Status: Completed

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Chapter Two

Sarah’s P.O.V

I sighed as I looked up at the Sanders' home, the twinkling lights that Matt 'risks his neck' to put up every year making me smile for only a moment. And then I thought about all the questions about Ryan and his whereabouts that I was going to have to face when I walked into the house and my smile slipped away. I knew I wouldn't be able to avoid talking about it for long. Zacky was going to have a field day that I was late after insisting that I would be on time. I glanced at the time and cringed as I saw that I was, in fact, almost two hours late.

"Great," I muttered before looking at myself in the rear view mirror and figuring that the slightly tired, slightly downtrodden version of myself staring back was just going to have to do.

I was going to be able to plaster on a smile and walk into the house and I was going to have a wonderful Christmas time. I sighed again and climbed out of my car, bumping the door closed with my hip before taking a deep breath and walking up the front path. I felt my hands shake as I stepped onto their front porch, my eyes zoning in on the wreath hanging on the door. I could already hear the sounds of music and laughter and general merriment coming from inside the house and I took a moment to collect my thoughts before plastering on that fake smile and letting myself in.

Tonight was about spending time with friends. Tonight was about celebrating Christmas. Tonight was about having fun.

I closed the front door and walked further into the house, peeking into the kitchen and living room as I tried to find either Taylor or Matt. I smiled as people said ‘hello’ to me and ‘Merry Christmas’, replying in kind but not stopping for idle chat.


I whirled around and smiled as Brian shot over to me, Lyndsey giggling as she followed and I could tell from the way her cheeks were flushed that she was a little, if not very, drunk.

“Merry Christmas,” I greeted Brian as he wrapped me up in a tight hug, pressing a kiss to the side of my head.

“You okay?” He asked, taking my face in his hands and peering closely at me.

I raised an eyebrow and nodded as best as I could, not wanting to lie to my friends but also not wanting to talk about what happened. Not right now.

“Are you?” I questioned with a chuckle, taking his hands from my cheeks and looking into his dopey looking eyes.

“Of course I am,” Brian grinned, stepping to the side a little as Lyndsey wriggled her way between us and latched herself around my waist. “But then again, I got here on time. So I’ve been drinking for like hours.”

I rolled my eyes and hugged Lyndsey back. “Why does that not surprise me?”

“Merry Christmas Bubble One,” Lyndsey giggled against my shoulder.

“Ditto Bubble Two,” I replied quietly.

She frowned and looked up at me, all trace of silliness gone from her in that moment.

“Something’s wrong.”

I swallowed and shook my head. “Everything’s fine.”

Lyndsey stared up at me and blinked. “Nope. Something is wrong.”

I could feel the tears being to creep up on me as one of my best friends looked up at me in concern. She knew something had happened. She knew I wasn’t feeling myself right now. She knew I was lying. I was just hoping that she also knew that I didn’t want to go into it right now.

“But,” she carried on, a smile slowly creeping on her lips as she stepped back and took my hand in one of hers and Brian’s in the other. “The only problem I know I can fix right now is that you don’t have a drink in your hand. So, let’s go. To the booze!”

I couldn’t help but sigh in relief as Lyndsey went to lead me towards the kitchen but Brian stopped us. I frowned up at him as his girlfriend pouted up at him, her right foot stomping against the ground.

“Everyone’s in the den,” Brian explained, tugging Lyndsey and as such tugging me as well.

“Can I just get a drink first?” I asked, taking my hand away from Lyndsey and turning towards the kitchen, almost walking in to Matt’s sister.

I sent her a smile as she waved at me, disappearing behind a door a moment later. I managed to take one step forward before I felt hands on my waist and I was turned to face Brian. I rose an eyebrow and looked around him to find that Lyndsey had disappeared.

“Brian, seriously, please can I get a drink?”

Brian shook his head and tightened his grip on me before picking me up. I yelped, rather loudly, before grunting as my stomach hit his shoulder.

“Brian,” I groaned, smacking him on the back a little.

“What? You weren’t going the right fucking way, so I took matters into my own hands,” Brian chuckled as he took me somewhere, I assumed the den.

I sighed, not really having anyway of fighting, and just let it happen. I waved at various friends as we passed them before rolling my eyes as Brian stopped and I heard Johnny’s obnoxious laugh.

“Brian brought us a girl for Christmas!”

“What? I’m not enough for you?” Raychel retaliated and I just knew she was giving him her best glare.

I shook my head as I heard him protest to his girlfriend, trying to defend himself. Brian shifted my weight and put me down on the floor, my heels clicking against the wooden floor. I stared up at Brian, my arms crossing under my bust as I waited for an apology for just being unceremoniously thrown over his shoulder.

“You’re welcome,” he grinned before walking around me.

“Moron,” I grumbled to myself, then took a deep breath as I turned to smile at all my friends. “Merry Christmas guys.”

I looked around the room and saw that everyone was there. Johnny was all but on his knees in front of a smirking Raychel, Rhian was curled up on Jimmy’s lap, Lyndsey and Brian were getting themselves a drink and Taylor and Matt were walking over to me. It was only then that I realised someone was missing.

“Where’s Zacky?” I asked, really needing my best friend right now.

Matt shrugged. “He’s somewhere. We lost track of him about half an hour ago.”

I nodded with a bit of a frown before smiling as Taylor wrapped an arm around me. I grinned as I looked down at her rather large tummy, my hand going to it and my grin getting bigger as I felt her baby girl kick.

“Have you guys worked out a name yet?”

Taylor shook her head with a fond smile as she rubbed her stomach gently, looking up at Matt as he placed his hand over hers. I forced myself to smile as hurt ran through my chest and took a deep breath, wrapping my arms around myself as I rose my gaze to meet Taylor’s worried one.

“Where’s Ryan tonight?”

I cleared my throat and shifted my weight. “He couldn’t make it.”

Before anyone could question what I had said, I skirted around the couple and made my way over to their liquor stand that sat in the corner of the den. I peeked at the bottles and grabbed up the vodka, pouring myself a drink and throwing it back. I squeezed my eyes shut and winced as it burned down my throat.

I didn’t really enjoy doing straight vodka but tonight I really needed it.

I poured myself another one, looking to the side as Taylor sidled up beside me.

“Are you okay?”

I nodded and threw back my drink.

“Something’s wrong,” Lyndsey piped up with from in the room and I could practically feel the silence that engulfed the room next.

I closed my eyes and shook my head before looking back at Taylor. “I’m fine.”

Taylor frowned and reached up, pushing some of my hair away from my face.

“Are you sure?”

I nodded, choosing to keep quiet because I knew that my emotions were about to betray me. Since getting home and finding Ryan, I hadn’t really let everything sink in fully. I’d been angry, screaming and throwing things, including Ryan and his ‘present’ out of my house. Then I’d proceeded to throw his things out of my house. Then I’d had to get ready for the party.

I hadn’t had the time to properly cry yet.

I had a bad feeling that time was about to come.

Taylor placed her hand on my arm and squeezed gently, making me look at her again. I smiled, wishing it was strong but knowing it was the saddest smile I’d probably ever given anyone.

“Where is Ryan really?”

I shrugged, feeling my chin wobble as I took another deep breath. At this rate I was surprised I hadn’t begun to hyperventilate. I swallowed and went to pour myself another drink, having some difficulty as I found my hands to be shaking quite a bit. Matt took my glass and the vodka away from me, pouring it himself and passing me the glass back. I sent him a thankful smile and he smiled back, worry deep in his eyes.

And it was seeing that worry that finally broke me.

I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks before the stupid and pathetic sob crept from me. Matt’s eyes widened a little but it didn’t take long before he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me into his chest as I let out my pain, let out my heartache and wondered if I’d ever be able to stop.

--- | ---

It only took me ten minutes to stop crying quite so much and then a further fifteen minutes to blubber and choke my way through an explanation of why Ryan wasn’t here and then another half an hour before I was blistering drunk.

I genuinely couldn’t feel my knees.

No one was...well...pleased with the news of my break up, or at least not the reason behind it. The guys all cheered when I said we’d broken up, there was then mass outrage once the reason managed to escape through my stutters. Taylor and Lyndsey were the worst, not that I’d been expecting any less from them, and Matt and Brian had to calm down their respective better halves even though I could see they were finding it difficult to keep themselves calm.

Rhian, bless her, remained quiet for a while before spluttering out ‘what a wanker’ Ryan was and that the ‘bastard needed a good solid kick in his balls’. This coaxed out a weak laugh from me and lightened the mood a little.

And then Raychel passed me another shot.

And since then the drinks had just kept on coming.

And, like I said, I genuinely couldn’t feel my knees.

“I don’t think she needs another one,” Taylor told Jimmy as he passed me another shot.

He looked at me and raised his eyebrows as I grinned, a little goofily, at him. I took the shot in my fingers and chewed my bottom lip as Taylor gave me her best ‘mother’ look.

“I’m fine,” I promised, my words turning into one and making my promise sound very unconvincing.

“She’s fine,” Jimmy grinned at Taylor, who simply sighed and shook her head before walking out of the kitchen, where Jimmy and I had stationed ourselves for the last ten minutes.

I slumped a little when Taylor had disappeared out of view and looked up at Jimmy.

“Do you think I’m unlovable?”

Jimmy scoffed as he poured himself a shot and then clinked it with mine, shaking his head in response to my question.

“You are the most lovable person I know,” he told me. “Now drink your shot.”

I huffed but did as I was told, sliding my empty glass back to Jimmy, my vision beginning to cloud over as I shrugged and slumped a bit further towards the counter.

“This is not how I expected Christmas to go,” I muttered.

“What was that?” Jimmy questioned, leaning towards me and blinking a couple of times. “Speak up!”

“This is not how I expected Christmas to go,” I repeated, pushing myself so I was standing upright again, and looked up at Jimmy. “I thought I was going to get a ring. A nice big fucking sparkly diamond. Not some whore wrapped in a red bow.”

Jimmy pushed another shot towards me.

“I mean, really, what the crap was I going to do with that?” I asked, not waiting for an answer as I quickly downed the shot and carried on ranting. “And then he had the fucking cheek to tell me it was my fault. That I wasn’t home enough. That I was always bloody working. Well excuse the fuck out of me but last time I checked, fucking bills had to be paid.”

Jimmy chuckled and wrapped an arm around my shoulders, pulling me into his side and dropping a kiss to the top of my head.

“And apparently the few times I’m not at work, I’m always with you guys,” I huffed. “Like I don’t ask him out with us. Stupid wanker.”

I sighed and bit down on my bottom lip as I leant against Jimmy, my already numb knees suddenly losing any stability in them at all.

“Woah,” Jimmy laughed and grabbed a hold of me, his gaze going away from me as I carried on staring at the empty shot glasses in front of us. “A little help?”

I heard a familiar chuckle and looked up, a very blurry looking Matt standing there. I smiled and all but threw myself at him.

“You’re pretty Matthew, anyone ever tell you that before?” I asked. “And you’re a fucking nice guy. Despite the scary, big, muscle-bound brute look you have going on, really you’re just a big teddy bear.”

“I’m not sure if I should be offended or grateful for that,” Matt mused with a smile, his dimples coming on show. “But what I am sure is that you’ve had too much to drink.”

I looked at him and narrowed my eyes. “Who told you? Did Taylor tell you that? Because I am fine. I’m not drunk...I’m just a little unsteady.”

Matt laughed, as did Jimmy from the sounds of it, and held on to me tightly as I slumped a little again.

“I think you should go lay down for a bit,” Matt suggested. “Come on. I’ll take you to the guest room.”

I sighed and nodded, letting Matt lead me out of the kitchen. “You’re probably right. I mean, maybe I just need to sit down for a little while and then the world will stop spinning. It’s quite inconvenient.”

We passed Brian and Lyndsey as Matt took me to the guest bedroom that was downstairs, probably figuring that taking me upstairs would be more effort than it was worth.

“Aw, Bubble, where are you going?”

“I’m a little unsteady on my feet,” I explained, my words merging together a little. “So Matt has suggested that I lay down for a bit. So I’m going to take a break and then I’ll be right back out and we can drink until Christmas.”

“Plan!” Lyndsey shouted and put her hand up for a high five.

I grinned and brought up my hand, the both of us going for the high five but missing completely.

“And fail,” Brian chuckled as he dopily looked down at his girlfriend.

“Come on,” Matt laughed as I stared at my hand in confusion, steering me away from our friends and towards the spare room.

“That should have worked,” I murmured, still looking at my hand. “Why didn’t that work?”

“Might have something to do with all the vodka you’ve had tonight.”

I nodded and looked up at Matt, patting his cheek. “Quite right, fine sir. Quite right.”

Matt rolled his eyes and we came to a stop in front of a door. I turned and looked up at him, smiling as Matt raised his eyebrows in question.

“I can take it from here,” I told him. “Go see Taylor.”

“You sure?”

I nodded and turned Matt around, with great difficulty, before patting him on the arse as if he was some kind of horse.

“Be gone with you!”

With a quiet chuckle, Matt left me to it. I watched him disappear and slumped against the door, thinking how quieter it was here. I took a deep breath and pushed myself off the door, turning and opening it. I blinked a couple of times and stepped into the room, closing the door behind me and pawing against the wall for the light switch. I found it eventually and bathed the room with light, though a second later I wished I hadn’t.

I made a noise somewhere between a squeak and a choked sob as I focused on the bed, my eyes widening as I realised that I had walked in on my best friend with a half naked girl straddling his lap as they made out like a couple of teenagers.

“Fuck, shit, crap...” I rushed out before turning the light back off and leaving the room rather hastily.

I shut the door behind me and leant against the door, my hand still on the handle. I could feel my heart racing in my chest, practically beating down my ribcage, and I could feel myself slowly sobering up just a little.

At least I knew where Zacky was now.

Though I was starting to think that it wasn’t safe for me to walk into bedrooms anymore.

“Shit,” I muttered to myself as something dawned on me.

I pushed myself off of the door and hurried down the hallway, intent on finding the girls as it occurred to me why my heart was racing quite as much as it was.

“I thought you were lying down?” Taylor asked as I skidded into the living room, my hands flying up in the air when I saw that Taylor, Lyndsey and Rhian were conveniently in there. “Matt, I thought you took her to the guest room.”

“I did,” he chuckled. “She obviously got out.”

Rhian narrowed her eyes as she stepped towards me, probably having noticed the somewhat panicked look on my face.

“Something’s wrong with Sarah,” she announced.

“Yeah,” Taylor scoffed. “She’s fucking drunk.”

“No it’s something else.”

I felt someone take my hand in theirs, squeezing gently and I turned my gaze to find Lyndsey now staring up at me with slightly narrowed eyes.

“Is it Ryan?”

I shook my head and then moved my gaze over to Matt. “Your guest room was otherwise occupied. You need to have some kind of check-in book so I don't have to walk in on that again."

Matt frowned and pushed himself to his feet, quiet words passing between him and his wife before he left the room. I took a deep breath, my heart still pounding in my chest as Lyndsey tugged my hands a little.

“Who was in the guest room?”

I cleared my throat, not really wanting to talk about this in front of everyone we know as well as a few people I didn’t know. Taylor smiled in understanding and grabbed Rhian’s hand before holding her other hand out for mine. I took it and, still holding on to Lyndsey, followed Taylor through the living room and to her dining room. Taylor pulled the double doors to that connected the dining room to the living room, leaving a slight gap so we could still hear what was going on in the rest of the house.

I slumped down in one of the chairs and chewed at my bottom lip, wondering when things had changed and how I hadn’t noticed that things had changed.

“Who was in the guest room?” Lyndsey asked again, sitting down beside me.

I took a deep breath and watched as Taylor sat down in one of the other chairs, her hands going straight to her bump as she huffed a little and shifted, probably finding it hard to get comfortable.

“Zacky,” I muttered.

Rhian, who had been standing at the door still, frowned before her eyes flickered behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see the other door was open and watched as Rhian walked over to it and pulled it shut. She turned and leant against the door as she looked at me.

“Why is that so bad?”

“Would you want to see his fat, pale ass up in the air?” Lyndsey asked, staring at my fellow Brit in disgust. “I’m surprised she hasn’t thrown up.”

“It’s not that,” Taylor murmured. “It’s something else. Sarah, what’s wrong?”

I swallowed and looked between my closest friends as Rhian walked around the table and sat down, all of their eyes on me as they waited for my explanation.

“I think...somewhere along....I...” I struggled with telling them what had gone through my head the moment I’d slammed the guest door shut. “God, I’m bloody Joey Potter.”

It was silent after that admission and I looked up to see that they were each looking at me in confusion. I groaned and dropped my head down on the table, placing my hands down as well before huffing.

“In Dawson’s Creek, Joey Potter is Dawson’s best friend and has been for practically their whole life. Everything is hunky dory between them until she sees him with another girl and she realises that she has feelings for him,” I explained quietly, though I knew they had heard me. “I am Joey Potter.”

“Is this her way of telling us she has a thing for James Van Der Beek?” Lyndsey whispered.

Taylor chuckled and I picked up my head, looking over at her as she smiled.

“No, she’s just admitted that she has feelings for Zacky.”

I remained quiet, wondering what their reactions would be. Taylor was still smiling but Lyndsey and Rhian hadn’t reacted yet. I was just wondering how shocked they’d be.

“Fucking finally,” Lyndsey muttered.

“I didn’t think she’d ever bloody realise,” Rhian sighed.

My jaw dropped as I looked between them all and couldn’t stop the squeak that came out as I slapped my hand down on the table.

“You guys knew?” I spluttered. “Why didn’t you fucking tell me?”

Lyndsey burst out into giggles, flapping her hand about in front of her face as she slumped back in her chair, her face turning an alarming shade of red quite quickly.

“We thought you’d realise,” Rhian shrugged, reaching to pat Lyndsey on the back who was beginning to struggle to breathe.

“And besides,” Taylor pointed out to me. “You were with Ryan. You seemed happy. What would be the use of us telling you that you had feelings for Zacky? And do you know how crazy that sounds?”

I shrugged, looking down at the table as Taylor mentioned Ryan. Despite my sudden realisation that I had feelings for Zacky that ran a hell of a lot deeper than just best friends, I still had had feelings for Ryan. I had loved Ryan.

“If we had mentioned this to you, what would you have said?” Rhian asked.

I sniffed. “Probably would have told you that you were fucking nuts.”

Rhian smiled. “See.”

“Now what?” Taylor asked, shifting her weight a little again.

I frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Are you going to tell Zacky?”

I shook my head somewhat frantically. “No. Why would I do that?”

“To get your leg over,” Lyndsey giggled beside me.

I opened my mouth to fully protest what the giggling wreck next to me had said but shut my mouth firmly when I heard Zacky’s voice.

“Where’s Sarah?”

My eyes widened and I stood up quickly, my chair skittering behind me. I swallowed and looked over at Taylor who was now peeking through the double doors. I chewed down on my bottom lip as I walked over to the doors and looked through the slight gap, seeing Zacky standing in the middle of the room and looking a little frantic.

He probably was slightly embarrassed that I’d seen him starting to get frisky with a girl.

It’s generally not a bonding thing between best friends.

“I need to talk to her,” he told Matt, who shook his head.

“Don’t you think that it would be better to just...”

“Where is she?”

“Zacky, calm the fuck down dude,” Jimmy murmured. “You’re ruining the good mood.”

Rhian rolled her eyes and shook her head at the sound of her boyfriend.

“Sarah is really drunk,” Matt pointed out to Zacky. “Just leave it until the morning."

“No. I need to...”

Zacky trailed off as he heard a loud crash. One that I heard too. I looked over my shoulder and rolled my eyes when I saw Lyndsey sprawled out on the floor giggling, her chair on its side. I jumped as the doors were opened in front of me. I turned and looked, wide-eyed as Zacky stood there.

Zacky’s P.O.V

Sarah looked like a deer caught in headlights as she stood in front of me, her mouth opening and closing. I briefly looked behind her to see Lyndsey on the floor and guessed that the loud crash I’d heard had been gravity getting the best of Lyndsey. Brian pushed past me and went to his girlfriend’s aid and I looked back at my best friend. She still hadn’t said anything and was still just staring at me. I frowned, not sure why she was having the reaction she was.

Yes, so it wasn’t exactly the best timing that she walked in when she had and yes, okay, so seeing your best friend in bed with someone isn’t exactly something on your list of things to do before you die.

But did that really warrant her looking at me like I’d just told her...fuck, she is looking at me like I’ve just told her about the fact that I was a little bit in love with her.

It didn’t quite add up.

“Sarah,” I started and reached forward to take her wrist in my hand but the moment my fingers slid across her skin she jerked away with a squeak. “Sarah?”

She shook her head and turned, stepping quickly away from me.

“Sarah!” I shouted as she stepped over Lyndsey who was still on the floor, Brian just sitting beside her as he waited for her giggles to subside.

Sarah paused at the other doorway, her hand on the handle as she looked over at me. I frowned when I saw the tears in her eyes, one of them falling down her cheek as she spoke.

“I can’t...I’ve got to...I just...I can’t.”

With that she left the room but I wasn’t having any of that. I stepped back into the living room, having a feeling that she’d go towards the kitchen. I hurriedly made my way out of the living room and caught up with her in the hallway. Once again her eyes went wide before she sidestepped into the kitchen. I chased after her and watched her grab a bottle of something off the side.

“Talk to me,” I pleaded, well aware that everyone else who was in the kitchen was watching us.

Sarah shook her head, her eyes downcast as she walked around the island. I walked around to cut her off but she noticed and went round the other side.

“This is fucking ridiculous,” I shouted at her as I chased her around the island and then out of the kitchen.

I froze as Sarah suddenly yelped and then hit the floor, her hands managing to catch her before she busted her face in and the bottle flying away from her and smashing against the wall. I shot over to her when she didn’t get back up again, her shoulders shaking as she leant her weight on her elbows and cupped her face in her hands. My eyes went up when I saw movement and saw Taylor standing in the dining room doorway, Matt inching his way around her and walking over to Sarah.

I crouched down beside my best friend and brushed my hand over the top of her back, pulling my hand away as Sarah jerked away from my touch like she did earlier.

“No,” she whimpered.

I looked up as Matt crouched down on the other side of her, a sympathetic frown creasing his brow.

“Come on, Sarah,” he murmured. “Let’s get you resting for a bit.”

She nodded and sniffed, letting Matt help her to her feet. She wobbled a bit and I went to catch her but Matt shook his head and tightened his grip on her. Sarah let out a quiet cry of pain and picked her right foot off the floor a little, her hands gripping the tops of Matt’s arms as she looked down.

“You okay?” I asked her quietly, moving a little bit closer but not enough to freak her out.

She shook her head but turned away from me a little, seeking comfort in Matt, who shrugged and murmured something to Sarah. She nodded and wrapped her arms around his neck, allowing Matt to pick her up, one arm beneath her back and one under her knees.

I watched as he took her towards the den but stayed where I was, not moving an inch. The party began to move into full swing again, the excitement of the drama that had just happened leaving everyone’s minds as they all began to talk once more.

I looked to the side as Taylor stepped up beside me, rubbing a hand down my arm.

“What just happened?” I asked her, knowing that Sarah’s reaction just then was not to what she had walked in on.

Taylor smiled, all be it weakly, and pulled me into a hug, her chin resting on my shoulder.

“I can’t tell you. That’s down to Sarah but it’s not something you’ve done, so don’t worry,” she assured me. “Though seeing your naked ass probably didn’t help matters. You just need to talk to her.”

“I tried and she fucking ran away from me,” I muttered. "And I wasn't naked...we weren't...we were just making out."

Taylor chuckled and leant back to look at me. “Give her like half an hour, we’ll get some coffee down her and make sure she hasn’t snapped her ankle and then I’ll come and get you.”

I stared at Taylor for a moment before sighing and nodding. She smiled up at me and kissed my cheek before walking towards the den.
♠ ♠ ♠
Title Credit: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams


Chapter two done and dusted :)

Comments, musings, general jubilations?? x