Samantha is going to be SO surprised. Smiling, Tina clicked the website closed and leaned back in her chair. Im worse than a kid, the way Im getting all excited about Christmas. But instead of it being just another day this year, its going to be special. She shut her eyes for a moment, thinking about what tasks needed to be completed before she could go home. Home Samantha
Tina was jolted awake by the sound of her bosss voice. W what?
It appears you were dozing. Vivian chuckled as she entered the office and sat down. Strenuous weekend?
Tina pulled her glasses off and rubbed her eyes. I umm we She unsuccessfully tried to keep a blush from rising to her face.
Its all right, dear, Vivian waved off her employees attempt at an explanation and winked at her. So, its safe to assume Samantha has completely recovered from her injuries?
Yes. If the enthusiastic response to finding those chocolate chip cookies is any indication, shes in tip-top shape.
Vivian watched a smile play across her friends face. And I take it you had a nice Thanksgiving?
We had dinner at my place and then we went to Samanthas for the weekend. The dark-haired woman started fiddling with a credit card that was lying on the desk. Shes brought such joy into my life, Viv. I never imagined that I could be this happy.
It feels good, doesnt it?
Yeah, Tina admitted. It feels so damn good its scary. How was your trip?
Typical Thanksgiving at my sisters. I just got back and wanted to stop by to see how youre doing before I went home.
Everythings going really well. Tina tapped out a rhythm with the credit card on the desk. But umm
Theres something I dont understand. If Im so happy, how come I keep getting all teary-eyed lately? I mean is that normal?
Love is a strong emotion. Its bound to bring a lot of different feelings to the surface. Vivian spoke gently. Id expect this to be an emotional time for you.
I guess that makes sense.
Seeing the beginnings of dark circles under her friends eyes, Vivian suspected there was more to Tinas tiredness than evenings filled with passion. Are you having nightmares again?
Umm I wasnt for a while, but after Samantha got in that car accident Tina shrugged.
Have you told her?
One of the benefits of being in a relationship is having someone to share things with. Especially the difficult things.
Shell worry. I dont want to upset her.
Shes going to worry about you whether you want her to or not. Vivian smiled. She loves you.
Tina looked down and her voice dropped to a whisper. Its hard to believe, isnt it?
Its not hard to believe at all. Vivian moved around the desk, placed a hand under her friends chin and tenderly tilted her face upward. She can see into your heart just like I can.
Blue eyes filled with tears and Tina threw her arms around the bosss waist, hugging her tightly.
Almost pulled off balance by the sudden embrace, Vivian leaned into the hug, stroking the sniffling womans hair and comforting her. You love her very much, dont you?
It was more a statement of fact than a question and Tina nodded in agreement.
Then everythings going to turn out fine, dear. You just need to give yourself time to accept all the changes youre experiencing.
Tina let go of Vivian and wiped her eyes with her shirtsleeve. See what I mean? Crying AGAIN!
Its good for you. The older woman patted Tinas cheek fondly. Cleanses the soul.
I suppose THAT couldnt hurt me any.
Both women laughed.
Vivian looked at the credit card and checkbook lying on the desk. Are you taking Samantha on a trip somewhere?
No. Tinas expression brightened dramatically. I ordered her Christmas present on the Internet. I needed to use the corporate card. She opened her checkbook and tore out the check she had already written. Ill save this for when the statement comes in.
The corporate card? Vivian raised her eyebrows. It must be something very expensive. Do you mind if I ask what it is?
Oh! Tina quickly grabbed a paper from next to her computer keyboard and, grinning from ear to ear, handed it to the boss.
Vivian opened the tattered-looking document that had obviously been folded and unfolded many times. My goodness thats quite a gift. Are you sure thats what she wants?
Yes, I think so. Im going to have it delivered here. I dont want Samantha knowing anything about it till Christmas.
While were on the subject of Christmas, please tell me that, for once, you wont insist on working during the holidays.
Im going to try to have everything done early. I already have the Y2K stuff taken care of and most of the information for the taxes for this year and
Im positive you have things covered, Tina. Vivian interrupted, well aware of her employees conscientiousness. Im not the least bit concerned about that.
Umm I was thinking, maybe Id take the week after Christmas off and spend time with Samantha.
Thats a SPLENDID idea! A week off? If Samantha only knew how much shes influenced this stubborn friend of mine. I havent been able to get her to take any kind of vacation since Dominic passed away. Would you like to go somewhere for New Years? Its awfully late to make arrangements, being the Millennium and all, but Im sure I could pull a few strings. You just name the place and Ill take care of it.
Thanks, Viv. Ill ask Samantha and see what she says.
Youre welcome. The boss handed the paper back to Tina and headed for the door. Im going to go home and unpack. Ill see you in the morning.
Bye, Vivian. Tina put her glasses on and studied the printout of the present she had chosen for her partner. Its going to be a special Christmas all right. And the Millennium New Years celebration to boot. Wonder where Samantha would like to go?
Hi, Sis! Sam came flying into the kitchen with an envelope in her hand. I got the pictures developed!
What pictures? Lisa slid a tray of chicken into the oven, closed the door, and set the timer.
Sam sat at the table and took out the photos. The ones from when Tina put the FSU flag up.
Oh, yeah. Lisa laughed and sat down next to Sam. Thats a day Mike will never forget.
There are some from Joshuas birthday party, too. Id forgotten they were on this roll of film. Sam handed each picture to her sister as she went through the stack. He loved getting that bike, didnt he?
He sure did, Lisa agreed, smiling at the snapshot of her youngest son sitting on the mountain bike hed wanted ever since being able to ride without training wheels. Hes so proud to have a big-boy bike now.
Here we go. Sam giggled as she passed the next photos to Lisa. Mike is taking the flag down. Look at the expression on his face!
Hes not a happy guy there.
This is my favorite. Sam held out the print of herself and Tina smiling at the camera.
Nice looking couple.
I think so, too. Sam continued to gaze at the picture.
Ahem are there any more?
Oh! Just one. Its another really good shot of Tina and me. Sam gave the photo to her sister.
I remember this. I snapped an extra one. And what a picture it is.
I umm wanted to talk to you about Christmas.
Uh oh. Lisa put the photo down and gave her sister her full attention. You talked to Mom?
No. Sam shook her head. Im going to wait a while before I do that. I think shes still in shock from Thanksgiving.
Thats probably true.
Well you know I always come over here Christmas morning and we exchange gifts before going to Moms for the family brunch.
Yes. And I have a feeling thats about to change.
Tina and I will be spending our first Christmas together at her place. I dont want to miss sharing the holiday with you guys, though, so I thought maybe we could visit with you on Christmas Eve. We can sing carols and open our presents Sam looked at Lisa anxiously. What do you think?
Sounds workable to me.
Thanks, Sis! Youre the BEST!
But what about Mom? Now that the relatives know youre gay she might invite you and Tina to the brunch.
Even if she does, were not going this year, Sam said determinedly. Weve already made plans.
Lisa grinned at her sister. Apparently, some of your partners assertiveness is rubbing off on you. And its wonderful to see.
Mom! Aaron ran into the room. Joshuas bothering me!
I am NOT! The smaller boy arrived just behind his brother.
Well, this seems to be the perfect time for me to leave. Sam put the pictures back in the envelope and started toward the door. Tina will be here soon.
Tinas coming? Joshs face lit up. Will you ask her to tuck me in tonight?
Sam glanced at Lisa, who nodded her approval. Sure I will, Josh.
Youre such a baby, Aaron taunted. Still getting tucked in.
I am NOT!
Yes, you ARE!
Aaron! Thats enough, Lisa warned her son sternly. Now, I want both of you to bring me your homework so I can check it before dinner.
The boys groaned as they turned and left the kitchen.
Lisa sighed. Were WE ever that annoying to each other?
Yes! You teased me incessantly.
The way I remember it, YOU bothered ME all the time.
The women laughed at their contradictory childhood memories.
I just hope Aaron and Josh end up as close as we are when they grow up. Sam hugged Lisa good-bye.
I hope so, too.
Ill talk to you later, okay?
Okay. Lisa watched from the doorway as Sam walked across to the garage apartment. My little sister is finally coming into her own. She smiled as she closed the door and leaned against it. And who wouldve ever thought Id have Tina Mellekas to thank for it?
Its going to be an interesting Christmas.
To be continued