My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins

Book: My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Stephanie Perkins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephanie Perkins
based on how I thought it might make me look on paper. I never once stopped to think about what I actually liked to do. That’s kind of sad, don’t you think?”
    “More like honest.” Usually, I liked to keep quiet. I liked to listen. But the wine was just reaching my head, and I felt oddly comfortable, so I let myself talk. “Here’s a question,” I told her. “Would you rather be great at something you like, or just okay at something you love?”
    “Jesus, I don’t know,” Haley said. “That’s hard. What about you? Sounds like this is coming from a personal place.”
    I stuck my silverware on my empty plate and leaned back with my wineglass. I felt like I was in a movie or something. One about rich British people, like the show Haley had mentioned before. Talking all deep in a beautiful New York apartment. Swirling damn wine in an actual wineglass. The only other time I’d had wine, me and Jessica drank it out of shot glasses, because that’s all we could find at her stepdad’s place. “The one thing I know I love,” I said, “besides my family, is music. Guitar. But I also know I’m not that good at it.”
    “You play down there sometimes, don’t you?”
    “Me? No way, not at Mike’s. I’m talking about at my own place.” Stop lying! “Okay, maybe I mess around a little. Not for real, though.”
    “I knew it,” Haley said. “At first I thought it was the radio, which must mean you’re pretty good.”
    I shook my head, embarrassed. “Anyways, let’s just move on.”
    Haley laughed. “Looks like I’m not the only one who could be better at taking compliments.”
    After a short stretch of silence, one that didn’t even feel that awkward, I said, “I guess I don’t really know what I want to do, either. Sometimes I feel like a shook-up bottle of soda. Like, I have all this passion that wants to explode, but I don’t know where to aim it yet. Is that kind of what you mean?”
    “Exactly. And sometimes I get worried I’ll never know where to aim it.” Haley emptied the rest of the wine bottle into our glasses, but there were only a few drops left so she got up and opened the second one.
    We talked for hours after dinner. When the second bottle of wine was gone, I raced downstairs to grab Mike’s bottle of vodka. When I came back, Haley fixed us vodka cranberries and we sat on the couch in the living room and we talked and talked and talked. Haley told me what it was like growing up in Oregon. I told her about life near the Mexican border. Haley described what she’d be doing back home right now—dinner at a fancy restaurant with her mom, dad, and little sister, followed by each of them opening one gift by the fire—and I told her about Christmas Eve at my grandma’s.
    By midnight I was officially drunk, and as much as I liked talking to Haley, I also wondered what it would be like to kiss Haley, so I started down a very different road. “Hey, Haley,” I said.
    “Hey, Shy.”
    “Maybe it’s my turn to make up the rules.”
    “Uh-oh.” Haley looked away from me, sensing where I was going. “This isn’t my game anymore, though. This is just two people talking. Please tell me you know the difference.”
    “I know,” I said. “But I just maybe … sort of…”
    “I wonder how it would feel to, like, you know, hold your hand. That’s all.” I set down my wineglass and faced her. “Like if we were on an actual date.”
    Haley forced a laugh. “We wouldn’t be on an actual date, though. Because I have a boyfriend back home, remember ?”
    “Oh, shit,” I said. “The patient guy. I almost forgot about him.”
    It was true. I’d gotten so caught up in the moment I completely forgot about the world outside of the apartment complex. I picked up my wineglass again, sipped a little more vodka cranberry.
    That’s when Haley did something that surprised me. She set down her glass, then took my glass out of my hand and set it down, too. “But it’s not like

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