I never go through that basket until it’s practically overflowing. Most of it is normally junk anyway. All my bills are paid online. Who needs mail? If it doesn’t come in an Amazon box, I’m not interested. It goes into the mail basket. I go through it about once a month when it starts to overfill and spill onto the table, leaving me no choice.
Digging through it, I search for cards, pulling out a sad total of three, while my mom continues to rattle on about Paris. Most people get tons of cards that they line their fireplaces with or cover their refrigerator with. The first card is a generic one from my dentist, but the second one stops me dead. His name is handwritten on the top-left corner. No stupid stamp or printed-out label. Alex Lockwood.
Even his writing is sexy and masculine, making me warm all over.
“Mom, I’ve got to go. Merry Christmas. I love you.” I rudely cut my mom off as she lists off the people she and Dad are seeing tomorrow. I didn’t have a clue who any of them were anyway, and I’ve got more pressing matters on my hands.
I open the card, careful not to rip the envelope too much, wanting to keep it as perfect as possible. The front of the card shows a pretty snow scene—a simple cabin with snow falling all around it. Above the picture-perfect wintery image is Merry Christmas, written in a rustic font.
Printed inside is a simple May all your Christmas wishes come true. But below that, written in that distinctive handwriting, is what grabs my attention.
To the sweetest voice I know.
My heart starts to race at the simple words, and I trace my finger over the xoxo. Maybe he was just being nice, but was it normal to tell a woman she has the sweetest voice he knew and add hugs and kisses, or was he flirting with me? Or am I once again making too much out of this? There were just as many hugs as there were kisses. Of course he’d comment on my voice. That’s what I do for him, after all. Maybe he did cards for everyone at work, like the stupid dentist card I got. For all I know, he has a secretary who does them and he just signs them.
Flipping the envelope over, I see an address that doesn’t match his company headquarters. I know because it’s stamped on the contracts I sign with every new book I take on. It’s odd, because this one is much closer to me. This address is only three hours from my house. I know the town and have been there a few times. I remember it being small and quaint when I went there to look at antiques one afternoon.
I make a snap judgment. The card said May all your Christmas wishes come true, and this year my wish is not to lose Alex from my life. Even if it means keeping me firmly in the role of his employee, I’ll take it. I’m doing what I have to do, and I’m going to his house. Loading up the audio tracks to a USB drive, I figure I can just take it to him. Then he’ll have his work, and I’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that I won’t be getting fired.
I know I might be crazy, but the thought of not having my daily calls with Alex is shattering. They’re something I’m not ready to let go of, even if my obsession has gotten a bit unhealthy. Glancing out the window, I can see the snow has picked up a little more. By the time I get out there, it will be really late. I should pack a bag and maybe stay at a local motel or something. If the snow keeps falling like it is, it probably won’t be safe to drive back tonight.
I rush to my bedroom and hurriedly get a bag together, stopping in front of the mirror to look at myself. I’m going to see him. I’m actually going to be face to face with Alex. I smooth down my brown hair, knowing I don’t have much time to do anything to it. I’m in leggings and a silly Christmas sweater that hugs my body a little tighter than it did a few years ago. It’s festooned with blinking lights you can turn on.
Doesn’t matter, I tell myself, grabbing my bag. I slip on some boots, a heavy winter coat, and a stocking cap. I grab the USB drive and my laptop, dropping them into the bag as well. I head out to my Jeep and program the address into my navigation. I hit the garage button, pull out of my driveway, and sit there while I watch it close.
An hour into the drive, my mind starts to get the best of me. What will happen when I get there? Will he be angry that I interrupted his Christmas? Or will he be happy he got the files he needed, and maybe invite me in? But when my mind goes to him maybe spending the holiday with a woman, I know I have to focus my thoughts somewhere else.
Grabbing my phone, I hit my Audible app and bring up my downloaded books. I hit one of the ones I recorded for Alex. I purchased the audiobook when it went live the other day. I want to listen to the story and get my mind off things, but as the first words are read, what fills my ears makes my stomach knot.