A Very Shin Christmas

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There was a knock at the door as Matsuo put down the last few items on the table.

“That should be them I think” Thorn said, putting a few bottles of drinks down.

Matsuo nodded, looking a bit apprehensive to say the least. They had never hosted to so many people at one time in the manor. However, this was the holidays and it was somewhat expected. Taking a deep breath, he walked over and opened the door. All at once a stream of people walked in: Matsumi, his sister, her daughters Eilean, Giselle and Delilha, along with Eilean’s daughter Kyra, who waved happily from her mother’s arms; Hideki, Matsumi’s husband and Joanna and her daughter victoria who ran in faster then her mother could tell her to remove her boots. Thorn’s father had arrived the day before and had stayed the night at the manor (Matsuo had insisted on this). Now everything was ready for the day to start.

“Are you sure you know how to use that thing?” Eilean said, watching Giselle as she tried to set up her camera phone.

“Of course I do! I’m not stupid you know.” Giselle frowned as she looked the multiple choices of shots to take. Matsumi, Matsuo and Jo were currently standing there, waiting to have their picture taken for the holidays.

“You know maybe I should do this” Eilean reached over to take the phone but her hand was slapped away by Giselle.

“Look, I know technology but you…no offense..you grew up in the medivial world. Now please allow me to capture this piece of art.” She said proudly, pressing the button.

“Well miss artist, you just shut off your phone” Eilean said with an amused smile.

After a moment or two, Giselle handed her phone over to Eilean, who smiled to her younger sister and then turned to the others who were waiting.

“Say cheese!”

Delilah carefully set some presents under the tree which had been set up in the main foyer. Glancing over, she could see Kyra looking over at her and the pile of presents which had been set aside for the rest of the family.

“Would you like to help me, Kyra?” she said, smiling to her niece. Kyra gave a big smile and nodded and wobbling over began to carefully and rather messily shove the gifts under.

Thorn grabbed a tray of the hor’dovs and began to head towards the table.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to do this?” Matsuo said, walking over to try and help. Thorn moved it slightly away from her husband.

“No no I’m fine, don’t worry about it, I can manage” she said, head down towards where most of the family had gathered.

“I really think..” Thorn turned and looked at her husband with a half mockingly angry look on her face.

“Honey, I’m pregnant, I’m not crippled. I can manage.” She said and then gave him a gentle nudge, smiling. Matsuo smiled and relaxed a bit before picking up a few of the drinks and heading over.

“So I hear you run a company then”. Thorn’s father glanced over at Hideki, who silently sipped a drink from his hands. “I’m run a small business myself, a pharmacy.” Hideki remained silent but glanced a bit towards the much older man. “I’ve been told you also work at a theater, it seems stage life runs in the family around these parts.” The young man continued to look over at Mr. Mcknight, his face a frozen stone like feature. “Well I suppose I should get back to the others. Nice meeting you then.” Thorn’s father silently returned to the rest of the party. Blinking, Hideki took another sip from his glass.

“Good talk.” Hideki said.

Joanna cut through the meat and began to serve it to each person at the table (giving double to Thorn, though she immediately asked for it to be given to someone else).

“Well I think this is really wonderful!” Matsumi said, taking a bite from the meal. “All of us together like this!” “I-I really like this” Delilah said in her usual shy manner, giving a small smile.

“Giselle, don’t hog all the punch” Eilean said, reaching over and grabbing some of the drink for herself.

“I was not aware that I had to move it when you’re sitting right next to me.” Giselle said, concentrating on her own meal and not glancing over at her older sister.

Joanna glanced over at the children’s table, a small section which had been set up for the two youngest. Victoria seemed to be busy on showing Kyra how to spell Christmas with her food and though she knew she should scold the girl, she let it pass for now.

“Well, in the honor of this season and this day, I think we need to give a toast. To family and to Christmas!” Matsuo said, raising his glass.

“Here here” Mr Mcknight said, raising his own glass, his daughter holding up a glass of water in response. All of them, even those who at that moment were in the most sour of moods joined in this feel of festivity and gave their own well wishes.

“Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful and since we’ve no place to go…let it snow let it snow let it snow!” Thorn belted out the words as best as her voice could manage, which was to say perfectly. She was accompanied in this by both of her sister in laws: Joanna on piano and Matsumi on her flute. Matsuo had insisted that they have a piano in the manor as a gift to his very musical wife. She had thought it was sweet of him, even if she didn’t play the instrument. She glanced over at Matsumi as she sang, who gave her a smile from her flute. She didn’t often get the chance to speak with her but the moments they did share, Matsumi had always been sure to treat her like family, though they didn’t often show it that much in public. At the moment, though, as she sang, and Matsumi and Jo accompanied her, they were all family, all together at last.

Everyone had left hours ago. Night had fallen as Matsuo lay down in bed. Thorn had always gone to sleep early as she had felt fairly worn out after the events of the party. The snow slowly fell outside (a gift from Matsumi) and was gathering onto the roof. For the evening, Matsuo had let Jabberwocky sleep inside, so as to avoid getting too cold from staying out on the roof. As he closed his eyes, he suddenly felt two arms wrap around him, a warm body press against his back.

“Merry Christmas, honey”

“Merry Christmas, my love” Matsuo said, smiling

And a Merry Christmas to you and yours! UltraMatt