Thanks to anyone who still has this on alert. It's been two and a half years since I started writing this story and it's still one of my favorites. Thanks to all the ladies who tweeted me about HiYA this week-it made me nostalgic for Emmett, Bella, and the whole crew. Thanks to in_purdah and donnersun for pre-reading, and to Rae, Megan, Laura, and everyone else who has kept Emmett and Bella in their hearts.
This is short and schmoopy. It's a futuretake-Bella's about 30ish here. It's all Emmett's POV because I lurve him.
"I think I'm going to puke," Bella moans, bumping me out of the way so she can lean forward and rest her palms against the bathroom sink. We're trying to get ready in the tiny en suite bathroom at my parents' house; at home, we move around each other with practiced ease, but we have a lot less space here.
"I'm sure they would understand you sitting out, if you just explain..." I smooth my hand over her back, mostly covered by the smooth spandex of her ridiculous underwear-the slimming kind that go up to the bottom of her bra. "It probably wouldn't hurt to take these off, babe. They look uncomfortable."
"I'm not stealing their-" Bella shudders, presses a hand to her mouth, and I switch places with her in the tiny space, directing her to the toilet. She holds up her free hand and then slowly lowers the one covering her mouth. "Thunder. I'm not stealing their thunder."
"I'm fine," she says, her tone final. "I just need to eat some crackers or something."
"Okay, let me finish shaving and I'll go get you some crackers while you do your makeup stuff." I lean in close to the mirror and swipe my razor over the last streaks of shaving cream on my face. I frown and press my finger to the new wrinkles at the corners of my eyes. "When did this shit start happening?"
"You look distinguished, Em," Bella says. She picks up my arm and pulls it over her shoulders, cuddling into my side. "Those are the good wrinkles. The ones you get from laughing. Not like these ugly worry lines," she says, scrunching up her face and pointing to her forehead.
I'm smart enough not to point out that she has eye crinkles from laughing, too.
"You worry because you're a good mom," I tell her, bumping her hip with mine. I wet a washcloth under the hot water tap and hand it to Bella, then make silly faces at her as she washes away the last few traces of shaving cream. When she's finished I tilt my face towards hers and brush my lips over her cheek. "Do I look beautiful?"
"Gorgeous. Sexy. Devastatingly handsome."
"Sexy, huh?" I drag my lips down to hers and kiss her gently. My fingers skim down her side, over the slippery material covering her torso and down to the soft, bare skin at her thigh.
"Very sexy," she hums, biting my bottom lip playfully. "But seriously, get off me. You and your sexy ass got me into this mess, and now you are going to get me some crackers."
I groan as Bella pushes me away, but she just laughs at my pouty face.
"You used to let me fuck you in this bathroom," I mumble, pulling my tuxedo pants on over my boxer briefs.
"You used to be twenty," she teases. Her eyes go wide and she lays a hand flat over her belly. "Crackers, Em? The saltines?"
"Be right back," I tell her, pulling on a t-shirt.
I close the door to my old bedroom and nearly crash into my nieces, Katie and Elizabeth, both crouched in the hallway in their fancy dresses.
"What are you girls doing up here? You're supposed to be downstairs with Charlie."
"Shhh, Uncle Emmett, we're hiding," Katie says. Elizabeth looks at her big sister, then up at me, and hides herself behind Katie.
"Who are you hiding from?" I ask, holding back a smile. They don't have to tell me, because the sound of two pairs of still-slightly-clumsy little boy feet come thundering up the stairs.
"We found you!" Danny shrieks, racing down the hall. Patrick tags along after him at a leisurely pace, always content to let his brother take the lead.
"Okay, now you hide," Katie orders, shooing them away while Elizabeth giggles behind her.
"How about you all go hide downstairs in the study with Grandpa Charlie?" I ask, herding the kids towards the stairs. I love how close they are, and that they all entertain each other when our whole family is together, but as a group they can be... loud.
"Grandpa Charlie has candy," Patrick offers, and all four kids run back to the stairs. I open my mouth to call after them, but Katie stops the whole group at the top of the stairs and reminds them all to hold onto the railing and walk.
I'm just about to follow them when Edward's bedroom door opens and his head peeks out.
"Everything okay?" he asks.
"Yeah, just the usual chaos," I tell him, smiling. "You ready to go? Need anything?"
"I just... can I just talk to you for a minute?" he asks, pushing his fingers through his hair. It's still as wild and thick as it was when we were kids, but he's starting to get some gray at his temples-a fact that Riley teases him about mercilessly.
"Yeah, man. What's up?" Edward opens his bedroom door wide and I follow him inside.
"It's nothing, I guess. Not a big deal," he says, closing the door behind us. He pulls out his desk chair for me and sits on his bed, fully dressed in a classic black tuxedo that matches mine. "Just this, uh, wedding stuff."
"The 'uh, wedding stuff' that's taking place in an hour?" I ask, checking my watch.
"Yeah. It's just... I mean, how important do you think it really is?"
I lean back against Edward's desk and exhale sharply. "I mean, we're in tuxedos and there's a bigass tent in the backyard and about nine thousand pounds of shrimp, so I'd say it's a pretty big deal."
"I'm serious, Em," Edward says quietly. "I'm talking about the marriage part, not the wedding. I mean, it was one thing for Mom and Dad, but for people our age... how many couples do you know that were perfectly happy and in love until they got married? And then something went wrong, and they ended up divorced and bitter."
"A few," I tell him honestly. "But the thing is, love isn't always enough to keep a marriage going. It's about commitment, and mutual respect, and cleaning up baby puke at three o'clock in the morning."
Edward smiles, but he's still twisting his hands together in his lap.
"But I don't think I need to tell you that, Bro. You and Riley have all of that, and you're still all lovey-dovey all the time. By the way-we all totally saw that hickey on his neck yesterday."
My little brother has the decency to blush at that, and he finally laughs. "So you don't think it's a terrible idea?"
"Marriage? Nah. You guys are practically married already. Getting a piece of paper isn't going to change that-it might get you into a better tax bracket or something though."
"My brother, the romantic," Edward says, rolling his eyes.
"Emmett! Where did you go?" Bella yells, her voice carrying down the hallway.
"Shit, I gotta go," I tell Edward, standing up and pushing his chair back in. "You good?"
"Yeah, I'm good. See you out there," he says, nodding towards the backyard.
I yell out a quick apology to Bella and tiptoe down the stairs in stealth mode, hoping to sneak in and out of the kitchen quietly so the kids don't hear me and come running. I manage to snag a sleeve of crackers (and a few shrimp for myself), and make it back upstairs just as Bella walks out of the bathroom, her makeup and hair all fixed.
"You look great, baby," I tell her, closing the bedroom door. "Beautiful."
"I think you're right about these Spanx," she says, tugging at her underwear. "They're cutting off my circulation, and I don't think they're really doing anything to hide this belly."
"So take 'em off," I tell her, ripping open the crackers and offering her one. She takes a bite and nibbles on the cracker slowly, staring at the blue silk dress hanging in my closet. She rubs a circle over her tiny baby bump, then sticks her thumbs into the extraordinarily high waistband.
"Taking these off isn't going to be pretty, Cullen. You might want to look away," she warns me.
"For better or for worse," I remind her, flopping back onto the bed. She shrugs her shoulders and wiggles out of the Spanx, tugging awkwardly at the leg holes and rolling the waistband down until they're finally loose enough to slide down over her legs. It takes most of my self control not to laugh.
"Oh my God," she moans, wadding up the Spanx and tucking them into her suitcase. "That feels so much better."
She climbs up onto the bed clad in only her bra, straddles me, and grabs another cracker from the package in my hand.
"You realize you're mostly naked and on my lap right now, don't you?"
"Oh?" she asks, blinking innocently. "Am I?"
"Well, what are we going to do about that?" she asks, reaching down between us. She finds my cock through two layers of fabric, and traces two fingers down the length of it as it starts to thicken.
"Thought you were pukey and hated me for making you pregnant," I mumble.
"You brought me crackers," she offers. "And I kind of like it when you make me pregnant."
"I like it too," I whisper, lifting my head up for a kiss.
Abruptly, Bella jumps up, abandoning me and my erection.
"Take your pants off, and hang them up so they don't get wrinkled," she says, moving to the bedroom door. She tries the lock, then remembers that we broke it the last time we were here-when Danny accidentally locked Patrick inside. Determined, Bella grabs a chair and drags it over to the door, tilting it back and jamming the back underneath the handle.
"Think that'll hold?" she asks, turning back in time to catch me carefully smoothing my tuxedo pants over a hanger.
"Fuck it," I tell her, jumping back into bed. She laughs and climbs back up into my lap.
"We have to be quick," she says, reaching down between us again. This time, she presses her fingers between her own legs and rocks forward, biting back a moan. I touch her lightly, letting my fingertips skate over her sides, her hips, her thighs.
"Is that good, B?" I whisper. "Are you wet for me?"
"Mmm," she nods, reaching down to stroke my dick. I can feel the slickness on her fingers and I push up into her hand, wanting more.
"Are you gonna fuck me?" I ask, reaching up to cup the back of her neck. I squeeze her there gently, then pull her down so I can kiss her. I feel her grip on my cock change and her hips shift over me as she lines us up. "That's perfect. So good, babe, you feel so good," I murmur, keeping my lips pressed against her skin while she sinks down slowly.
"Love you," Bella says, kissing me again before she straightens up. She reaches back and tugs my hand free from her neck, guides me down to her waist and presses my palm there. She's bossy when we're short on time, and I love every second of it.
I squeeze her waist, letting her know I'll keep my hand there, and she holds my other hand for balance while she works up a steady rhythm. "God, you're sexy," I groan. "I don't think 'quick' is going to be a problem."
"Not this quick," she says, circling her hips slowly. "Need you inside me a little longer. Want to feel you all day."
"Then you'd better stop talking like that," I tell her, bucking up hard against her. "Fuck, Bella."
She pulls my hand up to her mouth, cupping it in both of hers, and kisses each of my knuckles, still rocking her hips slowly. When she gets to my thumb she licks a stripe up to the tip, then pries it loose from my fist and pulls it between her lips.
She sucks hard, swirling her tongue around the tip and scraping her teeth over the pad of my thumb. After teasing me with a few more long licks, she guides my hand down to where we're joined.
"You want it right here?" I push my thumb up against her clit, content to let her move against my body the way she needs to. "Good girl. Fuck me."
Bella slumps forward, one hand braced against my chest and the other clutching my shoulder, and rides me until she's coming, tightening around my cock and whimpering through it.
I'm quick to flip her over onto her back, bending one leg backwards to get leverage before I push inside her again. "Gonna come, baby."
"On me, Em," she whispers, fingers combing through my hair. "I want to see you finish."
"Fuck, yeah," I moan, thrusting a few more times before I pull out and squeeze my cock, pulling my orgasm out and striping Bella's pale skin with my come.
"Jesus," I gasp, falling to the side.
"Shit, Em, we need to get-" she starts, but she's cut off by a knock at the door and Riley's voice.
"Twenty minutes, guys."
"We know!" I yell out. "Don't, uh, come in!"
Bella buries her face in my shoulder and giggles as we hear Riley's muttered "Animals."
Bella hops out of bed and locks herself into the bathroom to clean up; somehow we manage to pull ourselves together and look presentable. Bella's cheeks are a little flushed and I can't stop grinning, but other than that we look good.
We make it downstairs just in time; the guests are seated and the family is lining up.
Bella and I meet Riley, Edward, and the kids in the kitchen; Riley rolls his eyes at both of us but I just shrug in response. I know he'll keep quiet, though, unless he wants to talk about the time we almost walked in on him and Edward getting freaky in their kitchen.
"See you out there," Bella says, kissing my cheek. She grabs the boys by their hands and leads them outside. Riley follows with Katie and Elizabeth in their fluffy dresses; their baby boy, Will, is outside with Bella's dad.
Mom walks into the kitchen just as I'm peeking out the back door; when I turn around and see her standing there, she takes my breath away.
She's gorgeous, wrapped in an off-white dress that clings to her waist and flows down to the floor. Her hair is loose around her shoulders and she's wearing a sparkling diamond necklace that dad gave her last Christmas.
"Wow," is all I can say. Her smile is blinding; I can't imagine what Dad's going to think when he sees her walking down the aisle.
"This old thing?" she says, flouncing her skirt a little.
"Mom, you look amazing," Edward says, stepping forward to kiss her cheek.
"You really do," I add.
"I thought it might be silly, you know," she says, picking lint off of Edward's lapel. "Getting all dressed up just to renew our vows. But it's fun, and you boys look so handsome."
"Sure you want to go through with it, Mom?" I ask, linking my arm through hers. "No cold feet?"
"My feet are pretty warm after forty years, Em," she says. "Now come on, let's get moving. I can't wait for my boys to give me away."
Hours later, after a brief but emotional ceremony and a few toasts, the party really gets started.
My mom kicks off her heels and dances to every song on the playlist Bella and I set up; it's mostly Motown and some Beatles, with a few standards sprinkled throughout.
I get to sit back and watch Bella dance with her dad, just like they did at our wedding-but this time I get to watch her dance with our boys, too, hopping in a circle to All You Need is Love, and my chest swells with pride.
Edward sits down heavily next to me, a drink sloshing in his hand.
"Emmett," he says, knocking back the last sip of whatever he's drinking, "I think I wanna marry my husband."
"Good for you, Ed." I elbow him affectionately and look to where Riley is dancing with Katie, her little pink slippers perched on top of his shiny black dress shoes.
"It matters," he says decisively. He gestures to the party around us, his fingers swirling in the air, and clarifies. "This matters. Saying it to everyone, that you're committed... the way our parents did, and our grandparents... I want that, too."
"You deserve it, Bro. When are you gonna ask him?" I take a swig of my beer, enjoying tipsy, philosophical Edward.
He clinks the ice cubes in his empty glass a few times, and then nods decisively. "Right now."
I grab his wrist as he's standing up, and gesture to Mom and Dad-swaying in the middle of the dance floor, cheek to cheek. "What about, you know, stealing their thunder?"
"Right. Thunder," he says, frowning. "We just won't make a big deal out of it. I can't wait, though, Emmett. I've got to tell him how I feel."
Edward stalks off toward Riley, and I can't help but think about the Christmas so long ago that Riley showed up here unannounced, with only the clothes on his back, determined to show Edward that he loved them. They're perfect for each other.
I make my way over to Bella and pull her back to my chest, turning her so she can see Edward pulling Riley off to the side of the small dance floor. We watch Edward ramble at Riley for a few minutes, gesticulating wildly and repeatedly pressing his palm to Riley's heart. We watch as understanding dawns on Riley's face, a slow smile appearing even as a few tears break free. And finally we watch Edward drop down to one knee, his fingers laced with Riley's, and ask the question lovers have asked for thousands of years.
"Is he proposing?" I hear, and turn my head just in time to catch Mom peeking over my shoulder.
"Uhhh, yeah. I think he was trying to be discreet," I whisper. "So he didn't, y'know, steal your thunder."
"Screw that! My baby's getting married!" Mom yells.
Edward and Riley both look up, startled, and Dad appears at my side, shaking his head.
"Your mother's had some champagne," he stage whispers.
"He did say 'yes,' didn't he, darling?" Mom asks, her voice clear over the loud music.
Edward stands up gracefully and kisses Riley, then turns back to us. "He said 'yes!'"
My mom gathers everyone in for a family hug; it becomes one big gaggle of Cullens on the dance floor, and a few remaining family friends join in just for the hell of it.
Someone produces a bottle of champagne and glasses are passed around. My dad pours a little bit for everyone, but fumbles when he gets to Bella.
"You don't have a glass, dear. We need to find you a glass," he says, looking around.
"Actually..." Bella says, raising an eyebrow at me.
"Since we're apparently not worried about stealing the thunder," I offer, tucking Bella under my arm.
"No champagne for me for the next few months," Bella says, resting a hand low on her belly.
"Another baby?" Dad asks, as Mom grins and lays her hand on top of Bella's.
"I don't know why you kids were worried about stealing our thunder," she says, eyes shining as she looks back and forth between Bella and Riley. "I can't imagine happier news, for all of us."
"To Emmett and Bella, and their beautiful boys," Dad says, holding up his champagne glass. "And to this new little person, who will be so, so loved."
Everyone clinks glasses and drinks, and Dad clears his throat.
"And to Edward and Riley, their precious daughters, and baby Will," he says, raising his glass again.
"To the voters of the great state of Washington!" Mom adds, downing the rest of her champagne.
"To Frank Sinatra!" Riley adds, spinning Edward into his arms to the opening bars of Fly Me to the Moon.
When the guests are all gone, the music and the lights are turned off, and the kids are asleep, Bella and I tiptoe back outside for one last dance.
It's dark, the backyard lit only by the moon and the stars, and quiet.
"Do you think we'll be doing this?" I ask her, dipping her gently. "Renewing our vows after forty years?"
"Why wait for forty? I'm ready whenever you are, Em," she answers, burying her face in my jacket to cover a yawn.
"I, Emmett, take thee, Bella, to be my lawfully wedded wife," I tell her quietly, trying to remember the exact words we said on our wedding day. "I vow to... to love, honor, and cherish you, for all the days of my life."
"Em," she whispers, looking up at me.
"And I vow to change more poopy diapers this time around." She smiles, and tilts her lips up for a kiss.
"I vow to stop trying to fix the dishwasher on my own, and just let you call the guy," she says, her breath warm against my chin.
"I vow to always take your car for oil changes."
"I vow to climb on top of you naked more often," she says, reaching around to slap me on the ass.
"I vow to let you climb on top of me naked more often."
"For richer or poorer? In sickness and in health?" Bella asks, looking up at me sweetly. I nod in answer, then lean down to brush her lips with mine.
"For better or for worse," I promise. "For always."
Dammit I love Emmett.
I hope this was a nice re-visit and I haven't totally lost touch with the characters! Leave a review or tweet me at sadtomatoff and let me know what you think.