The scent of nutmeg and cinnamon clings to his coat as he walks down the front path of the Quartermaine mansion. Further and further from the hustle and bustle of their familial lunacy and closer to the peace of night. The evening is covered in icicles and awash in crisp wind. He takes a deep draft of it into his lungs, shuddering as the cold sings in his veins, and tips his head back to catch snowflakes on his tongue.
Tasting snow is a simple pleasure. One of many he has learned to appreciate these past few years. He remembers how Lulu tugged at his hand last winter, her dark eyes shining, and confided, "Nikky...Nikky it tastes like God." The memory makes him laugh...quite possibly the only good memory from a Christmas spent thinking Lucky was dead. He is fairly certain his baby sister is the only person he knows who believes God has a flavor...who believes in God at all. But he understands what she means. Especially now.
Snowflakes are tiny fragments of spun water crystal. Minuscule pieces of art that feel like ice kisses on his skin and melt inside his mouth. Sharp but soft. Beautiful but momentary. A seasonal miracle.
His life is full of seasonal miracles.
He has his brother back. His uncle, too. His mother, sister, and Grandma Lesley have come back to town. His aunt is about to marry and give him a whole new set of cousins--even if most of them can't be civil to each other for more than five minutes. And he has Elizabeth and Em, the two best friends anyone could ask for.
If he thinks about it, this is like no other Christmas he has ever had. The ones in Greece were warm, not white...and with just his uncle and Mrs. Lansbury. The air never smelled of nutmeg or pine and the sky was never this particular shade of blue-black. He can barely remember his first few winters in Port Charles because they seem like another lifetime. And last Christmas is one he never wants to repeat. He never wants another holiday season where he must grieve someone's death.
But this year he has everything. He has everyone. He has a home.
And he has Gia.
As much as anyone can "have" someone so pigheaded...so bold...so reckless...so beautiful.
He smiles just thinking about her and his gloved fingers fumble with the automatic lock button on his keychain. The Jag's doors unlock with a cheerful chirrup and he slides into the driver's seat as his coat settles around him like a gothic cloak. The windows zing downwards as he peels out of the long, winding drive and the bracing air fills the car and chills the leather interior.
Is she at home? Is she slouched on the couch watching a PBS broadcast of "The Nutcracker"? Is the phone off the hook so she can avoid calls from Florence making sure she's in the right bed? Is she in the shower, singing Billie Holiday at the top of her lungs as she covers her long legs with foam?
He swallows hard, feeling the telltale flip of his stomach.
Lucky was right at Thanksgiving.
Living with her every day is a temptation.
It is a temptation to hear her throaty voice echoing through the upstairs of his house as he sips his morning coffee and pretends to read the paper. It is a temptation to wrestle the orange juice away from her and not gasp when their fingers brush. It is a temptation to lean over her as he reaches for the t.v. remote and reach for her instead, engaging her in an impromptu tickle battle. It is a temptation to pull her away from Helena and protect her even as she fights to protect him...rallying like a tigress and calling his grandmother things no non-Spencer has ever dared call her before.
It is a temptation to throw a freshly packed snowball at her as she comes down the porch steps...and not lick the flakes from her cheeks, her nose, her long eyelashes, and her lips.
Gia is like nothing he has ever known. She is like no holiday he has ever had...although he remembers the year Uncle took him to Russia. He remembers going to the national ballet and seeing beautiful figurines curving and swaying to music that seemed to come from the heavens. She is like that. Perpetual motion...always curving and swaying to music only she can hear.
He wonders if she misses Christmas in Brooklyn. If she misses all those things she pretends not to miss...family, needing someone, letting someone take care of her. And he wonders if she misses him even though they see each other all the time. Even though they share the same space.
The Jag whips through the picture-perfect streets with the barest touch of his hands on the wheel, bringing him closer to home. Their home.
The evening is covered in icicles and awash in crisp wind. Snowflakes drift in through the open windows and dance on his face. Sharp but soft. Beautiful but momentary.
He suddenly knows what he wants his next seasonal miracle to be.
And he wonders if she would taste like God.
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