They were walking past the store late last Autumn and the mannequin in the window was wearing it and he stopped and said to her, “Hey, that’d look good on me. What do you think?” Elise looked at the price tag and said, “Well, anything that costs that much should look good on anyone, even my grandpa.”
“Well, I like it,” declared Daryl. And with a shrug, they continued on their way. Elise got the hint.
She saved every tip she got working at the coffee shop and sold some of her old textbooks to students to make up the rest. She even gave (and charged) for haircuts to unsuspecting souls. Eventually, she had enough for the deep blue sweater that Daryl coveted. And just in time for Christmas too.
Elise bought a gold wrapper that had red ribbonny patterns on it and also bought a red velvet ribbon so that everything matched. She painstakingly wrapped the sweater and put it into a paper bag to bring over to Daryl’s place for dinner that evening. When he opened the gift, he beamed and engulfed Elise in a hug so big. She did good, she thought. He immediately removed the sweater he had on, which had a reindeer on it, and put on the deep blue sweater she bought for him. They took a picture to commemorate the event. Oh, Daryl got her an apron. He’d forgotten to remove the tag which said ‘90% off’. She was okay. Mostly.
The next time she saw the deep blue sweater was on the floor of Sarah’s room.
Sarah and Daryl were sleeping in bed together and didn’t realise that they’d forgotten to lock the door. Elise only went in to Sarah’s room to let her know that she’d just got home from her late shift at the coffee shop. She took the scissors on the dressing table and plunged it swiftly into the sleeping bodies on the bed. They didn’t even have time to shout out.
Elise took the deep blue sweater off the floor, the sweater she’d spent hours at the coffee shop slaving for until her feet were blistered and swollened. She put it over her shirt and hugged it to herself. It still smelled of him. But reeked of her. She held it close anyway.
The police found her later, holed up in her room, rocking, stroking the deep blue sweater.