“You’re a jerk.”
“You always say that.”
“That’s ‘cause it’s true.” Hunter grunted before pushing Abbie off him effectively flipping her onto the ground.
“Whatever. Why don’t you run on home and stick your head in one of those stupid books you always have with you?”
“How is that an insult?” Abbie crossed her arms over her chest. “You make it seem like reading is a bad thing. Maybe if you picked up a book every once in a while, you’d actually learn something.”
“If someone wrote a book holding the secret to a good relationship,
it’d be a bestseller,” I say.
“Well, books are one thing, practice is quite another.”
I smile at his words. “You can say that again.”
Honesty is the best policy, I try to remind myself, but the only people I’ve heard utter that nugget have been far from saints.
Turns out yoga’s a lot harder than it looks. The tree? More like the fucking limb-breaker. I’m shaking like a bowl of Jello, can’t seem to hold any kind of position for a few seconds, and as for downward dog, Amber has the last laugh there.
The town clocked chimed. I turned to look over the ridge at the lights glistening in town. The twinkling looked like stars on the ground and a light dusting of snow felt like Christmas Magic falling over Main Street. It was magical.
I draw a deep breath, savoring the morning as I head to the window and drink in the sight. White. Everywhere I see white, and it’s magical.
She arches a skeptical brow. “You don’t really have an ugly Christmas sweater collection, do you?” “Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t. Maybe you need to tell me why you deserved coal in your stocking.” She scans the restaurant for spies, then cups her mouth and whispers, “I used to peek at my presents.”
“New York is a freaking winter wonderland already. How is this possible?” I ask. “I gave out Halloween candy last week, and now it’s jingle all the way.”
She couldn’t remember anyone ever treating her as if she were so valuable. Her eyes stung and a lump filled her throat.
For some reason, men who worked hard were admired, but it wasn’t an attractive quality in a woman.
“I love Marietta’s library, but I can also want to support our indie bookstore. In my mind, you can never have enough books.”
“There’s something kind of magical about being in Santa’s Grotto alone. It’s like I’m actually in the North Pole, working alongside all the elves in the workshop.”
Lara brushed a tear away. “But we might not win.”
“We’ve already won—even if we don’t get the money. You’ve given us our Christmas spirit back.”
She tried to clear her mind and think about all the things she loved about Christmas. The decorations, the food, the festivities—the aroma of her Christmas cookies. The music and the movies. The wrapping of gifts. The excitement on the faces of kids. The contentment on the faces of those in the home with her grandmother, along with the usual sparkles in their eyes. The kindness of others. That feeling of coming together.
“Snow angels,” they said in unison. Her eyes widened in surprise, and so did his. “What? You did that, too?” She held out her hands.
“Didn’t everyone? You can’t build a snowman and not finish with a snow angel. Every Christmas holiday I spent with my parents and grandma here, that was always the next step.”
“And isn’t that jacket over a thousand bucks?”
“I have no idea,” Ben said truthfully.
“But, at the end of the day, it’s just a jacket.”
Ben hadn’t known he’d looked at Lara like that. He hadn’t known that she’d looked at him like that. It took his breath away and he gulped.