The story so far: Vera has been in a relationship with Robby for some time now. Recently, a former boyfriend, Ruben, got in touch with her.
‘Six.’ Willem-Jan looked at the die. ‘Filippo can unwrap a present.’ At Willem-Jan's insistence (a ‘dyed-in-the-wool Sinterklaas fan’), all the housemates were playing the Sinterklaas game, throwing dice for presents. Filippo took one of the many presents wrapped in green paper. They had all been bought by Willem-Jan, whose ideas about the perfect Sinterklaas present were rather bizarre.
‘Geez, a ice-cube tray to make penis-shaped ice cubes,’ said Filippo. ‘Thank you Santa, I'll treasure it.’ He pulled a funny face and his mitre fell off his head. Everyone around him laughed, except for Vera. All evening, she had barely looked up from her smartphone.
‘Why aren't you laughing, honey?’ whispered Robby, just loud enough for the others to hear. ‘Let me be,’ she said, turning away from him to take a handful of gingernut biscuits.
Meanwhile Bianca was tearing the wrapping paper off a plastic lightsaber. She twirled it around to set off the sound effect. The housemates roared with laughter while Vera just sat there, her arms crossed.
‘Is anything the matter, sweetie?’ asked Robby, placing his hand on Vera’s shoulder. She pulled away so that his hand fell.
‘Nooo!’ she hissed, louder than she meant to. Most of the housemates tried to ignore their bickering, but a worried glance passed between Bianca and Derk. What was up with Vera? Meanwhile, oblivious to everything, Willem-Jan was opening one beer after the next and passing them round.
‘Come on, throw the die, Derk,’ he urged. ‘Throw a six. There are still some real jewels left.’ The game continued. Willem-Jan cheered when he threw a four, and grabbed the lightsaber from Bianca’s hands. ‘Mine!’
When it was her turn, Vera hastily flung the die. Six. With a sullen face, she unwrapped a tatty old book. On the front cover was a picture of a woman with big breasts clad in a leather catsuit. Willem-Jan laughed furtively.
‘What are we supposed to do with all this crap you've bought?’ asked Vera, before throwing the book back on the pile.
‘Darling, be nice...,’ said Robby, his voice fading.
‘Leave me alone, Ruben.’ Silence descended.
‘What did you call me?’ Robby’s voice sounded very different. Vera could probably have dug herself out of this hole had she not blushed scarlet.
‘Er...’ She looked around, searching for some kind of help.
‘Who is Ruben?’ Vera burst into tears, ran to her room and slammed the door shut. The silence was broken by Willem-Jan, who began to sing in an unsteady voice. ‘Dag Sinterklaasje dá-haag, dá-haag Zwarte Piet.’ Byebye Sinterklaas.