Jameson Fox

By: Nina Levine


Mom: I’m working on our Christmas plans. We have to get the tree soon. Tell Adeline I know the best place for a tree this year.

I stare at my phone. It’s like reading a foreign language. I knew Christmas was coming up in three weeks, but I hadn’t thought through what this season now means to my mother.

Jameson: She’s not big on Christmas.

Mom: Everyone’s big on Christmas, Jameson. You’ve obviously misunderstood her.

Jameson: I can assure you I haven’t. She’ll attend Christmas dinner, but she won’t want to be involved in the tree or decorating it.

Mom: Please talk with her about this. Christmas is important to our family. I think she’ll want to be involved for you. I also want us to discuss a date to all go ice skating.

Jesus.

Christmas is important to my mother. She goes all out with decorations, baking, gifts, and over-the-top traditions. Hudson and I go along with it all because we know what it means to her. When my father was alive, our family didn’t touch Christmas. He didn’t allow it, and besides, we didn’t have much to be happy about with him around. Since his death when I was eighteen, Mom has made it her mission to embrace everything she can about the season.

I have no idea if Adeline likes Christmas, but I’ve never met a woman who doesn’t. I make a mental note to bring it up with her before Tuesday so we can get on the same page about it. I’ll require her to involve herself in some of Mom’s traditions, but we don’t have to go overboard. The last thing either of us need is to spend excessive time together this season. And as for her family, I doubt they celebrate much of Christmas together, but we’ll have to plan to see them too.

I walk through the great room toward my bedroom when Jeff, my butler, comes my way. “A minute, Sir?”

Jeff has worked for me for eight years. In that time, I’ve tried to remove the ‘Sir’ from his vocabulary. My preference is for all staff to use my name, but I’ve never managed to convert Jeff.

I nod at him. “Yes.”

I change course to my office and a minute later, we go over some maintenance issues he’s noted need taking care of.

Once he’s finished his update, he says, “I’ve also spoken with Mrs. Fox tonight, as you requested, about having her belongings brought here.”

“When is that taking place?”

A slight frown creases his forehead, understandably so. It would be confusing for him that I’m unaware of my own wife’s activities. I asked him to oversee Adeline moving in, not simply because he’s my butler, but because neither she nor I want my involvement in that. I have no doubt she’d attempt to physically harm me if her belongings don’t fit in the space I’ve allocated her.

Still frowning, he says, “I was under the impression she’s waiting for her closet to be remodeled before she brings most of her things here. I have it on my list to contact—”

“No,” I interrupt him. “There’s no need to contact anyone about that. We’re not remodeling. I’ll speak with Adeline about this. Is there anything else?”

His frown disappears but I see the lingering effect in his eyes. “No, Sir, that is all.”

After he exits my office, I take a minute alone before going in search of Adeline. It’s been a long day and the last thing I want to do is engage in another argument with her over this damn remodel she wants. However, it’s not happening, so another conversation is required. I’m about to leave the office to do this when I hear the elevator arrive with a guest. Adeline’s heels sound a moment later as she walks down the hallway.

I meet her outside my office, taking in the flimsy black material she’s wearing that constitutes a dress. It strangles her hips, drops low between her breasts, and doesn’t come close to reaching her knees.

Her green eyes meet mine. “I didn’t realize you were home.” The ice in her voice lets me know she’s still in a mood with me. I’ve never known a woman who can hold a mood for as long as Adeline can.

“You’re intending on going out?”

“No, I’m not intending, Jameson. I am going out.”

“Where?”

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