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.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Off The Beaten Path Outtake #3

OTBP #3~ Spring 2017


"Son of a bitch," I muttered under my breath as I pulled up in my driveway and glared at HIS car parked in my spot.

I huffed and yanked my briefcase off the front seat beside me and pushed open my door, slamming it behind me in my aggravation. I tried to take a few deep breaths before I walked in the house, because if Bella saw me all bent out of shape...again, she was going to hand my ass to me...again.

Gripping the doorknob on the door from the garage to the kitchen, I tried to give myself a pep talk. "It's fine, Edward...he's just a kid, maybe he's here to hang out with Masen...maybe Masen can accidentally, on purpose, bean him in the arm or something if we go outside and throw the baseball around. Maybe I should have Seth come up here and scare the shit out of him...maybe I should have Sheriff Lancaster take his license away, he loves me...well, he loves Bella, but he likes me, too...I think."

"Fuck," I hissed again and then opened the door.

"Daddy!" came the happy voice of the little person who had their arms wrapped around my legs, stopping me from taking one more step.

I dropped my briefcase on the floor and swung the little one up in my arms and felt him wrap his tiny arms around my neck and squeeze for all he was worth.

"I missded fu todays," my three-year-old Eli told me as he squished my face with his hands.

Smiling, I blew a raspberry on his cheek and said, "I missded you too, little man. Did you and Mommy have a good day?"

Eli nodded and smiled a big, toothy, gummy smile. He wiggled in my arms and I set him down on the ground and with a tiny swat on his bottom, watched him scamper off to find...who knew what. The kid was into everything...and I meant everything. Bella's cooking things, Maddie's makeup, Masen's baseball gloves; anything he found laying around was fair game as far as he was concerned.

I smiled as I turned around to grab a beer out of the fridge before I faced the rest of the family...well, before I faced my oldest daughter...and him.

I heard Eli happily banging his Duplo blocks together and immediately thought about how much our lives had changed since Ladybug had been born. It seemed like from the moment she arrived, our lives had been on warp speed.

To say we had been ecstatic...and surprised when Bella found out she was pregnant with Eli, would be an understatement. Callie had turned two and Rose and Emmett's daughter Lucy had just turned one and we were having Sunday dinner at Mama and Pop's when I found Bella curled around the toilet in the bathroom. One look at her, and I knew she was pregnant. We stayed an extra day and went to see Travis in the morning before heading back to Lake George and he confirmed my Bella was indeed pregnant again.

Her pregnancy with Eli didn't go quite as smoothly as it had with Callie, at least in terms of pregnancy symptoms. She had morning, afternoon, and night sickness, she was way more tired...and irritable than she ever was with Callie. It was pretty awful to watch her be sick like she was, but she took it all like a trooper, and never, well hardly ever, complained. My wife was an amazing woman, that was for damn sure, but she wasn't a saint either.

Eli was such a blessing though, and one that made our lives fuller than I ever could have imagined. He looked almost exactly like me, except he had Bella's brown eyes and luckily for all of us, he had her calm demeanor as well. He was an amazing kid and there was little I loved more than coming home day after day and finding out what new thing he had learned that day.

He adored his mother, not that I could have blamed him in the least, but when I say he was her shadow, I meant that literally. Bella could barely take two steps without Eli following right behind her.

"Elliot Andrew Cullen!" Bella shrieked as she came down the stairs...carrying one of Callie's mangled dolls, and from the looks of it, it died a slow, painful death. My little girl followed behind her mother, sniffling, and when I looked at my precocious son, he had a sheepish look on his face.

"Little man, you know better than to play with things that aren't yours," I told him as I set my beer down on the counter and walked over to where he was and picked him up.

"Edward," Bella sighed when she got closer to me and blew her hair out of her face with a huff of breath.

"Hey, Baby," I told her with a smile and leaned forward to give her a kiss.

Well, apparently Eli wanted in on the action because he reached his arms out and grabbed her around the neck, causing her to giggle, even though she really tried not to.

She pulled him from me and hitched our son on her hip and rubbed her nose against his cheek, his sweet giggle filling the room. "What am I going to do with you, Eli?" she asked and then looked at me, like I had the answer.

I shrugged my shoulders at her. "He's your kid, Angel," I said with a smirk and walked back over to pick up my beer.

She snorted at me and with a glare she said, "So, he's mine when he's being rotten, but he's yours when he's behaving? Nice, Edward."

"Sounds fair to me, especially since I keep being told to just deal with him," I sneered and pointed in the direction of the dining room where my princess was doing homework with her boyfriend. The word gave me the chills and seriously threatened to turn me into a knife wielding homicidal maniac. Maybe not quite that extreme, but it was really fucking close.

How the hell was my little girl old enough to have a boyfriend...and all that THAT entailed?

She set Eli down on the ground with a kiss and then turned to look at me with her hands on her hips. That was never a good sign. I grinned at her and tried to give her a pout, but she didn't even crack a smile. Shit.

"Edward, really. Wesley is a very nice boy. You should try to be nicer to him. You'll upset Maddie if you keep acting like such a caveman," she told me and judging from the tone of her voice, she was on the verge of getting really pissed off at me.

"Do I need to remind you of how a certain someone, who happens to look exactly like you, reacted the first time Masen had a girlfriend over to the house?" I taunted as I walked toward her. I smirked, like the know-it-all pain in the ass she loved so much, and raised my eyebrows at her, daring her to challenge the truth of what I said.

My smirk turned into a full-fledged shit-eating grin when I saw the corners of her mouth lift ever so slightly. Of course the tell tale sign that she didn't want to admit I was right was the roll of her gorgeous brown eyes.

"I hate you. You are such an ass," she huffed and then giggled.

I stepped even closer to her and reached for her hands and then pulled her against me. I draped my arms over her shoulders and bent my head down so that I could kiss her behind her ear. When she sighed softly, I tried not to chuckle, but she was just so predictable. "Bella, we've been married more than six years now, don't you think I'd know where your spot was?" I teased her as I sucked even harder on the tender skin. "And you don't hate me, Jellybean, you love me and you know it." I growled and pulled her even closer to me and slid my hands through her hair and held the back of her head. Tipping her face up to mine, I lowered my lips to hers and kissed her deeply.

No one had ever accused me of fighting fair!

When I was done kissing her, and I only stopped to keep from attacking her in the kitchen in front of way too many kids, I kissed her on the end of the nose and stepped back. "No, I guess after a kiss like that I can't say I hate you, KitKat, but really, you have to lay off Maddie about Wesley. I had to do the same thing with Angelica, and if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Smartass, you," she said as she stuck her finger in the middle of my chest, "told me over and over again that it was just a part of Masen growing up and I would have to learn how to deal with it." She crooked one eyebrow and dared me to contradict her, which no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn't do it.

Damn woman knew me inside and out, that was for sure, and she never, fucking ever, forgot anything I said, either. Made it harder than hell to dig myself out of the holes I continually found myself in.


I'd gotten home from work, early for a change, and walked into the house and like I always did, looked immediately for Bella. I heard laughing from downstairs in the game room so I knew the kids were down there, but I didn't see my wife anywhere. I noticed the door to the deck open, which was odd, since it was early February and it was still damn cold outside. Thinking one of the kids had forgotten to shut the door, I walked over to shut it when I noticed Bella sitting on the chaise, wrapped up in a heavy blanket.

"Baby?" I called to her softy, and sucked in a sharp breath when I saw that the tip of her nose was red and so were her eyes...and it wasn't due to the cold weather either.

"Oh shit, Edward, I didn't hear you come home," she said quickly and wiped her face with her hands in an attempt to keep me from seeing she'd been crying. She should have known better. When it came to her, nothing got past me, especially if something had upset her.

She moved to get up, but I quickly walked to the chaise and sat down next to her. I picked her up and set her on my lap, just like always. "Now, my sweet girl, you can try to hide that beautiful face from me," I said softly since she had buried her head against my chest, "but you know I'm stubborn enough to let us both freeze out here, so why don't you save us both the trouble and go ahead and tell me what has you so upset?"

She sniffed and reached for my left hand and played with my wedding ring and my fingers, again a habit and one that if it fell by the wayside, I would miss greatly. "You're going to laugh at me," she said and I chuckled and squeezed my arms around her.

"Bella, I would never laugh at anything that caused you to cry," I told her and kissed the side of her head. "Now, come on, tell me."

She sighed and shifted on my lap and said quietly, "Masen has a friend over."

"Oookaaay," I dragged out because, honestly, in a million years I wouldn't have guessed those five words would have come out of her mouth. "And, this is a problem, why?"

Bella huffed again, this time it was followed by what I would swear was a growl. What the hell? "Bella? What's wrong, don't you like the kid? Masen usually just hangs out with the guys from the baseball team and we know all of them. Did some new guy join the team or something?" I asked totally confused.

"No, Edward, there isn't a new boy on his baseball team, unless Coach Henderson started letting people with the name Angelica on the team," she said with a sneer...and an adorably scrunched up nose.

"Wait, what? Masen has a girl over? Is that what is going on?" I asked as I tried to catch up to what she was saying.

Bella sat up straighter and glared at me. "Yes, Edward, Masen has a girl over. His girlfriend," she said and even did that whole finger thing to make quotations around the word. She scrambled off my lap and began to pace around the deck. "Do you know he wants to get her a Valentine's Day present? I mean, what the hell? He only just met the little jezebel and now he wants to buy her presents?"

I tried to cough and hide my chuckle behind my hand, because damn, the woman was on a tear, but I didn't do such a good job because she whipped her head around and pinned me with a cold stare.

"Are you laughing at me, Edward?" she growled and I shook my head, even though I knew she could tell I was dying to laugh on the inside.

"Jezebel? Really, Bella? The girl is only fifteen-years-old, unless my boy was lucky enough to find himself an older woman," I teased her, but then bit back a laugh when I saw the true unease on her face. "Baby, come on, what is bothering you so much? He's almost fifteen, Bella; he's going to like girls. He's a good-looking kid, just like his old man, you had to know this was going to happen sooner or later," I reminded her and her shoulders sagged and then she plopped down beside me and crossed her arms.

"I know, Edward, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. It's been me and him, you know?" she said softly. "I know this might seem silly, but it's like I'm losing him," she said even more softly and sniffed.

I scooted closer to her and wrapped my arm around her shoulder and kissed the top of her head. "Isabella Marie Cullen, our son thinks the sun rises and sets on you, and nothing will ever change how he feels about you. Certainly not some fifteen-year-old jezebel," I teased and bumped her knee with mine."You're his hero, Mama, and you and I both know he loves you more than anyone, even me."

"He still loves Callie most of all," she said with a smile and I couldn't help but snort at that. No truer statement had ever been said.

"He couldn't love anyone more than Ladybug," I agreed with a chuckle but then got serious. "Bella, they're growing up, finding out who they are, and spreading their wings. It's what they're supposed to do. We've raised them to be great kids, baby, but you're going to have to start letting him go."

"I know, but I don't want to," Bella said with a sigh.

"Well, Mase, will always be a Mama's boy, just like his dad is, and there is nothing wrong with that. Let's just hope he lucks out in the wife department like I did," I laughed.

Bella stood up and looked at me. "Well, no one will ever be good enough for my boy."

I threw my head back and laughed because really, she was just too fucking cute, but the next words out of her mouth were like a bucket of ice water.

"Oh and sweetheart, you better remember this conversation when it's Maddie that comes home with a boyfriend," she said with a wink before she blew me a kiss and walked into the house, leaving me still as a statue.

End of Flashback~

Motherfucker, if it always didn't happen that my words came back to bite me in my own ass!

I huffed, really fucking hating that she was right, as usual, and I was wrong. "Fine," I said as I hung my head. "I'll try to be nicer to the boy."

"Well, you can practice at dinner because he's eating with us," she said cheekily and then walked to the kitchen to finish up making the food.

"Son of a bitch," I muttered to which Bella called out, "I heard that, Edward. Go find Masen; he has something he wants to tell you."

I took another drink of my beer and went in search of my son. I found him in the living room, unsurprisingly with Callie at his feet coloring in a coloring book.

"Mase, look," she said sweetly up at him and he of course, being wound completely around her finger, he stopped the conversation he was having on the phone and looked at her picture. "Great job, Cal," he said and kissed the top of her head.

I had to say, watching the two of them together always did something to me. We had an incredibly close family, and Bella and I were happier than anyone really had a right to be, but there was something so special about the bond Masen and Callie had with one another. I couldn't even put it into words if I tried, but anyone that looked at them together would be able to see it. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. He and Maddie were as close as any two people could be, seeing as how they were twins and all, but even granting that, Masen and Callie...were just more.

"Hi, Daddy!" my little girl giggled when she saw me watching her. She hopped up off the floor and ran to me and jumped into my arms.

"How is my Ladybug today?" I asked and rubbed my chin against her soft skin once I'd lifted her up.

She laughed and wiggled in my arms. "You're scruffy! I had a good day; we got to play with clay in art. It was fun! But, Eli broke my doll," she said with a pout.

"Well, next time we go see Nana and Papa, we'll just have to get you a new one, won't we?" I asked which got an enthusiastic nod in response.

"Why don't you go see if you can help Mommy with dinner and let me talk to Mase for a few minutes?" I asked her and then kissed her on the head and watched her run off.

"Thanks, Uncle J," I heard Masen say into his cell phone once I got to sit down. I kicked my feet up onto the coffee table, even though Bella would slap me silly if she caught me, and waited for him to get through with his phone call.

I smiled as I remembered how upset I used to get whenever Masen would go to Jasper first with things. Once Callie was born, and I became Dad instead of Daddy, Masen and Jasper had gotten extremely close. The first time he had a problem, I couldn't even remember what it was now, and went to Jasper instead of me, I had been devastated. It took a stern talking to from my Mama to put things into perspective for me.

She reminded when I was his age and even as I got older, there were a lot of times I had gone to Uncle Marcus first with a problem instead of straight to my dad. He was my go-to guy, always had been. I always had Emmett and Demetri, and I knew there was nothing I couldn't tell either one of my parents, but Uncle Marcus was...different. Once I got over acting like a baby, I realized I was really happy that Masen had the same thing with Jasper.

It kind of surprised me it was Jasper he went to and not Emmett or Demetri since he'd been around them his whole life, or even Seth who was Bella's best friend and so laid back. But, when I really stopped and thought about it, it made perfect sense. Both were completely devoted to Bella, both had that calm, cool demeanor about them, and both were fiercely loyal and protective of their family.

Masen laughed at something Jasper said and looked at me and grinned. "Yeah, I'll tell him. Tell Uncle Em and Seth thanks for the email with the new workout in it. I'll give it a try. I need a few more miles an hour on my fastball according to Coach, so the arm exercises will help."

He listened to whatever Jasper said in response and then finished up. "Sounds good, Uncle J. Give my love to Aunt Ali and the twins. See you soon."

Yes, since Bella and I had escaped twin-free, and we weren't planning on having any more kids, Jasper and Alice were the lucky ones to be blessed with having the next set. My niece and nephew, Olivia and Owen, were born around the same time as Eli. Let me tell you, having Bella and Alice pregnant at the same time, and Rose with Lucy in between Callie and Eli, it was baby central in our family for awhile there.

Unfortunately, Seth and Tanya, who had gotten married after Eli was born, hadn't had much luck in conceiving. Mine and Bella's best friends were not handling it too well to be honest, and we were all getting worried. There was nothing medically wrong with either of them, it just hadn't happened yet and it seemed like the more we all tried to tell them it would happen when it was supposed to, the worse it got. They were under a lot of strain right now and I knew I'd spent as much time on the phone talking to one or the other of them as often as Bella had.

All we could do was hope and continue to pray that they were strong enough to weather the storm they were in. I thought, and Bella agreed with me, that part of the problem was that Seth had been so ready to get married when we had and Tanya had wanted to wait. She wanted to get married; she just didn't want it to be right then. Eventually they came to a compromise and had a small, but very elegant wedding in the summer. It was a destination wedding and we'd all gone to Hawaii for the ceremony and then we all stayed for a week after.

Things hadn't been easy for them, but I knew they'd be fine. I hated that they were having so much trouble right now, but I had no doubt there would be a baby for them, I just hoped it was soon. For all our sakes.

Masen threw his phone on the table by my feet and leaned back. "Hey, Dad. Did you know what's his name was here?" he asked and I couldn't help but chuckle. Seemed like I wasn't the only one who didn't like the kid. My son was so damn smart sometimes!

I grunted and looked at him. "Damn kid parked in my spot...again."

"I swear I don't know what Mad sees in him. I know he's artsy like she is, but still, the guy is just..." he said and shook his head. "Callie better not ever like anyone like that, or else you'll be visiting me in jail instead of watching me on the diamond."

I had to laugh at that. I didn't doubt for a second he wasn't kidding either. Callie would be lucky if she ever got to date, though I was kind of all for that, too, but Masen looked positively sick just thinking about it.

Wesley wasn't a bad kid, really, if I was being objective. He was just...odd. Too smooth, too polite...too perfect. No edge to him whatsoever and I supposed most dads would be happy about that, but I wasn't most dads. It just wasn't natural, in my opinion anyway, to be that perfect all the time. Made me wonder why he worked so hard. I supposed, if was being one hundred percent honest, another part of the reason I had a problem with him was he didn't play all.

Maddie was an incredible artist and her talent had only grown as she'd gotten older. She had huge portfolios of all her work and Mama had already started showing her work to established artists in the city. However, she still loved soccer just as much as she always had and Bella and Jasper both insisted she was better than Bella ever had been. I wasn't so sure about that, having watched every tape of every game Bella had, numerous times, but I tended to be a bit biased...even against my own daughter. Bella had been something you saw only very rarely, that ultimate combination of skill, intuition, and fearlessness. I had not one doubt that if she hadn't had her dream ripped away from her the way she had, she'd have been world famous, the stuff that graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and I didn't mean as a supermodel either.

I knew Maddie was only almost fifteen and it wasn't like she would end up with him for the rest of her life, God forbid, but I didn't want her to give up anything for anyone. Soccer was important to her, and as long as it was, whoever she chose to spend time needed to respect that. Since Wesley didn't play any kind of sports, he didn't understand the dedication and the amount of time she had to practice, even when it wasn't soccer season.

As I'd come to find out over the years, there was no off-season to speak of when it came to soccer; at least not when you played at the level she was at. Between her Academy team and playing for school, and tournaments, soccer went on all year. Maddie used her art as a way to let off steam and to relax, and she was damn good at it, too, but for right now, soccer was where her passion laid.

"He's just odd," I answered Masen finally, and he nodded in agreement. "So how is Jasper? And what was that I heard about a new workout?" I questioned.

"Uncle J is fine, so are Aunt Ali and the twins. He said they were catching up to Eli on the getting into everything phase, but I told him no way. No kid could ever be as bad as Swoop at finding things and taking them to who knows where." Masen chuckled and I laughed.

Swoop was the name Mase and Callie had come up with for their little brother when one time too many he'd taken something of theirs and then couldn't remember where he'd put it. Of course, the kid was only three and they knew better than to leave anything they wanted to keep track of laying around, but the nickname seemed to have stuck and I had to admit it fit him pretty good, too. He sure as hell swooped in and picked up anything anyone left behind and took it to parts unknown.

"And the workout," he began and sat up and bent over to rest his elbows on his knees. "Uncle Em and Seth found this new exercise for me to use to build up the muscles in my upper arms which is gonna come in handy since Coach is starting me this weekend," he said with a smile.

"Holy shit, Mase!" I exclaimed once the words sunk in. "That's fantastic," I told him and slapped him on the back. "Starting Varsity pitcher and only a Freshman, unfuckingbelievable," I said, mostly to myself. "I'm so proud of you."

He sat back and ran his hands through his hair and looked so much like me right then that I lost my breath for a second. He was such an amazing kid, and I was in awe of him on a daily basis. He made good grades, worked hard, devoted the time necessary to be the great ball player he was...and he was the best son and brother anyone could have ever asked for.

"So fucking proud," I told him again.

"Thanks, Dad. Coach said I've looked really good in practice the last few weeks so he wants to give me a shot. I just hope I don't mess up," he told me and I was shaking my head before he'd even finished the sentence.

"Mase, you'll be fine. You have worked hard. Don't stress yourself out about it, you just do your thing," I told him, remembering my own playing days. I wasn't even close to as good a baseball player as he was, even by the time I'd finished high school. "Jasper knows already?" I asked, assuming he'd already told him, which meant that Emmett knew...which surely meant that everyone else in the family knew, too.

Forty damn years old and the man still couldn't keep anything to himself!

"Yeah, he knows, but I didn't call to tell him first," Masen hurried to explain, and I shook my head at him.

"Mase, it's okay if you did. At least you told me before your mother," I teased him and he smiled at that.

He sighed and got quiet which was never a good sign. "You want to tell me what you did call to talk to him about? I mean if you don't want to, it's okay, but you know you can tell me anything."

"Ah, it's not really that big of a deal now that I think about it," he dismissed with a wave of his hand. "Angelica broke up with me because she demanded I stop hanging out with Emily and I told her no. I just wanted to ask Uncle J if that happened a lot to him and Seth when they were my age because of how close they were to Mama."

I chuckled, because Jasper and Seth sure would know what it was like. "Well, you could have asked me the same question, you know. I had more than my fair share of girls that didn't take too kindly to my friendship with Tanya over the years."

"Oh, crap, I didn't even think about that, Dad. Sorry. So, tell me, how did you deal with it? Em's like Mad you know, I mean she's my best friend. I'm not giving her up for anyone," he stated adamantly and again I was so impressed with him.

I had a hell of a kid, no doubt about it...even though I guessed Bella deserved as much credit as I did for how he turned out.

Shrugging my shoulders, I didn't have any words of wisdom really. "You just keep doing what you're doing, Mase. Emily is like family, you've known her for almost half your life now. You just have to realize a lot of girls are going to be intimidated by how close the two of you are. You have to let them know up front you're only friends with her...I mean you are only friends with her, right?" I questioned.

"Yes," he huffed. "Why does everyone ask me that all the freaking time?"

Chuckling, I bumped his shoulder with mine and said, "Just checking, buddy. It's hard for people to understand that a guy and a girl can really just be friends without all that other stuff getting in the way. Who knows, you may change your mind about Emily somewhere down the road."

"Hmph, maybe. Anyway, Uncle J said they'd come up and watch the game, which means that Aunt Rose and Uncle Em will be here...and who knows who else. Nana and Papa are already here, so it looks like we'll be having a family get-together this weekend. Hopefully Mad leaves what's his name at home," he said with a shudder.

"Mad wasn't too crazy about Angelica either, so maybe she's just paying you back," I told him as we stood up to go have dinner.

He slapped me on the back and said, "Well, at least Wesley hasn't been called anything like jezebel."

I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at him. "You knew about that?" I asked incredulously, but I couldn't stop from laughing. Bella really wasn't very subtle in her displeasure about Masen's choice of first serious girlfriend, that was for sure.

"Heck yes!" he smirked. "Mama didn't hide her feelings very well. I can't wait to tell her about what happened today, she'll be happy."

I wrapped my arm around him and said, "No joke. She really didn't like her at all."

Dinner was fine, even though my fingers hurt from gripping my fork so tight while I ate. Every time I looked up, Wesley and Maddie were making goo-goo eyes at each other and it took all I had, plus a few pointed looks from my beautiful wife, to keep from lunging across the table and wringing his perfect neck.

Bella was ecstatic to hear about the demise of Angelica and Masen and did a shitty job of trying to appear the least bit sympathetic. It was a good thing Mase wasn't all that serious about her or else he might have been upset. Apparently Angelica hadn't made the best impression on Callie either because when she heard the news, she gave him a big hug and kiss.

The boy finally went home after dinner, I still didn't like that he could drive and had his own car, and Masen told the rest of them his news about starting the game this weekend. Everyone was really excited for him and even more excited when they found out that most of the family was coming up for the big debut. I knew how nervous he would be, but I also knew how happy he was and how important it was to him to have the family there to support him.

We got Eli and Callie bathed and in bed and left Mase and Maddie what teenagers did before they went to sleep and headed for our room. As soon as the door shut behind us, I had Bella pinned up against the door and my mouth attached to the side of her neck. "I have been thinking about this since the second I walked in the door earlier," I said between kisses and licks. Her skin still tasted so good on my tongue, warm, home, just the way she tasted when I kissed her.

"Edward," she sighed in a breathy whisper and as soon as my name left her mouth, mine was on hers.

I plunged my tongue deep into her mouth, savoring the taste and feel of her, and the feel of her body pressed tightly against mine. I ground my center against hers, letting her feel just how much I wanted her. Since I was really fucking hard, she should have been able to tell I wanted her really fucking bad.

"Fuck, Bella," I hissed when I touched her just right. I lifted her up and cupped her ass. I smiled against her lips when I heard her groan and let that hot as hell little whimper she always used escape. "All day, baby," I rasped and tangled my fingers in her hair. "All fucking day I thought about this and then, fuck," I groaned as she palmed me through my jeans. My hips bucked against her because damn, it felt so good when she touched me...even through layers of clothes.

I gripped the bottom of her t-shirt and quickly pushed it up over her head. My eyes hungrily drank her in. Underneath her plain light blue t-shirt she had on the sexiest bra I'd ever fucking seen...or so it seemed right at that moment. Who the hell knew, really, because right now all I could think about was how perfect she looked in the lacy, ice blue bra that held her even more perfect breasts just right. I lifted one hand from her ass and traced a line from her collarbone, down her chest, and around each magnificent breast with a fingertip.

She shivered under my light touch, and her eyes stared directly into mine, turning me on even more because I could tell she wanted me as much as I wanted her. I couldn't ever get enough of her...a lifetime with her and it wouldn't even come close to being enough. I let the end of my finger dip beneath the delicate fabric of her bra and I grazed the tip of her hardening nipple. I fucking loved that she reacted to my touch the way she did, that I knew her body so well. That I knew how to touch her to elicit those breathy whimpers of pleasure each and every time we made love.

Bella's legs were wrapped tightly around my waist and I shifted her so that she aligned perfectly with my hard, almost painfully so, erection. I stepped toward her again, pressing her tightly up against the door and crushed her chest to mine. I could feel her hard nipples rub against me and I lowered my head and kissed along her collarbone. She threw her head back, letting her gorgeous, soft brown hair cascade over her shoulders and down her back. Of course the motion stretched her neck out, leaving way too much skin exposed and just begging to be kissed.

I happily obliged.

"You always taste so damn good, Bella," I whispered in her ear. "I want you, so fucking much." I licked down the side of her neck and then curled my tongue around her earlobe. "I want to be buried deep inside of you," I rasped and then let out a growl when she raked her fingernails along my scalp and then down my back. "I want to make you scream my name, over and over again, as you come and come, until you're begging me to stop."

"Christ, Edward," she breathed out when I bent my head down and sucked her nipple into my mouth and bathed the fabric covered nub with my tongue.

"Tell me what you want, baby," I taunted her as I gently bit down on the distended flesh. I kneaded her ass with one hand and with the other cupped the side of her face, forcing her to look at me. "Tell me," I demanded. I brushed my lips back and forth across hers, not really even touching them and she arched her back off the door to try to get closer to me. I leaned back just enough, so that her hard nipples glanced across my chest, but it didn't give her the friction she craved. I could tell she was getting worked up, hell I was so damn hard I swore I would push through my jeans if I got any harder, but still, I teased her.

I wanted to hear the words.

"Edward, damn it," she ground out as she tried to writhe against me. She reached a hand out to pull me closer to her, but I wasn't having any of that. I grabbed her hand and lifted it over her head and held her still.

"Tell me, Bella," I said in a low, deep voice…the one that caused her to squirm against me and the one that made her breathe heavy. I licked at her lips, sucking her bottom one into my mouth and then nibbled on it. I swiveled my hips and pushed against her again.

I tangled my fingers in her hair and pulled gently, but hard enough to make her look at me. I didn't say anything; I just stared at her, letting her body settle against mine. There was no question what I wanted, not what she wanted either. All she had to do was say the words.

"Fuck me, Edward. Now," Bella said in a sultry voice, and I swore it was the hottest thing I'd ever heard come out of her beautiful lips. I exhaled deeply, feeling my nostrils flare as the words washed over me.

I reached between us and undid the button on her jeans and then pushed the zipper down. As soon as I was able to, I pushed my hand beneath her panties and cupped her.

"Fuck, baby, you're so damn wet," I groaned when I touched her swollen bundle of nerves.

She flung her head back against the door the moment I touched her where she wanted it most and I knew I had to move us or we'd wind up waking the kids.

"Hang on to me," I instructed her and lifted her up to carry her to the bathroom. I kept my hand where it was and the other one held her to me as we walked. Bella wrapped her arms tightly around my neck and when I felt her hot little tongue lick behind my ear I let out a sharp hiss.

"Hurry, Edward. I need you to be inside of me," she whispered and sucked my earlobe into her mouth.

"Shit, Bella," I panted as I closed the door to the bathroom and then reached into the shower and turned on the hot water. I set her down on her feet and pushed her jeans and panties down to her feet before I undid her bra and watched it with hungry eyes fall to the ground.

There wasn't any better sight than my Bella, naked and ready for me.


I reached behind my head and grabbed my shirt and yanked it off and flung it to the corner. Bella's hands were already undoing my jeans and the second she pushed them down over my hips she had my hard cock in her warm hand and I almost came right then.

"Jesus…fuck that feels so good," I moaned. The bathroom was filling with steam and I knew I needed to move this to the shower but she continued to stroke me and I couldn't move even if I wanted to.

I didn't want to.

Bella dropped to her knees and took me into her mouth before I knew what she was doing. My hips bucked forward involuntarily as she began to move and she took me even deeper inside her mouth. I looked down and it took every ounce of restraint I had not to come right then.

"Oh, God, Bella, you have no idea how fucking good you look… how that feels," I panted. I slid my hand into her hair and twisted it around my fingers. The other hand I lowered and laid on her cheek, my thumb tracing the line of her jaw.

"Mmmm, Edward," she breathed out when she let me slip from her lips.

"Shower, now," I ordered her. "When I come, I want to be inside of you."

She stood up and I picked her up, kissing her the moment my arms wrapped around her. As soon as we stepped into the shower I let the water run over her. When she tipped her head back into the stream of water, I bent my head forward and took a nipple into my mouth and sucked, licking up the water that rained down on us.

"Edward, now," my girl begged and I wasted no time giving her what she wanted.

I lifted her up and stepped toward the wall of the shower and when I had us positioned just right, slowly lowered her onto me. The second I was completely sheathed inside of her, we each let out the same moan of pleasure and contentment.

This was us, coming together, reconnecting after being apart all day. Even after all this time, we needed the closeness…craved it. We might not make love every day, it might even be few days between times, or hell there were times it was a week or more, but we still needed to be close to one another. Making love took things one step further, but we found we could be just as intimate cuddling on the couch or falling asleep with Eli between us.

"I love you," I breathed out as I began to slide her up and down. My fingers gripped her hips and my thumbs pressed against the sensitive skin of her sexy as fuck hipbones. Even after giving birth to two children, Bella had a body that turned me into a quivering mess whenever I saw her naked.

Hell, even clothed she was so beautiful she took my breath away, still, each and every day.

"Love you, too," she moaned. "Feels so good," she murmured and closed her eyes and threw her head back.

"Look at me, Bella," I told her. I couldn't help but want to look into her eyes as we came together. Her eyes pulled me in and I would swear I could see into her soul through the bottomless depths. They were always warm and so full of love and happiness and it made my heart fly to know that I was the one that made her feel that way. That the life we shared together made her so happy.

"So close," she whispered as she stared into my eyes.

"I love being inside of you," I told her and reached down and grabbed her hand and laid it over my chest, above my heart. "I love that I can make you feel so good, that I make you so happy."

"Oh, Edward," she said softly. "I couldn't imagine being any happier," she told me with a smile.

"You're almost there," I said. "I can feel you, pulling me deeper inside of you."

"Please,, oh…God, so close," she answered me.

"Together, baby. Come with me, let me feel you," I commanded and thrust inside of her.

I leaned forward and kissed her, my mouth possessing hers. I kissed with everything I had, every ounce of want and need and never ending love and her walls fluttered and pulsed and I felt her come. She arched her back off the wall; her cries of pleasure filled the room and echoed in my ears.

"Oh, fuck yes, Bella," I groaned and came, hard.

She followed me again, the orgasm flowing through her and she shook in my arms until she collapsed against me in a boneless heap.

I held her for a few minutes until I felt the temperature of the water cool a bit and knew we needed to hurry or else we'd be showering in ice water. I regretfully pulled out of her, missing being inside of her as soon as I did. She pouted at me and stuck out her bottom lip. Apparently I wasn't the only one that enjoyed how it felt to be buried deep inside of her.

"We can try for round two, baby, but we have to hurry or else we're gonna freeze to death in here," I teased her.

We did manage to finish the shower, though every bit of hot water was gone by the time we'd had our fill of touching and kissing. I wrapped her in a fluffy towel once I'd dried her off and wrapped one around my waist before we brushed our teeth and got changed for bed. After I checked on the kids and made sure everything was locked up, I crawled into bed and pulled an already half-asleep Bella into my arms. She curled up against me in her favorite position and her hand automatically found its spot right above my heart. Every night, it was the same thing and I smiled when I thought of that.

It made sense, she'd owned it completely from the very first moment I saw her.

"Hmmm, love you, Edward," she whispered sleepily.

I bent my head down and kissed the top of her head and picked up her left hand and kissed her wedding ring…just as I'd done every night since I first put it on her finger. "Always and forever, Angel."

If there was a luckier man in the world anywhere…I'd have to meet him because I didn't think anyone could be luckier…or happier than I was.

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