A/N: Thank you to Honeymoon Edward and LizziePaige for pre-reading, and Midnight Cougar for working your magic.
A bit of timeline accounting: Lily and Emmett share birthdays close together. Her birthday is March 5th, while his is March 15th.
Age tracker for this chapter: Emmett (34), Lily (3), Edward (32), Bella (30), Esme (60)
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I’m just here having fun.
C2 – Happy 3rd Birthday, Lily
Mom has always had a special touch when it comes to cakes, but when they’re combined with birthdays, she tends to go overboard.
When she asked what I would like for Lily’s first birthday, I told her to keep it simple and pink, to which she decided cupcakes would be the perfect solution.
For Lily’s second birthday, we had a small party at Edward and Bella’s home, as Bella was on doctor-ordered bed rest for the last few months of her pregnancy with the twins. Mom repeated her hit from the previous year and made vanilla cupcakes with pink icing for Lily, which we devoured in no time at all.
Bella has been a great source of ideas and support as I’ve been learning the ropes of single parenting. She always encourages me to find ways to bond with Lily and start new traditions. She says kids need routines and things they can count on as they grow. One of her favorite memories with her father was a special birthday dinner date every year, just the two of them.
So, this year, even though Mom has already dropped off Lily’s pink cupcakes, I’m taking Lily to one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle, Copine.
“Hello, how can I help you?” The hostess eyes me up and down, admiring the view, until her eyes land on my date, then her smile fades.
It’s hard to conceal my smirk knowing I can easily turn the head of any woman in the room. “6:00 p.m. reservation for two. Emmett Cullen.” I smile down at Lily who is dressed in a new pink dress for this evening.
“Yes, Mr. Cullen. I see it here.” She grabs a menu. “Right this way.”
Copine is one of the elite restaurants in Seattle with French-inspired, American cuisine. I also enjoy taking dates to another favorite, Canlis, but it’s a little more exclusive for when I need a “Wow” factor. A little attention and most women are putty in my hands, but there are a few who hold out before giving up the goods and Canlis always does the trick. No one can resist the restaurant’s charm or me after a visit there.
I grip Lily’s hand as we wind our way through the mostly empty tables.
“Here you are.” The hostess shows us to a table for two, and I move to help Lily into her chair.
When Lily’s head is not above the edge of the table, I ask, “Do you have any booster seats?”
“No, we don’t have many toddlers dine with us.” She raises an eyebrow in my direction, implying Lily’s presence is inappropriate.
“I see.” Before I can get to my seat, Lily has already moved to her knees to make up for the height issue. “Never mind. It looks like we have a solution.”
I’m not sure how long she can sit on her knees, but I can always hold her on my lap if she gets uncomfortable.
“Cute.” The hostess glances at Lily, then gives me a polite smile, handing over a menu.
“Do you have a children’s menu?” I wonder when I don’t see a section on the menu. I’ve never looked for it before, but I’m in need of it now.
“Cwayons, pwease?” Lily asks, looking up expectantly with her large, rounded blue eyes.
I nearly burst with joy at Lily’s manners as all of those pretend tea parties are paying off. This isn’t her first restaurant experience, and she has some standard expectations when it comes to crayons and kids’ menus.
“No, I’m sorry. We have neither. If you have something special in mind, just ask your server and I’m positive the kitchen will fill your request. Enjoy your meal.”
“It’s okay, Lily. We can find something you will like on the menu. Everything is delicious,” I reassure.
“Otay, Daddy.” She fidgets with her napkin and silverware, then shifts in her seat, looking around the restaurant.
“Let’s see. Something you would like.” I peruse the selections, trying to find chicken or a close substitute. “They have rabbit. It’s like chicken.”
Her eyes lock with mine as they well with tears. “Petah Wabbit?”
My mind recalls the story and I backpedal. “No, not Peter. Here—” I point below the rabbit, hoping to avert a meltdown before we’ve ordered. “They have roast chicken with Parisian gnocchi. Those are like dumplings and you like chicken.”
Lily sniffs back the tears. “I don’t yike dumpings.”
“You’ve never had them. How would you know?”
“I know,” she says with great certainty.
“Good evening. Welcome to Copine. I’m Diego. I’ll be taking care of you this evening. Is this your first time dining with us?”
“Not for me, but it is for my date.” I smile proudly at Lily.
“It’s always good to start them young on the finer things in life. What can I get you to drink this evening?”
Normally, I would order a cocktail or wine, but I’m hesitant as those aren’t good choices for me to make in front of Lily.
“My date will have a half of a glass of ice water with a straw. Do you have bendy ones?”
“I’ll check, sir. And for you?”
Lily speaks up. “No tank you, Daddy. Mick, pwease.”
My mind races through the possibilities of spilling water versus milk all over her new dress, but before I can stop Lily’s request, the server is now speaking with her directly.
“Would you like chocolate or white?”
Her eyes light up at the possibilities. “Chocwate.”
I saw that one coming. You would think she’s Bella’s daughter. Chocolate milk and chicken. I hope she doesn’t get sick.
“Great. And you, sir?”
“Only half a glass of milk and I’ll have a Coke.” And pretend there’s Jack in it.
“Yes, sir. Are you ready to order or do you need a few minutes?” Diego looks between the two of us.
“I think we’re ready. She will have the Poulet Rôti.”
His eyes shift to Lily waiting for confirmation after the milk order.
She smiles then asks, “It’s chicken, wight?”
Diego chuckles. “You’re correct.”
“And I’ll have the Wagyu Rib-eye.”
“Great. How would you like that cooked?”
“Your drinks will be right out.”
“Thanks.” I look around the restaurant and notice only a handful of patrons this early in the evening. “This is nice, isn’t it Lily? Just the two of us.”
“It’s otay, Daddy. No cwayons.”
“You’re three today. Aren’t you excited?”
Lily shrugs. “Can we have cuppiecakes now?”
“Grandma brought them by the house. We’ll have them when we get home. You should think about a birthday wish for when you blow out the candle.”
“Yes, birthday wishes are special. You only get one each year and you can wish for anything.”
“Anyting? Yike what?”
“I don’t know. A toy or a new dress.”
“What you wish foe?”
“Uh…” I haven’t celebrated my birthday in years. Sure, I’ve been on a few “birthday” trips with the guys, but those involved nothing G-rated like cupcakes, candles, or birthday wishes. “Another part of having a birthday wish is that you shouldn’t tell anyone or it won’t come true. It’s a special secret that only you know.”
“Otay, Daddy. A seeket.”
I nod, as our server sets our drinks on the table. Lily pulls her milk closer to her. “Not too close to the edge of the table, Lily. No spills.”
She takes a quick drink from the straw. “Uh-oh, Daddy. I need potty.”
“Okay, let’s go find it.” I drop my napkin in my seat and guide her past the bar.
For three years, I’ve battled the father-daughter bathroom dilemma. I mean, really. Is it so difficult to put a changing table in the men’s room? I’m not the only dad out there in need of changing diapers. Copine isn’t exactly child friendly, but I’m a regular, so it shouldn’t matter.
I’m thrilled Lily is now at the point where she can go on her own, but it still presents a problem of men in the bathroom with their dicks hanging out at the urinals. So far, I’ve been successful keeping her eyes focused on other things, but it’s getting more difficult.
With only one stall in the men’s bathroom, I’m immediately relieved when it’s available and shuffle Lily inside latching the door behind us.
“Where’s my seat?” she wonders.
I grab a handful of toilet paper and wipe down the seat, trying to get it as clean as possible as the last guy didn’t do me any favors. “I forgot to bring it, Lily.”
“I faw in.” Her eyes become glassy at another obstacle in this ever-challenging meal. At home, we have a step stool to help with the height and a special seat that sits on top of our regular toilet seat and just her size.
“I’ll hold you,” I suggest.
She puts her arms out to her sides. “Daddy, I can’t wait. Wift me.”
With my hands under her arms keeping her steady on the seat, we both wait as I look at anything but Lily trying not to pressure her.
I think back to the last time I was in a stall like this one, nailing a waitress or hostess who couldn’t keep her hands to herself, wanting a quick fuck. I’m all too happy to oblige, only now, I refuse to do so without a condom. I’ve learned my lesson.
I’m pulled from my thoughts when we hear tinkling success.
Lily grins and whispers, “I going.”
“Good girl.” I chuckle.
With her underwear and tights back in place, we make our way to the sinks, but there’s no way she can reach them. I balance her on my thigh as we scrub her hands with soap then rinse them off. When both of our hands are dry, we make our way back to the table.
Lily runs ahead ready to climb into her seat on her own. Unfortunately, she grabs onto the tablecloth to pull herself up into the chair, which slides everything in her direction, causing her glass of chocolate milk and my Coke to wobble then tip over before I can get there to lend her a hand.
Our server arrives with our food, just as I make it to the table.
“Uh…” I wonder how to salvage our meal as Lily is drenched and her white tights are covered with brown splotches and streaks from the milk and my soda.
“Daddy! My mick!” Lily cries.
The server sets our meals on a nearby table. “I’ll go find extra napkins or something to help clean up.”
“Thanks.” I focus back on Lily, trying to figure out our next steps. “It’s not just your milk, but my soda too. You’re covered in it. Look at your dress.”
She’s sobbing with tears running down her cheeks as I lift her into a standing position on her chair. “My dwess!”
“Here you go.” Our server hands me some cloth napkins, which I use trying to minimize the situation, but nothing is working.
I wonder if any part of our evening here is salvageable. Lily is drenched, and I can’t imagine sticking around here to eat will be an option.
Pointing toward the other table, I ask, “Can you box up our meals for us?”
“Certainly. I’ll be right back.”
I pick up Lily and hold her in my arms, knowing my suit and her dress will need a trip to the cleaners as I try to soothe her. “It’s okay, Lily. We’ll go home and you can have a bath and change.”
“No chicken? I hungwee.” She wails then sniffs back her tears.
“We’ll take it with us and eat at home.”
I take out my wallet and hand my credit card to our server after he boxes up our food.
Lily lays her head on my shoulder. “Cuppiecakes, Daddy? I need candle wish.”
I chuckle because despite everything she won’t let me forget the cupcakes. “We’ll have cupcakes, Lily.”
“Otay. I wish foe new dwess.”