Winter's Day

White snowflakes fall gently from the dark azure sky, piling up in troughs in the streets and blanketing the land in a carpet of snow. The cool air whisks through the streets, leaving trails of cold in its wake. The brittle branches of trees quiver gently in the cadence of winter dance.

John Dickinson looks up from his book and into the white Philadelphia streets. Oh how he adores the winters here in Philadelphia, it is the perfect time of year to relax at home and not attend another one of those unbearable Congressional meetings. Yes, in the warmth of his room, under a toasty blanket with his feet propped up on the stool and a steaming cup of cocoa beside him. Snowflakes whirling in the air and the children's laughter as they lob snowballs at each other.

He puts down his book and sips his cocoa. Hmm. Sweet, yet bitter at the same time. The warm liquid smoothly cascades down his throat and settles into his stomach, the hot aftermath of it shooting to his brain. He sighs contently. Oh how he loves cocoa and anything having to do with chocolate. It makes him so content and warm and oh so lazy to move from under his heavy blanket.

Dickinson closes his eyes and settles back into the plushy armchair, savoring the brief moment of peace and hot cocoa. His mind drifts off to the harmonious beat of the grandfather clock: tick, tock, tick, tock. The musty smell of mint and wood and cocoa beans intoxicates his senses, slowing down his brain and his ability to move. The gentle crackling of the fire… the muffled blowing of the wind outside his window…

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock.

Minutes pass by slowly like thick molasses through a strainer. His fingers have gotten numb from his position, but he does not wish to move anywhere else. He is half-asleep mow, and steadily losing consciousness…

"John! John!"

Dickinson presses his hands over his ears. Why is it that he is hearing that voice? He must have daydreamed or something…

"John! It's me, James!"

Through half-closed eyes, Dickinson sighs, exasperated. "I am at the moment preoccupied right now, James! Kindly go away!"

"But it's important!"

"Can't it wait?"

"Ermmm… No!"

Cursing hotly under his breath, Dickinson forces his feet off the stool and into the cold wooden floors. He trudges off from his warm, comfortable room to open the door for the red James Wilson huddling in his winter wear, the snow whirling behind him.

"Good Lord, James! What is it that has to be so important?" Dickinson shouts angrily.

James's light blue eyes widen as they take in the sight of Dickinson's rumpled hair and the fact that he is not wearing his beloved green frock coat. And possibly the fact that he has cocoa stains on his upper lip.

"Just say it, James! What can be so bloody important that you have to drag off my chair?"

"Err…" The judge tries hard to hide his chuckle at Dickinson's sleepy figure. He'd always known John to be a strong, formal man, not someone who just looked as if they've awoken from a stupor. "Oh yes! You asked of me to tell you the weather from yesterday. It's snowing all day today!"

Dickinson's fingers twitch as he desperately holds the urge to strangle Wilson. He was forced out of his chair for a weather report any idiot could have known! Why he oughta…

"That's nice," John grumbles, trying to keep his voice steady and down. "Now please excuse me!" He slams his door shut, but Wilson's hand shoots down and holds the door back.

"Wait! I forgot to tell you that the Congressional meeting is tomorrow!"

"I know!" Dickinson pushes on the door harder, but to his great surprise James possesses much more strength than he! It… it is utmost humiliating to be out bested by James Wilson!

"But I brought you chocolate cookies!"

John freezes, and without his holding the door, James pushes through and right into John, sending them both onto the floor.

"Oh!" If James's face had not already reddened from the chilly air outside, no one would have seen his face heating up further like a ripe tomato.

"Close the door! You're letting the cold air in!" Dickinson shoves Wilson off and closes the door. Facing back to the stunned judge, he lifts a fine, dark eyebrow. "What's wrong, James? Is there something on my face?"

"No-no!" the judge stammers. "Nothing at all!"

John only narrows his eyes. "So where are the cookies?"

James hastily holds out a large, round chocolate cookie from the basket he is holding. "I decided to bake some since I was hungry… but I ended up with too much! I've been giving out these to people… and I know that you like chocolate so I saved you one…"

Dickinson huffs. "What? Who told you that?" He crosses his arms, frowning to cover up his embarrassment. Sometimes Wilson can be too much of a handful… but deep down, John secretly respects the man because of his caring personality… even if he tries to hide it.

"Fine. If I must," John sighs, taking the cookie from Wilson. The chocolate cookie. "Can you please leave now? I have important matters to take care of."

James nods hastily and scampers out, his grey coattails streaming behind him as he rushes out into the snow. "Don't forget that Congress is tomorrow!" he calls behind his back.

John shuts the door once more. He runs a hand through his hair, sighing tiredly. That was by far, the longest 10 minutes of his life. He could have been asleep by now, but with all that interruption he is now wide awake.

Oh well. Dickinson munches on the cookie as he pulls on his green frock coat. Now he is bored, so he might just as well go over to James's house and talk over cookies and milk. The judge is a rather gifted cook. After that he might go over to annoy Adams just for the fun of it.

Because like it or not, winter time alone at home reminds John Dickinson of the lonely nights he once spent away from his wife. But with James Wilson and the others, he can make his winter times more memorable than ever before.

Behind him the fire crackles on, forgotten for the time being.