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A White Wedding Christmas Andrea Laurence 2022/8/3 13:46:21

She liked Colin a lot, but even her teenage infatuation couldn’t turn it into more than that. More than that didn’t exist in her mind. She could feel her hormones raging and her thoughts kept circling back to Colin whether she was with him or not, but that wasn’t love. That was biology ensuring they would continue to mate until she conceived. He might be attracted to her now, but she would never be the wife and mother he envisioned sitting around the Christmas tree with their children. She just wasn’t built for that.

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?” Colin asked.

The question jerked Natalie from her thoughts and brought her back to the here and now, wrapped in Colin’s arms. “It wasn’t,” she admitted. “I have to say that was the most pleasant tree decorating experience I’ve had in ten years.”

“Natalie, have you even decorated a Christmas tree in ten years?”

Of course he’d ask that. “Nope. I appreciate all your efforts, but even if it had been a miserable night, it still would’ve been the best. So sorry, but you haven’t won the bet yet.”

Tomorrow night, Natalie’s cell phone screen had read on Wednesday.

Colin followed it up with another text. You and I are going on a date. Per your requirements, you will wear a pretty dress and I will take you someplace nice. I will pick you up at seven.

She ignored the warning bells in her head that insisted a real date fell outside their casual agreement. While going on a date with Colin had the potential to move them forward in a relationship with nowhere to go, it also might do nothing other than provide them both with a nice evening together. She tried not to read too much into it.

Natalie made a point of not staying at work too late on Thursday so she could get home and get ready for their date. She ignored the pointed and curious glare of Gretchen when she announced that she was leaving early. She would deal with that later.

Back at her townhouse, she pored through her closet looking for just the right dress. She settled on a gray-and-silver lace cocktail dress. It was fitted with a low-plunging scalloped V-neckline that enhanced what small bit of cleavage she had. It also had shimmering silver bands that wrapped around the waist, making her boyish figure appear more seductively hourglass-shaped.

Once that was decided, she spent almost a half hour flatironing her hair. She wore it in a ponytail most every day. At work, she liked it off her face, but tonight, she wanted it down and perfect.

The doorbell rang exactly at seven and Natalie tried not to rush toward the door. She took her time, picking up her silver clutch on the way.

“Hello there,” Natalie said as she opened the door.

Colin didn’t respond immediately. His gaze raked over her body as he struggled to take it all in. Finally, he looked at her and smiled. “I like going on dates with you, pretty dress and all.”

She preened a little, taking a spin to show off how good her butt looked in the dress before pulling her black wool dress coat from the closet. “I made a big deal of tonight’s requirements so I wanted to hold up my end of the bargain.”

Colin held out her jacket to help her into it. “You certainly have. You look amazing tonight.”

“Your chariot awaits,” Colin said, gesturing toward a silver Lexus Coupe in the driveway.

“Where’s the truck?” she asked.

“I didn’t think you’d feel like climbing up into it when you’re dressed up. Besides, this car matches your dress. It’s fate.”

He helped her into the car and they drove through town, bypassing some of the usual date spots and heading toward one of the high-end outdoor shopping plazas in Nashville. “Where are we going?” she asked as they pulled into the crowded parking lot. She made a point of avoiding any major shopping areas in December. She was guaranteed to run into Christmas music, decorations and grumpy people fighting their way through their chore lists.

“You’ll see,” Colin replied, ignoring her squirming in the seat beside him.

“Is this part of the Christmas bet? Telling me you’re taking me on a date, letting me get all dressed up and then taking me to see Santa at the mall is cruel. I can assure you it won’t fill me with Christmas spirit. More than likely, it will fill me with impatience and a hint of rage. These heels are pretty and expensive, but I’m not above throwing them at someone.”