There was a knock at the door of the old brownstone.
When Henry Page went to answer it, he saw his daughter standing there in in a jacket that was way too light for an east coast winter snowstorm. Her boyfriend Jeremy was standing right behind her with their luggage in hand as they both shivered in the heavy flurries that were beginning to fall as the day went on. The neighborhood had already gotten a foot of snow by that point and the taxi that had dropped them off had barely made it down the street to complete the task.
“Merry Christmas, Dad!” Mackenzie said to her father, as her boyfriend echoed the sentiment.
“Merry Christmas guys!” Henry responded, pulling them both in for a hug as he ushered them into the warm coatroom of the house.
Mackenzie and Jeremy shook off the snow as they walked into the warmth of the fireplace-toasted home.
Henry pulled his daughter in for another hug as she reciprocated the love in kind.
This had been the first time they’d seen each other since Mackenzie had gone off to school on the other side of the country that fall for her freshman year at Stanford University.
She’d met a nice guy who was a sophomore in the same department and the two had now been dating for the last four months, and so she decided to bring him home to meet the parents.
Even though he’d already hugged him, Henry reached his hand out formally to shake Jeremy’s hand.
“Nice to finally meet you in person, Jeremy!” Henry said, his easy-going warmth always on display.
“You as well, Mr. Page!” Jeremy responded.
Henry smiled at this, “No, no, not Mr. Page. That makes me feel like I’m still at work. Call me Henry.”
“You got it, I can do that.” Jeremy said as they shucked their shoes and jackets near the door and came into the large living room and main area of the house.
Oliver, the family husky, came bumbling into the room to meet them where even more passionate licking and tail wagging commenced. Once he’d sniffed out the new boy and draped himself fully over his much missed Mackenzie, their ten legs moved them further along.
It was midafternoon and the kitchen was already sizzling and simmering with the various smells of a delicious home-cooked Christmas Eve dinner.
Rebecca Page bustled this way and that among the copper pots and pans of their large, recently redone kitchen. She dropped her oven mitts to the side when she saw her daughter and boyfriend enter.
“Hey Becca, look what the cat dragged in!” Henry announced as she scurried excitedly over to see her daughter. They all said their hello’s and introductions were shared all over again as she wrapped them both up in large, home-cooked hugs.
Mackenzie gave her boyfriend a quick tour of the house and then the two retired to her room to drop off their bags and change into comfier clothing as they refreshed themselves from the stresses of holiday travel.
Henry dropped off some towels at the door and then headed back towards the kitchen and family room. The Page house wasn’t naïve. Even though his daughter was only 18 and her boyfriend only 19, there wasn’t any silly sort of expectation that they wouldn’t be allowed to share a room. Henry and his wife Rebecca had never been prudes about things and they’d had no problem whatsoever when Mackenzie had asked to go on birth control in her freshman year of high school. They were just glad she was being safe and honest with them.
Eventually the two returned in comfier attire and they both took a seat at two of the barstools surrounding the huge kitchen island where the dinner trappings had started to appear en masse.