"Just deal with it!" Quade yelled, burying his face in his hands. He heard a shuffling noise before Hurricane Carol hit the room.
"What the heck are you getting paid for again? Because I seem to recall your paycheque being a hell of a lot more than mine."
"Drop it, Carol. Just type up an email cancelling the damn Christmas Party and send it out."
"Well, Merry Christmas to you too, Mr. Scrooge."
Quade glanced up from his hands to stare at the pain in his ass. At five-feet two-inches, Carol was worse than any haemorrhoid on the planet. "I'm busy trying to get the roads cleared in time for Christmas."
Carol got that look on her face that Quade hated. "Where's your shovel? I don't see any shovel. If you don't have a shovel, then you aren't doing shit about snow removal. Which means, Mr. Scrooge, that you have time to send out a damn email!"
Quade threw up his hands and shook his head. "Seriously. I know you enjoy this witty banter of yours, but I'm really not in the mood to step into the ring with you. At least not right now. I'll pencil this discussion in for next Tuesday. How does that sound?"
Carol crossed her arms and slumped into the chair in front of Quade's desk. "Kai still hasn't returned your call, has he?"
Despite being his nemesis, Carol was also his best friend. "Yes. As a matter of fact, Kai called a few hours ago. He just finished competing for the season and wanted me to join him in Oahu for the holidays. But I can't, because Mother Nature decided to fuck with me."
"Bummer," Carol echoed Quade's thoughts.
"Yeah. So forgive me if I'm not in the best of moods."
With a resigned sigh, Carol stood. "So tell me what I should say in this very important email."
Quade rolled his eyes and sat back in his chair. "I don't know. Due to the fact that it's colder than a witch's tit in a brass brazier, that the roads are piled with more snow than we've seen in a half-century, the annual Christmas in the Park and Party will be cancelled."
Carol pursed her lips in disapproval. "I think I can come up with something a little more tactful than that."
"See? You didn't need my help after all."
Without another word, Carol turned and strode from his office, slamming the door on her way out. "Good riddance," Quade fumed.
No sooner had he wiped the episode with his secretary from his mind, than the phone rang. "Crap. What now?" Quade reached across his desk and picked up the handset. "Quade," he answered.
"Hey," Sheriff Blackfeather replied. "I was wondering if you'd take a short ride with me."
"Is this a date?" Quade quipped. "Because I'm not sure if I'm up to defending my life against those two hoodlums you call partners."
"Not in the mood," Ryan Blackfeather admonished.
"Fine. So tell me why we're going for a ride?"
"I need your superb math skills to help me figure out the salt situation at the City Barn."
"Sure, flattery works every time. Give me time to jump into my Michelin Man suit, and I'll meet you out front." Quade hung up and dug his snowsuit out of the small closet in his office. After taking off his house slippers, he climbed into the puffy white suit.
"I'm heading to the City Barn with Ryan," he told Carol as he exited his office. He went to grab his boots and stopped. "Um, did a burglar break in, or have you done something with my boots?"
Carol glanced at him over the top of her reading glasses. "What? You can't wear your slippers?"
"Hey. Don't knock the slippers. Now, where are my boots?"
Carol pointed across the room to the heating vent. "Thought maybe dry footwear would put you in a better mood."
Quade gave his friend a grunt. "Sorry to disappoint. Unless the sun came out, the temperature rose to eighty-five and palm trees sprouted up through the ground, I'm gonna be grouchy."
He used the chair in front of Carol's desk to sit and lace up his boots. He knew he was being a royal ass, but his heart felt like it was breaking. For the first time in years he had someone who actually wanted to spend the holidays with him, but his duty as mayor wouldn't let him enjoy it.