Okay, I wanted to give back to my readers. Something light, fluffy and filled with some citrusy good times (and some drama). I posted something in my Facebook group: Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation and I got some great ideas. Clo came up with an idea that really captured my attention and I think I can finish it in five chapters. So, thank you to everyone who helped me brainstorm or offered me ideas. If I get a chance, I'll work on writing those, too, but they would lend themselves to a longer story. I wanted something short and sweet.
Summary: Bella, an uptight, cold executive, is on her way home for Christmas. The first Christmas she's been home since she started working for the Fortune 500 company that hired her from college, almost ten years ago. The only reason why she's going home is to meet her brother's new wife and her parents threatened to cut her out of the will if she didn't make time to see her family. However, it's snowing, a blizzard and Bella's car wasn't really designed for the cold. Or snow. Or anything other than sunny, perfect weather.
Edward Cullen is alone on Christmas Eve, working, as usual. His family was long gone and all he had left was his family business, Cullen Towing Service and Garage, though that wasn't going well for him. Business was slow. His bills were piling up and he was afraid he was going to lose his livelihood if something didn't turn around. Over the radio, he heard about a stranded driver, stuck on the back road. Edward pulled on his winter coat, gloves and started his truck, driving to the location.
A small sports car was stuck in a ditch, almost completely covered with snow. A beautiful woman, wearing heels and a fur coat was shivering outside her car. Edward immediately recognized her as the girl he once knew and had secretly crushed on for years. Her brother, Jasper, pretty told him to fuck off and said that she was too good for him, a grease-monkey, a blue-collar boy.
Can this uptown girl fall for a guy with grease on his hands?
Mechanics and Mistletoe
"Yes, I heard you," I snapped as I tossed my luggage into the trunk of my car. "I'm unavailable this weekend. I have to go home. Christmas or some shit like that. My brother, Jasper, he made my mother guilt-trip me into coming home. They've got an announcement or something."
"But, we have that meeting first thing on Wednesday morning, Swan!" yelled my boss, Peter. "You're the only person who can get this shit done. It better fucking be done!"
"And it'll get done, Peter. I promise," I said, pinching my nose and breathing deeply. "I haven't taken any time off since you hired me, top of my class, from University of Chicago. I'm taking three days off, but I will be there for the meeting on Wednesday. Don't get your boxers in a twist, man."
"Fine, fine," Peter grumbled. "Don't die on me, Swan, driving out to the fucking boonies."
"Why would I do that, Peter? I'll see you in a couple of days. Merry Christmas, even though I know you're more like Scrooge than anyone else."
"Bah humbug," he grunted, laughing lowly.
"You, too, old man," I sang, ending the call and tossing it into the front seat of my Porsche. The sports car, flashy and ostentatious as it was, it was my gift to myself when I became senior vice president of acquisitions of the company I worked at, rising through the ranks within ten years, earning my MBA and being known in the industry as the Black Swan. I was beautiful, but ruthless in the board room. It was a title I held near and dear to my heart. I was proud of it.
I slid into the car and pulled out of my parking spot. I made my way through the maze of concrete and luxury vehicles, exiting the garage and wrinkling my nose. "Fuck, snow. "I hated snow. I asked Peter to transfer me to the office in Los Angeles, but he refused. I was his right-hand man. With tits and a love for all things Louis Vuitton.
As I made my way onto the highway, my cell phone rang through the speakers of my car, thanks to the Bluetooth connection. I looked at the caller ID, seeing it was my mother, Renee. "Hello, Mom."
"Are you on your way, Isabella?" she asked. "We haven't seen you in years, young lady. Far too long, in my opinion."
"Sorry, work," I shrugged. "But, yes, I'm on my way. I don't understand why."
"Isabella, you haven't met your brother's wife. You blew off his wedding! And they've got news! We've got news!" Renee screeched.
"I was in London for a business meeting," I growled back. "It was scheduled …"
"Your brother's wedding was scheduled far before that, Isabella," Renee sighed, knowing she was never going to win. I was anxious to get out of my hometown from the first moment my dad brought me to his company before he sold it, retiring at the age of forty-five. Nothing was keeping me back and I only wanted to go up in the world, not down. My mom's voice broke my reverie, "I get that you love your job. You're so much like your father that way, but your job won't keep you warm or love you when you get older."
"I don't need love," I shrugged, lying to myself. When in reality, I just turned off my emotions after being hurt in high school. "I have a million-dollar condo and people to take care of everything I need. Look, I'm coming despite everything that's going on at work, deadlines, meetings and end-of-the-year sales. It's snowing and I hate driving in the snow. That one accident from when I was … I need to pay attention, Mom. I'll be there in a couple of hours."
"Okay, baby girl," Renee said, her voice sad. "I love you. Be safe."
"Thanks," I answered, ending the call and gripping the steering wheel tightly. I flipped on the radio, turning to the AM station to hear the traffic report, along with the weather. As I feared, traffic was going to suck and the weather was going to suck worse. "Fuck. Me."
What I wouldn't give to be back in my condo, with my vibrator, a bottle of Conundrum wine and an erotic novel?
Traffic squeaked by, slow and the roads got progressively worse. It made me wish I'd rented an SUV to drive up to my parents' home near Lake Geneva. It was barely three in the afternoon and I'd only gotten to the city limits. I left an hour ago from the Near North. It would take hours for me to get to my parents' house. I bailed off the highway, topping off my gas tank and checking my email. I saw an email from my sometimes fuck-buddy, Jacob. He was asking if I wanted to meet up later for some naked fun-time.
Even dealing with his slobbery kisses and clumsy thrusts sounded more interesting than driving forever away in the snow, spending time with my parents, my brother and his new wife, and their news.
I responded to Jacob's email with a no, but left it open for the future.
Shrugging, I got back into my car and easing back on the highway. I'd have better luck on the main roads with this snow. I didn't want to get stuck in a ditch or something. Heaven forbid something happened to my baby.
"Bill, bill, bill," I grumbled, tossing my mail onto the desk in my office. "Publisher's Clearing House. Maybe, I won a million bucks? What do you think, Nicky?" I asked my cat, Nicodemus. He meowed, cocking his head adorably. Well, he wasn't my cat. He was a stray that hung out in my garage because it was warm and we fed him. The garage that I inherited from my dad, who he inherited it from his dad before that, Cullen Towing and Repair. It's been in the family for three generations, but with the way business was going, I'd be the killer of the family business. I opened up the envelope from Publisher's Clearing House, sighing heavily. "No dice … damn it."
I sat down heavily in my office. It was decorated for Christmas with twinkling lights and a small tree. Rosalie, one of my two employees, insisted that we make the place look festive. She brought the stuff from home and made it look like Rudolph took a shit in here. I had to admit, it was nice. It reminded me of home and the family dinners I'd had when I was a kid with my parents.
Now? It's just me.
My mom, she died of cancer when I was a junior in high school. It was brutal, fast and it took her before we even had a chance to come to grips with the diagnosis. My dad, he mortgaged the garage to pay for her treatment, but it didn't work, leaving us in debt up to our eyeballs. When she died, a part of him died, too. They were high-school sweethearts. My mom worked at the local high school as a secretary and my dad as a mechanic and tow-truck driver, like his dad. We didn't have much, but we were happy, until Mom died.
My dad kept it together until I graduated from trade school. I finished high school and then went through a two-year program to try and make something more out of the garage, taking business classes, classes on foreign vehicles and tutorials on installing some of the newest technology into cars. The moment I finished trade school, my dad, he swallowed a bullet, leaving me the garage and the mountain of debt that came with it. Thankfully, my best friend and other employee, Emmett McCarty came and helped me out in my grief and loss. Emmett was a mechanic like me. Rosalie, she ran the office, took care of billing and handled more the business end of the garage.
They both are a god-send, but if things don't turn around, I'd have to let them go. As it was, I was living in the small apartment behind the garage. I sold the house I grew up in to pay off some of my creditors.
It was like putting a band aid on a hemorrhaging artery.
I was almost thirty-two, an orphan and about to declare bankruptcy. And a partridge in a pear tree …
"Edward! Where you at?" bellowed Emmett.
"Office," I yelled out. Nicodemus hissed, jumping from his perch under the tree. He hated Emmett. Probably, because the guy sat on him more times than I could count. My burly best friend came inside, sitting down heavily, just missing Nicky's tail.
"Sorry, Slim," Emmett chuckled.
"And you wonder why he doesn't like you?" I snorted. "What's up?"
"Rosie wants you to come over for Christmas. You can't just stay here, listening to the radio, dude," Emmett said.
"Radio equals money, dude," I retorted. "No one else is open. I need the cash to pay the mortgage this month."
"I'm still pissed that the life insurance people wouldn't give you a lick of that money," Emmett grumbled. "You fucking deserve it."
"Yeah, well, when the applicant takes their own life, the policy is null and void," I shrugged, too jaded to rehash the same argument we'd had for almost nine years. "Look, I'm okay. Nicky and I will watch A Christmas Story, drink some winter ale and eat a turkey Hungry Man meal. Yum. Besides, I don't want to intrude on your Christmas with Rosalie. Aren't you going to …"
"Propose?" he asked, waggling his brows. "I have the ring. I used the money from my second job as a janitor at the high school to pay for it. You wanna see it?"
I nodded and he pulled out a black velvet box. Opening it up, I peered inside, seeing an elegant, but small engagement ring. It was a round-cut stone with some smaller stones going down the shoulders of the ring. "It's really pretty, Emmett. She's going to love it."
"You think she'll say yes?" he asked, picking up the box and stuffing it into his pocket.
"Rose loves you. Of course," I smiled.
"You deserve a love like that, too, Ed," Emmett shrugged. "Why don't you date?"
"One, no money," I snickered. "Two, I … I really liked a girl I knew from high school, but her brother … yeah, he threatened my balls if I sniffed around her again. Uptown girl, grungy boy. Never going to happen."
"So, you've been a monk ever since?" he asked, his ice-blue eyes wide.
"Fuck, no. I've had sex and I've had relationships, but until I get myself situated, I can't put myself first," I shrugged. "I appreciate the invite, Em. I love you like a brother, but I have to stay here. Nicodemus and I will just chill."
"More like freeze," he sighed, shuddering in the chilly office. He looked at me. "If I find an investor to help with this place, would you consider it? You're not that fucking proud, are you?"
"Of course not," I said. "I know I'm drowning in debt. I'm doing the best I can, but I need help. We're okay to stay afloat for at least another couple of months. Don't worry about it."
"It's not the garage I'm worried about. It's you, Ed," Emmett said. "I'll swing by tomorrow with some leftovers. Rosie's making ham, dressing and her famous candied yams."
"Thanks, Emmett. Give her a hug for me," I smiled. He nodded, leaving me in the office. Nicodemus hissed at him, swiping at him as he left. "Hey, he's the one who gives you the name-brand cat food, Nicky. Be nice." I got up from my desk and checked the radio, seeing if it was still functioning. I heard some truckers on there, along with some police chatter. With a heavy sigh, I walked to the break room and made myself dinner. As my frozen meal warmed up, I looked out the window as the snow piled up, covering the roads and buildings. "Merry fucking Christmas, Edward."
"Mom, this snow is awful," I grumbled. "I can barely see two feet in front of me! I'm not sure if I'm going to make it tonight. I may find a motel, spend the night there."
"Isabella, you have to be here," Mom groaned. "You promised."
"Yeah, I promised, but not when it's a snowpacalypse! I'm about an hour away, if the roads were clear. I should be there tonight, at some point. Don't wait up," I said. I ended the call and turned off the phone so I didn't have to listen to her bitching about my being late. I was having enough issues with the weather. I didn't need her guilt on top of everything else.
The roads were slick. The snow was actually welcomed since underneath, it was a sheet of ice. My Porsche was spinning out and I drove like a grandmother, not wanting to get into another car accident. I got honked at, sworn at and cut off. I didn't care. I just wanted to get where I needed to be in one fucking piece. I was an anxious mess. I wanted to take a Xanax, curl up under a blanket and sleep the rest of the holiday away.
I got off the highway, driving down a country road. My knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel so hard. The snow had picked up and it was a fucking blizzard, blowing across the road and making my car swerve uncontrollably. I was panicking, trying to stay calm, but I couldn't. When a huge truck cut me off, I spun out of control, twisting and turning and my car ending up in a ditch, about fifty feet from where I was cut off. I was facing the wrong way and my car was no longer running. I sobbed, terrified at what just happened. I pulled it together, dialing 911.
With it being Christmas, it would take time for someone to get out there, but they said they'd try to get a tow truck out to me. I thanked them and said I'd be waiting inside my car. An hour passed and then two. My car was almost completely covered by snow. I pushed my way out, wrapping myself in my fur coat and trying to see the tow truck. The snow was still bad. I was freezing and my car was almost fucking buried. I was getting ready to call 911 again when I saw the red and yellow lights of the tow truck. I waved my hands maniacally. I was so cold and I just wanted to go home. The truck pulled in front of my car. I recognized it immediately. It was the same truck that had helped me when I'd had my car accident in high school. I expected the same man, older and kind, to step out.
Instead, a blast from the past walked toward me. His eyes still as green as emeralds and his hair as bronze as a new penny.
"Stranded motorist, female, on Rt. 20, five miles off the interstate. Need a tow truck to respond," said the bored voice over the radio. I sat up, causing Nicodemus to shriek in terror as I stumbled over to the radio.
"This is Cullen Towing, will respond to motorist. Name?" I asked the dispatcher.
"Some bird or something. Driver is in a bright red Porsche," the dispatcher snorted humorlessly. "Who's driving in this weather in a Porsche? ETA?"
"As soon as I can," I answered. "Um, an hour?"
"Understood, Cullen Towing. Over and out."
I threw on my winter coveralls, tossing my heavy-duty gear into the cab of the truck. I responded, again, that I was heading out to the stranded motorist. However, an hour was not the appropriate time. The roads were nearly impassable. My truck was heavy duty, able to move through the drifts, but it was treacherous, scary and it made me nervous. I was comfortable driving in this shit, but this was bad. Really, really bad.
Almost two and half hours since I received the call, I saw a huddled figure on the side of the road. Her car was completely covered with snow and she was … wearing heels?
"It's a god damned blizzard and you're wearing heels," I groaned, pulling in front of her. I tugged on my hat and gloves, easing out of the truck. I walked over to her, seeing long brunette hair and pale skin, pink from standing outside in the cold. "Edward Cullen from Cullen Towing. Do you need assistance, ma'am?"
She was bundled in her fur coat, but her eyes were wide. "Edward?" she whispered.
"Yeah," I said.
She stepped closer to me and I could smell her expensive perfume, blowing in the harsh wind of the snow storm. When she made her way into the light of my headlights, I recognized her immediately. The stranded motorist was Isabella Swan, the girl who captured my attention in high school, the girl I took to prom. She was far more beautiful now, with mature, sophisticated looks and trim figure. "Oh, my goodness, Edward," she breathed, throwing her arms around me. We're hugging friends? "I haven't seen you since … oh, shit, since prom!" She pressed her hand to her chest. "It's Bella!"
"Wow," I chuckled anxiously. "Long time, Bella. You heading home? Visiting your family? Your brother?"
"Yeah," she said, stepping back and shivering, looking woefully at her car. "I got cut off and spun out. Can you help?"
"Let me take a look," I said. I handed her the keys. "You're cold and not dressed for the weather. Go, sit inside the cab of the truck." She nodded, teetering back to the tow truck. I brushed some of the snow away and it was piled high on her car. Looking underneath, I saw damage to her under carriage. However, with the winds and snow, it would be damn near impossible to pull it out now. Sighing, I walked back to the truck and got into the driver's seat, shivering.
"What's the news?" she asked, her voice deep and raspy, but very sexy.
"I can't get it out today. It's too dark, too windy and too snowy," I answered. "Do you have anything in there that you need? A bag? Cell phone?"
"My cell phone died. No battery," she said, holding a high-end smart phone. "And my bag is in the back, buried under that shit." She scowled adorably at the snow bank that was her car. "I hate snow. I really fucking hate snow."
"I don't blame you," I chuckled. "Give me your keys. I'll try to get the bag out of the car. Then, I'll drive you to your parents' house. I'll leave a GPS tracker on the car so I can find it tomorrow."
"Do you have to drive me to my parents' house?" she grumbled, handing me a set of keys.
"Don't you want to go home?" I asked.
"No, not now," she sighed, leaning back and closing her eyes. Despite her obvious beauty, I saw that she was exhausted, drawn. "My mom … ugh, my family …"
"At least, you have a family," I grumbled. I opened the door and Bella captured my sleeve. "What?"
"I'm sorry, Edward," she whispered. "I know that you're alone and here I am, bitching about my parents." Her eyes trailed down and she stared a tear in the seat. "I … I just can't handle being around them. The scrutiny from my dad, the judgment from my mom and my brother? He's a sanctimonious prick."
"You won't get an argument for me about Jasper," I snorted. "You can stay with me. I don't have much. I live behind the garage, but I have heat and a warm bed. I'll take you to your parents' tomorrow. So, bag, and cell phone charger?"
"Yeah," she blushed. "The bag is in the back, but don't stress about that. There's nothing I really need in there but pajamas. But, my charger is in the front, plugged into the front dash." She gave me a sweet smile, looking like the girl I went to prom with. "Thank you, Edward."
I nodded, hopping out of the car and grabbing a GPS tracker. I placed it inside the car and turned it on. I swiped the charger and tried to unbury the back of the car, but the winds were brutal. I'd just Bella something to wear of mine. It would be swimming on her, but it was warm and clean. Locking the car, I walked back to the tow truck. I hopped in, ready to tell her that her bag was buried, along with her car, but she was asleep, curled up against the raggedy seat. I brushed her hair back from her face, smirking crookedly and remembering the sweet girl who'd said yes when I asked her to prom and the magical evening that followed. Sighing, I picked up the radio. "Be advised dispatch, Cullen Towing has retrieved the motorist, but the vehicle is still along Route 20. Will pick it up tomorrow, when the weather clears," I said.
"Understood, Cullen," replied the dispatcher. "Drive safe and Merry Christmas."
"You, too," I answered, blinking over to Bella. She moved over and leaned her cheek on my bicep and snuggling closer.
Talk about a blast from the past …
A/N: So, here's the first chapter of my Christmas short, Mechanics and Mistletoe. We've heard from both Bella and Edward and there's history there. You'll find out more about their prom night, her accident and such. Plus, we'll have good times, too. This story will be about five chapters long. They're planned out and I like how it will turn out. First chapter will post on next Monday, with the final chapter posting on Christmas.
I hope you enjoy my Christmas gift to you!