“She tip­toed to Mrs Mathi­son’s door and slid the pack­ets through, tip­toed back”

The Herald - Arts - - Arts -

Strug­gling with the Yale, Lynne cursed, and Rab shooshed her, so she punched him. His foot hit Mrs Mathi­son’s pot-pourri dish, send­ing it crash­ing down the stairs. “Wheest! It’s nearly mid­night!” Rab wres­tled open the door, bundling Lynne inside, hands on bum. On the hall car­pet lay a sparkly card signed “Sea­son’s Greet­ings from your neigh­bour (Mrs M)”. Lynne’s mouth thinned. “Damn it! I can’t be­lieve she’s gazumped us again.” “Wasn’t she on our list?” said Rab. “Our? Our list?” Sud­denly sober, Lynne took no pris­on­ers. Rab sighed. “Sorry. Right. A card. And a present.”

He crawled un­der the tree, hauled out wrapped gifts, shoogled them. “What’s this? Says from you to me, feels like a bot­tle.” Lynne frowned. “Not that.” “What is it?” “I’m not telling you, it’s a present!” “Is it whisky?” “I’m not telling you, but if you give her that you’ll kick your­self to­mor­row.” Rab rum­maged again, hauled out a book-shaped item. “This one’s from me to you...” “Well, what is it?” Rab’s eye­brows el­e­vated in protest. “I know, but is it silly or some­thing?” said Lynne. “I dunno, it’s off Ama­zon, your sis­ter’s sug­ges­tion.” He ripped off the pa­per, peer­ing to read un­der the twin­kling lights, “The Story of O.” Lynne paused, shrugged, shook her head. “That’ll be the Oprah bi­og­ra­phy. Fine. Wrap it up again.”

Lynne scrib­bled their names to the last funny-rein­deer card, adding a “sorry!”, and stuffed it in an en­ve­lope. She tip­toed to Mrs Mathi­son’s door and slid the pack­ets through, tip­toed back. Rab was down to socks and jocks, un­der the du­vet. Lynne slid in be­side him, yawn­ing. “Don’t know why Ca­role thought I’d like an Oprah book any­way. What’s wrong with Jamie Oliver or silk undies?” “Noth­ing,” said Rab, inch­ing closer. “C’mere, baby­doll, snug­gle­time. Want to open your stock­ing now?”

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