“Sha la la la la la la la la la la la.”
It was faint at first because Edward, playing piano and alone in the house, was distracted. Then Jacob hit a particularly bad pitch and Edward realized what was happening. Laughter simmering in his belly, Edward ran quickly to the cottage and hid bellow one of he living room windows. If Jacob noticed an audience, he would surely stop and Edward wanted to enjoy this for as long as possible.
Dora the Explorer was muted on the TV behind Nessie. She was sitting on the coffee table in a bright yellow dress, her dimpled little legs stretched out in front of her. Her smile was huge, eyes bright, watching Jacob. Jacob, shirtless, was bent forward to match Nessie’s eye line, mouth wide open, singing, “Skipping and a jumping, hey, hey, in the misty morning fog—” Edward covered his mouth and nose with a hand to keep from making noise. “My brown-eyed girl!”
Jacob picked up Nessie suddenly and she slipped into position in his arms effortlessly, legs tucked around his chest. He started dancing with her as he sang, huge leaps around the room, making Nessie giggle hysterically.
Listening to their thoughts was pointless, Jacob’s a frenzy of, Does she like it? She’s laughing! I love her. Wow, I can’t sing—she’s laughing! I love her. Nessie’s mind was calm, just, Jacob, Jacob, Jacob, Jacob, my Jacob, funny Jacob.
His memory of the second verse proved much more choppy, so Jacob tapered off and started tickling Nessie’s feet instead, whispering and cooing to her quietly. She tucked her head into the curve of his neck and then pressed her hand to Jacob’s cheek. He lifted his free hand to her mouth and she started gnawing on two of his fingers. Jacob settled on the couch with her and noticed the TV again.
“Hola, Nessie,” Jacob said quietly. “Te querré siempre. Mis princesa.”
One day, terrifyingly soon, Edward’s little girl would have breasts and if Jacob dared touch them, Edward would rip his hands off. But he couldn’t begrudge him this pure love.
He could tease him mercilessly, however.
As casually as possible, Edward walked in the back door and sat down next to Jacob on the couch. Nessie squealed, clapped her hands, and crawled into Edward’s lap, never letting Jacob’s fingers out of her mouth.
As Swiper the Fox silently hid building blocks from Dora, Edward said, “Hey, Jacob?”
Jacob hummed in the affirmative.
“Do you remember when we used to sing?”
Edward sometimes missed Bella’s brilliant blush, but Jacob’s face turning pure cherry red was an excellent consolation.
He heard the sound of Bella’s car coming toward the house and anticipation for seeing her face again zinged up his spine. He’d have to divert himself so not to jump on her when she came in.
Jacob growled at him and Nessie giggled.
“You think it’s okay to go around bare-chested in front of my daughter?”
“She spit up on my shirt!” Jacob elbowed him in the side. “She doesn’t like goat milk any better than the normal stuff, by the way.”
Nessie took Jacob’s fingers out of her mouth and said firmly, “No, no,” then tucked his hand around her back and used his arm as a pillow on the bed of Edward’s lap.
“Jake, there is a reason that I have a cell phone.” Bella said, as she walked in the front door, carrying plastic Safeway bags. His biggest conflict the past few weeks was wanting to help Bella with the groceries while not disturbing Nessie in his lap. Bella grinned at him and dashed the food into the kitchen, reappearing a few seconds later. “It is so you can call me and tell me not to buy more goat milk.”
“Edward knew, too,” Jacob said. Edward moved to pinch him for his lame argument, but Bella distracted him, curving her body next to his and kissing him lingeringly on the mouth.
“Edward’s cuter than you,” Bella said, staring into Edward’s eyes. Nessie sighed and rearranged herself so her head tucked into Bella’s knee, crossed over her leg.
Edward smiled and sighed. Something was sure to go horribly wrong soon enough, but he could enjoy this for a few minutes more at least.