We’re putting another wonderful little helper in the spotlight today, as mentioned before these wonderful people help out completely selflessly in finding all those missing queries on our Story Locator. We hope you enjoy your gift AmiraMo11, now who’s it from…
Day 6: A Gift for AmiraMo11 from Kinnik
The Christmas Gift
It was a long night at Merlotte’s and once I made it home, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed. I didn’t even have the energy to shower and wash off the smell of beer and greasy food. Sadly, I knew I would be alone. While I drove, I thought over my earlier telephone conversation with Eric.
“Sookie, I came to your home as we had planned, but you were not there. I waited an hour past the time you should have returned from that place you call employment but, obviously, you did not arrive. I do not feel that you are in distress, so what is the reason for your absence?”
“Sorry, Eric, Arlene called in sick and Sam asked me to stay. I meant to call, but we’ve been really busy, and it slipped my mind.”
“The dog could not ask someone else? Why did you agree when you knew I would be waiting?!”
“I just told you! We were busy and I didn’t get a chance to call,” I snapped, a little irritated by his words and attitude.
“Then I am certain you will understand that I must leave unexpectedly on business as well.”
“What? Why? I thought you were staying with me tonight?”
“I thought the same of you. Clearly, we were both mistaken,” he replied in a clipped tone.
”Eric, I’ve barely seen you in the last few weeks.”
“Whose fault is that? As I said, I did arrive, but you did not.”
“So, let me get this straight, because I didn’t come home on time, you left, and now you’re leavin’ town and I won’t see you again until… Who knows when? Are you at least coming over to say goodbye?”
“I cannot. I had to leave immediately.”
“You’re already gone? Christmas is in a few days. Will you be back?”
“Sookie, please understand, it is not that I wanted to leave. I have no choice.”
“I know, I know. You have responsibilities. Area Five comes first. It always comes first,” I sighed, already tired of having the same conversation again.
“You know that is not true. It is for your safety as well.”
“Why? I thought everything… Never mind.”
“I will return as soon as I am able.”
“Fine! I’ll see you whenever you get back. I gotta go!” I spat.
“Thank you for understanding.”
“I don’t, Eric, but there’s nothing I can do about it!” I practically shouted before hanging up the phone.
I swallowed the lump in my throat, blinked back my tears of frustration, and walked back into the bar to take care of my customers.
I had hung up before I started crying, but my tears flowed freely during the drive home. Guilt weighed heavily on my mind and heart. Eric was right. He had made the effort to see me, and I hadn’t even bothered to call. It didn’t sound as if it would have made a difference in the end since he had to leave anyway, but I should have told Sam I couldn’t stay, knowing that we had plans. At least I would have seen him, however briefly. We had so little time together as something always seemed to come up, usually ‘vampire business.’ In all fairness, I had tried to call him back after I left work to apologize for the way I had left things, but the call went straight to voicemail.
It was hard enough that this would be the first Christmas without Gran, now I might not even see my boyfriend. It was a depressing thought. At least Jason would be around. We had planned on spending the day together anyway.
When I arrived home, I entered through the back door as usual and flipped on the light. There, in the center of my kitchen table, was a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a small, red box, beautifully wrapped. Underneath was a note that said, ‘Lover, do not open until Christmas. I want to be with you when you do. – E.’ Guilt flooded through me once more while I ran my fingers over the small gift.
Sighing, I went into the living room and placed the gift under the Christmas tree with all the others I had already purchased for Eric, Jason, and my friends. The lights on the tree twinkled and reflected off the metallic, red wrapping paper of the small box. I looked at it and smiled, then trudged upstairs to change into my pajamas before crawling into bed and falling into a deep sleep.
The next morning, I awoke to the sound of someone pounding on my front door. I pulled on a robe and ran downstairs, but when I looked out the window, there was no one there. The sight of something on the porch caught my eye and I opened the door to see a large, brown box waiting for me. Whoever it was must have dropped it off and left.
I looked at the top of the box and noticed there was no label, just my name. I picked up the parcel, carried it to the kitchen, and set it on the table. Although curious, I was still dragging my feet, so I made some coffee, then grabbed a pair of scissors to open the box.
Inside was another box. It was white with a large, red bow tied around it. A note was tied to the ribbon that simply said, ‘Open me immediately. I don’t want to live under the tree.’ A smile crept on my face when I thought of Eric sending me an early Christmas gift, despite our brief disagreement the night before. He really was sweeter than I usually gave him credit for.
I briefly wondered who left it, but brushed the thought away once I realized it was more than likely Bobby Burnham, Eric’s day man. I was not surprised he had left. There was no love lost between us, and seeing him first thing in the morning would not have started my day on a positive note, no matter what he was giving me. Not to mention, he would have been irritated himself at having to do such a trivial task.
I untied the ribbon and lifted the lid. Inside was a doll that looked like an elf. Along with it were instructions on what to do with it. It appeared to be something usually given to children some time before Christmas. It was a silly gift, yet no less endearing to me than anything else I would have received from Eric.
The instructions said to name the elf and once you did, he would be imbued with Christmas magic enabling him to fly to the North Pole each night and report to Santa whether you were naughty or nice. The elf was to be placed on a shelf and if touched after that, he would begin to lose his magic and become sick. Therefore, it was stressed not to touch the elf after you initially set him down.
I thought about how much fun it would be for a little kid seeing the elf each day, knowing they had to be on their best behavior. I could picture parents moving the elf from place to place, giving the indication that he had, indeed, flown away the night before to perform his duties and caused mischief.
I looked at my elf. He had blonde hair and blue eyes with a small smile on his face. I decided to name him ‘Sheriff.’ After all, he was supposed to be policing my behavior for Santa. I giggled a little as I thought of that and carried him into the living room. I looked around for an appropriate, prominent place for my new friend Sheriff, finally deciding to put him on the left side of the mantle.
The rest of my day continued as it had the day before. I cleaned the house and had a late breakfast, then went to work the lunch shift with an added bonus of working until closing because Arlene was still sick. I attempted to call Eric during each break I had to thank him for Sheriff and my flowers, not to mention the other gift, but I was always greeted with his voicemail. I only left one message asking him to call me later after I got home from work.
By the time I arrived at my house, there was still no call from Eric. He never said why he had to leave town, but I assumed whatever it was, he was busy and probably up to his neck in political problems.
As I passed by the living room, I glanced over and admired the little, shiny red box and my heart fluttered, wondering what was inside. The thought that he wanted to be with me when I opened it gave me a warm feeling of hope that he would return by Christmas. I walked over and picked it up again, running my fingers over the paper before placing it back under the tree.
The next morning after going through my typical routine, I got ready for work. When I went to leave the house, I realized my keys were not where I usually left them on the counter by the back door. I had been exhausted when I arrived the night before, so it was possible I hadn’t left them where I normally would. I tried to replay the night in my head, looking all around while I repeated my steps. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I checked upstairs, even checking the pockets of the clothes I had worn.
Then I remembered that I had stopped in the living room to kneel in front of the tree, so I raced down to check all around the floor. Unfortunately, they weren’t there. As I stood and turned to check the kitchen again, I stopped. Something was different. I turned back around and looked at the mantle. Sheriff was now sitting on the right side of the mantle. I stood there staring for a few minutes. I could have sworn I placed him on the left, but apparently not. “You’re losing it, Sookie,” I thought to myself. I returned to the kitchen and leaned against the counter. I still had time before I needed to leave, but I was aggravated with my carelessness at my over-exhausted state the night before.
I decided to have a glass of juice and opened the cabinet. There inside, on the shelf, were my keys. With a relieved sigh, I pulled them out and shook my head again. I didn’t remember going in to the cabinet for any reason since I had gone straight to bed the night before, but, as it was, I needed to leave, so I put the thought out of my head. I was really running myself ragged with the extra hours. It wasn’t that I couldn’t use the money, but I had another double shift to look forward to, so I sent up a silent prayer that Arlene would be better soon.
After another exhausting night and still no messages from Eric, I went home, making certain that my keys were placed on the counter next to the backdoor. I didn’t want a repeat of what had happened that morning. Dragging myself up to my room, I decided to take a shower before crashing into bed. The pajamas I had been wearing the last two nights were beginning to smell a little too much like Merlotte’s, so I tossed them into the hamper and grabbed clean flannel pants and a t-shirt.
Each morning was on repeat, knowing the next day I would be working a double shift. It was getting to be too much, and I was frustrated and sad to see there were no missed messages from Eric, yet again. Was he really that angry with me? He couldn’t have been if he sent me an early Christmas present, right? Unless, of course, it was already arranged before he left.
After brushing my teeth, I went to my closet and pulled out my work clothes. When I closed the closet door, I turned and saw my dirty pajamas draped across the chair in the room. Although the chair was near the hamper, I really thought I had put them in it. Jeez, the nights were really getting to me! I walked over and placed the dirty clothes back in the hamper, then dressed and went downstairs. I glanced in the living room when I passed it and noticed that Sheriff was once again on the left side of the mantle. What really caught me off guard, however, was that his face looked different. His smile looked to be more of a mischievous smirk than the soft smile he’d had before. I rubbed my eyes and looked again to see the soft smile he always wore. “I must be losing my mind,” I said to myself. I rolled my eyes at my mind playing tricks on me and left for work.
To my great relief, that night Sam told me that Arlene would return the next day, and not only did I not have to work a double the following day, I could have the day off for putting in so many extra hours. He would find someone to cover my shift. I began to protest, but thinking about how my mind had been drifting so much, I decided that a day off would be perfect. I had grocery shopping to do as I had agreed to bake several pies for our church’s Christmas potluck.
The next morning, I slept in and awoke feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I wouldn’t have to return to work until the day after Christmas. I invited Jason over to help me make and store the pies to drop off Christmas Eve, which was the next day. I knew his help would consist of him tasting the fillings and basically watching while I baked, but it would be nice to have the company. I had already planned to make them around my work schedule and finish the morning of Christmas Eve, but having the day off made everything so much easier.
I spent over an hour in the grocery store, gathering everything I would need to make a dozen pies of various types and headed to the checkout line. My basket was full, and there was a long line since many people were shopping for their holiday parties. After finally making my way through the line, I opened my purse and reached in only to find my wallet was missing. Panicking because I was holding up the line, I dug through my purse to no avail.
Embarrassed, I began to apologize profusely, and turned to unload the bags that were already packed, assuring the cashier that I would return everything to their rightful places in the store. When I was just beginning to unload the first bag, the store manager, an older gentleman I recognized from church, arrived at the register and placed his hand on my arm gently. He insisted that I could put the groceries on credit if I returned the next day to pay for them. He had been a friend of Gran’s and knew I was trustworthy.
With a great sigh of relief and a very big hug for him, I thanked him repeatedly and promised that either Jason or I would return with the money. I knew I would have to ask Jason if I still couldn’t find my wallet at home. When I arrived at the house, I saw his truck outside and was grateful I had someone to help me carry in all the bags. The first thing I noticed was my wallet sitting on the counter by the door, and I growled in frustration that I had left it there. I shook my head at Jason without explaining my scattered brain and roughly shoved my wallet back into my purse, knowing I would need to return to the store and pay for my groceries.
We spent the afternoon baking, well, I baked, and talking about past Christmases when we were kids. The memories were bittersweet since we knew Gran wouldn’t be with us. We made several different varieties, Gran’s pecan, apple cinnamon, chocolate cream, lemon meringue, peach, and Jason’s favorite, cherry. All told, I was able to make a dozen, and he promised to come over and help me take everything to the church the next morning.
After making dinner for the two of us, we sat in the living room with a fire to warm us and relaxed while looking at the tree. He asked me about Sheriff since he didn’t remember it from past Christmases, and I explained where I got him and the story of his trips to the North Pole.
“So, then, I hope you’ve been a good girl, Sook,” he teased.
“Yes, and I guess it’s a good thing you don’t live here, or you would be getting a bad report, I’m sure,” I teased as he playfully shoved me in the shoulder.
At that moment, Sheriff fell off the mantle, startling us both.
“I guess he agrees with me,” I joked.
I stood and went to retrieve Sheriff, and when I picked him up, I looked at his face and saw what looked like almost an evil grin on it! I squealed, dropping him as quickly as if he had burned me. Jason was at my side in an instant, asking what was wrong.
“His face,” was all I could say.
“What’s wrong with it?” Jason asked, picking up the doll.
I was afraid to look again, but forced myself, squinting my eyes and flinching, the same as I would if I watched a horror movie and was afraid of what I might see. Much to my shock, he looked normal, with the same smile he had when I first removed him from the box.
I told Jason that I was overtired, just to explain what I had been seeing, not to mention the fact that I had been misplacing so many things lately. He laughed and teased me about my imagination running wild, and the fact that I was freaking out over a doll. He made me feel better and soon I was laughing at myself, too. He told me to go to bed and get some rest. He said he would go to the store and pay my bill, then promised to return the next morning to help me with the pies. I gave him the money and thanked him for coming over before I headed off to bed.
As I lay down, I thought over everything that had happened in the last few days and decided that Jason was right. My mind was overloaded and I truly needed rest. I tried Eric one more time and when I still couldn’t reach him, I decided I would call Pam the next night and make sure everything was OK. I drifted off to sleep with Eric on my mind, missing him terribly.
When I awoke the next morning, I saw I had a message from Eric, finally. His voice sounded strained as he informed me that he would be coming home as soon as he rose. I was a little concerned by the tone of his voice, but filled with relief and happiness that I would be seeing him soon.
I showered, dressed, and made my way to the kitchen for some coffee and breakfast. Jason would be arriving soon, so I decided to make a large breakfast for the two of us. While everything was cooking, I started packing up the desserts we would be taking with us and noticed there were only eleven pies. I looked all around and recounted several times, as if eleven was a large number, but finally realized one of the cherry pies was missing. With a frustrated groan, I finished breakfast just in time as Jason walked through the door with a big smile on his face. I, on the other hand, was not as happy since I knew he had taken his favorite home with him and I told him so.
“Sook, I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about. I didn’t take anything with me. Are you sure you’ve counted them all? We had them sittin’ all around in here to cool.”
“Yes, Jason, I’m quite sure I can count to twelve and there are eleven here!” I shouted.
“OK. OK,” he said, holding up his hands palms out, “I don’t know what happened, Sis, but I promise you, I didn’t take anything with me last night. Maybe you miscounted when you were making ‘em yesterday?”
“Maybe,” I conceded.
Then I started to cry. Jason, loving brother that he was, came over to me and pulled me into his arms.
“I don’t know what’s the matter with me, Jason,” I sniffled, “I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
“I think you’re just stressed out. I mean, Christmas will be different this year, you’ve been working like crazy, and you’re missing your man.”
He hugged me tight until I calmed down and finally, we sat down to eat. When we finished, I cleaned up the kitchen and went upstairs to fix my makeup and my puffy eyes while Jason loaded up my car with the pies.
“Hey, Sook,” Jason called from downstairs.
“I think you need to get down here.”
Hearing the confused tone of his voice, I returned to the kitchen, then followed him outside. I looked at him as he pointed to the inside of the car.
“A dozen,” was all he said.
“Look. There’s a dozen of them. I told you I didn’t take anything.”
My shoulders slumped while I apologized to him and hugged him again. We were ready to leave and I was all too happy to be getting out of the house for a bit.
We took everything to the church, and they were more than grateful for our efforts. We spent the rest of the morning and some of the afternoon there helping them get ready for the evening potluck, but we weren’t staying for it. After we returned to the farmhouse, Jason said he needed to go, but he would be back the next day to celebrate Christmas with me and our friends.
I hugged and thanked him again before he drove off in his truck. Entering the house, I went up to my room and showered. I wasn’t sure how far away Eric had gone, but I hoped he would be there shortly after sunset. I was really missing him and needed the comfort of his arms to let me know everything was all right and I wasn’t crazy. I wanted to look nice, but I also wanted to be comfortable, so I pulled on a red sweater dress that hung just above my knees, black tights, and black flats.
The sun had just set when I returned downstairs and I heard my cell phone ringing. When I heard Eric on the other end, he sounded out of breath, which was impossible for a vampire.
“Sookie, where are you?”
“I’m at home. What time will you be here?”
“OK. I was just going to make dinner.”
“Stay there,” he said in a serious tone.
“So, you’ll be here soon?”
“Do not leave.”
“Eric, you’re scaring me. What’s the matter?”
“I will see you soon.”
Then he hung up. Now I was really starting to worry. It had been a long time since I heard that tone from Eric. The last time I was in danger of some sort, but where could the threat be coming from? As far as I knew, all our enemies were no more and those in power who remained were allies. My stomach turned into knots, and my appetite disappeared while I sat on the sofa, bouncing my leg up and down nervously and staring at the tree. Then I saw it or rather, didn’t see it. My box, my gift from Eric, was gone! I dropped to my knees and practically crawled under the tree looking for the little box, but it was gone and I felt my eyes well up. Where was it?
Fifteen minutes later, Eric burst through the door, his eyes wildly looking around the room until he saw me on the floor. He was instantly in front of me, pulling me up into his embrace.
“Are you OK, lover?” he asked, checking me over.
“It’s gone!” I cried.
“What happened? What’s gone?” he asked in a panic.
“The box, your gift… I don’t know what happened. I don’t know where it is.”
“Sookie, that doesn’t matter. I will buy you a thousand gifts. The only thing that matters is you,” he soothed me while stroking my hair.
“I’m fine. I’ve just missed you so much.”
He kissed my forehead, then wiped the tears from my eyes with his thumbs before leaning down and kissing me tenderly on the mouth. He pulled back to look at me and we smiled at each other. Then I felt him stiffen in my arms and his eyes darkened as a look of anger flashed across his face.
Before I knew what was happening, he was at the mantle with Sheriff in his hands and screaming at it!
“What is he doing here!?”
I watched in complete confusion.
“Eric, what are you talking about? That’s the gift you sent to me.”
“I didn’t send him,” he ground out forcefully, never taking his eyes off the doll.
I stepped closer to him and started to touch his shoulder. Perhaps the last few days had been as hard on him as they had on me. He seemed to be losing it as much as I had over the last few days, which was a very scary thought in regard to a thousand-year-old vampire.
“Why are you watching her!?”
I was completely flabbergasted by his behavior. Then, as I watched, the ‘doll’ came to life with a maniacal giggle and looked straight at me. I stepped back in horror, unable to process that this thing had been in my house with me for days!
I watched as Eric squeezed Sheriff’s little throat, still shouting at him.
“Tell me who sent you!! Why are you here?!”
Sheriff’s eyes turned back to Eric.
“That’s for me to know, and you to find out,” he said with a grin on his tiny, yet, now frightening, face.
The elf raised his hand, and before Eric could do anything, he snapped his fingers and disappeared.
My knees went weak and I felt myself start to fall but, before I could hit the floor, strong arms caught me and cradled me to his chest.
“Eric, what the…”
“Shh…everything’s all right now. It’s gone,” he said softly while stroking my hair.
“What was that thing?”
“One of the Elven.”
“What? Oh my God, it’s been here in this house with me all week.”
“Do not worry. He will not return now that he has been discovered.”
“What did he want?”
“I am unsure, but I believe information.”
“It appears there may be another war coming. The Elven are enemy to the Fairies.”
“Well, isn’t that a Merry Fucking Christmas!” I shouted, throwing my arms up into the air.
Eric stilled for a moment, looking at me. Then his lips twitched and curled up into a smirk, then a smile. He pulled me to him and kissed me deeply. For a moment, I forgot my exasperation.
“Merry Fucking Christmas, Sookie,” he whispered in my ear.
The moment was so ridiculous, I had to laugh, and he joined me. Whatever this new threat was, whatever it meant, I knew he would be with me, and we would face it together.
*Special thanks to Kinnik for gifting this story! Leave Your Comments and Likes as you always would, they will end up with Kinnik!
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