Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyers owns Twilight, you know that. I just like the characters! ENJOY!
A/N: This is a continuation to my Santa's Kiss one shot, so you might want to read that in order to understand a few things. Let me know what you think! Should I continue? Do you want more? This was beta'd by the awesome Dolphin62598 and mauigirl60.
I yawned, moving the eggs around on the skillet. Sometimes I just wanted to say fuck any day that ends in 'y', but whatever, I had to deal with them. I awakened with Lilly's back and bottom pressed against my front. I had snuggled with her until my alarm went off; of course, being her father's daughter, she slept right through it.
"I wish I could sleep like the dead," I mumbled.
"Me too," Emmett said cheerfully, closing the back door to my townhouse. "What's for breakfast? I'm starving."
"Scrambled eggs," I sighed, reaching over to the carton of eggs and grabbing a few so I could whisk away. "So, I'm going to take a crazy guess and say Rose is at the hospital."
"Ding, ding, ding and we have a winner! If my wife isn't home, you know I need to come to my second wifey to feed me," he said honestly.
"Because, God knows, you would starve or burn down your kitchen."
"Preach," he grinned, waving his hand in the air.
I heard little bare feet pattering down the hall until they hit the kitchen. "Mama, I'm hungry," Lilly grumbled, rubbing her eyes.
"I'm working on it, baby," I told her, keeping my eyes on the little cutie.
Her blonde curls were everywhere. I knew it would be a bitch to brush later on, but she was too cute. Lil's chubby red cheeks were still flushed from sleep, making me want to kiss them, and her brown eyes sparkled in the light. Ugh, Jazz and I did make a pretty freaking adorable kid. That's all he was good for, unfortunately.
"Uncle Emmy, up," she whined, raising her arms up.
Emmett lifted her up onto his lap and cuddled her close. "Why so sleepy, kid?"
"Mama and me watched Up before I sleeped," she explained, laying her head on his shoulder.
"It may or may not have been almost eleven when we fell asleep," I shrugged.
She was pretty good at going to bed on time, and it was a Friday. Lilly would be going to her dad's for the rest of the weekend. He would be pissed if he knew what time I'd let her stay up until, but whatever.
Em covered my child's ears. "You didn't hear this from me, but I'm pretty sure Jazz is proposing to Alice," he whispered loudly.
"Well, you know what I told her when she stared dating him…" I trailed off.
"He's an asshole, good luck," he snorted.
"Hey, I warned her," I stuck my hands up in defense.
"Uncle Emmy, hands off, please," Lilly huffed, trying to shrug out of his hold on her head.
"Sorry, baby cakes," he chuckled.
"Mama, do I has to go to Daddy's?"
"Yeah, baby, you know the drill," I said softly, while turning back to my eggs. I shoveled them out of the skillet onto a huge plate.
"But I wants to stay home," she pouted.
Emmett ran his massive beefy fingers through her hair, trying to soothe her. She had been like this since Jasper moved in with Alice. I loved Alice and she was great, but she and Jasper just weren't kid people. Jazz was starting his second year in his psychology program at U-Dub. He was on the Dr. Phil path; I mean, the douche analyzed anyone and everyone. He loved Lilly, but the way he communicated with her at times drove me crazy. It was almost as if he thought she was a mini adult. My child looked at him as if he were an idiot.
Alice had livened Jasper up though. She was bubbly and snarky, which I appreciated. There had been a few times when Lilly was with them that Alice had called me, asking for tips and tricks. Alice just wanted Lil to like her. After three months into their courtship, Alice told Rose and I she couldn't have children, and said she was fine with that. Rose being Rose grilled her on what Jazz thought about that. He told her that it was okay with him, he had Lilly and that was all right.
"Em, prepare this," I ordered taking my kid from his arms. "Now, tell Mama what's wrong. Why don't you want to go to Daddy's?"
"He always looks like this," she said, scrunching her face, looking more like me when I mocked Jasper.
"He does," I agreed. "But, he loves you so much and gets excited when you visit with him and Ali."
"Well, why don't they come to my house and stay?" she suggested hopefully.
Em decided to pipe up and help me. "You have two houses, Lil," he reminded her. "Remember, I fixed your room up for you there."
And he did. Emmett literally replicated her room there to look like her room here. The wallpaper, sheets, and furniture were all the same. Jazz spouted off his psychobabble on how we were confusing her, but Alice got him to shut up real fast. Did I mention how much I loved Alice?
"Mama is here, though," she frowned. "I don't want you alone."
I gave her face so many kisses because she was so thoughtful and adorable. "I'm not alone, baby. I have Aunt Rosie and Uncle Emmy next door. If I feel alone, I can go bother them."
"And that's the truth," Em grinned.
I do bother them; I mope around while my baby is away from me. When she was first born, Jazz had to come to us and help out. Last year, we had started her on this visitation schedule. He got her every weekend and we alternated holidays.
"I want you, Mama," she cried.
I rubbed her back as she clung to me. I looked at Em who just shrugged, because he was as clueless as I was.
"Shhh," I soothed.
The front door opened and I knew it was Jasper. His boots clacked on my hardwood floor after I had told him how many times to take them off at the door.
"Hey," he said, before seeing his crying child in my arms. "What's wrong?"
Lilly heard him and buried her teary face in my neck. "We're having a bit of a rough moment," I explained.
Jazz walked over and crouched down beside me. "Lilly, can you tell me why you're crying?" he asked gently, as he tried to brush her hair out of her face.
"I want to stay with, Mama," she sniffled.
"Oh," he said, and I saw the hurt instantly etched onto his face.
"But, me and Em were explaining how much you would miss her if she didn't go," I helped out.
He smiled sadly at me, mouthing 'thanks'. "I would miss her very much," he murmured. "Alice is going to her parents' house this weekend, so it was just going to be Lilly and I…"
Lilly turned her head, looking at her father curiously. "If I don't go, you'll be lonely, Daddy?"
Jazz frowned, and I nodded slightly at him. "I would be so lonely," he told her.
"I sleep in your bed like I do with Mama?" The little sneak was bargaining. I almost worried that this was more of an 'Alice' thing than that 'she was worried about me' thing.
"Of course," he nodded.
"Mama, I'll go to Daddy's so he's not alone, and you get Aunt Rosie and Uncle Emmy."
"That sounds like a deal," I kissed her head, giving her over to Jasper.
"Is she packed?"
"Yeah, I have breakfast ready, if you want some, and then I can get her changed." I motioned to my daughter's Ariel pajamas, her little belly poking out.
"Uh, okay," he nodded, looking a bit frazzled.
Emmett and I served up the food while Jasper helped Lilly into her booster seat at the breakfast nook. "So," Jazz cleared his throat. "I wanted to let you know that I'm going to ask Alice to marry me."
I tried to look surprised, knowing I was failing when Emmett started laughing and nudged me with his elbow.
"You told her?" he scowled.
Em pointed his fork at him. "She's like my baby sister, I tell her everything."
"No secrets," I declared and we fist bumped, earning an eye roll from Jasper.
"Besides, the first wife should always know," Em reasoned.
"She had it annulled so it was like it never happened," he spat.
"I agree, what marriage?"
"And, please, don't think of bringing it up," he warned. "Alice knows, but her parents don't. I asked her father for his permission."
"Well, at least you learned from your mistakes," I said wryly, patting his shoulder.
"Daddy, are you gonna give Ali that shiny ring I sawed?" Lil asked, before taking a bite of her eggs.
"Yeah, darlin', I am," he said, kissing the top of her head.
"What's it for?"
Jasper's blue eyes shot to me; he knew I would be better at explaining. I had 'Lilly speak' down to a science. "You know how in all of the princess movies, they marry their prince?"
"Well, Daddy and Ali are going to get married."
"And we get to have a party?"
Jasper nodded at me.
"Sure, why not?"
"I get a fancy dress?"
I saw the wheels turning and this was no longer Alice and Jasper's wedding, but the Princess Lilly Show to my daughter. Lillian Rose Swan usually got her way with Jasper because I think he had some guilt hiding away somewhere. And, yes, her name was Swan. That dillweed had gone on a skiing trip to Tahoe the week before I was due. Two days later I went into labor and he missed it. I was pissed that he wasn't there for her birth, and he was pissed I named her Swan. Hey, he was lucky Rose had talked me into putting his name anywhere on the Birth Certificate; always the voice of reason, that one.
"Definitely," he answered.
After we were finished with our food, Emmett offered to get her ready so we could talk. I leaned against the counter, waiting for him to start.
"I wasn't even sure I was going to ask her yet. I asked her father, but I wanted to ask her brother, as well."
"Why didn't you?"
"He's in Doctors Without Borders. I know Alice adores him, so I thought maybe I should ask him. He's stationed in Uganda at the moment, and Alice hasn't really talked to him since she moved in with me."
I squinted at him. This was Jasper being vulnerable and I hadn't seen this side of him since we were in seventh grade, when he wanted to ask Charlotte Peters to the winter formal.
"Ask her, he'll be at the wedding," I shrugged.
"That's another thing," he paused.
"Anytime Alice and I have spoken about our future, she's always said she doesn't want a long, drawn-out engagement."
"Well, when does the brother come home?"
"The end of October, but Alice said Edward doesn't stay in one place for long. I think he might be a thrill seeker."
I rolled my eyes. Thrill seeker - this coming from the guy who would race Jake on his Ducati almost every day of our senior year of high school. Don't even get me started on all the pot he did until he met Alice.
"You do get that you're a twenty-four year old grandpa, right? Alice is two years younger than you; maybe you should wait?"
"I want to marry her now, it feels right."
"Ta-da," Lilly said, skipping into the room in a navy blue sundress.
"Did you pick that out?"
She shook her head, giggling. "Uncle Emmy did."
I scooped her up, kissing all over her face until Jasper said they had to leave. It was Emmett who wrapped me up in a hug when they left. The whole child exchange was rough every weekend.
"She'll be back Monday morning, Bells," he murmured against my head.
"He doesn't care, though," I mumbled against Em's right pec.
Emmett knew what we went through almost five years ago when I found out I was pregnant. He joined our group when we were in tenth grade and he was a senior at Port Angeles High School. Rose was a junior varsity cheerleader at Forks when we played Emmett's school, we learned he was PA's star quarterback. He always told the story that he saw Rosalie standing across the field, being berated by Jessica Stanley for a mistake she made during half-time. I knew that was true because Jazz and I were in the bleachers, and I was about to go give the senior cheer captain a piece of my mind. It was then that Emmett waltzed right over to them and walked to his side of the field, with Rose in hand. The rest was sort of history and they'd been together ever since.
"Bella, you know Jasper loves Lilly just as much as you do. He was great with her when he came in."
"Yeah, and that's a first," I scoffed.
"You know we all change as we get older."
"You, me and Rose are exactly the same."
"I guess what I'm trying to say is that you know how our parents are. Jazz wants to be the disciplinarian for Lilly."
I glared at him and he backed away slowly. "Okay, this is me shutting up."
"Good," I nodded. "You want to take a drive to my dad's with me?"
"I'm always down for a visit with the Chief."
I left Emmett with his Saturday morning cartoons, as I went upstairs to get ready. It was almost two hours later that Emmett pulled his Land Rover into my dad's driveway. I noticed that my step-mom's car wasn't there, and Dad's cruiser was in front of the house.
Once I opened the door, I saw Dad in his recliner, holding his head and my stepsister, Leah, silently crying on the couch. I assumed her tears were over her ex-boyfriend, Sam, who'd cheated on her with her cousin, Emily. From what Dad had told me, Leah walked in on them last week and had now moved herself into my childhood home.
"Hey guys," I called, letting our presence be known.
Dad's head whipped up, looking relieved to see me. "Bells, Emmett! I didn't know you kids were coming today."
He got up, pulling me into a fierce hug. "Help me," he whispered into my ear.
"Dad, I'm hungry, make me a sandwich," I whined.
"God, Bella, you're old enough to make your own sandwich," Leah huffed, with a glare.
"Leah, this is Bella's home just as much as it is yours…" Charlie trailed off carefully. "Your mom has been waiting on you like a personal maid."
"My boyfriend cheated on me," she wailed.
My eyes widened, as well as Em's. Dad just ignored her and shuffled us into the kitchen. "What the hell was that?"
"I love Sue, but her daughter has a few screws loose," Dad muttered, grabbing a few beers out of the fridge.
"Uh, Charlie, it's not even noon yet," Emmett laughed.
Dad waved his hand dismissively before kissing my head in a proper greeting. We snatched our beers up, sitting around the breakfast island Sue had just had installed. He married Sue when I was fifteen; Leah was in college, so it was just me and Seth. Seth was ten at the time. I was closer with him than I ever was with Leah. By the time she moved back, I had gone away to school and everything had changed completely with Lilly.
"Leah thinks… she's pregnant," he whispered almost comically.
"I'm sorry that's such a taboo word for you, Dad," I snorted.
"Bella," he snapped.
"Got it, this is serious," I said, running my hand over my face to show a serious expression.
"It is," he stressed. "When you came to us… what you did was different."
"Well, I had you, who wanted to coddle me," I pointed out.
"No, my child, you got married by Elvis and moved in with Jasper. The only hard thing was the annulment; even after that, you were so set on not moving back home."
"Dad, as you remember, mom had that obnoxious bank account set up for me." And she still deposited way more money than I would ever need.
My parents divorced when I was six. I stayed with my dad while my mom chased her dreams. She ended up becoming this yogi self-help guru, instantly making millions. I'd read her books and, to be completely honest, her advice was shit. I loved her, but she insisted that if her followers make daily affirmations, it would make their lives instantly better.
I was ten when she made her first million and opened a checking and savings account for me. The only times I'd ever begrudgingly touched money from it was to pay for college, and to buy a home for my child and myself. Dad and Sue helped me with my bookstore because I didn't want my mom's guilt money going into my business endeavors.
"That's not it, Bells. You have always been independent."
"Okay?" I said, not sure what he meant by that.
"I mean…" he sighed, running a hand over his face. "While you were pregnant with Lilly, you refused help even after you had her. It was just you and her. I know Jasper would come and help so you could sleep or study, but you still pushed him away. You're very set in your routines. Lilly is a lot like that too."
"What you're saying doesn't sound like a good thing," I raised an eyebrow feeling defensive.
"Bella, stop it," Emmett smiled, squeezing my shoulder. "I think what Charlie is trying to say is that with Leah being in the house, he doesn't know how to handle her. You made things easier for him."
"That's exactly what I'm trying to say," Dad puffed out in relief. "Raising you was like a walk in the park, Bella. Leah's thirty years old and doesn't know how to take care of herself. You've been on your own since you were eighteen."
Now, I did feel bad about that, but I leaned on my dad for a lot of things. He went with me to all of Lilly's visitation mediations, and was there for every holiday and birthday of our lives. I was here because Lilly was gone and I knew my dad would make me feel better.
"Is she crying?" Dad asked, looking at Em.
I dropped my head to hide my tears. This morning was rough and Lilly's concern for my loneliness was hitting me hard.
"She had a rough morning," Emmett answered.
Dad got up and awkwardly wrapped his arms around me. "Did Jasper do something?" he asked gruffly.
"No, Lil didn't want to leave this morning."
"Why didn't she?"
"She doesn't want me to be lonely," I sniffled, angrily wiping my tears away. "And, for the record, I'm not crying because I'm a crazy person like Leah, but because my child held my heart in a vice for a good five minutes, and the guilt is haunting me."
Charlie didn't comment, but left a kiss on top of my head before going back to his beer. Sue came home in a frazzled state not too long after that. She tended to Leah who, according to the test results, was indeed pregnant. When her high-pitched shrieks rung throughout the house, Emmett and I hightailed it the hell out of there. Dad hurried out to his cruiser, mumbling something about setting Sam straight.
"Do you think the Chief will shoot his ass?" Em asked eagerly.
"No, don't be ridiculous, he's the Chief of Police," I scoffed, before adding, "he'll have Billy do it for sure."