My sincere apologies for the long delay.

Thank you so much to everyone for their support. Your comments and reviews are like Christmas gifts. I cherish each of them.

Special thanks to the best beta ever. pbswimmer, you complete me. Check out her fic. It's called Mimiteh and it's on my faves.

Now onto Jailward's Christmas. Enjoy.

The cold of winter had arrived to Washington, leaving behind autumn's bright colors and longer days.

Things had been surprisingly good for me in Meyer. Well, as good as being locked up can be. The holiday season was now upon us and I felt excited for Christmas for the first time since my mother had been alive.

Bella and I would both be on break from school until January. We had aced our respective classes and she had recently received her acceptance letter to the University of Washington in Seattle. She was thrilled, not even waiting two days before mailing off her deposit to secure her spot in next year's class. I had encouraged her to consider other options, but she was determined to stay close to me. I couldn't say I minded that decision.

She would be only a short ride away from me, come August, and I looked forward to the prospect of seeing her twice a week. If my plans came to fruition, I would be joining her at UW the following year. I would still be incarcerated, but if I continued having success in my online classes then I could earn the privilege of attending classes on campus as well. The thought of walking side-by-side with her in the quad or holding her hand at the library filled me with eager anticipation.

Thanksgiving had been surprisingly awesome. The whole gang had come to Meyer to spend time with me, making it go down as one of my best holidays on record. The only downside was the lack of any time alone with Bella, but we had both kept a hand on each other, and that would have had to be enough.

I was still attending therapy though it was far from my favorite activity. Dr. Jen was patient as I attempted to dodge her questions about my past. However, her gentle nudges to talk about the sexual abuse were slowly starting to get through. I still wasn't ready, but I was getting closer. Thankfully she was eager to learn more about Bella and I never had trouble talking about her. I couldn't say that therapy was necessarily helping, but Chief Swan had really wanted me to try it out and I would never go against the Chief.

Speaking of Bella's dad, I was actually starting to like the man. The tough-guy persona he initially portrayed turned out to be a far cry from the real Charlie Swan. He was kind and patient, loving his daughter with a fierce protectiveness that rivaled my own feelings for Bella. He was a good man — I had never spent time with someone who was so genuinely compassionate.

He told me how hard it had been to miss out on Bella's childhood. While she had lived with her mother, Chief Swan had mentored at-risk youth to satisfy his parenting urges (though it wasn't the same as the fulfillment of Bella actually living with him now). One of those at-risk youth had been Emmett.

Chief Swan and I were hanging out in the visitation room a few weeks ago and I was moaning with pleasure as I inhaled the burritos he had brought from Taco Bell. We discussed Emmett's apparent crush on Rosalie Hale. Emmett and Rosalie had become reacquainted with one another when everyone had visited me over Thanksgiving.

"Chief, can you believe he's got a thing for a high school girl? Isn't he like twenty-five or something? Can't you arrest him for that?" I snickered as I wiped hot sauce from my mouth.

"Only if he takes their relationship to a more, ahem, intimate level. Once she's eighteen, they are free to do what they want. Rosalie is a pretty girl. I can see why he's got a crush on her. I'll remind him to behave like a gentleman with her."

"No! Don't tell him anything. He will kill me if he knows I've told you. I just think it's funny. He keeps pleading with me to ask Bella things about Rose. I find it humorous that he's an officer of the law, using an inmate to gather info on the girl he likes. It's like a bad sitcom."

"Well, I'm sure Rose will be at the Cullen's Christmas party and if I see them together, I'll talk to Emmett then. I'm not too worried about it. That Rosalie can hold her own. She sent Tyler Crowley to the hospital a few years ago when he grabbed her inappropriately."

I stopped chewing for a moment.

"The hospital? What did she do, break his nose or something?"

Charlie shook his head.

"He needed testicular retrieval surgery. He was out of school for a few weeks."

I dropped my burrito on the table, my hands protectively darting to my groin.

"Oh God! That hurts just thinking about it. Remind me to never piss off Rosalie!"

Charlie chuckled a bit.

"Just remember that when you are spending time with Bella. Bad things happen when young men don't keep their hands to themselves. Maybe I taught Rose the move she used to subdue Mr. Crowley."

I gasped.

"And I'm sure I could do more damage."

It was a good reminder that even though Charlie and I were becoming friends, I was still dating his daughter. I was pretty sure he wouldn't actually hurt me, but I had no plans on testing that theory.

Chief Swan came to see me every week and on a later date he picked me up so I could accompany him to some "Shop with a Cop" thing he did every Christmas.

Apparently he was involved in a program that paired police officers with children who lived in poverty in order to give the kids a halfway-decent Christmas. He had invited me to come along and we were going to take a boy named Jeremiah to Target. Charlie said we had $200 to spend on the kid.

I was standing at the visitation desk when Charlie and a small Native American kid came into the lobby. He was tiny, with shaggy dark hair that covered his ears and fell into his eyes. It was hard to believe that the scrawny tike was eight years old, and he appeared to be awe-struck upon entering the detention center.

"Edward, this is Jeremiah. Jeremiah, this is Edward. Now let's go shopping."

I smiled down at the little kid and he looked up at me, his eyes huge.

"Are you in prison?"

I wasn't sure how to answer that. "Um . . . well, I guess so."

"Whoa — I've never met a criminal before. Did you rob a bank?"

I definitely didn't want to tell the kid I had killed three men. I was afraid it might freak him out.

"Well, I …"

Thankfully, Charlie cut me off.

"Edward got in a fight to protect a friend. End of story."

Charlie's words had an air of finality and Jeremiah nodded. "Okay, Chief Swan."

"And let that be a lesson to you, young man," he advised, putting his arm around the small boy. "Violence is never the answer."

I followed behind them and Charlie looked over his shoulder, aiming a sad smile in my direction.

I had never actually been in a Target before. The closest one had been in Seattle and my foster parents had never been willing to take us that far. I was overwhelmed by the giant department store which seemed hipper and cooler than Walmart.

Jeremiah was a sweet kid, babbling non-stop about himself. He told us he lived on the Quileute reservation in La Push. He had three sisters, and his dad had recently been injured in a logging accident, forcing him to stop working. It had been a rough year for his family and he was eager to try to make things better by getting presents for his parents and siblings.

We hit every corner of the store, buying earrings for his mom and a thermal shirt for his dad. He was the only boy in the family and we had to ask a couple of teenage girls to help us find things for his sisters. After learning more than I ever wanted to know about makeup and girly pajamas, we found some items he thought his sisters would like.

"All right, kid. What about yourself? What do you want for Christmas?"

"I'm not sure. Maybe some new jeans? This is my only pair and they're too small — they're shrinking my junk."

Charlie looked disturbed by Jeremiah's comment but I just chuckled.

We headed to the clothing section and helped Jeremiah pick out and try on clothes. There were some good holiday sales, allowing us to get him quite a few items and stay within our budget.

I was surprised as Charlie pulled me aside and told me to go look for some clothes for myself.

"You need to make a good impression on your hospital internship."

I glanced down at the faded jeans that were a little too long and the cotton hoodie that was a little too worn. Charlie patted me on my shoulder and said he would wait outside the dressing room.

I found a couple pairs of khakis and few shirts that seemed to look professional enough, I hoped.

"Thank you, Chief Swan." I nervously placed my purchases in the cart, feeling embarrassed that I could not afford them myself.

"You're welcome, kid. And call me Charlie, please."

"Thank you Charlie."

We both noticed Jeremiah eyeing a remote control car on display near the registers.

We asked him if he wanted anything from the toy section, and he shrugged, saying he really needed a new backpack.

He reminded me so much of myself when I had been in foster care. A new pair of shoes or a jacket that wasn't a hand-me-down had been much more important than a toy. It became all about the necessities when you didn't have any money.

Charlie handed me a few bills and whispered instructions in my ear.

"Edward, can you watch Jeremiah for a minute? I need to hit the head."

"No problem, Chief. I'll get us a spot in line."

The checkout lines were pretty packed, and as we stood in line, I distracted Jeremiah with all the magazines on display. In particular, I showed him some photos from a fishing magazine favored by Charlie. Like me, Jeremiah had never been fishing before.

The cashier began ringing up our order and I was relieved when Charlie arrived just in time to pay the bill. He had given me the $200, but my clothes had pushed it well above that. He graciously paid the difference and we walked out to the car.

We had lunch at a local pizzeria, where I was a total glutton, making four trips to the buffet. Charlie just laughed and Jeremiah looked impressed by the sheer volume of food I consumed. I've learned that you have to take advantage of good food when you have the opportunity.

All in all, it was a good day and I was so grateful to be a part of this kid's Christmas. Charlie explained that he would deliver the secretly purchased remote control car to the boy's parents, so Jeremiah would have a surprise on Christmas morning. As I mentioned before, Charlie Swan was a total softie.

Charlie said "Be safe, son," as he walked me back into the detention center.

For just a moment I let myself pretend that I was his son. I envied the unconditional love Charlie had for Bella. I had never wanted a dad more in my life.

There were no shiny presents or the smell of muffins and quiche when I woke up on Christmas morning. In fact, it was no different than any other day at Meyer. I received the typical growls and dark stares from the other inmates as I made my way to breakfast. Juvie wasn't Disney Land.

On holidays like today, Meyer allowed for extended visitation. Basically, visiting hours lasted all day, and parents could also be escorted to visit an inmate in his room. I noticed several sets of parents carrying gifts to deliver to their wayward sons.

I was nervous and excited because Charlie had worked things out so that I could spend the day with Cullens. They were having their annual holiday party, naturally inviting Charlie and Bella. I couldn't wait to see Bella and actually spend time with her outside the detention center.

I had made it a point never to ask Chief Swan if he could invite Bella along on our mentoring trips. It just seemed rude, and honestly I was afraid I might piss him off and make him keep Bella away from me. We really didn't talk about Bella much at all during our time together. I did, however, need Charlie's help when it came to getting Bella a Christmas gift. They didn't have shopping malls in prison, and I didn't have any money to buy her anything even if they did.

I had considered making her something. We had a pretty decent woodshop and an art department. Unfortunately, I learned that I was skilled neither with power tools nor a paintbrush, so I had to think outside the box.

I certainly didn't want Charlie to go to a store and buy something for me. I knew that all girls liked jewelry, but I wanted to personally pick out and pay for the first piece of jewelry she would receive from me.

Luckily, Emmett had a great idea. He knew how much I worried for Bella's safety, especially since I wasn't around to help her if she found herself in trouble. He suggested having Charlie enroll her in self-defense classes. When I brought this idea up to Charlie, he thought it was an amazing suggestion and he seemed so impressed that I would want Bella to protect herself just as much as he did. He said he would throw in some pepper spray as well.

It wasn't a perfect gift, but it's the thought that counts, right? I would be sure to find something really romantic for Valentine's day or something.

Emmett had been scheduled to work the overnight shift at Meyer so he came to take me to his house around mid morning. Because he was one of the few officers that didn't have kids, he had generously offered to stay late to give someone the chance to be with their families on Christmas morning.

"Ready to go, Masen?" he called out as he entered my room.

"Yeah, I'm ready."

I wore one of my newly acquired outfits and followed him to the visitation area, where it took longer than it should have to sign out. The officers enjoyed putting the fear of God in me before I left the correction facility. The truth was that I was the farthest thing from a flight risk — they wouldn't have allowed me into the mentorship program otherwise.

The long ride to Forks was fairly quiet. Emmett was tired from a long night of working, and I was trying not to act too excited at the prospect of sneaking a few kisses from Bella. I figured Charlie would be watching us like a hawk and I knew we would have to be extra stealthy if we wanted a moment alone.

We were greeted by Emmett's parents before we had a chance to exit the car. Carlisle shook my hand and then introduced me to his wife, Esme.

"Merry Christmas, Edward! It's so good to finally meet you. I've heard so much about you, dear. I couldn't bear the thought of you spending Christmas in that wretched place. Consider this your home away from Meyer."

She pulled me in for a hug and held me tight as she placed a kiss on my cheek.

"If you are anything like my Emmett, then you are probably famished. I've got lunch ready, so come on in."

The Cullen's house was the biggest home I had ever seen. I had lived in a group home with ten other boys and that house was less than half the size of the Cullen mansion. I immediately felt out of place and overwhelmed by their obvious wealth.

Esme comfortingly put her arm around me and ushered me to the kitchen.

"I'll give you a tour of the house after we eat."

We sat down for a lunch of homemade vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. There would be a lot of food available for the party later, so we were having what Esme called a "light lunch".

Emmett left to take a nap before the party started and Esme showed me the rest of the house. They had their own library! I mean, who had an actual library in their house? It was pretty cool. My favorite part of the house was the game room. There was a pool table, foosball, and even a combined Mrs. Pacman / Galaga arcade game.

On the wall was the largest television I had ever seen. Esme handed me the remote and told me to relax. The other guests wouldn't arrive for a couple hours.

I honestly hadn't watched television since I had been arrested. We had a TV lounge at Meyer, but I was still low man on the totem pole and the guys who had been there longer had authority over what was to be watched. I've never been a social creature, so I usually just stayed in my room.

I fell asleep watching some action movie and was startled awake by excited female voices.

"Edward! Merry Christmas!"

Before I knew it I was sandwiched in between Rose and Alice on the plush leather couch of the game room. They were bouncing up and down telling me all about their morning. Alice had gone over to Rose and Jasper's before I had arrived, and she insisted on giving me every last detail.

I heard a chuckle and looked back to see Jasper leaning against a pin ball machine.

"I can't believe they actually let your ass out for the day. They wouldn't even let me out to go to my grandpa's funeral, but they let your ass out to spend Christmas with your girl . . . unbelievable."

"Jasper, shut up. That funeral was in Texas. You weren't allowed to leave the state, dumbass."

"Eddie boy knows I'm just giving him shit, Rose."

He walked over and pulled me off the couch.

"Good to see ya, man. Merry Christmas."

"Jasper Fricken Hale. Meyer's not the same without you."

"I'm surprised the place can survive without me. Come on Edward, let me school you in the fine art of billiards."

"Oh, I think it is you who will be schooled, Jazz."

Jasper and I played several games of pool, while the girls left to do girly things. Jasper was genuinely shocked that I continually kicked his ass. One of my foster homes had actually had a pool table and boredom had forced me to spend many an hour playing by myself. I had gotten pretty good. He suggested we become pool hustlers when I got out of Meyer. I loved Jasper, but he sure could be an idiot.

We were interrupted by Esme hollering that the other guests would be arriving any minute. I knew that meant Bella and Charlie, so I was about to head downstairs when Alice grabbed me and pulled me into her room.

Before I knew what happened, I was suddenly dressed in a pair of swanky black pants, the softest dress shirt I had ever felt, and a pair of black leather dress shoes. How Alice knew my size, I'd never know. Rose ooohed and aaahhhed over my appearance. Then they attacked my hair with some gel. Alice wanted to pluck my eyebrows, but that was where I drew the line. When they were finished, I checked myself out in the mirror and I almost didn't recognize the kid staring back at me. Now I was ready to see my Bella.

I helped Esme make final preparations in the kitchen when the doorbell rang.

"Chief Swan is here!" Carlisle yelled.

Eager to surprise Bella, Charlie had wanted to keep my presence at the party a secret. I had almost blown it on the phone last week, but had managed to change the subject somewhat smoothly.

I made my way towards the Cullen's gigantic Christmas tree and stood silently as I listened to Carlisle and Esme greet the Swans. My heart fluttered with excitement hearing Bella's soft voice. I kept shifting my weight from one foot to the other in anticipation.

And then I she walked into my line of vision. If it were possible, she was more beautiful than the last time I saw her. She wore a tight fitting sweater and dark jeans. I let my eyes drift down her body to take in her soft curves. Damn, she was sexy. I felt somewhat guilty for checking her out without her knowledge, but hey, I was a seventeen year-old guy.

When she turned towards me and met my eyes, the shock and pleasure in her gaze made me feel incredible. She immediately smiled and ran towards me, leaping into my arms.

"Edward. I can't believe you are really here. All I wanted for Christmas was you."

She found my lips with her own, and forgetting where we were, I opened my mouth to her, tasting mint on her tongue. The kiss quickly became anything but chaste and only Charlie's gruff, "Ahem" broke us out of our moment.

"Masen, don't think I won't load you into my squad car and drive you back to Meyer."

I looked away from Charlie's annoyed expression and glanced around the room. Grabbing Bella, I took two big steps towards the mantle over the grandiose fireplace.

"See, Charlie?" I countered, pointing to the green sprig of leaves hanging on the mantle. "Mistletoe. I can't just go and break a sacred Christmas tradition."

Charlie growled and walked away, mumbling, "Mistletoe my ass."

The Cullen's Christmas party was everything I could have hoped for. The food was first-class and the conversations were enjoyable. Most importantly, I spent the entire evening with the love of my life. I couldn't remember a better evening. This was surely my best holiday ever.

Charlie kept a pretty close eye on Bella and I worried that we wouldn't get a moment alone. Thankfully, Emmett saved the day.

"You owe me, Masen," he whispered as he walked by us heading towards Charlie.

"Chief. You've gotta see the new ride Carlisle and Esme got me for Christmas. It's fully restored and amazing."

Emmett had finally gotten the classic mustang he had wanted since he had first received his driver's license. I knew Charlie couldn't resist, and the moment Charlie, Carlisle, and Emmett left for the garage, I made my move.

"Come on Bella, let's go upstairs."

We jogged up the stairs and I headed directly for the game room. Unfortunately, Jasper and Alice were already there, dry humping on the black leather couch.

"Damn it," I grumbled.

"The library's empty!" Alice called out breathily.

I didn't need to be told twice, so I snatched Bella's hand and led her to the library.

We entered and shut the door behind us. I knew we only had a few minutes before Charlie would be looking for us. I had to make it count.

"I love you," I whispered, taking Bella's earlobe between my teeth.

"Oh Edward, I love you too. More than anything."

I began kissing my way down her neck, brushing my lips along her clavicle. Her skin was so soft, so smooth, and her taste was heavenly. When she whimpered, her audible response to my actions went straight to my groin.

Her hands snaked up my arms and she cradled my face, pulling me down to her mouth. We began kissing passionately, a frantic explosion of lips, teeth, and tongue. I had never been kissed this way and I couldn't stop myself from sliding my hands to her ass to pull her against my erection. I parted her legs with my thigh and ground into her, both of us moaning at the friction.

Bella began rubbing herself against me and I walked us forward until her back was against the library door.

It was as if our bodies had melded into one and I had never felt such a level of arousal or pleasure.

"Oh God, Edward," Bella gasped as she suckled my neck.

I felt my control slipping and I knew I needed to rein things in. I wanted my time alone with Bella to be more than a horny romp in at a friend's house.

I reluctantly moved my leg from between hers and slowed my kisses. I took my hands from her rear and moved them up to her face, cupping her cheeks as I continued to kiss her.

"Tonight was perfect; you are perfect," I whispered.

"I can't believe you and Charlie surprised me. This was the best gift I could have ever received."

"Mmm hmm," I nodded as I kissed her chin.

"If I had known you would be here, I would have brought your Christmas present."

"Bella, being here with you, and knowing that you love me . . . that is the only gift I'll ever want."

"I'll never stop loving you, Edward. Never."

I felt myself tear up as I kissed her softly.

"I'm going to hold you to that, my love."

We spent the next ten minutes engrossed in each other. I held her tightly as we kissed and professed our love over and over. Perfection was the only word to describe my time with Bella.

Frustrated that the time was short, we straightened our clothes and hair, and reluctantly returned to the game room. Jasper and Alice had finished their make-out session as well and were setting up the instruments to play Rock Band on the Wii. We joined the game, having a wonderful time with our friends.

All too soon I was on my way back to Meyer where the only thing waiting for me was cold walls and loneliness.

I hope it was worth the wait.

Thanks for taking the time to read my little ficcy. I appreciate you all so much!

Reviews are love. :)

My rec for the day is Just Wait by InstantKarmaGirl. It's so angsty and painful and just awesome. Check it out.