It's Christmas Eve, and my family, being part German, and as per tradition, Christmas Eve is celebrated more than Christmas Day. Devin is here too, I invited him, and we are all at my parent's house. There is a roast in the oven, and the Christmas tree is up, with its lights twinkling. The fire is lit, the family pictures have already been taken, to be put on the fireplace as per tradition, and the smell of gingerbread fills my parent's home, and everything seems perfect.
Except it's not. My sister is dead, and the ring. Oh, that stupid piece of metal. I hate it. It's only my mind 24/7. Even though I saw Devin four days ago, I cannot understand why he has not asked me yet. Why pack the ring inside the picnic basket if he did not ask me? What would be the point? Unless, it's meant to be a Christmas present. Yes. I think that's what it's meant to be. I walk slyly over to the tree and scan quickly over the presents for a certain small box. I'm assuming he wrapped it right?
My eyes drift over to Teddy who is running around excitedly behind my father. He loves the festivities, and he has been over the moon since six this morning. He is wearing a little reindeer onesie, which I found at Target on a sale. He looks really adorable, and it was worth every penny. We all have our Christmas sweaters on, and while everyone talks about ugly Christmas sweaters, I think ours are actually very sweet.
We are called for dinner and we all sit around the table and dig in.
"Mom, you really outdid yourself this year." Sebastian, my brother, compliments. I nod, as I take a mouthful of my mother's turkey stuffing.
"Honey, I have to! Even though Tabitha has left us, she still lives on in our hearts and her spirit is all around in Christmas. It was her favourite time of year. We need to remember her happily. Now, for a toast." My mother said, holding up her glass of champagne, looking towards my father to say the toast.
"To Tabitha, and to the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ." We clink glasses and sip the sweet liquid, my sister's favourite.
"Open it Alex." My father urges, as I look at the small, wrapped up box in my hands. It's the ring. I know it is. I can feel it.
I tear open the wrapping paper, only to find that there is a velvet box inside. I smile, biting my lips. I open the box, and inside is a pair of breathtaking diamond earrings. I feel somewhat disappointed that it's not the ring, but I force myself to stop thinking about the ring and think about other things. Namely the two beautiful earrings in the box.
I smile, genuinely and thank my parents, as it says that it's from them on the label. How could I have missed that?
"These are absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much, Mom and Dad!" I give them both a hug.
"Wake up! Wake up, Mommy!" Teddy shouts, jumping on the bed. I groan and look at the clock. Surprisingly, it's 7 am. At least Teddy has had some sleep, especially after we went to bed after one last night. Well, he didn't.
"Alright, I'm up. Should we go see if Father Christmas came?" I ask and Teddy squeals, running down the stairs. Last night, I placed all his presents from me underneath the Christmas tree we have at our house.
He rips open the presents in a matter of minutes. He is especially fond of the trains, and the set of cars I bought him. He's going to drive me mad with them when he gets older.
He suddenly stops, when he's finished opening the last present, and looks back at me. "Mommy." He says, and walks up to me and sits on my lap.
"Aunty Alex, you are my favourite present. I know Mommy and Daddy aren't really coming back, but I have you mommy, even if you aren't my real mommy, you are a real mommy. I love you." He says, and rests his head on my shoulder. My heart lurches. While I still feel the devastating loss of my sister and brother-in-law, Teddy is the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time. I am so grateful I have him. I nod and rest my chin on his head full of messy blonde hair.
I went to Devin for Christmas lunch, after I had gone to church. Teddy had bought most of his toys with him. We are having lunch, with his parents, Linda and Sam, who I am really friendly with. Devin's Mom has cooked a leg of lamb and all the sides, and they asked me to make dessert. I made some Christmas cookies with the help of Teddy, and we made a chocolate cake with mousse inside it, and I got Teddy to decorate it, once I had iced it. I gave him a lot of sprinkles and a few edible Christmas fondant decorations. He made such a mess in the kitchen, so I did regret my decision, but he had so much fun doing it, so it was worth it in the end.
The family tucked in, and we were soon done with the Christmas feast, and Devin took me to the park down the street. Linda and Sam were happy to look after Teddy for me for a while. He was so occupied with all his toys, that I do not think he would be too much of an issue. We sat on the familiar swings. I rocked gently on it and he spoke.
"Remember our first date?" He asks. I smile.
"Yeah. We were on the university lawn, and you bought us Starbucks coffee, but you were so nervous you forgot sugar, and so it was as bitter as anything, but I drank it anyway, because I didn't want you to feel bad."
He burst out laughing. "Yeah, and then we hired those city bikes, and rode to Central Park where I crashed into a tree. I don't know how I still have you." He smiles and kisses my cheek.
"Do you also remember our first kiss then?" He asks