A/N: Ok, I'll start this author's note by confessing that I've only watched the movies. So if there's anything that doesn't vibe with book cannon, I'm sorry. I've been reading summaries of the chapters and it says that Bella realizes Edward's a vampire around Chapter 9 or 10 but doesn't meet the Cullens until chapter 14, so this happens in between those two points.
I Got 99 Problems but a B Ain't One
I, Edward Cullen, after 117 years of living could now officially declare myself a dead man.
I sat in the backseat of the car, face pressed against the window. My parents and siblings had long since abandoned the minivan for our warm glass house, but I stayed put. There was no way I was walking straight into the lion's den without a plan. I needed time to think.
Think, not stall.
My current strategic development was not even remotely similar, no matter what Emmett thought.
Step one was to gauge my parents' moods. This could be done quite successfully from a parked car in the drive way, thank you very much. There was no reason to risk bodily harm before doing some reconnaissance.
Step two was to garner sympathy from the weaker parent. If there was an inkling in Esme's mind that this was all a fluke, I'd go for her. If Carlisle was feeling guilty (like I knew he would) about changing me and forcing me to forsake love in lieu of a solid cover then I'd play to his sympathies.
Nodding in satisfaction at my idea, I decided to wait just a bit longer. That way everyone's emotions would be settled.
I was not being chicken. I was being strategic.
Not surprisingly, Carlisle and Esme were blocking me from their minds by thinking in a different language. Feroese this time. It was a fairly effective practice, but I had a way around them.
Tapping a finger against the window pane, I honed in on Jasper's mind. His thoughts weren't nearly as good of a litmus test but they were better than nothing.
On a good day Jasper's thoughts were consumed with Alice and the sun that shone out her ass, so it took a little digging around. Even so, I got that Carlisle seemed frustrated with me. Esme was more concerned than her mate but she still wasn't happy.
I guess for all their fawning and pawing at one another true love meant nothing to them.
Who could think about homework when their love was only twenty-two and a half miles away? I've been hearing the same lecture about mitosis and meiosis for seventy years. What did it matter if I participated as long as I knew all the answers?
Even if my grade did drop to a –
I stopped, gagging a bit thinking about it.
There was chance that all was not as bad as it seemed. These were only Jasper's thoughts about what he felt, not my parents' actual feelings. Or something like that.
I jumped as my phone buzzed in my front pocket. The text was in all caps, punctuated with no less than five exclamation points and followed by an angry yellow face. Leave it to Dad end a summons to trial with an emoji.
ENOUGH STALLING. INSIDE. NOW!
Quickly I looked up to see my father staring at me through one of the glass windows. He beckoned me with one crooked finger.
I gulped. Not good.
I had a flashback to the only other time I had trouble in school. In our first few years a family, Esme had surprised us by landing a position as a school teacher. At my school. Teaching my class. Barely warmed to the idea of even having Esme around the house, I returned the favor by making her first few weeks' hell. Then one day Dad was waiting for me outside the school house. I shuddered, thinking about how he had corrected that little problem.
He couldn't (wouldn't) be that harsh this time. Compared to my outbursts in 1926 this screw up was practically a non-issue. We all heard Mr. Green. As long as I got my homework done and gave the man a little attention in class this would all blow over. Right?
When my phone began to buzz again with yet another text message I decided it was about time to get inside. I didn't read it, but I was sure whatever Carlisle threatened me with was not to be taken lightly.
I hightailed it inside, only to see that my entire family had gathered to witness my disgrace.
"Sit," my father ordered as soon as I stepped across the threshold.
I lowered myself into the first seat available, there weren't many, and gave my parents a pleading look.
"Carlisle," I whined. "Does everyone have to be here for this?"
"I'm here for Emmett," Rosalie piped up from one end of the couch.
Oh, please. Emmett looked far from devastated. You wouldn't know my brother was flunking, the way he was looking forward to my butt kicking – the boy didn't even remember he had his own coming.
"And we're here to support Bella," Alice chimed in, latching onto Jasper. Jasper gave her a look that told her to speak for herself.
Carlisle looked to Esme. She gave a small brief shake of her head and to my despair my father let the issue drop. Their thoughts were open to me now and it was clear that sparing me from embarrassment was low on their list of priorities.
Besides, my siblings would hear this conversation from anywhere in the house. There wasn't much point in dwelling on it. There were more important matters at hand.
Emmett leaned forward on the couch and folded his hands together. "May I start by saying I've never been more disappointed in you in my entire life?"
"Emmett, hush," Esme scolded. "Edward, what is going on with you? We heard from no less than three teachers that your averages have dropped this semester by at least one letter grade."
Jasper gave a low whistle. Rosalie was grinning like the Cheshire cat.
My mother was seated directly across from me and I couldn't avoid her eyes without looking guilty. That meant fibbing was completely off the table. My father, the only one still standing, was slightly behind me and well within striking range.
I didn't know what to do.
"I admit I've been … distracted lately," I managed vaguely. "Having Bella around is difficult for me at times."
I gave my mother the most pitiful look I could muster. Her expression began to waver. Carlisle thoughts turned to my blood lust and the difficulty I had acclimating to Bella's scent when she first came. Gotcha.
Perhaps we are being too hard on him, Carlisle thought. It would be difficult for any of us not to be distracted with a singer in the room. I know he likes her, but if the temptation is too great maybe we should consider moving him to another class. Or switching schools entirely.
Whoops. Wrong way. Retreat, retreat!
"Carlisle, wait. It's not like that," I said quickly. "My control is fine. It's just – Bella's a mystery to me. I can't read her mind. And now that she knows about us she's curious. We spend a lot of time talking. I didn't think realize things were getting out of hand. I'm sorry if I made you worry but this really isn't a big deal. You know I know the material."
Esme shook her head. "That isn't the point, Edward. We know you and Emmett," – My brother stopped grinning and sat straight up. – "Can do a lot better than this. Your grades aren't exactly helping us stay under the radar."
"Hey, I'm maintaining my D average," Emmett protested, "with a wife on the side. Edward's the one whose grades dropped."
"Shut up, Emmett," I scoffed. "The only reason your grades haven't dropped is because the school chooses not to use negative numbers."
My eldest brother just grinned back at me. "Look at him, Jasper. Isn't he cute?"
Jasper nodded, "Mmhmm. Adorable. All big and tough now that he's finally got some play."
"Could you for once spare us your idiotic teen euphemisms?" I snapped at both of them. "My girlfriend is not play."
"So she is your girlfriend!" Alice gushed, bouncing up and down. "I knew it! I just knew you made it official. Now did she actually use the word boyfriend or was it-"
I rolled my eyes, silently begging Carlisle to drop them all off in the woods somewhere.
"I want to know why you're telling the human girl more about us," Rosalie snipped. "Every bit of information you give her puts this family more and more at risk."
"Now, Rose, I don't think that's fair," Esme reasoned. "Bella's known about us for weeks now and she hasn't seemed to have told anyone. Has she, Edward?"
"No, ma'am," I answered her. "Bella trusts me and she knows how to keep a secret."
"How would you know, you can't read her mind," Rose fussed back.
I tisked at my sister. "Poor Rosalie. Doesn't have enough drama in her own miserable life so she's searching for problems that don't exist."
"It doesn't matter anyway. She's going to be one of us," Alice declared.
"Alice…" Jasper and I both groaned.
"We're losing the point," Carlisle interrupted us. "Edward, I understand that Bella has you… smitten…"
My brothers and sisters giggled. I felt a phantom flush run across my face.
"…But there's a time and a place to socialize."
"Oh, no. Not his time and place lecture," Jasper mumbled to Alice.
Carlisle's 'time and place' talk was well known in the Cullen household. Applicable to nearly every mishap it once dragged on for a record 16 hours.
"Dad, I understand." I rushed to placate him before he could really get started. "I'm planning to buckle down now, honest."
"Well you don't seem to be taking this seriously," my mother said pointedly.
"Mooom, it was just one measly C."
"One C too many, young man," Emmett frowned at me in an uncanny impression of Carlisle.
"Are we going to be here all night?" Rosalie spoke. "Some of us have homework to do."
I hissed softly her in her direction. My sister looked bored, but I could hear her carefully crafting my demise. She knew something and was waiting for the right time spill the tea in front of everyone. That was what happened when you let a black widow come into your home and make a nest.
"It's not even the end of the term," I protested. "Mr. Green said I can bring it up and you know I will. Besides, teenagers get Cs all the time. It's not going to hurt me."
Carlisle stood up straight and crossed his arms against his chest. You want to bet?
I pulled on my collar, suddenly feeling very tense. "I mean in the grand scheme of things. What's a bad grade or two? I mean, if I did everything perfectly wouldn't that make my teacher's equally as suspicious? You even said, Dad, that I should get a question or two wrong sometimes. So how is this any different?"
Carlisle even encouraged us to trip on things occasionally and drop food on our clothing. Rosalie and Alice wouldn't dare, but the rest of us got a kick out of it. Getting a low mark on a test or report card would help dissuade the illusion that we were perfect, inhuman.
"He does have a point," Alice said. "Maybe the kids will finally stop calling us Robo-Cullens."
"Dropping from an A to a C in such a short amount of time is questionable, especially for such high performer like Edward," Carlisle argued. "I'm quoting your English teacher, by the way."
"Aw, don't be too hard on him, Carlisle," Jasper cut in before I could dig myself any deeper. "He can't help being distracted by his mate any more than the rest of us can. Remember when I took that elective pottery class with Alice my first year of high school? I nearly baked my hand in kiln."
I gave my older brother a small smile of thanks. I wasn't sure if that meant he was warming up to the idea of Bella, since he was still entertaining thoughts of biting her, but it was a step up.
"It still doesn't explain why he's not turning in his homework."
I growled and leveled a glare so deadly at Rosalie her ugly witch face nearly cracked from the pressure.
"That I don't understand, Edward," Esme said. "We don't sleep. We don't need to take breaks to eat. You have hours upon hours to complete your assignments."
"He's hanging out with Bella, you guys," Alice said. "What's wrong with that?"
"What's wrong with that? Great question, Alice," Rosalie's eyes gleamed. "Tell me class, what does Edward do every night between the hours of 12 and 5 am?"
"I know! I know!" Jasper's hand shot in the air. "Call on me, Ms. Rose."
My brother grinned proudly. "Watching Bella sleep like a creepy weirdo."
Emmett barked a laugh. "You what?"
Alice smacked Jasper in the arm, hard. "You weren't supposed to tell!"
"I'm sorry, honey," Jasper held up his hands defensively. "You know twins can't keep secrets from each other."
I scowled as my sister sat back, her hard work done.
"This is too good," Emmett was nearly delirious with laughter, clearly heightened by Jasper's influence.
Carlisle closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Why are you watching Bella sleep, son?" He asked me warily.
"I dunno," I mumbled. I was embarrassed and angry and I didn't want to talk about this. "'S interesting research."
"Yeah, right," Jasper snorted.
"Well I think it's cute," Esme decided.
"Mom, you're not helping," I said.
"I find it incredibly inconsiderate," Rosa sniffed. "Edward's playing peeping Tom while the rest of us are trying to get an education and maintain our cover."
"Ooh. Ooh! Rosalie!" I waved my hand around. "I have a question. Who the hell asked you?"
My father quickly answered that with a smack upside my head. "Watch your mouth."
I rubbed my head and shot him a wounded look but he was unrepentant. I wasn't allowed to speak that way to ladies. No matter how insufferable they were.
"I know this is pretty mild in the grand scheme of things, Edward, but I expect you to make the most of this life and that includes your studies. We can't risk any extra scrutiny from the community, especially because one of us is slacking off."
"I know, sir," I murmured.
"And have you given any thought to what this might be doing to Bella's future?" Carlisle asked. "If she's even considering college she needs a passing grades. How is she supposed to grasp the material if she spends the entire lesson listening to you? I ought to pull you out of that school and send you to St. Peter's K-12. Give you and Bella some time apart."
For the first time tonight I actually felt guilty. I never thought to ask how Bella's grades were. The thought of being apart from her, and wearing school uniforms, made me utterly sick.
"Oh, no, Dad. Don't," I begged. "Please, I'll fix everything. Nothing needs to change."
"I'm sorry, son, but you're wrong about that. Some things are going to change starting tonight," Carlisle declared.
"Finally, we're at the good part!" Emmett blurted, rubbing his hands together.
I groaned and hung my head.
"Starting now and until your grades come up you and Emmett will be home every night by 1 AM to make sure that your homework and projects are finished," Carlisle said.
"You're giving me a curfew?" I asked, horrified.
"Don't you think that's a little harsh?" Emmett asked.
"It's only temporary," Esme tried to soothe us. "Once we're confident you can juggle school and social life again, we'll re-negotiate."
"But 1 AM? That's so early," I moaned.
"I know! Who will watch Bella sleep now?" Rosalie cried.
Jasper buried his head in the nearest throw pillow to drown out his laughter. Even Alice giggled.
"You may watch Bella sleep for one hour," Carlisle decided, unbothered by my siblings' reactions. "If she gets to bed early it may even be two or three."
Esme spoke next. "We've also decided you'll have to attend after school tutoring. It will help smooth things over with your teachers and provide an explanation when your grades spike back up. It's from 3-5, Monday through Thursday."
Emmett nearly fell out of his seat. "Dang, bro."
"The two of you," Dad shot him a look, "start on Tuesday."
"What?" Emmett cried.
"It's either that or St. Peter's," Carlisle declared, "for both of you."
A/N: Edward is desperate to avoid St. Peter's K-12 and keep his love with Bella alive. Will he succeed? TTFN!