I snuggle deeper into my loving husband as we start to open gifts. My mind drifts off, thinking about all the years to come and all the new memories that are left to be made. Our family will hopefully grow bigger each year, and the cabin will continue to be filled with laughter and love.
The Christmas spirit is contagious. My husband is proof of that. He’s caught the spirit with us all. I knew it was inevitable. That feeling wraps around you, bringing everyone together. You can’t help but get swept away. We might be scientists, but we can’t deny that there is a magic that comes along with Christmas that can’t be explained.
Love has a way of healing you. Again, it can’t be proven, but the evidence is all around us every day.
* * *
Are you keeping warm? Are you keeping safe? I worry about you. I hope this story brings a little light into your life and provides you a small escape. Thanks for being with me this year. Let’s look forward to the new year together.
Tyson Carter has known Rory Carlson is the one for him since, well, forever. All through high school with every score, he hoped to impress her into his bed. Nothing worked. Rory has remained stubbornly resistant to his Carter charms but Tyson didn’t win all those championships through luck. He can be just as strong-willed as she.
Rory Carlson has two younger brothers, a household full of debt, and a derelict mother. She doesn’t have time for rich kid Tyson Carter who, despite all his sports achievements, has decided to be an influencer. It doesn’t matter to her that he has hundreds of thousands of followers. Does that put food on the table? Tyson is gorgeous, handsome and smart, but she needs someone she can rely on.
In this insta world, she wants something permanent. During this holiday season, can Tyson convince her that forever after is possible with him?
“I wish it would snow.”Rory Carlson sighs, looking up at the sky.
“I’ll make it snow for you.”
Rory spins around and points a finger in my face. “Tyson Carter, if you don’t stop following me, I swear to God, I’m going to do….” Rory stomps her foot in frustration because there’s not much she can do to me. I’m a god, little g, here in Edison. I was Edison High’s star quarterback, winning the state championship three times in a row, and in Texas that means you can kill someone and get away with it. Me following around Rory Carlson in her battered Jeep as she makes deliveries for different businesses in town is not going to raise even one eyebrow.
“Just keeping you safe,” I drawl. Rory looks especially good today in her skinny jeans and white T-shirt with the faded Wonder Woman logo. Her eyes are shiny and bright, which tells me she got a good sleep last night, which is rare for her. During the week, she delivers for the hardware store, the café, and the grocery store. She waits tables at the café Thursday through Saturday. On Sunday, she cooks at home, preparing enough food for the week for her family. At some point, she’s going to drop from exhaustion, and so I need to be there to catch her.
“I’m eighteen now, not seven, and do not need anyone—particularly you, Tyson Carter—to keep me safe.”
I don’t roll my eyes, but I want to. “And that incident with the meth head a month ago was what? A welcome encounter?”
She scowls. “It was an accident. Harry wouldn’t have hurt me if he wasn’t high. He thought I was an intruder and was trying to protect his home.”
“I agree, but he was high, and he’s an addict, so the chance that he’ll be high and violent in the future is greater than zero.”
“You’re being dumb.”
I shrug. “Maybe.”
“Yes! All you do is follow me around or hang out with Sterling Justice. Don’t you have ambitions?”
She throws up her hands like this is a completely unreasonable statement. “That’s not an ambition.”
“Rory, we both know I’ve got money.” I don’t know why she’s upset about the fact that I’m spending my days watching her instead of the stock market.
“Your parents have money,” she corrects. She wrenches open the door of her Jeep and climbs in. “That’s not going to last forever.”