Caera has been in Jonathan’s service for almost a year when it is time to celebrate Christmas, so she decides to hide a small gift as a token of appreciation in his dresser.
Based on my characters Caera and Jonathan from my current vampire NA grimdark fantasy WIP “Escape the Night”.
A/N: Yes. I know, I am late with this, but I love my characters so much that I spent days thinking about what kind of gifts they would give each other.
If you celebrate(d) Christmas, I hope you had a lovely holiday.
And even if you don’t celebrate, I hope you enjoy this AU anyway!
Caera took a deep breath as she pushed the door open and reached into the slit in her apron.
Her mission was simple: Get in, hide the gift, get out.
But when she entered, she found Jonathan on his bed. He turned to her when he heard her enter and taxed her with piercing eyes. “Caera, what happened to knocking?” he scolded her, and Caera’s first instinct was to pull her hand out of her apron, but the bulge the wrapped gift created was probably still visible.
“Uh,” she hummed and hawed before she collected her wits and curtsied clumsily. “My apologies, Jonathan,” she mumbled. He had asked her to abandon his title months ago, and yet, almost a year later, she still felt strange calling him by his actual name. “I forget myself. I must be honest, I didn’t think you would be here.”
His face lit up with laughter as he curled a finger at her to beckon her close. “And where pray tell, Caera, did you think I’d be? This is my bedroom, after all.”
She shook her head. “I was just-” she started and took a deep breath, “hoping you wouldn’t be here because I meant to hide this in here.” She reached into her apron and held the gift out to him. “Happy Christmas?” she offered weakly, more a question than a statement – which made him laugh as his gaze shifted from her face to the little bundle in her hand.
“This is for me?” he questioned. ‘
“Aye?” she returned, thrusting it against his chest.
“Did you spend your wage on this?” he asked, one hand reaching for her cheek while the other held on to the gift.
“Good. I’d rather you didn’t spend the money I give you on me.” He smiled at her and sat the gift on his lap, quickly undoing the bow and pulling the cloth apart.
“Did you-” he started, lifting the handkerchief from the makeshift towel-wrap. “This is our family crest.”
“These are lovely, Caera.”
“I’m glad you like them. I was going to sneak them between your jackets, but-”
He laughed again. “You don’t have to be scared of giving me things, Caera, but please never feel obligated to do it at all. You already work for me, and the fact that you do as I ask is a gift enough.”
“Embroidered handkerchiefs are nice, though, and I enjoyed making these for you. It’s a pleasure.”
He chuckled and pulled her close, pressing a kiss to her forehead. She blushed.
“Actually,” he said, reaching under his bed to pull out a box, “I have something for you too. Happy Christmas.”
“You don’t have to-”
“Nonsense,” he cut her off. “Open it. Go on.”
Caera gingerly accepted the box and lifted the lid, only to find a new pair of boots inside, together with her a simple fountain pen and a few colorful bundles of embroidery yarn. She almost dropped the box. “Those are very nice shoes.”
Again, Jonathan chuckled.
Caera bit her lip as she carefully lifted the fountain pen from the box and turned it in her hand before putting it back inside. “Thank you. These are wonderful, truly.”
“I’m glad you like them. And I shall be glad to have you wear proper shoes in the future.”
“I shall put them on right away, then.”
“Oh, please,” Jonathan said lightly, gesturing to the chair in the corner.
Caera sat, and pulled the shoes from the box, only to find a stump of sealing wax and a wax seal under them. “There’s more.”
“I know. I believe Inga will have a pouch for you, and I would like you to carry these with you. Since you can write, you might as well do so.”
Caera reached for the wax stamp. “Your crest. This is-”
“An official stamp, yes. You will find a use for it once the summer comes and I will send you for errands with Alastair.”
Caera inhaled and put the stamp aside, busying herself with the laces of her new boots. “Now I feel like I should have embroidered more things to make up for all this,” she mumbled.
“I doubt that your efforts with the needle would match the value of coin, Caera, but you mustn’t be upset, I enjoy seeing you smile.”
He waited until she’d put on the shoes, only to nod at them approvingly. “Better already.”
This time, it was Caera who laughed.