AN: Yes, the pairings are all canon. Well, there's one ship that's fanon, but that's for me to know and for you to find out. :)

"Sarcasm: intellect on the offensive"

Carlisle's hair was neatly combed and slicked back. His face was perfectly shaven. His outfit was flawless (or was it?). However, being physically groomed didn't help his nerves one bit.

He was sitting on the couch in the living room while his son, Edward, was in the kitchen preparing dinner. He would have helped him, but he was a culinary disaster.

Carlisle looked at his distorted reflection in the glossy television opposite him.

There was nothing for him to do while waiting but go into a self-assurance monologue.

"You looked good. Very, very good. There's nothing to be afraid of. It's just a dinner party. No, not just a dinner party. I'll be having dinner with the most wonderful person ever born. I should be excited, not anxious, to anticipate such pure beauty."

"Why, thank you Carlisle." His son startled him by entering unexpectedly. "You just know how to warm an orphan's heart."

"Aren't you supposed to be preparing the chicken, vegetables, and pie?"

"It's already done. Everything's on the table. The only thing ruining your romantic trysts is keeping me around."

"Well, I want you to meet her. Although, I think you already know her." Carlisle answered furtively.

Carlisle couldn't wait to the look on Edward's face when he would see her. However, he had an ulterior motive for being the sly parent.

"Oh, no. Please don't tell me it's that nurse who refuses to give patients their meds because it kills the paranormal spirits thrust from the power of delusions." Edward pretended to look horrified.

Carlisle frowned. "She is Nurse Cook to you. And can you please refrain from insulting my coworkers? It's not nice."

"You're right of course. But not all of us have your amazing power of kindness you know. Not when"—Edward paused under Carlisle's glare—"sorry."

"They'll be here any minute. I think you should go change now."

"I haven't set the table yet, though."

"I'll do it. A nice cozy table of four."


"She's bringing a friend."

"Well, it's nice that I'm not the only one who will be ruining cupid's atmosphere. Also, did you know that the number four is associated with death in Chinese and Japanese countries?"

"Thanks for telling me."

"Admittedly, I'm a bit on the inexperienced side when it comes to dating. But are you sure it's customary for teachers to bring their former students on dates with them?" Bella looked at Esme.

Esme shook her head. "You're not coming as a former student. You're coming as a friend. And it's not really a date, it's a dinner party. And the man couldn't possibly think of me in that way. He just asked me to come because…well I don't want to ramble. Anyways, his son, Edward, will be there as well."

"He's bringing you to meet the family because he doesn't think of you in that way? You're absolutely right!"

"Well, okay. I got invited because he wanted to teach his son a lesson."

"About females? I'm sure he's already been tutored by the likes of Rosalie Hale, Alice Brandon, et cetera, et cetera."

"About keeping things from parents. Did you know he never told Carlisle about his detention?"

"Don't be scandalized. It's the natural way of things."

"And it's the natural way of things for adults to find out, Bella."

"Well, okay. Wait, I'm confused. What does this have to do with his dinner party? So basically, Carlisle has yelled at and grounded him. Therefore, he's stuck watching his dad make goo goo eyes at a former teacher. And, apparently, I have to as well."

"Carlisle hasn't done anything to Edward. Not even a lecture."

Bella looked slightly taken aback. "Wow, the guy's spoiled. He's got money, popularity, and a totally laid back dad. I'm going to have to ask him to switch lives sometime. Well, okay, maybe not the popularity part. I don't want to have to be engaged in mindless chit chat with a thousand people I neither know nor care about."

Esme rolled her eyes. "Don't you see, Bella? Carlisle is biding his time until Edward to confesses he was in detention earlier this Monday and why he was there."

"What kind of idiot would confess to that?" Bella shuddered slightly thinking of her parents.

Really, she wasn't even in trouble earlier that Monday. She was only there to hang out with Esme, but they were still furious she was in that room. As if one hour in a room full of silent students (they didn't have to know the full story) was enough time for their felonious ways to corrupt her via osmosis. They were endlessly paranoid that their little girl would become corrupt. Bella clenched her fist slightly in response to her memories.

A distant voice called Bella back to consciousness.

"What? Didn't hear you." Bella told Esme.

"A bright straight A's girl and you don't even have listening skills, really. I said Carlisle trusts Edward. He doesn't even know what he's done yet. He's a little disappointed that he hasn't told him though. He figures the boy must feel too ashamed of himself to come clean. However, he hopes if he sees us together he will put two and two together and know there's no point continuing all the omsission." Esme had a look of pure admiration for Carlisle.

Bella failed to see the brilliance.

"Of course he's ashamed. He was simultaneously dumped by two of the hottest pinheads in school. He totally failed as a player. If I had a Y chromosome, my ego would be a little bruised as well."

"Or ashamed of what he's done perhaps?"

"I think my theory makes more sense."

"I disagree. You have an inclination to cynicism, and you barely know him."

"He goes to my school. I've grown up with him."

"So you see him at a distance occasionally. The keyword is distance. Versus his father, who lives with him and probably knows him infinitely more than you would ever allow yourself to."

"I can get to know him, if I try hard enough. Here, I'll make an extra effort to converse with him at dinner. I'll also try to lead him away so that you two can be alone and begin your hot sexy affair already."

"Like that'll do any good. Any time he blinks, it will be an involuntary movement of self interest."

"You know me only too well. Anyways, why am I being dragged into this? Will I get to watch the dashing Edward Cullen burst into hysterical tears as guilt overwhelms him?"

"Oh, shut up. And you're coming along because, well, it's a personal thing. It's going to be very uncomfortable watching the furtive glances of father and son. I don't want to be alone. If anything becomes too awkward, I want to be able to have at least somebody."

Bella grinned. "And here I thought you were so enamored by my charming ways you only wanted to help me escape from watching Jazz fight ogres in the land of MMORPG."

Bella and Esme were at the door. Poor Esme looked like she was about to faint.

Loud, erratic heart thumps followed the ring of the door bell. Carlisle shot up at once and went to the door.

There the woman was, smiling. Carlisle and Esme made eye contact for a second. That second seemed like an eternity. It was as if the whole world faded from existence. He wondered if she could feel the magnetic force pumping in her veins, and in his. The force that made nothing else matter. Those eyes, just gazing. Gazing right into his soul.

Wow, Carlisle was spending way too much time with Nurse Cook.

However, he did have to admit Esme had very fine eyes.

"Hello." He smiled at her.

What a boring greeting. Carlisle wanted to kick himself.

Esme smiled back nervously. "Thank you for inviting me."

"You're welcome at anytime." The man looked so earnest. Esme calmed down a little.

She placed her hands on the girl's shoulders. "I'd like for you to meet Bella. She's a former student of mine and also one of Edward's classmates."

Nothing about Bella expressed how snarky she could be, particularly since her cheeks were a bright red. Esme had forgotten how shy Bella could be around strangers.

"Welcome, Bella." Carlisle shook hands with her. "How do you do?"

"Very well, thanks." Bella replied.

"And I take it you know my son?" Carlisle said conversationally.

As if on cue, Edward appeared. "Good evening Ms. Evenson, Bella" He shook hands with Esme first, Bella second.

Esme acknowledged him kindly but her thoughts were only on Carlisle.

Inside, Edward's mind was raging. He was so busted!

He hadn't fooled his father one bit. Carlisle knew. This couldn't have been a coincidence. Or on the (highly unlikely) possibility he didn't know, he was bound to find out soon.

Edward looked at Carlisle looking to see a look of triumph, but he was too busy staring at Ms. Evenson to notice much else.

"Well, I want you to meet her. Although, I think you already know her."

That also explained his mysteriousness. Why he wanted Edward to meet her so badly he had to cancel going to the movies with his friends.

And so, the four of them walked to the dining room. He exchanged an awkward glance with Bella Swan. This was going to be a long dinner.

"Your dad's one idealistic guy." Bella commented as she and Edward escaped from the dining room. Edward plopped on one of the armchairs, while Bella seated herself on the couch. Neither of them had even finished their first serving of food. Not that either Esme or Carlisle noticed, for love was in the air.

And it was suffocating.

"He's never that expressive for his love of mankind. Of course, I don't think it's hard to figure out who's bringing that out in him. This night has proven to be surprisingly unpleasantly awkward."

Bella grinned. "The awkwardness itself wasn't so surprising, but I didn't foresee the unpleasant part. Mainly Esme being silently madly in love with the guy, and vice versa. It must suck for the guy to be your dad at the moment."

"Really. Wait, what awkwardness wasn't so surprising?"

Crap. Bella really had to put her foot in her mouth. "Um, nothing."

Edward moved to the couch and sat next to her. Bella crossed her arms.

"Would you like to explain that further?"

Fine. Let her tell him and see what he makes of it then.

"Okay, then. Apparantly Carlisle knows you were hiding your Casanova ways from him and he's just waiting for you to fess up. He brought Esme along to help speed up the process."

Edward cringed a little. He had had it all figured out, the news was merely a confirmation. But…

"What makes you in on this conspiracy?"

"Esme told me. Mostly because I was bugging her complaining why I had to go."

Edward nodded. "So why did you come along?" You liked how the adults come to save the say? How they triumph over the teenagers in the end?"

Bella felt slightly insulted. "Are you implying I'm a goody-two-shoes?"

"Well, if the shoe fits. Or actually the two shoes, yes."

"Am not." Bella glared.

So he thought she was so clean cut. But she supposed it wasn't an illogical thing to think. She did after all have good grades (in most people's eyes—Bella's parents thought her 95 average expressed very lazy behavior), a spotless record, an NHS membership. Hell, she also hung out with a teacher!

Was she becoming the person her parents wanted her to be? Oh, Lord.

Edward was slightly taken aback by her frankness. Wasn't she the bookworm type? Every time he passed by her in the hallways over the years she almost always had a book in hand. And wasn't she the sniveling type? Teachers always trusted her.

She was an interesting dispute to her stereotype.

Edward heard something vibrate and saw Bella pull out a cell phone.

"Shit." She said when she looked at the number lighting the outside screen.

And since when did she swear?

Bella decided to ignore the call. She would really have to see if she could block calls from certain numbers on her phone.

Tyler Crowley was a pain in the butt.

He was always trying to follow her. He was always trying to offer her a ride to and from an area. He was always trying to carry her books. He called her almost every night and would constantly engage in meaningless chatter with her.

Bella felt a little guilty about all her spiteful thoughts towards him. It's not his fault if he couldn't take a hint that she wasn't interested, right?

But come on, when she turned him down for the school's back-to-school dance a couple of weeks ago because she 'doesn't dance' (which she doesn't), he brilliantly decides he'll take her to Prom. Come on! What part of 'no dance' did he not get?

As soon as the phone stopped vibrating, she shut off her phone promptly.

She caught Edward staring at her. She was pretty sure she knew what he was thinking.

"Yes, I swear on occasion." She said acidly.

"So, who's your lover there?" Edward asked. The look on Bella's face was so amusing.

She seemed to shudder slightly. "Tyler Crowley."

Recognition came to Edward. "He's on my track team."

"He's also a stalker."

"Aww…someone has a crush?"

"It's completely one sided, I assure you."

"Why, already have a crush?

"Yeah. I'm madly in love with you. I can't hide it anymore."

Edward grinned. This was getting amusing.

"Really, now?"

"Oh yes, so ardently. And so nauseating like reality TV. Or Esme and Carlisle."

"Oh, I'm not so sure about that."

"Why not?"

"Well, in my experience people often mistaken love for lust. Don't worry, it's only natural of course. And well, it would explain why you were so…frustrated at being insinuated a goody-two-shoes."

Never again could Bella write Edward off for somebody charismatic and dull. Who knew the guy actually had wit?

Bella opened her mouth with only half a clue what she was going to retort back when the two teenagers were interrupted.

"What's this about love and lust?" Esme's asked, walking in the room hand in hand with Carlisle dreamily.

Edward's mouth dropped slightly. Bella raised an eyebrow.

"Yes." Carlisle replied to their facial expressions. "We're in love and we don't care who knows."

Oh dear.

Bella looked at the clock on the wall ahead of her. It was 7:45.

"Well, I've got to go." Bella said. "My parents always want me home by eight."

"I'll walk with you. It's getting dark." Edward said.

Edward was out the front door before Bella had taken even five steps to leave.

"You know how you had said they were nauseating?" Edward said.

"Yeah?" Bella replied.

"That was an understatement."