Here is the entry to withthevampsofcourse and jandco's A Very Cullen Christmas, co-written by the amazing Batsu Simisu-Chan (I love you, my A/B!) and we hope you enjoy it!
The song in this oneshot is "She's got a Way" by Billy Joel. The song and the lyrics will be posted on my profile soon, so have no fear!
Disclaimer: We don't own twilight... we just like to see twilight's characters get freaky in weird places... so WE MAKE THEM!
Without further ado, please Read, Review, and Enjoy!
(She's Got a Way With) Holiday Spirit
Oh, the Christmas season. Such a joyful time to spread goodwill toward man, give and receive, drink spiked eggnog, and reunite with family... Such a happy time.
So is it terrible that I'm having a crappy day?
I've always loved the holidays. Christmas is my favorite time of year. Or, at least it was when I was still young enough to not know better. Being the only child of divorced parents... well, it just kills your spirit at these times of years. It didn't get better as I grew older. In fact, it grew worse because I was mature enough to understand.
If I stayed with Renee for Christmas break, it would upset Charlie. If I opted for him instead, she would pout and whine and guilt me into staying with her. Which I did for several years until I realized how much it hurt Charlie in return.
One year I tried spending Christmas Eve with Charlie and Christmas day with Renee, but it turned out to be one of the worst disasters of my life. I was stressed from the general situation, and traveling in the midst of the holiday craziness didn't help matters one bit. I almost longed for the previous years of going back and forth. For Christmas with Renee, bitching about Charlie's "selfishness" at wanting me with him during New Year's. Or a Christmas with Charlie and having her call me up, crying about how much she misses me and that the lights don't look right on the tree.
Well, to put it plain and simple, I was tired of it. Tired.
When Alice, my incredibly hyper best friend, found out about my plans for Christmas—which sadly included me in front of the television, watching really cheesy holiday films and eating all the junk food I could manage to find—she persuaded me to come stay with her and her family for the holiday.
"It'll be boring," she had told me, "But no one is going to fight over you. Unless that's what you want. I have some really cute cousins, Bella." Then she winked. Apparently my lack of dates frustrated her and she was always trying to set me up with some guy or another.
I didn't want to interrupt her family time and I didn't want to be a nuisance to them all, but she kept begging, and pleading, and threatening. She's a vicious girl, that friend of mine. Although Mr. and Mrs. Brandon would of course be nice to me, I still felt like I was being a burden by forcing my company on them all. I knew that they, along with Alice and her boyfriend Jasper, would never think ill of me, but that didn't halt my irrational thoughts. Eventually I caved. No one could tell Alice no (and live to tell the tale).
I decided to go to her house for Christmas, hoping that maybe this would turn out all right. Maybe I would have a great, blissful (if ignorant) Christmas, like when I was a little girl. Yeah... And Charlie and Renee would get back together. I had given any up hope of that years ago.
I had met most of Alice's family before since I had met Alice back in my freshman year of college at NYU (which was an far enough away from both parents so they'd never be able to accuse me of favoritism between the two of them), and when we ended up being roommates, I got to know her immediate family pretty well. They welcomed me into their home warmly on the holiday, excited to have me around, just as I knew they would.
And I met all of her extended family, as well. All kinds of heavily-perfumed aunts, perverted uncles, and one really foul-smelling cousin. I prayed that this wasn't the cousin she deemed to be "cute". Alice assured me that the one she wanted me to meet would be arriving the next day and he wasn't nearly as dysfunctional as her eighty year old great-uncle, who insisted that I hold his hand while I walked him to the bathroom (and tried to grope me the entire way). Everyone viewed me with pity when he threw an insistent tantrum as Mrs. Brandon tried to get someone else—particularly someone in the family—to do it instead.
I was starting to feel bad though. Being Jasper and Alice's third wheel as I clung to them for my sanity was not fun. It was actually quite depressing. More so than hearing Renee cry on the other end of the phone that she needed me to help her set up the Christmas tree or that the cranberry sauce she was trying to make exploded. Or maybe that just added to it. Renee knows how to manipulate me into doing what she wants.
And just seeing Alice and her immediate family so happy together, as a little niche of a regular family throughout the dysfunction surrounding them, made my heart hurt a little bit. I wished that I could have had a nice family Christmas, rather than having been forced to be subjected to our own brand of Swan Family Craziness year in and year out. Seeing a whole family enjoying themselves together made me feel left out, despite the fact that they all tried to include me in everything... Mrs. Brandon even let me bake the cherry pie for her... but sadly all their effort was in vain and I just felt like a an intruder in their happiness.
Add on the fact that I had to witness Alice and Jasper cuddling and finding excuses to "accidentally" end up under the mistletoe didn't help matters. It just proved that I was alone in more ways than one. Sitting next to them on the couch, giggling softly at some unheard joke was... Depressing? Disturbing? A large combination of both?
At least I got to first base, though. Alice's dog, Sandy, pushed me into the wall and licked my face so thoroughly I could have sued for sexual harassment. And won. Against a freaking fifteen year old dog. Oh, yeah, that is how my day went.
I already missed Charlie and Renee and it was like getting lost in the forest by yourself at Alice's. I didn't want to feel lonely in a room full of people. That completely defeated the purpose of being around people, didn't it? And Alice and Jasper were not making me feel any better at all, being so in love with each other when I was by myself (not to sound selfish or anything).
I excused myself, making my way up the stairs and into Alice's old bedroom to hide out for a few minutes. When I reached my destination, I sighed loudly, chewing on my lip and sinking down onto the bed. This was a terrible idea. I should have stayed at home, like I was planning, with my movies. It wasn't too late. It was only about six-thirty. That meant a whole night and day of sulking at home watching Christmas specials.
With that finally decided, I wondered how to make my escape. Should I slip out the back door and call Alice to let her know after?
That idea sounded bad. It wasn't a particularly good idea to piss off my dearest friend this time of year. Just like it wasn't a good idea to not do what she wants. I sighed again. I had to be firm on this. I didn't want to be stuck here, sucking up the fun of the family because I was feeling low. That wasn't fair of me, especially since they didn't have to let me come. I felt extremely ungrateful for not having a wonderful time.
I snuck out to the back door, unseen and unnoticed, thinking of excuses to quell Alice's wrath for skipping out on her. I needed to think of a good one, since I sucked at lying.
But then Mrs. Brandon saw me. I worried for a moment about hurting her feelings, but I didn't need to. She was always such an understanding person.
"We're out of whipped cream to finish off the pies for tomorrow," she said, smiling sympathetically at me. "Would you mind terribly going to the store to pick some up for me, Bella, sweetie? That special kind at the store around the corner from your and Alice's apartment?"
Mrs. Brandon was a godsend. I nodded, gave her a hug, and drove back into the city. Dealing with the traffic was worth it to be able to rest at home for the rest of the night.
Next door to the small corner grocery store with the amazing whipped cream she wanted was a little mom and pop coffee shop. Even though I had planned on going straight home, I really didn't want to. What did I have waiting there for me there? Since my life sucked, absolutely nothing, so I figured that I'd step in and get myself a drink and maybe a muffin to snack on at home. I figured it'd be responsible to have something semi-healthy to go along with the barrage of chips, cookie dough and ice cream I was sure to consume later.
I strolled in without tripping (amazingly enough), little bells ringing as I opened the door. The place was surprisingly crowded on this day preceding the the birth of Christ, considering the lack of cars parked outside, but I figured that most of the people walked or took a cab; hardly anybody drove their own cars in the city. I stood in line, looking at their selection of pastries, deciding in the end on a cinnamon roll muffin to go with a lemon chai tea. Lemons were sour, like my mood, so it seemed fitting in a strange way, but those muffins were utterly delicious. I think things were evened out.
A scraggly old man who seemed to be missing teeth and wearing some dirty clothes—homeless, perhaps?— was in line in front of me. He sniffed me.
Well, you decided to leave Alice and her family behind for this. So, suck it up, Isabella Swan, I told myself as I slowly made my way up the counter, flashed the poor girl behind the counter a smile, and gave her my order. I received a weary smile in return before she turned to make my drink.
My order came up and I went back to the counter to grab it, bumping into someone on the way. It smelled like a guy: dark and musky but with a hint of something sweeter, like cookies... snickerdoodles, perhaps. My nose twitched.
"Oh! I'm sorry!" I said, glad that I didn't have my drink in my hand, yet.
"Quite alright," a velvety voice responded, making me stop dead in my tracks. I didn't want to look up and see this stranger's face, because if his voice was any indication of his looks, then I was in deep trouble; I had always had a weak spot for handsome men...
But, since I had said weak spot, I had to look. And I was both excited and disturbed by the outcome. I was greeted by familiar bronze hair, green eyes, and jeans (though loose) that were just tight enough to... I mentally sighed, remembering the last time I had sex. The seven months had made me nothing more than a large bundle of hormones. I decided to stop staring at his... jeans, shall we say, before I got caught, and continued my observation of the rest of his clothing that I had passed over in favor of the more interesting part of his anatomy.
That's when I saw it: an ugly red reindeer sweatshirt assaulted my vision. I tried not to laugh at the gorgeous man wearing the hideous clothes, but failed miserably.
He rolled his eyes, and I was afraid I'd offended him, but he chuckled, too. "My mom knit it for me. I wore it for the video conference I just had on the phone with her before I came here," he explained. I nodded, not trusting myself to be able to open my mouth without giggling again.
"Lemon tea and a cinnamon roll?" the barista called out again, and I turned to pick up my order. I turned back around and saw another glimpse of the sweater, so I burst out laughing once more.
He sighed with a small smile on his face, and took the sweater off, practically making me pant with the way he flexed his arms unconsciously as he did so, and the small silver of pale abdominals that were revealed for a moment before he pulled down the plain white shirt he was wearing underneath it. I tried not to ogle. I think I failed...
"Large hot chocolate!" the barista called, and he stepped around me, successfully stopping my eyes from wandering over his body.
"Shall we sit?" The man called over his shoulder to me, walking to the only empty table in the back corner. I followed silently, forgetting that I was supposed to be doing something, and sat down across from him, toying idly with the rim of my cup of tea and avoiding his gaze.
"Do you have a thing for lemons?" he asked, nodding at my tea after a moment of awkward silence. I wanted to laugh at his silly question.
"Not particularly," I responded quietly. Yes, I'm quite the conversationalist, I know. I decided to try again. "I was going for a theme, and it seemed to fit my mood at the moment."
"Sour?" he asked. I nodded, feeling a little stupid at my confession. He pushed his drink into my line of vision, and I stared at the plain hot chocolate for a moment before looking up at him. "Hot chocolate," he said as if it meant something. He rolled his eyes playfully at me and elaborated. "Dark."
"Ah..." I nodded.
"And plain. No milk, whipped cream, or anything to even try to spice it up. I accept it as is."
"And why is your Christmas Eve so dark and plain?" I wondered out loud. "Don't you have anyone to spend the holiday with to... spice it up?" I asked, borrowing his word.
"No. I attempted spending time with my best friend and his wife and family, but I felt as if I was intruding on their time together. And my parents are out of town; I unfortunately couldn't join them. You?" He took a long sip from his drink.
"I'm in a similar situation. I also tried to spend time with my friend's family, but I felt like a third wheel the whole time, especially watching her cozy up to her boyfriend."
He nodded knowingly. "And your family? What of them?"
I sighed. "This is my first Christmas away from both of my parents. They divorced when I was really young, and I tended to spend the holidays with Renee-"
"Yes. But when I got older, I realized how sad it must have made Charlie-"
"Your father." This time it wasn't a question. I smiled.
"Yes. He must have been lonely spending all that time alone, and I heard it in his voice when I talked to him over the phone. So I went with him one year, and Renee only made me feel guilty for it."
"That's not very maternal of her."
"I agree. It's always seemed like I'm the mother and she's the child in our relationship. But anyway, after a failed attempt at splitting the holiday time between them, we tried to have Christmas together. Charlie came out to Phoenix to see us, and they both argued a lot. I figured it was because Charlie felt uncomfortable around Phil. That would be my stepdad," I added in when he opened his mouth to confirm. He smirked at me, and I blushed slightly, looking down at the table to continue my story.
"So Renee and I went out to Forks, Washington to visit him the next year while Phil spent that time with his parents in Florida. But the fighting still went on because Forks makes Renee irritible."
"Hence her living so far away to Phoenix, yes?"
"Yes," I said once again. It was actually semi-therapeutic to get all this off my chest. "So, last year, they both came here. When they fought the whole time again, I figured out that the setting and current company had no bearing on it. They just couldn't get along. I may be an adult, but to them... Well, I'm the only thing they still want to fight over. This year I decided that I was tired of dealing with all their crap, so I would spend the holidays independently."
"But you didn't. You spent it with your friend."
"Yes, after Alice's insistent begging for a week straight. I kind of wish that I didn't tell her about my plans so I could have just stayed home in peace."
"And avoided all of this Holiday Spirit nonsense?"
"Like you?" I asked, nodding my head toward his sweater that he had folded neatly on the chair beside him.
"Hey, I'm with you, there. This season sucks. That... thing... was just to appease my mother since I couldn't be with her and my father."
"And why is it that you couldn't go with them on their trip?"
"I have work obligations to attend to tomorrow."
Oh! The mention of his work reminded me of why he looked so familiar when I first saw him.
Alice and I had gone to support Jasper at one of his guitar performances. Jasper had learned to play when he first met Alice and she said she had a thing for musicians, and Jasper had a thing for Alice. He had gone through a couple hundred dollars in lessons before discovering that Alice already liked him, and had simply meant that he would look even hawter (what can I say, we were freshmen in college!) as a musician. But Jasper still played in open mic nights at local venues sometimes. And that was where I had seen him: he was playing piano, and the program said he was a regular at the club, playing there almost every night. I had always wanted to go back, but never really had a reason to. Before now.
"You're playing somewhere," I said, responding to his earlier comment, and tearing the top off my muffin to try to keep my hands from fidgeting meaninglessly.
"Indeed." He seemed amused that I knew this, and raised his eyebrow in question.
"I've seen you. I just realized... My friend's boyfriend plays guitar sometimes and-"
"Can I, ah, butter your muffin for you?" he asked out of the blue.
"What?" I immediately blushed. I can't believe he just asked me that!!!!!
Wait. I looked down at my hands to see that they had been trying to occupy themselves and had made a mess, butter everywhere except on the actual muffin. I blushed even more.
He took that for a yes and he smiled, reaching out for it, his fingers grazing across mine as he held my hand that held the muffin still, taking the little plastic knife in his other hand to gently spread that butter all over my muffin.
I never thought I would be so turned on by unconscious innuendos involving baked goods. I looked up at his face, and he seemed unfazed. I figured that he didn't mean to have any double meanings to his words. I'm such a perv... the thought made me smile slightly.
"So, did you like my playing?" he asked, looking intently at the disposable knife as he set it down on a napkin.
"Well, I didn't hear much, but I was impressed by what I did hear," I answered honestly.
"Do you have plans for tomorrow?"
"I'm supposed to go back to Alice's," I said, suddenly remembering my mission to get the whipped cream for the pies. I could probably convince Alice to take it back to her parents herself so I could stay home.
"Well, I'm playing at this club off of..." his voice was cut off by the ringing of my cell phone. I looked at him apologetically as I fished it out of my big jacket pockets. The caller ID said it was Alice; I didn't want to answer.
"Where are you?" she asked sternly when I finally picked up.
"At a coffee shop. I stopped in on my way to get the-"
"Coffee shop? We have coffee here, Bella. You didn't need to waste your money. Why did you run out of here, Bella?" Another cell phone rang in the background, and the man (whose name I still didn't know) took out his phone and answered it. "Is that a man with you, Bella?" She asked, a shocked edge to her voice.
"Um, yes?" I said, not wanting him to hear what we were talking about.
"And you're having coffee with him?" she confirmed.
"Actually I'm drinking tea." Her questions were starting to grate on my Grinch-esque nerves.
"Okay! Stay there! Don't come back until you have a date with him!" She yelled through the phone, making me wince, before she hung up.
I put the cell back in my pocket and was embarrassed by the cocky smirk on the man's face. He had obviously heard Alice's parting words, though he was polite enough not to comment on the second half.
"So Mommy said you're allowed to stay and hang out after dark?" he teased.
"Yes. I've been such a good girl all this time, she doesn't expect I'll do anything naughty as of now."
His eyes narrowed playfully. "Of course you won't. If you're a naughty girl, Santa won't give you anything good."
"Santa..." I scoffed, breaking up our little banter.
"You really don't like Christmas, do you?" he asked.
"Can you blame me?"
"I suppose not, but it's still somewhat surprising."
The bells on the door chimed again and I looked to them automatically, seeing a couple around my age walk in, holding hands and wearing matching reindeer antler headbands. They were so cute it made me sad. I sighed. He looked at me, at the couple, and back to me.
"I get it. You don't want to hate this time of year, you've just never had someone show you what a good time it could be."
"I suppose. I don't see that changing any time soon," I said, trying to keep my tone even, though hope was springing up at the look in his eyes.
"Come on," he said, grabbing my hand and hauling me out of my seat.
"Come where?" I asked, only barely trying to resist.
"I'm going to make sure we both have a good Christmas. I bet you don't even have a Christmas tree!" he said, unlocking the door to a shiny silver volvo that just happened to be parked next to my rickety old truck. I pretended I didn't recognize it.
"Well, maybe I don't, but that doesn't mean I should get into a car with a stranger whose name I don't even know."
He turned to look at me and extended his hand. I shook it. "I'm Edward Cullen. I'm a twenty-four year old struggling musician with a crappy apartment and no siblings. My parents are Carlisle, who is a surgeon, and Esme, an interior designer. They are fifty-three and fifty-one years old, and consider me their pride and joy. They still don't know that I didn't get my degree in business like they think they paid for. Is that enough information for you to trust me, and come on a ride with me?"
Hell, yes. "I suppose," I sighed. "Don't you want to know my name, too?"
"If you feel like telling me," he grinned, opened the passenger door to his car and taking my hand to help me in.
"Bella Swan," I said, and he kissed the back of my hand before letting go.
"I'm delighted to meet you, Bella Swan." Then he closed the door and ran over to the driver's side, turning the key and blasting the heater. "Let's go find us some Holiday Spirit, now shall we?"
"'Holiday Spirit' huh?" Is that what the kids are calling it these days... I smirked and blushed at my internal dialogue, and Edward looked over at me curiously. I shook my head, not wanting to tell him what I was thinking.
"Soooo...." I said. He glanced at me to let me know he was paying attention. "What exactly is the plan?"
"Christmas trees. Isn't that the number one holiday thing that needs to be done?"
"I suppose so. Wait, trees?"
"I told you that I wasn't too into Christmas, either. It's not my fault you didn't believe me," he teased.
"Oh? Why the sudden interest then?"
"Well, I suppose I just had no incentive before. But doing it to cheer up a pretty girl..." I blushed and he continued. "That makes it worth it."
There were Christmas trees everywhere in the tiny lot Edward had taken me to. I was surprised, what with it being so close to Christmas and all, having expecting to only find one of those Charlie Brown trees, but these here were pretty big and full with branches and pine needles. It was enough to make me want to squeal. But adult women with hot men don't squeal in excitement. At least, not out loud. Or... Yeah, that woman would not be shopping for a tree while doing such, at least.
"Pick any one that you want, Bella." He grinned and I smiled back, nodding with a bit of child-like glee.
"You don't want to pick?" I asked him still, simply out of good manners and politeness. I was already eyeing this one monster of a pine; it was calling out to me.
"I'm sure that I will enjoy any tree that you want."
That was a perfect answer and I didn't need any more pushing from him to start striding over to my monster. It was tall and firm: a gorgeous tree by all standards. I glanced at it, then back at Edward who was standing behind me, an appreciative look in his eyes as he, too, stared at my tree.
"Are you sure you want to buy a tree?" I needed to make sure.
"Yes. I need to get you into the Holiday Spirit," he teased me with a smile. "Is this the one that you want, then?"
It was a behemoth of a tree, and I wasn't exactly sure how Edward would strap the bad boy to his car... But hey, he wanted to and I was actually excited about it, which was the point. "Yes. This is exactly the one that I want."
The guy who ran the lot helped Edward secure the tree onto his car. I tried to help, but my version of help usually ended up as being a pain for everyone when it comes to lifting heavy objects. Or walking or breathing in general. Instead, I stood back, watching them struggle a bit with it. I realized, while staring at the tree, it wasn't so much tall as it was thick.
"Do you two want some mistletoe with that?" The lot owner asked us, taking a glance at me before turning to Edward. I blushed. Edward rolled his eyes.
Then he paid for the tree. I offered to help pay for half, after all, he was the one having to drive with it, but he waved off my offers, telling me that it was his right as a gentleman and that he had offered to give me a Christmas in the first place.
"I'm paying for the ornaments," I called after him as he headed back to the car. Gentleman or not, I wasn't going to let him pay for it all. He didn't give acknowledgment to my demand. Maybe he didn't hear me or maybe he chose not to. In the end, all that really mattered was that I knew that I said it, right? Right?
We got into his volvo again, driving now towards the nearest Walgreen's. We grabbed the last few cheap ornaments that the store had, colorful balls and some of those glittery snowflakes that break easily when you held them the wrong way. Edward chose classy white lights—mostly because they were the cheapest—while I picked up some silver tinsel for half a dollar. We collaborated on our topper. I wanted an angel. He wanted a more fanciful angel that he said seemed to resemble me a bit. Finally, we just grabbed a star, forgetting the whole "angel" idea. Our final stop of the store was the refrigerated section, taking out a carton of eggnog, a holiday tradition.
Then there we were, checking out, my credit card in hand... when he stepped out in front of the machine, blocking me.
I tripped over myself—not surprisingly—and crashed right into his back, my face pressed into his jacket. Wow, his scent was even better up close. Edward seemed unaffected, as always, by the fact that I had fallen right into him. He just handed his money over to the cashier.
I righted myself, standing up and stepping back a few steps to stay out of his way. "I told you that I would pay, Edward. It wasn't a big deal to me."
He smiled as he handed me one of the bags. "It wasn't to me either."
The whole gentleman thing was actually turning me on. He was really good at it, and didn't make it seemed forced.
And then we pulled up in front of an apartment building and Edward was out of the car, opening my door for me before I had even finished unbuckling my seatbelt. He handed me the shopping bags, and singlehandedly hauled the tree up. It was quite the sight to see him pulling, pushing, tugging, and cursing for three flights of stairs.
Edward paused when we got to the door. "Ummm..." he began, clearly uncomfortable as he shifted from foot to foot.
"What?" I asked.
"I didn't really think this through at the beginning..."
"Oh," I said, hurt. "You don't want me to see your place. That's fine, I'll just-"
"No! That's not it. I just... it's not the fanciest place in the city, and it's really sloppy, and I don't think I even have room for a Christmas tree," he blushed, looking at the floor.
I ran my fingers through his hair reassuringly until he looked me in the eyes. "We'll make room."
He smiled, and began to unlock the many deadbolts on his door. Four minutes later, we were inside. And it was exactly what he had described it to be: a small studio apartment with a miniscule kitchen and dishes all over the counters in the far corner, clothes and assorted items strewn across the little floor space, a surprisingly nice bed that wasn't made, and an extremely large piano (the only thing that was completely spotless in the place).
I picked up a hat on the table next to the door and put it on my head. It was so big it flopped over my eyes.
"What are you doing?" he asked, a warmness to his eyes.
"I'm putting on my thinking cap. We gotta fit a mammoth tree in here somehow." He chuckled and wove his way through the chairs and couch into the kitchen to put the eggnog in the fridge while I inspected the place.
"Okay, I have a plan," I told him, my hands on my hips. He raised an eyebrow at my determined stance, but I barely bothered to blush. "Help me move this crap—no offense—out of the way, and we'll move the couch against that wall, and put the chairs on top. Then the coffee table will be pushed right against it and we'll move the TV on top of that. The box has to go, though," I playfully teased, talking about the cardboard container that was both what the television it was purchased and the television stand.
He snorted and complied with my wishes, leaving an open space just big enough for the tree after we loaded his bed down with all the stuff that was lying around. Once the tree was in place, Edward turned on the TV, adjusted the antennae, put on a slightly static-y Frosty the Snowman, poured us some liquored up eggnog (the only way that stuff is drinkable; I'll always thank Renee for showing me that wonderful trick during my twenty-first Christmas), and started unpacking the Christmas lights. He just ended up with a big knot.
I giggled as I took the ball of lights from him and got to untangling. But then my happy thoughts were put on the back burner. "Why are you spending this time with me?"
"Because I want to," he answered simply and without hesitation. "And we both needed to recapture the fun of this time of the year," he added, smiling and bumping shoulders with me as he tangled more lights.
"No, I mean you don't have a girlfriend you should be with instead?" I asked, dreading his answer.
"Afraid not." He continued to smile.
"Boyfriend, then?" Well, in this day and age, a girl never knew, right?
"Do I come off as a gay?"
"Well, no..." But still... Any gay man would be crazy not to want him.
"Do you have a boyfriend?" he asked, carefully avoiding my gaze and frowning slightly.
"No." I chanced a glance at him and was satisfied to see a small smile reappear on his lips at my answer. "Now let's try stringing these lights before you make them even worse!"
He smiled at me sheepishly. Obviously he had never worked with the tree lights before. Doing Christmas with Renee had taught me that you should never let anybody mess with the lights if they didn't know how to handle them. Else wise... your tree would catch on fire.
After I untangled them from the mess he had created, we began to string them up, circling them around the tree (starting at the bottom instead of the top due to my being vertically challenged) and we were working great together, passing the lights back and forth around the beastly tree. Our pace was nice and steady, and we filled his apartment with our idle chatter.
About midway through as I was placing the lights on the branches, I noticed something that didn't quite belong. I reached in, pulling out a sprig of mistletoe. "I wonder how this got in here..." I murmured out loud, looking around the tree to Edward as I held it up.
"I wonder," he said in return, smoothly struggling his way over to me and planting a light kiss on my cheek. A blush lit up my face when I realized that the mistletoe was held up between us. Quite by accident, really. I hadn't planned that; if I had then I would have been more subtle about it.
"If you're going to stick with tradition, do it right..." I said boldly, unsure of what I was going to do now. I held the mistletoe above his head, returning with a traditional kiss... one with my lips pressed against his. "There."
We stared at each other, a little awkwardly, for a moment. I gazed into his green eyes, pressing myself forward as he began moving toward me in the same manner. We were about to kiss again until...
My damn phone went off.
"Goddamn it," I murmured, pulling away and flipping the phone open. It was a text message.
Have you gotten a date with him yet?
I wanted to kill Alice.
Edward chuckled as he read what she wrote. He grabbed the phone from my hands and typed back something to her, not letting me see what it was.
Then he shut my phone off, smiling devilishly at me. "She won't be disturbing you for a while. And you're in the clear for spending tomorrow however you would like."
"Oh, good. Thanks," I said to him, trying to smile. I was in the clear? Do whatever I want? What did he say to her? And how did he accomplish such a feat so easily?
He tossed my phone onto his bed before he cupped my cheek, interrupting the theories of what was in the message he sent back to Alice. Startled, I stared at him, my lips parted slightly. He took my preoccupation away as our mouths connected again, but it wasn't a light kiss. No, this was full-on lip action. I could hear myself sigh into his mouth as he drew me closer, his hands slowly sliding from my face, down my arms, and finally settled somewhere around my waist, his strong fingers holding on to me. I leaned my body against him, or maybe it was something along the lines of pressing myself into him, my hands caught between us. My fingers were sprawled against his chest, and I could feel the muscles beneath his shirt move. He had never put that hideous sweater back on.
This was too much, too fast. I felt dizzy, light headed. I pulled away from that expert mouth of his in a daze, wearing a hopefully not-too-silly smile. My eyes landed on his piano. A distraction! "Will you play something for me?"
"Of course." He took my hand and led me over to the bench, sitting us both down. I could feel our thighs touching and electricity seemed to connect us together. "What would you like to hear?" he said softly, his lips brushing my ear.
"Anything," I whispered back.
"Hmmm..." he said, putting thought into what to play. When did the air begin crackling with such sexual tension? Was it the moment we even entered the apartment... Or when I found the mistletoe? I think it was when I first ran into him, but it hadn't been this intense back then.
"A fan of Billy Joel?" he asked.
I nodded mutely, afraid to speak in case I said something incredibly stupid to him and tried to suppress the shivers running up and down my spine.
Then his fingers started moving on the keys. A simple and vaguely familiar melody played for a few seconds before his voice joined in, taking me by surprise with it's deep, sultry tone, but his voice was soft, and I thought that maybe he was hesitating as he crooned, afraid of what I might think. But when I opened my eyes, I saw it wasn't because he was just singing for me or at me... It was to me.
"She's got a way about her
I don't know what it is
But I know that I can't live without her"
I held my breath at his words as he kept playing, and put my hand on his thigh to try to steady myself as Billy Joel's sweet words were made even more beautiful by Edward's silky voice. His voice grew stronger as his stage fright faded.
"She's got a way of pleasing
I don't know what it is
But there doesn't have to be a reason anyway"
At this point I was practically shaking. I wondered why in the world he was a struggling musician if he could perform like this. A simple tune, simple words, but so much power and emotion behind them, and such talent that I wanted to melt into the piano bench.
"She comes to me when I'm feeling down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me
And I get turned around
She's got a way of showing
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on going"
I suddenly felt as if I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to kiss him. Now. But I didn't really want him to stop singing such beautiful words to me...
"She's got a light around her
And everywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround-"
I only felt a little bad about interrupting his song. His performance might have been amazing, but his kisses were even better. Lunging would sound too crazy, but I had pounced on Edward mid-tune, wrapping my arms around his neck. Now our chests were pushed together, my legs slightly overlapping his as we tried to get as close as possible in a short amount of time. His fingers laced through my hair, holding my head back as he attacked my mouth with feverish passion.
These weren't soft mistletoe kisses, but the full on interaction of two mature adults. His tongue flicked along my lips, as if asking for open passage, which I was only too willing to grant him. Mad and wild sparks of electricity seemed to light where our bodies touched as we explored each other.
"I guess I picked the right song," he whispered in my ear before ravaging my neck.
"Yes," I practically moaned. "Perfect song."
"Since you wouldn't let me get the angel that made me think of you, I hoped the song would do," he said between nips and kisses.
"Mmm," was all I could get out, my hands wrapped in his hair, pushing his lips even closer to me. My mind was slowly slipping away from me, forgetting that we had just met with every swipe of his fantastic tongue.
I turned to straddle the piano bench so I could face him even better, but he had other ideas. Pulling his hand from my hair, he gripped me by my hips until he pulled me onto his lap, my back to the keys, straddling him. I twisted away from his amazingly addictive mouth, trailing kisses along his jaw line, tracing my way up to his ear. His breath came out in a hiss as I nibbled the ear lobe, finding one of those sensitive spots on him. I couldn't help but giggle as he pushed me tighter against the piano, causing a few keys to go off loudly.
And that was one of the reasons I couldn't resist this man: he had the best ideas. Why straddle a piano bench when I could have my legs wrapped around the man who owned said bench and be doing this to him?
I kissed him fiercely and slipped my hand under his shirt, raking my nails lightly over his skin. I remembered the brief glance I had gotten of his abs earlier, and did my best to memorize the feel of those glorious muscles.
Nope. It would be much easier without his shirt on. I could take off his shirt and not succumb to my hormones, right? I figured it'd be worth the risk.
I started pushing off the white shirt and when he got the point, he put his hands over mine, making my clumsy movements fluid and graceful. We made a good team. And when he was revealed to me, I bit back a gasp. He was truly the most handsome man I'd ever seen. He chuckled at my reaction and I was reminding of his song.
"But I have to laugh when she reveals me..."
It really was a perfect song. His whole torso was beautiful, as though sculpted from marble. I ran my hands slowly up and down his chest, lightly touching him. It was becoming a blur, touching and kissing as I continued tracing his skin with my eyes and hands, debating if he'd mind if I'd use my tongue as well. Probably not. I stood us up and the bench fell backwards with a loud Bang! that neither of us paid any attention to as I sat down on the keys, making the most annoying and erotic sound ever heard.
I kissed down his chest and he seemed to stop breathing. I was proud that I had that effect on him.
"She touches me and I get turned around..."
When I got down to his happy trail, I could visually see how much what I did effected him. He was definitely excited about what was happening.
"She's got a way of pleasing..."
His hand moved up and began to touch my stomach as well and I pushed our bodies even closer together, making more noises come from the piano as I shifted slightly.
"Edward," I breathed out.
"Bella, I want you," he said, his eyes both apologetic for admitting this and also full of desire. I didn't like that first look, but the second drove me wild.
"I want you, too," I told him, finally deciding to let my hormones take over. I wouldn't stop this like I had after Alice's text message. I would get myself some "Holiday Spirit" tonight.
"Oh, thank God," he breathed, and glanced behind him. "The damn bed is occupied. Let me go clean it off," he growled at me, his eyes dark with desire.
But I couldn't let him go. Not now. We couldn't lose the moment and realize that we were still strangers. "No no nonono. Here is fine."
And that's all it took.
He picked me up, my legs wrapped around his waist as he placed me on top of the piano. His hips bucked forward, and I could feel his erection again through his already crotch-tight jeans. A soft, nearly inaudible moan escaped from my mouth on feeling it against me, so close to where I felt the need for it.
He reacted to that, his mouth pressed tight against my throat as he kissed and nibbled the skin there and I pressed my hips up, rubbing up against him as he grabbed at my shirt, pulling it off and tossing it somewhere behind us. In the next instant, all I knew was a slight chill as my bra had became lost somewhere on the apartment floor as well until Edward's hot mouth covered one of my hardening nipples, sucking on it in a way that made me moan... Loudly.
I arched my back to the sensation, letting my eyes close as my head tilted back. One of his hands crept around, holding me against him by the hand on the small of my back. His other began to knead the unattended breast, squeezing and pinching and eliciting a loud gasp from me.
I reached for those jeans of his that I had admired so much earlier all that time ago in the coffee shop, unbuttoning them with ease, the zipper coming down in the same second. "Edward," I choked out his name, finding it hard to catch my breath. My stomach, and lower regions, were tightening with wonderful excitement.
His reply came out in a soft grunt as he seemed to read my mind, and he shimmied out of his jeans, kicking them off. A pair of gray boxers (being pulled in the front by a large surprise of sorts for me) was revealed as he did away with the inhibiting cloth.
I didn't wait, didn't linger, as I shunned my own off. There we were, me on the piano, him standing between my thighs, and the two of us only in our boxers and boyshorts, panting, aroused, itching to attack one another. I reached for him as he reached for me, our kisses wild.
"She's got a way of pleasing..."
My breasts were pressed to his chest and my hands roamed his back, cupped his perfect buttocks. He groaned loudly at my nails tracing patterns on his skin. The sound made me moan in return.
When his hand began massaging my inner thigh, I knew that this was it. We had come too far to move away, and I was all for staying as long as I could. "Edward," I moaned as his genius fingers found the front of my soaked boy shorts. Voluntarily, my legs moved open a little more as he rubbed against my outer lips through the cotton. My hips moved up, pressing against his hand. I whimpered a bit, my eyes meeting his in silent plea.
He gracefully—in part—answered my request, sliding his cool fingers under the material, touching the wet and hot skin that lay hidden still. On my thigh, growing hot and hard to ignore, his erection throbbed. When he didn't enter me, and his fingers merely danced along without doing exactly what I wanted, I groaned loudly, grabbing at his wrist. He chuckled, a dark and wholly exciting sound that had me panting even more.
"She's got a way of pleasing..."
"Please." I began tugging at his boxers, letting his package free from its prison. My hand wrapped around his shaft, feeling bold and brazen and no longer in the mood to play around, as he was doing to me with his cruel teasing.
Somehow... my underwear must have been made of cheap fabric or something... he ripped my boyshorts clean off of my body. His naked member pressed hotly against my moist flesh, rubbing against me in a painfully teasing manner. I moaned his name, wrapping my legs tightly around his waist to bring him closer to me.
With one smooth thrust, he pushed himself inside of me with a soft growl, filling me in a way I had never felt. Like he was meant to fit. I claimed his mouth with my own, smothering mutual moans as he pulled out and thrust back in. My arms gripped his shoulders tightly, trying to hold onto him as my body was swept along with the tides of our sex. Letting myself go for only a moment, I caught on to his rhythm, tilting my head back to expose my neck as I matched him pump for pump, thrust for thrust, random piano notes playing in the background every time either of us moved. His hands held tightly to my hips, his fingers digging into my skin with probably the same strength that my grip was on him. I'd more than likely be a little bruised in the morning, but at this moment I didn't feel anything bad, nor did I care about a few bruises. Those were nothing new to me.
The smell of sweat and sex lingered in the air, the former giving us a simple sheen on our skin and the latter arousing us even more. Mingling moans, loud pants, and whimpered names fell from our lips when they weren't preoccupied with one another.
"She's got a way of pleasing..."
My body began to tense, and I begged Edward to continue in a voice I couldn't quite manage to sound like my normal self. His mouth found its way to my neck and the moment that he bit down—surprisingly gentle for the vigorous workout we were going through—and began nibbling on me, I moaned his name loud enough for neighbors to hear as my walls clenched around him with my orgasm. He came a moment later, his body resting against mine as we struggled to catch our breaths. His arms slid around me now, holding me tightly. I grabbed his face with my hands, kissing him over and over until each part of his face had been touched by my lips.
"Wow," I said. How anti-climatic.
"'She's got a way of pleasing'," he responded, making me giggle slightly that we were having similar thoughts.
"Were you hoping for that when you sang that song?" I asked him, glaring playfully and smacking his arm lightly.
"Are you kidding? I was hoping for that since you ran into me at the coffee shop! I was debating pretending you'd injured me so you could 'make it up' to me," he smirked.
"You're such a perv!" I said, pretending to be appalled at his confession. In reality, I was just flattered.
"I didn't do it, did I?" he pointed out. "Instead I tried to go for the 'Mysterious Guy Talking Up A Beautiful Woman' act."
"And I ruined that by recognizing you," I smiled. "Too bad you had to settle for the 'Incredibly Talented Musician Talking Up A Beautiful Woman' routine instead. Sad." I put on an exaggerated pout for him, which became real when he stepped away from me.
"Don't give me that look," he said over his shoulder, successfully guessing my demeanor and making me smile. "I'm just going to try to clear off the bed. Someone was just too horny to let me do it earlier," he said, turning to smirk at me. I blushed at how true his words were.
I watched his cute butt with the dimples walk over to his bed, and just push everything off, cluttering the floor again. He walked back to me and held his hand out, guiding me through the chaos on the floor without falling, and he pulled back the covers for us both to climb in.
"What a way to find the Holiday Spirit," I joked.
"Holiday Spirit, eh? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?" he smirked. And once again I must say: that's why this man was so irresistible. We were so alike and complimented each other in so many ways.
I just shook my head.
"I'm so glad I got that mistletoe," he grinned.
"You got it?" I asked, surprisingly not too shocked at this revelation. He nodded in confirmation; he seemed to have set up this whole night for us to end it happily together. The words from his song reverberated through my head. She's got a way about her. I don't know what it is, but I know that I can't live without her... somehow, even though I knew that part of this night was premeditated, I also knew that he wasn't just using me for sex. He was using me for me, and I couldn't be happier that her wanted me.
I tried to stifle a yawn. Our... aerobic exercises... on the piano as well as my heavy thoughts had taken a lot out of me. He chuckled and snuggled against my back. "A million dreams of love surround her. Everywhere," he whispered in my ear, and I drifted off to the sound of his sweet voice in my ear.
In the morning I awoke to the smell of fresh baked goods. I stretched out and sat up, eyeing Edward, only wearing his boxers in the kitchen, burning his fingers as he tried to take a hot muffin pan out of the oven with his bare hand.
"Shit!" he whisper-swore. I giggled quietly at how he didn't want to wake me.
I shifted to get out of bed and my foot kicked something inside the covers. I glanced up at Edward, who had his back to me, muttering curses under his breath as he popped the muffins out of the tin. I reached under the covers and pulled out... my cell phone!
I turned it on to check for any messages. I had three from Alice. The most recent said:
Bella... you better be fucking dead or getting laid for not answering me! You never came home last night!
I smiled and read the second one.
Hey B! Are you still with him? Did he turn out to be a weirdo so you ditched him? He seemed nice. Let me know if you're coming tomorrow still so I can set you up with my cousin Jacob like I told you before! He's really sweet and has a great sense of humor.
I ignored that one. Then there was the oldest one.
B's date! Are you cute? Are you funny? Do you deserve her? Expect me to interrogate you intently when I meet you!
And that was when I remembered that Edward had sent her a message last night. I looked in my outbox to see what he said to her.
This is Edward, Bella's companion for the evening. She will be indisposed for quite a bit of time as I show her what the Christmas season is about in hopes of lifting her mood, and Yes, I'll be taking her out with me tomorrow. Have no fear, Alice, your girl has game.
And then I texted Alice, telling her I was alright and not to worry. And to pick up some whipped cream for her mom before she left town to drive back to her parents for the day's festivities. And I was mystified by her response.
Sure thing! Have fun on your date today!
"Sleeping Beauty awakes and checks her phone messages first thing," Edward smirked, bringing a plate of breakfast food over to the bed.
"Yeah... I kicked it when I moved around," I smiled at him, studiously ignoring the slight burns on his hands, since he seemed not to want to admit to hurting himself.
"Good morning," he said, his eyes warm as he kissed me lightly.
"Mmmm, good morning," I replied, savoring his scent and taste.
We worked slowly through his breakfast until there were only two Lemon Muffins left.
"Lemon?" I asked, confused. "What are you feeling sour about?"
He rolled his eyes. "Not every food and drink item has to have a significance, does it?" I just looked at him. "Fine. I'm a little pissed that you knew me before, but I didn't know you. If I had seen you at the club when you saw me, we could have been together a lot sooner." He looked at the plate, avoiding my eyes.
"Edward." He didn't look up. "Edward..." He met my eyes reluctantly.
She comes to me when I'm feeling down... His words came back to me.
"Timing is unimportant. Only the end result is."
He let out his signature half-grin. "I believe you. So we're going to The Flaming Torch for my Christmas performance tonight," he said, naming the club where I had first seen him.
I love how he just said it, not asking. He wasn't trying to control me and he wasn't telling me what to do; he just knew that I would go. Because of course I would. "I know that I can't live without her," he had sang to me. And I knew he meant it.
"Sounds good. What time?"
"We need to be there around three for the sound check," he said as I ripped off the top to one of those delectable lemon muffins.
"Bella," he said in a deep voice. I looked up and saw the same lust in his eyes that I saw so very well last night.
I cleared my throat in anticipation.
"I'd really like to butter your muffin," he said, sex dripping from his voice.
Oh, thank GOD he was thinking the same thing in that coffee shop as me...
"You better," I said, setting the plate on the floor for another round of Holiday Spirit.
"She's got a way of pleasing me," he sang into my ear one last time before his lips touched mine again.
And there we have it! I hope it was as amazing to you as WE think it is hahaha
Bonus points to anyone who can pick out something that was specifically my writing style... points in the form of: a peek into what happens next in any of my stories in either of my accounts!
Thanks for reading!
Your Favorite Muffin