"Alexander Brody Cullen, get your butt in here now!" bellowed Bella from the kitchen.
Laughing, I stumbled through the pile of boxes in the living room, looking for my shoe, which somehow managed to disappear between when I took them off last night, and when I got up this morning. Each box contained copies of Bella's new book, the third in her Sayar Island series. The first two books hit the New York Bestseller's list within two months of their release. And now, we were preparing for yet another book signing at one of the Barnes and Nobles here in Seattle.
Storming into the living room, Bella stubbed her toe on the corner of one of the boxes. "Son of a bitch."
"Nice language, Mom," snickered Alex, stepping out of the doorway.
Bella glared at him, ignoring the smirk on his face and pointed to the kitchen. "Go. Eat. Hurry," she muttered. Leaning up, he kissed her cheek, knowing it to be the quickest way to sooth his mother's grumpy mood. Even though she tried not to, she smiled. "Seriously, Alex, hurry. You and Anthony are going to be late, and he's already done."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm hurrying," grumbled Alex, walking into the kitchen. "Dude, you were supposed to wake us up early."
"I did," scoffed Anthony, his voice traveling through the house. "You mumbled something about carrots and clowns, before going back to sleep."
Bella covered her mouth to stop from laughing, while I made no attempt, knowing full well my sons would know I heard every word they said. Embarrassing information is a must when dealing with a Cullen boy, a fact Bella and I learned the hard way. Shaking her head, she weaved her way around the boxes and headed down the hallway toward our bedroom. Looking over her shoulder, she smiled, reminding once again of why I fell in love with her. She's still as beautiful as the moment I first saw her.
Feeling my ears turn red, I dropped my eyes to the floor, seeing my shoe sticking out from under the couch. Pulling it out, I sat down, putting it on. Today, the boys were started the fifth grade, their first year of middle school, and I'd be lying if I said neither Bella and I were a little worried. Not because the boys couldn't handle it, but because they tended to stick together, and with Anna, forgetting that anyone else was around them at all. We didn't really see the problem with it, but their teacher last year advised us that we should encourage the school to place them in separate classes this year. After much debate, we decided not to, knowing that both boys did better with the other with him.
"Edward, do you know where their papers are?" Bella wondered, coming back into the living room. Instead of the oversized t-shirt and flannel pants she'd been wearing, now she was wearing a red and white floral skirt, with a white short-sleeved dress shirt. Her long, dark hair had been pulled up into a high ponytail, with just a few random stands dancing around her face. Looking up, she caught me staring, her cheeks darkened. "Edward?"
"I'm sorry, what?" Shaking my head, I tried to focus on what she was saying.
She smiled wider. "Do you know where the boys' school papers are? We need to leave in two minutes or we're going to be late."
The entire time she spoke, I found myself lost in the way her lips moved, the sparkle in her eyes, the slight dimple that formed, and the laugh lines around her eyes. Breathtaking. "Edward!" She laughed, throwing her hands up.
"Sorry," I mumbled, dropping my eyes to the floor. "The papers are on your desk, in the red folder."
"Thank you," she giggled, heading back down the hallway toward her office. Yes, I watched my wife shake her ass in the way down the hallway.
Clearing my throat, I stood up and walked into the kitchen, finding Alex and Anthony standing in front of the sink, washing their breakfast dishes. Chuckling to myself, I grabbed myself a piece of bacon, and put my hands on both of their shoulders. Where they used to barely come up to my waist, now they were nudging closer to my shoulders, both of them having grown at least two inches over the summer. Alex's blond hair had darkened a little, while Anthony's auburn hair had brightened. They both insisted on wearing it longer than we'd like, but we opted not to fight this battle with them. They were formidable opponents when they teamed up against us.
"You guys ready for a whole new year?" I snickered, hearing them both groan.
"Oh, yeah, Dad, can't you tell," muttered Anthony, dropping his dish towel on the counter and turning around. He planted a fake smile on his lips. "See, excited!"
"I almost believe you," I chuckled.
"School's stupid," grumbled Alex, fidgeting.
Every year had been the same with them. Anthony complained that school was a waste of time, while Alex dealt with nerves. Still painfully shy around people he didn't know, the start of a new school year was the hardest time for him. Another reason why Bella and I wanted to keep the boys together this year. Anthony knew just want he needed to make him relax.
"It's gonna be okay, Alex," I tried to assure him.
"Yeah, I know, Dad," he mumbled, cheeks heating up. "Better go grab my stuff."
He and Anthony headed down to their bedroom to grab their backpacks while I finished the last couple of dishes. I had just laid the last plate into the rack when I felt Bella wrap her arms around me. I smiled, covering her hands with mine.
"Have I ever told you that I find a man who washes dishes to be incredibly sexy?" she purred. My cock twitched. She still effected me. She always would.
"A time or two." I turned in her arms, capturing her lips with mine.
I never got tired of feeling her lips against mine. Whimpering, she deepened the kiss when my lips parted, inviting her tongue into my mouth. Letting my hand roam over her body, I reached down, cupping her ass, causing her to moan, somehow shifting her body closer to mine. I needed her. In the best and worst ways, I'd always needed her.
"Oh, gees, Dad!" whined Alex, breaking up our moment. We looked over and found him and Anthony facing the door to the kitchen. "We've talked about this. We don't need to see you and Mom kissing all the time."
"And we really don't need to see you copping a feel of her butt," muttered Anthony, shuddering.
Pulling out of my arms, Bella went over and popped him on the back of the head. "Don't say butt," she grumbled. "And don't talk about your dad copping a feel of anything. Now, go get in the car."
"Yes, ma'am," they mumbled, taking off through the house.
Looking back at me, Bella smiled. "They are definitely your children."
"Yes, yes, they are," I smirked, arrogantly. "Now, let's get rid of them so we can come home and play."
Giggling, Bella hurried out of the kitchen, I followed closely. Having already climbed into the backseat of Bella's SUV, both boys were scowling when we climbed in and pulled on our seat belts. Seeing those disgusted looks never stopped being funny to either of us. Checking to make sure they both were buckled in, I started the car and pulled out of the driveway. Looking at our sons once more in the rear view mirror, I smiled when I thought about how much had changed over the last five years since they started school.
One week after Bella and I were married, we formally adopted Alex and Antony, surrounded by our family and friends. We hadn't told anyone of our plans to adopt the boys, wanting at least one part of our life to be a surprise. Instead, we called everyone, begging them to meet us at the courthouse, which they did. When we stood in front of the judge and signed the forms officially making Alex my son and Anthony Bella's, was an amazing moment for us.
My mother cried, because Esme cries over everything. I wouldn't have her any other way. Alice and Rose had grins bigger than the grand canyon, as did Kate and Angela. Emmett, Jasper, Ben, Garrett, and Carlisle had smug, know-it-all looks on their faces, like they knew we'd be standing there all along. Perhaps, they did. Charlie, standing with his arm wrapped around Sue, bore the proudest smile a father could have, next to mine anyway. He'd deny it if asked, but he cried. We all saw, but none of us mentioned it, besides Bella. While everyone's reacts were perfect, they didn't compare at all to Alex and Anthony.
Looking from Judge Sinclair over to me, Alex's lips began to tremble, eyes filling with tears. "Dad, what does he mean that you adopted me?"
Kneeling down in front of him, I placed my hands on his shoulders, struggling to hold onto the smallest bit of self control. "He means, that now, you're a Cullen. Just like Momma and Anthony."
Throwing his arms around my neck, he began sobbing. Picking him up, I held my son, soothing him while letting my tears fall silently down my face. Catching Bella's eye, I noticed her and Anthony watching us, smiles playing over their lips. She leaned in and kissed his cheek, whispering her love for him.
Just thinking about that day brought tears to my eyes. The boys started school the next year as Cullen's, and if you didn't know better, you never would have guesses they weren't brothers by blood. Everything they did was done together, they were best friends to this day. Looking back at them, I noticed they were leaning toward each other, whispering again. Like always.
"What are you two up to?" I questioned. They snapped their eyes up to mine, trying to look innocent.
"Nothing," they replied together.
Bella snorted, pushing her sunglasses on top of her head, and looked back at them. "Whatever you are thinking, don't. It's not worth it."
"Mom, we're not doing anything," lied Anthony. Straight out lied to his mother. I cleared my throat, pulling their attention back to me. "We're not, Dad."
"Just make sure you think really hard before you decide to do whatever it is that you're not planning, okay?" I cocked an eyebrow, making myself clear.
They rolled their eyes, looking out their windows. "Yes, sir."
Pulling up in front of their school a few minutes later, I climbed out heading around the car to open the door for Bella. She blushed, like she always did. The boys climbed out, pulling their backpacks up on their shoulders, and looking over to the front door, where a couple dozen kids were pushing their way into the school. Watching Alex, I saw his eyes darken, his hands clenched into fists. Pulling on his bottom lip, he looked back at us.
"Everything's going to be okay." Bella placed her hand on Alex's arm. "I promise."
"I know," he mumbled, stepping over and hugging her, causing Bella to smile.
Neither of our boys had gotten to the point where they didn't want us to hug them. Hugging Anthony next, Bella and I stood next to the car while they headed over to the front doors, weaving their way through the masses and into the building. Bella brought her hand up, sniffling as she wiped away a tear. They never failed to choke her up on the first day of school.
"Come on, baby, let's go home," I whispered, kissing the side of her head.
"Okay," she whimpered, letting me help her into the car.
Making my way around to the driver's side, I spotted Ben and Angela a few spots back. They rushed around the car, trying to get Anna out and into the the school before the final bell rang. I chuckled, knowing how frazzled they felt. Anna had grown a lot over the summer, too. She stood an inch taller than Alex and Anthony. She and Alex were still "going out" as they dubbed it, and she had spent most of the summer at our house. Angela picked up the new addition to their family, three week old Jude Thomas, holding the dark haired baby boy to her chest, and following Anna and Ben into the school.
"We need to make stop," Bella mentioned, cryptically when I pulled away from the school. Raising my eyebrow, I looked at her, waiting for her to enlighten me. "I'm late."
It took exactly two seconds for her words to dawn on me. Pressing down on the gas pedal, I took a right, heading for the first drugstore I could find. "Slow down, Edward," she laughed, placing her hand on my arm.
Letting up on the petal, I sighed. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, but only a couple of days," she murmured.
"Why didn't you say anything?" I pressed.
"I don't know." She shrugged her shoulders. "I didn't want to get my hopes up. You know, in case this is another false alarm."
Taking a deep breath, I lifted her hand to my lips. "I know, baby, but if it is, we keep trying. Okay?"
She nodded, looking out the window. "I just...it's been almost two years."
"Yeah, I know," I muttered. "Me too."
Two years of trying to have a baby, and two years of coming up empty. Both of us tried to be strong, and we were for the first year, but month after month of trying, with nothing but a dozen negative pregnancy tests had been difficult. It didn't help that Alex and Anthony were both still adamant about getting a baby sister, or two. After the first year, Bella went in to see her gynecologist, just to make sure everything was okay. Dr. Garrison assured Bella that she was fine, and that she needed to relax. We tried, but with another year passing, we both were feeling the strain.
I parked in front of a Walgreen's, and looked over at Bella. "Want the same ones as usual?"
"Please," she replied, smiling. Leaning across the front seat, I kissed her.
Heading inside the store, I walked straight back to where the pregnancy tests were, right next to the condoms. Ironic, I thought. Grabbing a Clear Blue Easy and First Response, I went up to the cashier, ignoring the smirk on the pimpled faced kid working the register. Tossing him enough cash to cover the tests, I grabbed the bag off the counter and walked out.
"Here you go," I chuckled, handing her the bag when I climbed back into the car. "Do we need to stop and get you a Mountain Dew, or can you pee?"
"I can pee, thank you very much," she grumbled. I laughed, remembering a few months ago having to run out and buy her a one liter drink. "Just hurry, or I'll be forced to take these right here."
Pulling out of the parking lot, I headed back home, driving a little faster than I normally would, but I was just as anxious to find out whether or not Bella was pregnant. By the time I pulled up in front of the house, she was bouncing in her seat, muttering under her breath for me to drive faster. I shifted the car into drive, and Bella sprinted for the front door, clutching the bag behind her.
Laughing, I followed her in, settling on the end of the bed and waited. Each second seemed to tick by at a snails pace, dragging on and on. My heart beat against my ribs. I've spent too many moments sitting on the edge of this bed, waiting and hoping, praying and trying to hide the disappointment when we came up with one line, not two.
Sighing, I pushed myself up onto my feet and knocked on the bathroom door. "Baby, do you know yet?" Leaning with both hands on the door frame, I took a deep breath. Bella pulled open the door, a look of utter shock all over her face. "Do you know?" Without a word, she held the stick out to me. I took it, flipping it over so I could read the results. Snapping my eyes up to hers, I gasped. "Are you fucking serious?"
"Yes," she whimpered, falling into my arms. "Two lines."
I know! How could I leave it there again? Well, I did, because I can. One evil writer right here. Barely a week, and I had already missed these guys...So in case you didn't catch it, Alex and Anthony are now ten, starting the fifth grade. Which means just over four years have gone by. Hope you enjoy this little tale, and be on the watch for some outtakes from the first one.