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token There was something the Cullens neglected to give Bella after she officially became a member of their family; something that was forgotten in all of the drama following her marriage to Edward. Now, just over a year after her transformation, they plan to set things straight – just in time for Christmas. Post-Breaking Dawn. Small tie-in with the Twilight movie.

This is just a little idea I've had knocking around in my head for a while, and tonight inspiration (in some form) struck and I finally wrote it all down. Enjoy!

1. Token

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1207   Review this Chapter

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Nessie’s copper curls glittered under the soft glow of the lights on the Christmas tree, beneath which she sat playing contently with her puzzles. She was particularly fond of large puzzle sets depicting faraway places. The panoramic photo of Paris at night was her current favorite, though she displayed a certain fondness for the Seattle skyline – having already seen it for herself.

Her parents had taken her for her first birthday a couple months earlier. She’d watched the glittering buildings rise from the horizon as they rode the ferry across Puget Sound. She’d been instantly enamored.

Bella watched her daughter’s attentive play, lost in the moment. She noted the way Nessie refused to place a puzzle piece until she was certain she had the right piece in the right place. She’d examine it in all directions, comparing its lines and colors to those already laid out on the floor, before deciding where to put it.

Bella was lost in the simplicity of the moment. She shuddered, briefly, recalling the tension she’d felt at this time a year ago – worrying about her family’s likely impending demise. Her own likely death; the possibility that her daughter would not live to see this very day. It had all ended well – they had not suffered as they had expected – but she remembered the anxiety as if it were yesterday. The curse of a vampire’s memory.

But that curse was also a blessing, because it meant that Bella would always be able to savor the pure, simple moments of her life – like watching her daughter play under the Christmas tree.

A whisper across the floor interrupted her silent reverie.

She turned, just as Edward slid next to her on the sofa, his arm snaking around her waist and his palm burning against her hip. He ducked his head, tucking his lips against the crook of her neck and placing a soft, fervent kiss against her throat.

“Hello,” he said, the words like a breath, as he gazed adoringly into her eyes. After all this time, Bella still lost herself in Edward’s eyes. “I have something for you,” he said, finally, interrupting their silent moment.

Bella narrowed her eyes, frowning distinctly. She saw the rest of her family file silently into the room, each one of them far too eager and on edge for Edward’s words to put her at ease.

She’d already protested about the excess of Christmas – still a few days away – and it was clear to her, that this was an ambush. They knew she’d be expecting them to lavish gifts upon her come Christmas day – so they were jumping the gun; catching her off guard before the actual holiday arrived.

Bella silently cursed herself; she should have known better.

Edward, feeling her tense beneath his hold, nuzzled her ear again in an attempt to distract her. “Don’t be difficult,” he murmured.

She sighed, closing her eyes to compose herself. She’d been working on controlling her temper; on stopping her instinctively angry reactions to things that upset her. “I told you all, no gifts this year. You gave me too much for my birthday.”

Edward kissed her mouth sweetly, staring at her until she opened her eyes again and returned his gaze. “I know,” he said. “And it’s not really a gift … just a token, really.”

“A token?” she asked, still suspicious. She glanced at her other family members. They were nodding in agreement.

“You see, Bella,” Alice said, stepping forward. “It’s actually something we meant to give you awhile ago.”

Bella’s eyes narrowed again, glaring at Alice. Bella loved her sister – but Alice was usually the ringleader of the gift-giving extravaganzas. She’d been responsible for the smorgasbord they’d called her birthday that year, after all.

“It’s true,” Carlisle interjected. “I know we can sometimes be a bit … lavish … it comes from all the years we’ve been around. Talk to us in a few decades; you might start to understand.”

Bella sighed begrudgingly. “Fine. But this is now. And I told you all no gifts!”

Carlisle inclined his head. “True, but as Edward said, this is really more of a token. And it is something we meant to give you last year – after your honeymoon, actually. But of course things didn’t turn out exactly as we’d expected and, well, our original intentions sort of fell by the wayside amidst everything that transpired. We’d hoped to make amends for the lapse now.”

Bella closed her eyes again and sighed deeply, squeezing Edward’s hands. “Okay,” she said, opening her eyes. “Fine.”

Edward smirked, entirely too pleased with her reaction. “Be nice,” he murmured under his breath, producing a small box from his pocket.

A suspiciously small box.

The kind jewelry came in.

Jewelry from the Cullens usually involved diamonds, or other large, expensive gemstones.

Edward saw the look on her face and pressed his fingers to her lips before she could object. “Just open it, please,” he said. “Trust me.”

She sighed again and took the box from his hand. She lifted the lid and gasped, her mouth forming a perfect “O.”

Edward’s grin lit up the room, brighter than the lights on their Christmas tree. “I knew you’d like it.”

He carefully lifted the small charm from the box and delicately attached it to the bracelet on her wrist. Bella lifted it up to examine the finely detailed oval – it was carved Onyx. It glittered faintly in the light.

“It’s just like yours,” she muttered.

“Not exactly,” Edward said. “But you’ve noticed we all carry it in some form …”

“Yes,” she breathed.

“You’re a Cullen now,” he continued. “And so, you deserved your own representation of our family crest. I thought a charm for your bracelet would be most appropriate.”

Bella turned away from the trinket and gazed back up at Edward, her face faintly beaming. She pressed her hands to either side of his face and kissed him passionately, regardless of their audience. Edward fell backwards on the sofa briefly before recovering his balance, caught off guard by his wife’s sudden exuberance.

Alice grinned. “Told you she’d like it …”

“It’s perfect,” Bella said, still smiling.

“Of course,” Edward said, his tone light, “if you’d rather have something more substantial, we could always get you something more like Rosalie’s pendant …”

Bella pushed Edward back down onto the sofa, this time on purpose. “Don’t you dare!”

Edward grinned, tugging on her wrist and pulling her down on top of him. “Oh!” Then her voice softened, “Oh …” as Edward’s fingers began tracing erotic patterns on her hip. They were instantly distracted by each other, and entirely wrapped up in their own world, tangled in each other’s arms.

Silently and as subtly as possible, Rosalie walked to the tree and scooped Nessie into her arms, then the family quickly found other places to occupy themselves, leaving Edward and Bella alone by the Christmas tree.

They were rather self-absorbed for the next several hours. It was Bella’s way of saying, “Thank you,” and Edward’s way of saying, “I told you so.”

The token was very much appreciated.

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the end

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