Ringing in the New Year – Part 3

This is a short story set at Christmas after Assassins! Accidental Matchmakers. If you haven’t read that yet, you can find it at all major book retailers, including Chapters Indigo.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

Friday the 27th of December, 2002 – Parry Sound, Ontario

“For Arthur.” He handed the brightly wrapped parcel over. “I know toddlers usually have way too much of everything, if my niece is anything to go by, but you can never have too many books.” It was a board book about the Phantom of Westmeath. He thought Kennedy and her parents would appreciate the joke. He hadn’t yet told the rest of her family about his powers, since they weren’t aware of the supernatural world. Jason took the jug and headed into the kitchen.

“Show off,” Kennedy muttered under her breath as he passed her, arms full, and he winked.

“Why don’t you let the others take care of the produce,” Gerard told him after he’d put the jug and crate down on the counter near the sink. “Come help me set up my new TV and sound system in the media room!”

“Uhhh, you sure you want me to help?” Jason asked, allowing himself to be led down some stairs and a hall. He could hear Kennedy telling her mother, “Don’t worry, I can fix it later. It’ll give them some bonding time,” and he winced.

Gerard handed him a stack of papers. “The instructions.” Jason’s eyes widened. “Lilah let me buy a new plasma TV and surround sound system on Boxing Day. If we set this up, Kennedy said we can watch the extended edition of The Fellowship of the Rings that you gave her for Christmas.”

“Of course she did.” Jason chuckled. “Such a hardship.” He eyed the sheaf of paper and sighed. “We’d better get started.”

An hour later, sitting on the floor with pages of the manual spread around him, Jason felt ready to tear his hair out. The directions were sounding more and more like gibberish the longer he looked at them.

“Did you ever do this sort of thing with your father?” Gerard asked, not looking up from the pile of wires he was sorting through on the floor.

“Ah, no.” Jason flipped the papers around. Maybe the diagram is upside down? “He was not electronically inclined, and neither am I, really. He worked with his hands. He was a great chef and he made beautiful things out of wood. Our bonding usually took place in the kitchen or the basement in our workout room, either with weights or sparring.”

Gerard laughed ruefully. “I’d probably hurt myself if I tried to spar against you. You lifted two hundred pounds on every load for six hours this Fall and barely broke a sweat.”

“I wouldn’t let you hurt yourself.” Jason frowned. “There’s no place for pride in a spar.” He grinned faintly. “The very first time I tried to train Kennedy, she knocked me on my ass.”

“Speaking of my youngest daughter, what are your intentions?”

Jason looked up from the instruction manual to find himself pinned by a perfect copy of his girlfriend’s gaze. He put the papers to the side and met his eyes. “I came out here with the intention to ask for your and Lilah’s blessing,” he said frankly.

Gerard’s jaw dropped and he frowned.

“I know it seems rather sudden,” Jason continued, his heart feeling like it might beat out of his chest. “But I feel like I’ve known her my entire life. She’s the most incredible thing to ever happen to me, and I love her with the whole of my being.”

“A pretty speech. You practise that on the way up here?”

Jason wrinkled his nose. “Did it show? I’m nervous.”

“Try again, without all the practised words.”

Jason thought for a moment. “The first time I saw your daughter, I forgot how to breathe.”

The older man drew in a sharp breath.

“She’s funny, she’s so smart, she’s creative and inventive and imaginative… She figured out the Phantom within five minutes of meeting him. And she’s sexy, you should have seen her on that runway—” Jason cut himself off, remembering he was talking to Kennedy’s father. He cleared his throat. “Her confidence. Her enthusiasm for everything. The way she always finds a positive spin to every situation. She loves her friends and is willing to do anything for them.”

“I’m going to stop you there.” Gerard was smiling slightly. “What would you do if I said no?”

“To be honest, sir, I’m going to ask her no matter what your answer is. She’s more than capable of making her own decisions.”

“Hmm,” Gerard grunted. He looked back down at the wires. “Does Kennedy know you’re thinking about marriage?”

Jason smiled sheepishly. “It might be a bit of a surprise. I’m not planning on asking her in front of an audience, so it won’t be awkward if she needs more time to decide.”

“Do you have a ring?”

“Yeah.” Jason thought about the little box in his workshop again. “It was my mother’s. She wasn’t a big fan of diamonds, so my father gave her an emerald. She said it reminded her of gardens and forests. It makes me think of Kennedy’s eyes and her love of agriculture.”

Read Part 4 Dec 16, 2022

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