Christmas and the Weekend Rule

“I’m not decking the halls. There’s no time to deck the halls.”

Harry’s eyes went wide as Lolly DuVal marched toward the bar, uttering the sentiment under her breath.

“Tough day, Miss DuVal?” He started pulling a wine glass from the shelf.

“No wine, Harry. None of that sissy stuff is going to do for me tonight.”

“What’s happening tonight?”

“It’s Friday,” she stressed, like Friday didn’t come around each and every week.

“And Friday is a problem because …”

“The Weekend Rule goes into effect.” She scowled. “I swear when I figure out which one of those idiots came up with this pain-in-my-neck Weekend Rule nonsense, I’m going to cut his balls off and mount them over the door at House of DuVal.”

Harry sputtered as he poured a double tequila shot and garnished it with a Christmas sprig of holly.

Lolly’s eyes narrowed dangerously in Harry’s direction. “Who did it?” she demanded. “Who was the mastermind behind the no-work-on-weekends campaign? I mean, I know Brooks didn’t think that one up on his own. It has a decidedly pink smell to it. I bet it was Davis. Was it Davis?” she challenged.

Harry shook his head. “Not outting one of my patrons, Miss DuVal. Besides, all work and no play—”

“Will get the damn gowns finished and to their customers on time. Do you have any idea how many orders we are working on? For Christmas?” Her voice escalated. “For the Kampmueller/Devine New Year’s Eve Ball?”

“Miss DuVal,” Harry said in a quiet tone designed to soothe as he slid the shot glass in her direction. “Sounds like the House of DuVal just might turn a profit in its first year.”

“Yes. Yes it will. Unless I don’t finish the gowns on time,” she said through gritted teeth. “And I’ll only be able to finish the gowns on time if I work during the weekends. Especially in December.

“Hmm.” Harry said, lips pressed together in thought.

“What?” she spat.

“Just, hmm.”

“That’s not just hmm. That’s a you-are-not-looking-at-this-from-all-sides hmm.”

Harry stood his ground.

“That’s a you’re-going-to-lose-Brooks-if-you-don’t-make-him-a-priority hmm.”

Harry’s brow lifted.

“That’s a you’re-going-to-look-up-in-March-and-realize-you’ve-missed-Christmas-and-all-the-fun-that-goes-with-it hmm.”

“Was it, now?” Harry wondered, trying very hard not to smile.

“Well, it was something like that,” Lolly grumbled. “Fine. I’ll deck the damn halls and follow the Weekend Rule—”

“And drink that shot,” he insisted. “Trust me. It’ll make the weekend thing seem somewhat enjoyable.”

That got a small smile out of Lolly. Well, a smiley grimace, right before she downed the shot.

“I’ll call Mr. Bennett. Get him to come pick you up.”

“Thanks Harry. And, ah”—she swiped at her lips—“good talk.”

“Any time, Miss DuVal. Any time.”

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