Twelve Pains of Christmas by: Tessa

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“I can’t believe the day after tomorrow is Christmas!” Andie said excitedly

“I can’t believe we have to babysit the new foreign exchange student.” Tatum muttered. She forced herself to smile “So, Emilia, how do you like America compared to, uh, where are you from?”

“France!” Emilia snapped “And I have found most Americans to be stupid, fat,and self absorbed. And so dishonest!”

“Well,” Joey said “sometimes honesty can be very overrated.”

“I’m feeling pretty good about myself right now.” Jen muttered

“Yeah, just how long do we have to hang out with her?” Abby asked

Tatum sighed “Only today, fortunately. So, what did you guys get for all your friends?”

“You first.” Joey said “What did you get for me?”

“Not telling!” Tatum giggled

“Well, it was worth a shot.” Joey laughed “What did you get for Pacey?”

“I’m not telling that either.” Tatum insisted “What did you get for Dawson?”

“Nothing yet.” Joey admitted “I don’t know what to get for him. I want it to be perfect.”

“Well, I have an idea.” Andie suggested “You could give him the *big* gift. And when I say the *big* gift you know what I mean, right?”

“We got it.” Tatum said

“And we *got* it.” Abby added

“I’m not even from this country and I got it.” Emilia said

* * * *

“Oh, God, could a day drag on any worse?” Tatum moaned as she and her friends walked through the door that afternoon. She fell face down on the couch “That foreign chick was such a bitch!”

“You think you know pain?” Pacey asked “Please, you should’ve seen the guy we had to hang out with.”

“A total jerk?” Andie asked

“No, he was totally nice.” Pacey said “His name’s Jose, and he’s from El Salvador, and he is so clueless!”

“Oh man. I am just so glad we are out of there for three weeks.” Tatum sighed

“I just want to lie here on this couch for the rest of the day.” the phone in the kitchen rang “I’ll get it!” Tatum jumped up and ran to answer the phone

“Hello? Yuh-huh. Oh, hi, Mrs. Morgan! Yeah, she’s right here, hold on.” she handed the phone to Abby “It’s your mom.”

Abby took the phone “Hi, mom. Yeah, I’m ok. Yeah, I’m having fun. When are you....oh, you aren’t going to make it home. Yeah, I know, you can’t control it. Ok, I love you, too, mom. Bye.” she hung up the phone “She’s not gonna be home in time for Christmas.”

“Oh, Abby, I’m sorry.” Tatum said “But you can spend Christmas with us.”

“Yeah, I know.” Abby sighed “But come on, how many of you have families who wouldn’t even be with you on Christmas?”

Tatum, Andie, Jen, and Pacey raised there hands “Welcome to our sad little world.” Tatum said

“Hey, come on you guys.” Joey said “We’ll have fun. I mean, Christmas is a time to spend quality time with people you care about. And we are going to do this one thing right, or we can just die trying.”

“You know something?” Jen asked “I’m with Joey. We can either sit around bitchin’ and moanin’ or we can try to make the best of it.”

“Bitchin and moanin’s easier.” Tatum muttered

* * * *

“I can’t believe it’s already Christmas Eve!” Tatum said as she and Joey entered the Burlington Mall the next day

“Neither can I.” Joey admitted

“Well, that’s just because Christmas is twelve hours away and you don’t have a present for your boyfriend.” Tatum reminded her

“Tate, do you want to make lame ass jokes or shut up and help me pick out a present for Dawson so we can get out of here before New Year’s Eve?”

Tatum thought for a second “You know what? Given the choices, I’ll help you out.”

“Good. Now, I need some ideas.” Joey said “What did you get for Pacey?”

“A framed picture of the two of us.” Tatum replied

“Going the cheapskate route?” Joey asked

“You’re forgetting, Josephine, that some of us don’t have jobs.” Tatum pointed out

“What have I told you about calling me that?” Joey said threateningly

“Oh quit being so sensitive and pick something!” Tatum moaned “Just get him a Dave Matthew’s Band CD or something and let’s go before we’re reported missing, ok?”

* * * *

“The snow’s really coming down out there.” Dawson observed

“Hmm. Maybe we’ll all be snowed in.” Tatum said

“That could be fun.” Andie agreed “As long as we’re not stuck here too long. If I had to spend more than two whole days with you guys I’d probably end up killing you all.”

“Aw, that’s sweet.” Joey said sarcastically

“I would love to be snowed in with you guys.” Pacey said. He grabbed Tatum around her waist and kissed her “Well, at least one of you.”

Tatum giggled and made a half-hearted effort to escape from her boyfriend’s embrace “Pacey! Not in front of the children!”

“Tate!” Abby yelled from the kitchen “You forgot about the cookies!”

“Oh shit!” Tatum shrieked. She ran into the kitchen and opened the oven door. Choking on the smoke, she pulled the burnt cookies out and dropped the tray in the sink “Shit!” she whined

“Oh, honey, you baked.” Pacey teased

“I tried.” Tatum said sadly

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.” Abby told her, grabbing a magazine and fanning the smoke detector to make it stop beeping. She coughed and opened a window to air out the kitchen

“Abby, you don’t have to do this.” Tatum said “I mean, you’re welcome to hang out with us if you want to, but don't you have some friends you’d rather be spending Christmas with?”

“Friends?” Abby repeated “Please. Unless you’re talking about a certain sitcom, the only friends I have that I can think of are, well, you guys.”

“Really?” Tatum asked

Abby nodded “Yeah. Really.”

“Oh, that is so nice!” Tatum squealed. She noticed the look on Abby’s face “What’s wrong?”

“Well, you just called me nice,” Abby explained “and I’m not having the same reaction to that word that I usually have. No rising bile in my throat, no gritting teeth. This is new.”

Pacey rolled his eyes “Oh my God. Are you two gonna do that chick thing where you cry and hug each other?”

“Watch yourself, pal, or I’ll send you back to your family to spend Christmas with them!” Tatum threatened

“I’ll be good.” Pacey whimpered

“Uh, kids?” Bessie said as she walked into the room “I don’t think anyone is gonna be going home tonight. The roads are pretty bad, so I think it would be best if you all called your parents and let them know.”

* * * *

“You know something?” Joey said “I think one of my favorite things about Christmas is eggnog. it’s so rich. So creamy. So festive.”

“So opaque.” Dawson added Joey laughed “Duh. Opaqueness is key.”

Across the room, Tatum screamed, then groaned “Jo, I’m warning you, if you hide one more fake spider in my glass-what are you laughing at, Andie?”

“What?” Andie asked as she doubled over “It’s funny!”

Tatum picked up a couch pillow and hit Andie over the head with it “No it’s not! What if she did it to you fifty times in a row?”

“Well it wouldn’t be so funny if she did it to one of us.” Abby explained “It’s funny when she does it to you!”

“You!’ Tatum groaned, trying not to laugh as she smacked Abby upside the head with the pillow. Abby picked up a pillow from one of the sleeping bags they had set up on the floor to defend herself. Andie quickly followed her example, and within seconds everyone had joined in. Several of the pillows burst, scattering feathers all over the room and everyone in it.

“What is going on in here?” Everyone stopped and turned around to see Bessie standing the doorway, gaping at the huge mess

“Hey, uh, geez,” Pacey stammered “um, will ya look at that? It’s snowing indoors. What are the odds of that?”

* * * *

“Sure looks cold out there.” Tatum said, looking out the window. She moved a little closer to Pacey “I’m glad I’m in here with you.” Pacey chuckled and kissed her.

“Ugh, spare us the tonsil hockey, ok?” Andie said “Although I have to agree, I’m thankful I’m not out there.”

“I’m thankful I’m with all the people I care about.” Joey added

“Wait a minute, don’t we do this ‘I’m thankful’ crap at Thanksgiving?” Tatum asked “

Yeah.” Abby said “But If I remember Thanksgiving correctly, you guys spent the holiday freezing your asses off while you were lost in the Berkshires, right? Not a fat load of stuff to be thankful for up there.”

“Well, I’m thankful that I’m alive.” Tatum said “Since I got here I’ve been in several situations that I never would have survived if I hadn’t had all of my wonderful friends by my side.” she smiled at Pacey “And on that note, I’m also thankful for my wonderful boyfriend.”

“Me too.” Joey added. Tatum gave her a look “I mean, I’m thankful for my wonderful boyfriend, not yours.”

“I’m thankful that I’ve got a chance to turn my life around.” Abby said “And I’m thankful that I’ve got you guys to help me.”

“Alright, enough of this mushy stuff!” Tatum groaned. She raised her eggnog glass “I propose a toast. Here’s to three weeks with no play rehearsal, no cheerleading practice, no football games, no homework, no tests, no cafeteria food and no Eurotrash foreign exchange students with bad attitudes!”

* * * *

Tatum yawned, rubbed her eyes and looked around the room at her friends. She looked out the window at a wall of snow. “Wow.” she whispered “Hey, Pacey! Wake up!”

“Whu? What time is it?” Pacey asked

Tatum checked her watch “9:20. Looks like we’re snowed in here.” she said, pointing out the window

“What’s going on?” Andie asked as she sat up on the floor

“It’s Christmas morning.” Pacey told her “And we’re snowed in.”

“No way!” Andie said as she joined them by the window “Cool.”

“Hey what’s all the noise about?” Bessie yawned as she walked into the room

“Take a look.” Tatum replied “Hey! Guys! Wake up, we’re gonna need some help shoveling!”

* * * *

“Geez, you ever seen anything like this?” Andie asked

Joey shook her head “Not like this.” she shrieked as a snowball hit the side of her head. She looked around to see who the culprit was “Dawson! Ok, you asked for it!” laughing, she picked up some snow and hurled it at Dawson.

“Ow! Hey, there was a rock in that!” Dawson told her “Oh you are going down.”

“Right.” Joey giggled as she charged at Dawson and shoved him backwards into the snow. Dawson pulled her close and kissed her

Tatum rolled her eyes “Well, at least they’re helping each other stay warm.” she turned to Pacey “You know, all things considered, I’m thinking this may be my best Christmas ever.”

“Considering my track record,” Pacey told her “I think it may be my best,too.”

Tatum laughed “Let’s make a pact. Promise that we’ll be together next year, too, and it’ll be even better.”

Pacey pulled her close and kissed her forehead “I promise.”

* * * *

Part 14 coming soon!

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