I apologize for the lateness of this ending. I became very sick over the holidays and didn’t get back to this story till this week. So for those who have been asking here is the end to the Secret Santa Romance story. Enjoy.
Randall went by the cell phone store and after getting the newest cell phone, he quickly wrapped it and headed home. He was worried that Jolene may have overdone it with the wedding planner today. She needed to rest to be well in time for their wedding. Hopefully, the planner would have enough information to get the planning taken care of without having to drag Jolene around town again. He would speak with her about not wearing Jolene out the next time they talked. He pulled his Tesla into the parking spot and hooked up the charger so that the car would be ready to go out again after dinner.
Grabbing both wrapped gifts he headed up to the Penthouse to check on Jolene. He found her on the couch sound asleep with Teddy the dog nestled up against her. He just shook his head. She was going to be in trouble when that dog was twice her size and more than hundred and fifty pounds. He laid the smaller of the two gifts on the coffee table in front of her and then headed to his own room. Once out of site he dialed her new number and set the phone to ringing. When he heard her grumbling in the front room, he hung up and allowed the gift to reveal itself.
Randall went and changed into more informal attire than the suit he had worn to work and then headed to the dinning room knowing that dinner would soon be served. He laid the second gift on the table by his right hand. Not long after he had gotten settled, he heard the heavy quick pace of Teddy, and Randall knew that Jolene was in the room. He stood and pulled out a chair for the love of his life.
Jolene seated herself and waited for Randall to be seated as well. “Why did you give me this phone as a Christmas gift Randall? You know that I don’t like them.”
“I know dear but maybe my next present will change your mind to owning one. Besides I was worried about you today while you were running around with that wedding planner, and I had no way of checking up on you. If you won’t carry it for yourself, then carry it for me so that I know if you need me or help you’ll be able to get it.”
Jolene frowned and then sighed. “Fine if it makes you feel better, I’ll carry the infernal thing.”
Randall handed her a shirt sized box wrapped like all the others this one’s card said, “The eighth gift of Christmas My TRUE LOVE gave to me was…” She opened the box and a card was attached to what looked like a bunch of legal papers. The card said, “My hearts fondest desire.” Jolene looked up at Randall with a puzzled look on her face.
“Look at the papers love.”
Jolene started to read the pages, and then she squealed “Randall are these real?”
“Yes they’re real. It will take a few days to close but on January the third you will be the sole owner of The Readers Nook book store. So you should call your boss and give him your notice now.”
“Oh I hadn’t thought about having to leave my job. I’m not sure my Authors will like that.”
“Maybe not but I bet they’ll love knowing you’ll be able to have them for book signings. Plus you’ve always said you wanted to have time to work on your own novel. Now you can do it in the Readers Nook your favorite book store.”
Jolene smiled “You’re right. I’ll call him first thing in the morning. I’ll also recommend that he promotes Angie, she does a lot of the initial editing for me anyway.”
The staff brought dinner and served it to them, and the two continued to chat as they ate. Once they were done they both headed to their rooms to get cleaned up so that they could meet with the pastor and start the process of premarital counseling so their wedding could take place as planned. On the trip to the church, Jolene filled Randall in on everything she and the wedding planner had accomplished that day. Tomorrow they were going to send out invitations and have her dress fitted. They would also make an appointment for Randall to have his tux fitted as well. They had just agreed on dates for that when they arrived at the church.
The pastor congratulated them on their engagement and explained that usually, the counseling took twelve sessions since they only had six sessions till their wedding, they would have to do twice the work between each session. The couple agreed and after the pastor prayed with them; he handed them their workbooks and encouraged them to do the first two-week assignments before the meet again that weekend. Then they set that date and said their good-bye and returned home. Jolene found it strange to already be thinking of Randall’s penthouse as home, but she figured soon it would be her penthouse too. After a couple of hours cuddling on the couch and working on their first assignment, Jolene yawned and rang Jarvis and asked for a drink and her pain medicine. Half and hour later, Randall picked her up and carried her sleeping body to her bed and after getting her tucked in and Teddy settling himself Randall turned out the light and headed to his home office to look at the other listings the real estate agent had sent him. The next two gifts were going to be fun to give her.
The morning came quickly enough, and Randall got dressed in a hurry. Today he would change the way he had been giving Jolene her presents. Today they were going house hunting. He’d gotten an email from the agent with four places that looked acceptable. Now he wanted to let Jolene have the final say. He dressed casually and went and knocked on her door. He heard Teddy snuffling at the bottom of the door. He opened it just a crack, and the pup came through and sat at his feet. He figured the little critter needed to go out so he grabbed the lease that was inside the door and took it up to the roof to take care of business. Then it was back inside and another knock on Jolene’s door. She answered this time, and Teddy scampered back inside. “Traitor” she whispered as he sat at her feet and barked once.
“Good morning, get dressed, we have a full day ahead of us.”
“Randall what are you talking about I’m supposed to go by work and give them my resignation and then the wedding planner is coming over so we can pick the cake and place settings.”
“When is she coming?”
“Get dressed and then call her and reschedule for three. I really need you with me today.”
“Aren’t you going to work?”
“No, Larry will be running things until after our honeymoon. I wanted to be part of everything leading up to our wedding.”
“I know you Randall, your up to something. What are you up to this time?”
Randall smiled, “I just wanted to be with you when we find your next Christmas gift. I’m afraid this one will be too big to wrap.”
“Randall, you’ve given me enough presents. I’ve not gotten you anything.”
Randall took her in his arms and kissed her. “This right here is the best present you could ever give me.” He tapped the engagement ring. “All I’ve ever wanted was you as my wife. I’ll unwrap my present on Christmas Eve after you say I do.”
Jolene turned red and pushed him away. “Go on!”
He reached for her again to pull her back in his arms when she slapped his hand. “I mean it go on, get out. I need to get dressed.”
Randall pretended to pout like a little boy. “Fine but I will have you in my arms again soon, Jolene. You can count on that.”
Jolene smiled a mischievous smile. “Well, We’ll see about that.”
She shut the door, and Randall sighed. Leaving her alone was a harder struggle than he’d realized. Maybe he should get himself a room at the Hyatt until the wedding. He turned and headed to the dinning room. Breakfast and then he’d go for a long, long run. Followed by a shower, a very cold shower. Then he’d take Jolene to look at homes. He’d call the relator and have her meet them. He was going to have to take precautions from here on out not to let his lust get ahead of his love. He valued Jolene too much to allow temptation to win. He’d thought separate rooms would be enough, but if she hadn’t chased him off this morning who knows what would have happened.
He ate, ran and showered. Then he called the relator and told her they’d be at her office at ten and wanted to see all four places. But before that he needed to take Jolene one other place. One extra gift if you will.
Jolene laughed at Randall as teddy had insisted on coming with them. It made riding in his little electric sports car difficult. The puppy couldn’t make up his mind where he wanted to sit and kept climbing on her lap and then back into the floor then up into the back window and even tried to sit on Randall’s lap. She couldn’t help but laugh at how aggravated he was getting. Yet he tried not to let it show. She looked at the man shoving on the dog’s rump to get it back on her side of the car and realized how close she’d come to asking him into her room this morning. Their wedding may only be three weeks away, but it was going to be a struggle to remain pure for those three weeks. She thought of the homework they had started for their premarital counseling and knew she didn’t want to spoil what would be the best night of their lives. She’d tell Randall to take her back to her apartment tonight. She just couldn’t stay in the same house as him any longer. She knew he’d be upset, but she didn’t trust herself. She thought he might be struggling too. He’d run for a long time this morning and that was unusual for him. Plus he hadn’t used the treadmill but opted to leave the penthouse. Yes, she’d go home till the wedding. That was the safest thing.
She wondered where they were going when Randall turned into a Land Rover dealership. She’d always wanted a Land Rover, but they were so expensive and she was satisfied with her little bug. “Randall why are we here?”
Randall smiled “I’ve had it. That beast of yours needs a proper seat, and this was the closest place.”
“I have a car Randall. I don’t need another one.”
“Yes you have a car. A little car. I want you to have a car that can hold your dog and our babies when we have them.
I want them to be safe, and this will keep you safe no matter what the driving circumstances are.”
“You’re spoiling me.”
“I know and I plan to keep spoiling you, as long as we both shall live.”
Jolene sighed and allowed him to lead them inside. He went up to the salesman and told him to show her whatever she wants and when it was picked to load it with every option. He wanted it to be as special as they could make it. Jolene sighed he really was going to spoil her. He was never going to stop showering her with gifts. She’d have to be very careful after they were married. He seemed to remember everything she ever showed any interest in. If she wasn’t careful, he’d buy everything she ever showed a bit of attention to. She loved him, and the fact that he wanted to show her how special she was to him, but she needed to figure out a way to turn the tables on him. The dealer told her to look at anything she wanted and just let him know if she wanted to test drive any of them or had any questions. She nodded and started letting herself get used to the idea she was going to be driving one of these no matter what.
In the end she ended up with a Range Rover SVAutobiography in Spectral racing red with all the options. She about had a fit when the dealer told Randall the price, but he didn’t even blink at the 220,00 price tag. He called his insurance agent had the car added as well as Jolene. Then shocked he when he asked the salesman if they had someone who could drive his Tesla back to the penthouse. He offered a hundred-dollar tip to the driver, and the salesman said that wouldn’t be a problem, and no tip was needed.
“I know it isn’t needed. However, if one of your people is going to take time out of their sales or repair work to drive my car home, then they should be compensated.”
“I will have one of our detailers take it home for you. I’m sure he’ll love the experience of driving such a rare automobile.”
Randall laughed. “It is a joy to drive, here’s the key just have him park it in the spot labeled Penthouse. I’ll plug it in when we return. Thank you.”
Randall set the hundred-dollar bill on the desk picked up the keys to the land rover and tossed them to Jolene. “Your car you drive.”
She giggled and thanked God that Randall seemed to have no male ego when it came to driving. She knew he’d never have agreed to riding in the bug, but he didn’t insist on driving the Land Rover first. She scampered to the SUV and climbed behind the wheel lucky for her. They had had a fully loaded one in the color she wanted on the lot.
Randall and Teddy got in the pup not happy when Randall snapped his leash to the seat belt in the back seat. “Get used to it boy.”
Jolene looked at him and asked, “where are we going now?”
He gave her an address downtown and when she arrived, she saw it was the same realtor who had brokered the deal on the Reader’s Nook for them. “What are we doing here?”
“It’s time for your next gift. Like I said it’s too big to wrap.”
“I thought the car was the gift.”
“The car was a gift it wasn’t the gift I mentioned this morning. Just wait right here I’ll be right back.”
Randall jumped out of the car and headed inside within a few minutes, he came back out with a woman who climbed in the back seat. “Well Jolene, It’s nice to meet you. Mr. Herrschner has told me so much about you. Are you ready to go find your family home?”
Jolene gasped and turned to Randall “You didn’t?”
“No I didn’t you are going to. I gave Mrs. Roseman picked out four that met with my approval, and I asked her to show them to you today. You pick the house you want, and I’ll buy it for us.”
“Randall, why the penthouse will be fine for a while?”
Randall shook his head. “No it won’t I remember you told me you always wanted a place with lots of rooms and enough acreage to have animals on so that your children could run and play and enjoy life. That’s what we have picked. There are four of them. You just have to pick the one you want.”
Jolene looked at him for a minute, and finally she smiled. “That wasn’t quite what I said.” She put the vehicle in drive and took off.
“It was what you said, I remember. I remember everything you told me you wanted when you got married.”
“Apparently not everything. I didn’t say I wanted a house with all those things.”
“Yes you did we were in the country visiting that Rancher your Grandmother knew.”
“That’s right we were.” Jolene got on the interstate and increased her speed.
Randall was pleased with himself. “See I told you. I remembered everything you said.”
Mrs. Roseman spoke up “Excuse me, where where are we going? This direction won’t take us to any of the homes I’ve picked out.”
“No they won’t. But it will take us to the place I told Randall I wanted. If he is going to spoil me with these gifts, then I’m going to have my dreams fulfilled. Not something like my dreams but my actual dreams.”
She got off the interstate and followed the road about two miles and then turned up a long overgrown drive. Randall said, “Isn’t this the ranch we were at?”
“Yes it is and this is what I told you I wanted. Get me this one.”
“But look at it! It’s abandoned. Who knows who owns it.”
Jolene looked at him. “I know who owns it Mr. Jones owns it. He is in a senior’s home now, but he still owns the ranch. You go see him and pay him what he wants. I want this place Randall this is the place I told you I wanted when we were teens.”
The Realtor spoke up. “Jolene, it will take a lot of work and money to fix this place up.”
“I know are you worried about losing the commission from the sale? Why don’t you and I go see Mr. Jones and see what he want’s for the place? I’ll allow you to write up the contract, and then you’ll still get your commission. I don’t want you to be out all the time it took you to find those four homes.”
“I’m not concerned with the money. Mr. Herrschner has always taken good care of me. I just don’t want you two starting your life together with such a huge expense.”
Jolene nodded to her. “Randall, is this place alright with you?”
Randall looked at her and saw how much she wanted this particular place. “You know that I’ll do whatever you want Jolene. However, the other four are move in ready we could close quickly and be able to move in after we get back from our honeymoon.”
“So we live in the penthouse for a while. I want this ranch Randall if Mr. Jones won’t sell it, then I’ll choose another place, but I want to try.”
“Okay then drop me at the penthouse, and I’ll meet with the wedding planner and you and Ruth go see Mr. Jones. Call me when you get an offer.”
Jolene grabbed his face and kissed him “Oh thank you. Will you take Teddy with you? I think he’s been in the car too long already.”
“Of course dear. Anything you want.”
“I love you so much you know.”
“I love you more.”
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
Mrs. Roseman piped up. “You two are so cute together.”
Jolene jumped she had gotten so lost in the moment, she’d forgotten the realtor was in the car with them. She restarted the Land Rover and headed back to the highway. Time to make all her dreams come true.
The three weeks flew by. Christmas Eve arrived, and it was time. Randall looked in the mirror one last time. His tuxedo was a classic black with a white shirt black bow tie and cumber bun, He had wanted something more modern but Jolene and kissed him and told him her dream wedding had him in the classic look. How could he refuse her? The work on the ranch was going smoothly. Jolene had talked with the contractor who was modernizing the house without making it look modern. They’d added a wing to the back for the staff. Jolene refused to give up Jarvis and the girls. As a matter of fact, the girls were probably helping her get dressed right now. He’d never seen her wedding gown. He knew that its price was included in the bill that the wedding planner had given them. There was only one attendant for each of them. Jolene had asked her assistant at the publishing company to stand with her, and Randall had asked Larry.
He pulled their tickets out of his breast pocket. It was the fifth time he”d checked to make sure he had the tickets and their passports. After the reception, they would take the company jet to the coast and board the private cruise boat that he had reserved for the week long cruise. They were heading for Hawaii and a private beach that belonged to the cruise company. There was a knock on the door that interrupted his thoughts.
The wedding Planner stuck her head in. “Oh don’t you look dashing! It’s time Mr. Herrschner. Your attendant is with me are you ready?’
“I am more than ready. Lead on Macduff, lead on.”
Randall followed the woman, and Larry fell in behind him. They entered the sanctuary through a side door and stood at the front of the decorated church. Because of the Holiday, Jolene chose to keep the decoration’s Christmasy. There were white Christmas lights along the balcony and down the middle aisle. A huge Christmas tree was center stage, and a trestle arch covered in Holly was in front of that making an arch for Randall and Jolene to stand under.
Then before he could take in any more details, the music started and up the aisle came Angie leading Teddy who had a ring bearers pillow attached to his back. Randall was surprised at how well behaved the pup was being. He hadn’t been thrilled with the idea but what Jolene wanted Jolene got.
Then the music changed. The wedding march started, and Randall looked to the doors waiting to see Jolene appear. Then like a vision, she was coming up the aisle. His heart started to race. This was it, she was about to be his, forever. The gown started just above the swell of her bosom leaving her shoulders bare. Her hair was up in a bun with a long lace veil that didn’t actually cover her face but dropped from the bun in her hair down around her shoulders and lower. The gown itself was white it had a series of scalloped pleats that started just under her left breast and continued to the floor. The train was not to long but full and made it appear that Jolene was floating down the aisle. To him, she had always been perfect but today, today she was beyond perfection. Their eyes locked, and everything around them disappeared. Randall lost himself in her eyes and the look of love and longing that she gave him sent his already racing heart to new heights. Without thinking he took a step towards her, and Larry reached out a hand to restrain him. “Hold on boss, she’s just a few steps away. Jolene smiled, and it was like an atomic bomb went off in his soul. He wanted to rip loose of his friend’s gentle restraint and have her in his arms.
Before he could act on the thought, she was there taking his hands in her own. “You’re a vision.”
“You clean up nicely yourself.”
The preacher cleared his throat “If the two of you look this way we can get you married, and you can bask in each other’s presence after wards.”
The crowd laughed, and Jolene blushed. Randall started as he realized he was standing in front of his friends. He’d completely forgotten as he watched his bride.
“Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to join in holy Matrimony Randall and Jolene. Theirs is a love that fairy tales are made of. Friends from childhood, sweethearts from their teen years and finally today husband and wife. I had a whole little charge prepared but these two are so lost in each other, I doubt they’d hear a word of it. So let’s just get right to it shall we. Jolene do you take Randall to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“Will you love, and cherish him in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer, in good times and bad as long as you both shall live?”
“Oh I will.”
“Randall do you take Jolene to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
” Will you love and cherish her in sickness and in health for richer and poorer, in good times and bad as long as you both shall live?”
“I will, for much longer than that.”
“May I have the rings?”
Angie handed him a ring and so did Larry.
T”his ring is a symbol of the unending love that God ordained marriage to be. A picture of his love for his children. Randall take this ring and place it on Jolene’s finger. Then repeat after me. With this ring I thee wed.”
Randall slid the plain gold band up her finger and looking deep into her eyes stated “With this ring I thee wed.”
“Jolene take this ring and place it on Randall’s finger. Then repeat after me. With this ring I thee wed.”
Jolene slid the ring on Randall’s finger and a tear flowed down her cheek as she said with a shaky voice “With this ring I thee wed.”
“I am glad to announce by the power vested in me by God almighty and in the presence of these witnesses. I now pronounce you man and wife.”
Before the preacher could say you may kiss your bride, Randall had Jolene in his arms. He crushed her to him, and his lips devoured hers. After an eternity, he released her lips and growled into her ear. “Your mine all mine for ever more.”
She grabbed his face and kissed him back just as hungrily as he had kissed her a second ago. “Yes,” she whispered, “Yes I am.”
The preacher placed a hand on both their shoulders. May I present Mr. And Mrs. Randall Herrschner.”
The processional music started, and Randall surprised everyone by sweeping Jolene up in his arms and carrying her down the Asile. She laid her head on his shoulder and began to place little kisses on his neck and chin. He carried her right to her Range Rover and placed her in the passengers seat. Some how Teddy had gotten loose from Angie and climbed up in her lap. They both laughed and Randall shut the door and sprinted to the drivers side. He jumped in and drove them straight to the penthouse. The doormen had been told that the reception was on the roof and to let their guests in. Randall took Jolene in his arms again and didn’t set her down till they were in her bedroom. He kicked the door shut and devoured her in a kiss again. His hands roaming every place he’d wanted them to go for weeks. Finally, she was his.
Jolene broke their kiss and leaned back shoving on him. “Randall, our guests.”
“Let them wait.”
“Now Randall, that’s not nice besides, I could never face them knowing they knew why they had to wait for us.”
Slowly and with great reluctance Randall let go of her keeping hold of just her hand. “Fine but I won’t be put off much longer Jolene.”
“Slow down tiger, there’s plenty of time for that later. Now let me enjoy my wedding reception.”
Randall allowed her to lead him up to the roof. He didn’t complain and put a smile on his face through it all. Soon enough his watch went off reminding him that they had to leave now if they were going to make their ship.
He thanked everyone for coming and told them that he, and Jolene needed to leave to make their flight. He picked her up amidst laughter from their friends and carried her to the elevator and down to the penthouse. He called out to Jarvis.
“Is the car packed?”
Yes sir your’s and Mrs. Herrschner’s bags are in the back. Here is Teddy, I will see you both in a week, and Sir may I say congratulations to you both.”
Jolene smiled at the butler. “Thank you Jarvis. Well see you when we get back.”
Two hours later Randall shut the door on their stateroom. He pulled Jolene into his arms as his fingers worked at the fastenings of her dress. “I’ve waited long enough Jolene. I won’t wait any longer.”
His wife looked up into his eyes with the same level of passion as he had in his. “Then don’t”
The night passed as the two lost themselves in each other only to find they were never lost, only home where they belonged.
JUST THE BEGINNING!!