My Christmas O/S for Breath-of-Twilight's Countdown to 2012
Disclaimer: I don't own any part of Twilight or Elf, the characters, or any part of the franchise(s). I only own this weird, confusing plot—which I hope you all enjoy.
Miracle on Forks Street
Edward — a grieving widower has lost his will to do his day to day tasks, turns to alcohol to dull his pain.
Bella — a day dreaming romance novelist, wishes for a Christmas present she'll never forget.
What happens when her wish comes true?
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We wish you a merry Christmas
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Another year has passed in the blink of an eye. Days go by so fast, and I feel like I've barely accomplished anything this year. I've published a couple of romance novels and have a book series secured with a great publishing house, moved across the country and bought a house, but I still feel like something is missing. There's a void in my life that I just can't seem to fill.
I look out my living room window and watch the snowflakes rapidly drop from the sky, blanketing the town like warm fleece. Not unusual for a Wisconsin winter.
I gaze at my neighborhood from the bay window, and I'm trying to memorize every detail. Being relatively new to the neighborhood, I feel like there's still so much I haven't seen.
I moved to Wisconsin almost a year after I finished graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Five months after I graduated, I went through a bad breakup with a guy I had been dating for over six years. After that, I decided it was time for a change of scenery. So I packed up my things and fled Washington. There was nothing left for me there anyway, my friends were all mutual friends of my ex, Jake, and I just—didn't want to see them look at me with pity or distaste.
Then there was my dad, Charlie. He had his job and lived three hours away from me, so I rarely saw him as it was.
To say that Jake's betrayal didn't totally break my heart would be a lie, because it did; surprisingly, I immediately knew I'd be okay without him.
Jake was really my first love. I started dating him soon after I moved in with my dad in Washington during my junior year. We were comfortable around each other, and I think that was part of our problem. We were forever comfortable—there was no real intimacy.
I mean, sure, he was gorgeous in a tall, dark, handsome, pretty-boy type of way, but he never really looked like a man. To me, he didn't possess a sexual masculinity, and although I was attracted to his boyish look and charm, I wasn't exactly needy and panting for him. People can tell those things, when you lose the "spark" and your feelings suddenly go from comfortable to bored.
Jake and I had definitely lost our spark, and I was bored out of my mind.
One day in mid-October, I had been out doing a little (very) early Christmas shopping when I spotted Jake and Leah—a girl we grew up with—snuggling up cozy in the restaurant I had planned to grab some dinner from. I stood outside and watched as he kissed her lips and she stroked his face lovingly; while it hurt, I knew it was over.
We were over.
After the shock and the devastation wore off, I realized it wasn't really that I was "heartbroken," but my pride had taken a severe blow. My insecurities got the best of me, and I vowed to stay away from the dating scene for a while.
I decided not to make a scene right there in the restaurant. Instead, I quickly loaded my truck with my purchases, went back to the tiny apartment Jake and I were sharing and packed everything I owned.
I left the furniture with him. I didn't want the memories anyway and I knew he'd need it. I had purchased almost all of it, too.
I wrote Jake a letter, explaining that I saw what had happened, and that I was going home to Forks. I told him that I didn't want anything to do with him any more, and that I needed my space—indefinitely.
I arrived in Forks just over three hours later, scaring the hell out of Charlie as I tore ass into the driveway and stormed into the house.
"Bells, what's the matter?" Charlie's brown eyes were wide as he took in my disheveled appearance and defeated demeanor.
"Did someone hurt you?" I could see him reflexively glance at his gun, prepared to take down whoever hurt his baby girl.
"Jake has been sleeping around…" I said softly.
"He what?" Charlie roared, taking a few purposeful steps towards me.
"Yeah," I replied.
"With whom?" he asked. Suddenly, a familiar head poked around the corner and I was completely taken off guard.
Why is Leah's mother in my house?
"Dad, what's Sue Clearwater doing here?" I whispered frantically to him, trying not to seem rude.
"Well, Bells, we're sort of a thing now," he mumbled uncomfortably as he stroked the back of his neck. His cheeks were ablaze, and honestly, if it had been anyone else I'd be ridiculously happy for him…but it was her mother.
"Dad, that's…that's awesome." I stumbled over my words but he didn't notice. The cheesy grin that's always half-hidden by his mustache was enough for me to keep my mouth closed.
"Would it be okay if I used your phone? I left my cell at the apartment—I don't want Jake to be able to reach me. I just really need to get a hold of Mom. To see if maybe she and Phil could help me get out of Washington for a while…" My voice trailed off when I saw the hurt flash over his eyes.
I felt like I needed to explain myself. "Dad, you'll be retiring soon. All you're going to want to do is fish, and I'm never home now as it is. You won't miss me, and I promise I'll keep in touch. There's just, nothing here for me, you know Washington isn't where I'm happy," I begged him to understand.
"I know, Bells. It's just gonna be hard to see ya go. I just got ya back," he spoke gruffly.
"I love you, Dad. And I'll miss you, but I know this is the right thing for me to do."
He nodded and gestured to the phone that was mounted on the wall just inside the kitchen.
I walked toward it as I gave him a small, grateful smile. "Who knows? Maybe someday my writing will take off and I'll be able to afford to have a jet fly us out to see each other?" I joked with him and picked up the phone to dial as he walked in by Sue.
I didn't tell Charlie who Jake cheated on me with, but he found out a few months later when Leah showed up with Jake at a family dinner. I guess it was an uncomfortable time for all parties. Thankfully, I was already in Florida with Renee, figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.
I only spent a few months in Florida. It was just enough time for Renee, Phil, and me to work out a financial arrangement and for me to figure out where I wanted to be.
I had been to the west coast, I was sick of it.
I didn't really care for Florida, so the east coast was out.
My childhood home in Arizona no longer held anything for me.
So I decided to choose based on which publisher nibbled on my manuscript first. I was placing my future decisions in Fate's hands.
When I got the call from Cheney-Weber publishing out of Madison, Wisconsin, I was thrilled. It was a large company owned and ran by a middle-aged couple.
I flew out to meet them a week after they called me, and the rest is sort of history.
I couldn't find one thing about Wisconsin I didn't like—besides the blistering cold winters. My first visit was in February, so I didn't exactly come at the most beautiful time of year; but the people were friendly, and Ben and Angela, the owners of Cheney-Weber, were very warm people.
By the time mid-April had arrived, I was already a Wisconsin resident. Renee and Phil had always kept a college fund for me, but I didn't need to touch it during school because I worked and received scholarships. So they gave me that and I borrowed a little extra to be able to put a down payment on a house when I found one.
I lived with Angela and Ben during my house hunt. I purchased this house from a widower; well technically, I bought it from his assistant. She was the one who dealt with all of the negotiations and meetings that regarded the house. Thankfully, he was in a hurry to sell and I got this beautiful house for way below fair market value.
It's a four bedroom colonial-style house with red brick detailing on the outside, finished with beautiful white columns. It was a lot bigger than what I thought I could afford, but I loved it. I knew when I stepped inside and saw the honey hardwood floors, hickory kitchen cabinets, and the stone fireplace—that it had to be mine.
Surprisingly, the furnishings were included in the asking price. The people who had lived here before were not cheap by any means; everything was the highest quality, and exactly my taste. I felt like I was destined to own this house.
When they told me the street name was Forks Street, I knew this was where I was supposed to be. The street name made me think of Charlie, and that immediately made me feel like I was at home. I put an offer in that day, as soon as the realtor finished showing it to me.
My offer was accepted a couple of days later.
Which brings me back to the present. I've been here for just over three months, and it's now December. Christmas for me last year was hard, mainly because I was shopping for this very holiday when I found out Jake was a sleazy douche-bag. It was also hard for me because most people by my age had been settled down, or at least engaged and had already had children or had been planning on it.
When I was with Jake, the idea of kids had never crossed my mind. That was a wakeup call for me. That I needed to get my shit together for once and for all, before my biological clock stopped ticking.
So now, I'm a published author, homeowner, and a converted cheese-head. I'm celebrating Christmas Eve alone; watching my favorite Christmas movies and questioning my future. I'm finally able to admit that I'm ready to start dating again. I know I'm lonely, and I'll never find "Mr. Right" if I sit around and hide from all the "Mr. Wrongs."
I take a sip of cocoa and smile as my favorite part of the movie comes on. I'm watching Elf, starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. I've just reached the part where Buddy is making the department store look like the North Pole, and he hears Jovie singing in the bathrooms. The familiar carol runs through my mind and I can't help but sing along with it quietly.
I really can't stay
I've got to go away
this evening has been—so very nice
my mother will start to worry
and father will be pacing the floor
So really I better scurry
Well maybe just a half a drink more
The neighbors might think
Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink
No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how
Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell
I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
Mind if I move a little closer
At least I'm gonna say that I tried
What's the sense in hurting my pride
I really can't stay
Baby don't hold out
Ah, but it's cold outside
Giggles bubble up from my chest and pour from my mouth as the scene progresses and ends with Buddy covering his eyes and running full force into a wall of lockers. No matter how many times I've watched this movie, this scene never fails to get a reaction out of me.
I finish watching the movie and as the end credits roll, I glance over to the clock sitting above my fireplace. The long brass hands tell me it's just after eleven o'clock and I decide it's past my bedtime. The fire I had burning in the fireplace is almost completely out. There are only a few glowing embers still burning as I stand up, stretch my stiff limbs, and turn off the TV.
I rinse my cocoa mug before I turn off the downstairs lights and head upstairs for bed. I make a quick stop in the adjoining bathroom to brush my teeth and strip down completely. I slip into my robe and walk over to open my blinds so I can watch the snow fall as I lay in bed. It's beautiful when combined with the illumination of the street lights, and it often helps lull me to sleep.
When I reach my bed, I quickly slip out of my robe and hang it over a blanket rack that sits next to the side of the bed I often sleep on, and I crawl under the covers.
As I drift off, I pray that soon things will be different. I pray that the coming year will bring positive changes and erase the perpetual loneliness that has left me constantly feeling consumed.
. * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * .
"Another. And make it a double," I slur as I place a twenty on the bar in front of me.
I hate this time of year, when everyone else is celebrating their happy fucking lives, mine disintegrates all over again.
"I think you've had enough, man," the bartender, Mike, tries to reason with me, but I'm beyond reasoning. I want the numbness that follows the burn, I yearn for it.
"I said, I want another," I spit. He holds his hands up in surrender and backs away to pour my drink.
Shortly after, he places a call to the owner, who used to be a buddy of mine in high school. He knows my situation, and this isn't his first time dealing with me. He's informed his bartenders not to argue with me, but to call him if they have any trouble. As soon as I see his burly frame approach me, I drop my head on the bar and close my eyes.
"Seriously? It's Christmas Eve. Go home," he tries to reason with me.
"I am home, Emmett," I reply lazily.
"My bar is your home?" he asks incredulously.
"Might as well be, I like it better than my new apartment." The alcohol is catching up with me, and all I want to do is sleep.
"Tough shit, Cullen. You can't sleep on the pool table, it's against the law. Let me know where you want to go, I'll call you a cab."
Emmett is a good guy, he'd probably let me sleep it off at his house if he didn't have kids…and if it weren't Christmas Eve.
I wave him away from me and he pulls out his cell, dialing a nearby cab company.
"Hang up. I drove here; I can leave the same way." I reach for my keys but he swipes them out of my hands.
"No fucking way, come by and get them tomorrow. We're open until noon for breakfast. I'm not letting you kill yourself on Christmas Eve," he warns.
"Whatever," I growl back at him.
Between the depressive funk I've been in for the past year—and the excessive hours I've had to put in at work—all of the fight is out of me.
I'm a financial advisor for my dad's consulting firm, and it's the holiday season. We're always busy during this time of year. After Claire, my wife, passed, all I've done is work and drink.
I'm pulled out of my reverie by Emmett's strong arms helping me off my stool as he walks me out to the awaiting cab.
"Edward, give me your license so I can tell him your address." I give my wallet to Emmett and drop into the backseat. I feel him tuck it back in my jacket pocket after he tells the cabbie where to take me and pre-pays for my fare.
Less than twenty minutes later, I'm stumbling out of the cab and up the front steps to the place I've called home for the past twenty-eight years of my life.
Emmett has my keys, so I grab the hide-a-key from behind the light fixture and unlock the front door.
In my drunken stupor, I trip over a coat-rack I didn't even know I owned. I straighten it to the best of my ability and stumble up the stairs to my bedroom. Something feels off, it feels like I haven't been here in a while.
I can't place the feeling, and chalk it up to being completely fucking wasted.
Nothing new there, Edward. You schmuck.
I take a piss in the attached bathroom without turning the lights on and strip out of my clothes before I hop into bed.
Somewhere in my semi-conscience state, I realize my blankets feel different. Instead of my usual Egyptian cotton sheets and silk duvet, I'm engulfed in starchy sheets and a huge micro-suede comforter, but I like the contrast. It's seems warmer than usual, and peaceful.
Before long I'm falling asleep, wondering if this is all that will ever be of my life.
Do people only get one shot at happiness?
. * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * .
I've realized during my past year of celibacy that it is extremely hard to write romance novels when you're not having sex. It's even harder to do when you've never actually had quality sex. You know what I'm talking about, that earth-quaking, bone-shaking, heart-thumping sex. The kind that rattles your senses and curls your toes so hard that you're feeling the charley-horses for a week.
Thankfully, my dreams have always been very helpful in that department. After all, you can't be a writer if you don't have an active imagination. Sometimes, late at night, I'll dream up a new character for one of my books. He's always ruggedly handsome and completely irresistible, and we're usually in some elaborate location like a deserted island or a fancy hotel room.
I never get a clear view of his face, but I like it that way—I never get too attached to him. I'm never missing someone that doesn't exist, and it gives me room to get creative.
Before we know what's happening, our desire washes over us, and we fall together in twisted sheets and tangled limbs. Unable to tell where I end and He begins.
I always wake up panting and wanting. I rub my thighs together and grip the sheets as my damp body yearns for release. Out of desperation, I usually take matters into my own hands—no pun intended, and then take a lukewarm shower.
Imagine my surprise when my dreams kick it up a notch and I'm dreaming of a hard, warm body in my bed next to me.
I roll over so I'm facing him and slide a hand up and down his toned back. His muscles ripple under my touch and he groans softly, moving into my touch. I lean towards him, placing soft kisses on his shoulder blade until he finally looks over at me.
I must say, this dream is way different than the others. I've never had to rouse my dream lover before. I'm already soaked from the anticipation, and he hasn't even touched me yet.
"Mmmh," he groans softly. "Who are you, beautiful?" His voice is husky and I want to lick him. I think I will…soon.
"Bella," I answer. "You?" I ask back, barely able to see his face in the dark room.
"Edward," he replies. His breath smells of liquor and I wonder if his lips taste like it too.
Edward. I've definitely never dreamed of an Edward before. Gabe, Xavier, Philippe, yes. Edward—no.
I like it, it's old-school. Strikingly beautiful and masculine. Perfect.
"I want you, Edward," I moan softly as he turns his entire body towards me. Reveling in the fact that he's already completely naked and very well endowed.
Thank you very much, overactive imagination.
"You must be an angel, because there's no way you could be real." His voice is soft as he trails his fingers softly up and down my face and neck.
"I wish you were," I reply sadly as my hands mimic his motions; caressing his face, neck, and broad shoulders.
"Me too," he says miserably as he leans his face into the palm of my hand.
"Let's not talk…if all we have is tonight…I don't want to waste it," I plead with him, wanting to be closer to my dream lover.
I'm surprised when he climbs on top of me, pinning me against the bed with his weight, and nuzzling his face into my neck.
"That tickles." I chuckle softly.
My giggles fade into moans when he starts kissing and sucking on my neck, slowly moving down to my chest.
I curl my fingers in his hair and lightly yank on his wild locks as his lips attach to my left nipple. His teeth softly scrape the pebbled bud and he flicks his tongue back and forth sharply, causing my hips to buck and my back to arch.
"Oh God," I gasp, my body is in sensation overload.
"Every part of you tastes so damn good," he says huskily as he moves his attention to my right breast, repeating his ministrations.
"M-more please, oh yes!" I grip the headboard in one hand and dig my nails into his back with the other as I squirm beneath him.
His hands grip and flex against my hip bones as he trails his tongue down to my navel. He swirls it around my belly button, making me giggle as he continues to travel south.
I automatically try to close my thighs as his face reaches my pubic bone.
I know this is only a dream, but…if I wake up when he's in the middle of doing that, my ovaries might go on strike…or even worse, shrivel up and fall out.
"I-uh…no one's ever," I stutter shyly, biting my lip.
"I have to taste you," he insists. "I promise I'll make it good for you," he assures me.
I nod my head and slowly spread my legs, throwing one arm over my face to hide my embarrassment and I let my other one lay limp at my side. I'm completely on edge—not knowing what to expect. I have a brief thought that this will probably be where I'll end up waking up, unsatisfied and yearning—like usual.
All embarrassment is quickly washed away when I feel him quickly swipe his tongue across my heated flesh.
"Fuck," I hiss as my back arches and I plant my feet firmly against the mattress.
"Yes that's it, Bella, let me hear you," he whispers against my sex as he continues to place open mouthed kisses against me.
"Oh! More please, that feels…so…so damn good," I beg like the sex starved woman that I am.
He's showing me a pleasure that I've never known, taking me places I've never been, and making me feel things I've never felt before.
Every sensation intensifies when he grabs my knees and throws my legs over his shoulders, angling my hips upwards so he can plunge his tongue deeper inside of me. He's constantly switching up his technique, from plunging his tongue inside, to lapping up and down my slit, to flicking his tongue sharply against my clit.
I can't keep up with him, and before I even realize it, I'm on the verge of my orgasm. I can feel the tingling sensations trickle in on the outskirts of my mind, and the coil begins to tighten fiercely in my stomach. I can already tell this orgasm will be more powerful than any others I've ever experienced before.
"Stop-stop-stop-stop," I moan, half-heartedly, as I try to wiggle away from him. The sensations are so strong that it almost tickles, but he's relentless as he worships my body with his tongue.
"Fuck! Edward, oh!" I cry out.
I reach down and hold his head against me as wave after wave of my orgasm ripples through my body like a massive storm. My body quakes and thrashes, and I hold my breath as I try to prolong the effects, wanting to feel like this forever.
My thoughts are frazzled and my mind is totally cocooned in my sex induced haze as Edward trails gentle kisses up my body. His hands stroke my sides softly and he smiles down at me once we're eye level.
For the first time ever I finally get a glimpse of my "dream lover's" face. I've never had such a vivid dream before, and I've never actually slept through an orgasm before. I can only imagine what the sheets will look like in the morning.
The thought quickly escapes my mind when I feel Edward's hard cock press against my stomach. When I look down at it again I feel a warm flutter inside of me at the prospect of feeling it buried inside of me, but there's something I want to do first.
"Roll over," I say after I kiss his lips softly, tasting myself on them. Surprisingly, it doesn't gross me out.
"Bella, if I'm not inside of you soon, I'll explode," he warns.
"I said, roll over," I command again.
This time he does as I say and moves to his side of the bed, lying on his back.
"That's more like it," I coo as I straddle his knees and lower my face to his groin area.
I blow softly against the tip of his cock as I look up at him demurely.
"Bella, I don't know what you're doing, but if you tease me anymore, I'm going to roll you over and fuck your sweet, little pussy until next Christmas," he threatens huskily.
A delighted shiver creeps up my spine from his dirty talk, and he notices.
"You like it when I talk dirty to you, don't you, Bella? What if I told you that I'm going fuck you so good, no one will ever be able to compare again? I'm going to mark you, ruin you for other men. Every time another man touches you, you're going to think of me and my cock."
I grip his cock in my right hand and begin to stroke him as I flick my tongue against his head. I lick off the fluid that has accumulated there and I slide my tongue up and down the bottom of his shaft until I feel comfortable enough to take him inside my mouth.
He continues to talk dirty to me. Telling me how much he loves my sweet pussy and how he can't wait to taste me again. It causes me to moan against him while I take him a little deeper into my mouth. He's too big to fit all the way in, so I stroke what my mouth can't reach with my hand that is gripping him at his base.
I try creating friction for myself by rubbing my thighs together; when that doesn't work, I slowly slip my left hand down and begin to stroke my folds. Edward notices me rocking my hips against my hand and taps my shoulder softly for me to stop sucking.
"What?" I look up at him like he's crazy.
Who in their right mind asks someone to stop pleasuring them when they're that close to their release?
"Sit on my face," he demands.
"W-what?" I stutter, totally surprised.
"I won't have you wasting an orgasm on your own hand, get up here and ride my face."
I'm a bit taken aback by the way he's ordering me around. Still, I find myself getting wetter by the second.
Since when did I start liking to be domineered in the bedroom?
Probably when you found someone who actually knew how to give you an orgasm.
Yup, that was definitely it.
I'm pulled from my inner monologue by Edward's hands latching onto my hips and pulling them upward towards his mouth.
"Stop, wait a minute…I wasn't done with you yet," I protest weakly. I really, really want his mouth on me again. He does amazing things with that mouth.
"Bella, when I'm around, I better never catch you touching yourself like that again—unless I tell you to. I'll be the only thing that will be giving you your pleasure. Do you understand me?" he scolds me.
I find myself nodding in agreement. I'm drunk on lust and am acting like a wanton hussy. At this point he could probably get me to agree to do anything as long as it involves him and copious amounts of sexual pleasure.
"I want you," I whimper.
His eyes soften and the light catches them, showing me their true color. He's got beautiful deep, jade-green eyes. They're mesmerizing.
We begin to kiss softly and he carefully rolls me over, gently laying me on my back as he crawls on top of me.
"Please." I'm begging him, surrendering my every need to him and praying he'll fulfill me.
His strong hands grip the back of my thighs as he parts and bends my legs, aligning himself to enter me. He's taking his time and it's driving me crazy, I just want to hook my legs around him and slam him deep inside of me, but I don't.
Mainly because it's been a long time since I've last had sex, and also because Edward is very well endowed. The last thing I want is to feel an ounce of pain during this. I want to be able to enjoy Edward. I never have the same dream twice, and so far—this one has been the best I've ever had.
Thankfully, Edward must have mind reading capabilities, or he's just more in tune with my body than I am, because he slowly slides into me until he's buried to the hilt.
A husky groan leaves his lips and I cry out at the sensation of him filling and stretching me deliciously.
"God yes!" I throw my head back and arch my back, trying to bring myself as close to him as possible. On his first thrust he's already hitting spots I didn't know existed inside my body. Pleasure burns through my body as I clench around him and scrape my nails down his back.
"Please," I beg, asking him to start thrusting.
He uses my thighs as leverage and begins rocking his hips against mine. The feeling is incredible; I can already feel myself building up to my next release.
"So tight," he grunts.
"So good," I pant.
I move my hands up so one is cupping the back of his head and the other is cradling his cheek as I pull him down to my lips.
I try to convey everything I'm feeling with one kiss. All of my gratitude, all of my pleasure, my sincere wish that he was actually real—and that we could continue this beyond tonight.
Edward is everything I've ever wanted in a lover, and I'm sure that if he were real, he could be everything I've ever wanted in a partner, a boyfriend, a husband. He's the epitome of a perfect guy.
He trails kisses from my cheek down to my throat, he grunts against my neck as we continue to love each other. When he drops my legs to brace himself on each side of me, I take the opportunity to wrap my legs tight around him, anchoring him against me and helping him thrust deeper inside of me.
I know this is just a dream, but I don't want it to end. I lower all of my inhibitions and just feel everything I'm experiencing. I let myself drown in the feeling of being with him. I let go…
He smoothes his hand down the front of my torso and he uses two fingers to gently pinch my clit, and I'm soaring. I free fall into oblivion as wave after wave of pleasure ripples through my body. It's a slow burn, causing my eyes to squeeze shut, every muscle in my body clenches and arches to be closer to him, and I'm powerless to stop the deep throaty moan that falls from my lips.
His thrusts turn erratic and harsh as he begins to come too. By now the pleasure is so intense my body is thrashing against his, my hips bucking with his thrusts, trying to milk the orgasm for all it's worth. I never want this feeling to stop but I feel like I'm going to pass out from exertion.
Please don't let me wake up yet.
"Edward," I whisper against the side of his head as he collapses against me. Our sweat slicked bodies panting heavily and trembling, trying to stay as close together as possible.
"God, Bella, I wish you were real," he says softly against my chest.
My bottom lip trembles as tears prick my eyes. I swallow past the lump in my throat and whisper, "Me too."
I gently scratch my fingers against his scalp as my sad, sated, and exhausted body drifts off to sleep.
. * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * .
I haven't slept as well as I did last night in over a year, nor have I had a dream more vivid. As I begin to stir from my slumber, I see flashes under my eyelids as I recall it.
Chocolate brown locks cascading around my face as she hovers over me…
My senses being enveloped in her warm, sugary scent…she smells like brown sugar.
Plump, cherry-red, heart-shaped lips pressing firmly against mine as we claw at one another desperately…
God she was beautiful, definitely must have been an angel… Maybe Claire sent her to me to give me hope…telling me it's okay to move on…to get my act together and start living again.
I'm startled when I hear a soft groan next to me and my eye lids fly open as I jerk my head toward the noise.
What the hell?
She's here…she was real…
I sit up quickly and look around the bedroom.
This isn't my apartment…this isn't my bed—anymore.
I hear a gasp next to me and the bed shifts as she hops out of it and quickly wraps her robe around her body. Even though I'm completely confused about the twists and turns that led me here last night—I'm slightly disappointed that she's covering her beautiful body back up.
"How…how are you real?" she asks.
"I could ask you the same thing," I reply, looking into her frightened toffee eyes.
"You…you were just…I was dreaming. Wasn't I?" The last part sounds more like she's asking herself and not me, so I don't answer her. She looks confused and upset, and I don't know what to do or say to make anything better.
"I truly am sorry about this. The bartender at the bar I was attending last night gave my cab driver the address on my license. I haven't bothered to change it yet. I guess I was so drunk I didn't realize I wasn't in the right place. That doesn't excuse anything that happened last night, but I honestly thought I was dreaming, too. When I crawled in bed I didn't know you were there, and suddenly I'm being woken up to you…touching me or kissing me," I try to explain—hoping she isn't going to call the cops.
Wouldn't that just be the star on top of the fucked up tree that has been my life the past year? —Rhetorical question.
Her face flushes as I'm sure the events from last night flash through her mind. Shamefully, I can feel my cock twitch a bit at the mere thought of what happened between us, and I mentally chastise myself for it.
Let's see how hard you are when you're sitting in jail for trespassing and rape moron.
"You thought you were dreaming, too?" she inquires skeptically.
"Yeah, I normally don't dream. I thought it was a sign from-" I abruptly stop when I realize I've said too much.
"A sign from who?" she asks curiously.
"My wife," I look down at the sheet and pull at a loose thread as I wait for the inevitable freak out that is sure to ensue.
"You're married?" she gasps.
"I was, my wife passed last year. Car accident." I swallow passed the lump in my throat and softly rub a hand across my chest, trying to loosen the tightness I feel there. I haven't talked about Claire's death to really anyone besides my parents and assistant.
"I'm…I'm very sorry to hear that, Edward," she says sincerely.
I nod my head and look up at her, her eyes are slightly glassy, but she still looks pale and afraid.
"If you give me a couple of minutes, I can be dressed and out of here in no time." My voice is cold, but I don't know what else to say. It's Christmas, she could have kids for all I know, waiting downstairs to open their presents, or a boyfriend on his way over, or a husband in the military. Who knows? And I don't need to take up anymore of her time by sitting here naked in her bed while she decides whether or not she pities me enough to not call the cops.
"Do you have any kids?" she asks me abruptly.
I shake my head. "No, we were separated when it happened, waiting for our divorce to finalize."
Her eyebrows knit together in confusion. "You weren't happy?"
"No, I hadn't been happy for quite some time. We…" I sigh, knowing that I need to get it off my chest and talk to someone—it might as well be a complete stranger.
"We grew up with each other; she and I were almost neighbors. Her family lived a couple of houses down from here. Our parents were close friends, so we were kind of pushed together, you know?" I look up to see if she's following me so far, when she nods I continue.
"We started dating in high school, and ended up getting married during our second year of college. She quit school shortly after because she wanted to 'prepare herself to be a fulltime mom' but we never got pregnant. I found out that she was secretly still taking birth control behind my back, when she had led me to believe she'd been off of it for months. When I found out she was lying to me, I distanced myself, and that's when she started having affairs." I glance at the floor, wanting the conversation to be over so I can go search for an open bar.
I need a drink.
"She had been spending more than twice what I was bringing in for income. She'd been gambling and had rented a condo for her whomever she was seeing at the time to meet in. Then she started drinking…a lot." I swallow thickly, ashamed at my own dependence I've gained for alcohol in the wake of my late wife's death.
"I hired a private investigator and took receipts from all of her rendezvous to an attorney and filed for a divorce. Unfortunately, the private investigator was for nothing because Wisconsin is a no fault state, but the judge agreed that it wouldn't be necessary for me to pay her alimony. The agreement was for her to move into the condo, and I gave her the Lexus, agreeing that I would keep the Volvo. She also got a settlement, for me being able to keep the house." I continue, rambling and lost in my thoughts.
"It took me months before I was back on track financially. During the separation and the pending divorce I picked up every ounce of overtime available at the firm. Taking on extra accounts just to get by. I was so proud when I opened my bonus check that year and saw all of the extra zeros. I knew I'd finally have something of mine that I wouldn't have to spend on someone else who would be ungrateful for it. I had planned to spend a little on the house, possibly do some landscaping in the back, and then use the rest on a vacation. I was thinking Jamaica." I pick at the calluses on my hands as I continue speaking.
She's sits down at the edge of the bed and listens to me patiently. I'm thankful for her quiet attention.
"Claire didn't take the divorce well, her drinking increased and she started dabbling in other drugs—depending on what her current boyfriend was taking. Two months before the finalization date of our divorce, I received a call from the county coroner's office, asking me to come down and identify someone who looked like Claire and had her I.D. on them." My voice trembles and I scrub a hand over my face. I take a deep breath and try to push through the suffocating grief.
"When I drove down to the station, I prayed it was a mistake. I really thought it was, you know? Maybe some kid stole her purse at a party and went joyriding. I don't know what I was thinking, I should have known better. When I identified her, they told me what happened. They said she'd been drinking and taking Alprazolam also known as Xanax. When the two combined—it sedated her, and she fell asleep behind the wheel." My voice is gruff and I try not to think about Claire's broken, lifeless body lying across that metal gurney, covered in only a sheet, her skin so pale and bruised.
I swipe my hands across my eyes, unable to stop the tears from slowly leaking out of them.
"I shouldn't have just left her, but she was suddenly this different person. All of the love and life that had once been her eyes just wasn't there anymore. I blame myself all the time, I feel like she thought I was pressuring her, but I wasn't. Once she expressed her desire to be a stay at home mom I was ecstatic. Obviously, something happened between then and the accident that I didn't know about—something that caused us to derail…"
"I just…wish I could have been there for her. Toward the end we were so bitter…so cold with one another. I truly loved her. I loved her until the end, even when I thought I hated her. In some ways I love her still, not in the same way, of course, but she'll always have a small place in my heart. She was my first love, but deep down—I have to believe she wasn't meant to be my last." The hope in my voice sounds desperate to even me.
I'm not trying to give this girl-woman the wrong idea by saying that, but it's true. I do hope that someday I'll find love again, or it'll find me.
Either way, I know I need to turn my life around.
. * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * .
All I want for Christmas is You
"…She was my first love, but deep down—I have to believe she wasn't meant to be my last."
I know he's not saying he's in love with me, and what he's just said has absolutely nothing to do with what we did last night, but it still stirs a fluttery feeling inside of me.
If this were any other situation—and any other stranger, really in my bed—I probably would have ran screaming and debated on pressing charges. But his story sounds so…real and I'm finally able to piece all of the pieces of the puzzle together.
Why he never took an active part in the selling of his childhood home, he'd totally shut everyone out, and I'm sure the memories of being here with Claire were too painful. Part of me wants to be angry with her for everything she did in her life, but I can't. Whatever she was feeling to make her give up a seemingly perfect life with Edward, and delve into the life she chose toward her end was her decision and hers alone.
I do feel bad for them though, Claire and Edward. I feel bad for the life that was lost, and the one who even though he's still here on earth, has been living in a shell of his true self for at least the past year—if not longer.
"I agree with you." I find myself speaking for the first time since he's started.
I'm agreeing with him about Claire not being the last person he'll love. Edward has a long life ahead of him, and he genuinely seems like too good of a person to not get a second chance at having a happy ending.
"I believe you'll get your happily ever after, Edward. You seem like a good person," I clarify. Making sure he doesn't think I've interjected myself into his future in any way.
"I hope so," he murmurs to the bed sheet that he's been relentlessly plucking at for the past half hour.
Just then my stomach growls loudly, causing us both to jump slightly and he chuckles as my face flushes.
"Sorry about that, guess I worked up an appe-uh-" I stop abruptly cursing myself for almost bringing up last night.
"I mean, I didn't eat supper last night, and I-uh-cleaned…a lot…uh…" I glance at the clock and see that it's well after one o'clock in the afternoon.
"Well, uh, are you hungry, Edward?" I clear my throat and try to calm myself so I'll stop blushing profusely.
"I should really get going. I need to meet Emmett before noon to get my keys back so I can go home," he answers as he shifts around on the bed, holding the sheet in front of him as he tries to find a clock.
I point toward the one on the nightstand on my side of the bed and frown slightly. "It's almost one-thirty," I tell him.
"Fuck," he hisses and scowls.
I get up off of the bed, intending to leave him alone to figure out his situation when I look outside.
"Holy crow! Do you guys always have so much snow on Christmas?" I ask incredulously. There must be three feet or more snow covering the roads and sidewalks outside.
"Seriously?" he asks panicked as he wraps the sheet around his waist and briskly walks up beside me to look out the window.
"I doubt a cab will come all the way from the city to get me in this weather," he says dejectedly.
"I'm sure it's hard enough to get one to come out on Christmas," I add.
"Tell you what, you can stay here tonight…in the guestroom. And tomorrow I'll drive you back to your place. I really don't want to risk going out in this weather. If that's okay with you?" I look up at him wondering if he has any other family waiting for him. My guess is they've either moved away or passed away because he hasn't mentioned them.
"I don't want to burden you, Bella. It's Christmas after all. You should be spending it with your family, not with some stranger who crawled in your bed and practically-" he starts, but I interrupt him.
"Nonsense, I would have been spending it alone anyway. My family lives out of state. Besides, you're not a stranger…I bought this house from you, and I'd like to think that maybe someday we could be friends?" My voice is shy.
"I could really use a friend right now." His relief is palpable and it makes me happy that I can offer him something—some sort of light at the end of his tunnel.
I hold my hand out for him to shake and smile at him. "Friends?"
He nods and switches his hold on the sheet to his other hand so he can shake mine. "Friends," he agrees.
His answering smile is blinding, I know I have to get out of this room before I try to hump him again. Yes, I said hump instead of jump.
He grabs his clothes and heads over to the guestroom to shower and change. I quickly tear off my sheets and throw them in the washer before I take a shower.
I throw on a black lace bra and panty set, my cashmere turtleneck sweater, and a pair of nice light khaki pants. Then quickly head downstairs as I throw my damp hair up into a messy bun.
I find Edward in the kitchen attempting to make breakfast for a small army. I giggle and decide to put himself out of his misery by helping him.
"Sorry," he says sheepishly. "I thought I could repay you for being so nice, it was futile though. I'm no good at cooking."
"You didn't have to do that. It's totally fine. I've been cooking for years. It doesn't bother me." I shrug and set about making breakfast.
. * . * . * . * . * . * . * . * .
Home for the Holidays
New Years Eve
Bella and I have kept in touch since the incident that led to us sleeping together; it's hard to believe that was only a week ago.
We spent the rest of Christmas day sharing childhood stories and getting to know one another. I learned about her parents' divorce, and how she had moved in with her dad in her teenage years. I learned about her ex and his betrayal, and how most of her friends had abandoned her when she needed them most.
From what I know of her so far, Bella is a beautiful, dazzling, compassionate human being. Why someone would purposely hurt her is beyond me. Although it's too soon for us to date—we've only just met—I do know that if I were given the chance to be with her, I would definitely never hurt her like that. She deserves to be cherished, and if we do end up trying our hand at having a relationship together—I hope that I will be able to prove that to her.
All of these thoughts flit through my head as I drum my fingers nervously against my steering wheel. I'm currently on my way to her house; we're going to dinner and a movie to celebrate the New Year…as friends.
When I arrive at her place I'm completely astonished at how different she looks in her little black dress and matching fuck-me-pumps. It takes every ounce of restraint in my body not to carry her back up the stairs and fuck her senseless.
We need to take things slow…but she sure as hell doesn't make it easy.
"You're exquisite." Her answering smile is brilliant and warmth spreads through my chest knowing I put it on her face.
"Thank you," she whispers as she shuts the door and walks with me to my car.
We arrive at the restaurant and sit across from one another. I'm afraid that if we sit side by side I'd want to touch her, and if I start—I might not be able to stop.
When the waiter brings us a bottle of red wine, I tell Bella we should toast on it. At first she chuckles and then she gets a wicked gleam in her eye and agrees wholeheartedly.
"Would you like to make the toast?" I ask, knowing she's already thought of something.
"Yeah, if you don't mind?" she asks sheepishly.
I smile and wave her on. "Not at all, go ahead."
She raises her glass and looks into my eyes as she says, "To new beginnings."
The intensity of her gaze as it bores into mine leaves me momentarily stunned.
Is it possible that she feels the same way that I do?
Does she want me too?
There is no mistaking the hungry gleam in her eyes and I shift in my seat a little as all of the blood rushes to my groin.
This sexy, smut writing vixen will be the death of me.
"To new beginnings, Isabella," I whisper huskily and take a drink.
My eyes dart from her eyes to her mouth as she quickly swipes her tongue across her bottom lip, catching an errant drop of her wine. Many thoughts pass through my mind at once.
Fuck being "just friends."
Can we get our food to go?
Fuck the movie.
Her place or mine?
How long until we can start our "new beginnings?"
I can't wait until I'm back inside her.
And last but certainly not least, Merry Fucking Christmas to me.
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