Forty-Four: Reunited Again †

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In the days that followed which altered into a week and a bit, I was relentlessly texting Jason.

Only a few times did we actually speak on the phone as in a call, but he was busy doing his English homework so I respected that decision to speak as minimal on the phone as possible. I had yet to complete my Psychology homework, but I was getting there with the report. I had done three pages already but I was barely half way through. He wasn't kidding when he said five pages would be easy.

Mom, Dad and I had all exchanged presents. I gave them a few bits and bobs like a top or shoes as well as a journal for my dad – he was very fond of them – and a few books for my mom to read. I even got Dad a book on people who ramble and what it tells you about them.

"This is perfect," he articulated, "just what I need. Oh, it says here we're very excitable people." And with that, he soon became immersed in that book for the rest of the day.

Mom merely rolled her eyes. "Just what he needs – become more excitable," she murmured, an amused smile flickering on her face.

My parents got me some new brightly coloured laces for my Nike trainers as well as an official track coat for the cold weather. It hadn't even snowed here in England but it wasn't far off, I perceived. It was utterly freezing. The amount of layers I had to wear in the mornings because our heating wasn't on was unbelievable. Mercifully, when my parents came back from work in the evenings, they put the heating on straight away.

Mom and Dad did give me a bit of freedom in the days they were at work. They let me amble around London and do a little bit of shopping if it was necessary. They didn't give me extra money, only the money I brought back to exchange to English currency so I could buy a few things to take back. Needless to say, a Christmas present for Jason was top on my list.

It was quite tricky trying to find something to buy him until I came to a writer's shop in the heart of London. Feeling like I had abruptly stumbled across hidden treasure, I freely walked in without a second's hesitation. There was no one else in except the two people behind the counter, wearing identical outfits.

"Can I help you?" asked the woman, immediately marching away from the man she was chattering to.

"I'm looking for a present," I said, "it's not for me, no. My friend – he's studying Creative Writing English in college but in America which is where I go, so I thought I could get him something from here. I hadn't brought him a Christmas present yet." I was absent-mindedly fumbling with the necklace around my neck as I spoke.

The worker nodded, her blonde pixie cut bouncing. "Okay, well, we have a range of journals for him or special, extravagant pens."

When she noticed I was contorting my face, thinking a journal and a pen was too much of a simple present for Jason, she gesticulated over to the corner where there were a range of books to help you improve your own writing.

"If he's looking to start a career in writing, something like one of these would be good for him," she offered. "I'll leave you to look around." She stalked back to her co-worker behind the desk and sat down, engaging in a conversation almost instantaneously.

101 Ways to Improve Your Writing was the only book that seemed somewhat appropriate for Jason because the others were about publishing and trying to write your first novel but it seemed Jason had already accomplished that.

In the end, I settled for 101 Ways to Improve Your Writing, a new fancy journal and I thought I'd buy him some sweets from a sweet shop. Surprisingly, it wasn't as expensive as what he probably paid for my necklace so I thought I'd be safe doing this for him.

When I got home that day, Mom and Dad were already sitting on the sofa drinking a glass of red wine each. They turned their heads to see me coming and I tried to conceal the bag behind me. But Mom was quicker than I anticipated so with a smile, she gesticulated to what I was endeavouring to mask.

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