AN: This is my first fanfic. Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome. I will not continue to post this story if I do not get significant feedback. I'll need at least 5-10 reviews in order to post the next chapter. Please feel free to ask questions or give suggestions. Also any typos! I don't have a beta, so hopefully things won't be too bad. This is just going to be a short, fluffy little story, four or five parts. I am willing to expand it or go back and write their story from when Bella and Edward first meet. I just need feedback. I won't write if I think no one likes it. Thank you!
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer. I only own the kiddies.
All Human, Edward POV, somewhat OOC
Edward Anthony Masen Cullen: 28, Seattle Fire Dept.
Bella Marie Swan Cullen: 26, Freelance writer and stay at home mother
Masen Charles: 4, Brown hair, green eyes
Elizabeth (Libby) Marie: 2, Bronze ringlets, Bella's eyes
Ella Renesmee: 9 months, Light brown hair, hazel eyes
-Chapter One: Peanut Butter and Jelly-
It had been another long day at work. My clothing reeked of smoke and was covered in soot. I was thankful that the Seattle fire department chose me for more of their longer firefighting projects, but the twenty four to thirty six hour shifts were beginning to take a toll on me. I walked out of the fire station, mindful of the darkening sky. A few snowflakes fell on my shoulders and I shivered. Seattle was in for a big snow storm later on in the evening. I unlocked my silver Volvo, sliding in and tossing my duffel bag in the backseat. I relished the feeling of the soft leather under my skin. The car had been a college graduation present from my parents seven years ago. I knew I was rushing but I hadn't seen my wife or my kids in thirty six hours and I was itching to get home before the storm came.
I peeled out of the parking lot and sped west to where our modest little house was located. Bella and I had decided to purchase the home right after we found out she was pregnant with our first child, Masen. That had been almost five years ago. The house was old, and I remember spending many a Saturday painting or fixing some part of it. It looked pretty good, if I did say so myself. The house was white, with a small yard in front and rosebushes in front of the porch. That reminded me- I had to fix the second porch step. Libby- our precious two year old who had inherited Bella's clumsiness- had nearly broken her leg last Tuesday when the one of the wooden boards came loose. She had been jumping down the steps and the board gave way beneath her. That incident resulted in a fruitless hospital visit and a lot of tears from both Libby and Bella's end. I myself had wanted to cry when the doctor sent us the bill.
I turned onto our street, marveling at how quickly I had arrived home. I was only allowed to drive as fast as I wanted when Bella or our three children weren't in the car. Those were my lovely wife's rules, not mine. My driving had considerably improved since we had kids, but Bella insisted that I still drove like a "speed demon"- her words, not mine. I pulled in the driveway of the house and grabbed my bag out of the back. I quickly ran my hands through my messy bronze hair, dislodging any ashes that might have nested there. Bella hated it when I literally brought my work home with me. I jumped out of the car and swiftly locked it. The snow was falling heavier now, the storm only a few hours away. I walked up the small path to the front door, dodging the broken step on the porch, and unlocked the door with my keys.
Our house was modest, but by no means was it shabby. My mother, Esme, and my sister Alice had seen to that. The entryway and the living room were painted a sunny yellow, and the furniture was made of dark wood. The living room had a brown leather sofa and armchair, and there was a red rug on the floor. The beautiful rug had been a gift from Bella's friends who lived in La Push, a reservation close to her childhood home. It was easily one of our favorite furnishings. There were two mahogany bookshelves on either side of the couch that housed my wife's enormous book collection, as well as my own. We both loved to read and hoped that our children would too. There were a few strategically placed woven baskets that held toys and baby things. Some colorful paintings graced the walls, giving the room a sense of coziness. Directly across from the couch was a huge fireplace, and above the mantle our new flat screen television was mounted. Bella had chastised me for buying the television, but after showing her the receipt, she accepted the fact that yes, I really had bought it on sale. The coffee table had a vase of wildflowers on it, as well as some DVDs and magazines.
The dining room was to the right of the front door, and was painted a deep royal blue. The table and chairs were the same shade of dark brown as the living room furniture. A silver and ivory chandelier hung gracefully from the ceiling, and our children were enamored with the sparkling crystals that adorned it. A carved china cabinet was behind the head of the table, and it showed off Bella's delicate porcelain cups and dishes that she had accumulated over the years. Her china was one of her most prized possessions, and she only brought it out for special occasions.
The minute I walked into the house, I was aware of two things. First- something was burning. I prayed it wasn't my dinner but most likely, it was. Don't get me wrong- Bella was an excellent cook, but sometimes the kids distracted her and cooking was forgotten. It wasn't her fault that dinner was sometimes less than perfect, and it wasn't the kids' faults either. It's just the way life works. I've gotten used to it and only on rare occasions do I pull out the takeout menus.
The second thing I was aware of was that one of my children was crying at high volume. It sounded like our nine month old baby girl, Ella. I remember Bella telling me a few days ago that her back molars were coming in. Teething had to be the culprit, and if it was, then Bella had probably put up with a crying child ever since I left for work early yesterday morning. A whole two days of Ella's wailing. Fantastic. I kicked off my shoes and shed my coat, placed my keys in the bowl that was on top of the antique table in the entryway, and dropped my duffel bag on the dark wood floor. I quickly walked through the living room to the kitchen, trying not to trip over the toys and books lying in the way. I came to a stop in front of the entryway.
It was a little hard to take in all at once. Our kitchen that was painted a light aqua was in complete disarray. There was a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink, and even more were scattered around the kitchen table and counters. Several pots and pans were on the ground, as well as some Tupperware containers. My wife had most likely let the two little girls play with them to keep them occupied. I also noticed that someone had pulled off all of the magnets and pictures that were usually stuck to the refrigerator doors. They were in a heap on the beige tile floor. There were several bottles and sippy cups strewn around, and it looked like someone had taken grape jelly and smeared it all over the lower cabinets. That was most likely my son's doing. I cringed at the mess.
I scanned the kitchen and saw my beautiful Bella standing at the stove, her back to me. She was dressed in some faded sweatpants and one of my old tee shirts. Her hair was up in a messy bun, though quite a few tendrils of the chocolate brown hair that I loved so much had escaped. She was stirring a pot on one of the boilers, balancing a sobbing Ella on her right hip. Ella's beautiful hazel eyes were red rimmed with tears, her soft hair that was a mixture of both mine and Bella's was sticking out everywhere, reminiscent of my own unruly locks. I noticed that her little pink onesie that said "I'm the little sister" was damp with tears.
Gazing at Bella once again, I saw Libby standing on her other side and swinging her small fists at Bella's leg, demanding "Gimmie chockit, Mommy, gimmie chockit!" I was shocked. Where on earth had my angelic daughter learned this type of behavior? I normally would have chuckled at her mispronunciation of the word chocolate, but this misconduct was unacceptable. I stepped into the kitchen, arms folded across my chest, and said severely,
"Elizabeth Marie, who do you think you are, hitting Mommy?"
Bella gasped and whirled around to face me, as did Libby. Even little Ella stopped crying for a minute. They were all startled at my sudden appearance. I directed my gaze at Libby.
"Elizabeth Marie, if you ever hit Mommy or anybody else again, you will be severely punished. Because you hit Mommy, you will not be allowed to watch television for the rest of today and also tomorrow. Is that understood?"
Libby nodded, her brown eyes sparkling with tears. "I sowwy Daddy, I sowwy."
I visibly softened at the sight of tears streaking down her cheeks. I had been home five minutes and the first thing I do is yell at my little girl? I was tempted to simply scoop her up and forget all about it, but I couldn't let Libby get away with that sort of behavior. I did not want a repeat performance of what I had just witnessed. So I said, "Don't apologize to me, apologize to Mommy."
Libby turned to Bella and whispered, "I sowwy Mommy."
Bella said gently, "I forgive you, sweetie. Now go give Daddy a kiss and then wash your hands for dinner." She patted Libby's bronze curls and gave her a small push towards me.
I instinctively squatted down and held out my arms to her. Libby slowly walked towards me and I could see the small battle she was waging against herself as she debated on whether or not she would be sweet to me, seeing as I had taken away her beloved television privilege. Her sweet side won out as she flew into my arms and peppered my face with little kisses. I slowly stood up, holding her tightly to my chest. Libby was a daddy's girl, whether she admitted it or not. Our little moment was broken by her squealing, "Ew, Daddy! You smells wike fire!" I laughed, and spun her around in the air. The kitchen was filled with the sound of her giggles. I set my breathless little girl down, and she skipped off to wash her hands.
I then gathered my beautiful Bella into my arms, mindful of the baby between us. I planted small kisses down the side of her neck, and whispered huskily in her ear, "I missed you, love." She sighed in response, and twisted her one free hand into my hair. I buried my nose in her hair, savoring the strawberry smell that lingered there. I gently tilted her face to meet mine, and I reverently touched my lips to her own. She tasted so good. The kiss soon intensified, our mouths joining passionately, her tongue battling with mine for dominance. We were soon jolted back to reality with a shrill cry from Ella, who obviously thought she was being ignored. I lifted her from Bella's grasp, and kissed her nose, earning me a small baby giggle. Bella sighed as she leaned her head on my chest, and I tightened my arm around her waist.
"What's wrong, love?" I asked, a little disconcerted.
"That's the first time she's stopped crying today." Oh.
"You bet. I'm surprised our baby girl hasn't gotten laryngitis, with all her screaming." She chuckled quietly, then said, "Libby was right, honey. You do stink."
I wrinkled my nose at her. "Oh, thanks." I couldn't keep the sarcasm out of my voice. She laughed her glorious laugh again, and I playfully swatted her backside. She yelped, and wriggled out of my arms. "None of that Mr. Cullen, dinner first!"
I raised my eyebrows suggestively at her. "What about dessert?" She huffed at me, and turned to a now giggling Ella.
"You see your Daddy, Ella? He's so silly."
Ella cooed and clapped her hands in response. "Dada, dada!" I didn't think I would ever tire of hearing her say that. Her baby vocabulary consisted of only three things at present- 'Mama', 'Dada', and 'Boo!'. The 'Boo', I guessed, came from many hours spent playing peek-a-boo with Masen.
I then remembered what had first assaulted my senses the moment I walked in the house.
"Sweetheart, what's for dinner?"
She gasped and turned towards the stove. Sure enough, there were gray curls of smoke emitting from the pot she had been stirring. I highly doubted that what was inside was edible now. Bella cast a frustrated glare at the pot and swiftly dumped its contents into the trash.
"Well, dinner's ruined," She said sourly. I came over and kissed the pout on her lips.
"Love," I said, placing kisses all over her face, "why don't we go out? You've been stuck here alone with the kids for two days and I think you could use a break. Besides, I heard of a new place opening up in town and I thought we could try it."
She looked up at me, and her face slipped into a frown. "No, Edward. I'm just- I- I- just don't feel like going out. Please, can we stay here? I'm so tired."
It was then that I noticed the dark purple circles under her eyes. She did look extremely tired and I realized that dinner out might be more harmful than helpful.
"Of course, honey. We'll stay here. I'll make something." I truly did not want to do much of anything, much less cook, but I didn't want Bella to have to do more than she needed to. I worried about her. Especially with the stress of looking after three small children while I was at work for long periods of time. Taking care of little children by yourself all day is harder than most people think. I would know. I remember when Alice would take Bella shopping and I would be home alone with our precious little ones. I would call her often during these excursions, just to have a sane person to talk to. And also to ask what I should do, say, perhaps, when someone got spaghetti sauce on the pale carpet. Not that that ever happened…much.
I walked over to the stainless steel refrigerator, still holding Ella (who was contentedly sucking her thumb), and opened the door. I guess Bella didn't go to the store like she had originally planned. There was hardly any food in the fridge. I doubted that there was much in the pantry either. I got the jelly and the peanut butter out, and then grabbed a loaf of bread out of the breadbox. I put the items on a counter that wasn't too cluttered with stuff, and searched for a couple of knives to spread the PB & J with. I looked over at Bella. She was biting her lip, a sure sign that she felt bad about something.
"Honey?" I asked, placing my hand under her chin and lifting it up so I could look into her eyes. "What is it, Bella?"
She sighed. "I'm so bad at this stay at home mother business."
I nearly dropped the baby. "Isabella Cullen, do not ever say that again. Why on earth would you think something like that?" I was almost furious with her. She did not give herself the credit she deserved.
Bella began to sob.
"It's not fair, to you, Edward, to come home to a messy house and crying children and burned meals. And me- I haven't worn makeup or fixed my hair decently in weeks. I know we haven't had a night by ourselves or even done something remotely romantic in a very long time. I bet the last thing you want to do right now is make us dinner. You haven't slept in two days; you're covered in soot and are in desperate need of a hot shower. You shouldn't have to do my jobs too."
"Bella, love, it's just PB & J, nothing special. I want to do this for you, Bella. Honey, it isn't about what's fair to me. All that matters is that I have you and the precious children you've given me. Children cry and make messes. It's what they do best. Please believe me, Bella, you're not a bad mother. You do a wonderful job with our children and our home. The fact that you even try to do the best you can is good enough for me. And Bella, I love coming home to you. It doesn't matter if you wear makeup or fix your hair. Sure, it's nice, but Bella, I would be sad if you put more time into how you looked than you did focusing on our family."
She looked up at me, sniffling. I wiped the tears from her eyes with my thumb, and held her gently to me.
"Really." I gently kissed her, and then said, "Sweetheart, why don't you gather the kids and I'll make the sandwiches and we can eat?"
"Alright. I am sorry about the lack of food. I meant to go shopping, but-" I cut her off.
"Bella, it's okay. I like peanut butter and jelly. Tomorrow's Saturday. We can go grocery shopping then."
She nodded, and kissed me on the cheek. She took Ella from my arms, and then walked out of the kitchen. I turned my attention to sandwich making. I made four PB & J sandwiches (I didn't make one for Ella because Bella was still breastfeeding), cutting them diagonally in half like Esme used to do, and set them on plates. I quickly cleared the table, and placed the dirty dishes in the sink. I grabbed a sponge out of a drawer, wet it under the faucet, and cleaned off the table. Apparently the darling who had put the grape jelly all over the cabinets had decided to cover the table with it as well.
I still couldn't believe that Bella thought she was doing a bad job here at home. I didn't marry her because I thought she would make a good little housekeeper and nanny. I married her because I loved her. Sure, it was always nice to come home to a clean house, food on the table, and happy children, but most times, that was not what happened. When Bella and I were first married, we lived in a comfortable little cycle. The house was almost always sparkling, we did our laundry on Mondays and Thursdays, we ate well and nothing got burned, and we had time to go to the park or a museum at the drop of a hat. I did not realize that our peaceful days would be short lived. Masen came along the week after our first anniversary. Our priorities quickly changed, and many hours of sleep were lost between the both of us. That led to short tempers and long arguments. If you really want to get to know somebody, have a baby with them. That'll bring the harsh reality out. Bella and I soon formed a routine that worked for the both of us, but only snippets of our carefree lives remained. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Having our children was one of the greatest blessings ever bestowed upon me.
I was wiping my hands on a dishtowel when Masen came barreling into the kitchen. "Daddy! You're home!" He jumped into my arms and hugged my neck as tightly as his four year old arms would allow.
"Hey little man, I missed you!" I ruffled his brown hair that he had inherited from Bella.
"I missed you too, Daddy! Were there lots of big fires?" he asked. He was always very curious about my job.
"Yep, there were some pretty large ones. But we got them put out just in the nick of time."
"Wow, Daddy, were you scared?" He asked, eyes round. He asked me this every time I came home.
"A little, but I just said a prayer and got the job done." I didn't feel the need to share with him that yes, I was terrified, not of the flames, but of the risk of not seeing my family again every time I was called to duty.
Bella walked in, Ella in her arms and Libby by her side. She set Ella in her highchair and gave her some Cheerios to snack on while the rest of us ate our simple dinner. I put Masen down and he went over to the table. I set a plate in front of Libby and she looked up at me questioningly.
"Daddy make?" She asked, incredulous.
Bella giggled, and I fought to keep the sarcasm out of my voice. "Yes, Libby, Daddy is capable of making a sandwich."
Dinner was a quick and quiet affair. After everyone was finished, I suggested that Bella bathe the girls and Masen and I would tackle the kitchen. Bella willingly agreed, and left me and our four year old wondering what I had gotten us into.
"You sure 'bout cleanin' this, Daddy?" Masen asked, looking worriedly at the mess that surrounded us.
"Yes, Masen, let's do this for Mommy." And my sanity, I silently added, grimly rolling up my sleeves.
We quickly got to work. I washed the dishes and Masen wiped off the cabinets that he admitted to smearing the purple goop on. I wiped down the stove and all the countertops while Masen put all of the magnets and pictures back on the refrigerator. I took my time sweeping the floor and Masen held the dustpan for me. About half an hour after we started cleaning, the kitchen was sparkling. We went through the living room, dining room, and hallway, picking up miscellaneous toys and baby items. After putting them in their respective places, I shut off the lights in the front of the house and went into the bathroom to bathe Masen. Bella was getting the girls ready for bed and I could hear Libby pleading to be allowed to stay up later.
When I was rinsing Masen's hair, Bella came in and told me that Libby wanted me to tuck her in. She finished his bath, and I walked down the hall into the bedroom that my three children shared. The house only had two bedrooms and a study, but it also had two bathrooms which made it convenient. The kids' bedroom had been cozy when it was just Masen and Libby, but having two beds and Ella's crib in there made the room feel cramped. I wanted so badly for my family to have every luxury (including separate bedrooms) but my fireman's salary did not make it possible for me to even think about purchasing a larger home in the near future. I slowly pushed open the door, and found Libby lying down in her little bed, a quilt under her chin, waiting for me.
The small bedroom walls were a soft ivory color, with painted images of Peter Rabbit on them, courtesy of Alice. Facing me were Masen and Libby's beds that I had painted a mint green color. They were side by side, with an antique nightstand between them. A small lamp was set on it, as well as a few books. The beds were covered in warm quilts that my mother in law, Renee had made when she had been into her latest hobby- quilting. The soft quilts were made up of pastel pink, yellow, blue, and green fabric. Above the beds, there was a framed piece of stationary that had their full names written on it in calligraphy, as well as their birthdates and the weight and length they had been when they were born. Again, it was Alice's doing. She had actually picked the theme of the room when we were getting the room ready for Masen's arrival, since Bella and I had no desire to do so at the time. We had just been happy we were getting a baby. Ella's crib was painted in the same shade of green as the other beds, and was against the west wall. She also had a little plaque hanging above her crib like Libby and Masen. The closet was located on the opposite side of the room and I was standing beside the light blue changing table that I frequently knocked into since it was so close to the bedroom door.
"Hey baby," I said, walking towards my little girl, "are you all ready for bed?" I sat down on the bed and kissed her forehead. She nodded and said,"Mhm, Daddy, wook!" She tossed the blanket down, showing me her pink footie pajamas that were decorated with princesses and frogs. "Good girl. Did you get a drink of water?" She nodded again, proudly holding up her purple plastic sippy cup. I leaned over her small frame and simultaneously tickled her little belly and planted kisses on her plump cheeks. She giggled and shrieked, trying to squirm away. After I stopped my attack on her, I pressed my forehead lightly against hers, and kissed her rosy little lips. I said softly, "I love you, princess."
"I wov you too, Daddy." She whispered, and threw her small arms around my neck, placing a baby kiss on my lips. I smiled and unwrapped her arms from my neck, placing them under the quilt. I knew that it was going to snow tonight and I wanted my little girl as warm as possible. "Stay under the covers, okay baby? I don't want you to get cold."
"Sweet dreams, my little Libby."
"You too, Daddy." She yawned, and her eyes slowly slid shut. I got up, and tucked the blankets tightly around the bed. I flipped on the nightlight, and quietly shut the door. I nearly ran smack into Masen, who had been dressed in his own footie pajamas (they were blue and had marine mammals on them), his slightly damp hair plastered to his head. Motioning for him to be quiet, I opened the bedroom door and picked him up, then playfully tossed him on his bed. I repeated the bedtime ritual I had just completed with Libby, and within minutes, he was asleep, breathing deeply. I smiled as I walked out of the room, looking back at their sleeping forms, feeling like the luckiest father on earth to have been blessed with such gifts.
I quickly walked back to mine and Bella's room, wanting more than ever to take a hot shower and cuddle up to my beautiful wife in bed. Our room was panted in the same ivory color as the kids' bedroom. Bella had made me put up a few black and white pictures on the walls, one of us on our wedding day, and one of us with the kids. The other portraits were pictures of people and places that held special places in our hearts, like our parents, and the place Bella and I had met- Forks, Washington. There were three big windows in the room that were currently covered in grey drapes. The queen sized bed was facing the bedroom door, and was covered in ivory and red bed coverings. Gauzy white fabric hung from the bedposts, forming a canopy of sorts. There were two grey nightstands on either sides of the bed, with little paper lamps on them, plus and few books and magazines, and in Bella's case, a baby monitor. I had a red alarm clock on my table. The doors to the big closet were shut, and I noticed that Bella had done the laundry, seeing that our clothes weren't strewn across the room as they usually were. There was a rocking chair that used to be Bella's in one corner of the room, next to the bed. A blanket or two had been tossed upon it, as well as Bella's Boppy pillow. There were a few woven rugs on the floor, and their red, grey, ivory, and black colors contrasted nicely with the dark wood. The door to our bathroom was next to our bed, and I made a beeline for it.
I shut the door, and turned on the shower. I quickly stripped, and realized that I was indeed covered in soot and ashes. I stepped in the steaming shower, nearly moaning in pleasure as the scalding droplets of water touched my skin. I took my time, making sure I had gotten rid of the smoke smell that liked to linger on me. The water soon ran cold, and I jumped out, quickly drying myself off as I could feel the temperature in the house dropping. I dressed in my warmest plaid sweatpants and a dark green long sleeve tee shirt. I dried my hair as best I could and walked back into the bedroom. Bella was now in bed, on the left side (her side), feeding Ella. She too was dressed in her warmest pajamas, but instead of being green, they were blue, which was my favorite color on her. I walked over to where she sat, and pressed my lips to hers, then kissed the baby in her arms.
"I'm just going to throw my laundry in the washing machine, and then I'll be in." I whispered to her, not wanting to scare Ella.
"I already took care of it. Get in."
"I love you so much."
She laughed softly. "I know."
I was just about to fling myself onto the bed when there was a resounding CRACK followed immediately by a loud boom. Instantly, the lights went out. I groaned. The snowstorm was apparently in full force, and a powerful gust of wind must have blown down a power line.
"Daddy!" came two frightened cries from the direction of the kids' bedroom.
AN: So… I left you with a little cliffy. 5-10 reviews and you'll know what frightened Masen and Libby! Please, as I said before, leave a review, constructive criticism, a suggestion, or simply something that you liked. I would love to hear from you, especially since I won't continue if I don't get feedback!
Thank you, yourbrowneyedgirl