Hello, everybody. This story was written by me, Proxyma, and translated by Ceddrwyn, who also acted as Beta. My sincere thanks to her for the great work and for contributing with her own vision of the story, leaving the fanfic even better. ^^
We hope you like it!
Each chapter will be named after one of the songs that inspired me to write it. So, I will always leave the name of this song (s), so that you can get to know them, if you want.
Playlist: Holiday - Paramore
All characters belong to Stephanie Meyer.
PS: This fanfic will also be posted, in parallel, in Portuguese, on the Spirit Fanfics and Nyah! website, where I have an account with the same pseudonym and the same contact email. So, if you see it on that other site, don't worry because it's not a copy. I'm just publishing it at the same time in three different places.
Prologue - Holiday
Sometimes Bella wanted to be able to enjoy the holidays as she did when she was a child.
Eight years ago, when she was 14, holidays meant that she was going to be able to read, go somewhere with her brother, listen to music with her friends or watch a movie with her family. In fact, at 22, she would still love to be able to do all of that.
A pity that all these bills wouldn't get paid if she didn't budget for them.
Adjusting her glasses on her face and taking another sip of her coffee, she turned her attention back to the sea of paperwork in front of her. It would help if she could simply assess the accounts of her clients, people with good financial status but poor budgetary control, who were forced to seek advice from the management company where she worked to avoid an impending bankruptcy. Her life would be absolutely more peaceful if she could just offer her advice to these people and they would pay her from there, following her advice only if they wanted to. At the end of the day, she would sleep peacefully, without thinking about these cases.
But of course, her boss had to make a point of blaming her team when one of the clients was unable to keep their assets. It didn't matter if this had happened because the clients had chosen to not follow her team's advice and then returned in anger when they had run out of money. His department always got scolded at the end of the day; which meant she was forced to deal with spoiled customers who didn't understand why they couldn't afford to buy more than 8 million shoes, even though they owned 9.
When she had graduated with honors in financial management the previous year and got that job as soon as she left college, her mothers had been proud of her. Bella knew that they would be proud even if she had decided to become a Fast Food attendant, but the truth is that she herself was happy to get that job, with a very reasonable salary for a stable first job. Even though her mothers tried to dissemble as much as possible, Bella was fully aware that the mortgage on the house and the cost of her brother's college had left their finances at a critical level. Even with the headache of the job, it's accompanying salary helped her family afford everything they needed.
As children, she and her best friend Alice used to joke about when they were finally going to be big girls and they could cross the street without holding hands, eat as much chocolate as they wanted and wear two different shoes. With a grimace, Bella looked at the complex situation that her client had provided to improve her holiday.
Sometimes she wished she had never found out what big girl problems were.
"Aunt Bella, Aunt Bella!" a little hand grabbed the long sleeve of her blouse as she prepared to take another sip of coffee.
Looking down, she smiled when she saw her nephew and niece, little Ethan and Amy, with various drawing materials and adorable, lively expressions, looking directly at her. Those two adorable little things were another huge reason why she kept doing her best and losing sleep with those customers. Four years ago, when her brother revealed to his family that he had gotten his girlfriend pregnant, it was a shock for everyone. Shock that turned to tears when the parents of her now sister-in-law Rosalie, threw her out of the house for having "become pregnant with a shaved son of lesbians". It was a pity that even after so long, and the two sweetest children in the world, they still had not abandoned their stupid prejudices and got closer to their daughter.
However, after that complicated period, it was apparent that her mothers became mothers for Rose as well, in addition to having become the most passionate grandmothers in existence. Not that she wasn't the silliest aunt in the world, either, when it came to those big blue eyes and those dimpled smiles.
"Hey, Ducklings," she laughed as she left her chair to crouch close to them. "Who are we today?"
"I'm Merida!" Amy shouted, excited. "Daddy told me today, before leaving, that if I were a good girl he would give me a bow and arrow, just like Merida's daddy!"
"Of course he did," Bella laughed. "And you, Ethan?"
"I am Doctor Toy, because today the arm of Amy's teddy bear tore and the teacher let me hold it while she was sewing. She said that without my help she would not have been able to take care of his pain!" Ethan said, his big smile showing all the pride he felt.
"Wow, what an amazing day you both had!" she looked at them, admiringly, while they seemed to be even happier with her words.
They had started the tradition of being a new character every day earlier that year, when they started pre-school. Bella picked them up twice a week and they were very angry when she called them ducklings in front of the other kids, because it was 'baby stuff'. Of course, they didn't care about the fact that she called them that since she went to the hospital to see them for the first time and presented them with two little chewable duck-shaped dolls that became their favorite toys until they learned to walk.
In her mind, they would always be her ducklings, but she decided it was best to give a little and let them decide what she would call them each day. Of course, they always choose character names. In return, she had the right to call them ducklings when they were alone or when she still didn't know what to call them that day.
Her mothers always said that she was a great negotiator, but she would rather broker with her niece and nephew a thousand times than with wealthy old men who saw her as nothing but a pair of breasts that wanted to teach them how to run their businesses. She and her friends always went out to dinner in honor of the bankruptcy of that type of client.
It reminded her of the piles of work she had to finish that day and, with regret, she stroked the little ones' heads.
"Have you already told Grandma Edythe and Grandma Isabelle how great your day was?"
"Yes, they are making dinner now. We wanted to ask you something," Amy said, as she shook her little leg. Her big blue eyes and Ethan's big black eyes stared at Bella over their lashes, with the beginning of a pout forming on their mouths.
"What happened, dear? I mean, Merida?" Bella laughed, while watching the siblings look at each other. They were not talking over each other, which meant that, whatever they were going to ask her, they had planned among themselves before.
"We just have to draw a picture of our family, to show it tomorrow," Ethan started. "Grandma Belle said you're working, but …"
"We wanted you to help us, aunt!" Amy held up the drawing materials that were in her little hands. "Please."
"Oh, honey, I …," Bella looked at her desk and the tons of paper that was on it. Then she felt two little hands pull her sleeve again. The twins looked like two hungry kittens, begging for food, their eyes shining and their faces inconsolable.
"Please," Ethan sighed, hugging her leg, which Amy promptly imitated.
For a minute, she just let her eyes roam between the crowded table and the two small children clinging to her legs, which were still barely hitting her knees. Finally, with a smile, she gave up, knowing that she was not so strong as to resist that kind of persuasion.
"Alright," she saw the expressions of the two light up at her statement." But, remember that your auntie has a lot of work to do, so I'll help you quickly, okay?"
"Can Pancake help us too?" Amy asked, in the most sly voice known to the man, which made Bella finally understand why they had agreed to ask for help.
Letting a moment of silence hang in the air, Bella surrendered again, knowing that she also had no way to fight the love between two children and a dog. Even more so because Pancake would wake up in a short time, since she had slept all afternoon.
"It's alright," she laughed when she saw the two light up like Christmas lights. "I'll wake her up and we will."
Obviously, the children followed her to the dog cushion beside her bed and were jumping with pure euphoria while Bella woke her Akita Inu with soft strokes on her soft head. When she adopted her a year ago, a small puppy abandoned in a shoe box on a rainy day, her mother, Edythe, had several reservations about Pancake staying with them. Now she was as much a part of the family as any human being in that house, which could be seen by the way she and the twins jumped for joy when they saw each other, even living under the same roof.
While the twins screamed with happiness and Pancake barked, each took one of her hands to guide her to the living room floor, where they handed out papers, colored pencils and chalk. With crayons on the carpet around them, Bella laid down, imitating their positions. Pancake just climbed up on the sofa and looked at them curiously, probably waiting for the right moment to steal a crayon and find out if they tasted good.
"So, are we drawing our family?" she asked them both. "Who are we going to draw first?"
"Can we start with Mom?" Ethan asked excitedly. "I have a yellow pencil that looks a lot like her hair."
"We have to draw very round, like the sea waves from the drawing we colored last week, only yellow," Amy said, while drawing her mother's wavy blond hair on paper. "Mom's hair is not straight like aunt's. It has ripples, but it's not a soft one like Dad's."
"Color her eyes too," Ethan handed his sister a blue crayon. "Auntie, do you think this color looks like Daddy's skin color?" he showed her a brown pencil.
"Yes, it does, dear, I mean, Doctor Toy. Why don't you paint his eyes with the marker?"
"Yes, because they are dark!" Amy exclaimed, looking happy that her aunt gave them that tip.
"Why don't you draw them hand in hand?" Bella suggested.
"Can I make a heart on them too?" Amy asked with a huge smile, hugging the red crayon.
"Sure, Merida. You know they love each other very much and they love you."
"Can we do the same with grandma and grandma?" Ethan asked, already drawing a doll a little crooked, but with shoulder-length red hair and very characteristic green eyes.
"Grandma Edythe is beautiful," Amy pointed to her brother's drawing. "I'll draw Grandma Isabelle, you draw Pancake."
Bella couldn't help but laugh as Ethan's face contorted with such concentration when he tried to make Pancake's raised tail into a perfect half moon, without much success. Meanwhile, Amy was drawing, hand in hand with Ethan's recent drawing, a very smiling person with long hair and brown eyes. Upon finishing Isabelle's drawing, Amy promptly took the red crayons and drew a heart around her grandmothers.
"We should draw a heart around grandmas and dad too. Grandmothers always say that they love Daddy and that he is their little boy," Ethan nudged his sister's shoulder to get her attention.
"Your grandmothers love your mother too," Bella reminded them with a smile. "She is their daughter as much as I am."
"Lucas Smith once said that daddy was not the son of our grandmothers because he was not born of them. Then I kicked him!" Ethan recalled, looking proud.
"Yes, and we punished you for it," She raised an eyebrow. "What did we teach you?"
"That our grandmothers are the mothers of you and daddy because they love you so much," Ethan remembered happily.
"Yes Dear," she stroked her nephew's hair. They had explicitly said the name adoption to the children, and although they hadn't learned it yet, she was proud to see how they understood her family better than many of the adults she had lived with throughout her life.
"We can put a heart around everyone when you are done, because we all love each other so much," Bella suggested to them, smiling sweetly.
"Can you make this big heart, Aunt Bella? Because Amy's was crooked."
"It didn't stay!" The girl shouted, offended.
"Hey, hey …," she caught the attention of the two, wanting to stop the impending fight. "You two haven't finished drawing, yet."
"I will draw myself much more beautiful than you!" Amy stuck her tongue out at her brother and turned her back to him, as she drew herself.
While finishing their drawings, they soon forgot about their fight and were already showing each other their drawings of two small people with dark brown skin, eyes that were big blue balls and wavy black hair.
"Aunt!" Amy screamed suddenly, scandalized, making Pancake jump on the sofa. "You didn't remind us to draw you!"
Bella laughed aloud at her niece's remark and watched them as they drew a person with straight brown hair, brown eyes and big round glasses. Her drawing was smiling and had a long arm, which went around the twins, as if she were hugging them. With her in the drawing, the family was all represented and the children ran to stand on either side of her, while watching her unite everyone in the family around a big red heart.
"Oh, how beautiful!" surprised, Bella turned her head quickly, facing her mother, Isabelle, looking delightedly at the drawing of the twins "Is it our family, my little ones?"
"Yes, Grandma. Here you are," Ethan stood up with the drawing in his hands, to show it to his grandmother.
"Oh, it looks really beautiful," Isabelle praised them, with a smile as big as the one on the drawing. "Too bad you are going to have to take it to school tomorrow. I have an idea - Why don't you make another one for Grandma to hang on the fridge? Dinner will take a little longer, as your grandmother turned the puree into soup."
"Hey, I just thought it was too little milk," Edythe sighed, entering the room and standing next to her wife, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Sorry, dear. I should know that listening to you is always the best way."
"Will you help us make another drawing aunt? We can draw you singing so we can sleep and …," Amy asked excitedly, but soon her face fell. "Oh, no ... You have to work, don't you?"
Bella froze for a moment. She had completely forgotten about the table crammed with numbers and concerns in her room. It always happened when she was with her family and not immersed in a million tasks. She always forgot that she had problems. With a sad sigh, she stood up, stroking her niece's hair.
"Yes, dear, auntie has," even she could feel the sadness in her voice.
"Don't worry, little ones," Edythe smiled at the grandchildren, clearly trying to appease the situation. "We are going to have dinner with your auntie and I will let you stay up late to kiss your parents good night when they come back from their special dinner."
The twins nodded, even though they were pouting. Bella knew she didn't look much different from them so, resignedly, she gave them each one last kiss on the forehead before turning back to her bedroom, where her work was waiting for her. With each step, her muscles seemed to be heavier, especially as the meeting that would take place the next day came back to her, where she would have to hear yet another sermon about how her clients were squandering money again and how it signaled her incompetence.
From the bedroom door, she turned to see Ethan and Amy once again lying face down on the floor, with Pancake at their side and drawing again ... Only this time they started with her drawing.
And she didn't even have to take a single look at her table this time.
Happy, she ran to her niece and nephew and lay down beside them, being greeted by her cries of surprise and contentment. Picking up a colored pencil, she smiled.
"You know what? Auntie will enjoy her holiday."
The big girl problems could wait until tomorrow.