Standard Disclaimer – I don't own Twilight or any of the characters from the story. All song selections have been provided by my amazing beta, NoWayWithWords. She is the greatest! She has set up a YouTube playlist that includes the songs chosen for the chapters. If you would like to check it out, see my profile for the link.
The song for the chapter is "Warning Sign" by Coldplay.
Chapter 41 – Confessions
Once the show was over, everyone started heading for the exits. Some were piling into their limos to head to a party or maybe just go home, while others were walking to one of the parties nearby. Emmett and I chose to stay seated for a few minutes while we waited for the crowd to thin out a little.
I was amazed at how many people came by to congratulate me on my award, my kids, or both. One guy even offered me the number of his marriage counselor. He promised that the guy was worth the money. I thanked him and took the business card just to be polite, but I honestly had no desire to come back down to LA for counseling. This was going to be the first issue Edward and I would have to work through. I wanted to raise my kids on Mercer Island, not in LA.
Once Edward and the guys were able to break away from the people congratulating them, they made their way in my direction. Aro was the first to reach me, smiling widely. "Bella, I have to admit, you look stunning. I would ask how you've been, but that probably wouldn't be such a good idea."
"No," I laughed, "probably not now, unless you want to hear about the miracles of childbirth, breastfeeding at all hours of the night, not to mention all of the dirty diapers."
Aro cringed. "Gee, Bella, you make it all sound so… appealing."
I shrugged and told him, "It's really not all that bad. You'll have to come up to Washington and visit with me and the kids. You can check out my new house. I'm right on the water, so there is plenty of fishing and swimming. We can fire up the grill and have a few beers out on the patio."
"That sounds like fun. We might have to take you up on that. Are you going to party with us?"
"I don't know. I received some invitations, but I didn't pay attention to which places invited me and which didn't. I can't drink, because I'm still breastfeeding, so I'm not sure how much fun I'm going to be."
Demetri stepped up and gave me a hug. "Bella, you don't have to drink to have fun. You know that. Besides, looking the way you do right now, I doubt anyone would even care. They will all be stunned speechless by your beauty."
"Thank you, Demetri. You are too kind."
I looked over and saw Peter and Emmett deep in discussion. Edward was stuck talking to a reporter, but he kept looking in my direction. Gianna and Heidi had slipped off to the ladies room. So I was listening to Aro, Demetri, Caius, and Marcus discussing which party they were going to first. They planned on hitting three different parties before the night was over.
The first was primarily a press thing. They had committed to showing up and getting their pictures taken a few times. Edward would do a few interviews and then they would all move on to the next party, which was basically for the fans. He said that there would be a lot of fans there, but they'd be kept in a separate area from the stars. They would show up and hang out there for 30 minutes or so, and then move on to the "real" party.
I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it all night long, since I hadn't been able to sleep through the night uninterrupted since Mason was born, but I was willing to try the first two locations. I figured it wouldn't hurt to make my appearances and smile for the cameras. I would say hello to a few fans and then head back to Esme's house.
Once Edward was able to pull himself away, he came over and said, "Bella, I committed to two parties, but I'm only planning on spending 30 minutes at each. The guys all want to go to the big party afterwards, but I don't have to go to that one. Will you be able to go as my date?"
"I think I can do that." I looked over to Emmett and asked, "Emmett, do you mind going to a couple of parties?"
Emmett replied, "Peter and I have already discussed it and coordinated our efforts. Just give me the signal if you want me to get you away from someone."
"I will. Thank you." After my run-in with James earlier that evening, Emmett and I came up with a signal. If I touched the back of my hand, he would know that I wanted to get away from whoever I was talking to and interrupt with some reason that I was needed elsewhere.
While Heidi and Gianna were getting their purses, Peter came over and said, "Bella, it's good to see you again. You look good."
"Thank you, Peter. You look good too. How is your mother?"
"Mean as ever. Thank you for asking. Congratulations on your Grammy. Do you need to pick it up before you leave?"
"No, actually they are going to have it engraved and ship it to me."
"That's good. That way we don't have to worry about it getting lost or stolen. Do you have anything valuable in your purse?"
I opened the purse and showed him the contents. "Not unless someone is in desperate need of a breast pump."
Peter's eyes got huge as he blushed and stammered, "Good lord, what the hell is that for?"
"When I can't feed the baby, I use it to suck the milk out so I don't leak all over my clothes."
He grimaced. "It looks kind of like an air horn. Does it hurt?"
"It's not really a pleasant experience, but it doesn't hurt."
"So, it's like a little vacuum?'
"Yes. Just like a little vacuum," I said with a laugh. I thought it was funny that he felt so uncomfortable with subject, yet was so curious. I wondered if he had ever been around kids.
We left the theater and walked across the street to the first party. I held Edward's arm and smiled for the cameras and then the press descended on us. I was glad that they didn't all start asking questions as once. There must have been some mysterious pecking order that was determined before the ceremony. Edward put his arm around me and held me protectively by his side as the first reporter approached.
"Bella Swan, the world is wondering: what did Edward Cullen do to get him into such hot water?" All of the sudden there were probably 30 microphones shoved my direction.
I smiled and said, "He left the toilet seat up… twice."
Edward laughed and added, "Not only did I leave the seat up, I made the mistake of telling her that I didn't think it was that big of a deal and that she needed to get over it."
The reporter laughed with us. "That does sound like a big mistake."
Another reporter asked, "Could there possibly be wedding bells in your future?"
Edward turned to him. "She hasn't even forgiven me yet. She's only agreed to work on things. I'm just hoping that sometime in the future she might let me kiss her again."
Before they could pry too deep into our personal life, I casually placed one hand over the other on my purse. Emmett noticed it and immediately came to my rescue. "Bella, someone over here is asking for you."
I smiled at the cluster of reporters and said, "I'm sorry. If you will please excuse me..."
I glanced at Edward, to see if he wanted to escape with me, but he seemed comfortable staying, so I stepped away from him and followed Emmett toward another group of reporters.
This group seemed much more interested in my music than my love life. They asked if I was planning on touring again. I told them that we were working on a possible tour the following summer, but nothing was booked yet. They asked if Lucy's adoption had ever been finalized. I told them that I had completed all of the requirements and was going to meet with the judge later that month to finalize the paper work. They asked if I was planning a big celebration afterwards. I told them that I was planning a small party with my closest friends a family at my house.
One reporter asked what I thought about the performances that we had seen during the show. I told him that I thought they were all great, which was a total lie because some of them were mediocre at best. He asked about my dress and my purse. I told him where they came from and pimped the antique store, like I promised I would.
While I was talking, a waiter offered me a glass of wine, which I turned down. I asked him for a glass of water and he looked at me like I was crazy, but he came back a few minutes later with a bottle of water for me.
I hit each cluster of reporters as I made my way around the room. Some were busy with more popular artists, while others grabbed me as soon as I glanced in their direction. It was kind of nerve wracking. It felt like I was asked the same questions about a thousand times. I was relieved when Emmett said, "Bella, I believe it's time for us to go now."
We met the others at the exit and walked as a group to the building next door for the second party. Where the first one was crowded with reporters, this one was just plain crowded. The music was loud and there were people everywhere. It was a split level dance club where the lower level was all of the stars and the upper level was filled with the fans.
When we walked in, the upstairs group started cheering. Edward and I waved to the people looking down on us from above and smiled. The club security was everywhere. Fans were allowed to take pictures as long as they didn't use flashes, but the club was kind of dark, so I doubted anyone got a good shot, not to mention the angle they were at was a little strange. I noticed a few of the women in the first floor trying to cover up their cleavage and laughed. If they didn't want everyone looking at their boobs, they shouldn't have worn something so low cut.
Peter directed Edward toward the center of the room, because it got him further away from the fans, but I didn't want that. Against Emmett's judgment, I headed over to the edge, closer to the fans, so they could get a better view of me. I smiled and waved when people called my name.
I spoke to people as I made my way around the room, so I didn't look like I was doing a victory lap or something silly like that. One of the actors I spoke with asked me if the public apology was all a publicity stunt. I told him that I had no idea Edward was going to do that. He said that our little display was surely to be in the news for weeks to come. Apparently the last time he had an affair and got caught, he was hounded by the press for weeks. I thanked him for the warning and asked him if he and his wife were still together. He told me that they got divorced a few months later, because neither of them were really good at being faithful.
By the time I made it all the way around the room, Edward was ready to leave. Edward asked me if I wanted to head to the other party or if I was ready to go home. I told him that I was definitely ready to get some sleep, but he should go with the band if he still wanted to party. He told me that he wasn't really in the partying mood, so we arranged for the band to take Edward's limo to the party, while Edward, Emmett, Peter, and I left in my limo.
The original plan was for us to drop Edward and Peter off at Edward's house and then Emmett and I would head to Esme's house, but when we arrived at Edward's place, Edward decided that he was going to come to his Mom's with us, so he could spend some time with the kids in the morning, before we left for Seattle.
While Edward ran inside for a change of clothes, I said goodbye to Peter. He shook hands with Emmett and wished us luck dealing with the reporters that were surely going to be swarming the airport the following day. He looked at me and said, "He really has missed you, Bella. I hope that we will be seeing you again really soon."
"I hope so too, Peter."
Once Peter drove away and Edward came out, we headed to Esme's. I was dead on my feet. Edward lifted my feet and removed my shoes so he could massage them for me. "You look so tired, Bella. I bet you can't wait to climb in bed and get some sleep."
"I wish it were that simple. I have to go home, get out of this dress, take all of the pins out of my hair, wash the makeup off of my face, and Mason is going to be up in the next twenty minutes or so for another feeding. Once he eats, I have to make sure he has a clean diaper then I can put him to bed. Hopefully Lucy doesn't wake up through all of this or I will have to read her a bedtime story. Only then can I get some sleep."
Emmett added, "That's not all, the little munchkin will wake up in two and a half hours and want to be fed again. The kid eats constantly. He puts me to shame."
Edward looked stunned as he asked, "How do you do it all by yourself?"
"You get used to it," I said.
"Is there any way that I can help? I know I can't feed him, but I can read to Lucy and maybe do the diaper thing, if you show me how." Edward seemed like he sincerely cared whether or not I was getting enough sleep.
"I think I'm too tired for diaper changing lessons tonight, but maybe in the morning, I'll let you help me give him a bath."
Edward's eyes lit up. "I'd like that."
When we made it to Esme's, Edward followed us upstairs to check on the kids. Emmett wished us goodnight and headed to his room while Edward and I slipped into the room that I was sharing with the kids. Lucy was sound asleep while Mason was starting to stir in his portable crib at the foot of her bed.
I told Edward that I was going to the bathroom to change clothes. I instructed him to pick Mason up if he started crying and try to make him take a pacifier until I came back. He was standing there beside the bed looking down at Mason with the sweetest expression on his face. I wished I had a camera, so I could take a picture of that moment.
I slipped off to the bathroom and changed into my nightgown and washed my face. When I turned the water off, I heard Mason start to cry. I skipped my hair and went straight into the room to find Edward holding him and rocking him side to side while he sang softly. "He doesn't want anything to do with that pacifier. Once he realized it didn't have any milk in it, he spit it out and got angry."
I took Mason from Edward's arms and carried him downstairs into the family room, so I could sit in Esme's rocking recliner. I unbuttoned the front of my gown while Mason eagerly searched for his meal.
Edward laughed. "Man, look at him go after it. You would think the poor boy was starving."
"I know. He is definitely a good eater," I said.
"Do you need anything?" Edward asked.
"Can you bring me some water? Feeding him makes me thirsty."
Edward disappeared into the kitchen and brought me a glass of ice water and then headed upstairs. He came back a few seconds later with my brush. He stood behind the chair and started carefully removing the pins and butterflies from my hair.
"Geez, Bella, how many pins do you have in here?"
"I lost count somewhere around three trillion," I teased. "I don't know. Your mom had someone come over and do it for me. I wasn't paying attention."
Edward gently ran his fingers through my hair looking for pins and then carefully brushed out the tangles. It felt heavenly. I found myself relaxing and drifting off. I probably would have fallen into a deep sleep, except for the fact that Mason needed to change sides.
Edward grabbed Mason's diaper bag and watched closely as I quickly changed his diaper. Mason hated having his diaper changed and cried while I was doing it. While I was redressing him, Esme came stumbling into the room.
She mumbled, "Okay, you've got him. I'm going back to bed," and staggered back into her room.
Mason was still a little cranky from his diaper change, so Edward offered to rock him and try to put him to sleep while I cleaned myself up and threw away the dirty diaper. When I came back, Mason was asleep in Edward's arms.
Edward whispered, "Do you think I can just hold him a little while longer?"
"I don't want him to get into the habit of wanting people to hold him while he is sleeping. Don't worry; you'll have plenty of time to hold him in the morning. That's when he is the most alert. Plus, I would hate for you to fall asleep and accidentally drop him."
"You're right. I'll take him upstairs and put him in his bed."
Edward carried him up and put him in the bed. He kissed Lucy's head and pulled her blankets up a little higher. He whispered, "Good night, Lucy. Sweet dreams, my little princess."
I climbed in the twin bed opposite Lucy's bed and asked, "You do know where the spare blankets and pillows are, don't you?"
Edward smiled. "This is my mother's house. I know where everything is around here. I'll be downstairs on the couch. If he wakes up again, bring him down and wake me up. I want to see him as much as I can."
"I will. Good night, Edward."
He looked like he wanted to kiss me, but reconsidered it and said, "Good night, Bella."
It didn't take long for me to get to sleep and, just like clockwork, Mason woke up thee hours later. I carried him downstairs to feed him. Edward woke up as I was coming down the stairs. At first he looked confused, but then he looked at the clock and got up. He went and got me another glass of water and sat with me until Mason was done. By the time Mason was ready to go back to bed, Edward was too.
Three hours later, when Mason was ready for his early morning feeding, Edward barely woke up at all. He did manage to crawl off the couch and head to the kitchen for water, even though I still had a full glass from last time, but as soon as he sat it down on the table beside me, he went back to sleep on the couch.
I knew that Lucy would be waking soon, so I didn't even bother going back to bed. Instead, I went upstairs and climbed in the shower. I had a ton of hairspray and goop to get out of my hair and knew it was going to take awhile, so I figured the best time to do that would be before Lucy was up for the day.
When I got out of the shower, I could smell that Esme was cooking breakfast, so I got dressed and went downstairs. I found Lucy and Edward sitting in the rocking chair together. He was holding Mason and she was wedged in beside him holding Rat. I stayed just out of sight and watched them interact.
Lucy said, "Rat don't wear diapers like Mason. Rat don't got a squirter, see…," she moved the baby doll's pajamas so Edward could see that it had no genitalia.
"I see that. I guess that's a good thing. I hear diapers are expensive."
"They also stinky."
Edward laughed. "I hear that too."
Lucy smiled at him and said, "You hear a lot. Do you want to play dump trucks with me?"
Edward cocked an eyebrow. "You play with dump trucks?"
Lucy rolled her eyes. "Yes. I have dump trucks and cars, and boats, and horses, and babies, and a kitchen, and a big stuffed tiger, and dress up stuff, and…"
Esme interrupted, "Lucy, come in here and help me set the table for breakfast."
She peeled herself out of the chair saying, "Yes, Nana," and ran off to help her.
I came into to the family room and looked at my sleeping baby in his father's arms. "You can put him down now. He's sleeping."
Edward gave me a pouty look and said, "Do I have to? He's comfortable."
I smiled. "You'll spoil him."
"How much damage can one day do? Please…"
He looked so adorable. How could I resist?
"OK, but if he starts giving me problems about sleeping on his own, I'm blaming you."
Edward held Mason and tried to eat his breakfast one-handed. After we ate, Edward and I gave Mason a bath. Mason loved bath time. He would kick and look around. Occasionally he would make a noise. I think Edward loved it just as much as Mason. Whenever he would talk, Mason would look at him. It was like somehow he already knew his Daddy's voice.
Esme took tons of pictures of Edward and the kids, and of us as a family. She took some really good ones that I made her promise to send to me. Carlisle just sat back and enjoyed having us all there. At one point, Edward sat beside Carlisle on the couch. They were looking at Mason's little ears when Esme took the picture of them. Esme decided that the last picture was definitely going in a frame.
When I finished feeding Mason just before lunch, Esme snatched him up before Edward could get his hands on him. "I'm taking the kids shopping. You two need to go out to lunch and talk without the distraction of these kids."
Edward pouted. "Can't we just talk quietly while he's sleeping?"
Esme shook her head and scolded, "Edward, don't talk back to your mother. Now, go enjoy some time with Bella. You can hold the baby when you get back. And I don't want to see you rushing through lunch, either. If I get even the slightest idea that you dragged Bella to a fast food place so you could get back here faster, I will keep him over at Gladys' until it's time for them to go home. Do you understand me?"
Edward bowed his head and replied, "Yes, ma'am."
He looked up at me and said, "I know a great little sushi place that's not far from here. They usually let me sit in a secluded booth near the back of the restaurant, so I have some privacy. Would you like sushi for lunch?"
"Do they have forks? I didn't have much luck the last time."
Edward laughed. "Yes, they have forks. You just have to ask for one."
We headed out to the sushi place for lunch. It was still a little early, so the place wasn't that crowded yet. Edward ordered a bunch of different things for me to try and asked for a fork for me. When the waitress came back with our food, she brought me a fork and some chopsticks that they gave to kids that were just learning how to use them. I tried the chopsticks first, but eventually gave up and used the fork.
Edward and I ate silently for a moment, and then he said, "So, where do we begin?"
I shrugged. "I think we need to cover the biggest topic first. I don't want to raise my kids in LA, Edward. Mercer Island is a good place. Even though there are a lot of huge houses on the island, it still has a small town feel. It's not just an island, it's a community. They have good schools. I have great neighbors who watch Lucy for me when I need a break. Your parents have a place down the street from me and my Dad comes over for lunch every Sunday. I want my kids to grow up with that kind of sense of family."
Edward was quiet for a moment before he spoke. "Bella, the work is here in LA."
"No, Edward, you can make music anywhere. If you were just starting out and had to play in clubs to make ends meet, I could see where you would need to be somewhere like LA or New York, but you're too big for that. You just need a place to write, practice, and record. You can write and practice anywhere. If you want to go back to LA to record, you can."
"My band is in LA."
I took a deep breath, trying not to lose my temper. "If you choose to stay here in LA, that's fine, but your son will be in Seattle. You are welcome to come visit him whenever you like."
"You are really set on that place, aren't you?" He looked at me like I was crazy.
"When it comes to my kids and my family, I will fight you tooth and nail to do what is best for them. This isn't about me and my career. This is about the kids and the life I want them to lead. Do you even know your neighbors, Edward? If Lucy came home from school and was locked out of the house, would you feel safe letting her spend the afternoon at their house until you got home? Better yet, would you feel comfortable letting them have a spare key, so they could let her in if she needed it? If one of your neighbors had an accident, would you know who to call?"
"Of course not," he snorted. "I don't talk to those people. We don't even see each other. How would I know if they had an accident or not? The only time I ever hear from them is when I'm having a party and making too much noise."
"You see, Edward, that's the difference in where I live and where you live. If I was having a party, they would be right there with me, so the noise wouldn't be an issue."
We finished our food and left the restaurant. Edward drove back to Esme's, so we went inside. Esme, Carlisle, Emmett and the kids were all gone. There was a note on the table saying that Esme had the kids at her friend's house and Carlisle had taken Emmett to the driving range. They would all be home around 2 pm.
Edward took a seat on the couch. "It looks like we have the place to ourselves for a couple of hours. What would you like to do?" He gave me sexy grin that made me want to jump him.
"We could talk through some of our other issues. As far as anything physical goes, I'm still out of commission. Besides, I think we need to get past a few things before we get physical again."
"Oh well, you can't blame a guy for trying," he said with a sigh. He leaned forward and ran his fingers through his hair. "What would you like to discuss?"
"Well, we could discuss your girlfriend, for starters. I'm sure she isn't going to be very happy with your declaration last night."
"Bella, I tried to tell you before, she's not my girlfriend. She is a model that I used in my video. We became friends and that's it. I told her all about you. She is obnoxiously flirty all the time, but a complete tease. She is a funny lady and made me laugh. I enjoyed spending time with her, so we went out a few times. It was just two friends hanging out, not dates. We didn't sleep together - I'm not really her type. She'd probably be more interested in you since she's gay…" He paused for a moment, frowning. "Nobody knows that, though, so please don't say anything. Her parents would disown her if they found out."
I eyed him skeptically. "Edward, I saw pictures of the two of you kissing on the beach."
"Those were taken while we were filming the video. That's what the director wanted us to do. He told us to make out. It was really weird because we had camera men, makeup people, and all of these other people standing around us. They were shouting orders like, 'Move your left hand up a little.' 'Tilt you head further to the right.' 'Arch your back a little more.' I almost expected to look up and see a panel of judges holding up score cards. It's a good thing they weren't really judging me, because I'm sure the scores would be really low."
"You had to kiss her in the video?"
"Yes. Haven't you seen the video?"
I looked down at my hands. "No. I didn't want to see the two of you together."
"If you had seen the video, you would have seen that the pictures on the internet were just clips from the video. They made it look much steamier than it really was." He thought for a moment and asked, "Did you know you were pregnant when you saw me in New York?"
"No. I found out that I was pregnant the day Colleen killed herself."
"You were never sick or anything?"
"No. I was one of the lucky ones. I didn't have any of the typical pregnancy symptoms. I was just pregnant. I felt fine. The only thing strange was that I was tired a lot, but I assumed that was depression."
"Because of me," Edward said softly.
I didn't try to argue with him. He was right. I was depressed because of the way he left things between us.
"Edward, you hurt me pretty badly when you left. I felt used and abandoned. At first, I tried to convince myself that you were busy and that's why you didn't call me, but eventually I had to accept that you just didn't care about me. I was just a convenient distraction from what would otherwise be a long, boring tour across the country. I even pondered the idea that I wasn't really talented at all. I thought that maybe I was just some pretty little trophy that you wanted to flaunt. That led me to start thinking that maybe I wasn't pretty enough to keep you interested. Once the self-pity really set in, I started wondering if I was just an easy fuck that you suffered with to pass the time." The pain in my chest throbbed as I remembered how insignificant I'd come to feel.
"Bella, don't ever think that. I never thought those things about you. I loved you so much that it scared the shit out of me. The last night we made love in New York, I watched you sleep and found myself going over a hundred different ways to tell you how much I loved you. I even considered slipping out first thing in morning and buying an engagement ring. The next morning, I realized what I had been contemplating and panicked… Well, I guess you could say I more than panicked - I completely freaked out. I knew that I had to get away from you or my entire view on life would be altered for all eternity."
"So you ran," I stated.
"Yes, I ran. I thought that if I could get enough space between us, everything would get better, but it only got worse. I ached inside all the time. I felt like my heart was barely beating. Every time I would see someone that slightly resembled you, I would get excited, but then I would realize that it was mistaken identity and sink even further into my own funk. It was horrible. The only thing that kept me going was talking to my mother. She would tell me how you were doing and what was going on in your life. It was like simply knowing that you were okay made things slightly more tolerable."
I bowed my head into my hands and told him, "It was the opposite for me. Every time I thought that you were doing well, I hurt even worse, because I was lost without you, so I didn't think you should be fine without me. I wanted you to miss me as much as I missed you. I wanted you to think about me all the time and call to tell me that you loved me."
"I did miss you and hurt just as much as you did. I wanted to call, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Believe me; Peter gave me some serious shit about it. He called me a spineless bastard and said I needed to hand over my balls because I was no longer worthy of being considered a man. He even told me that he thought I was sorry sack of shit for the way I was acting."
"I'm surprised you let him talk to you that way," I laughed.
"That's just it. I didn't get mad at all. I just agreed with him. That's how fucked up I was."
It was hard for me to picture Edward like that. He had always been so head strong and self-assured. To think of him as being weak or timid, just seemed so… wrong. We continued to talk about some of our issues and cleared the air about some misunderstandings. We talked about some good memories that we had and even tentatively made plans to go back to some of those places again sometime.
Edward asked about how Lucy was handling her mother's death. I told him that she really didn't seem to miss her that much, but that she missed Clarence and called him occasionally. I told him about her daycare and her best friend, Kiko. We talked about the kind of foods she liked and how she could be hard-headed sometimes. Edward laughed when I told him about the time she refused to take a nap during the day and ended up falling asleep half way up the stairs.
Edward told me about some of the funny things that happened on his European tour. I asked him what ever happened with the legal issues he was having with Jane. He said that she had nothing to pin him with. She had sent herself some incriminating text messages, but they were all during times that Edward was obviously not the one sending them. Almost all the texts were made when Edward was onstage. He said the first three songs they did in the set didn't need backup singers, so Jane would hang out on the bus and play with his phone during that time. He also said that the phrasing was ridiculous, like she would type, "You have a pretty pee-pee" or "You make my thingy hard." I almost rolled off the couch I was laughing so hard.
Carlisle and Emmett got home before Esme. They had enjoyed their day together, and were making plans to play a full round of golf when Carlisle moved to the house on Mercer. Carlisle said that he was planning on working until they sold the house in LA and then he and Esme were going to retire to their house on Mercer Island. He was looking forward to it.
Apparently this was news to Edward. "Why is this the first I've heard of this? Don't you think you should have said something to me about it? Mom is still my manager. I need her here, to take care of business," he huffed.
Carlisle shook his head and said, "Your mother makes phone calls and sends emails. She doesn't have to meet people face to face. We discussed it and decided that Seattle was the place we wanted to be. That's why we bought that house. It's smaller than this place, but it's perfect for us. We don't need a huge place with a lot of extra rooms we will never use. We did set aside a room for you, if you choose to visit, and a room for the kids. We are hoping that Bella will let us babysit every now and then."
"Your house is ready now, isn't it?" I asked.
"Yes. Esme is going to start moving things up there little by little. She is driving up in a couple of days and taking the guest room furniture with her. That way we'll have something to sleep on while we are there. She's going to haul up most of the kitchen stuff with her too. The plan is to keep just the bare minimum down here until the house sells, and then we can load the last of it in one truck load and head on up."
I was curious. "How is the housing market down here right now?"
"It's not great, but we'll see what we get in the way of offers. I hope that the modifications we have done to the house over the years will catch some attention. We meet with a realtor next week, before Esme leaves."
Before Edward could make any more comments or ask any questions, Esme came in with the kids. Lucy came running in, yelling, "Mommy! Daddy! Look what I got!" She stuck out her foot to show off her new sneakers with different colored blinking lights. "These won't make you crazy. Nana said so."
Esme told us, "She wanted a pair that made different noises when you walked and when you stomped hard, it played a tune. I told her that noisy shoes drive mommies crazy, so she settled on the ones that just blink. We also picked up a cute denim skirt and a matching shirt for her. She picked out an outfit and socks for Mason, too. She was pretty sure he needed blinking shoes, but we couldn't find any small enough." She gave us a wink, so we knew that she really wasn't expecting to find any blinking shoes small enough for a two week old.
Edward played with Lucy while I fed Mason. Once he was fed, Edward took him so Lucy and I could go upstairs and pack. We had to leave for the airport in less than an hour. Once we had everything packed up, Esme suggested that we let her ship the majority of the stuff to the house, rather than have to mess with hauling it through the airport. I thought this was a good idea, so I went back through the bags and consolidated them so that I only had one small duffle bag to carry with only the important things in it.
As we loaded everything into the SUV, Esme asked if Edward wanted to ride with us. Carlisle volunteered to stay home, so there would be room in the car. When we climbed in, Emmett sat up front with Esme, the kids were loaded up in the middle, so Edward and I shared the backseat. As we pulled out of the driveway and headed toward the airport, Edward reached across the seat, but stopped before he touched my hand. I could see him struggling with whether he should touch me or not. I could feel the familiar magnetic pull between us. It was like a magical force that drew us together. I moved my hand slightly and put it on top of his.
He drew in a sharp breath and looked at me with hopeful eyes. "Bella?" I could see from his expression that he was asking if I could forgive him for the pain he had caused me.
I knew deep down in my heart that I already had, so I smiled and suggested, "Maybe you can come spend some time with us at our house and see what it's like up there."
Edward's voice cracked. "You would let me stay with you?"
I nodded. "Yes, of course."
He pulled me into a hug and whispered, "Thank you, Bella."
When he let go and I pulled away, I caught him wiping a tear from his cheek. He quickly turned his head to look out the window as he tried to compose himself. I caught Esme sneaking a peek in the rearview mirror at us. She smiled and gave me a wink then turned her attention back to the road and continued her conversation with Emmett regarding what would improve a home's resale value and make it more appealing to buyers.
Edward turned back to me and said, "The kids are asleep."
I looked up at them and smiled. "Yes, there is something about driving in the car that does it every time. There have been a few times when they have both been cranky and on my nerves, so I load them up in the car and start driving around. They are usually asleep within a few minutes and I can have some peace and quiet for a while."
"What do you like and dislike the most about each of them?" Edward asked.
"That's a strange question. Hmm… Let me think." I looked at my two sleeping children. "I love everything about both of them, but if I had to choose one special thing I like the most about each, I would have to say that I love Lucy's mind. She is really smart and loves to ask questions. When she learns something new, she gets really excited about it. I think the thing I love the most about Mason, is the fact that I felt him growing inside of me. Being pregnant is an experience that I just can't describe. Knowing that you are creating another human being inside your own body without having to put any conscious thought into it is an incredible thing."
Edward leaned forward to gaze at our son. "You did a great job."
I smiled and said, "Thank you, Edward. I couldn't have done it without you."
Edward laughed. "I think all I did for this one was provide some of the blueprints. You did everything else on your own."
I shrugged, grinning. "I guess it's a good thing I'm pretty handy."
Edward gave me a sexy smirk. "I like it when you're handy."
I felt myself blush, so I quickly changed the subject. "As far as the thing that I dislike the most of each… Well, Lucy can be a little hard-headed sometimes and it almost always seems to be at the absolute worst time. With Mason, I would have to say the lack of sleep is a little difficult to deal with. I feel like a zombie sometimes when Lucy wants to play and Mason has kept me up all night. I look forward to the mornings when Martin comes to pick up Lucy to take her to daycare for me, because I can feed Mason and climb back in bed."
Edward got a stern look on his face. "Who is Martin?"
"He's my neighbor. He and his husband, George, are Kiko's dads. We help each other out with the kids. Martin and I have a deal worked out where he takes the girls to daycare in the morning, and I pick them up in the afternoon. If one of them isn't home yet, Kiko stays at my house until they come to get her. Lucy loves having Kiko over at the house."
I saw Edward let out a sigh of relief. "I'm glad she has a friend so close. Are there any kids in the neighborhood that are close to Mason's age?"
"Mason's not old enough to have friends yet, but I'm sure he will make some as soon as he is able. I know the daycare has several infants there. I'm not planning on letting Mason go to daycare until he stops breastfeeding."
"Do you plan on playing again soon?"
"I do want to start practicing again, but I wanted to wait a few months first."
"Who will watch the kids while you practice?"
I explained, "Alice will watch them, if she's not working. If she is at work, Jasper said I can bring them up to the studio with me and he will keep them in his office. Alice is setting up a little play area for them in one of small offices that they were using for storage."
Before Edward could ask another question, Esme announced that we were at the airport. As she pulled up to the curb for passenger drop off, Emmett hopped out and started unloading our things while I got the kids out of the car seats. I woke up Lucy and helped her out of her seat, so Edward could unhook it. Esme grabbed Mason, so Emmett could get his seat out. Once we had everything together, Esme gave us each a kiss on the cheek and told us that she would see us soon. Emmett shook Edward's hand and turned to gather all of our things.
Edward seemed at a loss for words. I could see that he was torn up inside. He kissed Mason on his little head and said, "You be good for your mom and let her get some sleep." Then turned to Lucy and told her, "Lucy, you be a good girl and try to be quiet on the plane."
Lucy took his hand and gave it a tug. "Come on, Daddy. We gotta go home. Come on." She pulled even harder. "Daddy, please." She gave him her best sad face.
Edward knelt down and hugged her tightly. "I'll come see you really soon. I promise."
She wrapped her arms around his neck and cried, "Daddy, you gotta come home. I love you."
My heart broke for my little girl. I couldn't believe she had grown so attached to him in such a small amount of time. I saw Edward's shoulders shake as he wiped at his own tears. Esme put her hand on his shoulder for comfort.
He took a deep breath and said, "I love you too, Lucy."
I heard the announcement that my plane was starting to board and we hadn't even checked our luggage yet. "Sorry, Edward, we have to run. Our plane is boarding. If we don't go now, we are going to miss our flight." I took Lucy's hand. "Come on, pumpkin, we have to run if you are going to make it home in time to play with Kiko tomorrow."
That distracted Lucy enough that she let go of Edward's neck and asked, "Can Daddy play with Kiko too?"
I smiled at her. "Sure, when Daddy comes to visit, he can play babies with you and Kiko."
Emmett spoke up. "I'm sorry, guys, but we have to go right now."
I told Lucy, "Come on, I'll give you a piggy back ride to the plane." I bent down and she climbed on my back. Once she was situated, I turned to Edward. "I'll call when we get home… I guess I'll see you around."
I didn't know what else to say. He just stood there with a broken look on his face as I turned and headed inside the airport at a brisk pace.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Now we just have to wait and see what Edward does next.
I almost have the next chapter ready to send to NoWayWithWords, so that she can get it beta'd for me, but first we have a concert to go to. We are going to see Train when they come in concert next week. I'm excited. I know that I mention it in the standard disclaimer every time, but if you haven't had a chance to check out NoWayWithWord's YouTube playlist, you really should. She picks all of the songs for the chapters on this story and posts videos for them. If they don't have a video, she makes one herself. The song that keeps getting stuck in my head is "Little One". I love the video that she made for it. It makes me all teary eyed. The link to the playlist is on my profile page.
Ok, I have got to run.
Christine (A Little Distracted)