Bread and Promises: A Thornton Vermont Christmas Story

Previous: Part 5: Hamish

Part 6

Photo by Jill Heyer on Unsplash

Her mother would have been appalled. Nice young ladies didn’t drop hints the size of hot air balloons. Good girls didn’t suggest romantic outings with scruffy Scotsmen who were barely more than strangers.

Juliet and Hamish were swallowed up in the crowds applauding the newly lit tree, and Hamish was absorbed into Kate Pease’s circle of friends. He’d sought her out with his eyes, but there were no more private conversations. 

Afterward, Juliet had made her way to the cozy apartment over the book store, feeling that while her mother wouldn’t have approved of her methods, her father would have liked Hamish straight away.

She flipped open her laptop to read the emails she knew were waiting. The one from Harley she saved, savoring the idea of warm Florida sunshine. The other one she opened despite the revulsion even the name conjured. 

Her mother had liked Stephen Zhang. 


Hope you’re at least trying out skiing. I definitely want to hit the slopes with you at Mimi’s wedding. That gives you three months. If you’re still out there in the middle of nowhere in January, maybe we can meet up slopeside. It’d be great to spend some time alone together.


“I don’t like to be called Jules.” She growled at the screen. “And meeting up slopeside sounds cold and expensive.”

Stephen was the spoiled only son of a family her mother had grown up with. He was handsome (Trina said he looked like a preppy Jay Chou) and successful; he was also arrogant and boring as hell.

“I don’t want to learn to ski!” She bit her lip, regretting the outburst. It was late, and Thornton went to bed early.

Juliet didn’t know how to convince him that the claim he assumed on her affection had never existed. Her mother had hoped for a match; Stephen liked the idea of having her on his arm. He’d said as much once, that her mixed heritage—he’d said it delicately to emphasize it, a verbal tic of his—made a striking visual when they were together. 

Her father voiced concerns at her mother’s relentless matchmaking; it always ended in the same argument. Juliet never imagined there would come a day when she’d miss their bickering, but without the discord, there would never be the laughter when Pierre Chen put on old records and crooned love songs until Ying Yue forgave him.

Hamish could make her laugh; she was sure of it. 

She’d have to ask him if he skied.

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