My True Love Gave To Me (2017)

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It's not that Noelle hates Christmas, she just... doesn't do it. And being an elf at Santa's Grotto might pay well, but it's definitely not her idea of festive fun. When she starts sharing shifts with fellow elf Klaus, he's determined to make her believe in Christmas. And maybe, just maybe, she will.

 And maybe, just maybe, she will

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"So," I say, shifting my weight onto my back leg and crossing my arms. I narrow my eyes at the newest recruit. His nametag says 'Klaus'. "Who did you piss off?"

"Huh?"

"To end up here. Who'd you piss off?"

"Nobody." The poor sap looks so confused. That's when I realise he must've volunteered for the position. Good God. "They said there was a position open. It's good pay."

That is the only redeeming feature. This has got to be the worst job going, but the pay makes it almost worth it. It's almost double what I was getting when I was stuck in the stockroom last month.

The toy store down the street got someone to dress up as a reindeer earlier this week. When the department store realised they were missing a trick, they set up Santa's Grotto at the front of the store. It's a huge charity promotion, and it draws the parents in. Sales are up.

That's great for the store. Not so great for me, stuck working long hours surrounded by excited, hyper little kids and weary, stressed out parents. Or worse: grumpy older siblings, stuck bringing their little brother or sister along to see Santa when they'd rather be doing like, literally anything else.

I sympathise. I'd rather be doing literally anything else, too.

In all fairness, the Grotto does look pretty spectacular. Everything glitters and sparkles and it looks vintage and cute and authentic.

Almost makes me wish I liked Christmas more.

"Who'd you piss off, then?" the guy asks me.

"The, er..." I laugh awkwardly, rubbing the back of my neck. Everyone knows, but I haven't exactly had to tell anyone outright. But this guy is new. He doesn't know the lie of the land. "So the manager in my department – I was working in shoes – was my ex's older sister. Nasty breakup. She stuck me in the stockroom. I complained about it to HR, and ended up here."

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