Hungover from the party and wondering when she lost contact with Todd the night before, she called in sick to work so she could buy a lululemon gift card for that night’s exchange at Alex’s apartment.
After deliberating texting Todd for the better part of her morning, she finally logged back into Find Friends to see where he was. Sure enough, he was at his office. Glad he wasn’t dead or in jail, she decided to take the plunge and text him.
“Heyyyy,” she innocently began, hoping to tread lightly for fear that she had done something stupid before winding up back at her apartment.
Knowing she probably didn’t remember anything, Todd quickly responded, “How ya feelin’?”
“Shit,” she thought. At this point, she knew she had done something wrong that warranted an apology.
“Ugh, I am so sorry if I did or said something stupid last night,” she began. “I obviously had too much to drink at the party and don’t even remember leaving.
Feeling somewhat bad, Todd decided to interject. “It’s fine, it’s fine. After I got done talking to your boss, I saw how drunk you were and called us an Uber. I left this morning to workout around 6 but you were still asleep.”
Relief overcame her knowing that Todd was kind enough to help her out, but now she only feared that she had done something inappropriate when she got back to her place. But, everything seemed fine on Todd’s end, so she let it be.
Once 7 o’clock came and it was time to get ready for the party, she thanked herself for Postmating the lululemon gift card that morning because she got to spend the entire day in bed watching Love Actually and every other Christmas romantic comedy known to man.
She made her way over to Alex’s with the intention of not drinking after the debacle just 24 hours later. But when she arrived, Alex already had a tray of champagne flutes sitting at the door for everyone to enjoy.
“And if you don’t want champs, I’ve got some warm spiked cider in the kitchen too, obvi,” Alex told everyone that walked through the front door. The warm punch had been a staple since Alex made it in college at age 19.
After everyone exchanged a series of ass-out hugs and cheek kisses, they sat down in her living room. Between the “Oh my God, I love your outfit” compliments and the discussions of where everyone would be spending their holiday, the gift exchange that was planned to start at 8:30 sharp got inadvertently pushed back to 9:45.
Alex was implementing a strict “No Boys Allowed” rule, so the room’s volume was at an all-time high after they decided the order of the white elephant exchange. She had drawn the final (and the best) number, so the world was going to be her oyster when it came down to her.
After Alex received a pair of J. Crew earrings, Caroline a massage, and Victoria’s bottle of Veuve, she knew her night was about to end with a gift she “coveted.”
Pouring herself a mug of hot cider as the exchange wound down, she looked with wide eyes over the entire room. No one had stolen anything yet, and it almost felt like it was taboo at that point. Megan excitedly received the gift card to lululemon that she had brought, so she knew she didn’t want to steal that. The only gift left was from Alex’s fringe-friend, Lesley, who appeared to have tacky taste solely based on the necklace she was wearing. Knowing she had no other option but to steal a gift, she looked at Alex and said, “I’m taking the earrings.”
The room sarcastically gasped, though it was an interesting move to steal from the hostess that had just provided around $500 of food, drinks, and over-the-top decorations.
Alex, trying not to act mad yet visibly being upset, looked at Caroline and said, “Looks like mama’s getting a massage.” It was officially on. Caroline looked to Lesley who seemed a bit off-put that no one wanted her gift, but that didn’t stop Caroline from stealing the pashmina that Lesley had opened minutes prior.
“Ugh,” Lesley thought. She was apprehensive to steal anything, but she couldn’t just open her own gift. That would appear tackier than the necklace she was wearing. Being unfamiliar with everyone there besides Alex who had invited her, she was left with no other options.
“I guess I’ll steal the massage from Alex?” she said coyly while everyone gasped again, but this time not sarcastically.
As she sat their clutching her the J. Crew earrings, she wonder what the hell Alex was going to do. It was now 10:30 and the combination of her hangover and the cider was making her feel lethargic to the point where she couldn’t keep up with anything going on. She looked over at Alex who begrudgingly walked up to the tree and picked up Lesley’s gift, the final gift.
“Finally, it’s over,” she muttered to herself. And as Alex unwrapped Lesley’s box, it was revealed to be a Polo turtleneck sweater from the season before, clearly purchased from the outlet mall.
“I loooooove it,” Alex said to Lesley, clearly not loving it.
And with that, it was over. While some of the girls debated going out, she slid her earrings into her clutch and pulled out her phone that had been on silent the entire night (per Alex’s demand). The screen was blank outside of a “Spend Your Tracking” push notification from American Express and a text — it was from Todd.
“Heading to Side Bar if you want to stop by,” she read. And suddenly, she felt as though she had gotten the only gift she wanted..
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