Quite proud of himself, George wandered around his house at the dead of night. The whole place was in complete darkness, but he knew the layout so well, as you do when you’ve been living somewhere for so long, he managed to navigate the rooms without miss-stepping or bumping into things. He was silent, like a cat, and he was on the prowl. Ok, he wasn’t looking or chasing for prey. In a cosy, tan dressing gown and red and green socks that were slipping off his feet, he was alike a cat looking not for trouble, but attention, hugs, affection. He was making his way into the open-plan living/dining room.
It was dark there too, but a silvery moon tossed it’s light into the room, creating just enough so that George could make it out. Yes, there they were. He had two sofas lining the back walls, one a corner seat, the other big enough for two to sit down on. He also had lugged two mattresses from the guest rooms down the stairs and set them on the floor. All four of these items of furniture were occupied by one of his greatest friends. That’s what George had come down to see. To find Roy sprawled out on the mattress under the window, hugging a fluffy blanket, and Bob curled up beneath his, and Jeff facing the back pillows of his sofa, while Tom’s lanky limbs were draped sleepily over his.
George had to admit, he was pleased with himself. On such short notice, on Christmas Eve, he’d managed to round his friends up, to set up a place for them to sleep, and well… there was more he had planned than just to have a sleepover. It was midnight, Christmas Day. George loved Christmas. And by God, his friends were going to love it too.
Not only had he made his living room into an extension of the guest bedrooms- which were empty, a fact he hid from his mates- he’d also rigged it out with more lights than the single one hanging from the ceiling. Little did his friends know that they were sleeping in the midst of a Christmas light show.
The switch hung from a wire, which was stuck to the doorframe with cello tape. George took it in his hand and flipped the switch. Instantly, the room was lit with white, green and red. A Christmas tree tucked in the corner of the room also started sparkling with the same colours.
That, however, was not enough to wake the four sleeping musicians. In their career, they’d learnt two things; to sleep anywhere, and to sleep through anything. George himself recalled sleeping through the soundtrack of German movies playing in the theatre he and the rest of the Beatles were sleeping in back in the Hamburg days. If you can ignore that, there is nothing you can’t ignore.
No, he had to do more if he wanted any of his mates to see what he had done. He wandered into the kitchen, where upon a table he had left a brown bag. Inside was a mess of ribbons, glitter and wrapping paper, wrapped around several presents. Each one, without even looking at the label, George could identify it’s intended receiver, and which present it was for that person. He fished out four of them, each soft gifts, which wouldn’t hurt his friends as he returned to the living room and lobbed them in their direction.
He caught Rob in the arm, the present resting almost perfectly in his hand. Tom’s landed at his feet, causing the man to jolt awake, coil up, before shying furiously away from the assault on his tired eyes. Similarly, George managed to, somehow, toss Jeff’s gift square on his nose. The poor boy let out such a frustrated yell, it woke both Roy and Bob. That left George to merely lay Bob’s present by his pillow. And though he was not attacked like the rest of the Wilburys, Bob’s face was probably the most thunderous. His brow creased. Who had dared to wake him in the middle of a happily dreamless...
Oh, it was George. Well, Bob couldn’t very well shout at him. Least of all when he noticed the wrapping paper, all gold and green, shimmering by his side, neatly wrapped up with a red bow.
“George, hunnie.” Tom was the first to speak. He was just starting to wake up, to realise what was going on, and after the initial shock of this all, he was half smiling. Of course, he felt he could’ve done without being dragged from a pretty good night’s sleep, but come on, it was George. He had to have a good reason for doing so. “Not that I’m not glad to see you and all, but did you have to scare us all shitless?”
“I’m not scared.” Roy piped up. He had sat up probably the most contently, taken pleasure in the lights that sparkled around him, and the thought that had been presented by the gift in at his fingertips. “George, you shouldn’t have.”
“But I wanted to.” The ex-Beatle bashfully replied. He watched each of his friends discover their presents waiting for them, and flip the label over to read the sweet message on the other side, scrawled in George’s hand. “It’s just something small. I’ve got bigger ones for the morning. But I just wanted to…”
“I meant you shouldn’t have woken us up like this, but thank you anyway.” Roy quipped. George laughed.
“Shut up and open your stupid presents.”
Jeff didn’t need to be told twice. He’d already ripped the wrapping paper and stuck his hands through. He pulled out a pair of blue and white socks with something seemingly embroidered on the top of them. He held it up to the light and found it said, ‘Mr Blue Sky.’ He smiled at that.
“What a lovely Santa.” Tom scoffed as he too began opening his presents.
“I think I prefer him over a nice old man.” Bob muttered, “A lot more interesting.”
“Of course you would think that.”
Tom had received a thin scarf. Very stylish, and made personal by the hem, which was embroidered with his name and Heartbreaker’s band logo repeated over and over again. Roy had also received a scarf, but a thicker, warmer looking one with red and white stripes. On the white ones, there was sewn the words ‘oh pretty guy’ in a thick, knitting wool-like thread, alluding to one of his most famous songs.
Lastly, Bob had gently peeled the sticky tape sticking the wrapping of his present off, and unfolded the paper, until it fell open by itself. Inside was a pair of winter gloves. They seemed quite normal, quite handsomely slender, made of leather. But as he tried them on and looked at the overturned edge, he could see the words ‘with love from George’ inscribed in them.
He grinned to himself, keeping, unlike his friends, the gift to himself rather than showing it around.
With a sly smirk, he cast his eyes up to his bandmate/acting Santa Claus and said, “Merry Christmas.”
Shyly, the Ex-Beatle smiled back, “Merry Christmas. You know I love you all, right?”
“Even without the theatrics,” Roy pointed out, “We know you do.”
George knew they did, but he’d never tire of showing them how much he did. After having welcomed them into Christmas that year, he decided he was too tired to walk back to his bed. He pushed Roy and Bob’s bed together and told the latter man to shove up. Bob was only too pleased to make room.