Chapter 10

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Snow was already falling by the time the bus pulled back in front of the Inn's main entrance. Anya stood smiling while the guests filed off the bus, with snow slowly piling up on her shoulders.

She was shivering by the time she got the chance to stomp the snow off her boots in the warm comfort of the kitchen. Gloria appeared with a cup of steaming hot coffee to warm her up with the news that Eve was waiting for her up in her office.

Anya allowed herself a second sit at the long table pushed into the furthest corner of the kitchen, regaining feeling back into her fingers. It was when Manny appeared with his two nephews in tow, looking for lunch, that all her responsibilities and the jobs still yet undone that suddenly came back to mind and Anya used them as an excuse to exit the kitchen.

She found Michaela already seated at the conference table that took up one half of Eve's office, set before a large window that looked out onto the front-drive. She had come prepared for their business meeting, her computer open and ready to take notes. She nodded as Anya entered the room but returned to what she had already been working on.

A glance outside the window told Anya that the storm was already in full force. The snow was falling even harder than it had been when she was outside only ten minutes before. The sky was darkening and soon everything would be covered completely in white.

Eve appeared right at two o'clock, the set time for their business meeting and nodded for Anya to take the only chair free as she took her own at the head of the table.

"Alright, ladies. Let's discuss tomorrow night."

What followed next was forty-five minutes of details and logistics, all of them having to do with the Inn's big Christmas Ball the next night, the highlight of their season and the reason they were the highest-reviewed inn in all of the North Eastern United States.

After almost two hundred years of tradition, the Ball had long since had its own set procedure of how things got done. There was even a checklist. But as time moved on, as things advanced, items were continuously being added. Today's main concern was the storm raging on outside and how it would affect the festivities.

"What about the orchestra?"

Eve looked to Anya but it was Michaela who spoke.

"They arrived this morning. One of our shuttles met them at the airport and dropped them off at the house we rented for them in town. A shuttle will be sent to their house tomorrow afternoon to pick them and their families up in time to set up."

"Excellent. And the snow? Will that be a problem?"

"No." It was Anya's turn to prove herself efficient.

"I saw Frank on my way here. His team is ready to start plowing as soon as the snow slows, no matter what time tonight. The crew will be staying over up in the barn loft to stay on call. Frank's already coordinated with the team from town. They'll make sure their end is clear. The snow should have settled down by tomorrow morning. The villagers should have no difficulty making it up in time."

"Glad to hear it. Anything else regarding tomorrow night, then? Anya, you settled the menu with Gloria?"

"Weeks ago. She says she's good to go. I got her the last of her groceries yesterday. She's ready to hole up in her kitchen and cook until tomorrow night."

Eve smiled.

"That sounds like Gloria. Now I believe that takes care of that. Of course, tomorrow morning we will be having our private celebration up here in my parlor. One of the barn hands cut down a small tree for me and I took the liberty of decorating it. Gloria will have a nice breakfast for us prepared. I've asked Frank to join us if that's alright. And if there's nothing else to discuss..."

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