All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended.
This story is AU/OOC
Mature readers 18+ only please.
A week had gone by since Sammy and Ryan's wrestling match and we'd already been to another meet last night. Sammy was pinned immediately again while Ryan had another big win. Jeff said that he was a natural at wrestling. And Sammy? We were all hoping that he'd go and find a different sport, or even a non-sport, because the kid just wasn't a fighter. Scratch that, he wasn't athletic at all. Sure, we all went to the meets to support both boys, but the truth was—we were all scared to death that Sammy was going to get injured and possibly have to be carried out on a stretcher. Bella and Babs both had their medical bags with them and Randy even showed up at the meets now because he was terrified that Sammy would get hurt.
Tonight was my company's Christmas party. Like every year, all of my employees and their families were invited. We hired an entertainment company so that various booths were set up so the kids could enjoy themselves. We had an arts and crafts booth where the kids could personalize Christmas stockings; a table where kids could decorate gingerbread cookies; a booth where the kids could take pictures with Santa, and a dance floor where the DJ led them in the Hokey Pokey, the Chicken Dance, and more. We even brought in a bouncy house for the kids. We had a full buffet dinner catered in for everyone and we hired a company of psychics to do tarot card readings for the adults. It was a huge hit last year so we decided to continue the tradition this year. The Christmas party, along with the holiday bonuses and gift cards to the grocery store, went a long way in promoting employee satisfaction. It was very important to me that my employees were happy.
Bella and I walked around doing the standard meet and greet. It was a bit tedious, but something that needed to be done for the good of the company. These were my employees and their families and as their boss, it was my job to make sure that everyone felt at home here.
"The food is a huge hit. Hiring Penny and Mina to do the catering was a great idea. They've been hired to do the catering for the governor's ball through your recommendation, Paul. Plus, they've hired Kim to help them out. You have no idea how grateful she is for the job," my wife told me.
"They are phenomenal chefs and Kim isn't so bad either. None of them could hold a candle to you, though."
"Oh, stop, Paul. I only cook well because I love making the man eating my food happy."
"Bull, you cook well because you're pickier than anyone I know about your food."
"Well, that too, but really Paul, you're picky about your food too."
"That's only because you made me that way." I gave her a little squeeze. "Anyway, I've got some bad news. We can't go to London over Christmas. I'm just too busy and I have a ton of people that I need to hire."
"That's okay, we've got all the time in the world to go to London. I have a question, though. How are you planning on hiring workers with everyone on vacation? Your company is closed between Christmas and New Years."
Jeff is giving me a hand. The BIA sent out a job bulletin to all of the reservations stating that we were interviewing for positions. I'm giving Crispy, Tom, and Embry additional bonuses for helping me with the interviews. We're flying to several targeted locations in the United States over the course of two weeks—Washington, Montana, South Dakota, Virginia, and New York. Anyway, I was hoping that you'd come along with me because...well, because I can't be away from you for two weeks."
"What about the Four Corners?"
"I'm going to the Four Corners on Monday. It's near enough to drive to and come home."
"Okay, Mr. Lahote, a grand tour of the United States it shall be."
"Good because I forgot to mention that the first stop is going to be Alaska. We're going to hit Washington right around Christmas." She raised an eyebrow at me. "What? I promised Dad and Mom that we'd celebrate Christmas with them!"
"You dog! You purposely planned it that way."
"That's right and don't you forget it. Besides, I couldn't say no to them, especially after your dad did that disappointed sigh and Sue pouted at me."
"I suppose I can forgive you."
"Anyway, I've chartered a private jet for this—Babs, Jess, and Trina are coming along as well. Crispy and Embry refused to go unless they could bring their imprints along. I couldn't really blame them so I invited Trina as well. She and Tom shouldn't be apart over the holidays."
"You've got a heart of gold, Paul."
"I have my moments."
"Uncle Paul, Aunty Bella!" We turned towards the voice to see Quil's son loping towards us. He was a good-looking boy who had taken after his mother. Rachel was a very beautiful woman.
"Hi, Number Six."
"Pappy is getting married!"
"Yep, he asked Tolinka during dinner last night—before they went off to the in-law to have sex again."
"I thought the in-law was for your Grandpa Billy."
"Grandpa Billy said that he's happier at your house because my mom cooks like shit. I'm glad Tolinka can cook. I'm getting sick of chicken salad. Anyway, I'm here on man business."
"Don't swear, boy," I chastised first before asking, "Man business?"
"Yeah, why did you take Ryan and Sammy to Hooters and not me?"
"They needed wrestling equipment and we just went out for a quick bite."
"Well, I don't think it's fair that they got to go and not me."
"I'll tell you what, Number Six. What if I take you to Hooters? I've always wanted to try their wings," Bella offered.
"Um, no offense, Aunty Bella, but Hooters is a man place. You can take me to my school dance in February."
"No dice, kiddo," I told him, "but I'll see what I can do about taking you to Hooter's."
"Uncle Crispy too?"
"Yep, with Uncle Crispy too."
"Woohoo!" Number Six gave me a hug then scampered away to find Ryan and Sammy—no doubt to brag.
"One day those boys are going to have girlfriends and you'll no longer be the apple of their eye, Bella. What are you going to do then?"
"Meh, I'll still have you. I'll survive."
I took her hand and we continued with the meet and greet. We had a busy few weeks coming up and this was just the beginning. Tomorrow night, we had a holiday party to attend in Oklahoma at the mansion of the Oklahoma governor and his wife who had become fast friends with Bella. They had a ton in common and, after Bella mentioned that I was hiring workers for the highway project and focusing on Native American reservations for new hires, she put her full support behind the measure and was now helping to actively put the word out. The senator from New Mexico was also lending a hand, going so far as sending out notices to pueblos in his state.
Rita, Crispy's secretary and Jeff's mother, came rushing into my office with a frantic look on her face. She shut the door and made sure it was locked before rushing to my side.
"You need to get to the reservation. Elvis called." Elvis was Randy's grandfather—the vet. Yeah, I laughed when I first heard his name too. "He said that Leah's been stuck in wolf form since the day after the party and she can't phase back."
"You heard me, young man. Now get!" She pinched my arm and shooed me out of her office—I mean my office. I swear, my lawyer's secretary—who just happens to be the mother of one of my pack brothers, is abusing me. What did I ever do to deserve having a mother on site? I pay her salary for God's sake.
When I got to the parking lot, Crispy asked, "Your truck or my car?"
"You drive, my arm hurts. Your secretary pinched me."
"Yeah, she does that if you don't listen to her right away."
"Hang on, I'm coming with you," Quil said, jumping into the back seat. "Your secretary pinched my arm. She said I had to go with you guys."
"I'm sorry about that guys. I'd talk to her, but then she'll tell my mom and..."
"Say no more, Crispy. We'll just have to put up with it. Besides, it helps to have her as a contact person."
"That's for sure," Quil agreed. "So, what's going on with Leah?"
"I don't know. Rita said something about her being unable to phase back. Apparently, Elvis has her in one of the horse stables. There aren't any horses there at the moment."
This was nuts! I want to know how many other executives of multi-billion dollar corporations have to go through this sort of nonsense. I wager none.
We arrived at Elvis's clinic, which was housed at a secluded section of the Wa-Ya Indian Reserve. Crispy pulled up in front of the stable. We noticed that Bella, Randy, and Babs were all here along with another vehicle. The three of us quickly rushed out of the car, then suddenly, Quil and I froze. We smelled leech.
Bella calmly walked out of the stable. "I know what you're scenting guys. Don't phase."
"Oh, you'd better have a fucking stellar explanation for this, wife!"
"First of all, keep it together, Paul. He's here to help. Second, he was here before I arrived. Elvis called him. I only found out an hour ago when I got here."
"Um, what's that nasty, bleachy smell?" Crispy asked, crinkling his nose.
"It's the scent of vampire."
"Hey, I thought you said that you met some vampires from Oklahoma?"
"I've never met them. I only know of them. My grandfather's generation was the last to have met them."
"Are you two calm enough to come inside?" Bella asked Quil and me.
"Yes, but you stay right by my side."
"Oh, cut it out. I've suffered open wounds in front of vampires and survived. Besides, the god of the underworld created this guy; he has no bloodlust except for that of predatory animals. He won't hurt me. He might eat you, though." She smiled at me with a devilish grin.
"You scare the shit out of me sometimes, my dear."
We walked inside to find Leah in wolf form, sprawled on her back, with what looked like cabbage leaves all over her...okay, this was confusing as all hell.
"Hello, Paul," Elvis greeted. "I'd like for you to meet a friend of mine. Dr. Gomdah this is Mr. Paul Lahote—alpha of the Quileute-WaYa Brotherhood. Paul, Dr. Gomdah has been a friend of mine for many decades now. We went to veterinary school together. He came here to assist with Leah's problem; which, by the way, has almost been rectified. Dr. Gomdah is with the Wanagi Nation. Crispy has related their tribe's history to you before, if I'm not mistaken."
"Yes, he has. It's a pleasure to meet you, Dr. Gomdah." It was so weird meeting a Native American vampire. His skin wasn't as pale as the Cullens. He was still a bit tan, but pasty. His eyes were golden like the Cullens though.
"We're pretty sure that we've cured Leah's engorgement problem; however, she's been in wolf form since Saturday morning and has been unable to phase back no matter how much she tries. We even phased with her to try to coax her back so at this point, we figured that you and Crispy could attempt to give her an alpha order," Elvis explained.
"What ended up being the problem?"
"Ah, well, it was her body being unable to distinguish itself between wolf and human form. A human female has two mammary glands, whereas a lactating wolf bitch has ten," Dr. Gomdah told us.
I had to take a deep breath so I didn't burst out laughing. Of course, neither Quil nor Crispy could control himself and both started guffawing on the spot. Both Babs and Bella gave them the nastiest scowls they could muster and started muttering about how insensitive they were. Inside, I was laughing just as hard—does that mean that she has ten titties? Five on each side?
"In any case, after we discovered her mammary gland issue, it was a matter of unearthing her unused mammary glands in wolf form and expressing her milk so she could start the weaning process."
"Um, okay." I really couldn't stand biology in school and hearing about Leah's extra wolf titties was nauseating. On top of that, the bleachy vampire smell was unnerving. "So, how can I help?"
"You need to phase and coax her back to human form, Paul. Both you and Crispy."
"Okay, let's do this."
Crispy, Quil, and I took our suits off and phased immediately. Well, first we handed our suits off to our wives so they wouldn't get wrinkled. God, I feel like such a pussy when I say stuff like that, but damn it, suits are expensive and so is dry cleaning. Even Quil gave Bella his suit—Rachel would probably have a fit if he got one stain on his suit.
"Leah? How are you doing?"
"I'm feeling better, but I can't phase back."
"I'm a freak, Paul. I have ten mammary glands. I'm not meant to be human."
"Yes, you are. And if you're a freak, then we're all freaks. How many normal humans do you know that can shift into animal form at will?"
"Do you realize how embarrassed I was? I had to have a vampire diagnose me. He's really a nice guy, by the way. But still, it was embarrassing. After Randy phased in, he called Bella and Babs to help with the treatment because I was so...ashamed."
"You've got nothing to be ashamed about," Crispy told her. "You're the mother of four children and you're doing a wonderful job raising them. This is just a minor obstacle—a tiny health glitch that has now been resolved."
"Oh, sure, I don't see other women with this health problem. I'm a defect."
"You're not a defect, Leah," Quil chimed in. "Nursing is tough on women as it is, and weaning is even harder. Don't you remember how much pain Rachel was in, each time she had to wean one of our kids? And what about Emily? She was miserable because her milk ducts became infected. Many women have trouble with nursing and weaning. You're not any different."
"Quil! I have ten breasts!"
"You only have ten breasts when you're a wolf, not when you're human. A normal she-wolf has ten breasts and a normal human woman has two. You just happened to run into a minor hiccup this time because you phased while nursing."
"But what, Leah? I'm only going to say this once. You're a phenomenal woman. You're able to take out vampires one hour and bake cookies for your kids the next. I don't know any woman that can do that, do you?" Quil continued when Leah didn't say anything. "You gave birth at home to all of your kids because you couldn't go to a hospital. You made the best of a situation that you had no control over. Don't let the fact that you're a wolf consume you. Embrace it. Now, I've had it with your self-deprecation. Leah Clearwater Yorkie, I'm ordering you to return to human form so you can go home and mother your children!"
"Uh, yeah, and that's an alpha order!" I added, because I had to put in my two cents, didn't I? Quite frankly, I couldn't have added anything to what Quil told Leah. I was impressed with the way he handled the situation.
"And I second that order!" Crispy agreed.
It took all of five seconds for Leah to phase back and be standing nude in the horse stall. Quil phased back and Leah dropped into his arms and let him hold her. I had to hand it to the guy; he was being really sensitive.
"Thanks, Quilly," Leah whispered.
"Don't mention it." He looked perplexed before speaking again, "Yeah, definitely do not mention it."
"The fact that you can be sensitive is safe with me. Although, I bet Rachel is already aware of that fact."
Quil shrugged his shoulders. "Probably."
Bella rushed to Leah's side and covered her up with a towel before leading her into the clinic. Babs rushed inside to assist and we could hear Leah pouring her heart out to both ladies.
"Good job, Quil," I commended.
"Yeah, well, maybe I have my moments."
"You definitely do."
"Man, it's tough having a female shape shifter on our team," Crispy commented. "I mean, they get all emotional and stuff."
"If you think a female shape shifter is tough, try dealing with a female vampire. Just one little thing can set them off," Dr. Gomdah returned.
"What are female vampires like?"
"Like normal women. The only difference is that vampire brains seem to be more attuned to everything. It's very uncanny. I still remember being human and I don't recall becoming so engrossed in every little thing I do and feel as I do now."
"Interesting," I murmured.
"Mr. Lahote, your imprint had an odd reaction to me. She is the very first human that I've met who didn't even bat an eyelash upon meeting me. Usually, humans cringe in fear. In fact, the first thing she said to me was, 'Don't eat me. I know my blood is especially tempting.'" Oh, Bella, Bella, Bella—why? "Anyway, I informed her that her blood was, in fact, not tempting to me because—for one thing, my breed of vampire only craves the blood of predatory animals—ironically, not wolves or coyotes; and two, she has your scent infused with her blood and that is particularly rancid smelling to me."
"What was her reply to that?" I had to ask.
"I told him that it was a relief to me that I no longer smell sweet to vampires," Bella replied, walking into the room. "Um, Babs is going to take Leah home and give her a check up to make sure all is well with her."
"Isn't Babs a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner?"
"Yeah, but she knows how to do adult physicals as well."
"So, Mrs. Lahote, how do you know about vampires?" Dr. Gomdah asked.
"I used to date one."
"And you survived?"
"He wanted me to stay human."
"He must have had incredible restraint." I'd say. My God, I lasted less than twenty-four hours with Bella.
"I'd like to hear more about this vampire that you dated."
"Maybe someday. He's not exactly my favorite topic."
"I apologize for my intrusion. It's just that I've never met a human who has had contact with vampires."
"It was a long time ago."
"Ah." With that, Dr. Gomdah dropped the topic, thank God, because Bella looked extremely uncomfortable.
We left the reservation after that. All of us had had long weekends and we were anxious for a bit of a respite—at least for an evening.
Almost two weeks after Leah returned home to La Push, we were there ourselves. We had just flown in from Alaska where Paul and his crew had conducted job interviews in Anchorage. Before that, we had done interviews in Oregon and Montana. The last three days had been exhausting. We were going to be staying at my father's place along with Crispy and Babs. Tom and Trina were staying at Josh and Alison's house while Embry and Jess were at her parent's house in Forks. I knew one thing, I'll be happy never to set foot in Alaska again. I thought I'd never be warm again. Even Paul, Embry, and Crispy were wearing coats because it was so cold.
Crispy, Babs, Paul, and I had just arrived in La Push and were currently staring at my father's Christmas decorations. Paul's eyes were bulging out in absolute horror. Dad had attached the Christmas lights to the exterior of the house, alternating between green and red duct tape. I had to admit that it looked kind of cute. It looked much nicer than the silver duct tape that he used to use on the house in Forks.
"Yeah, I'm going to have to hire someone to paint the house after the holidays are over," Paul muttered.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because, Bella, the duct tape is going to rip some of the paint off when it's peeled off. The exterior is going to be damaged and this is La Push—with all of the rain, the wood will quickly become damaged."
"Paul, you're over-exaggerating. My dad has always used duct tape to put up the Christmas decorations with. It's never hurt anything."
"And this is why you're not allowed near any adhesive products except for medical tape and band aids," Babs quipped from the side. "You can be so damned clueless sometimes."
I looked up at my husband and friends with a big scowl and a pout. I was certainly not clueless. Paul chuckled and tweaked my nose. "I love you, Bella. Just stay away from tools and glue and I promise you that we'll have a long, happy marriage."
Before we could knock, my father opened the door. "Hey, kids. Good to see you." He noticed my sour face. "What's the matter, kiddo?"
"They're all being mean to me."
"They claim that I should stay away from tools and adhesive products. Apparently, I suck at them."
"Now that's not true. I still have all of those nifty t-shirts that you made for me using glitter glue. You're really talented, kiddo."
I humphed at Paul who stood there shaking his head at us. At least my father had faith in my ability with adhesives. I walked inside of the house followed by my husband, Crispy, and Babs. Greetings were exchanged and we all settled into our rooms to drop off our bags before heading back out to the living room to hang out with my dad and Sue.
"So, how is everyone doing?" Sue asked.
"Good, good. Kim is working for Mina and Penny at their catering business. It's working out great because they don't mind if she brings the baby with her to work because Penny has her kids there. That actually saves Trina. I have no idea how she manages to babysit all of those kids."
"Trina's always had boatloads of patience. She loves children. I've never heard her raising her voice—ever."
"Unlike Mom," Leah snorted as she walked into the house with Baby Izzy.
"That's because you and Seth were such rascals," Sue replied fondly, taking the baby from her daughter. She cuddled her happily then looked up at Paul and me. "So, when are you two going to give me grandbabies?"
Oh, not this again. I wiggled uncomfortably in my seat. Fortunately, my husband answered her for me, "Not for awhile. We're still young."
"Young? Young? You should have at least two by now! I don't understand this whole young thing. Why don't you want to give us grandbabies?"
"It's not that we don't want to give you grandbabies, it's just that we're not in any sort of rush to be parents. We still have a ton of things to accomplish."
"Yeah," Babs agreed, nodding her head furiously.
"You kids don't understand the joys of parenthood." She turned to Leah. "Honey, tell Bella how wonderful it is to be a mother."
Leah smiled at her mother then at me. "Take your time. You don't want to become a parent until you're ready, trust me. Kids are wonderful, but they require a lot of hard work and sacrifice."
"You traitor!" Sue yelled. "You were supposed to help me convince them to start having children before Charlie and I become too old to care for their babies!"
"Mother, be happy with the seven grandchildren you have. Paul and Bella will start having children when they're ready."
Sue handed Baby Isabella off to Charlie, then immaturely crossed her arms in front of her chest and started blathering about how she would be in a walker by the time Paul and I decided to give her grandbabies to take care of.
"Well, Sue, you won't be in a walker if you start hitting the gym with Dad and Billy," I told her.
"Bella's right, Mom. You should think about getting in shape in your advanced years," Leah agreed.
"Are you implying that I'm old and out of shape?"
"You're the one who said you'd be in a walker by the time Paul and Bella have kids."
"I'll have you know that I am not old nor am I out of shape! I work full time as a labor and delivery nurse. I'm on my feet all day! I happen to look great for an almost fifty-two year old! Have you seen Brenda Fuller? She's four years younger than I am and she looks like an old hag!"
"Susie, honey, you need to calm down," my father told her.
"Calm down? Calm down? For some reason, Bella and Leah think that I'm old! What kind of daughters do we have?"
"Honey, it's that menopause—it's affecting your emotions."
"Oh, I hate this. I'm always exhausted, the hot flashes are killing me, and gah…no one said that nausea was a part of menopause."
Nausea? Babs and I both turned to each other at the same time with perplexed expressions on our faces. Nausea wasn't exactly a common symptom of menopause.
"Sue, when was your last period?" Babs asked.
"I don't know. My cycle has been sporadic these last few months. I've only had spotting for about four months now."
Leah, who had caught on, turned to Babs and me. Is there any chance that either of you are pregnant?" We both shook our heads in the negative. Her eyes widened and she asked Paul and Crispy, "Do you guys hear an extra heartbeat in the house? There should only be eight, but I hear nine."
"What are you saying?" Sue asked, her eyes round with fear.
"Um, Mom," Paul announced, "I think you're pregnant." Of course, my husband would have no tact at all and just blurt it out.
"What the hell do you mean by how? I give it to you at least twice a week!" my father roared.
"Well, I didn't think...Charlie...your swimmers...doesn't male sperm count decrease with age?"
"Hey! I'm a Swan! We're virile!
Oh, boy, I really don't want to be here for this. "Yeah, um, Babs and I are going to Forks Outfitters to pick up a pregnancy test for..."
"Don't you even think for one moment that you're going to leave me here with them!" Leah interrupted. She grabbed the baby and we bolted out of the house. Crispy and Paul came rushing behind us. We hopped into our rental SUV, buckled the car seat in, and started driving.
"I can't believe you girls were going to leave us behind and make us listen to an argument about parental sex!" Crispy yelled.
"Well, I'm sorry—once my father started discussing his sex life, I became desperate to leave. My brain isn't built to take in that sort of information!"
"Yeah? Well, neither is mine, Bella!"
Paul drove to the diner in Forks where we all sat to have some lunch. "That was weird," he sighed, putting an arm around me.
"Did you really hear an extra heartbeat?" Babs asked.
"Oh, yeah. That ninth heartbeat was loud and clear and it was coming straight from Mom." I found it kind of funny how Paul referred to Sue as 'mom' and I didn't. I just wasn't comfortable calling her 'mom' when I had my own mom in Florida. It's just like how I could never bring myself to call Phil, 'dad.'
"What can I get for you?" the waitress asked us.
We quickly placed our orders then went back to our discussion. "Can a fifty-two year old woman become pregnant?" Paul asked.
"It's rare, but possible. A woman can become pregnant until she reaches full menopause. That's when her period has completely stopped for a full year. I suspect that Sue's been releasing an errant egg or two for the last few months."
"Yeah, but...she's...old. She's a grandmother."
"Age doesn't make her any less of a woman."
"I know that, Bella. I'm just saying—she's getting up there in years to have a baby."
We dropped the conversation and updated Leah on what's been happening in Arizona over lunch. She in turn updated us on the Jake situation, "He filed for legal separation. The judge granted him full custody of the kids with no visitation rights for Angela. He also issued a continuance on the restraining order Dad put through. What else? Oh, she's responsible for her own car payments and for the credit card bill. She ran up almost seventeen grand during the last three months."
"Seventeen grand?" I asked. "What did she buy?"
"Clothes, shoes, handbags, make-up, you name it. It was all for herself. The judge ordered that Angela's name be removed from the credit cards and responsibility for those charges be transferred to her. He said that this would not impact Jake's credit rating at all. I'm not sure how it's done, but it was all done through the courts."
"If Bella ran up seventeen grand, she'd have a ton of explaining to do," Paul commented.
"Yeah, and you guys can afford it."
After lunch, we stopped at Forks Outfitters then returned to my father's and Sue's house with the pregnancy test. Sue took it immediately and went to the bathroom.
"Oh, Taha Aki—whyyy?" we heard her yelling after a few minutes.
"Good to know that you and I weren't the only accidents in the family," Leah quipped. "In fact, it seems like mom and dad have a history of accidents."
Meanwhile, my father was having a breakdown of his own. "Oh God. I'm not going to be able to retire for at least...I don't know...twenty-one more years. I'll be seventy-three by then." His eyes widened. "Nooo—my fishing boat. I'm never going to be able to buy that fishing boat now."
"What was it that you used to tell Seth? Oh, yeah, now I remember. It was 'wrap it up.' I guess you forgot your own rule, huh Dad?" Leah told him.
"Daddy? Are you okay?" I asked. He looked blue in the face.
"Oh, I'll be fine. Bella, sweetie, you'll look after your little brother or sister after I die, won't you?"
I rolled my eyes at him. "Daddy, you aren't going to die."
"Yes, I am. I'm too old to be a father again. I'm going to die before the little tyke turns five. I won't even be able to teach him how to swing a baseball bat or throw a football." I can't believe he's actually whimpering.
"How do you know it's going to be a boy?"
"I'm due! After you and Leah—I'm due for a boy!"
"You had Seth."
"He doesn't count. Harry got to raise him up until the point he became a rebellious teenager. Then I got him."
"Hang on? How come Bella gets to take care of the baby if you die?" Leah asked.
Sue suddenly walked out of the bathroom and turned exorcist at that moment. "Because she and Paul are determined not to give us grandbabies and we want them to know the joy of parenting!"
How the hell did this get turned onto us?
"Exactly!" my father agreed. "Obviously, they don't care about our feelings!"
"Daddy, I swear to God, if you keep this crap up, Paul and I are going to go and stay at a hotel!"
"You wouldn't hurt your old man's feelings, would you? Tomorrow is Christmas Eve."
"Well, you're hurting mine every time you push me to have a baby. I'm not ready. It's that simple."
"Sorry, baby girl. I guess I'm excited for you to be a parent because...well...because you're such a great kid and I know you'd be a terrific mom."
"It might be because I had pretty decent parents myself."
"Yeah, I suppose you did...even if your mom is out there."
"Well, she is. She's a nutter. At least I know Susie's only half as crazy as Renee. This new baby may have a chance of getting through life unscathed."
"Stop! Mommy might be a little scatterbrained, but she's got a ton of love in her heart." I paused to think, then added, "Just not for you."
"Hey, at least we both agree on two things then: we can't stand each other, but we love you. That's progress."
"It sure is, Daddy."
So now you have an answer to Leah's breastfeeding issue. Can you understand why she feels as if she's less than a woman? What did you think of how Quil handled the situation? Were you surprised by his sensitivity? What about Paul and his employee Christmas party? Do you think it's wise of him to show appreciation to his employees by throwing a big Holiday shindig for the whole family? Paul and his team are in La Push now. Do you think he'll get enough employees hired during his grand tour of reservations? Do you like Charlie's ornamental duct tape? Do you think Charlie and Sue will survive parenthood once again? Do you think Charlie and Bella can be trusted with adhesives? Do you think Bella will always be Charlie's little girl? Let me know how you feel about chapter 21 of Intensity and I'll get back to you.