15: The Greatest Gift Of All.
Lisa was sad
and Rick didn't understand why. He asked her directly, but she smiled
softly to him and just nodded. For a few months in marriage, he
already knew when and how much he can push her, and now wasn't the
time for that. For a reason, watching Lisa in such pain, maee Rick
feel miserable, and from his own experience, he knew that it probably
was his fault.
Rick was sitting
in the coffee-brake room looking outside the window when Claudia
came in. She greeted him and he barely smiled and returned his view
to the window again. Claudia frowned and walked next to him.
"Rick? Are you
all right?" she asked with concern, looking more like a mother than
a superior officer. Rick looked into her brown eyes and nodded.
"I don't know Clau. Lisa has been acting weird all the week and
I don't know why" he said and sighed.
and bit her lower lip in concern. Rick saw her and asked quickly
"Do you know
why? If you know you have to tell me!" he said and Claudia stepped
back, trying to think.
think I will Rick but.but I think you better sit down and calm down
a bit, because you are not going to like this" she warned and Rick
"Ok" he said
and sat in the next chair, near the table. Claudia walked to the
coffee machine and put some fresh coffee inside two big mugs. She
was worried, it was written all over her face.
"Here" she said
and gave him a mug. "Drink it, you are going to need it" she said
and obediently, Rick took some.
"Well? I don't care what is it.tell me" he said trying to control
his concern and curiosity.
and took a big breath.
"Ok Rick, listen honey, you have to be really open mind about this,
and if you do worry for her the way you look, you need to learn
to listen and understand. I think it will be a good idea if we keep
this just to ourself, because I don't think Lisa would like to know
I told you this." Claudia said.
"Sure, just between us, now tell me, please" said Rick holding close
the hot mug in his hands.
tensed and then took another breath, before speaking again.
"There are two
reasons why Lisa is acting weird Rick. It's the season. Christmas
is right around the corner and that always affects her. Rick, honey,
Lisa's mom died during Christmas eve" said Claudia and patted Rick's
his eyes big. Somehow, his own heart compress and felt part of her
pain. It was very understandable that she felt all down. He just
wished to make her feel better, to help her! To be with her.but
she was pulling away and he didn't understand why.
Claudia, and I'm really sorry about it, I really am, but I don't
understand why she shut me out of it. Why she didn't tell me?!"
he asked, and couldn't understand the sudden pain he felt when he
realized that Lisa wasn't sharing everything with him.
Claudia swallowed hard. She knew this was coming.
This is exactly what I was telling you before. You need to listen
and understand. Look, it took her several years to finally open
up with me and tell me. She disappears every single year for Christmas,
until she finally told me". Said Claudia taking some of her coffee.
"Telling you what?!" asked impatiently Rick.
Claudia wait a second, remembering the story.
"Lisa's mom died when she was still a little girl. They were very
close then, her mother, father and her. The mother was the base
of that family, and Lisa was very happy in that time..." explained
Claudia and then her eyes turned sad ".her mother died of a weird
form of cancer, a very strong and quickly time. They didn't have
time then to help her. When Lisa was little, she didn't understand
it very well, but she was with her on Christmas Eve. Her father
was on duty, and she stayed with her mother. The mother took her
into her arms that night and sang for her until she felt asleep
on the couch, near the fire. That same night, Lisa's mom died" finished
Claudia, holding her own tears.
Rick was speechless.
His own mind go back in time, trying to remember his own mother,
but he couldn't. But Lisa was different. She remembered her. She
died holding her daughter and she understood why this was a difficult
time for her.
"I see" said
Rick looking down, sadly "Poor Lisa, but what about her father?"
"Lisa's dad was in too much pain. Sadly, that affect Lisa directly.
When his wife died, he close himself, even from his daughter. I
don't doubt that he cared for her, but he never could fully recovered
for the loss of his wife. Lisa stayed alone since then, just with
tutors and then school. Her father always away. But the problem
was when she entered to teenager years and she came home, because
she is identical to her mother, physically speaking. The Admiral
didn't took that good and somehow he become overprotective around
her, always worry that she could get sick, like her mother. It was
a weird thing, he never spoke with her a lot, but he was always
taking care of her. That was why he hate with his guts Karl when
he came into the scene". She explained and took more of her coffee.
"Oh my God,
that's awful!" said Rick in shock. He couldn't believe how Lisa
managed to survived all that.
"Yes" said Claudia
with a sighed "it was really sad. So, since then every single year
she disappear for Christmas, until last year." she said remembering
and closing her eyes.
What happened last year?" asked Rick, feeling suddenly a nervous
pain in his stomach.
into his eyes and answered straight to him "Last year, I convinced
her to spend Christmas eve with you, Rick" she said, feeling guilty.
his eyes in wondered, his heart beating fast "With me? Christmas?
But she never came in! Minmei was with me that night! Lisa never
came." he said and then a possibility crossed his mind, shocking
his eyes and nodded a yes.
"Yes Rick, she
went to your place that night and she listened to Minmei and you
talking. She escaped from your place and I found her, just for luck,
four hours later. I went to a bar to pick a bottle of wine for me
and Roy, and I found her, sitting alone in a dark corner, holding
a glass, and drinking the second bottle of whisky. She was devastated.
I took her home and she passed out in the car" she remembered with
Rick was cold.
He couldn't feel his hands or feet. The only thing he felt was pain,
pure pain. He couldn't believe that, for his fault, Lisa's pain
in that day grow even more. He slowly closed his eyes, feeling his
own heart beats getting stronger.
"Oh My God."
said Rick, standing up and walking next to the window, opening up
a little for some air. He needed some air. Claudia followed him
and patted his back.
"I'm sorry Rick,
but I think you need to know this" she said feeling guilty for causing
him pain. Rick looked at her.
"It's ok, I
need to know. I never end to understand why she love me, I'm such
a selfish jerk" he said looking to the floor.
"Yes, you are.
But you are a good person too Rick. We never chose who we fall in
love. We just do it, just.happened, so don't asked yourself 'why',
because is so difficult to answer as to define love." said Claudia
looking for his eyes.
it, feeling even more depressed. He stood against the wall, catching
"I think what
you should do now, is stop thinking about what happened and concentrate
about what to do now, this year" said Claudia, smiling a little.
around and saw her in wonder "What do you mean?" he asked.
grow even more "You can help her 'this' year Rick. You can help
her if that's what you want" she said.
"Of course I
want to help her!" he say, standing up "But.what should I do?"
"Oh well.is your wife now, I think you maybe know one or two things
about her, right?" asked Claudia with a grin. Rick just nodded,
"I don't know
Rick, maybe a dinner, maybe gifts, maybe a party.I don't know! But
what I know, is you can give her, for the first time since she was
8 years old, a real Christmas" she said finishing her coffee and
walking through the door.
at her, mouth open. He didn't know what to do and he looked freaked
joked Claudia, looking at him "I'm sure you will think about something"
she said holding the door, and then before she go away, she turned
to see him one more time "You love her, right?" she asked slowly.
prepared for that question in a moment like that.
"I.I think I
do.I mean, I'm not sure. I love her, but not 'in love' with her
yet. I think.but yes, sure.I love her with all my heart.but." he
hesitated answering it, feeling confused.
knowing that he wasn't ready yet to realized the truth yet. "That's
enough then. If you love her, you will know what to do" she assured
him and with a final smile, she closed the door.
through the gardens of the now snowy base. Everybody was inside
escaping from the cold, but she needed some time alone, and the
cold weather was her ally in this week. For the snow, she was wearing
her usual uniform, but a long a very gray pale coat, that look more
like a cloak and occulted her almost completely in the snow, with
the exception of her hair. She walked in the snow feeling her cold
breeze against her skin making her feel a little pain that reminded
her she was still alive. She walked away from the sigh of everyone
at lunch time, until she reach the place she was looking for, a
semicircle of trees, that look directly to a cliff, showing the
city and the mountains at the end. Lisa sighed sadly and site in
a cold rock. She reached her hand and touch the snow with her bare
hand, feeling the soft texture of the snow that melt at the contact
of her. She smiled sadly and murmured to herself.
"So, this is me. Cold as the snow, so cold that it burns"
"I heard somewhere that talking to yourself is the first sign of
losing your mind" murmured a familiar and smirking voice behind
her back. Lisa jumped scared and lost her breath for a second, and
look angry at a smirking Roy.
"You almost killed me! Damn you!" she said catching her breath and
sitting again on her rock, not happy to be disturbed.
Roy smiled widely
and walked next to her.
"Well, you should not be alone and you know it" he said serious
now, looking to the city.
"I need to be alone" she said coldly.
"Don't play games with me Hayes, I'm not going anywhere and leave
you alone here" he said calmly but firmly, in Claudia-mod. Lisa
raised an eyebrow to him.
"You are spending too much time with Claudia, you sound like her"
she said with a sigh and then look to the snow falling into the
softly and stayed quiet next to her for a long time.
"Why are you
doing this?" asked Roy still looking to the city down the cliff.
"I told you, I want to be alone" answered Lisa.
"You know what I mean Hayes. Don't fool with me. Why are you doing
all this? why do you always shut yourself during Christmas?" he
asked, this time turning his eyes to her and wonder how she could
look so tiny right there. Lisa swallowed hard and look down, not
"Do you think your mother will like to know that her daughter is
miserable every year?" he said.
grow wider in shock and then in anger.
"How do you know that!" she demanded, standing up, but that wasn't
anything intimidating for a guy of Roy height.
"I just know.and no, Claudia didn't tell me" he said smiling to
grow even more.
"Then how! I
demand an explanation!" she said, putting her hands in her hips
and shaking a little.
"I overheard, ok? A nasty habit I have." he said looking innocent.
something and turned around, crossing her arms across her chest.
"Easy, easy.I'm not your little husband, so don't think you are
going to scare me with that" teased Roy and Lisa looked at him with
fire in her eyes and he laughed.
"Don't blame me! I prefer to see you all cranky and pissed off and
actually 'doing something' that just walking around like a death
zombie." he said and Lisa looked away, arms crossed.
"This is not your problem, leave me alone" she said.
"I will not, sorry sis" said Roy mimicking her.
"You are really annoying Fokker!" said Lisa losing her temple "Damn!
You and Rick are like the same! Always making me angry for something!"
she said exasperated.
Roy laughed and grinned for a while and then took her shoulder,
looking at her softly.
"Its ok Lisa.you have the right to feel pain, but don't shut yourself.
You are not alone" he said tenderly and Lisa felt tears in her eyes
and fight them.
"Ive been crying for too long" she said walking away, looking to
the city one more time.
"Its not bad to cry, its bad to do it alone and with a bottle in
your hands" he said walking behind her.
"I don't want to bother." she said looking to the floor.
"Then don't be silly, because we all know that you aren't right
and your attitude scared the shit out of us" he said and then hold
her in a bear hug from behind. Lisa wasn't prepared for that
and felt like a little girl for a second, safe in the arms of an
"I miss her so much" she whispered feeling how the tears burned
Roy nodded against her hair and wait for her to speak again.
"Its.I remember it like yesterday when she died." said Lisa whispering
"she held me closely and she sang to me. I felt so good in her arms,
so.loved, so secure, waiting for Santa. And the next day, I was
in my bed, alone, cold, and nobody at home. I was scared.and Ive
been feeling scared inside since then" she said and her own tears
didn't let her talked anymore. Roy hold her even more tight.
Lisa cried and
cried for a while, and when she was a little calmed, Roy talked
"Why didn't you talk with Rick about this?" he said softly.
Lisa nodded and leave the embraced of her friend. She walked to
the edge of the cliff.
"I can't. I don't want to tell him more bad things about me. My
life was unbelievable, sad Roy, and I don't want his pity" she answered.
"His pity?! Are you fucking crazy Lisa? That guy loves you!" he
said walking net to her.
"He cares for me, I know. but this is not his responsibility" she
said looking seriously.
"Geez! If 'this' is not part of his job as a husband, then I don't
know what else it is!" said Roy sarcastically. Lisa raised an eyebrow.
"You know we are not exactly a 'real' marriage" she said, matter
"Damn Lisa! You two are a married long time before you even got
the ceremony! And now you two hit the sack and everything! I really
don't know what is not 'real' in this story." said Roy and Lisa
blushed a little and looked away.
"Well.what I mean is that...I don't want to tell him sad things.
He is doing to much for me already" said Lisa trying to think in
"And you are doing a lot for him too.so in my book, you two are
even" said finally Roy and Lisa looked at him.
"What do you mean?" she asked curiously.
"I talked with him. I know how he change, and that is for you. Good
changes. He looked extremely happy, ok.a little worried about you
all the time for Jake, but leaving 'that' behind.I never seen so
happy since he was a little boy." said Roy and Lisa listen carefully.
"You.do you really think that.I make him.happy?" asked Lisa almost
in a whisper.
"Yes Lisa, you
do" said Roy smiling.
Lisa stayed quiet for a long time, sinking in Roy's word.
go back, we have work to do, and you have some things to talk with
your husband" said Roy smiling walking away.
one more time to the snowing city, wondering. Then she sighed and
turned around, walking to the base.
and felt a little less sad, a little more lighter after talking
with Roy. She was giving some instructions to some pilots, when
Rick suddenly came into the door of the bridge area.
disturb" said Rick looking a little out of place. Lisa looked at
him wondering and after Claudia took her place, she walked next
she asked with concern.
"Hmm, I just want to know If we can go out now.I want to talk to
you" he whispered and the trio was trying too obviously to catch
what they were talking about.
"Now? But I'm working" said Lisa in a small voice.
"I know, but I need to talk with you.now" said Rick a little more
Lisa sighed and was going to reply when Admiral Gloval talked from
"Go, go.Lisa, take the rest of the day. Its Christmas eve and you
been working non stop" he said, not looking at her. Lisa turned
"But sir, there is so much to do." she replied worried.
"Nothing we cannot handle, now go.you are dismissed" said Gloval
and look at her seriously, leaving clear that he just order her.
The trio and Claudia smiled.
"Yes sir" said Lisa and Rick chuckled a little behind her.
"Thank you Admiral" said Rick sincerely and Gloval nodded.
Lisa took her
stuff and left with Rick, who held her hand as soon as they were
outside the door. She raised an eyebrow.
"Ok, I don't know if I'm thankful to you or I am mad" she said smiling
softly. Rick smiled too.
"Oh well, let's be positive" he joked and Lisa rolled her eyes.
and went into their car. Lisa looked around in wonder when they
didn't take their usual direction at home.
"where are we going?" she asked.
Rick smiled and just said "it is a surprise".
at him, but his eyes were fixed on the road, so she couldn't read
his intentions. She crossed her arms and bit her lower lip. Rick
looked at her from the corner of his eye and chuckled.
"Don't be nervous!
It is a good surprise!" he said cheerfully. Lisa raised an eyebrow.
"It is just.you realized I'm wearing my uniform right?" she asked.
"And you look spectacular in that, but don't worry. You will not
worry for the clothes. I packed a bag at home for you an me" said
Rick holding his laugh, because he knew Lisa was going to be shocked
"You .you see into my stuff?!" she said blushing furiously. Rick
bit his own lip holding his laugh.
"Yes, I did.and I have to say I really like that black lace bustier
you have so properly hidden at the bottom of your closet. Nice thing!
And is complete, with garters and g-string" joked Rick and Lisa
turned even more red and hide her face in her hands. "I was wondering
when you were going to show me that cute thingy" he said raising
"I didn't buy it! It was Claudia.and I just don't have nerve to
wear that!" she said finding the snow of her side of the window
"Oh, but you will have the nerve, because I really want to see that
on you." he said teasing again, but his voice a little more suggestive.
"You can't make me" she said, looking at him from the corner of
her eyes and smiling a little.
"You are right, but somehow I 'forgot' to pack your PJs, so is the
bustier or anything.and I'm glad with both options" said Rick trying
to concentrated on the road and not on the pictures in his head.
"That's not fair!" she frown.
"Get used to it, life is not fair, honey" he said, feeling extremely
happy to be able to make Lisa think in something else.
softly and felt happy for once in this day. Her eyes fixed on the
road and saw the beautiful view of the tress covered in snow and
a almost red night sky now, telling everybody that a snow storm
was near. She recalled the past year and saw visions of her outsides
Rick's apartment, listening the conversation between Minmei and
him and feeling devastated. She nodded to herself and put those
thoughts behind. It was the past.
for almost 45 minutes, Rick stopped and got down of the car wearing
a smile all over his face. He quickly opened Lisa's door of the
car and she came out, looking around.
They parked outside a small wood cabin surrounded with tall trees,
all covered in white untouched snow. Lisa looked around in wonder,
because the place was taking out from a book. Rick looked at her,
feeling a warm feeling inside, happy with himself. He took her hand.
go inside" he said and they walked t the door. When Rick opened
the door, Lisa's heart jumped. The place was a beautiful rustic
wood cabin with a big fireplace in the middle. The fire was ready
and the cabin was warm. There was a big Christmas trees in one corner,
and in front of the fireplace, the most comfortable white and green
couch ever. There was a soft carpet on the floor and a nice table
with the dinner served, all in Christmas decorations.
Lisa froze in
the doorframe and Rick walked in.
"C'mon! or you want to stay there and freeze to death?" he joked.
Lisa looked at him, still speechless and step in. Rick closed the
door, putting their bags on the floor.
"So? You like
it?" he asked with a grin on his face. Lisa walked around and slowly
touched the tree.
"It is.amazing." she whispered. Rick looked at her tenderly and
wonder why she was so surprise. It was a cabin after all.
"I just thought to make something special for our first Christmas
together" he said shyly. Lisa looked at him, eyes shinning.
"You.you did all this.for me?" she asked and her lower lip tremble
a little. Rick step closer to her and hold her hands.
"Of course, for who else?" he said smiling and kissing her hands
with her eyes the action, and saw how tender and lovely he was.
One single tear escape from her eyes and Rick took it away with
most beautiful thing someone ever did for me Rick.thank you" she
whispered and closed her eyes, trying to control her emotions, and
the images of almost forgotten Christmas, when a mother and a father
spent their time with their little daughter, laughing.
Lisa held onto
Rick and he hugged her, hiding his face in her neck. He let her
cry for a while and just hold her tight, giving her all his strengtht.
After a while, she looked into his baby blue eyes and they sat on
the couch and talked for hours and hours about their life, the past
and their families. Rick held her against his chest playing with
her hair and then he look to the window, and the snow falling outside.
He stood up and put a disc into the music equipment.
"Can I have
the honor of a dance?" he asked, holding her hand. Lisa took it
and put her hands behind his neck.
yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on our troubles will be out of sight
yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on our troubles will be miles away
Lisa felt Rick's
lips in her forehead blessing her. She closed her eyes and let herself
remember her mother, so beautiful and full of life, singing that
song for her, playing the piano.
we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of Yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more
the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
Rick took her
chin and she opened her eyes slowly, coming back to reality and
welcoming with the clear view of life of his blue eyes, so tenderly,
so bright. He slowly come closer and kissed her on the lips and
she felt how the pain and sorrow of years and years was finally
the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now
at her and felt the release of her soul, because her eyes shined
clearly and finally in peace. He touched her lips with the tip of
his fingers slowly, memorizing them until the melody slowly faint
"I love you
Lisa. Merry Christmas" whispered Rick against her lips and then,
he kissed her one more time.
Bing Crosby - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.