Reuban tried to argue but I was having none of it. I did consider using Claudine but when I went to look for her she had transformed herself into a mooning gnome statue. When my father said she could transform herself into anything I thought it would be at least something practical. Not a bare assed garden gnome looking back at me with a smile on her face! She was a weapon of Death for goodness sakes! Troy agreed, reluctantly because all Reuban did was growl at him while Juliet laughed. I also asked Brigate if it was ok to bring humans into the Council and all he did was smile. I took that as a yes, so I was now stood outside my old apartment in London with Reuban glaring at Troy. I told him he didn’t need to come but he was the first through the portal ‘in case there was something on the other side’. I just rolled my eyes and followed. I took a deep breath and knocked on Adam’s door. I heard locks unclick and the chain rattle as the door opened slightly,
“Errrr, Elinor. You shouldn’t be here. I swear we didn’t tell anyone that we recognised you on TV, so there’s no point to come back here!” Adam’s mom said sounding scared.
“It’s ok Patricia. I’m here to see Adam. It’s Christmas day after all.” I sighed. I should have known this wouldn’t be easy. I had shown my face on national TV in front of millions and to top it off everyone else had shown their monsters. Things were still raw in society. I was about to beg when Troy moved in front of me. Reuban growled at Troy’s hand on my shoulder but he was whispering something to Patricia. The chain came off the door and Patricia motioned us to come in.
“What the hell did you say to her?” I whispered in his ear.
“Enough to make her believe you’re not a threat.” He smiled while Reuban continued his low rumbling growl. I flicked my hand across his chest for him to stop it when I was suddenly knocked over by a running child.
“Elinor, you came back?” Adam said as he wrapped his arms around me. I could hear Reuban growling louder.
“Reuban it’s ok. This is Adam.” I smiled getting up. Reuban didn’t answer and continued to stare.
“After I saw you on TV I didn’t think you would ever come back.” he beamed.
“Well, I couldn’t stay away from you could I?”
“But…but, what are you doing here? It’s Christmas day.” he said sounding concerned.
“I’ve come to take you and your mom to a party…if you want to?”
“Yes, yes and yes!” he said excited and then began running around the room packing a rucksack.
“Shall we get on with it then? It’s going to take a while for the spell to work. All they’ll see is a mansion and normal people, rather than travelling underground and meeting sups…”
“Only Patricia…” I interrupted for Reuban to growl again.
“They should both be bespelled Jessica!” he argued.
“I’ve told you before! Adam is special and something tells me the spell wouldn’t work. Plus I think he already knows about sups anyway…”
“It’s ok Reuban. Adam is fine…” I smiled.
“So you’re real name is Jessica? hummmmm…” Adam said smiling at me while he scoffed a chocolate decoration from his Christmas tree.
“I think we both know you always knew it was.” I chuckled,
“It’s so much better than Elinor…although you look familiar…” he said walking up to Reuban and sniffing him. What the hell? Reuban growled and Adam started laughing.
“Ok it’s done. Shall we make a move?” Troy said holding Patricia’s arm because she looked a little faint.
“Where we going?” Adam said tilting his head and looking at me with his hazel eyes.
“To a party…”
“Yeah I know that dummy! I mean, where’s the party?” The room began to light up and in a flash we were stood in the library with Megan, Juliet and Maria staring at us.
“God…I thought you’d never get here! This is Juliet, Maria and I’m…”
“Megan!” Adam said smiling and then hugged her. Everyone looked at him and then to me. I shrugged because nothing surprised me anymore!
“Cool tutu!” he laughed, flicking at it with his hands. She looked horrified.
“Will you get off!” she huffed, “The party’s just starting and the boys will be here in a minute.” As always Megan had gone overboard with the decorations. There was more tinsel and glitter everywhere than last night. A roaring fire crackled away with the huge tree in the corner lighting up the room with baubles and a huge stack of presents underneath. Shit I hadn’t got anyone anything, let alone Adam! Double shit! I felt Reuban’s arms wrap around me,
“It’s ok baby. I knew you didn’t like Christmas so I went and got a few bits for everyone. I’m not sure they’re right but the thoughts there…”
“And Megan told me I had to get something for Adam.” Juliet smiled “…although I think I may have got carried away a little…I…I think I’m brooding.” Well, wasn’t this a day for shocks?
“Thank you…both of you…” I sniffed.
Before long Megan cranked the music up and we were all dancing while Troy set the table for a Christmas feast. Of course he did this in seconds and I watched on in awe as he spoke spells quietly. Patricia didn’t notice a thing and was laughing with Sebastian while Adam was in his element. I thought the happiness would be broken when Diana and Angie appeared but everyone was too joyous to argue.
“Sorry it’s taken so long for us to arrive Jess. Diana here started arguing with my uncle and he turned her into an Ass. Although it was quite fitting, I had to beg him to turn her back, which took him a while. Anyhows…” She looked around the room and spotted Adam at the same moment she caught his eye. Within seconds he was up and running towards her, giving her a hug on impact.
“Adam?” she said looking at me and I smiled.
“I knew it! I knew you were one of them!” he smiled.
“This is no place for fuc…children!” Diana huffed, stopping herself from swearing. Now, that made a change!
“Oh honey leave him alone!” Sebastian said walking up to her and placing a kiss on her cheek, “It’s Christmas!” Diana sighed and smiled.
“Are we gonna open the presents before we eat?” Adam said looking at me and for the first time I saw his eyes sparkle. He was truly happy.
“Let’s round everyone up shall we?”
“Cool!” He ran around the room grabbing everyone until we were sat in front of the Christmas tree. Something was telling me he was finally home.
Presents were handed out. Maria gave Kroll a rocket apparently from the Cold War and he gave her something that began to vibrate in the box. I quickly covered Adam’s eyes for him to laugh. Shortly afterwards they disappeared for ten minutes, everyone knew what they were up to. Juliet gave everyone Versace sunglasses, even the men, she was obsessed! Troy told everyone they could stay at his house in the Maldives for a weekend. Juliet hit him for not showing more thought and he laughed. We all had little presents from one another and I couldn’t help wonder where Brigate and my father were. As soon as I thought it they appeared at the door, dragging a huge box. I saw my father and Adam nod at each other and decided I was being an idiot for not seeing something right in front of my nose.
“Jess, Reuban. We all put together and got you this…” my father smiled. I got up and ripped at the paper to uncover a crib and loads of soft baby toys. It was so thoughtful that tears welled in my eyes. My father handed me a small present. I looked at him as a huge grin came across his face. I rolled my eyes and opened it. I started to laugh at the sight of a plush rabbit dressed in a black gown, holding a little scythe.
“I thought it was funny? Did I get it wrong again?” he looked mortified but I started to laugh.
“It’s great, it really is. Thank you.” I kissed him on the cheek. Adam was sat twitching as he watched more presents being opened and then Megan pushed a huge present towards him.
“For me?” he said smiling,
“Yep…I wasn’t sure what to get you but I saw this and thought it was you. I got Juliet to get it for me.” He tore at the paper to reveal a Dinosaur that was bigger than he was. He screamed and rolled around the floor with it as if he was wrestling it.
“So you like it?” Megan said.
“You’re so great! I can’t wait to spend more time with you.” he said getting up and hugging her.
“What?” she mouthed over his shoulder to me. Something even an Oracle hadn’t anticipated. Interesting! I shrugged again. I watched as the presents disappeared from under the tree until there was one. I recognised it instantly.
“I think it’s time baby?” Reuban rumbled in my ear.
“I know but its part of the past and you won’t be able to move on until you open it.”
“Ok.” I sighed and picked it up. My hands shook as I opened it. I could feel everyone watching me. I was now holding a leather bound journal and I was shaking. I peeled back the first page to see my mother’s handwriting and began to read what she had written.
My darling Jess,
I know things have been hard for you but I promise that you are a very special little girl. One day you will find the home and family I wish I could give you and be happy. Everything I do is because I love you and I hope you will eventually understand and forgive me. When you are ready you will write your life in this and remember those good times.
I love you more than life,
I immediately started sobbing in Reuban’s arms and I felt Adams hand on my leg.
“It’s ok Jess. You know now…” Adam said. If I had opened this before, maybe I wouldn’t have been so harsh towards my mother for the things she did. I finally understood why she had grabbed this present that night, instead of leaving it behind. It was her way to tell me everything would be alright. I probably wouldn’t have understood back then but I did now and it crushed me,
“Shhhh baby, it’s ok.” Reuban said holding me tighter. I sniffed and wiped away my tears.
“I think it’s time to eat.” I smiled. Everyone was smiling and I could see Maria wiping her own tears.
We moved to the table and Brigate rang a bell. Adam sat opposite Reuban and his eyes lit up as platters of food and drink whizzed past our heads in the air.
“Soooooooooooo cool!” he beamed but continued to stare at Reuban.
“I should make a speech but as I think there’s too much emotion in the room all I’m going to say is eat!” Brigate said. I felt my father’s hand on mine as he sat next to me.
“You’ll be ok Jess…”
“I hope so.” I sniffed but I was more concerned at Adam staring at Reuban.
“What?” Reuban said tearing a leg from a turkey.
“I know who you remind me of. I was only a baby but I remember…”
“Who?” Reuban said biting into the leg.
“I know you’re not…but you look so much like him…”
“Spit it out kid!” Reuban growled biting another chunk.
“My daddy…” Adam smiled for Reuban to choke. He looked at me and I shrugged again. Like I said, nothing surprised me any more.
Nothing more was said as we all tucked into the feast. I had questions, lots of them but I didn’t want to spoil the day for everyone. I looked around the table and realised – I was finally home with a family that loved me.