I'm making good on a promise to daisy3853 since I made her cry with my TT25. Thank you to IngenueFic for betaing this, even though I kept her from sleep.
"Oh, come on, Edward. Just admit it!" Bella laughed.
"You laugh because you know you're just wrong." Edward shook his head and smiled. His eyes took on that certain glint they got when he was about to say something that could get him in trouble. "Baby, you're one of the two people I love most on this planet, but you simply walking across grass is already a dangerous contact sport. I don't even want to consider what would happen if you attempted to run while trying to carry or catch a ball."
It was late afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. Bella had brought her family to Forks to spend the holiday with Charlie as they would be with Edward's family in Chicago for Christmas. All but one of them had emerged from their turkey-induced stupors, and they were still lazing around the family room. They were watching the Raiders play the Cowboys when Edward and Bella started bickering about her inability to play football.
"What are you laughing at, old man?" Bella challenged Charlie, fighting like hell not to crack a smile.
Charlie held his hands up in a placating gesture as he rose from his lounge chair. "I am not in this. You kids are on your own."
Bella sighed heavily. "Thanks a lot, Dad!" She could only hear his laugh trailing behind him as he made his way into the kitchen. Raising an eyebrow, she turned back to Edward. "I say we take this outside."
"Seriously?" Edward snorted.
"What's the matter? You chicken?" Bella said, standing up and hovering over him, prepared to flap her "wings" if necessary.
"Oh, little girl, you are going to regret that." Edward rose from his chair and waved his wife ahead of him. She made her way to the hall closet and rummaged around on the top shelf until she emerged, triumphantly brandishing an old, dusty, slightly deflated football.
Grinning widely she shoved the ball at Edward's chest where he grabbed it with a muffled oomf and narrowed his eyes at her.
"Bring it on," she challenged.
The two playfully pushed and elbowed each other on their way out the door. It was an abnormally nice day for winter in Washington. While it was quite chilly, the air was crisp and dry, carrying the comforting aroma of burning wood from neighbors' fireplaces. The few remaining leaves that recently fell from their arboreal perches crunched beneath their feet as they moved throughout the yard.
They delineated their playing field using objects around the yard and set the ball at the line of scrimmage, which was marked by the post in the fence on which Bella had drawn a lawn gnome when she was a little girl. They had just taken their positions when they heard the back door crash open and little feet pound across the porch.
"Were you guys gonna play wifout me?" The unruly brown hair with copper highlights and wide green eyes of their three-year-old little boy, George, came into view, an adorable pout adorning his little face.
"Of course not, baby," Bella cooed. "You're on my team!"
"What?" Edward shouted. "You dirty cheater. Not only can you not use our son against me but the teams would be uneven."
Bella gave him a sly smirk as she carried George to his position. "You scared of an uncoordinated girl and a little boy, big man?"
He scowled at her, knowing that arguing with that would be difficult, and moved back to his position.
"Okay, Favre, show me what you got."
"That was just mean, Edward. Low blow. I thought you loved me."
Edward's only response was to laugh harder.
"You know, you're very lucky I love your hair. Or else you'd wake up with a Tim Tebow Special tomorrow." The look of horror on Edward's face at that prospect made Bella snort uncontrollably. Luckily, that was something about her he found absolutely adorable.
Once she composed herself she turned to George and said, "Okay, kiddo, your job is to hand me the ball and then keep Daddy away from Mommy until she's all the way at the other end of the yard. Got it?"
"Got it, Mommy!"
"Low," Edward grumbled under his breath.
Bella grinned cockily as Charlie situated himself with a folding chair and a blanket on the sideline with a beer. All three looked at him and he shrugged. "What? I'm officiating."
They simply rolled their eyes and focused back on each other. Bella put on her best serious competitor face and whispered loudly, "You're going down, Cullen."
"Yeah, you going down, Daddy!"
Edward had to work really hard to keep a grin from spreading across his face at his son. He was sure they all saw the corners of his mouth fighting to draw upward. He could see that Bella was trying to maintain her game face as well.
"Okay, you ready, Georgie?"
"Wait!" he yelped as he proceeded to set the ball on the ground in front of him and lean into it like he had seen the professional players do on television. "Okay, weady!"
Stifling more laughter Bella started, "Three! Twenty-eight! Twenty-nine! Hike!" She waited a few seconds and when no movement occurred she repeated herself. "Hike!" Still nothing other than George wiggling his butt a little.
"Georgie, that means hand me the ball!" Bella said in a loud whisper.
"Oh! Sowwy!" he cried before working to shove the ball back toward Bella between his too small legs. To help him out, she reached under him to turn and grab the ball.
Bella faked right and then headed left. Edward was immediately bearing down on her. Damn mind reader, she thought to herself. She had always jokingly called him that because he always seemed to know what she was planning. His birthday was a pain in her ass every year.
"Georgie, get Daddy!" Bella squealed as she sidestepped Edward's grasp. Before he could lunge at her again, George jumped in front of him and pushed back on his shin with as much force as his little body could produce. Edward could hear him grunting from the effort. He made a big show of being stopped momentarily for George's sake.
"Got you, Daddy!" George said, looking up at Edward with the widest smile across his face.
"Oh yeah, mini man? I'm pretty sure I got you!" With that, Edward grabbed George around the waist and tucked him under his arm like a football with his head facing backward and took off after Bella.
George squealed and giggled as he bounced at Edward's side. "Watch out, Mommy, Daddy's coming!"
"Dude, you're totally breaking the Bro Code right now," Edward huffed as he gained on Bella.
"Don't you teach our son that Bro Code stuff!" she yelled out as she turned and dodged Edward's grasp once again.
Just before she reached the designated end zone, Edward caught up to her, reached out, and grabbed her around the waist. As he swung her away from her goal, he said, "He has to learn sometime, dear. Now admit you were wrong!"
"Never!" she screeched. "You illegally took out my offensive guard!" She squirmed her way out of Edward's grasp and turned to her father with her hands on her hips. "Where were you on that one, Dad?"
Charlie looked as though he was day dreaming while nursing his beer. He looked up, sniffing through his chill-reddened nose, his eyes crinkling further as he focused on his daughter. "What? Oh, sorry honey."
Bella rolled her eyes. "Awesome officiating, Dad. Thanks."
"No problem, sweetheart!"
"That's enough beer for you!" she called back. Charlie only grunted in return and took another long pull from the can.
"Ahem," Edward cleared his throat loudly. "I'm waiting."
"For Godot? Because you certainly can't be waiting for me to concede anything, you big cheater. You'll get that when hell freezes over."
George, who until that point had been quietly kicking his legs, trying to wriggle from Edward's football hold stopped to exclaim, "Mommy said a bad word!"
"Oooh, she did, didn't she?" Edward said mimicking George's voice and trying his best to look scandalized.
"Give me that," Bella huffed and grabbed George from under Edward's arm, positioning him on her hip. She kissed his forehead and leveled an over-exaggerated glare at Edward over his head.
"You have some nerve calling me a cheater, Cheaterella." Edward glared back.
Bella snorted. "Really, Whinyward?"
Bella repositioned George in her hold so she could whisper loudly in his ear. "I think we need to teach Daddy a lesson, don't you?" George nodded his head emphatically.
Edward narrowed his eyes at them. "What are you doing?"
"On the count of three," Bella continued whispering. "One . . . two . . ." she started and pointed to George.
"FWEE!" he shouted, and the two of them rushed Edward and tackled him to the ground. George promptly climbed his chest, all three of them laughing loudly. "We win, Daddy!"
"Yeah, I guess you do, Georgie," he said through his laughter as he began to tickle his wife and son.
The three remained that way until the chill overpowered the warmth of their laughter. They scrambled up to head inside with the intent of indulging in more dessert. Edward had to pull Charlie, who was not heeding any of their calls to come inside, from his seat on the edge of the yard and help him stumble through the back door.