Peppermint Winter – Part 4

Merry Christmas! Welcome to Part 4 of Peppermint Winter, my Owl City fanfiction. Arden and Ben’s Christmas Day is starting, and Ben is trying to find a last minute present for Arden (maybe you can relate! 🙂 ). Read on to find out what he gets her!

7:00am. Owl City sang out, “You would not believe your eyes if ten million fireflies lit up the world as I fell asleep.” I groaned and slowly opened my eyes, trying to figure out what was going on. I turned over and saw my phone light up and heard it vibrating. Finally realizing it was a call, I snatched at it, slid the green icon across the screen, and managed to hit the speaker button. I put the phone on the sheets beside me and muttered, “Hello?”

“MEROIRSGYB CHRISINMGOAS!” the voice at the other end screamed.

I winced at the sudden, sharp sound. Hmm. Must be an alien life form trying to make first contact. My still sleeping brain hadn’t beamed down to earth after the Star Trek episodes I’d watched last night. “What?” I attempted to communicate back.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS!” the alien yelled again. I realized it wasn’t an alien. It was actually Arden. Of course, it was very possible that she was an alien surgically altered to look human. “It’s you, Arden.”

“Did you open your presents yet, Ben?” questioned an excited Arden at the top of her lungs.

“Not exactly. I was sleeping,” I muttered, shaking my headphone cord free from my arm. Guess I fell asleep during that third episode. 

“Sleeping?!?!? On the most magical day of the YEAR? How could you?” came the screech.

I winced again as my ear rang. “Didn’t go to bed until almost 3am,” I sighed. “Couldn’t fall asleep.”

“Oh. I’ve been up since 3am. You should have called me!” she giggled.

“Should have,” I half-heartedly agreed.

“Are you going to open presents now?” she demanded.

“Actually, I’ll wait for my parents to get up first. They probably wouldn’t appreciate being woken up at 7:00am.”

“I want to give you my present!” I could almost hear her ear to ear grin over the phone.

“Your present?”

“Uh-huh. I made you something.”

“That’s … nice.” I now remembered our conversation last night at the park. Arden had a Christmas present for me. I didn’t have anything for her.

“Can I give it to you now?” she begged.

“Yeah … I guess. Do you want to come over … or should I come over to your house?”

“Come over to my house. My family’s already up, and we’ve opened presents. Besides, you can try some of our piparkökur. Mom’s making some for after lunch. I’m sure she won’t mind if we eat a few.”

“Uhhh … sure. I’ll be over in a couple minutes.” What did she say they were eating? Pippinsomething? I tossed on a shirt and jeans and grabbed my snow boots. What to get Arden, what to get Arden? I thought, trying to think up possibilities. Then I remembered the extra boxes of chocolate-filled mugs from our candy store in my dad’s office. Perfect! I dashed inside, grabbed a reindeer one out of a box, and paused by the kitchen counter to scribble down a note for my parents, promising I’d be back soon. I jogged next door to Arden’s.

Arden flung open the door, grinning. “Merry Christmas, Ben!”

“Merry Christmas,” I repeated her greeting. I handed her the reindeer mug.

Arden beamed. “OOOh, candy from your store, Ben! I love your chocolates. They are definitely the best around! Thanks so much!”

“Is that your friend, Arden?” asked a women from the kitchen.

“Yeah, mom. This is Benjamin Sweet.”

I nodded, “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Hart.”

“We’ve heard a lot about you.” Her voice was slightly accented, which was kinda of cool. I always liked accents.

“Arden, remember …” her mom motioned to my coat.

“Oh. Right. May I take your coat?”

I smiled slightly, and unzipped it.

She tossed it on the chair, and handed me a plate of something. “You have to try one. There’re amazing. They’re called piparkökur – Icelandic pepper cookies.”

They looked sort of like gingersnaps. I took a little nibble. Then a bite. They tasted a lot like gingersnaps. “These are really good,” I told Arden.

“And you have to try our eggnog!” Arden insisted, snatching at the glass bottle and a mug halfway across the counter. Her mom pushed it closer, and I breathed a sigh of relief at the averted disaster. “We don’t put any alcohol in it, but we do use a secret ingredient.” Arden lowered her voice at the word secret. “I love it. I think it’s like sipping on moonlight!” she announced, pouring some into a mug for me.

I took a drink and said, “It’s good.”

“Like moonlight, right?” giggled Arden.

I looked at the mug in my hand, and then to Arden. Moonlight? I really wasn’t sure what moonlight tasted like, but maybe Arden was right. Perhaps the light of the moon tasted like eggnog.

Arden grabbed my hand and dragged me over to her family’s Christmas tree. I didn’t even get to finish my moonlight eggnog or my pippin cookie.

She reached under the tree and handed me something. “Merry Christmas!”

I started pulling the bow that was tied on top.  The gift was wrapped Arden style, in an interesting patchwork of candy cane striped paper and tape. I slowly unwrapped it and pulled out a scarf. This was no ordinary scarf. It was half neon yellow and neon green striped on one end, black and white checks on the other with a strange blue-green color in the middle. And the shape. The scarf sort of “waved” down then up then down again, in an uneven pattern. I glanced from the thing in my hands to Arden’s expectant face and back down to the thing.

“Do ya like it? I made it myself!”

I opened my mouth to say something then looked at her again. Maybe the scarf wasn’t so bad. She obviously put a lot of time and work into it. “It’s wonderful, Arden. It really is.” I forced a smile.

“I was trying to create a winter scene. As you can see that really didn’t work out. But I thought it still looked cool enough to give to you!”

“Thanks, Arden,” I smiled at her. I started feeling  guilty for the gift I had given to her. She had really tried to make me something special, and I’d taken a whole five seconds to choose a mug. I took the scarf and wrapped in around my neck. “Look, it fits perfectly. It’s already keeping me warm”

Arden looked pleased. We stood in silence for a moment before I felt my phone vibrate. I dug it out.

Hi bro where u @

It was my brother. I winced. I couldn’t stand text speak. Why people couldn’t take an extra moment to use correct punctuation and spelling was beyond me. I texted back.

I’m over at Arden’s. I left a note.

The phone vibrated again.

K found it mom wants u home now

I locked my phone. “I have to go, Arden. My mom wants me home.”

She sighed, “All right, Ben. Maybe we can talk later!”

I nodded, as she walked me out. “Bye, Ben!”

Thanks for reading! The final part (the one with all the socks) will be up next week! 😀

In case you wanted to have a true Arden and Ben Christmas, here’s the recipe for Arden’s piparkökur cookies. Note: I’ve never made these, so I can’t tell you how good they are. So proceed at your own risk! 😉

~ Kayla


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