Newly divorced, Ann has special plans for New Year’s: doing exactly what she wants, all on her own. Yet, when her sister, a caterer, makes a last-minute plea for help, Ann can’t say no. She’s no fan of big parties, and the last thing she expects is to meet a kindred spirit. Can Will convince her that alone really isn’t the best way to spend New Year’s?
And so, rather than slipping into comfy flannel pajamas, Anne found herself donning a tailored white shirt and black skirt, taming her long auburn hair into a neat French braid, and putting on a touch of make-up. Although she regretted the loss of her peaceful evening alone, she really didn’t mind helping her sister.
She’d done it enough times that she was comfortable with Jean’s staff. In fact, it was fun, bantering back and forth with the others as they did prep work in the client’s impressive kitchen.
When the guests began to arrive, Anne straightened her black and white apron with its embroidered We Cater to You logo, and picked up a platter of yummy-looking appetizers. “Into the fray.”
As she circulated, smiling politely, she studied the partygoers and felt immensely relieved to be one of the staff, not a guest. This wasn’t her kind of scene. She preferred meaningful one-on-one conversations, not this animated, almost frenetic socializing. She watched as women flitted around the room, tossing their hair back, laughing too loud, exchanging a few words, giving another artificial laugh, then moving on. Oh yes, everyone was determined to have fun tonight – or at least give the impression they were having fun.
When she caught herself shaking her head in pity, she hurriedly plastered the smile back on her face.
That was when she saw him. He was clad in a tux like most of the other men, but managed to look casual rather than stiff. If she assessed his features one by one – dark brown hair, rather prominent nose, determined jaw – she’d have to say they were nothing special, and yet they went together particularly well. Besides, there was something arresting about him. Perhaps it was because he was alone, unmoving, leaning one shoulder against a wall and watching the bustle that swirled around him.
Although he didn’t look nervous she wondered if perhaps he was a stranger to the group, and feeling out of place. Anne could imagine herself in the same position, if she’d accepted Caitlin’s New Year’s Eve invitation.
Maybe she was being fanciful. Likely he’d come with one of those pretty party women, and was just taking a breather from the action.
Still, if he was feeling uncomfortable, wasn’t it part of her job to help put him at ease? That was all she was doing, she told herself as she slipped through the crowd and headed over to him. It really had nothing to do with how attractive she found him.
When she was halfway there, his gaze fixed on her, making her feel self-conscious – but in a nice, feminine way she hadn’t felt in a long time.
She cleared her throat. “Good evening. May I offer you an appetizer?”
Most people immediately looked down at the tray and made a selection, but this man continued to study her face. From someone else, the prolonged attention might have seemed rude, but somehow this man made her feel as if he was really seeing her, as if he was interested in knowing her.
Now there she went, being fanciful again! Embarrassed she ducked her head and moved the tray another inch or two closer to him.
When she glanced up again, he was smiling. The smile was friendly and genuine, unlike the superficial ones she’d been seeing all evening.
Well Friends, I hope you've enjoyed these holiday-themed romances and purchased a whole bunch for your reading pleasure.
Stay tuned to find out what's happening in my life as I continue my journey from wife to widow to individual.
Saturday spotlight will resume next weekend. Thanks for sticking with me throughout this difficult and life-altering year ~ hope to see you again and often!
Until later....Be Blessed.