Welcome back for a new sweet treat at Sweet Saturday Sample! I do appreciate everyone coming by and commenting very much. Thank you also to first-time visitors. I appreciate everyone stopping by.
Today’s sample comes from a another short story in my anthology of Christmas love tales called All Wrapped Up. This particular story is a contemporary romance called The Present. Hope you enjoy!
“I won’t do it, Janice. You can do your own dirty work.” Tessa Avery turned the vacuum cleaner back on and returned to cleaning the carpet in her sister’s living room. She stared at the noisy thing as she pushed it back and forth so violently she almost took out a small end table. Don’t look her in the eye. It’s all over if you make eye contact.
Sudden silence descended as the vacuum stopped dead. Tessa whirled around to find Janice holding the disconnected plug. “You will do it or I won’t pay you for the month.”
It was a threat Tessa had to respect. Unemployed for six months, she counted heavily on the money she got from cleaning her sister’s apartment. But this was going too far. “It’s not in the job description, Jan.”
“It is now.”
“Look, just call and tell him you don’t want to see him any more.”
“I can’t do that. He’s flying back from California and won’t be in touch until after 7 o’clock tonight. At which time I will be dancing with that hunky Kevin at the office Christmas party. I don’t plan to be home before one o’clock.” Her eyes glittered like cold stars. “If I’m really lucky, I won’t be home at all. So when Hal shows up, you can just tell him I decided we weren’t right for each other.”
“This is low even for you, Jan.”
Her sister stared at her, beady-eyed, as she waggled the cord back and forth. “Up to you, Tess. Stay here, let Hal down for me, and there’ll be a nice bonus in your envelope. Leave and….” Janice’s smile could have wilted the poinsettias. “Well, I can always find another cleaning lady. It’s two days before Christmas. If you want it to be a merry one, I suggest you stay.”
She bent and plugged the vacuum back in, so the sudden noise masked the “Witch!” that slipped out of Tessa’s mouth. Janice headed to the bedroom, leaving Tess to contemplate the merits of sororicide and starvation. At least they feed you in prison.
* * * *
Tessa sat, curled up on the couch, flipping back and forth between the classic It’s a Wonderful Life and the equally classic Miracle on 34th Street. She frowned. I need some “bah-humbug.” One hundred and three channels later she determined no one was into the darker aspects of Christmas tonight. Well, Hal certainly would be when she dropped Janice’s little bombshell on him.
She wouldn’t have minded so much if the guy had been a perv, or too geeky for words. Hell, even geeks deserved better than a second hand brush off. She tossed the remote onto the coffee table and went to the kitchen in search of solace.
Tess poured herself a stiff rum and coke and stirred her drink, watching idly as the coke foamed over the rim. Hal was a decent guy. He might not be the most handsome man around, but he’d treated her sister well in the six months they dated. Tessa met him several times; they talked at Janice’s birthday party last month and she liked his offbeat sense of humor.
She shook her head and took a gulp. Hal was too good for Janice. Half a glass later, she was convinced this rejection was for Hal’s own good, though he wouldn’t see it that way. He had given Janice a diamond necklace for her birthday. Crap! I hope he’s not giving her a ring for Christmas!
Tess drained her glass.
Not exactly a Merry Christmas for Tess or Hal, is it? Check out the anthology to see if they managed to squeeze out some kind of Christmas cheer. I hope you enjoyed another little breath of Christmas.
Thanks again for sampling my sweet. Come back next week for another Christmas “Sweet Sample” or join in the fun with your own. Follow this link to Sweet Saturday Sample to find more “sweet” offerings. have a great weekend!