December 3rd 2018
“I am not going to buy slutty lingerie for Joe for Christmas!”
“Why not?” Sabrina asked incredulously, almost as if she couldn’t believe why Audrey was protesting against the gift idea.
“Because that’s not really a present for him.” She denied even though it kind of was.
She was sure that while Joe would love it and appreciate the sight of her in slutty lingerie, she wanted to get him something more meaningful for Christmas. A small part of her worried that it was too soon as they had only started officially dating a few days ago, but she refused to let her innate fear to ruin her life any further than it already had.
“It is when he gets to take it off you.” Sabrina snickered and threw a pair of neon pink lace panties at her face.
Audrey’s nose turned up in disgust and she flipped the pair of panties off her face and back to where Sabrina had got them from. As cute as they were, barbie pink just wasn’t her colour.
“I repeat, I will not be buying lingerie for Joe.”
“I could say the same about you.” Audrey remarked and when Sabrina glanced up at her confusion, her lips twisted up into an evil smirk.
“What do you mean?”
Renee watched in amusement as Sabrina and Audrey, two of her dear friends, continued bickering back and forth light-heartedly.
“Why don’t you get some lingerie for Lucas?” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, picking up the same panties and throwing them in Sabrina’s direction for revenge.
Having seen it coming, Sabrina caught the material before it hit her square in the face and eyed them for a second too long, almost as if she was actually considering it.
That just made Audrey and Renee laugh harder. When one of the sales assistants passing by gave them a weird look, her gaze lingering on them and the pair of panties they were throwing about, they all quietened down and decided to leave the lingerie store before they got kicked out.
“Lucas?” Sabrina asked, chuckling awkwardly as she avoided making eye contact with either of them as they walked in the direction of another store. “Why would I get lingerie for Lucas?”
Renee was the one to snicker this time. “Because you’re in love with him.” She stated the fact because that’s what it was. A fact.
“It’s so obvious.” Audrey grinned, extremely happy that the tables had turned and now the attention was off her. “Don’t bother trying to deny it. We’ve seen the way you look at him.”
Sabrina frowned deeply as she knew that she couldn’t deny it. “Okay, let’s say that is true. It’s not like he’s interested, anyway.”
“How do you know that?” Audrey frowned as she shared a knowing look with Renee. “Have you tried telling him how you feel?”
“No, but I’m pretty sure he’s not interested in me.”
“Again, you won’t know until you ask him.” Renee insisted.
Sabrina looked like she wanted to say something, but she held herself back.
“What is it?” Audrey asked.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m pretty sure that he’s interested in you.” She murmured quietly, avoiding her friend’s eyes.
“Me?” Audrey sounded, even though she had suspected that Lucas was interested in being more than just friends with her however, she was careful to always avoid it whenever she felt the conversation rising. “He’s only interested because he thinks I’m mysterious and secretive.”
“That’s because you are.”
“Well, I’m not interested and I’m also going out with Joe now, so you should consider making your move.” She shrugged.
Audrey laughed softly as she answered all the questions about the Joe bomb that she had just dropped on them, but she worked hard on convincing Sabrina to at least try shooting her shot. She would never know until she truly confessed her feelings.
For the next hour or so, the girls all split up as they needed to get gifts for the Secret Santa they were doing with their friends. They would exchange the gifts at the office Christmas party and seeing as she had Renee, she didn’t want her to see the gift before she got to open it on the day.
One of the first things that Renee had asked her when they first met was what perfume she had been wearing. While she claimed to have loved it, Audrey was almost sure that Renee hadn’t picked it up for herself so she took advantage of that and thought the perfume would be a perfect gift for her friend. On top of that, she picked out some cute jewellery that fit Renee’s style as well as a few other small things.
A quick glance at the messages on her phone told her that both Sabrina and Renee were still busy, so she used that time to search for presents for Isaac and Claire. Last year she had mailed their gifts to them – and vice versa – just in time for Christmas but this time, she looked forward to actually being there in person as they opened up their presents on Christmas morning, even if it did take having a huge fight with Joe to finally realise that she wanted to go.
Last but not least on her shopping list, was Joe. Her boyfriend.
What was she supposed to get her boyfriend of only a few days for Christmas?
Calvin had always been relatively easy to shop for. When they got married and even during their first Christmas together, she had always bought him something flashy that had a hefty price tag attached to it. One year it was an expensive watch and another, it had been a designer laptop bag for the office. Each year, the presents had gotten bigger and more expensive, and she spent more time saving up for it however, he began to care less and less until he just didn’t care anymore and she was essentially throwing away her money.
But she had very quickly learnt that Joe and Calvin were very different people. Both of them on opposite sides of the spectrum, even.
Audrey was confident that Joe wouldn’t care whatever she got him, as long as it was from the heart.
She couldn’t help but think how different had life had become in the past year or more specifically, in the past month.
Last Christmas had been so traumatic she would never be able to forget it but already, this one was shaping up to be the best Christmas she could ever have hoped for. This year, she would be seeing family and she had a boyfriend to wish Merry Christmas to as soon as it hit midnight, even if she wouldn’t actually be seeing him on the day however, she would rush home a few days after Christmas day and be able to begin the New Year’s in her lover’s arms.
This year couldn’t be any more different than last year.
None of her furniture had arrived. Everything that she had was set to be delivered a few days after New Year’s which meant that she spent Christmas sitting on her mattress which she had dragged into the living room. With nothing but snacks and junk food to get her through the day, she set up an old projector she had recently bought from a thrift store nearby and watched a few black and white movies that the store owner had thrown in for free.
As lovely as it sounded, it was more of a two-person activity and certainly not something she wanted to spend her Christmas day doing.
All she wanted to do was hop into her car and drive back home to Calvin, but Audrey was no masochist.
Not anymore, anyway.
Plus, she had spent the last few weeks stalking his Instagram and Facebook almost as if her life depended on it. While she was stuck in the first apartment she viewed as she desperately needed to get out of the city, alone on Christmas with nothing but bad food and black and white movies to keep her company, Calvin was happy and surrounded by family.
How was that fair?
He hadn’t posted any pictures, but all of his stories consisted of videos with his parents, siblings and nephews. She saw all the food his mum had worked hard to prepare for them and all the presents under the tree when she hadn’t even treated herself to a Christmas dinner.
Despite being very recently divorced, he looked as happy as he could possibly be, certainly happier than he had been while still married to her.
While her apartment wasn’t particularly large, it felt incredibly huge as she slept curled up on her side. After the first movie ended, she put in the second one but fell asleep before the opening scene could even start.
When she woke up, it was only past midday and she was still alone with the rest of the festive day to get through.
As horrid and sorrowful as that memory was, she was determined for this Christmas to be the exact opposite.
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