A/N: keep them reviews coming! Hehehe poor, tormented, shiny Volvo owner. How I love thee...shall I count the ways? Maybe not.
Disclaimer: don't own a thing, it's all for the lovely Ms. Meyer.
The next day at school passed in a blur, and before I knew it Saturday morning had arrived. I sat in my room, reflecting on the last 24 hours. I was impressed with my own self-control; Newton was still living and breathing, uninjured.
Newton had told Bella during their gym class that he had informed the rest of their group of friends about the outing to the theatre, and Bella had trusted this unquestioningly. At the bald-faced lie, I actually snapped the spine of my Spanish textbook in half. The wide-eyed looks of shock I received barely registered until Emmett stepped on my foot. Hard. That was not so pleasant, and actually managed to tear me away from my Bella stalking.
"What??" I hissed at Emmett.
Look at your Spanish textbook you lovesick psychopath!He shouted mentally. Oops.
"Sorry Mrs Goff, I'm not feeling too well," I muttered, leaping out of my seat and bolting towards the door. This was the second thing I'd broken in plain sight of humans in two days. I would have to get a grip on myself, and soon, otherwise I would bring the Volturi down upon my family.
"Ha ha, don't mind Edward," came Emmett's voice from within the classroom as he attempted to explain my behaviour to the stunned classroom. "He's a little constipated," he continued, lowering his voice conspiratorially, "and he tends to break things when he's in pain." He leaned back, satisfied with the havoc he had just wreaked on my reputation.
"I'll get you for this, Emmett," I snarled. He smiled in anticipation of a "real" fighting match. Well, I would not give him the pleasure. In fact, I really couldn't care less. I was still irate over Newton's lies. And that Bella was so kind and so trusting that she actually managed to swallow them.
I burned with regret as I recalled that I myself had gained her trust for a few short hours following the near-accident, but had now probably destroyed any chance of her trusting me again in the future. All the better for her, I reminded myself. But Newton was a contemptible little toad for abusing her trust in such a way, and I couldn't allow her to be manipulated by him without being close by. If I was destined to love her, it was the least I could do, was it not? No, it's not, a nasty voice within my mind responded. The least you could do is stay the hell away from her and prevent her from becoming like you in the future. Or worse, sucking her body dry and killing her. Alice's visions of Bella as a cold immortal and Bella laying cold and dead in my arms flashed through my mind.
My goodness Edward, I've never met a more conflicted person, came Alice's internal voice from my car. She was leaning against the front passenger seat door, and as I approached she was watching my future for the next night, seeing it flashing from Tanya and I with our arms linked at the theatre to me standing alone, gazing out at the Seattle city lights. Then her expression lit up with amusement as she recalled her memory of the vision of me snapping the textbook and Emmett informing the entire senior Spanish class of my malfunctioning bowels. When she noticed a lack of reaction from me, she frowned and became serious. Are you going tomorrow night or not?She asked. I was torn. To go, or not to go? That was the question. Hamlet has nothing on me when it comes to indecision and procrastination. But I knew the answer before my lips formed my reply. Alice also knew the answer a vision solidified in her head.
Although my response was unnecessary, I said "yes, I'm going. I have to be there."
Smiling sympathetically, she replied "yeah I know you do. Have a good time, although I can already see that you're going to hate the movie. And try not to lead Tanya on too much."
"I won't," I grimaced. "I will explain the situation to her, and I will only ask her to come with me if she can guarantee that she will not get the wrong idea."
I was pulled out of my meditation by the arrival of the Denali sisters. They were three and a half miles away.
"Bet I'll beat you to their place Tanya," challenged Kate.
"You're on sis," Tanya replied confidently, and they both pelted full speed towards the house with Irina trailing behind them rolling her eyes at their immaturity.
"Our cousins will be here in precisely 27.6 seconds," announced Alice from downstairs, and we all congregated on our front lawn to welcome them. My family was eyeing me warily; Emmett had filled them in on yesterday's mishap in Spanish, and they had generally been giving me a wide berth. Their thoughts never changed; Esme and Carlisle remained sympathetic and patient with my antics, Jasper and Emmett thought I was crazy, Rosalie's contempt did not wane and neither did Alice's enthusiasm and optimism, irritating me most of all.
I caught sight of Tanya and Kate approaching the river, and they leapt over it and landed directly in front of us, with Irina bringing up the rear three seconds later.
"I win," declared Kate triumphantly, having landed a fraction of a second earlier than Tanya.
"Rematch," said Tanya, pouting.
"No way, I beat you fair and square sis."
"That's not fair, your legs are longer than mine. You have an unfair advantage!"
"You are both over 200 years old!" Irina interrupted. "Grow up and at least act mature among company."
"We're family, not company," said Carlisle, chuckling. "Let's get inside and catch up, we haven't seen you ladies in a while."
He led our cousins into the house, and Tanya didn't miss my surly expression. Her questioning look wasn't missed by Emmett, who wasted no time to announce my misfortunes to the sisters.
"As I'm sure you guys have noticed, Edward has his panties in a twist," Emmett sniggered. "Don't mind him, he's just having women issues."
I shoved my fists in my pockets to stop myself from tearing Emmett's head from his shoulders. In Rosalie's current mood, she would incinerate me into ashes without a moment's hesitation.
Kate and Irina were curious, but let it drop as they conversed with the rest of my family. But Tanya did not drop it. Women's issues? Tanya repeated in her mind. Still? Are you sure it isn't something I can help you with, Edward? She genuinely wanted to help. I felt simultaneously relieved and ashamed. Relieved because I wouldn't have to beg her to help me. Ashamed because I would be using her shamelessly, not only to spy on Bella, but also for a much more selfish motive. I could at least admit it to myself, even though I would never admit it aloud; I wanted to see if Bella would notice that I was with another woman. I knew that it was selfish, and manipulative, and an utterly repulsive way to treat Tanya but I couldn't help but think it. Would she notice? Would she even care? Probably not. I wanted to think that she was reluctant to be with Newton, but what on Earth did I know about her and her preferences? Close to nothing. I suppressed a sigh and made a concerted effort to smile at Tanya.
"I was hoping you would offer your services," I murmured softly in response, and I realised immediately that I had put my foot in my mouth with the way I had worded my response. Her mind immediately jumped to a very different type of "services" to those which I had in mind.
"No, not in that way Tanya," I said hurriedly. "I'll explain everything to you later on," I continued, aware of the sensitive immortal prying eyes and eavesdropping ears in the room. Disappointed, Tanya nodded and turned to the rest of my family to catch up with them.
I made small talk with them, but after a while I became frustrated and excused myself to go hunting. I hoped Tanya would take the hint and come with me. I was not disappointed.
"Would you like company, Edward?" Tanya asked, standing up. Kate and Irina frowned; they believed that she was throwing herself at me and that she was only setting herself up for more rejection. I didn't want her sisters to think that I was leading Tanya on, but I would be sure to be firm and clear with her from the beginning.
"Yes thank you, Tanya. Some company would be appreciated," I replied.
Don't worry Edward, she'll agree, Alice threw at me. Tonight will be so funny! And she immediately returned to her conversation about Vogue and sweetheart necklines, so I couldn't even get a glimpse of her vision on tonight.
Tanya and I set off to hunt.
"I'm afraid we'll have to settle for deer or elk today Tanya," I said apologetically when I was sure we were out of my family's collective earshot.
"I take it from your eyes that hunting was not exactly necessary today," she replied, amused.
"Well...no," I admitted, smiling sheepishly. "But I have a huge favour to ask of you Tanya, and I would understand fully if you refused," I continued sincerely, knowing from Alice's vision that she wouldn't refuse.
You sound like a child that was caught pilfering, she laughed.
I sighed, wondering where I would possibly begin my wretched tale.
"Last time you saw me, I told you I was having women troubles," I began. I knew that I sounded nervous, and she picked up on it.
Nervous? What could it possibly be? She wondered. She couldn't quite stop the images of her trysts with human men. Sorry Edward, I know it's not like that. I guess you know better than anyone else that nobody can control their thoughts.
"Yes, well...Tanya, have you ever come across a human that smells...appealing? Much more so than other humans?" I asked.
Surprised at the direction of our conversation, her mind flashed back to the one time, in Calgary, as she and Kate were on their way home from hunting, that she inhaled a scent so sweet, so overpowering that she had killed the poor human woman before she even had time to realise what had happened. Ashamed, Tanya thought, it was when we were still new to vegetarianism. We had gone vege for about thirty years. I killed her before I myself even realised what was happening. I had just been hunting and was so full I felt I was close to exploding. But once that scent reached me, it felt as though I had never tasted a drop of blood in my entire life.
Sighing, Tanya wrenched her mind from the past to the present, and spoke.
"But what does that have to do with...oh." Realisation dawned on her. You have experienced the one that appeals to you more than anybody else. Women troubles...suddenly, she let out a giggle as full understanding set in. You have fallen for her, she accused, her thoughts full of mirth. Ah, the dramatic irony. The killer becomes the lover. How so very Edward. So what's she like? What's her name? Tanya teased mercilessly, waggling her eyebrows at me. I exhaled, half in relief and half in annoyance. I was prepared to have to present a monologue in order to explain my problem to Tanya, but thankfully she understood my hideously ironic problem within seconds. Unfortunately, she had the same mocking reaction as Emmett. Would I ever catch a break?
"You're not...upset?" I queried cautiously.
"No, of course I'm not upset," she assured me. "We both know it was simply my pride that was hurt, not my feelings."
"Your pride that is still hurt," I inserted, smiling wryly.
"Yes, perhaps just a little," she replied, looking a little miffed. Then she smiled warmly, genuinely. "But I'm glad that someone has finally caught your attention, Edward. I was beginning to wonder if you had any feelings at all," she mocked, smirking. "So how do I fit into this? What kind of a favour were you after?"
I felt embarrassed at how silly I knew I would sound, but I plunged straight into it.
"She's far too popular for her own good," I growled. "This foolish boy has duped her into going on a date with him, and I won't allow her to be alone with him. Would you mind accompanying me to a movie tonight?" My tone changed immediately, into the soft, smooth voice that humans found so alluring.
"I take it we will be viewing the same movie as your love?" Tanya grinned at me as I attempted a smile in return but merely managed a grimace. So your grand plan is to stalk her on a date that she was supposedly tricked into, make her jealous with your own stunning date and basically make sure they both have a miserable time? Ah my friend, love and reason keep little company these days, she quoted, still chortling. I cringed as she saw straight through my motives, and felt shame rear its ugly head within me. But count me in, she continued warmly. You couldn't have found someone better at manipulating human emotions than I am, Edward. She cracked an evil grin, and thought yet again about her human conquests...how easily she charmed them, how easily she was able to make them bend to her will...
Feeling slightly ill, I said, "So that's settled then. Let's get back to everyone else before Rosalie thinks I'm plotting to cut off her hair when she isn't looking." I grinned broadly at the thought. "She hasn't been in a very good mood with me lately."
"So I noticed. Care to fill me in while we hunt?"
So I proceeded to tell Tanya the entire miserable story, from the moment Isabella Swan set foot in the gloomy little town of Forks. Something has got to give.