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Wrapped In Red

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Holtz always believed that feelings were best expressed through the art of song (and food but she was a world class lip syncer so she went with her strengths). So when Patty stopped by one afternoon to ask what Holtz wanted for Christmas, Holtz asked that Patty return that evening and ask again.

Patty narrowed her eyebrows. "Listen, baby, I can't promise expensive but I'm pretty good at gift givin’. I just wanna have some options, you know."

Holtz shook her head and winked up at Patty. "Come back around six-thirty." She paused, resting on her chin for a moment before she looked up and pointed. "On second thought, make it eight."

Patty checked her watch. "What exactly are you going to tell me at eight you can't tell me six hours earlier?"

Holtz lowered her goggles and grabbed her toolbox and bag. "All will be revealed in due course, Pats."

Then she headed off for her daily dumpster dive.

She was back just in time to stop Abby and Erin from locking up.

Erin quirked an eyebrow. "Where have you been? Patty was asking about you earlier."

Abby nodded. "Yeah, something about you refusing to say what you want for Christmas. I told her she couldn't go wrong with a new blowtorch or circuit board but she remained unconvinced."

Holtz patted Abby on the arm. "Normally this is true, Abs, and I won't turn down either from you. What I desire from Ms. Tolan, however, is a gift only she can provide."

Erin raised her eyebrows. "Why does that seem a little scary?"

Holtz punched Erin playfully in the arm. "Good to see the survival instinct is kicking in, Gilbert. Feel free to not bake me cookies and I won't turn down one of those cool hats you knitted Abby."

Erin stomped her foot. "Holtz! That was supposed to be a secret."

"Uh oh," muttered Holtz before she ran into the firehouse.

She peeked at them through the window and saw Abby tilt her head as she turned to Erin.

"You made me a hat?"

Erin shrugged. "I figured you deserved a better one than my high school attempt that cut off your circulation."

Abby gave her one of those shy dimpled smiles she was prone to these days. "You knew about that?"

Erin gave her a tiny smile in return. "Yeah, but I appreciated you pretending anyway."

Holtz smiled at them as they left. It didn't seem like her unintentional outburst had ruined things half as much as Erin feared.

Kevin popped up from under his desk. "Hiya, boss."

He just made it so damn easy to mess with him sometimes. She shook her head and reminded herself that she couldn’t take the bait today.

She lifted an eyebrow at him. "Kev, I think it's closing time."

Kevin stared at her for a moment. "But I just got here."

Holtz winked at him. "Time sure does fly doesn't it?"

She helped him up, though he probably didn't need it, and ushered him out the door.

She clapped her hands together as she closed the door behind him and whispered, "Showtime."

When Patty wandered in a little before eight, Holtz was prepared to be on time for once.

Patty called for her downstairs and wasted no time wandering into Holtz’s lab. When Patty turned on the lights (which Holtz had rewired just an hour earlier), Holtz’s boombox clicked on.

The opening chords to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" filled the room as Holtz swung down from the ceiling on one of the silks she borrowed from Kevin's boyfriend.

(In retrospect, she probably should have listened a little harder about how to land but she recovered quickly.)

Patty was able to get out one "What the hell?" before Holtz started to dance around the room in her newly acquired Santa hat, red and white striped pants, and the "ho ho homo" sweater Abby gifted her last year.

I won't ask for much this Christmas, I won't even wish for snow

Patty stifled a laugh at the fake snow that blew down from above them (she had remembered to double check it was fake snow right?) and though Holtz could tell she was trying to remain unimpressed, Patty's eyes were bright.

I’m just gonna keep on waiting underneath the mistletoe

Holtz wiggled her eyebrows as she slipped on a headband with mistletoe.

I just want you here tonight, holding on to me so tight

Holtz grabbed Patty's arms and encircled herself in them as Patty rolled her eyes but smiled down at her.

Holtz finished and throwing glitter in the air, took her bow while Patty clapped. She nodded up at Patty. "What say you, Pats?"

Patty crossed her arms and tilted her head. "About what?"

Holtz tilted her head and felt the Pom on the end of her hat briefly slide against her cheek. "About my Christmas wish?"

Patty winked at her. "You'll just have to wait and see won't you?"

Well, that was definitely not the answer she'd hoped for.

Patty must have seen her face fall because she walked up and squeezed her arms gently.

"I been asked out a lot of ways, baby, but this has definitely got to be a first."

Holtz smiled at that. "A point in my favor?"

Patty nodded. "A few." She held up a bag Holtz hadn't noticed till now. "I'm guessin' you haven't eaten?"

Holtz shook her head. "Nope, this whole thing took forever."

Patty quirked an eyebrow.

Holtz adjusted her glasses. "But it was worth it."

"Good answer," replied Patty.

Holtz thought perhaps she should have tried something different. Maybe the performance had been too much. Maybe she really should have just given Patty a list. She'd tried asking Abby to help but that hadn't produced any favorable results.

"Well?" asked Holtz as Abby returned to her lab.

Abby shrugged. "She said you just have to wait and see."

Holtz shook her head. "You didn't even use the code words did you?"

Abby shook her head. "Trust me, it would have been more suspicious if I did."

Holtz was working late on Christmas Eve when an unfamiliar song filtered in from what sounded like the roof.

This Christmas, I'm gonna risk it all, This Christmas, I'm not afraid to fall

Holtz grabbed her red robe and crept up the stairs to the roof. The access door was open and the music got a little louder.

In all this white, you'll see me like you've never seen me yeah, wrapped in red

She walked in through the open doorway and Patty turned at her entrance.

Holtz's eyes went wide as she drunk in the sight of her. The twinkle lights they’d installed just a month ago caused Patty’s jewelry to sparkle in the most magical way.  She was dressed in a beautiful floor length red dress, a soft white stole adorned her shoulders and a white sash was tied, fashioned in the shape of a bow around her middle.

She winked at Holtz. "Whatcha think?" She pointed at the CD player. "I was gonna lip sync like you did but I don't know the song like you knew the other one. And wouldn't you know so many of my favorite Christmas songs are actually kinda depressin’. I Iike this one though and--"

Holtz raised up on her toes and pressed a finger to Patty's lips. "Pats?"

Patty swallowed hard and looked down at her. "Hmm?"

Holtz retracted her hand and lifted up two fingers. "Two questions. Does this mean what I think it does and can you bend a little so I can finally kiss you?"

"Yes, and..." Patty leaned down a little. "This good?"

Holtz brought her hands up Patty's shoulders and placed them on either side of her neck gently using the position to pull Patty a little closer. "Oh, yeah."

They met in the middle as Patty encircled Holtz in a loose hug. Holtz tried and failed to keep the kiss calm because this was Patty . She was finally kissing Patty and whoa Patty was a great kisser. She felt Patty smile against her lips as she added a little pressure.

When they broke apart, Holtz winked up at Patty.

"Do I get to unwrap you now?"

Patty let out a huff and rolled her eyes. "You know for all the cheesy lines you could have chosen, you went with that one?"

Holtz waggled her eyebrows. "I'll do better next time but that doesn't really answer my question."

Patty engaged her in another kiss before she answered. "Yeah, you can."