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.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chapter 29


"Shit," I heard Edward mumble as he tripped over a shoe on the way to the bathroom.

I rolled over and stared up at the ceiling and tried to stop giggling…and failed miserably.

"Shut it, Swan," my favorite blanket hog said as he slid back into bed.

I chuckled when he growled at me and then he got me back when he rubbed his whiskers along my shoulder.

Edward shifted on the bed and then laid me down on my back so that he could crawl on top of me.

"I really like the view from up here," he smirked at me as he bent his head down and brushed his lips across mine before he moved his head lower and kissed the hollow of my throat.

He waggled his eyebrows at me and lowered his head some more and said, "Actually, I like this view better."

I ran my fingers through his hair and grasped his head in my hands, pulled him back up to me and grinned at him…Christ he was an amazing sight to wake up to in the morning…and said, "I like this view better. Leave my boobs alone you big perv."

Edward ran his fingers through my hair and picked up a strand to study in the sunlight that shone into the room. "I love your hair in the sunlight baby; it gets the most amazing streaks of red in it when the sun hits it just right," he said wistfully.

I could tease him and tell him he was being cheesy, but in all actuality, he was just being…my Edward. And the way he was right now was just one of the thousands of reasons why I loved him with all my heart and soul.

My fingers ached to touch his face so I let my index fingers trace over the stubble that graced his perfect jaw and then over his to die for cheekbones and his nose that was just a little off center and had a slight bump due to a baseball injury and then over his eyelids where his unbelievably long eyelashes tickled my fingers and then to his forehead where the skin was soft and smooth.

Edward sounded like he was purring as I continued to run my hands over his face and then I let my hands follow the muscles of his arms and then around to his back and down over his sides.

It was amazing the things I felt right now just from touching him, it was almost as if our bodies were talking to the other…without using one word. I could tell Edward felt it too. His breathing changed and became more uneven. His fingers twitched as they touched my skin, his gorgeous green eyes darkened and seemed to burn from within.

He took my breath away.

"Please Edward," I breathed out and my request was immediately met as he shifted again and slid into me with no resistance on my part and in one, sure, fluid stroke on his.

My knees fell to my sides and my heels rested on the backs of his thighs as his body continued to speak to mine as he coaxed and guided with each movement he made. "Fuck Bella…I didn't know…it's never felt like this…so much," he said as he kept the pace the same…not too fast and not too slow, just a steady rhythm that seemed to take my body to a place I'd never been before.

Our bodies continued to climb and climb until we fell over the peak together, one right after the other, me first as always. Edward was always so giving that way, me first then him…he wouldn't have it any other way. His head fell forward and he rested his forehead against my shoulder while our bodies cooled and calmed and I ran my fingers through his hair which was now damp from perspiration and whispered, "That was the most incredible thing I've ever felt, Edward. I love you."

Edward turned his head and kissed the side of my neck and said just as softly, "For me too, Bella. It amazes me how after I make love to you I automatically want you again. I hope that never changes baby."

We laid in bed and talked softly for a few minutes, mostly about seeing Jane and Ian last night. I still couldn't believe that Ian was here…in New York City. It was all so strange, and then to have him eating with Jane, at a restaurant Edward and I happened to be at? It was just too big of coincidence but I didn't have time to dwell on it.

I got up and fixed us some breakfast while he showered and got dressed. I would have loved to have taken a shower with him, but he needed to head out and I had a meeting with Angela I needed to get to. Once I had everything on the island for him and made his coffee, he walked out in his dress pants and shirt.

Every damn time…the man took my breath away every time I saw him dressed up.

"Bella, come sit with me for a minute, baby, I need to talk to you about something," Edward said softly as he kissed me on the top of my head and walked towards the dining room table.

I finished fixing my plate of breakfast and I followed Edward and sat down. He had the picture frame the kids made for me out on the table and he looked at it with a strange mix of pride and worry. The pride I understood …the worry not so much. "Edward, what is it?" I asked and reached out for his hand.

He didn't really hold mine in his, more like he ran his fingers up and down mine and for a few moments he didn't say anything but then he took a deep breath and let out a long exhale and said, "Bella, there was something that happened while you were gone that Jasper, Seth, and I think you need to know, " Edward began hesitantly.

I gasped and he looked at me and said, "Baby, its okay. Well not really, but…shit. Okay, let me just get this out and then we can talk about it. On Monday, Tanya took the kids swimming and l came back here and found Jacob in the loft. He said he came to get something he left here, but Bella, I don't think…what I mean is, I don't know…I don't trust him Bella."

Jacob was in my fucking house? When no one was home?

What the hell was he thinking?

I stood up and walked to the windows and turned around and looked at Edward, knowing there was something else and asked just that, "What else Edward? I can tell there's more." He picked up the frame the kids made me and ran his finger over it before he looked at me and said, "When I walked in and found him, he was holding the picture Mama took of the four of us at her house. I guess I startled him because the asshole dropped it and broke the glass. That is why the kids had to make a new frame for it."

He was angry, so very angry and I really couldn't blame him. Edward and I had talked about Jacob before and the fact that he made me uncomfortable. I already knew Edward didn't like him but I really thought that was just because Jake tended to stare at me…a lot. "I don't want you to be alone with him… ever… Bella. If you have to go somewhere and Seth or Jasper can't go with you, I want you to call me or Emmett. Hell, even Demetri or Ben but promise me you won't go anywhere with him by yourself. I don't trust him and there is something just…off with him when it comes to you," Edward said, the tension he felt obvious in the tone of his voice.

I sat back down and bit my bottom lip and looked at Edward. "Is there anything else I need to know? I mean I know he told you why he was here, but did something else happen to make you think that?" I asked, wanting to know everything before I talked to Seth and Jasper about this.

Edward shook his head and said, "Not really baby. He was defensive, as he should have been, when I caught the little fucker and he tried to turn it around on me and asked what the hell I was doing here. Well, he um…he didn't really take it too well when I told him the kids and I were staying here while you were in California and that we would be here more often from now on."

"What do you want me to do about him?" I asked Edward as I got up and went to sit on his lap. He wrapped his arms around me and immediately pressed his nose into my hair. I loved it when he did that…don't ask me why, but I really did.

Edward shifted me a bit on his lap and when I faced him he brushed my hair back behind my ears and let his fingers caress my cheek and my neck and down my arm before he reached up and held my pendant in his fingers. "What I want you to do about him is to send his creepy fucking ass back to Forks but I also don't want to overreact either. I've talked to J and Seth about this and while they are both pissed," I snorted at that, there was no way my two overprotective best friends were merely just pissed. "Fine, they are more than pissed," Edward agreed with a flick to my nose with his finger, "Jacob could have been doing exactly what he said he was."

He sounded like he didn't want to give Jacob the benefit of the doubt at all, but even I had to admit that while his behavior was strange and he'd obviously not used the best judgment in coming in here when no one was home, Jacob could have been doing exactly what he said he was.

"Thank you for telling me, Edward," I said softly as I laid my head down on his shoulder. He ran his fingers through my hair and I felt him kiss my head before he said, "Bella, I promised you that we would do things together, and I meant it. I won't keep anything from you. Even if I really want to knock the dickhead into next week, I still wouldn't keep something like this from you. Your safety is more important than anything and I won't let you be put in a situation where anything could happen to you."

I sighed and ran my fingers through his hair and said, "I hate the fact that Jacob was in here when no one was home and he does make me uncomfortable, but he's really good at his job Edward. I only have a little bit of time left before all this is done anyway. I'll talk to J and Seth and see what they think, but as long as I am not alone with him, I think it will all be fine."

"I figured you would say something like that," Edward grudgingly said but he sat me up so that he could look at me and his face was all business when he went on, "I'm not kidding about you not being alone with him Bella. I don't want that to ever happen. I don't care if I sound like a possessive asshole here angel and I don't care what you have to do to make sure someone else is with you, but promise me you won't go anywhere with just him and if he does anything, fucking anything to make you the least bit uncomfortable, you'll tell me…or at least Seth or Jasper."

I held his face in my hands and kissed him softly on the lips and said, "I promise Edward." I couldn't do anything else, he asked and I did. He wasn't being overprotective about this, he was genuinely worried and while I didn't think I had anything to really worry about when it came to Jacob, if promising not to be alone with him would make Edward feel better, I'd do it. No hesitation on my part whatsoever.

Edward picked me up and set me down on the ground and said, "Okay, now that that is out of the way, I need to get moving. I have to run by Uncle Marcus' office and then stop by my own and then go say good bye to the kids before I meet you back here before I have to leave. What time are you meeting Angela?"

"Um, I need to be at the fitting by ten o'clock and she said we'd be done by noon," I told him as I followed him back to our room so he could put his watch on and grab his keys.

"I'll meet you back here at one that way you can get your dad picked up and get to the airport for your flight at five," I said as I thought about him having to leave.

I couldn't help the small grin I got when I pictured his face when he came home on Sunday.

"You are killing me with that grin Swan, I know you are up to something," Edward smirked at me when he caught me.

I rolled my eyes at him, "You think you're so smart Dr. Daddy. Maybe I was just picturing your naked ass…you know how much I love that thing."

"Fine, have your secrets little girl, I'll get it out of you someway," Edward said as he wiggled his eyebrows at me. I prodded him out the bedroom door and towards the front; if I didn't there was every probability that I would push him on the bed and fuck the ever living shit out of him now that I was thinking about his naked ass.

I managed to beat Edward back to the loft and I made him a quick lunch so he could eat before he had to pick up Carlisle. Edward walked in a few minutes after me and I had just set his turkey sandwich on a plate for him and was pouring him a glass of iced tea when he sat down. "If I didn't love you already, this would have done it baby," Edward smirked at me before he took a bite of his food. "You are so good to me Bella."

"It's not big deal Edward, it's just a sandwich," I said as I turned to the fridge and put everything away.

When I stepped back up to the island he reached across the countertop and grabbed a hold of my hand. He said, "Hey, it is a big deal. You always do so much to take care of me and everyone else, and I just wanted you to know that it didn't go unnoticed." He ate quickly and then went into the bedroom to grab some clothes. It really seemed like he had more clothes over here than he did and Carlisle and Esme's and I couldn't say I minded in the least.

"I really hate that I'm getting used to this," Edward said as he closed up his bag to take on his trip.

I nodded my head in agreement and said, "I know, but at least this time it's a really fast trip. You'll be back before you even have time to miss me."

Edward sat the bag on the floor before he walked over to me and took me in his arms and kissed me deeply, his tongue pressed forcefully in my mouth and he kept kissing me until my knees got weak. "I always miss you Bella, don't ever doubt that," he said as he stood up.

He held his hand out and said, "Come. Walk me to the door."

Edward stopped by the front door and he turned around to me and kissed my forehead and then my lips. "I'll send you a text when I land angel and I'll call tonight before the kids go to bed." I nodded my head at him and said, "Be safe sweetheart, I'll talk to you tonight."

"Love you Bella," he called out as he waved and stepped onto the elevator and I waved back and said, "Always and forever."

I would never say that I was glad that Edward was gone, but I would be a lying fool if I didn't say I was totally excited about the prospect of having him away for the next two days! I would miss him like crazy because I always hated to be apart from him, but I couldn't wait to surprise him…and the kids with what I had planned. Picking up the phone I dialed the four people I would need to help me get this done. To say they were excited would be an understatement. Ali and Rose were bringing Maddie and Masen by after they picked up the pizza for dinner so until they got here, I decided I would get to work.

When I heard the elevator and then the voices of my two favorite seven year olds I went to open the door for them, knowing they would all have their hands full. I shook my head at myself as I unlocked the door. Edward had let it be known, in a rather forceful manner too, how much he disliked walking up to the door and finding it unlocked…or open if I expected him and the kids. I promised I would be more careful…and I meant it.

"Bella!" Maddie and Masen squealed as I bent down and wrapped them both up in a hug. I hadn't seen them since Wednesday and even though it was only Friday night, it seemed like way too long. "Hello my two most favorite little people, are you guys ready to spend the weekend with just me while Daddy is gone at his stuffy old meeting?" I giggled at them as they pulled me into the loft.

"Nice, Bell, forget about me and Ali…we see who's most important to you now," Rose chuckled as she walked in carrying the pizzas.

Alice followed in right behind carrying more bags than her little body should be capable of holding and said, "Cut her some slack Rose, she's probably already going through Edward withdrawals and its only been a few hours since he's left!"

I wanted to disagree with her, but when Ali stopped to kiss me on the cheek, all I could do was shrug my shoulders. She was right…and I couldn't care less. We sat the pizzas on the island and I got the kids their food and left them at the island while Rose, Alice, and I went to the dining room table to spread everything out that Alice had brought with her. Rose grabbed the wine, I got the glasses and Ali brought the pizza and we sat down and got to work.

"Okay, this is what I picked out for Maddie's room," I told them as the picture loaded on the laptop. I looked at Maddie and then at the guest room and nodded my head, it would be perfect for her. "I love it; do you think Maddie will like it?" I asked as I took a drink of my wine and clicked another page on my laptop.

Alice pushed the screen of the computer down and looked at me…well glared more like it. "Isabella Marie, are you out of you freaking mind? Of course she'll love it…you could decide to paint the room pea green and bright orange and that little girl would love it because it came from you," she said and then her voice turned softer, "You have no idea the effect you have had on her and Masen both, but especially Maddie. Before you came along, she was always so shy and reserved and you have brought her out of her protective little shell."

"I just don't know what I'm doing sometimes with both of them; did Edward tell you what he talked to the two of them about last weekend?" I asked her, hoping he'd already mentioned it to her.

She nodded her head and when I looked at Rose, she nodded her head yes, as well. I gave her a pointed look and she said, "Edward talked to Em about it, too, Bell. I thought he handled the whole thing perfectly. I might not have been so nice about the egg warmer, but I understood what he tried to do by being the bigger person."

Egg warmer…I was so going to have to remember to tell Edward that one! My love may try to give Lauren the benefit of the doubt when he talked to the kids, but that was certainly not the way he had talked to me about her.

Alice spit her wine out and it was a good thing she had already pushed her computer screen down or it would have been covered in red wine spew, "Egg warmer? Oh my fucking God Rose, that is priceless! If I didn't love your brother so damn much, I would give you a kiss! Perfect…just fucking perfect!" I had to laugh at her; Ali's feelings about Lauren were even more hostile than those of Edward's. She was scary evil when it came to that woman.

Rose fluffed her hair up and raised her glass to Alice, "Ah…it's what I do. But seriously Bell, those two kids adore you and whatever you and Edward decide to tell them it will be fine," she said as she turned her attention to me. "I just worry sometimes that Edward and I are confusing them. I don't know what to tell them half the time. I love them both, everyone knows that and I love Edward, too, as you are all well aware." I rolled my eyes when Rosalie said, "Yeah, like it's totally not obvious Bella."

"Anyway," I said as I went on, "Edward and I…I mean, we both have talked to each other and talked in kind of general terms about forever and this being it for both of us. And, I do believe that, I really do," I said as I looked to Alice who looked like she wanted to jump in and say something but when I said I believed him, she relaxed. "But how do you explain that to two seven year olds that just want to be loved and be able to call you mommy?" I asked the two of them.

Alice reached over and grabbed my hand in hers and said in a very unsteady voice, "You are already a mother to those two kids over there," and she pointed to where Maddie and Masen were playing on the floor with a very excited Rufus, "in every damn way that matters. Would you do anything for them, protect them at all costs?" she asked me.

"Of course I would Al," I said, vehemently too I might add.

"Will you love them when they make mistakes or drive you so crazy you want to pull your hair out?" I nodded and she went on, "Do you see yourself at every one of their soccer games, baseball games, awards presentations, first dates, proms, graduations?" I nodded again and this time I couldn't help the tears that started to fall. "Do you see yourself standing with Maddie on her wedding day, helping her get into her dress or with Masen helping him get his bow tie on straight?" At that I really couldn't stop the sob that came out, but it was what she asked me next that did me in. "Do you see yourself with Edward when Maddie gives birth to your grandchild?"

I did. I could picture Edward and I at everything she just mentioned and more. "Yes," I said, barely able to get the word out.

"Timing it just right or coming up with the words doesn't matter Bella. What matters is that you and Edward are making a family together and giving Maddie and Masen all the love and support they need. You two just need to get through the next few months and then when your contract is up and you are able to figure out what you want to do, then you and he can decide on what to tell the kids. They know you love them, that's really all that matters for right now," Alice finished and wiped her eyes.

"The tiny terror is right Bella," Rosalie said from her spot next to me. "You are their mother in every way that matters…names and titles mean nothing. We know this. Sue has been our mother in every way that means anything; in your case because yours emotionally abandoned you and in mine because she died. Just because we weren't hers biologically didn't make her any less of a mother to us."

"You're right Rose, I know you are. I still worry that we are confusing them, but I suppose as long we are open with them and promise to answer any question they have, we'll just take our cues from the kids. They can be pretty damn smart sometimes!" I giggled as Alice nodded her head at my statement.

We finished our wine and then got back to work. During the day, once Edward left for D.C. and I was done meeting with Angela at the office, I had gotten most of the guest room and the office cleaned out so that we could make them into rooms for Maddie and Masen. I wanted this to feel like their home and that meant giving them each space to call their own. Edward and I still had so many decisions to make, things we hadn't even thought about yet too, but I did want the three of them to think of the loft as theirs.

"Bella, do we have any cupcakes left from the other day?" Masen came up and asked me as the girls and I finished up our conversation. "Daddy didn't eat all of mine did he?"

"Nope little man, I hid yours and Maddie's, let me get them out for you," I told him as we walked into the kitchen, while Rose and Alice followed behind. I had to move a bunch of stuff around but I finally pulled the container out from the cabinet and opened it to give Masen and Maddie their cupcakes. Alice laughed as I handed Masen napkins for the mess I was sure he was going to make and said, "What? You know your brother and his weakness for cupcakes…even ones he'd made himself and covered in skittles."

"When did he make those Bell?" Rose asked as I put the container away. I smiled when I thought of my welcome home dinner the other night…Edward really had to be one of the most amazing and sweetest men on the face of the planet. I mean really? Totally swoon worthy…on a daily basis…I'm one damn lucky woman.

"He and the kids made a special dinner for me when I got home on Tuesday and they made cupcakes and decorated them with frosting and our favorite candies…nicknames you know? It was really sweet and totally Edward," I told them each with a sigh.

"My brother, he has his moments, I'll give him that," Alice said. "I also bet he got him some too, once the WonderTwins went to bed, didn't he Bell?" Rose asked as she wiggled her eyebrows at me.

"Shut the hell up bitch," I told her but my blush totally gave me away. "Yeah, that's what I thought," the smartass said. I turned around to her and said, "Like Emmett wouldn't cash in if he did something nice for you?"

That shut her up in a hurry and she flipped me off as we got back to work. Esme was going to pick up the furniture for the kid's rooms tomorrow and Seth, Jasper, Tanya, Emmett, Angela and Ben were going to come over first thing in the morning and help us paint. I was going to change mine…well ours too. I had Alice pick out some of his things from his room at Carlisle and Esme's to bring over here. I'd only been in his room over there a few times and while it was totally Edward, done in tans and dark browns, it still only felt like it was a place where he slept, not a space that was his. I wanted to give him that here so I'd picked out some new bedding for the bed and I hoped that by adding some of his things we could make it our room now.

Rose, Alice and I finished cleaning out the guest room and the office and Ali called Jasper and Seth to come get the furniture and take it down to the storage space on the bottom floor. I hardly ever used the office anyway and it would make a perfect room for Masen. Besides the office and the guest room, and of course my room…well our room…shit it was hard to get used to saying that...the rest of the space was all open. I planned on talking to Esme to see what we could do to redo the space, but for right now, getting the kids in their own rooms and turning one of the guest bathrooms into theirs was the priority for the weekend. Edward could work from his laptop at the dining room table if he needed to. Not ideal, but I was making this up as I went along.

"What's up Shortcake?" Jasper said as he walked into the loft and stopped to give Maddie a kiss and Masen his normal fist bump. Of course he had to stop and give Alice a kiss that was definitely not PG rated but thankfully the twins were too engrossed in the movie they were watching to pay much attention.

I cleared my throat when I saw Jasper's hand reach for Ali's ass and he stepped back and grinned at me and when I gave him the 'look' and then cut my eyes in the kids direction, he held up his hands.

And Alice says Edward and I are bad? What the fuck ever!

"Thanks for coming to help J, I don't have a lot of time and I really want this done by the time Edward gets back Sunday night," I told him as I showed him the boxes I needed him to move.

He followed me into the guest room where I'd already stripped the bed and packed up all of his things so we really just needed to get the boxes out and take the bed apart. Maddie and Masen had clothes over here already and a few of their things but they weren't hard to move out of the way. "He's going to shit when he sees them," Jasper said as we started to take the bed apart.

I nodded my head at him and said, "I hope so Jas, I want him and the kids to feel like this is their house too, not mine and they are just here as guests."

"I'm so fucking happy for you Bell. I may give you and he shit, but you know I'm just kidding. Seeing you happy with Edward, Maddie and Masen makes me happier than you can imagine," Jasper told me as he pulled the mattress off the bed.

"Well, I'm happy for you, too, my best friend. You and Alice looked pretty cozy out there," I teased him.

He blushed…Jasper Whitlock actually blushed!

I stood there and stared at him, my mouth hung open and he chuckled at me, "What the hell Shortcake?" I just smirked at him…he looked more alive and happier than I had ever seen him and my heart swelled. "Ali's amazing …she's everything I never knew I wanted," he finished quietly.

"Whoever would have thought, huh?" I said as we took the box spring off the bed and took the frame, headboard, and footboard apart. "We're all very lucky Bell, there's no doubt about that," Jasper told me.

I looked at him and quietly said, "Dr. C. says it was fate that brought us all together again and that we're all here, together, because we're supposed to be." Jasper stopped what he was doing and looked to be deep in thought for a few moments before he said, somewhat choked up, "I would like to believe that. I hope Charlie and mom and dad are looking out for us."

"I know they are but I can just see Charlotte watching you from up above, she'd be shaking her head at you trying to grope your girlfriend's ass in front of little kids you know!" I told him.

Jasper very rarely talked about Peter and Charlotte, but I knew, without a doubt, that he thought about and missed them every single day. They were amazing people and Jasper and Rose were both very close to their parents. "She would have loved Ali, though and your dad, good Lord, if we think Uncle Marcus is bad with me? Peter would have put him to shame where Alice is concerned!" I giggled at him and he laughed along with me.

"Where the hell do you think all my charm comes from? My daddy sure as shit knew how to charm the pants off any woman… well except for Renee," Jasper said and I nodded. "No kidding, right? Renee never could stand your dad. Just goes to show how insane the woman really was," I said, and was surprised that my heart didn't clench at the mention of her name like it used to.

Hmmm…it seemed like I was able to put that behind me little by little. Thank Christ for small favors!

We finished getting the bed down and Seth and Jasper moved the dresser and the pieces of the bed out so that in the morning we could get right to work. Ali assured me that if we set up some fans in the rooms the paint would dry so we could set up the furniture…I sure hoped so! I kissed everyone goodbye so I could spend the rest of the night with just Maddie and Masen. Alice was staying downstairs with Jasper and Rose was going to Emmett's and we made plans to meet over here bright and early at eight.

Once they left, I sat on the sofa with the kids and Maddie asked, "Bella, where are me and Mase gonna sleep and why dids you move everything out of there?"

I looked at both of them and said, "Well, I thought we could surprise Daddy and redo the rooms here for you two. Would you like that?"

"Thanks Bella!" Maddie squealed at me and Masen clapped his hands. "Can we see what they are gonna look like?" Masen asked and I got up to get my laptop to show them the pictures.

Maddie's room was going to be sky blue with one wall candy pink. We were going to paint polka dots of different colors and sizes on two of the walls and her bed was going to be white with pink and polka dotted bedding. The pillows were going to be pink, polka dotted and brown and I was going to have Esme get a hanging chair to put in the corner since she liked to read so much.

Masen's room was going to be lime green, royal blue and black, with one wall painted in stripes of all the colors. His bedding was going to be striped with all those colors in it and we found a black bean bag chair to put in there. We also found a black entertainment center to set up his TV and all his toys and books on.

They both loved what I had picked out for them. I felt a little bad that they didn't get to help pick, but I was under a time crunch here. As soon as Edward told me Wednesday morning that he had to go out of town, I immediately got to work on my plan so I hoped since the furniture and the bedding was already ordered and just waiting to be delivered and picked up, that things would be done in time.

The kids and I spent the rest of the night watching movies, playing games and eating popcorn and Edward called about nine o'clock to tell the kids goodnight. "Beellllaaaa," he whined and it was amazing what that whine and pout could do to me from hundreds of miles away…and I couldn't even see the pout!

"No Edward, I will not promise to make you cupcakes for when you come home," I said…again, for like the tenth time. "But baby, yours are so much better than mine and you hid Maddie and Masen's from me. I couldn't even have one this morning before I left," he said adorably.

Jesus, the things this man could get me to do if he really tried…I hoped he had no idea what that voice did to me!

"Fine you whiny ass old man, I'll make you some damn cupcakes Sunday. Geeze!" I said then giggled at him when I heard him moan in anticipation on the other end.

"I love you angel, you're so good to me," he said sweetly now that he'd gotten his way. "And don't you forget it either mister," I said and then told him good night. He'd had a long day and so had I and I knew my day tomorrow would be even longer…but it would be so worth it when I saw his face!

"Love you sweetheart, sweet dreams," I told him before we hung up. "Sleeping with two seven year olds is fun, but not as much as sleeping with you," I said. "I know, try sleeping in the same room with Demetri! At least they don't snore…well, Mad does a little. Try to not let Masen kick you out of bed!" he chuckled at me. "Love you baby, I'll talk to you in the morning okay?"

"K," I said quietly. "I miss you Edward." He sighed and said, "Me too angel, but I'll see you in a little less than two days. Have a good day tomorrow. I'll be in meetings all day, but I'll send you a text."

"Night Edward," I softly said and hung up the phone.

Alice and Jasper were at the loft bright and early armed with paint cans, rollers, brushes, and tarps. I had made everyone bagels and muffins for breakfast and once the rest of the family arrived, we got to work painting. It's amazing how quick you can get two rooms painted when you had thirteen people helping. Along with me and the kids and Alice and Jasper, Rose, Emmett, Seth, Tanya, Ben, Angela, Esme and Diane were all there to help and it went off without a hitch…even with Emmett in the middle of it all. He wound up with more paint on himself than on the walls in Masen's room but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Once the first coats were up, Emmett, Ben and Seth went over to the Cullen's to get the things of Edward's that I wanted over here. He had a chair and ottoman that he loved to sit in so I wanted him to have that here. I also wanted him to keep his guitar here as well as some more of his clothes.

"Bella, sweetheart, Edward is going to love that you did all of this,"Esme said as we sat down to take a break.

"I hope so Esme. He's always surprising me with one thing or another, its' nice to return the favor," I said.

"Oh dear, this will mean so much more to him than that. I think it's wonderful that you want to change your room and add some of his things here. He's needed that sense of his own space for so long now," she said.

"That is it exactly Esme, that is what I am trying to do by doing this. I want this to be his home, the twins too," I said then realized what I said and rushed to say, "Not that your house isn't great or anything, I mean…"

Esme chuckled at me and laid her hand on my arm and said, "Its okay Bella. I understand what you are saying. It's mine and Carlisle's house, not his. And while all the children grew up there and it is their house and always will be it's not the same as sharing this one with you."

"I'm so happy for you both. I know we've all told you that countless times, but it's so true Bella. You have made my son and grandchildren happier than I ever could have imagined and I will always be grateful to you for that and thank fate or whatever for bringing you back to us," she said and then kissed my cheek. We got back to work and got all the painting done and set the fans up and opened the windows so the fumes weren't bad. By the time the kids and I climbed into bed after talking to Edward the fumes were gone and the walls were almost dry and I couldn't wait to finish the next day.

The furniture and my family arrived just after noon and just after Maddie, Masen, and I had come in from outside. We'd taken Rufus for what was supposed to be a quick trip across the street to the clearing that turned into an almost half an hour romp. I didn't worry about being outside with the kids since Seth and Jasper were just inside so I let the kids and Rufus run and play before we had to get to work.

"Okay guys, let's get back inside and get your rooms done. Daddy will be home in just a little while and we still have lots to do," I said as I herded them back across the street and upstairs.

It didn't take much time at all to get the beds put together and the dressers moved and Masen's entertainment center set up. The guys, for all their XBOXs and Wiis, had a hell of a time getting the TV and Masen's DVD player set up. Us girls got Maddie's hanging chair up without any problems and we had their beds and well as mine changed and put back together in no time. "He's going to literally shit his pants," Alice said as we put the finishing touches on our new bed and comforter set. "This is the most amazing thing you could have done Bella," she said quietly and I hugged her and told her I never would have been able to get it done without everyone's help.

After I kissed everyone good bye I took a look at the rooms and started to countdown until he would be home.

On my way baby, see you in less than fifteen minutes. Can't wait! Hope my cupcakes are ready…love you! ~~ E

"Okay you two," I looked at Maddie and Masen. "Daddy just texted me and he's about ten minutes away so go in your rooms and turn off all the lights okay?" They started to scurry away before I stopped them, "And remember, not a sound. When your dad opens the door and turns the light on, yell surprise as loud as you can, but don't tell him where the other two of us are. Maddie, I'm guessing he'll go to your room first since he won't know we've set Masen's room up in the office," I finished.

God I hoped this worked, I was so excited to see his face!

I heard the elevator as I set out the last cupcake and all the lights were out except for the one in the kitchen over the sink. That would give him enough light to see the cupcakes and hopefully not fall all over himself…and them. As I heard him come down the hallway and put the key in the lock, I ran to our new room and waited on the bed. My heart was beating so fast in my chest and I tried to calm my breathing too. I was nervous and excited at the same time and I hoped this meant as much to him as it did to me.

"Bella, baby. Maddie, Masen!" Edward called when he walked in the door and dropped his bag on the floor.

"What the hell, why are all the damn lights off? And where is everyone? Bella? I'm home!" Edward yelled again and I giggled softly when I heard him mutter a soft "Fuck" under his breath when his knee hit what I guessed was the end table by the sofa.

I hoped the kids didn't hear him or else he better hope he had lots of cash on him!

I held my breath as I heard the lamp click on and then his, "What in the world? That girl, I swear, she's trying to kill me!" He chuckled and I heard him as he picked up a cupcake and took a bite.

The man had a serious addiction to cupcakes.

Edward chuckled again and said out loud so that his voice carried, "Okay, it seems as if my family wants to play hide and seek." I put my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing at loud and I could tell he was smiling too from the tone of his voice.

"Hmmm…let's see. I think I'll follow this trail of cupcakes to Maddie and Masen's room," he said loudly and I heard the door open and then the light click on.

"Ha…Maddie, oh my God, princess, what is this?" Edward asked as she yelled "Surprise!"

"We did it this weekend, do you like it?" she asked and I heard her kiss him soundly on the cheek. He laughed at her and said, "I love it! Now how about we find the other two missing members of our family shall we and then we can have some cupcakes…we seem to have plenty. Which way babygirl?" he asked. "Nope, yous gots to find them yourself Daddy," Maddie giggled at him.

"Well, then okay. I think I'll just follow this trail to this closed door right here," Edward said as he stood outside of what he thought was the office.

He stepped in and turned on the light and I heard Masen holler, "You found me!" Edward laughed and said, "You guys were busy this weekend! Masen, this looks great."

"Yep, I helpded Uncle Em and Aunt Rose paint the walls and I made the bed by myself!" He said proudly.

"All right, it seems like we're missing one more very important person. I'm guessing Bella went to the store or something and you two decided to play a game with me. Let's just go sit on the sofa and wait for her to get home and you guys can tell me all about your weekend," he said, sounding totally unconvincing. "Silly Daddy, yous gotta find Bella!" Masen laughed as I heard Edward huff exaggeratedly. "Oh okay, fine. Let's see where could she be?" He walked to the guest bathroom and opened that door with a loud, "Gotcha!"

"Nope!" the kids laughed at him as he walked to the bathroom they would share, and yelled "Here you are!" and I heard Edward say under his breath, "Most incredible woman ever, I swear to Christ!"

"You're getting warmer Daddy," they giggled as he walked towards our room.

Jesus, the anticipation was killing me and as he turned the doorknob slowly and opened the door, I almost started crying when I saw the look on his face.

I'd never seen anything like it in my life, the happiness he felt was so pronounced I would swear on everything I owned that you could see it. His eyes were the brightest green I ever saw, his smile was so big it took up almost his whole face and the electricity between us…you could light up the entire city it was so strong.

"Bella," he sighed and I jumped off the bed and jumped in his arms.

Edward kissed me all over my face, whispering, "I love you," in between each one and Maddie and Masen were jumping up and down beside us trying to get in on the love fest going on between their dad and I. He put me down, very reluctantly by the look on his face, and knelt down and crushed each of the kids to him and kissed them all over their faces too. "Daddy, stop…can't breathe," Masen squealed as he wiggled out of Edward's arms and ran to me.

"Help me Bella!" he cried as he hung on my legs. I fell over and landed on the ground and while it didn't hurt, it didn't feel particularly peachy either.

"Angel, are you okay?" Edward said as he crawled over to me and ran his hands over my body apparently to make sure everything was all in one piece…but when his hands lingered on my sides and the skin of my stomach I wasn't so sure. I ran my hands through his hair and watched his eyes and his face soften at my touch and said, "Yep, just fine. Mase is ready for football though. We'll let you practice your moves on Uncle Seth from now on, okay little man?" I giggled as Edward helped me up.

"Let's get the cupcakes up off the floor before Rufus comes home in the morning and we'll have some milk and you guys can tell Daddy all about our weekend," I said as Maddie and Masen ran out of the room to see who could pick up the most cupcakes.

"Be careful with my cupcakes you two," Edward said as he shook his head at them. He grabbed my hand and pulled me to the bed and sat down and put me on his lap, "I can't believe you did all this baby, it is so incredible," he said softly and he turned my head to brush his lips against mine.

"Why?" Edward asked when he pulled back. I rested my forehead against his and whispered, "I wanted you and the kids to feel like this was your home Edward, not a place you just slept sometimes."

"Oh Bella," he sighed. "Fuck, if you aren't the most perfect and amazing woman in the entire world."

I slipped my fingers in his hair and pulled his face towards mine and captured his lips in a set our bodies on fire kiss and I couldn't help the moan that eeked out when he curled his fingers over my hips and traced circles with his thumbs over the thin yoga pants I had on. "We need to stop sweetheart. We can finish this later in our new room in our new sheets and underneath our new comforter," I whispered to him as I licked up his jaw and smiled against his skin when I heard the deep rumble in his chest.

"You're right sweet girl; let's go see our kids and they can fill me in on all the goings on that happened around here while I was gone. It seems you three can be quite industrious when you want to be," he smirked as he set me down on the ground.

We all sat at the island in the kitchen and had cupcakes and milk while Maddie and Masen talked non-stop for forty five minutes and told Edward all about painting and putting together furniture and making their beds. They slowed down as soon as they each took a turn in the bathtub in their newly decorated bathroom and they picked out their own pajamas from their new dressers and then climbed in their own beds in their new rooms. I couldn't even begin to describe the emotions I was felt as Edward and I tucked each of them into bed and I watched his eyes scan their rooms as he took them each in.

As soon as we were done and had closed the door to Masen's room he swept me up in his arms and whispered, "I'm taking you to bed my love where I will show you just how fucking much I love and adore you."


Monday and Tuesday flew by for me since I had appearance on top of appearance to attend and Edward was busy with his patients and tying up some loose ends at the Foundation and before I knew it, it was time for Maddie's soccer game.

I couldn't help but think about the picture and the article in Sunday's paper as I got to the soccer field. Fucking Jane…I knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was the one that had someone take that picture and then called the paper to do the story about me volunteering to help with Maddie's soccer team. I wouldn't be so pissed if the picture didn't have Maddie in it and it didn't say her name…first and last, in the caption. Alice was getting to work right away to see what, if anything, could be done, but my feeling was nothing. Aro and Jane got what they wanted in some free publicity and a picture of one of the kids with me. I swore…again…that if anything happened to Maddie or Masen because of this, I would take them both down.

"Shortcake, are you ready to get the team pumped up and ready to go?" Seth asked me as we pulled into the parking lot of the soccer complex. I had just finished an interview and a photo shoot so luckily I was able to change into my shorts and team t-shirt before I left.

"Yep, this team is supposed to be tough, but we've had a few really good practices so we'll be ready," I said as I finished putting my hair up in a pony tail and put my hat on.

Seth laughed at me as he pulled into a parking spot and stared at me in the rearview mirror. "You are fucking amazing Bell; I can't tell you what it does to me to see you out there with the kids doing your thing. I wish mom was here to see it," he said wistfully.

We were slowly breaking Sue down and we were almost there to get her to come to the city for a visit. I am pretty sure she would be here for my birthday. I knew she was excited to meet Edward and the twins not to mention she was beside herself with excitement to meet Tanya. "Me too Seth, we've almost got her where we need her, lets just keep working and before we know it she'll be here," I told him as I grabbed the bag of soccer balls I'd had him and Jasper buy for the team.

The parents on Maddie's team were all so nice and when they first recognized who I was, they, for the most part, just went on about their business. There were a few dads that stared too much and one or two moms I'd hear make catty comments about me, but for the most part they were all really accepting and appreciative of my helping the coach.

Jasper and Alice pulled up right next to us and Maddie and Masen jumped out of the car and were ready to go. "Come on Bella, we're gonna be late!" Maddie cried as she began to tug on my hand. I laughed at her enthusiasm but remembered with vivid clarity acting the same way when I was her age. Jasper must have been thinking the same thing because he said, "Do you remember when we used to be like that when we had practice with Sam?"

"God yes," I giggled at him. "I couldn't wait to get there and show up all you stupid boys!" Jasper and I ran through some drills with the kids and I had to say, he looked just as happy to be out here with them as I did. He may not have wanted to play soccer like I did, but he did enjoy the time he played and I could tell he really missed it as well.

I looked for Masen during a break from warm ups and saw him sitting on a bench with a strange woman talking to him. "Jasper, I'll be right back," I told him, getting a really unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach as I got closer to Masen and the woman.

The closer I got to Masen, the more uncomfortable I became. I looked around for Seth and found him standing off to the side on the phone and I saw Alice waiting in line at the concession stand.

"Well, which one is your sister?" I heard the woman ask Masen in an extremely nasally, whiny voice.

Masen tried to ignore her and looked away. He was always such a polite little boy so I knew he was feeling extremely uneasy right at the moment and I picked up my pace. The woman gripped his arm, much harder than necessary… I could tell that from even as far away as I was and when I saw Masen grimace and then rub the spot on his arm, I saw fucking red.

"Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing? Get your hands off my son!" I shouted at the woman, barely comprehending that I just called Masen my son…to a complete stranger.

"Bella!" Masen exclaimed and got up and ran to me.

"Masen, go to Jasper…now," I said, leaving him no room to argue with me. His bottom lip began to quiver and I took a few much needed seconds to bend down and kiss his cheek and whispered, "It's okay Skittles. You're not in trouble, just go to Jasper and stay there until I come back, okay? Love you," I said as I pushed him in Jasper's direction.

I spun around to confront the woman, the one who right now had the audacity to look pissed at me. "Look, lady, I don't know who in the hell you think you are, but if I ever find you laying a hand on my son again, I will make you regret it," I told her in a steel hard voice.

The bitch stood there calmly and took out the article from the paper that showed Maddie and I and said, "I know exactly who I am. Stop thinking its okay to play mommy to my kids. I can do whatever the hell I want since I'm their mother."

Holy fucking shit…Lauren!

She wasn't supposed to be here, that much I knew for sure and I also knew that things were about to get very ugly for her when Edward and Alice got here. I took a second to take her in and as I noticed her frizzy dull brown hair, pointy nose and too much make up and way over dressed for an afternoon at a soccer game I knew that she came here for only one purpose and that was to see Edward and the kids.

Over my dead fucking body…there was no way in hell she was ever coming within a hundred feet of the kids ever again.

"I don't know what the hell you thought you were going to accomplish by coming here, Lauren," I sneered her name to her and smiled internally when I saw her taken aback look at the use of her name, and continued, "but I do know that if you ever come around either one of those children ever again, you will have a lot more to deal with than just Edward's lawyers. And if I ever, fucking ever, see you lay a hand on my son again, I will kick your fucking ass," I seethed, trying to stay calm but losing it more and more by the second when I thought about Masen's face when she grabbed his arm.

"Bell, is everything okay?" I heard Seth say as he approached and took in the situation. I was so pissed at him right now I could hardly talk but I did manage to get out, "Seth, this is Lauren, she was just leaving," I said in an even voice but I knew he would know all about her.

"I think it would be best if you left…immediately," Seth said as he moved to stand in front of me. A little late for that now, brother, I thought to myself but I let him try to diffuse the situation. Right now all I wanted was to make sure Masen was okay and to call Edward.

Lauren narrowed her eyes at Seth but then widened them as she looked over his shoulder and she looked back at me, "You haven't heard the last of me. This isn't over…not by a long shot. Say hello to Edward and my daughter for me…I'll be in touch, count on it," she said as she turned around and walked away just as Alice approached.

"Seth what in the fucking hell is the matter with you?" I screeched at him as soon as Lauren was out of hearing distance. She moved really quickly for someone wearing obscenely high heels, but I can only imagine it was her fear of Alice that made her move that way. Ali could be one scary little sprite when she needed to be.

"I'm sorry Bella, Tanya called and I just stepped to the side for a few minutes," Seth said, sounding completely deflated by my anger.

"Jesus fucking Christ Seth! I cannot believe you left him alone like that, what if she would have told him who she was?" I yelled, as I tried not to let the stress of the situation make me say something I would really regret. "Bella, fuck…I'm so sorry, okay?" he said again and I just waved him off. Sorry really didn't do much right now, maybe once I calmed down, but now…not even a little bit.

"Bella, what the hell is going on?" Alice asked as she stepped up beside me. "That woman you were just talking to, I would swear it looked just like…but it couldn't be," Alice said as she shook her head.

"Oh, but it was. Alice…it was Lauren," I said and she looked like I imagined I did right this second. "Holy Shit!" she said. "What the hell did she want, what did she say to you Bella?" Alice questioned and I told her what I saw and then what she said. "That fucking bitch," Alice hissed as she pulled out her cell phone.

"Alice, who are you calling at a time like this?" I asked her, trying not to panic at what all this could mean. "I'm not calling anyone; I'm going to go take a picture of Masen's arm. If she left a mark, we need a picture of it," she said, sounding completely detached and in full on lawyer mode.

I felt sick to my stomach, not only had Lauren been here, but she put her hands on my…son…and I wanted to kill her but I also wanted to take Maddie and Masen and run home and stay there where no one could find them. Seth paced and ran his hands through his hair and I knew he felt awful but I didn't have it in me to comfort him right now, now…I needed Edward. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and pressed a button and when he answered, my voice caught in my throat, shit how do I tell him what just happened? "Are you almost here?" I asked before he had a chance to say anything.

"Yes, I'm about to pull in the parking lot right now. What's the matter Bella?" he asked, immediately sounding concerned. "Not over the phone, just hurry, please?" I said in a broken voice, my calm deteriorated quickly. "Baby, what is it, are the kids okay?" Edward asked frantically, and I didn't know how to answer.

"Um…Edward, please, just get here, everyone is fine," I said, giving him that much at least. I didn't want him thinking the worst…although I'm not sure things could be much worse than they were right now.

I heard him take a deep breath and knew with out a doubt that he was pinching the bridge of his nose as he tried to stay calm. "Bella, I'm here, I just parked next to the suburban. Are you with Maddie and Masen?" he asked. "They're with Jasper and Alice, I'm with Seth," I told him. "I'm beside Maddie's field…please hurry Edward," I said and I tried not to panic.

I looked in the direction of the parking lot and saw Edward as he hurried towards me and I took off running towards him completely ignoring Seth's "Bella, wait," that he called to me when I ran.

Edward scanned the filed and I could tell when his shoulders relaxed minutely as he saw Maddie and Masen. That didn't last long as his eyes opened in surprise when he noticed me running towards him and I was wrapped in his arms before I could even get a word out. I tried to keep from crying because I knew that would just make him worry more but that didn't work too well because by not crying it made it harder for me to breathe and by then I sounded like I was hyperventilating. "Shhh, Bella, its okay baby. I'm here now…take a deep breath, shhh….try to calm down angel and tell me what's going on," Edward said as he ran his fingers through my hair and I squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath before I pushed away from him so that I could tell him what happened.

"Edward, I'm so sorry!" I sobbed and he shook his head at me. "Bella, stop now and talk to me. Tell me what this is all about," he told me as he ran his hands up and down my arms.

I took a deep breath and told him all about Lauren showing up here and what I said to her…and her threat as she left. I really thought he was going to lose it when I mentioned the part about her grabbing Masen's arm and then it was my turn to calm him down. "Edward, what are we going to do?" I asked him as we watched Alice approach us.

"Thanks Felix, we'll be in touch," she said as she hung up the phone and looked at the two of us.

"Alice, what the hell? She must be fucking nuts to show up here like that, what did Felix say?" Edward fired at her. "He's going to look over the paperwork she signed from before and contact a judge in the morning. Lauren must have a good reason for showing up out of the blue like that. Don't worry brother mine, we'll figure something out. Masen is okay, just a little shaken up by her touching him," she finished.

"That fucking bitch," Edward hissed out as Alice showed him the picture of Masen's arm. It was red where she grabbed him, but thankfully she didn't break the skin.

"This is all my fault," I said to myself as I looked at the screen on her phone. "Bella, stop. Lauren was obviously looking for a way to approach Edward or the kids. She could have just as easily found them at the park with Esme or out with me somewhere. We just have to figure out what she wants," Alice said as Edward looked at me.

"Baby, I'm just so thankful you were here to stop her from talking to Masen anymore than she did. Besides, I'm sure you were more than happy to give her a piece of your mind," he smirked as he tried to lighten the mood. I smiled at that, thinking back over what I said and then I gasped, "Edward, I called Masen my son…out loud in front of him and her. What if he asks questions?"

Edward walked towards me and pulled me to him for a hug and said, "He is your son Bella and I doubt in all that was going on, it even registered with him what you said, but if it did…we'll handle it together baby. We both know eventually where all this is going to end up, don't we?" he questioned and when I nodded my head he went on, "Now, let's go watch our girl kick some butt on the soccer field and worry about Lauren tomorrow after I talk to Felix." I agreed and we made our way over to the game where Seth waited anxiously for the both of us.

"Edward, I'm so sorry," Seth said extremely apologetic. Edward held his hand up and shook his head, "It's okay Seth, she would have done it sooner or later from the looks of it. Let's just make sure it doesn't happen again."

"Bell, please forgive me. I'm so sorry!" Seth said and I ran to him and gave him a hug. "It's okay Seth, I'm sorry I yelled at you like I did. I never should have done that," I told him, feeling a little ashamed of my behavior. Seth kissed me on top of the head and went to shake Edward's hand and he said, "Edward, I give you my word that something like this will never happen again when your kids are around. I hope you know I would protect them with my life, I love them both so much."

Edward gave him the manly hug and slapped his back and said, "I know you do Seth and now that we all know to be on our guard, we will just make sure she doesn't get close like that again."

We all sat down to watch the game and Carlisle and Esme got there just after kick off. Masen seemed fine once they got there and we didn't tell either of them anything until after the game was over…which Maddie won of course…and Carlisle promised to go with Edward to meet with Felix the next day. Esme gave me a shoulder bump when Ali told her what I said and it seemed like we had escaped this encounter with Lauren relatively unscathed.

I knew without a doubt it wouldn't be the last time we saw her.


"Paul, thank you so much for doing this," I said as Seth, Jasper, Rose and I entered the studio.

"No problem Bella, I am just happy I had this opening for you today," he told me as I introduced him to Rose and Jasper. He'd met Seth before on numerous photo shoots but never them and I couldn't help but chuckle when Jasper tried to back away from Paul as he leaned in to give him a hug.

"Paul, knock it off, you're scaring the poor thing," said his assistant Rebecca.

"Do you see him?" Paul said as he pointed to Jasper, "I haven't seen a fine looking specimen like that in a long time." Jasper coughed and looked at me with pleading eyes and I giggled at him. "Sorry Paul, Jasper doesn't swing that way and he's quite taken by Edward's little sister so you can look, but no touching," I said to Paul.

"Thanks a fucking lot Shortcake," Jasper grumbled at me as Rebecca sat us down to fix our hair and makeup.

Paul was going to take a picture of the four of us to give to Carlisle for Father's Day and he was also going to take one of all of us and Edward, Alice, Emmett, Demetri, Tanya, and the twins as well. I had talked to Alice and Rose about this the other day and we all agreed that this was something Carlisle would really like…and so would Esme. We were also going to give a copy to Uncle Marcus…couldn't leave him out could we?

We were dressed casually in jeans and white shirts, and the others would be as well when they got here. Once our hair and makeup was finished we walked to the studio where Paul had all the cameras and lights set up and he turned on some music and got to work. He asked us questions about our relationship with each other and with Carlisle and Esme and as we talked, he took pictures as he went. Rebecca moved us around into positions as Paul moved around and before I knew it he said he was done and it was time for the rest of the family to get here.

Edward walked in, looking as sexy and as mouthwatering as ever in his…well mine too…favorite pair of jeans and a white dress shirt that he had rolled the sleeves up on and of course, he left the top few buttons undone. "Hey baby," he said as he walked over to me and took my face in his hands and gave me a very panty wetting kiss.

"Hey yourself handsome," I said as we broke apart and then we were surrounded by the kids who looked adorable in their jeans and white shirts too. Masen had on a shirt like Edward's, even had the sleeves rolled up, too and Maddie was wearing a sleeveless white shirt with ruffles on it with some jean Capri pants and flip flops.

"You two look great!" I exclaimed as Edward and I kissed them both. I heard the camera going off in the background, but I didn't pay any attention to it.

It was difficult to pay attention to anything but Edward when he was around, you know?

The rest of the crew looked incredible and Paul managed to get us all to cooperate…even Emmett and Demetri and he had us out of there in an hour with a promise that I could go back on Friday to pick out the prints I wanted.


"Oh my God Paul, these are spectacular!" I cried as I kissed him over and over again on his cheek and gave him a hug that would rival one of Ali's.

"What can I say babe? I rock!" he said as we put the pictures in an envelope so I could take them home. "That is one gorgeous family, I must say. Those Cullen men put the rest of our sex to shame, I'll tell you that. And they're all straight?" Paul teased, knowing full well they were.

"You better watch it or I'm telling your boyfriend you were ogling other men the next time I see him," I giggled at him as I hugged him one last time and hurried home.

Edward and the kids were going to spend the weekend at the loft and he was going out with the guys tonight and Maddie and Masen and I were going to work on Edward's Father's Day present. I had given Paul my memory card from the lake as well as Esme's and Alice's and found some great pictures to put in the scrapbook we were making him. Esme also had taken pictures of the kids and I the last time we were at the house and there were some from Maddie's soccer games and some of Edward and the kids too. It was hard to narrow them all down but I think I picked out some great ones. I had also picked out the frames for the pictures for Carlisle and Uncle Marcus. Maddie, Masen and I had a lot of fun putting the scrapbook together and we laughed a lot at most of the pictures, but I knew Edward would love it.

The weekend flew by and even though we were all still a little on edge from the confrontation with Lauren, we were able to have a great time when we took the kids to the zoo on Saturday. Edward got a bit annoyed at the number of people…mostly men…that interrupted us throughout the day for autographs and pictures but he was a good sport about the whole thing. I still got incredibly uncomfortable taking pictures with perfect strangers, especially when they wanted to hug me or something like that, but it was part of what I had to do so I tried to smile as best I could and just get through it all. Maddie and Masen seemed to accept the interruptions in stride and even though there were times it seemed to make them uneasy, for the most part they were fine.

Edward…completely different story, especially when some poor guy asked if he could take a picture with all of us, but I understood exactly what Edward was most concerned about. Lauren. So I didn't blame him one bit or even get angry when he was less than cordial to the man.

We got home late and fell asleep as soon as all our heads hit our pillows.

"Maddie, time to get up sweetie," I kissed her on the forehead to wake her up. She rubbed her eyes and sat up and I whispered, "I'm going to wake up Masen, meet us in the kitchen, okay?" And then I slipped out of her room and into Masen's to wake him up, too.

It was Sunday morning and the kids wanted to make Edward breakfast before we went to church and then over to Esme and Carlisle's for dinner with the family for Father's Day. We made chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, bacon and orange juice and we had just managed to flip the last pancake when we all jumped when we heard, "Good morning my family. Anyone want to tell me why we are all up before seven a.m. on a Sunday?"

"Daddy!" Maddie exclaimed, "You're s'posed to be ins bed still."

"Sorry baby girl, everything smelled so good, I couldn't help it!" He grinned at her then kissed her on top of the head. "Well go backs to bed, we're making you brefast in bed for Father's Day," Masen said as he pushed him back towards our room.

"Fine, fine, I'm going," Edward chuckled as he tickled Masen before he blew me a kiss and then climbed back into bed.

We finished putting everything on the tray and were about to carry it to our room when Edward yelled, "I'm starving here people; you wouldn't want me dying from hunger on Father's Day would you?"

"Your daddy is craaazzyy," I giggled at both kids as they laughed at him and nodded with me.

We all walked into our room and Edward was waiting, with a pillow already on his lap and a goofy grin on his face."Happy Father's Day, Daddy!" Maddie and Masen hollered as the climbed on the bed to kiss him on the cheek. He gave them each a kiss and followed that with a very loud and wet sounding raspberry and said, "Thank you, you two are the best kids in whole wide world. Thank you for making me breakfast."

"Bella helpded too, Daddy. You need to gives her a kiss," Maddie giggled as she sat cross legged on the bed. "I couldn't agree with you more princess. Come here woman and let me give you a thank you kiss," Edward said in a silly voice and I set the tray down on the end of the bed and bent down where he grabbed my head and pressed his lips against my cheek…and gave me a raspberry too.


The kids of course thought it was hilarious and I glared at them until I started laughing and we dug into our food. By the time we were done eating most of the food was gone and the kids were a sticky mess so we had to hurry into the showers to get ready to meet the rest of the family for Mass.

"Edward, are you sure this looks okay?" I asked as I stepped out of the bathroom to stand in front of him. I had on a white and black sundress with black sandals and my hair was down. He looked up from tying his shoes and sucked in a breath…okay, guess that meant yes.

"Bella, damn. You should be ashamed of yourself," Edward said in a serious voice.

"What, why?" I asked as I looked down to make sure my boobs weren't spilling out or something and when I looked up at him, he started laughing. "I hate you," I said and tried to keep a straight face but when he stood up and smiled at me before he walked over to me, I lost it and smiled at him.

"You look beautiful Bella. Father O'Connor won't know what hit him," Edward chuckled and gave me a brief kiss before he grabbed my hand. We walked out of the room and I picked up the gifts I needed to take to Esme's from the dining room table as Edward called for the kids, "Let's move it you two, we can't keep Nana and Father O'Connor waiting."

We made it to Mass on time, which pleased Edward and Esme and we found our seats. I had to say we were rather impressive sitting in the pews…all eighteen of us. The service was very nice and I could feel my palms getting damp as the Mass was ending. I was really nervous to meet the priest that meant so much to Edward and all his family…what if he didn't like me?

"Bella, knock it off. He's going to love you," Edward whispered as we walked out the doors of the church and followed Carlisle and Esme to where Father stood. "Ah, Edward. On time today, congratulations my boy," Father O'Connor chuckled at Edward when he ducked his head.

"Yeah, yeah. Father, may I introduce you to my girlfriend, Isabella Marie Swan. Bella, this is the infamous Father O'Connor. Be careful of him, he's been known to make grown women turn speechless with his Irish charm," Edward said and he laughed when Father shook his head at him.

"Edward, your Uncle Marcus puts me to shame. I hear from multiple sources your Bella can hold her own with him, so I am sure she'll be just fine. It's a pleasure to meet you my dear, I've heard nothing but wonderful things about you," he said as he lifted my hand and kissed the back of it.

Yeah, I definitely agreed with Esme and Alice, Father O'Connor was one smooth Irishman.

"It's very nice to meet you, too, Father O'Connor. Edward, Maddie and Masen have all said wonderful things about you. Don't let Edward fool you, he talks about you all the time," I told him as Edward glared at me. "Baby, you weren't supposed to tell him that!" Edward yelled at me and the priest and I both laughed at him.

"Bella, I told Edward last week I am looking forward to talking with the two of you, I hope we are able to get together sometime in the near future," Father O'Connor said and I looked at Edward who shrugged his shoulders at me. He had failed to mention this to me, but I turned to Father and said, "Yes sir, I hope we can, too. I'm looking forward to it."

"He didn't tell you did he?" Father asked as he looked from me to Edward, who looked totally guilty. "Ah, that's okay; it's you I want to get to know anyway. How about we go on a date and leave him at home?" We both laughed when Edward crossed his arms and glared at the two of us. "I don't think so Father. There is no way you're getting my girl alone. We'll talk about it at the house later," Edward said and motioned us towards the car.

We arrived at Carlisle and Esme's and the house was full of people. It was the first time we'd all been together since the weekend at the lake at it was wonderful to see everyone. Father O'Connor arrived a little bit later and he pulled me outside with him and sat me down on a bench in the backyard.

"Those Cullens sure know how to do things right, don't they?" he asked me. I chuckled at that, for that was a huge understatement. Esme had enough food for twice as many people than were here, even taking into account Emmett, Demetri and Seth.

"Tell me a little bit about you Bella," Father said after a moment and I visibly gulped at that. Was he trying to make me pass some sort of test I wondered and got nervous immediately.

Father looked at me and smiled and said, "Oh don't be nervous Bella. I just would like to get to know you better."

I sighed and began to tell him about growing up in Forks and about Seth, Jasper and Rose. We talked about Charlie and his illness…we even talked about what happened with James and Renee. I had no idea how long we sat out there but it didn't seem long at all. "Bella, I truly believe in fate and after hearing all that I have no doubt that you and Edward were meant to find one another," he said after I finished talking. "I have known that boy since the day he was born and I have to say the smile I see on his face today and the happiness that radiates out of him has never been there until you came along…not even once the twins came along has he been this happy, content."

"He's a wonderful man Father O'Connor, I'm very lucky," I said quietly.

"I believe that goes both ways Isabella. You deserve to be happy as well after the trials you have been made to suffer. God works in mysterious ways. I'm just thrilled you both were smart enough to accept what He gave you when He brought you together," Father O' Connor said as he stood up and looked on the back patio where Edward stood watching us.

"He's just as lucky as you are dear," he said as he kissed my cheek. "I look forward to the day I can officially welcome you as Isabella Cullen," he whispered and then walked inside, slapping Edward on the back and giving him a hug.

"Everything okay baby?" Edward asked as I walked up to him, wiping a tear from my eye at what the man had just said to me. I nodded and said, "Never better sweetheart. Is it almost time to eat?"

Dinner was a madhouse but so much fun. Everyone ate until they were too stuffed to move and then it was time for presents. Everyone wanted me to give Carlisle and Marcus the pictures since it was my idea to take them so I stood up to get everyone's attention. "Dr. C. and Uncle Marcus we have a few presents we'd like to give you," I said a little nervously because I didn't know how they would react.

"Little one, you didn't have to do that for little old me," Uncle Marcus said with a wink and I smirked at him. The man was one hellacious flirt that was for sure.

I picked up the first bag and handed it to Carlisle and said, "Carlisle, this one is from Seth, Jasper, Rose and I. None of us have our fathers with us anymore but you have been our father in all ways that matter since the first moment we met you so this is for you to show our appreciation to you for all you have done for us," I finished and gave him as kiss on the cheek.

"Oh Bella, sweetheart, it's perfect," Carlisle said with tears in his eyes as he took out the picture. "Jasper, Seth, Rose, thank you so much for this. I hope you four know you will all always be part of our family. I love you all very much," he finished as he got up to kiss the other three and then came to me. "Isabella, you are the daughter of my heart and I love you so very much. Thank you dear."

The picture was of the four of us standing in a row with our arms around each other. Paul had snapped it as we were waiting for the others to get to the studio and it wasn't even posed. Seth had just finished telling a funny story and we all were laughing and it was a perfect picture of the four of us.

I handed them each the other bags that had the entire family photo in it and said, "Uncle Marcus, Carlisle, this one is from all of us to you two to thank you for being the heads of our wonderful family. Happy Father's Day."

Uncle Marcus pulled his picture out and started crying and stood to come over to me, "Little one, our family is so blessed to have you and Seth, Jasper and Rose in it now. You four complete us and I love you all very much." He bent down to kiss me and Edward said, "Watch it old man, that's my woman you're kissing, don't forget it." Everyone laughed at that and then Carlisle stood up and said, "Thank you all so much for this. I can't wait to put it up in the living room with all the other family pictures. I look forward to many more and with even more people in it…like grandbabies!" Esme clapped and squealed at that and everyone laughed.

"Bella, is it our turn now?" Masen asked me and I nodded my head as Edward glanced at me with a questioning look.

"It is Father's Day, Edward. We got you a present," I chuckled at him.

"Angel, you didn't have to do that," he said quietly as Maddie and Masen walked in with the scrapbook.

"Here Daddy, we made this for you. Bella and Nana and Aunt Alice helped too," they said as he kissed them each and said, "Thank you so much you two." Edward opened the scrapbook and began to flip through the pages and when he came to the one on the last page he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Bella, baby, this one is…oh God, it's so perfect," and he ran his finger over the page.

Paul had taken a picture of us at the studio and I cried when I saw it the first time and really I cried every time I looked at it. It was perfect. When Edward had walked into the studio and kissed me and then we bent down to kiss the kids beside us, Paul had snapped a picture of the four of us with the biggest smiles on our faces and our arms around each other. It literally took my breath away and I made copies for everyone to have and made Edward one to take to his office.

"I love you Edward, Happy Father's Day," I said as I bent down to kiss his cheek. "Isabella, you make me speechless, I have no words to explain how much this…you, mean to me. I love you Bella, so damn much," he whispered as he ran his fingers down my cheek.

"Ed, quit hogging my Sweet B!" Emmett chuckled from the other side of the table. "Bella, come show me that book that's got my brother all sappy and loopy over there." I kissed Edward one more time and then handed Emmett the book so that the rest of the family could see the pictures.

"Oh Bella, please tell me you have copies of this one," Esme said as she held up the picture of the four of us from the studio. "Of course Esme, let me go get them. I have one for everyone if you want it," I said as I walked toward the living room where I set them down.

Just then the doorbell rang and since I was the closest and no one else seemed to hear, I answered it.

"Can I help you?" I asked the skinny guy standing on the top step.

"Isabella Swan?" he asked as he held out a plain envelope.

I was shocked at that but said, "Um…yeah, that's me."

"This is for you," he said as he placed the envelope in my hand and then ran down the steps.

That was strange I thought as I stepped back inside. I didn't have to sign for anything and I didn't know anyone that delivered packages on Sunday.

"Baby, who was at the door?" Edward asked as he walked up. I shook my head at him and said, "Someone just delivered this. It's for me."

I opened the envelope without a thought and pulled out the contents. What I saw chilled me to my bone and froze the blood in my veins.

"Oh my God!" I whispered as the paper fell to the floor.

"Fuck!" Edward said as he stared at the paper, the same horrified look on his face as was on mine.

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