Disclaimer: Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond own the adorable little mouse whose needs inspired this very adult version of their story. Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m here having fun.
“Do you two have any manners?” I huff in frustration.
My longtime family friend and newly appointed Sheriff Deputy, Jacob Black, stands next to one of my favorite firefighters, Emmett McCarty. They have inhaled nearly every cookie on the tray I set by the coffee machine after arriving for work.
“Oh, sorry. Thanks, Bella. Did you make these?” Jacob asks.
“Yeah, thanks,” Emmett offers between bites.
“Yes, I did, and it took me all evening to bake a tray full while the two of you have devoured them in less than fifteen minutes. Is anyone else working today? Did either of you think they may want a cookie too?”
“Charlie grabbed a couple with his coffee and Tyler is out on patrol,” Jacob says, then stuffs another in his mouth.
“Uh… Edward is in the gym, and Jasper is shopping for supplies for dinner tonight. Mike’s taking a nap.”
I’ll never get closer to solving the cookie mystery of Edward’s favorite, if he doesn’t get a chance to try them, and now I will need to bake again this evening when I get home. Plus, I’ll also need to stop by Thriftway and restock my cookie supplies.
“You two are hopeless.”
“Hey, you snooze, you lose.” Jacob knuckle-bumps Emmett. “Didn’t you make them for us to eat?”
“Well, yes. I made them for everyone to share, but at this rate, I can’t afford to keep buying supplies. I thought they would be a nice daily treat. You know, for the holidays.”
“Here.” Emmett pauses, removing his wallet from his back pocket and holding out a twenty. “My favorite cookies are the ones that look like candy canes. You’ve probably seen them. They are like white and red dough, twisted and shaped into candy canes. My mama used to make them every year. Can you try to make some of those, Bella?”
“Emmett… I’m not a bakery or even a baker, you know. You can’t just place an order and expect miracles to happen overnight.” I point toward the almost empty tray. “This wasn’t easy. It was fueled by advent wine, and Angela helped.”
Emmett grins. “I’ll eat whatever you make, but all I’m saying is, if you branch out…”
“Fine. Candy cane cookies.” I sigh and accept his offered twenty reluctantly. “I’ll see what I can do, but I’m not making any promises. How about you, Jacob?”
“I’m easy. I’ve liked everything you made. No requests here, but let me see if I’ve got any cash.” Jacob shoves the last of his cookie into his mouth and opens his wallet, finding it empty. “I’ll take out some money when I get a chance, promise.”
“Yeah, yeah.” I wave him off as I hear the door open, hoping Edward is stopping by for a visit.
I sag briefly in disappointment when Deputy Tyler Crowley walks into view.
“Hey, Ty. Sorry, the guys have demolished the Christmas cookies I brought.”
“Aww, that was sweet of you. Hey, are you busy?” He moves toward my desk.
“No, what’s up?” I ask as I follow.
With Tyler’s request for assistance, I’m distracted from my current cookie debacle and go back to work, focusing on a new task.
I’m on the phone when Edward stops by later to say, “Hi.” He’s freshly showered and wearing a navy Clallam County Fire Department T-shirt with yellow lettering. It’s one of my favorites, and I admire how the material clings to his muscular biceps and stretches across his broad chest.
After a quick wave, I point toward the coffee pot and what few Christmas cookies are left on the tray. I watch as he walks in that direction, surveying the remaining offerings as I end my phone call.
“Good afternoon, Edward. Help yourself.”
My words grant me another of those heart-stopping smiles of his before he reaches for a cookie and walks my way.
“Hey, Bella.” He holds up a red and green M&M chocolate chip cookie. “Did you make these?”
“I did. I’ve got a new joke for you.”
“Don’t keep me in suspense.”
“Okay, why does Santa wear pink underwear?”
“Because he did all of his laundry in one load.”
Edward grins. “That’s a good one.”
I watch as he takes a bite and gets the strangest look on his face. His brow furrows as he pauses chewing to stare at the remaining cookie, turning to examine it from all sides.
“Is there something wrong with them? Jacob and Emmett were here earlier, and they didn’t mention anything.”
“No. No. There’s nothing wrong with them. They taste… uh… my Grandma Cullen used to make these every year, because she knew how much I loved them. I always wanted to know her recipe, but she said it was a secret. She wasn’t much of a baker, but everything she cooked was from scratch, never writing anything down—a little of this, a handful of that. How is this possible? You made these?”
I don’t scream “Eureka!” but I’m excited to figure out his favorite cookie, and I’m already making plans to buy as many tubs of ready-made Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough and bags of red and green holiday M&Ms as I can find on my next trip to Thriftway.
“I can’t believe it.” Edward marvels as he finishes the cookie and walks back to the tray to snag the last two.
I chuckle at also unlocking his Grandma Cullen’s “secret recipe” of two items that has evaded Edward for who knows how long and can’t help but add more to the mystery myself.
“Well, the Swan family has its own share of secret recipes, and I’ve been sworn to never reveal. So, don’t think you will get it out of me, Edward Cullen, because my lips are sealed.” I make a show of pressing my lips together, locking them with an imaginary key, and tossing it away.
“That sounds like a fun challenge. Any chance you would be willing to make more?”
I brighten at the idea instantly, happy to share in Edward’s excitement. “Absolutely.”
“Do you know what would be great with these?”
My smile dims slightly. “What?”
“Oh, Dad makes the coffee every day. You should grab a cup.”
He leans on the counter next to my desk, moving closer, as if he’s about to tell me a secret. “No offense to your father, but the coffee he makes…”
“Yeah?” I lean closer.
He lowers his voice. “It’s horrible. It tastes like some sort of nasty sludge. I can’t drink it.”
“It’s bad?” Not a coffee drinker myself, I had no idea and start making plans to figure out how to remedy the situation.
“Yes. A great cup of coffee with these cookies would be perfect.”
I’m nodding along, knowing I not only need to make more cookies, but I need to correct the police department’s coffee situation too. I’m about to ask Edward if he has any particular coffee preference, when we hear the fire department’s alarm going off next door.
Edward rushes for the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Bella. Thanks for the cookies!”
“Okay, be safe!”
If you give a firefighter a Christmas cookie, he will want the perfect cup of coffee to go with it.