Author's Note: Just a small Christmas Eve one shot. I tried to write it in present tense so I'm sorry if I break that at all. Merry Christmas everyone. Cheers!
It doesn't hurt that much. Really it doesn't. Maybe a little ache when nostalgia comes around. So that's why he forgets. That's why the Christmas tree in his living room doesn't have the cute family ornaments. There is no brass engraved ornament that says Baby's 1st Christmas. No tiny family portrait slid into a decorative ornament frame. His wife's hand beaded strands that used to always wrap around the tree are absent. The tree is even missing the construction paper angel that his daughter made which included a close up of her face pasted where the angel's head belongs. All those little things are in boxes in the attic. Patrick doesn't get them out because it doesn't hurt that much when he can forget about them.
Instead of those original things the tree is adorned with professional looking decorations. Clear glass bulbs, white twinkling lights, festive red bows. It's right out of a Martha Stewart catalogue.
Even though it is Christmas Eve Patrick Jane sits in the armchair by the fire. The T.V could be on. He doesn't have a wife there to tell him to turn it off, or a little girl begging to watch that old animated 1960's Rudolph movie or A Christmas Story. But he's content to sit next to the fire and do nothing. Doing nothing isn't that easy though. Being inactive gives time for the mind to roam. Allows that damn nostalgia to creep in.
He's waiting for a knock on the door and finally it comes.
He opens the door and Teresa Lisbon holds out a brown leather wallet. Patrick's brown leather wallet.
"Aww…you shouldn't have." He says taking it, like it's a rare and precious gift.
She doesn't find the joke so amusing. "Yeah, I really shouldn't have. What I should have done was leave it on my desk until Christmas ends, and let you get it yourself."
He shrugs and smiles. He's happy to have this short moment away from being alone.
Lisbon notices his sly smile. "Wait, did you purposely leave this on my desk just so I would come and bring it back to you tonight?"
"No, I really did accidentally leave my wallet there. I wasn't expecting you at all." Patrick's eyes glance to the end table in the living room that has two prepared glasses of eggnog on it.
Lisbon follows his eyes then frowns when she sees what he looked at. "You're so manipulative." She frowns.
"Hey, that's what you pay me for." He steps back and gestures inside.
She stays standing outside but allows herself to smile. "No thanks, I can't stay, my aunt and uncle-"
"Are flying in from Chicago." He finishes.
She glares at him, a little angry but mostly curious to how he knows.
"I saw it marked on you desk calendar." He explains.
"I keep my desk calendar inside my desk. Locked." She's frustrated but amused.
"I bought a pair of those x-ray vision specs so that-"
"Never mind, I'll just have to remember to get a padlock for my office."
He leans casually against the door frame. "Its two hours until that flight gets in. You're sure you don't want to come in?" He asks hopefully.
"Positive." She says, and starts to turn around but hesitates. His voice holds a little pain and grief. She realizes the magnitude of being alone on Christmas. Maybe a few minutes wouldn't hurt.
"Okay, maybe one glass eggnog." She enters the hallway. "Hey, do you own A Christmas Story?"
Patrick Jane follows her into the living room. It really doesn't hurt that much.