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.
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.
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!*
Chapter Eighteen: Babies and Beef
"God, I'm as big as a house," Rose grumbled as she waddled to the couch. "Last baby, I swear."
"You say that now," Alice snickered.
"Oh, no, I mean it," Rose snapped, flopping down onto the couch and groaning as she fell backwards. "This baby is already roughly seven pounds and I'm not due for another month. Emmett and his huge genes."
"Do you know if you're having a boy or a girl?" I asked as I sat down next to her, putting a pillow behind her back.
"We were going to keep it a secret but fuck it," Rose snorted. "We're having a girl."
"Can I throw you a shower?" Alice squealed.
"Alice, Evan is still in his diapers, I can use his stuff. Plus, you and Bella can outfit our baby girl for years with the amount of girl's clothes you two have," Rose said. "No shower."
"I'll ask Edward to pull out the girl's baby clothes. You can have whatever you want, Rose," I said.
"No shower?" Alice frowned.
"Nope. I'm okay with that," Rose said as she put her hand on her belly. "Oh, jeez. She's going to be a soccer player or something. She keeps bruising me from the inside."
"Can I feel?" I asked. I never really felt the triplets move during the third trimester. They were too squished in my belly. Rose nodded and put my hand on her stomach. I got a hard kick on my palm. "Oh my! How often does she do that?"
"All day. All night. All the frickin' time," Rose grumbled. "I've taken to sleeping with my belly against Emmett's back so he can feel what his sperm is doing to me."
"How's he taking that?" I asked.
"He hates me. He keeps bitching that I'm disturbing his beauty sleep. Um, hello! I haven't had a full-night's sleep since Christmas. Either I'm getting attacked from the inside out OR I'm up every fifteen minutes to pee. I love having children but the trauma it puts on my body is too much. So, like I said, last baby. I swear."
I plastered on a fake smile, trying to find some sympathy for Rose. I understood her complaints. I dealt with them, too. But, she could easily have more children. Edward and I, we couldn't. Well, not naturally. If we wanted more children, we'd have to adopt.
"Wasn't Jacob supposed to come, too?" Alice asked as she sipped her coffee.
"He sent a text. Claire was having a tantrum and wouldn't stay with Daddy Ren. Jacob is trying to calm her," I explained. "He'll be here as soon as he can. Speaking of Jacob, how's he doing?"
"Good. He hasn't been sick since he came back after the first of the year," Rose answered. "The kids are happy he's back since the parade of subs they had for him were a joke. Seriously, there was one substitute who was older than dirt. He made my great-grandfather look like a mere pup, he was that old."
"How old is your great-grandfather?" I asked, arching a brow.
"Hundred and nine," she said simply, taking a swig of her water. "I miss coffee."
"I can make some decaf," I said.
"It's not too much trouble?" Rose asked.
"Of course not," I said as I darted to the kitchen. It was the first weekend of spring break for Rose and Alice. We were going to go shopping for Rose's baby's room. They had the furniture but needed to pick out the theme, paint and décor. Alice, Jacob and I were going to help her. I suggested butterflies. Alice wanted to do a boutique theme using pink, black and white. Jacob suggested a fairy tale, princess theme. We were going to a boutique in downtown Sherryville that made specialty baby bedding. We were just waiting for Jacob.
The kids were out with Jasper, Edward and Emmett, having a daddy's day out so we could choose the baby bedding. It was a nice day so the guys were going to a putt putt course that had an arcade and bumper cars.
Ten minutes later, Jacob arrived and he apologized for his lateness. We understood and we all piled into my Audi, driving toward Once Upon a Baby, the boutique. Inside the store, we split up. Alice and Rose went off in one direction while Jacob and I went the opposite direction. "It's been too long, Jake," I said as I looped my arm through his. "How are you doing?"
"Better than earlier this year," he said, running his hand through his short hair. "Thanks to your husband, I finally kicked that never-ending infection. I've gained back most of the weight I lost and yeah; things are good, Bells."
"You look much better. At Christmas, you were a walking skeleton, Jake," I frowned. "Is Ren still imparting that insane diet on you?"
"He's let up a bit. I still try to eat organically if I can but I treat myself to a good cheeseburger every once and awhile," he winked. "How about you? How are you doing? We miss you at Cherry Blossom. The new principal is a douche and the dean is a wimp."
"Anyone has to be better than Merritt, right?" I asked.
"Not really. They hired someone who had been 'rejected' from previous principal interviews and you can so tell. He's keeping the teams the same but imparting some stringent rules on everyone. The morale of the building is at an all-time low, Bells. It's bad!"
"Damn," I frowned as I looked around the boutique. "Have you mentioned this to the district office?"
"There have been many emails to Dr. Sancken and Dr. Eddy," Jacob replied, running his fingers over a cute pink, blue and purple princess quilt. "I like this." He swiped a sham and picture to show Rose. "I don't know if anything is going to happen. I only wish you were the principal. You'd be awesome, Bella."
"I needed this time to work with Marie," I said, giving him a sad smile.
"How is the little munchkin?" he asked.
"She's doing so well," I breathed as I wandered around the aisles. "Jacob, she's grown so much. It's unreal. My baby girl who wasn't able to speak in November is a regular chatterbox, now. She still has moments were she has her tantrums and she still doesn't like to be touched by strangers, but she's adapting well. We're now working with a speech pathologist, occupational therapist and psychiatrist to improve her coping skills. If didn't know, you couldn't tell that she had autism."
"That's great, Bella," Jacob replied as he looked at some of the other bedding sets on display. "Dear God. This is just ugly. Red, mustard yellow and puke green in a princess theme? Ugh! Obviously the designer is color blind."
"That is pretty bad," I replied, wrinkling my nose. "Soft, sweet colors. Sage green, baby pink, white…like this. Butterflies and it will go well with the furniture Rose and Emmett already have."
"Are they using Evan's furniture?" Jacob asked.
"Yeah, it's pretty unisex and I love the finish," I said. "That deep mahogany is so great and timeless. David's bedroom is like that and it'll grow with him until he gets to college."
"You got one of those convertible bed, didn't you?" Jacob questioned. I nodded. All of my kids had convertible cribs to beds. It was more expensive in the long run but it saved us a ton of money when we switched the cribs to their big girl and big boy beds. "Claire is about ready to switch to her big girl bed. However, she's in the sleeping with her daddy's stage. I wake up with a foot in my face more often than not. I love my girl, but she's a bed hog."
"She loves you," I cooed, picking up a sham of the butterfly bedding I found.
"I love her, too. But not her foot," Jacob laughed. "Especially, not in my nose. Stinky toes!"
I giggled, tugging on his arm until we reached Rose and Alice. Rose was holding a hot pink sham while Alice held a very girly, princess-y sham. "You have to go the princess route! All girls love princesses, right Bella?"
"Eh," I shrugged. "Butterflies. I love butterflies."
"I'm with Wee One. Princesses," Jacob said, dangling his sham.
"Crap," Rose sighed, looking at each of the choices. "I cannot buy new furniture. We don't have money in the budget for that. Your idea is cute, Alice but requires too much dough. I am not changing the baby crib to be a replica of the pumpkin in Cinderella. It's out."
"Jasper, Edward, and Emmett can make it," Alice pouted.
"Jasper doesn't know what a hammer is," I snickered. "My husband is more adept at computer shit and Emmett, he'd break it. No, Ali. Just no."
Alice pouted, crossing her arms over her chest. "Fine," she huffed. "Perhaps if I have another kid, I'll use that idea."
"Are you and Jasper trying?" Jacob asked.
"We're not actively stopping," she said. "If it's in the cards, then it's meant to be. I'd like another one. We'll see."
"That's great, Ali," Rose smiled, hugging Alice. "If you do get pregnant and have another girl, you can definitely have the princess themed bedroom." Turning to the remaining shams. "Hmmm, Jacob, I like it but it's too close to my son's bedding. He has a blue room and I want this to be the epitome of girly."
"What do you expect? I'm a guy," Jacob snorted. "I may be gay but I'm still male."
"It's all good, Jake," Rose smirked, patting Jacob's arm. "That leaves my choice and Bella's."
"Mine goes with the furniture," I said. "If you painted it white, your choice would work but you're running out of time Pregosaurus Rex."
"Hush," she chided. "But, you're right. Looks like I'm going with butterflies, kids. What color should I paint the walls? Green or pink?"
"You could put in a chair rail and paint one part of the wall green and the other pink," Jacob suggested.
"Or, you could put a dark pink, like this shade, on the bottom with the lighter pink on top," I said. "What do you think?"
"Let's go buy this shiz and then purchase some paint and some molding for the chair rail. Jake, you're installing since you kind of know what you're doing," Rose said. "Right?"
"Got it, Rosalie," he smiled, kissing her head. We walked to the store, buying all of the necessities of the bedding set I found. Afterward, we drove to the home improvement store, buying the paint and chair rail samples before going to Rose's home to check out her baby's new room. We measured the diameter, sending Jacob to get the chair rail in my car. Alice and I worked on taking the bedding out, preparing to wash it. Rose was working on dusting the crib.
A few hours later, Jacob had the chair rail up and we had top portion of the room painted. The guys came over with our children. Our extremely cranky children. EJ and David were bickering with each other over some stupid toy. Grace was crying because she couldn't get the stuffed bear from the Pop a Shot game. Lizzie was scowling over something, but not saying what. Marie was suctioned to Edward, sobbing uncontrollably. Evan was the only quiet child. Well, relatively. He was asleep in Emmett's arms, snoring loudly.
"What's wrong?" Alice asked, staring at Jasper as he held a squirming Grace.
"It was a nightmare," Jasper whimpered. "Putt-putt was a wash. The boys didn't want to share the same putter and fought over having the orange ball. Then, it started sprinkling causing Marie to get all ornery. Or was it Edward who got ornery?"
Edward growled, flipping Jasper off discreetly. Marie was screaming for me and I took her into my arms. "It's okay, little one. Shhhhh," I soothed, bouncing her back and forth. "Now, boys, behave."
"He started it," Jasper and Edward both said, pointing to each other.
"I think it's time we all go to our respective homes and reflect on the day," Alice said as she took EJ's hand. "Rose, I'll call you later." They kissed each other on the cheek and Alice shoved Jasper out the door, a sulking EJ and sobbing Grace in tow. Once the door closed, I could hear Alice hissing at Jasper about his lack of decorum.
"I'm going to put his little guy in his room," Emmett said as he carried Evan up the stairs. "Thanks, Edward. It was a fun day, despite Drama Whitlock."
"Tell me about it," Edward muttered, scooping David up in his arms. "How did your afternoon go?"
"Excellent," Rose replied. "Your wife picked out the baby sheets for our baby girl."
"Butterflies," I said. "Do you want to see the baby's room, Re Re?"
"Yeah," she sniffled.
"Can I come, too?" Lizzie asked, still sporting a puss.
"Your mom can show you," Rose said, sitting down in the living room. "Auntie Ro is feeling a little tired and my feet hurt." Edward put David down and went to check on her. "Edward, I'm fine. I'm eight months pregnant. It's par for the course."
"Still," he said as he did a quick assessment. "Headaches? Swelling?"
"Yeah, right here," she smirked, pointing to her huge stomach.
"Funny, Rose," Edward deadpanned.
"Momma, baby's room," Marie whimpered, putting her head on my shoulder. I nodded walking up the stairs. I showed them the bedding and the colors for the walls. Both girls were sufficiently excited. So excited that Lizzie dropped a bombshell.
"Mommy, can we have a little brother or sister? Will your belly get big like Auntie Ro's?" she asked innocently.
"Um," I floundered, looking around the room. "Let's go home and we'll talk about that. Together. As a family. With Daddy. Okay?"
"Okay," Marie said quietly, putting her head on my shoulder.
"No. I want to know now," Lizzie said, stomping her foot.
"Elizabeth Tanya Masen, we're going to wait and talk about this at home," I said sternly. "Downstairs, young lady." She began stomping in the hallway. "Keep it up and you're going to be in timeout once we get home."
"Mom!" she wailed. She ran down the stairs, sobbing. Marie started whimpering on my shoulder. Oh, Christ. Really? I took a breath and walked downstairs. Lizzie was screaming against Edward's legs, saying I was mean. I just shook my head and put Marie down on the ground. I kissed Rosalie, saying I'd come over to help finish the room while she was on break. Emmett gave me a sympathetic smile as we gathered our children, plus Jacob into our car. Lizzie was wailing like a banshee. David was screaming at his sister to shut up and Marie was rocking back and forth, having the beginnings of an anxiety attack.
After a tense fifteen minute drive, Edward exploded. "If you are under the age of five, you are to go to your bedrooms and stay there until your mother or I come to talk to you! You are to not leave the room unless it's an emergency, like you're bleeding or you need to go to the bathroom. Once your screams stop, we will talk to you until then, you will be in timeout."
"Daddy!" Lizzie bit out.
"NOW!" Edward yelled. All of the kids jumped at the volume of his voice. He very rarely raised his voice or lost his temper, but when he did, it was not pretty. David shot out of the car like a bullet. Lizzie glared at both of us before slamming the car door, almost on Marie's fingers. Marie was just a mess. I gave Jacob a timid smile before I scooped Marie up in my arms.
"See you later, Bells," he said, kissing my cheek. "Bye, munchkin." He gave her a wave and turned to get into his Honda. It sputtered to life and he drove away.
"You too, Marie," Edward said wearily.
"No!" she spat, clinging to my body. "Want Mommy!" Her tears broke my heart, but I knew that Edward and I needed to debrief over what just happened.
"I know, Marie, but Mommy and Daddy need to talk," Edward rationalized with our four year old.
"She doesn't understand," I said. "Let me calm her down and then Marie can take a nap? Are you tired?"
"Can Mommy hum?" Marie asked.
"Of course, baby," I replied. I shot Edward a look. Marie was almost in full melt-down mode. If I let her go, we'd never get her calmed down. Edward huffed and walked toward his office once we got inside of the house. I carried Marie up to her room, trying to ignore my remaining raging children. Lizzie was screaming and David was pounding on something. However, Lizzie and David would have their tantrums, but would eventually stop. If Marie had a melt-down, she'd be screaming for hours on end.
I gently rocked Marie, humming in her ear until her body became heavy. She began snoring and I placed her on the bed, tucking her in with her blanket. I sighed before going downstairs to find Edward in the office. His lips were smashed in a grim line, punching angrily at the keyboard. "Were they like that all day?" I asked.
"Worse," he grunted. "Those were not our children. They were possessed by the devil or something today, Bella. And the screaming?" He held up his hand in aggravation. "I've got a migraine of epic proportions."
"Did you take your medication?" I asked, curling up on the couch.
"A double dose," he said flatly. "I'll be worthless tomorrow for my meeting with the board as I go forth with the first stage of upgrading the peds wing. Fantastic."
"I'm sorry," I whispered, clutching a pillow to my chest. "I'll let you be after we discuss how we should proceed with our devil-spawn." I nervously played with my hair, biting my lip.
"Bella," he sighed, walking from behind the desk and sitting next to me. "I'm sorry I'm being an assface to you. I'm just stressed over this meeting and the kids were horrendous today. I mean, like I wanted to walk away and say they were Jasper's."
I snorted, looking at Edward. He did look exhausted and his green eyes were drawn in pain. I reached up and cupped his scruffy cheek. "Jasper's, huh? Not Emmett's?"
"Jasper was acting like the kids all day, too," Edward grumbled. "We had seven children with us today…the six kids under the age of six and the one who was closer to forty. Ugh! He egged it on." Edward lay down, putting his head on my lap. I began running my fingers through his thick hair, massaging his scalp. "So, what do we do about them?"
"Was their behavior a reaction to Jasper's actions or were they just blatantly bratty?" I asked.
"Initially, reactions to Jasper but as the day progressed, Lizzie turned on the drama queen and David was hitting EJ, who hit back and it escalated from there," he said, anger lacing his tone. "I'm thinking a day without television should do it."
"That's torture for us, Edward. We have to think of alternative activities to keep them occupied. Television is my savior," I deadpanned.
"Make them do homework," Edward suggested. "Lessons. Review numbers, letters, colors and shit."
"Okay, fine. But you're helping me, Dr. Masen. If I have to teach preschoolers, I need an assistant. That will be you," I said, tugging lightly on his hair. He gave me a look, sticking out his tongue. "Don't stick out that tongue unless you expect to use it, Dr. McFuckme."
"Ha, ha," he retorted, burying his face into my stomach. He lifted my shirt, blowing a raspberry into my belly. I pinched his arm, earning a playful glower.
"There is something else," I said, my smile falling at the sadness of what I was about to say.
"What, beautiful girl?" he asked.
"I showed Lizzie and Marie the baby's room, which is very cute, by the way, and well, Lizzie asked if we were going to have another baby," I said quietly. "I told her that we would talk about it when we got home but Lizzie kept pushing it and pushing it."
"Bella," Edward said, sitting up and gathering me in his arms. A few tears escaped my eyes as I nestled against his chest. He didn't say anything. He just offered his love and comfort, holding me tightly as I quietly fell apart.
A few moments later, I managed to pull myself together and looked up at him. His own eyes were filled with tears. "Sorry," I muttered, wiping my tears. "I know I shouldn't…"
"Beautiful girl, it's okay. I get it," he said as he took my face in his hands. "Lizzie asked an innocent question that there are no easy answers."
"Her question regarding the baby belly is what hit me," I muttered, placing my hand on my somewhat-flat stomach. "I'll never experience…not that I wanted to. I'm too old."
"Bella, women are having babies later and later," Edward chided.
"They have uteruses," I snapped.
"Is that something you want? Another child?" he asked, his green eyes searching mine, placing his hand over my hand.
"I don't know," I shrugged, wriggling out of his hold. "Probably not since we have our hands full with the triplets. But, it's not even an option, naturally, Edward. I can't get pregnant. No matter how much sex we have, I'll always be barren." My insecurities came roaring back. Edward's going to realize that he's married to a freak and dump my ass. I'll be all alone. Again.
"Isabella Masen, I see where you mind is going," Edward spat, gently forcing me to look at him. "I'm not leaving you."
"How did you know I was thinking that?"
He pressed his finger between my brows, where there was undoubtedly a furrow from my distress. "This, my dear. I don't care that you can't have any more children. I really don't. I was more scared when you were on the table after the doctor delivered Marie. You were bleeding out and I thought that I was going to lose you. I didn't want to become a widower, again. So, I asked the doctor to do whatever was needed to ensure your survival. I know it resulted in your hysterectomy, but I'd rather have you without a uterus than not have you at all," Edward replied fervently, his clear green eyes filling with tears.
"Oh," I said intelligently.
"Yeah, 'oh,'" Edward whispered, crushing me to his chest. "God, Mike really fucked with your head. Five years later and you're still freaking out that I'm going to leave. My love, I'm not going anywhere. Ever. You're it for me, Bella. You and our children are my life. Granted, I'm not happy with the tiny terrors, but I love them so much. I adore you and I'd do anything for you to make you happy."
I buried my nose against his neck, inhaling deeply. Instead of the clean scent of my husband, my nostrils are assaulted by the most unappealing smell of nachos, body odor and baby powder. "Edward? Why do you smell like ass?"
"Jasper pushed me into the ball thing," Edward growled. "You know the giant petri dish filled with multi-colored balls? Jasper thought he was being funny."
"Ewwww," I responded, wrinkling my nose.
"Yeah, I need to shower," he said flatly, plucking at his sweater. "I'm going to do that and then we can talk to our children about the punishment. We also need to talk about what Lizzie said."
"How are we going to be do that?" I asked. "You can't exactly say, 'Mommy's got no uterus, so no more babies…'"
"Actually, you can. You can't have any more children because of a medical condition. I'd rather tell them the truth than lie to them," Edward said, arching a brow. "I'm going to order some pizza since you're probably too sore to cook dinner and I don't want to cook."
"Slacker," I teased.
"Migraine," he snorted, kissing my temple. "Anyhow, I'll do that, shower and then we'll talk to the kids, implement their punishment tonight, okay?"
I nodded and pressed my mouth to his. He eagerly deepened the kiss, sliding his tongue between my lips. "I love you, Bella. That will never, ever change. You hear me?"
"I hear you," I whispered. "Go shower, Stink."
"Got it," he said, kissing me one last time before walking to the kitchen. I heard him order the pizza and then ascend the stairs. His voice was quiet as he spoke to David and Lizzie. It filtered through the vents. They both apologized but Edward did express his displeasure due to their behavior. David huffed while Lizzie started sniffling again. I got up, set the table in the kitchen and pulled out some cash for the pizza. As I waited for Edward to finish his shower, I surfed on the internet and ordered a few things for Rose's baby girl. Plus, I made a mental note to ask Edward to pull out the baby clothes for me so I can have Rose search through the bins for outfits from Lizzie and Marie.
Edward came downstairs, wearing a pair of scrub pants and a t-shirt. He looked very comfy. Not to mention clean. I hugged him, inhaling his fresh, manly scent. "Much better," I cooed.
"I had the water on as hot as I could stand it," he chuckled, wrapping his arms around my body. "Why don't you do the same, Bella? Take a relaxing shower and we'll deal with the kids, administer their punishment and perhaps, tonight, after they go to bed, we can…" Edward waggled his brows and thrust his hips.
Sex with sexy hubby? After today?
Yes and please!
"Insatiable," I snickered.
"For you? Always," he said, nipping at my ear. "Go shower. I'll deal with the pizza and getting the kids ready for dinner."
"Thank you." He lightly smacked my ass and I walked upstairs. My shower was short but incredibly relaxing. Feeling the water pound on my tense muscles was the perfect remedy for the emotional last part of the day. I changed into a pair of yoga pants (with some sexy panties on underneath) and one of Edward's shirts, sans bra. I slipped on a fleece and padded down the kitchen. All three of my children were at the table, waiting for their serving of pizza, which had been delivered while I was in the shower. When Marie saw me, she clambered out of her chair and into my arms.
Dinner was quiet. Lizzie and David both knew they were in trouble. Marie was clingy. Eating pizza with one hand, trying to balance a needy four-year-old is not an easy feat. But I did it. Plus, I fed my daughter. Edward put away the pizza and we moved to the family room. Lizzie and David shared the overstuffed the chair while I sat on the couch with my husband and Marie.
"We sorry, Daddy," Lizzie said as soon as we got settled. "We was excited about being out with Grace, EJ and Evan that we acted badly. So, we really sorry."
"Thank you for apologizing," Edward said, nodding slightly at our daughter. "It helps but it doesn't stop the fact that you acted inappropriately while we were out."
"What does inapoopiately mean?" David asked, his face scrunched up in confusion.
"Inappropriately," I corrected. "It means you acted poorly. You made poor choices and as a result, there needs to be consequences for how you acted." I looked at Edward, who took my hand, twining his fingers with mine. "Tonight, you won't be watching television. You will go up to your rooms and will work on the homework I've compiled for you."
"Homework!" Lizzie wailed.
"Elizabeth Tanya," Edward warned. "It's due to the whining and complaining that you're getting this punishment. It's not like we're asking you to write a dissertation."
"They don't know what that is," I whispered to my husband. "You may have done that but you were what? Twenty-five, twenty-six? Not four."
"Oh," he nodded. "Right. Anyhow, you'll do the work your mom has given you and then, you're going to bed early. No story."
"Fine," Lizzie huffed.
"Stop it, Lizzie. You're not helping," David spat.
We were shocked at his interjection. Lizzie was equally as shocked, staring at her brother like he had twelve heads. Obviously, there was some dissension among the ranks as he turned his back on Lizzie. Marie looked up at me, confused as to what was going on. "Elizabeth," Edward began slowly, "I don't know what is with your attitude, but it's got to stop."
"Sorry," she muttered, crossing her arms over her chest.
Edward stood up and held his hands out. David walked over to him and took Edward's hand. He was sullen and dejected. "Do you know why you're being punished, David?" Edward asked.
"I yelled at EJ and was mean to Lizzie," he responded.
"Lizzie, do you know why?" Edward asked sternly.
"Because I was being mean to Grace and I stomped my foot at Auntie Ro's house," Lizzie said as she stood up, walking past Edward.
"Why did you stomp your foot?" Edward questioned.
"Mommy wouldn't answer my question," Lizzie said, shooting me a tiny glare. "She said we'd talk about it later."
"What was the question?" my husband asked, crouching down in front of Lizzie.
"If Mommy can give us a baby brother or sister? If her belly was going to get big like Auntie Ro's."
Edward looked at me and he asked me with eyes if it was okay to tell this to our children. I nodded minutely, tightening my hold on Marie. Edward sat down on the chair, taking Lizzie and David onto his lap. "Lizzie, Mommy didn't answer your question because there's no easy answer for it," he began.
"Why?" she asked, twisting her hair.
"Well, Lizzie, when Mommy had you three, something went wrong. Mommy had a surgery after she gave birth to Marie and she can't have babies anymore," Edward explained. "If we want more children, we'd have to adopt them."
"Like we adopted Nessie?" David asked.
"Yes, kind of," Edward said. "Now, the reason why Mommy didn't want to talk about it is because it makes both of us sad. Mommy is sad because she can't have any more babies."
"What about you? Why are you sad?" Lizzie asked.
"I'm sad because your mommy's sad," he frowned. "Do you understand?"
"Kind of," David and Lizzie said.
"You'll understand more once you get older," I said. "For now, we have a perfectly sized family. If we want to expand it, we can, but for now, I'm happy with my three little munchkins and the dog."
"What about Daddy?" Marie's sweet voice asked.
"I'll keep him, too," I said, winking at my husband who rolled his eyes. "Now, upstairs and work on the two papers I put on your desks. One is a math worksheet and the other is a reading worksheet. If you do this without complaint, Daddy and I may read you a short story. Got it?"
All of my children nodded and ran upstairs. "Do you think they get it?" Edward asked.
"Nope. But, they heard the magic word… 'story,'" I said. "That way, we can have adult 'story' time later on tonight."
"Oh, yes," Edward purred, pulling me onto his lap and kissing me senseless.
xx TNC xx
A couple of days later, I dropped the kids off at Esme's and went over to Rose and Emmett's place. They were working on finishing up the baby's room. I wanted to drop off the baby clothes and see how Rose was doing. Edward was at work, still in discussions about the renovations in the pediatrics ward of the hospital. The board was discussing various contractors to make the changes.
I parked in the driveway of Rose and Emmett's home and rang the doorbell. Emmett opened the door, holding a wailing Evan. "Hi, Emmett," I smiled. "What's wrong with this one?"
"Teething," Emmett grunted. "Trying to put him out of his misery and paint and deal with heavily pregnant wife…not too easy."
"Here, give me your son. You take a reprieve and lug in the three bins of clothes for your newest addition from the back of my car," I snickered.
"Thanks, Bella. You're a real pal," he deadpanned, handing me his screaming son. I handed him the keys and he slipped past me, giving me a boyish grin. "Thank you for the clothes, though. We have some but not a whole lot."
"We got so much clothes for the triplets, that there are things that were not even worn," I said as I bounced Evan. "Hey, buddy. You have some new teeth." Evan pulled at my hair, displaying two new teeth in his gums. I walked inside and went to the refrigerator. There were a few teething rings inside. I handed one to Evan, placing it inside his mouth. Once the cold touched his gums, he calmed down and clutched the ring, gnawing happily. I walked upstairs, finding Rose sitting on the ground touching up the paint. "Should you be inhaling all of those paint fumes?" I chided.
"Shut it," she smirked. "Oh, good. You gave him a teething ring. Emmett was determined to stop him from crying by bouncing him. Obviously, it wasn't working."
"Also try giving him cold veggies and freeze some washcloths," I said, sitting down next to her. She took Evan and I took the paint brush, addressing the smudges on the wall. "How are you doing?"
"I'm fine. Tired. I can't sleep at night since this one is using my bladder as its own personal stage to tap dance on," she snorted. "I'll be happy when she's born."
"Have you discussed names?" I asked.
"We've got a few," she blushed, kissing Evan's blonde head. "We know that the baby is going to have the godmother's name as her middle name."
"Who's that going to be?" I asked, curious to who was going to be the godparents. Edward was godfather to Evan with one of Rose's cousins being the godmother. Rose's parents insisted.
"Well, we'd like you and Edward to be the godparents," Rose murmured, giving me a soft smile. "We were going to take you out to dinner and ask you, but since you were curious."
"I can't speak for Edward, but I'd be honored," I replied, hugging her carefully.
"Honestly, I think Emmett asked Edward on Sunday but with the drama with the kids and that whole cluster, it was never brought up again," Rose snorted. "My husband is quite the blabber mouth. Besides, he wants to keep it simple on his end. Emmett explained if we do have any more kids, Edward's the godfather to all of 'em."
"I thought you were done," I asked wryly.
"We are. I'm getting my tubes tied while after labor or forcing a vasectomy on Emmett. No more babies. Three is enough," she said, arching a brow. Rose had had a child conceived from rape by her ex-husband. I think that girl is going into sixth grade and living in Nebraska, happily with her adoptive parents. "Ooomph! Stop kicking my bladder!"
"I don't miss that," I chuckled, holding my arms out for Evan. She passes her son to me and waddles to the bathroom. Evan sleepily puts his head on my shoulder. "Tired boy?" He nodded and became heavy in my arms. Emmett walked upstairs and deposited the bins outside of the room.
"Are you a baby whisperer, Bella? You got him to stop crying," he said as he walked into the baby's room.
"Teething ring, Em," I said as I held it in Evan's mouth.
"Bella, I don't want to freak you out," Emmett said as he sat down in the rocking chair. "While I was taking out the bins, there was a black pickup truck circling our neighborhood."
"Really?" I asked, my heart stammering in my chest. "What kind of truck?"
"Ford, I think," Emmett replied, taking Evan from my arms.
Didn't Edward say that he had a black truck tailing him from New York City back in February? It's early April. It's probably someone who's lost. "Don't worry about it, Emmett," I said, trying to keep the tremor out of my voice. "Someone is just lost. Or looking for the house numbers."
"Okie-doke," Emmett said as he carried Evan into his bedroom, placing him in the crib. Rose came out of the bathroom, looking much more relaxed. "Take a shit, babe?"
"Ugh, Emmett. TMI," she laughed, smacking his arm.
"You have your post-orgasmic face. I only see it on two occasions: after sex or after you take an enormous dump," Emmett said, wrapping his arms around her belly.
"We have company, Emmett. Quit being gross and go make me a steak. Your soccer star is begging for a porterhouse," Rose deadpanned, shoving him out of the room.
"No child of mine is ever, ever playing soccer. Pansy-ass sport," Emmett grumbled. He turned on his heel and went down to the kitchen. Rose dragged one of the bins into the bedroom, searching through it. She ended up taking almost all of the clothes, storing them in the dresser. When we were done, Emmett had finished our lunch. He did make Rose a porterhouse steak with mashed potatoes and sandwiches for him and me.
Over lunch, Emmett was talking about his baseball players and Rose was bellyaching that Emmett better be present for their child's birth. The high school's team was amazing and had a good chance of making it to state. Originally, Emmett was going to be off for the spring sports season, but the varsity baseball coach ended up having to have quintuple bypass surgery and was taking early retirement. Emmett stepped in (unbeknownst to Rose) to be the coach. It upset the applecart, since Emmett was the 'low man on totem pole.' But, he had taken the football team to state and the administration told Emmett that he was now the varsity baseball coach.
Evan woke up from his nap and Emmett went to take care of him. Rose walked me out of the house, thanking me for the baby clothes. Parked across the street was a black truck. The windows were blacked out, so I couldn't see who was at the wheel. The movement inside of the truck indicated that there was, indeed, someone inside. Possibly two people.
"Do you want me to call the cops?" Rose asked as she saw me eye the truck warily.
"Why?" I asked. "It's not like they're doing anything. It's a black truck parked on your street. If they leave when I do, I'll call the cops and give the police a description."
Rose arched a brow, not believing my baloney. Hell, I don't believe it. Her cell phone is already in her hand. I kissed her cheek and clambered into my car. I faintly heard the truck across the street rumble to life. "I'm calling the cops, Bella. Love you," she said as she held her phone to her ear. I nodded and backed out of the driveway, watching the truck from my rearview mirror. It didn't follow me as I drove out of Rose's subdivision.
Maybe, I was overreacting. It really was nothing.
I let out a breath as I drove toward Esme's home to pick up the kids. I was nearly there when at a stop sign was the black truck. Was it a different truck? Was it the same truck?
Regardless, I was being followed and I had a sneaking suspicion of who it could be.
Renee had made her return, or so it would seem. Perhaps?
But the biggest question is why? Why is she back?
A/N: So, a bit of a transition-like chapter. I struggled with it because, #1…no time to write and #2…couldn't find my mojo (if you have some, send it my way, please?) Anyhow, Rose is about to pop and is having a girl. She asked Edward and Bella to be the baby's godparents. The kiddos were being brats AND want a younger sibling.
Up next will be some drama with Marie (she's going to have some regression in the following chapter. Dealing with some ignorance and such). Also, you're going to hear from Renee and find out who her accomplice is. I'm curious as to who you all think is helping her and what her true motives for trying to rekindle her relationship with Bella.
Some pics on my blog (link in my profile). You can also find me on Facebook: Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation or on Twitter: tufano79. Leave me some, please! ;-)