A Beaumont Family Christmas (Beaumont 5.60) - Page 9

“Does the reservation matter on headcount?”

“No, we have the whole house, and there’s enough space for everyone. The house is at the base of the mountain, not far from the lodge, and there’s a hot tub on the deck.”

“Oh, can I bring my bikini?” Paige blurts out.

“No,” Liam says sternly. “Especially if you’re inviting Mack.”

Paige huffs and then starts to pout. I want to change the subject away from Mack, so I ask, “How was driving?”

Our daughter perks right up. “It was great. Dad let me drive all the way to Allentown and back. I wanted to stop at the museum and see all of his football pictures, but he said no.”

“No, huh? It seems like that’s your favorite word today.” I touch his knee with mine.

“What can I say?” Liam throws his hands up in the air. “No is my favorite word, especially when it comes to you.” He reaches across the table and taps his finger against Paige’s nose. “Driving went well,” Liam adds. “Paige is very aware of her surroundings, and with more practice, she’ll pass her test easily.”

“Think I can learn how to drive the motorcycle?”

This time it’s me who blurts out, “No, absolutely not.”

“Why not? Noah learned.”

“Not at fifteen he didn’t,” I counter.

“Well, that’s just unfair.” Paige crosses her arms over her chest and looks down at the table. After a few minutes, her head rises slowly, and she does everything to hide her smile, but it’s no use. “I’m just kidding. I don’t ever want to learn.”

“Oh, phew,” I say. “We’ll leave all the motorcycle stuff to your dad and uncles.”

“Although, I think Eden knows how to drive her dad’s,” Paige says.

“JD is reckless,” Liam states. “Don’t ever do anything he tells you, suggests, or otherwise.”

I slap Liam lightly on his arm. “Stop, he’s one of your best friends.”

Liam winks. “I’m only kidding, except for the part where I say don’t do anything he tells you to, especially when we’re on vacation. Your Uncle JD has never skied a day in his life. You have more experience than he does.”

“Does that mean I can take him on the black diamond slope?”

My eyes widen, and I’m sure Liam’s do as well. “Please don’t kill your uncle, Paige. Your dad needs him for their next album and tour.”

Betty Paige sighs dramatically and holds her hand out over the table. She wiggles her fingers and then eyes her palm. Liam sighs dramatically and then reaches into his pocket. He drops the car keys into our teenaged daughter’s hand. “We’re going right home,” he tells her. Something tells me she has a detour planned, whether he likes it or not.

Liam kisses me, and I tell him I’ll see him at home for dinner. Tonight, he’s cooking, and it’s always a surprise. When he and Paige have left, I clean the table and head toward the back of the deli to wash the dishes. A few minutes later, Trudy comes in.

“You have such a lovely family,” she says. She doesn’t talk much about hers, even though I’ve asked plenty of times. She never mentions if she has kids or even grandchildren.

“Thanks, Trudy. Are you sure you don’t mind working over the holidays?”

“We’ll have some of the college kids back. We’ll be fine.”

I smile softly and thank her. I go back to the flower shop and start picking up the mess I’ve left from decorating the front windows. I’m putting a box away when I accidentally knock another one over. Papers fall out onto the floor. I squat down and pick up the first one I see, only to fall back onto my rear.

In my hand, I hold the original order Mason placed when he started ordering flowers for Katelyn, in his handwriting. I don’t know if the tears come first, the ache in my heart, or the swelling in my throat, but the memory of Mason washes over me. I can’t help but think what my life would be like if he hadn’t died.

Where would I be?

Who would I be with?

Would Liam have ever come back?

Tags: Heidi McLaughlin Beaumont Romance
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