AN: I know, I know…I was stuck! I had writer's block and melancholy moments, but my happy is back!
Thanks to mauigirl60 for being my beta and fixing my stories! They are so much better with her help.
This is dedicated to Bec aka Clancy Jane. She helped me get back on silly track!
Thank you for reading and your reviews mean so much!
By the way, I completely relate to Bella in this chapter. You'll see.
Chapter 16: Strawberry Tarts
Mornings for Bella were never the best time of day. She was, not surprisingly, extremely cranky and bossy. Her tresses were a bird's nest of tangles and snarls that, oddly enough, had random feathers protruding from her scalp. That would be Edward's doing, for he insisted on buying overpriced quail down pillows that would leak the offending plumage after vigorous lovemaking. Bella hated them with a bitter passion. She looked in the bathroom mirror and pulled out a feather. She muttered, "There's not enough coffee in God's green earth to deal with these."
Edward, on the other hand, was cheerful from the first moment that light entered their bedroom window. He'd been like that since moving in with Bella and waking up next to her every morning. He didn't need coffee to bring him joy, just Bella's grumpy face. He put his toothbrush down. "Sweetheart, would you like me to brush the tangles out of your hair? I think a small animal might be trapped in there."
Her mouth filled with toothpaste, Bella made a series of noises that barely resembled words, as spittle flew out and onto the mirror.
Edward looked at the mirror in disgust. "How many times do I need to tell you to spit before you try talking?"
He quickly grabbed his cleaning supply basket from the cabinet under his sink and started furiously cleaning the mirror.
Bella spat out the toothpaste and rinsed her mouth. She leaned with her bottom against the countertop and complained, "I'm in a bad mood, Howdy Doody!"
He placed his cleaning rag back down in the basket and put his hands around her waist, pulling her close. "I'm sorry about Mother."
Bella wrapped his arms around his shoulders, as he lifted her up onto the counter. She wrapped her legs around him. The conversation she'd had with his mother last night at dinner had made Bella irate and amorous. Edward was waffling between admonishing his mother and thanking her.
Kissing him softly, she murmured into his lips, "Tell Mama Esme to back the hell off."
"She means well, baby," Edward explained, as he kissed her harder.
Bella bit his lip. Hard.
"Call me 'baby' again and I'll leave a scar." She pulled off her shirt.
Edward put his mouth onto her breasts and muttered gibberish into them, hoping she would think he was agreeing with her.
"Do you want a chance to put that large manly dick into me, Archie?" She pulled down his pajama pants. "Tell your mother not to track down that deadbeat."
"Bella," he pleaded. He was starting to enjoy her random ginger-themed nicknames for him. "Mother just adores you so much that she wants you to have family at the Mother's Day Brunch."
"Bullshit. Your mother just loves my cooking." Bella gave a tiny smile. Esme really did adore her and Bella knew it good and well.
"B...Bella, let me in...please?" He ground his erection into her. Edward felt as if he were going to explode.
"I will...if...you tell your mother not to go searching for the egg donor," she stated, grabbing his face and pulling him close.
Edward looked wildly at her. He needed Bella right here, right now. "I'll disown all of them if that makes you happy. I'll stop talking to every single one of my family."
"You don't have to take it that..." That was when Bella's face went from her normal pale with apple-colored cheeks to a ghastly green. "I'm going to be sick!"
She proceeded to throw up on the both of them.
Edward's highly-anticipated plans of actually getting laid were over. Throwing up really was a mood killer.
Rosalie sat at the counter and watched her friend sitting on the other side, barking out orders to her employees.
"How is that tea tasting, hooker?" Rose asked, taking a sip of her coffee.
Bella looked like she was going to hurl and twisted her body away from the offending smell of her friend's java. "I was fine until you made that stuff waft into the air."
"You love coffee! It's like your blood!" Rosalie said in amazement. "Do you have the plague? Oh, God, you're going to become a coffee-hating zombie!"
"Just shut up," Bella begged, putting her head down on the counter. "Maybe I've been poisoned? Do you think I've been poisoned?"
Alice looked up from where she was cleaning a table. "Did you eat my mom's cooking?"
Bella ignored her. She knew that Alice was a driving force in 'Operation Find Bella's Egg Donor'. That's why Miss Alice was soon to be on toilet scrubbing duty for the day.
Old Mr. Newton chuckled from behind his newspaper. That young lady was with child and that was without a doubt. Michael Sr. remembered the old days when Ethel was pregnant with Mikey and shuddered. He felt sorry for Edward Cullen. Pregnant women were the worst.
"Bella, girl, go on home and let that big hunk o'man take care of you!" Peter exclaimed.
"No can do, Peter Pan! Edward will baby me." Bella looked up. "Would you bring me some orange juice?" Please?"
"Tinker Bella, Tinker Bella have the children clapped three times and given you the magic of politeness? Dearest me, your little bell of a voice has made my heart take flight!" Peter danced around the bakery.
Bella glared. "Liam, get your crazy boyfriend out of my face before I fire him!"
Liam pulled Peter toward the back, shouting backwards at Bella, "I'll quiet him down!"
Rosalie started cackling. "They're going to do it in the back room!"
"Liam, don't you dare!" Bella weakly called. She felt too horrible to really yell. Her head returned to its previous position on the counter.
The door chimed and Rosalie muttered, "Oh, fuck."
Bella didn't raise her head. "Emmett?"
"Oh, no, Bella, it's Garrett."
"What?" Bella raised her head too quickly and clutched her mouth, as she gagged.
Garrett rushed over with a look of concern. He had been avoiding her since she married that vile Edward Cullen. It wasn't fair to Bella and he felt that he needed to apologize. At some point, Cullen would do something terrible and she would need Garrett's support. He would swallow his pride and be the friend she needed.
"Bella, are you okay? Has he done anything..." he began to say.
Bella had both hands over her mouth and just shook her head.
"Idiot, she has to throw up!" Rosalie rushed to Bella's side and started leading her over to the bathroom.
"I have some great herbal elixir that calms the stomach in my car. It has some basil, mint and cilantro..."
Bella turned even greener and shook her head frantically.
The door opened again. Bella groaned, as Kate stomped into the room, her heels clicking obnoxiously against the floor. "You need to get Edward to hire me back! A little gold digger like you will ruin..."
"Hello there!" Garrett squeaked. His eyes were appreciating the gorgeous woman in front of him. He had never been a fan of women in business suits but, for some reason, this woman was an absolute vision. "I'm Garrett!"
Kate was instantly turned on by the adorable hippie in front of her and she usually hated crunchy granola-type men. She wanted this man, however. "I'm Katherine. It's a pleasure to meet you!"
That was it, the most disgusting thing Bella had ever witnessed. It wasn't surprising that Bella threw up on Kate's high-heeled shoes.
As Kate panicked, Rosalie beamed. It was the best day ever.
The Cullen's backyard could be described, in Bella's opinion, as what would happen if lace doilies attacked. She had never seen so many in her life. Every table was covered in them, along with china that had tiny flowers painted on each cup and vases of arrangements of tiny roses peeking out of baby's breath. Bella wondered if Esme had an epic robbery spree of all the older citizens' homes in a sixty-mile radius and had stolen all of their knick-knacks. That would make sense concerning the abundance of the lacy tablecloths.
Esme had invited every mother and child in town to her event, collecting canned goods for the local soup kitchen. It was a very admirable cause but as Bella watched, with a pounding headache, a group of small children screaming and chasing each other on the lawn with paper towel rolls, she just wanted to go home to bed.
"Hey, kiddo, want one of these fancy, tiny sandwiches?" Charlie sat down next to Bella at one of the tables. "I thought one of these cucumber things might be gentle on your belly."
She looked at it dispassionately. "My stomach is feeling a little better today, but my head feels like there are hammers banging on it. I hope this means the end of this illness."
Charlie squeezed her hand. "I'm sorry, kiddo. Sue is planning on making you some of her special soup."
"I should thank her for coming today and being a 'mom' for me." She gave her dad a tiny grin and teased, "When are you making an honest woman out of her, Pop?"
"Soon, I think. You know what that means, right?"
Bella clutched her head. "I'll have to have Leah and Seth as my step-siblings? I think I'm feeling nauseous again."
"They aren't that bad. I think Seth likes you. It's hard to tell, though, with him on that video machine of his." Charlie pointed to Seth sitting under a tree playing his portable video game player.
Bella couldn't help but laugh. That kid was the picture of predictable. She then looked around the grounds. "Where is Sue anyway?"
"She's trying to comfort Leah. That moron Jacob was running his mouth again and hurt her feelings." Charlie rubbed his mustache. "I put him in jail overnight for disturbing the peace."
"He was telling her she needed to be more like little Alice. Leah started crying and he tripped and broke her glass unicorns." Charlie smirked. "He disturbed Leah's peace. Now he can sit in lock-up and think about it."
"You're a good man, Charles Henry Swan."
"You're not too shabby yourself, Isabella Marie Swan Cullen."
Bella stuck out her tongue at him, as Edward came up with a tall wineglass filled with orange juice.
He kissed her hand. "Here's your juice, my wife. Are you enjoying your bonding time with your dad?"
"Yes, Strawberry Shortcake, my father and I are bonding nicely." She squeezed Edward's butt.
"Hey now, kid!" Charlie protested. "No dad wants to see that!"
Edward sat down with them and rubbed Bella's head. "It still hurts?"
"Can we leave in a bit?" she asked leaning into his touch.
He kissed her forehead. "How about I make you a relaxing bath?"
Bella loved the idea of Edward's plan. Maybe the vise on her head would finally loosen. Of course, even the best laid plans could be blown up in an instant.
Rosalie had one hand on Emmett and the other on Alice and pulled them over to the table, Jasper following quickly behind. "These two want to put on a dramatic reinterpretation of their birth for your mother, Edward."
"I choreographed it!" Jasper exclaimed with a bow.
Rose punched him softly in the shoulder, making him wince. "This isn't something to be proud of, brother. If Emmett is going to do what he's saying you told him to do, then poor Esme will be mortified."
"What is he going to do?"
Emmett threw his hands up in the air in excitement. "I'm going to burst out of Mommy's metaphorical womb!"
"It's like performance art!" Alice danced around Emmett. "Edward, Emmett and I are all doing it!"
Bella's mouth dropped open and she stared at Edward. "You're what?"
"Well, Mommy does love abstract theater," Edward explained sheepishly.
Emmett pointed to the house. "We need to get our costumes on."
"What are you wearing?" Charlie asked. He couldn't imagine what kind of costumes would be perfect for this brand of crazy.
"Flesh-colored body suits," Jasper said. Alice kissed him happily. He pulled away and explained, "I designed them myself."
"For God's sake," Charlie muttered. "All of you are damned crazy."
Rosalie put her hands on her hips and turned to scowl at the stage. "This is ridiculous!"
"Or amazingly hysterical," Bella admitted. "I'm filming it on my phone. I suggest you never get out of line, my sweet Bozo, or I'm posting it online."
Edward was immediately regretting his choice.
"Maybe this isn't the best idea," he stated, cringing.
Emmett was going to berate him for being a wimp, when he noticed the much-hated James coming into the yard with a stranger. "What the hell is James doing here with the cougar? Damn, that leopard dress is skin-tight. Meow!"
Rosalie looked over where Emmett was pointing and immediately lost the ability to speak due to shock. That had only happened once prior when she was young and forced to be in a Little Miss Forks Beauty Pageant by her mother. She had been asked to describe her favorite Barbie doll and had immediately clammed up under the harsh lights. She'd had a favorite toy truck, but hated dolls. The fear of that moment made her mute. The fear of what Bella would do when she realized who that woman was had a similar effect on Rose. It was going to be bad.
"What the fuck is she doing here?" Charlie groaned. "Bells, sweetie..."
"My baby!" The woman screeched, as she awkwardly walked on the grass with her high heels. Renee Swan-Harris-McGillis-Shamir-Dwyer, with her teased hair dyed red was quite a sight. Time did her no favors, but she still had a penchant for tight Lycra and caked-on makeup.
Bella cringed as Renee hugged her tightly. The waft of the flowery perfume which radiated off of Bella's deadbeat mother's body made that darn nausea come back with a vengeance. Bella gagged.
Edward pulled Renee off her and pulled Bella close. "My wife hasn't been feeling well, Ms...Ms...umm..."
"I'm Bella's momma, honey! Oh, baby, you tagged yourself a handsome one!" She stroked Edward's arm. "Jamie, pumpkin, you didn't tell me that my baby was married!"
"It surprised us all, lover," James said with a sneer and nuzzled Renee's neck. "We'll all be family soon."
Charlie gave her a disgusted look. "Renee, what are you pulling? This man is trying to steal our daughter's business."
It was surprising that Charlie and Renee had ever been a couple, but they had both been wild children when they were young. Their courtship had been passionate and the demise of their relationship bitter. Charlie had chosen to become a respected member of town while Renee had run off to marry whomever she had the most to offer her. The real loser in this mess was Bella. Renee was the reason for her daughter's fear of love.
"Well, hello to you too, Charles. I met Jamie two days ago and it was love at first sight! I would think you'd be happy for me and my whirlwind romance!" Renee gave him the finger. Classy, she was not.
Bella looked at her mother with sad eyes. "I want you to leave!"
Esme ran over with a bowl of broccoli salad. "I didn't think your surprise would come so soon!"
Alice gave a weak smile. She noticed the tension and felt embarrassed by her part to help her mother get Renee into town a couple of days prior. "Surprise!"
"What did you do?" Bella looked at Esme in anger. "Do you hate me? You must hate me!"
"Honey, I just thought you might be missing your mother and that's why you haven't been feeling well. I love you, Bella!" Esme said in distress, and then she took a good look at Renee. Esme realized her good intentions had gone horribly wrong. "Oh, Bella, I'm so sorry! I'll take care of this. Have some of the broccoli salad the caterer brought. You look pale."
"Oh, no, not broccoli!" The smell of broccoli immediately made Bella's stomach flip and flop. She propelled herself out of her chair and ran over to Esme's prized roses. Edward held her hair and rubbed her back, as she emptied the contents of her stomach.
Renee crowed, "My baby is knocked up! I was exactly the same when I was pregnant with Bella. Broccoli was my worst enemy."
Rosalie gasped, "Oh, shit!"
Charlie fainted and fell off his chair.
Esme's hands started fluttering in excitement.
Edward looked up with a huge smile, as Bella just kept heaving into the pink roses. He was going to be the best dad ever.