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Under The Mistletoe

Summary: Lizzie Daniels is dreading Christmas at home because everyone around her is happily married or happily in love. Unlike them, she's never been in love. All she can think of is a certain gorgeous guy she once saw at the mall. So when her sister invites guests to stay with them, Lizzie must be hospitable and friendly, and she realizes she just might have her first chance of love. For Lizzie Daniels, love just might be under the Christmas tree this year, or under the mistletoe.

Prologue - Married or Not

Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Daniels watched her newlywed sister, Rebecca Daniels- Smith pick out another outfit for what seemed like the hundredth time. Okay, maybe the hundredth time was a bit of an exaggeration but still. They'd been in this store for the past two hours and for the past two hours, Becky, as her sister was called, still didn't know which outfit she would buy.

Is she married or not? Why does she act like this is high school and she's going to the Prom? Lizzie thought miserably.

"Mom? What do you think?" Becky held up two dresses, which, in Lizzie's opinion, looked exactly the same. "I'm not sure if Robbie would like these," she added thoughtfully.

Lizzie rolled her eyes. Robbie was Becky's husband of six months.

What does it matter if Robbie won't like your dresses? Let him wear the dresses he likes and wear the dresses you like!

"Mom, I'm going out," she announced standing up from her position on the chair.

"Oh, Lizzie, you have to help me pick," Becky said pouting.

"Uh, I think you have everything under control here. You won't need me, besides, it'll be your birthday soon and I still haven't got you a present," Lizzie replied smiling. "I'll be back in an hour," she added turning to leave.

"Oh what makes you so sure we'll still be here in an hour? You better takes my cell phone, Lizzie, just in case. We'll call you if we're moving to the next store," her mom said handing Lizzie the cell phone.

"Oh-kay," Lizzie said taking the phone. "Whatever you say, mom," she added under her breath. Once outside the shop, Lizzie looked around the mall first. She had no idea where to go. Nor did she have any idea what to give Becky on her twenty-fifth birthday. Spotting a bookstore at the nearest corner, Lizzie decided to head over there.

"Maybe I'll buy her a wedding book or something," she muttered. "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus," she added thoughtfully. "Yeah, I could definitely start on that." She spotted the same book on a shelf. Seeing the prices, she said, "Yikes, I'm a little short on cash."

After thirty minutes of looking through shelves, Lizzie decided not to give Becky a book. She realized then that Becky wasn't much of a reader. She, Luke, Matt and Sally were the big readers in the family referring to her two older brothers and sister. "Where to?" she asked herself looking around the very busy mall. Necklaces? Earrings? Rings? Clothes? Shoes? No. Scratch those. She had thousands of those. What else?

Ah, what does Becky want?

Normally, she didn't worry over birthday gifts. It was her parents who would worry over that. But now, well, it felt appropriate. Or not. Lizzie just started giving gifts to John, Luke and Becky ever since they got married. And she was still in college. She had no idea where she got the money to buy gifts.

Lizzie blinked. She didn't realize she had been walking around aimlessly. She stopped short when she spotted a little girl crying. The little girl sat at the bottom of the stairs, hugging her legs.

Lizzie bit her lip. She looked around. No one seemed to help the little girl. Then again, it looked as if no one was on this side of the mall except for a few people who just rushed past the stairs. No one had noticed the little girl.

Sighing, Lizzie walked slowly towards the little girl. She wasn't sure what to say. John and Luke were probably the experts. They already had kids of their own. And Becky's was probably on the way. The little girl sniffled and stared at the floor.

"Hey, there," Lizzie began sitting beside the girl. "Are you okay?" she asked soothingly.

For a while, the little girl didn't speak. She just sat there, staring at the floor. Then slowly her eyes raised and she looked at Lizzie. "I'm lost," she whimpered.

Lizzie smiled then she patted the shoulder of the little girl. "Don't worry. We'll look for you mommy and daddy, okay? I'm Lizzie, what's your name?" she asked.

The little girl's lip trembled. She looked like she was going to break down again and cry. But she didn't. She looked at Lizzie again and said, "Lily. We're both L's."

Lizzie chuckled. "Yeah, seems like it. So Lily, do you remember what you parents were wearing?" she began then paused. "So we can look for them, you know," she added.

Lily opened her mouth to say something but instead she was looking at someone behind Lizzie and her face lit up. At the same time, a voice called out her name just behind them. Lily stood up and ran past Lizzie.

"Okay, looks like I'm not needed here anymore," Lizzie said also standing up. She turned and saw Lily hugging a guy who, well, looked kinda young to be a father. But he was cute. No, forget cute. He was way gorgeous. Lizzie was just about to memorize the guy's profile when someone called her name. She saw her mom and Becky beckoning to her.

Oh, great. I totally forgot about Becky's birthday gift, she thought miserably She waved at them and started walking toward them.

"Miss, wait," the guy called behind her.

"Lizzie," Lily corrected. "Her name's Lizzie," she said giggling.

Was he really already married? Lily looked like she was his daughter. Lizzie smiled and turned to them.

"Lizzie," the guy repeated. He caught Lizzie's eye and for a second, they just stared at each other. Then he grinned. "Thanks for saving Lily here, she can get pretty excited over stuff and start wandering around on her own," he said.

Lizzie waved her hand dismissively. "Yeah, well, I was hardly needed," she said then stopped again not sure of what she meant. "I mean, you came a few minutes after I came. So I mean, you would've probably found her without my help or something like that," she laughed nervously.

Oh my God, I'm babbling, Lizzie thought horrified. Way good impression, Lizzie, she thought sarcastically. Oh my God, I'm trying to impress a married man. Was that against the bible?

"Still, thanks," the guy said smiling at her.

"No problem," Lizzie said smiling back. Then turning to Lily, she said, "Well, looks like you found your daddy after all, without my help."

Lily's eyes grew wide. "He's not!" she cried.

At the same time, the guy laughed out loud.

"Okay," Lizzie said stepping back. "I'm sorry, did I say something wrong?"

Lily giggled again. "He's not my daddy," she said.

"Oh," was all Lizzie said. He could be an uncle though he's probably married too.

"I'm her brother," the guy said grinning. Though he looked sheepish.

Her brother. That doesn't mean he didn't have a girlfriend. Or a fiancée.

Lizzie opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted again by her mother and sister calling her. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. She didn't want this gorgeous guy to see her roll her eyes at her mother. "Uh- oh, I have to go. I'll see you around, I guess," she said. She jogged over where her mom and Becky were standing, ignoring the fact that maybe she just won't see him again.


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