“Bella! This is going to be the most amazing day ever; I can feel it!” Alice, my best friend, chimed from her seat to my left.
Today, at Empire State Academy in New York, was the most feared day of my existence. Today was Secret Santa Day. Our school thought that it would be a great bonding idea for the entire student body to have a secret santa that they had to buy gifts for, even if it were just one. Then, even worse than this whole holiday idea, the secret would be revealed at the Winter Break Dance.
It’s not that I was averse to the holidays, because I happened to love Christmas and everything that came with it. I just didn’t enjoy having to buy gifts for someone I could possibly not know, and hope that they didn’t think that my gifts were lame. Happy Holidays, Bella.
“Alice,” I groaned, “What happens if I get some awkward freshman boy that only likes Hot Wheels or something? And what if he expects me to dance with him? You know I don’t dance!”
“But there is also the chance that you could get Edward, so stop complaining and just suck it up!” She ordered while stuffing the last fry from her lunch tray into her mouth.
I was just about to say something to her for even suggesting that Edward Cullen would want me to be his Secret Santa when we were interrupted by Jessica Stanley, who just so happened to be carrying the bag with all of the names.
“Hey guys, anything good happen today that I didn’t hear about? What am I saying, not likely!” She cackled. Jessica was the biggest gossip in the school, and anything that was said to her had the opportunity to be misconstrued and then spread around to the entire student body, all before third period.
“Jess, can we just pick our names and get this over with?” I asked, hoping that my avoidance of her questions would go unnoticed.
“Why Bella, what’s the rush? Is there someone particular you want to pull?” she asked, and her eyes lit up with the prospect of a new story. She was so working for E! News when she graduates.
Alice, fed up with the game that Jessica was playing, snatched the red stocking out of her hand, reached in, and pulled a name before stuffing it in her pocket.
“Aren’t you even going to tell me who you got?” Jess whined, pouting.
“Where would be the secret in that?” Alice replied, and then handed me the stocking so I could pick my own.
I reached in and swirled my hand around, hoping that the Secret Santa gods would be merciful and just hand me someone I at least knew. Finally, I pulled a name and silently handed Jessica back her stocking, keeping the secret hidden away in my closed fist. When she realized that we weren’t going to provide her with any bit of gossip today, she huffed and continued on to the next table.
“Okay, on the count of three, we both need to look at our names, and then show each other. One...two…three!”
As soon as Alice reached three, I opened my hand, and then my heart stopped. I looked over at Alice, who was in the process of reading her name as well.
“I got Emmett McCarthy. Hard, but not impossible to shop for. Who did you get, Bells?”
I showed her my slip, and as soon as her eyes glossed over the name on the tag, the biggest grin broke out over her face.
“I knew it! I knew it! Didn’t I tell you that this was going to be an amazing day? Never doubt me, Bella, I’m always right!”
I looked down again at the slip of paper in my hand, and then felt a huge grin break across my face. Maybe this was my chance! Mine had the words Edward Cullen written in bold.
“Dude! Did you watch the end of that game last night? There was five seconds left, and they scored the goal! Jasper, where’s my five bucks?”
I was half listening to my two best friends drone on about the hockey game that was on last night. I had more important things on my mind, like the pretty brunette that was sitting with her spiky-haired friend a few tables over.
Bella Swan caught my eye freshman year when we were partners in biology, but I never had the guts to tell her how I felt about her. Now, here we were during junior year, and I still didn’t have the balls to just talk to her and ask her out.
I saw Jazz motion to me out of the corner of my eye, and I was about to ask him what was up when Jessica Stanley thrust herself into my line of vision. I almost fell out of my seat just trying to get away from her.
“Heyyyy Edward,” she purred in what she probably thought was an alluring voice, but it really just sounded like she needed to cough. “How are you? Are you looking forward to the holidays? I know I’m just hoping for someone special to meet me under the mistletoe.” She winked at me, and I shuddered.
Jessica had been pining after me for as long as I can remember. I never even gave it any thought until a couple months ago when she cornered me in the hallway on my way to math class, asking me to meet her in the janitor’s closet in five minutes. It was needless to say that I ran to class and avoided her like the plague ever since.
I heard Emmett and Jasper snicker and I took a deep breath, trying to come up with a short response to get her away from me as fast as possible.
“Hey, is that the secret santa bag? Can we pick our names?” I asked casually, hoping that she would take the hint and leave soon.
I almost felt bad when her face fell, but she recovered just as fast, but the smile on her face was just a little forced. “Yeah, of coarse, here.” She thrust the bag in our direction, and we each took a turn picking a name. After we were done, she tossed another flirty smile in our direction and pranced off.
It took Em about two seconds to burst out laughing. It didn’t take me and Jazz long to join in, and we laughed about the ridiculousness of the situation that I was just in.
“Guys, we haven’t even seen who we have for secret santa. Don’t you think we should check?” I asked, bringing all of us back into reality.
Emmett looked at his and grimaced. He showed it to us, and Lauren Mallory was written on the little tag.
“Damn man, that kinda sucks,” Jazz said, an apologetic look on his face. I just shook my head and laughed. Getting anyone from Tanya’s posse was enough to make anyone cry.
Jasper showed us his and Bree Tanner was written. At least his pick was just a normal sophomore girl that wouldn’t latch onto him at the end of this whole thing.
“Eddie-kins, we don’t have eighty years, show us yours already!” Emmett huffed impatiently.
I rolled my eyes at him, and then made a big show of opening my fist slowly, wanting to piss him off even more. When he went to grab it from me, I decided to just show them.
I saw their excited grins first, and then looked for myself to see Bella Swan on my sheet. I looked at it three more times before it finally sunk in. This must be some freaky kind of fate or something, because there is no way that I would just stumble upon her name.
I glanced over to where she was sitting, and a goofy smile found its way onto my face. I began to formulate a plan on how I was going to work this to my advantage. My gifts had to have some type of meaning, because I really wanted to be able to tell her how I felt about her by the time the dance came around.
Let the holiday season begin!