Bitchin' in the Kitchen

Word Count: 5788

Rating: M

Pairing: Bella and Edward

Summary: It's been a long, hot summer and Bella has had just about enough of her husband and the DIY remodel he's taken on with his brothers. Can things be resolved before the entire family arrives to demolish their kitchen?

Whoever thought remodeling the house during the heat of a Baltimore summer was a good idea was obviously mentally deficient or an evil sadist, because so far the remodel of Edward and Bella Cullen's three-story row house had been a descent into hell.

Bella had hoped for a summer visiting historic sites and sipping Pina Coladas poolside in the Eastern Seaboard's nicer hotels. Instead, she got hot sweaty days filled with dirt, noise and sawdust, followed by sticky, uncomfortable, restless nights listening to the fan drone on like a Harrier jet while she turned her pillow, desperately searching for a cool spot.

My husband and his brilliant ideas.

She shifted away from her husband's body heat and tried to fall back to sleep. Dawn was peeking through their bedroom window, but she couldn't stop thinking about the madness going on in her house.

Bella Cullen was a librarian at a Baltimore high school. Her husband, Edward, was finishing up his medical training and would be starting his residency at Johns Hopkins in the fall. It would be the last summer they would both have off before Edward began working full time.

Bella was immensely proud of her husband. He had worked hard through his years of medical school and done very well. She couldn't understand why he didn't want to relax and enjoy their summer together.

When they purchased the ancient row house just after Christmas, they knew that it was going to need work. But it was habitable, and Bella figured they would fix it up in small, manageable bites, hiring a professional contractor to oversee the entire project.

That was not what Edward had in mind.

She believed him when he said he was only going to the hardware store to keep his brother company. She really hadn't noticed that Flip this House had become Edward's favorite TV show. She realized she was too late when she came across his pile of new power tools in the basement.

"Edward, what's a Sawzall?" she asked, holding up the box she had found by the washing machine.

He smiled with a strange gleam in his eye, taking the box from her hands then wrapping himself around her waist.

"That, my love, is a reciprocating saw. It's great for cutting through drywall studs," he whispered in her ear, sending a shiver down her spine. Bella was undeterred.

"And the miter saw?"

"For cutting trim and baseboards." He nuzzled her neck with his nose and kissed her shoulder. Bella was losing her train of thought.

"B…b…but what do we need a tile cutter for?" she sputtered while his hands trailed over her collar and began to undo the buttons of her shirt.

"Mmmm, Bella," he sighed, as his lips found the skin at the top of one breast, and his fingers caressed the other. "We'll need it when we replace the floor in the bathrooms."

He slid down her body, trailing a line of wet kisses across her skin until he was kneeling in front of her. Unbuttoning her pants, he pushed his hands under the waistband and cupped her cheeks, giving a gentle squeeze.

She moaned and twined her hands in his hair for balance while he eased her jeans off her body and continued his gentle assault on her skin with his mouth. When his tongue found the crease where leg met torso she moaned aloud and thrust wantonly toward his eager mouth.

There was something she wanted to ask, but for the life of her, she couldn't remember what it was.

Slowly her husband moved her to her knees and then to sit on the floor, keeping his mouth attached to some part of her skin the entire time.

She leaned back and let her arms flop out to the sides, the knuckles of her left hand striking something with a hard edge as it landed. Her eyes fluttered open and she saw the box with the saw in it, and suddenly she remembered her earlier question.

Propping up on her elbows she stared at her husband as he kissed the inside of her thigh.

"Honey," she whispered.

"Hmm?" he hummed, without stopping his kisses.

"Won't the tile guy have his own tile cutter?"

Edward sighed. "I suppose if we hired one he would have his own saw, but Emmett, Jasper and I are going to do it ourselves."

"What?" Bella exclaimed, any carnal thoughts forgotten as she processed this new information. "Please tell me you're joking?"

Edward sat up, resting on his heels between her legs. He hoped they could get back to the business at hand as soon as possible.

"Babe, my brothers and I have got it all under control." he explained.

Bella's eyebrows furrowed in confusion over exactly what he meant by "under control" and why he was calling her "babe" all of a sudden.

"We're going to do the demolition ourselves and remodel the house all at once. That way everything will be finished by the time school starts, and we won't have to worry about it."

That had been four months ago.

The home's rusty old air conditioning unit was one of the first things hauled away when they started the demolition back in May.

"Babe," her husband explained early one Saturday morning. "I've got a guy who will take it, but this is the only week he can do it."

Bella sighed her consent and ordered a few window units to get them through the summer. When it came time to pick them up from the hardware store, he talked her out of it.

"Babe," he coaxed, missing the annoyed look on her face. Sometime in the last few weeks her husband had found his inner handyman, and she had become his babe. She wished they would both go away. "Why do you want to spend all that money for machines we'll only use for a few weeks? We'll be done by August and the central air will be one of the first things we install."

"Humph!" Bella grunted quietly to herself.

It was now July and not only had the promised air conditioner failed to appear, but it seemed they would be lucky to have it in place before October.

Terrific, she thought. Just in time for fall evenings by the fire.

Her husband rustled in the bed next to her. She rolled, facing away from him. She had too much work to do this morning, and she didn't want to give her husband any encouragement.

Her first order of business was a cold shower. Although the hot water heater had been replaced the previous week, Bella had kept up the habit as a defense against the smothering summer weather.

She was mentally ticking off her day's to-do list one last time when she felt a hot hand snake around her waist and come to rest on her breast, followed by the rest of her husband's body pressing against her.

She could feel the evidence of his arousal, at the small of her back and she squirmed a bit, creating delicious friction between them.

"Oh, sweetheart," he groaned into her ear. "I want you." His voice was thick and sultry, and her body was instantly filled with desire.

He was a hard man to resist.

She was still while she contemplated his offer. It had been a few weeks since they had been together intimately. The stifling heat coupled with her irritation and sometimes anger over the debacle of a remodel had left her with little interest in sex with her husband. She rolled over and gazed at his handsome face.

Although he stayed in shape, he had never been as muscular as he was now. The recent manual labor had defined the muscles in his arms and broadened his chest. It didn't go unnoticed by his wife or the neighborhood women, since he had taken to wearing ribbed tank tops whenever he was home.

It surprised her a bit when she came home to find a row of lawn chairs filled with senior citizens in front of her house on the day Edward and his brothers replaced the windows, but she didn't blink an eye when the same women arrived with drinks and snacks for those hardworking men. However, it was the intimate tips for Bella on how to hold onto her man that embarrassed her enough to ask Edward to start wearing t-shirts again.

It became a regular Saturday occurrence for the Cullen women to gather for girl talk while the Cullen men worked on the house. Soon enough her widowed neighbors joined in, while they plied her with their advice.

"Fellatio," elderly Mrs. Newton asserted one afternoon. "No man will stray if he's getting fellatio." She pointed her finger in the air to emphasize her point. "My Michael loved a good blow job, and after 51 years of marriage, I can tell you he died a happy man."

Bella nodded her head and tried not to laugh at the bug-eyed expression of her sister-in-law, Alice.

"That's true," the slightly younger Mrs. Stanley agreed. "But you also have to wear something sexy." The woman eyed Bella's cut-off shorts and flip flops with disdain. "Honey, you've got to spruce yourself up. A healthy man like Edward needs to see a little décolletage. You know, some skin!" She pushed up her own breasts for emphasis and thrust her shoulders back.

Bella caught Edward's mother with a glint in her eye. "Do you have anything to add, Mrs. Cullen?" Bella dared her to respond.

Esme took a long sip of iced tea before she replied. "Desserts. Cullen men all have a notorious sweet tooth. I used to buy sugar in 25 pound bags when the boys lived at home. They'll go anywhere for a chocolate chip cookie."

The other women nodded in agreement.

After a moment's reflection she added, "Oh, and don't forget anal sex."

A chorus of acknowledgement erupted from the neighborhood ladies. Alice spit her tea across the table and Emmett's wife, Rosalie, began to cough from the biscuit that she'd sucked into her windpipe. Bella jumped up to pound her on the back, never losing the stunned look on her face.

"Though I wouldn't try it in this heat. You need to be relaxed," she continued. "Have you considered air conditioning, dear?"

Bella's face reddened, remembering. She hadn't been able to look Edward's father in the eye since that day.

Her husband hovered over her and began to whisper in her ear.

It would be nice to get some action, and it's not too hot yet. Maybe we can be quick, and then we can hop in the shower together.

His sleep tousled hair hung in his eyes, which were still heavily lidded. His lips were pursed in a sullen pout, and he looked so sultry in the early morning light.

"You're not even awake," she accused as she ran her fingers up the back of his neck and combed them through his hair.

"Babe," he whined. "The sooner you get naked, the sooner I'll wake up."

Bella felt her desire trickle away the instant "babe" left his mouth. She closed her eyes and tried to recapture some of what she had been feeling moments before, but it was too late.

Babe, she grumbled to herself. Since the hellish remodel had begun nothing good had followed the word "babe". When she heard it now, it only served to irritate her further.

"I have too much work to do," she muttered and rolled off the bed, heading toward the shower. "Your family will be here in a few hours. I promised I would make the picnic food."

Mrs. Newton would not have been pleased.

Edward's family was coming over to help with the demolition of the kitchen. In return, Bella was preparing a picnic lunch, which they would be taking to the park for the Fourth of July celebrations.

She grimaced when she got downstairs and saw the mess in her kitchen. There were tools, drop cloths, buckets of paint, ladders and more, all stacked against one wall. Without the building materials, the kitchen was actually quite large; however, her workable space was reduced to an area the size of a dog run.

It would be the last time Bella would use her kitchen for a while, and she wanted to make the most of it. She planned to make plenty of salads, burgers, ribs and pasta, topping it all off with homemade lemon meringue pie.

Two hours later she had made serious headway into her preparations. The potatoes were diced and marinating in dressing. The burgers were shaped and on a tray in the fridge. Gallons of tea were brewing in the sun and Bella was whisking vinaigrette for the salad.

Although she had boiled the potatoes and the ribs the night before, by 9am the kitchen was steaming, the thermometer already reading over 80 degrees. She brushed curling tendrils of hair from her forehead with the back of her arm and continued to whisk the dressing. She could feel sweat trickling down her back and sighed.

I'm going to need another shower before the family gets here.

Sounds of her husband moving around upstairs reached her and she rolled her eyes. Grumbling she wondered why he thought it was OK to sleep in when there was so much to do.

If he thinks he can show up five minutes before they get here and take all the credit, he's got another think coming.

Bella pushed the dressing aside and began to work on a pesto. She let herself relax as the aroma of basil floated around her. The hum of the food processor filled the kitchen, and she added the cheese and nuts, and finally the olive oil. Lost in the process and the noise, Bella didn't hear her husband calling from upstairs.

Blending done, she scraped the contents of the food processor into a bowl, using a spatula to get every last bit. Dipping a finger into the mixture, she allowed herself a taste.

"Mmmmm," she hummed. Pesto was one of her favorite foods.

She was unaware that her husband watched her from the doorway. He had come down to get some clothes from the laundry room and stopped to observe her, unnoticed.

She was surrounded by the morning light, which picked up the fuzzy tendrils of hair like a halo around her head.

She looked heavenly.

She was his angel, and he had missed her so much. He thought they would be working side-by-side this summer, but it seemed to be the last thing she wanted to do. While it was true that sawdust made her sneeze uncontrollably, and a fall over a hammer had resulted in seven stitches in her forehead, he really thought she would have had more enthusiasm for the project.

All she really wanted to do was sit on their patio and drink some frozen pineapple concoction, but by evening he was usually too tired to do anything but eat and go to sleep.

He was glad they were still alone because the sight of his beautiful wife with her finger between her lips combined with the sound of her moan sent a jolt of lust coursing through his body.

"Babe," he whispered.

She froze and turned toward him with her finger still in her mouth and the spatula in her hand.

She was wearing a tank top with no bra and he could see the shadow of her nipples through the thin fabric. He closed his eyes and swallowed hard. If he'd had his way they would have made love this morning, but she was so prickly these days, and he never knew if she was in the mood or not. He could have sworn she had been interested, but in an instant she was jumping out of bed, closing the door behind her when she went to shower.

Bella released her finger from her mouth with a pop and stared at her husband. His eyes were hooded with the same lust she had seen earlier. His mouth was slightly open, and she could see his chest rising as if he were breathing heavily.

"Yeah?" she whispered back.

"You have a little…something," he said and pointed to the corner of his mouth. She flicked her tongue out to lick her lip and was surprised to hear a gasp from across the room. She lifted her eyes to look, and what she saw took her breath away.

Her husband was still standing in the doorway. Now his arms were stretched above his head, wrists resting on the jamb. All she could see were muscles. The undersides of his arms bulged and flexed with tension as he leaned forward. She let her eyes roam down his chest and past the small thatch of reddish hair below his throat.

Holy moly!

Some time in the last month her husband had developed a seriously sexy Adonis belt and the beginnings of a six-pack. The boxers he wore to bed hung low and suggestively on his hips, and she could see that one quick tug would pull them right off. Suddenly the typically quiet and always reserved Dr. Cullen was gone, and in his place was a golden-skinned sex idol.

How had she missed the way his brows and eyelashes had lightened in the sun until they were a sandy blond color, standing out in contrast to his new summer tan? Why hadn't she noticed the strength of his stomach muscles when she touched him? It truly had been a long time since they had had sex.

"Oh, my fuck," she muttered under her breath.

"Hmm?" He raised his eyebrows in question. He looked just as inflamed as she felt. His cheeks were tinged with pink and there was an unmistakable bulge in his shorts.

Want him.

She cleared her throat. "The door is stuck," she improvised. "I made the meringue you like, but it's stuck in the refrigerator." She gestured behind her.

"Oh," he responded softly, and his lips made a little circle. She wanted to kiss him so badly.

He moved to pass her, and she could feel his erection press against her as he squeezed through the tight space. Bella closed her eyes and repressed a shudder of excitement. She was trying to keep her cool, but that was going to be impossible if he made her feel any hotter.

She listened to him manhandling the refrigerator door and imagined his muscles flexing as he worked. Hoping to appear nonchalant, she tried to get back to work, quickly mixing the ingredients for a barbeque sauce. She had just added the spices when she felt the heat of his body behind her.

"This is so sweet." His voice was husky and quiet.

He stepped a little closer.

She closed her eyes.

He dropped the screwdriver he was holding and tried to control his breathing.

She clenched the muscles in her stomach and waited.

With one fingertip he spread a line of cool meringue along her exposed collarbone. Her body almost convulsed with the intensity of the sensation and she felt wetness grow between her thighs. She wondered, idly, if it was enough to keep her panties from catching on fire.

She stopped caring when his hot tongue fluttered against her neck, licking the sticky sweet as it melted. A ragged moan escaped her lips, and she let her chin drop to her chest.

Edward took it as a sign of consent and let his fluttering licks turn to long kisses as he dragged his mouth up the long column of her neck. His hunger for her was coursing through his body, but he was careful not to do anything rash or say anything stupid, or anything at all. The last thing he wanted was for her to change her mind.

Slowly he turned Bella to face him. She didn't open her eyes. She was also afraid he might say something to ruin the moment and she wanted it to last…and last. She let her head fall back. He made a growling sound and attacked her neck.

She couldn't hold back her soft cries and whimpers, and they were driving him crazy as he sucked and nibbled her tender skin. He knew that if he didn't get inside her soon it would be all over before he really got started.

Somewhere behind him was a stepladder. Carefully he began to walk them backwards so he could have her on his lap. In his mind it was a good plan until he stepped on something hard. Before he could register what was happening, it rolled underneath his foot and he lost his balance. Arms flailing, he cartwheeled backwards and landed on his back, screaming curses as he flew through the air.

Edward lay on the floor, his breathing heavy, and took a moment to gather himself. Then he opened his eyes. The screwdriver he had stepped on was still spinning in the distance.

"Fuck!" he muttered and rolled over to his hands and knees.

He realized that Bella hadn't made a sound. Tentatively he lifted his head to see if she was OK.

Still standing, Bella's hands were clenched into fists and her chest was rising and falling with her harsh breathing. Her eyes were still closed and that was a good thing because her head and most of her left side were covered in barbeque sauce. Edward's hand had struck the bowl as he went down, splattering it all over her. Something that looked like a bruise was forming on her cheek.

"Oh no, baby!" he exclaimed. "Let me help you."

He frantically grabbed a handful of paper towels and began to wipe the sauce from her face. She clenched her jaw and smashed her lips into a hard line, and when she finally opened her eyes, Edward flinched at the fury he saw there.

"Edward," she spoke softly, "I hope that you are right with your maker because I am going to kill you now."

He grinned. The thought of his kitten of a wife doing anyone harm was laughable.

It was the wrong thing to do.

Bella shrieked and began to rant. "Don't you laugh at me Edward Cullen! This mess is entirely your fault!" She went on and on, and while she railed he heard words like, dust, filth, heat and something that sounded like anal sex.

The more she shouted the funnier he thought it was. He couldn't help himself. She was so cute, and he was still so horny.

Flipping her sauce covered hair away from her face, she rounded on him.

"Stop laughing at me." She pointed her finger and advanced. It made him laugh harder. Bella was beside herself.

If he doesn't stop laughing I'm going to lose it.

In an instant her hand whipped out and smacked the edge of the bowl of pesto she had made. It flew through the air and landed on his chest. He looked up in surprise as the green goop dripped down his bare skin. The only sound now was the clang of the bowl as it settled on the floor.

Bella's eyes flashed with amusement and malice.

Oh, that felt good.

Without looking she reached for another bowl and flicked the contents to join the pesto. She continued until there were no other mixtures left on the counter. Edward stood there, frozen in amazement as she covered him in food. He regained his senses as she reached for a handful of potato salad. Jumping forward, he clasped his arms around her and pulled her to his chest so she could do no more damage.

"Wait!" he shouted and then quietly, "Wait a minute. Baby, don't. I'm sorry."

He continued to whisper his apology in her ear until he felt her relax against him. "Don't be mad…miss you so much…."

Tentatively, he loosened his hold and ran his arms up and down her back.

She felt foolish for ruining her hard work and losing her temper in such a spectacular manner. Her body sagged in defeat, and she blinked furiously to keep from crying.

"Edward?" Her voice was hesitant and muffled with her face pressed into his chest.

"What is it, honey?"

"I hate our house."

"What? Why?" He was genuinely surprised to hear her say this and pulled back to see her face.

"I don't hate the house, really. I just hate the mess, and the heat and that you spend more time with your brothers discussing paint brushes and epoxies than with me."

She lifted her eyes to peer through her lashes. "I like your muscles though."

He grinned. He was more than a little proud of them himself.

"I didn't mean for that to happen, Bella. I only wanted to…to create something we could be proud of."

"I'm sorry," she whispered.

"Me too." He stroked his thumbs across her cheeks, wiping the tears away.

"C'mon. Let's get you out of these clothes and into a shower." He grabbed the hem of her tank and started to pull. She raised her arms in resignation, and he dragged it over her head. Her breasts bounced a little as they broke free from the fabric.

He tried not to get hard at the sight, but he couldn't help it. His penis just wasn't listening.

Before he could stop himself his lips closed on a dark pink nipple. Bella gasped while his tongue flittered on the tight kernel of flesh. He could taste the salt of her sweat and the smoky flavor from the barbeque sauce and…skin-her sweet skin. A whimper escaped from the back of his throat. He sank to his knees and pulled her to his chest, kneading her through the thin fabric of her shorts while he continued his gentle kisses across her breasts.

"Oh, Bella," he murmured against her skin.

Tears forgotten, she sighed his name and begged for a kiss. He pulled her roughly to the ground so she was kneeling too. Their mouths met and their tongues were hot and wet as they brushed and caressed until he was thrusting into her mouth with abandon, and their heads were spinning with want.

His hands, oily from the dressing, ran up and down her back until the oil and her sweat mixed, creating a glossy, slippery sheen. He grasped her ribs in his palms and slid his thumbs across her nipples. Slick from rubbing against his chest, her breasts bobbed and rolled under his touch.

Smears of basil and oregano decorated his chest and when she darted her tongue to taste she felt wanton and hedonistic, but mixed with the salty taste of his skin it was intoxicating.

Hooking her thumbs in the waistband of his boxers she dragged them past his straining cock and over his knees, one leg at a time until the shorts landed with a slap against the kitchen floor. She grabbed him with messy hands and stroked upward, one hand and then the other, until his head was buzzing from the nonstop stimulation.

"Stop. I need to be inside you. I want to be inside you!" Though his words were harsh, his tone was pleading.

Holding his gaze, Bella slowly leaned back until he hovered above her and she lay underneath. It was an intense moment. She was the kind of girl who liked to have the lights out during sex because it was just too embarrassing otherwise. But she kept her eyes open and was surprised to find that it made her feel sexy and powerful, and loved. She knew then that he was only trying to take care of her.

Edward could wait no more. He aligned their bodies and thrust with his hips, but his knees, coated with liquid, slipped backward, and instead of entering his wife, he fell on her stomach.

"This is ridiculous," he muttered. Bella giggled and tossed away some macaroni that fell from his hair.

Grabbing her shoulders he thrust again with determination, but the effort was no better as his legs could find no traction on the messy floor.

Undeterred, Bella pushed back on his shoulders rolling them over and straddling his hips. She gave him a quick peck on the lips and reached behind her, grabbing two dishtowels that were hanging from the oven door. She laid one on each of Edward's shoulders. Then resting her hands on them for purchase, she sank back onto his straining body. Her moans of satisfaction echoed in the room.

"Clever wife," he quipped through his clenched teeth.

"Needy husband," she replied with a groan and began to move. She was slow and careful since neither could move much without slipping. The pace belied the frenzied need bubbling under her skin.

As she rose and fell, his hands glided from her waist, down her thighs and back again. The feeling was heady and overwhelming. The oil, and the vinegar and whatever the hell else that was coating her skin felt smooth and warm and…


"Edward," she rasped, dragging out the 'e' in his name.

"Lean forward," he begged. She slowly shifted forward until her neck was against his mouth. While he nipped and kissed, he nudged her higher until he was again able to capture one nipple between his lips. She shuddered and arched her back, pressing against him.

Their difference in height had caused him to slide almost completely out of her body. Gently he rolled his hips and pressed back into her. In their slippery state shallow thrusts were all he could give for fear of pushing her over his shoulder onto the floor.

Slowly, slowly…slowly, the pressure in her belly began to build. Her legs were shaking, and her back convulsed from the sensation. She was helpless to react in any way other than moans and pants.

Edward thought he would go crazy from the intensity; all his attention focused on one small part of his body.

It was agony.

It was ecstasy.

"Bella, please," he whispered with a strained voice.

Repositioning her hands, she slid down until he was, once again, fully inside her. He exhaled with relief. Somehow he had forgotten this was exactly where he wanted to be. Unwilling to waste any more time, he began to thrust as hard as he could without slipping in the wrong direction.

His wife balanced above him on quivering arms.

My wife.

Bella could see that he was close. His eyes were closed, and his face and chest were flushed. She had never felt more powerful.

Leaning down she whispered, "Say my name."

His eyes popped open and he looked at her with surprise. He might have been amused had he been the one on top. Instead he was enthralled.

"Bella," he whispered with reverence.



"Louder," she demanded, and sped up her movements.

The sound of his voice echoed off the walls and she was unable to keep her eyes open as her body clenched. He was her man.

"You're mine," she growled.

"Oh, fuck…yes…I'm yours," he stuttered as she shuddered above him, her answering shout of "mine" filling his ears.

He couldn't move his eyes as he watched her come apart. He only tried to keep up with her as she rode a punishing rhythm on his body until he felt himself spiraling out of control.

Finally, as every muscle in his body tensed, the pressure gave way to release. He let loose a wordless cry as his body was wracked with spasms.

She let her limbs give way and collapsed on his chest.

"Mine," she whispered one last time.

Lying there with his arms around her was her favorite place to be, and she realized how much she had missed it, how much of his attention she had given up with her fit of pique.

Edward's mind was still spinning as he tried to catch his breath. Whatever it was that had come over his wife, he knew he wanted to spend some more time exploring it.

"I'll hire a contractor on Monday," Edward spoke softly as his hands ran over her arms and back.

Bella looked at him, mouth open wide.

"What?" His eyes danced with mischief. "I think I've found something else I want to spend the summer doing."

Bella laughed and slapped his chest. "Pervert," she admonished.

"This from the woman who just licked food from her husband's chest."

She tried to look outraged, but had to bite her lip to keep from laughing.

"Shower?" he questioned as he got to his feet and offered her his hand.

"Yes! But how will I get out of here without falling on my face?"

Edward bent down at the waist and with a grunt hoisted his wife over his shoulder.

"Don't wiggle or you'll fall," he admonished with a slap to her behind.

"Edward!" she squealed.

Carefully, he made his way out of the destroyed kitchen and through the living room to the stairs.

"Wait!" she cried. "Go back for the phone. I need to call your mother."

Esme Cullen closed her phone with a snap and turned to her husband. "Turn the car around, sweetie we have to go back."

Carlisle looked surprised, but signaled and pulled into the turning lane before asking his wife what was going on.

"Bella wants us to pick up a few things from that deli on High Street. She's calling in an order," she explained.

"I thought she was cooking?"

"I'm not sure what happened. She said something about a spill and running out of time and taking the advice of her elders. There was a lot of giggling." Esme furrowed her brow as if she were trying to remember something.

"Bella was giggling?"

"No." she shook her head. "Edward."

"Edward? Sounds like there's been more than cooking going on this morning." he joked as he pulled up to a parking meter.

Esme gave her husband an impish grin. "Are you thinking of something in particular? Something that makes you giggle, perhaps?"

Her husband blushed. "Maybe, but I don't want to think about our kids doing that!"

Esme was circumspect. There was no need to tell her husband about the advice she had given her daughters-in-law.

"You know what?" she asked. "I think I'd like to go next door and have a gelato, and maybe some coffee first."

"Won't we be late?" He was confused.

"No dear," she replied with a gleam in her eye. "Sometimes a little more time is just what the doctor ordered." Grabbing her husband's hand, she paused outside the gelateria. "Hey, where do you think we can pick up an air conditioner?"