This is a collaboration of averysubtlegift and smilelikeacullen for withthevamps/jandcos Very Cullen Christmas challenge.

All human. Hope you will all enjoy - and that you are all enjoying the lovely holiday season!

Many thanks to smilelikeacullen - for being such a sweetheart - you rock, my dear!

Disclaimer - Stephenie Meyer is the creator of the Twilight universe - no infringement intended

Minty Fresh

(Bella)

"Earth to Bella! I have asked you the same question three times. I am not asking a fourth. Well?" Rosalie's sharp tone brought me out of the daze I had slipped into halfway through dinner.

Rosalie and Alice had met me for dinner and we had exchanged the gifts we'd purchased for each other. I had thought that getting out with the girls would help me forget for a few hours that Edward wouldn't be home for Christmas. Of course the best laid plans don't

work out that way at all. All I wound up thinking about was how lucky they both were to be going back home to their men - while I had to be alone.

Edward was working on his medical degree all the way across the country. I couldn't afford to fly out to see him - and he had too much work anyhow. I tried to put on a good show for him, to not make him feel guilty about not getting home for Christmas. That had

become increasingly difficult as the days of December spiraled closer to Christmas. We had never been apart for so long, and I wasn't sure how much longer I could hold on. Edward and I hadn't been apart for a Christmas in all the years we had been

together. Edward had been gone since the beginning of the school year, and to put it

bluntly , it fucking sucked. I hated being away from him. I knew he felt the same, and if I had asked he would have stayed, would have gone to school closer to home - closer to me. However, I couldn't do that - wouldn't do that.

So here I was alone on Christmas, pissing off my friends - and finding it impossible to find Christmas cheer without my Edward. I hadn't even decorated the house. Something everyone knew I loved to do. There wasn't even any snow. No white Christmas, no Edward, no point.

To say that I was a bit short on Christmas spirit would have been a drastic understatement.

"Well?" Rosalie was using her shrill, pissed off voice now. I sneaked a glance at Alice . I had no idea what question Rose was waiting for an answer to, and I wasn't about to ask her to repeat it, she wouldn't have. Alice made a little person with her fingers and made a walking motion, then she held an imaginary drink to her mouth. She was quick, so Rose didn't catch her.

Did I want to go out for drinks? Not especially, although the idea of drowning my sorrows with a good bottle of wine while I was cozy on my couch, alone, was remotely appealing.

"No. I'm sorry. I know I wasn't good company tonight. I just miss him so much. I don't know how we're going to get through six more months like this."

Alice and Rosalie exchanged a quick glance. It was their unspoken way of letting me know that they were getting tired of hearing it.

"Sorry." I said again. "I'm just going to go home. I'll call you both tomorrow, okay?"

We said our goodnights and I headed home. It was two more days until Christmas and I wondered if it would be socially acceptable to simply burrow down in my bed until it was all over.

When I reached my door I thought I heard music. For a moment I felt a bit panicked. I wondered if I should call Rosalie. Emmett packed the muscle of five men, if there was someone in my apartment, he was the person I wanted by my side. Of course, I was not exactly on Rosalie's good list tonight, I didn't want to pull Emmett away because I was being paranoid - and why would someone break into my apartment and then turn on music? I realized I probably left something on before I left.

Just in case, I changed my grip on my bag. The book I had received from Alice and the large bottle of perfume from Rose had weighted it down substantially. I could probably inflict a bit of damage if I needed to. I carefully turned my key in the lock and opened the

door. Everything looked fine, nothing was out of place. I could still hear music, it was playing softly from somewhere down near my bedroom. I raised my bag slightly, certain that I hadn't left any music on in my room. I continued to look around for any sign that

there was someone in my apartment as I inched toward the hallway that led to my room. I was seriously rethinking that decision not to call Emmett.

I stopped dead when I head a sound behind me. There wasn't any time to react, as strong hands wrapped around my waist I let my bag slip off the tips of my fingers.

"Ouch! Crap, Bella. What the hell is in this thing, bricks?" My bag had landed squarely on the foot of my intruder.

Edward, my beautiful bronze-haired, love of my life was hopping on one foot in my living room!

I threw my arms around him as I breathed in the intoxicating scent that was purely his alone. My relief was short lived, overthrown by the shock, surprise and desire that flooded me as I held this perfect man.

"How? What are you doing here? I love you! I missed you so much!" I punctuated each of the scattered phrases with kisses on every inch of his skin that was visible. I was taking a mental inventory. It seemed like a lifetime ago that my lips had covered this landscape,

and I wanted to rememorize every feature.

His honey voice caressed my ears, and even though I had my face nuzzled into the soft skin of his neck, I could hear the smile playing across his lips.

"Mmmm. This is a nice welcome home. Maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder." He faltered slightly as he spoke the last bit, his breath catching as I gently nipped his earlobe and then caressed the soft flesh with my moist tongue.

He pushed me away slightly, despite my obvious displeasure.

"I've been planning on coming home for the past week. I let Alice and Rose know. They told me you were driving them crazy. I was the one who convinced them to get you out tonight so I could sneak in and surprise you. I wasn't expecting you to be armed with a fifty pound purse." He laughed lightly, that lop-sided smile appearing on his face - the one so blindingly beautiful I had trouble focusing on anything else when he flashed it. He kissed my forehead lightly and I trembled. "Please don't mention the money or work or anything. I missed you, and I couldn't imagine not spending Christmas with you." I was absolutely giddy. No wonder Rosalie had no patience with me tonight. I'm surprised she didn't come right out and tell me - just to shut me up.

Edward pulled me closer into his arms. His hands tangled in my long sweep of brown hair. I could feel my legs turning to jelly as his lips began their magic on my skin. He moaned softly into my ear and suddenly I could not get my clothes off fast enough.

As our lips danced against each other I was vaguely aware that Edward was steering us toward the bedroom. I didn't care where. I was so frenzied that I was willing to lean up against the wall and simply push clothing out of the way. I needed him, now. Once we were in the bedroom, I backed Edward up against the bed. He lay back and pulled me down with him. I was nearly lost in the drugging sensation of his tongue sweeping over mine. My fingers danced over the buttons of his shirt, and in my anxiousness I felt

one pop free of the fabric. The faint "tink" as the button bounced off the hard floor was nearly lost in the music playing softly.

Edward's hands closed around my wrists. He was making me crazy with this stop and go. I rubbed myself slightly against his thigh and couldn't contain the throaty gasp that rolled past my lips.

"I thought you liked this shirt?" He teased as he deftly rolled out from underneath me. In a moment I was pinned beneath him, his shirt hanging open to reveal the mouth watering ridges of his torso. He held his weight on his arms, my wrists still held in his capable

hands.

"You look so beautiful." He whispered into my hair. I was wearing a simple black dress, but I smiled slyly at the thought of what I was wearing underneath.

In an effort to cheer myself up a bit, I had donned some very sexy underwear, red satin - very festive. I was like a present waiting to be unwrapped.

I remembered my wish from earlier in the night that I would like to burrow down in my bed, right through Christmas. My mind was reeling at the possibilities of staying in my bed with Edward right through Christmas. There was so much lost time to make up for.

"What's that sexy smirk about Bella?" I pressed my lips together to fight a smile. I wasn't about to reveal all the dirty places my mind had just been wandering.

"I think you have been very naughty. That's the only reason I can come up with for why there is not a single Christmas decoration up. You must have known you were only getting a fat lump of coal. The only Christmas related item in the whole apartment is that one lonely candy cane on your night stand. Is that the problem Bell - have you been naughty?" He was purring his words at me. I was going to implode.

I eyed the sad little candy cane. Edward was right. I had not decorated for Christmas at all. I hadn't been in any mood to really acknowledge the season. The candy cane had been stuffed into my little envelope at the bank by an overly cheery teller earlier in

the day. I had tossed it on my nightstand after removing the money from the envelope.

I sat up slightly. He released my wrists and stared into my face. His dazzling green eyes were turning my insides into something molten and hot. I stood up at the side of the bed. I pulled my dress over my head, revealing the red bra and panties that had been hidden underneath. I left on my black stilettos and picked up the candy cane. I slipped it out of the wrapper and slid the end into my mouth, wrapping my lips and tongue around it.

Edward fell back against the pillow.

"Definitely naughty." He said in a low husky voice.

I sauntered back on to the bed. I held the candy cane out to Edward and allowed him a lick. I kissed his mouth and tasted the minty sweetness of his lips. I worked his belt free and slid my hand under the soft fabric of his boxers. He trembled as my hand closed around his hot hard flesh. I nibbled a piece of the candy cane off and relished the cool, clean, sweet taste of it. As the sugar melted on my tongue, I slid Edward free. I carefully closed my mouth around him, allowing the tingly mint on my tongue to swirl all over his

flesh.

"That feels amazing." He breathed as he worked his fingers into my hair. "I'm not going to last long like this."

I knew that he wouldn't. I didn't care. He lasted for two choruses of "Jingle

Bells" - the song I was humming in my head to help me keep the rhythm he liked best. My mouth was a mix of the hot rush that had just spurted out of Edward and the sticky, sweet mint goodness of the candy cane.

I had a new found appreciation for this little traditional Christmas favorite. I'd need to pick up a few more candy canes at the store. I was suddenly filled with all kinds of Christmas spirit.

Edward slid his legs all the way out of his pants and I loved that cocky smirk on his face when he noticed me eyeing the fact that he was still very aroused. I let out an audible giggle when I noticed that he was holding the remainder of the candy cane between his long fingers.

"We're not finished here Bella. Now it's my turn."

In a move that was so quick it barely registered, he had yanked my legs forward and I crashed backwards into the pillows. He held one of my feet up, still encased in the three-inch stiletto.

"If I didn't know better, I'd think you had been expecting me home. You are wearing your 'fuck me' shoes, after all."

He started at my ankles and ran teasing kisses up my legs. By the time he reached my

inner thighs I was panting embarrassingly loud. He leaned forward when he reached his destination. He took the tip of the candy cane and ran it over my red panties, following the curve of my body, right to my center. He leaned down and lazily licked up the same path. I lifted my hips and he slipped the fragment of fabric off of my legs.

I was sure he would pounce, devouring me in a frenzy. Instead he paused, and looked at the candy cane in his hand and then at the juncture of my thighs - the place I was aching for him to show some attention. He took the tip of the candy cane and slightly circled my opening before nudging the end in slightly. It was effortless, as I was overflowing with my arousal.

He held my gaze as he brought the candy back up to his mouth. The end glistened with my need. He sucked all of me off, and then shuddered. That sight alone nearly pushed me over the edge.

He laughed softly, it almost sounded like a growl. He flung the candy cane across the room and it shattered off the wall, small shards of it scattering across the floor.

"You taste sweet enough on your own. I have spent weeks imagining the taste of you on my tongue. That's the taste I want running down my throat. I've been waiting too long, I just need you."

And with that - he set to work. He licked and nipped and sucked and moaned. It was

delicious torture. In fact, if it were possible to die from bliss, I might have been in grave danger.

When he finally felt I had received enough of a tongue lashing, he climbed up the length of my body.

He moved like a predator, like a cat that had stalked its prey and was moving in for the kill. His messy array of bronze hair was more untidy than usual, falling into his eyes and sticking up at odd angles. There was a faint shadow of stubble across his cheeks and

chin. He unclasped my bra and then ran the side of his jaw over my tender peaks. My hips kicked up, heat pooling at my center once again. He knew how much I loved the rough rasp of his stubble against me breasts.

He kissed me roughly. His lips were still coated with my juices, I licked at them and then let him lick them back off of my tongue. He groaned and thrust himself into me. There was no more talk.

There was love and need and desperation. He drove his hips against mine, the friction between our bodies building at fever pitch. I felt sweat blooming over my skin. I wrapped my legs around his waist and let my head fall back. I was drunk on the love we were making, and I never wanted to be sober again.

He flipped me over on the bed and straddled my back. He began caressing my back, arms, legs anything he could reach while laying the most sensual kisses all over my body. The sounds escaping my mouth were becoming impossible to contain. Edward pulled me up to him. Both of us were now on our knees - my back to his chest. He ran his hands through my hair, down my chest and stomach. I reached up with my right arm and wrapped it around his neck. I wound my fingers in his hair, gripping tightly. My other arm wound around his back to pull us closer together.

He buried his face in my neck and ran his right hand down to my burning center. He began to caress me ever so slightly and it was killing me.

"God I've missed you so much," Edward panted.

His finger began to circle my clit softly and slowly, lovingly. He gripped my hip with his other hand. His ministrations continued to drive me insane with an overpowering need for this wonderful man.

"Me too." I pushed the words out of my mouth.

I could barely breathe with what he was doing to my body. I needed him. His fingers began to move over my body at a more frantic pace.

"Please Edward, please. I need you."

"Stay with me….always" he seemed to be pleading, although there was never a need for him to plead with me for anything. I gave him all of me.

"I will" I whispered " always."

I turned my head to the side and we captured each other's lips in fiery kiss. And with that he pushed into me from behind.

I was home. Edward was my home and this moment right here, right now, was perfection.

Edward's grip on my hip became tighter and his hand traveled to my breast and began to massage it. I moved my hand down, and placed it on top of his, to help

keep him with me. Always.

He found the rhythm he wanted. It was slow and loving but it had a sense of urgency too. One that I knew had been building for me for months. We had never gone so long without each other before and it was now apparent why. We were crazy for each other. Every touch , every look, every kiss, every word whispered in my ear made me fall more in love with this man. In this moment, even the slightest space of breath between us was too great a distance.

He began to push slightly harder. This was definitely turning into a great holiday.

I ground my ass into him harder, pushed back onto him - causing the most amazing feelings to course through my body.

"God, Edward, faster, I need it, more!" I moaned out.

"Baby, do you know who much, I love it when you plead?" he groaned out. "It makes me even harder for you Bella. Can you feel me, getting harder in you? Do you feel it? That's all for you."

With that the hand that was massaging my breast moved down to my mound and began

to rub furiously on my clit. I felt my eyes roll to the back of my head.

" OHH, God Edwarr… Oh God!" Words raced out of my mouth - a string of incoherency.

He sped up his thrusts and angled his hips - driving in deeper. I was nearing the peek. My body steeling for the ecstasy that would accompany the free-fall back down to earth. I knew because I could barely think straight and Edward's fingers were digging so deeply into my hip that I knew they were going to leave a mark. But it was okay. I liked when Edward left marks on me.

Edward started to groan loudly matching my already embarrassingly loud moans and cries of pleasure.

"Bella, come for me, do it baby." He was pleading with me again.

His words sent me over the edge. Edward wrapped his arms around me, pulling me up and into each of his thrusts. I came in a rush of stars, Edward's name rolling off of

my lips like a prayer.

My body convulsed and clenched around him. I gushed for him, beads of my desire creating glistening tracks as they rolled down my inner thighs. I pushed my ass into him hard and leaned forward a bit before slamming back hard onto his erection. Edward took this as an invitation. He rose higher on his knees and thrust into my core, slamming his hips into me. He came hard - pulsing inside of me as he spilled into my body. It was beyond amazing.

We lay on the bed, still lost in bliss . I rolled to the side and he clutched me closely to his body, leaving no breathing space between us. That was okay, I would just breathe Edward in. Mmmmm, he smelled like sex and peppermint - tasty.

He brushed my hair away from my face.

" I love you," he sighed.

I snuggled closer to him, burying my face in closer to his neck. Into his ear I whispered - " I love you too."

Edward curled up next to me and I kissed him sweetly. I still couldn't believe that he had come home for Christmas. I realized, with a bit of disappointment, that I had mailed his Christmas present earlier in the week.

"I mailed your present. I guess I will have to run out tomorrow and

pick out something else."

"No. Just stay here and keep loving me. That's the present that I

want."

He flashed my lop-sided grin. The one I could never ever say no to. We spent the rest of the night making up for lost time. Worshipping each others bodies. I began to wonder if I would be able to walk in the morning. I didn't really care, if I couldn't walk it would give

us more incentive to stay in bed.

I awoke to the smell of something delicious. It was the smell of warm cinnamon. I looked at my clock. It was already 10:30 and Edward was no longer by my side. I pulled on Edward's shirt and boxers that were hanging on the chair.

I shook my head in disbelief as I made my way toward the enticing smell. In the living room there was a tree, already decorated. The little white lights twinkled off of silver ornaments and sparkled on the clear crystal beads that were wrapped carefully around the tree.

Edward was in the kitchen, taking out a tray of homemade cinnamon rolls. He was wearing jeans and a sweater, and a red apron with a picture of Santa on it.

I suddenly felt very sorry for every other woman in the world. There was only one Edward, and I intended to never let him go.

"What is all this?" I asked in awe.

"Silly Bella. This is Christmas Eve. Just because you were a grinch that didn't want to decorate, doesn't mean I don't want a tree for Christmas."

He brought the plate of cinnamon rolls and two fresh cups of coffee to the table near the couch. He kissed me on the forehead as he walked by.

"You look very festive." I poked the picture of Santa on the apron.

He looked at me for a moment - dressed in nothing but his shirt and boxers.

"You look sexy." He gave me a sexy smirk as his eyes slid down to my bare legs.

"Didn't get enough last night?" I questioned.

"Not even close."

He pulled me down on the couch next to him. We ate breakfast, (and occasionally each other) alternating the eating with kisses and easy conversation.

"Thanks for breakfast. It was incredible. When did you get up and do all of this?" Right as I asked he let out a huge yawn. We both laughed.

"I didn't really sleep much. It's a bad habit I've picked up at school. Apparently doctors need to be able to function with almost zero sleep."

He nuzzled his head against my shoulder, a contented sigh escaping both of our lips.

We sat quietly for a while. I was sure that the lack of sleep had caught up with Edward. He still had his head resting against my shoulder. I was lost in my thoughts, my body loose and relaxed from all the sex we'd had last night. There was a pain in my heart. I

knew that once Christmas was over Edward would need to leave again. It was the only black cloud over the happiness I was feeling from his visit.

"Look out the window." Edward's quiet voice brought me out of my thoughts.

There were millions of snowflakes dancing in the air. They were already sticking to the cold ground. It was the start of a winter wonderland, the snow blanketing our little corner of the earth.

"I think we'll have a white Christmas after all."

I smiled. My sad little Christmas had turned around completely. Edward, snow, a twinkling tree, endless sex…Ho! Ho! Ho!

I stood and walked to the window. I loved to watch the snow falling down.

I heard Edward get up from the couch. "You know, sometimes when it snows there's ice."

I let out a huff at his comment. We weren't planning on going anywhere - and even if we were - we lived in Seattle for heaven's sake - we could handle a little snow and ice.

I was going to head back to the couch when I almost tripped over Edward. He was kneeling on the floor behind me.

He was holding up the most gorgeous diamond ring I had ever seen. I threw a hand up

over my mouth, stifling the gasp about to escape.

"In fact," he continued, "there's already ice." He looked up and our eyes locked. My heart began beating hard and tears sprang to my eyes. He reached up and took my hand into his. He kissed the back of it gently.

"Bella, I love you. I love you more than life itself. Amazingly, the only thing I have learned at school in the past few months is that there is no possible way that I can live without you. I need you like air. Be my wife, please. Be with me always. Let me make every day of our lives as special as you deserve. Will you marry me, Bella?"

His voice wavered with the emotion behind his words. I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks.

"Yes." I whispered. "Yes, I will marry you."

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through our apartment, you could hear the sounds of our friends and family. They had all gathered to congratulate us, and I had a ball flashing my beautiful ring. Every time I looked at it, my stomach broke out in

butterflies. We were getting married. Just like Edward had said - I would never leave him, we would be together always.

Forever. Nothing could ever be a better gift than that, ever.

When our well wishers finally headed home, Edward pulled me close and his warm breath tickled my neck.

"We'd better get to sleep. Santa won't come if we're still awake."

I hooked my fingers through his belt loops and kissed him hard on the lips. His eyes were alight with excitement, and I couldn't wait to get my fiancé back to our bedroom.

"Let's just be naughty and save Santa the trip." I purred.

Edward scooped me up and we headed to our room. He set me gently on the bed, a playful smile curling up the corners of his mouth.

"Look up, Bella." He took one finger and glided it under my chin - tilting my face up to look at the ceiling above our bed. I couldn't fight the smile that appeared on my face.

Hanging directly over our bed was mistletoe. I would never have an excuse not to kiss him in our bed now.

"I think you should kiss me now." His green eyes took on a wicked glint. "I am under the mistletoe, after all."

I pounced, attacking his lips, pouring every ounce of passion I had for him into the kiss. He responded with the same passion.

It was definitely not going to be a silent night.

The End

Merry Christmas everyone! Feel free to leave a review. We would appreciate it!