A/N- This story is AU. Some of the timelines have been fudged a bit to fit in with the Christmas theme.
Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight…we all know this.
This was originally posted as a Christmas Gift Exchange gift for septentrion1970. Now you all can read it.
Thanks to my wonderful beta Tanya for always doing a stellar job.
Part 1- Accepting the Challenge
"Bella is the strongest vampire I know. She can resist anything," Edward said defending Bella's honor yet again.
Bella stood back and took in the argument that she had heard many times in her short vampire life. She both loved and loathed the faith Edward put in her. While it was true that she had yet to slip and taste human blood she was far from infallible. She had come close twice and put her thanks in Jasper for a quick change in her mood both times.
"She is still a newborn, of course she is strong," Emmett countered.
"That is not the sort of strength I was referring to and you know it." Edward's voice sounded exasperated.
Bella rolled her eyes and left the men to quarrel. She knew if she was able to she would have a headache from the two boys. She ran back to her cottage, while the Cullens had moved from her home town of Forks, Bella and Edward insisted on having their own space away from the main house. They were after all, still newlyweds.
Canada was cold this time of the year but the small hunting lodge just one mile from the main house was heated, strictly to keep the pipes from freezing. Even Renesmee seemed to be immune from the cold, needing only a thick blanket or a heavy sweater in the freezing climate.
"Mother," Nessie cried out running up and hugging Bella. The child was not quite a year old and yet she looked closer to four.
"Have you been behaving for Jacob?" Bella asked.
"She has been an angel," Jacob replied entering from the other room. Nessie smiled brightly at him.
"You would be a biased judge, I think," Bella replied.
Nessie then put her small hands on Bella's face showing her the pictures of the playtime with Jacob. Images of the small child riding around on the giant wolf would appear to be from a fanatasy movie but for Bella and her family this was life.
"Thank you for watching her," Bella said smiling at her friend.
"It was my pleasure. As always I enjoyed every minute of it," he responded.
Bella gave her friend a hug and he took the silent clue to head off to his room so Bella could enjoy some bonding time with her daughter. He recognized that even though she was his imprint that she needed time with her family as well. And of course he provided her with whatever she needed.
Renesmee had grown so quickly, Bella was thankful for her perfect memory. It would be sad to forget a single moment of her advanced progress.
Bella was ready to start one of the complex games her and Renesmee had made up when she heard a loud crash come from the main house. Jake was back in the room in a flash and as soon as Bella saw him she rushed off towards the house.
"How could you even suggest a thing like that?" Edward asked seething at his brother.
"You said you thought Bella is a stronger vampire than you. I just thought a wager would be fun," Emmett defended.
"You are putting more than just Bella at danger with a wager like that. How could you be okay if you won?" Edward's eyes shone with anger at his brother.
"We would have Jasper there, he can knock her out if she gets too tempted, either way," Emmett said winking. Edward was quick as his fist struck out and hit Emmett in the gut.
"That is my wife, she would never want another," Edward swore vehemently.
"What is going on here?" Bella screamed surveying the room. While the discussions had been heated in the past, this was the first time one had come to blows.
Edward was by her side in a flash. "Nothing love, Emmett and I were just talking."
"Why don't we just ask her?" Emmett said recovering from Edward's assault.
"Ask me what?" Bella wondered aloud.
"It's ridiculous baby, not even worth mentioning."
"Why don't you let me decide that?" Bella huffed.
Emmett chuckled as he straightened up and became more confident. "It's just a little bet," he started sweetly causing Edward to grunt, "You see, Edward thinks that you are stronger than him and I came up with a bet to test that theory."
"What kind of bet?" Bella asked hesitantly.
"Well I figured that you needed to do something on par with what he did, and since he made love to his singer, I figured the equivalent for you as a newborn would be kissing a human."
"What?" Bella asked incredulously. In all of her thoughts there was no way she suspected that.
"I told you. It's ridiculous," Edward replied.
"So if I don't kill this random guy Edward wins and if I do, you win?" Bella asked Emmett.
"Of course not," Emmett said feigning hurt, "We would station Jasper nearby and Alice of course. Between the two of them we are confident that we would have you out of there before anything could happen."
"We are not confident," Edward mumbled.
Bella stood motionless for several minutes. Edward started to worry, hoping that she would not be angry with him for Emmett's idea. Quite quickly Bella sat herself down on the couch.
"What are the stakes?" Her voice was so quiet only vampire hearing would have been able to make out her comment.
"What?" Edward shrieked at the same time Emmett made a 'hooting' noise.
"I'm not saying I am going to do it, I just want to know what you two think endangering us all is worth."
Edward and Emmett shared a look neither of them sure they wanted to speak it out loud. Long before the bet was offered the two had come up with the wager. Edward shook his head at Emmett silently backing out from answering.
Emmett wasn't afraid, he wanted this bet and he was sure he would win. He was so sure that he didn't even bother telling Rosalie what would be required of her if he lost. His own part of the loss wouldn't be so bad but dealing with Rosalie would be.
Emmett detailed out the wager to Bella highlighted the consequences to both her and Edward should she fail.
"I have one more thing to add," Bella said, "If I do this , this is it. There will be no more contests or conversations about me and my strengths or abilities. Am I clear?"
"Bella, you're not actually considering…" Edward's voice trailed off as Emmett's voice bellowed in and agreed to her terms.
"Don't worry baby, it's going to be gross for me." Bella said in hopes to placate Edward. The problem was, he had been there and it was anything but gross to him.
Part 2 – The Bet
"I think the whole idea is irresponsible." The bet had made its way around the Cullen house fairly quickly. Carlisle was astonished that not only Bella would agree to such a bet but that Edward would let her.
Edward's surveillance of Carlisle's thoughts made him flinch. "You should know by now I can't make her do anything."
"Oh you boys stop brooding, this is going to be fun," Alice exclaimed, especially when Rose finds out about her part. Alice had yet to have a vision of the outcome of the bet. She said it could go either way depending on the human they chose.
"Before we leave I just want to clarify the rules. Now I know that there can't be tongue, that would be too difficult but it can't be a peck. It has to last at least thirty seconds," Emmett said sternly.
"Yes Emmett, I am aware of the rules," Bella responded annoyed.
"Alright then. Come on, it's time to go hunting," Emmett laughed as he bounced in the room.
"Bad taste Emmett," Edward scolded.
Emmett and Edward were heading into town to choose Bella's prey. She had wanted to be there but it was unwise to put herself in the middle of a crowded area. She was still curious on how they were going to get some man to return with them. They were intimidating; it wasn't like some guy was just going to take their word that a hot chick was waiting for him back at their house. Alice was laughing hysterically before they made it out of the house.
Edward and Emmett headed through the door of the bar. The bouncer looked like he wanted to give them trouble but when Emmett made eye contact he changed his mind, ushering them through. They both scanned the room looking for the perfect catch.
"How about him?" Edward asked pointing towards a slightly overweight blonde man of forty.
"Dude, how could you do that to your wife?" Emmett responded. "How about him?"
Edward followed Emmett's gaze to see a man sitting in the corner by himself, his brown hair had a shimmer of gold in it and his heavy eyebrows were furrowed. Edward caught Emmett's thought about him being Edward's doppelganger.
"No," Edward stated firmly. He knew Bella was going to do this but he didn't want her to enjoy it.
They searched, coming up with excuses to each other saying this one was too fat or this one was too thin. When they both settled their eyes on the blonde man they knew they had found the one. He was a decent enough looking guy, for a human that was. He was shorter and slimmer than Edward and wore black rimmed glasses.
"So, how do we do this?" Edward asked suddenly unsure of how to accomplish his goal.
"We wing it?" Emmett asked walking towards the man.
The blonde man was standing alone near the juke box. Edward scanned his thoughts and determined that he was not there with a date. The man noticed the daunting pair a few steps before they reached him. His heart rate picked up and Edward placed his hand on Emmett's chest silently telling him to back off.
"Hello," Edward said approaching the man. The man gave Edward a strange look so he continued, "I'm Edward."
"Dan," replied the man.
"So I have a somewhat unusual request," Edward started.
"Oh, hey man, I am really flattered you're probably like the top of the line but I don't swing that way."
"What! Oh no….that's not…I mean…"Edward stammered.
"What my buddy here is trying to say," Emmett butted in stepping forward to join their conversation, "is that we have this friend and see she has only ever kissed one guy and now she is worried that she might be missing out on something, you know what I mean." Edward growled under his breath shooting Emmett a glare.
"I don't think I do," the man replied.
"Well the thing is Dan is that we need someone to kiss said friend so she can be sure she chose the right guy, can you do that for us?"
"Where is she?" Dan asked scanning the room. He wasn't about to agree to anything without seeing the girl.
"She is shy," Edward blurted, "and so we were hoping you would go to her."
"I don't think so man," Dan said.
Emmett pulled out his cell phone and quickly pulled up a picture. "This is her," he said displaying the photo to Dan.
The picture had been taken a week prior. Alice had dressed Bella up for a Femme Fetale movie night and she smoldered in the skin tight red dress.
"Yeah, okay let me grab my coat," Dan said without pause.
The car ride was uncomfortable. Dan was suddenly wondering why he had agreed to go anywhere with two strange men, Edward felt a strange desire to kill the man in the backseat before he had to take him home to kiss his wife and Emmett was smiling and whistling.
Bella was waiting on the porch when they arrived back home. She rung her hands in a nervous gesture she thought she had kicked when she became a vampire. Emmett was the first out of the car grinning like the Cheshire cat. Edward stayed in the car while Dan stepped out and came towards her.
"Hi," Dan said studying Bella. He thought to himself that she was more beautiful than her picture. A strange noise from inside the car caused him to startle.
"Hi, I'm Julie," she replied. She didn't want this act to be her at all. While the boys were gone she had come up with an entirely new alias for herself. She had almost donned a wig.
"Hi Julie, I'm Dan."
Dan's scent was already getting to Bella so she figured the sooner the better. She took two steps closing the gap between them. She tilted her head slightly and reached up, pulling Dan's face to hers. The moment his lips touched hers she fought to remain in control, she knew she was doing okay because she had not felt Jasper's interference yet. He was only to intervene if Alice saw her losing control. If he changed her mood, the bet was lost. Bella held Dan close, moving her lips but not breathing. The pulse from his neck called out to her, she wanted his blood.
Bella pulled back after exactly thirty seconds. Emmett's face was in a state of shock. Edward had gotten out of the car and was stalking towards Bella. If Bella didn't know his love for her she would be frightened of him.
"Were you missing anything?" Edward asked.
"Excuse me?" Bella responded.
"I said were you missing anything by only ever kissing one person?" he reiterated.
"Not even a little bit," Bella said and the moment the words left her mouth Edward's lips were on hers, his lips working to erase any trace of the previous kiss. Edward drowned out the thoughts of Dan by focusing on his beautiful wife.
She had done it, she had won the bet.
Chapter 3- The Pay Up
The lights twinkled on the Christmas tree as Rose strode out into the store. The look on her face was one of extreme displeasure. She cursed under her breath as Edward and Bella snickered from the front of the line. Emmett came out next, licking his lips at the plastic reindeers, causing even Carlisle to laugh.
Bella was happy to be out in a crowd and at such a busy time. After winning the bet she had become able to control her thirst even more. She was as contented being out as Jasper now, uncomfortable but not unmanageable. The entire Cullen clan along with Jake watched Emmett and Rose as they took their places on top of the fake snow.
"HO, HO, HO," Emmett barreled out as he took his spot on the sleigh. Emmett was adorned in a full Santa suit, complete with a fake belly that shook like a bowl full of jelly. He was right in character waving at the children while shouting, "Merry Christmas."
"How the hell did I get screwed into this?" Rose asked so only the vampires present could hear her.
"Don't ask me, you married him," Bella replied.
Rose sauntered up to the rope, her green and white stripped tights trailing down into green elf shoes. The faux velvet green mini-dress that the store provided her to wear was old and smelled of mothballs. The look on her face made the children in line take a step back.
Edward could hear the mixed reactions from the fathers in line. They wanted the sexy elf but their survival instinct was telling them to run.
Rose opened the rope and Renesmee was the first to bound in, taking a seat on Emmett's lap. "And what do you want for Christmas, little girl?"
Renesmee laughed, "Uncle Emmett, you're silly." She then whispered in his ear causing Jake's face to shoot up.
"Nessie, please no," Jake pleaded. This caused even Rose to laugh.
"You heard her, dog," Rose said, "that just totally made it worth all this."
Nessie hopped off of Emmett's lap and raced over to Jacob. He scooped her up into his arms groaning at her request.
Edward collected Bella into his arms leading her away from the fake winter wonderland. It was near impossible to find a quiet spot in the busy Wal-mart but they found one nuzzled back in the automotives.
"Are you happy?" Bella asked Edward.
"No," he replied pouting.
"Why not?" Bella's voice was laced with concern.
"I'm still jealous."
"Edward, you must know by now that you are all I would ever want. You told me once that I was your life now, the same is true for me."
"I know that, but the thought of another man kissing you…" Edward was interrupted by the feel of his wife's lips on his. Her hands found his face and she opened her mind to him, showing him all the feelings that went through her during the bet. He pulled back and looked at her incredulously. "That was disgusting!"
Bella laughed. "I know, right."
This time when their lips met there was no mind reading, only love that flowed through them. Edward let his insecurities go and enjoyed his little piece of forever.
E/N- The prompt was to make one of the Cullens a Santa at Wal-mart. I hope you enjoyed.