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 32


I groaned as Jane flew into Masen's room and shrieked in her horrible, nasally voice.

Standing up, I squeezed Edward's hand and faced her. "Jane," I hissed out quietly, but forcefully since Masen was resting, "hold your fucking voice down. Now. I know you are upset, but we've had a long ass night and Masen just fell asleep again."

Jane sighed exasperatedly and nodded towards the door with her chin and walked out. I looked at Jasper and Seth who both shrugged their shoulders at me but nodded just the same. We might as well get this crap over with and figure out what the hell we were going to do.

"I'll be back in a few minutes sweetheart," I told Edward as I bent down to kiss his head. "Let's go tame the shrew," I told Jasper and Seth as we started to walk out.

"Bella, wait," Edward said as he stood up. "Guys, can we have a minute? Tell Jane she'll be right there, I just need to talk to her alone."

Jasper and Seth both looked at each other and then in our direction before Jas nodded his head and they walked out to the hallway.

I stared at the door for a few moments before Edward grabbed my hand and said softly, "Bella, look at me please." Squeezing my eyes shut for a few seconds, I took a deep breath and looked into the very tired, very anguished looking face of the love of my life. "Baby, you've hardly said more than a handful of words since Dr. Garrett left earlier. Talk to me…please. Don't shut me out Bella," Edward said beseechingly.

Shut him out? Was that what I was doing? I thought to myself and then let out a small groan as I realized that yes, I was doing exactly that. It wasn't on purpose. Edward was my rock and I knew that with everything I had in me. But, I did have the annoyingly bad habit of turning in on myself when I was in thinking mode, and I had definitely been doing a lot of thinking since we arrived at the hospital.

"Edward, I'm just so…I can't…shit," I exclaimed as I tried to find the words in my sleep deprived brain. "I'm just so fucking pissed Edward," I breathed out finally.

"Bella, tell me what's going on. I hate watching you like this. Please?" Edward asked again as he approached me, hesitantly…and that pissed me off even more…at myself.

I wrapped my arms around him and pressed my body as close to his as I could get. I allowed myself to absorb his strength and his calm for a time before I squeezed him tightly and then stepped backwards. I kept his hand in mine, needing to feel our connection to one another so that I could make my way out of the shit that was threatening to drown me.

We walked over towards the windows of the room, away from Masen and I looked out over the city. I couldn't wait to get to Lake George this weekend, away from all the crap that was about to rain down on us. I hoped I could talk Edward into leaving a day earlier than we were supposed to so that we could have a day just to ourselves…just our family.

"Edward," I sighed as I still looked out the windows and I felt him squeeze my hand in comfort and support. "I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am about what happened yesterday," I said slowly trying to put into words what I was feeling. "Bella no," Edward said and I turned quickly to look at him. "Please, Edward. Just let me get this out, okay?" I asked and when he nodded, I went on. "I will never, ever be able to forget the way Masen sounded when he was scared and calling out for me and Emmett. I will never be able to forget the feeling of being suffocated as all those…those fucking people pushed and shoved at me, at Emmett as they tried to take our picture and ask mindless, stupid questions. I will never be able to forget your face when you walked behind that curtain, not knowing if your son, the one you entrusted in my care was alright. And I will never, for as long as I live, forget the way Masen sounded when he called me 'Mommy'."

"I am so fucking pissed that hearing those magnificent words from his sweet little mouth is tainted…forever, because of what happened. I love him; love Maddie as if they were my own flesh and blood, Edward. It breaks my damn heart that we can't even, that I can't even be allowed to enjoy it, can't share it with you and with he and Maddie because we are going to be hounded by those fucking people."

"From almost the very first moment it feels like I've been waiting to hear those words from he and Maddie, Edward, and it's not fair that the first time is ruined because they came from a place of fear," I told him and hung my head.

Edward's finger lifted my chin and he gripped it with his thumb and turned my face to look at him. "Bella, I understand why you are upset about that, hell, I am too. But I also will never forget how hearing those words from him and then from you made my heart feel so full I would have sworn it was about to burst. Maddie and Masen both love you Bella, and the fact that he called you 'Mommy' during a time when he was scared and in pain should show you just how much he needed you, his mother, to comfort him and tell him everything would be okay," Edward murmured to me as he rested his forehead against mine.

"Baby, you can't shut me out though, alright? I know you are upset about all of this, but Masen will be fine. Talk with Jane so we can figure out what to do next and then we can take Masen home and get ready to go to the lake for a few days, away from all of this," Edward said as he lifted my hand to his lips and kissed my fingertips as he looked into my eyes.

"You're right Edward," I said and sighed, because I really didn't want to have to talk to Jane.

I kissed Edward and squeezed his hand one last time before I stepped into the hallway. Jesus this was going to suck so badly, but I had to face the music.

"Bella, so nice of you to join us," Jane said as I approached her, Jasper and Seth. They were sitting in the chairs in the visitor area.

I bit my tongue to hold back the retort I desperately wanted to give her and gave her a pointed look instead.

"Jane, I'm sure you can understand…it's been a very long night. I know you didn't just drop by to say hello so why don't we just get on with it?" I snapped. I couldn't help it, not that I tried very hard, but she always managed to piss me off with her holier than thou attitude.

"Fine. Bella, I was just explaining to Jasper and Seth what kind of mess you allowed yourself to get into and what my plans were to get you out of it," Jane said as she looked at me.

I huffed and sat down heavily into the chair beside Jasper. He reached over and rubbed my shoulder and said, "Shortcake, you know you need to cooperate and listen to Jane. This whole thing is a mess, not just for you and Volturi but for Edward, the kids and the whole family as well. We need to get a handle on this as quick as we can and start putting out the nasty rumors you know are about to explode."

Tipping my head back, I covered my face with my hands and closed my eyes for a few seconds before I got myself together and looked at Jane. "Okay, Jane. Tell me what I need to do," I said, determined to fix all of this so that Edward, Maddie and Masen as well as the rest of the family were left alone as much as possible.

Jane spent the next thirty minutes going over her plan of attack so to speak to get me, Edward and Volturi over the next few days. While the pictures in the paper this morning as well as on the Internet sites we'd looked at were somewhat compromising when taken out of context, public opinion on the matter was strongly on our side. The outrage that most felt over the way the reporters and the paparazzi hounded Emmett and me and especially poor Masen made the picture of Derek Jeter hugging me and the accompanying reports of trouble between Edward and I fade into the background.

"Bella, look. I blame myself for this as much as you and Emmett do. I should have stuck around until you were ready to leave the stadium instead of leaving the three of you to speak with Jeter and then navigate your way back out. I know better than that and I certainly have more experience than either you or Emmett in evading reporters and photographers," Jane said and I raised my eyebrows at her.

In all the years I'd known her and have had to deal with her, she has never admitted she'd made a mistake. Ever.

Jane rolled her eyes at me and slightly shook her head and said, "Yes, Bella, I can admit when I've made a mistake. Listen, I'm not going to lie to you here. Fixing this mess is just as much for me and Daddy as it is for you and Edward so it is in all our benefits to work together and find a way to mitigate the damage and hope the public opinion stays in our favor."

"I really think the best way to come out the winner's in this whole debacle is to pick one newspaper or magazine to give a story to and let them take a few pictures of you and the kids. Then have Edward, Maddie and Masen attend the movie premiere with you on Thursday night looking like the happy family you are. By the time you get back from your little holiday at the lake on Monday, things should have calmed down significantly by then," Jane said and as much as I hated to admit it, I agreed with what she said.

Christ, I hated to use Edward and the kids this way, but everything Jane just said made perfect sense.

"Bell, you know Jane's right," Seth said from his seat across from me. "We all know how you have felt up until now about Maddie and Masen being in the public, but with the pictures of Emmett, you and him from the game we don't have much choice."

"God damn it," I hissed and pressed my fingers into my eyes until I saw stars.

I looked at Jasper and he nodded and Seth did as well when I glanced at him. "Fine. I'll talk to Edward and see what he thinks, but if you all think this is the way to go, then we'll do it."

Jane reached out and laid her hand on my arm and I flinched from the contact, and then immediately felt bad when I looked at her face when I saw the pained look she had. I smiled at her and reached out for her hand to try to let her know I was sorry for acting the way I did, and thankfully her smile let me know all was good. "Bella, I know we don't see eye to eye on everything, but I…as well as Volturi, always have your best interest at heart. You may not believe that, but it is the truth. And, I also know that you did not mean for any of this to happen and I'm sorry for storming into Masen's room the way I did earlier."

Well, shit, who ever would have thought that Jane Volturi had a compassionate bone in her body?

I swallowed the smart ass comment that was trying to escape and told her, mostly sincere, "Thank you for that Jane. And for what it's worth, I'm really sorry about the mess. I do appreciate your help."

I was not about to tell her I believed her about the best interest bit, because there was no way in hell she would convince me that was true. I was a big enough person to appreciate the help she was trying to give, no matter whose best interest it was in to do so.

The four of us worked out the details of the next two days, and shit, they were going to be busy. The lake and the time away was going to be needed more than ever by the time it got here! Edward was going to have a coronary when he found out Jacob would be coming to the premiere with Seth and Emmett. I thought it was overkill, but between whoever was writing the letters and the frenzy that was going to surround our appearance, he was definitely going to be needed.

Fuck, just one more thing to have to deal with. It seemed like every damn time we found a few days of peace and quiet, something came out of the blue to knock us out of the water. September really couldn't get here fast enough.

Jasper and Seth kissed me good bye and said they were going to go check on Masen and Edward before Seth went to meet Emmett so they could escort us out of the hospital. Hopefully we could take a different exit and make it out of here without causing a scene, especially since Maddie was still here.

I got up to follow them when Jane grabbed my elbow and when I looked at her she said, "Bella, can I talk to you for a minute? It's um…it's something personal…and ah…it's about Ian."

Oh hell…could this be any more awkward I wondered to myself but I nodded my head at her and we sat back down again. "Um…shit, I don't really know how to ask you this," Jane said as she took a deep breath and pushed her hair behind her ear.

"Jane, its okay, whatever it is. Just ask me," I said. My stomach was in knots as I tried to figure out what in the hell she could need to talk to me about my ex-boyfriend whom I haven't seen or talked to in over five years.

"Well, is he…I mean do you think, he's a good guy isn't he?" Jane asked and sounded so distraught as I gawked at her.

I gulped, and ran my hand nervously through my hair. Shit, now I'm acting like Edward and I quickly lowered my hand. "Well, um…ah Jane, I don't really know Ian any more. I mean it's been more than five years since I've seen or talked to him."

"But when you did, when you and he were together, he was a good guy wasn't he?" she asked again.

I shook my head at her and tilted my head to the side as I tried to understand what exactly she was asking me. "I don't…yes, yes he was," I finally answered her truthfully.

Ian was a brilliant man and we shared many of the same interests when were at school together. He was an English major like I was and we would spend many a night just sitting in the coffee shop in a corner reading or talking about books together. He was a great boyfriend, always attentive and complimentary without being overbearing. We just grew apart and there was no spark there…none. It was worse than kissing Jasper or Seth…I mean there was absolutely nothing there…at all. I still have no idea how we even managed having sex. I think we were both trying to convince ourselves that since we were so compatible in our interests and such that we should be together and having sex was what people our age that were in a relationship did.

"How did you two meet?" I asked her and she got a dreamy, far off look on her face before she began to talk, "Oh Bella, it was wonderful. He's a reporter for the LA Times, did you know that?" she asked and then went on, "Anyway, he was doing a story on Twilight and needed to interview me for the article. Do you remember when I went out of town when you and your family went to the lake over Memorial Day?"

I didn't…at all, but she didn't seem to pay attention to my answer one way or the other anyway as she kept going. "Well, we hit it off. It was like an instant attraction and before the interview as even over, he'd asked me out to dinner. We spent the rest of the weekend together and when you saw us at the restaurant he'd just gotten into town. He'd flown in to visit me and we just happened to be at the same place as you and Edward."

"Did you um…did you know he and I used to date before we saw you at dinner?" I asked and Jane couldn't stop the flash of jealousy that flitted across her face before she arranged her face into the calm, impassive look she usually had.

"Yes, Bella, I did. It kind of came up during the interview, you know," Jane said and I felt like an idiot for asking. Of course she knew, Ian was not the kind of man to keep secrets.

"I'm sorry Jane," I told her, "It's really none of my business."

She shook her head and sighed before staring at me, "No Bella, I'm sorry. I have to say when he told me he knew you during the interview, I was kind of thrown for a loop. I was worried he was still harboring feelings for you," Jane admitted sheepishly.

"Oh, please. Jane, Ian and I parted on very good terms as friends. Really, we were never more than good friends to begin with," I told her, wondering where the hell all this was coming from.

It was quite surreal. Jane and I usually went out of our way to avoid having to speak more than the bare minimum and now here we were talking about her love life…with my ex-boyfriend. Just goes to show how small the world can really be at times.

Jane and I made small talk for a few more minutes before we said good bye. I would be seeing her a little later this afternoon at the interview and then again tomorrow night at the premiere. I had to be honest and admit to myself that without her help, we would really be up a shit creek without a paddle right about now.

Masen was sitting up in bed, with his legs hanging off the side when I made my way back to his room. Dr. Garrett was going over some instructions with Edward for his care once we got him home. Maddie was busy coloring on Masen's cast and his things were already packed to go home. There weren't balloons or plants or anything to mess with, thank goodness. No one besides family knew he was here…at least not that we were aware of, and he wasn't here long enough anyway.

It may have felt like an eternity, but the reality was we had been here less than twenty four hours.

"Bella," Masen said as I stood next to him. He smiled up at me and it was the sweetest smile he'd ever given me. "What's up Skittles?" I asked as I ruffled his hair.

"Do you have all the stuff that Derek signed for me?" he asked and I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.

Son of a bitch! I didn't even think about everything Masen had in his hands and more than likely dropped as we tried to get away from all the reporters.

I didn't want to lie to him but I didn't want to admit to him that his things were probably lost forever either. "Let's get you home big guy and then we'll talk about all that. Rufus will be so excited to see you," I said, trying to change the subject.

"Cool," he said and then looked up when Dr. Garrett called his name.

"Masen, it's time for you to go home buddy. Do you have any questions for me?" he asked Masen and when Mase shook his head he smiled and then said, "You remember what I told you about your cast right? No getting it wet and if everything heals well, we should be able to take it off just in time for baseball to start, okay? But, you have to listen to Bella and your dad when they tell you to take your medicine and all that. No arguing and no trying to get out of it."

Poor Masen huffed at the doctor and I felt overwhelmed by guilt again as I thought about all things Masen wouldn't be able to do for the rest of the summer since his arm was in a cast. I had to look away from Masen as he continued to talk to the doctor and I tried to discreetly wipe away the tears that had fallen.

I felt rough fingers on my cheeks as they wiped the tears away and looked up into the sad eyes of Edward. He smiled at me and I tried to smile back, but it wasn't working very well. "Sweet girl, please stop. You have no idea what it's doing to me to see you like this," he whispered as he kissed my forehead.

And then…I felt even worse. Not only did I ruin Masen's summer by letting him get hurt, now I have Edward worrying about me. What the hell is the matter with me I angrily thought to myself.

I tried to smile at him, I really did, but I'm sure it came off more as a grimace but I plodded on and said, "Edward, Masen is asking for the things he had yesterday from the ball game…the things Derek and the team had signed for him. I don't know what happened to them, what do I tell him?"

"Shit," Edward muttered to himself and then looked at me.

"Exactly," I said. "Well, I'll have to ask Jane to call Derek or something, but we'll have to figure out something. There is no way he's not getting his stuff back…somehow."

"Together, Bella. We'll figure it out together," Edward said, repeating our mantra to me.

Yes, together.

It was finally time to get Masen home and luckily for us, thanks to Dr. Garrett's and Bree's help, we were able to slip out a side exit into the suburban with no one the wiser. Seth was driving and Emmett was in the passenger seat, Edward and I behind them and then the kids in the very back.

"Edward, I need to talk to you about something," I hesitantly told him as I squeezed his hand to get his attention.

He had been staring out the window and my sudden declaration startled him, "What is it baby?"

"Well, um, we didn't have a chance to talk at the hospital once I got through speaking with Jane, but she has a few ideas on the best way to handle what happened," I said and then took a deep breath. Edward really wasn't going to like what I had to say, but like he said, together, and this was definitely going to need the cooperation of all of us. "Jane wants us to do an interview with a reporter of our choice at the loft this afternoon and then tomorrow night she wants you and the kids to accompany me to the movie premiere. She seems to think if we head this off before it has a chance to spin out of control, we can contain it pretty quickly and then move on."

"What do you think?" Edward asked as he ran a hand through his hair and looked at me. He looked so fucking tired and I couldn't help the shooting pain of guilt I felt as I took in his appearance.

I sighed and caught Seth's eyes in the rearview mirror and then I looked at Emmett. They both nodded at me and I gripped Edward's hand even harder than before. "I think she makes a lot of sense. Public opinion is on our side since the reporters were all certainly in the wrong and if doing an interview and showing up at an appearance with you beside me stops the ugly comments of me cheating on you," I had to take a deep breath here and swallow the sob I wanted to let out, "Then I am okay with it. But, this is completely up to you. I don't want you to feel like I or anyone else is pressuring you to do something you don't want. This is about more than just me and you, the kids are involved too."

Edward sighed and tipped his head backwards and closed his eyes for a few minutes while he kept a hold of my hand and ran his thumb in circles on the inside of my wrist. He sat up and looked at me and then at Seth and Emmett in front of us, "Will you and the kids be safe at the premiere? I know you haven't gotten another letter since the one from Father's Day, but we can't forget that that person is still out there somewhere, on top of all this. I won't let Maddie and Masen be put in danger Bella, I can't," Edward said and sounded very anguished by all of it.

"Little brother, Seth and I will be there with you every step of the way. I know I told you I would make sure I kept Bella and Masen safe and I didn't do it, but I fucking promise you that nothing will happen to them," Emmett said as he reached back and grabbed Edward's arm. "I promise Edward," Emmett said fiercely.

"Edward, Bella and I have been to a lot of things before," Seth said as he tried to ease the tension between Emmett and Edward. Edward was in no way mad at Emmett, but poor Em still felt so bad. Like me, it was hard for him to let go of his guilt. "Movie premieres are actually really safe, surprisingly enough. Between the barricades to keep people far away and the extra policemen on site, I don't think you have anything to worry about," Seth told him. "There is no way I would let you and Bella take the kids out in public like that if thought something could happen."

"Baby, you really think we need to do this?" Edward asked me and I nodded my head at him. "I do Edward, but Seth is right. It might seem crazy, but it's really not and I really do think Maddie and Masen will like it and even have fun," I said honestly.

"Okay then, just tell me when and where, and I'll be there with a smile on my face," Edward said on a sigh.

Jesus, I loved that man and he was so incredible I don't know what I would do without him.

"Love you Edward," I whispered once Seth and Emmett turned their attention back to whatever they were doing.

"Love you too, angel. We'll get through this, don't worry," Edward said and we rode the rest of the way back to the loft in a comfortable silence as he held on to my hand and rubbed his thumb over my knuckles.


"Rufus!" Masen squealed as we walked into the loft. Rufus was a wild mess, barking and running in circles as the four of us made our way through the front door.

"Daddy, can we take him outside to play?" Masen asked once Edward closed the door and walked to the island.

The pinch of his eyes let me know he was anxious about having Masen and Maddie outside in the clearing where the picture had been taken, but he took a deep breath and after a quick glance at me, he nodded his head and said, "Sure little man. Let me talk to Bella for just a minute and then I'll take you. Not long though, okay?"

Masen ran off to Maddie's room and the two of them went through the basket of Rufus's toys trying to decide which ones to take with them outside.

"What time will Jane be here?" Edward asked as he walked over to me and wrapped me in his arms. I let myself mold against him and I reveled in the feeling of his hard chest against my cheek. Each breath I took filled my senses with his smell and it calmed me like nothing else could.

I picked his hand up and looked at his watch and growled a bit in the back of my throat before I said, "Jane said sometime around four o'clock so in a few hours. Why don't you take the kids outside for a few minutes and I'll make us some lunch. Maybe once we're done with that, we can get Maddie and Masen to rest and watch a movie for a little bit before we have to get ready for the interview."

"If they take a nap…do you think we can too? I need you Bella, so badly. Just to hold you and feel you next to me," he whispered as he squeezed his arms around my waist.

There was still so much to talk about I knew, but I also needed to feel our connection to each other so I nodded immediately and kissed the side of his jaw as the kids walked towards the front door, "I need you too, Edward. Always. I love you."

"Love you too angel, we'll only be about twenty minutes," Edward said as he walked out the door.

I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids, turkey and Swiss for me and Edward. I got the chips out of the pantry, poured Maddie and Masen each a glass of milk and got iced tea for Edward and I. I was just getting everything set out at the table as the kids came thundering through the front door, followed by the dog and the dad.

Maddie and Masen dropped the dog toys on the floor once they saw lunch was ready and raced each other to the table. I smiled at their enthusiasm but then allowed my face to calm and held my hand up to stop their progress, "Hold it you two." I chuckled softly as they skidded to a stop in front of me, both breathing heavy and smiling. They were, without a doubt, the most adorable children on the face of the earth…hands down. "First, is that where you found Rufus' toys?" I asked as I pointed to the floor where they'd dropped them. When they shook their heads and looked at me I continued, "I didn't think so. So, before we sit down to eat, you both need to pick up the toys and then go wash your hands. When you're done, we can eat. Now give me a kiss and get a move on, I'm starving," I giggled as I bent over and hugged them each when they kissed my cheeks and went to do as they were told.

I stood up and looked at Edward when I heard the water running in the kids' bathroom. "What?" I asked when I saw him smiling at me.

"You are so good with them," he said softly as he walked towards me. Edward stopped in front of me and brushed my hair back behind each of my ears. "Bella, you're so good for them. Loving but firm, and just …well perfect. We're so lucky to have you, baby," he whispered as he gently kissed me and when I felt his tongue on my bottom lip, I couldn't help but shiver.

Edward chuckled and just shrugged his shoulders at me and he stepped backwards as Maddie and Masen came back to the table. We sat down to eat our lunch, everyone starving after not really eating for the last day. Once the kids were almost through, Edward looked at me and I nodded my head, indicating that it was time.

"Hey you two," Edward began as he got Maddie and Masen's attention. "In a little bit, there is going to be someone coming over to talk to all of us about what happened to Bella and Masen yesterday at the baseball game. They are just going to ask a few questions and take a few pictures. Are you okay with that?" Edward asked them, Maddie and Masen staring back at him and then at each other.

"Does that mean we'll be famous like Bella?" Maddie asked with a shaky voice.

My little Maddie, still so shy and reserved. I shook my head, "No baby girl, it doesn't. But since there are a lot of people who know who I am, there are lots of people out there that want to know what happened and make sure that Mase and I are okay. If you don't want to talk to them, either of you, you don't have to. I promise," I said, not caring if Jane would get angry or not.

Maddie and Masen were more important than that and I didn't care if I had cameras following me all day, everyday until the fashion show in September. If they didn't want to do this, we wouldn't…no questions asked.

"Will they ask me what happened or why those people chased us?" Masen quietly asked as he rubbed his cast.

My heart clenched as I watched him, hating that we had to do this at all, that I had put us in this position in the first place.

"They probably will Mase," Edward said gently as he got up and moved to their side of the table. He squatted down and looked at both of them. "But, Bella and I will be here with you Masen and if you don't want to talk to them or answer the questions, you don't have to. Like Bella said, neither one of you have to do anything you don't want to. There just are a lot of people wanting to make sure the two of you are okay and this is the best way to tell everyone you are, that's all."

Maddie and Masen looked at each other for a few seconds before Maddie shrugged her shoulders at Masen an then he turned to Edward and said, "No big deal Daddy. But, I get to pick out my own clothes. I'm almost eight, I can do it myself."

"Me too," Maddie said but then she looked at me and whispered, "But will you helps me if I can't find somethin?"

"Of course I will sweetie. Masen is right though, this is no big deal. They'll be in and out of here in no time and then we can figure out what to do tonight," I said as I got up to clear off the table.

I kissed each of them as I made way to their spots and then took the dishes to the kitchen while Edward checked Masen's cast and the bump on his head. He took Masen to the bathroom to change a few of his bandages and then they came back and we laid some blankets on the floor for them to sit on while they watched a movie.

"Baby, I'm going to go make a few phone calls. I'll be back out in a few minutes," Edward said as he walked into our room.

I turned the movie on for the kids, Harry Potter, and listened to them chatter for a few minutes about Hagrid and Dumbledore and sorting hats before they quieted down and laid on the pillows I purposely set on the floor. I knew once they were full and stopped moving for a few minutes, they'd be out like a light in no time. Yesterday and last night were so long for all of us and their little bodies needed to rest.

Walking into our room, I motioned to Edward that I was going to take a shower. Rose had brought me some yoga pants and a clean t-shirt to the hospital to change into last night. I hadn't been able to take a shower yet, and right now there was nothing I wanted more than to wash the last twenty four hours away. I turned the water on and let the bathroom fill with steam before I undressed and stepped under the hot water. I was sore, so fucking sore and the hot water started doing its job as soon as I tipped my head back and felt the streams hit the muscles on my shoulders and back.

I closed my eyes and let the water work its magic as images flashed through my mind in rapid succession. Masen's face at the ballgame when he was talking to Derek, Emmett's face as he walked in the exam room at the hospital, Edward's face when he pulled back the curtain and saw Masen and I, Jasper's face when he saw that I was okay…over and over again the last twenty four hours went through my mind and I didn't even realize I was crying until my shoulders started to shake and a sob escaped, sounding so loud in the small space.

Leaning forward, I rested my forehead on the wall and let the tears come…again. I really hated crying, fucking hated it, but I couldn't help it. Everything just came at me all at once and I just let it out. I felt Edward's arms around my waist as he pressed his chest flush against my back as he pulled me up towards him. Edward turned me around and held my head against his chest and I gripped him tightly around his waist.

"Shhh, Bella. It's okay baby, I've got you," he told me over and over again as he ran his hands through my hair. "I love you angel, so much. Shhh, please stop crying," he told me as he lifted my chin to look at him.

His eyes were soft and so vibrantly green they took my breath away. I reached up and pulled his head down to mine and when I felt his lips on mine I arched into him. "Edward, please. Kiss me," I begged and then I felt his tongue as he dipped it into my mouth, once, twice, a third time and then curled it around mine.

My fingers went into his hair and I pulled on it and when I heard the groan in the back of his throat, I pressed my whole body up against his.

Edward's hands slid down my back and over my hips where he rested them for a moment while he rubbed circles there with his thumbs as he continued to kiss me, moving from my mouth to my neck.

"I need you Bella, so much baby," he whispered as he sucked on the warm, tender skin behind my ear. He moved one hand in between my legs and I felt his finger slip through my folds to my clit where he gently massaged it.

"Oh Edward…fuck that feels so good," I moaned as I reached down with my hand and wrapped my fingers around his already hardened cock. When I dragged my thumb over the tip, he hissed and pushed a finger inside of me.

"So wet Bella, you're so wet for me," Edward moaned as he added another finger and moved them in and out in a slow, steady rhythm.

I could feel the orgasm building with each motion of his fingers. He bent his head down and circled his tongue around one of my nipples and when he gently bit it at the same time as he curled his fingers forward inside of me and pressed on that spot, I came…hard. I writhed on his fingers as he continued to move them in and out of me. "That's it baby, come for me," Edward roughly said as he looked at me, green eyes bright and intense.

Edward's mouth was over mine again, kissing me deeply as my orgasm ended and I kept my hand wrapped around him, slowly moving it back and forth. "Edward, please baby. I need you inside of me," I breathed out as his hands moved to cup my ass and he lifted me up so I could wrap my legs around his waist.

The water continued to pelt his back as he looked into my eyes. "You're so beautiful Bella. I love you so fucking much," he rasped out as he shifted our bodies so he was aligned with my entrance.

As he dipped his legs and then guided me down over him, I threw my head back. "I love you too, Edward. Shit…ah that feels so good," I moaned loudly as he filled me completely.

"Hang on to me baby," Edward murmured as we began to move. I wrapped my arms around his neck and looked down to watch him move in and out of me. "Damn…yes Edward, God yes," I breathed out as I kept my eyes focused on him.

Edward had one arm on the wall and the other on my hip as he continued to thrust in and out. I felt the muscles in his legs tense as he pushed even harder inside of me, getting even deeper.

My breath hitched and I closed my eyes only to hear, "Bella, look at me. Don't close your eyes baby, I need to see you." He grunted and said, "I'm so close Bella, please come for me."

He reached a hand in between our bodies and pressed his thumb against my clit and I could feel my pussy squeeze his cock and when he groaned out, "Now, Bella…come now!" I did as he asked and let go, coming so hard and then I felt him release inside of me in a powerful burst.

Edward gently lifted me off him and kept his arm around me and chuckled when I was a bit wobbly when I tried to stand. "Knock it off Cullen," I growled at him and then laughed when he faltered a bit as he stood up as well.

"Karma's a bitch old man, don't forget it," I giggled at him as he pulled me to him.

"It's nice to see you smile baby, I've missed it," Edward said gently as he squirted some shampoo in his hand and began to wash my hair for me.

I sighed and looked up into his face and when I saw the love shining out of his eyes at me, I couldn't help but give him another small smile. He was so fucking amazing, he truly was. Edward was more concerned with how I was feeling and handling all this instead of being mad at me…which he had every right to be.

Reaching up to cup the side of his face, I said honestly, "There hasn't been a lot to smile about Edward. This has been one of the longest days I can remember in a long time."

Edward held my head with his soapy fingers and made me look at him, his mouth set in a firm line. "Bella, I don't want to hear anymore of that. Masen is just fine, you're okay and this all will pass in a few days. Is it fair that we have to be paraded in front of the public just to prove that we're okay, hell no its not. Is it really anyone's business, hell no its not. But, talking to someone and getting a few pictures taken is a small price to pay to make sure that Masen and you are left alone. It was an accident Bella, that's all it was. What happened wasn't your fault and it wasn't Emmett's. You have to let this go baby, you have to. Worrying about it and wallowing in guilt isn't going to accomplish anything except to piss me off and make you miserable. So, why don't we focus on all the fun we're going to have at the lake instead okay?"

I nodded my head at him knowing he was right, so fucking right. I still felt awful for allowing Masen to get hurt while he was with me, but I did realize it wasn't my fault that he did. "I love you Edward," I said softly as I stepped on my tip toes to kiss his jaw.

"Me too angel, now let's finish up in here so I can hold you in bed for a few minutes before the kids wake up. I'm fucking exhausted," Edward said as he finished washing my hair.

We did finish our shower, and I managed to lie down for forty five minutes before we heard the kids and Rufus in the living room moving around.

Edward mumbled something completely impossible to understand and I slipped out of bed and into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt to go out and check on them, leaving him a few more minutes to wake up before we had to start getting ready for the interview.

I heard the elevator and peeked out the peephole to see Seth carrying a box and I opened the door as he approached.

"Bell," he groaned when I opened the door before he had a chance to knock. "You're not supposed to open the door Shortcake," he said as he walked in and I motioned to him to be quiet since the kids were still sleeping on the floor.

He nodded and walked towards the dining room table and set the box down before he turned to look at me. "Seth, I knew it was you, I looked out the peephole as soon as I heard the elevator," I told him as I crossed my arms at him.

"Okay then, just checking," he said as he kissed me on the cheek. "Everyone doing okay?"

I nodded and said, "Yeah, we had some lunch then everyone laid down to take a nap.”

"Good," Seth nodded and then said, "I am sure all of you needed it. Here, this was delivered for you a little while ago." He handed me the package and I opened it, and started laughing in relief.

Inside the box were all of Masen's things from yesterday as well as a few more items for the rest of the family.

"Oh thank God," I said as I showed Seth the contents of the box. "Masen asked for this stuff before we left the hospital and I didn't have any idea how to answer him. I was sure it was gone forever."

"Well, Masen will be happy to have his things back for sure," Seth said as he walked to the front door to leave. "Let me know if you need anything Shortcake. Tanya and Alice are coming over later so we'll be around but we won't bother you guys. You need some peace and quiet once the interview is done," he said as he kissed me again. "Love you Bell, we'll talk to you after while."

"You too, Seth. Say hi to Ali and Tanya…and Jasper." I told him as I waved as he got on the elevator.

"Bella, was that Seth?" Edward asked me from the doorway of the bedroom.

Jesus he was so sexy. I sighed as I looked at him and he smiled a lazy smile and then looked at the box. "What's in the box?"

"Oh, Derek sent over Masen's things, thank goodness. He'll be so happy," I said as I set the box on the island and went to wake up Masen. We need to get the living room picked up and everyone needed to change their clothes before Jane got here anyway.

"Hey little man," I whispered as he tried to pull the pillow over his head. So much like his father, this one was for sure. "Wake up Mase, you got a present."

"What, huh?" Masen asked as he sat up, his hair going in a million different directions…again so much like his dad it was scary.

"There's something for you, I think you'll want to see what it is," I told him as he scrambled to get up.

I handed him the box and he squeaked in excitement as he looked through everything. Not only was the ball in there as well as the picture for Maddie, but there were tickets to a few games for all of us as well as new jerseys for all four of us signed by the whole team.

"Bella, what's this?" Masen asked as he pulled out an envelope with his name on it. I opened it and smiled when I saw what it was. "Derek wrote you a get well later Masen, do you want me to read it to you?" I asked and laughed at his enthusiastic nod and laughed even harder when I heard Edward grunt behind me at the mention of Derek's name.

Dear Masen:

I was sorry to hear about what happened to you. I hope you are okay now and that you arm heals really quickly. I can't wait to play catch with you again; you've got quite an arm on you! I wanted to make sure you and Maddie got your things back and I hope the two of you and Bella and your dad can come to a game real soon. Even your Uncle Emmett, even though he's kind of a scary dude!

Get well soon,

Derek Jeter

"Daddy! Isn't that cool? Look, he even sent me a new glove and everything!" Masen hollered as he took his box to his room.

"I guess he's not such a bad guy," Edward conceded grudgingly. I chuckled at him and wrapped my arms around his waist and said, "He's not, but you're better."

"Damn straight I am baby," he growled at me and slapped me on the ass as I went to the room to get ready for Jane and the interview.

"Bella, Jane and the guy from the paper is going to be here soon," Edward said as he knocked on the bathroom door.

I was hiding, I knew I was and Edward knew it too, but he was too sweet to call me on it just yet. He also knew I needed time to work through the last twenty four hours. I picked up the glass of wine off the counter in the bathroom and took a healthy drink as I finished fixing my hair and putting on my makeup before they got here.

I couldn't help but go back over the ride to the hospital…the one I would never forget.

"Emmett, hurry," I begged him as I held Masen on my lap in the back seat of the suburban. I held him closely to my chest and murmured soft, nonsensical words to him as Emmett flew down the street towards the hospital.

"Mommy," Masen mumbled and turned his head more into my chest as I felt my heart shatter into an infinite number of pieces. I had been waiting for so long to hear those words, from the very first moment he flashed that smile that looked just like his father's at me.

I bent my head down and made no attempt to stop the tears that rolled down my cheeks. "Mommy's here baby, you're safe now. I love you Masen, Mommy loves you so much," I whispered to him and looked up to see Emmett staring at me in the rearview mirror.

"That little boy loves you so much Bella, and both of them are so lucky to have you as their mother," Emmett quietly said as we sped towards the hospital.

I scoffed at him, "Some fucking mother I am Emmett. The first time I take Masen by myself without Edward and look what happened. He almost got trampled by a bunch of idiots more concerned with taking a damn picture than acting with a freaking brain."

"Isabella Marie Swan, shut the fuck up right now," Emmett growled at me and I could see the muscles tense in his neck and shoulders as he gripped the steering wheel. "You have nothing to be feeling guilty about. It was my fucking job to protect the both of you and both of you got hurt. If you want to throw the blame somewhere, it needs to come directly at me."

I knew he would do this. The second we heard Masen's cries for help and Emmett realized he was not beside us, Em completely turned in on himself. Oh, he got us the hell out of there, running through the crowd of reporters and paparazzi like a bull in a china shop, but the moment we were safe inside the confines of the car, Emmett totally shut down. Logically I understood that neither of us was to blame for anything and that what happened was just a series of unfortunate events. That did not help the pain in my heart when I remembered Masen's tear stained face or the way he whimpered in his Uncle Emmett's arms in pain as he cradled his broken arm to his chest.

"Edward. Oh my God Em, I have to call Edward," I cried out frantically, startling Masen as he laid in my arms.

Emmett was shaking his head, "B, let's get Mase looked at and then I will call Edward."

I immediately shook my head, "No Em. I should have called him the second we got in the car. He needs to know, we need him here. How am I supposed to get Masen checked in? I'm not his mother Emmett, I don't have the authority to get him admitted and I am certainly not giving my permission for the doctors to treat him without Edward's consent."

I couldn't lie to myself, I had thought about this before. Edward and I had talked about the future often enough that I knew that these kinds of details would all be discussed and figured out, but I certainly never expected it to be right now.

Emmett parked the car in the emergency room parking lot, illegally of course, and came around to get Masen out of the car and carried him into the hospital. "Em, I really need to call Edward," I told him as I quickly followed behind him into the emergency room.

"Relax, Bella, I've taken care of things already," he said as a very pretty nurse met us at the door. She was very petite and had short, blonde hair and the prettiest gray blue eyes I'd ever seen.

"Right this way Emmett, Edward's on his way right?" she asked as we walked through the waiting area towards the exam room.

"Bree, this is Bella," Emmett said as he laid Masen down on the small bed and I immediately went to his side. Masen moaned and opened his eyes to look at me and he tried to smile but he couldn't stop the grimace of pain that I saw on his face when he moved his arm.

"It hurts," Masen said as he began to cry.

I brushed the hair back from his face and kissed his forehead, "I know little man, but Daddy is on his way. It'll be okay, I promise."

He nodded his head and closed his eyes again and, again, I couldn't help the tears that started to fall.

"I've called for the doctor to let him know you've arrived, he'll be here shortly," Bree said as I picked up my head to look at her.

"Thank you so much, Bree," I said, not really knowing who she was but very grateful for the help just the same.

"It's my pleasure," she said as she walked over to me to pat me on the arm. "Edward and I went to med school together and I help him when one of his patients gets admitted through the Emergency Room. I've heard a lot about you. I've wanted to meet you, though not quite like this."

"I appreciate your help, more than you can know. I was so worried about how to get Masen looked at without Edward here," I told her quietly.

"Bella, now that Mase is okay, I'm going to go call Edward," Emmett said as he kissed me on the forehead.

I nodded and said, "Tell him…" I swallowed deeply and took a deep breath, "Just tell him to hurry," I whispered.

Emmett nodded and swiftly left the room, leaving just Bree and I.

"Mommy," Masen mumbled and without even thinking about it, I bent over him and touched his cheek and softly said, "Mommy's here Masen, it's okay sweetie."

I heard Bree gasp and I picked my head up quickly to look at her, prepared to defend myself if necessary, but the smile she gave me caused me to look at her questioningly.

"Edward's been holding out on me," she said with a shake of her head.

Now I was thoroughly confused, "Excuse me?"

Bree chuckled and then looked at me, "There are going to be many broken hearts around the hospital when word gets out that Dr. Edward Cullen is completely and permanently off the proverbial market."

I huffed at her, but inside I was quite pleased with her comment…as catty as that might sound.

Bree and I visited for a few minutes while we waited for Emmett to get back to the room and for Edward to get here. She told me she was able to get us back here without checking us in and that she would have Edward take care of all of that when he arrived. I was so grateful to both her and Emmett for clearing the way for that much at least. I couldn't help the thoughts of what was going to happen once Edward got here from coming, or the groan I let out when I thought about the magazines, papers, and Internet stories about to explode all over the place.

What a fucking mess.

"Bella, thanks so much for having us," Jane said as she entered the loft a little while later with Connor Matthews. Connor was a reporter from the NY Times and he would do the interview and his photographer followed behind setting up his equipment for the pictures that they would take.

"My pleasure Jane. Connor, it's nice to meet you," I said as I held my hand out to him.

"You too, Bella. Although I wish it was under better circumstances. I would like to offer you my apologies on behalf of my profession. The way they acted was inexcusable in my opinion and they should all be out of a job," he said forcefully as he took a seat.

"You've got that right," Edward said as he entered the living room. "Edward Cullen, it's nice to meet you," Edward said as Connor stood up to shake his hand.

"Baby, I'll get the kids," Edward said as he went to Masen's room to collect Maddie and Masen.

Once we were settled on the sofa, Connor began to ask questions. Nothing too invasive thankfully, but enough to get the gist of what our version was of what happened.

"So Masen, were you scared at all?" Connor asked gently and Masen shrugged his shoulders and pressed his face into my chest.

"I was a little bit," Masen said after second and then went on, "But I knew Bella and my Uncle Emmett would come get me so I just waited. I didn't like when they ran after us though and I really didn't like it when they tried to push Bella. Uncle Em is big but Bella's not and that was just mean."

"You're right about that Masen, it was mean," Connor said and then looked at Edward.

"Edward, how are you feeling about all this?" Connor asked as he got ready to write down Edward's answer. We hadn't even had a chance to talk about what he would say so I had no idea and I was shocked when I heard his answer.

"Well Connor, I'm okay actually. Masen wasn't hurt too badly and neither was Bella, thank goodness. My brother got them out of there as fast as he could and they are safe now. I am shocked by the behavior of the so called press and they should be ashamed of themselves for scaring a little boy the way they did all for the sake of exposing some perceived scandal. If anyone bothered to ask a question, they would have realized that Bella and Derek Jeter are good friends and he was just doing a favor for a friend…and she was just giving him a hug of thanks. Bella is my girlfriend and I am not upset by the fact that she gave him a hug and I have no idea why anyone else thinks it's their damn business in the first place. We're a family here, and one little hug is not the end of the world so I think everyone needs to back off and give us some space. I think we've earned that after what we've been through," Edward finished succinctly and I was so proud of him.

Connor looked somewhat taken aback by Edward's words but he smiled after a moment and said, "I think that is a perfect place to end this. Let's get some pictures of you four and then we'll be out of your way. Like Edward said, you four deserve your space. Thanks so much for letting me tell your side of the story Bella."

Jane looked pleased too and after a few quick pictures they were indeed gone and we had the rest of the night to just chill…and we did with pizza and a movie.


"Bella, angel, I need to go to the office for a little bit. Will you and the kids be okay until I get back?" Edward whispered as he kissed my bare shoulder.

"Mmmhmm," I mumbled and heard him chuckle as he moved to get out of bed.

I heard the shower running and got up and slipped on a t-shirt and a pair of boxers so that I could at least fix his coffee before he left.

After about fifteen minutes, Edward walked out buttoning his shirt and yes, I sighed…again.

"Bella, you should have stayed in bed," he said as he kissed me on the temple and took his mug of coffee from me.

"Well, Maddie and Masen are going to be up soon and I wanted to have their breakfast fixed when they got up so I needed to get up anyway," I told him as I sat down next to him as he looked through his phone at his schedule.

"I'm going to have Emmett and Seth take me to your mom and dad's for lunch, is that okay?" I asked him once he was finished.

He stood up and put his suit coat on and grabbed my hand as he walked to the front door, "Of course it is Bella. You can take them anywhere you want to, I trust you with them," he said and I held my breath for a moment while I looked at him.

"Stop it Bella, no more, you promised," Edward admonished me and I nodded at him. He kissed me on the lips and said, "If I have time, I'll stop by Ma and Pop's and have lunch with you all, okay? If not, I'll meet you back here when I'm through for the day so we can get ready for tonight. Text me later baby, I gotta run," he said as he walked toward the elevator.

"Love you," I told him as he walked on the elevator and he said it back as the doors closed.

The kids woke up starving according to Masen and after a breakfast of stuffed French toast and bacon, they got dressed and played on the Wii for a bit while I checked in with Angela and looked at my email.

I pulled up the interview from last night and the accompanying pictures on the Internet and after a brief skim of the article and the message boards it certainly seemed like we still had the public firmly in our corner and there was barely a mention of the pictures of Derek and I after the game. I shook my head at the ridiculousness of how one picture could be taken out of context so badly.

But, like Edward said and like I promised, no more dwelling.

The kids and I baked some cookies to bring to Carlisle and Esme's. We made extra to leave here for us and some for Nana and Papa as well as Emmett and Seth, but Carlisle was going to deliver most of them to the shelter for me since I really couldn't do it myself right now. Emmett and Seth were very appreciative of the snicker doodle cookies and argued almost the whole way to the Cullen's about who had more in their container…much to the amusement of the kids. I was just happy we managed to get into the car and to Carlisle and Esme's without any issues. There were still a few photographers outside the loft, but with the underground parking and the security along with Jake driving the other suburban, we weren't followed…to my great relief.

Edward did manage to make it in time for lunch and it was nice to relax for a bit and enjoy just being together. The last few days made me realize a lot of things, but at the top of the list had to be not taking peace and quiet for granted. And again…September couldn't get here fast enough.

Seth and Emmett had us back at the loft by three o'clock and we were leaving for the premiere around six thirty. Maddie and Masen were really excited about seeing The Last Airbender and didn't seem to be the least bit phased that there were going to be lots of people there taking their pictures and asking more questions. They were taking all of this is stride…much better than I was for sure and I told myself I needed to take a page from their book and try to chill out.

Edward came home a little after four and after cuddling with him on the couch for a little bit I fixed us all a light dinner and then helped get Masen and Maddie dressed before doing the same myself. Edward was still not at all pleased about the fact that Jake was going to be at the premiere with us, but after he spoke to Emmett and Seth, he realized he was fighting a losing battle. With the amount of people that were going to be there, we needed Jake.

Edward and I were sitting at the island discussing the plans for leaving the next day when there was a knock on the door and after a brief glance at the clock, I knew it was going to be Jake. Seth was going to be waiting for us at the theater with Emmett so Jake was going to be the one driving the four of us there. I hadn't seen Jake since I found out he'd been in the loft while I was out of town and there were a few things that needed to be cleared up first before we could go anywhere.

I gave Edward a quick kiss on the cheek and went to answer the door, making sure to see who it was first. Edward's snort from behind me let me know I was lucky I did, too.

I opened the door to let Jake come in and I immediately felt Edward standing behind me.

"Come on in Jake, we'll be ready in a few minutes," I told him as I opened the door so he could enter.

I took a deep breath and turned to look at Edward who had his hands clenched in a fist beside his legs and he was breathing heavily while he glared at Jacob.

"Edward, baby, let me talk to Jake for just a minute," I told him. Jesus this was not going to be good, but if Jacob was going to be around us, we needed to find a way to get along. Keeping the kids and Edward safe was more important than anything, even if that meant more time around Jacob Black.

Edward exhaled loudly out of his nose and then pinched the bridge of it with his fingers. "Bella, please. I don't like this," he said, sounding very pained by just the thought.

"Sweetheart, what can happen? You'll be in our room, it's not like I am all alone with the guy. We need to get some things out in the open and there is no way that will happen with you huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf over his shoulder. Just give me ten minutes Edward, please," I beseeched him.

Jake's dad Billy and Charlie were close friends, I'd known Jake almost all my life, and I really didn't think I had anything to fear from him. Edward pulled me to him and kissed me deeply, grinding his hips against mine and let his hands cup my ass possessively.

Yeah, like I couldn't see straight through that shit.

He moved his mouth to the spot behind my ear and said loud enough for Jake to hear, "Ten minutes Bella, and then you are mine for the rest of the night."

I narrowed my eyes at him, his display totally unnecessary but when he smirked at me and cocked the eyebrow over his left eye, I couldn't help but chuckle at him. Edward was nothing if not extremely predictable when it came to marking his territory so to speak.

It pissed me off to no end, but it was impossible to stay mad at him for it. Hell, I did the same thing whenever women looked at him…and they did, often.

"Go Edward, I'll be fine," I said and heard Jake huff from his spot on the sofa.

Edward tried to set Jake on fire with his glare but then walked to our room and shut the door, a tad bit harder than was completely necessary. I sighed and then rolled my eyes at him through the door and then sat down on the chair beside the sofa and looked at Jake. Jacob was sitting with his arms crossed as he glared at the closed door and then back at me. Oh, that pissed me off…bad.

"Knock it the hell off Jacob. I have no idea what your fucking problem is, but we are figuring this out right now. We've known each other for a long time but I am not above sending you the hell back to Forks if I need to," I told him as I stood up.

"You don't know anything about me Bella. Yeah, our dad's were friends and yeah we would see each other around when we were little, but by the time you reached junior high and high school it was just you, Seth, Jasper and Rose. No one could penetrate the wall you four put up, not even people that had known you most of your life. You thought you were too good for the likes of me and the other boys from the res. Well, that is until Seth needed me and then he didn't think twice about coming to me for help," Jacob sneered and I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

"Jacob, no, that's not…I never meant to," I stuttered out to him and he held his hand up to stop me from saying anything else.

"And now this thing with Edward," and he said thing like we were doing something wrong and that pissed me off all over again.

How fucking dare he?

Jacob was right about one thing though, I really didn't know him all that well. When we were all in Forks together and would see him at picnics, barbeques and parties, I did just hang out with Seth, Jasper and Rose. Jake was younger than I was, by about two years and he went to school in La Push while we were at Forks so besides the casual hello we would give the other at football games and the like, we didn't associate at all. He might have known I liked to play soccer, but not why. He didn't know much about me besides just surface things. The same was true for me about him, and even less so on my part. I knew next to nothing about him. I didn't know what kind of music he liked, what he liked to do in his free time, if he had a girlfriend…though the way he looked at me made me doubt that…I knew none of that.

And, that is what made me so mad about the way he said Edward's name.

"Look Jake, I don't know who the hell you think you are but if you ever, ever say Edward's name in that tone of voice again you can find yourself another job…immediately. You are not my friend, you're not my brother and you most certainly aren't my father so I can't for the life of me figure out how you think it's any of your business who I do or don't spend my time with," I seethed as I tried to keep from sticking my foot straight up his ass.

"I'm sorry Bella. You're right, it isn't any of my business. But the last thing my dad said to me when I left La Push was that you were like his daughter and it was my job to look out for you. I guess I'm going about this all wrong," Jake said and hung his head.

The guy was giving me whiplash with his emotions all over the place, but I could kind of see where he was coming from. Billy Black was a very honorable and good man and I knew he raised Jacob to be the same way. If Billy told Jake to do something, no matter how unnecessary it was, Jake would do everything he could to do as his father asked.

"You think, Jake?" I scoffed at him, not expecting him to answer. "Listen Jacob," I began, "I am not going to lie to you, I need your help. With all the shit going on right now, it would really suck to have to bring someone else in. I have two months left and then I walk away, never to look back again. I may need your help, but that doesn't mean I'm letting what you have done go either."

Speaking of not letting things go … "Jake, do you think you can explain to me exactly what the hell you were thinking when you came into my home, when you knew damn good and well that no one was here?"

"Bella, I explained that day to your…to Edward," he said as he took a few calming breaths. "Look I know I shouldn't have come in here without your permission and I swear it will never happen again. I don't really know what I was thinking when I did it. I thought I left something up here from before and I figured I would just come and get and be gone. I didn't think your boyfriend would come flying in here like he owned the damn place," he said defensively.

I chuckled to myself as I remembered Edward's words when he told me about finding Jacob in here.

"He may not own it Jacob, but he sure as hell has more right to be in here than you do. Now, do we have an understanding about you not coming in here when no one is home? I know you have a job to do and part of that is making sure the building is safe and secure, and that's fine. But what you did wasn't part of your job and it was just wrong. I don't want it to happen again," I said as I stared at him.

Jake still looked at me in a way I didn't find totally appropriate, but I couldn't deal with that right now. We needed to go and I needed his help to get through the next two months. I trusted not only my safety, but Maddie and Masen's as well to him; he'd better not make me regret it.

"Fine Bella, I understand. I don't have to like the guy do I?" he asked petulantly.

I chuckled to myself when I heard Edward snort from the bedroom and I rolled my eyes at the door of our room before looking at Jake. "No, you don't. I'm pretty sure he doesn't like you either, but we do have to get along. I wasn't bullshitting earlier. I do need your help and I would appreciate it if we could find some sort of middle ground here. I trust you to protect two very important people to me. I'm not wrong for doing that am I?" I asked as I held his gaze and he did the same back to mine.

"Yes, Bella, you can trust me," he said and I don't know why, but I believed him.

"Fine, good. Now we need to get a move on so we're not late. I just want to get this over with," I mumbled and Edward came out of the bedroom before I even had a chance to call for him.

"Everything okay out here?" Edward asked casually as he wrapped an arm around my waist.

I rolled my eyes at him when I looked up at him and he just smirked and lifted an eyebrow in question. I knew saying anything was pointless and besides we didn't have time so I called for the kids to come out of Masen's room so we could go.

As we pulled up to the theater, I saw Maddie and Masen's eyes get big as they looked at all the people standing behind the barricades.

"Mad, Mase, guys, look at me for a second," I said as I turned and faced them. "I know there are a lot of people out there, but they are just excited for the movie like we are. See those wooden things there?" I asked as I pointed to the yellow barricades that the fans were standing behind. When the nodded I went on, "No one can come past them okay? Uncle Emmett and Seth will be with us as well as Daddy and all we are going to do is walk up that red carpet right there and watch a movie, alright?"

Edward reached over and squeezed my hand and looked at the two of them and said, "We've got it all under control, don't we guys? Pretty soon we'll be more famous than you Bella," he teased and the kids laughed at him and nodded their heads.

Good, laughing was good. This was supposed to be fun, not something to be scared of. And, not that I wanted to make a habit of them coming places with me, but if we could enjoy this, then the awards show in August would be even more fun for them.

Jacob pulled up in front and Emmett and Seth were there immediately, and Emmett looked like he was just as excited as Masen and Maddie were.

"Big brother, you look like you do on Christmas morning," Edward chuckled at Emmett once we were all out of the vehicle.

"Ed, man, this shit is so cool!" Emmett said. "I've never been to anything like this!"

As soon as I stood next to Edward he grabbed my hand in his and laced our fingers together.

"Ready?" I asked him as he looked at me and I could tell he wanted to kiss me, but didn't know if he should…so I made the decision for him. I stood on my tip toes and kissed him soundly, but quickly on the lips, hearing the flashbulbs go off as soon as I did.

"Bella," he said as he shook his head at me, but then winked as we walked forwards.

The cameras and the people seemed to startle the kids at first but as we walked a little farther and they realized they were safe, they relaxed and even waved a few times at people as we passed them. Masen was actually having a ball hamming it up in front of all the cameras and Maddie even laughed at him. She gripped my hand tightly but she was doing just fine.

Emmett and Seth were doing a great job of keeping us moving forward and then stopped as we went up the steps to meet Jane…and Ian.

I heard Edward's sharp intake of breath when he noticed him, but we didn't have time to say anything to each other before we were stopped by Billy Bush of Access Hollywood. "And here we are with supermodel Isa and her boyfriend Edward Cullen and his two adorable kids," he said as we turned to face him and the crowd.

I squeezed Edward's hand, telling him that this is what we were here for and put a big smile on my face. "Hi Billy. Yes, we're all really excited to be here for the movie. Masen and Maddie have been asking to see it for weeks now," I said, not totally lying, but kind of…but no one needed to know that!

"Is that right kids?" he asked and laughed at their enthusiastic nods. "Isa, how are you and Masen feeling after what happened at the Yankee game on Tuesday?" he asked and I smiled, even though I didn't feel like it, and answered, "Well, Billy, as you can see, Masen broke his arm but other than that and a few scrapes and bruises we're both just fine. Thanks to Edward's brother Emmett, we made it to the car without any further incident."

"Edward, are you angry about what happened?" Billy asked and though we knew this question was coming, it didn't make it any easier to answer. "I'm angry that Masen was scared and I'm angry that Bella was surrounded the way she was. I'm angry at the people who followed them with out any regard to their safety. I'm very grateful that neither was hurt more than they were and I'm very thankful to my brother for getting them back home to me," Edward calmly said.

"Isa, do you have a comment on the pictures that were in the paper yesterday of you and Derek Jeter?" he asked and I tensed but immediately calmed when Edward wrapped his arm around my waist and tucked me in close to him. "I certainly do Billy. First I'd like to thank Derek Jeter and the rest of the Yankee organization for their well wishes to both Masen and I. Next, the picture in the paper was taken as I thanked him for taking the time to fulfill a dream of Masen's and that is all. Derek is a friend, but that's all he is."

He finished up the interview and we posed for a few pictures and then made our way inside the theater.

It was a bit awkward with Ian there with Jane and Edward kept staring at him, even after I elbowed him in the stomach…numerous times. Maddie and Masen soaked everything up and by the time we made our way to our seats, they were both bouncing up and down…along with their Uncle Emmett. I relaxed once we sat down and rested my head on Edward's shoulder for a moment and said a quick prayer of thanks that we made it through that with no fallout. "You were wonderful out there angel," Edward whispered as he kissed the top of my head and squeezed me to him.

"I hate doing that kind of stuff so much," I told him with a sigh, but even I had to admit it was relatively painless. "You weren't so bad either, and now that there are plenty of pictures of you and me and the kids, hopefully Jane stops hounding me for more. The trip to California is it as far as I am concerned," I told him.

"I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing the picture of you kissing me plastered all over the Internet, baby," Edward chuckled at me. "I like seeing you all possessive like that."

"Damn straight, Cullen. You're mine and everyone needs to know that," I told him with a huff.

"I sure the fuck am Bella," he whispered to me. "Just like you are mine…and I'll show you tonight just how mine you are."

Ooohh, I really, really liked the sound of that.

And he did show me…many, many times all throughout the night.


Friday morning we woke up early and packed to go to the lake. We wouldn't really need much besides shorts, t-shirts, and bathing suits and we were on the road by lunchtime after going through the drive through at McDonald's.

Edward had a panic attack at the thought of us eating in the car but with the holiday weekend, we needed to get on the road as soon as possible. I knew once we got to the lake house he would be cleaning out the car as well as spraying air freshener…he was kind of anal about his car.

The traffic was bad, but it was moving pretty good and we made it to Lake George by four o'clock. We stopped at the market to stock up on the food we would need for the weekend and we pulled into the driveway of the house a short while later.

Maddie, Masen and Rufus ran straight towards the trampoline only to be stopped short by Edward yelling, "Hey, hold up there WonderTwins. Masen, remember your arm, okay? No flipping or anything crazy or else you have to get off and stay off for the whole weekend."

"But Daddy, it doesn't even hurt!" Masen whined and wriggled his chubby little fingers to show just how much it didn't hurt.

His cast wasn't very big, stopping just below his elbow, but he did still need to be careful with it.

"I know little man, but you don't want to have to keep it on any longer than Dr. Garrett told you to, do you?" Edward asked with a raised eyebrow and we both chuckled when Masen grumbled out a, "fine, no tricks," before going to the trampoline.

"He's seven Edward, if it doesn't hurt, he doesn't understand why he needs to be careful," I told him as I stood next to him.

Edward chuckled at Rufus running in circles around the trampoline as he barked at Masen and Maddie while they jumped. Poor little guy, I seriously think he thinks he's a kid just like they are.

"I know baby. I was a boy too, you know," Edward said as we carried the groceries into the kitchen.

"Oh, I know you're a boy Edward. I think you showed me that many times last night if I remember correctly," I teased him as I filled the refrigerator with food.

"Damn straight woman. And, I'll show you tonight too, if you need another reminder," Edward said as he stood behind me, pressing his cock into my ass. He bent down and kissed my neck and after a moment, took a deep breath. "You are utterly too tempting Bella," he growled and then stepped back as the kids came in through the doors.

"Bella, are we going to still get to practice the drums?" Masen asked as he slid onto a stool at the island.

I pulled a carrot out of the fridge and said, "Here, Mase, try to hold this like a drumstick."

I watched as he gripped the carrot in his fingers and though it was a little bigger than a drumstick and his grip wasn't as good as it should be, it would do. There was no way I was giving up the opportunity to play with him again if I could help it.

"Yep, Skittles, we'll get to it tomorrow before everyone gets here, okay?" I asked him as he nodded and then scampered off to find Maddie.

Edward and I fixed a quick meal of spaghetti and garlic bread with salad and after we ate we played some board games until the kids started nodding off. The night was perfect…just what we needed after the last few days of chaos. I could feel myself relaxing more with each passing minute and Edward seemed to do the same…of course it also could have been the bottle of wine we drank between us, but I didn't care.

Once we got the kids tucked into bed, we went to our room where Edward did indeed remind me again that he was all boy…man.

Masen POV

I woke up and didn't remember where I was for a second until I heard the water outside and Maddie was sleeping in the bed beside me.

Rufus picked his head up off the floor and looked to make sure I was okay and then went back to sleep and I stared at the ceiling thinking about the last couple of days.

Wow, the movie last night was lots of fun and all those people? Uncle Em was so funny as he tried to look around at everything and he kept tripping as he walked in front of us. I couldn't help but wave at everyone, and I hoped that Josh and Kevin saw me on TV, they would be so jealous of me!

I reached down and scratched my hand, wishing I could reach under my cast, but I knew I couldn't. Dr. Nick told me that would happen and he wasn't wrong, it was starting to itch really bad, but it didn't hurt. It sucked I couldn't play baseball right now and I hoped Bella would be able to figure out a way for me to go on the boat with Daddy and Uncle Emmett this weekend.

Bella…mommy. I remember her saying that word to me when I got to the hospital after the game.

That reminds me… "Mad, wake up," I said as I pushed on Maddie to wake her up. I needed to talk to her and it couldn't wait. We needed to make a plan.

"Mase, what's wrong? Why did you wakes me up?" Maddie asked as she sat up.

"I gotta talk to you," I whispered and motioned to her to lay down and I pulled the blanket up over our heads so that Daddy and Bella couldn't hear us.

"Ok, what?" Maddie asked me and I rolled my eyes at her.

"I gotta tell yous what happened at the hopsital when I got hurt," I told her as I tried to keep my voice down.

"What?" Mad asked me and I had to put my hand over her mouth to keep her from making anymore noise.

I tried to make her be quiet with my eyes and she licked my hand to make me move it off her mouth, "Yuck Mad, stop it." She huffed at me and said, "Mase, just tell me alreadys. I'm tired."

"Maddie, when I was in the bed waitin for daddy to get there, I called Bella mommy," I told her as I lowered my voice really low to say the word mommy.

"You did? What did she say?" Maddie askded me. I whispered so low she had to press her ear right up to me and said, "She said mommy loves you Masen."

"Do you think she wants to be our mommy Masen?" my sister asked me and I had to think for a second.

I knew Bella loved us, she told us so all the time. She made rooms for us at her house, she smiled everytime she saw us, she made us awesome cookies, she took me to meet Derek Jeter and she helps with Maddie's soccer team. She kisses Daddy all the time and they say mushy things to each other that makes him laugh.

"I do Mad," I told her and I really hoped she would be someday.

It sucked not having a mommy. I knew it made Daddy sad to talk about it, but he was always honest with us. Like that day at the park, when Bella was gone. He talked to us and told us the truth. My dad is the bestest dad ever.

"I want Bella to be our mommy Masen," Maddie said as she laid her head on my shoulder.

"I do too sissy," I told her. "I think Daddy wants Bella to be our mommy too. He's always so happy when he's with her."

"Do you think she wants us to call her mommy?" Maddie asked and this is where my problem was.

"I don't know. Bella hasn't said anything about it since we gots home from the hopsital so maybe she doesn't," I said sadly. I really wanted to keep calling her mommy.

"I think she would Mase, I really dos. Bella loves us and she loves daddy and I know they are gonna get married someday. I think we need a plan," Maddie said and I nodded in agreement with her.

I started whispering in her ear, and by the time I was done…we had a plan…a plan I was sure was going to work.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, such a gamet of emotions throughout this chapter... for one, when jane started acting "nice" I thought to myself wooo she is crunching on ian big time... and then as it went on sure enough there it was, confession... niiice~! everybody needs somebody to love~!
    Mase and Bella getting hurt was so scary, and Em was beside himself over not protecting them like he was suppose to... Again, with the crying~ shoot you know how to jerk some tears out of my eyes ~great writing~ Then Bella giving jake what for, priceless~~ But the cutest thing in the world is Mase telling Maddie he wants Bella for their mommy... AND~ He's got a Plan~! This is gonna be good~!