Episode 590: When Christmas ComesAdria slumped onto the sofa without bothering to switch on the Christmas tree lights. She didn’t know why people said you can’t go home again. This was exactly like the home she’d always known. She and her parents had come downstairs to open presents, and the merriment lasted for all of five seconds before their cell phones went off and each left her to take care of some work thing.
She realized it made her something of a hypocrite to pick up her own phone while grumbling over them, but it wasn’t as if anyone was there to see it, she was all alone on Christmas day, so she checked her text message.
"Christmas is no time to take a holiday," Ryley typed, "come over and study with me."
Michael smiled at Hope. The little girl sat on the carpet having a grand, giggly time, her favorite doll, Lambie, hugged tight to her, her other hand was busy grabbing every shiny bow within reach and sticking them to her hair.
"Apparently we could have bypassed the long lines at the toy store and focused on the gift wrap aisle." Michael’s husband, Curran, laughed.
Michael hugged him. It was such a happy day. "I hope Lucy’s having a good day." She hadn’t seen her child’s birth mother in quite some time, but she thought of her often, wished her the very best, grateful to her. "Maybe she’s with that nice guy, Paul."
The Jordan home, as large as it was, managed to be crammed full of friends and relations making merry, with the exception of a couple private nooks and crannies where one might call someone without fear of being overheard.
Sarette huddled into one of those nooks for the third time that Christmas, and punched in his number for what seemed the millionth time since she’d stood him up at the diner, with the same result. Caleb didn’t pick up.
Sarette’s son, Paul, found a cranny of his own to hold up in. He stayed there a good long while debating whether to call, then waited even longer for an answer. He’d almost given up when at last he heard her reluctant hello.
"Hi," Paul said, feeling more nervous than he had the first time he’d called a girl for a date. "I just… well, I wanted to say Merry Christmas; I didn’t know if you had anyone there to say that to you."
"I don’t," Lucy admitted after a lengthy silence. "Thank you." She cleared her throat; still he heard so much emotion there. "Actually, Michael and Curran sent me a card. It has Hope’s voice saying Merry Christmas. You should hear it."
"I’d like that."
Every year it was the same thing, Justine thought. She sat there on the sofa cuddled up to her husband, enjoying the lights, and the music, and the joy splashed across her daughter’s adorable face. And she wondered why she couldn’t manage to feel that content in her world every single day.