Contest entry for the Naughty or Nice Twilight Christmas Contest
Title: Merry Christmas Baby
Pairing: Edward & Bella
Word Count: 5,893
Summary: A closed-off boss or a warm-hearted boyfriend...which one will win when it comes to keeping Bella's heart.
Disclaimer: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright 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.
Merry Christmas Baby
"Good afternoon, you have reached Edward Cullen's office, CEO of Twilight Enterprises, how may I help you today," I answered the phone politely.
"Oh my God, you sound so professional," Alice gushed into the phone.
"That's because I'm working, Alice. What do you need, you know Mr. Cullen doesn't like social calls at work," I said calmly.
This wasn't the time to tell me about any hot Christmas sales or bug me about Christmas dinner that was in two weeks.
"Mr. Cullen…you mean my brother, Edward?" Alice scoffed.
"You know he prefers Mr. Cullen when he's working. All personal relationships are to remain out of the office." I tapped my pen on the pad in front of me.
"Pfft…I can't call my own brother Mr. Cullen. It's too weird," Alice complained. "Does he make Emmett and Jasper call him Mr. Cullen?"
At that moment, my boss decided to open his office door. His tall, lanky form towered above me as he glared down with his intense green eyes.
"That would be an affirmative, Mrs. Whitlock," I responded stiffly.
"Mrs. Whitlock, what the fudge, Bella, we've known each other since grade school. Oh…he's there isn't he? Put him on the phone this is ridiculous."
"That would be correct, ma' am. Hold on, one moment, please." I removed the phone from my ear and placed the receiver on my chest.
"Is that my sister?" Mr. Cullen asked abruptly. "Inform her that there are no social calls during the business day."
"Mrs. Whitlock wishes to speak with you, sir," I said politely.
He grimaced and shook his head. "I'm too busy. Inform her I'll speak to her after hours. I need you to find the files for the Cheney account. Then call and inform Mr. Whitlock directly that our meeting with Newton has been pushed up to tomorrow morning at seven sharp. Don't give his message to Ms. Stanely; I don't trust her to relay the information properly. Finally, call Mr. Cullen, and see why he finds it appropriate to take off work without notice during one of the busiest times of the year," he ordered.
"Yes, sir. Right away," I promised.
He turned and stopped abruptly in front of his door. "Ms. Swan, what is this?"
"That is a Christmas wreath, sir," I said cheekily.
He gave me a pointed look. "I know that, why is it on my door?"
"Your mother, sir. She decorated all the offices with your father's permission. Would you like me to take it down?"
Mr. Cullen huffed. "Leave it." He went into the office and closed the door.
"Mrs. Whitlock, I'm sorry, but he will have to talk to you later," I informed her formally, in case he was still listening.
There was a moment of silence on her end, and I thought she had hung up.
"Bella, why on earth do you let him talk to you like that? How can he treat you so coldly? Tell him to remove that candy cane from his bum."
I answered in a low voice. "He isn't that bad; he's just stressed and likes things done in a certain way. It doesn't help that Emmett called out without any notice."
"Emmett has the chickenpox, which is actually why I am calling." Alice sighed.
"How, isn't he too old for that?" I asked.
"Apparently not. And it's more dangerous as an adult, so he's practically in isolation. Jane kicked him out of the house, and he's staying with Mom and Dad. Amazingly enough, the twins didn't get it, which brings us to our problem. Emmett can't be Santa for the company Christmas party. Jasper can't do it either because whatever material they used for the white fur made him break out in a rash. What kid wants to sit on a Santa who's scratching like he caught fleas from Rudolf?" She snickered.
"I can see the dilemma. What can I do to help?" I asked.
"Any ideas of who we can get last minute? I suppose I can ask my dad…"
I swiveled my chair and stared at the closed door. "I bet I can get Ed…Mr. Cullen to do it?"
Alice snorted. "You have got to be kidding me."
"No, I'm not. Let me ask him," I insisted.
"Bella, if you convince my Grinch of a brother to be Santa, then…I'll buy your tickets to anywhere in the world for Christmas," Alice scoffed.
"Deal." I hung up before she could change her mind.
I found the appropriate file then grabbed a fresh cup of coffee and a few cookies I had baked at home. I knocked on the office door and waited for his blunt 'enter,' before going in. He was at his computer, hunched over the screen.
"Here is the file you wanted, and your afternoon coffee, sir." I placed them on the desk.
"Thank you, Ms. Swan that is all." He pounded on the keys, cursing under his breath.
"Allow me." I walked around to his side. A few taps later and I was able to pull up the information he was looking for.
I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he was admiring my chest as I was leaned over him. I brushed his arm as I straightened.
"Voila." I smiled.
His lips twitched slightly. "Thank you, again." He winced as he moved his neck.
I grinned as I slipped behind him and started to rub his shoulders. They tensed at first then began to relax.
"I found out that Em…Mr. Cullen has the chickenpox, which is why hasn't been in. Mrs. Whitlock's call was business related; she called because we need a new Santa for the company party." My hands slid over his shoulders and chest as I massaged him.
"I hardly see how that is business related," Mr. Cullen grumbled then stifled a moan when I hit a knot.
"Of course it is. Our holiday party is for the workers and their families. It boosts morale and promotes better productivity," I reminded him.
"So Mr. Whitlock can do it, problem solved," he said.
"He would, but he's allergic to the material and will be scratching like he has fleas," I informed him.
Edward was unable to keep his façade and snickered. "Send an interoffice memo to all departments, looking for a volunteer."
"I could do that or…."
"I don't like this or, Ms. Swan." He opened his eyes.
"You could do it?" I suggested.
"No." He shook his head.
"Aww…come on, please? Think how disappointed the children will be if Santa doesn't show. Or think how shocked your sister will be if you do it. Please," I pleaded.
"What's in this for you?" He turned in his chair and looked at me skeptically.
"She bet me plane tickets to anywhere in the world for Christmas," I told him honestly.
"And what do you have to give her, if you fail?" He raised an eyebrow.
"Nothing, I hung up before she could say." I grinned.
He smirked and rubbed his chin. "Smart girl. I knew there was a reason you're my best assistant yet."
"I aim to please, sir. So will you do it?" I asked sweetly.
"I'll do it. Pick up the costume for me, I don't have time to do it myself." He went back to his computer.
"Of course, sir, and thank you." I beamed, walking with a slight bounce out of the room. I glanced over my shoulder before I shut the door, Mr. Cullen was shaking his head with a small grin.
Maui, here I come.
I plopped happily in my chair and dialed Jasper before I forgot.
"Hello, Mr. Whitlock, speaking," he said pleasantly.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Whitlock, Mr. Cullen has asked me to inform you that the meeting with Michael Newton has been pushed up for tomorrow morning at seven am," I informed him.
He groaned. "Why so bloody early."
"I'm afraid he didn't inform me, sir. On the bright side, you'll miss the morning rush hour."
"What is this sir, crap, Bella. You know you can call me Jasper, right," he asked.
"I'm sorry, sir, you know that Mr. Cullen likes things done in a certain way." I rolled my eyes.
"Yes…yes…I know." He sighed. "I'll be there. Promise you'll bring your muffins?"
"I'll do my best to accommodate your request," I agreed. "Have a pleasant evening."
He snorted. "Thank you, Bella, see ya' at the crack of dawn."
Without hanging up, I called Alice back, and she answered on the first ring.
"Merry Christmas," she greeted.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Whitlock, I called to inform you that I will be swinging by your residence later to retrieve the Santa costume for Mr. Cullen tomorrow," I informed her.
"Stop sounding so formal…wait…he agreed," she said incredulously.
"Yes, ma' am, you heard correctly." I grinned evilly.
"What did you do, blow him under his desk," she asked crudely.
"Absolutely not," I cried offended.
"I was joking, Bella," Alice apologized. "I'll have it ready for you."
"Thank you, see you later tonight."
The rest of the afternoon went by fast, and before I knew it, it was quitting time. I put on my coat and knocked on the boss's door.
He was still hard at work at his desk and didn't even glance in my direction.
"Sir, if it's all right with you, I'll be leaving now so I can pick up the Santa suit on my way home," I asked.
"What time is it?" He looked at the clock on the wall. "I didn't realize the time, go ahead, Ms. Swan. I have a couple more hours of work, but I should be fine without you."
"Yes, sir." I closed the door behind me and hurried to the elevator.
I stopped quickly at the market then Alice's before hurrying home. My boyfriend had promised he would be there for dinner, and I wanted to make sure everything was ready for his arrival.
I got the lasagne I made the previous night in the oven and then put Jasper's muffins in the other one. I loved having a double oven for these purposes. I was humming along with the Christmas music that filled the condo, making a salad when I heard him come home.
"Honey, I'm home," he called out.
"In the kitchen, dinner should be ready in twenty," I responded.
I heard him go to our bedroom to change. I was in the middle of slicing a tomato when I felt his hands on my hips and his lips on my neck.
"How was work, baby," he asked. "Was your boss an evil tyrant again?"
"He wasn't that bad. I may have had to flirt with him slightly to get him to agree to something," I admitted.
"Tsk…tsk, love, do I have to put you on the naughty list?" he teased.
"The naughty list?" I snickered. "Who are you, Santa?"
I turned, and my jaw dropped to see him dressed head to toe in the costume.
"Apparently. I had to put it on to make sure I didn't get fleas. So far so good." Edward's green eyes sparkled.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Thank you so much for doing this."
"Who am I to say no to a pretty lady." He grinned.
"I'm sure it had nothing to do with proving your sister wrong," I teased.
"That was an added bonus." He laughed. "So where are we going, baby?"
"I was leaning towards Maui," I said.
"Mmmm, bikinis." He wiggled his eyebrows.
"If you want, but personally I think you would look rather silly in a bikini. You have nothing to hold up the top," I joked, rubbing my hand on his chest.
"You're a riot." He rolled his eyes then pulled me close to kiss me more deeply.
After a moment, I pushed him back when I felt his erection press into me. "We can't do this." I brushed a strand of hair out of my face.
"Why not?" He pouted. "I think you owe me from earlier."
"I'll make it up to you, I promise, but after you change. We can't do anything while you're dressed as Santa. You'll have a bunch of little kids sitting on your lap tomorrow, it would be wrong."
"Fine, you'll have to make it up to me later. Or perhaps, I can get you to dress as my sexy little elf to help me," he said huskily, palming my butt.
"A sexy elf at an employee and family party? Sounds a little inappropriate if you ask me. Especially with all those rules you have in place," I reminded him, taking a bigger step back before we got into trouble.
"You're right, Ms. Swan. I'm going to go change." The humor dropped from his voice.
I sighed heavily when he left and went back to my task. Edward's personalities at work and at home were like night and day. Work Edward was so stiff and formal with everyone, including his family, but at home, he was sweet and loving.
We met in grade school and have been dating for five years now, living together for one. We had talked about marriage and moving into a house outside of the city to start a family. However, excuses kept coming up and delaying it. No one besides our immediate families knew we were dating.
He came back into the room, whistling to the music, so he was in a good mood. He opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of wine.
"Wine?" he offered, pouring himself a glass.
"No thank you. I always have a hard time getting up in the morning even after one glass," I declined, pulling dinner out of the oven.
"Sorry, about that. Newton leaves tomorrow for the holidays. He went on and on telling me how his secretary is wild in the bed, and he will be out of touch until the New Year. I can't believe he's banging her." Edward sounded disgusted.
"Why, because Bree is his assistant?" I felt slightly bitter.
Edward gave me an odd look. "No, because he's married and not to Bree."
"Right." I served him his plate at the table.
He grabbed my hand and pulled me into his lap. "Hey, baby, are you mad at me or something? You know I don't see you as below me, right?"
"I know that, and I'm not mad. I'm just tired and cranky." I gave him an apologetic look.
"Mmmm, your boss works you too hard. You should ask for a raise." He kissed my cheek and rubbed my back.
"I'd rather he asked me to marry him," I said bluntly.
"We've talked about this," he said.
"I know. You keep saying you want to get married one day but when it comes to making any set plans, you refuse."
He cupped my chin and looked into my eyes. "Soon, I promise. There's just a lot going on at work right now, and I need you there for me. I don't have the time to break in a new assistant, and you're the best. Just hold on a little longer, baby, please?"
I nodded, sliding off his lap. He had been saying the same thing for the last two years. Work was busy, he needed me there. I was already his girlfriend/assistant why would the title of wife be that much different? Just how much longer was I supposed to wait?
The doorbell rang, and he got up quickly. "That should be my surprise."
"What is it?" I asked.
"Come see, it's part of your present." He led me by the hand through the living room and to the door. He opened it, and two men stood there with a tree in between them.
"Mr. Cullen, we have your eight-footer, where would you like it?" one of them asked.
"Baby, you're better at this, where should it go?" Edward looked at me.
"You got us a tree? I thought you said they weren't allowed?" I awed.
"I got special permission. Hurry and decide, I'm sure this tree is anything but light." He grinned.
"Right. Umm…" I scanned the living room. "How about over here?" I chose a spot, halfway between the fireplace and Edward's piano.
They trudged through the room, set up the stand and then left quickly after Edward tipped them. I walked around the tree and breathed in the scent of spruce.
"What do you think?" Edward hugged me from behind.
"It gorgeous, thank you. We'll need to get ornaments so we can decorate it." I turned in his arms and kissed him.
"You are welcome. I have a trunk full of decorations courtesy of my mother. After dinner, we can deck the halls." He smiled.
"I'd love that."
"And I love you. Give me another year, baby, and then I'll put a ring on your finger, I promise." He kissed my left hand.
"I can wait one more year." Who was I kidding, I would wait a lifetime for this man.
The next day, my spirits were high, Edward and I stayed up later than I intended. After we finished decorating the tree, we made love under glowing white lights.
I hummed along with the Christmas music as I made sure all the last details were completed. The divider between the biggest conference rooms on the main floor was pushed back to allow for a larger space. There were four trees decorated around the room.
"It looks amazing in here," Alice complimented as she walked up with family in tow.
"Hi, guys, I'm glad you made it," I greeted them.
Little Maria was in her father's arms; she had her mother's dark hair and her father's bright blue eyes. She was the prettiest two-year-old I had ever seen. She had an adorable red dress and clutched her dad's tie tightly in her hand.
"Hi, Maria, I like your dress." I smiled at her.
She grinned back shyly and placed her thumb in her mouth. I ruffled J.J.'s hair, and he hugged my legs.
"Hey, how' s my favorite four-year-old?" I asked.
"I've been good. Extra good for Santa." He grinned.
"Glad to hear it." I winked.
I turned at the sound of whimpers coming from the bundle Alice was holding. "Hey, Sophia."
"Would you like to hold her?" Alice offered.
"Yes, please." I took the sweet baby into my arms and rocked her.
"She's adorable," I cooed nuzzling her cheek.
"Auntie Bella, when is Santa getting here? I asked him for a bike this year," J.J. asked.
"He should be here soon, sweetie," I answered.
"She's not our real aunt, you shouldn't call her Auntie. She's just the help," Carolyn, one of the twins, said snottily. Or maybe it was Catherine, I could never tell the difference.
Jane, Emmett's wife, stood behind them with her hands on their shoulders. All three were dressed alike.
"Well, I'm sure she will be someday." Alice winked at me.
"Na-uh, you don't buy the cow when you get the milk for free," the other twin announced.
My cheeks turned bright red with embarrassment, and suddenly I was extremely uncomfortable.
"Carolyn, that was rude, apologize to Bella," Alice demanded.
"I'm Catherine. And that's what Mother said to Father."
"Don't scold my kids," Jane said with an air of arrogance.
"Then you say something," Alice demanded as Jasper took the baby from me and herded his kids away.
"For what? For speaking the truth? Ms. Swine, don't you have a job to do?" Jane looked down her nose at me.
I fought the urge to flip her off. "Yes, ma'am," I said tightly.
"Bella, don't listen to this shrew. The party is for everyone to enjoy." Alice glared at Jane.
"I should really go up to the roof and track down, Santa." I forced a smile and left the room as quickly as possible.
I made my way down the hall, trying to shake off what Catherine said to me. She might only be eight but what she said hurt.
"Psst…Ms. Swan." I heard coming from the closet.
I went closer and saw Edward poking his head out then ducking back inside. I entered and closed the door behind me.
"What are you doing in here? The kids are waiting for you," I whispered.
"I need help with this thing." He held up the lumpy pillow. "It attaches behind the back."
"Turn around," I instructed.
He held it in place as I secured it. I helped fix the coat and his beard.
"There you go. You are the most adorable Santa in the world," I said.
"Thank you." He took a deep breath. "Are you okay, you looked upset about something."
"I'm fine." I leaned in to kiss him, but he pulled back.
"We're at work, Ms. Swan. Wait here for a few minutes before exiting so we aren't seen together." He grabbed his sack and exited the room.
I knew he didn't mean it the way it sounded, but it still stung. I tapped my foot and looked around the supply closet. I could hear the kids yelling for Santa from where I stood. Figuring I had waited long enough, I left and slipped into the back of the room.
I smiled at the sight in front of me. Edward was surrounded by kids all begging for his attention. He was actually playing the part very well and smiling. It warmed my heart to see him with them. I couldn't wait until our own kids came.
Esme Cullen appeared next to me. "Bella, dear, Alice told me what Catherine and Jane said, and I am so sorry. I plan on talking to Emmett about it when we get home. There is no way she would have behaved like that if he was here. He would be mortified."
"You shouldn't apologize, Mrs. Cullen, it wasn't your fault," I said out of habit.
"Bella, please, call me Esme. I've told you that before. My son's rules are completely ludicrous." She rolled her eyes.
"Yes, ma'am…I mean Esme," I corrected myself.
Esme looped her arm through mine. "I can't wait until the two of you have little ones of your own running around here. Of course, wedding bells need to ring first. Any clue when that will be?" she hinted.
"Edward, said last night it would be within the year." I hoped that would be enough to satisfy her.
"Oh, sweetheart, he's been saying that for two years. You should tell him to stop pussyfooting around and put a ring on it already. Like the song by Bouncy."
I couldn't even find it amusing that Esme got the artist's name wrong. "With all due respect, we both know Edward wouldn't handle feeling forced into doing anything. If you excuse me, I have some work I need to get done," I excused myself.
The top floor was empty and quiet, which was just what I needed. I bypassed my desk and entered Edward's office. I sat in his chair and swiveled around so I could stare out at the Seattle skyline.
I pondered how everything seemed topsy-turvey recently and if it would all work out. I had a Christmas surprise for Edward. One minute I thought he would love it but then the next I was sure he was going to hate it.
I was going to have to decide what to do if it was the latter.
Lights were coming on in the buildings across the way when I heard him behind me.
"Bella, are you in here?" he called, sounding concerned.
"Right here, Mr. Cullen, what can I get you?" I stood and turned to face him.
He was in the doorway with the Santa coat unbuttoned and the beard and hat in his hand. He shut the door and walked over to me.
"Nothing. Baby, are you okay? My mother told me what the spoiled little brat said. Don't worry, I plan on calling Emmett myself. If Jane doesn't discipline her, I know he will. You didn't believe her did you?"
"Of course not, she was just a kid repeating something her mom said. Although, what your mom said didn't help," I said honestly as I walked behind him to undo the belly strap.
"What did she say?" Edward looked over his shoulder at me.
"Nothing new; just asked when we're going to get married." I tossed the pillow on the couch.
"Unbelievable. That's none of her business, I'll talk to her, don't worry. She won't ask you again." He led me over to the couch and sat me on his lap.
"I didn't get a chance to tell you that I liked your dress." His hand slid up the skirt.
"I picked it out with you in mind." I smiled shyly.
"Feel like being a bit naughty, baby." His hand slid further up and stopped. "Where is your…"
"Oopsie…I knew I forgot something." I grinned.
"What am I going to do with you?" His finger brushed my center.
"Here?" I glanced at the door. This went against his rules. I moaned as he added a second one.
"Everyone is busy, we won't be bothered." He kissed his way down my neck.
He shifted slightly and pushed his pants and boxers just over his hips. I straddled his lap, and his cock slid snuggly inside of me. He was right, there was something about being mostly dressed and in his office that made this seem naughty. We rocked together and made out until he pulsated in me as we came together.
He grabbed some tissues from the box next to the couch then cleaned us up. He pulled me back onto his lap and nuzzled my cheek.
"So, little girl, what would you like for Christmas?" he asked, grinning.
He seemed like he was in a good mood, so I thought this was the best time to tell him.
"Actually, I have something for you," I said, smoothing his chaotic hair.
"You do?" He had the same look on his face as J.J.
"Do you remember a few days ago when I went to the doctor?" I asked.
"I do. Did your doctor tell you that your boss was working you too hard and you need a vacation? Done. Alice does owe us tickets, and I thought I could free up a week next month."
"Won't people wonder why both of us are gone at the same time," I asked.
"Well, it would make no sense for you to be here when I'm not." He shrugged.
Not the answer I was hoping for.
"The reason I've been tired is that I'm pregnant." I smiled.
His smile dropped, and he stood so abruptly I fell off his lap and onto the couch. "What? How?"
"If my calculations are right, then it happened the weekend you surprised me with a trip to Victoria. Remember you packed for me and forgot my pills," I said nervously.
"So this my fault," he snapped, starting to get dressed.
"No, I didn't say that. Why does this have to be a bad thing? You said you wanted kids too." I fought back my tears.
"I changed my mind. Some of those kids were cute, but the others were whinny and so demanding. Like the twin brats. So no way do I want to deal with that."
"They only act like that because Jane lets them get away with it. They don't behave that way for Emmett. Our own kids won't either if teach them right," I insisted.
"I would make a terrible father. Look at the example I had growing up." He looked down while buttoning his shirt.
"Carlisle was a good man and father," I said confusedly.
"Not him, the man who beat me every day. What if I do that to a kid?" He looked concerned.
I went over and hugged him. "You won't because you know it's wrong and you know how it felt. I believe that would keep you from doing it."
"I don't know. I can't take the risk. Maybe in a few years." He shook his head and pulled away from me.
"Edward, this baby will be here in months—not years." I placed a hand on my stomach starting to feel sick.
"Ms. Swan, the answer is no. I need you here, not at home taking care of a baby," he said coldly.
I took a step back from him. "I quit!"
"I don't accept." He grabbed his pants to put on.
"Too bad. I'm done. I quit! I love you, Edward, but I can't handle being treated this way anymore. There is someone else who is going to need me too, and you're not being fair," I shouted.
"So this is my fault," he yelled.
"No. I know I share part of the blame. But you told me you wanted kids. We even picked out names. We've talked about your fears before, and I thought we moved past it. Granted this unexpected, but there's still a part of you and me in this baby, and I already love it." I started for the door.
I turned back to him. "Even if I wasn't pregnant, I still can't take too much more of this. I hate how we hide our relationship like it's a dirty secret. I get that we have to be professional at the office, but pretending there is nothing between us hurts," I confessed. "And yes, I know that's my fault for not saying anything. But to be honest, I didn't think we would still be like this five years later. The way you talked, I thought we would be married with babies already. But every time we approach the subject of setting a date, you keep saying in a year or so. It makes me feel as though you'd rather have me as you assistant rather than your wife."
"So I have to decide now?" Edward asked.
My heart sunk and started to break. "No, Edward, if you loved me the answer should be obvious."
Tears started to fall as I walked out of his office for the last time. It hurt he didn't try to stop me as I got on the elevator and hit the down button. The tears began to fall faster as I leaned against the wall and started to cry. Edward Cullen, the CEO, won out over Edward Cullen, the man I loved.
When the doors opened in the lobby, I realized I was going to have to go back to the party and collect my purse and jacket. I stopped in the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face to help my blotchy eyes.
I kept my head down as I weaved my way through the tables where everyone was eating. Alice looked up with a smile that quickly dropped. She handed Jasper the baby and made her way to me.
"Bella, what's wrong? Have you been crying? What did Edward do now? He texted me a few minutes ago to stall you if I saw you."
"We broke up, I have to go. Please, let me by," I pleaded.
The music came to an abrupt stop. "Can I have everyone's attention, please?" Edward spoke into the microphone.
I grabbed my coat and bag off my chair quickly and headed for the exit.
"Ms. Swan, please stop, I have something to say."
I bristled at his formal tone and kept walking.
"Bella, please, stop. I love you," he announced to the whole room.
There were some gasps, and I felt all eyes on me. But there was only one set I cared about. His green ones were begging me.
"I'm sorry, baby, you're right. I've been unfair to you for the past five years. I should never have treated our relationship as if it was something to be ashamed of. I know I have the reputation of being a cold one around here because I try to keep everything professional. I'm starting to see it's doing the exact opposite of what I hoped. I have been carrying this around in my pocket for the last three years." He held up the black velvet box.
"Oh, he's going to propose," someone gushed, but my eyes stayed on him.
"I kept chickening out. Not because I didn't love you, but because I was too stuck in my own head thinking of what could go wrong. I don't want to lose you. I meant it in the past, I want to marry you, and I want to have children with you." His gaze flickered briefly to my stomach.
"Please marry me, baby." He knelt in front of everyone before me.
I was momentarily shocked by his display, and I couldn't let it go unnoticed. I knew it took a lot for him to admit everything so publically when he was such a private person.
I slowly walked over to him and nodded my head, tears flowing down my cheeks. "Yes."
He smiled and slid the ring on my finger. There was clapping all around the room as he stood and kissed me lightly on the lips.
"Never again do I want to come this close to losing you. I love you, and I love our baby. I promise I'm going to get some help," he whispered.
"And I'll be there to help you," I promised.
Three years later…
I leaned in the doorway, taping Edward dance around the living room with our daughter on his hip to Jingle Bell Rock. She was giggling with her head tipped back, her reddish-brown curls bouncing everywhere.
Edward saw me and danced over. "Should Mommy, join us, Pumpkin?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"Yeah," she squealed with delight.
He grabbed the phone out of my hand and tossed it on to the couch. Soon the three of were twirling and laughing in front of our Christmas tree.
Over the last few years, there had been some changes. Like Edward promised, we moved out of the city and into a four-bedroom house. We got married on a snowy day in January with just our family present. Edward attended every one of my prenatal appointments and cried the first time he held our daughter.
Carlisle retired, but instead of Edward having a larger role, he split it between his brother and Jasper. Alice and Jasper now have a big family of five. Emmett divorced Jane before the snow melted that year. Jane didn't want the kids, so Emmett raised them. He remarried a woman named Rose a year ago, who put an end to the spoiled ways of the twins.
"Merry Christmas, baby." Edward kissed me.
"Silly Daddy, the baby is here." Angela pointed to my bulge. "And babies…two." She held up three fingers.
I giggled and pushed one down.
"How silly of me," Edward smirked as he ruffled her curls.
"Merry Christmas, babies." Angela kissed my belly.
"Bedtime, little one. The faster you go to sleep the sooner Santa comes." Edward picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder.
"Yay, Santa!" she cheered. "Night, Mommy." She waved as they disappeared up the stairs.
"Night, Angela," I called back.
Yeah, that kid wasn't fallen asleep anytime soon.
It was going to be a long night.
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