A Cryptid-free Christmas

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  “I was thinking maybe we could spend it together this year?” Ria says, as cavalier as can be, as if she hadn’t been building up to the question over the last couple of days.
  “Mmm.” Brody grunts through a mouthful of cereal as he flicks through a worn library book in his hand, the laminate yellowed and peeling. Ria doesn’t quite know what to make of his answer and waits in hope for a proper conclusion. When Brody was busy he didn’t always register a question or comment immediately. She waited for it to click.

Whilst she waited Ria wondered why she had indeed waited for so long. It was disconcerting, this new found awkwardness around Brody; God knows she hadn’t meant for it to happen. When she first got the gig as his spectral advisor – through a want ad in the paper, if you can believe that – she’d been thoroughly unimpressed with the man she would come to entrust her life with. She was young then, not quite the required age of eighteen but close enough that she could lie about it – even now Brody believed her to be a year closer to thirty than she really was – but despite her naïve and wide eyed appraisal of his nonchalant badassery she had been moderately underwhelmed at best. It had taken her years – seven of them, to be exact – to realize she cared for him greatly, and not just in the sense that she hoped a chupacabra didn’t eat him.

  “That would be weird, don’t you think?” Brody suddenly says, startling Ria who, with a jump, startles Brody right back.
  “What?” she says.
  “Spending Christmas together, it’s like – spending your day off in the office, you know?”
  “Don’t be such a dick,” Ria says, only slightly hurt, “I know you just kick it in Trent’s til the early hours and go to sleep in a ditch somewhere. Why don’t you stop with the melodrama and hang out with me instead.”
  “Don’t you usually run back to Nebraska every holiday? Whatever will your parents think?”
  “Oh I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of it,” Ria says, half earnest, half poking fun “it’s not every year I spend the holidays with a boy you know.” She knew it really would please her parents if she spent a Christmas away from the family for once. Her parents had gotten to that annoying stage where a lack of romance in their daughters life had become a personal affront.
  “And what a boy,” Brody says as he gets up to wash his bowl. Without a word he picks up Ria’s empty plate from in front of her and takes it with him.

  “So,” Ria says without turning to look at him – it was easier that way – “my place on Christmas Eve, yeah? And bring me a present.”
  “Now you’re pushing it.”    

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~ by Joseph Blame on December 22, 2010.

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