Chapter Fifty-Seven

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For those of you who read the Get Your Southern On contest entries, this is my contribution. I am tickled at the results ... first place in public vote and third place for the judge's choice. I've decided to break this up into smaller, drabblish chapters and it will be continued. The contest contribution is the first six or so chapters, roughly. I don't know how long it will be, but I do have it planned. Thank you to Bridget for betaing this for me and for Clo, who created the banner.

Up next will be dinner with the kids and some adorable snuggle time, some possible citrusy goodness and hearing from the She-Beast, possibly. Thanks for reading! ;-)

Edward left that night since he had early rounds at the hospital prior to his day at the office. Bella went to bed early since she was exhausted, still reeling from the emotional roller coaster that she'd experienced the past week and understanding Edward's apology. She did feel confident they would get past this drama, having a stronger relationship in the end. It also put her mind at ease when he suggested they go to couple's counseling. She also wanted to speak to a counselor on her own. Being back in Tampa was bringing back some of her insecurities from when she was in high school.

The next morning, Bella called Aimee and made an appointment for the following weekend for the two of them while the twins were going to a pool party with some friends from school. She also went shopping for ingredients for red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese filling and buttercream frosting. Making the cupcakes, she put them into container and got dressed to spend the evening with Edward and the twin terrors.

Bella drove to Edward's house, picking up a bottle of wine on her way. Parking her car on the driveway, she was attacked by two excited seven-year-old twins. "BELLA!" they squealed, tugging her into their arms and hugging her fiercely. "We missed you!"

"I missed you, too," she breathed, kneeling down and holding them tightly. "Did you guys grow? You seem taller."

"Nope, but I lost a tooth," Liam said, displaying his bottom set of teeth. There was a gaping hole where his left canine tooth had been located. "I got five bucks from the tooth fairy."

"And I've got a loose tooth. It may come out soon," Lucy squealed, showing her very loose tooth. "I hope I get five dollars, too."

"I don't know if the tooth fairy can get into your room, Lucy," Edward quipped, padding out onto the driveway, dressed casually in a pair of shorts and a polo shirt. "Every one of your Barbies, stuffed animials and toys are on the floor. If the tooth fairy can't get to your bed, he can't leave your money."

"What?" Lucy squeaked. "Bella ... I have to ..." She kissed Bella's cheek, darting back inside.

"Lucy is a slob," Liam snickered.

"Your room wasn't that much better, bub," Edward deadpanned. "I think the tooth fairy stepped on a few Legos, kiddo." Liam scowled. "Go clean up the pig sty."

"Okay, okay," he sighed, wrapping his arms around Bella's waist. "I'm glad you're here, Bella. Thank you for coming back." Before she could respond, Liam ran into the house.

"Hey, sweetness," Edward whispered, cupping Bella's cheek and kissing her tenderly. "You look well-rested."

"I actually slept," she snorted as she handed him the bottle of wine. Turning to the backseat, she picked up the tray of cupcakes and they went inside. "I also made an appointment with Aimee."

"I saw that. I got your text. We can drop the twins off at the pool and then head to the session," Edward said, sliding his arm around her waist. He nuzzled her neck and sighed against her soft, fragrant skin.

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