The cake was the focal point of the kitchen.
It had popped up from one of Margaret's relatives, though Lennox hadn't seen it happen. She'd be happy about the cake, as it was a beautiful masterpiece. Three layered and decorated to perfection with little ribbons and Merry Christmas written in beautiful script, it was probably the most beautiful cake she'd ever seen.
She had a sneaking suspicion, however, that it had come from Margaret's aunt, Robina, and as such, she had no plans of touching it anytime soon.
"Oh, babe! I see you've found the cake-... Correction, I see you're glaring at the cake."
Despite the comment, Lennox didn't take her eyes off of it.
"It's from your aunt Robina, isn't it?"
Margaret groaned, leaning into the fridge for dramatic effect. "Please don't tell me you've still got that dumb feud on."
She put a hand to her chest, gasping dramatically. "How dare you!" she said. "This feud is one thousand percent her fault, first of all! She insulted-"
"Babe, babe, babe," Margaret quickly rushed over to her. "I've already heard it a thousand times."
"Then perhaps you'll start taking it seriously after a thousand and one," she said, before she stuck her tongue out at her.
Margaret rolled her eyes before she moved back to the fridge. She started to take out ingredients for dinner, half-turning and placing them down on the island, the wooden surface now housing carrots, celery, and the traitor cake.
"It's not from her, by the way. I made it."
Still holding the onions, she put a hand to her chest. "You wound me with your shock and surpris," she said.
"No, no, it's just- it's gorgeous," she said.
"And the wound deepens," Margaret replied, closing the fridge.
"When did you even make it?" Lennox asked. She crossed the kitchen in three steps, making it to the island before she examined it.
"Last night," she said, effortlessly, as if nothing should surprise Lennox about her wife, when that was the opposite of true. Margaret did nothing but surprise her with how amazing she was in every respect. "You were busy knitting that last minute sweater for Martin."
"Oh, right," she said, looking up before she looked back down at the cake. "Well, if it's not from your aunt- ow," she objected, when Margaret smacked her hand away, as she'd started to reach for the cake. Margaret pointed at her with a stalk of celery.
"Three days to Christmas, love," she said, and Lennox frowned.
"Three days?" she asked. "Then what was everybody doing here yesterday?"
Margaret looked at her, confused. "Seriously?"
The cake was no longer the focal point of the kitchen, now replaced with a respectable sized Christmas tree. It had been relocated from their bedroom to the kitchen, now that it was two days after Christmas.
"This is still your aunt's fault!" Lennox blamed her.
"Well, how was I supposed to know that she was bringing her new boyfriend?"
"You were supposed to know that I didn't want her here at all!" she told Margaret. She was in the grocery store, doing the shopping for New Year's. The family had finally trickled out this morning, vacating the three spare bedrooms they had in the house (which they'd only been able to buy because Margaret had inherited some money from what had been her only remaining uncle). That meant they ended up hosting Christmas for the ten or so people that bothered to fly out for the holidays.
There was a pause on the other end of the phone. "You didn't have to make it worse by insulting him."
She'd opened the fridge, grabbing a water bottle before she froze, the water bottle in her hand. "I did-I did not insult him! I just- I just said that he has crappy taste in women! That's not an insult to him, that's for sure a backhanded insult to your aunt!"
Margaret was laughing on the other end. "Did you really think he'd take that with any semblance of being?"
"At the very least! It's the polite thing to do!"
"That's what the holidays are about! Getting low-key insulted by family members and then spending the entire holiday wishing that one of the would-be assassins of Archduke Ferdinand had taken up trying to figure out time travel instead of failing at the one job they'd been given, so that you personally could speed up the last three days of the holiday so you don't have to deal with said relatives."
"You're still on this?"
"There were six assassins! Six! And he only got assassinated because of one wrong stop! If they hadn't have stopped, maybe he still would've been alive today! It's infuriating!" She closed the fridge door, leaning up against the counter.
"How do you know they didn't figure out time travel and that's why that last assassin finally made it happen?"
She blinked, staring at the Christmas tree with it's ornaments and lights. The lights blinked in return.
"You couldn't have said this months ago?"
Margaret laughed on the other end of the line. "I kept waiting for you to figure it out for yourself. Consider it a late Christmas gift, from your loving wife."
The focal point of the kitchen was now the codeine that sat on the counter. Lennox had filled the script before she'd brought Margaret home. As they entered the kitchen, she held out her arms as if to preemptively catch her on crutches.
"Fine," Margaret said, even if Lennox knew that was a lie. She'd been in a car accident two days ago. She'd sat by her wife's bedside a day before New Year's Eve, horrified to imagine, instead of the happy year filled with love and life and laughter, it would be a year of wearing black clothing and hardly leaving the house and staring at the spot on her bed where her wonderful wife used to lay, willing her back to life.
She'd never been so relieved to hear the doctor's saying that she could head home, just in time for the New Year. The ball had already dropped in New York City, but she hadn't felt the new year starting until she'd gotten her wife back in the kitchen. In their house, the focal point wasn't the living room as it was in many homes. Instead, it was the kitchen, where they spent most of their life as a married couple, Margaret cooking up some new recipe and Lennox working remotely as a transcriptionist at the kitchen table. Standing in the kitchen with her wife just felt so unbelievably right (even if she'd had to relocate some pieces of furniture to accommodate for Margaret's new crutches).
"What's got you so misty eyed?" Margaret asked, smiling in a hazy kind of way that one did when one took painkillers.
She shrugged. "Just thinking about how it's the New Year and we get to celebrate it together, and what a wonderful thing that is."
"Aw, babe, I'm fine!" she said, throwing her arms out. Luckily, Lennox had quick reflexes and was able to catch her before she fell over. "See? Got two arms and everything."
"Yeah, but you almost weren't. It's like..." she shrugged, holding onto her wife. She wondered how tightly she could keep her in her arms, and how long she would be allowed to. "There are still so many things we haven't done together. Like, travel to Italy and New York and all that. We haven't even had kids, even if that is still a couple years off, after all the aforementioned traveling. But, even without all those things, life with you is an adventure. Even standing in the kitchen is exciting, talking and laughing with you, it's... everything. It's like the first time I saw you, just standing on the beach with your hair all in waves and you were looking at the horizon." Lennox laughed. "Do you remember what I said?"
Margaret laughed. "I do!" she said. "You walked up to me all bold and said, 'It's day one,' and I said, 'of what'- woah."
She felt keenly the loss of contact with her wife, long before she'd ever suggested, "Here, why don't we sit you down?"
"But you're getting all nostalgic and misty eyed!" Margaret protested. "You never do that!"
She laughed, before she sat her wife down at the table. She kneeled down in front of her, taking her hands into her lap, as she searched her eyes. "I said, 'It's day one of the rest of our lives.' And you just laughed and thought it was the cheesiest thing in the world, but I didn't care. Because I knew that every day with you would feel like it was day one, and you know what?"
Her beautiful wife looked down at her, a hazy smile on her face. "What?"
"I wasn't wrong."
"Aw, Lennox!" she leaned down and Lennox met her halfway. They kissed before Margaret pulled away, matching up their foreheads. "Hey, Lennox?"
"Is there any of that cake left?"
"What cake-" she laughed. "I finished that off days ago. I'll see what we still have in. In the meantime, you should take a nap."
Margaret didn't protest, her eyes already half-lidded as Lennox helped her up.
Lennox smiled as they made their way to the doorway of the kitchen. "Yes, Margaret."
"Happy New Year."
"Happy New Year," she agreed.
This year, as it was with all the other years, was special. It wasn't just the first day of the New Year. It was day one of their lives, just as it would be for the rest of their lives.