AN: I apologize for the wait. Luckily, I think I'm back in the groove. My two little inspirations have been particularly full of mischief.
I also wanted you all to know that The Little Pink House is nominated for top stories for 2013 at twifanfictionrecs. You should check out all the stories that are on the list. It's a great collection of fics!
The airport was bustling with activity with people running up and down the corridors pulling large pieces of luggage trying to make it to their flights on time. An elderly couple was almost run over by a group of foreign businessmen who were late to their gate. A loud voice was calling out information to passengers over the loudspeaker, while a trio of giggling teenagers were chomping their gum and trying to pick out magazines at a small kiosk. It was a picture of life on the go.
It was in the corner, however, at the Texas Memorial Airport was a family standing together as a unit working together to accomplish a common goal. They were trying to calm down a hysterical toddler.
"I wanna go home!" Matt cried. The words that he wailed came out as a moan which was barely intelligible.
Bella was holding him tightly and ignoring the dirty looks she was receiving from their fellow occupants in the terminal. "Baby, we aren't going home. We need to see Alice."
"No! Home!" Matt shouted and buried his head into Bella's leg. All the adults hovered around him like buzzing bees. The child's tears were making a wet spot on Bella's jeans and snot was running down his chin.
Annie just stared at her brother with a cherry red lollipop hanging out of her mouth. Pulling it out with a popping noise, she observed, "His ears probably hurt, Mommy. He didn't finish his lollipop."
"What?" Bella looked at her daughter whose was busily sucking on the candy again. She hadn't even noticed, because Matt was sitting up with Edward and Carlisle. "Why not, Matty? You love candy."
Before her son could get a word out, Annie explained, "Daddy ate it."
The little girl was going to be an impressive gossip and busybody when she grew up. It was a fact that could not be denied.
"Edward Cullen, what were you thinking?" Bella was going to kill him slowly. "That was for his ears."
"He doesn't like grape," Edward stated as he dug into his pocket to find a tissue to wipe the little boy's face. "We should have given him gum."
"You have to be kidding me! Are you sure you went to medical school? He's three!" Bella looked at Carlisle who was nodding at his son in agreement. "That goes for you too, Carlisle Cullen!"
Esme looked at her husband in annoyance. "That's why you had no say in raising the children, Carlisle. They would have been hopped up on sugar and choking on ice cubes."
"I knew Ed would screw up," Emmett said. He was kneeling on the ground and helping Sam fix his backpack. "You picked the wrong stud, Bella."
Emmett had broken up with his latest girlfriend and was on the prowl. He almost fell over on top of his son when an attractive blonde passed by them in shorts that were barely appropriate. He added, "They do make them better in Texas!"
Jane slapped him on the back of the head. "Stop being a pain in the—"
Rosalie swooped in and took Sam's hand. She was already holding onto Annie. "I'm going to take these two to watch the planes. Let's pretend to be adults here. Would you like to come, Esme?"
The women walked over to the windows where the children could watch the planes take-off and land to their hearts content. Bella couldn't help smiling at them. Rosalie and Jane were so good with each other that the true personality of the blonde woman was shining through now. Even her relationship with Esme was on the mend. Bella was happy to call Rosalie a friend.
"Hey, my favorite Slut McMuffin, when is little Al and her bumpkin boy toy getting here?" Jane asked. Bella immediately smashed her hands on Matt's ears.
"Mama!" The boy complained. "I wanna Aunt Janie!"
Bella happily deposited the crying boy in his disgusted aunt's arms. Jane's nose wrinkled up ay the mucus coming out of Matt's nose. "What the fu—"
"Fudge, Janie," Bella corrected.
"I hate you, you silly ho." Jane was trying to stop Matt from wiping his face on her designer dress. "Come on, kid! Use a fudging tissue!"
"I take your hate as love." Bella moved away from her angry ex-sister-in-law and towards Edward. "Have you heard from Alice?"
Edward looked up from his phone. "They just pulled in the parking lot. They had trouble starting one of the vans."
"Oh." She looked at her watch. It had only been ten minutes since she got out the plane and back into the terminal, but it felt like hours.
Charlie came out of the restrooms hitching up his pants and took one look at his grandson and muttered, "I should have stayed in Forks."
He hated traveling and was thinking wistful thoughts of sitting in his old, brown leather recliner and watching Sports Center with highlights from the Mariners game. His daydream had beento watch the Mariners trouncing the Yankees, but it was not to be for so many reasons. The Mariners had no hope against the evil empire. Charlie was certain that Derek Jeter had made a deal with the devil. He was a man with faith for his team, but was stuck in this damn airport. Charlie wondered if Carlisle would let him borrow his fancy phone with that internet so he could catch the highlights.
"We're doing this for Alice," Bella reminded her father. Which in fact was a reminder to herself, because this trip was terrible from the start.
"We need to take this wand—" the agent from Homeland Security began to say to Annie, as the woman moved the long security wand towards the little girl.
Bella immediately stiffened as she watched the large woman wearing her security uniform attempt to check her child for weapons. She understood the need for enhanced security due to terrorists, but there was no way her kid was a threat. Of course, that was until her kid started screaming.
"Stranger danger! Stranger danger!" Annie was having a fit.
"Honey, this nice lady is just like the police! It's fine, because Mommy's here!" Bella attempted to soothe her daughter.
"I don't know her! Where's her police badge?" Annie asked. She thought this whole ordeal was ridiculous.
Matt was standing next to Edward and was staring intently at the chaos. A different agent, an elderly man with a fluffy, white beard, had approached Matt and said sweetly, "Son, I need to run my magic stick near you before you can get on my magic plane. It's perfectly safe."
The boy took one look at the man and cried, "No, Santa. you no canes!"
"Canes?" Edward asked Bella who was still trying to deal with the irate Annie.
Bella looked at him in exasperation. "Candy canes, Edward!"
"Right, candy canes always work. Hey, gang, Daddy has M&M's!" He fished the candy out of his pocket. The children came over and started begging for the chocolate sugary goodness. "Let the nice people scan you so Daddy can give you the candy."
The children were instantly angels.
"My daddy is a prince!" Annie yelled in happiness because she got to get her hands on little pieces of sugar heaven.
Bella was instantly a mix of grateful and annoyed. She wished she thought of it first.
"Hi!" Alice ran into the terminal with a huge grin on her face. "I've missed you so much!"
This was a brand new version of the girl that Bella met years ago. The shy, timid girl was no longer nervously looking at her shoes. Instead, a happy woman wearing a floral sundress jogged up to them clutching Jasper's hand. Her hair had grown out and now soft, dark curls were grazing her shoulders. Jasper hadn't seemed to change, except there was a joy when he looked at Alice that warmed Bella's heart.
Esme took one look at her little girl and ran over. The woman hugged her daughter tightly. "Baby, I missed you so much!"
Carlisle was weeping softly as he shook Jasper's hand and then turned to join his wife to hug their daughter.
Edward wrapped his arm around Bella's waist. He whispered in her ear, "That will be us someday with Annie."
Bella elbowed him in the stomach. "She'll be living with us forever. Matty will be too."
That was something that Edward could agree with fully.
The ride to the ranch was about thirty minutes. The old, red vans of the Moonlight Sonata Ranch hit every bump and jostled their inhabitants until some were turning a bit green. Emmett, actually threw up in a bag of Doritos he had been eating. The children, on the other hand, thought it was great fun.
Bella stared out the window and was amazed at the vast landscape before her. The closer to the ranch, the more beautiful the land became. She watched as a group of horses ran next to them and she was taken by the majesty of the way they moved.
Sitting next to Jasper in the passenger seat, Alice turned around to the group. "We're here!"
Before them there was a group of houses, the largest was a huge farmhouse with a wraparound porch. There were about twenty people milling around it wearing a sea of plaid shirts paired with jeans or overalls. The group turned to gawk at the vans as they pulled up and when the automobiles stopped there was chorus of whoops and hollers to greet the newcomers.
A woman came over to the group, her twinkling, brown eyes regarded them all with glee. She wore her silver hair in a single braid that hung over her shoulder and wore a pink and brown plaid button-down shirt. Around her waist was a stained, white apron that she used to wipe her hands.
"Well howdy, y'all! I'm Jas's Momma. The name is Clara and this here's John, Jas's Daddy." A quiet man who was the image of what Jasper would become in the future came up behind his wife. He took off his worn cowboy hat and gave a shy smile. "Y'all come on in and get some sweet tea!"
It was such a welcoming and warm place and Bella was instantly in love with this ranch. Matt came up and took his mother's hand. "I got's to pee, Momma."
Before Bella could ask for the nearest bathroom, Clara swooped up Matt and said, "I can take you there, young Matt. Your Aunt Alice has told me so much about you, honey."
"I like you," Matt replied taking her face in his hands. He instantly accepted Jasper's mother and so did Bella.
She was certain this place was magical.
That feeling was reinforced hours later when Bella found herself sitting with Alice on a thick tree limb as the watched the horses grazing in a field. Jasper's dogs were frolicking around the trunk.
"You seem happy, Al," Bella pointed out. The grin on her friend's face was infectious.
"I am," Alice replied, staring up through the leaves and into the clouds above. "I feel relaxed now. Lighter, I guess."
She would spend lazy days on an old horse blanket with Jasper staring up into those clouds. They would make up stories about what they imagined the shapes looked like. Afterwards, they would kiss languidly until it was time to come in for dinner. Alice smiled at the memory of the last time they spent the day together in a nearby field. It was a lovely afternoon.
Bella regarded her friend with new eyes. "Are you planning on staying here permanently?"
"Maybe?" Alice looked sheepish. "I miss everyone, but there's happiness to this place. A little gift shop wants to sell my jewelry."
"You have learned well, grasshopper. Make sure they don't talk you into selling them for too little." Bella was sad but also very proud of her friend.
Alice looked at her friend in shock. "You want me to stay here?"
"I want you to be happy, Alice Cullen almost Whitlock." Bella took her hand. "You have my full support. I warn you that the rest of them will fight it."
"I know my parents, Emmett, and Ed—" she began.
Bella laughed. "I forgot about them. Yes, they will be upset but I was talking about Jane. She still has a crush on you."
"I don't want anybody to be mad at me."
That was always Alice's issue in Bella's opinion. She was always trying to protect everyone's feelings and not taking her own well-being into consideration.
"What do you want to do?" Bella asked in exasperation.
"I think for now this is the place for me." Alice took a deep breath. "I belong here with Jasper. We can always come back to Forks."
"Exactly! Life isn't set in stone. You can flow to where you need to be." Bella gave Alice a huge hug. They both started crying happy tears.
Edward walked through the fields as he rolled up the sleeves of his shirt. A gentle breeze hit him as he approached the women.
"What are my favorite sister and lovely wife crying about here?" Edward looked at them in concern. "Is everything okay?"
"It's good, Edward. These are the good kind of tears." Bella wiped her eyes with the top of her shirt. "We are just talking about Alice staying her for the time being."
"What? The honeymoon?" He looked at them in confusion. "I thought you were flying to Boston."
"We are, but I want to live here after the wedding," Alice admitted quietly. "I think this is place for me right now, Edward."
"No way, Alice, you should live here! You should be with family!" Edward looked more than a little upset at his sister's decision.
Alice said earnestly, "Jasper's family is my family now!"
"You're being ridiculous! You barely know—"
Before he could finish his statement, Bella hopped off the tree limb and took Edward's face in her hands. "Are the children and I any less a part of your family, Edward Cullen? Alice has enough love in her for two families and then some."
"That's different, Bella, and you know it." He could be a stubborn fool sometimes.
"It isn't." She pulled him closer to her. "I need you . . . No . . . She needs you to support her. There is a whole bunch of your family that will be making her feel guilty for her decision. You need to be the big brother who helps her be strong. Alice is happy here and she needs this place to blossom."
Edward looked over at Alice. "But I'll miss you, Ali!"
His sister jumped out of the tree and took Bella's place. Alice hugged Edward tightly. "I'm always here. We'll visit and talk all the time! I need to be in Texas now but it won't be forever. Jasper and I love both places, but this place is healing me. I can't explain it, but I feel stronger."
He took a deep breath and said sadly, "I'll support you."
She hugged him even tighter. "Thank you, Edward!"
"Everybody is looking for you, Ali. Let me talk to Bella for a second."
They watched her jog back towards the main house. Edward felt a mixture of emotions and whispered, "What did I just do?"
"You did the right thing." Bella took his hand. "She needed you to be her big brother."
Edward kissed his wife and moved back to take her in. "If you weren't here, I probably wouldn't have done that."
"I am the epitome of all that is wonderful in this world," she replied cheekily. "I'm proud of you today, husband."
"I want to make-out with you in a tree like a monkey, wife." He's grin was infectious.
Bella rolled her eyes. "You are so weird."
"I know." Edward lifted her back into the tree. "So can we?"
"Yes, my weird monkey man." Bella pulled him closer and started to kiss his neck.
Then a squeaky voice filled the air, as if it was carried by the wind. "I want the horseys!"
"You can't touch them now, Matt!" Annie screamed. "Mommy isn't here to super . . . Super something before you touch!"
"Mommy! He hit me!" Annie chortled.
Bella jumped off the tree limb as she heard Emmett try to reprimand her children. "Guys! Be good!"
"They let Emmett watch them?" She stormed away from Edward fuming. "Of all the stupid—"
Edward sighed and watched his wife head to punish their children. "I'm never going to have sex again! I was so close!"
He loved those kids, but now he knew what all the other dads on the playground were talking about. They were tiny cock blockers.