Fred was at his wits end. It should have been simple. He did it every year after all. All he had to do was buy Daphne a gift, easy right? After all he managed to do it every year. And maybe that was the problem, he reflected, he was running out of things to get her. Last year it was a ring that she had told him she wanted, the year before a necklace, the year before another ring, the year before that some shoes and the year before that some earrings.
He hadn't minded getting her that stuff of course, though it had been kinda expensive. He loved her and she loved him. And she got him good stuff as well of course. Last year it had been an Rolox watch, which he was wearing now as a matter of fact. The year before that some expensive aftershave.
The point was neither him nor Daphne were short on either money, or ideas for things to give each other. But this year had been so DIFFICULT that he felt it had to be a bit different. Something that would show her how much she meant to him. Because she did mean a lot to him. He couldn't imagine his life without her.
Quite literally, as a matter of fact since he had never HAD to live his life without her. And he knew she felt the same way. It was just, he kept going back to that age-old question.
What do you get the girl who has everything she wants and everything she needs?
Well, Fred thought he'd found the perfect thing. It was while he was in the toons version of Hobbycraft. Colouring canvases. Obviously he wasn't just going to give her the canvas on it's own. He was going to colour it in himself.
He thought it was quite pretty. There were a few flowers on it - Daphne loved flowers - and in the middle it said. 'Start every day with a smile.' A saying, Fred thought, that might as well be the red-heads motto in life. That along with 'A girl can never have to many shoes!' [Unfortunately they didn't have any that said that on it]
When he got home he hid it under the bed and told Daphne not to look under it. [Not that she would really, but it was better to be sure.]
Sure enough. "Why would I look under the bed, Freddie?"
"I don't think you will. But just in case you were thinking of it - don't."
His wife opened her mouth - no doubt to ask why - but then put 2 and 2 together and gave a smile. "Ah, I see. No problem Freddie."
And everything was fine. A few days later he asked her what her favourite coulor apart from purple was. "Blue." Was her reply, smiling at him. "And green. And orange. And I'm quite fond of red. Anything except pink really."
He nodded. "Right."
She leaned forward and, linking her hands, asked, mischievously. "And why do you need to know that?"
"Ah, ah." He waved his fork at her. "It's Christmas present related. I'm not telling you."
"Oh, come on Freddie-"
"No, no. The wildest monster wouldn't drag it from me."
She tried a bit more, but eventually let it drop.
Two days after that, when Daphne and her sisters went on a 'girls day out' shopping, Fred took out the canvas, and set it up to coulor. Except, he discovered, there was one little problem. He didn't have any felt-tip pens. He'd over-looked that.
Never mind. He knew who could help. Ten minutes later he was at Shaggy and Velma's place. Scooby answered the door. "Rello, Red." He said, smiling lopsidedly.
"Hi Scooby. Shaggy in?"
"Like, here." Shaggy materialised at the door like he'd been hiding behind it or something. "What's up, Fred?"
"I...er...I don't suppose you have any pens? Like felt-tip pens?"
Shaggy frowned slightly. "Like, you mean for, like, colouring?"
"What are you colouring?"
Fred produced the canves. "This."
Shaggy peered at it. "Ah, yeah. I see. Like, c'min Fred, I've got just the thing."
"Thanks." Fred came in and took his shoes off, as usual. Velma was pretty strict on it.
"Like, who's it for?"
Fred smiled. "Daphne."
A beat and then. "Like, are you sure?"
Fred frowned, not liking the unsure note in the beatnik's voice. "What do you mean 'Am I sure?'"
Shaggy looked a bit uncomfortable and scratched the back of his head. "Isn't it a bit, like...basic?"
"I'm going to coulor it in!"
"Yeah, but-!" Shaggy took a breath. "Don't you usually, like, get her more...nicer things?"
Fred gave him a look. "You mean expensive things."
Shaggy shrugged. "Like, yeah, maybe I do. Well?"
Fred looked at the canvas, then back at his friend. "Thanks, but I think I'll stick with this. I'm sure she'll like it."
Shaggy shrugged. "Like, whatever floats your boat man. Hold on a minute, I'll get the pens..."
He shouldn't have been surprised really. Shaggy was bound to mention it after all. He shouldn't have been surprised when Velma turned up on his doorstep.
"May I come in, Fred?" She asked, pushing her glasses further up on her nose.
Well, Freddie thought. That was ominous. "Sure?"
She came in and sat down on the couch. "Shaggy told me about your present for Daphne." She began.
He sighed. "Yes?"
"I'm just going to say it. I believe you're making a mistake, Freddie. Not necessarily getting her a canvas and doing it yourself. I think that's quite sweet actually. Are you getting her anything else?"
He drummed his fingers on the edge of the coach. "I wasn't planning to. I was hoping she would appreciate the time and the effort." He added, pointedly.
Velma put her hands up. "I appreciate your point, Freddie, believe me I do. And she will like it, I'm sure, but I also feel that something else wouldn't go amiss. It doesn't have to be wildly expensive. A bouquet of flowers maybe? Some make-up? I could help you with the brands?"
Fred nodded slowly, thinking it over. "Maybe it would be an idea to get her something else as well." He said, after a few minutes thought.
Velma nodded. "Maybe it would. Might I suggest something?"
"I think you're going to whatever I say, so sure."
Velma gave him a quick beam, then got serious. "She mentioned a few days ago that she saw some candles that she wanted. You know." She added, seeing Fred's confused face. "Scented ones? Jasmine and Lavender and Peaches and the like?"
"Just an example. So, what do you think?"
Fred regarded her. "And how much am I willing to bet you just HAPPEN to have a leaflet or something telling me where I can get them?"
"Well, now you mention it-" Fred laughed as Velma delved into her bags. "I do have something here - would you shut up!? - it was completely on the off-chance-"
She glared at him, then giggled. "Here. Just look." And pressed the leaflet into his hand.
He sighed and looked at it. "Okay, okay. You've got me. I'll have a look. Happy now?"
"I suggest you get the Jasmine one." Velma added, slinging her bag over her shoulder.
"Yes, thank you Velma. Leave it to me." Fred directed her to the door.
"Okay, just text me if you have any issues."
"I won't." He shut the door after her and sighed. Why was this so difficult? It should be easy. JUST get a present for the women he loved.
He sighed and looked down at the leaflet. He wasn't going to get it. He wasn't. He was SURE that Daphne would like the poster. He scrunched the leaflet up and put it in the bin.
He got the candles. Of course he got the candles. He'd got a pack of three candles with three different scent. Jasmine, Lavender and Vanilla. He wasn't really sure that Vanilla would actually have a scent, to be honest? But the toon behind the desk assured him that it could, so.
He'd just have to see.
"Here you go, Freddie!" Daphne gave him a hug, a quick peck on the cheek and handed him a present. "I hope you like it." She added, somewhat worriedly.
He unwrapped it and looked down at at the box. "Ooh, what's this?" He opened the box. "Ooh - cufflinks!" They were beautiful cufflinks. Personalised - made in an image of the mystery machine - and practically glowing. "Thank you, Daph, they're beautiful." He wasn't sure if should be describing cufflinks as 'beautiful', but, really, he couldn't think of any other words.
"I'm glad you like them." His wife beamed. "Now..." She snuggled closer to him and looked up with those lovely emerald eyes of hers.
"Your gift." He said, wishing he could stay looking at her forever. "Here it is." And he handed her the heavier of the two.
She ripped the paper off. "Ooh candles! Thank you, Freddie. I've been wanting these." She leaned into his shoulder and looked up at him again. "Did Velma help you with this?" She asked.
He nodded. "To be fair, she did. But THIS one was all my own work." And he handed her the canvas.
Her eyes shone. "Oh Freddie! I wasn't expecting two-"
"Don't worry." He said, anxious to placate her. "This is just something extra."
Daphne opened it and there was a silence while she looked at it.
It was quite a long silence actually. After a while, Fred asked, anxiously. "Is it alright?"
"...It's beautiful." She said, softly. "Absolutely beautiful. Oh! Thank you, Freddie!" She hugged his tightly and looked at the canvas again. "This was the real gift, wasn't it?" She asked. "And the candles were the extra?"
"-Freddie, don't lie to me."
"Okay, yeah. This was the actual gift and the candles were the extra. I doubted myself. I always get you such expensive gifts. And you get me expensive gifts as well. Like these cufflinks. I just-" He took a breath. "-I wasn't...sure, if it...if it was, good enough?"
"Oh, Freddie." Daphne snuggled into his chest. "It doesn't matter how much something is, it matters how much thought you put into it. And you've put a lot of thought into this. It's wonderful." She sighed. "I think you've put my cufflinks to shame, actually-"
"Are you kidding!?" He grabbed the box. "I love them! And they're personalised! The mystery machine, I love it!" He hugged the box.
Daphne muttered something that sounded suspiciously like 'Yeah, I know.' But, wisely, Freddie decided not to mention that.
"I suppose we should get ready." Fred said, reluctantly, going to get up.
Daphne caught his arm. "Not yet." She mumbled. "Let's just stay here a bit longer."
He smiled down at her. "I'm alright with that."