Best Christmas Eve Ever
The elevator announced its arrival on the floor with it usual ping. To Martha Rodgers it sounded a little too loudly, like the peeling of a big church bell or worse a loud gong. The sound went right through her. It made her groan and stopped her from the carol she had been humming. The doors slowly slid open and with a little bit of effort she pushed herself off the back wall of the car she had been leaning against and stepped onto the floor. Once more she began humming to herself one of her favourite Christmas Carol. Come All Ye Faithful. She smiled at the irony, considering her colourful life.
It had been a wonderful evening spent with her friends carolling, enjoying their company and bringing joy and pleasure to the listeners. It did not really matter that she had lost track of time and it was now after midnight. It would not be the first time she had come home after midnight. The important thing was that she had a good time. And she did.
As she slowly made her way to the front door of the loft she swayed a little as she walked. A chuckle escaped from from her lips. Perhaps she might have over indulged in a little too much Christmas cheer, she thought to herself. There might have been a time when she could have gone on all night and the entire week, continue on until and past New Years Day with no sweat but those days were long behind her. She did not have the stamina for that anymore, only the memories.
Reaching the front door she had to search through her bag for the door key. She was also carrying a couple of other bags that held presents that a couple of her friends had given her. Setting those bags down she turned her attention to finding the errant door key. On finding the door key she let out a little triumphant 'ah ha' as she held it up.
It took her a couple of attempts to slot the key into the lock. Definitely had too much Christmas cheer, she silently told herself. Not only had the eggnog been spiked but the fruitpunch had been as well. She was going to pay for that overindulgence in the morning but right now she really did not care all that much. It was Christmas. She had a good time tonight and that was all that mattered.
Unlocking the door she returned the keys to her bag and collected the other bags from the floor and stepped into the loft. Closing the door she turned around and paused. The lights in the loft had been muted allowing the lights of the Christmas tree that stood in pride of place, to shine and twinkle brilliantly. Other decorations were also illuminated. The sight of it all sobered her up.
Martha could not help but smile at how beautiful everything looked. She had dressed enough sets in her career to know what looked good and spectacular. She smiled as she took in all the decorations. Her son went over the top when it came to the holidays each year but the end result was always simply beautiful. This year without doubt was the best yet.
Martha set her things beside the door and straightened up. Her smile deepened when she heard the strains of the Nutcraker suite playing softly on the music system. It was still one of her favourite pieces of music. She could still remember the hard times, when she was a struggling actress without much money and how she would try to make the season magical for her young son. She played this music for him as well as making up stories that seemed to capture his imagination, and letting them forget for just a moment the hardships of the life they had been living. She had never imagined back in those days that the playing of the Nutcracker suite would eventually become a family tradition.
She was about to turn and head upstairs when something else reached her ears. She turned slowly and made her way to the living room area. The large screen TV had been left on. There was a Christmas themed movie playing. It only took her a moment to realise what movie it was. Love Actually. A feel good movie she had always liked.
Martha's eyes then fell onto the couch. The sight that greeted her gladdened her heart more than any Christmas decoration, or piece of music or sentimental Christmas movie ever could. She positively beamed as she regarded the figures on the couch.
Stretched out on the couch side by side were Richard and Kate Beckett. Kate was on her side with her head nestled in the crook of his shoulder, her hand resting on his chest over his heart, and her son had his arms around the detective in a protective embrace. Both of them had small contented smiles on their faces.
Martha could not help but think they looked so adorable together. A part of her wanted to take a photo of this moment but she thought better of that idea. She really did not need any photograph of this moment. It was a moment that would be indelibly imprinted in her memory. The sight of the two of them together was the best Christmas present she could ever wish for.
There had been times when Martha had despaired that her son would find true happiness. She had been there to help him pick up the pieces of one failed marriage and then another. She had been there when she could only shake her head at the choice of women he dated. And she had been there when he slowly revealed his true feelings for the Detective he shadowed.
No one would ever know how happy she was to see that two of them had finally seen what everyone around them had been seeing for the last four years. That they were meant for each other.
That morning when she had brought a very hungover Alexis home from the graduation party and had walked into his bedroom to find him naked, embarrassed and looking guilty. It had taken all of her acting skills not to give the game away. If she had not been concerned for Alexis, she would have been doing cartwheels on discovering Detective Beckett hiding in his closet. She would have. And really, did Richard have to hide the poor girl in the closet?
Martha's eyes moved to the coffee table and she smiled again. No doubt Kate had succumbed to his request, or knowing Richard, his begging, to watch a Christmas movie marathon. The coffee table was strewn with popcorn, Christmasy food items and a couple of empty hot chocolate mugs. If the television showing Christmas movies wasn't a dead give away then the snacks on the table surely was.
Martha could still remember the big smile on his face during dinner after Kate had come over. He looked like he was going to explode with happiness and excitement. After dinner was over and before the table was cleared he had remarked that this was the best Christmas Eve ever. Afterwards he did not mind that Alexis or she had other places to go, in fact he had insisted that they go. Not at all like the way he acted when the subject had first been brought up the day they had been decorating the place. He was happy because Kate Beckett had come over for Christmas Eve, and had stayed.
Martha picked up the blanket that was sitting on an armchair, opened it up and slowly draped it over Kate and Richard, her motherly instincts coming to the fore. Though the loft was warm enough, a blanket would not hurt. It would keep them nice and cosy.
Kate stirred as the blanket was draped over her. She blinked open her eyes and lifted her head a little to see a motherly Martha Rodgers smiling down at her.
"Merry Christmas, sweetheart." Martha whispered.
Kate smiled up at the older woman.
"Merry Christmas, Martha." Kate replied sleepily.
Kate closed her eyes and burrowed closer to Richard and promptly went back to sleep. Richard stirred a little but did not wake up. He turned his head towards Kate. Martha pulled up the blanket a little higher and then straightened up.
Martha switched off the TV, leaving her son and his girlfriend to sleep and headed for the stairs, the call of sleep growing ever stronger on her. Reaching the foot of the stairs she paused a moment to cast a final look in the direction of the living room. She smiled and nodded her head, her son was right. This was the best Christmas Eve ever.
A/n: I had not intended to write a post Secret Santa story but as things happen, this idea popped into my head the other night and would not leave until I had put it down on paper. I hope you enjoyed it. I would be most grateful to know what you thought of it.