Conditioning FOUR!

A short-ish note here to my long-time-ago readers that I changed my previous plans to have the coach come on to someone. I had a poll up asking which ya'll would prefer between Edward, Emmett, and Bella, and to my SHOCK, the winner by a large majority was Bella! I only put her up there just to see how many people wanted that, and didn't expect her to get more than a few votes! I tried, and couldn't find a good way to write that, so I gave up. By that point I'd thought so much about how to make the coach come on to Bella, that I couldn't even picture her coming on to Edward or Emmett. So, sorry, but there will be no Romel-romance in this chapter.

August 2013 – Well, it's been a LONG time since I've posted anything new. Sorry about that! I started college, and got a job, and things just tend to pile up! I've edited parts of the previous chapters, and hope that you're still interested in the story! It's much harder to write now that the series is over and so much has changed! I may add another one way down the road if I find spare time on my hands, but this will likely be the last chapter, and I hope you all enjoy!

Bella's POV

I was dying. This is what dying felt like. My lungs felt like they were trying to burst out of my body, and I had a stitch in my side that I could swear was trying to rip me in half. It was cold outside today, and I tried to distract myself by pondering if it was harder to run in the cold of Forks, or in the heat as I had in Phoenix. Either way, I hated running. Not only was it hard, but for me it was also embarrassing. I'd already almost tripped three times in as many laps, and if Edward hadn't been there to catch me, I would be feeling a lot worse than I was now. Which was pretty bad.

"You're almost there." Edward said next to me. The track we were 'running' on took four laps to make a mile, and we just finished up the third. One to go. Emmett had already lapped us and finished his warm-up mile. He was currently with the rest of the class, waiting for us slow pokes to finish up the mile.

Surprisingly, Edward and I weren't the last ones on the track. There was a boy a little ways behind us that looked sort of like a chicken wing, who seemed to be having an even harder time of this than I was. I think he had Asthma though, so he had a good reason to still be running. I didn't. Although right at this particular moment I'd have traded quite a bit to have an excuse for my slow speed, because Coach Romel was taking her job of 'encouraging' students very seriously. She was yelling that her fifty-five year old mother ran two miles every morning, and that if she could do it, so could we. Even over the loud pounding of my heart and feet, I could hear Edward's teeth grind together every time Coach came up with a new line to 'encourage' me to go faster.

"Run like you're in the Stone Age! Run like something is chasing you and if you don't outrun it it's going to EAT you! RUN!" She yelled with her megaphone. Edward growled low under his breath. "If this were the Stone Age, I am positive that she would have been clubbed to death by now. I don't think cavemen had much tolerance for loud, obnoxious women." I laughed, and then groaned as the laugh made the stitch in my side hurt more.

We finally finished that last lap, and I fought the urge to just lie down on the grass. Who knew a mile was this hard! And this was just the warm-up! Maybe my thinking that I'd never make it through this class alive wasn't actually an exaggeration. But I doubted Edward would leave my side long enough for me to actually die. I'd probably regret that fact by the end of the semester. Next to some work-outs, death would be kind.

As the chicken-wing-boy finished up his last lap, the Coach brought her megaphone up again. "Alright class, LISTEN UP!" The megaphone yelled. As if we wouldn't have been able to hear her without it. Coach surveyed all of us clustered together. Was it my imagination, or did she glare a little harder at me than any of the other students?

"We have a lot of work to do this semester. By the end of this course, you should all be able to run a mile without being winded at all." At the thought of me easily running a mile, I couldn't keep back a quiet sound of derision. She heard that.

"MISS SWAN? Do you have something to say?" She asked me. With the megaphone. I blushed as the attention of the class shifted to me. What was with this lady? She seemed to need to be loud. Between her earsplitting whistle and the megaphone, she'd have us all deaf by the end of the course.

"No ma'am." I said quietly, looking down at the ground to hide my face as best I could. I hated having the attention pulled to me, but she didn't seem to be able to tell that. "You should speak your mind Miss Swan. Or keep your opinions to yourself." She waited another few seconds as if I would suddenly start talking, and when I didn't she continued with her 'pep talk'. I could feel Edward fuming beside me. Even Emmett looked like he didn't appreciate the Coach's tone with me.

"Now that everyone's warmed up, we'll be lifting weights today. This way." She headed off back towards the gym, and we all fell in behind her.

"You know," Edward leaned into me to say, "We could probably get her fired. The School Principal had a heart attack once. Carlisle saved his life. We could call this a favor." Edward looked like the idea pleased him. "That wouldn't be right and you know it." I scolded. "Maybe not," He replied. "But I don't like the way she talks to you. You have to admit that the thought makes you smile." I did smile at the thought of a Romel-free life. I smiled a lot.

The weight room was just off the gym where we started class, in a big white-turned-to-yellow room with machines I couldn't name all around it. Some of them were actual weight machines and others were just benches with big heavy-looking bars suspended on them. Emmett seemed to have gotten over his embarrassment of his skimpy clothes, and was grinning fiercely. Even if I hadn't known exactly how strong he was, he would still be the strongest-looking person here. I hoped he wouldn't want to show off too much. People might get suspicious if a 'teenager' lifted over three times his body weight.

Edward and I were lagging at the back of the amoeba following Romel, but she continued to use her megaphone to explain all the names and uses of the scary-looking equipment. Maybe the megaphone was permanently stuck to her hand? I couldn't come up with any other reason she continued to use it in a room this small. She could have talked at a normal volume and we'd still be able to hear.

I was right next to Edward, so I heard his cell phone buzz softly. Lucky for us, Romel was explaining all the terrible things that would happen to you if you misused gym equipment, so she didn't seem to hear Edward duck down behind another student and answer his phone. Was I the only one who'd listened to the 'no-cell-phones' speeches? Emmett and Edward both seemed to ignore them.

"Mm-hm. I'm not surprised. How about now?" I heard Edward say quietly. "Now?" He pursed his lips, looking at me critically.

"What about now?" He said. What was he talking about? "Fine. How about NOW?" His vindictive smile came back as he listened to something and muttered "And it'll only work if he does it?" Another pause and then, "Thanks Alice." before Romel had even finished her safety lecture. Emmett was looking over at us and had an odd look on his face from whatever he'd heard Alice say.

"Edward? What's going on?" I asked, as quietly as I could. It would figure that I got in trouble for talking again after Edward had just finished a conversation on his cell phone.

"That was Alice. She saw you accidentally breaking your foot with a barbell. Not quite sure how you manage to do that, but who am I to question your ability to injure yourself?" He glanced at a nearby barbell, and back to my foot, shaking his head slightly as he nudged me a little further away from it.

"I tried deciding several things to see what would prevent that, and only one of them worked." He smiled at me again and looked over at Emmett. "Would you mind, Emmett?" he asked quietly. Emmett shook his head, looking a little grumpy. "Emmett. Bella's foot will get broken if you don't." When Emmett still didn't look convinced, Edward pulled out the big gun, "If you don't do this, I'll tell Rosalie about that time in Vegas." Emmett looked shocked for a moment that Edward would threaten whatever it was he was threatening, and then looked at the floor in defeat as he slowly raised his hand.

I'd lost track of whatever Romel was saying, but evidently she was asking for a volunteer to show how to properly do some exercise or other. Emmett's hand was the first up, and she called him over to the big metal contraption she was standing by. While I appreciated whatever he was doing to supposedly save my foot, I had a bad feeling about this.

Emmett didn't look like a happy volunteer. He sent Edward a death glare as he took his place next to the coach. Miracle of miracles, Romel seemed to have realized that the megaphone wasn't needed in such a small space, and held it down at her side as she asked Emmett some questions about weights. She still didn't put it down though. Maybe my fixed-to-her-hand theory was right.

"There is no way you can curl three hundred pounds. How much do you weigh?" Apparently Romel had never met a vampire before. I didn't know for sure how much Emmett could curl, but I was guessing three hundred was on the low side of the spectrum.

"I can, ma'am." Emmett insisted. "But I can just do two hundred to start if you don't believe me."

Forty-five minutes Later

"So, students, since Coach Romel has been…indisposed for the foreseeable future, our newest history teacher will be filling in as your conditioning instructor for the remainder of the semester. I trust you will all make Mr. Duncan feel welcome and help him adjust to this new area of teaching." The principal smiled at all of us, and left the gym, leaving us with a very pale and frightened-looking Mr. Duncan. He pushed his glasses higher up on his nose and gave our class a weary smile.

"Um. Well, it's nice to…uh… be your new conditioning teacher. As mentioned, I'm the newest history teacher here, and haven't had much experience in this field. But no one else had this period off, so…" He trailed off nervously, eyeing us like we would jump up from the bleachers and attack him. Edward was sitting next to me smiling serenely, and Emmett had been taken to the hospital along with Coach Romel. Edward assured me that Carlisle was waiting at the hospital to "treat" Emmett's "injury".

"I feel terrible." I murmured to Edward, only paying half attention to Mr. Duncan explaining why he chose history as his major.

"You shouldn't, love. Romel will make a full recovery. Just not this semester. A bit of enforced rest and relaxation may even do her some good. It can't be healthy to be that loud all the time." His serene smile never wavered. His and Emmett's little plot seemed to have worked according to his secret master plan. Not only was my foot whole and unhurt, but the fierce Coach Romel had been replaced with a history teacher who was currently on a tangent about Napoleon.

"Don't you feel bad at all?" I hissed at him, adding a glare to hopefully cause him some well-deserved shame.

He turned to face me fully, his smile still in place. "Of course not. I wish it hadn't been necessary, but you come first, love. Always. I'm not capable of feeling bad for something that benefits you. She'll recover, and now we have a teacher who passes out if he runs too fast. I'll be surprised if we run another lap before the semester is over."

I harrumphed grumpily at him, trying not to be relieved. It didn't work. A small smile slipped out as the bell rang to end the day. No more conditioning? I could get used to that.

THE END! Hope everyone enjoyed it. I officially gave up on trying to write what happened to Romel. I've had this story almost-complete for months waiting for genius to strike me, and…nada. I had plans to make her get hit with a weight, or have Emmett fall on her, and a whole bunch of other things, but none of them worked. Hence, the mysterious time gap. I leave it up to your imaginations, readers. Each and every one of you can create whatever story you want as to what happened to her. I certainly couldn't think of one.