I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
All Scout wants this holiday season is to get home in time for Christmas. But when your home is in quirky little Oberon, California, nothing is ever that simple.
It’s the night before Christmas and Scout Patterson is on her way back to Oberon, until a chance meeting with a meddlesome angel has her dreaming of a weird Christmas—one in which she sees what life in the little town might have been like if she’d never returned.
It’s your typical late December day in the City of Angels where, despite the music blasting from the car’s speakers, it is not beginning to look a lot like Christmas. As the musical marathon continues, one classic carol segueing seamlessly into the next, I feel a holiday headache coming on and ask, “Isn’t there any other music we could listen to?”
Larry Mitchell, my agent and friend, shifts his attention away from the traffic clogging the 405 long enough to grin at me from beneath the brim of his seizure-inducing, red and green sequined ball cap, the one with the blinking LED lights that spell out HO-HO-HO! across the front. “C’mon, Scout. Where’s your holiday spirit?”
“What holiday spirit?” I’d like to know. “When have you ever known me to get all holly-jolly just because the calendar’s down to a single page?”
Larry sighs reluctantly. “Never.” “Exactly.”
It’s not that I’m anti-Christmas, but…well, no, actually. I guess I am. And, unlike the grinch, I do know the reason. Everyone’s expectations are too high this time of year. I was just a kid when I realized that “merry” was not a guarantee. It’s a wish, a prayer, and, far too often, a forlorn hope. The last few years have been wonderful, but I know how fast that can change. Christmas is the time of year that really hits home.
“I guess I hoped things would be different,” Larry says. “That moving to Oberon and finding your happily-ever-after would’ve made you…happy?”
“I’m happy!” Of course, I am. I’m living the dream. But there’s a reason Christmas Future was the spirit Scrooge feared most; happily ever after is a long shot at the best of times. “Just because I don’t dress up in silly outfits or…” Shit. Too late, I notice the self-conscious look on Larry’s face. Does he think I mean him? “Is that the time?” I ask in a desperate bid to change the subject. “Your clock didn’t stop, did it?”
“I don’t think so.” Larry casts a worried glance at the display screen, then his face clears. “That would be funny, wouldn’t it?”
“No.” I glance uneasily at the traffic crawling far too slowly toward the airport. It’s two days before Christmas. If I don’t make my flight, there’s no guarantee I can get another. I promised my son that I’d be home in time to trim the tree. I can’t let Cole down. “Unless you think missing my flight would be funny?” It’s a pretty popular trope in those holiday romcoms he’s so addicted to, so maybe he does.
But Larry shakes his head. “No, Scout. It’s funny because it would be like George’s watch, you know?”
“No. Who’s George?”
“Ah, right.” Larry’s obsession with It’s a Wonderful Life is the stuff of legends. The movie forms the centerpiece of all his Christmas parties—like the one I was forced to attend last night. “You realize the most likely reason his watch stopped was that it got wet when he jumped into the river to save Clarence, right?”
“Pffft. That’s just what George wanted to think. It was working fine once Clarence returned him to his own life.” “Because it had dried out by then.” “What about Zuzu’s petals?” “What about ’em? It’s a movie, Larry. The petals were a plot device—that’s all.”
“It’s a film,” he insists. “A great film. And film is one of the lenses through which we view reality. Every detail is fraught with meaning.”
I’ve heard this before, and I’m not convinced. “The story is ludicrous.” Now, there’s a movie quote, if you like, from The Big Lebowski—a really great film. “Every person in the alternate Bedford Falls was living a sad, miserable existence just because George wasn’t there to prop them up? Who has that kind of power?”
“No man is an island, Scout. Every choice we make affects those around us.”
“Uh-huh. And you don’t find it strange that no one in the entire town could’ve chosen to be happy?”
“Old Man Potter was happy.”
“Yeah, and that’s another thing. Potter steals the deposit and gets away with it because everyone else sacrifices their life savings to make up the difference. They’re covering up a crime!”
“You’re totally missing the point of the story.”
“What’s the point; crime pays? I know what my husband—the cop—would have to say about that.”
“And what do you say about it, Princess?” “The only thing any sensible person can say: Bah humbug.”
I'll Be Home For Christmas releases this December as part of the Holiday Kisses anthology! Pre-Order it HERE now!
Holiday Kisses is a festive collection of nine exclusive Christmas stories that will make you fall head over heels in love.
Are you ready to take a journey with us? Get into the Christmas spirit with these swoon-worthy romances this holiday season. ️
Adina D. Grey - Special Christmas Present Emily is perfect, but I could never make her as happy as she deserves. Tyler is everything I've ever dreamed of, but I'm not enough. Will the magic of Christmas be enough to erase all doubts from their hearts? ️
Ann Grech - Gift Unwrapped Two men to choose from... Unwrapping her gift was never so much fun. ️
Maci Dillon - Candy Canes & Cocktails Stranded in a snowstorm with a swoon-worthy bartender never tasted so good. ️
Rosie East - Home for Christmas Coming home for Christmas isn't always as simple as it seems... ️
Samantha Baca - Snow Place To Go What happens when a woman looking for love gets stranded with a man who’s purposely avoiding it? ️
PG Forte - I'll be home for Christmas A meeting with an angel has Scout dreaming of a weird Christmas—one in which she sees what life might have been like for her friends and family if she’d never come home. ️
Andrea Marie - Mrs. Claus What starts as just a job, quickly opens the door to endless possibilities, including a chance at true love. ️
Holly J. Gill- Christmas Mistake When one mistake changes everything, how can you come back? ️
Lynn Stevens - One Wish Only We had three months together, then she was gone. I pushed her away, helped her run faster halfway around the world. Me and my big mouth, complete with the inserted foot. Now six months later, she’s standing in front of me as beautiful and stubborn as ever. And it will take a Christmas wish to win her back, or I’ll be forced to let her go forever.