All change for Christmas

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All Change for Christmas
By
Samantha Michelle Davies

A little tale that was inspired by a comment I overheard on a recent flight from Amman to London.
I hope you enjoy the twist on giving.
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“So Simon, what are you doing for Christmas?”

“I can’t hear you. This Music is far too loud,” shouted Simon.

The other man whose name was Mike and Simon’s colleague dragged him out of the main hall where their Companies ‘Christmas Bash’ was in full swing.

“That’s better. Why do they always have the Disco so frigging loud these days?” remarked Mike as they reached a quieter bar in the swank London Hotel where the event was being held.

“It is called getting old Mike.”

Both men gave a small laugh.

“What was your question?”

“I was asking what you were doing for Christmas. Well that and the New Year as well as we are off until the 2nd this year.”

“Yes. It is nice not to have to work between the two holidays for a change. It has been a good year despite the financial downturn. Shame that the bonus is so politically sensitive”

Mike looked at Simon waiting for an answer to his original question

“I really don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Simon.
His eyes looked down.

“Not that Gabrielle has… gone, I don’t know. I really don’t know. Her parents have invited me to their place in Italy but… well it’s too soon. Perhaps next year.”

Mike smiled.

“Why don’t you come to us? Lindsay’s dad shot a very nice Red Deer last week. It is hanging right now and is going to be perfect for next weekend. Lindsay is going to get a fillet for us. There will be plenty to go round. Then on Boxing Day, there is a clay shoot on the estate where her dad works if you feel up to it.”

Simon didn’t answer immediately.

“Thanks for the kind offer Mike but I think I should be alone this year. Boxing day would have been our 5th Wedding Anniversary. “

Mike sighed. Simon’s wife had been six months pregnant when her car was in almost flattened by a runaway bus while she was visiting her parents in Italy. It had hit him very hard, especially as he wasn’t there at her side when she needed him.

The whole office had joined together to support him. Mike’s offer for Christmas was just part of that effort. After a lot of badgering, he agreed to go to Mike’s place for Christmas Day.

Christmas Day.

Simon felt as nervous as he’d been the day he married Simone almost five years previously as he rummaged through his not very extensive wardrobe in search of something to wear. The instructions had been ‘casual’ but he couldn’t decide what was casual and if it was, was it too casual.

In the end he found a clean shirt and trousers that appeared to be casual enough. Still feeling unsure of himself he collected the presents he’d bought for Mike and his wife and drove to his hosts house for lunch.

Mike’s wife Jeanette greeted Simon with a cheery smile and a glass of Champagne when he arrived. This in itself made Simon feel a lot better.

“Where’s Mike?” asked Simon.

Jeanette grinned before replying,
“He’s being a bit of a prima-donna today. He’ll be down shortly.”

Simon was puzzled by her answer but nevertheless the smell of the pending meal emanating from the kitchen pushed them to the back of his mind.

“That smells good Jeanette.”

“Thanks. Mike was up late last night preparing everything.”

Simon was confused. This was not the Mike he knew from work. He came over as being very undomesticated and certainly not the sort of person who’d be in the kitchen preparing the food for their festive meal.

Simon made small talk with Jeanette while she finished making the gravy from the meat juices. He watched in admiration at her skill in adding just the right amount of corn flour to thicken it perfectly.

When she was done, Jeanette said to his surprise.

“That’s me done. Mike will be serving it up. Lets go and sit down.”

Feeling even more puzzled, Simon followed her into the dining room. He admired the table for a second or so. Then he realised that there were only two places set.

“Why are there only two places set? There are three of us.”

Jeanette giggled a bit.

“All will be revealed in a moment.”

She couldn’t keep a straight face.

Simon heard the sound of someone entering the kitchen. He assumed it was Mike making an appearance at last.

The door opened and Mike entered carrying the plate of meats that Jeanette had prepared.

Simon’s mouth dropped wide open in amazement.

“Mike?”

“Happy Christmas Simon. It is Michelle for today. Please sit down and enjoy the meal.”

“But why….”

“My darling husband lost a bet with me. We had a little bet on you coming today or not. You came so I won. His forfeit is to be our maid for the day.”

Mike/Michelle had put the plate down on the table. He stepped back and did a twirl. He/She was wearing a calf length black dress with a white collar and apron. The outfit was completed with seamed stockings and 4in heels that Mike sorry Michelle had no difficulty walking in.

“I’ll get the veggies,” said Michelle as she curtseyed to them and returned to the kitchen.

With all the food dished up Michelle retreated to the kitchen leaving Jeanette and Simon to eat the meal.

“Before you ask, yes he’s done this before. Mike becomes Michelle every weekend in fact. I knew about his desires before we got married. We actually met when he was Michelle.”

“Are you ok with this?”

“You bet. How many wives can go shopping with their husbands and have them actually take an interest in the clothes that you are looking at?”

Simon was still having trouble getting his head around how good Mike looked in his maid’s outfit.

Jeanette giggled.
“I love it when she asks, ‘would I look good in this?’”
Michelle served them a delightful meal but Simon hardly tasted it. He was trying to figure out why he’d been invited to spend Christmas being the 3rd wheel with such an obviously happy couple.

By the end of the meal he was no nearer an answer to his question.

After clearing the dishes away, Michelle joined Jeanette and Simon in the sitting room and began to distribute presents to everyone.

Simon sat back and watched his hosts open theirs. Their obvious delight at the gifts hit him hard. He remembered the few Christmases he’d shared with his wife. A small tear formed in his eyes.

This didn’t go unnoticed by his hosts.

“Why aren’t you opening your presents?” asked Jeanette.

This shook him out of his melancholy but he went quite red in the face.

“Sorry.”

Simon began unwrapping one of the presents that Michelle had presented to him.

When he saw what it was, his mouth fell to the floor.

“What… Why?”

He pulled out a pair of shiny black high heels.

Jeanette smiled at Michelle who returned a small nod of her head.

“Simon, I first met my darling Michelle here about a year after his wife died. She was in a bad place. One wet night, I was returning from the Hospital when I had a little accident and ran into Michelle. She stepped off the kerb right into my path. Naturally, I stopped and was shocked at what I saw. Luckily, Michelle was just winded so I offered her a lift home. To my eternal thanks, she accepted and as I drove her home, she unloaded all her grief on me.”

“At first I thought it was the shock of the accident. Then I realised that the man underneath the makeup was very unhappy. I couldn’t let him go. There was something about Mike that drew me into his life.”

She smiled lovingly at her husband.

Jeanette reached over and took hold of Michelle’s hand.

“Jeanette didn’t run away. Instead she listened to me and here we are today.”

“But what has this all to do with me?”

“Jeanette literally dragged me out of my depression. She didn’t mock me but made me a better person. “

“That still does not answer my question?”

“It is clear to everyone at the office that you are very depressed. It gets worse at this time of year so I talked things over with Miranda and… well, here we are today.”

Michelle waved her hand and as if by magic, the front door bell rang.

“Simon, why don’t you answer the door? It is for you.” said Michelle.

Reluctantly, he got up and went to the front door and opened it.

“Miranda? What are you doing here?”

Miranda stepped into the house and wrapped her arms around Simon.

“Happy Christmas Simon.”

She broke off her hug and presented him with a garment bag.

“From me to you with love.”
And hope.
“But…. I don’t have anything for you.”

Miranda just grinned back.

“Wear it for me and I will consider us even.”

Michelle called to them from the sitting room.

“What’s keeping you two? It’s getting cold with that door open?”

Miranda literally dragged Simon into the sitting room.

“Well?” asked Michelle, “Do you like it?”

“Like what?”

“The present that Miranda gave you silly?”

Simon looked at it and gasped.

“It’s a dress?”

“Yes it is. It also matches the lovely pair of shoes you already have.”

“I can’t…”

Michelle took hold of Simon’s hands.

“Go on. Let Miranda ‘drag’ you out of your depression if not for good, at least for the holidays. If it does not work out then fine., but at least we have tried.”

Simon looked at the three people who were obviously trying to help him. Their obvious kindness goodwill on this day of all days finally persuaded him to agree.

“As it’s Christmas, and you two are obviously so happy with your rather unique arrangement, I’ll do it.”

- 0 — 0 — 0 — 0-

Epilogue

Simon and Miranda were married three months later. Simon became Simone at weekends and whilst he would never forget Gabrielle, Miranda became the love of his life and he even began to enjoy going clothes shopping. They were almost thrown out of a store for laughing so much when he asked her for the first time, ‘Would I look good in this?’


 



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