Cozy Christmas: Chapter 18 and Chapter 19
By the time Whitney is out of the hospital, almost two full days have passed, and it’s Christmas Eve. She and Josh act all lovey-dovey as he drives her home from the hospital, but the mood is spoiled when he immediately ditches to go back to St. Louis to “take care of some business in person.” Whitney asks what specifically, he means, and he rather snidely responds, “Who wants to know? Are you back to being a reporter so soon?” Which, she’s always a reporter, dude, ’cause that’s her job. Also, leave her the frak alone anyway, you’re literally taking her home from the hospital after a car accident, asshat.
(And yeah, you could maybe read this as playful banter, but Whitney takes the question seriously, and, again, just home from the hospital.)
In fact, he’s in so much of a hurry that he doesn’t even walk her to her door, but just drops her off. Wow, what a Christian gentleman.
…he had a million details that needed his personal touch, particularly since the upcoming holidays would keep many workers at home.
Again, he manages to make this sound snide, even in his own head.
“You’ll want all day tomorrow, I suppose, Barton Industry employees???”
At least Whitney’s ever-so-sensitive mom is waiting for her at home, and rather scolds her daughter for being a bit miffed at Josh just cutting and running like this. As any loving mother would do when her daughter almost died in a car accident two days ago.
And that very evening, Josh does call from St. Louis, and, “sighing,” tells her the rest of the details of the SOS project for her story that she’ll run when he damn well tells her she is permitted to do so, dammit.
Josh does actually provide the answer to something I was wondering, which is how he got himself “chosen” to be one of the businesspeople in the first place.
“The final say was through the dummy corporation that was funneling the money. Since I was their sole member, it was easy.”
Wow, he sure makes it sound slimy, the way he says it. He also really makes it sound like he was just slumming, for fun.
Whitney asks if he’s still planning to leave Bygones after the big reveal, and Josh says he’s not going to leave anymore.
He paused for effect.
Damn, but he is a manipulative jerk.
He vaguely lists some new ideas to help the town, like “a strip mall out near the old Randall Manufacturing plant.” Yeah, ’cause nothing saves a dying town like one strip mall! Now, presumably, this is all a ruse, because Josh is probably just finalizing the new computer company branch out there, but it still sounds stupid as hell.
But Whitney, blinded by love, thinks it is a “wonderful idea.” Sure, honey.
And, second verse same as the first, Josh and Whitney hang up, and Whitney whines to her mother, and her mother defends Josh.
Sounds like Whitney should get used to this dynamic—looks like it’s going to be the norm for a long time…
Christmas morning, and St. Louis has a snowstorm now. Josh tries calling Whitney, and her phone goes to voicemail. Josh gets cut off twice and has to call back because he can’t successfully leave the long, rambling message he wants to. This causes “frustration” and “struggling to keep his temper in check.” So mature!
Then his mom calls, and turns out she didn’t go on her cruise after all (of course) because two of her friends got sick. So Josh offers to get a pizza and come over so they can finally catch up (and he can tell her everything), and this his mom says this:
“You used to be nearly as fussy about wanting fancy meals as your dad was. When did you get so normal?”
So wait, he was the only teenager and early-20-something guy in the country who wouldn’t go for pizza or burgers, given the option?
Oh, and he was apparently also a Scrooge, a fact we have not heard anything about before. But when Josh says he held a catered holiday party for the employees, then sent them home early on Christmas Eve Day, and also gave out bonuses, this blows his mom’s mind. Damn, Josh, what kind of monster were you? Because we are in Chapter 19 out of 21 (plus Epilogue), and this is the first we’re hearing that Josh was a Scrooge of a boss.
And speaking of revealing information late in the game, Josh tells his mom about the “nosy reporter” he has fallen for. His mom suggests buying her a new car, since she wrecked hers, and Josh counters with jewelry, since “That’s what Dad always got for you,” and we learn that his dad did that as “an apology for breaking his marriage vows.” Um, okay, and again, we do not exactly have a long time before the end of the book to resolve this issue.
Mom says she felt sorry for him because he was a Scrooge and all he cared about was money, and she was afraid her son was the same way, and Josh says he was. Which, first we’ve heard of this.
But it’s okay, I guess, because obviously he can’t be a Scrooge anymore, because he’s a new baby Christian. And his mom is overjoyed. Of course.
And again, Josh talks to Whitney on the phone, and again says he’ll be delayed, and again, she whines to her mother, who again takes Josh’s side. Riveting. And when Whitney says she has to leave everything to God, her mom sensitively says, “That’s the first totally sensible thing you’ve said.”
Remember, everyone, Josh is supposed to be the one with a lousy childhood.