A/N: SM owns Twilight. Family is in recovery mode and we are working hard to count our blessings. For me that means giving thanks to all of you who have offered kind words and support. thanks for the follows, favourites and most especially the reviews. I read and cherish each one. Love y'all.
Chapter 52 - terrible, no good, very bad
I drowsily opened my eyes, rolled over, stretching and grinning. It was the weekend and Bella was home from her tour so we had two whole days together as a family. I was feeling like a king, l had enjoyed several rounds of glorious sex with my luscious, horny, pregnant wife followed by a deep, satisfying sleep. I stretched again this time pulling Isabella's warm naked body even closer to mine and peppered her shoulder with small, soft, wet kisses. She rewarded me with the sexiest little moan.
"Morning love," I mumbled while I stroked my fingers through her silky hair. She moaned again and rolled back letting the bed sheets fall to her waist gracing me with the sight of fabulous breasts which were even more fabulous with her pregnancy. I wanted to reach over, pull her under me and make love to her but two little imps were due to arrive just as they did every morning so that making love to my wife had become a strictly night time treat.
Instead I gently pulled the sheet up over her tempting body as though not seeing it would stop me thinking about sex. Not likely, however covering her did remind me that we needed to put some clothes on before said little imps knocked on our door, otherwise we'd be giving embarrassing anatomy lessons instead of just reading together in bed as we usually did on a Saturday morning.
"Wake up sweet one, we need to dress before the children wake up," I whispered as I nudged her gently. I swung my legs off the bed and reached to find where I'd flung my sleep pants in the heat of moment last night. I found Bella's dark blue silky nightdress and threw it over to her. She giggled and slipped it on before heading to the bathroom. I watched hungrily as the fabric slipped down her body as she walked. Damn, I love that nightie, it was my favourite on her, she looked so sexy whenever she wore it but she never wore it for long!
A few minutes later she came out of the bathroom, clearly still half-asleep as she climbed back into bed pulling the doona back over herself. I chuckled, marvelling at the change in my girl with this pregnancy. Gone was my early rising baker, excuse the pun. Now she was so sleepy and drowsy in the mornings it was hard to rouse her. She no longer cared that Mrs Cope handled breakfast, in fact she loved having someone else cook for her which was a very surprising development.
I headed in to the bathroom to take care of business. While I was brushing my teeth I decided that it would be fun to take the family out for breakfast. Mrs Cope didn't work on the weekends unless we needed her to, so usually we lazed about in bed with the children, reading and catching up with each other, until hunger drove us out to forage in the kitchen. Lately, it was me who would put together a simple breakfast for us since my girl was so sleepy.
When I came back in the room to ask if Bella wanted to go out for breakfast I glanced at the clock and was shocked to see that it was already eight o'clock. Where were the children? They'd normally be bouncing all over us by this hour.
"Bella?" I wondered if they'd been and gone while I'd been in the bathroom.
"Hmm, what is it baby?" she rolled over still so sleepy and so fucking cute.
"Hey sleepy, where are the babies? It's after eight o'clock!"
She sat up quickly, "Can't be, Lil Bit never sleeps this late Edward. The clock must be wrong."
I found my watch,"No, it's definitely after eight but it is so very quiet."
Bella got a panicked look on her face, "Too quiet... what are they up to?"
"What makes you think they are up to anything love, they could just be sleeping."
She looked at me as if I was a very sweet idiot, "Edward, you are a fairly new parent so let me explain something very important to you. When children are this quiet, unless they are sleeping, they are definitely up to something."
She was out of bed tying her wrap around herself and opening the door in the blink of an eye. We checked the children's room and their beds were empty. We checked their bathrooms but no sign of them. It really was too quiet.
Bella went into some kind of military mode, "Edward, you check the gym and the office, I'll check the dining room and the lounge."
I didn't dare laugh though because she was all business so I just nodded and headed off to my assigned search rooms. No small children there and when I reached Bella she just shook her head no small children there either. I could feel my panic rising, where were they?
"Don't panic," she said, clearly reading my expression, "they must be in the kitchen."
We both rushed towards the kitchen but it was all quiet and they were nowhere to be seen. There were dishes on the bench and dirty plates on the table but no children. I threw my hands in the air in frustration, "Where the fuck are they?"
Standing there facing each other we both heard a muffled giggle in the same moment. Mirroring each other, our eyes narrowed and we both turned our heads toward the sounds which were coming from Bella's walk-in pantry. We walked slowly towards the closed door and could hear Anthony's hushed voice, "Shhh, Elizabeth, they'll hear us."
I turned to Bella with my eyebrows raised and she looked at me with a smug expression, yes, she was right they were definitely up to something. I reached out to the door knob but didn't open it straight away. I turned to Bella and mouthed, 'Ready?' She assumed her angry momma pose, which was sexy as hell, with her arms crossed over her chest, her lips pursed and her toe tapping. I mouthed, 'One, two, three,' then flung the door open.
All our prepared composure was wasted however when the opened door revealed the sight before us. Every surface of Bella's huge pantry was covered in flour including our two little darlings who were standing together with startled eyes wide with surprise to see us standing there staring back at them. The room was a disaster area. They had opened almost every tin and jar with the floor completely covered in dry cooking ingredients. Lil Bit had a jar of the french chocolate hazelnut paste in her hands and Anthony dropped the choc coated spoon he had in hands to the floor.
My shock at the sight in front of me completely took my breath away. I looked at Bella who looked like she was about to burst her sides in laughter, she was squeezing her lips and her body was starting to shake. Rather than let the children see their mother fall into hysterics I leaned in and grabbed the door knob and shut the door leaving the children in there still silently staring.
I shuffled Bella away from the room and then past the kitchen into the hall at which point she broke out into hysterics. She was pointed at the door and shaking her head but no words were coming out. I stood with my hands on my hips looking at her like she'd lost her mind.
"Isabella! This is not funny. They have been very, very naughty."
She looked at me and then burst out laughing even harder.
"What is so damned funny woman?"
Every attempt I made to calm her was completely wasted because it just seemed to make her laugh all the harder. Well, shit. I was going to have to deal with this myself.
"Fine, stay here, I will deal with them."
Bella was laughing so hard now she'd slid down the wall and was seated on the floor with tears flowing down her cheeks. In a million years I would never understand this woman.
"Bella, I don't understand. They have trashed your pantry, all that waste and its going to take hours to clean up! How the hell do you find this funny?" Truly I was completely confused, I would've thought she'd be fuming.
She tried desperately to get control of herself and after a few deep breaths she finally stopped laughing. She stood up ran her hand through her hair and blew out a gush of air, "Phew, okay. I am okay now. Sorry baby, you're right they have been very naughty."
She paused as she was clearly struggling with some more giggles that were desperate to burst from her. She took another breath and looked into my still quite shocked, angry face.
Her eyes softened and she stepped closer to me with her hands on my chest, "Baby, they have been naughty and we do need to deal with it. Remember what Maggie told us? Anthony is pushing us. He's afraid we're going to push him aside and now he's testing us. We have have to be firm but loving. It's not enough to tell him we love him no matter what, he needs our actions as well as our words."
Maggie was the family counsellor Leah had recommended. She was a warm-hearted person who made us all feel very comfortable about sharing our feelings with her, even me. We saw her as a family once a fortnight and Anthony saw her on his own, well with us in the viewing room behind the one way mirror, once a week. She was wonderful and she was right. Anthony was afraid. He was afraid he'd be pushed aside when the baby came just like he had been when Sasha was born and Kate left him with his grandparents.
But he wasn't afraid just for himself, he was worried about Lil Bit too. He became even more fiercely protective of her and took the blame for anything she did that he thought she might get in trouble for.
I couldn't hold back the tears as I observed his second solo session with Maggie, when he finally broke down sharing his fears with her and said that he was frightened that if he was naughty we'd ship him off to his grandparents. We tell him all the time that we would never leave him but as Maggie says he needs to witness our actions not just hear our words.
He'd been pushing us ever since, nothing major just enough to test us. Maggie explained that he needed to know that even if he misbehaved, even if we were angry with him that we would still love him and he was still our son. "He won't even know he's testing you, he's just a little boy who needs to know he belongs with you, no matter what."
Maggie was right and Bella was right ... again. This was another of Anthony's tests. I still don't know why Bella thought their behaviour this morning was so fucking funny, but it didn't matter we had to deal with this and prove our love once again to my poor little boy who'd felt the sting of his own mother's abandonment.
I really fucking hated Kate, how could she turn her back on my wonderful boy.
Maggie said that I needed to tell Kate how I felt or it was going to eat me alive. She was right about that too. The more I got to know my son the more I realised how much I had missed and what a bitch Kate was to keep him from me even when she didn't want him. How could she not want him? I'll have to talk to Maggie more about how to deal with my own anger before I did something stupid like fly to New York and strangle Kate.
A small soft warm hand gently touching my cheek pulled me back from my rage against the viper Kate and back to the moment there in the hall with my sweet Isabella.
"Edward relax baby. We need to be united on how we handle this, we need to treat them fairly but firmly and we need to get them out of that pantry," she chuckled again.
I smiled at her. They did look funny with flour all over their hair and faces with just their wide startled eyes staring out at us. I smiled. Okay, so it was a little funny.
"So, oh wise Momma Jedi, teach your padawan just how the hell we pass this latest test?"
Bella grinned up at me and replied with a terrible yoda impression, "Come young padawan, show you I will."
I wrapped my arms around her tiny frame and kissed the top of her head before following her back towards the pantry.
She held my hand, "Seriously baby, we'll talk to them, ask them about what they've done and then we'll take it from there."
We went back to the pantry and opened the door again, this time prepared for what we'd find. The kids looked up at us with sheepish faces, knowing they'd done wrong and knowing it was time to face the music.
"Okay you two, out you come and sit down here on the floor, I don't want flour on the chairs." Bella was in full momma voice now with no hint of the hysterics from earlier as she pointed to a spot on the floor .
I pulled over a couple of chairs so Bella and I could sit in front of a very wary Anthony and a pouty Lil Bit.
I thought I would start, "Would you like to tell me why you felt the need to destroy your Momma's pantry by making such a terrible mess?"
Lil Bit started to cry, "I wuz hungee and oo wuz asweep. Soooo Ant Knee and me wants to makes bwek fast."
"Hmm," I reached down to pick her up, I hated when she cried. "So if you were hungry you should've woken Momma or Daddy. I still don't understand why you made a mess in Momma's pantry."
Anthony stood up and looked me straight in the eye, "That was all my fault Daddy. I made the mess, Elizabeth just stayed with me. I am the one who should be punished."
Bella pulled Anthony over to her, "Anthony, Lil Bit is her own person. She is turning four very soon and she knows right from wrong, don't you Lil Bit?"
"Wes momma, I sowwee we makes a mess in da panty," a tear rolled down her cheek and I kissed the top of her head.
I had to bite my lip to stop my smile when she called the pantry a panty.
But Bella had better control than me at that moment, probably because she had literally fallen down in hysterics earlier.
She continued in her serious Momma-in-charge voice, not angry just firm, "What about you Anthony? Are you sorry too?"
He looked at Bella with these huge green eyes, darkened with emotion and his bottom lip was trembling, you could see the fear in his eyes wondering if this was the moment that Bella rejected him, "Yes... Momma. I am very sorry I made a mess in your pantry. I won't ever do it again. I promise. Please..."
He didn't continue, Bella and I both knew what he was going to say, 'please don't send me away'. But he didn't say it, he just looked down at this feet.
I cleared my throat from the emotion that was choking me, "Okay, well you two need to clean this mess up and I will help you while momma makes breakfast. There will be no movies, no Playstation and no Wii games for a week." I looked straight into my son's sad eyes, "Momma and I love you both very much and we always will but we are not happy with the mess you've made. We expect you to clean it up and then clean yourselves up."
I placed Lil Bit back on the floor and my lap was now covered in flour, "Come on you two cheeky monkeys, let's clean this up."
Lil Bit, Anthony and I spent the next hour cleaning up the pantry while Bella made a list of everything that had to be replaced. She'd decided that after breakfast they would help go to the market so they could see the cost to replace everything. Normally the shopping was done by order or by Mrs Cope but Bella explained to the children that Mrs Cope shouldn't have to go shopping twice for things they had spoiled.
When we were done with the pantry, Bella took Lil Bit for a bath while I took Anthony for a shower.
It was half after ten by the time we were finally able to sit down to our breakfast. It was a rather subdued affair with our two little imps barely speaking. I didn't like that. Yes, they'd been naughty but their crime wasn't so terrible and after cleaning up for an hour I doubt they'd be in a mad rush to do it again.
I decided it was time to get our Saturday back on track by lightening the mood, "So Lil Bit when we visit Nonna and Poppa tonight we should talk with the family about your birthday party. It is only four weeks away."
Her little face beamed with happiness, she clapped her hands and almost shouted, Wes, soon I be four fingers am I Daddee?"
I helped her hold up four fingers and laughed, "Yes, my little love you will be four years old and that is something to celebrate. What sort of party do you want?"
"I wants a aminal party, I be a pussy cat. Wat will oo be Ant knee?"
She scooped some scrambled eggs into her mouth as she looked at Anthony with keen interest waiting for his answer.
He looked at her and then at me, tapping his chin while he thought of his reply, "I think I would like to be lion!" He then leaned over and roared at Lil Bit who giggled and squirmed in her seat. Anthony leaned back and asked, "What about you Daddy? Momma? What animals would you like to be?"
Bella excitedly jumped in before I could even think of an answer, "Daddy and I should be momma and poppa bears, since we have two little cubs already and soon we'll have a third to add to our family."
I leaned over and rubbed her swollen baby bump as I placed a loud wet kiss on her cheek. She giggled madly which set Lil Bit off giggling and soon we were all chirping away about Lil Bit's birthday party.
While Bella and the children were at the market replacing the spoiled items for the pantry, I took the opportunity to catch up on some work. Jessica had sent me the final transition plan for the integration of Artemis Investments into CMV which Emmett and Alec had prepared. It was very detailed and really well put together so I only had to make some small changes. I emailed my notes to Jess to action on Monday morning. Then I read through Angela's first business plan for her plans for our new Artemis portfolio. She and Bella had discussed the plans at length and if things went to plan I had high hopes for continued growth.
I worked through some potential new client assessments and was surprised to find that my cousin Caius had sent an expression of interest for CMV to manage his investment portfolio. He had a sizeable purse which I could certainly develop but I'd have to know we could trust each other so as a first step I would meet with him, just as I did with any potential new client. I could pick and choose whose investments I handled and I was very choosy. I emailed Jessica my list of new clients to schedule meetings with, including Caius, over the next few weeks.
Thankfully, Tyler's return with my family put a stop to my working on the weekend. I helped cart the groceries to the pantry and gave him the details for our needs that evening for our visit to my parents for a family dinner. Lil Bit gave Tyler a huge kiss on the cheek as he carried her inside, she'd almost fallen asleep in the car but I was glad to hear that Anthony kept her awake. If she'd slept in the car we'd never get her to take an afternoon nap later and no-one wanted to take a cranky Lil Bit anywhere.
When I looked around the kitchen at all the bags I realised they'd bought much more than what needed to be replaced. Why can't women just buy what is on the list? They go into a store for one thing and come out with ten!
Bella sat Lil Bit in her booster seat at the table and they all chirped away at me about their adventure in the store and all the people they met there. Lil Bit apparently charmed everyone in the store telling them how she was shopping for 'grow-ceese'.
Bella blushed as Anthony proudly told me about the lady who had recognised Bella from her TV promotion of Sweet Temptations and had said that she was even prettier in person than on TV.
Bella became quite animated when telling me about the lady at the check out who thought Bella was 'mighty young to have two children with one more on the way', Bella mocked the way the lady had spoken to her. She had even questioned if Bella could afford to pay for all her groceries. I was furious, how fucking dare that woman give her a hard time. Even if they were her natural born children how the fuck is that any business of some stranger.
"She changed her tune when I handed over my Black Card," Bella said looking a little smug.
My mouth dropped open in shock at that little bit of noise, my sweet one fought me tooth and nail when I ordered our matching black cards.
After we were married I asked Alec to re-organise all my personal assets and accounts to include Mrs Isabella Cullen as joint titleholder, including his and hers centurion cards. I am such a cave man sometimes but it really gave me a great sense of satisfaction to have her name as Mrs Cullen on everything I could.
But Bella had sworn she would never use the fancy black card so she must have been quite upset by this awful woman's insinuations.
I reached around her waist and nibbled on her neck, "Oh baby, did the nasty lady pick on you?" I pouted in sympathy and gave her sad eyes.
She broke up laughing, "Okay, okay I shouldn't care what the nasty lady in the store thought of me but I didn't like her trying to make me feel bad about my family."
She was right of course but sometimes people are just shitty but it wasn't like Bella to let something like that get to her. I snuggled her closer to me, "Never mind baby. I know you're a super smart, super successful, sassy, business woman with a heart of gold and that's all the matters... right?"
She giggled and leaned back against my chest as I rocked her from side to side, "Stop teasing me and help me get on with lunch. Lil Bit needs a nap before we go to your parents and I want to make something nice to take with us for dessert."
I looked over to see that Lil Bit's eyes were indeed starting to droop and even Anthony was looking like he was ready for a nap. I took them both to use the bathroom and clean up before lunch. By the time we returned Bella had heated some delicious smelling soup and warmed a few baguette which I then sliced and placed on the plates with slices of cheese. I served Lil Bit's soup in a two handled mug so she could drink it without losing too much on her clothes. She drank it up before reaching her arms over to me, "Daddee oo weed to me pwease?"
I picked her up, "Of course little love. Anthony you join us when you're finished okay?" He nodded and went back to his minestrone. Lil Bit laid her head on my shoulder and fell asleep before we even got to her room. When we got to her bed I leaned down and pulled the covers back and laid her down gently. She muttered a little but then rolled over and was soon sleeping soundly again. I tucked her up, kissed her forehead, whispered that I loved her and tip-toed out to the family room to find Anthony half asleep on the lounge.
"Let's go read in your room Ant," I reached my hand out to him and he took it happily.
"I don't need to sleep," he protested without too much conviction.
"Of course not, we'll just have a quiet time and read, okay?" I tried not to smirk because he was already half asleep. "I tell you what, you lie down and I'll read to you. How does that sound?"
He pouted as he climbed into his bed, "Okay, but I don't need a nap. Elizabeth needs naps because she's still a baby but Seth doesn't have naps and I'm almost the same age as him."
"Sure, sure," no sense arguing. Leah told me that she and Seth were going through the same debate almost every day.
"What book do you want son?" I stood looking over his book selection. It seemed like the number of books on these shelves grew every time I looked at them. Bella loved to buy books. I'm sure if the children hadn't been so naughty this morning Bella would've stopped by her favourite bookstore and bought more while they were at the shops, she says it is better than rewarding them with sweets or junk food when they are out.
Then I saw the perfect thing, "I've found one." I stretched out on the bed next to Anthony who raised his head to lay it on my arm. He was quite a good reader for his age and he liked to look at the words as I read. He also enjoyed looking at the illustrations.
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," I read. As we read through the story together Anthony giggled at Alexander's drawing of the invisible castle but then he got cross when Alexander's older brothers teased him and when they were fighting in the street. When the book was finished I hummed a lullaby and Anthony drifted off to sleep for the nap he didn't need.
I carefully extricated myself from Anthony's grip and tucked him up, planting a soft kiss on his forehead. As I put the book away on his shelf and made my way out of the room to head towards the heavenly smells coming from the kitchen, I thought what an appropriate book that was for Anthony's current state of mind.
I walked into the kitchen and stood behind my talented wife, circling her waist and kissing her neck. "What are you making love?"
"Dessert," she said coyly.
I picked up a small clear bottle and asked, "What's this?"
"Orange blossom water," she said taking the bottle from me and dropping a few drops into the sweet concoction in the her mixing bowl.
"Orange blossom water? Are you shitting me?" What the hell kind of ingredient is that?
"Edward, language! And no I am not 's-h-i-t-ing you."
"What the hell is orange blossom water?"
"An ingredient in the cream filling for the Almond Macarons which are for Emmett, Alice and Lil Bit," she said as she continued to stir the cream mixture.
"Oh god, that cream looks so delicious," I was practically drooling. No wonder there were so many shopping bags if they had to buy ingredients as obscure as orange blossom water?
I looked over and pointed at another bowl covered with a cloth, "What's in there?"
"This one is for Emmett, Esme, Carlisle and Rose, it's a Savarin cake, a strawberry Savarin in fact.
"Well, if that cake is rising and the macarons are already cooked, what on earth is in the oven?"
"Choux Buns," she said. "I'll fill them with Chantilly Cream. They're are for you, Anthony and Emmett."
"Hey, why does Emmett get all of them? Wait, stupid question."
She smiled, "Well he does seem to enjoy my cooking almost as much as you do."
"It all looks and smells delicious but you know what I think love?"
"Hmm?" She rolled her head against my chest tilting it to the side a little to give me better access.
I didn't need a written invitation I started licking and kissing down her neck. "I think that our two children are asleep and we are here alone," I let my fingers drift up her thighs lightly lifting the hem of skirt.
She turned in my arms, kissed me hard then pulled back a little, "But Edward ... we can't baby... I have to put the Savine in the oven soon."
But before she could pull away from me I was on her again, lifted her to the counter, "It's okay, we'll be quick love... "
A/N: Well I hoped you enjoyed that. Let me know your thoughts, I love reading them.
BTW that incident in the pantry is a little homage to my two eldest who did this very thing one morning when they'd woken before us and it was me falling on the floor laughing with my husband standing staring at me as though I was mad!
Funny story - I wanted Edward to read the Alexander book because it is a favourite in this household and let's face it Anthony was having a no good day. But I am from Australia and I wanted to be sure this book was available in America. In my research I discover that the book was actually written in America but the two versions are different. In the Australian edition Alexander thinks he'll move to Timbuktu but in the rest of the world he thinks he'll move to Australia...! LOL.
I'll update soon.
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."
Written by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz.
ISBN-13: 9780689711732; Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Publication date: 7/15/1987; Edition description: Reprint