It'll be Halloween before we know it and I still hadn't heard from Edward since the night I met him for drinks at the Bridge Bar – not to mention that the encounter in the alleyway still has me a bit hot under the collar just thinking about it. The trees around town have already started to lose some of their leaves and those leaves have already started changing colors.
I had even convinced Garrett to let Alex go to preschool and the little guy is enjoying himself. The preschool doubles as a daycare, so I take Alex for preschool at about nine and I pick him up at around five that same day. Charlotte is doing very well in school and currently involved in an indoor soccer league that is having an undefeated season so far. But I should mention that it's only because they're three games into the season.
Since I have the house to myself more now that Alex is at preschool five days a week I decided to finish my English Literature degree online and spend most of my days studying and taking tests. I'm actually really glad that I can finish my degree seeing as how I wasn't able to seeing as how I had Charlotte when I was a freshman in college. Alice told me that I should finish anyway, but it just wouldn't work out seeing that my dad was in Washington, my mom was in Rochester, and Garrett's parents were too busy with the bakery to take time out to babysit during the days I would've had classes.
But the best thing about October seems to be that Garrett has making more of a conscious effort to spend more time with the family. He's been cutting back on his hours and he's not gone on the weekends anymore. Actually it was a bit of a pleasant surprise that I wasn't the only parent there that was cheering Charlotte on. Today was the second Saturday of the month and that meant it was game day. Her team, "The Cheetahs", was currently dominating against the "The Jackals".
"Mommy, can I go racing?" Alex said. I will give him credit; he has been sitting rather quietly for the first two quarters of the game. I gave in when he started to gently pull on my sleeve and point over to the small arcade they had set up. When we got over there I saw the racing game that Alex obviously spotted when we walked in. I looked back over my shoulder and saw that the 'The Cheetahs' were up by two goals, so I probably wouldn't miss Charlotte make her first goal. Alex plopped down in the chair, and the look on his face was priceless; I had to stifle my laughter at the look on my son's face when he saw that he was too short to reach the pedals. Thankfully the game system had an adjustable seat, so my first attempt to make it where Alex could possibly reach the pedals, but then when I did that he was eye level with the top of the steering wheel – could not see over it at all. I was seconds away from giving up and try to convince my stubborn son that he should just play the crane game to get a stuffed animal. Then the most perfect idea popped into my head. "Alex, how about you sit on my lap and I push the gas pedal and you steer the car?"
I would never grow tired of the look of pure joy and excitement in my son's eyes. I readjusted the chair so that I could sit comfortably, and still have room for Alex to sit in my lap. We went through all the choices of cars a few times and when we finally picked the one we wanted, I whispered to Alex that he wanted to pick the option of driving that said "automatic". I even pointed to which one he needed to turn his wheel to. The one time my son decides not to listen to me and he chooses this as one of those few times. He chose the "manual" option, and that meant I would be stuck with the small gearshift.
Now, I had a general idea of how to use a gearshift from when my dad tried to teach me when I was about Charlotte's age how and when to shift into different gears. But when I was sixteen and learning to drive, my dad thought that my crash course when I was eight years old would still be fresh in my mind. Well, by the time my driving lesson ended my dad's old truck – we're talking a 1957 Chevy – needed a new transmission as well as a new clutch plate, but in my defense the truck was so old that it needed a new transmission anyway. So suffice to say that when I turned sixteen and got my license my car was automatic and the only thing I had to worry about was whether or not I left the emergency brake on.
"Yay mommy, look at me go! Vvvoooommmmm…" I smiled as my son excitedly twisted the wheel left and right haphazardly. By the time his car reached the finish line he had managed to come in fifth out of eight cars. This was baffling to me seeing as how Alex had only been turning the wheel left and right with no real sense of direction – at least that's what it looked like to me.
I carried Alex back over to the wooden bleachers after the video game and sat down next to Garrett. He happily filled me in on what all I missed; thankfully I hadn't missed Charlotte make her first goal yet. As if by sheer luck I happened to look up just as Charlotte got the ball kicked to her and she started running down the field with the ball. With the goal a few feet from her, she had kicked it to one of her teammates and when Charlotte got closer to the goal she called for Mallory, her best friend on the team, to give her the ball. The game all came down to this one goal – while I was gone racing in the Mojave desert with Alex the 'The Jackals' had come back and tied the game up to 2–2. Garrett was on his feet by this time too and just when I thought Charlotte's kick was going to go left of the goal, it hit the top of the goalie's fingers and bounced on just the right spot of the goal and back into the net
The 'The Cheetahs' managed to break the tie and win the game!
As both teams walked in straight lines down the center of the arena to high five one another, I went to help the mother who was in charge of getting the team snack ready for the thirsty and hungry kids. This particular game day, it was Angela's turn to get the snacks ready. She was running a bit behind running back and forth trying to put food on the plates while trying to soothe her fussing, and teething, eight-month old baby boy.
"Need a hand Ang?" I knew that it went without saying, but I asked all the same.
"I need a second set of hands, I swear with Mikey teething and Eric running around here somewhere it's so hard to make sure that I don't give one kid more grapes than another." Eric was the same age as Alex, but older by a three months. "But yes, you are more than welcome to help me make sure that every kid gets a juice box and make sure that they don't try and steal a plate of food before I'm finished." I mocked saluted her – her husband, Ben, is in the Marines and currently on deployment. I intercepted the gang of kids that were making their way over to the snack table. I decided it would be best to distract them with music and quickly grabbed my cell phone, and hooked it up to a pair of speakers especially made for phones and mp3 players. I turned on my kid-friendly playlist and they were immediately distracted and dancing around in a circle.
The first song that came on made me chuckle, because I had heard Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker on the car ride over here. When the chorus came around all the kids, and even some of the parents, started belting it out.
"Hey, momma rock mmmeeeeee!" Alex squealed as he jumped for me to catch him. This was our thing lately; I would pick him up and bounce around and pretend dance with him. I would hold his hand while we swayed with the music and he would sing at the top of his lungs. It was rather humorous because he would occasionally add his own twist to some of the words when Darius would sing the verses.
A few songs played after Wagon Wheel finished up, but just before my playlist got to Gangnam Style, Angela announced that snacks were ready and that everyone needed to form a single file line – and of course with a bunch of hungry kids there was a fight to see who could be first. Mallory, Angela's oldest, got in front and everyone else filed in line after her. The line was about half the size it was when I could hear poor little Mikey fussing and squirming in his baby carrier. I asked Angela if it was ok that I hold and rock with Mikey to try to soothe him a bit. Angela gladly agreed and went on serving the hungry kids. With a bright smile I tickled Mikey's belly and tried to take his mind off of the pain he was feeling in his gums – this seemed to really do the trick.
"I forgot how babies seem to love you Bells, I still remember Alex would giggle and coo when you would come in the room. I love the children we have – our perfect little family." Garrett said with a thoughtful smile. It was the first nice, genuine thing he's said to me in a while. I may be putting too much thought into what Garrett said, but it sounded like he was telling me – without actually saying it at all – the two children we had were plenty for him. I could have been over-analyzing his statement, so I didn't think too much about it. I picked Mikey up and kissed his chubby cheeks which earned me a toothless smile – almost. It seemed that the reason Mikey had been extra cranky lately was that he was in the process of getting his second and third tooth at the same time; that would make anyone cranky.
It was if the gods were looking down on me and wanted me to break out in song because King of the Road by Roger Miller came on and I decided to break out my good 'old fashioned swaying with Mikey, who by this time had managed to get his mind off his painful teeth coming in. When the song finished all the kids stared at me and laughed, a few of the parents were smiling as well; I apparently had started singing along with the music. Garrett came over to give me a reassuring kiss on the cheek. He told me that it was his favorite too.
Later on that day Garrett and I were subjected to parental hell – otherwise known as going shopping for Halloween costumes. It was considered hell for us because we had two children who were still feeling the effects of the copious amounts of sugar still coursing through their systems. Now normally I would take the time and either I would sew the kids' costumes myself, or I would let Alice have the honor of repeatedly sticking her fingers with sewing needles sewing wings to a fairy costume, but this year I made the decision that we would just buy costumes that were already made.
Why didn't anyone ever tell me how stressful it was taking two kids, who were all hopped up on sugar from all the candy they had after Charlotte's soccer game, costume shopping?
As we looked through all of the costumes, not finding costumes that either of my children even remotely liked, I was starting to reconsider making the kids' costumes myself again this year and save me the headache.
"No! I don't want to be a fairy this year I was a fairy last year! I wanna go as a vampire, and not like the ones in mommy's books, I don't wanna sparkle!" I sighed. Garrett agreed to take Charlotte to look for a vampire costume in her size. I was still trying to get Alex to decide what it was that he wanted to go as for Halloween. I would normally just pick out a pattern and that would be what he went as, but Alex told me that he was a big boy and that he wanted to pick out is own costume this year. Have you ever tried to get a four year old to focus long enough to pick out a costume? It's like leading a horse to water. I silently sang praises of halleluiah when Alex finally picked out a costume. But when I got a better look at the costume my son had pointed to I was a bit confused.
"Are you sure you want this costume buddy?"
"Yeah, I wanna be a fairy!" My son had picked out a Tinkerbell costume. Now, I am all for a child being themselves and I would not be the type of parent to tell my children what Halloween costume they can or cannot wear; I would make this work. I agreed that Alex could go as a fairy and when Alex went to go tell Garrett the good news I quickly picked up a Peter Pan costume. I would try my best to combine the two costumes so that my son still thought he went as a fairy, but he also looked like peter pan – but with wings.
We were able to get out of the costume shop in one piece. Garrett and I decided to take the kids out for ice cream. Charlotte and Alex both asked for Superman ice cream, I went with a classic – cookie dough ice cream, and Garrett got a twist ice cream cone.
"So, I was thinking, you know how we haven't really dressed up for Halloween in a few years," Garrett asked between mouthfuls of ice-cream. I gave him a knowing glare. We haven't been dressing up for Halloween; he was the one who hadn't dressed up for Halloween. ", ok, I was the one who hasn't dressed up the past couple of years. I was thinking about it, and we could go with a theme for costumes. I'll even let you pick them out. I know how you can get when it comes to costumes." He did have a point, I was normally a very laid back person, but when it came to picking out Halloween costumes I was very particular about what I wanted. I would definitely need to take Rosalie and Alice with me to go costume shopping in the next couple of days.
Charlotte and Alex had finished their ice cream a long time ago, and asked if we were going home yet. I told them we were leaving in a few minutes and that they needed to sit still and wait patiently. Charlotte gladly agreed, but I could tell that Alex didn't really want to stay seated; he wanted to bounce around and try to get Charlotte to chase him around the bench we were sitting at. When we finished our ice cream and threw away the trash at the same time, I decided that now was a good time as any to bring up something that had been clawing at the back of my mind. I asked him about why he was working such long hours in the past, and why did he decide to stop all of the sudden. He calmly told me that he was working extra hard so that the bosses higher up would see all of Garrett's hard work and promote him to partner. This meant that he would get a bigger paycheck, and that if the chance came up he could work at any law firm he wanted – maybe even start his own. I had to believe him; I mean besides the two strange phone conversations I overheard I had no definitive proof that Garrett was doing anything else – even if my mind was screaming at me that he was doing much more than just working long hours at the office.
We got home around seven that night, and after the amazing dinner that Laurent had made us – every meal that Laurent makes is wonderful – I was on the phone talking to Alice; asking her if she was going to have her costume party. "Of course I'm still having my party and I was able to convince Jasper that we should have the party on Halloween. Do you think Hank and the Wicked Witch would want to take Lottie and Alex trick-or-treating this year?" I decided to look past the little dig at Celia and told her that I wasn't sure what Hank and Celia's plans were for Halloween. I would have to ask Garrett if he was ok with his parents taking our kids trick-or-treating.
"I'm sure that uptight "B" would love to make sure that my niece and nephew went with her and her pushover-of-a-husband on Halloween."
"Ok Alice, that's enough, I know you don't get along with Celia and I know that she presses your buttons, but enough; let's talk about what Garrett and I should dress up as for your party. He told me that I had full rein of whether or not we dressed up as a couple or separate. I need your expert fashion sense. What should I dress up as for Halloween?" I knew once the words left my mouth that I had unleashed the fashion monster.
Alice loved playing dress up, she'd always guilt me into playing dress-up with her when we were kids; heck, even in high school she would guilt me into dressing up in front of the mirror with her. I swear there wasn't anyone alive who could say 'no' to Alice, and those who did paid the price of having her give them the cold shoulder. Now, it wasn't your typical cold shoulder and she would eventually forgive you. I mean, she could go for months not talking to you – my parents excluded of course. "Well I have a few ideas for you missy, but as for that sorry excuse you call a husband, I'll have my work cut out for me." I decided not to dignify that with a response and listened as Alice listed all the different types of costumes she could see me wearing.
I personally liked the idea of dressing as a hippy, but the others seemed a bit too risqué for me. I wasn't about to dress up as a 'slutty' cheerleader, or a 'naughty' nurse. While I listened to Alice go on and on about how I'd called her for her opinion, I resorted to Google Images and went through the different pictures I found when I typed in 'Halloween costumes for women'.
"That's it! I found the costume I'll wear, and I think you will even approve it Alice! Don't you even think about trying to pry it out of me. Think of it as my way of paying you back for all the years I had to endure with you making me your personal Barbie doll." I giggled as I heard my sister growl and demand that I tell her what costume I picked out, but I remained firm. Plus, the more I looked at this costume the more I fell in love with it. Without giving too much away, I was able to give Alice a vague description of my costume and happily agreed that she would look for a costume for Garrett that would complement my costume. I happily hung up the phone before I was dragged into Alice's little web of designers and whether or not I should pick out something that was more revealing.
Then a thought crossed my mind.
As I was perusing the images of different costumes on Google, I was thinking about Edward and whether or not he would be at Alice and Rosalie's party. Would he be there and if he were, how would I even know if it's him?
There was one thing that Alice's costume parties were known for – their masquerade masks.
Not much to say other than I will see you all next Wednesday and please be sure to review and tell your friends about this story! :)