Linus, Imogen, and Alison showed up really soon after Jotie and I did to help set up for the party. Ella and Nathan came a bit early, as well. It was much easier decorating when I had a team to supervise. And by the way, Jotie started shouting expletives at me when the Festivus Pole fell on his head three seconds after he thought he secured it. I laughed as I cast a Balancing Charm on it and conjured him an ice pack.
Five minutes before the Woods were due to arrive home, I had everyone hide and I turned out the lights. This was going to be a proper surprise party, after all.
The seven of us stopped talking and hid as we heard the front door open.
“And how was Young Master’s birthday dinner?” I heard Sookie ask cheerily in the foyer.
“It was nice,” Oliver said casually.
“But you barely touched your cake,” a female voice doted, probably Mrs. Wood.
“Let the boy be, Isobel,” Mr. Wood said knowingly.
“But he looks thirsty,” Mrs. Wood said, concerned. “Are you thirsty, honey?”
“Hm, I guess,” replied Oliver. Nice move, Mrs. Wood! I thought. Playing the hydration card!
“Why don’t you head to the kitchen and get a drink?” Oliver’s mom suggested.
He must have nodded, because I didn’t hear a response, but rather footsteps coming in our direction.
“Okay, guys,” I whispered. “In three…two…one…”
Oliver emerged from the hallway, looking mighty fine in a blue polo shirt and khakis. Don’t be distracted! I chastised myself.
I jumped up and the others followed suit. “Surprise!” we shouted, and I flicked my wand to turn the lights on.
Oliver stopped dead in his tracks and literally dropped his jaw. “Wha—wha—?” he stuttered.
“Happy birthday, man!” Jotie ran up and guy-hugged him.
“See, you can’t get rid of us!” Nathan laughed and was the next to guy-hug Oliver.
“But—what is all this?” Oliver looked around the room. “Did you break into my house?”
Alison looked smug. “It was all Saskia,” she glanced at me.
Oliver stared at me. “You threw me a birthday party?” he asked, his face expressing absolute joy with a remnant of surprise.
“Sorry, Liver,” I smirked, crossing my arms. “Actually, this is a Festivus party. It’s only kind of a coincidence that we’re having it at your house on your eighteenth birthday.”
“Oh, really?” Oliver cocked an eyebrow, not believing my b.s. for a minute.
“Uh huh,” I nodded, about to burst laughing. “And your mom told Sookie to let us in, so there’s no need to call the police.”
“So, what does one do at a Festivus party?” he asked.
“Ooh, ooh!” I yelped, running to my bag. I extracted a thick leather-bound book and ran back to where everyone was standing. “I shall now read aloud from the Ancient Book of the Ancients!” I declared.
“Isn’t that just your Potions book with a piece of paper saying ‘Ancient Book of the Ancients’ Spellotaped on the cover?” Imogen asked.
I ignored her. “Sit down, loyal observers of Festivus, and I shall tell you the tale of our holiday’s grand founding!”
Basically everybody listened to me. Nathan grumbled something that I’m sure was quite rude, but sat in an armchair regardless.
“Many Christmases ago,” I read from a piece of paper I had stuck in my Potions book, “a very wise man named Frank Costanza went to buy a doll for his son. He reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As he rained blows upon him, he realized there had to be another way. The doll was destroyed, but out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us! Now,” I looked up at my congregation, “we recite: a Festivus for the rest of us!”
“A doll for his son?” Nathan snickered.
“Don’t be a prat,” Oliver silenced him, then shouted, “A Festivus for the rest of us!”
Everyone else followed, “A Festivus for the rest of us!”
“Thank you, devout followers,” I said with a smidge of sarcasm. “By now, you may have noticed the lovely pole gracing our presence.” I motioned to the Festivus Pole, and everyone but Jotie (who now ranked this piece of metal at the top of list enemies list) looked at it curiously.
“At Festivus,” I read from the Ancient Book of the Ancients, “there is no tree. Instead, there is a pole, which requires no decoration, as Frank Costanza found tinsel distracting. And this Festivus Pole is made from aluminum, which has a very high strength-to-weight ratio.”
“So, we have a bare metal pole instead of a Christmas tree, because Festivus was founded in protest of the commercialization of Christmas?” Linus asked.
“Correct, Linus,” I said kindly. “Now, next on the agenda is the traditional Festivus dinner, but since Oliver has already eaten with his parents and the rest of us filled up on potato chips before he came, I propose we move on to the next event.”
“Plus you can’t cook, even with magic,” Jotie said under his breath. Nathan high fived him.
“Shut up or I’ll smack you in the head with the pole,” I seethed. “So, now it is time for the Airing of Grievances!”
“This doesn’t seem like a very happy holiday,” Ella remarked.
“That’s because we’re not done with it yet!” I said, annoyed. “According to our prophet, Frank Costanza, at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year.”
Everyone looked around at everyone else, clearly not wanting to participate in one of the sacraments of Festivus. I sighed, “Fine, I’ll do it. Nathan, you’re an arrogant, vain ass who has not said one non-hostile thing to me all year.”
“First of all,” he said angrily, “you’ve been just as bad to me, and secondly, I’m not your family! Your Potions book says ‘family’, and I’m not even your friend.”
Jotie laughed, and I turned to him. “Fine, bro,” I emphasized. “You’re nothing but selfish and you continue to be friends with Nathan even when he’s rude to me!”
“You think you’re so perfect, Saskia?” Jotie jumped up. “You prance around all high and mighty because all the teachers love you, but I’m just as smart! And both Mom and Dad like you better, and you rub it in my face!”
“No I don’t, and no they don’t!” I argued.
“I’m not done airing my grievances!” Jotie continued. “You’re completely bizarre, making us observe this stupid fake holiday! Guess what? No one cares!”
I was about to shout at him about leaving Alison alone when Oliver interjected. “I’ve got some grievances of my own!” he stood up. “Nathan and Saskia, I know you hate each other, and you fight every time you’re in the same room, so I’m not surprised that you’re quarreling on my birthday! But Jotie and Saskia, you’re twins and you know each other better than anyone else! Why have you suddenly decided to fight on my birthday?” Oliver looked hurt.
I looked at my feet, and Jotie probably stared at his own. All the spectators were quiet. This had to be one of the most awkward Festivuses of all time.
“That’s better,” Oliver said, sitting down. “Saskia, what does your Potions book say to do next?”
I turned the page. “Uh, I guess the Feats of Strength, but I don’t know if that’s such a good idea anymore.”
“Well, what are the Feats of Strength exactly?” he asked.
I read, “The Feats of Strength is the final tradition observed on Festivus. Traditionally, the head of household selects on person and challenges him or her to a wrestling match. Festivus is not over until the head of household is pinned in a wrestling match.”
“So, are you the head of household?” Alison asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “We’re not really a proper family.”
“How about we have a wrestling tournament?” Oliver suggested. “We could have a bunch of rounds until we whittled it down to the top two.”
“But would your parents be okay with a bunch of teenagers wrestling in here?” I asked.
“If we moved the furniture around, to make a sort of boxing ring,” he said, motioning for everyone to get up off the couch. I grinned, pulling out my wand and levitating the furniture into place.
“Okay,” I said when I was done, “we’ll make brackets, then.”
There was a bit of debate about whether it would be fair to make girls wrestle against guys, but Alison refused to let sexism be an issue in the Feats of Strength. I performed a Randomizing Charm that randomly sorted our names. I almost laughed when I saw that the first match of Round One was to be Alison v. Jotie.
As they took their places in the center of the makeshift ring, Jotie said arrogantly, “I’ll go easy on you, dollface.”
Alison’s face turned red as she frowned and didn’t respond. I flicked my wand and made a dinging sound, and they grabbed each other and started to wrestle. Jotie seemed taken aback by how aggressive Alison was, and she had him pinned in twenty seconds.
“Uncle, uncle!” Jotie yelped when Alison wouldn’t let him up.
So the first match went to Alison. Next was Nathan v. Linus, and I began their match with my Bell Spell.
While they were fighting, Jotie limped over to me on the sidelines and said, “Sorry about the Airing of Grievances.”
I smiled. “Me too. A Festivus party probably wasn’t the best idea.”
“Yeah, you’re telling me,” he grimaced in pain. “I just got beat up by the girl I like.”
I smiled and handed him the ice pack I conjured him after the pole incident.
Just then, Nathan had Linus pinned. My archenemy jumped up and started hooting for joy, completely living up his moment of glory. What a jackass.
“Okay,” I read from the bracket, “next is Oliver v. Ella.”
Though Ella had a bit of a stocky build and Nathan was cheering her on, Oliver overpowered her in less than a minute. He apologized profusely for pinning her and helped her up when I declared that he was the victor.
I told Jotie the incantation to start the next match, which was me v. Imogen. I stepped into the ring and she did too, both of us in a burst of giggles. We were such girls.
“Ready,” Jotie said, then flicked his wand, which dinged. I lunged at Imogen, not quite sure what to do, and she pushed back at me, clearly never having wrestled before, either. We both kept laughing, but soon I pushed her on the ground and held her arms down.
“Saskia wins,” Jotie said, and I let Imogen go.
“Congrats,” she said, shaking my hand.
“Sorry,” I apologized.
The next match was between Nathan and Alison. Jotie retained the role as official since I had a not-so-subtle vendetta against Nathan and I myself was still in the competition. Nathan and Alison had the longest fight by a long shot, probably longer than five minutes. They both kept growling and putting each other in headlocks. I was actually kind of scared, realizing that I wouldn’t want to meet either in a dark alley. Finally, Nathan pinned Alison, and he put on a great show celebrating. I wanted to hurl.
But now was not the time to throw up, because I was set to wrestle next. Against Oliver. My pleasant-looking tutee/friend Oliver. Whose birthday it was. Who was much bigger than me.
“You ready, Sassy?” he asked as he stepped into the ring.
“I want you to do one thing, Liver,” I said coyly. “Bring it.”
“That’s good, then,” Oliver smirked. “Because going nice on a girl didn’t work out too well for your brother.”
“Don’t you try to intimidate me, Wood,” I tried to sound tough.
“Wouldn’t dream of it, Lin,” he crouched down into position.
“And,” Jotie said, “go!” He performed the Bell Spell.
Oliver immediately lunged at me, and I was momentarily thrown off guard. He tried to push me down, but I held him off. We pushed against each other’s shoulders, moving around the ring of sofas and chairs.
“Come on, Wood!” I taunted him. “Is this all you got?”
I saw his face contort into a furious smile, but he didn’t verbally respond. Instead, he pulled me down to the floor and pushed me on my back, pinning my arms down.
“Oliver wins!” Jotie said.
“I’m sorry!” Oliver said quickly, still hovering over me.
“No, it’s fine,” I said breathlessly. “I appreciate that you respect me enough to beat me.”
“Oh, good,” he smiled. Oh, that pleasant smile. I felt my face flush crimson and my heart beat faster.
“You two want to get up anytime soon?” Jotie asked impatiently.
Oliver quickly moved off of me and helped me stand up. I left the ring while Nathan entered it.
“And now we have the finals of the first—and hopefully last—Festivus Feats of Strength!” Jotie commentated. “It’s been a long and crazy trip, folks, but from eight hopefuls we have only two wrestlers left in the competition! In this corner: Nathan Hobbes! And in this corner: Oliver Wood!”
Oliver and Nathan crouched down, ready to go at it. I felt the urge to bite my nails out of nervousness, but I resisted (it was a gross habit). Nathan, the evil overlord, was going up against Oliver, my knight in shining armor (sort of) in the Feats of Strength.
Jotie flicked his wand, and that familiar ding echoed throughout the family room. Nathan and Oliver lunged at each other, growling like dogs. It was really strange how a simple wrestling match could turn a pair of practically adult wizards into animals.
They kept pushing against each other and grabbing each other’s arms and moving around the ring, while we spectators cheered and offered moral support.
“Knock his teeth in, Liver!” I shouted, very unladylike.
“Don’t be a pussy, Nate!” Ella screamed. “Be a real man!”
“Come on, Nathan! That’s it Oliver, nicely done!” Jotie said, obviously torn.
I’m not sure how long the match lasted; it seemed like time had slowed down. I hadn’t been this nervous about anything for years, probably. I almost screamed out for joy when Oliver threw Nathan to the ground, but he was able to jump back up and continue fighting.
Then the worst thing possible happened. Nathan flipped Oliver, so that he landed on his back. Nathan pinned him down for one…two…three seconds…and that was it.
“Woohoo!” Nathan yelped. “Yeah! Who’s the man? I am!” He jumped over the couch and started making out with Ella.
“Oliver?” I hurried to the center of the ring, where he was still lying on his back, his eyes wide open.
“Ow,” he moaned.
“Are you okay?” I asked, terrified.
“Yeah.” He seemed a bit dazed, and still didn’t budge. “But I lost.”
“It’s okay,” I said soothingly.
“No it’s not. Losing is never okay.”
“Listen to yourself,” I said, slightly horrified. “That’s a really unhealthy philosophy, you know.”
Oliver didn’t respond to this, because his face got all scrunchy, his eyes all narrow, and he turned over on his side. The dude was obviously in pain.
“Come on, let’s get you up,” I said, hoisting his arm over my shoulder and helping him limp over to the couch.
“Thanks for throwing me a birthday party,” Oliver said faintly, with his eyes closed.
I conjured him an ice pack. Man, would I have made a killing selling these tonight. “Of course, Liver. You came to my orchestra concert, which was above and beyond the call of duty.”
Oliver opened his eyes and stared at the Festivus Pole, which was now being toilet-papered by Jotie and Nathan. “But you tutor me every week, so I don’t fail Transfiguration and so I can keep playing Quidditch. You don’t even like Quidditch,” Oliver trailed off.
“I don’t mind it,” I smiled. “Oh! Before I forget, I have a present for you.”
“I thought Festivus was all about getting away from commercialism,” said Oliver as I rummaged through my bag.
“But today is your birthday.” I handed him a box covered in wrapping paper adorned with little brooms. I picked it out myself.
“Aw, Sassy, thank you,” Oliver said as he unceremoniously ripped off the paper. A boy after my own heart.
He stared at the contents of the box, gaping widely. “No!” he shouted, picking up the bright brown book in his hands. “You didn’t!”
“Is there something wrong with it?” I asked, concerned.
“He Flew Like a Madman?” Oliver spat. “The biography of ‘Dangerous’ Dai Llewellyn, written by Kenilworthy Wisp?”
“Er, that’s what it says on the cover.” In reality, I had very little idea who this Dai Llewellyn fellow was, but apparently he played Quidditch.
“And it’s…it’s signed,” Oliver held the book like a baby and gently stroked the scribbled writing on the title page.
“Yeah, Kenny was in the shop when I bought it, and he offered a free signing, so I figured,” I said humbly.
Oliver grabbed my shoulders and moved his face inches from mine. “You met Kenilworthy Wisp?” he asked maniacally.
“Yeah,” I answered, a bit scared. “I told him all about you, how you’re my crazy, Quidditch-obsessed friend and you want to go pro—”
“Kenilworthy Wisp, the premier Quidditch author in all Britain, knows of my existence?” Oliver exclaimed.
“Uh huh,” I said nervously. Oliver was visibly shaking at this point. “He said to owl him anytime if you want him to contact any coaches on your behalf. He had already heard that Gryffindor had an awesome Keeper, but I definitely played up your accomplishments.”
Oliver finally let go of me (but kept his arms awkwardly stretching out, as if unable to lower them), sat back, and stared at the Festivus Pole, now completely covered in toilet paper.
“I think I love you,” he muttered in a kind of trance.
“Aw, I know you’re excited, Liver,” I patted him on the head. He didn’t seem to notice, but instead kept staring at the pole.
I really, really didn’t try to read into what he said, because Oliver was clearly in a state of shock. However, it was nearly impossible, given the amount of time I had spent thinking about our wedding (an afternoon in May, in a little white chapel) or our children (three or four, all with dark hair and soft Asian-esque features). I must have doodled Mrs. Saskia Wood in all of my textbooks, which is really stupid because I wasn’t even sure I wanted to change my surname when I got married anyway.
The only thing I knew was that whenever I looked into Oliver Wood’s eyes (whether they be sparkling after he mastered a concept in Transfiguration, or glossy due to the trance he was currently in), my heart skipped a beat. And you don’t find a pair of eyes that make you do that every day.
Aw, warm and fuzzy ending. Please review, because I wrote this chapter when I was really tired but I wanted to get it up so I know it’s not as well written as the other chapters but I’d really appreciate the feedback.
Disclaimer: I still don’t own Seinfeld or any of its characters. That’s all NBC. Most of the information on Festivus comes from the Wikipedia article, though I altered the Feats of Strength slightly.
Write a Review The Adventures of Saskia Lin!: A Festivus for the Rest of Us, Saskia Lin! Part 2