"Forget it."

"C'mon baby."

"I said no, Phillip!"

I watched through narrowed eyes as he gritted his teeth and snatched a blanket and pillow from the bed. "Fine, you frigid bitch I'll sleep on the couch tonight." And with that he slammed the door but I could still hear his footsteps stomping down the stairs. I refuse to feel guilty for not letting that man sleep with me. Husband or not.

The next morning Phillip decided to bring his bad mood to the breakfast table. He yelled at Hunter for letting his spoon clink against his bowl, me for making his eggs too runny and Sophie for wearing a cute little graphic tee that Mary-Alice bought her for her birthday. The only one spared from his ire was little Dani who was upstairs in bed with a slight fever.

Thankfully the bus pulled up a few minutes later and the kids ran out after giving me kisses and half-hearted 'good-byes' to their father. I spin on my heel as soon as the front door closes and attack.

"Do you mind explaining to me just what the hell that was, Phillip?! You have been short and just plain rude lately and under no circumstances will I tolerate you treating our children that way!" I fumed. "All you've been doing lately is making demands and threats and we have done nothing wrong! Now, I know we've been having some issues but I'm still your wife and you're still my husband so please if you need someone to talk to then I'm here. Either you can let me in or check yourself at that front door but don't bring your shitty attitude home." By now the adrenaline is pumping furiously through my veins and I feel empowered.

You go, girl. I mentally pat myself on the back.

Meanwhile, Phillip is staring at me with cold and empty blue eyes in complete silence. I throw my hands in the air in defeat and start cleaning the table off. I'm so lost in my thoughts and the dishes that I barely register the sound of a chair scraping across the linoleum flooring of the kitchen.

"You would do well to mind yourself woman." Phillip speaks calmly, "Those are my kids too and I won't have you telling me how to raise them!" he slams his fist on the table and I jump – much to my chagrin. "You wanna know what the matter with me is? You want me to stop being so damned angry and frustrated all the time? Well I'll tell you what; when you shut your goddamn mouth and let me be the man of my house then I won't have a reason to be 'snippy and rude'!"

"You know what Phil? I've had it up to here with you and this barbaric behavior of yours! When I married you I knew you were an asshole but not a bastard on top of it!" My head recoils to the left and my right cheek stings from the force of his hand.

"Don't you dare speak to me like that again; do you understand me?"

I don't respond, still trying to let my brain catch up to the situation but it's still in shock. Phillip's eyes are hard and cold as he advances on me. Luckily we have a spacious kitchen so I am able to retreat with every step he makes towards me. "Why're you running from me, honey? Has the Big Bad Esme lost her gusto all of a sudden, hmm?" he smirks. My lower back painfully comes in contact with the stove and I blindly reach behind me for a weapon. I'm not stupid; although I know I can handle my own, Phil has at least fifty pounds on me and half a foot. I pick up a skillet, not even caring when I hear the leftover scrambled eggs it once held fall onto the floor. I hoist it up and hold it out in front of me, ready to play baseball with my husband's head if need be. "You might want to back the fuck up, dear." I seethe. He stops for a moment and looks out of the window with a faraway look in his eyes.

"You know, I was talking to Deacon Evans yesterday and he mentioned that Renee was enrolled at the community college to get her degree or something in English. I think I should take her on as my secretary, whaddya think?"

What do I…? First of all, what in the hell just happened?

"What?" Feeling a migraine headache coming on I put the skillet back on the burner and massage my temples with my fingertips.

"I think I should hire her for the position, you know since Pamela went and got herself knocked up." He spits out the last part like it's an abomination. I have to hide the smirk that's threatening to split my face when I think of Pamela Johnson, Phillip's ball busting secretary that kept him in his place and expressed her rights as a female worker. She got married last fall and resigned from her position to be a stay-at-home mom.

I zone in and out while Phil rambles off a bunch of other malarkey and I just stare dumbfounded at the man that I've been married to for over a decade. "So young…beautiful…" Phil trails of with that glazed look in his eyes that I've come to recognize.


"Excuse – "

"You heard me. I said no and I mean it. If you're so hung up on this secretary business I'll come in and lend a hand but other than that – hell no."

He sighs and rolls his shoulders like he's tense.

Like I give a crap.

"I see you still haven't learned,"

"You touch me again and I'll scalp you in your sleep." I spit.

Phil leaves the kitchen but not before walking back over to the table and knocking plates and bowls to the floor.

"Deliver me, Lord."

After cleaning the kitchen I decide to take a nice long shower. Letting the water hit my body I feel all the tension from this morning begin to slip away. I use my honey and almond scented body wash opting to smell fresh and delectable instead of the usual floral fragrance Phil likes. When I am dry, lotioned and dressed I peek in at Dani again. My baby girl usually doesn't fall ill so I'm more than a little worried. As if on cue she rolls over and clutches her belly in her sleep before vomiting over the rails on her bed. I run to my baby holding her pigtails behind her and rub her back, murmuring soothing words while she wails between gags.


"Phillip!" I call again but I'm still not met with an answer.

"Damn him." I mutter under my breath. "C'mon baby girl momma is gonna get you cleaned up and take you to see Dr. Cheney, ok?" She gasps out a breath and nods her head weakly.

In the waiting room I'm holding my baby while she's wrapped up in a blanket because she's 'so freezing mama'. For what seems like the hundredth time since we got here I look at the clock on the wall and start shaking my leg in agitation but immediately still when Dani gives out a wail of discomfort. "Mrs. Dwyer? Dr. Cullen will see you now." The nurse tells me. "Dr. Cullen? Oh no, we're here to see Dr. Cheney."

"Yes I am aware. However, Dr. Cheney is out on vacation until the third. Dr. Cullen will be filling in for him until he gets back."

I nod while silently debating whether or not to trust this unknown Doctor with my child but when I hear her stomach emit a warning gurgling I make up my mind. My baby needs help.

She leads us through the corridor and knocks lightly on the door before pushing it open and seeing that the Doctor is not in yet. "Ok Mrs. Dwyer you just wait here and the doctor will be with you two soon."

I place Dani on the bed which causes her to cry out and cling to me and I sigh. I hated it whenever my children were sick. It hurts to know that I can't protect them from everything afterall. A knock on the door makes me jump but seeing the man who walks through is what causes my pulse to race.

"Hello my name is Carlisle Cullen and I'll be your child's doctor today. What seems to be the problem Ms…" He trails off as if asking for my name… My name? Oh!

"Oh! Yes, my apologies. Esme. Esme Dwyer." I say while shaking his hand enthusiastically. His large, smooth hand…

"Dwyer you say? Any relation to Phillip Dwyer?" he asks with a beautiful smile on his face and in his eyes.

"Ah, yes. He's my husband actually." I say.

"Oh. Well of course a beautiful woman such as yourself wouldn't be single. Just my luck, huh?" He jokes and I want to cry. He looks down and sees Dani in my arms and dramatically gasps. "Goodness! How terribly rude of me! Who might this beautiful little princess be?" Dani giggles weakly and tells him her name and how old she is while I look on in both pride and amusement.

"Ok, mom, so what seems to be the problem because Dani looks perfectly fine to me! I think she's just pretending to be sick!" he teases her and she giggles again. "I not pretend! I really sick!" I list all of her symptoms and a few of my theories and he nods before going over to the wall for sanitizer and gloves.

After a few quick tests we discover that Dani is developing chickenpox. I groan and mentally plan a trip to the pharmacy and living arrangements so Sophie and Hunter don't contract it. "If you have any other children I would suggest you use your judgment on whether or not you want them to contract it because as I am sure you know – chickenpox is highly contagious. Some parents decide to let their children all have it at the same time which can be a good thing meaning your child would have already had childhood chickenpox instead of adulthood chickenpox which are more complicated in terms of healing. However if you decide to do this you have to factor in the possibility of exposing you child to Shingles, a virus that goes hand in hand with chickenpox but only expresses itself later." He handed me some pamphlets which I surreptitiously used to fan myself. Hearing him speak medical jargon caused me to get more than a little hot under the collar.

"Thank you Dr. Cullen and I'll be sure to go over these later tonight." I said rising out of the chair with a prescription for calamine lotion and fever reducers.

"My pleasure Esme and please, call me Carlisle." He smiled.

"Carlisle." I tested the name on my tongue and I liked it. "Um so we'll be going now."

"Would you like to get together for coffee sometime?" Carlisle blurts out and his cheeks tint pink.

I start to smile but bite the inside of my cheek instead. "I don't know if that's a good idea. You know with Dani…" I was going to say because I was married but who says that I can't have coffee with someone just because I find them attractive?

"Maybe some other time then?" He looks so adorably hopeful that I have to accept.

"Sure. I would love to, Carlisle."

"Excellent!" He smiles. And I melt.

"Why didn't you just clobber his ass?" I recount today's happenings to the girls over wine while Dani is napping upstairs.

"I was in a state of shock! The bastard actually smacked me and I just couldn't believe it!" I exclaim.

"Well Essy, the next time he even thinks about laying a finger on you you'd better whoop him like he stole something!" We all laugh and I agree. I tell them about Dani and my encounter with Dr. Cullen next.

"Ooh a Doctor… And he's single you say? Can I get his number?" Mary-Alice jokes and for some reason it gives me an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach but I force a laugh with the rest of the girls. I shouldn't care that someone is interested in him. I'm a married woman for crying out loud! But I still can't help feeling...sad.

There's a lull in the conversation after that and as I pour me another glass of wine I notice Rosalie is a little too quiet. "Rose are you alright over there, hun? You're looking a little glum. Somethin' on your mind?" I take a sip of wine scrutinizing her the whole time.

"No I'm alright... I uh… I haven't been getting much sleep lately is all." She flushes scarlet and Mary-Alice and Isabella start cat-calling and teasing. "So you and Emmett, huh? I guess pigs must be shitting elephants somewhere!" Cackles Isabella. "So what was it like? Is he big or small? Cut or uncut? Ooh is it straight or curved and if it is which way? Did'ya make love or was it all out animal humpin'?" We all stare at Mary-Alice and she flips her hair over her shoulder and says "What? Y'all were thinking it too!"


We look expectantly at Rosalie whom is chugging down wine faster than an alcoholic at an open bar. "Whoa whoa, slow down there girl! Save some for the rest of us." Isabella snatches the bottle from her hands and polishes it off herself just as she did with the other two bottles. I roll my eyes and send a silent prayer for that girl's liver. "I think I might be an alcoholic." She muses.

"So anyway…" Alice leads the conversation back to the topic of Rose.

"Em and I…we… well I uh…sexy dancing…and then boner! I couldn't… big y'know? And we just… Sex."

"Wait a minute – you and Emmett went dancing, things got a little hot and heavy and you ended up in bed together?" Alice tries to make sense of Rose's ramblings but she shakes her head 'no'.

"I sorta maybe seduced him and well…it worked. We had sex." She snatches up Alice's glass and chugs its contents and when I slide mine to her she looks at me with silent gratitude. "I don't see what's got your panties in a bunch," Mary-Alice says, "so you had sex. It isn't like the world is gonna end, sweetie-pie."

"Y'all don't understand! This is Emmett we're talkin' about! The man who has huge rippling muscles everywhere, the man with the cutest fucking dimples that would have made me shoot Bambi's mother myself, the man who –"

"OK enough about "Emmett the man"; I wanna hear how you feel about Emmett the person." I smooth her hair back in a motherly fashion, the same way I do for my girls when they are upset about something and like then it works like a charm. Rosalie sits up pin straight and says, "He's wonderful. He's been my best friend since we were kids and I know I can talk to him about anything and I know that he cares deeply for me…" She trails off and I see the problem immediately. "You don't think he feels the same as you." I state, knowing the answer already.

"How could he? I mean lately he's been talking about settling down and having a family and I just...Honestly I panicked. I mean where's that gonna leave me y'know? I know I sound selfish but he's my Em. Mine." Alice slides off of the couch and kneels in front of her. "Oh sugar everything is gonna be alright. Have you sat down and talked with Emmett yet." Rose shakes her head 'no'. I rub her back and sigh. Looking over to my left I see that Isabella has popped open another bottle and is currently partying by herself. "Isabella, what do you think Rosalie should do?" I question, wanting to include her in the conversation. She shrugs and pours another glass. "Nothing. Men are heartless backstabbing bastards and the worst thing you could do is fall for one and let them know. Now that you've had sex it's only a matter of time before he finds someone else to replace you." Instead of acknowledging her comment I turn back to Rose. We all know about Isabella's past and what brought her here to Arizona but hearing her speak sometimes reminds you just how jaded she really is. "In fact here's what you should do. Tell him it was a fling and meant absolutely nothing to you. That way you'll have the upper hand and your feelings will be spared. Which if you asked me shouldn't. What in the hell were you thinking? Yeah we all knew about your little crush on Emmett but I didn't think you would be stupid enough to act on it." Bella tsks and takes another gulp of wine. "I always thought that between the four of us, you and me were the least pathetic but I can see I was wrong. Seriously Rose, what were you thinking? You knew the consequences of this and yet you toss yourself into some mess like this?"

Rose looks like she's about to tear into Isabella so I begin to intercede. "Is there something you would like to share with the rest of the group Isabella? Maybe this idea you have about us being pathetic and whatnot?"

"All I'm saying is that we have the Tin Man – Alice because you sure as hell don't have a heart, the Cowardly Lion – you, Esme. Too afraid of what people will think about you instead of getting rid of that sack of shit you call a husband. And lastly the fucking Scarecrow over here acting without a brain! Now I'm no Judy Garland but I damn sure want to go back home."

We all look on in shock. Appalled by her rude behavior and cutting words.


"That's a bunch of cow shit and you know it." Mary-Alice stands with her hands on her hips in front of Isabella. "Just because some kid embarrassed you in high school doesn't give you the right to treat everyone's feelings like crap! You say things under the guise of being caring and a so called realist but you're neither. You're an evil, selfish bitch who apparently didn't get knocked of her high horse hard enough!"

"You're one to talk, Alice! You're only marrying a man for his money and because you can't stand up to your momma! Please tell me how that makes you better than me."

"I never said that I was better than you but I sure as hell do think it. I don't treat Benjamin like crap. I don't neglect him or spit on everything nice he has ever done for me. Yes, I will admit I am marrying him for selfish reasons but at least I own up to my actions. I am providing my fiancé with companionship and he is financially supporting me in return – it's sort of a business deal and it works for us."

"And how does your fiancé feel about this so-called business deal? Let's talk about that."

"You wanna talk about something ok let's talk. Where are your kids - or your husband for that matter?" Alice and Isabella are standing toe to toe now and I stand up to push them away from each other. "Ladies, calm down. That's enough."

"Fuck you." Isabella spits which causes Alice to chuckle.

"Yeah maybe if you did that to your husband once in a while you wouldn't be such an uptight bitch."

"What the hell are you talking about? You all know that Michael doesn't have time for me. It's not my fault that he loves his job more than his family."

"Hell, can you blame him? You obviously love the bottle more than you love yours."

"And just what do you mean by that?"

"When was the last time you said thank you to him for all that he has done for you, huh? When do you put down your glass and stop bitching? When will you stop feeling sorry for yourself and grow up?! Your kids-"


"Enough!" I shout, "If you two cannot respect my home and behave like adult women then I'm going to have to ask you to leave!"

Both girls appear properly chastised but make no move to apologize to one another.

"Well?" I tap my foot impatiently for emphasis.

"I'm sorry," mumbles Isabella.

"I know," Alice snips and I immediately toss her a warning glare to which she huffs and pouts. "Fine! I'm sorry too. Y'all happy now?"

"Bitches be bringing drama," mumbles Rose whom stands up and adjusts her clothing, "I'm gonna head on home now; I'll talk with you ladies later." She hugs and kisses Mary-Alice on the cheek and turns to give me the same treatment. She stops in front of Isabella and we're all sitting on edge. Knowing what a wildcard Rosalie was – I think we all were in fear of the girl's safety.


We watch with rapt attention when the girl raises a brow and inclines her head slightly while still maintaining her earlier expression of nonchalance.


Rose smirks before bending down at the waist to become at eye level with her. "The next time you dare speak to me like that I will not think twice about knocking you on your ass. Now I don't know what crawled up your ass and died and quite frankly I don't care. But this is your one and only warning from me." Bella scoffed and glared at Rose when she stood back up to her full height. "I'm not afraid of you Rose and I'll have you know – "

"Maybe you should think about using that vibrator I got you for your birthday two months ago. Heaven knows your cooter could use a good dusting out from all the cobwebs." Rose tosses over her shoulder before walking out the door. Isabella's jaw is wide and my eyes are becoming blurry from unshed tears of trying to hold in my laughter until I look over at Mary-Alice whom is currently on the floor by Isabella's feet picking up imaginary items.

"What on earth are you doing?" I ask her but she doesn't answer. Instead she stands with her palm up and taps Isabella on the shoulder. "Here ya go, Sweetpea." she says sympathetically. Isabella looks at her with a confused expression, "It's your face. I picked it up for you."

That did it.

All of the laughter that I tried to retain in the name of politeness burst forward and rushed out of my body and it felt good.

A/N: What can I say? I hate pedestal perfect Bella. I've always felt that she was somewhat of a whiny bitch. Review if you want but I think I like the pm's, fav's and follows more lol :)