Milk Money Chapter 11
Sometimes I have this dream where I’m getting an award, or on the set of a dream movie and something happens to destroy it all, like an earthquake or a huge godzilla-like monster destroys it all. That’s what I felt like when Tanya came home.
She was my fiance, well technically, we were engaged. I’d never asked her, yet I’d never protested it either. We had a child together and I’d told her that I’d loved her, but when she came home, all I wanted was for her to be gone again. The few days before her return had been the happiest of my life. I couldn’t even tell you what I’d done exactly, just that I’d been enjoying myself the entire time.
Bella had been perfect with Charlie. She’d nursed him, but more than that, she’d loved him. It didn’t take a mind reader to tell that when she saw him, she truly cared about his well being. Alice had also been great. She hadn’t done much with Charlie because I’d been home, but she’d cared for Elizabeth while Bella was nursing Charlie.
There was another reason I liked Alice, she challenged Jasper at every turn. He wasn’t the type of guy who liked being questioned or teased for that matter, but somehow with Alice, he would engage her. The two of them would argue and debate about anything. I thought at first that there might be true animosity between them, but one morning over breakfast we were all talking about a Sci/fi romance movie I’d been in where the lead character was part of this race of creatures called Bocaj. They looked like humans, but functioned like plants, getting their energy from the sun. Alice had said she’d loved the movie, but she wasn’t so sure about the aliens. Bella had argued that it made the movie unique and eternal love believable. Jasper walked in at the end of our conversation, overhearing a bit.
“I loved that movie, Midnight Caller. The only thing I didn’t like was that there were aliens in it. It should have been something like vampires.”
I figured finally he and Alice had something to agree on, but the little bumble bee looked him right in the eye and said, “The fact that they were aliens made the movie unique and the eternal love between Oliver and Bec believable.”
The two of them argued about it for an hour until finally Jasper said that he did see her point, to which Alice responded, “Then again, maybe they should have been vampires.”
She came up to his shoulder, was over ten years younger than him, but was going toe to toe with him and I loved it. He did too or he wouldn’t have come up with a million reasons to hang around at the house.
Things were going perfectly. Charlie was eating and at his check up, he’d gained almost a pound. The doctor asked what had been working and when I told him that it was breast milk, he said to expect more weight gain, and fast.
Initially I wasn’t sure how it would be with Elizabeth in the house. Of course she was welcome because it meant that Bella would be available for Charlie, but after only a few days, I couldn’t imagine how it would have worked without her.
I loved Charlie. He was my son. And I loved holding him, but there wasn’t much else to do with him other than that. Elizabeth was fun! She liked to swim in the pool and ride on my shoulders. She loved chasing bubbles, but what she loved to do most was play tickle monster with me. It was the silliest game, really. It had started that first day when Alice left me alone with her for a few minutes. She’d looked like she was about to cry, and I didn’t know what to do, so I just started tickling her. She ran of course, but she inched her way back. I said, “I’m gonna tickle you!” and somehow that turned into the tickle monster.
She loved when I put a towel over my head and chased her around. In hindsight, I should have seen it coming, what happened between Bella and I. Elizabeth asked to play tickle monster and I’d said yes. We didn’t have a towel, so she grabbed the nearest blanket. It didn’t matter to her that her mother was using that blanket to cover herself while nursing Charlie. It didn’t matter to Elizabeth that when she pulled on it, I was given the most glorious view in my entire life. I’d been a breast man my entire life, but the look at Bella’s full breast was enough to cause movement in my pants. I know it was wrong on so many levels. First, she didn’t show me, it just happened. Second, she was nursing a baby, and not any baby, my son. I couldn’t even see her nipple, but it didn’t matter. I still thought it was the hottest thing I’d ever seen, wrong or not. Of course the other reason it was wrong to be so aroused by Bella’s breasts was the fact that I was engaged to another woman. True, the relationship was hanging on by a thread, but there still was one, and after all of the things I’d seen, I’d never cheat on someone.
It was as if someone was out there to remind me to be good. I mean, I’d been standing there, gawking at Bella for what had to be a year, trying to mentally control the erection that was forming in my boxers when I heard Tanya yelling from downstairs.
“Oh shit!” I hissed turning toward the door, the magical spell broken by her presence. I felt like I’d been caught peeking into the girls locker room. “Tanya’s home,” I said.
Bella just looked at me. I could tell that she was upset. No doubt from me gawking at her. “I’m going to go talk to her,” I said not looking back.
“I’ll just finish up. I’m sure she wants to see Charlie,” Bella said as I left the room. I didn’t bother to go back to tell her that I doubted it. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe the moment I saw Tanya I’d feel that spark I’d felt when I first met her and I’d be able to get Bella out of my mind.
Nothing could have been further from the truth.
“Welcome home, Tanya,” I said walking down the stairs.
“What the hell happened here?” she asked, indicating the things that were out. It really didn’t look that bad. Elizabeth had three dolls on the couch and there were a pair of her shoes near the door. Charlie’s swing was out, as was his bouncy seat. There was a bottle on the coffee table. Bella had pumped and I was able to feed Charlie an afternoon meal. I planned to take one of the night shifts that night so Bella could get more sleep. Again my thoughts were of Bella and not Tanya who was standing before me with her hands on her hips. It pissed me off.
“What do you mean what happened? I am raising our son.”
“But does it have to be so messy? Isn’t that what he has that room for?”
“You want me to keep him in his room all of the time?” I asked incredulously.
“No. Don’t be stupid Edward, just all this shit!”
If this conversation was supposed to help rekindle my feelings for her, it wasn’t working. All I could do was compare her to Bella. Bella would never say such ridiculous things. Babies came with stuff. That’s just how it was.
And at the thought of Bella, I heard her voice behind me, calling from the top of the stairs in the softest, sweetest voice.
“Excuse me. I’m sorry to interupt, but could I get a little help?” She was standing there with Charlie in her arms while holding Elizabeth’s hand. I knew the stairs were tricky with two kids.
Without hesitation I sprinted up the steps and grabbed Elizabeth. She giggled as I swung her into the air. I was halfway down before I noticed the icy glare from Tanya.
I took a deep breath. “Tanya there is someone I’d like you to meet.”
“I know who she is,” Tanya replied tartly. I was shocked. Had she been calling to check up on Charlie and I hadn’t known about it.
“Oh, I didn’t know you knew,” I responded.
“Of course I know. She was all over the papers and television. It’s soupergirl.”
Bella’s face was bright red. I wanted to slap Tanya for being so rude. “No, it’s not. I mean, yes, she is that woman, but…” I was frustrated as hell. “Tanya, this is Bella Swan. She’s been taking care of Charlie. She’s feeding him. And this is her daughter, Elizabeth,” I added, setting her down so she could play with her dolls.
Tanya softened a bit. “I had read that press release from Jasper, but I just figured it was some sort of spin. I thought we had a nanny, Iris or something.”
“Zafrina,” I corrected. “She quit. She said he cried too much.”
“See? I wasn’t the only one who thought so!” Her words pissed me off more than hurt.
“He cried because he was hungry,” I retorted. I was pissed and I’m sure everyone could tell.
“Would you like him?” Bella asked Tanya, who had yet to acknowledge her presence.
“Oh, um, sure,” Tanya said holding out her hands. Bella handed Charlie to her, but Tanya held him from her body like he was something dirty she was afraid to get on her clothes.
“Why don’t we give you some privacy so you can catch up,” Bella said, picking up the dolls and taking Elizabeth by the hand. They headed in the direction of Alice’s suite.
“Well at least he isn’t screaming,” Tanya said looking at him. “I guess you finally found a formula that he could eat. I told you that I didn’t have to nurse him.”
“Actually, he is being nursed. That’s what Bella does. She nurses him.”
Tanya’s jaw dropped. “You mean like straight from her boobs?”
Here we go, I thought. If she flips out over this and insists it stop, I wasn’t sure what I’d do. It turns out I needn’t have worried.
“Yes, from her breast. It’s breastfeeding and it’s natural. She nursed her own daughter for a year, and now she’s nursing Charlie.”
Tanya started to laugh. “Two years of nursing? Wow. What ever you’re paying her can’t be enough. Her boobs will look like two empty salami casings! Make sure you pay for a boob job when she’s done!”
I saw red. I’m not sure what I should have said, but I know what I shouldn’t have, yet it’s exactly what came out of my mouth. “They do not. They are spectacular!”
I spun around to make sure Bella had left the room. I hadn’t wanted her to hear what Tanya had said, and I sure as hell didn’t want her to hear me talking about her breasts. I’d just been leering at them. She would think I was some sort of sex crazed lunatic.
“On my God!” Tanya hissed. “You’re fucking the nanny!”
“No I’m not! Bella isn’t like that. She’s sweet and smart and she’d never just have a fling with someone.”
Tanya huffed and I realized that I’d never said that I didn’t want to, only that Bella wouldn’t let me.
“Well there has to be something wrong with her. She’s letting someone elses baby ruin her body.”
I was about to argue that was one of the things that made her wonderful, but Charlie had something to say about her comment anyway. There was a loud noise and then Tanya screamed.
“OH MY GOD! IT SHIT ON ME!”
I was afraid she’d drop Charlie, so I grabbed him. He’d had a blowout and it was all over Tanya’s arm and her blouse. “I liked him better when he didn’t eat!” she screeched storming from the room and up the stairs.
What she’d just said was awful. I understood that it was unexpected but to say that she preferred it when our son was starving to death was just not right. I did have to laugh at the situation though. Tanya was still yelling from upstairs. It had been enough noise to draw both Bella and Alice back into the room.
“Oh no!” Bella exclaimed. “I forgot to change his diaper after I nursed him. I was in such a hurry to get him down here. Please tell me that it didn’t get on Tanya!” She was so concerned and it was adorable.
“It did get on her a bit,” I said down playing it a bit. “She’s showering now.”
“Do you need help cleaning up Charlie?” Bella asked.
“I think I can manage, but if you want to help that would be great."
Twenty minutes later we were finished and put Charlie down.
I wasn’t really surprised that Tanya didn't come downstairs until dinner.
“Oh wow, you’re still here,” she said to Bella who was sitting across from me and next to Alice. Elizabeth was making a mess at the end of the table. Jasper had come for dinner and even Emmett was eating with us. We’d all been talking and laughing when Tanya came into the room, but with her comment, it stopped.
“Yes, she’s here. She’s moved in. Bella is staying in the Nanny’s room. Her daughter, Elizabeth, is staying in the spare bedroom next to her and Alice has also been hired on. Alice will take care of Elizabeth and Charlie when Bella or I can’t.”
Tanya’s eyebrows raised. The way I’d said it made it sound like Bella and I shared the responsibilities of caring for both of the children. I was about to correct myself, but Tanya spoke. “Whatever, as long as it won’t interfere with my work. It’s not like this place doesn’t have enough bedrooms.”
There was a collective sigh until she opened her mouth again. “Who made dinner?”
Alice and Bella had, and honestly, it was wonderful. It was spaghetti and meatballs, but somehow the sauce tasted like it was from heaven and I had no clue what they’d put in the meatballs, but I hadn’t had any this good in years, maybe ever.
“I, um… I made dinner. Is something wrong with it?” Bella said.
“Well, no, it looks delicious, but is that gluten free pasta?”
“I guess so. I just used the pasta in the cabinet.”
“Fine then,” Tanya said, taking a small amount from the bowl in the middle of the table. She took a few meatballs too. She bit into one and moaned. “This is so delicious. What did you do to make it so good?”
Bella was smiling. She looked so pretty when she smiled. “Well, I don’t know. It’s got a bit of bread crumbs, just the regular spices… uh… I added garlic… maybe it’s the meat. Emmett got some really good ground beef.”
Tanya dropped her fork. “THIS IS BEEF?”
I was surprised too. No one ate beef in our circles. It was all ground turkey or tofu. No wonder it tasted so fucking good!
“I… uh… yeah, it’s a meatball.... uh....”
“Oh my God!” Tanya shouted. “I don’t eat red meat! I don’t like it.”
“Seems like you just loved it,” Alice said and I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing. Jasper didn’t hide his emotions well and burst out laughing.
“I’m so sorry,” Bella said. “I didn’t know. I just thought… well… it’s a meatball…”
Tanya got up and went to the fridge picking out a yogurt. “If my face breaks out or I can’t fit into my dress for the Oscars the day after tomorrow, you won’t be laughing Jasper.”
She stormed upstairs and for a while everyone was silent. Jasper broke the silence by looking at Alice and speaking in a mocking tone. “Oh, you forgot to ask her for her autograph!”
That was it. Everyone exhaled and burst out laughing. Again we were back to ourselves and it just emphasized how miserable I was with Tanya around. I had to end it. It wasn’t because of Bella, I told myself. I knew deep down that part of it was, but most of it was that I just wanted to be happy.