Emmett Cullen’s Jug-Band Christmas
A Christmas One-Shot for Katie
“That one was excellent, Uncle Emmett!” Renesmee cheered as her bear–like uncle gave her another squeeze. “I think that I like that one the best.”
“Oh, don’t say that, Nessie, we’ve still got six more to go,” he said, moving her off his lap and onto the huge seat of the chair that they were sharing.
“Did you leave any Christmas DVD’s at the store?” his wife Rosalie asked, never really lifting her eyes off the French fashion magazine that she was reading.
“Nope,” Emmett said proudly. “First Christmas that little Nessie is going to really remember and we’re doing it right. Man I loved the music in that one. Reminded me of my family in Tennessee.”
“That sir, I would have to agree with,” Jasper chimed in from the love seat that he was sitting on. He and Carlisle were engaged in a now four day long chess match. They were both far too deliberate in their move making. “We had music like that when I was a lad,” he added, just enough of a twang to his voice that you knew he had grown up in the South.
“Not like that modern stuff they have now, or that stuffy music that Edward plays,” Emmett retorted, but Nessie jumped up and was to her uncle in a flash.
“Don’t you pick on my Daddy, Uncle Emmett! I like his music!” the child reprimanded him.
“That’s right, Nessie, Daddy makes very pretty music,” Bella confirmed, then leaned over to kiss Edward as an exclamation on her statement.
“Yes, well, blowing a jug or scratching on a washboard can hardly be called music,” Edward said, and both Emmett and Jasper turned to look at him.
“Oh, that sounds like a dare. You’re on!” Emmett said enthusiastically, bounding his way over to where Edward was, sticking his hand out to shake his brother’s.
“I wasn’t daring you.”
“I think that you were, Edward,” Jasper piped up, still not looking away from the chessboard. “What did you have in mind there, Emmett?”
“I was thinking that we’d give Edward here a little education in the ways of making music without all those fancy instruments of his. Put on a little concert, like Emmet and his friends there in the show. Man, loved that little otter,” Emmett said sounding dreamy.
“Emmett, no one wants to eat otter unless they are starving,” Rosalie said, finally looking away from her magazine. “However, it would be pretty interesting to see Edward let his hair down a little there.”
“Rosalie, my hair and my music are fine right where they are,” Edward said again, but you could begin to hear just a hint of fear in his voice that this crazy idea of Emmett’s might become a reality. Then the one person in the room who could convince him of anything chimed in.
“Please, Daddy,” Nessie said, before she climbed up in his lap and laid her hand against his cheek. She let him see her memories of watching him play the piano, the guitar and singing together. Edward knew it, he was stuck, he couldn’t say no to his little girl. “Grandpa Charlie would like it.”
“She’s right, Charlie is on his way over to see her; and he would absolutely love to see all of you as a jug band,” Bella confirmed. “Please, Edward?”
Edward sighed loudly and then nodded just a little. If there had been any humans in the room, they would have missed it.
“Excellent!” Emmett yelled, and then lifted his brother up and gave him a big bear hug. “You won’t regret this, Eddie!”
“No, but you will if you don’t put me down and stop calling me Eddie!”
Emmett put Edward down, who then reached for Nessie and lifted her up into his arms, giving her a hug. The little girl laid her head down on his shoulder and put her hand to his cheek, once again showing him pictures of how he loved her.
“Jasper, you’re in, right?” Emmett asked his other brother, and with a sly smile he nodded. “Carlisle, how about you? Different from that music that you listen to as well, but I know that you have an appreciation for it, after living in the Apalachians for all those years.”
“Count me in, Emmett. It sounds like fun, and anything to make my little Nessie happy.”
Jasper and Carlisle stood up and walked over toward where Edward was standing with his daughter. Just then, the back door flew open and Alice skipped in, wearing a red and black sleeveless cocktail dress.
“I thought you went hunting?” Bella asked her, confused by her choice of clothing.
“Oh, I already wore this dress once, so now it’s fair game for hunting time. We’re not all as messy eaters as you are, Bella.”
“Thanks, Alice,” Bella sighed. Fifteen months as a vampire hadn’t completely cured her sloppy eating problem. Even Nessie was often cleaner than her mother. Bella was thankful for the changes of clothing that Alice had stashed all over the forest for her.
“Oh, and it will be wonderful,” Alice said as she went and kissed her husband lightly.
“Well then,” Edward started, sounding resigned to being a part of this ridiculous idea. “Let’s go and get started.”
“Give me a minute, and then come out to the garage,” Emmett said and he was off in a flash. Edward was frustrated at him, as he was trying to hide something in his thoughts. All Edward could read from his mind were the 1986 yearly baseball stats for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.
“Cheer up, Edward,” Jasper said with a pat on the back, “think of it as brotherly bonding.”
“I think that I bonded with all of you enough when we had to fight off Victoria, or the Volturi, or endure Forks High School.”
“Daddy,” Renesmee said, “please be happy about this, for me.” She opened her eyes wide and fluttered her eyelashes at him, and his heart melted.
“When did you get so good at that?” he asked, sounding disgusted that his daughter could already pull out all the stops at her tender age.
“I watch Mommy do it with you.” The adults around the room laughed, and Bella hid her face, no longer being able to blush.
“Come on, sons, I think that it’s time out there,” Carlisle said as he leaned over to kiss Nessie on her head. “Be good in here, sweetheart.”
“I will, Grandpa. Grandma and I are going to make cookies for me to have with Charlie. They’re human food, so you don’t have to worry about my diet.” Nessie still didn’t like eating food, preferring her more vampire–like diet. Her grandfather had insisted that she have both.
“Yes, well, after that, maybe you could eat some vegetables, too?”
“Yuck,” Nessie replied, making a face. “They taste like dirt.”
Jasper rubbed Nessie’s cheek as he told her, “Sometimes we all have to eat things we don’t like. Once, I was so hungry, I had to eat a porcupine and I was picking the quills out of my teeth for a whole day.”
“Gross, Uncle Jasper.”
“Alright then, you eat your veggies, or I’m getting you a porcupine.”
“Fine,” she said unhappily.
“Nessie,” Esme called from the kitchen, “everything is ready.”
“Yeah, cookie baking time!” Nessie squealed as Edward put her down and she took off for the kitchen.
“I suppose that we should get this show on the road,” Edward moaned as they headed out into the snow and toward the garage. Once the door was shut, Alice went and sat next to Bella, and motioned for Rosalie to join them.
“We’ve got about an hour,” Alice whispered, “and we’ve got a lot that we have to do. Here’s what I think we should take care of...” she started, and together the three women made plans. Within moments, Alice was headed to the attic, Rosalie to the basement workshop and Bella was on her cell phone.
Meanwhile, out in the garage, there was an argument brewing. “Really? Come on, I’m the only one who actually has studied music here, why I am I playing the least musical of all of these...items?” Edward complained.
“Because, Edward,” Emmett said, “that’s part of the dare. Oh, but we are giving you a second instrument.” Emmett walked over to him, pulling a small item from his shirt pocket. “Here, you get to blow the kazoo, too.” Edward took the red and gold object from him and looked at it like he was being asked to drink down a glass of milk.
“Son,” Carlisle said in a stern tone and then the two of them looked at each other, the cue for the other two that there was a silent conversation going on between father and son. Edward finally rolled his eyes and put the kazoo to his mouth and blew as a response to whatever his father had told him.
“Okay, I told the girls that we’d be back in an hour, but I think that we have time to rehearse both of those numbers from the special. I knew both of them from my childhood, and since the three of you have heard them now, well, are we vampires or not?” Emmett gushed with great enthusiasm, reminding the other three of a very overgrown six year old. It was no wonder that Nessie liked to play with her Uncle Emmett best.
“The instruments are impressive, Emmett. You can actually tune this Cigar Box Guitar. How did you?” Jasper asked as he strummed a chord.
“Growing up poor makes you creative,” Emmett replied proudly. Jasper strummed a few more chords and then started picking out a tune, happy with the sound that it was producing.
Carlisle had the wash tub bass, and quickly picked up on the rhythm that Jasper had set. Together the two started to jam, quickly filled out by Emmett on his jug. After a minute, they were all looking at Edward, waiting for him to join in, which he finally relented to doing, tooting a single note on his kazoo.
“Son, you’re going to have to do better than that,” Carlisle reprimanded him.
Finally, Edward started to really play. They transitioned into a Christmas carol, “Jingle Bells,” and smiles were finally on the faces of everyone in the room. They rehearsed the two songs quickly, and once Edward let go, he really did enjoy himself.
“That sounded great!” Emmett cheered when they finished the last chorus of the song, Brothers. “Okay, I have costumes here for us as well,” he added, pulling out four plaid, flannel shirts and sets of denim overalls.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Edward exclaimed.
“Nessie will get a kick out of it. You want to make your little girl happy, don’t you?” Emmett asked, and Edward acquiesced. As he was pulling up his overalls, he stopped and cocked his head to the side, like a bird listening for a worm.
“Son?” his father questioned.
“The Pack is here, but I can’t make out what they’re saying. They’re doing the alphabet, backwards, in their native tongue. Why do I get the feeling that tonight is going to be another one of those times that I regret...”
“...not having done this sooner.” Emmett finished his sentence, and again, Edward rolled his eyes, adding a sigh this time.
When they were dressed they picked up their instruments and headed back to the house. As they entered, it was empty. There was no one in the kitchen or the family room. Edward didn’t hear them upstairs either, but their thoughts led them out to the back porch and yard.
Beyond the glass sliding door, the yard was lit up with hundreds of thousands of little Christmas lights. They were in the trees, strung across the lawn on tent poles and wrapped around every surface that could hold them. On the far end, near the path leading to Edward and Bella’s cottage, a stage had been constructed and somehow, they had gotten a spotlight fifty feet into the air to shine on the stage.
The long picnic table that had never seen food before was now spread with a holly tablecloth and was laden with cookies and hot cocoa and other foods for the guests.
The guest list had grown beyond Grandpa Charlie; Sue was here with him, as was most of the tribe and their families. Edward could see Nessie in Charlie’s arms, she was chatting brightly with him. Bella, Sue, and Esme were with them, talking as well. Edward went and set his instruments on the stage and went to his family.
“Grandpa Charlie, Grandma Esme, and Mommy are really good cooks. We made all of this food, even your favorite cookies!” Nessie cheered.
“You didn’t?” Charlie asked Bella and she nodded at him. “You made me the peanut butter cup thingys your mom used to make?”
“Yes,” Bella said, “thankfully Esme knew the recipe, and according to Nessie, they taste good.”
“Come on there, Ness, let’s go and get some of those cookies!” Charlie said, bounding off for the food table.
“Looks like you made your Dad’s Christmas,” Edward said behind Bella, she jumped as she didn’t realize that he was there.
“Yeah, oh Edward, that is...I’ve never seen you dressed quite like that.”
“Don’t remind me, it was Emmett’s idea. Anyway, um, this is a little more than just your Dad. How did this happen?” Edward asked, looking around the yard that even in the snow, had turned into a party room.
“You have to ask?” Bella questioned him, and before he could say anything, the answer bounded up.
“Oh, Edward, we don’t have enough fun around here. Just go with it. Only Jake and Seth are going to tease you anyway, but Nessie will handle Jake and you’ll wrestle Seth, so it’s all good,” Alice explained.
“Just once, I would love it if you didn’t tell me what was going to happen with Jake and Nessie ahead of time. I keep hoping that he will run away to Canada again. I don’t like...” Edward grumbled.
“We know, dear, we know,” Bella said dismissively and the rest of the women laughed at him.
“Oh, that’s the high sign from Rosalie, sound system is all ready. Go on, get up there, I’ll get Nessie to introduce you guys,” Alice explained and then scampered over to the table to retrieve her niece.
“Guess I’d better go,” Edward said.
“Enjoy yourself, Edward. It will make your brothers and daughter so happy, and I love to see you smile,” Esme said, and Edward kissed his mother’s cheek.
Edward then wrapped his arms around Bella, giving her a kiss. “I promise I’ll make it up to you tonight, once Nessie is asleep.”
“I’m counting on it.”
The four men gathered on the stage, and then Alice lifted Renesmee up. She pointed at the microphone in front of Jasper, and he took it off the stand and handed it to her.
“Here you go, little lady.”
“Thank you, Uncle Jasper,” she said with a smile and a little curtsey. Turning to face the crowd, there were cheers from everyone, the loudest being from Jake, which made her father cringe. “Good evening everyone, we’re happy that you could be here to see the first performance of Emmett Cullen’s Jug Band Christmas!” The crowd broke out into applause, and Nessie flipped her long brown hair over her shoulder.
“Quiet, quiet please,” she asked, and immediately the crowd quieted down. “Let me introduce the band if you will. On the cigar box guitar we’ve got Uncle Jasper ’Quickfingers’ Cullen!” Nessie then raised her arm and bowed in Jasper’s direction. He winked at her and began picking at the guitar, which made her giggle.
“Next, on the washtub bass, my grandpa, Carlisle ’Beatmaster’ Cullen,” she announced, quickly running over to kiss him on the cheek. Carlisle thumped out a few notes to thunderous applause.
“On the washboard and kazoo -- because he is sooooooooooo talented -- my daddy, Edward ’The Musician’ Cullen!” Edward put down the washboard, and for the first time since getting onto the stage, smiled a wide, happy, real smile at his daughter as he picked her up and hugged her. “Stop it Daddy, we’re trying to be professional,” Nessie whispered, but the microphone picked it all up and the crowd laughed.
Once Edward had put Nessie down, she straightened out her little red and green holly dress and put back on her “announcer persona” and walked over to Emmett. “And now, last but certainly not least, my Uncle, Emmett ’Big Bear Puffs’ Cullen on the jug!” Emmett picked Nessie up with one arm and held her high above his head as she sat on his hand, and the crowd cheered for them both.
Done with her announcing, Emmett put Nessie down and Alice helped her off the stage where she went to sit with her mother, aunts and grandmother and Charlie. There was a slight argument about who should count off the song on stage, and everyone laughed at them. When they finally resolved that it should be Edward, since he was the first instrument in, rather than Emmett, even though the band was named after him; they started.
The first song went well, and they played through it twice, for the audience had started singing along with them. Everyone loosened up after that, even Edward, who decided that perhaps it was fun after all. They moved on to the second, and Esme, Bella, Alice, and Rosalie held onto each other, moving from fits of laughter to near tears at the men on stage together.
They improvised a few other songs, but after about half an hour, the men were done playing, and the first and last performance of Emmett Cullen’s Jug Band was over. Nessie ran over and hugged each of them, politely commenting on their playing. After she had hugged Emmett, she was handed over to her Daddy, who welcomed having his little angel back in his arms.
“So, Uncle Emmett,” Nessie started.
“Yes, Ness,” he responded.
“Since we acted out that Christmas Special, could we do another one?”
“Nessie, I don’t think that...” Edward started, but Emmett reached for Nessie and she jumped into his arms.
“Tell me what you had in mind?” At this point the whole family was standing around them, listening to see what the two of them could cook up now.
“Well...” she started, stringing the word out to at least three syllable. “I really liked Rudolph, didn’t you?” she quizzed him, her eyes getting very big.
“Of course I did. How could Santa ever find the children without Rudolph?”
“You know when he and Hermie and Yukon Cornelius go off looking for gold and the run across the Abominable Snow Monster?”
“Yeah, that’s one of my favorite parts,” Emmett replied, nearly as excited as Nessie.
“Then they get to float on the iceberg?”
“And then they find the Bumble.”
“Yeah, that was great.”
“I want to go up the mountain and see if I can find the Abominable Snow Monster!” Nessie yelled, but before anyone else could answer, Rosalie opened her mouth.
“Nessie, sweetie, Uncle Emmett is the Abominable Snow Monster.” Everyone laughed at her answer.
Nessie’s eyes got wide. “Can I push you off a cliff to see if you bounce?”
“Sure, come on!” Before Edward could stop him, Emmett had put Nessie up on his shoulders and was bounding off through the woods.
“You know, they’re made for each other,” Rosalie said quietly.
“Yeah, but in another six months,” Edward started, “she’s going to outgrow playing with him.”