FIRST CHRISTMAS (page 5):
“Do you like it?” Sam questioned. From his viewing point he couldn’t see Eclipse’s face. “Eclipse?”
The boy was quiet. He hung his head just slightly, enough so that his long ebony hair hid his eyes. Eclipse’s hands came together, grasping the drumsticks so tightly his knuckles began turning white. He shook a little, and a tiny hitch in his breath could be heard in the quiet of the room.
“Oh geez, it’s the not the model you wanted, is it?” Sam moved in closer, wondering why Eclipse wasn’t responding. Sam thought he might have been disappointed with the choice.”I saw you’ve been eyeing this at the music store across the street for months. I’m sorry, I thought..”
Before Sam could finish his thought Eclipse spun around, grabbing Sam around the chest and shoulder in the strongest bear hug he had ever received. His coffee almost flew from his hand as the boy held tight and dug his face hard into Sam’s shoulder.
For a moment Sam fell silent, stunned and immobile at this surprising sign of affection. As long as they had known one another Eclipse had always been a rock – strong, solid, and completely emotionless. He acted older and wiser then other children his age, a curse of someone experiencing terrible things in their life far too young. Although Eclipse would never bring up the things that had happened to him Sam noticed the pain in his expressions… and the obvious physical scars that came with it.
Sam wrapped one arm around the boy over his shoulder, patting his back softly. He heard Eclipse take a deep, harried breath into his chest.
“Thank you,” Eclipse whispered quietly.
Sam smiled. He leaned into the hug, close enough so that he could make sure Eclipse heard him.
“I know things have been hard for you, but you’ve been working your ass off to make things better. You’re a good kid. You deserve this. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”