Home for the Holidays

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the Noel

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
‘Cause no matter how far away you roam
If you want to be happy in a million ways
For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home

Jason’s eyes jerked open and he sat straight up. He looked around and blinked at the sight of his penthouse lit up–all the lights and decorations Sam had strewn up but he’d forgotten to switch on were blazing. There was a fire in the fire place behind him and he heard the click of heels coming from the kitchen.

He rubbed his eyes and stood. “What the hell…”

Robin Scorpio stepped out from the kitchen, an oversized mug wrapped in her hands. Jason shook his head. It was Robin, but she was younger. Her hair was longer, its color darker. Her face was a bit rounder and her cheeks were bright red. “Hey, Jason.”

“Robin,” he said slowly. He licked his lips and looked around. “You look…”

She sipped from her mug. “I look about nineteen which was the age I was when we first began dating.” She set the mug on the corner of the pool table and ignored his wince at the thought of something that hot close to the felt.

“You look a bit different yourself,” Robin said. She circled around him and tugged at his t-shirt. “You’ve been working out. And your hair’s darker.” She stood on the tips of her toes to peer into his eyes. “And something’s missing.”

He grumbled something under his breath and stepped back. “What’s going on?”

“I am the Ghost of Christmas Past!” she proclaimed, throwing her arms up in declaration. “Or, a representative of the Ghost of Christmas Past, anyway. He’s busy this time of year and rarely does jobs one on one.”

Jason frowned and peered at the mug, “What were you drinking?”

Robin sighed. “I’m not Robin Scorpio either. I’m just a familiar face to guide you on your journey,” she explained. “I’m part of your past. Or she is…it’s complicated, Jason. Anyway,” she held out her hand. “Ready to go?”

Jason shook his head. “I don’t dream, so this is really happening but at the same time, this can’tbe happening.”

Robin made a clucking noise. “Jason, you’re so literal. Just take my hand,” She wiggled her fingers. “You trust me don’t you?”

“No, but I don’t think you’re going to go away until I do what you want,” Jason sighed. He slipped his much larger hand into her tiny one and the second their skin made contact, there was swirl of wind and suddenly, everything was different.

It was Sonny’s penthouse but it was all wrong somehow. Jason frowned and looked around–the furnishings were dark, there was nothing that he remembered at all. And standing in front of him was a trio of very familiar figures–himself, Sonny and Robin.

Jason looked at his Robin and frowned. “Okay, I’m confused.”

His Robin shrugged. “Your first Christmas after the accident. You’re celebrating it early because I’m leaving.” Her smile was wistful as she watched the younger Jason move across the room to fish out a box from his jacket.

“I celebrated Christmas?”

“You understood it then,” His Robin told him. “Because I could explain things so that you not only understood them but accepted them. Your new friend Sam tells you what she thinks you ought to know and never elaborates. She doesn’t want you to change your mind about your future together.”

Jason shook her head. “She’s not like that.”

His Robin snorted. “Look, I’m privy to a few things that you’re not. So pipe down and pay attention.”

He watched himself interact with Sonny and Robin and briefly wondered what it was that had changed Sonny from this particular man to the one he was today–bitter, cold and distrusting. He searched his limited memory but was frustrated when he couldn’t come up with any sort of connection.

“You really don’t remember any of this, do you?” His Robin sighed. “I thought seeing the memory might help…”

Jason shook his head. “I don’t remember the actual event,” he admitted, “but…” he looked at her. “I remember what I felt. I remember being nervous about the gift. I remember feeling–really good when you liked it. I remember how happy I was.” He crossed his arms and peered at the figures in front of him. “That Robin was the best thing that could have happened to me at that point in my life.”

His Robin nodded sagely. “It’s nice that you can acknowledge that. You might not remember these things, but the people who love you do. And it’s hard for them when you look at them and don’t know them. Some handle it better than others.”

She took his hand and the wind swirled again. When it cleared, they were standing in a dilapidated room cluttered with canvases, paints and easels. Jason frowned when he saw his younger self lying prone on the shabby couch, his hand clutched to his side. “What’s this place? I’ve never been here before.”

“Haven’t you?” Robin asked. She arched an eyebrow and he realized her appearance had changed. Her face was thinner, her hair was cut boy short and her eyes were a little sadder. “I look like the last time you saw me on the bridge when you told me you never wanted to see my face again.”

He swallowed and looked away–that was one of the memory flashes he had received. But none of the flashes had shown him this room. And yet…he knew it. He watched his younger self shift on the couch and the other Jason focused on the small tree on a table, decorated with paper chains and an angel atop.

The older Jason stared at it as well and was struck by it. “The only Christmas tree I ever decorated,” he murmured. “And liked.”

Robin nodded. “Your first Christmas after you lost Michael and I left town. You were shot and found by someone in the snow. She took you here to take care of you.” Robin touched one of the paper chains. “She protected you from Sonny and from Carly most of all and wouldn’t let anyone speak ill of you in her presence. She taught you that there was something to live for because you were lost in nothing after Michael was gone. She brought color back to your world.”

Jason frowned and turned when the door opened and a small whirlwind rushed through. Her hair was flying all over the place, the wind having destroyed any semblance of order in the curly mass. Her blue eyes were sparkling with mischief and she had bags filled to the brim in her hands. He recognized her instantly.

“Elizabeth,” he said softly. He looked to Robin. “The woman from the diner. I didn’t realize…she never said…”

“She wouldn’t, no. You aren’t close anymore,” Robin said. “You’re on the periphery of each other’s lives. You go whole months without talking but every time you do, it’s like yesterday. She’s your best friend and you’re hers, and nothing has been able to change that. She married Sonny’s brother, and divorced him. She repeated the process but finally gave up on him because she was never going to be first on his list and being first is something this girl can’t quite recall.”

“She hums when she paints,” Jason said quietly. He watched the younger Elizabeth change his bandage all the while chattering all along like she performed this task on a daily basis. “She didn’t come to see me in the hospital.”

“She didn’t think you’d want to see her,” Robin told him. “You didn’t know her, you weren’t her Jason anymore and she certainly wasn’t going to push you.” She studied him. “What else do you remember about this moment?”

“I remember…” Jason hesitated. “I remember thinking that she was beautiful. That her smile lit up the whole room and she always made me want to smile when she smiled. It was contagious.”

“Do you remember why she was protecting you from Sonny and Carly? Why she was hiding you here in her art studio?”

Jason nodded. “Yeah. Sonny and Carly, they slept together. I was shot, I went to his penthouse and she was there.” His throat was thick. “I went to the boxcar and I…” He looked away. “I went there to die. But I remember Elizabeth…telling me to open my eyes, that she couldn’t help me unless I opened my eyes.”

“And she gave you a reason to live,” Robin finished softly. “She took you to her studio, filled to overflowing with soup, changed your bandages, saved your life, told everyone that mattered to her that you were sleeping together so they wouldn’t know you were shot. And you celebrated the second Christmas of your life that you really felt like the holiday meant something.” Robin sighed. “She was perfect for you, you know. I bet if you’d just given into one of those urges to kiss her, this whole thing would be different.”

Jason frowned. “What do you mean?”

But his Robin didn’t answer. She held out his hand and with some reluctance, he touched it wondering where the mists would send him next.

It was a large open space, much larger than Elizabeth’s studio and smaller than Sonny’s penthouse. A kitchen area was in the back and a large bed underneath the window towards the back of the room. This place, too, felt familiar but not in the same way the studio had been. He’d been here before but didn’t feel any particular connection to it.

He saw himself standing by a partially decorated evergreen tree in the corner. He was some years older than he’d been in the studio but still younger than he was now. He wondered when this Christmas had taken place and with whom he had shared it.

His questions were answered when a blonde woman came out from behind the tree, a box in her hands. Her face was down as she rummaged through the box but he recognized her instantly as Sonny’s little sister Courtney. He’d been engaged to her, married to her, he was told all of this but it still didn’t feel like it was a real part of his history.

“This is the third Christmas,” Robin said. “The third that meant something real to you. But it wasn’t because you were sharing this moment with Courtney.”

Jason frowned and looked at her. “Then why?”

“Because Elizabeth had walked out on you only two months earlier. You jumped into a relationship with Courtney who had just left her husband. She wanted to celebrate Christmas, wanted to decorate a tree with you but it didn’t feel right to you. You didn’t want to decorate a tree with anyone who wasn’t Elizabeth.” Robin sighed wistfully. “She was thinking of you, too that night. Feeling sad and vulnerable. She was ready to forgive you for lying to her, for hurting her and she wanted to apologize to you for being so cold, so untouchable for so many weeks.”

“What…” Jason hesitated. “What did I do to her then?”

“The act doesn’t matter,” Robin said. “What matters is what came after. You abandoned her, like most everyone else in her life. And because she was feeling so vulnerable, she listened when Ric Lansing talked and was charmed by him. She thought she saw the best of you in him–only without the lies and the secrets. He nearly killed her, you know. Twice. He put her through hell before she finally left him.” Robin shrugged. “You thought about going to Kelly’s, just to see her. To be near her. But instead, you took the cowards’ way out. You stayed with Courtney, and you decorated this tree with her.”

“But it was for the best right?” Jason said. “Elizabeth’s married to Lucky, she has a son. I have Sam.”

Robin’s mouth curved into a bitter smile. “Elizabeth has a son with Zander Smith, a petty criminal who threatened her and her baby. He died in a shoot out with the police two years ago and she married Lucky Spencer. Mostly because she still felt love for him–the love she’d felt as a teenaged girl. She felt comfortable with him, thought he’d be safe and that he’d never hurt her.”

She folded her arms and watched a laughing Courtney embrace a Jason that looked resigned. “Sam loves you. She does. But she’s scared. She’s terrified that what you have together can’t last. She’s a lot like Carly, you know. She wants so badly to make this work that she’ll make mistakes and she’ll do dumb things and one day, she’s going to wake up and realize that she’s lost herself in you. That she has no life other than you. And she’s going to resent you for that.”

Jason shook his head. “No, it’s not like that with Sam–”

“That’s what will happen if you stay together,” Robin said. “If everything goes to Sam’s plan, within two years, she will hate you and herself. But that’s not for me to really say. All I know is what I’ve been told.”

“You were a good man, once, Jason,” Robin continued. “You were kind and compassionate. You were a good friend that never forgot someone who had done you a kindness. You knew Sonny inside and out, you understand that you could only have Carly in your life if you kept her at an arm’s length. You had a real life that was separate from Sonny’s. That’s your past, Jason. But things have changed.”

She held out her hand and Jason touched it, the swirling mists erasing the scene before him.


  • This is very interesting. The first ghost is really showing Jason his past. He’s remembering his feelings.

    According to arcoiris0502 on June 18, 2020