‘This feels ridiculous.’
‘Can’t you just keep still for one minute?’ Beneath the blindfold, Finn can hear something crinkling.
‘What is that? Condom wrapper? Liz, is that what this is all about?’
‘No, although that time will come later. I forgot to wrap it.’
‘Of course you did. But what’s the point, I’m gonna tear into it like I do your shitty ideas anyway.’
‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind, even Deputies of Comms,’ she says sweetly and disconcertingly close to his ear. He shifts a little on the bed where he’s sitting, cross-legged.
‘If you don’t hurry up, I’m going to get a cramp.’
‘Okay, you can take off the blindfold now.’
The winter sunlight streaming through her windows nearly blinds him when he does.
‘Fuck, did you do that on purpose? I’m pretty sure the blinds were down when we woke up.’
She doesn’t answer. Instead, she’s looking expectantly at the packet now resting in his lap.
‘I like the colour,’ he says of the wrapping paper. ‘Black, very Christmassy.’
‘Yeah, like your soul.’ Despite himself, Finn chuckles. Liz’s present is soft to the touch. Not a bomb then, though he gives it a wary shake regardless.
She reads his mind. ‘For Christ’s sake, Finn, if it was a bomb, do you think I’d be sitting here next to you?’
‘If I recall correctly, you’ve often said that you’d be bringing me down with you. In whatever context.’
‘Well, not this time. Unless you want me to call in Bomb Disposal. And you know, a certain guy called Talbot…’
At this, Finn immediately tears into the paper and she laughs…oh, what’s the word…merrily.
‘Oh,’ says Finn. They both stare at the unwrapped contents.
‘I didn’t know what to get you,’ explains Liz, feeling for some reason that an explanation is in order when he says nothing else. ‘I thought of books and then pens, but I guessed you had loads of those already. Then I saw these and…’
‘Liz, don’t take this the wrong way,’ interrupts Finn gently, ‘but please stop talking.’
‘Okay.’ She edges closer to him. ‘Does that mean you like them?’
As an answer, he slips her present on. Flexes a few dexterous fingers. Liz tries not to think what they can do (and have done to her). Especially now they’re encased in thick woollen gloves with Basset Hounds embroidered into them.
‘I rather do, actually.’ There’s a hint of a smile on his lips. ‘Thanks.’
‘Welcome. And thanks for the new fridge, by the way. Though you could have warned me in advance that two burly delivery guys were gonna be in my flat the other night.’ She glares at him.
‘Hopefully you gave them a cup of tea for their trouble.’
‘After I managed to calm down, yes. You know, I very nearly asked them to dump my old fridge at your front door.’
‘If you did, I wouldn’t be able to join you for Christmas, would I?’ says Finn sweetly, now smiling broadly.
Liz playfully pushes him off the bed. ‘C’mon, let’s get outside.’ She grabs his gloved hand and it’s clear she has no intention of letting him go. ‘I want to see how long you can last like this without getting a hard-on.’
Holding onto him goes both ways, because Finn pulls her down to join him on the carpet. He rolls over her, laughing.
‘Merry fucking Christmas, Miss America.’