I expected Christmas to be strained, but surprisingly it went well.
The guys all turned up bright and early, I think Chris must have had words with Curtis in the car. I refuse to call him dad or even father, bastard was all but dead to me. He didn’t try to force his way in, instead when I opened the door, the three of them stood, all scrubbed and dressed up with presents in hand. Roman looking super adorable, hair all slicked back in pressed pants and a long sleeve shirt. He had grinned up at me and asked if Lau was around, smiling at him I bent down to get a hug and told him he was in the kitchen.
He dashed off, he called everyday since first coming to talk to him. Sometimes twice. Lau had problems understanding him, his accent coupled with a slight speech impediment meant Chris spent a lot of time translating. Chris was super cool, I wanted to hate him, he was proof that my dad cheated on my mum, but he was a real cool guy. Super chill and a wicked sense of humour, I reckon I could hook him and Jackie up when she got here. He was just her type. I only had issues with Deral, I think he was in the same mind about me as I had been about him. I had gotten over it pretty quick. But he was holing on to the sour feelings, I had dragged Laurent out for some last minute shopping to try and get them all presents. I just hoped they did something to help.
We all sat round the table food piled high and more then ready to eat. But mum wanted to say grace, I rolled my eyes as she made us all hold hands and bow our heads. Me and mum haven’t seen the inside of a church since I was christened, which was 16 years ago. But she always wanna act fancy at Christmas and try bless the food, personally I reckoned blessings did more good in the kitchen when food was actually being prepared, but I got a hard look the one time I voiced the opinion. So I kept it to myself. Not that mum needed any help in the kitchen, when she wanted to she could throw down! I smirked at the hungry faces of my brothers and my boo as we brought out plate after plate. Mac and cheese, jerk chicken, salt fish, rice and peas, jerk pork, fried chicken. For some reason, mum decided coconut rice was needed too, she would never hear me complain, cos it was tasty as fuck. Grace out of the way, we dug in. Roman was sitting between Laurent and I, talking a mile a minute as I made a plate for him. I set it in front of him and he paused long enough to say thank you, “welcome baby.” I concentrated on piling my own plate high when he tapped my arm, “Yes honey?” He grinned and me and shocked me by climbing into my lap and hugging me, eyes wide I hugged him back with my free hand, gravy dripping of the serving spoon I held in my other hand, “I like you Mya, you’re a good big sister.” With that he slid away again and began to eat. My eyes stung with tears, I hadn’t expected that. Across the table Chris grinned at me and winked, “He’s right, you an alright sister Mya. And Sandra you cool too. Not gone try call you step mom though.” I grinned back at him and Laurent leant across Roman to kiss my cheek. “Saps!” My mum shouted, slamming her hand down on the table, “Serve girl! I worked hard on this I wanna eat it.” I laughed and quickly finished getting my food and passed the spoon to my mum. I looked up to see Deral watching me, his normal scowl smoothed out with curiosity.
We crowed into the kitchen after dinner to open presents, mum needed to wash the last of the dishes, and she wanted company. This was the last thing before Curtis came to pick the boys up. Laurent helped me carry all of gifts into the room, making sure to feel up his present as we went. “Stop that!” I smacked his hand down, then had to scramble to stop my sack of presents falling, “What you get me?”
“You’ll find out in a second.” He was real hard to buy for, expensive taste. But I think I got him something he would like.
Roman was the first to fall on his present, ripping it open with a childish abandon that I hadn’t seen in a long time. “Oh!” He jumped up and came to hug my legs, “Thank you Mya!” I smiled down at him bending down to pick him up, he clutched his huge pack of cookies to his chest while I hugged him round them. He wriggled to get free and went back to his present, we decided to just get him cookies, but also stocked him up on pop tarts and I got him an adorable little bow tie as well. “Open mine!” He was all over the place, running to Chris and yanking at his pants to get him to pick him up. Chris rolled his eyes and hoisted him up, letting him grab an envelope with my name on it. “Aw thank you honey.” I opened it and pulled out a hand drawn card, I giggled at the picture of roman and I, both our hair wild and free around our smiling faces. What was really funny was the picture of Laurent. His head cut off by the top of the card since he was so tall. Laurent leaned over my shoulder to look and laughed quietly, he pulled me back to lean into him resting his chin on my head. “Let me see?” I showed mum the card and she threw back her head to laugh, “Looks about right. Don’t know why you intent on having such a tall man anyway.”
Deral’s present was a big hit. After talking to Chris I managed to find out he was a bit of tech head, and he loved anime, so with Laurent’s help I picked out a few DVDs and I got him a build it yourself remote control helicopter. He had given me a smile when he opened it, but he didn’t stretch to a hug like his brothers and sat quietly at the kitchen counter building it. Chris claimed that he and Deral had clubbed together to get my gift, but an eye roll of the latter let me know that was a lie. He didn’t get me anything, but I wasn’t that bothered, I did however love my gift. A wicked letterman jacket, customised with my name on the back, pink leather sleeves, while the body of it was black. It was sick, I dragged it on straight away and refused to take it off.
The rest of the night passed peacefully, Deral tinkering away with his helicopter, roman curled up in my lap, eyes drooping and was nodding. Mum sitting next to me, reading her kindle and Chris and Laurent chatting and playing on my severely neglected PS3. I could feel my own eyes slowly closing, itis was hitting me super hard. Not only had I stuffed myself on hard food, but roman insisted I share his pop tarts. We both got sugar highs and now we were crashing. The phone rang jerking me out of my doze, mum reached over me to grab it, then left the room to take the call. I played absently with Romans hair, frowning at the tangles in his soft hair, “Do none of you do his hair?” Chris shrugged eyes not leaving the screen as he battered away at the controller, Laurent was beating his ass. “He screams blue murder when we try to do anything more then pull it back.” Deral’s voice sounded from the corner of the room, when we moved to the living room, he had silently gathered the pieces of his present and moved to sit on the floor with his back to the wall, slightly away from the rest of us. I looked over at him, “Really?” I fingered the knots again, “You ever try washing it first?” He shrugged, and dropped his head away from my gaze. “Wanna help me?” He looked back, an emotion running across his face so fast I couldn’t place it, “Do you want me to?”
“Wouldn’t ask if I didn’t.” He stood and I took that as his answer. Gently waking Roman, I asked if he wanted his hair washed, still half asleep he gave a shrug. I rolled my eyes and stood holding him.
Upstairs I debated if I should use my bathroom. Finally I shrugged mentally and led Deral there, walking quickly through to my bathroom. Roman was a bit more alert now, scanning the room with interest, I turned to see his brother doing that same. “You rich?” His question was rude considering he never spoke to me, but I gathered that he was just blunt like that, “Nope, mummy got it as part of her contract.” He grunted eyes still roaming over my room. I let roman down, “Still want to wash your hair baby?” He nodded and ran his hand over his hair, “Dirty.”
“Is it now?” He nodded and grinned at me like having dirty hair was something to be proud of. “We gone have to fix that ain’t we.”
“Yes Mya.” I rubbed his head, “Good boy.”
Roman took his hair washing well, better then I expected based on what I had been told. Instead he was an angel, standing on my step with his head bent over my sink as I shampooed and conditioned his hair then rinsed it out. His top got a bit wet, but I whisked it off him and set in on my radiator while I combed out his hair and blow dried it. He sat between my legs happily, chattering away to me and his brother, who I might add didn’t nothing to help. Finally his hair was dry and hung around his face like an inky curtain. “Want me to braid it?” His face puckered with thought, “No, just bun.” I nodded and held up the hair band he came here with, “Consider it done.” Using my brush I swept his hair back, making sure it was smooth and tied it low on his head.
The second I was done he spun and hugged me round my neck, “Thank you Mya!” I received a kiss for my trouble then he scrambled off the bed and was off and running. “Chris! Lau! Look how Mya do my hair!” I smiled and started to get up to follow him, not wanting his to go ass over head on the stairs. Deral grabbed my wrist however and I stopped. “Did your mum really not know about mine?” I raised an eyebrow, “Nope, and neither did I.” I eased my hand free, “In fact, I find Chris being older then me real funny, cause you father was taken away from London because my mum was pregnant.” He frowned, his forehead wrinkling with it, “But.” He stopped and huffed out a breath, “Dad. He always said that you were the product of an affair. That’s why I.” He stopped again, and I filled in the blank, “Why you were such a prick?” He ducked his head, “Yea.”
“As far as my mother knew, she was the love of your fathers life. They were gonna get married, and raise me together. And then he was gone, and his parents told my mum he had gone back to Trinidad. I doubt my mum would lie to me about that, she’s real open with me about shit.” I lifted a shoulder and went to leave. “Wait. Mya, I’m sorry.” I stopped in my doorway, “Sorry for what exactly? Your perception of me was based on what you had been told your whole life. That’s not your fault. It’s the fault of the person who started the lie.” I paused and turned to look at him, he was standing next to my bed, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his dark jeans, head pulled down into his chest, he looked like a boy being told off. “I don’t have any hard feelings man. Hell I felt the same way you did when I found out about you lot. But I got over it. I have 2 pretty cool brothers.” I took a step towards him, “I wanna find out if the third is just as cool.” His head lifted and for the first time he really smiled at me.
Back downstairs, Deral packed away his present and sat with us. The atmosphere was easy and light, I fiddled with my new silver chain, a gift from Laurent. I laughed when he snapped open the box, asking him if he had finally collared me. He smiled and tapped his finger on the box, drawing attention to the ring I had got him, a heavy silver band with a flat top. Nothing special, but I knew he would love it and he had. I pulled the chain up over my chin and rested it in my mouth. “Where’s mummy?” I wasn’t asking anyone in particular, just the room at large. I was greeted with a series of grunts and noises, rolling my eyes I slid out from Roman to find her.
She was sitting in the kitchen, her chin in her hand, staring off into the distance. “Mummy?” Her eyes seemed to clear and she smiled at me, “Hey sweetie.” I moved to sit next to her. “You alright?” She scrubbed at her face, “Yea.” She sighed and then smiled, “Had a good day. You look nice by the way.” I smoothed down the red fitted long sleeve dress I was wearing, the first present I opened. “Well, my mother has great taste.” I nudged her with my shoulder and she smiled wider, “And I passed it on.” She covered my hand with her own, “I’m proud of you honey. I don’t think I would have been able to be so good if I was in your position.”
“Can’t blame the sons for the faults of the father.”
“Well look at you being all deep!” I laughed, “You really ok mummy?” Her lip wobbled for a second, “No. But I’ll get over it. Chocolate, shopping and day dreams of his death keep me going.”
“Well, whatever works for you.” We were interrupted by the door bell, she rolled her eyes so hard for a second all I saw was white. “Come on, you have to come with me to make sure I don’t beat him to death.” We stood and I followed her out, “I can’t promise anything. Could I film it?”
Laurent had beaten us to the door, he held a sleeping Roman and was blocking the doorway. He heard us coming and his face when he turned made me pause. I’ve never seen him so pissed. Moving quickly I went to him and pulled him away from the door, “Babe. What’s wrong?” His jaw was clenched and a muscle was twitching, again, weirdly sexy. As mad as he was he still held Roman gently, making sure not to wake him. “He rude.”
“Curtis! What did you say to that boy?!” My mothers voice seemed to echo round the entrance, “I asked him why he was holding my son.” He stepped inside puffing up his chest and looking down at my mum, “Do not raise your voice to me Sandra.” Chris and Deral had come out of the living room, both stood with arms folded watching the scene. “Curtis. All things considered be happy all I’m doing is raising my voice. Why are you in my house.”
“I came to collect my children. I didn’t expect to find one of them with that thug!”
“He’s not a thug.” He didn’t even look at me when I spoke just pointed his finger in my direction. “I have nothing to say to you young lady.” I stiffened and was about ready to go to war with this fool, but Laurent touched my arm gently. Shaking his head, he shifted Roman and gave him to me. Why did I feel like shit was about to get so real?
“Sir. I don’t get your problem with me. But you need to get over it.” Curtis sneered as Laurent walked over to him, he had to look up at him, but he still tried to talk down to him. “I don’t need to do nothing you tell me boy. You ain’t shit to me.” Deral had come up beside me and slipped Roman out of my arms, he was starting to wake up. “Kick ass.” Deral whispered to me, and I intended to do just that, “Uh excuse you?” I strode over and shoved him back, “To be honest the only guy in here that ain’t shit is you. Coming up in here like you own the place! Who the fuck you think you is?!” I was gone catch hell for swearing, but the moment called for it. “After the lies you told me, my mum and your sons, you wanna stand here and judge a man that treats me like I’m made of gold?” I looked him up and down, so tempted to spit in his face, “Seems to me, Curtis, that you could take lessons from him.”
He slapped me so hard I didn’t even feel it at first. I heard my mum yelp, my face went numb, a strange tingling spreading across my cheek. My hand flew up and grabbed my face, as I stared at him with wide eyes. The instant reaction was to start swinging, but Laurent beat me to it. He grabbed him by the collar and gave him a right hook that made his jaw shake. I watched as his eyes glazed over and he went down like a rock. “Don’t touch her.” Laurent’s words fell on deaf ears, Curtis was out like a light. Heavy silence fell, broken by Roman. “Why Lau hit daddy?”