Boring, dull and reserved. These three words describe me perfectly, in my opinion. At 17 years of age, living in town called Forks which has on average 340 overcast days in a year really shows the amount of excitement in my life. Okay, so maybe it isn't that bad, since I have the best friends in the world. Alice Brandon is the small short dark hair pixie looking sister I never had, her bubbly and lively personality ensures that she is the life of any party, making her a great match for the shy Jasper. Rosalie Hale is the Barbie doll everyone wants - long blonde hair cascading down her curvaceous body and her piercing blue eyes seal the deal.

Jasper Whitlock is my personal psychologist; he is always there if I need anything to talk about freely and get off my chest. It's like he can feel my emotions. He is also every boy's idol - thick shaggy blonde hair crystal blue eyes and a muscled body, but not as muscled as Emmett, who can be classified as big, brawny, and funny. At first sight, all one can see are the muscles ripping out of his clothes. But his cheesy smiles and trademark hugs make him resemble a large, cute teddy bear. I suppose his carefree attitude compliments Rosalie's feisty outlook perfectly. He also happens to be my non-identical twin brother. Creepy much?

--

Lunchtime at Forks High School is probably the highlight of the day. All the groups, hierarchies and cliques can be seen. Our group is made up of the outcasts - Emmett, the intimidating six foot five inched 17 year old, Rosalie the tenacious girl who should be on a New York runway, Alice the jumpy, overly happy little girl who should be used as a nuclear bomb, Jasper the emotional pained looking guy and me, the plain, and excessively average teenager. Next came the sporty guys and girls, the jocks with the slutty girls and the smart asses.

And then there's Edward Cullen.

He's the most popular and the most un-popular person in our school. He is a contradiction in himself. His good looks were his strongest ally - thick lustrous bronze hair that is always arranged in a casual disarray which fell into his deep, rich emerald eyes which sucked away your breath. His face was angular yet perfect which resembled porcelain with high cheekbones and full lips which occasionally pulled into a lopsided grin. His defined and chiseled muscles were just the cherry on top. Mmmn

His attitude stops everyone in their tracks. Edward's cynical disposition, skeptical views and general outlook on life made him look very unattractive when someone tried to get to know him. Often I felt sorry for him, I was sure there was his side to listen to as well - he wasn't just a pretty face. Sometimes I felt a little angry, that he should take to such evasive behavior. But if everyone was the same, what fun would that be? Like they say, variety is the spice of life.

"Bella! Are you in?" Alice waved her arms in my face. I snapped back into reality and focused on the discussion.

"In what?" I asked.

"Christmas shopping! This Saturday, I'll meet you at my house and we'll go in my car!" Alice squealed happily, not even bothering to hear my answer.

"I guess you've already counted me in" I sighed, knowing there was no way out of it, as there were less than two weeks til Christmas and I still had to buy Charlie, Renee, Emmett and my friends their presents. Stupid formalities.

"Great! Seattle, here we come!" Alice yelled happily and clapped her hands.

The bell rang, signaling the end of Lunch, and time for our last lessons, in my case, Biology.

I always sat alone in Biology, as the teacher thought that independent working was the way to go, but only for Edward and I - everyone else needed a partner. Maybe it was because we were such outcasts.

"For the rest of the term, we will be working in pairs, creating a presentation on the current topic, which is selective breeding", announced. He pointedly looked at Edward and I.

Just my luck, two weeks with him.

I gathered my things and trudged to Edward's desk. On my way, I caught girls giving me envious stares while others gave me pitiful looks. Ugh, I didn't need their pity.

"Hey Edward" I mumbled desperately trying to be civil, but my scarlet blush probably gave it away.

"Hi Bella" His musical voice replied. I stiffened at the melody he withheld, but I shouldn't have been surprised - with such a perfect appearance, a perfect voice was inevitable.

"Plan it out today; layout, colours, content etc" Mr. Banner yelled above our conversations.

To avoid any awkward moments with Edward's miserable face, I began doodling my plan. It consisted of grass, clouds, the sun and sheep. Yes, selective breeding was to perfect all farm animals, literally. I began to wonder off in my own thoughts, where there was sun and grassy meadows with wildlife and cute little flowers around me. However, my little utopia didn't last long for my partner began snickering.

"What?" I asked coldly, unable to keep the annoyance out of my tone.

"Your sheep look like they're roller blading!" Edward hiccupped. I looked at my sheep - he was right, four legs lined up one behind the other with little round things at the bottom, looking like wheels. Of course I wouldn't ever tell him that. I blushed crimson, again.

I glared at him.

"Sure hope you didn't take art" He mumbled, but I heard.

That earned him another glare.

If he was going to be so inconsiderate, then so would I.

"Jeez, sorry to upset you, didn't know you were so emotionally disturbed." I muttered, but he heard as his face jerked up towards me.

I knew he was going to return with a smart-ass comment which I probably couldn't retort to, so I turned my back towards him and used my long brown hair as a curtain between us.

The lesson went by slowly, because I actually did some work, by reading outdated cloning books and making notes on anything slightly interesting. The bell went and Edward literally ran out of the classroom. Did I smell bad?

I met Alice and Emmett in the hallway while they were animatedly talking about Christmas plans.

"No! We have a food fest!" Emmett disagreed.

"Nuh-uh, we're having a fashion theme!" Alice contradicted

"How's about you two shut up and we have a Bella theme, where shuts up and does nothing" I smiled sarcastically.

They didn't get the joke.

I shook my head and walked to my car, a shiny sliver Mercedes. Well, it wasn't mine; it was Renee's but my 1953 Chevrolet truck died recently, so Renee risked her new true love for me. The joy of mothers.

--

"So you're paired with Edward Cullen?" Rosalie asked while lounging on my bed, aimlessly flicking through the little variety of channels I had.

I nodded glumly, "How will I ever get an A? He's so annoying"

"I'll help you!" Alice perked up

"No you won't, unless I shop or something" I muttered.

"That's the point! You come pre-Christmas shopping with me, and you'll have an A right here" She pointed to the blank piece of paper lying on my bedroom desk.

"Fine" I sighed - day of torture wouldn't be that bad.

--

Oh how I was wrong. So very wrong. We went to every single shop this tiny town offered. You may think, that's only a few, but no, even Forks has over 70 shops which Alice dragged me into. Even though it was Thursday, I agreed to go after school, but never again will I do that. Of course, Alice bought everything and anything that we might just need for our Christmas get together. Alice is very rich; her parents are some distant Duke and Duchess of some place in England, and somehow, her family gets a lot of money for their land, but Alice doesn't have an English accent, and she is also an only child, so driving around in Porsche isn't odd for her. Rosalie very cleverly backed out saying she was -cough- sick -cough- So I had no mercy.

"So all of next week, you have to come over for half an hour and help me finish this, okay?" I reconfirmed with Alice.

"Yupp! I'll see you tomorrow at school, bye" Alice waved as she sped off into the darkness leaving me outside my doorstep, thinking about Edward Cullen.

--

"Come on Edward, you have to work with me here!" I threw my hands up in the air in frustration.

"What do you think I'm doing?" He had the nerve to smirk at me while I was stressing out about our project. Of course, the stressing out was merely an act as Alice and I had already done most of the poster - a week earlier. We're such geniuses.

"You're being one hell of a bastard" I blurted out, and then regretted my words, as they came out a little harsh. My cheeks were stained pink.

The hurt in his crystal green eyes was clear, but then I figured that I was going to save his sorry ass later. He looked away and began drawing pictures with the few captions I had written.

The awkward silence was pulled along the whole lesson. I sat there, pondering what made Edward so miserable, and angry. Perhaps a bad relationship? My body was in the Biology classroom but my mind was miles away. Suddenly, papers were thrust under my chin on the desk. My eyes travelled over the pictures and I gasped.

There were no words to describe them. Beautiful, amazing, fabulous - these words did them no justice. It was as if he'd been to these places himself, and had drawn them taking hours or even days on end. The colours were so vivid and perfectly blended in.

"Wow" was all I could say.

Edward actually looked pleased for a second, until he decided to mask it with his usual glum expression.

"Did you come up with them yourself?" I asked, wondering if anyone, or anything else helped him out.

"Yes - art is pure" He murmured, his eyes alight with passion for what he did.

I pursed my lips and picked up the pictures of the animals running underneath the sunset, the one of the sheep grazing peacefully in a field, similar to my own thought up utopia, and the one of a lion cub and lamb sitting together reveling in the company of one another. I handed them with care, as if each one was priceless, which they were and put them into my folder, ready to use for the poster Alice and I made.

--

"GET UP BELLIE WELLIE!" a loud voice thundered through my ears.

I groaned and turned over, pulling the blanket over my head so the cracking and bouncing would stop. Just a bad dream, that's all.

"BELLINGTON WELLINGTON, YOUR BUDDY WUDDY IS HERE!" the voiced yelled

I screamed.

This wasn't a nightmare, it was Emmett.

Suddenly a large mouth muted my outburst and lifted me off my bed and stood me on the floor.

"Sorry, I was just trying to wake you up" Emmett mumbled.

"I have an alarm clock for that, you know" I said matter-of-factly.

"About that, err I accidentally kicked it onto the ground while I was jumping on your bed" Emmett stuttered.

"YOU WHAT? YOU JUMPED ON MY BED?! AND THEN YOU BROKE MY ALARM CLOCK?! AAARGHH!" I screamed loudly.

"Hey, hey if you be quiet, I'll get you a new one - bed and alarm clock!" Emmett whispered urgently.

He was whispering, meaning Charlie and Renee were home, which was surprising since, Charlie literally lives in the police station and Renee was joined to the hip with her interior designer buddy, Esme, who I'd never met, surprisingly.

"MUM! DAD!" I whined

Within two seconds a sleepy Renee and an annoyed Charlie showed up at the door, followed by a hyperactive ready-to-go Alice.

"MY MICKEY MOUSE CLOCK!" I cried, knowing I probably sounded like a baby, but it was of sentimental value.

"A clock, that's it? I'll get you a new one hon" Charlie mumbled groggily.

"And a bed!" I snapped.

"Bed, sure, hon, Christmas is next Saturday, we'll get you one" Renee muttered with her eyes closed and the two of them stumbled back to their bedroom.

Obviously, they were too sleepy to realize the extent of the damage - nobody really says 'sure I'll get you a bed tomorrow, what one?'

"Oh well what's done is done, now let's go shopping!" Alice jumped into the picture all happy chappy.

I groaned, blindly grabbing clothes and wobbling towards the bathroom.

--

Cramped in a canary yellow Porsche coupe with your twin brother is no candy land.

Emmett and I were squished in the little space little Alice's little car offered.

"Why couldn't we take my jeep?" Emmett whined.

"Because then I can't make a statement" Alice chirped.

"It's Forks - even Mike's Suburban can 'make a statement' " I snapped, still angry at Emmett for trashing my room, and Alice for coming 6 hours earlier than proposed.

"Hey Emmett, why are you even coming with us? You're not even chaperoning, 'cause Alice is driving" I asked, making a point while some Christmassy song was playing in the background by Mariah Carey, to which Alice was singing an octave higher.

"Jasper and Rosie are going too, so I don't want get bored" Emmett rolled his eyes and said 'bored' as if it was some form of terminal cancer.

Three fifteen and we gathered our gang, as in Jasper and Rosalie. For some strange reason I felt like the fifth wheel, with Emmett and Rosalie gone to eat and Alice and Jasper whispering sweet nothings to each other and me behind them. Luckily, I had bought myself some time to buy them each a present. At first I was about to keep Emmett out but then I realised, hey he is my brother, all the annoying parts included. I continued casually walking around or behind Alice and Jasper, who knew I was feeling awkward.

Alice's sloppy kiss on Jasper's lips did the job. Without telling them, I went off in my own direction towards any interesting shop. I continued to walk for the next half an hour, my legs slowly giving in, and the density of the shops decreasing. I looked for any shop from where I could call Alice or Emmett to pick me up, as I left my phone at home, being the clumsy person I was. My eye caught an art shop. It was small and on the corner of the long street in the centre of the town. There were pictures framed elegantly and hung up on the walls. The shop was called 'Masen's.' The variety of pictures had me cave in and I went to look inside. Somehow, the pictures reminded me of Edward and his little sketched for the poster, only these were fifty times better.

I stepped in quietly and admired the works of art; feeling very temped to buy myself a Christmas present.

However, after reading the price tag, I banished that thought. They were expensive, but every little penny was worth it.

I sighed, a little too loudly and turned the corner to see something that caused me to gasp.

A small room was enclosed in the corner of the shop, filled with easels, paints of all sorts and over twenty types of cards were scattered around the area. The artist was staring intently at his painting which I was unable to see since I was looking at him sideways. His stall figure was slightly bent, in order to dab bits of green paint at the bottom of the card. Even in such an untidy surrounding, his clothes were spotless and in an immaculate condition - navy blue jeans and a green shirt, with the sleeves rolled up, probably to avoid any stains from the paint. He realised he had a guest.

My eyes glided to his face, which happened to belong to my Biology partner.

For the second time, all I could say to him was, "Wow"

Edward's eyes widened and his full lips parted in 'O' in surprise. He turned away angrily refusing to make any eye contact.

"What are you doing here?" He asked spitefully.

I was a little hurt by his harsh tone, was I really that repulsive to him?

"Is that what you say to all your customers?" I asked softly, the hurt evident in my voice.

He didn't answer and continued dabbing bits of green paint on his piece. I carefully peered around him to see a scene in which the sun was beginning to set, above an area of lush green grass with little daisies swaying in the wind. I smiled to see that our happy places were very similar. It felt good to know we had at least something in common.

Edward turned his icy glare onto me; the bitterness and sadness floating in his green orbs.

Instead of feeling angry, I felt sad, for this gorgeous creature in front of me was standing here in some sort of pain.

"Yes, laugh all you like and then tell everyone what I like to do on Saturdays" His velvet voice said coldly.

"What makes you think I would do that?" I asked

"Why wouldn't you? Everyone else does" He replied bitterly.

"I'm not everyone else" I murmured. He ignored me and went inside another room, presumably to wash his hands.

I left his little shop, teary eyed for reasons even I didn't know, bit one thing I did know was that there was more to Edward than met the eye.

--

Emmett stood in front of me, Rosalie by his side, with the sternest face I have ever seen him pull off. He must be really trying to put up some big brother act.

"Where have you been?" He snapped.

"None of your business" I retorted, feeling that Edward was quite the influential person, particularly when it came to evasion.

"The hell it's my business! I've been shitting myself wondering where you were for over 4 hours!" He thundered.

Jesus, he sounded like Charlie by the minute.

Alice cowered into Jasper, and she wasn't even the one getting shouted at.

"I'd like it if you lowered your voice; it's very impolite" I spoke quietly.

"You didn't answer my question. Are you okay? Where did you go?" Emmett asked a little more quietly this time.

"I went shopping" I said shortly and walked back up to my room. The other four were left speechless after my rather evasive behavior.

--

Our Biology project was due in on Wednesday, and it was already Monday. The week's first Biology lesson was super awkward. Edward sat as far away from me as possible, and I tried incredibly hard not to steal glances at him. Our silent game as some would put it was so irritating, I felt like yelling. I would sit there everyday carefully writing out little phrases which he would in the end, toss into the bin, since I left them discarded on our desk. He created only one more image after our run in on Saturday. I continued to make little captions for our poster, or shall I say mine and Alice's at home instead.

Alice dutifully came over everyday for an hour, in which a lot of it was spent either eating or gossiping. Occasionally Rosalie would come over and give pointers on how to set out the poster or help in the gossiping section. In 6 days we had finished the poster, Edward's beautiful pictures, my sloppy captions, Alice's intelligence and our overall effort included. Edward knew that we'd have to put it together sometime but I think he was putting it off as long as possible.

Emmett was annoyed at me for the rest of the weekend trying to avoid me at every cost, but he wasn't successful since we lived in a small three bedroom house in a tiny town. In the end on Monday afternoon, he engulfed me in a bear hug and even got a little teary eyed.

"I don't want to lose my Bellie Wellie" He'd said hugging me tightly.

"I'm sorry, it was my fault" I had mumbled into his big chest.

So now Emmett and I were on good terms, or as good as it got. It was only Edward that I still had to figure out.

--

"Bella! Bella! We need your help!" Alice ran towards me in the hallway straight after 4th period waving her hands in the air.

"Oh my gosh, is everything okay?" I asked, panicking.

She blew out a large gush of air and held me by my forearms

"Eric Yorkie has backed out of the Christmas Concert and now we need a pianist, and the only one we know of is you" Alice said all this in one breath, no wonder she's a good swimmer.

I blinked at her. She wasn't supposed to disclose the fact that I can play the piano! Renee had a phase in which she wanted me to become a musician, so she signed me up for lessons, only I decided to continue them.

"Alice! You weren't supposed to tell!" I hissed.

She gave me her trademark heartbreaking pout in which her lower lip jutted out and her eyebrows were raised amplifying her now watery eyes.

"Aww Alice, don't do this to me!" I whispered urgently

"Fine, that poster can go in the bin!" she retorted seeming pleased with her blackmail device.

"Ugh, okay, lead the way" I gave up in defeat. However, this meant I would miss Biology; meaning tomorrow was the due date. Well bring it on Cullen, let's see how he poops his pants this lesson without me.

Alice was the major part of the small instrument players of Forks High, she was a prodigy when it came to the violin, and Rosalie was the only good female singer they had. We entered the music room and Miss Shaw's face immediately lightened up.

"Is this our pianist?" Miss Shaw asked hopefully

"Yes Miss" Alice replied angelically, what a suck up. I rolled my eyes at her.

"Well dearie, do tell us your name" She smiled at me, handing me the music sheet.

"Isabella Swan, but please call me Bella" I smiled as nicely as I could.

I looked at the music sheet and resisted the urge to laugh at the coincidence.

It was 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' By Mariah Carey.

The notes were jumpy, fast and rhythmic - just what I liked.

"This is fine with me, I can learn it by Friday" I said to Miss Shaw who looked like she might die of excitement.

"Great!" She squeaked.

--

I spent the entire next two lessons practicing the piece I was given, and had successfully learnt how to play it flawlessly. I guess I was better at the piano than I thought. I set myself a target to learn the notes off by heart, just to go the extra mile.

I went home, by carpooling with Alice, telling Emmett to drive my/Renee's car home with his life. He guffawed at the intensity of my love and affection for the materialistic item, but nonetheless agreed to drive it home - drive as in speed it 60 miles above the speed limit on a road that hardly lasts 30 seconds at the average speed.

For the past two weeks, I had planned to write only my name on the poster, so Edward could get a taste of his own attitude. But now, his pictures, and his life had intrigued me too much, so I decided to tag his name on along the end, because in my opinion, the pictures were the best thing about the whole poster.

After completing the masterpiece, I went downstairs to see what Renee and Emmett were arguing about, again.

"Why not?" Emmett whined.

"Because it is rude, and Christmas is a family event" Renee snapped back

"But we're going to get so bored" Emmett persisted. Here comes the 'B' word.

"I don't care, and by the way, Mrs. Brandon, and Mrs. Whitlock will also be attending" Renee flashed a bright smile.

Emmett stood there, fuming at the fact that 3 minutes of his life were wasted in arguing with his mother, for nothing.

"So I'm guessing we can't have our friends over because all our families are invited to someone's house for dinner" I guessed.

"You assume correctly." Renee nodded while putting the shopping into the cupboards.

"Who's house?" I asked.

"My very good friend Esme; she has a son around your age" Renee said nonchalantly.

I nodded and left the room, hoping it wouldn't be anyone like Mike or Tyler.

I just hoped that Christmas would be good, for everyone, including Edward, who I couldn't get out of my mind.

The dreaded day came. Edward sat at his usual desk eyeing me every so often. His eyes were a warm hue today, instead of the frozen ice they usually withheld. I silently took my place beside him, resisting the urge to reach out and comfort him and say everything was going to be okay.

Obviously I couldn't do that, or he'd think I was an even bigger freak.

"Edward and Bella, please hand in your poster" Mr. Banner called from the front.

Edward opened his mouth probably to say we didn't have it due to his increasingly uncooperative behavior. I quick squeezed his arm, letting a jolt of what seemed like electricity flow up my arm. I quickly pulled away blushing a beet red.

"Yes Sir" I called shyly and took the A2 sized masterpiece to the teacher.

To say the least, he looked pleased.

I walked back to a bewildered Edward. I could almost tell what he was thinking by his expression. Almost.

"Thank me later" I mumbled and continued doodling on my notebook.

--

It was the second last day of school and the festivity was expressed everywhere. People were throwing around crackers and wearing Santa hats and holding Candy Canes. And in order to comply with the happiness everyone felt, well except a certain person, the school decided to offer Christmas lunches to the students.

I was a little late out of my 2nd period class, so I had to go to the cafeteria line alone.

Well that's what I expected.

A pale hand intercepted mine when I was about to pay for my lunch, holding a bunch of green notes.

"Please, let me pay" Edward flashed me a dazzling smile. It was so rare that the sight of it had me frozen for a second.

As always I was left there in shock while he paid for mine and his lunches.

"No! That's not fair" I managed to choke out when it was obviously too late. The dinner lady thought I was on drugs.

"Too late for that" Edward chuckled and pulled me along by the elbow to his famous table where he usually sat in solitude.

The whole lunchroom was in shock; everyone had left their lunches and stopped their banter, to look at us.

Jasper and Emmett looked like they might just die of anger and Alice and Rosalie looked a little smug.

I glared at Jasper and Emmett to let them know it was okay. The composed themselves but not fully enough to be inconspicuous about their emotions.

"You know, you can sit down" Edward let out a low laugh.

I smiled shakily and took my place opposite him. What just happened?

"What brought this on?" I asked awkwardly.

He stared at me for good minute, probably trying to find some sort of sarcastic edge behind my question, but I was truly curious. He seemed to have found what he wanted to see.

"I wanted to thank you - for the Biology project. I thought you would just put your own name on it and tell Banner that I didn't co-operate" He did not make any eye contact.

"It's okay - nobody like being ratted out on" I shrugged it off, but inside I was jumping with happiness.

I turned his smoldering gaze back onto me, piercing into my soul. I was afraid he might not like what he saw.

"I'm also sorry, for behaving so impolitely" He said softly, his eyes telling me every word was sincere.

"Me too" I whispered and once again, he looked a little surprised.

"Whatever on earth are you apologizing for?" He asked with an expression that looked like he was angry.

"For calling you a bastard, and for intruding in your space on Saturday?" I sounded like I was asking a question

He laughed loudly, which once again took me off guard. Why was he so hard to predict?

All the students turned to stare at us again, surprised that the Greek God opposite me was looking happy.

"Did you just laugh?" I asked him incredulously.

"Yes, I suppose I just did" He smiled crookedly at me.

"Come on, we're going to be late for our classes" He said, dragging me along with him, letting the same electric shock flow up my arm.

--

"OH MY GOSH!" Alice yelled, loud enough for all eardrums to burst.

I could feel a blush creeping up my cheeks.

We were sitting in Alice's room after school on Thursday, patching ourselves up for Christmas. At first Alice was upset at the fact that we couldn't have our traditional get-together on Christmas, thanks to this 'Esme' who had invited all our families. However, we weren't too mad because we knew all of us would still meet. I still wondered how I didn't know this Esme even after living all of my life in such a small town, where everyone knew everyone else. Perhaps she lived somewhere else? Rosalie was busy plucking my perfectly fine eyebrows and Alice was giving me a French manicure. Of course I had vehemently denied their services but I was blackmailed into it. I was also conned into buying a new Christmas dress online, seeing at the Port Angeles ones "weren't good enough." But then again, I had made a few purchases of my own using online shopping. For once, Alice actually found something useful.

"So he actually paid for your lunch and then apologized?" Rosalie reflected on what I had told them.

"Yeah" I whispered.

"So do you like him?" Alice asked excitedly.

That was a hard one. Edward was not only cynical, a great artist and very nice, he was also Schizophrenic. Most of the time, his complicated personality would draw me to no end, but at times I just wished he'd tell me what his problem was. He was getting to my head so much, that now I began to compare everything to him.

"Yes" I said softly, concluding my theories.

Rosalie and Alice smiled at me widely, probably happy for their friend finally had what they called a 'crush' - except that is all it would ever be, a crush

--

My hands were trembling, and sweaty like rivers, even though there was 6 inches of snow outside.

"It's okay, it's just a silly school thing - you can do it" Rosalie assured me behind the curtain.

Today it was Christmas Eve and the last day of school for the calendar year. It was also the day on which I would embarrass myself to no end. Although I had been stupidly confident in myself that I could play the piece just fine, the entire school audience had rapidly brought down that confidence. I was taking place of the piano prodigy Eric Yorkie! There was now way I could match up to his standard. Rosalie squeezed my hand in reassurance and Alice waved maniacally from the other side, where she was putting her violin after playing it perfectly.

"Unfortunately our assigned pianist Eric Yorkie was unable to make it today due to personal reasons, so in his place, with Rosalie Hale, we have Isabella Swan, so please welcome them on stage!" Mrs. Shaw shouted loudly into the mike, although there was no need for a mike in the first place. I walked onto the stage nervously and took my place at the black, shiny piano.

I scanned the audience to find my parents smiling widely at me in encouragement. I also saw Edward grinning at me, looking impressed - and I hadn't even started playing!

All I want for Christmas is you

I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
And I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree

I don't need to hang my stocking
There upon the fireplace
Santa Claus won't make me happy
With a toy on Christmas day

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you

I won't ask for much this Christmas
I won't even wish for snow
And I, I just wanna keep on waiting
Underneath the mistletoe

I won't make a list and send it
To the North Pole for St. Nick
I won't even stay awake
To hear those magic reindeer click

Cause I just want you here tonight
Holding onto me so tight
What more can I do
Oh baby, all I want for Christmas is you

All the lights are shining
So brightly everywhere
And the sound of childrens'
Laughter fills the air

And everyone is singing
I hear those sleigh bells ringing
Santa won't you bring me
The one I really need
Won't you please bring my baby to me, quickly

I don't want a lot for Christmas
This is all I'm asking for
I just wanna see my baby
Standing right outside my door

I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
Baby, all I want for Christmas is you

All I want for Christmas is you, baby

The crowd formed a standing ovation, clapping loudly, either at Rosalie's angelic voice or at my piano playing, or maybe for us both. We stood up and took a bow. I laughed at myself, happy that I didn't have to face the humiliation that all Forks residents would give me if I had forgotten the notes. Rosalie's All I Want For Christmas Is You was the concluding performance leaving us the rest of the day free to ourselves.

"Well done dearies! Bella, you and will be seeing each other more often!" Miss. Shaw clapped her hands in delight.

"Thank you" Rose and I mumbled.

"Merry Christmas!" She squeaked and left us alone.

I walked out to where the audience had gathered to congratulate their respective children and peers. Renee and Charlie were standing there for me waving their arms off.

"That was fabulous! Well done, hon we're so proud of you" Renee hugged me.

"Good job kiddo" Charlie gave me an awkward hug and then left, as many other parents of my fellow peers were chatting away with each other.

"I am impressed" a smooth, velvet voice sang in my ear. I whipped my head around to see Edward standing there, looking glorious as ever.

I gave him a small smile, "Thanks"

We stared into each others eyes, finding something we couldn't - it wasn't the 'deeply in love' look, it was more of a 'I am looking at your soul' look.

"Bells, we gotta head home now!" Charlie interrupted my little eye contest with Edward.

I sighed, already feeling glum that I wouldn't see him for the next three weeks. So, I hugged him.

He was a little taken back at my move but he hugged me back, probably thinking, what a strange person I was.

"Merry Christmas and goodbye" He whispered in pain and walked away.

"Merry Christmas" I mumbled after him, but knew I he wouldn't have heard.

--

"Why so glum, hon.?" My concerned mother asked me, after I sat silently in front of the muted TV for over 2 hours.

I looked at her, unable to put on a happy face for her like I usually did whenever I had a problem. I guess this one was a little too big. I didn't answer her and walked back up to my room and flopped onto the bed, falling into a deep dreamless sleep.

A loud thud, awoke me, scaring the living daylights out of me.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH" I screamed into the general direction of the air.

"Hey, hey chill. It's just us" Us as in Alice and Rosalie.

I shot upright, too fast and got a painful head rush. "Ouch!"

"Sorry. Here take your dress for tomorrow. I'm sure you'll have matching jewellery in the back of your room." Alice flitted around the room with a flying dress in her hand. After unzipping my dress, I concluded that I had no jewellery that was of a bottle green colour.

I cocked an eyebrow at Rosalie, who just shrugged it off.

The rest of the evening, Jasper came over so the four of us were together for Christmas Eve while Renee and Charlie went out to 'socialize' or rather, go drinking.

The entire time my thoughts floated only to Edward and how he must be spending his time - alone or with someone. What presents was he destined for? My mood fell right through the floor.

"Bella." Jasper called as he pulled me aside from the rest.

"Jasper" I said shortly.

"Why are you so down? You know it's good to talk about it" He said softly trying to get it out of me.

"This time it's different. I need to figure it out myself" I said, resigned. He gave me one last look, asking if I was sure.

"I'm sure, Jazz. Thanks for asking though" I said as I gave him a hug.

He left me on the sofa, drowning in the thoughts of someone who I might be in love with.

"WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!"

I snuggled my face deeper into my pillow, trying to avoid the atrocity singing and jumping around me.

Emmett.

"Yeah Merry Christmas to you too, and get lost" I mumbled sleepily.

"No way! Get up, it's time for pressies!" He yelled into my ear and pulled the duvet off me. I cowered at the loss of warmth and blindly got up. Knowing that I could never win against Emmett not because he was strong, but because he was so irritating, I made my way to the bathroom to splash cold water on my face and ran a comb through my wild wavy hair. The two of us ran downstairs, missing every other step like seven year olds and made a beeline for our stockings, which here hanging above the ancient fireplace. I emptied mine out to see a mountain of jewellery boxes with bottle green accessories in them. Oh Alice is good - she probably told Renee to buy it for me. There were also packets of Scottish fudge scattered on the floor. Mmmn, my favourite. Finally, there was a black T-shirt with my name imprinted on it.

"Awesome!" I squeaked. Emmett saw what I was holding and pulled out his own shirt too, only it was 5 times larger. He was digging through a pile of Scottish fudge and CD's for his computer he got last year. Most of them had pictures of angry men in tight knickers grimacing at each other.

Next, we ran to the tree which was decorated with many types of bobbles and tinsel in different colours. Underneath were the presents we put last night for each other. Emmett ripped my one open and smiled at the $150 voucher for TGI Fridays - his face lit up several watts. The next thing I knew was that I was engulfed in a big long tight hug.

"Thank you! You're the best sister ever!" He shouted.

"I'm your only sister" I contradicted.

"Same intent"

Emmett got me a clock. Why wasn't I surprised? Except it had a Minnie instead of a Mickey. But I didn't tell him that.

I scanned the boxes under the tree to see which one had my name. I found a small box carefully wrapped in red paper. Renee saw me scrutinizing my present.

"Bella. That is from your father and I. We hope you like it" She smiled sweetly and began opening the topaz earrings I bought her. I predicted that it would be a silver necklace or bracelet.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Inside, were set of keys, with a key ring which had my name engraved on it.

"You got me a car?" I asked, still not believing it. Charlie and Renee nodded vigorously and I leapt onto them embracing them in appreciation.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I squealed like Alice.

"Go on, check it out!" They laughed.

I ran outside in the freezing cold, clad in my pajamas with Emmett hot on my heels. There on the driveway, stood a red shiny four wheeler with crystal lights and GMC on the front. The big sturdy looking wheels had already been fitted with snow chains.

"Ooooohhh Myyyyy Gooooshhh" I yelped and ran straight for the passenger seat. I was so elated that I even invited Emmett to ride with me.

"This is great! I wish mum and dad go me one" Emmett sighed wistfully.

"Too bad huh? Your Jeep does look a little outdated" I said smugly while racing at twice the speed limit on the empty streets of Forks.

"You do realize that your father is the Chief of police, so this kind of driving is unacceptable" He pointed to the speedometer with a self satisfied grin.

I slowed down in defeat and turned my new car back towards home, thinking how holiday would pass, without seeing Edward.

--

Three in the afternoon rolled around and my moping figure was attacked by a swarm of people at the door. My friends had charged in Emmett style to exchange gifts. Many wrapped boxes covered our cream coloured carpet, with everyone childishly searching for ones that belonged to them. I received a box of CD's from Jasper which included my favourite bands Linkin Park and Coldplay, a spa voucher from Rosalie and a elaborate perfume set from Alice, which said Dunhill.

"Are you saying I smell?" I teased Alice who only laughed and replied with, "I don't care what you think I say; you have to use it!"

I bought Alice an eye shadow specialist kit she'd been hinting at, Jasper some new PlayStation games and Rosalie a Blonde Jokes book and some silver studs. We shared a few laughs on the choices of our presents, and ate the only thing Renee can make well - mince pies.

--

"Are you sure?" I asked Renee skeptically as she handed me the three inch green sandals that matched my dress.

"I'm positive! You look stunning" She squeaked like the overexcited mum she was.

I spun around to face the mirror and the image startled me.

It reflected a tall girl with brown straightened hair in a green halter dress that fell to her knees and fit snugly. The green sandals and matching accessories accompanied her outfit perfectly. Her face showed little make up making her beauty look more natural.

"Wow mum! Didn't know you had it in you, did you take lessons from Alice?" I complimented her.

She giggled, a blush similar to mine creeping up on her cheeks. She also looked great in a simple black dress, her short hair flowing around her heart shaped face which had crystal blue eyes shining.

The clock struck seven which meant it was time to go to Esme's house.

Why did I have a nervous feeling in my stomach?

--

Now I knew why I didn't know who this Esme was; she lived in the middle of nowhere!

Maybe not nowhere - it was a large house, which was bright and open enclosed in the woods just off the main road from Forks to Port Angeles. We were greeted by a beautiful woman with wisps of caramel coloured hair shaping her oval face, she had a motherly feel to her, and with her warm smile I already liked her. As we entered the ornately decorated house, we met a man that shouldn't be living in a place like this - he was so good looking. In fact he should be a model. He had blonde hair and luminous light brown eyes. He was tall and slender, but his charming smile made up the lack of muscles.

"Good Evening, and Merry Christmas, I am Esme Cullen and this is my husband, Carlisle Cullen." The beautiful lady welcomed us.

Cullen.

"Merry Christmas, to you both. This is my husband Charlie Swan, and my children Isabella and Emmett Swan" Renee introduced us ever so formally to her 'best bud'

Emmett and I smiled and we enraptured in pleasant hugs by the two people. In already two minutes, I concluded that I like them - their smiles weren't fake and true compassion radiated off them.

Just a few seconds later, we were joined by the Whitlocks and then the Hales. I'm sure Alice was going to come 'fashionably late.' As if on cue, the gorgeous Brandons arrived and a whole new round of introductions began.

Rose, Jasper and I were huddled around each other reflecting on the gifts we had received today when somebody's throat cleared. Everyone turned to face the source of the sound, which was from Carlisle.

"Sorry for the interruption, but I'd like to introduce you to my son" He smiled politely and gestured towards the staircase.

In all his glory, the main occupant of my thoughts was standing on the grand curving staircase. His hair was tousled, the way it usually was, and his green eyes were scanning the crowd that had formed in his reception area. He was dressed in black slacks and a blue-grey button down shirt, with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows, letting the lights illuminate his pale skin.

I think I nearly passed out.

Thankfully I didn't because Jasper steadied me while snickering. Nobody appreciated the beauty standing in front of us.

Slowly he came down the steps, looking reserved. As I watched him, he politely introduced himself to all the guests, smiling when appropriate, but I could tell that all of them were forced - whenever he truly laughed or smiled, his eyes would become liquid instead of the crystal hardness they usually held. Finally after what seemed years, he approached us, I could feel my breathing increase.

"Hello. I'm Edward Cullen. Merry Christmas" He flashed a menacing smile, as if challenging us.

"They know you" I said "Who wouldn't" I muttered.

His hearing seemed to have caught that, as did everyone else's, but they greeted him anyway. I blushed a bright red.

Instead of giving me the usual resigned stare, he grinned, revealing his perfect white teeth.

"You look ravishing, Bella" He murmured, causing a crimson hue to taint my cheeks.

"Thank you" I whispered.

Everyone seemed to have scattered by this point with the adults in the guests room and us 'kids' were sitting in his living room, which was just a good as the guests room. I was a little surprised to see that Edward lived here, in such a gorgeous house, and by the looks of the maids carrying plate and plate of food to the dining room, in a rich house too. His demeanor sometimes indicated he was a sufferer of child abuse or something.

Automatically, everyone split up as couples - Alice and Jasper were sitting on once of the sofas and Emmett and Rosalie occupying the one opposite it. That left Edward and I on the last sofa. I looked at him awkwardly desperate for him to alleviate the awkward atmosphere.

"Okay, Bella, please say something - this is getting awkward-er by the second" He finally said.

I laughed at how true he was and how he seemed to share my thoughts.

"I never expected you to live here. Or see you, but it was a nice surprise" I mumbled regretting my latter choice of words.

"Well everyone has something that others never expect them to have" He said quietly.

I looked up at him, knowing there was more behind his words.

"Dinner's ready!" Esme called to us from the door. We obediently raised from our seats and followed her into the second dining room. There were stacks and stacks of food all elegantly laid out for us. Esme must have known Emmett was coming.

The six of us down and began to ate the scrumptious food prepared. As expected, I ended sitting next to Edward, with Alice and Rosalie on my right. During dinner we spoke in hushed tones about the unexpected residence of Edward.

After testing my stomach on its limits, I sat back and looked around to see how the others were doing. To my surprise, Edward was laughing with Emmett and Jasper, occasionally bumping fists or snickering about something. Even Alice and Rosalie noticed the new friendship and smiled. I couldn't help but grin either. After dessert, once again we dispersed while the adults were heavy on the alcohol. I'm sure Emmett or I would be driving us back.

"I want to show you something" Edward tugged at my hand, sending sparks up my arm.

"Show me" I gestured for him to proceed.

He took my hand, intertwining it with his own. The gesture surprised me but I kept myself composed. He took us out the back onto the porch of the large garden which was filled with all sorts of flowers despite the temperature being very low. On the side was a picture, in a beautiful dull gold frame.

It was the same picture he was painting in his shop last week. Except now, it had two sheep in the middle, grazing peacefully. It was absolutely breathtaking.

He turned his scorching gaze on me, after giving the painting a look.

"Merry Christmas, I painted this for you" His comforting voice murmured.

I stood there, eyes wide unable to comprehend his words.

"No! I can't take this, it must have taken ages, and cost so much!" I refused but still touched that he thought so nicely of me to offer me the gorgeous painting.

"Price is nothing compared to you. Now, please, don't break my heart" He put a hand on his heart and looked up from his long lashes, lightness in his tone.

The offer was too tempting, "Fine, but thank you so much!"

I rushed to him and hugged him tightly, and he hugged me back. For the second time that day he grabbed my hand and took me out to the little secluded area in his garden.

I found this the perfect time to tell him about the little purchase I made online a few days ago, "You know, I have a Christmas present for you too, except you'll get it a little late."

Edward looked taken back, "Can I know what it is, please?" His eyes smoldered, temporarily dazzling me.

"It's a little easel, with paper and paints and everything - it reminded me so much of you" I blushed

He smiled widely, obviously pleased with my simple gesture, "Better late than never"

--

"Tell me about yourself" He asked suddenly.

That took me off guard, but still we managed to turn it into a game of twenty questions, but we stayed on only lighter subjects, such as favourite colour, favourite food and things like that.

"Can I ask you a question?" I asked

He let out an airy laugh, "You've been doing that for the last hour"

I blushed to see that he was right but nonetheless he continued, "Go on"

I paused for a moment wondering how to word my query, "Why are you so...reserved, and resigned?"

He didn't say anything.

The silence dragged on.

Finally, he cleared his throat, "Not many people know."

I hung onto his last words, "It's alright, if you don't wish to tell" I reminded him.

"You should know, because you're the only one who has tried to figure out what my problem is. Everyone else simply wants me to get over it. And it's easier said than done" He said quietly.

My silence prodded him to continue, "Everyone I have ever loved, or I was close to, always left me. My mother was a brilliant woman, just like Esme, and was strong right until she died due to leukemia, when I was eleven years old. My father was hopelessly in love with her, and being a weak hearted person, the grief of my mother's death took him 3 months after. I also had an older sister, Beth, who was like a second mother to while my mother was sick. However, one night, she left the house, saying she would bring food for the two of us, but she never came back. I was left there alone, bawling my eyes out, until one day, Carlisle found me on the street and was ever so kind enough to take me in."

I was in tears, sobbing for him. I knew there was something behind his mask of carelessness, and I was right. His suffering had brought a new emotion of appreciation that people have gone through a lot. It made me love him even more. More than what is healthy.

"I promise, I'll never leave you" I spoke my true intentions.

He looked at me, surprised at my words.

"I like you far more than I should, and those words didn't do anything to help my resolve" He smiled crookedly and my heart practically shot out of my body.

"Good" I said as he pulled me closer into his side.

We sat there for a while, just enjoying the mere presence of each other.

"Another question?" I asked if I could.

He nodded and I continued, "Tell me about your paint shop, and why you like to paint?"

"The shop was my father's, Edward Senior Masen, so it's named after him. I inherited it along with other things and I run on weekends. Also, painting is where you can conjure up your own world, just the way you like. It helps me calm myself."

I looked at him open mouthed; he could not be seventeen years old. Or maybe he was - just a very talented one.

Suddenly, he jumped up and pulled me up with him.

"Look up" He instructed while his lips were twitching.

I looked up and saw mistletoe.

Before I knew it, Edward's lips were on mine. His soft lips were caressing mine, moving in a unique rhythm. His tongue ever so slowly grazed my lips, making me shiver with delight. I gladly allowed him to deepen the kiss as he pulled me closer to himself, every inch of our bodies glued together. His hands cupped my face with mine went straight to his unruly auburn hair. It was even softer than I had imagined. We pulled away gasping for air, but the silly smiles were still on our face.

He grabbed my hand after giving me another quick kiss.

"Together" He said, looking at our intertwined hands

"Forever" I agreed.