“Oh, really now?” Maggie asked in a teasing voice. It tickled her to think her son was already in the thick of things with his classmates.
“Can we? Can we, please?” he begged, crossing his hands in front of him.
She leaned down and pressed a kiss against his temple. “Yes, my sweet. We most definitely can. I know the perfect place at home we can put it.” There was no way Maggie could say no to the excitement bubbling up inside her son. She’d made a promise to herself. She was going to embrace Christmas and all it had to offer, if only to see the joy reflected in her son’s eyes. Christmas trees! Sledding at Deer Run Lake! Participating in the town’s Christmas cookie exchange. She was all in.
“Can you come and help us pick out a tree, Finn?” Oliver asked. There was something about the look emanating from Oliver’s eyes that sent out warning signals. He was getting attached.
Finn playfully bowed to Oliver. “It would be my pleasure, Sir Oliver,” he said in an exaggerated English accent.
Oliver giggled. “You sound funny.” He turned toward Maggie. “When can we go to find the tree?”
“How about if we head over there tomorrow night?” Maggie suggested. “I have a few things to take care of around here. And I still have to figure out dinner.”
“How does that sound, Finn?” Oliver asked, turning back toward Finn.
“Sounds like a plan,” he said, holding up his palm so Oliver could high-five him. “I don’t know if you heard,” he said, bending down and speaking in a low voice to Oliver, “but I’m the best tree hunter in all of Alaska.”
“Cool! We’re going to get the best tree ever,” Oliver said, his face lit up with excitement.
Maggie watched the interplay between Finn and Oliver. There was no doubt about it. They were getting along like a house on fire. Oliver was blossoming right before her eyes. And it had everything to do with Finn. She should know. He’d done the same thing for her when she was ten years old.
“Finn, can I talk to you for a second?” She waved him over so Oliver wouldn’t overhear their conversation.
“Sure thing.” He walked over to her, his eyes alight with curi
osity. “What’s up?”
“You asked me the other day about watching Oliver after school so I can focus on the shop.”
Finn waved his hand at her. “Forget it. I know you weren’t keen on the idea.”
“I was being unreasonable,” she admitted, feeling very humbled. Her overprotectiveness toward Oliver had clouded her judgment. “Your offer to watch Oliver was very generous. Honestly, he’s crazy about you.”
“So? Did you change your mind? Are you taking me up on my offer?”
She took a deep breath. “Yes, I am, if it’s still on the table.”
Finn graced her with a wide grin. “Hey! That’s great. Of course it is.”
Maggie chewed on her lip. “I think I was just worried he might get too attached to you. Oliver isn’t just looking for a father figure, Finn. He’s actually looking for a father. I just don’t want him to get hurt or confused along the way.”
“No worries, Mags. We’re buddies,” Finn assured her. “Surely that can’t be a bad thing.”
“No, that’s not a bad thing,” Maggie said, her eyes drifting back toward her son. He was still looking at Finn as if he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
She felt relieved about the childcare situation being resolved. Finn had been right. It was the perfect solution. Unless of course Oliver decides he wants Finn to be more than a buddy, Maggie thought. She knew her son hadn’t given up on the idea of finding a father here in Alaska. Something told her Finn would be at the top of Oliver’s list.
* * *
Finn headed over to the Moose Café as soon as he and Maggie decided to call it day at Keepsakes. Since Annie was working late at the library, Declan had invited him to dinner. It would be nice to get together with his brother and talk over a good meal. It had been far too long since they’d spent downtime together.
The jangling of the bell heralded his arrival inside the eatery. Finn smiled as he looked around the place. Every time he walked in, it seemed as if Hazel and Cameron had added even more festive decorations. Yes, indeed. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
“Hey, Finn. Are you looking for a table?” Sophie asked, coming up behind him.
“I’m looking for Declan. He’s supposed to be meeting me here for an early dinner,” Finn said.
“I haven’t seen him yet, but I can find a table for the two of you,” she said, waving him to follow after her. Finn trailed after her and sat down once Sophie placed two menus on a table set up for two.