Thank you to JA Mash who made me a lovely banner. And I owe a big thank you and hug to my wonderful beta MC who is sticking with me through this little tale.
He's 29 and she's just 20.
Ride with me while we see them try to figure out themselves and maybe see if something is there between them.
I slung my bag into the back of Rose's black jeep.
I let out a deep breath; it was hard to believe it was that time of the year again.
Of course, we all knew it was coming. All that cramming and sweating out tireless exams. Yep, it shouldn't be a surprise that it was the end of another semester; time flew when you were studying your ass off.
I hopped in and tried not to shiver as the cold from the leather seats beneath me seeped through my three layers of clothes.
The Jeep rumbled to life when Rose flicked the key and I quickly blasted the heat.
"Cold?" Rose asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Uh yeah, WSU radio said it was supposed to be like ten below today."
She chuckled, "Yeah it's a tit nipply out."
I laughed at her stupid joke, while shaking my head.
Rose didn't waste time, she knew it was a long haul back home to Forks and we needed to move to make good time.
The rush of white flew past as Rose drawled on and on about how excited she was about the holidays.
A younger version of me probably would've scowled at her over her jubilance, but I just smiled and pretended to be listening. Not because I didn't want to listen to my best friend talk about Christmas, no, because my parents were spending the holidays in St. Tropez. I wasn't jealous of them at all. Honestly, I could've cared less about seeing them this Christmas or what they were doing, considering the fact that it had been over a year since I had actually seen them at all.
I decided to concentrate on something much better and definitely more appealing.
I wondered if he would be there. Who was I kidding? He'd never missed a year before, why would he start now?
"What do you think you'll get for Christmas?" she asked as she plugged in her iPod and skimmed it for something good to listen to while driving.
All I wanted for Christmas was one thing. I wondered if this would be the year I got what I truly wanted…
"When's he getting here?" I asked Rose discretely.
Rose's deep blue eyes gave me the once over before she tossed her blonde hair over her shoulder, satisfied that I hadn't wrecked the outfit of hers that she had insisted I wear home, she gave me a nod. I didn't really know why she bothered, she was an easy ten compared to me, but she tried and I went with it. I kept telling her that I would never look as good as she did; my brown eyes killed the outfit. Her blue ones were what made it.
Rose was my best friend and had been since we met in preschool. I'd been pretty much living with her family since I was old enough for sleepovers, thanks to my parents' ever present business trips. And somehow it seemed like the holidays were even busier for them, so that meant for the seventh year in a row, I was spending it with the Cullens.
The oversized white house at the end of the wooded road always brought a smile to my face. It meant laughter, smiles, and good times had by all.
The smell of Esme's freshly baked chocolate chip cookies tempted my nose. Another smell that meant it was truly and definitely the holidays!
I swear every time I would come home I found a new reason for sweat pants.
"He should be here by dinner," she answered hauling her bag over her shoulder.
I did the same and followed her up the familiar stairway.
We were home for a month so we had tons of stuff with us. At college Rose and I were lucky enough to be roommates, so yes that meant that when I was too lazy to do laundry, she was too.
I headed for the guestroom that was conveniently right between Rose and Edward's rooms and smiled when the door creaked open and the room looked the same. The light lavender walls were painted the color that I had picked out when I was ten. The cream colored rug that lay beside the bed, the patchwork quilt that was folded back inviting me into bed, the knick-knacks that cluttered the bureau, everything, and it was all the same. I sighed.
Now this was home.
Esme had changed the sheets and dusted the room, but every damn thing was the same and I loved that. There was never any familiarity when I went to my parents' house, no, nothing that screamed this is where I grew up.
I unpacked my clothes and messed with my dark hair. The typical things girls do.
After grabbing my book I lounged on the bed. I had a month to read a bunch of books for my next class and I figured I might as well start now.
When someone knocked on the door I nearly fell off the bed.
"Come in," I mumbled trying to right myself.
Rose came running in.
"What's up?" I wondered.
"Edward's gonna be here in a minute," she said. I glanced at the clock and she was right.
"So?" I asked wondering what her fuss was about.
Her hands twisted and she sighed.
I narrowed my eyes at her wanting her to just spit it out. It had been a long enough day as it was;, I didn't need her messing with me over trivial shit just for the hell of it.
"He's bringing someone."
Her words silenced the room. Everything from the low hum of the TV, to the warm breeze blowing up from the vent seemed like it had fallen on deaf ears.
I gulped. She'd been trying to be a good friend and not hurt me.
Rose knew deep down that I maybe, sorta, kinda had a thing for Edward, but she also knew there was no way in hell I was going to ever act on it. For one, he was twenty-nine. If the nine year age difference wasn't cringe worthy enough, let's go with the fact that I grew up with him, meaning not only was he Rose's older brother, but he was also like one to me too. Weird huh? Yeah well that was me, crushing on my kinda, sorta older brother.
Rose was cool though, she found out a few years ago and other than a little teasing as to why I was putting mascara on to open up Christmas gifts, she was pretty understanding. She even encouraged me to do something about it once I was eighteen, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
"Like a girlfriend?" I hedged.
If it was anything more serious I didn't think I could handle it...
Rose nodded, popping her gum.
I breathed a sigh of relief, for a minute there I wondered if Edward had finally caved and gave into Esme's wishes for him to settle down.
A girlfriend was nothing to Edward. A dime a dozen. But not many had made it home, which was why Esme was constantly after him about growing up and finding a decent woman. Usually they were long gone by the time the holidays rolled around. I figured this one must still be new.
"What's she like?"
Rose shrugged. "He said she's Irish, that's all I know."
I nodded and in my head I pictured a homely frizzy haired redhead, with pasty white skin marred with ugly brown freckles everywhere.
"You okay?" Rose asked.
She was so sweet when she was concerned, but really I wasn't worried.
I nodded and gave her my best smile.
Nothing to really worry about there.
"Girls! Edward just pulled in, come on down!"
Esme hollered up from downstairs.
I took a quick look in the mirror and with Rose's nod of approval we headed down.
I could see Edward's baby, a bright red 2002 Chevy Camaro, sitting proudly next to Rose's Jeep. So I fixed myself casually on the kitchen bar seat and waited to be greeted by the new Irish tart Edward was toting around.
Esme smiled warmly and placed a fresh cookie in front of me. I smiled back and murmured my thanks before I broke the cookie in pieces. It still boggled my mind just how much Edward looked like his mom. But the same could be said for Rose and her dad. I swear they were like clones instead of kids.
My attention snapped back to reality when I heard the clicking of heels making their way up the walk. I shook my head for a brief moment.
Really? Who wears heels right after a snowstorm?
The back door opened and Edward stomped off the snow from his boots before entering the kitchen. The wind whipped and blew in some stray flakes while he shook out his beautiful hair.
I took a long, full second to appraise him.
His cheeks were flushed from the cold and his hair was slightly damp. I wanted nothing more than to go over there and warm him up.
Mmmm he still looked so good.
My brain almost forgot that he was bringing someone with him, but when he stepped aside and made room on the mat for her to come in I tried to brace myself.
Then in walked nothing like I had imagined. I meant nothing… I didn't even have words for what she looked like.
I was so shocked that I lost my balance up on the seat, slipped right off and fell flat on my ass right there in front of Edward and his new girlfriend.
Merry fucking Christmas to me!
What'd ya think?