Hey ladies! A little something new for the holidays... Hope you like it!

A huge thank you goes out to Midnight Cougar for getting this beta'd. She's like the peanut butter to my jelly. She makes everything better! ;)

Shout out to Maplestyle for pre-reading. I lubs you!

I don't own Twilight. I do own this thing.



Seven Days to Christmas

She met him at thirteen and again at twenty-seven. He's never forgotten her. A Christmas story about two people, luck, and a few special deliveries. ExB; Rated M; Romance.


Chapter 1 - August 2000

The smoke billows from between his lips. I can't pull my eyes away from them. He's oblivious to my staring, thank God, but I can't help feeling ridiculous nonetheless.

I watch, fascinated, as Edward throws his head back, laughing at something one of the other boys has said. If he only knew the effect staring at him—at the green of his eyes, or the way his lips curl around the end of that joint—had on me, he'd probably run for the hills.

I mean, it's not like he knows me. Not really. We just have the same cousin, Rosalie. My aunt is married to Edward's uncle, which makes me Rosalie's cousin on my mom's side.

Rosalie isn't only my cousin, though; she's also my best friend. Tonight, I'm sleeping over at her house. She's turning fourteen in a few days and we're celebrating a little early. Edward was at her house earlier and brought us to this party. I'll be turning fourteen a few weeks after Rose—coincidentally on the same day Edward turns nineteen. This party is sort of an early present for all of us.

He graduated high school last year in Chicago, then after that his parents moved here to be closer to Rose's family. They'd waited for Edward to finish school before doing so. Nice people, my mom says.

When he walked into Rose's room earlier tonight, announcing that he was stealing her away before leaving for college on Monday, I swear my heart skipped a beat.

He was beautiful. I'm no stranger to ogling cute boys, but he was by-far the cutest one I'd ever seen.

Rose squealed and hugged him tight, while I feigned indifference. He gave me a quick smile and told her to bring her friend along. That I should come too, seeing as it's ourbirthday soon. That's when it hit me as to which one of Rose's cousins he happened to be. I'd never met him before today.

So here I am, thirteen years old at a party surrounded by a bunch of people I don't really know and a few I make sure to ignore.

Rose gives me a quick smile and a thumbs-up, encouraging me to step it up a notch. I'm not stuck up, just shy. I know I look good tonight, but knowing I'm the youngest girl here is a little intimidating.

Rose has always said that Edward treated her with respect, even though he's five years older than her. Like me, Rose is tall and has grown into her curves. Neither of us looks like we're only thirteen and dressed like we are tonight, we blend in with these older girls.

We haven't been here an hour and I already can't wait to go home. I've spent the majority of my time doing some heavy people watching—mostly Edward, of course—and if I'm honest with myself, I'm bored out of my skull. The vapid blondes and smarmy frat boys attending this shindig aren't my scene at all. If it weren't for Rose's insistence that Emmett is meeting her here and she needs my company, I wouldn't have bothered staying.

I have to admit though, watching Edward take a pull from his joint, his lips puckering around the end and then opening to let the smoke out, makes this evening worth it. He has the nicest mouth, and I can't help but wonder how those pouty lips would feel pressed against mine.

"You okay?" Rose asks, handing me a red solo cup. I take it and gulp its contents, letting it burn down my throat and settle in my gut. "Slow down there, Bella. We just got here."

I nod. We got here exactly fifty-three minutes ago. "I know. I just need to loosen up a little." I lick my lips, my eyes sweeping over the room. At five foot six plus a few inches in heels, I'm pretty tall, making the task an easy one.

"Yeah, well, not too much. This isn't the vodka we siphon from Mom's stash every other weekend." She gives me a pointed look.

I roll my eyes, nodding. "I know, I know. Hey, where's Emmett? Wasn't he supposed to be here a little while ago?" A little distraction goes a long way.

Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Edward tug a pretty blonde against his side, his smile a mile wide as he takes a hit from his joint and then ever so smoothly blows the smoke into the girl's mouth. She inhales his breath, her eyes connected to his as he exhales. It's the hottest thing I've ever witnessed.

"Ugh. Edward's gonna be shitfaced," Rose says, sidling up beside me, leaning against the wall.

"Oh, does he do that often?" I ask, keeping my eyes on him. He passes the joint over to some other guy then kisses the girl's cheek, giving her a crooked grin before turning and walking out of the living room. I watch the girl stand there for a few seconds, obviously dazed. I don't know if it's the pot or the effect of Edward doing that with her, but it takes her a few moments to collect herself before she walks over to a few of her girlfriends and giggles with them.

"Edward is a straight-A student and a musical genius. He's off to UDub next week," Rose informs me.

"Huh. Well, the creative process often demands that we step out of our element," I ramble, feeling the effect of the alcohol flowing to my extremities. My nose is starting to feel fuzzy and my knees are weak. I'm warm all over and my vision is a little blurry. "What was in that glass anyway?" I giggle.

"Oh, geez, Bella. It's barely ten. You're drinking water from now on, okay?" She looks at me pointedly then her eyes start drifting sideways. I know the moment she sees Emmett because her face brightens up and her eyes become the clearest shade of blue.

"He's here, huh?" I ask, looking down and picking at my nails. I'm going to miss her. I know she'll ditch me the minute he joins us. I don't blame her though, but it sucks.

"Hey, Bella. Glad you could make it," Emmett says, wrapping his arms around Rose and pulling her into a porn-worthy kiss. Gross.

"Get a room," I reply, rolling my eyes. They're cute, almost sickeningly so. Emmett is a few years older than us. He got his driver's license a couple months ago. Rose's parents don't know about him.

Emmett untangles himself from Rose and pulls me to his side; Rose remaining on the other. "So Bella, anyone here worth your time?"

I shrug, licking my lips. "Emmett, you know the only boy worth my time is you and you're taken." I bat my lashes for effect and give him a sly, teasing grin.

"Yeah, he is," Rose chimes in, winking at me. She knows I'm kidding. Emmett is like a brother to me. Having lived next door to each other our entire lives, we're used to this kind of banter and flirting. Rose just ignores it for what it is. Any other girl would have torn me to shreds by now.

We stand around and talk a little. There is excitement over the new school year and Emmett mentions some other parties he wants to drag us to. I nod along, but I know I'll probably take a pass. I'm not sure this is entirely my thing.

"You two off to defile Mrs. Nielson's master bedroom?" I ask, leaning my head against the wall behind me and closing my eyes; the buzz from my drink weighing heavily on my limbs. I've been ready to go for a while now.

Emmett gives me a tight hug and releases me. "You betcha, Swan." He wiggles his eyebrows and smacks Rose's behind, making her giggle.

I turn my head and make eye contact with Rose who's smiling like a loon. "Be safe, kids."

Shaking my head, I wave them off, making my way across the room toward the kitchen. I can walk to Rose's from here, and there's a shortcut through the Miller's backyard that's calling my name. The spare key is under the mat and my aunt and uncle are still out. This makes the slight buzz I have a little more bearable. The fresh air will sober me up quickly.

I'm bored and tired. I came here to keep Rose company, but in all honesty, I'd rather be home watching scrambled porn on the thirteen inch television my parents installed in my room. I don't have cable in there, but the channels I get are pretty decent. Too bad I'll be sleeping on the couch in Rose's basement. The joys of our monthly sleepovers.

Making my way into the back yard, I'm surprised by the temperature. My thin sweater does nothing against the cold. I'll have to hurry up and get home before I catch my death, as my mother would say. I roll my eyes at myself.

"You heading home?" I hear someone ask from beside the door.

Turning, I come face to face with Edward. "Yeah." I look around. "This isn't my scene."

I lick my lips and watch his mouth as it curves at the corners. He's so cute. "Where's Rose?"

"She ditched me for her boyfriend." I shrug, wrapping my arms around myself; the cold seeping into my pores chasing away the effects of the alcohol.

"Oh, shit, here." Edward shrugs off his leather jacket and hands it to me. "I'll walk you home."

"I'm sleeping at Rose's" My eyes meet his. "Besides, you'll freeze."

He gives me that sweet lopsided grin and runs a hand through his hair. "Nah. I'm good."

We walk side by side through the Nielson's backyard, and Edward follows my lead into the Miller's yard until we reach the end of the street. We don't speak, but Edward stops to light a cigarette then jogs to catch up to me. I don't know what I'm doing here right now in his company, and in all honesty, I'm too nervous to hold a conversation with him.

"Didn't you have any other friends to hang out with back there?" he asks, taking a pull from his cigarette.

I watch the ruby-red embers crawl up the death stick, a bad habit he makes look good. "Not really. They're all older."

"Don't feel bad, they're not my friends either. Not really," he says, smoke smoothly escaping his lips as he throws his cigarette butt on the ground and steps on it.

"Then why did you drag us there?" I hug his jacket around me, inhaling the spicy-smoky scent wafting off the worn leather.

He pops a stick of spearmint gum between those nice lips and offers me a piece. The sharp taste of mint coats my tongue, and I internally fist pump because at least I'm talking to him and have good smelling breath. "Something to do, I guess. I met those guys last week. One of them, Riley, he's my neighbor. He told me about this party. I thought you and Rose would like to go out and see new people."

"Those people are only new to you, Edward," I point out, giggling. "Most of the stoners are in Emmett's class, and that blond girl you were smoking with, Katie, is in eleventh."

"And not friends of yours," he concurs, shoving his hands deep inside his pockets and hunching his shoulders, obviously cold.

"They're just older." I shrug. "But not foes—if that's what you mean. They're not bullies or anything." I see the house up the street and take Edward's jacket off, handing it to him.

"Foes?" He chuckles, shaking his head. "Rose always said you were the smart one." He takes the jacket out of my hands and puts it on, while I look under the welcome mat for the house keys.

"Rose didn't tell me much about you except for the fact we share a birthday." I shrug, tugging my bottom lip between my teeth. When I look at him, his red-rimmed green eyes are lazily assessing me, a smirk playing on those damn lips. I can't look away.

"Well, happy birthday, Bella." He leans toward me, and before I can do anything, puts one hand on my hip and the other on my cheek, pinning me in place with his gaze as he touches his lips to mine. They are soft, more than I'd imagined earlier. He takes my bottom lip between his, sucking lightly, I mirror the same movement with his top one, not really knowing what else to do. This is way better than movie kisses. As far as first kisses go, on a scale of one to ten, I'd give this one a two hundred bazillion.

"Holy shit," I whisper, wide-eyed, when he pulls away. Did that really happen?

He kisses my cheek and steps back, his scent lingering everywhere around me. "Good night, Bella." He bites his bottom lip, giving me one last lingering look before turning and walking away.

I replay that kiss over and over and over, my lips tingling with its memory, until I fall blissfully asleep.



So... Who's with me?

Next chapter to post on the 18th...