A/N: I don't own this, we all know who does. What I do own is a brother who's a combat medic in the army. All this military stuff is his story, which he so sweetly gave me details on so that I wouldn't mess it up. Well, all of this except the stuff regarding a wife, since he's single. Good thing he doesn't know what lemon means… :D

Thanks to my beta MaggieMay14. I love that woman, and I even made her cry. Or maybe it was just the painkillers she's currently on… Either way, there were tears!

Thanks to my prereaders Twilight44, Unchanged Affections, jasperlover16, and Lory_B. I love and adore them all in naughty and nice ways. :)

This is for all you military wives out there…

~*.C.*~*.C.*~

December 22nd, 0800 hours

Only nine hours until Edward came home.

I lay in my bed, trying to fall back to sleep, but the excitement of the day was too much for me. This day had been marked on my calendar for nearly two months, since Edward found out his exact re-deployment date, or the day he would finally be coming back to me. I couldn't wait until it was time to meet up with my neighbor, Alice, and drive to the hanger so we could bring home our Army men.

Edward and I had been married for a little over a year, which meant this would be our second Christmas as husband and wife. Not only that, but it would be our first Christmas as parents. Our beautiful little daughter, Hailey Renee, was only two and a half months old, and today she would finally get to meet her daddy for the very first time.

Edward and I met during my first week of college. I had always dreamed of being a nurse, hoping to care for new mothers and infants in the maternity department of a hospital. The first lab of my freshman year involved blood. As I came to after fainting in the middle of class, the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was green. The brightest, most incredible green eyes were looking back at me, and it was love at first sight. He was a year old than me in school, but had recently changed his major to medicine, which put him in my introductory biology class. He offered to help me make up my missed lab assignment, and we were an item from that point on.

During his senior year, Edward started looking into medical schools. He had several family members that were in the military and the more he thought about it, the easier his decision was—he wanted to join the Army. He decided that getting his bachelors degree was enough for him, and rather than go on to medical school, he enlisted to become a combat medic. He was also excited that it would give him an opportunity to see the world, and as long as I could go with him, I was all for it.

The day he left for basic training was one of the hardest of my life. I wasn't sure who cried more—his mother or me. Watching him board the plane was more difficult than helping him cut off all of his gorgeous bronze colored locks. He was still the most handsome man I'd ever seen, just different. I loved him madly and did my best to support his decision to join the military, knowing that he was doing it for us. He reassured me that with time, we would be together and our lives would be more normal. He also promised that eventually he would be able to grow his hair out a little longer, and I wouldn't have to live through a lifetime of Christmas cards featuring him with a crew cut.

That first year was torture. I immersed myself in my studies, leaving my dorm room only when necessary. He was away training for months, only getting a few breaks here and there. He'd come home and visit when he could; always making time to see me, but it was never enough. There was always someone or some place pulling him away from me, and it made me angry. One night, after going to dinner, he dropped me off at my dorm and left. Once the door was closed and I was alone, I broke down crying, and was sobbing so hard that I didn't even notice he had come back into my room.

"Baby, what's wrong? You're scaring me, please say something," he pleaded, dropping to his knees in front of me and pulling me into his arms.

"I miss you, and you keep leaving. I'm gonna lose you..."

"Bella, no. Everything that I'm doing, I'm doing for us." He tilted my chin up until our eyes met. "I want to marry you and spend my life with you. We're gonna travel the world together, and someday we're gonna make babies together, and we'll be so happy. I promise you, nothing will ever keep me from you."

I sniffled. "You can't say that, because things already do keep you from me."

His thumbs skimmed over my cheeks wiping away my tears. "Baby, that's just physical. And it's temporary, but you know what?" he asked, pausing until I acknowledged him.

"What?" I said, shaking my head.

"You have my heart, and every time I go, I leave it with you. Just remember that. You can't lose me because you have all of me here with you. I love you, Bella."

He kissed me, then stayed with me, missing out on seeing his father receive an award at a formal recognition dinner that was being held by his father's employer. The next morning when Edward called his mother to explain his absence, she understood, saying that she remembered what it was like to be young and in love. After that night together, I didn't worry as much. I knew that no matter where Edward went, or what he did, he would always come back to me.

He was stationed in Washington at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which luckily was only about 45 minutes from Seattle, where I was attending college. Once his training was complete and he was able to return to Washington, we were able to see each other almost every weekend. Every so often, Edward had field training exercises that where a week or two long, but most weekends he was mine. At least until he had to be back in his barracks.

Things went along that way for a little over two years. Once I finished college, I was able to find a job in a pediatric doctor's office in Tacoma, which put me even closer to Edward, and by that point we had begun seriously discussing marriage. He was working hard and advancing in rank as quickly as he could, hoping that once we got married, we could get good, on-base housing. None of that mattered to me—I just wanted to be with him.

My job was going well, and when my 25th birthday rolled around, Edward took me to dinner at the nicest restaurant in the city. I could tell he was nervous, and it made me wonder if he had more than just a birthday celebration in mind. Throughout the meal, he kept glancing at me, then looking away. He was more quiet than usual, and I actually started to worry that something was wrong. As we left the restaurant, he held my hand and walked toward a little park down the street. I wasn't sure why he wanted to go there, since it wasn't a place we'd ever been before, but I followed him, like I knew I always would. Once we were settled on a bench overlooking a small lake—lights reflecting on the rippling water—he let out a long sigh.

"Edward, what's wrong? You're acting strange and I'm really starting to worry." I pulled my hand away from his and inched my body away as well. He didn't move—didn't even acknowledge my movement.

"I didn't mean it to be this way, Bells." There was so much hurt in his voice that I started to panic. After everything we'd been through, the years of waiting I'd done, he was going to break up with me? We had even looked at engagement rings, so I was completely confused and my heart felt like it might pound out of my chest.

"What? You didn't mean what to be this way? Are you ending this? Is there someone else?" My eyes filled with tears as I waited for him to confirm my greatest fear—he'd found another girl.

"What?" he asked, his eyes instantly flickering to mine. "Bella, no, that's not it. That's not even close to it. Oh man, baby, please don't think that." He reached over and took my hand in his again, squeezing it tightly.

"Then what? I-I don't get it, I mean...what's going on?" I knew he could hear the panic in my voice, and I waited for what seemed to be hours, but couldn't have been more than a few seconds.

"Bella, I love you. You know that. There's no one else for me. I've been planning this for months, and I wanted it to be special, you know? I wanted it to show you everything you mean to me, but now this has happened and I don't know...I just don't know if I can do this to you." He was rambling, running his hand though his hair as the other continued to hold tightly to my hand.

"Edward?"

"Marry me, Bella." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a little black box. As he flipped the lid open, I saw the most beautiful ring nestled inside of it, little diamonds sparkling in the lamppost light. It wasn't huge or extravagant, and that's what I loved most about it. It showed that Edward really knew me and knew what I would want. I didn't need a three carat rock sitting on my finger. As long as I had Edward, I'd wear a plastic Halloween spider ring if he gave it to me.

My eyes searched his, longing for reassurance that this was really what he wanted and that he really meant what he was saying. All I saw was love.

"Yes, of course." A smile spread across my face, and he smiled in response. He carefully took the ring from the box and slid it on my finger—a perfect fit. "Why are you so worried? You knew I'd say yes to you, right?"

His smile quickly faded, and seriousness overtook him again. "Bella, I don't know how to say this. I mean, we knew this was always a chance, but I just didn't think it would happen so quickly. I'm worried about how you'll deal with this, because it's really not fair to you. It's so selfish for me to do this to you, to ask this of you."

"What, Edward? Just tell me." My stomach was starting to tighten again.

"I'm being transferred to Germany in a month."

The air rushed from my lungs. "Oh, okay. Well, that's not so bad, right? I mean, we knew you might not stay here forever."

"I'll be there for about three months and then my unit is deploying to Afghanistan for a year. The first part of January, I'll be leaving."

"Afghanistan?" I asked.

"Yeah, but the thing is...you can't come with me unless we're married."

"Oh," I said, quickly understanding the gravity of the situation. "So, what, you want to wait to get married, is that it? I mean, what other option do we have?"

He turned his body toward mine. "We can get married before I go. That way, I can get housing set up and you can come there before I leave for Afghanistan. I'll have a few weeks of training before I'm deployed, so I'll get to see you a time or two before I go for good, but we can be together for a month or so that way. Then when the deployment is over, we'll probably be stationed in Germany for a few years. We can live on base, they've got housing there, and there'll be lots of other military families around. It's Landstuhl Air Base, and I'll be working in the hospital there, and the town nearby is completely Americanized."

My head was swimming with the things he was telling me, and I didn't know what to say. How could I put together and pull off a wedding in less than a month? And did I want to live in Germany alone while he was deployed? Maybe it would be better if I stayed in Washington and lived with my parents or something. I was sure I could get a job at the Forks Medical Clinic.

"Nevermind, it was stupid. I mean," his eyes dropped to the ground in front of us, and I could see the sorrow in his expression. "I can't ask you do this. To leave everything behind for me, and then for me to not even be there, it's not fair. I'd be taking you away from everything you know, just so that I can have you for a little while. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked."

Edward's sadness broke my heart. He obviously misunderstood my hesitation, and as I watched him closely, I couldn't stop myself. "Okay, I'll go with you. Let's get married as soon as we can, alright?"

His face lifted up to meet mine, his eyes lighting up with hope, and before I knew it, his lips were covering mine. "Yeah? Are you sure?" he whispered as I nodded in return. "I love you, baby," he whispered against my skin, and my hands grasped at his back, pulling him closer to me.

"I love you, too."

The time flew by and before I knew it, the date was October sixth, and we were standing in a little church at Fort Lewis (a name many of the army men insisted on using, in an effort to snub the nearby air force base), with a chaplain pronouncing us husband and wife. There weren't many people there, just our families and a few friends, but it was the most wonderful day of our lives. When Edward kissed me—our first kiss as a newly married couple—he poured so much love and admiration into it, that I nearly burst into tears. He loved me and I knew that no matter what trials might come, we would find a way to get through them together.

Saying goodbye to him when he left for Germany wasn't easy, but I knew I would see him soon. He had submitted papers for on-base housing, and was assured that something would be available soon. I stayed behind in Tacoma to wrap things up, and by the first of December, I was living with my parents, waiting for Edward's call. We had been married for almost two months, and had only spent a total of six days together. I missed him more than I ever had before, and I prayed every day that an apartment would open up for us soon. On December eleventh, it finally did, and I was on the first flight out the next day. All of my belongings were shipped by the military, and I hoped it wouldn't take too long for them to get there. I was anxious to set up our home and spend as much time with Edward as I could before he left.

I cried on December 20th when he told me that orders had been moved up and he had to leave a few weeks early, meaning I would be alone for Christmas. Since he was leaving on the 22nd and would be away training for about three weeks, he found me a flight back to Washington so that I could spend the holiday with my parents. It wasn't how I envisioned our first Christmas as a married couple, but Edward told me the change meant that he would be home before the next year's Christmas. He would have a month off from work after his deployment was over, and he wanted to take me on a proper honeymoon. As we lay together in our bed the night before he left, he traced his fingers over my naked body, whispering the names of cities and countries he wanted to see with me. I ached for him, and he hadn't even left yet.

It was a long, hard year. Edward was gone training for three weeks before returning to Germany for two weeks. He would be deploying to Afghanistan at the end of those fourteen days, and it was our last bit of time together. We spent every second wrapped around each other, making love in every room of our little apartment, declaring our devotion over and over again, and in every tone of voice imaginable. I stood on the tarmac and cried as his plane took off, and by my side stood Alice, my new best friend. Her husband Jasper was in Edward's unit, and they had placed us in adjoining apartments, meaning our doors were right across from one another. Edward and Jasper took comfort in the fact that Alice and I had each other to lean on for support and company. There was nothing like a girl friend to help you keep your mind off the danger your husband was in, or at least that's what Jasper had told Alice before he and Edward left.

After Edward had been gone about six weeks, I got sick. When it didn't go away after a few days, Alice encouraged me to get a check up at the hospital on base. Imagine my surprise when I found out I was pregnant. I was elated, and I couldn't wait to get home and talk to Edward. He called every night and we usually talked for about an hour, unless there were bombing attacks. A few times, he was asked to go out on patrols or to help in smaller outposts, known as FOB's (forward operating bases). Those times were dangerous for him, and I always breathed a sigh of relief when he called after returning to Kandahar Air Field, the base where he was stationed. That night when he called, I asked him to get on Skype, and once he could see me, I held up the ultrasound picture from earlier in the day. He instantly knew what it was, and his smile was breathtaking.

"Yeah?" he asked, his eyes tearing up.

"Yeah." I nodded, finally letting the emotion of it catch up with me, as tears of joy flowed unhindered down my cheeks. He was happy, and I couldn't wait for him to get his R&R so that he could be with me and our baby.

Edward wanted to be at the birth of the baby, but schedules didn't work out that way. He took his two week leave about a month before the baby was born, and he spent every minute of it with his hands touching some part of my body. His favorite thing was to lay his head against my stomach and quietly sing to the baby. Almost every night I was awoken by sounds of him singing, rubbing my ever expanding belly, and kissing my bare flesh as he promised to love our daughter forever. I couldn't wait to see him with her, and during that time we finally decided on a name for our baby. Edward chose Hailey because it sounded like halo, and he was already imagining what a beautiful little angel she was. I chose Renee as her middle name, since it was a tradition in my family for the first girl to be named after their maternal grandmother.

When Edward left to go back to Afghanistan, it was one of the few times I'd ever seen him really cry. He knew what he was missing by going, and I could tell it weighed heavily on him. I reassured him that we would be fine, and he needed to finish his job so that he could hurry home to us. Little did I know the surprise he had worked out, and imagine my happiness when both his mother and mine showed up in Germany one week later. He had arranged for them both to be with me since he couldn't be, and I cried to him on the phone that night.

The birth was perfect, going off without a hitch, and Edward glowed when he saw our daughter for the first time. The hospital had video services set up for occasions like ours, and I was thrilled to be able to show him our beautiful baby so soon after her birth. Jasper was with him, and Alice with me, and the four of us reveled in the joy of the moment. Alice had confided in me that she, too, was pregnant, a result of Jasper's furlough two weeks before Edward's, and she was trying to keep it a secret until our men were home. She was a wonderful helper, babysitting for me several times a week so that I could take naps, washing my dishes, or even just talking about the latest Hollywood gossip. She was truly the sister I'd never had, and I wasn't sure how I would have made it through the year without her.

As I lay in bed thinking about how rough things had been, I almost couldn't believe that the time Edward and I had spent apart was finally over. He would be home in just a few short hours, and we would be a normal family. Hailey seemed to know something was up, having not slept well for the past few nights, and this morning seemed to be no exception. As she started to cry, I quickly hurried to her bedroom, pulling her from the crib and taking her back to my bed. We lay side by side, her hungrily nursing away at my breast. I stroked her head and marveled at how the dark hair on her head was slowly beginning to turn bronze—a trait that she had inherited from her father. She was such a pretty baby, and I was excited to see her wrapped up in Edward's arms.

After switching sides and nursing a little longer, Hailey was full, and fell back to sleep. I took the opportunity to shower, shaving every part of me that might need it, in anticipation for Edward being home. I wanted to be beautiful and sexy for him, having bought a silk, lacy dark blue nightie from a store in town a few days earlier. I planned to wear it for him on his first night home, and hopefully remind him what he'd been fighting for all that time. I prayed that he would want me the same way he had before he left, and run to me the second he stepped off the plane.

A few minutes after ten, the phone rang.

"Hey Alice," I said, assuming it was my friend, who I knew was very excited about seeing her husband. She had picked out the perfect little maternity top to wear to the hanger, and then fretted over whether it highlighted her baby bump enough or not. She didn't want to seem just chubby; she wanted to look "knocked up," as she put it.

"Bella?" The voice caught me by surprise.

"Edward?" I said, dropping the bagel I was smearing cream cheese onto. "Hi baby!"

"Hey Bells, I don't have much time. Look, I got bad news."

My heart dropped faster than the bagel had. "What?" I asked, not sure that I wanted to hear the answer.

"We're stuck in Kyrgyzstan, and there's no telling how long it's gonna take to get us out of here."

"What?" I said, not quite understanding what he was telling me.

"We left Kandahar and stopped off here, but the plane that was supposed to take our unit back to Germany already left. With the holidays and all, they don't have any idea when another plane with enough room for all of us will be through here." He was talking quickly and I was trying to make sense of what he said.

"Kyrgyzstan? Wait, that's farther away, right? I mean, why are you there? I don't understand."

"Baby, when you fly in or out of Afghanistan, you go through Kyrgyzstan. If I was flying into Iraq, I'd go through Kuwait first; it's just the way they do things. I don't have much time, but I'm not gonna be back today, sweetie. I'm so sorry, I don't know what to say."

My eyes filled with tears and I felt a sob bubbling up in my chest. "Okay..."

"Bella, I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do. This is killing me as much as it is you. I mean we're just sitting here, doing nothing. If I could walk to you, I would." His voice tightened and I could tell that he was upset, but trying to reign in his emotions. I had to be strong for him—show him that I was okay.

"It's alright, I'm not going anywhere. Did they give you an estimate, at least, on when you might be leaving?" I needed something to hold on to, some little shred of hope.

He let out a long sigh. "They said it could be the beginning of March before they can get us all out. They're gonna try and send a few guys back on each plane that comes in, but if the planes aren't going toward Germany, then who knows where we could end up."

March? I had to wait until March to see him? I couldn't hold back the sob anymore at that point, and I started to cry. "Can't they put you on one of the first planes? I mean, you have baby you haven't even seen yet. Can't they let you go first?" I begged, hoping that my logic would make it happen.

Edward laughed a sad laugh. "No, I wish, but that's not the way it works. I'm most likely in the middle grouping, so I'm hoping for mid January or so, who knows. I think that's probably our best bet. Look, baby, I gotta go, there are a lot of us and only a few phones. I'll call you as soon as I know anything. Just hang in there, you never know. Kiss Hailey for me, and I love you. I'll see you soon."

"I love you, too, be careful," I said, waiting until the line was dead to hang up the phone. I let a cry escape my throat just as a knock pounded on the front door. I opened it to find a distraught Alice waiting outside, her eyes red and swollen. She fell into me, her arms wrapping tightly around my chest.

"Oh Bella, this isn't how it's supposed to happen."

"I know," I said, trying to soothe her. "I know."

We sat in my apartment for the next two days, waiting for any word from our husbands. So far, there had been no real developments, and we were resigned to the fact that we would be spending Christmas alone, again. Alice had been in the same predicament as me the year before, and since she and Jasper had only been married a few months longer than Edward and I, it had been hard on her, too. The only difference being that she had stayed in Germany alone, since neither she nor Jasper had any close family for her to go and be with. This year she had Hailey and me, and I would make sure that things were as good as they could be.

Christmas Eve day was spent around my television set as Alice and I tried to numb our sadness with a marathon of "A Christmas Story." Every time Ralphie shot his eye out, we laughed, then cried at the reminder the gun gave us. Edward had called just after noon and was able to talk for almost half an hour. He said there had been a few planes in and out of Manas, the air force base he was staying at, but so far none of them had room for more than their crew and the shipment they were carrying. Since the next day was Christmas, there were no more flights scheduled to land until the day after that. I had secretly been hoping that there would be a way for him to make it home, but after talking to him, I finally accepted the fact that it wasn't going to happen.

I bundled up Hailey that evening, and Alice and I made our way to the nondenominational church service that was being held on base. We listened as the choir sang carols and one of the children's groups reenacted the Christmas Story. After chatting with a few other wives who had husbands in Edward's unit, we returned home. I asked Alice to sleep over, but she wouldn't. She said that Jasper had promised to call first thing in the morning, and she didn't want to miss it. We both checked our answering machines as soon as we entered our apartments, but there were no messages from the guys. Edward had told me that he would try to call in the evening, but I knew the odds weren't good. I hugged Alice and told her good night, whispering a tearful "Merry Christmas" to her.

After putting Hailey to bed, I sat in the living room and watched the lights on our Christmas Tree. They twinkled, making the little ornaments sparkle in the glow. Hailey's "My First Christmas" ornament was front and center, right next to an "Our First Christmas" ornament from the previous year. I had bought it to commemorate our first Christmas as a married couple, even though Edward and I weren't able to spend it together, the same way we wouldn't be this year. Tears began to gather in my eyes, and I said a silent prayer that Edward would be okay, then reached down to unplug the lights.

Sleep didn't come easily for me that night. I tossed and turned, feeling restless and worried. A little after one in the morning, I bolted up in bed, panicked that something was wrong. I checked on Hailey, who was sleeping soundly, and then checked the phone. There were no messages from Edward, yet I couldn't shake the feeling that something was off—different. After getting a drink, I slipped back into bed and tried to fall asleep.

A few hours later, I woke in a haze and felt as though I was dreaming. Hailey was crying, but almost as soon as she began, she stopped. I tried to hear the sounds coming through the baby monitor, but was confused when instead, I heard humming, and then a soft voice singing. I listened as Hailey made gentle cooing sounds in accompaniment to the tune that was wafting through the air. It was familiar, as was the voice, yet in my foggy mind, I couldn't place it. Feeling as though she was safe, and I was surely dreaming, I knew she didn't need me, so I drifted back to sleep.

A little later, I stirred, consciousness creeping into my mind. The monitor to Hailey's room was silent, but I was warm, almost too warm. I snuggled deeper into my sheets, and that's when I felt it—a hand stroking ever so gently over my hair and face. My eyes popped open and I was instantly overwhelmed by a sea of green—dark lashes fanning around them.

"Hi baby," he said.

I blinked in confusion, struggling to sit up a little, and take in who was next to me.

"Edward?" I asked, my voice raspy and soft.

"Shhhh, it's okay, it's just me." His lips turned up in a little smile, and his eyes glistened from the small baby monitor light.

I raised my hand up to touch his face, not really believing that he was real. "I don't understand, I thought that..." My breathing began to pick up, and my heart felt like it would pound out of my chest.

"I know, I'm sorry I didn't call. I didn't want to get your hopes up, and it happened so fast, I didn't really have time. A cargo jet came in and the shipment it was supposed to pick up wasn't ready yet. They were supposed to go to Incirlik in Turkey for a few days, so they offered to bring us here first. It was pretty quick; we just kinda grabbed our stuff and jumped on the plane. I hope it's okay..." His eyes looked worried, like maybe he thought I didn't want him here with us.

I lunged at him, throwing my arms around his neck and forcing my body against his. "Yes, it's okay. It's so completely okay. I can't believe you're here." I pulled back a little, looking into his eyes. He looked so tired, yet happy and content. "Is Jasper back, too?" I asked.

He quirked an eyebrow at me. "What?" he said with a slight laugh. "Why do you ask that?"

"For Alice, she was so lonely, and if you're back and he isn't, she's gonna be so sad." The moment was finally starting to sink in, and emotions began to overwhelm me. My eyes filled with tears and Edward's smile disappeared at the sight of it.

"Yes, he's back. They dropped us both off at the same time, so he's with Alice now." He lifted his hand to my face, this thumbs wiping at the tears that had fallen onto my cheeks. As his eyes gazed into mine, he leaned forward, our noses touching. "Shhhh, don't cry, please. It's okay, I'm home, and we're together. Merry Christmas, baby."

Our lips met in a sweet, soft kiss, as his hand curled under my jawbone, holding my face securely. I wanted to touch him, still unable to believe that he was really there, and my hand skimmed along his arm and up to his hair—my fingers threading into his short waves.

"You're wet," I said as our lips broke apart. I took a moment to notice that he was only dressed in sleep pants and his dog tags that hung around his neck.

A sheepish grin grew on his face. "Yeah, I took a shower. I've been on a military base for three days, and a cargo jet for the last eight hours. I didn't smell that great," he said with a laugh. "I wanted to be perfect for you and Hailey, but she started to cry before I was able to clean up, so I'm afraid she might not have a good perception of me. She didn't seem to mind too much, though."

"You saw her?" I asked.

He nodded. "Bella, she's so beautiful. She just melted right into my arms, and when I sang her song to her, she smiled at me. It was this, like, blinding smile that I've never seen before. Thank you so much, baby. I don't know what I'd do without you. What you've given me, given us..."

His voice cracked with his last few words, and his eyes swam with tears. I lay back on the bed, pulling him down with me. Running my hands over his chest and shoulders, I looked at him, our eyes never breaking their connection. "I love you, Edward. I missed you so much," I whispered. His lips met mine again, and what started as a loving, gentle kiss, quickly turned heated and desperate. His hand clenched at my hip, crinkling my night shirt and stretching the fabric tight across my stomach. I wrapped my arms around his neck, opening my mouth to him and letting his tongue slide in. He tasted so good, so familiar, and yet new and different.

He placed soft kisses along my jaw bone and down my neck, nuzzling his face into my hair and kissing me under my ear. "Oh, you smell so good, baby, and you're so soft." His right hand dipped under the hem of my shirt and skimmed along my waist, tickling my side. I stifled a giggle as I ran my hands through his hair that had grown out a bit since the last time I'd seen him. My body arched toward his, and I moaned when his fingers grazed over my nipple. His palm quickly slid over my bra covered breast, and he began to squeeze my newly acquired supple bosom.

"Baby, your tits are so much bigger. I'm not hurting you, am I?" he asked in between the kisses he was placing along my collarbones. Edward normally only referred to my breasts as 'tits' when we were in the middle of dirty talk, so to hear him say that word so early on in our kissing kind of threw me. Then I remembered that he had been cooped up on a military base with thousands of other men for almost a year. There were sure to be certain words and terms that had seeped into his thoughts and vocabulary, and the idea of it started to turn me on. Getting to know Edward all over again was something I was looking forward to doing.

"No, it feels good. Don't stop." My hands were raking over his back, feeling each muscle as he flexed and moved over me.

"I need this off, baby. I want to feel you." He grabbed at my shirt, pulling on it. I lifted my hips as he slid it up, and then raised my shoulders and head off the bed so that he could take it off. I lay underneath him, dressed in only my bra and panties, as he leaned up on his elbow, looking down at my body.

My hands instinctively moved to cover my stomach, trying to hide the still very present stretch marks from pregnancy. "Don't look. I'm different, and it's not good." My voice was shy and embarrassed, and I felt as though I was burning under his gaze.

"Bella, are you kidding me? Do you have any idea how amazing you look to me?" His hand moved mine, and his fingers traced over my belly, ghosting across the lines and marks that had haunted me over the past few months. "I love the way you look. These are from that amazing little girl in the other room, and if I have my way, I want to make more of these marks, over and over again." His eyes burned into mine, and I no longer worried about being perfect for him. I knew he loved me regardless of what I looked like, just as I loved him.

In the dim light of the room, I looked at him, and noticed something on his chest. There was a mark on the left side, just over his heart, and when I looked closer, I could see a word. Looking up to his face, he sheepishly smiled at me. "Oh, that's for you." As I looked at it again, running my fingers over it, I realized it was a tattoo, and in loopy, swooping letters, the word "Bella" was written. "I told you once that you have my heart. This proves it—it belongs to you, always."

Tracing the letters with my fingertips, my body began to burn for him, and I leaned in, placing a kiss on the tattoo, and over the heart that was mine. When our eyes met, I dropped all the concern and hesitation I might have had about the moment.

"Make love to me, Edward."

It was a simple, easy request, but the fire that began to burn in his eyes told me it would be anything but simple or easy. He lowered himself back down onto me and captured my lips with his. His hands were everywhere on my body, and mine were all over his. I touched every bit of skin that I could, both wanting to feel him and needing to check and see for myself that he was really alright.

"Can I take off your bra?" he asked as his kisses covered my chest and shoulders.

"Yeah, just, um, be careful in case I leak a little." He hadn't been around me in all my breast feeding glory, so I figured he probably didn't have a very good idea of what a mess I could create with just my boobs. I hadn't fed Hailey since she had gone to bed several hours earlier, and while it wasn't quite feeding time yet, I could already feel that milk was ready for her.

Edward's hand slid under my back, quickly undoing the clasp, and he peeled the bra from my body. My nipples were hard, both due to constantly nursing a baby and from the excitement of having Edward with me. He leaned down and flicked one with his tongue, causing me to moan, and my breast to leak. His eyes looked at me quizzically and he leaned back down, taking my breast into his mouth. He kissed, licked, and sucked, never seeming to mind the milk that was surely seeping from me. When his eyes met mine again, I saw a devilish smile on his face.

"It tastes sweet. I think I like this nursing thing." With that he leaned in and captured my other breast, causing me to arch my back, pushing my chest toward his face. His hand slid down my stomach, dancing along the edge of my underwear. I said a silent little prayer, thankful that I had shaved everything the day before, in hopes that he would make it home.

As he continued to tease my breasts, his hand slid into my panties, lowering until his fingers rested between my wet lips. The groan that left his throat was so sexy, and it made me lift my hips, pushing his fingers farther down on me.

"You're so wet, and warm. You have no idea how much I've missed this," he whispered, as he continued peppering me with hot, open mouthed kisses. My hands were grasping at his back, and carefully slid around to the front of him—my fingers delving into the waistband of his pants. I could feel his cock hard against my thigh, and I ached to hold him in my hand.

As his fingers slid around me, he whispered softly, concern clear in his voice. "Have you seen the doctor? Are you okay down here?" he said, pushing his fingers against my core. I knew he was concerned over whether or not I was cleared to have sex after having just had a baby, but I knew that everything was fine.

"Yeah, I'm okay. Doctor said so two weeks ago. It's fine."

He cautiously slid one finger inside of me, and I shuddered at the sensations it caused. Not being able to hold back any longer, I pushed my hand under the band of his pants and let my fingers find the tip of his cock. I could feel the wetness there, and the fact that I was making it happen spurred me on. He jumped a little as my hand wrapped around him and pulled up.

"Bells," he whimpered as he continued to lavish attention on my breasts. His dog tags shifted as he moved, and the cool metal grazed my side. I knew that he usually took them off when he was home with me, but when he was on duty or on assignment, he never did. It probably hadn't even dawned on him yet that he could take them off, but I didn't want to remind him. He was always so sexy with the chain looping around his neck, and the little pieces of metal hanging on his chest. I moved my left hand away from his hair and reached down to grab his tags, pulling him up until our lips could meet again.

His tongue licked at my lips and I couldn't control the sigh that escaped me. I had dreamed of this moment since the last time we had been together, three long months ago. I wanted him to claim me, to remind us both who I belonged to, and I wanted to feel him come undone within me.

As he lay atop me, his body twisting and pushing into mine, I continued to stoke him, moving up and down his length and twisting my wrist just a little with each tug. His fingers grew more insistent as I did, and soon I felt two, and then three of them pushing into me.

"Get these panties off," he said with a growl, moving up and off of me, and sitting back on his heels. He grabbed at the white cotton bikini's I was wearing and hastily yanked them down my legs, leaving me completely bare before him. His eyes roamed over my body, and I could see the hunger in him.

"My Bella," he whispered, his soft words a stark contrast to the forcefulness he had just displayed. We sat frozen in time, simply staring at one another, taking each other in, and rejoicing in the fact that we were finally together again. After what seemed like hours, he lifted his hand and began to trace it over my stomach. I reached up and behind me, pushing the pillow further under my head so that I could watch him as he worshiped me. My teeth sunk into my lower lip as he slid down the bed and onto his side, his head level with my stomach. His hand spread out across the skin, covering half of my midriff and in a hushed reverence he leaned it, gently kissing the dimpled skin of my belly. His eyes never left my body as he placed kisses all over my waist, finally shifting and settling between my legs. As he lay on his stomach, his chin resting just above my pelvic bone, he looked up to me.

"I love you, so much. I can never thank you enough for giving me a daughter, and for waiting for me. You're the only thing I'll ever need, and I just want to make you happy. Will you let me make you happy?" he asked, sincerity in his eyes.

I raised my hand and ran it across his hair, letting my fingers trail down his temple and across his cheek.

"You already do."

His lips turned up in a crooked smile, and he pressed them to my skin again, keeping his eyes connected with mine. He placed the kiss, and then moved lower, placing another one. He repeated the pattern until finally, I could feel his breath on the small patch of curls between my thighs. His hands pushed at my legs, both lifting and pushing them apart at the same time. As he continued to look at me, I felt his tongue softly glide over my clit, shooting sparks throughout my body. He licked quickly, then moved to do it again, taking his time and moving farther down so that he made one long, slow pass over my lips. My hand clenched in the sheet and my back arched up, pushing my breasts upward and effectively cutting off my ability to see him. My eyes slid closed and a long moan fell from my mouth. I felt his lips on mine as he began to lick, suck, and taste me. Edward had always been rather talented when it came to pleasuring me this way, but on this occasion, his abilities seemed to have increased ten fold, and I never wanted him to stop.

His fingers pushed into me as his tongue continued to lap at my sex, and after several minutes, I could feel my orgasm getting closer. "Baby," I called out. "Edward, stop, you're gonna make me come. Stop, please."

His eyes looked up to meet mine. "That's kinda the point," he said, the laughter in his words sending a vibration through me.

"No, I want you in me when I come. I wanna come with you, please?" I begged, and then felt him place one last soft, sweet kiss on my lips. He pushed himself up, pulling down his sleep pants as he did, and then lifting each leg out of them until he was completely naked before me. His cock bobbed in front of him, and it was all I could do to keep myself from sitting up and wrapping my lips around him. I was so close to coming that I knew I'd have to save that particular activity for later in the morning.

"Do I need a condom?" he quickly asked, as he crawled up my body, his hands skimming my sides.

"No, it's okay. Just please. I need you—to feel you," I whispered in a rush.

He hovered over me, his mouth once again finding mine, and I could taste myself on him. The taste of me combined with him was almost enough to push me over the edge, and I lifted my feet, wrapping my legs around his waist. As he moved forward, I could feel the tip of him against my entrance, and just as it slid between my wet folds, my tongue darted out to twist with his, and I pushed my feet into his bottom, pulling him toward me. He slid into me and we both groaned at the feeling. It was a moment of utter completion, and we both paused—our heaving chests and hurried breaths the only motion or sound in the room. As he slowly pulled out of me, I whimpered as the loss of him, but sighed when he pushed himself back in.

His movements were slow—rhythmic—and he continued to lavish me with kisses, his tongue getting reacquainted with my mouth. My hands grasped at his back, while my legs pulled him closer. I couldn't get him close enough to me, and as he began to pick up his pace, plunging deeper and faster into me, I clung to him tighter. I inhaled his scent, tasting myself on his lips and needing more of it. Our open mouthed kisses were sloppy and sensual, and I sucked his lower lip into my mouth, scraping it with my teeth. He growled a little as he pushed into me harder and faster, still.

"Baby, you feel so good. Oh, Bella..." he called out and I could see on his face that he was getting close to his release. I snaked one of my hands down around his side, and pushed it between us, letting my fingers find my clit. I started to rub circles over it, and he looked down between us.

"It's so hot when you touch yourself like that, baby." As he rose up, his cock shifted to a different angle and began hitting a new part of me. The feeling was so powerful, and I cried out from joy. Between the head of his dick striking my G-spot, and my fingers furiously rubbing over my little pink nub, I felt myself falling faster and faster.

"Edward," I breathily called out. "I'm so close. You're gonna make me come, baby!"

His eyes bore into mine as he pushed deeper into me. "Come for me, Bella. I wanna watch you come."

"Ohhh," I yelled, giving in to the intense feelings that were beginning to radiate out from my stomach. My toes curled in as my legs tightened around Edward's waist. My back began to arch up, pushing my breasts against Edward's chest, and he pounded into me harder.

"Bells, come with me!" he yelled, and I cried out to him as my body exploded with sheer joy and ecstasy. I felt my fingers push into Edward's back, while my other hand slid away from my pussy, giving Edward more room. He plunged into me a few more times before stilling above me, his eyes searching mine. There was so much happiness in his expression, and it almost caused me to cry from the intensity of it. He pushed once or twice again, letting my walls clamp down on him as he emptied into me. As his breaths began to slow, he lay his body down on top of mine, our lips finding each other again.

Each tender kiss he gave me was filled with love and devotion, and we lazily kissed and touched for the next hour. When Hailey began to cry, Edward smiled at me, jumping up from the bed and running into her room. I had to laugh at the sight of his naked butt hurrying out the doorway, but when he returned, cradling our baby daughter in his arms, all of the visions I had in my mind melted away. The reality of seeing them together was so much better than anything I ever could have dreamed, and I wiped at the tears that had suddenly sprung to my eyes.

"There's mommy," he said to her, in a light and airy voice. "I think someone is hungry, mom." His eyes met mine, and he brought her over to me. Taking her in my hands, I lay her down on the bed next to me, meeting her curious eyes as she looked at me. A smile grew across her face, and I was suddenly reminded of why it was so familiar—it was the same crooked smile Edward had just given me only moments earlier.

"Hi baby," I cooed at her, feeling Edward adjust the blankets on the bed as he slid in behind me, snuggling up to me. He leaned up on his elbow, looking over my shoulder at our daughter, who lay on her back waving her tiny fists and feet in the air.

"I didn't change her diaper, you'll have to show me how to do that," he said, an apologetic tone in his voice.

I turned to look at him. "Oh don't worry, I will." I laughed as he leaned forward and kissed the tip of my nose. The smile on his face was thrilling, and I looked back to our daughter, pulling her onto her side and helping her to latch on to my breast. As she lay content and hungrily feeding away, I sighed. Edward's fingers danced along my hip before slipping around my waist and pulling his body tight against mine.

"Merry Christmas, baby," he whispered.

I twisted my feet with his. "It is now."

~*.C.*~*.C.*~

A/N: This was written for the Southern Fan Fiction Review site for their Christmas One Shots. I made a banner for this, too. It's on my Facebook profile. Hope you like it.

Merry Christmas to everyone! :)