Under A Christmas Moon
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Tim Smith
Word Count :9903
Publication Date :2019-12-13
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-2734-4
A young career couple prepares to celebrate their first Christmas together—until a little thing called life gets in the way.
Scott Burke and Lisa Berger were high school sweethearts once upon a time, but that was fifteen years ago. Sparks were rekindled one year ago, when Lisa found herself stranded in Scott’s hometown on Christmas Eve and they realized they never should have parted. Now they’re planning their first Christmas together as a couple, but a little thing called life keeps getting in the way. Both of their careers keep them busy, especially Lisa’s, and Scott begins to feel like the odd man out in the relationship. Can the two lovers keep the flames burning, or will they decide it isn’t worth the trouble?
The foot-high plastic Christmas tree on Scott Burke’s desk stared back at him, like one of those annoying garden gnomes that kept popping up on the internet, traveling from place to place. It was cheap, with small lights that didn’t work and a tendency to lean to one side, no matter how often he straightened it. Scott sat back in his chair and stared at it, almost mesmerized by its kitschy look. I got that thing at last year’s office gift exchange. I didn’t like it then and I don’t really like it now, so why did I put it up again this year?
He grinned, remembering the reason. It was a reminder of what had changed since last year, sort of a symbol of lonely times that weren’t so desolate now. One year ago, I was dreading spending my first post-divorce Christmas alone. Then fate stepped in and made me stop at my favorite deli on my way home from work on Christmas Eve. I saw Lisa Berger, my former high school crush, stranded there because her car had broken down. She really surprised me when she accepted my offer to stay at my place over Christmas. After we spent New Year’s Eve together in our old hometown, she gave me the nicest gift ever, leaving her job in Memphis and moving here so we could be together.
Scott rocked back in his chair and recalled the holiday and the revelation that they had never gotten over each other, even though fifteen years had passed. Shortly after the first of the year, Lisa had made good on her promise and taken a job here. She’d moved in with him, and life had suddenly seemed less gloomy. Scott approached his job as a writer and editor for the Westerville, Ohio, weekly newspaper with more enthusiasm. With Lisa’s encouragement, he had finished his newest book and seen it get published. The reviews were good, and it had renewed his desire to continue writing. Her new job with a large investment group had also worked out, and she seemed happy with the change. They were within two hours of their hometown, where their parents still lived. Close enough for visits, but not close enough for familial interference.
Still, something bugged him. Life with Lisa was great, when she was home. Her job had kept her busy lately, including a lot of evenings. Scott pretended not to mind, since his job sometimes required him to cover community events after hours.
He checked his cell phone and reread the text Lisa had sent him that morning. Sorry, but I have to work late again. Meeting with a client, so I’ll miss dinner. Make it up to you this weekend, I promise. Love you!
Scott sighed. Make it up to you this weekend. Again. This is the fifth time in the last two weeks she’s had to work late to meet a client. Don’t they know she has regular office hours? I know I have to spend an occasional evening away covering a story, but not this frequently.
He came back to reality as a paper airplane landed on his desk. Scott saw his co-worker, J.T. Briggs, grinning at him. J.T. was tall and trim, black, with close-cropped hair and a moustache.
Scott balled up the paper, then threw it at him. “Typical sportswriter. Never grew up.”
J.T. chuckled. “Just wanted to get your attention. You looked like you were off in Neverland. What’s goin’ on?”
Scott covered his mouth and yawned. “Just waiting for the small hand to reach five and the big hand to stand up straight.”
“I hear ya. Hey, some of us are going to the Rusty Bucket for Happy Hour. Wanna come with?”
Scott pondered the question. “Why not? There’s nothing waiting for me at home.”
“Why don’t you call Lisa, have her meet you there?”
Scott smirked. “She’s busy.” He hesitated. “Again.”
J.T. gave him a curious gaze. “Things okay between you two?”
“They’d be better if she was actually home more often.”
“Her job keepin’ her that busy?”
“Yeah. I guess I shouldn’t complain, since I have to pull after-hours duty sometimes. Her boss has been giving her some difficult clients to work with, and she’s had to put in some extra time.”
“Are you feelin’ left out?”
Scott shrugged. “Not so much left out, but more like the third wheel.”
“I thought you were happy, gettin’ back together with your old high school crush.”
“I am happy. Lisa’s the best thing that’s happened to me in years. I’d just like it if we could spend more quality time together.”
“Scott, do you know how lucky you are?”
“Suppose you tell me.”
“Damn lucky. How many people wind up with their first one-and-only, especially after they’ve had some bad breaks?”
“You really think so?”
“Definitely.” He leaned closer and lowered his voice. “Listen, man, I love my wife and kids, and we have a great life. But if my first school crush had come back into my life before I met Tyneka, all bets would’ve been off.”
“Yours really got to you that bad, huh?”
J.T. nodded. “Took me forever to get over her. At least you got a second chance.”
Scott thought for a moment. “Maybe I did. Thanks for reminding me.”