A/N: I had a few readers of the original story wishing to know what happened after playing in the snow in Chapter 8 of If You Give a Firefighter a Christmas Cookie. So, here is what happened next. Thanks to Midnight Cougar for finding all those things I miss each and every chapter. xx
Song inspiration for this chapter: “Are You Gonna Go My Way,” Lenny Kravitz
(Playlist for this story can be found on my YouTube channel, if you search for “ghostreader24”)
Disclaimer: Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond own the adorable little mouse whose needs inspired this very adult version of their story. Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m here having fun.
Christmas time with Bella is everything I thought it would be and more. I can’t keep the smile off my face when I’m with her, and even when I’m not. It all shifted with her making my favorite cookies, but not just any cookie, the exact ones Grandma Cullen used to make for me when I was a kid.
I have no idea how Bella knows her recipe, which has evaded me for years, but I can’t take it as anything other than the sign I asked for when I was out at the cemetery sharing my troubles with my grandmother. It was an unexpected surprise that’s snowballed into us sharing kisses after decorating her Christmas tree the other night.
I’m not complaining one bit. Bella is fun and quick-witted with a never-ending supply of Christmas jokes—some of them far naughtier than others, leaving me the only one blushing most of the time. It isn’t that I haven’t had naughty thoughts about Bella, but I don’t want to move too fast and have her regretting any time she spends with me or for her to think I’m only looking for something temporary.
After seeing her today in her elf costume at the Santa Breakfast, I have to admit I may be at my breaking point, because all I can think about is peeling it from her body. I know better than to have those thoughts around Chief Swan, which is why I couldn’t be more thrilled with how our day has worked out.
Bella loves everything about Christmas, which is one of the many reasons my love for her grows daily. It’s taking every ounce of restraint I have not to blurt out the words on the tip of my tongue before she’s ready to hear them. Whether it’s during our shopping trip to Thriftway like any other couple or while I’m driving her old truck with her head resting on my shoulder, I can’t get enough. I’m also finding it nearly impossible to keep my lips from hers, especially when we’re alone.
After our impromptu snowball fight, I follow Bella inside her home with our grocery and takeout bags, as she makes a beeline for the kitchen, flipping on the overhead lights.
“I think there’s snow in my bra.” She giggles and shimmies while pulling open the hidden buttons of her elf costume and giving me more than a glimpse of her ample chest.
And her bra.
My jeans grow uncomfortable when I catch sight of a nipple. I’m frozen in place and my mouth goes dry when I think about pushing away the rest of the material and wrapping my lips around everything I can’t see.
Her giggles fade as her voice softens. “I should go change. Will you be okay down here for a bit?”
My answer isn’t immediate, and I suspect I’ve been caught staring. I close my eyes, release a deep breath, and will my legs not to follow her upstairs. When my eyes find hers moments later, a growing smirk tugs at the corner of her perfect lips that I can’t wait to kiss over and over. I lift the bags, setting them on the kitchen table. Hopefully, it will be enough to distract me.
“Yeah.” I nod, focusing on the table’s contents. “I’ll set out the food.”
Bella makes a sound at the word “food,” but it’s more like a moan you would hear during sex, which isn’t helping keep my eyes off her chest.
She leans over our bags on the table while her eyes search for our food. “I don’t think there’s anything I wouldn’t do for an egg roll about now.”
She said “anything.”
Oh, heaven help me.
I’m instantly in need of rearranging things, while wondering if a naughty elf striptease would be included under her umbrella of “anything.” I have no doubt she would oblige if asked. Bella’s an expert at flirting with little effort, and I can only imagine how quickly I would succumb to her mercy, if she were actually trying.
Who am I kidding?
There is little hope for me, and it looks like tonight is going to be a tortuous test of my willpower.
I nod, sorting through the bags. “I’ll find those first.”
Her grin widens when I locate our bag of Chinese food mixed with the other grocery bags.
“Here we go.” I open the box with the egg rolls, offering her the first one.
Bella’s smile brightens, taking one from the container. “Oh, thank goodness. I’m starving.”
I don’t know what it is about Bella and food, but everything tastes better when she’s involved. I can’t forget sharing pizza with her the last time I was here, and my mouth waters as she wraps her lips around the egg roll, taking a bite. Her eyes close and another moan escapes her, which draws my attention once more, and I’m licking my own lips.
“Mmm, so good.” Her eyes open, and she raises the egg roll to my mouth. “Do you want a bite?”
I need to get myself under control, because at this rate, we will be eating Chinese food naked and any thoughts about building the gingerbread house will be forgotten completely.
I’m definitely not okay.
I jerk my chin toward her hand. “You go ahead.”
“All right.” She shrugs, finishing the egg roll and wiping her hands on a napkin from the takeout bag. “I’ll go change and I won’t be gone long. Make yourself comfortable, turn on the Christmas tree lights, and start a fire, if you want. Everything should be in the living room, but if you need more wood, there’s a stack on the back porch.”
I don’t mention the fact that I have plenty of wood thanks to her. My breath catches when she moves closer, lifts on her toes, and places a sweet kiss on my lips.
“I’ll be right back,” she whispers as her beautiful brown eyes move lower, focusing on my mouth.
I’m positive the want I see in her eyes matches what she’s found in mine, because I can’t deny that she always leaves me wanting more. Before she has a chance to depart, I wrap my arm around her waist, preventing her from moving away. I capture her lips again until our heated kisses leave her breathless. She’s the first to end our kisses, lacing our fingers together and giving my hand a tug.
“Do you want to go upstairs? You can help me out of my costume.” She wiggles her eyebrows.
I haven’t forgotten for a second about her costume, which offers teasing glimpses of her barely covered chest with her every movement.
“Yes, I do,” I admit easily.
A smile spreads victoriously across her lips. “Great! Let’s go.”
She pulls on my hand to follow her, but I don’t move and can’t believe I’m going to say my next words.
“But I shouldn’t.”
Her brows furrow in confusion, and she lowers her voice. “Why? Don’t you want me?”
She has no idea how much I do.
“Bella…” I start, staring down at our entwined hands and knowing I need to share that my intentions with her aren’t casual, but stall at finding the right words.
She squeezes my bicep with the hand I’m not holding, getting my attention when she brushes her chest against it. “Is this the ‘strenuous activities’ thing since donating blood? I’m sure we can find a way to work around that until eleven o’clock, if you’re going to be a stickler about that detail. I can be on top.”
Now she’s making it impossible for me to think about anything other than her moving on top of me… naked.
Pulling her closer, I wrap my arms around her, hugging her tightly and leaving a kiss on the top of her head. I bury my nose in her hair as the smell of her shampoo is calming and helping me to stay focused on what I’m about to say. “Bella, this is about more than just sex.” I wait, hoping she understands and considers the implication of my words.
With her arms still around my waist, she tilts her head away from where it’s pressing against my chest. “Don’t worry. We can do other things, but you probably shouldn’t be lifting me. “
A wave of disappointment fills my thoughts, and I carefully control my reaction at the realization that we don’t seem to be on the same page. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, too soon, and she’s only looking for something fun—nothing more. As tempting as she is, I know I need to slow this train down.
“True.” I nod toward the kitchen table, wanting to manage both of our expectations until I can get a better read on her thoughts about the future. “But we need to eat and have a plan to build a gingerbread house.”
Her eyes shift from the table, then back to me. “Until eleven?”
“At least,” I confirm.
But if she doesn’t want anything more than a physical relationship at this point, then probably longer.
“But that’s hours away.” She pouts.
I chuckle, leaning closer and kissing the tip of her nose. “I think you’ll survive.”
“What if I don’t? Don’t you have a sworn duty to save and protect me?” she teases.
I can’t keep the grin off my face. “Always.”
“Is kissing too strenuous for you?”
I peck her lips softly. “Let’s hope not.”
“That sounds like a challenge.” Her eyes shimmer with excitement.
I shake my head. I’m positive she’s mentally sorting through her naughtiest possibilities, intent on torturing me for the rest of the evening.
“You should go change.”
Her grin widens. “Okay. I’ll be right back.”
My mouth goes dry, and I almost drop the poker at the sight when Bella returns, pausing on the last few stairs and surveying the room. The cozy feeling from the illuminated Christmas tree and logs starting to burn in the fireplace is no match for the warmth filling me from head to toe. My eyes rake over her body, lingering on an oversized sweater and socks with a similar pattern that goes over her knees, clinging to her thighs.
The entire outfit is white, giving her the look of an angel, but I know the devil is in the details when the sweater hugs all of my favorite curves. There’s a teasing view of the silky bare skin of her thighs, from the hemline of the sweater to the top of the socks.
How in the world could someone be covered almost entirely and still be the most tempting woman I’ve ever seen?
Yep. She’s trying to kill me.
The look on her face confirms my suspicions as her eyes twinkle with mischief in the firelight and a naughty all-knowing smile spreads across her face. “How’s it going down here?”
Well, I’m completely unraveling. My heart feels like it may beat out of my chest without even touching you.
I stand from where I was crouching in front of the fire and return the poker with the other fireplace tools. My eyes find hers as I attempt to gather my scrambled thoughts and remind my mouth how to form words. “Um… there’s… the-the fire’s going and um…” There’s a renewed tightening in both my pants and throat, swallowing being more challenging than it should be. “The—” I clear my throat, starting once more. “The gingerbread kit and our supplies are…” I wave in the direction of the coffee table.
Her eyes shift to the coffee table then back to me. “Do you want to eat in here?”
I nod toward the doorway. “I left our food… It’s still on the kitchen table, but here is good too—either way. Are you ready to eat?”
“Oh, I’m ready.” Her eyebrows wiggle playfully, and she takes the last steps off the stairs, walking toward me. “Should I start a movie?”
When she’s within reach, I can’t resist pulling her close and wrapping my arms around her waist while my lips are drawn to hers like a moth to a flame. Her hands move to behind my neck and a moan escapes my chest when her fingers run through my hair.
“Uh…” I say between unhurried kisses until my tongue nudges her lips apart, tangling with hers.
With every inch of her pressing against me, my hands roam her back, unable to feel any bra straps, and the way my body is responding to this newly discovered information, it’s making my attraction for her obvious. “I like this,” I mumble, as our kisses slow and I trail a path along her jaw.
“Kissing?” She giggles when my lips find a sensitive spot behind her ear.
I pull away for a moment to explain. “That too, but I’m talking about your outfit.”
Her eyes sparkle as a smile remains on her face. “I was hoping you would.”
“This one is…” Incredibly sexy and I’m finding it almost impossible to keep my hands from slipping under the sweater’s hemline, but if I know Bella like I think I do, that was probably her intention. “I had a difficult time resisting your earlier costume, but this—”
“You’re into a little elf kink, huh?” she taunts.
A nervous chuckle escapes my lips as I loosen my hold around her waist. “Not exactly. I think it’s the combination of you and Christmas together.”
“Hey, this is a judgment free zone, but I love learning all these little details about you. Just so you know… I have some candy cane skills that may be of interest later.”
Of course she does, and picturing her licking anything is plunging us toward the danger zone, once again. Her voice pulls me from the naughty thoughts she’s so good at planting in my head.
“So, was that a yes or no to a movie?”
She slips from my hold, moving toward the television, and I take a seat on the edge of the coffee table.
“Sure.” I double-check the progress of the fire and it looks like it won’t need any more wood for a little while.
“Any requests?” She looks through the cabinet, holding their movies. “How about let’s see… Miracle on 69thStreet or The Polar Sexpress?”
Her not-so-innocent gaze catches mine as she awaits my next words, and I’m thinking I’m losing it when I repeat the movie titles in my head. I’m stunned momentarily and shock is undoubtedly written all over my face, but Bella bursts out laughing at her joke and lets me off the hook.
“Kidding. I’m kidding. Breathe, Edward. We don’t have either of those.” She reaches higher, thumbing through the selections on the top shelf, which causes her sweater to ride up, giving me a brief glimpse of the red silky underwear cupping her perfect ass.
This is impossible. I shift my eyes toward the fire and will myself to stay put, even though I want to close the distance between us and have her in my arms again.
“Okay… I haven’t watched Elf or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation yet this season. What do you think? Edward?”
She holds up each case for me to see. “Elf or Christmas Vacation? It’s okay if you want to pick Elf. No shame here.” Her eyebrows wiggle suggestively.
“Uh… that’s fine.”
“I knew it.” She winks.
Bella loads the movie and we return to the kitchen where we enjoy our Chinese feast while Elf plays softly in the background. It’s a relaxed, casual meal at her kitchen table, and she puts me at ease, as if it’s something we do every night. It isn’t lost on me that I wish for this for our future. Conversation flows effortlessly with Bella sharing more Christmas jokes and stories about past Christmases. I tell a few of my own as my hand finds its way to her thigh under the table, stroking the bare skin of her leg now and then while I eat one-handed.
I take the rare opportunity to tease her when she gives up using chopsticks, grabs a fork, and claims that eating rice one grain at a time isn’t for her—she’ll starve at that rate. We share tastes of our meals with one another, and I find I enjoy feeding her bites almost as much as I think she does with me. With empty plates and full bellies, Bella declares she can’t hold another bite until she spies the fortune cookies sitting in the center of the table.
Her shoulder bumps mine. “You first, but you’re supposed to pick the one pointing at you, which is clearly that one.”
I reluctantly remove my hand from her thigh. “Okay, this one it is.” I unwrap the cookie and break it open, reading the fortune to myself quickly.
“What does it say?” Bella leans closer, attempting to see the words, but I hold it from her view.
“Come on, Edward.” Her hand resting on my thigh gives it a squeeze.
She’s going to love this.
I’m unable to keep eye contact as I read my fortune. “Your tongue is your ambassador.”
“It does not say that!” Bella yanks it from my fingers and bursts out laughing. “Prayers are being answered this evening. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus. Or I guess in this case, Confucius and Buddha too. The universe is clearly on my side.”
“Your turn.” I nod toward the remaining cookie before taking another swig of my beer.
“This is exciting.” She wiggles in her seat, unwraps the cookie, breaks it in half, and reads her fortune. “Others admire your flexibility.“
“Have you admired it long enough yet? I think we should test it.” Bella winks then flips over her fortune to read the other side. Her eyes shift to mine, and she nearly falls out of the chair with laughter.
“This is perfect,” she says, gasping between breaths.
“You need to share with the rest of the class.” I wave toward the slip of paper in her hand.
“It says, Learn Chinese – cock, gōng jī.” Bella snorts and grabs her wine glass, finishing its contents. “I’ll add an Amen to that. I’m a big fan of the gōng jī—especially yours,” she mumbles the last part, but I hear it.
Lacing our fingers together, I pull her from her chair and kiss her lips. “On that note, let’s build a house together.”
Bella has a funny look on her face, as if she’s troubled at my suggestion.
“The gingerbread house?” I explain further.
“Oh.” Her smile returns instantly. “Of course. Do you need another beer?”
She lifts on her toes until our lips meet with a quick peck. “So good.”
We sit side by side on her couch as I guide us through the construction of the house on her coffee table. Bella nibbles on our supplies, pushing M&Ms and cookies past my lips occasionally. She straddles my lap happily when I declare we must wait for the icing to dry, and it isn’t the only thing hardening to the sound of her soft moans as our lips reunite and hands roam soft-covered curves. When I finish attaching the final touches to our house, Bella is curled up next to me, sleeping with her head resting on my thigh. I cover her with a nearby blanket, rest my arm lightly on her side, and smile when she whispers my name with a happy sigh of contentment.
I’ve lost track of time and my eyes are threatening to close when I realize how late it is. The movie has been over for hours, but I’ve been indulging in her presence and the cozy setting. I don’t think anything could be more perfect than the evening we’ve spent together. Releasing a heavy sigh, I see the time and wish I didn’t have to go. It isn’t an easy maneuver, but I manage to extract myself and place a decorative pillow under her head. After turning off the television and adding more logs to the fire, I return to her side, press my lips to her forehead, and promise that one day soon when I know she’s ready, I won’t have to leave.
If you give a postal worker a love note, she’ll wonder about the identity of the author when it’s delivered by an unintended mail carrier.
After a visit from a sexy firefighter, the mystery surrounding the note will add to her curiosity, but it won’t be solved any time soon, when she has no choice and accepts another job far from home.
Her secret admirer will hold on to hope for their paths to cross again, and when they do, he will find that being near her again is better than he ever anticipated.
Visiting her during his breaks and getting to know each other will be the best parts of their days, until one day she unknowingly makes his favorite childhood cookies, giving him the sign he needs to move forward.
She’ll hold back nothing as she tempts and teases him when they’re alone, testing his resolve until…