Gabby and April, thank you for pre-reading, and Fran, thank you for editing. Any mistakes left are my own.
DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material are copyrighted to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.
My heart shattered in my chest, and I gasped for air as I stared at my cell phone through tear filled eyes. My stomach turned violently, and I thought I'd be sick, but not from the alcohol that I consumed last night.
What had I done?
Saturday 2:32 am
B: I love you. 3
B: There I said it. Alice would be proud that I finally told you.
B: Crap! I can't believe that I told you that I love you.
B: I do, though. You're perfect. Smart. Sweet. Sexy. You look like Adonis. You make my insides flutter and go gooey when you smile at me.
B: My Christmas wish is that you love me too. I'm tired of being your best friend, waiting for you to see that I'm better for you than any other girl.
B: Like slutty Tanya. What do you see in her? She's a mega bitch!
B: Love Bella. 3
E: Bella, we can't be friends anymore. I don't love you and never will. You're pathetic, and I always felt sorry for you. My heart belongs to Tanya. I plan on asking her to marry me this Christmas. That's my Christmas wish. It would be better for everyone involved if you didn't interfere and ruin the best thing that has ever happened to me. Have a good life.
I sent a drunken text and lost my best friend in the process. I wished I could take back everything I said. It was all true, but I needed him in my life, he had been my rock. I could even settle for being friends, even though I couldn't stand Tanya.
Edward Cullen was, or had been, my best friend; the one that I had foolishly fallen in love with. We had connected instantly on my first day at Forks High over two years ago. Everything about him was perfect—he was athletic, smart, musically talented, handsome and incredibly sweet. When my first boyfriend, Jared, became abusive because I wouldn't sleep with him—it was Edward who got me through it.
Sniffling I picked up my phone and called the only person I could think of.
"Hello?" Alice answered.
I opened my mouth to speak, but it went dry. Alice was Edward's twin sister. I couldn't talk to her about this.
I hung up, then tossed my phone away from me. I buried my head under my covers as it started to ring—it stopped only to begin again shortly after.
Moments later I got a text.
A: Why aren't you answering. Are you okay? Call me now, or I'll call the police to come check on you.
I wiped my tears, and with a sigh, I dialed her.
"Bella, thank God. You made me freak out for a moment there, you can't call and hang up like that then not answer. Did you butt dial me or something?" Alice chirped excitedly into the phone.
"I'm sorry, Alice. I'm fine." I couldn't hide the break in my voice.
"You don't sound fine. What's wrong? Do you want me to get Edward?" she said anxiously.
"No! Don't get Edward." The dam broke, and I started to cry
"Well, I will if you don't start talking. Are you hurt?" She sounded concerned.
"I did something completely stupid, and I can't take it back," I confessed.
"Okay, take a deep breath and tell me. I doubt it could be as bad as you think," she said calmly.
"I went to that party I told you about last night. I stupidly thought that drinking the punch would be safe. Come to find out they put grain alcohol in it." I paused before I got to the next part.
"Is that all. So you drank before you were twenty-one, that's hardly anything to get that upset over." She sounded relieved.
"No, Alice. It's what I did when I was drunk that I can never take back," I explained as a new flood of tears fell down my cheeks.
"Bella Swan, are you telling me you had a one night stand…it was consensual, right?" Alice gasped.
"No. It's much worse…I sent a text telling Edward that I loved him," I admitted.
"Wow…um…okay. Well…stop freaking out. Let me think for a minute... you know this could be a good thing." She tried to sound encouraging.
"I even bet years from now you'll be laughing about this. This could just be the kick start you two needed. I always thought you two would be perfect for one another." She laughed.
"Alice, he already texted me back." I winced. "Look, I'm sorry, I shouldn't be talking about this with you. That's why I hung up, he's your brother, and it's not right to put you in the middle."
"Bella, sweetie, calm down. Yes, he's my twin, but that doesn't mean I'll take his side if he's wrong. Of course, I'll have no problem telling you when you're wrong as well. What did he say?" she demanded.
I closed my eyes tight and couldn't answer.
"All right. I'll ask him. Let me see if he's out of the shower," Alice huffed.
"Alice, please don't…" I trailed off as she called his name.
"Edward…Tanya, what are you doing here?" Alice sounded surprised.
I hung up quickly before I could hear Tanya's response and turned off my phone. I buried myself under my blankets, praying that I'd wake up and all of this would be some horrible dream.
I tossed and turned for a while before I got up to grab some water and curl up on my couch to hopefully watch something and distract myself. After going through all the channels twice, I flicked the television off and decided to take a walk.
The icy cold wind whipped through my woolen pea coat and chilled me to the bone as I made my way across campus. If I wanted to survive a New England winter, I'd have to get a heavier coat. Alice convinced me to get this one, saying that I would look cute in it. However, neither of us factored in the weather practicality.
It was supposed to be the happiest time of the year; however, seeing Christmas decorations adorned everywhere only added to my gloom. The campus was already empty since exams ended yesterday. It looked as if I was spending the holidays by myself in New Hampshire.
This was my year for me to visit my mother. However, she called me excitedly the first week in December telling me that her new husband, Phil, bought them tickets for a cruise. She wanted to see if I minded going to my father's this year, and I could visit them for Spring break. She sounded so happy, I couldn't say no. Especially, after Phil was kind enough to help pay for college and an apartment, so I didn't have to live in the dorms.
When I called my dad, I didn't get a chance to tell him about my change of plans before he told me about a fishing trip he had planned with his friend, Billy. He would've changed his plans in a heartbeat, but since the man has never taken a vacation for himself, I couldn't ask him to give it up for me.
That's when Edward had heard about my plans to stay in New Hampshire, and he insisted that I join his family in Aspen for the holidays. I refused at first not wanting to intrude. But when I received a phone call from Esme, she insisted that I join them.
However, all those plans went down the drain. There was no way I was going to join them and watch Edward propose to Tanya.
I was frozen through by the time I made it back the apartment. But at least the tears had stopped for now. I grabbed a book and settled on the couch, wrapped up in a throw blanket.
I wiped the mirror with my towel so I could see my reflection. I braced my hands on the sink and leaned forward, staring at myself. I took a deep breath to practice what I wanted to say.
"You look beautiful tonight."
I shook my head. She would just roll her eyes and disagree.
"I don't want to be friends anymore."
No…just no. That would be taken the wrong way.
"Can we talk?"
"There comes a time—"
There comes a time? Sounds like something my grandfather would say.
"I love you!" I blurted out.
Come on, Cullen, you can do this.
Why was this so difficult? She was the easiest person I had ever talked to.
I straightened up and tried once more.
"Edward…Tanya, what are you doing here?" Alice shouted from the other room.
Tanya was here? Why? I grabbed my t-shirt and yanked it over my head.
"What's going on? Tanya, why are you here?" I opened the door.
She was sitting on my bed in this short, red velvet dress with white fur trim. Seeing her there made me want to burn my bedspread. Tanya had been a mistake I made senior year in high school. Thank God, I had the foresight not to fuck her. I found out quickly that Tanya was looser than a pocket full of change with a hole in it.
"I wanted to surprise you, but your sister ruined it." She glared at Alice.
Alice was staring at her phone in concern. She glanced up and shot Tanya a withering stare that would make a snowman melt on a cold winter's day.
"Shut up, Skankya. Edward, we need to talk. It's an emergency." Alice looked upset.
"You can't talk to me like that, Alice. Eddie, tell her to leave, we have some making up to do. I decided to forgive you for dumping me." She tossed her blonde curls over her shoulders and puffed out her chest until her breasts almost popped out of the dress.
"Tanya, get your whoring ass off my bed and out of my room—you're not welcome here. And I don't care if you forgive me because I don't forgive you. Your true colors make you a very ugly person that I could never love," I thundered.
"Don't be that way, Eddie. I already told our mothers you're proposing this Christmas. Think how disappointed they will be." Tanaya pouted.
"You delusional, psychotic bitch, can't you take a hint? My brother would never marry you even if you paid him—though I assume it's you who's used to being paid," Alice hissed.
"You're the bitch." Tanya chucked her cell phone across the room at Alice, who dodged in time, watching as it soundly hit the wall.
"I'm not delusional, it will happen. Then I'll make sure Eddie cuts you from his life like that pathetic Swan girl." Tanya sneered then turned to me. "Nothing less than three carats."
She stormed from the room and slammed the door behind her.
"Damn, she's gone completely crazy." I shook my head.
"Tell me about it." Alice rolled her eyes.
"What's the emergency?" I remembered that Alice had come in here upset.
"Oh shit!" Alice's eyes widened, and she tried to call someone on her phone. It wasn't like her to curse, so something had to be wrong. "Shit. She's still not answering."
She looked up at me with accusing eyes. "What did you say to her?"
"Say to who? Tanya? You were here for all of it." I became confused.
"Not the skank. Bella." Alice was getting impatient.
"The last thing I told Bella was that I would pick her up at the airport." I shrugged. "Let me guess, she figured out her tickets were first class and got mad at me for spending so much."
"No…nothing since, like last night?" Alice pressed, she looked pale.
"I haven't heard from her for two days. She had a big exam yesterday. Is something wrong? Is Bella okay?" I started to get worried.
"Yes, something is very wrong. Where's your phone?" Alice looked around the room, and her eyes landed on the phone on the floor.
"Oh my God, it was Tanya who sent Bella that text wasn't it," Alice hissed.
I looked at Alice still confused and went over to examine the phone that Tanya had left behind. Damn her! It was my phone that she threw. The screen was completely cracked and would have to be replaced. Alice's words suddenly made sense.
"What did she text to Bella?" I suddenly became furious.
"I'm not sure, but it has Bella very upset. She…" Alice trailed off and bit her lip.
"Alice, you need to tell me all that you know." I tried hard not to take my temper out on her.
She cringed then flopped down on my bed. "Bella sent you a drunk text last night."
"That's all?" I felt a wave of relief. "She's overreacting. If it makes her feel any better, I won't read it and will just delete it."
"But that's the thing. You responded already, and from what I understand, it was very hurtful. Bella isn't answering her phone, and I'm worried. " Alice looked upset.
"But I didn't…fuckin' Tanya. What did she do?" I growled, realizing that only moments before my phone was in that bitch's hand.
"Obviously, she was the one that responded," Alice huffed.
"What did Bella say? What did Tanya say for me?" I demanded.
Without waiting for an answer, I tried to turn on my screen. Luckily, it was frozen on the text screen for Bella. But the last stuff there was our conversation from a few days ago.
"She probably deleted it so you wouldn't know." Alice looked over my elbow to the screen.
"What is it that Bella said, please tell me?" I pleaded.
Alice glanced away and looked unsure. I realized that I was putting her in a difficult place. She sighed and closed her eyes for a moment.
"She admitted that she loved you," Alice said softly.
"She does?" I felt my heart swell in my chest, and I started to smile.
"Edward," Alice said sharply to get my attention then smacked my chest. "Before you get all happy about it, whatever Tanya texted her broke her heart."
"I'm going to kill that delusional bitch," I cursed. "Give me your phone, so I can call Bella."
"She's not answering—I told you that. And given her mood, I bet she's going to hide out in New Hampshire and avoid coming for Christmas." Alice looked defeated.
"Then what should I do?" I demanded.
I dragged myself off my couch when the buzzer sounded on the intercom, signaling that my Chinese food was here. I had ordered a bunch, so I didn't have to call on Christmas and look pathetic for not having anywhere else to go.
"Come on up." I hit the button to let the delivery person in and went to find my purse.
Seconds later, there was a knock on the door. I opened it, and Edward pushed by me, storming into the room. He dropped a bag by the couch and spun around. He looked furious, and I wondered if he traveled all this way just to further drive in how he was choosing Tanya over me.
"What are you doing just opening the door without asking who it is first? For all you know I could've been a rapist or a murderer," he snapped angrily.
"Edward? I thought you were the Chinese food delivery man." I stood with the door open, shocked to see him.
"And you were just going to let him up here, while you're alone? Do you know how dangerous that is? You should go down to meet him," Edward ranted.
"I…what are you doing here?" I blinked back some tears. I thought I had cried myself out by this point, but I guess not.
He opened his mouth when the buzzer went off again. Edward reached the intercom first.
"I'll be right down."
He left me standing there alone, feeling confused and upset. I hugged my arms to my body and waited for him to come back. Looking down at myself, I realized that I must look horrible—my clothes were wrinkled, and my hair was a mess—only proving to him I was pathetic.
He reappeared moments later with a large brown bag that he set on the counter. He opened it and started to remove cartons of food.
"Jeesh, how much food did you order? Are you expecting anyone?" he demanded.
"No, it's all for me. Now answer my question, why are you here? Why aren't you off with Tanya? If you're here just to yell at me, you can turn around and leave." My voice shook as I had all that I could handle.
His head whipped around and met my eyes. The anger immediately left his face, and he looked horrified and apologetic. He ran his hand through his hair and tugged on it, as he did when nervous.
"Fuck. Bella, I'm sorry. I'm working on very little sleep, and I've been going out of my mind, but that's not a good excuse; I shouldn't have yelled at you," he apologized.
"Why are you here?" I repeated.
"You're ignoring your phone, and I couldn't think of any other way to get hold of you." He took a few steps toward me, and I backed away.
He paused, and his posture slumped in defeat. But what did he expect? That I would welcome him after all that he said to me.
"I thought you already said everything you had to say. I got the message, I'll never bother you again, so don't worry," I whispered.
"Where is your phone? I have to see what she said." He held out his hand.
"What who said? Alice? I'm sure she's upset, I'll call her after Christmas. I just needed to—"
He shook his head, stopping me.
"I'm sorry, I'm not being clear. There's so much to explain, but I wasn't the one to write you back. It was Tanya. I didn't even get to read your texts, but I suspect she deleted them then broke my phone." He scowled.
"Maybe it's best you don't. I was drunk when I wrote them." I grimaced, feeling uneasy.
"Bella, please, I already know what you said, I just don't know how she responded," he pleaded.
With a heavy sigh, I retrieved my phone from the bedroom. I turned it on and handed it over after putting in my passcode. He stared harshly at the screen—rage filled his face, and for a moment I was worried that he might crush my phone in his hands.
"That bitch," he hissed.
He glanced up, and his eyes softened. He caught me off guard, by grabbing my hand and pulling me to the couch. I sat and hugged my knees to my chest. He sat on the opposite side and turned his body towards me.
"I am not, nor will I ever, date, let alone marry, Tanya. If I had to choose someone to toss into a volcano, it would be her, without a second thought. None of what she texted back to you is true," he said sincerely.
I felt a small glimmer of hope, but I was still confused. "How did she get your phone?"
He scowled and shook his head. "She had to have snuck into my room, while I was in the shower, and I was…uh…I didn't even know she was there until I heard Alice yelling for me. I found Tanya waiting on my bed, looking like a whore. She was all delusional, telling me how she forgave me and how she told our mothers I was going to propose. I didn't even know you texted or that Tanya had texted you back until Alice demanded to know what I said to you. That's when we put the pieces together. We tried to call you immediately, but neither of us could reach you. So I got on the first plane I could. I'm very sorry that she hurt you." He shifted closer to me and brushed his fingers against my cheek to wipe the tears away.
"It doesn't sound like it was your fault." I gave him a watery smile.
"Did you mean what you texted or was it just drunk rambling?" Edward cupped my face and looked curious.
I froze, and my eyes widened. I didn't want to answer him, for fear of more rejection. He studied my face for a moment before taking a deep breath.
"Another reason I didn't know Tanya was in my room was that I was preoccupied in the bathroom. I was staring at myself in the mirror, practicing what I wanted to say to you this Christmas. And I was struggling to get the words right, and I have to admit, I was nervous what your response would be." He took both my hands in his.
"What would make you so nervous to tell me?" I questioned.
He smiled timidly. "I feel like a big fool for not realizing what you meant to me before you left for Dartmouth. Once you were gone, I missed you like crazy. Texts and FaceTime weren't enough, I wanted more. I realized that dreaming of my best friend wasn't normal just because you were a beautiful, attractive girl. That's when I figured out that my feelings for you went beyond friendship. You're the one I want to tell all my thoughts and secrets to. You're the one that brightens my day with a smile. You're the one that has had my heart in the palm of her hands, without me even knowing it. What I'm trying to say is that I love you," he declared. The truth was evident in his eyes.
"I love you, too." I began to smile as my heart started to swell.
He leaned forward and kissed me. I felt a surge go through my body and every fiber of my being felt alive. His lips moved against mine smoothly and softly until we parted to breathe. His forehead rested against me, and his green eyes sparkled with excitement.
I blinked a few times. "What?"
I couldn't have possibly heard him right.
"Ahh…can you forget that." Edward pulled away, his face was completely red, and he nervously ran his hand through his hair. He glanced at me worriedly and then a sudden look of revelation lit up his face. "You know what, don't forget that."
He slid off the couch and knelt in front of me. "Marry me?" he said clearly.
"You can't be serious. You want to go from just being friends right to being husband and wife?" I questioned, feeling…
I didn't know what I was feeling. I should be saying no way—it's too soon. But the hopeless romantic in me was shouting, 'say yes'. I knew that I loved him, but what would everyone else think?
"I'm serious. Dating is the time to get to know someone, right? I've known you for a few years. You're already my best friend, and you know me better than anyone, including my twin. You're the last thing I think of at night and the first thing I think of when I wake. You're everything I'm looking for in a wife and mother of my children. I love you, Bella, marry me? I can see part of you wants to say yes." He brought my left hand to his lips, and watched me with hopeful eyes.
"You want children? Can I finish college first?" I still felt in a daze.
"Yes, of course. Does this mean you're saying yes?" He grinned.
I shook my head, I got to my feet and crossed the room. I looked out my window, and then turned and leaned against the ledge.
I felt overwhelmed.
Not too long ago I thought he hated me, and I was going to have to live without him in my life. I was completely crushed and had never felt such pain in my life. Now he was here, saying the truth was that he loved me and was promising me forever.
Edward was still kneeling in the same spot. He rose to his feet and crossed the room to me. "To be fair. I never sent that text."
I felt a wave of humiliation as I realized my inner monolog wasn't so inner.
"I know…I know. I'm sorry. But still, the feeling is still so fresh in my mind." I closed my eyes, wincing, berating myself for being so stupid. "I'm sorry."
I felt his fingers brush my cheek softly. "I can imagine what it felt like. I know what it felt like to fear that I came very close to losing you if I couldn't get a chance to explain. I wish I could turn back the hands of time, and stop Tanya; so that I could tell you at Christmas how I felt and see your face when I announced that I had been approved to transfer to Dartmouth."
"You're seriously moving here?" I opened my eyes.
"I am. I wanted to be with to you. How would you feel about a roommate?" he asked.
"It's a one bedroom."
"Not a problem if we're married." He grinned playfully.
"You do realize that would be just crazy, right?"
He chuckled. "It is, but I'm not saying you have to marry me tonight. We can have a long engagement if you wish. I already know you're the one so why beat around the bush."
"Well, if it's inevitable then there's no need for a long engagement," I reasoned, and couldn't hide my grin.
His smile grew impossibly bigger. "Then give me an answer, sweetheart. I want to hear you say it."
"Yes," I whispered softly.
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear that." Edward smirked impishly, holding his hand to his ear.
"I said, yes. I'll marry you, you nut," I said confidently then started to laugh.
He grabbed my waist and whirled me around the room before setting me on my feet and kissing me until I was dizzy. He leaned his forehead against mine, looking flushed and eyes bright.
"Did you just call me a nut?" he asked with a cute scowl, making me giggle.
"Not nice, Izzy." He tickled my side, making me laugh harder.
My stomach let out a loud growl, and I blushed brightly. He stepped away still smiling goofily.
"Come on, let's feed you then you should call Alice before she shows up next. Then we can celebrate." He went back to the counter where the food was waiting. "Why did you order so much if it was just you?"
"I planned on having it over the next few days since I figured joining you and your family was out of the question." I went to the cabinet to grab some plates.
"Well, you're joining us now. I already booked two new tickets since I saw you canceled the first one. We leave tomorrow from Manchester. I thought I saw a mall nearby, we can stop and get you a ring. In the meantime—" He grabbed the twist tie off the bag of condiments. He wrapped it around my left ring finger and then placed a kiss on the back of my hand. "There, much better."
"I don't need a ring," I refused.
"Sure you do. How else will all the other boys know that you're mine." He winked.
"I don't think the other boys are the problem—Tanya is."
He sighed and nodded. "I was even blunt with her, and she still wasn't getting it. So I apologize in advance. Please don't let her get to you."
"I'll try, maybe it's you who needs the ring. Or a big tattoo across your forehead," I teased, running my finger across the smooth skin above his eyes.
"We will figure out something," Edward promised, handing me an egg roll.
I glanced at our joined hands as the plane descended into Colorado. Bella's diamond ring sparkled in the light that shined through the window. She was buried into my side with her eyes closed, but I knew she wasn't asleep as she gripped my hand tightly when the wheels bounced on the runway before gliding smoothly toward the terminal.
"You can open your eyes now." I kissed her temple.
She peeked at me then opened her eyes wider. "Sorry, I hate that part."
"Next time, I'll make sure to distract you." I started to kiss her not so innocently as memories of last night filled my head. Making love to her was an out of this world experience.
"Edward, there are kids on this flight." She gently pushed me away.
I heard a giggle behind me and turned to see a cute little girl in pigtails watching us. Unfortunately, her mother didn't miss the intimate moment and was glaring at me.
"I'm sorry, I got carried away. We just got engaged last night, and I guess I'm still on the high," I apologized.
Her eyes softened, and she smiled. "Congratulations."
"Thank you," Bella responded.
The seatbelt light flipped off, and the pilot spoke over the intercom thanking everyone for flying. I grabbed my bag out of the overhead and offered my hand to Bella.
We walked hand in hand out of the terminal to the baggage claim to where Alice and her boyfriend, Jasper, were waiting for us.
"Bella," Alice squealed and came barreling towards us.
"I guess this means she's not mad." Bella laughed before she was nearly tackled.
"Alice, careful," I warned her, but I was ignored.
"I'm so happy that we are going to be sisters." Alice had enough energy that she bounced for them both.
"I don't think she can tell." Jasper snickered. "Hey, man, good to see you both. Congratulations for coming to your senses." He gave me a one arm hug.
"Gee, thanks." I chuckled. I grabbed Bella's suitcase off the belt, and Jasper offered to take it from me.
"I'm just glad that Tanya didn't destroy all your chances completely. Despite being a slut, I thought she was normal." Alice looked disgusted.
Ali linked her arm through Bella's and started heading for the exit, weaving in and out of people. Jasper and I had to walk fast to keep up despite our legs being longer.
"Alice wanted me to warn you while she has Bella distracted. Apparently, your mom invited the Denalis to join us," Jasper said lowly.
"Shit. Why would she do that without talking to me?" Now I was worried about the huge mess this will lead to on Christmas. I wanted this holiday to be a celebration of good memories and not be marred by Tanya.
"I don't know, man. Alice told her it was a bad idea and that you weren't with Tanya. But it went in one ear and out the other." Jasper shrugged.
"Just perfect," I grumbled.
"What's wrong?" Bella looked concerned, waiting by the car.
"Nothing to worry about, sweetheart." I forced a happy smile on my face.
Alice shot me a look and rolled her eyes—she clearly didn't agree with me. She stepped forward and handed me a new cell phone.
"I replaced your old one and had everything transferred over. Tanya is blocked. And I hope you know what you're doing," she hissed the last part quietly.
"I'll take care of it as soon as we get to the house," I promised.
Alice proceeded to distract Bella with plans of the wedding for the rest of the car drive. We decided to get married during spring break in Florida. Renée had a house on the beach that would be perfect for a small, casual wedding.
Before we knew it, we were at the rental house. I didn't get a chance to admire the view before I took a deep breath and followed the girls inside.
"Mom, we're back!" Alice hollered.
"I'm in the kitchen," she answered.
I placed our bags down and took Bella's hand in mine and gave it a squeeze. She looked up at me smiling, but she also looked puzzled.
"Why don't you go up to our room and get settled. I'll be right there." I kissed her cheek.
"Okay. Your parents won't care if we share a room?" she asked.
"They'll be fine with it. Honey, will you grab the bags?" Alice responded before me.
"Sure thing." Jasper took them for me and headed for the stairs.
"Okay, if you're sure." Bella hesitated before following them.
With another deep breath, I headed into the kitchen. My mother was rolling out dough for a pie on the counter.
"Hi, sweetie, how was your flight?" She looked up with a smile.
"It was good, not much turbulence." I took a seat across from her.
"You know it was sweet of you to go to New Hampshire to get Bella because she's afraid of flying, but you have to consider Tanya's feelings now. Bella can't come before her."
"Mom, we need to talk," I started.
"What is Tanya's favorite pie? I'd like to make it for her," she asked.
"I have no idea," I answered flatly.
"Edward, you should know these things about your future wife," she scolded.
"Well in that case. Bella's favorite pie is lemon meringue," I stated.
She stopped mid-roll and looked up. "What does Bella's favorite have to do with anything?"
"If you let me talk, I'll explain. I'm in love with Bella, not Tanya. I went to Dartmouth to tell her in person. I had planned on telling her this Christmas, but Tanya hijacked my phone and sent her a nasty text. I broke up with Tanya over a year ago for a good reason," I explained.
She blinked and then relief flooded her face. "Oh thank God. That girl is completely spoiled."
"Alice said she tried to tell you." I shook my head.
"I know, but Tanya said it was supposed to be a surprise, and I knew Alice hated her, so I didn't think she knew. So, you and Bella, I'm so happy for you, she's a lovely girl." She grinned then it faded quickly. "Oh, no…I invited the Denalis."
"So I've heard," I said dryly.
"Well, it's too late to cancel now; your father is picking them up at the airport as we speak. Call Emmett, and tell him to buy extra alcohol. We may need it."
"Is there anything I can do to help, Esme?" My girl walked into the kitchen.
"Bella, dear, Merry Christmas." Mom greeted her with a hug.
She immediately spotted the ring. "What is this?"
"I asked Bella to marry me, and she said yes." I beamed as Bella blushed.
"This is wonderful Christmas news. Welcome to the family, sweetheart." She gave her another hug. "Of course, you can help me. Could you start peeling the apples?"
Bella nodded with a big grin on her face as she walked around to the other side of the counter.
"I'll help too, grab me a peeler," I asked.
"I need you to give your cousin a call, please," Esme reminded me before taking a large sip of her wine.
"Right. I'll be back in a minute." I got up from my seat.
"Wine, dear?" I heard my mother offer as I left the room.
"No thanks, Esme, I don't drink," Bella declined politely.
Once Edward was out of the kitchen, Esme turned to me with a frown.
"Bella, I'm going to owe you a huge apology. I didn't know, and I invited Tanya and her family. I was trying to make the best of a bad situation, which ended being a better situation than I thought. But now it's going to be completely awkward, and I just know that spoiled brat is going to cause a scene" She took another sip of her wine.
"Tanya is coming?" I grimaced.
"Don't worry, dear. You're the one with the ring. She can't take that away from you." Esme patted my left hand.
"I can see her trying." I imagined her tackling me and trying to rip the ring off my finger.
"Then shove her into the fireplace." Esme snorted.
"What?" I asked, shocked to hear her suggest violence.
"No…no don't do that. It will make the whole house smell bad, and there would be too many witnesses." Esme giggled and waved her hand.
I fought back my laughter. "Um…Esme, I think you've had enough." I tried to take the bottle from her.
"Oh, no, I'm afraid I may need much more than this tonight," Esme declared, filling her glass to the brim.
"Esme…Kids…we're here," Carlisle called.
"Damn it, Emmett better hurry," Esme grumbled. She slung back the wine then put on a fake smile. "Let's get this over with."
Edward appeared in the kitchen with a nervous look and came over to me. "We don't have to go out there."
"If I do, you do." Esme pointed her finger at him, pouring herself another glass.
"It's okay, just protect me from her claws." I took a deep breath.
We walked hand in hand out to the living room where everyone else was waiting. Tanya was front and center of her family wearing a short red dress that looked like it belonged to a twelve-year-old, except that it was skimpy. She spotted us and her calm façade dropped, and if looks could kill, I would be six feet under.
"What is she doing here?" Tanya screeched with her blue eyes flashing.
"Tanya, you remember Bella … my fiancée." Edward lifted my hand for her to see.
"Isn't it great. I think they make the perfect couple. They're going to get married in the spring on a beach in Florida," Alice said cheerfully.
"Don't you ever shut up?" Tanya hissed at her.
"Tanya," Carmen, her mother, abashed. "What is going on? I'm confused." Carmen looked around, her eyes settling on me.
"You're not the only one." Her father, Eleazar, glanced at his daughter then Edward.
"I just found out myself that I've been lied to," Esme huffed and glared pointedly at Tanya.
"Oh, this is going to be good." Kate, Tanya's younger sister, started laughing.
"No one wants to hear from you, so shut your mouth." Tanya whirled on her sister.
Kate rolled her eyes. "Make me. I told ya it wouldn't work but would you listen to me? Noooo. You can't trick a guy like Edward into marrying you by announcing to everyone he's going to propose. Especially since he dumped your slutty ass for cheating on him."
"Katarina," Carmen scolded, looking helplessly at both her daughters.
"What? It's the truth." Kate shrugged her shoulders. "She even bought one of the cheapy, fake-looking engagement rings that they sell in department stores, on the tables."
I couldn't help the snort of laughter that escaped me and then slapped my hand over my mouth. Tanya shot me a nasty look. I could feel Edward's shaking from silently laughing next to me.
"No way!" Alice exclaimed.
"Way!" Kate chimed.
"All right, enough," Eleazar shouted above the noise. "Tanya, is all this true?"
"Of course not. They're lying, Daddy. Eddie, say something," she whined.
"Tanya, you owe Bella an apology for stealing my phone and texting her lies. You're lucky I don't plan on pressing charges," Edward said coldly.
He turned to her parents. "My apologizes, Eleazar and Carmen, that you had to be hit with this as soon as you walked through the door after traveling a long way. However, Tanya has been lying to you, as well as my parents. I know she told you that I was going to propose to her, but that was never going to happen."
"Tanya, why would you lie?" Eleazar looked disappointed.
"I'm not lying. I'm pregnant. Edward's the daddy." Tanya looked desperate. "She stole him from me."
"Can't steal what you don't have." Jasper snickered.
"Who are you?" Tanya snapped.
"Then we'll be getting a paternity test. I'm not about to believe a hussy. And be warned, if it's false we'll sue for…for…I'll think of something." Esme downed her glass of wine.
"Tanya Jane, that is enough. I happen to know that you're not since you asked your sister for a Tampon on the plane. I also happen to remember Bella from school. She's a very sweet girl." Carmen shook her head.
"Please, allow me to apologize on my daughter's behalf, Esme, Carlisle, I am completely embarrassed by her behavior. Bella and Edward, to you as well, I promise that she will no longer bother you." Carmen looked upset.
"We don't blame you, Mrs. Denali," I said softly.
"Bella is right. The fault only lies with Tanya." Edward wrapped his arm around my waist. "And for the record, Tanya and I were never 'together' that way."
"Under the circumstances, I think we should find somewhere else to stay for the night." Eleazar sighed.
"That may be for the best. I'll bring you to the lodge, perhaps they'll have some rooms open," Carlisle offered.
Thankfully, they left as quickly as they came, dragging a screaming Tanya with them. As soon as the door closed behind them, I relaxed.
"Well, that went better than I expected." I sighed in relief.
"I agree. I wasn't sure if her parents would believe us." Edward pulled me over to the couch.
"Car and Eleazar are good people, their daughter is the rotten one. The older slutty one, not the younger one, I like her, she was funny," Esme slurred.
"Ummm…okay, Mom. How about I get you some water or coffee." Alice giggled.
"You're such good children, all my kids are good. How did I get so lucky?" Esme smiled and patted Alice's cheek.
"Perhaps, I should go finish that pie for your mom," I suggested.
"Yeah, I think she's pretty toasted. I'll help," Edward agreed.
We went back into the kitchen and set to the task. We worked together like a well-oiled machine. Once the pie was in the oven, Edward pulled me into his arm, kissing my cheeks then my lips.
"I have a feeling this is going to be the best Christmas ever." He looked at me adoringly.
"It is definitely one that I won't forget." Thinking that this year had its highs and lows.
"I love you." He kissed me.
Five years later
My fingers hovered over the send button. After a moment of hesitation, I hit it then waited.
My phone rang with his tone moments later.
"Hello," I answered.
"What do two lines mean?" he asked.
"Oops, did I send that to you?" I teased.
"Bella, stop toying with me." He sounded impatient.
"I'm pregnant." I smiled.
"You're…sweatheart, this is amazing," He breathed happily. "How are you feeling?"
"I feel fine for the moment. If I figured it out right, it looks like we will be having a Christmas baby," I said shyly.
"Just another reason why that's my favorite time of year. When I get home, we're celebrating. I love you so much," he proclaimed.
"I love you, too."
Happy Holidays at this time. I don't have plans to continue.
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