Christmas in the Boss's Castle

By: Scarlet Wilson

What on earth had he just done?

He had no idea who the Maids in Chelsea were. He had no idea who Clio Caldwell was.

But he didn’t doubt that as soon as she found him, he could expect a rollicking.


ONCE THE TEARS started she couldn’t stop them. They were coming out in that weird, gasping way that made her feel as if she were fighting for every breath. She stopped in front of the elevator and fumbled for her card.

No! She didn’t have it. He still did.

She looked around. Fire exit. It was the only other way out of here. There was no way she was hanging around.

As soon as she swung the door open she started upwards instead of down. Her chest was tight. She needed some air and she must be only seconds away from the roof. The grey door loomed in front of her. Was everything in this place black or grey? She pushed at the door and it sprang open onto the flat roof.

The rush of cold air was instant. She walked across the roof as she tried to suck some in.

She hadn’t even thought about the cold. She hadn’t even considered the fact it might still be snowing. The hotel was always warm so her thin shirt was no protection against the rapidly dipping temperatures on a late December afternoon.

But Grace couldn’t think about the cold. All she could think about was the man she’d just met—Finlay Armstrong.

The expressions on his face. First of anger, then of disgust, a second of apparent amusement and then the soul-crushing, heart-ripped-out-of-his-chest look.

She’d done that to him. A stranger.

She’d caused him that amount of pain by just a few actions—just a few curious words.

She shivered involuntarily as the tears started to stream down her face. He’d implied that he’d sack her.

It was Christmas. She’d have no job. How could she afford to stay in the flat? As if this Christmas weren’t already going to be hard enough without Gran, now she’d absolutely ruined whatever chance there was of having a peace-filled Christmas.

Her insides curled up and tumbled around. Why had she touched that angel? Why had she thought she had a right to decorate his room? And why, why had she blurted out that question?

The look on his face...the pain in those blue eyes. She shivered again. He’d lost his wife and because of that he couldn’t bear Christmas. He didn’t want to celebrate, didn’t want to be reminded of anything.

The little things, the little touches she’d thought he might like, the tree, the decorations, the lights and the smells had all haunted him in a way she hadn’t even imagined or even considered. What kind of a person did that make her?

She knew what it was like to find Christmas hard. A hundred little things had brought tears to her eyes this year—even while she was trying to ignore them. The smell of her gran’s favourite perfume. The type of biscuit she’d most enjoyed at Christmas. Even the TV listing magazine where she used to circle everything she wanted to watch. But none of that—none of that—compared to the pain of a man who’d lost his wife.

Her gran had led a good and long life. His wife? She could only imagine how young she must have been. No wonder he was angry. No wonder he was upset.

She squeezed her eyes closed. She hadn’t managed to find someone she’d made that special connection with yet. Someone she truly loved with her whole heart. Imagine finding them only to have them ripped away. How unfair must that feel?

The shivering was getting worse. Thick flakes of snow started to land on her face. She stared out across London. The views from the penthouse were already spectacular. But from the roof? They were something else entirely.

It was darker now and if she spun around she could see the whole of Chelsea spread out in front of her. The Armstrong’s roof was the highest point around. The streets below looked like something from a Christmas card. Warm glowing yellow lights from the windows of the white Georgian houses, with roofs topped with snow. There were a few tiny figures moving below. People getting excited for Christmas.

The tears flowed harder. Battersea Power Station glowed in the distance. The four distinctive chimneys were usually lit up with white lights. But this time of year, the white lights were interspersed with red—to give a seasonal effect.

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