Sweet Child Of Mine

Chapter 23/Epi

BPOV

Despite my newfound security of being a happily married woman, I still feared another unplanned pregnancy and every period was greeted with delight not often felt by other women. I wanted Dylan to have his time in the sun before being usurped.

Edward adored him and doted on him whenever he was at home before and after work, and his office hours were already down to four or five a day. He never left the girls out and if they were home from school as well, he was careful to be equally attentive to all three.

It was exhausting to me, always juggling three balls in the air and trying to never favour one child over the others.

Dylan was a baby and babies are just so gorgeous and they don't answer back. They just love you and accept your love with a big toothless grin. How can you help not enjoying them a little more than a defiant four year old?

Lucy struggled sometimes. I put it down to too many changes too fast. It had not happened in the time frame I had wanted, and I knew we had married too fast and added a baby too soon, but those were the facts and we had to work around them.

I didn't regret keeping Dylan for a moment but had I had a choice, he would have joined us several years down the road. After the girls adapted to our new family status.

Lucy had been used to being the sole center of attention and she had also had Renee doting on her as well, so suddenly sharing Mommy with a sister her own age and a baby who by default, was demanding and needy, was starting to show.

She switched allegiance and decided she preferred her father to me, but that was expected. He was the new parent and something of a mystery to her still. She could not enter our bedroom without picking up that framed photo and hugging it to her chest.

So much for not missing what she never had. Clearly she had craved a father and now she had one, she wanted him to herself, which wasn't going to happen.

I had always planned to give Lucy a lot of Daddy time while I took Tori out with me so we could bond more but then Dylan came along and Edward was so excited that we were sharing this experience that he preferred we did things as a complete family.

The few times I insisted he take Lucy out on a Daddy Date, Alice had stepped in and minded Dylan for us, but now she was spending more time gripping the sides of the porcelain god as her second pregnancy announced it's presence.

Jasper coped by taking over all care of Austin, and he was often here visiting while Alice tried to rest. This pregnancy was a nightmare from day one. She couldn't sleep, and was restless and hyper. Although she had gotten tired at the end of her last pregnancy, this one exhausted her completely before she was even showing. Carlisle predicted it was a girl and the hormones were playing havoc with Alice's system.

She was completely unprepared to feel so bad and I suspect this baby would have been conceived five years later had she known ahead of time how hard it would make things. She couldn't work but Austin still attended childcare as she couldn't care for him, either, when Jazz was working.

Our girls were still going to Jess's every weekday mainly because they wanted to, so I did get plenty of alone time to spoil Dylan. There's something about the first baby who is the opposite gender. I adored him and lived and breathed him but never at Edward's expense. I guess I will never love anyone as much as I love him.

I did the smart thing and got my son into a routine where he slept of a late afternoon when the girls were home, so I could devote myself to them after school each day.

Lucy's drawings spoke volumes. There was Edward, the largest stick figure on the page, always drawn with care and more detail than anyone else. He was the new center of her universe.

Next in size was Lucy herself and she was always holding his hand. Tori was a smaller image, I was positively tiny and Dylan didn't exist. If pushed, she would reluctantly add a stroller in the far corner and would announce he was sleeping.

Tori on the other hand, drew herself largest, as most kids their age did, but Lucy was always almost the same size. Then Edward, Dylan and I were smaller but equally sized to each other.

The latent psychologist in me found it fascinating. Tori was coping amazingly well with our family life, Lucy less so.

Some of Lucy's drawings showed just Edward and herself and the rest of us were 'away' somewhere.

I wanted to make Dylan more acceptable to her, she could not fail but notice how much Edward loved him and I could see the seeds of jealousy beginning as she scrutinised his actions with his son, and she always watched his face. Edward wore his heart on his sleeve. He had craved a 'normal' family for so long, and a baby he and I would raise together, that he didn't notice how Lucy was counting every smile he gave to the baby, and no doubt, totalling up the ones he gave her.

I was sitting at the kitchen table one day with Alice, sorting through the latest snaps and adding them to the three large albums we had made for the kids, so they would always have their own to take away with them when they married or whatever in the future and Lucy sat up at the table and started looking through hers from the start.

Emmett had done wonders. There were family events that Lucy and I had now attended. There were photos of each member of the Cullen family with newborn Lucy and somehow it took away the sting for me that I had felt so alone back then. That photo of Edward worshipping Victoria's belly was altered and now he was worshipping the two little baby girls propped 'together' on a sofa.

"I don't remember Daddy," Lucy growled.

"I don't remember him either when I was a baby. I don't remember you or Mommy or your house before you lived with us," Tori replied, standing beside her sister.

"That's normal. I don't remember much before I started going to school," Alice said. "I can't even remember a time before I knew your Mommy, and I was five when we met. Sometimes when people visit and don't live in the same house as you, it is hard to recall them until you become a big girl like you are now."

"You didn't have Daddy in your house with you but I didn't have Mommy in my house," Tori pointed out.

"But you had the Bad Mother Toria, and I had no Daddy at all," Lucy replied.

"I don't remember her. Not before she took us away from Mommy and Daddy," Tori whispered, shaking. "Not before Edward kitten."

I lifted her onto my lap and kissed her head.

"Daddy and Uncle Emmett and Uncle Jasper kept you safe and brought you back home. She

didn't hurt you, Sweetie. You were just a bit scared."

"I wasn't scared," Lucy retorted. "I was going to shoot her with a gun."

Rose and Emmett arrived at that moment and my sister-in-law raised her eyebrows.

"I made gingerbread ladies, who wants to decorate them?" she asked.

Alice took Dane from Emmett and kissed the baby then handed him back.

"Sorry, my ligaments are delicate and carting The Incredible Hulk about is probably a bad idea. Who's a clone of their Daddy, Dane boy?" she asked.

I watched from the window as I fetched dull bladed knives for the girls to use with the tins of frosting.

All three Cullen men were standing side by side, each holding their sons.

"Go take a photo," I whispered to Alice. These were the times Edward had wanted. Just hanging with his brothers, and the little boys, talking men talk. Just being a husband, like they were. Just sharing times with his family as an equal and not the disgraced son who visited from NYC now and then with his motherless daughter.

Lucy spent an age decorating Edward's cookie and he realized that and praised her for her efforts and she was satisfied with his reaction, but I knew she wanted to be where Dylan was so I scooped him from his Daddy and placed him in the playpen.

Edward lifted the girls onto a knee each and made a big production of tasting the cookies his girls had made for him, and I placed a coffee on the table in front of him and kissed the top of his unruly hair.

"I want that," Jazz remarked. "I want a house full of adoring women doting on me."

"Edward's always been the one the ladies notice," Emmett laughed.

"Jess says he is the best looking man in the state," Tori stated proudly.

"I wonder if Mike knows that is what she thinks," Jazz laughed.

"Of course he does. He knows he is but a poor substitute for Edward. You notice their wedding got postponed until Bella raced this boy down the aisle. She wasn't taking herself out of the running until he had a gold band welded on his finger," Rose added.

"You people amuse yourselves," Edward replied. "I'm sure you all imagine these things."

"Like I imagined that waitress wanting to race you into the bathroom at that restaurant?" I queried. "I wasn't game to order steak in case it came with a steak knife and she lost control."

"I can't say I noticed. The sexiest women in the country was, um, holding my knee. I couldn't even read the items on the menu. We had the top dish on the list. Some sort of pasta thing. I just wanted to leave and, er, get to bed for a good night's sleep."

"Mushroom ravioli," I informed him. "Whatever happened to that box of dessert? We never ate the cream pie."

Emmett opened his mouth and shut it again, realizing the kids were present and he couldn't make an Emmett joke about it.

"I'm sure Bella had another dessert waiting for you back at the cottage, right Bellarina?" he settled for.

"We had outdoor dessert on the bridge and then more dessert inside afterwards," I replied, feeling my face blush annoyingly.

"Jess says dessert should be only served now and then or you will get fat," Lucy added.

"Yes, Bella. It's a wonder you haven't ended up as fat as a cow after all that dessert," Jazz said with a grin. "You know Edward's dessert tends to leave you bloated."

"Not this time, for a change," I replied, touching the wooden table top for luck.

"Could we leave Austin here while Jazz and I rush home and get that thing we forgot?" Alice said, standing up hurriedly and grabbing her husband's hand.

"Is it a dessert?" Emmett asked smirking.

"Go, go get that thing," Rose encouraged. "Looks like stage two of the pregnancy symptoms just kicked in," she said knowingly.

As they left, Lucy looked at the front door as it swung shut behind them.

"They could have just had cookies. Cookies can be dessert."

"I think cookies are a bit too quiet for what they wanted to eat," Emmett said, ruffling Lucy's hair.

Edward silently lifted the girls down and coughed.

"Bella, we need to talk. Upstairs. You and Rose will watch all the kids for five minutes, right?" he asked his brother.

"Like you can carry out a complete conversation in five minutes. Yeah, go ahead. I guess Rosie and I can play nursemaid while you two 'talk' but keep the noise down or we will join you."

"Mommy and Daddy don't yell and fight," Tori stated.

"Oh really? Then things have changed a lot since High School. They were always screaming back then," Rose grinned.

X~x~X

EPOV

It was strangely erotic, knowing that my brother and Rose knew exactly what Bella and I had to talk about and in fact, not a word was spoken.

My wife pushed me against the bedroom wall and undid my pants and had them around my ankles, then she lost her panties and sat on the wide window sill in the dormer window. She'd insisted we have a reading nook there, but I'd never seen her lay here and read anything. The wooden bench was covered with a thin layer of cushions. I shuffled over and turned her so she was on her hands and knees, facing the empty backyard, her curvy backside right in front of my pelvis.

As I sank inside her warm wetness, she shocked me yet again.

"Do you ever want to try someplace no man has been before?" she asked in a whisper.

"You mean...?" I choked, grabbing her hips as I hardened even further. Who knew that was possible?.

Emmett always said not penetrating every orifice was like owning a house and never using the back door. To him it made no sense. Jazz never joined in those conversations, so I figured he wasn't a fan.

"God Bella. I want you in every single way, I always have. We could try that sometime. I can't imagine it could feel as sweet as this, but it is definitely a place I'd like to explore further," I replied breathlessly. This woman rocked my world constantly.

I grabbed the lube and slid two fingers inside her and watched her come undone as I thrust harder inside her even while I started gently preparing her for new things to come.

She bit down on her lip and hardly made a sound, to her credit. I muffled my cry into her hair and stilled, feeling the final spasms jolt through us.

I kissed her neck and her back and she turned and I claimed her lips with my own and pressed her body against the glass of the window.

"I hope that is safety glass," she laughed as she wriggled free of my arms.

Emmett's detailed dialogue was coming in handy for once. I'd always assumed Rose merely allowed that activity without getting anything out of it herself but the way Bella writhed at my touch, I was rethinking that now.

It occurred to me afterwards as Bella showered, that Victoria had made me the same offer once and I'd cringed and rejected it without thought. But Bella was mine and I wanted to know every inch of her intimately.

Maybe some women did like it.

Vic had liked it. One night after consuming a large portion of a bottle of Jack, we'd done something I had never anticipated. I'd participated in a threesome and I'd been sober enough to claim her in the more conventional orifice, while some friend of hers banged her elsewhere, and I had sworn to never be party to group sex again.

For some reason, I'd been the one who felt demeaned by the experience. God knows we had only ever been feral and fucked like animals, but this was a step too far.

That had been the final straw and I'd never touched Victoria again after that night, drunk or sober.

I guess it had proved to me there was nothing at all between us, seeing I'd seen another man fucking her as well and felt nothing. No outrage, no jealousy, no sense of betrayal or ownership, not anything at all.

Vic had informed me I was a prude and backdoor sex didn't even count. She'd gotten through High School as a virgin by only allowing boys to take her there. Even after she gave it up to some guy in college, she still considered herself monogamous if she only allowed randoms backdoor action when her current boyfriend was away.

This is why you should always start any interaction with a potential fuckbuddy with a full and complete disclosure. Had I known her history and her habits, I would have gone home alone that damned birthday night.

I would have never even spoken to her again had she not conceived. I always told myself it had not happened that night and I still pray to God that it's the truth. Please let Tori have been conceived earlier, before contempt and hate replaced the lust I'd felt for Victoria.

If I was ever even slightly tempted to relieve my stress in her again over the next months, a recollection of that night soon killed any lustful thoughts.

It would be entirely different with Bella, I told myself. But even as I thought that thought, I did wonder if I'd go through with it. I loved that she had offered and I was curious but was it us, really? Did I want to use her that way?

It didn't seem to be about love at all. I know we sometimes tried positions where she was not facing me, but my own favourites were always those where we could gaze into one another's eyes and watch each other truly meld together, often at the same instant.

I stepped into the shower stall behind her and started washing her body, and kissing her throat.

"We have to go downstairs or Emmett will come up and attempt to 'surprise' us," she warned.

"Probably with a camera in his hand to add to the yearly video collection," I added.

Bella was washing me herself and I marvelled at the small soft hands that gently touched me.

"I don't think I want to try what you suggested," I told her quietly. "It doesn't feel like something done from love alone. I truly respect you too much and I would always feel like you were enduring that for me, not enjoying it yourself. And I could never do anything that might hurt you, Bella."

"It's okay. I'm not really sure I want anything more in that place than has been there already," she answered, kissing my hands. "I didn't want to disappoint you by rescinding the offer but I do admit, I was not looking forward to it. Rose says it's something we have to endure for our men, but knowing that just makes it seem more like a punishment than an adventure. Do you have another fantasy we could try instead? I owe you one."

"Then yes, I do. My fantasy was to have you love me again, and that has happened so my next fantasy is that you love me forever. Until death do us part. I never want us to lose the connection and if it starts to fade, swear to me we will work on it and change things and never let this weaken. In good times and bad, sickness and health we must always put our marriage and relationship first. You will be tempted by other men, I dare say someday there may be a woman I notice though I can't imagine it yet, but when that happens, we need to rush home to one another and strengthen our bond. Use whatever we need to, to ensure we will always be solid and strong and unbreakable, because that is what these children need. Parents who can endure anything life throws our way."

"We already know what it's like to be apart, Edward. That never worked so well for either of us.

So, this is it. Eternity."

"Eternity," I promised. "No measure of time with you will ever be enough, Bella, but let's start with forever."

The End

This one might get a sequel one day, I still feel like there's more to say for some reason.