So I was cleaning out some files on my computer and came across this. An old story that I had started writing a couple years back... and only half finished. I'm finishing it as we speak, but I thought I would put it up here for all to see. I absolutely ADORE this movie with all my being! It is, and forever will be, in my top 5 favorite movies of all time! I've always wondered, though, what on earth must be going through Jack's mind during this whole ordeal? I mean, seriously. He's got to be having some pretty heavy duty inner turmoil going on, right? I'm pretty sure that's why I decided to write this fic. Hope you enjoy! :)
It was late. Well past midnight, even though I did promise to be home for my family's belated Christmas celebration. A promise now broken. I had called ahead and informed them that work was going to keep me late and I wouldn't make it to the gathering, so they couldn't be too mad at me. (Not that they ever got really mad about things like that anyway). Now I just had to stop by and leave the results of today's work for my father to go over.
I pulled the large moving truck up in front of the house with a squeaking halt. I really needed to get those brakes looked at. The Christmas lights were still on all around the house, but the interior lights were shut off. Everyone was asleep.
I shut off the truck and stepped out. The brisk winter night air hit my face as I marched up to the front door. I shoved my hands into my pockets, but kept my pace even. I soon reached the door and quickly unlocked it, stepping into the warmth of the entryway.
It had been a while since I had been home. My parents's home, I should say. It had been nearly a month since I had a proper visit. I was practically running the family business now. Ever since Peter left a few years back and my father started getting on in years, it was up to me to keep it running. So, I was barely home. I probably wouldn't even have attempted coming home now if it wasn't for Christmas.
Technically it was not Christmas. It was the day after. No one in my family got to celebrate it on account of my older brother, Peter, falling into a coma after being pushed onto some train tracks on his way to work. (I'm not the only one who's always working).
I had been on the other side of the city when I got the blubbering phone call from my mother. I wasn't able to make out most of what she said, but I did manage to understand that they were at the hospital and that Peter was in a coma because he fell on the tracks, so Christmas was cancelled. She said several other things, but I have no idea what they were. I couldn't make them out through all her sobbing and hysterics.
So because of Peter's coma, my family was celebrating Christmas a day late. I was supposed to be there, but I had missed it on account of Mr. Himmelstein's nephews refusing to sell anything in their uncle's house for a reasonable price. But my father had insisted that I get a hold of all the furniture in that house, because what were those nephews going to do with that big empty house, really?
So now I was returning to my parents' home around 1:00 in the morning. I quietly shut the door behind me and continued into the house. I briefly glanced into the living room at the tree. All the presents were gone and unwrapped. They must have had a great time, all unwrapping presents simultaneously while drinking wine and Grandma's homemade eggnog (which, to be honest, I'd much rather drink the wine).
I looked up at the stairs and saw my younger sister, Mary, garbed up in her pajamas and bathrobe, standing at the top. I grinned at her. "Hey!" I said quietly.
"Hey, buddy!" she cried, also quietly, but enthusiastically. She ran down the stairs and threw her arms around me.
Like I said, it had been a while since I had been home. I could have sworn Mary had grown since I last saw her, even at sixteen years old and only in a month. We both laughed quietly as we embraced, but she suddenly pushed me back, shushing me. "Don't wake Lucy!" she scolded me.
She gestured into the living room. Who? What? When? Where? I looked into the living room to the sofa. There I saw the huddled form of a woman asleep under one of my mother's homemade quilts. How had I missed her when I originally looked into the living room? Her back was to us, so all I could really tell was that she had dark brown hair. I really had been away for a while. I had no idea who this woman was. "Who's Lucy?" I asked.
"Lucy is Peter's fiancee," Mary told me.
That caught me off guard. Even though I had been away, surely someone would have at least called and told me that Peter was getting married! How long? The last I heard, hadn't he been dating a blonde. Something... Bacon? Wasn't it? That hadn't been that long ago had it? I stared harder at the sleeping form on the couch. "No. That's not Peter's fiancee?" I half inquired, half stated.
"You haven't met her?" Mary asked.
"No," I replied. Since when do I meet any of Peter's girlfriends?
"Well she's great," Mary said, "You're going to love her."
I nodded, processing. I would have to be the judge of that, wouldn't I? My family always had been too trusting and loving. Not that that was a particularly bad thing, it's just... Peter's fiancee? I couldn't put my finger on it, but something seemed off. In that moment, I changed my mind about merely dropping off the day's work results for my father. "You know what, kid?" I said to Mary, "Maybe I'll stay the night."
"Don't eat my cereal in the morning," Mary warned me, turning to go back up the stairs.
"Oh, so it's Mary's special cereal?" I teased, beginning to follow.
"Last time you took the toy surprise, remember?" Mary said.
I threw one more glance into the living room at Peter's sleeping fiancee before following Mary up the stairs. Mary immediately headed to her own room, but not before giving me a goodnight hug. After she was gone, I went to my own room. I used my old bedroom that I used all the way through high school. As I walked down the hallway, I passed Peter's old room as well. The door was shut. If you thought I had not been home in long time, I could not even remember the last time Peter came home.
My room was just next to his. I opened the door and entered. Some of my old posters still hung on the wall and my comic books, cassette tapes, even records were still messily "organized" all over the room. My mother had made sure the bed was always made, just in case I ever did return. It was never made when I did actually live there. The large laundry hamper in the corner had never been empty like it was now. It had always been overflowing and clothes had always been strewn across the floor.
I sat on the striped sheets that covered the bed. Freshly washed, I could tell. My mother always did like to keep up appearances. I instantly felt a bit of remorse. Who knew how long she waited just to have me come home to visit? She probably washed my bedding that morning, expecting me to be there for Christmas, but then I didn't show. I knew how much work meant to my father, but was it really worth it to disappoint my mother?
Luckily, I was home enough that I left a little bit of my clothes behind in case of an extended visit. I quickly changed and climbed into bed. As I closed my eyes, my mind drifted to the sleeping figure downstairs. One thing was for certain... we were going to have to meet face to face.
I awoke early the next morning. I had always been an early riser. Only my father was as well, everyone else in my family liked to sleep late. I quickly pulled on jeans and a sweater before going downstairs to make myself a cup of coffee. I briefly glanced into the living room once again as I passed. Peter's fiancee, Lucy I guess, was still asleep.
I headed into the kitchen and began making myself some coffee. I found myself wondering about Lucy once again. Who was she? What did she do? Where did she live? How did she and Peter meet?
I poured my coffee into a mug, grabbed a newspaper from off the table and headed back into the front to sit on the stairs. They were a surprisingly comfortable place to sit and read the paper.
I got rather wrapped up in what I was reading and only some rustling and thumping from the other room snapped me out of it. I tried to peer down from the stairwell into the living room, but could not see what was happening. However, the only logical conclusion I could come to was that Lucy had awaken. I wondered if I should go down and say something to her, finally introduce myself. But I decided against it and merely went back to reading the paper and sipping my coffee.
After several moments, I heard quiet footsteps coming towards me, or at least towards the stairs. Soon, Lucy's back came into view, slowly and quietly approaching the door, coat in hand. She did not even notice me, too preoccupied with getting to the door. Now I decided to say something. "Good morning," I said.
She gasped, and probably would have screamed had she not covered her mouth. She whipped around to face me, putting a hand to her chest. She relaxed, taking even breaths, as she looked up at me smiling. "Oh! Oh, you scared me," she said.
I shrugged. "Sorry."
She cleared her throat. "Good morning, Jack."
So she knew who I was already. Of course she did! I'm sure if Peter already hadn't, my family had told her everything. I stared at her, finally getting a look at her face. She was rather pretty. Not in the traditional supermodel-type way like Peter usually went for, but in a more sweet, demure way.
I put my paper aside. So she knew who I was, but I really did not know who she was. "Um, I guess I don't remember meeting you," I said.
She smiled up at me again. "Well, that's probably because we've never met."
I nodded. "That might have something to do with it," I agreed. Then smiled back at her.
Then there was silence. Albeit, a rather awkward silence. I just stared at her, trying to figure her out, and she looked around wondering what to do next. Eventually the silence was broken by a car horn honking outside.
"Ooh, cab," she said, pointing to the door, "I have to go. I'm really late. Because I have to... go. But it was nice to meet you, Jack."
She turned to leave. I stood up. "Lucy," I called after her.
She turned back, suddenly looking rather stressed. "OK, look. I know that-"
"Hey," I cut her off.
What to say? Something to tell her that I didn't think badly of her. Something that said I accepted her just as much as the rest of my family. "...welcome to the family," I said.
She stared at me for a moment. "Oh, thank you," she said. Then with a final "bye", she turned to leave once more.