Chapter 26

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Dedicated to Kenny b/c I love and appreciate you for reading and b/c when I'm all finished and I go back to edit the story to fix my mistakes, I am enlisting your help to figure out what kind of motorcycle Holly rides :)


Chapter 26

I awoke from a deep sleep in an unfamiliar bed, squinting as the daylight splayed across my face. The room was not my own, either. I started to panic, but as suddenly as the fear had come it left as realization pierced my sluggish brain.

Today was Thanksgiving. Yesterday James had surprised me after lunch with an envelope. Inside was a gift: One night at this resort and spa complete with full on pampering package. He said I deserved the time off to relax, but I think he just didn’t want me moping around thinking about how I had no family.

Still, it was a sweet gesture and I’d taken advantage. Yesterday I’d received a full body Swedish massage, a pedicure, manicure, facial, deep tissue towel wrap, aromatherapy, and some very good wine. After a good night’s sleep I felt like it was time to head home. Check out wasn’t for a few more hours, but I missed the comfort of the guest house and James’ easygoing presence.

Despite my calming time at the resort, thoughts of being alone and not celebrating Turkey day were at the forefront of my mind as I pulled into James’ driveway. I put on a happy face as I opened the front door, wanting James to know how much I appreciated his gift. Making my way towards the living room, I prepared a thank you in my head, but when I peered into the dining room my mind went blank.

The normal small round oak table and matching two chairs that we always sat at had been replaced by a long rectangular table that could easily seat ten. Its soft oak finish was covered down the center by a red cotton runner. On top it was casually decorated with a few vases filled with autumn colored flowers: Soft yellows of sunflowers, yellow-orange roses with tinges of red on the tips of the petals, orange daisies and lilies, and just a few small red roses. Between the vases were short wide ivory candles that were already lit, casting a soft light on the place settings around the table.

I walked up to the seat at the far end and saw my name elegantly hand written on an ivory place card which sat next to a red rose upon a small yellow plate on top of a larger red plate. Silverware sat to the right in front of a wine glass, water glass, and champagne flute. I walked clockwise around the table reading off the names as I passed: Brayden, Drew, Max. They were all actors on James’ show. I’d seen them briefly a few times but never officially met them. Caroline. If it wasn’t mistaken the only woman by that name was James’ mother. James. His place card was at the head of the table at the opposite end from me, a little far for my liking. Tony, Sammie. I was really hoping not to see their names. Greta. That name was entirely unfamiliar so I continued. Trudy. I halted, hoping it would be my friend Trudy, I really missed her. The few times we talked were about Jon and it would be really great to spend the holiday catching up.

I stood back in front of my place setting looking over the table in front of me. That’s when I noticed the rose next to my name card was the only one. Every other setting had an ivory card on their yelow plate, but no flower. I picked it up and smelled it enjoying the sweet aroma, smiling at how beautiful this was already. Was this his plan all along? To get me out of the house so he could surprise me with a real Thanksgiving meal? Tears welled up in my eyes at the thought of spending the day with friends; a makeshift family of sorts.


I turned around, only barely realizing I was wearing a pair of black yoga pants tucked into my Uggs and an oversized blue t-shirt that hung off one shoulder. My hair was in a messy bun and my face was free of all beauty products. Not to mention a tear was falling down my cheek.

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