Eleanor “Ellie” Bartowski made her way into the room slowly afraid any sudden movements would spook the occupant. She needn’t have worried though. The boy on the bed didn’t move a muscle other than to hit ‘a’ or ‘b’ on the controller clasped tightly in his hands.
Ellie sat on the bed and spoke quietly, “Chuck, dinner’s ready. Are you going to come out and eat?”
Chuck shrugged, most of his attention still on the video game. Ellie sighed and reached out to take the controller. Chuck didn’t resist when she put it on the bed and gently took his hands.
“Chuck, honey I know it’s not been the best year,” she paused when Chuck snorted. “That’s it. Charles Bartowski you need to leave this room, let’s go.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Too bad,” she grabbed his arm and pulled.
Ellie heard him mutter, “What’s to celebrate?” She pulled him into a hug, ignoring his squeak of indignation.
“I’m not going anywhere Charles. I promise. Besides I think you’ll like my surprise.”
When they made it into the dining room Chuck paused. “Morgan?”
“Yeah and I didn’t even have to use the Morgan door. I was invited.”
Ellie smiled, “I thought you could use a friend you don’t have to sneak in this year.”
Morgan bounced over to them, “Mom said I have to be back before midnight but I think she’s glad to have a game free Christmas Eve. Now when do we eat?”
Shaking her head Ellie herded the teens into the living room. “Right now.”
“Your seven layer dip?”
“Yup, I thought we’d go a little none traditional this year. Have some fun.” Ellie flicked on the T.V. and D.V.D player before taking some of the pizza she’d cooked earlier.
Chuck froze when the first sounds of Tron started, “But you hate this movie.”
Smiling Ellie said, “Tonight I don’t. Merry Christmas Chuck.”
The teen smiled back at her – the entire goal of the evening. “Merry Christmas Ellie.”