For the full moon of December, Derrick decided it was his turn to go visiting, bearing gifts, though he wouldn't take anything like the colorful bobbles Mariah had brought last year. For Mariah, he made an apothecary cabinet with twenty-five small drawers, and for Pat, he made a jewelry box with a lift-out shelf. The shelf had four spaces, and under it, the bottom of the box was divided into three spaces, the third, and largest, held another little box with a lid. He took another piece of wood and formed it out as thin as parchment, which he then wrapped around the presents, melding the folds back together since he had no other way to hold them closed. He turned his cloak into a carrying sack for the trip to Pat's house.
He didn't know what he expected, but he didn't expect to see the house all lit up with colored lights. When he was invited inside, he saw a small tree in the corner all clothed in lights, glitter and color. Though it was quite lovely, it was difficult for him to look at. The ten, maybe fifteen, year old life had been cut short in order to display this festoon of gaudy glory. It was all he could do to hide his mourning since both Mariah and her mother seemed to be quite gay.
Their happiness had two and now three reasons. The first was that Sam and all of his men had left several days ago. The second was the Christmas season, something Derrick didn't know enough about to understand. And now the third reason was that someone had come bringing gifts.
Over the course of the day, Derrick got the impression that the actual day of celebration was several days away yet, but Derrick's arrival warranted that it happen today, since he refused to stay past sundown.
He grit his teeth when his presents went under that poor tree, but they didn't stay there long when it was decided that they would be opened while Derrick was here. Mariah was completely thrilled with her present, especially when Derrick explained what it was for. Pat too liked her present and immediately went to retrieve her jewelry from their several random locations. She'd never had a jewelry box, not much jewelry either, but what she had was draped on the mirror in the bathroom or tucked into a safe corner with her underwear. There were other such random places like the back of the sink both in the bathroom and in the kitchen, and a necklace with a broken chain had been on a windowsill for two years. Now it was all in one box and Derrick had fixed the broken chain.
After the presents were open, Pat went into the kitchen to prepare what she could for a big dinner. Mariah went to help and even Derrick got involved, though all he did was 'find' things that seemed to become misplaced, that along with whatever slicing and dicing they would let him do under careful supervision. In general, things were sliced and diced much quicker when he wasn't being watched - things tended to multiply then too. Nonetheless, Derrick had no idea what it took to put together a meal that wasn't some sort of stew, so he was pleasantly surprised when they finally sat down to a meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, beets and salad with biscuits on the side. The drink was sweet coolaid poured into wine glasses - Pat's idea. According to Pat, it wasn't a proper Christmas dinner but Derrick thought it was the best he'd had, rivaling the meals he'd had at Kristin's table.
Derrick left at dark, carrying several changes of her dead husband's clothes. He'd kept those he had in one piece but they were still showing the wear.