Time Just Stopped {2}

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"Jay you better look nice for this Christmas dinner otherwise I'll disown you!" I heard my mother tease as I walked down the stairs.

"I know, mom. You say that every year."

"And you still don't listen." she mumbled to herself.

"I heard that." I said standing in front of her.

She looked me up and down and I waited for her approval or criticism.

"It will have to do." she teased again. "We have a special guest coming this year."

"Who? I thought Christmas Dinner was for our relatives and us only." I questioned.

"Well, there is someone I met who doesn't have any family to spend it with so I invited them."

"That didn't answer my question."

"But if I did answer your question I wouldn't get any fun." She replied before walking into the kitchen.

I rolled my eyes assuming it was nothing and went into the den to watch some tv with my dad before dinner.

It was about four o'clock when my relatives started arriving.

After saying hi to all of my cousins and aunts and uncles, I returned back to the den with most of the guys to continue watching some sports event my dad had recorded.

"Jay, honey, someone's at the door. Will you be a dear and get it for me?" my mother asked almost too sweetly.

"Sure mom."

I opened the door expecting more family and was shocked to see Maddy, still wearing her grandfather's watch around her neck.

"Maddy." I breathed.

"Hi Jay." she responded quietly.

"W-what are you doing here?" I asked.

"Your mother invited me."

I stood there silently just absorbing the fact that she was there in front of me.

"Maddy darling how are you?" I heard my mother boom from behind me.

"I'm doing wonderful, and you?" She responded, accepting my mother's open arms eagerly.

"Just fantastic now that you're here! You're just in time. All of the food is finally ready so we can start dinner!"

As my family walked into the dining room, I noticed all of my aunts and uncles sit their children down in specific spots as quickly as possible.

It was almost like there was a seating chart that they were all hurrying to fill.

When I finally began to look for a seat, I noticed there were only two left.

I walked over and began to pull one out when Maddy came over near me.

"Looks like we get to sit together!" she said sweetly before going to pull out her own chair.

I sit down in my own chair and look up to see my mother looking at us fondly like she does to one of her old sappy romance movies.

Oh no. She did not tell all of my family members where to sit so that Maddy and I would sit next to each other during dinner! She would though, wouldn't she? I swear, that woman would steal Cupid's job in a heartbeat if she could.

"Right everyone, we're going to try something new this year and hold hands during grace. I think it will help us feel more united as a family!" my mother shouts above the chaos that is my family.

I send her a glare, knowing very well what she's up to.

She just smiles sweetly back at me and grabs my uncle and father's hands.

While I'm busy glaring at the woman I considered my mother, I feel a small hand clasp mine under the table and instantly feel shocks run up my arm.

I look down to see Maddy's petite fingers interlocked with mine. I lift my eyes to see her face is tinged a slight shade of pink but I choose to ignore it and blame it on the strange candles my mother has set out on the table.

My father says grace and everyone begins to pass around dishes.

I hesitate to let go of Maddy's hand because it just feels so perfect in mine but I end up having to to help pass around the dishes of food.

Throughout dinner, Maddy and I talk about almost everything. Favorite color, favorite food, favorite vacation, favorite animal, how many siblings we have, where we grew up, and anything else that came to our minds.

One story that Maddy was telling me had me laughing so hard I was in tears.

When I was finally able to control myself, I look up to see that all of the family has sneakily moved into the family room leaving just us.

"Well, you must have ninja skills in your blood or something. I didn't even hear the kids." Maddy says next to me.

"Yeah. It's kind of creepy sometimes." I say turning back to her.

"Hey, there's something I want to show you." I say standing up and taking her hand.

We get to the back door and I pull my coat off of the cost rack and put it over Maddy's shoulders before opening the door for her.

"Oh my goodness! This is so cool! Who built this?" Maddy asks with wonderment in her eyes a she looks up at my childhood hideout, aka, the treehouse.

"My older brother did. John. The one with the pregnant wife that called everything and everyone 'scrumptious'." I say theatrically which earns me a giggle from Maddy.

"I remember them now." she says pulling my coat closer around her.

I pull the ladder to the little house down and help Maddy up and then follow.

"Are you sure it can hold us?" Maddy asks with a worried look on her face.

"I'm sure. John and I tried to fill up one of those old pools up here when it was really hot during the summer and it didn't even break a twig." I flip the switch on the battery operated Christmas lights we wrapped around the house and they begin to twinkle.

"Well it's definitely not a hot day today." she says quietly, running her hands up and down her arms.

I sit next to her and wrap my arms around her and pull her closer to me so that she can be more warm.

"Thank you." She says quietly, laying her head on my shoulder.

"My pleasure." I respond at the same volume.

"Maddy," I begin but lose my nerve a bit right after I say her name.

"Yes?" she asks, twisting her head to look me in the eyes.

"W-would you go out with me? O-on a date, sometime?"

Seconds pass before she wraps her arms around my torso and says, "I'd love to." her words slightly muffled by my shirt.

I smile and look out the treehouse window towards my actually home and see my mother in the window, with a smile on her face. Knowing that Maddy can't see her, she gives me a thumbs up and winks.

I hold back the urge to laugh at my crazy little Cupid for a mother.

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