Disclaimer: I do not own the original characters from the Twilight Saga.
Author's Note: I'm sorry I've been fail on MOB updates as of late, but this little Holiday plot bunny has been dominating my creative process for the past week or two. I hope you like it. I'll be posting one a day between now and Christmas until we're caught up…and then I'll post more between Christmas and New Year's!
It was dark and snowing hard by the time I left after dropping off the kids with Jake and Nessie. I hated leaving them. This was the first time I'd ever been away from my kids for Christmas, but this was the lingering pains of divorce. Not like having my husband of eight years cheat on me with 'the soulmate he never thought he'd find' wasn't painful enough, no, then we get to deal with custody of our two kids over holidays and summers.
To complicate matters even more, he up and moved without preamble into the middle of BFE, also known as some obscure little town in the Colorado Rockies to be closer to his precious Nessie's family. Screw the fact that he has two kids under the age of six who depend on him and adore him…no Nessie's need for her parents to help her adjust after getting knocked up by my husband while we were still married most definitely trumped the needs of five year old Braxton and two year old Bailey. They were married less than a week after the divorce was finalized, Nessie waddling down the aisle at eight months pregnant, Braxton and Bailey completely ignored during the whole thing, only learning about it two weeks later when Jake called to check in and dumped it on them.
Three weeks later, Nessie gave birth to Bianca. This was the first time the kids would be spending any time with them after the move and the birth. Honestly, I was terrified of how this was all going to go down, which is why I had no intention of going all the way home this week, just to sit around all alone and wait for the time to pass for them to come home. Hell, no! If something went down, I was going to be a lot closer than a fifteen hour car ride. I had reservations for a little bed and breakfast in a picturesque little town about twenty minutes away called Everwood. The brochures looked precious with a beautiful annual winter festival to indulge in, as well as a lot of peace and quiet to allow me to write in peace.
I was a bestselling author with three making it to the NY Times bestseller list, but with the loss of my marriage and my sudden jump into single parenthood, so went my muse. I hadn't been able to sit down and write more than a thousand words since that fateful day last January. My editor had been very understanding, but my moratorium on meeting my contract mandate of two more novels was coming to an end. Not only that, I needed to get back into my groove in order to support me and my kids. With any luck, a week free of small distractions and the inspiration that can sometimes accompany loneliness would be just the ticket to open the door to another bestseller. I had a feeling though, that my 'voice' was going to be much darker than it had been before.
Lost in my thoughts as I twisted my way through the narrow, snow bank-lined roads, I didn't see the deer until a second too late. Black ice, breaks, and swerving to miss the massive buck all added up to the world blurring around me in black and white with green popping up every once in a while in the illumination of my headlights. When the spinning stopped, my car was nose first in the side of the snow bank, the engine sputtering out within less than a minute.
I cursed and beat the steering wheel a few times before letting my head fall back against the headrest and allowed the tears of frustration to fall. The cold was already beginning to seep through all the little cracks, chilling the cab of the vehicle. In a few minutes it would be freezing. I wiped at my face in annoyance before trying the ignition again. The car gave a few whirrs before wheezing into silence again.
My tooth drew blood as I bit hard into my lip, my anger channeled into the delicate flesh. This was just another tick on the checklist of my shitty year. Cheating husband, check. Death of my father due to heart attack, check. Flighty Mother moving to Spain with her rich new husband in the midst of my turmoil, check. Messy divorce, check. Jackass ex moving off with his pregnant slut and abandoning my kids, check. Manipulated into driving them here because I absolutely refused to put them on a plane alone to fly all the way to Colorado, check. Pathetic human now stranded on the side of the road to become a human popsicle, leaving my kids to play second fiddle to the little bastard their father had with his ho, check.
The guttural scream that escaped my chest made my ear drums vibrate painfully with its pitch. Just when I thought I couldn't get any lower something else would come in to make things worse. It was like the biggest cosmic joke of all time and this was the straw that broke the camel's back.
I didn't even notice the strobbing lights behind the car until after the loud knock came on my window as I sobbed behind the wheel. I jumped and turned to see the large bundle of down wrapped manhood shadowed against the side of my car. My hand trembled as I reached over to lower the electric window only to find the most handsome, kind looking green eyes gazing at me with worry from within the wrappings of wool and down. The twin scents of coffee and cinnamon wafted through the window making my mouth water as he spoke.
"Are you alright, Miss?"
I hiccupped, feeling like an even bigger fool that he had probably seen me acting like a lunatic before sucking in a ragged breath. "Y..yes. Just a really bad night. Mmmy car won't start."
He sighed, glancing toward the hood with a nod. "Yeah, this puppy isn't going anywhere till morning. Joe can have you out in a jiffy in the morning, but with this storm, there's no way he'll make it before then. Where you headed?"
I swallowed hard, feeling my eyes welling with more tears as I looked through the windshield. "My kids are with their Dad for the week in Pine Ridge. I elected to take a room at the B and B in Everwood for the week so I'm nearby. I was heading there when the storm hit."
He nodded knowingly as he glanced back and forth down the road while knocking his gloved hand on the roof of the car a few times. I watched as he furrowed his brow before squatting next to the door, resting his hands on the window sill.
"The storm's getting worse and we're still a good twenty miles from Everwood. I would push through and take you back myself, but I need to stay up there until my patrol shift is over." I glanced down to see the National Parks Ranger emblem on his jacket. I hadn't even realized I had trolled into a National Park area.
"How would you feel about grabbing your things and coming along with me? My post isn't too far away from here. You can warm up, get something to eat and hunker down for the night. I can call for Joe to tow your car into Everwood tomorrow and take you to the B&B on my way home since I live there myself. My parents actually run the B&B and I live in one of the guest cottages on the back of the property. Would that be okay with you, Ma'am?"
I chuckled when he called me Ma'am, which earned a confused expression. "Oh please don't call me Ma'am, Officer…" I glanced at his nametag before looking back up, "Cullen. You make me feel old. Please call me Bella, and your offer sounds far better than freezing to death out here all night."
He smiled, a hint of a blush hitting the tips of his cheeks. "Then please call me Edward. If you pop the trunk, I'll grab out your bags while you get bundled and lock up. We'll drop your keys off to Joe in the morning when we head into town, or have him drop by the ranger station to pick them up."
I nodded and thanked him profusely before rolling my window back up and gathering my belongings. A few minutes later, I was closed up in his toasty jeep, enjoying the yummy scent which now surrounded me. I forgot all about the smell for a few seconds when Edward put down his hood, revealing the total wow factor that was Officer Cullen. Oh my freaking Gahhhhhh! I had always thought Jacob Black was the best looking man I'd ever met in person, but Officer McHotstuff made Jake look like he should wear a bag over his head in shame. I don't know how long I was gawking, but I was finally pulled out of it when Edward reached into a box on the seat and handed over the most tempting looking Cinnamon roll I'd ever seen, smothered in smooth white icing.
"Would you like a CinEsme Roll? My mom makes them from scratch for the guests every morning and evening and they are the pride of the county."
I reached for it, humming as my eyes rolled in the back of my head the first moment the confection hit my lips. It was like a hometown Christmas all rolled up in one perfect little bundle of breading and sugar. "This is the best thing I've ever tasted," I finally mumbled through a full mouth.
Hotty Ranger Edward just chuckled with a nod before pulling carefully back out onto the roadway. We stopped one more time to check on a man changing a flat tire on a huge 4x4 pickup before finally pulling in front of a small log shack, welcomingly lit from within.
I dreaded going out in the cold as I stared at the small cabin before me. I slowly ate the last few bites, trying to forge my courage to brave the winter winds when suddenly I was surprised by my door opening for me and a large, strong looking hand reaching out to offer assistance. I just stared as if it were some alien tentacle, so shocked by the actual presentation of such a gentlemanly offer, which was so rare in my world, I had never actually seen it in practice.
I glanced at Edward to see him watching me warily again before I finally reached forward to take his hand. Even though there were layers of warm materials separating us, my heart seemed to lurch in reaction to the contact. Once I was on the ground, I blinked up at him.
"Uh, Thank you. I've never actually had a guy do that for me before. I…sorry."
He chuckled, pretending to tip an invisible hat as he shot me an "Awe shucks ma'am, my mama taught me to be a gentleman."
I chuckled before allowing him to escort me to the door. I sighed in relief when I stepped through the threshold to the warm, dry space. It was nothing fancy, but it was comfortable. Edward disappeared, returning shortly afterward with my bags before offering to let me dry off and change in the bathroom.
By the time I came out of the restroom, he had taken some blankets and made a bed for me on the couch. When I walked into the room wearing my ratty sweats and Arizona State University sweatshirt, he froze for a second, staring as if I just walked in looking like a bombshell or something. Within seconds, he seemed to shake it off, apologizing for not having anything better for me to sleep on. Little did he know, it was the most inviting bed I'd ever been presented. I'd never had anyone attend to me, even in such small ways. Mom was more the child than I was, Charlie wasn't the nurturing type, but he did his best, and from the beginning, I was always the one bending over backward to make Jake happy. It was so foreign and yet so nice to be taken care of for a change.
Edward gave me some water before I curled up on the couch. I must have passed out immediately. I vaguely remember him telling me he had to go out on a call before I succumbed to the comfort of sleep again. I didn't know anything else until his gentle hand shook my shoulder early the next morning.
I blinked slowly, trying to make myself realize the beautiful man with copper highlighted hair, sea glass green eyes, and beautifully sharp chin really had saved me from my stranded car the night before and was not just a really awesome dream. He chuckled before waving a cinnamon roll under my nose at which point my eyes popped open and an embarrassing moan escaped my chest.
I took the roll immediately and began to savor its sweetness. Even after sitting overnight, it was still heavenly. Once the roll was done, Edward introduced me to his colleague who was replacing him, a sweet looking younger guy named Seth, before letting me change and helping me load my bags into his Jeep.
As we drove slowly out of the drive through the deep snow, I glanced back at the cabin with a smile, thanking whoever was looking out for me above for sending me the angelic man to save me the night before. At least for now, my kids wouldn't be stuck living with their failure of a father for the foreseeable future.