AN: This is the One Shot that I contributed to the Southern FanFiction Review's Countdown to Christmas.

Disclaimer: Twilight and all of it's characters are owned by Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.


"Adeste Fideles"




I clambered out of my SUV rental and trudged through the calf-deep snow, up the porch stairs to my parent's house. The multi-colored Christmas lights sparkled and blinked, reminding me of broken traffic lights that occurred occasionally in the city. I stood outside of the front door and took a deep breath, letting it out in a puff of smoke when my warm breath met the chilly air. When raising my fist to knock on the door, I noticed my hand was shaking and not because of the cold. Nerves assaulted me, and I felt sick to my stomach.

I ran a fingerless gloved-hand through my long brown hair and rubbed my neck. It had been five years since I'd been home. I stayed in touch through phone calls and emails, but hadn't set foot through this door since I walked out on everyone. In the past few years, I've missed a lot. My brother, Emmett, married his high school sweetheart and was a father now. My dad was retiring as sheriff of our sleepy little town of Forks, WA this year and my mother was thinking about following his lead; leaving the elementary school where she worked as the First Grade teacher. Rosalie, Emmett's wife, was the school principal, so she wasn't too thrilled about that call.

My eyes were unconsciously pulled to the house that was about 50 yards to the left. The lights were blazing and there were multiple vehicles parked outside. It was just a few days before Christmas, so I assumed the entire Cullen family was gathered to celebrate. I briefly wondered who that all entailed, before shaking the thought from my mind. Any conversations that I conducted with my family were void of most Cullen discussion. I knew that our families were still close, but my assumption was that no one wanted to upset me by accidentally mentioning his name.

A fresh wound sliced across my heart when I pictured Edward Cullen's perfectly sculpted face. He was my first love; the one that made me believe in happily ever after. I was seventeen and thought it would be perfect, but I was wrong. He had only thought of me as a friend and a pseudo-sister. Emmett, Edward and his twin sister Alice were a year older than me, but we were all thick as thieves. I had always had a crush on Edward, but I never acted on it. That is, until the summer before he left for college. Jessica Stanley threw an enormous going away party for the graduating seniors and the boys ended up hammered, so it was up to Alice and I to get them home without our parents catching them. After we had Emmett safely tucked into bed, Ali and I worked on getting Edward situated. For some reason I can't remember anymore, Ali stepped out of the room and Edward reached up to cup my face before gently kissing me.

"I love yoouu, Belllah," he slurred slightly before promptly passing out.

My heart started to hammer and I began to let myself wonder and hope that he could possibly return my feelings. Ed and Met (as they had been called in college) rarely came home over the next year, so the only real contact that we had was via emails and occasional phone calls. They both came home for my high school graduation, along with Alice, and we ended up at a huge party for me at the Cullen's. I was looking forward to sitting down with Edward and catching up. I also wanted to share with him my excitement at getting into Stanford, where both he and Emmett attended and played football.

I wandered around the Cullen house amidst a sea of people, trying to find him, but to no avail. Every few feet, someone was stopping me to offer congratulations and asking where I had chosen to go for college. After a good forty-five minutes of this, I figuratively smacking my palm against my forehead, I decided to try Edward's room. When I got to the door i heard shuffling, so I knocked lightly and opened the door, peaking my head in. The only thing I saw was Edward's bare ass and Jessica's ratty blonde hair before covering my eyes.

"Shit, sorry," I muttered.

"What the fuck, Bella?" he shouted angrily. "Do you not know the meaning of the word privacy, kid?"

"I- I'm sorr-ry." I started to stutter, tears clogging my throat.

"Just get the fuck out before I throw you out, okay? Jesus, you are such a pain sometimes!"

I swiftly pulled myself from the room and slammed the door. My heart shattered and my cheeks blazed red in embarrassment. Kid? I was a year younger than him! How the hell could I have been so stupid? I stealthily made my way out of the house undetected and quickly found myself in my own room, staring down at my acceptance letter to Stanford. There was no way I would be going there now. I'm sure once he was finished with Jessicunt, he'd find Emmett and rag on him about his nosy little sister. I couldn't deal with that on top of knowing once and for all that Edward Cullen would never have feelings for me. I tore the letter in half and dropped it into my waste basket. Two other letters stared back at me from the desk; one from Penn State and the other from Washington State. Picking the one furthest away, I made my decision. I swept through my room like a hurricane, stuffing clothes into my suitcases and a duffel bag. I dragged them down the back stairs and into my pickup truck one by one, before finding two plastic bins to take some of my other worldly possessions; namely my books and a few other trinkets. Two hours after leaving my supposed graduation party, no one came to look for me. If they had, they would have caught me and tried to talk some sense into me. Thankfully, no one did and I was free to go.

I wrote my parents a short note and apologized for leaving abruptly and that I would call them soon and explain everything. That gave me some time to think of an excuse. There is no way in hell that I was telling them the truth. That their poor little girl was heartbroken with unrequited love and was running away like a sorry cliche. Because that's what it was, but I didn't give a damn. I just wanted to be as far away from this place as possible.

The first few phone calls to my mother were unbearable. There was crying and pleading, but my stance remained firm. I was going to the East Coast for school and that was all there was to it. After that, the yelling ensued about how childish I was for stealing away in the middle of the night; how selfish I was for not thinking of the family before I made such a life altering decision like that. I stopped answering the calls and then they started coming fewer and fewer. Soon, they were once a month and then once every other month. The last time I had spoken with any of my family was three months ago. I hoped that I would be welcome, but anxiety tore up my stomach at the possibility of being unwelcomed.

I sighed, resigning myself to whatever would await me on the other side of the door and knocked. As the sound of laughter grew closer, my palms started to sweat. The weight of the past few years grew heavy on my chest. Would they still love me? Would they care that I now had maroon streaks through my hair and my lip was pierced? What would they say when they saw the tattoos on my skin? My heart started to race as the door opened.

My brother stood there, jaw agape and light surrounding his head like a halo.

"Silver Bells?" Emmett whispered, his voice laden with disbelief. I smiled nervously, and he swept me up into the tightest hug that I've ever felt. The feeling of home surrounded me and the heaviness melted away like ice in the fire.

"Who's at the door, Em?" I heard my mother's voice call out. He pulled away and smiled down at me, blocking me from Mom's view. He moved to the side and waved his arm in front of me, as if I were a prize that had just been won.

My mom's hands flew up in front of her mouth with a sob, and her eyes welled up with tears.

"What's going on? What's wrong, Renee?" my father asked as he walked into the foyer as well. His eyes cut to me and his jaw went slack.

"Bells?" he asked, incredulously.

I held up a hand and waved, in what I hoped was a cute manner. "Merry Christmas."

My dad was at my side in two large strides and my feet were two inches off of the ground as I was lifted into a bear hug.

"Oh, baby girl! I can't believe you're here!" he cried out.

My feet had no sooner touched the ground when my mother swept me into her arms. She hugged me tightly and rocked back and forth. She pulled back and framed my face with her hands, studying all of the changes that had taken place since she had last seen me.

She reached up and tugged on a strand of hair. "Oh, Isabella. What have you done to your beautiful hair?"

I self-consciously went to pull it back into a pony tail, when she stopped me.

"Don't. It's beautiful, like you," she whispered before hugging me again. Tears stung my eyes and regret welled up, overflowing my soul.

"I'm sorry, Mom. I know I never said that before, but I'm so sorry."

"Ssh," she whispered. "We'll talk later. Right now, just let us enjoy the moment."

I smiled and nodded. A giggle caught my attention and looked over my mother's shoulder. Rosalie stood in the doorway, holding a small child on her hip. Her long blond hair was now cut chin-length and curly around her face.

"Hello, Bella," she said, smiling brightly.

I walked over and gave her a one-armed hug, before giving the little boy in her arms a good look. He was miniature version of Emmett, with brown hair and dimples, but he had his mother's eyes. He gazed at his aunt curiously and reached out, grabbing a lock of my red hair.

"Sorry about that," Emmett laughed, trying to detach his sister's hair from the toddler's fingers. "Jake has a thing for hair."

I smiled at my nephew and took him from Rose when he lifted his arms up to me.

"Hi big guy," I said quietly. "I'm your Aunt Bella."

The baby giggled and went right back to playing with my hair. When I looked up, my family was watching me with varying expressions. My parents showed nothing but happiness and Emmett was shaking his head back and forth.

"I can't believe it," he laughed. "Jacob has never taken to anyone so quickly before. He wouldn't even let Esme hold him for months and that broke her heart."

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Emmett shot me a wary look. I did my best to smile and shook my head.

"That's pretty funny. How are the Cullens doing?" I asked with as much enthusiasm as I could express. I really did miss them all.

"Carlisle is Chief of Staff at Forks General now and Esme has her own little cafe in town. Alice just got married last year." Emmett responded warmly. "Remember Jasper Whitlock?"

I nodded. Jasper had been my lab partner senior year after transferring from out of state.

"Well, those two have been dating for the past four years and they live in Seattle now."

I smiled and felt warmth flood my chest. I was happy to know that they were all doing well. It didn't escape my attention that he left out his best friend in his summaries. I narrowed my eyes at him and he gave me a fakely innocent look.

"What about Edward? How's he been?" I asked as nonchalantly as I could.

I had been very careful to hide my feelings in the past about Edward, but the look in Emmett's eyes told me a different story. There was sadness and regret, as well reluctance.

"He's been around," my brother replied evasively.

Dad snorted behind me. "You're being obtuse, Em. Ed's taking over my job, BabyBell."

My eyes widened and I handed Jake off to his father before I accidentally dropped the poor kid in shock.

"He's what?" I asked incredulously. "What happened to medical school?"

Emmett looked straight into my eyes with a serious look that sent a shiver straight down my spine. "People change, Bella. You're a walking advertisement for that motto."

I bristled and straightened my back. "Do you have an issue with the way I look, Emmett?"

He shook his head sadly. "No, Silver, I don't. I'm just using it as an example." He came closer to me and cupped my face with one hand, gently rubbing his thumb over my lip ring. "You've changed so much, but you're still my baby sister."

I blinked away my tears and wrapped my arms around his muscular waist. He pulled back and smiled at me.

"Do you have any bags in your car? I'll bring them in."

I nodded and handed him the keys to the SUV. My mom walked over and put her arms around my shoulder.

"You must be tired from your long trip. Let's get you settled into your old room."

I thought briefly about arguing because there was so much that I wanted to say now that I was standing in front of her finally after so long, but exhaustion weighed my shoulders down and made my eyelids heavily. A yawn made itself know and I hid it behind my hand. My mother smiled and patted my shoulder gently, leading me upstairs to the second bedroom on the right. When she opened the door, I couldn't help but grin. The walls were still painted lavender and it looked exactly as I left it. Minus the random crap thrown around haphazardly in my attempt to flee quickly at the time.

Emmett walked in a moment later and sat my suitcase and laptop bags down on the floor, before hugging me tight and telling me he'd see me in the morning. After he left, Mom turned to me and cradled my face in her hands, placing a soft kiss on my forehead.

"Good night, baby. I know we have a lot to talk about, but we'll get to that in the morning. I'm so glad you're here now."

"Me too, Mama," I replied in a whisper. She shut the door behind her as she left and I wrapped my arms around my waist, trying to bring some sense of comfort to myself now that I was alone in my childhood bedroom. So many nights had been spent dreaming and gazing out at the stars, wishing on the brightest one of all. My feet moved instinctively to the window and I brushed aside the curtain, forcing my eyes to look at the stars and not at the bedroom that mirrored mine.

Curiosity won the war and I glanced over at the Cullen's home. The lights had slowly diminished until only the kitchen and Edward's bedroom remained glowing. When darkness engulfed the downstairs room, my eyes shot toward the bedroom. Sure enough, a few moments later, a shadow passed by the bright window. My heart started to beat faster and I wondered if it was him in his childhood bedroom or if it was another guest. If it was him, was someone else with him? Was he married like his sister now or did he have a steady girlfriend? I closed my eyes and the image of him, naked on top of Jessica Stanley popped into my head once again, sending shivers through my body. Hopefully, he had at least done better than the town bicycle by now.

Sighing, I let the curtain fall slightly, so that I was merely peaking though a sliver of space. I couldn't find the will to completely pull away from the view yet. I was soon rewarded when a hand pulled aside the curtain across the way and a mop of bronze hair came into view. My breath lodged in my throat and I wanted nothing more than to rush downstairs and over to that house; to see him up close with my own eyes after all of this time. I wondered if he even remembered the night we spoke last?

I managed to drag myself away from the window when Edward dropped the curtain and went back to whatever he had originally been doing. I flopped back on the bed and sighed. I was sure that I'd be running into him on Christmas Eve when our families exchanged gifts as was custom, if not sooner. I needed to get in control of my emotions and steady myself if I didn't want to leave here again with my head hung in shame. I closed my eyes and let my tired body fall deep into sleep, not even bothering to change out of my clothes.




When I awoke the next morning, my eyes were dry and scratchy from sleeping with my contacts in. I yawned and tried to bring forth a few tears to wet my lenses enough to pop them out without pain. I walked over and dug through my bag until I found their case and solution. I popped them out and snapped the lid shut before reaching for my narrow rectangular eyeglass frames. I pulled out an outfit for the day and set on getting a shower. A little while later, fresh and clean, I wandered into the kitchen and found my mother.

She smiled at me from her spot at the counter, kneading some dough.

"Good morning, Bella," she said cheerfully. "Your Dad is at work and Rosalie might stop by later with Jake. Was there anything you wanted to do today?"

I shook my head and sat down at the table. "Not really, maybe just explore a little."

Mom laughed and shook her head. "Not much has changed around here, Bell. Trust me."

"Maybe I'll take a ride into Port Angeles. Tomorrow's Christmas Eve and I need some last minute gifts."

"That sounds like fun, though you've already given us the best gift possible by coming home for Christmas."

I smiled and felt warmth fill my chest. "Still cheesy, eh, Mom?"

A moment later, the doorbell rang.

"Could you get that, Bell? My hands are full."

"Sure, Mom."

Making my over to the door, I suddenly felt apprehensive. My hand lingered on the knob for a moment, before turning it. My breath whooshed out of my body as I was tackled by a tiny whirling dervish.

"Bella! Bella! Bella!" Alice Cullen squealed as she squeezed me tightly. I laughed and hugged her back.

"Ali, I've missed you so much!" I found myself feeling overwhelmed and tears ran down my face.

"Oh, Bella! Me, too! I am so pissed at you, though, for not keeping in contact with me! It wasn't my fault that my brother was a douche!"

I pulled back and looked down at her five foot form and frowned. "What do you mean by that?"

She blinked her green eyes, which were so much like her brothers and ran a hand through her short, dark brown hair.

"Everyone could see how you looked at him, Bella. Everyone except him, that is."

I sighed. "Alice, my leaving wasn't all about him. It was about me and finding out who I was."

I stepped out onto the porch and waved my hand in the air. "This- This was never me. I never felt like I belonged really. I always felt like I wasn't comfortable in my skin."

"Do you know who you are now?" she asked curiously.

I smiled sadly and shrugged. "Sometimes I do. I'm happy with who I am and the work I do. There's something still missing, but I figure that I'll find it one day when I'm not looking."

"Or maybe it has been here all along?"

I closed my eyes and pictured Edward's face. "Maybe, maybe not. I'm sure I'll find it someday."

After hanging out with Alice for a little while, I set off Port Angeles. After a few hours of braving the holiday crowds, I had a few bags to take care of my Christmas shopping. As I drove into Forks, I noticed my Dad's cruiser parked on the side of the road. It still held the cute little rainbow sticker that I stuck to the bumper when I was a little girl. I pressed my foot down on the gas, hoping to give the old man a little excitement, plus I figured that he'd recognize the SUV. Six blocks later, I pulled over to the side of the road once the flashing blue and red lights caught up with me.

Turning off the car, I smirked into the rear view mirror. That smirk didn't last long. In fact, it turned into a look of horror as I realized that it wasn't Charlie in the cruiser. The door opened and a pair of long legs stretched out, turning into a lean, muscular chest and ending with a chiseled jaw, sunglasses and hat.

I had no idea who this man was, but my panties were now damp by just the self-confidence he was exuding, as well as the sexy little smile on his face. As he grew closer, his gait began to seem familiar, but I couldn't place it. I reached in the glove compartment and pulled out the car's info and rolled down the window as soon as he stepped next to the driver's side door.

"I'm so sorry, officer. I thought you were Chief Swan," I began apologetically.

"Really?" a smooth, honey-like voice answered. "Were you trying to give your father a heart attack, Bella?"

My jaw dropped. "Eh-Edward?" I squeaked out.

He grinned widely and pulled the sunglasses off of his face, leaning his arms on the roof of the car.

"Wow, you've grown up BabyBell," he murmured, taking in the changes that had occurred in my appearance.

My heart beat erratically, and I felt like I was about to throw up. This was not how I imagined seeing Edward Cullen again after all these years.

I steeled my spine and straightened in my seat. "Yes, I have," I replied in a confident voice. "Look at you, Chief Cullen. What happened to med school?"

The expression on his face darkened and I immediately regretted the question.

"After you left, I realized that I was pissing my life away and wasn't happy, so I dropped the idea of medical school. I spent an afternoon with Charlie, and I fell in love with the law, so I became his right hand man. Plus, it was a way to keep you close."

I felt my brow furrow as my nose scrunched up in confusion. "Me? What are you talking about?"

The speaker attached to his shoulder chose that moment to start squawking and his attention was pulled away. When he was finished talking to dispatch, he looked down at me regretfully.

"I've got to head back, but can I talk to you tomorrow? I get off around five, so I'll swing by after I'm done. Is that okay?"

I nodded and he smiled before walking back to the cruiser.

"Oh, and Bella?"

I stuck my head out of the window and gave him a curious look.

"Slow down and be safe. Please?" His voice was so warm and sincere, that I had no words in response. All I could do was nod, before rolling my window up and watching him drive away, still stunned by seeing him after all of this time.

What the hell was that about?




At four thirty the next day, I paced nervously in the living room. My parents had just left the house, according to tradition. They would spend the evening with the Cullens before attending midnight mass together. I sat down, resting my head against the back of the couch and stared at the brightly lit Christmas tree by our big bay window. Christmas carols flowed through air from the radio my mother had left on in the kitchen. This had always been been my favorite time of the year, thanks to the lights and music.

A deep voice washed over me and I found myself singing along softly, letting my eyes unfocus and stare off at the tree.


Adeste Fideles, laeti triumphantes;
Venite, venite in Bethlehem;
Natum videte regem angelorum.

Venite, adoremus,
Venite, adoremus,
Venite, adoremus, Dominum!

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.


A knock at the door broke me from my reverie and I shot up, nervously tugging on my red cardigan. I opened the door and there he was. All six foot four of him, nose slightly red from the cold and still handsome as hell. I stepped aside and motioned for him to come in.

"Hey Bell," he murmured as he pulled his hat and jacket off. The urge to run my hand through his mop of coppery hair was too great so I had to move away from him. I smiled and nodded, before leading the way into the living room.

"Can I get you something to drink?" I asked, trying to be polite. He shook his and sat down on the couch.

"No thanks, I just wanted to talk to you before heading home."

"Okay, well, I'm all ears."

He turned and looked at me, an intensity burning in his eyes like I had never seen.

"Why did you leave?"

I sat down next to him, shocked to hell by the question. I wasn't expecting that one at all.

"What do you mean? I left to go to college and made a home for myself in Philly. There's not much else to tell."

Liar! My self-conscious yelled at me in the voice of Carol Kane. I rolled my eyes internally and focused my attention back on Edward.

He narrowed his eyes at me and shook his head. "That's crap, Bella. What's the real reason?"

I glared at him in annoyance. "Why? What does it matter why I left? I did. I grew up, experienced life and came back. End of story."

His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed and my eyes were drawn to his long neck and up to the scruff caressing his jaw. When I met his sorrow filled eyes, my heart cracked inside of my chest.

"Was it my fault?" he asked, looking incredibly sad.

I bit down on my bottom lip to stop it from quivering as tears pricked my eyes. "Honestly? It was all me. I was a selfish, childish teenager. Leaving was a good decision for me; it taught me to stand on my own two feet. Although, in hindsight, I should have gone about it in a more mature manner."

Sighing, I leaned back and closed my eyes, the lights from the tree still shining brightly behind my eyelids. I felt a gentle touch on my cheek and I opened my eyes slowly. His hand cupped my cheek and pulled my face close to his. My heart started to pound in my ears as his lips gently touched mine.

Shocked, I sat completely frozen. He pulled away and warily looked into my surprised eyes.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that," he said as he stood quickly and started to walk away.

I had no idea what was going on in that gorgeous head of his, but there was no way I was letting him leave. I jumped up and grabbed him by the arm. As he turned to face me, I hopped up and wrapped my legs around his waist, kissing him with every ounce of passion that resided in my soul. One of his hands cupped my bottom and the other worked its way into my hair, lightly gripping the back of my neck. He took a few steps towards the couch and we tumbled down onto it, his body pressing me down into the soft cushions. He placed kisses on my mouth and along my jaw to my ear, making me shudder underneath of him.

"I've waited so fucking long for you," his hot breath whispered into my ear.

I pulled away to gaze into his eyes, attempting to judge his sincerity.

"I don't understand," I spoke quietly.

He ground his erection against my denim-covered crotch, the sensation causing me to moan. "I think it's pretty obvious, Bella."

I shook my head, still drowning in confusion. "What do you mean that you've waited?"

He smiled and moved hair from my face sweetly. "I have loved you for so long. You were my best friend's little sister, so I felt dirty about wanting you so badly. When you caught me that night with Jessica, I was embarrassed and livid that you caught me like that. I didn't want you to see me like that, so I was mean and hurtful to you. When we found out that you were gone, I felt so guilty."

He took a deep breath. "I didn't believe it when Em told me you were gone; I had to see it with my own eyes. When I found the ripped up acceptance letter to Stanford, my heart broke, and I knew it was all my fault. I- I wasn't going to tell anyone what you walked in on, but someone said they saw you leaving my room that night, so your mom accused me of hurting you. Emmett beat the shit out of me, so I had no choice but to fess up. Everyone looked at me like I was this horrible villain."

I reached out to stroke his face, completely taken back by what I was hearing.

"I was depressed and angry that I couldn't get a hold of you to apologize. I made some bad choices, one of which ended up with me in a jail cell having a heart-to-heart with your father. He wasn't happy about what I said to you, but he told me he admired that I was trying to protect you in my own convoluted way. After that, a mutual respect grew into friendship and I started to mentor with him as a volunteer on the force. One thing led to another and soon I was a deputy."

"Are you happy?" I asked quietly, while staring at the tree. "With the choices that you've made since then?" I clarified, looking back up into his eyes.

He looked pensive before nodding. "Yes, I'm happy with where I've ended up. How about you?"

I nodded without any hesitation. "Yeah. I've gained some great friends and some amazing experiences over the years."

I leaned forward and placed a kiss on the corner of his mouth. "Kiss me," I whispered. "Please."

His lips crashed against mine and our tongues slid together, caressing and sucking. I pushed him back and he sat up, surprise written across his face. It quickly turned to lust as I unbuttoned my sweater, throwing it to the floor along with my camisole and straddled his lap in just my red bra and jeans.

"Are you sure?" he asked, his breath ragged and husky.

"I've never been surer of anything in my life," I answered honestly, kissing his lips once again.

His hands moved up my back and made quick work of unhooking my bra and sliding the straps down my arms. He cupped my bare breasts with his large hands and teased my nipples with his thumbs, causing them to pebble.

"Fuck, you are the most beautiful woman that I've ever seen." The tattoo along my right side drew his attention and his fingers gently stroked the tiger lilies that extended from my hip to just under my breasts.

"What do they represent?" he asked in awe.

"Prosperity; the state of flourishing, thriving or success. After living on my own for a few years, it was inspired by my actually finding success and prospering."

He gazed into my eyes before kissing me sweetly. My hands tugged at the hem of his shirt and Edward reluctantly pulled his mouth away from mine to help divest him of his clothes. With a whirl of movement and flying clothes, I soon found myself lying bare underneath an equally naked Edward. He reached into his wallet and pulled out a condom.

As he pushed into my warm depths, I lost my breath, feeling full and complete; like the world had suddenly tipped into balance. I wrapped my legs around him and pulled him deep into me.

"So good," he ground out. "Fuck, you feel so good, Bella!"

It felt as if when he pushed, I pulled. We worked each other higher and higher until we threw ourselves into the burning sun. He rested his head on my shoulder, trying to catch his breath while still keeping his lips attached to my skin. As I came down from my orgasmic high, the words of the song playing in the background brought a tear to my eye.


I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the lovelight gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams


"Hey, what's wrong?" Edward asked in concern as he returned from disposing of the condom. I stretched out onto my side, so that he could lie along side of me and I reached over him to pull out the throw blanket that my Mom kept there, spreading it over us for warmth.

"Nothing, just getting sentimental over the song," I sighed out.

He gave me a sad smile and then rested his head on top of mine.

"When do you have to leave?" he asked quietly.

Something in his voice, reluctance maybe, made my heart skip a beat. "I'm not really sure, why?"

"I was just thinking about how hard it is going to be fighting your family to spend time with you."

After a few moments of silence, I closed my eyes, content with listening to the sound of Edward's beating heart and the Christmas carols playing in the background.

"What if I stayed?" I asked quietly.

He pulled back and looked down at me in surprise. "What do you mean? Like, staying as in moving back home? Or staying as in an extra week?" his voice was edged with excitement and hope, that I could tell that he was trying to taper.

"Like permanently," I whispered. It was now dark and the only light surrounding us came from the tree. His eyes seemed greener somehow, reflecting the multicolored lights. "I'm a writer; I can work from anywhere. In fact, I've written the lyrics to a few number one hits, so being here is actually closer to LA, where most of the producers are."

He leaned down and kissed me swiftly and hard.

"I know I'm not the only one who would love that idea, Bella. If you do move back, I have a request."

"What is it?" I asked curiously.

"I know we've gone about this a little backwards, but I've never stopped loving you and I'd like the opportunity to get to know you again. So, would you consider dating me? I'm becoming Chief of Police in a few months, and I'm a pretty simple man, so I don't have much to offer, besides myself."

I kissed him softly on the lips. "That's all I've ever wanted."


Through the years

We all will be together,

If the Fates allow.

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

And have yourself

A merry little Christmas now.