At the end of the last Bellas’ practice in November, Chloe and Aubrey made an announcement.
“Okay, ladies! In order to encourage everyone to bond with their fellow Bellas, Chloe and I have arranged a Secret Santa exchange,” said Aubrey. The group of new Bellas collectively groaned.
“It’s going to be fun!” Chloe exclaimed. “Everyone will take a name out of the jar, and you will give the person a gift worth up to $20 at the holiday party. Oh, wait, can we call it a Christmas party?”
The group looked around at each other and shrugged.
“I’ll take that as a ‘yes’. Okay, please put the name back if you get your own. Beca, you go first.”
Beca rolled her eyes, but she did as she was told. Her breath hitched as she looked at the name on the paper.
“Did you get your own name?” Chloe asked. Beca shook her head. “Okay, then. No takesie-backsies!”
Beca put the paper into her pocket and sat back down.
“Stacie, you’re next!” Stacie had a surprised look on her face for a split second before grinning.
The rest of the group continued and then the captains dismissed them.
Beca headed to the bedroom at the Bella house that she shared with Fat Amy.
“So, who’d you get?” Fat Amy asked.
“It’s supposed to be a secret,” said Beca.
“But, I’m your best friend! Wait, did you get me?”
Beca blew out a sigh. “I got Stacie.”
“Awesome! Get her something really, really nice.”
Beca raised an eyebrow. “Why?”
“Oh, come on, Beca. You can’t hide it from your best friend. I know you like her.”
“You know it’s true. I see the way you check out her ass when she bends over in practice. Unless that’s just because you’re so tiny her ass is at level with your face-”
“Whatever, Ames. I’m a whopping two inches shorter than you. And, hey, I lucked out with the view!”
“So, you admit it,” Fat Amy said.
“Shoot your shot, Beca. You’re Beca Effin’ Mitchell, The Big BM! You’re awesome! Get Stacie something nice and ask her out on a date!”
Beca took a deep breath. “I...ummm...okay. What do I get?”
“Beats me,” said Fat Amy. “Why don’t you ask Chloe or Aubrey?”
Stacie put her things down in her bedroom that she shared with Cynthia Rose. She took the name out of her pocket, smiled, and then screwed up her face in concentration.
“Let me guess. You got Beca,” said Cynthia Rose.
“I’ve got eyes, Conrad. I see you sneaking glances at her when you don’t think she’s looking.”
“I do not,” said Stacie, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
“Yeah, you do. And, I know those dates you’re going on all the time are to convince yourself you don’t like her.”
“Has any of those dudes ever gotten a second date?”
“Well…” Stacie thought for a second. “I have yet to find a guy who knows what he’s doing.”
“That’s because you need a girl. My gaydar is never wrong. You got the hots for our grumpy little DJ and you know it.”
Stacie sighed. “Fine. You’re right. I got Beca, and I like her. So, now what?”
“For someone at Barden on a full scholarship with a double major, you’re a dumbass. Do you know that?”
Stacie rolled her eyes.
“Get her something nice and ask her out.”
“What should I get her?”
Cynthia Rose shrugged. “I don’t know. Something from the heart. But Aubrey or Chloe would be better with that kind of thing.”
Beca knocked on Chloe and Aubrey’s door, hoping to catch them before her shift at the radio station.
“What’s up?” Aubrey asked as she opened the door.
“I need help,” said Beca.
“What’s wrong?” asked Chloe, concern all over her face.
“Oh, it’s nothing serious. I just...I’m having a hard time with the secret Santa thing.”
“What’s so hard about it? You get a $20 gift for the person whose name you drew and--”
Beca cut Aubrey off. “I know. I just...I don’t know where to look. Or what to get for--”
“Hey! Don’t tell us!” Chloe was almost screaming.
“Okay, okay,” Beca said, waving a hand. “Seriously, though. Where do I go to get something special? I don’t want to get…my person something stupid.”
“I’m personally a fan of Etsy,” said Aubrey.
“It’s a site for stuff people make. Homemade craft gifts. And it’s usually pretty inexpensive. You can even get stuff personalized,” said Chloe.
“A lot of things can have the person’s name, or initial. Birthstones are nice if you’re going with jewelry.”
This gave Beca an idea. “That’s great!” Beca paused. “Do you have a list of birthdays for everyone?”
Aubrey grabbed a tablet off of her nightstand, thumbed through a few things, and showed her a document she kept on there with all of the Bellas’ names and birthdays.
Beca looked and saw that Stacie’s birthday was in October. She was about to ask if either of them knew the birthstone for October, but she figured she’d be scolded for giving away the name of the person she drew. She figured she’d google the information in between stacking CDs and vinyls, or whatever it was Luke made her and Jesse do that day.
Stacie waited until after Beca left for the station to seek out Chloe and Aubrey’s help.
“Hey, captains,” she said as she strolled into the living room where they were sitting on the couch going over a binder of sheet music.
“Hey,” said Aubrey.
“Where should I look for my Secret Santa gift?”
“Depends on what you want to get your person.”
“Something special and sweet.”
“Ooooo….” Chloe grinned. “Special?”
Stacie rolled her eyes and flipped Chloe off. “You guys are the ones who wanted us all to bond. I’m taking it seriously.”
“Etsy has a lot of nice homemade stuff,” said Aubrey.
“And you can have it personalized,” Chloe added. “Name, birthstone. Whatever.”
“Do you know everyone’s birthdays?”
Aubrey pulled up the document on her tablet that she’d just shown Beca.
“Got it. Thanks.”
Stacie headed to her room and tuned her radio to WBUJ. She let out a small disappointed sigh when she heard Luke’s voice.
“You know he’s not going to let her into the booth,” said Cynthia Rose.
Stacie jumped. “What? I didn’t hear you come in.”
“You got it bad, girl.”
That evening, Stacie was touching up her makeup in the bathroom she and Cynthia Rose shared with Beca and Fat Amy.
Beca knocked on the door. “Come in,” said Stacie.
“Do you need to use the bathroom? I can step out.”
“I can wait,” said Beca. “Where are you headed?”
“Tinder date,” said Stacie.
“Bathroom’s yours. Have a good night!”
Beca went immediately back to her room, relieved that Fat Amy was out for a bit. She reached under Amy’s bed to find an unopened bottle of vodka. She started drinking straight from the bottle. The last thing she wanted was to be awake when Stacie came home.
The next morning, Beca got out of bed around 10 am, her head throbbing. She ran to the bathroom, vomited, and sat on the floor, dizzy. She slowly stood after a few minutes, carefully sipping water after rinsing her mouth. It took several more minutes before she remembered the previous night. Stacie had gone on a date with someone from Tinder, and Beca had grabbed some vodka from Amy’s stash. She walked back into her room and found more than half of the bottle gone. She’d managed to avoid hearing about Stacie’s date, but now she was paying for it. She took a pain reliever before padding to the kitchen. She thought about “taking the hair of the dog” before deciding against it. She made herself some toast and forced herself to drink more water.
She dragged herself to her 11:00 class, albeit about fifteen minutes late.
She felt like a zombie as she went through her classes, relieved when her last one ended a little early.
Fat Amy was in the room when Beca went in to lie down.
“You don’t need to do this to yourself, you know.”
“Stacie went on a date, and you got blackout drunk so you wouldn’t have to hear about it. You owe me for the vodka, you know.”
“Ames, you take $20 out of my purse every few weeks. Consider it more than paid for.”
“Beca, let’s talk about you. Did you find something for Stacie?”
The Christmas party was held the Sunday evening before Christmas. The first of the Bellas would be leaving that Monday afternoon.
Aubrey and Chloe had everyone put their gifts under the tree, and the exchange would be at the end of the party. The two captains put the group through a bunch of silly “icebreaker” games. There was a Holiday ABC game where everyone had to write a holiday word for each letter of the alphabet. Nobody was surprised when Chloe won that game. There was also a memory game where they showed a bunch of Christmas items on a tray, gave everyone a minute to memorize the items, and then they took them away and gave everyone thirty seconds to guess. Beca failed miserably at that game, and she tried to hide her excitement when Stacie won. There was also a Christmas carol naming contest, and Beca was a little embarrassed to win that one. They had to guess the song after hearing just a few words. Beca admitted that she and her mom had always listened to Christmas music for the entire month of December. She didn’t tell the group it was something she hoped to get back to doing once she was back with her mom for Christmas.
It was finally time for everyone to exchange gifts. As the others were called, Beca quickly deduced that either Chloe or Stacie had drawn her name. When Chloe opened a gift that was from Fat Amy, Beca knew Stacie had to have drawn her name.
“Okay, it looks like Beca and Stacie must have drawn each others’ names,” said Aubrey. “Why don’t you both open your gifts at the same time?”
They agreed and opened their gifts.
Beca opened a beautiful necklace. “It’s the Virgo constellation,” said Stacie. “That’s your sign, isn’t it?”
“How did you know?”
“I got a birthday list from Aubrey.”
“Open yours,” said Beca.
Stacie opened her gift, which was also a necklace. “It’s beautiful!” Stacie exclaimed.
“Aubrey told me your birthday is in October. That’s your birthstone, isn’t it?”
“It sure is!”
“Put it on,” they both told each other.
They each lifted their necklaces out of their boxes and found a piece of paper tucked underneath.
“What’s this?” Beca asked as she opened the folded piece of paper.
“It looks like it’s the same thing you put in my necklace box,” said Stacie, smirking.
“My answer is yes.”
“Let me think about mine.”
“Okay, okay, too soon. Yes.”
“Oh, thank god,” Cynthia Rose said.
“What?” Beca asked.
“You two are the worst. I told you my gaydar is never wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two girls want to get into each others’ pants so badly without acting on it.”
“You’re welcome,” said Aubrey.
“Did you guys fix this?” Stacie asked.
“Yup,” said Chloe.
“How?” Beca asked.
“If you don’t know, we’re not going to tell you,” said Aubrey.
“The whole gift exchange was designed to get you two dumbasses to finally admit you liked each other,” said Chloe.
“The pining was driving everyone crazy,” Fat Amy said while the others nodded.
Stacie grabbed Beca’s hand before she could further comment.
“Where are you taking me?” Beca asked.
“Under the mistletoe,” said Stacie, pointing to the ceiling as she came to a stop. She took Beca’s face in her hands as she leaned down for a kiss.