This was my entry for the Fact or Fiction Countdown to 2014. Thanks to Breathe of Twilight for hosting, and to Midnight Cougar for all your love, support, brainstorming and of course, the mighty pen of yours!
Grace Like Snow
"Isabella Marie Swan, if you get in that car, so help me God…"
"I'll be fine, Mom," I insisted, much to my mother's dismay. She could tell this was a battle she wasn't going to win against her twenty-year-old daughter, but I knew in my heart I really would be fine. "The snow's not that bad now and the reports say the roads are passable with caution. I promise I'll stop and call you every now and then to let you know I'm okay."
My father placed his arm around my mom's shoulder, hugging her tightly to him in reassurance, but the look he gave me was one of pure seriousness.
"If you wreck that car or, God forbid, get hurt, I will take it away," he threatened me sternly. "It really would make us feel better if you let us drive you back to school."
"Dad," I whined, wishing they would stop treating me like a child and more like the woman I was today. "It's three and a half hours both ways; that's too much driving for you in one day, and I need to get back a few days before classes resume. I'm a safe driver and I know I can handle it. Trust me."
My dad gave a terse nod, knowing I wasn't going to back down and pulled me in for a hug. The three of us hung on tight for a moment, and before my dad let go he kissed the top of my head.
"Please be safe," he said quietly.
"Always am, Dad," I answered back with a wave. I picked up my duffle bag and was out the door, looking back at the Christmas decorations still up, thinking of the perfect holiday that was now over.
Once the car was warmed up, the tunes were blaring and the windshield was clear, I made my way onto the road for the long drive back to campus.
I really was lucky to be able to visit my parents as often as I did – Seattle to Forks in fact wasn't that far a distance. The drive usually wasn't a bother at all. I loved the solitude after a busy time at college or dealing with my mother's incessant chatter while I was at home. I loved the woman, but boy could she talk!
The roads were pretty clear, of both people and snow, and I jammed along to the music all the while keeping my eyes on the road ahead of me. After twenty minutes, I pulled over to the side and called my parents. I knew they would be worried sick and decided to call them as often as I could and still make decent time.
Needless to say, they were relieved, and I signaled to rejoin the light traffic around me, feeling a little better at leaving them like I had. Being their only child, and Dad being Police Chief, they'd always been very protective.
I hit the CD button in my old car and found my favorite song, Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew and let the music wash over me as I drove. I put it on repeat and made my way steadily on the lightly snow-covered road.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now I'm found
Was blind but now I see so clearly
After a couple more stops to calm the parental units, I noticed the weather seemed to be getting a bit worse the closer I got to Seattle. It wasn't anything I couldn't manage, Dad had taught me well, but I gripped the wheel tighter as the snow started falling heavier with each passing minute. The roads were becoming slick and I sat up straighter, my hands at ten and two. I blew out a big breath; I could do this.
Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, washed away
Moments later my car started to slide a little, so I eased off the accelerator and slowed down, looking for somewhere to pull over for a bit. Before I could find somewhere suitable, I approached a sharp curve to the left with snow gathered in spots, making the driving even trickier.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
In mere seconds, my car fishtailed out of my control. I kept spinning my steering wheel and was gently pumping the breaks but could do nothing to remedy the situation.
Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, washed away
This was it, I thought, my mind preparing itself for the worse that was sure to come. I could see a huge ditch and a telephone pole and knew that one of those had my name on it.
When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We've no less days to sing Your praise
Than when we first begun
As soon as the thought left my head, my car came to an abrupt stop. Right smack dab in between the ditch and the pole against an icy snow bank. My side, back door was literally within inches of crashing into the telephone pole. I sat there in disbelief, with my heart pounding; Grace Like Rain continued to play in the background.
Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, washed away
There I sat stock-still in shock, thankful that God saved my life from a major accident; because I knew deep down this was nothing short of a miracle. If it hadn't been for that hard snow bank, I would have been wrapped around the pole or upside down in the deep ditch.
The relief was short-lived when I realized that although I was alive, my car was stuck, and I was still on the outskirts of the city; a good half hour driving distance away from the college. There was no way I could walk that far in this weather, and calling my parents was not an option. I didn't want my car to be taken away as they had threatened – and I knew my dad was one to hold onto his word. Besides, it was way too far for them to drive and I didn't want them driving in the bad weather, plus I could sit here freezing to death while I waited.
There really was only one option: find help, so I got out of my car to survey the surrounding area. In the distance, I could make out a small house through the snowfall and decided it was close enough to walk there safely. I tugged my hat down on my head, my jacket closer around my body and pulled my gloves out of the pocket and put them on, praying to God that someone would be home.
And that they wouldn't be some psychotic serial killer or something.
As I neared the house I began to doubt I would be so lucky. The place looked more like a rundown shack than a house – a winter cabin; but since there were no other houses as close, I took my chances. I knocked on the door, more afraid the door would fall off its hinges and I would anger the unstable hermit I was sure lived inside before I even had the chance to say hello.
I stood for a few minutes waiting, but when no one answered, I turned and headed back down the dirt road leading back to the main highway, when I heard his rough voice.
"Can I help you?" a man asked, and I turned in hope and fear at the same time.
The man, who walked toward me, seemed to tower over my small frame; easily reaching at least six foot, if not more. His broad shoulders were covered by a quilted, flannel jacket, an axe slung over his right shoulder. I couldn't make out his face except for the grizzly beard and a pair of beady eyes. His head was covered with a hunter's cap, the furry ear flaps shielding him from the cold and me from getting a good look at his face.
My body shivered as he approached; a defense mechanism from the creepy man who, in all honesty, scared the crap out of me. I knew, though, that he was my only hope, and even if he was going to kill me with that axe, there was no way I could outrun him.
I sucked in a bit of air and spoke as assuredly as I could. "I'm sorry to bother you, sir, but you see, I am having a bit of car trouble. My car is stuck in the snow bank over there and I can't seem to get it out. I was wondering if you could help."
Creepy hermit guy came closer, his head in the direction of my sad, little car, and I stiffened at his proximity. The axe was getting dangerously closer and I didn't like it one bit, but I stood my ground.
Show no fear, and all of that nonsense.
Inside, my body was screaming at me to run away, even if it was to no avail.
"Sure, love," he replied, much to my surprise. "I've got a shovel over in the shed, and I can try and help dig you out at least. Hang on a second."
He disappeared around the corner again, leaving me to collect my thoughts and my oxygen. It was hard to breathe when your heart was in your throat, going a mile a minute.
His voice had seemed kind when he spoke with his soft English accent, more than his original greeting, and I began to wonder if I had jumped to conclusions. He had offered to help after all and called me "love."
When he returned seconds later, the axe was replaced by a shovel and I relaxed infinitesimally. At least he was being honest with wanting to help, I thought.
"Lead the way," he said, waving his hand for me to walk before him.
"Thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it. I'm trying to get back to college."
"It's no problem," he replied and continued to walk briskly toward my car. I had a hard time keeping up with his long strides as we walked in silence through the thick, heavy snow.
After a few moments, I glanced to my side, taking in his profile. With the hat pushed back, I could see him a bit more clearly…something about this man seemed familiar, but I shrugged the thought away, unable to place it.
I watched as he carefully dug snow out from under each tire of the car. The muscles in his back stretched the jacket tight as he worked meticulously, trying to rid my car of its snow-filled resting spot.
Sadly, it was to no avail. There was ice under the snow, and even as he pushed while I tried to slowly reverse the car out of the bank, it would not budge, just spin.
As I looked up at him from my vantage point in the driver's seat, when he walked back around to my window, it dawned on me. I did know this man. At least I thought I did. He didn't usually have so much growth on his face; but as his cheeks reddened in the cold and his eyes became alight with exertion, I knew it had to be him.
"Professor Masen?" I asked, unsure. "Is that really you?"
The man's piercing, green eyes shot up to my face, searching it for some clue as to how I knew him.
"You were my Global Politics professor a couple years back," I told him, feeling more confident in my assessment of him. "I'm Isabella Swan, Bella."
"Oh, right, yes, Bella," he muttered, peering in to look closer at me, his eyes showing a flicker of recognition. "I'm sorry; I, um, didn't recognize you all bundled up and outside of school." He cleared his throat. "It's, ah, been a while since I last saw you." His voice seemed to betray some emotion, but I was uncertain what it was I was hearing.
"It's okay; I didn't really know it was you until a few moments ago myself," I chuckled lightly; the man looked completely different from the fuck-hot teacher I would see on campus. I guessed this was what he looked like on his down time – since we'd been off for almost a month for Christmas break.
"Well, let's see if we can get this thing going for you," he said, taking my gloved hand in his and helping me back out into the cold. "And get you back to campus."
Professor Masen continued to chip away at the ice, and I tried to get my car moving in any way I could. It was so frustrating to hear the wheels spin but never catch on anything. I was beginning to lose hope.
Before my frustration could turn to anger or, more likely, tears, I heard a sound that was music to my ears. Both Professor Masen and I turned our heads in anticipation and were rewarded with the sight of a snow plow headed our way.
I rushed over toward the highway, throwing my hands in the air to try and flag down the driver. Professor Masen came up alongside of me and together we were able to attract the driver's attention.
"Looks like you two could use some help," the man said as he hopped down from his vehicle.
Both men set to work removing more ice and most of the snow from the wheels, and then pushing my car from its stuck position as I accelerated slowly. It didn't take long and my car was free!
"Thank you both so much for your help. I couldn't have done it without you."
"You're welcome, young lady. And now I best be off; got some more roads to clear." He nodded and with a tip of his hat, climbed up in his plow and drove away.
I rubbed my hands over my arms, trying to take the chill off that had set in. I had been outside in the cold for most of the day and now that the adrenaline rush was over it was starting to take its toll.
"Bella, why don't you drive your car over to my place and come in for some hot coffee or something?" Professor Masen suggested, watching me try in vain to warm myself. "You should get warmed up a bit before you get back on the road."
It sounded wonderful, but the selfless man had already done so much for me. "You don't have to do that, Professor, but thank you. You've done more than enough and I need to call my parents to let them know I'm still alive. They're probably starting to worry."
"You can call from my house. I'll get a fire going and you'll be warm in no time. It's really no inconvenience. I insist, Bella." His smile was soft, and it made his handsome features show through his beard.
I nodded my head in acceptance, because he seemed like he really wanted me to accompany him, and I actually was freezing out here. I drove us both the short way to his cabin. It was the least I could do; besides, it was silly to have him walk while I drove right past him.
Once we were inside, I took off my hat, coat and gloves and handed them to Professor Masen to hang up on the coat rack near the door. Immediately, he turned back around and clasped my small hands in his large, calloused ones. I was shocked at first, but immediately relaxed at his gentle touch.
"You're freezing," he commented softly, rubbing my hands with his in an effort to warm them. The gesture was not meant to be romantic, but it warmed more than my hands having him touch me so intimately, and when I glanced up, meeting his eyes, he was watching me intently. "Let me get that fire started." He quickly took his hands away and clutched the back of his neck as he walked across the room.
As he bent down to add wood and kindling to the fireplace, I glanced around the open-concept room. It was a typical bachelor's cabin, filled with plaid and woodsy-type décor – homemade book shelves, family photos and rustic-style furniture. There was a wide staircase in the middle of the room that led to a loft; which I assumed was also his bedroom; there was a small kitchen area down the short hall, in the back of the house, and off to the left was a door leading to what I could see was the bathroom. The house was of simple design, but it had a very homey feel, and I was more comfortable than I thought I would be in mere minutes.
"Thank you so much for inviting me in, Professor Masen. It's really thoughtful of you. It's been quite an eventful day."
He smiled at me. "Please, call me Edward," he said kindly. "Is coffee okay?"
The only thing I could do was nod. I was shocked at how informal he was here with me, as he was always the brooding and quiet, albeit sexy, professor on campus. I watched him walk down the hall into the kitchen and couldn't help but let my eyes graze over his muscled back and down farther over his firm ass. He was just as good-looking and alluring as he was when I took his class. I'd always had a hard time keeping my eyes off him and concentrating, but then, so did the majority of his female students.
Now that his hair was uncovered, I could see his gorgeous bronze locks in their usual, messy disarray. And his eyes were the same color of moss I normally had seen in class. I inwardly laughed at myself for thinking he was a crazy psychopath earlier. He was one of the most soft-spoken men I'd ever encountered, with his gentle British lilt.
While Edward made the coffee, I took a seat on the comfy couch and quickly called my parents. I did not tell them about the almost accident or the fact I was currently a half hour from campus; inside one of my professor's homes, lusting after him. Some things were best left unsaid.
I hung up as Edward made his way toward me with a steaming cup of coffee. Graciously, I took it and felt my hands warm up instantly. He sat down next to me with his own cup, turned his body toward me as he crossed his long, jean-clad legs, and my face became heated, as well.
His body was a respectable distance away, but the heat emanating off him was intense. Not to mention the way he was looking at me. His eyes were boring into mine, and I had to look away. I remembered catching him watching me in a similar fashion when I was his student, but never thought much of it, but now…now I was curious as to why he was doing it, and what it meant.
I took a sip of my drink to avoid his staring. I didn't normally blush, but I could feel my cheeks redden at his searing gaze.
"Are you feeling all right, Bella?" Edward asked in a suggestive tone.
I glanced up to meet his eyes again and my breath caught in my throat at the look on his face. "Yes, thank you. The coffee is perfect." I cleared my throat and looked around the room to distract myself. "This is a lovely place you have here," I commented, because it really was – maybe not from the outside, but inside I loved it.
"Thank you," he said, setting his coffee down on the table in front of the sofa. "I've had it for a few years now. I used to live in a small condo closer to campus, but several years ago I discovered this place, bought it, and have been working on upgrading it in my spare time ever since."
He stood up and walked over to the fireplace, replenishing the wood then turned back to me. He stayed, leaning his upper body against the mantle, ankles crossed as he continued speaking.
"I wanted a quiet place to myself. When I was younger I didn't mind the city noise and college atmosphere around me all the time, it was all right, but now, " he shrugged, "I like the solitude after a day at the busy campus, and it's better for writing, as well."
"Oh, that's right. I heard you were writing a text book. That's awesome. Wow," I remarked and smiled.
He nodded. "Yes, I am, and it's quite an endeavor." He chuckled and glanced over toward the large desk in the corner of the room – located between the bookcases – that was cluttered with his computer and writing materials. "Would you like to see the book cover? I know you enjoyed my class, as you were an excellent student…"
I smiled wide. "I'd love to Prof–, I mean, Edward." I stood up, placed my coffee cup on the table and made my way to the desk, standing directly behind the leather chair, in which Edward had just taken a seat. I watched as he jiggled the mouse, bringing the computer screen to life. After a few clicks, an intricate picture of interwoven political symbols appeared on the screen. It was really very interesting and I leaned closer for a better look.
"What do you think?" Edward asked as he turned his head toward me, but not realizing how close I was to him, his lips grazed my cheek.
I gasped and my eyes flew to his; just as I was about to back away, his hand came up and grasped the back of my neck, pulling my lips to his. It was a kiss filled with passion and… longing?
My body went almost limp as I lost myself in the kiss; I'd never been kissed like this before. My hands, on their own accord, found Edward's hair and threaded themselves through his shaggy locks. His beard, which I had thought bothered me, was now softly brushing my face and I couldn't have loved the sensation more.
Slowly, Edward swiveled his chair around, his hands moved to my hips and he guided me onto his lap, straddling him, but never breaking the kiss. His hands traveled up my back, cupping the back of my head, as he deepened the kiss, running his tongue over my lips, begging for entrance, which I immediately granted.
I was a goner.
Once our tongues touched, I lost all control. I could feel his arousal, hot and hard, as it grazed my heated cloth-covered center. I started to rock my hips, eliciting a groan from deep within Edward's chest. He broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against mine, both of us panting.
I opened my eyes, afraid of what I might see, but all I saw was lust and affection.
"Bella," he breathed. "I know this may seem…sudden, but I…I want you so badly."
"Then take me, Edward," I replied on a breath, pressing my lips to his. All of the fantasies I had the entire semester I was in his class were about to come true, and there was no way in hell I was going to stop him.
He didn't say another word as he reached down and lifted my shirt over my head. Once he tossed it to the side, he gazed upon my black lace covered breasts. "So beautiful," he whispered as he leaned forward and traced my cleavage with his tongue.
My hands found his hair again, anchoring him to me, and he peppered my breasts with feather-light kisses, but he didn't stay there long; he was eager for more. Quickly, he lifted me up onto my feet, and before I knew it, I was bare before him. His eyes traversed my body from my feet to my eyes, where he paused, beaming, before standing himself.
He picked me up, gently setting me on the edge of his desk as he began to undress himself. It was a beautiful, serene ambiance – the room was warm from the fire, which provided the only light, as twilight approached and it darkened outside. Edward's emerald eyes glowed in the firelight, and he was perfection, as he stood gorgeous and naked before me.
He reached out a hand, tracing my cheek with his fingertips, as I spread my legs to accept him and he stepped between them. I immediately felt his erection, hard and ready for me, as it grazed where I was more than ready to receive him.
"Bella, love, you have no idea how long I've waited for you." His fingers traced down the side of my neck, sending shivers down my spine, as he gazed into my eyes, trying to speak volumes without words. But I needed him to tell me, out loud, what he was saying.
"I don't understand." I searched his eyes for answers. "You were my Professor, and only that; we've barely seen each other around campus, and now…"
My breath caught in my throat as his hand made contact with the swell of my breast, while the other touched my wet core; the sensation tingling throughout my body.
He leaned forward and nuzzled my face, placing kisses on my cheeks, across my eyes and down over my jaw to my lips, where he kissed me passionately.
"I couldn't believe it when I finally realized it was really you today; I thought I was dreaming. I have wanted you ever since that first day I saw you in my class."
I gasped and pulled back to look into his eyes; I needed to see the truth in his words. "Really? But I always thought you were so distant with me because you didn't like me…"
He chuckled and shook his head. "Love, you took my breath away that first day…it was so bloody hard to stay away from you. But I knew I had to; you were my student. But then today, there you were…and I knew it was fate; that we were meant to be."
I crashed my lips to his, whispering, "Yes, God, yes." And he spoke no more with his words, but with his body, as he entered me in one swift thrust.
We moved in sync, like we'd made love a million times before, gasps of pleasure falling from our lips, as we both found our climax.
Once we had come down from our euphoria, I pulled Edward closer, holding him tight, as he kissed me tenderly, promising me this was only the beginning.
"You graced my life today, Bella love, and I will be forever grateful for this snowy day."
When I finally emerged from Edward's cabin feeling lighter and happier than I had all day, I walked over to my car, giving it a once over. There were no dents, not even a scratch to show what my poor car had been through.
It was honestly a miracle that proved to me God really did have angels watching over us. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the one with the mossy green eyes would always hold a special place in my heart.
And maybe one day, I'd have the guts to tell my parents how that extraordinary man came into my life. But not today, today he was my secret saving grace.
I have decided to donate a sequel of this for the Fandom Against Domestic Violence. Donations are due Feb. 28, 2014. Google it, it's very common ;) for more info!