I Will Always Love You
Let’s just be honest, I’ve been binge watching criminal minds… I just can’t help myself.
Tell me what you think, and I hope you enjoy!
Derek walked over to Spencer’s desk and leaned against it. “Alright, pretty boy, you have to know who’s replacing Strauss.”
Spencer looked up from his file. “No, I don’t. Hotch says the department has chosen someone who is more than qualified for the job, but that can be anyone. All I know for certain is that it’s a woman.”
Derek looked curiously at the closed office. “Hey, Emily.” He said looking over at the woman. “Have you seen any movers come in or out of that office?”
“No, but let me remind you that the last time we snooped in someone’s office we got caught.” Emily said gesturing to Rossi’s office.
“She can make our lives a living hell.” Derek said with a shake of his head as he wasn’t pleased at the thought of a new boss coming in.
“Now agent.” A tinkle like voice said from behind Derek. “I’ll only make your lives a living hell if you make my job more difficult than it needs to be.” Bella held out her hand to Derek. “I’m Isabella Swan, your new Director.”
“Derek Morgan.” Derek said shaking her hand.
“Spencer Reid.” Spencer said standing to shake her hand.
Bella nodded as she knew Reid already, or at least she’s read some of his work. “I’ve read several of your papers, Doctor Reid. I’m impressed by your work.” She turned to Emily and offered her hand.
“Emily Prentiss.” Prentiss said shaking the woman’s hand.
Bella smiled, “It was a pleasure to meet you all.” She said before turning to walk to her office, she paused as she opened the door but took in a deep breath and entered. It was just like her previous office, only a bit bigger. She walked to her desk and set down her briefcase, her hands roamed over the photo frames and they stilled as she reached the photo of her and Seth. She’d make a note to call him as soon as she was done for the day.
Bella read through the case files and started her work for the day the last thing she wanted was to have a late day. Bella looked down at her watch and stood quickly knowing she had to build up her courage and go into his office. Standing on her heels she moved to set out to speak to him. Her heels clicked on the floor as she made her way to SSA Aaron Hotchner’s office. Her hands paused as she moved to knock, but she couldn’t find herself to do it yet. Taking in a deep breath she knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Aaron said standing he paused as he saw her enter. “Bella?”
Bella smiled, “Hello, Aaron.” Bella said closing the door behind her. “I didn’t mean to disturb your work, but I just wanted to speak to you for a moment.”
Aaron’s brow furrowed in confusion as he couldn’t understand what she was doing in his office. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m the new Section Chief.” Bella announced with a small smile. “I need a few signatures from you, there are a few documents that are missing them and I can’t close these cases without them.”
“I apologize; I must’ve forgotten to sign them.” Aaron said taking the few files from her hand. “I didn’t know you had been offered the position.”
Bella nodded, “There are several things you don’t know about me anymore, Aaron. I wanted a transfer and when the position became available I was offered the new title. It’s not what I’m used to, but I had a reason to come to Virginia. I should assure you that accepting this job had nothing to do with you, Aaron. Our past is going to stay in the past, it shouldn’t affect either of our work habits.” Bella took the offered cases and smiled. “Thank you.”
“Bella.” Aaron said stopping her from exiting. “It’s good to see you again, it’s been too long. I’m glad you took the job; I did miss seeing you.”
Bella nodded, “It’s been almost a decade.”
Bella entered the office space, the team was dispatched, but the light in Aaron’s office was on. It was 6pm and most of the agents were gone for the day. Thinking it was just a mistake she entered his office to turn off the light but stopped in her tracks as she saw the little boy curled up on Aaron’s chair. She knew Aaron was still on a case, so who was looking after the little boy? Stepping close Bella kneeled down gently waking the boy. “It’s okay, Sweetheart.” She said softly as she saw his startled face. “What are you doing here?”
“Lindy left me here.” He spoke softly as he looked around the room. “My daddy should be coming back soon.”
Bella sighed, “You must be Jack. I’m Bella, I work with your dad.”
Jack smiled, “My daddy’s the best. He’s a real hero.”
Bella nodded, “He sure is. Now, you don’t want to sleep in this chair all night, do you? I have a very comfy couch in my office, you want to go take a nap?”
Jack’s lip puckered out, “I’m a little hungry.”
Bella smiled standing holding out her hand to him. “I’ll order us something to eat, okay?”
Jack nodded, “Okay.” He responded taking her hand.
Bella led Jack to her office, she got him comfortable on her couch and draped the decorative blanket over him. “I’ll wake you up when the food gets here.”
Bella reached for her phone just as Jack fell back asleep. “Seth.”
“Hey Ma!” Seth said happily. “I am not doing anything illegal. Just stopping by Diana’s for a bite to eat.”
Bella smiled, “Can you pick me up two burgers with fries and one small milkshake and a coke?”
“Sure thing, Ma.” Seth said, “Who’s’ the other burger for?”
“The son of one of the men I work with.” Bella responded, “Don’t be late.”
“No problem, Ma.” Seth said hanging up.
Bella smiled and sat down at her desk, she looked up to see Jack snoring softly. She would have to make sure that Aaron got a new babysitter, one that left a kid in an empty office wasn’t worth keeping around.
Bella finished up some paperwork as she heard Seth enter her office. She stood and smiled as he kissed her cheek. “How’s school?”
“Less boring than usual.” Seth announced setting the food down on her desk. “Got you extra fries.”
“Take a seat.” Bella said gesturing to one of the chairs across form her desk. “Let me wake up, Jack.”
Bella kneeled beside the couch and slowly woke Jack up. “I got you a burger, sweetheart” Bella said softly, she watched his gaze fall on Seth. “This is Seth, he’s my son.”
Seth smiled, “Hey, little man!” Seth said with a grin. “I hope you like chocolate, I got you a shake.”
“With whip cream?” Jack questioned with a smile.
“It’s the only way to have a shake!” Seth said with a smile.
Bella looked up as she saw Jack back on the couch out like a light. It was close to midnight and Jack had been exhausted after he hung out with Seth. Seth had left only minutes earlier as he needed to get to bed before his class in the morning. Bella finished up the paperwork typing on her computer to finish up the last of her work.
Bella looked up as there was a knock on her door. Quietly she rose form her desk and opened the door, she looked surprised as she saw the tech girl Garcia standing in front of her. “Is there something I can help you with?”
“I’m sorry to interrupt, but I’m looking for a little boy. His name is Jack. You haven’t happened to see him have you?” Penelope said with worry.
Bella opened the door wider and gestured her head behind her. “I’m assuming the babysitter finally alerted Aaron about his son? How far away are they?”
“They’re just landing. He’s coming right away.” Penelope said her fear building that Hotch would be in some sort of trouble.
“I don’t wish to wake him, so please tell Aaron that his son is fine.” Bella said walking back to her desk.
“Of course,” Penelope said exiting the office.
Bella finished her work and was in the process of putting her things away when Aaron entered her office. “I got him something to eat, and he’s been out since about 11pm. He wanted to stay up to see you, so it took a while to get him to go to sleep. He said he took a few naps throughout the day, so he should be up a bit early tomorrow morning.”
“Do you know if he finished his homework?” Aaron questioned heading over towards his son.
Bella nodded with a smile. “Yes, he finished it here.”
“Daddy.” Jack said squinting his eyes open. “I got a milkshake.”
Aaron smiled, “Yeah? Did it have extra whip cream?”
“Yes!” Jack said with a smile. “Seth said he always ask for extra whip cream, cause that’s what makes a shake delicious.”
Aaron looked over at Bella who smiled already anticipating the question. “Seth?”
“My son.” Bella stated proudly, she turned towards Jack and smiled. “I’ll see you later, Jack.”
“Bye, Bella.” Jack said as Aaron picked him up. “Can I see Seth again?”
Bella nodded, she leaned over her desk and on a note she scribbled down Seth’s number. “Here, just in case you need anything.” Bella placed the note in Jack’s hand. “Have a good night, Jack. You too, Aaron.”
“Thank you, Bella.” Aaron said with a smile. “I appreciate it.”
Bella smiled in return. “You’re welcome.”
Bella tapped her pen against the table as she finished the last of her casework from the previous night. She sighed as once again Aaron’s signature wasn’t on the document. She stood and walked to his office and knocked before she poked her head in. “I need your signature.”
Aaron smiled, “I apologize, I suppose I just got distracted.”
“No worries, I can understand. I’m not Strauss, Aaron, I can give you a bit of a break, I know having a kid is a big job.” Bella said handing him the file.
“Jack spoke fondly about Seth.” Aaron mentioned. “I didn’t know you…”
Bella smiled, “He was a victim of a kidnapping. The suspect killed his parents leaving him an orphan, he was only 9 when I met him. I fostered him for a while and then he called me mom one day and I filed for adoption the next day. Seth is very intelligent; he’s attending a university nearby.”
“What is he studying?” Aaron questioned handing back the papers.
Bella grinned, “Culinary. He wants to become a world class chef.”
“He’s not following in your footsteps?” Aaron questioned curiously.
“A parent only wants their child to be happy.” Bella said softly. “He made his decision and I’m going to support it. He’s a bright kid, but he loves to cook so I’ll just allow him to do it. Besides, it is my fault, I let him cook with me.”
Aaron laughed, “You were always great in the kitchen.”
“If you thought I was good; you should see Seth. He’s a natural,” Bella said as she took back the file. “Thank you.”
“Bella.” Aaron said standing. “Would you think Seth would mind babysitting?”
Bella shook her head. “Not at all. Seth has classes only a few times a week and they’re usually in the morning. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind having something to do with his time. I will warn you, he will use Jack as a test subject for all his food.”
Aaron nodded he smiled warmly at Bella. “We haven’t had a chance to catch up, but I would like you to know that I am happy to see you here.”
Bella nodded, “Thank you, Aaron.”
Bella slipped into her pajamas and joined the two boys in the living room. “What are we watching?”
“Seth said that we could watch Spiderman!” Jack said in excitement. “He’s my favorite superhero.”
Bella smiled as Jack was glued to Seth’s side. “I’ll get the drinks.”
“Can you get me a soda, ma?” Seth called out. “Please!”
“You’re getting juice!” Bella responded as she entered the kitchen pouring juice into two bottles. She walked back into he living room handing each boy a bottle. The doorbell rang and Bella walked towards the door as she heard the beginning lines of the movie start in the background. Looking through the eyehole Bella opened the door.
“Aaron.” She said in surprise. “Come in, it’s storming outside.”
Aaron stepped inside closing his umbrella. “Closed the case early. Came back as soon as I could, is Jack awake?”
Bella nodded, “They just started a movie, so I doubt you’ll be able to get him to go willingly.” Bella took Aaron’s coat and hung it up. “Go say hello, I’ll fix you a plate of food, you’re probably starving.”
“You don’t have to.” Aaron insisted feeling strange having barged into her house.
Bella rolled her eyes. “Go say hello to your son, Aaron.” Bella said heading into the kitchen. She moved around swiftly preparing Aaron a plate. She smiled as he entered. “I have to admit, Jack is adorable. I came home and he and Seth had converted my living room into the largest fort I have ever seen. The only reason it’s gone now is because the foundation was horrible and it collapsed.”
“He speaks fondly about you and Seth.” Aaron mentioned as he took a seat on the counter chair. “I’ve never seen Jake become so taken with someone before.”
“Seth has that quality about him.” Bella assured as she set a plate in front of Hotch. She poured him a glass of wine. “Tomorrow is your day off, what are your plans?”
“Jack wants to go to a water park, so I think I’ll finally take him.” Aaron said with a smile. “These mashed potatoes are great.”
“Jack requested them so Seth made them.” Bella said pouring herself a glass of wine as she took a seat across from Aaron. She took in his posture, tense as always, his hair was a bit grey and he looked so much more mature than he had ever before. She supposed that was what 10 years could do to a person.
“Bella…” Aaron said once he was finished his food. His face turning oddly serious. “I never got a chance to say that I’m sorry.”
Bella stiffened as this wasn’t a topic she had thought they would talk about. “I never wanted to hear it, Aaron.”
“I should have never…” Aaron said quietly rubbing his face.
Bella sighed, “It was 10 years ago, Aaron. Your career was taking off and so was mine. We went in different directions and I can accept that.”
“I went after you.” Aaron admitted quietly. “That day you left our apartment, I went after you to the airport.”
Bella sighed, “Aaron, we started out young and we never had time to just be by ourselves. I understood why you told me to leave and I can accept it now.”
“I was upset that you were considering the job so easily. I just lashed out at you, Bella. I was 28 and I was angry at the idea of you leaving.” Aaron admitted. “Next thing I knew you were on your way to Michigan and your father was coming in to pick up your things from our home. You wouldn’t answer my calls or my messages, I had lost all contact with you. The last thing I got from you was a voicemail that I still to this day have saved on my phone.”
Bella smiled sadly. “I was 27 Aaron, that offer it was a big deal and I couldn’t just turn it down, but I wasn’t going to take it without considering what you would think. I knew you were hurt and I should’ve said something to help the situation, but I didn’t. We’ve been together since I was 16 and you were 17, we were together for more than 10 years. It seemed we need a break from each other and that’s what we got.”
Aaron nodded, “I never wanted things to end.”
Bella smiled she placed her hand over Aaron’s. “You got Jack and I got Seth, I know nether one of us would ever change the road that gave us our boys.”
Aaron smiled placing his other hand on top of Bella’s. “Why don’t you tell me about Seth?”
Bella smiled as there was a small box of chocolates on her desk, it was the first thing she saw upon entering. She walked over to them and smiled as there were two cards taped to the box. She pulled the large one off first and opened it only to smile at the contents.
Happy Valentine’s Day Bella
It’s adorable penmanship letting her know it was from jack. She opened it to see that he had decorated it with several hearts. It had been so long since she had gotten one of these cards. She set it down and picked up the next card. This one she could tell wasn’t handmade but instead store bought.
She opened it and smiled as it was clearly something cheesy, her favorite. Her eyes travelled to the close to perfect handwriting that let her know it was Aaron’s.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Bella.
Join me for dinner?
Bella smiled and set the card down, she took a seat at her desk about to call Aaron, but instead her work phone rang. She sighed as she was taken into a large conversation with one of the members of the board.
Bella looked to the clock on the wall once the call had finally finished. She placed a hand on her head having noticed she had been on the phone for over an hour. She sighed and rubbed her temples as the phone call ended only leaving her with a large head ache. She rested her head against her palm feeling slightly agitated. Taking in a deep breath she began to type out an e-mail. She didn’t break away from the computer until it was all done. She quickly began going through the files she stopped as once again one didn’t have Aaron’s signature. She stood with a shake of her head and walked to his office.
She poked her head in and gave a small smile. “I need a signature.”
“I’m sorry, I must’ve seen past it.” Aaron said standing and taking the file from her hands.
Bella smiled, “Thank you for the chocolates.”
Aaron smiled. “They were Jack’s idea, I wanted flowers.”
Bella took the file from him as he handed it back. “Jack is a smart boy, Aaron. I love chocolates and I would love to go out to dinner with you.”
Aaron smiled, “Seth is watching Jack, so I’ll be by at 6.”
Bella nodded with a smile. “Sounds perfect, Aaron.”
Bella entered Aaron’s office closing the door behind her. “You’re short an agent.”
Aaron looked up and nodded. “I haven’t found a suitable replacement as of yet.”
“The board is getting impatient.” Bella said moving to take a seat on one of the chairs he had arranged in front of his desk. “They’re planning to assign a rookie to your team, they want to test how will your team will do with training.”
Aaron stiffened. “It’s not our job to train them.”
Bella nodded, “I managed to talk them out of it.”
“What did you compromise?” Aaron responded knowing they would always ask for something in return.
“I’ll be pulling double duty. Alongside being Director I’ll also be joining your team until you find a suitable replacement for Ms. Prentiss.” Bella said with a shrug. “A bit of extra work, but it’ll give you a bit more time to find a suitable replacement.”
“Bella.” Aaron said concerned. “Your workload is already a large amount; I can handle a rookie.”
Bella rolled her eyes. “I can handle a bit of extra casework, Aaron. It’ll only be for a limited amount of time. Once a replacement is assigned I’ll return to my normal workload. I know how much this team means to you Aaron, and I also know that your team is one of the best and I will not jeopardize your status because the board wants you to train rookies. Find someone you know is capable and strong enough for this team. Just do me a favor and try not to take too long.”
“Thank you.” Aaron said simply as he stood at the same time she did. He was suddenly pleased the blinds to his office were closed and the door was shut as well. He leaned down and brushed his lips over hers gently.
Bella smiled and didn’t hesitate as she moved closer deepening the kiss. She had forgotten how perfect she felt with him. After 10 years apart coming back together felt too natural to the both of them. She pulled back and reached up cleaning a bit of her lipstick off of him. “You’re welcome.”
“You’ll be seeing a lot more of me.” Aaron said cautiously as he watched her.
Bella smiled, “I’m okay with that. You know, Seth is more than happy to babysit Jack when we’re away. He likes the job.”
Aaron nodded, “I won’t have to worry about a babysitter then.”
Bella picked up the phone. “Director Isabella Swan speaking.”
“Isabella.” Sam Cooper said through the phone.
Bella leaned back surprised. “Sam. To what do I owe the pleasure of your call.”
“I know it is a lot to ask, but I was hoping you might be able to give my team the San Francisco case.” Sam said clearing his throat. “I have a theory on this case, it’s in my gut.”
Bella sighed, “Sam, I trust your instincts and your team, but I cannot simply take Hotchner’s team off the case.” She looked to her watch. “How fast can you be in my office?”
“Give me ten minutes.” Sam responded urgently.
Bella nodded, “Make it five, Sam. We don’t have much time to waste, I’ll speak to both you and Aaron, see what we can do.” Bella stood and hurriedly walked to Aaron’s office. “I need you in my office in 4 minutes.”
Aaron stood and followed her out not saying a word as he followed her into her office. “Is something wrong?”
Bella leaned against her desk. “Sam Cooper is coming in to talk about the case you’ve been assigned.”
“Cooper, you were on his team at one point, correct?” Aaron questioned in return.
Bella nodded, “He has a new team now, some of the people I know personally, others I have yet to meet.”
“Is there a reason he wants this case?” Aaron questioned curiously looking over the file.
“He has a theory on it.” Bella responded crossing her arms over her chest. “I know Sam very well, Aaron, his gut feelings tend to pay off. If he sees something in this case that you don’t…”
“Bella, the team has already been prepped for this case. It will set us back if we just hand it off.” Aaron said disliking the idea of having to stop the case completely.
“I wasn’t planning to ask you to hand it off, I was going to propose that if his theory has some merit to it, you share the case. His team and yours.” Bella responded a teasing smirk made its way onto her face. “Either way, as your superior I’ll order you to share it.”
Aaron’s lip twitched in a smile. “And as my girlfriend?”
“Well, as your girlfriend I’ll simply state that by refusal I have all rights to withhold sex.” Bella said with smirk. She stood as there was a knock on her door. Without hesitation she opened the door. “Sam.” She greeted with a smile.
“It’s good to see you, Isabella.” Sam said he approached Aaron. “Aaron, good to see you again.”
“We don’t have time to waste. Let’s here this theory, Sam.” Bella said softly gesturing for him to begin his theory.
Bella listened intently as Sam explained his theory. It made a lot of sense to her and she couldn’t deny that she felt that he had something on this case. By the look on Aaron’s face she could tell that he saw it too. “Aaron?”
“How fast can your team be here?” he questioned looking at his watch. “We leave in 30 minutes; can they meet us at the airstrip?”
Sam nodded, “I’ll get them on the phone.” Sam turned to Bella. “You still have Mick’s number?”
Bella furrowed her brow. “I believe so, why?”
“He’s my new member.” Sam said with a smirk. “Call him to alert him, it’ll be faster.”
Bella nodded, “30 minutes, Sam.”
Aaron watched Sam leave before turning to Bella. “You seemed surprise to know he was a part of the team.”
“I am.” Bella said searching for her phone. “I hadn’t realized Sam had added a new addition to his team.”
“Bella.” Aaron said calmly. “How do you know him?”
“I met him in Europe.” She stated as she scrolled through her phone. “We dated for a while, but eventually the long distance became too much for the both of us. We ended it a couple years ago. I’m just surprised to know he’s in the states, it’s been a while since I spoke to him.”
“W can handle one case without you.” Aaron assured.
Bella rolled her eyes smiling at him. “I’m fine Aaron, we parted on good terms.” She leaned up and pecked him softly. “Call Jack, wish him good luck on his science project. I’ve got a few calls to make.”
Bella stood in the kitchen area of the jet with her phone pressed to her ear. “Seth, you can’t put that on an internship application. They’ll reject it immediately. No, I don’t care how good it sounds, that is not what they want to hear. Leave the application on my desk, and I’ll help you fill it out. Yes, love you too.”
“I’d recognize that voice just about anywhere.” A smooth accent said behind Bella. “Good to see you again, love.”
Bella smiled and crossed her arms over her chest. “Good to see you, Mick.”
“No warm welcome? Not even a hug? I feel just a tad bit hurt by this.” Mick said in amusement. “Was that Seth? I haven’t talked to that boy in ages.”
“He’s not exactly a boy anymore, Mick.” Bella said with a smile, she turned her head as Aaron announced they were going to go over the case. Bella rolled her eyes as Mick took the seat beside her quickly. She looked to Aaron and smiled warmly at him before looking down at her file.
She sighed as her phone rang. “Excuse me, head of the board is calling.”
Bella stood walking to a more private place to speak. She paced back and forth as she spoke, running her hand through her hair. She let out a sigh of relief as he finally hung up. She walked back and took the empty seat next to Mick.
“Director, now?” Mick questioned curiously.
Bella shrugged, “I got promoted, Mick. I told you, hard work pays off.”
Bella strapped on her gun and looked to Aaron as he got in the SUV. “Cooper said his team has already found a possible missing father and daughter.”
Aaron nodded, “There’s been another body, I need you to go to the dump site and look things over.”
Bella nodded opening the car door. “Aaron.” She said cautiously. “Good luck.” She said softly as she closed the door to the car and got into a new SUV. She turned it on and looked as the passenger side door opened. “What are you doing?” She questioned Mick.
“Cooper said you might need some help looking over the body.” Mick said in response with a grin.
Bella sighed but started to drive. “I wasn’t aware you had come back to the U.S.”
“It’s only been a few weeks.” Mick replied. “I would’ve said something only when I had my things in order. I’ve just barely found a suitable apartment, love.”
“Mick, please don’t call me love.” Bella said as she drove.
“It’s a term of endearment between old friends, I’m will aware that you’re seeing someone else.” Mick responded calmly.
“How are you well aware of that?” Bella responded quickly in surprise.
“Come on, love. I know you better than you think. We were together for two years; I know that pretty little head of yours.” Mick said with a shrug. “It’s written all over your face, you’re in love. Lucky bastard he is to have you.”
“Is it that obvious?” Bella questioned with concern. If word were to get out that she was with Aaron, they would both be in big trouble.
“Only to those who really know you, love.” Mick responded with a shrug. “It’s in the way you act. You’re happy and a bit more laid back and that’s how you always act when you’re in love.”
Bella rolled her eyes, “I remember always being a bit annoyed when I was with you.”
“You loved it. I’m charming and I always knew how to make you laugh.” Mick responded with a smirk. “Not to mention that I was wonderful in bed.”
Bella laughed loudly. “You’re right, you did always know how to get a laugh out of me.”
Mick put his hand over his heart. “You wound my ego, love.”
“Your ego needs to be taken down a few notches.” Bella responded amused. “I am seeing someone, but for now I would appreciate it if that stays between you and me.”
“Ah.” Mick said in realization. “Due to your new title, I’m assuming you’re his superior.”
“I am.” Bella responded with a slight tension in her voice.
“You know, Sam still likes to believe that you and I are meant to be.” Mick responded seriously. “Guess I have to break the news to him that I was a few weeks too late.”
Bella looked over at him curiously. “Did you accept the job in hopes that you and I would get back together?”
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t an encouragement to accepting the offer.” Mick responded with a shrug. “What can I say, love, it seems you’ll always be the one I let get away.”
Bella strapped on her bullet proof vest and prepared her gun. She turned her head as Aaron approached her. “I’m good to go.”
“I owe you an apology.” Aaron said as he strapped his vest on as well.
Bella smiled “I accept flowers.” Bella said with a smirk as she walked past him to join the others. She got into the vehicle with Mick, Cooper and Aaron.
Bella swarmed into the building beside Aaron. She sighed as the suspect wasn’t there, taking Hotch’s order she went into the street with Derek. Bella took off running as they got the location of the girl, she didn’t want to risk putting the girl in danger. Suddenly she was pleased that she never stopped her strict workout regimen as she had to run to the roof of a building.
Bella burst through the roof door and came across the man and the kidnapped girl. She took out her gun pointing it at the older man just as Derek ran up to have her back. Derek having the louder voice shouted at the suspect to lower his weapon. Bella took a step forward as the man got on the ledge of the building, before closing his eyes and jumping off. Bella took a step towards the girl and motioned for the girl to step forward. As soon as she was in reach Bella pushed the girl behind her. “Derek will take you to your father.” Bella said as she climbed to look over the edge of the building needing insurance to see that the suspect had indeed died.
Bella let out a small gasp as he had just fallen on a ledge, his gun now pointed straight at her. Her eyes widened as she heard a gunshot, but the blood was coming from the suspect. She sighed and looked up to see Mick putting away his sniper rifle. She gave him a small wave as thanks and stepped back following after Derek.
“Okay?” Derek questioned worried knowing anyone who had a gun pointed at them could be a bit affected by the circumstances.
Bella nodded, “I’ve had a gun pointed at my head before, nothing out of the ordinary.”
Derek nodded, “Let’s head down, ambulances are waiting.”
Bella sighed as she climbed out of her hotel bed to answer the knock on the door. She stared surprised at Aaron in the hallway. She stepped aside and let him in to the room. “Is something wrong, Aaron?” She responded rubbing the sleep from her eyes.
“I owe you an apology.” Aaron said staring at her. “I’ve been rude to you since we started this case and you didn’t deserve that sort of behavior from me.”
Bella smiled, “It’s jealously, Aaron. You were in your own way throwing a tantrum because I fell in love after we broke up. I felt the same when I heard about you and Hayley.”
“You knew about Hayley?” Aaron questioned clearing his throat.
Bella nodded sheepishly. “Sam mentioned it after he saw you. He said that you got a woman pregnant and that you were taking full custody of the child, because the mother thought it was too soon. Sam thought it was brave of you to tackle being a single father and an agent at the same time.”
“Bella,” Aaron said rubbing his forehead. “I still owe you an apology. My life may have gone on when we separated, but I didn’t stop loving you. The idea of you falling in love with someone else, it didn’t sit right with me. I was upset because you didn’t mention him, and it was obvious to everyone that he was still in love with you.”
“Aaron.” Bella said taking a step towards him. “My life moved on as well, and yes I did fall in love with Mick, but that never meant that I didn’t still hold love for you. I love you, Aaron.”
A smile made its way onto Aaron’s lips. “I love you, Bella.”
Bella smiled and stood on the tips of her toes to kiss him. Her hands weaved into his hair and she pulled him closer. “Did you lock the door to your room?”
Aaron nodded his hands planted firmly on her hips. “Of course.”
Bella sighed, “Then stay here the night, for me.”
Aaron simply nodded before he leaned back down to kiss her. She loved him and that was all that really mattered at the moment.
Bella paused as there was a knock on the door early Saturday morning, but she knew Aaron was taking Jack to the dentist and there wasn’t a reason for this to be him. Slowly and cautiously Bella made her way to the door, she stood on the tips of her toes and looked in the peephole. She grinned as she saw the familiar sight of blonde hair.
“SEAN!” Bella said in glee as she swung the door opened and instantly hugged the man she’d always seen as a little brother. “What are you doing here?”
Sean smiled bashfully, “I’m finally doing it, Bells. I’m in town for the week to look at a location for my new place. I figured I’d surprise you and see if you’d let me crash on your couch.”
Bella smiled pulling him in, “Yeah of course!” She let him set his bag by the door. “You’re really doing it? Starting a restaurant from the ground up?”
Sean nodded, “Yeah, I got everything I could out of that place in Washington. I need to go out on my own. I figured since the last time we talked you seemed pretty set on staying here I’d come and join you. I miss the kid.”
Bella laughed, “Yeah, it’s your fault we moved. Who was the one who convinced Seth that cooking was the best career? I’m barely allowed in my own kitchen anymore.”
Sean laughed and followed Bella into the kitchen. “He calls me like once a week to ask what I think about a certain recipe. He’s been making a lot of kid treats lately, anything you want to tell me, Bells? Got something in the oven?”
Bella rolled her eyes as she got coffee started. “You’re being ridiculous, but I should tell you… I’m seeing…”
“Aaron?” Sean responded with a raised eyebrow a small smirk playing on his lips. “I made the connection.”
Bella’s eyes widened, “How did you?”
“Bells,” Sean said taking a seat on one of the chairs by the counter. “You’re in the same city as him, it was bound to happen. I’m kind of just relieved it’s not Mick.”
Bella frowned, “What was your problem with Mick? I never understood what he did to get you to hate him?”
Sean shrugged, “I was barely a teen when you and Aaron got together. Bells, you were the nicest person in the world and you made my brother the happiest I’ve ever seen him. I didn’t like seeing someone else with you. I might not be on talking terms with my brother, but I always hoped you two would end up together. Seeing you with someone else was like betraying him in a way.”
Bella smiled, “You’re an idiot.” She said with a shake of his head. “All the times you were passive aggressive with him… We were together for more than two years Sean; you could’ve lightened up once.”
“I mean all that’s important is that Seth liked him, and the little kid did.” Sean said with a shrug. “I didn’t have to like him; he wasn’t my problem.”
Bella rolled her eyes, “I sort of haven’t mentioned to Aaron that you and I kept in contact after the breakup. I’m not exactly sure how he’s going to take it.”
Sean shrugged his shoulders. “He’d be a real idiot to get mad because you helped his little brother get on his feet after he decided being a lawyer wasn’t for him. I think he’s going to be more upset at me for keeping in touch with you and not him.”
“Hey ma.” Seth’s voice said coming down the stairs, he paused as he entered the kitchen. He grinned widely as he saw Sean. “Uncle Sean!!” He said excitedly moving to hug Sean.
Bella smiled as he saw the two of them interacting with one another. Yes, she felt slightly guilt that she never told Aaron that she was still close to Sean, but she couldn’t regret it. Sean had been one of the only male figures Seth had growing up and she wouldn’t regret giving her son that.
“HEY!” Bella yelled as she made her way to the front door. She had taken the time Sean and Seth were bonding in the kitchen to get some paperwork done. “I want my kitchen spotless once the both of you are done.”
“Got it, Ma!” Seth shouted back.
“Make no promises, Bells.” Sean shouted after Seth.
Bella opened the door smiling widely to see Aaron and Jack. “Hi.” She said happy to see them both there.
“We wanted to know if you were available for dinner.” Aaron said his hands resting on his son’s shoulders.
Bella kneeled down to look at Jack. “Rough day at the dentist’s?”
Jack nodded, “They gave me toothbrush, not a toy.”
Bella frowned, “You want to join Seth in the kitchen? I’m sure he’ll let you help.”
Jack smiled and looked up at his dad. “Can I, dad?”
“Go ahead, Jack.” Aaron said smiling as his son rushed past Bella straight to the kitchen. “Everything okay?”
Bella nodded, “Aaron there’s something you should know. Something I should have told you a long time ago.” Bella took in a deep breath and ran her hand through her hair. “After we ended I… I kept in touch with Sean and when he decided not to continue on with law school he lived with Seth and I. Sean has been a prominent figure in Seth’s life growing up and I just felt I owed it to you to tell you. I didn’t want you to be blindsided when you saw him in the kitchen.”
“Sean stayed with you?” Aaron questioned curiously. “After he quit, he went to you?”
Bella nodded, “It was rough for him, he wanted your support and when he didn’t’ get it he broke down. He drove all night to Washington and he showed up on my doorstep. He was heartbroken and he kept saying that maybe he should go to Law school and just push cooking aside. I offered him a place to stay and he offered to babysit Seth while I was away.”
“Seth is following in his footsteps…” Aaron noted as he finally understood where Seth got his dream of being a Chef from, Bella might’ve shown him how to cook, but Sean gave him the dream.
Bella smiled, “Sean is good with kids, Aaron and he’s good at what he does. He’s in town to look at a place to open his own restaurant. You should be proud that he’s happy with his life and that he’s accomplishing his dreams.”
Aaron let Bella lead him into the house. “Thank you.”
Bella raised an eyebrow, “For what?”
“For being there for him when I wasn’t.” Aaron responded, he looked towards the kitchen. “Is he in there?”
Bella nodded, “Yes, go in, talk to your brother.”
Aaron nodded he leaned down and kissed Bella’s cheek. “You’re a wonderful woman, Bella.”
Bella smiled and followed behind him into the kitchen, she expertly distracted Jack and Seth letting the two brothers talk. She looked over as the two of them exited the kitchen to be given some privacy.
Bella filed through the mountain of paperwork, 6 hours in and she had only made a 60% dent in the amount of work she had. She stopped on the file she was on and noticed that once again Aaron’s signature was missing.
Standing Bella made her way to Aaron’s office, she knocked softly on the door. Hearing his welcome, she opened it and entered. She waved the file in front of him. “You forgot to sign this.”
Aaron smiled and took the file from her hands. “I must’ve overlooked it.”
Bella smiled crossing her arms over her chest. “You’re lucky I’m your boss, anyone else would’ve given you a harsh tongue lashing for this. You forget to sign on a lot of files, is your memory slipping, Aaron?”
Aaron chuckled, “I was distracted with work.” He signed the papers and handed it back to her. “Join me for dinner?”
Bella smiled, “And our sons?”
“They’re going to be with Sean. He’s taking them to a restaurant for the evening, thought I’d take the opportunity to have dinner with you.” Aaron said.
Bella smiled widely, “Okay.” She kept her smile as she walked out of his office. She was pleased that the brothers were getting along again. They seemed to be the best of friends again, something she was going to take a little bit of credit for. Afterall, she was the one that brought the both of them together in her home.
Aaron stopped running and put his hands on his knees taking in deep breaths. He heard soft footsteps behind him. “How much more training?” He rasped out.
“It’s triathlon, Aaron.” Bella said softly. “We have a lot more to cover. You’re doing good, but you need to go more steady, don’t put all your energy into one single subject. You’re going to exhaust yourself before the first event is over.”
“How many of these have you done?” Aaron questioned breathless.
Bella smiled, “This will be my third FBI triathlon, my fifth overall.” She placed a hand on his back. “You can do this, Aaron. You promised Jack you would, so keep that in mind.”
Aaron laughed, “Why did you have to tell him about this?”
“He asked what I was training for and I answered honestly.” Bella said with a smile. “He wants to see you win a medal. Give him something to hang on his wall, Aaron.”
Aaron stood taking in a deep breath. “Are you sure Seth doesn’t mind waking up at 5 every morning to watch Jack until he goes to school?”
Bella scoffed in amusement as they walked back to their cars. “Are you kidding? Who do you think used to train with me? He would rather sleep on your couch for an hour and make Jack breakfast then do this work out every morning.”
Aaron stopped at their cars. “I’ll see you at work?”
Bella smiled, “I have a few meetings in the morning, so I don’t think I’ll see you until you come back from your case.”
Aaron nodded, he kissed her lightly. “I’ll see you when I get back. Are you sure you don’t mind Jack sleeping over?”
Bella nodded, “It’s fine, Aaron. I enjoy having him around and he seems to like being with us. You have a team to lead, so I’ll see you win get back.”
Aaron nodded, “I’ll call you later, Bella.”
“I’ll be waiting by the phone.” Bella remarked with a grin.
Aaron looked over at David as he cleared his throat obviously trying to catch his attention. “Something on your mind?”
“Just wondering when I’m picking up Jack tomorrow before the triathlon.” David said looking at Aaron with an amused smile. “I heard Director Swan is going after first place.”
Aaron looked up amused. “Yes, she’s been helping me train. She trains more than three times a day and I try to keep up when I can. I don’t have to leave for the triathlon until 5.”
David smirked, “You make the coffee and I’ll be there. Maybe we should ask Director Swan if she would like to join us afterwards, for a celebration.”
Aaron looked down at his phone as he received a picture from Bella. Jack was in his pajamas asleep under a fort in the living room. Seth was asleep in the same pair of pajamas under the fort as well.
He really is your son, Aaron. He and Seth teaming up together can talk me into just about anything. He went to sleep early because he wants to be awake for tomorrow. Love you.
“I already invited her.” Aaron said putting his phone away feeling as always better after talking with Bella.
David smirked. “Fraternizing with agents is against the rules, Aaron.”
Aaron smirked, “I believe that rule was only strictly enforced after you rather had interesting rendezvous at work.”
David chuckled, “You’re not denying it.” He noticed as he watched Aaron.
“I’m not agreeing to it either, David.” Aaron responded with a smirk as he looked through the newspaper. The last thing he wanted was for his relationship with Bella to come out in the open. It was one thing to date an agent, but dating your superior was highly frowned upon and one of them could lose their job.
Seth walked excitedly to the area were everyone was waiting for the runners to finish. His mom was doing good and he knew if she kept it at she had a good chance of coming in first. Seth paused as he heard someone call his name. He looked down to see Jack running up to him. “Little man!” He said with a grin picking up the boy easily and placing him on his shoulders. “Where’s your sign?”
Jack smiled, “Uncle David has it! Did you bring Bella’s?”
Seth grinned, “Of course I got it little man, it’s in my backpack. Before I take it out we have to go find your uncle Dave.”
“Over there!” Jack shouted pointing towards David.
Seth walked towards the three older men and grinned as he approached, all three of them looked so relieved to see Jack again. Seth held out his free hand while the other balanced Jack on his shoulders. “Sorry, little man can get excited and forget common logic. I’m Seth Swan.”
“Seth!” Jack said excitedly. “We found them! Where’s Bella’s sign?”
Seth laughed, “It’s in my bag, little man. Turn your head to the right and look down.”
Jack grinned as it was sticking out of Seth’s backpack he pulled it out and unrolled it. “Look, Uncle David!” He flashed the sign to them. “Seth and I made Bella a sign just like daddy’s! It has a one because she’s going to get first place.”
“It’s nice to meet you.” David said smiling at the boy. “I wasn’t aware agent Swan had a son.”
“Really?” Seth said with a smirk. “You obviously haven’t stepped into her office. She has framed photos of us on her desk. You must be Doctor Reid, right?”
Spencer nodded, “Um yeah, that’s me.”
“Cool!” Seth said excitedly. “I’ve read a lot of your papers! My admissions paper to Yale was on one of your theories.”
“Did you get in?” Spencer questioned.
Seth nodded, “Yeah, but I decided to go a different route. No offense to your profession, doctor, but I wanted to do something I’d enjoy. I don’t think I would be as happy as any of you if I joined the FBI.”
They all looked to Jack as he screeched with excitement. “Seth! Is that Bella! Is she coming?” Jack’s eyes widened. “Seth! Is that man going to beat her?”
Seth walked up to the boarder to see his mom a bit far away. A fellow agent at her side the two neck and neck. “No way, little man! Come on, hold your sign up to let her see it!”
“BELLA!” Jack shouted excitedly as he waved the sign around. “Uncle David! Look, she’s coming in first.”
Seth whistled, “COME ON, MA!” Seth and Jack cheered loudly as Bella and the other man were neck and neck. “YOU’VE GOT THIS, MA!” Seth shouted as he watched his mother. She turned smiled at him and put all her effort into the last few feet of the race. Bella pushed past first, hearing the cheering as she came in first place, finally.
She turned to the agent in second and shook his hand. Congratulating him on his finish, she smiled as she heard her son shouting at her. She turned and accepted his hug, she stepped back and accepted the hug from Jack. “You made me a sign?”
Jack nodded, “Seth and I did it in secret!” Jack said with a grin. “Look, I even used glitter to make the 1, and I didn’t get it everywhere.”
Bella smiled and greeted the other agents that were with Jack.
“Congratulations, Director Swan.” David said smiling widely as he was now beginning to see how deep the relationship between Aaron and Bella was.
Bella smiled. “Thank you, David.” She smiled as Seth kissed her cheek before he bent down and picked Jack back up placing the small boy back on his shoulders.
Bella smiled as Jack led her to the claw machine in the diner. “You know, my dad taught me a trick.” Bella said as she handed Jack a few quarters. “We’ll get you a stuffed animal before we go home.”
David leaned over towards Aaron a wide smirk on his lips as he watched Bella with Jack. “They’re awfully comfortable with each other.”
Aaron smiled taking a sip of his drink. “Bella’s always been good with children.”
“I can see that. Spencer’s been talking Seth’s ear off for the last hour.” David responded taking a small sip of his coffee. “Jack let it slip that he saw you and Bella kissing.”
Aaron laughed looking over at Jack who was looking with wide eyes as Bella used the claw machine. “They’re really good together. Jack really likes her, he think she’s the best person in the world.”
David smirked, “And what is that you think?”
Aaron smirked setting down his coffee. “I think that any day now Bella is going to be wearing a new ring on her left hand.”
David’s eyes widened at the words Aaron said he wanted to respond when Jack approached the table setting a toy Frog on the table. “Bella showed me a cool trick dad!”
Aaron smiled placing Jack in his lap, he knew exactly what trick he was talking about. Bella showed him that same trick on their first date when they were young. He still had locked away the stuffed bear Bella had gotten him, it was one of the best memories he had from their time together. He listened as Jack went through every detail of how Bella won him his game. He looked up from his son momentarily to see Bella talking to David.
Yes, what he said was true, he’d be proposing to Bella soon. All he can hope for was that she said yes.
“Seth.” Aaron said standing as the man entered his office. “Thank you for coming.”
Seth smiled and shrugged, “It seemed pretty important, especially since Ma didn’t know about. What’s the word, special agent?”
Aaron gestured for Seth to have a seat. “I needed to talk to you about my relationship with Bella.”
Seth nodded already knowing where this was going. “My Ma has had two boyfriends since I can remember. Mick was a cool man, he taught me how to play baseball and he helped me when it came to school. And when they broke it off, I saw it coming, so I was prepared for it. I guess I never really thought they’d stay together forever. They were different, ya know? Mick was always goofing off and although he loved my ma, they just didn’t match each other.”
Seth sat up and looked straight at Aaron. “It’s different with you. I knew it would be from the beginning, you two sort of just worked off of each other. It’s like you two were meant for each other, so I saw this coming from the beginning. I knew you were going to be it for her and I wholeheartedly approve of your marriage.”
“That is if she says yes.” Aaron responded smiling at ease to know Seth approved.
Seth rolled his eyes, “Ma would marry you today if you asked.” Seth straightened out his shoulders. “I just ask that you don’t hurt her. Ma deserves the best and if you ask her to marry you then you should be offering the best.”
Aaron nodded, “I won’t ever hurt her, Seth. I love her very much.”
Seth nodded, a slow grin forming on his face. “Does that mean I get to call Jack my brother? Because little man will be excited for that.”
Aaron smiled, “I don’t really see a problem with that.”
Seth grinned, “Cool, so how are you going to propose?”
“I haven’t come up with anything.” Aaron responded with a frown. “I’m sure something will come to mind.”
Bella groaned out as it was a late night at work and she was close to done with her paperwork, but of course Aaron had forgotten to sigh one of the files. Standing Bella brushed her hair out of her face and headed to Aaron’s office. She didn’t bother knocking this time walking in and sitting down on one of the chairs in front of his desk. “You forgot a signature.” She said placing the file on his desk.
“Long day?” Aaron questioned as he opened the file and looked over at Bella. She looked exhausted.
Bella sighed, “It’s just been a lot of paperwork. I’m almost done, just a few more files that I could take home with me. Ready to head out?”
Aaron smiled, “Almost, I just have one last thing to do.”
Bella smiled and took back the file from him. “Thank you. Come get me when you’re ready to go. We can stop by to get a bite to eat before heading home. I’m sure the boys are already fast asleep.”
Aaron smiled and stood pausing to stand in front of Bella before she could get out of the door. “Does it bother you that Jack and I practically live at your home?”
Bella grinned and shook her head. “I like it and so does Seth. You know me Aaron, I’m more than happy to live with you again. When you’re ready you can move in.’
Aaron smiled, “I should tell you the truth.”
“I’m hoping this is going to be a good thing.” Bella said with a smile.
Aaron nodded, “It is. I’m hoping that you won’t get to upset.” Aaron took a step closer takin Bella’s hand in his. “I’ve purposely left these files unsigned since the first day you came.
Bella scrunched her brows together. “I don’t understand, Aaron. Why?”
“Because I knew you would come in here personally to get me to sign them. The first day I did it so that I got a chance to see you, a little juvenile, but it worked. After that I continued to do it so that I would be able to see you in the office. I used this file to get you in here so that I could have a moment to talk to you.”
Bella smiled, she leaned forward and gently kissed him. “I love you, Aaron.”
“Keep that in mind.” He teased lightly. “Stay here for a moment, I need to get something for you from my desk.”
Bella nodded she smiled and turned around only to stop to see Aaron on one knee. “Aaron?” Bella said taken back by his actions.
“I love you, Bella. I have since we were kids and that has not stopped. You are the only woman I have ever thought about marrying and the only woman I have ever loved as much as I do. I want you in my life and the life of my son. I want to be able to call you my wife, Bella. Will you marry me?” Aaron questioned.
Bella nodded, “Yes.” She said quietly she felt water pool in her eyes as the diamond ring was placed on her fingers. She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him close. “I love you.” She whispered hugging him tightly.
Aaron nodded, “I love you, Bella, always.”
Bella walked into Aaron’s office and closed the door behind him. “Apparently it’s now news to everyone about our marriage.” Bella said moving and taking a seat on Aaron’s desk. “No matter how quiet our affair was; the higher authorities came upon the news.”
“I’m assuming they didn’t take it well?” Aaron said setting his pen down and looking fully towards Bella.
“I’m your superior, Aaron.” Bella said softly. “They think us being married will have a large effect on our work. They’re demanding one of us leave this section.”
“We’ll argue it, we’ve been together for a long time and it hasn’t affected our work.” Aaron said.
“I’ve spent the last 5 hours arguing our case and a decision has been made.” Bella said with a frown. “I’m officially changing my surname to Swan-Hotchner and I am stepping down as Director.”
“Bella you can’t.” Aaron said standing at full height. “They can’t make you do that.”
Bella smiled, “I love you, Aaron, but it is something I want to do. I’m stepping down as Unit Director and I am going to do some teaching for the FBI. I’ve been wanting a change and this is my opportunity. I’m tired of being in the field, Aaron, and these jobs just hold too much stress for me. In my condition I don’t feel like I can do this anymore. I want more time with Seth and Jack, this gives me that.”
“Your condition?” Aaron questioned concerned. “Is something wrong?”
Bella smiled widely she placed a hand on her stomach. “I’m pregnant, Aaron. I’m two months along, I hadn’t noticed until last week and the call came in yesterday morning. Surprise!”
Aaron immediately wrapped his wife in a hug before placing his hand on her stomach. “We’re going to have a baby. Seth and Jack are going to be so excited.”
Bella blushed, “Jack knows.”
Aaron stepped back raising an eyebrow. “He does?”
“Yeah, I got the call just before I was going to drop him off at school. I was really happy and some tears slipped out. Jack thought something bad had happened and he was getting scared. I told him to keep him from panicking.” Bella said softly.
Aaron smiled, “How did you manage to get him to keep a secret?”
Bella grinned, “I promised him the chance to tell Seth if he kept it a secret until I told you.”
“I love you, Bella.” Aaron responded closing the small distance between them and kissing her. “Are you sure you want to resign your position.”
Bella nodded, “I’ve been thinking about it for months, Aaron. I want more time with Seth and Jack, and our soon to be baby. Besides, I think teaching new recruits will be a good thing to do with my time. I promise, I won’t regret this decision. I love you, Aaron.”
Aaron nodded he closed down his laptop and shut the files on his desk. “Let’s go get Jack and Seth, we should celebrate this.”
Bella nodded with a grin. “You have to remember; Jack gets to tell Seth the news.”
“Let’s go.” Aaron responded putting his coat on and opening the door for Bella.
“I’m glad that I took this job.” Bella whispered with a smile. “I’m happy we took the chance, Aaron. It was well worth it.”
“You’ll always be worth it.” Aaron responded more than happy by the news. The family he had created with Bella was expanding.
Aaron looked up as Seth entered his office, he stood as Seth rarely ever came to his office. “Something wrong?”
Seth shook his head, “No. Ma and Jack are at the movies, some cartoon that just came out they both wanted to see it, but I wanted to speak to you.”
“Something on your mind?” Aaron questioned setting his pen down.
“I’m seeing someone.” Seth said taking a seat across form Aaron. “I just… I don’t know how to tell Ma about it.”
“How long have you been with this girl?” Aaron questioned.
“It’s not a girl.” Seth whispered quietly his eyes anywhere but looking at Aaron.
Aaron nodded now understanding where Seth was coming from. “It’s a boy?”
Seth nodded, “I don’t… I can’t…” He shook his head rubbing the palm of his hands down his face.
“Seth, your mother has only ever wanted you to be happy. As long as you’re happy, she’s happy. She loves you unconditionally, Seth. Nothing will ever change how much love she holds for you.”
“I know that, dad, but how do I tell her?” Seth questioned running his hand through his hair in a nervous habit not noticing the slip of his tongue.
Aaron blinked back his surprise and started to answer him. “Seth, you just told me, you can tell her. Don’t worry too much on it, you’ll know how to tell her when its time. You’re a smart and brave young man, you’re more than capable of telling your mother about this.”
Seth nodded, “Thank you, I didn’t know who else to go to. I’m grateful for your help.”
“I’m always happy to help you, Seth.” Aaron responded honestly.
Seth nodded and stood, he paused at the door. “I umm… I called you dad. I’m sorry if that bothered you.”
Aaron stood, “It didn’t bother me, Seth. I’d be very honored to have you call me dad.”
Seth nodded a wide smile on his face. “Cool. I’ll see you at dinner, dad.” Seth nodded his head. “Yeah, I like the sound of that.”
Aaron smiled, “Me too, Seth.”
Bella rubbed her eyes as she started to wake. “Aaron?” she called out moving to sit up on the bed. The stitches on her stomach stretching slightly as she moved.
“Hey.” Aaron said entering the room. “You shouldn’t be moving, your stiches are still relatively new, Bella.”
“Where were you?” Bella questioned. “Is she okay?”
Aaron nodded with a smile. “She’s fine.” He assured with a smile. “I’m surprised you didn’t’ wake up, she has a strong set of lungs on her. Woke up both Seth and Jack. It took me a bit to put Jack back to sleep, he thought something was wrong with his sister. Seth and I had to explain that babies tend to cry a lot.”
Bella nodded, “I should go check on her.”
Aaron smiled but moved quickly to keep Bella in place. “You haven’t slept well, Bella, you need to go back to sleep. Carly’s fine, I promise, you can worry about her all you want once you’ve gotten more than three hours of sleep.”
“Aaron…” Bella began to argue but smiled as the covers were pulled back over her. “I love you.”
Aaron smiled getting into the bed with her. “I love you, Bella, and you need to get some rest. This family can’t properly function without you. And you can’t properly function without sleep.”
Bella nodded, “But she was okay, right?”
“Just needed a midnight diaper change.” Aaron assured as he kissed his wife’s head. “Go back to sleep.”
Bella rested her head on her pillow but kept her eyes on her husband. “We have a good family.”
“We’ve always made a good team.” Aaron responded with a smile he leaned forward and gently kissed her. “Go to sleep.”
Bella smiled, “I can only hope our future is as good as our present is now.”
“It’ll be better.” Aaron assured. “There’s a lot to come.”
Bella closed her eyes as she couldn’t help but feel herself overcome with sleep. “Anything with you is better. Love you, always.”