Awake, she was a spitfire that I wanted to kiss one minute and fight with the next. Sleeping, she was angelic. There were no sarcastic comments or threats of violence. Her face was soft and peaceful as I slowly ran my fingers through her hair.
"Jackass," she murmured.
I smiled. She was dreaming about me. I knew I should have been sneaking back to my bedroom, but I couldn't bring myself to leave her yet. I didn't know when I would get the opportunity to do this again, so I wanted to savor it. However, when I heard a crash from the kitchen, I knew it was time to go see what the little monsters were up to. I unlocked her door before changing my mind and going through the window to get back to my room. Bella would kill me if the boys caught me sneaking out of her room. I'm glad I had enough sense to put her on the first floor.
Quietly, I made my way down the hall. I liked spying on my kids. I never knew what I would catch them doing. "How come you have to have milk with cereal?" I heard Ethan ask. "Why not juice? It's a breakfast drink."
"Mom told me the cows would get mad and stop making it, but Pop said that Mom was full of one of those words I'm not s'posed to say." said Leo.
"I wonder if Dad will let us get a cow. Then we won't have to go to the store so much," Ethan replied thoughtfully.
"What are you boys doing up?" I asked, making my presence known.
Both boys turned to me with their bedheads. "Making breakfast," Ethan grinned. "Do you want milk or orange juice with your cocoa puffs?"
"Milk," I replied quickly. "Can I help with anything?"
"You can be the one to wake Mom up," said Leo, looking a little scared at the thought. "She tried to tickle me to death the last time I did it."
I laughed. "Alright, I'll save you this time."
"Thanks Edward," he grinned.
I mixed up some batter for waffles and showed them how to use the machine. Really all you had to do was press a button, so I figured they couldn't get into too much trouble. Of course, then they decided to see how big they could make them, so I had to step in. When we got it all finished, they helped me set it up on the patio table. "Why don't you guys go get your sister, and let me get Bella?"
Leo gave me a salute before chasing Ethan up the stairs. It was easy to forget that he wasn't my son. I wondered how Bella would react if she knew I was claiming him as one of my own in my mind.
She was still sleeping when I crept into her room. I eased myself down on the bed. "Isabella," I said softly.
"Go away," she grumbled.
"Can't," I chuckled. "The boys made us breakfast. Leo said I had to be the one to wake you up. Apparently you're scary in the mornings."
I'm pretty she grunted before sitting up with her eyes still closed. Her hair was wild, probably due to me playing with it so much, but she still managed to pull it off. "Do I need to be coherent for this breakfast?" she asked.
"Of course not," I replied, leaning forward to steal a quick kiss. "You don't even have to open your eyes." I pecked her cheek and her eyes popped open. I smiled, "Good morning, Bella."
"Did they catch you in here?" she asked.
"Nope," I replied. "I can be sneaky when the occasion calls for it. Now, may I escort you to breakfast? I'll even carry you if you want."
She shook her head. "None of that bridal style stuff."
"Piggyback it is," I said, standing up and turning around so she could climb on. I was pleasantly surprised when she did so without arguing.
"I hate that word," she told me, wrapping her arms loosely around my neck. "Piggyback. Is it calling one of us a pig?"
"It was originally known as a pick-a-back ride. I guess it evolved or something," I answered.
"How the hell did you know that?" she asked.
I laughed and made my way down the hall. "Emmett asked the same question once. We Googled it."
She groaned. "It can't be healthy to have the same thoughts as your brother." I couldn't wait to tell him she said that. I stepped out on the patio and helped her into a chair. "Thanks for the lift."
"Anytime," I smiled.
Leo and Ethan came out with a giggling Sophie soon after that. Ethan was holding her under the arms while Leo carried her feet. When I looked at them questioningly, Ethan shrugged. "She wanted us both to carry her."
"It's fun," Sophie chimed in.
"Your children are nuts," I told Bella.
"My children?" she replied.
I nodded. "My two weren't that crazy until they met you, so I'm not taking the blame for this."
We had fun eating breakfast together. Ethan and Leo told us all about their night. They had set Ethan's alarm clock to go off every hour, so they could switch beds. Somehow, they got a little mixed up, and Leo woke up on the floor instead. "I knew it felt a little hard," he remembered. Bella smiled, shaking her head. She seemed accustomed to this type of craziness.
After breakfast and a few cartoons, I suggested that we spend some time out by the pool. The kids ran off to get changed, but Bella stayed put. "Sorry, Cullen. I didn't bring a bathing suit."
"That's fine," I smiled. "Because I had Alice get you one just in case. It's in your room." I stood up. "See you out there, Swan."
It didn't take me long to change and the kids were waiting anxiously at the backdoor. "You can play until noon. Then you've got to eat, and we've got a football game to win."
"Will you throw me in?" Ethan asked as I helped Sophie put on her arm floaties.
"Did you put on sunblock?" I asked. He nodded, so I picked him up. "Ready?"
"Yeah," he laughed.
"Hold your breath!" I tossed him in, and he came up laughing moments later. I turned to Leo. "How good can you swim, Sport?"
"Really good. Mom taught me," he answered.
I should have known. "I guess I'll have to throw you in and see." He laughed as I picked him up. "Hold your breath!" I warned him too before dropping him in the water. He swam around like a little fish.
"Did you just throw my kid?" Bella asked, coming outside finally.
I took one look at her and picked up my phone to send a text to Alice. Thanks. "Do you want to go next?" I grinned.
"I'll take the slide," she answered.
"Can I come?" Sophie asked excitedly. She loved going down the slide but not alone.
"You didn't expect me to go by myself, did you?" Bella teased, taking her hand. She followed Sophie up the steps and let her sit between her legs. I couldn't hear what they were saying but Sophie grinned the whole way down. Bella gasped when she came out of the water. "You told me it wasn't cold."
Sophie smiled. "It's not!"
Bella caught me watching them then. "Hey, this was your idea. Get in here, Cullen!" I smiled and dove in, coming up right next to her. "Showoff."
The boys yelled as they zoomed down the slide together. I grabbed Sophie. "I guess it's my turn." After both Bella and I went down the slide at least once with each of the kids, I convinced her to go down it with me. She wouldn't sit in front of me, but I didn't mind having her legs wrapped around me. Eventually I got her in front, but with a warning that I better watch where I put my hands.
The kids continued to play while we got lunch ready. I was grilling hamburgers, so I could keep an eye on them while Bella insisted on setting the table. "Good grief, Cullen, how many different kinds of chips do you need?"
"I like variety," I informed her. There was no rule that said you could only like one type of chip. That would be ludicrous.
She put a few different bowls full on the table and fixed everyone a glass of kool-aid. "I need to run home before the game, and I'm afraid I have to steal Sophie. We have get ready to support our boys, so is it alright if Leo rides with you and Ethan?"
I nodded. "Of course it's alright. You didn't even have to ask. When it's something normal like football, I get to claim them."
So after eating, Bella and Sophie left us guys to get ready for the game ourselves. The boys thought they were tough stuff in their uniforms. They showed me some of the game faces they had been practicing before I made them get in the car.
Emmett was all pumped up as usual when we got there. He sent the boys onto the field to do a couple of easy drills with the other players. Jasper was standing beside him with a sleepy yet happy expression. Little Landon must have kept him awake. I decided to stand back and watch for a bit.
"Nice day for a game," said a deep voice from beside me.
I looked over to see an older man with slightly graying hair and a mustache. "Yes sir," I replied politely. He was probably one of the boys' grandfathers. I knew Carlisle was around here somewhere.
"You got a boy on the team?" he asked me.
"Yes sir. Those two," I said, pointing to Ethan and Leo.
Just then Leo looked up and a huge grin spread across his face. He came running across the field and threw his arms around the man's waist. "Pop!"
Oh shit. I immediately looked to see if he had a gun. Lucky for me, he didn't have one on him. He was looking at me now as Leo motioned for Ethan to come over. "Uh… Chief Swan, I'm Edward Cullen. It's a pleasure to meet you."
He eyed me carefully before shaking my outstretched hand. I didn't know a man could make me so nervous. "Pop, this is my best friend Ethan." Thank you Leo.
"Good to meet you, kid," he replied.
"Dad?" We all turned to see Bella. She was wearing a tee shirt that Ethan's number on one sleeve and Leo's on the other and the words "Football Mom" sewn on the front. Sophie was standing beside her in a little cheerleading uniform.
"Hey Bells," he replied.
She smiled beautifully. "What are you doing here?"
He shrugged. "Couldn't miss the first game of the season." She rushed forward to give him a hug. "I've missed you, Bells," he said quietly.
I suddenly felt like I was intruding on a personal moment, but Sophie broke it up. She tugged on Charlie's pant leg. "Hi Pop."
"Who do we have here?" he asked, smiling a little.
"Dad, this is Sophie Cullen," Bella answered.
He reached down and picked her up. "I take it this one belongs to you too?" he asked me.
"Yes sir, she's my youngest." I tried to stay calm. I can't believe I called Leo my son in front of Bella's father.
He gave me that hard calculating stare again before nodding. "Good looking kids you've got here, Edward."
I swear he could see the relief in my eyes. "Thank you, Chief Swan."
"Dad," said Bella, taking Sophie from him. "Are you really going to make him call you Chief?"
"For a little while," he answered.
"CHARLIE!" I think everyone jumped as Nessie came barreling over. She practically jumped on the man. "Bella didn't tell me you were coming!"
"I didn't know," said Bella. "How'd you get out of jail?"
Nessie rolled her eyes. "Jake let me go. He said he wasn't going to miss the opening game because of me. Can you believe that guy?"
"Renesmee Carlie Dwyer, what were you doing in jail?" Charlie asked.
"I swear I'm innocent. Officer Goodbody has it out for me," she replied. I could tell he didn't believe her for a second, but she turned to the boys before he could say so. "You guys want to see my new tattoo? I got it this morning for the game." She pulled back the bandage to show them the wolf near her hip. Our team mascot was a wolf, but I wondered if she knew that Jake had a similar tattoo on his back.
"We better go sit down," said Bella. "Good luck out there boys, coach." She smiled at me before leading her father and sister over to the bleachers.
I went over to join my brothers. "You're lookin' kinda pale there, bro," Emmett noticed.
"A man just asked if I had a boy on the team. I told him I had two, Ethan and Leo. Turns out, the man is Bella's father, Chief of Police Charlie Swan," I explained.
Jasper tried to look sympathetic while Emmett erupted with booming laughter. Luckily it was time for the game to start or I would've popped him.
The game was a success. With Leo blocking for him, Ethan was able to score two touchdowns. Seeing as how we won by two touchdowns, they were pretty proud of themselves. It also helped that they had their own little cheering section that included both their families. Of course, since we had just won the first game of the season, all of the boys and their families were invited to my parents' place for a little after party.
Ethan volunteered to show Charlie how to get there, so he and Leo rode with him. That gave me time to pull myself together before I had to face him again. Bella and I got there at the same time, so I pulled her aside. "What are the chances of your dad shooting me?"
She thought about it. "I wouldn't worry too much. He seemed to be in a good mood today, so you've probably got a twenty percent chance of taking a bullet." She put her hand on my arm. "Don't worry though. He wouldn't kill you. It would hurt like hell, but you'd recover."
"Thanks Bella," I replied sarcastically before getting Sophie out of her car seat. She thanked me before running inside to find her Aunts Rosalie and Alice. I looked around quickly to make sure there was no sign of the Chief before pulling Bella to me and stealing a kiss.
"Did you really just look for my father?" she asked incredulously.
"I can't tell you how much I don't want to get shot," I replied.
She bit her bottom lip. "Then I guess you don't want me to tell him that we slept together last night."
"You wouldn't," I dared.
"I told you to sleep in your own room," she sang before turning to run inside. I chased after her, but she managed to lose me in the crowd.
I tried to play it cool. I walked around, greeting the other parents, telling them how good their kids were doing on the team. I caught a glimpse of Bella. She was sitting next to her father at a table with my parents. They seemed to be getting along, so I felt like there was no reason for me to interrupt.
Finally as the night died down, I found a chair off to the side away from the crowd. "You look like you're hiding from somebody." And Charlie freaking Swan just happened to sit down next to me. "You can relax, son, I don't have my gun with me. I wanted to come out here and thank you."
That surprised me. "For what, sir?"
He took a sip from a soda can and sighed. "I didn't like the idea of Bells and Leo being out here alone, but she's so stubborn. I know she can take care of herself, but I felt a lot better when Leo told me about you and your family. I like knowing she has somebody close by if she needs them."
"We'd be there in a heartbeat," I promised.
He nodded, staring off into the distance. "Edward, I've never been one to get into my daughter's business unless she asked for me to, but…" he paused and looked me dead in the eye. "Don't hurt her. You seem like a good man. I'd hate to have to shoot you."
"I won't, sir," I replied seriously.
"And Edward," he stood up to walk away, "you can call me Charlie."