It took a week just to get the press off the lawn. I had decided to do my Christmas shopping through Amazon so that I didn't have to worry about fighting crowds. Pretty much everyone was easy to shop for except one person.
I couldn't think of a single thing to get her. At first I thought about clothes but my mom had already done that. Then I thought of jewelry but I didn't know if she liked jewelry. Movies? No. Music? Mom also got her every Imagine Dragons CD. Perfume? Uncles Max and John beat me to it.
I sighed and went downstairs. It was breakfast time and it smelled like Deidre was making French toast again. She seemed to have perfected that dish. She was humming and tapping her foot with her back facing me. I leaned against the wall and watched her with a smile on my face. She was in her usual flannel pajama pants and tank top. After what happened with her father, she started wearing bras to bed. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she yawned a little.
"Are you going to keep staring at me or come make the scrambled eggs?"
I laughed and walked over. I put my arms around her middle and kissed her shoulder. She tilted her head and kissed my jaw.
"How did you know I was here?" I asked, getting the eggs out.
"I'm psychic," she said, flipping the sausages.
I laughed. "Do you have work today?"
"Nope. It's Monday."
"Do you want to go Christmas shopping?"
Please say yes!
She looked nervous. "Is it safe? I know they're off the lawn but...."
I waved my hand and said, "It should be fine. So? What do you say?"
"Sure. I need to find something for my mom anyway."
"Is she the last person on your list?"
She nodded. "Your mom showed me how to use that Amazon website so I've been taking advantage of that."
"I just got done doing the exact same thing," I laughed.
"So everyone's taken care of?"
"For the most part, yeah."
Our moms came down shortly after. Janine was fitting in really well with the marketing department. According to my mom, she was very talented and she couldn't understand why no one had snatched her up yet. We had a hurried breakfast. The roads were still icy and my mom stole the keys to the truck. I didn't mind. I was used to driving on ice.
After cleaning up for her, I went to get dressed. I went with my usual blue jeans and a black long sleeved button up shirt. Today, though, I put on a pair of my boots. It was still snowing and sneakers were not an option.
Deidre came out looking as gorgeous as ever and I couldn't resist giving her a quick kiss.
"I learned how to put on makeup," she said proudly and I followed her into the bathroom.
I watched as she did her eyeliner meticulously. She had her lower lip sucked in between her teeth but she had a steady hand.
"Perfect," I complimented. "You ready?"
She nodded and we grabbed our phones and jackets before going out into the cold. Christmas music was playing on every station. I wasn't too surprised; Christmas was in just three weeks after all. She hummed with the songs and I was glad she was in a good mood even after being harassed all week.
"They're vultures," she said wearily as we pulled into a mall parking space. "How did they know we'd be here today?"
"They guessed," I answered and opened the door for her. "We were a little predictable today, though."
She laughed. We crossed the parking lot carefully to avoid ice and held hands. As soon as we were on the sidewalk, they all ran towards us like ants on a Popsicle stick. It seemed like Deidre was getting better at ignoring them. They couldn't follow us inside for which I was grateful. That didn't stop people from snapping pictures on their phones, though.
We started off window shopping. Deidre was tossing up ideas from a purse all the way to a camera.
"Well, you know what they say: buy what you would like. That way, if they don't like it, you get to keep it." She laughed and I cleared my throat. "So, if you were to go by that philosophy, what would you get her?"
She thought for a while.
"I don't really know.... I guess a necklace."
"I didn't know you liked jewelry."
She laughed again. "What woman doesn't?"
"You don't mention it much."
"I never had the money for jewelry; even costume jewelry. Besides, you don't really see a lot when the only places you go are work and a van."
I dragged her to Tiffany's. "Well, let's show you what real jewelry looks like."
"Oh wow," she breathed, looking around the store. "Everything sparkles!"
I smiled and showed her where the necklaces were. She bent over the display case and I found myself watching her again. I loved seeing the look in her eyes when she discovered something new. And when she smiled over something she thought was gorgeous. I was caught up in her eyes when she gasped.
"Look at this one, Artemis," she breathed.
It was a gold chain with an emerald leaf about the size of a quarter. It was outlined by a row of rubies. I glanced at the price and was surprised. It was only $199.99. The woman behind the counter saw us looking.
"It's just been marked down," she said smoothly.
"Would your mom like it?" I asked and she shook her head.
"She's not big into that kind of stuff. I just thought it was beautiful."
The saleswoman looked annoyed as Deidre wandered further down the case. I nodded at the saleswoman and she smiled smugly, taking the necklace out and putting it into a box. While Deidre was still distracted, I quickly passed my card over.
"How about this one?" Deidre called and I stood beside her. "She really likes simple stuff." Simple it was: just a chocolate diamond necklace and earring set. "She's- Oh." Her face fell when she saw the price tag. "I don't have that much money left over."
"I'll help you," I said and she blushed.
"You don't have to. I'm sure I can find something else."
I kissed her cheek. "Let me help, please."
"Okay," she said in a small voice.
Another salesperson helped her and the woman helping me discreetly passed over the box and my card. I slid them both into my pocket, thankful they were deep enough. As we left, Deidre stopped by where the necklace had been. She pouted.
"I guess I'm not the only one who saw it."
I chuckled and put my arm around her waist. She leaned into me.
"You hungry?" I asked as we passed by the food court.
She looked at the different restaurants available.
"I've always wanted to try Taco Bell," she nodded.
I felt a pang of pity but did my best to hide it from her. She hated that look so I took her over.
"What's good here?" she asked.
"I like their burritos," I answered. "Mom is addicted to their Mexican pizzas, though."
The line moved forward and soon we were at the counter. She sufficed with two tacos and a bean burrito and I got two burritos. We waited then found a small table. We sat down and the people at the table beside us started taking pictures.
"You've got something falling out of your pocket," she said, nodding at it.
Shit. "Oh, it's just my phone."
I stretched my leg out to push the box back down. Before I could sit back up straight, Deidre locked my leg between her knees, a smirk on her face. I tossed the rolled up burrito wrapper at her and she laughed.
"Who's the turd now?" I teased.