“Stop grumbling, Derek,” Laura says as they get out of the car. “You’re the one who wanted to cut down a real Christmas tree.”
“And you just had to have a Douglas fir,” Cora adds.
Derek glares at Cora. “You’re supposed to be on my side. I’m taking all your gifts back.”
Cora leaps on Derek’s back in true lupine fashion and clamps onto him like a multi-limbed octopus. He wonders sometimes why they even try to hide that they’re werewolves. “You can’t take my gifts back. I know you got me that handbag I wanted.”
“I did not,” Derek lies.
Cora leans in and sniffs his neck. “You smell like LIES!” She nips at his neck, a flash of fangs grazing his skin. “You are the worst liar in the whole pack, Derek.”
“Shut up.” He turns and growls at her, flashing his eyes and fangs.
Laura laughs as she hooks her arm through Derek’s. “I asked around at work,” she says as she drags them towards the building appropriately labeled The Christmas Barn. Cora’s still clinging to Derek’s back, but he doesn’t really mind. He readjusts her so she’s easier to carry. “They said this place has the best trees, and they’re one of the few places that allows you to actually cut down the tree. Plus, I made sure they had your Douglas fir, Derek.”
“I don’t know why we can’t try a new tree,” Cora says.
“There is no other tree!” Derek glances over his shoulder at her, scandalized. “It’s tradition! We’ve had the same kind of tree since we were little. We can’t change.”
“It might be nice to do something different,” Cora mumbles into his shoulder.
“Be careful, Cora,” Laura says. “You know Derek will start his deranged elf act if you suggest changing anything.”
“I’m not that bad,” Derek says. Laura smiles at him fondly.
“It’s okay. I like things the same way, too.” She hugs his arm to her. “I just like blaming it on you.”
Derek smiles. “I know.”
“Welcome!” A tall, thin guy comes out, wearing a plaid shirt, an insulated vest, and work gloves. “What can I do for you today?”
“We need to get a Christmas tree,” Laura says brightly.
“Sorry, we don’t have any of those,” he replies, but then shoots them a crooked grin.