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.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chapter 33


"Bella, Bella!" Masen tried to whisper and he nudged her shoulder. "Bella, wake up!"

I peeked over her shoulder at my not so quiet, but oh so adorable seven year old and said, "Buddy, what are you doing? It's only," and I groaned as I looked on the nightstand beside the bed and saw that it was only seven a.m. "Only seven in the morning Mase. Bella's still sleeping."

Bella was laid out on her stomach and my arm was wrapped tightly around her stomach. She growled as she pressed her head farther in her pillow. I had kept her up very late the night before, and well this morning actually, showing her over and over again how much of a man I could be. I purposely, as I thought about feeling her come on my fingers around two thirty this morning, pressed my already hardening cock against her…oh shit…bare ass. I nonchalantly pulled the sheet tighter against her so that Masen wasn't granted an unwanted view of his favorite person in the world. She was even ahead of me.

"Daddy, Bella said she would practice with me this morning before everyone got here and I wanna get started. Can I please wake her up?" he whisper talked and we both chuckled when Bella shook her head no without picking her head up.

"Later Mase, much later," Bella mumbled from beneath her hair, not even bothering to move it out of the way.

Masen huffed and tried again, "But, Bella."

She giggled and lifted her head just enough to blow her hair out of her face before she said in a somewhat serious voice, "Masen Samuel Cullen, did you just call me, your bestest friend in the whole world a 'butt'?"

My son tried not to laugh, he really did, but he couldn't help it and started giggling. Soon that giggling turned into snort out loud laughing complete with holding of the sides and bending over at the waist. "Bella, you know I didn't calls you a…a butt," Masen sputtered out as he tried to get a hold of himself.

"Are you sure about that Skittles? It sounded an awful like it to me," Bella chuckled at him and then laughed when Masen enthusiastically nodded his head at her. "Because you know, if you did call me that, I might not wanna play the drums with you."

"I didn't, I's promise," Masen said in his most solemn voice. "Are we gonna practice, please?"

Bella picked her head up off the pillow and pushed her hair back behind her ears, looking every bit the adorable, rumpled mess that I desperately loved. After a quick glace at me as well as a very on purpose, but thankfully covert shifting of her ass against my even harder cock she looked at Masen and said, "Yes, Masen. We are going to practice. But there is no way I'm practicing this early in the morning. You have to give me at least an hour before we get started."

"Bella," Masen whined and then gave the pout.

The kid was seriously going to give me a run for my money before too much longer in the perfection of the Cullen Pout. His was pretty damned good, I had to admit. Plus he had that whole, 'I'm only seven and I'm too cute for words' thing going on, so he might even have me beat.

She was shaking her head at him before he even finished the 'a' and said, "Masen, give me a break little man. I need to get up and make breakfast. I promise we'll get out to the garage, okay? Now since you are up and raring to go, why don't you take Rufus outside and let him go potty and I'll get up and start breakfast."

Masen pursed his lips at her and then rolled his eyes, emulating once again his best friend and said, "Fine Jelly Bean. One hour though, you promise?"

"Promise, now come give me a kiss and then get out of here," she laughed a sweet laugh at him and leaned over so he could kiss her cheek, which he happily did…with a raspberry.

"Love you Bella," he giggled as he raced out of the room, no doubt to find his sister then his other best friend to go do as Bella asked.

I huffed and rolled over on my back and petulantly said, "What am I chopped liver? He didn't give me a kiss or tell me he loved me. Nice to see where I rank on my own son's list of important people. I'm even below the dog," I grumped and Bella giggled at me as she rolled over and found her favorite spot on my shoulder…the one that fit her head absolutely perfectly.

"Edward stop it. He's just excited to get to the garage to practice," she told me as she ran her fingers over my chest.

Shit that felt good and the little vixen knew it too when she scraped the fingernail of her index finger over my nipple.

"Baby, you're going to have one very upset little boy if you keep that shit up," I growled at her as I shifted our bodies and felt her soft foot rub up against my calf.

"What?" Bella tried to say innocently, but she wasn't fooling anyone with that fake ass innocent look she gave me.

I rolled over and framed her head with my elbows as I brushed all of her messy, silky hair back off her face. Bella Swan had to be, without a doubt, the sexiest, most beautiful woman in the entire world. Having just woken up, her eyes were bright and clear, the brown a rich shade of sienna with flecks of gold in them. She smiled a soft smile and adjusted her body so that I was fully nestled between her legs and my cock danced dangerously close to the place it loved to be the most.

"I love you Bella, so fucking much angel," I whispered to her as I brushed my lips across hers and ran my fingers through her hair.

Her eyes told me everything I needed to know…she loved me too, she was happy, she wanted me.

I bent my head down and rubbed my nose against the tender and warm skin of her neck and let my tongue make a trail from her collar bone up the length of her elegant neck to the shell of her ear and back down again. When she shivered and then I heard that alluring as hell hitch in her breath she always got when I kissed that spot, I wanted nothing more than to bury myself deep inside of her…again. But I knew we didn't have time and I didn't want to take away from Masen's special time with Bella.

Poor kid had been through enough the last few days, allowing him his practice time was the least I could do. I was honestly and truly amazed at how well he handled the interview at the loft with Connor Matthews and the movie premiere. I had a hell of a son, there was no doubt about it and I was so proud of the way he, as well as Maddie, handled all of it. Masen didn't seem to have any lasting effects from getting hurt. When we first got out of the car at the premiere and all the people were right there, screaming and yelling, he flinched and clung to me. But, after the first initial minutes of walking the red carpet, he was his usual self…smiling, happy and charming the pants off everyone that looked in his direction.

Yep, that apple did not fall far from the tree, that's for damned sure.

By the time we all made it to bed last night, it seemed like a huge weight had been lifted from all of us. Bella was certainly more relaxed which in turn made me feel better. Masen's cast was an annoyance but he was healing right on schedule and had minimal pain and his scrapes and cuts were fading away as well.

As my tongue flicked at Bella's delectable bottom lip…fucking hell I loved that lip…I touched the small scab she still had there from the split lip she suffered trying to get to Masen and get him to safety. I'm not sure Bella will ever understand just how magnificently she handled that entire situation. I know that there is lingering guilt there on her part, Emmett's as well, but there needn't be any. My brother would never allow anything to happen to his nephew if he could help it and after listening to the tender scene between Masen and Bella from the hospital, the depth of her love for him and for Maddie was entirely unfathomable.

When Masen called Bella mommy that first time, and she answered back just as instinctually, I thought I would fall to my knees in gratitude for whatever force led her on the path to me and my children. It wasn't as if I didn't realize how much the twins loved her, and her them in return, before the accident because I surely did. But, to hear those words from him, to hear the word mommy spoken that way was like an answered prayer. It was truly all I had ever wanted for Maddie and Masen. From the moment Lauren dismissed them so thoroughly from her life, I knew that the one thing I wanted to give them that I couldn't do for them myself, was that of a mother's love. Oh, there was plenty of female influence in their life from Esme, Ali, Tanya and Aunt Diane, but it wasn't the same thing. I should know, I love my mother in a way that really defies definition and if she were gone from my life, there wasn't a substitute that could ever be found to take her place.

That was what Isabella Marie Swan meant to my children. She was that person that they would love in a way that was beyond description and I couldn't be fucking happier about it.

The sound of Rufus barking downstairs pulled me from my thoughts and I stared down into the love of my life's face and kissed the tip of her nose and said, "I guess that is our cue to get up beautiful. Emmett said they would get here around lunch time so if you and Masen want to practice, you better get to it."

Bella smiled at me and ran her fingers through my hair and said, "Okay sweetheart. Time to get up and face the day. I've got things to do and drums to beat on."

Rolling off her I sat on the edge of the bed and pulled on a pair of boxers and turned just in time to see Bella stand up, the bottom of my t-shirt barely covered the cheeks of her magnificent ass.

Damn if her ass didn't turn me the fuck on…all the freaking time.

"Edward, stop staring at my ass," Bella said as she walked to the bathroom and then purposely wiggled it as she pulled her shirt off and turned to look at me, gloriously naked. "Now, do you want to take a shower with me or do you want to stare at me?" She giggled and then squealed as I rolled over the bed and then hopped up to hurry into the bathroom.

She pushed my boxers down and then grabbed my hand as she pulled me into the shower, where the water was already a perfect steamy temperature. "Edward, why stare at my ass when you can hold on to the real thing…perhaps while you fuck me against the wall of the shower?" she purred at me and then leaned forward to flick her tongue over my nipple and licked the water that was flowing over it.

"You bet your sweet ass I'll fuck you against the wall," I said in a deep, gravelly lust filled voice as I picked her up and allowed my hands to cup said sweet ass and proceeded to do just what I said I would. After being thoroughly sated…for the time being anyway, we finished our shower and got dressed for the day and headed for the kitchen to feed the kids.

Once the kitchen was picked up and Bella spent some time preparing the chicken salad and fruit salad we were going to have for lunch today, we all walked towards the garage.

I held Maddie's hand as we walked and I couldn't help but smile down at her as she looked up at me. My little girl had me completely wrapped around her finger…every damn one of them actually and I was so proud of the changes I'd seen in her since Bella had come into our lives. She was still a little on the shy side but she was having a ball playing soccer. She had made so many new friends…especially a little boy named Nolan who she swore up and down was her best friend in the whole wide world.

"Daddy, are you gonna watch me and Bella?" Masen asked as we approached the garage.

I hoped they would let me watch, I was really curious to see him in action…and Bella too. "Well, Mase, if it's okay with both of you I would really like to watch," I told him and looked to see Maddie nodding in agreement with me. "We both would," I finished as I picked Maddie up and kissed her on the cheek before putting her down.

"Daddy, you're so silly," she giggled at me as we entered the garage once Bella had unlocked the door.

I couldn't help the smirk I immediately got when I looked at the Camaro. I wondered if the hand prints were still there. When I looked at Bella she had a faraway look in her eyes and when her breathing picked up and her chest got that delicious flush on it, I knew she was remembering what I was. When she realized I caught her, she blushed even more.

"Watch it Cullen," she said, trying extraordinarily hard to keep a straight face.

"I have no idea what you are talking about Swan, it's just a car," I told her as I walked around the garage.

Admittedly, the last time I was in here, I was a little preoccupied and I hadn't had the opportunity to come back in and look around after our little escapade. I watched Bella and Masen as they got the drums set up and was a little in awe of the way they moved in perfect harmony getting everything together. I looked at the car again and walked over towards where it was parked. I couldn't help but notice there were several pictures of Charlie on the wall behind it. Bella was young in most of them, but there was one that was taken when she was in college. I only knew that by the fact she was in a soccer jersey. He had his arm around her and he looked so damn proud of her. Bella was smiling, her hair sweaty and her cheeks red, but she looked so happy you could almost feel it just from looking at the picture of the two of them

My heart ached momentarily for the pain Bella felt when he died and for the loss of her soccer career as well. She hadn't talked much about Charlie and Renee since the last time we were here, but I could tell she was coming to terms with the way she was brought up and also both of their deaths. Bella said Charlie's name a bit more often now and though she would never have many nice things to say about her mother, she was able to say Renee's name without cringing and looking like she was going to fall apart.

I watched her and Masen giggle about something as the were picking out music to practice and I couldn't help but marvel at her incredible ability to love, to open herself up to me and my family considering the way she was treated by the woman that was supposed to love her unconditionally. Bella was, unquestioningly, the bravest, the most forgiving and the most selfless person I had ever met in my life. She astounded me daily and I constantly found myself in complete awe of her.

"Baby, when was this picture taken?" I asked as I looked back at the picture of Bella and Charlie.

She squinted her eyes as she tried to figure out which picture it was before she got a breathtaking smile on her face and stood up to walk over to where I was standing. When she was close enough to it, she reached a finger out and traced over Charlie's face before she plucked the frame off the wall and held it in her hands. They shook a bit as she stared at the picture and when she looked up at me, she had a few tears in her eyes but she still smiled so I knew they were happy tears that came from a good memory.

"Will you tell me?" I quietly asked, hoping she would share the story with me. Bella still had a bit of a hard time sharing pieces of herself with me. She nodded and held her hand out to me, which I gratefully took and walked us towards the couch by the windows and the drum sets.

"Whatcha looking at Bella?" Maddie sweetly asked as she sat on the other side of Bella and leaned in to look at what she was holding.

Masen had walked over and glanced at the picture and said, "That's Bella's daddy, Charlie. Bella say's he would have liked me."

"Me too?" Maddie asked quietly from beside Bella and she immediately hugged Mad and said, "Of course sweetie. Charlie may have looked tough, but he had a soft spot for sweet little girls like you. He would have loved you since you're extra sweet."

"This picture was taken at one of the last games Charlie ever watched me play. He had taken some time off of work and he and Sue traveled to California to watch me play. I scored the winning goal in the game and Charlie was so proud of me he couldn't stop telling everyone we passed on the way to dinner. Sue took this picture outside of the restaurant where we were going to eat. He wouldn't even let me change shirts," Bella said with a smile and then she looked up at me.

It was so fucking nice to see her be able to talk about him and have a happy memory.

"What happened to him?" Maddie asked once Bella sat back again.

I was a little worried about them asking her questions. It was only natural that they were curious and when she smiled at me when she caught me watching her, I knew she was okay with talking to them both.

"Well, you know how Papa is a special doctor who helps people who are really sick?" Bella asked each of them and when they nodded their heads, she went on. "Well Papa came all the way to Washington, where I used to live and tried to help my Daddy. He tried really hard, but Charlie was so sick, even someone as smart as Papa wasn't able to make him better."

"You knew Papa before you met us?" Masen asked and I was startled to realize that neither he nor Maddie knew that before.

Bella nodded her head and said, "Yes, actually I did. Jasper, Seth and Rose knew him too from a long time ago."

"Did you know Daddy when your Daddy died?" Maddie asked and I couldn't help the small twinge I felt when I realized that my parents were with her, albeit, briefly, during one of the hardest time in her life.

She shook her head and said, "No, baby girl, I didn't. I wish I would have," Bella said quietly as she looked at me and reached for my hand. I happily obliged her and laced our fingers together.

I had a sudden thought and took a gasping breath as Bella looked at me questioningly. "Bella, how did you not know who my parents were when we first met?" I asked and I couldn't believe I had never had that thought cross my mind before.

Bella blushed adorably and hung her head, shaking it gently. She huffed and then looked up at me and then at each of the kids before she began, "When Charlie had gotten so sick, you know that J, Seth, and Le all came with me every weekend when we would go to Seattle to visit with him, right?"

"Yes, I remember you and he telling us all that at the lake," I told her.

"Well, from the very first time I met your dad, I had always called him Dr. C. and we called your mom Mrs. E. I am sure that the initial introduction included his last name, but I was so upset about Dad that I didn't pay attention and then once we started with the nicknames, I didn't even think about it any more. When Charlie finally passed away, and your dad had come back, Seth and I had already left," she said as she shrugged her shoulders.

"I probably should have put it all together and Seth probably should have too, but we were all so distraught about Charlie being sick that we just didn't give it a second thought," Bella finished as she looked at me.

Fate, I thought to myself again. There was no other explanation really, for how Bella and I managed to find one another…or I suppose we could chalk it all up to a little puppy!

"Bella?" Masen asked quietly from his spot between Bella and me and when Bella looked at him he said, "What about your mommy? Do you not like her? Is that why you don't have any pictures of her or talk about her?" he asked as he looked up at her.

I opened my mouth to say something to him, anything really, to try to change the subject or something, but Bella surprised me…as she often does.

She sat back on the sofa and took a hold of each of their hands and softly said, "My mom died just after my dad did Masen. And, the reason I don't talk about her very much or have any pictures is because, no, I didn't really like her very much at all."

Both kids gaped at Bella, their mouths hung open as they tried to process what she had just told them. I was really proud of her for talking about Renee and for being strong enough to talk to the kids about it. Maddie and Masen were both extremely inquisitive children and there was no way the topic of Bella's parents would be able to be avoided for any length of time at all.

Maddie closed her mouth and then opened it again, like she wanted to say something, but she didn't. "Mad, it's okay if you want to ask me something. I don't mind, really," Bella gently told her and I was taken aback…again at how fucking strong she was.

"How comes you didn't like her?" my sweet daughter asked, very awkwardly.

"Well," my love said after a moment and she looked from one to the other before she said, "You both have seen the movie Cinderella, right?" Maddie of course has seen it…hello, prince charming, princess…and Masen had been forced to watch it a time or two as well. "My mom was a lot like Cinderella's step mother. She wasn't very nice to me except when other people were around her. And when my dad died, she got very sad and wanted to go to Heaven with him, so she did."

"Why was she mean to you?" Masen asked in a very pained voice as I am sure he couldn't understand why anyone would be mean to his Bella. I had a hard time understanding it myself and had to clench my fists and squeeze really hard when I saw Bella take an uneven breath before she looked at him. "I'm not really sure Masen. She was a very unhappy person and she tried to make everyone around her feel as bad as she did," Bella said very simply.

It was, of course, anything but simple but I admired her so fucking much for answering the kids' questions as honestly as she could…and as honestly as they could understand at their age.

"She shouldn't have been mean to you like that," Maddie said protectively as she looked up into Bella's face.

"No Maddie, she should not have. But she did and now I know how not to act when I am a mommy," Bella said and then immediately stiffened, as did I, once we both realized what she had just said.

I watched Maddie and Masen have a private conversation with each other and when I saw the gleam in each of their eyes, I knew they were up to…something, but I had no earthly idea what it could be.

Maddie smiled sweetly at Bella before she leaned up and kissed her on the cheek and said, "I'm sorry your mommy was mean to you and I'm sorry your daddy got sick and died."

Bella shook her head back and forth a few times and I darted my eyes between both of my kids and for the life of me I couldn't figure out what just happened, but I knew something did. Apparently Bella felt the same way as she bobbed her head from left to right looking at each of them before shrugging her shoulders lightly and then grabbed Masen's hand. "Come on Skittles, we better start practicing so we can get done before everyone gets here. I need you guys to help me with something before lunch time so let's get a move on."

She smiled at me and blew me a kiss as her and Masen got to work. I listened to them warm up for a few minutes before I felt Maddie tugging my hand to make me stand up from the couch. "Come on Daddy," she giggled as I dug my feet in while she continued to pull. "I wanna shows you something." With a glance at Bella that she didn't even acknowledge since she was so engrossed with helping Masen, I let Maddie lead me to a door off to the side of where the Camaro was parked. I had never noticed the door before…but in my defense the only other time I had spent any time in here, I was more than a little preoccupied.

Bending Bella over the hood of the car if I remember correctly…and up against the wall….and pressed up against the windows too. God what a fucking amazing night that was!

I pushed away all those wonderfully dirty thoughts as Maddie opened the door and I took in what was inside. Bella's trophies and pictures lined the walls from floor to ceiling and there was shelf after shelf of videotapes all with dates written on them. Some were written neatly, in a woman's hand most likely, while the rest were in barely legible chicken scrawl…Charlie's if I were to guess.

The pictures grabbed my attention first as I looked at my girl grow up right before my eyes. Even when she was a gangly eight year old with pig tails, she was breathtakingly beautiful. Her smile was still exactly the same and the eyes, even though she had seen more loss and heartbreak than anyone should have to, were just as bright and all knowing as they are now.

I was amazed at the pictures…and there were so many of them. Bella running down a field, her hair flying in the wind; Bella just having scored a goal; Bella and Jasper with Charlie; Bella in a US Team jersey being lifted up by all her teammates. Picture after picture of Bella and I soaked up each one and committed them to memory. I immediately hoped I could convince her to move them out into the open where everyone could enjoy them…they deserved to be appreciated; she deserved it.

I felt a tug on my hand and looked down at Maddie who was pointing to all of the VCR tapes. She had grown up with DVD's, she wouldn't have any idea what videotape cassettes were. "What are those?"

"Bella's dad and Seth's mom taped all of Bella's games. Before we had DVD's, this is what cameras used princess," I told her as I ran my fingers over all of the tapes. Every game she'd ever played in was right here and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do tonight.

"Come on Mad, let's go see if Bella and Mase are done with their practice," I told her as we made our way back to them.

As soon as I shut the door to Bella's special room I turned to look at Bella and Masen and was dumbfounded by what I saw. I had seen Bella play before, just that one time, but this was so different and she was absolutely mesmerizing. She was so much more free and relaxed and her whole body was into it. She didn't have any shoes on and she was laughing and encouraging Masen as they played Linkin Park's New Divide. Bella was doing most of the work, but Masen pitched in with some fills and combinations that made my chin drop. Bella wasn't kidding when she said he was a natural. My boy was fucking kick ass. I was so proud of him right at that moment that if I wasn't enjoying watching him play so damn much, I would have run over and picked him up to give him a kiss.

So totally not cool I know, especially for a seven year old, but he was amazing. And my Bella, damn I wished I had a video camera so I could record them and watch it over and over again. I made a note to myself to talk to Jasper and Seth about putting some drums in at the loft. There was plenty of space and besides the two of them, we were the only other ones in the building so it's not like they would bother anyone.

They finished with a solo from Masen and when he hit the last beat, Maddie and I broke out into applause. "Great job Masen. That was so good," I told him holding my hand out to give him five.

"Wasn't it cool?" he asked me, his face flushed and his little chest moving quickly up and down from the exertion of playing.

"It sure was, I am really proud of you," I told him and laughed when he shrugged like it was no big deal but he couldn't hide how excited he was from me.

"Thanks Daddy. Bella is really good, isn't she?" he asked me as we both looked at her and Maddie. Bella had Maddie on her lap and she was showing Maddie how to make a simple beat and from the look on both of their faces, you would think Maddie just performed a song like Dave Grohl or something.

"Daddy, listen!" Maddie squealed as she repeated what Bella just showed her.

Maddie was…definitely not Masen, but she was pleased with herself just the same.

"Good job Mad," Mase said as he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders.

Someday Maddie would really appreciate how awesome her brother was.

"Okay you three, we need to get back to the house and get ready for the rest of the family. I need your help getting some things done before they get here," Bella said and put her and Masen's drumsticks up and slipped her flip flops back on.

Maddie and Masen ran ahead of us to go find Rufus and I wrapped an arm around Bella's waist and pulled her close to me as we walked to the house.

"You were right angel, he's amazing," I told her as we approached the back yard. "I think we should put in a set for each of you at the loft," I told her as my mind tried to figure out where to put them. The bottom floor had the office and storage on it. The second floor was taken up mostly by Seth's apartment, the third was completely empty as far as I knew and then we had the top.

Bella stopped walking and turned to look at me. "You really think we should put two sets at the loft?" she asked me, sounding incredulous for even thinking it.

"I don't see why not Bella. You have plenty of space there. If I'm not mistaken, the entire third floor is empty isn't it? I've never even been on it," I chuckled to myself as I realized I hadn't been.

"I would love to be able to play at home, Edward," Bella quietly said as she looked at me. "It's been so long since I've played just to play. It was…nice," she finished with a smile.

"Well, if I get to watch you play, then I'm all for it. You're all kinds of sexy when you play baby, especially when you are bare foot," I lowered my voice and said as I pulled her to me, "I find it an incredible turn on beautiful to watch you work yourself up into a sweat, when your chest gets all flushed and you start breathing heavy after you've played. Makes me want to do…all kinds of naughty things to you," I whispered as I kept my lips close to her ear, bathing it in my warm breath.

When she shivered in my arms and I felt her nipples harden as they pressed against my chest, I cursed myself for getting her…and I, all worked up. Especially since we couldn't do anything about it just yet.

Bella sucked in a sharp breath and said, "Edward, you are so not fair! You can't do shit like that to me and then just stop…it's just…just mean!" she said and stomped her foot as she tried to glare at me, but when I smiled at her, she rolled her eyes and huffed before she turned to walk away.

"Uh, uh little girl, no throwing temper tantrums now," I laughed at her as I grabbed her around her waist.

"Kiss me baby and then we can continue this later," I told her as I lowered my mouth to hers and took her delicious bottom lip in between my teeth. My fingers found their way into her hair and I held the back of her head so that I could keep kissing her. I allowed my tongue to push into her mouth and as our tongues twisted and curled against each other, I cursed the fact that my family was due to arrive soon.

The frustrated huff of air Bella blew out once our kiss was finished let me know she felt the same way. "I'm sorry sweetheart. I wish we would have had more time alone," she wistfully whispered as we walked up the stairs of the deck.

"You can make it up to me later angel, don't worry," I told her and chuckled when she nodded her head…a bit more enthusiastic than normal I must admit.

"Damn straight I will…I miss you baby. So much," she said as we walked into the kitchen and grabbed some waters out of the refrigerator.

I took the bottle she offered and leaned back against the counter of the island and watched as Bella moved around the kitchen getting things ready for lunch for when the family arrived. She moved with a grace I am sure she didn't even realize she possessed. Bella was so fucking adorable when she would scrunch up her nose stopping to double check something. She was always so concerned with pleasing everyone, of making sure that everything was done just right.

Bella turned to look at me over her shoulder as I continued to watch her and when she caught me staring at her ass…and we all are very well versed in my thoughts on that piece of her body…she snorted and raised her eyebrows at me.

All I could do was shrug my shoulders at her. I sure as hell wasn't going to apologize for appreciating her body. It was phenomenal and since she was mine, I could look all I wanted.

Once Bella wrapped…whatever we were having for lunch in plastic wrap she called for the kids who were in the living room watching TV. "Okay you three, I have some fun things planned for the weekend once everyone gets here, but I need all of you to help me finish getting some things ready."

"Bella, what are we gonna do?" Masen asked as he climbed on a stool and looked at her.

She got a big smile on her face, one that I hadn't seen in some time, and leaned across the island and tweaked his nose and said, "Little man, we are going to have so much fun! Wait here for a minute okay, and let me go grab everything and then I'll fill all of you in on my plans."

I got a quick kiss on the cheek as she ran up the stairs, her gorgeous hair flying behind her as she moved.

Holy fuck she took my breath away.

Coming to the lake always made her more relaxed, more calm and it made her even more beautiful to me to watch her happy and carefree. Just another reason I couldn't wait until September. I was still anxious about the situation with the letters and I wasn't foolish enough to think that they had just magically stopped and the fucking pervert just disappeared. I worried about it every damn day, but it was easy to let all of that go when we were up here in our little bubble.

Bella came back down the stairs carrying a few bags and motioned all of us to the breakfast table. I couldn't figure out what all the items meant, but I knew my girl. I knew whatever it was, she had given a lot of thought to it and we would all have a blast.

As the kids looked at it all, I couldn't help but pull Bella to me and onto my lap, "Baby, I can't tell you the last time I looked forward to all the family being together like this. I know we were here not too long ago, but this time feels so much different…we're different. It's going to be an excellent weekend."

She nodded her head at me and reached up to hold my face in her little hands and rested her forehead against mine and whispered, "I love you so fucking much Edward. And, we are different now. Better, stronger…closer."

"Hell yeah we are," I murmured to her, but apparently not quiet enough as I heard two little people giggling and holding their hands out.

"Busted baby," Bella smirked as she hopped off of my lap and gave each of the kids a high five and gave me a self satisfied grin since she didn't get caught and I did.

I groaned and pulled the money out of my pocket and wondered, not for the first time, how rich my kids were going to get before they got tired of this damn game. I am so getting my BFF back for this shit this weekend; I'll catch her off guard if it kills me!

Once I handed them the dollar bills I looked at the table and chuckled. It was full of so many different things, I couldn't even begin to decipher what my girl had going on in that gorgeous head of hers.

"Okay angel, you are going to have to fill me in here. What are you doing with all this sh…stuff?" I coughed, hoping the four little ears at the table with me didn't catch my almost slip.

"Almost had ya there Daddy," Masen giggled and kept his head down, looking at the table.

Bella gave Mase a fist bump when he reached his hand up to her and once again I couldn't help the warm, fuzzy feeling I got from watching her interact with him. They were so in tune with the other and it was truly a wonderful thing to watch.

"Alright, alright, let's stop the 'pick on Daddy' time and get to work. What do you need help with Bella?" I asked, dying to find out what she had planned.

"Well this is what I thought we could do," Bella began and by the time she was finished Maddie and Masen were bouncing up and down in their seats and even I was excited.

My girl was a fucking master at all this planning shit and she always, always seemed to take into account everyone's likes and dislikes and managed to make everything perfect. Once we finished helping Bella it was almost time for the family to arrive so the kids went outside to play and I helped Bella get lunch finished.

Bella was chopping walnuts on the cutting board and when I heard her gasp, and then mutter a low, "son of a bitch," I rushed over to her and found her squeezing her eyes shut as she held her hand out. She had nicked the end of her finger and blood was dripping off as she tried to hold it away from the food.

"Shit baby, are you okay?" I asked as I grabbed her arm and guided her to the sink. She whimpered pitifully and I kissed her temple as I turned the water on, "It's not that bad Bella. Let me look at it."

"You look, I can't," she whined adorably and when she heard the soft chuckle I gave her, she squinted one eye at me and said, "Watch it Dr. Cullen. I thought you had a better bedside manner than that."

"Well, Ms. Swan, if you would like to see my bedside manner, I'll certainly be happy to take you upstairs and show you just how good my bedside manner can be," I huskily told her as I kissed the spot behind her ear.

Bella opened both of her eyes at me then and narrowed them as she gazed at me, "You'd better not show anyone besides me your bedside manner Dr. Cullen or else you will have a whole lot more to deal with than psycho co-workers."

This time I did chuckle, loudly. "Damn baby, you can pull the claws back in my little tiger!" I held her finger under the water and asked, "Do you have any band-aids?" Bella nodded and pointed to the drawer at the end of the counter and after I grabbed them and walked back to her, I picked up her up and sat her on the counter. I lifted her finger and kissed it gently.

It wasn't a bad cut, thank goodness because Bella really didn't handle blood well…at all. "There you go sweet girl, all fixed up," I told her as I looked up into her eyes which stared back at me and were so warm and full of love that it made me literally weak in the knees.

"Edward, can you please kiss me?" Bella breathlessly requested as she wrapped her legs around my waist and pulled me to her.

I held her hips in my hands and scooted her to the edge of the counter and placed myself firmly between her legs and wrapped my arms around her. My left hand then cupped the back of her head and my right hand was splayed on her back and then I did as she asked and kissed her…really fucking kissed her.

Lips and tongues fought for dominance before she relented and let me lead. Damn stubborn girl! Her tongue was soft as were her lips and I couldn't help the growl I let loose back in my throat.

"Bella, oh shit. I want you so fucking bad right now," I ground out as I shifted our bodies so that my cock rubbed up against her pussy.

She fucking squeaked and made that sexy ass sound when I did it again and her heels pressed into my ass and her fingers tugged on my hair. "Me too Edward. God that feels so good," she moaned as she began to writhe against me. "Ever since we were in the garage earlier, all I can think about is when you fucked me against the hood of the Camaro," she breathed out in a deep, gravelly voice that literally sent shivers down my spine.

"Jesus Bella," I hissed when I felt her hand snake in between our bodies and she palmed my extremely hard cock in her tiny hand. "Baby…fuck…we need…oh Christ," I grunted out as I felt her fingers close around me and she started to move her hand up and down. I tried, really fucking hard, to keep myself leaning into her, but motherfucker it felt amazing to have her hand on me…even if there were two layers of clothing between her hand and my dick.

"Edward do you remember how good it felt when you had me against the hood of the car?" Bella taunted me as she kept up a steady rhythm of her hand.

"Shit Bella…stop…oh fuck," I moaned as her thumb pressed on the tip of my cock and then I let out a low hiss when she ran her fingernail up the side of me.

Fuck it.

"Bella, touch me damn it," I said through gritted teeth as I turned my head to make sure the kids were still occupied outside, which thank fucking God they were.

She slipped her hand inside my boxers and as soon as her fingers wrapped around me, I groaned. "Oh fuck yes…so good," I mumbled as I gripped her hips and attacked her neck with my teeth.

"Mmmm, Edward, you're so hard," Bella whispered and I felt her tongue on my shoulder and then my neck. "I wish you were inside of me baby, fucking me hard and deep," she said in a sultry voice. "I am so wet for you."

I nipped at her collar bones and then drug my tongue across them, fuck if she didn't taste amazing. "I'm so close Bella, please…" I begged her achingly.

"That's it Edward, come for me…now, come now," Bella rasped out and then I felt her bite the top of my shoulder…hard.

"Fuck, oh God yes," I panted out as I came in a rush, my release coating her hand. I rested my head against her shoulder as I tried to get my breathing under control and I loosened the grip I had on her hips and chuckled and shook my head back and forth. "That was fucking amazing angel," I whispered as I moved my nose to her neck and nuzzled her there. "Thank you," I told her after I picked my head up and looked at her.

Bella looked supremely pleased with herself and when she pulled her hand out of my boxers, she held my gaze as she lifted a finger to her mouth and wrapped her little pink tongue around it and licked off the liquid that was there. "Mmmm, so good," she whispered.

I pulled her finger out of her mouth and held it, my eyes burning for her again. "You better watch it my little kitten. I won't think twice about taking you upstairs and making you scream my name until you can't talk. Don't tempt me."

"Me? I don't know what you're talking about Edward," Bella tried to innocently say but when she caught my look, she started giggling. "Go upstairs and clean up Edward, the family will be here any minute," she said as she slipped off the counter and stood in front of me. She stood on her tiptoes as she kissed up my jaw and said, "I hope you plan on following through on that threat you just made tiger, I would hate for you to not keep your word."

"You bet your sweet ass I plan on it," I growled at her as she pushed me away. I looked down to the front of my shorts and I was a mess. "Okay, baby, I'm going to go change. That really was incredible," I whispered in her ear before I made my way upstairs.

By the time I made it back downstairs, Bella had lunch on the island and the kids came running through the back door. "They're here!" Masen yelled while Rufus barked at his heels.

"I'm going to go help everyone bring their things in beautiful," I told her as I followed my son out the door just as Seth, Demetri and my dad all pulled up.

"Papa!" Maddie and Masen squealed as they ran to my dad and I laughed as I watched them both latch on to him at the same time.

"Hey munchkins, what about me?" Emmett bellowed as he got out of the Escalade. They giggled at him before throwing themselves into his arms and of course he caught them each with no problem.

I grabbed my mom's bag from her hands as she made her way toward me and after I dutifully kissed her cheek she asked, "Is Bella inside?"

"Of course, she's getting lunch ready for everyone," I told her as she moved past me. "I'm going to go help her son," she said as she went inside.

I set my mom's bag inside the door and then waited for everyone to make their way up the stairs to the deck. "Hey Jasper," I said as I held out my hand to shake his as he came up, my sister attached to his hip. "Hello brother mine," she giggled at me as I bent down to give her a kiss on the top of her head.

"How is Shortcake?" Jasper asked as we waited for the rest of the family to get their things out of the cars.

I smirked to myself as I thought about what happened just before they arrived and knew I was busted when Jasper narrowed his eyes at me. "She's good Jasper. She's inside making lunch."

"And Masen, is he doing okay?" he asked and I nodded at him. "He's a kid Jasper, not much fazes him. He got a little freaked at the premiere when all the people started hollering at him, but once a few minutes passed he was acting like himself."

"Well, I have to tell you Edward, Jane and Aro were both inordinately pleased with the response you guys generated from being seen at the premiere. When I stopped by the office yesterday, the phones were ringing off the hook with people that wanted to talk with you four and wanted to set up interviews," Jasper said as he watched me process what he just told me.

Bella, Jasper and Seth all warned me that this would happen once we did the interview for the paper and attended the premiere, but that didn't make it any easier to stomach. I shook my head before I even began to speak but I said, "No way Jas. Just…just no. The twins and I are going to go with Bella to California at the beginning of August and then after that, we're out. We only have a little over two months left; I am not spending those allowing her or us to get sucked into all that shit. Not happening brother, no fucking way," I spat out and looked surprised when I heard Jasper and Alice laughing at me.

"I knew you would say that Edward, but I promised Jane I would pass along her message anyway. Never let it be said I wasn't a man of my word," he chuckled as we walked into the house, the rest of the family following behind us.

I felt a heavy arm across my shoulders and I didn't even need to look up to know who it belonged to, "Hey big brother."

"What's up little bro? Everyone doing okay? Sweet B miss me yet?" he said loudly as we walked into the kitchen where Bella was surrounded by Rose, Esme and Alice.

"Not on your life you big oaf," Bella laughed at him and laughed even harder when the smile fell off his face. "Oh knock it off Em. You know I missed you," she teased him as she rolled her eyes at him and shrieked when he lifted her up and swung her around in a circle.

"God Bell, you should have heard the big baby yesterday when you and Edward left to come up here," Rose said as she looked at Emmett and winked at him. "He moped around all day since you came up here without him…damn idiot," she said affectionately.

"Rosie, you weren't supposed to tell her that," Emmett said as he glared at her.

She shook her head at my brother and said, "Oh Emmett, cut it out. I am sure Bell is plenty aware of your little crush on her. Now, come help me take our bags to the room," she said and we all laughed as Emmett dutifully followed behind her.

"She has him wrapped around her little finger doesn't she?" Tanya said as she stepped up beside me and hooked her arm through mine and kissed my cheek.

I gave her a kiss back and said, "Sure looks that way Tan. Whoever would have thought it, huh? I never believed I would see the day when Emmett Cullen was whipped by anyone."

"Well Lele is one of a kind, that's for sure," Seth said as he stood beside Tanya. He bent down and kissed her temple and held his hand out to me and I shook it before he asked, "She doing okay?" as he pointed to Bella with his chin.

She was laughing at something my dad had said and she had her hands on Maddie's shoulders absentmindedly rubbing her hands up and down her arms while she talked. Bella was so important to all of us and while I think she understood it intellectually, I'm not sure her heart realized just how much. I believed she knew how much she meant to Maddie, Masen and me. I know she knew that Seth, Rose and Jasper would die for her and do anything she asked of them, but I often wondered if she knew just how fucking much she meant to my brother and sister, my parents, and my best friend.

Seth walked to the group by the island and wrapped an arm around Bella and she smiled up at him and kissed his cheek before she continued saying whatever she was in the middle of to my father. "Do you ever feel bad for taking them away from each other?" Tanya quietly asked me as she laid her head on my shoulder.

I bent my head down and rested it against hers and thought about her question for a moment before I answered her just as quietly, "I suppose at times I do. I know Bella misses him and misses the fact that they don't spend as much time together outside of work as they used to." I sighed and then asked her, "I take it that you do as well?"

"Yeah, I do sometimes. I know it's been a struggle for him, watching you replace him as the most important man in her life. He's been her 'go to guy' since the day they were born. It's been an adjustment for him to step aside," Tanya whispered as we watched Seth as he said something to Bella in her ear that made her laugh out loud and slap him on the arm.

I asked Tanya the one question only she would be able to understand, the one that made me feel incredibly foolish for feeling the way I did at times, but I couldn't help it. "Do you ever get jealous that they know each other so well? That Bella knows things about him that you don't even know?"

I hated feeling that way, of being jealous of the relationship she had with him. There were times that feeling crept up on me, even when I didn't mean for it to.

Tanya picked her head up and looked at me before she nodded her head. "Yes I do Edward. I love him just like you love her and it's hard sometimes to compete with their history. It doesn't happen very often mind you, but it does happen from time to time."

"It happens to me too Tan, just so you know, more times than I care to admit actually. But, I would never, ever come between them. I value my life too much to even try," I chuckled at her when she snorted in agreement.

"No kidding. Things are changing though," she said softly and I stared at her, waiting for her to elaborate. "Seth asked me to move in with him once Bella is done with her contract."

Holy shit!

It's not that I didn't realize things were serious between the two of them because of course I did, but this was a huge step for her.

"And what did you say my best friend?" I asked her, but from the smile on her face, I already knew her answer.

Tanya giggled at me and said, "I said yes Edward. I have no idea where we are going to stay, but we've got time to figure it out."

"Wait, what? What do you mean you don't know where you are going to live? What's wrong with the loft?" I asked, completely confused by her statement.

She shook her head at me and said, "Edward, Seth has no idea what Bella is going to do after her contract is up and I take it from the way you asked me the question you just did, you don't either?"

Well shit.

"Um, actually no I don't. We haven't really talked about it," I said somewhat sheepishly because even I knew it was a discussion that was a long time in the making.

Tanya put her hands on her hips and said, "Ed, don't you think that is something you guys need to figure out? Maybe if you spent some of your time talking instead of sucking face all the time you might actually get something figured out," she smirked at me and I had the decency to blush at that.

Because honestly, what little alone time we had, we usually spent in bed…or the shower…or God help me, with her up against a wall or sitting on a countertop.

I tried to adjust myself inconspicuously, but Tanya being the eagle eye she was, caught me and just rolled her eyes and said, "Point made best friend. Talk to her though Edward, you guys need to have a plan." She looked at the group which now included Masen and Bella was holding both kids' hands, "There is more than just the two of you to think about. They need a mother E, and we all know Bella is who they want."

"Um Tanya," Jasper said as he walked back in the house from outside. "Do you think you could give me a little help here?" he asked sounding so totally uncomfortable I had to turn around and look at what was causing him so much distress. I couldn't help the loud guffaw that escaped my mouth when I took in the scene in front of me and said a quick prayer of 'Thank you God, better him than me'.

Tanya's mom, Carmen was wrapped almost completely around him and Jasper was redder than a tomato.

"Jasper, darling, you can sit next to me at lunch. I can't wait to get to know you better," Carmen purred at him as she ran her hand up and down his arm.

"Ma'am, thank you for the offer, but I am going to sit by Alice," Jasper said, and his eyes about bugged out of his head when she patted him on the ass. "Nonsense, you can sit with me. Alice gets you all the time, besides we're family."

"Mother, please!" Tanya exclaimed and shot Jasper an apologetic look. "You are a guest of Bella and Edward's. Behave yourself or I'll have Daddy take you back home."

"Oh Tanya sweetheart, hush. I was just having a bit of fun with my new friend Jasper. It was perfectly harmless," Carmen said as her eyes caught me standing behind Tanya.

"Oh, Edward. How lovely to see you dear," she said and came at me with her arms open and her lips already ready to swoop in for a kiss.

After years of this, I was able to skillfully avoid her embrace and steered her towards her husband Eleazar who raised his eyebrows at me and shook his head. Eleazar Denali was well aware of his wife's…enthusiastic appreciation of the opposite sex.

Carmen Denali was perfectly harmless and there was no way she would ever get involved with someone else. She was madly in love with Tanya's dad. She was just a huge flirt and she loved the attention of the male population.

"How in the hell did you do that Ed?" Jasper griped at me as he ran a hand through his hair and let out a huge gust of air.

I slapped him on the back and said, "Years and years of practice my friend. Carmen's perfectly harmless, but she does enjoy a challenge. Keep that in mind Jas," I chuckled at him as I made my way over to Bella and helped her get lunch set up for everyone.

We set out the chicken salad with different kinds of bread and croissants for those that wanted it on a sandwich. Bella had also made a delicious looking fruit salad and with chips, iced tea and lemonade and there was plenty of food to go around for everyone.

Lunch was, as always, an extremely rowdy affair. Sticking eighteen people all together might not be the best idea…just saying for future reference, especially when my girl put out the cheesecake brownies she made for dessert.

"Shortcake! Em took two!" Seth pouted at Bella.

Pathetic really and worse than I ever was!

"I did not," Emmett said, as he tried to shove his second brownie in his mouth before anyone could stop him.

Rose slapped him upside his head and my dad just sighed as he looked at his first born son acting like a bigger kid than his grandson even. "Emmett Cullen," Mama said in a stern voice, "Just for that, you get to help pick up the dishes."

After a glare in Seth's direction, Emmett nodded his head and said, "Yes Ma'am," and stood up to start helping.

"That's what you get big guy," Seth teased my brother but quickly changed his tune when Esme said, "You too, Seth. You should know by now that tattling only leads to trouble. Now up, and help Emmett. I am sure Bella has things planned for us for this afternoon, don't you dear?" Mom asked as Bella giggled beside me.

"Oh Esme, you have no idea!" Bella squealed beside me and Maddie and Masen joined in as the rest of the family looked in our direction. "Hey, we had to help," I said and held my hands up to everyone.

"Little one, you know we all love you, right?" Uncle Marcus asked from across the table as he tried to sweet talk Bella into letting him know what to expect this afternoon.

"Love you too Uncle M, but you're not sweet talking me. I promise I'll take it easy on you," Bella snickered at him and kissed him on the cheek.

Aunt Diane shook her head in amusement at the two of them and patted Uncle Marcus on the arm, "She's got your number Marc. You haven't fooled Bella a bit with that smooth talking!"

Uncle Marcus reached up and held Bella's hand that was on his chest and he picked it up and kissed the back of it and said, "Well, you can't blame an old guy for trying…especially with one as lovely as our Bella here."

"Oh knock it off old man and get your lips away from my woman," I scowled at him and then laughed when Aunt Diane huffed and narrowed her eyes at my uncle.

"Marcus, let go of Edward's Bella and pick on someone your own size. I'm sure Carmen is around here somewhere," Aunt Di tittered and I reached across the table and gave her a high five when I saw Uncle Marcus drop Bella's hand and look around for Carmen.

We all burst out laughing when we saw her following Jasper to the guest house where he and Ali along with Seth and Tanya were staying.

"That woman, I swear," Diane said as she stood up and looked at Bella and I. "Is there anything I can do to help you two get ready for our afternoon of fun?"

"No thanks, Diane. We've got it. I do need to make sure everyone changes into shorts and tennis shoes though, so can you spread the word?" Bella asked sweetly as she held her hand out to me and I stood up to take it.

Maddie and Masen followed us out the door and we all had our arms full with all of Bella's items for the afternoon. I laughed to myself when I thought about my brother and cousin; it was going to be an afternoon to remember that was for sure.

"What are you laughing at Edward?" Bella asked as we walked to the back yard.

"Oh, I was just trying to picture what Emmett and Dem were going to look like in a little bit. I hope someone can take pictures," I chuckled. "You never know when we might need them for blackmail purposes baby," I told her as we set up the yard to her specifications.

"You're so mean Kit Kat, but so right, too. I'll give Esme my camera and hopefully she can take some pictures while she and Dr. C. are trying to keep everyone under control," Bella said as she handed us our t-shirts.

"Maddie, Masen, guys come here for a sec," she said as they ran to us, giggling all the way. "Alright team, here is the plan. We are going to change into our shirts. Then Mad and Mase, you guys go into the house and tell everyone to come outside and then we'll tell everyone what is going on."

Bella helped Maddie change her shirt and I helped Masen get his on and we sent them into the house to gather the family. "Baby, here is your's," Bella said and threw me mine and I couldn't stop the smile that spread across my face as I looked at it.

She had planned an afternoon of activities for us all to play and compete in. Bella broke the teams down into four people with Pop and Mama acting as the referees for our boisterous bunch. With Emmett, Seth and Demetri, they were going to have their hands full that was for damn sure.

When my brother and cousin found out what Bella had planned, they were going to shit a brick once they came outside. I changed my shirt real quick and managed to turn around in time to see Bella pulling hers over her head. The flash of pale skin I saw was enough to make me hope that the afternoon passed quickly and I could get Bella upstairs to our room.

"Bella, I hope you are prepared for Emmett and Demetri once we get started. They are absolutely ruthless when it comes to playing games baby. And, don't let Uncle Marcus fool you, the man may be old, but he can keep up with us pretty damn good," I told her as I grabbed for her hand.

She turned around and stepped up close to me and placed her hands around my neck and ran her fingers through the hair back there…along with her fingernails. "Sweet girl, you better stop that or else we'll be MIA for the games," I told her as I brushed my lips across hers.

"Sorry sweetheart," she said quietly as she pressed her forehead against my chest. "Is it time for bed yet?" Bella grinned as she looked up at me and I could tell she was feeling as anxious as I was to be alone.

"Sweet B! Baby girl, what the hell is all this?" Emmett bellowed as he thundered down the steps into the back yard and Bella shot me one last longing look before she turned around to face Emmett and the rest of the family as they made their way to the yard. She reached for my hand and wove our fingers together as we waited for everyone to gather around.

Bella bent down and picked up the t-shirts she had made for everyone and had Maddie and Masen pass them out to each person. Once she was done, everyone looked at my girl expectantly, no one really comprehending what was going on yet.

"Okay everyone, I thought we could play some nice, friendly games this afternoon," Bella began and she smirked at Emmett as he pulled on his shirt and puffed out his chest for everyone to see.

"Emmett, son. Really now," Mom scolded him and he just flashed his dimples at her and looked at me and winked.

"As you can tell, I've broken everyone down into teams. Maddie, Masen, Edward and I are going to be on one team. Rose, you, Em, Alice and Jasper are on a team. Seth, you, Tanya, Carmen and Eleazar will be team three. And last but certainly not least, Uncle Marcus, your team is you, Aunt Diane, Dem, and Heidi." Bella giggled as everyone hurriedly put their shirts on after they looked at the names on the back. Once that happened everyone started laughing and it took a few minutes for everyone to calm down enough for Bella to go on.

"Carlisle, I need you and Esme to be referees for our games. You two need to try to keep everyone under control, and yes Emmett that means you and Demetri and Seth," Bella said much to Emmett's chagrin.

"We are going to play fair, you got me? We have two little ones who most definitely do not need to watch anyone cheating," Bella sternly said as she looked at the three of them and then focused her gaze on Uncle Marcus when he started to snicker at this son. "Don't think I won't be keeping an eye on you either Uncle M. And while we are at it, everyone watch the language," and this time she included me in her sights. "Maddie and Masen, I'm putting a time-out on the payoff's. Once we are done playing, everyone is fair game, okay?"

I looked at my family…and everyone here was truly family, even if not by blood. Bella brought us even closer together and I couldn't help but chuckle to myself as I looked at all the t-shirts. Bella, Maddie, Masen and I were all in bright green with our nicknames on the back. Bella had picked out team names and captains for each team and I started laughing when I saw what our team was called…Candy is Dandy. She had made Maddie and Masen the captains for our team and they couldn't be any happier if they tried!

Emmett, Rose, Jasper and Alice were on team Beauties and the Beasts and their shirts were…hot pink. Bella did that on purpose and it made everyone laugh when Emmett proudly put his on. He was even funnier when he realized that Bella had made him his team's captain.

"Aahh, Sweet B…I knew you loved me!" Emmett yelled as he clapped his hands. "Sorry J, looks like you've been replaced," he said to Jasper which got him knocked upside the head by both Jasper and Rosalie.

"Emmett, my man, making you captain was just Shortcake's way of making sure her team won!" Jasper teased Emmett with a wink in Bella's direction.

I knew Bella made Emmett the captain as a way of helping Emmett move past what happened to the three of them. My big brother still felt extremely guilty about it all and I would catch him watching both Bella and Masen intensely when he thought no one was looking…almost as if he was waiting to jump in and help them if the need arose. It would take Emmett a long time to get over it all…it was just his way, but I hoped that by the end of the weekend, once he'd seen that Masen was truly okay, he would be able to let it go.

Everyone got a huge laugh when Seth, Tanya, Carmen and Eleazar put on their blue shirts with the team name The Cougars and the Pups on the front. Tanya was older than Seth, sure, but Carmen was also older than Eleazar and was proud of it.

"Bella darling, this is absolutely perfect," Carmen said as she spun around in a circle showing everyone her shirt.

Tanya just rolled her eyes at her mother and Aunt Diane snickered behind Uncle Marcus as we watched Carmen walk over to Seth and run her hands down his chest.

"Mother, please!" Tanya cried and we all laughed hard when Seth shrugged his shoulders and laid a big ass kiss right on Carmen's lips.

"Mrs. D. You are a fine looking woman and all that, but you need to stop with the touching and the kissing, okay? It makes my Tanya upset and I don't like that. Now, if you behave, once we're done here, I'll take you down to the lake and you can ogle all the young pups you want, deal?" Seth said and waited for her to answer.

I had to hand it to the guy, he knew how to handle his future mother-in-law that was for damn sure. Oh, he hadn't said anything yet, but Bella and I had talked about our two best friends at length and both of us were positive that their being married was going to happen somewhere down the road.

"Oh, Sethie!" Carmen squealed as she clapped her hands. "Bella, dear, let's get a move on then. I've got things to do!"

"Better unsuspecting guys than me," Seth said as he stood beside me. "You got that right man, good thinking on your part," I told him and then walked over the Maddie and Masen who were busy whispering in each others ears.

Those two were definitely up to something, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what it was.

"Okay you two, is there anything you need to tell me?" I asked them and looked down into two seemingly innocent faces but their sly little grins totally gave them away.

"Nope Daddy. Masen and I were just figuring out the best ways to wins the games is all," Maddie said and I couldn't help but shake my head at her.

It was a damn good thing I could read her like a book because that lie slipped out as easy as anything, but the little blush she got and the way she bit her lip totally gave her away…thank God! I couldn't even begin to imagine having to deal with her hiding things from me when she got older!

"Okay princess. You two just tell Bella and me what to do, and everyone else will be toast!" I told her and I bent down to tickle her sides.

"Alright, and last but certainly not least," Bella began as she walked towards Uncle Marcus, "Aunt Diane, you are the captain of your motley crew here," she giggled as she pointed to Uncle Marcus, Demetri, and Heidi. Bella handed her the red t-shirts and held one up for all of us to see. The Heartbreakers…perfect for all of them.

"Little one," Uncle Marcus chuckled as he pulled his shirt on, "are you trying to tell me something with this?"

"Bella, you are the bomb," Demetri said as he pulled his shirt on. He laughed when Heidi pointed out the name she put on the back of his shirt, 'Big D'. "Right on Sweet B," Dem said and gave Bella a high five.

"Okay, and to make sure everyone plays fair, Carlisle and Esme," Bella said as she smiled at my parents. "I need you two to be the referees of our little competition here." She handed them each a black t-shirt with the name Daddy C and Mama E on the back and when my parents noticed the Daddy and Mama instead of Dr. and Mrs., you could tell how happy they were that Bella had finally begun to call them mom and dad.

"You can count on us Bella," my dad said as he kissed her cheek and I heard the soft ,"thank you sweetheart," he told her before she hugged my mother, who repeated the same sentiment.

"Sweet B, first of all, what do we get if we win? And second, what the hell is that for?" Emmett asked as he pointed to a table that had a bowl of gumballs and a plate of saltine crackers on it.

Maddie and Masen pointed and nodded their heads at Emmett and I could only imagine what they had just said.

"Emmett, hang on a damn second and let me tell everyone what is going to happen. And as for what you win," Bella grinned as she looked at me and the kids, "How about the winning team gets to pick what we do tonight?"

It was funny watching everyone look at everyone else and start smiling as they all thought about what they wanted to do if they won. With my brother, Seth, and Demetri, there was no telling what on earth they would come up with.

There was no way we weren't winning this. I knew exactly what I wanted to do…besides Bella of course, and it would be something everyone would enjoy. Even my Bella. The only thing I had to do was convince her to let us do it…but I could be pretty damn persuasive when I wanted to be.

And…I really wanted to do this.

"Mad, Mase," I said as I bent down and wrapped my arms around both of them. "We really need to win okay? I know what we can do if we win."

"Daddy, what?" Masen asked and when I whispered it in his ear and then Maddie's, I knew I had them hooked.

Maddie grabbed my face in her hands and giggled when I crossed my eyes at her, "We have to win Daddy," she said very sternly.

"Yes baby girl, I know. Now, let's break," I said as we put our hands out and then lifted them up.

They ran towards Nana and Papa and Bella stepped up beside me and when I smiled down at her and kissed the top of her head, she placed her hand on my chest and shrewdly looked at me. "What is that look for Kit Kat? You are planning something, I can tell," she said as she studied my face.

I gave her my most innocent grin and when she narrowed her eyes some more I knew I hadn't fooled her one damn bit, but I didn't much care either. "Jelly Bean, let's just play and kick all these sorry fool's asses. I want to claim my prize," I told her and picked her up and swung her around.

"Whatever Dr. Dad. Keep your secret, but you know I'll get it out of you," she taunted me with her hands on her hips.

God, she was so fucking cute!

"Baby, you know there are lots of ways you can try," I lowered my voice and said to her.

Bella huffed and blew out a gust of breath that moved the hair out of her face and held her hand out to me, "Let's get this show on the road and show all of our family what we're made of," she laughed as I gripped her hand in mine.

Once she had everyone gathered around in a circle, Bella explained the games we were going to be playing and I couldn't help but wonder, yet again, how she managed to come up with it all. She had even made sure that Masen could participate with his cast…Bella was unfucking believable that was for damn sure.

We got in line for our first game which consisted of each team trying to stuff as many balloons inside of our shirts and shorts as possible. The team that managed the most, won. I have to say that blowing up all of those damn balloons really sucked ass, but the happy looks on everyone more than made up for it.

On our team, I was going to be the one being stuffed. Emmett was of course their team's pick, followed by Seth and Demetri. I knew that each of the teams picked those three because of their size but the dumb asses didn't pay attention to the fact that their t-shirts were tight.

My girl was nothing if not brilliant!

I winked at her and nodded my head towards the other three while we waited for Carlisle and Esme to blow the whistle to start and Bella raised an eyebrow at me and said, "What is that look for Edward?"

"Good job with the shirts baby. There is no way they can fit that many under them with as tight as they are," I told her with amusement as I pictured Emmett with balloons popping all over his chest…and hopefully down his pants too.

Bella looked up and glanced at the three of them and then back at me and shrugged her shoulders, "I didn't do it on purpose. I got the sizes Tanya, Rose and Heidi told me to get. It's not my fault those three want their shirts so tight you can their muscles. Now, let's kick their butts!" she giggled and then looked at Maddie and Masen. "You guys ready to show everyone what we're made of?"

"Yes Bella! Let's get em'!" they both screeched right as Esme blew the whistle.

We had two minutes to see how many balloons we could stuff inside our clothing and almost as soon as we started you could hear the sounds of balloons popping from all around us.

"Emmett, if you weren't such a vain ass, you're shirt wouldn't look like it was painted on you!" Alice groaned at our brother when balloon after balloon kept popping under his shirt.

"Try sticking them down my shorts," he yelled and then that was followed by a "Holy shit, that hurt!" once one popped against his balls.

"Carmen," Seth growled, "you have to let the balloon go once it's in my shorts!"

"Son, finding out that you go commando is really more information than I cared to ever know," Aunt Diane said with a shudder.

Esme blew the whistle and yelled time and as I looked around at the rest of our family, I knew we had this so in the bag.

Emmett managed three under his shirt, barely and three in his shorts. Demetri had none down his shorts since obviously no one wanted to stick their hands down them with his boys floating in the wind but he did manage four balloons under his t-shirt. Seth did the best out of those three and had four underneath his shirt and four in his pants. Carmen looked exceedingly excited at the prospect of taking the balloons out, however.

"Edward, how many do you have?" Pop asked as he made his way to our team.

I proudly pulled out six balloons from under my shirt and four out of my shorts making us the winners.

"Hey that's not fair," Emmett complained and Seth and Demetri were both nodding their heads in agreement.

Bella patted me on the butt before she stepped out and looked at the three of them and said, "And why is that Emmett?"

"Well, Bella. Eddie's shirt fit more balloons underneath than ours did," he pouted.

Bella snorted at him and then looked at all three of them before she said, "For your 411 Emmett, I asked Rose, Tanya, and Heidi what size shirts to get you three goof balls and I got what they said. It's not my fault that you three want to show off your muscles and it's certainly not my fault that Demetri goes commando."

"Daddy, what's it means to goes commando?" Maddie sweetly asked and I heard Heidi groan in embarrassment for her boyfriend.

"Sweetie, I'll let Uncle Dem explain it to you later, okay?" I told her and laughed when Dem looked like he was going to be sick at the prospect of telling Maddie about his choice, or lack thereof, in undergarments.

Dickhead. That's what he gets!

"Okay, that's ten points for team Candy is Dandy, eight points for The Cougars, six for The Beauties and a measly four for The Heartbreakers," Carlisle laughed and then Bella told us what the next game would be and handed out the items we would need.

For the next game each team had a small, rectangular plastic table cloth and some water balloons. The object of the game was for each member of the team to hold the corner of the table cloth and launch the balloon to the opposing team. That team had to catch the balloon without breaking it. Each team had three minutes to toss and three minutes to catch…once you caught a balloon and it didn't break, the team that launched got the point. The team that wound up with the most points won.

Our team was going up against Seth's and I was pretty sure we had this one won as well. Carmen was going to hate getting wet so I was counting on her to hang on to her corner to keep the balloon from popping. Once we all had a hold of our corners, Esme blew the whistle and we started.

Maddie and Masen were laughing so hard at Carmen and Tanya that they almost let go of the table cloth. We had decided to let them launch first and they couldn't figure out how hard to throw and overshot our tablecloth their first five tries.

"Carmen, can you please at least try?" Eleazar grumbled to his wife but then looked at her affectionately.

From first glance it was impossible to tell what drew them to each other, but once you were around them it was easy to see how much they loved one another. Seth wasn't quite as patient as Eleazar when it came to Tanya and it was a riot to watch him get frustrated with her.

"Baby, you just have to hold and throw. How can you not do that?" Seth griped as balloon number six went sailing past and landed on the ground.

By the time Esme blew the whistle on the first three minutes they had only managed to get three balloons launched to us and we were so awesome we caught them all without breaking them.

"Okay Bell, you better not get me wet," Seth warned Bella and he missed her mischievous grin when he looked at Tanya…who was not at all happy with him for yelling at her.

Rose and Ali were looking at Emmett and Jasper the same way and Uncle Marcus and Aunt Diane were laughing at Dem and Heidi since they were both soaked. My guess was Em and Jasper launched too hard and the balloons kept popping when they landed and then tried to blame Rosalie and Alice. There was no way my brother and Jasper would get away with that shit…none at all.

We all took our places again and when Esme blew the whistle we started. I had Maddie beside me and Mase was beside Bella and we launched our first balloon…right at Seth. It hit him square in the chest and water exploded all over him, even in his face.

He sputtered and wiped his face before looking at Bella, "Shortcake, what the hell?"

She snorted then pointed a finger at him, "That BFF is for being a poor sport and yelling at Tanya. Now, pick your corner back up and let us teach you how to play." Bella winked and blew a kiss in Tanya's direction before we got to it.

Maddie didn't really know what she was doing, but her giggles let me know she was having a ball and that was all that mattered to me.

"Mase, not so hard little man," Bella said as our balloon went over the landing spot and we tried again and managed to get three in a row to land without breaking before the next one broke right in front of Carmen.

"Oohh, oh no," she wailed and then started laughing as she smoothed down the front of her shirt. When she did that it was very apparent she wasn't wearing a bra, much to the mortification of Tanya and Seth and to the delight of her bug eyed husband.

"Oh my God, Mother!" Tanya said, sounding totally embarrassed and even though most of Carmen Denali's antics didn't phase me, even I was embarrassed.

"What, my boobs are excellent aren't they Edward? I don't need a bra," Carmen said as she brushed off Tanya's concern and faced me, obviously waiting for an answer.

"Um, well…ah, oh…yes?" I gulped and said and looked at Bella for help, who was so busy trying to keep from laughing that she was turning redder than a tomato.

"See?" Carmen said and we got back to the game where we managed to land three more balloons before time was called.

By the end of the second game, our team had sixteen points, Em's team had fourteen points, Aunt Diane's team had twelve and Seth's had eleven.

Half of us were soaked and the other half laughed at those that were wet.

Bella took a few minutes to explain to Carlisle and Esme the rules of the next game and with the twin's help, managed to get everything set up in just a few minutes. The last game was going to be an obstacle course of sorts. The first person had to put on a pair of flippers, run around a baseball bat five times and then run to the next station. There, person number two would have to eat three saltine crackers and then chew a piece of soft bubble gum. They had to blow a bubble and hold it for five seconds before then moving to the next person who had to hula hoop ten times before the final person got blindfolded and had to carry an egg on a spoon while running to the finish line. If the egg fell off of the spoon, they had to go back and start over.

After each team had a few minutes to discuss who would do what we all got in our spots. For our team, Masen would do the flippers, Maddie would do the gum, Bella would do the hula hoop which left me to carry the egg. For Emmett's team, Jasper would run with the flippers, Alice would chew the gum, Rose was doing the hula hoop and the big goof was carrying the egg. On Seth's, he was doing the flippers, Tanya was doing the gum, Carmen the hula hoop and Eleazar was going to run with the egg.

Awesome so far, Emmett would never make it and Eleazar didn't seem to be too much competition. Now I just had to worry about Uncle Marcus' team. Demetri was doing the flippers, Heidi the gum, Aunt Di the hula hoop and Uncle Marcus was doing the last leg.

"You ready for me nephew?" Uncle Marcus taunted me as we stood in our spots while everyone got ready.

"Absolutely old man," I teased right back as he looked at Bella while she helped Masen get his flippers on.

He gave her a soft smile when she looked at him and then he looked at me and said, "She is like a breath of fresh air. I can't remember the last time I've had so much fun."

"She's one in a million that's for damn sure," I agreed as I blew her a kiss and waited for Esme to blow the whistle.

"Doesn't mean I'm not kicking your ass though my boy," he laughed at me and then the whistle blew.

Carlisle was watching to make sure everyone went five times around the bat before they started to run and I almost fell over laughing so hard watching Jasper's tall ass trying to run with the flippers. Seth was even worse since he could barely move in a straight line he was so dizzy. Masen, my incredible son, made it to Maddie well before all the adults and then it was Maddie's turn.

Poor Demetri couldn't figure out how to run in the flippers and had to crawl to the table to hand off to Heidi. I suppose it didn't help that he was laughing so hard he couldn't stand up.

"Uncle Dem, you are so slow!" Masen squealed at him once Dem finally got control of himself.

"Munchkin, just wait until you get to be my age and we'll see how good you can do," Demetri said as he struggled to get the flippers off his big ass clown feet.

Masen ran to stand beside me and cheered his sister on who was busy chewing a big wad of gum and managed to get a bubble blown only to have it pop.

"Try again Maddie! Hurry, Aunt Ali is almost done!" Masen yelled to his sister and caused Alice to jump and her bubble to pop.

"Damn!" Alice laughed as she tried again only to find that Tanya beat them all and Carmen was already making her way to the hula hoop.

Maddie got hers blown and Carlisle gave the all clear for her to move on and then Bella was up, with Rose right next to her.

"Your ass is grass," Rosalie teased Bella as she began to swivel her hips only to have it go off balance and fall to the ground.

Bella started to move and lifted her hands up over her head and said, "Not on your life Lele. Did you forget my trip to Hawaii for soccer camp?" Bella was done in a flash and then ran up to me.

"Knock 'em dead Kit Kat. We've got this one in the bag!" she told me and gave me a quick kiss and a swat on the ass.

She put the blindfold on me and the kids helped me stand up and faced me in the direction of the finish line.

"You better get a move on Eddie my boy," Uncle Marcus' voice came from beside me and I started to move forward, holding my hand out and trying to balance the egg on the spoon. Bella and the kids were yelling directions at me and I could hear Emmett on my other side and Rose and Alice tried to get the blindfold on him.

"Emmett, you can't carry the egg like that!" they laughed at him and I could only imagine what the dumbass was trying to do.

"You'd better hurry big brother!" I yelled over my shoulder at him. "Your little brother is about to win!"

"Shit, Rose, hurry the hell up!" Emmett said and then I heard him move forward about ten steps before I heard, "Son of a bitch!" followed immediately by, "We told you not to do it that way!" from Rose and Alice.

"Hurry Daddy, you're almost there," Maddie hollered and I almost lost my grip on the spoon, but I didn't and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by three very excited people and I heard Carlisle announce us as the winners.

I pushed my blindfold up off my eyes and looked into the faces of my family and I couldn't remember a time when I'd had so much fun.

Grabbing Bella's face I pulled her to me and said, "I love you so fucking much Bella. This has been the best day."

She lowered her head and blushed her adorable blush and then picked her head up and kissed me on the nose and said, "I'm glad. We needed a day of fun."

Everyone finished and once we gathered around, Carlisle said, "Okay. It looks like team Candy is Dandy is our winner. Do you know what our plan is for the rest of the night?"

I looked at Bella who cocked her head to the side as I stared at her and then looked at Maddie and Masen who were clapping their hands and nodding their heads. "Yeah Pop, we do."


  1. Oh this was such a wonderful chapter!! I LOVE Carmen. She is hilarious! Seth handled her perfectly! Jasper, not so much HAHA!

    Bella did a wonderful job touching on the subject of Charlie and Renee. I think that will help the kids understand.

    The games were fantastic!!!!! So much fun had by all! The names of the teams were genius! Such a great job on that!!

    It was a great chapter! I'm guessing Edward and the kids want to watch Bella's soccer tapes! If that's what it is, next chapter should be wonderful!

    As always, you are awesome!!

  2. They soo so needed a day away from all the mess in the city. Having fun acting like kids and just having fun. Spending the day together as a family, doing things family style, all the things Bella would loved to have done with her family, now she can~

    Edward knows that the twins are up to something, *snicker* he just has Nooo Idea, LOL... I am so curious as to how they are going to pull this off... Bella was so sweet with them explaining about her dad and renee. And she did it without any bitterness to the kids ~ Kudos and so cute with her and Mase.

    I tell ya, Edward has some characters for family but you cannot help but fall in love with everyone of them. Even Carmen, that woman is a trip, she is the female Marcus, LOL

    And I love the interaction Bella has with all his family, I loved the "confessions" with him and Tan about dealing with their small jealous feelings but I wonder if they ever though about how close they are... it does not seem to bother Bells or Seth... are they a little insecure, maybe thinking they are dreaming, waiting for the other shoe to drop... They may not be who the once were but they will still be close by they won't get far from one another, they are family now...

    Yeah, oh yeah, he's gonna beg Bells to watch the tapes of her playing,... it will be a wonderful thing