A/N Here's my one shot from the Australia compilation! Hope you enjoy this sweet little story! I hope everyone is doing well. I love and miss you all. Stay safe!
I shook my head as I pulled up in front of my office. I don't know why I was surprised anymore. Being the only lawyer in the town of Forks kept me busy, but hardly with the kind of cases I'd dreamed about when I'd attended Harvard Law. I was supposed to be arguing cases in front of the Supreme Court, the kind of cases that resonated throughout history, but instead of Brown vs. The Board of Ed, I got Cope vs. The Kid Who Poisoned Her Prize Petunias. I wish I was kidding.
I loosened my tie and wondered for the billionth time since I moved back to town a year ago why I bothered to wear one. I rarely went to actual court, and my clientele didn't warrant Armani suits and ties, but I liked to physically look like a high-powered lawyer, even if it was only for appearance sake. Nobody here would care if I turned up in jeans and flannel, so long as I listened to their complaints and did what I could to make things better for them.
I took the plate of cookies Mrs. Cope had given me and headed inside. The discontent I'd felt since I'd left the office washed away when I saw my mother sitting at the front desk, beaming at me as I walked in the door. She was the reason I was here, and she was worth giving up the big lawyer dreams.
"Edward!" She got up from her chair and walked over to me. Her limp was barely noticeable today, and there was only the slightest slur of my name. She'd come so far in her therapy, it was hard to believe she'd had a stroke just over a year ago.
I relaxed into her hug, smiling at the familiar jasmine scent that washed over me. She'd worn the same scent since I was a kid, and it always smelled like home to me.
"How'd it go with Mrs. Cope?" Mom asked, pulling back to smile at me, laughing at the expression that crossed my face. "That well, huh?"
"She agreed not to sue the Newton family if little Mikey Newton keeps away from her flowers and promises to help her plant new ones." I rolled my eyes. "He claims he didn't know the bleach would kill them, but we all know that's not true. It's only a matter of time before that idiot does something else." Mike Newton Junior was a menace, much like his father, with whom I'd gone to school. It was no surprise the kid turned out to be a terror, with Mike and Jessica being his parents.
"He'll grow out of it," my mother assured me, chuckling when I raised an eyebrow. "Hopefully."
"Sure. Newton offered me a new set of golf clubs from his store to make the problem go away. And Mrs. Cope paid me in cookies." I held out the plate, and my mom snatched it out of my hands with the fastest reflexes I'd seen her exhibit in years. I couldn't blame her, though. Mrs. Cope's cookies were better than gold.
"Worth it," Mom agreed, setting the plate on her desk.
While true, it was a good thing we had family money or I'd have had to move Mom out of Forks to a real city, where I'd get paid with real cash instead of trade. As it stood, we never had to pay for food at the diner, Mom got her hair done for free, and my car repairs were covered whenever I had an issue due to me helping with leases, contracts, and lawsuits. That was Forks for you.
"Any calls while I was gone?"
Mom shook her head. "No calls, but you did get a walk-in."
Okay, that happened from time to time. "Who was it?"
She smiled. "You'll see."
What did that even mean?
"She's in your office."
That was weird. Generally if anyone came in when I was out, Mom kept them entertained in the waiting area.
"She wanted to be professional." Mom's green eyes were twinkling, and I started to worry that this was some sort of set up. Mom was anxious for me to settle down and give her some grandchildren to spoil. Our little family of two just didn't cut it for her. Couldn't say I blamed her there. We both missed Dad and Janie.
"I'm not sure."
I sighed and started to go see what was in store for me now when Mom grabbed my arm.
"Edward? Take her seriously. Please."
That was intriguing. And a little unnerving if I was being honest. I took all my cases seriously, as evidenced by me examining dead weeds at seven in the morning, since Mikey Junior had to be at school by eight.
I gave my mom a reassuring smile before heading into my office. I'd taken my father's desk from home and brought it here, and the shining cherry wood always made me feel a little closer to him. He'd been gone for three long years, but it still felt like yesterday when I'd gotten the call that he and my sister Jane had been killed in a drunk driving accident. Making sure that asshole James Winters stayed in jail for the rest of his pathetic life was my biggest goal in life. I planned to be at any parole hearing he ever had, if he had any at all. I had my doubts about that, though. He was too big a moron to behave in prison.
A quick glance at my visitor's chairs showed that nobody was sitting there. Had the mystery woman left? How had she gotten past Mom without her seeing?
Suddenly, a head popped out from behind my desk and a young voice chirped, "Oh! You're here!"
To say I was floored to see some tiny little curly headed brunette come around to stand in front of me would be an understatement. Especially when she peered up at me with sweet brown eyes and held out her hand.
"Hello. I'm Margaret Ann Swan, but you can call me Maggie."
Dumbfounded, I took her little hand in mine and gave it a soft shake. What was she? Five years old? Where were her parents? Swan? Was she related to Charlie Swan, the police chief? Quite possibly. She had the same coloring.
Maggie released my hand and smoothed down her little white flowered dress. I watched her take a deep breath and then nod at me. "Can…" She shook her head. "Sorry. Shall we take a seat?"
It took everything I had in me not to laugh at her annoyance with herself for getting her words wrong. I was so curious as to what this cute kid wanted, and I'd made a promise to my mom to take her seriously, but I couldn't resist smiling at her before taking a seat in one of the guest chairs. For a moment she glanced at my desk chair, and I wondered if she was going to take that one, but she walked over to the chair next to mine and boosted herself gracefully into it. She was a tiny little thing.
Expectant brown eyes looked at me, and I took that as my cue to get the meeting started.
"What can I do for you, Miss Swan?"
"Don't you need to take notes?" she asked, making me fight that urge to laugh. Look at this kid, telling me how to do my job.
"I'll take notes after."
That must have been acceptable to her, because she folded her hands in her lap. "I would like to sue my mommy." She shook her head again. "Darn! My mother."
Again, her little scowl for using the word mommy made me want to smile, but I was concerned about what the issue was with her mother. Surely she wasn't looking for emancipation. She was far too young. I hoped it wasn't something serious. I'd have to alert authorities if that was the case, and Charlie… Nope. I needed to know what was going on.
"Why would you like to sue your mother? Is she hurting you?" I asked, trying to keep my voice soothing. It might have been very hard for this girl to come forward.
"She won't let me get a doggy."
Jeez. I blew out a breath and felt the tension leave my body. Thank God this little girl wasn't being hurt or something else awful, but really? A dog?
"Uh, listen, Maggie…" I started, not sure how to let her down that she couldn't sue her mother for not getting her a dog, even in this crazy town.
"Edward." My mom's voice held a tone of warning as she came into the office. She placed a cookie on a napkin next to little Maggie and also gave her a cup of what appeared to be milk. Clearly she'd gone to the grocery store next door to get Maggie a drink.
Right. Take it seriously. It wasn't like I had anything else going on, and the kid was cute, so it wouldn't hurt to listen to her.
"Thank you, Ms. Esme," Maggie said before taking a dainty little bite of the cookie. "This is very good."
"You're welcome, sweetheart." Mom sent her a blinding smile before narrowing her eyes at me.
I nodded, letting her know her message was received. She smiled at me then and headed back out to her desk.
"Will you tell me why you think you can sue over your mother not getting you a dog?" I was kind of annoyed at myself for not trying the same when I was a kid. Dad had been allergic to fur of all kinds, though.
"My daddy promised me when I turned six, I could have a doggy. I had to be old enough to take care of it. I turn six next weekend, so I'm old enough now," she informed me primly.
Fair enough. Verbal agreement from the father anyway. "Why can't you have your daddy take you to get one, then? Did your mom overrule him?" I asked.
She took a sip of her milk, and again I fought a smile as she wiped away the moustache it left behind. She must be related to Charlie. She looked a lot like him, especially with the 'stache.
Maggie shook her head. "Daddy has a new family and they moved away. Then we moved here to be closer to Grandpa."
Poor kid. "Can you have your daddy talk to your mommy about keeping his promise to you?" I kept my voice smooth, not showing my irritation at this unknown father for leaving this sweet girl behind while he started a new family with someone else.
Another shake of the head, her little brown curls bouncing with the movement. "Daddy doesn't call anymore. I heard Grandpa tell Mommy to talk to a lawyer. That's how I knew about you. He said your name."
Hell yes. I hoped her mother would contact me. I'd love to go after a deadbeat dad who left this adorable child behind. Finally someone whose ass I could kick in actual court, and I could bring relief to a sweet girl and her mother. Win, win.
For now I needed to focus on the task before me. "Okay, so did your mother ever agree to you getting a dog when you turned six?" I asked.
She scrunched up her nose. "Daddy said he and mommy would get me a dog when I turned six when I asked two Christmases ago."
"Was your mom there when he said that? Did she agree?" It wasn't like I could make this woman get her kid a dog, but maybe I could remind her of this conversation and see if she'd give in.
"She was there, and she smiled."
Well, that might be an agreement of sorts. I could spin it. Maybe.
"So what did she say when you asked recently?"
Little Maggie frowned. "She said that promise was made long ago and a lot of things changed since then. Daddy isn't with us anymore, and we just moved and had a lot of ad…adsomethingmints to make, and we just couldn't have one now."
That sounded reasonable to me, but I wasn't six, either.
"I told her that they promised me. A promise is a promise!" Her sweet little voice got loud, and those big, brown eyes of hers went shiny with tears.
Damned if those tears didn't make me want to promise to get her a dog immediately. I couldn't handle crying, especially not from a little girl.
"It's okay. Don't cry. I'll talk to your mom."
"I told her you can't break a promise and she said sue me, and you need a lawyer for that, so here I am. Can you help me sue her? How do I do that?"
God help me, those pleading eyes would do any man with a heart in. Her father must be a real heartless bastard to leave her behind. And her mother must be tougher than I was, because I was ready to give her the world in just a few minutes of meeting her.
"Before we sue, the first thing I usually try to do is get the two parties to talk to each other."
There was that nose scrunch again. Too cute. "How can parties talk to each other? We're having one for my birthday next weekend, but where's the other party?"
Right, Cullen, you're talking to a six year old, idiot. "Parties is another word for people. I meant you and your mom. We need to all sit down and talk."
I hoped her mother wouldn't kill me for butting into their business, but hey, her kid showed up at my office. Shit. How did that even happen?
"Uh, Maggie. How did you get here? Did your mom bring you? Or your grandpa?"
She shook her head slowly. Shit. Fuck. Damn. This might not be good. At all.
"How did you get here?"
"I got off my school bus and took the big-people bus. A nice lady told me what stop to take and walked me to your office."
Dear God. I mean, it was Forks, and thankfully we'd never had a child abduction, but anything could have happened to her. And her mother must be frantic.
"Do you have a phone?" Kids had phones at early ages now, so maybe…
She shook her head.
"What's your mommy's name?" Of course, if they were new to town, they might not be listed.
"Mom!" I hollered, wondering how long the kid had been here before I got back to the office. She should be in school right now, so maybe her mother didn't even know she wasn't where she should be.
Mom came into the room, holding her cell phone to her ear. "Yes, Charlie. She's perfectly fine. I'm going to have Edward drive her home in just a few minutes. Tell Bella she's on the way." She disconnected and shook her head at me.
"Calm down, Edward. I told Charlie where she was right after she came in and I got her name. He offered to come get her right away, but I told him she wanted to talk and maybe she needed to be heard by someone who wasn't family. I called him just now to let him know you'd have her home soon." Mom smiled. "She reminded me of you when you ran away when you were four. You went to the Whitlocks', remember?"
Only vaguely, but I nodded anyway.
"You needed time away, so I let you have it. Maggie here needed to vent, didn't you, sweetheart?"
"I need to sue." Tears welled up in those big brown eyes again. "Am I in trouble?"
Shit. Not the tears again. I grabbed some tissues off my desk and knelt in front of her, dabbing at her eyes. "We were just scared for you, sweet girl. Coming here by yourself could be dangerous. We're just really glad you got here safely." I couldn't promise she wouldn't be in trouble, but I hoped she wouldn't. "I'll talk to your mom for you."
Maggie's tears spilled over and tore at my heart as she suddenly leaned forward and threw her arms around my neck.
"I'm sorry! I didn't want to scare anyone. I just want a doggy."
Shit. I stood, holding her to me and looking at my mom for help, but she wasn't of any assistance because she had her own tears going on.
"Shh. It's okay, baby. I'm gonna help you." How, I did not know, but I'd try to convince her mom not to punish her for skipping school and trying to sue her. Law school had not prepared me for this situation.
I felt her tears against my neck as she sniffled and tried to bring herself under control. "Thank you, Mister Edward. Your mom said I could call you that."
I chuckled, able to make out her words against my skin. "You sure can, Miss Maggie. Now how about you let my mom help you clean up a little, and I'll take you home?"
"Okay." She pulled back and smiled at me, and even though her face was red from crying, she was still the cutest kid I'd ever seen.
I set Maggie on her feet, and she started to head toward my mom before stopping. "Oh! I forgot to pay you."
She ran behind my desk and grabbed a pink backpack that I hadn't noticed stashed there. She unzipped it and reached inside, bringing a five-dollar bill out. "Is that enough?"
Yep. Cutest kid ever. "You don't need to pay me, sweet girl."
She shook her head and held out the bill. "You have to pay a lawyer. I know from the TV."
I recognized the mulish look on her face. I'd seen it on her grandfather's when I tried to talk him out of giving me a speeding ticket when I was seventeen. I knew she wasn't about to budge, so I took the five and slipped it into my suit pocket. I'd give it to her mother to sneak back to her somehow.
"It looks like you have yourself a lawyer, Miss Maggie."
The beaming smile I got in return made my week.
"Thank you, Mister Edward." She held out her hand and shook mine again.
"Come with me, Maggie. Let's get you all cleaned up so you can be prepared for your meeting."
I bit back a smile as Maggie took my mom's hand and headed toward the restroom. For once, being a lawyer in Forks wasn't so bad.
Charlie had given my mom Maggie's address, and it was actually just down the block from mine. Not that anything was too far in Forks, but still. I pointed my house out to Maggie, just in case she ever decided to sue her mom again. It would be a lot better for her to walk down the street to my house than take a damn bus to work.
I pulled up into the driveway of the sunny yellow two-story house, and just as I put my car in park, the front door opened and a brunette blur burst out and flew toward my car. She had my back door open and her arms around Maggie before I could even turn off the car.
She pulled back and held her daughter's face in her hands. "Maggie! Baby, I was so scared when your grandpa called me and told me that you weren't at school. What were you thinking?" But before little Maggie could answer, she hugged her and held her close again.
I was pleased to see that she wasn't yelling Maggie. That might come later when the adrenaline wore off, though.
Bella eventually released her daughter and tugged off her seat belt. I knew she probably should be in some kind of booster seat or something, but I certainly didn't have one. She lifted Maggie out of the car and set her on her hip before focusing on me as I got out of the car myself.
"I don't know who you are, but thank you so much! My father just told me she was with a friend of his and on the way home. Thank you for calling him. The school called right after to tell me she wasn't there, and I would have lost my mind if I hadn't known she was with someone and safe."
Lord, the woman just looked like her daughter. Long brown hair, big brown eyes that showed every bit of the worry, relief, and happiness she'd been going through for the past hour or so. A cute little button nose, plump pink lips, and a tight, tiny frame that made me feel just as protective of her as I was of Maggie. I reacted to her sexy curves in an entirely different way, but I couldn't focus on how beautiful Bella Swan was at the moment. I'd get back to that later in the privacy of my shower.
"Mommy, that's Mister Edward."
I smiled and waved.
"He's my lawyer," she added, making the grin her mother gave me back melt off her face as she looked back and forth between us. Crap. Here we go.
"What does that mean? Why would you need a lawyer, baby?"
"You told me to sue you, so I went and got a lawyer. Mister Edward says you have to get me a doggy."
Fuck. Those expressive eyes of Bella's narrowed, and all I got from her now was anger.
"He did, did he?" She sucked in a breath, and I decided to stop her before she started.
"That's not entirely true, is it, Maggie?"
The little doppelganger in her arms shrugged, quite ready to leave me thrown under the bus if I didn't do some damage control.
"Let's start over," I said, holding out a hand to her mother. "My name is Edward Cullen. And you are?"
"Bella Swan." A warm, soft hand slipped briefly into mine as we shook.
"It's nice to meet you, Ms. Swan. Would it be possible to go inside to discuss a few matters?" I asked. I figured making things more formal might keep her from yelling at me until she heard the whole story.
She glanced between her daughter and me again before shrugging and saying, "Sure, I guess."
"Come on, Mister Edward!" Maggie squirmed in her mom's arms until she put her down. Once she was on the driveway, she came over to me and offered her hand. "Let's go!"
I saw a small smile pass over Bella's lips before it slipped away. Maggie pulled me toward the house, and we stepped inside. It looked pretty similar to my place, though this house was brighter and had various toys and children's books scattered around the living room that I was led into.
"This is the best room for the trial," Maggie decided.
"Trial? What are you talking about?"
"Mommy, you sit here." Maggie pointed to one end of the couch. "And I sit over here on the other side. Mister Edward, you can start."
I couldn't contain the laugh at the baffled look on Bella's face combined with the excited, expectant one on her mini-me. Both of them stared at me as I finally let loose all the amusement I'd kept inside since I'd encountered the sassy little thing in my office.
"I'm sorry," I told them both once I got some control again. "Would it be okay if I sat down in this chair?" I asked Maggie, pointing to the recliner on the other side of the sofa.
"Mister Edward, you're supposed to stand and deliver the case!" she pointed out, glaring at me just as her mother had earlier.
"Yes, but we're not having a trial right now, sweet girl. We're having a meeting, trying to come to an agreement without going to a trial. Those can take months and sometimes even years."
Her eyes got wide and she gasped. "Years? I don't want to wait years!"
"I know you don't. That's why we need to talk to your mom and try to compromise."
"Compromise, my behind," Bella Swan muttered.
I hid my smile, knowing she'd like to have used a much stronger word.
"Now, Maggie, you're my client. Is it okay if I begin this meeting and tell your mother about our discussion?"
"Okay." She sat back on the couch and looked at me expectantly.
Her mother's look wasn't quite as open or trusting, but at least she appeared to be listening.
"Ms. Swan, I arrived at my office to find your daughter waiting for me. She told me that she needed to sue her mother and explained to me that two years ago, when she was nearly four years old, her father made her a promise that when she turned six, she would be old enough and responsible enough to have a dog. She indicates that you were there at the time of said promise and were in agreement with her father. Is that correct?"
I don't know what it was, but I took perverse pleasure from seeing the temper that was snapping in those gorgeous eyes of Bella's. "Yes, counselor," she said sarcastically.
"This could be construed as implied consent on your part, seeing as you didn't object at that time."
Ms. Swan huffed and crossed her arms. "Things have changed."
I nodded. "I explained that to your daughter as well, but seeing as I don't know much about that, I wasn't able to change her mind about the lawsuit."
Bella closed her eyes and rubbed at her temples, and I felt a little bad about putting on my lawyer hat for Maggie. Inspiration struck when I saw some crayons and paper on the coffee table.
"Maggie, I forgot to print out a contract. Are you good at writing and drawing?"
A grin lit up her cute little face, and she nodded emphatically. "I am, Mister Edward!"
"I knew you were. Can you do me a favor? While your mom and I talk, could you go to your room and write a contract saying that I'm your lawyer, and then maybe whatever you're not able to write, you could draw, like a picture of the dog? Just so everything is official?"
"I can do that!" She bounced up off the couch, grabbed her box of crayons, and ran out of the room.
Her mother let out a little laugh. "You sure are good with her. Do you have kids?"
"No. I'm single. She's easy to get along with, though. Quite the kid you have there."
"Yeah." I watched as she hunched her shoulders. "It's not that I don't want to get her a dog. We're renting, and they don't allow pets here."
Well, if that was all… "Who's your landlord? Eric Yorkie?" I asked, because he owned a lot of the houses in the area. I'd gone to school with that idiot, and I damned well knew I would get him to alter her lease if she wanted.
"Yeah… How did you know?" she asked.
"I know him well. If that's the only issue, I can get it taken care of, I promise you."
She sighed. "That's the biggest one."
Ah. Of course there was more. "What else is there?" I hated that she looked sad. A woman that beautiful should never be sad.
"Her father and I were never married or anything. We broke up long before she was born, and when he made that promise to her, it was going to live at his house. He was always good at making promises to Maggie and not following through."
Asshole. "Maggie may have mentioned hearing Charlie tell you to contact me about child support. Is he not giving you anything for her?"
She shrugged. "Not for over a year. I know I should go after him for money, but I honestly don't know if it's worth it. We never went through court. He just gave me money for things we needed, until he met his new wife."
She didn't try to disguise the bitterness in her tone, and I couldn't blame her.
"I don't understand how any father could leave their kid behind like that, especially such a sweet kid like Maggie."
That made her smile again. "She's incredible. And I want to give her what she wants, but I don't know if I have it in me to raise her and a puppy. She's quite the handful on her own, as you've clearly seen. I can't believe she got on a bus and went to find a lawyer."
I laughed. "To be fair, she only had to sit through one stop before getting to me, but yeah, you better be careful when you say things to that one."
"I guess. I still can't comprehend that she went looking for you."
That reminded me. I fished the five out of my pocket and got up and handed it to her. "That's the retainer she gave me. She insisted I take it, and I was hoping you'd slip it back to her somehow."
Her fingers brushed against mine, and it sent a little tingle through my body.
"That's so sweet of you, but you should get something for your time."
I laughed and shook my head, sitting down next to her because I wanted to be closer to her. "Believe me, just being around Maggie was payment enough. Plus, my client before her paid me in cookies, so Maggie was overpaying technically."
Bella laughed along with me, and man did she have a beautiful laugh. I loved the way her eyes lit up with it.
"Well, I don't know that I can compare with cookies, but maybe you'd like to come to dinner tonight. I make a mean lasagna. It's the least I could do thank you for taking care of Maggie today." She bit her lip and blushed a little as she waited for my response.
"I would love to come to dinner tonight. And that would be more than enough payment."
I was thrilled to get to spend more time with these two beautiful ladies. And if I had my way, it would be more than just one dinner. I wanted to get to know a lot more about both Bella and Maggie Swan. But before I got ahead of myself, I needed to do my best for my client.
"I get why you wouldn't want a puppy running around here, wreaking havoc along with an almost six-year-old. I do some work for the shelter, and I know for a fact that they have plenty of older, housebroken dogs waiting for a new home. They even have a loaner program where you can bring a dog home for a few days and see how you get on together."
"But what if Maggie gets attached and I don't and…" She started to fret.
"Tell you what. I'll ask Rose who runs the shelter who she recommends for you, and I'll borrow the dog for a few days. I live just down the street. You and Maggie can both see how you do with it, and if it works out, great. If not, it's high time I got myself a dog anyway. How's that for a compromise?"
Honestly, now that Mom was doing so much better, it was a good time for me to consider a furry friend. I could even bring him to the office.
"You'd do that?" she asked, smiling at me.
"Of course. I have to keep my client happy. I have to maintain my Yelp rating."
Bella burst out laughing. "Well, your client is a bit too young to leave you a review on Yelp, but I'm betting her word of mouth through the elementary school community could score you up some new clients."
Lord help me. "I don't know if I'm up for suing over stolen toys or someone putting gum in another someone's hair, but if Maggie sends anyone my way, I'll be sure to give them the best I have."
"It's sweet that you took on her case." Bella chuckled. "And I'm willing to try the trial loaner if you are, but we can't tell her and get her hopes up."
"How about we tell her that we'll revisit her request in a few weeks, after she's officially turned six and served her time for skipping school and worrying her mother?" I suggested tentatively, not wanting to decide on some sort of punishment for Maggie. It wasn't my place, even though I really hoped that someday, it might be, after I got to know her mother a bit better.
"I like that." Bella put her hand on mine, and I felt that little tingle again. From the way she smiled, I wonder if she was feeling something as well.
"Mister Edward!" Bella took her hand from mine as her daughter came back into the room, proudly holding her paper. "Here's the contract!"
I smiled as I checked out the big childish letters. She'd written her name, the word Mom, a dog, the number six, and drawn a stick figure that had red and brown hair.
"Is that me?"
"Yes! I didn't know how to spell your name, so I drew you. Is that okay?" She looked nervously at me.
"It's wonderful! So, the good news is your mom and I have worked out a compromise."
"What's a comprise?" she asked.
I glanced at Bella, who bit back a smile. "A compromise is when both of you agree to some changes."
"What changes?" Maggie crossed her little arms. "I want my doggy."
"And your mother is willing to consider that, after you officially turn six."
"And a couple of weeks after that because you did a very bad thing when you got on a big-person bus without asking first," her mom added in that tone that all mothers had when their child upset them. My mom was a master at it. I was glad I hadn't heard it in a while.
"I'm in trouble?" she asked, those pretty eyes of hers filling with tears as she turned to me with her lower lip trembling.
Oh shit! I turned to Bella in a panic, and she laughed.
"You're not in very much trouble, but you do need to know that what you did was a very bad thing, and it scared me. Not to mention that it hurts my feelings that you went to a lawyer to sue me rather than talk to me."
"I tried to talk to you, and you said to sue you, so I did!"
Uh-oh. They had matching looks of anger going on now. Time to diffuse it.
"Maggie and I had a talk, and I showed her where I live, just down the street. She knows in the future that if she needs a lawyer, she should ask you if she can come talk to me, and I can come get her or you could walk her down to my place. Right, Maggie?"
"But she should always talk to you first and only use me as a last resort. You can't call me in on fights over clothes or picking up toys or things. Only important things like dogs."
Maggie giggled. "Okay, Mister Edward."
"Now, perhaps we could sign this contract? It states that we agree to revisit the dog issue in about three weeks. Your lawyer needs to talk to the person who owns this house and get him to agree to allow a doggy first. Okay?"
They both nodded. Maggie signed her name in her big looping letters before handing her blue crayon to her mother to use, and I got green. I scrawled my signature under theirs, liking how our names looked together.
"I'm going to take this down to my office and file it. Make it official." It was going to be framed and hung on my wall, but that was a good filing place.
"Thank you, Mister Edward! Will you come meet my doggy when I get one?"
I exchanged a smile with her mother as Maggie hugged me. "I sure will."
She grinned and released me, announcing that she was going to work on a picture of her soon-to-be doggy. We laughed as she ran out of the room.
"Let me walk you out." Bella led me to my car, giving me a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thank you for being so wonderful with her and getting her back to me."
"Anytime. I meant it. My door is always open to either one of you."
"And ours to you. We eat early around here. Can you be here at five?"
There was a great reason to be thankful for not being a big-city lawyer. "I definitely can."
"See you then." And I got another cheek kiss.
I got in the car, grinning as I backed out of the driveway. I was late to meet Mr. Green to explain why he couldn't sue Mr. Drysdale for walking into his mailbox while texting on his phone.
Yeah, being a lawyer in Forks was pretty great after all.
A/N More? Maybe? I haven't written anything in awhile, but maybe I'll stop reading and get back to writing one of these days, mainly because I miss you all so much! Times are crazy, but we're all here for each other. Reach out if you need an ear! Love ya!