It was a family tradition that we got together before the annual Christmas gala to have dinner together. There were so many Kennedy and Malone tradition over the holidays, this was the one my father insisted we do as a family – especially after the whole kid buzz was over and I no longer wanted to rush downstairs to open presents. My mother said we’d probably start up the present tradition again on Christmas Eve before going to Grana’s house in the evening when I had kids. She pushed and pushed. Always with the grand kids.
Dinner was largely unchanged. Mother made a meal for three maybe four if she thought I’d bring a date – which I did not. I couldn’t imagine sitting here with Jennifer while my mother fawned over her when I wasn’t even entertaining the idea of settling down. And I could just imagine the look on my mother’s face when pretty boy walked in with his painted nails and eyeliner not to mention the died tips. God forbid she saw the tattoos. She hated mine – all the more reason to have them.
Set in the middle of the table we had all the Christmas classics – ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravey, cranberry sauce. It looked like thanksgiving. Mother always claimed to have made it, but she hadn’t made dinner in years. The cook did, or we had it made for us by some restraunter who did that sort of thing.
My parents chatted about their work and I listened for my name or mention of things I was interested in. But they never really cared about my side of things.
My mother put her hand on mine and asked, “How are things going with Jennifer, darling?”
“I’ve gone out with her once, Mom. Not much to say. We had dinner. I took her home.”
“I’m glad to see you didn’t treat her like the other women in your life.” My father said with little regard to tact. He was like that. I wasn’t a jerk. I didn’t fuck a girl and leave her on the dance floor like a nameless pretty boy. But he wasn’t nameless anymore.
I left his snide comment alone. “She’s a nice girl. But I don’t really want to settle down with a girl like that.”
“A girl like what?” My father asked, clearly his ire had risen a little as he sat straighter in his chair.
“A lawyer. Your hours suck. My hours are all over the place, how’s that going to work. You want me to stay home with the kids?”
“Of course not, darling.” My mother interjected, “That’s what nannies are for.”
“So I should hire someone else to raise my kids?” I sighed, “What’s the point then?”
“To carry on the family line.” My father said.
“Are you speaking in generics here to carry on the family name or in genetics?”
“Both, son.” he said and my mother put her hand on my shoulder.
“How is Zion doing?” My mother asked to change the topic.
“Fine.” I wasn’t really in a talkative mood. “May I be excused to get ready I need to be pick up Jennifer in an hour.”
“Of course darling.” My mother said squeezing my shoulder as I stood up to leave. They’d have someone clean up the mess after they finished.
My bedroom was much the same as it had been when I lived here. Except now it was clean. No more teenage disater. My tux hung on the open closet door and I sighed. I really hated dressing up to the nines. It was uncomfortable. The tux was tailored for me, my father insisted. He did that a lot and I resented it that he wanted to control my life. I only came around on the holidays, and they wondered why. November through December was painful for all of us.
I love my parents, I thought as I got ready. But I wasn’t going to live the life they had. I didn’t want to marry someone stuffy. I didn’t want to have kids because I had to. Hell, I didn’t want to settle down and do any of those things right now. Jennifer was nice and all but we couldn’t keep doing this. I wasn’t going to marry her. I didn’t want a lawyer in my father’s firm. I’d rather marry a waitress who loved her job than someone who’s only love was their job. Career women like that didn’t give up their jobs for their family. My mother was dead on example of that. She gave birth and with in 6 months she was working again delivering other people’s babies. I was raised by my Nanny. Or nannies as the case may be. I forgot how many we went through since I could remember. The ones near the end were grandmotherly. I think my father feared the hot nanny scenario.
I sighed, he hadn’t realized I had eyes for only one girl back then – Veronica Harris. I remembered Very well from back then, when it was just the two of us. She was my best friend. She was my first. First everything. And until college she was the only one I had been with. And that’s when life got complicated. Roommates.
Tristan had a great smile. He flirted a lot – a lot like pretty boy did. I should know better than to get involved with guys like that. Tristan claimed he wasn’t into guys, yet when we went out he ended up dancing with the guys more than the girls. And having been on the receiving end of some of his dance partners I knew exactly how much dancing with a guy turned him on. I mentioned it to Very. How Tristan made me feel. I was confused more than anything. Why was he making me feel like that. She said explore it I won’t mind. And she hadn’t. Trist walked in on Very and I having sex. I’d forgotten to put the sock on the door knob like usual. She invited him over with us. We all had sex – several times over the course of our first semester.
Then we had a Christmas break and that’s when shit happened. I went to the Hamptons with my parents for the holidays. Very and Trist hung out. Fucking fell in love. When I got back Very politely told me she loved Tristan. Great we could all be together – no they wanted to be a couple. I hated her for that but she and Tristan never knew. We went on being friends until we just stopped hanging out. I haven’t seen her or Tristan in years. And really I did’t care anymore.
But apparently I did, dwelling on the circumstances that put me into the head space I’m in now. I don’t want anyone serious.