This month I'm posting a series of holiday vignettes, featuring characters from my books. Christmas morsels--bite-size scenes of the season. First up are Joe and Errol from Midwinter Night's Dream...
Christmas Morsel #1
Joe and Errol from Midwinter Night’s Dream
“What are you doing?” Errol’s voice came from the kitchen doorway, breaking into the instrumental version of Oh Christmas Tree drifting from the speakers.
What does a guy usually do in the kitchen? Er, conventionally, that is. Joe grinned and ran the rolling pin over the dough. The kitchen was full of the fragrance of flour and sugar and butter, and the warm metal scent of cooling baking sheets. “I’m cooking.”
“Mmm.” Errol sauntered up to him. “It doesn’t smell like five-alarm chili in here.”
Joe huffed a laugh. That was one of his signature meals at the firehouse: hot, hearty, and filling. “I have a bigger repertoire than chili and sub sandwiches. I’m making Christmas cookies.”
“I didn’t know you could bake.”
“I haven’t for a while” Joe rolled the pin over the creamy sheet of dough. “My mom used to make these for the holidays when I was a kid.”
“Aw…” Errol wrapped his arms around him from behind, a warm solid weight against Joe’s back. “Are they for Santa?”
“They’re for us.” Joe paused. “Have you been a good boy this year?”
Errol laughed. “I’ve been very, very good. Or very, very bad, depending on how you look at it.”
True. Keeping his floury hands to himself, Joe turned and kissed him on the nose. “I believe you’re worthy of these extraordinary cookies. You want to help?”
Errol moved to the sink and washed his hands while Joe set aside the rolling pin and shuffled through the cutters. Growing up as Errol had, he might not have had a chance to do something like make traditional cookies. And it would be Joe’s pleasure to change that.
“Okay. What do I do?” Errol surveyed the counter and the assorted tin shapes.
“Choose whatever you like, and then we’ll cut the dough.”
Errol selected a tin star and pressed it into the dough. Joe jiggled the star onto a spatula and eased it onto the baking sheet. “Keep going.”
After cutting a couple more stars, Errol picked out a Christmas tree and cut the rest of the sheet. Joe transferred the cookies onto the baking sheet.
While Errol watched, he broke off a piece of the leftover dough and popped it into his mouth. “Hey, that’s good.”
“It has raw eggs. Not good to eat uncooked dough.” That was what being a paramedic did to you—instilled worries about things like raw eggs. Which was kind of ridiculous considering Errol had survived hypothermia and frostbite last year.
“Raw eggs, huh?” Errol’s blue eyes were full of humor as he bit into another piece of dough. “But it’s delicious.”
“I’m serious.” Joe wiped his hands on a towel.
“Me too. It’s really good.” Errol grabbed Joe by the front of his apron and kissed him full on the mouth. Errol tasted of sugar cookies and coffee and himself. In other words, addictive.
Joe gave in to the kiss and the risk of the raw egg. The cookies could wait.