A DIFFERENT CHRISTMAS…. by Mirella

The car slipped on the icy street  and went downhill till it stopped violently against a tree, on Danny’s side.

Some seconds went by before  Martin shook his head, and moved his shoulders.

He turned to look at Danny whose head was resting against the head rest , his eyes closed

-Danny , are you oaky ? ..Hey ! Danny ! – He shook him,  concern growing

- I am okay…just hit against the door……- he answered massaging his neck -  you ? – the voice was rough , but he had talked : that was a good sign

- Okay, okay …Geeez… I should have listened to you …-

- Yeah…it was not just because of that pretty waitress… -

 Martin looked up at the street and  sighed deeply, watching  the snow that was falling heavily.

- No one is going to go by with such weather – he said.

- Maybe we are lucky… and Santa is nearby …. we can ask for a lift  - The way he was talking worried Martin

- Hey! are you really okay ? – he asked turning to watch him

- Yes Martin…. it is just that I … hit against the door…some bruise , that’s all … well...what if we have a look outside ?

- What for Danny ? – he asked looking at him puzzled

- For Santa ?- he closed his eyes, resting his head . Then he turned to Martin with his usual smirk : -  You said you were going to  spend a different Xmas this year but… I thought you meant   with Sam ! and not with me in the middle of an icy nowhere- he answered looking outside in concern.

Martin couldn’t help smiling as he checked his cell .

He sighed deeply : - it’s dead …well…- he turned to have a look at the back of the car.

- I think we should get ready to spent the night here without freezing –

He pulled down the back of the seat and the back of the back seats as well…

 - Did  you know we were going to  spent the night in the car ? – Danny asked , marveling at how organized Martin was.

He had laid one heavy,  warm anorak, where they would have laid, besides,  he had one warm blanket . Martin rested, as he hit the cushions he had in the car and smiled at Danny gesturing him to lay down .

Danny looked at him doubtful and questioning.

- Lay down, do you want a written invitation ? – Martin said

- Down there…with you ? – he asked looking at him nearly scared .

- Yes …- Martins answered looking at Danny , puzzled – Do you want to sit like that till tomorrow ? Danny, the temperature is dropping. We have to keep ourselves warm till tomorrow –

Danny stared at him, but didn’t move. He was wearing a  shirt and a jumper , the car was still warm but it would soon turn into a freezer…

- Danny please…-

Danny looked at him but didn’t move

- You first – he said

- Whatever, man..sometimes you are unreasonable … -

He laid down on one side on the warm anorak and covered himself with half of a second  anorak and nodded at Danny to lay down

- Come one Danny, the car will soon  turn into a freezer…don’t be silly, lay down ! –

Danny was hesitating and looked outside ,then at Martin who was looking at him, puzzled by his attitude. Danny smiled visibly not at ease and laid down , unwillingly, slowly , resting on one side, facing him.

Martin covered him with  the anorak and then the blanket

- It is quite warm…- he said

- Yeah …-

Martin didn’t know if he wanted to laugh or get angry with Danny: he was so stiff and not at ease and was keeping the distance from him

Danny smiled nervously at him – Martin …you are straight, are you ? – he tried to joke.

- Danny, please …- he asked, not understand what Danny really meant.

- Well…you never know…- he said, narrowing his eyes, suspicious.

Martin would swear he was not joking.

- What are you afraid of ? –

- Me afraid ? –

-No, the Wicked Ogre…who else Danny ?  You are as tense as a rope … listen,  we are trapped here, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by wilderness and snow ...if you have a more brilliant idea, well, please, shoot it  , uhu ? –

Danny looked at him thoughtful and then he slightly nodded.

- Yes, you are right – he sighed deeply , biting his lips . It was obvious that he didn’t like that situation at all but Martin knew it was not because of what had happened … but…wasn’t he really afraid of him ??

He looked at his watch: luckily the day had been very tiresome: they had woken up very early in the morning and now it was past 11 pm: the tiredness, the tension, the warmth of the anoraks,  the blanket … Martin felt his body give up.He crossed his arms and moved his head on his cushion till he found a comfy position and closed his eyes, trying to take the best of that situation.He sighed deeply and smiled , thinking about the old times when he used to go camping in summer, spring, autumn and …winter : camping in the snow : wonderful !

His arms were close to Danny’s ones, he opened his eyes feeling him shiver

- Are you cold ? – he asked him

Danny startled , shaking his head

- Me ? No, it’s okay  -

- Then why are you shivering –

- I am not shivering – he answered resented,

Martin sighed and touched his arm : he was so tense that his arm was as hard as marble

- Listen Martin, I do not like cold, I do not like snow, I do not like the mountains, I do not like being in the middle of ..nowhere, okay ? So do not ask me to  relax . I am not a …Yeti like you are , I love the sea, hot weather, the sun, the light …okay ? –

Martin smiled : he liked to see self-confident Danny so unsure and …scared.

- I know you like all this – Danny went on – you love  being lost in the silence of a snowing night in a lost wood, so …sleep ! and let me dream of my sea and sun and beach , okay ?-

-Okay  - Martin answered, laughing  amused. H e knew Danny and he knew there was nothing he could so, he closed his eyes and fell asleep….

He opened his eyes slightly, Danny was lying on his back looking outside.

Martin could see his profile : he could swear his eyes were bright with… tears ? He kept still, waiting, his eyes half closed .

After a while,  Danny turned to watch him , then he moved silently and slipped out of the anorak and the blanket.

He covered Martin, his hands as light as feathers and sat, his knees closed to his chest, his arms around his legs.

He  looked quickly at Martin, pulling up the blanket to cover him better and then rested his head on his knees, looking outside, at the driver’s side,  at the snow that was falling and falling and falling.

Martin kept on looking at him , trying to understand what was wrong with him: Danny dried  his eyes on the jumper, sniffing silently . He took a deep breath, blinking as he stared  at the wheel. Martin felt his heart sinking : his parents ! The car crash…how could he be so careless !

He sighed , didn’t know what to do….he waited, hoping that  Danny would  lay down.

Danny had  rested his head on his knees , looking outside, at his right and stood still and silent.

Martin could see his breath, he hadn’t moved, Martin was afraid he had fallen asleep. He lowered the blanket …out  of the warmth of the makeshift covers, the air was icy…

Danny jumped as Martin squeezed his arm

- Jesus, Martin ! Weren’t you sleeping ?- he said looking out at once.

- I woke up and I didn’t see you, lay down Danny, it is freezing and you are icy – he said, looking for his eyes, which he didn’t found

Danny shook his head

- You, lay down – He said nodding at their “bed”, always looking away.

- No – le answered with decision.

H e squeezed  his shoulder , but Danny shook his head, resting his forehead on his knees.

- Martin, please, lay down -

Martin sighed , hesitating for a while

- It reminds you about the …accident, is it  ? –

He could feel him startle slightly but then he just shrugged without answering.

- Non only – he whispered, nearly to himself.

Martin frowned, without understanding. Then he began to shiver : it was too cold ,  he had to make him lay down.

- Listen Danny, for once in your life …  take a break…I will not ask, but, please,  lay down …it is useless  if you get a pneumonia,  which is likely if  you keep being sitting like that –

He rested both his hands on his shoulders, trying to break the tension he could feel and it worked…little by little Danny began to relax. Martin smiled : after all he really needed little, a little touch, a little human warmth.

He pushed him back slightly

- Come on Danny – he whispered in a low , quiet voice.

Danny turned, his eyes red with tears and, maybe, temperature as well. He looked at the warm “bed “ and then at Martin. He thought about the day he helped him with Rafie, how good it was to have him to lean on. He nodded slightly and Martin laid down first, opening the covers.

- Come Danny, or the warmth will go  away -

Danny laid down, his head  was exploding and he found Martin’s strong shoulder as his pillow . He was about to raise his head when Martin stopped him.

- No-  he said, covering him with the blankets. – Stay still – Martin covered him , keeping his right arm above the anorak, under the blanket. He hugged Danny with his right arm and got worried as he could feel Danny’s warm  forehead against his neck.

- Take a break Danny, just for tonight –

Martin looked down and smiled, seeing that Danny had fallen asleep and he closed his eyes, glad as he could feel Danny relaxed.

He sighed and fell asleep as well : he felt good hugging his brother…