Sunday, December 15, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Fire & Ice Chapter 16 & Pics

Chapter 16
There was something settling about crossing the small stretch of ocean and seeing Alaska on the horizon. It had been a stressful couple of days. Carlisle had given Edward the power of when we were set to leave Irina’s, and my husband loaded us all up the next day. We’d said goodbye to Eleazar, who was driving off to Moscow to meet up with other CIA operatives in search of George Stefan, and goodbye to Kurt, who was still healing – but really, he just wanted a couple more days with Irina. They both would be joining us at Aunt Kate’s by the end of the week, which was five days away.
The flight home was much like the one heading in: several stops at small airports for fuel and at least one night so Edward could rest his eyes. Carlisle was still quite sore, though he was getting stronger. So it seemed to take longer going home than it had coming over, but really, it was the same travel time.
The sun had risen in Alaska to a bright day, and if we continued on the way we were, we’d arrive at Aunt Kate’s mid-morning. Rose had already sent me a picture of all the kids watching our progress via the GPS trackers. I’d laughed, shown Carlisle, and told him all about how Alice wanted to be able to keep watch over us without the possibility of something going awry, like with his watch.
Carlisle shifted restlessly next to me, and I turned to look at him.

“What do the kids know?” he asked softly, but everyone inside the chopper heard him over their headsets.
“Your oldest grandchild figured out something went wrong before we even left Alaska,” I told him, smirking at his chuckle. “Bethy basically called us out on it the day we were leaving.”
Edward’s deep chuckle echoed over the radio, but Carlisle grinned, saying, “Fair enough.”
“They don’t know details, just that you were in trouble, though I don’t know how you’ll explain your appearance,” I continued, gesturing to the bruises on his face. “And your grandson’s biggest concern was a promise you made to him about camping.”
We all laughed at Carlisle’s proud smile, but I glanced up to the pilot seat, keeping to myself the fact that his son had promised his children he’d deliver Poppy back safe and sound, come hell or high water. I wondered for a moment if that promise was more to his kids or to Edward himself.
“Yes, yes…I plan on keeping that promise,” Carlisle said with a bit of a chuckle to his voice. “Though, they made me promise that everyone was to come. They wanted the whole shebang: tents, campfires, s’mores, sleeping bags, even ghost stories. I’d told Aunt Kate to get everything they’d need.”
“I’m sure she did,” Mickey chortled. “No offense, but you gotta give me at least a couple of days in a civilized environment before you drag my ass camping. Like Aunt Kate’s cookin’, a long-ass bubble bath, and I need to drown myself in my family. I’ve missed the shit out of Obie and Kaitlyn.”
Carlisle’s eyes crinkled at the corners, but I could see the sadness in them, especially when he looked to me. “Sorry,” he said softly.
“Don’t be. You couldn’t have known that a business deal you were working on now was connected to anything from so long ago,” I told him, waving his apology away. “We were able to talk to everyone back home when we had a minute.”
“And Esme?” he asked me, looking nervous for the first time since we’d started making our way home.
“I’m not going to lie to you, Carlisle,” I said, grimacing a little. “She was a mess when you were taken. She panicked, and it was all Edward could do to keep her focused on getting to the airport.”
Carlisle’s head spun toward the pilot seat, but Edward’s posture stayed ridged.
“Relax, Poppy,” Emmett said over the headset with a big grin. “She’ll probably just smack the piss out of you and then kiss you.”
“Like father, like son,” Mickey added, and the whole chopper cracked the fuck up, including Edward, who shot a quick wink back my way, his ears turning pink when Alec punched his shoulder.
Carlisle looked confused, but didn’t ask, so I told him anyway.
“Your son,” I started, raising a dangerous eyebrow at my husband’s back, even though he couldn’t see it, “let his mouth write checks his ass couldn’t cash. It almost got him a bullet in the head.”
“Nah, it didn’t,” Jasper drawled slowly, shaking his head. “Close, but no cigar. I had it covered.”
“Whatever…” I waved a hand at him. “Anyway, he caught some serious hell when he got back.”
Carlisle grinned and nodded, but we all shut up when Edward softly called in to Alice.
“Pixie, we’re about twenty minutes from your location. Preparing to land,” Edward stated.
“Copy that, copy that, copy that!” she chanted, but there was a squeak of excitement to her tone that made us all smile.
None of us said another word; we simply absorbed the scenery as Aunt Kate’s drew closer and closer while Edward descended to his landing pad. He set us down gently, powering down the chopper. But it was the sight of the welcoming committee that made me rush to unbuckle my seatbelt, slam open the bay door, and leap from the chopper. I couldn’t get to my kids quickly enough.
Bethy was decked out in red: red hoodie, red Chucks, and red bands on the ends of her braids. Sammy, however, looked like his father’s clone in a navy blue Air Force hoodie and backwards baseball cap. And damn it, if it didn’t look like they’d grown an inch or two, or maybe I was just imagining it since being gone so long.
“Mommy!” Sammy squealed, rushing to me.
Falling to my knees, I received them both with open arms. I just needed to feel them, touch them. They smelled like heaven – like sunshine and hay, sugar and whatever shampoo they’d used last. They smelled like Aunt Kate’s. And I inhaled all of it while smooching whatever part of their necks and faces I could reach, grinning when they broke out into giggles.
Pulling back, I just reveled in them, loving the fact that they were talking over one another.
“Aunt Alice let us watch you on the map,” Bethy said, pointing back toward the house. “We knew when you were almost here.”
“Gamma made apple pies!” Sammy gushed, his dark brown eyes wide with excitement. “Three of them!”
“Yeah, she said they were for Daddy,” Bethy whispered, but her eyes searched around through the reuniting couples, and I didn’t even need to look, because her sweet face exploded into happiness. “Daddy!”
Despite how tired he was from flying, Edward’s face lit up at the sight of his kids running toward him. He caught them both up in his strong arms, hugging them fiercely. But the best was watching Bethy grab both sides of his scruffy face, which was now almost a full beard, and kiss him everywhere – cheeks, lips, nose, chin – telling him he was too fuzzy. They chattered away at him just like they had to me, and I smiled when he gave them every bit of his attention, simply standing there on the landing pad, holding them. He pressed a heavy kiss to Sammy’s brow and then dropped his forehead to our son’s as the four-year-old babbled at him ceaselessly. They were mirror images of each other: baseball caps, crooked grins, and long eyelashes.
The hands that had snapped the necks of the enemy while we were away were the same gentle ones that held his little boy and girl like he’d never let them go, the same hands we all trusted with everything in us.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see Aunt Kate smiling at me. I reached out and hugged her tightly.
“Bella-child, I’m so glad you’re safe,” she whispered to me, kissing my cheek. She pulled back, giving a glance over my shoulder. “All of you.”
“Me, too,” I whispered back, seeing Esme and Carlisle’s teary reunion. She looked pissed, relieved, and overwhelmed all at the same time. “How’s she doing?”
“Es?” Kate verified, looking at the two of them. “Oh, she’s run the gamut, that one. I’m still not sure where his testicles will end up.”
Laughing, I hugged her again. “Yes, yes…his son came close to losing his, too.”
Kate shot me a wink. “I bet.”
Soon, I was passed off to Rose, Mack, Alice, and Sarah. Even little Caleb and Abby hugged me fiercely. It was loud and crowded on Aunt Kate’s front lawn, but we all came to a standstill when Carlisle walked to his son, who was still holding Bethy and Sammy. In fact, all the kids were looking at him curiously, due to his bruised face.
Edward set the kids down, and Carlisle knelt before them. Just when I thought my outgoing daughter would step forward, it was my shy, quiet boy that walked to his grandfather with the most somber, almost angry expression on his face. My God, he’d never looked more like Edward than he did right then.
Sammy reached up to trace a surprisingly gentle finger around Carlisle’s black eye. His little brow furrowed when he spoke. “Wha’ happin’, Poppy? Who hurt you? Who gave you owies?” His tone was almost a growl, but it was demanding and fierce.
“Damn, he’s is father all over, right?” Kate murmured to me. “Edward asked Carlisle that very question when he was about that age. Almost the exact same way. I thought Elizabeth would kiss that boy to death.”
Carlisle must’ve remembered it, too, because he gave Edward a quick smirk before facing all the kids. “I’m okay, guys.”
“Did bad guys hurt you?” Bethy asked, stepping forward along with Caleb and Abby. And he was suddenly under intense debriefing.
“They did.”
“Did Daddy catch ’em?” Caleb asked.
“Everybody caught them.”
“Does it hurt?” Abby asked, starting to reach for him, but stopped herself.
I realized the entire lot of us were watching the kids interrogate Carlisle, all of us with amused expressions on our face. He’d already answered to his wife, but the tough ones were under five feet tall. He may have only been blood related to two of those children, but he was Poppy to every last one of them. Abby only knew Carlisle and Esme as grandparents, and Caleb simply considered them an extra set. Carlisle loved them all just the same.
Suddenly, Kaitlyn let out a squeal, fighting Mickey to get down. With wobbly, two-year-old legs, she pushed by adults only to fly into Carlisle’s arms.
“Pop-pop!” she said with a giggle.
The interrogation was over. All the kids hugged him, almost at one time.
It was then that Aunt Kate took command. “Okay, all of you inside. Time to eat.”
We pulled our respective kids off Poppy, setting them on their feet to run inside. Conversations were loud, full of laughter and teasing. I glanced around for Edward, but stopped when I saw that his face was in Esme’s hands. He looked a bit uncomfortable as he removed his baseball cap, which sent his hair every which way, but he nodded at whatever she was saying softly to him. Esme’s happy tears made me turn to go on inside to leave them to talk.
“Edward?” Esme said, tugging softly on my sleeve.
I glanced up at everyone disappearing through the front doors, but turned my attention to her. Her face was a mix of all sorts of emotions, which seemed to have manifested into tears. My brow furrowed as I took off my baseball cap. Esme’s tears made me uncomfortable and sad.
“Happy tears, son,” she explained, reaching up to cup my face. “I just… I needed to thank you.”
I was shaking my head before she even finished that sentence. “No, you don’t.”
Her smile was warm and comforting. “I know you would’ve gone after your father without me asking, sweetheart. That’s not what I’m thanking you for. I’m thanking you for keeping me together when I needed you the most.”
“You were in shock, Esme,” I argued in a whisper, my eyes falling to the ground between our feet.
“Maybe,” she allowed.
“A-And…I promised him, too.”
She laughed softly, sniffling a little. “Edward, stop.”
My gaze shot up from my boots to meet her eyes.
“You did an amazing job in your father’s absence. I hope you know that,” she stated firmly, waiting until I nodded before she went on. “You guided them like he would have.”
Shaking my head, I said, “I don’t know. Bella said the same thing, but…” My voice trailed off as I shrugged a shoulder.
“Well, I do. Bella’s a smart girl, and she knows what she’s saying. And I listened in more than you think.”
Smiling at her wink, I tilted my head at her. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” she said with a chuckle, once again cupping my face. “Now, tell me the truth… How hurt is he? ’Cause he won’t say. Stubborn fool…”
I broke out into a laugh. “Aw, he’s all right. Mostly what you see is the worst.” I gestured to my face. “Maybe a hurt rib or two. He was weak from lack of food and water. But nothin’ major, nothin’ broken. Promise, Mom.”
She leaned up on her tiptoes, kissing my cheek. “You know, if I could’ve handpicked my children, you and Bella would be at the top of the list. I think I got a damn good deal when I met your father.”
Grinning, I shrugged, looking down at my feet again. “Maybe.”
“I love you, Edward. Please don’t ever think differently.”
“Love you, too.” I shuffled my feet, feeling like a kid, but Esme had a way of doing that to me.
She kissed my cheek again, this time pulling me into a hug, and I wrapped my arms around her. It reminded me of my mother’s hugs – safe and easy – though I was only a damn kid the last time I’d hugged my mother.
“I’m glad you’re all home safe,” she mumbled into my chest, finally pulling back. “How’d our girl do?”
Wrinkling my nose, I sighed deeply. “Nightmares, almost from the moment we landed. I expected them, and she’d asked me to ignore them.”
“But you didn’t.”
“No,” I said with a laugh. “Not at all. And she had one panic attack, and that was while cleaning Dad up, but I was able to talk her down.”
Esme smiled with pride. “She’s a strong one.”
“She is,” I agreed.
We both glanced up when my excited, red-cheeked daughter slammed out the screen door and opted to jump from the porch to the front yard.
“Daddy!” She rushed to me. “C’mon,” she grunted, tugging my hand. “Uncle Emmett says he’s gonna eat two apple pies! You can’t let ’im! We’re suh-posed to share!”
Laughing, I scooped her up, holding her upside down to that her bare belly was exposed. I tickled her bellybutton with my scruffy face – or fuzzy, as she’d called it when she’d first seen me – grinning when she broke into squeals and pleads.
“What if I don’t wanna share, little sweetness?” I asked in a growl against her belly.
“No!” She laughed until she was as red as her hoodie, fighting my tickling fingers. “We always share, Daddy!”
I glanced up at Esme. “You made apple pies?”
“Mmhmm,” she answered, smirking at Bethy and me. “And yes, Bella’s recipe.”
I righted Bethy, looking at my sweet, happy baby girl. “Awesome! Is there ice cream?”
“Yeah, Daddy!” Bethy sang, rolling her eyes at me for having asked a dumb question and looking just like her mother.
Chuckling, I kissed her neck loudly. “I’ve missed you, pretty girl.”
“Missed you, too, Daddy.” She went to kiss me, but stopped. “You owe me ’mooches, but you can’t be fuzzy when you give them.”
Feigning seriousness, I nodded. “Yes, ma’am. Can we eat first? And then I promise… Mission: De-fuzzing will commence.”
She giggled, and fuck, I’d missed that sound. “Okay.”
“Okay,” I sang back. “Now, let’s go break Uncle Emmett’s fingers for even thinking about stealing our pie…”
She laughed, reaching for the door once Esme and I had walked up the steps. “Oh, Uncle Emmett! You’re in trouble now!”
The bathroom was still steamy as I pulled on a pair of sweatpants and then plugged in Aunt Kate’s electric clippers. I’d let my beard grow just about the entire time we were in Russia, merely because it was easier not to have to worry about it. But now, I’d have to trim it to even attempt to shave it off.
Just as I buzzed off the last of it, movement caught my eye, and I grinned down at Sammy. “Thought you’d be picking movies with Bethy and Mom.”
He simply shook his head and walked to the toilet, using it to climb up onto the vanity. He plopped down silently in front of me. He watched me put away the clippers, fill the sink with hot water, and shake the can of shaving cream. Once I’d covered my face in the foam, he picked up the can.
“Like dis, Daddy?” he asked softly.
Chuckling, I nodded. I’d done this same thing with my own dad, and the memory of that made me recreate the moment with Samuel. From the noise coming in from bedroom, it sounded like my girls were dancing around to music, so I couldn’t help but take a selfish few minutes with my son, even though Bella wanted a family night.
“C’mere. Scoot to the edge,” I told him, putting a blob of foam on my fingers. I laughed when his nose wrinkled at the feel of it all over his face. When I was done, I nodded one time. “There. Now, take this and follow what I do. Okay?” I asked, handing him a razor with the cover still on it.
I could shave blind. It wasn’t even something I thought about much anymore, so face to face, I talked Sammy through each swipe of the blade and each swish of it through the water. I heard the unmistakable sound of a picture being taken, and I laughed, looking to see Bella there with her phone in hand.
“Funny, sweetness,” I muttered wryly.
“Shut it,” she whispered back, but I could see that her eyes were watery. “I want to kiss you both, but no…” She gestured to her face, giving Sammy an exaggerated expression of disgust.
Before my girl could leave the bathroom doorway, I reached out and pulled her to me. “Why not, baby?” I asked, looming my lathered-up face over hers as I bent her back.
“Edward!” she squealed, breaking into laughter, which only made Sammy laugh at us.
Grinning, I straightened us up, dropping a kiss to her nose, which still left a white, soapy dollop on the tip.
She smacked at my bare chest, pushing me away to reach the towel so she could wipe her face. She planted a kiss on Sammy’s forehead, saying, “Hurry up, you two. It’s almost movie time. Bethy’s gone to the kitchen for popcorn.”
“’Kay,” I said with a grin, turning back to the mirror to finish up, and Sammy followed my lead. I cleaned us both, picking my son up into my arms. “You ready for movies?” I asked him.
Sammy smiled and nodded. “Yeah,” he whispered in his slow, soft way.
The reality that one day I’d be showing him how to really shave made me kiss the side of his head as we walked into the bedroom. He and Bethy had grown so damn fast. The sight before me, though, made me grin. Bella and Bethy were dancing to whatever song was playing on the TV. They were too damn cute dressed for bed: Bethy in plaid pink pajamas and Bella in my T-shirt and boxers. Both had their hair down in long chocolate waves, and Lock and Load sat off in the corner, watching the whole thing with amused doggie grins on their faces. I set Sammy down, and he ran to his mom, who picked him up and continued to move to the music. I fell down onto the bed, propping my head up on my hand just to watch them. God, I’d missed the shit out of having my whole family in one damn spot.
Bella buried her face in Sammy’s neck. “You smell like Daddy!” she growled just to make him curl in on himself.
Laughing, I shook my head at her, but I could see that we both needed this time. While a part of me eyed my wife – looking so damn sexy in my boxers – like a starving man, the other part of me needed to simply come down from this last mission. I needed to drown myself in whatever cartoon we were about to put on and snuggle up with all three of them in the pajama party/bed picnic that Bella had created.
Lunch had been a loud, boisterous celebration of having my dad back safe and sound. After, we’d shown him what the girls were capable of inside Aunt Kate’s new computer room. He’d been highly impressed with Igor. However, he’d not been too pleased at the fact that our GPS chips were embedded under our skin, although he couldn’t complain too much, since they were the reason we’d been able to work so well as a team.
Now, the sun had set, and Bella had stolen us away, if only for this first night back home. As I watched her dance with Bethy and Sammy, I was perfectly fucking fine with that.
“Let me see,” Bethy stated, rushing to me. She beamed when her small hands framed my face. “Much better. Now…you owe me!”
I cleared my throat, frowning dramatically. “Then let’s do this the right way, little sweetness.” I sat up on the bed, leaning back against the stack of pillows and the headboard. “C’mere,” I told her, patting my lap. She giggled, scrambling up onto my thighs and wrapping her arms around my neck. “Now...exactly what do I owe you?”
Suddenly, my baby girl turned shy. “’Mooches and hugs…for my nightmares,” she murmured, gazing up at me with eyes that matched my own.
“Did you have more?”
She nodded, tracing the ink on my chest with her tiny finger, something she’d done since she was little.
“Wanna talk about it?” I asked her, tilting her head up by her chin.
She shook her head no. “I slept in Gamma’s room.”
“That’s okay,” I told her. “Gamma liked it. She told me.”
The music was shut off, and before she joined us on the bed, I heard Bella tell Sammy to take a bathroom break.
“Actually,” Bella whispered to her as she reached over to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear, “I think you helped Gamma. She was missing Poppy.”
Bethy smiled in pride that she’d done a good thing, and I couldn’t help but chuckle at her.
“Okay, so…a ’mooch for every nightmare? Or you just want buckets of them?” I asked her.
I curled her in, burying my face in her neck and smothered her in kisses – to her neck, her cheeks, her chin, her lips – all while she giggled and writhed in my arms. I finally dropped her back and blew loud, wet raspberries on her belly, just to hear her scream. Sammy scrambled up onto the bed and into his mother’s arms, getting the same treatment. Soon, we had sagging, panting messes on the bed, but at least they were happy.
When Bella finally turned the movie on, my attention was solely on them. Bethy sat between Bella’s legs so that she could get her hair braided, and Sammy lounged on me, his eyes glazing over as the movie wore on. At some point, we all crashed out in the same bed.
“Congratulations, Goliath,” I muttered, rubbing the big guy’s nose as I took in Mary and the new addition to the barn.
Noah was just as Bethy had described him – wobbly and all black, except for a white stripe down his nose. He was damned cute. I snorted to myself, hoping to God that my kids didn’t beg to take him home, though I was sure they’d try.
I’d woken up before everyone else. The kids had been sprawled in every angle over me and Bella, but I wouldn’t have changed anything about the night before. I’d tucked them all back in, dropping kisses to everyone before getting up and out of the house. It was obvious I was still coming down from the mission, because despite the time with my kids, I was still tense as hell. So I decided to get up and work in the barn.
Aunt Kate had asked for a couple of rocking chairs ages ago, and they’d originally been my goal when we’d all first decided to come up here for our break from work. So I set about making them. I had a smaller version of my woodshop here, but Aunt Kate was always saving wood for me in the far back corner. Sometimes, she’d find something unusual and stash it, or sometimes, she’d find something cheap at the hardware store in Anchorage and bring it back. It was the latter I was going to use: a large pile of cedar that she’d stowed away.
By the time I realized I wasn’t in the barn alone, I’d already cut two sets of pieces I’d need, and I’d shed my T-shirt. I glanced up from the box of screws I was rooting around in to see my dad standing there.
“Want some help?” he asked.
I shrugged a shoulder. “Sure.”
Only he and Jasper ever offered to help whenever I was working on something. They usually just held things, painted or stained, or sometimes, they’d sand something, because I never really gave instructions. I think they came out to simply enjoy the quiet work.
As I trimmed down a few boards, my dad pulled them out of the way. The jigsaw was the only sound, except for the occasional scratch or pant from Lock and Load, who were lounging in the open barn door.
“I owe you an apology,” he spoke out of the blue as I drilled holes for screws.
I sighed, glancing up at him. “What the fuck for?”
He grinned, shaking his head. “Edward, you had a bad feeling about Russia before I even left.”
Scoffing, I waved the apology away with a gloved hand. “And you didn’t listen. Big deal. I didn’t always listen to you, either.”
My dad laughed, and I smiled wryly his way before driving four screws into the seat of the chairs, but he went on. “I need to thank you, too.”
Glaring at him and bracing my hands on the workbench, I said, “No, the fuck you don’t, Dad. Wanna know why?” When he nodded, I continued. “You don’t owe me shit. There’s a reason Boris insisted on helping, there’s a reason we all took our asses across the damn globe, and there’s a reason I didn’t even think twice about doing what that fucker wanted. You may have forgotten, but most of us owe you.” I raised an eyebrow at him. “Dad, I can’t even count how many times you’ve done shit for me…me alone. Never mind the fact that you helped save Bella, tried to save her dad, and need I remind you about Bethy? Hmm? So keep your thanks and hand me that fucking drill.”
He did as I asked, but didn’t say anything for a few minutes. “When you were captured in China, what went through your head?”
I set in four more screws before I even thought about answering him. Frowning, I yanked off a glove, running my hand through my hair. “Um, Bella…the kids. I’d been punched around, so I’d blacked out a couple times. Why?”
He nodded liked he’d assumed as much, and when he opened his mouth to speak again, I interrupted him.
“And don’t even think about thanking me for Esme. That was a no-brainer,” I said, but my voice was a low warning. “She’s as close to Mom as I can get, so yeah, I didn’t even think twice.” I set another couple of screws, attaching the back to the chair and setting it upright on the bench. Finally, I turned to him, ignoring the sad, yet awed expression on his face, because I’d never said that shit to him before. “What the hell is this all about?”
He smiled, sadly I noted. “I just… I’m too old for this shit, son. And now, I wonder what other past sins are out there waiting to come back to haunt me…you, everyone.”
“Nothing we can’t handle,” I replied, leaning against the workbench. “Don’t get me wrong… I don’t want to handle any-fucking-thing, but I will if I have to.”
“You wanted out of the mercenary life, and I’ve tried to give you that, but it seems to keep coming back,” he argued, his brow furrowing. “I just… Fuck, Edward… I just don’t want you to hate me for any of it. You could’ve lost Bella…”
“Uh, no.” I stopped him. “No, I wouldn’t have. She’s hellfire and a shit-storm all rolled up into one little pretty package, Dad. You know that as well as I do. I just had to point her in the right direction. She was fucking brilliant over there. Did I worry? Fuck yeah, I worried. Did she handle it? Like a champ. So…fuck these what-ifs you seem to be dwelling on.”
I picked up the drill, but set it back down again. “Do you remember when I came to you? I wanted to join your crew? Garrett was already gone and Alec wanted out at the time, and you needed someone. I was still in recovery with my knee, and I’d just been released from service. Jasper came with me, but Emmett and Mickey weren’t out of the Air Force yet. Do you remember?”
He nodded. “Yeah, you said you needed to work and Jasper needed the money.”
“Right, to take care of his dad in Texas. Exactly. I asked for this life, Dad. Asked for it. Begged you, if I’m not fucking mistaken. And everything you’ve taught me has led me to this point. I regret a few things, but working with you was never one of them. Everything I learned, I’m able to use now, even with Gravity. Hell, there’s not much out there I could do.” I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “And I’m sure I have my own sins floating around out there.”
My dad laughed, reaching for my shoulder and giving it a squeeze. My eyes drifted just past his face to see my girl walking from the house toward the barn.
“Oh yeah,” I added, pointing her way. “And that life led me to her, so I can’t fault you. I most certainly don’t fucking hate you for it.”
Dad smiled, glancing from Bella back to me. Finally, he nodded, looking me in the eye. “Your mother would be proud of you – of who you’ve become – Edward. I hope you know that.”
I said nothing; I didn’t have a reply for that, because I didn’t know what to say. I focused, instead, on Bella’s arrival to the barn. She was all things fresh and sweet and beautiful, wearing jeans that hugged her sinfully and a long-sleeved shirt.
“There you two are! Alec’s bitchin’ about having to tackle breakfast on his own,” she teased, but her eyes took in the chairs in progress. “Ah, but I see you have a reasonable excuse. Aunt Kate’s chairs.”
Smiling, I kissed her forehead. “You can write a note for me then, get me outta KP duty.”
“Indeed,” she said with a giggle, kissing my dad’s cheek before walking toward the stables. “I also wanted to see… Oh my goodness, aren’t you cute?” she cooed to Noah, who was walking shakily to her. “Hi there, handsome boy,” she sang to him, and I swear to God I fell in love with her all over again, especially when she nuzzled Goliath, whispering to him, “You make pretty babies, big guy.”
“And here I was worried about the kids wanting to steal that foal,” I muttered, grinning when Bella beamed my way.
“Can I?” she asked, looking exactly like Bethy when she wanted something.
My dad laughed heartily, slapping my shoulder. “You’re on your own, son.”
He left us alone, but I couldn’t help but tease my girl. “Do I have to have the same conversation with you as we did Bethy that one time about the puppies? Sweetness, the baby’s too young to be away from his mother…”
Bella cracked the fuck up, smacking my shoulder. “Shut it, Edward.”
Grinning, I caught up her hand, placing a kiss in the palm. “What’cha doin’ out here? Where’re the kids?”
“Oh, we’ve already been forgotten,” she stated, wearing a smirk. “Some big video game tournament with Jazz and Emmett.” She reached for her back pocket, pulling out a familiar envelope. “I came to return these.”
“Ah, okay,” I said with a nod. Keeping her hand in mine, I walked to Aunt Kate’s storage room and opened it. I then opened the safe, waving a hand for her to toss Plan B inside, and she did.
“Glad we didn’t need that,” she murmured, looking up at me with a sweet smile as I locked the little room back up.
“C’mere,” I sighed, lifting her up onto the workbench next to the unfinished chairs. I stepped between her legs as she trailed a finger down what would be the arms of one of the chairs.
“Are you gonna carve it? Like the one at the beach house?” she asked.
“I’d thought about it,” I answered her, taking a deep breath and letting it out as I buried my face in her neck. My body gave a slight shudder at finally being able to relax a little, but still I was too fucking tense. “You think Aunt Kate would want it?”
Bella giggled. “I think you could carve a skull and crossbones on there and she’d love it…’cause Edward Anthony made it for her.”
I grinned against her throat, hugging her closer. “Maybe.”
She wrapped her arms around my shoulders, setting her cheek on the top of my head. “Are you and your dad okay? I’m sorry I interrupted.”
I pulled back, shaking my head and brushing a stray lock from her face. “No, we’re fine. He tried to thank me and apologize to me. I wouldn’t hear of it.”
She cupped my face, leaning in to kiss my lips briefly. “He means it.”
“Yeah, but I don’t want it.” I frowned, fiddling with a long dark curl. “I-I c-can’t s-seem t-to c-calm th-the f-fuck d-down f-from th-this m-mission,” I admitted in a stutter. I shook my head, locking my eyes with hers.
“Sweetheart, we’ve only been back twenty-four hours,” she told me gently. “And this one was tough, so it’s okay if it takes a bit longer.”
I loved that she never even batted an eye about my bullshit. I loved that she took my problems and smoothed them out in front of me, making me feel normal.
“Before you,” I said, swallowing thickly, “I would’ve holed up at my house for weeks after a mission in order to calm down. Or I would’ve…” I stopped, grinning and shaking my head. “Never mind…”
Her laugh was absolutely adorable and evil and sexy. “You mean you would’ve gone out and gotten laid.”
I huffed a laugh, but it wasn’t in humor. In fact, that part of my past wasn’t something I was particularly proud of, especially since I’d met Bella. “I shouldn’t have said anything.”
She pinched my chin gently and lifted my gaze to hers. “Why? It’s who you were, Edward. You act like I was a snow white virgin when we met.”
My eye twitched at the thought, and it only served to make her laugh again. “You know…”
“Mention Jacob right now, and I’ll twist your nipple off, Edward Cullen,” she growled, grabbing said nipple between her thumb and forefinger. She’d moved so fucking fast, I didn’t have a chance to defend myself.
“Okay, okay, okay!”
She giggled again, pressing her forehead to mine. “Is that what you need, baby?” she asked, using a tone that always drove me crazy. “You need to get laid? Want me to pretend to be some unknown, easily swayed, slutty girl?”
“Fuck no,” I practically snarled, shaking my head fervently. “I want you.”
She smiled sweetly, but her eyes turned dark. “Can’t say the feeling isn’t mutual, Edward. You’re driving me crazy.”
She trailed her finger down my chest to where my jeans had fallen low on my hips. I couldn’t help the moan that escaped me when her touch brushed lightly across the sensitive skin just above the waistband, teasing the trail of hair until I twitched hard behind my jeans. I leaned in and kissed the shit out of her. I couldn’t help it.
My hands pulled her closer, one at her waist and the other slipping slowly into her hair so I could really control the kiss. Her strong legs wrapped around me, bringing my now very interested dick closer to where I could feel the heat of her, despite both sets of jeans.
“Where?” she simply asked, placing soft, easy kisses to my lips.
I quickly glanced around. I wouldn’t make it to the house; I wanted her too badly. I couldn’t risk where we were; it was way too fucking open. My eyes landed on the storage room, but it was full of weapons and shit, and my luck, we’d drop a grenade or something when I took her against the door. I was just about to call it off when Bella spoke up.
“Hay loft.”
“Hell, yes,” I hissed, kissing her again and tugging her off the workbench. I walked her across the barn, turning her so she could grab onto the ladder. “Go, love. Quick!” I hissed, popping her sweet ass.
She snorted into a giggle, but scurried up to the loft, and I was right behind her. Before she could get too far into the hay, I grabbed her ankle. She was already unbuttoning her jeans, so I gave her a hand removing them and then tugged her to me.
“See?” she asked with a laugh. “Isn’t this easier than having to get dressed up, trying to tame your hair, and buying some anonymous chick drinks at a bar?” Her smile was hilarious, and I rolled my eyes. “What was it you said in Russia? Oh yeah… I’m a sure thing, baby. You should know that.”
Grinning down at her, I nodded. “Yes, ma’am…so shut up and kiss me. We have to be quick and quiet.”
Her legs opened up for me, and I couldn’t help but grind against her. My moan was muffled against her lips as we made out like fucking teens up there. Skimming my hand down her side to her stomach, I palmed her pussy, groaning in pure fucking want when I found her hot and wet.
“I’ve been that way since I walked out here,” she explained, her head falling back when I kissed down her neck. “Edward, please…”
“Don’t beg. I’ll take care of this beautiful pussy. Don’t you ever think differently, sweetness.” My fingers worked past her underwear, pushing them out of the way, and a feeling of pure possessiveness came over me. “Goddamn, Bella…I make you this wet?” I asked her, sinking two fingers inside her as I teased her clit with my thumb.
“You know you do,” she countered, her fingers tugging at my jeans, but her feet were what pulled them down off my hips. Her warm hand wrapped around my cock, and my eyes rolled back at her tight grip as her thumb swiped over the head.
My forehead dropped to hers, and I lost myself in the feel of her working my dick like a damn pro and just how drenched she was making my hand. She knew exactly how to touch me to make me fucking stupid. We seemed to be matching each other’s rhythm, but I needed to be inside her.
“Bella, baby…how do you want this, ’cause if you don’t stop…”
“Just like this,” she said, pulling my hand away from her pussy and placing my cock at her entrance. “I wanna see your face when you fuck me.”
“That’s my girl,” I grunted, reaching down to hook her leg in the crook of my arm as I slipped deep inside her. I stopped long enough to drop a long, open-mouthed kiss to the scar on her thigh, my eyes never leaving hers. “I never want another ‘anonymous girl,’ Bella. I’ll only ever want you. Don’t you know that?”
“Edward, please…”
“Answer me, and I’ll fuck you ’til you see stars, love,” I commanded, swiveling my hips so that my pelvic bone brush her sensitive clit just enough to make her breath catch.
Her eyes locked with mine, and she nodded vehemently. “Yeah…I know that, Edward.”
“Good girl,” I purred against her neck at the same time I pulled back and drove into her.
She buried her noises into my neck, her fingers digging into my back. With every thrust, we sank deeper into the hay, but I couldn’t find in me to give a shit, as long as it wasn’t hurting her, and gauging by her reaction, she was doing just fine. Bracing one hand, I shoved her shirt up with the other, tugging her bra down so I could latch on to nipples that were peaked hard and tight. She tasted like home and sweat and sin, everything I needed at the moment, and we worked ourselves higher and higher. We were experts at quickies and keeping them fucking quiet. It came with having the kids, with Gravity’s offices always having someone around, and with the fact that no matter how long we’d been together, we still wanted each other constantly…and sometimes, not always in convenient places.
“I love you,” I moaned in her ear, my hand slipping down to rub her clit. “I need to feel you come on me. Come all over my cock, love.”
She threaded her fingers into my hair, bringing my mouth to hers, and the only sound I heard was a small squeak when she unraveled beneath me. The feel of her muscles clamping down caused my undoing. My thrusts lost their rhythm, and I buried myself inside of her, letting go, only it was me that saw stars.
“Fuck,” I ground out through gritted teeth, collapsing on top of her.
“Hey, handsome?” she whispered against my cheek a couple of minutes later. “Hmm?” I hummed into her neck.
“I know you’re a love ’em and leave ’em type,” she teased with a giggle, “but how about you take this girl to breakfast?”
I laughed, shaking my head and finally pushing myself up. “For you? The world, sweetness.”



Ju bio said...

PERFECT ... I do not have another word for this chapter. Edward and sammy shaving was the cuttest thing that I readed in this serie. Thabk you for this.

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