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.
While I’m not a coffee drinker, I am a lover of hot chocolate, which is why I’m waiting in the drive-thru of the local coffee shop when I see a familiar silver Volvo pull behind my truck.
The window opens and my large hot chocolate with extra marshmallows is handed my way.
“Hey—” I stop the worker from hustling me along.
“Can you tell me what the car behind me ordered?”
“I… uh… have my reasons,” I say vaguely, not wanting to reveal my plan to find out Edward’s coffee order.
The worker shakes his head, ready to close the window. “Have a good day.”
“Wait—” I yell, looking through my rickety little change drawer under the dashboard, trying to locate as many quarters as possible. “How much is it? I’ll do one of those pay it forward things and pay for the next order. You know, people do that all the time during the holidays, but first, I need to know what it is. Please. I need this favor.”
He eyes me cautiously.
“It’s only coffee,” I insist. “Please.”
“It’s our breakfast blend, which is a light roast.”
“Anything added to it?”
“Three ice cubes.”
“What? Why three ice cubes?”
“Our customers like what they like. We don’t ask questions.”
“Do you charge for the three ice cubes?”
“No. That will be $4.24.”
“For a cup of coffee? I mean chocolate, I can understand, but over four dollars for one cup?”
His only response is a heavy sigh while he watches me toss my change back into the little drawer and locate my debit card.
“Do you sell the coffee itself?”
“Yes. We have bags of whole beans and ground. They are $15.99.”
“For coffee?” I huff, mumbling to myself. “This is robbery.”
There’s a honk from one of the vehicles behind me, but I don’t think it’s Edward, since a quick glance in the rearview mirror shows him resting his head against the headrest with his eyes closed while he waits.
“Do you need a bag?”
“Yes. I’ll take a bag of the ground breakfast blend.” I jab my thumb into the direction behind me. “And add the next car’s order to my total.”
Over twenty dollars later, I’m trudging down the road in my old truck, sipping on my favorite hot chocolate, with a tiny bag of expensive coffee and a tray full of M&M Christmas cookies sitting on the bench seat next to me.
There’s no way I can keep up this rate of spending and conclude I will need to cut some corners, if I wish to have any money in my bank account by the end of the month. No more stops for coffee shop hot chocolate. It’s time to buy the store brand box of pre-made envelopes and the smallest bag of marshmallows I can find. Even then, it can’t be an everyday thing, maybe only once or twice a week.
With a heavy sigh, I wonder how many pots of coffee this small bag will make. I’m no expert on making coffee, but I’ve seen my dad do it. So, it can’t be that difficult—use a filter, add water and coffee, then let the machine do the work.
“What’s this?” My dad alternates between staring at the coffee bag in his hand while side-eyeing me. “You never make coffee. Actually, you hate coffee.”
He had already brewed a pot this morning when I arrived. So, I added the cookies next to the machine and tucked my precious little bag of coffee into one of the drawers of my desk while waiting for everyone to drink the current pot, then made my move.
I try to deflect his question and play it off as no big deal. “Oh, I thought a change would be nice. You know, something special for the holidays for all the coffee lovers.”
“We always buy the big can. It’s cheap and lasts for at least a month. That’s less than twelve cans a year. You start buying that little bagged expensive stuff, and we’ll have a whole new problem.”
“That could be why more people don’t drink it,” I mumble.
Bigger isn’t always better… unless we’re talking about Edward Cullen. Everything about him is bigger and better.
He grunts not agreeing with this change in his standard operating procedure and looks over the tray of cookies, noticing the lack of variety immediately.
“No gingerbread men today?”
“Maybe tomorrow,” I offer. “Could you do me a favor and tell me if I added the right amount or not?”
“It’s three scoops and fill the water to the line. Same as it’s always been. Sometimes I do a little rinsing.”
Hopefully, I keep the grimace off my face. Thank goodness, I found some dishwashing soap under the sink in the break room and gave everything a thorough cleaning before brewing this pot. I would hate to cross-contaminate the expensive coffee with the stuff my father’s been buying, and I’m positive Edward would be able to tell the difference instantly.
“Oh, I only used two scoops. Can you try it and tell me if it’s okay or not?” As much as it pains me to pitch the entire pot and start over, I would do it to get it right before Edward arrives.
When the machine finishes making gurgling sounds, Dad fills his cup. After his first sip, his eyes find mine.
“Is it okay?” I wonder in anticipation as I close the top of the coffee bag.
He nods his head. “It’ll pass. Maybe we, uh, should only use two scoops of our normal stuff. It will last longer that way.”
I’m not sure I agree with his deduction because the quality of his coffee is questionable, but I release a sigh in relief. “Oh, good.” I tuck the bag back into my bottom desk drawer for safekeeping.
The door to the station opens and in walks Emmett and Edward laughing about something.
“Cookies!” Emmett exclaims, making a beeline to where we’re standing.
“Hey, Chief.” Edward nods in his direction. “Hey, Bella. Thanks for buying my coffee this morning. I recognized your truck in line ahead of me.”
“Oh, you’re welcome. I was just trying to pass along some holiday cheer.”
“I understand. I paid for the car behind me too. What took so long?”
“Oh, I was buying some additional items, and it slowed down the line. Sorry about that, but help yourself to the cookies. I made plenty.”
Edward grins. “So many of my favorite this time.”
Charlie’s small smile fades at Edward’s words as he watches me carefully and clears his throat. “You should have a cup of coffee, Edward.”
“Oh, the cookies are more than enough. Thanks.”
“Bella made this last pot.” His mustache twitches before he takes another sip. “It’s good.”
“Yes, I did.” I wave off my father’s growing smirk. “Don’t listen to him. It’s really not a big deal. I do tasks like this around the office all the time.”
“Oh, I should try a cup. Coffee and cookies go great together.”
“They do, don’t they?” Dad raises an eyebrow in my direction.
I think he’s on to me.
“I’ve got to get back to work.” Dad holds out his cup for Edward to refill. “Thanks.”
Emmett swallows his last bite. “Good to see you, Chief.”
Dad nods. “Edward. Emmett.”
“This is great, Bella,” Edward says between sips.
His praise leaves me beaming with pride at adding to his holiday joy.
I grin. “I’ve got a new joke for you, Edward.”
“Okay, let’s hear it.”
“Why do Dasher and Dancer love coffee?”
“I don’t know.”
“Because they’re Santa’s star bucks!”
Emmett lets out a snort. “That’s a good one, Bella. But wasn’t there a thing a few years ago about how all of Santa’s reindeer had to be female because males don’t keep their antlers this time of year?”
“Uh, I don’t know. It was only a coffee joke, and aren’t Santa’s reindeer fictional characters? They can be males.” I defend playfully at his forensic joke analysis.
“Hey, don’t get your Christmas stockings in a bunch. I get it.” Emmett grabs a handful of cookies. “I’ve got one for you. What do fish sing in winter?”
I think for a moment, because I should know this one, but eventually relent. “I don’t know.”
“Christmas corals. Get it?”
I can’t contain my giggle. “Yeah. I get it.”
“I’m going to head back over to the station. You ready, Edward?”
Edward’s eyes shift to mine. “I’ll be over soon.”
“Okay. I’ll catch up with you jokesters later. Thanks again, Bella.”
“You’re welcome, and don’t think I’ve forgotten about your candy cane cookies. They’re a little adventurous for me, but I bought the supplies last night.”
“Great. I can’t wait to try them. It will be just like being back home.”
With Emmett out the door, we’re finally alone, which isn’t a normal occurrence. But I’ll greedily accept any time Edward wants to spend hanging out here with me.
“Sorry I got called away yesterday while we were talking,” he says, following me back to my desk.
“That’s okay. I understand it’s a part of your job.”
“It was one of those roof rescues—where the homeowner’s Christmas lighting project went beyond normal expectations.”
“Don’t they all?” I smile, taking a seat.
Edward chuckles, leaning against the counter near my desk. “We stuck around and used our ladders to help finish the job and keep him on solid ground with a promise that he would call us when it was time to take them down.”
“Aww, that was so sweet of you.”
Edward shrugs, glancing around the office. “I’m surprised you don’t have Christmas tunes going over here. Jasper has them cranked up next door.”
“Yeah, you know a playlist or something. It always gets everyone into the Christmas spirit when you play the classics. I love listening to some of the new songs too.”
“Well, I’m not sure how to tap into the intercom because it’s so old, but maybe Ty or Jacob can help me figure it out.”
“Sounds like a plan. I can’t wait to compare our favorites—” The fire station alarm interrupts our conversation as Edward moves toward the door. “Sorry, duty calls. Thanks for the cookies and coffee!” he yells as the door closes.
“Yeah, you’re welcome,” I say to no one.
With a long sigh, I get ready to start on my tasks for the rest of the day, but instead, end up spending my lunch hour, researching possible Christmas playlists that will hopefully meet Edward’s approval.
If you give a firefighter a Christmas cookie, he will want the perfect cup of coffee to go with it.
The cookies and coffee will remind him of his favorite Christmas songs…