The Path We Choose

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chapter 3


"Daddy! Daddy! It's time to get up, hurry! We want to go to the park today!" my adorable 7 year old daughter Maddie squeals as she jumps up and down on my bed.

I groan, rolling over to glance at the clock; 7:00 in the damn morning…and on a Sunday. Ugh!

"Ok, Princess, I'm up, I'm up. Let me have a second for my heart to stop slamming out of my body and I'll be downstairs as soon as I take a shower and get dressed. Is anyone else up yet?" I ask, barely getting the words out over my yawn.

"Yes, Daddy. Masen is up already and so is Nana. She is making pancakes for breakfast! She said Papa was working late last night, so we have to be quiet," she trails off in a whisper as if my dad can hear her downstairs in his room.

With a chuckle and a kiss on her forehead I send my precious daughter downstairs to help her Nana make our traditional Sunday morning breakfast. We have had pancakes for breakfast every Sunday since the M & M twins were old enough to eat real food. The same breakfast before Sunday Mass for as long as I can remember.

Maddie and Masen; my sole reason for everything. They are my pride and joy and everything good that is in my life. Of course, my parents and brother and sister fall into the good category as well. And, well, my job does, too. If I'm being honest, my life is pretty damn good. I have a son and a daughter that pretty much think I am all that and a slice of cake. I have the two best parents in the world in Carlisle and Esme Cullen. My big brother Emmett and my little sister Alice are my best friends. I have a job that pays well, I have a kick ass car, and I am in great shape. So, truthfully, not too much to bitch about.

The only thing missing, is the someone who would be waking up with me to take the kids to church and then to the park. I am a 32 year old single dad, and I wouldn't trade my kids for anything in the world. Absolutely nothing. But, I am a man and a woman to share my life with would complete the picture. I have dated women, not a lot; with twins at home it is a little difficult sometimes. I have a built in babysitter in my mom, but truth be told, most of the women I meet only want me for one thing. They hear the name Cullen, look at the car, or hear the word Doctor and all they see is an open bank account. Maddie and Masen are the most important things in my life and their happiness and security comes before everything so there is no way I am subjecting them to anyone who doesn't have their best interest at heart. After being alone for so long, I've gotten pretty good at weeding out anyone just looking for a free ride damn quick. Lauren taught me all about that and I have no desire whatsoever to ever go through that again. Thank the Lord that the kids weren't even a month old when I learned that lesson the hard way.

Lauren Mallory, what to say about her? Um, how about the bitch from hell? That seems like a pretty accurate description. We met during Medical School at Columbia.

I had left home to go to college at Dartmouth after I graduated from high school. That is where Carlisle went so that's where I went. It is a great school and I had a blast while I was there. I met Ben Cheney during freshman orientation and we have been best friends ever since. The only thing Ben has ever done that has come back to bite me in the ass was introduce me to Lauren Mallory. We had graduated from college and were getting ready to start Med School at Columbia. My parents had set us up in an apartment for the duration of school. Yeah, I am spoiled, not gonna to lie about that.

My Grandfather set Emmett, Alice and I all up with trust funds that we were given access to upon graduation from college. The Cullen name is very famous in New York City, and probably all around the world. My Great-Grandfather founded Cullen Pharmaceuticals and our products are known the world over. The headquarters for CP is in New York City as well as the Cullen Foundation. As a Cullen, we are all expected to serve on the Board of Directors for the Foundation. CP is run by my Uncle Marcus and my cousin Demetri is the Chief Operations Officer.

My dad, as the oldest, was given the option to run it, but he never wanted to. He has always wanted to be a doctor, he says ever since he can remember. Carlisle Cullen is one of the most sought after Oncologists in the country. It's what he's good at, hell; it is what he was born to do. He has backed off practicing medicine quite a bit, only taking on special patients as they are referred and helping out with our practice. He also does a lot of volunteer work at the Free Clinic in Harlem here in the city as well as the Women's and Children's shelter.

When I was growing up and even up until I graduated from college, I can remember my dad flying all across the country consulting on cases. He would be gone days or even weeks at a time sometimes. He missed quite a bit while we were all growing up, but not one of us felt deprived of him. He made every effort to be here for as much as he could, whether that was one of Emmett's football games, my baseball games or Alice's ballet recitals. When he couldn't be here, Mom was always there along with Uncle Marcus and Aunt Diane. Like I said, we never felt deprived and we had all been taught from a very early age how important the work our dad did was.

My mom, Esme, was a stay at home mom. She also sat on the Board of Directors at the Foundation and played a very active role in deciding which charities to support with our name and money. She volunteers at the shelter where dad and I do, as well as at many others. Everyone loves my mother, and I make no apologies for being a total Mama's boy. I adore my mom. She has been my biggest fan and my guiding light for as long as I can remember. She loves us all, but I know I'm her favorite, even if she can't say it out loud. Don't tell Emmett or Alice though! Well, I used to be her favorite until my mini-me Masen came along that is.

She has never missed anything any one of us kids has ever done. She has attended every school play, program, or recital any of us have ever had. That now includes Maddie and Masen. No football game, baseball game, tennis match or swim meet went by without her attendance. And, Lord, do we have the pictures to prove it! Albums and albums of pictures and boxes of video tapes and now stacks of DVDs showcasing everything. We sure won't ever be able to forget anything with Esme Cullen around.

It shouldn't be too hard to figure out that Lauren was not on their list of favorite people. Like I said, we met in Med School. Ben and I were in most of the same classes and so was she. You learn pretty quickly to make friends and keep a small group that you can study with. Lauren is brilliant, I hate to say it but she is. Ben and I thought we were so lucky that she wanted to be in our study group. She met Ben in one of the classes we didn't have together, and mentioned forming a study group. When he told her my name, she begged to meet me. Ben was trying to get in her best friend Leah's pants so he did what she asked hoping to gain some brownie points with her. He cornered me after class, and introduced us. Lauren is an attractive woman, if you go for fake hair, fake boobs and a fake smile.

After Ben begged and begged and promised me a 12-pack of Sam Adams and clean-up duty for a week, I agreed to go on a double date with Lauren, Ben and Leah. We did the standard dinner and a movie and you would think by the way Lauren was going on and on that I had taken her to a Broadway show or something. But, she was fun, at first. We laughed at many of the same things and seemed to have the same taste in music and books. She even loved baseball. We would spend hours debating the Yankees versus the Red Sox, seeing as how she was from an old money family from Boston.

Ben and Leah lasted for about as long as a blink of an eye but Lauren and I slowly developed our relationship past the casual dating stage. Studying took up a great deal of time and it did seem easier dating a fellow med student that would understand the demands on my time. She would cook dinner at the apartment for the three of us when we would have a big test the next day and needed to spend extra time studying. We went out on dates when we could find the time, to watch a baseball game or for a trip to a museum or to the movies.

I introduced Lauren to my parents after we had been dating about 6 months. I brought her home to Sunday dinner. My parents were cordial, but not their usual warm selves and I couldn't figure out why. Dad called me the next day to explain that Mr. Mallory had been trying to get a seat on the Board at the Foundation for many years and was repeatedly denied. Apparently he was not the most ethical of financial advisors. Carlisle was afraid that Lauren was trying to use me to get her dad a spot on the Board. I couldn't believe that she would do that, so I never even brought it up and neither did he. I did keep the interaction between my parents and Lauren to a minimum after that.

We started sleeping together about a month after our first date. I had wanted to wait a bit longer, but she was relentless in her pursuit. Looking back on it, I know I just gave in because I was tired of fighting it. I wasn't a virgin of course; after all I was 22 years old when we started dating. I hadn't slept with a lot of girls by the time I made it to med school, but it was enough to know that I was old enough to stop sleeping with any and everyone and wait until it meant something. I didn't love Lauren, and I sure as hell wasn't thinking anything long term when we started dating.

Somehow, dating for a month turned into 4 months and that turned into nine months until we had been dating a year. By that time, she had more of her clothes at my apartment than in her's and she spent the night more times at mine than at her own. She did not get along with Ben at all, and this caused more than a few problems. I didn't want to tell her, but most of the time, she was the cause. Lauren would be a supreme bitch to Ben whenever they were in the same room, making smart ass comments, rolling her eyes anytime he had anything to say, cutting him down any chance she could. Ben did not come from the same type of monied background she and I did, and it never bothered me or caused any friction between him and me. But Lauren, fuck, she would make comment after comment about it; trying to make it seem like he wasn't good enough for us.

Ben started spending more and more time away from the apartment until finally he told me he was moving out. He didn't want to make me choose between him and Lauren so he was leaving. I wasn't sure I wanted to live with Lauren at this point, but she didn't really leave much choice in the matter. He moved out on a Saturday and by Sunday night all her things were in my bedroom and my bathroom was filled with every kind of make-up, hair product, curling iron, straight iron, and tampon imaginable. After a year with her, I realized it was better to let her have her way than fight with her. And that right there folks was my downfall.

I knew I didn't love her, not in the way she loved me or rather the way she claimed to love me. I knew she was only with me for my money; that was so damn obvious after about the first month or two. She tried to keep up the façade but it didn't last all that long. All she talked about was where I would take her on vacation, what kind of jewelry I would buy her for her birthday, Christmas or Valentine's Day. Which expensive restaurant we should go to so that we could be "seen" together. Which Foundation functions we would attend together and where I would take her to buy her gown. I was so over it all, but I couldn't figure out how to get out without making things worse. She would not go quietly, I knew this. She wanted the money and the name Cullen, and she would put up with anything to get it. I tried ignoring her, I tried being mean to her, or as mean as a son of Esme Cullen could be to a woman, but nothing worked. I tried talking to her, but that was like talking to a fucking wall. She would not be swayed at all. She wanted me and come hell or high water, she was going to keep me, no matter what she had to do.

After two years of this, don't ask how I lasted that long but I did, I had finally had enough. Lauren was constantly on me to propose. We were coming up on our Residency's and I was going to be performing mine at New York Presbyterian. I was going to specialize in Pediatrics. Lauren went on and on about what a disgrace it was to choose pediatrics when I could pick something more prestigious like cardio thoracic surgery or neurosurgery. I just couldn't take it any more. I told her it was over, that it wasn't working between us and we just couldn't go on anymore. She cried, threw a temper tantrum, threw a vase at my head, and threatened me, anything she could think of. This went on for a week until she finally calmed down and agreed to move out if I gave her a week to find someplace to live. I agreed and moved to the guest room for the next week.

I remember coming home one night after an intense study session, just fucking exhausted. I walked into the apartment and Lauren was already in bed. I heated up some dinner, and had a beer. Had another beer, then another. After the stressful night of studying preceded by the week arguing with Lauren I was so tired I could hardly think straight. Drinking three beers in the span of an hour wasn't the smartest thing I had ever done either. I remember stripping out of my clothes as soon as I got into my room and falling in the bed and falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. A few hours later, I remember waking up to the feel of a warm mouth around my extremely hard dick. I was so disoriented, it took me a full minute to figure out what was going on, but by this time Lauren had me so hard and I was so close to coming I couldn't say anything to her. As soon as she noticed I was at least awake and somewhat coherent, she climbed on top of me and had me inside of her before I could get a word out. She had gotten me so worked up, I came within minutes, coming inside of her. I didn't have a condom on, but since we had only been sleeping with each other, I knew she was on the pill so I didn't think too much about it. She leaned down to kiss me quickly on the lips and whispered her thanks before slipping out of my room. I swear the whole thing only lasted a few minutes, 10 tops. I promptly rolled over and went back to sleep.

True to her word, Lauren was gone within the week and I could feel my life getting back to normal. I started spending more time with Ben again. Emmett and Alice, too. I went to dinner at my parents at least twice a week, or whenever I could escape the hospital. My life was finally on the track I wanted and I couldn't be happier about that. Until, one day, about a month later Lauren showed up at the hospital. I was just finishing up a 48-hour shift. I was exhausted and needed a shower and all I wanted to do was go home, get cleaned up and then sleep for at least 12 hours. She had other ideas though. She followed me outside to my car and then informed me she was pregnant and that the baby was mine. I made her repeat it 3 times in total before my brain caught on to what she was telling me. She told me I had to marry her or else she would get an abortion. The bitch had me, and she knew it.

I rushed home to talk to my parents and my sister Alice. She was a lawyer at one of the top law firms in the city. I knew Lauren would do what she threatened, so I didn't have a choice in deciding whether or not to marry her. We talked it over with Alice and our family lawyer Felix. My parents were livid and I thought Emmett was going to explode. They were calm compared to Alice. I was actually a little scared for Lauren thinking what Alice would do to her. Not that everyone wasn't happy about the baby, because we were; but the way Lauren went about this whole thing was a serious cause for concern.

After about a week, we were finally able to meet with Lauren and her parents and their attorney. What a horrible family she has, they made my skin crawl. Her parents actually had the audacity to congratulate her in front of my family and I for getting pregnant. We all knew they were money, and more importantly power, hungry but this was just disgusting. A mediator was brought in so that we could come to some sort of agreement that everyone would agree on. It was finally decided that I would move home and Lauren would stay with me at my parent's house until the baby was born. Upon a healthy birth and a positive paternity test, we would get married no more than one year later. I was to accompany Lauren to all prenatal appointments as long as my schedule would allow. She would drop out of medical school effective immediately and my family would pay for any outstanding school loans she had as well as any expenses she would incur breaking her lease at her apartment. We would also be paying for all medical expenses for Lauren and the baby as well as giving her an allowance so that she could buy maternity clothes and items for the baby as she wanted. We also were to provide her with a new car of her choice. As soon as the baby was born, Lauren demanded that we announce our engagement and set a wedding date. She agreed to follow all doctors instructions as well as daily exercise and attend parenting classes as the delivery date got closer.

I couldn't believe that all this was happening and that I was going to be a father in eight months. I was ecstatic about that part. I figured if I had to live with Lauren as my wife in order to get to be a dad, it was worth it. As soon as she threatened to get rid of the baby, my whole world turned upside down and I swore to myself that I would do whatever it took to ensure that I had a healthy baby at the end of this mess.

Lauren moved in to my parent's house within the week and so did I. It was awkward and I hated it, but I sucked it up. I figured I got myself into the mess; I should be the one to suffer. I apologized over and over to my parents and siblings, but they all ensured me that this was not my fault. This was all on Lauren and the underhanded way she got me to sleep with her. I know she took advantage of me and tricked me into sleeping with her when she knew she was ovulating. She was also the one to stop taking the birth control pills without telling me. Of course I never asked either. Like a dumbass, I just assumed she was still taking them because she didn't tell me any different. For someone as smart as I am, I was a total fucking idiot about Lauren.

Dating after that was a moot point, so was sex of any kind. I sure as shit wasn't touching Lauren and I couldn't sleep with anyone else thanks to our arrangement. If either of us were caught being unfaithful, the agreement we had was immediately null and void and the other party would be granted sole custody of the baby. So, my hand and my dick became best friends, meeting frequently. Most meetings taking place in the shower, the one place I could find peace. Any other place and Lauren was constantly in my space trying to talk to me or showing me pictures of the nursery she wanted or the house she wanted to buy once the baby was born or the wedding dress she had picked out. I swear the girl lived in a completely different world than the rest of us.

I talked to my attending physician at the hospital and informed her of the situation, all of it. She knew part of it already, having had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting Lauren when we were still together. Dr. Roberts was extremely understanding and more accommodating than she should have been. I am sure my last name and who my father was played a part in it, but I also knew I was the best Resident of my class with the highest test scores and the most ability, too. I earned it myself, no matter who my father was or what my last name is. I prided myself on earning my own way in everything, not falling back on my dad's reputation or my family's money. Something Lauren obviously paid no attention to.

The pregnancy progressed along normally and I went to as many appointments with Lauren as I could manage. I did make the first appointment when we found out the due date. The baby was expected to be born around the 12th of July. I missed the appointment when Lauren got to hear the heartbeat for the first time and have the first ultra sound done. She even forgot to get the printouts of the pictures from the ultra sound tech. I mean she was going to be doctor for fuck's sake.

She started acting weird after that appointment. She didn't spend near as much time chasing me around the house as before and more often than not, went out of her way to avoid me. I spoke with my parents about it, and they agreed she was acting that way with them as well. Carlisle and Esme continued to try to be as cordial to Lauren as they could, hell, my mom tried taking her out to lunch more times than I can count and my dad was always asking if she needed books or movies to keep herself occupied. But she always refused any kind advances made by my family. She spent more time out of the house; I don't even know where she went most of the time.

This behavior continued until Lauren was set to go to her 20 week exam and have the ultra sound that would tell us the sex of the baby. I couldn't wait, and I had made sure to adjust my schedule at the hospital so that nothing would stop me from being able to attend the appointment with Lauren. She was nervous for some reason, biting her nails, fidgeting in the chair as we waited for the doctor, bouncing her knee up at down constantly. I remember asking her what the hell her problem was but before she could answer me, the receptionist had announced that we could go back. As we walked back, I noticed she looked like she was going to be sick, but figured it was just part of being pregnant. The doctor performed the check up, measuring her stomach and asking the usual questions. I remember thinking she was a bit bigger than she should be at this stage, but had decided to wait to ask any questions until after the ultra sound.

The doctor had the technician come in and get everything set up and as Lauren was lying back on the table, she looked like she was about to burst into tears. I just chalked this up to pregnancy hormones. The doctor started the exam and of course the very first thing I hear is the heartbeat. It seriously took my fucking breath away, especially since I hadn't had a chance to hear it yet. Once I got over my initial reaction to the sound, the first thing I noticed was there was not one heartbeat, but two. Holy shit! We were having twins! I couldn't believe it! I looked at the picture on the screen and sure enough, there were the two babies. One boy and one girl according to the doctor. I was shocked, completely and utterly floored by the news. I barely heard the doctor saying that everything was progressing as it should be and that Lauren would need to make another appointment for 4 weeks later. She printed out some pictures, I did remember to ask for them in my shocked state, and she handed them to me as she walked out of the room.

I finally was able to focus and looked at Lauren. I expected her to look as shocked as I was, but instead all I saw was anger. Lots and lots of anger. Rage, just pouring out of her. I recall the pieces falling into place as I realized she had known about the twins for some time now, going over the changes in her behavior over the last month or so. I yelled at her, asking how she could keep this from me, from my family, how long had she known, did she honestly think she could hide this? She yelled back that she hated me, hated the babies and hated being pregnant and then stormed out of the room. I had to take a few moments to calm down and then walked out of the room and out of the office.

Hated the babies? How could she hate them, could she not see what a gift they were? I couldn't fathom where she was coming from in all of this. It made no sense at all. I remember walking to the parking lot to find Lauren standing beside the car, still shaking in her rage. I knew I had to stay calm, as a doctor I knew how stress could affect the babies, and with twins it was even more imperative that she stay calm. I asked what she needed to make things better, how I could help her. I was desperate by now. I knew she would use this to her advantage and boy she sure as hell didn't disappoint in her demands. It was pretty simple really, money, all she wanted was money. A lot of fucking money. She wasn't stupid, as I said before, the woman had a brain.

I could see her plan falling into place in my mind. Lure me in by being sweet and accommodating, liking the same things as me, becoming a constant presence. Next, distance me from my friends and family. Slowly start taking over my life, making decisions for the both of us. Next get engaged, then married. Get pregnant and have a baby, cementing her place in my life and ensuring that I had no choice but to stay with her.

When she finally pushed me enough to break things off with her, she tricked me into getting her pregnant so that she could keep her hold on me. I realized in that moment that she had never cared about me, not one bit. I was a means to an end. My name and money were all she cared about. She didn't care about being in a loveless marriage, that was obvious from watching her parents. She didn't care about being a parent and caring for a child. She didn't care that she was hurting me and my family by the constant threats of harming the baby if she didn't get what she wanted. She cared about nothing except Lauren Mallory.

I have never hated anyone in my life up until that moment, but I could honestly say that I hated everything about her. Except for the babies she was carrying inside of her. I wanted them, only them and I would promise her anything so that I could have them and she knew it. She had me right where she wanted me and by God she was going to use it to her full advantage.

In the end, we met with the lawyers again, no mediator because the agreement certainly needed to be kept as private as possible. I wanted out and I wanted the babies. She wanted money. We both got what we wanted when I agreed to pay her a million dollars cash per baby once they were born and she agreed to sign over her parental rights to them. Neither she nor her family was allowed to have any contact with any member of my family once the babies were born. Absolutely none. Once the twins were born, she was to move back to Boston.

It had come to light that my cunning sister Alice had hired a private investigator shortly after I first introduced Lauren to my family at that Sunday dinner. She did not have a good feeling about her and after my dad had expressed the same worries to her as he had done to me, she took it upon herself to hire an investigator to follow her. Turns out, she had been involved with Tyler Crowley the entire time she was supposedly with me, and the plan to get pregnant was thought of by him. Alice had confronted Lauren with this information so she knew my family and I had all the information necessary to ensure that once the babies were born she would have to stay away or risk exposure.

The next four months were stressful to say the least. My residency was in full swing and I needed to stay on top of my game to ensure my place in my class. I still was expected to perform my duties at the Foundation. I made sure to keep attending all of Lauren's appointments with her to ensure the safety of the babies. After the meeting with the lawyers, Lauren promptly moved in with Tyler Crowley. How she still managed to show her face around town, I have no idea, but like I said before, Lauren tended to live in her own bubble.

My friends discreetly asked what was going on when word began to leak about Lauren and Tyler. They didn't keep the lowest of profiles. I simply stated that things weren't going to work out between us and once the babies were born, she was free to do whatever she wished. Ben knew the whole story of course and blamed himself for falling under her spell when he first introduced us, but I knew Lauren would have found another way without him.

As the end of June rolled around, I was anxious as I had ever been before in my life. I couldn't wait for the babies to get here. Mom and Alice had set up the nursery for them at my parent's house where we would continue to live once they were born. Alice even moved back home to help take care of them while I finished my last year of my residency. I could not believe the lengths my family had gone to guarantee the babies place in our lives. I should have, I know, but it was still astounding.

Carlisle had called me into his office at home one night after my shift at the hospital; it must have been towards the end of May. He sat me down and told me how incredibly proud he and my mother were of me, and how one day my children would know the lengths I gone to to make sure that they stayed with me. I was stunned. My dad often told me he was proud of me, so it wasn't anything new. But, in this case, I didn't believe I had deserved his praise. I let Lauren fool me, and then walk all over me for three years before I had enough. Then I let her trick me into sleeping with her so she could get pregnant. I still have a hard time knowing how stupid I was for those three years. He disagreed vehemently and concluded by letting me know that he and mom would always be there for me and the twins and would help us in any way possible.

The phone call letting me know Lauren was in labor of course came in the middle of one of my shifts at the hospital. Because Dr. Roberts was so aware of my situation with Lauren, I was allowed to leave immediately and was granted a leave of absence of 6 weeks so that I could be at home with the babies. I had wanted to stay home longer, and as the primary care giver was entitled to more but my family convinced me to hurry back to my residency so that I could finish it up as close to on time as I could. I was going to be going into practice with Carlisle upon the completion of my residency so I knew I would be allowed some freedom with scheduling because of that. I knew I was luckier than just about anyone else could be that was in my situation. My family and the money we had allowed me choices that most would not have, but I swore to myself and to Carlisle that I would never take advantage of that.

The twins were born on July 12. Maddie was born at 11:35 am followed four short minutes later at 11:39 am by Masen. They were perfect, my little miracles. Lauren would not allow me to be in the delivery room with her, no matter how many times I begged. Tyler was with her, as was her mother. I had to wait patiently in the waiting room along with my family. Emmett came as soon as I called him, and Alice left in the middle of court. My mom made it to the hospital even before me and dad was coming as soon as finished the surgery he was in. We had also called Felix to come to the hospital and bring the certified checks for Lauren. I wanted to be free of her as soon as was humanly possible. I was still beside myself with worry that something would happen to the agreement and she would keep the babies from me.

Once the delivery was finished and the babies were brought to the nursery, I saw the twins for the first time and I swear to God, my whole world stopped right then. I knew that whatever Lauren had put me through was worth every second of misery as soon as I looked at my babies in their bassinets. One tiny bundle of pink sleeping next to a tiny bundle of blue. Madeline Grace Cullen and Masen Samuel Cullen, and they were all mine. I promised myself and them the moment the nurses let me into the nursery to hold them that I would always do whatever it took to make sure they were happy and safe and loved, no matter what.

Felix completed the transaction with Lauren, getting her signature on the paperwork we needed to file with the court for her to give up her rights to the twins and giving her the money she so desperately wanted. I didn't even go to see her, she was no longer going to be a part of my life and I was so eager to move on and close that horrid chapter of my life.

We brought the babies home after spending two days in the hospital. It was quite the scene in the Cullen household for the first few weeks. After being in college and med school for so long, I was used to getting up at all hours of the night and day and functioning on little sleep. Mom being married to a doctor for so long was used to having strange sleeping patterns as well. It took a few weeks to get the twins on a set schedule, but we managed pretty easily. They were sleeping through the night by the time they were a month old and that helped enormously.

I enjoyed every moment with them and my heart filled with love at every smile and look my little miracles gave me. They both had me completely wrapped around their tiny fingers and I knew my life would never be the same after we brought them home. I may have hated Lauren, but the gift she had given me and my family would never be unappreciated.

Time flew by and before we knew it the twins were crawling, then sitting up and walking and talking. I have heard people say that time flies by once you have kids and I am here to tell you that is the fucking truth. It seemed like in the blink of an eye it was time for the twins to start kindergarten. I couldn't believe the time had gone by so fast, but it did.

We still lived with my parents. Nana and Papa loved their grandchildren and the house was full of laughter all the time. I just didn't see any reason to move. Mom helped get them to and from all their activities and of course watched over them if I was needed at the hospital. They both encouraged me to date, and I tried. I met a few women that I spent time getting to know but none ever turned into anything more than friendships. A few times dates would turn into hot nights of sex; I was a man after all. But afterward, I would feel so empty I swore I would never do that again. I knew what I was looking for and promised myself I wouldn't stop looking until I found it.

I wanted "the one". The perfect person that would complete me. God that makes me sound like such a pussy. But, that was what I wanted. I wanted to find a woman that would love my children completely and that would protect them fiercely. I wanted a woman that would be my partner and best friend, the one person I could rely on for everything and share every part of myself. The one that would love my family as if it were her own. The one that would make making love an out of body experience. I wanted it all, all the clichés and things that love songs were made about. I wanted the sun and the moon and the stars, I wanted everything.

So, here I am at 32 years old still looking.

Stepping out of the shower, I hear voices from downstairs letting me know that Nana has finished with the pancakes and I need to get my ass in gear and eat before we head out to church and then to the park.

I pull on my boxer briefs, step into a pair of black dress pants, grab my light blue dress shirt and step into my shoes and get ready to head down to breakfast. I stop at my dresser and put my wallet and keys in my pocket, check my cell phone to make sure the hospital hasn't called and strap on my watch.

Walking out in the hallway I feel a little body slam into my leg. Looking down I see mini-me. Masen looks up at me and I reach down and grab him, throwing him over my shoulder and race down the stairs.

I hear his little voice squealing with laughter as he yells at me to put him down. We reach the kitchen and I swing him off my shoulder with a kiss to the temple as he scampers off to the table to dig into his pancakes. I see Carlisle sitting at the table with the Sunday morning paper and make my way over to him.

Leaning down, I kiss the top of his head with a quick "Morning, Pop," and make my way over to my mom.

She is standing at the stove with my first cup of coffee in her hand, waiting. I step over to her and lean down to kiss her cheek saying, "Thanks, Ma."

I walk over to the table looking at Maddie and Mase. God, how I love them. Masen is trying his damnedest to not let the syrup from his pancakes get on his church clothes and is doing a pretty good job. Maddie is almost done with her's and is staring at me.

"What's up buttercup?" I ask her.

Giggling, she asks me, "Daddy, we are still going to the park after church aren't we? You know you promised and you can't break your promises. Oh, and I made my list of all things I want to do this week while we are on vacation, do you wanna see it?"

"Yes, Princess, we are going to the park once we come home and change clothes and yes while we are at the park we can talk about what to do this week while you guys are on Spring Break. Mase, do you have your list of what you wanted to do this week?" I ask and turn to him.

"Yep, Daddy, I do. I can't wait! Is Uncle Em going to be here this week to come play with us?" he excitedly asks me.

Ah, Uncle Emmett. Getting the two of them together is sure to cause problems. He's nothing but an overgrown kid himself, but he loves being an uncle more than anything, so I let them have their fun.

"Sure will, big guy. He'll be here on Thursday and stay for the weekend. Sound like a plan?" I ask as I reach over to try to fix the unruly mess on top of his head knowing full well I can't since I have the same hair on top of my head.

"Yeah!" Maddie and Masen both yell.

"Oh great, I'd better start cooking for the weekend now," laughed my mom.

"You're right about that Ma," I tell her. "Put him and Mase together, and you'll need tons of food!"

"Ok, everyone, let's get going so we aren't late for Mass," Carlisle tells us all.

Pancakes followed by 9:00 Mass has been a tradition in the house for the last five years. Weather permitting; when we get home afterward I take the twins to Central Park for bonding time. Not that we don't spend time together during the week, but Sundays are our special time. No Nana and Papa, no Aunt Alice, just the three of us. It gives us time to talk and it gives my parents time by themselves, too.

After all of us change into jeans and t-shirts we head out for the park. I watch as Maddie and Masen walked ahead of me talking to each other at a mile a minute. I swear those two are like peas in a pod. As close as a brother and sister that I have ever seen. I know twins have that freaky ass twin bond or whatever, but it truly amazes me to watch. Whole conversations happen between them without either one even having to open their mouths.

The weather is perfect for our day at the park, sunny and a little cool, but absolutely perfect. We make our way to our favorite playground and the kids take off as I sit on the bench to just watch and enjoy. We play first, then talk, that's the rule.

After about 30 minutes, Maddie asks if I will push her on the swing so I stand up and make my way over to her. Masen is busy climbing on the play structure, running through the tunnels and climbing on the ropes. He has so much energy, I wonder where it all comes from.

I get over to the swings where Maddie is very impatiently waiting for me with a scowl on her angelic face.

"Daddy, hurry, before all the good swings are gone!" she sternly tells me.

"Sorry sweat pea, let's hit it then, hurry! Gah!" I laugh at her.

She giggles as she climbs onto her favorite swing. I get lost in my head and in the motion of pushing her and look up to realize that Masen is not on the playground any more. Shit, where the hell did he go? I frantically tell Maddie to get off the swing and we start walking around, looking for him.

As I am standing there, I catch sight of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. Holy hell! She's small, only about 5'4" or so. She is wearing black Capri pants, a tight white t-shirt, a ball cap with her brown hair pulled through the back in a pony tail. She has black Converse shoes on and sunglasses over her eyes. Fuck, I wish she would take off the glasses so I can see her eyes. I am sure they are as beautiful as the rest of her body.

My breath catches and heart starts beating so fast it feels like it could fly out of my chest. I have to blink a few times to clear my vision. What the fuck? I don't understand my reaction to seeing this beautiful angel.

After I come back to my senses, I look closer at her and realize that my son is walking beside her, holding her hand in one of his and walking the cutest damn puppy I have ever seen in the other. I swear, in that moment, just looking at them together, I have never been happier or felt anything so completely right in my entire life.

I smile to myself as I think about what I can possibly say to her when I get to her. I start walking towards her when I turn to look at Maddie and holler to her that I see Masen and everything is ok. As I turn around I realize I have bumped into the angel and she is now laughing at Masen while she is sitting on the ground.

"Oh shit!" I exclaim as I look down at her.

My God, she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Brown. Her eyes are the most gorgeous shade of brown, like coffee.

I reach down to try to help her up, my hands touching her arms. I feel an electric current or some shit all over my body. My breath catches and my heart starts beating faster. What the hell?

"Bella smella, are you ok?" I hear Masen laugh as he asks.

Bella smella? Oh, her name is Bella. How fitting. God she is so beautiful I think to myself dreamily.

"Yeah, Mase face, I'm fine. Are you and Rufus ok, you're not hurt are you?" I hear the angel say. Her voice is perfect, she is perfect.

And, Mase face? Where did that come from? Does it make me the shittiest father ever that I am jealous of my 7 year old son because she has given him a nick name? I want one, I want one! Please! Please angel! Pretty please even. Just talk to me!

I stand there watching them, my son and the woman of my dreams, and clear my throat. I give her the trademark Cullen smirk and I can feel this weird electric current flowing between us. I want her. I know this the instant our eyes meet. Forever, I want her forever.

"Here, let me help you up. You look like you could use it. My name is Edward Cullen."

Holy shit!

1 comment:

  1. Oh yeah, connection affection right on cue...
    I totally AGAIN love how you have written Edward and his family... the shit storm that was lauren, wow, freakin' crazy, but that sure has her written out of the way (at least for now, I have a nasty feeling that she may rear her ugly head up when she runs out of mulah). Definitely an awesome Daddyward~! Loved getting the backstory on Edward and the twins, nice touch... great laying on the groundwork...