My Thanksgiving gift to all of you!
If you have to place this story in the time line of my series. After Killer and before Patriarch. It's a little view into the reactions to some of my characters as they are dragged to a Black Friday Sale.
Andi's pigtails blew in her face. “Thanks for coming with me. Silvia has Chuck on the other side of town, I can't let him see what I am getting him.”
Vincent stared at the line outside the store. He rubbed his goatee. “Um, what is going on, again?”
"Black Friday,” Rebecka said. She wrapped her arm around Steopa's waist. “The busiest shopping day of the year.”
Steopa and Vincent looked at each other with confused expressions. Andi giggled. “You know, for Christmas.”
Vincent turned his head so he could take in the whole line. “What does this have to do with Christmas?”
“Best time to get great deals on gifts,” Andi said. She grabbed Vincent's arm.
Rebecka scoffed. “Yeah, if you don't mind being mobbed. The last one I was dragged to, I ended up with a black eye.”
“Sounds horrible,” Steopa said.
“It's not that bad, if you have a plan,” Andi said. “I want to get one gift for Chuck. But if it's gone, I have other ones in mind. I am heading to electronics and picking up the game. Then we are done.”
Vincent looked up at the sky. A few hours ago he had gotten up. “Another question, why so early?”
“It's part of the fun,” Andi said.
“Madness,” Rebecka said.
“They are standing in line to buy gifts?” Steopa asked.
“Yeah,” Andi said.
Steopa shook his head.
“Didn't you do anything like this for Christmas?” Andi asked.
“We would clean the house and have a large dinner, but that was on Christmas Eve,” Steopa said. “On Christmas proper, we would celebrate.”
“I would get an apple and a new pair of pants,” Vincent said.
Rebecka sighed. “Well, if we are going to do this, we better get in line.”
Andi bit her lower lip. “It is long, isn't it?”
“What are you buying Chuck?” Vincent asked.
“Time War Unleashed. It supposed to be this amazing game.”
Vincent put his arm around Andi's shoulder. “You know, I had nothing else to do tonight, so why not have some fun.”
Andi turned her head so she could see Rebecka and Steopa. “You don't have to come.”
Rebecka shrugged. “Why not? I'll just sit at the snack bar.”
Vincent walked with Andi to a spot that was close to the front of the line. He smiled at the middle aged woman, who gave him a stern look.
“I didn't think we would make it, thanks for waiting,” Vincent said.
Her eyes clouded over. “I was worried too,” she said. She turned to face the door.
The couple behind Vincent whispered to each other, glaring at him. He turned around. “Sorry, we forgot your coffee. My friend will buy you some inside.” He pointed to Steopa.
Their eyes clouded as they stared at Steopa.
The man smiled. “That's no problem,” He said as his eyes continued up Steopa's large frame.
The four of them, squeezed their way between the middle aged woman and the couple. Vincent leaned against the cold bricks. “So everyone here is..., is buying something?”
“Yeah, there are some great deals.” Andi pulled out the store's ad from her purse. “If I have time, I want to get John and Loreli a new stereo.”
“Don't bother,” Rebecka said.
“John already bought a new one.”
“Really? He said that he was still looking.”
“Was Lorelei in the room?”
“Yeah she was.” Andi rolled her eyes. “It's a gift for her, isn't it?”
“Could I see that paper?” Steopa asked.
Andi handed him the ad. Steopa opened it and flipped through the pages.
The woman in front of them checked her watch. “One minute. Come on open the doors.”
Andi squirmed. “Okay, I am heading straight for electronics.”
Vincent looked at the line in front of them. “You will have to be quick.”
Andi shook her head. “Maybe I could kick them?”
“Where is electronics?” Vincent asked.
“Middle of the store, I think.”
Vincent straightened up. “I'll meet you there.”
Andi smiled. “Remember it's called, Time War Unleashed.”
A manager came to the doors and unlock one. Most of the crowd groaned. When he opened the door. The lined surged. The crowd shuffled in, but as soon as they made it passed the door. They ran.
Vincent slipped ahead of them and blurred. Andi giggled as she moved forward.
“Where can we met up?” she asked.
“Snack bar,” Rebecka said. “I'm finding a seat, and I am not moving.”
“I have to see something,” Steopa said. He had folded the ad back to one page. “I will meet you there?”
Andi cleared the doorway. She bolted down the aisle. Steopa turned and walked away. The crowd clearing a path in front of him. Rebecka sighed.
She walked over to the snack bar and sat down. The cashier looked up.
“You get a little break before you get crazy?” Rebecka asked.
The cashier nodded. “For a couple of minutes.”
Vincent made it to the electronics area before the rest of the shoppers, behind him he could hear the footfalls. It sounded like a stampede. He saw the game sitting on the counter next to the cashier. He grabbed one.
As he pulled his hand back. A woman tried to take the game out of his hand.
“Whoa! Hey! That's mine!” Vincent said, grabbing the game back.
“I'm sorry, but I need that for my son.”
“Then take one from the counter.” Vincent turned away and shook his head.
Andi ran up to Vincent. “You got one!”
Vincent glanced back at the counter, the rest were gone. Andi hugged him.
“Chuck's going to be so happy!”
He handed the game to Andi. She put it on the counter, smiling. As she opened her purse. Vincent looked around. One person shoved another away from a collection of dvd players. One man grabbed an item out of a woman's cart as she looked away.
“I've been to riots with better manners,” he said.
Andi laughed as she grabbed the bag. “Its not that bad.”
Closer to the front of the store, Steopa leaned over to look at the jewelry in the cases. He rubbed his chin as he studied each piece.
“Can you check in the back?” a woman said.
Steopa glanced up. A young cashier looked around. “I'm sorry, but all the TVs that were on sale, were out on the floor.”
“I know you hide one or two. Just check in the back.”
“I'll call someone, I can't leave-”
“Look! I want that TV!” The woman shook the ad in the young cashier's face.
Steopa tapped the glass with his fingers. He watched the woman's face turn red, then a strange shade of purple as she yelled at the young cashier. The cashier glanced at him. He looked down at the necklaces in the case, then at the woman.
He stood up, smoothing out his coat as he did. He walked over to the cashier. The woman yelled. “I can't believe you would not have enough stock-!”
“Excuse me,” Steopa said.
The woman did not look at him. “I was here first!”
The cashier craned her head. “I will be with you as soon...”
Steopa placed his hand on the angry woman's arm. She spun around. Her eyes did the familiar motion of starting at his chest, then traveling up.
“Excuse me,” he said. “But I do not think this young woman makes the purchasing decisions.”
“You can't tell me you think it's fair that-”
Steopa held up his hand. “I do not like to be kept waiting when I want to make a purchase.”
“I was here first!”
“But you are buying nothing. You are only making this young lady's morning difficult.”
“How dare you! I'll get a manager and have you thrown out!”
Steopa raised his eyebrow. The cashier turned her face away, she snickered.
“You should leave,” Steopa said.
“I will not!”
“LEAVE!” His voice echoed for a short time. It became drowned out by the crowd and the racks of clothing.
The woman's eyes clouded and then opened wide. Then she grabbed her purse off the counter and turned around. When she had disappeared into the crowd, the cashier sighed.
“Thank you,” she said.
“You are welcome. Could I see the lockets? In the case with the pocket watches.”
The cashier smiled. “Yes. The gold ones?”
At the snack bar, Vincent sat down next to Rebecka.
“Where's Andi?” Rebecka asked.
“In line, on the way back, she found some other things that she had to look at.” Vincent looked around. “Where's the big guy?”
Rebecka pointed. Steopa's long black hair could be seen over the mass of people that were gathering at the cash registers. A few people walked into the snack bar and sat at the empty tables.
“Have you done this before?” Vincent asked.
Rebecka nodded her head. “But why bother? Look at them, they are insane. Fighting over something because it's on sale, or because it's the hot item this year.”
“You sound bitter.”
“I never understood this madness.” She pointed to a man pushing out a cart with four TVs on it. “Look at that, do you really need to give someone a TV?”
“It's nuts. I did love Christmas when I was a kid. I would get one toy, an apple, and some candy. That was it. But all the family would come over and we would party. I got drunk when I was twelve.”
Rebecka had a small smile. “I liked it when I was a kid too. Dad would always get John and I a great gift. Then we would go sledding. One year when it was warm enough, he took us out on the Harley.” She sniffed. “After he died. Mom went nuts, she would buy us junk. Just because it was the big toy that year. Everything had to be perfect. We couldn't even rip off the wrapping paper.”
“That's the best part.”
Rebecka nodded. “Try buying her a gift. If I got her earrings, she wanted a necklace. If John had made her a cutting board, she would say the one at Macy's was nicer. Thanks to her, I hate giving and getting gifts.”
Vincent patted Rebecka's hand. She pulled her hand away. Steopa walked over to them. He glanced at the small chairs surrounding the table, then stood by Rebecka.
“Did you buy anything?” Vincent asked.
“Yes,” Steopa said, he glanced at Rebecka.
Andi bounced over to the table, with a large bag. “Alright, I found stuff for Chuck's dad too.”
She put the bag on the table and pulled out a robe. She held it up. “What do you think?”
Steopa nodded. “I think he will like it.”
Her cell phone rang. She answered it while she folded up the robe. Vincent leaned over to Rebecka.
“You really don't like getting gifts?”
She nodded. “Like I said, Mom made it seem like a chore.”
Andi put her phone away. “That was Silva, we are going to meet up for breakfast.”
“I'll go with you,” Vincent said.
“It's not far.”
“That bag is bigger than you are, I'll go with you.”
“We should join them,” Steopa said to Rebecka.
They left the store. People were still streaming inside. The line had disappeared from the front of the store, a line of red lights of cars leaving the parking lot replaced it. They had to walk around the outside of the parking lot to avoid the heavy traffic.
Vincent turned to Steopa. “Rebecka told me that she doesn't like to get gifts.”
“Is that true?” Steopa asked.
“Sometimes,” Rebecka said.
Steopa stopped. He patted his pocket. “Are you sure?”
“I did not want to give you this like this,” Steopa said. “But if you are sure that you do not want a gift-”
“What is it?”
Steopa pulled out a small black box. “It is not complete, I have to have the inside done.”
He handed Rebecka the box. She opened it. Vincent peeked over her shoulder. Andi gasped. Rebecka picked up the locket and held it up.
“It's pretty,” she said.
Steopa opened it. “You see, nothing inside. I wanted to have the interior painted.”
Rebecka pointed at his locket. “Like that one?”
“Except your portrait would be inside.”
Vincent watched the expression on Rebecka's face change. Her lower lip trembled. “That is...”
Steopa motioned her closer. He looped the chain around her neck and closed the clasp. “Do you like it?”
“I wish Chuck would give me something like that,” Andi said.
Rebecka threw her arms around Steopa and hugged him. “Thank you.”
Steopa kissed her forehead. “You are welcome.”
Andi opened her mouth, Vincent put his finger to his lips. She grinned. She moved away from Steopa and Rebecka. Vincent went with her.
“I thought Rebecka was going to cry,” Andi whispered.
“I think she is,” Vincent said. He glanced behind him. Steopa had picked up Rebecka as he kissed her.
“I know it was crazy in there, but it was worth it.” Andi asked.
Vincent nodded. “Yeah it was.”
Black Friday by Mari Miniatt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.mariminiatt.com.