"Masen William Black, leave your sister alone," I warned, watching my son wince at the fact that he had been caught. I jumped off of the landing of our tree house and landed lightly on the ground.
"But, mom," he groaned, untying his sister from the tree.
"What did I tell you?" My tone was right on point. I'm just glad he was still at the age where he listened.
"Fine," he huffed looking every bit like his father. "But Sarabelle wanted me to" he whined before adding, "this time."
I did… I was the robber this time, mommy. Mase was the cop and caught me after I attempted to embezzle millions of dollars from Wall Street.
I frowned as my daughter's words were forced into my head. For such a young child she had an extraordinary gift. Almost like my projections, and the direct opposite of my dad's gift. Where he could hear one's thoughts… she could put thoughts in your head. It was very unsettling while I was pregnant. She was too smart for her own good.
"Alright, you guys go and wash up for dinner."
But grandpa promised to take us hunting for dinner. Why would we need to wash up for a task such as that?
I tried hard not to roll my eyes at my precocious daughter. It was a habit they were beginning to pick up. She was the spitting image of me with enough of Jacob's features in there to know she was his. She actually favored Rachael sometimes, especially when she was upset. But, I kept that little tidbit to myself.
"Fine, then go get ready," I sighed, making a mental note to talk to my dad about his promises. They loved going hunting as much as they loved eating human food. It was the best of both worlds.
I watched with wide eyes as my five year old son and four year old daughter both ran and jumped up their way to the tree house instead of taking the stairs. I didn't know how it was possible for both of them to be so fast or nimble, but they were. And it scared the ever loving crap out of me. Even though they were only four and five they looked more like nine and ten… and it still scared the crap out of me. Mothers will always worry, I guess.
I was grateful to see Jacob pull into the driveway when he did. I waited patiently as he put the S.U.V. into park.
"There's my gorgeous wife," he greeted as he hopped out of the Rover.
I still flushed under his praise. "Hey, handsome," I welcomed as he met me for a swift kiss. "So… how'd it go?"
He opened up the back door and pulled our two month old son out of his car seat. Unlike our other two children, Nicholas Cullen Black looked exactly like both Jacob and I. But, like me, he was growing very quickly… too quickly… it worried me.
"Carlisle said everything's good; he's growing at almost the exact rate you did. Maybe just a little slower." Jacob's voice tried to cover the concern, but I could still hear it.
"Hmmm…"I didn't want to think about it too much. I would just have to accept it, like my parents had to accept me.
The moment our son heard me, he started looking around. When his unusually vivid eyes found mine, he smiled and reached for me in his daddy's arms. With my father's eye color and Jacob's copper complexion, our son was a stunner and constantly taking my breath away. I also loved the fact that he was a momma's boy.
"How's my little Nicholas doing today?" I asked, giving him Eskimo kisses while I took him from Jacob.
He gargled and hummed loudly back in reply.
"Dad's coming over to get the kids, so it's just us for dinner," I told Jake as we walked towards the stairs for the tree house. We both still loved it here and the kids had a blast. Now that we knew they weren't so easily broken, we were coming here more frequently. But I loved to retreat back to our manor… and often. It was a place we all could be in without being so cramped.
At the first sound of alone time, Jacob's eyebrow quirked up and he gave me a look that almost melted the shoes off my feet. God, he's still got it.
But, all too soon the look left and he sighed. "Leah and Colt are coming over. He looked down at his watch and then back at me. "Actually, they should be here now. They're bringing over the twins for dinner."
I wanted roll my eyes again, but didn't. I loved Leah and Colt and their twins loved playing with Masen and Sara, but the thought of alone time was too lovely of an idea to let go of so easily.
Right on schedule, Colt and Leah pulled in around the corner and parked behind the Rover. Seeing Leah happy and waving at me was still a sight I wasn't used to.
"Hey," I couldn't help but smile at her exuberance.
"Go inside, I'll get the kids, baby." Colt told Leah before winking at me. The flirt. He knew he was always scoring points with the ladies.
I looked up at Jacob and placed my free hand on my hip. "Why don't you ever offer for me to go inside and you get the kids," my eyes teasing him all the while.
Jacob immediately frowned at Colt, giving him a look that would surely send him packing if necessary.
"See what you started," Jacob sighed at our guest. "You come over here and get my woman all riled up for no reason… putting thoughts in her head."
I slapped Jacob on the chest which caused Nick to cackle hysterically in my arms. "You think that's funny? Is mommy funny? You wanna do it, too?" I took Nick's tiny hand in mine and barely patted his daddy's chest with it over and over.
With each blow, Jacob pretended to be struck so hard that he kept flying backwards in the air, until the last one landed him on the ground. Nicholas laughed so loud and so hard, that he had all of us laughing with him; the dimples in his cheeks on display, sucking everyone right into his back pocket.
"Alright, daddy, get up." I ordered, offering a hand to Jacob.
The wicked glint in his eyes eluded to so many possibilities tonight; especially ones that involved him getting up.
Once Jake and Colt got the twins unlatched and out of the car, Leah followed me up the stairs taking advantage of her husband's offer.
Before we could even make it all the way up the stairs, my children jumped off the landing and fell to the earth. Sara landed silently but Masen loved to make a boom… which is the noise my heart was making as it clambered furiously in my chest. It was hard not to think of them as normal children who could break.
"Daddy," Sara and Masen said, flying into Jacob's arms. He kneeled down on the ground so he could hug them properly.
"Hey!" Jacob hugged both of them tightly. Masen let go first, but Sara was a daddy's girl and clung tightly to him. "Have you been good for mommy?"
Sara nodded but Masen didn't reply.
Jacob gave him "the look." "What did you do?"
"I didn't mean to, dad. Mommy didn't tell me that I couldn't flush the rabbit down the toilet."
Jacob was immediately confused. "We don't have a rabbit."
Masen nodded and began explaining. "We do… did… I found it this morning and mom said I could keep him. I was trying to see if he could swim."
I watched closely to see if Jacob knew how to handle this one. I didn't. What do you do in these kinds of situations? They don't exactly give you a book on how to raise vampire/human/shape-shifter babies.
"We'll talk about this later," Jacob replied sternly before turning Masen around and leading him up the stairs. Yeah… he didn't know what to do either. I tried hard not to laugh.
Reese greeted us as soon as we opened the door. He loved Leah. Actually, he loved every member of the pack, even the retired ones. He just wasn't so fond of my family too much. He had grown to be a beast of a dog. His one blue eye could pierce a hole through the wall and when he stood on his hind legs he was taller than me. He was a clever dog, too. He would change the channel to Animal Planet all the time. If we didn't like that then we would have to dig up the remote in the yard later or just buy a new one. Overall he was a big softy at heart, but God have mercy on who ever touched his three favorite little people in the world. He was perfect for our growing family.
After dinner Leah and I sat out on the porch and watched our families down below. Mom and dad had just gotten back with the kids and were having a blast teaching them how to wrestle with Jacob. I think they loved being grandparents more than being parents.
I couldn't help but watch my family closely, captivated by all the love they had for one another.
"How's business going?" Leah asked, the same look on her face that I had on mine.
"It's going really well. Jake wished he had more time to work on cars but he likes the business side of things. He's picked it up so well. We're opening another franchise in Portland in a month. He's had to step up into the role of CEO now. But, I think he likes coming home in a suit and tie as much as he liked coming home covered in oil," we both laughed together at my comment. I left out that I really liked him coming home in a suit and tie… a lot!
"That's good to hear. I can't thank him enough for hiring Colt. It's made things easier. I can stay home now with the kids." I listened to everything she was saying but I couldn't look away from my husband and children. They were just everything to me.
"I know what you mean. I couldn't imagine having a full time job. Having kids is like having two full time jobs enough as it is."
"Don't I know it," Leah agreed. "I can't wait until Kiera has her baby. It'll be nice being able to spoil them and then send them home with loud toys the way Seth did me," she giggled wickedly.
"Have they found out yet what they were having?"
"A boy," she nodded before adding. "But, Kiera swears it's a girl."
The screams and loud laughter that carried on down below caught both of our attention.
"Do you ever think about how your life would be if Jake never imprinted on you," Leah asked out of nowhere.
I felt my brow furrow at her. "No, not really," I answered. A moment later I was thinking about it. It was hard to imagine. My entire life, I had always known who I was going to end up with. I never really had a choice in the matter… didn't ever really want a choice. I was always madly in love with Jacob. But, if he wasn't a shape-shifter and hadn't imprinted, I didn't know what my life would be like. I imagine it very lonely. I wouldn't have ended up pregnant so early in life. And I would have never been kidnapped.
I hadn't thought about that since the day I got married and received a letter from Gloria. Since Jacob didn't really want her and Benjamin in our lives, she had sent a letter on the day of my wedding to wish me the best. I still had that letter. She told me that she and her brother were fine and thinking about a vegetarian lifestyle. It was hard for them after saving a human to go back to feeding on them. She apologized for everything and told me how sorry her brother was as well. The last bit of information always gave me something to think about. She never really knew why Gideon wanted me in the first place. I guess it would always be a mystery to me. I always thought that maybe he wanted to collect me and build a coven that was as gifted as the Volturi. He never lived long enough though.
I shook off the chills that wandered up my spine with the memories and tried to focus again on Leah.
"Kiera told me about the doctor that had the hots for you at the hospital."
"Yeah, something like that. I can't remember his name. I just always wondered if you thought about him or thought about having a choice to choose him."
I made a disgusted face at her. David was very handsome but not my type at all. As the wonderful noises of my family enjoying one another wafted up to meet my ears, I gazed down lovingly at them. They were all I could ever want or even think about wanting. Actually they were more… way more than I ever deserved.
"Nope… I've never even thought about it," I smiled before telling her, "I guess I'm just a wolf kind of girl."
It has been my insane pleasure to write this book. It took me a little over a year but I did it. I can't thank you enough for reading it, (and even with the crazy amount of errors) being moved by it. I love how y'all took this journey with me. I enjoyed your emails, chats, and your questions that made me realized more about my book than I ever could have imagined. I thought that finishing this story was more for me than you... now, I'm not so sure. I did this for you guys- how ever many of you there are. If I can say anything- it would be write your own book if it crosses your mind. You'll at least have one fan: ME! x