The Christmas Lights(6)

By: Karen Swan


‘– I did,’ Zac said.

‘– Thanks!’ Lenny huffed at the same time.

‘You know I don’t mean it like that, Len,’ she said, looking over at him. ‘But you’ve got to see it from our point of view; when are Zac and I ever truly alone? Sometimes a moment is ours, and it’s not available to the rest of the world just because it’ll get good hits.’

‘Now that’s just being naive,’ Lenny said, swigging another gulp of beer. ‘I get that you want to keep this private, Bo, but the reality is there’s always a picture frame around your life. You don’t get the population of a small country watching you by accident. It’s design. It’s why you hire me … Unless you’re saying you don’t need me?’

‘Hey, hey, no. Bo didn’t mean that,’ Zac said quickly. ‘We both know what you’ve done for the brand since coming on board. I guess …’ He sighed. ‘I guess I can see it from both points of view. Bo wants to keep our engagement private – as do I. But Lenny can see the followers are gonna be hacked off if we just present them with a fait accompli.’ He narrowed his eyes thoughtfully, pulling his arms away from around Bo’s shoulders and sitting himself in a crossed-leg position on the hammock. He ran a hand through his buzzcut, his dark eyes like hot coals as an idea came to him. ‘But you know what, the more I think about it, the more I think Lenny’s got the right idea.’

‘Zac!’

‘No, no, hear me out,’ he said, holding his hands up. ‘You want us to keep our moment sacred. Special, right? Well, if we mock up a fake proposal, we can do exactly that. Everyone will think they’ve shared it with us, but we – you and me, baby – we’ll know the real truth: where it happened, when, how … No one else will know the details and, that way, it can remain ours, completely private.’

Bo stared at him. She supposed there was a twisted logic to it.

‘Exactly!’ Lenny said, looking pleased he had an ally, even though Zac always seemed to side with him in the end. ‘And I can guarantee you’ll get a massive spike in engagement on this. If we run the video as a story, we’re looking at three million views, easy. And then we’ll spool the shots out over the squares for several days and that should be, what – five million likes, I’m guessing?’

‘Great,’ Zac shrugged. ‘So what’s the plan?’

‘Well, we can go back tomorrow morning and do it all over again—’ Lenny suggested.

‘No!’ Bo said, a little too quickly. ‘I don’t …’ She didn’t want to go back in the tunnel again. ‘I don’t want it to be in the same place. If we’re going to do this, then it has to be somewhere completely different. I don’t want a single element of the fake engagement to overlap with the real thing.’

‘Well that’s easy enough,’ Zac said with his easy smile and warm eyes. ‘We can do it on the next stop, then. Norway’s about as different to this as you can get.’

Bo considered for a moment. He was right – Samoa and Norway couldn’t be more diametrically opposed to one another. Hot, cold. Beach, mountains. Summer, winter. Nothing about a second proposal there would seep into and stain their special moment together. And yet … She bit her lip. ‘I know it makes sense in principle; it just still feels wrong somehow.’

‘Hey, no. It’s the perfect solution – we’re giving the followers what they want, whilst keeping the real thing for ourselves. Private. Ours. You get me?’

She smiled, seeing the intimacy in his eyes. ‘Yeah. I get you.’

One of their unspoken moments exploded between them, making the air crackle, and he crawled over the netting towards her again.

‘No. Wait!’ Lenny said quickly, knowing exactly what was going to happen. ‘Before you … Listen, we’ve got to talk about tomorrow,’ he said urgently. ‘Seeing as it’s our last day and we’ve got to get over to the sliding rocks in Papaseea first thing. I got a driver picking us up at four … Guys? Guys?’