Status: New

I Knew the Moment I Met You

5.

The four had piled into the living room and had collapsed onto the settee with a platter of cookies and piping hot chocolate, concentrating on The Grinch on TV as he tried to steal Christmas from the Who’s in Whoville, as it got to the scene where the Grinch was flicking through the book declaring that he ‘Hate, Hate, Loathe entirely’ Maddison could only sympathise with the Grinch.

“Is it bad that I can relate to the Grinch?” Maddison asked, causing Jace to snort from where he was sprawled on the other sofa, Faith tucked into the crook of her arm, her face twisted in concentration as her eyes were glued to the TV, a cookie halfway to her mouth. Maddison turned to look at him sharply, a glare evident on her face as she grabbed at one of the throw cushions and lobbed it at him which he easily dodged.

“Easy tiger” John whispered with a chuckle from where he was sat next to her, giving her arm a squeeze as she turned to face him now instead, eyebrow raised “I get you, I relate to him too. Wrestling with self-loathing? That’s just an average Friday night for me” he smirked causing Maddison to roll her eyes, smacking his arm half-heartedly as she turned to look at the sceen. John merely grinned, grabbing a handful of butter popcorn from the bowl on Maddison’s knee and shoving it messily into his mouth.

“I like Max, Auntie MadMad” Faith responded, half paying attention to the conversation, sounding slightly zombiefied as she refused to take her eyes from the TV, the cookie hadn’t moved any further on its route to her mouth “I’m hoping Santa has gotten me a puppy for Christmas!” she beamed, her smile growing impossibly wide as Jace looked down at his daughter startled, clearly a puppy wasn’t on tomorrows agenda.

“I agree, dogs are great, Princess, but they are really hard work” Maddison responded diplomatically, brushing her hands through her hair before securing it in a top knot “Maybe Santa will bring you one in a couple of years when he knows you are really, really ready for one?” she suggested as Faith nodded thoughtfully, finally taking a bite from the cookie as Jace mouthed a thank you behind her nieces head.

“Nicely done” John whispered, leaning closer to the girl as he slung his arm around her shoulder, her skin growing goosebumps as his breathe hit her ear, clearly it was a subconscious reaction, nothing more.

“It’s not my first rodeo” Maddison smirked, leaning into her arm as she kicked her legs over the arm of the sofa, relaxing into John’s side. It felt weird for her, to be doing something so normal that she would often do with Jace and Faith, but having John here hadn’t felt weird at all.

John didn’t respond, merely squeezing her shoulder as she shuffled into a comfy position, before offering him some of the popcorn, the group’s attention fully focused back onto the film, the only real Christmas film in Maddison’s eyes.

Whilst Maddison was thinking about how odd it was that being with a complete stranger felt so comfortable, John was thinking the exact same thing. Usually on his Christmas eve’s he would help out his family with any last minute Christmas duties that were required, like picking up relatives or grabbing essential food items that were forgotten before he would go and meet up with his band mates, and other friends, hitting a bar or going over to someone’s house where they would crack open beers and reminisce about what a year they have had, since they all collectedly hated New Years.

It did feel weird about not doing the usual odd traditions which he did, but he was glad for the change of plans. This year Christmas hadn’t felt the same as what it used to, it had been his favourite holiday above all. Kennedy loved Valentine’s day, Jared’s was 4th July and Garrett was all about Halloween but everyone knew that Christmas was John’s time of the year, it was like he was made for it. But this year, people could see the change; it was like he was in a never ending rut and no matter how many gingerbreads he ate or eggnogs he drank, he wasn’t able to go back to where he was.

But after meeting Maddison in this bar last night, even knowing her for only 12 or so hours, he could feel the changes inside of him take place, it was like John was thawing out and that the old John was back, something that his friends would be happy to see. It wasn’t like there was some big trauma or anything, some big colossal moment to make John turn into the number one candidate for Scrooge; it was like the Christmas magic had worn thin.

“Yahooo” A female voice called from the hallway and immediately John could feel Maddison tense under his arm “We’re here! Is anyone home?” Maddison didn’t move her eyes from the screen as Jace turned to look at her before shouting back, pausing the film whilst Faith took off out the room to greet the new people. John immediately pulling his arm away from Maddison as she whispered ‘show time’ in his ear before they booth stood up.

Within seconds a slightly younger version of Maddison walked into the rooms, the changes between them were apparent. The new girl was taller and thinner, her features sharper whilst Maddison’s were softer and whilst the girl under his arm had the brightest green eyes this carbon copy had dark brown.

A tall man followed behind them, looking older and more serious than John, which wasn’t hard with his usual carefree nature. Behind him was Maddison’s mother, Maria he had met the night before and an elder man who had Maddison’s eyes who he couldn’t help but assume was her father Eddison.

“Eddie, this is John” Maria beamed, waving her hand over to John who shook the man’s hand, even though the relationship was fake, the nerves he felt were one hundred percent real. “He’s Maddison’s boyfriend” Maria added giving Eddison a knowing look as Laura scoffed earning an elbow dig by Jace.

“Nice to meet you, Son” Eddison responded with a warm smile before pulling Maddison into a bear hug “Welcome back, Sweet” he smiled, placing a kiss in her hair as she squeezed him back, “We missed you whilst you were away” Maddison rolled her eyes, batting her hands at her father “I was only gone for a month!” she groaned as he shook his head with a smile.

“Wait, can we go back to the fact that apparently Maddison has a boyfriend” Laura asked earning a glare from her sister, “I’m Laura by the way, this is my fiancé Doug” she introduced herself to John who nodded back politely before shaking Doug’s hand, it seemed like he didn’t have much personality.

John could see why Maddison wasn’t eager to come home, it seemed like her sister was a massive pain in the arse, which he had managed to sum up in less than five minutes of meeting Laura, no wonder Maddison had invited home a random person to get her off her back.

“Don’t be rude Laura” Maria cut in, giving her youngest child a warning look who merely sighed, collapsing onto the settee and crossing her legs as she grabbed one of the stray cookies that was left on the plate “We are so happy to have you here John”