The next thing Tommy knew he was being rudely awakened by his little sister Suzie, bouncing up and down on the end of his bed.
‘Wake up Tommy, wake up!’ she shrieked, ‘It’s Christmas!’
‘Urgh..’ groaned Tommy, pulling the covers over his head. ‘Just give me a few more minutes.’
‘Come on!’ insisted Suzie, ‘Mum and Dad are already downstairs. We’re all waiting for you, so we can open our presents!’
A chill ran through Tommy, and suddenly he was wide-awake as the events of the previous night slowly started to come back to him. This was the moment he had been dreading and a shiver ran down his spine at the thought of how his parents would react when they found his present was gone.
‘Erm…maybe we should open the presents later,’ he stuttered, in a desperate attempt to buy some time. ‘You know you’re really only supposed to open the presents after the Queen’s speech…’
‘You’re coming down now!’ said Suzie, yanking Tommy’s duvet off him with a decisive tug.
Just then he heard his Mum’s voice from downstairs:
‘Come on, Tommy! We’re all waiting for you!’
Tommy sighed, rubbing his eyes. As his sister ran out of the room, he pulled on his jeans and a t-shirt and, like a man unto the gallows, began trudging his way downstairs after her.
‘There you are, sleepy head!’ his father smiled as Tommy followed his sister into the living room. He got up and engulfed Tommy in a big bear hug. ‘Happy Christmas, son!’ he said, as his Mum came over and kissed him on the forehead. Tommy glanced nervously at the mountain of presents, trying to think furiously about how he was going to break the news to his parents. His present had been buried underneath a couple of larger ones, so no one had yet noticed it was gone. Tommy knew he should come clean now, but he just couldn’t screw up the courage.
‘Suzie – you can be Santa and give the presents out,’ said Mum. ‘Give us oldies a chance to put our feet up.’
Suzie set to her task with glee, handing out the first round of small presents that were sitting on top of the pile, before gradually starting to work her way down. With each present handed out, Suzie was announcing the gift tag with an air of pomp and ceremony. For Tommy, the waiting was like Chinese torture, and beads of sweat began to appear on his brow, as Suzie got closer and closer to where his present had been.
Finally, the moment of reckoning arrived, as she gently removed the two larger presents. Tommy closed his eyes, said a few silent prayers and prepared to face his parents’ wrath.
“To Tommy from Mum and Dad!” squeaked Suzie, as Tommy felt a large box drop into his lap. He opened his eyes and blinked, barely comprehending what he was looking at. There was the present – the same box, with the same wrapping paper, exactly as before!
Tommy turned the box over in amazement. It was definitely the same present – there was even a bit of loose sticky tape on one side, from where he had opened it last night. His mind was racing as he started to open the present. Maybe this had all been a bizarre dream, maybe he had sleepwalked down here last night, and his over-active imagination had created the rest. The more he thought about it, the more convinced he became.
Of course it was a dream! The events of last night were just too unreal to have been possible. Tommy felt waves of relief at the realisation that he was no longer in trouble. The feeling was making him giddy and his hands were shaking, as he continued to unwrap the present. The box was upside down, and he could clearly see the label saying ‘Batteries Included!’ on the bottom, as he pulled away the final scraps of wrapping paper. He was busy chastising himself silently at being such a fool for being taken in by his own imaginings when he turned the box over and suddenly froze, all the blood draining from his face.
‘What’s the matter, darling?’ said his Mum, looking at the worried expression on his face. His Dad looked over.
‘You OK, son? That’s the one you wanted isn’t it?’
‘It’s…it’s fantastic, thank you!’ stammered Tommy, but his eyes could barely believe what he was looking at.
There was the Lambourghini Countach, the exact same model, only this one was not flame red, but black! He sat there, stunned for a few seconds, gawping open-mouthed at the box in his hands.
‘Well give us a hug, then!’ chuckled his Dad. ‘Anyone would think you’ve just seen your own ghost!’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Tommy, his mind still reeling. ‘It’s exactly what I wanted. Just took me a bit by surprise, that’s all. Thank you both!’ He leaped over to hug his parents, his heart racing and his mind spinning.
‘Ah, bless his little face!’ said his Mum. ‘I don’t think he really believed we were going to get him the car, after all that nagging. He’s just surprised, that’s all. He looks like he’s just witnessed a miracle!’ she joked, winking to his father.
‘Now, you two,’ said Tommy’s Mum ‘if we’re all finished here I’d better get cracking with the Christmas dinner. I want you both back at the table in an hour.’ She finished, wagging a finger at Tommy and his sister. Just then the doorbell rang and Tommy’s mum got up and left the living room to go and answer the door. A moment later she popped her head back in.
‘Tommy,’ she said, ‘you’ve got a visitor.’ Tommy got up and headed for the front door, his mind still struggling for an explanation for all this. There, standing on the doorstep was a very out of breath Dan.
‘I’ve just run all the way from my house!’ he heaved, with his hands behind his back. ‘You’ll never guess what I got for Christmas!’ he said, taking his hands from behind his back to proudly present the flame red Lambourghini Countach!
Tommy was struck dumb for a few seconds, his mouth falling open and a million emotions pouring through him, before he looked at Dan and winked.
‘Come on then, what are we waiting for? I’ll race you!’ he said, with a cheeky grin.