It’s like he’s never seen a Christmas present before.
He’s standing there, hands now at his sides, staring at the gift like a deer in the headlights.
You hand it to him, but he doesn’t move a muscle.
His gaze shifts from the beautiful packaging to you, his eyes locking on yours.
“You really didn’t have to.”
“Just open it already,” you insist, shoving the present at him. You’re smiling wide. You can’t wait to see his face when he sees what it is.
Behind the excitement lies the small amount of worry that comes with any gift-giving. What if he doesn’t like it? What if it doesn’t fit? What if…?
You push the doubt away as he cautiously takes the gift from you. Giving you a final reprimanding look, he begins to unwrap it.
After the first tear, he seems to throw all reservation into the wind. A huge smile sprawls across his face. He carelessly tosses the scraps to the floor.
You giggle. You’d be that excited over a Christmas present too if you had been alive for almost 300 years and never received and been able to open one.
He takes the top off of the box. Your heart stops. You hold your breath.
His eyes grow large and his eyebrows shoot up, disappearing behind his shaggy bangs. He lifts up the hoodie by its shoulders, the bottom of the box falling to the floor at his feet beside its comrade.
He just stands there for a few seconds, the hoodie hanging before him. He turns it around to get a look at the back, as well. Turning it back around so he’s looking at the front, his lips curl into yet another smile. He opens then closes his mouth multiple times as if wanting to say something, small bursts of laughter escaping him. He glances over at you a couple of times, a gentle twinkle in his eyes.
You begin to breathe again.
He delicately runs the tips of his fingers along the detail stitching, then along the front of the pocket.
He looks back up at you, smirking.
“Quite a way to tell me that I need new clothes,” he comments.
You turn to the side, crossing your arms. “Well, if you don’t like it, I’ll just go return it,” you scoff, secretly knowing that you have no way of returning it to a shop that doesn’t exist anymore. You turn slightly, reaching your hand out to take back the hoodie.
“Hey!” Jack exclaims frantically as he twists his torso, now holding his present defensively to his side, safe from your threatening grasp. “I like it! I like it, all right?!?”
You chuckle, putting your hand back at your side. You see him relax, a soft smile replacing his worried expression.
He whisks you into a hug, the hoodie slung across his forearm. You return the embrace, closing your eyes. You love the feeling of his cool body against yours. His hugs feel like fresh snowflakes falling onto you and burying you in their tender kisses.
“I love it,” he whispers.
“It seems like our little Jack has gotten himself into a bit of a romance,” he comments to the Nightmare standing beside him. It neighs in response. He strokes his messenger’s sandy mane. It relays all information regarding Jack to him. “Tsk tsk, we can’t have that happen, now can we?”
The Nightmare snorts.
“Hmmm…You’re right,” he says as he strides along the stone pathway, his long black cloak trailing behind him on the floor. A metal globe waits at the end, standing patiently on a circular pedestal. Little golden blips of light dot its copper surface, the number in each area increasing or decreasing along with the concentration of civilization.
He runs the tip of his long, grey finger along the edge of North America. He grins.
“Perhaps we can use this to our advantage.”