Rated M

This is my contribution to the BatB Compilation
Much love and thanks to my favorite girls -
Planetblue and Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy for prereading,
and Carrie ZM for betaing.

Here's a Burning Saints futuretake from Bitsy.

Bitsy POV – July 1956

Running a hand over my stomach, I turn slightly to see my profile in the mirror. Although our son came into this world almost six weeks ago, I'm afraid I'll never be able to lose the pouch-like bulge hidden beneath my girdle.

"You're still gorgeous, Bits." My husband leans against the doorway wearing a suit and a smile with his tie undone and giving me the look that put me in the family way in the first place.

"You need your eyes checked."

"It's almost time to go."

I give myself another quick once over in the mirror and smooth my dress down. "I'm ready."

He tugs the tie. "Give me a hand with this, will ya'?"

"I think you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself."

"I am, but I like it when you do it better."

"And why's that?" I ask, adjusting the tie beneath his collar.

"Because," his hand slips down to rest on my backside, "I get to do this." Giving me a squeeze, he drops a kiss to my forehead. "You feelin' all right today?"

Slipping the small end through the loop, I don't meet his eyes. "I'm okay."

Memories of last night come flooding back. Sweet whispered words and scotch-flavored kisses. Heated stares and panted pleas. After five weeks I caved, but I can't say I regret it.

"So." I wrap the tie around. "Let's go over the headcount for today. I have 19. Emmett, Rose, and Junior, your mother and Aro, Carlisle and Esme, Felix, Kate and the kids, Paulie and Marie, Lou, Momo and Angeline."

"I don't know if Momo's bringing his wife, but he's bringing someone."

"Lovely. Some bimbo at our son's baptism."

"Bits …" His tone is warning, but I ignore it.

"What? It's true. The man has two kids and a wife and is walking around like a bachelor with these bi—"
I catch myself. "Blonde singers."

Momo is becoming a bone of contention for me lately. Edward's thrilled to have him back from Havana, as are Carlisle and Emmett. But Momo's got ideas of his own which are fine, so long as his ideas don't interfere with the groundwork Edward has laid with a certain political family in Massachusetts.

"Who else?"

I straighten his tie and pull the collar down. "My parents." His groan is barely audible. "Did I miss anyone?"

"The kid."

"Well, I'd hope we'd bring our son to his own baptism."

"No, not Nico." His chest swells with pride when he says our son's name. "I'm talkin' about the kid."

"Ah, of course." I grin at the way my husband tries to downplay his fondness for Alec. "The kid."

He shrugs a shoulder. "Yeah, I figured it'd be nice to include him given how much he's around the fellas and all."

"Mm hmm." More like given how much time he spends with my husband. I suppose right around the time that the Neri's got what was coming to them, Edward took little Alec under his wing. I remember it started off small - dinners, then outings to movies, ballgames and such. One night I recall Edward coming home excited after taking Alec to his first Little League practice, bragging on him like he was his own.

"Eh, it was a good excuse to get the kid a new suit, you know? Don't want him runnin' 'round the neighborhood lookin' like a bum."

"That's sweet of you."

His hands slide lower and he brings his mouth to my ear. "You like when I'm sweet, Bits?"

"I like it when you behave before church."

The front door swings open and my mother-in-law's voice echoes throughout the house. "It's us."

"Jesus," Edward mutters, pulling away to shout down the hall. "Ma, you're gonna wake the baby!"

"He's fine," she yells back before barking instructions to Aro to put her sauce on the stove and the meat in the refrigerator.

My husband's eyes find mine and he slips his hands in his pockets. "So much for misbehaving."

"Careful of the curb here, Bits," Edward says, opening the car door for me at the church.

"Mr. C," one of the neighborhood kids shouts followed by a few other boys who run over to my husband.

Edward grins, reaching into his pocket and jingling his change. Tonia approaches, smiling at her son as the boys crowd around my husband who's handing out quarters and telling them to go pray.

"He looks just like his father when he does that." She tips her head to the side wistfully. "My Ed used to make me go to church ten minutes early each Sunday so he didn't miss them."

I smile, watching Edward laugh at their excitement.

"I'm going to go have a word with Father Francis." She holds her hands out for my son. "Let me take him inside."

My mother-in-law carries him up to the entrance, followed by Aro, who's gently holding her elbow as she climbs the stairs.

The boys are no longer surrounding Edward, but he's speaking quietly with Carlisle, so I opt not to interrupt and make my way into the church. I'm barely to the rectory when I hear my name.

"Psst. Mrs. C."

I turn to the sound and see Alec in the corridor, slightly hidden. His tie is undone and he holds it up. "I ain't never tied one of these before."

I step closer. "I can help with th –" I'm unable to finish, gasping at the sight of the greenish-purple bruising on the side of his face.

"It's nothin', Mrs. C.," he says sheepishly, looking down.

"Are you all right?" I ask, slipping my pocketbook under my arm before grabbing the ends of his tie.

"I'm fine."

"What's goin' on here?" Edward asks as he approaches with a grin.

"Alec needs help with his tie."

"Lemme help him," he says, slapping a hand down on his shoulder causing Alec to wince in pain and turning his bruised face in my husband's direction. Edward's smile fades as his fury sets in. "What the fuck happened?"

Alec's eyes go wide and he whispers, "You cursed in church."

"It's fine, I'll put some extra in the offering." He tips Alec's chin up. "Now tell me what happened?"

"It's nothin'. My old man came home a few days ago."

"Has he been beatin' on ya ever since?"

He shakes his head. "No. He was on his best behavior until my ma asked if he planned on helping pay for all the food she was cookin' for him." He swallows, looking anywhere but at Edward. "He went after her. I told Janie to run then I got between them." Holding up his fist, he shows us his swollen, cut up knuckles. "I got a few good licks in, but …"

"Look at me, kid," Edward says firmly and Alec's eyes reluctantly meet his. "My old man used to tell me that there are three things that make a man. One," he holds up a finger, "loyalty. To your family and friends and people you love." He raises another finger. "Two, the love of a good woman. You're a little young for that, but I see you eyein' that little Maggie broad." The corner of Alec's busted lip curls up. "And three, knowin' how to tie your own tie."

Gently placing his hand on Alec's shoulder, he dips down so they're face to face. "You did the right thing, kid. Steppin' in like you did." He shakes a finger at him. "That's what makes a man and an honorable one at that. You understand?"

Alec nods.

"Now, since you don't have a Bitsy of your own to help with your tie, I'm gonna teach you how to do it yourself. Grab both ends like this."

"Do you believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?" the priest asks as Emmett cradles our small child in his hands.

"We do believe," Rosalie and Emmett answer in unison, both smiling down at our little boy.

The priest anoints our son with the oil of catechumens, touching it to his chest. "May wisdom thrive in his heart." He places the oil on his shoulders. "May he patiently bear the yoke of Christ."

Edward stands quietly beside me, holding my hand in his. I glance up at his face and note his stoic expression, no doubt he's a million miles away from here in his head. I bump him with my hip, snapping him out of his thoughts which earns me a half-hearted smile.

"It is important that you as his parents and godparents, bring him up in the practice of faith that the divine life which God gives him must be kept safe from the poison of sin. Above all, you must protect him."

I sneak another peek at Edward and his smile is gone, replaced by a hardened stare as the priest pours the water over our son's head.

"Nico Edward Cullen, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The priest anoints him with Chrism on the crown of his head and places a white garment on him to show that his soul is now spotless with grace. He hands Rosalie a lit candle. "To keep the light of faith and virtue burning in his heart." Bowing his head, the priest concludes. "Peace be with you."

"And also with you," we say in unison.

But my husband is anything but peaceful.

"He should be ashamed of himself," Rosalie mutters before taking a long drag from her cigarette as she stares out my kitchen window into the backyard.

"Who?" I ask, uncovering the trays of lasagna.

"Momo." She blows out her smoke and taps her cigarette against the ashtray. "Parading that tramp around here when he has a wife and kids at home."

I step over to the window, eyeing the latest blonde bombshell he's brought around. She's got a Jane Mansfield body with an Ava Gardner face. My hands go to my hips. "Who does he think he is, showing up with her to my son's baptism?"

Bringing the cigarette to her lips, she inhales. "He's a problem." She nods in Momo's direction. "I don't like how he disrespects the family. But more importantly, I don't like how he talks to Emmett."

"What do you mean?"

Exhaling slow, she stubs out her smoke. "He's disrespectful. Talks to him like he's not the boss of this family. It's not acceptable."

The title of boss is a bit murky right now. From the little I've gathered from Edward, I believe that Emmett is handling most family matters so his father can focus on his recovery.

Behind Momo and his lady-friend, the door to the shed swings open. Emmett and Aro emerge with Edward, all wearing the same troubled expression. They're followed by Alec, who's buttoning up his shirt.

Emmett and Aro head over to take a seat beside Carlisle who's laughing at whatever story Momo's telling Paulie and the blonde. Edward makes his way to the drink cart, placing a hand on the bottle of scotch before grabbing the gin instead.

My husband likes to do two things when he drinks gin. Fuck and fight. I can't say I'd mind the first one, but given how many fingers he pours, I'm almost certain he'll be doing more of the latter.

Arms crossed over her chest, Rosalie sighs. "I think I'm in the family way again."

My eyes go wide. "You do?"

She nods.

"Emmett will be thrilled."

"Probably, but …"

"But what?"

"But with girls like that around, he won't be lonely."

"Rose, no. Don't be ridiculous." I rub her arm. "He'd never do that to you."

She turns to me. "I want him gone."


Her words come out slow and deliberate. "Momo. I want him gone."

"You should tell Emmett."

"Emmett doesn't listen to me, but he listens to Edward."

I say nothing, turning my attention back to my husband knocking back his drink when I feel her step closer.

"And Edward listens to Bitsy."

Laughing, I shake my head. "I assure you I don't have that kind of power."

Her brow rises slightly and she smirks. "Now who's being ridiculous?"

"Front row in the Copa Room," my mother brags with a slow dip of her head, holding her palm up. "Hand to God."

"Front row for Sinatra?" Tonia clarifies just as Esme blurts out a 'wow', but I can't tell if she's feigning astonishment or genuinely impressed.

"Front row," my mother confirms, daintily picking up her fork to eat her cake. "I couldn't believe it either, but as soon as the concierge at The Sands found out Charlie was a judge, they insisted on rolling out the red carpet for us."

"I'm sure they did," my mother-in-law mutters under her breath, wearing an amused smirk.

"Truth be told, I had no interest in going out to Las Vegas. I mean, really, who wants to visit a desert in the summer?"

Esme chuckles, stabbing the fork into her cake while my mother blathers on and on about the showgirls and the broiled lobster at the Garden Room. I'm about to change the subject when I hear my son's cries from down the hall.

"Excuse me a moment," I say, sliding my chair back from the dining room table.

Checking my watch, I make my way to Nico's room. His door is slightly ajar and when I enter, I see Edward with our son in his arms beside his bassinet. He's smiling down at him, speaking softly in Italian. I lean against the doorway and watch the tender way he soothes him, stroking his cheek with his thumb.

Within moments, he has him calm.

"You're a natural," I tell him in a whisper, stepping close enough to slip my finger in our little one's grasp.

"I didn't know it would feel this way."

"You didn't know what would feel this way?"

Still staring at our son, Edward lifts him and presses a soft kiss to his forehead. Our beautiful boy looks up at his dad. He has my dark hair and eyes, but my husband's face. "Being a father."

I rest my cheek against his arm. "What does it feel like?"

"What does it feel like to you?" he asks instead of answering.

Our son opens and closes his mouth, keeping his eyes on his father.

"It feels like I want to burst from all the love I feel for him. And that the possibilities for him are endless." I lick my lips. "I feel prideful," I say before glancing at Edward. "And I feel fear."

"What're you afraid of, Bits?"

"Everything," I answer honestly. "I want to protect him from everything and everyone. What about you? Are you afraid of anything?"

"Me?" he asks, lifting our son once more to lovingly peck his cheek before handing him to me. "I'm afraid for anyone who ever makes me feel the need to protect him." Picking up his glass of gin, he kisses me on the temple. "He might be wet. Probably needs a change."

"Thanks for having me, Bella," Felix says, kissing my cheek before turning to my mother-in-law beside me who's hogging the baby. "Goodnight, Mrs. C."

"Take care, Felix. Tell Katie I hope the kids are feeling better."

"Will do." Turning to Alec who's carrying a bag full of leftovers, he waves him over. "You ready, kid?"

Alec nods. "Thanks for everything, Mrs. C.," he says, leaning in for a one-armed hug.

I'm careful to be gentle with him. "Thanks for coming. Do you have a game this week?"

He beams. "On Wednesday. You wanna come?"

"We'll be there."

He steps over in front of Tonia, touching his finger to Nico's hand. "See ya' around, little fella," he coos before saying his goodbyes to my mother-in-law.

Momo's blonde saunters in as they leave, reaching for my hand to hold it in her own. "You have such a beautiful home, Bella," she gushes, squeezing softly. "Thank you so much for letting us celebrate with you, hun."

"Mrs. Cullen."


Out of the corner of my eye, I see Rose and Esme watching our interaction from the doorway. "My name is Mrs. Cullen. Not Bella. Not hun. It's Mrs. Cullen."

Taken aback, she places a hand on her chest. "I beg your pardon."

"Beg all you want, toots," Rose pipes in, making her way over with a sneer, "but don't you forget for one minute that her name is Mrs. Cullen. She earned that name by being important enough to marry. Just like Momo's wife."

"Well, I –"

"Well you what?" Rose asks, inching closer. "Surely you know about his wife, don't you?"

"Phyllis," Momo barks from behind us. "Why don't you go to the car? I'll be out in a minute."

Eyes watery, she slips around Rose and out the door.

"Well, well, well," he says, stuffing a hand in his pocket. "Looks like the Cullen boys need a lesson."

"A lesson in what?" Rose asks, with an angry hand on her hip.

He smirks. "In teaching their women their place."

Positively aghast, Rose looks as if she's been slapped before jabbing a finger to his chest and lowering her voice. "Don't you ever speak to me like that, or I'll –"

"Or you'll what?" he fires back, stepping forward to loom over her.

Not backing down for a second, she stares him down. "Or I'll—"

"You're not gonna do shit. You ain't got that kinda power," he cuts her off, patting her on top of her head. "Do ya, toots?"

Esme steps in front of her daughter-in-law, looking fiercer than I've ever seen her. Her words come out quiet, but with an unmistakable edge. "Perhaps you need to be reminded of your place."

Standing down, he backs up. "Es."

"It's late, Momo. You really should be getting home." she tells him, barely concealing the disdain in her voice.

"I should," he replies, tipping his hat before making his way to the door.

"To your wife," she adds before turning on him wearing her typical sugary sweet smile. "Do tell Angeline I said hello, will you?"

He tips his head once before letting the screen door slam shut.

"Thank you," Rose breathes, sounding almost small.

"Anytime," Esme whispers, giving her a wink.

Nico coos softly in Tonia's arms beside me. "I think he wants his mama," she says, pressing a small kiss on his cheek before passing him to me.

I snuggle him close, watching his little nose crinkle as he yawns. "Tired my love?" I ask, rocking him gently.

Just as his eyes fall closed, the door to my husband's study opens, and Carlisle steps out with the rest of the fellas in tow. Edward comes out last, knocking back the last of his drink and setting his glass on the bookshelf as he passes.

"I'm headin' out to handle some business, Bits," he says, tipping my chin up to face him. The look in his eyes is flat and expressionless, but the tight set of his jaw tells me the so-called business he's handling won't be conducted in an office. "Don't wait up."

"Be safe," I whisper against his lips when he leans down to kiss me.

He gently brushes our son's cheek before turning to leave. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Tonia's eyes meet Aro's with a subtle dip of her head in Edward's direction. He's trailing out the door behind him without a word being spoken.

Emmett soon follows, but not before planting a loud smooch on Rosalie's cheek and a whispered goodbye that makes her giggle.

"I'm going to pull the car around," Paulie says, looking a little disappointed that he's chauffeuring Carlisle and the Cullen women home instead of the trouble that Edward, Aro, and Emmett will no doubt get up to.

Everyone but Tonia says their goodbyes. She tells them she'll be out in a minute and follows me back to Nico's room, softly shutting the door behind her. I place my son in his bassinet, careful not to wake him.

"Thank you for all your help today, Tonia." I glance up at my mother-in-law who's grinning back at me. "Truly, I'm so grateful."

Inhaling deeply, she steps over to me and flips the ends of my hair behind my shoulders before cupping my face in her palms. "And I'm grateful for you. I've always known my son was a clever man, but marrying you may be the smartest thing he's ever done."

My cheeks heat with embarrassment, but I'm able to manage a quiet thank you.

"You were made to be a boss's wife. He couldn't have picked better if he tried."

"Edward's not interested in being the boss."

"Neither was my Ed," she smiles tightly, "but he did what he had to do, and so will Edward." She grabs my hands in hers. "And so will you."

"I don't think –"

"You will," she says firmly. "You're already doing it."

"Doing what?"

"Listening and keeping your eyes peeled for what's going on around you. And more importantly around him." Humming, she drops her gaze to our hands. "Men tend to only focus on what's in front of them. But as their wives, we see the bigger picture. Tell me something, Bella. What do you see?"

"I don't know what you mean."

Tonia smirks. "You gave that floozy an earful tonight."

I bristle at the mention of the blonde. "She had it coming. Her presence here was beyond inappropriate."

"She didn't come here alone."

"I know. Momo had no right to bring her here and parade her around my home. It's disrespectful."

"To you?"

"To all of us, especially the wives. Even to the bosses. Surely he knows it's not acceptable."

"He does," she agrees with a nod.

"How do you know?"

"I've known Momo for many years." She drops my hands and clasps hers in front of her. "Handling him can be … challenging."

"Then maybe he shouldn't be handled. Maybe he needs to be controlled."

Her brow raises at my words, and her smirk widens into a full-on beam. "Perhaps you're right."

"But it's not my place to give Edward my two cents on his business."

"That's where you're wrong."

"How do you know?"

"Because my two cents got Momo shipped off to Havana in the first place." Taking a deep breath, she crosses her arms over her chest. "He was never good at falling in line. Drove Ed nuts."

"Why'd he allow it?"

She tips her head. "Because he was a hell of an earner."

"I see."

"He and a few of the capos butted heads here and there which caused a quite a few headaches for my husband. But that's the business for ya.'"

"When did it become your business?"

"When a showgirl named Judith waltzed up to our table at the Tropicana Club in Havana and asked my husband if he remembered her."

My eyes widen as the tips of my fingers touch my pearls. "No."

"She was one of Momo's girls who he took to the Orchid a time or two when she lived in Chicago."

"Did you flip your lid?"

"Of course not, darling," she says with a flick of her wrist. "And neither should you." She drops her voice. "You should never let them see you coming."

"How'd you get rid of him then?"

"When my husband apologized for Momo's indiscretions, I told him that was Angeline's problem and that the money we were probably making off of Havana was far more important to me than Momo's carelessness. Ed took a good look around him and saw all the money he wasn't making."

"So, he sicced Momo on Havana?"

She nods. "Two weeks later, he was out of my hair."

"He never saw you coming," I murmur.

Touching my cheek, the corners of her lips tip upwards. "Smart cookie."

Hours later, I hear the front door creak open and shut quietly, followed by the sound of heavy footsteps approaching on the hardwood. Edward rounds the corner, holding his hand over his jaw. He doesn't seem too surprised to see me up drying dishes.

"You didn't have to wait up, Bits," he says, opening the freezer and grabbing a pork chop wrapped in butcher paper.

I throw the towel on the counter. "What happened?"

He gives me a look and dodges me as I reach for him. "It's nothin' to be worried about."

"Come here," I tell him, trailing him out of the kitchen.

"Go to bed, Bits. We'll talk tomorrow."

I follow him into his study. "We'll talk now."

He shushes me and drops the pork chop onto the drink cart, reaching for the gin bottle. His jaw and lip are swollen and bruised. My eyes wander down to his hands and notice the dry blood caked on his knuckles.

"Edward!" My voice comes out in a muddled, whispered shriek. "What happened?"

"Ssshh!" He covers my mouth with his hand. "You wanna be up with Nico all night?"

I swipe his hand away and lower my voice. "Tell me what happened."

Turning away, he pours his drink. "It's not your concern."

"The hell it isn't." I slide around in front of him and take his face in my hands. "Just tell me."

His expression darkens. Jaw clenched and nostrils flared, he closes in on me. "What do you wanna hear, Bits? Huh?" I shuffle backwards until I feel the desk against my thighs. "What do you want me to tell you?"

"The truth."

He sneers. "You want the truth? You got it. I found that piece of shit outside of the 606 Club and I told him he gets one shot." His hand shoots up between us and he points to his chin. "One punch and if he took it, he'd better pray to all things holy that he knocks me out."

"Who?" I ask, confused.

"He socked me pretty good." He rubs his jaw. "But not good enough."


"So I hit him, and it felt so good that I hit him again and again. And when he hit the ground I kicked him in the ribs and stomped on his fuckin' chest until I was sure the damage matched what he did to the kid." His sneer morphs into a twisted smile. "But I didn't stop there, Bits."

"What did you do?"

Dipping down until we're eye to eye, he places his hands on either side of me on the desk. "You know what the kid remembers him sayin' to him before he lost consciousness?"

I shake my head.

"One for good measure." The words come out flat. "That's what he said to him." He holds up a finger. "One for good measure. So that's what I gave him, Bits. One for good measure over and over again until it sounded like I was hittin' a slab of meat." His lips go to my ear. "That what you wanted to hear?"

My words from all those months ago come back to me as he straightens and grabs his drink. Make the punishment fit the crime.

"Is he dead?" I whisper.

He huffs out a dark laugh. "Probably."

"Alec can't know."

Licking his top lip, he drops his head. "I know."

He rounds the desk and slumps down into his chair, blowing out a long exhale before furrowing his brow. His eyes stay on his gin, watching it swirl in the glass.

"You did the right thing," I reassure him quietly.

"Did I?"

"You don't think so?"

He pauses a moment before glancing up at me. "I'm not sure."

"What do you mean?" I ask, circling the desk and standing in front of him.

"What makes me any different than Philly Neri, huh? He thought my old man needed to go too." Smiling up at me sadly, he empties his glass and slams it down on the desk. "We're one in the same."

I climb into his lap, holding his face in my hands. "You're nothing like him."

"How do you figure?"

"Because he did it for power." I brush my mouth against the corner of his before whispering, "You did it because you love the kid." Pulling back, I meet his gaze. "And that man was no father."

"Maybe not." His fingers lazily drift up and down my thighs. "But what I did tonight …" he trails off, shaking his head. "I'm not sure I'm any better."

"Stop." He opens his mouth to speak again, but I press my thumb over his lips. "Don't do that."

Jerking his head back, he looks away.

"I'm serious." I angle his face back to mine, holding it tighter. "You're a good man."

His eyes tell me he doesn't believe me, but the way his hands desperately grip my hips, I know he wants to. His fingers flex as he bunches up my dress and I feel him harden against me. "I'm not."

I run my fingertips over his temples and through his hair until his eyes fall closed. "I've told you this before," I dust my lips along his jaw, "who you are and what you do are two entirely different things."

He shifts beneath me, slipping his hands under the straps of my stockings. "You really think that?" His voice deepens while he sucks at the soft skin of my collarbone. "You gonna let me be good to you, Bits?"

I answer with a slow roll of my hips.

"Fuck," he grits out, burying his hand in my hair and tugging it while he licks his way up my throat. "Say it." His teeth find my earlobe. "Tell me what I wanna hear."

"Mmm." I lick my lips and swivel against him once more, knowing exactly what he's asking for. He doesn't want to hear sweet nothings whispered against his lips or dirty words panted in his ear. Instead he wants to hear my promise from the night he made me his forever.

"Come on, Bitsy," he coaxes, dipping his hand beneath the satin where I'm aching to be touched. "Tell me."

I kiss him hard, tasting blood and gin on his lips while his fingers slip inside of me slow. My eyes flicker to his and I can tell he's holding on to his last strand of restraint. My words come out in a moan. "Your pleasure is my purpose."

Dragging my fingernails down his chest sets him off like a match strike. With my legs spread and my arms pinned, he takes me on the desk, working out the last of his aggression in the best way. I lose myself in his heated gaze, his long, hard strokes, and the filthy words he murmurs against my skin. He finishes with a rough thrust and a grunted curse before collapsing back in his chair.

We're quiet a few moments, letting our breathing and heartbeats gradually slow. His fingertips glide up from my ankle to the back of my knee. "You all right?"

"Yes," I breathe, sitting up to straighten my clothes. "You?"

Reaching down to his pants around his ankles, he pulls out his smokes and lights one up before answering. "Yeah."

"You sure?"

"Yeah. Why?" He takes a drag. "Don't I look relaxed?"

"A little," I slide my foot over the top of his thigh, "but you still seem tense."

The smoke streams out the side of his mouth. "Gimme a break, Bits. There's no way I could be tense after that."

A break.

"Maybe that's just what you need." My foot creeps higher. "A break."

"What? Like a vacation?"

I smile. "A getaway."

"A getaway?" he asks, amused. "Where do you wanna go?"

"I don't know. Palm Springs. Lake Tahoe." I climb into his lap. "My mom said Las Vegas was swell."

His brow arches. "Vegas?"

"Mm hmm. She told me they treated her like a queen." I kiss his lips. "Imagine how they'd roll out the carpet for us. Plus, you can check on your interests there."

"We don't have any interests there."

I feign surprise. "Why not?"

"The five families."

"New York?"

He nods.

"Since when has that ever stopped you before?"

Laughing, he brings the cigarette to his lips and squints one eye as he considers it.

My fingers comb through his hair. "There's lots of money to be made there."

"There is." He leans back to flick his ashes on the bureau behind him. "Maybe even more than Havana."

"Do you think the bosses would go for it?"

"Probably. That's a lotta dough out there for the taking."

"True," I sigh, brushing his hair back away from his face. "Who'd want to move out to the desert though?"

"Eh, you'd be surprised."

"What do you mean?"

"Showgirls and gambling. Nightlife…"

"Things like that shouldn't appeal to a family man," I mutter.

"Definitely not this family man." He smirks and pats me on the bottom. "But I've got a good idea of someone who'd jump at the chance to get back into that life."

"Let me guess," I deadpan with a scowl, "the gentleman who prefers blondes."

He inhales deeply and holds it, tipping his cigarette in my direction. "That's the one."

"Rewarding his bad behavior, are you?"

The smoke billows out of his mouth as he laughs. "I don't give a rip about his behavior so long as we're gettin' rich in the process."

"That's a lot of responsibility for just one guy."

"It is," he agrees, reaching back to snuff out his smoke. "But Momo's good at two things. One," he holds up a finger, "making money and two—"

"Cheating on his wife," I blurt.

"That too." His hand slips down and around to my backside, giving it a squeeze. "But he's also good at findin' all the angles."

"He'll take it for all it's worth," I murmur.

He grins. "Exactly."

The sounds of Nico's cries ring out from the hall.

"Feedin' time at the zoo?" Edward asks, jerking his chin towards the baby's room.

I stand, smoothing down my dress. "Always."

Several minutes later, when our son isn't anywhere near calm, but his belly is full, my husband saunters through the doorway. He slides his hands in his pockets as I rock Nico back and forth in the chair, attempting to get him settled down and failing miserably.

"Lemme talk to him," Edward says, holding out his hands. "Come here, you." He paces the room, rubbing Nico's back while giving him the business. "You've gotta give your mother a break, kid. You're too little to be this big of a wiseguy."

He pulls our son closer, murmuring in Italian until Nico's eyes grow heavier and he's unable to keep them open. He kisses our sleeping baby's chubby little cheek before gently placing him in the bassinet.

"What?" he asks when he catches me watching him.

"What do you say to him?"

"Somethin' my old man used to say to me when I was young."

I smirk. "Are you promising him quarters and telling him to go pray?"

He laughs, rubbing his jaw. "Among other things."

"What other things?"

"All the things I want for him that my father wanted for me." He lifts the blanket over our son. "Money rollin' in steady, a place to call his own," he glances at me, "and the love of a good woman."

Wrapping my arms around his waist, I place a kiss on his chest. "You are a good man, Edward Cullen."

He pecks the top of my head. "Good men don't do bad things, Bits."

"Sure, they do." I press my ear to his heart and close my eyes. "Even saints are sinners."

A/N: What's everyone WIP'ing these days?

Here's what Carrie ZM and I are loving:

Body of Christ by Bella Donna and the Fiction Freak - *Lay and Carrie do the sign of the cross* We'll take a hot under the collar priest and a sexy sinner all the live long day. This fic is our daily bread in the best way!

The Funcle by Mrs Spacecowboy - We are loving the story of this Bella falling for the funcle, who happens to be a hunk(le). This one is hilarious and sexy!

Thanks for reading :)