Chapter Seventy-Four

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For those of you who read the Get Your Southern On contest entries, this is my contribution. I am tickled at the results ... first place in public vote and third place for the judge's choice. I've decided to break this up into smaller, drabblish chapters and it will be continued. The contest contribution is the first six or so chapters, roughly. I don't know how long it will be, but I do have it planned. Thank you to Bridget for betaing this for me and for Clo, who created the banner.

Anyhow, we're going to have some kid cuteness with Bella and them bonding as mother/children. They're going to go shopping for Christmas decorations and Christmas presents for Edward. And Edward is going to work on getting his happily ever after, ensuring that Bella would never be the one that got away.

The next day, after eating a home-cooked breakfast and taking home enough leftovers to feed an army, Edward, Bella and the twins went shopping to get Christmas decorations for their home. It was going to be an expensive endeavor. Edward had some ornaments from the twins and from his own childhood, but no tree or holiday décor. In craft store, they decided to split up. Liam and Edward were going to focus on the outdoor decorations, while Bella and Lucy would find a tree and interior decorations.

Edward and Liam figured on staying classic with getting white lights, tasteful illuminated sculptures and garland to hang around the front door. Bella and Lucy decided to have a tree in the living room, using a tropical, beachy theme for their Christmas décor. It would have traditional elements, but fit the light, airy feel to the house. Lucy also suggested that each one of them would get a small tree for their room. Lucy chose a tree with purple decorations and white lights, while Bella chose a smaller traditional tree for her and Edward's room. When they met up with Edward and Liam, they told them about the individual trees. Liam asked if he could have a ceramic tree, like the one that Nana had in the front table at their house. Unable to find one, Edward called his mother and she graciously said that she'd gladly relinquish her tree to give to her grandson for his bedroom.

Loading up their purchases into both SUVs, they drove back to their house. Edward stopped with Liam to pick up the ceramic tree and they began unpacking their decorations from the bags and boxes that were in the basement. Once Edward helped set up the tree inside, Lucy and Bella set about to put on the lights while Liam helped his father outside, bedecking every solid, unmoving surface with twinkling LED lights in front of the house. While they ate lunch together, Edward called his eye doctor, making an appointment for Bella. She smiled gratefully, kissing his cheek.

After lunch, Edward sent Liam inside to work with his mother and sister. He needed to get up on the ladder and didn't want his son to see him freak out. Edward hated heights.

With. A. Passion.

Shudder.

Inside, Bella had on a holiday mix from satellite radio and she was singing along with the kids. They were hanging ornaments on the tree that had been purchased at the craft store, along with the heirlooms that Edward had in the basement. The tree was taking shape and it was looking amazing, special and Christmasy. An hour later, a disgruntled Edward came back inside. "Everything okay, baby?" Bella asked.

"Heights ... yeah, no," he snorted. "I'll get our landscapers to get them down in the spring. No way in fucking hell I'm going back up there again."

"Are they up now, Dad?" Liam asked.

"They're up. Almost broke my damn neck, but they're up, Lee," Edward said, ruffling his son's hair and trying to had his trembling hands. Heights ... no, thank you. "I have them set on a timer. They'll turn on automatically at six. We've got a few hours before we can see the outside. Let's focus on the inside."

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