“Eager little thing, aren’t you?”
“Er?” Cole didn’t know the word and was momentarily stunned. Edward took advantage and hoisted Cole onto his shoulders. Cole went happily. He held onto Edward’s head tightly as they navigated through the house toward the kitchen,
Susan was cleaning the dishes while chatting with Deana, Brett and Tyler. “Where’s Dana?” he asked. Tyler jerked a thumb towards the pool.
Edward made his way outside and paused by the sliding glass doors. Dana was holding a very na**d Tristan in the water. She was wearing a black bikini and a pair of shorts. Tristan was smiling as he moved his feet and hands in the water.
The man holding Caleb made him frown. Nick was in swim trunks, holding Caleb in the same fashion. He was talking to the little boy while grinning. Edward was a little shocked to see how ripped Nick was. Nick was easily bigger than him, damn. They got along really well since Edward got to know him. He still didn’t like some of his comments, but Nick had toned it down a great deal since they married.
“Hey, Edward!” Dana said, grinning at him. “Nick decided to come down for a swim and see the kids.”
“Well, that and to talk to you,” Nick said. He kissed Caleb’s head. “You have some really cute kids, Edward.”
“They take after their mother,” Edward said, winking at Dana.
“Dad, we gotta go!” Cole said.
“Hold up, little man.” Edward said. He looked at Nick. “Is everything okay?”
“Everything’s good. I just needed to talk to your lovely wife about something.”
“Okay, what’s up, Nick. I’ve never known you to anything but straight forward,” Dana said. She supported the baby’s head and let him lay back in the pool. His toothless grin widened as he splashed his mother.
“They want you to do an interview with Playboy,” Nick said nervously.
“An interview, that doesn’t sound so bad,” Dana said.
Edward and Nick shared a look. “I don’t think you understand, Dana. With all this publicity you’ve gotten lately. They think it would be a good time to cash in on it.”
“You want me to pose naked?” Dana gasped.
“No!” Edward answered.
“Sorry, I had to ask. They were going to send the new guy Michaels to ask you since Rick is on vacation. That guy makes me blush,” Nick said, kissing Caleb’s head again.
“She’s not doing it,” Edward said firmly.
“I didn’t think she would or should. That kind of thing can wreck her credibility with a lot of women and some men. She would lose her reputation and parents would forbid their teenagers from reading her material,” Nick said. “Hey, he’s asleep. What do I do?” he asked nervously.
“Time for you to get down,” Edward said to Cole. He put Cole down and bent over to take Caleb. Cole grabbed a towel for his brother and handed it to Edward who wrapped him up.
“I don’t appreciate you guys talking as if I’m not here. Not that it matters now, but tell them I said no,” Dana said a bit miffed at being handled.
“Sorry, Dana, I know. I didn’t come out here expecting a yes. I wanted to see you and the kids. It’s been a while,” Nick said, pulling himself out of the pool.
“We’ll see you at one, baby.” Edward said as he cradled his son in his arms.
“Okay, be careful guys and Cole you listen to your father. No wondering off!” she said sternly.
Cole nodded and ran back into the kitchen. Nick dried off. “I have to get going too, Dana. Good luck tonight.”
“Thanks, Nick,” Dana said.
Edward winked at her before he walked back into the house to hand his son over to Susan. He headed for the door with Cole at his heels.
“Hold up, Edward!” Deanna said.
He looked back to see that she was on the phone. “You need to go pick Elizabeth up. She got into a fight.”
One guess who attacked her. “Was it a little girl named Mary?”
Deanna nodded. “She’s crying.”
“Okay, I’m going. Brett, are you coming?” Edward asked. Brett nodded and followed after them.
“Baby, it’s okay,” Edward said soothingly to his daughter as she sobbed into a bloody paper towel. That little brat Mary hit her in the face with a book. The entire front of Elizabeth’s dress was covered in blood. The nurse assured him her nose wasn’t broken.
Cole reached over and took his big sister’s hand into his. “It’s okay, Elizabeth. I’ll take care of you.” She nodded slowly, but didn’t stop crying.
“You guys want to stop and get donuts?” Edward asked, hoping it would cheer them up.
“Yes!” Cole said, he was the little garbage disposal in the family after all.
Brett handed Elizabeth a clean paper towel and took the soaked one away. “Did you hit her back?”
“No, I don’t want to hurt anyone,” she said through sobs.
Edward groaned. The girl was too sweet. No doubt she was going to be a target for bullies. “It’s okay, sweetie.”
He left the kids in the car with Brett while he went inside to buy donuts.
“Oh my God! Edward Pierce!” a teenage girl screeched.
He ignored them. Sometimes the only thing that helped was to act like they had the wrong person. That didn’t work with this particular girl. Her and three friends walked towards him, running would be a more accurate description. She threw her arms around his shoulders and kissed him, hard.
“Get off me!” He pushed her away. She wouldn’t let go. Another girl grabbed onto him from the side.
“I love you!” she yelled, trying to kiss him, too.
He pushed away from them and made a run for the door. They were on his heels. He groaned as he spotted what waited for him. The paparazzi picked a great time to show up. They were surrounding his car and snapping pictures. He made his way to the door and jumped in.
The girls from the shop jumped into two cars and waited for him to make his move. He did, reluctantly pulling past them. They peeled rubber behind him.
“Edward, you need to get away from those girls before they do something stupid,” Brett said.
Cole and Elizabeth looked out the window nervously. “Daddy, the cars behind us are all over the road,” Elizabeth said anxiously.
“I know, sweetie.” The light in front of him was yellow. He floored it, hoping to leave the girls behind. He made it and stopped behind another long line of cars waiting for the new lights to change.