“Whoever planned this trip on the Friday before Halloween was an idiot,” Edward grumbled.
“Be grateful that they don’t have to go dressed up,” Bella said, checking her backpack. “I think it’s brilliant. The kids are out of the building and spending the day at the aquarium. No classroom parties.” She pulled out the letter and reread it. Bella was chaperoning Lucy’s group of five little girls. Liam was in a separate group from students in his class. “I hope that I don’t mess this up. I mean …”
“Bella, stop,” Edward said, walking to her. He left the lunches he was packing on the kitchen counter. He took her face and caressed her cheeks. “I trust you, baby. The kids trust you and you are going to be fine.”
“No buts,” he argued. “Have fun with the kids. Take lots of pictures. And breathe.”
“I just have a bad feeling,” she whispered. “Ever since the photo shoot, I feel like I’m being followed and …”
“You’ve told me, Bella. Your dad and Detective Clearwater is going to have someone following you at a safe distance. And they’ve been following you since I heard about Tanya’s move to some shithole apartment near the university,” Edward grimaced.
“I’ve seen Seth and on occasion, my dad. We’ve had lunch at school,” Bella said. “But, this is different. It’s when I’m working at the library. I don’t know. Maybe I’m paranoid.”
“With Tanya, we can’t be too careful,” he sighed, pulling her closely and inhaling deeply, taking in her strawberry-scented hair. “I love you so much, baby.”
“I love you, too,” she whispered back. “I hope that I’m just being paranoid and that nothing will happen. Because, if it does, I’m terrified that you’ll blame me.”
“Never,” he growled.
“You can’t say that, Edward. You got so upset when I brought up Tanya a couple of months ago, blaming me for not keeping a close enough eye on the twins,” Bella pouted. “Granted, I probably should have told you sooner …”
“Bella, stop,” Edward said, taking her heart-shaped face into his hands. “I know that you love my children as if they were your own. I could never blame you. Never. I was an asshole, blaming you for something that was far beyond your control, sweetness. I will forever feel like an ass for making you cry and almost ruining the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
“The kids are the best thing that happened to you. I’m a bonus,” Bella snickered. He growled, attacking her neck and making her giggle with his tickling fingers. “Stop! Edward! Behave!”
“You’re more than just a bonus, Isabella Marie Swan,” Edward snarled against her ear. He kissed her, his tongue sweeping inside her mouth and molding her to his body. She melted against him and tangled her fingers into his soft, but unruly hair. “You are my dream come true,” he mumbled against her mouth. “I love you. Our children love you. My family loves you. Bonus … psssh.” He kissed her again, smacking her behind and giving her a wry look. “You’re everything, sweetness.”