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"So much for a white Christmas, huh?" I snorted, staring out the car window as Edward took a sharp turn down a small road, one that was practically hidden by trees.
"Okay, fine. So, it hardly ever snows here," he admitted, reaching over to give my leg a light squeeze. "And if it does snow, it rarely sticks."
I clicked my tongue, making my disappointment known. "You just crushed all of my dreams in a matter of seconds."
"Dreams involving snow?"
"I wanted to build a snowman. I wanted to make the perfect snowball and throw it at your smug little face," I explained, laughing to myself as I imagined it.
"If you want, I can cut up some paper and sprinkle it from above your head."
"Because that's the same as snow falling from the sky," I said flatly.
"Probably better than snow. It won't melt, therefore keeping your clothes and hair from getting damp. Besides, it's the thought that counts. Don't hate on my creativity."
"Creativity... insanity. Whatever." I leaned over the console and planted a kiss on his cheek. His idea was stupid, yet somehow charming, and he looked so damn cute all bundled up in his sweater. Even decked out in winter wear, the guy did not disappoint.
We passed a few mailboxes that indicated there were houses nearby, though they weren't visible from the road. The sky was growing dimmer and I stifled a yawn. We'd been driving for what felt like forever, when in reality it'd only been around three hours.
"We're almost there, right?"
Edward nodded, keeping his eyes on the road.
"Well, how much longer?"
He shushed me. "I like this song."
My self-diagnosed case of ADD, plus my lack of patience—courtesy of being an only child—usually made road trips extremely boring. Add in the fact that Edward was a brat about controlling the music, and I was counting down the minutes until we finally arrived.
Edward's assessment of not much turned out to be another thirty minutes. We argued for twenty of those minutes about what exactly not much entailed time-wise, until he gave up and let me choose the music for the last ten minutes.
And then, finally, we turned onto a wider road, which eventually led to a large, two-story white house. The exterior of it was decorated in white Christmas lights, and a tasteful wreath hung on the front door.
I whistled as I stared. "Nice place, Cullen."
I did a little oohing and ahhing, mostly just to get on Edward's nerves. We all knew his parents had money, and for some reason, Emmett and I loved to tease him about it. We were kind of assholes.
Edward tugged on a strand of my hair, vying for my attention. "Hey."
I turned in my seat. "Yeah?"
"Don't be nervous," he mumbled, grabbing my face with both hands and pressing his lips to mine for a quick second.
"Okay, Richie Rich."
"Don't even start," he scowled, cheeks turning a light shade of pink.
I wrapped my scarf around my neck and grabbed my jacket as he exited the car to grab our bags. Drizzle fell from the sky as I hopped out, following behind Edward as we walked up to the door. I mimicked his movement as he wiped his shoes on the doormat.
"Ready?" he asked, smiling affectionately as he turned the doorknob.
I nodded. It was whatever. I could be chill.
"We're here!" Edward called out, stepping to the side and letting me in first.
A woman with honey-colored hair walked into the foyer, smiling widely as she wiped her hands on her apron. She had flour on her face, but Edward still leaned over to kiss her cheek.
"Hey, Mom," he greeted, then politely hung both of our jackets on the coat rack in the corner.
Before he had a chance to introduce me, his mother's eyes flicked in my direction as I unwrapped the scarf from my neck. "You must be Bella."
"Mrs. Cullen." I cleared my throat and stopped myself just short of a curtsey. "It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," I cooed, receiving an elbow to the ribs, courtesy of Edward.
Instead of shaking my hand, his mother reached toward me with open arms and drew me into a hug.
"Please, call me Esme," she said as we pulled apart. "It's so nice to finally meet you. We've really heard so much about you."
My face fell at this, because I knew exactly what they'd heard. It was then that his father—the only man in the world who could wear a sweater vest and still be considered attractive—decided to grace us with his presence.
"I'm Carlisle, and that over there is the guest bathroom." He pointed down the hallway, and it took everything I had not to die from embarrassment. "We also have three bathrooms upstairs—"
"Thanks for that, Dad," Edward mumbled awkwardly, rubbing a hand over his chin. "Way to make an impression."
"Just trying to be helpful," he chuckled, offering me a wink.
"Thanks, um... I can assure you I won't be needing the bathroom while I'm here." The three of them stared as I fumbled my way through an explanation. "I mean, like, I won't be needing a bathroom to puke, so..."
I could not have been less thrilled with this first impression.
"Don't make a promise you can't keep," Carlisle piped up. "You haven't eaten Esme's food yet."
"Charming," Esme uttered, shaking her head. "And don't embarrass the poor girl," she scolded, swatting his arm.
His dad laughed good-naturedly, giving Edward a nice pat on the back before pulling me into a hug. It was apparent in that moment that I was spending the holidays with what I suspected was a family of huggers. I wasn't sure how I felt about this.
Using his extraordinary ability to read people's emotions, Edward tugged at my elbow. "I think now's the perfect time to unpack," he suggested, shooting me an apologetic smile, nodding towards the stairs.
"Perfect," Esme agreed. "You two get settled and meet us in the den. Are you hungry? Dinner should be ready shortly."
"I'm not that hungry," Edward mumbled, reaching down to grab our bags. "But Bella ate some barbeque in the Austin airport, then ate two sandwiches from some café when we landed in Seattle, so she might still be hungry."
I shook my head at his nerve. And then, for whatever reason, I felt the need to lamely mumble, "I just... really like food."
"Don't be rude to your guest, Edward!" his mother chastised, smiling sweetly at me.
"Ah, she knows I love her," he said nonchalantly.
Right. Of course. I knew he loved me. But the fucker had yet to actually say the words. I narrowed my eyes in his direction, and watched his lips twitch at my reaction. I mumbled thanks to his parents before they disappeared, then began making my way up the stairs and down the hall.
"Yo. Where you going?" Edward called out, stopping in front of one of the doors I had passed.
I pushed past him and entered the room, falling face first onto the bed.
"That was a slightly painful first meeting," I mumbled rather pathetically into his pillow.
I listened to the door shut, then felt the mattress dip as he laid down beside me. "Come here, you."
"Let me be emo. Go roast chestnuts and drink eggnog while I wallow."
He laughed lightly, ignoring my request, and pulled me against his side. His lips pressed against my temple, and he whispered, "Bella... man the fuck up, 'kay?"
"You're supposed to be like... supportive and understanding. Man the fuck up? That's all you've got?" I whined. "I almost curtsied as I introduced myself to your mother! And then your dad was like I'm Carlisle, the owner of forty bathrooms for you to choose from in case you get wasted and need to puke in a sink."
"Thanks for the recap," he quipped, finding all of this too amusing.
"Shut up. Could I be more embarrassed?"
"Could you be more embarrassing?"
I slapped his chest. "Fuck you."
"Bella, chill. That was all standard shit down there. You made a great first impression, and I'm sure my parents hardly noticed that you were speaking with a slight English accent."
I sat up, swinging my legs off the bed. "How long do you think it'll take for me to walk to the airport?"
Edward laughed and yanked me back down, pulling me lie on top of him. "You're so weird. Stop. Everything was fine, okay?"
"I'm going to believe you for a minute, because I think I might be having a stroke. Your dad is a doctor, right?"
He affectionately rubbed my back in an attempt to keep me calm. "Yeah, but he doesn't specialize in hypochondria."
"That's too bad," I chuckled, burying my face against his chest. "Oh, which room am I sleeping in?"
"You'll be in here with me, moron."
"But your parents—"
"Aren't stupid," he interrupted. "I'm twenty-seven years old. I think it's okay if my girlfriend and I sleep in the same bed. Also, we're having family over tomorrow night for the Christmas Eve party, and I think a few of them are staying in the guest rooms."
"So, what you're saying is that I'm stuck with you," I teased, lifting my head and resting my chin on his chest.
"As if you don't want to be stuck with me." He smiled down at me, warm hands snaking up under my sweater.
"Edward," I warned.
"What?" He sat up, taking me with him and adjusting my legs so I was straddling him. His mouth covered mine, then traveled to my neck the same moment he reached for the hem of my sweater.
I pulled back and swatted at his hands. "Your parents are downstairs!"
"Exactly. And we're up here," he said, smug grin on his face. "Let me make you feel good," he mumbled lowly against my mouth, lifting my sweater over my head.
I gave in, moving my hips against his. "Well, your parents already think I'm an alcoholic. Might as well add promiscuous to that list, too."