First chapter of A Christmas Wish
“Are you serious right now? Why do we need to move? You have a job here Dad.” I yelled, but I couldn't help it. I didn't want to move thousands of miles away from my friends, from my life and from… Roman.
My dad strolled towards me, his face showing how sorry he was for what he was doing, but there was also an air of resignation that no matter what I said, it wasn’t going to make a difference.
“I understand this is the only home you’ve known and all your friends are here, but you can make new friends and make a new life in Hollywood. Think of all the opportunities you’ll have with me working in the movie industry. A good-looking boy like you, with your brains and talents. The sky’s the limit,” he cajoled, his face alight with excitement.
Oh, I knew he meant every word, but he was crushing any hope I had of staying and waiting for Roman to get a little older so I could ask him out. I’d realised two years earlier that I had no interest in the girls in school when I started to pay more attention to the guys on the sports field. It didn’t take too long to work out what I liked, and it wasn’t girls.
The following year had been both embarrassing and exhilarating while I'd tried to get my body to behave when I was in the vicinity of the football team. My mom cottoned on pretty quickly when she found my stash of magazines under my bed and noticed which pages were maybe a little stickier than the others.
What can I say, men in tiny shorts bending and flexing their asses in front of my face. Yeah, I liked that a lot. Now I was craving something a little different. Roman. He was a total nerd with big glasses and a little on the portly side, but there was something so alluring about him. My problem was that he didn’t know I existed. He was only fifteen and I was turning eighteen in three months, and though I got the impression he might be gay, I didn’t know if he’d be interested in me.
Oh, I wanted him to be. I’d spent hours following him around like a lost puppy, hoping to get one of his gorgeous smiles. I’m sure he probably thought I was a total creeper.
“Donavan, are you listening to me?” my father demanded rather sharply.
I realised I had missed whatever he’d been saying while my brain went to the place where Roman occupied a lot of space, not leaving much room for anything else. “Yes Dad, we’re moving regardless of what I want,” I huffed, hoping he’d only been repeating himself.
“Listen son, I get it, I do. But this will give us a better life than Potters Creek can ever give us. This job will give us financial security for the future. It will give you the choice to pick what you want to do with your life.”
The exasperation in his voice as he finished talking was enough for me to relent and nod. “I’m sorry Dad, it’s just… I have a life here and I thought my future was here.” I tugged at my hair, trying to keep from talking about Roman. We’d discussed my past boyfriends before and my dad was a trouper about it. He did his best to give me dating advice even when he was uncomfortable. I gave him ten out of ten for trying to give me sex ed on how to stay safe with a boy.
He’d spent more time looking at the carpet than at me as he'd explained about using condoms, and the use of lube. I tried not to think about what sites he’d gone to so that he could explain what I needed to know in order to be prepared for dating and sex. Good times… erm, maybe not.
As he walked past me towards the boxes he’d brought home, he gave my back a slap before pausing, his smile so like my own, it was like looking in a mirror. “It’ll work out. If you hate it you can always move back in the future. And whoever you have your eye on, maybe they’ll be ready for you then.”
The uncanny way he had of reading me, gave me pause. Had I been that obvious about my mooning over Roman? Fuck I hoped not. I didn’t need Roman to feel sorry for me. “Okay, I get it. We’re going and I can come back.” When my dad rolled his eyes at me, I laughed. “You know that’s supposed to be me doing that?”
“I learnt from the best,” he quipped back. With that, he strolled off to grab the boxes to take back to my mother, who was in the kitchen packing to avoid the confrontation between myself and Dad.
I stomped to the front door and shouted, “I’ll be back later.” Not giving my dad a chance to stop me, I was out of the door and in my truck before you could blink. My head full of what-ifs, I drove around town before I found myself on the outskirts, parked at the end of the street where Roman lived.
The Christmas decorations sat in the gardens, in varying degrees of completion brought home the fact that it was Thanksgiving the following week. My hand went to my pocket and I pulled out the gift I’d bought for Roman for Christmas to declare my feelings. It was a tiny Christmas scene with the words “A Christmas Wish” written in sparkly Christmas lights that flashed when you shook the globe. Some might say it was lame, but I’d checked out what Roman liked and it appeared he loved Christmas as much as me. His front garden was full of kitsch decorations and I knew it was silly but I felt it gave us a common ground. With that in mind, I’d bought the globe, hoping to give it to him and ask him to be my boyfriend. Now all my plans were ruined by my parents.
Tears clouded my vision as I stared at Roman’s home, hoping to catch sight of him. I was a little early today and Roman wasn’t on the porch, as was his tendency in the afternoons. He’d sit out on the porch swing with his books, even in winter. I wasn’t sure if the books were for school or for pleasure, but he always seemed to have one with him. His face would get this dreamy expression when he had his nose buried in the pages. It made me want to be the book, so I could put that expression on his face.
Groaning, I slapped at the steering wheel. “Why do we have to leave now?” I was going to be eighteen in a few months If my dad had just left things a little longer, I could have stayed. You’re assuming that Roman would be interested in you.
The voice that liked to slap at me, spoke up, and my body sagged against the seat. I kept my gaze on the house in front of me, willing Roman to appear. Two seconds later, the door opened and out he came. His hands were full of books, his baggy jeans and loose sweatshirt hiding his body like always. His hair gleamed like polished mahogany in the afternoon sun as he sat on the porch swing. Laying the books down, he pushed up his glasses that tended to slip down his nose, and I couldn’t stop the sigh from escaping. There was just something about him that tugged at my heart. I didn’t know why or how, but I knew he was it for me. I’m sure if I told my parents they would laugh and say it was hormones or some such shit. I knew differently. He was mine.
As I sat watching him, I made a vow to myself that I’d come back and one day Roman would smile at me the way he smiled at his books.
I put the truck in gear and started the engine. Roman’s head lifted from the book he held as I drove past, flashing him a big smile. His stunned expression in return gave me hope as I drove off.
I glanced at the present on the seat next to me and vowed, “I’ll be back Roman and you better be waiting for me, because one day I will be your Christmas wish.”