I want a Mommy!
Disclaimer: All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. The plot, along with a few of the characters I add here and there belong to my ruthless muse.
"He's a sullen, gloomy child, to be frank," Mrs. Smith said, with a grim frown upon her face as she stared down at Mr. Cullen. Unknown to her, he was one of the most dangerous men in the city.
"I see," Edward said smoothly, glancing back through the double-paned window at his son who wasn't interacting with the other children. "How can this be fixed?" he demanded sharply.
"He's lonely and depressed. To be rather honest, no child his age should be so well behaved," Mrs. Smith snapped. "There isn't much we can do for him. Normally, I'd suggest an active social circle–play dates, karate classes–but I've read he already has all of those things. My educated guess is the root of the problem lies at home."
"I see," Edward snapped, rubbing his chin for a moment. "We'll be leaving now. Antonio, warm the car," Edward ordered coolly, surprising the concerned teacher with his nonchalant attitude.
"Mr. Cullen, maybe he should be on some medication for his depression." The head child psychologist in Seattle suggested a bit more timidly. This coming from a man whom Edward hadn't been bothered enough to even learn his name.
"No! No one will be medicating my child. Mrs. Smith says the root lies at home. I shall uncover what concerns my child at home then," Edward snapped. His green eyes flashing coldly toward the cowering psychologist.
Mrs. Smith stepped forward, after watching all of her superiors and the states' two best child psychologists tremble and shudder around the pleasant-looking man. "You seem to be a very powerful and busy man, Mr. Cullen. EJ's file does state he's being raised by you alone. I noted three different nannies in the last five months I've been teaching him. I was just wondering, how much one-on-one time you personally allotted to him?"
Edward's face grew tense. "I assure you, Ma'am, that I spend adequate amounts of time with my child."
"I'm sure you do," she muttered, earning herself a sharp glare from her boss, as he closed the door to the room.
"Let's go EJ," Edward called stiffly.
"Dad," the surprised boy said, smiling for the first time since being placed in the school's observation room for the counselors. "What are you doing at my school?" he asked excitedly before his tiny face fell. Worry replaced his previous joy. "Is something bad happening?"
"No, I just thought we'd go for pizza," Edward said. His heart twisting, as the worry disappeared from his son's face, but the smile didn't return. Speculation and distrust were written all across the boy's face.
"Okay, I need to get my pack-pack," EJ said softly, leading Edward down the hallway towards his classroom.
"It's backpack," Edward corrected gently.
EJ didn't grace his father with a verbal response just a simple shrug of the shoulders. He collected his backpack, his lunch box and coat without instruction. He stood awkwardly next to his father. He wanted to reach out and grab his father's hand, but he was informed repeatedly by nannies that he wasn't a baby. Therefore, he didn't need to partake in such juvenile behavior. He might be five, but he knew his Daddy, Granddaddy and his Uncle did dangerous work.
"Mr. Cullen—Mr. Cullen ... here, these might give you some insight," Mrs. Smith said, hurriedly handing him EJ's diary and artwork he was required to do with the school therapist. "I'm not supposed to give you these, but I don't really understand why. If it were any other student, we'd show their parents. It's frustrating really how my coworkers are acting. Anyway, EJ, I'll see you tomorrow; have a nice time with your daddy, okay?" she rambled nervously.
Edward nodded slightly. He had made a good choice by picking Mrs. Smith. She led such a normal, mild life. She wasn't aware of who or what he was, just that he was EJ's father and a rich businessman. Things like the mafia, thugs, gangs, to her were something for the movies and hardly filtered into her everyday world.
"Thank you, Mrs. Smith," Edward said flashing her a charming smile. "Don't worry about your job. You still have it. I assure you."
She gave him a relieved, bewildered smile. In the end she shook her head, money talked and Mr. Cullen most definitely had that, so of course her job was safe.
Seconds after clicking himself into his child seat, EJ stuck his headphones on before starting up his iPad. Edward slid in next to him and opened the file, as Antonio drove them towards their favorite pizzeria. The file contained pictures drawn of a mysterious woman. A family picture of him and EJ, and again a woman. One page on the top asked: what do you want more than anything in the world … a single word filled the page–MOMMY. Another was: what would you like Santa Claus to bring you? I want a mommy, was the response.
"Son," Edward said once they were settled in the back corner of the pizzeria. Antonio, Marcus, and Jimmy stood around them remaining distant and professional.
"Yes, Dad," EJ said, while slowly slipping his headphones off. "I didn't do anything to Nanny Jane."
"I didn't say you did, now did I?" Edward asked amused, wondering what kind of trouble EJ had caused his newest Nanny making him blurt out such revealing words.
"No," EJ pouted, but not willing to reveal anything.
Edward set the pictures down on the table, "What are these about?"
"I want a Mommy," EJ said simply, a light blush staining his cheeks.
"I don't understand. You have me?" Edward said, only to receive a pointedly blank stare in return. "Okay, better question, why do you want a mother?"
"I just want one. Jamie has one, and Aunt Alice is Tanner's Mommy. A Mommy loves you, no matter what. And they keep you safe, and they're pretty and smell nice. They hug and kiss your ouches. They tuck you in and check under the bed, even if it's silly," EJ said in a low voice.
"I tuck you in," Edward retorted.
"Sometimes," EJ said shortly.
"I love you; I keep you safe."
"You're a Daddy, it's your job, and I guess ..."
"I pay Marcus to keep you safe," Edward said, trying to reason with his stubborn son.
"You just don't understand," EJ said, slowly shaking his head, his face falling. All hope of making his father understand was gone.
Edward's resolve broke, as he looked over his boy. His long hours, his sudden business meetings, the stress and the worry of his life was showing in his son. As a child he had had his mother. Esme sheltered him from this life, until he was older, in his teens. Nannies weren't paid to love your child or to shelter them. No matter the price tag, they couldn't fill the void that he was leaving in his son's' life. Maybe his son was right. Maybe he did need a mother. The trick question was, did Edward need, or even want a wife?
The next few months Edward's mother partook in a wife search, which went by fruitlessly. Not one woman met his standards, background checks or his mother's approval. There had been: Madison, Zoey, Adrianna and Sophia, none panned out.
"Get back here," Edward called after his bolting child, as EJ darted to the swing set. Marcus moved quickly, keeping up easily with the child. He was used to shadowing and occasionally caring for EJ. "EJ, watch out," Edward hollered seconds before his son stumbled over a woman reading against a tree.
"Are you okay?" the woman asked, kneeling quickly before the child, inspecting the crying boy. "Shh, now, are you hurt?" she repeated her question gently.
"No. No, ma'am," EJ whispered with his chin quivering.
"Edward Anthony Cullen the Second," Marcus snapped gently. "Apologize."
Bella winced at the harsh tone directed at the small boy with the soulful green eyes. "I'm sorry for running into you."
"It's okay, Edward," Bella said gently, brushing an auburn lock behind his ear. Edward stood back watching the woman critically, but all he could read was genuine concern for his child. There seemed to be no hidden agenda in her posture, just pure, honestv concern.
"Call me EJ," he insisted, with a smile that was a carbon copy of his father's.
"EJ it is then," Bella said smiling, shaking hands with the small boy. "I'm ..." she was cut off rudely by Marcus, who began talking to Edward as he moved toward them.
"Mr. Edward, he was just a few milliseconds too fast for me to catch, sir," Marcus said, directing the conversation to Edward who had joined the scene. "EJ here tripped over ..."
"Bella," Bella said, smiling brightly up at Edward reassuringly. "EJ here has made a charming introduction."
"I can see that," Edward said lightly, his phone interrupting the moment. With a click of his fingers signaling Marcus to watch EJ, he stepped away to answer his phone. "Emmett, what's the problem?"
Bella watched as EJ's face crumpled, as he observed his father pacing nearby at a picnic table. "EJ, do you want to know something funny?" Bella asked pulling EJ's attention away from his father. She continued when he nodded eagerly. "I've met some of my best friends in the whole wide world by crashing into them. So, this little meeting here was a sign. Do you want to be my friend?" Bella asked. Marcus's brow furrowed, but he made no motion to stop their interaction. He'd observe and if he felt anything was amiss, he'd put a stop to it. His lips twitched at EJ's eager agreement to Bella's proposal.
"Want to swing with me?" EJ asked her quietly, a dark blush staining his cheeks. "My dad was 'upposed to push me, but ya know, plans change."
"I'd like that a lot," Bella said, tucking her digital reader away in her bag. There was something about this small, seemly sweet, little boy that made her want to protect him, even if only for the little while his father was distracted by the phone.
The swings were just a couple feet away and they were under Marcus's watchful gaze, as Bella helped him adjust to the seat and began to lightly push him. After a long while EJ decided he'd rather hang upside down on the jungle gym. Bella quickly helped him down and said her goodbyes while gathering up her bag from the ground.
"Thanks for that," Edward said, thanking the strange woman who had been so kind to his son. "I'm Edward, Edward Cullen."
"Isabella Swan, but most people call me Bella," she said offering the good-looking father an endearing smile and her hand. Her breath caught in her throat as their hands connected with the other's.
"So, Isabella, why are you in the park on this surprisingly warm day? I don't see you fawning over any children of your own," Edward stated, scanning the area for a child that resembled the woman next to him.
"I was reading, studying," Bella said, pulling her tablet from her bag and flashing it at Edward. "Days like today are too rare to spend indoors."
"Agreed," Edward stated with a firm nod. They chatted easily with each other, for a little while. Edward allowed himself to relax and enjoy her company. She was gorgeous in a way that he wasn't used to. Bella was seemingly a down-to-earth, simple, yet still beautiful kind of woman. Her hair was in a messy ponytail, tight fitting, well-worn jeans, converse sneakers and a tight, long-sleeved navy shirt. She was beautiful yet casual.
"It was very nice meeting you, Edward Cullen. I'll see you around EJ," Bella called waving at the upside down boy, as she left the park.
"Damn... she was smokin'," Emmett said coming to stand next to his brother. "Are you going to hit that?" Edward turned his eyes from Bella's ass to Emmett with a scowl across his face. "Sorry Bro, but you really need to get l-a-i-d."
"My sexual conquests or lack thereof, is not your concern as much as you think it is," Edward said icily.
"What the fuck ever man," Emmett said with a booming laugh, not one to be intimidated by Edward. "Tell me you at least got her name?"
"Isabella Swan," Edward said giving his brother a knowing smirk.
"Do you want Jasper and Jenks to look into her?" Emmett said seriously all the warmth leaving him. He was known for being a goofball, but Emmett was a soldier and he took the wellbeing of his family seriously. He had never forgiven himself for his rookie mistake that had ended with Edward taking a bullet for him a few years back.
"Yes, I want the file on my desk by tomorrow night," Edward said shortly. "Now, why don't you go surprise your nephew. Are you sure you and Rose can handle him for the night?"
"We'll be fine. I can't believe I'm sitting out of your meeting with the Chinese," Emmett said shaking his head.
"Yes... well, Chia is going to be there. He's still angry with you for sleeping with his youngest daughter," Edward said with a frown, but his eyes were twinkling with mirth. His baby brother's antics have always brought him amusement.
"Ah... Addie, good memories," Emmett said with a cocky smile before his face hardened. "You'd think the old dick would get over it already; it's been almost five years."
"He's not going to just forget about it, Emmett, he walked in on you screwing his precious, his youngest, and to top it all off, his favorite daughter. He did put a bullet in your ass for it. So, I suggest you play Guess Who with EJ and enjoy your night off," Edward said stiffly.
"EJ, over here," Edward yelled motioning for his son to come to him.
"Uncle Em, you're here," EJ said high fiving his Uncle before being lifted in the air and tossed above Emmett's head.
"Hey, pal? You want to spend the night at my place? Rose is making your favorite– spaghetti pie," Emmett said placing the child easily on his hip.
"Sounds fun; Dad has to work, doesn't he?" EJ said, his face remaining neutral, but Edward could read the disappointment written across it.
"I do, but I'll pick you up first thing in the morning, so be ready by seven. Okay, bud?" Edward said hugging him tightly before turning him back over to Emmett.
"If you say so," EJ said with a tight smile. "I love you."
"You, too, son," Edward said ruffling EJ's hair before walking away. Yes ... yes, his son really did need a mother, and now he had an idea of someone who just might fit the bill.
Beta'ed by awaywithwords3