Rating/Warning(s)/Note(s): T, Loudward. This is for mamacat20 who requested seeing Loudward surrounded by children.
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Dialogue Flex: "Dance with me," he asked.
"No! Don't wanna mommy! I'm not dirty!" my five-year old son shouted at me as I tried to wrestle him into the tub. He was a Cullen all right; wrestling seemed to be genetic.
So did noise.
As I grappled with my mud-covered child I could hear the two middle boys, thirteen and eleven, arguing over the last cookie in the jar. Our fifteen- and seventeen-year-olds were sure they were going to be the next great rock stars and were jamming discordantly in the garage. The girls, aged seven and nine, were giggling loudly as they arranged the hair on our very tolerant golden retriever just outside the bathroom door. The look he gave me was one of resigned martyrdom as if he understood what I was feeling at that moment. He didn't know that I blamed him for the current trouble of wrestling with my youngest. After all, it was chasing him that led the child into the mud.
To be fair, the dog jumped over the mess. The child, in true Uncle Emmett fashion, plowed right through, thinking it was great fun to splash a bit before he heard me scream.
It turns out the accident in my youth didn't render me infertile after all. In all honestly, by the time the fifth child was born, I was wondering if it rendered me impervious to birth control, including tube tying. Condoms were no better; Edward must have super-sperm. The morning I woke up retching with morning sickness from the seventh he finally agreed to a vasectomy. It was either that or divorce, I threatened. For some reason he thought divorce was worse. I made him go back and be checked three times before I'd let him touch me again. The fact that I was already pregnant was irrelevant, I wasn't taking any chances.
My hair was coming out of the hot rollers and I made the mistake of reaching up to secure them when my youngest got loose. "NO!" I yelled as he giggled and streaked out of the tub, leaving water and mud in his wake as he rocketed out of the bathroom, jumped over the girls causing them to shriek and cry about getting their clothes dirty, and head for the front door.
I tried to hold my robe closed as I took off after the little miscreant, yelling to my middle boys to guard the doors, all the while doubting they could hear me over the racket coming from the garage.
As I slid into the living room the child opened the front door. On the other side was my salvation, or the cause of all this trouble, depending on my mood. Right now it was the latter.
"Whoa, buddy," Edward said with a laugh, grabbing our child and holding him at arm's length. "Looks like you're supposed to be in the tub, little man."
"Nope, not dirty," the child stated seriously. "Mommy's wrong. I wanna play guitars."
Edward glanced over at me, took in my disheveled state, then let his gaze trail around the room. Toys were everywhere. Milk was spilled on table visible through the living room where the two middle boys were taking a measuring tape out to cut the remaining cookie in half, leaving the drawer hanging open behind them. The dog came down the hall, covered in ribbons and bows, to take refuge behind Edward while the girls followed, leaving a trail of ribbon behind them.
"ANTHONY! JACOB!" Edward's voiced boomed, causing the racket in the garage to cease. All the other children stopped where they were, gazing at their father like little soldiers awaiting orders. Even little Joshua stopped wriggling in his hands. Why couldn't I do that?
The older boys came running around the corner behind Edward. "Hey, dad, welcome home. What's up?" Anthony asked, the picture of innocence.
"What is supposed to happen tonight?" Edward asked him, taking in Jacob.
"Mom's fund-raiser at the museum," Jacob answered, looking at me apologetically. He wasn't a bad kid, just ego-centric like most children.
"Does she look ready to go? Does this house look ready for her to leave?" Edward demanded. Scuffling of toes and clearing of throats ensued, followed by more apologetic looks. "Anthony, take Joshua and get him cleaned up. Jacob, you're in charge of dinner; Max and John will do the dishes," he said, looking pointedly at the middle boys. "Grace and Susie, I want all the toys picked up, the dog cleared of ribbons, and the mud wiped up. Anthony, when you're done with Joshua help Jacob with dinner, make sure everyone eats properly, chores get done, and this house is spotless. Are there any questions?"
Despite his booming voice little Susie giggled. "If we do evewything do we get ice cweam?" she said after raising her hand. She knew her father well. His roar might be loud enough to be heard over a maxed out amplifier, but he was still a teddy bear. The corner of Edward's mouth twitched and all the younger kids cheered. Anthony asked if he could borrow the car to go on a date the next night.
Edward walked over and put his arms around me. I could feel my stress drain away as he set the kids in motion. With a kiss he whispered, "Don't you need to get ready?"
I nodded and walked to our bedroom. Charlie's prediction had come true, I am the curator for the lumber museum. Only, it is a real museum now. Thanks to my degree, and Dr. Banner to a large extent, I managed to arrange with large museums to have priceless works of art come to our little town on tour. The exhibits were usually small, but the school board, arts council and mayor all appreciated my efforts to expose the children to famous works. There is a thriving educational program that I lead, and many a school field-trip comes through my halls. The biggest problem is paying for the exhibits, hence the fundraiser.
Looking in the mirror I sighed. Joshua had managed to get mud all over my face and into my hair. So much for classy and elegant. Stripping out the rollers I turned on the shower and washed myself head to toe, again. In another twenty minutes my hair was wound into a chignon, my best dress was on along with my best heels, and I stepped out of my bedroom to see the kids sitting around the huge table demolishing the casserole I'd managed to start before putting my hair in rollers.
Edward looked resplendent in his tux, in direct counterpoint to the rules he was running down on how to behave when the parents are gone and the Disney soundtrack playing softly in the background. His eyes met mine and he stopped mid-sentence. The kids followed his gaze and began telling me how pretty I looked, which turned to groans, giggles and fake-retching when Edward came to my side and kissed me soundly.
Pulling me into the living room he gathered me in his arms once more. "Dance with me," he asked, and then began to twirl me around the room without waiting for an answer.
"You're late Doctors Cullen!" Anthony called from the kitchen, causing the rest of the kids to laugh and start telling us to leave. It took some effort but I finally got Edward to stop dancing and head for the door.
We arrived at the party to see Alice in her element. She planned every year's event. This year was a focus on Degas, since we were hoping to entice The Metropolitan Museum of Art to send us a few paintings, so the waitresses were dressed like ballerinas. The whole town turned out for the soiree since it was really the only big fancy party held each year. Thankfully they also opened their wallets. Even with a poor economy, or maybe especially because of it, parents who wanted their children to be taught about art donated all they could afford since they couldn't possibly take them to New York and see the museums there.
By the end of the night my cheeks were hurting from smiling and my feet ached from my shoes. The two docents from the Met were suitably impressed by the local support and had promised to send five of the most well-known paintings. My head was already formulating lessons about Degas and these particular works so I didn't notice Edward had driven in the wrong direction.
"What are we doing at the inn?" I asked when the neon sign finally broke into my consciousness.
"I thought you could use a night off," Edward beamed, grabbing a bag I hadn't notice from behind my seat.
"The last time we were here I got pregnant," I said with a glare. Anthony had been born nine months and ten days after our wedding. People still count.
"We've been safe for over five years," he reminded me, pulling me from the car.
"What about the kids?" I asked, looking in the direction of home. Panic was already overtaking me. There weren't any waffles in the freezer, the older boys had football practice in the morning, the middle boys and Grace had soccer. Susie had piano, followed by Max, then Jacob, Anthony, Grace, Joshua and John. Susie was playing Lacrosse. I spent every Saturday taxiing them all around to various sports practices and games and piano lessons. They needed to be fed, homework needed to be gone over, the house had to be cleaned top to bottom, and I needed to edit Anthony's essays for college applications.
"Taken care of. Sue and my mom are on top of it," Edward assured me, tugging my hand. "Besides, tomorrow is our eighteen anniversary. We have the whole day to ourselves."
"No kids? No hospital?" I asked, incredulous.
"Nope," he said, by this time we were walking over the threshold to our room; the room where Anthony was conceived. "Just you and me." The door closed behind me, he dropped the bag to the floor and pulled my body against his. "How do you feel?" he asked, no doubt sensing the tension in my body.
"Nervous," I replied, worried about the kids and what they might do to Sue and Esme.
His fingers slid the zipper down my back, pulling my mind to the man in front of me. "Well, I'm horny," he said with a chuckle, reminding me of that night so long ago. "Let's get naked."
I didn't answer him. Instead I attacked.
That's the end for these two! I've been reading over Parkward, he was the winner for what comes next, and trying to get into their heads again. Hopefully it won't be too long until I have their next chapter up.
Oh, and I did know someone who had her tubes tied and still got pregnant. She was incredulous, but apparently it can happen.