The mid-winter office party is a staple for Roy’s division. Many of the other units have done away with their festive celebrations to cut on costs, but Roy just can’t do the same. Even if means he has to fund it himself. Sure, he’s usually a tightwad until to spend his cash, but really, he’s got a good crew here, and they could use a bit of spoiling.
Also, copious amounts of drink equals copious amounts of blackmail material later and that Roy can’t bear to lose.
He manages to foist most of the food costs by making it a potluck. Maes can always be counted on to contribute some kind of fruit or vegetable or cookie plate and Gracia’s famous cinnamon apple crumble never has so much as a crumb remaining by the end of the night. Especially when Edward notices it.
Fuery has a weird obsession with deviled eggs, but they are a party favorite so the more the merrier. Havoc brings gallons of his Special Egg Nog which knocks even the sternest of them clearly on their asses. Falman can be relied on for more filling fare, usually sandwiches or, one year, a tray of delicious mini pot pies. Riza, dear Riza, she makes the best sausage balls hands down, spicy and cheesy and perfect. Breda is the one surprise; every year it’s something different. Last year, he’d brought brownies.
Music is a must, though Roy prefers to use recorded materials instead of a live band because who can really afford that? The decorations are plain, a few spritz of streamers here, a bright tablecloth there, and a few strings of brightly colored lights. Besides, no one really pays attention to them.
One of the tables is stacked high with unaddressed packages, all wrapped to various stages of perfection. Roy can easily pick out which one is Breda’s; some of the box peeks out from places where he’d miss-measured the paper. Wine glasses again. At least, in this, Breda is predictable.
Sometime during the night, once they are all sufficiently soused, they’ll play a game of sorts, a gift auction that will inspire much laughter, arguing, and more blackmail for later.
By the time the sun goes down, everyone gathers in the large break room, now bedecked in party spirit. But of course, the celebration can’t start until Roy completes his yearly tradition.
Dressed in his finest, Roy struts down the aisle, chin tilted, ever so proud. He eyes his target – the rarely used hearth for heating – and with a snap of his white gloves, sets the carefully stacked logs within ablaze.
“Huzzah!” everyone shouts, the egg nog is poured, and the party begins. Roy already has his camera ready.