“The Best Christmas Present Ever” #fiction #holidayshortfiction

*Christmas-flavored fiction*

“Do you understand me? You can not be with him. Give yourself the best Christmas present ever and run – as fast as you can.”

*Warning – this fiction speaks to abuse*

“You need to stop embarrassing me like that in front of my friends. Do you understand?” Dex whispered in my ear as if English was not my first language.

He held me so tightly on the dance floor that I could barely breathe. The smile plastered on his face almost hid just how angry he really was. I had no energy left to fight.

“All you had to do was agree with what I said. You made me look like an idiot.”

“All I did was offer my opinion.”

“Well, no one was interested in your opinion. Stop looking so sour and put a smile on your face.”

We fell silent as we danced to the Christmas medley of songs that the band was playing. I wished for the songs to never end because the sooner the songs were over meant the sooner we would return to the table and finish dinner with Laura and Mike. And the sooner dinner was over meant the sooner I would pay for my invisible crimes when Dex and I left the restaurant.

The band announced that they were taking a break and we returned to the table.

“I was just telling Laura how stunning you are, Delaney. And intelligent too. You lucked out when you found this one Dex.”

I smiled at the compliment and picked up my fork to place a small slice of the cheesecake that we had ordered for all of us to share onto my plate.

“With the holiday season and all, don’t you think that it would a perfect time for you to “put a ring on it” Dex?”

I almost choked on my cheesecake bite but Dex didn’t flinch at Mike’s teasing.

“Maybe when she learns to get a little willpower and lay off the desserts long enough to fit into a future wedding dress.” Dex’s eyes went from mine to the fork in my mouth and back to my eyes. When the table fell into an awkward silence, Dex laughed it off with a wave of his hand. “I’m just kidding of course.”

I put the fork down and swallowed hard. Laura searched my eyes as if she were looking for a clue into my thoughts.

“Delaney is perfect just the way she is. You should know better than to say something like that Dex.” Laura’s words were so thick with annoyance that she almost had to wipe her chin.

“Oh come on Laura, chill. I was just joking around,” Dex said, waving her off and then turned to me and nodded. “You know how I joke around, right?”

I knew better than to not agree. I nodded and averted my eyes from Laura’s stare.

“Delaney knows that I love her just the way she is, even with a few extra pounds.”

Laura eyes widened and I saw her take a deep breath before opening her mouth again.

“You don’t have an ounce of fat on your body,” Laura said directly at me. “Dex needs glasses or is just simply delusional. In either case, don’t you listen to him.” Laura’s statement was meant to be “light” but the vibe at the table had definitely changed. Mike shifted uncomfortably in his seat as he eyed his wife cautiously.

Laura patted the corners of her mouth with her napkin and placed it next to her plate. “I need to freshen up. Delaney, let’s go to the ladies room.”

Dex’s hand flew under the table. He grabbed my thigh and squeezed it hard, a clear message that I was to go nowhere. “Why don’t you finish your dessert first?”

I no longer knew what to do. Laura got up and circled the table to where I was, grabbed my hand and pulled me up.

“Dessert means extra pounds, remember Dex?” Laura sneered at him.

Before I knew it, Laura had dragged me to the ladies room and I could feel Dex’s eyes piercing holes in my back.

Once in the ladies’ room, Laura took me to the far corner, as if she thought Dex would follow us and try to eavesdrop through the door.

“I know that Dex and Mike have been friends for years and that you and I barely know each other but I need to be blunt with you, woman to woman. Sweetie, you have a major problem that you need to get rid of and he is sitting right next to you at that table.”

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even know where to begin processing her words. The restroom felt like there was no air and my eyes were suddenly burning.

“Delaney, it has been a while since Dex has brought a girl around for us to meet and there is a reason for that. If we are meeting you more than once, it is because he is more serious about you than the others we have met over the years. Look, this is not my first rodeo. You are way too kindhearted and sweet for Dex. He is broken and can’t be fixed, okay? Like I told the last girl, don’t walk away from Dex. Run.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And I knew she was right.

“Do you understand me? You can not be with him. Give yourself the best Christmas present ever and run – as fast as you can.”

We looked at each for what seemed like an eternity until there was a loud knock at the restroom door.

“Delaney! Laura! We are going to finish off all of the cheesecake without you girls. What are you two doing in there? Putting on entirely new faces?”

Laura leaned into me so closely that I could feel her warm breath on my face. Laura never took her eyes off of mine as she whispered the truth I already knew.

“You need to shake him loose and never look back. Do you understand me, Delaney?”

I understood.

©2017 Marquessa Matthews

Originally posted on April 14, 2015, adapted in December 2017.

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51 thoughts on ““The Best Christmas Present Ever” #fiction #holidayshortfiction

  1. I loved loved your piece…thank you so much for the lovely words, I am happy I’ve inspired you…brilliant:) your writing it’s so good and so easy to read but at the same time has so much substance to it…well done:)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree with Julia that your right is easy yet entertaining to read. The story comes together seamlessly and in this case with plenty of emotional and psychological drama. You make it easy to believe this as a real story. And adding a note at the end is a good idea for sure.

    My only comment would be while reading your note and prior to the contrast is there for sure but not quite as obvious when you get sucked into the story. Or maybe too it’s that I’m seeing this from the perspective that the women are on different sides of the story, in that case you could argue for more contrast! All in all I like the subtlety of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. Laura’s a wise lady. I’m surprised Delaney didn’t throw her drink on him when he said the second thing about her weight, even the wedding comment. I would be hoping the drink would be tea or coffee that’s still warm. Sadly, there are men very much like this!

    Liked by 1 person

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