“Miss Bella, what’s your favorite cheesecake?” Lucy asked as they walked through the mall to The Cheesecake Factory. “Mine’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake.”
“That sounds good, but I love vanilla bean cheesecake,” Bella smiled. Lucy’s hand was in Bella’s, skipping happily along with her. “But, we can split a piece of Reese’s for dessert. I haven’t had that one.”
“Yay!” Lucy squealed.
Behind Bella and Lucy, Edward and Liam trailed slowly. Edward was waiting for Liam to talk to him about why he was being so rude to Bella. “Are you going to make good choices, Liam? I’m disappointed in how you’re acting right now. You know that Miss Bella is special to me.”
“I’ll be good,” Liam said, his voice flat.
Edward stopped him, calling to Bella. “Can you get a table for us, sweetness?” he asked Bella.
“Sure,” Bella said, walking toward the restaurant.
“Liam, what’s going on with you? I know that you are hesitant to trust people, especially women, but you’ve never been disrespectful. You may not like Miss Bella, but she’s an adult and you need to respect her,” Edward said, crouching down in front of his scowling son. “The way you are acting is not showing respect.”
“I don’t like her,” Liam hissed.
“You don’t know her to make that statement,” Edward argued. He pinched his nose and blew out a breath. “Liam, I mean it that if you can’t be respectful to Miss Bella, you won’t be going to Busch Gardens with us.”
“Dad!” Liam whined. “That’s not fair. Why can’t Lucy, you and me go to Busch Gardens? Leave Miss Bella at home.”
Edward pursed his lips and glared at his son. “I’m not even going to dignify that with a response. You’re on warning and Busch Gardens is completely up to you. Make good choices. Give Miss Bella a chance before you say you don’t like her. Am I clear?” Liam mumbled under his breath. “I didn’t hear you, Liam. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Yes, sir,” Liam said, his green eyes filling with tears. Edward took his son’s hand and led him to the restaurant. Bella and Lucy were seated outside since it was a perfect evening. Liam sat next to his sister, pouting and huffing loudly. Edward sat next to Bella, kissing her temple.
“Everything okay?” Bella asked.
“We hope so. Right, bud?” Edward responded, poking Liam in his side.
“Yeah,” Liam said, quietly. He picked up the kid’s menu and crayons that Bella grabbed for the two kids, drawing on the paper.