CHAPTER SEVENTY-FIVE

BELLA'S POV:

I couldn't believe how easily we fell into a pattern with Edward. He fit right in, as if he had always been there. Tony idolized him—he wanted to do everything with his father. And Edward humored him. I was so pleased to see that he was taking to this fatherhood role so easily. And to think that I doubted him!

I made my way home from a long day at school. Grades were due, so I stayed later to try and get as much work done without the usual distractions home-life presents me. Edward promised that he would pick Tony up from day care after his shift at the hospital. Though Edward still had his apartment, he was over at our place every day. The den had become his home away from home, and Tony loved that Edward was always around. And truthfully, I loved it too.

I know that Edward wanted more from me, but I hadn't been able to give him what he wanted quite yet. But I think the last remaining walls around my heart had finally crumbled. I was ready. Edward had truly been amazing during my recovery, and I was ready to let him back fully into my heart. I planned to tell him after dinner tonight. And maybe, after we put Tony to bed, we could…well…you know. I blushed thinking of how I craved getting reacquainted with Edward in that way.

In no time, I had made it home, and let myself in, calling out to my boys. "Edward? Tony?" I didn't hear anything, but Edward's car was out front, so they had to be here. Maybe they were rough housing in the backyard? Or maybe Edward was able to get Tony to nap, and they fell asleep together?

I looked in the backyard, and didn't see anyone, so I made my way up the stairs. Tony was in fact passed out in his bed. My precious boy—though he was starting to protest the need for naps, when he did actually take one, he crashed hard. I leaned forward, and pressed a kiss to his forehead, then went to track down Edward.

As I got closer to the den, I could hear that he was on the phone. I was turning around to give him some privacy, when I heard,

"I will be there tomorrow sir. My flight is at 10 AM."

Tomorrow? Flight? Where was Edward going? I stood outside in the hallway, just beyond the entrance to the room. A little eavesdropping never hurt anyone.

"I understand. Again, I apologize for my lapse in judgement. I don't want you to think I was taking advantage of my position."

Who was he talking to? He sounded so formal, so I doubt it was his family.

"Thank you for helping me out. I just want to put this all behind me."

After a few more exchanges, Edward ended his call. I stayed where I was, unsure of if I should address what I'd overheard, or wait until Edward mentioned it. Shaking my head at how silly I was being, I continued into the den to greet him.

"Hey. I was wondering where you were. I saw Tony was passed out upstairs. Did you help him exert some energy?" I asked, figuring Tony was a safe topic. Edward sighed, but didn't respond.

"Edward? You okay?" I tried again, stepping forward to place my hands on his back. Instead of acceptmy touch, Edward pulled away as if I had burned him. I was starting to get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

"It's time for me to leave," was all he said.

"Leave? What do you mean leave?" My first thought was that he meant it was time for him to go back to his apartment. He eyes looked so serious though. What happened today to cause such a change in him?

"I want to go home. I don't want to be here anymore."

Wanting further clarification, I asked, "To your apartment?"

Edward just shook his head. "No, Chicago. My home is Chicago."

"But I thought you were staying here—your transfer went through. You've been assigned shifts at the hospital here," I pressed, trying to make sense of what Edward was saying.

"I didn't actually transfer here Bella. I was just using up all my vacation time. But I can't do this anymore. This has been fun, but it's time for me to get back to my real-life Isabella."

Isabella? He never calls me that, I thought. Shaking my head, I asked, "Your real life? But what about Tony?"

"What about him?" he asked me, his expression seemed like he was already tired of this conversation.

"You're his father. What about what you said about wanting him? About wanting us?"

"It was nice for a while, but I think it was just a passing fad. Now I can say that I've been there, done that, and I definitely don't want children. Thanks for letting me test out this little experiment."

"Experiment?" I bristled, not liking where this was going.

"Yes Isabella. Everyone wanted me to get along with the spawn, and so I did. I got my family off my back, and now I'm back in everyone's good graces again. But this isn't my life, and its time for me to move on."

"So, this whole thing was just to make your family happy? You had no interest in being a family?"

"Nope."

"But you said—" he cut me off.

"I said what I needed to say to make this project work. It was what was necessary for you to let me in. And I haven't needed to pay for a hotel since you've let me stay here for free."

"Hotel? I thought you had an apartment," I asked, so confused.

"Nope. I looked at apartments like Mom and Alice said, but I never actually put a down payment down. I had no intentions of staying here that long."

"But Tony needs you. We need you," I admitted, looking down at my feet. I hoped my admission would sway him, but instead, it fell upon deaf ears.

"And we don't always get what we want in life Isabella. Now, this conversation is over. I need to pack." He started making his way around the room, grabbing his things.

"So that's it? You're done? Please, why can't you just stay and work this out." I didn't want to beg, but I was just so confused.

"Because I don't want to stay here. Are you even listening to me? I. Don't. Want. You."

Ouch. I recoiled as he enunciated each word to get his message across. But I couldn't think about that right now. I needed to think about Tony. "But what do I tell Tony?

"Not my problem."

"You think your family would approve of you just walking away like this? This is going to undo any good you think it did the second you go home," I tried to reason with him, pulling at strings to find a plausible argument.

"I'll tell them we gave it an honest go, but its not in the cards. If they want to maintain a relationship with him, that's their purgative. But I'm done Isabella. I want out. I wish the hospital never called me here."

I balled my hands into fist. "I just knew I shouldn't have trusted you. A leopard never changes their spots," I seethed, disgusted that I didn't trust my instincts, and fell for his stupid experiment.

"Yea, I was surprised when you gave in so easily. I really just wanted to see how far I could get with you, and if I had more time, I may have finally been able to bed you. But alas, my time is up. Dr. Volturi has me on the schedule for work tomorrow, so I have to get back."

"This was all so you could sleep with me?" I asked, appalled that I didn't see any of this. Then I realized, I was going to sleep with him. I was starting to feel sick to my stomach that I would have been even more hurt if I let this evening playout the way that I wanted it to.

"It would have been nice if I could have gotten some, but its not worth this much trouble. I'm over it."

My mind was reeling. I was angry. Nauseous. Betrayed. But most of all, I was heartbroken. While I would have loved that happily ever after, I was more upset that my son was going to lose out on having his father. If these weeks had shown us anything, it was that Tony was thriving having Edward around.

"Don't. Please don't do this. This will hurt him so much." I no longer cared if begging made me seem weak. I couldn't look anymore foolish by this point.

"I hear that kids are resilient. He'll bounce back." He picked up his bags, and was heading towards the door.

"That's it? You're not even going to say goodbye?" I thought he said his flight was tomorrow? Wasn't he going to spend his last night here with Tony?

"I don't like goodbyes. Too messy. Maybe you can play this off as a dream. I was never actually here. Do you think he'd buy that?"

"He's not stupid Edward. Of course, he won't buy that," I yelled. I can't believe this is happening right now.

I heard a tired, "Mommy? Whatsa matter?" come from behind me. I guess our conversation was louder than I thought.

"Look what you did now Isabella. You just had to go and make this harder, huh?" Edward sneered at me. And without another word, he was out the door.

"Daddy?" Tony looked at me, confused. "Where is he going Mommy?" He hurried down the stairs, and threw open the door. "DADDY!" he screamed after Edward, but it was no use. He was already gone. But that scream, it echoed in my ear—and would probably stay with me for the rest of my life. What have I done? I reached up to wipe away the tears that were streaming down my face, and got clonked in the face. Ow, I thought, before the awareness started to creep back in.

What was that, I thought, as I tenderly rubbed my face where I smacked myself with my cast. Apparently, I forgot I had it on my arm when I went to wipe away the tears. My cast! I'm still injured. I never thought I would be relieved by that fact. It was only a dream, I surmised. But what a dream. It hit a little too close to home for my taste.

"Bella? Are you okay? I thought I heard you say ow? Are the meds wearing off?"

I whipped my head to find Edward in the doorway, looking alarmed. Was I still dreaming? I discretely pinched myself, and was pleased that I registered that pain. Okay, so Edward was here in my doorway, looking concerned about me. This Edward, and dream Edward were night and day.

"Hit face. With case," I rasped out, but Edward was already making his way into the room. "Sorry. Woke you."

"Don't worry about it Bella. This is why I'm here," he said, trying to soothe me, as he turned the lamp on the end table on so he could inspect the injury. He sat on the edge of the bed, and turned my head side to side.

"Here. For Tony," I reminded him, but got an eye roll in reply.

"Sure, sure. Then, this is a bonus reason. A doctor at your beck and call. There are worse things, huh?" he jested.

"Uh huh," was all I could offer him in reply. I was still quite frazzled by that dream. I wasn't sure how to act around him right now. I think it might have been my subconscious trying to warn me that we're getting too close to him. But I wasn't fully awake yet, and didn't want to make any rash decisions until I was able to better analyze things.

"Well, there's no cut. You'll probably have a nasty bruise, but thankfully, I don't see any lasting damage. Do you want more meds? Its about 4 AM, so you could probably sleep some more."

"No. Wait for morning."

"You sure? There's no fault in needing the medicine Bella. That's what it's there for."

"Don't. Wanna. Sleep All. Day"

"We could half the dose, if that is what you are worried about," he offered, though I think he saw it was a losing battle.

"I'm fine. Go to. Sleep."

He sighed, and backed away. "Alright. I can see that I'm being dismissed. I'll see you in a couple of hours then. Good night Bella."

"Night," I murmured to his retreating form.

I really was in no rush to go back to sleep, worried about being plagued with another nightmare. Instead, I stared up at the ceiling, ruminating over everything. I know that dreams are important because they help us solve problems, and deal with emotions and thoughts. Obviously, I have plenty of thoughts regarding Edward's return to our lives. But what was this dream exactly? A foreshadowing of what was to come? It's true that Edward leaving after Tony has become so attached to him was one of my greatest fears. But this dream; it just seemed bigger. Why did I dream this now? Was it because I allowed Edward to stay overnight against my better judgement? Was this a possible outcome of letting him become too involved in our lives? Yes, he could grow bored of being a Dad and bail. It's a definite possibility, but so far, he hasn't given me any indication of that being the truth. But Dream Edward fooled you too, Bella.

I sighed, frustrated once again at how gullible I came across in that dream. Was that partially true? Am I being too gullible here? I had asked Angela earlier if I was being too accommodating, giving in to all of Edward's requests when it came to this co-parenting thing. But she didn't see it the way I did. I was so thankful to have her around to talk me off the ledge when I was being irrational. Despite her reassurances though, I would assume that I still saw myself as bending to all of Edward's whims, and being seen as weak. Again, its not the truth, but the mind has a funny way of helping us work through our feelings. I don't have to say yes to everything Edward asks of me, but I also don't have to say no just for the sake of maintaining control. I just needed to find the balance so I couldn't be that gullible person from my dream.

I wanted to argue with myself that this dream was only a nightmare, and nightmares are not real and most likely never happen in real life. And yet, I couldn't say with absolutely confidence that it wouldn't happen. What was glaringly obvious was that I didn't trust Edward—the leopard changing spots comment cemented that for me. He didn't want kids, and I think deep down, I don't believe he could have done a complete 180. I'm not doubting that people can grow and mature and change. But I think this particular change just seems too good to be true. Learning to trust Edward isn't something that can be achieved overnight, but so far, we have been civil with one another, and are putting Tony first in trying to make this parenting thing work. I think that in order to overcome this lack of trust, I would just have to continue to get to know this new Edward. Not new, in the sense that he's completely different. Just older. And wiser. And life-experienced. Five years is a long time, and just like I have changed and done a lot in my time separate from him, I'm sure he has as well. I agreed to be his friend, and in order for that to work, I needed to relearn my friend. Trust would only grow from there.

But becoming Edward's friend—this was both a blessing, and a curse. I think what this dream also wanted me to have a better understanding of the reality that is available to me. Dream Bella was happy with Edward being here. Dream Bella didn't want Edward to go home to Chicago. Dream Bella had him relocated, and working at Fork's hospital. Obviously, it would seem that my inner self wanted me to face my true feelings for Edward. And if I'm analyzing my dream correctly, I needed to face my fear of abandonment. While it would be great to have Edward here for good, that wasn't going to magically solve all our problems and hurts. Plus, I didn't even know if that was a possibility. As it stands, Edward is leaving in less than two weeks. I'm not saying we'll never see him again, but things are certainly going to change, and I think I didn't want them to.

Between the accident, and the trauma inflicted on my body, and the emotional and mental strain from Edward being back in our lives, it's no wonder I'm stressed. So much is going on that my mind is working even when I'm asleep. I don't think this dream was meant to scare me away from Edward, but instead, it wanted me to work through what Edward being back means to me. Sure, I've looked at what it means for Tony, and how we'll make it work as a family unit. But the fact that Dream Bella was ready to take Edward up on his offer of more spoke volumes. The heart wants what the heart wants. It doesn't matter if my head and heart are currently at odds with one another. The dream showed that I could very easily get hurt here, but the fact that I wanted to be a true family and have Edward stay here also says a lot when I've been doing nothing but deny that fact. Again, now wasn't the time to go jumping in a relationship—but I couldn't ignore the fact that getting to know Edward again really wouldn't be considered a chore. While irrational Bella wants to kick Edward to the curb to prevent both her and Tony from getting hurt, instead, I would be cautious going forward, but continue to move forward. I wouldn't cower and give into my fears. Yes, Edward may leave us and hurt us. But I can't deny Tony this opportunity of getting to know his father. Just seeing how he's taken to Edward in this short amount of time proves that he needs him in his life. I can only hope that the real Edward needs us; I mean him too.

I heard bustling in the kitchen, signaling someone was up and about. Sparing a glance at the clock, I saw that it was barely 6 AM. My eyes widened, surprised I spent the last two hours stuck analyzing a silly dream. But at least it passed the time. I could smell coffee brewing, and I smiled happily at my favorite scent. Thinking about coffee made me think about liquids, which made me think about having to use the bathroom. I usually went right when I woke up, but considering I've already been up for almost two hours, it's no surprise that my body was looking for relief. Thankfully, I knew Sue would be due soon. She promised to come early. I just needed to make it through a couple more minutes. However, once I thought about having to use the bathroom, the thought became hard to ignore it. I felt like I was a toddler doing the pee-pee dance.

I must have been huffing and puffing due to my discomfort, because no sooner did Edward appear once again. "Good morning. Did you get any more sleep?" he inquired, giving me that signature crooked smile of his.

"No. You?"

"Some. My back is protesting a bit after sleeping on the floor. Staying at the hotel for the last few weeks certainly spoiled me."

I looked at him confused. "Floor?"

"Tony and I, we uh, we helped ourselves to some of Charlie's camping gear. I made a makeshift bed in his room, so that I could sleep upstairs with him. I know I probably should have asked first if I could use that stuff, but I didn't want to bother you since you already had gone to bed."

"Why floor?" I asked, still not fully understanding.

"I, uh, Tony didn't' want to sleep upstairs alone Bella. I couldn't stay down here on the couch. That would defeat the whole purpose of me staying over," he replied, seeming just as confused as I was.

"Bed. Upstairs. Why floor?" I tried again. It was early, and I really didn't want to have to resort to using my white board quite yet.

I think he finally caught on to what I was trying to say, because he answered, "Bella, you barely wanted me to stay over. I wasn't going to help myself to your bed."

"Better. Than floor." I quipped back.

"While that is true, I certainly wasn't going to even broach that subject without talking with you first. It was just easier to camp out. I figure we can hash out all the particulars today. There is actually a lot that we need to talk about today."

My mind briefly flashed to my dream—was this a serious talk that would leave us all heartbroken? I quickly pushed those fears of him leaving down. I needed to give him the benefit of the doubt. "Oh? Bad?" I asked.

"Not bad. We have logistical things to figure out. How are we going to do this going forward—that sort of thing."

He was always the practical one—of course he was looking to organize our situation. But I couldn't fault him. It was needed. We did have a lot to talk about. And if we were planning, then that means he wasn't fully looking to disappear. So that was a good sign.

"Now, I uh, heard you huffing before. Is everything okay?" he asked, clearly moving on when I didn't respond to him.

"Fine." I said, not really wanting to tell him.

"Bella, I am really starting to get sick of the word fine. Now, are we going to do this the easy way, or the hard way?" he pressed.

"Need Sue."

"She called to say she is running behind, and will be here as soon as she can. I'm sorry."

"How soon?" I asked, starting to squirm a little more at the prospect of waiting longer to relieve myself.

"At least another half hour, maybe more. I don't know for sure Bella. I could—" I held my hand up to stop him there.

"No." There was no way he was helping me to the bathroom.

"It really isn't that big of a deal—"

I again cut him off. "No. I'll wait."

"It doesn't look like you can wait Bella," he said, waving his hand at my wriggling lower half.

Him pointing out how much I had to go was only bringing the problem even more front and center. "Not helping."

"I'm trying to help Bella. I am a professional. I think I can manage to get you in and out of the bathroom while allowing you to keep your modesty."

"Not you."

"Then who Bella? I'm not trying to cop a feel, or see you in your skivvies. I'm seriously trying to help you get in and out of the bathroom so you can stop all that squirming. I don't think that feels too good with your busted ribs. The sooner you go, the sooner we can move on from this. This wouldn't be a common occurrence. Just in case of emergencies. And we'll never speak of it again. I promise. Please Bella. Just let me help you," he implored, trying to show that he wasn't trying to take advantage of the situation.

I groaned, but nodded my head. I may die of mortification, but I seriously didn't think I was going to make it until Sue got here. Edward had a look of surprise on his face, but he quickly masked it. I don't think he was anticipating me giving in so easily. But I seriously didn't want to have an accident in my bed—Tony would certainly never let me live that one down.

"Okay, uh, do you want me to put you in the chair, or is it okay if I just carry you in and carry you out?" he asked, sounding so unsure of himself.

Getting in and out of the chair sounded like a waste of effort right now, so I just said, "Carry. Quicker."

"Okay. This may hurt. Holding your breath may help stop your ribs from jostling so much as I move you." Stepping closer to the bed, he positioned himself to lift me. "Ready? On the count of three. One, two, three." I settled myself in Edward's arms, trying to find a balance, or comfortable position to alleviate the strain on my body. But it was no use. Everything was going to hurt, regardless of how I was situated. "Alright, your chariot awaits, m'lady," he jested, trying to distract me from the pain. I snorted at his silliness. He made his way over to the in-suite bathroom, and placed me down on the toilet seat lid. "I'll, uh, leave you to it. Uh, call if you need anything else," he said, as he backed out of the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.

Again, I snorted. It was fun to see Edward flustered. He's said more uhs, and ums this morning than I think I've seen since we've been reacquainted. I kind of liked the fact that he wasn't his suave and confident self. Showed that we both were new at trying to figure out how to handle this situation. I liked being on par with him. I slowly stood up and balanced on one foot. I balanced myself using the sink. It took me awhile, but I was able to undress and use the bathroom, thankfully, without the need of further assistance. Having Sue would have made things go much faster, but I was proud that I could do it on my own. When I was finished, and after I washed my hands, I called out, "Edward?"

"Are you decent?" he asked, coming in with his hand over his eyes. I chuckled at him.

"All done."

He seemed relieved that he didn't have to help me actually use the bathroom, which made me appreciate him more. He really wasn't trying to be inappropriate. He just wanted to help me. "Do you want to get back into bed, or the chair? Sue should be here soon."

"Chair. Need coffee."

"Of course. I meant to bring you some before, but got waylaid," he said, as he placed me in the chair. He pushed me into the kitchen, where two mugs of coffee were already on the table. "I don't think it would be cold, but I can top it off if it is."

I took a sip, and hummed, pleased with my caffeine hit. "Mmm, good. Thanks."

"Do you want to make that shopping list now? Maybe I can go to the store while Sue is here—eliminate one task for the day."

I nodded, and pointed to the shopping list pad that was on the refrigerator door. Edward got it for me, and I started writing down all the things we would need to make it through the week. He reminded me to put as much details as possible, because he didn't want to get the wrong things, or be easily bamboozled again. I couldn't help but chuckle at that. I went back and added in name brands, and acceptable substitutes if he couldn't find the first choices. The list looked like a manuscript by the time I was done, but knowledge is power, and he appreciated the effort I put in. By the time that was done, Sue was ringing the doorbell, and was whisking me back to get showered/cleaned for the day, while Edward left to complete his task.

Sue apologized profusely about being late, explaining about how her car battery had died, so she needed to find a neighbor that was awake that could help her jump start the car. But surprise, surprise—most people aren't awake before 6 AM, so it took her longer to get over her than she planned. I told her not to worry, because life happens. We did agree that 6 AM would probably be the best time for her to come though. I think if I hadn't awoken early due to the nightmare, I would have slept straight through, and the bathroom wouldn't have been an issue. But I don't think I want her coming later, and having to use Edward more often. As she was helping me get dressed, I noticed the monitor sitting on the end table. Did we bring that home from the hospital?

"What's that?" I inquired.

"Oh, I figured since you were downstairs, and Edward was upstairs, a monitor was necessary. This way he could hear if you were in distress or needed help. It was sort of a compromise since you don't want me staying here overnight to monitor you myself."

Oh. Ohhh! That's why Edward checked on me this morning. He heard me hurt myself. I will have to apologize for waking him—but thank him for checking on me regardless.

"Good idea," I said, as I continued getting dressed. It was still difficult to navigate things with one arm, and one leg. But, like all things in life, practice makes perfect. By the time that I got it down, I'd be healed and wouldn't need the skill anymore. After I was dressed, Sue offered to go upstairs and check on Tony since I haven't heard a peep from him yet today. It was still early, and that boy loved his sleep, so I wasn't too worried. Sue reported he was still passed out, but that he had thrown the covers off his body, and was haphazardly sprawled across the bed. She chuckled and told me that her son used to be the same way.

She stuck around and made small talk while we waited for Edward to get back. Its not that I couldn't stay alone in the house—it just made more sense to have a more able-bodied adult around, just in case Tony needed something. What I found interesting was that Sue went to school with Charlie. I wasn't aware that they knew each other. I loved hearing stories about my father's younger years. Especially the ones that showed that like all good teenagers, he got into trouble. Oh, the irony of the law abiding chef doing things that would place him in trouble with the law had he been caught! Sue promised to bring pictures so we could reminisce more. It was bittersweet to think about him. Strangely enough, he was a big supporter for me telling Edward about Tony. We had many an argument about whether I was doing the right thing. But it always boiled down to I was an adult, and he couldn't tell me what to do. He was trying to give me a father's perspective on the issue—but at the time I only had blinders on. I think he would be happy that Edward is here now. I may not have told Edward about Tony, but Tony would have been deprived how many more years without a father if the hospital hadn't of called him. Seeing them together doesn't erase the wrong that I had done, but it gives me hope that the future, well-that there is a future. I won't let dreams or my subconscious tell me otherwise.

After Edward returned from the grocery store, he made breakfast for an overly excited Tony. Tony spared no detail about how awesome their sleepover was.

But that only reminded me that last night's decision for Edward to stay over was decided so quickly, and that we didn't have time to figure out all the details. I went and grabbed my white board, and asked Edward if he would read my response. Then I wrote, "While camping in your room sounds like a lot of fun, I think Edward may need an actual bed. I think for the rest of the week, he's going to stay in Mommy's room. He'll still be upstairs if you need him—just not on the floor where his back will hurt."

"Awwww but Mommy, I like when Daddy sleeps with me."

"I know you do, but do you want Daddy to hurt? Maybe it can be a special treat that he can camp out with you every once in a while, but certainly not every night."

"No, I don't wanna hurt Daddy." Turning to address Edward, "Was the floor mean? Did it hurt you Daddy?"

"It wasn't mean—it just was not very comfortable." Edward paused, as if the words on the tip of his tongue were weighing him down, then said, "Are you sure you're comfortable with that Bella? Its your space, I don't want to encroach upon it."

"More. Comfy. It's okay." Thankfully, Edward didn't continue to gnaw at the issue, and let it drop. He did lean over, and whisper, "Should we talk to Tony about Black? I don't want to put it off, and suffer the consequences."

I nodded, knowing that while it won't be a pleasant conversation, it was needed. I started us off, knowing that Edward would have to do most of the actual talking. "Tony. Time for. Important Talk."

Tony sat up straight in his chair. The word important caught his eye. Well, ear. A fact that I knew would guarantee we had his full attention.

"We need. Your help." I then motioned to Edward, telling him he had the floor.

"Hey buddy, so I know that there's been a lot of grown up talk going on around here lately, but we know you are a big boy, and we wanted to talk with you about a problem our family is having."

"I am a big boy. I'm almost five. I can help. You saw me make the cheesy pasta! I can do a lot of things!" Tony stressed, showing he was ready to help us out with whatever we needed.

"Yes, you were a great help. That's why we know you can help us out here." Pausing to collect his thoughts, Edward then continued, "Sometimes people fight. When people get angry, they say things that are mean and hurtful. Have you ever seen someone do that before?"

"Sometimes at the fun center, people can be mean to each other. But if you call each other names, or hit someone, you gets a time out. I don't like when people yell at each other."

"Yeah, it can be scary and unsettling sometimes. Well, your mom, and your Uncle Jake—they got in a big fight. And the fight didn't end well. He said some mean things that really hurt your Mommy's feelings. So right now, Mommy and Uncle Jake are not talking to each other."

"Are you okay Mommy? Uncle Jake is scary when he yells," Tony asked, but alarm bells were already going off in my head.

"When. Did he yell?" I tried to ask, but fumbled the point I was trying to make. Thankfully, Edward took over again.

"What Mommy is trying to ask is, when did you see your Uncle be scary? Was he yelling at you? Does he yell a lot?"

"He didn't yell at me, but sometimes when people make mistakes or don't do something right, he gets mad and calls them names. Like, when we were at the diner, and the lady gave him the wrong food. Uncle Jake yelled at her, and made her cry. When she ran away, I asked him why he did it, and he said that the problem was fixed now and our lunch was free. But I don't know how yelling fixed it though. The lady was still sad."

I shared a look with Edward, who I could see was fuming. Apparently, there was a lot about the relationship my son and best friend had that I wasn't privy to. I seriously felt like such a failure to have missed all the signs and clues that my best friend wasn't the most stable person to be around.

Not wanting Tony to see how his answer had frustrated him, Edward took a deep breath, and continued on. "Yes, well, this time he made Mommy cry. So, we are not talking or seeing him. Everyone needs a break to calm down, and think about what happened. What we need your help with is to do the same. And, if he tries to talk to you, or get you to go somewhere with him, you need to tell us right away. It'll be like your spying on him for us. And we know how awesome of a spy you are. Do you think you can do that?"

"Yes—I don't want to talk to him if he made my Mommy cry. At least not until he apologizes. I will tell you if I see him! This is like a real mission. This is so cool. I can't wait to start! Can I tell Sophie about the mission? She is my best friend, and she's a spy too!"

I nodded my head, and said, "Sure buddy. Video call later." Pleased with my answer, Tony rushed off so he could 'plan' for this new exciting mission.

At least one person was happy about what was going on in our lives.

"That will probably keep him busy for a while. Do you think we could have our talk now? Or was this morning's discussion already too heavy for anything more today?" Edward asked

Did I really want to have this conversation now? Probably not, but I had to admit, I was curious to what Edward had to say. I know the saying is 'curiosity killed the cat', but I probably would obsess and wonder about the conversation until we had it anyways. It was better to get it out of the way.

"Sure." I shrugged, trying to make light that I wasn't worried about what was to come. I think Edward saw through me though.

"Let's head to the living room. It'll be more comfortable. I can put you on the sofa and get you out of that chair for a bit." Edward handed me the whiteboard that was sitting on the table, and pushed me into the living room. In no time, I was situated in the corner of the couch, and Edward took a seat on the other end. There was so much space between us, that I was again worried about what this conversation would hold.

Edward took a deep breath, preparing himself to get the conversation started. I looked him the eye, giving him my full attention. Here we go.