This one shot was written for the Southern Fanfiction Review blog, Christmas 2010. Many thanks to Kristi_28 and LisaJ for betaing and prereading! The italicized lines in the story are lyrics from The Waitresses 80s song, Christmas Wrapping. It's a great Christmas novelty song and the basis for this one shot. You can listen to it on youtube. Enjoy!

Christmas Wrapping

EPOV – January:

Emmett, Jasper and I were heading to the ski shop to meet Rose and Alice before the five of us went to dinner. The girls needed new boots and bindings before we hit the slopes in a couple of weeks. Jasper and I were laughing at one of Emmett's inappropriate comments when we pushed our way through the door.

Alice saw us immediately and waved us down. We made our way over to the bench where she was seated, trying on a pair of ice white Rossignols. Next to her were two stacks of boxes.

She immediately turned to Jasper. "Help me choose a pair, Jazz. I can't decide." She pointed to the stacks and Jasper immediately walked over to the pile and started lifting the lids.

"Whipped…." Emmett covered the insult in a fake cough.

"Fuck you, Emmett," Alice deadpanned with a sniff.

"C'mon!" Emmett whined. "Just pick the pair that's the cheapest," Emmett encouraged Jasper, "and let's get the hell out of here. I'm starving." Alice glared at him, offended by the idea that cost trumped fashion.

"Why don't you go see if Rose needs help," Alice said, as Rose exited a nearby aisle, a single box tucked under her arm.

"Hey Rosie, you need my opinion on that pair of boots," Emmett called out.

"Why the hell should I care what you think?" Rose asked, genuinely perplexed. "I'm the one who has to wear them."

"That's my girl," Emmett grinned, throwing his arm around Rose's shoulder and kissing her loudly.

Rose and Emmett drifted off, probably to do something inappropriate to each other in an aisle somewhere, while Jasper helped Alice narrow down the field. I wandered to a nearby rack of ski goggles. Mine were two years old and a little worse for wear. Suddenly, a rather plain, brown-haired girl exited a nearby aisle and approached Alice. The two of them talked quietly for a moment before I saw Alice introduce her to Jasper.

The girl smiled as Jasper raised her hand to his mouth to kiss in one of his trademarked old-fashioned gestures, and I was forced to reevaluate my earlier opinion that she was plain. She just lit up when she smiled.

She more than lit up, she was stunning. Staring at the girl from halfway across the store, I could appreciate her trim figure and long hair. It was more mahogany than brown, and hung in gentle waves down to her waist. I couldn't tell what color her eyes were, but they glittered in her pale heart-shaped face.

Forgetting the goggles, I approached the trio near the boots, only to have the girl turn and scurry off in the opposite direction.

"Who was that?" I asked Alice, feigning nonchalance.

"That's Bella. She just started working with Rose and me. We mentioned that we were looking for some ski equipment tonight and she said she was thinking about replacing her snow board. We asked if she'd like to join us and she said yes. Hope you don't mind, she's going to join us for dinner."

"No, no," I replied, distractedly, craning my neck, trying to see where she went, "that's fine."

"Mm-hmm…." Alice hummed, bringing my attention back to her.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked her, irritated by the tone of her voice.

"What's what supposed to mean?" she asked, innocently.

"Mmmm-hmmmmm?" I mimicked, exaggerating my tone sarcastically, causing Jasper to scowl at me. Alice ignored my tone and answered my question.

"Nothing. I was just saying, 'Mm-hmm'."

I was about to continue when we were all distracted by an embarrassed squeal. Bella came running out of aisle, her face flaming. She reached us just as Rose and Emmett sauntered out of the same aisle.

"Oh, oh!" Bella moaned, rubbing the heels of her hands into her eyes. I can only imagine what image she was trying to blot out.

"Oh good, you're back," Alice commented off-handedly. We'd all walked in on Emmett and Rose in various states of undress through the years. We'd given up on encouraging them to make an effort to be more private. They both had exhibitionist streaks a mile wide.

Bella dropped her hands from her eyes and stared at Alice, shock plain on her face. If she was expecting an explanation, or an apology, she was going to be sadly disappointed.

"Bella, this is my brother, Edward. You already met my other brother, Emmett," she said, obviously making reference to whatever it was that sent Bella running from that aisle.

"Hey," Emmett replied, by way of greeting, waggling his eyebrows at her. She stared at him, struck dumb.

"Hi," I interjected, moving to stand between them. "I'm Edward; it's nice to meet you." I held out my hand. Bella stared at it briefly, as if afraid to touch me. That was wholly unfair, I thought; it wasn't me she'd caught with my pants down, metaphorically speaking. Or perhaps not.

She shook her head quickly and looked up at me.

Brown. Her eyes were brown and welcoming, like a cup of hot cocoa on a frosty day. I also noticed that she had the lightest smattering of freckles over her nose. Adorable.

"I'm Bella." she replied. Her voice was quiet, but clear, like distant birdsong. She reached out tentatively and grasped my hand. Her warm skin was soft. I was reluctant to let go.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Bella," I assured her. "Alice says you're coming to dinner with us?"

"I hope I'm not an imposition."

"Not at all," I told her.

"C'mon!" Emmett whined again. "I'm wasting away here."

I snorted at the absurdity of his statement before turning back to Bella.

"How did you get here?" I asked.

"I rode over with Alice and Rose. My old car isn't particularly reliable in bad weather."

"Oh, yeah?" I replied, "What are you driving?"

She shrugged slightly, "A '63 Chevy pickup. It's a beast."

I was surprised. "I'll say." She shrugged again. As I watched a slight flush crept up her cheeks. She was actually blushing! I realized by her reaction that I had embarrassed her, but I was so fascinated by the color filling her face I didn't apologize and then the moment was gone.

"Let's go! Let's go!" Alice called from the front of the store. I hadn't noticed that the four of them had gone to check out.

"After you," I said, sweeping my hand in front of me, indicating that Bella should lead the way.

With the two couples already seated in Alice's car, Bella had no choice but to ride with me. She could have squeezed into the back seat with Emmett and Rose, but I could see that the very thought made her shudder after having witnessed the two of them in action just a few minutes earlier.

The ride to the restaurant was quick. Bella was friendly, asking a few basic questions about me. It was obvious that Alice hadn't really filled her in, which was a relief, because Alice was forever playing matchmaker for her single brother. It was nice to just talk to a girl with whom I hadn't been set up. No expectations.

"Alice mentioned that you work with Rose and her?"

"Oh, yeah. I started a few weeks ago."

"Cool. Do you go to school with them, too?"

"Yeah, I go to U Dub, but don't have any classes with them."

We arrived at the restaurant. I was a little disappointed when she opened both her own door and the door to the restaurant. Then I shook myself; this wasn't a date—no reason to get worked up over it. But I couldn't help wondering if she didn't see me as a gentleman.

Dinner went well. Bella blended in naturally with our group, not too shy, but not too pushy either. She had a taste for hot peppers which immediately endeared her to Emmett, and was able to talk history with Jasper, a subject the rest of us found boring.

We were splitting up for the evening after dinner. Classes were resuming for the girls tomorrow and the three of us had work in the morning. The two couples walked away from us when we got outside, leaving me to walk Bella to Alice's car.

"So, listen," I started, "I was wondering, if you'd like to get a cup of coffee or something some time?"

"Yeah," she replied, with a shy smile, "I'd like that."

"Great!" I reached for my phone, but it wasn't in my pocket. I quickly patted down my other pockets."

"Dammit. I must have left my phone in the car. Can I give you my number? You can give me a call when you have some free time?"

"Sure," she answered, handing me her phone. I quickly programmed in my number and handed it back to her. Alice and Rose were heading our way, calling goodnights to the guys. I didn't want them to see Bella and me making plans so I stepped away from her quickly.

"Uh, it was nice meeting you, Bella."

"You, too, Edward."

"Okay, well…call me."

She smiled, but didn't answer, as Alice and Rose had commanded her attention as soon as they reached us.

"G'nite, Edward," they both said. Bella smiled again and gave a little wave. I turned around and went to my car, where the guys were waiting, thoughts of brown eyes in my mind.

BPOV - January

Last year, ski shop
Encounter, most interesting…
Had his number, but never the time
Most of the year passed along those lines.

EPOV – March

Jogging across the U Dub campus in the March drizzle was never my favorite pastime. This was even worse as I didn't need to be here. I was stuck here, delivering Alice the notes she left at home when she came to visit over the weekend.

It had been two years since I graduated. Nothing had changed at my alma mater. I hurried down one of the paths in the quad, my gaze darting here and there as I took in the familiar sites. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going, so what happened next was completely my fault.

I slammed straight into a little coed who had the hood of her rain coat pulled up against the pelting drops. Her arms were full and when we collided everything flew out of them and onto the wet path.

"Shit! I'm sorry; I wasn't watching where I was going."

At the sound of my voice the girl's head snapped up. "Edward?"

"Bella?" I couldn't believe that of the thousands of people enrolled at U Dub, I slammed into the only one I really had any interest in talking to.

"Are you okay?" I asked. "Here, let me help."

I quickly gathered up the books she'd been carrying and handed them back to her.

"Thanks," she said, with a quick glance at her cell phone. I noticed it was different than the one I had programmed my number into the last time we met.

"New cell phone?" I asked.

"Yeah, I lost mine a few months ago."

Hm, maybe that explained why she never called me.

"Hey, Bella," I said, determined not to let this chance pass me by, "I just have to drop these notes off by Alice, can I interest you in some lunch?"

"Oh, Edward, that sounds great, but I really have to run. I have a class…." She was tapping her toes nervously

"Of course, I'm sorry. How about this weekend…?"

She grimaced. "I'd love to, but I'm driving home to my parents' this weekend. It's my mom's birthday. I'm…um…I have some free time next week."

It was my turn to frown. "I'm away on business next week. How about the week after?"

She rolled her eyes. "Midterms."

"Oh, well, hey, would you give me your number? I'll call you…"

"Sure," she said more brightly, causing me to think she wasn't totally against spending some time with me. She rattled off her number and bid me a hasty goodbye. I watched as she disappeared into a nearby building.

BPOV – March

Flashback to springtime, saw him again,
Would've been good to go for lunch,
Couldn't agree when we were both free
We tried; we said we'd keep in touch.

EPOV – July

A little vacation time was exactly what I needed, I thought as I packed for my week at Port Ludlow. This year had been one big disappointment so far. Very little was going right. In most cases, the best I could do was maintain the status quo. This went for every part of my life: professional and personal.

After two years in my current position I was being considered for a promotion that would really be the first step in my effort to be the youngest partner in the history of Volterra Accounting. Although I was qualified and ready, the board decided that the position I was hoping to win was a luxury in the current economic climate. I was disgusted that my efforts had been for nothing.

And personally…well there was nothing to report on that front. There were plenty of interested women, but no one I wanted.

Well, that's not quite true.

I thought back to meeting Bella at the ski shop and again on the campus of U Dub. We never really talked so I don't know for sure why she never called me after dinner that first night. I knew she had lost her phone, but was that really the reason? She could have gotten my number from Alice….

However, it really wasn't my place to place all the blame on her shoulders. After all, she had given me her number during that rainy run-in on the U Dub campus and I'd never called her. By the time I got back from my business trip I had replayed our meeting a thousand times in my mind. I just wasn't sure that she was really into seeing me. I was not a masochist. I had no interest in reaching out to the girl if she was going to turn me down.

So I procrastinated, and weeks turned into months and then it just seemed ridiculous to try to reach her. However, that didn't stop me from thinking about her.

"Ready to go?" Emmett interrupted my musings.

"Yeah, let's head out."

Once again I was the fifth wheel on a couples' vacation. You'd think that after this long I'd be used to it.

Being surrounded by happy couples quickly took its toll, and I found myself seeking out Alice during a quiet moment on our second night.

"Alice, can I ask you something?"

"Of course, what's up?"

"Remember that girl, Bella…?"

"Yeessss…?" The way she drew out the word made it pretty clear that she knew exactly what I wanted to ask. I rolled my eyes, but plunged on.

"Do you think, if I called her, she'd be interested in seeing me? I mean, we've only seen each other twice, and…."

"You know, Edward, I was meaning to ask you…did you forget everything Mom taught you about manners?"

"What are you talking about?"

"Asking Bella to call you if she wanted to go out after that first night. I mean, she's not that kind of girl. She's…well, not old-fashioned, but traditional. I would have given you her number if you had ever asked for it."

Suddenly, I felt a little stupid.

"Well, no use dwelling on the past," Alice continued. "She's still not seeing anyone if you'd like to give her a call. Oh! I know. Invite her to go on the boat with us on Friday. I think she'd like that."

"Um, okay." The idea of seeing Bella again, this time in a bathing suit, was a pleasant one. It gave me the courage to give her a call.

"Uh, hi, Bella, it's Edward…Cullen. Alice's brother." I rolled my eyes at my verbal vomit. "How are you?"

"I'm good, thanks. How have you been?"

"Good. Busy, but good. Listen, I was wondering if you'd be interested in joining me, uh…us, on Friday? We're going to spend the day on a boat in Port Ludlow."

"Wow, um, yeah, that sounds like fun."

I couldn't help my grin. "Great! I know it's a long drive, I could come get you…."

"No, don't be silly. It's only about an hour and a half. What time?"

"Around ten."

"Okay, if I leave at eight, I should get there in plenty of time. Where are you staying?"

"We're right at the Inn."

"I know where that is. Thanks for inviting me."

"Thanks for saying you'll come. Okay, I guess I'll see you Friday. Did my number come up on your caller ID?"

"Yep, I got it. I'll text you when I'm close."

And text me she did, to tell me she wasn't coming. She called Alice and told her that she went tanning in an effort to get some sort of base tan on her pale skin before getting on the boat and ended up with a bad sunburn. She could barely walk, much less drive and spending the day in the sun was out of the question.

BPOV – July

Didn't of course, 'til summertime,
Out to the beach to his boat, could I join him?
No, this time it was me,
Sunburn in the third degree.

EPOV – October

Despite the fact that I never got that promotion, I knew I couldn't completely ignore my social obligations with my superiors at work. One day the country would come out of this economic funk and the position I coveted would be available again. I needed to make sure I was first in line for it when it did.

This is the reason I gritted my teeth and thanked Aro Volturi when he invited me to a Halloween bash at his home on Mischief Night.

"And, please, Edward, it's a social event. Bring a date."

A date. I sighed and shook my head as Aro walked away. Where the hell was I going to scrounge up a date? I quickly scanned the bustling office before shaking my head and discarding the idea of inviting one of my coworkers. A few had dropped subtle signs of interest, but I had no intention of or enthusiasm for an office romance. Those things never ended well.

Christ, I hadn't had a date in almost a year. A fact to which my right hand could heartily attest.

I could take Alice, but Aro specified a date, not a guest. The idea of playing smitten with my sister for a night caused me to shudder. That wasn't going to happen. Maybe Rose? Would Emmett let me borrow her for the night?

The mental picture of Rose's reaction to being leant out like a library book sent an icy chill down my spine.

I was still in a funk when I met my friends for dinner that evening.

"Edward. Edward…Edward!" Alice voice came to me

"What?" I practically shouted, Alice's voice cutting through my mental fog.

"What's wrong? It's like you're on another planet or something!"

"I'm sorry, Alice, guys…Aro Volturi invited me to his house for a Halloween party."

"That's great," Alice enthused. "That means he's still interested in you being a bigger part of Volterra one day."

"Yeah, probably. But he not-do-subtly recommended I bring a date. I have no interest in bringing a coworker. An ex is out of the question, and the only other women I know are you and Rose…."

"What about Bella?" Rose interjected.

My head came up at the suggestion. What about Bella?

"Isn't she seeing that Mike guy?" Alice asked. I was surprised by how hard the news that Bella was seeing someone hit me.

"Nah. She dumped him already. Besides, they only went out like three times. I know she's available right now."

Alice turned to me. "Well, Edward, what about Bella then? She's living about an hour outside the city now. You'll have to pick her up."

The drive was a nonissue, but I still wasn't sure.

"Give her a call, man," Emmett encouraged. "You two have been like two ships passing in the night all year. Maybe now's the time."

"Can't hurt to try," Jasper agreed.

I nodded slowly. "Okay, I'll call her tomorrow."

"What's wrong with right now?" Alice wanted to know.

"So all of you can witness my humiliation when she turns me down?"

"She's not going to turn you down," Rose assured me.

"Fine." I pulled out my phone and scrolled to her number before hitting the dial button. She answered on the third ring.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Bella, it's Edward Cullen," I told her. Glancing around the table I noticed more than a few eye rolls as my less-than-smooth opening.

"Hi, Edward." There did seem to be a hint of enthusiasm in her voice. "How've you been?"

"Good. How about you?"

"I'm good, too. So, what's up?"

"Uh, my boss is having a Halloween party the night before Halloween, I was wondering if you'd like to go with me? It's a costume party…?"

"That sounds like fun. I'd like that."

"You would?" I replied. Despite Rose's assurances, I was sure she was going to turn me down. I saw Alice vibrating with excitement in her seat. Emmett high fived Jasper and then offered me his fist to bump. I ignored him.

"Well, yeah," she replied hesitantly. I realized that my shock had made her feel less certain of her agreement.

"That's great!" I said, in an attempt to smooth over my faux pas. "Uh, can I pick you up around seven? The party starts at eight and Alice says you're about an hour outside the city. We'll get there right after it starts."

"Okay," she said easily.

"Um, I'll call you when I'm on my way. How's that?"

"That'll work. I'm looking forward to it."

"Yeah, me too. Okay, talk to you soon."

"Bye, Edward."

"Bye, Bella."

Snapping my phone closed I settled back in the booth, unable to keep the goofy grin from my face.

I was ready a full two hours before I needed to be at Bella's house. Yeah, I was enthusiastic, so sue me. Having a chance to spend some time with her made the idea of spending the evening at Aro's house much more appealing.

It took a lot of effort not to just drive over to her house now. However, showing up an hour early probably wouldn't win me any points. If she was anything like Alice or Rose she'd be primping until I rang the bell.

An hour later I was sitting in my driveway cursing myself for not heading out early. I tried the key again and listened to the profound silence that was the sound of my car not starting.

Dammit!

I had called Emmett, and he and Rose were on their way. They both loved to tinker with cars and I hoped I just needed a jump or something.

Forty minutes later a grease-smeared Rose raised her head from under the hood.

"I'm really sorry Edward. I think it's the alternator, but right now, it's dead. It's going to have to go in the shop."

"Fuck!" I yelled. What did the cosmos have against me getting together with this girl?

"Calm down, man," Emmett said. "Rose and I will drop you off at the party so that you can schmooze with the bosses."

"It's not that. It's Bella. She lives an hour away. Even if I left now we wouldn't be back here for two hours. That's too late to show up at a party being held by my boss."

"That sucks," Emmett sympathized. I ran my hands through my hair, pulling on the strands in frustration.

"You want that ride?" Rose asked quietly. I exhaled loudly.

"Yeah, just let me make a phone call first."

I turned my back on the two of them and flipped open my phone to dial Bella's number.

BPOV – October

Last fall I had a night to myself,
Same guy called, Halloween party,
Waited all night for him to show,
This time his car wouldn't go.

BPOV – December 24

I peered through the window of my oven at what had to be the world's smallest turkey. I grinned as I watched the timer pop, and pulled open the oven door. The scent of the roasted turkey filled the air around me, and I inhaled deeply, enjoying the delectable smell.

I pulled the pan out of the oven and set it on the stove top. Moist stuffing was falling out of the cavity. I glanced at the pot of potatoes bubbling merrily on the stove; they'd be done in a few minutes. The string beans were already steamed. All I needed was the cranberry sauce and I'd be…

Shit!

I pulled open the fridge and checked. Sure enough, I'd forgotten the cranberry sauce.

Even Christmas Eve wasn't working out right for me this year.

This year was going down as the worst in my life. Nothing, and I mean nothing, worked out right. The year started off with a bang when I got a call from my advisor the day classes started, telling me that she was sorry, but she'd made a mistake and I was going to be three credits short for graduation come May.

The only acceptable choice was to overload my schedule with a sixth class, pushing me up to 18 credits this semester. What made it worse was I was short a math class and all the easy level courses were full. I had to enroll in a Trig course that was usually taken by Math majors. The amount of studying I had to put into that class eclipsed the studying for all my other classes combined.

Then I'd lost my phone. The cost of replacing it, and then the effort involved in trying to rebuild my lost phone book made me seriously reconsider even owning a cell phone.

Then there was my love life. Or lack thereof.

Alice had introduced me to her brother the night that I bought my new snowboard. He was, to put it simply, gorgeous. During dinner that night I discovered that he was smart and funny as well. He also had a fantastic ass. The fact that he had even the slightest interest in me was hard to believe. I think that's why I never took him up on his offer to call him. I mean, if he were really interested, he'd have taken my number, right?

Then I'd lost my phone and the matter was out of my hands.

I'd put him out of my mind until I literally ran into him on campus that day. I was already running late to that damned Trig class when we bumped into each other in the rain. He asked me to lunch and I cursed my advisor to the deepest pits of hell while I reluctantly turned him down. Edward didn't give up, though, trying to set something up for the weekend. But Saturday was my mother's birthday and I had promised her we'd spend the weekend together.

Then I did something completely out of character for me. I told him I had some free time the following week. I'm not usually so bold. It didn't matter, though; he had to go out of town on business. This time he did take my number. But when he didn't call I just decided it was proof he wasn't really interested in me.

But then he did call.

A few minutes after he invited me to Port Ludlow to go sailing with his friends and family, I made an appointment at a local tanning salon. As usual, I was pale as a vampire, and worried that I'd burn to a crisp if I sailed on the boat all day. I planned to get a base tan, but things went awry and I ended up with a terrible sunburn. Canceling on him was the hardest thing I'd ever done, and that includes that impossible Trig class.

I figured I'd never hear from him again, so accepted a date with a guy whose dad owned the local sporting goods store. Mike seemed nice enough, but it turned out he was boring and juvenile. Despite my misgivings, I agreed to a third date, determined to really give being with him a try. He greeted me with a smarmy smile and a wholly inappropriate kiss. It didn't take long for me to realize that he was counting on the third date being the sex date.

So not happening.

Since I was never expecting to hear from Edward again, I had deleted his number from my phone book. I was afraid I'd eventually give into temptation and call him if I had to keep scrolling past his name.

I was completely surprised when an unknown caller rang me in mid-October and it turned out to be Edward. He needed a date for his office Halloween party. I accepted, and was determined not to blow it this time.

I dressed in one of my mom's 70s era disco outfits, complete with a skin-tight, one-piece jumpsuit that had bell bottoms, big hoop earrings and platform shoes. I tied a matching scarf around my head and slathered on the blue eye shadow.

And then he called again. He was having car trouble and there was no way he could drive all the way out to pick me up and then drive back again and still make it in time to attend his boss's party. I told him I understood. He hung up hurriedly as he really needed to get going if he was going to be on time.

I waited for the potatoes to finish cooking, drained them and left them in the pot to dry out a bit before heading out to the all-night grocery. It was closed. Of course. The perfect ending to the perfect year.

No, not this time! Determined to find cranberry sauce, I continued driving, passing closed store after closed store. Finally, in the gloom of the falling snow I saw a promising glow from a grocery store that had to be a half hour from my house.

I walked the aisles of the unfamiliar store until I came across the cranberry sauce, stacked on a display near the back. Grabbing two cans (I'd never fall victim to a cranberry-related emergency again!) I headed up front where a lone checker was hurriedly checking out the last few customers. I took my place in line, staring at the back of the guy in front of me.

He had on Timberlands, jeans that were a little wet on the bottom, a grey wool pea coat and a grey knit cap. The cap was covering a thick thatch of bronze-colored hair. A few snowflakes were lodged in the unruly strands and I stared at them. Watching in fascination as the flakes didn't melt, I was reminded of Edward. His hair was the same unusual color and the same perfectly untamed mane.

I froze. My eyes dropped to his jeans and I sucked in a surprised breath. I'd know that ass anywhere.

"Edward?"

The guy in front of me stiffened and then turned around.

"Bella?"

I chuckled. "Yeah, hi. Is Alice here?" I asked, craning my head, looking for my friend.

"No. I'm spending this one alone," he said, "I need a break; this year's been crazy."

"Me too," I breathed, "but why are you…?" I glanced down at the single can in his hands, "You mean you forgot cranberries, too?" I asked showing him the cans I was holding.

We both burst out laughing. The other people in line eyed us warily as tears leaked out of my eyes and Edward held his stomach. The cashier finally broke us out of our bubble of hilarity.

"Sir? Excuse me, sir? You're next."

Edward put his cranberry sauce on the belt and gestured that I should do the same. Our three cans took a ride down the belt while Edward absently fumbled for his wallet.

"$4.49, please," the cashier said. Edward handed her a five and quickly threw the three cans into a bag. The two of us moved out of the aisle and stood together near the door.

"Listen," he started, "I'm not a big believer in fate, but what else can explain the two of us bumping into each other here on Christmas Eve? You said you're all alone tonight, too…?"

"Yeah, I am. Um, do you want…, I mean, would you like to come to dinner? Everything's ready at my place. I just need to mash the potatoes," I babbled.

"I'd like that," he replied with a grin. We walked to our cars and Edward followed me home. I was sure, with our record, that we'd end up driving off a cliff or wrapped around a tree, but when we pulled up, safe and sound, I couldn't help but feel as if Santa had reserved a little bit of Christmas magic for us.

We walked into my apartment, pausing to take off our boots and coats, which I stored in the closet. In the kitchen, I handed him a can opener for the cranberry sauce, while I went to work heating the cream and butter to mash the potatoes. I threw the green beans in the microwave to reheat them and sliced the still warm turkey, which had sat long enough to redistribute the juices.

We talked and laughed easily as we worked, both deciding that it really had been a crappy year. Edward never got the promotion he'd worked so hard for and I'd lumbered from disaster to disaster. By the time Edward opened the wine we'd calmed down a bit. Sitting together at my little kitchen table, facing overloaded plates, it got quiet.

"Uh, I'm sorry again, about the car thing on Halloween," he said. "I was really hoping to see you."

"I'm sorry, too, about the sunburn," I returned. "I was hoping for a base tan so I could relax and enjoy the day instead of worrying about reapplying sunscreen all afternoon."

"I wouldn't have minded rubbing sunscreen on you all day," he said with a shrug. I chuckled. We quieted down again, both lost in thought, and continued to eat our meal.

"So, do you have plans for tomorrow?" he asked as we stood to clear table.

"Christmas brunch," I told him, putting my plate in the sink. "It's a tradition at the Swan house. How about you?"

"Big sit down dinner with the family," he answered, gathering up the used silverware and laying it on the counter next to the sink. We were very close together. I looked up at him only to find him staring down at me.

"If you don't have plans in the evening…." Edward started at the same time I said, "Um, if you're not busy in the morning…."

We laughed again, softly this time. I bit my lip as Edward lowered his head. He paused and raised his hand, using his thumb to gently pull my lip from between my teeth. Before I could react, his lips replaced his fingers on my mouth. His lips were warm, soft and insistent. I kissed him back with the longing I'd felt since our first meeting.

Edward pulled back slightly, but only to kiss me again and again and again.

On that third kiss I opened my mouth to him and he slid his tongue between my parted lips. I could taste the dry white wine and tart cranberries he had consumed. With a low moan, I tilted my head more and placed my hands on his chest. His arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me close.

I ran my hands over his shoulders and ran them through his hair. He groaned at the contact and tightened him arms, pulling my feet off the floor. My heart began pounding as he sat me on the counter and stood between my knees. He slid me to the edge so that my heated center was pressed against his lower belly.

His hands slid down my waist and came to rest on my ass, kneading the flesh there. Needing air, I twisted my head away from his talented mouth. Instead of stopping, he dropped his lips from my face to my neck. He sucked on the hollow just above my collarbone and I let out a needy moan.

"God, tell me to stop, Bella. Tell me and I will."

"Don't stop. Don't."

He growled and attacked my neck again, licking, kissing, and sucking. I ran my nails lightly over his scalp, neck, shoulders and back. We were both panting. My nipples were so tight and achy that when he brushed his finger tips over the hardened buds, I hissed.

"I'm sorry," he said pulling back slightly.

"No, no…it felt good," I reassured him, pulling him back.

He kissed me again and I wrapped my legs around his waist. He picked me up easily and took two steps before breaking away from our kiss.

"Where…?" he gritted out.

"Bedroom," I answered, "make a left."

Edward's long strides made short work of the distance between the kitchen and bedroom. With exquisite grace, he lowered me to the mattress, before sliding onto the bed next to me. The next few moments were spent tearing at each other's clothes. When there was nothing but my panties and bra and his boxers between us, Edward's lips recaptured my own. His hands ran down my bare side, from shoulder to hip and up again.

"Your skin is so soft," he murmured.

Throwing caution to the wind, I pressed my thigh into his erection and whispered, "Yours is so hard."

He groaned. "Bella, you can't talk that way or I'm going to come in my pants." He flipped me over on my back and shifted so he was on top of me. Running his hands up my stomach he hesitated just a moment before sliding his long fingers under my bra, pushing the cups up over my breasts.

His mouth followed immediately behind, hot and wet on my aching nipples. I gasped in pleasure as he moved from one stiffened peak to the other. Incoherent with pleasure, it was all I could do to get one hand between us and palm his hard on through his boxers. Rubbing my hand up and down, I felt his hips thrust against me.

It was too much and not enough at the same time. With a frantic burst of strength I pushed him away from me and quickly unhooked my bra, throwing the piece of lace onto the floor. I was reaching for my panties when he stopped me.

"I want to do that part," he insisted quietly.

I settled back and watched as he hooked his thumbs in the waist of my underwear, sliding it slowly down my legs. I bent my knees so he could remove it more easily. When they were gone he sat back on his heels and stared at my naked body.

"God, you're beautiful."

I blushed and turned my face away from his intense gaze.

"Don't hide from me," he insisted, reaching out to turn my head back. "Don't ever hide from me."

His lips crashed down on mine.

"You're beautiful," he said over and over between kisses. "You must know that."

And he was so insistent I believed him. In his eyes, I was beautiful.

My understanding leant me a burst of confidence I usually lacked in bed. Once again, I reached for him. This time, instead of palming him through his boxers, I slid my hand inside the opening and grasped his cock. He moaned into my open mouth and pulled his hips away slightly, giving me room to work.

Slowly, I pumped my fisted hand up and down his shaft, noting every twitch and spasm. I twisted my wrist and ran my thumb over the head, spreading the moisture I felt there. I pulled my hand away suddenly and watched his face as his eyes flew open and he met my gaze. Once I was sure I had his attention, I put my wet thumb in my open mouth and ran my tongue around it, tasting the salty essence of Edward.

His eyes glazed and he groaned, "You'll be the death of me."

I slid my hands down the planes of his chest and stomach and under the waistband of his boxers. It was the work of just a moment to rid him of the last barrier between us. Lying back, I tugged him until he rolled on top of me.

I wanted to feel his weight, hear him moan and see him come apart. I wanted to taste the salt on his skin as he labored over me. I ran my hands lightly up and down his back as he settled between my open thighs. Instead of thrusting in, however, he reached down and ran his finger between my slick flesh.

"You're so wet," he said, teasing my clit with gentle fingertips, causing me to squirm and moan.

"Tell me what you want, Bella," he continued. My eyes fluttered closed. "Do you want me to get you off like this?" he asked, thrusting two fingers inside me while continuing to rub my clit with his thumb. My hips rose to meet his hand. Suddenly it was gone. My eyes flew open and I watched as he raised his hand, shiny with my juices, to his mouth. One by one, he sucked his fingers as I watched dumbly.

"Divine," he said. "Tell me, do you want me to lick that luscious pussy until you come on my tongue?

All I could do was moan as my hips rose looking for any kind of friction.

"Tell me, Bella. Tell me what you want."

Looking him in the eye, I spoke more boldly than I ever had before.

"I want you, inside me."

His eyes darkened as he shifted himself closer. I felt him run the tip of his throbbing cock between my nether lips and my hips rose up involuntarily. He chuckled quietly.

"You're so…," with a single powerful thrust he sheathed himself fully inside me "…impatient." I head a keening noise, and realized it was me.

"That's good, though," he continued. "So am I." He set a powerful rhythm, perfectly in sync with my body's undulations. We moved together. I was so close before he even started that it only took a dozen strokes before I was mewling and clinging to him.

"So close, so close…." I chanted. I could feel him strain, working at keeping his thrusts even to help me over the edge as quickly as possible.

"Yes…yes…yes…unnnghhhh!" I groaned as the tight coil in my belly let loose. I swear I saw stars before my vision faded and I feared I would faint from the intense pleasure. I fought the darkness and managed to find Edward's eyes hovering over me.

"That was the fuckin' sexiest thing I've ever seen," he said, though gritted teeth.

"Do it to me again," I begged, and I felt his hips surge forward at the challenge.

He increased his pace and I felt the magic build again. Over and over he pounded into me. I strained up to kiss him and pushed my tongue in his mouth, entering and retreating in time with his thrusts.

He wrenched his head away from me, "Belllaaaa…" he moaned. "Please…I can't…." His need sent a thrill through me that set me off again.

"Oh, Edward, ooohhh!" I yelled as I orgasmed again. Edward roared as he came, his thrusts losing their steady rhythm.

When he was spent, he collapsed on top of me. I welcomed his warm weight, comfortable despite the heat we'd generated. We lay still for a few moments, panting to catch our breaths, before turning on our sides, still connected.

"That was…." I began with a dramatic eye roll

"Yeah…." he agreed, with a throaty chuckle.

"We've got to do that again."

"Oh yeah." Our breathing slowly returned to normal and I became aware of the fact that he hadn't softened significantly. I giggled.

"What's so funny?"

I shrugged. "This. Us…" I stiffened as I realized what I'd said. What if he wasn't interested in an "us"? I mean, we had tried to hook up all year. Just because we were finally successful didn't mean that there'd be an "us." I lowered my face, but looked up at him to see if I could tell what he was thinking. He caught my eye.

"Us…," he echoed, bringing a wide smile to my face.

EPOV - December 24

"I'm spending this one alone," I said.
"Need a break; this year's been crazy."
She said, "Me too, but why are you?
You mean you forgot cranberries too?"

Then suddenly we laughed and laughed
Caught on to what was happening
That Christmas magic's brought this tale
To a very happy ending!

If you've never heard Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses, you must be living under a rock. It's on YouTube and other sites on the internet. I always thought this song would be a fun fanfic. I hope you agree!

Yeah, yeah, there was no talk of birth control. Take that as you will – this is a Christmas one shot, not an after-school special. Either they used it and they're safe or they didn't and…they're still safe. There will not be any Nessie Carlie Cullen-Black running around in any fic I ever write. Promise.

THTF is in the works. I'm hoping to squeeze two chapters in with the second posting on Christmas. I don't usually do this anymore, but I would love if you'd review. Writing lemons makes me squirm and I always think they're lukewarm at best. What did you think?