Last Gift(3)

By: Jessica Clare, Jen Frederick

This is not a lie; more like not bothering her with unnecessary details. I am in charge of protecting my sweet Daisy so that she can give me all her tender love. I smile to myself, happily lost in the dream of her once again. I pick up my pencil and begin anew.

“Your beloved,” I hear the interrupter say. “That’s so old fashioned but sweet.

“Yes, sweet.” What would Daisy have me do? She would want me to smile at the interrupter. Daisy smiles at everyone. I try to smile at the interrupter. Is her name Patty? Dotty? Kitty? I cannot recall.

“You’re very devoted, aren’t you?” I finally look at the interrupter. Her dark hair is curled and lies in waves around her shoulders. She has very long eyelashes, like the legs of a spider. I think some would think she is attractive, but she looks nothing like Daisy. “What’re you giving her for Christmas?” she asks.

Giving her for Christmas. The words strike a chord in me and I slowly turn toward the interrupter. “Giving for Christmas…?”

“Yeah, I mean, she’s your beloved so you’re getting her something, right?”

I nod. Yes, I am, I think. Gifts for Christmas. Beaming at the interrupter, I ask, “What would you like, if you could have anything?”

She blinks at me and places a hand over her chest. “God, what I wouldn’t give for a guy like you to be so over the moon over me. Where’d you two meet?” Spiderlashed lady sets her face on one of her hands and moves closer to me. I’m uncomfortable by her nearness and by her strange eyelashes. I may draw these in my next work, giant long-legged wisps of black, like whiskers on the eyes.

“We meet…” I trail off and think of what Daisy would like me to say because the truth is that I spy on Daisy while researching a hit, a kill. I know Daisy would not want to me to tell the truth. “We meet in coffee house.”

“Your accent is just delicious. Do you have any brothers?” Flick, flick, go the eyelashes.

“Nyet, no brothers. No siblings.” I check the clock. Our time in class is almost up and I have not yet completed my project. Sighing, I begin to pack my things so I am not late to pick up Daisy. Last time I lingered overlong speaking with the professor about the darkness in my sketches and how I needed to incorporate lighter shades. By the time I arrived at Daisy’s campus, there was a horde of males surrounding her. At least two or three. Daisy says she is making new friends and so I hid my dismay.

“Well, if you and your girlfriend ever want to hang out, you should call me. Want my number?”

At first I shake my head in the negative, but Daisy would like more friends…so perhaps yes? “Da, you write it down for me.”

“Just give me your phone and I’ll put it in. “

I frown, unsure of whether I should do this, but then think of Daisy’s laughing face when she was talking to the other students. I hand over my phone, the public one—not the one I use to text Daisy. That phone has private images and private texts that no one should ever see but me.

The girl smiles at me and the legs of the spider flutter up and down. Once my phone is back in my hand, I see her name is Callie. “Thank you, Callie.” I hold out my hand to shake hers. She looks at it strangely and then shakes her head.

“You’re an odd duck. A hot one, but odd. Good thing I like odd.” She takes my hand and squeezes it tightly, holding on a little too long. “God, your hands are so big.”

My hand looks normal, I think, holding it up in front of me.

She laughs. “You’re so literal!”

“Thank you,” I say and try to bring her attention back to the Christmas gifts. “You are a woman, Callie,” I say.

She rolls her eyes. “So nice of you to notice.”

Of course I notice. I notice everything. “Yes, I notice.” Impatiently I continue, “You like Christmas?”

Her eyes light up. “Who doesn’t?”

“What is it you like the best?” I ask. Traditions are important to Daisy. I want to start our own traditions.

“Gifts, of course,” she smirks.

A few other art students have wandered over. I ask all of them. “What is best gift you receive?”