All recognised characters are the property of Stephenie Meyers
No disrespect or copyright infringement is intended
A/N: Daddyward anyone? This little glimpse into the future takes place when Edward is 37 years old.
I heard the bedroom door open but didn't move. Muffled giggles and the padding of feet slowly creeping towards my bed had all my senses on high alert and I was instantly thankful that I was lying on my side.
Six years of parenting had clued me in very quickly. Never lie on your back unless you're happy for your gut to be used as a trampoline by tiny children who were inexplicably and freakishly heavy.
I mean I had some extra padding there now, but come on – that shit just wasn't funny, especially if a stray foot stamped on your groin. Once, when Marcus was two he'd managed to destroy any possibility of sex for an entire weekend doing exactly that. Try as I might, I couldn't see the funny side and Bella's initial laughter had stopped the instant she realised how much pain I was in.
That was a long weekend for both of us.
Feeling the bed dip slightly behind me I couldn't keep the grin from spreading over my face. There were a few seconds of absolute silence while whoever was behind me prepared to strike. And that was their undoing.
Taking advantage of their pause I flung myself over to the other side and pounced, roaring like a wild animal. Their eyes were shocked and wide as the initial shrieks of my three boys soon turned into crazed laughter and squealing as I tickled and pretended to bite each of them in turn before blowing messy raspberries on their bellies.
After several minutes of chaos we all collapsed in a heap on the bed to enjoy a group hug for a few precious seconds before they started to fidget and squirm. Moments like this were priceless and eclipsed all of the noise, tantrums and mess a million times over.
Garrett and Marcus were now four years old and our youngest, James, had just turned two. Marcus was far louder and more outgoing than Garrett and for some time Bella and I had assumed that he was the instigator when they were naughty. However, over time we soon realised that it was in fact Garrett who was behind most of their little 'crimes', quietly encouraging his twin to do whatever scheme he'd thought up.
If the twins were a force to be reckoned with before, adding another little boy into the mix made life interesting, that's for sure.
Just before James was born we'd been almost sure that after four children our family would be complete but as it turned out the final decision was taken out of our hands. Bella had gone into labour three weeks early and had to have an emergency caesarean. No one would be surprised I'm sure, to hear that I was frantic with worry at this unexpected turn of events and I was a fucking mess when she was wheeled into emergency surgery.
The relief I felt to be reunited with both my wife and new baby son was simply overwhelming and I don't think I've ever cried so much in my entire life; so fucking grateful that they were both safe and well. Once the dust had settled we were advised by the Doctors not to have any more children and both of us were sufficiently freaked out by what had happened that we decided not to tempt fate any further. We knew how very lucky we were to have four beautiful, healthy children.
So James Edward was the youngest of our brood and my poor Mum missed out yet again on getting her name included as a middle name. I'm kidding of course – she was honestly just thrilled that both Bella and the baby were okay as both she and my Dad had become very close to her and had happily filled the parental roles in Bella's life.
The boys wriggled out of my grip and bolted past her as Bella came into the room.
"I hope you were gentle with Daddy….."
Too late, they had disappeared without bothering to answer. I just grinned at her and waggled my eyebrows.
"I'm fine baby. Everything's in working order."
She smiled at me deviously as she came over and flopped onto the bed next to me before leaning in for a kiss as she trailed her hand over my chest.
"Good. I was hoping for a repeat of last night when they're all in bed later…."
I could feel myself getting hard; pleasant images of the previous evening running through my head on a loop as I pulled the cover over my dick in case one of the kids strolled in again. Bella had taken up yoga a few months after James was born and I frequently reaped the rewards of my very flexible wife.
I stroked my hand gently across her cheek.
"Is that right Mrs Cullen?"
A loud crash sounded from along the hall and we both groaned in unison.
I went to get up but Bella stopped me.
"Don't worry, I've got this. Do you want to jump in the shower?"
Bella rushed off, once again reminding the boys about the no football in the house rule and I pulled myself to sitting, closing my eyes and groaning slightly with the movement. My last film had wrapped a week ago and it had proved to be very physically demanding. I was grateful that I had a few months off before I had to start something new so I could rest a little and get back to normal.
When I opened my eyes again I was met with huge green eyes staring at me.
"Hey sweetie. I didn't hear you sneak in."
Katie crawled into my lap and wrapped her little arms around me, effectively turning me into a pile of mush. Yep, my daughter could wrap me around her little finger.
I stroked her hair which was virtually identical in colour to mine but wavy like Bella's and already it was half way down her back even though she was only six.
"You smell funny Daddy."
I laughed loudly as she pulled away wrinkling her nose in disgust.
"I was just about to have a shower. You ready for a day with Daddy?"
Her face split into a huge smile as she nodded frantically, telling me all the things she had planned.
"Okay, well give me a few minutes and we'll get started."
While I was showering I thought about the day ahead. Bella was taking our boys to meet up with Rose, Emmett and their sons for the day. Normally we would all go but Katie had been a little 'off' recently and Bella was concerned that she hadn't been able to get to the bottom of what had been bothering her, other than she'd had some sort of falling out with her best friend at school.
Even though she was used to my erratic working hours, Katie tended to be a little clingy for a few days when I was finally home but this seemed different somehow. Although she was a bubbly, happy little girl, she had always been quieter than her younger brothers but she was far more subdued than normal. When I asked her if she wanted to stay at home with me while her Mum and brothers were out she'd immediately said yes so Bella and I were hopeful that she'd open up to me while we were alone.
I was the last to get up and Bella had already organised breakfast for everyone else so Katie sat with me while I ate mine; both of us quietly laughing together, watching as Bella rounded up the boys in an attempt to get out of the house on time. Scraping my plate into the bin I saw a broken picture frame, presumably the cause of the noise earlier. My beautiful wife caught my eye and we both shook our heads and smiled ruefully. It wasn't the first time they'd broken something and I doubted it would be the last.
Bella spent a few minutes saying goodbye to Katie and giving her a loving cuddle before I helped her load the boys into the car, making them promise to behave for their Mum. Bella wrapped herself around my waist, my arms instinctively folding her closer into my body and we took a moment to say our private goodbyes with me running through my usual routine of asking her to take care of herself and the boys, to drive carefully, to call me if she needed to…yeah, I still worried about her and I doubted that would ever change.
Katie followed me outside and clutched onto my hand as we waved them off.
"Right Miss Katie-Kay, I'm all yours. Hmmm, what ever shall we do?"
She giggled and dragged me into the house and straight to the dressing-up box where for the next hour or so we lost ourselves in making up a play to show Bella and her brothers later. I really loved this part of parenting; the fun stuff, playing with them, running around and acting like a kid again. Katie seemed to have inherited my love of acting and often tried to rope her brothers into putting on shows for Bella and me with varying degrees of success.
We broke off for a drink and a snack in the kitchen.
"How's ballet going sweetie?"
Katie nodded enthusiastically as she chewed a biscuit.
"Really good Daddy. Miss Makenna says I can be in the show this Christmas."
"That's excellent Katie! You know how proud me and Mummy are don't you?"
She smiled at me under her lashes and blushed a little as she nodded. It was at times like this no matter how much she looked like me it was evident how very much of Bella she'd inherited.
"And you're only six too….."
She corrected me gravely.
"Six and a half Daddy."
"Of course, silly me."
It didn't seem like ballet class was causing any problems and as we moved on to her next choice of activity – baking fairy cakes – I managed to discretely rule out any worries to do with her brothers and other family members which, as she was only six, pretty much only left school.
I stood back and surveyed the finished cakes with no small amount of pride. I'd never made them before and was relieved that Katie had been happy to make the ones that came in a box with instructions as I wouldn't have known where to start if we'd attempted to make them from scratch.
I cleaned up Katie and the kitchen and made us both some lunch and we sat together at the table finishing our sandwich with a fairy cake each. I was pleasantly surprised to find that were actually pretty good.
"Mmmm, Mummy and the boys will love the cakes sweetie."
Katie smiled proudly.
"Do you think Mummy is pretty?"
Okay so that was out of the blue but I answered her honestly.
"I think your Mummy is beautiful. Actually she's the most beautiful lady I've ever seen."
Katie regarded me carefully, seemingly satisfied with my answer.
"Okay. Can we do some colouring now?"
We went into the playroom and set ourselves at the table with various colouring books and pens before choosing a picture each; working in silence for a few minutes.
"How's school baby girl?"
"Do you like your new teacher?"
"Yes…..she's really kind."
"That's good….How's Olivia?"
Katie's head snapped up and she scowled.
"Oh, why's that? I thought she was your best friend."
She turned her attention back to her colouring book.
"I don't like her any more. I've been playing with Amy and Christina."
While I was happy that she had other friends I still wanted to get to the bottom of her falling out with Olivia. They'd been firm friends since the first day at school and had been almost inseparable, sitting together in class, playing together at break times and going to each others houses after school for tea.
"Why don't you like her any more? Did you have an argument?"
She met my eye again and I could see the battle in her face as she wavered over whether to tell me or not.
I stroked my hand over her hair, trying to encourage her to open up.
"Katie, you know you can tell me and Mummy anything don't you? It makes us worry when you're upset….maybe we can help you sort it out?"
She spoke softly.
"I can't tell Mummy."
"Oh Sweetie, you can tell Mummy anything."
She shook her head frantically.
"Well, can you tell me then? Please."
She put down her pen and looked directly at me.
"Do you love Mummy?"
That wasn't what I was expecting at all and I was as confused as hell with no idea where this was going.
"Of course I love Mummy; I love her so much – more than the whole world."
"Do you love any other ladies?"
"Errr let's see…..well I love Nanny, Auntie Rose, Auntie Alice…..but not like I love Mummy…"
Katie looked as frustrated as I felt with this line of questioning.
"No…..I mean other ladies, not our family."
"No honey. I only love Mummy…..why? What's worrying you?"
I shifted my chair closer so I could wrap my arm around her shoulder.
"Please tell me baby girl."
"I….I don't want you to live somewhere else."
She then burst into tears, huge wracking sobs making her whole body heave as she flung herself into my arms. I had to hold back my own tears as I repeatedly told her that I wasn't going anywhere, that I only ever went away for work and that I always missed everyone desperately and came home as soon as I could.
I shushed her and stroked her hair as she got all of her tears out and when she finally calmed down to just soft sniffs I carried her into the front room and sat back cradling her tightly on my lap.
"Come on now, what's going on? You have to tell me Katie, I can't make it all better until I know what's wrong."
She tucked her head into my chest and gazed up at me with those huge green eyes.
"Olivia said that you loved another lady…..she saw you kissing her and telling her….I told her she was being stupid but when I went to her house…she showed me."
Realisation started to dawn on me.
"What did she show you Katie?"
"It was on her TV, you were in bed with a lady and you were kissing her and telling her that you wanted to live with her…..and you loved her. Olivia said you would leave us like her Daddy did….I didn't want to tell Mummy in case I made her cry."
And then the whole thing fell into place; my heart breaking for my little daughter for thinking she had to keep a secret to save upsetting her Mum, all the while worrying that I was going to leave.
"Oh angel…That lady is called Senna - I was working, and we were just acting. That's what Daddy does for a job – I'm an actor. It's all just pretend and people watch it at the cinema or on the TV. I don't love her in real life and she doesn't love me…..she has a husband and I have Mummy. I promise you sweetheart, it's not real…..I love Mummy…..I'll always love Mummy and I'll never, ever leave you all."
I could have kicked myself. Bella and I had made the decision long ago not to make a big deal about my job when I was home. We just wanted to be Edward and Bella…Mum and Dad, and leave all the other nonsense on set. We never wanted our kids to be affected by what I did for a living and we did all we could to shield them from the media spotlight so they could have a normal family life and upbringing. Up until now, I thought we'd done a good job. We'd told them I was an actor but being so young it had just gone over their heads and they'd happily accepted the simple explanations like 'Daddy's at work'. They'd all even stayed with me on set at various times but were far too young to remember any of it.
Bella and I were careful to monitor what they watched on TV and DVD, always ensuring that it was age appropriate and we'd never even considered showing them any of my films. Quite apart from the fact that they were far too grown up for them to watch, I wasn't comfortable with even Bella or my family watching me act so I wasn't about to show my children. We'd been convinced that this wouldn't even be an issue until they were at least well into Junior School and old enough to understand when we explained it to them.
Clearly we were wrong.
I was also trying not to be angry with Olivia's mother for letting her have access to a DVD that was obviously unsuitable and I knew I'd have to discuss this with Bella as I didn't want something similar to happen again. My film was actually fairly mild but what if it had been something far worse?
It took me a while to explain everything to Katie. I had to make comparisons with the few other films she'd seen at the cinema, the Christmas show she'd been in at school, the one coming up for ballet class and the stuff she did at home, but eventually I was satisfied that she understood as well as she could.
We had a few more tears, plenty of cuddles and reassurance, but in the largely uncomplicated world of a six year old, all was well again while my head was churning over it all and mentally beating myself up.
Katie tugged me to stand up.
"Come on Daddy, let's practice our play again."
We went back to the dressing up box and continued where we'd left off earlier and I soon lost myself in the simple pleasures of my daughter's world.
"I think I'll be an actor when I grow up."
I gave her a mock stern face.
"Hey…..I thought you wanted to be a princess?"
She considered this for a moment.
"Hmmm, will I be able to marry a prince?"
I balked inside at the thought of my precious girl being interested in boys, let alone wanting to get married.
"None of them would ever be good enough for you honey."
"Yeah…..boys are stupid…..and they smell."
I was happy not to discourage this line of thinking.
"Don't worry…I won't leave you and Mummy. I'm never going to get married to a boy."
She finished that statement off with a dramatic shudder.
I just smiled and hugged her; happy for her to be my little girl for a few more years yet before I had to face that issue. When that day came there was no doubt going to be temper tantrums, threats and tears galore.
Some of it might even come from Katie.
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