Skyffrey: Christmas Surprise
Skye Penderwick woke up with the covers thrown to the other end of the bed. "Dang it!" she muttered. She pulled the blankets back up to her chin. Even with her warm comforter covering her entire body, she was still freezing because she only ever wore shorts and a T-shirt to bed, and the heat in her house had stopped working a week ago.
Skye shut her eyes tight even though she knew that once she woke up she couldn't go to sleep again. Suddenly, she heard someone playing the piano downstairs. It had to be Batty because, although Jeffrey had been invited to their Christmas celebration, which was for "family ONLY," she had argued, he wasn't coming until later. But this music was too advanced to be Batty. She instantly recognized it as a Beethoven symphony, and Batty had told her just days ago that it would take her YEARS to learn those songs. And it couldn't be another Penderwick because the Penderwicks had what they called "a bad instrumental history."
Skye reluctantly rolled out of bed and dragged herself down the stairs, rubbing her eyes as she went. When she got to the living room, she stopped and stared at the young man perched on the piano bench. "Jeffrey? What the heck are you doing here?" she yelled.
Jeffrey whipped around and smiled. "Hey, Skye..."
"Don't you hey me!" Skye snapped. "Answer me first!"
"Skye, it's 11:08 already!" he replied, pointing at the clock on one of the end tables.
"Oh." For a moment, Skye was without words. Then-- "Jeffrey, you know better than to play when I'm sleeping! Isn't that kind of rude?"
"I know, Skye," he whispered, standing and reaching to hug her, but she pushed him away and stomped back up to her room to get ready.
By the time she got back down, the house was filled with breakfast-y smells. "Dad's making pancakes!" Batty sang as Skye passed her. Skye walked right to the kitchen to ask Iantha if she could help, but then she saw that Jeffrey was there and left again.
Breakfast was loud. Jeffrey, Mr. Penderwick, and Ben were having an animated conversation on music in movies, and all the women were chatting about shopping and other things Skye wasn't interested in. She rested her head in her hands and stared at the wall. She could feel Jeffrey's eyes on her, penetrating her as though they could see into her soul. Skye ignored him purposefully until Mr. Penderwick announced,
"Gift time!" Everyone rushed to the living room where the Christmas tree, adorned in tinsel and all the family ornaments, sheltered large piles of presents, big and small, and very colorful. To Skye, present-opening was a daze, until Jeffrey handed her a small, square-ish package wrapped in blue wrapping paper with yellow mathematical symbols. Skye was hesitant. Everyone was still talking to each other noisily, so she thought, "I'd better open it while no one's looking." She tentatively tore off the wrapping, and instantly she stopped breathing. It was a box like she'd seen only twice before: when Mr. Penderwick had proposed to Iantha and when her older friend Charlotte had sent a photo of the box her husband had used to hold her engagement ring.
This could not be happening! They were too young, seventeen! Then, suddenly, she could feel everyone's eyes on that small box. They were all silent, waiting, wondering. Then-- "Open it." This was Jeffrey.
Skye swallowed and slowly opened the box. Inside was a beautiful piece of jewelry: a necklace that said Algebra in silver cursive. Jeffrey gulped and said, "It goes with that geometry bracelet Jane got you last year." Skye sighed a great sigh of relief. Then, she got up and made her way to Jeffrey. She hugged him. It was not a hug of lovers, but a hug of friends.
"Thank you," she whispered. Then she realized that everyone was watching and pulled away gently.
Then everyone began talking again, and all was normal. Skye could feel a loud pounding in her chest that was slowly quieting itself. "Whew," she thought.
Later, after dinner, she left the downstairs bathroom with her new necklace on and bumped into Jeffrey, who was standing right outside the door, playing with his sweater sleeve. "Oh, sorry," Skye said.
"You're fine," Jeffrey mumbled quietly. "Hey, the necklace looks great on you."
"Oh, yeah, thanks again. I really do like it."
"You looked scared when you opened it."
"Yeah, well, I thought, well, we all thought--"
"Yeah, I figured. I had a hard time deciding what box to put it in, but this was the nicest one I had." Skye smirked.
"You know I don't actually care, right?" she laughed.
"Yeah, but I do," he said. He was serious. Suddenly, she stopped smiling. All was silent. Skye noticed that they were very close. She could've counted the freckles on his nose if she'd wanted to. Then, Jeffrey's lips were on hers, and it felt better than she'd thought it would have. His lips were warm and soft, much better than last time. His arms wrapped around her, closing her in a warm embrace. And then she realized, this was meant to be. This wasn't wrong at all. She understood now. She understood why everyone loved the thought of them together. She loved it, too.