A/N: Welcome everyone! *crickets* Anyone?
Kidding… I hope. Anyway, this is my new story. I've been wanting to see a plot like this and couldn't get it out of my head, so here it is. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything recognizable from the Twilight series. Brady and Lola, however, are my creations and I do love them so.
Chapter 1 - Monkey Bars and Purple Princess Shoes
Not only was the weather perfect for a Saturday morning to be spent in the park reading, but the free entertainment of watching its occupants between chapters definitely added to the perfection.
Currently, I was observing an overwhelmed father trying to catch his very sassy daughter as she ran from him, heading toward a shallow swamp where a family of ducks were residing. This ongoing chase had been happening for the last half hour, with the father trying to keep his 4-ish-year-old under control while she made that increasingly impossible for him. Just as he was hot on her trail, the girl ran undeterred into the swamp, thus ruining her white sundress and causing the father to drop his head in defeat. I had the feeling that he had his daughter's mother to report to when they arrived home and that he was not looking forward to that moment.
I chuckled to myself. This was something I saw quite often in my line of work, so you'd think I'd be used to it, but tantrums and mishaps that I'm not involved in are always a knee-slapper.
I turned back to my book to continue reading, but paused when I heard the tinkling laughter of what sounded like a group of toddlers. Turning my head to find the source, I realized that I was wrong. While there were two little ones giggling, there was also a third giggler who was not a toddler at all. In fact, she appeared to be in her early twenties, and yet she was hanging upside-down from her knees on the monkey bars grabbing at the aforementioned toddlers, a girl and a boy, who stood below her playfully tugging at her long brown hair hanging down.
"Guys, for real, stop! Cease and desist! I'm gonna fall!" she yelled in between laughs. They continued their tugging, while the women flailed her arms in an effort to stop them, unsurprisingly resulting in her falling to the ground with a thud. I quickly sat down my book and headed over to the now wide-eyed toddlers and whom I assumed was their nanny, moving to sit cross-legged, holding a hand to her head, and mumbling to the ground.
"Ugh. Not cool, guys. Not cool." They both scrambled to her side, looking a little worried and a lot innocent.
"Are you alright?" I asked as I approached. She snapped her head up, obviously just realizing someone other than the kids had witnessed her fall, dusted off her worn jeans, and smiled at me hesitantly.
"Oh. Yeah….no, I'm fine. No big deal. This is actually the second time this has happened, and I'm really clumsy as it is, so I guess I should've known better. And at least the fall was cushioned by…" she looked down and cringed, "…rocks. Really? Why would they put rocks under monkey bars?" she quickly looked back up as if just remembering I was standing there. "Thanks, though...for coming over and checking."
"It's no problem at all," I smiled.
She turned to the toddlers who were now sitting on her lap, one on each side, and narrowed her eyes, "What's the deal, bugs? Are you trying to give me a concussion?"
"Whas dat?" the little girl looked up at the woman, curious.
She reached down and tucked a light-brown curl that escaped the little girl's ponytail behind her ear, "That, Lola, is when Mommy has to go to the hospital so the doctors can fix her head." That surprised me. So she's their mother. Wow.
I must not have hidden my shock well, because her mouth pulled up on one side and she offered her hand to shake, "I'm Bella Swan, and these two monsters trying to kill me, are Lola and Brady."
Lola and Brady chuckled at that description. I bent down and shook Bella's hand, as well as Brady and Lola's, "Edward Cullen. It's very nice to meet you all." I turned back to look at Bella when the kids took that as their cue to run off and play a few feet away, "Do you normally make a habit of hanging upside-down on the monkey bars, Miss Swan?"
Her smile widened and she blew a piece of hair that had fallen in front of her eyes out of her face, "Only when the occasion calls for it. As for just now, we were pretending to be monkeys, so I certainly think the monkey bars were an acceptable choice. The name isn't just a coincidence, you know."
"Ah," I nodded, "That does make sense. Although I don't know that I've ever seen real monkeys playing on monkey bars."
"Well, you don't know that they wouldn't if they were supplied with them," she countered.
"Good point," I grinned, "Need a hand?" She was still sitting on the ground, so I offered her my hand this time and she took it. "You're sure you don't actually have a concussion? You fell pretty hard."
"Nah, I'm good. At least I didn't black-out this time," she said, completely serious. I looked at her incredulously, but she just smiled and walked over to where the kids were tugging back and forth on a bat. "Hey now, there's no need to fight. One can throw while the other hits," Brady raised his hand in the air toward Lola, "…with the bat! Hits with the bat. Brady-bug, you're up to bat and Lola, you throw the ball."
I followed Bella and knelt down when we reached them, "You guys like playing baseball?" They both smiled and nodded. "I do too! I'm even the coach of a baseball team." Confusion colored their faces. I tried again, "I teach kids how to play baseball."
Their faces lit up and they said "wow" at the same time. Adorable. Then Lola turned and threw the ball, hitting Brady in the head.
"Lola-bug! Frow at da bat, not mys head, silly," he whined to a giggling Lola while rubbing his brown hair over where he was hit.
"What am I gonna do with you guys? Huh?" Bella jokingly asked, poking them in their bellies and inciting more giggles and squeals, "You're too goofy to be mine."
"You goofy, too, Ma!" exclaimed Brady.
"Uh-huh!" Lola agreed. They continued on with their faux-game of baseball, where they basically just threw the ball in random directions and attempted to avoid getting hit when the other swung the bat. It was then that I noticed…
"Bella, is your son wearing purple princess shoes?"
She rolled her eyes, "Yeah. Dude walked straight into the deepest puddle ever created and it soaked through the shoes he came in. All I had in the car was an extra pair of Lola's," she shrugged.
That made me laugh, "Well, purple shoes or not, your children are adorable. Twins, I take it?" I glanced back at them, amused and impressed at their ability to communicate with each other so well despite their young age. Lola was currently explaining to a very interested Brady how to make the grass fly up when you swing at it with the bat really hard.
"Yep. They're about 2 ½ years old. And thank you, I happen to think they're pretty charming," she grinned, "I'm not biased or anything."
"No, not at all." They definitely get their charm from her.
There was no denying that they had good genes coming their way, too, because Bella is absolutely beautiful. Her deep brown eyes and pale-complexion, along with her sweet smile and long, wavy hair could just about take your breath away. It did mine.
"So, what age?"
That brought me back to reality, and I realized that I had been not-so-subtly staring at her. I shook my head, "Huh?"
"Your baseball team. What age do you coach?"
"Oh, right. Well, the ages kind of vary. It's a group of kids from one of the special education classes at the school I teach at, so they range from about 7 to 11. The teacher of the class and I are good friends, so we co-coach the team together. We're the Forks Foxes," I proudly explained.
She seemed genuinely interested, "That's awesome! Do you guys have any games coming up? Lola and Brady would love to watch…" she paused, then started backpedaling, "I mean…sorry, was that rude? To invite myself? My brain-to-mouth filter is kind of lacking," she scrunched up her nose in this cute little way that reminded me of a baby bunny.
"Are you kidding me? We love an audience! The more the merrier." Her shoulders relaxed and her smile returned. Silly girl. "We actually have a game tomorrow at noon, in the field at this park."
"Really? And you're sure it's okay if we come?"
"Absolutely. It's a good time all around. Some of the parents even bring food and drinks and grill hot dogs, so there's the added bonus of free food, too." All of a sudden I really wanted to see her tomorrow, so I pulled out the big guns: enticing her with a free meal, something I doubted a mother of twins could resist.
"Alright, it's a date," she lowered her head and I was pretty sure I saw the beginnings of a blush, "I mean, we'll be there." Her finger nails were suddenly very interesting to her. Finally, she looked up, "So, you teach?" I nodded. "Aren't you, like, too young for that?"
I laughed, "I don't know. Do you think 24 is too young? Teaching 3rd grade only requires your typical 4-year degree, you know," I said, teasing her a bit.
"Right…yeah. I knew that."
I could tell she was still embarrassed, so I tried to steer the conversation toward her, "I mean, look at you. You can't be more than 23, and yet you have two endearing little toddlers and, from what I can see, you seem to be a great mother."
Her head whipped up with a scowl set in place, "What's that supposed to mean? You don't think young women are usually good mothers?"
"What? No! That's not what I meant!" Now I was the one embarrassed, "You're great…I mean, I don't…I'm sure there's a lot of young…"
Her scowl slowly transformed into a smug smile, "I'm kidding, Edward. I'm quite aware of the stereotypes that go along with being a young mother, but nonetheless, I know that's not what you meant. And you're right, I'm actually 22."
I let out a relieved sigh. She's teasing me now.
"That was not nice, Bella. You know, now that I think about it, maybe the stands will be too full for you guys tomorrow…" I tapped my chin as if really considering this.
"Ha, ha," she deadpanned. Her attention was then directed back to what the twins were doing, "Lola-bug, seriously? Grass is not salad; you are not supposed to eat it. Didn't we just go over this yesterday?"
Brady and Lola cracked up, yelling "Yummy!" and "Mmmm", respectively.
Bella began muttering under her breath, "I don't get it. It's a chore to get them to eat their vegetables on a daily basis, and yet grass is considered a Saturday morning treat. Weird kids…"
I cleared my throat and smiled, grabbing her attention again. "So, tomorrow, then? I'll see you guys there?"
"Yes," she smiled, "We'll see you there. Hopefully all with gender-appropriate shoes, but you never know…"
"Hey," I interrupted, "Ain't nothin' wrong with purple princess shoes."
That made her laugh, "I totally agree."
We were both interrupted this time by a pair of squeals and one loud, booming voice.
"Where's my trouble twins?"
Bella turned her head and smiled at the huge man racing toward the kids. My heart dropped in that moment, realizing who it probably was.
Why hadn't I even considered that she was taken? I mean, obviously they have to have a father. And why would Bella be single? From what I've seen so far, she's amazing and beautiful and witty. Did she have a ring on? I didn't even think to check…
"Edward?" Bella pulled me out of my thoughts, "Edward, this is Emmett, my brother. Emmett, this is Edward."
Her brother. Their uncle. Thanks you, Jesus.
"Nice to meet you, man," Lola latched onto his leg while he shoved his hand at me, and I smiled a little too much shaking it. "So, why are you hitting on my sister in the park?"
My smile disappeared instantly, "What? No, I…We just…I was just talking…"
"I know, right?" Bella continued. "I mean, I'm here with my kids and still, he comes right up and starts talking about his fancy college degree and his job and how he coaches baseball…" and then she trailed off.
Oh. Ooooh. They both were grinning at me now and trying to hold in their laughter, "Very funny. Seriously, you're both hilarious." They let go and started laughing. Brady and Lola looked thoroughly confused by their outburst, but eventually joined in just because, and soon I was laughing as well.
"So now that we've all made me look like an idiot…" I started, debating whether to leave and go back to my reading now that Bella and the twins had other company.
"Sorry, dude. I was just having a little fun. It really is nice to meet you," Emmett said, and he sounded sincere.
Then, Bella touched my forearm to get my attention and smiled, and the combination of those two things made me feel something I'm not sure I could adequately describe, but it was nothing short of amazing. "Yeah, just ignore us," she said, "Actually, I promised the kids that when Uncle Emmett got here we'd go for ice cream. You're welcome to join us."
The offer was extremely tempting. I wanted to spend more time with Bella and the kids, but I knew I'd see them tomorrow and didn't want to intrude on time with their brother and uncle, so I politely declined.
I'm not sure, but she might have looked a little disappointed. "Okay. I guess we'll see you tomorrow, then. It really was nice meeting you."
"The pleasure was all mine," I smirked, "And yes, you'll see me tomorrow. I'll be the one looking for you every 10 seconds, so don't leave me hanging."
Bella blushed and looked down, then turned toward the twins, "Say goodbye to Edward, bugs."
There was a flurry of "byes" and waves and high-fives, and then we went our separate ways. I was already anxious to see them again.
A/N: So there you have it, chapter one! Whadja think? Yay? Nay? Next up we have Bella's point of view after our first meeting in the park. Subsequent chapters will be a little longer and more than one scene. I didn't want to overwhelm you right off-the-bat. And if everything goes as planned, I'll be updating once a week, but I'm not sure which day yet.