The first thing Posner underestimates about Scripps’ family Christmas, is how much food there is. When he’s celebrating Hanukkah with his family, they eat. They eat traditional meals and latkes and sugared sufganiyot his aunt makes and brings from her cluttered kitchen. But not as much as Scripps’ huge, bustling family eats, makes or brings. He feels like he’s been thrown into the wilderness with 14 other people and the biggest turkey he’d ever seen.
It’s not that he doesn’t like Christmas – he loves it. The fairy lights, the presents, the trees, the markets, and yes, the food. Anything that would make his mother howl if she were still around to see him, sitting on the floor in a lurid Christmas jumper, reindeer antlers perched on his head. And he’s delighted that Scripps’ family have invited him, for the first year as their son’s boyfriend, but the Scripps family is…loud. And large. And quite heavily intoxicated.
It doesn’t help that Mrs Scripps is utterly convinced that Posner himself is devastatingly, unacceptably thin, something she keeps scolding Don for as she piles more and more food onto a terrifying plate. She doesn’t seem to understand that he doesn’t want to eat, that this is too much after everything he’s been eating recently, which hasn’t been much other than what Scripps has been shoving into hands on the rare days he’s managed to get out of bed. Peas, carrots, potatoes, turkey, stuffing, the moment he’s choked it down with cutlery shaking in his hands, there’s more magically appearing on his plate. And as more and more wine is consumed (thought not by Posner, who reserves himself to one burning cup of mulled wine each festive season), as reddened cheeks flush more and more, it becomes harder and harder to refuse. And everyone becomes louder and more talkative, the conversation turning to shouts as Posner squeezes his eyes shut and tries to block out the anxious thoughts that invade his mind even more in the winter months.
Thank God for Scripps, he thinks as he curls himself tighter into a ball on the floor. Scripps who had noticed him shaking and the overwhelmed look on his face before pulling him outside. Scripps who had held him for twenty minutes while he trembled and tried to gulp down deep breaths. And now Posner was sitting on the floor of the corridor, tucked into himself as he flinches with the loud noise floating from the kitchen.
He jumps slightly as someone slides down next to him. Scripps smiles apologetically, adjusting the lopsided antlers on his head and squeezes his hand tightly.
“You ok?” he asks softly as Posner leans against him with a sigh.
“Yeah,” Pos nods, his eyes fluttering closed momentarily. “Just a bit tired,”
Scripps rubs his thumb over his knuckles in a comforting, understanding gesture before leaning closer with a grin.
“I brought you a piece of Yule Log,”
Posner’s face falls and he sits back in horror.
“Don, I can’t, I’ll be sick!” he yelps. “It’s nice but there’s so much and I…”
“Calm down,” Scripps chuckles. “I didn’t actually. Though we haven’t even got on to the Quality Street yet,”
He brings out a hand from behind his back instead, revealing a green sprig of mistletoe with pearlescent berries gleaming in the pale light. Posner chuckles and leans in, pausing to whisper something softly.
“Merry Christmas, love,”