Thanks to killerlashes for the five minute turnaround with this. This might be goodbye, it might not be. I never know with these guys. XOXO
It was a rare thing for me to be up before him, let alone up before the alarm, but it was a special day. I smiled as I slipped out of our bed, happy that there were no little bodies tucked in it for once. Not that I didn't love the little bodies, but I didn't want anything or anyone to wake up…not yet.
Edward stirred and rolled over, his left hand landing on his chest as he did. I wanted to reach over and stroke his wedding ring, just because sometimes it was hard to believe he was mine…even after all these years. His copper hair fell over his face, still as pretty as a freshly scrubbed pot with only a few streaks of gray- a few less than me, anyways. I'd become quite a staple at the local hair salon. Edward didn't seem to mind shelling out the money, either. He seemed to know that most of them were his fault.
I sighed as I tiptoed out of the room, ready to wake the savages for the day's preparations. Of course, I was pleasantly surprised to find them already in the kitchen with a fresh pot of coffee waiting.
All six of them, to be more accurate.
"Hi," they all whispered in unison, like some creepy pod children.
I meant to raise an eyebrow at them, but my oldest handed me a cup of coffee, so I smiled instead.
"Hi," I whispered back.
"Are we having pancakes?" Jamie asked, tugging at the front of my pajamas. I set my cup down and pulled him into my arms.
"Yep. Daddy's favorite," I replied before kissing his cheek loudly.
"Can I put in the chocolate chips?" Hannah asked hopefully.
"Whatever you want," I answered.
It didn't take long for the older children to take charge and start tasks. Breakfast wasn't always a big event, but today was going to be a little extra special.
Daniel was home for the summer, though he was thriving in Chicago and doing well in school. Mara and Abi were going to be starting their junior year of high school, identical in looks and completely different in everything else. Abi tended to take after me: loud and outgoing, while Mara buried herself in books and music.
Matthew was in middle school, and loved sports more than Edward or I had ever dreamed he would. (Neither of us tended to be very coordinated.)
The little ones, Hannah and Jamie, not our flesh and blood but each a little part of our hearts, grew so quickly it made my heart ache and swell all at the same time. They fit in from day one, and no one ever cared that they were different…because we all were.
As we cooked they sang quietly, some old song Edward was always caught singing. He loved worship music, and so did the kids. I just loved to hear them all.
It was about the time that Daniel was twirling Abi gracefully through the kitchen when I noticed that we weren't alone.
"How long have you been there?" I smirked in his direction and Edward shrugged.
"Not long," he replied sleepily.
Then I watched. I watched as our children gathered around him. As he took them into his arms and kissed them, one by one. I watched as they whispered their love to their father before they dispersed into the dining room to set the table.
"Happy birthday," I said, after he'd finally made his way to me.
"I'm getting old, pretty girl." Edward grinned, his green eyes crinkling at the corners.
"No, you're just getting better," I told him.
My husband laughed as he leaned down to kiss me.
"You think so?"
"I know so, Preacher Boy."
"Not quite a boy anymore," he whispered against my lips.
"You'll always be my Preacher Boy." I smiled and kissed him again. "You can't get away."
"I wouldn't dream of it."
I let him go and ushered him into the dining room where we passed around chocolate chip pancakes and enough sides to feel the entire congregation at Edward's church. As things settled down, Edward held his hands out and we all joined them around our big table to pray. He thanked God for us, for his family, and for his special day: for getting to walk on the earth for fifty years.
When he was finished he smiled at me, that same damn smile he'd given me twenty-five years ago in the social hall at the church in Forks. His eyes were bright, but older…wiser.
He was beautiful.
I used to think that everything had just brought us together by accident, but Edward always knew better. As we sat surrounded by our family, I knew it, too. It was definitely no accident that we ended up together.