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A New Year

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The heaps of snow and frigid air didn’t interrupt the Scofield’s celebration.

The past was behind them, Jacob was gone, and Michael was free. Sara stood beside him as they stared out the living room window, watching little Mike build a snowman with his Uncle Lincoln and Auntie Sheba.

Sara wrapped her arm around Michael’s narrow waist, tracing his figure gently with her thumb.
Years being imprisoned overseas had turned him thinner and grayer, but his stunning blue eyes kept him beautiful nonetheless.

“I love you,” he whispered in her ear, turning to cup her face with his hands and pulling her soft lips toward his own. After a long kiss Michael slowly lifted his head and said, “I got something just for us”.

He walked over to the kitchen counter and out of a brown paper grocery bag he pulled out a bottle of champagne. Sara smiled and pulled two thin glasses from the cupboards above her.

Sara watched delightedly as Michael poured the bubbling drink into one glass, followed by the other. “Cheers,” he said as they lifted their glasses with synchrony.

“Cheers,” followed Sara, as she took a delicate sip from her glass. She glanced back up to Michael, who, in one gulp, had managed to take down nearly the whole glass. “Whoa, slow down there, honey,” she said, giggling. “Linc tells me you don’t handle your booze too well.”

Michael laughed as he put down his glass and wiped his lips. “Fuck Linc. It’s New Years.”

Sara took another sip of her champagne as Michael refilled and downed another glass. She shook her head as he shook the last drops onto his tongue, making sure not to waste the expensive beverage.

The door creaked open and Lincoln, Sheba, and little Mike shuffled in, the three of them bundled in scarves and hats, cheeks red and smiles plastered on their faces. “Daddy! Mommy!” Mike cried out, running towards his parents before squeezing his arms around his father’s legs.

Michael pulled the wool hat from his son’s head and ran his fingers through the child’s fluffy dark hair. “Did you have fun out there with your Uncle and Auntie? Did you build something?

“It’s a snowman! His name is Frosty Fred,” said Mike.

Sara smiled at Michael, and Michael felt a wave of gratitude fall over him. They were together. As a family. At last, he was free. They were free.

“Mike, go play with your Auntie, okay?” Lincoln said, Sheba ushering Mike upstairs to his bedroom. “I brought something for us.”

Lincoln opened the refrigerator and pulled out two six-packs of beer, pulling a bottle out for himself and Michael before offering one to Sara.

“I’m good,” she told him. “Michael already fixed me up with champagne.” She pointed to the bottle on the kitchen counter, which was now well below half full. She had only finished one glass which meant…

Sara looked at Michael, who was now delightfully chugging down his beer.

“Has he been drinking already?” Lincoln whispered to Sara. “You gotta keep an eye on him. He’s a fucking lightweight.”

“I figured as much,” she said. “I’ll try to slow him down.”

As Michael put down his three quarters-empty beer, Sara nudged his ribs and asked, “Hey hun, you want anything to eat with that?” She shuffled through the cabinets to find some crackers before pulling a cheese tray from the fridge. “You know you could use some more meat on your bones.”

He stared down self-consciously and mumbled cutely, “Yeah, can I have a cracker?”

Lincoln and Sara eyed each other as they could tell he was starting to slur. Hopefully some food would help slow the effects of the alcohol.

As the night went on, Sara finished her second glass of champagne, Lincoln finished a good number of beers and Michael…well…shit, he was not in good shape.
As a good brother would do—and as Michael had done for Lincoln many times before—Lincoln guided Michael’s limp, drunken body to the bathroom and rested his hands upon his bony shoulders as Michael vomited loudly into the toilet bowl. “I told you to slow down, buddy,” Lincoln mumbled.

Once Michael appeared to be fully empty Lincoln met Sara in the hallway and passed her a weak, deliriously drunk Michael. Sara giggled as she guided him to their bed, tucking his slender form beneath the covers as he quickly drifted off.

“I love you, Michael,” she whispered, running her fingers through his closely shaven salt-and-pepper hair.

Barely squinting his eyes open, Michael gave a weak, inebriated reply. “I love you too, Sara.”

She smiled and turned out the lights.

Tomorrow, however hungover Michael may be, would be the mark of a new year. And they would be together.