I thought I’d share a little bit from some thing I’ve been working on for what seems forever. What’s taking so long is that I want to get things juuust right.
This has only been edited by me, so excuse any imperfections.
Steph rang them up. As she handed back their change, Jack–who had been distracted–suddenly perked up. “Can you wrap this for us?”
Inward, she groaned. She hated wrapping gifts, but outward, she smiled. “Sure. No problem. I have two types of paper left. Who wants to choose?”
While Jack and Perry bickered over whether to use the plaid or the Christmas trees, she boxed the gloves and tie separately. They finally compromised and decided to use one for each box. It would look terrible together, but it wasn’t her gift. Methodically, she measured out the paper and began the tedious process of wrapping.
Perry stood twisting a curl around his finger. “We got it right. Didn’t we? I think we got it right.”
She opened her mouth to offer some platitude, but then she realized he wasn’t speaking to her. The pleading expression on Perry’s face hit her hard, so she focused on making sure the folds were neat.
Jack made a low noise that could be interpreted as agreement of disagreement. “They’re good gifts. Don’t fash yerself.”
“You think so?”
Mental tingling made her look up. Jack stared at her intently over the edge of the counter, then smiled. “I do. I think we’ve found excellent gifts.”
She narrowed her eyes. I’m not giving you my number. Maybe if she thought it hard enough, he’d get the idea.
But he just laughed.
Perry shuffled over to stand right next to him, and he looked up at her with curious brown eyes. “You gotta boyfriend?”
Usually she would have said to fuck off, especially given Jack’s omnipresent smirk, but something made her want to tell him.
“No.” She drew out a length of curling ribbon. “He broke up with me last summer.”
“He’s a prat.” Jack spoke with authority. It didn’t feel like just commiseration
“I sounds like you’ve met him.” She deftly knotted the ribbon and began drawing the scissor blade over the long strands, gratified by the zrrrip each made.
“Would you like a new one?” Perry said this with all the sincerity of a five-year-old offering to share a cookie.
Again, her intuition told her this wasn’t just small talk, and experience had taught her to follow her instinct. “Are you going to ask Santa to bring me a new one?”
Perry frowned, as if considering, but and Jack snorted. “It doesn’t work like that. The travel doesn’t do them good.” He mimed drawing his finger across his neck as he rolled his eyes back into his head.
“And I would imagine that most people don’t like being kidnapped and forced into a relationship with someone they don’t even know.”
Jack waved a hand dismissively. “That’s never an issue.”
“Magic,” Perry whispered this as he looked around to see if anyone overheard.
“If you say so.” She set the scissors aside. “Magic can’t be used to make someone fall in love with another. Or so I’ve read.”
“That’s usually true.” Perry nodded sagely. “But this is Christmas magic. It’s—Oof. Hey!”
Jack had elbowed Perry in the side cutting off the confessional monologue. Now he flashed his co-worker a look.
These two are a piece of work. High, maybe? But her intuition—or perhaps her heart—whispered. But what if…?
Perry rubbed his side and sulked, while she rummaged under the counter for a bag. Only a few of the small ones remained.
“How about we set you up with our boss?” Jack had gone back to studying her contemplatively.
Perry stopped feigning injury and stood straight. “You know, that’s not a bad idea.”
On impulse, she decided to play along. “Maybe. What’s he do?”
The two shared a look, then Jack spoke up, “He’s the Vice President of a prestigious company.”
Ooh a vague role in an even more vague company. “Sounds classy, and a bit out of my league.” She flicked open the handled bag and gently set the wrapped gifts inside.
“Why is your hair blue?” Perry had gone back to serious earnestness.
“The question is–why isn’t yours?” She pushed the bag across the counter.
Jack laughed, but this time with delight. “I do rather like her spirit.”
“What’s your name?” Perry took the bag.
“It’s unwise to tell the Fae your name.” She crossed her arms and smiled.
“But we’re not Fae,” Jack scoffed, but he looked amused.
Now she wouldn’t tell them, just to prove a point. “Merry Christmas.” She waved them off.
“Merry Christmas.” Perry waved back, and clutching the bag headed out the store. “Jack, I like her. She’s funny.”
“Smart, too.” The rest of the statement became lost in Band Aid asking if they knew it was Christmas.
Watch this space…there’s more to come.