A Beaumont Family Christmas (The Beaumont Series) by Heidi McLaughlin


1





Jenna





My phone rings, pulling me away from the novel I picked up the other day at the secondhand bookstore. I set it down and glance at the screen, expecting it to be Jimmy or Eden, but I am pleasantly surprised to see two tiny pictures staring back at me. Pressing the answer button, I pick my phone up and bring it eye level. The grin on my face is cheek to cheek as I stare at my two best friends. I love technology.

“Okay,” Josie says, without saying hi. She’s a right to the point type of person, which I enjoy. No beating around the bush from her. “Here’s the deal. I rented this massive house for Christmas in Stowe, Vermont, and I want us all to be together. I know I’m demanding a lot here, especially since we’re all so spread out, but I thought it would be nice if we could spend the holiday together.”

Katelyn’s eyes go wide, and I’m instantly curious what she’s thinking. On the other hand, Josie is sitting as close to her phone as she can, probably trying to decipher what Katelyn and I are thinking.

What am I thinking?

“I love this idea,” I say excitedly.

“We’re in,” Katelyn adds.

Josie dances around as best she can while holding her phone. “You have no idea how thrilled I am. Liam will be happy too. I think he misses Harrison and Jimmy but won’t say anything.”

“I don’t know why you don’t just move to California,” I say. At first, when Jimmy proposed we move, I was hesitant. I love Beaumont, and Josie is there. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else or leaving her after she had done so much for me. But after spending time in Los Angeles and being on the beach, I knew I could easily live here. It was the sun and access to the beach that sold me. Plus, Jimmy wanted to be here. Even though he’s not extremely close to his dad, he wanted to be around him. They have an odd relationship, and it’s very strained, mostly because James refuses to be a part of his youngest child’s life. Chelsea finally gave up harassing us on James’s whereabouts once the court ordered him to pay child support. It was about this time that James reached out to Jimmy, groveling for forgiveness. Forgive, but never forget, is how Jimmy approaches his father, which is more than I would be able to do. Despite all of this, James is a good grandfather to Eden, and that’s all that matters to me.

Josie sighs. “I don’t know. I’ve thought about it. I know Liam would be happier there, but Beaumont is home. I have the shop, and Paige is still in school.”

“And there is no way she’d let you take her away from Mack,” Katelyn interjects.

Katelyn and I laugh, and Josie’s eyes go wide. She looks over her shoulder before coming closer to the camera. “Liam is going to kill that boy, I swear. Or I might kill Nick for moving back to Beaumont to begin with.”

“What’s going on?” I ask.

“Just teenage drama. One week they like each other, the next week they’re dating. And then the next week, Paige never wants to speak to him as long as she lives. Rinse and repeat.”

“Sounds like Eden,” I tell them. “Every other month it’s a new surfer or a guy from her school. I can’t keep track. She’s such a heartbreaker. Secretly, though, I’m happy she’s not in a committed relationship. I want her to focus on school.”

“I’m sure Jimmy is more than happy,” Katelyn adds.

“You have no idea. Okay, enough about the teens, tell us about this fabulous house you’ve rented, Josie!”

“It’s seven bedrooms and sits at the base of a ski lodge. Everyone but Eden and Betty Paige will have their own rooms. Each room has a view of either the lodge, the mountain, or the forest. Tons to do there. We can ski during the day, relax, and drink in the hot tub at night. It’ll likely snow and will definitely be cold.”

Eden is going to throw a fit, but some family time away will be worth it.

“Oh, and the best part—cell service is questionable. Everyone can unplug while we’re there.”

“I love the sound of this, Josie,” Katelyn says. “Count me in. I’ll talk to Quinn and see if he and Nola have plans. I don’t know if they’re heading to her family’s plantation or what for the holidays, and I’ll call Elle and see if she and Ben want to come.”

“And I’ll take care of Noah and Peyton. He doesn’t have a game, but Peyton might have to work,” Josie says.