I've had this idea for, like, two years now… I hadn't gotten around to it, but I guess here it is. It's probs OOC and kinda stupid with bad writing, but. Holidays. Rich being adorable and excited about something. Also. Michael has a cat, I don't make the rules. Also also. The moms kinda took up more screen time than Michael, oops. Not really Expensive Headphones, but you can read it that way if you want to, I guess.
Rich had been staying at the Mell household for a single night so far, but he loved it. Michael's moms were both pretty cool, the food was good, and they had a giant, long-haired, grey cat that had extra toes and was named Soot. He was going to be staying here for most of winter break and he was determined to spend at least half of that dedicated entirely to cuddling with the big fluffy girl.
Rich was sitting at the countertop in the kitchen, legs swinging above the ground as they dangled too high to touch the ground. One of Michael's moms-Alicia, the Ecuadorian one-was bustling around the kitchen. Rich wasn't entirely sure what the woman was making, but it seemed too complicated for him to be of any actual help and it smelled good.
Rich and Alicia had been talking for a while-just chatting about nothing in particular-when Rich's eyes landed on one of those holiday catalogues that moms get. One of those really thick ones with glossy pages full of cookies and candies and popcorn and fudge and holiday-themed products that were entirely useless. Without really thinking about it, Rich begins flipping through the pages.
When he was still really little, back when she was still around, he would sit with his mom as she went through the same catalogue every year. Rich would point out all of the tasty snacks he had wanted to try as his mom laughed and said she would do her best to make them herself.
Rich was just thinking about how even after all the years, this was almost certainly the exact same magazine his mother had last looked through with him when his eyes caught on something. Something he had either always managed to miss when he was younger or proof that these catalogues did actually occasionally get updated.
Spoons made out of candy cane.
Rich's eyes go wide with childlike excitement, probably a bit too much.
"Alicia! Since when have these existed?" Rich practically yells, waving the catalogue around as though that might somehow help her read the damned thing.
Looking up from what she was doing, she gives Rich an amused look. "I don't know kiddo, catalogues have been a thing for a while. Probably the fifties. They were into that kinda thing," she says knowing that wasn't what Rich was talking about but finding herself unable to resist the temptation of teasing the kid a bit.
"No! These!" Rich finally stops waving the book around, glancing at it before stabbing a finger at the image of the peppermint spoons.
"Well, I only started noticing them a few years ago, but probably longer than that," she almost wanted to laugh at the look of wonder on the boy's face. In some ways, he could be very mature, and then other times he was like this. Just an excited child who was still surprised by the world.
As the holidays grew closer, Rich helped the Mells to put up decorations and he did what he could to help in the kitchen. He hadn't had this much fun during the holidays since he was little.
When Rich wasn't helping Michael's parents, he was either hanging out with his friend in the basement playing games or curled up on the couch with Soot who was as big as his whole torso and therefore gave the best cuddles.
Rich had already known that the Mell mothers were really cool but it was different, hanging out for a few hours versus staying with them for a couple of weeks.
The plan for Rich to stay with them for the holidays hadn't been short notice or anything, but he still didn't expect to get anything from them. He was still just a guest, if anything he figured probably something small because the whole family was way too nice to let him go empty-handed while Michael tore through the ridiculously cute wrapping paper (it was red with little silver cats wearing Santa hats).
When Christmas Eve finally came, Rich and Michael were sat down in the living room-Michael quickly explained that they had a tradition of opening exactly one gift the day before Christmas as a sort of sneak peek-and a small gift was set in front of them both while Michael's mom, Dalisay, went to the kitchen to make hot chocolate. She said to not wait for her so Michael didn't waste any time in tearing away red paper to reveal a phone case styled to look like an NES.
Seeing Michael go straight for it, Rich turns his attention to the little package in front of him. He carefully pulls up the tape, unfolding the paper rather than ripping through it as his friend had. Rich couldn't help his little gasp before looking up at Alicia, something like astonishment in his eyes.
Rich jumps up from his seat and practically tackles the woman across from him into a hug, his little box of peppermint spoons still in his hand. Rich can hear Michael laughing behind him in the way that he does when people get too excited for something.
"Thank you," he says, maybe a bit too worked up by the candy. "I know this is kinda stupid, but I'm really grateful." Alicia smiles at him and ruffles his hair.
"Don't get too worked up yet, kiddo. You still got stuff to open tomorrow, you're going to end up using all of your excitement tonight," she says. Rich pushes himself back off her.
"I don't think that's how emotions work, but I'll calm down." He takes a couple of steps closer toward the kitchen. "I'm gonna help Dalisay with the hot chocolate," he says and leaves the room.
Walking into the kitchen, Rich holds up the candy spoons. "Peppermint cocoa is superior cocoa," he says.
"Well, you're not wrong," The woman says with a little laugh.
Rich sets the box onto the counter and rips through the plastic. Unwrapping the spoons from their individual packaging, he plops one into each of the four mugs lined up on the counter.
"I know this is kind of cheating, but we're going to have the good stuff tomorrow," she says, pouring the hot water from the kettle over the chocolatey powder. Rich mixes the drinks with the peppermint spoons.
Leaving the box on the counter, he helps to carry the drinks back into the living room where Michael and Alicia were sitting together, talking quietly. Michael's face was surprisingly red and Alicia's was a bit smug.
The handles of the peppermint spoons were sticking out from the tops of the mugs, the tips of them just barely visible through the whipped cream Dalisay had dispensed on top of the hot drinks.
The four of them sit around each other laughing and talking while enjoying their hot chocolate and it's the warmest Rich has ever felt during the holidays. It wasn't a hard choice to make when he was invited back the next year.