I know it's been forever since I updated this fic collection, but this one is extra long (definitely more of a oneshot than a drabble), so maybe that makes up for it? Probably not. :3
I wrote this for Justine's birthday. Originally I planned on only posting it to my LJ, but here it is! It's pure fluff really, so if you don't like that (or babies), turn back now.
Title: Kitty Jammies
Word Count: 1,742
Written For: Justine (my wife, my Jace, the Flynn to my Rapunzel, etc.)
"You're freaking out."
It must have come out a little too smug, because Jacob shot her one of his side-eyed glares before continuing to rifle through the pink My Little Pony backpack. "No. I'm looking to make sure she packed a toothbrush."
"It's in there. I put it in the plastic baggie with her toothpaste."
"I'm just making sure."
She nodded and hid a smile behind her mug of hot chocolate. It had been like this all day-Bella a spectator to Jacob's slow but sure spiral into the dark abyss of Overly Protective Parenting. And he had been the one who had teased herabout being a worry wart because she made the kids wear hats outside during the summer and didn't let them walk alone with Claire to the park down the road. Tonight the tables were turned. Tonight was Kami's first slumber party.
"You know, if the temperature keeps dropping, the roads are going to get bad. Maybe I should drive her." He zipped the bag closed and turned his attention to the muted television. There was nothing on the radar except for a small speck of blue floating just north of them. The snow was melting off the front lawn as they were speaking.
"It's a twenty-five minute drive. There's no need for us and Sam to both make the trip. She'll be fine riding with them," she said, and made sure to use her it's-no-big-deal voice (because if she sounded at all amused or argumentative it would quickly become a big deal whether or not it really was.) Smiling, she added, "Plus, I think the other parents have a petition going around to keep you away from their sons."
Jacob turned from the television, looking horrified. "Are there going to be boysthere?" As if 'boys' were some sort of ferocious, disease-ridden rodents hell-bent on infecting every innocent child they encountered.
"So...is that a 'no,' then?"
She was saved from having to dignify the question with a response by the sound of feet pounding down the hall. "Mommy! Mommy, I can't find the purple kitty jammies."
Small hands clutched at the material of her jeans, and Bella looked down into the dark brown eyes that were the mirror image of her own. She placed a hand on top of her daughter's fine, dark hair. "Did you look in your laundry basket?"
"Yes. The pink kitty jammies were there but not the purple ones."
"Why don't you just take the pink ones with you then?"
"But Tara and I have to match!"
Bella straightened the clip holding back the bangs she was trying to grow out. "I'm sorry, baby, but I think the purple ones are in the washer. They won't be done in time for you to take them. You'll have to wear pink."
When Kami saw that she wasn't going to get what she wanted from Bella, she made a noise of distress, ran over to Jacob instead and wrapped an arm around his leg. She swung her head back to look up at him. "Daddy, I want to wear the purple kitty—"
He scooped Kami up in his arms the way Bella couldn't anymore. "Sweetie, what does Daddy say about boys?"
Kami's hands were immediately drawn to Jacob's hair, and she twisted the dark strands between her fingers. "They're not really nice. Even if they pretend to be," she replied dutifully.
"Unless you tell me they're nice."
He rewarded her with a kiss on the cheek. "That's right. And Daddy's List of Nice Boys is very, very short. So if you see anyone who's not on the List at the sleepover, don't take any fruit snacks they offer you and don't put your sleeping bag next to theirs, okay?"
"What?" He met Bella's scandalized glare with wide, innocent eyes. "It's important to initiate good habits when they're young."
"She's going to grow up thinking boys are monsters, and it will be your fault."
"That's what I like to call responsible parenting."
"Daddy's a boy," Kami noted and rested her head on Jacob's shoulder, arms around his neck.
"But Daddy's a married boy," he clarified. "He's married to Mommy. Because she's so beautiful."
Bella shook her head at the sly smile he sent her and returned her attention to the pasta cooking on the stove. Clearly, Jacob had charmed his way through their first five years of marriage. She planned on being much more renitent for the next five.
"Daniel's a boy."
"But he's your brother. He's the boy in charge of telling me when you talk to other boys who aren't on the List." One more firm hug and Jacob set Kami back on the ground.
She stared back up at him. "What about Uncle Quil and Uncle Embry? They're boys."
"That," Jacob said, "remains to be proven. No matter what Uncle Embry says about a girl named Hannah who lives in St. Paul."
Just as Bella turned off the burner on the stove, a muffled wail sounded from down the hall. She carefully poured the pasta into sink strainer. "Will you help her finish packing? Daniel's awake."
"Sure thing, Bells." Jacob snatched up the suitcase in one hand and gently tugged his daughter's hair with the other. "Let's go, Kami Lamby. We'll see if we can't solve this kitty jammies mystery."
They disappeared into Kami's room, and Bella slipped into the nursery to find Daniel standing in his crib, dark curls plastered to his face with sweat. He grinned up at her, revealing his four teeth. He hummed his excitement as she reached for him. The warm weight of his body settling against her chest was one of the most rewarding comforts of being of a mother. His hand fisted in her shirt.
"Did you have a good nap, baby? I bet you're thirsty."
As she made her way back to the kitchen she passed by Kami's room and heard Jacob relaying the importance of clean underwear. Bella grinned to herself while getting Daniel settled in his high chair and then went about putting a bottle together.
Fifteen minutes later she had the table set with dinner, and Jacob and Kami still hadn't reemerged. Her eyes slid to the clock, to the front door, and to Daniel's content face. Grabbing the box from the counter she dropped a sprinkling of Cheerios on his tray and tapped his nose before heading back down the hall. She paused when she reached her daughter's doorway, leaning against the frame as she took in the sight of Jacob and Kami sitting on the floor, doused in the dirty clothes from overturned laundry basket. Kami sat between her father's sprawled legs, the wrinkled purple pajamas lying across her lap.
"I don't want to go," she said in a small voice.
"But it'll be fun," Jacob encouraged. "You'll get to see all your friends."
"I don't want to go, Daddy." She leaned into his chest. "I want to stay with you. Will you read me The Hungry Cat erPpillear, please?"
Bella saw the weakness as it flashed across Jacob's face in a moment of hesitation. She knew he wanted to say 'yes.' He wanted her to stay exactly where she was, and he would have read to her all night until she fell asleep if she asked him to. It wouldn't have been the first time. Jacob was a natural father, fiercely protective and brazenly in love. After their safety, his children's happiness was first and foremost in his life, and Kami's pleases were undeniably one of his weaknesses.
Bella watched, lip caught between her teeth, as Jacob slowly raised a hand and rubbed it in small circles against his daughter's back.
"There's no time for the The Very Hungry Caterpillar," he said. "Sam's going to be here with Tara soon, and you still need to eat dinner."
Bella let out a small sigh of relief.
"I don't want to go."
"The pink kitty jammies are going to be just perfect, Kam." Jacob sounded enthusiastic now as he got to his feet and set Kami on hers.
She frowned and wiped at her eyes. "But Tara and I are supposed to match."
"But if you were both wearing the same pajamas, how would anyone tell you apart? No one would know who's Tara and who's Kami."
The forlorn look she was giving him didn't budge. "I'll tell them I'm me."
"Plus," Jacob continued and went to the room's single dresser, "I like the pink ones better." He pulled out a pink top with a garish cartoon bunny on the front and pair of pants with smaller bunnies running the length of each leg.
Kami was watching him closely. "Why?"
Jacob shot Bella a needy look, but she only shrugged her shoulder at him, too amused to come to his rescue.
"Because…pink is brighter than purple." He nodded triumphantly. "It looks pretty with your eyes, it matches your book bag, and it's my favorite color—"
The rumpled purple pajamas fell from Kami's hands to the ground. "I want to wear the pink ones."
In a few hurried steps she was at Jacob's side, and he passed her the clothes, which she quickly stuffed into her open bag. He zipped it for her when she was done, and Kami accepted it with a smile. "Thank you, Daddy."
And then she took off out the door.
Bella chuckled at how haggard Jacob looked as he made his way over to her. Once she had her arms wrapped around his waist, she gave him an affectionate squeeze. "Good job. I'm proud of you."
His sigh tickled the top of her head. "If she'd started crying, I would have been a goner."
"But she didn't." Bella rested her chin on her chest so that she could meet his eyes. "And neither did we, so let's consider this a victory. She'll be fine, you know."
Jacob shook his head, but he was smiling. Beneath her fingertips, she could feel the tension draining from his body until finally he returned her embrace. His lips grazed her temple. "How long do you think she'll remember I said pink was my favorite color?"
"I think that in eight years it will be a very hazy, distant memory."
"Eight years, huh?" Jacob sounded resigned.
"Of course, Quil and Embry will undoubtedly remember it for much, much longer."
His groan followed them into the kitchen.
~ fin ~