Royal Holiday - Jasmine Guillory
Vivian nudged her daughter as they walked out of the customs area at Heathrow Airport.
“Um, Maddie? Do you think Ms. M. Forest and Ms. V. Forest are us?”
Vivian gestured at the man in the suit, holding the sign with their names on it.
Maddie turned in the direction Vivian was looking and grinned at her mother.
“Let’s do this, Mom.”
Vivian looked around and laughed to herself before she grinned back at Maddie.
She still didn’t exactly know how she’d gotten here. It had all started with a call from Maddie a few weeks ago.
“Hey, Mom, I need an answer fast—do you want to spend Christmas with me in England?”
Vivian had laughed. What else was there to do when your thirty-four-year-old daughter asked something so ridiculous?
“Sure, I do. I also want to spend Thanksgiving with you in Hawaii, New Year’s Eve with you in Paris, and Easter with you in Rome.”
But Maddie didn’t laugh at that.
“No, really. I’m serious. You remember my old mentor, Amelia Samuels?”
Vivian looked away from her computer screen.
“The one who’s now the stylist for the princess?”
“Duchess, but yes. Well, Amelia was supposed to go to England at Christmas to help prepare the Duchess for all of the royal Christmas festivities—apparently, there are lots of them—but Amelia is pregnant with twins and just had to go on bed rest. Her doctor says she’s under too much stress and can’t work at all.”
“Oh no, really? Poor Amelia; I didn’t know she was pregnant! Please tell her I’m thinking about her.”
Vivian had only met Amelia once, that time she’d gone down to visit Maddie when she’d been living in L.A., but she’d really liked her. And Amelia had done a lot for Maddie and her own stylist career.
“I will, Mom, but let me finish. Since Amelia can’t fly to England for Christmas, she wants me to fill in for her, because both she and the Duchess want someone she trusts.”
Vivian dropped her pen on the floor.
“Maddie! Oh my God! Are you serious? My daughter is going to be so famous! You’re going to England to work with a princess? You’ll be all over People magazine! Oh my God, I can’t wait to tell everybody!”
“You can’t tell everybody yet, but I know, I’m blown away. But wait, we can be excited in a second—I want you to come with me.”
Vivian got up and closed her office door.
“Come with you . . . to England?”
Maddie started talking faster.
“It means I’ll be there for Christmas, and I don’t want to be alone with a bunch of strangers at Christmas. I already asked if you could join me, and they said yes. So . . . can you?”
Vivian looked around at the piles of work on her desk, and in the direction of her boss’s office, with their last conversation about his future—and hers—ringing in her ears.
“Maddie, I don’t know about this—I have a ton of work at this time of year, and today is especially wild around here. What about Theo, did you already talk to him?”
Vivian already adored Maddie’s boyfriend, Theo, even though they’d only officially been together for a few months.
“I told Theo about the offer, yes, and he’s thrilled for me. But if you mean did I invite Theo to come to England with me already, absolutely not. I love Theo, and I can’t wait to spend New Year’s Eve with him, but I’ve never spent a Christmas without my mother, and I don’t intend to start now. So, are you coming?”
Vivian grinned to herself. She couldn’t deny it warmed her heart to know her daughter still wanted her mom with her for Christmas.
But to go all the way to England for Christmas? That far away from work, the rest of the family, and everything?
“I’d love to come, but I can’t make a decision like this right now,” she said to Maddie. “Let me think about it and we can talk about this in a few days.”
Maddie’s voice got louder.
“There’s no ‘a few days.’ I have to make this decision now, and I’m going to decide for both of us. You need this. You haven’t gone on a real vacation in years.”
How had she managed to have a daughter who thought she could boss her around like this?
“Oh, you have to go. Life is too short not to take incredible opportunities like this! But I don’t think I can—”
“I’m definitely going, and you’re definitely coming with me. You never take enough time for yourself; you know I always tell you that. You