Free Fiction: Third Time’s The Charm

Writing Prompt from Mama Kat’s Losin’ It: Best or worst gift you ever gave.


lv9zvdvb2jie8George sighed as he stared at the Christmas tree. He loved Christmas, but he absolutely sucked at gift-giving. His mother could always find the perfect gift for someone, but he somehow didn’t get that gene during the genetic drawing when he was created.

This was his third Christmas with Trina, and she made it perfectly clear that he sucked at gift-giving, as if he didn’t know this already. Last night, after Christmas Eve service, she kissed him and said, “You better get it right this year, or you’ll pay.”

He smiled and said, “I’ll try.”

The truth was, he tried every year.

Their first Christmas together, they had only been dating a couple months, so he was at a complete loss for what to do, so he got her a Victoria’s Secret gift card. Turns out that was the wrong answer. She read way more into it than he intended, and he was in the doghouse until New Year’s Eve.

The following year, he opted to get something practical, something she needed. That way she couldn’t argue with him. The logic was sound, he thought, at least. She was none too pleased when he replaced the four bald tires on her car with new ones. “It’s not safe to drive around like you were,” he insisted. “I was thinking of you.” She shook her head and things were awkward for them until Valentine’s Day—which is about how long it took him to pay off those damn tires.

This year, though, he had lessons learned in his back pocket, and explicit instruction from her. “I don’t want something practical, I don’t want a gift card. I want something pretty. I want something exciting. I want something to make this Christmas better than any other Christmas that came before it.”

He heard a light rap on his door, and he ran to the door and opened it, to find Trina standing on the porch in a Mrs. Claus dress that about made his jaw drop. She was beyond gorgeous on a normal day, with her hair that was just a touch lighter than strawberry blond, the prettiest green eyes, and the cutest patch of freckles that appeared under those eyes in the sun. She hated those freckles, but he loved them—however, it being winter, he wouldn’t see them again until spring.

She held a box wrapped in shiny blue wrapping paper and covered with a silver bow. He smiled at her and let her in.

She handed him the box, and then took off her jacket. “Here, you can go first.” Great, he thought. Make me feel like an ass because you got me the perfect present.

He opened the box and inside he found tickets to the next Bengals game. “Fifty yard line,” he asked, his eyes wide from the shock of what lay before him.

“Yep, I had to pull a few strings, but I got you the best seats possible. And, even better, you don’t even have to take me. You can take that idiot friend of yours.”

“But what if I want to take you?” He kissed her cheek.

“Let me rephrase, take that idiot friend of yours.” He laughed.

“All right, I get it.”

She sat down in the chair she had claimed for hers years ago. It was pretty old, but it was well broken in and she said she loved the way she sank down into it. She turned sideways and placed her gorgeous long legs over the armrest.

“Oh, I suppose you want something now, don’t you?” He winked at her. “I don’t know, it’s going to be hard to top this.”

“I’m used to disappointment,” she said with a laugh. That stung. She meant it playfully, he knew this, but it still hurt a little bit.

He ran out into the garage and to the neighbor’s house. He picked up the puppy, checked the collar to make sure everything was in place, and ran back to his place. He opened the door, and let the puppy run to her in the chair.

“Oh, how cute. What’s your name little fella?”

“Look at his tags,” George said with a shrug.

“E. Loper,” she read, clearly not getting his name. “This is great, and he’s adorable, but you know I can’t have pets in my apartment, right?” She ran her hands through his soft fur and let him lick her face with warm puppy kisses.

“I do know that,” George admitted. He dropped down to one knee in front of her, and flipped the dog’s collar around so she could see the diamond ring that hung from a clip that she’d apparently missed. “I was thinking you could move in here with me and Mr. Loper. For good.”

A huge smile broke across her face, and she kissed him.

“Look at that, you finally got one right.”

“Third time’s the charm, sweetheart,” he said as he freed the ring from the clip and slipped it on her finger.

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