Ed had been coming to see Lynn and Bud in Bisbee at Christmas for the past ten years. The first and second times were brief- an exchange of gifts and a nice homemade Christmas dinner with his friends then back to a night spent in a hotel in town. On the third visit, everything changed.
“It's snowing,” said Lynn, as she cleared the plates from their dinner.
A look through the window confirmed Lynn's statement. Growing up in L.A., the number of times that Ed had seen snow could be counted on one hand. “I thought this was supposed to be the desert,”
“Oh, it is,” replied Bud. “But we still get a bit of the white stuff during the winter. Nothing major, though it does send the world around here to a complete halt. Normally we usually just batten down the hatches and snuggle under the covers a little bit longer in the mornings.”
Lynn and Bud exchanged a look.
“It might be best if you stayed here tonight. That car you drove up in isn't exactly made for travel in the snow,” Bud said.
“But it's still early and...” Ed began.
“And that bed in your hotel room is going to be pretty cold,” Lynn added.
“Well, I suppose if we keep the living room fire going, the sofa will be...”
Bud shook his head. “Exley, how'd you ever make Detective Lieutenant?”
“I don't understand.”
“We want you to stay. With us,” Lynn said, placing a hand on his arm.
Ed's eyes went wide and he looked from Lynn to Bud.
“Yeah,” Bud said. “If you want to. If not, you'll have to make do with a blanket and the couch.”
“Well, I suppose I should help you batten down those hatches.”
“What do you like for breakfast in the morning, Ed?” Lynn asked.
“Let's see how we're doing tomorrow. I might not want to get out of bed until well after lunch.”
Bud smiled. “That's fine with me.”
Ed could say that the snowstorm, that blanketed Bisbee with three inches of snow, delayed his travel for an additional three days and while that was partially true, it wasn't the whole truth.
In the years that followed, the visits that he made to Bisbee started earlier and went longer. Phone calls were made and letters exchanged throughout the year. For the month of November, Ed had a difficult time keeping his mind on work. In mid-December, he would arrive, receiving acknowledgment from the townspeople who'd he had come to know over the years. By late January, he'd be on his way back to Los Angeles, having burned through a bulk of the vacation time he was owed.
They always asked him to stay, to not go back. One day, when the call to be a cop was not so strong, he'd take them up on it.