"You move and give me the seat, woman." "Or what? You'll bite me?" EmxB
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Chapter 2— Confrontations
"So," Alice asked when we were all assembled at a lonely lunch table. "What do you make of Forks?" And before any of us could answer, she burst out, "I love it!" She crowed. "So does Emmett and Rose and...Jazz?" She glanced at her husband.
"I like it, too," Jasper answered quietly.
"Only because she does," I sniggered.
His eyes flashed.
"Jazz?" Alice pressed.
"Say no and you'll be whipped for longer than last time," I chuckled.
"Say another word, Emmett, and I'll make you so loose–lipped that you'll be spilling your darkest secrets over the PA system."
I shut up, fast.
"I like it, too," Rose said, uncertainly, glancing to Edward. "I think we'll be able to stay here for awhile; Carlisle is calling himself twenty–five. We've got a good five years here at least…given that no one slips." No one missed how she glanced at Jasper from the corner of her eye.
"Yes, but it's so dreary." Her husband frowned. "What's here for us?"
"For someone who considers himself a hellish monster, you sure are self–centered," Alice told him coldly. He bared his teeth at her in response. "What do the humans think of us, Edward?"
"Nothing new," He smirked. "We've toppled every social ladder." We glanced out across the cafeteria.
Two girls two tables over stood up and eyed us with determination. They started to walk toward us, plainly making a beeline for my brothers. "The brunette is Jessica and her friend's Lauren. I'd watch out for them if I were you; they're malicious," Jasper noted.
As they neared, Edward cupped Rosalie's face in his palm and kissed her full lips.
Lauren and Jessica froze, like a record screeching to a stop and changed track. They scurried back to their seats, sitting next to the girl I'd scared off in Math and the one I hadn't, Bella.
"Who's Bella?" Edward asked.
They all turned to me.
"No one," I said, innocently, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't keep my mind clear.
Edward stared at me as he read my psyche. Then, quite suddenly, he burst out laughing.
They all turned to him, confused.
He merely laughed harder.
"What?" Rose asked, looking from one to the other.
"Emmett…ousted…" He wheezed; I glowered at him.
"Ousted?" Jasper asked, looking surprised. "By who, a human?"
"A girl." Edward stopped giggling and looked up at me.
I scowled at him.
"A girl?" Alice repeated.
They all turned to look at Bella, whom Edward gleefully pointed out. Of course, she chose this fateful moment to throw away her lunch, allowing my family to study her fully. As she made her way back to her seat, she tripped over…nothing? Catching herself by the edge of the table, she blushed a terrific scarlet and sat down.
"Her?" Rose confirmed scathingly as the rest of my family erupting into gales of laughter.
"She's so pale that she could be one of us – Jasper?"
The laughter stopped abruptly. We turned to the weakest member of our family.
What did such an easy pooling of blood do to his friable self–control?
He breathed shallow breaths, leaning close to Alice so that she could, at least momentarily, mask the humans' scent.
"We're going to skip the rest of the day, alright?" Alice led him out of the cafeteria and a few moments later we heard the familiar purr of the engine as they took his Saab home.
The three of us left, too. It would be odd if all the Cullens and Hales missed class on their first day here. Certainly it wouldn't give the good doctor a good name as a father and Carlisle loved to use his public influence to take us out of school.
The bell rang. Humans poured out into the hallways. Even in the rush and close quarters, they managed to give me a wide berth.
I seated myself in the far corner of the room, passing time by trying out a leer at whoever chanced close.
Sometime halfway through the class, my phone went off.
"You need to get Edward out of class, right now!"
"Excellent, are we skipping together?"
"No, Edward's going to kill someone. I can't believe I didn't see this sooner. You need to get him out right now. I'll call Rose and get you too to take him home. Go!"
Without argument, I strode to the door.
"Where are we going, Mr. Cullen?" Mr. Banner paused in his lecture.
"To the little boys' room," I growled, pulling myself to my towering six and over height.
He cowered in my shadow.
Finding Edward's classroom wasn't hard; he, like everyone else, had a scent – spearmint –that I could track from the cafeteria although sometimes it was masked by Rose's eponymous fragrance.
Without knocking, I burst into the suspected room. Everyone turned to look at me. Everyone except Edward who was too busy glaring at the girl sitting next to him: Bella. His entire demeanor had changed. Once upright, prim, and proper, his eyes had turned black; there was a hint of a snarl on his lips, he was hunched over the desk, hands covering his mouth and nose. I could see wood shavings, presumably from the desk, under his chair.
"C'mon, kid," I boomed. "Let's go."
His head swiveled to face me. "Emmett," He whispered in relief.
I went over to him, grasping his upper arm firmly in case he tried to jump me and get her.
Bella looked confused; I smiled at her to soothe any suspicions.
"I beg your pardon, where are you off to, sirs?"
"Edward forgot to medicate this morning, you know, in the excitement of a new school and all, Mr. Varner," I explained smoothly. "Carlisle says that we should take him home immediately. He's waiting in the parking lot to take him."
I steered Edward to the door, without waiting for his permission.
"But – you cannot just remove him from the classroom!" He protested.
I glared at him. "I think I can."
I hustled Edward from the room and we paused in the hallway by the cafeteria, where the food smells would clear his head. "Hey, kid. Are you okay?"
"God, thank you for that. I don't know how long I would have lasted. She smelled fucking amazing. I can't believe it. I can almost still smell her – it's like freesia or honeysuckle."
That was exactly what I had smelled before, though she wasn't as potent to me.
"Edward!" Rose ran up to us. "Are you alright?"
"I need to leave. I don't think I can go to school here - not with her so close. I have to leave, change -" He glanced wildly around. "I nearly killed her – I need to get away from her or, I might actually lose it next time."
"No, I need to sort this out by myself." Edward pushed her away, and she stood back, looking hurt. "I'm going to take the M3 so you'll have run home. I'll see you in…a while." He kissed her lovingly, but then, without a backward glance, ran from the building.
"What was up with your brother in Bio yesterday?" Bella asked me, while we were doing the warm–up. She eyed my paper quizzically. "How are you so good at this?" She wailed. "These are hard problems – extra credit."
"Lots and lots of practice," I said, smirking at my private joke.
She shook her head at the futile problem and pushed it aside, looking up at me. "So, what's with Edward?" She repeated.
"I don't know." I shrugged.
"C'mon, I know you know." She wheedled.
"He was just sick. Maybe you smell bad," I joked, aware of the irony.
She frowned, raising an eyebrow, but ignored the jibe. "Does he wear contacts or something? Do you?"
"No." I said, confused.
"That's odd. When I first saw him, I could have sworn that he had golden eyes, but when you picked him up – his eyes were dark." I froze. "Even you: your eyes seem darker today," She observed casually. "Why is that?" She wondered out loud, twiddling her pencil.
"The reason Edward was acting funny in Bio yesterday is because he likes you!" I blurted out.
Her entire face turned red like a badly sunburned tomato. "What?" She whispered even though I knew she'd heard me perfectly.
"He thinks you're hot."
"You're lying," She accused me. "How could he – anyone – even consider that, when people like Rosalie Hale are walking around."
"Rose?" I wondered about this. "Yeah, but, Rose is just…Rose. She's just there. I guess, she's pretty, but…"
"Pretty?" She asked, disbelievingly. "Are your eyes on backwards? My ego takes a number just being the same room as her." She sighed.
"Yeah, well. Don't worry about it. You're fine–looking." I looked down at my problem sheet, uncomfortable.
"Does he really like me?" She asked quietly.
"Yeah, he especially likes your perfume. I think it turns him on."
Edward was going to kill me when he got back.
"I – I don't wear perfume," She replied, confused.
"I guess you don't smell bad then."
"So, did he say anything about why he's not here today?"
"He's avoiding you because he's embarrassed. He's also going to break up with his girlfriend."
"Oh my." She brightened. "Is he going to, you know, ask me out?"
"Yes!" I said, inventing wildly. "He's going to ask you out as soon as he gets back."
"Actually, he's just going to take you home with him. He wants you to meet us. His family, I mean."
"But you can't tell anyone!" I blurted again, not liking how eager she sounded.
"Because," I cast my eyes about for an answer; they landed on Jessica who sat at the front. "Because, there are a lot of people in this school that like him and ones that like you – he doesn't want to be bothered or have any competition."
"Oh." She blinked. "W-o-w." She stretched the word into three. "Edward Cullen likes me."
Her face lit up and in that moment, I had to admit, sometimes, even someone as beautiful but stone-cold as Rosalie couldn't compare with a living, breathing, human who practically glowed with life. I hated the idea of that smile going anywhere, although when Edward found out…when she found out the truth, it certainly wasn't going to stick around.
Then she eyed me quizzically. "Why weren't you in P.E. yesterday?"
"Yeah, Coach Clapp called your name three times."
"I'll be there today. Edward and I were discussing tactics on how he should ask you out."
I accompanied her to the gym whence we separated into the locker rooms. When I got back out, dressing as fast as I could obviously, she was already waiting for me, bouncing up impatiently. When she saw me, she hurtled toward me with the grace of a new born calf, in other words, such a startling lack of grace that I was not surprised when she took a tumble. She pulled herself up quickly with the air or someone used to such falls.
"What are you laughing about? I was just reacquainting myself with…an old friend." She sniffed, affronted by my laughter.
"The floor?" I sniggered.
"We go way back." She answered snappishly.
Coach Clapp called us together and called roll. When he came to my name, he glanced suspiciously at me, no doubt expecting a delinquent. When he saw my musculature, he blinked in surprise.
"Well, Mr. Cullen, because you were not present yesterday, I'd like to have a word with you in my office after we get a game of volleyball going."
"Sure." I turned back to Bella. "Are you going to be okay to play, Bella?" I smirked.
She frowned. "Keeping mocking me, Emmett – I'll best you yet." I roared with laughter at this – for a human, she was certainly entertaining.
"Emmett," Coach Clapp called. "Come with me, please." I walked alongside him as he led me down the hall. "I hope your absence won't be regular."
"Not that I know of."
"Then there's something I'd like to suggest." He stopped at a room and pushed open its door. Inside, I could see several of the more hunky, but still relatively weak humans lifting weights.
"If my observations are any indication, you could be very valuable to Forks' many sports teams. The wrestling team, the football team, the basketball team?" He suggested, looking hopeful. He'd already approached my brothers and was disappointed by their answers.
"I don't think – Carlisle and Esme would rather I take my education most seriously," I answered dutifully.
"Yes, I looked over your transcripts from the school you transferred from and you're grades are phenomenal. If they decrease by any chance, you could always take a break."
"I – no." I shook my head.
"I see. Well, in that case –."
"Hey, coach, who's this wimp?" One of the boys lifting weights came up to us, eyeing me. "Is he starting?" He cocked an eyebrow at me, his blue eyes twinkling, pushing a shock of blond hair out of his face.
"Too weak, I suppose," He announced with a presumptuous air.
I sneered at him. "Pipe down, pipsqueak," I snorted. "I could knock your teeth out in my sleep." No need to mention, I didn't sleep.
"Oh really?" He dared me. "Let's see you then."
I scoffed. "Don't waste my time."
"Then let's make this interesting."
I turned around and leered. "I'm intrigued and listening." I could never refuse a taunt or a bet.
"If you lose, you have to join the team. If I lose, you have eternal bragging rights and my girlfriend."
Coach looked like Cheshire cat; he was obviously getting the best end of this deal.
"You are on." I dragged over a small table, making it appear as if I struggled with its weight.
He smirked. "Arm wrestling contest."
We gripped each other's hand; I held his gingerly, afraid of the consequences if I mysteriously, inexplicably shattered his digits.
"Go," Coach Clapp muttered, bending down to arm–level.
We grappled and strained – for this performance, I deserved an Oscar – I even allowed him to push me down so my arm was hovering a millimeter above the table's surface, to give him false hope.
"I hope you're hiding some serious junk in your trunk; any real man with half a pair would be ashamed to be you," he jeered.
I just smiled.
Trash-talking wasn't my game; I let my game speak for itself.
I teased him. "You look like you're sweating."
"N–no," he panted. He was indeed breaking out in a sweat. "I wouldn't be talking, smartass, you're going pale."
I burst out laughing – I wasn't going to enlighten him.
"I'm sorry, but you bore me. I'm done." With that I slammed his hand into the table.
Coach was struck silent with stupefaction.
The wrestler whimpered in chagrin, his face bright red.
"Mike?" Coach Clapp went to his side.
"Fuck." He whimpered. "My hand!"
This time, I did go pale, my already pasty face going paper white as Coach Clapp made his diagnosis.
By the end of the day, it was all over the school: how Emmett Cullen had broken Mike Newton's hand arm–wrestling.