Ahhh. We hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas, with visions of sugarplums and Robward

We wanna thank everyone who entered this contest, it was kind of our own little branching out experience and I hope y'all had as much fun with it as we did. It was a pleasure and an honor to read every entry….here is our bookend. Hope you enjoy.


I should never, ever drink.

I will never drink again.

That kiss sucked.

So why did I want to do it again?

I had to prove myself, right?

Maybe not. Sometimes you miss your window; we just happened to throw a big, fat flaming brick through ours. Oh, well.

He seemed to be okay with it. We'd just live through this one humiliating experience, and I'd hope to never repeat it again.

Funny how one teeth-clanging kiss could sober you up real quick.

We followed the Bea Arthur wannabe to room four. Edward had requested two beds and she had given us a skeptical and judgmental eyebrow before swiping his credit card and beckoning for us to follow with a surly, crooked finger. I'm sure I was fifty shades of red as I followed the two of them, praying I could make it without tripping or making out with Edward again.

With a "tsk" and a roll of her eyes, Dorothy handed him the key and backed out of the dingy motel room.

Which had one ginormous bed right in the center. Ugly bedspread. Peeling bronze and orange 70s throwback floral wallpaper. TV. Minibar? No, thanks.

I walked over to the bed and yanked the bedspread down, flopping on the bed and closing my eyes.

"What are you doing?" I heard him ask, bemused and smirking. I could hear it in his voice. I amused him.

"Who knows what nasty is hanging out on that bedspread? Or these sheets, really. The sheets, I assume, have been laundered because they're not too gross. But the bedspread? Don't you watch Dateline?" I grumbled, trying to keep my eyes closed. I couldn't make eye contact yet. I still wasn't over that humiliating kiss.

"I'm going to hit the shower and try to defrost, unless… um. Do you want to go first?" Do you want to join me?

I wish.

"Nah, I'm good. I just want to lay here and revel in the gross Mr. Furley décor," I mumbled.

Hell. This is going to be rough. I don't even want to start dissecting sleeping arrangements yet.

I could hear the shower turn on and saw some steam coming out from under the gap in the door a few minutes later, and I gulped, trying not to picture what was going on in the bathroom. To distract myself, I started flipping around the channels. Nothing. Not even Charlie Brown or It's a Wonderful Life.

I was lying out so that my elbows were propping me up at the foot of the bed, lazily flicking the remote in disgust as I went from channel to channel. The bathroom door creaked open and I glanced over. Dammit. He was dressed again, but of course he was down to boxers and a grey v-neck undershirt. Wet, tousled hair. Looking like he stepped out of some Hanes commercial, really.

I kept my eyes facing forward and started to giggle as I hit the pay-per-view channels.

"Dirtier Debutantes 8?" I giggled, scrolling around the guide. "Like one through seven weren't enough?"

"Oh, the fourth was the best one," Edward said without hesitating. I looked up at him, my mouth agape and trying to gauge if he was joking. He had a self-satisfied smirk on his face.


"I just… not many guys would readily admit to a porn addiction, Edward."

"I'm not addicted. I watch just enough to get me by."

"Hmm. How much is enough? I mean, I always think I have just enough kitchen appliances, but Ang says I'm addicted."

"Are we talking kitchen appliances, or kitchen appliances?"

"Hey, just 'cuz you're a pornmonger, doesn't mean that everything is dirty, Mister."

"Hey, you're the one trolling for porn."

"I'm bored. I thought the title was funny. I mean, there are eight of them!"

"Actually, I think they're up to eleven now. But at this point, it's just bullshit posturing."

"What the hell does that even mean?"

"Have you ever watched porn?"

"Well, yeah. Sure. Who hasn't been curious about porn?"

"Hmm. Good point. Which one did you watch?"

"I dunno, but it was mostly awful."

"Uh huh. What didn't you like?"

"Well, the sex."

"Which sex?" He was all amusement.

"Whaddya mean, which sex?"

"The oral, the anal, the penetration. Which did you not like?"

"The penetration. It's too… I don't know. Rough. Porn sex is rough sex. And don't get me started on the anal stuff. But that's like, expected. Anal ain't pretty. But sex? That shouldn't always be so… hardcore. But eh. It's porn. It's not like there's a love story to follow."

"Okay. But you're fine with the other sex stuff? The oral?"

"Edward. Only penetration counts. As actual sex, I mean."

"Wait. What? Are you serious? Oral counts. Anal counts."

"Hell no, it doesn't count. Two chicks going at it? That's not intercourse."

"Hmm. Two chicks. I'll have to think about that."

"I bet you will."

"Hey, you're the one who brought up two chicks. Naturally, I'm going to have to think about it. Extensively." He flopped down next to me on the bed. I had my feet under the pillow, trying to keep my toes warm. His proximity made me shiver, and I could feel him leaning over, rubbing up and down my legs.

"What are you doing? I'm not going to watch porn with you, so stop touching me."

"Relax, Swan. You're shivering. I'm just trying to keep you warm. And I think you should watch it. You look like you need some porn in your life."

"What the hell does that mean?"

"Oh, nothing."

"Hey, just because you indelicately smashed my face into your mouth and started sucking away, doesn't mean that I need lessons from someone named Lisa Sparxxx."

"And now you're insulting me. I'm never sharing my vintage wine with you again. Gimme that remote." And before I could react, he dove for it and grabbed it out of my hand.

And naturally, he ordered the porn.

What could I do? I had nowhere to go. I sat up and flopped next to him.

And we watched porn.

"Why do guys think that's hot?" I asked some moments later as we watched some roughened and umm, meaty girls go all 69 on each other.

"Hmm?" he mumbled. He really was transfixed, but not in a gross way. He was lying back with his arms behind his head. I surreptitiously glanced at his shorts to see if he was getting off on this, but he wasn't. Just a dude, lying in a seedy motel room with a near stranger, watchin' some porn.

"Two chicks, Edward. Why?" I suddenly really wanted to know.

"Umm," he repeated, looking over at me. "Do you really want to know?"

"I wouldn't ask if I didn't." Plus, I needed the distraction, because it somehow only just now occurred to me that I was watching porn with Edward Cullen. And the fact that we weren't using it for fucking or anything just weirded me out. 'Cause, like- did this mean I was his buddy? Don't guys watch porn together or something?

I noticed that he was staring at me, and I self-consciously tore my eyes away from the fully waxed and pink flesh to stare back.

"What? Inquiring minds wanna know." I just knew I was blushing.

"To put it simply, women are beautiful. Men are not. Penises are weird. So like, I don't really get two dudes together. If that's your thing, that's fine. But I don't see how women like watching gay porn. Guys, on the other hand? We like the way women feel. They always smell terrific. They're soft, and they have nice hair. They're usually well-groomed, and I don't mean down there, just in general. We men like to ogle from afar when there's a beautiful woman in the room. And two beautiful women? Well, I guarantee every guy you know has fantasized about you and Angela together at least once."

"Yourself included?" I was fascinated by this line of conversation. And did he just call me beautiful?

"Well, yeah." He looked back to the TV, a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Like I said, there are no exceptions to the rule. Guys just like to picture two girls together. Women are graceful. You throw a guy in there and that's when it starts to get dirty. Rude. Things go in and out, pieces interlock. But with two women… they have to get creative. It's not just about fucking, it's about getting each other off. And that's always hot."

He leaned back, his diatribe finished. I had to admit, he had a point. I could concede that much. But I wasn't going to tell him that. So I just clicked my tongue and also leaned back to get comfortable.

We were sort of both propped up on pillows, the picture of ease. Two good-looking people watching a movie, just like we did back home.

It's just that the movie we were watching had an awful lot of smacking noises.

He shifted a little, subconsciously, I think. 'Cause it was in my direction. Our elbows were now touching, but I didn't move. I resisted the urge to look at him, because it was too confusing. Unfortunately, the only place to look was at the TV, and the writhing and squirming was starting to get to me.

I sat up.

"Can we turn the porn off now?" I half-whispered, not wanting to deal with this at the moment. Without a word, he flipped the TV off and tossed the remote on the bedside table.

"Shall we get some sleep?" he murmured, turning off the light. Uh-oh.

Control yourself, Swan.

And I did.

But I didn't get much sleep.

I'm a roller. A tosser. A turner. I know this.

I couldn't fall asleep. I'd probably end up on top of him or something.

And while I wouldn't kick him out of bed, so to speak… I didn't want to just… ugh. No.

I dozed, a bit. Listened to his heavy breathing. Imagined him waking up with morning wood.

When it was around seven, I got up and hopped in the shower. Trying not to make any noise, I slipped back into my clothes and made my way to the front office. The Golden Girl was gone and there was a guy who looked exactly like JR Ewing giving me the eye. What's with the attack of the eighties TV shows? I expected Roscoe P. Coltrane to pull us over as soon as we got back on the road.

Enduring much in the significant looks department, which meant Bea Arthur had told JR about the young stud in room four and they really do print the titles of pay-per-view on your bill, I asked him to help us hire a tow truck so we could get back on the road.

I stuck my head in the door and was witness to Edward stretching. Good God. The hairy little peek of his happy trail, the shifting of his boxers. Like a total perv, I watched him shrug into his sweater and jeans and all the cold-weather crap. I cleared my throat and his head swiveled around toward me, grinning a huge, sexy grin.

"I think I have a porn hangover," he said, putting on those chunky ski gloves.

"Porn hangover?"

"Yup. I drank in way too much and didn't do anything constructive to metabolize the extra energy."

I decided to leave that one alone.

Embarrassingly enough, the truck started when we got a tow out there. The guy said it happened all the time, and when I offered to pay him for the effort, the guy winked before looking me over. I was in heavy-duty ski bunny clothing, for eff's sake. What is there to ogle?

Oh, well. The best part was that Edward looked pissed as hell about it.

Maybe he didn't think of me as his porn buddy after all.

Or maybe he did.

The silence was awkward and deafening the farther we traveled. We had lost who knows how much time with our little side trip adventure to the eighties. Edward figured that we had maybe five hours of drive time left, but the sun was setting. We both had to call our parents, letting them know that we were alive and would arrive the following day.

Watching the sun set, I was humming along to some Moody Blues when Edward finally broke the four-hour silence.

"So… shall we um, stay the night somewhere? Or drive on?"

"Right, Cullen," I tried to say darkly. "Like I'd give you the chance to see the next installment of your Dirtier Debutantes."

He chuckled, and just like that, we were okay again.

Over the next few hours, I sat with my arms curled around my knees, propping my feet up on the dashboard. Every time a big truck would roll by, I'd do that thing where I pump my arm at the driver, only I added a bit of a boobie jiggle. This tended to get me extra honks on the horn that lasted until the truck disappeared from the rear view.

We kept talking. He told me about his family, how Christmas with the Cullens was an extravaganza that tired the crap out of him. I told him that Christmas with Charlie and Renee, the eternally young lovebirds, was my favorite time of year. I had missed out on the last few because of my inability to afford going home, and my refusal to let them pay for my ticket. I got the sense that Edward came from money because he felt bad, and he told me he was glad that he could help get me home to my family.

Dammit. My attraction knew no bounds. I listened to the smooth timbre of his voice, the rumble of his laugh as it filled the car, the quiet moments when he hummed along to whatever song I picked on the radio. He really did know every song there was.

I found myself wondering for the thousandth time what he thought of me. Friend? Potential love interest? Porn Buddy? Or simply his roommate's girlfriend's roommate?

As we got closer and closer to Forks, I got more and more desperate. I wanted to know. After these years of pining, I was finally in a position to do something about it, to get proactive. I started to replay in my head all of the missed opportunities, and it started to piss me off. Why had I never made a move? Why didn't he? There was something there, and I knew I couldn't be imagining things. Hadn't he kissed me? Hadn't it been totally awkward but still… something?

I decided as we passed into Clallam County that I would find out. And I'd do it on my own terms, so that no uncertainty was left. I mean, what did I have to lose? I could make a move and if I crashed and burned, well. We were almost home. I didn't have to see him again if all went to fail.

"Edward, I have to go potty."

"Potty, hmm?" He turned to smirk at me, and the playful burning in his eyes took my breath away. Oh, hell yes. It was a sign.

"Yep. Pull up at the next rest stop, please."


Thank god Bella has a bladder the size of a Skittle.

The sexual tension in the truck was getting actually physically painful.

Something had to give—I was glad when she had to pee, which meant she had to get out of the truck, which meant I could adjust my dick and fucking breathe again.

I swear, if we were in that truck for another two minutes together I would've asked her to adjust my dick for me.

And I couldn't very well do that now, because last night I made the mother of all mistakes.

I entered the friend zone.

We watched porn, we conversed about said porn…and we didn't touch each other. I do the same shit with Jasper and Ben all the time.

I fucked it up—big…but in my defense, I needed the porn. I needed anything to break the thick ass ice that the best/worst kiss put between us…and porn did the trick rather nicely.

Too nicely.

Now we were buddies—the awkward/wonderful kiss and the porn sealed the deal.


I pulled into the deserted rest stop/truck driver rapist haven and put the truck in reverse to pull right back out.

"What are you doing?" she squeaked. "I gotta go."

"You're better off by the side of the road," I said, gesturing out the windshield.

Was she blind?

She'd get syphilis, or pregnant…at the very least she'd get an unwanted toothless boyfriend.

"Stop the truck—"

"It's dark out there," I said, using her fear against her, because, God, I just couldn't escort her to the bathroom and stand by the door while she took her pants down and—

"Edward! You're being ridiculous. Stop the truck."


"I'm going to pee my pants if you don't stop the truck."

I stopped the truck.


If she wasn't bluffing, I'd be smelling hot piss in the middle of July.

We'd risk the rest stop.

"Thank you," she kind of whispered and smiled and I almost pushed her out of the truck, because, fuck…something had to give.

She hopped out and I watched her hair dark hair sway with her steps and I watched her stumble over nothing. I kept my eyes on her while I slid down in my seat and let out a long, ragged breath.

I kept watching when she paused and dug in her pockets.

I kept watching when she put more of the stupid Chapstick on.

I simply couldn't look away…and then my choppy breaths stopped when Bella slowly turned her head to look over her shoulder at me.

I stared and she stared right back, neither of us moving a muscle—just locked in this thing of painful and urgent want…

And then I knew what had to give.


Without thinking or feeling, I slowly slid my fingers to the door handle, then it clicked open and I was out of the truck.

I kept my eyes on Bella, who didn't turn her body, who didn't move at all, she just kept staring…

I was vaguely aware I didn't shut the truck door, but I couldn't go back now.

I was moving too slow and too fast just to get to her, and I couldn't hear anything aside from the pulse in my ears and the crunch of ice and gravel underneath my feet.

I walked to her, and she didn't move and she didn't ask what I was doing—because it was past that, we both knew what was coming.

I stopped when I was about two feet away from her, because fuck it, she at least had to meet me half way here.

"Yeah," she said so quietly that I only caught it because I was staring at her lips.

"Come here," I whispered.

She nodded and turned around, facing me completely now.

Bella took a step closer, and I reached out to grab the front of her ski jacket, because she wasn't close enough.

"Here?" I asked in her ear.

"Then where…?"



I pulled her in closer to me, because it was cold and all that bullshit about smoldering lust keeping you warm is just that—bullshit. The thing is, the cold just didn't matter.

The top of her head ducked under my chin, her face pressed into the leather of my collar and my fingers fumbled quick and numb until I found the button of her jeans, just under the hem of her coat.

My freezing fingers brushed her warm stomach and I felt her flinch, then move closer into me.

"You sure?" I whispered, my face turned up to the sky while her face stayed hidden in my shoulder.

She nodded, and just like that- I shoved my hand down her pants.

Holy shit.

Quiet Bella goes commando…and bare.

Holy shit.

She let out a small squeak at the my cold hand and I took a deep breath, knowing my hand would be warm and wet, just like her, in no time at all.

I bent my elbow and slid my hand up until my fingertip found what it had been searching for for three years now.

Her jagged nails scratched at the leather on my arms and my finger worked in tight, small circles and I fucking hated the bulky clothes in between us because I could do so much better than this.

Bella's mouth pressed into my coat and I dropped my head so my chin rested on top of her head and I just kept going in her pants…then her hand left my arm and I felt her rub up and down on my dick, through my jeans.

She gripped and rubbed and the friction was going to…was going to…

Her breathing got intense and heavy then quickly cut off.

Bella jerked hard twice and my fingers were coated in her and I wrapped my free arm tightly around her waist because she kind of went limp.

Her hand pressed against my dick, then the rubbing started again and bless her, she knew better than to wrap an ice cold hand around me.

My lips pressed into her hair…and if she would just grip a little tighter and move a little faster I would…

Then she did.

My arm tightened, crushing her to me and I came hard and silent in my damn pants.

I haven't done that since I was fourteen.

It was fucking warm and sticky and messy and outstanding.

We stood completely still for about two minutes—my hand still down her pants, her face still pressed into my jacket and I bit the side of my cheek to keep the goofy ass smile from spreading.

I was on a high.

Then Bella shivered and I reluctantly took my hand from her pants and she looked down while buttoning herself up.

Then shit was just awkward.

Without ever making it to the bathroom or saying a word to me, she walked with a bowed head back to the truck.

I followed and got in the driver's seat and jammed the key in the ignition.

I leaned over Bella and snapped the glove box open, in search of napkins.

She looked out the window and I had no idea what to say, so I just grabbed the napkins and settled back in my seat, then set about the ridiculous task of cleaning myself up.

Two seconds later she was still staring out the window, but she was giggling at me.

"Do you find this funny?" I asked.


I wadded up a used napkin and tossed it at her.

"Oh, ew! Ew!" she yelped, then picked it up between her thumb and forefinger and slightly opened the door and tossed it out.

"Very mature," I said, putting the truck in reverse.

"Right. Because it's so mature to throw your cum rag at someone," she said.

"Cum rag?" I laughed

"Cum rag," she giggled, then rested her head and looked out the window.

I drove and Bella slept.

The sexual tension had been relieved.

Now there was new tension—for me anyway.

Had this taken us out of friend zone?

Were we like, cum buddies now?

I don't want just cum buddies, I want conversations and smiling and fuck it-- I want awful kissing.

I want Bella.

I glanced over at her asleep next to me. Her hair had knots all up in the back from sleeping on the seat. There was drool at the corner of her shimmery lips and I was pretty sure I heard a light snore.

I still want Bella.

Two hours later I had to wake her up.

I knew I had to, because every plan I'd came up with to keep her with me longer would probably get me kidnapping charges.

I used one finger to stroke her cheek.

She kind of growled.

I smiled and poked her cheek, making her absently swat at my hand.

"Bella," I said.

Nothing, so I pulled at the ends of her hair.

"Stop," she moaned.

I did it again, harder.

"Fucking…will you stop?" she grumbled, one eye opening and glaring at me.

"Wake up. We're in your neighborhood."

"Oh…um, okay," she said, sitting up straight and swiping at her mouth.

She guided me to her house, where the front porch light was on and her parents would be waiting and I just wasn't ready to let her go.

"So, um, thanks for the ride…for everything," she said, her hand on the door handle.

"Yeah…no, I mean, it was fun. If you need a ride back—"

"Okay. Yeah. I mean, I do."

"Yeah? Good. I guess, I have your email, so—"

"Good. Just, um, email me and we'll figure it out."



"Well, I'll help you with your stuff," I said, opening my door before she could protest.

She started rummaging through her purse and fidgeting around and I just couldn't not feel sad—which was ridiculous, I'd see the girl in two weeks.

I held back a sigh, got out and started piling her shit out of the cab, then the Chief himself and Bella's mom were bounding off the porch, hugging Bella and gathering up her stuff.

Her father shook my hand.

Her mother thanked me for the ride and shoved a container of cookies in my hands then they all shuffled off.

Bella turned and looked over her shoulder and mouthed goodbye…and I could barely smile back.

I got back in the truck and put the container of cookies in what I would now always consider Bella's spot. It looked too empty.

I was distracted and unsettled and not paying attention to driving, causing me to stop short too quickly at a stop sign, in turn causing the cookies to tumble to the floor.

I kept my foot on the break and leaned over to pick them up, then something else caught my eye.

Bella's journal.

It slipped from her purse.

…but the fumbling…that purse had a zipper…she left it in my truck on purpose…while she was sober.

I snatched the journal up and held it to my chest while I drove all the way home, not even questioning if I would read it or not.

She wanted me to—

I was going to read that journal.


That was…

What was that?

I wasn't sure.





I mean, first of all, it had been a while. Self-induced orgasms are just so boring.

And the guys I'd been with in the last few years had been so… well, like my high school boyfriend.

Who started calling me the practically the instant I set foot back in my house.

I had wanted a repeat of the rest stop thing.

I had wanted Edward to come in and meet Charlie and Renee. Partly because while ever-faithful, my mother appreciated a fine piece of ass like anyone else.

But mostly, I had wanted to just fucking talk to him. I mean, he stuck his hand down my pants in the frickin' ice-cold dead of winter and it was just fucking amazing and the sensations and ugh. We still couldn't bring ourselves to talk about it.

I was going to obsess over this. My idea failed. We were no closer to a definition than we were before my orgasm.

And God, I just… I felt him. I felt how big he was. I had to suppress a triumphant grin at the time because I just knew he'd be that big. No guy has fingers like that and a small dick. God's a fair guy. He doesn't fuck around.

But then suddenly we were at my house and my parents must have been waiting for the truck to pull up and then I was in their warm, parental embrace and I could smell baking on Charlie's flannel and Renee smelled like Noxzema night cream and I was pulled out of the confused afterglow of near-sex for one brief second and then I looked over my shoulder and he was getting into his truck and he was just gone.

I almost cried or screamed or just fucking ugh.

I spent the next five days moping. Morose. Irritated. Nothing made me happy.

Edward had texted me later that night that he had gotten home safely, and I almost called him. It had been like, two in the morning but I still wanted to hear his voice. To say something utterly absurd that would force that weird half-chuckle out of the back of his throat until my eyes rolled back into my head with want. I scolded myself for thinking initially that spending so much time in the truck would get me over my obsession with Edward Cullen because it was just way worse now.

And to ice my fucking cake, Tyler kept showing up. Tyler. My virginity. Former Forks High Basketball Star and all-around pain-in-the-ass. He would call every few months while I was at school, not-so-subtly hinting that if I came home, I would get some. Like I was interested in Bartles & Jaymes and a cold basement sofa while I watched him play some NCAA Football on his Xbox and waited impatiently for three minutes in bumpy, rhythmless heaven.

I wanted to sock my mom in the nose for allowing him into the kitchen every time he "just happened by", too. I couldn't make a run to the grocery store without running into him; I had forgotten how damned small a town Forks really was, and it was starting to get on my nerves. I was considering throwing him a pity fuck just so he'd lay off for a few months, but I honestly couldn't stand the thought that Edward would no longer be the last person inside me, even if it was just the finger part that had made contact.

These thoughts made my mind go into full-blown fantasy mode, which was not helping so much with my irritation.

Christmas Eve rolled around and nothing. No texts. No calls. I took that as the message that we were definitely in friend zone.

I was so certain that he would find my journal. My thoughts. My millions of questions about what he was like when he wasn't sitting on the couch and eating Chinese food while watching TiVo'd episodes of Scrubs. How I had been to every cross-country and track meet he had been in at school, and shit. I left those newspaper clippings in there. That's probably why he hadn't called. He'd realized that I'm a stalker. Obsessive. Fuck.

Merry effing Christmas, Bella.

I woke up Christmas morning to Renee bouncing around on my bed. I chuckled, feeling warm and a little happy that some things never changed. Mom was still Mom, and that's a good thing.

Charlie had his apron tied on and was flipping pancakes in the kitchen, and the smell of coffee attracted me right on over. It really was good to be home, which is positive since everything else in my life was pure and utter shit.

"I wonder who could be at the door?" Renee said suddenly; we were clearing the lunch dishes and I was moving out the piles of clothing and CDs I had gotten as gifts; Mom rushed over to the door and naturally Tyler was there, looking purposefully disheveled and handsome. I didn't wonder that I had dated him in high school, I was just sick of the guy.

Okay, that's not fair. He was Not Edward. Not his fault. So I tried to be nice.

I humored my mother when she pointed out that we were under the mistletoe.

I made him a mug of cocoa when he appeared to be staying.

I laughed at his lame-ass jokes.

I entertained him until well after the appropriate "I just dropped by" time had passed, even as folks were stopping by to wish the Chief and his family a merry merry.

Basically, I resigned myself to a disappointing trip home.

I wasn't even sure I wanted to ride back with Edward anymore. I didn't think my poor heart and mind could take much more of this relentless obsessing over nuances and meaningful/less glances.

I decided my New Year's Resolution would be to get over Edward Cullen, and I felt a twinge of sadness that the back of my mind didn't give me a big, fat yeah right.

This decision was reached as I was realizing that Tyler had seriously overstayed his welcome. I started hedging that he might want to go spend some time with his family because Charlie and Renee were headed out to the Stanley's Christmas Party, and I knew that if I didn't get him out now that he'd stay because all of the adults of Forks tended to get seriously drunk at that party and not make it home until the wee hours of the morning, and my parents were no exception to that rule.

As Tyler was hemming and hawing over asking if I wanted to go do something later, I felt my pocket buzz and there was a text message there. From Edward.

Merry Christmas, Bella.

Well, whaddyaknow.

You, too.

And that was that.

I sighed and practically shoved Tyler out the door. He looked a little put out, but I ignored it and told him that maybe we could go for coffee tomorrow. He seemed placated by that, and I shut the door, turning around and slowly turning off the lights in the house. Kitchen, first. Living room. It was completely dark now except for the Christmas tree and the fire that I just didn't want to put out. I was deciding to park it in front of the TV and watch the Grinch when there was a knock at the door. Fucking Tyler just didn't know when to quit.

I hauled off of the couch and dropped the remote, almost deciding to turn the TV on and complain about being tired, but I decided I'd just have to be firm. I opened my mouth and the door and of course, it wasn't him.

It was Edward.

I couldn't help it. Fuck. A grin overtook my damned life when I saw him standing there.

"Hey," he said, a puff of cold escaping his mouth. He looked beautiful standing there with his hands behind his back.

"Hey," I returned, because I just didn't know what to say. He was here.

"You left something in my truck," he said lamely. I realized he was standing there on my porch in the freezing cold and I ushered him inside, for lack of anything better to do or say.

He handed me my journal and smirked. So he read it. Great. Did he come here to gloat? That was just-

"I also brought you some candy," he said, bringing out his other arm and handing me one of those enormous Hershey's Kisses. Dude.

I looked up at him shyly, wondering if this meant what I so desperately wanted it to mean.

"So I was thinking," he began, brushing past me and walking toward the couch. He stumbled a little on the step because it was dark and he turned around and I bumped into him and dammit, he smelled good.

"Yes?" I breathed, not meeting his eyes. He brushed my hair out of my face and grabbed my chin, jerking it up and we locked gazes.

"No more miscommunication. Okay? I'm sick of it. I'm into you, Bella. Always have been. So let's be clear, here. Awkward kisses and weird rest stop stuff aside… I want this. You, I mean. You and me."

Thank you, Santa.

I simply nodded, never breaking eye contact. He leaned down and kissed me, and this wasn't awkward or clanging teeth. This was wonderful.

His lips were cold and soft, brushing against me and the leather jacket he wore smelled like an ice cream shop and I clutched the lapels of it, bringing him closer to me. I almost laughed when I realized we were under the mistletoe, but I'm sure he didn't notice and it didn't matter anyway because his mouth was moving and we were in sync for the first time, ever. He was so cold and I wanted to warm him up so I pressed into his cold body, lightly rubbing my palms over his chest. The soft fabric of his sweater caused a little static and I could feel the spark building between us as his mouth moved with mine, his head tilting so that I could feel the cold tip of his nose brushing my cheek as we kissed. He leaned down a little, taking a deep breath in my ear and it felt wonderful. Soft and delicate, like he was unsure what to do with me.

Fuck that.

I started leaning into him, pressing so that he was walking backward and the kissing turned into tongues. Tasting and testing and moving. Swirling. Insistent and delicious. No deep throating, no mouth fucking. Long and languorous and lovely. He was a damned good kisser, as I had always suspected. He had his fingertips pressed into my jaw, and I noticed that he was getting warmer, which was good because I didn't think I could take shivers from both his touch and his temperature. The sensations were just too much.

"Bella," he whispered, and I could feel the timbre of his voice down in my bones, and it was making me wet just thinking about him whispering things in my ear all night.

I pushed him away, playfully. He grinned at me- the grin of a guy who knows he's not going anywhere.

"Fucking took you long enough, Cullen," I said, putting my hands on my hips and staring him down. His half-smile popped up and I almost lost it right there. I pushed him and he stumbled on the arm of my couch and ended up sitting on it. He reached out and grabbed my waist, pulling me in.

"Tell me about it," he whispered again, rubbing his nose along my jaw. I tilted my head so that I could enjoy that thrilling feeling of him at my throat. He kissed my neck lightly, moving down and lightly pushing the collar of my shirt away so that he could trail down to my collarbone. I started clenching involuntarily because the shuddering feeling elicited from those kisses was just making me horny and dammit. I couldn't take it anymore.

I stepped back and grabbed the hem of my shirt, neatly lifting it away from my body. I stood there in my basic black bra and his eyes took on this lusty dark look and I knew I was done.

"Come here," I said, my voice low and husky. He stood up and came to me, towering and tall and so freaking Edward and he put his hands on my arms, tracing paths up to my shoulders and down across the tops of my breasts.

"Beautiful," he whispered, and it was such a trite thing to say but I ate it up. The way he was looking at me made me feel like I really was beautiful to him. I'm such a sap.

I turned around and pressed against him, moving my hair over my shoulder and tilting my head again so that he could have at my neck. I loved that. I closed my eyes as I felt him press his lips at that spot I was hoping he'd kiss; I had to stop a hiss when I felt the soft velvet of his tongue on my skin, and his lips rushed up to the spot under my ear. He blew a stream of cold air down the path he had just licked up my neck, and this time I shuddered visibly.

"Sorry," he chuckled into my ear, low and full of his desire.

"No, you're not," I returned, turning my body and him with it as I made for the couch. He pulled away for a second and I could feel him removing his own sweater, and when he pressed his warm chest into my back, I smiled. Like it was supposed to be that way, him molding himself into me. We fit. It was nice.

His hands started to feel my skin again, and my breathing increased when he got down to my waist. He kept his palms there, gripping me, but his fingers were brushing against my hips, dipping into the waistband of my jeans. I was going to die if he didn't touch me again.

He leaned in and kissed my shoulder again, and when I felt his teeth lightly sink into my skin, I was done. I bucked backward and felt him, hot and hard against my ass. Wiggling my hips back and forth into him, I heard him gasp and I leaned forward, his hands still grasping my waist as I braced myself on the side of the couch. He brought them around to the button on my jeans and before I knew it, he was unzipping. Running his thumbs under the waist as he eased my pants off of me. Pressing into me as he brought them all the way down to my ankles, where I kicked them off. Then he stood up and I heard him take his own pants off.

We were standing there, in our undergarments. I was still propping myself up on the couch arm, my head down, breaths coming in short gasps. I felt him step up and against me again, and I stopped breathing when I realized he was completely naked and then his hands were at my bra, his fingertips reaching inside and he was running them along my nipples and my breaths were just loud and then he pinched and rolled and hell. His cock was now pressed against my ass and I just wanted it. Needed it.

"Edward," I breathed, and that did it. His hands slid down my belly and into my underwear and he sucked in a breath when he got to how wet I was and his thumbs were pressing into the flesh below my bellybutton, hard and massaging as he teased me with the tips of his fingers.

My head was still down between my arms and I opened my eyes, watching as he strummed along, teasing me and making me wetter. I could see the reds and blues and greens of the blinking Christmas lights behind us and I smiled because it was pretty and he was sort of going along with the blinking rhythm but I'm pretty sure that was unintentional.

I started to move my hips a little, alternating between trying to get his fingers to actually go deeper and pressing up into his cock that I desperately wanted to feel on my skin. He was sliding it up against the top of my ass crack and I could feel the slight moisture from it against the skin of my back, and I was gasping and making these half-word noises and then he just yanked down on my panties. I wiggled my legs around to get them off because I couldn't use my hands, I'd lose my balance. But by the time they made it to my knees, he was pressing against me and between my legs and dammit. I finally shook the damned panties off, lifting my leg slightly to fling them with my foot and then I felt it. He reached down and was rubbing my very slick pussy with two fingers, not going in but sort of playing with light pinches and hell, I couldn't take it.

"Edward," I breathed again, and there he was, rubbing his cock against me, getting it wet with me and I froze so that I could feel his hardness rubbing up and down the folds, teasing and tantalizing and I wanted to keep up the friction but I leaned forward and stuck my ass out and then he was pulling back and just fucking thrust into me.

That slight pain at first contact made me gasp, like, really loudly. But in a good way. Fuck, he was just full and filling and I leaned back into it, bracing myself and trying to remember not to lock my arms. My soft sigh filled the room, and I opened my eyes and saw the embers of the dying fire floating up the chimney as Edward slowly pulled back, angling up a little so that I felt every inch as he tried so hard not to go too fast.

Fuck that. I leaned forward and pressed back, meeting him as he thrust in, and this time he did hiss and he grabbed my hips, pulling me in and pausing as his entire pelvis hit the curve of my ass. He continued to just fucking pound into me then, and I lost the ability to see, either because I was squeezing my eyes shut so hard or because I just couldn't concentrate on anything but the fucking friction and the delicious tension that was building. I couldn't differentiate much between our breathing; we were perfectly in sync. Gasping and clenching and moving and just pounding.

My gasps turned into loud sighs and his gasps turned into very male grunting as he squeezed my hips and my back was starting to ache because I was using every muscle I had to push into him and the fire seemed to flare bigger and higher and hotter and then I was there, I was feeling it build and it was wet and wonderful and oh God. God. Fucking good. Too good. Too fucking good.

He stilled and I felt him pulsing into me, pulsing and moving because I could feel that almost indescribable tickle as his body spilled into mine and he was rumbly and growling in his throat and then I was there, too. Blinding fire flaring in my brain as the pleasure of it all washed up from my stomach and through my body, my knees buckling and my feet pressing up and my fucking elbows locked and then I was just limp; I gave and he caught me before I fell forward, gently lifting out and bringing me up to cradle in his arms.

We stood there for a moment, catching our breaths and his skin was hot and damp against mine or maybe we were both just too sweaty and it was just… awesome. I had no words for it but… awesome. And fucking finally.

He ducked his forehead so that it was resting on my shoulder, and we had to take a breather. His arms wrapped tighter around me and then we were sitting and slumped over on the couch, leaning into each other and breathing easier. He pulled down the old crocheted afghan my grandmother had made and carelessly tossed it over us, leaning sideways so that we were resting on the cushions. I watched the fire that was practically dead now and swiped at my upper lip, wiping away the moisture that had gathered there.

"I don't want you to go," I whispered, silently cursing my inability to just let a moment fucking happen.

"Well, luckily for you, I didn't tell my parents I was coming home. They went to my grandma's in Chicago for Christmas."

"You mean you were alone today?" That made me a little sad and more than a little mad. I could have avoided a whole day with the dreaded ex-Virginity.

"Yeah. Don't worry, though. I got everything I wanted."

"Don't turn all sappy on me now, Cullen," I teased. Now that I had him, I could poke fun all I wanted.

"Only for you, Swan. Only for you." He pulled me in tighter, and I just didn't think it was possible, but it was. He could squeeze the breath out of me and I'd be okay with it.

"Please stay," I whispered, knowing he wouldn't make fun of that. He didn't.


"I don't want you to go."

"I won't."

"Good. Hey, Edward?"

"Hmm?" He was sounding sleepy. I needed to get us off the couch. I doubted my drunken parents wouldn't notice us there.

"Let's go to bed."




"Thanks for my gift."



"Yes?" He sounded amused now.

"Thanks for my candy."

His body laughed at me, and I could feel him getting hard again. Wow.

"Alright, Casanova. Lemme get you upstairs before we're caught by my parents. Renee's pretty desperate for me to find a nice boy, but I don't think she'd enjoy my methods of getting one."

"Okay, you. Let's go to bed since you've been so desperate to get me there for so long." He neatly lifted us off the couch and set me on my feet, gathering our clothes and tossing my shirt and panties at me. I lifted my eyebrow at him and turned, heading up the stairs.

"Come on, you. I want to end my Christmas right and in my bed. And PS- I want to ring in the New Year in exactly the same fashion."

"Whatever Bella wants, Bella gets," he said, grabbing my hand and kissing my palm.

Merry Christmas to me.

p.s. keep yer eyes peeled for the honorable mention stories…we wanted to pick way more than five, so when the list hit twenty, well, things got out of control…