Lazy Sundays - A Life Less Ordinary outtake was written for the Stand Up for Katalina compilation. God bless her beautiful spirit.
Midnight Cougar beta'd this; Joey pre-read. I love them both dearly.
If anyone had told me my life would have turned out this way, I would have scoffed and told them to shut it.
In the past ten years or so, Bella and her family have changed my life.
Telling me she was pregnant with Gabriella had taken the wind out of me. We weren't in our twenties anymore, but feeling that child kick through her mother's belly sent me into this tailspin. I loved her more than life itself before she was even born.
Holding her for the first time, knowing she was my own flesh and blood, that feeling, the one where you know your life isn't your own anymore, yeah, it owned me heart and soul.
Ellie was like a daughter to me. I'd watched her grow up from an awkward teenager into a beautiful young lady, but knowing that I'd get to watch Ella - what we call Gabriella for short - from the moment she was born, made me regret all the years I wasted thinking I was okay with not having any kids of my own.
I was about thirty-seven when she was born, and so was Bella. I knew Ella was my one and only, and I never felt bad about spoiling her.
When she was four, we enrolled her in dance. She loved it; twirling around the house in her leotards and flexing her legs as she jumped. Every movement fluid, even at such a young age.
Bella joked that she'd gotten that from my side of the family, I snickered and agreed.
Ellie loved her little sister. She was an amazing role model for Ella. When Ellie left for college, it left a gaping hole in the house. I truly think having Ella helped Bella deal with the empty nest syndrome Ellie's departure had left in our home.
I remember the first year we were together when Ellie had spent Christmas with her father and how Bella had been devastated. At least now, at our age, by the time Ella leaves for college, we'll both most likely be grateful for an empty house.
This weekend though, our house will be far from empty. It's Sunday today. Ellie was working yesterday and couldn't make the drive up until today.
She's coming home from Seattle later this afternoon, and will spend a few days here. She's bringing along her new boyfriend. It's Christmas in a few weeks, and she wants us to meet him before the holiday rush.
We've met a few of Ellie's suitors over the years, but apparently this one is special.
I remind myself to get into gun collecting by the time Ella gets into boys. If she grows up looking anything like her mother and sister, I'll need it.
Ellie is the spitting image of a younger Bella. It's scary how much they look alike. While Ella has a lot of my traits, I see a lot of Bella and Ellie in her. Boys won't stand a chance.
"Daddy, is Daisy coming to my recital?" Ella jumps on my lap and takes a seat.
I humph loudly at her boisterous nature and adjust her over my lap so her bony butt doesn't dig into my thighs so much. "Yeah. Alice and Jasper are bringing her." Daisy is Alice and Jasper's two year old daughter. Rose and Emmett are already grandparents, while we're still carpooling and going to dance recitals.
"But she's little, I hope she doesn't cry throughout the whole thing," Ella muses, pursing her lips and her eyes narrowing into slits.
I ruffle her hair playfully, making her huff and push on my hands to stop. "Daddy, Mommy just made me brush it," she clicks her tongue and fingers the long strands of strawberry blond hair. "I hope Ellie makes it here in time."
I pat her knee gently. "She will baby. You know she's all excited about this, right? You've worked so hard to learn all those steps."
Over the past few months, she's been practicing non-stop to learn her part in "The Nutcracker." Ellie loves watching her little sister on stage and wouldn't miss this for the world.
"That's good. I'm going to go practice now." She hops off my lap and runs out of the room. I chuckle and shake my head at her enthusiasm. It's all kinds of cute and I'm grateful every day to have her around.
Bella walks into the room a split second later, shaking her head with a smile on her face. "That child will definitely make her way in life," she giggles and takes a seat on my lap where Ella had just been. "So Daddy, excited about this weekend?"
She puts her arms around my shoulders and nuzzles her face in my neck, grazing the skin with her teeth. I groan and pull her closer, feeling myself grow hard as she wiggles over me knowingly. "Bella," I groan, and hold her firmly. "That's not fair. You know we can't do anything about... this right now."
This earns another giggle from Bella who twines her fingers in my hair, and pushes my head back while she kisses my jaw. "I know, but you're so cute with her, I can't help it."
I clear my throat to find my voice as my head starts to swim with lust, and it's just not the right time. Damn this woman and her evil ways. "Yes well... she's my daughter... gah, Bella..." Her tongue flicks out and I feel her teeth nip at the shell of my ear. "Sweetheart, Jesus..." My voice is hoarse, and forget about being inconspicuous, I'm at full mast digging into her backside, and apparently this is funny.
"No worries, baby, we'll take care of that later." She rubs my cheek softly and kisses my lips chastely before hopping off my lap. "By the way, Ellie will be here in half an hour. Could you go make sure the spare bedroom is set up for her friend?" She smirks and I respond with an eyebrow lift of my own.
"Sweetheart, you realize they live together, right?" I shift in the chair and rearrange the situation between my legs, thankful that having this conversation is a complete turn-off.
Her face falls and she closes her eyes, scrunching up her nose and blowing out a breath. "Don't... Please."
I chuckle and stand up, stretching my legs as I close the distance between us. "She's not a baby anymore, Bella."
"I know. It just seems like yesterday she was a little girl, and now she's... she's... oh my god, I'm going to be a grandma too!" Bella's eyes widen and her hands shoot up to cover her mouth.
I rub her upper arms up and down soothingly and pull her into a hug. "There, there... don't worry; I won't get weirded out when I'm sleeping with a grandmother."
She looks up at me and smirks playfully. "You realize her kids are going to call you grandpa, right?"
I feign being surprised by gasping exaggeratingly. "No, really?"
"Alec and Kate are in Florida, and I can't even remember the last time Ellie saw them. You know how Kate still hates to fly." Bella rolls her eyes, aware that Kate's excuse is just that, a sorry excuse. After losing her baby, she underwent a lot of treatment. At one point, she had even gone through rehab because of an addiction to painkillers.
They made her mind numb, she'd said.
When Bella got pregnant for Ella, Kate broke down, and whatever internal struggle she'd been having over her inability to bare children increased trifold. It took three years of intense therapy before she finally snapped out of it. By then, Alec had been through enough, and had suggested they move and start over completely.
Kate opted for Florida.
By then, Ellie had already started college. Trips to visit her father decreased since she couldn't just get up and go. She was older, and was starting to have a life of her own.
I got the chance to meet him once at Ellie's graduation. Kate hadn't come to the ceremony, something that never sat well with Ellie. She loved Kate and thought the world of her, but those actions left her feeling betrayed. In the mind of an eighteen year old, something like that takes a while to forgive.
Alec was a nice enough man. He'd truly cared for Bella, but he'd admitted to me that he wasn't in love with her. His love lain with his current wife, no matter their struggles, he truly loves that woman.
I wouldn't know, in the last ten years, I've never had the pleasure of meeting her.
"Maybe once she realizes that Ellie's children would call her grandma, she may step up to the roll," Bella says.
"Well, let's not think about it yet. She's been with this one for six months; remember how long she was with Mike? I was surprised when they broke up the week after their graduation." Thinking back to how unaffected Ellie had been, I wasn't too surprised. High school sweethearts are a rarity.
"True, but Mike was... well... he was kind of a shallow douche." Bella nods emphatically. "Kind of like his father, actually. I'm kind of glad we don't have those people as in-laws."
When Bella went on maternity leave after having Ella, she started doing some freelance work from home. Small projects turned into larger ones and before we knew it, Swan-Cullen Designs was born.
"Well, Mrs. Cullen, I'm kind of glad you are too." We get to spend a little time alone every day since her office is in our house and I only teach classes in the morning. "Now, how about we go prepare that guest bedroom, huh?"
I kiss her cheek and swat her butt playfully before walking off.
"Mom, remember that Thanksgiving, you know, the one right after Grandpa had his heart attack?" Bella's eyes get wide and she side eyes me. I can't help but smirk at the memories from that particular holiday, forever known as Turkey Basting Day.
"Yeah, I remember." Bella nods slowly, trying to understand what Ellie is getting at.
I'm lost completely, she just got here an hour ago, and it feels like she never left. I love that about Ellie, she's just comfortable to be around. Always has been.
Her new boyfriend, Jake, seems like a nice guy. He's quiet, and clearly smitten with her. It's sweet really, and I can tell she really is in love this time. When he moves; she moves, and vice-versa, kind of like magnets.
"Well, remember how I never said anything about Edward sleeping in your bed? Well, Jake's not sleeping in the spare bedroom, Mom. I'm twenty-four years old. At my age, you'd already had me." Ellie smirks at her mother's discomfort and I chuckle, covering it up with a cough.
"Grandpa had a heart attack?" Ella asks, abruptly walking into the room from seemingly out of nowhere. She takes a seat beside her sister, the two snuggling together and giggling.
Bella explains how Charlie had been sick, but thankfully he's had no recurrences. He's healthier now than he was then, oh hell, the man could probably outrun me.
Bella waves off Ellie's request, telling her it's fine, but no funny business. Ellie is excited, and she giggles and throws her arms around Jake's neck. They break apart then Ellie leads Jake up the stairs to her childhood bedroom. I don't like this one bit, but our bedroom is at the other end of the house, so I'm not getting involved. She's an adult now. She's made nothing but good choices in her life, and I trust her. I couldn't be any prouder of her if she were my own child.
Ella runs off to get ready for her recital, leaving Bella and I alone together in the living room.
"I told you so," I whisper in Bella's ear and pull her to stand before me.
"Oh shut it, you. Now let's go get ready for tonight."
The recital is absolutely breathtaking. For a bunch of kids, they certainly are very well-trained.
Miss Katalina did a fantastic job at giving each child the perfect part that suited their abilities. Ella is an excellent dancer, but she's only eight so she's as good as a well-trained eight year old can be. She still fumbles over her growing limbs, and likes to joke around and be silly at inappropriate times.
In spite all of this, watching her on stage makes my heart swell. She's beautiful and graceful, and manages to go through all her scenes looking like the beautiful dancer that she has grown to be.
I don't know anything about the moves and poses, but Bella's face as she watches Ella dance is priceless. She's a very proud mom, and I don't think I could have asked for a better family.
Pulling her into my side, I hand her a tissue and kiss her temple when she wipes her eyes.
On the other side of Bella is Ellie. She's smiling so big as her eyes follow Ella on stage. Such a proud big sister.
Sitting beside me is Emmett. He's become my best friend through the years. Right now, his eyes - shining in unshed tears - are glued to his goddaughter on stage.
On the other side of Em is Rose. She's holding Daisy on her lap, but the two year old is unimpressed by the music and pretty, frilly costumes. She's currently playing with her grandmother's phone, watching a god-awful cartoon on YouTube. Whatever keeps her amused, I suppose.
Alice and Jasper are sitting at the far-end of the row, on the other side of Rose. Alice is six months pregnant and has a need to run to the bathroom every ten minutes. The poor girl.
When the recital is finally over, everyone claps and hollers. I'm glad it's done because my butt is asleep and my legs need to stretch. They didn't make the auditorium tall-person friendly, that's for sure.
Ella is a bubble of excited energy, and chatters non-stop all the way home. Bella sends her off to take a shower and get ready for bed, while Ellie makes an excuse to take Jake upstairs. She says the drive from Seattle was long and she wants to rest. I shudder and nod while Bella takes my hand and squeezes it into a death grip.
"Can you believe them?" She hugs me and leans her forehead into my chest.
I wrap my arms around her, and kiss the top of her head. "Young people these days," I joke.
She clicks her tongue and slaps my shoulder playfully. "We were young once, do you remember that first Christmas? You know that week when Ellie was off to New York?" I nod and she continues, "Remember how we christened every room in the house?"
Oh, I remember. I remember how shy she was about asking for sex. She wanted so much, but it was obvious she was uncomfortable with expressing her desires.
I remember that first date when we ended up at my apartment. I remember how hurt she looked when I turned her down. It was for her own good, I didn't want her to have any regrets.
I also remember the first time she told me to fuck her senseless. That day, I think I fell in love with her all over again. Knowing she was that comfortable with me that she would finally talk dirty to me, well, it did things to my body. Good things.
I remember how good she tasted on my tongue the first time I felt her shudder in my arms.
"I remember everything about you, sweetheart." I smirk and kiss her lips, deepening the kiss when I feel her tongue seeking entrance.
A few moments pass, and a throat clearing makes us break apart reluctantly.
"Yes sweetie?" I look over at my daughter whose eyes roll in the back of her head.
"Ewww... that's gross. So I'm washed and my teeth are brushed. I'm tired." She yawns as the last words leave her mouth.
I suppose spending the day dancing around and the evening under hot lights must be pretty tiring for a child her age. "Come here, sweetie." I hug her and kiss her cheek. I tell her how proud I am of her and how beautiful she looked.
Bella joins our hug and we make an Ella sandwich, making her giggle. We tell her goodnight and she runs up the stairs without looking back.
"That was easy," Bella muses, letting out a breath. Ella can be a handful when it comes to bedtime. She's been known to throw temper tantrums in extreme occasions.
"Let's go to bed," I whisper in Bella's ear, moving her hair aside and kissing my way down her neck to nibble at her collarbones.
Later, when we're lying in bed, breathless and shuddering from our bliss, I remember how we used to spend our Sundays like this.
We'd meander around the house and pray that Ellie wouldn't come back from Rose's too early.
Times have changed. Things have progressed.
But some things will never change. I will always want Bella this way. We're older, wiser, and certainly more experienced; we've been through hell and back; survived a couple of pretty loud arguments, but through it all, I've always loved her as she's loved me.
I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.
Because, for us, it's always been a life less ordinary.