Disclaimer still applies.
Many thanks to jbeaucage for all her help!
"We saw a Papa Smurf balloon and Hello Kitty." Marie dropped another mini marshmallow into her hot cocoa as she relayed the events of the morning to Edward's parents.
"Don't forget SpongeBob," Anthony reminded.
Bella, Edward and the children were spending Thanksgiving weekend in New York City with his parents. The two bedroom suite that Esme and Carlisle resided in when they stayed in the city was impressive to say the least.
On Thanksgiving morning, the doting grandparents had insisted that Bella and Edward leave Lottie behind with them while taking the older children to see the parade.
"It was the biggest parade I ever, ever, ever saw!" Marie exclaimed, her eyes wide with wonder.
Anthony shrugged. "I told you it was the best. I've seen it lots of times…"
Edward chuckled to himself and bit back the urge to tease his young son. Anthony had only seen the parade a total of three times in his life, including today, but was obviously playing the role of the more experienced older brother to impress his little sister.
"You're so lucky!" Marie exclaimed before turning back to Esme and Carlisle. "And Daddy got us tacos from a man with a cart!" the volume of Marie's voice increased as her excitement escalated.
"Edward," his mother clicked her tongue disapprovingly, "There are at least five excellent restaurants in the vicinity, and you purchased lunch from a street vendor?"
"Mom, it was great. Besides, I wanted Bella and the kids to get the entire New York experience."
Bella beamed at his side, "It was wonderful."
Esme sighed then and shook her head.
"Well, it sounds like you had quite a memorable morning," Carlisle interrupted in an effort to change the subject.
Both children nodded eagerly.
"I don't know, though." He pursed his lips. "You haven't mentioned the part of the parade that Edward always said was the most important."
Anthony frowned. He was at a loss to know what his grandfather was referring to. He looked toward his dad for a little assistance or even a hint. Edward merely smiled at him.
Both children stared at one another, images of everything they'd seen that morning flashing through their minds. Whatever it was, it had to have been around when Daddy was a little boy, about a million years before.
"It is the most important part, because it means that Christmas is right around the corner." Edward finally spoke, deciding to put the kids out of their misery.
Marie and Anthony looked at each other with wide eyes. "Santa Claus!" They exclaimed in unison, bringing forth chuckles from the adults.
"I can't remember a time when I wasn't cooking on Thanksgiving," Bella announced as they waited for their dinner to be served.
"I can't remember a time when Esme did," Carlisle joked, earning a grim look from his wife.
When Edward had told her that his parents would be taking them out, Bella had a feeling that the restaurant would be lavish.
They had traveled by water taxi from Manhattan, arriving practically at the doorstep of the Water's Edge restaurant.
The children were as excited about the boat trip as they'd been about the parade earlier that day.
"Well, if your father would come to his senses and move back here," Esme spoke the words to the children, but they were clearly intended for Edward, "you could enjoy all the wonderful things that New York has to offer every day of the week."
Both children frowned, which pleased Bella, but Edward merely shrugged while remaining silent on the matter.
Bella tried to ignore the entire incident, but Edward's lack of response made her uncomfortable.
Once seated, her attention was so absorbed by the view of the Manhattan skyline beyond the wall of windows that she barely had a chance to glance at the menu before the server arrived to take their order.
Thankfully, her choice was easy; a traditional Thanksgiving dinner being one of the options.
"So Bella, I know last year you all had Thanksgiving with your parents." Esme began, "Are they having a quiet dinner alone this evening?"
Bella shook her head, a smile playing on her lips. "No, definitely not. There are always a lot of people at Mom and Dad's for Thanksgiving; aunts, uncles, cousins, friends of the family. They arrive on Thursday morning and don't leave until Sunday. This weekend is the only time all year that we get to see some of the out of town relatives." Even though she tried to mask it, Esme detected a hint of sadness in Bella's tone.
The arrival of their entrees caused enough of a distraction that Bella wasn't forced to speak any more about what she was missing back in Winter Harbor.
"I'd forgotten how delicious the food was here…" Edward remarked as he popped another bite of his New York strip into his mouth, closing his eyes and moaning softly at the taste.
Bella shifted in her chair. She couldn't quite put her finger on why, but his reaction made her a little nervous.
As they ate, Esme didn't even attempt to hide the fact that she wanted Edward to move back to New York. Instead of challenging her, Edward merely smiled and attempted to change the subject whenever she brought it up.
By the time dessert arrived and the children were digging into their chocolate cake, Bella had stopped participating in the conversation altogether. Lottie was dozing in her arms, and not wanting to wake her sleeping infant seemed as good an excuse as any to fall silent.
The next day, at Esme's urging, the entire family paid a visit to F.A.O. Schwartz, the children suitably impressed by the sheer size of it. As they had feared, however, it was a madhouse. Although admittedly, shopping anywhere in New York on Black Friday would have been the same.
Edward was tickled that Bella seemed just as starry eyed as the children after the experience. Many Christmas gifts were purchased for Marie, Anthony, and Lottie, however, because Esme arranged to have them held at the store until she could send for them, the children were never the wiser.
"If I were to ask you a question, would you be honest with me?" Bella listened for Edward's answer as she tucked Lottie into her portable crib that evening.
"Should I be worried?"
Bella looked up to find him standing in the bathroom doorway, toothbrush in hand and a towel slung low around his hips. For a moment, the memory of what she wanted to ask escaped her; in its stead the only conscious thought involved making him lose the towel while taking her into his arms.
She closed her eyes and licked her lips, trying to dispel the image of Edward wrapped around her in that enormous bed.
As soon as she opened them again, the glint in his eye told her that he was on to her.
She was so busted.
"Mrs. Cullen, are you feeling a little tense? Because I can help you with that," He purred as he crossed the room coming to a halt directly in front of her.
His warm touch on the bare skin of her arms caused Bella to shiver. "Cold?"
She gave a small nod.
"Come on; let me fix you a bath."
"Will you join me?" Bella asked hopefully.
Edward grinned and nodded. "I would have delayed my shower if I'd known you'd get Lottie to sleep that quickly." He reached for the hem of her shirt in order to help her undress. Bella placed her hands on his; stilling his movements.
"I need to ask my question first." She looked into his eyes and placed her hand against his chest, bringing it to rest over his heart. "And I need a truthful answer, not what you think I want to hear."
Edward pursed his lips. "Sounds serious."
Bella nodded and took in a deep breath. "Do you miss New York?"
Edward's eyebrows rose. He paused to think about what she'd asked before giving a slight shrug, "I suppose there are some things I miss about New York. Nothing I can't live without though."
Bella bit the inside of her cheek, knowing she needed to be more specific in her questioning. "Edward, I just want you to know that if you ever felt the need to move back, I mean if Winter Harbor ceases to be enough for you, I will understand, and I'll pack our things in a heartbeat."
Edward's mouth fell open in surprise. "You would give up your life for me?"
Bella nodded. "My life is where you are."
Edward regarded her in silence for a moment. "Angel, you never cease to amaze me," he whispered before leaning in to kiss her tenderly. He pulled back and stared into her eyes. "Just so you know, I love the life we have together, I love Winter Harbor, and I do not see that changing, ever."
Bella smiled, although her brow was still creased with worry.
"Yeah, I love the city too, but Bella, most of the years I spent here as an adult were pretty fucking dismal. If it hadn't been for Anthony…" He trailed off, knowing that the arrival of his son had saved him from a future riddled with poor choices and unhealthy relationships.
"But whenever your mother mentions you moving back, you don't challenge her, so I just thought that…"
"That I was agreeing with her?" Edward interjected.
"Yes." Bella's response was a whisper.
"Bella, where my mother's concerned, I've found that it's better to let her think that you're giving her suggestions serious consideration. She can be a real pain in the ass if you argue with her. I usually just let her assume what she likes. I'm sorry; I should have realized that would upset you."
Bella released a breath and gave him a small smile, feeling somewhat relieved by his explanation.
Edward pulled her against him, "Angel, I know that I originally told you that I moved to Winter Harbor for Anthony's sake, but fleeing New York was done as much for me as for my son. Some of my happiest summers were spent in Winter Harbor with my grandparents, and I wanted that again."
"How many people can boast of living in a community where it's not necessary to lock their doors? Where the merchants are on a first-name basis with every customer? Where the citizens define the term "good neighbors"?
Bella smiled as Edward recounted the reasons that he loved her hometown.
"I want Anthony to have that. Hell, I want it for myself as well." He chuckled.
He moved the palms of his hands up and down Bella's arms, lightly stroking her flesh in a comforting manner as he continued, "When I met you, I knew it was fate that compelled me to leave New York. I know it sounds sappy, but I believe I was meant to find you. Having you in my life has made me happier than I thought possible, definitely happier than I deserve." He gave her a mischievous grin and winked. "Aside from gaining the love of my life, I now have Marie and Lottie as well; I can't imagine life getting any better." He kissed her forehead, before looking into her eyes. "No more doubts."
Bella smiled, not even trying to fight back the tears.
Her adult life had been riddled with doubt.
Self-doubt being the most prevalent.
She knew that her fear of Edward outgrowing Winter Harbor actually grew from a deep-seated fear that he would, in fact, outgrow her.
The years spent with Will had badly battered her self-esteem, to the point that she'd never dared hope for a man like Edward to enter her life. At the ripe old age of twenty-four, she'd all but resigned herself to being alone. She had Marie, and that was enough.
More than enough.
Then Edward entered her life like a warm summer breeze, causing the ice around her heart to finally begin to melt.
Since meeting him two years before, she'd begun the slow process of erasing the psychological damage inflicted by her ex-husband. Little by little she'd begun to lose her insecurities and see herself through Edward's eyes: strong, sometimes sexy, maybe even sort of beautiful...
Yes, even sporting a muffin top that was now a little larger than she'd had before getting pregnant with Lottie, Edward made her feel beautiful.
She looked at him, her eyes shining, and knew there was no reason to doubt. Not anymore. "Old habits die hard, I suppose." She drew in a shaky breath. "I love you."
"I love you too, Angel." He chuckled. "And I completely understand about the old habits business. It's the same for me. Knowing that I can't possibly deserve you, I'm afraid that I'll wake up to find this has all been a dream."
"We're a mess." Bella said with a shake of her head.
He nodded before grabbing her hand. "Come on, if I know Lottie Kate, we don't have much time before she demands some attention."
"And whose fault is that?" Bella asked once they were standing beside the enormous tub.
Edward raised his hands in surrender. "I admit it. I spoil her rotten while you're at school."
"Um hm," Bella agreed as she watched him turn on the water.
"And all the rest of the time as well," He grinned sheepishly. "You want bubbles?"
She nodded and he sorted through the complimentary bottles of lotion and soap before grabbing the one filled with shampoo and emptying the contents under the faucet. The scent of jasmine immediately filled the air.
Once seated in the steaming bath, Bella settled back, relaxing against Edward's chest. It had been a long day, and tomorrow promised to be even longer.
"Are you nervous about Anthony meeting with Jackie?" She asked.
Edward drew in a deep breath. "Yeah, but I'll be glad to get it over with."
After much discussion, they'd finally decided that, since Anthony wasn't opposed to the idea, they'd let Jackie see him. The stipulations were that it had to be in a public place and that Bella and Edward would be present as well.
Since the kids wanted to go there anyway, the Children's Museum seemed a good meeting place.
This date had been looming for quite a while now, and Edward had grown more and more troubled as it approached. He'd tried to keep a brave face for everyone else's sake, but the resentment he felt toward his ex-wife was there, simmering just below the surface.
Above all else, Edward hoped that by allowing this visit he wasn't sending Jackie the wrong message. She needn't think that this was an invitation back into Anthony's life. From what he'd heard the day Lottie was born, she was still the same selfish bitch she'd always been and he refused to allow her to hurt his son.
Bella felt his body tense, and silently stood from the bath, reaching for him. They toweled off and retreated to the bedroom where she did her best to take his mind off of what they'd have to face the following day.
Jackie surprised them both.
When they'd arrived at the museum, she was already there waiting, a nervous expression on her face. There was a man standing next to her, who Bella and Edward assumed to be her fiancé. The guy was tall and tan and had hair almost to his shoulders, and he was attractive. Not male model caliber handsome, but more like someone who'd seen his fair share of living. A bit worn around the edges, like a middle-aged rock star, a fact that only seemed to add to his appeal.
Once Jackie's gaze settled on Anthony, she couldn't seem to tear her eyes away, even while making introductions. "Bella, Edward, this is my fiancé, Ian." She paused and lowered her voice to almost a whisper, "Ian, this is… Anthony."
Ian shook hands with everyone and then crouched down until he was level with Anthony and Marie. Jackie followed suit as little Lottie watched from her stroller in fascination.
"Hi, Anthony," Ian shook hands with the young boy, "and who are these lovely young ladies?" He had a distinct accent, adding to the illusion that he was some aging British rock star. Edward wracked his brain trying to place the name and the face, but came up with nothing.
Anthony gave Ian and Jackie a reserved smile, but couldn't manage to hide his look of pride as he introduced his sisters. "This is Marie and the baby is Lottie, and I'm their big brother."
"Jackie and I are very pleased to meet you all." The words were appropriate for they'd never met the girls until today, and even though Jackie had been present at Anthony's birth and for a brief time after, this was an entirely different child from the one she'd abandoned years before.
Edward watched warily as Jackie smiled and chatted easily with both children, asking about school and their lives in Maine.
This definitely wasn't the same woman who'd stormed out of his life when Anthony was a toddler. He couldn't help but hope, for his son's sake, that she'd matured during the time apart. But then he recalled how rude she'd been during her surprise visit in April, and determined that this new, civilized Jackie was merely some sort of sham. No doubt this behavior was for her fiancé's benefit alone.
What a pity.
He shook his head in disgust and followed along behind the others as they moved ahead to explore the museum. Bella clasped his hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. He gave her a grateful smile, hoping she understood that her support meant everything to him.
After the museum, they had lunch at a large kid-friendly pizza parlor, complete with arcade. It was noisy and crowded; exactly the type of place that Jackie loathed, which was precisely why Edward had chosen it. If there was any chance of his ex-wife losing her cool, this was the place that would tip the scales and bring the shrew Edward knew and despised to the surface.
Only… it didn't.
Edward studied her closely throughout lunch and, although she smiled less frequently than during the museum visit, it was obvious that she wasn't going to lose her temper.
It was as confusing as hell.
He didn't know quite how it happened but, after they'd eaten, he suddenly found himself alone at the table with Jackie; Ian, Bella and the two older children having abandoned them for the arcade.
Edward thought about following after them, but when he glanced at Jackie, it was obvious that she wanted to speak with him. Lottie, who was seated in his lap, cooed happily as he fed her a spoonful of applesauce.
"She's very sweet," Jackie gestured toward the baby in a quiet voice.
Edward merely nodded.
"Anthony is amazing," she continued, awe evident in her tone, "and Marie is darling. You and Bella are very good parents."
"Thank you. I'm very blessed."
Jackie swallowed nervously. "Edward, I owe you an apology."
His sarcastic inner voice wanted to ask for what in particular did she owe him an apology, because the list was endless…
However, his inherent good manners won out, causing him to remain silent.
She shook her head as she stared down at the table. "For so many things... I was a terrible girlfriend, if I could even be called that. We never had a very traditional relationship."
"I was an even worse wife… I used you, and I'm sorry for that. You deserved better."
Edward raised both eyebrows. "I have better."
Jackie's eyes darted to his and she frowned slightly. "Yes, yes you do. I see that. Bella is perfect for you." She sighed and sat back against her chair. "I could make excuses for the way I was. You may not believe this, but there was actually a time when I was a nice person. The change came right before college. I'd seen my parents struggling financially all my life. I hated it. I wanted a better future and didn't care who I walked over to get that. I now realize that the old saying is true: "money cannot buy you happiness"."
Edward resisted the urge to roll his eyes. The words sounded sincere, but Jackie had never been concerned with anyone but herself.
"Why the change of heart, Jackie?" He asked with narrowed eyes. "I'm not trying to be a dick, but I don't have any reason to believe you. When you came to Winter Harbor in April, you were just as unpleasant as always."
Jackie cringed a little at his words. "Yeah, I know. I was terrified over what you'd say when I asked to see Anthony and I'd worked myself up into a real snit. Then I guess I was shocked to find out that you'd gotten remarried. When I saw your mother at the hotel, I admit I lost my temper. I shouldn't have, but she seems to bring out the worst. Maybe it's because I know she's always hated me…"
Edward didn't argue. "Do you blame her?"
"No, and for what it's worth, I am sorry, Edward." Jackie admitted quietly before taking a sip of her Coke. "You asked why the change of heart."
"The simple answer is that I met Ian." She bit the inside of her cheek as she thought. "You and I were never right, we both knew that. But with Ian, it's felt right since day one. I want to experience everything with him, you know?" She gave a wistful glance in the direction of the arcade. "I want to grow old with him."
Edward nodded, understanding her completely. It was exactly the way he felt about Bella.
She gave a slight smile; "We're even talking about children together, I really want to give him that, although it may not happen…" she trailed off.
At her statement, Edward's eyes opened wide in surprise. "You want children?" He blurted before he could stop himself.
Jackie actually giggled. "I know, imagine that; me wanting to be pregnant." Her voice dropped to a whisper and her face took on a pained expression. "The only problem is that now, it may not be possible."
"He found out a few weeks ago that he has cancer," she continued in answer to Edward's confused expression, "testicular cancer."
At that moment, Edward lost any animosity that he felt toward his ex-wife. "Oh, Jackie, I'm so sorry."
"Thanks." She answered softly before going quiet. After gathering her thoughts, she took a deep breath. "So, the doctors are hopeful that he won't be sterile after the surgery, and the treatments, but there's no guarantee." She shrugged. "It doesn't matter, if he wants a child, I'd even go the sperm donor route if necessary."
"He'd be okay with that?"
She nodded. "He already mentioned it, and I will do anything to make him happy."
Edward was speechless. If Jackie was truly being honest, then she had changed more than he ever imagined possible; and the changes he was witnessing ran bone deep.
That evening, when Edward relayed to Bella and his parents the conversation he'd had with Jackie, they were as shocked as he had been.
Bella and Carlisle were genuinely happy and accepting that Jackie may have actually grown a heart, whereas Esme, ever suspicious of anyone who would hurt her son or Anthony, remained skeptical. "If she's that desperate for a child, how can you be certain that she isn't going to sue for custody of Anthony?"
Edward didn't seem surprised by her question. "That thought crossed my mind as well, Mother. However, Jackie assured me that any time spent with Anthony will ultimately be his choice and, obviously would have to be approved by Bella and myself as well."
Esme continued to frown.
"I'm not terribly concerned at the moment." Edward continued. "With all the things facing Jackie and Ian in the near future, I think visits with Anthony won't be a high priority."
To that, everyone agreed.
Lying in bed that night, Bella still couldn't wrap her mind around the events of the day. She had braced herself for a confrontation with Jackie, similar to the ones they'd had with Will, but nothing had turned out the way she'd feared.
Edward heard her deep sigh of relief as she allowed her body to relax into the mattress. "Strange day, huh?"
"One of the strangest in recent memory," she answered softly.
Edward pulled her to him and wrapped his arms tight around her. "Have you enjoyed our visit?"
"Yes," Bella answered without voicing her reservations.
"Although, I get the feeling that you wouldn't want to do this every year?"
She giggled nervously, "No, but I wouldn't be opposed to every other year."
"Hmm. I like that idea."
There was a long moment of silence before Edward spoke again. "The weekend would have been more enjoyable if my mother would drop the nonsense about wanting us to move to New York, don't you agree?"
Bella didn't respond.
"Bella, it's okay. She's been relentless, and I plan to speak with her before we leave tomorrow."
"Don't be harsh," Bella pleaded in a whisper.
Edward chuckled. "I'll be blunt, she responds best to that. However, I'm not angry. She loves us, and misses having time with the kids. The constant nagging is her way of letting us know that."
"Her life is in the city. Maybe someday she'll tire of the rat race and the social scene here. You never know, she may decide to settle closer to us." Edward didn't really believe the words, but Bella grew hopeful.
"You think so?"
"Well," he sat up and lowered his tone in such a manner that Bella's skin began to tingle, "if we had another baby, I can almost guarantee that Mother would start looking at real estate in Maine." He grinned as he leaned over her and brushed his lips against hers and rubbed his erection against her hip.
Suddenly, her body was alive with want. She reached up and placed her hands on his shoulders, holding him against her as she kissed him deeply. Before she got too carried away, however, her brain registered the words he'd spoken just before the kiss.
Bella's eyes opened wide as she pulled back and stared at him in disbelief. "Edward, you do realize that Lottie is not even a year old yet?"
He nodded, sporting a shameless grin. "Of course."
"You can't seriously want another child so soon…"
"And why wouldn't I?"
Bella bit her lip to keep from smiling at his honesty. "Um, because I'm still in school, and we kind of have our hands full with three." She realized that someone else in her position would probably have shot down their husband's idea with harsh words. But for Bella, it gave her yet another reason to love him.
"When you're finished with school?" he asked hopefully, and she melted.
"Oh, God." She said before sighing loudly.
"Is that a yes or a no?" His smug smile told Bella that he knew she could never refuse him.
"It's a maybe," she answered softly, "But if I develop saddle bags to go with my love handles, just know that it's your fault."
Edward barked out a laugh and kissed her again. "Silly girl."
His statement was followed by more kissing, and it wasn't long before his hands began to wander, eventually reaching under Bella's nightie to toy with the lace panties there. Just as Bella lifted her bottom to better assist with the removal of said panties, the sound of a loud cry from the sitting room caused both of them to cease all movement.
Bella and Edward stared into one another's eyes, not even breathing for a split second before they were both scrambling off the bed in order to reach the door.
They found Anthony sitting upright on the sofa which had been his bed for the past few evenings. His small frame was trembling from head to toe as his eyes darted frantically around the room. On the loveseat to the right of the sofa, Marie was struggling to sit up as she peered over at her brother in confusion.
Edward picked up a pillow which had landed on the floor and placed it behind his son, before crouching there in front of him. Bella sat down beside Anthony and pulled him against her side.
"Anthony, what's wrong? Did you have a bad dream?" Edward asked.
Anthony nodded into Bella's shoulder as he took deep breaths. After a moment, the shaking subsided as he became fully awake.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Bella asked in a whisper.
Anthony rubbed his eyes before raising his head to look at her. "I don't want to move back to New York. Jackie said I had to…"
"What?" Edward's mood went from concerned to livid in a matter of seconds. "Jackie told you that?" He asked incredulously.
Edward thought back to the way she'd acted when he saw her and chastised himself for ever believing a word she'd said. He had to admit that she had put on quite a show. And to think that he'd actually felt sorry for her…
Anthony let out another breath and rubbed his hands over his face.
Just as Edward began to work out in his mind the choice words he'd use when next he spoke to his ex-wife, he considered the idea of calling her now.
Why the hell not? Why not wake her up and unleash my fury right this minute?
She deserves it…
Suddenly, Edward was on his feet, his body seething with anger as he went in search of his phone.
Bella's brow knit in confusion as she watched him walk away, but her main concern was the little boy beside her. "Anthony," she called softly as she bent her head to look at his face, "Did Jackie tell you that when we were at the museum?"
Anthony shook his head. "No, she came to my karate class and said I had to come live with her and Ian." He stared at Bella with fear in his eyes. "No one stopped her. Not Sensei, or you, or Daddy. You all just let her take me away. I told her I didn't want to go, and I was yelling and yelling…"
Edward halted in his tracks and did an about face before padding softly back over to the sofa. "Son, are you talking about your dream?"
Anthony nodded, "A-huh. But it didn't feel like a dream. I…" He hesitated and blinked hard. "Daddy, I don't want to move back here. I like our house and my school and all my friends. I like going fishing with Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Renee always gives me brownies when we get back…" His tone was pleading as Bella pulled him close.
"Oh honey, none of us are leaving Winter Harbor. Not you, not Daddy, none of us."
"Absolutely, that's our home." Edward added in a firm voice. "It was just a bad dream, son. Jackie doesn't want to take you from us. She would like to see you from time to time, but that's all."
Anthony took a deep breath and relaxed against Bella's shoulder. "Grandma wants us to move back here." He added in a whisper. "She keeps talking about it."
A noise from the other side of the room drew Edward's attention and he looked up to find his mother and father standing in the doorway to their room. Esme had a hand clasped over her mouth, and her eyes were filled with regret as she took in the scene before her.
A full minute passed in silence, before she spoke. "I think I owe you all an apology." She began as she moved quietly toward them, "Especially you, Anthony."
When Esme went to sit beside them on the sofa, Bella gladly relinquished her spot so that Anthony could sit next to his grandmother. "Please forgive me." Esme whispered as she held him to her side. "I didn't mean any harm. I'm merely a selfish old woman who misses you all terribly when we're apart." She locked her gaze on her son as she said those last words. "I can see now that Maine is where you are happiest, and that is what I want most of all for you."
She shot an apologetic smile to Bella as well. "I suppose the only way to resolve this is for your grandfather and I to schedule more frequent visits to Winter Harbor."
Both children perked up at her words, and Marie gave voice to her excitement. "Yay!" she called while rising to her feet and proceeding to bounce up and down on the loveseat.
"Young lady, sit down!" Bella scolded, while never losing her smile.
"Come on," Edward began. "We have a big day tomorrow; our flight home leaves mighty early and you kids need to get some sleep."
Another round of goodnights were said before Esme and Carlisle went back to their room. The children were tucked in for a second time that evening, but just as Bella and Edward started for their own room, Marie's voice caused them to pause.
"Mommy and Daddy?"
"Can we sleep in your bed?" It was something that Edward and Bella rarely allowed; he being most adamant that the children shouldn't get in the habit of sleeping in their parents' room.
However, knowing that Anthony probably needed the closeness of his family after that nightmare, and seeing the hopeful expressions on the faces of both he and Marie, Edward's heart melted and he found himself relenting.
"Okay," he answered with a sigh. "Just this once." He held one finger up to reinforce that this was an exception to the rule.
"Yay!" Marie cheered for the second time that evening as she and Anthony tore past their parents and didn't stop until they'd landed in the middle of the king size bed.
Not to be left out of the fun, little Lottie began to squirm and Bella knew it wouldn't be long before she demanded her fair share of attention as well.
She turned to Edward, her eyebrow arched. "And you want more children?"
He smiled widely, "Absolutely, Angel." He leaned down and kissed her lips before taking her hand in his and retreating with her to their room.
Once Lottie was fully awake, she joined them all on the bed.
Bella glanced around at the happy faces of her children and then over at her husband, his expression jubilant as he interacted with them. She reached over and covered his hand with hers, drawing his attention from the little ones. He looked up, and watched her as she mouthed the words: okay, one more...
He was surprised, albeit happy, that she chose that exact moment to let him know she was open to the idea of one more child.
Unfortunately, his cock was happy at the prospect of making another baby with Bella, and immediately sprang to attention.
It wasn't as if he and Bella were going to have any private time tonight; their children looked entirely too comfortable in Mommy and Daddy's bed. So, he grimaced and pulled the comforter up a little higher while trying to think of anything that would help deflate the situation below his waist.
Charlie cleaning his guns.
Yep, that did it. The mere thought of his father-in-law's gun collection was enough to make his cock behave.
He glanced over toward Bella only to find her smiling knowingly.
Yeah, she'd no doubt seen his pained expression and his desperate tug on the comforter.
He thought about the fact that she'd just agreed to another baby.
One more baby was good…
However, Edward knew that, given his powers of persuasion, surely he would be able to convince his wife that the next one wouldn't be the last…
They were young, with many happy and healthy years ahead. He could think of nothing better than having a house filled with the laughter of their children.
Suave motherfucker that he was, he winked at his wife, causing a light blush to appear on her cheeks.
Nah, the next one definitely wouldn't be the last…
A/N This story is winding down. One more chapter and it is history.
Watch for a significant Time Jump in the next chapter.
I love all your messages and reviews, they truly make me smile and want to continue my stories.
Join us on Facebook in the group Emmamama's Stories.
My Blog: Emmamamas-stories dot blogspot dot com.
I'm Emmamama88 on Twitter, and Annie Author Vandv on FB as well.