Here is my second of three FGB 2010 one shots. This one is for randommama and the other ladies who so graciously bought these words for an amazing cause. :)

Summary: How far would a man go for love? Far enough to get his shoes peed on by his girlfriend's dog. A story about stalking, courage, snow, warm sheets, new love, and Christmas's little miracles.

Thanks to my beta, the beautiful Ali.

Disclaimer: Y'all know by now. Not mine, okay?


Winter Birds

I'm just a boy, and she's just a girl. I'm just a big pussy, but she's beautiful. When I describe her to my buddies, they want to know about her ass, her tits, her willingness to open those long legs to me. Those things are all nice, but I don't know about her willingness to open her legs because I've never chalked up the balls to even tell her my name.

Every guy falls in love, and I think it might be different than the way girls fall in love. I've seen those movies, with the perfect music and the candles and the rose petals. I can imagine myself doing that for the girl I love just because she loves it, but I couldn't care less. When a guy falls in love, it feels like everything shifts. Something innate, something inside all men we're not allowed to have opinions about.

When a guy falls in love, their whole world becomes a little bite that girl could swallow whole.

Two Weeks Earlier

The dorm rooms are disgusting, even for me. I've left wet towels on the carpet of my bedroom at home for days, stepping over the mildew and dousing it with Febreeze while I ate a Swiss Roll. But something about this being my space, my man cave, makes it all different.

Now, I can barely contain my rage as I watch my slob of a roommate doing the same thing.

"You think you could clean that up?" I grouse over my Biology textbook, watching crumbles of Funyuns fall to the sticky floor.

Eric nods lazily, his eyes unfocused. Probably stoned again. He's a nice enough guy, but did I really have to get stuck with the stoned guy?

Abandoning my desk, I reach for the first pair of pants I can find. There's a little study room down the hall open all night, and I won't be able to study if Eric keeps mumbling "Dazed & Confused" quotes to himself.

I slip on a somewhat clean smelling shirt – the pits of the white tee aren't stained yellow, at least – and then tell Eric where I'm going. He doesn't even respond. I pass a couple girls in the hall who greet me with giggles. Do girls really think they're that slick? Your tits weren't that exposed a couple seconds ago, and if I wanted to see deflated balloons, I'd go to the circus.

I swipe my student ID card into the vending machine to get a Coke, and then bust into the study room. I startle a girl, the only other person in here. She drops her books to the floor, and then when she leans over to get them, she knocks her bag of pens over, too.

"Shit," she murmurs, her dark brown hair coming loose from the interesting, tangled looking knot on her head.

"Sorry!" I put my books down on the table, across and a few seats down from her. "Here, let me – "

"It's okay," she says quietly, sending me an embarrassed smile. "I cause devastation wherever I go."

That statement would prove true, but not in the self-deprecating way she meant it. She gives me one more embarrassed grin, and then ducks back down into her book.

We don't speak again for the rest of the night.

xXxXx

Lunch in the market is just depressing. Rubbery pizza and wilted salad for the win. I briefly fantasize about my mom's homemade Chicago-style pizza. She learned the recipe from her grandfather, one of Chicago's original greats in pizza making. This pizza is just insulting to a fourth generation pizza connoisseur like myself.

A guy from my class sits down next to me, bumping my shoulder with his fist. Emmett is a real winner. The guy is brilliant, but has stronger ADHD than a hamster. His Harry Potter glasses are constantly sliding down his nose, but I'm a little desperate for company. I'm halfway across the country from Chicago, in the middle of Seattle. Any company is better than always being alone.

"Hey," I greet him, dipping my pizza slice into my salad's ranch dressing.

He pushes his glasses up his nose, nodding back in my direction. His physics book opens and a corner lands in his corn chowder.

"Fudge nuggets!" He grabs tons of napkins, and I try to avoid the book he's slinging around. I don't want to smell like corn chowder for the rest of the day.

As I'm doing this, I see her: the girl from the study room. Something funny happens to me, and I feel a little nauseous and more jittery than Emmett without an Ativan. She has herself wrapped up in a hoodie that says ASU – Arizona, maybe? – and stretchy black pants that fade into tall, fuzzy boots. She looks comfortable and pretty and sleepy, with her messy ponytail and tired eyes.

"What are you staring at?" Emmett bellows into my ear.

"Uh, just watching the news," I stammer. She's sitting right below a TV playing CNN.

"I try not to watch biased news programs," he informs me. "I try to gather all the facts before forming my thoughts."

"That's… awesome, man." My eyes wander over to the girl again. She's eating a wrap, and there's a bit of mayo on the side of her face. I can't help it; I grin.

I check my phone, and it's almost time for Biology. I say bye to Emmett, and then throw away my half-eaten food. My stomach is rumbling in a way that suggests I better be by a bathroom in half an hour.

The trek to class takes at least ten minutes, so I look through status updates on Facebook, thanks to my fancy phone. I miss Chicago, but I guess my dad was right when he told me every man has to branch out from his home at least once. It's a good experience to be away, but I'm looking forward to Christmas break more than ever.

I left behind a girlfriend who I talk to at least once a week, even though we went our separate ways. I briefly wonder if anything will happen when I go back. It was great, the first experience we shared, if not awkward. But nothing is better in a man's life than seeing his first tit, feeling the wetness between a girl's legs, and watching her come apart because of you.

I really need to stop thinking these thoughts before class. I get to the science building, walking unsteadily to try to centralize my junk. I open the door to my classroom and run smack into a little thing, soft and delicious smelling, like a dessert. Something goes flying and lands against the cement with a loud crash.

She looks up at me, and it's her. Of course it's her, because the universe hates me.

"Um… I'm – I'm – "

"It's okay," I quickly assure her. "No big deal – "

"I'm a walking train wreck, I – "

I bend down and pick up her phone for her, the only thing in her hands she dropped. The background picture is of a fluffy white dog, and I grin as I hand it back to her.

"That's Anna," she says, pointing to the dog. "I'm a little far from home, so looking at her every day helps."

"I'm far from home, too. I don't have any animals, though."

She smiles awkwardly, and then we do that strange dance where we try to move out of each other's way but just end up continuously blocking the other. She laughs and holds me still, and then darts around me.

I feel winded again as I walk into the classroom. There's an empty seat with books, a laptop bag and a scarf bunched up. I assume that's the spot she vacated to go… to the bathroom, or wherever. There're several empty seats around that spot, and I almost put my books down before I lose the right to have testicles and move on.

I really kick myself when it does turn out to be her stuff. She sits down and takes her hair out of the rubber band, fluffing it down around her shoulders. It's long and wavy and hides her pretty little face from my view.

The lecture starts, and she takes diligent notes. From where I am behind her, I can see her handwriting – the bubbly print mixed with looping cursive. She's also a doodler; there are several B's in different fonts in the margins of her notebook paper.

B – is that what her name starts with? Bailey? Beth? I try to look closer without being completely stalkerish. I see nothing, so I sit back into my chair, defeated.

Class ends, and I follow the girl out. She takes a left when I have to take a right, so I watch her ponytail sway as she walks until I'm forced to move by the throngs of people.

xXxXx

When I walk into my dorm after dinner, the whole place reeks of pot. I've smoked a couple times in my life, but it's not something I'm crazy about. I can't stand not having full functions, which is another reason why I've mostly been a loner since coming to college: I don't like to drink, either. I will to be sociable, but I've never met an alcoholic beverage that I enjoyed coming back up the next morning.

But anyway, it reeks of pot, and Eric is passed out in his bed. I grab a can of Febreeze and douse the room, then back out of it slowly, laptop in hand. There's no way I can function in that room if it continues smelling like a Poison concert.

I make my way down to the common room in the hub of the dorm. A couple kids are playing Xbox on the TV, and a horny guy and girl are making out on a couch. The study room is just to my right, and I duck in there to escape the noise, and not to see if she's in there. Definitely not.

She is, her hair in that funny little knot again. She looks up as I come in, and her face colors and smiles at me.

"Are you following me?" she asks quietly.

"Maybe a little," I admit before I can catch myself.

She just shakes her head at me, and then buries her nose back into her book.

This continues for another week and a half until I'm almost out of my mind for her. We never exchange more than a few words; it's almost like a game. I haven't even discovered her name yet, despite my Facebook stalking and the simple mild stalking, like following her to her classes and staring at her during meals.

She's always alone. She has a cell phone that she looks at occasionally, but she's not attached to it like most girls our age. She has a European Art book, a Biology book, an English Lit book and a College Algebra book. Basic classes like that must mean she's a freshman or sophomore. I've never seen her wear anything besides those stretchy pants, fuzzy boots and some sort of hoodie or t-shirt, depending on the weather. Her hair is always tied up, but at least twice, she'll take it out and shake it. Those are my favorite times of day.

That's weird, isn't it? Yeah, it's gotta be weird. I should just tell her my name, tell her I think she's perfect, and that she looks warm enough to lay naked next to me without anything else touching us. I've been trying to get advice from friends back home, but they've got nothing for me.

I'm just a boy, and she's just a girl. I'm just a big pussy, but she's beautiful. When I describe her to my buddies, they want to know about her ass, her tits, her willingness to open those long legs to me. Those things are all nice, but I don't know about her willingness to open her legs because I've never chalked up the balls to even tell her my name.

Every guy falls in love, and I think it might be different than the way girls fall in love. I've seen those movies, with the perfect music and the candles and the rose petals. I can imagine myself doing that for the girl I love just because she loves it, but I couldn't care less. When a guy falls in love, it feels like everything shifts. Something innate, something inside all men we're not allowed to have opinions about.

When a guy falls in love, their whole world becomes a little bite that girl could swallow whole.

She could swallow me whole with one word, or one scowl. I just don't want to give up this game we're playing. I've built expectations from this girl in a few sentences and a dozen looks, and what if she ends up being annoying as hell? What if her tits sag down to her knees? Or what if – even worse – I decide, despite that, I don't care? What if I'm just some pathetic, love sick idiot who goes around stalking this girl without the cojones to speak to her?

xXxXx

One of my friends from class invites me to a party. He's a cool guy, but he's a typical frat boy. "Dude" and "fuck" are his favorite words, and girls are little more than a warm place to rest your cold, frostbitten dick. Or something. Still, it doesn't hurt to get away from the dorm and meet new people. Plus, it's for Christmas – and I really love Christmas, which is something I'd never admit.

The frat house is loud when I get to it, a rap song beating against my eardrums. The place is dark and smoky, like the inside of Eric's lungs. I see Jasper, my frat buddy from class, and he pushes a red Dixie cup into my hand before clapping my back and moving on. I make my way over to the stairs and just sit, taking in my surroundings.

"Hi," I hear behind my head, and I whip around. There's a girl with light blonde hair, almost the color of wheat.

"Hi," I say back, automatically nervous. No matter what any guy tells you, if a beautiful girl talks to you, you start acting like the world's biggest douche.

"You're Edward, right?" she asks, sitting down next to me on the stairs. She has on tall leather boots, a tight red sweater and dark jeans. Her hair is in a braid over her shoulder, and she has mistletoe attached to her headband.

"Yes… that's – yes. I'm Edward."

"I'm Rosalie," she says, shaking my hand. "Listen, you know Emmett McCarty, don't you?"

"Yeah…" I say, not sure where this is going.

She puts her elbow against her knee and looks at me through her dark lashes. "Let's cut a deal."

"Uh…"

"I'm Bella Swan's roommate."

This means absolutely nothing to me. "Okay…?"

She looks at me like I've got a reindeer sticking out of my head. "Seriously? You stalk the girl, and you don't even know her name?"

"I don't stalk her – "

"Yes, you do, and she's noticed and she thinks you're so hot, almost too hot for her."

"Uh…"

"So, here's the deal. I want Emmett McCarty's number, and then I'll give you Bella's location. Which just so happens to be somewhere in this frat house, by the way."

I whip out my phone before I can even take a breath. I scroll down, and then hand my phone over to the scary blonde with the plan.

"She's hiding on the back porch, smoking a cigarette." Then she gets up, drops my phone into my lap, and leaves as quickly as she came.

I'm stunned. First of all, why does that pretty blonde want anything to do with Hamster McCarty? Maybe he does porn on the side. Second, I know her name, I know her location, but I can't move. This might break the spell, the thing I don't really understand. There's no solution to this problem, I don't think. No matter how this goes, she's going to be under my skin. She caught my attention with little more than a smile in my direction. What's going to happen to me if I find out she's awesome?

I pick myself up, running my hands through my hair. I travel through the throngs of drunken partygoers to locate the kitchen, which the back porch is attached to. When I open the door, there she sits with a half lit cigarette in her hand, shivering in the cold.

"It's freezing," I say before I can stop myself.

She whips around, her ponytail nearly slapping her in the face. "Yeah, tell me about it."

"My roommate smokes inside our dorm all the time. If you want to get out of the cold, we can go to…" I trail off, noticing how she's raising her eyebrows at me. "Wait, that's not what I meant. I just – if you were cold, I thought – "

She laughs at me. "Well, I'm heading back that way anyway. This is just… not my scene. My roommate dragged me."

"Rosalie?"

"Yeah. How do you… You know, never mind. Walk me back, okay?"

A blizzard couldn't stand in my way.

Well, there isn't a blizzard, but it does start snowing. I grew up with snow, so it's little more than an annoyance to me. But Bella looks up at the sky like she's never seen anything so amazing.

"I grew up in the desert," she explains, holding out her hands to catch the flakes. "I've never seen snow before. This is amazing."

"Never?" I ask in disbelief.

She shakes her head at me, and then looks back up with a giant smile on her face. "Where did you grow up?"

"Chicago," I tell her. I have this strange urge to grab her hand and twirl her. Is this what love does?

"That explains the funny accent."

"My accent is not funny!"

"I have a non-accent," she sighs. "I wish I had something memorable in the way – "

"You're completely memorable – "

" – I speak," she finishes. We both stare at each other, flushing. "Um, thanks. I don't think I've ever caught your name, although it feels like we've been hanging out for weeks."

"Edward," I supply, holding out my hand for her to shake.

"Edward," she repeats, grasping it tightly. "I'm Bella."

She doesn't let go of my hand. They fall naturally between us as we walk towards the dorms.

xXxXx

"Wow," she says as we walk into my dorm. "It smells awful in here."

"Tell me about it," I groan, grabbing the can of Febreeze and spraying anything within reach.

She stops me, laughing. "It's okay. I've been around guys. I'm used to the nasty way boys smell."

"Yeah, well… I think I smell okay."

She walks up to me and takes a big whiff about six inches from my armpit. She's so tiny she almost has to stand on her toes to get to it.

"Hmm… not too bad." She grins at me, and then plops down on my bed.

I can't decide if I'm turned on or disturbed, so I just sit down next to her.

"So, what are your plans for Christmas?" I ask, trying to keep a safe distance from her. "Going to go see Anna?"

She grins at me. "You remembered!" She takes out her cell phone and looks at the dog on the screen longingly. "Yes, Anna, and my mom. Like I said, I'm from Arizona, so I'll be heading back there."

"Long way from home," I comment, taking off my boots.

"It's kind of a long story…"

I gesture around me as if to say, what else do we have to do?

"Okay," she says, smiling slightly. When she opens her mouth to speak, it looks for a second like her jaw is unhinged, like she's forgotten how to speak. "My mom, dad and I used to live in Forks, a little town a few hours away from here. He, uh… he was the police chief, and you'd think there'd be no safer job than police chief in a town of three-thousand. But there was a freak accident with a kid who got spooked when dad went to bust him for burglary… well, he didn't make it."

I put my hand on her ankle, the only thing I can reach. She smiles sadly at me and continues.

"So, mom, Anna and I packed up to Arizona, where my mom's parents live. We stayed with them for a few years, but then mom met someone. I decided to come back up here to Washington for school. My dad loved it up here, and… it makes me feel closer to him, I guess. Anna was supposed to be a gift for me, but she adored my dad. I guess I love her so much because she loved him as much as I did, if that makes any sense."

"It makes total sense," I assure her.

She smiles at me. "What about you? Chicago?"

"Yeah, Chicago. Private school, suburbs… really boring."

"Oh, so you're one of those guys?" She grins at me.

"What guys?" I ask, expecting her to throw an insult at me about being rich and spoiled.

"The kind that think just because they've lived sheltered lives gives them an excuse to claim a boring life."

I stare at her. "What?"

"Are you a virgin?" she asks me blatantly.

"What? No."

"Have you been in a fist fight?"

"Yes…"

"Have you broken someone's heart?"

"Yeah."

"Have you had your heart broken?"

"Not that I'm aware of."

"Three out of four ain't bad," she drawls, kicking at me with her toes. "You've lain with a woman, gotten in a fight, and broken someone's heart. Now, all that has to happen is someone has to break your heart, and you'll be a full blown man."

"I don't want a broken heart," I tell her. What is she hinting towards?

"No one does," she says soothingly, patting my knee. "Wait, do you have a credit card?"

"Yes."

"Okay, there we go. Let's throw out the fourth one about the heart being broken, and put in having a credit card. That definitely makes you a man."

"I'm glad I'm a man now," I chuckle.

"I'm glad I don't have to break your heart," she tells me.

And I guess some things really do just happen, without a problem or solution. Because I lean forward, and she hangs out to my forearms, and I kiss her.

I kiss her, and I don't stop.

xXxXx

"Get out," I groan at Eric, who's opened the door to our room while I'm halfway under the covers with a very horny Bella.

"Dude, I just want my – "

"Get it and leave," I pant, helping Bella with my belt.

I hear the door close a few seconds later, and drop down onto the beautiful girl who's driving me dizzy.

"We almost gave your roommate a show," she gasps as my fingers find her pretty secrets.

"Thirty seconds later, and I wouldn't have heard if the entire marching band was at the door."

She rips my shirt off over my head, and my jeans are shoved past my knees. The denim catches me in a trap of ankles and Bella's thighs, but I press into her without a thought of dexterity.

We've been doing this fairly consistently since that first night, and I'm fucking crazy about her. She's funny and smart, insecure but bold. She has soft hair and softer skin, and I'm already in love with her, so much that I know she can break my heart if she decides this is a little fling.

She hums and wraps her arms around my neck as I pick up tempo, our sweaty skin making weird noises as it touches and releases. She laughs at a particularly funky sound, but I shush her with my mouth on hers.

There's no room for laughter in this space between us, where things come alive with a spark and die in a blaze.

Her skin is barely darker than the snow layering the ground, but her eyes and hair and freckles are darker than the soot in the common room's fireplace. Her lips are pink and chapped, and they say my name so sweetly, in a way that I want to hear again and again.

She comes with her own hand against her, and I gasp at the feeling of her surrounding me, her arms, her heart, and the sweet, pink space I've come to know so well.

She holds me against her breasts as I try to shimmy out of my jeans and pull the covers over us in one motion. It doesn't exactly work, but her giggles keep me doing the awkward motion. I'm crazy, but I'd do just about anything to her hear joy.

"I need a cigarette," she complains, burying her nose in my chest. "But I don't want to walk all the way out to the smoking area."

"Smoke one in here, and I won't tell a soul," I promise, already reaching for her pack of Camel lights.

She smiles and kisses my nipple, grabbing the pack and scooting up against the headboard. The sheets fall to her waist, and she has one beautiful, tiny little roll when she bends over. I kiss it because it's so adorable and she's so self-conscious about it.

She groans and shoves me away while lighting up her cigarette. I wave the smoke away on impulse, and she makes a sympathetic face at me.

"Sorry. I know it's horrible. My own smoke bothers me sometimes."

I hand her a plastic cup with a bit of water in the bottom as a makeshift ashtray.

"No worries," I cough, bringing the covers over my nose.

"Have you ever smoked?" she wonders, her pretty pink lips wrapping around the filter.

"Not a cigarette. Just pot a couple times in high school."

"Really?" Her eyes grow wide. "I think you're the only person I've met who's never even tried it."

"Yeah, yeah – haven't lived, remember?" She can make me feel so great and then so ashamed in two seconds.

"No!" she protests. "No, I think it's awesome. Are you kidding? I heard a statistic somewhere that each cigarette you smoke takes twenty minutes off your life. And it's not like it's… you know, chocolate or something. Chocolate is delicious, but if you had to stop eating it for your health, you probably could. But these little fuckers – you know they kill you, but you just can't help yourself." She looks at the burning cigarette in her fingers, and then takes another puff. "I hate my life."

"When you decide you want to quit, I'll help you," I offer, tugging her down to lay on my chest.

"It could be years from now," she murmurs, flicking ash into the cup.

"I hope so," I answer, completely forgetting what we're talking about.

She smiles at me, and then throws her cigarette into the water. She grabs my face and kisses me. "I don't get you," she whispers. "It's like you saw me, and knew you didn't want anyone else. Before you even knew who I was. I didn't think guys like you existed."

I brush her hair behind her ears. "I didn't either, until I saw you and knew I didn't want anyone else."

xXxXx

It's the saddest day of my life, watching her pack up her things. Her tiny dorm room is pretty – her side is purple with strings of white lights and tiny bulletin boards. Anna is on pretty much every bulletin board, along with laminated copies of her dad's obituary. The contrast of innocence and hardships in her life make me love her even more, even more than I know how to tell her.

She sees me watching her, and she knows the looks on my face by now.

"I'm going to miss you so much," she tells me, wrapping her tiny arms around me. "You've turned my world upside down, Edward Cullen. My little Christmas miracle."

I kiss her hair and sit with her quietly until she goes back to packing. She sighs a couple times, and I know her noises as well as she knows my looks.

"What's wrong, Bella?"

She turns to me with tears in her eyes. I'm not good with crying women, but my first instinct is to comfort.

"I'm sorry," she says, waving me off. "I just… I can't stop thinking about it. Mom called and said this is probably Anna's last Christmas. She's getting so old, and I… I really wanted – "

"What, baby?"

"My dad would have loved you, Edward. All that's really left of him is Anna, and I really wanted you to at least meet her, so you could know how great he was. Any man could love his wife and daughter, but… it's a special man who can love an animal like that, you know? Or maybe not, maybe I'm – I don't know. I'm just, I want you to meet her. I want you to meet him. Christmas makes me so sad and stupid, I'm sorry – "

Love might not have a problem and a solution, but this issue with Anna seems very simple to solve.

The first time Bella Swan spoke to me, it was about Anna. The first time Bella Swan cried in front of me, it was about Anna. And the first time she told me she loved me was when I surprised her at her house on Christmas day, over Anna kissing my face. And the first time I told her I loved her was while she was cleaning up the pee Anna sprayed on my shoes.

Maybe I'm just a boy, and she's just a girl. Maybe she's beautiful, and I'm just a pussy. But maybe those are all details cluttering up the big picture: sometimes, love can be problem and solution.

I love a girl named Bella Swan.

And she loves me back.

Problem solved.

THE END.


The little speech about 'becoming a man' is borrowed from the squintern Clark from my favorite show, Bones.

The title of this one shot is from Ray LaMontagne's gut wrenching song, "Winter Birds."

Thanks so much for reading. Have a great holiday season!

xoxo