She had nothing, he even less.
The basement was freezing cold; he could almost see his breath. He blew on his hands, trying to keep them warm as he wrote a Christmas Eve sermon no one would ever hear. He left it unfinished, blaming the chill for his lack of inspiration. Folding the paper, he tucked it into his pocket and looked around the barren walls. There was nothing that would make anyone believe that it was Christmas time - no lights, no tree, no presents and even though that wasn’t the point for Father Jack, they still gave spirit to the season.
Normally, he would spend Christmas Eve with his infirmly partitioners, but since he no longer had partitioners, he couldn’t think of any where to go. He paused for a moment, debating. There was a home where he could go this Christmas Eve, one home that probably had more cheer than the cold basement where he stood and there he would find some sought after company. Friendship, love and companionship made the very essence of Christmas and with that, he made his decision to go quietly, hoping that no one could hear his thoughts.
He arrived at Erica’s house expecting to find... something, some kind of Christmas decorations adorning her home, but Father Jack was greeted with nothing but darkness. He hesitated before he pushed open the unlocked door, not bothering to knock. Even though it was dangerous for her to do so, she probably kept the door unlocked in case Tyler found his way home.
“Erica?” he called out into the darkness, stepping into her house and finding it just as cold and dark as the outside world.
She had a Christmas tree but it was only half decorated and had a few unwrapped boxes sitting on the counter beside two empty whisky bottles. Pensively, Jack closed his eyes. The odds of finding a sober Erica were starting to dwindle and suddenly he half wished he stayed in the basement.
He ventured into her dark living room further and was about to leave when he spotted a lump of blankets on the couch; she was warm when he touched her back and Jack didn’t take his hand off her right away. Instead, he squeezed Erica’s shoulder and sighed. He turned to leave when something caught his hand and he turned back to find a groggy Erica staring up at him.
“Hey,” he whispered and knelt down beside her. She had a look of confusion on her face that quickly changed to pain.
“I was hoping you were Tyler.”
“You haven’t heard from him?”
Erica scoffed. “No, I heard from him.” She sat up and angrily eyed the unwrapped boxes beneath the barren Christmas tree. Erica rubbed her face between her hands and pushed her hair back over her head, looking at Jack. “What are you doing here?”
“I wanted your opinion your opinion on a sermon I was writing,” he answered softly, standing up and putting his hands on his hips, debating on turning the lights on. He answered honestly but his answer still made her laugh.
She looked up at him with a bemused expression on her face. “Well,” she said standing up and pulling a blanket around her shoulders. “Thanks for dropping by.”
Erica was going to leave him there in her dark living room (why should the both be miserable together?) when Jack reached out and grabbed her by the elbow.
“Hey,” he said, his voice hovering between anger and desperation. “I really did come here for more than just the sermon.”
Erica waited for him to continue and as he released her arm, he looked up and locked on to her eyes.
“I came here because I wanted to be with you.”
Her face softened then and she looked about ready to cry. Jack pulled her into his arms and held her closely before the two of them folded into each other and fell, landing on her couch. She sighed softly and was soon asleep.
Jack cradled Erica in his arms and slouching down on the couch, he gently pressed his lips to her temple feeling content and happy. He stared at the unlit Christmas tree but suddenly knew that this is exactly where he was meant to be. Maybe in the morning he would finish that sermon, and maybe even read it to Erica. His time with her on her couch had been enough to inspire him because, he thought, it’s true - where ever you find love, it’s Christmas.