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This one shot is part of the Countdown to Christmas - We wish you a kinky Christmas.

Category: The Nightmare Before Christmas


Between Peace and Purgatory

"Tanya, no!"

"But Bella, come on! It's going to be fun."

She said that a lot, my best friend. When she wanted to go shopping – she was crazy about shopping - when she wanted to meet for dinner to share the latest town gossip, or – and this was the worst - when she tried to set me up with someone.

She'd successfully done that once and ever since that time I'd been more than reluctant to allow her to set me up for a date with someone again.

"You're being ridiculous," Tanya muttered.

"Tanya, you know I can't just go on a date."

The strawberry blonde threw her hands up in the air in frustration which was a signature trade that basically translated into "Bella is impossible!"

"Give me one good reason," she huffed.

"I'll give you three," I said impatiently. "One, it's a crazy hectic time with Christmas just around the corner. Two, a little boy called Luka. And three, Edward. Remember him, my husband, Luka's dad? You have to stop trying to set me up with men when I am married."

Edward Cullen. My husband. Tanya had been the one to introduce us but her demeanor towards my husband had changed a lot since then. That had everything to do with the current situation he was in.

See, he wasn't just my husband and Luka's father. He was also inmate 7225500 in the San Quentin State Prison.

I was married to a murderer. A murderer currently on death row.

"Bella…"

I knew that tone. It was her condescending "Edward won't ever come back to you, so why don't you start building a future" voice.

But I wasn't quite ready for that yet. Ready to let him go. And I might never be.

Because I firmly believed Edward didn't belong in jail, let alone on death row.

"Let it go, Tanya. I'm not going out on a date with your friend. Instead, in two days from now I'll be going to San Quentin with Luka to visit my husband in time for Christmas."

"Mommy!"

"Mommy?" I looked around myself with exaggerated movement, pretending to search for an invisible person. "I don't see a mommy?"

A cheerful giggle and tiny feet that bounded to me, making soft stamping noises on the wooden floor, filled the kitchen as my three year old son ran into my arms.

"You're silly, Mommy!"

At three years old Luka Benjamin Cullen was not only the spitting image of his father with his piercing jade eyes and coppery hair that seemed untamable, he was also already quite articulate. Edward had always said that between me and him, Luka was an old and advanced soul.

"Am I now?" I said as I nibbled at his nose, which made my son giggle even louder.

"Stop eating me, Mommy!" he screamed in fits of laughter.

"I'm sorry, you're just too yummy!"

I gave him one more hug before he scurried off to play.

"I hope he was no trouble," I spoke softly to the person who'd remained in the doorway to observe us.

Even now, three years after her son got convicted and sentenced to the death penalty for the murder of her husband, Esme Cullen still acted like it had happened yesterday.

He had. Edward killed his father. But where I saw that as self defense, she believed he belonged behind bars because he'd purposely killed his father. She just struggled with the fact that he was on death row. That meant that in the end, she wouldn't just lose her husband, but also her son.

Time for Esme had definitely not healed all wounds. Far from, actually. The heartache was still written all over her face and demeanor.

The only one who frequently managed to put a smile on her face was her grandson.

"He's a sweetheart. So smart. And he loves to cuddle." She smiled.

I nodded proudly. Luka was a tiny angel. An old soul, as Edward had said.

"I should go."

Esme never stayed long. She picked Luka up once a week to spend the day with him and had brief civil conversations with me that lasted under fifteen minutes when she returned him home. I knew she only did that because I was Luka's mother and she felt obligated to be polite.

"Esme," I called out. "Would you like some tea?"

I didn't usually offer because I knew how uncomfortable that made her feel but since Christmas was three days away and Luka and I were spending it with my dad and his wife Sue, I wanted to give her the opportunity to spend a little more time with her grandson.

I expected her to say no but to my surprise she nodded and awkwardly peeled off her coat and placed it on a chair.

"I'll go check on Luka," she said.

I nodded and made myself busy to make some tea.

When it was ready I poured two mugs and also filled a small sippy cup with tea, mixed with some honey and enough water to cool it so Luka could drink it easily and walked into the living room where Esme was reading him a story.

Her voice was soft and had a wonderful and soothing cadence, much like Edward's and now also Luka's.

When Luka spotted me his green eyes lit up. "Mommy!"

"Hey Luka-bear, I have some tea for you."

He grabbed the cup and started sipping eagerly, while Esme put the book away and took her own mug from me.

"Thank you," she said politely.

I sat down in the armchair across from her and sipped my tea quietly.

It was a surprise when Esme was the one who broke the silence.

"Your Christmas tree is much more Christmas-like than Alice's. She's following that horrible trend with the pink and bright blue balls this year. I just don't find it very festive."

I chuckled as I looked at the tree Luka and I had decorated together. The ornaments didn't match, some of the lights didn't work and the strings of popcorn had been nibbled at in areas suspiciously corresponding my son's height.

He had also randomly thrown silver tinsel on the branches.

It truly was better than Alice's "Home and Décor" Christmas feel.

"Alice sure loves her trends." I smiled.

"I should probably get used to it, since I'll be looking at it a lot in the next few days."

"You're spending Christmas with her?"

"Yes, I am. Are you going to Forks?"

I wasn't. There was no time since I was expected at a special Christmas celebration at Edward's prison on Christmas Eve.

"No, Charlie and Sue are coming here because I have no time to drive all the way to Washington before Christmas Day."

"Oh, why not?"

"I'm going to San Quentin the night before Christmas."

To say Esme was not amused when I'd told her about my plans was an understatement. In fact, she had only given me a curt nod before she kissed Luka goodbye and left without even finishing her tea.

It wasn't that I had expected her to react positively to this news but I had hoped it would open her up and make it possible to have a conversation about her son; I hated having to pretend he didn't exist. I would be okay with her yelling and I would even not shun a proper discussion, but to have her say nothing, that's what still got me after three years.

I respected Esme and I understood that she was suffering, but so was I. It was my husband who was in jail and had to miss out on seeing his son grow up properly.

San Quentin allowed monthly visitations and I always took Luka with me, so that he and Edward could do some form of father and son bonding but in everyday life I had to play both mommy and daddy to my son and it weighed on me heavily.

"Is Nana Esme sad?" Luka's sleepy voice sounded, pulling me from my thoughts.

I turned and watched as the three year old replica of his father looked up at me with beaming, vivid, jade eyes.

"No, Luka-bear. Nana Esme just had to go home. And you," I pointed at him with a wink, "need a bath. Come on, buddy."

He frowned and shook his head. "I hate baths." He pouted and a pang of recognition hit me. He looked so much like Edward.

"I know you do but Santa likes clean little boys."

I wasn't a huge fan of using the Santa card – there was little parental or educational science about it but come bath time the mere mention of his name held a power that made getting Luka into and out of the tub freshly washed that much easier.

Bath time was another one of those moments where I missed Edward as a father. He was supposed to be here for these daily routines but he was missing out on so much.

All because of that one night.


*FLASHBACK EPOV

Carlisle Cullen was a respectable man in society. A renowned heart surgeon. Happily married to former local news anchor Esme Platt. Father of two sons and a daughter; Emmett, Alice and me, Edward.

Carlisle Cullen was living the good life; the American dream. Fed by his ego which seemed to grow bigger as years passed and success upon success which made him triumphant in his professional life.

But behind the scenes things were far less idyllic. Carlisle Cullen might have been a talented man who had an excellent reputation in the medical field but as soon as he opened the door to the four story mansion where he lived with us, his family, the mask of kindness, civility and class slipped and he turned into a tyrant. A control freak.

An abusive man.

A monster.

I knew the screams and the sobs by heart because they belonged to my mother and in my 25 years of existence I had heard these sounds far too often.

It usually started with arguing about something simple. My mother hadn't prepared dinner the right way. She had forgotten to pick up my father's favorite shirt from the dry cleaners. He didn't like her haircut or hated what she wore to an official function where people would kiss his ass.

I knew all the signs and I knew that no matter what, my mother would never get it right and that ate at me.

Now that I was married myself to the most amazing woman in the world and it wouldn't be long until I'd become a father, more than ever I had a hard time stomaching the sounds of verbal fighting. The clinking noise of a belt being used as a whip.

My father was a monster and my mother had faced the beast for near thirty years.

Tonight it would stop.

I remembered the blood. I could still smell it. It was bizarre to think it was also partially my blood. I had killed my own blood.

In that moment, when the eyes of the monster showed a disturbing sliver of grey, the color that belonged to the man just before they closed for good, I knew I hadn't defeated anyone. I hadn't saved my mother. I hadn't done the right thing.

I wasn't a hero.

I'd become a murderer.

Now, three years later I was simply waiting to die. It wouldn't happen soon; my lawyers were still trying appeal after appeal to prove it had been self defense but without my mother's testimony, it was pointless to even try.

My father had been an upstanding citizen and I was the rebellious coke snorting son who had killed him in a fit of rage during a high.

It didn't matter that I had been completely sober and sound of mind that night. Yes, I had done coke a couple of times as a kid in college but since the moment I had met Bella I had never touched the stuff again.

But during my trial, I had been damned either way. Coked up and out of my mind, I was the drug infested monster who had killed the highly respected Doctor Cullen according to the prosecution. Yet, when my defense had argued I had been completely sober and hadn't touched drugs in years, the prosecution countered with premeditation because apparently I could've stopped myself from killing my father because I was sober but I hadn't.

Bella had been a character witness and she had testified about the cruel personality of my father but without crucial witnesses like my mother and my siblings, there had been no way a jury would have ever ruled in my favor.

And they hadn't.

I'd gotten the worst punishment imaginable. Convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to death.

I would never see my son grow up. I would never be a real loving and caring father to him. Because my own father had been such a monster.


BPOV

"And so the little ducky swam with his brothers and sisters every day and they lived happily ever after. The end."

After his bath I had dressed Luka into his Batman pajamas, courtesy of his uncle Emmett who had said that his nephew needed to know who the most, and I quote, "badass superhero was", and after that we had made a plate of cookies and poured a glass of milk. We'd then placed them on the side table near the Christmas tree after which Luka had his nightly talk with Santa.

"Dear Santa, this is for you. Please don't forget to visit my daddy in the place he lives. Maybe you can bring him home this year. Mommy and I want that most of all. So if I can add it to my list then I wish for that most of all; my daddy to come home."

I'd choked back tears as my little boy had made his plea. I knew he missed Edward as much as I did even if he couldn't grasp the enormity of having to miss him every single day and the fact that there was a real possibility that he might never come home.

Luka was already fast asleep. He barely ever made it past a few chapters before his eyelids grew heavy and he would sink into a peaceful slumber.

I tugged him in and gave him one more kiss before I left his room.

This time of the night was always the most difficult. I was alone with no one to talk to. No one to share the events of my day with. I was allowed to call Edward once a week and we visited once a month.

But that wasn't enough to have an equal relationship.

I wanted someone to hold me. To love me. To make love to me and whisper sweet things in my ear.

I had none of those things. Sure, Edward never let a chance pass to tell me he loved me in letters, phone calls and face to face, and I knew he meant every word because I felt it and more importantly I felt the same.

I loved Edward because he was my soul mate and I believed he had done the right thing that night even if the rest of his family had their doubts – Emmett, or those who downright believed he was a killer – Alice and Esme.

The only one on my – ourside was my sister-in-law, Rosalie. She was a top notch lawyer and for three years she had stood by me to go over all the legal stuff; appeals, rights, court dates etc. All of it. She was also my shoulder to cry on.

I knew it had created some tension between her and Emmett, and between her and Alice and Esme but Rosalie was nothing if not resolute. She believed in Edward too and thought it was unjust that he was behind bars and even worse, on death row.

Of course, technically I was well aware that Edward wasn't innocent. He had killed his father that Christmas Eve three years ago.

But that didn't make him a murderer.


FLASHBACK

I was queasy and exhausted and couldn't get the image of the puddle of blood and the smell of it out of my head. The blue hue of the police sirens kept flashing in my mind, mixed in with the jade green of Edward's eyes.

He looked solemn and determined and without any regret. I knew what he had done and in the moment our eyes met as he was led away in handcuffs, I hoped to convey to him that there was no blame; that he wasn't a murderer. I loved him and I would support him. I knew all about what a horrible man his father had been; how he had terrorized the entire family when no one of importance was watching. How he had denigrated Esme into a doormat; a battered and broken woman.

A month before Edward had been convicted, Luka Benjamin Cullen was born and it was still the best memory I had of the three of us. Edward had still been out on bail but under police supervision and in that moment, the moment he had held his son, beaming and full of pride, showing everyone how unlike his own father he was, I'd had hope.

That hope had been dashed when Esme, that battered and broken woman had chosen her late husband – a monster who'd ripped her apart more than once - when legal justice had to be served. Leaving her son to rot in hell. Waiting for death.

I had never quite understood why she'd continued to defend her monster of a husband, instead of protecting the freedom of the son who'd saved her life, but I suspected that in a strange way she had and possibly still blamed Edward for ruining the family dynamic so violently, despite the fact that same dynamic had always been based on a lie. A farce. Or maybe she was glutton for punishment even now.

I had pleaded with her and with Alice to testify on Edward's behalf. Esme had refused and ignored my desperate pleas to not let her newborn grandson grow up without a father. Esme chose her husband's side and Alice, while admittedly conflicted, had chosen her mother's.

The only one on the proverbial fence had been Emmett but in his testimony he had only said his dad was aggressive sometimes, which the prosecution had spun into the idea of Carlisle being a heart surgeon under stress and that he sometimes needed to blow off steam but he loved his family more than anything, had always wanted the best for them which is why he had worked so hard. He had certainly not deserved to die at the brutal hands of his drug fueled son.

A lone tear trickled down my cheek and soon I was downright sobbing, longing for someone, anyone to tell me everything was going to be alright. I was so incredibly tired. I had to put up a front with Luka but this time of the year was so hard, so painful.

A nightmare that I relived over and over. Especially right before Christmas.

The day before Christmas was hectic because we were visiting Edward at night – Christmas Eve. I had to do some last minute shopping while Alice watched Luka.

Our relationship was polite, bordering on friendly when my sister in law involved herself with her nephew; whom she adored. I allowed her - and Esme and Emmett for that matter, to bond with Luka because I didn't want him to grow up without his family. I had to admit that my motives were slightly selfish as well. I still had the idle hope that looking at Luka would give them the realization he needed his father and that it would spark the incentive to help bring Edward home.

When I returned home I found them arranging the presents Alice had brought under the tree while they were singing and dancing along to some Christmas music.

"Well, what do we have here?"

A bouncing Luka ran over to give me a sweet kiss before he went back to dancing to "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer."

I couldn't help but grin at the way his little tushy shook to the music. I knew Alice had taught him that.

"I see you've been feeding your nephew too many Christmas cookies. He is bouncing off the walls," I accused Alice teasingly.

She stuck out her tongue and shrugged. "We were having a bit of fun."

I nodded smilingly and went into the kitchen to put away some of the groceries I'd bought.

I then proceeded to pull out some ingredients to bake cookies; cookies I would take with me tonight.

"Sugar cookies," Alice said knowingly. "Edward's favorite."

"Yes."

"Luka said he's going to see his daddy tonight," Alice said hesitantly.

I nodded. "They're having a Christmas celebration tonight."

"He was very excited."

"Luka loves and misses his father," I said coolly as I mixed the ingredients together. "He's always excited to see him."

"Who knows how long he has left," I added with a deep sigh.

Alice frowned. "You know, I never thought they'd go as far as sentencing him to death."

I snorted sarcastically. "It wouldn't even have been necessary if there hadn't been so many lies told by the prosecution."

"Bella…"

"Look, Alice, I understand you support your mother and that it's tough to hear bad things about your father but what about Edward? Do you really believe he would kill your father?"

Her frown deepened as she absorbed my words.

"Bella, he did kill our father," she said, her voice shaking.

"He was defending your mother while she lay in her own blood; dying!" I huffed exasperatedly. "He is the only one who didn't stick his head into the sand when it comes to the fact your father was an abusive person. And if he hadn't pried him off your mother that night, she would have died…"

Alice remained silent, her eyes filling with tears.

"Alice," I said my voice softer now. "I have to believe you love your brother. And you have known him longer than me. Is he really a premeditated killer?"

She shook her head weakly.

"Maybe he made a mistake in the heat of the moment. Maybe he should've sought help long before instead of letting it escalate, though I'm not sure that was his responsibility to begin with. The fact remains your mother was in danger and Edward saved her life. Carlisle would have killed her."

Alice was sobbing now, wailing even, although she tried to keep it down so that Luka wouldn't be upset but I could tell she was breaking down.

"It's too late," she cried. "Too late. Edward must hate me"

"Alice," I spoke firmly. "It's not too late. You can still fix this."

"How?"

"Well, for starters you can come with me tonight to visit your brother."


The drive up to San Quentin was quiet. Soft Christmas music played in the background as Luka took a brief nap and Alice stared out of the passenger seat window. Her leg was bouncing which I took to mean she was nervous.

I wanted to comfort her and tell her everything was going to be alright and that Edward would be happy to see her, even if it had been years.

But I didn't speak. I wanted to leave her with her thoughts and not add to her nerves in any way.

When we arrived I noticed how crowded it was and I hated that finding a spot would take us ages.

I sighed in frustration.

"Let me park the car, so you and Luka can go in," Alice suggested.

I flashed her a thankful smile and unbuckled myself. Then I got out of the car and moved to open Luka's door so I could wake him up and take him inside.

"Are you sure I can come along?"Alice asked suddenly. "Shouldn't I be registered beforehand?"

"I know Marie, the receptionist and Phil the warden pretty well. I'm sure there won't be a problem. There's a maximum of three visitors per inmate so it should be fine."

"Okay," Alice hesitated.

"Do you want me to wait?" I asked as I unbuckled a sleepy Luka.

"No, I'll see you inside."

"Okay," I nodded as I lifted Luka into my arms. "He'll be glad to see you, Alice.

"Come on Luka bear. Let's go see Daddy."

"Daddy," he echoed with a content sigh.


EPOV

"You getting to see your wife and kid tonight?"

Felix, a bulky big guy with more tattoos than his skin could carry was lifting weights as I ran on a barely functioning treadmill.

"Yeah, I am."

It was thirty minutes until our special Christmas Eve visit would start and I honestly couldn't wait. Three whole hours with Bella and Luka; it was something I'd been looking forward to and longed for. I'd seen them a month ago but that was a long time when you missed your wife and son like crazy.

Until visitors arrived we were allowed to spend time outside our cell, either in the TV room or in this small gym. Because the TV room was showing A Nightmare Before Christmasand I hated that movie, I had opted to work out a bit instead.

Most days in jail were a battle to survive. And while this place was decent compared to the horror stories you sometimes heard about American prisons, you still had to watch your back and respect whatever hierarchy had been created before your time. If you didn't, life in prison could become hell.

The thing that made it my personal true hell though was the fact I wasn't with my wife and son every day and that eventually, I would die here.

I knew Rosalie and my legal team did their best with every appeal but without Alice or my mother attesting to my father's hidden cruelty and the real play by play from that night, it was pointless to hope I'd ever get out.

FLASHBACK

"Damnit, Esme! I saw you; you were flirting with Jose."

Jose was their new gardener and I was certain my mother was not flirting with someone who was barely twenty five. Ironically, she actually loved my father and wouldn't trade him in for a younger and probably less abusive model.

I pinched my nose as I crept up the stairs, tuning out my mother's whimpers as the back on my father's hand echoed against her cheek.

"Edward?"

I turned and found a very pregnant Bella looking at me expectantly.

"What are you doing?"

"They're fighting… he's really mad," I tried to explain, finding it hard to go into detail. Luckily, Bella nodded in understanding. She knew what a true monster my father was.

"What do you have to say for yourself, you whore!"

His voice was loud enough for Bella to hear. Her gasp and the frightened look in her eyes made me determined.

"This has to end," I said, before I dashed up the rest of the stairs. It was Christmas Eve and my father wasn't acting very peaceful. The monster was unleashed yet again. But this time I'd make sure he'd get back into his cage and stay there. He would not ruin Christmas.

Another slap sounded just as I reached the first floor. Followed by crying. And then a loud bang and glass shattering.

Silence.

The smell of blood.

I walked into the study and saw my mother in a pile of glass. A broken coffee table. Her body; battered, broken. Bloodied.

Then I saw red.

"Daddy!"

One of the best sounds in the world was the sound of my three year old son's high pitched voice. It was the sound of peace, happiness and home.

I had waited patiently in the private visitor room that had been assigned to me for tonight. There was even a small Christmas tree and some ancient looking garlands on the walls to make it more festive. Marie had arranged some toys for Luka and hot chocolate and some cookies to add to the Christmas spirit, though I was hoping Bella had brought some of her famous sugar cookies as well. They were my favorite.

I had even been allowed to buy a gift for Luka and Bella with the help of my only outside friend Garrett and Marie who had run it by Phil Dwyer, the warden. Because I'd shown good behavior ever since I'd been here, he'd become somewhat lenient. That's how it went; if you knew and respected the right people within these concrete walls; you'd be able to survive for as long as possible. Or at least until you were executed.

All in all it was almost a proper Christmas Eve, if it weren't for the fact that I couldn't spend it in the comfort and peacefulness of my own home.

"Luka!" I cheered as he ran over to me. I opened my arms and he ran straight into my embrace.

"I missed you, bud," I whispered against his coppery hair that Bella seemed to have smoothed down for the occasion. He was also wearing a red button down shirt and a black pullover. In my standard dark blue jumpsuit I felt underdressed compared to my son.

"Missed you too, Daddy. I brought you paintings and the lady at the counter said I could give them to you."

Luka thrust some drawings into my hand before he went to inspect the cookies.

I looked at the pieces of paper; one with a Christmas tree and three stick figures that resembled our family. There was one with Santa and a sleigh and one with me and a plate of cookies.

"Mommy's cookies have prettier shapes and sparkles," Luka muttered as he bound back to me. "Do you like your paintings?"

"I love them, bud!" I smiled.

"Good. Because that one is my Christmas wish," he explained, pointing to the one with me and the cookies. "I leave Santa cookies every night so he can give me my wish and bring you home for Christmas. Do you want to come home, Daddy?"

I swallowed deeply and willed away the tears that were forming in my eyes.

"Of course, bud. I want to be home so badly."

"Luka Benjamin!" a voice I recognized as that of my wife sounded. "I said no running away."

"Sorry, Mommy! Daddy likes his paintings. They have cookies here too but not as pretty as yours with the sparkles. Where is Aunt Ali, she can play with the train with me," he babbled on as he held up a toy train he'd found in the box Marie had put in the room.

I looked at the door and locked eyes with Bella. She was wearing black tights and a cream white sweater dress. Her wavy mahogany hair fell around her like a shiny halo, making her look like an angel. She gave me a beaming smile before she rushed on over into my welcoming arms.

"Baby," I breathed as I buried my face in her hair, soaking up the smell of sunshine and wild flowers. Home. "I'm so glad you're here."

"Me too," she whispered before she pulled away slightly to press her lips to mine.

I reveled in the electricity pulsing between us and even welcomed the growing erection in my jumpsuit because it made me feel alive again.

I would have gladly thrust my tongue into her mouth, had it not been for my son's disapproval and the shock of his words.

"Ugh, Aunt Ali, they're kissing again."

I froze and pulled away from Bella, my eyes instantly meeting the vibrant grey ones of my sister.

Alice was here. She never visited before but now she was here.

"Alice?" It sounded like a question.

She gave me a timid smile as she entered the room.

"Hello, Edward."


BPOV

"It's a train," Luka beamed as he revealed the box from the colored paper. "Santa brought me a train at Daddy's house!" He smiled happily while we grownups all held back our grimaces at his wording.

Edward's home should be with us.

I fingered the charm bracelet Edward had given me, with three silver letters that were our initials. B, E and L.

"You like it?" he asked sheepishly when he caught me playing with it.

"It's perfect. I wish we could've gotten you something."

"You being here with Luka is the best gift," Edward assured me as he brushed his lips against mine.

I pulled away with a lazy smile on my face.

"You two are still just as gooey," Alice commented softly. "It's sweet."

Edward gave her a small smile. "I'm sorry I didn't get you something, Ali."

She returned his smile but then rolled her eyes mockingly. "With your history of crappy gifts, I am relieved."

"Hey, that was one time! How was I supposed to know the difference between Backstreet Boys and NSYNC?"

"You weren't. You should've bought me a New Kids On The Block poster."

I smiled at their sparring and the sense of normalcy it brought, if just for a few moments. Maybe it would make Alice realize her brother didn't belong here.

"Pfft, they sounded all the same to me," Edward scoffed.

"Because you were tone deaf."

"I played the piano," Edward said exasperatedly. "Bella, help me out here."

"Sorry honey, you're on your own. I was a huge BSB fan."

"Mommy, I want to hear the music coming from the walls better," Luka announced, as he kept his ear pressed against the wall.

"The common room has a group of carolers," Edward explained the music. "Maybe we could go in there to see them."

"Yay! Christmas songs." Luka clapped.

"I'll take him," Alice rushed to say. "It'll give you some privacy," she said, giving us both a pointed look before ushering our son out of the room.

"So, what do you want to do?" I asked coyly as soon as we were alone, knowing quite well what my husband wanted, judging from some of the heated looks he'd given me all night.

Edward answered by kissing me hard.


APOV

"Aunt Ali? Will Santa bring Daddy home for Christmas?"

We were watching a few cheerfully singing carolers.

I sighed, not sure what to tell my nephew. I understood his wish and more than anything I wished things were that simple.

But they weren't.

Deep down I had always known Edward didn't belong in here.

Many times though in the past three years I had wished I could undo what had happened at the trial. The prosecution had fed on the sensationalism of my father's murder and had made it out to be that my father had been the victim, while the real victim, my mother, had been ignored.

She had chosen for it to be that way though; to remain invisible in all this. She had refused to allow her doctor, Doctor Gerandy, to give the defense her medical records from that night. She had testified for the prosecution, telling the jury what a good man my father was.

At the time I guess I had believed her. I mean, if she believed in my father's good character, who was I to force her to think otherwise. And I didn't want to think badly about my father either.

I'd been angry for so long; angry because my brother hadn't just killed the tyrant, the monster, but also the father who had read me stories at bed time, who had danced with me standing on his feet; the man who had called me his Princess. He would never see me get married, meet his grandchildren. I would never be his Princess again.

During Edward's trial Jasper had never pushed me to do the right thing and testify against my father's character; he had allowed me to cherish those childhood memories.

But I knew that by holding on to that now, I was depriving a little boy from making memories with his father.

A father who, for all intents and purposes and with only one monthly visit, loved his son so much more than my father had ever been capable of.

And so I knew what I had to do.

It was time to let go of the past and focus on the future.


EPOV

Our lips became frantic as our bodies hummed because of the connection between us.

"I want you so much," I said.

"We have to be quick," Bella said. "Your son inherited your patience."

"I believe that's how he was made," I growled as I cupped her sex through her woolen sweater dress.

Bella didn't waste any time either and cupped my erection through the cotton of my jumpsuit.

"Fuck, baby..." I hissed. "No too fast, please. Give me something to brag about to the boys."

She giggled as she searched for the buttons to release my cock from its confines while I nibbled at her collar bone.

Once she found an opening and she guided my hands to her tights, begging me to peel them off as I felt the wetness seeping through the cotton blend.

"You're so wet baby." I panted.

"And you're ready to fuck me?" She bit back playfully as her warm hand found my cock and pulled it out.

"You're almost bursting." She grinned as her fingers coated me with my own pre-cum.

"You do that to me," I growled before I spun her around and pushed her against the wall, plunging inside her and silencing her moans with my mouth.

Being inside of Bella, I was home and tangling her tongue with mine made me taste the sweetness of salvation, love and forgiveness.

My fingers found her clit and rubbed with near forgotten expertise as my cock kept thrusting into her warmth eagerly and with wild abandon.

I knew I wouldn't last long and when I heard Bella whimpering in satisfaction and her walls clamped down around me, I lost myself in wonderful bliss.

"Fuck Bella, I love you so much."

"As I love you," she whispered as I held her up while we both tried to regulate our breathing.

After a little while I pulled out of Bella, ignoring the loss and hugging her close.

"Merry Christmas, baby."

"Merry Christmas, Edward."


BPOV

Goodbye came all too soon and I hated having to leave Edward here. Luka was cranky because he was tired and whimpered that Daddy was supposed to come home now because Santa had promised.

I swallowed back my own tears as I tried to comfort him. Edward's own eyes were misty as he hugged us both.

"I love you both so, so much," he whispered, looking so forlorn it made me want to scream.

"Love you too," I murmured. "Don't forget that. We will keep fighting."

He nodded against my hair before he reluctantly released us.

Alice stood in a corner, tears streaming down her face.

"This is so wrong," she said. "You shouldn't be in here."

She went over to hug her brother.

"I'm going to talk to Mom. And to Rosalie to see how I can help with your appeal. Dad ruined enough. It's time we move on and be happy."

Edward and I looked at each other in shock.

"Really?"

"Yes," she said firmly as she gave her brother one more squeeze. "Santa may not be able to bring you home this year; but I'll be damn… darned if we're not going to try our hardest to get you home by next year."

Tears trickled down my face as I joined my husband, my son and my pixie sister-in-law in an emotional group hug.

After years of bad Christmas' Eves this one had finally brought some hope.

~ the end


Thank you to my BETA and friend Parama for helping with this one-shot.

I am definitely considering turning this into a multi-chapter story but it won't be until I finish BOTW :)

Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed this on the Countdown. Find all the one-shots here: www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net(slash)s(slash)7348457