Friends & Lovers

An A Rough Start Outtake


The tall elm tree blew in the thundering rain, causing the leafless branches to slap against the window pane insistently. Anthony sat up in bed immediately and opened his eyes to the harsh light of his overhead lamp.

The wind howled again and Anthony quickly scampered down the hall to his father's bedroom. The door was closed so Anthony wasted no time in reaching for the knob.

But no matter how hard he tried, it wouldn't turn.


Anthony distinctly heard his father's moan from on the other side of the door and he wondered if his daddy had a tummy ache.

"Oh…damn, baby…yeah…mmmm…that feels good…uummmfff…shit…UUHHH…"

What was wrong? What was happening? Anthony was about to bang on the door, but his father spoke again.

"Oh no you don't! Get your sexy ass over here."

A female voice giggled and squealed.

Miss Bella?

And then there was quiet. Maybe Miss Swan was borrowing one of his father's shirts, like she was the first time he'd seen her coming out of his father's room late at night.

Anthony slid down the wall into a seated position on the floor. He figured Miss Swan would be opening the door any minute, and as soon as she did so, he was going to crawl into his father's bed where it was safe and quiet.

Anthony liked his car bed, but he loved sleeping in his dad's bed even more. It was big and warm and sometimes in the middle of the night, his dad would reach out and put his hand on Anthony's back. Anthony loved the feeling of his father's hand heavy on his skin.

He was never afraid when his dad was nearby.

Anthony's eyelids began to droop as he sat waiting for his father and Bella to emerge. He was barely on the verge of consciousness when he heard a squeal of delight in the background right before his eyes fluttered shut.


Anthony stirred in his sleep against the background mutterings. Suddenly, he was surrounded by a lush green forest and there was a large castle right in the middle of a line of trees. Princess Bella was standing on a high up balcony, and she had no way to get down. And she needed to get down really quickly, because she had a bad tummy ache and she needed to go see a doctor…

"Oh, oh, oh…Edward…mmm…"

Prince Edward stood on the ground looking up at Princess Bella. She told him that she had a tummy ache and then she moaned his name over and over and over. Prince Edward ran inside the castle to find his way to Princess Bella. But there were lots and lots of doors and he didn't know which one was hers. So he tried them all. He'd open a door, and when he didn't find her inside, he'd slam the door and go to the next one…


The doors were old and they squeaked a bit as Prince Edward opened and slammed them shut. Princess Bella was anxious for Prince Edward to find her and she started moaning his name louder and faster. When he heard her cries, he responded. Even though he sounded quite tired, he reassured her:

"I'm close…I'm…uuhhgh…almost there…"

Really soon after he made that promise, he opened the right door and Princess Bella was so happy to see the prince that she screamed out his name.


Then she ran across the room and jumped into his arms, but she was kind of heavy, and the prince grunted a little bit. But he still carried her anyway, all the way down the stairs and out of the castle to her white truck.

Prince Edward and Princess Bella disappeared once they entered the truck and Anthony would have gone looking for them, except that a large, friendly dragon flew by at that moment, swooped Anthony up and flew through the clouds, carrying Anthony on his back. As soon as they reached the highest cloud, the dragon settled Anthony down on a plump, cushiony fluff of cottony white and flew home to his dragon family for dinner.

Anthony was still wondering how he would get down off the cloud when he woke up later that morning.

In his own bed.

Anthony rubbed his eyes and stretched until his bare toes grazed the carpet on his bedroom floor. After a brief visit to the bathroom, Anthony checked his father's bedroom, and when he found the door wide open, revealing the room's emptiness, he rushed downstairs toward the kitchen. However, voices in the living room distracted him, and he navigated that way.

"Princess Bella," he grinned when he saw Bella sitting on the couch next to his father.

"What?" Bella asked through a giggle.

"Um, Bella," Anthony corrected himself. "Are you going to take me to school?"

"Not today, sweetie. It's Saturday," Bella smiled.

"Oh," Anthony puffed his cheeks with air and made a face like a monkey before he exhaled loudly. "Why come you're here, then?"

"She came by to make us breakfast," Edward answered.

"Oh," Anthony said again. He looked between the two adults, like he was the odd person out on an inside joke. But then he smiled. "I'm hungry," he added for good measure.

Bella led him to the kitchen and Anthony pulled out his usual chair at the wobbly kitchen table and sat down to watch as Bella made him scrambled eggs, toast and two pieces of microwaved bacon. Edward arrived at the table just as the food was finished, and sat down to eat while Bella disappeared upstairs.

"Can we play soccer today?" Anthony asked his father.

"It's raining, champ," Edward answered.

"It's always raining," Anthony sighed. He placed his elbow on the table and rested his head against his palm as he stirred his eggs around, waiting for them to cool.

"Maybe I'll clear some space in the garage and teach you how to play broom ball," Edward offered.

Anthony perked up immediately. "Broomball? What's that?"

"It's a game I used to play when I was a kid, without the ice, of course."


"We don't need it," Edward insisted. "And once you get good enough, I'll teach you how to do it on roller skates."

"I don't know how to skate," Anthony looked sad for a moment. "I went to a roller skate party at my old house and I fell down a lot." Anthony looked over to find his father staring at him oddly. "What?"

"Nothing," Edward responded quickly. "You just…you never tell me much about what you did at your old house."


"No, it's good. I want to hear about it."

"You do?"

"Yeah? I like hearing about you and the stuff you did before we…before you came to live here."

Instead of offer a further glimpse into his earlier life, Anthony inquired of Edward. "How come you live here instead of by my old house?"

"This is where I'm from. I moved away for awhile…met your mom…but then I moved back," Edward treaded lightly.

"My mom lived here?" Anthony asked with peaked interest.

"Well not here. Further up north. We went to high school together. She was my…uh…a good friend of mine."

"Like a kissing friend?" Anthony asked.

"A kissing friend?" Edward nearly choked on his breakfast. "What's that?"

"A kissing friend," Anthony answered in his most grown up voice, "is when a boy and a girl see each other every day and they laugh together and kiss and stuff. They get married and then, the boy whispers for the girl to put a baby in her tummy and she does and then they have a baby."

"What the hell?" Edward spat out. "Who told you that?"

"Mommy," Anthony stated.

Edward leaned back in his chair, his face lit up with revelation. "Did your mom have a kissing friend?"

Anthony nodded. "Marty." Then his expression soured. "He knocked my ice cream cone on the ground at the fair."

"Hmpf," Edward grumbled. "This Marty sounds like a real winner."

Anthony shrugged. "Grandpa said Mom could pick him."

Edward laughed. "I think what he said was that your mom sure could pick 'em. At least that's what he always used to mutter when he saw me."

"You knew Grandpa?"


"Did he let you push him in his wheelchair?"

"Uh…he wasn't in a wheelchair when I knew him."

The conversation was momentarily sidelined when Bella returned to the kitchen with a different shirt and jeans on, and her hair neatly pulled back in a ponytail. Anthony noticed that she smelled like soap and toothpaste, sort of like how his dad smelled after he took a shower in the morning.

"How come you changed clothes?" Anthony asked.

"I just changed my shirt," Bella answered before moving on. "Anyway, are you finished with your breakfast yet? Your dad and I wanted to know what you thought of something."

"Thought of what?" Anthony beamed. It was almost Christmas and Anthony wondered if Bella was going to give him the toy catalog and ask him to circle all the things he wanted Santa to bring him. That's what his grandmother used to do.

"Yeah, thought of what?" Edward echoed.

"You know," Bella indicated toward Anthony with a nod of her head, her eyes still on Edward. "The thing we talked about last night…the discussion about…you know…kinda why I'm here this morning."

"Oh. Right," Edward nodded. "Let's go in the living room."

"Okay," Anthony bounded across the house in front of them. He plopped down on the couch and waited for someone to hand over the Christmas catalog.

Bella took a seat next to Anthony and much to Anthony's disappointment, she didn't give him the Christmas catalog. Instead, she stared up at his father in anticipation, in much the same way he was staring at her.

"Yeah, so, Anthony…" Edward began.

"Yeah?" Anthony interjected.

Edward sighed and then wiped his hands on his jeans. He took a seat in the chair near the sofa momentarily before standing up in front of where Anthony and Bella were seated.

"So…Miss Swan…I mean Bella…we call her Bella when you're not in the classroom, right?" Edward asked, stalling for time.

Anthony nodded. He thought his dad was acting weird.

"Okay, so Bella is your teacher…that's her job. Just like I go to work every day to my job, being your teacher is Bella's job. And when she's not your teacher, Miss Swan, she's just Bella…my friend. Do you understand what that means?" Edward asked.

Anthony nodded but Bella shook her head.

"I don't understand what that means," she said.

"Shut it," Edward said. Anthony could tell that his dad wasn't really mad because he was kind of smiling and Miss Bella laughed.

"So is it okay with you that I visit your dad sometimes?" Bella asked.

Anthony nodded quickly. "I used to visit Taylor's house. We played at recess at school and then, when I went over to his house, we played in his room. And one time, I almost spent the night. But then my dad came and I got to leave because…"

"Yeah, Anthony," Edward interrupted, "See, the thing is…" he paused to look at Bella and then he smirked and rolled his eyes. "Bella is my special friend. It's not like you and Taylor. It's a little more…complicated than that."

"She's your kissing friend?" Anthony grinned.

Bella got flustered at that question and she sputtered a little bit as she looked to Edward for an explanation.

"Uh…sort of," Edward began.

But Anthony continued. "Does that mean you're going to get married or something?"

"Un, no. No, that's not what that means," Edward quickly answered. "And there won't be any whispering either."

"Whispering?" Bella looked confused.

Edward shook his head at her. "Nothing. It's nothing."

Apparently Bella thought the term kissing friends applied to kindergarteners as well, so she quickly began an impromptu lecture.

"Anthony, what your dad and I do together…our special friendship…it's not about kissing…well it's not just about kissing…" she paused to look at Edward. "It's different from the friendships that you have with your classmates. Special friends are something that older people…adults have. Okay? We do not have special friends in kindergarten."

Anthony merely shrugged again and nodded. His dad and Bella were acting like what they were saying was really important, but really, he thought the Christmas catalog was much more important – and he didn't hesitate to remind his father the importance of said catalog later that night when he was being tucked in to bed.

"How will you know if you can put together what Santa brings me for Christmas?" Anthony hinted. "What if he brings me a bicycle and you don't know how it goes together?"

"I'm pretty sure I can handle putting a bike together," Edward said. "Why? Is that what you're going to ask Santa for?"

Anthony nodded excitedly. "I just need to see the Christmas catalog for a picture, because Jimmy in first grade got a green bicycle for his birthday, and I don't want one like that. I have to make sure Santa knows I want a red or blue one."

Edward just stared at Anthony for a few beats. "Do you even know how to ride a bicycle?"

"You didn't teached me yet," Anthony shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal.

"I didn't teached you yet?" Edward mimicked him with a smile.

Anthony reiterated his statement with the shake of his head.

"Well, I'll teach you soon…but you have to get a bicycle first…" Edward sighed as if it was possibly not going to happen.

Anthony's eyes grew wide with concern. "Santa's not gonna bring me a bike? Why?" His eyes watered. "I was good."

Anthony was quickly comforted as Edward moved swiftly to his side and sat down next to him. "Hey, no need to get upset. I just meant that Christmas has to come before I can teach you. You can't learn to ride a bicycle without a bike, can you?"

Anthony swatted at his tears. "No." He watched as his father continued to peer down at him. And then he asked: "Does Christmas make you sad, Anthony?"

Anthony wondered why everyone asked him that question. Mrs. Walden, the art teacher, had asked him. The principal had asked him. Miss Bella had asked him. Was Christmas supposed to make him sad?

Two days later when Leisel asked him the same question, Anthony asked her exactly that.

"No, of course Christmas isn't supposed to make you sad," Leisel said as she lined up the Spongebob dominos that were on the table between her and Anthony. "But sometimes Christmas reminds us of things that make us sad. Do you think this Christmas will remind you of anything that will make you feel sad?"

Anthony shrugged. "I like Christmas. Santa brings me lots of presents."

"Yes. And this year you'll be celebrating your very first Christmas with your dad. That's different from last Christmas, isn't it?"

"Yeah, and I get to put lots of frosting and sprinkles on my Christmas cookies."

"Where do you get Christmas cookies, Anthony?"

"I make 'em. With Grandma."

"But Grandma isn't here with you, right?"

"Oh, yeah," Anthony looked down as he turned a domino over and over in his hand. Then he looked up suddenly at Leisel, his face horror-stricken. "What if Santa can't find my new house?"

"Santa knows where you live, Sweetie. You don't have to worry about that. Remember the song? He sees you when you're sleeping; he knows when you're awake; he knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake," Leisel sang.

"I listen to that song in my class."

Anthony's eyes watched as Leisel slid a Patrick-themed domino across the table. "What do you think you'll do this Christmas instead of make cookies with your Grandma?"

"Um…I think Bella will give me cookies. She lets me cook at her house."

"That's great, Anthony. You seem to do a lot of special things with Bella."

"That's because she's my dad's special friend."

"Special friend? What's that?" Leisel asked.

"It's like a kissing friend. But I think it means they make memories together."

"Make memories? I don't think I understand what that means. Can you explain it to me?"

"Bella said we make memories with people we love so we can remember them. I think she makes memories with my dad. That's why she's a special friend."

"Hmm," Leisel straightened up and leaned against the back of her chair. "I think Bella is a very smart person."

"Oh yeah," Anthony said without missing a beat. "She's the smartest in the whole world."

There was no talking for a moment as Leisel waited for Anthony to make his last play with his domino. Then, as she put the game way, she checked her watch and said, "Anthony, we have just enough time for you to draw me a picture. Would you like to do that?"

"Sure," Anthony answered. He never minded drawing. Leisel had the same big crayons that he used in his classroom and he didn't have to share with his neighbor in her office.

"Just like last time, I'm going to say a word, and I want you to draw me a picture of something that makes you think of that word. Okay?" When Anthony consented, Leisel continued. "The word is 'gone'. Draw me a picture of something that reminds you of the word 'gone'."

Anthony set to work immediately, as if he were racing against time. He quickly grabbed a purple crayon, an orange one and then a brown. Mere seconds passed before he reached for a yellow, and because Leisel had an exquisite selection, he also chose peach.

In less than ten minutes, he was handing over his picture.

Leisel stared down at the picture. She frowned as she turned it upside down and then right-side up again.

"Would you like to tell me a little bit about what you've drawn, Anthony?" she asked.

"This is the scary mean lady's house," Anthony pointed. "And this is the yucky s'ghetti and the purple bed. And that's chocolate cake."

"Very nice, Anthony," Leisel complimented him. "So when I say the word gone, it makes you think of this house?"

Anthony nodded freely. "She babysitted me when my dad was gone."

"Oooh," Leisel said, recognition dawning. "And you thought she was scary and mean?"

"She spanked me," Anthony said as if that was the only explanation necessary.

"Have you ever been spanked before?" Leisel asked.

Anthony nodded. "At the green house."

"Who spanked you at the green house?"

"Miss Dotty," Anthony answered of the woman whom he lived with right before his father came to pick him up.

"How did that make you feel, when Miss Dotty spanked you?"

"It hurt."

"Did it hurt your feelings, too?"

"Can I draw a picture of Gus?" Anthony was tired of talking.

"Sure you can draw a picture of Gus, and remember what we talked about last time? When you mention Gus, I get to write whatever we were talking about on our conversation chart. See?" Leisel pulled out a colorful chart and wrote Miss Dotty in small black letters. "Did I get that right? Or was talking about the spanking what made you uncomfortable?"

"I want my daddy," Anthony began to whine.

Leisel stood up immediately and extended her hand to Anthony. "Come on. Let's go get him. He's right outside."

And just like she'd promised, Anthony spotted his father sitting in one of the hard, navy blue chairs that lined the wall. His father stood up when he saw Anthony, and Anthony took off running toward him and leapt into his arms.


"Hey, bud, what's wrong?" Edward asked as he hoisted Anthony up and cradled him to his chest.

Anthony burrowed against his father and hid his face in Edward's neck.

"What's going on? What's wrong? What happened?" Edward frantically asked. He knew this therapy shit was a bad idea. He knew it!

"Nothing; everything's fine," Leisel said with assurance. "If you'd like to follow me back to my office, we can talk a little bit. Anthony just really wanted to see you, and I didn't want to make him wait."

Edward looked around and noticed that other people in the lobby were staring, so he quietly followed Leisel back to her office. However, as soon as the door was shut, he didn't bother holding back.

"What did you do to him? What did you say to him, huh? Why is he like this?"

"Mr. Cullen, please calm down."

The unnerved way in which Leisel spoke, like she was trying to hypnotize him with her words, made Edward that much more enraged.

"I'll calm down after you tell me what the hell went on in here!" Edward told her. "He was fine when I brought him in."

"Edward," Leisel used his first name. "Please. If you're upset, Anthony will get upset. Please let me explain."

Edward indicated with a raised eyebrow and a tilt of his head that he was waiting for her to continue.

"Anthony, would you like to go play with the building blocks while I talk to your dad?" Leisel asked first.

Anthony shook his head and tightened his grip on Edward. Leisel, however, didn't look dissuaded by his refusal as she turned her attention back to Edward.

"In cases of traumatic events, where the subject's reaction hasn't been repressed for long periods of time, the emotions are often laying just under the surface – triggered by common occurrences or similar events. In Anthony's case, a babysitting incident when you went out of town correlates to another experience in which he was corporally punished.

"Now…" Leisel looked down at Anthony's file, "the name he used tells me that this experience predates you – it was during the time when you were unable to be located-"

Edward stood up abruptly, jostling Anthony in the process. "If you think I'm just gonna sit here and listen to this, you've got another thing coming."

"I don't know what you're so upset about," Leisel implored, her perfectly calm demeanor still intact.

"The problem with you people, is that you can't do your job unless you're pointing the blame at someone else. But while you're sitting behind your fancy desk making god only knows how much per minute, the rest of us have to do what we have to do to get by. So don't sit there with your hoity-toity bullshit telling me how much I messed up my kid because I had a job to do. And if you don't know why I'd be upset about that, then those," he pointed at the conferred degrees that were framed and hanging on the wall, "aren't worth the paper they're printed on."

"Mr. Cullen," Leisel rose as a mechanism of elevating her voice. "If I have in any way led you to believe that I find you at fault for any of this, I sincerely apologize. That isn't the case at all. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I think Anthony is doing as well as he is because you've provided him with a safe, stable, loving environment."

Edward looked at Leisel skeptically as he regarded he words.

"Please. Have a seat. I want to show you something." Leisel took her seat as well and pulled a rubber band from her desk.

Slowly, Edward sunk back down into the chair. He gently resituated Anthony, who was now interested and looking to see what Leisel had to show his father.

Leisel took the rubber band between her thumb and forefinger and held it up so that Edward could clearly see it. She then used the index finger on her opposite hand to stretch the rubber band as far back as it could go. She demonstrated the resistance by giving it a few short tugs.

"What Anthony has experienced is so overwhelming that it would easily stretch his emotional well-being to its breaking point. However, without the proper tools in place to deal with those emotions, Anthony implemented his own coping mechanisms that brought his emotional well being to about…here." Leisel allowed a small amount of slack in the rubber band. "My job is to bring him back here," she stretched the band to the brink once again, "to face and understand what happened to him and then teach him to navigate through it, little by little, in a way that will prevent this." She let go of the band and it shot across the room.

Edward's eyes followed the rubber band as it hit the wall and landed on the floor. He said nothing.

"But just like the rubber band, Edward, as I bring Anthony back to the hurt and pain and help him face it so he can move forward, we're all going to feel that resistance, that tension; and that's what you saw today. It gets a little difficult before it gets easier. But I promise you, you just keep doing what you're doing and it will get easier."

Edward just nodded and looked down at the desk. He'd jumped to conclusions and now a simply apology was not only insufficient, but it was downright embarrassing.

As if she could read his mind, Leisel added, "I understand that this isn't easy to watch. Trust me, if I were in your shoes right now, I probably would have reacted the same way. Here's your sweet, little boy, coming out looking terrified and lost. That's why I brought him right out to you. I want him, both of you, to understand, that we're on the same team.

"And if you ever feel that something is off or wrong, please don't hesitate to ask me about it, and we can discuss it in a calm, rational fashion, okay?"

"Yeah," Edward said, his voice gruff from the amount of time he's spent silent.

Although Leisel didn't show it, Edward was sure she was more than happy when he and Anthony left her office that afternoon.

After a trip to the bank, the grocery store and a fast food drive-thru, Anthony seemed to snap out of his earlier funk, and he began singing Jingle Bells at the top of his lungs from the back seat.

"Inside voice, Anthony." Edward had heard Bella use that term with her class once or twice, and just as it had then, it worked like a charm. Anthony lowered his voice a few decibels and Edward was able to focus on driving.

"Santa sees me, right?" Anthony asked suddenly.

"What?" Edward looked at his son through the rearview mirror as if he actually had to see his mouth moving to understand the words.

"Santa can see me right?"

"Uh…I don't know, Anthony," Edward shrugged. "That's kind of a creepy thought, isn't it? Some old, fat guy…" But Edward didn't get to finish his words before Anthony burst into tears.

"He's not gonna find me! I need to go to my old house! I need to see Santa there!" Anthony wailed. "I need to see the Center Santa!"

Edward was just about to tell Anthony not to be silly, when he had a vague recognition of what it had been like to be five years old at Christmas time. How the holiday had seeped into every fiber of his existence and announced itself constantly. And for the entire time he'd believed in Santa Clause, all eight and a half years, Edward had lived in the same house. He'd never had to worry about the various issues associated with relocation – though if he had, at five years old, Santa's ability to find him would have been a very pressing concern.

And that gave him an idea. Yet, after what he'd witnessed of Anthony that afternoon in Leisel's office, Edward thought better of acting on his idea without first running it by Leisel. Therefore, he planned to contact her at the beginning of the next week to run his plan by her.

However, she contacted him the very next day before he'd even had a chance to solidify his plan.

"I was hoping you and I might set up a time for a discussion without Anthony being present," she said after the usual greetings were made.

Her request caught Edward off guard and he stalled as he tried to imagine why she would ask for such a meeting. Was it possible that she'd changed her mind and she thought he was a bad parent after all? Perhaps if she knew what he was planning, she wouldn't think that way at all.

"I was actually going to call you," Edward said, neglecting to say when.

"Oh really? Everything alright?"

"Yeah, yeah. Everything's cool. I just…well Anthony said something that got me to thinking about taking him back to Oregon…you know…where he's from."

"Uh huh," Leisel prompted.

"He's used to going to a certain mall to see Santa every Christmas, but I didn't know if it was such a good idea to take him back there…Oregon is where all the bad stuff happened."

"Yes, but Anthony associates Oregon with a lot of positive experiences as well. I think it would be healthy for him to experience some of those positives with you. It'll be a way of bridging his past with his present." Leisel hesitated for a moment. "That's not to say that it will be easy for Anthony, but I do think it will help him progress, and that's what we want for him. I think it's a great idea, Edward. I'm glad you thought of it."

Edward couldn't help feeling a little proud at Leisel's compliment and he couldn't help wondering if Bella would have the same reaction. He hoped so, because he had every intention of asking her to accompany him to Oregon for the holidays.

Nevertheless, when Bella came by later that evening for a visit, panic seized him, and he couldn't bring himself to broach the topic.

"I called you earlier to see if you and Anthony wanted to come by for dinner. Where were you?" Bella asked as she snuggled up to Edward on the couch. Anthony had already completed his cycle of needing a book, a drink, and a last trip to the bathroom; he was sleeping soundly in his bed.

"Oh, I didn't even hear my phone ring. What was for dinner? What'd I miss?" Edward asked, craftily avoiding the question.

"Roasted chicken," Bella responded. She tucked the skirt she was wearing against her thigh as she folded her legs beside her on the couch.

"Darn. Sorry I missed that. It would have been better than the gross take-out we had." Edward shifted uncomfortably. He didn't like the way Bella was watching him, as if she hadn't missed the fact that he'd avoided her question.

The last thing he wanted was for Bella to be upset with him, and definitely not when he wanted her to make the long trek to Oregon with him. He was going to need all the brownie points he could accumulate if he was going to have any hope of getting her to forego traveling to Arizona to see her parents to come with him instead.

"Can you come upstairs for a minute? I have something to give you." Edward stood up and held his hands out to help Bella do the same.

Bella's eyes sparkled at the notion of a surprise. "What is it?" she asked, even though both she and Edward knew that he had no intention of letting her know anything until she followed him to wherever it was he was taking her.

Where he was taking her was, of course, his bedroom. And once he had her inside, he made a flourish of locking the door and turning to face her.

She rolled her eyes at him. "Edward, if you wanted to get me up here-"

Edward kissed her silent and walked her backwards toward the bed. His hands stroked the silky skin of her thighs as he pushed her skirt up around her waist. She grinned at how urgent and insistent he was being when he pulled at her underwear and tossed them over his shoulder onto the floor. However, when she tried to return the favor, and reached for the button on his jeans, he swatted her hands away.

"What are you doing?" she giggled as she laid on the bed, propped up on her elbows watching Edward stealthily crawl up her body.

"Sssh," he told her. "I already missed out on one meal. Let's not make it two."

Edward didn't bother for the enlightenment to show in Bella's eyes before he parted her legs and kissed his way down to her naked center.

Encouraged by Bella's moans and whimpers of delight, Edward lavished her with long, languid licks to her torrid flesh. And when she seemed to settle into his rhythm, he took her clit between his lips and sucked until she cried out his name.

"I want you," she panted as she clutched for his shoulders to pull him on top of her.

Edward unbuttoned his jeans to reveal that he wasn't wearing underwear underneath. He positioned himself to enter her and then leaned over to take her bottom lip between his.

"You want me?" he asked in a throaty whisper as he teased her entrance with the tip of his cock.

"Mmm…yes," her words dripping with desire.

Edward could see that she was on the brink of begging as he sank down into her, with just enough friction to drive him wild.

Bella began to constrict around him nearly on entry, which was a good thing, since there was no way he could last another minute.

"You read my mind," Bella sighed, euphoric from her climax. "I've been craving you all day."

Edward smiled as he turned to lie on his back, one arm holding Bella to his side.

Mind reading. If only it was that easy. All they'd have to do was be in close proximity and Bella would know the words he so badly wanted to share. Not only would she know how much he wanted her to spend Christmas with him and Anthony, but she'd also know the truth that he'd only just recently accepted himself.

Thank you to everyone who voted/participated in the FGB cause. And thank you for allowing me to contribute in this way. The winning team for ItzMegan73 voted for a few things, so I tried to get them all in this outtake. I hope I did you justice. Also, for the small majority that wanted The Tutor, I hear ya and I shall make that happen as well. Have a good day!