My Santa Savior



My Santa Savior
Bella's POV

Normally, I’m all about Christmas.

I buy my presents in October, and then spend all of November wrapping them.

When it’s time to put the decorations up, I’m as giddy as a five-year-old about to open presents.

I overdose on Christmas Carols.

By the time Christmas finally rolls around, I’ve already been drunk on eggnog at least three times.

This year, I still have shopping to do and there’s only two days left before Christmas.

The only decoration I have put up is a drawing of Santa made by my two-year-old niece that’s stuck to the door of the fridge.

All the Christmas albums are still packed in a box in the attic.

I’m just not feeling it this year.

Ever since last winter it's been one bad thing stacked on top of another and now I feel like I’m barely keeping afloat.

I’m starting to question everything about myself and my train wreck existence of a life.

I keep myself up at night with broody and self-loathing thoughts.

It's a good thing I have Claire, my niece, to keep my mood up or I would have pulled the covers up over my head and stayed in bed until August.

At the moment we're standing in line to have Claire's picture taken with Santa, in one of the too many malls littering the downtown area.

Christmas music is coming from huge speakers behind Santa's decked out throne, and I’m pretty sure the elves wouldn't be out of place at the Eclipse Gentleman’s Club.

I thought elves were supposed to wear stupid puffy shorts, and curly toed shoes, not knee high boots and mini-skirts.

I suppose it’s good for the dads in line to have something to look at, but still, it’s not exactly a family friendly environment.

I feel uncomfortable.

My arm is aching from carrying around a twenty-seven pound toddler for far too long today, and I really have to pee.

Unfortunately, Claire is in her most clingy mood today and starts crying as soon as I try to put her down, tiny fingers clinging onto my shirt for dear life.

I just can't go to the bathroom with her clinging to my hip like a baby monkey, I just can't.

It would probably scar her for life and I can't have that on my conscience.

“Next,” calls the elf, throwing her curly blonde hair back over her shoulder.

I give the ‘ho-ho-ho-elf’ an appraising smile, hoisting Claire up higher on my hip.

I’m somewhat pacified when she looks down abashed.

Maybe she’s doesn’t want to wear the clothes any more than I want to see her in them and my spirit lifts slightly.

That is, of course, until I come face to face with Santa, because Santa has gorgeous eyes behind the clever mask that turns him into a jolly old fat man.

Clear green with long dark lashes, and crinkles at the corners that are just visible between the bushy white eyebrows and the curly white beard.


Claire turns her head to look at Santa, eyes wide with half wonder, half trepidation and she digs her fingers into my shoulders.

“Hey there, sweetie,” Santa says, his voice low and rumbly, too sexy to come from a man in a velvet fat suit. “Aren't you adorable?”

Claire blinks.

She's two-years-old and her vocabulary is limited to maybe sixty different words.

But she stays quiet.

I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for Jacob begging me to take Claire to have her picture taken with Santa at this specific mall, because Leah heard they had the best photographer.

Jacob and Leah are determined to make this Christmas the best ever for Claire, considering how sucky her last one was.

I’m a good aunt, not only looking to Claire's needs but those of my brother and his wife, too.

So despite my own sucky situation, I do what I can.

Santa reaches a gloved hand up and holds it out for Claire to take.

He waits patiently until she unwinds her fingers from my shirt and touches his glove with a tiny smile.

I smile too, because it's all kinds of adorable and I melt just a little bit.

It's a lot less adorable a second later when Santa looks up at me, the corners of those eyes crinkling and a hot flash goes through me from head to toe.

After almost a year of licking my wounds and avoiding all contact with guys, I’m attracted to a guy in a Santa suit?

I need help.

“What's your name, sweetie?” Santa asks, turning his attention back to Claire.

Claire stuffs her hand into her mouth and hides her face against my shirt, suddenly shy.

I know she's anything but shy, but take pity on her anyway.

“Claire,” I say.

“Beautiful name and how old is she?”

“Two,” I answer smiling broadly.

Santa smiles too, his mouth barely visible behind the beard and I’m sure that's a good thing.

“You have a gorgeous daughter.”

“Oh, she's not my daughter,” I say, and then realize what that sounds like and hurriedly add, “She's my niece.”

Santa smiles again. “That's so sweet of you, to take her out like this.”

The ‘on your own’ is implied and I suddenly get the feeling that Santa is fishing for more information.

“What can I say?” I ask with a shrug. “I love the kid.”

Claire pulls her head out of hiding and suddenly twists reaching her arms out for Santa. I’m so surprised by the move I might have dropped her if Santa hadn't been there to catch her against his fluffy fake belly.

“There you go,” Santa says. “What do you say we sit down and let the nice man with the camera take a picture?”

Claire nods, eyeing the throne excitedly, and without the healthy dose of doubt she should have.

Her hand is stuffed in her mouth again and for some reason I want to snatch her back from Santa's arms.

Instead, I take a step back as Santa walks up to the throne and sits down with Claire on his lap.

“About time,” some woman in the line behind me mutters.

I turn around to glare at her, noticing that the line really built up during my little talk with Santa.

Claire seems to be more than comfortable, talking a mile a minute and winding Santa's long beard around her fingers.

The photographer snaps some pictures as Santa bends down to whisper in Claire's ear and then a few more, as she giggles, her entire body rocking with the motion.

Then the session is over and Santa waves for me to come and get Claire.

As I bend down and pick her up from Santa's knee, Santa slips something in my hand.

I manage to glance at it as Claire glues herself to my hip again.

It's a business card.

“In case you need a Santa for Christmas,” Santa says in a hushed whisper. “I’ve got references.”

I think that the only reference this particular Santa needs is the fact that he's managed to look so damn sexy in a fat suit.

I just nod and smile a little shyly.


I’m all too happy to be getting away from those tempting eyes before I do something really stupid.

For all I know Santa might look like a freak under that costume and maybe he really is as fat as his costume suggests.

I fully intend to throw the business card away.

Then remembering how upset Leah was when they couldn't find a Santa to deliver presents for Claire last year, I stuff it into my pocket.

Just in case.

The card isn’t for me.

I’m only keeping it to give to Leah, I convince myself and turn to walk away.

Then it’s time to tackle the process of getting Claire into her snowsuit.

I will never understand how such a small child can suddenly develop the strength of a tiger and arms of an octopus when it’s time to get into winter clothes.

When I’m done, sweaty and flushed with a disgruntled Claire put into her stroller, I look up to find Santa watching me over the kid sitting in his lap.

I smile a little self-consciously before turning away quickly; realizing belatedly that it would come off as some type of coy gesture.

Goddammit, I’m not flirting with Santa.

The whole ordeal has me so riled up that I almost leave without the pictures.

The elf catches me before I’ve gotten far, sticking an envelope and a note that says Jessica and a phone number into my hand.

What the fuck?

I guess I was wrong about that one earlier.

Either way, I didn’t see this coming, two phone numbers in fewer than ten minutes?

I look down for a moment, unsure what to do, giving her an apologetic smile.

She smiles back, bright red lips stretching wide, and I kind of wish the earth would swallow me up.

“So let me get this straight…” Jacob laughs, lifting his feet up on the coffee table. “You take my daughter out for three hours and manage to score two phone numbers? That's like a new record.”

I shrug, half embarrassed, half uncomfortable. “I guess.”

“It’s about time you get back on the market,” he says, sounding almost wistful.

I shrug again; I’m not interested in going out with anyone.

Leah comes down the stairs and Jacob hurriedly pulls his feet off the table.

“Our internet is still down,” she says. “Will you email Santa and make arrangements for Christmas, Bella?”

I nod, even though the last thing I want to do is open up a line of contact between me and Hot Santa.

I'd rather call Jessica, the elf, and set up a date.

Still I don't suggest for Leah to just call Santa, even though his number is listed on the card.

I’m pathetic, but my fingers are itching to organize something, even if it's only for Santa to show himself for my niece.

Jacob is totally right, I should start looking for a new job too, or I will turn into a sad hobo living on the street.

I’m not ready to put myself out there.

I moved to a big city, scored a dream job and a dream guy.

Last year around this time I thought everything was perfect.

Between Christmas and January 15th, it all went down the drain.

“Did you make up your mind yet?” Leah asks, sitting down next to Jacob on the couch. “Will you stay here for Christmas?”

I look at them, and kind of want to say no, but I can't face going back to Phoenix a failure.

I don’t want to spend the holidays alone in my empty apartment either.

I know my family loves me no matter what and I know they want to see me for Christmas, but I don't want to be bringing everyone's mood down.

“Yeah,” I say, smiling a little. “I'd rather be depressing you guys than be alone and missing my family.”

Leah laughs and kicks Jacob’s foot he tries to put on the table again.

“Did you tell your mom that you’re staying here for Christmas?” she asks.

“Uh… no, not yet,” I answer quietly.

Jacob leans over and pats my knee. “I feel for you, Renee is gonna freak out,” he says.

Telling mom turns out to be easier than I thought, she doesn't even turn on the waterworks.

When I hang up, I feel kind of miffed.

I don’t want her to cry, but she could have been a little more upset.

It's the first time I won’t be with my mom for Christmas since that miserable year in college when I couldn't afford the plane tickets and was too embarrassed to tell her or Dad.

They didn’t find out until the day before Christmas.

She sent me money anyways, but I wasn’t able to catch a flight until December 26th.

With that call out of the way, I’ve got nothing better to do than to contact Santa.

So I shoot off an email, explaining who I am and where I got the card, signing it with my name and contact info.

Santa's name is apparently Edward Cullen.

My curiosity gets the best of me and before I realize what I’m going I Google him.

I come up with nothing more exciting than the mall website listing him as their Santa, and a blog entry from a mother who apparently hired him last year and was very pleased with his performance.

Next, I try to Google the name for pictures, but all I come up with is a couple of him hidden in his Santa suit.

It's probably just as well; I don't need to know what he looks like because apart from a short encounter over Christmas, I’m not going to see the guy ever again.

Edward is obviously eager for work, because after a few minutes he emails back with possible times and references.

I wasn't planning on checking up on him, but since he insists, I make a couple of quick calls and get nothing but glowing reviews.

We email back and forth a couple of times more before everything's set.

When I turn the computer off for the day I feel more accomplished than I’ve felt all year.

I really need to pull myself out of this funk and start looking for a job.

Maybe things aren’t so bad after all.

At the very least, I don’t have to spend Christmas alone.

Instead, I will be with my whole family, since Mom and Phil decided to surprise me and come up for Christmas.

Also, it will be nice to actually see Claire open her presents this year.

I spend Christmas Eve with Jacob, Leah, Claire, our family and some mutual friends.

It feels good to be with my family again.

It's an easy, laid back affair with lots of food and drinks, and I go to bed in the guestroom feeling pleasantly buzzed and optimistic.

Considering how hard this year sucked, next year can't be anything but better and it’s time for me to start looking forward instead of looking back.

Besides, things are already looking up.

As if to prove my point, my thoughts drift to Edward.

I wonder what Hot Santa’s doing this Christmas Eve?

Last year I spent Christmas Eve with my ear pressed to the phone, listening to Jacob nearly hyperventilating with fear while they waited for the doctors to tell them what was wrong with Claire.

I spent all of Christmas Day feeling anxious and wanting to go home, even though Claire just had a severe case of croup, was in the most capable hands and with both her parents at the hospital.

Now, I fall asleep moments after putting my head down, lulled to sleep by the softness of the sheets and the lingering smell of fabric softener on the pillows.

My dreams, during the night, are dark and sexually charged; I wake up just before I’m about to cum with Hot Santa's lips wrapped around my clit and his Santa beard tickling the inside of my thighs.

I lie eerily still for a few minutes, feeling disgusted, and trying to calm my breathing down, because I’m afraid I’ll cum, if I so much as twitch.

I feel dirty and soiled and I kind of hate my brain for going there.

Santa is for kids, not for sexually deprived twenty-six-year-olds.

Maybe Jacob is right, I should get back on the market.

This isn't the first intense sex dream I’ve had in the last few months.

Although, it is the first sexual Santa dream I’ve had… ever.

Maybe it's a sign I’m getting my libido back.

Right now though, mostly it just feels like a sign that I’m turning into a sick pervert.

I finally deem it safe to get up and slip into the bathroom for a very cold shower before getting dressed.

Suddenly I’m happy I accidentally packed my ugly, oversized, flannel, Christmas pajamas because I’m sure that seeing Edward today will bring back uncomfortable memories of the dream.

I wonder what it is about that guy that has my stomach tied up in knots.

It’s not like I even know what he looks like.

He probably has a girlfriend anyways or worse even… a wife.

As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure Edward was actually flirting back at the mall, and there was nothing untoward in his emails.

Snap out of it Bella, I chide myself.

Pushing all thoughts of Hot Santa out of my mind, I sneak down the stairs.

It's still early and I don't want to wake Claire up if she's still asleep.

Leah's sitting in the living room, curled up on the couch with a blanket over her lap and a cup of tea in her hands.

She's got the TV on, but the volume is turned down so low I doubt she can even hear it.

“Good morning,” she says when she spots me. “There's coffee in the kitchen.”

“Morning, and thank you,” I mumble and walk into the kitchen to get a cup.

I load it with sugar and milk and take it with me back to the living room, sitting down in the armchair I favor whenever I’m around.

“I wanted to thank you,” Leah says quietly. “Both for booking the Santa and for taking Claire to the mall yesterday.”

“It's nothing,” I mutter, feeling embarrassed.

Leah doesn't answer, turning the cup over in her hands a few times, and making it obvious she's got something on her mind.

“I worry about you, Bella,” she finally says. “You haven't been yourself lately.”

I shrug. “It's been a sucky year.”

“No,” she shakes her head. “It started before that, before Claire was born.”

I stay quiet just looking at the TV, but not even registering what's happening on the screen.

“It started right around the time we got married and I have to ask… is it me?”

I can't hold back my laughter and look back at her, shaking my head. “God no… Not like that.”

I take a deep breath to clear the laughter out of my system. “It's… hard to explain.”

“Would you try?” she asks, tilting her head to the side.

“I just… I want what you have… I want to get married, have kids, a house in the suburbs and go to play-dates on the weekend,” I admit.

Leah just stares at me, mouth hanging open.

She remains silent, just looking at me, so I continue quietly.

“I always wanted those things and it wasn't until you got married that I realized I might not get them.” I snort. “It’s kinda stupid, huh?  After all the jerks I have gone out with, one day I just started thinking about this.”

“Oh Bella,” she says, putting the cup down and reaching out for me.

I wonder if it makes me pathetic when I go to her, curling up on the couch with my head in her lap, breathing through the tears that I’m not going to cry.

Leah winds her fingers in my hair, mumbling sweet little nothings like she does to Claire when she's upset and I really, really wish my mom had done this for me; Leah is awesome and there should be other awesome mothers out there like her.

“There will be a guy out there for you that wants the same things,” she says softly. “An amazing man who wants to build a family with you, and who will treat you the right way.  The way you deserve.  It might not always be easy, sometimes you might fight, but it'll happen. Trust me.”

I want to believe her, but in the downward spiral of dark thoughts I’ve gotten myself into, it‘s hard.

I know it would probably help if I started dating again instead of sitting around at home trying to will myself not to be lonely.

But once you've gotten out of the game, it's hard to get back into it.

I roll over on my back and look up at Leah.

She looks different somehow since she became a mother, but it's hard to pinpoint what it is.

She smiles down at me and brushes my hair back from my forehead.


“There is nothing wrong with those dreams,” she says with a wry half smile. “I mean, I used to dream that I'd marry and have kids with Justin Timberlake.”

I grin. “Yeah, I remember. It was really kind of sad.”

“Oh shut up,” she says, tugging on my hair. “You were just as bad about JC Chasez.”

“Ah, N’SYNC, those were the days,” I say with a sigh. “And then you went and married my brother, because my own best friend liked my brother more than me.  I’m wounded.”

She laughs. “Yeah right.”

“I am,” I tease in mock offense.

She attacks me with a merciless tickling and I flail around, falling right off the couch with a shriek.

She comes right after and soon we're grappling on the floor, trying to tickle each other to death.

That's when Jacob shows up with a sleepy Claire on his arm.

He takes one look at us and our flushed faces and shakes his head.

“We don't even wanna know,” he says and disappears into the kitchen.

Leah and I look at each other and promptly start laughing.

We're years older and so much has changed, but somehow, it's just like College.

Edward, well Santa, shows up right on time and Claire is a bit shy at first, but then she happily talks to him and pulls on his beard.

She's a lot less interested in her presents than she is in Santa, and since I’m in charge of filming I can't help constantly zooming in on her grinning face.

Edward's great, crawling around on the floor with her and letting her pull on his beard as much as she wants, luring laugh after laugh out of her.

Jacob and Leah are just delighted, standing to the side and glowing with pride.

I kind of wish I wasn't there interrupting their moment, but then they wouldn't have someone to work the camera.

Besides, I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on Claire's first real Christmas.

Eventually she grows tired of the wild games and sits down on the floor, grabbing one of her presents and turning it over a few times, before tearing into it.

Jacob and Leah sit down with her and I turn the camera off.

I’ve got my own presents to open, lying under the Christmas tree, but somehow I really just want them to have this moment alone.

Edward follows me as I walk out into the hallway, trying to comb his beard back into order.

“Thanks,” I say with a smile. “For slipping me the card.”

He smiles underneath the mask. “My pleasure. Claire's a wonderful little girl.”

I nod, looking back into the living room where the pile of wrappings is starting to grow around the happy family. “She really is.”

“Are you okay?” He asks, and I’m really slipping if a complete stranger can tell I’m feeling crappy.

Maybe Leah is right to worry about me.

“I'm fine,” I lie. “Just, you know, missing home.”

“Not from around here?” he asks curiously.

“Just moved here from Phoenix,” I answer.

“Really? I'm from Dallas.”

“And here I thought Santa lives at the North Pole.”

He laughs and I grin in response.

“I should get going,” he says. “I have another family to visit before it's time to return to the bat cave… I mean the North Pole and I bet the reindeer are getting anxious to leave.”

I glance out the window at the shiny Mustang parked in the driveway. “Can you fit reindeer into that?”

“They're under the hood. Reindeer power, it's the new thing.”

I laugh.

“Well, have a good day then and Merry Christmas.”

“Same to you,” he says, reaching for the handle.

He pauses halfway, his hand hanging in the air as if there's something else he wants to say.

He seemingly changes his mind, disappearing out the door with a final wave.

I watch after him until Jacob calls out for me to join them.

I completely ignore the curious looks I get from both of them when I re-enter the room, taking a seat next Claire on the floor.

“What?” I ask looking back at them and shrugging my shoulders.
Usually, I like the days between Christmas and New Year's.

When I still had a job, it meant being crazy busy planning someone else's New Year's party, but I never minded.

Now though, it just feels like they are days I have to get out of the way before I can start over on a clean slate.

No more 2008, because it sucked ass.

A few positive things happened though.

I did get a call from one of the customers I had while still working for Twilight Event Planners who want me to plan a party for them in February.

The guy, James Hunter, is a corporate lawyer and even offered to help me set up my own company.

It's a thought that has never even crossed my mind, but with a customer like James, who throws at least two grand scale parties a year; who also has a marriage coming up in the summer, it's definitely a possibility.

It might not be easy to handle it all on my own.

At Twilight Event Planners I had two assistants and a secretary to handle the leg work for me while I focused on the grand scheme, and the end result.

That was also one of the things I didn't like about working at such a large company.

Jacob, of course, thinks I should do it and he gets back up from Leah.

They even somehow manage to teach Claire to say ‘go for it’ and I can never say no to her.

The other positive thing, kinda, is an email I got from Edward after Christmas.

It's kinda long, way long actually, and full of apologies in advance, but ends with him asking me out on a date.

I think about what to answer, for hours, before telling him no.

Edward isn't easily deterred though.

Over the days leading up to New Years we email several times a day.

Somehow I find myself opening up to him, telling him about Tyler dumping me, my own doubts about my self-worth, and losing my job.

He in turn tells me that he's hoping to be a script writer for TV and I think that all the ideas he tells me about, rock.

It's also clear that he thinks that it’ll never happen, and that maybe he should put his degree to better use than working different jobs while trying to get noticed.

For some reason I don't tell Jacob and Leah I’m in contact with Edward, but I do tell my mother and she's all for it.

When I complain I don't even know what he looks like, she asks if she really brought up such a shallow daughter and she's right.

Isn't it better to build a relationship on actually liking someone for who they are, instead of based on how they look?

The day before New Year's Eve, Jacob and Leah do one last attempt to get me to spend New Years with them, but I turn them down again.

There's an end to how heavily I’m willing to lean on their shoulders.

Not only that, but they also invited two other couples with kids.

I don't want to be the odd one out.

Besides, I feel like Edward's building up to asking me out again and this time I’m planning on saying yes.

It's time to put myself out there again.

I’m not entirely sure why I turned him down in the first place.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go out with him before.

I was just too scared to let myself try to be happy again.

IM conversation from December 30th, just before Midnight:

E: so what are you doing tomorrow?

B: dunno

E: dunno as in I don't have any plans, or dunno as in I have too many offers, I can't decide.

B: the offers haven't exactly been heaped on my head.

E: so that's no plans then?

B: i guess not.

E: you're just gonna sit alone on New Year's Eve? that's pretty sad.

B: and you're not?

E: depends.

B: on what?

E: stuff.

B: what kind of stuff?

E: *shrugs*

B: and you call me sad.

E: at least I know what I want to do.

B: and that would be?

E: things.

B: lol… you're sad.

E: am not.

B: if you want to ask me out just do it.

E: okay… do you want to hang tomorrow night?

B: depends.

E: on what?

B: stuff.

E: what kind of stuff?

B: if there's an actual hanging involved.

E: that was a pretty sloppily phrased question, huh? so how about, would you go out with me tomorrow night?

B: yes… does this mean I'm things?

E: important things.

B: :)

E: so there's a bar on the corner of your street… McCarty’s. ever been?

B: it's nice.

E: they're open tomorrow, wanna go there for a beer and snack?

B: you planned this.

E: i told you i had plans.

B: okay, let’s go to McCarty’s. what time?

E: eight?

B: sounds good.

E: want a picture so you know what I look like?

B: hmm… … no.

E: chicken. i'm totally hot without my Santa suit.

B: i think you're totally hot IN your Santa suit as well.

E: maybe… so no pic then?

B: no pic.

E: your bad.

B: says you.

E: but I see me in the mirror every day. i can tell.

B: funny…

E: i like to think so, i better go now. i need my beauty sleep and i'm taking my sis out for lunch tomorrow.

B: okay, night.

E: night.

I end up being half-an-hour early to the bar.

I spend most of the day cleaning my apartment and changing my mind about my outfit.

In the end I decide to go with a pair of skinny jeans and a long sleeved striped sweater.

I leave my hair down and put on some light make-up

It's New Year's Eve after all, but we're going to a bar so I don't want to be too dressed up.

Besides, he already knows what I look like.

It’s not like I magically got better looking since the last time that he saw me.

I kind of regret my decision not to take the picture he offered, once I’m seated at the bar with a beer in front of me.

I look every guy up and down that enters, wondering if it's Edward.

Trying to gauge if they recognize me or just wonder why I’m staring.

After fifteen-minutes of craning my neck, I give up and decide that he will just have to find me.

It would be kinda horrible if a hot guy walked in and turned out to not be him.

“Hi,” a silky familiar voice says from behind me.

I stiffen.

Not wanting to turn around I look down at my beer.

“You’re such a chicken,” Edward adds with a laugh.

“I'm not,” I protest, trying to just glance at him from the corner of my eye. “I'm easing myself into it.”

He laughs again and moves to slide into the chair next to mine.

“Or we could get our food to go and take it back to our respective places and have the date over AIM instead,” he says dryly.

“That would be… kind of stupid,” I admit and finally turn my head to get a good look at Edward.

I blink a couple of times, because I’m pretty sure my eyes are lying to me and he grins.

“See I told you I was hot.”

Hot is something of an understatement, because Edward's everything I never even knew I was looking for in a man.

He's absolutely perfect from his unruly bronze colored hair to the soles of his Doc Marten boots.

I already knew about his spectacular green eyes, but I had no idea they were coupled with a perfect nose, plump gorgeous lips and a light smattering of freckles over the bridge of his nose and cheeks.

“You were right,” I mumble, unable to look away.

He grins again, wrinkles spreading out from the corners of his eyes like a fan.

“I rarely lie,” he says, still smiling.

My stomach ties itself into anxious knots.

I wonder how on earth I'll get through dinner without throwing myself over the table at him?

“You can stop staring like a freak any time now,” he says.

I finally manage to pull myself out of it.

“Sorry,” I say with a blush. “You're not what I expected.”

“What were you expecting?” he asks, taking our bottles to a secluded booth.

“I dunno,” I shrug. “Someone less… pretty.”

Edward laughs. “I'm sorry to disappoint, maybe if I put on my glasses.”

“You have glasses,” I almost whimper and he laughs again, a deep belly laugh that's making me ache to touch him.

“First girl I ever dated who likes glasses,” he says. “They make me look like a dork.”

“You are a dork,” I respond immediately and he chuckles again.

“Obviously, since I'm willing to date you,” he retorts.

I slide into the booth, trying not to stare as he takes off his jacket and slides in on the opposite side.

Edward's dressed in a black button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows showing off his muscular fore arms, and dark washed jeans that fit just right, obviously opting for the same kind of dressed up but casual style that I did.

“So,” he says, as he sits down. “Is there anything I need to know about you before we start dating?”

I frown. “Like what?”

“Any allergies? Diabetes? Heart conditions?”

“I'm allergic to cedar, but it's not exactly life threatening…”

“I won't schedule any future dates to a saw mill then,” he says with a grin.

“The reason I'm asking is that I dated this girl, Angela, for like three months a few years back and she never told me she was allergic to peanuts. So I kissed her after chewing down a packet of roasted peanuts on the way over and she almost died,” Edward explains shrugging. “Not an experience I care to repeat.”

I realize that I really don't like to think about him dating other people, even if it was years ago.

“So how about you, any life threatening conditions?” I ask instead.

“Nope,” he smirks.

His lopsided grin makes my stomach flip.

“Well, kiwi gives me a rash, but it's not like you're gonna have to rush me to the ER,” he adds laughing lightly.

“Good to know,” I answer and strike kiwi muffins off my internal list of treats to offer to him.

I totally believe that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, it always worked before.

“So… do you want dinner or snacks?” he asks.

I consider it since I’ve already had dinner, even though I didn't get much of it down, too busy fretting about being on my first date in something like two years.

“Dinner,” I decide nodding.

“Good choice. Have you eaten here before? Their burgers are heavenly,” he praises.

“I know. With the tomatoes and the cheese…” I add.

“Mmm,” he hums. “And the bacon and the mustard sauce…” he continues.

“And the chunky fries,” we say at the same time, grinning at each other.

“I always get ranch dressing with mine,” I explain.

“Me too,” he confirms.

He grins and the last of the tension drains from my body.

I remember how to do this dating thing and Edward's making it totally easy too.

It's going to be a good night.

Two hours later, the plates have long been cleared away and we're left nursing our beers.

I’m on my third bottle and I’m reluctant to order a new one, opting instead to drink as slowly as possible and I notice him doing the same.

The conversation has been flowing freely since we got our food, but now it's trickling off in favor of long looks and random smiles.

It's obvious we're both thinking about how and where the night will end, but we're both reluctant to say it out loud.

Instead we just continue to talk, living in the moment.

I can't stop thinking about kissing him.

When our feet touch under the table it’s like an electric current goes through me.

For once I’m not thinking too hard or planning the kids we may not have in the future.

Instead I’m very intently focused on now and how to get him into a bed… soon.

“So…” I say, turning the beer bottle between my fingers. “Wanna head to my place for coffee?”

I cringe once the words are out.

It sounds cheap and so far it's been a perfect date, do I really want to end it with sex?

What if that's all Edward is really after and I’m indulging him before he even realizes how awesome I really am?

“I would love that,” he says with emphasis and all my doom and gloom thoughts are wiped from my mind.

Alone with Edward in a one room studio apartment where the bed is always handy?

Oh fuck yes.

We argue for all of five seconds about who gets to pay for me until I give up my protest and let him win.

It was his idea to begin with and I’m one step from ending up on the street.

The walk to my apartment takes ten minutes instead of the normal fifteen and we hardly talk along the way.

Usually I’m kind of embarrassed for my tiny little apartment and the run down staircase, but today I’m just too eager to get inside to worry about what he might think.

I unlock the door and open it up, gesturing for Edward to step inside with a dramatic wave.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” I tease. “And I really mean humble.”

He laughs. “I've seen smaller… In a kennel.”

“Very funny,” I grumble, closing and locking the door behind us.

The hall is small.

With two people in it, it's definitely crowded.

Somehow we manage to get out of our coats without anyone being knocked unconscious.

I take his coat and put it on a hanger, more to have something to do with my hands than to be a good host.

“So this is the hall,” I mumble. “The bathroom,” I add pointing to the closed door opposite of the front door. “Bedroom, kitchen, living room, and office are there.”

He steps through the open doorway and I follow suit.

“Nice,” he says, looking around. “Cozy.”

I shrug. “It works.”

In a way my apartment is so overcrowded it's perpetually messy.

In another way it works as a style statement.

In my one tiny room I manage to cram in a bed, a table, two chairs, two bookcases, a dresser, couch and an armchair.

There are throw rugs covering the floor and the bed is stacked high with pillows. It's not a very frilly apartment despite Leah's hand in the decorations.

Before she helped, it mostly looked as if I was sleeping in a storage room.

I don’t care much for decorating and I’d only been here a few weeks.

“So, uh… coffee?” I ask, because it's rude to ask for sex.

He looks as if he considers it, glancing towards the curtain covered doorway that he rightly assumes hides the kitchen.

“How about we fuck first and then have coffee? Chances are we won't be able to wait until it's finished anyway and coffee that's been left for too long tastes awful.”

I blink, my mouth falling open.

“Oh come on,” he says. “Like you haven't been thinking about it since we left the bar.”

“Jesus,” I mutter. “I was thinking about it before we even got our food.”

He moves into touching range and smoothly snakes an arm around my waist, pulling me close.

“Well,” he murmurs. “I've been thinking about it for a week now so…”

I think it's best to silence him with a kiss, because I kind of don't want to know where that sentence ends.

Edward's mouth opens up willingly against mine, soft, pliant, wet, and fantastic.

My arms slide around his neck and he tightens his arms around my waist, pulling me even closer.

I bring one hand up to tangle in his hair, holding him in place as he deepens the kiss.

He lets me lead first, tasting my fill of his mouth, but soon I find the roles reversed.

His slick tongue is sliding languidly against my own, and he groans deep in his throat, somehow finding the strength to start walking us towards the bed in a shuffled tangle of limbs.

His stubble rasps against my face, adding a delicious burn to the press of his lips, and God, I missed that feeling.

We find the bed a little earlier than I had predicted and fall onto it in an ungraceful heap, knocking our noses together in a painful way.

“Sorry,” he mumbles, his voice so dark and gravely I hardly recognize it, lifting his head to see if I’m okay.

I huff out a laugh. “It's okay,” I say, eyes glistening. “I landed softly… shit, my nose is bleeding.”

“Damn,” he curses, rolling off me while I lie down on my back and pinch the bridge of my nose.

“Can I get you something?” he asks.

“There's toilet paper in the bathroom cabinet.”

I squeeze my eyes shut as Edward gets up, tasting metal at the back of my tongue and feeling like the biggest dork in the universe.

It's doesn't exactly help that I’m still soaking wet and horny.

The bed dips with his weight and I open my eyes again, smiling a little when Edward dabs the blood from his lip with a tissue before handing me a roll of the cotton.

“Thanks,” I mutter, rolling it tighter and sticking it into my nostril.

He gets up again disappearing into the hall and I hear the toilet flush, then the tap turn on as he washes his hands.

I sigh sadly and let my eyes slip shut, wondering if I’ve ruined everything and not just the mood.

“How are you feeling?” he asks coming back, and sitting down next to me.

“Stupid,” I admit without opening my eyes.

He laughs. “It was an accident,” he says, putting a hand on my stomach. “It's okay. In ten years we'll laugh about this.”

I open my eyes to find him smiling down at me, his fingers tracing teasing circles.

I wonder if it's stupid to want to spend the next ten years with Edward.

“I haven't done this in a while,” I admit.

He doesn't ask what I mean and I realize he probably figured that out days ago.

I push myself up into sitting position, secretly pleased when it doesn't seem like the bleeding will start up again.

“I'm just gonna go wash my face,” I tell him.

“Okay,” he smiles, putting his hands in his lap and watching me walk away.

I smile back, knowing I probably look like an idiot with the roll of cotton sticking out of my nostril.

I’m choosing not to care.

I walk into the bathroom and throw the cotton in the trashcan.

The bleeding seems to have stopped, so I wash my face with cold water and reach for my toothbrush.

He shows up to stand in the doorway while I brush my teeth and I’m sure he's going to leave.

“Now that's cheating,” he says with smile.

“What is?” I ask, spitting the foam out and rinsing my mouth.

“Brushing your teeth in the middle of a date,” he says dryly.

I laugh and wipe a towel over my mouth.

“I'll have you know,” I huff. “That I find the taste of stale beer very exciting.”

“Oh, yeah?” he grins, stepping closer. “You do?”

“Yeah,” I confirm, closing the distance between us and reaching up to give him a kiss.

He kisses me back, sucking gently on my tongue and winding his fingers in my hair.

“How about,” he says, pulling back minutely and placing one final chaste kiss on my lips. “We lie down first this time?”

I can’t help the giggle that bursts from my lips.

“Yeah,” I agree, breathless. “Sounds like a good idea.”

He leads me to the bed by the hand and I find that so unbelievably adorable; it's obvious I’m already a lost cause.

I never really believed in love at first sight before, but he just might be making me change my mind.

Edward crawls on the bed and I lay down beside him, rolling over on my side so that we’re facing each other.

He moves closer, slinging one of my legs over his hips and pressing our lips together again.

It's even better this time, slower, sweeter, but just as intense.

Close and intimate in a way I never was with Tyler, even after almost a year of being together.

He grinds against me slowly, the hard line of his cock pressing against my entrance just right, sending sparks of pleasure surging through me.

I could do this forever, just this.

Eventually the pressure builds up and we let our hands wander.

I run mine down over his taut back to cup his ass.

Then up to grab his hip, bringing us even closer.

He moans softly against my lips, the sound going straight to my center, making me whimper in turn, nipping at his luscious lower lip.

Somehow I manage to get a hand in between us, pulling his shirt up so I can slide a hand in underneath, touching his toned, and hard stomach.

His muscles clench and relax under my fingers, the treasure trail tickling against my fingertips.

He throws his head back with a sigh of pleasure before rolling us over, pressing me into the bed with his body as he dips his head to kiss a line down my throat.

I make a tiny little sound, spreading my legs wide to accommodate for him, so naturally and that's when my phone starts ringing.

“Fuck,” I exclaim, looking towards the hall where the phone is still in my jacket.

It’s Jacob’s ringtone.

“You gonna answer that?” he asks, his voice rough and gravelly.

“No,” I answer, reaching up to kiss him again as the phone stops ringing.

It takes only a few seconds for it to beep telling me I’ve got a new voicemail.

Then it rings again.

I lift my head, suddenly torn.

It might just be that Jacob suddenly convinced himself that I’m in trouble, but what if it's something else.

“Answer it,” he sighs, rolling off of me. “I'm not going anywhere.”

I get up and answer just as it's about to go to voicemail.

I don't even have time for a greeting before Jacob starts talking a crazy jumble of words, out of which I only manage to pick up ‘Leah, sick, ambulance’.

My heart starts beating triple time in my chest as I try to get information from Jacob as to which hospital.

Jacob finally manages to get the right information out, St. Vincent hospital, luckily the closest one to me, and I hang up after saying I'll be there as soon as I can.

Edward’s already putting his shoes on and reaching for his jacket, without me even noticing he appeared.

“Where are we going?” he asks.

I almost cry, I’m so grateful.

"St. Vincent" I tell him. “Something happened with Leah, I couldn't get any more information out of Jacob.”

“My car is just around the corner,” he says. “I'll drive you.”

I bite down on my lower lip, wanting to say something but not finding the words.

Edward's simply too good to be true.

I manage to get my jacket and shoes on, checking to see if I have my keys before following him into the stairwell.

He takes the lead, walking quickly to where he parked his car; he didn't lie when he said it was just around the corner, and we pull up outside the ER fifteen minutes later.

“Want me to come with you?” he asks.

“Would you?” I ask hesitantly, biting down on my lip again.

“You head inside, and I'm just gonna park the car.”

“Thank you,” I say sincerely and it comes straight from the heart.

I have no idea why I find Edward's presence so calming, but I want him to stay around.

“Her name‘s Leah Black, if I'm not in the waiting room say you're her brother or something.”

“Okay,” he nods, leaning over to give me a quick kiss. “Now hurry.”

I slide out of the car and run into the reception area looking around for any sign of Jacob.

I continue moving, almost running right into Jacob, Claire and a pale looking Leah sitting in a wheel chair with a blanket over her legs.

Jacob looks up and grins big and bright, giving me a one armed hug that almost crushes the half asleep Claire between us.

“Hey,” I greet, looking them over for any visible injuries. “What happened?”

Jacob grins even brighter, reaching down to squeeze Leah's shoulder, and I’m starting to fear for his mental health.

Jacob was in hysterics just a few minutes ago.

“You tell her, baby,” he coos wrapping his arm around his wife.

I look at Leah, raising my eyebrows.

“Well…” Leah says, looking embarrassed. “I've been feeling kind of crappy lately. Uh… tonight I kinda threw up all over and dropped down in a dead faint.”

“I thought she had a fucking stroke or something,” Jacob says with a shudder. “Freaked me the fuck out.”

“Language,” Leah says sternly.

“Fuhk,” Claire says, as if on cue.

“But you're okay now?” I ask, crouching down to get a better look at her.

“Yeah… well… it turns out I'm pregnant.”

I grin. “Really?”

Leah grins back. “Really.”

“I’m so happy for you,” I gush.

“Everything okay?” I nod towards her stomach.

“Hopefully. They're keeping me over night and I'm scheduled for an ultrasound in the morning.  They listened to the heart beat and everything sounds fine. They think I'm just fatigued and low on iron, like when I was expecting Claire,” she explains.

My face stretches into a grin.

Just yesterday this news probably would have sent me into another spiral of depression, but today I’m just genuinely happy for them.

I stand up again and give Claire's cheek a kiss, squeezing Jacob's shoulder.

“Congratulations guys,” I say. “I'm so flipping happy for you.”

“Okay,” Leah says. “Who are you and what did you with Bella?”

I laugh. “I'm just in a good mood.”

I glance at the clock on the wall.

It's five minutes to twelve and the new year will soon begin.

“How did you get here so fast anyway?” Jacob asks. “I thought for sure it would be impossible to get a cab on New Year's Eve.”

“Edward drove me,” I tell them smiling.

“Edward?” Leah and Jacob ask in unison.

“That would be me,” Edward says from behind me.

“Oh,” Jacob says and blinks. “And you know each other, how?”

I know that tone so I slide a protective arm around Edward’s waist.

“He's my date,” I say dryly. “And you've met him before.”

“Santa,” Leah says with a knowing smile.

“Indeed,” I confirm.

“So is everything okay?” Edward asks, looking between me, Jacob and Leah.

“Yeah,” Leah says. “I'm feeling fine now.”

“I'm glad,” he responds sounding so painstakingly polite that I feel sorry for him, but maybe it has something to do with the way Jacob is still glaring at him over the top of Claire's head.

“So, you need anything?” I ask. “Want me to take Claire?”


“Thanks, but no,” Jacob says. “Emily's coming to get her. They stayed behind to clean up the mess and they're gonna stay at our place tonight. I'm gonna stick around until they get Leah a room and then I'll head home as well.”

The clock strikes midnight and a chorus of Happy New Year erupts around us.

I squeeze Edward's side and join in the cheering.

He leans down capturing my mouth in a kiss.

“Happy New Year,” he mumbles against my mouth.

For the first time in ages it actually feels like it could be a happy new year.

Once we’re in the car, I fill Edward in on the details he missed, assuring him that Jacob's not going to break him no matter what he looked like.

He seems genuinely happy that they're okay and I really want to kiss him silly without emergency interruptions this time.

“So… you coming back to my place? I know our date hasn't exactly been a success so far, but I thought maybe we'd give it another try.”

He laughs. “Yeah, this night has certainly given a new spin on coitus interruptus, but third time's the charm, yeah?”

“I fucking hope so.”

He laughs again and puts his arm around me, pulling me close and steering me towards my building.

“Just so you know,” he says. “I've had a great time tonight.”

I glance at him shyly and almost blush. "Me too," I admit.

He smiles and then he moves closer and gives me a kiss.

It's quick but the feeling lingers on my lips, making them tingle with anticipation.

“Oh, maybe I should ask… How do you feel about PDA?”

I giggle. “A bit too late for that now, isn't it?”

“Yeah, but still…” he trails off looking at me expectantly.

Edward's hand slides down to rest his fingers in the back pocket of my jeans.

Low and intimate enough for anyone to suspect we're involved without being obvious.

I smile to myself.

He pounces as soon we reach the door to the staircase, pressing me up against the door and giving me a burning kiss.

I have missed having someone to kiss, to hold hands with and embrace without caring about what people might think.

I whimper against his lips, freezing for just a second before melting into him.

I take my fingers into his waistband to keep him close.

“Just so you know,” I say lowly when I lift my head, taking a moment to appreciate his slick lips and dilated eyes. “It makes me hot.”

You make me hot,” he answers, voice husky.

I open my mouth to answer, but it‘s cut short by Edward's cell phone ringing.

“Sorry,” he says, fishing it out and looking at the display. “It's my sister.”

I nod and take a step back, not wanting to be molesting him while he's talking to his sister.

He reaches out with his free hand and grabs hold of my jacket though, pulling me back.

It's been too long since I just embraced someone and the way he holds me close feels so good.

I don't really listen to what he’s saying.

I just let the cadence of his voice wash over me and wonder if it's possible to grow tired just listening to him.

Edward's heat seeps through my thick winter coat and I let my eyes slip shut for a short moment.

I got up too early this morning, nervous and excited in about an even mix and it's coming back to haunt me now.

“Are you sleeping?” he asks, with obvious amusement.

“No,” I protest, opening my eyes, even though it was a very close call.

Edward smiles for an answer, winding my coat around his fingers.

“I have to go pick up my sister and drive her back to campus,” he says, sounding embarrassed. “She's kinda drunk.”

“Okay.” I nod. “Want me to come?”

I don't even realize I’m offering to meet his family on our first date, until it's too late.

“Would you?” he asks, sounding hopeful.

“Yeah,” I smile, despite the nerves twisting my stomach into knots. “I'm not letting you out of my sight until I get some.”

Edward laughs, then he looks down at me with an intense gaze, "And then?"

“After I get some?” I ask dumbly.

“Yeah,” he whispers.

“Well… I hope I'll be getting some more… On a regular basis?” I blurt.

It's too early to have this talk, too early to even think about it, but I’ve never been one for playing games.

His mouth stretches into a huge smile and he uses his grip on my jacket to pull me up for a kiss.

“I really, really like you,” he says, looking deep into my eyes.

“Yeah?” I grin. “I'm very likable.”

Edward smiles and looks as if he's about to say something, but changes his mind.

“What?” I ask unable to stop myself.

“Nothing,” he says. “I'll tell you some other time, or else you'll break up with me because I'm a hopeless sap.”

I grin, mostly because he thinks there's something to break up.

One of the reasons I’ve been so reluctant to date again is that I hate all the secrecy and unwritten rules.

If you really like someone and get along with them on the first date, you should be able to go home dreaming about long term.

If you think about kids, or marriage, you're not ‘allowed’ to actually say it until you've been dating for months, sometimes years.

I hate that you have to date forever before it's time to label it.

I hate that saying I love you ‘shouldn’t’ be considered until the one year anniversary.

Maybe it's because I have a tendency to always think the best about people.

In my mind it's stupid to bother going on dates if the only thing you want is a quick fuck.

Maybe that makes me stupid, or maybe, I grin, I’ve been dating the wrong people.

“I can see everything with you,” he admits shyly.

“Are you for real?” I ask.

He tugs on my hand to lead me back to the car, pursing his lips. “Yeah… I'd like to think so.”

“Can we have kids?”

He glances at me. “Is this where you tell me you’re pregnant?”

I shake my head.

“In that case, yes, I want kids.”

My heart does a double take.

“Does this mean you wouldn't like me if I was pregnant?” I tease.

He elbows me in the side.

“If you are, please tell me now. I need time to prepare.”

Edward's sister turns out to be very drunk, very funny, and very affectionate.

She's also convinced that Edward hired me to be his girlfriend.

According to her he sucks at dating and never brings anyone home to meet them.

I think it’s kind of cute and he admits he hasn't introduced anyone to his family in years.

None of his relationships lasted long enough for it to be relevant.

This time we make it back to my place without interruptions and both of us take a long deep breath of relief when the doors are closed and locked behind us.

The alarm clock on my bedside table glares 2:15am and I feel like someone's put me through a grinder.

“God I'm tired,” I groan taking of my coat.

He yawns for an answer and smiles sleepily. “I hear you.”

I shuffle my feet. “Would it be lame to not have sex right now?”

“I'm afraid lame would be the operative word if we tried,” he says ruefully, looking down on his crotch.

“Oh yeah,” I remark with a grin. “I forgot that you're old.”

He glares at me playfully. “Can I use the bathroom? It's time to change my diapers.”

“Go ahead. There's a new toothbrush in the cabinet. You can take that if you want to.”

Edward smiles over his shoulder, before disappearing through the door.

I busy myself with stripping down to my underwear.

I feel kind of stupid standing around half-naked, but we're going to bed, it would be even more stupid to do so fully clothed.

I turn down the covers on the bed and remove the pile of pillows that are more for decoration than use.

I finish and sit down on the edge of the bed as he comes out of the bathroom.

“I used the…” he trails off, looking me up and down. “Um… I used… I mean… Wow, you're… um…” he blinks rapidly, as if trying to shake the fog from his head. “You look… um… wow…”

I start to feel embarrassed by the scrutiny, but it's good to know that channeling my sexual frustration into working out actually paid off.

I get up from the edge of the bed and Edward actually groans, following the line of my body up to my face.

I grin.

“Hold that thought for a second. I need to pee,” I say brushing past him.

Edward turns around to watch as I walk into the bathroom.

I take care of business quickly and wash up, ending with brushing my teeth.

I’m still horny and aching with need.

Maybe I’m not that tired after all.

He is already under the covers when I get back into the room and I turn off the overhead light.

The window light is still on, just enough to cast the room with a warm glow.

I pause at the edge of the bed and look down at him, feeling bold I hook my thumbs into the waistband of my panties.

“So…” I ask, my eyes lock with his intense green ones. “How lame are you feeling?”

“Take them off. Please…” he breathes, staring intently.

He looks equal parts awed and dazed, and it's sexier than it should be.

I smile and slide my panties down my legs.

Stepping out of them I reach back and un-hook my bra as well.

His eyes go wide and he licks his lips.

“You're very… proportional,” he manages, focusing on my chest.

I crawl into the bed, lying down on my side next to him.

He immediately moves closer and locks our lips together.

I might have rendered Edward speechless, but there's nothing wrong with his ability to kiss me silly.

As the kiss deepens we struggle to get closer, hands sliding restlessly over exposed skin.

His hands feel like magic leaving a trail of fire in their wake.

The blanket is caught between us.

No matter how much we push and wriggle it won't go away, we end up more tangled.

It doesn't matter though, when the fabric rubs against my over sensitive clit.

The needy little noises he draws out of me seem to spur him on and he grinds against me.

Somehow I roll us over so I’m on top.

He pulls my legs up and I end up straddling him, still with the duvet as an ineffectual chaperon.

I would do something about the situation if I was able to pull away from his lips, but kissing Edward is the best thing ever.

Every time I lift my head to suck in much needed air, I’m drawn back by his smooth lips and heated gaze.

Finally, he manages to move the blanket and we are skin on skin.

I feel his hardness so close to where I need him most.

I move my hips and the tip of his thick cock slips between my slick folds.

“Oh Jesus, fuck,” he groans, arching up and digging his fingers into my hips. “Oh God.”

He presses into me filling me completely in one thrust.

“Fuck,” I breathe into his sweaty neck. “Yeah, that's perfect.”

I ride him hard meeting his every thrust.

I shudder above him, riding the high of my sudden orgasm and he moans deep in his throat, thrusting his hips a couple of more times before he comes as well.

I collapse on top of him panting for breath.

“I feel like I just had sex with a duvet,” I blurt.

Edward bursts into laughter.

“Tell me about it,” he manages between hiccups.

I laugh as well, because it's certainly the oddest sex I’ve ever had.

I turn my head to look at him and laugh even more, because it's just funny and somehow the perfect end to a disastrous night.

He silences me with a kiss.

It only works for a minute before we both burst out laughing again.

With fumbling fingers we manage to get the duvet out of the way, cleaning up as best we can.

I pull up the blankets that normally cover the bed and we cuddle up close underneath them.

Edward on his back and me with my head on his chest.

“I had a really great time tonight,” he murmurs, painting a circle with his fingers on my lower back.

“Me too,” I answer, trying to suppress a new bout of laughter. “It was certainly unique.”

“But good,” he clarifies.

“Yeah, it was very good,” I hum.

He lifts his head and we share another slow kiss.

“How about tomorrow we try out some sex with full body contact?” he asks dryly.

I smile, sliding my hand down his toned stomach, “I'd like that.”

“Good,” he whispers dropping a kiss on my forehead.

I let my eyes slip shut and smile to myself.

With anyone else this would have constituted the worst date I’ve ever been on.

Somehow with Edward it's been okay, better than okay.

Amazing.

Every mishap just brought us closer together and not even the fact that we just had a threesome with the duvet can break my spirit.

The duvet can be washed and the fact that he's still here, lying wrapped up in my arms, means something.

“Bella,” he says softly.  “I think I might be falling in love with you.”

“I think I might be falling in love with you too,” I return just as quietly.

He tightens his arms around me and I do the same.

I sigh completely content and I feel his lips stretching into a smile against my head.

“Bella?” he asks softly.

“Hmm,” I hum.

“Marry me?” he whispers.

I gasp.

Somehow, with those two little words, instantly it's the best beginning of a new year I’ve ever had.

“What?” I breathe out shakily.

“Let’s go to Vegas,” he says firmly.
Epilogue
My Santa Savior - Almost ten months later

Santa (Edward) POV
The costume still fits, bulging in all the right places and none of the wrong ones.

The beard still tickles my nose and even though I’ve only had it on for ten minutes, I’m already getting sweaty.

I look at myself in the mirror, pursing his lips and trying to get a feel for it.

I try a little Ho, Ho, Ho but it lacks conviction, it's just not the season for it, making me sound more like I’m a pimp calling for his ladies than a jolly old man.

“Do I even want to know?” Bella’s voice comes out of nowhere, nearly startling me out of the costume. I wasn't expecting her for at least another few hours.

“Uh,” I answer eloquently, spinning around to face her.

Somehow I feel just like a kid caught trying to steal an extra cookie.

Bella’s leaning against the wall, watching me through half lidded eyes.

“So this is what you do when I'm not around?” she asks, a smile lingering at the corners of her mouth. “See I knew you were too good to be true.”

I open and close my mouth a couple of times, because I don't really know how to explain and it's not like we've talked about Christmas yet, seeing as it's still forever away… even if Bella's already stocking up on gifts and humming Christmas music when she thinks I can't hear her.

She laughs.

“Come here,” she says, beckoning with a finger.

I’m helpless to resist, so I cross the room walking into her waiting embrace. I bury my face in her neck and inhale deeply.

“Your beard tickles,” she giggles, pulling on my hat in an attempt to make me look up.

I lift my head, smiling sheepishly, “Sorry.”

“You better be,” she teases with a grin, using her fingers to pull the fluffy strand of beard away from my mouth. When she's satisfied with her handy work, she gives me a kiss.

“So,” she starts, with an amused glint in her eye. “What's with the get up?”

“Well… uh… the mom of one of my families called to ask if I was doing the Santa thing again this year…” I mumble.

“Yeah?” she asks quirking an eyebrow.

“I told her I wasn't sure… but…” I trail off.

“You really want to do it?” she finishes smiling.

I sigh.

“Yeah… But… I kinda really want to spend Christmas with you.”

She grins.

“And there's some rule saying you can't do both?” she challenges.

“No, of course not… but I thought you wanted to go to your mom’s this year for Christmas.”

She frowns. “Yeah, but… I kinda really want to spend Christmas with you, too, and if you need to be here, then we'll stay here.  Besides, that way we can see Seth for his first Christmas.”

Jacob and Leah had a son they named Seth in August and Claire loves being a big sister.

“Your mom will send me hate letters,” I protest.

“My mom loves you, so I'm afraid she'll address those to me,” she teases.

I smile, already feeling a bit better about things.

I’ve been doing the Santa thing for the last five years, and there are families that have been with me since the first year. I’m willing to scale it down and not take on any new families, but I don't want to disappoint the people I’ve been visiting for years now.

“You sure it's okay to stay here for Christmas?” I ask again, sliding my arms around her waist.

“Yeah,” she grins. “We can visit our parents after New Years, right? Maybe in February, then it'll be like a second Honeymoon.”

I smile, wondering why I was worrying about it in the first place. I should have known Bella wouldn't mind changing plans.

“Speaking of New Years, do we have plans?" I ask, smiling wistfully.

When I asked Bella to marry me last New Years Eve, I never expected her to say yes.

I meant everything I said to her that night.  I don’t know what had come over me, but I knew as soon as I met her she was the one I was meant to spend the rest of my life with.

We didn’t go to Vegas, but we did get married a little more than a month later in a small civil ceremony with our families and a few close friends.

It was perfect for us.

While we have our differences and things aren’t perfect all the time I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In April, we found out that Bella is pregnant, and next to her marrying me, it was the happiest moment of my life.  When we found out that our baby is a girl we decided to name her Faith.

“It's October, baby, no one plans that far ahead,” she answers bringing me out of my thoughts. “Except for James and Victoria. I totally just booked a location for their New Year's Party and I'm already in talk with the caterers.”

I smile, hoping that the beard covers how forced it is.

James has done a lot of good for Bella, helping her set up her own company and making sure there's a steady trickle of customers coming her way. Cullen’s Connections Event Planning has grown so fast that it only took two months before she had to get an office and hire a couple of assistants.

Unfortunately I hate James.

It might have something to do with the way Bella said James’ name in every other sentence for two months straight, and meeting the guy didn't exactly make it better. He's way too good looking and smooth for his own good, no matter how married he is.

“He says hello, by the way. I talked to him this morning,” she adds.

I grunt for an answer.

Bella might not have gotten a clue, but James has and I’ve got a feeling he thinks it's highly amusing.

I slide one hand up around Bella's neck and pull her in for another kiss. Bella sputters when she pulls away, spitting out wet strands of my beard, but it doesn't stop her from stealing another drawn out kiss that makes my toes curl. I don't think I’ve ever met someone as fond of kissing as Bella is, but I’m certainly not complaining.

“Did I ever tell you about the dream I had the night before Christmas?” she asks in a breathy voice.

“I don't think so,” I breathe, sliding my hands back down to her hips and pulling her close.

“I dreamt about you,” she whispers, near breathless.

“Oh, yeah?” I hum.  “What about me?” I ask bending forward, kissing her neck through the damp cotton of my beard. She sucks in a breath when I slip my tongue out to lick the sensitive flesh.

“You were going down on me…” she whimpers, sliding her hands down to cup my ass, pulling us even closer.

“You didn't even know what I looked like,” I murmur, nuzzling my face further against her neck.

“You had the Santa costume on,” she offers.

I lift my head to look at her, “And still you turned me down when I asked you out.”

“I was scared,” she protests, moving her hand to rest over the hard ridge of my cock.

I smile, nipping at her chin, until she moves her mouth to mine claiming another kiss.

“Such a naughty girl,” I whisper against her cheek when we break apart. “Dreaming about Santa licking your sweet little pussy.”

She gasps, pressing her hips into my throbbing cock seeking more friction.

“Want me to taste you, baby?” I ask, pressing a kiss next to her ear.

She doesn't answer, instead turning her head to kiss me again.

The beard is getting wet and disgusting, strands of it getting caught between our mouths. We break apart both panting and I have a feeling I look ridiculous, flushed with excitement and heat, and with the beard hanging in wet nasty tangles around my mouth.

“Take it off,” she pleads. “I can't… Not with the suit on.”

I laugh, pulling the beard off first. Soon the hat and the rest of the outfit lands on top of it in a messy pile until I’m standing in front of her in nothing but the silk boxers she gave me for my birthday. I hook my thumbs into the waistband and raise a challenging eyebrow. She nods frantically, so I push the boxers down my legs.

It's totally unfair how often I end up being naked while she’s still fully dressed, but she has this thing where she likes to look.

“Clothes,” I tell her pointedly. “Off.”

She laughs and lifts her hands to unbutton her shirt.

“Do you like the shirt by the way?” she purrs, taking her sweet time before moving to the next button.
“I said off, now,” I hiss, stepping closer and simply ripping the rest of the shirt open, sending buttons scattering all over the room.

She sucks in a breath in surprise, but I’m already working on her jeans.

“Jesus,” she exclaims when I jerk her pants down, pulling the panties with them.

She moans and groans when I sink to my knees and throw her leg over my shoulder.

I love her pussy, bare and so wet, but when I part her slick folds with my fingers and lick a firm stroke from her entrance to her clit all I can think about is James and whether he's ever done this. I pull her clit in between my lips, sucking hard and biting down drawing a moan from her that's probably at least half pain.

It's rewarding though, to feel her juices against my tongue, and for a moment I let that appease me, sliding my tongue faster as I plunge two fingers inside her.

“Look at me,” I demand, hardly recognizing my own voice.

She blinks her eyes open and looks down at me with a frown, probably hearing the odd edge to my voice as well.

“Are you okay?” she asks, running her fingers through my hair.

“I'm fine,” I lie. “Just fine.”

She purses her lips and tugs gently at my shoulders, urging me to get up. I obey, getting to my feet and letting myself be pulled into the circle of her arms. She kisses me, long and slow, licking her own taste from my tongue. It should be stupidly hot and it is, but angry thoughts are buzzing around like bees in my head and I can't help notice that she’s got her eyes closed again.

“You have to let me fuck you,” I whisper, pressing my lips to the corner of her mouth. “Now, please.”

I pull her with me towards the bed with my hands on her hips.  I stumble along backing her up until the bed hits the back of her knees and she sinks down.

I suddenly remember the night we met and the way we fell onto the bed then.  We've learned some control since then and this time, I guide Bella onto the bed, before following after. She moves further up until her head hits the pillows, spreading her legs to accommodate for me. I take my time moving up her body, kissing, nipping and licking a path over her swollen stomach and chest until I find her mouth again, claiming it in a searing kiss.

Bella squeezes her eyes shut tight letting herself get lost in the pleasure, moaning when my fingers find their way down between her legs, teasing her entrance. She pulls her legs up around my waist and I slip two fingers inside, swallowing her whimper with my lips.  My fingers are nice and slick, sliding in easily.  First two, then three, thrusting deep and slow until her hips rise off the bed and meet my every move.

I pull out my fingers and she opens her mouth to protest but chokes on it when I press up close, the tip of my cock tight at her center.

“You ready for me baby?” I grunt, against her ear, voice thick.

“Yeah,” she whimpers, clutching at my back. “Please.”

“You don't have to beg,” I tell her softly, pressing my lips to the shell of her ear. “Just tell me you’re mine.”

“I'm all yours. Only yours,” she breathes.

I don't miss the emphasis and I stare deep into her eyes as I push forward, stretching her around my cock. She stares back at me, resting her weight against her elbows with her hands curled around my shoulders. She's got this soft look on her face, as if she's been reading my mind.

I’m panting for breath as I slowly push in until I’m fully sheathed, keeping my eyes locked with hers the entire time. There's no doubt now in my mind that she’s in the moment, with me and no one else, and when she reaches up to kiss me again, I allow my eyes to slip shut.

I take my time, thrusting slow and sweet until we can both hardly breathe with the building pleasure. My pubic bone is pushing against her clit with every thrust, and she arches up to meet every move.

“Yours,” she breathes into my ear and I groan, holding her tight to my chest.

We've had sex in all kinds of places and all kinds of positions, but this is the one I like best, Bella on her back in a bed with me moving on top of her, hitting all the right spots without even trying. The sheets are soft against us and I’m so hard within her, rocking her to the core with every thrust. Her fingers slip on my sweaty back, and every breath comes out a moan when I thrust harder.

I shower her face with kisses, licking my way into her open mouth to steal a kiss. She moves a hand to clutch at my neck, keeping me close for another succession of kisses, sucking too rapid breaths through her nose until I lift my head.

“As I am yours,” I pant, emphasizing every word with a thrust. “Only yours.”

She moans, thrashing her head from side to side and moving her hands to clutch at my biceps. When I feel her walls start to tighten around me I thrust faster, reaching so deep inside.  It takes everything I have to hold back until she climaxes hard with a silent scream, pulling me down for another open mouthed kiss.

As the pressure of holding back my orgasm reaches its peak it’s just that much more intense, building up at the base of my cock until it rolls over me in long waves that tingle from my toes to my lips. My thrusts become erratic as I cum deep inside of her, moaning my release into her mouth. 

I keep thrusting into her with my head thrown back and my eyes squeezed shut, drawing the release out until we’re both whimpering from pleasure overload.

I stop myself before I collapse on top of her, panting to catch my breath. I’m stupidly heavy and her legs are bent into an uncomfortable angle, to avoid her baby bump.  Instead, I move to lay next to her, pulling her into my arms with our heads on the pillows.

We don't say anything for a few moments, the only sounds in the room being our rapid breaths. I start to feel really bad for ripping her shirt and for my stupid bout of insane jealousy. There's nothing going on between James and Bella, logically I know this. My sudden spell of insecurity most likely has nothing to do with James and everything to do with the question I asked her last night and still have yet to receive an answer.

I wonder if there's a way to take back that entire conversation without sounding like a complete asshole, but maybe if I never mention it again it'll just go away until the time is right. Ten months is a long time for me, longer than I’ve managed to make any relationship work before, but this isn’t just a relationship, she’s my wife. Bella has a history of long relationships, even though she’s never been married before either, her keeping her own apartment is probably not as monumental to her as it is to me.

It's just that I thought we were different, I suppose.

Isn’t that why you get married in the first place… to completely share your life with someone?

I’ve never been scared of speaking my mind with her, even when my mind's been full of fluffy pink cotton. We discussed having a family and got married basically on our first date; that kind of sets the bar really high. So, when I asked Bella to sell her apartment, I kind of assumed she would answer straight away and that the answer would be yes. It's not like she even lives there or as if she still goes there for anything.

Why shouldn’t she want to sell her apartment and get a place together with me?

We’re married and going to have a baby in another three months.

“Jesus,” she suddenly sits up straight. “What time is it?” she asks breaking me out of my reverie.

“Huh?” I ask, still too lethargic to move.

“Oh fuck, it's four already. Hurry, put some clothes on,” she demands.

“Huh?” I ask again dumbly.

“I said hurry,” she snaps, already out of bed and heading for the bathroom.

I look after her as she disappears, managing a weak protest when she returns to throw an already cooling washcloth at me. I clean up quickly, looking around the room for some clothes.

“Hurry,” she says pointedly, reaching for my pants on the floor.

I blink in confusion but manage to get up from the bed, heading for the bathroom to dispose of the washcloth.

“You don't even understand the concept of hurrying, do you?” she snaps angrily, throwing a clean pair of boxers at my head.

“Hey,” I mutter, getting annoyed now. “Maybe it would help if you told me why we are in a hurry.”

“It's a surprise,” she shoots back, already pulling my discarded t-shirt over her head and tying it at the waist.

“Verbal abuse really puts me in the mood for surprises,” I say sourly, throwing the washcloth in the sink.

She walks over to me and grabs my face planting a kiss on my lips. “I love you very much and I’m sorry,” she says. “Now, will you hurry?  Please.”

I can't quite hide my grin and obediently put on the clothes she throws in my direction, actually managing to be done before her as she hunts through the messy closet for some yoga pants to comfortably accommodate her stomach.

“So where are we going?” I ask again following her out into the hall.

She rolls her eyes. “Surprise, remember?”

I pout as I put on my sneakers and throw on a hoodie, “Will I like it?”

“I sure hope so,” she retorts.

She doesn't give me time to double check that everything is turned off, taking my hand and pulling me out into the stairwell.

“We don't have time,” she demands.

“If the place burns down I'm blaming you in our insurance claim,” I mutter.

“Did you use the stove today?” she asks raising an eyebrow.

“No,” I mutter.

“Light any candles?” she continues.

“No,” I say slowly.

“Iron something for once?” she teases sounding amused.

“No,” I huff.

“Well then, did you suddenly decide to try and straighten, or curl, your hair?” she giggles.

“Of course not,” I demand.

“Then what on earth do you have to check to see that it's turned off?” she snaps.

“I don't know,” I mumble rubbing the back of my neck.

She laughs and tugs on my hand to get me to move faster. We're out on the street now, walking towards Bella's apartment and I’m starting to get really curious. There's no fancy restaurant in the immediate neighborhood and we’re not crossing the street towards the parking facility, so I really have no clue what she has planned. I get even more curious when she stops two houses from our apartment building, and punches in the code for entry.

The staircase looks really nice, brightly lit with fresh paint on the walls and on every other landing there's a big potted plant. She tugs me along up three stairs before we stop to ring a doorbell where the name on the mailbox has been taped over. An unfamiliar woman opens the door and smiles at us.

“Mr. & Mrs. Cullen, I assume,” she says. “I'm Jane.”

“Please call me Bella,” Bella greets. “And this is my husband Edward.”

“Welcome,” Jane smiles and steps aside to let us into the hall.

“Where are we?” I mutter, as Jane walks ahead of us into the next room.

“You'll see,” Bella answers back, and I decide that I really kind of hate surprises.

Bella follows after Jane without taking her coat off so I follows suit, stepping right into a spacious sparsely decorated living room, with huge floor to ceiling windows.

“This is the living room,” Jane says and starts spouting off a load of facts about how big it is, how amazing the hardwood floors are and how high the ceiling is.

I ignore her and look around, since Bella seems to be hanging on her every insane word. It's a really nice looking room, with neutral walls and wooden floor, but the real selling point is the windows. I walk over to them to look outside, over the busy street and surrounding buildings, amazed by how little sound is slipping through.

Jane takes us on a tour of the rest of the apartment next, showing us the spacious master bedroom, the second bedroom, the smaller guestroom and the kitchen, all the while telling them how amazing it is, as if we don't have eyes to see with. I can tell Bella immediately falls in love with the kitchen, which is so much bigger than the one we have now. There's lots of working space on the L-shaped counter and it has the same floor to ceiling windows as the living room, but I think I like the glass tiles above the counter best.

“Pretty awesome, huh?” Bella beams, touching her fingers to the tile as I come up behind her.

“Yeah,” I agree with a smile. “But, what are we doing here?”

She blinks a couple of times as if I just asked the stupidest question ever. “What do you think we're doing here?”

“I don't know, I just asked you,” I groan.

Bella blinks again. “I thought it was pretty obvious…” she trails off fighting to contain her amusement.

I frown and look around again, taking in the lack of personal affections and Jane's eager smile.

“Oh,” I manage. “Oh… oh!”

Bella laughs. “So… what do you think of our new place?”

I blink again. “You bought this… without me?”

“Do you want the long answer that includes several mentions of your least favorite person in the world, or the short one?” she retorts.

“Uh… The short one?” I answer, but it comes out sounding like a question.
“Yes,” she says matter-of-factly.

I lick my lips and look around again, trying to imagine what it would look like being mine and Bella's. It's not that hard, I can already see our kitchen table standing next to the window, and Bella's awesome coffeemaker on the edge of the counter.

I catch Jane's eye and smile. “This is really ours?” I ask, still a little dumbfounded.

Jane grins big and bright and before I know it I’m signing my name next to Bella's on a bunch of papers, trying my best to read through them before the next one appears. My mind is still reeling as we walk out and I can't really believe it just happened.

“Did we just buy an apartment together?” I ask dumbly as we exit onto the street again.

“Yeah,” she confirms, reaching for my hand and linking our fingers together.

“Okay… Good,” I nod.

We walk in silence back to our apartment while I try to get the dots to connect in my head. We are both pulling in a decent amount of money at the moment, but with the new apartment that means we'll have three rents to cover between us, until we have our current places out on the market. Does this mean Bella will actually give up her place now? I’m already juggling odd jobs, in between my writing.  I don’t want to have to get another one just to be able to live with Bella officially, because that would mean never actually seeing her or our daughter when she’s born.  Unless I sell the movie script I recently finished and sent out to a few studios, I don't see my work situation changing any time soon.

“Okay,” I sigh. “Give me the long answer.”

Bella laughs and squeezes my fingers. “James' company owns that apartment, or they did before we bought it. They've had it as a place for temporary consultants and guests to stay while in town, but they felt the place was really a bit too big and people didn’t like to stay at the same place. James tipped me off that it was going on the market and asked me if it was possible we'd want to do a trade. We get that apartment and a few thousand dollars and they walk away with both of our apartments.”

I blink. “So, basically we're getting paid for our new apartment.”

“Yeah,” she confirms grinning.

I mull this over for a moment. “You didn't whip this up since last night, did you?” I ask hesitantly.

“No,” she confirms. “This has been going on for a while.”

“So, the only reason you wouldn’t give up your apartment is because of this and not because you were having second thoughts about marrying me?” I rush out.

Her eyes go wide, “Oh, Edward.  I have never had second thoughts about you.”

I smile wide; turns out maybe I don’t hate surprises after all.

She laughs again shaking her head and I tug on her hand so that she ends up in my arms.

I laugh along with her, reaching out to push her hair out of her eyes. “You could have answered, you know?” I say petulantly. “You could have told me… It was not nice at all to leave me hanging.”

“I'm sorry, baby,” she coos, giving me a quick kiss. “I just wanted to surprise you.”

“I love you Mrs. Cullen,” I murmur wrapping my arms around her and resting my forehead against hers for a moment.

Somehow it doesn't matter if I end up spending the rest of my life working a dead end job as a Santa, because it brought me to Bella and Bella's easily the best thing that's ever happened to me.

“I love you, too Santa,” she teases pulling me a little closer.
My Santa Savior – Christmas Day 2009
Bella POV

It was still dark outside when I woke up, so I glanced at the clock: it showed 4:30am in glowing red numbers.

I groaned internally; it was really no time to be awake, especially not when the bed was so warm and cozy. But being almost eight and half months pregnant, I was used to being awake at odd hours of the night. I tried to adjust my pillows, then rolled over to go back to sleep when I remembered what day it was and a huge smile spread over my face.

It was Christmas.

I lifted my head to gaze at Edward, but he was still peacefully asleep and so beautiful my heart hurt just looking at him. I put my head back down on his strong chest, inhaling deeply, surrounding my senses with the man I loved. He smelled just right, like everything I ever wanted and sometimes it was still so hard for me to believe that he was really mine.

My husband.

So much had changed in the last year and I smiled to myself thinking about our life together.
The bare skin under my cheek was warm and soft despite the hard contours of muscle and I could hear his heart beating under my ear. My eyes drifted shut again and I was almost asleep when I realized why I hadn't been able to go back to sleep in the first place.

Christmas… and the ever present need to pee.

In a few seconds time I managed to disentangle myself from Edward without waking him up and got out of bed. I paused, next to his side of the bed, for a moment, looking down on him with a soft smile. Then I bent down and pressed a soft kiss to his temple before heading to the bathroom. After taking care of business
quickly, I paused, getting my robe from behind the bedroom door and headed out of the bedroom.

I pulled it on
as I tiptoed down the hall to the living room and the great big Christmas tree filled with white lights and beautiful ornaments that we had brought in and decorated together. The lights on the tree had been left on overnight, painting the room in patterned shadows of gold. I inhaled the wonderful smell of Christmas that reached my nose from the pine tree and padded over to sit on the couch facing the tree.

Stacks of presents in brightly colored wrapping were resting under the tree, and my fingers itched to tear the wrappings off and get to the
gifts inside. I hadn't asked for anything special; I hadn't been able to think of a single thing that I wanted or needed that I didn't already have. So I knew that every gift came from the heart and that made me even more curious as to see what Edward came up with.

My eyes were very keen when it came to presents and I'd spotted a small box partially hidden behind the tree that looked a whole lot like it contained jewelry, or more accurately a ring. Looking around furtively, I snuck up to the tree and brought the small box with me back to the couch. It was a roughly square, black and velvety box with a bulbous top, just the sort of box to put a ring in. I turned it over several times and shook it for good measure. but I found no tag of any kind. Finally, my curiosity got the better of me and I was just about to open the box when I heard a sound behind me, as of someone clearing their throat.

With a crimson blush spreading rapidly over my face, I turned to look over my shoulder at Edward who was standing behind me with a crooked smile on his lips. I felt like a little kid being about to be scolded by their mother as I tried to hide the box in my hand.

"What have you got there?" he teased. Like the bastard didn't already know.

"I was just looking at it," I said quickly.

"Of course you were," he agreed easily with a smirk. "Now come back to bed. It's too early to be up."

My attention was drawn back to the velvet box in my hands. "But…"

"Give it to me," he instructed.

"But…" I protested.

"Now," he said firmly, holding out his hand.

I handed the box over with a pout, watching as he slipped it into the pocket of his pajama pants.
"But you know… technically speaking, it's Christmas now so I should be allowed to open my presents," I whined as I got up from the couch and trailed after him as he began walking towards the bedroom.

"Who said this present was for you anyway?" he called over his shoulder.

"Oh… I guess no one, but…" I trailed off, wondering why I'd gotten so hung up on that particular gift just because it looked to be a ring. It could be anything really, just because I had let myself hope that maybe it was something special. When we got married in February, we never bothered with anything more than two simple platinum bands. I had told Edward I didn't need a diamond or anything special. I was happy as long as I had him and we were married; that was more than enough for me.

I watched silently from the door as Edward removed his shirt he'd put on, throwing it on the floor next to his side of the bed. I'd managed to spoil my own good mood with my thoughts of wanting a ring I knew I didn't really need. I had never even thought about it until I saw the box. There was no doubt in my mind that Edward was committed to me and our relationship; so why was a suddenly stupid diamond ring on my finger so important? It was like I couldn't allow myself to be truly happy and carefree, always wanting something more.

"Hey Babe," Edward said softly from his position under the covers. "What's wrong?"

"It's nothing," I lied and shrugged out of my robe.

"Liar," he teased as I crawled into the bed and pulled the covers up to my chin.

"No, it really is nothing," I argued, annoyance creeping into my voice. "Apparently I just like making myself feel miserable, that's all."

I rolled over on my side, facing away from Edward since I was in some attack of womanly logic suddenly annoyed with him as well. Edward was not so easily detered so he just spooned up behind me, pulling me into his arms and placing his head on my shoulder.

"What's wrong, love?" he cooed, softly pressing a kiss to my shoulder.

"I don't know," I complained with a sigh; it was hard to stay annoyed with someone that was as amazing as Edward. I put my hand over his on my swollen stomach. "I guess I'm just cranky."
"I always heard being pregnant usually did that to you," he agreed, pressing another kiss to the back of my neck.

"And apparently me being pregnant, makes you horny," I shot back, shivering when his hot breath spilled over the side of my neck and ear.

"It's the tight little ass pressing against my cock. I can't help it," he replied before sucking a little on my earlobe.

"I can feel a hot hard something or other pressing against aforementioned ass," I said with a smile. "Are you trying to tell me something?"

I could feel him smile even though I couldn't see his face.

"Can I show you instead… please?" he asked, shifting his hips so that his hard cock lodged itself between my legs.

"Just out of curiosity," I teased as I shifted, letting the head of his cock slide down so that it aligned with my entrance, "During this time we've been together… have I ever said no?"

"No," he murmured. "Just checking… is the baby okay?"

"Uh huh," I answered with a sigh.

"But I don't always ask," he continued as he oh so slowly pushed forward.

I bit my lip and made a sound of pleasure deep in my throat; it was slightly uncomfortable since I wasn't as ready as I'd thought, but it didn't hurt enough for me to ask him to stop.

"You never have to ask," I said breathlessly.

"You okay?" he asked softly, holding his hips still, as he picked up on the strained note in my voice.
"Yeah," I confirmed. "Just go slow."

"I will," he promised, pressing another kiss to my neck.

Edward pushed in until he was fully sheathed inside of me and paused. I reached back with my arms, wrapping them around his back, pressing back with my hips to keep him as deep inside of me as possible. He wrapped his arms around me, one of his hands finding my hardened nipple and fingering it lightly, while the other rested over my baby bump. A small moan escaped me and I shifted, moving his cock even deeper within me.

"I don't want to take advantage of you," he murmured, rocking his hips slowly and sweetly. "Just because you'd let me."

"That feels so good," I moaned, as he let one of his hands slide down my body to find my clit. "I'm not… oh… a victim in this relationship and you're not a big bad monster."

Edward reached down pressing more firmly on my clit, rubbing it in time with his minute thrusts. "God, you're tight," he rasped. "I know you're not a victim. I'm just… oh God… afraid you'd let me use you and I don't want to hurt you, since you're pregnant."

"Oh… oh… do that again," I panted, twisting my hips slightly until the head of his cock rubbed firmly over my gspot with every thrust. "Yeah…."

He thrust harder into my body, his fingers sliding rapidly over my swollen nub.

"You're not… mmmm… oh yeah… using me and I wouldn't… god… let you," I breathed.
I got no reply, only the sound of Edwards panted breaths as he focused on sliding in and out of my tight pussy.

"I'm sorry, babe. I can't wait for you," he groaned. "You feel too damn… oh yeah… good."
I moaned for an answer, closing my eyes and letting every thrust build the pleasure to an almost unbearable level.

"I love you," he gasped as he came with a series of hard rapid thrusts that pushed me over the edge as well.

I trashed with the pleasure as my walls clenched around his cock, my orgasm seemed to reach into the deepest parts of me and wash away the last of my uneasiness.

So what if Edward didn't want to put a diamond ring on my finger right now? We would still be together and still love each other without it. We were already married anyways, diamond or no diamond. I let myself go boneless in his arms, putting my hands over Edward's still resting on my stomach, and just relaxed.

I made a sound of displeasure when he released me and shuffled around behind my back.
"Come back," I pouted without moving.

Edward did come back, his arms going back around my body, only this time he held the velvet box up in front of my face. I blinked and reached for it, pausing when I almost touched it.
"Is it for me?" I asked quietly.

He chuckled, the sound reverberating against my back. "Of course it is," he said. "I'm not that evil."
"Not evil at all," I agreed as I took the box in my hand, my mouth suddenly dry with unwanted emotions.

I was afraid that opening the box would disappoint me, and I didn't want to feel like that, not on Christmas Day. There was no way I could not open the box without upsetting Edward though, so I slowly popped it open. Set inside the box was a ring, just as I'd guessed. My finger shook as I touched it to the beautiful diamond solitare set in a smooth, silver matte band.

"Is this…" I gulped.

"Platinum? Yeah," he replied. "I wanted you to have the kind of ring you always deserved," he said softly.

I swallowed and removed the ring from its box, looking inside it to see if it had any inscriptions. There was one that simply said 'Forever' and the date of today. My pulse sped up until the only thing I could hear was the rush of my own blood in my ears, as the hot tears trailed down my cheeks. He gently took the ring from my shaking hand and slid it onto my ring finger. He lifted my hand and pressed a kiss to the ring resting there.

"I love you," he said softly. "Madly, deeply, I love you."

I bit my lip as the tears continued to well up in my eyes; I didn't think I'd ever been so happy.
"I love you, too…" my voice broke. "So much…"

I gave up my attempts at speaking and gave into the tears streaming down my face; turning in his arms to press my face against his neck, weeping in long hulking sobs without really knowing why or being able to stop.

"Easy, babe," he murmured, stroking my hair and my heaving shoulders. "Don't cry. I hate it when you cry. I only ever want you to be happy."

"I am happy," I sobbed, clinging to him tighter.

As the tears slowly dried out and my breathing started to return to normal, I realized something amazing. For the first time in what felt like forever, I was completely at ease. The last year with Edward had been amazing, more than I could have ever hoped for. For once I was truly happy and there was no doubt that things would be okay.

I lifted my head to look at Edward, knowing I must look a real treat, puffy eyed, with swollen lips and a runny nose, but he just cupped my face in his hands and kissed me softly on the lips. Smiling, he released my face and pulled back to look into my eyes, "Merry Christmas, baby."

"Merry Christmas, Edward," I said when I was safely tucked into his arms.

I was staring up at him, still smiling softly when I started to feel the leak; I could feel it trickling down my legs and then a gush.

My eyes went wide.

"Uh… baby," my voice an anxious quiver.

"Hmm," he hummed trying to snuggle closer.

Anxiously, I flailed my hands around, parting my legs and struggling to stand, "I uh… think… my water just broke."

His eyes went wider than mine and he pulled as far back as he could, "Bella?"

"Merry Christmas, indeed," I whispered as a silly grin spread across my face.

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