So, let’s follow up that phone call from last year, shall we?
This Special takes place sometime after that, but before Christmas itself. It’s 2009 I think, so sometime around the 20th (a Sunday.)
Home for the Holidays? –A USM Christmas Special
“How did you talk me into this?” Lynda asked Misha.
Standing next to her on the small porch that led to the humble home of Lynda’s stepfather in western New York, snow gently falling around them, Misha shifted the crock dish she was holding. Using her now free hand to hold Lynda’s, she replied, “Because you know it’s the right thing to do~.”
Lynda turned to Misha and pouted, the porch’s Christmas lights seemingly absorbed by her long black hair, “As Will would say, ‘curse your damnable logic’.”
Misha grinned and turned to the door, “Shall we~?”
Lynda sighed, nodded, and rang the doorbell, warily eyeing the simple glass door that stood vigil in front of the slightly more ornate wooden door behind it.
A few seconds later the inside door opened and Will Benson appeared in the doorway, wearing a black apron depicting a woman in power armor and captioned “You Gonna Get Purged.”
“Good afternoon,” he said, “Come on in.”
Will stood aside and Lynda opened the glass door, allowing Misha to step inside. Closing her eyes and breathing deeply, Lynda followed.
Will took the dish from Misha, who shook the snow off her long brown hair as the inside warmth brought the feeling back to her bare legs; Misha didn’t like stockings.
“Thanks for having us over~!” Misha chirped.
“Thanks for the potatoes,” Will said, “I’ll take this to the kitchen. Mom and Dad are in the living room, so I’ll be there in a sec.”
“Right,” Lynda said, taking off her coat and also shaking the snow out of her hair, her dress-covered legs still appreciating the newfound warmth, “and thanks for cooking dinner.”
Will shrugged and turned around, “I wouldn’t call making sure everything heats through as cooking, but you’re welcome.”
Will withdrew into a nearby side door, leaving the two women in a small hallway surrounded by several open door thresholds.
Lynda rolled her eyes and turned to Misha, “The living room is on the right. The main door down the hall leads to another hall that leads to the bedrooms and bathrooms. The second door on the left there is the dining room, which you can get to through the kitchen as well, which is obviously the door he just left through. Post-war housing through and through, pretty much.”
“They’re waiting~,” Will called from the kitchen.
Lynda sighed and turned to the proper doorway, “Ready?”
Lynda sighed again, straightened herself up, tensed her shoulders, and stiffly walked into the living room. Trying not to smirk at her efforts to put on a brave front, Misha followed.
The living room was, like the hallway, functional, tasteful, and simple in its décor and furniture. Several lounge chairs and a couch were circled around a hearth, where a small fire was crackling and sizzling away. Along the wall on the left were several bookshelves, while a shelf along the right wall under a small cabinet was adorned with framed photos, pins, ribbons, patches, and medals.
Arrayed in chronological order from left to right, the oldest of the items looked to be from the War of 1812, with the newest from the Iraq War. The right side of the shelf had a line of photos of men in uniform, starting from around the Civil War to sometime in the preceding decade, where women started to join the line of images.
Distracted by the display, Misha failed to notice Mr. Benson and Mrs. Long, who were standing by the fire to greet them. Lynda had immediately bolted for her stepfather, grabbing him in a tight hug that made him grunt. The grunt snapped Misha back to the present situation, and she turned to face the two parents.
“Merry Christmas, Dad!” Lynda chirped.
Returning the hug, Mr. Benson said, “Merry Christmas. How have you been?”
“Fine,” Lynda said. Reluctantly pulling away from the hug, she added, “Exams were a pain in the… neck, but I did pretty well. NYU is tough, but nothing I can’t handle.”
Mr. Benson smirked, “Good to hear. Hey, Misha, how’re you?”
Mish bowed in greeting and chirped, “Very well, thank you for asking. Merry~ Christmas~! Merry~ Christmas~ Mrs. Long!”
“Merry Christmas,” Mrs. Long returned, “I’m glad you made it before the weather made things problematic.”
“It’s not snowing that hard,” Lynda stated, “Hi, Mom.”
The two looked at each other, unsure of what to say next, if anything. Mr. Benson glanced at the two women, then to Misha.
“Can I take your coats?” he asked.
“I got it,” Will declared from the threshold.
Lynda started and wheeled around to face him, “You need a bell around your neck.”
“And you need to relax,” Will retorted.
“My grandparents made me wear a bell~,” Misha stated as she took off her coat to hand to Will, “But they were practically~ deaf, so they needed the help~.”
“That is possibly the most adorable thing you’ve ever said,” Lynda stated.
“Least you know what to get her for Valentine’s Day,” Will quipped.
Lynda growled and tossed her coat at him, hitting him in the face.
“Do you feel better now?” Will asked.
“A little,” Lynda admitted.
“Fair enough. I’ll be back with some eggnog.”
Will pulled the coat off his face, readjusted his glasses, and left the room.
Once he was gone Mr. Benson took a seat in one of the chairs. Following his lead, Mrs. Long sat next to him in one of the available chairs, and Misha guided a still slightly tense Lynda into the couch across from her parents.
“Shiina,” Mrs. Long said, “You mentioned your grandparents were nearly deaf. Were they the reason you wanted to learn sign language?”
Misha tore her gaze from her girlfriend to answer her, “No. There was a girl in my middle school class who was partially~ deaf. I saw her sometimes after school signing to her mother, and started researching sign language. I was attracted to the intimacy~ of it.”
“Communicating~ with sign language is more personal because of how you have the chance to think about everything you say before you say it,” Misha replied, “To me, that makes it more personal than verbal communication~, because so many people don’t think before~ they talk.”
“So why did you decide to become a teacher?” Mr. Benson asked.
“Well~, some of the kids bullied the girl,” Misha replied, “…Some of them were the same ones who bullied me. I wondered why they were picking on her, and my Mom said because they couldn’t understand~ her signing, so that made her different. Like me.”
Mr. Benson nodded, “It’s human nature to distrust and fear that which we do not understand.”
“Us versus them mentality,” Lynda added.
Misha nodded, “Right~! I thought if I could help people understand each other better~, they’d get along better~. So I decided to teach sign language, and help students better understand the deaf, and help the deaf better communicate in a world meant for the hearing~.”
Mr. Benson nodded absently, “A noble cause.”
Misha shrugged, “Maybe~. I just want people to get along~.”
“I have returned,” Will stated from the threshold, tray of glasses filled with eggnog in hand.
Will’s declaration made Lynda start in surprise, so Misha rubbed her shoulder to help calm her down. Lynda slumped slightly into her seat and closed her eyes in an effort to relax. Misha’s efforts paid off as her girlfriend slowly relaxed her tense shoulders.
Mrs. Long looked to her daughter in concern, “Are you all right, Lynda?”
Lynda nodded and forced herself upright.
“Long trip,” she grumbled.
“This’ll help,” Will said, and started handing out glasses of eggnog.
“Thanks~!” Misha chirped.
“No problem,” he said, handing one to Lynda.
Lynd accepted the glass and leaned over to Will’s ear to whisper, “I’ll give you ten bucks if you add rum to mine.”
“Don’t tempt fate,” Will muttered.
Lynda sighed and leaned back in her seat.
“How’s dinner looking?” Mr. Benson asked.
Will handed out the other two glasses and shrugged, “Haven’t burned anything yet. Should be ten, maybe twenty more minutes. Depends on the potatoes. If you need anything else, I’ll be in the kitchen.”
As Will once again left the room, Mr. Benson remarked, “I knew those summer jobs would pay off.”
Mrs. Long nodded and sipped her drink, “How was your trip here?”
“Uneventful,” Lynda replied.
“Good to hear.”
Mr. Benson turned to Misha, “You’re on your way home, right?”
Misha nodded, “After tonight I’m gonna grab a cab to the airport, transfer to La Guardia, then off to Japan~. I’ll be back around early January~.”
“I was gonna hop over for a weekend,” Lynda added, “After Christmas.”
“All that air travel must get expensive,” Mrs. Long remarked.
“My parents pay for it until I can get a job,” Misha said, “Since I earned so many~ scholarships and grants, they don’t mind paying for that for a bit.”
“And Misha’s friend pays for my trips to Japan,” Lynda added, “I told her not to, but she insisted, and honestly I couldn’t afford it on my own. Not unless I can earn a scholarship, at least.”
“That’s pretty generous,” Mr. Benson stated.
Misha responded to that, stating, “Shicchan’s heart has always been in the right place, even if she gets too caught up in work~.”
“Still,” Mrs. Long said, “It would make more sense if you were closer to Japan.”
Mr. Benson eyed his wife, “Not exactly subtle, dear.”
Lynda sighed, “I wondered when we’d get to this.”
Mr. Benson sighed lightly before turning to Lynda, “Once my physical therapy is complete, I’m going to move to Canada. I’d have done it sooner, but the US government had other ideas. The move should be complete sometime late next year. After that, if you want to spend your breaks with me, you’ll have to do it back home.”
Lynda’s fists clenched, “Vancouver isn’t home. Toronto was home, and now my home is a cramped New York apartment that I share with my stepbrother and his best friend.”
Last edited by Hoitash
on Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.