It's not a good day when you're sitting in your five-year old daughter's kindergarten class, waiting for her teacher to explain why you are here. I was in New York for a week and while I was there, I got a call from Emerson's teacher. My first thought is what the heck is going on, but she was insistent that it wasn't anything bad.

I figured it couldn't have been because we were blessed to have the child we did. Emerson had never been a fussy baby. She was extremely mellow and as she grew older that temperament stuck with her. I always felt that Edward and I were raising a mini adult. He for sure was prepared for a rowdy child like our sisters, but she surprised him when she'd rather read a book instead of watch TV.

When I had gotten word that I had to meet publishers for a possible book deal for a compilation of my essays, I worried because I had never left my child and husband to fend for themselves like that before. Edward was the one who took business trips, not me. I also wasn't comfortable with leaving them because Em had only started school a month ago, which now that doubt was proving to be real since I was sitting here.

"Mrs. Masen, Emerson is an exceptionally bright little girl," Miss Winters started.

"There's a but in there," I smiled.

"Well for the past week she refuses to speak in class and will only communicate using sign language," she frowned slightly.

"I'm pretty sure it's in her file that her father is deaf," I started carefully.

When we registered her for school it was one of the things I discussed with the office. Edward was available to contact via email and I should be called. He wanted to be included, but I was the parent who was called in.

"I saw that. Like I said, your daughter is a bright girl and for her to be able to communicate like that, at her age, is quite touching," she smiled warmly.

"She is very close with her father and it is important to both of them that they have communication."

She nodded. I liked this teacher; she was a little older than me and I could see she really liked my child. I felt bad Em was giving her a hard time. Edward had told me Em had been acting a little clingy since I left. She had slept in our bed with him and he noticed that she was signing and not talking.

"I was away on a business trip. I think her behavior might be reflecting her father's because I was gone," I explained.

Miss Winter's eyes widened at me. I was wearing a black Led Zeppelin shirt that Alice took the back material away and replaced it with black lace, black skinny jeans and black booties. I was a writer; this was as business as I got.

"My husband and I will have a talk with her. I'm sorry for any disruptions she has given you."

"She's not a disruption at all," she shook her head furiously. "I was just worried about the change I saw. She is a very reserved child, but to be honest the other students flock to talk to her."

"Oh," I said kind of confused. So my kid was the popular kid.

Em's teacher wrapped up our meeting before the kids came back from lunch. I snuck out before Em could see me. I came home yesterday and she was acting off with me. I didn't like it. Once I reached my SUV I called my mom.

"Hey, baby," she greeted. "What's the damage?"

"Apparently my child has quit speaking," I told her, placing my phone in the dock and putting her on speaker.

"When she and Edward were over for dinner, Grace said she was acting weird," mom mused.

"To Grace everyone is weird, Mom," I rolled my eyes.

Grace was now ten and a total drama-rama. She definitely kept Mom and Phil on their toes. Phil jokingly said they should have had a boy because Grace was going to give him gray hair.

"By the way, Claire and her aren't speaking again."


"This boy Quil in their class has been talking to Claire. He's in Emmett's mini football league. Very cute boy, he lives in La Push. Your sister claims he's trying to make her jealous."

"They're ten," I said dryly.

"Hey, you'll see in another five years," she warned.

"Yeah, okay," I snorted, turning down our street before finishing up our call.

She says that all the time, but I honestly don't see Em heading in that sassy teen drama direction. She was insightful like Edward and quiet like I had been as a child. Edward and I had been discussing having another baby lately. I worried about Emerson, though. We were both only children and we had this little dynamic going, but I wanted another baby. Edward really wanted another baby too. He was obsessed with the kid we had. Since Em was placed in his arms that first time, she became his world. We had this huge amazing love and we would both die for our child. She truly was the air we breathed.

I put my keys in the key dish as I entered our studio, sighing as I saw all the toys and video game controllers all over the floor. I got in last night and hadn't gotten a chance to clean, though I got started on the huge pile of laundry after Edward and Emerson had left. I walked into the kitchen, pouring myself a glass of milk before I sorted through last week's mail.

I learned one thing from my week away: I can't leave my family for that long again. Without me, Edward would be lost because he grabbed the mail, but didn't open any of it.

I checked some email and heard the door open. Edward came in with Em giggling over his shoulder. He kissed me and I tapped her butt before he sat her on the stool beside me.

"How was the thing?" Edward asked leaning on the counter.

I glanced at our daughter, who was rooting through her backpack. She won't talk in class. She's been signing only. I signed.

He frowned for a second. He moved around to kneel in front of her and gently tugged her backpack out of her little hands.

"Hey Embug," he smiled, cupping her face.

Her bright green eyes stared at him curiously. I let my fingers comb through her messy brown curls as she listened to her father.

"Your teacher called mommy in to talk today," he told her.

She brought her hands up to defend herself, but Edward pulled her off the stool to sit on his knee.

"Baby, talk to daddy," he urged softly.

She knew if she was going to talk to him she had to look at him so he could see her words. I felt that sometimes her awareness of Edward's world aged her some.

"It's not fair," her raspy voice said as she scrunched up her freckled nose.

"What's not fair, Em?"

"I never see people speak special like you, daddy," she admitted, reaching up to touch his cheek. "No one in my class does so I did."

I wanted to cry because my kid was an absolute sweetie. I sat on the floor with them and pulled Emerson into my arms. I kissed her head as I squeezed. "I love you so much," I told her. She laid her head on my shoulder and I peered over to Edward.

"Bella, she needs to know that she can't do that to her teacher or her classmates," he said reasonably.

"Am I in trouble?" she asked quietly.

"No, Miss Winters just would like you to use your words so she can understand you," I explained. "You know why we have to use our hands to talk to daddy."

"Cause he can't hear with his ears," she said, lightly tugging on Edward's ear.

"Right," I nodded.

"But daddy can talk to us," she added.

"Yes I can," he smiled, brushing her hair back.

"Cause you can see what our mouths say."

"You got it, baby," I encouraged.

"Why can't some people hear with their ears?" she asked innocently.

Edward squeezed my hand and I could see the gears turning on how he was going to explain this. "Well sometimes things happen. Like some babies are born without their hearing or like me some lose it from being hurt or getting sick," he explained.

"You were hurt?" she frowned.

"I was. I could hear until I was six then I got hurt, but you know what?" he asked distracting her from inquiring more on how he was hurt.


"I learned to speak with my hands. Then I met mommy and taught her too."

"Mommy didn't know how?" she asked amazed.

"Not until I taught her."

"Uncle Emmy can't speak with his hands," she pointed out, causing us to laugh.

"Aunt Rosie does, though."

"You taught Aunt Rosie?"

"No, she already knew how when I met her because her pappy couldn't hear."

"What if I get a friend that can't hear?"

"Then you can speak with your hands to them," I told her.

"Okay, can I go color now?"

"Yes. Ma'am," I said, giving her a smooch.

Edward stood and helped me up as we watched her run over to the couch. "Crisis averted Mr. Masen," I teased.

He wrapped his arms around me. "I really wish the school would include me in on things like this," he grumbled.

"I think the teacher didn't want to offend."

"I'm offended," he sighed. "She's my daughter. That was going on while you were gone and no one contacted me. This was the first time I've had her and it's just been me and her. I'm her father."

"I'll call the school."

"I'll email the school," he countered stubbornly.

I let my hands rest on his chest as he stared down at me. He lifted me up to sit on the counter, placing his arms on either side of me so he was surrounding me. Edward's teeth gently tugged on my bottom lip.

"Tonight is going to be good," he grinned.

"Mmhm," I giggled. "My pills ran out last week."

His hand cupped my face and he just smiled so brilliantly bright. I can't even explain how I felt.

"We're trying." He kissed me again, this time pulling me into him.

"Small eyes in looking distance of mommy and daddy, so daddy better check it," I teased.

He nodded in understanding, but I swear no one could take the smile off his face. By dinner he was kind of looking like a lunatic.

"Daddy's acting funny," Em giggled before stuffing a spoonful of mac and cheese in her mouth.

"He's just so happy I'm home," I informed her, brushing her hair back.

"Do you have to go away again?" she frowned.

"Well," I started looking at Edward. He knew what the game plan was for the book because I talked to him last night when I got home. "You know how I wrote a book."

"Not a kid's book," she added.

"Correct," I smiled, tapping her cute nose. "When people are able to buy it in a store, I'll have to go around to talk about it."

"So you are leaving me again."

Dig the knife in deeper, kid. I guess maybe she had slight separation anxiety from me as much as I did her. I was a mess last week. This child and I have been inseparable since I popped her out. I hated the term stay at home mom because I worked. I had wrote essays for The New Yorker and other literary magazines since Em was born. I used her nap times wisely.

We didn't put her in preschool and I felt strongly about keeping her home with me. We did play groups and things like that before we enrolled her into kindergarten. Edward and I were definitely kid people, but we were kind of snots with other parents. I mean we have gone to a few parties where they wouldn't shut up about their kids. We praised Emerson all the time and were so extremely proud of her, but if I talked about her every waking minute, I would want to punch myself.

Em was like that too though. She liked artsy things so we had taken her to some art shows and open mic nights that we'd been invited to. Edward loved walking around galleries with her. He said every time her eyes lit up when she saw something new was gratifying for him.

"No, me and daddy have been talking and I sent up my book tour around your schedule," I explained, popping a tomato in my mouth.

"My she-dule?"

"Close enough," I smiled. "Like you and daddy will go with me when you're out of school."

"Like the summer?"


"But daddy has work."

I glanced at Edward. His work was kind of hard to define. He helped out at the med tech place for projects, but after Em's third birthday, he and Esme started the Masen Cullen Foundation. Edward's job at the bureau ended due to the notoriety he was gaining in the community. Margo passed away two years after her husband and Edward inherited more money than I could ever think about. He gave Marcus a couple million for everything he had done for his family, including being a co-conservator of Margo's estate.

Edward was an extremely generous man at the age of twenty-seven. He was bought out of his grandfather's law firm and used the money from that to start trusts for Grace, Claire and Emerson. The Masen Cullen Foundation was where his heart lied. The foundation had seven schools set up like boarding schools and serviced students who had hearing and sight disabilities. Edward hated now what the education system did to him as a child, basically writing him off as being mentally handicapped for not understanding the curriculum that was basic to him. He wanted these children to always have an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

Esme ran the Platt House, a branch of the Masen Cullen Foundation, which were safe houses for children of abuse or their parents who were stuck in abusive relationships and needed to seek refuge. There were ten houses set up around the country. My mom and Esme worked the Seattle location.

"I can work from anywhere, baby," he told her. "It will be fun. We'll get to see a lot of new places and when you go back to school, you'll get to tell everyone about it."

"Will there be parties like after Aunt Alice's shows?"

"Sometimes, but this is kind of different than that," I tried to explain.

"Because people will be there for reading and not clothes?"


"Okay," she nodded, digging into her food.

That is that. Edward signed with a smirk.

But he knew things were very cut and dry with our daughter. She liked to be included in the changes going on around her. We tried to explain things as well, since she wasn't a baby and I would never treat her like one.

After dinner I cleaned up the kitchen and Edward took Em up to get a bath. When I heard them in the living room I noticed they both had their pajamas on so I went upstairs and threw on a pair of shorts and a tank. I smiled when I saw our daughter curled up on Edward's chest, his hand playing with her curls. I could spend every day of my life like this.


The slight bouncing on the bed had woke me up, causing me to peek my eye open. I saw Bella sitting on the edge of our bed and Em on her lap with her legs wrapped around her mother. Bella was saying something and I watched Em throw her head back in laughter.

I rubbed my eyes and sat up. Emerson crawled over to me, wrapping her arms around my neck. She had my eyes and I watched her happiness shine through them everyday. At times I would think back to when I was her age and everything that had happened to me. How could someone do that to their own child? I held this precious little girl in my arms daily and I knew if she were ever hurt the way I had been, it would kill me.

"I love you, Em," I squeezed her, feeling her words and giggles back.

Bella leaned forward, pushing my hair back before dropping a kiss on my forehead. She then announced it was time for all of us to get ready for our day. I kept my gray sweat pants on and threw a black hoodie on over my t-shirt. Bella came back into our room to put her yoga leggings on.

"I'll take Emerson to school," I told her when she went to put her flats on.

"Uh oh, Daddy's going to go do some teacher lecturing," she smirked.

"I'm going to take the proto-type for the interpreter," I shrugged.

"I think its neat you'll have those in your schools," she encouraged as always.

"Everyone should be able to be involved in a conversation."

She stood in between my legs as I laid my head on her stomach. I felt the kiss she placed on my head as I returned a kiss of my own to her stomach. I loved these kinds of moments with her. The longer we'd been together, the more I see how perfect for me she really was. We've both grown comfortable in our own skin. I have the foundation and she has her writing and at the end of the day we have Emerson and each other. I never thought I would have a balance like this.

Em came walking into our room dressed in a blue Polo dress Alice had sent her for her birthday. It had been her favorite much to Bella's disapproval, but she knew that we had to let Emerson tell us what she liked.

"Ready, baby?" I asked her with a grin.

She nodded and went down to get her stuff. Bella followed her while I slid on my Nikes. When I got downstairs my wife was crouched down in front of my daughter. Em was nodding so I assumed she was reminding her of the class rules.

I scooped my baby girl up into my arms. She was so small for a kindergartener and I knew my days of carrying her were numbered, so I wasn't going to pass up a single chance to carry her in my arms. After I got her all buckled in her booster seat I gave her the Emerson music binder that Bella made her. It was just a CD binder filled with different mixes that Em loved to listen to.

She pointed to her Beatles mix with a smile and we were on our way. Em looked out the window as I glanced at her in the mirror. She was a relatively quiet child, but I felt that had more to do with us. Our home was mellow and Bella wasn't much of a talker so I think that is where Emerson got it.

My phone buzzed in my pocket as I pulled into the school's parking lot. I opened it and saw a text from Emmett. Golf? It read. I shook my head; he had been on paternity leave for almost two weeks. Two years ago Emmett and Rosalie tied the knot. Bella and Alice were still distant with her, but things had definitely calmed. A few months after they were married they started discussing children. Rose really wanted her own child and Emmett said he was fine with adopting. With Rose's arrest record and her time in rehab, adoption was nixed rather quickly. They then decided to visit doctors and specialists around Seattle and learned that Rose wouldn't be able to carry a baby to full term due to the injuries she suffered from Royce.

Bella referred them to her obstetrician who gave them a rather gratifying option. Surrogacy. Jackson Whit McCarty was born two weeks ago at eight pounds, nine ounces. He was also the reason Bella gave the green light for us trying for another one. One look at our nephew and Bella was feeling the baby power. I loved it because after Emerson had turned three I was ready to have another one.

Lunch? I texted back.

I'll meet ya at your place around noon. -Em

Alright. –E

Bringing Rose and Jack to see Smalls. –Em

Let her know. –E

I slid my phone back in my pocket and got Emerson out of her seat. We were early and only a couple of her classmates had arrived. Miss Winters was helping another student with her stuff when I walked in with Em. She stared as a blush covered her cheeks. The petite woman approached us with a shy smile on her face. Emerson waved to her and kissed my cheek as I set her down. I watched Em's beaming smile as she introduced me as her Daddy. Her teacher's eyes widened. This was the first time I had been inside the school. I dropped her off all of the time, but Bella was the one who handled her registration.

"Miss Winters, it is nice to finally meet you," I greeted, holding my hand out.

"Oh…" her mouth formed the shape as well. "Hello…Mr. Masen."

I shot her a smile before turning my attention to my daughter. I kneeled down in front of Em, brushing her brown curls off her shoulders. She cocked her head curiously at me. "Remember what Mommy said, okay?"

"To listen to my teacher," she nodded.

"And?" I prompted,

"To use my words."

"Right," I grinned, cupping her cheek. "I love you and be good."

"I love you too, Daddy," she smacked a kiss on my cheek and gave me a hug.

"Have a wonderful day, Miss Winters," I offered before making my way to the office.

The office assistant was on her phone and didn't look much older that me. I hoped the principal didn't mind that I didn't have an appointment. I just wanted to be able to communicate with the staff. When Bella enrolled Em she gave them our background and was adamant that if something happen we were both to be contacted, as per instruction.

The assistant was off the phone staring up at me with wide eyes. "Hello, my name is Edward Masen. My daughter Emerson is in Miss Winters kindergarten class. I wanted to speak with the principal about her contact information." The girl blushed and stammered. I had no idea what she was saying. I was able to catch the "one moment" as she scurried away.

I leaned against the counter as she disappeared behind the office door. I pulled out the interpreter and turned it on. It worked kind of how Siri worked for iPhone, but definitely picked up the words better. It didn't repeat what it said back. The words that are said process on the screen like a text.

It allowed someone with a hearing disadvantage to be involved in everyday conversations. I used it a lot last week with Emerson and found it easier for me to be a more attentive parent while Bella was away.

Every time Em would start speaking, the interpreter would vibrate and the light at the top would flash alerting me just like a text. The office assistant came back, telling me to head back to where she came from. A heavier gentleman who strangely resembled Santa stood from his seat.

"Mr. Masen, it's nice to meet you, I'm Mr. Peters," his lips said.

"It's nice to meet you too, sir," I smiled politely, setting the interpreter in front of me.

What brings you into today? He asked.

"Miss Winters contacted my wife about my daughter's behavior in her class last week," I explained.

I see. What seems to be the issue?

"My daughter has been signing instead of speaking," I started. "I am deaf. My issue is my wife was on a business trip and Emerson, my daughter, was in my care last week. Miss Winters went out of her way and contacted my wife instead of me."

The interpreter wasn't responding so I looked up at the slack jawed man in front of me. He blinked several times still not knowing what to say.

"I know that Miss Winters probably thought it was best to contact my wife because the situation might appear to be sensitive subject matter, but I am just as capable as any other parent. I am here because I hope that if next time something happens I will be contacted as well."

He blinked again before nodding furiously. I tried not to smirk at this small victory. I saw "sorry" repeat on his lips continuously. His phone must have started to ring because he started looking between me and his phone.

"I have to be going, but I didn't want to disturb Miss Winters morning prep with her students so I felt it would be better to speak with you."

"Of course," he nodded. "Anytime you have any concerns feel free to contact me."

We shook hands and I saw myself out. When I got home I saw Bella sitting on the couch talking to her lap top. I sat beside her and laughed at Alice bouncing around on the screen.

Alice still lived in New York and was a buyer for Ralph Lauren. Not long after we returned from Chicago, Jasper finally manned up, telling Alice he was moving back home. Ali didn't take that well at all. He's been back almost four years and started dating this woman named Charlotte. Since Bella slipped last week while she was staying with Ali, Alice was now convinced she has to tear them apart. Jasper was her happily ever after.

Alice started flipping me off and I flipped her right back. She typed into the Skype chat box. Bella supports me so you have to too!

He's happy, leave him alone.

She's not me so he's not happy!

I looked to my wife in disbelief and she just shrugged, tapping my nose. "They're soul mates so stop it," she said.

I stuck my hand up in my defense and went to make breakfast. This was the crazy I dealt with, but to be honest I absolutely loved it.

A/N: And that's all I wrote… I am thinking about a future-take. By the way, I have three story ideas and I'm going to post them like the last time and let you decide. I will stick to my guns and do only the one that has the most reader interest. As always my betas are the wonderful Dolphin62598 and rainydays23, so huge thanks to them!

P.S. I'm also doing a o/s countdown if you want to check it out Countdown-to-Christmas-2012-A-Lyrical-Melody on ffn. It won't let me even kind of post the link... SMH!