Apologies. I've been away from my laptop. Ironically enough I was visiting the lovable jerk who inspired this fic. The asshat says hi.

Oh and thank you Liv for the mention on Facebook ^_^


Chapter 6

EPOV

I hadn't been able to move things along with Bella since Tuesday morning. A certain overbearing blonde could be thanked for that. It seemed like every time I spotted Bella alone, Rosalie miraculously appeared. In the last few days, she'd been acting as Bella's own personal guard dog. I had no idea where the sudden separation anxiety had come from, but it was working against me. I had to act fast if I wanted this to work and Blondie was turning into a serious forestalling thorn in my side.

I was anything if not persistent though. I'd wait for an opportunity... or better yet, wait for Bella to come to me all on her own. But I wouldn't risk raising anyone's suspicions with my impatience, especially Rosalie's.

Speak of the devil and she shall appear.

As I rounded the stairwell leading to the first floor, I spotted Rosalie on the bottom landing—sans Bella for once. For a second I considered turning around, but I was already late for practice as it was. Going out of my way to avoid a bitchy blonde wasn't worth the extra earful I would be getting from coach if I didn't get my ass to the field… ten minutes ago. It was nearly five, what was she still doing on campus anyways?

Who gives a shit? Every minute you're late is another additional warm-up lap. Coach didn't fuck around when it came to tardiness. He also didn't give two shits about excuses. It didn't help that he was in a bad mood. Our game had been rescheduled to Saturday morning and Coach hated last minute schedule changes. I'd be running until my legs fell off if I allowed another minute to pass. The thought alone was enough to cause my calf muscles to scream out in protest. I hurried down the rest of the stairs, hoping to pass her with as little interaction as possible. None if I was lucky.

"Hold it, Cullen."

Fucking hell…

I would have ignored her and kept moving, had she not blocked my path. If I really wanted to I could have easily shoved her aside and carried on, but I wasn't that much of an ass. It didn't matter how much I was annoyed at the moment, I'd never put my hands on a girl like that. Not to mention, Emmett would kill me. Everyone knew that giant oaf had a soft spot for the Ice Queen. No idea why, but to each his own.

With much reluctance, I tried to forget about the multitude of extra laps I'd be suffering through and gave Rosalie my attention, hoping this would be over quickly. She crossed her arms, not looking the least bit pleased.

Oh shit. Had Bella said something? I knew I couldn't count on that girl to keep her mouth shut. Who was I kidding, she probably didn't even need to say anything, not when her face was practically an open book. Either way, you're fucked if she somehow found out. Rosalie wasn't known for her ability to forgive and forget wrongdoings, especially when they involved her friends.

Trying not to show any sign of worry, I ran through all of my options mentally. Anything to get myself as far away from this conversation as fast as possible.

The thing was... Rose was a bitch—a major one. Unless she liked you, you couldn't crack that glacial heart of hers with the hammer of Thor. In other words, my charm was a useless weapon... and that was usually what I fell back on during times like these. She was still looking at me with so much disgust in her eyes. Fuck it. I rolled my eyes with an annoyed sigh, skipping the sweet talk and smile I knew would never work.

"I don't have time for this, Hale," I said tersely.

"Well I don't care if you have to magically pull some out of your ass. You better make time."

I bit my tongue and sneered at her.

"Stay away from Bella."

Had I been right about Rose finding out about what I'd done? If so, I was surprised Hale's opening line wasn't in the form of a swift kick to the family jewels. I nearly cringed at the mental image. Maybe I was wrong… maybe not. I certainly wouldn't admit anything without knowing for sure.

"Bella?" I feigned ignorance.

"Don't play dumb. I've seen the way you've been looking at her ever since she came back to school." Of course you did... you never leave! A teacher made her way around us, slowing her steps as she noticed Rosalie's deadly expression and stance. She was clearly debating whether to intervene or not. Rosalie perked up instantly, plastering a bright smile on her face and nodding politely to the woman in greeting. Deciding things were under control, she smiled lightly and went on her way.

Rosalie was in my face as soon as the sound of clicking heels could no longer be heard. She picked up right where she left off in a hushed voice. "She's already having a hard time adjusting and I'll be damned if you're going to make things worse for her. This little game you're used to playing with her? Consider it over."

Oh... but why? It was such a sweet game. My favorite.

"Look," I sighed. "I heard Bella's a little out of it... but what does that have to do with me?"

"I don't know you tell me."

Yeah, that wasn't happening. If she came here in search of a confession then she'd be leaving sorely disappointed.

I stood up straighter and looked down at her with a bored expression.

"You're wasting both of our time here. I haven't even spoken to Bella since she came back—not once," I lied.

Unlike her friend, Rosalie wasn't as easily subdued with my lies. She pressed further.

"I know you, Cullen," she said. "You're planning something."

I resisted the urge to smirk. You're a little late, Blondie. It seemed I had my answer: Rosalie didn't know a damn thing. She thought I was planning something but she had no idea I'd already made my move. It was laughable, really. Rose thought she was a step ahead when in reality, she was behind.

A protective Rosalie Hale who knew nothing? I could work with that. I'd just have to be especially careful about the way I interacted with Bella when she was nearby.

I laughed and shook my head, acting as if her words were nothing but absurdity. "Clearly you don't know me at all. I'm not planning shit." I tilted my head to the side thoughtfully. "Or at least I wasn't... until now. Do you want me to do something to her?" That last part was for my own amusement.

Her jaw twitched, eyes narrowing further into two slits of icy blue anger.

"I swear to god Edward, if you hurt her…"

Hurt her? I would never hurt her. If everything went according to plan, Swan would be pissed as soon as she remembered everything and realized what I'd done, but hurt? Please. I knew Bella. She was a tough girl. I didn't have to like her in order to respect that particular quality about her. Honestly, it was one of the reasons why Bella's recent personality change unnerved me at first.

It was strange—a real mind fuck. At times while talking to her she was shy as hell, like she would cower away at any moment if I said or did the wrong thing. Other times I saw these little flashes of the old Bella; the one I was used to. Those occasional sassy remarks reminded me that her old self was in there somewhere and it wouldn't be long until she was back to normal.

Like I said, I knew her. She'd be back undoubtedly wanting to either castrate or kill me—maybe both—but she wouldn't be hurt. There was no way… she couldn't be... right?

If that's true, then why don't you sound so sure?

I did not just think that, did I? What the hell was I saying to myself? There must have been something in the water because that little voice in the back of my mind was beginning to sound an awful lot like Emmett had earlier in the week.

Now was definitely not the time to be having second thoughts. I was too far in at this point. Besides, I wasn't sure how this new Bella would take it. She seemed so fragile half the time, nothing like the girl I was used to sparring daily with. The Bella I knew could handle anything you threw at her but this one… hell I had no idea.

I wouldn't risk it. I'm not backing out. Not a chance.

Rosalie called my name and snapped her fingers reminding me that she was standing there, still looking as pissed as ever. "I know spacing out is common for someone as small minded as you, but did you hear what I said? I'm only warning you once."

I frowned at the insult.

"Yeah I heard you." I was aggravated by her attitude at this point. "But you've got nothing to worry about. I'm not planning anything, okay? How many times do I need to repeat myself?"

She scoffed. "You expect me to believe that?"

I shrugged.

"You can believe whatever the hell you want. Quite frankly, it's not my problem," I said. "Now are we done here? I've got practice."

She nodded her head with a cold look, clearly meaning the conversation was over but we were most certainly not done with the issue. Rosalie stepped to the side and I brushed past her without a word, continuing down the rest of the stairs. Her voice halted my movements only a moment later.

"If you're smarter than I give you credit for... you'll pretend Bella doesn't even exist to you." That was a little extreme. I could understand her protectiveness, and in this case she actually had reason to doubt my every word, but to act as though the girl didn't exist? Seriously? I wouldn't of course. Things were set up too beautifully, but even if I wanted to, we lived in one of the smallest towns on the planet. You couldn't avoid anyone for long in a place like this, especially in the halls of Fork's High.

What was her deal? She was acting strange. Everyone was acting strange.

With my back still to her, I turned my head in her direction.

"Is that a threat?"

"Not necessarily... but test me if you really want to find out." And with that, she was gone. I listened to her footsteps echoing throughout the stairwell until they finally disappeared altogether.

I'd have to keep an eye out for that one. Rosalie didn't scare me but she could easily ruin everything before I got what I wanted.

As I continued walking, I received two consecutive texts from Emmett.

Where the hell are you?! Thompson's out for blood!

GET HERE.

I checked the time and realized I was later than I originally thought. Fuck me. My talk with Rosalie had officially made me a dead man.


I appreciate all of the love this story has been receiving! I'll try to update again as soon as possible. B and E next chapter I promise! Rose simply needed a word alone with our scheming Edward.

If you'd like follow me on twitter at Crimson_Harps.

At this point in the story, consider every review a slap upside the head for Edward. C'mon you know you want to... knock some sense into the boy. Thanks for reading!

~Harper