Benjamin and Edmund are the two main characters of the New Adult magical realism romance, Violet’s Mountain. Violet is the mysterious young woman who lives on the mountain, Lala is her younger cousin. The brothers save their lives and they all become a family. Right now it is published exclusively on Amazon: Violet’s Mountain
Edmund woke and nestled in under Violet’s arm, resting his head on the soft place between her breast and shoulder. Violet asked, “You awake?”
“Uh huh,” Edmund wrapped tighter around her body. “You?”
“I’ve been awake for awhile. Merry Christmas Eddie.” He looked up and she stroked her fingers down the side of his cheek. “I’m glad you’re here to celebrate it with me.”
Edmund said, “Merry Christmas. I’m glad to be here too.” He kissed her on her chest and nestled back in.
“I need to warn you though, that it’s…” Her voice trailed off. Edmund looked up startled, his brow furrowed. “It’s just that Lala, Christmas is really hard on her, she’s a roller coaster and we just, you have to be ready to deal with it. Her heart is so broken that—”
Eddie raised up on an elbow. “This is Lala we’re talking about? She seems as light and carefree as ever.”
“But she’s not, that’s the thing, she covers it and keeps it hidden, unlike me with my broken heart on display.”
“I thought we had fixed that heart of yours.”
Violet looked deep into Edmund’s eyes and said, “Yes, love, I meant that in the past-tense.” Edmund kissed Violet softly and there was a knock on their door.
From the hallway Lala said, “Violet, Violet, Violet, it’s Christmas, are you up? Edmund? Wake up, it’s Christmas! I think I might die of excitement. Wake up.”
Edmund jumped stealthily from the bed and without a sound turned the doorknob. Yanking the door open, he exclaimed, “Merry Christmas Lala!”
She shrieked surprised, but quickly recovered. “Presents. There are presents under the tree, it’s almost 6 a.m., and you have to get up!”
Violet pulled a hoodie on over her pajama pants, grinned as she brushed by Edmund, both of them following Lala to the living room.
Benjamin strolled in. “You woke them? I told you to let them sleep, you’re relentless.”
“Benjamin, look at these presents, some are foiled wrapped, gold ribbons on this one, look at that one, what is that, can you tell what that shape is? No, you have to unwrap it, the mysterious nature of the thing could drive you crazy.”
Violet laughed, “I’m up in the dark because my mental health depends on it.” She grinned at Edmund and they both dropped at the same time onto the couch in front of the Christmas tree.
Lala remained standing and bellowed, “Uncle Bruce! Presents!” Benjamin dropped into an easy chair. Bruce walked in a second later, wearing bright red long underwear. His grey beard was braided and decorated with tiny shiny colorful Christmas ornaments. Everyone giggled.
He said, “I see you like my elf-ish attire. My dear, Lala, it is about time you summoned me, I put this on hours ago. I wanted to make a big entrance and had almost given up.” He sat in the opposite chair and spent a second adjusitng himself and getting into a cross-legged position.
Lala said, “As you can see, We have presents. Wrapped. And it’s almost light out. It’s time to open them.” She began plucking presents out of the small pile and placing them on everyone’s laps until each person had a small pile around and on them. And then she looked at the still large pile and clapped her hands merrily. “Look at all of mine. Have you ever seen so many?”
Violet said, “It’s quite the load, you must be very loved.”
“True,” said Lala happily. Everyone began tearing open paper, unwrapping, exclaiming, showing off, admiring and discussing. Bruce had a favorite book of poetry from Violet, Edmund had a new wetsuit from Benjamin, Violet had a dainty gold necklace from Edmund, the pendant (when she saw it) caused her eyes to fill with tears. But besides that it was all merriment and joy, until it wasn’t, and slowly everyone realized that Lala was stopped in mid-movement, staring at a square present, wrapped in exotic, hand-stamped paper.
Violet reacted first, “What is that Lala, from your parents?”
Lala nodded. “I don’t know if I can, they didn’t even call, I don’t even know where they are.”
Violet said, “It’s probably just a trinket Lala, we talked about it. Your happiness isn’t dependent on it anymore, right? You can open the present and it doesn’t—”
Lala said, “But maybe it’s a plane ticket. Maybe they want me to come and see them, when was the last—”
Bruce said, “My good for nothing sister and her husband haven’t been back in two years. Lala, I recommend not opening that present and returning to sender. You can write a poem that expresses your sentiment on the matter and we’ll mail it off to them today. Of course the post office isn’t running today, but tomorrow at the latest.”
Lala ignored Bruce and staring at the box said, “The more I think about it it’s got to be a plane ticket to meet them. Maybe in Thailand, I’ve always wanted to go there, and look at the wrapping, it looks very exotic.” She stared at the box, blinking.
Violet said, “It might not be, please don’t get your—”
Lala carefully peeled up the edges of the tape and unwrapped the ribbon revealing a white box underneath. She lifted the lid and pulled aside the tissue paper. Everyone leaned forward and she cocked her head. She lifted a glass ball out of the box. A shiny glass ball with a world globe on the inside. “What the?”
She spun the glass ball to the right and the globe spun to the left. Her brow furrowed. She gingerly rolled it onto the carpet in front of her and dug around inside the box and pulled out a small white card. On the card was typed: A globe paperweight to remind you to go see the world someday. Love, Mom and Dad.
Lala stared at the card for a long long time. Violet whispered, “Can I see it?”
Lala handed her the card and Violet read with Edmund reading over her shoulder. Violet’s mouth drew into a frown.
Tears slid down Lala’s face. “I thought this Christmas would be different. I’m older now, I’m not such a pain in the ass.”
Violet said, “Lala, you aren’t ever a pain in the ass. You are awesome and wonderful and anyone who doesn’t see that doesn’t deserve to spend time with you.”
But my own parents? I just thought…never mind.” Lala scooped up the paperweight and dropped it into the box and shoved it away. Sitting crosslegged on the floor she plucked at the carpet. Tears streaming down her face.
Violet said, “You know what I’m going to say?”
Lala nodded, “That it’s not worth thinking about, that I know this is how it is—whatever. I just thought this time would be different. Plane tickets or—I don’t know, something that means something. Not a knickknack. There have been too many knickknacks in our lives already.”
“All of that is true Lala, and I know it hurts, but it’s Christmas, and I want you to know that I love you. I’m sorry you got a paperweight.”
“I love you too.”
Edmund said, “I don’t think this helps Lala, but I want you to know that if you want to go travel, I will make it happen for you, all you have to do is ask.”
Lala nodded. “I know that Edmund, thank you, it’s not about the travel though, not really.”
They sat for a second awkwardly. Lala sniffling. Everyone else quiet. Finally Bruce stood up. His long underwear accentuated his barrel chest and rotund belly and he had placed a headband with antlers on his head to add to his festive look. “As the patriarch of this family I have an announcement. I have been giving the various members of my extended family a pass for a long long time, but it has come to me this last year that these people, my sisters and brothers and aunts and cousins, are all a bunch of nincompoops. I deeply regret all of the Christmas cards I sent out. Lala I am sorry that you must discover this in your youth, but here it is. You are wiser than me. You must be strong. Write poetry, from darkness comes light.” He sat.
Lala said, “Thank you Uncle Bruce, I’m grateful that you took me in all those years ago.”
Bruce smiled and winked, “Also, I look forward to my annual reading of Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree, dear Lala, we will begin as soon as you feel up to it.”
Through all of this Benjamin had been quiet, watching the exchange. Finally he smacked his hands on his knees, stood, stretched, and said, “It’s time for breakfast. I have a casserole to bake. Orange Julius to mix. Lala, come work the blender?”
She nodded quietly and followed him.
Violet leaned back on the couch and said, “Phew.”
Edmund asked, “Phew? Is it over?”
Violet said, “just listen. Your brother has a way.”
They all listened quietly as Benjamin moved around pots and pans, explained the recipe, asked Lala to beat the eggs, chatted merrily about his new blender, and then began humming to himself, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Lala’s favorite song. One minute later Lala was singing, and on the chorus their voices harmonized, the music drifting out of the kitchen and filling the air to the living room where the others sat.
Another minute later Uncle Bruce rose to go sit at the kitchen bar and lend his baritone to the song.
Edmund kissed Violet on the forehead and said, “Christmas is awesome when you’re surrounded by family.”
“That it is Eddie, that it is.”