Justin’s room, 2 days before Christmas, late in the afternoon.
“Oh come on, dude, you just cannot bail out on me like that…. Yes, I know, you weren’t sure about meeting other veterans… Oh man, we would stay there a few days…. Sure I can go alone, but I need somebody to look after me… You know that, that’s why you would come with me… Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry too… No, no. No hard feelings. It’s alright. I’m not angry or anything… Thanks for calling… Happy New year to you, too.”
Shit!!! He really wanted to go, but he also knew he shouldn’t be alone there. Meeting other veterans always created double feelings. One of being happy to be alive. One of sadness for those who had not made it back from ‘Over There’. Physically or emotionally. And his desire for drugs was inherent to those feelings. He considered asking someone else to go with him, but wondered at the same time if perhaps he shouldn’t wait a little longer. Until he was longer off the drugs…
He went to the kitchen where he found a little note from Nora. She was at the vineyard. Oh, alright. Nora had been complaining about the practically empty house with just the five of them. Just her and Sarah, Kitty, Tommy and Kevin. He sighed. Maybe he should stay home too. At least they’d be together. Misery likes company, that sort of thing. He pushed one of the speed-dial buttons.
Holly’s house, 2 days before Christmas, early evening
“ Mom, are you serious? She actually asked us? Both?” Rebecca could understand that Nora would be a bit bothered to ask Holly, but she was happy that her mother got asked anyway. “So, what did you say?”
“That I wanted to talk to you first.” Holly replied.
“I’d love to go, you know that. But how do you feel about it?”
“Things are more relaxed between Nora and me. She cares for you. And that makes me thankful. She could have made things so difficult for you, but didn’t. So, if you want to go, we’ll go.”
“I’d love to go.” Rebecca’s eyes were bright with joy. Holly laughed.
“I’ll call Nora than.”
“Can I do that?”
“Sure.” Rebecca pushed one of the speed-dial buttons.
McCallister’s ‘headquarters, God-knows-where-and-Robert-doesn’t-care,
“But you can’t do that.” Travis muttered.
“Yes I can. And I will. I have no appointments for four days. What am I doing here? I am going to Kitty. And I suggest you go home and see your children too.”
Travis wanted to protest, but the look Robert gave him, made him shut up. Robert made his plans. Tomorrow morning he would go and get Christmas gifts for everyone. And then fly to Kitty. What’s the use of having a private plane, if you don’t use it…
Kitty’s house, 2 days before Christmas, 10 minutes later
With the telephone still in her hands she stared at the wall. Had Robert lost his mind? Alright, she admitted that she was flattered by Roberts action. He proved once again how much he loved her. But… Ah, was she complaining about?! He would be home for Christmas!… A huge smile graced her face. Kitty pushed one of the speed-dial buttons.
Tommy’s house, 1 day before Christmas.
He poured some coffee and ate something. He wasn’t really hungry, but Nora had drilled her children to eat breakfast and old habits die hard. He flicked through the channels on tv, but nothing captured his attention for more than 10 seconds. He switched it off.
He heard someone open the door and as he looked up, he saw Julia walk in.
“Julia! Lizzy!” He kissed Julia and then breathlessly asked: “I thought you’d stay with your parents?”
“Lizzy misses her father, I miss her father.” Julia replied. Tommy kissed her.
“I love you.” Tommy caressed her face.
“Love you too.” Julie replied. Than Tommy started to laugh. With Lizzie in his arms he picked up his phone, pushed one of the speed-dial buttons.
Alternating between Kevin’s office and the airport at New York. 1 day before Christmas.
Kevin: (questioning) “Are you sure?”
Scotty: (anwering) “Yes, I’m staying at the airport. If anyone cancels I want to be in that place.”
Kevin: (hesitantly) “Scotty, I have transferred some money to your account…”
Scotty: (annoyed) “Kev,….”
Kevin: (soothing) “I know you don’t want this. But please, do me a favor, if this doesn’t work, If you can’t be home for Christmas, get yourself a decent hotelroom, room-service and indulge yourself and pretend I’m there with you. I feel miserable enough here, without thinking of you at some airport. All alone.”
Scotty: (less agitated) “I’ll think about it, alright? But for now, I’m praying that I can be with you somehow.”
Kevin: (cynical) “Praying never got me anywhere.”
Scotty: (snapping) “I will try to be with you. You know, I am not Jason.”
Kevin: (apologetic) “Oh, Scotty, no… no… that’s not what I meant. Sorry, forget what I said. I know you will try. I didn’t mean to imply that… sorry, please, forgive me.”
Scotty: (forgiving) “It’s alright. I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t be angry at you. It is all so frustrating. I miss you so much.”
Kevin: (regretting) “I miss you too.”
Scotty: (sad) “I have to go.”
Kevin: (hopeful) “Call me?”
Scotty:(joyful) “When I can. Or when I have more info.”
Kevin: (with love) “Bye.”
Scotty: (with love) “Bye.”
Roberts headquarters, same place as yesterday, 1 day before Christmas, later that day.
He is satisfied. He has found presents for almost everyone. He impatiently waits for the message that he can go on his plane. He knows he’ll feel better once he’s in the air. There will be one more Christmas gift to take care of… He pushed one of the speed-dial buttons.
Kevin’s apartment, 1 day before Christmas. Late at night.
He was tired. He had worked until very late at the office. His work was finished and he was ready for his short holiday. Nothing big. Just 5 days of no work. Just sleeping in. Hanging around. Watch DVDs. And he hoped to spend them with Scotty. He had unsuccessfully tried to reach Scotty. Scotty’s phone was disconnected. He hasn’t felt this miserable in weeks. It reminds of the times he tried to get in touch with Jason and of the silence coming from Tioman.
He notices that there is a message on his answering machine. He presses the button. Scotty’s warm voice fills the room.
“Kev, just a quick message to let you know, that the batteries are slowly dying out. To conserve what I have, I’m switching off my phone. If there is any news, I’ll call you. Kev, I am doing what I can. Trust me? Love, Scotty.” Kevin listens three times, while slowly the tears are filling his eyes. Yes, he trusts Scotty, it’s all the praying for a solution he doesn’t trust. He picks up his telephone , he pushes one of the speed-dial buttons.
“Mom….?” His voice breaks.
Tioman, 1 day before Christmas.
Jason would never understand candles. They should have gone by now, but somehow, they still stood there. All 15. No, only 14. One of them had fallen. The one he had put there for Scotty. He stuck it back in the sand. He took a match and lit it again. He said a small prayer. He left. There was work to do.
The Walker house, Christmas day.
Nora is so excited. Only a few days ago, she had felt miserable, but now she feels like she can dance on the table. Everything is ready. The plates with food, that she’s been working on all morning, look perfect. The house smells of pine, food and candy. The decorations seem to shine as if someone polished them. She is SOOOO ready for this.
The doorbell rings. And she quickly opens up.
“ Oh, mom, the place looks and smells great.” Justin comes down the stairs.
“Hey, sis.” He hugs her. And she is surprised by how good and cheerful he looks.
The doorbell rings again. Kitty opens the door and Paige and Cooper run to their grandma. Sarah hands over a plate to Kitty, so she can take off her coat. Nora takes the plate from Kitty and is about to go to the kitchen when Kevin comes down the stairs.
“Hi, love, sleep well? Are you alright? Any further news? ” She asks, concerned. He came to her house last night, looking completely devastated. She hasn’t seen him all morning.
“Sure, mom. I’m good. And no, no news.” He replies automatically. As he sees Paige and Cooper he smiles and yells:
“I see two monsters to chase.” The children scream with joy as they run away followed by Kevin. Their laughter is filling the house.
Nora sees the questioning looks on the faces of Kitty, Justin and Sarah and sighs:
“Scotty called last night….” Justin shook his head, he didn’t want to ask the question. Nora shrugged, she didn’t have an answer. The siblings looked at eachother. Justin clapped his hands.
“Hey! Kevin! I’m coming to help you with those monsters!“ He yelled. Any reply from Kevin was smothered by the sound of Cooper’s and Paige’s screams.
Holly and Rebecca followed right after Tommy, Julia and Lizzy. The room was filled with chatter and laughter and Nora looked on the scene in front of her. Julia was talking with Holly, who was holding Lizzie. Tommy and Justin were playing some game they’d found. Paige and Cooper were going through the gifts under the three, probably seeing who had most gifts. Kevin stood alone by the window, observing everyone as she had just been doing. Their eyes met. Kevin smiled, but his eyes were sad. She sighed. All they had to wait for now was Robert. And then they would be complete.
She puts the cookies on the table. The doorbell rings. That must be Robert. She opens the door. A pile of presents are being ushered in. Kevin, Cooper and Paige rearrange everything underneath the tree. Behind him Kevin hears Kitty call Robert’s name, followed by the sound of two people kissing. He doesn’t look up. He doesn’t want to know.
Than it gets eerily silent in the room, for a second, before Kevin hears Justin say:
“Looks like Robert brought you a Christmas gift as well, Kevin.” Yeah right! From the corner of his eye he looks at Justin, who makes a movement with his head as if he wants to focus Kevin’s attention on something. Kevin stands up and turns around. Standing in the middle of the room is Scotty. His Scotty!
“Oh God. Scotty!” Before he’s aware of anything he is in Scotty’s arms. Kissing him right there in front of everybody. A kiss equally happy replied to by Scotty. Justin started to applaud and the others also requested an encore. With a little blush Kevin slowly lets go of Scotty. With a huge grin on his face Scotty wondered:
“Whatever happened to that man who didn’t like open displays of affection?”
“How did you get here? Did you manage to get on a plane?”
“Yes. There was an American senator who had an empty seat on his plane and didn’t mind making a small detour.” Scotty replied, nodding at Robert. Kevin turned to Robert.
“Don’t thank me, thank Jason. He reminded me that we shouldn’t be separated from our loved-ones at Christmas.” Robert replied calmly. There was no longer anger and accusation in his voice, but acceptance.
Tioman, Christmas day.
In the small chapel, the candles have melted. The cluster of 15 have fused together, becoming a giant candle wax stain... As Jason prepares his sermon he cannot help but look at where the candles where yesterday. For some reason Jason finds the huge stain incredibly funny and he starts to laugh. As if it is private little joke between God and himself.