AN: Hello there.
A hassle with some thugs, murder, and a smelly old book about things that go bump in the night must have been the cause of my fucked up dreams. Add in a heaping crush on that confusing Edward Cullen and no wonder that I was thinking nonsensical things like monsters and vampires.
The mind reading might be true. The workings of the brain can lead to unexpected occurrences that might look like magic but is actually science. I think I'll write another letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson. That Master of the Cosmos can figure out the riddle of Edward Cullen's curious mind. If he continues to ignore me, I'll turn to Bill Nye the Science Guy. Trust me, he'll answer anything and send free tee-shirts. I have quite the collection.
"Bells, your cat hates that Cullen boy," Charlie pointed out as I came into the kitchen. He handed me a mug of coffee and looked at me bundled up. "Why are you dressed like an Eskimo?"
All my cold weather gear that I had hoped to pack away now that spring had arrived was weighing down my body. The warm woolen hat that Renee had knit for me was tightly squeezing my skull. The woman not only couldn't knit properly but the size she made for me was more appropriate for a newborn baby. My goose down parka was zipped up to my neck. My gloves were as thick as oven mitts. This town was ridiculous.
"Angela talked me into checking out First Beach with her. I think she wants to ogle Cheney in his wetsuit. Supposedly, the kids in Forks are insane enough to surf in frigid water," I explained. "When did Edward see Winston?"
"He dropped you off some fruit and some damn hippie whole wheat English muffins. Says he's worried you aren't eating properly." Charlie rolled his eyes. "That cat let him have it. Cullen ran out of here like a baby."
I snorted and grabbed a donut out of the box Charlie had placed next to the coffee maker. "I think I'll choose the sugar filled donut."
Charlie gave me the thumbs up. "That's my girl. Kid, don't let anyone man or woman push you around. That Edward kid is bossy. Stay true to you."
"Aww Papa, you sound like one of those inspirational posters with the kitten hanging upside down or a sunrise over a field to give positive aspirations. I feel like writing feminist poetry about girl power."
"Kid, you are a smart ass." Charlie patted my shoulder. "Never change."
"This is a chilly hell you have brought me to, Weber. My retribution will be swift and painful." I was sitting on the tailgate of Mike Newton's truck. He was rubbing sand onto his face because I told him it would help clear up his face eruptions. He looked like a comical inept sea monster with the mixture of sand and seaweed caked on his face. It was funny.
"You're just sad that Edward isn't here," she teased. Angela actually looked away from Ben floundering in the water like a drunk seal to grin at me with sparkling eyes. The watery eyeballs was probably from the damn cold. It was brutal.
"I'm surprised my stalker isn't here. I seem to find him lurking in every corner."
I didn't admit that I kind of liked it. I'm sure Angela knew. She might not have Edward's freaky gift of clairvoyance, but that girl could read me like a damn book.
The beach, even in this blustery weather, was beautiful. I'm not the type to usually get dreamy while watching waves crash on the surf, but I liked the idea of Cullen strolling across the sand with the salty wind making his hair blow in a sexy way. He would also be shirtless. It's my fantasy and I can have him dressed however inappropriately as my heart desires.
Angela ran her fingers through her hair and went back to ogling Benjamin. That kid was crashing into the waves and spitting water everywhere. He was basically still on shore. Tyler must have thought that Ben was drowning, so he dove in and they started grabbing one another in an ill-advised wrestling match. It ended with Tyler trying to give Ben mouth to mouth. Ben was breathing just fine and punching Tyler in the chest.
"Stop it, man! I'm trying to give you air!" Tyler yelled.
Ben punched him harder. "I can breath, fucker!"
"Idiots. I should have asked Eric to prom instead," Angela mumbled. I saw Eric from the corner of my eye giving a fist pump. He must have heard her declaration. She turned her attention back to me, "I would have invited Edward here for you, Bella, but he isn't allowed on the reservation. I don't want a fight to start up."
"Mike and Tyler are too scared of Edward to start a fight. They would pee themselves first."
Angela shook her head. "Not those guys. The people who live on the reservation don't allow the Cullens to come on their land."
"The Cullens are a weird bunch of snobs. I get that. They might be as pale as Casper the Ghost, but that isn't any reason to keep them away from a public beach. If any family in the world needs to tan it would be them," I stated in annoyance. They were a bizarre family unit, but basically harmless. Maybe. Alice was still iffy.
"I know but—" She began but was startled by a group of boys that walked up to us.
"The Cullens can't come here. If they do then there will be consequences." A large dark skinned man spoke. He must be the leader of this rag-tag gang. His ebony hair twisted into a braid and he wore only a Seattle Mariners tee-shirt in the cold. His feet were bare. Didn't he realize the potential for frostbite?
"That's very West Side Story of you," I remarked. "Are you The Sharks or The Jets? The Cullens look like they are skilled at jazz hand combat."
A skinny guy with braces snorted and pulled up the hood of his navy sweatshirt. "I bet they do. Those Cullens are freaks."
Hello Pot. Let me introduce you to Kettle.
"Shut the hell up, Quil!" Jacob hit Brace Face on the back of his head. He turned to me with a smile. "How you doin', baby?"
"I'm concocting ways to strangle you with your braid, Jacob Black." It was best to not sugar coat my feeling for him.
He grinned and flashed his set of giant horse teeth. "That's hot."
"If you're friends with the Cold Ones than consider yourself unwelcome," the big one stated rudely.
Jacob threw an arm around my shoulder making me want to beat him with Phil's bat. "Aww come on, Sam! It's Bella Swan! Charlie's girl! We're practically engaged!"
I think Jacob had a death wish.
That Sam guy cocked a single eyebrow. In my head, I could hear the soundtrack for one of those old westerns that Charlie liked to watch on Saturday mornings while eating his Honey Nut Cheerios. If we were truly in the wild west, tumbleweeds would travel past our legs in the dusty road next to the saloon. Sam would be wearing a black cowboy head and stare me right in the eye to say—
"Keep your woman in line and way from the leeches, Jacob," Sam had the audacity to snarl.
You have to be kidding me.
Jacob grabbed my arm before I could launch myself onto that misogynistic piece of shit and rip out all of his hair to make it a rug for my bathroom.
"I'm going to take Bella on a tour of beach, Sam." He tugged me off the truck and dragged me away from his buddies.
"I don't care about seeing waves and sand, kid," I complained. "I don't want to leave Angela with those gang of losers you hang out with."
One of the skinny guys was stroking Angela's cheek. Both Ben and Eric were heading over in anger. A fight was brewing and stupid Jacob was pulling me in the opposite direction.
"Dude!" I complained.
"She'll be fine, my sweet piece of sunshine." Jacob kept pulling me toward the water's edge. There was a huge piece of driftwood that he sat on. He looked up at me expectantly and patted a spot next to him. "Your friend will be just fine. I think Embry likes her. He has a thing for girl's in glasses."
"He needs to keep his filthy paws to himself." I reluctantly sat next to him but I scooted to the furthest edge. The wind had picked up and I felt like it would blow me over if I remained standing. "So why are you such an asshole to the Cullens? The doctor one seems fairly decent for a guy with a stick up his ass."
The kid completely ignored my question. "My tribe name is going to be, Virile Wolf Who Runs Toward the Wind."
The eyebrow wiggle at me was not sexy in the least.
"I think the name, Puppy Who Needs to be Neutered would be more fitting." I threw a piece of bark at his head.
"I'm going to get muscles someday!" He retorted looking sad. "I don't know why you want to know about those stupid leeches anyway."
"They are people, kid. Stop being a jerk. What if they called you offensive names?" That was my job.
"There are all these weird stories about the cold ones. Girl, the elders wrote all that freaky blood drinking shit down and it is some nastiness." He shuddered dramatically. "Don't get me started on the tribe turning into werewolves. Those stories have been giving me nightmares since I was little. Like would I lick my own butt?"
I would be surprised if he didn't already do that.
"A bunch of old folklore is making you act like a fool? It's just stories to try to make sense of the world. Read a science book, kid," I stared at the waves. "I still don't get the Cullen hate."
Jacob looked at me with wide eyes. "They mentioned the Cullens! Things written by the ancestors talked about their pale skin and need to drink human blood. There was some treaty and they can't come here."
"Vampires aren't real, kid. I've seen the whole crew of them out in the daylight." As I said this, I remembered the dream I had last night. The whole thing with the mind reading was suspect as well. Maybe Bram Stroker had it all wrong.
"Dad told me about that dead guy without any blood. If the Cullens aren't actual vampires and those were their great-great grandparents, they still might like to drink blood. Some kinky thing." Jacob gave me a wink.
"Kid, you need to keep watching Jake and the Pirates cartoons and leave the scary stories to the adults."
It was easy to pretend to dismiss Jacob Black's words. I didn't want him to get a swollen head in either direction. Gross.
Truth be told, Jake had given me something to think about. There was something terribly off about that family. Maybe an investigation is in order. I really do take after Charlie after all. I should be a cop.
Soon after my chat with the hairy kid, we left the beach. The sky was still overcast but it seemed to be clearing up a bit. I was driving Ben and Angela home in my truck. I ignored their completely useless Minecraft conversation. Instead, my mind was trying to figure out the additional puzzles pieces that were coming my way. Like Spock. I knew there was a logical conclusion.
"Damn, is that Cullen's Volvo?" Ben asked in surprise.
He was right. Parked right outside the entrance to the reservation was Edward. His hands were gripping the steering wheel and he was staring at my rusty truck.
"Hello there, my little stalker," I said loudly.
Angela giggled and Ben let out a snicker. Edward's eyes narrowed like my cat's.
I gave him the Vulcan salute.
I'm going to figure you out, mystery man.