Thank you all so much for your reviews and recommendations! It makes this whole writing obsession worth it! I'm sorry I took so long, but here's a new update! Enjoy!

Disclaimers: All the base belongs to S. Meyer ©
Thanks to Subtlynice, who does an amazing job at beta'ing this story. ღ
Many thanks to my pre-readers, eyelubtwlight and Miss Wendy Malfoy.

¤ You Came Too Early ¤

Chapter 9- Family time


I woke up later than I meant to. Outside, the sky was grey and full of clouds, but I knew that it was going to pass as the day went by. It was only what people here in California liked to call the June Gloom. Every mornings was cloudy and the sun would only point its nose out around noon. Fortunately, it was nearing the end.

It was the first day of July already, and I realised how fast the time was going by! Juliet's accident and Bella's arrival had changed most of my plans for the past two days, and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Having Bella under my roof was... strange. Awkward, yet familiar. And fuck me if I didn't like it. I was really anxious about her coming here at first, but it turned out to be not so bad, even with Tanya insisting to be there. I guess the one thing working in our favor here was the fact that both Bella and I were used to the awkwardness, given the beginning of our relationship. We could deal just fine with that. And having both girls here with us just made it all the more easy and natural. The fact that they weren't babies anymore but could talk back and interact with us was helping to dissipate any tension that could have been felt.

Rolling out of the bed, I took a quick shower, not bothering to shave the subtle beard of the last two days. I put on some khakis and a t-shirt, only brushing my wet hair with my fingers. As I was leaving my room I could see Bella's further down the corridor; her bed was untouched. It was easy to guess that she had spent the whole night with our youngest.

Last night, after I had given Juliet her painkillers, she had been very cuddly and had mostly requested her mom. I guess it shouldn't have surprised me as she was more used to have Bella around than me, but still, it hurt.

I went downstairs as a very mouth-watering smell reached me. Skipping the last steps, I made my way toward the kitchen where both my kids and their mom were. All three of them were still wearing pajamas. Bella, I noticed, was wearing an old plaid shirt of mine. I didn't even remember leaving it with her in our old home. I guess it was hers now.

Her back was to me, as she was currently cooking. I went to my children who sat on the stools at the kitchen counter and kissed both their cheeks.

"Daddy," exclaimed Juliet, sounding way more hyper this morning, "look what Mommy made us! Blueberry pancakes!"

"And blueberry muffins!" added Emma.

Bella turned around. I looked at her and raised my eyebrows. "So I smelled." The simple gesture of her making breakfast brought back so many memories of our time living together. I was surprised at how much it pleased me.

Bella just shrugged, shyly. "I found old blueberries in your fridge that you were about to lose."

"Really?" I opened the fridge and looked inside. I had no idea I was the owner of such blueberries. "It was probably Tanya's," I said, realising my mistake too late. I really hoped the girls wouldn't dwell on it and ask what Tanya's food was doing in my home. Fortunately they didn't.

I couldn't say the same for Bella who looked at me, unsure. "Sorry," she said. "I hope she won't mind."

I shrugged, took out the box of milk and opened it. "Nah. She probably forgot they were there. All the more for us." Bella's blueberry treats were the best. Then, without thinking, I took a big gulp of milk, directly from the box.

"Edward!" Bella exclaimed, hitting me with her spatula. "I'm always telling the girls not to do that!"

I couldn't help but laugh. It took all my willpower to swallow, on the verge of spitting; I was such a bad role model for kids. Juliet and Emma looked at their mom with big eyes, then at me, before they lost it in a fit of giggles. Bella continued to slap me with her spatula until I apologized and got a glass.

We finally calmed down and I went to sit next to Emma, who looked at me with awe and hope on her delicate features. I frowned at her. "What?"

"Nothing," she said, smiling widely at Bella who came closer to give me a plate full of pancakes over the counter. Emma burried her nose in her plate and began eating again, never losing her big fat smile.

Still frowning, I looked at Bella, who just shrugged, biting her lips. Obviously, Emma was appreciating our new little arrangement a bit too much. I knew she was happy to see her mom and I interact this way toward each other, so familiarly, but that was it. I don't know what she was imagining, but we would have to talk to her. Soon.

"So," Bella broke the silence, eating a piece of muffin, chewing softly. "What did you guys have planned for today?" It's like I could hear her ask "are you going to go to work, again?" I knew she still hadn't forgiven me for that mistake.

Lifting up my head, I looked at her with a blank expression and my mouth full. Fuck! I knew I had something planned for today, but for the love of me, I couldn't remember what it was.

"What?" Bella chuckled. I must have looked ridiculous.

"Dad." Emma went to my rescue. "We were supposed to go surfing this afternoon, yes?"

Nope, that wasn't it. But still, she was right.

"We were," I told her. "But now Juliet can't go into the water with her cast."

Juliet looked at me with big doe eyes. Emma voiced her disappointment.

"Aww, so unfair."

Bella bent over the counter and grabbed Juliet's tiny fingers that were protruding from her cast. "Well, maybe we could all go to the beach, and you can take Emma to her surf lesson while I stay on dry ground with Jules."

I couldn't help but roll my eyes at my own stupidity. "Now that you say it, it seems obvious." I mentally face palmed myself.

"Don't worry, I'm not used to it, either," Bella admitted. At least, she understood where I was coming from. Being single parent of two kids, we always had to deal with both children at the same time, always having to split our attention in half. The fact that I could actually spend the afternoon with just one of my daughter while Bella was taking care of the other was a reality I wasn't used to.

"So, we're going?" asked Emma, thrilled.

"We're going," I acquiesced. At the same moment, the doorbell rang. I looked at Bella again, frowning, wondering who it was. It was barely eight in the morning, for God's sake.

"Don't look at me like that," she laughed, wiping her hands on her – used-to-be-mine – shirt. "It's your house."

I could feel the eyes of all three girls on my back as I headed toward the front door. I opened it and found a—

"Flying baby!" Emmett exclaimed, swinging Henry into my arms. Thanks to my good reflexes I caught him without problem, despite my surprise.

"The fuck?" I mouthed. Emmett only laughed.

"Don't worry, Henry," I said to my godson as I suddenly remembered what I had planned for this morning; earthwork in the backyard with Emmett's help. "Daddy's a goof, but you're safe here with me." And with that, I kissed his chubby cheeks, tickling his face and neck with my beard.

Henry shrieked and laughed, kicking around, pushing me away with his small hands. Emmett only laughed harder and I joined him.

Further in the kitchen, I could see Bella's shocked expression. I guess it had been a while since she had seen me with a baby in my arms. Beside her, Emma and Juliet wore similar delighted expressions.

"Henry!" Emma exclaimed, and with her sister, they ran my way. But before they could reach their 'cousin', Emmett engulfed them both in a big hug. "Hey, you two!"

"Hfmph!" was the only sound Emma could manage while Jules giggled.

Of course, my girls and Henry weren't really related, but since I was his godfather, they liked to pretend they were. Each time I got to have my kids here with me, they would ask me to go see their 'baby-cousin'. They adored him. From what they told me, he was the only boy around in the family, their aunt Leah and her husband having had a daughter. Some part of me was sad that I had never met Sam's baby. I missed my old friends.

Still smiling, I repositioned the eighteen-month-old boy on my hip and went to close the front door. I looked outside at the same time Henry exclaimed, "Mama!" Rosalie Hale was in my entryway. She looked over and waved weakly at me, clearly preoccupied elsewhere; she was speaking on the phone. I decided to leave the door open for her as I went back inside.

Juliet was now showing Emmett her cast, and he was currently drawing something on it. I looked over his shoulder to be sure it wasn't anything obscene. Before he had Henry, it would have been possible. As it was, he was drawing a little bear, with a speech bubble in which the bear was 'roar'-ing.

Emmett had been working at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens for the past seven years. He had spent years studying as a wild animal vet, and was now responsible for the American Black Bears at the zoo. He loved his job.

When Emmett was done with his drawing, I lay Henry down on the floor and let the girls take him with them to the living room, where they could all play or watch TV. As Emma was older and used to her big sister role, I knew Henry was going to be alright with them. She was currently holding his hand as they walked away.

"Okay, bye. Love you, too." Emmett pouted, waving sadly at the kids as if he was left standing alone, abandoned by his peers. It made me laugh.

"Come," I said, slapping him on the shoulder. Bella was still in the kitchen, looking at us from afar. When she realised I meant for her to meet my friend, she felt self-conscious all of sudden, pulling on her pajama shirt as if to make it longer. Part of me liked that she hadn't felt this way earlier when it was only our daughters and us two.

"Oh!" Emmett exclaimed when he finally spotted my ex-wife behind the counter. "Is that your wifey?" He looked at her from her head to her naked-feet and wiggled his eyebrows in a way only I could see, clearly mocking me. He knew I had always found my ex-wife very attractive. Then, he swung his way towards Bella.

As it was a natural response to Emmett, Bella was smiling already.

"Ex-wife," she clarified, shaking his hand. "I'm Bella."

"Mia Bella, mia amore," Emmett sang, kissing her fingers instead of shaking her hand. Bella looked at me, raising an eyebrow. I just laughed.

"He probably has no idea of what he just said," I said and Bella chuckled politely.

"Whatever," said Emmett. "Oh, are those blueberry pancakes? Yummy!" And just like that, he took it on himself to finish Emma's plate, sitting at the counter.

I could see Bella's mind working and I waited for the questions that were surely to come my way. They never did. Instead, Bella's attention got diverted when Rosalie firmly barged into the house, slamming the door behind her.

"I don't care, Vera! I told him already I wasn't interested. You deal with him. That's what you're being paid for!"

She closed her cellphone abruptly, probably cutting short her agent's reply. She came to me and kissed me once on the cheek, sharply.

"Good morning, Edward," she said. Of all the woman in my life, Rose was the only one tall enough to embrace me without having to stand on her tiptoes. With her being 5'10 and wearing high heels ninety percent of the time, it was a good thing that Emmett was so beef, making it to 6'4.

She was looking particularly fine today, with her tight jeans, her black blouse and her long blond hair in a ponytail, sunglasses on her head. What a shame she had such a despicable personality.

"Hey, Rose," I smiled tightly.

"Where are your precious girls?" Ah, my children; my only redeeming quality in Rosalie's opinion.

"They went to watch TV with your boy," I answered. "Can I present you to—" I stopped short, noticing my ex-wife's expression. She was completely shocked at Rose's entrance in my house, and was now at a stand-still, her eyes big and round. I may have forgotten to mention I was 'friends' with one of the most well-known and talented actresses of the decade, but this behaviour in Bella was unexpected, even to me. "Uh—this is Isabella," I told Rose, frowning at my ex.

Rosalie smiled at Bella – who had no reaction whatsoever – before to turn back to me, frowning. "Isabella?"

Rose knew who 'Isabella' was. What she didn't get was what she was doing here. Bare-legged and in one of 'my' shirts. Shit! Obviously, Emmett hadn't told her about Juliet's incident.

"She's his wifey!" exclaimed Em, his mouth full; it sounded more like 'sheezzeezz waffle'.

"She came to visit our daughters," I explained, keeping it simple and hopefully distant.

"Aww!" Rose smiled, hugging my ex-wife unexpectedly, deciding to ignore the fact she was only in her pajamas. "It's so nice to finally meet you! Your girls had told me so much about you. It's great to put a face on the name. They both looks so much like you."

I couldn't help but smile. Even though Emma looked very much like a Cullen and had my coloring, she had still so much of her mother in her, it was crazy. And Jules, she was Bella's little clone, if not for the well-known smirk that she had inherited from me and her gleeful personality that was so reminiscent of my sister.

Bella was still unmoving, eyes fixing on Rosalie's face. Behind me, Emmett chuckled.

"Isa-bella!" I snapped, trying to get her out of her stupefaction.

She finally blinked. "I could go lesbian for you," she said, matter-of-factly.

Wait, what?

Rosalie chuckled, not expecting this. Behind me, Emmett literally choked on his food. As for me, my eyes went big. Images were flashing into my mind, things I shouldn't be thinking of!

"Dude," said Emmett, "tell me your camera's close by!" Obviously his thoughts went in the same direction as mine.

Emmett's voice brought Bella back to reality, who shook her head and blushed violently.

"I mean, I'm a really big fan," she said, palming her burning cheeks.

We all laughed. I couldn't believe it; my ex-wife was starstruck! I was going to have to tease her about it later.

"Yeah, well. I can tell," Rosalie said diplomatically, still laughing. Then she excused herself, saying that she would have loved to stay and chat but she was expected somewhere else. "I have a photoshoot this morning," she explained.

"Wait!" cried Emmett. "Babe, you have to try these!" He gave his wife one of Bella's muffins. She took it with disgust evident on her perfect features.

"Ugh, I bet it's full of butter and sugar," she said and I rolled my eyes. With her and Tanya around, both of them so cliché with this Hollywood lifestyle and diet, I was glad my kids had a mom like Bella. Not that she was eating only fast-food – her home-made food was rather healthy and excellent – but I least she didn't mind a burger or a sugar loaded dessert once in a while.

"Actually, I don't use lot of butter; I cut it down with applesauce." Bella defended her food with a soft smile. "And the blueberries are sweet enough I don't need to add sugar." She shared a glance with me.

Rosalie gave a shrug and dared tasting it. The moan than followed was downright obscene! Was it only me, or was this breakfast suddenly in need of a R-rating? With the previous lesbian talk and the now orgasm-like moan, it was hard not to go back to those sexy thoughts I had earlier. And it made no matter that it was about my ex and my best friend's wife, the two women I shouldn't be thinking this way about. It just seemed more forbidden... and thus exciting.

I was so going to hell.

"Fuck me," Emmett groaned, reading my thoughts.

If I knew my friend, he was probably going to add some crude comment, but Bella stopped him.

"Oh, oh oh. Young ears around!" she said just in time, and we all turned to see the kids coming our way. Emma was actually carrying Henry in her arms. Having the set of parents Henry had, there was no way this baby couldn't be beautiful, but he was also big for his age. Looking tired already from carrying him, Emma gave him to his dad. Emmett just sat him down on his lap.

"Hello, Miss Rosie!" Juliet called as she came running our way.

My youngest was the only one allowed to call Rosalie 'Rosie'. We all could use Rose, but Rosie was forbidden for everyone but Jules. It dated from four years ago, when Juliet was still only a two-year-old baby and couldn't manage to say 'Rosalie' cutting it down to 'Ros-h-ie'.

"Hey, gorgeous!" Rosalie said as she bent down to hug the child. She stopped short when she spotted her cast. "Oh, sweetie, what happened to you?"

"I fell from the monkey bars." Juliet answered like it was the most normal thing in the world. "Wanna draw me something on it?"

Rosalie was just shocked. "You fell from the monk—" She stopped there and turned on me with a murderous look. "You!"

I couldn't help but take a step back and raise my hands in surrender. Behind Rose, I could see my ex-wife looking surprised at the actress' outburst. She walked closer and put both hands on Juliet's shoulders, taking her away from the war zone as Rosalie stood up.

"What kind of irresponsible father are you?" Rosalie screamed at me. It made me instantly furious; what right did she have to judge and scold me? And in front of my children! She was trespassing her boundaries.

I was going to reply something not-so-friendly when Emmett saved the day. "Hey now, babe," he gently said to his wife. "Don't you think you're being a bit too harsh? It was an accident that I'm sure Edward really feels bad about. And he already has to answer to his ex. What else do you think she's doing here?" I could see Bella's eyebrows rise as she realised just how much Emmett actually knew of our situation. At his words, Rosalie's angry gaze softened and she looked back at Bella. "Why don't you let them deal with it, as a family? And give the guy some slack."

Rosalie scowled at her husband. "Whatever," she said, which was her way of admitting that her outburst was uncalled for. I rolled my eyes. It was always this way between Rose and I, on the edge of war, Emmett always playing the buffer.

"Anyway, I have to go or I'm gonna be late," Rosalie repeated. She turned to Bella and kissed her cheeks. "It was nice to meet you, Isabella. Hopefully we will chat more next time. Are you staying long?"

"About two weeks," Bella replied.

"Oh! So you're going to be around for Independence Day, that's awesome!" Bella looked confused at this comment, but Rose didn't notice and bent down to kiss Juliet's chubby cheek.

"I'm going to draw you something next time we meet, doll," she said, pinching her chin. "Save me some place." Juliet nodded and smiled. She was going to hold her to it.

Rosalie left them and came to me next. I was expecting a quick, cold peck on the cheek, or even a slap. Instead, she put an arm around my neck and brought me closer to whisper something in my ear. "I would have cut your balls," she deadpanned.

I couldn't help but laugh. That was exactly what Emmett told me a few days ago. "Oh, I know you would have," I said, taking her shoulders and pushing her away from my body. No way was she going to stay so close to me and my balls any longer than necessary.

She chuckled at my body-response and went to her husband. "Hey you," she cooed, taking Henry into her arms. Then, with their baby boy stuck between the two of them, Emmett and Rosalie spent the next three minutes french-kissing and groping each other. Emmett's big hands were firmly on his wife's ass. I was used to their manifestations of love, but clearly Bella wasn't. She looked so shocked I had to laugh. I even saw her move her hands to block our six-year-old's view.

"I know," I told her. "They're disgusting." Further away, Emma giggled.

At my words, both Emmett and Rosalie chuckled and finally let go of each other's tongues.

"You're just jealous," Emmett laughed, taking his son back, looking smug. That jackass. He was so proud!

Rosalie went to Emma and quickly kissed her forehead. "Bye, sweetheart. Bye everyone." And with that, she finally left.

I sighed and bent over the kitchen counter beside Emmett, pinching the bridge of my nose. "Your wife is making me nuts, man," I told him.

He just grinned. "Shut up, you two love each other, I know it. Deep down."

"Very deep down."


I was currently in Edward's music room-slash-office, trying to reset his darn modem and router. Turned out that he and Emmett had some renovation planned outside; Edward wanted to refurbish his backyard. He had forgotten to tell me this morning when I asked him and he apologized for that, though I didn't mind.

I thought I could do some work on my side, starting the first summary out of the two I had to write before the end of the week. The faster I could send them both back to my boss, the better. This way, she wouldn't hold a grudge about me leaving on vacation with such short notice. Plus, part of me wanted to impress her. With what Emma had said yesterday about my competence and Seth's theory, I felt like I needed to remind my editor-in-chief exactly how good I could be.

I would have been almost done by now if Edward's wi-fi hadn't failed me. When writing a summary, I mostly required only my comprehension of the manuscript at hand, my own talent at writing and the ability to resume the main ideas, but I also needed internet research for further information. Plus, I needed to send an e-mail to one of my co-workers – and it goes without mentioning that I was going to have to send my first draft to my boss afterward.

Having to crawl under Edward's desk wasn't really in my plans for today and it was delaying me. Between an abandoned guitar and an old CD case, I finally found what I was looking for and unplugged the power. Half the lights had been red and I was hoping a simple reset would work its magic. I was looking at the modem restart, watching the lights pass from red to yellow to green, when the sudden sound of piano notes frightened me.

Startled, I violently knocked my head below the desk. "Ow—"

I was dreading to see Edward, but it was only Emma. She had a look of concentration on her delicate features as she sat at her father's piano, playing some melody. She was clearly reading the staves sheets in front of her; Edward's work.

"You scared me, honey."

"Sorry." She smiled and turned towards me, stilling her playing. She frowned. "What are you doing?"

"Rebooting your dad's modem. You wouldn't happen to know his password, would you?" She shook her head. "No, of course not."

For some reason, Edward hadn't wanted to give me his password for his wi-fi, rather preferring to enter it himself into my laptop. I hoped the thing would remember it, but doubted it.

Looking back at the modem, I saw it was working again. Smiling, I stood up.

"Mommy?" Emma started. She had left the piano bench and was now lying down on her belly on Edward's leather couch. She was looking at me with an upset expression. She so rarely called me 'mommy' anymore; something was bothering her.

"Yes, sweetheart?"

She held her head with both her hands, feet swinging in the air behind her.

"Do you think Dad is an irresponsible father, too?" she asked, repeating Rosalie's words.

I looked at my daughter with mixed feelings, not knowing what to respond. Yes, I thought leaving for work and letting Tanya baby-sit our children had been careless, yet an accident was an accident. I had been livid at first, and I was still planning to have a serious, kid-free conversation about it with Edward. But unlike Rosalie, I didn't wash my dirty-clothes in public, let alone in front of my kids.

It actually was one of the things I appreciated the most about my relationship with Edward; we had always supported each other in front of our kids, even after our divorce. I wasn't going to bring him down in front of Emma just because I was mad at him. And truth be told, most of the time Edward was an amazing dad. He spoiled his daughters rotten, but he always had their best interests in mind. Edward was a responsible parent. That's probably what had shocked me the most about Juliet's accident; that he hadn't been there at all.

"No, Emma. I don't think so."

The smile she gave me then was glorious. "I don't think so either," she said. "Rosalie shouldn't have said that, right Mom?"

"No. No, she shouldn't have." Emma nodded.

She rolled down from the couch, looking much more at ease now. "I'm gonna go change for the surf!" she exclaimed, trotting her way out of the music room, toward her bedroom upstairs, I supposed.

I looked out the window that gave onto the back of the house. Both Edward and Emmett were sweating, moving around heavy flagstones, making a walkway and a whole patio floor. Beside them, Juliet and Henry were playing in the huge mound of ground that would eventually become Edward's grass. For what I had understood, Edward just got himself some inground pool and was making the contour of it in paving slabs. It was going to look amazing.

To prevent Juliet to get her cast all dirty with the dirt, Edward had wrapped her whole arm in a plastic bag. It looked absolutely ridiculous, but it served its purpose. It made me smile.

Turning back into the room, I looked around. When Edward didn't have the girls with him, this was probably the room where he spent most of his time. With my fingers, I gently touched the back of his leather couch, trying to guess how many times he might have fallen asleep on it. I went to his piano and delicately caressed the keys, not making a sound. Piano notes brought too many memories...

Walking away, I went to his overloaded shelves. Several pictures of Emma and Juliet were displayed. It went from their baby-pictures to their official school portraits. Some of them were vacation pictures – taken with their dad only. There was one that attracted my gaze; all three of them into a huge hug, laughing. It looked recent.

And below the pictures, there it stood, all proud and taunting. Edward Cullen first Golden Globe for Best Original Score – Motion Picture.

Looking at that small, irritating shiny status of the well-known globe, I couldn't help but feel odd; proud, yet sad and angry at the same time.

Then it hit me. It was jealousy I was feeling. I, Isabella Swan-Cullen, was jealous of an award trophy. Even more so than I was of Tanya. Because Tanya, no matter how gorgeous and perfect she proved to be, wasn't the reason Edward left. This was.

He left with the hope of becoming successful, of being recognized amongst his peers. And he did.

I was proud of him for it, don't get me wrong, but this Golden Globe was cruel proof that leaving us – leaving me – had been the right decision for Edward. And I hated it!

Slowly, ever so gently, I touched the thing with the tip of my fingers. It had no dust on it, proof that Edward cared deeply about his award. Tears filled my eyes. I had to restrain the urge to smash it down to the floor, like an unhappy four-year-old.

That's the way I was when Edward found me.

"Isabella?" I jumped back like the trophy had just burnt me. Edward's gaze switched from me to the award and frowned. "You ready?"

I noticed then that he was all clean up, wearing beach shorts and a white t-shirt. He was holding something in his hand, some kind of photograph.

"Yep," I replied. "Where's Emmett?"

"He just left with Rosalie."

"Oh!" I hadn't realised I had lost so much time in here, going around his office.

Edward was still frowning. "What were you doing in here?"

"Uh—your wi-fi failed on me. I came here to restart your modem. I'll need your password again."

He nodded, then looked back at his Golden Globe. I wondered if he sensed what was going on into my mind before he arrived. Maybe he thought I was standing too close to his precious trophy and I was a potential threat. I took a few steps away.

"I was just looking around," I clarified.

Then, I registered what Edward had told me; both Emmett and Henry were gone. Rosalie had presumably come back, only to leave again.

Disappointment washed over me. "So I missed Rosalie?" I still couldn't believe I had met Rosalie fucking Hale! And I had made such a fool of myself. Just the thought of it made me blush again. Edward noticed and smirked at me.

I couldn't help it. I really admired her and her work! I don't think Edward ever knew – and I wasn't going to tell him now – but Emma's namesake was Rosalie's character in one of her films.

"Don't worry," Edward told me, his eyes light with amusement. "I asked her an autograph for you." He waved the autographed picture of Rosalie Hale. He was mocking me, that jerk!

"Shut up," I scolded, grabbing the picture nonetheless – at that point, I was beyond shame – before making my way upstairs. Behind me, I could hear Edward's laugh.

I looked at Rose's picture. On it she had written "If I wasn't happily married, I would have gone for it", which made me laugh, blushing again. I was glad no one could see me this time.

I was really hoping to see her more. I wondered what she meant when she mentioned Independence Day. I was also greedy to know how she and Edward had met. It was obvious that Edward was friend with her husband and not her, but there was something between the two of them I couldn't put my finger on. They didn't get along, that was easy to see, but they – I don't know – respected each other, maybe? I thought Emmett saw it right; they loved each other deep down.

Reaching my assigned bedroom, I quickly changed. Actually, I mostly kept the same clothes, jean shorts and a tank top, but I put on my bathsuit underneath and grabbed a light vest and a hat. With my fair skin, I had to protect myself from the sun, and though I knew that with Juliet I wasn't going anywhere near the water, I was still going to a hot, summer beach for once and planned to enjoy it. The only beach I ever went to was La Push, and it wasn't even comparable. I had a moment of hesitation before deciding to bring my book with me too.

My bag on my shoulder, sandals on my feet, I went downstairs to find Edward creaming Juliet from head to toes with sun lotion. It was a fun sight to see, Juliet grimacing each time her dad's hand would go over her baby face.

Emma was by the door, all ready and impatient. I'd never realised she liked surfing so much. She had always refused to go with her uncles down at La Push.

Edward was finally done with our youngest. He smiled at me and gave me the sun screen tube that I put into my bag.

"Do you have more space?" I nodded as he gave me four bottles of water and some fruit. He grabbed Juliet, making her squeal, and we all left.

Looking like such a perfect little family, when we clearly weren't, tightened my heart. Taking a deep breath, I smiled at my girls and got into the car, hoping it didn't look fake.

Two hours later, I couldn't be happier to have brought my book, as Juliet was fast asleep under her father's towel, away from the sun. On the horizon, I could spot Emma and her dad surfing. Well, Emma was surfing; Edward mostly sat down on his board, teaching his daughter. Emma was really talented, jumping from right to left on her board, taking the waves older surfers around her let pass by.

As soon as she got out of the ocean, she drank a whole bottle of water in one big glup and ate two apples and a pear. She was wearing a short black and pink wetsuit, and her long wet hair was all over the place.

Edward took it on himself to tow both surf boards in. When he finally reached us, he took the time to remove the top of his wetsuit before grabbing a bottle of water to drink too.

I stared.


The thirty years had been good on him. Edward had never been huge, or overly muscular, but he was in shape, with a flat stomach and strong shoulders. He shared Emma's towel to dry his hair a bit, and I almost moaned.

"Where's Juliet?" He asked, bringing me back down to Earth just before he could see me bite my lips and drool.

"She's just over there." I pointed her out, all spread out in the sand, under the towel. Only her feet were apparent. Both Emma and Edward laughed.

The ride home was silent, but not awkward. I looked towards the back seat and saw both girls asleep. I smiled at the sight.

"The surf usually wears them out, though I'm pretty sure Juliet won't go to sleep without a fight tonight." I had to agree with him. She hadn't surfed today, and had slept most of the afternoon. We were going to pay for that later tonight.

My mind wandered over the fact that we would both deal with it later, together. It had been years since the last time I could afford to think this way. I wondered if that was also what Edward was thinking of, how different our lives as parents could have been if we had stayed together and worked our shit out.

"I should have never left," he suddenly said. My head snapped his way, flabbergasted. But of course, we were not thinking or talking about the same thing here at all!

His gaze was on the playground at the corner of the street; we had reached this place again, where Juliet had fallen and hurt herself.

Edward turned towards me. "I shouldn't have left that day. I'm sorry."

I only bit my lips and nodded, not trusting myself to say anything at the moment, still in shock.

I shouldn't let myself hope this way. It was only going to hurt me in the end.

To be continued...

I'm sorry for the abrupt ending... or not! Just to let you guys know, I'm using lots of pics to write this fic, as inspiration. I put them all together in a post on my livejournal (link in my profile) if you are interested in seeing how I imagine Rosalie (closer to Charlize Theron than Nikki Reed, actually) or her baby-boy Henry. It also has some pics of Edward's house, bedrooms, and other stuff.

Next chapter is coming soon! In the meanwhile, I would love to read your review! :)