Christmas With Family

Chirstmas With Family
Sequel to Flight To Paradise
By Sarah
Chapter 14

        Brian smiled at Sarah as they started cleaning up together.  She smiled back and looked back down at the plates she was rinsing before putting them in the dishwasher.  He bit his lip and handed her the last plate, then waited until she finished rinsing it off.  He watched as she turned off the water and dry off her hands before wrapping his arms around her waist from behind.  He kissed her neck lightly, trailing down her neck until he reached her collarbone.  He smiled as her head rolled to the side and a small moan came from her throat.  He sucked on her skin softly and ran his hands down her waist and to her hips, pushing her body back against him.  He felt her hands run down his arms and to his hands as she tried to pull away from him.
        "Brian, we have guests," she managed to say.
        Brian smiled and moved his kisses to her face, keeping his lips centimeters from hers.  "They arenít in this room at the moment, now are they?"  He asked hypothetically.  He kissed her, slowly turning her body towards his and hugging her.  He ran his fingers through her hair and deepened the kiss.
        "Whoa, nevermind!"  AJ said, coming in the kitchen, then hurrying out.
        Brian and Sarah broke apart and he looked at her before both of them started to laugh.
        "Oops, I think we might want to go join everyone else," Brian said.
        "Yeah, we might want to," Sarah said, moving away from him, her smile not disappearing. Brian took her hand and led her out into the living room, pulling her onto his lap in what heíd declared as Ďtheirí chair.
        "Ok, now that we have everyone here," Brianís mother started, looking at Sarah and Brian, who both blushed.
        "Mommy!  Now can we?"  Little Brian asked, running up to the two and jumping onto Sarahís lap.
        "Now can you what?"  Brian asked, looking at his sonís excited face, then at his wifeís smiling face as she held her finger to her lips.
        "Nothing, Brian.  Baby, why donít you let everyone digest their food, then we will, ok?"  Sarah said, fingering Brianís baby curls gently, threading them through her fingers.  Brian nearly laughed as his son nodded eagerly, grinning widely, and jumped off his wifeís lap and running back across the room to his grandmother.
        "As I was saying," the woman said, smiling as Brian climbed in her lap again.  "Now that we have everyone here, I suggest we catch up.  Such as, where on earth have you been for the last year, Howie?  Iíve heard nothing from you or anyone else for the longest time!"
        Howie laughed.  "Well, Iíve been in Europe with Sonya and little James, producing a Latin hits album and Sonya has been taking pictures of all the designs on the runways in Paris, Milan, and London.  Weíve been having fun, but we decided to both take a break while James grows up, maybe just staying in Orlando for a few years," he explained, smiling at his wife, and then down at the baby sleeping in his arms.  Brian couldnít help but smile at his friend, there was a happiness surrounding Howie and his family that was missing before, a happiness that showed just what had been missing to him for the years before he met Sonya.
        "James?  Did you by chance name him after our very own Alexander James McLean?"  Kevin asked, bouncing Courtney on his knee.
        "Indeed we did.  I couldnít let the world go without another AJ, even if it is only the middle name, my best friend is somewhere in there," Howie said, looking at AJ.
        AJ threw his hands up in the air.  "Well, ya know, youíre gonna make me cry!"  He said jokingly, pretending to wipe his eyes.
        Brian smiled.  "Look out, the water works are starting!"  He exclaimed.
        AJ tossed a pillow at him and Sarah caught it.  "Children, behave or youíre going to your rooms," she said, feigning seriousness, though Brian could see the smile threatening to show itself.
        "Yes, Mom," Brian and AJ chorused unhappily.  That was all it took for Sarahís smile to show, along with everyoneís laughter.
        "Ok, ok, now that Mommy Sarah has the room under control," Howie said, grinning in Sarahís direction.  "What about you, Bone, whatís been going on with you and Andrea and why is she not here?"  He asked.
        "Well, Andrea and I are fine, we have two kids and a third on the way.  The twins are Andrew and DJ, weíre hoping the next baby will be a girl.  Andrea didnít want to come on this trip, sheís in her sixth month and sheís convinced that she is as large as the Goodyear blimp," AJ explained calmly.
        "I know how that feels," Sarah, Sonya, and Elaina all said at the same time.  The three laughed.
        "I really do, not too long ago I was feeling that way," Sonya said, gently rubbing Jamesí head.
        "Me too," Sarah said, looking over at Katie who was being held by Brianís father.
        "I am feeling that way!"  Elaina exclaimed, rubbing her stomach.
        Everyone laughed.  "How far along are you, Elaina?"  AJ asked.
        "Iím in my eight month, I wasnít suppose to fly, but we had no choice.  I was not sitting in a car for a day and a half with those five, no way.  No offense, guys, I just canít be in a car for that long," Elaina said, gesturing to Brian, Sarah, Kevin, Brian, and Katie.
        "Totally understandable," Sarah said.  "Imagine Brian, his son, and me, pregnant to nearly nine months, in a car ride all day all over Florida.  Never again am I going to spend more than an hour in a car with them two," she said.
        Everyone laughed, then Brian stopped.  "Hey, wait a sec, youíre talking about me!"  He said, looking down at Sarah.
        "Yeah, and?"  Sarah asked innocently.
        Brian tickled her waist.  "Quiet, Miss Innocent, youíre sitting on my lap," he warned her, gathering her in his arms and picking her up.
        "Ahh, Brian, put me down!"  Sarah exclaimed, wrapping her arms around his neck.
Brian chuckled and set her down, pulling her close.  "I love you," he whispered in her ear.
        "Ok, now that the peanut gallery is done with their show," AJ said, raising his eyebrows to Brian.  Brian looked around the room, feigning ignorance.
        "What about the peanut gallery, though?  I havenít heard anything about any of you, whatís been going on with you two?"  Howie asked, interrupting AJ.
        Brian looked at him.  "Well, Brian turned five in July and Katie will turn one in February.  My company is doing great, we recently signed another group, and Sarah has been busy with the work for the duet sheís doing with AJís friend.  Thatís pretty much been our lives for the last year," Brian said, suddenly realizing what little lives he and Sarah really have because of their jobs and their children.  It wasnít that he regretted it, but heíd rather he and Sarah had more time together.
        "Wow, and what about you, Kevy-Kev, whatís been up with you and Laney, here?"  Howie asked, looking next to him at the two.
        "Well, Courtney here is seven, and the little boy Iím going to have is going to be born in about a month," Elaina said, rubbing her stomach.
        "You found out it was a boy?"  Sarah asked.
        "Correction, she thinks itís a boy, she wants it to be a boy, but we donít know if it will be a boy," Kevin said.
        "It will, I know it, and heís going to look just like you," Elaina insisted, shaking her finger at Kevin.  Brian chuckled at his cousinís expression, he always gave in to Elaina, she had a way with making him give in.
        "And what about you, Nicky boy, how come youíre so quiet?  What have you been up to?  And whereís Sheryl?"  Howie asked cheerfully, not catching the looks from everyone in the room.  Brian felt Sarahís muscles tense and looked at Nick, watching his already pained face turn into one of torture.
        "UmmÖI think I better put Maggie to bed," Nick said quickly, standing up and picking Maggie up off the floor.  He hurried out of the room with her, holding back tears.
        "Iíll be right back," Sarah said, pushing herself up from Brianís lap and running after Nick.  Brian sighed and shook his head, rubbing his eyes with the heels of his hands.
        "Whoa, ok, what did I say?"  Howie asked after a few minutes, looking around bewilderedly.
        "There isnít any easy way to say this, so we should just say it," Brianís mother said.
        "Sheryl left Nick and Maggie, Howie, sheís gone," Brian said.
        Howieís mouth dropped open.  "Wha-I mean, whenÖoh my, is Nick ok?"  He asked, starting to hand James to Sonya and stand up.
        "Howie, wait," AJ said, holding out his hand.  Howie sat back down and AJ took a deep breath.  "Nick is taking this hard, very hard, and right now, the only thing that he needs is time and for us to support him.  Just be there for him, donít force him to talk, just let him be."
Howie nodded solemnly and Brian sighed. Looking towards the doorway as Sarah came back in the room, wiping her eyes.  Brian could tell sheíd been crying, though she was doing a fairly good job at covering it up, heíd always been able to tell when she was crying.
        "Mommy?"  Little Brian asked from the floor.
        "Hey, baby," Sarah said, forcing a smile on her face and picking him up.  Brian smiled at his wife and son, watching as Sarah hugged him tightly, rocking back and forth.
        "Mommy, can we now?"  He asked.
        Sarah nodded.  "Sure, baby, tell Daddy what weíre going to do," she said, setting him down on the ground.
        "Daddy, me and Mommy are going to sing a pretty Christmas song," Brian said excitedly.
Sarah laughed as she walked to the piano sitting in the corner of the living room.  "Tell him what its called, Brian," she said.
        "Candid Like Carob," Brian said proudly as he walked over to his mother.
        Brian tried his hardest not to laugh and was rewarded by Sarahís amused smile.  "Brian, baby, I think you mean Candlelight Carol," she said quietly.
        "Thatís what I said, Candid Like Carob," Brian insisted, climbing on the piano bench.  Brian let out a small chuckle and glanced at his mother, whose shoulders were shaking with laughter as she looked next to her at her husband.  Brianís father was doing much the same, trying hard to hold in laughter.
        "Ok, are you ready?"  Little Brian asked, finally comfortable on the piano bench.  "Ok, Mommy, theyíre ready, letís start," he said hurriedly before anyone could answer him.
        Sarah smiled and kissed Brian on the top of his head before carefully lifting the cover off the top of the keys.  "And now, as my son says, Candid Like Carob," Sarah said.  Brian smiled as his wife started playing, then Brian started singing.

How do you capture the wind on the water?
How do you count all the stars in the sky?
How can you measure the love of a mother?
And how can you write down a babyís first cry?

        Brian felt like cheering as his son stopped, and then Sarah joined in with him.

Candle light,
Angel light,
Fire light and star glow.
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn.
Gloria, Gloria,
In Excelsis Deo.
Angels are singing, the Christ child is born.

        Brian felt his already wide smile grow even wider and started clapping as Sarah finished the chords and looked down at her son.  Brian only knew that theyíd sung together beautifully, and that   Sarah was right, Brian could sing.  And he had a wonderful voice, at that.
        "Brian, honey, that was so good!"  Brianís mother exclaimed, crossing the room to her grandchild.
        "Thank you, Gramma," Brian said graciously, giving his grandmother a hug.  Brian stood and walked over to Sarah, taking her hands in his as she closed the piano cover.
        "I think the accompanist deserves some recognition as well," he said quietly.
        Sarah smiled and looked in his eyes.  "I get recognition from you everytime I look in your eyes and see the same person I fell in love with eight years ago," she said quietly.
        Brianís smile softened and he leaned forward, kissing her gently, then leaning his forehead on hers.  He sighed as he heard the phone ringing.
        "Who on earth could that be?"  His mother said, standing up.  Brian heard her walking to the kitchen, then heard the doorbell ring.
        "Argg, Iíll get it," Sarah said, letting go of Brianís hands and standing up.  He sat back against the piano as the two women both let out excited shrieks.
        "Jane!"  They both said.  Brianís mother hurried past the living room as he stood and to the front door, holding the portable phone.  Brian walked to the front door and saw his wife engaging in a hug with Jane, Nickís mother.
        "Oh, itís so good to see you!"  Sarah said, moving to Bob, Janeís husband and Nickís father.  Brian smiled as Sarah led the two inside, letting in a tall blond guy.
        "Aaron, my goodness!"  Sarah said, closing the door behind him.
        Aaron grinned, making Brian think instantly of his brother.  "Hey, Sarah."
        Brian chuckled as Aaron bent down slightly to hug Sarah.  He was just about as tall as his brother, probably falling right below Nickís six-foot, two-inch frame.  He looked back towards the living room as everyone joined them in the foyer.
        "Jane, Bob, Aaron, what brings you three here?"  Kevin asked, greeting the three.
        "Honestly, Kevin, its Christmas, thereís no way we could miss out on Christmas with everyone," Jane said, shrugging off her coat.  Brian took it from her, hanging it in the hall closet.  He followed everyone to the living room, pulling Sarah on his lap in their chair as they listened to Jane and Bobís stories.

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