AN: Thank you all for your support of this story, this part is winding down. A handful of chapters are left. Who knows if a sequel will be underway? (It will if you want one!)
There is a future-take of Edward, Bella and the kids that I wrote for The Stand Up for Katalina compilation. You can find the link to the story on my profile.
mauigirl60 looked this chapter over for me. A big thank you to her!
Thank you again for reading this story. I have been truthfully second guessing myself and my writing for some time now. Your support has made me stick with this writing thing when I have been so close to quitting. I adore you all, dear readers.
It was one of those days that Bella's head wouldn't stop throbbing. She felt as if one of those pewter crab mallets she'd used during her time in Maryland, were tapping furiously into her brain and digging for gray matter. She should never have underestimated the power of a two-year-old screaming for his pilfered chocolate, and a whining twenty-three-year-old. They were both toddlers.
"Eat, Mama! Mattee want eat!" Matt was banging both his fists and feet on the hardwood floor, making a horrible noise.
Bella took a deep breath and looked at her screaming child. "You are getting nothing but a timeout, boy child!"
"Ahh! Mean, Mama!"
"The wicked Mama is horrible, Matt. Scream louder at her for Aunt Jane." Jane pointed at Bella.
"Cut it out, Jane! Don't egg Matt on!" Bella gently picked up the screaming little monster in her arms and deposited him onto a large floor pillow in the corner. He was going to hurt himself if she didn't. "You need to put your big girl panties on and talk to Emmett yourself."
Jane pursed her lips together tightly. It was a look she'd learned from her father. Alec liked to use that one too when he was upset. Then, Jane stomped her foot and Bella started laughing. Matt stopped crying and looked at his mother.
"I don't see why you're laughing at me, Bella Beast."
"I laugh at adults acting like children, Jane. Matt has it more together than you do." Matt started wailing again. Bella sighed and continued, "Never mind. You're just as bad. This isn't like you at all. Cut it out!"
Jane sat on the couch, putting her shoes on it in defiance. Bella hated that. All the nastiness that could have gotten on the bottom of those heels was now on her couch. Jane chuckled at Bella's displeasure. "Oops."
Matt wailed, "Ma!"
"Just talk to him for me. He won't even look at me! He's my male, Bella! I can say mean things to him and he just gets embarrassed, not mad. Who will eat pork rinds with me? This isn't fair!"
"You're having umm...a relationship with his ex-wife." Bella paced in front of the couch, censoring her words for her little screamer's ears. "What were you thinking?"
Jane gave a wink. "She has great boobs."
Bella stopped, looking at her in wonder. Emmett was a blubbering mess. He had kicked Jane out of the house and now Bella had her living in their crowded house. It was way too tiny for so many people. The situation was ridiculous.
"Have you seen them, my little gutter snipe? Like a pair of perfect melons," she continued saying. Bella looked at her with an angry frown.
"This isn't funny, Jane!" Bella exclaimed, as Annie wandered in. "Annie, can you get Matt out of here?"
Annie looked at him with wide eyes. "He's scary today, Mommy. He has kicking feet."
Bella looked at her youngest, his little feet of fury kicking the stuffing out of the pillow under him, and shuddered. "Good call, Annie doll. Mommy will take care of it."
"Why are you talking about melons?" Annie questioned loudly over Matt's cries. "Did you get cantaloupe at the store? Did you know melons and cantaloupes are in the same family, Aunt Jane? It's like we're in the same family."
"I'm aware," Jane stated, rubbing her head. She was getting her own child-induced migraine. "Thanks for the update, kid."
"Do you know that my boy calls the Giant, 'daddy'?" Annie climbed into Jane's lap, startling her. Bella was wondering where Annie was going with this. "I call my daddy, 'Alec' now and Edward 'Prince'. Matty is confused. Do you think that's why he's sad? He doesn't know who his daddy is."
Bella sat down next to Jane and Annie. "I think Matt wants chocolate and I said no."
"It's okay not to know, I guess. I love Edward. Daddy is acting weird, but I love him too. Matt will learn." Annie cuddled even closer to Jane. "I will always love you, Aunt Jane. You are my best friend. I like that you are living here even though you're friends with the Red Witch. I'm sorry you miss my boy and the Giant. Am I okay to be your friend?"
That's when the tears started. Jane's blue eyes filled with big drops of water. Bella looked on in amazement. She'd never seen Jane display this emotion before. It was as if all the pain that the girl was subjected to in her youth led to this need for release. Emmett was only a part of her inner turmoil, and it had taken her young niece to help her lower the wall.
"Jane, let it out," Bella rubbed her back soothingly.
Edward stuck his head in and watched Bella comforting Jane. What the hell was that? Shouldn't Jane be mocking something or someone unmercifully, not using Annie's hair as a human tissue? Matt was sniffling and watching the womenfolk with interest.
"Umm, ladies... is everything all right here?" he asked.
Bella looked at him with a sad smile, shakingher head. "Do you want to take Annie and Matt upstairs to play?"
Matt started to wail again.
"What's his problem?" Edward questioned. He looked fearfully down at the tiny boy with the gigantic lungs.
"He wants chocolate."
"Jesus," Edward muttered. He went over and kneeled next to Matt. The child's face was a mottled red which was streaked with wetness. Looking up at Bella, he said with a grin, "How's that 'crying things out theory' working out for you there, Mommy?"
Bella looked at a weeping Jane and a sobbing Matt. Her own eyes started filling with tears. "Horrible! It's heartbreaking!"
Annie tried comforting both her mother and aunt. She couldn't figure out what was wrong with them. They weren't hurt and could have chocolate whenever they wanted! Adults never made any sense.
"Hey, buddy," Edward said, in a soothing voice. He wrapped his arms around a wriggling Matt. "Nana Esme wanted me to help her bake cookies. Would you like to come?"
Matt's tears immediately dried up, and a smile graced his little face. "Daddee!"
Bella watched the scene and slumped down on the couch.
"What about me?" Annie asked.
"You too, princess!" he said, adding a wink at his favorite little girl.
She ran over to him and hugged his leg. Looking up she whispered, "Can we make Mommy and Aunt Jane cards to make them feel better while Matt makes cookies?"
"I like the way you think, princess!" Edward picked up the now-happy Matt. "You ladies shall have smiles upon your faces when I return!"
"I said no chocolate," Bella said weakly. She and Jane were now hugging each other. It was the weirdest sight that Edward had ever seen.
"My darling future wife, sometimes you need to lose a battle to win the war." DS started barking madly in the backyard. "I'll take DS with me. Dad's home and would love to play with her."
Carlisle had fallen in love with that heroic puppy.
Bella and Jane watched as the trio left the room, their eyes still filled with tears.
"Alice is really leaving us?" Jane whimpered.
"She leaves with Jasper in three weeks. I'm so happy for her!" Bella sobbed.
"She was going to be my new best girlfriend!" Jane wailed.
Bella clutched her friend. "You're dating a red witch!"
"I know! Alice would be...be...my new Emmett!" Jane cried out.
The two friends cried until their eyes were dry. The rest of the afternoon was spent mocking soap operas and eating chips. Sometimes, all you needed was a really good cry.
It was October 31st - Halloween. All Hallow's Eve - Bella's most hated holiday. She used to love it, she really did. Dressed up like an astronaut and gathering candy was fun when she was a little girl. This night, huddled into her parka and a stupid, pink princess gown, Bella was certainly not amused.
The group walked the dark streets, lit by street lights and eerie pumpkins. Their feet crunched on fallen leaves that had not yet been raked up, and the mood was melancholy. At least, it was for Bella, Jane, Emmett and Rosalie Hale. The situation had just gotten worse. Emmett refused to speak to anyone, including Bella and Edward. He was using his mother to relay his messages, but even that was only out of necessity. Esme had seen positive changes in Rosalie when she interacted with Sam and had attributed it to Jane's influences. She also was quite fond of Emmett's new girlfriend, Victoria, who was a sweet girl. Esme would hate if her boy messed it up.
In contrast, the children and Edward were full of Halloween joy and sugar. A little monkey, pirate and cowgirl/princess/alien giggled down the path. A handsome prince, wearing leggings, tunic and a crown that Annie made for him, was literally skipping with the children and singing funny children's songs. The crown was covered in aluminum foil and beads that were glued on. The glitter that Annie had added last minute was now all over Edward's hair, face and costume. He could have cared less. Edward Cullen was having the time of his life.
"Alright, kids...we need more Skittles for our queen! She's in a cranky mood because I hid her jeans. We must find her candy of the non-chocolate sort. If we fail at our quest, it's off with our heads! Can I get a huzzah?"
Annie and Sam yelled, "Huzzah!"
Matt growled like a dinosaur.
Emmett watched the scene with a sour expression. He spoke to the women for the first time in two weeks. "He is such a fag."
"What is wrong with you?" Bella wanted to beat him with her glittery scepter. "He's having fun with the children! This includes your child, Emmett!"
"You could have at least dressed up for Sam, fat boy. I'm sure we could find you a Pillsbury Dough Boy costume you could squeeze your large butt in." Jane, dressed all in black with a headband that had cat's ears on it, sneered at her angry friend. She certainly didn't want to dress as a dumb cat, but Rosalie insisted that she would look sexy. Rosalie loved playing dress-up with Jane, and Jane really liked Rosalie playing with her.
"Whatever you say, wife-stealer," Emmett grumbled.
Rosalie, dressed like a witch, glared at Emmett. "We're divorced, Emmett! I wished we could have worked it out, but back then, I wasn't in a place to make anything work properly. To tell you the truth, Em, I was empty before. You tried so hard to make me happy. I truly appreciate it. Meeting Jane made me feel complete. I think I really needed to meet her and discover who I am. I'm a lesbian, Emmett. A lesbian who knows she's in love with Jane Volturi."
"Whatever you say, slutty witch," Emmett grumbled, as he watched Rosalie wrap her arms around Jane.
"It's true, you know," Rosalie said, holding Jane tightly.
Jane looked at her and quietly stated, "I know, prom queen, I love you too."
"Gross!" Emmett exclaimed loudly. Everyone looked at him and Sam's smile faded away.
Annie grabbed his hand and held it tightly. "I got you, boy. It will be okay. You can have my M&Ms."
They were her favorite. This was a big deal.
"That's not cool, brother. The kids are here. Save it for later!" Edward admonished.
Emmett quickly trudged down the road away from the group. Bella ran after him, the stupid heels that Edward had tricked her into wearing clicking loudly on the pavement. Flattery got that man everything.
"Emmett Cullen, you need to wait up!" she yelled. "You are a gigantic baby!"
Emmett stopped abruptly, causing Bella to run into his chest with an 'oomph'.
"You're supposed to be my friend and you're siding with the enemies!" he yelled.
"I'm being an adult, Em. You're hurt and sad...I've been there, big guy. You also have a friend in Jane who is torn between you and the first person she's ever loved. You have Victoria now. She's so sweet and kind. Do you really want Rosalie back?" she asked in a muffled voice, because she was stilled smashed into his chest.
Emmett stepped back and looked at the very angry and very pretty woman before him. He loved the gal, but she loved his brother. He was pretty sure his feelings for that feisty redhead, Victoria, were heading to what Edward and Bella had together. He was wishing for it.
"No, I don't love Rosie anymore," he admitted, with a sigh. He moved away and made sure Bella was steady on her feet. "Not one little bit."
"Then make peace for Sam. Rosalie, I think, really does love him. She's made mistakes. Hell, we all have. Even you have, Emmett. I think causing a war will hurt everybody involved. You miss Jane, right?"
He gave a little smile. "Yeah, I miss that ballbuster."
"Let's try then. Okay?" Bella held out her hand to shake with him.
Emmett wrapped his arms around her instead, and gave her a big old bear hug. "We'll try."
"Moving on so quickly, Wife?" It wasn't Edward.
Bella looked up and saw two men approaching them. The one that spoke wore a Michael Myers mask. It was the monster who had invaded her nightmares and made her dread Halloween. The idea of never escaping the masked man in someplace familiar, like your neighborhood, was frightening. Only one person truly knew that fear enough to torment her. Alec.
The other man wore a twisted and scary devil mask. He was dressed in an elegant suit that cost more than her car. Bella grabbed tightly onto Emmett's arm. She knew exactly who was behind that mask.
"Bells, is that who I think it is?" Emmett moved his body in front of hers in a protective stance.
Bella quietly asked, "What are you doing here, Alec?"
Alec's voice was muffled behind his mask, as he answered, "I wanted to spend Halloween with our children. You really look lovely, Bella. My pretty princess is all dressed up for me."
"Go away, Alec. You'll scare Annie and Matt in that thing." Bella held her head up high and moved away from Emmett. She pushed her finger into Alec's chest. "If you think this is going to scare me, you are sadly mistaken."
Actually, that damned mask was scary. Bella wasn't going to show her fear to the two real monsters in front of her.
"Sweet Bella, dating brothers now? We need to get you back home and in control," the devil sneered.
Bella was about to tell him where he could stick his pitchfork when their group caught up with them. One look at the men in the scary masks had Annie and Sam screaming. Matt just stuck his thumb into his mouth and started sucking rapidly. He'd conquered that habit not long ago, but fear can make toddlers regress quickly.
Alec quickly pulled his mask off. "It's me! Daddy!"
Annie just grabbed onto Edward's leg and cried into it. Matt held onto Bella's long skirt. He looked fearfully at both his father and the devil man.
"What's wrong with you?" Edward questioned.
"Stay away from my children and my wife, Prince Charming!" Alec yelled, and then looked behind him at Rosalie holding Jane's hand. "What the fu..."
The masked man put his hand on Alec's shoulder and pulled off his mask. "Son, calm yourself. Mr. Cullen, I am glad you are here. Jane, I hear you're a disappointment as usual."
Rosalie put her arm around Jane in comfort. Jane had heard this all before from her father, so she wasn't affected by his words.
Aro Volturi looked at the group with a smug smile. He was a distinguished-looking man with cold eyes, who loved making people bow to his power. "Children, come say hello to Grandfather."
The intelligent children didn't move. They knew better than to trust him.
"Listen, Father from Hell, you should head back to Hades." Jane gave Aro a mean smile.
"You are, unfortunately, just like your mother, Jane," Aro sneered.
Alec pointed to Rosalie. "I see that you're taking my sloppy seconds, Jane. Nice."
Bella knew better than to let this conversation continue in front of the children. "We have some more houses to hit, before it gets too late. Let's continue this conversation another day."
"Darling child, I would highly suggest that you take the little ones home and head to the police station. You'll be needed there," Aro said to Bella.
She knew, without a doubt, that he was up to no good. "What did you do?"
"I did nothing at all, Isabella. Mr. King convinced the law enforcement in this town to put Alice Cullen into custody. Quite a shame, I hear she's a sweet child."
Bella looked at Aro in shock. "My father would never do th..."
Alec started to laugh. "My father-in-law is probably sharing her cell right now."
Aro shook his head sadly. "I was only trying to do the right thing, Isabella. It's your turn now, dear one. You need to do the right thing, as well. If you do, then the unfortunate situation that has befallen Miss Cullen and Chief Swan will disappear. I know you will make the right decision. You are a clever girl. Let's go, Alec."
"Give Daddy a hug," Alec demanded. The children just looked down at the ground. For a moment, Alec's face grew sad, but he quickly wiped the look from his face and followed his father into the night.
Bella grabbed Matt in her arms and pulled Annie close. What to do? What to do?
Edward wrapped his arms around Bella and the children. Their family could be destroyed in a minute. "Can he really ruin everything?"
Bella straightened up and gave a tight smile. "I refuse to let Aro ruin our lives. It's time to make a plan."
Bella looked back at Jane who let out a whoop and yelled out, "It's kick-ass time!"
"Jane!" Bella admonished.
"Sorry, crazy...it's kick-asp time! Kids, an asp is a dangerous type of snake," Jane explained. "That could work. Do we know anyone who has a deadly snake?"
"Jane!" Bella exclaimed, with a smile. It was game time.