The idea behind this oneshot came from a very strange daydream I had a few days ago... And also my numerous cooking disasters- I make cooking pasta seem hard...
This is set after the James incident in Twilight, a few weeks before the prom. I originally wrote this from Emmett's point of view, but then I realized that he'd probably be laughing hysterically throughout the story. There's only so many times you can write "Emmett laughed," it seems. So I changed it to Jasper who doesn't nearly get enough loving in the books :)
Disclaimer: All characters and settings belong to Stephenie Meyer.
We finally came home from Seattle at about two in the morning, laden down with countless shopping bags containing clothing, shoes and accessories- certainly enough, in my opinion, to last any good-sized human family for a year. I pulled into the cavern-like garage, noting the two missing cars.
"Looks like Emmett and Rose are still out," I commented. "Carlisle still must be at the hospital."
Alice nodded, still overly enthusiastic despite nearly ten hours of flat-out shopping. "Well, he did say he'd be working late tonight. I guess it's just you, me and Esme, what with Edward at Bella's."
I helped her unpack her mountainous pile of shopping bags. "I hope these aren't just for you and me," I said, after dumping load upon load on the couch in our room. "As large as it is, I think that if we give the closet any more clothes it'll burst."
Alice gave a small, tinkling laugh. "Silly Jasper. Didn't you see what I was buying?" She flashed me a grin, and sorted through the piles of bags, separating them into seven different piles. "These are for us," she said, gesturing to a pile roughly half of all our original purchases. "And those are Emmett's and Rosalie's, Esme's and Carlisle's are over there, and that pile is Edward's," she said, pointing to them each in turn.
"What about that one?" I said, nudging a comparatively tiny pile on her right with my foot.
"That one?" she asked, her face now beaming. "That's Bella's."
"You know she won't accept them," I warned, trying not to chuckle.
"I know," she said, her face suddenly filled with sorrow and remorse. "That's why I only got a small amount for her." She suddenly brightened. "I'll be able to stow them in her closet when I go over there- she'll never know the difference."
I laughed that time, shaking my head. Alice planned ahead for every occasion. "How is Bella by the way?" I said, still chuckling. "How's her leg getting along?"
"Carlisle says that we'll be able to take the cast off in four weeks," she answered, letting out a huge sigh. "Just in time for after the prom. Wait, wait- speaking of which, I picked up her dress for the prom. Do you want to see it?"
Without waiting for an answer, she plunged herself in Bella's pile, half-disappearing momentarily. She remerged a few seconds later, clasping a hyacinth coloured dress in her eager hands.
"She'll never wear that," I said, bursting into laughter.
"Of course she will," she said, deliberately ignoring my outburst. "It's perfect for her- and for Edward."
"Why? Because it's see through?"
She poked her tongue out at me mockingly a dragging another piece of clothing from out the bag. "I've got a corset to go underneath it, silly. It's perfect- I got all her measurements a few weeks ago, just in time to place in an order at Pierre's." She stowed away the dress and the corset, sighing as she did so. "I really would've been so much more organised if I'd seen this coming earlier. Honestly- that James stuff took over my entire vision."
"And we were really thinking of buying prom dresses while on the run from a tracker." I quipped, shaking my head again in amusement.
"You never know," she sniffed. "Now, out. I'll call you back later once I've unpacked everything." She began gathering up our huge pile of bags and drawing out garments that I vaguely recalled buying.
"Are you sure you don't want any help?" I asked concernedly, as I watched her open our closet to begin forcing clothes into its already overfilled hangers.
She shook her head, multiple tags in her mouth. "No, I'm fine. Go say hello Esme for me."
Trying hard not to chuckle, I shut the door softly and made my way downstairs. Sounds were echoing from the kitchen, the soft clutter of pots and pans banging against the sink. What on earth was Esme doing in the kitchen?
As I walked faster along the corridor, the sounds and smells got louder. Someone was definitely doing something in there, and I was at a loss why- unless, of course, it was Emmett. But Emmett was out with Rosalie…
Suddenly, I heard a small timer begin to beep loudly, making an annoyingly nasal buzzing sound that almost made me want to cover my ears in discomfort. The sounds got louder as the buzzer droned on, pots and pans clashing together, cutlery falling to the floor…
Was that smoke I was smelling?
I burst open the kitchen door to see Edward bent almost double over the stove, cursing loudly and explicitly. One of the pans was on fire.
"Shit," he commented as he poured water over the alight pan, causing the fire to go out in a huge cloud of steam. "Shit, shit, shit, shit." He whirled around, opening the oven and retrieving a very burnt… something, placing it on the bench top before turning around to swear at another big pot in the stove- it was beginning to bubble and froth in a most alarming manner.
"I hope you don't talk like that in front of Bella," I commented.
He whirled around, surprised, meeting my eyes momentarily before turning back to pay attention to the bubbling pot. "Oh, Jasper. It's you."
"Of course it's me," I said, raising an eyebrow. "Since when do I catch you out unawares? And what the hell is all this?"
He didn't spare me another glace; the beeper had gone of again.
"Shit. That'll be the cake." He reopened the oven, waving away the huge cloud of smoke that emerged along with the charcoaled- cake, I'll take it. Whatever it was, it looked sadly burnt beyond recognition. He shut the oven with his foot and put it on Esme's kitchen table, barely recognisable under a truckload of different human foods and ingredients- not to mention the mess.
"What have you done?" I gasped, looking around the kitchen. Edward didn't even turn to look at me, instead keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the stove.
"I'm cooking," he enunciated clearly, as if I was a little child unable to understand a basic concept.
"Yeah, I think I gathered that," I said, looking at the wreckage. There were splatters of god-knows-what on the walls and floor, newly made stains on the table, the sink filled to the brim with bubbles, and Edward himself, looking very dishevelled- an impressive feat for a vampire. Alice would've cried- his shirt was stained with a deep plum tinge and his usually bronze hair looked like it had been dusted with fine snow.
"Flour," he said, answering my unspoken question.
"How on earth did you get flour in your hair?" I asked incredulously. "And how are you going to explain this to Esmé? That table's ruined."
"She didn't like it anyway," he said, as though he was trying to atone for his actions. "That's the reason she put it in the kitchen to begin with." He lifted the lid of the pot and sniffed the contents, his nose wrinkling in disgust.
I looked around in amazement; my eyes following the splatter trail from the walls and onto the ceiling…
"Wait," I said with amazement. "Is that a pancake on the ceiling?"
Edward looked up, both looking and feeling guilty. "Um. I think I put too much golden syrup or something sticky in the mixture. It hasn't come down yet."
"Yet?" I asked incredulously. "How did it get up there in the first place?"
"I tried a hand at flipping pancakes," he said, shooting guilty looks at the ceiling. "I think I tossed it a little bit too hard."
I stared at the soggy mess stuck to the ceiling with disbelief, trying to imagine Edward tossing pancakes. It didn't work for me.
"So why have you decided to become a master chef all of a sudden?" I asked, walking around to his side of the table.
"Bella," he answered, his face lighting up a once. "I decided to cook her dinner myself on the prom night since she hates going anywhere fancy." He picked up a wooden spoon and started to mix. "Not that Forks has anything along those lines anyway."
I snorted. Figures- he wanted to learn how to cook for his human girlfriend. I remembered Emmett wondering aloud why he'd been watching the Food Network so much; mostly because it was keeping him from watching the football. Of course it would be Bella. Not much about Edward's life didn't seem related to her in some way any more.
"Are things going well?" I asked sarcastically. "You seem to be making a lot of mess. Is this even edible?" I pointed to the charcoaled thing on the table.
"That was meant to be a roast," he admitted, running his finger through his hair, leaving it powdered with even more flour. "Needless to say, it failed dismally."
"You'd think for a vampire, you'd be better at this," I muttered, looking at his collection of burnt foods on the table.
"Give me some credit," he said, waving the spoon in my direction. "I've actually never done this before, not even in my human life. Believe me, it's harder than it looks."
"Really?" I asked, peering over his shoulder to look in the pot, only to withdraw, slightly shuddering. "Ugh. Are you going to be good enough to feed Bella before prom? I don't think she'll eat food that doesn't look edible."
"My worry is that she'll eat it without complaint, then she'll be confined to bed the next day," Edward groaned. He fended me off with his spoon. "Make yourself useful and cut some carrots."
"It would be a shame, considering what she's been through the last few weeks, for her to die of food poisoning due to your lack of cooking skills," I commented. Edward slightly stiffened at my joke; he was also touchy when it came to the James incident. Ignoring his reaction- no doubt he'd see my response in my mind anyway- I searched the drawers for a usable knife, only now remembering that I never actually entered the kitchen since we'd moved in a couple of years ago.
"Try the sink," Edward supplied coldly.
I plunged my hand into the overflowing pond of bubbles, pulling out a knife and examining it with curiosity.
"Um. Edward, I think we have a problem."
The knife had a huge, gaping hole in its blade, almost as if mice had burrowed through the stainless steel metal. Edward, seeing it in my mind, turned around to look.
"Oh. That was the knife I used to cut the vegetables."
"What on earth did you do to it?" I asked in disbelief. "You know, this isn't the type of thing you can just clean up."
He turned back to the soup, waves of humiliation streaming from his every pore. "I'll buy a new set for Esmé. I accidentally got my hand in the way."
I poked the hole in the blade in amazement, then placed my hand down on the chopping board and brought the knife down on it, seeing the metal bend and buckle when it tried to cut into the diamond hardness of my finger. There were now two identical holes in the blade.
"Here," Edward tossed me another knife from out the sink, this one seemingly undamaged and hole-less. I grabbed one of the peeled carrots and began to chop, trying my best not the force the knife through the wood of the chopping board.
"What else are you making?" I asked, curious.
"Minestrone soup at the moment," Edward answered, his tone light again once more. "I was making pancakes earlier, and I put in the roast a few hours ago. That's the cake on the table."
I glanced in the direction he pointed, and saw the cake, looking marginally edible against all the other food presented on the table. "That's actually not too bad. It actually looks like chocolate cake."
"Well, it's certainly not meant to," answered Edward. "It's orange and poppyseed cake- that didn't turn out too well."
"Oh." I scrambled, trying to quickly come up with another topic of conversation. "So, about prom night- do you think it would be a good idea for someone to try your cooked meals before Bella? Just to make sure she doesn't fall dead on prom night?"
"That would be a good idea," Edward said, trying to keep his tone of voice light. "Are you volunteering, Jasper?"
"No, I don't think it would be a fair test if I tried," I said chuckling. "Not to mention all I'd do is make it all come up later. You'll need a human. Didn't you say you had something against Mike Newton?"
"Would he accept food from me? He'd likely think it was poisoned at the very least," Edward snickered. "It's a good idea, though. Maybe I'll see if I could borrow Charlie for a day to be my guinea pig." He took away my chopped carrots and scraped them off the board into the soup. It bubbled ominously.
"You know, this would be a whole lot easier if you'd just turn her," I said quietly, watching Edward stiffen. "Bella. It just seems too much of a risk to leave her human. She loves you, you know- you should have seen her when we were at that hotel. She wants to change."
The whole atmosphere in the kitchen changed. Edward gave no answer; his movements over the stove had ceased.
I continued. "How many times have you worried about her getting hurt? Catching an illness? Being struck by a lightning bolt? She isn't going to last forever, you know."
"I know," Edward replied, his voice low and tight. "I know, Jasper. Don't think I haven't thought about it."
"If you would just change her," I went on, ignoring him, "Think how much easier it would be on yourself, on her, on the whole family! She's certainly afraid of getting older- did you see her reaction when Alice wanted to talk with her about her eighteenth birthday? She wants to be with you- that's all she wants."
I saw Edward bow his head and pinch the bridge of his nose in frustration. "What she wants isn't the same as what's best for her. God, we're talking about the girl who gave no second thoughts of turning herself over to a homicidal vampire!" He threw something into the pot viciously, making the contents fizz and froth, then turned to face me, his eyes accusing. "How many of us would trade anything to be human again, Jasper? Just how many of us? Just say I turn her for my own selfish reasons, and then she wakes up and realizes one day that she wants to be human again?" His voice grew soft. "I'd be taking away her own life from her. No one has the right to do that."
"She does love you though," I replied quietly. "And I'm beginning to think there's not a lot you can do to change that."
Edward closed his eyes and shook his head sadly.
At that moment, the soup that had been precariously bubbling at the rim of the pot gave a great surge, pouring in a great flood over the edge, spraying Edward, the table and me in its wake with carrots, vegetables, and pasta.
"Dammit. Shit, shit, shit," Edward cursed, picking up a nearby recipe book and flipping through it at a frenzied pace. "What did I do wrong that time?"
The tension between us was lifted from the air in those few moments. I laughed almost uncontrollably, watching Edward frantically attempt to save his soup from spilling onto the floor. He shoved the lid back on the pot to stop it from bubbling over even more, then looked around in desperation at the scene around him.
"Well, that worked," he muttered to himself sarcastically. "Stop laughing," he added, sniffing at my display of amusement. I was still chuckling and clutching my side.
"You fail Edward," I said after I'd managed to half get my laughter under control. "You fail dismally. You're never going to be able to learn this in time."
"Just watch me," he warned, playing serious. "There's still a few weeks until prom."
"Not if you spend all your time with Bella, there's not," I replied, smirking. "I didn't even think you're going to be home tonight- you've been with her all week. And where's Esme? Surely she heard all the racket you're making."
He shook his head, grinning. "Carlisle came home earlier than he expected- he took Esme on a hunting trip. Emmett and Rose were already out, and I guessed wrongly that you wouldn't be home for another hour at least. With the house empty, I thought it'd be a good time to work this without any watching audience."
"So sorry to intrude," I said. "What about Bella?"
"She's at a sleepover with Angela, one of her friends. I thought it best if I didn't intrude."
I laughed again. "You sound like a dirty old man. No offence, of course."
"None taken. I actually feel like it sometimes," he said, grinning in response. "Although the irony… would you say a ninety-year age gap is too much?"
"Might be pushing it just a little," I replied. "Are you going to open that pot yet?" I asked, pointing to the soup.
"Better not risk it just yet," he said, turning down the heat. "A few minutes, maybe. Might give me some time to clean up." His eyes wandered over the mess in the kitchen, looking at the dirtied bowls and dishes, the splatters and stains, and especially the pancake, still stubbornly hanging off the ceiling.
"Do you need any help?" I offered.
"Not really. You should get back to Alice," he said, his eyes flickering towards the stairs. "She's just about finished unpacking the clothes."
"Really? I thought she'd take the rest of the night, at the very least." I made my way towards the door, taking care not to tread in the numerous spills on the floor.
"And Jasper?" Edward called, my foot on the stairway.
He winked at me. "Not a word to Emmett."
I gave him a grin in return. "I wouldn't dream of it."
I gently closed the door and made my way up the stairs.