May You Always (MF)
Sometimes we know the most when we are young.
Holt Powers loves the Christmas holiday. When the Snowflake Auction brings the woman he’d decided in kindergarten he was going to marry back into his life, he knew this was his turn to not let her get away.
Karma Whitfield had been bamboozled by her sister to come back north. She hates cold and hates Christmas, so what is she doing in the snow covered land? Being purchased for charity.
Reunited with Holt, they have forty-eight hours to decide if the sparks between them are real or just passion.
“What the hell did you just say to me?” Karma Whitfield yelled into the phone, hoping and praying she’d heard wrong. By the rough way she was breathing, she had a horrible feeling she’d not.
“Don’t get your panties in a twist, Karma. This isn’t the end of the world.”
Easy for you to say, Sherri. “You’re right. Take me off it.”
“No can do, sis. You’re on, and you better show up. We’re counting on you.”
“I’m not doing it.”
Her oldest sister expelled a heavy sigh. “Why do you make things so difficult? Can’t you just participate and help out for once?”
Walking to the refrigerator, Karma withdrew a Guinness and pressed it against her neck, hoping it would calm her down. “Can’t you ask someone before signing them up for something?” With a deft move, she opened the top and swallowed back the lager. Yeah, calming down wasn’t happening.
“I knew you’d say no.”
“Exactly. Then we wouldn’t have to have this asinine discussion. If you knew I’d say no, then you must have known I didn’t want to do it. You know I hate Christmas, Sherri. Why would you sign me up for this damn Snowflake thing? And why the fuck are you doing so this late? That’s less than a week away.”
“Lord help me, watch your mouth. The reason is because one of our women bailed out and we have to keep it an even number of those being auctioned off.”
Can’t put yourself up there? “And of course, you immediately thought, ‘Right, I’ll just put my sister, who hates Christmas, up onstage and all charming as people bid to spend a date with her.’ Yes, I can see how that would make perfect sense,” she sneered.
“Maybe I’d hoped my sister would get her head out of her ass and actually help out when a sister needed it.”
“You obviously thought wrong. Put Missy in.” They had another sister.
“She can’t. You know she’s engaged. And before you even mention me, I’m hosting, so of course I can’t.”
“Let me host and you can.” Her sister’s resounding no came through the line. “Who cares if Missy is engaged. Like you said, it’s for charity. This supposed “wonderful” man shouldn’t have any problems.”
“For God’s sake, Karma. For once, put others first. Stop thinking about yourself and come home to help out. Why do you make everything like pulling teeth?”
“Because I fucking hate Christmas! You fucking know that. It’s nothing new. Never has been. And yet, just because you have to do this, you assume I’ll drop everything and come home.” She had to force her hand to relax.
“Whatever. Get over yourself. I expect you here in five days. That gives you one day to visit family before the auction. The day of, your date, then you can scurry back to wherever you’re coming from.”
Click. Sherri hung up.
“Fuck!” she cried, hurtling her phone across the room and watching it break into two pieces. Good thing it wasn’t her cell.
In quick succession, she finished off her drink and tossed the bottle in the recycling container. Hands shaking, she went to the bedroom and sat at the foot of her double bed.
Digging into her back pocket, she pulled out her cell and dialed a number.
“I have to go home,” she said by way of greeting.
“What happened?” Kailey Cox, her best friend, asked with a voice filled of concern.
She flopped back on the bed. “Sherri volunteered me to be one of the people auctioned off at the Snowflake ball.”
“Isn’t that the Christmas thing?”
“Why would she…never mind, it’s Sherri.”
“Exactly,” she moaned. There were some people who mixed as well as oil and water. That explained her relationship with Sherri. Five minutes—okay, more like one—in the same room and she was ready to go for Sherri’s throat. Sure, she loved her, but she didn’t like her, and hated the way she looked down her nose at everything that didn’t carry themselves with what was basically Sherri-approved. And the cursing, drinking, and brash Karma had broken the “three perfect” sisters Sherri wanted. They didn’t need to be in the same zip code or, better yet, state as one another. They were great as long as they didn’t interact. Everything Sherri did aggravated Karma to no end since she did everything, as she’d done with this auction, without concern for others.
“What about Missy? Can’t she do it?”
“Apparently, her fiancé doesn’t think it would be good for her to, even if it’s for charity. But I can get my head out of my ass and pretend like I give a damn about the holiday and do this.”
“She’s engaged? Damn, I’ve not been interacting with your family for a while.” A short pause. “Okay, so when do we arrive?”
That’s what she loved about Kailey. Best friends like her were one in a million. No questions asked and she was ready to go with her.
“I’ve been ordered there in five days. I’m not about to ruin your Christmas. I know you two have plans.”
“No, Kailey. Enjoy your time with Rand. I…guess it’s time for me to go home and face things.”
“Sweetie, are you sure? You know I’ll go with you.”
And she would. “I know, Kailey. One of us should have a good time. I don’t like the holiday anyway; may as well go; it will make my sister happy.”
“You call me if you need me there.”
“I will, promise. I just…I just…”
“I know, Karma.”
Silence fell between them before Karma laughed. “It’s a party. I’m sure I can find some…thing fun to do.”
“You are such a dirty whore. You were going to say someone, weren’t you?”
Kailey wasn’t asking. Although her friend couldn’t see her, Karma shrugged. It was like Kailey stood beside her and witnessed it.
“I knew it!” she chortled. “Have I called you a dirty whore yet?”
“Yes, you bitch.”
They laughed again.
“I hope you have fun, Karma.”
“I hope I don’t need to call you for bail money.”
“Damn, good point. Are you sure you don’t want me to go with you?”
She smiled, feeling better. Of course she wanted Kailey with her; however, despite her sister’s accusation, she wasn’t only thinking of herself all the time. “No, you enjoy Rand—like I know you do. Can’t believe you call me the dirty whore. I know what you do to that man, just saying. Anyway, I’ll be good.”
“Love you, hon.”
“Likewise, babe. Best to Rand.” Karma hung up and flopped back on her bed. “God, this is going to suck.” She stomped her feet. “Suck, suck, suck!” The longer she lay there, the more she realized she had no choice but to go home and help out. Expelling one final sharp breath, she sat and stared at her bedroom. Like the rest of her apartment, there was nothing Christmassy around. No lights, no decorations, and definitely no tree.
“Suck it up and book your flight,” she told herself. “Yeah, right after I have another drink.” And that’s what she did.