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

Her husband looked up at her quizzically. Clearly, he couldn’t hear her.

“Can you turn that off?” she asked, pitching her voice higher.

Nodding, Dane walked over to turn down the volume of the radio. “What did you say?”

She let out an exasperated sigh. “I was asking about the weather in New York.” Frowning, she pointed. “Why was the radio so loud?”

“Mrs. McKenzie turned the sound up so the carols would fill the whole house,” he said. “After last night, she thought we could use some Christmas cheer. I didn’t have the heart to ask her to turn it down. Besides, you’re up late anyway. It’s almost eleven.”

Her eyes widened. It had taken her ages to finally fall asleep last night, so it made sense that she’d get out of bed late. Still, she hadn’t gotten up this late in a long time. Not even on weekends.

She looked around the expansive kitchen. “Where is Mrs. McKenzie, anyway?”

“Cleaning up the living room,” he said. “I was going to start helping her take the Christmas decorations out of storage once I was done with breakfast.”

“Aren’t you eating breakfast kind of late?” she asked.

“That’s because I went on an early morning run. After that I helped the gardener, Mr. Bell, with some of the yard work,” Dane replied.

“You sure have been busy,” she said. “You’ve done all this work already while I’ve been sleeping the day away.”

“You’ve been working hard enough as it is,” he said pointedly. “Anyway, yard work is good exercise. And exercise in this weather is a hell of a lot better than taking a jog in the middle of a New York winter.”

“Speaking of winter, has the snowstorm died down?” she asked.

He shook his head. “I checked the weather report less than an hour ago. It still looks like flights will be grounded well into Christmas Day.”

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“Even for private jets?” She hated flaunting their wealth unnecessarily, but at this point she didn’t care. All she wanted for Christmas was to get home to New York City. Her sleepless night had reminded her of that much.

“Even for private jets,” he replied. “Do you want to call your family and tell them Christmas plans are cancelled? Or the caterers?”

She pursed her lips. “I’ll get in touch with my brother to let him know we won’t make it to his place today. But I’m not ready to cancel Christmas Day just yet.” She squared her shoulders in determination. “I’m going to hold off on calling the caterers to cancel, but I’ve already let them know I won’t be at the tasting today, for obvious reasons.”

Dane set his coffee cup down and glanced at her. “Are you sure you don’t want to cancel? The weather looks grim. You might be setting yourself up for false hope, Allyson.”

Throwing her hands up in frustration, she said, “It’s Christmas. This is exactly the time for false hope.”

Something flashed in his blue eyes. It looked like irritation. “I just don’t want you setting yourself up for major disappointment.”

The look on his face was making her grind her teeth. “I’m already disappointed.”

He crossed his arms. “Meaning?”

“Meaning, this isn’t how I want to spend Christmas,” she said. “And I’m not accepting it.”

“I know being with family is important to you, but you’re going to have to let this one go,” he said. “There’s always next Christmas—”

“No, there isn’t,” she snapped. “This is our first Christmas as a married couple. We’re not going to get a do-over. If we miss this Christmas, we’ll never have another first Christmas again. This is too important. And I’m really annoyed that you don’t seem to be taking it seriously.”

“What do you expect me to do?” he demanded. “Change the weather?”

“Why are you trying to make me look unreasonable?” she shot back.

“I’m not. But things cannot be perfect,” he said. “Sometimes things just don’t work out. At least we’re together.”

That hurt. Did he really believe that she didn’t want to be with him during the holidays? Dane was the only thing keeping her together. Keeping her sane. Now all she wanted to do was cry.