NEW Story: The Greek
⚠️ This article is archived, and should be considered non-canon.
She had always been a very serious girl, from the first time he’d met her. It was more than a reflection of character; it was how she talked, how she carried herself. Her clothes were plain, her nervous tics were not that funny, and she was afflicted with all sorts of fears and anxieties. She opens her mouth in public and what comes out is usually of serious opinion — a judgement of something or a political remark. But that is not how Gregori syndrome works. It does not take young girls and make them old. As the months wore on and the length of the days reflected the passing of warm season, he learned well enough that she was a teen-ager, despite her seriousness. She was slowly domesticated into regular society, her conversation became casual, and she started to worry more about things that might have been inconceivably petty in the months before.
In late November they put up the tree, at her insistence. She was six months a citizen at this point, and not yet familiar with all the familial traditions of the country. But she knew Christmas. And that became her season. This chick, awash with anxiety and domestic terror, was fucking around with ornaments he’d left in the box for five years.
‘Do you mind if I put the angel up the top?’ She asked him. She was kneeling at the foot of the tree with a sample of tree-toppers spread out before her. He looked up from his paper.
‘Why would I mind?’
‘I just thought you might.’
‘Do what you like, I don’t mind.’
She shook her head and shifted back on her rump.
‘It’s no fun if you’re not helping. I have no idea what to do, I haven’t had a proper tree since I was eight.’
He put the paper to the side and rubbed his eyes under his spectacles. He breathed out slowly.
‘What if I make Christmas lunch and you can do the tree?’ He said.
‘No, I’m already doing lunch,’ she said, then in English: ‘Pitch in, that’s how we all do it here.’
She got up and shuffled her feet into slippers and sat next to him.
‘Did you invite Ayn?’
‘I haven’t, yet,’ he said, ‘It’s been a busy week. I’ll ask her, though. She’d be thrilled to be asked.’
‘Maybe I should make a card.’
‘That would be nice,’ he nodded. ‘She likes you a lot.’
She looked surprised and smiled at him, teeth and everything.
‘That’s sweet,’ she said, and tugged at her shirt. ‘She’s sweet. I like her too.’
As Tzipora worked her way into a Christmas fever, he began to like it too. She was better when she was happier — she smiled more, and the compulsion to pull her shirt or rub her nose abated. It was very strange to see a girl he’d known as old before her time suddenly revert five years and adopt a flurry of youth; it was a childish rekindling of the good things in her that might be more accessible if she’d grown up in her home country. He was suckered into the season’s festivities too, a holiday empty in the country of plenty without faith and family. He even attended a mass at Tzipora’s request — she was still deicidal, but she remained a Catholic and wanted to be a part of the fun.
On Christmas Eve Tzipora had put herself to sleep with sickly Winter wine and had curled up on the couch. Ayn sat with Baron at the table and they finished what was left of the bottle as the evening rolled on. He’d lost the nose but still had antlers. She was in a Santa hat and sweet with good cheer.
‘It’s funny, when you think about it,’ she said. Her smile had become small and serious. ‘It all turned out well enough, didn’t it?’
‘It’s hardly started,’ he smirked, and gestured with his thumb at the girl on the couch. His voice was very low as to not wake the girl. ‘She’s got a whole thing planned. She doesn’t want me to know what it is. She’ll happily let me clean up her wrapping paper and wash the dishes, but she won’t tell me what’s going on. She’s got something in the oven, that’s all I know.’
‘Mmhmm,’ she said, and she stretched out a hand and gently laid it across his. ‘But I mean in the scheme of things, Baron. I meant in general.’
‘Well, you and I could never marry. And I could never have a baby, you know that. I always wanted a child,’ she said. She squeezed his hand. ‘But here we are, anyway. Think about what it was like when you left for America, and then as it is now.’
‘I think about it,’ he said. ‘We’re lucky.’
‘Of course we are.’
He thought about it some more when he got up to carry her to bed some hours into the early morning.
Merry Christmas and thanks for a great year.
Also on the sexy website it (probably easier to read on mobile): https://vekllei.city/christmas-with-tzipora/