Christmas Town: Chapter Fifteen
Happy Wintermas, all!
Well, this is it: the big finale of Christmas Town!
WILL the Uncle Billys be brought to justice?
WILL Nathan get the smack upside the head that he so richly deserves?
And, most importantly, WILL Jordan tell the entire town to kiss his ass, as he rides off into the sunset with his NFL deal, never to have to see the town of Bethlehem again?
I am doubtful about all three, but let’s find out!
Christmas Eve morning dawns, and Joella is all pissy because this will be her last Christmas in Bethlehem (*sob*) and because she turned down Jordan’s proposal (OH AND ALSO STOMPED ON HIS HEART LIKE IT WAS A COCKROACH), but she still hears…
…the still quiet voice that warned her that Jordan had some changing to do before he could do anything but bring her misery.
Boy, thought Joella, good thing that I don’t need to change at all. Life sure is easier when I’m already perfect just the way I am!
What is it with Christmas romance novels where the men have to change and the women just…don’t? I’ll have to find another one for next Wintermas—this is becoming quite the tradition.
Nathan busts out of the house at the earliest moment possible for “work,” and Joella heads to work, too, but it’s only for a half-day. This gives her the afternoon to wander around town and take in the local color…such as it is. Everyone is just as pissy as she is.
“That’s auditors, they say, from the government,” said the clerk at the supermarket, nodding in the direction of two men in inexpensive suits and slightly shabby overcoats who were walking out of the diner.
Hey, clerk at the supermarket, maybe those dudes don’t own nice suits from John Phillips – London (I have two myself). But maybe they don’t need them. Maybe they don’t want them. Maybe those auditors want more important things than that.
Did you ever think of that, clerk at the supermarket? Yeah, just see if those auditors want to marry you now.
“They say they’re here to take the rest of the Scovilles’ money for back taxes.”
The Uncle Billys have not paid their taxes THE HELL?
Is this to be believed? Is this clerk right even for a second?
If so, then FRAK the Uncle Billys.
But if not, then why does this clerk believe the Uncle Billys would be capable of that, but not of losing the retirement money?
I DO NOT GET THIS TOWN AT ALL.
“My husband says they’re going to get the truth out of the Scovilles before the day is up, or know the reason why,” said the clerk in the next line.
Oh, so now people are starting to get suspicious. Bit little, too late, I’d say.
Also, is it just me, or are they starting to hint that they’re going to visit violence upon the Scovilles?
“Oh, dear,” said a little old lady whose son worked at the mill. “My Jerry is so angry. You know, he’s as likely to start swinging his fist as listen to what people have to say when he gets like that. I told him he ought to just stay home today. But he’s that much like his father was. A hothead.”
HOLY CRAP, THEY ARE GOING TO GET VIOLENT.
Well, that’s sure in the Christmas spirit. You horrible, horrible people.
And also, I feel really bad for this lady. Her husband and her son were violent, eh? I dunno, something about her phrasing makes me suspect that she might have been on the receiving end of those fists once in awhile.
It’s the water, man. There’s something in it.
Joella heads to Jordan’s office, primarily to get Nathan but also to warn Jordan that things might go south. But Nathan runs out of the office and away, still on his mysterious “work” mission.
Eh, I guess it’s okay for him to run willy-nilly around the town (I’m a grown-up; I say willy-nilly!). He is, after all, SEVEN WHOLE YEARS OLD.
Joella, to her credit, actually does warn Jordan:
“Some of the men might come by today. They want some answers. They’re angry.”
He nodded. Understanding seemed to sink in. “Don’t worry, Joella. Nothing’s going to happen to Nathan. I promise.”
It made her sad to realize that his promise meant nothing to her at the moment.
THERE ARE ONLY NINE PAGES LEFT IN THIS BOOK, AND SHE STILL DOESN’T TRUST HIM.
(Also, seriously, she thinks that the raging mob of townsfolk might actually visit violence upon her seven-year-old son in some sort of strange guilt by association???)
THIS TOWN: SO WEIRD
Jordan is pretty nonplussed by the situation, and continues with his mission, making a quick trip to a bank in Greenville, then heading back to town to talk to the reverend.
Because it’s Christmas Eve, so what better things would the good reverend have to do than talk to the town’s most despised resident?
Basically, Jordan wants to double-check that his plan is God’s will. It’s actually kinda sweet, not that we get to read any of the actual conversation.
After dusk falls upon this strange, cursed town, the angry mob indeed gathers torches and pitchforks, and descends upon Jordan’s office.
BECAUSE IT’S ALL HIS FAULT
“They’ve locked us out,” someone said angrily.
They? Who’s “they”? Also, yeah, on Christmas Eve…evening, the doors of an office building are locked. Go figure.
“They’ll have to come out sometime,” came the reply.
“A lock can’t keep us out!”
“We’ve got a right to answers!”
Then hotheaded Jerry leapt onto the front steps. “Those windows are no match for a tire iron. I can tell you that right now.”
Oh, so not torches and pitchforks. Just tire irons.
Joella cried out, “No!” But no one seemed to hear her.
Good things never happen to those who mess with a mob, Joella. Be warned.
But Jordan and Nathan appear just in time to diffuse the evil mob of Good Christians on Christmas Eve (I AM NEVER GETTING OVER THIS).
Jordan has Nathan pass out gift bags to every family.
“A bankbook!” someone cried.
“And look at all those zeroes.”
If only Frankenstein’s monster had thought to give the angry mob cash prizes, maybe tragedy could have been averted!
Jordan explains it all!
“What you have is the retirement account for Scoville Mill. Four-point-six million, I think, is what it holds. So the future of everyone here is secure, even after we close the doors. I believe that was your concern today, gentlemen.”
The two men in cheap suits looked at one another, frowned into the bankbook. “Well, yes, but—”
“Then I wish you a Merry Christmas. I think you still have time to get home for the holiday, gentlemen.”
Well, probably not, but hey, it’s nice that state auditors can be dispensed with so easily!!
Then Nathan explains it all!! To Joella!!
Jordan sold all the land for the stadium, and used it to fund the retirement account.
And he negotiated a contract for the mill to make licensed apparel for the new NFL team.
And Jordan proposes to Joella again:
“Before you answer, you have to know, I don’t have a penny to my name.”
Well, that’s great, Jordan! Because as we’ve learned, the amount of money a person has is inversely proportionate to his ability to be a good parent. That’s how it works.
“I’ll be starting over. But I have…faith…that I’ll be led to the right work.”
That work turns out to be being CEO of the mill.
Because Jordan has drunk the water, and now dreams of spending the rest of his life in the town where NOT FIVE MINUTES AGO, an angry mob was preparing to DESTROY HIS OFFICE.
Man, Jordan’s going to be sleeping with one eye open…forever. And surely his poor, sensitive tummy will never be right.
But I guess being poor and in danger is a real turn-on for Joella, because she says yes.
His silence had been necessary to protect two old men who were dear to him.
ARE YOU SERIOUSLY FIGURING THIS OUT JUST NOW, LADY???
And I see that the Uncle Billys won’t be brought to justice.
I am disappoint.
As he swept her into his arms, another cry went up from the crowd.
“Hey! When I said ‘look at all these zeroes,’ I meant the bankbook literally had no money in it! The evil Scovilles are trying to cheat us again! BURN THE WITCHES!!!”
Joella looked up in time to see a million lights go on all over town, more magical and spectacular than the lights had ever been in Christmas Town, U.S.A.
I got nothing left. I just…the world makes no sense to me right now.
Okay, okay… *deep breath*
It looks like the squatters bought the lights.
But even if that is so…
HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO PUT UP ALL THE LIGHTS WITHOUT ANYBODY NOTICING???
I can just imagine the squatters’ Christmas glee: “Ha-HA!! Now we can come and squat here again every year! And from now on we’ll even bring our own canned chili so we never need to spend even seventy cents in this crummy town again!”
These Wintermas books were the first on this blog that I’ve done blind, and I did wonder if I was shooting myself in the foot. After all, what if I liked this book? Hell, I like Christmas. I like romance. I even like sappy Christmas romance.
But this really took me by surprise. I mean, I could see where things were going with the oh-so-“cute” kid, and the “cold-hearted” businessman who needs to learn The True Meaning of Christmas from the faithful woman with a heart of gold, so all the elements were there…
But the cute kid was an obnoxious, self-centered little snot. The cold-hearted businessman was the most kind and generous character in the whole book, by far. And the woman of faith was manipulative, condescending, and convinced that everybody needed to grow and change…except herself.
Noella Wright, meet your soulmate, Joella Ratchford.
And my poor Jordan. I thought we had a cool, likeable hero last year with Tom Douten, but dear, decent Jordan, a man willing to give everything to save both his clueless, brainless family and the town that was ready to destroy him…
You are a character who deserves better, Jordan Scoville. If only you could escape this story and find a cool, non-manipulative woman who would introduce you to the joys of fresh, healthy cuisine and not care how much money your family has.
So, here’s to you, Jordan Scoville.
And to you, my loyal, lovely readers. Thanks for a great year, and please enjoy this Christmas vid from the fine folks at Gamervision:
See you all next year, as we continue our journey with Michael Murphy to find Noah’s ark.