Claire Kinney's POV
A/N: Lightly inspired by the movie Home For The Holidays.
Disclaimer:I own nothing but this story
Comments are love.
-Three Days Before Thanksgiving-
"Fuck YOU," I lash out at the middle aged man who just stormed into my office cubical letting me know I shouldn't bother coming back to work after the Three day Holiday break because he'd just fired my ass, just like that with no warning. "Just out of curiosity, tell me, I need to know," I stare at him "Is it because your WIFE found out about our relationship?"
"Who says it was a relationship?" He answer me bitterly, not even looking back at me. So it that all I was to you? Just a fuck? A thought crosses my mind but I'm too tired and annoyed to even answer. I grab my warn out coat and bag from the chair, takes another final look around my cubical and steps outside into the cold evening, rushing to catch the bus.
When I finally get back home and go into the kitchen to start on dinner my Mom is calling.
"Why the angry tone? Is something wrong? " Saint Joan asks in a fake sweat voice once I reluctantly pick up the phone.
"Oh… nothing much is happening, considering I've just been told I got fired," I answer sharply.
"Don't say I didn't warn you," Mommy dearest scolds in my ear. "I warned you not to be messing around with your boss didn't I?…"
My patience is wearing thin as she continues to drill in my ear and I have no choice but to cut her mid sentence. "I don't have to explain everything to you mother,"
"Well what about your boys? John is almost Fifteen isn't he? And Peter is what..Thirteen? Don't you think your sons deserves a stable home?"
"Oh, like the one I had when I was their age?" I just can't seem to hold back any longer.
"Have you been talking with your BROTHER lately? Looks like some of his attitude has rubbed off on you," She hisses.
"For your information I haven't been speaking with Brian in ages. I don't think he even cares about any of us but I can't say I blame him," I answer, struggling to keep my composure.
I can't deny I always had a soft spot for my older brother. Growing up Brian and I always had to carry the burden of living with an abusive alcoholic father and an emotionally crippled mother. I kept quite, fell behind , did poorly in school and later dropped out and married my good-for-nothing ex husband while Brian forged ahead, excelled in school, stayed with our next door neighbor Mrs. Novoteny almost every day after school and then one day left home to go to college and never returned. I knew Brian moved on and was doing well in life because I always heard my dad –during his endless drunken rants- talk about how Brian is now a very wealthy man who works in the city but would never give his family one red cent.
I always wished I could get up and run away from everything like Brian did but those wishes never got me anywhere especially after father passed away and I was the one who had to attend to mom's every need.
"Claire? Are you there?" Mother's voice brings me back to reality.
"Yeah, " I answer absently "Look, I've got to go now. I'll be in touch later this week," I try my best to sound polite.
"What about Thanksgiving?" Mother keeps nagging just before I hang up the phone.
"What about it?" I let out a sigh.
"Will you be spending it with me?" she asks.
"I already told you we won't be coming this year. The boys just want to stay home and I don't feel like arguing with them," I answer impatiently.
Mom lets out an angry huff and I know it's time to end this conversation before she starts preaching me about Christian family values.
My head is spinning but I try to resist the temptation to grab the bottle of Vodka that's standing in the kitchen cabinet. The one thing I would NEVER do is turn to the bottle same way both my parents –and indeed my older brother- did whenever they were trying to make the pain go away. I start making dinner, then tidy up the living room but then John and Peter storm in from outside.
"What's for dinner?" John asks.
"Mac and Cheese," I answer absently ordering him and his brother to set the table in the tiny dining area. John shrugs his shoulders and turn his back to me, throwing himself into the sofa in the living room.
"I'll do it mom," Peter says.
"What's with him?" I ask Peter as I place the food on the table.
"Don't tell her," John hisses from the living room.
"Don't tell me what?" I can't help but ask.
"Dad called…" Peter almost whispers.
THAT bastard. What could HE possibly want now?
"And?..." I ask.
"He wants us to spend Thanksgiving with him," Peter explains matter of factly.
"And?..." I press on, my heart suddenly beating faster.
"We're going to stay with him. He'll be picking us up first thing tomorrow morning," John informs dryly.
"But you said you just wanted to hang around the house on Thanksgiving and play video games all day…" I almost plead for mercy before my teen age boys.
"Yeah… ya know" John mumbles as he gets up from the table to go to his room without even clearing his plate off the table.
_ _ _ _ _
"Have fun boys," I tell them one more time when they leave the house, their back packs slung over their shoulders.
"We'll call you when we get there," Peter promise, looking a bit reluctant to leave.
"Come on let's go," John urges his younger brother "You know dad doesn't like to wait too long in the car," I shrug my shoulders thinking Greg could have picked the boys up from our drive way instead of waiting for them around the corner. The scumbag.
I wave one more time and go inside. My phone rings. Again.
Mother is not too happy to hear the boys went to their father's for the holiday. "It's just me all alone, then," she says "You can come by here after all," she continues. "I've made green gell-o salad and a Marshmallow and Pumpkin pie by the way, I know it's your favorite," she adds in that overly sweet tone of voice. I dread the idea of spending Thanksgiving dinner with mom but since I have no other place to be I might as well just go there for a while and be done with it.
I rush into the kitchen to get the frozen Turkey breasts, mashed potatoes and stuffing out of the freezer, hectically sticking everything into the Microwave. I'd bought the food in advance as the holiday meal for the boys and myself but it would be more than enough for Saint Joan and me. Once mom starts drinking she doesn't care much about food anyway.
I finish the preparations in the kitchen, grab my coat and all the bags and go out into the cold to catch the bus to mother's house. It's pouring rain and starts to snow. By the time I get there I feel like shit not to mention soaking wet from head to toe.
"Look what the cat dragged in," A familiar voice welcomes me as I drag my feet into the kitchen with my bags of food.
"Brian??? What the fuck ate YOU doing here?" I almost chuckle. Just when I thought this day can't get any worst. What were the odds Brian would actually drive all the way here from the city to be with US on Thanksgiving?
I take one look at him and shrug. Apart from being the bright successful sibling Brian was the one who obviously took all the good genes from both our parents. Jack Kinney was a fucking bastard but he was quite good looking when he was young. Old Saint Joan had the Irish charm to her before she became a cold hearted bitch and Brian clearly got his strong facial features and amber colored eyes from her.
"And where did you get these? " I snort at him, pointing at his long luxurious camel colored wool coat and black cashmere scarf. "Got a rich fiancé somewhere? Is she pretty?" I continue asking. Brian pulls his lips inward and raises an eyebrow.
"Why the long face big brother?" I sneer at him, pulling the plastic food containers out of the bags, slamming them on the kitchen counter. "What'd you expect? Did you think you could disappear for ages leaving me behind and then waltz back in here just in time for Thanksgiving as if nothing ever happen? Where were you when we needed money to get by? Where were you at dad's funeral? Where were you when mom kept ranting to me that she's staying at home by herself all day and the phone never rings? Where were you when she started insisting I take her to the hairdresser every week, to church twice a day?" My voice almost trails off.
"Umm… Why won't we just sit down to eat? I'm kinda starving," An unfamiliar voice cuts the silence after a brief awkward pause. I didn't even notice there was another person in the room with us.
"Who the hell are you?" I turn around and frown.
"Justin.. this is my sister Claire," Brian eventually speaks before I have a chance to answer. "Claire this is…Justin," he turns to the younger blond man who's dressed in a tight form fitting dark jeans and a pale blue cashmere sweater that's complimenting his fair skin and deep blue eyes.
"I'm Justin Taylor, pleased to meet you," the young man then says in a WASP-ish tone, extending his hand towards me. I nod without a smile. "Let's eat," I say without much fanfare.
_ _ _ _
-An Hour Later-
"Dinner was great," Justin says after we finish eating in silence.
"No it wasn't but I guess you felt obliged to say it anyway," I answer him bluntly, noticing the looks my brother and Justin exchanged between them.
By that point mother is not even pretending to host the dinner. After she downed the entire bottle of Jim Beam Brian brought along she barely drugs herself upstairs to her bedroom where she falls asleep right away.
"Okay, I better clear the table and start doing the dishes, " I say.
"I'll help you," Justin offers.
"It's very kind of you but if you don't mind I think I'd like my BROTHER to help me in the kitchen," I stare at Brian and he's got no choice but to follow me there.
"So what do you have to say for yourself?" I ask Brian once we we soak the dishes in the sink.
"Nothing," Brian shrugs, fidgeting with the wash cloth.
"You're going to have to do better than that to explain to me where the hell you've been all those years," I say bluntly.
"I've been around… I worked at a big advertising agency and now I have my own firm," Brian answers. " Dad even came to visit me once or twice at work and at my loft whenever his gambling debts almost got the better of him. The fucking bastard. Did he ever tell you that I gave him a large sum of money every month?" he pulls his lips inward, giving me a cold look.
"No… no he never did," I answer, clutching the kitchen towel "S.. sorry Brian," I continue.
"Sorry's bullshit," Brian hisses. "I never even wanted to come here. It's Justin who convinced me to be the better person and call mommy dearest to wish her a happy Thanksgiving and it was his idea we'd stop by here for dinner before going to visit Debbie and her family," his voice suddenly softens.
"I remember how you used to spend almost every day at Debbie's house. I could actually understand why you spent so much time there…" I tell him, noticing how his gaze is drifting away to look for Justin who sits in the living room watching the Television.
"Who is this guy anyway?" I whisper at Brian. "Do you know anything about him? Is… he your friend? Do you work together?"
"We don't work together but… I guess you could say we live together. He's my partner. I'm a gay man and Justin is my lover. We've been together for almost Ten years," Brian replies without as much as a flinch.
"Ten years?" I chuckle "Did dad know?" I then ask.
"What difference does it make?" Brian raises an eyebrow at me and I shrug. "Well if you really want to know dad actually barged into my loft one time after knocking on my door for twenty minutes driving me crazy. He apparently needed more money and had no one to turn to. I was just fucking Justin's brain's out when Jack started knocking on my door. I couldn't care less if Pop would end up living in the streets but Justin convinced me to open the door for him and give him a few bucks and so as luck would have it Jack and Justin were introduced sort of speak…"
"And how did he take it?" I ask.
"What do you think? He punched me right in the face. Twice to be exact. Maybe he thought he would give me two for the road for old time sake or maybe-in his own twisted homophobic mind- he'd figured he could beat the gay out of me or something, " Brian answers sarcastically. "So does that answer your questions 'lil sis…?" he asks with his tongue stuck inside his cheek, throwing the dish towel at me walking out of the kitchen.
"Come on, let's get the hell outte here," Brian looks away from me and walks toward Justin who's still seated on the sofa surrounded by mother's decorative pillows. "Debbie's probably expecting us. We'll stop by there for coffee and then head on home and not a moment too soon"" He tells him, his voice dropping an octave.
"Sounds like a nice plan," Justin answers and for the first time today I notice his beaming smile "But the roads are closed due to heavy snow until tomorrow morning," he informs.
"Hell No!" Brian and I blur out almost in unison, both of us dread the idea of spending few extra moments-let alone an entire night- in our parents house. Way too many painful memories.
"It would be fun to fuck in your old room for a change Brian," Justin smirks.
I shrug instinctively but then turn to Justin to explain my reaction, making sure he understood I wasn't rejecting the idea of him having sex with my brother but rather the idea of them doing it in Brian's grim looking childhood room.
_ _ _ _ _
-Early Morning, the next day-
"Did you sleep well 'lil sis?" Brian snorts at me as we go downstairs for a quick breakfast in mom's kitchen while we're waiting for the snow to clear so we could go back home.
"Not at all," I answer. "You two were really busy last night and rather noisy I might add," I smile at them and hand them a plate of pancakes I've just made.
"Do you think your mom heard us?" Justin grins at Brian, sipping from his coffee mug.
"Fuck if I care," Brian says. He pulls Justin closer and presses both their lips together in a deep noisy kiss.
"Mother… " I almost choke as the old women appears in the kitchen wearing her night gown and slippers.
Justin pulls back from Brian and smiles sheepishly but that doesn't softens up mother's death glare.
"What was THAT Brian?" she finally asks in a stone cold voice.
"It's called a KISS mother," Brian answers. "Have you ever heard of such a thing ? It's usually performed when two people express their love to each other with a…"
"That's enough!" Joan cuts Brian mid sentence.
"Did you know about this Claire?" she turns to me and I nod silently for yes. "Did your father know Brian?" she then asks and Brian nods 'yes'.
"So I'm the only one who didn't know?" she asks sharply. Brian shrugs but stays silent.
"I hope you know it's a sin," Joan then preaches.
"That I fuck guys or that I didn't tell you?" Brian snorts.
"You can make all the jokes you want Brian but the bible makes it clear; You're going to hell!" she presses her lips together a thin line and I literally feel sick to my stomach. "If you want to keep staying here over the weekend there would have to be some rules you would have to abide by Brian. I simply can't let you stay here with… him," she rolls her eyes and looks away from Justin.
I can almost feel Brian and Justin's pain as they keep sitting there. Justin sniffs his nose as if he's about to cry but then turns to Brian mouthing 'fucking allergies,'.
"And as for you Claire, I suggest you go ahead and drive me to church. I'd hate to miss today's service," she orders me.
"May I remind you I don't have a car mother," I answer "But you could always ask Brian to drive you," I reply bluntly.
"Is reverent what's-his-face still there?" Brian wonders. "What a joke," he huffs bitterly, turning to Justin to whisper something in his ear as they both apparently exchange a private joke.
"That's it, I've had it!" Mother lashes out. "Are you coming Claire? You better start helping me get ready to church. I don't want to be late,"
"NO Mother, I have had it," I raise my voice at her. "Brian is not a kid and neither do I. It's time you start realizing that. You can't control us and you won't tell us what to do or how to feel. I've HAD it with ya, do you hear me? That's NOT love, That's hate. I can't take it anymore!" I stop and try to compose myself. I get up from the kitchen table and take a look out the window as I try to even my breath. "Looks like the snow has cleared off, " I turn to my brother and his boyfriend. "There's quite a bit of traffic too so we better get on our way. John and Peter are supposed to be back from their father's later today and I think I'd like for you to meet them, so are you coming?"
"The hell we are, " Brian smiles at me "We can drop you off at your place but we won't be able to stay," he explains on our way to his Jeep.
"Why not?" I ask, a bit disappointed.
"We have a flight to catch back to New York City," Justin explains.
"D..do you live in New York City?" My jaw almost drops.
"Indeed we do. Justin owns an art studio and a gallery in SoHo now and I've opened a branch of my advertising agency Kinnetik there," Brian says.
"We have an amazing apartment in Chelsea, you would love it there Claire," Justin exclaims.
"You should really take the boys and come visit us. I'll pay for everything. I feel I owe you this much," Brian says and now I feel it's my turn to sniff my nose to fight the tears.
"It's too much really, You've already done more than enough Brian," I tell him.
"There's no such thing as enough," Brian smiles.
"I should know," Justin adds with a wink.
"So?... What'd you say? Should I book you the tickets for Christmas? It's wonderful out there this time of year. Plus Debbie and the gang would spend Christmas with us as well so… the more the merrier," Brian says.
"I guess it's a yes. Wait 'till I tell my boys. They'll be beside themselves," I reply.
"Good, I'll make a few calls first thing Monday morning," Brian states "And then you would REALLY be home for the holidays,"
"Thank you so much guys, that would mean a lot to me Brian," I mutter, reaching my arms out to hug my brother and his long time beautiful lover.