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Love, Actually, Is Just One Fucking Thing After Another

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It's the last day before the office closes for the holidays, and Mrs Lintott's been in two minds about whether to give Hazel the necklace at all - but the thought of having to brave Meadowhall again to return it strengthens her resolve to give it to her. Hopefully, any potential awkwardness surrounding the gift will be forgotten over Christmas, and they can go back to the curious sort of friendship they've struck up in recent weeks. 

 

It's dark outside, and they're the only two left in the office - Hazel sporting another Christmas jumper from her seemingly infinite collection, and Dorothy huddled in a sensible cardigan for warmth. (The heating must be on the blink again - it has a habit of breaking in the dead of winter when they need it most.) She fidgets with the box in her pocket as she finishes the final checks of tomorrow's edition, keeping an eye on Hazel through the little window between the main office and hers. It's only when she sees Hazel make a move to leave that she makes a move of her own and pokes her head around the door.

 

"Hazel?" she says as nonchalantly as she can manage when her heart is beating at a million miles per hour. "Before you go - can I have a quick word? In here."

 

Hazel looks worried - clearly, Dorothy still needs to work on coming across less intimidating - but drapes her coat back over her chair and follows her inside, a puzzled little frown crumbling up her features.

 

"Something the matter, Dorothy?"

 

"Nothing's… the matter , no," she replies delicately. "I just - bought you a little something. For Christmas. It's silly, but - well, you make me want to be silly and spontaneous and all of those things. Just - oh, you'll see." 

 

She hands over the box, carefully wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon, and Hazel cautiously accepts. 

 

"Oh… Dorothy, this is lovely of you - I only got you a card though, I feel bad."

 

"Don't be silly! It was a lovely card - clearly you put a lot of thought into it. And effort. And - glitter…" She sighs, thinking of the card shedding glitter into her handbag as they speak. "I'm hopeless at anything - arty or crafty…"

 

"You don't have to say that, but thank you. And thank you for this! Do  you mind if I open it now?"

 

"I don't see why not," she replies, not quite able to look Hazel in the eye as she delicately unties the ribbon and unwraps the box.

 

For a moment Hazel is taken aback, stunned into silence, but it isn't long before she gets her breath back. "Oh, my... Dorothy, it's beautiful."

 

She sighs with relief. "Oh, thank God. For a moment I thought you might hate it. It's not too much, is it? I wasn't sure-"

 

"I love it, I just… wasn't expecting…" She holds the necklace aloft, admiring it in the dim light. "If you don't mind me asking, Dorothy - what does it… mean?"

 

"What?"

 

"Well, is it… just a necklace? Or - is it, say, a necklace and friendship? Or a necklace and… something else?"

 

"Oh. I - um…" Dorothy stammers. "I think that sort of… depends on you. On what you want it to be. Maybe I've read this all wrong and you don't… feel the way I think you do, but - oh, I'm no good at this. Hazel, I like you. And… it's been a while since I've done anything like this, so - if I've misread the situation, then we can just… forget all about it. But I thought it worth mentioning, just in case there was a chance that you-"

 

"Dorothy?"

 

"Yes?"

 

"You're right, you are no good at this," Hazel says, shaking her head fondly. "So I'm going to make it easier for you."

 

She steps forward, closing the gap between them, and places a sweet, gentle kiss to Dorothy's lips.

 

"Was that… alright?" she says softly.

 

Dorothy nods in response. "Can we do that again?"

 

"Of course. Just… let me know if I start moving too fast for you, Dorothy."

 

"I think we've waited long enough," Dorothy chuckles, taking Hazel by the hands and pulling her in for another kiss.