Title: For the Kids

By: MaxieMoose, MaxieMooseff

Rating: M for later mature content

Summary: Edward and Bella have been divorced for four years, but they are amicable and co-parent their soon to be ten-year-old boy, girl fraternal twins. The only thing the kids want for their birthday, which is July 4th, is a group trip with their friends and family. Will Edward be able to survive having his new fiancée, his parents, ex-wife, her angry best friend, and his ex-father in law, who would like to see him swimming with the fish at the bottom of the Atlantic? He realizes he has no choice since he'd do anything for his kids. Edward POV, AH, AU, canon.

For the Kids, EPOV

I was late. I promised I'd never be late again. But damn, I had a job, a life. I texted Bella and asked her to order for me so the kids didn't have to wait to get their food.

When I entered the restaurant, it was easy to spot my family. There were the twins, McKenna with her auburn hair and big brown eyes, and Evan with is his hair dark like Bella's, but crazy all over the place like mine. He also shared my green eyes. Next to them sat Bella, their mother. The woman I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. Well, that was until the stresses of life chased us down. We failed, Bella and me.

"Daddy!" McKenna ran to me and my heart exploded. I loved both my kids equally and had special relationships with each of them, but McKenna was a Daddy's girl to the core.

"Hi baby girl, sorry I'm late," I put as much remorse as possible in my voice.

She pulled away and winked at me "It's okay, Daddy."

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bella's grimace and had a feeling she didn't agree with our daughter's statement. But, I was used to disappointing Bella, it was one thing I excelled at, now and when we were together. Thankfully, we were divorced almost four years, so her disappointment was something that no longer kept me up at night.

McKenna dragged me to the table so I could join the rest of my family.

Evan gave me a timid wave, but didn't get up to hug me, which tore at my heart.

"Hey, Ev, how are you?" I kissed his head and chuckled at his untamed hair.

"Good." He shrugged.

I felt a pang of sadness. I knew he blamed me for the divorce. And, as much as McKenna was a Daddy's girl, Evan was his mother's son.

Bella and I locked gazes. I gave her a polite nod. "Hello, Bella. Sorry I'm late. You look lovely tonight."

Her eyes narrowed the slightest bit. "Hello, Edward. At least our food hasn't showed up this time," she said flatly.

I nodded and sat down. Bella ordered me an iced tea. I was parched and as normal, busy at work and hadn't had enough to drink. I couldn't fight the smile when I tasted the mango syrup in my drink. Bella, despite how she felt about me personally, was a nurturer and was at her best when taking of others. I was touched she did sweet things like this for me.

I caught her eye and we shared a tender moment. I thanked her silently for the drink and for not being nasty that I was the late, again. This is one thing Bella and I were good at, silent communication, even if sometimes it caused more harm than good.

Clapping my hands together and smiling at my broken family, I asked, "How was everyone's day?"

McKenna rattled off a detailed account of her day, sometimes pausing, allowing her brother to get a few words in. I listened with interest and devoured the food that had arrived. I couldn't remember if I had lunch. I was famished so I assumed probably not.

As both kids told various stories, each with their own unique flair, I listened with awe. I hated that I missed this time with them on a daily basis; at least I got to enjoy it every Wednesday. As hard as these dinners were to make, I wouldn't trade this time with the kids for anything. I already missed so much of their lives.

Bella was extra quiet tonight. It was as if she sensed I had something serious to discuss with her, but that conversation will have to wait until our planned lunch date for Friday.

"Edward, how was your day?" Bella asked when McKenna finally wound down her dissertation.

I sat back and blew out a shaky breath. "It was good, busy. We got a new account that Jasper and I have been working on for six months." I smiled proudly at my accomplishment.

The kids cheered and Bella nodded mutely. I felt like she had something to share, but kept quiet. I needed to tell her that Tanya and I got engaged.

A felt a pang of nervousness, if she ever were to tell me similar news, I wouldn't be happy. There was no man good enough to live with my kids … and her. I was a dick, I knew it, but my protectiveness for my family outweighed any guilt I had about my feelings.

Trying to dispel the heavy thoughts that swirled in my brain, I took a greedy sip of my drink. My former wife fought a smile when she saw how much I was enjoying it.

"And how was your day?" I asked Bella with curiosity, worrying over her quiet demeanor.

"It was good. I got an interesting call from your mother," she said with some bite to her voice.

"Really," I asked with my eyebrows raised, hoping she would expand why my mother called her, but Bella gave me the tiniest shake of her head, telling me this wasn't the time or place. We had little ears present. I let it drop; trusting her completely that me pushing the topic was not a good idea to do in front of the kids.

"Before you showed up, the kids and I were talking about their birthday and how they'd like to celebrate. I was wondering if they wanted to split the holiday week, like we did last year, or should we do two separate consecutive weeks." She stated in a calm voice.

I noticed Evan and his sister having a silent conversation while their mother talked. Bella did too and gave me a questioning glance before she spoke up.

"What's wrong?" She asked them.

I realized, Bella and I weren't the only ones who had expert skills as silent communicators. Evan gave his mom a grimace, but motioned for McKenna to be the spokesperson.

"Mom, Dad, you know how much we love you, right?" Oh, shit, those were never good words out of her mouth. "So yeah, anyway, we want to do a combined trip this year for our birthday."


"All of us."

Bella and I spoke over each other.

"Yes," McKenna said simply.

Bella let out a disgusted guffawing noise and I narrowed my eyes at her. I wasn't ecstatic by a trip with the four of us. But, would it really be that bad? We had dinner together as a family unit every week; it wasn't like the four of us were never together.

"Honey, that's not really an option," Bella said in disbelief. I guess she wasn't thrilled at the idea of a combined trip.

"Yes it is, Mom," Evan said sternly.

Bella and I were both taken aback. Our kids had always been well behaved and it was a rare day when one of them raised their voice in defiance, especially to their mother.

"Excuse me. I don't care how mad you are, you don't talk to me that way … or your father," Bella corrected him.

I thanked her silently for including me in her correction. No matter what happened to our marriage, we were a united front when it came to raising the kids. Bella was doing a good job at being bad cop; I decided to put on my good cop hat.

"Ev, Mac, your mom and I both love you very much. You know that, yes?" I waited for them both to nod and I had their full attention. "Despite how we feel about you, a combined trip is not a possibility," I expressed in a soft tone, but put enough firmness in my voice so they knew I meant my words.

McKenna looked down and her chin quivered just the slightest. Evan, my stubborn son, crossed his arms over his chest, leaned back in his chair, and glared at me.

"It's not possible, because you left us. If you would just be with your family, it would be possible. You don't care about us, all you care about is your bimbo girlfriend and her plastic bo – "

Bella's mouth hung open in shock while I stopped Evan's tirade.

"Stop it!" I said too loud by the stares I received from the other patrons in the restaurant. "First of all, I never left you, I love you. Your mother and I's relationship has nothing to do with you. We love you more than life itself. Secondly, Tanya is my girlfriend and you will respect her. And, where in the hell did you learn how to talk like that … about Tanya's …?"

"Do you mean, her plastic – "

Bella was coming out of her shock and held up her hands to stop our son. "Evan, stop it!"

"But, Mom, that's what Aunt Rose calls them," he insisted.

Damn that Rose. Emmett at one time was one of my best friends, but his wife, not so much. I wasn't too let down when Bella seemed to end up with Rose and Emmett in the divorce.

Bella fought a smile. "Evan, you're not your Aunt Rose. Talk like that again and you'll lose all electronics for a week."

"But, mom, that's not fair," he whined.

"Ev, life isn't fair. The sooner you learn that, the easier you'll life will be." Bella's eyes glossed over with sadness.

It was as if she socked me in the gut. I knew she was talking about our marriage and me. I was dreading Friday, but I knew if I put it off any longer, she'd be more hurt and upset. Better to just rip that band-aid off now and tell about my engagement.

McKenna dropped her head on the table as if it weighed fifty pounds and sobbed. My heart felt like it weighed fifty thousand pounds. I can't stand to see my baby-girl cry.

I pulled her onto my lap. Her little body was like a worn out rag doll that had lost some of its stuffing. She clung to my shirt and cried into my chest.

Evan came over and rubbed her back. "We tried Mac. Don't cry. It'll be okay."

Unfortunately, that made her quiet cries turn into dramatic sobs. I saw Bella wipe a tear from her flawless cheek. I wasn't the only one who couldn't stand to see Mac cry.

Evan hugged her and we found ourselves in a three-way hug. Bella came over, got down on her knees, and rubbed both kids on the back.

She looked at me with those brown eyes I could never resist. They were what first drew me in. They were the same eyes as my daughter. Once again, our silent communication was in harmony and we knew what we had to do. We were going on a group trip, together for their birthdays. I knew that once I told Tanya this nugget of information I'd see fireworks, but not in a good way. F-my life.

Mac finally calmed down and we decided to order dessert and discuss, or I should I say negotiate, this trip. Even though Mac stopped crying, she was still upset and stayed planted on my lap. We ordered her favorite, a brownie sundae.

The four of us huddled around the table ready to plan. To anyone, who hadn't seen the earlier drama, we'd appear like the perfect family planning a dream vacation. Instead, Bella and I were trying to negotiate something that would work for both of us.

"Daddy, I already worked it out with Meme. We'll go to the Hampton beach house and spend the Fourth of July week there," Mac informed as she pulled out some sort of planner.

She was incredible. I'm sure if she got tired of controlling Bella and myself, Central Command could use some of her skills. I was impressed and a little scared.

The first page of her notebook contained a list of names. I let an unsteady breath go when I saw Tanya's name, but my silent victory was short lived when I saw Rose, Emmett, and Charlie, Bella's overprotective father, on the list as well.

"Yes, we can make sand castles, see the fireworks. Mac and I have it all worked out." Evan pointed out all the highlights of their diabolical plan.

Bella looked at me and shrugged. I knew she would be okay with Tanya being there, as long as Rose was there as well to back slap Tanya if she slipped out of the bounds of appropriate behavior around my ex-wife and children. Problem was, when Tanya slinked away, licking her wounds – Rose would continue her attack on me. I was not looking forward to spending a week with her. The things I do for my children.

I shrugged back at her. "Ev, Mac, anything else you want to spring on us?" I said as I saw several more pages and at this point. I wanted the bullets. I had two months to prepare, but I needed the highlights to prep Tanya.

Mac nodded. "Yes, Daddy," she said softly. "We want a party the day before or after the fourth for just our friends and we want some time to do activities with the four of us. Like ride beach cruisers and surfing."

"Surfing?" Bella squeaked.

She was about as coordinated as a bull with three legs and I knew the idea of surfing scared her. I gave her a wink of reassurance. Despite our separate lives, I would never let her get hurt. This seemed to clam her anxieties and her stiff shoulders relaxed a bit.

The rest of the night flew by as Evan and McKenna detailed out the 'Week of Fun,' as they dubbed it. I was tired, overwhelmed, and tried to let it all sink. I hadn't seen Charlie since I moved my stuff out of the house Bella and I bought together. I wasn't sure who would be worse to spend the week with, Rose or Charlie. I called it a tie and decided I was screwed regardless.

I walked the three of them out to Bella's Volvo SUV, stupid lame vehicle that it is. But, it's safe Edward. She'd said when we bought it, right before we separated.

As much as this night was a test of my patience and as hard as this 'Week of Fun' was going to be on everyone, the hugs I got from McKenna and even Evan, I knew it would all be worth it.

"I love you, Daddy," Mac said, as she looked up at me with her eyes too wise for her almost ten years.

"Yeah, Dad, thanks. Best family dinner since … well, in a long time," Evan echoed his sister's enthusiasm.

Bella shot me a sideways glance. She knew Evan took the divorce the worst and to see him so positive about anything was cause for celebration.

I waved good night to my family and watched them drive off. Our situation was not ideal, and I was a big part of breaking up my family, but I knew that no matter what, the sun rose and set with my kids. They were all that mattered. I'd give them anything they wanted. Even a shared 'Week of Fun.'


I was a wreck. It was one lunch with Bella, but I had some news to share and I'm not sure how she, and eventually the kids, would take it.

As soon as I entered the restaurant, I saw Bella. I felt that familiar electricity when she was close. It was comforting and disturbing at the same time. When we'd met in college our connection was immediate; distance and divorce did nothing to take away the natural draw we had for one another.

"Hello, Bella," I greeted her as I sat down.

She took a sip of her drink and threw me a polite smile. She tried to exude an aura of calm, but I could see a storm brewing in her eyes.

"Hello," she said as she pushed two velvet ring cases towards me.

"What's this?"

"On Wednesday, your mother called and asked for my engagement ring and your grandmother's sapphire ring that was given to me to wear at our wedding." Bella grimaced and looked down. "She said you'd soon need them and they should stay in the family." She laid the force of her teary eyes on me. "When we decided to divorce I tried to give both these rings back to you and your mother, since they were family heirlooms. But, both you and Esme refused to take them. You insisted I keep them for McKenna. Is there something you need to tell me?"

"Bella." I tried to grasp her hand, but she pulled it away. "I'm sorry my mother called before I had a chance to speak with you. There's a reason, outside the 'Week of Fun,' I wanted to meet with you."

Bella frowned. She knew I only asked her to lunch when we had something serious to discuss. She wasn't dumb and knew something was up.

"Anyway, yes, I've asked Tanya to be my wife." There I said it.

She sat back in her chair and studied me. She made me feel exposed. Bella always had a way of making me feel like she could read me, see into my soul, where all my secrets stay locked away from the world. I shifted nervously in my seat under her gaze.

"And here I thought you were going to tell me you were moving across country or something, leaving our children behind. No, it's even better, you're making some moderately successful actress, who can only get cast in commercials, their step-monster," she said in a callous voice that was nothing like the Bella I knew.


"Oh God, Edward, stop acting shocked. How do you want me to react? Your mother is going to give her family rings to a half-wit instead of my daughter, and now I have to compete with some other woman as a mother figure for my children." She put her head in her hands. "Now I wish you were moving," she mumbled into her hands quietly, but I could still hear her.

Our waitress shot me a nervous look. I knew she wanted to come take my drink order, but the table had some heavy tension that was keeping her away. I gave her a smile letting her know it was okay. Maybe her presence would remind Bella we were in a public place and help dispel the tension between us.

I put in my order for a double seven and seven. Bella ordered a dirty martini. She never drank. Shit.

"I'm sorry." She blew out a ragged breath and gave me a watery smile. "I've reacted badly. I'm just surprised that's all. I'm sure you'll be very happy with Tanya."

Her words were kind in nature, but seemed forced. I knew she was trying to be supportive, but her earlier outburst told me how she really felt. I felt like a giant ass. I didn't want to hurt Bella again, or our kids. But, it seems no matter what I do, I end up hurting them.

"Thank you. I'm sorry my mother called you. That's unlike her to be so insensitive."

Bella rolled her eyes. She and my mother always got along. I wondered what her reaction was about, but that would have to be a discussion for another time.

I cleared my throat. "Anyway, those rings were given to you. They are yours to hold on to for safekeeping, for McKenna." I pushed the boxes back towards her.

She shook her head and stopped me. I tried to ignore the warmth of her hand and the feelings it stirred in my gut. Her eyes softened and she let out a calming breath.

"No, Esme is right. These are from your family. They're special. I shouldn't have them." She looked down and played with her napkin. "Anyway, I'd love for McKenna to have them someday, but they're yours to decide what to do with." Her big eyes flashed with earnestness. "I don't want to keep them, I insist you take them, please," she pleaded

"I appreciate that Bella, but they were given to you. I'm not giving them to someone else. My mother probably just assumed, but it was a bad assumption. Please, take them; keep them safe for me … for Mac."

She opened the cases and inspected each one, just barely brushing her finger over the delicate intricacies of each ring's unique quality. Her expression was far off, wistful, and belonged to another time when things were good between us, when we were so madly in love and the thought of us fighting over this topic would never occur to either of us. That was a lifetime and a half ago.

Ever so gently, she closed each box brushing the velvet cover. She wiped a tear off her flushed cheek and pushed the rings back to me.

"No, they belong with you, with your mom. I appreciate you keeping them for McKenna, but they don't belong to me anymore. Really, Edward, I insist and don't want to talk about it anymore."

I knew her words were final and not to push her. I accepted the rings and put them in my suit pocket. I gave her a nod and let the heavy subject drop.

"I'm happy for you Edward, really. Everyone deserves to be happy. Just promise me that when you do set your plans, you let me know. When Esme called, I was caught off guard. It was … tough. I just want to be well informed. I think if I'm prepared I can be there for the kids, if they need me."

Her tone was light, but her words were serious. The kids, how are they going to take the news?

Bella being an amazing mother helped me figure out how to tell them and we tried to gauge their reactions. We both agreed that Evan would take it the worst, all the events over the last four years he took worse than McKenna.

We ordered and had a nice lunch after the heavier subjects were dealt with. It was getting late, I had to get home since my sister was picking the kids up to get them some new outfits for summer. Tanya was in Los Angeles at a taping and so it would just be the kids and me tonight.

Since it was my weekend with the kids, and Tanya was away, Bella and I both agreed this was the best time to tell them about my engagement. She said she was planning on staying local, if I needed her she'd come over and help, but I wanted to try and do this on my own.

I took care of the check and Bella gave me a genuine smile for the first time in a long time.

"Thank you, Edward," she said softly

I hadn't heard her say my name like that in awhile. I tried to ignore what her tone did to me.

"It's nothing, just a little lunch." I shrugged.

"Yes, the lunch, but really I meant, our conversation. I appreciate you getting my input with the kids. It means a lot."

"You're their mother and you're the best one anyone could ask for."

She blushed over my words. I hadn't seen her blush in years. I didn't really see her this way anymore, but she was lovely. She'd grown into a beautiful woman. She was always pretty in college, but with age, her beauty grew profoundly. I just hadn't seen it in a long time.

"Thank you," she said simply.

We walked out together. I put a hand on the small of her back. At first, she tensed, but quickly relaxed under my touch.

"Oh crap, we forgot to talk about the kid's birthday," Bella said in a half-urgent tone.

"I think our daughter has it all planned pretty well," I joked. "Like mother, like daughter," I snickered.

Bella was planning and anal to a fault. It was a big contention in our marriage.

She grimaced, but let my bad joke slide. "Yes, but what about a gift. Did you want to do something combined?" She asked in a nervous tone.

Shit. "Oh, well Tanya and I already got them their gift. I'm sorry … I didn't know," I stammered.

She shrugged. "No worries, I was just curious. It's fine." Her tone was light, but her eyes were heavy.

I swung my arms nervously. "I have to tell you, I'm a little nervous about seeing your dad," I confessed, not embarrassed to show my anxiety to her.

Charlie Swan scared the shit out of me. Last time I saw him, he told me he'd like to take me on a long boat ride and only one of us return.

"Come on Edward, he's not so bad. He's calmed down a lot. He's married now and I promise you won't have to go on any boats with him," she giggled.

"He told you about that?"

She gave me a guilty smile. "Don't worry Edward, he's harmless. He was just trying to scare you."

"Well it worked," I huffed. I mean who wouldn't be scared of a man that wore a creepy mustache like that with pride.

"Please," she beseeched. "Try to get along, for the kids."

Damn, those big brown eyes with their power to plead.

"Fine, for the kids," I whined.

"Seriously, did you just stomp your foot," she teased.

"Just remember, I'm the father of your children. If I'm swimming on the bottom of the Atlantic with cement tied to my feet, I won't be able to perform the most important role of my life."

She smiled and touched my cheek lightly. "You're the best father in the world," she mimicked my words from earlier. "I promise to control my dad."

"Okay," I whispered and let the warmth of her hand spread through my body.

A flash of sadness passed over her glossy eyes. I was the inglorious bastard that was responsible for that sadness.

She slowly pulled her hand away and placed it next to her side. "But, I'd say you're in a better place than me. I get to spend the week with your soon to be wife and your mother," she said with a grimace.

"What is going on with you and my mother?" I ignored the Tanya comment and asked about her and my mom.

She shrugged. "Don't worry about it, Edward. I'll be on my best behavior when it comes to Tanya and Esme."

That didn't really answer my question, but Bella looked anxious to leave so I let it drop, for now.

I let out a relieving breath as I watched Bella travel out of the parking lot. That went better than I expected. Now I just have to tell the kids. Crap.


After weeks of planning and coordinating to the point of exhaustion, the 'Week of Fun' was upon us. Tanya stayed in the city and would arrive tomorrow since she had some last minute reshoots to do on one of her commercials. I drove up this morning with Mom to help her prep.

Bella, our kids, Charlie and his new wife Sue, Sue's kids, Emmett, Rose, and their kids would arrive shortly. I was nervous and reviewed again my mother's suggestion for the room assignments. She put all of them together on the second floor, while Tan and I, Alice, Jasper, their kids, and my parents would be on the main floor. This worked for me, the further away from Charlie and Rose the better.

"Honey, don't worry. Things will be fine. You know those two little darlings of yours and the other kids will dispel any awkwardness us adults have," Mom said this was going to be simple.

Her confidence was encouraging, but Charlie Sawn had never threatened her.

I nodded unsure. "Yeah, I guess. We'll just let Evan and Mac, be the focus."

Mom cupped my cheek. "You and Bella have done a great job staying civil after the nastiness of divorce. I'm proud of you, honey."

A sense of pride ran through me. "Thanks, Mom, I appreciate that. We've tried. It hasn't been easy and I have guilt, but the kids have always been our focus. No matter what happened between Bella and me, we've always kept Evan and McKenna at the forefront."

She nodded and started to prep dinner instructions for Mrs. Cope, my parent's housekeeper, who would be spending the week taking care of us.

I chugged a beer hoping to calm my nerves. I cautiously brought up the next subject.

"Hey, Mom, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, honey, you know you can come to me with anything. Shoot."

"Well, the other day it seemed like Bella, ah … she seemed like there was some, uh … some unease between you two. Did something happen that you're not telling me?" I hedged.

She shook her head and looked away nervously.

She sighed and started. "When you first left, Bella came to me. I had always been a pseudo-mother figure to her. I wasn't shocked when she showed up at the house looking horrible. I swear she'd lost at least ten pounds."

I winced as my mother detailed how bad Bella looked. I remember not seeing her for several weeks and when I finally did see her again, it was disturbing how gaunt she'd become. She was always naturally thin and petite, but she broached sick looking. After that, I called Rose and asked her to step in and help Bella. She was traveling with Em at the time and admitted that she hadn't seen Bella in a few weeks. She flew back immediately and helped Bella get back on track.

That's when Bella pulled herself together and we finally sat down to talk about the reality of living and raising our children as two separate, single people.

"I remember," I said sadly, the vivid memories would forever be imprinted in my brain.

Mom wrung her hands nervously. "I turned her away," she said sadly, as she wiped a tear. "I felt horrible, but you are my son and you had to be my priority. If I were there for Bella, how could I be there for you?"

I pinched the bridge of my nose. Now I had more guilt.

"Seriously, Mom, why wouldn't you tell me that Bella was so bad off?"

She looked at me blankly. "You were in such a bad place when you left. I didn't want to worry you further. I did call Charlie Swan, but he never returned my call."

She leaned over the counter and put her head in her hands. "Looking back now, I was wrong. I should have helped her, contacted you, done something, I don't know …" She shook her head and looked at me with haunted eyes.

I had no words.

"I'm not proud of myself, Edward. But now, looking at how well Bella and you are doing, I've tried to put it in the past and move on." She gave a watery smile.

"And, another thing, why did you call her a few months ago, asking for those rings back? Before, when she tried to return them you adamantly refused." I had a hard time keeping the anger out of my voice.

"I did that for you," she insisted.

"Did I ask for your help? I hadn't even had a chance to talk to Bella about my engagement and you put her on the defense asking for the rings."

Mom covered her mouth with her hand and a few silent tears fell down her cheeks. "Edward, I'm sorry. I had no idea. I thought you'd told her right away. Oh dear, I guess I owe Bella an apology … for a few things," she stated sadly.

"What was that dear?" Dad asked with concern as he entered the kitchen. He was still in his standard shirt and tie he wore under this lab coat. He just arrived, having to do rounds this morning.

He hung up his keys, gave me a weary look, and pulled Mom into a hug. He raised his eyebrows and silently asked me to communicate what was wrong. I gave him a small headshake and gestured that he'd have to ask Mom.

"It'll be okay dear. Whatever it is we'll take care of it." He pulled out of the hug and held her in a sideways embrace. "What's so bad that it requires your beautiful face to be riddled with tears?" Dad wiped her tears and pulled her to the love seat in the kitchen corner that acted as a small reading nook.

"I owe our former daughter-in-law a huge apology," Mom said sadly, as she leaned on Dad's shoulder for comfort.

My parents talked quietly in the corner, while I downed the rest of my beer. I saw Bella's car pull up. Let the fun begin.

"Pop-pop, Meme!" Evan ran in the room and jumped on my parents. He was so excited he ran right past me not even noticing I was in the kitchen.

"Daddy!" McKenna ran full force into me.

"Hi, baby-girl. How was your drive?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. I slept the whole time. Grandpa Charlie drove. Aunt Rose and Uncle Em followed us."

"Hello, Edward," Charlie said in a friendly tone, but didn't offer to shake my hand. He flew past me and moved to my parents.

If Bella harbored ill feelings towards either of my parents, she didn't share it with him. He greeted them warmly and introduced his wife and her two kids, Seth and Leah. Both looked like they were around college age.

"Hey, Edward." Em pulled me into a half man-hug, half handshake.

"Nice, to see you, man," I said genuinely. Em was a great guy and I did miss his friendship.

"Edward," Rose said curtly, with daggers in her eyes.

"Rose," I returned.

Her evil spawn sons, Dimitri and Felix, ran past us, and right to the cookie jar. Through all this, McKenna stayed glued to my side with her warm body wrapped around me.

Rose snapped her fingers and headed to her sons. "Dimitri, Felix, stop. No dessert until after dinner," she admonished them.

Em smiled at her with a goofy grin. He was always so enamored with his wife; he looked at her the same today as he did on their wedding day. I was envious. Did I have that kind of love with Tanya, as I thought I had with Bella? With Bella, our love seemed to fade, shadowed by the chaos our lives became. Would it still be hearts and rainbows for Tanya and me, ten or fifteen years later?

"Daddy, after dinner can we go for a walk on the beach? The four of us," Mac asked blinking her big brown eyes.

I had a feeling a lot of this weekend was going to be requests that the four of us do things together. I'm not sure how that's going to sit with Tanya, but she'll be working locally for a few days so maybe she won't notice.

I looked at Bella as she chatted with my parents and her family. She gave me a little nod, hearing McKenna's request.

"Sure, sounds like fun!" I answered her.

Evan did a little happy dance that both Bella and I noticed. I wondered what that was about? I'd have to talk to Bella later. If my kids thought they were going to pull some Disney-like parent trap scheme, I was going to put a stop to it immediately.

We completed introductions. Everyone got settled into their respective rooms that would house them for the week. Em and I escaped to the back porch and watched our kids make sand castles and play in the waves.

There was an awkward silence between us, now that we didn't have the kids as a comfortable buffer.

"So, Bella says you're getting hitched," he said calmly.

"Yes, Tanya and I decided it was time to take that step," I said and took a big pull of my beer.

"Well, congratulations. I know that after the divorce we didn't really keep our friendship going, but I always thought highly of you and I wish you the best, man."

Emmett was so genuine, I knew his words were sincere.

"Thanks, man, I appreciate that." I really did. It was nice to see that we could still be friendly, even though I knew we could never be real friends again.

"Daddy, can we go now?" Mac hollered from the beach.

"Sure, baby-girl let me get your mom." Last I saw Bella, she was in the living room reading and enjoying the summer breeze.

"I'm right here," Bella announced as she came out to the plantation style porch that faced the beach.

I guess having those windows open she could hear everything that went on out here. Note to keep all private conversations away from this porch.

I noticed Evan arguing with Dimitri, Rose, and Em's oldest son. He walked away mad. I'd have to ask him about it later, when we were alone.

The four of us started walking barefoot down the beach. It was a little awkward and quiet at first, but McKenna's ramblings about our plans for the week helped ease the tension. Evan and Mac decided the day before the fourth they'd have all their friends from Manhattan come out for the 'friend party.' Which was fine with me, that was a Tuesday, how many nine and ten year olds would really show up?

The kids pulled ahead of us so I took my chance to check on Bella.

"How is it so far, will you survive?"

She looked at me with her eyebrows scrunched together. "What do you mean?"

I gestured behind us towards the house. "Being here, with me, my family."

Bella looked thoughtful and studied the ocean. "Well, Tanya seems to be absent, so it's not so bad." She gave me an evil smile and held up her hands in defeat. "Kidding!" She giggled.

I appreciated her lighthearted way to cut the tension between us. It was nice to see Bella joking around and actually giggling. I couldn't remember the last time I saw her like this.

"Ha ha, funny," I joked and nudged her with my shoulder.

"No, it's good. Seriously, your parents have been wonderful and have made all of us feel welcome. Thank you." Her voice rang with sincerity.

"You're welcome," I said simply, enjoying our walk as the awkwardness between us washed away with the waves.

"Mom, Dad, look at these shells we found," Evan hollered as he and Mac headed back to us.

I studied Bella as she watched them race our way. I knew she was the only who really understood the feelings I had towards Evan and Mac. The admiration and love in her eyes, I couldn't find words to describe her face.

She noticed my unabashed staring. "What?"

"Nothing," I said smiling.

I think she knew my line of thinking since she got the same expression when I picked up Evan and ran along the wave line with him on my shoulder, flying like Superman. He giggled and protested, but I could tell he loved it.

We'd walked further than any of us realized and the kids lagged a little on our walk back. Mac started whining and when she did, she tripped on a rock and cut her foot. The cut wasn't bad and I knew wouldn't need stitches, but the blood was enough to make Bella queasy and panicked.

A young lifeguard ran over with a first aid kit.

"Hey guys, everything okay?" Mr. Baywatch asked.

How old was he anyways?

"Uh, not so good, my daughter cut herself and there's a lot of blood," Bella informed Mr. Buff Tan lifeguard.

"Hold up, are you going to be okay?" He asked, concerned for her. Mac's cut wasn't bad, but the blood made Bella gray and she started to sway.

Bella fell forward and fainted into the lifeguard's arms. Mac and Evan freaked out hovering around Bella. Despite the chaos, I was able to wrap up Mac's foot and stop the bleeding. While Mr. Buff Tan lifeguard tended to Bella.

"I think she's coming around?" He stated and smiled at her. He brushed the hair from her face.

"Oh, I'm sorry," she said frantically as she came to and looked at Mac's foot. "Are you okay honey?"

"Yes, Mommy, the lifeguard's supplies fixed me right up," she said shyly, flirty as she looked at the man that held my ex-wife close to his bare body.

I fixed Mac up and was irritated she didn't acknowledge me. I let my irritation go, knowing my petulant behavior wasn't going to help the situation.

Mr. Lifeguard's name turned out to be Riley and not Mr. Buff Tan lifeguard. Humph. Bella and Mac were enamored with him. It was irritating.

"It's okay dad, you're taller and he's kind of annoying," Evan whispered just for us to hear and gave me a reassuring pat.

"Thanks kid," I nuzzled him into me and tried to tame down his hair that had blown every which way from the beach breeze.

"Dad, if I don't get a chance to tell you later, I had a great 'Week of Fun," he said and looked up at me sincerely

"I love you, Ev."

"I love you too, Dad." It was the first time he'd said this to me since Bella and I separated.

I swallowed my tears since I noticed Riley, Mac, and Bella watching us.

We headed back knowing we might be late to dinner. Thankfully, Laurent, my personal trainer, kicked my ass in the gym four times a week since Mac had a hard time walking and I carried her on my back. Not going to lie, I felt kind of studly to my family and hoped I showed that young lifeguard, who was way to interested in the mother of my children, that I was the man.

We walked up to the house and heard laughing. I'd know that laugh anywhere. Aro Volturi, Draper, Jones & Fitch's biggest and newest client. We were now his exclusive marketing firm and we're going to make a fortune off him. Landing this account got Jasper and I associate partner status.

Everyone had settled around the table, eating, laughing, and having a great time.

Thanks for waiting for us.

"Edward, so nice of you to join us," Aro said as he got up to greet me.

"Aro, hi, how are you?" I asked politely, but why the fuck was he here?

He threw his head back and laughed. "I bet you're shocked to see me, your biggest pain the ass, here bothering you on your week off, your family vacation."

Well, yes, but I'm not going to say that to your face.

"No, sorry." I shook my head and tried to get the shocked look off my face. "It's good to see you, really."

He leaned in and whispered in my ear. "It's okay Edward. I wouldn't want to see me either, with the problems I've been throwing at you these last few weeks."

I noticed Bella and the kids watching intently as I interacted with Aro. His Italian food empire was launching its new line of healthy sauces and they were shooting the commercial this weekend, just up the street. Tanya was cast as the 'mom' in the commercial. She cried for four days about being cast as a mother for the first time. She was young and beautiful. I don't know why it upset her so much.

"Oh my, excuse my manners," Aro said as he raised his brows and gave Bella an appreciative once over. "This must be your beautiful Tanya." He kissed Bella's hand.

She returned his attention with her telltale blush. He pulled her arm up to inspect her.


"I must say, my staff did a fabulous job at casting, your Tanya is a beauty, she's going to make the most amazing mother in my commercial. If I saw her eating my new sauce I'd run out and buy a year's supply," he said appreciatively about Bella.

I barely heard Rose's hysterical snicker. Anger coursed through me and made my ears ring. Bella shot me a nervous look.

"Mister are you crazy, this is my mom, not my soon to be step-monster," Evan said proudly.



Bella and I both said shocked.

Aro looked at me with curiosity. "This is the woman you divorced. Are you crazy, son?"

Rose and now the whole 'Bella camp' laughed aloud. My family gaped at Aro's crassness. I looked at him in shock and rubbed my neck nervously.

"Calm down, Edward. She's your ex-wife," he chuckled, "and it appears, your loss is mine and every man in the tri-state areas gain." He turned his attention back to Bella. "I'm Aro Volturi, The Sauce King and Edward's biggest pain in the butt, it's nice to meet you miss …"

Bella blushed again, of course.

"It's Swan, Isabella Swan, but most people call me Bella," she said with a giggle.

Giggling, really.

"Oh, Bella, what a suiting name," he said with a lustful gaze. "It is a pleasure to meet you." He kissed each of her hands.

Rose clapped, Charlie cleared his throat, and Mom jumped up pulling the four of us to the table to eat. Aro was charming and I could tell was trying to impress Bella. He was too old for her and I hoped she realized this.

As we ate, Rose grilled Aro, trying to find anything at all wrong with him. She was unsuccessful at phasing Aro. He took all her questions in stride and kept his eyes drawn to Bella as he devoured three pieces of Mom's lemon poppy seed cake.

The night was winding down. The kids were showered, in their pajamas, and watching a movie in the television room. The adults gathered around the large plantation-style table in the great room. Everyone listened with rapture at Aro's stories about growing up in Italy. Bella was fascinated. She loved Italy and always wanted to go there.

We postponed our honeymoon since she broke her leg dancing at our wedding reception. Then she got pregnant with the twins. We always found a reason not to go. She gave me a guilty look when Aro offered up his villa in Tuscany to her anytime she wanted.

Was her thinking in line with mine? That we never made it to our postponed honeymoon and it would be weird to go to Italy with anyone else. I mean we made trips, mostly with our families and Rose, but it was more like a cruise, the Caribbean, skiing in Vermont, the beach house, etc. We never had a romantic vacation, alone, just the two of us.

Em, Jasper, and I tucked the kids into bed. I needed a break from the Aro admiration hour. I was more than happy to take on the chore.

"Dad, don't worry, you're taller and more handsome than that old guy," Evan announced to me, right before he gave me a big hug goodnight.

I couldn't help but chuckle at him. "Thanks, Ev, but your mom is free to date whoever makes her happy," I reminded him.

"Whatever, Dad," he huffed and rolled away from me. I turned the light off and reminded him again how much I loved him. If I said it enough, maybe he would one day believe me.

By the time I headed downstairs the kitchen was quiet and clean. Aro was gone, finally. To my surprise he was staying in the house next store, one of his investors owned it. He found out from my assistant the address to the house and stopped by to say hello. Mom, of course, invited him to dinner.

Jasper went to check on Alice. I guess Charlotte wasn't sleeping well, they were both exhausted, and calling it a night.

Em grabbed us a few beers. We headed outside to relax on the side porch. In the garden, Rose and Bella swung on the hammock, giggled, and drank wine.

"Cheers," Em said, smiled at the pair, and clinked his bottle against mine.

"Yeah, cheers," I said and settled into one of the lounge chairs.

We enjoyed comfortable silence, listening to the waves and the girl's giggly chitchat.

"It's nice to see Bella relaxed and happy," Emmett mused.

"You think she's happy?" Were we talking about the same woman? She didn't seem that way when I saw her.

He shrugged. "Yeah, I think she is. With your engagement, I think she can finally move on." He gave me a sheepish look. "You didn't hear it from me, but I think she always thought there was hope you two might reconcile, but now …"

He trailed off and I finished for him. "But now there's no hope."

He took a sip of his beer. "Yeah."

I saw a figure approaching the girls and jumped up to investigate. It was late and even though this was an upscale area, you never knew what you'd get at the beach. Em was right on my heels, also concerned.

We cut the lurker off before he got to Bella and Rose.

"Hello, Ed." Garrett Storm, Tanya's celebrity chef cousin shook my hand.

"Garrett, hi, I thought you weren't coming until tomorrow?"

Yeah dickhead, you're early and it's Edward, not Ed.

"Sorry, about that. We wrapped shooting the show early, so I decided to head up. I would have called, but my phone died," he explained.

Tanya left me a message; she invited her cousin for the week, since his plans fell through.

"Oh. My. Gawd. You're Garrett Storm," Bella squealed and ran over.

"Hi, and you are?" He asked with delight as he shook her hand. He clasped his other hand around hers and looked completely smitten.

What the hell. Why was everyone after my ex-wife all of a sudden?

The girls got Garrett a wine glass and opened up another bottle. They listened in complete awe as he told story after story about being a celebrity chef. I didn't see what the big deal was?

Em and I retreated back to the side porch. The three of them were so caught up in their 'talk,' they didn't see us walk away. I was annoyed and tired, but I felt responsible for the house and compelled to stay up. I was going to be tired and grumpy tomorrow.

Em shrugged, seeming to be unimpressed with Garrett. "Don't worry dude, you're taller."

What the hell? First Evan, now Em.

"I'm just worried about my children's mother and who she spends her time with. Bella is free to date whoever makes her happy," I clarified, again.

Em smiled and played with the frayed label on his beer bottle. "Sure, sure. Just saying, you're taller."

He smiled and I swear his dimples mocked me. This was going to be a long 'Week of fun."