Chapter three

“Merry belated Christmas and Happy New Years Eve!!!” Helena shrieked once she arrived. I felt like my long lost sister was back and I was relieved to have another girl that I was closer to around here. She was wrapped from head to toe and her nose was slightly pink but otherwise her face was flushed with excitement.

“Right back at you Helena” I smiled, “Here let me help you with those”

I grabbed the two large bags and was surprised at how heavy they were, “Thanks! You take those and I’ll grab the rest” she said before skipping back to the car.

“What?! You have more bags?” Geez, Helena was a serious packer and it seemed that she deemed it normal to pack everything in sight when leaving the university for a while. Derrek just laughed when he walked out of the kitchen and saw me struggling under the weight of Helena’s bags. He took hold of them and I shook my head in amazement at how easy he made it look. How embarrassing.

“Oh thank you, Blake. That’s really kind of you” I heard Helena’s voice from outside. Just then Helena comes waltzing in and Blake followed behind carrying another large bag as well as three smaller ones tucked under his other arm. That’s just ridiculous... I brought two medium duffel bags and here she was with enough bags for everyone filled with who knows what.

We dumped all her bags in my room and she shed off her coats. “Helena!” I heard Serena shriek.

“Serena!” Helena screamed back.

“Oh man... let’s get out of here before they manage to hug it out” I suggested to Derrek. Serena and Helena, despite the age difference, could’ve been mistaken for sisters solely from their personalities. They were constantly perky and happy and spoke faster than cliché high school cheerleaders who lived on gossip. Blake had already wandered off outside and Derrek and I slumped onto the sofa.

Butterscotch trotted over and leapt up next to Derrek and began whining for attention. He absentmindedly began to scratch her ears and wrapped an arm around me. “So what’s the plan for tonight?” he asked cocking his head to the side.

“Tradition, I suppose” I shrugged, “Usually we go out to the backyard and do the usual countdown. We light a bonfire and set off fireworks then feast like there’s no tomorrow. You know how Serena is with her food”

“Sounds awesome. I’d never really celebrated Christmas or New Years so this is all new for me” Derrek smiled, excitement dancing in his golden eyes.

His statement irked me.

“What do you mean you never celebrated them? What did you do instead?” I snuggled deeper into his embrace and listened intently. Derrek never really spoke about his past and to say that I was curious was an understatement. He stared off looking at nothing and continued to stroke Butterscotch’s fur.

“I told you before that my father was a bastard” His voice held no emotion when he spoke about his dad and his jaw clenched at the memory of him. “He was a drunk whose favourite hobby was seeing how well his aim was the more he drank. Me, being the target. So you can only guess how much he would’ve wanted to spend happy occasions like Christmas and New Years with me. The bane of his existence”

My heart broke for Derrek. Serena and Troy weren’t my biological parents and yet I was constantly surrounded with their overwhelming love. I couldn’t imagine what it would’ve been like to have my real dad and yet have him loathe me so much.

“Christmas and New Year and all those kinds of days were spent as another day locked in my room hoping that my father would just pass out early instead of banging on my door. His death was more a relief than anything to be honest”

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