My girls are still taking good care of me, too.
I thought this was a conversation that needed to happen between Edward and Harry. And I'm really into Dadward right now. :)
Thanks for reading!
Pulling Heaven Down Outtake: The Talk
"Be careful, Harry," I called to my nearly-five-year-old son, who was a few feet in front of me.
"I am, Daddy!" he cried, and glanced back at me as he rounded an aisle in the grocery store and promptly ran into a pair of legs.
I rushed forward and knelt down to help him up. He looked up at me with Leah's big, dark eyes, and I smiled down at him.
"You okay?" I brushed his hair from his face, but he frowned.
"I'm okay," Harry answered then grabbed onto my arm to lift himself up. As he did, his eyes traveled up the legs of the obstacle he'd just run into. I followed his gaze and felt my stomach drop as I did.
I straightened up and took my son's little hand in mine, securing him close to my side. It had been years since I'd been in such close to proximity to the man in front of me, but the rage I was feeling was reminiscent of that day in the diner when I'd first seen him.
"Oh. Cullen," Sam greeted with a clipped tone, but his eyes widened as glanced down at my side.
"Ow, Daddy," Harry whispered and tugged his hand from my grip. I ran my hand over his hair in apology and frowned at his reproachful gaze. I hadn't realized I was holding on so tightly.
"I'm not a baby," he grumbled quietly and I laughed. "Sorry I ran into you," my son said, glancing up at Sam.
His expression was unreadable as he looked from Harry to me before responding with a quick, "No problem, kid," and walked away.
It too, a moment after he walked away before I bent down to pick up my son and carry him out of the store. Leah was waiting in the car, and smiled when I opened the back door to let Harry in.
"Did you get the ice cream you wanted?" she asked, while I buckled him into his seat next to his little brother.
"Shit," I muttered.
My son giggled and held out his hand. "You owe me a dollar, Daddy!"
I glanced at my wife, who grinned and nodded.
"I'm gonna be rich!" he yelled as I forked over my second dollar for the day. It was Leah's attempt to get us to stop swearing, but she'd already paid three dollars and it was hardly noon. We were headed to her parents' house to celebrate our son Luke's first birthday and had stopped to pick up ice cream…which I forgot because we ran into Sam.
"I'll go back, what kind do you want?"
"Strawberry, please." Harry grinned, so I kissed his head and headed back into the store.
A while later, we were surrounded by our family, watching the kids play and carrying on conversations about everyday things.
"What's up with you?" Emmett bumped my shoulder and handed me a beer. I shook my head, my eyes trained on Harry as he chased Willow and Michael in the front yard.
"Nothing much, you?"
"That wasn't an actual invitation for conversation, that was me trying to dispel you from this funk you're in," he explained.
I glared at him.
"My wife made me. She said you weren't yourself. I tried to explain you were just being a broody pain in the ass, but she didn't buy it."
"You're an asshole," I grumbled.
"Yeah, you discovered that when I was five and tied you to that tree," Emmett said as he pointed to the broad oak that stood in our parents' from yard.
"Harry ran into Sam at the grocery store…literally," I told him.
"And nothing. He didn't even blink an eye, just walked away."
"But that's good, right?"
I sighed, sipping the beer in my hand and shrugging. "I guess so."
"You're his dad." My brother patted my shoulder. "Harry knows that."
"I just know that one day…one day he'll want to know."
"Well, he's not even five yet. I don't think you need to worry about it," Emmett laughed. "Now, let's go watch Luke smear cake all over himself and take pictures that we'll use to torture him with later."
"Still an asshole."
Emmett grinned. "Yep."
"Is he asleep? Do you want me to put him to bed?" Leah asked quietly after she'd put Luke in bed. I shook my head and rubbed my hand over Harry's back. He stirred slightly and stretched, his head rested on my leg.
"No, I'll take him," I answered, while lifting him into my arms and making my way down the hall to his bedroom.
I set Harry in his bed and kissed his messy hair. I wanted to stay there all night, and to be there when he woke up. To watch him sleep and just to know that he was there, safe under my roof.
But I couldn't. Of course, that was mostly because my wife was waiting outside the door for me to explain why I'd been in a bad mood on our other son's first birthday.
"Ready to talk to me yet?" she asked and brushed my hair behind my ear.
"No," I sighed and tried to kiss her, but she pushed me away.
"We saw Sam in the store. Harry ran into him and fell down. Sam didn't even blink an eye."
Leah frowned and pulled me into the kiss she'd denied me earlier. "I love you."
"I worry about that day when he comes to me and wants to know, Leah."
"It won't be yet, Edward. And who knows, maybe it won't ever be," she said soothingly.
"You know I won't be able to live with that," I whispered.
"I know. That's why I love you. Don't worry about it tonight, baby. Worry about it in ten years."
"You're the boss," I told her with a small smile.
"It's about time you realized that."
A few years later:
"Where'd your brother go?" I asked Luke, who shrugged and grabbed a two-liter of Mountain Dew off the shelf.
"Can we get this one?" he asked with big, puppy dog eyes.
"No. Get Sprite," I answered, and tried not to laugh. Leah would kill me if I let him bring that back after she sent me to the store for soda and hamburger buns. We were in La Push for Celebration Days, something we did every year with Leah's mother, and Grandpa Charlie, of course.
"Are we going to watch the parade?" Luke asked as he handed me the Sprite and took my free hand.
"As soon as we get this stuff back to Mimi's." I scanned the aisle looking for my other son. I found him one aisle over, browsing the candy (for not being blood-related, he sure did inherit my sweet tooth), only he wasn't alone.
My stomach filled with that same sense of dread that it had so many years ago. I rushed down the aisle, dragging Luke behind me, and stopped just behind my son. The man next to him smirked and reached out to muss my son's hair, so I dropped Luke's hand and caught Harry's shoulder and pulled him back against me.
"Oh, hey Dad." Harry grinned up at me. "Sam was telling me about what the parade used to be like- he says that…"
Harry trailed off when he caught the look on my face. Not that he was often the reason for me to be murderous, but he knew well enough.
"Harry, take your brother to the games," I said quietly as fished some quarters out of my pocket and handed them over. The boys grinned and walked away, so I turned my attention to Sam.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Just talking to the kid, man. Don't worry about it." He shrugged.
"Stay away from my son," I told him, resisting the urge to point my finger accusingly…or punch him in his stupid smirking face.
"Your son, huh? He doesn't know, does he?" Sam's voice was low. "You haven't told him yet?"
"That's none of your-"
"Dad? We need more quarters," Harry said from behind me. I turned to face him and forced a smile.
"Okay, guys. Let's get this stuff back before your mom sends out the search party. Nice seeing you again, Sam," I put on a cordial face and steered my boys toward the register.
"I don't think Mom will send out a search party. Well…maybe for me. She likes me best." Luke grinned up at me while we waited in line.
"I'm the first born, I'm the favorite," Harry teased back.
"What about me?" I asked as I paid and handed off the bags to the boys.
"You're just the dad, Dad," Luke giggled and leaned into my side.
"Oh, okay. What about Wyatt?"
"Man, I forgot about him…" Harry mused.
"You forgot about your other brother? Harry!" I laughed and pulled him against my other side.
"Well, he's so little that sometimes I forget." He shrugged.
"Yeah, and he's always getting into your stuff," Luke added.
"That's true. Can't you do anything about that?" Harry looked up at me and I smiled.
"No, he's three," I repeated. "You were the same way."
"Darn," both boys sighed and the conversation ended as we got into the car. As we pulled out of the parking lot, I saw Sam again, stepping out of the store. Harry watched him as we drove away, his dark eyes wondering.
"Dad?" he asked quietly.
"Can we go somewhere? Me and you? I don't really feel like watching the parade."
"Of course." I reached over and squeezed. "I'll tell your mom."
A few minutes later we were pulling into Sue's front yard, and Leah was waiting for us on the porch. Harry stayed in the car while Luke and I carried the groceries to her.
"Harry and I are going to go for a drive," I explained.
"Can I go?" Luke asked, frowning up at me.
"Not this time." I knelt down, tickled him and kissed his cheek.
He laughed, but it wasn't his normal lightheartedness. "Okay," he agreed and ran inside.
"Is everything okay?" Leah asked, touching my cheek softly.
"It will be." I swallowed the lump in my throat and bent down to kiss her.
"Edward, what happened?" My wife ran her hand down my chest and wrapped her arm around my waist, pulling me closer.
"Let's just say…we really need to find a different grocery store in this town," I smiled ruefully and kissed her again. "I'll see you soon."
She took a deep breath and pressed a kiss to my neck. "I love you."
"Me too," I told her before walking away.
Harry was silent as we drove through town, and I knew exactly where to take him. It had been years since I'd been to the football field, but I felt it was the right place to have this talk with my son.
He frowned. "What are we doing here?"
I shrugged. "You seemed like you wanted to talk…and I thought this might be a good place."
My son nodded and walked halfway up the bleachers while I followed with a pounding heart. He sat down and stared up at me expectantly. I watched him for a moment before I sat next to him. After Leah and I were married and he was adopted, we never heard from Sam again. Not until a few years ago…and then today. I knew Harry was curious, because I knew my son. And that's exactly what he was: mine. He'd owned me since our first moment in the hospital, and I knew now that he wanted the truth no matter how much it might hurt me.
"I know who he is…that guy in the store? I know why you were so mad that I was talking to him."
I swallowed thickly. "Okay."
"When I was doing my heritage project I found this box in Mom's closet with all these pictures of when I was a baby. Like, first born, you know?" He looked up at me and I nodded. "You weren't in any of them."
"I know. I know I wasn't."
"Can you explain it to me, Dad?" Harry's eyes filled with tears and I quickly wrapped my arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer, sad that he'd been carrying that around for months.
"Where should I start?" I asked quietly and he pulled away, shrugging.
"At the beginning?"
I nodded and took a deep breath. "Well, your mom and I knew each in high school because our friends were dating-"
"Bella and Jacob?"
"Right. But after high school I moved to Seattle and I didn't see your mom for a long time, and when I did see her again it was at Jacob's funeral." I stopped and wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans, gazing out into the field for a moment.
"And?" Harry prompted.
"And when I saw her again she was married…and pregnant. With you."
Harry's little intake of breath let me know that was exactly what he was thinking.
"He's my real dad, isn't he?"
I nodded and then found my voice, "Yes."
"Things happened after you were born, Harry. Things that I can't explain because I don't know all the details, but I know that it wasn't a good relationship for your mother…or for you."
"Did he hurt her?" His dark eyes were angry as he looked up at me and I tried to smile.
"Your mom is very, very brave, Harry. She did what she thought was best for you and for her and moved away."
"To Seattle," I confirmed.
"So…how do you get in the picture?" he asked, and that time I didn't have to force my smile.
"You got sick, so your mom brought you to my hospital."
"And that's it? You lived happily ever after?"
I laughed and kissed the top of his head. "No. First of all, you threw up on me. And it wasn't that easy to convince your mom to date me."
"I puked on you? And you still liked me?" He laughed.
"Ah, kid. I was crazy about you. I didn't know I could love someone that much until I met you," I explained quietly. Harry smiled and rested his head on my shoulder while wrapping his arms around mine.
"What happened to him, though?" He was serious again and I sighed. "Didn't he want me?"
"He tried, Harry. But it didn't work out, and he signed over his parental rights."
"How do I have your last name? Wouldn't I have his?"
"Right before your mom and I got married, I adopted you."
"So, you always wanted me?" my son asked quietly.
"And I always will," I replied just as quietly.
"Thanks for talking to me, Dad."
"I'll tell you anything you want to know, kid."
He nodded against my shoulder. "Okay."
We sat for a few quiet moments before he spoke again.
"I'm really glad I threw up on you that day."
"Me too, Harry. Me too."