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By Alice Burton

Hilary walked down the hallway in her Mrs. Claus outfit. She couldn't believe Gertie had conned her into playing this bloody role by springing it on her at the last second. Jeff was being sweet and helpful today though, so at least she didn't have that to worry about. She smiled slightly in remembrance of the look of shock on his face when he saw her as Maple was kissing him. She had been ready to kill him, but then, seeing the sweet, adorable look on his face, and since it was the Christmas season, she decided to forgive him.

She was walking past the closet when she was suddenly grabbed and pulled in. Her mouth was covered to muffle her surprised scream, and as she whirled around to scream at her captor, she saw Jeff smirking at her. "Shocked, Hilary?"

She stared at him in disbelief and started to leave, but he grabbed her arm and quickly pulled her up against him. He silenced her futile arguments by kissing her. She immediately responded and pulled herself closer to him. In between kisses, he managed to say, " looked so great today...wasn't kidding when I said you didn't made up."

She pushed him back, trying to acquire some control over herself. "Jeff, I really..."

He kissed her again and murmured, "Mittens, when do we get off work?"

"At seven."

He pouted and she kissed him instantly, drawing it out as long as possible. When she pulled away to breathe, he asked, "What was that for?"

She tapped his nose. "Because you looked so cute." She glanced at her watch, "Jeffrey, as much as I would absolutely love to continue this, I'm due for Tell It to Santa and Mackie's going to be apoplectic if I'm not there."

His answer was circling her waist with his arms and just holding her. She let in a sharp intake of breath and chuckled ruefully. "You know, you're not making this easy."

Jeff smiled suddenly, as if something struck him as funny. He instantly dropped his arms and grinned smugly. "Fine, go."

"You bloody..." She grabbed him for one more slow, lingering kiss and then immediately stepped back. With no small amount of personal satisfaction, she noticed that he was gaping at her. He reached for her, but she jumped out of the way and quickly opened the door and left. She was almost instantaneously met by Gertie, who set about fixing her costume.

"Hilary, why is your belt undone? Costume feel a little tight?" She asked, trying to push Hilary's buttons.

She just tied the belt and raised an eyebrow at her. She had hoped Gertie wouldn't notice anything that would give her away. Apparently, she was almost home free. She was almost at the door to the studio, just open the do...


Hilary turned around slowly and gave Gertie a questioning look.

"Fix your lipstick."

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