I woke up too early the next morning, to a persistent banging on my door.
I groaned as I got up, moving to answer it.
Bea, with an overflowing box of something in her arms and an elf hat on her head.
She walked in, looking around with distaste.
“You have no spirit, Kat! It’s Christmas morning, and you haven’t even decorated anything!”
“It’s a waste of time and money, if you ask me.” I yawned, “And I’m not even religious, Bea.”
“I’m not either!” she replied, “But at least I know how to live a little! Sheesh!”
Bea went about putting the box down on the ground, turning back to haul in a small plastic tree that reached about as high as my waist.
“What is that?” I asked quickly, pointing at it as if it was some kind of bug.
“It’s your new tree!” she said happily, dragging it into one of the few free spaces in my apartment, “And we’re going to decorate it!”
I looked at her incredulously.
“Bea, when I said my apartment was a dump I didn’t mean you could bring trash in here.”
She sighed in exasperation and started to go about pulling tinsel from the box, stringing it lovingly around the tree’s plastic limbs.
Eventually I got tired of watching and joined in half-heartedly, amazed at the sheer variety of ornaments that I found in the box.
“Do you even have any to decorate your own tree with?” I asked, hoping she would take them all back home with her.
“Of course I do. I dug these out of my closet from last year.”
So I was getting seconds. Should have guessed.
“If I find any squirrels in this thing, Bea, bad things will happen.”
She looked at me with annoyance and continued what she was doing. I sighed and got up to fix us both some breakfast.
“There! It’s perfect!”
I looked at the squat little display of seasonal commercialism and shrugged.
“Depends on your definition of ‘perfect’.”
Bea glared at me and then, reaching into the bottom of the box, handed me a gift-wrapped cylinder.
“Here’s my present! Open it!”
I sat down cross-legged in front of her, carefully undoing the tape that held the paper on.
“Kat, you’re supposed to rip the paper!”
“I don’t like doing that.” I replied, continuing to carefully unwrap the gift, “And this way I can reuse it.”
Beatrice muttered something about me being a cheapo but I ignored it, holding up my gift. It was a small vial of amber liquid.
“What is this?” I asked, “Poison to use when I get on the phone with you?”
She rolled her eyes.
“It’s rose oil. One of the greatest fragrances of all time.”
“Are you saying I stink?” I asked, studying the bottle.
“No, silly,” she started, her voice dropping to a hushed tone, “It’s an aphrodisiac.”
I sighed, putting it on a table.
“Well it couldn’t have been cheap. I appreciate it. I think.”
I handed Bea her present and she pulled it out of the bag excitedly, squealing when she found a makeup kit.
“Let’s open our other presents too!” she said jubilantly, dragging her bag towards her.
She sped through hers, winking at me when she found the lacy black negligee that Alain had bought her. I opened my gifts at a much slower pace, seeing as there weren’t many to begin with.
Gift card. Gift card. Gift basket. Gift card.
Eventually I got to Sutton’s, looking at the small rectangular box suspiciously.
“Open it!” Bea squealed, “It’s probably something amazing!”
“It’s probably a knife to stab him with.” I replied dryly, setting about peeling away the deep blue paper.
My heart leapt into my throat when I saw that the box was a teal colour. A few seconds later my doubts had been confirmed.
Embossed into the soft case were the silver letters spelling Tiffany & Co.
Bea was screaming and jumping around madly, but I managed to open it, feeling as if I was dissecting some rare butterfly.
My eyes swept over the necklace slowly, taking in the twinkling white diamonds and the spectacular ruby set in the middle of them. Only after Bea had screeched fifty times for me to put it on did I actually unhook the clasp, closing it cautiously around my neck.
It looked like a piece of art against my pale skin, catching the light in its perfect facets.
“What did you get him?” Bea asked, still hopping around madly.
“A copy of Pride and Prejudice.”
She stared at me incredulously.
“You got him a book?”
“It was a hardcover, Bea, one of those nice looking ones. It wasn’t exactly cheap.”
"You got your rich, hot boyfriend an old, romance book?!"
"What should I have gotten him, then?" I asked, narrowing my eyes.
She rubbed her chin in thought.
"You could have put yourself in a box, and wrapped ribbons around yourself. A lot of guys have things for ribbons, you know."
I glared at her.
"Bea, I can't exactly hand him a box with me in it."
"Oh..." she replied, "Right. Quick, wrap yourself up and I'll drop you off on his front lawn."
I threw a plastic ornament at her head and she dodged it, laughing.
"Fine, fine. But I'm telling you, you need to learn to choose better presents."