Cozy Christmas: Chapter 8
Not for nothing, but this story is one of the least cozy I have ever read!
Whitney has an old laptop that she gave to her father to play with, except he sucks at computers, so it is now in Josh’s capable hands.
And by capable, I mean that Josh is considering his “personal ethics” the only impediment to searching the computer to see how much work Whitney has put on it, and how much she knows about him. And we all know what a paragon of ethics Josh is!
He pokes around in the computer, and sees that Whitney actually backs up her files, proving herself “thorough” and “tenacious.” Which in turn means that he needs “to start avoiding her as much as possible. … Evasion from now on was the imperative…”
Man, he runs so hot and cold…speaking of not being cozy.
But of course, Whitney immediately shows up, despite the fact that “everyone knew there were no Main Street stores open on Sundays” (great business model for a dying town!), and she’s waving the cord to the computer around like she found a rare gem or something.
Josh half-heartedly tries to get rid of her, hilariously citing that he doesn’t want people to think “I’ve opened on the Sabbath,” then citing wagging tongues and the gossip of a small town. I mean, my God! Two single people hanging out together! Clutch those pearls!
Failing that, he decides to fix her a drink (a hot one, not an alcoholic one, natch) and plays turnaround with her, asking her about her background so she can’t ask him about his (and have to lie, like a good RTC shouldn’t, at least not directly and in words).
Whitney’s background is about what you’d expect: editor of the school newspaper, journalism classes at junior college, back home to work for the local paper. Riveting.
This weirdly segues into a brief discussion of faith, so I kinda think the author just realized she hadn’t mentioned it in awhile, since the vague church service and the vague prayer Dad made before dinner.
Actually, it’s especially odd since this is the rare RTC romance we’ve covered where both halves of the couple are already RTC!
“It may not make a lot of sense to believe in God, yet you and I do.” [said Whitney]
Well. No argument there.
Josh concurs, adding that “our faith may be a stretch for some people.”
Man, these two are all of the sudden making some sense! Whitney even goes on to characterize faith as a choice, though I’m not sure I would personally go that far. I think there is an element of choice for a lot of people, but it’s not really a choice in the sense of picking…say, a profession or a hobby or something.
Whitney makes plans to provide Josh with some email addresses she wants him to research for her, a semi-agreement they came to over dinner. That plot stuff done, she leans in for a kiss.
Her eyes misted. She cheeks warmed. Her lips parted ever so slightly.
Josh isn’t having it.
Was she taunting him? Or was she as oblivious to her own charms as she seemed?
Evil temptress or naive innocent? These are the only two options, after all.
Either way, DENIED.