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It was the 20th of December—the last day of work for Hailey before she flew back to Seattle for Christmas to be with her family. And though she should've been excited, she was still feeling a little flat.

The messages from Elliot had begun to slow, and it made her realize she wanted to talk to him in person and have him explain. She also wanted to explain her actions and thoughts, hoping that she hadn't been so standoffish that he wouldn't forgive her.

Walking back to her apartment, she barely noticed her surroundings. Everything around was either snow, as it fell softly from the sky, or the blur of strangers. She was so in her head that when she turned onto her street, she didn't notice the man sitting on the apartment front steps until she was right in front of him.

Looking up, her eyes widened as she saw Elliott sitting there, covered in snow. "Elliott... what are you doing here?"

"I wanted to catch you before Christmas, in case you were leaving to visit family," he replied, standing. His hands were in his jacket pocket and Hailey couldn't tell if he was hunched because of the cold, or because he was nervous.

"I am, actually," she said. "I'm flying out tomorrow afternoon."

"Then I'm glad I caught you." There was a sincerity in his gaze as he met her eyes, letting a few seconds pass between them before he sighed. "Look, I don't know exactly what you saw on my phone that morning, but it wasn't how it seemed. Yes, I was actively using Mixr before I met you, hell, we met at an event hosted by them, but since that night, I haven't even opened the app."

"I believe you, it's just—"

Elliott cut her off. "I deleted the Mixr app from my phone. I don't need messages from new matches or women I went out with weeks ago, I just want a chance to prove to you I'm not that guy. I wasn't playing games. I genuinely like you and want to see where this could go... if that's still something you want."

And it was. She wanted to see where things could go with him, she'd simply been too much of a chicken to say so over text.

"I know I probably overreacted," Hailey admitted, dropping her gaze to the ground. "After everything that happened with my ex—moving out here for him and then getting dumped—I felt a bit resentful. I took some time and thought I got over it, but while I got over him, I think some of those insecurities about not being enough for somebody haven't totally gone away."

"And that's okay, I can accept that," Elliott said, surprising her slightly with his response. "But in the future, if you just talk to me and tell me what you're thinking, I'll be there to tell you not to worry. And I swear I'll be telling the truth."

Not wanting to get her hopes up, she bit her lip before saying, "What are you asking?"

"Well, if you have time tonight, I was thinking we could go to this bar a few blocks away that serves hot apple cider."

"Sounds right up my street."

Elliott grinned, stepping closer, making the butterflies in Hailey's stomach take flight as he brought both hands up to cup her jaw. "And then, once you get back to the city next week, I can take you out to dinner to start this relationship off right." His lips were a hairsbreadth away from hers. "What do you say?"

No words were needed.

Not as Hailey noticed the mistletoe the building owner had hung above the entrance out of the corner of her eye. It was an innocent holiday decoration, but the exact sign she needed in that moment.

Closing the gap between them, Hailey kissed him, closing her eyes and embracing the moment. With the snow falling around them and the way their lips moved soft and slow, it was probably the most romantic moment either of them had ever been a part of.

"So, it's a date then?" Elliott asked, not entirely pulling back so that his lips brushed hers with each word.

Hailey nodded, grinning up at him. "It's a date."


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