Sunday, December 24, 2017

Lost Tales: The 12 Nuts of Christmas, Part 10 - LIam

It was a pleasant December afternoon, as Liam was pacing back and forth in front of the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Ballroom. It was a clear day and the sun was shining and it wasn’t very cold. But he had been pacing back and forth for so long that he had practically created his own groove in the side walk. He had arrived at noon, and it was now coming up on three O’clock. And he had been pacing back and forth, back and forth that whole time.

Finally his watch went off, and he looked around, right on schedule he could see Larka coming around the corner. Her long trench coat covered up most of her body but she still managed to look beautiful in the cold air. He only afforded himself a moment before he pulled his hood up over his head. He didn’t want her to spy him and try to avoid him. She was here to see him, she just didn’t know about it yet.

Larka walked calmly down the street, she had dressed professionally as she was instructed and was looking forward to an easy assignment. Forty Thousand dollars worth of easy actually. All she had to do was accompany a man for an evening, and then he would give her a bracelet at the end of the night. And all she had to do was take it back to the person that hired her. Simple and easy she couldn’t wait.

As she approached the rendezvous location she noticed a man standing in front of the hotel, a definite pacing imprint had filled the sidewalk to imply he had been there for a long time. She hoped she wasn’t late, as she approached the man she put on her million dollar rehearsed smile and spoke softly. “Excuse me, sir? I think I am here to meet with you?” she asked calmly.

Liam gulped hard and turned to look at her taking his hood off of his head and smiling sheepishly. “Hi Larka...” he said nervously.

Before he could finish larka grabbed him by the arm and quickly pulled him out of sight. “What are you doing here? Didn’t we agree that you would not interfere with my Job!” she scolded as firmly as she thought she could without really hurting his feelings. “I’m meeting a client now get out of here!” she scolded again looking around to make sure the client wasn’t already there.

“I know your meeting a client Larka, I am…” Liam started but was cut off.

“If you know then please get out of here!” she said trying not to hurt his feelings but trying to not loose an easy job either. “The client could be here any minute now go!”

Liam was starting to visibly shake now with nerves as he blurted out “I’m the client! It’s me… your meeting me!” he said hoping she would believe me.

Larka blinked and sighed, tilting her head a bit. “I don’t believe you, you know” she said rather annoyed.

Liam cleared his throat “your to meet a man to go to a family event, and at the end of the evening he will give you a bracelet, your being paid forty thousand dollars for your trouble and were instructed to use the call sign of Marie… how am I doing?” he asked nervously.

Larka was glaring at him rather annoyed now “Look, I know your worried about me and all but this is going too far, you can’t spy on me and find out the details of my job and then try and stand in!” she demanded.

Liam sighed “this isn’t working” he thought quickly then forehead slapped himself hard enough to leave a red hand print. He immediately dug into his pocket and pulled out the bracelet, the bracelet he was going to give her as a Christmas present at the end of the evening. “Here, Merry Christmas… you’ll find it’s the exact bracelet that you are supposed to pick up from your clients contact. I am your client… and your contact, I hired you… please don’t be mad!” he said on the verge of panic attack.

Larka did not react the way that Liam thought she would, he figured that there would be two possible outcomes. Outcome number One: She would realize he was telling the truth and be flattered, or, Outcome Number Two: she would not believe him and get even more angry. As it turns out Outcome Number Three, was a hybrid of the two. Larka’s eyes glared as she grabbed Liam by the jacket collar and slammed him against the wall not hard enough to hurt him, but hard enough as she growled out “You spent 40,000 dollars to get me to escort you to something!”

Liam after his head cleared smiled a bit. “Not exactly… I kind of stole the identity of one… Alan Ucard, along with his Visa card. I did a cash advance in his name and deposited the money in the account for you… it’s all paid up, and Alan knows about it. its part of our agreement, he doesn’t come near anyone, and I screw him over as often as humanly possible and he doesn’t do a thing to stop me, or I kill him.” Liam smiled happily.

Larka couldn’t help but laugh as she let him go, he fell about 8 inches to the
ground and stood up surprised at how strong she was. “I doubt Alan is ok with this and you are playing with fire you know, you should stop that.”

“I know” smiled Liam, “But I really wanted you to be here tonight and this seemed like the only fair way to do it.”

Larka looked at him sideways then up at the hotel. “Ok… Why are we here anyways?”

Liam swallowed again “this is my families yearly Christmas party… we rented the entire ballroom.”

Larka laughed a bit as her annoyance at the situation lessened a bit. “You could have just asked me to come you know… you didn’t have to pay me for this!” she seemed a bit annoyed.

Liam smirked a bit and gave a nervous laugh “you may feel differently after meeting my family.” He stood up off the wall and offered her his arm. “Will you accompany me to my family Christmas Party please Larka?”

Larka shook her head and rolled her eyes then took his arm “yes but we need to have a discussion about the proper way to go about getting me to come to something with you.” She said with a grin and kissed his cheek. “Pain in the ass” she said with a smile.

Liam smirked and blushed at the kiss as he escorted her to the elevator “Oh just wait… you think I’m bad… you haven’t seen anything yet.”

Larka rolled her eyes as the elevator stopped “I’m sure they can’t be that bad.”

It was at that moment that the doors opened, and Larka viewed what looked like a family of a thousand all turn to look at the elevator and in unison yell “Liam!”

The evening itself was kind of like a circus in dress clothes. Larka got to meet Liam's direct family, all 14 of them, from Liam's father and mother all the way down to his older brothers and sisters. She was surprised at just how much his family still treated him like he was 12, even though he was in his mid 20’s.

She got to meet his extended family, the cousin that raises large dangerous reptiles as pets, the cousin who carried an assault rifle into the family gathering, the cousin that only speaks in computer code, and the cousin who in a drunken stupor tried to convince Liam that drinking is a mind set, and no matter how much your body tries to tell you not to keep drinking you have to just push through it and take that next drink.*

Larka got to meet his aunts and uncles, a weird assortment of never ending characters ranging from military men, to alcoholic accountants. Or uber religious women, to women who openly argued that Christmas was a sham created by the Illuminate to bring us all in one place and one mind set each year so we can buy stuff for other people and finance the new world order.

The part that she seemed to enjoy the most though was during a point where her and Liam got separated, he was dragged out into the middle of some family game that seemed to resemble a hybrid of volleyball, baseball, hockey, basketball, and martial arts all rolled into one. After a while she realized it was just an excuse for grown men to trample one another. But during that point she felt a firm hand grab hers and pull her aside. She turned to see a surprisingly healthy looking old woman with pure white hair dragging her aside. “Hello Larka, I am Liam's grandmother” she said with a firm smile.

Larks smiled and shook her hand “pleased to meet you ma’am”

“And you as well” she said before looking around then smiled in manner that removed all firmness and tension from the situation. “I just wanted to thank you for being here with Liam today, it meant a lot to him. I know you two aren’t exactly a ‘thing’ but I know he likes you and I know you care about him. I just wanted to say that I am glad you’re here, and I know he is as well.” The old woman pulled Larka in close and gave her a nice sturdy hug, one that defied the woman’s age before letting her go.

Larks grinned and smiled “Thank you, you have a wonderful family and everyone has been very nice to me.” In the back ground Liam could be seen flying through the air as he had just been rammed full force in the new football portion of the game.

Liam's grandmother smiled and nodded. “We do have quite a few characters around here don’t we. And poor Liam has always been so gentle and meek, I’m glad he has a strong woman like you to look after him. And seeing as how you are a lycanthrope, I feel even more confident that you can keep him out of trouble.”

Larka’s eyes bulged out of her head for a moment as she turned to look at the old woman, who was smiling broadly at the young woman’s surprise. “How did you…” was all she managed to get out, in her surprised state.

Liam's grandmother smiled and patted her on the shoulder. “You don’t get to look this way dear without picking up a few things. You may be immortal, and young and strong forever, but growing old teaches you some things, and helps you to see things that you couldn’t even when you were young. Besides, it’s quite obvious, you have the physique and demeanor of a Lycan, judging from your graceful motions, your dedication to Liam, and the almost noble way you carry yourself I would say a wolf, possibly a bear but I would put money on wolf.” Said the elderly woman with a proud grin.

Larks just stood there with her mouth open staring completely confused. “And… your OK with this?” she asked nervously.

The older woman smiled and leaned in hugging Larka. “Oh yes, he needs someone like you to keep him in line, and to be there for him, and your secret is safe with me.” She said with a trustworthy wink.

Larka just looked at the woman and smiled shaking her head trying to process everything that had happened. The older woman wrapped her arm around her shoulder and smiled “You’ll get used to things around here I’m sure” they both turned to see Liam flip head over heels and land on a pile of other people whom had been discarded to the side lines during the rugby portion of the event.

Later that evening, the whole family was gathered around a Huge lit Christmas tree, but lit in the oldest fashion possible, with real bee’s wax candles. No fire hazard there, no not at all! Everyone was sitting down and singing Christmas carols, Larka and Liam were near the back with Liam sitting on the floor icing his elbow and Larka sitting behind him with her arm around his shoulder. After a few carols she playfully tugged him to his feet and pulled him out into the hall way.

“What’s up?” asked Liam a bit concerned that something had happened, or that she hadn’t had a good time. His fears were quickly alleviated though when Larka turned to him with a smile.

“I just wanted to thank you, I had a wonderful time tonight, even though I didn’t like watching you get hurt” she said with an honest smile.

Liam blushed a bit and shifted his ice pack “Thanks, and thanks for coming, I am really glad you could be here with me” he said with a warm smile. “But why did you have to drag me out here to tell me this.”

Larka grinned and leaned in a bit to Liam and whispered into his ear. “Look up.” She said with a smile. Liam looked up to see hanging from the ceiling an old fashioned ornamental mistletoe. He blushed a bit as he looked back at Larka. She smiled at him and rubbed her nose against his, then leaned in and kisses him. Softly and tenderly, holding him close and comforting his badly bruised body.

Back in the main hall Liam’s grandmother, who was no where near the hall way, or even anywhere close to being able to see where Liam and Larka were currently or where they were before smiled softly, and whispered to herself. “I like her.”
*Based on real family members.

Larka is the property of RubyRain and used with permission.

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