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Fake Christmas Lexy Timms 2022/8/3 13:45:41

“I’m talking way south of the border,” Dane said. “I think we can take a detour for a little vacation out of the country.”

HE ROUSED HER BEFORE landing. Allyson looked so peaceful sleeping on the bed, wrapped in a blanket. But he needed to wake her up. Putting his hand on her shoulder, he gently shook her awake.

Her eyes opened, and she yawned. “Is it time to land already? How long have I been asleep?”

“Hours and hours,” he said.

She frowned. “That doesn’t sound right. I thought we were going to be landing in New York much sooner than that.”

Dane shook his head. “A storm has hit the city, so we won’t be able to make it for the next twenty-four hours at least.”

Allyson bolted upright. “What?”

“I know this isn’t what you wanted, but at least this trip won’t be a complete waste—”

“What do you mean a storm has hit the city?” she asked.

“The snowstorm that everyone predicted came earlier, and is a hell of a lot worse than anticipated,” he said.

“Well, maybe we can catch a train and—”

“Believe me, I already suggested that,” he interrupted. “New York City is on lockdown. Nobody’s getting in or out unless there’s an emergency.”

She threw her hands up in frustration. “This is an emergency. The caterers are coming tomorrow morning. We have to visit Holly and James tomorrow evening. And I have...” A pause. Then her eyes widened.

He eyed her suspiciously. “You have what?”

“Nothing,” she said, her expression hardening. “I have nothing. Never mind. Where are we landing? If we’re close enough to New York, maybe we can still make it late tomorrow night. Maybe we can still salvage Christmas Eve.”

“I don’t think that’s going to be possible.”

Her face fell. “What? Why not?”

“We’re a little further away from New York than you realize.” He smiled. “We’re going to be in the Bahamas in less than half an hour. You’ll be getting time off after all.”

“The Bahamas?” she said in a disapproving tone.

“Yes. The Bahamas. That warm, beautiful place where the sun is almost always shining, and we won’t freeze to death.” He crossed his arms. “You know how many people would kill to have a Christmas vacation in the tropics?”

“Dane, this is crazy. How could you?” she fumed. “Our families are expecting us. The caterers are expecting us. We have a Christmas dinner to plan.”

He stood up and looked down at her. “I thought spending time at the villa we got married in would lift your spirits. Relax you. Clearly I guessed wrong.”

She sighed. “You should have consulted me.”

“I just wanted to surprise you,” he said. Somehow, he’d hoped the happy memories there would take her mind off the snowstorm. “Today’s the 22nd, so there’s still a good chance we’ll make it to New York on Christmas Eve. I know that makes it tougher to plan everything, but we can’t change the weather.” He stared at her, trying to read her facial expression, but wasn’t able to get a hint of what she was thinking. He sighed and added softly, “We’re landing soon, so you should get ready.”

With a nod, she merely said, “Okay.”

They landed at the airport soon after, and hailed a cab to take them to their villa. Allyson sat through most of the trip in chilly silence, her face like stone.

How had he screwed this up so badly? They couldn’t land in New York. If they needed a detour, wasn’t this the next best place? They’d been through a heck of a lot as of late; a couple days here would be relaxing. Wouldn’t it? He really had thought she would’ve appreciated time to unwind and spend some alone time with him. Her heart had been set on a perfect Christmas with family, but her reaction had seemed particularly negative. Almost as if there was more to it than she was letting on. But what?

When they arrived at the villa, he took their luggage out of the cab while Allyson paid the cab driver.

It was dark out, but the villa was well lit. They made their way inside.

As expected Mrs. McKenzie, the housekeeper, was already in the villa. She greeted them in the foyer and filled them in on some of the latest news around town. Dane had contacted Mrs. McKenzie and Chef Durand on the flight, and they had been gracious enough to head down to the villa on such short notice. From the look of the place, Mrs. McKenzie had already gotten to work making everything neat and tidy.