Chapter 22

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*Christmas Eve*

I reach up and place the Christmas tree star on top of the tree. I look out the balcony door, and sigh. Layers of white covers New York. It's been snowing so much lately, that the snow on the ground is above my ankles. Since it snowed so heavily all the airports are closed. Which means I won't be able to spend Christmas with my family in California.

Having to tell my mom that I wasn't going to able to spend Christmas with them was the hardest thing to do. My heart had broken into a million pieces at the tone of her voice when I told her. She sounded so sad and quiet. Which isn't normal for her since she's always loud and bouncy.

I step off the step stool, and put my hands on my hips. Red, green, blue, yellow, and pink lights cover the tree with a few ornaments. I smile at the completion. Looking at the tree makes me forget about me not spending Christmas with my family.

I look over by the television, and see Charlie nibbling on his Christmas sweater. I've struggled so much trying to put it on him, because he kept moving. It was worth it, though, because he looks utterly adorable.

The sound of the balcony door opening next door catches my attention. I hurry over to the coat rack and slip on my coat and boots. I head over the balcony door peek out. 

There stands Kevin wrapped up in a North Face coat, with his signature beanie. I notice that he is holding a cigarette between his fingers. I shake my head at the sight. I have tried so hard to convince him to stop smoking, but him being stubborn, he said no.

I open the door, and step out. The freezing cold December air brings a thrilling chill down my body. Kevin turns his head towards me, and gives me a small smile. 

"Hey." He says into the quiet air, as he brings the cigarette back up to his lips.

"Hi." I reply.

I walk over by him, and rest my elbows on the balcony railing. Kevin wraps his arm around my shoulder, and brings me closer to him. The warmth of his body makes the chills go away.

We stand in silence as Kevin puffs away on his cigarette. The strong smell of the nicotine brings me a small sense of comfort. Which is not good. I watch as he drops the cigarette on the ground, and steps on it. 

"Doesn't that stuff get nasty after awhile?" I ask him curiously. 

Kevin looks at me, and shrugs his shoulder nonchalantly. "When you're used to it, it's not." 

That doesn't surprise me. Kevin has been smoking since I have met him, which was almost a year ago. I hum at his response. I absentmindedly run my hand over the snow on the railing. 

Kevin sighs above me, and takes my chin his hand. He turns my head to him so that his brown eyes bore into my light blue ones. 

"I know me smoking bothers you, but I can't help it. I've been doing this for eight years. The whole thing with my father has brought me to do this. I'm sorry baby that this makes you upset." He says. "I'll try to stop next year. I promise." 

His hazel eyes holds pain and sincerity. I take a deep breath and nod my head in understanding. I know the whole thing with his father was a stressful time for him, and he had no other way to cope with it.

Kevin smiles at me and pulls me into an embrace. We pull away, and stare into each other's eyes for a minute. Kevin looks like he wants to kiss me, but he knows that I hate the taste of his smoking breath. I reach into my coat pocket, and pull out a pack of mints. I always keep some around just in case he wants to kiss me after he smokes. I open it up, and hand him six of them.

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