How could he do this? How could my son do this? How could he draw negative attention to our family? Didn't he realize the damage he could do to us?

Ever since that troublesome girl moved here after Christmas, he'd changed in ways I didn't like. Skipping class, skipping out on us — his mother still was frantic at the thought — spending an inordinate amount of time and money on his appearance. This was just the icing on the proverbial cake.

I paced the study while I waited for him to get home from school, creasing and re-creasing the letter in my hand until it was almost falling apart. I didn't need to read the words anymore; they were burned into my memory. How on earth were we going to hush this up?

We couldn't keep it quiet. Too many people had seen. I wouldn't be surprised if it made the local paper. Wouldn't that be lovely, if it showed up in some "Oddly Enough" section on an Internet news site?

That foppish boy stopped in the middle of the yard when he saw my car in the drive, then looked nervously toward my study's window. He knew exactly what I was thinking, and I could see on his face that he was tempted to run away.

I scowled at him. "Get in here, young man!"

He hung his head and made his way inside and up the stairs. I unfolded the letter, and the bottom third fell off. Stooping, I picked it up just as he opened the door.

"Well?" he said.

I slapped the letter against my palm and another square of paper fell fluttering to the floor. "How could you! What were you thinking? I cannot believe it!"

"It's not like he saw — "

"I don't care what he did or didn't see! What everyone else saw is more than enough! The entire school is talking about this. The entire town is talking about it." I inhaled deeply through my nose, trying to calm myself, then I coldly demanded, "Michael Hubert Newton, what on earth possessed you to write 'Edward is gay' on his locker with permanent marker?"

He grimaced.

"I have in my hand a bill for repainting the locker, and an explanation of the school's suspension procedures for vandalism and sexual harassment. Did you hear me? SEXUAL HARRASMENT! From the bank to the school to my store, people are talking about the fact that Mike Newton got suspended for sexually harassing Edward Cullen! Between this and you skipping classes and shifts at the store this last week, I'm ready to tan your hide, seventeen or not. What do you have to say for yourself?"

He shrugged one shoulder, dripping attitude.

Bella Swan gets hurt in Phoenix and he suddenly becomes a teenage punk. "You're grounded!"