~TEN DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS~
I mumbled something incoherent, turned over to my right side, and was on the verge of sleep when something poked my cheek.
"Finn, go away," I mumbled, wanting to sleep for a few more hours.
The familiarity of the sound tugged at my hazy mind. After a few more pokes to my cheek, I fought to open my eyes, blinking them a few times to clear my once-blurry vision. Big swirling eyes met mine, swimming with happiness in seconds.
"Momo? It's the middle of the night," I mumbled but reached out to stroke her string hair, which was down rather than in her usual ponytails.
"BiBo," Momo replied, her words translating in my mind now that I was awake and focused. "Scared."
"Why are you scared, Momo?"
"Bibi BiBo," she replied, stepping side-to-side. "Too dark. Daddy sleeping. Hug."
I blinked a few times, slowly understanding why Momo was scared. "The darkness here is different than the Dark World, isn't it?"
"BiBo," Momo whimpered, outstretching her dollish hands toward me.
I sat up and quickly rubbed my eyes, needing to move the lingering sand dust out. Rotating my top half to my right, I reached out to lift Momo, who was in her cupcake pajamas, and pressed her to my chest.
"BiBiBi." She began to sing quietly and I stroked her head, hoping it would calm her down enough to sleep.
After my time in the Dark World, I had noticed the difference between here and there. To many, Darkness was considered evil, black energy or perceived as an environment that was full of negativity.
They didn't know how to distinguish the difference and I didn't blame them. It was a place you'd have to experience yourself, to really feel the difference between the Darkness that was pure, like Momo, and the Darkness that was where the Forsaken had come from. Another difference between the two worlds, especially with us staying in our dorm house for the Christmas holiday, was the shift from day to night.
Momo was adjusting to the brightness, but she still cried and made a fuss when I'd attempt to wake her up in the morning. However, her issue with night could have been due to the absence of purple flames in the halls and rooms compared to the Dark World.
"Bi." Momo looked up with her tired eyes, their swirling movement beginning to slow while she fought to keep her lids open. I smiled and leaned down to kiss her forehead.
"Go to sleep, Momo. You can sleep here, okay?"
"BiBo," she replied. "Sleepy. My mommy."
She rested her head back onto my chest and I continued to rub her back until my ears picked up on her slow inhales. Fingers brushed through my hair, and I looked over to my left to see a pair of lime green eyes. A smile tugged on my lips and I moved in to place them tenderly onto Finn's.
"Hey," I whispered. "Did I wake you?"
"No. I just noticed it wasn't as warm on my backside," he replied with a teasing grin. His eyes trailed to Momo, who was fast asleep, not bothered by our low voices. "She doesn't like sleeping alone, does she?"
"Not really. She does have her own bed, but she normally wanders into Esme's or Odion's room in the middle of the night. I don't think we want her to make it a habit, but I think it will fade now that she's growing," I explained with a slight smile on my lips.
The thought of Momo being able to grow into her adult form excited me. It was one of those realizations that tugged at my heartstrings, always bringing a smile to my face.
After everything we'd been through weeks prior, I'd bonded very closely to Momo, to the point she deemed me worthy of the title “Mommy.”
Everything that had occurred that fateful day had left a rawness in my heart. I wasn't sure whether I was sad about losing Sia or happy that she was finally happy with Lucian and the rest of her men. I'd yet to determine my emotions regarding everything.
Since then, we were staying at Aslan temporarily while my mother, Charlotte, and dads—Harrison, Hellsin, Magnor, and Orlando—handled the rest of the cleanup.
Tomorrow would mark two weeks since the event and we were all still attempting to recover. It was going to be a long process before we dealt with the technical stuff, like my Queenship or confronting the people regarding what happened.
Mother said she'd handle it with Esme's guidance and our focus as Team Misfit would be to heal. As for our time at Aslan, we weren't really sure what was going to happen. It was now Christmas holiday, with many students remaining with their families after the evacuation of the school due to the flood of Forsaken trying to destroy the barrier. Thanks to Hellsin and Orlando, the parts where the barrier had been damaged were rejuvenated to full strength, and those shifters who didn't have a family to stay with were allowed to return back to Aslan to celebrate Christmas.
Christmas was in ten days, and it would be my first time officially celebrating with my family, friends, and lovers. It wasn't like I hadn't in the past, but I barely remembered my time with my parents and even through the years with Magnor, not many were spent with him on actual Christmas.
The holiday season seemed to spark an increase in Forsaken appearances, and thus, Magnor would always get called to assist, leaving Arielle and me alone to celebrate the holiday by ourselves.
I'd been grateful for Arielle's company, and we tried our best to be full of Christmas spirit for the joyous holiday, but I wouldn't deny there was always a bit of sadness that haunted us, wishing we could be like those families who celebrated together.
I wanted to experience what it was like and I hoped maybe this Christmas would be the one. However, I knew, realistically, that might not be the case.
With everything that had happened, and with us all still recovering from the aftermath, I didn't know if we'd have the energy to do what I envisioned. My imagination spun fantasies of lots of festive activities, kind of like a countdown to Christmas where I could spend time with my men.
I felt a bit depressed with how little time we'd had together, especially in the last two weeks. We were either forced to sleep for long periods of time to help promote my mana recovery, or the guys would be working around Aslan, gathering information from the archives about the past we were hidden from. It was only at night that I got to enjoy time with them; each guy claimed his own night to spend with me, except for Cairus and Caio, who were basically considered one unit.
Odion and Orion were still getting used to being around each other, and though they had forgiven one another, it was clear that they each loved annoying the other.
Had to admit, it was interesting to watch how they interacted versus Cairus and Caio, who complemented one another most of the time.
I couldn't forget Hunter and his older brother Aaron, who was currently giving the older shifters at Alpha Pure a better understanding of the Dark World and the difference between Darkness and the Forsaken that were a test from Mother Nature.
He'd most likely be around as well, which I thought would be perfect for Hunter. I bet he was eager to rekindle the brotherly bond they had, but with the number of tasks happening, it had been hard for them to see one another.
For Christmas, I prayed that we'd get to enjoy the holiday together, like how it was represented in books, holiday movies, and shows.
But would it be possible now that we potentially had time off?
The smooth gliding sensation of something stroking my cheek pulled me from my thoughts, my eyes returning to meet Finn's intrigued ones.
"What's my Cutie Pie thinking about?" Finn whispered. He'd moved closer to me during my moment of thinking and I had to admit, the added warmth from his hand and pressed-close body made me wish my Christmas vision would come true.
"I was just thinking that it would have been nice if we could...you know, celebrate the approaching of Christmas."
"Why can't we?" Finn inquired.
"I'm not saying we can't. It's just, I've never really celebrated the season before. During my youth and teen years, Magnor rarely got time off unless it was the occasional Christmas Day. It was just me and Arielle, and it's not like she could shift into her human form as she can now. We'd simply watch Christmas reruns and do our usual thing. We didn’t do anything festive other than occasionally add peppermint to our hot chocolate. I just thought we wouldn't be able to do anything this year since everyone is kind of busy," I admitted.
"Festive as in different Christmas or winter activities in general?" Finn inquired.
I slowly nodded my head, my eyes lowering to Momo, who slept in my arms. "I never had friends to have snowball fights with or to go sled racing. No adventuring in the mountains or enjoying the anticipation of Christmas by going shopping. I never went to the festivals that happened in our town for fear of being bullied, and even those times Magnor got to stay home, we didn’t have a fancy dinner. It could have been my fault for that, since Magnor always looked exhausted when he came back and I didn't want to add to that tiredness with my dreams of a feast. It was something I just wanted to experience but never got to. When I say it out loud, it sounds pretty childish or stupid, even. I just sometimes wish that I'd get to experience the joys of Christmas with my family, friends, and loved ones."
I stroked Momo's head softly and whispered, "It would be nice to give Momo a thrilling first Christmas, too. I bet she and Odion haven't experienced Christmas either, and since Momo's a child, I want her to have a wonderful experience." I shyly turned my head back to Finn, who'd been quietly listening, and gave him a shy smile. "I'm being a little overdramatic, aren't I?"
"Not at all. It's an amazing tradition that you deserve to have," Finn whispered and leaned down to kiss me. "It would be nice to give Momo, Odion, Arielle, and you a Christmas to remember. I'm sure we can do some things. Not all Christmas activities involve magic and we definitely don't need to push ourselves. Odion and the others are still a bit exhausted, and you're still recovering, but as long as we retain our mana, we should have nothing to worry about," Finn suggested.
"How about Arielle and the others?" I asked. "They have to stay in their familiar forms for now."
"I'm sure none of them mind. Arielle and the others have bonded well in both their human and familiar forms. Our well-being is more important to them than enjoying Christmas in human form. I'm sure they can have just as much fun, and if we're good during the week, I think we'll all survive one day with them being human. They'll have those necklaces Faelia made to help reduce the mana consumption from us," Finn elaborated.
"That sounds comforting. I want everyone to enjoy the holiday. I'd love for us to all sit around the table and just enjoy everyone's company. To cherish what family is all about," I whispered, unable to hide the vulnerability and longing in my voice.
Finn leaned in to press his lips on my forehead, the action taming the darker thoughts in my mind regarding my past. "No matter what we do this holiday season, we'll cherish it together as a family. Whether our family members are present or not, Team Misfit and your Blessed Loves will be delighted to enjoy a nice evening around the dinner table eating and teasing each other about random things."
I couldn't help giggling as I shook my head. "You mean the guys teasing you about how much you're going to eat during Christmas dinner, Lucky Charms?"
Finn blushed and looked away. "I don't eat a lot."
"Your stomach is a vacuum." I giggled quietly. "Just admit it already. I bet you're dreaming about a dinner table full of food."
"Tease," Finn mumbled, and I almost shrieked at the rough movement of his lips against my neck. I had to fight the urge to arch my back and moan, remembering Momo was on my chest.
"Finn. Inappropriate kissing," I grumbled.
"Hmm. I guess I'll be good," Finn mumbled, leaving a final kiss on the left side of my neck that made goosebumps run up my arms.
Damn him and those pleasurable, goosebumps-inducing kisses.
We repositioned ourselves slowly, trying not to disturb Momo as we laid down with the intention of sleeping. Momo rested between us, her head against my chest.
"Would it make you happy?" Finn questioned.
"Would you be really happy if you could experience the joys of Christmas? Seeing as you never got to enjoy many winter Christmas activities, if we did something similar, would it make you happy?"
"Beyond happy," I whispered with an appreciative smile. "But it's kind of too late for planning. It’s past twelve so it’s nine days till Christmas. With everyone doing their own thing, it's impossible. Maybe next year," I explained. With a yawn, I closed my eyes. "Next year my weird dream will come true."
"It's not weird, Blessed Love." Finn's voice was low as he continued. "Let's see what tomorrow brings."
"Okay," I whispered, fighting to stay conscious. Trying to open my eyes back up was a failed attempt as my mind began to submerge in the depths of darkness as the cloak of sleep returned with force. I heard a soft chuckle and felt a soft kiss press against my forehead and then my nose.
"Sleep well, Cutie Pie. Dream peacefully and leave the magic to me."
With Finn's insightful words bringing comfort to my craving soul, I allowed myself to fall back asleep, dreaming about how Christmas would be with my friends, family, and seven Blessed Loves.
My first Christmas...