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Fake Christmas Lexy Timms 2022/8/3 13:45:42

A mouthwatering savory scent wafted through the air.

“What is that wonderful smell?” Allyson seemed to perk up for the first time since he had told her they couldn’t head to New York tonight.

“Chef Durand is preparing some stewed pork for you both,” Mrs. McKenzie replied.

“Thank you so much for coming down so close to Christmas.” Allyson hugged the small, portly woman.

Mrs. McKenzie beamed. “You’re most welcome!” She snapped her fingers. “Oh! I just had a thought! The Christmas decorations are in storage. Would you like me to put those up?”

Allyson bit her lip and hesitated. “Oh, Mrs. McKenzie, I don’t want to put you through so much trouble.”

Mrs. McKenzie waved her hand good-naturedly. “It’s no trouble. Tell you what... why don’t I come down tomorrow morning to put up the decorations? We can spruce up the villa.”

“We’d be happy to help you,” Dane volunteered. “Maybe that could get everyone into the Christmas spirit?” He glanced meaningfully at his wife, but her attention was still focused on Mrs. McKenzie.

“Mr. Prescott, perhaps we could also ask the gardener to come down and help us with the trees on the property?” Mrs. McKenzie suggested.

“That’s a terrific idea.” Dane reached into his pocket and took out his cell phone. He sent off a quick text message to the gardener Mr. Bell. With the message sent, he hauled their luggage up the stairs and into the master bedroom. The bedroom had been cleaned, with fresh sheets put on the bed, and there was the distinct scent of furniture polish in the air. A cool breeze came in through the open double doors that led outside to the balcony.

Allyson appeared in the room. “We’re badly dressed for the tropics,” she said, gesturing to herself.

He had taken off his coat on the plane, but he was still dressed in a suit. And his wife still had on her sweater and boots. “There should be some extra clothes in storage,” he informed her. “We usually try to have extra items in the villa in case of emergency.”

“I guess right now is a bit of an emergency.” She looked downcast, and her shoulders sagged.

Dane had no idea how to lift her mood, because he had no idea what was troubling her. Not really. There had to be more to her disappointment than getting into New York later than they had hoped. After all, there was still a good chance that they’d get back to the city in time for Christmas. His wife was going through something she refused to share with him. He knew what that was like. To hide the truth from the people he cared about. After all, when he started to have doubts about staying on as Prescott’s CEO he’d been hesitant to share his feelings with her.

His insides were in knots, but right now he was certain that pushing her for answers would only backfire.

“How about I go get some stuff out of storage while you call your family?” Hopefully, talking to her family would help to lift his wife’s spirits.

She didn’t say a word. All she did was nod and head out of the bedroom, leaving Dane behind to wonder what his wife was keeping from him.

“I TOLD MY BROTHER THAT we might miss Christmas entirely,” Allyson informed her husband. She tried not to sigh, but it was too hard trying to hide her disappointment. She just wanted to be back in New York.

They were watching TV in the living room, reclining on the sofa while they waited for Chef Durand to prepare dinner.

Dane frowned. “Why? There’s still a good chance we’ll make it by Christmas Eve.”

“What if the storm lasts longer than that?” she asked. “I don’t want to give my family false hope. If they expect to have Christmas dinner and I’m not there to organize it, there’s no point. Maybe we should just cancel Christmas this year.”

He looked at her, stunned. “You’ve been focused on this for weeks. All you’ve wanted was to celebrate with our families. Now you want to cancel?”

“I don’t want to cancel,” she said, “but we might have to.” A pang knifed through her heart. Cancelling Christmas was the last thing she wanted to do, but it seemed the only solution under the circumstances.