With winter fast approaching, I offer you my updated tale of snow and icicles and trying to keep warm.
"Edward?" I mumbled groggily with my eyes still closed, my arm reaching out toward the other side of the bed confirming what my unconscious mind already knew.
Disappointed, I sighed and rolled over and hugged his pillow breathing in its sweet smell and trying to pacify myself.
It was hard for me to stay asleep when Edward was not in our bed, and rare event that it was, I felt guilty for waking up feeling so let down. He shouldn't have to be stuck here all night on my account.
But I couldn't help it. There was no better start to the day than to wake with my head on his shoulder, my body curled around him as he lay half underneath me, book in hand or watching T.V. with the volume turned down low.
And I also knew I should have expected it. Carlisle and Esme's flight from Washington touched down just before we left for class yesterday, so we didn't get an opportunity to see them come in. Edward had already said he was going to hunt after I dozed off, and I myself suggested that he head over to the new "big house" to get together with them while I slept.
Part of an estate auction, Alice had seen the large run down farmhouse sitting in the middle of an overgrown orchard about a month ago. She, Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett had just moved to the east coast to begin renovations. We hadn't been gone that long but I really missed them, especially Alice. It was great having them pop in and out the last couple of days for a quick shower or just to hang for a while. But our family was still incomplete without the Cullen "parents" and we were all looking forward to when Carlisle and Esme would join us. Having left the hospital so abruptly the previous fall, Edward's father had felt it only right to stay on at the hospital in Forks until spring.
Esme claimed this visit was just a quick trip to check fabric swatches against the new paint before she ordered couches, but we all knew better. Esme would use any excuse to have the entire family together.
The entire family… except for me. Why did I have to sleep?
I pried my eyes open and looked over at the clock on the nightstand.
That might have been sleeping in for the average college student, but for me, anything before 11am made for a long day.
And this morning was worse than usual. The first day of winter is supposed to be December 21at, but apparently, that didn't hold water here in the north east. The previous October days of crisp fall weather had changed more suddenly than I thought possible.
In spite of the fact that our final class ended early last night, it was well past midnight before we made it home. The temperature had plummeted in a matter of hours and I could not stop shivering as we made our way to the parking lot. On top of the freezing wind, the snow that had been falling lightly as Edward and I left for school yesterday afternoon had turned serious.
Yes, I had seen snow in Washington, but this wasn't the sloppy wet stuff that looked like it came out of the All Mighty's slush puppy machine. It dumped hard and heavy, seeming to blow in every direction. Edward did his best to shield me inside his jacket from the blizzard that stung my eyes and froze my exposed face and hands, catching me once as I stumbled, moving too fast to get to the shelter of the truck.
I was shaking like a leaf by the time we reached it. Fortunately for me, Edward had pushed the new remote starter as soon as we were in range and mercifully, the Chevy's heater warmed the truck up quickly while he cleared the windshield and put on our snow chains. I felt like a wimp sitting in the cab as he worked, force to move at human speed due to the fact there were others in the lot. I knew the cold was no problem for him, but still, I wished there was some way to reciprocate.
A brief blast of frigid air filled the cab as he shook the snow from his head and climbed in the driver's side.
"My hero!" I kissed the ice cold shoulder of his jacket, the closest spot I could reach to his lips.
"Hardly." he smiled over at me cranking the heater up another notch. "...but you're welcome."
As Edward put the truck in reverse and began to back out of the parking space, the radio announced an accident had closed the interstate and drivers were being diverted onto Route Ten… our road home.
"The roads must be terrible."
"Aren't you glad I won the coin toss now?" he smirked.
"No, I like driving." I pouted without any real conviction.
It was slow going. Visibility for humans was non-existent. Along with the added traffic, the wind rocked the cab of the truck while near white out conditions from the early season nor'easter emptied snow from the grey black sky. Even with the wipers on high I could see little and was sure that if I had been driving, I would have been a nervous wreck. But it was Edward's hand at the wheel and as much as I hated to admit it, I had nothing to fear.
So I just sat back and enjoyed myself. Warm, cozy and content, I pulled off my coat draping it over me like blanket and snuggled up to Edward while my tire chains jingled merrily as the line of tractor-trailers mixed with a few late evening travelers crawled ahead of us on the snow covered road.
My poor husband, on the other hand had become cranky, grumbling something about how this speed was usually reserved for grey haired grannies.
"Why don't you just pull over and carry the truck home if we're going so slow?" I teased.
"Hmmm… there's an idea."
"Oh, just hush up and enjoy the ride." I rolled my eyes pressing my cheek against his now warm jacket sleeve. "Do you have some place better to be?"
His gloved hand pulled out from under mine on the gear shift and snaked around my shoulder, drawing my head close enough to kiss my hair with his still slightly cool lips.
"You do have a point." He smiled.
Already sitting in the middle of the bench seat, I scooted even closer, tucking myself against his side. His arm lingered around me and I spent the next couple hours shifting for him, listening to the sound of his soft humming to the radio and not caring in the least if we ever got home.
Hours later, Edward left go of me and took back over on the gear shift as we approached where our road lay buried. It was completely covered; no snowplow would venture there. It surprised me he could find it.
The truck slid sideways the second we turned off the paved road.
"Whoa!" Stomach jumping into my throat, I grabbed at the dashboard. Laughing, Edward caught me around the waist and tucked me back into his side. It blew my mind how he could manage me and straightening the vehicle at same time.
"Are you having fun?" I asked breathless as he spun the tires, kicking a fountain of snow behind us.
"Of course." he smirked as the truck's engine squealed for mercy, looking so much like the seventeen year old boy he was that I had to smile too.
Unfortunately, there are certain things that even snow chains and Edward's mad driving skills cannot overcome… like a foot of snow on an unpaved lane. We didn't get far before we got bogged down.
"Guess I am going to have to carry the truck home." Edward mused as the wheels spun and we began to drift backwards.
I blanched at the thought. "Nothing personal, but the idea of being hoisted above your head as you scaled our mountain is extremely unappealing."
He shot a wicked grin in my direction.
"How 'bout you carry me home and come back for the truck later?"
"I think I can manage that." He chuckled.
Though I had a heavy coat on and we were only a few miles from the house, he insisted on wrapping me up in the quilt I kept behind the truck's seat for emergencies. Backpacks over his shoulder, Edward scooped up the giant burrito that was me and hopped out.
The snow was knee deep, but of course that didn't matter to him. Faster than we would have made it up the mountain in the truck on dry roads, we passed the last trees into our yard.
With one last stride, he leaped lightly onto the front porch, skipping over the stairs.
"Didn't you say that already once tonight, Love?"
"Some days it seems as if I can't say it enough."
He rolled his eyes bemused and sat me down quickly once we were inside, not giving me a chance to thank him properly. I buried my dissatisfaction, kicked off my sneakers and after unwrapping myself, followed him into the kitchen in search of a late night snack.
"Hungry?" he asked from the stove already turning the flame on.
"Just a little." I replied, opening the pantry door to forage for something quick and easy. Pop Tarts, Ramen Noodles... hmmm… Spaghettios. I took them off the shelf, considering just eating them straight out of the can.
Edward grimaced and opened his mouth, most likely to comment on my food choice, and then closed it quickly. I suppressed a giggle. It struck me as funny the effort he was making not to be a pest. You had to give him points for trying.
I almost let him make me something...
"I'm in the mood for these," I smiled as I rummaged a drawer looking for the can opener. "...and besides, I'm a college kid. It's what we eat." Edward sighed, opening the next drawer over and handed me what I was looking for. I dumped the spaghettios into a bowl and stuck them in the microwave hoping that heating them up would assuage his need to cook for me. Sometimes a girl just wants some junk food.
Unfortunately, our nineteenth century poetry class was assigned homework. It was getting pretty late, almost 2a.m., but I hated the thought of ruining the weekend, especially with Carlisle and Esme here. After a brief internal debate, I decided to do it before bed. I sat my laptop on the kitchen table getting it warmed up while my spaghettios cooked. Edward pulled up a chair beside me while I ate and found our assigned poem, Byron's The Giaour on line. I was clueless, having never read Byron as to why Edward had quietly groaned and shook his head when the professor wrote the assignment on the board explaining that it was in honor of the upcoming Halloween weekend.
It took a while to decipher the nineteenth century English verse, but the longer I read, the more I understood.
It was a vampire poem of all things. The tale was that of a man doomed to kill his family by drinking their blood as punishment for taking revenge for the murder of his true love Leila at the hands of Hassam, whose harem she belonged.
I fidgeted with the heart shaped diamond around my neck as I read. It was beautifully written, sad and tragic, but I did not enjoy reading it. Geopolitical crap aside, the Giaour was justified in his revenge. That jerk Hassam murdered his love. Why should he be damned to destroy his family? Why the heck couldn't he and Leila live happily ever after?
We worked late…okay; I worked late into the night. Edward, who completed his paper before I had three bites of food down, waited patiently beside me at the table. He sat quietly as I typed, moving sentences around, once deleting an entire paragraph in the hope of garnering at least a B. Despite his silence, I could feel curiosity burning inside him about what I would think about this particular subject. I grinned to myself, considering turning the screen away from him just to see his reaction.
The night dragged. With his body so near… and me so needy, concentration was difficult. I thought I was never going to get done.
I was almost glad it was the fourth day of my monthly visitor. Every time I looked up last night, there he was, chin resting on his hand, smoldering dark eyes making my head spin, lips so close all I could think about was tasting them. In the end I just cobbled something together that I hoped the professor would like, frustrated that I was out of commission.
My annoying period…. Thank goodness it was almost over.
I yawned and stretched, making my way to Edward's side of the bed to find the T.V. remote.
… as the deep plunge threatens the winter oranges and strawberries.
Wow, the whole way down to Florida, I'd thought. It looked like I had a few minutes to hit the bathroom before the "local on the eights". I was pretty sure that my period had ended over night and after confirming that went to the medicine cabinet to take day five of my "reminder pills." There had been a god awful fight the evening they fell out of my purse several months ago and I tried my best to be stealthy and not take them when Edward was about. My husband was disdainful of the little pink compact in the medicine cabinet and glared at it balefully every time he saw me pull it off the shelf. It wasn't worth getting his undies in a bunch over.
They made my periods shorter and lighter, I had explained to him. It was the least I could do.
They were unnecessary, he complained... loudly that night. I told him too bad.
I got back to the bedroom just in the nick of time. The storm that had frozen the entire eastern seaboard had moved for the most part off into the Atlantic, but not before adding another foot and a half of snow over the course of the night on our mountain. I threw on my jeans, one of Edward's heavy sweatshirts and a pair of thick socks, then headed down the stairs of our loft to the empty living room.
"Edward?" I called out again.
I didn't really expect to find him there. I wandered into the kitchen toward our frig and the carton of milk. My heavy winter coat was hung over a kitchen chair, with my boots sitting along side it.
Wow, New Englanders don't close stores for anything, do they? I thought. A box of freshly made Danishes courtesy of the all night diner we frequented a couple miles from the bottom of the mountain sat on the kitchen table along with a note from my husband.
Dear beautiful wife,
I'm shoveling the driveway. Hope you enjoy the danishes.
You husband, Edward
P.S.:I love you.
Glancing out the window I could see that the storm had indeed passed for the most part. The wind had died off and just a few flakes now fell lightly from the overcast sky. I threw on my winter gear, picked up my danish and went to the porch.
My first thought once outside was how clean everything seemed. It looked like a painting. All the colors of fall were gone. Yellow-brown foliage that just yesterday covered the ground now slept under soft pale shades of blue, grey and purple that blanketed everything. The pines, decked out in their winter finest appeared much darker than normal in contrast to the pastel backdrop, easily showing through the bare maples of our front yard.
I inhaled the crisp cool air while I chewed, my eyes automatically searching for him. There were no tire tracks leading to my truck, just the deep tracks Edward must have made when he literally dropped my truck off by the garage.
It was odd. How did he get over there? I wondered. Edward's footprints were on the porch that was dusted with a light powder, however they were nowhere to been seen on the buried steps nor was there any evidence that he had walked across the lawn to even get to the garage, let alone the road.
Had he flew through the air? I guess it's possible, but I would have thought he had let me know.
It was as I began sweeping off the stairs contemplating this, I caught sight of what I assumed was him. It was a plume of white, spraying from where our driveway normally would have been curving out of the forest around our large spruce. A couple seconds later he was past the tree.
I should be used to it by now but still, I watched amazed as he used a truck snowplow like a shovel, pushing the snow that was almost up to his waist as if was nothing. He looked up and smiled, tossing the huge yellow plow aside and abandoned the last thirty yards of driveway, moving so fast that his image blurred and feet did not sink into the snow.
My mystery was solved.
"Did you steal that plow from a utility truck?" I asked as he bounded onto the steps.
"Emmett said he had a hankering for one." He replied, wrapping his arm around my shoulder. "I assume he paid for it."
"I hope so." In my head I could picture Emmett borrowing it for a few days... just for the fun of it, then sneaking it back.
"So, how are the Danishes?"
"You're gonna make fat."
He laughed as he gave me a hug and an ice cold peck on the forehead, pulling away swiftly as I lifted my head up to kiss him back.
"Esme and Carlisle want to see you and I needed to get the driveway cleared before everyone arrives."
"Of course." He grinned eagerly. "We didn't want you left out of a family play day."
Play day… that sounded strangely ominous. "How come they don't just run?"
"Alice and Jasper are, but Emmett and Rose are hauling up tires in Emmett's new truck."
"Because….?" I asked confused. Emmett and Jasper had already replaced my tires during its face lift for my birthday.
"Well, Alice has informed me that you would like to build a snowman and possibly go sled riding… well tubing actually. It's more fun than a sled." His grin grew wider. "Faster too."
"She did, did she?" I had never built a snowman before nor went sledding. The idea was appealing, but neither activity had crossed my mind.
"I found it a little hard to believe myself," he continued, "but it definitely looked like you were enjoying yourself."
"Of course she'll have fun, Edward." I jumped as Alice and Jasper appeared out of thin air at the bottom of the steps. "And besides, we haven't had everyone together for a play day in ages."
"Good morning Alice, Jasper." I greeted them, trying not to sound like they had scared me half to death.
"Boo." Jasper replied, smiling slyly, unfooled.
"Edward hoped you would sleep longer, but I told him you'd be up"
"I'm not tired Alice." I retorted... then immediately yawned, the three of them laughing at me as I scowled annoyed.
"Go ahead, abuse the human all you want. I can take it."
"Alice and I discussed having Jasper put you back down for a while longer." Edward taunted.
"Don't you even think about it Jasper." I glared.
"Don't worry, those two don't always get their way."
"Generally they do, Jasper."
He sighed smiling, "You do have a valid point there."
Small talk did not last long before Alice's voice faded for a moment, her eyes losing focus. Edward groaned at her and I looked over at him concerned.
"In honor of Halloween, Emmett is bringing his new Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein DVD." She explained.
That did little to help
"Emmett loves the old monster movies." Edward clarified shaking his head in faux annoyance. "and along Frankenstein and The Wolfman, this one has Bella Lugosi in it of course as..."
"…Dracula" I finished giggling.
"Told ya she wouldn't care." Alice snickered. "But that's for later… there's snow angels to be made."
And with that, she launched herself into the nearest drift and began to flap her arms and her legs, then sprung back to my side.
"Come on… give it a try…."
Jasper laughed again and took her hand. "Give the poor girl a chance put her hood up."
"… and get some gloves on." Edward added, chuckling as well.
"I suppose she wouldn't like snow melting down her back." Alice agreed reluctantly.
The boys finished off the driveway as Alice sprang from spot to spot covering our yard with angels. I myself was on my third one when the roar of Emmett's new truck, even bigger than his Jeep announced my brother in-law's eminent arrival, followed moments later by Carlisle and Esme in a rented Lexus carrying a Starbucks bag.
"It's salted caramel hot chocolate. I hope it's still warm enough for you." Esme said pulling a large styrofoam cup out of the bag. "The girl at the counter suggested it."
They were gonna make me fat. I pulled off the lid and took a sip of the steaming cup.
Hmmm… I was going to have to remember this one the next time I went in there. "It's awesome Esme. Thank you."
It was then that the sun finally broke through the clouds and past our bare maples. I was somewhat used to Edward shimmering in the sun, as much as a person would ever get used to something that unbelievably beautiful. But the effect with my family there all together was surreal. The light not only shined down from above, but also reflected up off the snow below making it hard to distinguish their features and hands. And that snow had changed as well. No longer shades of white, the ground was instantly transformed into a rainbow of glittering jewels, its magic impossible to describe.
"Shiny aren't we?" Emmett commented, I'm sure in reaction to my mouth hanging wide open.
"It's so beautiful…" As soon as I said it, I felt my face turn beat red in embarrassment.
"I was pretty blown away the first time I saw it in the snow too." Jasper smiled.
Whether it was his words or something more I wasn't sure, but I felt better.
It pleased me that Jasper no longer seemed as frightened of me. I had understood it, given our history, but it always made me sad the distance he kept from me, not only for Edward's and my sake, but for his own. We had both grown a lot in the last year.
I couldn't tell what Edward was reading off Jasper but he seemed to like what ever it was. He pulled me back into his chest, his arms wrapping around my waist and his chin resting on the knitted hat on top of my head.
"She thinks I'm beautiful too, Edward."
I staggered back a step as in an instant, Edward vanished from behind me, tackling Emmett and knocking him to the ground. They both snarled and laughed and soon Jasper too was in the middle of the fray, destroying most of Alice's snow angels.
"Boys!" Esme scolded.
"Sorry mom." They all said in unison, snickering and picking themselves up off the ground.
Between watching Alice and Edward easily dodge the occasional snowball and construction of the snowman, the fun playful morning slipped quickly into afternoon. I had never actually seen a snowman before, except in pictures. Surely they weren't supposed to be that big. It had to be fifteen feet tall.
Alice stood on Jasper's shoulders, who was standing on Emmett's before placing a foot on his head and balancing on the tips of her toes. She removed the long red scarf she wore and wrapped it around the around the big snowy neck then pulled from her pocket a carrot and two charcoal briquettes.
"I'll get some Alice." Edward chuckled and shot off into the forest. Before I could ask, he was back with two large branches and stuck them into the sides of the fat middle of our snowman.
Alice hopped over to Edward's shoulders and pulled from yet another pocket two red mittens, placing one on each arm, then jumped down to inspect her work.
"Okay, project two accomplished," she smiled satisfied; "We'll see you and Edward at the hill in an hour."
"Huh?" I asked.
"Don't you have some human needs to attend to?"
"Drat," I pouted. "Forgot all about those."
"Sucks being a human don't it." Emmett harassed and Edward shot him a dirty look. "Don't worry, we'll get the hill nice and slick for ya."
They all went to the truck and grabbed a tire, Carlisle volunteering to take Edward's so he didn't have to carry me and it when we left. I hated having to go inside, but I didn't protest. Wearing only jeans on my legs, they were freezing, and on top of getting hungry and wanting to warm up a bit, I was really starting to need to pee.
It's a small bug-a-boo I have that our Bella never has to pee in Twilight. I mean she spends all morning and afternoon in the meadow with Edward, not once needing to go. Stays out all night in the tent in Eclipse and wakes up the next morning and what does she do? Gets a drink of water, not even once looking for a convenient tree.
Anyhoo, as always feel free to review.