posted by groovychicklisa
Charlie was about as understanding as Edward had feared. I hadn't exactly expected anything else, but a part of me had still hoped – in vain – that maybe, just maybe, he would understand and be happy for us.
"I'll help you in the kitchen, dad." I sinabi pointedly when we had finished eating. The way he was glaring at Edward – like he was trying to figure out the best way to get rid of the body – was really starting to get on my nerves; and I wasn't even the one subjected to it. The fact that Lily hadn't noticed anything was practically a miracle. I had to do something before she caught on.
I walked ahead of my dad into the other room and turned on the water. I poured some dish soap in the sink and watched the bubbles start to form.
"What the hell are you thinking?" Charlie hissed, coming up behind me.
"This is none of your business." I warned him, grabbing a dish towel.
"Like hell it isn't! He left you completely devastated last time, don't think I don't remember." If he hadn't had a soapy dish brush in his hand, he might have looked frightening.
"Dad…" I tried to reason, but he cut me off.
"What do you want me to do, just wait around for a repeat? And what about Lily?"
"He would never leave Lily."
"And you? Do you think I could stand watching you go through that again?"
"It's not going to happen."
"That's what you think."
"Dad, this is really what it comes down to." I took a deep breath. "You're going to have to accept that Edward is an important part of my life now, and not just as Lily's dad, or you can't be a part of it."
He was silent for a moment, glaring at me.
"Are you giving me an ultimatum?" He finally managed to get out through gritted teeth.
"I guess I am." I nodded calmly, though I felt anything but. I really didn't want to do this, but I didn't have a choice. "Lily might not notice the way you act around Edward yet, but eventually, she will. And I don't want her to have to choose between her dad and her grandpa. I won't let you force her to take sides in your stupid vendetta."
He was quiet for a few minutes, the only sound coming from the telebisyon in the living room.
"If he hurts you again, I will not be responsible for my actions." He finally said.
"You don't have to worry about that."
I knew that I hadn't convinced him that Edward could be trusted, but Charlie knew that I wasn't kidding about my ultimatum.
"And I want you to be nicer to him, actually talk to him." I added.
"You're asking a lot." He grumbled.
He looked at me through narrowed eyes for a moment.
And for the rest of the evening, he kept his word. What would happen in the future was impossible to say. Only time would tell.
"I'll help you in the kitchen, dad." Bella sinabi with a meaningful look at Charlie when we had finished dinner.
I tried to hear what they were saying, but the water was running in the sink, and the volume on the TV was turned pretty high. Whatever it was that she told him, Charlie's attitude towards me had changed when they returned to the living room. At least on the surface; I could tell that he was still reluctant when he spoke to me.
"So, Edward, how's work?" He asked during a commercial. He didn't sound like he was actually interested in the answer, but at least he was making an effort. It was better than the silent, angry glaring.
"It's pretty good, actually." I replied. "I got a couple of great contracts just before the holidays, so I'll be busy for a while now."
"You write jingles for commercials, right?" Sue interjected.
"That's right." I confirmed.
"That sounds like fun." Seth said, joining the conversation.
"It's really just to pay the bills." I shrugged. "What I really want to do is play full time, or maybe compose, but right now, I wouldn't be able to survive on that."
"That's a shame." Sue noted.
"We should probably be getting back." Bella changed the subject, nodding at Lily, who was almost asleep on the couch.
"It is getting late." Charlie admitted reluctantly after a glance at the clock.
We all got to our feet, and I picked Lily up from the couch.
"Is it pasko yet, daddy?" She mumbled sleepily, wrapping her little arms around my neck. I held her closer, the warmth from her body seeping through the fabric of my shirt.
"Not quite yet, baby. One madami araw to go."
"I want Christmas." Even though her voice was heavy with sleep, she managed to sound impatient.
We all laughed quietly, but she was already asleep again.
"Someone's eager for presents, I see." Charlie noted when he walked us out to the car.
"I made the mistake of not hiding them, so she's been begging to open them for over a week." I replied, and Charlie chuckled.
Maybe we would be able to get along eventually after all?
"Listen, why don't you come to hapunan tomorrow night?" I suggested on a whim, closing the car door after having put Lily in her seat. Esme wouldn't mind four madami people at the table; she loved cooking for guests.
"Are you sure? Isn't your parents' place crowded enough as it is?" He didn't sound like he was opposed to the idea, madami like he was afraid of intruding. He had always gotten along fine with my parents, after all.
"The madami the merrier, right? Esme would pag-ibig it." I assured him.
That seemed to settle it for him.
"We would like that, thank you."
"Great. We'll see you tomorrow at six then."
The drive back to the house was a lot madami pleasant than the drive in the opposite direction earlier that evening had been, now that I didn't have Charlie's disapproval hanging over me the same way as before. Granted, we would probably never be best friends, but I had a feeling he'd be less hostile towards me in the future.
"What did you say to your dad when you were in the kitchen, anyway?" I wondered after a while.
"I told him that he would just have to accept you and our relationship, because if he didn't, I wouldn't want him to be a part of our lives." Bella said, shrugging.
"Seriously?" I glanced at her in disbelief.
"I meant it." She replied. "He's my dad, and I pag-ibig him, but I won't have him treat you like that, especially not around Lily. I don't want her in the middle of that."
"Thank you." I reached for her hand in the dark car.
"Don't mention it."
I was woken sa pamamagitan ng Lily's footstep outside our bedroom door the susunod morning. I waited for her to come knocking on the door – we had locked it the nakaraan night – but instead I heard her skip downstairs.
"Morning." Edward mumbled in my ear when he noticed I was awake.
"Good morning." I pushed myself up on one elbow and leaned down for a kiss.
"Lily went downstairs." He stated, pulling me down on tuktok of him. "There are people who will feed her; she won't bother us for a while."
"I like the direction your mind's going." I breathed, pressing myself closer to him. His body immediately responded to my actions and he rolled us around, so he was on top, pinning me to the mattress.
My mind instantly stopped working when his lips trailed down my neck, to my kwelyo bone, my chest, and lower. My head fell back against the pillows, my eyes closing as the wonderful feeling of his mouth on my skin overwhelmed me.
"Breakfast!" A cheery voice came from the other side of the door.
"And then there is Alice." I sighed. Edward groaned against my stomach.
"I guess we'd better get up, then." He pulled away, getting up from the bed. I raised an eyebrow at him.
"I think some of us already are." He just glared at me, pulled on a pair of sweat pants and headed for the shower.
We spent the araw playing with Lily in the snow. I suspected that Edward, Emmett and Jasper really only used her as an excuse to be able to act like kids, but they had fun. sa pamamagitan ng the early afternoon, there were two large snowmen and one small igloo in the back yard, and we went inside for some much needed hot chocolate.
Esme had been thrilled that Edward had invited Charlie, Sue, Leah and Seth for dinner. She, Rosalie and Alice spent the main part of the afternoon in the kitchen, making all kinds of delicious pasko dishes. The smell alone made my mouth water.
At six, the doorbell rang and Carlisle let the guests into the house. Sue was amazed; she had only seen the house from the outside before, and I offered to give her, Leah and Seth the grand tour while Carlisle entertained Charlie in the living room.
"I can't believe this place was empty for so long, it's incredible." Sue noted when we walked back down the stairs.
"Haven't you heard that it's haunted?" Seth said.
"Really, Seth, where did you get that?" Leah wondered dryly.
"Some kids in school." He shrugged. "They sinabi that you could see a light moving through the house at night, that it's some woman who drowned herself in the river a hundred years ago."
"Well, I've spent the night here, and I can assure you that there's no ghost. A couple of mga asong lobo in the forest, and some Bampira in the attic, but definitely no ghost." I teased him.
"I didn't believe them." He huffed. "I'm just saying that some of the kids in town think that."
"They have a vivid imagination." Sue sinabi as we walked down the last flight of stairs and into the living room.
"Who do?" Carlisle wondered from the couch, where he, Charlie and Emmett were watching a game of some sort.
"The kids in town think this place is haunted." I told him.
"I never told you that story?" Edward wondered, coming up behind me.
"What story?" I turned around, frowning at him.
"The one about The Grey Lady."
"There really is a ghost story?" How did I not know this? I had spent the night here dozens of times.
"Sure there is." He looked around the room.
"Lily's upstairs, Alice is braiding her hair." Carlisle told him.
"OK then." Edward started. "This house was built in 1901, sa pamamagitan ng a wealthy shopkeeper from Seattle. He and his young wife came to live here, but she was very lonely, since the area wasn't very populated and her husband spent a lot of time in Seattle. One night, she jumped from a cliff into the river, and was never found. Her ghost is sinabi to walk through the house, an oil lamp in her hand, waiting in vain for her husband to return."
"How do they know that she jumped in the river if her body was never found?" I objected. "She could have just taken off, sick of hanging around waiting for her no-good husband all the time."
"That's probably what happened." Carlisle agreed, chuckling. "But that wouldn't make a very good ghost story, would it?"
Even if I hadn't believed the story about The Grey Lady, I could tell that Seth had taken it seriously; he jumped at every sudden noise the whole evening. Leah of course took advantage of this, creeping up behind him madami than once and scaring the crap out of him.
Esme had outdone herself in the kitchen; everything was delicious. When she served the desert, I was so full I didn't think I could eat another bite. But Esme's tsokolate prambuwesas pie looked too mouthwatering to pass up.
"I think I might explode." Emmett complained from across the table, leaning back in his chair.
"Nobody forced you to eat that segundo piece of pie." Rosalie pointed out.
"But it looked so lonely sitting there all sa pamamagitan ng itself on the plate." Emmett replied. "I was practically doing a good deed, finishing it off."
"It really was delicious, Esme, all of it." Sue complimented, and Esme beamed at her.
Charlie, Sue, Leah and Seth left at nine, and we started getting ready for Santa. Alice had helped Lily make tsokolate chip cookies earlier, and these were put on a plate sa pamamagitan ng the pasko puno along with a glass of milk. We hung the stockings beneath the window susunod to the tree, since there was no fireplace.
When Lily was happy with the cookies and stockings, we took her upstairs for bed.
"I want to hear the Grinch!" She exclaimed as she crawled into bed.
Luckily, I had anticipated this and packed the book. I sat down on the edge of Lily's bed, Edward claiming the rocking chair in the corner.
"Every Who down in Whoville liked pasko a lot
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did not
The Grinch hated Christmas, the whole pasko season
Now, please don't ask why, no one quite knows the reason."
Snow started falling outside the window as I read the story, perfecting the pasko spirit. Normally, Lily would fall asleep pretty quickly when someone read to her, but this time she was still awake when I finished.
"Why didn't the Grinch like Christmas?" She mumbled, sleepily.
"Nobody knew, remember?" I reminded her, putting the book aside.
"I think I hear Santa." Lily was fighting sleep.
"Then you'd better go to sleep, or he might not leave you any presents." I mumbled in her ear and pulled the cover up to her chin. I kissed her forehead before getting up; she was already asleep.
We stopped for a moment in the door, listening to Lily's breaths as they became deeper and madami even. Edward wrapped his arms around me and leaned his chin against the tuktok of my head.
"Thank you." He mumbled quietly.
"For letting me be a part of this."
The susunod morning brought with it a not so pleasant wake up call. I got the wind knocked out of me as Lily landed on my stomach – I knew it had been a mistake to not lock the door.
"Mommy, wake up, it's Christmas!" She exclaimed, bouncing up and down. A moment later, she was lifted off me and I gave Edward a grateful smile.
"Why don't you go wake up the others, and we'll be there in just a minute?" He suggested, putting Lily down on the floor. She happily skipped out of the room.
"That wasn't very nice, telling her to wake up the others." I glanced at the clock. It was a little after seven, at least.
"Why should we be the only ones up this early?" He grumbled.
"Uh-oh. Somebody needs coffee." I gave him a quick halik before I got up, pulling on a pair of sweats and a long-sleeved t-shirt. "I'll get that going while you take a shower; you look like you could use it. But don't take too long, Lily won't wait for you." I winked at him and left the room.
On the floor below, I was met sa pamamagitan ng a very grumpy looking Emmett.
"That devil child of yours woke me up!" He complained.
"Sorry, Emmett, she's just excited." I apologized. "But you might as well get used to it, right?" He kept mumbling incoherently to himself as he trudged off down the stairs.
Rosalie came out of their room with Noah, and a moment later, Esme and Carlisle joined us too.
"She didn't get to Alice and Jasper?" I looked over at their closed door.
"I think they're already downstairs." Rosalie said.
We all went down into the living room, and did find Alice and Jasper already up and dressed, for some reason.
"Merry Christmas!" Alice exclaimed as we entered the room. She had a Father pasko takip on, and had somehow managed to get Jasper to put one on as well. The smell of coffee, mag-ihaw and waffles was coming from the living room table, and I realized that Alice and Jasper had gotten up early to make breakfast for the rest of us.
"Look at my stocking, mommy!" Lily cried out, pulling me along to where the stockings were hanging. Of course, hers was completely full.
"Wow, Santa left a lot of presents for you." I marveled with her.
"Can I open them, can I open them?" She jumped up and down, too excited to stand still.
I looked up and saw Edward coming down the stairs. I knew he wanted to see when she opened the presents.
"Go ahead, baby."
She happily ripped the paper off the first present she could reach. The rest of us sat down on the couch, eating breakfast while we watched her open the gifts. Her eyes widened in amazement at everything she got.
"I told you not to get her too much stuff." I scolded Edward, but only halfheartedly. "And she'll get even madami at Charlie's later."
"Most of that's not from me." He replied sheepishly. I knew how many presents he'd gotten her. "Besides, we've got five years worth of Christmases and birthdays to make up for."
Since I understood how he felt, I didn't argue.
When Lily had finally opened all her presents, and was playing with her new toys, the rest of us started opening our gifts as well.
I saved Edward's present until last. It was beautifully wrapped, and I could tell before opening it that it was a book. I hadn't expected it to be that book, though.
"You remembered." I mumbled, touching the letters on the leather covers spelling out Pride and Prejudice.
"Of course I did." He said, placing a halik on my temple.
"I pag-ibig it."
He insisted that he loved the CD with a compilation of jazz songs I had gotten for him, but it felt like nothing in comparison with my gift.
We went to Charlie's for lunch, and Edward went with us willingly. I was glad to see that he and Charlie might be able to get a long after all. Charlie didn't glare at Edward once, and even talked to him several times without me having to give him pointed looks.
Sue had cooked a wonderful lunch, and when we had finished eating we opened madami presents. I was starting to wonder if all of Lily's new toys would even fit in the car.
The lunch at Charlie's went even better than the hapunan the nakaraan night had. He talked to me almost normally, and didn't glare at me once, which felt nice for a change. He had apparently taken Bella seriously.
Lily got even madami pasko presents, and we needed two bags to get them with us.
The afternoon was spent playing some of Lily's new games in the living room and building another snowman in the back yard. Carlisle took Lily down into the basement, and they found an abandoned hat and scarf that they put on him, since Lily didn't want him to be cold.
Lily crashed into kama sa pamamagitan ng eight, completely exhausted after the long day, and Bella and I excused ourselves soon after to cuddle in bed.
"I've got something else for you." I said, reaching for the small box I had put in the bedside table.
"You already got me the most amazing present, I can't accept something else too!" She objected.
"Well, you really should have had this long ago, so stop arguing."
She took the flat, square velvet box and eyed it suspiciously.
"I got this for your seventeenth birthday, but then…" I shrugged, looking away for a moment. The memories were still a little painful.
"You kept it all these years?" She asked incredulously, her eyes wide.
"Of course I did. Will you open it already?"
She slowly opened the box, a gasp escaping her.
"It's so beautiful."
She pulled out the ginto chain and handed it to me.
"Put it on?"
She lifted her hair up, and I clasped the kuwintas around her neck. When she turned around, I could see the puso shaped pendant glitter against the pale skin just beneath her kwelyo bones.
"I pag-ibig it." She said, giving me an intense kiss.
"I pag-ibig you."
New Year, New Dreams
We decided to stay in Forks for New Year's, on Esme's insistence. I wasn't very anxious to get back to Seattle, anyway, and neither was Bella. She didn't have to be at work until the fourth and I didn't have anything scheduled until the weekend after. Lily was, of course, thrilled. She loved spending time with her grandparents and aunts and uncles. No wonder, since they spoiled her rotten.
Esme was again planning a spectacular hapunan party; Charlie, Sue and Seth were coming over for New Years, without Leah who had other plans this time. The araw before New Year's Eve, I offered to go into town to do the grocery shopping for the dinner; though I loved my family dearly, the house was starting to get a little crowded.
"Mind if I tag along?" Bella wondered.
"Of course not." I looked out through the glass pader to where Lily and Alice were making snow mga kerubin in the back yard.
"Go, she won't even notice." Esme said, ushering us towards the door.
I had some difficulty focusing on the road with Bella's head against my shoulder and her hand on my knee, but we got to the Thriftway safely, without any incidents. I wondered if I would ever stop reacting this way to her touch, and I hoped not.
Bella checked things off the listahan Esme had sent with us while I pushed the kariton through the aisles at the store. We were discussing what kind of ice cream to get when we were interrupted sa pamamagitan ng a familiar voice.
We both turned to find Jessica Stanley standing a few feet away. There was a look of astonishment on her face, but it seemed fake somehow.
"Edward?" She tried to sound surprised at seeing me there, but failed at that, too. I came to the conclusion that she must have spotted us earlier.
"Hi, Jess." Bella greeted, a forced smile on her face and an edge to her voice. She was obviously not thrilled to see her former friend.
"What are you doing here?" Jessica wondered, seemingly curious.
"We're spending the holidays with Carlisle and Esme." Bella replied.
"Right, I heard that they had bought that old house again." Jessica nodded. "That's nice."
"Yeah." Bella put on another fake smile. "Good to see you, Jess." She pointedly turned back to the ice cream.
"And how's…" Jessica hesitated. "Lila?"
"Lily." I corrected her.
"She's fine, Jess." Bella snapped. It really wouldn't have been any clearer that she didn't want to talk to Jessica if she had come right out and sinabi it, and still the woman would not take the hint.
"Great. And you still live in Seattle?" She was speaking to Bella, but her eyes flickered to me constantly.
What was her problem?
"That's nice. I moved back here after graduation last year, dad wanted help with the store."
"That sounds wonderful, Jess." Bella nudged me. "We're actually in a bit of a hurry, so if you'll excuse us."
"Sure. It was great seeing both of you again." She smiled widely and fluttered her eyelashes at me, and I suddenly realized what she was doing.
"Come on, babe." I wrapped an arm around Bella's waist and gave her a kiss. I could see Jessica frown. "Bye, Jess. It was so nice to see you again." Heavy on the sarcasm – I hoped she picked up on that.
"Bye." She called after us. "We'll have to get together soon, catch up!"
We ignored her.
"Well, that was interesting." I nagkomento as we loaded the groceries into the trunk of the car fifteen minutos later.
"That was the first time that she's actually talked to me since before pasko senior year." Bella noted.
"You weren't mga kaibigan the last semester?" I asked, frowning. I had assumed that they had Nawawala touch when Jessica had left for college.
"Are you kidding?" Bella huffed. "Hanging out with me would have ruined her precious reputation."
"Oh." I finally connected the dots. "I'm sorry."
We got in the car and left the parking lot.
"I was glad to be rid of her, really." Bella sinabi after a moment, shrugging. "She was always a little phony, I never knew if she was actually my friend or if it was just the attention that she was after."
"Seems like she's still keeping that up."
"I know. I mean, I've passed her in the kalye or the store every now and then, over the years. She's never as much as sinabi hi. But now, all of a sudden, she's all smiles again. I blame you." She mock glared at me.
"I am very sorry."
"Are you kidding? The way you shut her down, that was priceless." She giggled. "Did you see her face?"
"I was kind of hoping you hadn't noticed that." I mumbled.
"I can handle girls hitting on you." She assured me. "As long as I'm the one you go tahanan to at the end of the day."
New Year's Eve was a pretty quiet event. We had dinner, played some games and watched Dick Clark on TV. I managed to steal a halik at midnight, and then we took Lily outside to watch the fireworks that people were letting off in town. The sky was surprisingly free of clouds, and the bright mga kulay lit up the darkness and the twinkling stars above us. It reminded me of the Fourth of July celebrations the last summer we spent in Forks, when we had gone to Tillicum Park to watch the fireworks. I smiled as I reminisced; walking down memory lane was not painful now that I had Bella in my life again.
It took a while to calm Lily down after Charlie, Sue and Seth had left, but eventually she fell asleep. Bella and I sinabi goodnight to the others and headed upstairs, tucking Lily in before retreating to our room.
"Happy New Year." Bella mumbled as she climbed into the kama susunod to me.
"Happy New Year." I replied, pulling her in for a kiss.
"Are you going to make any New Years resolutions?" She wondered, settling down on the kama with her head on my shoulder, pulling the covers up over us.
"Hmm, let me think." I frowned for a moment. "How about if I promise to spend this taon making you as happy as I possibly can? Does that sound good?"
"I like that." She reached up for another halik and I happily obliged. "I even think I can make the same promise in return, and I never make New Years resolutions."
I pulled her closer, deepening the kiss, and groaned when she shifted so she was lying on tuktok of me. Her lips left mine, and she looked down on me, breathing heavily.
"Any New Years wishes?" She asked in a husky voice.
"I've got everything I could ever wish for."
We returned to Seattle the Sunday after New Year's, and though it was nice to get back to the buzzing city, I found myself missing Forks, which was something that I never would have thought I would. With the exception of the run-in with Jessica in the grocery store, the trip had been a nice breather from every-day life.
Lily went back to school, as excited as ever, and I started working again. I still loved my job, but found that the idea of Edward waiting in my apartment – our apartment – all araw distracted me something awful. I really had to get in control of my raging hormones – I wasn't sixteen anymore, I was a grown woman for Christ's sake. Unsurprisingly, that thought didn't help at all.
I cherished our nights together, even the ones when we did nothing but sleep, curled up close together under the covers. His presence soothed me, and I had never slept as well as I did with him susunod to me in the bed.
Immediately after our return to Seattle, I started planning for the third pasko celebration that would take place the following weekend.
"I'm not working Saturday, but I can ask Joe if I can play for a couple of hours anyway." Edward sinabi that Friday. "I don't want to intrude on your tradition."
"What do you mean 'intrude'?" I questioned. "You're a part of our traditions now, whether you like it or not."
"Are you sure?"
I didn't like the lack of confidence in his eyes. When would he get it through his thick head that he was a part of our lives now? A part of every area of our lives.
"Hey." I took his face between my hands and looked him deep in the eyes. "If this is going to work, you're going to have to get over the insecurity that I would ever not want you to be a part of anything in my life, OK?"
"OK." He nodded, and I gave him a quick kiss.
"Now come on. You're in charge of dinner, because I have to run to the store to get a few last minuto things for tomorrow." We had slipped into a comfortable routine during the past week, alternating the different household chores without really discussing it. If he cooked, I would take care of the dishes, and the other way around.
"I'll get right on that."
"Lily." I called in the direction of her room. "I'm going to the store, do you want to come with me?"
"I'm playing, mommy." She called back.
"Silly me." I said, smiling. "To think that a trip to the store would be madami interesting than playing."
"Very thoughtless of you." Edward agreed.
"Back in a bit." I stood on my tiptoes to give him a halik before leaving the apartment.
I was a little anxious about the following day. Jake seemed to be fine with Edward and me being back together, but the two hadn't actually met yet. I knew that if they just gave it a chance, they would get along great. I also knew that Edward was a little worried about mine and Jacob's relationship, even though I had assured him madami than once that there had never been any romantic feelings between us. And I had no doubt that Jake would step in and give Edward a piece of his mind if he felt it necessary. Not that it would be.
When Angela had called earlier in the week to make the final plans about our pasko celebration, I had realized that she had talked to Alice.
"You sneaky little fox!" She had exclaimed when I answered the phone.
"I assure you that I have no idea what you're talking about." I had replied in the most innocent voice I could pull off, while trying to suppress a laugh.
"Oh, don't give me that! Alice told me everything."
"Of course she did. I should have known."
"Seriously, I'm so happy for you, but tricking us like that wasn't nice."
"You're not so innocent yourself, Miss Manipulator." I had pointed out.
"I guess." She had agreed. "But we acted in your best interests."
"I know, Ang, and thanks." I had sinabi sincerely.
"Just don't screw this up, and we'll call it even."
"I have no plan to." I had assured her, looking over at Edward and Lily playing on the floor in the living room.
I definitely had no intention to screw anything up.
"Greetings from the North Pole!" Jacob exclaimed as I opened the door to let him in the susunod day, and I laughed. He had on a fake beard and a Father pasko takip that had blinking stars on it.
"Uncle Jacob!" Lily came rushing into the hall.
"Hey there, shrimp." Jacob put down the bags he was carrying to pick her up and throw her into the air, earning a shriek of laughter. "Have you been a good girl this year? Eaten all your spinach and stuff?"
"I already got tons of presents!" She happily informed him.
"Oh, well, then I guess you don't really need any more." He put her down and picked up the bags again. "I'll just give these back to Santa."
"No!" Lily protested.
"Are you sure? Cause I can just…" Lily effectively ended the discussion sa pamamagitan ng pulling Jacob sa pamamagitan ng the t-shirt into the living room. "Alrighty then."
I laughed, following them into the room.
Jacob surrendered the bags with presents to Lily, who started organizing them susunod to the ones who were already under the tree. Our pasko celebration was mainly for Lily's sake, but we got each other gifts too.
"Hey, man, nice to finally meet you." Jacob extended a hand to Edward, who shook it.
"I've heard a lot about you." Edward replied, and Jacob chuckled.
"I can say the same." He glanced over at Lily. "You should have heard her last time we were at the zoo; my daddy did this, my daddy did that."
"Really?" Edward seemed happy to hear that.
"Sure, all the time." Jacob looked around the room. "Ben and Ang aren't here yet?" He wondered.
"They're picking up the pagkain on the way, but they should be here any minute." I glanced at the clock, and as if they had heard me, there was a knock on the door. "Speak of the devil…"
"And the devil does appear." Jacob finished.
I let them in, and followed Angela into the kusina to get plates and cutlery for the food. Ben brought their bags with presents into the living room, leaving the pagkain preparations to us women. He had been getting along well with Edward in the past couple of months, even better than I had hoped for, and now I could hear them talking through the open door.
"How was Mount Ripley?" I asked Angela.
"Snowy and cold, pretty much like here. How was Forks? I want details." She told me quietly, in a suggestive voice, and I immediately blushed. "Guess I don't need any details, your face says it all."
I glared at her.
"We ran into Jessica at Thriftway." I told her.
"Oh, the joy." Sarcasm was practically dripping from her voice.
"She actually talked to me." I frowned. "Well, she pretended to talk to me, but she was really hitting on Edward."
"She did not!" Angela shook her head in disbelief. "Not that I would put much past her, but still!"
"I know, I couldn't believe it myself." I frowned at the memory.
"She's got some nerve." Angela snickered. "Not that I blame her, I mean, look at him." She leaned out into the hallway and glanced into the living room.
"I'm just saying." She giggled.
"I would appreciate it if you didn't." I glared at her, grabbed the plates and headed into the living room. She followed me, still giggling.
"What's so funny?" Ben wondered, and I shot Angela a warning look.
"Oh, nothing, we were just talking about old friends." Angela replied, winking at me.
The evening passed quickly in a blur of food, presents and laughter. Before I knew it, it was nine o'clock and Lily was falling asleep in Edward's lap.
"I'll go put her down." He said, picking her up. She didn't wake up, only shifted a little in her sleep as he carried her into her room.
"S'mores time." Angela announced, and she and Ben headed into the kitchen.
"Get some popcorn, too." Jacob called after them.
"S'mores and popcorn?" Edward questioned, coming back into the living room.
"It's time for A Charlie Brown Christmas." I told him.
"Of course." He sinabi sarcastically. "I don't know why I didn't make the connection."
"It's a part of our pasko tradition." I explained. "Watching Charlie Brown and eating s'mores. Jacob added the papkorn just now."
"Isn't Charlie Brown a cartoon?" Edward wondered.
"Do not mock Charlie Brown!" Jacob exclaimed, seemingly appalled. "That's practically the eighth deadly sin or something!"
"OK, sorry." Edward frowned, confused.
"He's kidding." I assured him, elbowing Jacob in the ribs. "Apologize!" I hissed to him under my breath.
"Ow! Yeah, sorry man, just kidding." Jacob rubbed his ribs. "Your elbows are pointy!"
"That was the point!" I replied, and Jacob started laughing.
I couldn't help but sumali in on the laughter.
"Do I need to separate you two?" Angela asked, coming into the living room with a bowl of papkorn in her hands. "S'mores are coming right up."
We waited until Ben brought the s'mores to the mesa and then started the movie. Jacob, as always, sinabi all the lines in his silly voice, and within fifteen minutes, we were all laughing so hard we could barely breathe.
In the middle of January, I found an interesting property in the West Woodland area. I called the realtor and set up a time for us to look at it.
"This is a nice neighborhood." Bella noted as I turned onto the street. It was lined with large trees and the houses were all well kept. The sidewalks were cleared of snow, and there were still pasko decorations – Santas, reindeers, sleighs – in most yards, despite the fact that it was already the middle of January.
"I think this is it." I double checked the number, and parked at the curb.
"That's a house." Bella pointed out.
"Very perceptive of you." I got a poke in the ribs for that one.
"I thought we were looking at an apartment." She sinabi accusingly.
"I sinabi that we were looking at a bigger place, not necessarily an apartment." I got out of the car and went around to open the passenger door for her.
"But we can't afford a house." She objected, slamming the door shut with a little madami force than necessary.
"Yes, we can." I told her. "Look, I know that we haven't actually talked about money, but I make madami than enough, and I've got the money my parents left me. We're fine."
"Really?" She looked doubtful.
"Yes, really." I took her hand and pulled her along towards the house. "Don't you want Lily to get to have a back yard, and a swing, and everything else that comes with a house?"
"Of course I do." She replied. "I just haven't considered the possibility."
Because she couldn't afford it. But I could.
"Look, before you even get started on the whole 'it's your money' thing, I'm doing this for us, and for Lily. For our future. OK?" I was expecting her to argue.
"I wasn't going to say that." She protested, to my surprise. "I just need some time to get used to the idea that you're rich."
"I wouldn't say rich. Well, not very rich, at least."
"And exactly how rich is not very rich?" She demanded, but I just laughed and knocked on the door.
"Hello there, welcome." A plump man in his fifties opened the door. "You must be the Cullens."
"That's right." I said, and Bella didn't correct him.
"I'm Peter Hobart, the realtor. Come on in."
We walked around the house, Mr. Hobart describing every room in detail. The house was pretty large; a living room, study, kusina and dining room on the bottom floor, and five bedrooms upstairs. Too big for right now, but there was no harm in planning for the future, right?
We ended up in the back yard after an hour.
"I'll leave you alone to talk for a moment." Mr. Hobart said, going inside to give us some privacy.
There was a large porch on the back of the house, and plenty of room for a ugoy set on the lawn. I could imagine Lily playing in the back yard, while Bella lounged on a porch ugoy and I grilled some hamburgers on a barbecue sa pamamagitan ng the white, picket fence. It was perfect.
"What do you think?" I asked.
"I pag-ibig it." Bella replied, looking up at the house. "It's perfect."
"My thought exactly." I agreed. "Shall I tell him we'll take it, then?"
"Just like that?"
"Just like that."
"We're getting a house." She shook her head. "It all feels a little surreal."
"It'll sink in soon enough." I told her, chuckling.
We signed the papers the susunod day, and would be able to ilipat into the house in April.
Renée and Phil came to visit during the Presidents' araw weekend. Even if Renée had sinabi that she supported my decision to let Edward be a part of Lily's life, she had been about as suspicious as Charlie when I had told her that we had gotten back together. So when she gave him a big hug at the airport, I was surprised to say the least. I called her on it when we were alone in the kusina later that day.
"I just decided that I have to trust you, sweetie." She told me. "And besides, a blind man can see how madly in pag-ibig with you that boy is."
I blushed at that, and she laughed.
We took them over to see our house to be, and they both loved it. Lily had been over the moon when we told her that we were moving to a house with an actual back yard.
The weekend passed quickly, and before we knew it, we were back at the airport, saying tearful goodbyes. We promised to visit soon, and on the way home, Edward suggested that Lily and I take some extra time off after we moved into the house in April. We would probably need a vacation after that, so I thought it was a good idea.
The ilipat actually went smoother than I had thought. Edward, Jasper, Ben and Jacob handled all the furniture, and Angela, Alice and I carried boxes. We had let Lily pick the things from both her rooms that she wanted to take with her to the new house, and though her room might be a little cluttered, she got to bring all the things that she wanted.
We sold all of Edward' furniture, except, of course, the piano, which was ibingiay a place of honor in our new living room.
We managed to ilipat everything in one day, and though there were boxes on every possible surface, it felt good to be able to sleep in our very own house. When we had put Lily to kama in her new room, we opened the patio doors to the back yard to let some air in and Edward played for me.
As the first notes of 'my' song drifted from the instrument, I knew that this was the first araw of the rest of our lives.