A/N: Welcome, I hope you’re all looking forward to Edward’s POV which is very different from our fun-loving and high-spirited BPOV you read over the 2019 Christmas holidays.
My never-ending thanks and love to Midnight Cougar for her time and devotion to Firefighterward. The first three chapters of this story were included in the Fandoms for Hope and Relief – Australia Fires Compilation. Hugs and love to my dear Lizzie Paige and all our Australian friends as they recover from the devastating fires. Thank you to everyone for donating. xx
Summary: A year before Bella Swan became my girlfriend, I knew she was someone special, and for me, it was love at first sight. *EPOV of If You Give a Firefighter a Christmas Cookie. AH
Twilight – Rated: M – English – Romance – Chapters: 30 – Words: 100,290 – Published: May 3, 2020 – Updated: Nov 21, 2020 – Bella, Edward – Complete
Song inspiration for this chapter: “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Elvis Presley
“Wise men say
Only fools rush in
But I can’t help falling in love with you”
(Playlist for this story can be found on my YouTube channel, if you search for “ghostreader24”)
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.
I shrug off the cold after the brisk but short walk from the fire station and wait my turn patiently in the crowded lobby of the Forks Post Office. The once small line of only a few people now snakes out the door with customers of all ages holding holiday packages and envelopes ready for shipping. We all shuffle forward slowly as the only postal worker manning the counter works diligently to meet everyone’s needs.
“Next in line, please.” The older redheaded woman gives me a brief smile as I approach when it’s finally my turn. “How can I help you today?”
“Hi, I want to renew my passport.”
Her smile fades as she shakes her head and glances at the line behind me. “You’ll have to go to the Port Angeles Post Office. We don’t do them here.”
I nod my understanding, lean on the counter, and lower my voice. “My boss, Captain Whitlock, said that sometimes you make exceptions.”
“Captain Whitlock?” The woman brightens instantly and sits a little taller on her stool. “You’re a firefighter?”
I chuckle to myself and suspect his Texas accent has worked its charm on her in the past.
“Yes. I’m on my break and was hoping you could make an exception… for me… please?” I ask, trying to persuade her with my own friendly smile that normally works in these situations.
Our brief standoff ends when the woman’s resolve wavers and she smirks, yelling for someone in the back. “Bella, can you come up front and help with the counter? We have a line, and I don’t want to keep anyone waiting longer than necessary. I have a passport to do.”
“Sure, I’ll be right there.” A muffled voice comes from somewhere behind the wall blocking our view of the loading and sorting areas.
“Do you have your expired passport with you?”
I can’t keep my grin from widening at this small victory until Bella rounds the corner. My eyes are drawn to her instantly, following her movements, as she steps toward the empty station at the other end of the counter.
Her head bops along to the Christmas music playing softly in the background. I look away quickly, not wanting to be caught staring, as I brace myself against the edge of the counter and my stomach flips, filling me with a queasy feeling.
“I can help whoever is next in line,” the brunette beauty says, tapping on the computer screen to her side.
I chance another glance in her direction, watching as an easy smile spreads across her lips, and she focuses her attention on the customers waiting. My own reason for being here is forgotten, as she settles into the chair not too far from where I’m standing, making it possible to hear her conversation.
I watch as Bella lights up like a Christmas tree when a man shuffles toward her spot.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Banner. What can I help you with today? Do you need help sending off your letter to Santa?” Bella asks the elderly man.
A voice interrupts my eavesdropping, and I realize it’s the woman helping me.
“Expired passport?” she prompts, raising a challenging eyebrow.
“Um… yes. I have it.”
I can’t keep the smile off my face as Bella teases her customer, and right now, I’m ready to offer him anything to trade spots, so I can have her teasing or helping me.
“What about a second piece of identification, like your driver’s license?”
My eyes shift back to the worker in front of me. “I have that too.”
“No, I’m too old for Santa.” The elderly man chuckles.
“Aww, you’re never too old for Santa.” Her grin is full of mischief as her eyes twinkle with delight. “So what brings you in today?”
“Barb needs Christmas stamps, and I want to ship this box to our grandson.”
The sound of a throat clearing gets my attention. “Do you need photos or did you bring them with you?”
Staring down at my expired passport, a happiness at being in Bella’s presence warms me from head to toe, but I refocus on my own reason for this visit. “Photos? Uh… yeah. Yes. I need photos too.”
My eyes shift back to Bella, as I watch her open a drawer and put the man’s choices on the counter.
The voice in front of me draws away my attention once more. “What about expedited service? It’s an additional sixty dollars to receive your new passport in approximately two to three weeks rather than eight.”
“No. I can wait the eight weeks.”
The woman nods, turns, and walks toward a wall of sorted forms, looking for whatever I need to complete next.
I return my attention to Bella, stealing glances in her direction whenever possible, as I listen to her soothing voice.
“We have Holiday Wreaths, Christmas Carols, and the Madonna and Child. It looks like I’m all out of Winter Berries at this desk, but Vicky probably has some in her supply, if you prefer.”
The man touches each of the selections lightly, leaning closer to see his options and adjusting his glasses. “Which would you select?”
“For Mrs. Banner, the Madonna and Child,” she reassures with a friendly smile.
“Okay, I’ll pick those.”
Bella scans the book of stamps and hands them back to the man, then enters information about his package into her computer screen. While I wait, I can feel myself gravitating in her direction, hoping she will turn her head and make eye contact, but she never does.
“Anything fragile, liquid, or perishable?” she asks.
“Perishable. It’s our grandson’s favorite peanut brittle and divinity. Barb used to make them for him when he was little. I’m just lucky I got a few tastes before she sealed up the package.”
“Sounds delicious. I’m sure he’ll be excited to receive this package. I know I would be.” Bella laughs, looking around for her “perishable” stamp, then inks and presses it onto the surface in several spots.
Her laugh is a warm, inviting tone and music to my ears as my body relaxes at the sound.
“I already shipped him a care package, but this one is special. He will have a taste of Christmas in the middle of the desert. Do you think he’ll receive it before the holiday?”
“If we ship it First-Class International, it can take anywhere from one to three weeks depending on his location. We also have Priority International and Priority Express International. Those are a little faster but cost more too.”
“Let’s stick with the first one. I think we’ve got time.”
“You’re right. It’s early December and your package should arrive before the holiday. We always recommend shipping military mail before the eleventh. Even if it doesn’t arrive before Christmas, I’m certain your grandson will love receiving a present like this one at any time. Just between the two of us, I’m never in any hurry to take down our tree. Sometimes it stays up into January. So, Christmas presents in January would suit me just fine.”
The elderly man chuckles. “Barb has our tree down the day after Christmas, but if we know our grandson will get leave during the holidays, we’ll keep our tree decorated and celebrate with him.”
Bella smiles. “I like that plan.”
The woman helping me returns, and a quick glance at her name badge confirms that she’s the “Vicky,” Bella mentioned moments ago, as she slides a form across the counter.
“Okay, complete pages one and two of this form in black ink. We have pens over on the table behind you, if you need one. Wait to sign page one until I have a chance to look over everything and put your application together.”
My head spins a little with the overload of her instructions and my lack of focus due to the woman at the other end of the counter, but I agree to everything and figure I can ask again if I miss something. “Okay.”
“I’ll get the camera ready and you can meet me around the corner by the open door to take your picture. I’ll also need a personal check or money order from you to send with your application in addition to your payment for today’s fees. Do you have your checkbook with you?”
I pat my back pocket, double-checking it hasn’t fallen out. “Yes.”
“Great. You don’t need to wait in line again once you’ve completed everything, just step back up to my window, and I’ll take care of you. Let’s take your photos first. I’ll grab the camera.”
I’m not happy to be out of earshot of Bella, but take one more glance in her direction and move away from the counter. I set my stack of items on the table near the open door where Vicky is waiting for me and shrug off my coat, adding it to the pile too.
“Take your place against the door whenever you’re ready,” she instructs, waving to the small area.
“Okay.” I run a hand through my hair. “This good?”
“Perfect.” Vicky smiles and lifts the camera, pointing it in my direction and making a few adjustments. “No smile and keep your eyes open.”
She snaps two photos and studies the screen on the back of the camera.
“Great. Would you like to take a look?” Vicky tilts the digital screen toward me.
I glance at it briefly, shrugging my shoulders.
“Happy?” Vicky wonders.
I’m sure some people are probably difficult when it comes to their passport photos, but I’m not one of those and instead offer my appreciation for her making an exception for me today.
“Sure, looks good and thanks again for helping me.”
“No problem. I’ll be back at the counter with your photos whenever you’re ready.”
With the photos completed, my eyes are drawn immediately to the other side of the room, as I see Bella helping a new customer. I walk toward the table with my stuff, slipping on my coat, and begin filling out the form I need for renewing my passport.
We’re doing a guys’ trip to Vancouver in March, which is what brought me here today, but another glance in Bella’s direction has me wondering if there isn’t something greater at work. Because the pull I feel toward her is undeniable.
“Anyone know of a Bella working down at the Post Office?” I ask nonchalantly once we’re all sitting down for dinner at the station later in the evening.
“Chief Swan’s daughter is the only Bella I know. What did she look like?” Mike Newton asks.
I attempt not to tip my hand at my interest and downplay her beautiful features. “Close to our age, I would guess. Dark brown hair, brown eyes, fair skin. Average height. I hadn’t seen her before.”
“Yeah, that sounds like Bella Swan. Jess and I went to high school with her—Tyler from next door too. I think he had a crush on her for a while when she moved here from Arizona to live with her dad. I thought she was living in Seattle now, but maybe she’s home for the holidays.”
Our captain, Jasper Whitlock, clears his throat. “I think Chief said she graduated from a college in Seattle and got a job back in May. I remember him taking off to go to the ceremony.”
Mike shakes his head and removes his phone from his pocket. “I don’t know. Let me text Jess. She knows everything and stays in contact with most of our former classmates. I’ll have her send me a recent picture to see if you recognize her. Jess keeps all kinds of shit on her phone, and if she doesn’t have it, she’ll find one. I’m sure they are still friends on Facebook or something.”
At his mention of Bella’s social media, I’m more than curious of what she may have out there and make a note to find whatever I can when I have a chance later and I’m alone.
“You got a thing for the Chief’s daughter?” My buddy Emmett McCarty’s smile widens. “We better hide the Chief’s gun or we’ll be down a firefighter.”
I shrug, not ready to admit to the guys the strong, initial attraction I felt, which wasn’t like anything I’ve experienced before. I have no intention of listening to Emmett’s endless teasing over something he would think is a crush but feels like much more to me. So, for now, I’m going to keep this secret to myself. I also can’t deny it took everything I had to leave the Post Office and walk back to work without at least an introduction between us. I need to figure out a reason to go back to the Post Office sometime soon and find a way to get her attention.
If you give a postal worker a love note…