"You're in a good mood this morning…" Esme mused as her daughter came down the stairs.
"Hey…I resent that! I'm always in a good mood. It's Edward that's the moody one, remember?" Alice chided playfully as her mother laughed softly. It was true. Emmett, the oldest, now 22, was a muscle man with a heart made of marshmallow. Alice, the youngest at 17 and the only girl, was exuberant, bubbly and affectionate. Edward, 20, fit the mould of the stereotypical middle child. Affectionate in his own way he preferred his time alone to write music, poetry and to pine over Alice's best friend Bella.
"How could I forget?" Esme grinned, thinking fondly of her younger son. "I just meant that you were in an even better mood than usual. Any particular reason?"
Alice shrugged, her expression coy. Esme rounded the counter, smoothing her hand through her daughter's long black hair.
"I know that look. Your excitement wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that the Hales are home from college for Spring Break this weekend?"
The Hales and the Cullens had been close for years. Esme and Whitney had met at University and quickly become best friends. Esme was the first to know about Whitney's boyfriend Monroe and Whitney was the first to meet Carlisle. The two couples had settled in the small town of Forks, Washington, at opposite ends of the same street. Growing up the children had all played in one yard or the other, but over the years it became increasingly obvious that more than just friendship was blossoming. It was no secret that Emmett worshiped the ground that 21 year old Rosalie walked on. The two had started dating in high school and were still going strong at Seattle University. Rosalie's twin brother Jasper had always been best friends with Emmett and Edward, but had felt inexplicably drawn to Carlisle and Esme's daughter Alice. It was clear to anyone that they felt very strongly about each other, but neither had made a move or spoken a word on the subject.
"Maybe. It'll be good to see them. It's weird not having Rose and Jazz around all of the time." Alice smiled softly, taking a sip of her orange juice.
"Well have you been keeping in touch with them?" Esme asked as she ran her fingers through Alice's long hair.
"Yeah, Rose and I try to Skype each other every couple of days, and sometimes Jasper's there too!"
"That's the computer-chat video thing?"
Alice chuckled softly at her mother's lack of technical knowledge.
"Yeah, that's the one."
Esme glanced up as her husband descended the stairs, fixing his tie in the mirror.
"Well how are my two favorite girls this morning?" He asked, gently planting a kiss on Alice's hair before cupping his wife's cheeks in his hands.
"Wonderful, my love."
"Glad to hear it. That's not waffles I smell, is it?"
"It most certainly is, have a seat." Esme smiled, pouring fresh coffee into his waiting mug.
Carlisle smiled, glancing from his daughter to his wife. Esme was everyone's idea of the perfect mother. She was kind-hearted and generous, but with enough sass to keep three grown children in line. Emmett had certainly taken his good nature from her. Alice's striking features mirrored her mother's, and Edward's copper hair was exactly the shade of Esme's. Yes. Carlisle knew he was a very lucky man.
"So, any plans for this weekend princess?" Carlisle asked, taking a sip of his coffee.
He watched Alice shrug, though her expression was thoughtful.
"The Hales are back this weekend. Just for the week though. I figured we'd all hang out, but I don't know what Emmett and Edward's plans are."
"Well sweetpea I think if Rosalie's in the mix then Emmett won't be far behind. Invite Bella alone and neither will Edward."
"That's exactly what I was thinking! Ok, I gotta get to school, I'll see you guys later." Faster than it could take Esme or Carlisle to even utter a word to their daughter, the little ball of energy had scooped up her last waffle and her book-bag simultaneously and was out the door.
"So what's the plan for this weekend? I cannot wait to see you, Emmett's just not a good enough substitute on shopping trips."
Alice giggled as she heard Emmett's booming laugh in the background, before his face blocked Rosalie's on the computer screen. He was sticking his tongue out at her.
"Hey, get your ugly face out of the way!" Rose and Alice teased at the same time, before Alice heard what sounded like a doorbell.
"Oh…do you need to go?"
She watched Rose peak into the hallway.
"Nope, it's just Jasper. Hey Jazz, Alice is on Skype, come say hi!"
Within seconds the most beautiful face was on Alice's computer screen. His eyes were bright and his hair was tangled. The sheen of sweat on his face told Alice he'd been at the gym.
"Hey little darlin! How's Forks?"
Alice was sure she was blushing.
"It's good. Wet, but nothing new about that. How's Seattle?"
"Dull without you and Edward here."
Alice smiled, biting on her lip softly. Edward had decided to forgo a regular college experience after being accepted to a prestigious music academy in the area, so he still lived at home as well.
"Well you'll have a super week home then won't you?" Alice smiled, gently curling a lock of her long hair around her finger.
"Sure will darlin'. Now I gotta go shower, Rose is making faces at me like I smell. I'll see you this weekend!" With a quick wave he disappeared, leaving an amused Rose looking back at Alice from the screen.
"Cheer up short-stuff, he'll be home this weekend."
Alice blushed, giggling softly.
"Short stuff? You've clearly been spending way too much time with my brother."
"I know…" Her voice trailed off as she looked off-screen. "Speaking of sweetie, he wants-" Alice squealed, her hands immediately at her ears. "Ew! Rosalie Hale what have I told you about that! Turn the computer off, I don't want to know!"
Alice giggled as her brother's face came onto the screen.
"You're just jealous your 'lover-boy' is here instead of there. See you in a few days peanut!" Alice laughed softly and shut the lid of her laptop as the convo was ended. She had the feeling it was going to be a long couple of days.