Holly’s timing had been all wrong. The week she moved to the city the market crashed. Suddenly the big contracts dried up and she had to cobble together bits and pieces just to cover her rent and the business loan. It left no time for getting to know the place.

Though she’d been dreading Christmas, she’d decided to make the best of a bad lot. She could at least get Christmas cards. There’d be a few, of course, from old friends and family, but she wanted some from her new neighbourhood. So she signed up to every loyalty program and mailing list she could, just in case. The cards started arriving, neatly printed, some with her name in mechanical script. From realtors and butchers, sationers, the local gym and more.

She was buying mince tarts at the bakery when she noticed an application form—Join our ‘Baker’s Dozen’ program for specials and discounts. She signed up on the spot, then, because he seemed a nice guy, she told the baker who’d served her about her idea to get cards. ‘It’s just abit of fun, really.’

‘We don’t do cards,’ he said. ‘But heh, if you don’t know anyone what’ll you do Christmas day?’

She shrugged.

‘Can’t have that. Mum’d love to have you. What d’ya say?’

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