Shan listened to the old CLASH tune again and smiled. It was the best gift ever.
"How did you know?" Shan didn't think he'd told Fish about his favorite band. He didn't really talk about it, to anyone. Usually, he'd remember THE CLASH was his Dad's favorite band. Maybe he wanted to think of his Dad at his best, listening to the punk band.
They'd had some good times, but they were so far and few between. The holidays were always a wreck. Just screaming matches for his parents. It wasn't worth mentioning now. Although, he hoped his Dad was back home with his family. He hadn't heard from them.
Shan spent Christmas with Fish and his family. He felt like a kid, again.
"You had all those old cassettes, and nothing to play them on." Fish said now as they were resting on the couch back at Topher's in the livingroom. They were stuffed with Christmas fixings and a bit sluggish from all the laced egg nog with Fish's father's Jim Bean.
Shan nodded. A shoe box of his father's memories. He just couldn't pitch them even if he wasn't always on good thoughts with him. It pained him to think his Dad was drinking again. Even he was a little worried about himself and the Christmas spirits at Fish's. Yeah, Fish's Dad liked to drink as well as any man, but it was only at dinner. Thankfully.
"Those are my Dad's." He put his arm around Fish hoping he didn't get any ideas for him to go see his Dad.
Finally, Shan messed with Fish's hair and felt the stubble on his face. Shan grinned more. Damn, if Fish couldn't grow a beard better than he could. Shan could only hope he didn't have male pattern baldness on his face. He probably did.
He remembered an old uncle who had it. Yeap, he was part Native American.
Shan rubbed his face against Fish's. He couldn't bring it up, but just when did Fish change so much? He spent every day with him. Fish was far from that boy he'd met so long ago, with the stiff walk at the movie theater.
He didn't even notice a limp. Actually, he was glad to have Fish here. It was all he needed.
"Did you even wish Bree a Merry Christmas?" Fish wanted to know before Shan could maybe get Fish in the mood for the next step, Shan's room.
"I gave her, her present last weekend." Shan winced. He'd taken her to the mall and then to a movie. It was good.
"Maybe we should go over there." Fish put him off, momentarily as Shan tilted his head.
"Do we have too?" They had the whole place to them selves. "Later, OK?" He could compromise. He really wanted to do something that made him happy first. Then he could sit there with his sullen dad for he rest of the night. "Twenty minutes, tops."
"Which thing are you talking about now?" Fish smirked.
Shan smirked back.
Crosby hoped he slept through Christmas. After all, Hansen went to Sara's. He would be alone. It would be fine. He wasn't even hungry.
Dang, if his grandmother didn't blow in an hour before nightfall. She'd brought home a huge ham. He didn't ask where she got it.
Of course, she slapped some sense into him right away, making him put up the artificial tree, murmuring in broken English as she sampled what she was putting together.
"Are we expecting someone?" He looked hurt that he couldn't go back to his man-cave and fall face first on his bed. He just couldn't see people.
"What's wrong with you, boy? Its the holidays." The little woman snapped as she looked at him over her thin wire rimmed glasses. She was in Granny mode. Her hair was gray now. No more black dye that turned it blue.
Crosby sighed, wondering what she was going on about.
"Albert's coming." She informed him her new husband would be here, and Crosby better be on his best behavior. "Put on something clean."
"This is clean." Crosby winced as if he hated the idea of company.
The doorbell rang before he could change out of the tank top. What was she expecting? A tie and a suit? He couldn't remember the last time he wore that kind of thing.
He opened the door expecting to find a little Asian man behind the screen door, but it was Julie, all alone in the icy cold.
Crosby couldn't think of a thing to say. In fact he felt he might fall on her if he took another step.
"Who is it?" His grandmother wanted to know as she was putting the finishing touches on the meal.
"Uh." He winced as if he hoped Julie wasn't here to talk about the time before, that he'd sort of slept through.
"Well?" His grandmother's arms were crossed as she met Julie.
"Hi." Julie was about to introduce herself.
"This Lola?" The woman looked at her confused.
"Its not Lola, Mimi." Crosby pressed his lips tight.
"He likes girls with kinky hair." His grandmother giggled as she took Julie's hands. She was off to show Julie the feast in the kitchen.
Crosby stood at the door. Numb.
"Shut that door, Crosby. You're letting the cold in!" His grandmother shouted back. Of course, he about slammed the door in the tall fellow's face who had to be at least 20 years younger than his grandmother. He was neatly dressed. In a tie too.
Crosby was certain now that he was under-dressed for the occasion.