Submission Heading: Magic at Macy's
Baby It's Cold Outside O/S Contest
Title: Magic at Macy's
Rating & Any Needed Warnings: M
Word Count: 3960
Summary: Bella's a socially challenged student at Yale. She's a reporter for the Yale Daily News and develops a crush on the Editor-In-Chief, Edward Cullen. Alone in the dorms over Thanksgiving break, Bella decides to venture out and explore NYC. She learns that Christmas wishes do come true.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyers owns all things Twilight. I just want to find Edward under my Christmas tree.
It was the day after Thanksgiving and the first time I'd spent the holiday apart from Charlie. I wanted to go back home to Forks during my week-long break, but the ticket for the flight was outrageously expensive. I'd have to go back after the end of my first semester, and I could only afford one trip home. So I settled on a lovely, but rather stuffy, holiday meal with some gracious Yale faculty members that lived within walking distance of the campus.
I quickly learned that I had nothing in common with my kind benefactors as we chatted and dipped our turkey into the lumpy gravy. They came from families that ate their breakfast cereal from silver spoons. My family, or at least Charlie and I, had about ten spoons to our name. All of them had different patterns on the handle and were bought at the local Goodwill Store.
Although I appreciated the generosity I was being shown, I felt like the ultimate outsider—the poor, sad, and lonely girl from across the tracks that matriculated to Yale via a "we take pity on white trash" scholarship. I helped them round out their quota for diversity.
Thanking them for a lovely meal, I quickly scooted out after the dessert. I could feel a sense of relief from them when I left. I guess my fake smiles were not that convincing. It's probably why I'd hated drama class so much in high school. I've never been able to be anything but myself. Whoever made up that lame motto, fake it till you make it, is a complete idiot. I realized long ago that I'm completely and utterly socially challenged. A total lost cause.
When I made it back to my dorm room at Yale, I walked through the deserted halls. All the soundless air was creepy. Even though we study nonstop, the word quiet is something only found in the five-inch dictionary on my desk. I'm not sure how I'd fall asleep without the bustle of activity, or the slamming of doors in the hallway, but finally I nodded off.
The next morning I woke before eight o'clock. I tried to go back to sleep, but after thirty minutes of hiding away under my covers, I finally put my feet on the cold dorm floor. I walked to the window and saw that the sun was shining brightly in a cloudless sky. It looked deceivingly warm out until I looked down and saw people passing by on the sidewalk all bundled up in warm jackets and wrapped up in wool scarves.
Making my way to the shower, I wondered how I should spend my day. Many of the kids on my floor would return tomorrow, so this was my only free day all to myself. There was nothing to do in New Haven. I'd pretty much seen all the important sites around the small college town. My fellow reporters at the Yale Daily News and I usually hang out at one of the street cafés.
My roommate, Angela, and I went to a Broadway play for her birthday in October. It was my first trip into New York City and I fell in love with the energy there. People scurried about the sidewalks with determined looks on their faces. I remember her telling me how spectacular the city was around Christmas.
"Bella it's magical here during the holidays. I've got to bring you back here. Somehow we'll make it work. Maybe after finals we can sneak down before you fly off to Seattle. You've just got to see the windows. They're spectacular, especially the Macy's window. It makes you feel like you're a little child again. I swear they start working on the next year's window on Dec. 26th."
Several large department stores besides Macy's decorated their store windows with elaborate displays. I'd always been a sucker for anything Christmas, and who hasn't dreamt of gazing into the Macy's Christmas window? So, today I decided to escape the deserted halls and head to New York for the day.
I quickly googled "holiday windows in New York" and the Metro North train schedule into Grand Central. There was a walking tour that started at Bloomingdales, or Bloomies, so I would just buck up a few extra dollars and take a cab there from Grand Central and walk the rest of the way ending at Macy's. The website said that the stroll by the six store windows would take under two hours. I knew that I would be stopping to shop and sightsee along the way, so it might take me most of the afternoon and into the early evening. Since the last train back to New Haven left at nearly one a.m., I had plenty of time to see all the sights.
Looking at my alarm clock, I realized that I had about forty minutes to get to the train and then it would take me only ninety minutes to get to the heart of Manhattan. So, in a little over two hours I'd be walking the tunnels of Grand Central Station.
Starting off the day with frozen hair was not a good idea, so I hurriedly dried my locks and formed them into loose curls around my shoulders. Anything to help keep my neck warm was a good idea. I found my new North Face jacket and ugly Ugg boots that were hiding under my bunk. I pulled them over my wool socks and hoped they'd work together to keep my toes warm.
I made my way to the New Haven's Union Station via the free shuttle from at the Green. I grabbed a donut and a cup of joe at my new favorite coffee shop, Dunkin Donuts. I'd come over to the lighter side and quickly dumped the strong coffee that I'd drunk for years while living in the Seattle area. Sorry, Starbucks, but their hazelnut rocks!
After purchasing my roundtrip ticket, I headed for the platform. Keeping my head down, I walked out the glass doors and braved the cold wind. The train would pull up in the stop any minute. I could feel the excitement building and for some reason, I didn't even mind going by myself. I was a little surprised that I wasn't anxious about going alone. It wasn't like I was a seasoned New Yorker, but I'd be able to linger and shop as I pleased. If I wanted to drool on the glass cases at Tiffany's for a couple of hours who was going to care? Also, I'd be able to indulge in one of my favorite things. People watching.
Hearing the buzz of the train as it headed toward the platform, I turned my head and something, or I should say someone, caught my eye. He was leaning against the Coke machine and dressed in a black cashmere topcoat that hit him about mid-thigh. The jeans he wore appeared to be lined in flannel because I could see the plaid material making up his cuff. His legs looked like they were packed into his pants as his jeans tightly stretched over his glorious thighs.
The New York Times paper was hiding most of his upper body, but I knew exactly who it was. I'd stared at, dreamed of and pleasured myself while thinking about him, since the first week of school.
He was, Edward Cullen, Editor in Chief of the Yale Daily News, man about campus, my new best friend Alice's brother. Oh, and most importantly he was majorly out of my league, even if he did just break up with his red-haired goddess girlfriend.
He'd barely said a word to me since Alice introduced us. I was pretty sure he thought I was mute or just had a permanently paralyzed "O" face. Strangely though, I'd noticed him gazing at me during the weekly board meetings we lowly freshman attended with the editors. Last week his stares were rather unnerving, but a complete fucking turn-on.
My mind wandered back to the day I'd first met Edward. It was Wednesday, September 1st, 2010.
"Hey, Bella." Alice called to me as I entered the first-floor reporter's room.
I stopped dead in my tracks because the most beautiful boy, or more like man, was examining me with his eyes. He leaned against my desk with his long, muscular legs stretched out in front of him. My sex-starved mind imagined pushing him back against my desk blotter and mounting him.
"Bella, are you okay?" Alice laughed as she tried to break me out of my trance.
"Uh, yeah. I'm fine. Just coming down from my morning caffeine fix. That's all." I hoped that I made sense. God, he's still staring at me. I felt that old familiar hot, pink blush spread across my cheeks. Damn it!
"This is my brother, Edward Cullen." She smiled as she turned to her brother. "I've told her all about you, Edward."
Perhaps she'd forgotten a few things… like his chiseled jaw line, his sexed-up hair, and those dangerous green eyes. I broke my stare and looked over at Alice, pleading for help. I still couldn't speak. Somehow, I'd scored a perfect score on the SAT, but place a devastatingly handsome piece of hot testosterone in front of me and my brain turned to complete mush.
"Hi, Bella," said the gorgeous, green-eyed god. "I hear from Alice that you're going to be working as a general assignment's reporter. It's nice to meet you."
I was still stuck on hearing him utter my name, but saw that he had extended his hand out to me. So I placed my rather shaky hand in his, and for a split second I felt a warmness pulse from the tips of my fingers and radiate up my arm. I think he felt it, too, because he quickly removed his hand and ran his fingers through his glorious, bronze hair.
And it was that same bronze hair that gave him away today. It peeked out from the top of the newspaper. I barely saw his eyebrows as they scrunched together in concentration. I wanted to hide or throw myself in front of the train.
Thankfully, I saw a copy of the New Haven Advocate lying on the bench next to me. I reached for it and brought it up to cover my face. The train finally stopped and opened its doors. No one got off, but about thirty people entered as the platform lights blinked. I was careful to stay hidden from Edward. He moved to the back of the second car and faced away from the front of the train.
Discreetly, I followed him onto the car and chose a seat several rows in back of him with the Advocate still placed about one inch in front of my face. I wondered where he was going and why he hadn't flown back home with Alice for the holidays. Perhaps his position at the Yale Daily News had kept him in town.
What should have been a relaxing trip into the City ended up being the ride from hell. I squirmed and moved in my seat trying to steal a glimpse of him without exposing myself. What if he did see me? Would I just stand there tongue tied? Probably. Every time I've seen him at the paper, I've turned the other way or ducked into an empty office. He probably thinks I'm a lunatic and I kind of am one when it comes to him. I've become totally crazy over him. I can't seem to get him off my mind and to see him today… well, I was starting to feel sick from all the butterflies in my stomach.
Finally, the train stopped at Grand Central. I decided to hide down in the seat with my paper as a mask and wait for him to exit first. After that all bets were off. I had no idea what I would do next. But I knew that I couldn't let him out of my sight. With all the people crowding the station, I was pretty sure that I could keep a reasonable distance from him and go unnoticed.
I had just turned into a class-A stalker. I probably should go visit the mental health clinic on Monday, but until then I'd just use my time wisely and keep his beautiful backside in my view. I had absolutely no idea where he was going. He took several turns and walked through the tunnels in the belly of the station.
Finally, he made his way up a long ramp. There weren't many people with us and I worried that he might turn around and spot me behind him. But he just kept moving forward. I pulled my hair in front of my face to shield it from his view. If he saw me now, I'm pretty sure that he'd figure out that I was following him. Looking at it logically, how did two people from New Haven end up being this close together in New York City?
I briefly reconsidered what I was doing. I knew that I should turn the other way, but there was this undeniable draw to him. As we entered the main terminal, he stopped abruptly and tilted his head up toward the ceiling. I followed his actions and saw the twinkling display overhead. It was beautiful how all the lights moved together so perfectly, but I was afraid to stare too long and have him walk away. The crowds were starting to get pretty thick around us, so I decided to move a little closer to him.
He entered the 42nd street-level access tunnel. I was relieved that we weren't going to take the subway somewhere else. It would be so much harder to hide from him. They were way too open and full of windows. Now I just prayed that he wouldn't be getting into a cab. That would put my stalker capabilities to a halt. I held my breath as we moved to the street level. But he put his head down and walked with a purpose toward Fifth Avenue. The sidewalks started to get crowded as we made our way to Fifth Avenue and turned left. The Thanksgiving Parade tourists were still lingering throughout the city, so we were literally packed in shoulder to shoulder.
Block after block passed by as we hustled south. He slowed down for a bit as we approved Lord & Taylor's department store. I thought he might cross over and stop to peer into their windows. I hoped that he would, but instead he pulled his collar up and continued on, picking up his speed.
My toes were starting to feel numb as we walked across 34th street and turned right onto it. I suddenly realized where we were heading.
Miracle on 34th Street.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
We strolled down a long block, but as we approached the next street, I could see the trees lit up in Herald Square. I took a second to look around and saw the tree design of Christmas lights on the front of Macy's. I brought my eyes back down to street level and scanned around for Edward, but I didn't see him. There wasn't a head of bronze anywhere in sight. Picking up the pace I started looking around frantically for him as I worked my way to the Christmas windows. The crowds were packed tightly around them. I decided to get in line and look at them then I'd head into Macy's and warm up for a bit. The day wasn't a total bust. It was exciting and more than an adventure being close to Edward, sneaking peeks and playing like a spy. The last few hours sure beat hanging out in the quiet halls back in New Haven that was for sure.
As I inched my way closer to the windows, I glanced around just in case my green-eyed god walked by. But, alas, nothing… The first window was right in front of me, finally. I stopped, shocked as I read the theme for this year's window.
"Spectators will be taken on a magical journey through the eyes of Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon who wrote to the New York Sun in 1897 in a quest to prove the existence of Santa Claus. The response, written by newsman Francis P. Church, began with the now-famous line, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..."
Wasn't I just thinking that? I couldn't believe how strange I felt at that moment. It was almost like I was standing there by myself and the throngs of people just disappeared. Staring at the writing on the window, I felt someone brush up against me and none too gently. But before I could turn around, I saw his reflection in the window. He was standing right behind me smiling, smirking, actually.
Yes, right there in the window was Virginia, me and the green-eyed god, Edward Cullen. Immediately, I stiffened and was paralyzed until I felt his breath at my ear. My knees started to buckle. I think he must have foreseen my reaction, because he stepped in closer behind me and placed his glove-covered hands tightly on my upper arms. My eyes were glued to his in the mirrored reflection and I saw his lips start to move.
"Bella, turn around," he whispered into my ear.
I quickly spun around in his arms, my face just inches away from his cashmere-covered chest. Who could disobey a whisper like that? I knew that I couldn't. Hell, he'd been my total sexual fantasy since September 1st.
"I thought I'd sneak up on you this time. You're a hard stalker to lose, Bella."
Oh, my God. He knew that I'd been following him. I wanted to die. Now. Once again, all I could do was show him my shocked "O" face.
"You look surprised that I knew that you were following me. Take some friendly advice—drop any ideas about working as a spy."
"That bad?" Hey, I finally spoke. Two whole words. Well, they were a start.
"I especially enjoyed the panicked look on your face when I deliberately hid from you. Are you feeling better now, Ms. Stalker?" Edward laughed as he drew me in closer to him. Our bodies were almost touching and my head was spinning. What the fuck was he doing holding me like this? It didn't make any sense. He didn't even seem disturbed by my crazy behavior. He appeared to find it amusing.
"Better?" Damn it, now I was speaking in one word sentences.
"I have an idea and it looks like you could use some warming up. Follow me and try to keep up." He winked at me. Oh, my God, I think he must have had me confused with someone else. This couldn't be happening to me. He took my hand into his and pulled me to the edge of the sidewalk. I stood slightly behind him and watched him hail a cab.
When a cab stopped, he opened the door for me and I slid across the seat as he followed me in. He looked over at me all smiles with a sexy gleam in his beautiful eyes.
Without taking his eyes from mine he told the cabbie where to take us. "Serendipity. Sixtieth and Second Avenue."
He took off his gloves and reached for my right hand. Slowly, he removed my mittens, finger by finger. I was practically panting when he finished his sexy and welcomed assault.
"I want to try something, okay?" he said.
I nodded my agreement. Great. Now I'm communicating to him without even uttering a single word.
"You need to be very still. Don't move. There's something that I've wanted to try."
I sat there lost in his words and green eyes, not daring to move a muscle.
Very carefully he moved his fingers toward mine and placed them lightly against my opened palm. And then there it was again. That strange, warm feeling moved up my arm just like it did during our handshake back in September. But this time he didn't pull his hand away. Instead, he wrapped his long fingers around mine and pulled my hand up to his lips.
He began to gently kiss each knuckle as he looked at me through his lashes. I tried to suppress the moan that was working to escape my lips, but I just couldn't hold it back. I was experiencing my sexual fantasy in the flesh and he was pressing his sweet lips against me.
"You felt that too, didn't you?" He lowered my hand to the seat, but didn't release it.
"Yes, I felt it. But it wasn't the first time. I remember feeling it when we met." I wanted to pat myself on the back. Two full sentences; finally my tongue was untied.
"I felt it too, Bella. At first I thought it was just static electricity or a fluke, but something just kept drawing me to you. I can't really explain it."
What? He was drawn to me?
I remembered Alice telling me that he broke up with the red-haired goddess, Victoria, after he felt a strange attraction to someone else. She'd told me that he didn't want to be unfaithful to Victoria, and he needed to see if this other person felt the same as he did. Alice mentioned that the other girl often avoided him, so he didn't really think he stood a chance with her. But he had to try to reach her.
Was it really me that Alice was speaking about? Me? Plain and simple me?
"You're drawn to me?" I had to ask this question. I just couldn't wrap my mind around his words and declaration. I needed to hear it one more time.
He tightened his grip around my fingers and shifted right next to me in the backseat. He pressed his body into mine and looked directly into my eyes.
"I can't quit thinking about you, Bella. I know that you've noticed me staring at you during our weekly meetings. Every time you looked my way, I'd get lost in your big, brown eyes. Don't even get me started with your innocent blush."
True to form, I blushed heavily as if on cue.
He laughed and traced his fingers over my cheeks. Then he looked at my lips and gazed up into my eyes asking for permission. I closed my eyes and parted my lips in answer.
His lips found mine and the spark from earlier turned hot with passion. No longer were we suppressing anything. Breathing hard, he moved my scarf from away from my neck and starting gently kissing me there. I was aching in the most delicious way and wondered what the penalty was for public indecency.
He removed his lips from my neck and stared into my eyes.
"Hey, I'm thinking about a change of plans. I have reservations somewhere. Are you game?"
"Reservations? I don't know. I'm not really dressed for eating somewhere fancy."
"Don't worry. Where I'm taking you won't require anything at all."
Wait! What did he mean by that?
"The Roosevelt Hotel. Madison and Forty-fifth, "Edward called to the cabbie.
Holy shit. He was taking me to a hotel. To a room with a bed.
I leaned back into the seat and closed my eyes as my green-eyed god pulled me into him.
The only thing I could think of while his warm lips kissed me was Virginia and her Christmas wish. Like her, my wish had come true, and he was sitting beside me holding me tightly in his arms.