A/N: I am not Stephenie Meyer all the characters and setting belong to her.
I know it's August, but I'm already ready for Christmas. Anyway, I got to thinking the second time I read BD about the Cullens having to spend that first Christmas after Edward and Bella were married and Nessie was born in anticipation of the Voluri. I imagine Bella wanting to make their second Christmas together much better. Right now this is just a one-shot, but I plan on writing one or two more and I will include them all in this "story".
A better Christmas
Once again Christmas was here. This year felt way different than the last. For one, my daughter no longer looked like a toddler, even though we had just celebrated her first birthday only a few months ago. She now looked like she belonged in the first or second grade. Secondly our house was our house once again. We were not playing host to a multitude of other vampires in preparation for an impending battle. Yes, this Christmas was very much different and I planned to make the distinction loud and clear.
Whereas last year, we played down the day and the season, this year I think we were all determined to make this the best one we had ever celebrated.
Edward, Carlisle, Emmet and Jasper had all been sent out on a mission to find and bring back the perfect Christmas trees. Yes, trees as in plural. We needed a large one in the main living room of the big white house. Edward and I also wanted one for our cottage and Esme, Alice and Rosalie all decided they wanted smaller ones in the suites they shared with their husbands. So that would mean a grand total of five trees. I told Edward if he found a really cute small one to bring that one back as well, we could give Renesmee her own tree in her room. It would be a surprise for her.
Alice, Rosalie and Renesmee had spent the better part of the day finishing ornaments. Stringing popcorn garland and making simple blown glass ornaments shine with a coat of glitter paint in preparation for the tree decorating to come later tonight.
I had helped Esme cover the stair banister, the railings on the porch and the mantel pieces in the house with homemade garlands. We had also created an elaborate centerpiece for both the dining room table and the large coffee table in the living room. The house smelled of fresh pine and cinnamon from the candles.
As I surveyed the work we had accomplished a thought came to mind. A human memory one that was very strong and clear. Christmas cookies. When I lived with Charlie I had found my grandmother's recipe for old fashioned tea cake cookies that you could roll and cut using cookie cutters. I had made a batch for Christmas. Charlie's eyes had lit up when he arrived home from work one evening during my Christmas break to see a tin full of cookies on the kitchen counter.
I had tried to hold onto as much of my cooking skills as possible. Especially since Jacob and Charlie were both semi-permanent fixtures around the house now.
I ran out to the cottage to retrieve my purse and car keys and was back in a matter of seconds.
"Mommy?" Renesmee questioned when I stepped back through the back door. I walked over to where she was sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table stringing popcorn. She reached up and placed a hand on my cheek and I immediately saw Charlie in my mind.
"No baby, Momma's going to go to the grocery store. You can help me bake cookies this afternoon for Grandpa. Ok?"
She smiled and placed her hand once more on my face. I could see her excitement. I smiled back and placed a kiss on her forehead. "I'll be back soon."
The trip took a bit longer than it used to since I needed to go out of town to shop for groceries. We were still in Forks for the time being. Carlisle probably had one more year give or take a few months working at the hospital till we needed to seriously consider moving and as long as I and Edward stayed out of town, no one was the wiser to the fact that we were not away at college. On the rare occasion Renesmee and I ventured to Charlie's we did so in my new car since everyone around town was familiar with Edward's Volvo, even though I still loathed the fact Edward had bought me such an ostentatious car.
When I drove back into the garage, Alice was sitting on the hood of her Porsche with Renesmee in her lap, waiting on me.
Renesmee ran to me as soon as I opened the door and immediately climbed into my lap and placed her hand on my cheek. I saw a multitude of cookies run through her head. She had been watching the Food Network since I had been gone and one of the shows had been all about Christmas Cookies. She was eager to get started.
"I have a recipe that was your great grandmother's. They are the cookies she used to make for Grandpa when he was a child. It'll be a surprise."
Her eyes widened and then I saw the question of taking them to Charlie tonight.
"He'll be by tomorrow after we've decorated everything. You can show him all the ornaments you made and we'll give him a whole tin of cookies, ok?" Renesmee clapped her hands and jumped out of my lap taking one of my hands with her to help pull me from the car.
I laughed at her impatience. Alice helped me to unload the sacks from the store and we spread out in the kitchen to work. Alice propped herself up on one of the barstools at the counter top along with Rosalie, who had come to enjoy the show.
"I have aprons around here somewhere. I saved them from my home before we moved after Carlisle changed me." Esme rummaged around a few of the cabinets before returning with some old fashioned aprons. She handed me one and tied one around her waist as well. "It's been a long time since I've made cookies. Is it ok, if I help?"
"Of course Esme."
"We need Chrismtas music." Alice ran off to fetch a cd player and cd's while I reached for Renesmee.
"Here sweetie, you'll need an apron too. You're Aunt Alice will be highly upset if we ruin that outfit, even though she's only going to let you wear it once."
"Hey, I heard that." Alice shot back as she plugged in the cd player.
"Well, it's the truth isn't it?" Rosalie questioned as she set about working on her nails as she watched the proceedings on the other side of the counter. Esme and I just chuckled as I wrapped the too long apron strings around my daughter's waist several times before tying them in the front.
Alice had also brought back a chair from the breakfast table so that Renesmee could fully reach the kitchen counter.
We set about measuring and mixing all the ingredients. Renesmee had eventually gotten over her aversion to at least trying human food and we had found a few things she would eat. Now she actually considered it almost a game to try as many different types of human food as she could, at least once.
She already liked sugar and she thought the taste of the vanilla flavoring was interesting. She had stuck a handful of plain flour in her mouth before I could stop her and coughed and spluttered when she realized that wasn't something you ate on it's own. She was embarrassed at the laughter from the rest of us after she had done that and had hid her face in my apron for a few moments, red with frustration.
Sometimes she could be so complex, and intelligent, already reading on a college level, at others times she was still just the child that she was. Those are the moments I cherish the most, knowing they will not last long.
Esme coaxed her literally from my apron strings and had her help to separate all the decorations I had bought to use. I let her have a spoonful of the finished batter before we rolled the cookies out. She made a face and scrunched up her nose a bit.
"You don't like?" I questioned as she handed the spoon back. She shook her head and scrunched her nose again. She placed her hand on my cheek leaving a flour handprint there, telling me she didn't like the texture so much.
"Perhaps once they're baked you'll like them better. I always enjoyed raw cookie dough."
She was quiet good at rolling the dough to the perfect thickness for cutting cookies after giving it a couple of go's. Renesmee would thoughtfully choose with cutter she wanted to use and position it in place carefully and then take the cookie and place it on the baking sheet.
After we filled a whole baking sheet her artistic side came out. She would color in the different sections with sprinkles and waited till some were out of the oven and decorated them using the different colors of icing and candies. She would scrunch her nose at Alice or Rose when she didn't like how they were decorating a particular cookie. She would then take her hand and place it on their cheek to show them how she had envisioned the cookie to look.
It was amusing to see how easily she could bend anyone of us to her will. My daughter barely heard the word no, yet she was a not brat. She was surrounded by more love than I could have ever imagined. I was blissfully content and happy as I watched my 'mother', 'sisters' and daughter.
We were all so engrossed into our little project we didn't realize all the guys were home until Emmett came stomping into the kitchen and shook his hair out letting the bits of snow and ice shatter down upon us.
Rosalie growled in light furry at her husband and Renesmee squealed in surprise and ran at her Uncle Emmett. He picked her up and swung her around for a moment letting her giggles escalate in pitch. He stopped once she let out "Daddy!" in a high pitch and handed her off to Edward.
"What have you got on your face princess?" Edward held her back far enough so he could examine the streaks of colored frosting on her face and the dusting of flour in her hair.
"Have you been baking?"
Renesmee immediately placed both hands on either side of his face and smiled wide as she showed her father what all she had been doing that day. The decoration making with her Aunts and the cookies with her Momma and Nana as she called Esme.
"So who are all the cookies for?"
"Grandpa, my Jacob, Seth, and Leah and Ms. Sue." Renesmee rattled off the names of the closest people to our family that were non-vampires.
"Well, show me how many you've made."
Renesmee flipped backwards out of Edwards arms, landing on her feet and made her way quickly back around the kitchen counter climbing back onto her chair. She proceeded to show not only her father, but her uncles and her Papa her handy work and then she grabbed Carlisle and Edward by the hand and instructed Emmett and Japser to follow so she could show them all the ornaments for the trees.
I sighed contently as I began to gather the mixing bowls into the sink to be washed and placed cooled cookies into tins. Esme, Rosalie and Alice had gone to supervise the placing of the trees and to give instructions as to what ornaments went on which tree.
As I plunged my cool hands into the hot soapy water in the sink I felt a set of strong arms embrace me and pull me closer. "I've missed you today." A shiver went up my spine as Edward whispered into my ear. I turned my head so I could give him a kiss.
"I've missed you too."
"It looks as if you girls had a full day here."
I smiled to myself at the memory of the day. It was a day filled with family and the happiness of the season and the wonder of a child's excitement at all that entailed. "Yes, it's been a great day. This Christmas is infinitely better than the last."