Working at an office could get boring, or monotonous at times, but hey it paid the bills. Cubicles confined co-workers to their own little space, and once five o’clock hit most went on their way home. Few people actually wanted to hang out or grab drinks afterward. Ho ho ho well this year at Zordon’s Inc things would be different. Regional Manager, Mr. Alpha, wanted to build up his team by going all out for the holidays. Decorations for every winter holiday under the sun to keep it as “PC” as possible. The office looked like a complete and utter hodge podge of colors, but everyone could appreciate that he was trying.
With an initiative to get his departments talking more, he decided to do an office secret santa! People getting one another generic gifts for the spirit of the holiday. What could go wrong? He didn’t call it Secret Santa, but, the phrase was quickly hijacked away from him by his employees. Mr. Alpha even made his own special little sheets for each person to write down a couple of suggestions to what they’d like, just so whoever pulled them weren’t going in blind. He sent his head of marketing, Kimberly Hart, off to collect said names in a non-denominational frosty the snowman hat, aka; a top hat.
Kimberly came around to Trini’s office, the accountant was too busy looking at a spreadsheet to even realize her co-worker had left out her sheet to fill out. “Hey” Trini turned to the sound of the voice, frowning in confusion when she saw someone from marketing in her cubicle. “What do you want for secret santa?”
Trini blinked, what did she want for the holiday gift exchange? Suddenly she was at a loss for words, Kimberly Hart from marketing was talking to her and her mind went totally blank. What the hell did she even like? Trying to save face, Trini filled out the top of three lines with a single word and passed it to the other young woman.
Kimberly plucked the piece of paper from Trini’s hand, a curious brow raised when she read what the other girl put down. “Mug” She eyed past the account to see that she already had a mug sitting right beside her. A cute little yellow mug. “You have one”
“I love cups” Trini mentally was slapping herself, wishing that this was a dream, that she didn’t just say. I love cups to the girl she had a crush on. Ugh. Trini was such a sucker for Kimberly, especially after she had gotten a haircut and a bit of a wardrobe makeover. ...Now she was totally blowing it. The dorky accountant with a pension for math so didn’t have a shot with head of marketing Kimberly Hart.
When people said these kind of clique’s ended after high school, they were full of shit. Kimberly was 100% out of Trini’s league.
“Good to know” Whatever. Kimberly didn’t give it much thought, she put it in the top hat and went onto the next cubicle to get Billy’s list.
Fate could be so cruel. Kimberly Hart was not thrilled to pull Trini Gomez’s name from the hat. Mug. All she had to work with was the word mug. Seriously? She had spent so much time carefully picking out what lotions she would like from Bath and Bodyworks, books she wanted to read or a movie to buy as a safety. Nope. Mug. M-U-G.
After work she had drinks with her best friends, Zack Taylor and Amanda Clark from the sales department. She needed a good old fashioned martini after a day like this. Mr. Alpha put her in charge of planning the company’s holiday party. As if she didn’t have a social life of her own?
“Mug” Kimberly muttered, spitefully into her martini glass.
Amanda’s eyes widened as she watched her best friend from high school down a drink and set it onto the bar like a sailor coming back to port. “...And here I thought you were depressed over the Tommy thing”
Kimberly closed her eyes, she did not need to be reminded of her ex. Not when she had to buy a secret santa present. Kimberly was known for her great gift giving abilities. She was so proud when she made her mother cry two years ago. It meant she was doing something right. Now she was tasked with the vaguest nearly impossible task.
“That’s why she needed the therapeutic chop” Zack chuckled, using a hand to motion one swift cut of where Kimberly’s hair used to be. “She pulled Trini for secret santa”
The blonde had to take a moment to pause, who the hell was that? Zack could see the gears struggling to turn, “In accounting. Yay tall” He put his hand up, “Kinda quiet, always wearing headphones”
“Oh! Didi!” It finally clicked for Amanda, well, it sort of clicked for the blonde. “Mm, she’s quiet, but one time she gave me a granola bar so…” She shrugged, “Seems cool to me”
“Who did you two get?”
“That sort of defeats the purpose of secret santa” Zack’s smile was ever so sweet, for him, it was totally fun watching Kimberly squirm. “But if you must know. I got Jason Scott” A fellow salesman, “I’m just going to get him a hefty gift card...what can I say the man loves hot sandwiches so, it’s a no brainer”
“It’s boring is what it is” Kimberly frowned, “And lazy” To her a gift card was so impersonal, it didn’t take Zack much time or thought into getting that present.
“Yeah, but he’ll use it and get what he wants” Zack shrugged his shoulders, he didn’t see the big deal about it, “I’d rather someone have a practical gift, then something they’ll never use”
“Well, I got Billy Cranston” Amanda pulled out her little sheet and flattened it out on the bar, “I didn’t realize how openly kinky he is. I mean he’s into dungeons and dragons”
Kimberly and Zack both had to take a moments pause, as if wondering if they were both hearing that correctly. Zack raised his hand enough to silently tell Kimberly that he’d be taking this one, “It’s a role playing game”
“Not…” Kimberly held the bridge of her nose, “Not that kind of role playing” She had to sigh, taking out her cellphone to find a twenty sided die waffle maker, “Just get him this and call it a day”
“Oh” Amanda shrugged her shoulders, taking Kimberly’s phone so she could be sent the link, “God, I wish you were my secret santa, you figured that out in seconds”
“I am the best” Kimberly had to agree, it was why Trini’s stupid list was starting to stump her.
“So what’re you going to do?” Zack asked, “I still think you should just get a gift card and call it a day”
“Cop out” She refused to cop out, no. If Trini wanted a mug for Christmas, Kimberly was going to get her the best fucking mug she’d ever experience. All she needed to do was a little more research.
Kimberly didn’t know who Trini was close with, who her friends were, so she went with trying to pump information out of the person who physically worked the closest to her every day. Billy Cranston, master accountant. Kimberly invited him out for lunch, a place to make him feel comfortable and safe, secret ...Kim knew what buttons to push, she could get information out of anyone. Billy enthusiastically agreed, free meal and the company of a pretty girl? That was a no brainer for him.
“...So…” Kimberly drawled out, taking a long sip out of her slurpee straw. For whatever reason, when given the chance to pick from anywhere Billy chose the local Burger King.
“You got Trini for secret santa and don’t know what to do about it” How the hell? Billy bit off the top of his chicken fry, pointing the rest in her direction, “A pretty girl doesn’t ask a guy like me to lunch unless she wants something”
“...Right, well, that’s awkward”
Billy rubbed his chin in thought, “Why wouldn’t you just trade?” Like pokemon cards at a school yard? No way.
“I like a challenge” Kimberly shrugged, coming off cooler than she was feeling in this Burger King tonight.
“What’s on her list? Shouldn’t that have given you enough?”
“Mug” Billy nodded his head, anticipating the other two things on the list, “That’s it. That’s all she gave me” Kimberly drew and invisible line with her finger in the air, “Mug”
The accountant rubbed the top of his head, “Woo” That was vague, “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I do love me a good cup” The young man was stumped, so much so that he had to stop eating and fold his arms, “What kind of mug? Collectors? Travel style? Frozen? Stiner? Tall? Short? One round enough to eat cereal in?”
“Now you see my problem.” Kimberly sighed, “I need to work with something. Do you know what her house is?”
“Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?” Nerd alert.
“Mmm, no, too personal if you get wrong” Billy had to chuckle, “Could you imagine giving a Stark Lannister gear?” How…..awful? Kimberly didn’t speak HBO.
“What about her favorite Disney movie? Favorite disney princess?”
The accountant had to shrug, “I’d take her as more Dreamworks than Disney” What?
Kimberly sighed, resting her head back, maybe she was going about this the wrong way. “Do you have anything I can use?”
“I know that she doesn’t actually drink coffee. She’s a big hot chocolate drinker” Billy nodded his head, “When she’s stressed she pops K-cups like crazy...and then has to get up extra times to use the restroom”
...Well...she didn’t leave this lunch empty handed. That information could be pivotal.
Kimberly thought that maybe her nightly yoga class would help herself get in the zen. Maybe if she thought too hard on the subject she’d be forcing ideas, rather then letting them flow naturally to her.
Mugs, mugs, mugs. She swore these damn cups were going to haunt her dreams at this rate.
When Kimberly exited class, she spotted something curious. Trini and Jason were in the weight room with one another, chatting it up...were...holy shit. Jason and Trini were friends? This right here was her key to secret santa! Like a proper stalker she waited until Trini had left the gym and waited to corner Jason in a more appropriate area...the snack bar. Zack was right, Jason was an absolute sucker for a hot sandwich.
“Jason, hi!” Kimberly was super refreshed from her yoga, while Jason...well...he looked sweaty gross and exhausted from his weight training. Mental note. No friendly hug today. “Crazy seeing you here”
“Hey Kim” The boy nodded his head, listening to her, but reading the specials menu nevertheless. “I think I’m going to go with a meatball sub today, what’re you getting?”
“Um” She glanced up at the menu and rattled off the first thing she could read, “Chicken wrap” Kimberly had to do a double take, this place was charging how much? Stay focused on the mission, “I didn’t realize you and Trini were so close”
“Oh she kicks my ass” Jason admitted rubbing the back of his neck, “We come to the gym to keep each other motivated” The salesman chuckled, “My new years resolution was to lose 15 pounds and Trini’s helped me reach that goal...so...she’s awesome”
“So...would you say she’s really into fitness?”
Jason scoffed out a laugh, “Have you seen her in leggings?” He paused, rubbing the back of his neck, “She played soccer in college”
Sports. How could she be so stupid and not ask about a team. “Ah what else does Trini like?”
The salesman took in a deep breath, the person in front of them in line received their food and boy did it smell delicious. It was starting to make him rethink his meatball sub dinner choice. He barely registered the question he was so hungry, “You” He replied without thinking, then stepping up to say, “Hi, I’d like whatever he just got”
When he turned to Kimberly he noted quickly that she was staring at him as if he had grown an extra head. “What?” Oh he done something wrong. His eyes widened, he wasn’t sure what he was more afraid of, Kimberly freaking out on him or Trini kicking his ass. “You said what...shit I thought you said who” He ran a hand through his hair, “You did not hear this from me” All he wanted was a hot sandwich.
This was not what Kimberly was expecting, not in the slightest.
That very night Kimberly sat at her apartment, opening her computer up to do a different kind of recon. It was only natural to want to know more about a person after learning that she was wanted. Searching for what Trini liked suddenly became more... interesting, the stakes for getting a great secret santa present had never been higher. Then again, Kimberly wanted to know if this was someone she could see herself being with.
Phase two of operation recon. Obviously talking to those around her wasn’t getting her anywhere helpful so she took to creeping on her social media. Unfortunately she wasn’t friends with her on facebook...so she had to go to the next best thing, finding her instagram. A public instagram, perfect. She honestly should have resorted to the internet much sooner.
Trini kept to herself at her cubicle at work, her personal life tucked away elsewhere. Kimberly was so busy off in her own department that she never really took the time to notice who was right around the corner. Trini took a lot of photos at the gym, and boy, Kimberly was shallow enough in that moment to want to call her up and ask her out there. Fuck, this girl was hiding a set of abs to kill for. Jason was not kidding. The former athlete definitely kept up with her workout routine after her college days.
She supposed she had to look into the more substantial qualities in a partner. Kimberly had to admit, that only going after someone based on looks got her into trouble in the past. Her high school boyfriend Ty Flemming, her college girlfriend Gia Moran...Tommy Oliver...it was time to move on.
Trini enjoyed taking pictures outside, going on nature hikes and camping out in the mountains. She looked like she loved being outside, away from the monotonous day to day life inside of her cubicle. Trini took pictures from live music shows, of plates of food from new recipes she had made. How did this girl not have a girlfriend by now?
Kimberly decided right then and there what she was going to do for Trini’s secret santa...but while she was on instagram it couldn’t hurt to check up on her ex’s...just for old times sake.
It was finally the day of the office secret santa party, Kimberly had special ordered a mug for the accountant. Trini had opened her present to see a blank white mug, and a box of different hot chocolate k-cups to try. A bit more gourmet for her pallet. She awkwardly thanked Kimberly with a smile, the blank mug was still beyond her.
“Should’ve bought a giftcard” Zack hummed lowly, only to get elbowed in the ribs. Trini didn’t understand the full present yet.
Though, Kimberly was not a patient girl, not in the slightest. A day had gone by and she hadn’t heard anything from Trini. Surely she found the secret of the gift she had given by now? Another day, and another day, until Kimberly was finally so annoyed of Trini’s lack of interest that she went to the accountants cubicle directly. There Trini was, drinking out of her yellow mug like a little asshole, Kimberly’s white mug gift still sitting on the corner of her desk.
“You haven’t used your gift” Kimberly smiled, trying her best not to come off as hurt. Trini was sure using those god damn k-cups.
“Oh” Trini glanced over to the plain looking mug, “Um. Next time I promise”
Trini reluctantly brought the boring white mug into the kitchen, Kimberly seemed really adamant that she use her mug. The accountant supposed that because Kim had spent money on it she’d want to see her gift being used. Ugh, it just...it wasn’t her favorite yellow mug. Still, the hot chocolate was pretty boss so she couldn’t be too mad .
Billy entered the office kitchenette and started talking, motormouth Cranston could go on and on and on about his DnD campaign. Trini didn’t pay attention to her cup when she pulled it from the keurig, she was doing the polite thing and let the man talk about his make believe hobby. Did Trini understand the game? No. All she got was that Billy was some sort of wizard.
Mid story of a conquest, or something, Billy pointed to Trini’s mug, “Um”
Trini turned the cup to face her, wanting to see what the hell Billy was seeing. Speaking of magic...when the hot liquid entered the cup it triggered black calligraphy text to appear on the mug.
Will you go out with me on a date?
Holy fuckballs Kimberly Hart just asked Trini out on a date via a cup. In shock, Trini’s only logical reaction was to drop the damn thing, shattering the mug in pieces and completely wasting gourmet chocolate milk.
At the sound of the commotion, and Billy exclaiming, “Not the hot chocolate!” Kimberly and Jason were quick to check out what was happening in the kitchen.
“Is everything okay?” Jason asked, concerned for his friend as Trini found herself looking at Kimberly like a deer caught in headlights.
“...So…” Kimberly took it in stride, another gift giving win in her book, “You read the mug”
It was real, Trini wasn’t imagining it...Kimberly Hart really went all out to ask her on a date. The accountant bashfully rubbed the back of her neck, “And uh, my answer is yes…..I’ll go out with you”
“Tonight?” Kimberly waited for Trini to nod, “Perfect, I’ll pick you up at 7”
“And I’m getting a broom” Billy interjected, the broken mug would be dangerous if left completely unattended. These two girls were far to smitten with one another to even be aware.