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25 Days of Christmas

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“No.”

“Rory, you have to.”

“No, I don’t! They can find someone else to design the Christmas party for EA this year! You know there is this really sweet girl, Julie from accounting? She always loves helping people; I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to work with Adelaide.”

“Don’t be mean.”

“I’m not being mean, Lena! I’m being reasonable! If do this with Adelaide, I can most definitely assure you that murder will be committed.”

Lena heaved a sigh and clutched tighter at her favorite “I am an inventor!” coffee mug, wishing that the effects of the dark roast brew would take hold quicker. Rory had been her best friend since they were roommates at NYU and while she loved her best friend to death, sometimes Lena found herself a little impatient with Rory’s stubbornness.

“You need to get over this ‘feud’ you have with Adelaide, Rory,” Lena gently chided, ignoring the steadily growing headache that seemed to always pop up when Rory got like this.

Rory crossed her arms and sat down at the table in the middle of the kitchenette they were in with a huff. Lena couldn’t help the smile that crossed her features at Rory’s expression. “I’m not saying you need to be best friends with her -”

“You wouldn’t allow me to be best friends with anyone but you and you know it,” Rory broke in, the corner of her mouth tugging upwards despite her best efforts to appear upset.

“-I’m just saying that you need to work with her for max two weeks,” Lena continued, completely ignoring her friend.

Rory thought for a couple moments on Lena’s words while Lena continued to sip at her coffee. “Two weeks?”

“Two weeks.”

“Fine.”

“Yes!” Lena cheered and Rory laughed at her best friend’s antics.

“Don’t get too excited, a lot can happen in two weeks, Lena,” Rory reminded her.

“You’re absolutely right. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

~oOo~

Aurora “Rory” Landon applied to the Literature Studies program at NYU to escape from all of the madness that was her Hollywood family. She loved her mom, dad, step-mom, and half-sister with all her heart but if she had stayed in California, she could not have been held accountable for her resulting actions. She applied on a whim, on a ‘What if…’ scenario that she wasn’t really banking on, but desperately hoped for so she could pursue her dream of being a editor.

Rory met her best friend there, who was studying Mechanical Engineering, earned her degree, and was accepted at Ever Afters Publishing to her dream job and life could not be any better. Of course meeting her boyfriend Chase Turnleaf, another editor, at EA was a whole other cake that Rory could not have been more grateful for. But, unfortunately, with meeting Chase, Adelaide had been an unpleasant package.

~oOo~

Adelaide strut into the conference room that Rory booked for them 30 minutes late, dressed to impress with killer 6-inch high heels, a dark red dress that hugged her every curve, and flawless make-up. Rory, unsurprisingly, was pissed off.

“You know you could pretend to be more willing to get this over with as quickly as possible, instead of dragging it out for as long as possible,” Rory snapped.

“And miss the opportunity to rile you up with my wonderful self? I don’t think so,” Adelaide shot back.

“Listen, I am not here to be friends; let’s just plan this thing and then we can go back to ignoring each other’s presence in this life,” Rory said, rubbing her eyes to fight off the wave of exhaustion that suddenly swept over her.

“I don’t want to be here any more than you do, Landon,” Adelaide replied. She slid a binder to Rory across the conference table. “Those are the ideas that I have for the party.”

Rory flipped through the binder, growing more and more impressed with the designs on the page. “Adelaide, these are amazing!” Rory exclaimed.

Adelaide flipped her long, gorgeous, curled-to-perfection blonde hair over her shoulder. “Of course they are. There is a reason why I am the head designer for book jackets.”

Rory rolled her eyes; Adelaide never failed to brag about her position. “If we split this up, we should be able to book the venue, the catering, and all the decorations in about two weeks,” Rory continued.

Adelaide crinkled her dainty nose.

“Yes, that means more time to be around each other. Please, do try to control your excitement,” Rory said sarcastically.

“I should say that you need to be the one to control yourself. We don’t want anyone else’s boyfriend to get stolen.” A familiar jab of guilt shot through Rory at the not-so-subtle reminder.

Rory sucked in a breath to calm herself down. “I apologized for what happened with Chase a million times already. I never went into this intending to break up a relationship, Adelaide, you have to believe me,” she said, earnest.

“What’s done is done,” Adelaide snapped, her blue eyes flashing. “Regardless of what your intentions were, you were the reason why Chase and I broke up.”

Rory opened her mouth to apologize once more, when Adelaide abruptly stood up from the conference table. “I’ll book the venue and organize the catering. You can do everything else.” And with that, Adelaide walked out of the room, leaving Rory sputtering behind her in surprise.

~oOo~

Over the course of the next two weeks, Adelaide and Rory worked separately on their parts of the project, conferring with each other only when necessary and for no longer than 15 minutes at a time.

On the night of the party, everything looked absolutely perfect. The venue was elegantly decorated with a red and silver color scheme and all the employees of Ever Afters Publishing enjoyed the catering that was provided with the entertainment. Soft Christmas music played in the background while people stood and chatted with each other or slow danced in couples on the dance floor.

Rory stood to the side, with a glass of champagne in her hand, watching the EA Annual Christmas party go off without a hitch with a small smile on her lips. Clad in a elegant red dress that fell just short of her knees, her brown hair swept over her shoulder, and a dainty silver locket that was a gift from Chase resting gently on her collarbone, Rory could not help but feel proud at what she and Adelaide accomplished.

Sure, most of the time they interacted could only be equated in Rory’s mind with pulling teeth out without anesthesia, but nevertheless she was proud. Adelaide and her came to a sort of understanding through their work on this party. They may never find common ground over their past together, but at least they know that they can work together civilly when necessary. Rory was stolen out of her reverie when someone put an arm around her back and placed a soft kiss on her cheek.

“Hey,” Chase said, his lips quirked in that seemingly ever present smirk that only showed up around her.

Rory smiled at him in response and leaned into him. “Enjoying the party?” he asked.

Adelaide caught Rory’s eye from across the venue and gave her a little nod of acknowledgement. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll become friends.

“Yeah. Yeah, I am.”