A/N: Weehoo, ten chapters already! Coolies! AND GUESS WHAT, READERS? This story got nominated AGAIN! I'm so unbelievably happy! It was nominated for Best Overall Story! Wow, sniff, thank you so much!
Okay, now, regarding Emmett getting hungry for chips in the previous chapter…
Would you believe I FORGOT that vampires don't eat food?
I REALLY DID! I HONESTLY DID! I swear, and now that I think about it, I SHOULD'VE remembered! Aargh, my mind's more mushed up than I thought… sigh… well, hopefully I fix it up properly in this chapter (at least I make Bella fix it… go Bella!). Anyway, thanks again for bringing that to my attention, dear readers! Thank you all so much, most of all, for sticking with this story despite my countless (eep!) mistakes! Hope you enjoy:
Chapter Ten- Chores and Orange Juice Pulp
"Hey, Bells!" greeted Jacob with a little wave of his huge hand. I continued to gape at him, and then the plastic bag in Charlie's hand caught my attention – mainly because it screamed the label Newton's Outfitters in a bright green font.
"What're you guys doing here? And what's that?"
"Well," began Charlie, looking rather sheepish as he held up the bag, "Alice told me you were sleeping over, and that you would borrow her stuff, but I thought I'd take it upon myself to bring you yours so you wouldn't have to put her through so much trouble."
"Um… thanks, Dad…" I said uncertainly, taking the plastic bag. I took a peek at its contents, but all I saw was a big, dirty-white towel that I suspected to have come from some hidden corner in the very depths of my closet.
"I thought he needed company," spoke up Jacob; I looked at him, and saw that his eyes –not to mention the mischievous grin on his face– said otherwise. If anything, I knew he had come to stir up some trouble with Edward.
"Good evening, Charlie, Jacob," said a warm, silvery voice behind me that I at once recognized as Carlisle's. Sure enough, as I moved to one side and turned around, I saw him standing with hands outstretched in genuine welcome, and behind him, not at all to my surprise, were the rest of the family members, all of who, save for Edward and Rosalie, had hearty smiles of greeting on their faces.
"Um, good evening," replied Charlie, the flush on his face deepening. He was never really used to the formality of the Cullens. "Sorry for the intrusion…"
"Oh no, not at all," said Esme brightly. "We were just playing a very entertaining game Bella brought… please, join us!"
"Sure," said Jacob, much to my surprise then.
What are you doing? I mouthed angrily. He only grinned wider.
"Uh, thanks, but we better not," said Charlie hastily, "I told Billy that Jacob'd be home right after we stopped by…"
"Not even for a few minutes?" said Carlisle, beckoning them inside. "You must be tired, have a drink before you go, at least."
"Oh, but Jake, won't Billy get angry?" I said as sweetly as I could without being too obviously transparent. At the same time I considered Carlisle's words. Did they really have drinks to serve? Wait a minute… a sudden thought occurred to me. Just a while ago Edward was describing how Emmett threw a vending machine out a window because he wanted chips… chips? Vampires don't eat…
"Nah, he doesn't mind me staying up late… so long as I come home some time," Jacob answered, with a deep chuckle. I heard a low growl –most probably from Edward– behind me.
"Well, come in then!" said Esme, moving further inside. Charlie's eyes widened in obvious reluctance, but he complied anyway, jamming his hands into his jeans pockets and trudging into the house.
As the two of them were led into the living room, Edward took my arm and pulled me aside, with Alice hovering around us. "Did you know hewas coming?" he hissed. I didn't have to ask who 'he' was.
"No, I would've warned you!" I whispered. I glanced sideways at Alice. "A little heads up would've been nice, by the way."
She held up her hands in mock surrender. "Hey, I didn't see them until the last minute, I swear. I told you, I'd been keeping my mind shut for the game. I only saw them because I smelled Jacob from like a mile away…"
"He was in wolf form?" I asked in surprise.
"Yeah, which is why I wouldn't see anything even if I had wanted to. I kept trying, though, until everything became clear, and boom, there he was at the front door with Charlie."
Edward let out a grunt, eyeing Jacob's broad back warily. "So I guessed right… I smelled him, too."
I frowned, and then distinctly recalled seeing him cringe before the doorbell had sounded. "Well," I finally sighed, "I'll just have to talk to him later."
Edward turned and stared at me. "You say you know Jacob and yet you always seem to forget that he lacks basic communication skills. He can't be negotiated with, Bella, he never–"
"Stop it," I said with sudden anger. Edward pursed his pale lips into a tight line.
"Aw come on, I bet it won't be that bad," said Alice.
"You know, even from you, that doesn't sound very reassuring," I said grimly. Edward said nothing, and I immediately regretted snapping at him. "Look, I'm sorry, okay? I'm just… I hate it when Jacob shows up without warning when I'm with you."
Edward was quiet for a second more, before he broke into a soft smile. "Yeah, I hate it, too." He leaned closer and pecked my cheeks. "Come on, let's go save your dad, he looks freaked."
I laughed, and then Esme called out:
"Alice, Edward, dears? Would you please bring the orange juice in from the kitchen?"
"Sure thing, Mom!" answered Alice cheerfully. I noticed then how all of the Cullens were acting more… gestural, in some ways. For instance, Emmett was now shifting his weight on either of his feet, something I had never seen him do; Carlisle was making grand, sweeping movements of his hand as he toured Charlie and Jacob around their living room; and Rosalie was blinking rather profusely. The family sure knew how to seem human.
"Oh, wait, quick question, before I forget," I said, bounding after Edward and Alice.
"Shoot," they replied in unison.
"A while ago you guys were telling me how Emmett threw a vending machine out of a building… why did he want–"
"Chips in the first place?" Edward finished, grinning.
"Yeah, you said he got hungry… but vampires don't eat food!"
"Oh, well, Emmett actually was hungry that time," spoke up Alice. "See, we all went hunting the day before, but he didn't feed much because he was in a hurry to watch a game or something, I don't know. Anyway, of course, Carlisle nagged him about it, telling him to hunt some more, but he wouldn't listen, so next day, his fault, he got hungry."
"And Carlisle wouldn't let him leave, either," continued Edward, as we reached their vast, decorated-for-window-display kitchen. "That's when he dragged us all to the vending machines nearby. He thought chips might help."
"And he was actually picky about the brand of chips he wanted," said Alice, her voice muffling as she dug her head into a small cupboard where I knew their glasses were kept.
I chuckled. "Did the chips work?"
"Nah, he never got to eating them, since he was too busy running away from Carlisle after he hurled the vending machine out the window. Ha!"
"Oh, but just so you know, Bella," said Edward, disappearing briefly into their too-large refrigerator and reappearing again with a sealed bottle of orange juice and a tray of ice cubes, "human food doesn't work. Like I told you before. Our bodies think it's just waste."
"Nothing like blood, eh?" I joked.
"Spoken like a true vampire-to-be!" chirped Alice.
When we reentered the living room, Jacob regarded the orange juice with obvious amusement.
"Aren't you guys taking any for yourselves?" he said, as Alice smoothly handed him and Charlie a glass.
"Naw, we just ate," said Emmett, gesturing with his chin at the plate of apple cookies on the dining table, which I had completely forgotten about. Jacob smirked at the lie, while Charlie merely nodded.
"Yes, please, make yourselves at home," said Esme, retrieving the plate and placing it on the coffee table at the centre of the living area.
"This is, uh, quite a place you have here…"remarked Charlie, his head rotating as he surveyed the massive room.
"Hey, the Game of Life!" Jacob had made his way to the dining table, and was now examining the board with interest. I felt my annoyance flicker. Just a bit.
"Wanna play, Jacob?" Edward asked, and I whirled to face him in shock. His face was expressionless, but I could see his golden eyes twinkling with challenge.
"You wouldn't last five minutes against me in this game, Cullen," Jacob boasted. "I beat Bella without even breaking a sweat."
I stiffened. Just as I feared, Edward frowned, turning his gaze to me. "You played this with him before." It wasn't a question.
Before I could attempt to reply, Jasper came to the rescue. "Yeah, you can play, Jacob, but then, we don't have enough cars as it is."
"Two cars have already two players to them," said Alice smilingly.
Jacob shrugged, picking up Rosalie's red car. At once I saw her face contort into an enraged scowl. "I can wait until the game ends."
"Sorry to disappoint you, but we were going to finish this tomorrow," said Edward in a deadly tone. "Bella's tired."
Charlie softly choked on his orange juice, as if in to speak then, but Emmett beat him to it. "Didn't you say were gonna take some caffeine, Bella?"
"I change my mind," I said quickly. "I am tired, I was getting ready to sleep actually…"
"Aw, bummer," remarked Jacob, placing the car back onto its space, and I thought I saw a flash of pain cross his face. But it was gone in an instant. "I was looking forward to beating you again. And seeing you get all screwed-up by caffeine."
"Yeah, it does have a weird effect on her, right?" spoke up Alice brightly.
"Let's not go there, please," I moaned.
Jacob let out a laugh that was more of a bark. Edward was apparently thinking along the same lines.
"So, I guess you have to run along now," he said with a nonchalant shrug.
Jacob's brows furrowed. "Oh, I wanna see you play. Bella here tells me that you're so sneaky you practically suck the life outta your opponents."
I gasped. "I did not!" I glared at him, mentally shooting daggers at him for daring to suggest Edward's identity in front of my father, of all people.
Edward, on the other hand, looked at him rather calmly. "Oh, I'm sneaky? At least I don't drool at my opponents' feet for some attention."
"Well, I don't distract them like you do, Tinkerbell," jibed Jacob, eyeing Edward's white arms.
"That's better than having them put up with your sudden outbursts, Lassie."
"Outbursts?" Jake narrowed his eyes, the insulting comparison to the female, overly fluffy collie flying right over his head.
"At any single move they make. Be it an outburst of envy, loathing, even obsessive affection." Edward glanced at me then, and I suddenly realized that I had become the underlying topic of the argument.
"There's nothing wrong with being emotionally biased towards the game," retorted Jacob. "Better than having a carnal desire for it."
Edward stiffened, and fell into a long, stony silence.
Charlie gave a low whistle. "You two really get into the games you play, don't you?"
"Oh, you have no idea," I said, with a nervous chuckle. "They–"
"As long as I win," spoke up Jacob suddenly, "I'd stoop to anything."
Edward gave out a sharp tut. "Even get your hands dirty?"
"I'm not the only one who does that. If I recall, you'd drag down everyone with you."
"I ensure their safety," Edward hissed, his voice shaking with anger now, "I don't make them plunge head-first to their deaths, unlike some people."
"I don't abandon them," retaliated Jacob, with an air of triumph.
I started; Jacob had hit yet another, weaker spot. I saw Edward's alabaster hands clench into tight fists, and his eyes flicker in my direction, but he didn't say anything.
And for the second time in that minute, an awkward silence followed, until Charlie cleared his throat.
"Wow, this is good orange juice," he declared, inspecting the glass of the liquid with interest.
"Florida's Natural," spoke up Esme, obviously trying to lighten the mood. "Quite incomparable, in my opinion." I smiled, certain that that opinion wasn't hers at all.
"Mmm," said Charlie agreeably, taking a deep sip. "The extra pulp makes it really good."
Emmett made a gagging sound. "I hate pulp. It's looks like, orange lumps of mashed potato."
"It's orange bits," I exclaimed.
"Same gross thing."
"You don't like pulp?" said Charlie, raising an eyebrow disbelievingly. I softly snickered at his assumption of Emmett's complete humanness.
Emmett grinned. "Well, I only don't like it 'cause it looks disgusting."
"I thought that you'd like it, I mean, isn't pulp good for building muscles and that kind of thing?"
"Oh, he earns his muscles through pure, hard labor," said Rosalie matter-of-factly, lifting a single perfect finger and stroking her husband's biceps. I just had to roll my eyes at the gesture.
"Hey, Bella," said my dad, catching my attention, "didn't you used to date a guy with that built?"
I froze, before Edward, Jacob, and myself screamed, "WHAT?"
"You had another boyfriend?" demanded Jacob.
"When was this?" inquired Edward.
"What was his name?" asked Alice excitedly.
"I didn't know I was your type, Bella," said Emmett, straightening, and then doubling over when Rosalie smacked the back of her hand against his chest.
"I DON'T KNOW!" I shrieked, facing Charlie, who took a bewildered step back. "Dad, what the heck are you talking about? What guy?"
"Didn't you? His name, was, ah… Kit, or something like that."
"Kit?" repeated Emmett with frown, "as in, Kat?"
I frantically wracked my brain for some distant memory of a huge guy I might have dated, but came up with nothing. "Dad, are you sure you're not confusing me with mom? Maybe she dated a guy called Kit." I glanced at Edward and Jacob, whose livid expressions hadn't changed.
"No, no, I would've known if she did," said Charlie, shaking his head. "No, it was you, she even emailed me a picture of him."
"What?" I cried. "When?"
"Ah…" Charlie scratched the back of his head, which only frustrated me more. "I think it was… a year or two ago?"
"Wow, Bells, you sure don't waste any time with guys, huh?" remarked Jacob darkly.
"Were you ever going to tell me?" asked Edward grimly.
I gaped at them. "I don't even know anyone called Kit! Will you two snap out of it? I never had another boyfriend!"
"Not here in Forks, she means," commented Rosalie.
"No, not anywhere!" I exclaimed, throwing up my hands into the air for emphasis.
"Wait, let me try and describe him," Charlie said, and I bit my lip to keep myself from shouting in frustration. Fathers humiliating daughters into oblivion, it's a natural way of life, sadly.
"I think you established that he looked like Emmett, Dad," I said through clenched teeth. "Can we please stop talking about it now?"
"No way," said Jacob firmly, "you are sitting down…" He suddenly grabbed me by the arm and pulled me down so that I plopped onto one of the leather couches, "and telling us exactly who Kit is, when you guys went out, and, oh yeah, how big he is."
"'How big he is'…?" echoed Alice curiously.
The image of the Big Bad Wolf running away from the three little pigs suddenly drew itself in my mind. I stared at Jacob. "Are you actually threatened by a guy who doesn't even exist?" I asked slowly.
"No," he snapped, but he glanced at Emmett all the same; Jacob was easily the tallest one in the room, but he could hardly compare to Emmett's beefiness. "And he does exist, you just don't wanna admit it."
"Or you can't admit it?" chirped Alice.
"UGH! Okay, fine!" I exclaimed, "I once dated a guy named Kit who looked like Emmett! There, are you happy now?"
"I am," said Emmett, grinning a bit too widely for my comfort. "Ha ha, Edward's a rebound…"
"Charlie, do you still have the picture?" asked Edward suddenly, his facial expression now blank.
"Edward!" I gasped in surprise.
Charlie frowned. "Ah, no, I don't think I saved it…"
"Was it the shock of finding out that your child was in a relationship?" said Carlisle in a teasing voice. I turned my gaze to him in disbelief.
"Yeah, my little girl," said Charlie, with a short, amused laugh. That did it: I dropped my head into my hands in utter embarrassment.
"So where's he now, Bella?" demanded Jacob. "You two still in touch?"
I looked up at him. "What? No! Jake, he doesn't exist!"
"Then why the sudden confession?" said Edward quietly.
"I just said that to make you two shut up! Gosh, I can't believe you're taking this so seriously! Ugh, you know what?" – I quickly stood up from the couch – "I'm going to bed now!"
"Hey, wait a–!" began Jacob.
"GOODNIGHT, JAKE!" I cried, turning my back towards him and heading for the staircase.
"Bella…" started Charlie, but I waved my hand over my head to interrupt him.
"Goodnight, Dad! See you tomorrow, 'kay? Alice, I'm going over to your room!"
"But what about the gaaame?" whined Emmet loudly. "I need to win the bet, Bella!"
"What bet?" asked Jacob, and I hesitated in my footsteps. If he heard – or worse, if Charlie heard – that I had sworn to become Emmett's personal slave if he won the game, I would most probably never hear the end of it.
"Oh, it's nothing really," I said as casually as I could. "I have to do Emmett's chores if he wins the game."
"Yeah, chores," said Emmett cheerfully. "The usual, pushing hard against the broomstick… scrubbing up and down… oh, sucking up all the dirt… have to get into all those tight corners, you know…"
Two things stunned me at the same time then: one, Emmett's incredibly suggestive words; and two, the sudden and simultaneous outburst from the rest of the Cullens.
"You are so dead, Emmett Cullen!" spat Rosalie.
"You are so grounded," said Esme firmly.
"UGH, EMMETT!" cried Alice in disgust.
"I think I just puked in my mouth," muttered Jasper.
"EMMETT!" roared Edward.
Then came a moment of déjà vu: Emmett burst into running, with Rosalie and Edward hot on his heels (somehow, they managed to start off at a human speed).
And I was left with a very bewildered Charlie and Jacob.
A/N: Wow, that was hard to write… it's kinda difficult inserting humor in an otherwise hostile scene, you know? Hope I succeeded… huhuhu!
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Okay, now, dear readers, thanks so, so, SO much for all your patience, and reviews! Expect a truckload of sugarcoated, heart-shaped candy at your dreams' doorstep any time soon!! Please, keep the ideas and suggestions coming! Mwah, until next time!