Linda, what does success mean to you?
Don’t Mess with Christmas
Get a grip. Mary’s Boy Child. Dates are supposed to be fun. Parker’s shoulders sagged. If only.
She blew out a breath. Was this all worth it? She could be in comfy sweats, with a big bowl of buttered popcorn, curled up on her favourite chair watching a movie. Cozy, fun, stress-free.
Her cell phone rang making her jump. “Hello?”
“What are you wearing?”
Parker smiled reluctantly. Hailey Gibson, her best friend since grade two, got right to the point. “Yoga pants and a hoodie.”
“March yourself into that bedroom and change right now. You are going on that date.” Hailey tsked. “I’ll be there in five.”
“No need. I’m kidding.” Parker pursed her lips. “I’m wearing black plants and a blue sweater.”
“The fitted ones that go to your ankle?” Hailey’s voice was suspicious.
“The cashmere sweater with the low back and pearl buttons?”
Parker rolled her eyes. “Pink and yellow crystal pendant with the matching earrings – the dangly ones.”
“Okay, maybe you’re telling the truth.” Parker imagined the consternation in Hailey’s blue eyes. “Maybe.”
Parker laughed. “I am. I can send you a pic.” She leaned against the bathroom counter. “Oh ye of little faith.”
“Huh. I know you too well, Parker. Any little excuse and you’d be backing out of that date. I’m not going to let that happen. Should I come over to drive you?”
Parker sighed. “How did you know I was having second thoughts?” Her voice was quiet.
Her best friend didn’t even say I told you so. “Twin vibes.” Parker’s eyes filled. “Parker, just relax and try to enjoy yourself. You put too much pressure on yourself. You think every date is an interview for marriage. Don’t. Sometimes people get together to have fun and…enrich their souls.”
Parker harrumphed. “I don’t need my soul enriched.”
“Maybe Julian does. Look, he sounds like a great guy – talented, smart, easy on the eyes. And he’s taking you to Fire and Ice. Not a bad way to spend a Friday night. Pretend he’s one of your brothers. No scratch that. Pretend you’re meeting to discuss the stage set. Just give him a chance – get to know him.”
Parker made a face. “I always seem to say something stupid and blow it.”
“You can’t blow it, Parker. You can’t have a relationship if you have to watch what you say. Your true soul mate will overlook an occasional blunder.”
“Is that supposed to be reassuring?”
Parker held the phone away from her ear. Ouch.
Hailey continued at a lower volume. “If you don’t jibe, it wasn’t meant to be. No harm, no foul.”
“And if you don’t mesh, you can get the rash sorted out. It’s a win-win.”
Parker laughed ruefully. “I guess. In a pique of bravado I told him that all my dates were fantastic. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
“Repeat after me. I am kind and considerate, have a great sense of humour, am a smart, successful businesswoman, and I’m fun to hang out with.”
“I’m a mess.”
Hailey laughed. “No, that you are not. You’ve got your shit together, Parker. You just need to ratchet that confidence up a notch.”
“You go, girl. It’s 6:40. No more stalling. Put on some lipstick so you don’t look anemic, a little blush to cover the pallor, and get ’er done.”
“All right. Will do.”
“Send me deets.”
Parker shook her head with a laugh.
“Have fun.” Hailey had been a cheerleader in high school. Pep talks were her thing.
“That’s the spirit,” Hailey said dryly.
Parker hung up the phone with a chuckle.
She fastened the necklace and earrings, her hands no longer shaking. She looked at herself once last time in the mirror and squared her shoulders. “Here goes nothing.”