Cody Schaefer loves the Christmas season and a benefit to working from home means that he gets to be surrounded by his decoration collections all the time. And as a bonus, he starts getting deliveries from a local café containing holiday treats flavored with gingerbread. The notes aren’t signed, but they clearly come from someone who knows him.
Out of all of Cody’s friends, Jason van Buren is the only one level-headed about the mysterious treats, and Cody begins talking to him daily. Cody enjoys their chats, and the two men grow closer. One Christmas Eve, no delivery appears. But Jason shows up on his doorstep, ready to back gingerbread cookies. It’s then Cody realizes just who is behind the deliveries. And perhaps, Cody will get Jason as his Christmas gift this year.
Jason: Do you need to know?
Cody: *squints* Do YOU know who it is?
Jason: heh. Not what I was asking.
I knew that. I didn’t know Jason well enough to know if he was being cagey on purpose. But I liked that he was making me think, that he was discussing this with me without putting his own spin on it. Maddie would have been waxing poetic about how it was a romantic gesture, and it was the sweetest thing she’d ever heard. Rick would have demanded I throw it out, and then probably try to insist he file a motion to get the records from the cafe released so he could then file a restraining order for whomever was stalking me with baked goods.
Jason, on the other hand, was just being rational and kind, asking me gently to examine my feelings about the whole thing. And when I did think about it, I realized he was right. Or rather, what he was implying was right.
Cody: No. I suppose not. I don’t need to know.
I thought about it a moment longer.
Cody: as long as it’s just baked good deliveries and not something scary!
Jason’s dots appeared, then disappeared before coming back again. Clearly he was reevaluating what to type. Eventually, the message came through.
Jason: Valid point. So enjoy the treats you have. How do the brownies look?
I sent the drooling face emoji and followed it quickly with a message.
Cody: So so so good. Rich and fudgy and swirled with goodness.
Jason: God, you’re so cute.
A burst of adrenaline made my heart pound. He probably didn’t mean those words like I wanted, but my insides warmed at the thought of him thinking I was cute. I’d found him insanely attractive since our first meeting. He had that whole tall, dark, and handsome thing going on. The first time I saw him, he’d come straight from work, and he was wearing a dark suit. He’d taken off his tie, undone the top couple of buttons of his white dress shirt, and I’d practically drooled. I knew he was bi, but I hadn’t ever heard of him dating a man -- he’d had one girlfriend for a short time -- in all the time we’d known each other. He was probably out of my league, but he was sure nice to look at. But he never looked at me with any sort of interest, so I let that attraction simmer down to the background.
But he thought I was cute.
Struck with an idea, I lifted my phone, turned on the camera app, and snapped a selfie while I took my first bite of brownie. I couldn’t help moaning as the flavors burst over my tongue, and since it sounded slightly obscene, I was glad I hadn’t opted for video. I savored my bite before examining the photo, decided it looked playful and a little cheeky, and sent it to Jason.
It took almost five minutes for him to respond.
Jason: Looks amazing. You look happy.
I was probably reading far too much into it. All he said was that I looked happy. But his words warmed me in a way I couldn’t explain. That I was, and that he saw it, pleased me and made me feel good.
Jason: Enjoy your treats Cody. You deserve them.