“Tell her I’m out to lunch,” Chrissy said.

“But it’s 9 a.m.,” Eve whispered.

“Then tell her I’m extremely hungry,” Chrissy replied.

Eve hung up and Chrissy leaned back in her chair. If she talked to her mom, then that meant explaining that she would not be coming home to Candy Cane Falls for Christmas dinner like she did every year—that instead, she was taking a luxurious ski trip in the Alps with her very fancy business boyfriend, Cole.

She didn’t like to brag, but Cole was very good at business. For example, he used a lot of hairspray. And he shopped at Brooks Brothers regularly, not just during their semi-annual sale. When Chrissy first met Cole, she took one look at him and thought, “That man has a boat.”

And you know what? She was right.

When Cole had first tried to get her to skip the annual family dinner in favor of a long weekend of skiing, Chrissy When Chrissy first had wavered for a while: On the one hand, she loved met Cole, she took skiing, because it showed that she was rich. But on the one look at him other hand, she loved her mother because of biology. And thought, “That she knew that her mom would be crushed if Chrissy missed man has a boat.” the annual Christmas dinner. After all, it was the only time during the year that she could ensure that Chrissy was eating carbohydrates instead of the business salads she relied upon in New York.

But Cole had convinced her with five simple words: “There’s no Christmas in Switzerland.”

“I don’t think that’s true,” Chrissy replied at first, but Cole shushed her.

“No. Christmas. In. Switzerland,” he repeated, smiling.

Then Chrissy smiled too. Because if there was one thing she hated more than anything in the world, it was Christmas. She didn’t talk about why, because it was complicated and personal, and she was mysterious, and besides, she was too into business to deal with trivial matters like feelings and emotions. She just hated Christmas, and that was that. There isn’t a huge, complicated story behind it that explains so much about her, and with which she must deal before truly being someone capable of accepting love. It’s not that. So stop asking.

So if Cole could promise her a Christmas-free Christmas? Well that was just about the best gift of all.

Just then, her phone rang again, and Chrissy grabbed it angrily.

“I said to tell her I’m out to lunch, Eve,” Chrissy said sharply.

“I’m so sorry,” said Eve through the speaker. “But it’s not your mom this time. I know you don’t want to be disturbed, but didn’t you once tell me that if someone ever called for you claiming to be a radio DJ and saying that you had won a big prize, that I should immediately patch them through?”

“Yes,” Chrissy said impatiently, “because even though there’s a good chance that it’s a scam …”

“… what if it isn’t a scam,” Eve completed the sentence for her. “Then you would regret it for the rest of your life. Exactly.”

Chrissy sighed. “Did you call me just to talk about this?” she asked.

“Oh, no,” said Eve. “Although it’s been lovely chatting. I called because there’s someone on line one claiming to be from W-BIZ, New York’s number-one radio station for vaguely dissatisfied business professionals.”

Chrissy squealed. “I love W-BIZ!” she cried. It might seem quaint these days to have a favorite radio station, but Chrissy couldn’t help it: Even with all of the available streaming services, she was loyal to W-BIZ. Just the other week, as Chrissy was struggling through the world’s longest Wednesday, the W-BIZ DJ had declared that it was time for a mid-week dance party, and then the station launched into one straight hour of commercial-free dance music: sixty minutes of “Drops of Jupiter” remixes, and it was—Chrissy sighed—exactly what she had needed.

“Well,” Eve continued, “someone on the line is claiming to be DJ-CEO from W-BIZ, and he’s saying you’ve won a big prize. It was hard to understand because he kept kind of giggling? But it sounds like you may have won an all-expenses-paid cruise on the W-BIZ Adult Contemporary Cruise Ship.”

Chrissy high-fived herself. “DJ-CEO wants me to go on the ‘All Aboard the Tita-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Cruise Ship’ tour?!”

“That’s the one,” said Eve. “Sounds like they have a lot of fun things planned: spear-fishing with Hootie and the Blowfish, the lighthouse tour with Lifehouse, bird-watching with Counting Crows … they seem really committed to wordplay-based activities.”

“Put him through,” Chrissy said, sighing happily. There was definitely going to be a real DJ on the other line, she thought to herself.

“DJ-CEO, you’re on with Chrissy,” said Eve.

“DJ-CEO, it is an honor,” Chrissy said into the mouthpiece.

“Hi, this is a real DJ from your favorite radio station,” came a muffled voice on the other end, barely stifling its giggles. “I’m calling because, uh, you’re the tenth caller, and you’ve won our big prize.”

Chrissy paused for a long moment.

“Mom?” she said at last.

“No,” giggled the voice, suddenly sounding more feminine than it had at first. “I mean, no,” the voice tried again, now speaking in a false baritone. “No, this is just a real DJ, but your mom sounds like a wonderful lady who just wants the best for you.”

Chrissy sighed.

“Hi, Mom,” she said.

“Did you know it was me?” her mom said, speaking at last in her real voice.

“Of course I did,” Chrissy lied. “I knew the whole time.”

“It’s hard to get through to you sometimes, you know,” her mother continued. “I don’t want to be crass, but that assistant of yours can be difficult!”

Say goodbye to that Vertical Horizon on-deck yoga class, Chrissy thought sadly to herself.

“Hey, Mom, I actually am a little busy right now,” Chrissy said. “What’s going on?”

“Oh, I’ll get out of your hair soon,” her mom said. “I was just hoping I could confirm with you that you and Cole would be at Christmas dinner.”


Keep Reading. . .

Go Back to the Start