TPCR: Chapter 6
Lucas and Max wander past Erin’s cafe around lunchtime. Just as he’s trying to figure out a way to avoid lunching there, his cousin (Brooke, if you care) comes out and drags him in. There are various other named characters and their kids involved, presumably from the other books, but I’m going to ignore them unless necessary.
Lucas sees that the cafe hasn’t changed at all since he’s been away, right down to the initials carved into the table where they’re all sitting. The initials are his and one Susie Tansley’s. Apparently, shortly before Lucas ditched town, she pulled the old Fake Pregnancy trick, and everyone believed her, including Lucas’s own mom.
(Fake Pregnancies are kind of a stupid gambit, aren’t they? I mean, sooner rather than later, people are going to realize it’s a fake, especially in a case like this, where I NEVER TOUCHED HER. I suppose you could have a Fake Miscarriage, but that all just seems like a lot of trouble. Especially because this apparently was not about getting young Lucas to marry her, but about simply screwing his reputation (already kinda screwed). Lucas suspects it was all a plot with Mustache Twirler.)
(Also, Erin believed Lucas at the time that he wasn’t cheating on her with Susie. We also discover that Erin and Lucas secretly dated for SIX MONTHS, which seems an impossibly long time to keep a secret in a town this small and in everyone’s business.)
Speaking of Erin, she comes to take their order, and Lucas gives his teenage “usual” without looking at the menu. When his cousin calls him on it, he mutters…
“I’m sure it hasn’t changed, either.”
…which both the cousin and Erin take as an insult. Once again (and I do like this character touch) Lucas has accidentally put his foot in it, and once again, Erin interprets it in the worst possible way. As she wanders off, she defensively thinks (but does not say) how she thought about remodeling and updating the menu, but decided that since people in this little burg don’t “scoff at the familiar,” she used the money to buy her horse-rescuing farm instead.
But, to add insult to injury, Some Bitch is also at the cafe. This turns out to be Arabella’s mom, and our resident villainess. I guess that also makes her Lucas’s aunt, but this whole family tree is starting to feel like a giant knot to me, so I’m going to try to ignore most of this.
For right now, at least, it doesn’t matter, since Some Bitch is just there to deliver a smile-in-your-face insult or two about cafe work being silly and staying in a small town means Erin is “easy to please.” Which is kinda bizarre coming from someone who also lives in this dumb little town, but whatevs.
Meanwhile, Lucas apologizes (to his cousin, not Erin), and the two Rocky Mountain Heirs begin discussing Grandpa Asshat’s will. Unsurprisingly, having just graduated one of these novels herself, Brooke is of the opinion that Grandpa Asshat was trying to be nice in bribing everyone back to town.
“He made things right with God and he wanted to make things right between us.”
Actually, nothing seemed wrong between Lucas and his cousins or sister at all. Hell, he’s been welcomed back with open arms, notwithstanding the mere emails and phone calls they’ve had for seven years. And he was offered a job before he even had a chance to unpack. Granted, things with his mother are chilly, but she’s still letting him live with her, and I just don’t think there’s much Grandpa Asshat can do about that relationship, even with an Asshattish Will.
Then Brooke almost goes meta here, pointing out that each of the heirs, upon setting foot in town, almost immediately fell in love.
“If I remember correctly, falling in love wasn’t listed in the terms of the will,” Lucas said drily.
“Not in the will, no,” Brooke agreed. “But you never know what God has planned.”
Or the writers. Same difference. It’s meant to be, Lucas, don’t fight it! This is a Christmas romance—you’ll probably be married by New Year’s.