The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated. The reports of my laziness however...
Anyways, I wanted to apologize for putting this series on hiatus for so long. I'd make excuses like real life, laziness, etc. but they do not absolve me of my guilt. For any of those asking, yes, kiyala
and I actually have this all planned out. It's not the planning that's tripping us up.
Oh well. Anyways, here's something small for the holidays, while we get into the swing of things again. Thank you all for your patience. And Happy Holidays!Title:
Home, Then (Part Three and ½)Author: doctorskuldWord Count:
December 24, 2019Rating:
River Wright had never had a granddaughter to celebrate Christmas with. She had never been the type of person to much too much stock in great expectations—if she had been, she would have found herself broken and rather disappointed a long time ago. Instead she was quite the opposite, taking each day and each opportunity as it had come, never looking too far into the future nor too far back, and that had made raising a son on her own so much easier than it would have been otherwise.
As it was, River was quite happy with where she was in a small, nondescript townhouse in a part of town that was neither good nor bad, but simply was. And since River was not given to expectation, she was pleasantly surprised when Phoenix had suggested a family dinner of sorts. Family had always been just mother and son, now grandmother, son, and granddaughter. River tried not to think about that too hard as she puttered about the kitchen, having dug up old recipes she hardly remembered ever making. It was the most work she put into a meal for years, but it was a pleasure to cook for a bigger family now. Wiping her hands on her apron, she shooed the cats that had crept up onto the counter, sniffing cautiously at the pies, and wondering what the novel smells from the kitchen might bring to their kitty bowl.
The afternoon passed quickly and River had hardly set foot away from the oven when the doorbell rang.
Cheeks flushed pink from the chill of an usually cold winter day, Trucy was the first past the threshold with a giant grin.
Truth be told, River considered herself barely past her mid-forties and therefore still too young to really be a grandmother, but the title afforded the little girl more comfort and welcome that she had probably ever experienced, so she let it slide. She returned Trucy’s hug and let the girl inside. Hardly had Trucy’s shoes come off in the entryway then she let out a cry of “Mister Bartholomew Hermann Whiskerton!” and bounded off after a giant ginger cat who gave a yowl and quickly hid himself behind the couch.
“Merry Christmas, Mom,” Phoenix said, giving her a hug and a kiss as he hurriedly stepped out of the wind. Behind him followed a face that River hadn’t seen over fifteen years, but nevertheless would have recognized anywhere. The man seemed a little unsure of what to say or do, but River simply smiled. His awkwardness and propensity for being overpolite was something that she remembered too.
“Miles, it’s been a long time.” She enveloped him in an embrace that was no less the warmth that she had afforded her own son. “You haven’t changed from when I last saw you.”
Miles flushed, a little flustered, and Phoenix let out a hearty laugh. “Stop torturing him, Mom.”
River laughed and motioned Miles inside. He had recovered from his comment, remembering also that Phoenix’s mother had liked to tease him even when he was young, and decided that the best way to handle the situation was to not take it too gravely. “Well, I hope that I’ve at least gotten taller.”
“A bit,” River conceded, and shut the door behind him. There seemed a moment of quiet as Phoenix wandered into the kitchen, and Trucy, having hauled Mister Bartholomew Hermann Whiskerton from his hiding place, sat him on her lap on the floor where he reluctantly submitted to a petting.
“Welcome to the family, Miles. I’m glad you decided to spend the holidays with us. You have no idea how often Phoenix talks to me about you.”
“Hopefully all good things.”
River smiled just a little. “Now, that I can’t comment on.”
Miles raised an eyebrow—finally, something he did little of as a child—and slowly a bemused smile crossed his features. “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Wright.”
“And to you too.” And then River excused herself into the kitchen, noting that one of her cats had already seen to spoiling Miles’ neat black slacks by trying to get as much hair on it as possible.
“Mom, are you already giving Miles a hard time?” Phoenix asked, around an armful of cat. He set it down on the ground where it glared at him balefully for having removed it from the vicinity of the curious pies.
“Of course,” River said. “He just called me ‘Mrs. Wright.’ Haven't you taught him better than that?”
“Well, I dunno. What is he supposed to call you?”
“’Mom’ would be nice.”
Phoenix rolled his eyes. “We are nowhere close to that serious yet, Mom.”
River simply laughed as Phoenix turned bright red. “Of course not,” she replied, which only garnered a scowl and another eye roll from her son.
River had never had a granddaughter to celebrate Christmas with, nor had she ever had a Christmas to share with a son-in-law. Trust her life to deal her both of those very strange cards at the same time. Ducking into the oven to check on the roast, River smiled privately to herself. Not that she would have had it any other way.