Chapter 4: Christmas Time 2008
Beta: That Girl Six
Note: Thank you to Laura who suggested what she wanted to see in the Chronicles.
As he drove the rental to Pastor Jim's farm, nee Dean's farm, which he had to become used to saying, he kept reminding himself he had made the right decision.
It was one he had made awhile ago, but only came to fruition five days ago when he met Carolyn in Washington D.C. Carolyn wanted to see Joshua for the holidays because he was going to be spending it with his family at the farm while she was visiting her family in Florida.
He had made reservations at the Four Seasons for them, and was pacing for her to arrive. He had missed her, after only a week apart and the countless phone calls and emails, Joshua had missed her. She called him on his cellphone to explain why she hadn't arrived.
"My train was late. I am just getting a cab now. What's the room number?"
"Five-oh-two, and I will meet you downstairs," he replied with relief. He had become accustomed to her punctuality.
He went down the elevator and was glad it was a straight trip. He didn't wait long, and enjoyed the looking around the hotel's atrium where he could watch the front entrance.
She came in holding a carryall and a purse over her shoulder. The bellman tried to take her bag, but she waved him off as she saw Joshua. She beamed him a smile and he reached her quickly, pulling her close and placing his hands on her cheeks before kissing her.
"You don't do PDAs," she said with a breathless sigh when he pulled away.
He frowned. He had held her hand in public, which was considered a public display of affection. "I missed you." He grabbed her hand and took her travel bag, escorting her to their room.
Once in the room he set her bag down. "My mother sent you something." He had stopped to see her in Virginia and she brought out beautifully wrapped box for him to give to Carolyn.
"Is she still mad at me?" she asked, unpacking her things. "Oh my, have you seen the bathroom? I could live here."
He smiled at her joy of an ornate bathroom. It was beige marble with a separate whirlpool. "Why would my mother be mad at you?"
She had a red makeup bag in her hand and lifted her brows. "I asked her to leave her son when you were . . ." She made another trip to drop of more things in the bathroom. "Your mom can be a bit scary. She got a little OCD at your place, rearranging the spice cabinet everyday. I like her- love her- just well- she likes me – right?"
Joshua nodded. He never considered his mother scary. She was a strong woman, but she had to be. "She cares about you very much. She doesn't buy just anyone a Christmas gift."
"I got her a little something, too." Carolyn unfolded some clothes from her travel bag.
He watched as she tried to hide her underwear and bras in a t-shirt. "Are you happy?"
Joshua waited until she placed her lingerie in a draw. "Are you happy with me?"
Carolyn came to where he was standing, rested her head against his chest. "I am deliriously happy with you." She looked up at him. "I love you."
He found his hands ghosting her as he went down on bended knee. "I can't imagine my life without you in it. I love you. Will you marry me?"
Joshua felt the tremble in her hands. "Wait; think about it-The Brotherhood and the coven- it is all attached to me." He came with a lot of baggage. The Brotherhood she would understand since her family was involved, but the coven was different. He would have dual loyalties and another one to her, too.
She felt to her knees in a sob. He thought she said yes, but wasn't so sure. Joshua was traditional and in his haste had gone about this proposal all wrong. "Do you want me to ask your father for permission?"
"Yes," it was a sob.
He didn't want to make her miserable or cause her more heartache. "I can take it back."
"No." Carolyn looked up at him with determination. "It's just like Alison said, you are into me."
Joshua didn't understand. "What?"
"I love you and I want to marry you. It's all ever wanted." She placed a hand over his heart, and kissed him.
"I think we need to go Christmas shopping for something 1 carat," he said, helping her off the floor.
"What? A ring? Really?" She jumped up and down in excitement.
The moment brought a smile to his face as he continued to drive. He had wanted his mother to be the first person to know, but she was thwarting the plans to bring her and Mackland back together. He was Harland's son, even though he had disowned the man, he still had some of his traits- being slick, as Bobby said, was one of them. So he kept it a secret and enticed his mother to the farm for Christmas.
Although he was sure his mother knew what his announcement was going to be. She was his mother after all with all her intuition.
When he arrives at the farm, Joshua was uncomfortable with the warm greeting and attempted to accept it under the scrutiny of his mother and grandmother. His grandmother even snapped a picture of The Triad along with The Advisor.
As usual there was the usual teasing, but Drew had given Joshua ammunition to fight back with- an 8 by 10 picture on his desk of him and an astonished Caleb. He would save it for another day or maybe email it to all the members of The Brotherhood. It all depended on when Caleb paid him for their parent's trip to Hawaii.
After dinner and his announcement, which he was uncomfortable with since he was suddenly the center of attention. He took the congratulations with good humor and promised to pass them along to Carolyn. He wished he could stay, enjoying the warmth of his family. His mother and Mackland were together. His grandmother was basking in Bobby's attention, Bobby remembered the old guard. The Triad he was a part of was supporting him. So when Sam followed him out he thought the young hunter was being thoughtful, maybe he had a pang of wistfulness for his own lost love.
Joshua empathized in an instant. It was a reminder of why Carolyn was his fiancée. Things could change so quickly in their world.
"I wanted to talk about Ruby."
"I’d rather not." Joshua replied. He was surprised that Sam wanted to talk about the witch. He believed it was a completely inappropriate conversation. Sam stopped him from rounding the trunk as he tried to get to the driver's side. He needed to return the rental and catch his flight.
"Ruby and Rose were together. They loved each other. So when Rose was killed, Ruby lashed out."
Joshua did not like the sound of Sam's justification or the fact Sam was trying to justify Ruby at all. "At me." Joshua's hand went to his chest where he would carry a scar.
"Right, and it was a mistake."
Joshua backed up a step. He was getting suspicious at Sam's logic. "I don't know about that. She's a demon, and they are cold and calculating. They enjoy inflicting pain." Ruby was a demon so according to her hurting Joshua was not a mistake. He hoped Sam understood that.
"Ruby's different. She wants to help. She's been helping me. She saved me and Dean."
"She's back?" Joshua felt his pulse quicken at the news.
"And you have allied yourself with her." Joshua closed his eyes envisioning the union between demon and hunter, the wrongness of it all.
"She's been helping me," Sam repeated softly.
Joshua brushed passed him, making his way to the driver's side rear door before edging back around because he had to say something. He had to make Sam understand he was wrong and he was angry. "Somehow if it was Dean or Caleb who had been injured, I don't believe you would have reacquainted yourself with Ruby."
It made him feel that Christmas Eve dinner had just been a farce. She had tried to kill him. She had caused him pain, not from just the wound, but the poison that had coursed through him. He would always remember the sensations and of the thought that death was a release from it all. He tightened his hand into a fist.
Sam may have not liked him, maybe he was dispensable to Sam, but even further she had stopped him from helping Dean. It may have changed a lot of things, postponed or stopped Dean from going to Hell. In the end Sam had harmed his own brother.
"I'm sorry." Sam didn't look him in the eyes.
was disgusted on a personal level and as a member of The Brotherhood-
cavorting with a demon. This was a Triad he was supposed to advise. One
leg was weakened. He had been hopeful of his position as Advisor. Now
the job in England in PR was tempting because there was no backstabbing
literally and figuratively. He would have been out- just a freelance
job here and there. "I will tell the coven, and they will find her."
He then glared at Sam, who flinched in reaction. He wanted Sam to know
he had other resources and he would put those to use, suddenly he
embraced his reluctantcy of having dual loyalties.
Joshua couldn't leave, running away seemed liked a dream and now he was too embroiled. There were two other members of The Triad to consider. He had a feeling there was a reason Sam was talking to him by himself instead of with the others. It sent a statement they didn't support Sam. Joshua would talk to Caleb and give him and Dean a chance to save Sam from the path he was meandering down. "However," Joshua started, "because of your position, and in respect of your brother's position in The Brotherhood, I will not tell the coven Ruby is connected to you." He would keep this a secret from Carolyn, too, and his anger flared up because he didn't want to keep secrets from her.
He left Sam standing in the yard as he pulled out and onto the road. He opened the car window and let the chilled air cool his emotions. It smacked of unfairness, which had permeated his life in the past. He thought he had grown beyond that- beyond not being one of Jim's boys, disappointing his father and not living up to his full potential. He wanted things to be easy. He opened his cell phone with the thought to talk to Caleb, spoil Christmas for someone else, but then scrolled past his name.
"I just left and I’ll be there soon. I can’t wait to celebrate Christmas with you."
call went to Carolyn's voicemail. He patted the ring in his jacket
pocket, which they had picked up and he had gotten sized for her. All
wasn't lost. He had never had refuge of his own, and now he had Carolyn
to be there for him.