Excerpt: Wishing On Mistletoe Mountain
"Santa's beard against his red suit… Beautiful bride, dressed all in white…"
People wearing red and green ugly sweaters donning blinking headbands processed into the restaurant. The sound of their voices rang off-key with a Christmas and a wedding song at the same time. It was pretty awful.
A bad flash mob? It was the strangest thing Rebecca St. Claire had ever seen or heard. Why would anyone ever mix those two songs unless they were having a Christmas wedding? She wasn't even close to planning a wedding. Her boyfriend, Donald Joseph, III, was running for the U.S. Senate. He'd graduated from college seven years ago, and now, his aspirations were sky high, making her less than secondary in his life.
It didn't matter. She'd never marry this guy for one specific reason—the woman who was sitting at that table beside him amidst all his other female advisors.
"Rebecca." Donald leaned closer as the singers changed to 'Santa bells, wedding bells…' "They're playing our song."
"Huh?" Their song about Santa bells? This guy was nuts.
The flash mob approached their table while every other customer stared, some taking video of the event on their cell phones. One man in the far corner even had a tripod with a mounted camera pointed toward their table. That told her one thing—this evening had been planned and was probably advertised.
Donald had really done it now.
She leaned closer to him. "I hope this is just a publicity stunt."
He smirked, turned toward Gillian, his 'right-hand, arm, leg, and everything else' advisor, and winked. He never winked or flirted with Rebecca and she knew why. Rebecca would be the trophy wife for him, since she was pretty and as thin as a model. But she'd never live up to his expectations. He'd made that perfectly clear the last time they went out together, describing how she just wasn't that bright but at least she was pretty enough for him.
Did he get a 4.0 GPA from a top-notch school? No, but she did. Did he do four internships while in college and hold down a job that was more full-time than part-time? No, but she did. But according to him, she wasn't bright. The thought drove her crazy because she was much brighter than he was. However, since she was a woman and didn't choose a powerful field of study, she didn't count, according to him.
Donald stood up, straightened his three-piece-suit, and flashed the crowd a smile as the blinking-head-awful-singing-mob got closer. He took Rebecca's hand and helped her to her feet, but she was confused. He dropped his hand and shot the crowd another grin. He was really playing to the crowd, making her more than irritated.
The song finally ended and people clapped. Rebecca hoped that was all there was, but when Donald got on one knee, she had to brace herself. Unfortunately, there was more.
Donald reached into his pocket and looked up at Rebecca. "I know we've been dating forever and you've been patiently waiting for me to get my life in order."
Uh, no. Six weeks wasn't that long to date, and he'd just decided to run for congress about three weeks before, getting the paperwork done fast. He had a year yet to get his congressional platform up and running, but didn't waste a minute hiring six pretty female assistants for the campaign. He also never had time for Rebecca, which told her a lot.
Donald continued, still watching her face. "I think it's time we consolidate and marry. Don't you?" He opened a box and showed her a giant ring.
It had to be fake, because Donald never had money. Rebecca always paid for their dates. However, tonight, she knew his campaign would foot the bill for the meal, so she'd decided to join him. That was her first mistake of the evening.
Wait. He was proposing? That was his proposal? Time to consolidate…what? This was ridiculous.
Rebecca sighed, and with a determined stare at his face, crossed her arms. "No."
Donald lost his smile, glaring up at her in shock. After a long moment, he got to his feet. "Did I hear you right?"
"I said no." She tightened her jaw with her arms still crossed against her chest. "Not in a million years would I marry you."
With a glance, he showed the audience his displeasure, and then leaned toward Rebecca's ear. "Why not?"
Rebecca cupped her hand around his ear and leaned closer. "Your other girlfriend called me this morning and told me everything. We're through. Since you demanded I join you tonight, I came here to give you one last show of support, and then intended to fade into the background so you could play eensie-weensie-sloppy-footsies, according to Gillian. Sounds stupid to me."
He backed away, slack-jawed, and watched her for a lengthy moment. But he never argued. Rebecca was right and he'd been caught.
He finally turned and walked away.
"Donald?" Gillian got to her feet and ran after him.
Louise, another one of his 'advisors,' stood up and moved closer to Rebecca, hatred covering her face. "You just ruined him." She ran off, followed by the rest of the female assistants.
The patrons, the flash mob, and the wait staff glared at Rebecca. She didn't know what to do, spending an awkward moment while the rest of the people just watched the drama unfold.
Their waiter stepped closer and handed her the bill. "I expect a good tip." He waltzed away.
The main singer for the mob stared at her from the front of the pack, suddenly crossing his arms. "As do we. We weren't paid, either."
Even though Rebecca was only a lowly toy store clerk, she had to pay the bills. There went her credit, at least.
Cindee Cupid was rather new on the job. Her mentor, candy-heart-chain-smoker with a major chip on her shoulder, Coralee Cupid, watched over everything Cindee did.
"No, you don't blow cupid dust on anyone. You made Gillian call Rebecca and tell her everything. Donald's gone now and we can fix her up with the man of her dreams."
"The doctor who lives across the street from Rebecca's parents, right?"
Coralee nodded and popped another candy heart into her mouth, making the smoke of the sugar drift from between her lips. "The doctor. He's a good man but is sad right now. We have to make sure Rebecca's happy when she meets him."
"Why can't she do this on her own? Why do we have to meddle?" As soon as the words escaped from Cindee's mouth, Coralee's lips turned downward and her eyes narrowed. Oops. Cindee had done it again.
Coralee hadn't wanted Gillian to mention the eensie-weensie-sloppy-footsies to Rebecca, but Cindee had used too much truth serum dust on Gillian and the woman had told everything. Coralee wrote Cindee up for that. And now this?
Cindee closed her eyes, just waiting for her punishment.
"It's our job!" Coralee bellowed. The sound was so loud and her breath so strong that Cindee's hair blew away from her face with the comment. No one should be harassed like this. She didn't think she had any recourse to stop Coralee. The woman was nothing more than a lonely, angry bully.
Cindee had to make this better, but it wasn't the time. Instead, she ignored the rest of the screaming and went into her own thoughts, dreaming up bright fields of daisies and sunshine, with happy people surrounding her. The fantasy was definitely better than reality.
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