A/N: This is a one-shot we wrote together for this year's Fandom4LLS compilation. It is a cause that means a lot to both of us, and the success of the fundraiser was very heartwarming, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated.
We're so excited to finally be able to share it with the rest of you as well, and hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it.
I Just Wanna Be Mad
Written by: ericastwilight & kyla713
Rated: M for language and sexual situations.
Disclaimer: Twilight character names belong to Stephenie Meyer. All characterizations, plot lines, backgrounds and details belong to the respective author. No copying, reproduction or translation of this work is permitted without express written authorization.
Summary: I should've listened to my wife, now I'm paying the price. She's really mad.
No marriage is perfect. It has its ups and downs, its rough patches, and my marriage to Bella was no exception. We've been together for ten years, married for the last seven, and for all intents and purposes, we are still very happy together.
Even with twin girls that had just hit their terrible twos.
We were told before they were born to get used to sleepless nights and very little sex. Bella and I would always join in when they laughed about it since we'd been known for leaving parties and social functions early so we could, as my brother would say, "Get it on."
Whenever our family had teased us, Bella and I shared a look that said that we wouldn't let it happen to us. It wasn't easy at first— it was twins, after all— but the minute Bella felt up to it, our usual morning showers started up again. Any other time, we both enjoyed the spontaneity of it and made time for that intimacy whenever we could.
Despite all that, there are times when my wife won't let me touch her, rare as the occasion might be, as I was clearly reminded last night. I personally think she's completely overreacting to my forgetting to stop at the store for milk on the way home.
However, I am secure enough in my masculinity to admit that the worst thing that Bella can punish me with is the silent treatment; any man can attest to that. At least if they yell, they get it out of their system, they clearly delineate what the problem is, and we can fix it. How women outlive men when they regularly pent stuff up like this, I will never understand.
I reach for her as usual, but find the bed empty and cold. A frustrated sigh leaves my lips as I rub my face with a hand. I listen for the shower, hoping that our need to conserve water will continue even when she's mad at me.
I'm not that lucky. From what I can see, she's already showered all by herself. I dress after my own lonely one in casual clothes since I'm off today. I'm ready to admit that there may be a need to kiss Bella's ass. Not that I mind, since yeah, from what I can hear, the girls are clearly unhappy about not having their "milky" with their breakfast. I wince, knowing that Bella is probably even more upset than last night.
I'm prepared to charm her out of her anger. It's something I'm good at; she can never stay angry with me. I've even gone out of my way and dressed in the jeans she's told me make my ass look great and her favorite shirt on me. After a quick assessment in the mirror and a run through my hair to muss it up a bit, I run downstairs.
"Wan' milky!" I hear from the kitchen before I've even reach the doorway, and I immediately recognize the voice as that of Livvy, the more vocal of our two girls. "Mama, milky!"
"I'm sorry, sweetheart. You'll have to ask Daddy all about it," Bella replies from the other side of the room, and I look over to find her side glancing me over her shoulder. "He 'forgot'."
And the air-quotes have commenced—she is pissed.
I kiss each of my disgruntled daughters on the top of their heads and make my way over to my wife, placing my hands on her hips. I brush my lips softly right below her ear, just where I know she likes it, and pull her back against me. "Good morning, baby."
Bella wriggles out from between me and the shelf, shaking her head. "I don't think so, buddy. Not gonna happen. There's coffee made, but it's gonna have to be black this morning because someone didn't pick up milk last night."
The tone of her voice is in complete contradiction to the smile she's keeping on her face for the girls, and I instantly begin to recant my earlier statement. There is something right up there with the silent treatment—the biting sarcasm. "Bella, this is really over a gallon of milk?"
"No, this isn't all over a gallon of milk, Edward," she answers as she turns to face me with her eyes narrowing almost imperceptibly. "It's what you said. And I'm just not ready to let that go yet."
I mentally go over our conversation from the night before. I need to figure out what I had said that is making her so upset. It could be the "What's the big deal, you can get some in the morning," or the, "I don't see why you didn't have time to go since you're home all day."
"Milky!" Daddy's little princess, Alyssa, screams as she throws her bowl of dry cheerios at me. Isn't she precious? Soon, her sister joins her at a vocal level not meant for humans. She adds the wail of "Daddy" on top of it.
I walk over to a cabinet and grab a few cookies to hold over the girls for a bit. It's cheating and it's not the best thing for them to eat in the morning, but I'm desperate.
Bella's watching me as she folds her arms over her chest. The tap-tap-tap of her shoe against the tile tells me that she is less than pleased. It's time to suck it up and fix my blunder.
I cage her against the counter, one of my arms on each side of her. She cocks that eyebrow, and I know I'm on shaky ground. I lean forward to kiss her soft lips, but she quickly turns and all I get is cheek. I'm starting to think that nothing will work, but I see the hint of a smile on her sweet mouth.
I'm not going to lie and say that I don't hate when she's mad at me, because I do hate it. But there is this fire in her when she's angry and it's so rare that, when it does happen, all I want to do is make up…like in the bedroom.
That tiny smile presses me to move forward, to try to convince her to come upstairs so I can show her how much I love her and how sorry I am for messing up and forgetting the milk. I am a man of action and very little talk. In other words, I don't say sorry often.
"Mmm, you smell good," I whisper in her ear. "Let's put on the girls' show in their playroom and we can go upstairs for a little bit."
"You know, I'd love to," she begins, and if it wasn't for the expression on her face, I might think I am off the hook. Then her arms fold over her chest between us—here comes the sarcasm again. I can read my wife like a book. "But my head. It just hurts so much from all the fussing over no milkies for breakfast, I think I'm gonna go lay down. Alone. While you go out and get the milk."
My eyes dart between Bella and the twins, who are both giving me identical glossed over puppy eyes. I sigh; I can't resist those gazes and it will at least get me a few steps out of the doghouse. "Okay, I'll go pick up the milk. Just let me get my shoes on."
"Um, Edward? Aren't you forgetting something?" Bella inquires and I feel the smile beginning to form on my lips as I step toward her to give her a kiss good morning. Yet, she stops me abruptly with her hand on my chest. "Down, Romeo. I mean the girls. I'm going to be laying down, maybe even sleeping. Can't leave them alone like that. You need to get them dressed and take them with you. Don't worry, it's simple, right? Besides, it'll be fun."
The gleeful grin on her face with her statement worries me some, but I look to my little angels, who are gazing up at us like they had just won the lottery or something. They are excited to be going for a ride with Daddy; yeah, this will be fun. They always behave for me.
Before Bella gets a chance to get away, I haul her against me and plant a kiss on her. The girls squeal in delight but my wife, on the other hand, tries to push me away. I put on my version of the puppy eyes and it usually turns Bella into a puddle of goo.
"Come on, baby," I coo, kissing along her jaw, but she steps away. "Let's go upstairs."
She sighs. "Edward, I don't want to go upstairs." I smile and whisper something naughty in her ear, and the twitch of her lips says she'd be willing if she weren't still angry. "Not now. There are times I just want to stay mad, and this is one of them." I could see that fire ignite in her gaze and knew there will be no changing her mind…for now.
"I'm sorry." It comes out more like a question and she sees right through that lame attempt. "All right, you go relax, maybe try out those bath salts I got you for Christmas while I take my angels and go to the market."
"That's a very good idea," she says with a roll of her eyes. I detect some sarcasm in her tone.
What? It's a fantastic suggestion, if I do say so myself. See, I can be a good husband and father at the same time. A big plus is, when I get back, she'll smell real good. Maybe we can put the girls down for their nap and I can make it up to her some more.
Something in my eyes must give me away, because she looks suspicious but she seems to ignore it. "There are more things we need from the store. The list is on the fridge, if I think of anything else, I'll text you."
I nod and this time she lets me kiss her, but it's only a prelude of what's to come, I tell myself. With a tiny shove, she goes upstairs and immediately heads to our master bath. I turn to my girls, wondering why they were so quiet.
Two sets of hazel eyes look up at me from their high chairs when I realize the problem. "Oh man, who needs a new diaper?"
"Oh and Edward," Bella calls from upstairs. "Remember to take the girls to the bathroom often, they're in their training underwear today."
I hear the bathroom door close before I can tell her it's too late. Alyssa looks at her sister and shakes her head, and seconds later, I see a puddle forming under her highchair. Maybe it is too soon for potty training. I'll put them in diapers since we're going out.
"And don't you dare put them in diapers!"
Bella apparently can read minds.
After lots of crying—on my part—three outfit changes and four messy pigtails, we were on the way. I look at one of our bedroom windows as I pull out of the driveway to find Bella watching with a smirk on her face. I wave and the look she gives me is almost sinister.
That can't be good.
I shake it off and turn on the ipod, and for just a few moments, everything is calm again. My girls are swaying in their carseats to the music, singing along in their own special language that only they seem to understand.
"Damn it!" I exclaim and thrust my head back into the rest, the synchronized gasps from the back seat making me realize the mistake I've just made. "I mean, dag nab it! I forgot the list. Sorry, girls, we have to turn around real quick."
"No! Wan' bu-bye!" Livvy cries, kicking her feet against back of the seat and the alligator tears begin to roll down her cheeks.
After a particularly hard jolt from her foot, I glance back at her in the rear view mirror. "That's enough, Livvy. We're still going bye-bye, but Daddy needs to grab the list. Or else he's in big, big trouble."
And the last thing I need is to be in more trouble with my wife.
I pull back into the driveway and open the door to run inside, and I am halted by a blood-curdling scream of "Daddy!" Alyssa's eyes were wide and almost petrified looking and I run around the car to check on her. "What's the matter, baby?"
Her little arms reach out for me and her lower lip is trembling, so I quickly unbuckle her and lift her out of the carseat. "No go!"
"Daddy, me too!" Livvy calls out to me and I sigh; can't take one and not the other.
"What is going on out there?" Bella asks as I step through the door with a twin on each hip, trying to maneuver my way to the kitchen, muttering that I need the list. "Did you try leaving them in the car? You know, you can't do that."
I groan and tilt my back. "I just needed the list off the fridge."
That smirk returns to Bella's face and she walks away without another word, and I swear I hear her giggle on her way up the stairs. I shift Alyssa in my arms and Livvy grunts on the other side as I try to grip the list between my fingers off the fridge. "Okay, I'm going to have to put one of you down for a sec."
I gasp for breath as two sets of arms lock around my neck, their legs kicking at one another to hook around my waist. Even when my hold releases Alyssa for a moment to grab the list, she doesn't budge. "Okay, problem solved. Let's go for a ride."
That was easy, I tell myself, this will be a piece of cake. The girls offer no fuss when I buckle them back in, but further down the road they insist on their happy song. I'm clueless and look through the cd's on the visor. One of them is only partially in, and from the excited cheers from the back seat, it seems be what I'm looking for. The girls start to squeal at the first note, by the time we reach the next light three blocks away, I'm already sick of the song.
I sigh in relief when it's finally over and try to change it back to my ipod, only the girls start to protest, loudly. "Again! Again!" They chant it over and over again, until I give in and play it for them, and decide to put it on repeat.
I try not to bash my head into the steering wheel as I pull into the local super Walmart. The song is likely imbedded in my brain at this point. I step out of the car and look around for a cart, finding none nearby. I curse under my breath, knowing if I say anything aloud, my daughters will tell their mother. I've had the back of my head slapped so much in the last three years since we found out we were having a baby because of my foul mouth.
I'm not that bad, honestly, only after spending a day with Emmett, my brother. Then again, considering we work together, it may be a problem. I shake my wandering thoughts away and take one step from the car to grab a cart when one of the girls starts to scream bloody murder.
Bella's warning about leaving them in the car comes to mind again and I quickly open the passenger door to pull out a sobbing Alyssa. "You go! No go!"
This, of course, makes Livvy start to cry and pop my head with the toy in her hand. "I'll get you right now, sweetheart." She isn't satisfied, tries to unbuckle herself, and is successful! That's not good at all. I barely manage to grab her before she dives toward the front seats. She continues to bop my head until I speak up.
"That's enough," I say in a firm tone. They both instantly quiet but I could see their eyes shine as their little mouths start to quiver.
Thankfully, after putting my foot down, they put up no fuss as I carry them toward a lone cart a few parking spots away. I quickly tap my key alarm to lock the door, but turn back when I realize I forgot the diaper bag. There is an extra set of clothes and training pants inside and I'm not dumb enough to forget those.
A minute later, the girls are fighting about who gets to ride in the cart. Since Alyssa is just getting over a cold, I put her in and buckle the blue belt. She smiles cheekily at her sister, who looks as if she's about to have a tantrum. Instead, she takes hold of my pants pocket, like she's done this a hundred times before.
We may have gotten off to a rocky start, but it looks like it'll be smooth sailing after this. All I need to do is be stern if they start to fuss. Once inside, I realize I forgot the dumb list. I turn back since I'm not sure if Bella is still in her bath. It's probably not a good idea to bother her if she is.
When I get to the car and look for the list, the girls start to whine about wanting their sippy cups. I find them thankfully in the diaper bag, but they're both empty. Again, they are less than pleased with me and start to cry. I sigh as I find a bottle of water in the front seat and pour a little in each cup, and smile when they look satisfied.
Until my little pitcher, Livvy, belts me with hers.
Maybe this isn't going to be as easy as I think.
"Don't hit Daddy with that, Livvy," I try with my stern voice again, but she meets me with a cross brow that scarily resembles her mother.
"Not juice!" she exclaims, dropping the cup to the ground and raising her hands to her hips.
I look up and notice several sets of obviously judgmental eyes both subtly and not so subtly staring at us, and I remember a time when I was one of them. Before I became a dad myself, I would see a misbehaving child and think to myself that some people just should not be allowed to have children. Even while the girls were still babies, it was easy to think that it resided all in the parents. After all, they were very well behaved for infants.
Then one day, they discovered that they had the means for mobility. And voices, particularly Livvy. I admit, I do tend to dote on them quite a bit when I'm home; I'm a dad, it's what daddy's do with their little girls. Bella, on the other hand, is the disciplinarian, and she is good at it, too. So my whole theory about bad parenting being the cause of terrible twos—totally invalidated.
"I'll get you some juice, baby. But first, we need to get inside the store, so hold on to me," I tell her and look both ways before hurrying toward the entrance, and at long last, breathed out a sigh of relief.
Then I looked at the list.
"Milk, eggs, bread, apples, saltines, Princess dvd," I begin mumbling off the first few items, confused by the last one before the girls start shrieking in the middle of the bakery aisle.
"Pincess!" Livvy announces, but then her attention is quickly drawn elsewhere. "Nanas! Daddy, nanas!"
I reach out to take her hand, but she's got a death grip on the edge of the stand holding the bananas. "Liv, we have bananas at home. Come on, Mommy needs apples."
"No, dos nanas," she persisted, pointing toward the bunch of green bananas just above her.
"I'm not buying green bananas, when we have perfectly good yellow ones at home," I tell her firmly, and then Alyssa begins tugging on the front of my shirt. "Yes, baby?"
"Potty," she whispers and I groan.
This is not something that can wait, especially since I forgot the damn diaper bag in the car again when I went to grab their sippy cups. Guess I really am that dumb. "Let's go, Liv, your sister needs to use the potty."
"Need nanas!" Livvy yells as I scoop her under my arm and begin the mad dash toward the back of the store, praying we make it in time.
Not even five minutes inside the store, and I swear I feel three new grey hairs springing through. It's not always like this, right? Bella has never complained once about them being terrors in a store. Maybe it's because they didn't have their milky.
It takes me almost a full minute to figure the issue of which bathroom to take her in. The family/handicapped bathroom is closed due to repairs and I could not take my babies into a women's room. The solution—a package of men's tube socks and tying one around their eyes.
"I no see," Livvy whispers, as if we're doing something we shouldn't.
So far, I'm lucky. There's no one in the bathroom. I usher in Livvy and Alyssa in the handicapped stall, and after placing the paper on the toilet seat, I place my daughter on it.
She pulls off the sock and her eyes are wide. "You no look, Daddy."
I know from something Bella said, that she didn't like an audience, but if I release her, she'll probably fall right through. There is no way I'll let my baby fall into the toilet in a men's room! I shudder at the thought. Besides, Bella would kill me.
"I'll close my eyes." She nods in approval. I give a look to Livvy, that makes her cock her head to one side, clueless that I'm trying to give her a "don't move" look. The sock is around her neck, thankfully loose.
"Daddy," Alyssa says a bit too loud as I hear the swish of the door opening. I hoped that no one would walk in. Luck is clearly not on my side today.
"What is it, baby?"
"Sing potty song!"
I groan, Bella has been trying to get me to sing the song, but I have refused so far. "Do I have to?" I whine.
"No songy, no potty!" Livvy adds, nodding and starting to squirm where she waits by the door.
"Sing potty song!" Alyssa pleas, sending me the look that gets her whatever her heart desires. "No look!" she cries after a second, slapping my face with her tiny fist.
"Tinkle, tinkle little pee," I start, thankful that I'm inside the stall and no one can see me now. "In the potty you will be. Poopy, poopy stinky-O, in the potty you will go."
Livvy joins me for the second time around as Alyssa finishes her business. I smile at my baby girl, watching as her eyes close as she belts out the song at the top of her lungs.
By the end of the second time through, Alyssa flushes the toilet as I hear clapping and laughing from outside the stall. I smack my palm against forehead and take my time so the man that just heard us sing leaves.
When he finally does, I get us all washed up, only for Livvy to tell me she needs to go, too. Of course she does! Ten minutes later, we're finally in the dvd department and the girls manage to wrangle me out not only the Princess dvd, but Jake and the Neverland Pirates and the first season of Good Luck, Charlie. I tried to put my foot down, use the stern voice like before, but they pulled out the big guns with their little prayer hands, quivering bottom lips and big eyes. When they cry, they take on this glowing green color you just can't say no to. Add in the little bob of the reddish brown ringlets at the ends of their pigtails, I am done for. Bella's the only one immune to it.
Just as I'm getting to the produce aisle, bypassing the bananas, I see that there are about six different kinds of apples. I wrack my brain to try and remember which ones Bella usually gets, and decide it's best to ask since I did not want to sleep on the couch again. Especially over apples.
I pull out my cell phone when I notice that Livvy is no longer holding onto my pants pocket. Oh, shit.
"Shit," Alyssa says, nodding.
Oh no. What have I done? I said that aloud!
"Don't say that, Lys," I say, frantically looking around for my other daughter, and she is nowhere to be seen. A woman passing us glares while the man with her tries to rein in his laughter—thanks a lot, buddy. Is this what a heart attack feels like?
"Liv? Livvy, baby, where are you?"
"Righ' der, Daddy," Alyssa announces, and I spin to look at her to find her pointing in the direction of the last bin of apples.
I still can't see Livvy, but I spot a little hand peeking up from the other side, reaching for one at the very bottom. Oh no, no no no. I watch as if the world is moving in slow motion, as that small hand grabs at the target apple and pulls it down, followed by the miniature avalanche of produce onto the floor. I pinch the bridge of my nose and clamp my eyes shut for a moment, but then realize that means I'm taking my gaze from my daughter again, and open them sharply.
"Dis one, Daddy," Livvy says with a sweet smile, holding the apple up to me.
I lift my child into my arms, apologizing profusely to the employee who's just come out to clean up the mess. "And you, little lady, are going in the back of the cart."
"Mommy say no!" Livvy gasps in horror, gazing up at me with wide eyes.
"And Daddy says yes," I reply in a stressed voice and watch both their heads tilt identically, in unison. I can't remember a time when they have ever seen me even remotely unhinged before, and the last thing I want to do is scare them. I place a smile on my face and tap each of their pigtails, and they begin to relax. "I just want to be able to see both my pretty girls all the time."
Crisis averted with tiny giggles.
The next few minutes are relatively uneventful, unless of course, the mini dance party Livvy has in the back of the cart over the gallon of milk I pick up counts. The eggs only barely escaped the terror of her pounding feet. But the peace ends the instant we reach the cracker aisle for the saltines.
An argument ensues between the two girls about chicken and cheese, from what I can decode from their heated banter. It is not until I see them pointing to the objects of their discussion that it finally comes together. Livvy wants Chicken in a Biskit and Alyssa wants Cheez-Its, and I would really like to get out of this aisle with my hearing intact. I grab a box of each and hand them to the girls, quickly racing down the aisle to grab the saltines.
However, when we reach the end, there stands the worst enemy of every parent alive; even I know that.
The cereal aisle.
I know I'm right the second my daughters' eyes go wide, they start clapping incessantly and bouncing in place. This can't be good. I type out a text, asking Bella if we really need cereal. To my dismay, she sends me a reply accompanied by several exclamation points. She is not messing around.
My hands tighten around the handle of the cart as I start to chant. "I can do this, I can do this." I look up to see that the box I need is in the middle of the aisle. I take a deep breath, roll my head from side to side, and get ready.
I run, steamrolling down the aisle, the girls gleefully screaming in delight. My hand strikes out and grabs the box. As I pull it to my chest, carrying it as if it's the game winning ball. All I need is to make it to the end zone at the end of the row.
I can make it. I can make it.
I do and throw the box in the back of the cart. The girls continue to laugh and clap, then show me the boxes they managed to grab. They stole my thunder. In their hands are colorful, sugarcoated goodness that I have no doubt will turn my girls into mini tornados when we get home. That is not conducive to my plans of making it up to my wife. I decide that I can be as sneaky as my daughters are.
As we trek through their clothes department, I let them "oh" and "ah" over some cute little outfits, stealing their boxes of sugary substance from the cart. I cackle internally and feeling triumphant, I let them pick out a hat each.
Kneeling on the floor, I help them model their wares. "Look at my pretty girl," I coo to Alyssa, who donned a white knit beanie with a big pink flower on it.
She nods. "Pincess, Daddy?" Satisfied with her find, she puckers up and gives me a kiss. I look to see Livvy crawling onto a shelf full of diapers.
"Livvy!" I groan, making a grab for her. She kicks and squeals, as if it's our usual game of tickle monster. "Don't go in there." I don't want her screaming, so I try to coax her out by scaring her. Someone should've mentioned to me that it's not a good idea to scare your child in the middle of a store. "There's spiders in there."
Her scream is near ear-splitting level. I soothe her as I carry her back to the cart and place in her in the back. Alyssa seeing her sister in distress starts to cry, too.
Worst Dad ever.
"I'm sorry," I whisper to them, ignoring the disapproving looks behind me. "There are no spiders. I won't let them get you."
"Daddy smash?" Livvy says through several sniffles.
I nod. "Yes, Daddy smash," I say in my best Hulk voice that they love. They giggle, asking me to do it again.
I blow out a slow exhale of relief when they finally settle down and we find something for Livvy to get, too. I am exhausted. Almost done with the list, I make my way toward the bread aisle. The girls are so preoccupied with their new hats and the dvds, they offer no protest when I simply grab a loaf of bread. I run through the part that carries all Little Debbie products, and make my way toward the registers.
Yes! Almost home free!
I am standing in line, working hard at distracting the girls from the candy on either side of us, when my phone buzzes once again. I dig my palms into my eyes and take a deep breath, knowing before I can even extract it from my pocket that it is Bella, with another request.
I also need some gingerale. Canada Dry, not generic.
Slowly, I back out of line and begin the long trek around the store again to get to the soda. This time, I actually have one thing working in my favor. Livvy is much like me and isn't a big fan of carbonated drinks. The last time she snuck a sip of her mother's while she wasn't looking, it took an hour before the bridge of her nose fully uncrinkled.
Alyssa, on the other hand, was a future Pepsi addict in the making, like her mom. And no sooner have we turned to corner, the whimpering and begging begins.
"No, baby. No soda today. It's not good for you. Look, princess!" I make a lame attempt at distracting her with the dvd, but the lids of her eyes start to redden even more as she rubs at the tears forming in them. Glancing at my watch, I groan; it's way past their naptime. This could get very ugly. "How about Daddy gets you some Sunny D? Would you like that?"
The lower lip is still pouty, but she nods with a sniffle, and I make my way to the coolers again. As quickly as I can, I grab a mango for Livvy and an orange-strawberry for Alyssa, and race for the registers again.
Anything else before we check out?
"Please say no, please say no," I whisper in a little mantra to myself, and actually have to restrain a fistpump when I get her response.
No, we're set on everything else.
I begin unloading, juices first so I can pour them into the sippy cups while the rest is being rung up. As soon as Alyssa starts taking the first few sips, her eyes start drifting and her sister isn't far behind her, leaning into the back corner of the cart.
"Oh, what sweet little angels. They are so beautiful, how old are they?" the cashier coos as she continues to scan the items and set them into bags.
"Two," I answer with a heavy sigh and she gives me a sympathetic look.
"Twins at two, in a grocery store. Brave man," she replies and her head shakes back and forth, and I swear she even speeds up.
Oh lady, you don't even know the half of it. I'm about thirty seconds away from a nap myself, I silently muse, but instead, I just offer her a nod and a smile.
With the groceries finally paid for, I attempt to get out of the store as quickly as possible, cursing that damn textured surface at the curb. The jostling and vibrating of the cart sends both the girls into tears, and I glare at it as if it actually cares. What purpose does that really serve? I've actually watched carts roll right over them in the wind, and it really makes things difficult with a full cart—or one with two sleepy toddlers in it.
I soothe them as best I can while securing them into their carseats, pacifying them with their sippys again before I finally begin loading the bags into the car.
We aren't even out of the parking lot and I hear the soft little snores emanating from the back seat. If I get home quickly and I can settle the girls into bed without mishap, I could have as much as an hour of uninterrupted time alone with my wife. Surely, the adventure of the last two hours has earned me at least some forgiveness.
As I pull into the driveway, the dilemma strikes me. I have two sleeping children to move from their carseats and all the way into the house at once, without waking them. Exiting the car, I don't bother closing my door. I know if I do, the sound will wake them. I could call Bella for help, but since I'm still trying to get in her good graces, that isn't the best idea.
I open Livvy's side first and slowly extract her from her carseat, ignoring the drool as her head settles gently into the crook of my neck. I still and internally pray that she stays asleep. After a few seconds, it's obvious I'm successful.
Yes! One down, one to go.
I entertain the idea of running inside and putting her down first, but I know that Bella will kill me for leaving Alyssa in the car. How does she do this every day? Careful not to jostle Livvy, I walk around the car and open the other door. I fight with the buckle, but sigh in relief when it finally comes free. She stirs for a moment, but immediately quiets.
I want to cry for joy when I manage to pull Alyssa free from her confines and into my arm. I'm in the home stretch.
I'm coming, babe.
I take two steps toward the house when I hear him. Mike freaking Newton; he's been the bane of my existence since high school. The jock that everyone thought would get the hottest girl in school, and instead, I did.
He never let me live it down. When Bella and I got married, he went and did the same weeks after with a more lavish wedding. We moved into our first home, a fixer upper that we were so excited about, until he bought the house next door. For everything I did, he found a way to do it better.
Except I had twin girls and he had to settle for one. Take that, Mike!
"Hey, Edward! Did you see my new car?"
Like I care. I really don't. I am not the type of husband and father that will spend fifty thousand dollars on a sports car when I have two college education funds to fill. My family is more important.
Besides, I have a Harley that my babe got me last month for me to restore.
I turn to look at the asshole and my eyes nearly pop out. The man is wearing a fucking girdle. If he thinks it's not noticeable, he's sorely mistaken. There is no way he went from a 42" waist to the 36" he is now in a day. The ten years since we graduated have not been kind to him.
"Shh!" I hiss at him, glaring. The smirk on his face tells me he knows exactly what he's doing.
"Come on over!" he yells, waving me over as if I wasn't within two feet from the boxwood ledge along the property line.
"Sorry," I whisper, shaking his head. "I need to get inside."
"I'm sure Bella won't mind," he says loudly. In his hands is a leaf blower. No!
Can I hit him?
For a second, I imagine myself doing that, and from the way he steps back, I must look dangerous. Then, I feel the pee run down my arm, followed by the soft whimpers from Livvy that quickly escalate into sobs.
Thanks a lot, asshole.
"Oh dude, that sucks!" Mike adds with a sucked in breath, but quickly backs up a few more steps when my glare returns to him.
"Daddy, wet," Livvy cries, and in the process, also wakes up her sister.
Now it's two wailing, overtired, rudely awakened toddlers to contend with, and one who's very wet. "It's okay, baby. Daddy will fix."
And strangle Mike Newton at the earliest possible opportunity.
I am mumbling under my breath as I walk through the door and immediately head upstairs to the girls' room to put Alyssa to bed and change Livvy. It isn't long before I can feel Bella's presence in the doorway, and I can almost envision the triumphant smile on her face.
"Have a fun trip?" she asks and I glance over my shoulder at her. I was right, she is gloating.
"You're hilarious, baby," I reply as I slip a dry pair of training pants and a t-shirt onto Livvy, lifting her into my arms and setting her on my unsaturated hip. Once I've got her onto her bed and covered, I turn back to my wife. "Just gonna grab the groceries out of the car, and then I'm in need of another shower. Can you settle Lys down for her nap?"
Bella nods with her lips pressed together in amusement, and I hurry back outside to grab as many bags in one trip as I can manage. The sooner I can get these inside and shower, the more time I will have to work my magic on Bella. Despite the morning I've had with the girls, I am still missing the touch of my wife, and she at least seems to be somewhat less angry with me. And passing by her in the girls' room? It was obvious she had taken me up on my suggestion of the bath salts— damn, the woman smelled good.
Once I've gotten the perishables put away in the refrigerator, I sprint up the stairs, stripping my shirt off in the process and tossing it in the hamper by the door. Steam begins to fill the bathroom as I fully undress and I finally step under the pulsing jets, feeling them beat against the tense muscles in my neck.
"Shouldn't we be observing water conservation?" Bella's voice echoes softly from behind me as I'm rolling my head back to wet my hair, and I look over my shoulder at her. "Three showers in one day, that's a lot of water."
I wipe the excess moisture from my face and watch as she tentatively lowers the shoulder of the robe she'd changed into while I was outside. "Well, we are environmentally conscious individuals, aren't we?"
The garment falls the remainder of the way to the floor and she steps in behind me, sliding her arms around my waist and gliding her hands up my chest. Oh fuck, yes. I've waited for this since last night, when she told me off for not doing what she asked. Her fingers draw along the lines of my muscles and I feel her lips press against my shoulder blade.
"Am I forgiven?" I ask and she hums, eliminating the minute space between us by molding her body flush against my back. I guess she's forgiven me. I take one of her hands in mine and raise it to my mouth, my lips closing around her knuckle and sucking drops of water from her skin. "I hate when you're mad at me."
She laughs and I enjoy the way it causes her beautiful body to move against me. I close my fingers around her wrist and guide her to stand in front of me, running my hands along her incredible curves. Two kids and she still looks like a million bucks. "No you don't. You love it when I get mad."
I grin as I kiss down the column of her neck to her chest, and look up from my position, poised over her nipple. "Just a little," I reply, teasing the tip with my lips. She hisses slightly at the contact, her fingers tightening in my hair. It's a telltale sign that she wants more. "You were determined to teach me a lesson, weren't you?"
Her giggle is all the answer I need. "I needed the milk to hold them over until I could go shopping alone in the morning, since we only needed a few things."
"I'm sorry," I whisper, taking her face in my hands. Her fingers curl around my shoulders in response and pull me closer, kissing me with an urgent passion. Who knew something as simple as an apology could mean so much to her? "How have you never complained about it once?" I shake my head.
"I know all the little tricks to ensure they behave."
"I love you. Thanks for being just amazing."
Her arms drape over my shoulders as she pulls herself up to her toes to kiss me. I take advantage of her hold and sweep my hands down her back slowly, taking in every curve. She moans as my fingers curl over her backside and squeeze.
"I love you," she whispers, pulling away. "Let's wash up and see where this leads."
I wiggle my eyebrows. "Oh, I know exactly where it's going."
We laugh and take several minutes washing each other. I love showering with her. It's also the one time we talk about everything.
However, it seems that the last thing on her mind at the moment is talking. I hear the washcloth from her hand drop to the floor of the shower and groan as her fingers wrap around me, and slowly begin to stroke.
"Oh fuck, Bella," I hiss with my eyes pinched closed.
"Yeah, that's the idea," Bella rasps and captures my lips heatedly. She surprises me by bringing both arms around my neck again and holding on tight, hoisting herself up and encircling my waist with her legs. Damn, she is really in the mood.
Supporting her with my arms under her hips, I press her against the tile. Her head falls to one side, a hiss at her lips, "Cold." When I try to pull back, she denies me with a shake of her head and a tightening of her thighs around me. I groan, slipping inside her and watch her teeth bite down on her lower lip. One I want to nibble on now.
My fingers splay over her ass as I change the angle of her hips. A gasp escapes her at my next thrust and what follows is a low whisper of my name. Damn, she feels good. I bend slightly to fit my mouth over hers, reveling in her breathless whimper at the gentle bite of my teeth.
"Harder," she says, rolling her hips beneath my fingers. I groan and quicken my thrusts, kissing her deeply. I pull away to breathe, my head falls back as she latches onto my throat.
"Fuck," I hiss as she rakes her teeth over my pulse. I go back for more, taking her lips fiercely. The shiver that runs through her says she loves it. "What's gotten to you?"
She laughs softly, tugging my mouth back to hers. Right, no talking needed. Almost at the edge, she takes it to a whole new level of intensity by lowering her hands to her breasts, lifting them like a fucking offering, as if I'd forgotten my lovelies.
I lavish attention there, and it's as if I added fuel to her fire. She tightens around me, screams out my name, the heels of her feet dig into my ass. It's too much, my over-stimulated senses and nerves feel singed. I manage two more thrusts and finally let go.
Breathless, I rest my forehead against hers. "I need to go grocery shopping more often," I say minutes later. She slaps my shoulder, but sighs and holds me close.
I hope it'll always be like this.
We dry off and exit the bathroom. I pull on a pair of loose jeans for an afternoon of lounging around the house with my girls. Bella decides she wants me to fire up the grill later. I agree, watching her as she dresses. My mind wanders as she fits yoga pants over her shapely ass.
"I think I'm going to go downstairs and put the rest of the groceries away, like a good husband," I say as I tug a clean t-shirt on and press a kiss to her neck.
"Trying to earn more brownie points?" she asks with a raised eyebrow, unable to completely hide her smile.
"I don't know, will it work?"
Bella rolls her eyes at my grin and wink, but then shrugs. "Guess we'll have to wait and see."
"Tease," I growl playfully, pinching her ass on my way by and she swats at mine in return. I hear the girls beginning to stir in their room, but before I can turn around, Bella is already done and heading in to check on them. Her voice is upbeat and cheerful as she speaks to each of them in turn; guess shower sex still does it for her, too.
I am snapping my fingers to a beat in my head as I reach the kitchen and begin sorting through the bags on the counter. After a few seconds, I realize I'm humming the girls' happy song; I groan at the thought. Lifting the bottle of Canada Dry from the counter, I shudder and carry it over to the refrigerator. Personally, I find the stuff disgusting, and usually Bella does, too. I hope she isn't sick.
Yet, upon opening the fridge door, I spot a half-full bottle already in there.
"Baby, are you feeling okay?" I call out to her, hearing all three of my girls coming down the stairs.
"Yup, absolutely fine," she answers, but that doesn't sate my confusion.
"Did you realize you already had a bottle of gingerale in here?"
"Yes, honey. I am very aware of that."
I scratch my forehead but decide to let it go. If she says she's feeling fine, she looks fine, and what just happened upstairs certainly gave me no reason to doubt that, I would take her at her word.
I am just getting to the last bag, and the final item is the box of saltines. Before I can even open the cabinet, I pause. I know we just bought crackers only about a week ago, when Bella suddenly had the urge for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. We went through an entire box in a week?
My eyes shoot open and my jaw drops. The sudden spontaneity of our encounter in the shower, after she had been so mad at me this morning and still had the sarcasm dripping from her tone when I returned. The sudden urge for something we hadn't had in at least a year. Saltines and gingerale.
Moodiness. Sex drive that trumps even mine. Cravings. And something she's only consumed when she's sick or…
I set the box in the pantry beside the nearly empty one and make my way to the living room, where I find Bella and the girls playing on the floor. Alyssa claps excitedly as she manages to join two of the large pink blocks together, holding them up in the air with pride.
"Awesome job, sweetheart," I reply and sit down beside her, kissing the top of her head. Livvy sticks out a pouty lip and throws her toy down in frustration. I stretch out along the floor and prop myself up on my elbow, holding the block up for her. My daughter glances at me for a moment before screwing her little mouth with her focus and glides the one in her other hand onto it. Her eyes meet mine for the same praise I'd just shown her sister, and I purse my lips toward her for a kiss, which she quickly complies. For all her defiance and stubbornness at times, there are still many others like these where she already strives so hard to make me proud, and she never fails. "That's my big girl."
Alyssa quickly crawls over to lean against my stomach, her head resting on my arm. I love these girls so much, it actually hurts sometimes, like my heart is literally going to burst through my chest. I don't care if that sounds lame or utterly unmanly; my daughters are my entire world, right alongside their mother.
"Hey, Daddy put your new hats on the table in the kitchen. Why don't you go get them to show Mommy?" I say in an excited tone, tapping each of their pigtails with my fingertips.
"I don't remember 'hats' being an item on the list, honey," Bella says as the girls squeal and scamper off to the kitchen. "Let me guess, they were just so cute and screaming out at you to buy them for the girls."
"It was deafening. You should have heard it. I still have ringing in my ears from them now. So, my love," I begin, smiling at my wife sitting at my feet. "Is there something you need to tell me?"
She crawls up beside me and lies down on the floor, a soft smile gracing her beautiful face as she gazes up at me. My fingers tug on a damp curl by her shoulder and one of her hands lifts to take mine, lowering and spreading them over her stomach. We talked about having our kids spaced close together, and decided a few months ago to let it happen naturally; I'd just never expected it to happen this fast.
"How far along?"
"Almost nine weeks."
Her smile is infectious, but I see a tiny bit of fear, too. I kiss her sweet lips, smiling as she starts to laugh. She knows how much I enjoy when she's pregnant. I have an excuse to dote on her, which she's usually too independent to allow any other time. And last time, she was insatiable through the entire duration, which is a pattern that seems to be repeating itself.
As she continues to laugh and whisper how much she loves me, and I her, I feel one of the girls climb on top of us.
"Daddy, horsey!" Livvy neighs.
Bella throws her head back, laughing as Alyssa crawls over to kiss her, too. I move lower and press a kiss to her stomach. As Livvy bounces on my back and pulls at my hair, I whisper, "Hey, little one. Please be alone in there."
Bella has Alyssa giggling, her fingers tickling our daughter's tummy. Livvy, feeling left out, tugs on my hair harder. "Daddy, monster!" I growl at her and carefully maneuver her to play.
As we torture our little ones with tickles, I decide that, even if it's two more that join our little family, it'll be worth it for more moments like these.
"Daddy, tummy! Shit!" Livvy exclaims, and I freeze, as does Bella, and the look she gives me gives me no doubt that the water is heating up once again.
"Livvy, we don't say things like that," she scolds. "Do we, Daddy?"
"It slipped? I love you?" I try, leaning toward her again and smothering her face with kisses. "You're so pretty."
Bella laughs again and turns her head to me. "I love you, too."
Phew, no couch tonight. God, I love my family.