Home for the Holidays
I hummed Christmas tunes as I drove on my way home from work in my tiny little car. The streets of St George's were lit up brightly with Christmas lights and the Square was fully illuminated. Christmas was here.
As I was driving I noticed two figures on the side of the road near and alley way. I slowed down as I realised one of the two people was an angry looking man, the other was a small woman who cowered from the man as he yelled and waved his hands around like a lunatic.
Quickly I stopped the car and got out. I carefully approached the two people so that I wouldn't scare them. As the man raised his hand to the woman I stepped into action.
“Sir I suggest you back away from her,” I said loudly. The man jumped and turned around to face me.
“You just back off and mind ya business. This is between me and her,” he slurred. That's when I realised he was drunk.
I smirked at the man “Well as a cop I suggest you back off and leave the lady alone.”
The guy snorted. “You ain't no cop. If you a cop where's ya uniform, eh? Where's ya badge?” the man sneered and swayed slightly.
I smirked at him again and reached into the back pocket of my jeans and pulled out my police badge. The man's eyes widen and he held his hands up in defeat and staggered down the alleyway leading up to the Unfinished Church.
I turned my attention to the woman who was still cowering on the ground. I squatted down next to her and she whimpered slightly. “Are you alright ma'am?” I asked her. She looked to be no older that I was; around her late to mid twenties was my guess. Her hair was tangled and wild and here were streaks of dirt across her pale face.
“I'm fine,” she whispered. She refused to look at me and kept her head turned firmly in the other direction.
“Well is there somewhere I can give you a ride to?” I asked.
She shook her head quickly and replied, “No, I don't need a ride.”
I frowned and shifted my weight. “Well I'm not going to leave you out here by yourself. It's either you accept the ride or we'll just sit here all night.” I sat on the ground next to her and leaned back.
Finally, she turned her head to look at me. Her green eyes watered and she muttered, “I don't have anywhere to go.”
I stared at her and nodded. Then I got up and looked down at her. “Well come on,” I said to her.
“Where are you planning to take me?” she demanded.
“I'm going to take you home with me. I refuse to let you sleep out here on the streets. That guy could come back.”
She chewed on her lower lip. “I don't know,” she said.
“I'm not going to hurt you, I promise. It's Christmas Eve and if you don't have a home for the holidays then I'm going to give you one,” I told her.
She stared at me for a few moments before getting up. Then a gust of wind blew past and she shivered and pulled her thin blue cardigan tighter around her. Without thinking I shrugged out of my jacket and wrapped it around her.
“My name is Aaron by the way,” I informed her as I led her to my car.
“I'm Keira,” she replied softly.
We got to my house a few minutes later and I ushered her inside. My dog, Ginger, ran up to us and sniffed Keira over and over.
“Down Ginger girl,” I laughed and scratched behind her ears.
She turned and ran off to lie down on one of my couches.
“You live alone?” Keira asked in her small voice.
“Yeah, it's just me and Ginger,” I smiled and motioned for her to follow me.
“So you can use the guest bathroom and bedroom. The bathroom should be fully stocked with everything you need. As for clothes, you're about my sister's size so I'll just get a bunch of her things together for you,” I said while running a hand through my short black hair.
“Thank you,” Keira muttered as she turned and went into the bedroom.
I went down the hall to my room to find the basket of clothes my sister had left here the last time she visited. The basket was next to my closet and I picked it up and went back down the hall. I put my ear to Keira's door. I could hear the shower going so I cautiously opened the door, placed the clothes on the bed and darted back out.
I was making two mugs of hot cocoa when my kitchen phone rang. I looked at the caller ID to see that it was my mom.
“Hey momma,” I greeted.
“Hey Aaron sweetie,” she replied.
“What's up?” I asked. I leaned against the counter as the kettle heated up.
“Just calling to make sure you're not lonely. You could always come over for Christmas dinner tomorrow,” she said. I rolled my eyes. My mother was always thinking that I'm lonely.
“I'm fine ma; I have company this Christmas anyway,” I told her. The kettle started to whistle and I hurried to take it off the stove.
“Ooh, is she pretty?”
She laughed, “I'm just teasing you sweetie. Merry Christmas. I've got to go. There's so much cooking I've got to get ready for tomorrow.”
“Goodnight mama. Merry Christmas. Maybe we'll swing by for dinner tomorrow.”
“Alight sweetie, I love you. Bye.”
“Love you too ma, bye.” I hung up the phone and grabbed two hot cocoa packets from a cupboard just as Keira padded into the kitchen.
“Hey, you look so much better now.” I told her.
She gave me a small smile and nodded. “Yeah I feel better too. Thank you for doing this for me.” she said softly.
“Well no one should be homeless for Christmas or any other time of the year.” I replied. I handed her a mug of cocoa and motioned for her to follow me.
“I'm gonna show you one of my Christmas traditions.” I told her. I nudged Ginger off the couch and sat down. “Come sit down.”
She hesitantly sat next to me. I got up and plugged the lights to my Christmas tree in. It lit up Keira's face as she looked at in wonder. I turned on the TV and switched it to a channel that was playing a Christmas movie.
“This is nice,” Keira said smiling.
“Yeah, it's what I do every Christmas Eve.”
We sat in a comfortable silence and sipped our cocoa. Finally, I rested mine down and turned to Keira.
“Why were you out on the streets?” I asked.
She sighed and gripped her mug tightly. “A few weeks ago my mom left my dad. She left him because of his bad drinking habit. I stayed with my dad to see if I could get him to stop drinking but he kicked me out. He said I was trying to control him and he didn't like it one bit. So I tried to go and stay with my mom but she wouldn't take me in either. She told me that I should've left with her in the beginning. So I had nowhere to go besides the streets. I stayed at a friend's house for a few days but then her boyfriend wanted me out and so she told me I had to leave. I don't have a job or a place of my own,” she said her story so quietly I had to strain to hear her.
“You don't have any other friends you could've stayed with?” I asked.
She shook her head, “no, all of my other friends have family form overseas staying at their houses or the overseas for the holidays. Most of my relatives live away. I had nowhere to go.”
“Well you can stay here as long as you need. I don't know what kind of man would throw his own daughter out on the streets without anything to protect herself. But no worries, I'll protect you,” I said to her.
Her eyes watered and she sniffled slightly, “you don't have to do that.”
“But I want to. There's something about you Keira. I don't know what it is but I'll be here for you and I'll protect you.”
She smiled and watery smile and nodded.
We continued to watch the movie in silence. The clock on the cable box slowly changed before it hit 12am.
“Merry Christmas Aaron,” Keira whispered and rested her head on my shoulder.
“Merry Christmas Keira,” I replied. I wrapped an arm around her shoulders until we both drifted asleep.
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