Title: A Very Merry Falling Forward Christmas

Author Penname: KaitieBatie

Rating: K+

Summary: When the crew gets together for a Christmas celebration, something big happens. Something not everyone was expecting.

Warnings: none

Banner Maker: hobee1971


"Chickadee, are you ready yet?" I asked for the six hundredth time.

"Almost ready," she yelled down the stairway for the hundredth time since she went to get ready.

I sat on the arm to the love seat and sighed. Bella and I had moved back to Phoenix a year and a half ago when Charlie told us that Renee had left their home to us. The move was not as easy as we thought it would be and took longer than anticipated since Bella had to put in for a transfer from the Columbus office where she was working to the Phoenix office. Today we're getting ready to celebrate another first Christmas, this time in her childhood home. A smile grows on my face as I remember our very first Christmas together.

After the football game was a success, our parents decided they needed to force us to more school events, which is how we ended up dressed to the nines and in the school gym trying not to send Bella to the hospital. My jaw almost fell to the floor when she came out to meet me when I picked her up. Her long, lightly tanned legs looked even longer in the red mini dress and sliver heels. I waited, trying to keep my face from giving away my surprise gift for her, while she walked carefully down the stairs. When she reached me, after what felt like forever, I flashed her my signature smile and pulled the dozen roses from behind my back.

"You see these roses? You will be with me, always in my heart and mind as long as one rose remains." I said, placing a kiss on her cheek before handing her the roses.

Her face lit up with a smile I knew would only lead to trouble. Bella turned toward the stairs, placing the flowers down before picking up a neatly wrapped box. "This is for you…I think your mom might find it funnier than you will."

I ripped through the wrapping paper, discarding it everywhere before opening the box. My mouth fell open as I stared at the object that sat inside. "What is it…?" I asked, eyeing the object warily.

"It's a new alarm clock. Your mom helped me pick it out since your other one is epically fail at getting you out of bed." Bella teased.

I laughed, shaking my head. "Silly girl, I refused to get out of bed because if I stayed there long enough you would always come and get me. I prefer to wake up to you over any alarm clock the world could create."

I was pulled out of my memory when Bella finally made her way down the stairs, with something hidden behind her back. I met her at the bottom of the stairs, my curiosity getting the better of me.

"What'cha hiding there Chickadee?" I asked, trying to reach behind her.

Bella turned and slid by me, still keeping the mystery object hidden behind her. "Now don't you go peaking Mr. Whitlock, it's a Christmas present that you'll just have to wait until later to unwrap. I thought you wanted to get going anyway Romeo, you were awfully impatient until I came downstairs."

"Fine, I will let you have your secret for now." I took her hand and led her to the car.

We drove out to Tim Mitchell's Christmas Trees, braving the holiday traffic since we both preferred to wait until the last minute for a tree. Bella thinks it smells better if you get it right before Christmas and I'm just lazy enough to wait until I absolutely have to get the tree. When we arrived we wandered through the rows and rows of trees, not really finding anything, but enjoying the time together outside of the house. We passed a few who looked like the older relatives to Charlie Brown's Christmas tree and laughed as the sight brought back memories of several Christmases during college. I was surprised when Bella brought up the worst Christmas we've spent together, junior year of college.

"I don't understand why you continue to see him,' I sighed as I sat next to her shaking form on the cold and unforgiving bathroom floor.

"Because he loves me and I think it may be the real thing. I just have to compromise with him a little more than I have been, that's all." Bella replied, sniffling and whipping the tears away as fast as they fell.

"Oh honey, trust me. He doesn't want to compromise with you. Think about it, he gets to hang out with whoever he wants whenever he wants, while you are expected to sit in his dorm room and have food ready for when he gets back, if he ever comes back. Alice misses you, as do Edward and I." I said as I slid her off the floor and into my lap.

"What am I supposed to do? It's pretty obvious you don't like me like that anymore and I can't watch Edward and Alice make goo goo eyes at each other without missing what we had. Laurent shows me he loves me and spends time with me." She held up her finger to keep me from interrupting. "I know it may not be what everyone else thinks I need but at least I'm getting what I think I need."

"Chickadee, I still like you like that. I miss you every night and wish I could hold you when your stressed or feeling down, but when you walked away from me after that argument and then started bringing Laurent around, I thought that was your indirect cue that we were done." I paused for a minute and a brilliant idea came to me.

I picked her up and carried her out of that asshole's room, not caring about her protests that she could walk or the stares we got from the other residents of the dorm. When I reached the common room, I put her down and then pointed above us, where someone had hung mistletoe. Her eyes lit up with recognition and then became daring. I leaned in, watching her as I got so close I could taste the peppermint on her breath, closed my eyes and pressed my lips to hers hoping that the kiss conveyed everything I felt for her and how much I had missed her. When she pulled away and wrapped her arms around my neck with a sigh, I knew she felt the same way and I would never let myself lose her again.

I returned to the present when Bella entwined her fingers with mine before pointing towards the rope lights the owner had strung across the lot. I smiled as I chastely pressed a sweet kiss to her plump lips. Things have definitely improved since that fateful Christmas. We found the tallest and plumpest tree and carefully loaded it into the bed of my 2011 F-150. When we got home Alice and Edward were waiting to help decorate the tree, their two year old twins wobbling their way through the front year as they explored the new surroundings.

"Bella!" Alice exclaimed as she ran the three feet that separated the two of them.

Edward and I shook our heads as we got the tree inside, tripping over our six year old Newfoundland, Muddles. Once the tree was in its stand and where Bella wanted it, the second part taking much longer than the first since Bella didn't actually know where she wanted the tree, Bella brought the ornaments and lights out from the hall closet and we began to christmasify the tree. While Edward and I adjusted the top so the angel could sit peacefully without hitting the celling, Bella and Alice began placing the presents underneath and it didn't escape my notice when Alice and Bella exchanged a meaningful look when she picked up the box she had brought down earlier. When the decorating was done and the twins were corralled for nap time we decided to open one gift since Christmas was only a few days away and Edward and Alice would be at his parents for the holiday. We always opened presents in alphabetical order, it made things so much easier since Bella and Alice were prone to argue over who got to open what first, so Alice picked up a thin box addressed to her from Bella and I. We knew she was having a hard time adjusting to working from home instead of the studio so we bought her a tool to help her out a little. Alice slid the pale pink and green ribbon off the plain white box and her eyes lit up like a little kid in the candy store when she saw what was inside.

"You guys, I can't accept this." She said, starting to hand it back to Bella.

"Mary Alice Brandon Cullen, you will accept this and you will make the most of it. I know you miss being able to work in your office and how much you despise drawing outfits by hand so I loaded the iPad© with ApparelMagic® and set it up so that you can email the designs directly to Kenley. Well, I didn't set that up; I had a little help from Emmett the IT guy at work." Bella said pushing the box back into Alice's tiny lap.

Bella went next picking up the box I had put under the tree for her. I tried to hide the nervousness that arrived when she chose that one. I knew she wanted to collect first edition books, but I also knew that no matter how nice the gesture, she was going to freak out when she looked up the price later. Charlie helped me out and I had been planning this since she mentioned the idea a year ago, but she wasn't one to enjoy having money spent on her. My breath caught in my throat when the lid slipped gently from between her fingers and onto the floor, hoping I wasn't about to have my nuts handed to me for the amount of money I spent trying to get this.

"Jasper, do you know what this book is worth?" She exclaimed as she ran her fingers over the gilt bands that decorated the cover before opening it and gasping. "Jasper I swear if Edward and Alice weren't here right now…your body would be hidden somewhere where it would never be found!"

"I take it you like it. Your father and I did some research and a little finagling to get it here for Christmas but the reaction was worth the money." I said.

"Jasper, you found me a signed first edition of Gone with the Wind. I'm not sure I want to ask how much this cost." She said, eyeing me with suspicion.

"Then don't ask Chickadee." I said shaking my head. "Edward it's you turn man."

Edward closed his eyes and picked up a gift, Bella's breath caught in her throat when he picked up that mysterious box from earlier. Edward looked at the tag before handing it to me with a smirk.

"I think I'm going to pass dude. I have everything I could ever want right here in this room. Why don't you open that one though?" He said wrapping his arms around Alice's shoulders.

I looked at the box, smiling at the messy wrapping job and remembering how Bella had talked me into wrapping everyone's gifts since every time she tried there was always part of it showing. I pulled at the small piece of tape, taking my time and enjoying the look of anticipation on Bella's face. Behind the simple snowflake wrapping was a plain white box, which I'm sure she had borrowed from one of her many pieces of jewelry. I couldn't control my curiosity anymore and pulled the lid off the box, flinging it in any direction, not really caring where it went. My jaw hit the floor when my brain processed what I was seeing in front of me. Nestled in that unassuming box was an even smaller stick with the word pregnant lit up on one end.

"Is this for real?" I asked, amazement coloring my voice.

"Yeah, you're going to be a father." Bella hesitated.

I got off my seat on the couch and picked her up, spinning us around and soaking in the sound of her laughter.

"Merry Christmas Romeo." Bella whispered to me as I put her feet back on the floor.