"I don't like Chez Carraway. Why couldn't we go to Applebee's?" Pat whined as Alexa drove to the perfectly fine, fancy restaurant.
"Because it's a double date, sweetheart. Double dates are supposed to be nice."
"Can't they just be casual?"
"Says the man that was dying to wear nail polish."
"Hey. I have to wear it. It was for cheap."
"But it's pink."
"It's not pink. It's salmon."

"Gross," she said, keeping her eyes on the road.

"You just passed the restaurant," Pat said suddenly.
"Yes, you did."
"No I didn't. Look, we're here," she announced. "And their car's here too."

Alexa parked the car. She pulled out her makeup kit and started applying a little extra blush.
"Can I have some, too?" Pat asked.
"No, men don't wear blush."
"There's nothing wrong with me wanting to have a healthy glow."
"No. Let's go." Alexa flung the car door open, and they both made their way into the restaurant.

"I don't like this place," he murmured immediately.
"Don't shush me."

Alexa scowled at him before transforming her expression into a beaming smile. Kayla was here - and Bernard was, too! "Eeeeeeeeeek!" she squealed.

Kayla stood up and hugged Alexa. "Eeeeeeeeek!" she exclaimed as well.
She turned and looked at Bernard, hitting him on the shoulder. "Stand up. Be polite."

"No," he mouthed. "He's weird."
"Do it."
"Fine. Hi," he said flatly.
"Hi," Pat replied, looking away.

"Hey Pat, you play guitar, right? Bernard makes guitars." Kayla smiled.
"No, I don't. The elves make those. I'm head elf." Bernard said.
Kayla glared at him. "Shut up."

Pat broke into a snicker. "I can't believe he said that with a straight face."
"What did you just say?"
"I mean, you're talking about Santa's elves like- like- it's everyday or something."
"It is. For me."

"I mean, Santa isn't REAL. That's all."

Alexa, Kayla, and Bernard all gasped at the same time.

"Y-you're kidding. Santa's real."
"No, we're not," Bernard said condescendingly.
Pat blinked, as if processing everything he'd just learned. "I- I can't. I can't with you people."
"If you can't, leave. We wouldn't mind." Bernard smiled.
"Thank you."
He turned around, but Alexa grabbed his arm. "No, you're not leaving. I didn't make these reservation so you could storm out."


"Sit down. Now."

"So Bernard, tell them about the North Pole." Kayla began quickly.

"It's stressful." Bernard responded.

"Because you make it stressful."

No. Things need to get done."
"True," Alexa said. "You are responsible for making every kid in the world happy."
"Isn't he just a charitable soul," Pat said bitterly.
"Yes. And you just don't understand the meaning of Christmas," she replied.

"Are we serious right now?"

"Stop being rude."

"I'm not being rude, just stating facts."

"Hey guys, let's talk about something else." Kayla said.

"I don't want to talk to you guys anymore." Pat pouted.

"Please don't make me stay here." Bernard said to Kayla.

"You're staying here until I say you can leave."
"That's illegal."
"Your behavior should be illegal."

"You have a line for everything," Bernard sighed, crossing his arms.
"So!" Alexa chirped. "Pat, why don't you tell him what you do for a living."
"I know," Bernard replied. "He's a professional loser. I mean guitarist."

"Bernard! That's not polite. You don't expect Pat to make fun of your job, don't make fun of his." Kayla scolded.

"Seriously, what idiot makes a living playing guitar?"

"What idiot makes a living as head elf in the North Pole?" Kayla glared.

"Now that's what I'm saying," Pat grinned. "How does that even work? Does he pay you in cookies or something?"
"I mean, he gets all those cookies and milk. He can't eat all that by himself."
"You're kidding me."

"Or is there a special North Pole currency?"

"Hey guys, let's order food." Alexa said.

"I think Bernard wants the North Pole cookies and milk special." Pat smiled.

"No, actually, I'd like the shrimp with the, uh-" he mumbled "-sauce."
"The what sauce?" the waiter asked.
"The sntf sauce."
"The Santa Fe sauce," Kayla pronounced.
"Ha! Santa Fe," Pat snorted.

Bernard only glared. "And I'm sure you'd like some string beans with whatever it is you're eating."
"That was the worst comeback ever. But no."
"It's okay. Bernard's not from around here," Kayla sighed.
"I can tell."

"Please calm down," Alexa pleaded. "I'm trying to make an order here."

"I don't even feel like eating. You guys are making me mad." Kayla said.
"I'm not sure what I want." Alexa said.
"Stop being indecisive, just order." Pat complained.

"Stop telling me what to do!" Alexa snapped.
"No! Hurry up!"
"I can't think when you're yelling at me!"
"Hurry. UP!"

The waiter looked confused. "What ki-"

"And how-"

Kayla frowned and tossed her menu down on the table. "I'll have whatever Alexa's having." she snapped.
"But you-" Bernard began.
"I don't care anymore, okay? It doesn't matter!" Kayla pouted.

"You don't eat meat," he mumbled.
"What did you just say?"
"I thought so."

The waiter looked scared as she scribbled down the orders and scurried away.
"You see what you did now, Bernard? You scared her." Kayla scolded.
"Yeah, Bernard." Pat smiled.

"Pat started it."
"No, you started it with your stupid North Pole act."
"I can't deal with this. I need to go to the bathroom," Alexa huffed.
"Ew! Don't announce that," Pat said.
"You don't know what the bathroom means for girls."

"Whatever." Alexa stood up and stormed off.
There was an awkward silence at the table.
"So how have things been, Pat?" Kayla asked.

"Care to expand?"

"Sure. I've been writing for a new album-"
"About what? How can you work on something if you don't have words with your songs?" Bernard snapped.
"You can't write anything if there aren't any words."
"Um, you can write the music. Ever think of that?"

"But it doesn't mean anything if you don't have words."
"Excuse me, but my music is very meaningful."
"Doubt it."
Kayla sighed and stood up. "Alright, I'm done."
"Where are you going?" Bernard asked.

"What? You need to pee?"
"Oh my g- just shut up."
"I was just-"

"I'M DONE! I'm done."

Kayla stormed off.
"They get mad so easily." Bernard noted, taking a sip of his drink.

"I seriously do wonder sometimes what they do in the bathroom. They stay in there for hours." Pat responded.

"One time Kayla stayed in the bathroom for a whole day."
"A whole day?!"
"More like thirty minutes. I had to yell at her to come back."
"That's terrifying."

"I think they put on makeup and stuff."
"They wear makeup?"
"Yeah, of course. A million pounds of it."
"Oh, I can't tell."

"Of course you can't. You probably wear it."
"What makes you say that?" Pat said, raising an eyebrow.
"You have that weird glow. And your nails look girly."
"What?! I have to wear it. I got it for cheap."

"No wonder Alexa gets mad easily."
"Excuse me?"
"I said, no wonder Alexa gets mad so easily."
"No, I know, I heard you."

"Yeah, I know. I'm trying to get it into your head. You need to stop wearing makeup."
"I onl- I don't."
"You only what?"
"I only wear a little bit," he mumbled. "To cover the wrinkles."
"Oh, right. Because you're really old."

"You're older than me."
"Yeah, but I'm in a younger body. You look old."
"It's not my fault."
"Yes, it is."

"What? Is there some special magical Santa Claus cure I don't know about?"
"Maybe. I'm just saying you're too old for anyone here."
"And you're too much of a brat."
"And at least I don't have that hair. Seriously, you're not a girl."
"The fact that you're insulting my appearance is really telling, Bernie."

"Nobody calls me Bernie. Including you."

"I'm so sorry to offend you, Bernie."

"That's okay, Patty, I already knew you were a jerkwad."
"Jerkwad? PATTY?!" With that, he lunged forward, ready to grab Bernard by the throat.
But, as fate had it, he wouldn't get that far. Before he could reach forward, the girls walked back.
"Hi," they chirped.
Pat shuffled back into his seat. "Hi," he said, grimacing.