Okay, we're starting the sequel for A Fresh Start. This will probably be slow going as I want to make sure I tell Marie's story well and appropriately. I'd like to thank all of my readers from A Fresh Start and their stories about their children with Autism. Your recollections will help me tremendously in Marie's story. I'm an educator and I'm familiar with the educational ramifications of Autism, but not living with a child with Autism on a day to day basis.

Anyhow, Twilight is not mine. Never will be mine. Ever. *WAAAH!* David, Lizzie and Marie are mine in a literary sense. Ren, too.

You still with me? I know I've been slacking on this one. Part of it is honestly, I don't know where I'm going with this. I know that Renee will be the bad guy but yeah. Secondly, is that some people have been 'rude' about my portrayal of Marie. I'm not a parent. I'm a teacher and I've dealt with children with Autism. But not on a daily, living situation. All of my research has been done online and from the help and guidance from my patient readers (you know who you are and I appreciate your guidance!). I'm hoping to keep up the story of Edward, Bella and their crazy brood, but please be patient with their growth. If there's something wrong, please don't hesitate to contact me, privately. Thanks!

I do apologize with the sporadic updates with this one. I struggle with this story and finding the momentum is tough. With that being said, please be patient with me on this one. I do intend to finish it. It'll probably take time.

Next chapter will be spent in New York City. We'll be joining our favorite couple as they explore the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Central Park. If any of you have any New York stories, please feel free to share. I've never been to the city and I want to portray it appropriately. In addition to the touristy stuff, Bella and Edward are going to go to the opera to see one of my favorite operas, Romeo and Juliet by Fauré. Unfortunately, there is some drama lurking around the corner.

Enough of this epic author's note…I'm such a wordy girl. LOL!

Chapter Seventeen: NYC


"We should eat something," Edward said as he ran his fingers along my spine. "While feasting off your succulent body is highly arousing, I'm kind of hungry."

"I'm surprised," I giggled, turning to face him but staying on my stomach. His light touch was so relaxing along my back. "You were down there a long time."

"That's because you taste so sweet," he purred, kissing me softly. My flavor was lingering on his lips along with a touch of his taste as well. He had gone down on me prior to our lovemaking and again afterward because he needed more of my body. I was a quivering, orgasmic mess when he was done with me. We took a brief nap and had just woke up to growling stomachs. "We can order room service."

"I like the sound of that. I don't have to put on clothes," I smiled, giving him a seductive look.

"You ready for another round, beautiful girl?" he growled erotically.

"Maybe," I said, pulling his face back to mine and kissing him deeply. He chuckled against my mouth. "What?"

"You may be ready for another round, but as you pointed out numerous times, we're not as young as we used to be," Edward smirked. "I need some more time to get my body moving, plus sustenance." He hopped out of the bed, naked as the day he was born and picked up the binder with the menu for room service. We placed our orders and called our children. We had called them right after we checked into the hotel, but I wanted to hear their sweet voices again.

As happy as I was to spend the weekend with Edward, I still missed my children. I also had a nagging feeling that something was going to happen while we were gone. Fucking Renee.

"Bella, you're growling," Edward snickered as he sat down on the bed.

"Sorry," I said as I pulled Edward's shirt around my body. The food was on its way and well, I didn't want to be naked when they arrived. "Stressing out over Renee."

"She has no place in this suite, beautiful girl," Edward whispered, cupping my face with his warm, large hand. There was a quiet knock on our door. Edward kissed me sweetly before walking to the door and ushering the porter inside. Edward gave him a tip and soon we were left with a meal fit for a king. We ate our dinner, taking turns feeding each other. Edward ordered some steak meal while I chose a chicken dish. The food was surprisingly good for room service food. Then again, we were staying at the Gramercy. It was a five star hotel. After we ate our dinner, Edward and I watched some television before making love one last time. We fell asleep, naked, sweaty and completely satisfied.

The next morning dawned early. Too early, in my opinion. I could have used another hour or four of sleep. I couldn't get comfortable and I was plagued with nightmares all night long. Edward was excited, though, to get started on our trip in New York City. We were only in town today, tomorrow and leaving the day following. Our tickets for Romeo and Juliet were for tomorrow, along a day of spa pampering for both of us. That was not included in the package I put the bid on. That was Edward's Valentine's day present for both of us. After past few weeks, we definitely needed it.

"Come on, beautiful girl," Edward crooned. "You're in for a treat this morning."

"Unless it involves you naked and more time in this bed, then it's not a treat," I grumbled, looking at his already dressed form. How long had he been up? "Damn, you're not naked."

"Nope. I woke up this morning and worked out in the fitness center, called the kids and verified our appointments for the spa," he smirked. "Seriously, Bella, we need to get going. You have to eat breakfast at one of my favorite places here in New York. The food is to die for. You probably could because of all the butter they use, but it's so delicious."

"Did you have coffee this morning?" I giggled, sitting up. "You're rambling a mile a minute."

"I had an espresso," he blushed. "I was tired but I wanted to make sure I was awake for our excursions today."

"So you had an espresso," I snorted. "You hate coffee so you had the equivalent of a coffee shot? You make no sense sometimes, Edward."

"Imagine Alice on this stuff," Edward snickered. "You think I'm hyper? She's infinitely worse! Anyhow, you've got to shower and get dressed, beautiful girl."

"Fine," I sighed, heaving my body out of the bed. Edward wrapped his arms around my naked body, kissing my nose. "You are quite adorable, Dr. Masen."

"So are you, Mrs. Masen," he smiled crookedly. "You look like the cat that got the cream."

"And I did," I retorted, kissing his jaw. "Love you, Edward."

"Love you so much more, Bella." He kissed me softly before releasing me. I picked up my clothes from the suitcases. I dressed for comfort, not for fashion. A lot of what we were going to do involved being outside and well, I didn't want to get sick. Dealing with sick children in Florida was not pleasant and subsequent problems didn't help either. Edward was sicker than a dog and I was just downright bitchy and unpleasant.

I finished my shower, blow drying my hair straight and pulling into a low ponytail. From the looks of it, it was snowing and looked brutal outside. Staying in bed was becoming much more appealing.

"Bella! Chocolate chip pancakes are calling my name!"

But, my man-child of a husband has other ideas.


I finished getting ready, putting on my jeans, gray turtleneck sweater and gray boots. Edward was already dressed for the outdoors in his own jeans, green sweater and snow boots. He was holding my navy blue peacoat, practically bouncing on his toes in excitement. No more espresso for Edward. He helped me into my coat, scarf and put a gray hat with a fuzzy ball on my head. I glowered at him playfully. He just kissed my nose, leading me out of the room and down to the lobby.

We walked to the shop that Edward was desperate to go to: Clinton St. Baking Company and Restaurant. It wasn't that far from the hotel. We placed our orders. I got some pancakes with bananas and maple sauce. Edward got chocolate chip pancakes. We sat down at a table close the window, waiting for our order. I sipped some coffee while Edward enjoyed some hot cocoa. "What's on the agenda for today, Dr. Masen?"

"First up is going to be a short ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island," he replied.

"Cool," I said, holding my mug in my hands, trying to warm up. We were next to the door and it was chilly. "After that?"

"Possibly go to Central Park and maybe go ice skating at Rockefeller Center," he smiled, giving me a wink.

"Do you want me to break my ankles?" I snorted. "I've already gotten a fractured wrist. My brittle bones won't take it."

"I promise. I won't let you fall, beautiful girl," he said, twining his fingers with my left hand and twirling my wedding band.

"Who will protect you if you fall?" I asked, giving him a wistful smile.

"Simple. I won't," he said cheekily. A server arrived, putting our food in front of us. Edward ordered another mug of hot chocolate and I got my coffee topped off. "This looks so decadent."

"You're going to crash, Edward," I snickered. "You're on a caffeine high now. Next a sugar rush?"

He smiled smugly, digging into his breakfast. After we finished our meal, Edward left a tip for the server and we hailed a cab to the ferry for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We paid for the ticket and got onto the ferry. The water was choppy due to the wind and swirling snow. I was not looking forward to the short journey to the island. I just know that I was going to be heaving my breakfast out of my stomach and into the Hudson Bay.

On the boat, we stayed inside since it was bitterly cold. A few brave souls were outside, watching and taking pictures as Lady Liberty loomed closer. I was trying to not puke. Edward idly rubbed my back and hummed in my ear. I just leaned against him, praying I didn't throw up on the poor man. Thankfully, I didn't. I damn near kissed the ground when we got to the dock Liberty Island.

We wandered outside a little bit, taking pictures before going inside to actually go into Lady Liberty. We climbed so many stairs to get to the very top of the statue. Both Edward and I were huffing and puffing but the view was so worth it. Manhattan was beautiful, despite the cold and snow.

"We should come back with the kids," I said quietly. "They'd get a kick out of this."

"Yeah, they would," Edward replied, wrapping his arm around my waist. "Perhaps over the summer?"

"Definitely," I answered, nestling in his arms. "But before I go back to work."

"Right," Edward said, a frown ghosting over his features.

"Edward? Everything okay?" I asked, turning around to face him. "You looked upset for a moment. Do you not want me to go back to work?"

"Bella, of course I want you to go back to work," he said. "I just forgot that you go back in the middle of the summer. It's no big deal."

"So, you're not mad?" I pressed, arching a brow at him.

"Never, beautiful girl," he murmured, kissing me softly. "I've just been spoiled with you being at home the past few months. It'll be an adjustment once you're in the office and taking classes, Dr. Masen."

"Heh, not yet," I snickered. "If ever."

"Why do you think that?"

"I don't know…getting my superintendent's endorsement and my doctorate is a big deal, Edward," I sighed. "It's a lot of work. I mean, working full-time…part-time…full-timeish…what am I working? Gah!"

Edward laughed, kissing my head. "You're working full-time, is my guess. I mean, just because you're telecommuniting doesn't mean you're not working full-time."

"But working, plus being a wife and mother and going to school; it's overwhelming," I huffed. "Besides, I'm afraid that with all of the changes, Marie might regress. She's made so much progress. I don't want to lose her."

"We'll just need to prepare her," Edward explained. "She knows that you used to work. Besides, our babies will be starting kindergarten next year. They'll be in school for the first half of the day and with my mom for the second half."

"The year following, they'll be in first grade. Our babies are growing up," I sniffled, wiping my nose. "Next thing you know, they'll be walking down the aisle and giving us grandbabies."

"Bella, I love you but our children are four," Edward bellowed. "If they are popping out grandbabies now, we've got some serious issues."

I smacked his chest, glowering up at him. "That's not what I mean, Edward. Ewww. What I'm saying is that it seems like yesterday they were infants and now, next year, they're going to be in fucking KINDERGARTEN! It's surreal."

"Relax, beautiful girl," he hissed, kissing me softly.

"Sorry," I muttered, burying face into his warm, strong chest. "Time is flying with the kids. And with us. And with everything."

"It'll work out, my Bella," Edward soothed, kissing my head. "Now, let's not fret about this. We're on a mini-vacation and I'd like to relax."

"Freeze," I snorted. "It's cold."

"It is cold but I promise you, I'll warm you up thoroughly once we get back to the hotel room," he said, giving me a sexy, seductive grin. His hands moved to my ass, pressing my hips against his. His hardness nestled against my stomach and I quickly caught on to what he meant. Can we leave now? "Come on, beautiful girl. Let's go to Ellis Island. It's indoors and warmer there."

"Kay," I nodded. We trekked down the stairs and to the large building where a number of our ancestors entered the country. "Do you know anything about your heritage?"

"A little," Edward replied as we walked inside. "My great-great grandfather on my father's side came over from Ireland."

"Isn't Masen an English name?" I asked.

"It was but he fell in love with an Irish girl," Edward blushed. "He was disowned by his family and moved in with an Irish family. However, they all passed on due to some epidemic and Edward…"

"Your grandfather's name was Edward?" I asked.

"Yeah. The only man who wasn't named Edward in my family was my grandfather. His name was John," he replied wrinkling his nose. "Anyhow, my great-great grandfather came over in the early 1900s, just prior to Titanic making the crossing. He had nothing to live for in Ireland since the family he had grown to love was now dead. He decided to cross the Atlantic and start fresh. He stayed in New York for a year before settling in Chicago, where he met my great-great grandmother, Elaine. They were married and had my grandfather, John."

"What did he do? Your great-great grandfather?"

"He was an attorney," Edward explained. "As was my grandfather. My father toyed with the idea of being something else but decided to stick with what he knew and he became an attorney as well."

"You should have become an attorney, Edward," I teased. "It's in your blood."

"Ah, no. I'll leave that to Jasper," he chuckled. "I much prefer being a doctor. There's so much more enjoyment in healing someone. Granted, I don't get to do that very often right now, but once I get myself settled with the chief position, I'll be able to be more of a doctor and less of an administrator. What about you? Do you know about your heritage?"

"Not really," I shrugged. "I know my dad has some Italian in him but that's about it. My mom, well…she has a bit of everything since she's a damn slut."

"Don't hold back, beautiful girl," he laughed. "Maybe you can do some research about your heritage?"

"On my dad's side, that sounds intriguing. I don't really care for my mom's side of the family," I replied. "Perhaps…maybe I'm related to the mafia." Edward rolled his eyes and we meandered through the massive building of Ellis Island. In one of the displays, there were books with all of the names of the people who traveled through Ellis Island. Edward's great-great grandfather's name was right in the middle: Edward Masen, Ireland, March 27th, 1911. We snapped a picture to show the kids once we got home.

An hour later, we got on another ferry back to Manhattan. Edward got me some ginger tea on the ride back and my stomach remained settled until we got off.

The next stop, Edward said, was Central Park. I bundled myself deeper into my coat, cursing the cold and Edward's enthusiasm. But, in a way, it was sweet. He took great pleasure in showing me his New York. It was also romantic, walking through Central Park with snow falling quietly, holding the hand of my soul mate. If only I could stop shivering uncontrollably. Damn it.

Edward eventually took pity on me and brought me to one of the cafes in Central Park, Sheep Meadow Café. We stayed in there until I stopped chattering and shaking, eating warm, hearty soup and drinking coffee. While we sat inside the café, I called my babies. They were enjoying themselves; spending time with EJ, Grace, Aunt Alice and Uncle Jasper. It also seemed that our children, the connivers that they are, convinced EJ and Grace to finagle their parents for their own puppy. EJ and Grace loved Nessie. Alice and Jasper did not, but seeing their children's sad pouts, are considering getting their own dog.

But something bigger.

More masculine.

Jasper didn't want a 'fucking purse dog.' He gave Edward grief about having a tiny dog. Edward grumbled under his breath about bows and eye shadow, claiming he had blackmail fodder. Oh, do tell, Dr. McFuckme. Edward winked and mouthed 'later.' Anyhow, it appeared that Alice and Jasper were now considering on getting a dog. Thanks to my brood and their incessant nagging to EJ and Grace.

Before we got off the phone, Marie begged to talk to us. Her sweet, angelic voice filled the tiny booth we were sitting in. "Momma?" she said quietly.

"What, little one?" I asked.

"I missded you," she whispered. "You, too, Dada."

"We miss you so much, little one," Edward choked out, reaching for his phone. "Mommy and Daddy will be home in two days."

"I know. But, I wanted you to know," she said seriously.

"Are your siblings being good?" I asked.

"David and EJ were in a 'mess of trouble' because they ran through Nana's house with their muddy shoes," she giggled. "But, we are fine. I just missded you. I slept with Nana and Poppy in your bed cuz I missded you. Dada's pillow smells like him."

"Whenever Daddy has to work overnights, I cuddle with his pillow, too," I said, cupping Edward's cheek. "Daddy always smells good."

"Yeah," Marie said wistfully. "I love you, Momma."

"I love you, too, baby," I said. "You stay sweet for Nana and Poppy."

"Kay. Dada?"

"Yes, little one?"

"I love you, too. Come home soon," she whispered. "Bye!" She clicked off the phone, leaving Edward and I to our musings over our youngest daughter.

"She's amazing," Edward murmured, tears filling his green eyes. "And to think…she wasn't speaking four months ago. Now, she's saying that loves us and misses us."

"Not, 'misses.' Missded," I corrected. "She's…" Tears began falling from my eyes, incredibly happy that our baby was getting better. You would never guess that she's autistic with the way that she acts on a day-to-day basis. It's only the aversion to touch, loud noises and tantrums when we deviate from the norm that indicate she's not like other children. Edward came over to my side of the booth, holding me to his chest. I could feel his own tears on my neck. It was an emotional moment.

"Okay, enough heavy," Edward quipped, wiping his cheeks and then wiping mine.

"Yeah. Tell me about this blackmail fodder," I snickered.

"I'll do you one better; I'll show you," he said, picking up his cell phone and flipping through his pictures. He giggled, handing me his phone. On the screen was a picture of Jasper on the floor with all of the kids and Nessie. His hair was covered in pink and purple bows along with bright pink lipstick and blue eye shadow on his eyes.

"Oh my," I laughed. "When was this?"

"The day after Emmett's team one sectionals," Edward snorted. "I told Jasper that I posted it on Facebook, but I didn't. I wanted to save it for a rainy day."

"Please tell me you saved it?"

"It's on my phone, my computer at work and the laptop at home," he smirked.


We eventually bundled back up and went out in the cold. Due to the increased snowfall, the idea of skating at Rockefeller Center was nixed. Instead, we went to Macy's. We should have gone skating. Shopping…blah. We wondered around the store, looking at the high-end items on sale. I ended up buying a few outfits for the kids along with some stuffed animals. Edward had disappeared while I was combing through the children's racks. He caught up with me as I checking out with a bag in his hand. I arched a brow. He just smiled sweetly, kissing my cheek.

He so bought me something…generous, romantic loon.

But, I love him.

xx TNC xx

We slept in the next day. Our appointments at the spa weren't until early afternoon. Besides, after the amount of walking and making love we did yesterday, Edward and I were a bit exhausted. Not exhausted enough to stop making love in the shower after our breakfast in bed.

We were like freaking horny teenagers. Granted, we didn't have our children banging on our door nor either one of us having to stay quiet when came. It was so needed to have this weekend away. We reconnected as husband and wife. Yes, we both missed our children, but it's just as important for us to have adult time. Mentally, I patted myself on the shoulder for bidding on this weekend away at the Christmas ball.

In the cab, Edward idly played with my fingers as we drove to the spa. "What's on tap for us, Dr. Masen?" I asked, picking up his hand and kissing his palm. "At the spa, that is."

"Well, we've got a couples massage for an hour," he said. "Then, we're going to be separated. You, my love, will be getting a day of beauty and pampering. I'm getting a haircut, pedicure and shave."

"What type of pampering?" I asked.

"A haircut and style for the opera tonight, plus your makeup will be applied by a professional. You're also getting a manicure, pedicure and if you want, a wax."

"Just the brows," I said. "I just had the girlie business done prior to our weekend."

"I noticed that," he purred, arching a brow. "I love that you do that, Bella."

"I know you do," I said, cuddling closer to him. The cab stopped in front of a posh looking building with the signage 'Metamorphosis Spa' above it. Edward paid the cabbie and we walked inside. We were greeted by a beautiful woman with an exotic accent. She told us to go into the locker rooms, remove our clothes and put on a robe. We kissed, going in opposite directions. I quickly removed all of my clothes, slipping on a fluffy robe and a pair of squishy flip flops. Edward was leaning against the door jamb, waiting for me. With a crooked grin, he handed me a single red rose. "Thank you. What's this for?"

"Just because," he smiled, kissing my temple. "Come. We're in room six." We walked to the room and sat down on the two massage tables. We nibbled on chocolate covered strawberries and drank champagne, waiting for the massage therapists. A few moments later, two therapists came in and instructed us to lay on our stomachs. Carefully, they covered our bodies and an hour of complete and total relaxation began.

I was bowl of Bella goo when they were done with me. The massage therapists left and said that we had the room and the sauna for another hour. Holding up my sheet, I looked over at Edward. "I think we should try the sauna," he said in a husky tone.

"Yes, lets," I replied.

Edward wrapped his sheet around his waist and helped me off the massage table. Swiping several towels, we went inside. It was hot but not overwhelmingly so. However, based off what we both were thinking of doing, that heat was going to be kicked up a notch or twenty. I seriously hoped that there was a shower in the locker room. I just know that we were both going to be sweaty messes.

Edward assisted me onto one of the benches. I was still clinging to my sheet, looking around me warily. "I wonder how many people actually use this place to do what we're about to do?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said, sitting next to me. He looked around the room, biting his lip. "It's warm that any bacteria should be killed off."

"Only you, Dr. Masen," I snickered.

"What? I don't want to make love to you in a sauna and have you come down with some rare disease in your pussy," he said, tugging on my sheet.

"And yet that doesn't stop you from trying to gain access to said pussy," I giggled.

"My horniness supersedes my need for hygiene," he said. "Besides, I am a doctor. I can take precautions."

I rolled my eyes, allowing Edward to tug my sheet away. With a low growl, he pulled me closer to the edge of the bench and spread my legs. He stood up, giving me a searing kiss. His fingers found my folds, spreading them gently. He dipped his fingertips inside of my body, gathering some wetness and moved his fingers to my swollen nub. "Oh, GOD," I moaned against his mouth. "Are we really doing this?"

"Yes, baby," he growled out. He tugged his sheet from around his waist, displaying his prominent erection. "Though, I do not want to be in here too long. This is going to be fast." I whimpered, wrapping my hand around his cock. His eyes closed as he pulled me closer to his arousal. With a grunt, he slid inside of my body. "Fuck! You're so wet, Bella."

"Having sex in a location where we could be caught," I moaned. "Bit of a turn on."

"Yessss," he hissed. I leaned back, watching him as he thrust in and out of my body. His brow was glistening with sweat and his eyes were trained on where we were joined. "So good, Bella. It's always so amazingly good with you, beautiful girl."

"Ungh," I grunted out. Very feminine, Bella. I gripped the edge of the bench, desperately wanting to move with Edward. His hair flopped onto his forehead while he pumped in and out of me. Watching him like this was always such an aphrodisiac. My husband was sexy as sin but to see him come undone while we made love was perfection. In addition to that, the fact that he came undone with me boggled my mind.

"Bella, play with yourself," he begged. "I'm fucking close and I want you to come with me. Please, baby?"

I reached between my legs, pinching my clit while Edward filled me with his erection. I moaned wantonly with each thrust. Edward put one of my legs over his shoulder and palmed my breast with his hand. He delved deeper inside of me, earning more moans. "So deep, Edward," I rasped out. "Harder, baby."

He groaned as he began pounding in and out of me. The sound of his body slapping against mine was the only noise in the sauna, save for our grunts. Our bodies were covered with sweat, making it easier to move. I sat up, still playing with my clit, wanting to kiss Edward's pouty mouth. He eagerly accepted my kiss, plunging his tongue inside of my mouth. Pulling back, he kept his forehead against mine. "Bella, my Bella…I'm so…please come with me, baby. Please? Please? Please?" he begged.

I clenched my muscles around him, enjoying the flutters in my belly. We were so close to each other, sharing the same breath, the same body, the same everything. "Mmmmm, I'm…Edward! I'm…" I trailed off as my body began to react to his thrusting.

We both yelled at the same time as we came together. He clasped onto my neck, kissing me forcefully and spilling inside of my body. Languidly, he kept thrusting until he slipped out of me. We were both covered in sweat, massage oil and now, our combined releases. Wrapping me in a towel, Edward gently picked me up since I was a blob of complete bliss. He carried me back into the room, placing me on the massage table. He put on his robe and turned off the sauna, after wiping it down with a damp towel. I snickered when he tossed it into the laundry basket. I put on my own robe and we walked back to the locker rooms. A shower was definitely in order prior to the rest of our time in the spa. I was squishy between my legs and sticky everywhere else.

With a soft kiss, we separated. My shower was quick. Soon after I washed off the remnants of our tryst in the sauna, I put on a fresh robe and finished my day of pampering. My nails were polished, my brows were waxed and I got my hair styled in an elegant up-do for the opening night of Romeo and Juliet. The last step in my day of beautification was my makeup. Based off the description of my dress, the cosmetician kept my makeup subtle and natural.

After I was done with my makeup, I went back to the locker room and changed back into my jeans and one of Edward's shirts. It looked a bit funny to have an elegant face and hair-do with such a casual outfit. However, in a matter of a few hours, I'd be putting on my evening gown. It wouldn't matter.

Edward was waiting in the reception area when I exited out of the locker room. His hair was cut and styled, looking delightfully disheveled. His skin seemed to glow from within. I licked my lips. "Looking good, Dr. Masen."

His gaze shot up. Edward's jaw dropped. "No words, beautiful girl," he murmured.

"Not too much?" I asked, twisting a curl.

"Of course not. You're perfect," he breathed, standing up to nuzzle my cheek. His own cheek was silky smooth thanks to his shave. "I've already got a cab for us." Edward helped me put on my coat and thanked the receptionist. We walked briskly into the waiting cab and it drove us back to the hotel. In our room, we spoke to Carlisle and Esme, checking in on the kids. They were taking a nap. I frowned slightly, upset that I wouldn't be able to talk to them for very long prior to our evening at the Metropolitan Opera.

Soon after our conversation with Carlisle and Esme, we saw that we needed to get ready. We were eating dinner at the restaurant in the hotel before going to the show. We both changed into our evening attire. Edward wore a very traditional tuxedo but with a regular black tie as opposed to a bow tie. I was wearing a deep Wedgewood blue sequined dress with a plunging neckline. I was putting on my jewelry when Edward wrapped his hands around my hips. "You're so perfect, Mrs. Masen," he purred, kissing my neck.

"You're not so bad yourself, Dr. Masen," I replied, turning around. As I moved, I felt the bag he was holding yesterday in Macy's bump against my leg. "What's this?"

"A little something to adorn your beautiful body, Mrs. Masen," he smirked, handing me the bag.

"Edward, really?" I chided taking the bag from him.

"I want to spoil my wife," he said petulantly. "Besides, you have a lot of skin from your chin to your breasts that is bare." He gently ran his thumb along my underside of my breast. "This is something that will perfectly accent your dress and address the expanse of flesh that is there to tempt me."

"So this is purely selfish?" I giggled, pulling out a large velvet box.

"Entirely," he smirked. I scowled at him playfully while I opened up the box. On the velvet pillow was one of the most unique looking necklaces I'd ever seen. It looked like three peacock feathers with sapphires, emeralds, black diamonds and white diamonds. Nestled just above it was an emerald ring. I squeaked, looking back at him. "Before you fly on the handle, both of them were on sale."

"Edward," I sighed. "This is too much. I mean, really…"

"Do you not like them?" he pouted.

"I love them. They're beautiful but so expensive," I admonished, shooting him a look. "This necklace and ring are probably worth one of children's college education."

"A year, maybe," he chuckled. "If you don't like them, I can return them." In his green eyes, I could see the hurt. I know he loved to spoil me. He also loved to spoil our children. However, after nearly six years together, I struggled with the random spoiling. However, some presents I enjoyed. Flowers, a date out to our favorite restaurant, some small trinket to remind me that he loved me. But, the big things like this always threw me for a loop.

"No, Edward," I said, looking back up at him. I gently cupped his face and traced the apple of his cheek with my thumb. "Thank you. Both of them are beautiful and I'll treasure them always. Still not used to this, even after six years."

"Well, get used to it," he said, kissing my lips sweetly. He took out the necklace and placed it around my neck. It definitely added something to my dress. It felt more elegant and beautiful. The last step was to add my new ring. It was too big for my ring finger but it fit perfectly on my right index finger.

We walked down to the restaurant in the hotel and ate a very delicious meal. I was so full when all was said and done. Everything was so good. After dinner, we were led to a sleek black stretch limo. Edward helped me inside and we drove through the crowded streets of New York City to Metropolitan Opera House.

Inside of the opera house, I picked up our tickets. Our seats were in one of the boxes. While we waited for the house to open up, Edward and I sipped champagne and chatted with another couple who were season ticket holders. They prattled on how beautiful and mesmerizing the productions were. I smiled excitedly at this. I was not a huge opera fan but Edward was; Romeo and Juliet was his favorite opera followed by La Boheme and Carmen.

We finished two glasses of champagne before we went into our private box. Edward was giddy for this. He kissed my knuckles, thanking me for the tickets. The lights flickered and people began scrambling to their seats. The conductor walked into the pit, nodding slightly before turning to the orchestra. With a flourish, he began waving his arms. The sound of our National Anthem filled the opulent opera house. We all stood up. Edward sang along while I just put my hand over my heart. After the song ended, the lights dimmed further and the overture began.

My eyes were trained on the action onstage. The costumes were gorgeous. The singing was phenomenal. The acting was beyond words. At the intermission, I wanted to scream out for them to keep going. Alas, I had to wait twenty minutes. Besides, I had to pee really badly.

I took care of business and called our babies. We said goodnight and that we loved them before we went back inside of the theater. If it was possible, the second act was more amazing than the first. I was a sobbing mess when at the end. I had read Romeo and Juliet numerous times and I knew what was going to happen, but still…it didn't negate the sadness I felt for the star-crossed lovers. The beautiful music definitely triggered my emotions as well.

I delicately dabbed my eyes with Edward's handkerchief while we left the box. "That was…wow," I said, my voice husky from my crying. "We'll have to come back."

"Really?" he asked, twining his fingers with mine.

"I can definitely see why you enjoy this," I said. "Perhaps, next year, we can get season tickets."

"Oh, Bella, I'd love that," he said, nuzzling my cheek with his. "I'll check into it for our anniversary present to each other. I love you so much, baby. Thank you for arranging this and for wanting to do it on a regular basis."

"It'll be nice to get away every so often to rekindle the fire," I said as we walked down the steps to the main lobby. He smiled wolfishly, nipping at my ear. I giggled, smacking at him. We scurried outside to our limo and went back to the hotel.

That night, we made love while I wore my wedding band and new necklace. The next morning, we woke up early, eager to get back home to our children. As nice as our trip away was, I missed my babies. Or as Marie would say, 'missded.' The drive back to Sherryville was quiet. Edward held my hand, humming quietly along with whatever song was playing on the radio.

We stopped for gas about two hours away from Sherryville. I picked up some drinks and snacks to curb our hunger. We didn't want to stop for a full meal. We both were anxious to get back home. I slid back into the passenger seat of the Volvo, putting our beverages and nosh in the center console. Edward sat down in the driver's side, narrowing his eyes at a late model truck. "Does that truck look familiar?"

"No," I answered. "Why?"

"It's been following us since we got on the highway," he said. "I'm trying to see who's driving but I can't tell…"

"The windows are awfully dark," I said. My hackles went up. My mom was still 'on the loose.' Could she have partnered up some hillbilly with this beast of a truck?

"Maybe I'm imagining things," Edward shrugged. "Keep your eyes peeled as we leave, beautiful girl."

I nodded as Edward turned over the car. My eyes were on the black truck while we exited the gas station, barreling toward the highway. I watched in the mirror but the truck did not follow.

Unfortunately, the niggling feeling in my gut grew more and more pronounced as we drove closer to home. Something wasn't right, but what was it?

A/N: A kind of cliffie? Anyhow, thanks for sticking with me. I do hope to have this finished before the end of the summer (that's my goal…we'll see if it happens.) Lots of pics with this one…all on my blog (link in my profile). You can find me on Facebook: Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation or on Twitter: tufano79. I'd love hear from you…your suppositions about Renee, the black truck, Marie, life in general!

Up next will be some transitional stuff…we need to find out how Rose, Jacob and the rest of the crew are doing. I'm probably going to move up the timeline (closer to 'spring break' for the teachers). Also, what's happening with Renee? Did she get help? Tell me your thoughts! Leave me some! *Hugs!*