It’s A Merry Christmas In One Household In San Myshuno!
Winter, Year 2
The weak winter sunshine shone through the windows of Jared and Andrea’s apartment. There was a definite wintery nip in the air and the heating had been turned on.
It was time to put the decorations up! Andrea’s parents were going to stay with them for Christmas, which everyone was genuinely excited about.
Once most of the decorating was done, Andrea served up some of her celebratory brownies. It was promising to be a really great holiday season with good food, great company and plenty of cheer. Even their neighbour, Jack, turned up. Jack had turned out to be a great neighbour and friend and both Andrea and Jared enjoyed his company. Even Erica was delighted by Jack’s charm and easy-going nature.
“Come on, Andrea!” Alexander shook his head as he waited for his daughter. “We’re ready to switch on the lights.”
“Okay, I’m here!” Andrea hurried out of the bathroom and joined her parents and boyfriend in front of the tree. “It looks gorgeous, Dad.”
“Thank you. Are we ready?” After a final glance round, Alexander pressed the button and the tree lights sprang into life. “Just look at that!”
“The flat looks great,” Andrea commented as she and Jared retired to their bedroom. “You guys did a wonderful job.”
“I had no idea your Dad got so into Christmas.” Jared replied. “I was surprised. He doesn’t seem the domestic type.”
Andrea smiled. “He can be prickly but when it comes to Christmas, he’s a different person.” She kissed Jared. “I’m glad you two get along well, though.”
“Me too.” Jared produced some mistletoe from the table. “Care to join me?”
With the arrival of Christmas morning, the family gathered round the tree to open presents and sing carols. Andrea beamed as she watched her boyfriend and her father bickering over the choice of programming for the afternoon’s viewing on the television. She’d been so worried a few months ago about what her parents would think of Jared and she was thrilled to see how well they all got along. She started to wonder if there was a really good future with Jared after all.
Later in the day, Andrea was pleased to get Jared to herself.
“Listen, I wanted to talk to you.” She squeezed his hand. “It’s nothing to worry about, I promise.”
Jared visibly relaxed and grinned. “Okay, go ahead.”
“Both of us have long commutes for work at the moment.” Andrea began. “I was talking to Mum a while ago and I’ve been meaning to talk to you about it. Erm, have you given any thought to, you know, where we might live? Sort of, eventually?”
Raising his eyebrows, Jared guided Andrea over to the sofa. “I’ll be honest, I’ve wondered that too. I love you and I know the flat’s location is really that ideal. The thing is, it’s pretty central. I mean, I work most of the time in Oasis Springs. While it’s handy because my family all live there, it’s also quite a journey by train and bus. But if we moved there, you’d have a much longer journey to Sulani. And vice versa.”
“So what are you saying; stay here?”
Jared nodded. “I think for now, yeah. I know it’s rough but I don’t think anything else will work out right now. If we live in Oasis Springs, you’ll have a worse commute. If we live in Sulani, I’ll have a worse commute. At least by being in the city, we’re fairly neutral. Let’s stick with that for now and see where things go.” He leaned over to kiss Andrea. “You okay?”
“Yes, I am. It’s a relief because I couldn’t see anything working either.” Andrea gazed into his eyes. “Thanks, Jared.”
They grabbed the opportunity for getting out into the city to enjoy the snow. “You see,” Jared said. “It’s not so bad right here. I think we’ll be fine for a while. If things change, then we can reassess the situation.”
“Sounds good.” Andrea relaxed and instead, enjoyed messing around in the snow.
“So did you two reach a resolution?” Erica asked as the family dined out at The Tudor Tavern a few nights later.
“Yeah. We’re going to stay in the city for a while,” Andrea replied. “Our commutes would get worse if we moved now. We’re going to wait and see what happens for the time being.”
“Very wise.” Erica smiled.
“It’s been difficult.” Jared added. “My family live in Oasis Springs and I’d love to be closer to them but Andrea’s commute then would go against everything she’s working towards. I couldn’t do that.”
“Things have a way of working out,” Alexander added. “Listen, on an unrelated note. If you ever got tired of your job, Jared, I have a proposition for you.” Taking a gulp of wine, Alexander sat up a little straighter. “I’m interested in my own development company. I’ve wanted to do it for years but never had the courage. With your expertise as an engineer, I could finally go ahead. You’d be a partner, of course. Think it over.” Alexander winked at Andrea and she realised the idea might not be as unrelated as she first thought.