The Best Bad Christmas Gift
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Genre Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Tags Christmas, gifts, romance, comedy, Vermont, handcuffs, short story, chick lit
Release December 13, 2013
Editor Marni McNiff
No. Really. You shouldn’t have. Again. Last year, Susan Wells’ best friend buys her a date with a hunk. Now Susan and the gorgeous Doctor Roger Lane are in a relationship, but Terri decides they need to spice things up by re-enacting a popular erotica novel. The gift that keeps on giving? When Susan receives handcuffs from her best friend, meant to spice up her love life, she gets so much more. Embarrassment, Joy. Love.
“Terri, you shouldn’t have,” Susan’s eyes grew wide as she held the Christmas gift from her best friend away from her, using the tips of her fingers as if holding an Ebola swab. “Really. Candlesticks are better. Candlesticks are a great gift. I wouldn’t mind more candlesticks”
“Candlesticks were so two years ago. Last year I bought you your man. Consider this an add-on,” Terri said.
Susan recalled her shocked reaction when Terri purchased the most eligible single doctor in town for her at the Bachelor charity auction over a year ago at a benefit for the local hospital. That purchase lead to what could be dubbed “the best bad date ever,” which lead where Susan was today, seven months into a warm, loving relationship with someone who cherished and respected her. It was a surprising gift, but in a good way.
This gift was also shocking, but in a slightly different way.
“I’ve thanked you a hundred times for Roger, but I’m not sure about this,” Susan said, still holding the handcuffs an arm’s length away as if hoping they would disappear on their own accord. “Why would I want handcuffs?”
“Aren’t you reading those books? Handcuffs are essential in bondage play,” Terri replied.
Susan didn’t need to ask what books Terri was referring to. Everyone in the country seemed to be talking about the surprise best selling erotica series that kept women up late reading on their tablets and kept their husbands up late for other reasons thereafter. Well, everyone, except Susan.
Susan shook her hand slightly and watched the metal dance jump lightly in the air.
“Isn’t this a bit dangerous?” There were dozens of questions in Susan’s brain, but she chose the obvious one.
Terri rolled her eyes as if she was dealing with a small child or small-brained adult. “Silly, don’t you have a safe word? Frank’s and mine is ‘diapers’. God only knows there is no way I am changing another diaper! Hannah had the most explosive craps as a child! They’d shoot all the way up her back into her hair. And she’d do that on the hour for a while there. I was going through those disposable rubber clothes like a gynecologist.”
Susan worked hard to remove the visual from her mind. “Um, I mean with Roger’s son in the house. What if Colin finds them and gets locked on something?”
Another eye roll. “Don’t you have a safe place for those things? You’re not using your nightstand drawer, are you? Most obvious place to look. Hell, robbers even would go straight there. And the box in the upper corner of your closet for the gun and the back corner of your lingerie drawer for the expensive jewelry. “
Susan made a mental note to hide her great aunt’s jewelry somewhere else.
Still at arm’s length, she shook the handcuffs slightly and watched them bounce. The longer she held them, the less scary they seemed, but as an art teacher, she preferred to be surrounded by beautiful sights, and textures and sounds. Handcuffs were cold steel. They looked like a torture device, which she supposed they were.
A thought occurred. Her BFF worked for the District Attorney. She wouldn’t have, would she?
“These aren’t actual police handcuffs, are they? Oh for the love of God, you didn’t get me actual police handcuffs?” Susan asked, her voice rising above its usual soft gentle tones.
Terri laughed. “As if Saint Albans’ finest would use pink handcuffs! No, Sweetie! I had to drive to Montreal for these!”
Physical repulsion roiled through Susan as she clutched her abdomen with her free hand and collapsed onto a chair. “You crossed national borders to buy me a sex toy?” She noticed the lack of packaging. “Oh my gosh, are they used?” Lord knew what sort of horrors may already have happened with these handcuffs.
Terri noticed her friend’s dismay. “Shit, you think I’d give you used handcuffs? What type of girl do you think I am?”
Susan gave Terri her most intense stare.
Terri let out a small, strained laugh. “Right. I guess we’ve known each other a while, haven’t we?”
Overwhelmed at the implications of any set of handcuffs, pink or otherwise, Susan’s body sagged under the weight of it all. “Oh no,” she said, her shoulders slumping and her head shaking with each syllable. “No, no, no, no, no. No. Oh Terri, really?”
Terri’s puppy-like enthusiasm kept nodding her head. “Oh yes, yes, yes, Susan. I figured the honeymoon would be over by now and you two might need to spice things up.”
Susan thought of Roger’s strong slender surgeon fingers tracing her naked torso on his high thread count sheets.
“Oh, we’re good. We’re more than good. We’re fine.” Susan reached her arm out and tried to give the gift back to its giver. “You can have it back now. Wait a year – or two or three. We’re just fine. More than fine. Really good in fact. No need for this.”
Not catching the hint, Terri moved her open palm to block any possible attempt of Susan’s to return the handcuffs. “Nope. You’ll thank me. Just try them. They’re not returnable. I’m not driving back up there for a refund. “You couldn’t just mail order these?” Susan asked.
Terri shook her head as if schooling an apprentice. “And have the entire postal service and the Internet know what I’m shopping for? In person and cash. That’s the way to do it. Sunglasses, a hat and wig help too.”