All I Want for Christmas – Chapter 4
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This short Love & Found Story is a gift to YOU, my beloved reader. It hasn’t yet been formally edited yet, so please excuse any typos or errors. Happy reading and Happy Holidays, my friend!
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“Well, I’d do anything for you, Luke,” Lila said, putting a hand on my arm and leaning in a little closer to me. “You’ve always been my favorite.”
Lila was my Dad’s baby sister and although she was technically my aunt, we were so close in age that we’d always been more like cousins. A few weeks ago she’d moved back to town after being overseas with her husband for the last year. He was still in Germany at the moment but would arrive back after the holiday to rejoin his family in the states.
“This goes a little beyond favorites,” I told her, a little sheepish about calling her for help. “Even though I know I’m the best nephew you’ve got,” then I winked at her and laughed.
“I don’t mind, Luke. I trust you implicitly and I know you’ll pay me back. Even though I knew we had the money, I just had to check with Jared first before I could agree for sure.”
“You don’t have to make any excuses,” I told her as she handed me the envelope, “Besides, I picked up another quick job this morning,” I pulled a few of the bills out and handed them back to her, “So I don’t need quite as much now.”
“Well just be sure you don’t work so hard you neglect the future Mrs. Luke Roden. We women are funny about those things.”
I chuckled again, my face pulled into a grin so big it hurt my face. But I couldn’t help it. I was so excited that it was hard not to smile, “Yes, ma’am, I’ll remember that. Thanks again, Lila. I’d better get in there before they sell it out from under me. The guy behind the counter said he could only hold it until this afternoon.”
“Well, I’m coming with you,” she said as if I should have known, then curled her arm into mine and followed me into the store. “I mean, it’s bad enough you haven’t introduced me to the lucky lady yet. The least you can do is show me this rock you picked out.”
“Hey, it’s not my fault you’re so busy getting that gigantic house you bought in order. I tried to invite you to dinner a few weekends ago.”
She shoved herself into my side playfully as we approached the jewelry counter.
“You came back,” Allen Hogg, the associate I’d been working with said as he met us at the kiosk, “And is this the lucky lady?”
“Oh no!” Lila chortled, then held out her hand to show off her own wedding and engagement pair, “I’m already hitched. I’m just here to approve of his choice.”
“Well, I think you’ll be very pleased,” Aaron beamed as he opened the shelves under the display case and pulled out a small box.
“Oh, Luke,” Lila gasped when the salesman lifted the lid and held the box out for her to see. She reached a hand out, though didn’t touch the ring. “This is perfect.”
White gold with one large diamond surrounded in a square halo of smaller diamonds, the ring was simple, yet charming. He’d worried about finding something with more stones, more carats, a bigger price tag. But deep down, when he’d seen this ring he knew it was Lacey’s. His beautiful girl didn’t need extravagance to set her off.
“And are you ready to make your purchase?” Aaron asked him, gently closing the top and putting the ring down on the glass.
“Yep,” I nodded, pulling out my wallet, “That I am.”
“Perfect. Now, remember, if there’s any problem with the sizing, just bring the young lady back here and we’ll make sure it fits her finger just perfectly.”
“Thanks. I think it will fit, though,” I’d been meticulous about the sizing, taking one of Lacey’s rings and tracing the inside and outside of it on a piece of paper at least a dozen times before bringing it back to this store for them to size it. I wanted the pleasure of slipping it on her finger after she said yes without having to bring her back here to the store.
I counted out the cash Lila had loaned me, then wrote a check for the balance of the cost. Aaron looked pleased and I knew he was making a commission on the sale. A commission which hopefully made the weeks and weeks of harassment while I worked to save up the money worth his time. As requested, he tied the box with a gold ribbon, then dropped it into a bag and handed it over to me.
“Merry Christmas, Mr. Roden.”
Holding the bag tight in my hand, I walked with Lila to her car.
“So when are you going to pop the question? Christmas morning?”
“Nope. Definitely, don’t want to wait that long. Even a few days is too much. We’re having a party at the bayou tonight and I’m going to do it there. I even got ahold of her brother and he’s going to be there with her mom as an extra surprise.”
“Man, Luke, I’m impressed. You’re going all out for this girl. She really must be the one. There’s only one thing you’ve forgotten.”
My mind whirled and I wondered what I might have left out of my meticulous plans. When Lila started giggling, I cut her a glare, “You’re messing with me.” “Me!” she shouted, “You forgot to invite me. I have given my official seal of approval for that gorgeous rock there. I deserve to see her face when she says yes.”
Are you enjoying this Love & Found Christmas short-short? Stay tuned, the next chapter will appear in your inbox in just a few weeks.