all flights are delayed until further notice."
"Are you kidding me?" she asked, though speaking to no one. "Looks like we'll be here for a while."
"Looks like it," he answered, motioning to the seat next to him. Taking the hint, she grinned and sat down beside him.
"So…do you live in L.A.?" she asked, continuing the conversation.
"I do. You?"
"No," she answered with a shake of her head. "I'm just…visiting."
"Oh? Visiting who?"
"You're not going to stay with her through the holiday?"
She shook her head. "No. I wish I could, but I can't."
"Because I told my sister that I would be home by Christmas."
"You live with your sister?"
"No. I live a couple houses away, but Christmas…Christmas has always been a hard time for my sister, especially after her daughter was born, and I've always been there to help her when she needed it. This year is no different."
"What about her husband? I mean, if she's married."
"She is, but he's in the military."
"I see. It must be hard for her; knowing that he's risking his life and everything."
"It is, but she's proud of him and as long as she knows he's alive and well, she continues to live her life like nothing's wrong."
"So, who are you on your way to visit?"
"My parents," he answered with much reluctance.
"You don't sound too happy about it."
"I am, I just…haven't seen them in a while and I'm scared that they'll be upset about that."
"I'm sure that they'll be happy to see you."
Nodding, he ran a hand through his auburn hair and glanced around. He knew lying to her was wrong, but he found no need to tell her everything. Besides, she was technically a stranger to him.
"I hope that this delay doesn't take too long. I really want to get home."
"If you don't mind me asking, where is home for you?"
"Oh? What part?"
"Hempstead, Long Island."
He grinned. "Really? I'm from Levittown."
"You're joking," she said, bright smile on her face.
"I am not."
"Wow. Small world, huh?"
"It is. I would have never thought I would have ran into a fellow Long Islander this far west."
"Neither did I." Out of habit, he took a look at his phone to check the time and found that it was nearing ten o'clock. "Hey, since we have no idea how long this delay will go on for, you wanna get something to eat?"
Her smile softened and she nodded. "Sure. I haven't eaten since lunch anyway."
Standing, he waited for her to follow before they began walking. "Anything in particular you want?"
"Alright, then anything's possible."
Within minutes, Troy found himself sitting across from her in the food court. It was the only real food area that they could find on this side of the security gate. They both decided on Chinese food and he offered to pay for her, but she declined, saying that it made it seem like they were on a date. So, she paid for her own order and they found a table not far from the hallway that led back to their gate. Conversation was light while they ate and he saw this as an opportunity to look her over. He took in the dark color of her straight, jet black hair as it fell to a point just below her shoulders. She kept the front of her hair in bangs that fell just short of her russet eyes. Her skin was toffee-colored and when she smiled, that same skin was pushed back to reveal her high cheek bones. He could not deny that she was an attractive woman.
"How old are you?" he asked, breaking the silence.
Her eyes lifted, connecting with his, and answered, "Twenty-five."
"Really?" She nodded. "You look younger than that."
"I get that a lot. What about you; how old are you?"
"I never would have thought you were that old."
He lifted a brow. "You say it like I'm ancient."
"I…I wasn't…I didn't mean to…"
"It's fine, Gabriella," he said, a grin on his face. "I was only joking."
He chuckled. "You finished?"
When she nodded, he stood and took both her tray and his to the nearest garbage can. He turned back to the table and found her glancing around. He walked towards her, catching her attention, and smiled.
"Ready to go back?"
She smiled and stood. "Lead the way."
Silence blanketed the air between them as they walked in the direction of their gate. It wasn't an awkward one though. It was rather comfortable for two people who didn't really know one another. Troy glanced over at her, wanting to say something to break the silence, but she spoke up before he got a chance to.
"So, how long have you lived in L.A.?"
"Since I was twenty-one."
"Wow, that long?"
"Yeah. I attended UCLA and after graduation, I just stayed."
"You like it here?"
"Pretty much, though I do miss New York."
"And by that answer, I'm guessing you don't go back very often."
He shook his head. "I don't."
She opened her mouth to speak, but an announcement over the loud speaker interrupted her and caught both of their attentions.
"Attention all passengers, due to inclement weather, all flights to the Mid-west and the Northeast have been cancelled. I repeat, due to inclement weather, all flights to the Mid-west and the Northeast have been cancelled. We apologize for the inconvenience."
"You've got to be kidding me!" Gabriella said, running a hand through her hair. "So what are we supposed to do; wait until the storm passes?"
"I guess so."
"But who knows how long that could take." She sighed. "I'm going to ask someone if they know if the storm will let up any time soon."
"Alright." He waited until she was thoroughly engaged in conversation with the woman behind the counter before pulling out his phone. Quickly, he dialed his parents' number and hoped that his mother would answer and not his dad.
"Hey, Ma, it's me."
"Troy! Hi, sweetheart."
"Listen, I'm at the airport and…"
"Oh? What time does your plane get in?"
"It doesn't…at least not any time soon."
"There's a blizzard making its way across the country and they cancelled all flights to the Northeast."
"So…you're not coming then?" she asked, the disappointment like a knife in Troy's heart.
"Of course I am, Mom, just…not tonight."
"I'm not sure, but I'll find a way to get home. I promise."
"Just be safe, alright?"
"And I guess I'll see you…"
"Christmas Eve, I'm assuming."
"Christmas Eve, then. I love you."
"Love you, too, Mom. Bye."
Just as he ended the call, Gabriella walked up to him; annoyance written in her coffee eyes. He tilted his head slightly, non-verbally expressing an interest in knowing what the employees told her.
"What did they say?"
"That they don't know how long the storm is going to last and that there's a chance that no one's going anywhere until after Christmas."
"But people have places to go. What do they expect them to do?"
"No idea." She sighed and took out her phone. "I guess I'll have to call my sister and tell her that I won't make it in time." The disappointment in her voice was obvious. He watched as she walked away from him, taking a seat as she waited for her sister to pick up the phone.
As she divulged in a conversation with her sibling, Troy thought about how he could get to New York. There was always the bus…but he didn't want to be sitting in such close quarters for the amount of time that was needed to get from California to the East Coast, even with the stops in between. He could take the train…but who knows what the railways look like during the storm. If the planes were screwed, the trains weren't any better. Driving himself was his last option. He had always wanted to take a road trip, he just never had time for it.
"Well, she's not angry," Gabriella said, breaking him out of his thoughts.
"Which is good, right?"
She nodded and smiled, though it seemed half-heartedly. "I just wish I could find another way to get home. Maybe I could take the bus."
"How does a road trip sound?"
"A road trip?" she repeated. "I guess it's better than staying here."
"You know how to drive?"
"Good. Follow me."