No one was really looking forward to Christmas this year. John was still understandably upset about what had happened to Roy. John and Roy would normally spend Christmas holidays together and this was the first year were that was not the case. So, John and his family were having a quiet one alone this year.
Allan had to visit his dad in prison soon with Tom which he hated – but he would hate himself if he didn't go. But Allan hoped by seeing his dad and talking to him – Tom would start behaving himself more before he got into too much trouble.
Will's family were trying to make the best of their bad situation. And manged to save enough money to go and stay with aunt in Scarborough for a week. Which would be better then spending Christmas in a shelter.
"What do you do on Christmas?" Robin asked Djaq.
"Well, it depends really," said Djaq "I mean we don't have the lights or the roast, but we normally have a family meal as everything is closed, play a few games." Djaq smiled a little, "It's nice and simple," she said "What are you doing his year?"
"It's me, dad and my great aunt," he said "Normally spend the evening around Much's or he come to mine and we have a sleepover. I guess we are doing the same this year…." Robin looked at the floor – this year wasn't the same "Seem wrong to celebrate Christmas and Roy is not here anymore."
"You can't feel guilty for having some fun," said Djaq "You can't feel guilty for enjoying yourself – I have told Little John the same thing."
"So soon?" asked Robin – it had only been a few weeks – but it was like everything had turn on its head and come crashing down.
Djaq paused for a long moment, "There is no time limit. Enjoy what you can when you can. Christmas can he a hard time of year – I realised that, but you have to enjoy what you can."
Robin nodded his head "I know," he said. "Just wish I could help John more you know."
"I think just being there is enough for now," said Djaq
The last say of school before the Christmas holidays everyone was sitting together on one the back staircases of one of the blocks. "How about we do a video chat at some point Christmas day?" suggested Allan "I don't know – maybe around five?"
"Sounds good to me." Said Robin, the other nodded their heads,
"Great," said Allan- he seemed pleased with himself. "And what is everyone doing new year's? We should do something this year…"
Robin nodded his head, "Maybe we can plan that after Christmas," he said. The other agreed – they wanted to get thought Christmas first then plan what to do for New Years Eve. Robin then saw Marian coming, "I've been back," he said.
Much shook his head, "What are we going to do with him?" he asked.
"Maybe we should get him and Marian under some mistletoe," suggest Allan with a gleam in his eye "That could be Robin's Christmas present this year… think he would like that?"
"I don't think Marian would," said Djaq "I do not understand the mistletoe things anyway. Seems pretty stupid to me, or am I wrong about that…"
"Of course, you are wrong about it." Said Allan
Djaq looked at Allan "And, have you ever kissed anyone under Mistletoe?"
Allan open and closed his mouth for a moment. "Well, I am planning so this year." He started the other laughed. "You just wait and see – I will kiss someone under mistletoe this year,"
"Good luck," said Will
Allan snorted "Luck, I don't need luck – mate. I have my good looks and Whitty sense of humour." Allan smiled "Do you want to make a bet on it?"
Will shook his head, "Nah,"
"Scared you might lose?" asked Allan
"I'm not scared – I am just not betting on anything," said Will
Allan said something that sounded like spoil sport when Robin come back towards with a big grin. "I take it things gone well with Marian?" Allan guessed.
Robin sat down between Much and Djaq and put his arm around them both, "We are going to the cinema together during the holidays," he said "Dose that – or dose not that sound like a date?"
In most of their lessons – they did little work as it was the last day of term. The teachers had put on films – and some even gave out sweets,
The last lesson of the day was science. John was in the same science class as Much. They sat together near the back of the room. Alice come over to John – they haven't really talked since the Halloween party. (Not that they really talk at Halloween)
"Hey." Said Alice
"Hey," said John trying not to pay attention to Much facial expressions as he watch them.
"I hope you have a good Christmas," she said "I know it hasn't been easy….but…I hope it's peaceful…" then she went to her friends. John blinked,
Much was watching – "She likes you," said Much at once then he looked at John "And you like her…"
"Much," said John "Shut up." Much something spoken a little too loudly and John didn't want Alice to hear. John did like Alice and it seem Alice liked him back. John wanted to ask her out but couldn't find it in himself to do so. Then a Roy like voice sounded in the back of his head telling him to go for it. Maybe it would… in the New Year….
In another science classroom Allan and Will were sitting together. The teacher had put on a film but Allan and Will weren't watching. Allan was talking and Will was drawing on a piece of scrap paper. "I don't want to see my dad," said Allan in a low voice, "I mean…. he's a waste of space…"
"But you're going to." Said Will
Allan nodded his head, "Yeah, if I don't go….Tom won't go…." Allan paused. "I think Tom needs a reality check….I can't watch him all the time….I'm not my brothers bloody keeper now am I?" Allan paused "If you ever want to swap brothers let me know…."
"No thanks, I'll keeping Luke," said Will
"That just selfish," Joked Allan. "What you recon you get for Christmas this year?"
Will paused for a moment. "I'm going to Scarborough," he said
"So, that's it?" asked Allan. Will nodded his head, Allan paused for an moment unsure what to say "Well," said Allan slowly "I guess that be pretty good – I mean you get to go on the beach and everything… and your Auntie Annie is alright too…" Will nodded his head again. "Things will get better," added Allan "I mean… your family would be near the top of the housing list…. Anyway, Scarborough is not a bad place to spend Christmas."
"Scarborough will be good," said Will "What are you going to get?"
"You just wait a see," said Allan "You won't believe what I am going to get…"
"Can't you just tell me?"
Allan shook his head, "No, not until Christmas – Tom might nick it…"
In another science class room Djaq, Robin and Marian all sat together. Robin watched the clock as it got closer and closer to the home time bell. He pay little attention to the conversation Djaq and Marian were having near him. Something about the Christmas holidays and what they were going to do, maybe something about the inter school football as well.
"Robin," said Marian – snapping Robin from it mindless wonders.
"You seem lose in your own little world." Said Djaq
"Well," said Robin sitting up "I guess I can't wait for the holidays to start."
"We still have homework you know," reminded Marian "And coursework – we have to keep up with all that… you don't want it all the pile up."
Robin rolled his eyes, "I will remember" Djaq and Marian shared a look – they knew Robin would forget.
On Christmas day John woke up and went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. "This is for you Roy," he said and he got ready for the day.
John made his family normal Bacon sandwiches for breakfast. His mother smiled at him and his dad nodded, his Aunt Mary come to spend Christmas with them also smiled – a sad smiled. Roy loved having bacon sandwiches Christmas morning.
The rest of the day went in a calm slow manner, they listen to music and they had a nice meal. It was an odd kind of Christmas – sad but not as bad John thought it could be. He did missed Roy – so much it hurt. Missed him so much that the world seemed wrong for all the cheerful songs and films. Miss him so much that John wanted to lash out.
But at the same time, John knew he could lash out – he had nothing to lash out at. He couldn't lash out as his parents who hadn't done anything wrong. Or lash out at his friends who had in their own way try to help. He couldn't lash out as school without causing a scene.
"John," said his dad "Come with me,"
John's dad lend the way to the garage. "I know things are hard," John dad said, he nodded to a punching bag had hung from the roof of the garage. "Keeping everything bottle up isn't good," he said as he passed John some boxing gloves. "This may help."
John put one the gloves and punched the punching bag. 'This' thought John to himself 'this I like'
Allan had visit his father a few days before Christmas. And he didn't enjoy it. He hated prison – it was almost claustrophobic. At least his dad had some words of warning to Tom. They had spent the time talking about their friends and what they have been up too.
Christmas day was better. His mum try her hardest to make it nice for them. Allan was pleased with his present of two giant African land snails. He could wait to freak Much out with them. Allan named them "Speedy" said "Bullet"
Tom was better behaviour than normal. But maybe that was because he spend a lot of the day playing on video games.
All in all – Allan thought it hadn't been a bad day. He was looking forward to video chatting with his friends later on. Allan sat on a chair and helped himself to some chocolate and watched the African land snails – really today haven't been that bad.
Will spend part of the day walking along the beach – the cold winter wind blow in his face and messed up his hair. It had been nice to get away from Nottingham for a while.
He watches as his dad, Aunt and Luke walking ahead of him.
Will stopped and looked out towards the sea. Maybe things weren't as bad as they seemed to be. The pass thought month Will wasn't sure how he had gotten thought the days. He was go lose in thought his didn't noticed his dad coming next to him.
"Sorry it's not the idea Christmas," said his dad,
"I understand," said Will – because he did understand,
His dad nodded his head. His dad seemed better that he done for weeks. "Thank you for being strong for all of us," his dad said "It was unfair on you – doing everything." Will didn't know what to say. "You can relax now. Things will get better." Will still didn't say nothing. "Come on – we got dinner to cook."
Robin spend the first part of the day with his dad and great Aunt and in the morning they were visited by many of his dad's friends stopping off for a quick hello. Robin was pleased with his present – a new laptop and money.
Christmas dinner had been nice and then afterwards they all had to watch the Queen speech on the telly, his great aunt made Robin and his dad watch it all without talking.
Robin was glade when Much and his parents arrived. Robin and Much played a few games with their families then relisting the time got ready to speck to their friends.
Djaq had a simple day – Her dad went into work – he always worked overtime during Christmas. So she spend part of her day reading, another part of the day watching films and another part while she was made to cook her mother. Djaq hated cooking but she did like having a chat with her Mum.
At five she set up her laptop and soon she saw all her friends. Much and Robin were together in what look Robin's father study. Allan look like he was his kitchen. Will saw sitting on a bed, and John was in his own room.
"Are you all having a good Christmas?" asked Djaq – she had been concern for her friends. Especially John who had just lost Roy. They was a moment where people try to talk at once. "One at an time one at an time," said Djaq
Robin as normal went first. "It's been good," he said "You should have seen the Christmas pudding we had this year"
"It was pretty good I must admit." Said Much
"Did you manged to keep vegetarian?" asked Will
"I think you find that I have," said Much at once the other laughed.
"Guys!" called Allan – he couldn't wait to tell them, "Look what I got." He showed them his snails.
Much face was a picture. "You for snails?" he asked
Allan nodded looking proudly at them. "Meet Speedy and Bullet." He said "Aren't they beautiful?" The other nodded their heads, Allan was still grinning "I have always wanted a pet," he said "And these – they are quiet and awesome and completely opposites to having a little brother." Something was throw off camera and Allan had got off screen. The other guess he went to have a small fight with Tom.
"Will? John?" asked Robin as Allan appeared back on screen.
"It's been pretty cool here," said Will "Been down to the sea everyday…been up to the castle as well. What about you, John?"
"It's been…. Alright" said John truthful "I mean…. everyone still upset…. But it's been alright."
Djaq spoke up "I'm glade."
"So… New year's party?" asked Allan "Will, you been back for it right?"
Will nodded his head, "Yeah, we are coming back the day before New year's eve,"
Allan grinned "great – So what are we going to do?"
Robin thought about all this already. Really his house was the only place they could all meet. He had the space and the room. "I can talk to dad," he said "But the only drawn back is – our parents might be there as well…actually that might not be bad… if Edwards comes then Marian might be there as well…"
Much looked at his friend "You really do have a one track mind don't you."
"No," said Robin "I have many tracks and all go in the same direction."
Much rolled his eyes, "I know – we should sing a song."
With this everyone one shouted "NOOOOOOOOO!"