This Life futurtake donated to Fandom For Friends.
If you haven't read This Life, you can find it on my WordPress—link on my profile.
Beta'd by HollettLA.
Helene, I think you will recognize the part with the Skittles ;)
My Life (This Life futuretake)
"Toilet Paper & Lipstick"
Music: "Runnin' Wild" by Airborne and "Bandit for Life" by Blowsight.
"It's a legit name, princess," I say, helping Ryan with his seat belt. "There we go." Leaning over him, I help Kaelyn with hers, too. The birthday girl. She turns four today, which means she and Ryan share the same age until Ryan turns five in January.
Irish twins, courtesy of my Irish swimmers.
Bella jumps into the passenger seat with a little groan. "We're not naming him Cullen when it's his last name."
Well, why the feck not? Cullen Cullen has a ring to it.
Peering into the way back, where Autumn has two seats for herself, not to mention countless pillows and her blankets, I see she's already immersed in whatever book she's reading on her Kindle. Add earphones and she's unreachable; she calls it her nook, and no one's allowed to disturb her.
Fuckin' pre-teens, man.
After I make sure we've got everything—and everyone—I get in behind the wheel of our Escalade and catch Bella rubbing her belly. "He kickin'?" I grin as I start the car.
After Kaelyn was born, the wife told me it was time for a break in the baby-making business.
That lasted a few years.
Now we're expecting another boy.
"Isn't he always?" She smirks ruefully.
I chuckle and turn the car around, driving toward the gate.
"Daddy, you forgotted to flirt," Kaelyn says with a pout in her voice.
And I see the pout when I check the rearview mirror. Dutifully, I wink at her, at which she blows me a kiss—standard business for when we're going someplace. Only, today I forgotted, 'cause we're an hour late to get on the road.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so we're heading to Forks for a get-together with most of our family. Emmett, Rose, and their two brats took off earlier—around the same time Kellan and his girlfriend left—and the others are already up there.
"You looking forward to your party, baby?" I ask Kaelyn.
"Yes!" She fist-pumps the air and shakes her butt in her car seat. "I get lots and lots presents, right?"
Bella snorts a laugh. "Greedy."
"Presents rock," I defend, waggling my eyebrows. On my wish list this year, there's only one thing: photos of my pregnant wife. Naked.
"Ow!" Kaelyn whines. "Mommy, Ryan hitted me!"
"Be nice, kids." Bella looks behind her and faces Kaelyn and Ry with the Mommy face. It's ball-shrinkingly scary. "If you won't be good, maybe Mommy and Daddy won't be good, either."
"And we pay for the presents," I add with a nod.
"Nuh-uh." Kaelyn sulks. "Not Nana's and Pops'. Or Uncle Em's, Auntie Rose's, Uncle Alec's—"
Okay, that can go on forever. "We get it," I interrupt. "But who's taking you to Nana and Pops' right now?" I cock a brow in the rearview.
She shuts up.
Shifting my gaze to Ryan, I ask why the fuck he's hitting his sister, but I know the answer before I get it. He's jealous 'cause it's not his birthday.
"Tough shit," I say, placing my hand on Bella's thigh. "But it's your birthday soon enough."
"Yeah!" Kaelyn shouts. "Tough shit, Ryan!"
I avoid the wife's look.
"Grown-up word, Kaelyn," she reminds the baby girl.
"Daddy sometimes says he's like a kid," Ryan states.
I crack up and sneak my hand between the seats. "Touché. Low-five, small fry."
He giggles and low-fives my hand.
Halfway to Forks, we stop so the girls can go to the shitter. Meanwhile, Ryan and I chill outside the car. And now that I'm not allowed to smoke indoors anymore, I take the opportunity to get some, uh, fresh air, too.
"Daddy, I know our address now," Ryan says, poking a worm on the ground with a stick. "And our phone number. Autumn taught me."
"Oh, yeah?" I'm impressed. "What is it?" I take a drag from my smoke.
"Sixteen hunnerd Penisvania Avenue."
I end up choking on the smoke so my eyes water.
"And our phone number is nine-one-one."
"Oh God," I rasp, laugh, choke, cough…there's some wheezing, too. "Ryan—" I let out a guffaw and slap my thigh. "Oh, baby." Great, now I'm giggling.
"What's so funny?" Autumn comes out from the rest stop's bathrooms.
"You!" I point to her and try to look stern, but that shit's not easy when you're still laughing. "Autumn Bell-Cullen!"
"What did I do?" She's the picture of innocence. And confusion.
I shake my head and stub out my smoke. "You taught your brother our address and phone number?"
"Oh," she mouths, turning sheepish.
"You little shit." I snicker at her and then scoop up Ryan. "Don't listen to your sister." I sneak a hand under his jacket and tickle his stomach. "We do not live on, uh, Penisvania Avenue."
"Okay!" he laughs.
Autumn's eyes grow large. "That's not what I told him! I said Pennsylvania Avenue!"
"Penis!" Ryan shouts. "Penis, penis, penis!"
I clamp a hand over his mouth and narrow my eyes at Autumn. "We don't live there either, Blue Eyes."
"Obviously." She giggles and rolls her eyes. "You could never be President."
"I sure as fuck could," I scoff as Bella and Kaelyn return. "Can't be that hard."
"What can't be that hard?" The wifey eyes us, then settles on my hand that's still clamped over Ryan's mouth.
"Daddy, I peed," Kaelyn says.
I nod. "Thanks for telling me, babycakes."
"Dad thinks he could be President," Autumn answers Bella's question.
She chuckles and opens the car door to let Kaelyn in. "President of what—a Cheetos factory? Sure he could."
"Wow, thanks for the love, princess." I walk around the car to get Ryan settled again. "Did your pregnancy hormones give you an extra dose of sarcasm today?"
She winks and buckles Kaelyn's seat belt. "You know it, Irish boy."
"Penis!" Ryan yells.
That startles Bella, but she's smart. She simply guesses that was why I was covering his mouth before, and we all know Ryan loves being inappropriate. Which Bella says he gets from me.
But unlike him, I can't get away with streaking and shouting names of genitalia anymore.
"Speaking of?" she drawls.
"Ask Autumn." I smirk and get in behind the wheel again.
As I start driving, our oldest explains that she was just goofing with Ryan, teaching him the fake address—well, it's real…for the White House. And when we bring up that it was probably bad that Autumn taught him 911 as our phone number, Bella adds, "I suppose we could tattoo our real number to his forehead."
It's her way of saying, "I'm pregnant and uncomfortable; I have no energy to argue about this right now."
"You want me to give you a backrub later?" I ask, threading our fingers together.
She sighs softly and smiles. "That would be nice. Then I need your—you know."
"Oh." I nod, nod, nod. "That can definitely be arranged. Yeah."
In a big family, greetings take forever, but we eventually get through it and end up in the living room.
At this point, we've lost sight of the kids.
"Where's my cub?" I ask, having missed him in all the commotion. My brother's family's here, Kellan and his girlfriend, Liam with his son and flavor of the month, Uncle Ed, my parents, Nessa, Aunt Tanya, Uncle Garrett, my pregnant cousins Irina and Kate, their husbands Felix and Demetri…
Nessa sits down next to Uncle Ed and grimaces. "I'm pretty sure he's having phone sex with his girlfriend."
"Aww, don't tell Autumn that." Bella pouts.
I frown. "You gotta let that shit go, princess." She thinks Autumn has a crush on Alec, and…no. She's eleven—you can't have crushes when you're eleven—he's seventeen, and they're family. Granted, not by blood, but still.
Five years ago, I was on Bella's side: the world—well, at least our country—is far from unfair. Women are still considered objects, and fathers decide what will come of them. They can give their daughters full consent, let them be their own people, but…I'm a father now. I like having a say in the matter of my daughters' futures.
"Don't speak your mind, son," Dad advises with a pointed look.
Glancing around, I see that I'm outnumbered by women, three of them pregnant. Yeah, not touching that topic right now. Not until Kellan, Liam, and my brother come back inside from their smoke breaks. And I mean breaks in the nicest way possible.
"And what would be on his mind?" Mom comes in with a trayful of stout, iced tea, soda, and wine.
"Nothing," I insist, 'cause Ma's the biggest women's supporter out there. She and Bella. Not that I'm not; it's just…my baby girls deserve good husbands! One day. In approximately thirty years.
Before dinner, the wife and I do the responsible thing since there's so much to do. I mean, hours of celebrating Kaelyn's birthday has obviously resulted in a house that looks like a war zone; plus, now it's preparations for dinner…all the kids running around, cleaning up, keeping sane…
We leave everything behind and drive away from my parents' estate.
"We suck," Bella giggles.
"Nah…" I grin and kiss her fingers. "It's only for half an hour or something."
We gotta breathe, man.
"Did you get something from the car earlier, by the way?" I ask as I turn on to the main road.
It's already dark out, and the streets are empty.
Huh. I shrug. "Never mind." The car was unlocked, that's all. But maybe I forgot to lock it before. "So, where to?"
She hums and absently rubs her belly. "Just drive around for a bit."
So, that's what we do. We drive around in bumfuck Forks where our story began and banter about everything and nothing. I tell her I've seen ghost towns with more people than Forks, and she calls bullshit since I have a mad fear for ghosts. I'd never go near a ghost town, in case there actually are ghosts.
"Stop the car!" she suddenly shouts.
I fucking stop. With my heart in my throat. "Bloody hell!" She fucking scared me!
"Look!" She points to a random house. "What does it say on the mailbox?"
Squinting 'cause it's dark out, I read the name on the decorated mailbox and smirk. Well, well, well. Unless Jacob "Sidekick" Black has gone queer, I'd say he has a kid who's fond of decorating shit. And they live right here.
"Could be someone else in the Black family, though," I think out loud. "He's a Fed, and they aren't in high demand in Forks."
"But we looked into his history, remember?" Bella reminds me. "He has no siblings, and his father lives out in La Push. Besides, Jasper and Alice live on the next street, and we know Sidekick and Jasper are close."
True. And Jasper is also a Fed these days, and he lives here. As far as I know, they have condos in Seattle, but maybe they're like us; they go home during the holidays. And as much as I hate Forks, it is where we have our family reunions. Privacy and all.
"Let's check out Jasper's house and see if they're home," the wife suggests.
I nod and start driving again.
"You know…we never did get back at them for intruding on Rose and Emmett's wedding."
I snicker and, truth be told, I get a little turned on. Call me fucked-up but I love it when my wife gets bad.
When we roll past Jasper and Alice's house, we see that it's packed with people.
"Jacob and his family are in there." I jerk my chin at the living room window.
In our research, we know that Jasper and Alice don't have kids, but there's a bunch running around in their home. Friends and family over for Thanksgiving…leaving houses elsewhere empty of people…hmm, what to do, what to do.
"What's your plan, boss?" I quirk an eyebrow at Bella.
She purses her lips, eyes full of amusement and mischief. "The store is open for another twenty minutes, so…"
Half an hour later, I park the Escalade outside Black's house and help the wife out before I grab the bag of tricks. Tonight we will pretend it's Halloween instead of the day before Thanksgiving.
And Sidekick hasn't earned himself any treats.
Five cans of Silly String, eight rolls of toilet paper, and four gallons of milk oughta do it.
"We should hurry," Bella says quietly as we make our way to the front yard. "Your son is hungry."
So is Daddy.
"Okay, how do you wanna do this?" she asks, then answers her own question. "How about you take the toilet paper and the milk. I'll do the Silly String, and…" She giggles. "I may have something else, too."
Since I'm bound to find out sooner or later what she's got up her sleeve, I don't ask—nah, fuck that. I always ask. "Something else?"
"Watch and learn, young Padawan." She winks and walks over to one of the windows. "You wanna piss someone off? You put lipstick on glass. It's a bitch to clean." And she proceeds to draw a big smiley with her red lipstick.
Snickering, I head to the closest tree and begin to drape rolls of toilet paper over the branches.
The street is deserted, most houses dark. No sign of people.
I shudder and cast a glance over my shoulder—just to be sure and all.
With one tree finished, I move on to another. At this point, Bella has used up her entire lipstick on three windows and is moving on to Silly String the shit outta the house. In the distance, I hear the sound of a car door being shut, but I can't see anything.
"Should we leave a message?" I scratch my head through the beanie and survey the front yard. "Something subtle?"
The wife is way ahead of me, I see. She smirks and points to one of the windows, and I can't help but laugh.
Getting tired of eating dust, Sidekick?
"That's not very subtle, princess."
"How's he gonna prove anything?" she counters with a shrug, and she's got a point. "Besides, I think he'd be too embarrassed to actually report this."
"You get me all hard when you break the law," I tell her and adjust my cock.
She looks a little dazed at that, her pregnancy hormones probably telling her it's almost time for another fuckfest. But then she snaps out of it, mumbles, "Later, Bella; later," and shakes her Silly String can, the third one.
"Shite!" I spin around, shocked, and think for a second that my heart just might jump outta my throat. Holy feckin' shit! It's Autumn. She's just standing there on the sidewalk.
In my periphery, I see that Bella's playing the part of a statue, her mouth open in, well, shock. What else?
We sure as hell didn't expect our daughter catching us committing a crime!
"What are you and Mom doing?" She folds her arms across her chest.
"Um…" My mouth opens and closes, and my wide eyes meet Bella's. 'Cause this is where she comes up with a golden answer.
"We, uh…" Awesome beginning, wifey. Really. Keep going. "We were just, um…" She scrunches her nose, then narrows her eyes at Autumn. "What are you doing here, young lady?"
Oh! Yeah. I nod, approving of this approach. "We're miles away from Nana and Pops' house," I point out. "Start talking, young lady."
All right, perhaps the double use of "young lady" was a bit of overkill.
"Don't even—ugh, Daddy!" Autumn whisper-shouts and enters the yard. "I was trying to get away from all the noise earlier, so I took my Kindle to the car—I was in my nook reading when you two barged in!" She stops to give me a look of disdain. "By the way—ghosts, Dad? Really?"
I wince. "Hey, it could happen… They could be real, you know." Thinking ahead, I pull out my wallet. "How much is it gonna take for you to promise to never mention this to anyone?"
"Whistler!" Bella looks torn between wanting to scold me and laugh at me.
"A million," Autumn says smugly.
I stifle a snort and tilt my head, eyebrow raised. "How 'bout fifty bucks?"
The smugness fades away and she purses her lips. "I'll have to give it some serious thought," she answers, both sounding and looking older than her almost-twelve.
"And in the meantime, we can finish up here before we get caught," Bella decides. "Autumn, the man who lives here crashed your Uncle Em and Aunt Rose's wedding—this is payback."
Maybe "crashed" isn't really right, as Jacob and Jasper had stayed outside, but let's go with crash for the sake of our daughter.
"It's all in the name of fun," I add with a casual smile.
Autumn scrunches her nose, then shrugs. "Okay. What's with the milk?"
I answer that. Pretty excitedly. "We'll fill the mailbox, drench the welcome mat, water those plants—" I point to the pots on the porch that are shielded from rain "—and open one jug and hide it in the carport. Maybe we'll spill a little. Or a lot."
It's gonna smell good in Forks soon, people.
Judging by Autumn's giggling, I'd say she's on board.
Since we skipped out on dinner and cleaning duty, my mother tells everyone that breakfast is on us. Which is just great, because when we wake up the next morning, the wife and I decide that the diner is perfect for a Thanksgiving breakfast.
We all head for our cars and order our family to follow us without taking shortcuts.
"What did you two do last night?" Mom asks suspiciously as I help a sleepy Kaelyn with her seat belt. "Bella? Are you gonna answer?"
The wife smiles innocently and hops into the Escalade.
I pretend to be offended. "You insult me, Mother. What makes you think we've done anything?"
She scoffs and curses before Dad ushers her into their Lamborghini.
Bella, Liam, and I may or may not have stolen it for them.
Then we're on our way—after Kaelyn and I flirt—and I lead the way for our angelic family, taking a small detour through a neighborhood with average two-story homes and picket fences.
"Are we there yet?" Ryan asks. "I'm hungry, Mommy."
"Me too." I grimace as my stomach rumbles. "Almost, small fry. We're almost there."
As we reach Jacob Black's street, I slow down a little and grin widely when we see that both Jacob and his wife are outside. Stomping around. Arguing. Gesturing wildly. And they're not alone. Looks like they called over Jasper and Alice for help. Neither looks happy. But…is that a small smile that Jasper's trying to hide?
Bella rolls down her window, and the Fantastic Four in Jacob's front yard all turn to us.
"Howdy, neighbors!" I lean over Bella's seat and offer a two-finger salute.
Behind us, a few cars honk their horns; I'm guessing Emmett, Liam, and Kellan. And with more windows rolled down, I can hear their laughs, too.
"Happy Thanksgiving, folks!" Bella waves merrily.
"What happened with their house, Daddy?" Kaelyn asks.
"A Skittle tornado passed through," Autumn lies expertly.
"I love Skittles," Ryan mumbles.
Bella giggles. "Yeah—tell me, neighbors. How does the rainbow taste?"
"You won't get away with this, Cullen." Jacob sneers, holding a bunch of damp toilet paper. To make the picture funnier, he's on a ladder. "We know you did this!"
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about." I smirk. "By the way, you've got some pink Silly String in your hair. No—more to the left. Yeah, there you go."
Alice huffs and glares. "You are just awful people, Bella."
"Rude," I mutter.
"I won't let this go," Jacob growls.
I chuckle. "Hey, princess, what is it that Kaelyn always says? Something about forgiving…"
The wife beams. "Forgive and forget—it happened in the past."
That's our cheeky little four-year-old.
Emmett, who's behind us, honks his horn, and I see him pointing to the yard. "You missed a spot there, Black!"
"Just get out of here!" Jacob yells angrily.
"Uh-oh. He's mad, Daddy," Kaelyn murmurs.
And Ryan shouts, "I'm hungry!"
My stomach snarls in agreement, so I decide to wrap this up, and after a few more Thanksgiving greetings, we're off to the diner.
I think I'm gonna get pancakes