A/N: Sorry for the long wait, everybody. I have a ton of excuses that none of you would likely believe or care to read, so I'm going to skip all that blah blah blah and let you read this chapter, hokay? Hokay.
When I woke the next morning, I had never felt more rested in my entire life. A warm mass was curled up against my side and I smiled sleepily at Bella's unconscious form. Her legs were tangled in mine, one arm was slung across my chest and another was tucked under her head like a pillow. Her hair was a wicked mass of curls that covered most of her face, which was slack and unmoving. Wishing not to disturb her, I slowly and carefully brushed her hair off her forehead and kissed the top of head, breathing in her scent. A low and quiet moan rumbled in her chest and she pressed herself closer to me. My smile deepened and I shifted her ever-so slightly, so her left leg was now hooked over my hips. She nuzzled her face against my side and I ran a hand down her back, leaving it on the swell of her hips. My thumb rubbed small circles on her skin, dipping occasionally to brush against her stomach. She began to squirm a little and I knew she could feel what I was doing to her, but she refused to wake up. My other hand traced random designs on her back as the hand I had on her hip traveled up her bare torso and ghosted over her breasts. A breathy whimper escaped her now parted lips and I held back an amused snort. I felt her hips gentle rock against mine and my eyes rolled back into my head. Feeling slightly bolder, when my hand slid up her side, I simply cupped her breast and lowered my head, kissing the smooth skin above my hand.
"I know what you're doing and yea, it's working," Bella's sleepy voice whispered in my ear. I smiled against her skin and ran my nose up her chest, across her collarbone and jaw and rubbed it against hers.
"Good. Now pretend to be sleeping again. I wasn't done yet." I nipped at her chin lightly as I made my way back down to her chest.
"Oh, that's real sweet, Edward. Taking advantage of your sleeping wife. What if I wasn't in the mood to be your plaything?" She asked as her fingers found their way into my hair and anchored me in place against her breast.
"The noises you were making before you woke up didn't sound like you were in a bad mood at all," I murmured, licking my way across to her other breast.
"Lies. And what if those noises weren't for you?" Her foot slid up and down the back of my leg and it was driving me crazy. I picked her up and laid her on her back, wrapping her legs around my waist. I bit my lip as I felt her heels dig into my lower back.
"Then I'll have to kill the bastard who makes you do this," My free hand traveled down her front and cupped her, making her gasp in surprise and need.
"That's upsetting. The world is going to miss Brad Pitt. And David Beckham. Oh, and Robert Downey, Jr." She said breathlessly as her hands tugged at my hair desperately.
"Pity." I said before I crushed my mouth against hers. I nibbled her bottom lip, my tongue begging for entrance. She was being playful and kept denying me entrance. Knowing that two could play this game, I reached down and squeeze her breast roughly, grinning as she inhaled sharply. Kissing her deeply, I began to slowly grind myself against her and feeling her push up against me. Hearing her pant heavily, I eased back from her mouth, letting us both catch our breaths.
"You play dirty, Edward Cullen."
"And you like it."
"I'm definitely not complaining at the moment. Carry on with what you were doing." She said playfully, running her hands through my hair and down my neck. Her fingers caused goose bumps to erupt all over my skin and I shivered as they raked down my back and dug into my ass for a moment before starting their route over again.
"I can't think properly when you do that," I grumbled, sucking lightly on the skin of her collarbone.
"Exactly. Stop thinking, silly man." She let out a long sigh as I worked her neck over with open-mouthed kisses. About to respond, I lifted my head but was distracted by loud knocking coming from the bedroom door.
"Oh, for the love of God, it better be important." Bella groaned, tugging the bed sheets up around her. I frowned down at her and grabbed the comforter, wrapping it around my waist. I stumbled over it a few times as I walked to the door, frustration flooding my overheated system. Unlocking the door, I opened it and glared at Emmett.
"Am I interrupting some…sexy time?" He grinned devilishly and all I wanted to do was hit him.
"What do you want and make it quick."
"Did you and Bella forget that we're flying out in a few hours? Get your asses dressed and downstairs in fifteen minutes. If you're late by a second, I'm sending Alice up here." Emmett pointed to both Bella and I and I nodded curtly.
"We'll be ready. Keep the pixie away from this room if you want the ability to have any more children." I threatened him and hoped he got the message. He shrugged his shoulders and headed back down the stairs.
"I warned you." I slammed the door shut and locked it again. I turned around and saw that Bella was tugging on a pair of jeans. My jaw dropped in shock of her not being in bed.
"The knowledge Alice might kick down that door is a bit of a mood killer." I agreed with her silently, but stood still and watched her get dressed.
"Why are you not getting ready? We still need to pack." Bella said, tossing a shirt my way. I let it hit me and fall to the floor. She turned to face me and I simply dropped the comforter and sighed.
"I have a bit of a problem, you see…" I gestured downwards and smiled internally as I saw Bella's eyes darken with lust.
"Emmett did say fifteen minutes, right?" She bit her bottom lip and shifted from side to side.
"And you locked the door?" Her eyes flickered behind me and then back down to my obvious 'problem'.
"Double-checked it." I almost did a happy dance when Bella closed her eyes briefly and tugged the shirt she was wearing over her head.
"Being a few minutes late can't be that bad," She jumped into my arms and I stumbled backwards onto the bed.
"Not at all."
Twenty-five minutes later and ignoring the steady knocking on our bedroom door, Bella and I dragged ourselves into the kitchen, only to be met with angry glares from Emmett and Alice and knowing smirks from Rose and Jasper.
"Really? Morning sex was more important than getting to the airport early?" Alice ground out, quickly snatching the cup of coffee I was reaching for and dumping it down the sink.
"Yes." I stared at her the entire time I was pouring myself a new cup of coffee. Bella grabbed her arm and hastily whispered in her ear. Alice's glare softened and she let out a quiet 'oh!' when Bella took a step back and slipped in her hand in mine. I wagered a guess that Bella filled Alice in on our newest development for an excuse. Bella did the same with Rose, even though I'm pretty sure she had a clue. Emmett and Jasper both nudged me simultaneously, gesturing with their heads over at our wives, who were huddled around each other.
"Bella and I…we're trying for a baby." I said quietly, stirring my coffee slowly. Both nodded and leaned back against the counter.
"How do you feel about it?" Jasper asked. I shrugged and Emmett smacked the back of my head. Apparently that was not the answer he was looking for.
"I'm terrified. Down to the core. When she brought it up last night, I almost said no."
"Why?" It was Emmett this time and the tone of his voice was one I had only heard a few times in my life. Concern, confusion and love all mixed into one.
"All I could picture in my head was having to relive and rehash the pain I never want to feel again. Having Masie was a huge step for me and you both saw what I looked like at the hospital. The fear I had that night was indescribable." I took a sip of coffee, not tasting it at all. I felt myself getting sucked back into my memories and I pulled myself out of it.
"I understand you, Edward. I know how you feel." Jasper said as he fiddled around with his own coffee cup.
"Just because you're an empath doesn't grant you the right to say those things, Jasper. You have no idea what it's like." Anger started brewing deep down inside and I didn't want to fight with him at this point in time.
"Yes, I do. We never told you, but Alice miscarried several times before we had Jackson. So when I say I know how you feel, believe me, I do." Jasper muttered, setting his cup down on the counter before glancing longingly over at Alice. Emmett and I stared at each other and then shook our heads, stunned what we had heard.
"She's our sister! Why didn't you tell us?" Emmett hissed, his anger clearly showing.
"She's my wife. It was a matter between the two of us. Alice was the one who made the ultimate decision." Jasper put his coffee cup down harder than need be, a signal to the both of us that the conversation was over. Alice pranced her way over to us and slid her arms around Jasper's waist and nuzzled his chest. He visibly relaxed and stroked a hand down her back. Bella touched my arm and handed me her phone.
"Look at the picture your mom sent me." I held the phone close to my face and smiled at the small, pixilated image of my daughter sleeping in a heap of blankets and pillows by the big bay window of my parent's living room, where it overlooked the front of the house and the driveway.
"She insisted that she sleep there, just in case we came home early." Bella murmured, gently running a finger over the screen.
"I did the same thing when I was younger. I can remember waking up as my mom carried me upstairs to my room after falling asleep in the hallway. When I moved in with Carlisle and Esme, it took me over two months before I actually slept my new bed. I always found a new place in the house to fall asleep."
"Yea, you drove Carlisle and Esme crazy. The time you slept under his desk and he kicked you and you started screaming bloody murder had to be the funniest thing I've seen. Carlisle actually tipped over in his chair and started yelling right along with you." Emmett laughed from behind me. I let out a chuckle and handed the phone back to Bella.
"Let's get this show on the road, shall we? My daughter is expecting us soon."
Even with our bout of morning sex, we arrived to the airport earlier than usual. We sat around at our terminal, excited with the prospect of going home but not the long hours of flying we had ahead. Bella kept checking something in her carry-on and it was driving me crazy watching her constantly dig through her bag and be back in it five minutes later.
"What on earth could be in there that is so interesting?" I asked, twirling a ringlet of her hair around my middle finger. Bella let out a long breath and puffed the hair off her face.
"I'm just making sure everything is in there. They had to search my bags at security."
"Yea, why was that? I thought Alice was going to burst a vessel at the setback." Bella's cheeks burned brightly with a blush and she shifted nervously in her seat.
"I put the recorders in here so I could do some analysis on the plane."
"This couldn't wait until we got home? We're still on vacation, love." I was a little irked, but I could see the reasoning behind it. This was something she wanted to open and close quickly, and letting the others work on it would take too long. It wasn't even a true investigation, just a short session.
"Is this because you can't work on the one with James and Victoria? I thought you were okay with them doing this and you stepping back."
"I am okay with it. It's just…I'm bored. Usually I have something to listen to or watch to when I want to relax for a bit. It's hard to quit cold turkey like that." She ran a hand through her hair, a habit I noticed over the years that she picked up from me. It made me smile to know that we were rubbing off on each other, both physically and mentally.
"Now you have all the time in the world to spend with me and Masie. We can have nap time together," I said huskily in her ear, nipping quickly at her jaw before pressing a rough kiss under her ear.
"We have to think about putting Masie in school." Bella blurted out, obviously flustered about public affection at the airport and our surrounding family. I sat up a little straighter and I felt a frown start to form on my face.
"Really? I have completely forgot about that," I lied, knowing full well that I spent several nights alone on the computer, rating all the schools in the area and coming up with the final answer of never letting Masie step foot in any of those buildings.
"She's five, going on six. We could put her in kindergarten, but she might be too old already. I don't want her to be behind in school, being the oldest kid in the class. It's probably going to be hard enough for her with her abilities, let alone deal with that kind of pressure." The mentioning of Masie's abilities made me think that homeschooling was the best option for Masie. I wasn't going to allow any negative feelings to affect my daughter, especially from her peers.
"What are we going to do about that anyway? It's not something we can bring up at parent-teacher conferences and expect them to take us seriously." I wrung my hands together anxiously, just picturing the look on the teacher's face as we sat down and explained that our little five year-old daughter was able to predict the future and speak to spirits.
"I'll talk with Victoria about it. Edward, you do realize that kids at any age are mean. Hell, my timeouts were in jail cells when I was younger." I glanced at her, an odd expression on my face.
"Jail cells? You were that bad?" I was pleased to know that even after all these years, Bella could still pull something out and surprise me with it.
"Did you forget my dad was a cop?" I shook my head, not remembering her mentioning anything like that.
"Well, he was chief of police and to prove a point when I was sent home from school, he locked me in a jail cell. That was after I had my mug shot taken, fingerprinted and had to give him a statement about what I did. You can relax now. My record after that is perfectly clean." I laughed, imagining a younger version of Bella sitting in between two huge thugs, just twiddling her thumbs and waiting for her dad to take her home.
"I take that back. My record here in the states is spotless. Internationally, not so much." A blush started to form and I was intrigued. I scooted closer and rested my chin in my open palms.
"Go on, I'm listening."
"Remember, this was years ago and should not reflect upon me now personally." She flicked the tip of my nose and grinned when I growled at her.
"Bella Cullen, I do believe you're stalling. Come on, it can't be that bad."
"Oh, public indecency is that bad. Especially in Dublin." I poked her side when she stopped talking, earning a loud squeak and a slap on the arm.
"I wasn't finished! I was in Ireland, investigating a claim of banshees in a nearby county. I was just out of college and excited to be wetting my feet in the world of paranormal research. Anyway, the whole banshee thing was disproved and to drink away my sorrows, James brought me to a pub and paid my tab—" I held my hand up to pause her.
"What was James doing with you in Ireland?" Bella's blush intensified and I knew I wasn't going to like what I heard next.
"I was kind of dating James at the time,"
"Kind of? How long were you two together? Were you ever planning on telling me?" Getting angry at her was unnecessary, but the thought of her dating James pissed me off.
"First of all, I was planning on telling you. I had planned on it being at home and not an airport terminal," She ground out, her own temper flaring.
"Secondly, James and I were friends long before we started dating. He lived in my building my freshman year of college and we got to know each other then. We dated for a few years." My silence made her sigh and she shifted in her seat.
"We broke up two years before I met you. That was when I gave my blessing for Victoria to start seeing him and within a year, they were married. If it helps anything, he cheated on me with her for about six months before we mutually ended it." She said with an air of indifference and I bit back my grin. Then something clicked.
"EJ. You named him after both of us, didn't you?" I was hoping that the name James was a family thing that she wanted to carry on, not a college ex-boyfriend.
"He was a big part of my life and I can't deny that he helped me become the person I am today. James will never compare to you and my feelings for you eclipse the feelings I had for him. EJ was named after two men that I love dearly and who helped be become a better person." She cupped my face with her hands and placed a sweet kiss against my lips. I pretended to be angry with her, but when she smoothed out my frown with the pads of her thumbs and rested her forehead against mine, my resolve broke and I wrapped my arms around her.
"What invoked the public indecency?" I muttered as I buried my nose in her hair. I felt the vibration of her laughter before I heard it, making me smile.
"I may or may not have lost my shirt at some point in the night and paraded around the streets in only a lace bra. When in Ireland, do as the Irish do?" She giggled as I growled playfully when she swatted my roaming hands away from her chest.
"I am not getting yelled at for you groping me in public." She whispered, sliding her hand in with mine.
"I was not groping. This is groping," I cupped her fully and heard her quiet moan. I kissed the back of her neck and squeezed my hand lightly, earning another moan, albeit this time quite louder than the first.
"For God's sake, really? In an airport? At least I have some form of restraint when it comes to manhandling my woman," Emmett remarked as he walked past us. Bella let out a surprised yelp and abruptly sat away from me in her seat.
"Really? Emmett's your new voice of reason? We need to start limiting our time with my family."
The flight seemed to take longer than ever and I grew more and more impatient every minute. Bella, who was nestled at my side, took my hands in hers and rubbed her thumb over the tops of my knuckles.
"As hard as you try, you can't will this plane to fly faster. I'm as anxious as you to get back to Masie, but you have to relax. You're making me tense sitting next to you." She mumbled as she tucked her head under my chin, ear pressed against my beating heart. I sighed and draped an arm across her back, enjoying her added warmth in the chilly cabin. Her hands released mine and they began to rub circles across my stomach. When they reached the bottom of my shirt, they snuck underneath and splayed out against my skin.
"Bella," I hissed in her ear, my eyes shooting around the section of the plane we were in, hoping that no one was watching. Everyone seemed to be dozing off, seeing as it was an early morning flight.
"What?" She asked innocently, her fingers trailing up my stomach to rest over my chest.
"If you haven't noticed, we're on a plane."
"Oh, I'm aware. I just don't care." I had to close my mouth to stifle the groan that threatened to emerge as I felt one of her hands slip down to fiddle with the front of my jeans. How was I so lucky to find someone like her?, I wondered to myself as the zipper slowly came undone. My eyes snapped shut on their own accord as her fingers grazed against me lightly.
"Someone is going to see," I groaned quietly, bringing my hand up from her back to play with her hair.
"Then they'll probably learn a thing or two, I guess." She grinned up at me wickedly as she began to stroke me leisurely. I had no idea what had gotten into her over the past few days, but I wasn't about to regret it. She shifted in her seat to angle herself more over me and I realized she was doing that to keep things out of view.
"Bella, seriously…" I lost whatever I had planned on saying when I felt her warm breath wash over me. My hands clenched and unclenched in her hair and my leg.
"Shut up." She whispered huskily. I bit my lip hard enough to draw blood when her mouth descended. The sensation of her and the idea of possibly getting caught nearly made me lose it right then and there. It also didn't help that I could hear tiny moans and groans coming from Bella, noises that she knew drove me to the brink. I tore my eyes away from the glorious sight of her in my lap to glance around the quiet cabin. A stewardess was slowly approaching with a drink cart, about five rows ahead of us. I tried hissing out Bella's name, but I had to swallow a groan quickly. I could hear the clicking of the drink cart brakes getting closer. I tugged gently on Bella's hair, hoping she'd get an idea that I wanted to get her attention. That just earned me a fairly audible moan and my eyes rolled to the back of my head.
"Oh god, Bella…quick…" The stewardess was two rows away from us by this point. Bella increased her actions and I felt my legs because to tremble. I tensed in my seat when the stewardess reached Emmett and Rose, who were sitting in front of us.
"Bella, sit up." I whispered breathlessly, quickly flicking my eyes from her head to the stewardess. I was afraid that Bella hadn't heard me, but she was up in a flash and tossing the airplane customary blanket over both our laps as the stewardess parked her cart next to us. Bella tossed her hair back from her face and licked her lips, her left hand working furiously under the blanket.
"Anything for either of you?" The stewardess asked, glancing at us with a curious expression. I shook my head no, incapable of spoken word at this point in time. Bella smiled brightly and shook her head as well. The stewardess released the brakes and slowly moved the cart to where Jasper and Alice sat behind us. Bella moved closer to me and began to whisper in my ear the exact things she wanted to do me if we were alone. My eyes closed involuntarily as I felt my release near. Bella glanced around, making sure there were no other curious eyes looking at us, and descended once more. I covered my mouth with my hand and tried my best to keep quiet, but was quickly losing that battle. One soft groan from Bella was all it took as my release hit me with the same impact a freight train would. My hand flexed against my leg and I clamped my other hand harder to my mouth. Bella slowly sat back up, a smirk gracing her face. She wiped the sides of her mouth delicately with a finger and snuggled against my chest.
"Relaxed yet?" She giggled, tracing random patterns against my leg. All I could was kiss the top of her head and let out a long sigh.
I don't remember actually falling asleep, but I came to as Bella gently shook me.
"Wake up, sleepyhead. We just landed in Seattle." She placed a kiss on my cheek and stood up, stretching gracefully as one could in a plane cabin. She bent down, placing the black bag that held her audio recorders and video tapes into her carry-on, silently answering my question of what she had done while I slept.
"Find anything interesting?" I asked, pointing to her bag. She answered with a shrug and looked at me pointedly.
"Nothing that can't wait until we're home." So she did find something, I thought to myself as I maneuvered my way out of the seat. Bella reached for my hand and held it loosely behind her as we slowly exited the plane. I awkwardly waved a good-bye to the stewardess, who directed a knowing glance in my direction. Oops.
Our bags were already waiting for us in a great big pile, all thanks to Carlisle, who stood by the baggage terminal.
"Enjoy your trip?" He asked, greeting each one of us with a smile.
"It was…interesting to say the least." Alice piped up from next to me, her eyes locking with Bella's.
"Some of us even enjoyed the flight back as well," Emmett said, slapping me on the back playfully. I felt myself drain of color as Emmett winked and made an extremely suggestive move with his hands. My father cleared his throat and clapped his hands together.
"Alright then, shall we load up the car and head home?" I caught Carlisle's grin before it disappeared and knew I was going to get it later from everyone, once Emmett relayed the story back to the others.
We pulled up the long driveway that lead to my parent's house and I wasn't surprised at all to find my mother and Masie standing outside. Masie was visibly excited, as evident of my mother holding onto the back of her shirt with an iron grip, to ensure that Masie wouldn't run to the car before it stopped moving. I couldn't help but smile at the scene. Masie started squealing the minute Carlisle put the car into park and I opened up the back door. My mother let go of her shirt and in a flash, Masie had hurled herself into my arms.
"What took you so long?" She asked accusingly, glaring at both Bella and me.
"Chicago is a long ways away from Forks, love." I said, smoothing back her riot of curls. Bella scooped Masie out of my arms and began twirling her around the driveway. My siblings had gone inside to collect their children and my parents had gone inside to help.
"Did you have a good time with Nana and Pops while we were gone?" Bella asked, kissing the tip of Masie's nose. Her nod was vigorous and brought yet another smile to my face. She launched into a detailed recap of the days she had spent here and I decided to pop inside the house to gather her luggage. As I made my way to the stairs, I could hear bits and pieces of a conversation being had in the living room.
"I told him specifically that I didn't want to bring up what happened in that house, Esme! And what happened? We had a séance! We spoke to our dead parents!" Alice's high-pitch voice was full of anger and hurt as she spilled her guts out to Esme.
"It sounds like it wasn't intentional, dear. You even said Jasper had felt something earlier. With Bella, things like that come with the territory. I can assure you that they didn't do it to upset you on purpose." Esme's soothing voice entered the conversation. Alice hummed in agreement.
"I just want to be done with it, Esme. I thought everything was over with Edward and it's obviously not. I'm tired of it all." Alice sighed shakily. The rest of their conversation was muted, but I stood on the stairs, confused and slightly hurt. I knew what my family had gone through half a decade ago, but I had no idea that it was still prevalent in their minds to this day. We rarely spoke of it afterwards.
"Edward?" Rose's voice broke my thoughts as she came down the stairs carrying the twins.
I hadn't noticed that Esme and Alice had left the living room and were standing at the bottom of the stairs.
"Sorry, I just…" I shook my head absently and took the stairs two at a time until I reached the top, where I leaned against the wall and let out a long breath. Recouping, I opened the door to the guest bedroom, where Masie had stayed. Her bags were packed and neatly stacked by the bed, Esme's obvious doing. I picked them up with one hand and was reaching for Masie's pillow when I heard a soft cough behind me. I turned around and saw Esme standing in the doorway.
"I'm going to take a guess and say that you overheard some of that?" She shut the door part way and sat next to me on the bed. I put the bags down and sat as well.
"I did. I'm not going to make a big deal out of it, for everyone's sake. I understand that Alice had a difficult time being back there and it was inevitable something was going to happen. I thought we handled the situation as cautiously as we could. I'll make it up to her, I promise." Esme stroked my head lovingly, invoking memories of being soothed back to sleep countless of times after having nightmares or after a bad day at school.
"Always protecting everyone, you are. Still one of your most endearing qualities. Honestly, I can't tell you how many times I've had that same conversation with your sister, so don't take what she said too literally. Everything is still fresh to her and since she was so young when it happened, I don't think she quite understood what was going on. And when the…incident occurred with you, I think it just opened up a whole new chapter of problems with her." She continued to stroke my hair as she spoke, a small smile on her face.
"I'm not saying we should press the issue right this moment, but I think we as a family need to discuss quite a lot of things pertaining to before you came to us and what happened with you. It might bring some sense of closure to certain individuals." Her eyes flickered to mine and I saw a bit of sadness and apprehension in them, along with an outpouring of love.
"I was thinking of the same exact thing. Thank you, Mom, for everything. Really." I pulled her in for a hug and politely ignored, for her sake, the sniffle I heard come from her.
"So it wasn't that bad having Masie around for a couple days?" I asked, changing the subject. Esme laughed as she warmly kissed both of my cheeks and cupped the side of my face in her hand.
"Not at all. Your father and I discussed asking you and Bella if you'd like for her to spend the rest of the week with us, so you two could have some alone time together." I smiled, amused at the expression on my mother's face. She was trying hard to be casual about bringing the subject up, but I could tell she wished for even more time with her granddaughter.
"I'll talk to Bella the minute I see her. I can guarantee you that Masie would be thrilled to spend some more time here, but I think Bella and I had a rougher time being separated from her than she was from us." I said sheepishly. Esme laughed as she stood up, gathering Masie's pillow and several stuffed animals –some of which, I noticed, looked new – and went towards the door.
"I completely understand, Edward."
Masie and Bella were still outside when I found them and quickly loaded our stuff, along with Masie's, into our car that we had parked in the driveway. Bella was staring at her phone with a perplexed look while Masie played in the grass.
"What's up? Is it not turning on?" I asked, hugging her from behind. She shook her head and held it up to eye-level.
"Ben and Angela have called me over nine times each, and that was just this morning."
"Call them back. They wouldn't call so many times if something wasn't up." Bella pressed the speed-dial for Angela and waited for her to answer.
"Ang? What's going on?" I could hear Angela, but not clearly to decipher words.
"Whoa, slow down. Yes, we're back in Forks. No, we haven't left for home yet. No, I haven't heard from either James or Victoria this weekend. Angela! What is going on?" Bella asked, frustrated with her friend.
"I will call you the minute we get home, Angela, I promise. What? Fine. We'll leave now. Yes, I will. Angela, enough. Bye." She hung up with an exasperated huff and turned to face me.
"What was that all about?"
"Honestly, I have no idea, but it sounded like she was having a meltdown. We better head out before she comes and picks us up herself." Esme and Carlisle were standing expectantly by our car, obviously knowing that we were going to leave soon.
"Let me know if you want to take up our offer, Edward." Esme said, hugging me tightly.
"I will, don't worry Mom. Thanks for everything, Dad. I appreciate it." I hugged him as well, hoping at some point before they made it to the car, Esme explained some of our conversation to him.
"Not a problem, son. Drive home safe. Bella, have fun with your time off." He said with a wink. Bella laughed and kissed his cheek.
"That I will, Carlisle. We'll see you soon." Bella helped Masie get into her car seat and soon enough, we were on the ride home. Because I had missed the big recap, Masie decided it was the perfect opportunity to fill me in on the biggest events of her weekend.
"Daddy, Nana let me change a diaper! It was so cool and so gross! Jackson peed everywhere! Nana said that I didn't have to do anymore after that and I didn't."
"Nobody likes changing diapers, Masie. And if they say they do, then they've never changed a diaper in their life." Masie giggled loudly and began to sing along with the song playing on the radio. I reached over the center consol and slid my fingers into Bella's hand. We spent the rest of the ride home singing along to every song that came on the radio, even if we didn't know the words. Everything was back to normal again.
Until we reached our house. Bella let out a startled gasp and gripped my hand hard. I slammed on the brakes, too shocked to care or notice that I hadn't pulled into the driveway. And I wouldn't have been able to either. Masie quieted down in the backseat. Our happy little family bubble had been burst.
James and Victoria's car was missing from the driveway. Every window and door in our house was open, curtains fluttering with the breeze. I could see into the living room and saw that the sofa was overturned and that things were broken on the floor. Random articles from inside the house were strewn across the lawn haphazardly. And that wasn't even the most startling sight.
Written across the side of our house, in what looked like a mixture of blood and bile, was the phrase "Welcome Back."