The warm air hit me sending chills down my spine. I pulled Tanner’s coat closer to me as I walked into the living room where everyone was. “Ry-Ry!” Noah yelled running up to hug me. I leaned down and hugged him. Noah was about 8 years old. His 8th birthday is in 2 months and he can’t wait. He was Uncle Connor’s and Aunt Megs’s son.
“Hey Buddy! I missed you.” I smiled kissing his cheek. “Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas!” He said jumping up. “Let’s open presents now! Come on!” He grabbed my hand pulling me to the TV room where everyone was. I grabbed Tanner’s hand pulling him with me.
“Ryan.” Uncle Connor smiled at me pulling me to him for a hug.
“Uncle Connor.” I smiled hugging him. His eyes flicked to Tanner, then to our conjoined hands. “Uncle Connor?” I asked him. He looked at me as I raised my eye brow.
“Who are you?” He said with a nod, his face of stone.
“Connor.” Aunt Megs said standing up.
“I’m Tanner Sir.” Tanner said nodding at him putting his hand out. Uncle Connor looked at it before Aunt Megs slapped the back of his head and shook Tanner’s hand.
“I’m Megs.” She smiled as Grandpa sat in his chair weighing him up. Tanner smiled at her.
“Nice to meet you.” He smiled pulling me to him, much to Grandpa and Uncle Connor’s disgust. Uncle Ruben said watching him.
“Can we open presents now? Please?” Noah said looking around at all of us.
“Yeah come on please?” Aaron said looking at the stack of presents by the tree. Mom smiled at the men giving them glares that told them to ‘suck it up, and shut up’ with her eyes.
“Okay firstly we have Grandpa’s presents to the boys.” Megs said handing Sam, Aaron, and Noah there presents. Grandpa really took Aunt Alex and Uncle Ruben under his wing as his own kids. They were always there so they are really part of the family now.
“Dude this is awesome!” Sam yelled holding up his present.
“Dad.” Uncle Connor groaned. Grandpa started to smirk as they held up here new Nerf guns. If I was there age I would have loved it.
“Grandpa these are so cool! Thank you.” Aaron yelled running up and hugging him.
“Thank you Grandpa.” Noah said hugging him sitting on his lap.
“Noah now I need you to go with Mom and go get this old man a beer okay?” He looked at him and nodded jumping off his lap and taking his mom’s hand walking out. “Now Boys, I got you both something special that you guys are going to share but Noah can’t since he lives so far away. So you can’t be upset when I give Noah his present okay?” They both nodded. “I promise it be just as good.”
“Okay Grandpa.” They nodded at him as Noah came through the door holding Grandpa’s beer.
“Here you go Grandpa.” He said handing it to him.
“Thanks Buddy.” Noah sat down by my feet as I sat on Tanner’s lap. “Okay this is for Sam and Aaron.” Logan handed a big box to the two of them. They tore the paper off and gasped. In the box was a new hockey net and hockey sticks.
“Grandpa this totally wicked!” Grandpa smiled at the two of them. Noah sat there looking at them with sad eyes. He looked up at me then back at his cousins looking at the present.
“Noah, now I got you this.” Tanner leaned over and took the gift and handed it to Noah. He opened a little bit of the box, causing his sad face to turn into amazement. He took the rest of the paper off to show a brand new scooter. He hugged the box tightly to him before he ran and jumped on Grandpa.
“It’s the one I wanted Grandpa.” He said snuggling up to him. His blonde hair popping on Grandpa’s black shirt.
“I’m happy you like it. Poppy and Grammy helped me pick it.” Poppy and Grammy are Grandpa’s parents. They live in Kentucky, were Mom and Dad got married. He must have visited them.
“Now for my big kids.” Grandpa smiled as Noah jumped down to unwrap other presents from Aunt Kirsty and Mom. “For my baby girl’s baby girl.” Grandpa handed me a small box. I pulled off the ribbon on the box and opened the velvet box. Inside it was a pair of dog tags, slightly bigger than military ones but they had pictures engraved on them. It had Dad, Uncle Jesse, and Uncle Ruben on one and Grandpa and Hunter on the other. All of them were in there dress blues, with the same serious face. There was a straight line of metal in front of them. In perfect script said ‘My hero’s my marines’ on it.
“Grandpa.” I said in shock. “This, this is amazing.” I looked at him. “This must have cost a lot of money.” I said closing the box.
“No, your dad thought it was perfect and everyone put some money in. You’re worth it.” He smiled at me.
“Thank you.” I held the box in my hands in amazement as they pasted the other gifts out. Tanner pressed his lips to my head.
“I have a gift for you.” He whispered as Mom handed Asher a gift from where he sat in Emmy’s lap, as she sat in Hunter’s lap. I turned to look at him.
“What would that be?” I asked. He put his hands in the pocket of the jacket I was still wearing and pulled out a jewelry box. He opened it showing me a locket. I looked up at him.
“Look closer.” He whispered. I looked at it again. It had the eagle, globe, and anchor on it. It was engraved onto the heart. “Merry Christmas Baby.” He whispered into my ear. I turned to look at him before I pulled his face to mine for a kiss. Everything was perfect. All I needed was for Dad and Uncle Jesse to be home safe…………..