Tim rolled his eyes, but his tone was appropriately respectful when he answered his mother. “Yes, Mom, I’m here.”
“Are you sure-“
Tim broke into her sentence. He didn’t interrupt often, but they’d been over this, ad nauseam. “Mom, he doesn’t want to make peace for the holidays. If I come over there with Don for Christmas, dad will start up on the Democratic Party and something the Senator did, and I am going to argue back, and then leave. And then no one will have a very merry Christmas.”
“I know, Timmy, but darling, it’s Christmas. Your sister is coming… It’s going to the first Christmas that we are all together since you were children. She’s bringing her husband and kids to dinner and I would really love it if you and Don were there.”
Tim couldn’t speak for a minute. His hand brushed his chest as if he could physically rub away the pain that lay beneath. He wanted to be there; he knew that it could be great. For all their issues, his parents had opened their arms to him and his husband. They had learned their lesson from what happened with Kelly and had hidden their prejudices and religious objections when he came out to them. It helped, of course, that he did that with the same structure, unassailable logic and dignity with which he lived his life, but regardless—they would have been within their rights to express a great deal of trepidation about his decision to leave the seminary and to be out and proud. But they hadn’t, and his relationship with them had flourished until he really came out of the closet, and revealed that he was a Democrat. And not just any Democrat, but a politically active one!
And now that he had found Kelly, it seemed all the more painful that he couldn’t just go and enjoy dinner. His mother would cook up a feast and spoil Don the way his own family did not, his father would grunt about sports and his sister would share embarrassing stories. Don would taste his mother’s cooking and praise it, grunt back about sports he didn’t have time to follow, and tease Kelly mercilessly, before he and his father ruined the day for everyone. In fact, if Don would ever go for it, he would have suggested that Don go to his parents’ house for dinner without Timmy. But Tim and Don always spent Christmas together.
So Tim had to live with disappointing his mother, withholding from his husband, and denying his sister the reunion she wanted. All because he had chosen career over family. He should have gone into practicing law.
He hung up, promising to think about it, and pretended not to hear the tears in his mother’s voice. Standing over the coffee pot, Tim brooded.
Then arms wrapped around his stomach and a well-loved voice groaned. “Why are you standing between me and the coffee? I just came back from getting the paper in this weather—where’s the comfort for the soldier come home from battle?”
Tim laughed. “It’s not that bad, Don,” he responded, allowing himself to be distracted. “The storm hasn’t even started yet.”
“Oh great,” Don moaned, accepting a steaming mug of coffee with a quick kiss. “The worst is yet to come. Well, at least they predict it should clear a bit by Christmas. Ah, are we going anywhere this year, or is anyone coming here?
Tim shrugged, looked away. “My mom just called.”
“Ah.” Don examined his husband, frowned at what he saw there. “How are Angela and the congressman?”
“Well.” Then, abruptly, “she wants us to come.”
Don hated maneuvering through minefields, but this was Tim’s family, and he knew that every good husband deferred to his spouse on family issues. “Um, what do you want to do?”
“I don’t want to spend Christmas fighting.”
Don knew the subject was closed from Tim’s tone of voice, and shrugged off his own anger and frustration at his father-in-law’s stupidity. It was time to distract Tim, and God knew he was good at that. “Well, I can definitely think of things I’d rather spend Christmas doing…”
Tim smiled a little, his cheeks pink. “Really?”
Don leaned close and whispered something appropriately filthy in Tim’s ear.
“Kenny, you should probably leave now, you don’t want to get caught in the storm.” Don looked at the weather report on the brand new computer his husband had bought him for his birthday.
Kenny bit his lip and not very subtly pointed out that he had come in on a motorcycle. “Maybe I’ll bunk down here until the storm’s over.”
Don groaned. “Okay, okay, you don’t have to whine.” It wasn’t a hard decision—the storm that was coming had already wreaked devastation through the Midwest and by all accounts it was only getting worse. It wasn’t fit for cats and dogs, and certainly not the assistant he was secretly very fond of. “I’ll drop you off on the way to pick Timmy up.”
“Not going to follow Mrs. K tonight? You’ve been following her practically every day this week.”
“If she’s stepping out on Mr. K tonight she deserves to get away with it.” With that, Don picked up the phone and dialed the number he knew as well, if not better, than his own. “Timmy?
“Don, this isn’t a good time. There’s an important bill in committee and we’re trying to get those last few votes to get it on the floor.”
“Okay, but have you looked outside? Bill or no bill, you need to get home soon or you’ll have to camp out there.”
Tim moved his focus from the screen in front of him to the window, and he pursed his lips in surprise. “Wow, it’s gotten a lot worse…”
Don chuckled. “Yes, it’s turning into a real blizzard. I’m dropping Kenny off and then picking you up—we can curl up at home with hot chocolate and rum.”
“It sounds delicious, but I can’t. I have to stay at the office until we get a couple more people to sign on to the bill. Head home, I’ll get a ride from someone.”
“Hmm-mm.” Don didn’t like to leave Tim downtown without confirmation that he would have a way to get back. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I can’t leave now. Be careful, honey.”
“You too. And whatever happens, however many votes you get, I need you home in a couple of hours or the roads will be a mess.”
Timothy Callahan pushed away from his desk and raised his arms in triumph. “We have it! Wolverson just told me he’s in.”
Senator Platt smiled widely. “Yes!”
Tim looked at his boss wearily. “I think it’s actually going to happen in the New York state legislature.”
“Tim, you know that if it were up to me, you and Don would have been able to get married in New York years ago,” Lauren Platt said seriously, her lips pursed as she contemplated the unfair prejudices that allowed Senator Greene to be on his fourth marriage while her chief aide was denied the right to get married once.
He smiled at her, his heart touched. “You’ve gone above and beyond on this measure, even though it’s not one that will pay off with major votes or anything. Senator, it’s not often people do that unless it’s an issue that means a great deal personally to them, and both Don and I appreciate that.”
They both sat there, basking in their shared appreciation and metaphorical pats on the back, when Senator Platt recalled where they were and jumped a little in her seat. “My God, look at the weather out there. I think we’re two of the last people left in the building, we need to get out of here. How were you getting home?”
Tim turned to stare outside. At the sight of the white curtain, he shrugged and resigned himself to a night or two at the office. “Don headed home a couple of hours ago… I think I might just stay here.”
“Nonsense! You’re in my way, I’ll drop you off on my way home. I have snow tires on the ridiculously large car my husband gave me last year, that should get us both safely home.”
He thanked her and got his papers together. Together they walked out. If they’d known then how the night would end, they would both have stayed there. But while hindsight is something we are all cursed with, foresight is a gift few of us can claim.
Don was grateful that the lights and phones were still working, even though that allowed him to see his panicked reflection in various metallic and glass surfaces in the kitchen and living room while he called his husband for the millionth time. “Timmy, where are you? It’s getting late and worse out there! If you’re in some committee meeting, stay there. It doesn’t look safe to get out. Look, just call me back when you get this.”
He slammed down the phone in frustration and then picked it up almost immediately when it rang. “Tim?”
His blood froze. Official-sounding but compassionate voices were never a good thing. “Yes? Is this about my husband, Tim Callahan?”
There was a pause. “Mr. Strachey, there was an accident on Albemarle street. Your… husband was in the passenger seat and…”
“I’ll be there immediately.”
“Mr. Strachey, don’t leave your house! The roads are closed to all but emergency vehicles at this point. Your husband is going to be fine, he’s suffered a broken arm and is in shock, but at this point we foresee him making a complete recovery in a few weeks. We can even have you speak to him in a few hours, when he wakes up. But there’s no way for you to safely make it here until this storm is over. Please stay where you are until this storm clears a little—as well as he’s doing, we don’t want Mr. Callahan hearing that something has happened to you.”
Despite her recommendations, Don would have gone to the hospital there and then if he hadn’t looked outside again and realized that he could not even see his car. Not for the first time, he groaned at his decision to go with another broken-down sedan after the last died. But the nurse was right, Tim’s condition could only be worsened by news of something happening to Don.
Still, Don couldn’t sit at home and do nothing while his husband was in the hospital. He returned the call from the nurse and worked out a system whereby they would keep him constantly updated to his husband’s condition. He also put the TV on the weather channel so he could monitor conditions on the road. And finally, he called Tim’s family.
Kelly’s voice was warm and happy as she answered. “Don, I was meaning to call you! Tell me Timmy’s changed his mind and he’s coming after all. I know, I know, he and Dad don’t get along right now but Dad’s softened up, and I’ll run interference between them…”
“Kelly,” he broke in hoarsely. “There’s been an accident. Tim’s fine, but he’s in the hospital and I can’t go there because of the snow.”
It was good, he realized later, that he called her first. Kelly was able, once the initial shock was over, to tell him that he was doing the right thing, and to reassure him about the hospital’s diagnosis, even though she had yet to talk to the hospital for herself. But her strong and sweet confidence in Don and Tim made it possible for him to make that next, much harder, phone call.
“Hello?” The strong, gruff voice that picked up sounded distracted, worried.
“Don? I thought it was Kelly… I wanted to tell her to stay home in this”- Though Don called occasionally to wish his in-laws on special occasions, it was unusual enough to have Rich Callahan’s quick mind seize on the hint of trouble. “Don, is something wrong?”
His son-in-law paused, then spoke in a gentler tone than he felt. “Rich, Tim’s fine. There’s been an accident, and he’s broken his leg. They won’t let me go there because of the weather, but they reassure me that he’s going to be fine. I just wanted to let you know in case the media picks it up.”
Before he could hang up, Don had to give the details to the congressman, including the number at the hospital where his son was resting. Then, when Angela Callahan snatched the phone from her husband, he had to repeat everything for the mother’s comfort. Finally, he hung up the phone and, just as he was about to call the hospital, the phone rang.
Heart in his mouth as he envisioned nightmare scenarios of relapses and comas, Don picked up the phone and practically shouted, “What?”
“Mr. Callahan? This is Verona Martin from KAABC asking for confirmation—is it true that your boss Senator Platt died in a car accident earlier this afternoon?”
“What?” Don said again, dumbly. “I-I’m sorry, this isn’t Mr. Callahan. Bye.” He disconnected more politely than he intended, but he was in shock. In all his panic, he’d never thought to ask whose car Tim was in. The hospital would probably not have told him about Senator Platt anyway, but he should have asked.
Despite his fears and preoccupation with Timmy’s condition, Don had to take a few minutes out then to hope and pray that it wasn’t true, that Lauren Platt wasn’t lying in some hospital morgue. That her husband and teenage kids weren’t going to be having the worst Christmas ever. That Timmy wouldn’t wake up, hurting and alone, only to find out that a boss he admired, respected and cared deeply for had died. And because Don had loved Senator Platt, he asked a God he wasn’t sure he believed in to make sure that Senator Platt would be there to criticize his ties the next time he went in to meet Timmy at his office.
Angela put the phone back on the charger and turned to her husband, something stronger than worry in her eyes. The congressman reached out to comfort her, but she avoided his embrace. “He could have died tonight, Rich.”
“He’s going to be fine,” he tried to placate her.
“But he could have died!” She cried, a mother’s passion firing her blood. “And he would have gone from this world thinking that he couldn’t even celebrate Christmas with this family. And what would we have done then? What kind of Christmas would we have if we were burying our son? And oh God, would you have finally let your stupid, irrational and unparental anger die with him?”
Shaken, he could not even remember why he was angry at his son. Fathers didn’t outlive their children, Tim was supposed to reconcile with him, leave that stupid job of his and work for a Republican before Rich died. The thought that his son could go first, with their relationship like this, terrified him. It should have occurred to him before—he’d thought he’d never see his daughter again, but then it had been about general regrets. He hadn’t actually been angry at his daughter; their fights had been prompted by his worry about her and the company she kept. Perhaps he’d handled it wrong, but then so had Angela and Kelly, and at the end of the day, while he’d been overjoyed beyond belief to have her back, he hadn’t had to apologize to her when they’d come together.
But he had to apologize to Tim. And he was so very grateful to have the chance to do so. This time, she let him hold her as he whispered his apologies for all that his ridiculous resentment had put her through. “Let’s pack up and as soon as the weather improves, head down there. We can use our city apartment to host Christmas lunch, and have the whole family together again.” It would be the first time they’d be together in over twenty years.
Just then, the TV channel they were watching switched to breaking news. A woman’s face appeared on the screen and Rich’s brow furrowed as he realized why she was so familiar. “Ange, that’s Tim’s Senator. Put it up.”
She raised the volume and they heard the blond anchorwoman say in an appropriately somber voice, “-rmed reports that Senator Platt passed away in an accident this evening. The hospital, the Senator’s office and her family have not given any statements but sources state that she and an unidentified male passenger were involved in a vehicular accident on Albemarle street earlier this evening, and that the Senator died in the emergency room. Her companion’s condition has not been disclosed at this time. We will keep you updated on this story as it progresses. Senator Platt, a Democrat born and raised in Albany, was the sponsor of numerous bills, including the recent controversial push to legalize gay marriage in the state of New York. If passed, it would make New York the second state to legalize gay marriage through the state legislature.”
The other anchorwoman nodded and said, with something approaching genuine grief in her voice, “I’ve had the privilege of meeting with the Senator on numerous occasions while I covered state politics, and I don’t think I’m alone in sending my thoughts to the Senator’s husband and young children. This is truly a tragedy.”
Angela switched off the television and sank into a chair. “Tim will be crushed. He spoke of her often; he cared for her a great deal.”
Rich nodded. “I may have never agreed with her politics,” he admitted, “but I respected and admired her. In a world of scoundrels and men and women without honor, she was honest and honorable. If it’s true, this is truly a sad day for politics.”
It was true. And when Tim woke up the next day, with a bouquet of flowers next to him brought up from the gift shop and a note explaining why Don had to send those and couldn’t make it himself, his first question was about his boss. “The accident, I was with Senator Platt. Is she all right?”
The nurse avoided his eyes. “Mr. Callahan, please remain calm.”
"I can’t be calm. Tell me how she is.”
Sighing, she looked at his sorrowfully, and he knew what she was going to say before she spoke. “You’re not family, but I suppose I can tell you because it’s all over the news. I’m sorry, but the Senator’s injuries were too severe…”
“Oh God!” Tim lay back, devastated. “Oh God.” Then, struggling to sit up and look around him, he demanded his clothes. “I have to go. I have things to do. Oh God, her family, I have to see them, talk to them.”
“Mr. Callahan,” the nurse squeaked. “You have a broken leg and some serious injuries, including a cracked rib that could, if you’re not careful, break and cause serious damage. Your head was hit hard enough to give you a light concussion and keep you out for a few hours. You can’t just get up and go. You’re going to be our guest for at least three or four days and then you’re still not going to be back at work for a while.”
He felt too dizzy and weak to argue with her, but he couldn’t sit there. “I- where’s my husband?”
“The roads are still closed,” her relief at his apparent compliance was obvious in her voice and smile. “He calls every hour though. All the nurses are very envious. He sent a note with these flowers.” Then, when he asked her to read it to him because he didn’t have his glasses and, she suspected, his vision was still a little blurry, she went on, “’Timmy, the roads are closed or I’d be there. I’m so, so sorry that you’re waking up alone. I’d give my left arm to be there with you. You know I’ll walk if I have to, but I will see you soon. Love always, Don.’ He loves you very much.”
“He does,” Tim sighed.
“Where did you two get married?” she asked, looking at the tan line for his wedding ring. Then, when he looked at it in panic, she reassured him, “Your ring is with the rest of your personal effects, I’ll get them for you.”
He smiled his appreciation for her generosity. “We aren’t actually. I mean we are in our hearts, and we had a private ceremony a few years ago, but we’ve never had the legal one. I was thinking about asking him, actually, if the Senator’s bill went through.” Then he stopped, swallowed, unable to think about what had them on the roads that late.
She looked at him kindly. “It may still happen, you know.”
He looked away. “I don’t think I have the heart for it anymore.”
Don reached the hospital a few hours later, thanks in no small part to Kenny’s one-night stand a week before with the owner of a snow-plow company. Later, he’d thank Kenny and the snow-plow guy, but at that moment his only thought was to get to his husband. But when he reached there and got direction to Timmy’s room, it was empty.
Whirling around, he ran to the nurses’ station. “My husband, Tim Callahan,” he began.
A nurse who was walking up to the station called him. “You must be Don, I’d recognize you anywhere,” she said, much to his confusion. “I just wheeled Mr. Callahan to the chapel. But please, get him to come back and lie down. He really shouldn’t even be sitting, but he insisted that he was feeling better and that he needed to be there.” She stopped, her expression bearing the discomfort of a true secularist, but went on respectfully. “He told me that he needed spiritual guidance.”
Don got directions to the chapel and walked there at a more sedate place. Tim’s forlorn body, hunched into his wheelchair, was the only occupant. His husband’s pale cheeks were marred with a few angry cuts and a steady stream of tears. Afraid, a little, of the somber atmosphere, Don whispered Tim’s name.
Tim said nothing, but reached out a hand. Don held it and drew closer, until he could hug his husband gently. “Baby, are you- I’m so sorry”-
“Shh,” Tim said gently. But he was not at peace, no. Tim’s eyes held anger and grief, and Don knew that someone had told him everything. So Don sat on the bench next to Tim’s chair and waited. “Did you know about the Senator?”
“Her husband, kids…”
Don shook his head. “I haven’t spoken to them. They haven’t contacted me and I thought that… well, I wanted to let them get over the shock first.”
There was a pause, and then some time later, enough that Don almost thought his husband had gone to sleep, Tim went on in a dreamy tone. “Do you know what made me leave the church?”
Surprised, Don admitted that he had always thought it was Tim’s sexuality. “I figured you couldn’t live a lie anymore.”
“It wasn’t a lie, not really. Not at first. I had never been with a man, and at that time I thought that I could go a lifetime without doing anything that would violate my vows. I loved the church enough to make that sacrifice, and since straight men make it too I didn’t see why it would be that different for me. But as time passed, I realized that the Vatican’s acceptance, or lack of it, of homosexuals and homosexuality clashed too much with my vision of God, and His love of all things and all people, for me to continue on that path. But Don, that decision was so difficult that I would probably have taken years to make it if I hadn’t met Hannah Marsh.”
Don waited for a few minutes, but eventually prompted his husband to continue. “Who is Hannah Marsh?”
Tim swallowed. “She was a beautiful five-year-old girl.” Don closed his eyes at the tense shift. “She had curly dark hair, and these eyes that gave her that old soul look, you know, the ones kids have that tells you that they are going to be someone, some day. If they have the chance.”
“She was the grand-daughter of our neighbors; their kids were our age, but Marianne, Hannah’s mother, became pregnant pretty young. Lots of young girls in her situation would have gotten an abortion, but I was a good friend of hers, and a better Catholic than a friend right then. I don’t regret it, because Hannah came out of it, but sometimes I wonder at the arrogance I had to be giving anyone advice about parenthood.”
“One day she was there, the next she wasn’t. A stupid accident, you know? Someone should have stopped or taken a nap, but instead they kept driving and fell asleep at the wheel. They hit Marianne’s car. She was fine, the driver asleep at the wheel was fine, but Hannah died. And I couldn’t preach the word of a God who saw fit to do that to her, to us.”
Don thought of his own past, the times he’d railed at and cursed God, and the difficulty he’d had coming to terms with how important Tim’s faith was to him. “You’re not the first or the only person to feel like that.”
“I don’t anymore, not really. It took a lot of time, but I came to realize that whether or not there is a creator, if there weren’t any consequences to our actions, then we’d never have to make the right ones.” Then Tim looked at Don, for the first time really. Don hid his shock at the bruises he could see on his husband’s face and neck, and quelled his desire to bundle Tim up and tuck him in. “But then times like this, right now, that anger and uncertainty comes back.”
“So why are you here?”
“I think I’m trying to find my way out of it.”
“Oh darling, are you all right?” Angela bustled in, and not even waiting for a response, began unpacking all that she had brought. There were pajamas, plates of comfort food, and even pillows and soft sheets.
Don laughed. “This is great! What about the kitchen sink?”
“Oh, stop,” Angela laughed, coming and kissing him before going on to her son. She gently ran her hand over Tim’s cheek, and then leaned down and pressed her cheek to his hair. Looking up for a second, she mouthed a quick prayer of thanks. Perhaps a tear or two fell on the pillow next to Tim, but by the time she raised her head there was no trace of it.
A knock on the door got everyone’s attention. “May I come in?” Congressman Callahan’s normally strong, eloquent voice sounded unsure and unsteady.
Tim stared, but then beckoned his father in. If there was a part of him that resented his father’s inability to get over his political choices until a near-death experience, he ignored it and followed his better impulses. “Of course Dad, you’re always welcome.”
He held out a hand, but although Rich grabbed it, he continued on to lay a hand on Tim’s forehead, as his wife had done. “You’re looking good,” he said gruffly, then leaned down to kiss his son’s cheek. That was not something he did often, but Tim understood then just how much what had happened had shaken the people who loved him.
Soon, the room was full with Kelly, her husband, and Kenny dropping by to wish him well. The storm had abated, and snowplows had cleared up the main roads, so while getting around was still a bit difficult, everyone had seized the opportunity to visit him. It was, Tim thought, the first time all four members of his family had been together in a long time. Too long.
Tim was a little cranky. Not very surprising, Don thought, because it was Christmas Eve and Tim had finally gotten out of the hospital. That day had been a difficult one. Tim was, of course, unable to attend the Senator’s funeral several days before, but Don had gone and delivered a note from his husband. It was horrible, Tim had said, but Don had a feeling it was something that the family had needed, because a few hours before Timmy had been released, John Platt had come to visit him.
It had been a difficult visit, of course. Lauren’s husband was barely beginning to process his wife’s death, and he was dealing with two young, grief-stricken children to boot. Don had left soon after his arrival, after giving his condolences one more time, but he’d been unable to stay there. It was almost impossible to face the might-have-been, because it could so easily have been him in John’s place. And while he knew his relief was normal, he couldn’t help feeling ashamed of it.
But by the time he got back, John was leaving. Tim wouldn’t say what they talked about; he just murmured something about John taking Lauren’s seat for the time being and then laid back and contemplated the ceiling. His enthusiasm about getting out had seemed to dim, but he remained adamant about it.
Still, the silence in the car was getting to Don, and he looked over at Tim for a second to make sure he was awake before he began to speak. “By the way, your mom is over getting the house ready. Knowing her, I’m guessing that means it’s going to be even cleaner than you ever manage to make it.”
Tim laughed, but the sound was short and not very joyous. “And there will be food on the stove.”
“Yum,” Don responded inanely, searching for another topic of conversation. But Tim was obviously thinking things over and not in the mood to talk.
When they got to the house, it was obvious that the Callahans weren’t the only ones there. “Is that Kenny’s bike?”
“And Kelly’s car?” Tim frowned. “What is everyone doing here?”
The answer was clear as soon as they walked into the house. The smell of turkey wafted through the air, while the tree that Tim and Don had picked out weeks before was now surrounded by a tower of presents. All of the Christmas lights were on, and there were stocking hanging with Kelly’s children’s names on them. Their house was alive with the sound of jingling bells and children laughing, and as soon as the door opened, the entire family descended on Tim and bore him off to the comfortable sofa.
Don stopped at the door, his mouth open. He’d never experienced Christmas like this; hell, he didn’t think this kind of thing existed outside of books and movies. But it was impossible to be too tired, too achy or too depressed to withstand the loving people welcoming them into their own home. Hands pressed hot chocolate and warm cookies into his hands and pushed him down into a chair near Tim.
Three hours later the house was empty, with everyone promising to come early so that they could open presents. The kids were hushed when they complained about having to wait until their parents woke up and made the drive, but even they couldn’t resent it too much when they saw just how much was waiting for them when they made it. Kelly’s husband was an only child and this was their first Christmas with their mother’s family. And despite all of Tim and Don’s invitations, Angela and Rich were also returning to their apartment, leaving the married couple alone.
Don brought his bedding downstairs, and was just making himself comfortable when Tim spoke up. “Acting Senator Platt asked me to continue on as his aide.”
“Ah,” Don said unintelligently. “Um, what did you tell him?”
“The same thing I told you in the chapel that day after my accident. I’m looking for something. I need to have faith in something again.”
“Not just Him. In my work—I spent much of the past few weeks trying to pass a bill to ensure that you and I and everyone like us gets a right that other people take for granted and piss on every day. And now that bill is either going to fail because we need more people with Senator Platt’s personal drive and commitment to it, not less, or it will pass if we make her its martyr. So I’m going to either fail at one of the most important things I’ve done professionally, or I’m going to succeed by using the memory of someone I cared for very much, and isn’t that living up to every dirty, unpleasant cliché of a politician?
“Maybe it is,” Don said, “or maybe you’re looking in the wrong places. Maybe you’re so busy looking for the greater meaning in things that you’re ignoring the smaller things, the simple truths.”
“Like whatever you do about this bill, you’ll do with John Platt because there’s no way you’re going to leave him to the wolves. And that if John and you can’t between yourselves save Lauren Platt’s memory from being a political tool, then no one can. There’s a difference between making someone an inspiration and making them a martyr. You just have to find it, and you will or you won’t do it at all.”
Then, leaning forward, he grabbed Tim’s hands and looked at him lovingly. “I can’t help you with finding God, that’s a point that we never find common ground at, but maybe, just maybe, you can have faith in people instead. Look at this room today, Tim. It was full of three generations of people who came to welcome you home and celebrate that you’re here with them, this Christmas, when you could so easily have”- Don couldn’t continue, and his head bowed as he shied away from expressing the fear that still haunted him by day as well as by night.
“They were here because it’s Christmas,” Tim said wryly, trying to wring a laugh out of Don. He hated bringing him down when Don had been reveling in their Christmas merriment such a short time before.
“No Tim. They were here because we are all bonded together over one very special fact—that we all love you, Tim Callahan."