Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Or Edward – Or Robert – Damn it.
"Dad," I said, trying to pry Charlie's eyes away from the game.
I cleared my throat and tried once more.
"Dad," I called out again, a bit more forcefully this time.
"Huh?" he asked lazily, not moving from his current slumped position from the couch.
"Daaadd," I whined.
That did it. I always got my way when I pulled out the little girl whining voice. He couldn't resist. Men were too easy.
Well, human men were.
He came out of his game induced haze and finally looked over at me.
"Where are you off to then?" he asked, eyeing me suspiciously.
I was wearing my heavy winter coat and wellies. My right hand was already twisting the front door handle, and my left was toying with my truck keys.
"I'm going over to Edward's dad. I told you that. They're decorating the house and invited me over for hot chocolate."
He didn't need to know that it was only going to be me having any hot chocolate.
His brow creased in frustration. He had not been pleased with either of us lately – but I could hardly blame him. After all, I had lounged around the house in a lethargic near-catatonic state for months when Edward and his family had left me last year.
Charlie had tried to get me to move on, but all of his efforts were in vain. He was beyond shocked when I had suddenly disappeared for three days, only to come back with Edward at my side a few months ago.
He was obviously not pleased that we were back together, even though I had tried on numerous occasions to reassure him that everything was now fine.
Charlie cleared the scowl off of his face when I started to open the front door. I was leaving, with or without his permission.
He looked down at his watch.
"Just wait one minute young lady. It's nine o'clock. Don't you have school tomorrow?"
I rolled my eyes in frustration, and stood in the now open door.
"Dad – it's Christmas break, remember? We got done last Friday. It's Tuesday. You know, two days before Christmas? Besides, my curfew isn't until midnight, right?"
"Hmph" was the only response I got from him.
"See you later then," I called out, shutting the door behind me.
I was not in the mood to argue with Charlie for another twenty minutes. That would only cut into my time with Edward tonight. It would probably take that long to get to his house by myself anyways.
When Edward drove, it took around eight minutes to get from my front door to his. When I drove it was an entirely different story. It probably only took Edward five minutes to get to the cut-off road leading up to his house, but it took me around fifteen minutes to find the damn thing. And then – it took another five to ten minutes to actually drive up to his house.
I opened my truck door and started the engine with a roar. It may have power, but it certainly does not get me anywhere quickly. Damn slow truck.
I sighed and backed out of my driveway. When I got out into the street and put the truck into drive, I glanced back at the house. All of the lights were off, but the soft blue flickering of the television could be seen through the front window.
I smiled to myself, knowing Charlie was happy about Edward's return deep down. He liked to pretend to be angry with both of us, but having a vampire boyfriend who can read your dad's thoughts does come in handy.
I looked back towards the road, and pressed the gas pedal. The truck lurched forward and I soon found myself about a half a mile from where I thought the cut off road was. I was about to start frantically searching the side of the road where I had once laid a piece of reflective tape out on the road, but there was no need. Just ahead, there were two trees wrapped in hundreds of white Christmas lights.
I should have known.
I turned happily, and easily, onto the street leading up to the Cullen's house. Every twenty feet or so, another pair of trees were wrapped in more white lights, leading my way up to the gigantic house.
When I finally pulled through the tree-lined drive, I was nearly blinded.
The Griswold's house from Christmas Vacation immediately popped into my head.
There had to be at least a hundred individual different strands of lights draped over the entire house. I vaguely wondered how the city was powering this amount of wattage while I pulled up to park behind Edward's car.
But I didn't wonder anything for too long – because there he was, waiting for me on the front porch. I shut off my engine and smiled over at him.
He looked so beautiful in the soft glow of the Christmas lights. My breath caught in my throat as he smiled back at me and made his way over to my truck, where I was still sitting like a lump. I turned my head to follow his approach as he came around to open my door. I was captivated by him.
"Hello beautiful. I was wondering what was keeping you. I didn't think it would be a problem tonight, with or without the reflective tape."
Crap. I just knew I wasn't gonna get away with that one.
I felt my face heat up and I looked down, embarrassed.
He took one cool finger and brought it up under my chin, bringing my gaze up to meet his.
"I'm glad you're here. Now do you want to go decorate with everyone, or what?"
I smiled and nodded at him. I was too afraid that my voice would betray me and give away just how embarrassed I really was. I hated being embarrassed, especially when it came to something I said or did in front of Edward.
I turned my body to get out of the truck finally. It had gotten cold when I turned off the ignition, and I was ready to go inside, but Edward did not step out of the way to let me climb down.
I glanced up at him curiously, but he only stepped closer towards me. He was now standing in between my legs.
I opened my mouth to protest, but I was silenced with his lips on mine.
He caught me a bit by surprise, but I quickly relaxed into the kiss, closing my eyes and savoring the flavor of him on my tongue.
Just when I was going to deepen the kiss and lean into him, he of course broke off and pulled away. He was always doing that, and it was getting a bit old.
He must have read the annoyed and dissatisfied expression on my face, because he started to chuckle at my scowl.
I opened my eyes reluctantly.
"Bella, you're shivering. Let's go inside."
I deepened my frown. I knew he would think I was cold because of the current temperature, snow covered surrounding, and the fact that he was cold to the touch.
What he didn't know was that his kiss was the real culprit. He was making me crazy. I mean, literally crazy. My body didn't want to accept it when he pulled away. My mind went into overdrive every time he kissed me. I needed a release. And soon.
Boy was I glad that Edward couldn't read my thoughts, because I was embarrassed to admit that if he kept up this current level of sexual frustration and tension he was throwing at me, I just might have to take things into my own hands. Literally.
And there comes the second blush of the evening. I was embarrassing myself again in front of him – well, internally.
He just chuckled again, and pulled me out of the truck.
"Come on before you catch a cold. I want you to be healthy and well for Christmas. I have plans, you know," he said, arching one eyebrow at me.
"Ugh, Edward – I've told you a million times. I don't want to make Christmas a big deal this year. Can't we just spend time together?"
"Well, I didn't say presents, did I? I said plans," he replied with a grin on his face.
I slammed the door of my truck closed behind me and followed him up the stairs to the front door. He reached for the knob, and before he ushered me inside to the warmth of the house, I looked up at him.
"Well, as long as you didn't say presents. I really, really don't want you guys to make a big fuss over me this year. I wouldn't know what to get you guys in return. My gifts are gonna be lame enough as it is. I mean, Newton's Outfitters doesn't pay that good, you know?"
I was so nervous about my gift for not only Edward, but the ones I had gotten for the rest of the Cullen's as well. This was the first Christmas that I would be spending with someone other than Renee and Phil.
I felt a bit bad that I would be spending Christmas day with my boyfriend instead of my father, but Charlie had already told me that it was okay. Once he made out the holiday schedule for the police squad and gave himself the day off, he immediately made plans to go fishing with his best bud Billy Black out in La Push for the day.
I was shocked when Charlie had asked Alice last week if it was okay that I spent the night on Christmas. Of course she had immediately agreed – she knew I was itching to spend the night at their house, in Edward's bed.
Edward just had to be stubborn about it – about everything. He was going to make a fuss about the whole ordeal, and it really got under my skin – in more ways than one.
I was still standing in the open doorway waiting for his response. He was scowling.
"Bella, I've already told you, I don't want you to spend your money on me – on any of us. We're just so happy that you want to spend the day with us. Now get yourself inside before you catch cold. I mean it."
I smirked up at him and turned towards the door he was holding open for me.
He swatted my behind as I walked past him – something he had never done before.
I turned around and gawked at him.
"Edward…" I said, my mouth hanging open.
He just chuckled again and nodded towards the back of the house, so I turned back around and made my way into the winter wonderland that was being constructed in the living room.
"I'm going to go find Jasper, alright?" he asked. "He's out back asking for my help. Is that okay?"
I nodded at him.
"Can I go put your coat up for you?" he asked.
I shrugged out of it and handed it over to him before turning my attention back to the living room. He walked off with my coat towards the entry way behind me.
"Hello Bella. We're so glad you could come and help us tonight," Esme said from the corner of the room.
"Thanks for inviting me," I said, turning around to gawk at the humongous tree that she and Rosalie were currently decorating. I smiled at her before a slight movement behind the tree caught my eye.
I looked behind Esme and Rosalie, only to find a fifteen foot ladder that was partially hidden behind the back of the tree.
My eyes followed the rungs upward, and found Carlisle perched atop it. He was hanging a few ornaments near the top of the tree with his left hand, and holding out a giant star tree topper in his right hand.
"Bella, it's so nice to see you again," he said once I made eye contact with him.
"Thank you Dr. Cullen. I'm glad to be here."
"Bella, I've told you before, please call me Carlisle," he said, smiling down at me.
I smiled back up at him and nodded.
It was a rare occasion that I was here at the Cullen's. It felt normal to have Edward come over to my house since I had been on lockdown for so long earlier in the year. It somehow felt oddly formal to come over here, so I followed suit by calling Carlisle Dr. Cullen once again.
I just needed to relax, that was all. It had just been a while since I had seen any of them besides Edward and Alice, whom I still saw at school everyday.
Emmett and Rosalie had just returned from a long European honeymoon, and Jasper had been attending school at Cornell, but was currently home on Christmas break.
I looked back down at Esme, who was smiling up at Carlisle with a loving look on her face. I noticed Rosalie had stopped her decorating and was looking at me.
"Hello Bella," she said.
"Hi Rosalie," I responded meekly.
Our relationship had certainly improved since Edward and I had returned from Italy last spring, but we still were on shaky ground. Polite indifference was our new repertoire.
"How was your vacation with Emmett?" I asked.
Her expression immediately warmed. "Oh it was great. We had a wonderful time, right Emmett?" she said, looking behind me towards the staircase.
I turned to find Emmett swinging his legs over the newel post on the staircase with a huge smile on his face.
"That's right babe. We had a great time," he said, wagging his eyebrows suggestively at her.
I couldn't help but smile, and I heard Esme and Carlisle laughing behind me. It was a bit embarrassing to think about what he was implying about his trip. But it wasn't about me, so I supposed I could just be amused instead of mortified.
Emmett sauntered over to me and gave me a big bear hug.
"Where's Edward and Jasper?" he asked over my head to Esme, Carlisle, and Rosalie.
"Oh, they're finishing up with the lights out back. And I do believe I hear them talking about building a snowman, if you're interested," Esme answered.
"I'm so there," Emmett said, releasing me and running out the back door to join his brothers.
"Men," Rosalie muttered, rolling her eyes.
I laughed and heard Alice's tinkling laughter above me.
I looked up to find her coming down the staircase with a huge bundle of garland and red bows in her arms.
"Yeah, they are impossible," she said to Rosalie. "I think they're having some sort of competition on who can build the biggest snowman right now."
I looked back towards the living room windows and finally caught sight of them, now that the backyard was every bit as lit up as the front. Edward and Jasper were laughing and pointing at something across the yard. I followed the direction of their outstretched fingers to find Emmett covered in snow from head to foot. Apparently he had been on the receiving end of a giant snowball.
I laughed along with everyone else at the expression on Emmett's face.
"Yeah, they're impossible alright," Alice said again, walking down the stairs. I went to meet her at the foot of the staircase.
"Do you want some help?" I offered, even though I knew she was strong enough to carry the big bundle in her arms.
"Oh thanks Bella. I'm sorry I didn't come down when you got here, but I was up in the attic getting out this garland," she said, dropping the load of it at her feet. "I thought we could wrap this around the staircase banister while everyone else is finishing up. It's the last of the decorations and I was saving it for you and me," she said with a smile.
"That sounds good," I told her. At least it was something I could easily do. It was fairly simple to wrap garland around the post without hurting yourself, right?
"So do you want to start at the bottom or the top? These two strands will connect in the middle, so I'll take one and you take the other, alright?" she asked, handing me the tail end of a string of the garland.
"Oh, okay. I'll take the bottom if you don't mind." I knew it would be next to impossible to injure myself doing something as simple as wrapping the staircase, but I might as well not tempt fate and wrap the top half. I'd probably fall down the whole flight of stairs backwards, knowing my luck.
"No problem. I'll just meet up with you in the middle, alright?" she asked.
I knew she was just being polite including me. I'd wager that she could be done with both strands before I even figured out which end of the light plug to put at the end of the stairs.
That reminds me… "Alice – which…"
She smiled and handed me an end piece of the garland.
"Start with this piece and make your way up, okay?"
I bit my lip and nodded, taking the piece she was offering me. She scooped up her half and went up the stairs, taking two of them at a time. If I did that with a bunch of stuff in my hands, I'd trip and tumble down backwards. Alice made it look easy.
I sighed and started wrapping the bottom half of the banister. When I had successfully managed to get the newel post and the first two spindles evenly wrapped, Emmett burst through the back door, dripping wet.
He didn't say a word, but stomped towards the staircase with a scowl on his face. I slinked into the banister and scooped up my excess garland to get out of his way. He flew up the stairs at a vampire's pace. What seemed like thirty seconds later, he was back at the top of the staircase in dry clothes, but he now had a huge smile stretched across his lips.
He sauntered down the stairs, still smiling, and made his way over to Rosalie.
Edward and Jasper came through the back door, completely dry, and laughing hysterically. They made their way over to the staircase. Jasper hopped up, taking two steps at a time towards Alice, and Edward came over to me.
"I'm going to go get your hot chocolate, alright?"
I nodded at him.
"Laugh it up guys. It's all good. I'll get you a-holes next time," Emmett said from where he was standing.
He walked over to the tree, where Rosalie was hanging another ornament, reaching up over her head. He patted her ass, and she turned to raise an eyebrow at him.
"What?" she asked.
"You'll see," he replied cheekily, wagging his eyebrows for the second time of the night.
I felt a buzzing in my jeans pocket – I was getting a text message. I stood up and pulled my phone out of my pocket. I flipped it open to see "New text message from Emmett."
I cocked my head to the left before looking over at him. He still had a shit-eating grin on his face and was smiling and leering suggestively to Rose from the couch.
I was about to push the "Read" button when Jasper broke the silence.
"Alice, what is it?" he asked.
I quickly turned to look at them at the top of the stairs. Alice's eyes were glazed over – she was getting a vision.
"Alice?" Jasper asked again. I could hear the panic mounting in his voice.
Suddenly, she came out of her vision and looked down at me. My mouth hung open in anticipation – it was not good that her eyes had locked onto mine. She surprised me when she suddenly burst out laughing.
I was confused, to say the least, at her reaction.
Edward reemerged from the kitchen, holding a mug of hot chocolate in his hands. Alice was still laughing so he glanced up at her, and then back down to me. I locked eyes with him. His eyes were wide, and the hand holding the cocoa was trembling – and vampires don't tremble. Especially Edward.
I realized I had pushed down on the "Read" button in response to Edward's horrified expression, because a sudden flash of light from my phone caught my attention.
I looked down to see the words "I'm layin' out the meat" flash across the screen with a tiny hourglass, indicating a photo was loading.
Now I was just plain confused.
What is going on here? Why is Emmett sending me a picture? Wait, he didn't have his phone out just now. When did he….
Oh My God.
"OH MY GOD!" I screamed out.
Alice doubled over in a fit of laughter. She was practically in hysterics.
Because there on my phone was Emmett. Buck naked. Wearing nothing but that shit-eating grin.
What the fuck is wrong with his dick?
I had never seen a man naked before. I mean, I had seen a penis in a medical textbook before, but not a fully naked man. This was different. He was different. Maybe he was uncircumcised. I had not seen that in the medical book. I had only imagined seeing Edward like this. And this is not what I imagined him looking like.
He was so, so hairy! And, and…
I was just staring at the image on my screen, dumbstruck.
I was horrified.
"OH MY GOD – EMMETT! WHAT THE…"
I looked up to find everyone's eyes on me. Alice had finally stopped laughing. I could feel the heat spreading up my chest to land on my face. My eyes grew wide.
They were just out-and-out staring at me. I looked over to Emmett, hoping he could translate the confounded look that I was sure I was giving him.
"What?" Emmett asked, alarmed.
I opened my mouth but no words came out.
"Edward, what is up with your girlfriend?" he asked, now directing his attention to him.
"You sent Bella your little love picture, not Rose you dipshit," Edward explained.
Now it was Emmett's turn to open and shut his mouth. He looked over at Rosalie, obviously anxious and scared for her reaction.
"Oh no," I faintly heard him say.
Everyone directed their attention to Rosalie next.
"What picture? Emmett? What fucking picture?" she asked.
"Damn it – someone better tell me what picture. Bella?" she asked, looking over at me again.
"Umm, uh. Meat?" I replied.
She narrowed her eyes and glared back at Emmett.
"You didn't. You, you… Ugh," she said, rolling her eyes and placing her hands on her hips.
"Meat?" Jasper questioned. "What do you mean meat, Bella?"
My eyes grew wide again, but luckily I didn't have to answer. Unfortunately, it was Edward that answered for me.
"Your bonehead of a brother sent Bella a picture of his junk by accident. It better have been an accident," he threatened, turning his glare back to Emmett.
"Of course it was an accident. I meant to send it to Rose of course," he said to Edward. He then turned to Rosalie, "I have you listed in my phone as Babe. I thought that's what was highlighted, but I must have sent it to Bella – her name is right under yours. You believe me, right babe?"
Everyone was watching the conversation bounce from person to person like a tennis match.
Alice cleared her throat and everyone snapped their attention up to her smiling face.
"Emmett, I didn't realize there was a meat locker in your pants," she said, giggling again. "Layin' out the meat?" she asked with a laugh.
Well at least she was amused.
Everyone turned back to Emmett.
He shrugged. "What?" He sounded a bit butt hurt.
We all turned up to Jasper next when he blurted out "Where's the beef?"
Esme started giggling, so we all turned to her next, but she never said anything.
Instead Carlisle said, "That's my boy."
He hopped down off of the ladder and took Esme by the arm. "We're going for a walk around the property to look at the lights. You kids play nice," he said, as if we were sitting around playing Monopoly. I just gaped at him.
I couldn't help but turn my attention to Edward next.
He was furious.
He was seething, practically foaming at the mouth.
I looked down, ashamed, and sucked in a huge breath through my nose when I realized that Emmett, in all of his naked glory, was still up on my screen.
Unfortunately, my reaction to this realization did not go unnoticed by any of the vampires in the room. Especially Rosalie.
"Get your hands off of my Grade A man meat," she blurted out.
I snapped my phone shut and looked up at her, dumbfounded.
"Huh?" I managed to ask.
Emmett finally piped up. "Would you call it a steak? Or more like a rump roast? Maybe a beef shank?" he asked, directing his question at me.
I was mortified. I felt my mouth open in a small o of horror. My eyes darted around the room, but I couldn't focus on anything or anyone. I knew I'd have to answer like I was indifferent so we could just drop it.
"Uh, I don't know. Umm – a hot dog?" I asked, scrunching up my eyebrows in confusion and biting down on my lower lip.
"Oh come on Bella," Rosalie said, bitterness dripping from her voice. "That is a nice piece of bratwurst. You don't know anything. You're still a virgin for fuck's sake," she said acidly.
If I thought I was mortified earlier, I was wrong. I was now in the seventh level of my own personal hell. I was being made fun of – by Rosalie. In front of Edward, no less.
I was gonna have to defend myself. And I hate defending myself.
"Well, I have to admit that's the harriest cocktail wiener I've ever seen Rose. I mean, I know Emmett prefers grizzlies and all, I just didn't know he was one too," I replied, hoping I sounded half as snarky as I really wanted to.
I heard Edward snort. He actually snorted.
Rosalie, however, unleashed her death glare on me. I swallowed, hard. I did not want to ruin the polite indifference we had built up over the last couple of months.
"Rose, it's not her fault. Your idiot husband was the one who sent her the text. Blame him," Edward said.
I was so glad he was speaking again. He wasn't necessarily speaking to me, but he was speaking for me. That was good – I hoped.
Rosalie rolled her eyes at him, and stomped towards me. I visibly cringed, but she just trudged up the stairs past me in a huff.
I watched her stomp off to the second floor and heard her door slam shut.
I looked up at Alice and Jasper.
Alice's eyes glazed over for a mere moment.
She nudged Jasper, and I felt a wave of calm wash over me. I instantly relaxed from my stiff position.
"Don't worry Bella. She's not going to stay mad for long," Alice said, trying to reassure me. "See?" she asked, nodding her head towards Emmett, who was now walking towards me.
"Sorry about the text Bella," he mumbled, walking past me up towards his and Rosalie's room.
Once he reached Jasper, they bumped fists and I saw Emmett once again wag his eyebrows. He turned his head towards me and unleashed his infectious dimpled grin upon me.
I smiled sheepishly back up at him.
I've seen you naked.
I immediately started blushing at the thought.
He walked up to his door and I swear I heard him say something like "Come on babe, who can resist a good piece of meat?"
I was so embarrassed.
I've seen Emmett naked – I thought once again.
Thank god Edward couldn't read my mind – I cringed at the very idea of it.
I was still looking up towards the top of the stairs. Emmett had apparently been let into his room, and Alice was finishing up with her half of the garland.
Jasper, however, was staring at me with a confused expression on his face.
I realized all of the different emotions that I must be projecting right now. I immediately got embarrassed again at my reaction to seeing Emmett's… meat.
Jasper cocked his head to the side, still looking at me.
Dear lord, kill me now.
I turned back towards Edward, who was looking at Jasper – the mug of hot chocolate still in his hands. He had apparently not moved a muscle during the whole stupid meat exchange.
Crap! He could tell what I was feeling. I hate this. Why do they all know what's going on.
Stupid vampires and their stupid abilities.
I stomped my foot in frustration, finally getting his attention. He took a tentative step towards me, setting the steaming mug of cocoa down on an end table.
"Bella?" he asked timidly.
I fumed at him.
"I'm leaving. Now," I spat at him, kicking the long ago discarded garland away from my feet so that I didn't trip down the few steps I intended on stomping down.
I hastily made my way to the front door and threw it open in a huff, immediately regretting leaving my coat inside. Oh well, there was no way in hell I was going back in there.
I threw open my truck door and hopped up into the cab, jamming the keys into the ignition and turning them a bit too forcefully. My truck thundered underneath me before dying. Furrowing my brow in frustration, I concentrated on starting my truck again. This time, I turned the key a bit easier, and I heard my starter catch before the truck grumbled, but started.
I reached over to close my still open door, but Edward was standing there. I jumped in surprise. I didn't know he had even followed me out.
Reluctantly, I felt myself relax because of the look on his face. His stare was hypnotizing. I was going to be so mad at myself later for falling under his spell. He got away with everything. It was so, so … Infuriating!
He just stood there, looking at me. He didn't say a word. And he was impossibly still, like only he could be.
I on the other hand, was starting to hyperventilate. His stare was so intense. I felt like I was about to melt into a puddle on the floorboard of my truck.
He leaned towards me, painfully slow. My lips parted, so that I could take in more air with each shaky breath. When his lips finally made contact with mine, I moaned involuntarily.
I was still looking into his eyes. I had never looked at him when we kissed before. My eyes always closed tightly when we kissed. Know I knew why. He was so beautiful when he was this close to my face. I could see everything when I looked at him.
I could see his jaw twitch, and I felt his lips move on mine in result. He moved against my lips, and there was a look of hunger burning in his eyes. I knew my scent drove him wild. The taste of my blood would only sate his thirst, though. This hunger was something else. Something entirely different. It almost looked that he was craving this feeling just as much as I was.
I yearned for more. More of this feeling. More of him. More of whatever he would give me.
He was still looking directly into my eyes when I felt his cool tongue lightly massage my own. I groaned and I was sure he not only heard it, but felt it reverberate through my whole body.
Instinctively, my eyes fluttered shut, and I wrapped my arms around Edward's neck, pulling him closer to me. I knew he was about to pull away. I knew I was being greedy, but I wanted this. I wanted more.
Instead of pulling away like I thought he would, I felt Edward move closer to me. He pulled on my left leg and moved it out of the truck, settling himself in the position he was when I first arrived – between my quaking legs.
I pulled the hair at the nape of his neck, and he growled.
My eyes, still closed, rolled back into my head with the sound of it. I was panting into his mouth, but he did not let up. He kept kissing me just as urgently as he had been a moment ago.
I felt so weak and delicate in his strong embrace. I went limp in his arms, overcome with the feelings coursing through my body.
He pulled back and whispered, "Bella? Are you alright?"
Damn it. Of course he would stop – just when it was getting good. I kept my eyes closed, not wanting to come out of the lust-induced haze I was currently floating around in.
"Mmmm-hmm," I said lazily.
I felt his hands rest on top of my thighs. And then he snapped me out of my little daydream.
He cleared his throat.
I opened my eyes to find a smug little smirk on his lips.
"Are you going to be able to drive home?" he asked, chuckling.
Oh yeah – now I remember – he was infuriating!
"Sure. Don't worry about me. I'll be just fine. Just fine indeed," I said, pushing on his chest.
He took two steps backwards and I slammed my door in his face and threw the truck into reverse.
I peeled out of the driveway and onto the small road leading out to the highway, pushing the gas pedal down as hard as I possibly could. Damn slow truck. Hmph.
I made my way home and was so relieved to find the living room empty when I got there. Charlie must already be in bed. I stomped up the stairs.
Throwing open my bedroom door, I was grateful that Edward had enough sense to not be sitting on my bed waiting for me tonight. I walked over to my open window and slammed it shut. I knew I was being asinine – if he wanted in, a locked window was not going to keep him out, but it would send a message.
I needed to cool down. In a lot of ways.
He was so, so… Ugh.
And then there was the whole text message. I mean, oh my God.
I felt myself flush with humiliation.
I've seen Emmett naked.
That image was going to be engrained in my mind for all time.
How could it not be? He was the only naked man I had ever seen. This only made me angrier.
I contemplated opening up my phone to look at the picture once more. What the hell, Edward wasn't here and it wasn't like I hadn't seen it before.
I sat on the edge of my bed and pulled my phone out of my pocket. When I flipped it open I immediately went to my messages page.
Message Inbox 0
That sneaky, underhanded little…
Well, I suppose I wouldn't want Edward looking a naked text of, lets say… Rosalie. I mean, she was beautiful. I wouldn't want him to see her. Because how could I possibly compare?
Great. Now my confidence in myself was faltering along with my pride and dignity.
I sighed and went to bed, hoping that when I woke up tomorrow, this whole damn night would just be a huge nightmare that I could easily forget.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. Today was the real nightmare.
I woke up – alone. On Christmas Eve.
And I stayed home all day waiting for a phone call or a text message (ugh). Or to maybe find him sitting on my bed.
I couldn't help but rush up the stairs every ten minutes or so all day to see if he was actually there.
Charlie noticed my frantic behavior around eight o'clock that night.
"Bells, where's the fire?" he asked after I plodded back down the stairs once again, defeated.
I sunk down on the cushions of the loveseat.
"No fire dad," I answered. Not even a hint of smoke.
"Then why do you keep racing up the stairs?"
"Umm, I was supposed to get an email from Renee today telling me about her Christmas present from Phil, but I haven't gotten it yet," I said.
It was partially true. She would be emailing me, but it wouldn't be until tomorrow night.
I shouldn't have said that though. It made Charlie a bit uncomfortable to talk about Renee, especially when it came to talking about Renee and Phil. He grimaced at his name.
"Oh," he said, turning his attention back to the football game that had been on for the last two hours.
The holiday games always lasted so long. First there was the pre-show, then the entertainer that sang The National Anthem. Then the half-time show lasted forty-five minutes to an hour. And then, if you were a true sports fanatic like Charlie was, you could watch four or five men talk about the game everyone just watched for hours upon hours after it was over.
I yawned and stretched my arms up over my head.
"Well, I think I'm off to bed. I'm beat," I told him.
He looked down at his watch and back up at me, quirking one eyebrow.
"Alright kid. I'll see you – well, not tomorrow I guess. So, have a Merry Christmas, alright Bella?" he asked.
I smiled and walked over to the back of his recliner. I placed a quick kiss on the back of his head.
"Merry Christmas, Dad."
He reached behind him to pat me on the hand. Charlie never was good at physical affection, but that was okay. He was my Dad, and I was his daughter. That was good enough for us.
I sighed and made my way back up to my room. Only this time, I didn't run.
He wasn't there. Just as I suspected.
I walked over to my desk and grabbed my iPod and my much abused copy of Pride and Prejudice.
Mr. Darcy and his proud and cryptic ways. Reminds me a bit of Edward now that I think about it.
I threw the book across the room and laid down on the bed with my iPod.
I turned it on and was glad my Placebo playlist was currently in rotation. I needed to just listen and not think.
It worked too, because the next thing I knew, I woke up to my phone buzzing next to me on my nightstand.
I flipped it open, wary of any incoming text messages after yesterday's disaster.
"New text message from Alice"
I sighed and pressed the button to read this one. I knew that I didn't have to worry about anything Alice was saying – she was just probably bitching for me to come over so that she could lavish me with presents that I don't want already.
I just wished the text was from Edward.
The message flashed across the screen.
Bella – wake up already! We're all waiting on you over here. And don't worry – Edward is no longer acting like an insensitive prick. Merry Christmas! ~ Alice.
I stretched a bit, trying to put off the inevitable.
I knew she would just text again if I didn't get moving though. So I got out of bed and made my way to the bathroom to take a quick shower and get ready for the day.
Once I was out, I wrapped a large towel around myself and went back to my bedroom. I sat down at my computer and pulled out my hair dryer from where it sat underneath the desk.
I dried it thoroughly and walked over to my closet to see what to wear for the day. I don't know why I even bothered – jeans and a sweater had practically become a uniform for me lately.
I rolled my eyes when I heard my phone buzz on the nightstand once again.
Bella – shake a leg. I know you're out of the shower already so get your butt over here ~ Alice
I picked out a sweater and the first pair of jeans I saw, and took them with me over to my dresser.
I opened up my top drawer and sighed. The left side held a small pink bag containing Edward's Christmas present. Well, the one I hoped to give him later on today when we were alone.
The one for opening in front of everyone was in the pile of wrapped presents underneath the Christmas tree downstairs.
I got dressed and ran my hands over my head, smoothing the static electricity from my hair.
Right after I tied my tennis shoes, my phone buzzed once again.
Bella – I know, I know… you're ready. Just don't forget to grab your scarf and gloves. We might go sledding later ~ Alice
Sledding? Had she lost her ever-loving mind? Bella Swan on a sled. That had disaster written all over it. No thank you.
I grabbed my phone and keys and made my way downstairs. I put on my old jacket, scarf, and gloves – not because of Alice, but because it was so cold out. I was mad not to have my heavy coat. I had left it at Edward's in my hasty retreat the other night.
It was going to take me several trips back and forth to get all of the presents loaded into my truck. I picked up the smallest of them and went outside. It was freezing. There was no way I would be doing any outdoor activities in this weather.
I opened up my truck and started it up, turning the heater on full blast. I hoped that by the time I finished loading the gifts it would be warm in the cab.
Since it took four trips to bring all of the gifts out, it was. I was glad for the warmth because my cheeks were beginning to sting from the bitter wind whipping around outside.
I pulled out of my driveway and headed out towards Edwards house like I had done two days ago. This time, I wasn't nervous about the cut off road – I knew it would be lit up like it was the North Pole.
I soon found myself outside of the house. I put the truck in park behind Edward's car and laid my head down to rest on my steering wheel.
I was not ready to go in, but I knew they could hear that I had arrived. How could you not with this truck? It was practically groaning because the heater was still on full blast.
I heard a faint knock on the driver's side window, so I turned my head to find Alice and Jasper standing outside of the truck, smiling at me.
I shut off the engine as Alice wrenched my door open.
"Merry Christmas Bella," she shouted, pulling my hand out of the truck and into a tight hug.
"Merry Christmas to you too Alice," I said, laughing at her enthusiasm. "Jasper, Merry Christmas," I said, smiling at him.
"Merry Christmas," he said, pulling Alice away from me and into his side.
I looked up at the house. Edward wasn't out on the porch like he was the other night. Alice must have seen the question on my face before I could even ask it.
"Oh he's just getting something from up in his room. No big deal," she said.
No big deal. I haven't seen him in thirty-six hours and it's no big deal.
I realize that sounds shallow and selfish, but I had yet to spend more than five hours away from him since we returned from Italy. It was a big deal to me. A huge deal.
"Go on inside Bella," Alice said, pulling me out of my pity-party. "Jasper and I will grab these and bring them in," she said, indicating the presents in my truck.
"Oh – alright," I said.
I hesitated for a second before making my way inside. I was greeted warmly by Esme and Carlisle as soon as I stepped inside.
"Oh Bella, Merry Christmas," she said, wrapping me in a hug, much like Alice had.
"Merry Christmas Esme," I said back, with a bit more enthusiasm.
The house looked great. And it smelled like cinnamon. I couldn't help but get into the Christmas spirit now that I was here.
"Merry Christmas Dr. – I mean Carlisle," I said, smiling over at him.
Esme pulled away from me and stepped into his side, smiling and reaching for her husband's hand.
"Thank you Bella. Merry Christmas," he told me, squeezing Esme's hand and smiling at me warmly.
I heard a noise behind me and turned to find Rosalie tugging Emmett along behind her. She smiled at me, and I found myself smiling back.
"I'm sorry I was so rude the other night Bella," she said, surprising me. "Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas Rosalie."
Emmett chuckled from behind her. Rosalie turned around and swatted the back of his head.
"Apologize to Bella, you big oaf," she said.
I bit back my laugh and looked down at my feet.
"I'm sorry about the text message Bella," he said.
I looked up at him and he had that stupid shit-eating grin on his face.
I couldn't help but smile back at him. "That's alright Emmett. No harm done," I said shyly.
Alice and Jasper walked through the front door, their arms full of my gifts for them and the rest of their family.
"Mom, where do you want these?" Jasper asked.
I had never heard him address Esme before. It made me smile to know he called her mom.
She turned her attention toward the tree and nodded. "Over there will be just fine," she told him, before turning back to me.
"Bella, may I take your coat?" she asked.
I nodded and shrugged out of it, before handing it over to her. She handed it to Carlisle, who I imagined had quickly gone to hang it up in the hall closet, because he was already back, hands empty.
"Well, lets get this show on the road," Emmett bellowed. I had the feeling that he was not so secretly calling Edward from wherever he was hiding out.
Esme nodded towards the living room, indicating for us all to go and sit down. I made my way over to the loveseat.
Esme and Carlisle sat down on the stoop of the fireplace while Jasper, Alice, Emmett, and Rosalie sat down on the long sectional sofa across from the giant Christmas tree.
We sat in silence for a few moments before I turned my head to find Edward walking down the stairs. I followed him with my eyes as he made his way over to me slowly, and sat down next to me on the loveseat.
"Merry Christmas Bella," he said softly to me.
I looked down at my folded hands. "Merry Christmas Edward," I said into my lap.
His hand reached out to take mine. He squeezed it gently.
"So who's first?" he asked.
I looked up at him, and followed his gaze over to Emmett.
"I want mine first. Hand me a present Jasper," he said.
Jasper shook his head and handed him a gift.
He tore open the paper and I blushed and looked back down into my lap.
"What the hell is this?" he asked, holding up a log of Hickory Farms Christmas Summer Sausage.
Jasper could not contain himself and burst out laughing.
"That is two and a half pounds of meat. A yard-o-beef. That's what that is," he said through his laughter.
Esme ducked her head and Carlisle chuckled a bit.
I was mortified. I thought this was over.
"Oh Jasper, I love it," Emmett said over the laughter that erupted in the room.
I couldn't take it.
I quickly rose from my seat, dropping Edward's hand and ran towards the stairs. I flew up them faster than I could fathom, and found myself throwing Edward's door open.
I slammed it shut and walked over to his bed and threw myself face first down on it.
I laid there for a moment, wishing this torture would just end already. I hadn't done anything wrong. All I did was open up the stupid text message. And then all of this happens? The relentless meat reference teasing was one thing, but this whole strange awkwardness with Edward had to be the worst part. He had barely said a word to me after not seeing me for a day and a half. Maybe he just didn't feel the same way as I did when I was away from him – the agony of actual physical pain.
I realized I was crying when I felt the tears drip down my arm. I wiped furiously at them when I heard the door click shut.
He was here. He had come to me.
"Don't cry," he said softly in my ear.
I jumped a bit, not realizing he was so close to me already.
I rubbed my face once more and sat up.
I looked around his room in awe. He had lit hundreds of candles. How had I not noticed them when I came in and threw myself onto his bed?
He sat down next to me and grabbed my hands with both of his.
My mouth opened and all that came out was "Wha… When, when did… Where these lit when I came in here?"
He grinned sheepishly, and looked down at our hands without lowering his head.
"Yes. I just lit them," he said, looking back up at me.
I met his steady gaze and shivered slightly. How could he do that with just his eyes?
I longed to reach out and touch his face.
"I missed you," I managed to whisper.
"I missed you too," he said, never breaking his gaze. "I missed kissing you."
My lips parted and I struggled to remain in control of my breathing.
"Bella," he whispered leaning towards my face.
When his lips finally touched mine, I exhaled through my nose. I must have been holding my breath.
He kissed me gently, moving his lips over mine soft and sweet. I could just barely taste the sweet taste of him on my tongue.
When he pulled away from me, he held my face in his hands. "I could never stay away from you Bella. I would die without you. You are the one, the only one for me" he whispered to me. "I love you."
"Edward," I managed to whisper back. I hoped in that one word I was able to convey my love for him. My need for him – I needed him so badly.
"Without you, I'm nothing," he whispered.
He leaned in and captured my lips once more in a scorching kiss.
Pushing me back onto the bed and climbing over me, he moved over me so that his left leg lay between my parted knees. He encircled my left leg with his forearm and pulled it up towards his hip, while he deepened our kiss.
I was flushed with heat. I felt feverish even though his chilled skin was flush with my own. When his lips trailed down my neck to my collarbone and he tightened his grip on the leg that was firmly adhered to his hip, I let out a low breathy moan.
My hands clutched at the sheets, but I desperately wanted to run them across his shoulders and back. I was worried that if I did, he would surely pull away from me. So I inched them up my sides, longing to reach for him.
I felt his palms grasp my wrists. He drug my hands up and over my head, pinning them there with one of his. His lips never left my skin.
I was panting by now. I needed him. I somehow had to convey how much I needed him right now, or else he would surely stop.
His knee lightly grazed between my parted legs and I gasped out in pleasure.
"Edward," I said into his temple.
A growl rolled through his chest and I could feel it vibrate throughout my body.
He still held my hands up over my head within one of his own, and he was holding the outside of my left thigh with his other. He slowly inched it up my thigh, finally letting his hand come to rest on my ass. He palmed it roughly, and my eyes rolled back into my head.
He released my pinned wrists, trailing the back of his hand lightly down my skin, while grazing the side of my breast.
"I want to see my present Bella," he said into my neck.
My eyes flew open to rest on his. He was looking up at me through the thick fringe of his black lashes.
"What?" I asked him in surprise.
"My Christmas present, Bella. I want it now."
"How, how did you…" I began, but his hand left my side, and he rested one finger on my lips to silence me.
"Show me my present please. I want to see it," he said, his voice dripping with desire.
My breathing picked up when I felt his other hand slip up under my sweater. He drug it up to just below my breasts and slid his hand behind me to lift me off of the bed a bit. I helped him, with shaking hands, to pull it up and over my head.
He threw it behind him and lowered me back onto the bed.
"Do you… do you like it?" I asked.
"This is only half of it. I'd like to see the whole thing."
He rocked back onto his knees and untied my shoes. I fixated on his eyes as he pulled them off one by one. He looked at me with such lust and passion that I just laid still, mesmerized by him.
Leaning back towards me, he placed his hands on either side of my bare waist. I inhaled deeply when I felt his cool fingers trace on my left side toward the button of my jeans. I didn't let it out, holding it in anticipation of what he was about to do.
I bit my lip to keep from squirming when his thumb hooked inside of my waistband to undo my button. He popped it undone and pulled my zipper down slowly, one tooth at a time.
I ached to help him, but didn't want to make him stop what he was doing. Tracing the skin of my waist, he gripped the sides of my jeans. I lifted my hips off of the bed to help him pull them down. I was grateful when he pulled them off quickly.
He rocked back onto his knees again and looked at me with such awe and reverence that I felt like I was melting under his gaze.
"You're so beautiful," he said softly.
His voice made me tremble on the inside.
"Merry Christmas Edward." I was now wearing nothing but my present for him – a matching midnight blue bra and panty set.
He smiled and moved back up towards me once again, placing both of his legs between mine this time. His hands came to rest on either side of my waist. He brought his lips to mine, molding my own lips to his in a passionate kiss.
I grasped wildly for his body, and found my hands at his waist. I pulled blindly at the cloth that was covering him, and he broke the kiss momentarily to reach behind his back with one hand and pull off the long sleeved gray t-shirt he was wearing. He threw it in the same direction he had thrown my clothes before capturing my lips once again with his.
I was lightly scratching up and down his back with my nails when I felt his palm graze in between my legs. I inhaled deeply, taking the breath out of his mouth.
I squirmed and pushed up into his hand, wanting more friction. Pulling my arms from his back, I found the waistband of his jeans and wrenched the button open before he pulled back from the kiss to look at me.
No. He was not stopping this time. I wasn't going to let him.
I kept my eyes on his and pulled his zipper down. I reached towards his sides and drug his now opened jeans down his hips and over his ass.
He stayed silent, but I felt him wriggle his pants down to his knees, where he pushed them off with his feet. He must have already discarded his shoes and socks.
I was in my bra and panties still, and he was only clad in his boxers above me.
I reached up and lightly touched his waist with both of my hands. He mirrored my movements and I felt his palms touch my sides.
He trailed one hand up to my stomach, and brought it smoothly to trail up and down in the valley between my breasts. My chest rose and fell heavily with each breath I drug in.
Edward reached behind me and lifted me off the bed once again to lift me up. I heard the clasp of my bra release and felt the straps go slack around my shoulders. He laid me back down and pulled the straps down my arms.
When the cool air of the room hit my breasts, I closed my eyes at the sensation. I felt his tongue dart out to lick at my nipple, and my back arched off of the bed into him. I could feel his bare chest against me and I longed to feel all of his body against mine.
I reached down to the waistband of his boxers with my eyes still shut and drug them down over his hips. I knew he was now naked above me.
He released my breast and I felt his breath fan out over my face. "Bella, look at me," he pleaded.
I opened my eyes to find his face mere inches from mine. I raked my eyes slowly over his face, down over his broad muscular shoulders and arms, down to his stomach where my gaze lingered.
"Oh," I said with a small gasp.
It was so, so….
He was naked – exposed. And he was beautiful.
I had been right before. He was so long and smooth.
"What?" he asked.
I looked back up into his eyes.
"It's, it's different," I whispered to him.
His brow creased. "Is different bad?" he asked softly.
He exhaled through his nose.
"I mean, it's just, it's umm… different than, than…" I said, not wanting to bring Emmett into our private moment.
"Oh," he said, finally understanding what I was trying to say.
"Oh," he said again. "Yeah, I'm, I'm… and he's, well, he's not."
I nodded, and looked back down at him once more. A small smile formed on my lips.
He smiled too and leaned back down to kiss me again. My eyes closed once more as the urgency of his kisses increased. I was soon panting into his mouth and whimpering.
He reached up with his right hand and kneaded my aching left breast, and my hips bucked up to meet his. I felt his erection through the thin fabric of my panties and moaned into his mouth.
"Edward please," I whispered into his mouth.
He seemed to feel the same sense of urgency, because I felt his thumbs hook into my underwear, and the next thing I knew they were gone. We were both completely naked now.
He trailed his kisses down the length of my neck, towards the hollow of my throat. I could hear my blood pounding through my ears. If he didn't touch me where I most needed him to soon, I was sure to explode.
He inched his body down as he kissed my breasts once more, circling each nipple with his tongue for a brief moment. When he kissed the underside of each breast, my head lolled back onto the pillow.
I was on fire. My body felt like it was engulfed in flames. His cool skin was the only thing keeping me grounded.
His hands found my hips as he kissed my body. I prayed and hoped he would move one of them further down to touch me soon.
When I felt his breath fan out over my inner thighs, I clenched all of the muscles in my lower body. He breathed out on me once again and I trembled in anticipation.
"Edward," I moaned.
He flicked out his tongue, and licked slowly upwards, placing the most pressure on my clit. I moaned loudly, and he started lapping at me faster, pointing his tongue and applying pressure right to where I wanted it most.
I was losing my mind. I couldn't believe this was happening.
I clenched and unclenched my thigh muscles, trying to increase the friction. My body was shaking. I began to try and close my legs hoping to pull him into me, but I felt Edward's hands leave my waist and plant themselves on either side of my thighs, holding them wide open.
My heart sped up – I knew I was close to losing control. I had never had an orgasm before, but surely this torture would end with my climax. Holding my breath, I thread my hands thread through Edward's hair, clenching and pulling on it.
He pulled back from me and I whimpered. "You needed to breathe, Bella," he said huskily.
He dipped his head back down and I felt his tongue flick over my swollen and throbbing clit once more. My hips bucked up towards his face, wanting more. More of anything he would give me.
That's when thrust his tongue inside of me.
"Uggnn," I moaned. "Oh God. Oh my God," I said, as he darted his tongue in and out quickly.
I began writhing underneath his hands, but he simply put more pressure on my thighs, holding me down.
He withdrew his tongue and flicked it roughly over my clit once again. He set a steady rhythm, and it would have been plenty to satiate my needs, but when I felt his finger slide up inside of me, I lost it.
I clenched around him, and screamed out. Pushing myself down towards his mouth, he swept his tongue upwards once more.
I kept my eyes clenched shut tightly, panting heavily.
When I felt Edward crawl back up towards me, I opened my eyes. He leaned down and sucked my lower lip in between his and kissed me until I was breathless.
"I need you," I said desperately. "I need you."
I kissed him hungrily and pulled him closer to me. He smelled so good and his lips tasted so sweet. I had to feel his body on mine.
"I want you," he breathed into my mouth.
"I want you too," I breathed back into his.
I wrapped my legs around his waist eagerly. He rested his forehead against mine. My own longing was being reflected back to me through his eyes. We both needed this. I had to be close to him, closer than I had ever been before.
"Edward," I whispered softly.
When he entered me slowly, and my head lolled back at the sensation. He had his body flush with mine. It was indescribable to have him so close to me, to be connected in this way.
When I realized that he had stopped moving, I brought my gaze back to his.
"I love you," I said. "I'm okay."
He nodded and pushed a bit further into me, but I could tell he was holding back.
"I want you inside of me Edward. Please – I need you inside of me."
Our eyes locked. He thrust further, filling me completely.
My eyes closed tightly, and I groaned at the slight pain. It stung a bit, but as soon as I relaxed my muscles around him, it felt better.
He stayed absolutely still, letting me adjust to him.
After a few quick deep breaths, I opened my eyes to find his still on mine, his forehead still resting on mine.
"Are you okay, Bella?"
I nodded at him this time.
"Keep going Edward. It feels good."
His eyes rolled back into his head. "You have no idea how good you feel. You're so… you're so warm Bella," he said, clenching his teeth.
I smiled and pulled his chest down tighter to me, so that we were connected completely, wrapped up in one other.
"Make love to me Edward," I whispered into his ear.
He exhaled and began to move above and within me.
"I need you. I'll always need you, Bella," he said into my neck.
I felt myself clench around him, and a sudden gush of liquid trickled down from deep within me. It only heightened the way it felt when he thrust into me.
He began moving faster, and I gasped when he pushed up all the way into me with more force. It felt so good to be with him in this way – like we were finally one.
"Oh God Edward," I screamed into his neck, biting down on him there.
He stiffened a bit above me, and I felt him tremble with one more thrust, before he came. I could feel him throbbing inside of me, and it made me climax again, squeezing around his length from the inside. He stayed absolutely still until I relaxed a bit, but I was still trembling.
When he pulled out of me a moment later, I whimpered, but he rolled over to my side, pulling me into him.
I snuggled in closer, nuzzling his flesh.
"Mmmm," I said into his side.
"What?" he asked, his face above mine.
"I'm kinda hungry," I said with my smile pressing into his chest.
"For some meat?" he asked with a chuckle.
"I HEARD THAT," Emmett roared from downstairs.
My eyes grew wide and I pulled myself closer into Edward's side. He laughed and clutched me closer to him.
"Merry Christmas," he said before he kissed my head softly.
I turned to look up at his face. "Merry Christmas."
What else could I possibly want today, besides my very own hunk of man meat?
A/N: Well there you go – It's The Meat. Chasa – thanks so much for making me snort – a lot.
Kim – I love you more than Rob. You make me laugh and cry every day, and I'm so glad we met.
To my own man meat – yum. Me likey. LOL
I love reviews people – seriously. I freaking love reviews. A whole hell of a lot. They make me write more of this crap. And you like it – you know you do. So just review it already!