Burton Guster had finally entered the land of home ownership and he felt compelled to host a housewarming party. Mostly, he wanted to show off the 3 bedroom, 2 bath paradise he’d managed to get for an insanely low interest rate; but the prospect of free gifts certainly played a role in just who invited to the party.
The party was going suspiciously smoothly. In fact, the last time Gus had hosted a party that went so smoothly, it’d been his eighth birthday party when Shawn had been home sick with the chicken pox. It was then Gus realized his best friend was no where to be found. Not by the fruit plate in the corner of the spacious kitchen (which still held a surprising amount of pineapple). Not by Juliet, chatting politely with Gus’ parents on the deck in back. Not even standing around the Wii in the living where Detective Lassiter was kicking Officer McNab’s ass via virtual boxing.
Gus frowned as he walked all through his new house in search of Shawn. Sure, his party was peaceful, but Shawn was his Best Friend and this was his Housewarming Party. What kind of BFF missed his BFF’s housewarming?
Gus had taken to dumping the housewarming gifts on the dining room table. He was pleased to see the surface was nearly covered with neatly wrapped packages. It was then he spotted the six-foot tall box propped up in the corner of the room. It was wrapped in garish orange paper, something Gus would have immediately blamed Shawn for if he actually thought Shawn would have remembered to bring him a gift...
Gus frowned as he walked toward it. His parents had talked about buying him a new fridge, but Gus had beat them to it, not trusting them to pick out something he’d actually approve of. Nothing else on Gus’ gift registry had been over three feet tall...
A large notecard was hanging from a bright green ribbon wrapped around the box. Turning the card over, he found written in large, block letters, “THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND.” Suddenly, the box rattled. Gus took a startled step back just as the paper ripped in front of him.
“SHAWN!?” he shouted as his best friend stumbled out of the box on a wave of styrofoam. Shawn coughed up a packing peanut before he grinned at his friend.
“GUS!” he exclaimed back happily. “Tell the truth: best gift ever, right?” Gus glared at his best friend and the packing peanuts covering his otherwise spotless hardwood floor.
“Your housewarming gift is a mess on my dining room floor?” he asked between clenched teeth. Shawn grinned some more.
“Had to break it in somehow, didn’t I?” Gus closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His eyes popped open again when he felt a hand slap hard against his shoulder. “I told you Tivo-ing that Golden Girls marathon was research.” Gus stared at his smiling friend for a long moment before he shook his head and walked away in search of the brand new broom Lassiter hadn’t bothered to wrap for him.
“Of course the biggest gift was from me!” Shawn was saying loudly in the living room when Gus walked past. Gus rolled his eyes but he had to admit, Shawn’s gift would be the one he’d remember the longest. Even if attached to it was the half hour it took to find every last packing peanut...