A Cullen Christmas

A Cullen Christmas

This is the Cullen Christmas, 2011

The story image is the Tree and the chapter imahe is the shell.

Chapter 1

Christmas

This time of year has always been important to me. Whether you celebrate Christmas, or not, it is still the season for giving and for celebrating the bonds we share with our friends and family. I would like to share with you the events of our tree decorating this year, starting with a little trip into the mountains.



From my family to yours…Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year.

Love, Esme.



Every year, I find myself astonished by the absolute magnificence of the Olympic Mountain Range. We've lived here for quite some time—much longer than we have lived anywhere really—but each trek that Carlisle and I make up the snowy mountain pass feels as if we're taking the journey together for the first time. This was the case last evening as we went once again to gather the Cullen Family Christmas tree.



There was a light layer of fresh powder decorating the trail that led up to the highest ridge of the mountain. Carlisle parked the jeep in our usual spot, and we disappeared down the pass like two shadows moving in the fading rays of a winter sunset. The twilight hour was upon us, and although we knew exactly where we were heading, it still took us a fair amount of time to reach the summit. I could say that it was our lack of concentration, or even just the graceful landscape that captured our attention, but it wasn't. Hand in hand, we walked amongst the wild ferns and pine trees while delicate, frozen tree limbs dripped tiny beads of snow upon our heads. I couldn't help but admire the way that Carlisle took the lead, but as we reached the second ridge, his mood began to shift from romantic to playful, and soon I found myself covered in an array of fragile looking snowflakes, courtesy of the branches he’d purposely decided to rid of their heavy weight. After that, all bets were off.



I chased Carlisle through the forest, climbing higher and higher up the mountain in my pursuit. Several snowballs were thrown in his direction, some even managing to collide with his black jacket, or splatter across his chest and face. I took shelter behind a large snow bank—fearing his retaliation—and began to formulate a plan for my revenge. It didn’t take long for him to surrender; he just stood there with his eyes closed, awaiting my attack.



“I will take any punishment you wish to inflict upon me, my love,” he whispered. A crooked smile flashed across his face, and like a fool I fell for his deception.



Quickly, and quietly, I flew to his side, breathing down his neck with a whisper of my own. “You deserve this, you know.” Without hesitation, I proceeded to rub a handful of snow into his hair, and down the back of his jacket.



But it was a mistake.



Carlisle had me pinned to the ground within seconds, peppering my face with kisses while his hands eagerly searched for a fistful of snow. Moments later, he took out his own revenge, and I found myself drenched from head to toe as he rolled us down the ridge. Our laughter bounced throughout the forest until we came crashing to a halt at the base of our tree. A loud crack reverberated around us from the splintering trunk where we’d landed.



“I think we’ve arrived,” Carlisle said as he smoothed the wet hair away from my eyes.



“You might be right,” I growled playfully. “But it doesn’t mean I’m through with you yet. Besides, you cracked my tree!”



Instantly, I flipped over on top of Carlisle, securing his arms to the ground just as he’d done to me only minutes before. He was glancing up at me with a devilish smile that suggested the wheels in his mind were turning with all sorts of ingenious comebacks.



“I only helped it,” he answered, slipping out of my grasp and getting to his feet. I followed close behind him, barely able to take a photo of the tree before he toppled it completely. One effortless push on his part, and the ten foot tree went hurtling to the snowy ground with a thunderous crack.





“You better not have broken any branches,” I chided, pocketing the camera. “This is why you’re on the naughty list.”



He took a step back, surveying me with a mixture of worry and playfulness. “I think I can redeem myself, if you’ll give me the chance.”



“You’re in enough trouble already,” I said, narrowing my eyes. “But what did you have in mind?”



“This…”



He trailed off as his lips brushed against my own. A pair of strong arms wrapped around me, bringing me flush against Carlisle’s body. For a moment, I forgot about the relentless snowball fight, rolling down the hill, and even the collision with our family tree—though I wasn’t really upset about any of it. In that moment, it was just us; we were two souls sharing a romantic kiss in the middle of the frozen wilderness.



“I think I can handle that,” I whispered against his lips. “But can you handle this?”



Without a second thought, I stepped back and launched another assault on my all too trusting husband. His laughter echoed throughout the forest, and our game began once more. Carlisle chased me around the tree, returning fire and attempting to catch my hasty movements. Suddenly, I was pelted square in the face by an ice ball, and I stopped dead in my tracks, staring Carlisle down with a venomous glare.



“You are SO getting coal this year!” I hissed, though once again I wasn’t really angry. Teasing Carlisle was just too much fun, and lucky for me, he fell for it every time.



“I can turn your coal into a diamond,” he chuckled. I didn’t give him a chance to even take his next unnecessary breath before tossing a snowball directly towards his head, causing him to stumble backwards and trip over the tree. “I do believe that is game point, Mrs. Cullen.”



The laughter that escaped me seemed to ripple through the tree tops and bounce off of the adjacent snowcapped mountain tops. Carlisle was absolutely covered from head to toe in bands of ice and snow. I could see it peeking out from almost every opening in his jacket, the ruffles of his jeans, and I could clearly see the small chunks sticking to his blonde locks. He looked more like Frosty the Snowman than Doctor Carlisle Cullen.



“Oh, Carlisle,” I laughed uncontrollably, motioning with my finger for him to step closer. “Come here you.”



“How do I know this isn’t just another trick?” he asked, cautiously taking a step towards me.



“Fine then,” I replied flatly, turning my back to him. “You don’t want to kiss me? Your loss.”



That was all it took. He was at my side in a flash. I couldn’t tell you how long our escapades carried on because time lost all meaning to us as we played, danced and kissed under the starry evening sky.



When the morning rays peeked through the clouds, we were back at home, preparing the house for our annual decorating party. The tree was sitting in its usual spot by the stairs, just waiting for all the ornaments that we’d collected over the years to be placed upon the thawed branches. It didn’t take long for our family and friends to join us. Alice, Emmett and Rose glided down the stairs, bringing with them all the boxes from the attic that contained the festive decorations. Edward, Bella and Renesmee soon followed behind with trays of cookies for our human guests. Carlisle, and I, couldn’t have been more proud of our family than we were right at that very moment.



One by one, the red and gold ornaments were placed upon the tree. Sounds of the season lingered in the air as we were serenaded with the voices of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Michael Buble, and even a cameo by Justin Beiber and Glee. I had no idea who snuck Beiber and Glee into the cd player, but Nessie took the fall and claimed responsibility. I had to laugh because there was something inside of me saying that it hadn’t been her doing at all. The look in Alice’s eye was far too mischievous for her own good. I didn’t have time to ask her about the odd music though as she needed to deliver the gingerbread cookies we’d baked earlier in the day. After a simple nod of understanding, Alice left to meet Jasper and bring a little bit of happiness to those less fortunate than our family.



The moment she left, a massive snowball fight broke out right in my very own living room. Emmett had once again purchased canned snow, and the plume of white debris was the only thing my eyes could see for a moment. Every time I heard someone shouting my name, I hid behind Carlisle. There was no way that I was about to fall victim to a rogue snowball attack—though I was struck several times by our determined human friends. Things only went from bad to worse once Carlisle announced that he’d been using his infamous snow machine outside —Carlisle loves to give me a white Christmas—and the game was on again, only this time it was with real snow.



Snowballs were flying in every direction, but as I looked to my left, I happened to glance upon two very intimate moments. Hanging an ornament on the tree with such glorious smiles, I saw two of my children—Emmett and Rosalie—holding each other so tightly that the love they held seemed to radiate around the entire room. It made my silent heart so happy as I watched the tender embrace shared between them. Then, as I glanced to my right, I saw Edward giving Bella a gentle squeeze as they whispered their goodbyes to our friends. There was something so magical between these two lovely souls, that I couldn’t prevent my smile. After all that they have been through, it was just wonderful to see them so happy and so in love. Nessie said her goodbyes and followed Edward and Bella back to the cottage soon after.



Emmett placed a kiss on my cheek, and we all stood back to appreciate the warmth of the Christmas tree. The clear lights were sparking amongst the branches, reflecting off the cream colored walls in such a way that a rush of calm flowed over the room. Even the poinsettia plants gathered around the base of the tree seemed to emanate a glow, adding to the colors of red and gold within the tree itself.







“It’s perfect,” Rosalie and I sighed together.



“Almost perfect,” Carlisle whispered close to my ear.



For decades, Carlisle has always given me a new ornament to place upon the tree. The moment he showered me with a golden box, I knew what would rest inside. However, I wasn’t prepared for the lengths that my adoring husband had gone to this year. As I opened the box, I was astonished to see a small shell inside, decorated in hints of blue and gold.







“It’s a seashell from Isle Esme,” Carlisle said softly. “I had it plated in gold and your favorite color, blue.”



I’d never seen anything so remarkable. The smile that erupted from his simple, yet devoted gesture, had me breathless. I couldn’t believe that he had gone to such extremes as to give me a piece of my island to keep with me always. I had trouble finding my words at first, but they soon came with a kiss of gratitude.



“I love you, Carlisle,” I whispered in return. “This is beautiful, thank you, sweetheart.”



He kissed me ever so gently as Emmett and Rosalie slipped upstairs to give us some privacy. “Help me put it on the tree,” I mumbled against his lips.



As our party came to a close, the warmth of the fireplace and the gleam of our family tree was made complete with a kiss under the mistletoe. However, it would not have been fully complete without our family and friends by our side.

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