I'm Not Cheating – The Christmas Party Part 1
(SR universe Lois and Clark are married. This is a possible follow up to my current story All That Matters but you need not have read that to understand this. )
The office potluck Christmas party was in full swing when Lois arrived back at the office after running a last minute errand. She had noticed an ad for a toy that Jason really wanted at a local store and ran over as soon as they opened to be sure to get one before they sold out, again. The men including Richard were sitting together at desks near where the food table had been set up most likely for easy access to refills. The women were all over by the tree. That is all the women except Cat who was off in a corner talking to some guy Lois didn't know. She wasn't surprised to find that Clark was missing.
Everything looked so tempting that it was hard not to load her plate with a bite of each item although she did skip most of the meat dishes being a sometimes vegetarian. As always though, she found some dishes were just too hard to resist, like the honey baked ham. She had to have a bite of that. Once her plate was filled, overfilled actually, she surveyed the two groups of people and without hesitation joined the men taking a seat between Jimmy and Richard.
She asked Richard between bites. "Did I miss anything?"
He shook his head. "Just Perry's little speech about how we are all a big family and what a great team of writers we are."
Lois listened to the guys talking but at the same time started eyeing all the neatly wrapped packages under the tree. She was determined to get a great gift this year. Last year she had spent hours trying to pick out the perfect gift to bring to the office exchange finally deciding on a bottle of wine, two finely etched glasses and a nice delicate smelling candle. She had gone well over the twenty-five dollar limit. It was a gift she would have loved to have gotten instead of that stupid carving knife. So what that it was a special carving knife in a self sharpening holder from Decadent Pets, I mean Decadent Chefs, she thought. You don't need a special self sharpening carving knife for take out boxes. Although Clark might have found it useful if she could ever find the darn thing.
This year she had a plan. She would pick her own gift or the one Clark had brought and if that failed she would ask Clark to peek for her so she would know which wrapped gift to choose. That'd work she had her ways of getting Clark to do what ever she wanted, within reason that is. This was definitely within reason.
Clark finally arrived and quickly filled his plate pulling over another chair as Jimmy moved his to make room for him next to Lois.
Polly stood up as everyone finished eating. We decided to do something a little different to add to the fun this year. She started handing out numbers as she spoke. "Each of you will be given a number from one to twenty-three. The person with number one gets to choose a gift and unwrap it. But here is where we have the fun, the person with number two can steal the opened gift or pick a new one to unwrap. If a person has their gift stolen then they get to choose another gift or steal an unwrapped gift but not the one just stolen from them. If a gift is stolen a second time that gift is frozen and no longer in jeopardy of being stolen. This continues until everyone has had a turn. Are there any questions?"
Lois looked at her number and smiled. It was number three. "What number did you get?" She asked Clark.
"Nineteen" He said showing her the little slip of paper. That made her smile even more, thinking that they had good positions at both ends of the spectrum.
Polly looked around the room. "If there aren't any questions we'll take a ten minute break to let you refill your drinks and do whatever you need to do then we'll start the game as soon as everyone gets back."
Lois immediately grabbed Clark's arm and directed him to their shared office. "Here's the plan. You look in all the packages and tell me which ones are the best options. That way we will end up with something good… and I don't want any cooking gadgets or gag gifts."
"Lois, I can't do that! Ah, it's cheating." He shrugged.
"Not even if I make it worth your wild." She smiled seductively then whispered in his ear, "Remember that lacy black number you like so much?" She snuggled up to him practically kissing his earlobe as she whispered the last part.
He smiled back. "How could I possibly forget that, but even so, I won't cheat for you."
"What if I spssssssss spppppppp" she whispered in his ear.
He turned and looked at her swallowing hard. "Sounds very tempting, but my answer is still no. If you want to cheat, you'll have to do it without my help. Just be happy with whatever you get. I think this sounds like it could be a lot of fun."
"Fine, will you at least go get me some coffee? At least I know I'll like that. Joyce from the Foods section made it."
Jimmy had gotten number one so he was the first to pick a gift. Opening it he smiled, "Gee, this is great. My girlfriend loves this cologne."
Lois looked at him like he was crazy. Why would he be happy he got a bottle of woman's cologne? Why would someone bring a gift like that anyway? Duh, unisex people, ever hear of it? She shook her head.
Bob, one of the sports writers was next. He chose the gift Lois had brought figuring it was the same thing she had brought last year and he was right.
Lois stood up. "My turn," she said and proceeded to grab Bob's gift.
Bob protested, "Wait you can't steal the gift you brought in. No fair."
"Sure I can. I don't remember Polly saying it wasn't allowed. Hand it over." Polly shrugged in sympathy. Clark and Richard both rolled their eyes knowing that the game was likely to get testy.
Handing the gift over Bob went back to the tree and found another gift that just by looking at it you could tell it was some kind of Wine. Sure enough it was two bottles of his favorite wine. Quite happy with the gift he sat down smiling again.
A couple more people had their turns then Frank from entertainment stood in front of Lois. "I'll take that please."
"No it's not but it is now." He said smiling as he took the prize.
Lois reluctantly stood up and went to the tree. Before she selected a new gift she turned and gave Clark a hopeful look. She put her hand on one of the gifts hoping he would give her a sign but all he did was shrug. He wasn't going to be any help. She looked over at Bob's wine. Could she really be that heartless? She looked back at the wrapped gifts. Finally deciding on the one Clark had brought in. He had good taste. After all he fell in love with her didn't he?
Opening it up she found the most intricate crystal angel she had ever seen. She wasn't really into such things but this was just beautiful. He had to have found it in Italy. She was already imagining just how it would look on the mantel right next to her…"
She looked up to see Francine from the Religion section standing in front of her blocking her view of the tree. "I'll take that if you don't mind."
It was right then and there that Lois decided she absolutely hated this game but she was even more determined to get something she would like. Seeing nothing she wanted to steal that was available she went back to the tree trying to remember which gift Richard had brought. He had good taste too as she remembered. Unfortunately she couldn't remember seeing him with a gift so ended up picking a gift she thought might have been his contribution. Opening it she found …house shoes…well they were unisex… but house shores? Sheesh I'm doomed she thought. Now it's all up to Clark to bring home something good.
Sitting the box of house shoes down by her chair she decided to go get some more coffee. At least that was good, darn good. She should talk to Perry about trying to get the food section moved up to their floor.
The game continued in her absence. Just as she was sitting back down Bobbie from the health and fitness section came over and asked to see the house shoes. Lois narrowed her eyes and complied, maybe she was back in the game after all.
"Hmmm, I've read about these." Bobbie said obviously interested in the shoes. "They're made of special materials and have let's see," reading she continued, "French lavender that, once heated stays warm for up to two hours after just two minutes of microwaving. Cool."
"Wait, what did that say?" Lois asked suddenly interested herself.
"Too late, they're mine now. Thanks Lois." Bobbie walked away with the house shoes still reading the box as she took her seat smiling.
Thought I would go ahead and post this in two parts since it's turning out to be longer than I had expected it to be. This story came to me today at my office Christmas party.
Ha ha. (I am not Lois but I do tend to end up with gifts I never use. I usually just ask if my sis-in-law wants it)