A/N: Is everyone else totally depressed to find out that Lifetime's cancelled this show? Now we'll never get an end to that cliffhanger! In my head, it's definitely Brody on the other side of that door...and in that spirit, here is the start of my 'Against the Wall' Christmas story!
(As a side note, I know I still owe you all an epilogue for 'Deja Vu All Over Again'...it is coming, I promise! It took a few twists and turns I hadn't expected, but it should be up sometime this week.)
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Abby Kowalski sang softly to herself as she hurried down the street, narrowly dodging an errant snowball flung from a nearby park. This had always been one of her favorite times of year to be in the city. The storefront displays, the wreaths hanging from the lampposts, the tiny twinkling lights that went up all over town - it was like someone sprinkled a little magic over the city for a few weeks out of the year.
Hurrying up the front walk, she brushed a patch of snow off the sleeve of her jacket and paused in front of the house, shaking her head slightly at the abundance of lights covering almost every square inch of the facade.
Stepping inside the front door, she shrugged off her jacket and shut the front door behind herself.
Abby smiled as she hung up her jacket and turned to face her partner. "Yeah, well, not my fault I couldn't find the place. You really ought to consider putting a few more lights on out there. I'm not sure they can see you from outer space yet."
Lina Flores laughed and shook her head. "Not my fault. The boys do the lights. I stay inside and pretend not to know what they're going to do to my electric bill."
"Well, you've only got to keep them up another two days and then Christmas will be over."
"Ugh. Don't remind me how close it is. I'm not even close to done with my shopping yet. You done?"
"Well, if the sticking point's me, don't worry about it. I'm not picky."
Abby laughed. "I've had your present for weeks, Lina. No, I've got my mom, my dad, my brothers, all the kids…the only one left on my list is Brody."
"Ah." Lina nodded knowingly. "The boyfriend gift. Always tricky, especially the first time. Get him something too nice, he might read too much into it…but don't get him something nice enough and he'll think you're still not serious about this new relationship of yours."
Abby groaned as she followed Lina into the living room and collapsed into an armchair. "This is why I don't do relationships. They're more trouble than they're worth."
"You don't mean that."
"I'm not so sure about that."
Lina sighed. "Alright, we've got about twenty minutes until Carla wakes up from her afternoon nap. Tell me what's going on."
Abby hesitated for a moment. "He told me he loves me."
"That's a good thing, Abby."
"I know, I know. It's just, I know he wants me to say it back, and I don't want to hurt him. I just…I need more time. Can't it be enough that I picked him?"
Lina shook her head. "Maybe for a few weeks, but it's been almost four months. Do you love him?"
"I…I care about him," Abby said. "I like him a lot. But love…love's a big word, Lina. Love implies a future…and a future implies all sorts of big steps that I'm not ready for."
"Well, you'd better figure it out soon," Lina cautioned. "My maternity leave's up right after the new year, and I am not going to spend another three months listening to you go back and forth and back and forth twenty gazillion times. I did that once, I don't need to do it again."
"I need your help."
Richie glanced up as Abby walked into his apartment that evening. "Well, yeah. I've been telling you that for years."
Abby rolled her eyes. "No, I'm serious, Richie. I still don't have a Christmas present for Brody, and tomorrow's Christmas Eve. What do I get him?"
Richie threw up his hands defensively. "No, I'm serious. Don't get him a present. Brody hates Christmas."
"Don't be ridiculous, Richie, nobody hates Christmas. What do I get him?"
"I'm not kidding, Abby," Richie said. "John Brody does not do Christmas. Don't even try, it won't end well."
"But it's Christmas," Abby protested. "And it's our first Christmas as a couple. I can't just not get him anything."
"Did you invite him to Mom and Dad's?"
"I was thinking about it. I didn't want to overstep if he's got his own family stuff planned."
"How do you know?"
Richie sighed. "Abby, Brody works on Christmas every year. He volunteers for the shift. I've invited him to our family Christmas every year since we were first partnered up, but he won't come."
Abby frowned. "Well, maybe he's just never had a real Christmas. I could…"
"Abby, I'm serious. Just leave the subject alone. Pretend it's not even Christmas."
"You're trying to get me in trouble, aren't you? You're trying to cause problems between us with this Christmas thing. God, I thought you were over this, Richie. Brody and I are a couple and you just have to accept that."
"I do, Abby. That's not what this is about."
Abby shook her head and stood up quickly. "No one hates Christmas if they understand what Christmas can be," Abby insisted. "If you're serious and Brody really doesn't get it, then I'll just have to help him understand Christmas."
Abby shook her head and hugged him briefly before hurrying toward the door. "I've got a lot to do," she said quickly. "See you at Mass tomorrow night."