The weekend went by quickly and they suddenly found themselves at a Christmas Eve party at Kat’s family’s house. Since they were going to be there for Christmas too, Aunt Gina had suggested they stay downstairs in the two guest bedrooms instead of driving all the way home and back.
AJ and Nick loved being around Kat’s family. They had accepted them the day they met and didn’t treat them any differently than anyone else. It was a good feeling to be normal and not have everyone around you treat you like the odd one out. Aunt Gina was terrific and welcomed them with open arms and Kat’s cousins acted like they’d known them their entire lives.
Everyone was finishing up dinner when Chris suggested them pick a traditional Brady game to play since it was the holidays.
“No way.” Brenda piped up. “I don’t know about everyone else but I don’t want to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital. Someone always gets hurt and we want to enjoy this holiday!”
“I agree.” said Aunt Gina listening to all the guys groan. “Let’s just do the traditional presents and enjoy dessert.”
“There’s dessert?” Nick asked.
“Oh my god!” Brenda said. “Didn’t anyone feed you as a child?”
“Yes they did.” Nick said with a grin. “But I like this cooking better.”
Everyone started laughing and moved into the living room so they could open some presents. It was tradition that everyone got a Yankee swap gift to open on Christmas Eve and a Secret Santa gift to open on Christmas Day.
They were about halfway through opening the presents when Aunt Gina suggested they take a dessert break. Brenda pulled Kat aside and asked if she could come out onto the porch with her. Nick and AJ watched them leave but didn’t really pay attention to what they were doing.
“What’s up?” Kat asked shivering.
“What about my eyes?”
“Have you seen the circles under them?”
“You’re overreacting Brenda. It’s just the lights in the room. My eyes are fine.”
“How tired are you?”
“Just a little but it’s been a long day.”
“Liar. You’re calling the doctor.”
“I am not.” Kat said getting frustrated with her friend. “It’s the only time we have off and I’m going to enjoy it with AJ. You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. I’m going back inside.”
Kat stormed back inside and went to sit on the couch. Both AJ and Nick noticed her come back in and saw the look in her eyes. Kat was never mad but she was definitely pissed about something this time.
AJ decided to talk to her before everyone else came back in to finish the presents.
“What’s the matter Kat?” he asked quietly, sitting down next to her and slipping his arm around her shoulder.
“Nothing. I’m fine.” Kat said sharply.
“No, you’re not.” he replied. “I know you better than you think and you’re never angry. Something is going on.”
“Nothing is going on. Can’t you just leave it alone?”
AJ was shocked by her question and her tone. “Alright, I’ll leave it alone. For now. We’re going to talk about this at some point Kat.”
“Ok, not now but…..”
AJ didn’t get to finish his conversation because everyone was piling back in to finish the presents. He noticed that Brenda and Nick had moved across the room from them and when he gave Nick a look, his brother just shrugged his shoulders and mouthed “I have no idea”.
They all finished opening their presents and then most of the family headed home for the night. Brenda tried to talk to Kat but she just hurried down to the bedroom where she and AJ were staying.
“What’s up with you guys?” AJ asked.
“Nothing.” Brenda said remembering her promise. “I think I’m just annoying her with the moving stuff. It’s not a big deal.”
Neither AJ or Nick was buying it but they didn’t know how to get either woman to be a little more forthcoming.
“Let’s just go to bed.” Brenda said and headed down to the other guest bedroom.
“What the hell is going on?” Nick asked. “I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone.”
“I don’t know. Maybe Brenda’s right and Kat is just stressed about moving. Let’s just forget about it for tonight and see what happens tomorrow.”
“Alright.” Nick said and started to walk away. “Hey, did you finish Kat’s present?”
“Yup.” AJ beamed. “I’m hoping she likes it.”
“I know she will.”