Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Holiday · #984229
Hope Masterson almost forgets Christmas!
|Author's Note: This is a short series about the Masterson family. Each part is written in the first person by a different member of the family as Christmas approaches. Gifts #5 is told by 21 year old, Hope Masterson.|
The Newport Gazette…
I rushed down the halls of The Newport Gazette, my father’s newspaper, and brought my story to the printroom. I grinned, knowing I’d beaten my deadline by five minutes. A pencil was tucked behind my ear as I presented my story to the printer. I wore a casual pair of dress slacks, a turtleneck, and a sweater to help keep me warm. My father, who was talking to Mr. Bottoms, put aside what he was doing and approached me.
“Hope! Hold up!” he exclaimed.
I paused, waiting for him. I was pretty tall for a girl, with my mother’s blonde hair and my father’s hazel eyes. My mother is my father’s first wife, Anne Powell. She remarried to a man named Robert Powell. I was going to spend Christmas with my Mom and the Powells. For Christmas Eve, I was going to spend it with my Dad’s family.
“What’s up, Dad?” I asked taking the pencil out from behind my ear and grabbing a notepad, ready to take notes.
“We’re expecting you around seven tonight, is that okay? Katrina’s making that pasta dish you like,” said my father smiling at me.
My face dropped. Today! Today was Christmas Eve! I hadn’t gotten any gifts for my brothers or sisters! I kept putting it off because I was so busy between work and school. Frantically, I looked at my watch. It was 3 p.m. I rolled my eyes at my folly.
“Geez…” I muttered.
“Something wrong, Hope?” asked my father, “You can’t make it?” I could feel the disappointment in his voice.
I smiled at him, “Yes I can make it. I just…”
“What?” he said quickly.
“I…ah…didn’t get any…ah, gifts…” I added, embarrassed.
“We don’t care about gifts, Hope. We just want you to come,” smiled my father, “You’re a gift enough.”
I lightly tapped his arm, “You’re such a sweetie, Dad but I’ll feel stupid without gifts, you know?”
“Mr. Masterson! We got a problem!” yelled Charlie Bottoms, briskly walking up to us.
“Argh! Now what, Charlie? Can’t you see I’m talking to my daughter?” said my father slightly annoyed.
“At work, I’m not your daughter, Dad. I’m just another reporter. I have to go! I’ll see you tonight!” I hurriedly said. I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and rushed off. He looked on flustered and began talking to Charlie. The sound of the presses starting up filled up the room. I rushed up to my desk on the third floor, and grabbed the phone.
“Trev! It’s Hope!”
“Get down here now! I’m having a crisis!”
“Like – yeah. Hurry up!” I demanded.
I threw the phone down and sat down grabbing my notepad and pencil. I wrote: Tyler – clueless. Taylor – maybe some perfume? Terri – a doll? Dad – Totally clueless. Katrina – she likes those body and bath thingies. Trevor – leather wallet. Guys like that. I am such a dork. Hope Masterson, I wrote, Dork award.
River Carpenter peered over the walls of my cubical, “Hey, Hope – busy?”
River is my best friend in the whole world.
“Yeah, I have to go Christmas shopping,” I muttered.
“You forgot to go Christmas shopping?” said River smiling.
“I’ve been busy,” I muttered. River came around and sat down on my desk.
“Life is what happens to you when you don’t pay attention,” grinned River.
I wrote on my pad and held it up for River, “Hope equals Dork.”
“You are…” started River.
“What?” I demanded.
“…The busiest girl I know. I wish you would slow down,” he said honestly.
“What fun would slow be?” I asked.
Trevor rushed up to my desk breathless, and sporting a new leather jacket I’d never seen before, “WHAT?!”
“We’re going Christmas shopping,” I said firmly.
“When?” asked Trevor raising an eyebrow.
“Now,” I said waving a hand, “So tell me – what do I get Tyler?”
River just sat there and laughed. He had the warmest soul I know. I know I was acting badly toward him, but I was stressed.
“He wants a Boston Bruins hockey jersey,” answered Trevor running his hands through his hair.
“You think Taylor would like the perfumy stuff?” I asked.
“Taylor’s getting a mound of perfumy stuff. She’s collecting these bear figurines…”
“Okay – done! Terri…?” I asked.
River picked up a blank piece of paper and started folding it.
“Terri wants Barbie stuff,” said Trevor wrinkling his brow.
“Dad? Help me out here. I’m clueless…”
Trevor grinned, “Dad’s easy. Give him a recent picture of you so he can put it up in his study.”
I sighed. The only recent picture of me was in newsprint.
“How about that body and bath stuff for your Mom?” I asked.
“Yeah, Mom likes that stuff,” Trevor replied.
“No wonder why I put off Christmas shopping. It’s hard stuff…” I muttered.
“Now what?” asked Trevor.
“You’re going to the mall with me. I’ve only got four hours to buy this stuff,” I replied.
“So, what are you getting River Carpenter?” River asked grinning at me. A tuft of his bangs fell into his eyes.
I paused, reached up and moved his bangs out of his eyes, “I hadn’t thought about him…” I whispered.
“Shame. He thought about you…” River held up the paper flower he just had folded.
I took it, sniffed it, and placed it on my desk, “It’s lovely.”
Trevor looked at his watch, “Are we going or what?”
“Sure,” I said standing up. River’s eyes dropped.
I reached over my desk, grabbed a favorite pen and held it up in front of River, “River, I know it’s not much…it’s only my FAVORITE pen.”
He suddenly grinned, “It’s the best gift I ever got.”
“Good,” I said. I put my hand on Trevor’s shoulder and we briskly walked out of the newsroom.
Trevor was a big help and I loved spending time with him. My little brother was patient as we waited in the long crowded lines at the mall. When it came time to get his gift, I told him to go home and asked him to reassure Dad and Katrina that I would be there shortly.
Dad and Katrina. Katrina is my father’s second wife, my stepmom. She’s absolutely wonderful. I have a lot of happy moments with Dad and Katrina. She makes my Dad feel comfortable in his own skin.
My father has struggled against the tide of anger and pain all his life. And Katrina’s helped him so much. I’ve noticed he’s only really comfortable around certain people – me, Katrina, their kids, Aunt Viki, and her daughter, Jessica Riley. Around others, my father is clearly uncomfortable. Other people irritate him. Like the Blackwells. They really irritate him. It’s a shame. Bob Blackwell is really a decent guy but his son, Brady, is the biggest jerk I know. It even irritates me to see Brady bully and imitate Trevor. And he can get away with it because Trevor can’t defend himself because of the hemophilia.
I paid for Trevor’s gift, took all my packages to the gift-wrapping booth in the mall, and waited for what seemed forever as they were wrapped up. I glanced at my watch. 6:45 pm. I just rolled my eyes.
It was 7:10 when I rang the doorbell with my nose while I held a mound of gifts in my arms. Dad threw open the door and grinned, “Hope! Tyler – help your sister with her gifts!”
My handsome, athletic brother grabbed a bunch of my gifts, “Hey, Hope!” he exclaimed.
“Hey, Dude,” I yelled back walking in. We put my gifts under the tree.
“Hope!” exclaimed Terri running at me full force and hugging my leg, “Feliz Navidad.”
I bent down and hugged her, “Right back at you,” I grinned.
I looked up at my Dad, “Sorry I’m late.”
“I’m just happy you’re here,” said my father smiling.
“It’s good to see you, Hope,” said Taylor, my other sister. She walked up to me and gave me a warm hug. I returned it. I looked at her fondly, surprised at how she was turning into a lovely young woman before my eyes.
“Feliz Navidad, Hope,” came another warm voice. It was Katrina, dressed in complementing colors of green and red. She looked absolutely stunning and incredibly happy.
“Trina! Feliz Navidad!” I said. We hugged.
“Mommy! Is it almost time to eat? I’m hungry…” came Terri’s voice. She stood beside us, looking up into our eyes.
“Almost. I could use some help in the kitchen,” said Katrina.
“I’ll help,” said Taylor.
“Me too,” I said.
“Trev and I know better than to go near the kitchen,” grinned Tyler.
We walked into the kitchen.
“What do you need me to do, Mom?” asked Taylor.
“Can you get the veggie tray?” asked Katrina, “Hope, can you get the garlic bread out of the oven?”
“Sure,” I said. I checked the oven. Taylor put carrots on the veggie tray.
Suddenly, a phone rang. It was a cell phone. To my surprise, Katrina grabbed it quickly. Too quickly.
There was a pause and I tried not to look like I was interested or paying attention.
“You’ve got them? Good. And…?” Katrina bit her lip.
My stepmother looked worried, nervous, and anxious all at the same time. Something was clearly up.
Katrina smiled. It was a great big grin, “I am? Great. Ah…sure – next week. Thank you.”
Taylor looked up, a bit concerned, “Are you okay, Mom?”
“Yes! Of course! The doctor said I, ah, passed my physical with flying colors,” Katrina answered grabbing the pasta bowl.
“You had a physical?” I asked, not entirely convinced.
Taylor looked relieved and walked out of the kitchen with the veggie tray.
I looked up at Katrina, “It’s more than just a physical, isn’t it?”
Katrina looked at the ground, bit her lip, and nodded her head, ‘yes.’
I walked over to my stepmother, held out a hand and raised her chin so we were eye to eye.
“I just want you to be safe. I don’t want anything to happen to you. You’re magic to my father and the kids would be lost without you,” I choked.
“I’d be lost without all of you in my life,” she whispered.
My father walked in and softened. He stopped at the doorway, clapped his hands and looked concerned, “Hey! Isn’t it time to eat? Are you okay, Katrina?”
My stepmother found his eyes, “I’m fine, Cameron.”
“Good. Let’s eat. The kids are dying to open Hope’s gifts,” he grinned.
“Sure, Cam,” she replied.
We smiled at each other and walked out to eat.
Here's a link to the following "chapter":