My Gift for the Twi-gift exchange , written for superstarrh.
As usual - not mine...all characters are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer...I just like to give them a hard time and then make it all better...
I turned the faucet on and braced my hands on the edge of the sink while I waited for the water to warm. I looked like complete hell, which was not entirely surprising considering the day I'd had, starting with my call to Edward last night.
"God, I can't believe I'm not going to make it home." It was all I could do to keep my tears at bay. For the first time, ever, I was unable to travel home for Christmas break. My family and friends were all on the other side of the country and I was stuck here, in New York, working.
I didn't have a choice. I worked as an Assistant Manager in a clothing boutique near campus to help pay for my graduate classes. My manager, Angela, was upstate for her brother's Christmas Eve wedding and our other Assistant Manager, Jessica, had quit because she didn't want to work the holiday leaving me responsible for the store.
"Bella, it's okay. I'll head back as soon as I can. I would never have left you alone in New York if I'd known you were going to get stuck working through the holiday. As much as I love our families, I'd rather be there with you."
"I know babe," I sighed trying to absorb some of the optimism in his voice. "We've never been apart for Christmas though. I'm going to miss you."
"I'll miss you too." The quiet tone of his voice had finally broken through my defenses and I had to get off the phone or risk a complete breakdown. That would serve neither of us. "I've got to go, Edward, I've got to get in to the shop early tomorrow."
"I know. Call me when you get home from work."
"I will, I promise. Love you babe," I said barely able to hold back the emotions that were battering my last barrier.
"Love you too."
After that I'd hardly gotten any sleep since my emotions had been riding a rollercoaster from Hell. I just couldn't quit thinking. When I'd finally fallen asleep, I was woken up by the sound of my neighbor's rat dog's incessant yapping.
Ordinarily I'd like to strangle the dog, but I changed my tune as soon as I realized what time it was. Apparently my phone died during the night, and consequently my alarm was MIA. I rushed through my morning routine and arrived at the shop just in time to open…only to find that Angela was already there.
I'd thought my luck had finally turned. There she was offering me my heart's desire, despite the drama she was enduring over her brother's cancelled nuptials. She had tried to call me the previous evening, but the dead phone had struck again.
I hurried home and booked the next available flight. Unfortunately on so short a notice I had to take what I could get, which meant a detour down to Atlanta, up to Denver, and then finally home to Washington. The last flight wouldn't get into Seattle until one a.m., and then I'd have to drive another three and a half hours home to Forks which would put my final arrival at somewhere around five in the morning.
The inconvenience of the layovers would have been worth seeing Edward's face Christmas morning, but it was not going to happen now…
After getting bumped from my flight in Atlanta because they had overbooked, I'd missed my flight in Denver. The next available flight they could fit me on took me to Minneapolis instead of Denver. If I could have made the original flight I would be on my way home. Instead, I was washing my tear stained face in a sink in an airport bathroom after the airline attendant had informed me that due to the increasing severity of weather I was finally shit out of luck.
I was stuck here for the duration of a blizzard. To top it all off my phone was once again completely dead. I had only been able to charge it briefly this morning, and the little bit I'd had petered out during my last attempt to call Edward to let him know where I was and what had happened to me. I tried to call from one of the numerous pay phones, but I couldn't get through…to anyone. I could hear them, but they couldn't hear me.
If I would have stayed at home, at least I would have been able to sleep in my own bed instead of the lonely hotel room the airline had offered me. I could have called Edward. I could have heard his voice. Right now I was truly alone.
I'd elected to not bother with a carry on in my haste and instead checked my luggage. My bags were probably waiting for me in Seattle at the moment. The one place I'd rather be… I gathered my meager belongings, which consisted of my dead phone, jacket and purse and headed towards the exit. I was told there would be a shuttle there that would take me to the hotel where they had a room held in my name. I hope it doesn't take long to get there. I just want this day to be over…
I couldn't believe this was happening. All I had wanted to do was surprise her, was that too much to ask? I'd wanted to show her how much I love her. I wasn't going to let a little thing like her having to work come between us and the moment I'd been planning for the last two and a half months, and now I was stuck in the storm of the century.
As soon as Bella had hung up last night I went straight to my sister. Alice was the only one I knew that could help me pull this off, and she'd come through for me yet again. She'd immediately booked my tickets and then arranged for everything I would need to make this Christmas Bella's most memorable, but even she could not completely foresee the storm that grounded my plane in this Godforsaken place.
I tried calling Bella and my family, but the storm was making cell reception impossible, and the land lines were now out of order as well. I grabbed my carry on, thankful that Alice had insisted on not checking any luggage, and made my way to the terminal entrance where a shuttle was waiting to take me and a few other passengers to the hotel where I'd been able to get a room.
What should have been a five minute ride took thirty in the raging storm. I pulled Bella's gift from my pocket, not only ensuring it was still there, but thankful that I was at least safe from the weather for the moment and at the first opportunity I would be on my way home to Bella where I belonged. I could not allow a storm to bring me down.
Grateful that I had been able to secure a room, I made my way to the front desk. Despite the lateness of the hour and the inordinate amount of people vying for the last of the available rooms I quickly checked in and picked my way through the crowded lobby towards the elevator.
"Hold the door," I called, but I was too late and the doors closed. I pushed the call button hoping the wait wouldn't be too long.
Checking into a hotel had never been a more arduous process. I just wanted to get to my room and weep in peace. I had never had a worse holiday in my life and I was ready to wallow in the darkness of my room for the night. There was nothing more I could do but wait until the morning and hope that I would have actual cell reception, not to mention a full battery, or that the land lines would be operational.
Just as the doors started to close I heard someone call to hold them open. Great now I'm hearing things - could have sworn that sounded like Edward…My auditory hallucinations caused me to pause a moment too long and by the time I'd fumbled with the buttons on the panel the door had closed. The momentary lapse of sanity brought tears back to my eyes, so when I finally got the doors back open I focused my gaze on the floor in a sad attempt to hide my distress from the new passenger.
Tears steadily streamed down my flushed cheeks as my senses continued to assault me with reminders of Edward. I suddenly felt like I was surrounded by the scent of his cologne and my body hummed as it did every time he was near. It was all I could do to try to silence the sob that broke through the last of my defenses.
I heard a sharp intake of breath and then a familiar hand reached out tentatively to touch my arm.
My head snapped up at the sound of my name.
"Edward…" I gasped in disbelief.
"Oh my God! What are you-" "How did you-" we both spoke.
"I was trying to surprise you…" I stepped into his open arms.
He pulled me against his body, clasping me to him as if I might disappear. "I was going to surprise you too."
When I finally looked up he loosened our embrace enough to free one of his hands to wipe the wet streaks from my face. His brilliant eyes sparkled as he lowered his lips to mine in a gentle but firm kiss. His lips moved slowly and sensuously over my own as we savored the moment.
We broke apart when the elevator chimed letting us know of our arrival, to which floor I had no idea. He took my hand and led me down the hall to what must have been his room, as I was too overwhelmed by the turn of events to think coherently.
"I have a feeling this disaster is going to turn out to be our best Christmas ever." He opened a door and ushered me inside, the door clicking shut as we came together.