Home For The Holidays Chapter 11
11 First Steps Taken
Update 2 weeks ago
Despite Malcolm's numerous threats, he didn't leave when the snow died down. He ended up staying to appease his brothers and especially his sister and her kids who did love him very much. The whole family ended up staying seven whole days but not before the men when to the grocery store and nearly bought the place out as well as hitting a few toy stores to restock the space vacancy that was under the tree. It was the first time they had all spend the holiday together and even Malcolm seemed to cool down as the days went on but that might have had something to do with their hitting the liquor store during their insane spending spree. Rather than have turkey for another night in the same week, Malcolm and Dick ordered out for Christmas day. Pizza for the kids and Chinese food and dumplings for the adults, which in turn made for a much more casual and fancy free meal for everyone. Artie was not one to complain as he got what he wanted for the holiday; everyone on the same roof again for Christmas. Yet like all good things, the holiday came to an end. One at a time, Artie's kids said their goodbyes and drove off for the airport. Kim was the first to go and it wasn't until after she left that the three men standing there on to speak with Artie one more time.
"Do us all a favor," David asked, "No more faking your death."
"Alright," Artie said, "That's the first and last time; I promise."
"Next time," Dick started, "Try coming to us for a change. The weather in December is a lot nicer in California."
"I don't think I can," Artie argued, "I'm a few years from retirement and I've almost got this darn house paid off."
"The house is paid off," Malcolm interrupted, "Dick and I took care of it over six years ago."
"You did?" Artie said as he looked at the other boys who all nodded to confirm it for him. "What the hell have I been paying then?"
"It's all been deposited into a savings account," David answered, "We planned to tell you about it when you retired so you could use it to do whatever you wanted."
Artie couldn't believe what he was hearing, "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you're a proud man," Dick answered, "We didn't want to hurt your feelings."
"I wish your mother had been here to see this." Artie said.
"She was," Malcolm said with a chuckle, "She didn't win fifty thousand on a scratch ticket. We gave it to her so you guys could take your dream trip to Italy. We did it for her cause we knew time was short and we had plenty to spare."
"I don't know what to say." Artie said as he was truly speechless.
"How about this," David said as he was clearly speaking for them all, "If Mohammad cannot come to the mountain then bring the mountain to him. Instead of tricking us to all come here, respect the fact that we are busy people and come to us instead. Crash in the guest room for a few days and make us pay the way for a change. It's not like you haven't earned it putting up with us. Money isn't an issue but it would be less intrusive if you came to us sometimes."
"I'll do that next time," Artie said to them as he padded his sons on the shoulder.
"Good because funerals are expensive!" Malcolm said with a laugh.
"That they are." Artie said as he recalled paying for a wake. "I don't want to do that again anytime soon."
"Neither do we," Dick said as he hugged his father, "Neither do we."
"We may disagree on a lot," Malcolm said as he shook his father's hand, "But that doesn't mean I don't love you. The same goes for all of you."
"Deep down he's just a big softie." David said.
"Keep that to yourself." Malcolm chided back.
After saying their goodbyes, Artie watched as the three cars all departed one at a time much like had they had arrived. As they drove off into the distance, Artie for a change left the holidays with hope for the future. For the first time since his wife passed away, he looked forward to the New Year and the promises they held. When the cars all finally vanished from sight, he walked back into the house and began to clean up from the mess that was left from having four adults and as many kids there for a whole week. Was a chore he was proud to do as it was the sign of what a good time he and the rest of them had had. When it was taken care of and the trash properly tossed out, Artie sat down and at his desk with a glass of scotch and relaxed. He used a key to own a locked drawer in his desk and pulled out the medical papers he had been looking over for months. The very forms that reminded him about the tumors and how aggressive they had been despite the he had taken to fight them. The old man didn't have the heart to tell him. This holiday was truly going to be his last, which was the reason for his deception. He wasn't going to live to see the next one so he did whatever he could to make this year the best it could possibly be, even if it meant deceiving his own children. He was going to keep his word; the next funeral wasn't going to be fake and it was going to come a lot sooner than they had hoped. Artie looked at the forms and concluded he would try treatment again. He had considered letting go and passing on without a fight but seeing his kids and the things they wanted to do gave him the zeal he needed to carry on. He would contact the doctor the next week and sign up for another round. If he didn't make it, it would no longer be from a lack of trying. Artie had all the motivation he needed; one more Christmas with the family.