Title: Christmas With You
Pairings: Jackson Bucannan x Kaylee Michaels
Summary: Christmas is a time for rest, relaxation, and family. With time off from tour, Jackson joins Kaylee as she returns home to her family for the holidays.
when the fire burns out
and it’s only me and you
shimmery lights outside
they reflect your eyes
as you say “i love you too”
when the sun comes up
and the snow falls from the roof
i can smile because
i spent my christmas with you
christmas with you - artist vs. poet
With the tour being split into two separate legs and the last date of the first being in Nashville, it meant that the flight to Baltimore was only about two hours long. Kaylee had managed to find three seats relatively close to one another when they’d been checking their things in—one on the left side of the plane and two beside each other on the opposite side of the aisle—and Jackson was glad that he didn’t have to sit with someone that he didn’t know. He had never been very much of a people person and would tend to keep to himself, but there had been times when the band and crew would have to fly to another country that he’d be sat beside someone that wanted to hear everything about him. He appreciated the interest, but he didn’t like to talk for prolonged periods of time with people he wasn’t familiar with.
Keegan had fallen asleep in his seat, ear buds popped in as he listened to whatever it was that was playing from his iPod. Kaylee had pulled out her laptop once they were given the clear and pulled up a few family pictures. She had wanted to have Jackson look them over before now, but the last few weeks had been far too busy to sit down and do so properly. She’d planned a birthday party for him and that kept her preoccupied for the first week after they’d arranged the plans and afterward they didn’t have any days off leading up to the 23rd, leaving them hardly any time to see one another. It’s what came with the territory of a relationship like theirs, both being in relatively successful bands and being on tour.
“You ready?” she asked, glancing up at Jackson who gave her a small nod before he leaned closer to her, eyes examining the first picture. It was a family portrait from what seemed to be the previous year’s Christmas, judging by the decorations hanging about in the background.
In the back stood Keegan in a red blazer beside a taller man whose arm was wrapped around his shoulder who he could only assume was their father. He had a small smile on his lips and his hair was buzzed down to barely a quarter inch, giving him the semblance of being bald. He stood at around 6’3”, towering over the rest of his family. His eyes then moved to the young boy that stood in front of him, the man’s hand on his shoulder and a big grin taking over the boy’s features. He had shaggy, curly brown hair that hung down around his face and his brown eyes were warm and similar to Kaylee’s, if not a bit darker. He came up to Keegan’s shoulder and was just a few inches shorter than Kaylee that stood right beside him. As his eyes looked over her frame, he furrowed his brows as he noticed something off about it. He leaned in to get a better look and he couldn’t exactly tell what it was—her stance or posture or the way she smiled—but he could tell that something was off.
“That’s not you, is it?” he asked, glancing over towards her just in time to hear a small giggle slip from her lips as she shook her head.
“No. I took the picture,” she said as she pointed to the doppelganger on the screen. “That’s my sister, Katie.”
“Right,” he said, looking back to the picture. “You did say you had a twin…”
“Forgot to mention we were identical. Sorry,” she said, running her fingers through her hair. “I hope that won’t be too confusing.”
Jackson shook his head a bit, reaching over and taking her hand. He brought it up to his lips and kissed it gently. “I was able to tell that wasn’t you from a just a picture. I think I’ll be alright.”
“Alright,” she said, smiling up at him before returning her attention to the screen. “That’s my little brother, Avery. He prefers AJ though.”
“AJ. Got it.”
“That’s my dad. His name is Cortez, but I don’t know if he’d prefer you call him that or Mr. Michaels… so by default, go with Mr. Michaels and he’ll tell you otherwise.”
Jackson shrugged a bit. “I was going to call him sir, but that works too.”
“You’re too polite,” she giggled lightly, resting her head onto his shoulder.
“Treat people the way you want to be treated. Golden rule, right?” he said, smiling as he looked down at her.
“I’m not calling you sir. That’s weird.”
He chuckled, shaking his head. “I meant more treating people with respect.”
“Oh, okay. In that case, you’re right.” Kaylee nodded a bit. She reached out a hand and pointed to the woman that stood beside Katie. Her shoulder length curly hair was the first thing that he noticed, but as he continued to study her, it was easy to tell that both Kaylee and her sister had gotten a majority of their features from her. “This is my mom, Adrianna. I know for sure she’d want you to call her that, mom, or Mama A. Don’t call her ma’am. I know that’ll be hard for you, but she says it makes her feel old.”
“She doesn’t look old though,” he commented, glancing down at her. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was your older sister.”
“Don’t tell her that,” she laughed lightly. “She’d take advantage of that… she’s got a thing for younger guys.”
Jackson raised a brow at that and cleared his throat. “Should I be worried?”
“Maybe a little…” Kaylee glanced up at him and noticed a slightly apprehensive look on his face, drawing a laugh from her. “I warned her already not to flirt with you. You’ll be alright.”
“I hope so,” he sighed, shaking his head. “Your mom’s a cougar.”
The remainder of the flight consisted of Kaylee giving him facts about each family member and showing him various family pictures; ones of them all together, individual pictures, ones of two or three of them all together at once.
The plane descended and the passengers unloaded after getting their things from the overhead compartments. Kaylee made sure to wake Keegan up and grab her backpack, pulling her blue hoodie down over top of her red and white striped tank top before pulling it onto her shoulders. The three of them made their way into the terminal and made the trek to baggage claim.
The bad thing about travelling around the holidays was the amount of people that were squeezed into the airport and one never really realized how small it could feel until surrounded by such crowds. Jackson held onto Kaylee’s hand, being sure not to let go and lose her in the bustling sea of people. They finally made it down the escalator to baggage claim where people stood around waiting for the belt to begin circling with the luggage on it.
The three walked, reading the red letters on the LED signs hanging from the ceiling and trying to locate which of the many stations they would find their bags. Just then, Keegan broke out into a grin and rushed forward.
“Katie!” he exclaimed, wrapping his arms around his sister, lifting her into the air, and spinning her around. Katie laughed, kicking her legs in a vain attempt at wriggling out of his grasp.
“Keegan! Let me go before I hit someone!” she let out between bouts of laughter and Keegan obliged, setting her feet back to the hard floor and giving her one last squeeze. She wrapped her arms around him in a proper hug, swaying him back and forth. “I’m glad you guys made it back safely.”
“You cut your hair,” he remarked, pulling away to look her over and smiling. He reached up a hand, messing with the ends of the wavy hair that now came to her shoulders. “It looks nice.”
“Thanks,” she said with a smile. “I wanted a change, figured I’d chop it.”
Kaylee let go of Jackson’s hand as she moved forward, slipping between Keegan and stealing a hug from her twin. “Katieeee, I missed yoooou,” she cooed.
“Kayleeee, I missed you toooo,” Katie responded, holding her sister close and giving her a small squeeze before pulling away. She glanced passed her and saw Jackson standing there, watching on quietly and sent a smile his way. “And I assume this is the boyfriend?”
“Yep!” Kaylee said, looking over at him and reaching out her hand towards him. Jackson stepped closer, taking Kaylee’s hand once more and holding it loosely in his own. “Katie, this is Jackson. Jackson, this is my sister.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Jackson said politely, holding out his free hand. Katie took it, shaking it firmly.
“Nice to meet you too. I’ve heard good things about you.”
“Really?” Jackson asked, raising a brow and glancing down at Kaylee who gave him a sheepish smile in return.
“I may or may not have gushed about you on more than one occasion…” she said quietly and Jackson chuckled, shaking his head a bit.
“Where are mom and dad?” Keegan asked, glancing around to see if he could find their faces in the crowd.
“Dad’s still at work and mom’s back at the house getting things ready for tonight. You know how she gets when company’s coming over,” Katie responded, rolling her eyes though the smile on her lips made it obvious that she was anything but aggravated. “She recruited AJ too, so he’s her little minion today.”
“Poor kid,” Keegan laughed. “Looks like I’ll be stealing him away for video games tonight.”
“He’ll appreciate it, I’m sure,” Katie said with a small laugh of her own.
A loud bell tone rang, alerting everyone that the belt was going to begin moving, and it started its rounds, carrying the suitcases of the passengers from the flight that came in from Nashville around. The group moved towards it, getting their things once they came around, and headed out to the parking garage.
Katie led them towards a silver Nissan Rouge, opening up the trunk for them to put everything inside. Kaylee raised a brow, not recognizing the vehicle. “When did you get this?”
“I didn’t,” her sister replied. “It’s dad’s early Christmas present for mom. She let me take it since she said my Civic would be too small to fit all of you and your things.”
“I wouldn’t be that trusting,” Keegan teased, moving around to the front passenger’s side and hopping into the seat. “Shotgun!”
“I’m sure the love birds wanted to sit together anyway, dumbass,” Katie said as she got into the driver’s seat. Kaylee looked up at Jackson and he turned to look at her, letting out a small laugh.
“Are they always like that?” he asked.
“Pretty much,” Kaylee said with a small nod. She reached up and closed the trunk before climbing into the back seat. Jackson followed suit, moving to the other side of the car and getting in and, once everyone was buckled, Katie pulled out of the parking space and headed out of the parking garage towards the main road.
Once they hit the highway, the drive was smooth sailing. They pulled into the driveway twenty minutes later and the lights in the house were dim, the only visible one being the light coming from the kitchen.
“And we are home,” Katie said, putting the car in park and shutting it off. “Kay, you’re gonna show Jackson to his room, right?”
“I was planning on it, yeah,” she said, smiling.
“My room?” Jackson spoke quietly, looking to Kaylee.
“Well… the guest room,” she responded, giving a small shrug. “But for now, it’s yours.”
Jackson smiled, nodding a bit before climbing out of the car. He made his way around quickly, opening up Kaylee’s door before she got the chance and held out a hand for her. Kaylee laughed lightly, taking it and stepping out.
“What a gentleman,” Katie commented, sending a wink in their direction and walking onto the patio, heading towards the front door. She disappeared inside quickly, leaving the others to grab their things out of the car before following her lead.
The house was warm, a welcome change from the nipping of the chilly Baltimore air outside, and smelled of all of the foods that had been prepared throughout the day. The latest addition was sugar cookies, something made evident by the large platter of various holiday themed cookies spread out on it sitting on the blue marble island countertop as they entered the kitchen.
Keegan picked up one, popping it into his mouth as he glanced around, looking for any sign of life. Though the lights were on, it seemed as if no one was home. “Where is everyone?”
“I don’t know…” Kaylee muttered, looking just as confused as he did.
A collective roar of voices filled the house as person after person popped up from their hiding places spread out around the living room and dining room. Kaylee covered her mouth, hiding the grin that took over her features as she looked over the familiar faces of friends and family.
Adrianna stepped out from the group, a large smile on her face as she made her way quickly over towards her children and pulled them both into a huge hug. “Welcome home, you two.”
“Mom, you didn’t have to do this,” Keegan said with a light laugh as he embraced her.
“I’ve got my two babies back home, of course I did!” she said, pressing a kiss to the side of each of their heads. “All of you go get changed. I’m sure you’ll want to wear something a little nicer for your welcome home party.”
“Always know how to put on a big show,” Kaylee commented with a smile as her mom let the two of them go. She reached back and took Jackson’s hand, tugging him along through the crowd of people, saying quick hellos as she made her way to the hallway on the other side of the living room. She placed her suitcase and backpack beside the first door in the hallway and he could only assume that it was her bedroom as they continued down the hall. Keegan had disappeared halfway down the hallway into his bedroom, closing the door so that he could get dressed, and Kaylee led Jackson down towards the end of the hallway.
“Does your mom always do things like that?” Jackson asked, glancing back over his shoulder a moment to look in the direction they had come.
“Sometimes. Like I said, she’s always up for entertaining,” Kaylee replied, shaking her head a little. Just before they reached the room at the very end of the hall, she stopped, pulling open the door on the left that led to a stairwell.
She turned on the light and began to make her way down the steps. He followed quietly as they stepped into the garage at the bottom of the staircase. She rounded the corner and entered into another short hallway, opening the door to the first room and flipping on the lights.
“This is where you’ll be staying,” she said, moving out of the doorway so that he could enter. He glanced around, taking in the room. It was sparsely furnished, but elegantly simple. A queen sized bed was pressed up against the right wall, a wooden bedside table on one side and a dresser a few feet away on the adjacent wall. There was a desk and a closet and beside that a curve in the wall leading to another room that he could only assume was a bathroom.
“It’s nice,” he said, smiling as he placed his backpack down onto the bed and laying his suitcase down on the ground.
“I’ll let you get changed,” she said, smiling in return as she began to head for the door.
“Wait.” He stopped her, looking over towards her. She turned to look at him, brows raised as she gave him a questioning look. “What should I wear?”
“Um…” Kaylee began, biting her lower lip lightly. “Nothing really fancy. A nice shirt and dark jeans would work well, I think.”
Jackson nodded a bit. “Alright. I’ll see what I have.”
“I’ll meet you upstairs.” And with that, Kaylee closed the door behind her and headed back towards her room to get ready.
20 minutes later, Jackson ascended the stairs, adjusting the bottom of his grey and white plaid shirt as he went. It fit tightly to his torso, showing off his toned form, and the sleeves were uncuffed and pushed to just about his elbows. He pushed open the door and made his way back down the hallway, stopping just outside of the door that led back out into the living room. He took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly as he mentally prepared himself to be in a crowd of people he didn’t know.
Opening the door, he was greeted by the hum of constant chatter, people spread out around the living room, kitchen, and the sitting room that was beside the kitchen. His eyes automatically began to search for the familiar head of long, flowing dark hair but it was no luck. She was either still getting dressed or she’d been engulfed in the social sea.
He moved towards the kitchen, pardoning himself as he walked around people. Once there, he grabbed a blue plastic cup off of the counter where a long line of drinks varying from soda to a bowl of what looked like punch sat and decided on water, filling up the cup and taking a sip. He’d only been out there for maybe two minutes and he already felt incredibly uncomfortable. This party was meant for Keegan and Kaylee, not him.
Kaylee excused herself from talking to her old creative writing teacher as she noticed Jackson leaving the kitchen and she walked over to where he was, watching as he quietly moved outside, closing the door behind him. She furrowed her brows before pulling her coat off of the coat rack, wrapping it around her frame, and moving outside after him. Not seeing him immediately, she walked over towards the gazebo on the patio, heels clicking against the wood, and noticed him seated in one of the chairs, quietly sipping at his drink.
“Jackson?” she spoke, her voice echoing slightly in the silence of the night. He looked up at her as she opened up the door, moving inside and taking a seat in the chair beside him. “What are you doing out here?”
“Too many people,” he responded, giving a slight shrug before placing his cup down onto the table. “I didn’t want to ruin the party for you, so I figured I’d stay out of the way.”
Kaylee shook her head, her soft curls bobbing lightly as she did, and reached her hand out to take his. “You won’t ruin the party. If I’m honest, there’s too many people in there for me too.”
“Yeah,” she said, letting out a small laugh. “I came home to get away from crowds and spend time with my family and my boyfriend. Love my mom, but sometimes she doesn’t think about those things.”
Jackson nodded a little. “The party’s supposed to be for you though. You should probably be inside. It’s cold.”
“Says the one without a jacket,” she laughed again, squeezing his hand lightly.
“I’m alright.” He shrugged.
“I’d rather be out here with you than inside,” she said, a soft smile taking over her red glossed lips.
“Are you sure?”
“Positive.” Leaning over, Kaylee pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek, bringing a smile to his lips.
“Did you leave a mark?” he asked, chuckling.
“A little one,” she giggled in response. She stood up from her chair, tugging on his hand lightly. “Come on.”
“Where are we going?” he asked, standing and grabbing his cup from the table.
“We’re gonna go star gaze. One good thing about living just outside of the city; less light pollution.”
Swinging the door open, she walked out of the gazebo and around the back of the house along the stone walkway. They stepped out into the back yard and Jackson’s eyes landed on a medium-sized piece of play equipment for children. It looked slightly worn, as if it had been there for years, and he followed her over towards it.
She let go of his hand as they made it there and she turned, holding onto her skirt as she sat herself down on one of the two blue swings that hung down from an arm jutting out from the side of it and patting the seat of the swing beside her. He chuckled, shaking his head a bit as he sat down beside her, crossing one leg over the other before turning his eyes up to the sky. They shown bright in the sky and the sight was breathtaking. He glanced over towards her and watched as a smile overtook her features and the lights reflected in her warm, chocolate brown eyes.
She could have been inside, socializing with people she hadn’t seen in weeks, and yet here she was with him, sitting on an old swing set and watching the stars in the still of the evening. He reached over, taking her hand in his and she glanced down at them, lacing her fingers with his before turning her eyes up to him. He smiled at her, leaning in and closing the gap between them as he placed a lingering kiss to her lips that she returned with just the slightest bit of added pressure. He didn’t know what he had done to be lucky enough to call her his, but he thanked the powers that be that he had found someone so incredibly special to call his own.
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