by Becky Harmon
Devon’s parents are coming to visit for Christmas. Will she be able to pull off the con and produce a girlfriend she doesn’t have?
|Genre||Romance, Short Story|
|Publication Date||December 12, 2019|
“We’re coming to visit,” Andrea said with excitement.
Devon Rickards cringed at her mother’s words as she shifted her cell phone to the opposite shoulder. Surely, she hadn’t heard her correctly. In the ten years she had lived in Florida, her parents had never wanted to visit her. Not even at Thanksgiving or Easter and certainly not at Christmas.
She wanted to ask why but bit back that response, saying instead, “You—and Dad?”
“Yes, of course.”
As far as parents were concerned hers weren’t all that bad. The problem was that she was the youngest of their six children. It didn’t matter that she was thirty-five years old, she was still the baby. Everyone, including her siblings, wanted to tell her how to live her life. She had tolerated it through college but after moving to Lake City she couldn’t seem to force herself to return for family gatherings.
“We’ve talked it over,” her mother continued, “and it’s time we came to see where you live and to meet this woman you can’t seem to leave during the holidays.”
This can not be happening!
Having her parents visit would be hard enough but she’d never be able to explain the nonexistent girlfriend. In the beginning the small lie had been easy. Spending the holiday with her girlfriend wasn’t something her parents would argue about, and they certainly wouldn’t encourage her to bring the unknown girlfriend home for Christmas. They had been moderately accepting when she came out in college, but they still shied away from any serious conversations about her personal life.
“You’ll have to fly into Orlando or Jacksonville. Anything else would be way too expensive,” she explained, offering a potential roadblock to their visit.
“Oh no. We’re going to drive. Your father wants flexibility and you know how he gets when he travels.”
Devon did know. Her father didn’t like to travel and when he did, he made his own schedule.
She had one last try. “You know I work the day shift on Christmas, right?”
“I know. We have it all planned out.”
“Great.” What else could she say? It was her parents after all.
“We’re going to celebrate Christmas with your brothers tomorrow and leave first thing Sunday morning. I don’t want to drive straight through, so I found us a hotel in Savannah. We should arrive Christmas day at the same time you’re getting off from work.”
“That sounds great.” Again, what else could she say? “I’ll see you then, Mom.”
Devon clicked off the phone and tossed it on the coffee table in front of her, dropping her head in her hands. What was she going to do? Could she convince her parents that a partner lived with her but not produce a physical body? She couldn’t even remember all the lies she had told them about this fake woman. She was toast. She wasn’t going to be able to fool them once they stepped foot in her desolate apartment. She knew she had more than Christmas decorating to do. And it needed to be fast.