Little Aussie Dictionary: "Biscuits" are the equivalent of American "Cookies". Some of our tv advertising uses the word "Cookie", and of course all kids who watch Sesame Street know what it is the Cookie Monster eats, but I'd say "Biscuit" is still the most common word used to describe the treat.
Also we say 'Mum' and 'Mummy' instead of 'Mom' and 'Mommy'. It's pronounced slightly different and kids who say 'Mom' here really do stand out as being foreign. Once, again, we're exposed to it in American story books (Berenstain Bears anyone?) I'm just including this in case anyone thinks I can't spell :)
Now I want to eat a biscuit, of the strawberry Tim Tam variety…
PREVIOUSLY (It's a long winded previously but I haven't posted for a while so if you have a super memory, skip forward to the chapter)
I wake up the next morning still completely worn out and roll over, stretching my arm over Edward's side of the bed. It's empty. I sit with a start and check the time. 7:45 am. Damn it, surely he hasn't gone already. I hastily pull my pajamas back on, grinning as I find pants thrown over the end of the bed. No wonder I'm exhausted!
Edward grins at me from the bedroom door in casual dress pants and a dress shirt buttoned down revealing a delicious "V" of skin below his neck. I'm floored because he looks good enough to eat. I forget all about putting my pajamas on and race to attack him with kisses.
"Shit. Bella." He pants pulling away. "I've got to go to work. You can't do this to me now!"
I look down and blush noticing the massive problem I have caused him. I flop on the bed and moan dramatically. "I think I'm becoming a nympho."
He smirks down at me. "I don't mind at all." I blush again. I don't know what has gotten into me lately, but even though I'm a bit sore from yesterday I just can't get enough of him. He helps me into my pajamas and pulls me up into a tight hug. "It's probably all those hormones rushing through you, my love. Don't worry about it." He soothes. "And of course I will do my very best to accommodate your every need when I don't have to be at work." He ends with a frown. "I'll be home as early as possible today, I wish I didn't have to work on a Saturday but if I'm early enough maybe we can have dinner on the beach tonight?"
"That sounds lovely." I agree.
"I want you to take it easy too and definitely no climbing on chairs." He adds seriously.
I laugh. "I promise. Besides Bree is home and she's quite the little climber now that her tree house is finished. I'm sure she'll reach for anything I need."
He smiles and kisses me on the forehead. "Okay. I'll call you at lunch time. I love you."
"I love you, too." I squirrel out of bed, follow him to the door, and blow him a kiss as he pulls out of the driveway to school.
Hungry, I head for the kitchen to find Bree and Grace playing with Bree's coloring books on the kitchen table.
"Have you had breakfast?" I check.
"Yup. We were up early and Dad took us for a walk on the beach and I saw some dolphins! I'm drawing them now." Bree gushes most of this out in one breath. Wow, I must have been extremely tired to have sleep through all of that.
"Jasper and Alice are coming over for lunch today." I comment as I fix a bowl of cereal.
"Good. I like Alice. She's my favorite." Bree pauses and looks up. "I like Jasper too, but he's very quiet, don't you think?"
I stifle a laugh. "You were very quiet not so long ago too." I point out.
She shrugs and goes back to her coloring. Grace seems perfectly content to sit in her high chair and scribble all over one of Bree's old coloring books. Occasionally Bree will pause and swap a few crayons over for Grace telling her which color she has now. I'm mostly impressed by how Grace mimics the coloring action she observes from Bree and doesn't once put the crayon in her mouth. I decide they'll be fine while I take a quick shower.
We spend the morning playing a few of Bree's different board games. "I can't wait until Grace is old enough to understand the rules." Bree sighs and Grace once again knocks the pieces from our board.
"It will be a while yet." I tell her as I fish the small piece out of Grace's mouth and replace it with her teething ring. She promptly spits the teething ring back at me.
"Well, it would be nice to have someone to play with apart from you and Dad. Like another kid."
I consider her statement carefully before commenting. "Why don't you invite a friend from school around? They would probably like to see your tree house and play games with you."
"Mm, no. They don't really like me." She must have seen a brief flicker of pain on my face because she quickly assures me she doesn't like them one little bit either. I don't press her further on the issue.
I wonder desperately if maybe there are few kids her age living on the reserve with Jake. I know not all of them come into our school since there is a small correspondence school on the reserve, but it's only for junior schooling. If you want to graduate from senior school like Jake, you have to come to our school. I'll ask him tomorrow. It kills me to see Bree with only her baby sister and an imaginary friend for company.
Jasper and Alice bring food with them. Apparently Alice has become quite fussy about what she eats. She spends a while lecturing me on organic foods and how much better they will be for my baby and me. Jasper stands behind her and rolls his eyes making me giggle.
Eventually Alice agrees to play a game with Bree. Jasper and I are left alone to chat. He turns to me in all seriousness. The look on his face is so determined that I stop nibbling at my salad and pay attention. He takes a deep breath.
"Bella, I've been thinking about the hotel. I really need help and I know I offered you a full-time position as soon as you graduate but…" I cut him short.
"But now I'm not suitable? What, because I'm pregnant? Because I'm surrounded by uptight men who think I'm too fragile?" I huff and cross my arms. I really, really want this job. Hell, I'd already accepted. I thought it was mine. He can't take it from me now. I try to hold back my tears. Jasper is the one person in my life who has consistently treated me like an adult, none of this fragile childish bullshit. We've always been equal. I guess Edward and Emmett have been in his ear.
"No, no, no! Listen to me!" He grabs my hands away from where they are crossed across my chest and holds them. "I need to future-proof the business. The baby will be here in a few short months and I need to step back. I know you were looking for something to invest your inheritance in a while back and I know it's a big ask, but would you be interested in becoming a co-owner with me?"
I gasp in shock. He continues. "I've worked it out with my accountant and you would share the profits too on top of your salary, so it wouldn't be a bad investment as long as you still want to work there of course." He stops, looking worried. "I mean, I'll understand if you want to stay home with the baby."
I giggle. "What? Like a housewife? Get real Jasper." He laughs with me.
"That's what I thought."
He pulls a folder out of their bags and shows me what he has had drawn up with his accountant and lawyer. I consider everything very carefully. It sounds like a great opportunity. After a few hours of intense discussion I decide to sign it. I would have 35% of the business and Jasper would retain the rest. I would be the assistant manager as soon as my liquor license came through. Jasper and I would share the load of running the place so he could spend more time at home with Alice and the new baby when it arrives. After I'm satisfied with the answers to my hundreds of questions, I grab the pen.
"Wait… you're signing it today?" Alice squeals over my shoulder.
Jasper laughs. "You can think about it for a bit Bella. Take it and show Edward, your dad, hell, get Angela to check it over."
I smile and shake my head. "No, I trust you and it sounds like a great opportunity. Besides, I still have to transfer the money and get a liquor license… it will take weeks before it's official, even if I sign today." I sign the documents, my belly full of nerves. This is a huge decision, but I'm positive it's a great one.
Jasper and Alice embrace and Alice bursts into tears of happiness. "See, I told you she'd love the idea!"
Alice turns to me, smiling. "It was all my idea. I knew you'd be perfect! And now it's like we really are a family!"
I have to agree. This is a great feeling. "Promise me you'll tell Edward." Jasper smiles almost nervously. I laugh.
"Of course, I'll tell him tonight. He won't be impressed. I'm sure he still has high hopes for me going off to uni next year."
Jasper chuckles, "You'll learn more about the real world in six months with me than they can ever teach you in four years at uni darling!"
I grin and it turns into a stifled yawn. "Wow, I can't believe how tired I've been lately!" I remark.
"Go and have a nap. I'll watch the girls for a bit." Alice nudges me into the house toward my bedroom.
"You don't have to do that. I mean, are you sure?" I really do need a nap.
Alice laughs, "Of course I'm sure. Jasper and I will watch a movie with them and you can sleep without having to worry."
I am so lucky to have such great friends. I curl up on top of the covers and I'm asleep within a few short moments.
Chapter 97 – Work Dinners
We don't break for lunch. At all. I'm starving. It's after four when Laurent announces he wants us all to come out to dinner tonight at Jasper's restaurant bar to celebrate as a team before the official grade twelve graduation. There are fourteen teachers, twelve student teachers, nine teacher aides and five administration-staff; all working unpaid overtime on a Saturday. Not to mention a few community volunteers who have come along today to help keep graduation on track. My mother is one of them. I don't think anyone is too impressed with the new dinner development, but Laurent insists we all bring our partners and families. The others perk up. I don't. I can't imagine Bella being accepted into the mob of teacher's wives, especially not since she is one of Thursday's graduates!
I try to back out of dinner a few times without success. Eventually I excuse myself to call Bella and hope that maybe she will have the foresight to say she isn't well if the plans make her uncomfortable. Unfortunately, she's more than happy to come along to dinner and agrees to meet me there with the girls. I sigh in defeat. Bella sounds like she's in a great mood and I can just see a few of the bitchier women bringing her down tonight. Most people don't even realise I'm married. It will be a huge shock for them to meet my wife. Not to mention, I'd rather be selfish and keep Bella's good mood all to myself.
I grudgingly accept a few biscuits when they are passed around and it somewhat cures my hunger. By not allowing me to help organise my own graduating class, Laurent is grating on my nerves. So far I've been excluded from helping grade final exams and now he won't let me see the final results. I hate that the final awards will be a surprise even for me. I assumed as the teacher, I would be privy to this information. In fact, I'm sure that I should be and Laurent is just being a giant pain in the arse about it. So we can finish earlier, I try to get it off my mind and cooperate.
At six, we leave the school building as a group and head to the restaurant. Many partners are already waiting outside the restaurant for us. I nervously scan the crowd looking for my family, half-expecting to find Bella or Bree fighting, or crying over some insensitive comment. It looks like they're not here yet. I go to the bar with a few of the student teachers and bristle when I see Felix. He notices and promptly faces the other direction.
"Edward! Hi! How are you?" Victoria runs up and attempts to hug me. I stand there awkwardly, remembering her trying like mad, this time last year, to get me to have dinner with her. I'm pretty sure she doesn't know I'm married either.
"I'm fine thanks. I'm here for a work dinner actually, so I can't stay and chat." I grab my drink from the bar and leave the money as I attempt to make a beeline for Laurent.
"Oh, that's lovely. At the school, right? The school year must be almost over. Do you have plans for your holidays?"
Emmett appears out of nowhere and claps me on the back. "He sure does. His wife is expecting their first baby before school starts next year." He grins broadly and steers a shocked Victoria away from me. I can't help but to chuckle. I owe him one.
I turn to find a spare table just as I hear a familiar squeal at the front door. Grace has spotted Emmett and is insisting to be released from Bella's arms to go to him. Emmett hears her too. He promptly leaves Victoria in the middle of the bar to scoop Grace out of Bella's arms and spin her around.
Bella laughs, "Careful Em, she's eaten already."
He laughs, "Won't stop her from having a go at my food later though. Will it, Princess?" He hugs her tight and she squeals in delight.
"I meant she's going to spew on you, Dumbass." Bella shakes her head shuffling Grace's nappy bag to her other shoulder.
I make my way over to them and fish Bree from behind Bella. "The other children are playing outside. Jasper set up a ball pit." She has obviously been coerced into coming out tonight. Her clothes are definitely not of her own choosing because the colors match and Bella made her wear sandals instead of her favorite flip-flops. Bree shrugs and heads in the direction I point. She still keeps quiet around large groups, but I've seen her hold her own on a playground so I'm not worried. I wrap an arm around Bella's shoulder and kiss her forehead. "You look lovely."
She smiles up at me radiantly. "Alice was over when you rang and she rushed to find me a suitable dress for tonight. I hardly had to do anything." I grin. That explains why Bree is so well coordinated. Grace is also rather overdressed by Bella's standards. "She dropped us down here tonight so we only have one car to take home. I thought you might have a few drinks with everyone."
"So you spent the afternoon with Alice?" I don't feel so bad leaving her home knowing she had company. Bella laughs.
"Actually, I was still pretty sleepy. Alice watched Grace and Bree while I had another nap. It's getting ridiculous." She looks a little worried and I hug her gently.
"Don't worry. I'd be more worried if you weren't sleeping." I assure her.
"Oh, that reminds me. I have to talk to you about something important later…" She's cut off by the waitress wanting to take our orders. I hope she's finally made a decision about her university applications. It's getting quite late in the year to apply. The first round of offers will be out early in the new year. She really should make a decision. I'm hoping her Grandma Swan will be more persuasive trying to get her to choose a degree than I have been.
"Have you made a decision about next year?" I ask, trying to keep the hopeful tone from my voice.
She smiles mysteriously. "I have."
I lean towards her eagerly, "Is it good news?"
She laughs. "I hope you'll think so."
It has me wondering what type of craziness she has decided. Either way, I'm relieved she's made a decision that seems to make her happy. Now really isn't the time, or place to be discussing such things, so I'm happy to let it drop.
As we wait for our dinner to be served, I'm pleasantly surprised by how well things are going. Emmett invited himself to join our table and happily rocks Grace on his knee. The new kindergarten teacher and her husband are at our table too. Since they are so far removed from the higher school, they have no idea Bella is a student and treat her only as my wife. It's a great feeling. The children are called in from the playground to eat their meal before we are served. As our meals are brought out, most children return to playing in the ball pit.
With Emmett here too, I find it's actually a relaxing night. After the meals are over, most of the others head home; their obligations fulfilled. I choose to stay and have a few drinks while Bree is still happy playing outside and Grace is soundly asleep in Emmett's arms. As all the plates are cleared and the music gets louder preparing for the nighttime dancing, Jasper comes to join us with a round of drinks.
"Out celebrating?" He asks as he slips into the booth next to Emmett.
"Celebrating what?" Emmett and I ask in unison. Bella doesn't seem confused. In fact, she seems a little… guilty?
"Bella?" Jasper asks. "You haven't told them?"
"Not yet." She whispers.
"Changed your mind?" He seems a little worried about this and it's confusing as hell to me.
"No." She assures him quickly.
"Tell us what?" Emmett recovers faster than I do. "If we're supposed to be celebrating, then it's good news, right?" He asks hopefully.
"Of course." Jasper supplies as he eyes Bella. It's clear he's waiting for her to break the news.
"Is this to do with what you've decided for next year?" I prompt her.
"University?" Emmett asks, confused.
"No. I've made a, um, business venture instead."
Jasper smiles and shakes his head. "She's agreed to be my business partner."
"Here at the bar?" Emmett and I both ask, very surprised. She nods.
There's a long silence as everyone processes each other's reactions. "What do you think?" Bella asks me anxiously.
I wish it hadn't come out like this. Jasper seems disappointed that he had to break the news, as if I somehow broke my word. I haven't of course. There has not been a single window of opportunity for me to talk to Edward in private since I signed the papers.
Edward and Emmett both look stunned. Emmett has a weird grin on his face, as if he is already starting to think of how he can make our new arrangement work to his advantage. Edward is completely unreadable. I expect he has a right to be upset, or hurt that I didn't consult with him. I guess I was just being stubborn earlier, trying to prove to the world, once again, that I'm an adult capable of making adult decisions. Yet again, I've ended up not thinking through my decisions. I still have no idea how he feels about this new development.
"What do you think?" I ask anxiously.
A small smile turns his lips up at the edges. "I spent all day sitting in a crummy staff room folding papers and not even being allowed to count grades while my wife purchased half a business. I feel a little insignificant in comparison."
Emmett guffaws and play punches his arm, making Grace stir and wake. "She's emasculated you again, Dude."
Edward smiles and reaches for my hand. "Jasper we need champagne. We are celebrating. My wife made her first investment today." His eyes twinkle and I heave a sigh of relief. He's not mad at all. He stands, never letting go of my hand. "Dance with me?"
I oblige and under the cover of music and dancing, I tell him all the details I know about the deal. It must take a while because when Jasper brings another drink to Edward on the dance floor, he lets us know that Emmett has taken the girls home to bed in our car. It's only a short walk along the sand, so I don't mind at all. It's a Saturday night and we don't have to be anywhere until lunch tomorrow for dress fittings with Alice.
Caught up in the moment and not caring who else sees, I enjoy having Edward's strong arms wrapped around me as we dance. He's had enough drinks to be a little overly affectionate in public. I blush a little at how carefree he's becoming with his kisses. There's a red head glaring at us from the corner of the room. I feel like I know her from somewhere, but I just can't place it. Edward places a long trail of kisses down my neck and my blush deepens as the red head intensifies her glare. What the hell is her problem?
I return my full attention to Edward, much to his delight, and we dance for a few more songs. When I notice her still in the corner after a few more dances, I decide the easiest way to ditch her would be to leave. I pull Edward in and whisper alluringly in his ear, "Can I take you home?"
He doesn't need asking twice. Once we're on the beach, we both kick off our shoes and continue dancing along the beach until the music fades out of earshot.
"That was a good night." I tell him as we lean into each other walking home.
He buries his nose in my hair and kisses my head. "It was a fantastic night." He practically beams as he lists everything he loves about the night. "You and the girls looked fantastic, we went out as a family without causing a scandal, we got to dance the night away, and you've made a decision about next year."
"And you're not mad about it!" I laugh.
"I can't be mad at you for choosing what you want to do." He stops and looks into my eyes. "I was worried you'd make a decision that you thought would suit me or the girls best. I'm thrilled you've chosen to do something for yourself. I'd be a bit devastated if you chose to study a pathetic degree you have no interest in, long distance, just so you could keep us all happy." He hugs me close and I know I absolutely made the best decision.
"Will you dance with me, again?" He asks.
"There's no music."
"So?" I can't argue with that logic and I continue to dance with him to the sound of the waves breaking over the sand until we reach our own backyard.
"I don't want the night to end." I sigh ruefully.
Edward winks at me. "We have a bed in the garden shed, Darling."
"A bed we will need to move out before my Dad arrives and snoops around!" I exclaim, suddenly realizing we only have a few days to make sure there isn't anything inappropriate where Dad might investigate.
"It's okay, there's only a bed. I boxed everything up and took it to Emmett's shed last week. If your Dad does snoop there, he's going to think Emmett is the kinky one." I giggle and let Edward lead me to the now unlocked and full of gardening equipment, shed. "It doesn't mean we can't make our own fun." He murmurs as he pushes me up against wall.
Sunday morning I'm woken by very loud chirping birds and reminded instantly of how much I drank last night. Bella is curled up fast asleep against my side and I wonder if she has any headache pills in her purse. Rifling through, I find she keeps almost everything in her bag. A small bottle of water, a little disposable toothbrush in a foil packet, the headache pills are most useful and I fish them out.
Bella wakes up as I replace her purse beside the garden shed bed. She looks gorgeous with her hair still pinned up and last night's makeup gently smeared to make her eyes far smokier than I'm sure she intended. I lean in and kiss her, prepared with another little toothbrush when she objects due to her own morning breath.
"Hmm, wonder how the girls are?" She smiles groggily at me as she accepts the toothbrush.
"It's too early to be worried about them, my sweet. It's barely dawn."
Her eyes widen, surprised. "Why are we awake?"
"I thought you might like a morning swim?" I wink at her and she perks up instantly.
"Oh, that would be lovely!"
I help her out of her dress and we laugh like teenagers as we dart to the water's edge in our underwear. I'm reminded again how lucky I am to have met the love of my life. Her baby bump shows and I put a little distance between us so I can stand back and admire her changing form. She has no idea the effect she has on me by just being around.
"Come on, the water is warm." She encourages me to swim out and join her, which I do without hesitation. As I get closer, I don't stop. Instead I smash my body up against hers and pull her into a deep kiss. She molds easily to my intentions and threads her fingers through my hair, tugging it as I run my greedy hands all over her smooth skin. Her legs wrap deliciously around my waist and I moan, desire coursing through us.
"Remember our first date?" She pants into the crook of my neck. I shiver in delight, remembering the first time I'd coerced her into swimming in her underwear in the deserted Pacific Ocean.
"Lay back," I shift so she is floating, her legs wrapped securely around me. Her arms move softly in the water helping keep her afloat. Her breasts are much larger than that first night and I remember it so clearly. I run my hands over her breasts and down to her belly where our baby son or daughter is sleeping peacefully, hopefully. "God Bella, so beautiful."
She shifts, rubbing her core against my straining erection. I'm reminded of how innocent she was back then compared to the minx she's become. Now that she knows how to press my buttons, I'm putty in her more than capable hands and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I shift to give her what it is she is craving. I'm rewarded with a gasp as I slide deep inside her. She pulls herself up from the water, wraps her arms around my neck, and presses the wet fabric of her lacy bra against my already sensitive skin. I let her ride me at the pace she dictates. I am further rewarded with a deep, moaning orgasm. The sounds she makes are enough to drive me insane.
I remember her asking me not long ago why we always seem to orgasm simultaneously when her girly magazines say it's so uncommon. I didn't have the heart to let her know that her happiness triggers mine. Without fail she is once again my undoing. I hold her tight as I try and regain my breath. She hugs me tightly.
After a while I notice her happy pants have become soft tears. Alarmed, I pull her into a more comforting hug and brush the wet hair out of her eyes. "What's wrong, my sweet?"
She hiccups as she tries to control her tears. "I'm just being silly."
"No, you're not. Please tell me what you're thinking?" I all but beg.
She smiles softly. "That night. Mum was helping me get ready to go out. She suggested I wear matching underwear and I was so embarrassed she would even suggest it."
I smile too. "I like her even more now."
Bella almost laughs. "She loved you. She was so happy for me; and for us."
I pull her into a tighter hug. "I know. I'm sure she still is."
"She'd be thrilled about our baby. Especially that it will be so close to Grace in age. We could have done Mummy things together." She starts to cry again and my heart breaks for everything she has lost this year.
"I'm sorry." I whisper into her ear, feeling terribly inadequate.
"It's not you." She wipes her tears again. "I just miss her sometimes. Little things remind me of her. Like the underwear thing. I almost always wear matching underwear now and I never used to do that."
"Really?" I'm surprised. So far Bella has been the queen of lingerie in my books. Always matching and always more tempting than the occasion required.
She giggles. "Yes, you can ask Grandma Swan. I would only ever wear white bras to school in case a strap showed, but white knickers are so impractical…" She trails off.
"Wait. What color knickers did you wear?" I have to know now.
She laughs and brushes my curiosity aside. "My favorite pair were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ones. I had a set of four, but they wore out."
I burst into a healthy fit of laughter. "Really? My Bella, who wears the tiniest lacy concoctions known to man, had a favorite pair of TMNT underpants?"
She pushes me away playfully. "I didn't have a boyfriend to try and woo back then."
"I hardly need wooing. In fact, your little green turtle panties even might have worked."
She laughs harder. "They weren't little. They were very decent thank you very much."
I can't help but laugh at the image. "I love you." I blurt it out, not smooth at all, but she smiles and tells me she loves me even more.
We spend another twenty minutes, or so playing around in the surf before deciding to head up to the house and play adults again.
I didn't plan an author's note... but thank you for continuing with me, and welcome to the new readers/reviewers.
For those of you who are friends with me on Facebook, check out my 'Internet Dating Fails' album. I used the username 'WiddleWombat' and one particular loser (because he is married and still contacting single women for fun) bothered to Google me and mention my fanfiction stuff. Nice to know that's my first result on Google :D