"Oh my god, enough already," I exclaimed, slapping Christopher's hand away from the cake for the umpteenth time.
He frowned at me. "Ben was doing it."
"Benjamin," I shouted "quit teaching your younger brother bad habits."
He grinned at me and I swear that boy looked just like his father at his age. I narrowed my eyes at him suspiciously. At his age, his father had fathered Eden. He gave me a "who me?" look and I shook my head.
"Where's your little sister?" I asked, turning the cake so that the fingerprints wouldn't be seen.
"She's dancing with Dad," Christopher pointed towards the dance floor.
I grinned when I saw Jake with Monica standing on his feet, the two of them laughing as they moved awkwardly around the dance floor. Jake looked younger than his age, a side effect of phasing until he was 30. There were now a few lines on his face, but in general, he looked to be about his mid-twenties. Most people chalked it up to good Native American genes.
Eden was on the other side of the floor, beaming up at Alex as he twirled her around in circles around Jake and Monica and the other couples. Her dark hair and rosy skin fairly shone as she laughed happily.
"She's a beautiful bride," said Charlie with a grin as he came over, a beer in one hand.
I nodded and sighed. "And she knows it. You all spoiled her so much when she was a baby."
Charlie grinned. "I wasn't as bad as Billy."
I gave him a look and he held his hands up defensively. "I wasn't! When I took her fishing, she had to hook her own worms. Billy let her sit back and read."
I rolled my eyes and reached out, grabbing Christopher by the back of the shirt as he made a break for it. I passed him over to Charlie. "Keep him out of the frosting, will you?"
Charlie laughed and nodded, slinging an arm around Christopher's shoulders. As I turned a corner I saw Charlie offering Christopher a sip of his beer. I sighed. My father the sheriff was contributing to the corruption of a minor. I was sure Billy had put him up to it.
"Bella!" I turned and grinned, hugging Leah tightly. "Everything is beautiful."
I smiled. "Thanks. How are you?"
"Fine." She grinned at me. "How's Jake been? Do I need to castrate him?"
I laughed. "He's been great, very supportive the past few months. I think he's dreading this happening with Monica, though. She's his baby girl."
"Well, she's only 10. I think he's got time."
I nodded. "I think he'd love for her to stay a baby forever, though."
She snickered. "Don't they all."
I linked arms with her and we made our way through the crowds towards a somewhat secluded table.
"Can I ask you something?" said Leah suddenly as we seated ourselves, each with a glass of wine.
"How did you forgive Jake? I mean, what he did was pretty damn despicable."
I grinned. "Yeah, it really was."
"But you took him back, had more kids with him. Why?"
I looked out towards the dance floor, trying to figure out how to word my response. "I loved him," I said finally. "I missed him so much and even though it had been a year and he was with Natalie for that year, I still loved him and wanted him in my life. And remember, I stopped trusting him in hospitals."
Leah snickered. "I remember when Billy told me you had Ben at home I asked if it was on purpose. He assured me it was. And then, when you invited the pack to be there for Monica's birth…" she shook her head. "Well, I thought you'd lost your damn mind."
I grinned. "But it was pretty awesome wasn't it?"
"It was." She toyed with her wine glass. "I'm still impressed. When I had Jeff, I thought I was going to die."
I laughed. "That was the first time for me, too. It got some easier after that. I realized I wasn't going to die and that Jake wasn't a demon sent to torture me."
She grinned and stretched. "Oh lord, there they go." We watched as Jeff, Ben and Christopher ran past, quickly followed by Sam and Emily's sons Kevin and Lewis. I watched with interest as they disappeared out the doors.
"Should we be concerned?" I asked lazily.
Leah shook her head. "They're all over 16. As long as they're not corrupting the little ones I think it'll be fine."
I grinned and finished off my wine. "Well, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go dance with my husband."
She grinned back as I pushed myself up and set across the room.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned, grinning at Bella.
"Mind if I cut in, kiddo?" she grinned down at Monica.
Monica rolled her eyes. "Just don't be gross, ok?"
I laughed and pulled Bella against me. "Our being gross is the reason you were born."
Monica made a face and headed over to sit in Dad's lap. Bella smiled up at me.
"Hey yourself. You look great today."
She rolled her eyes. "I look old."
"You look beautiful." I leaned down and kissed her lightly. She sighed softly against me and rested her head on my shoulder.
"Well, thank you. It's nice to know you still find me appealing."
"I definitely do."
"Did you see the boys go by a little while ago?"
"No. should I go investigate?"
"Leah says they're all over 16 so we shouldn't worry anymore."
I scoffed. "You're a mother, you'll always worry."
She chuckled softly. "Ain't that the truth."
The song ended and I held her against me a little longer, looking down at her affectionately. Her hair had traces of gray in it and her face had a few more lines that didn't used to be there. Her figure was fuller now, but she called it battle scars from twenty-two years with me and four children.
"How did I get so lucky to win you twice?" I asked softly.
She grinned. "Sheer animal magnetism." She reached up and pulled me down for a kiss. I grinned and tightened my grip on her. I could definitely stand another forty or fifty years of this.