Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to SMeyer, the rest belongs to me.
A/N: I was so awed by the wonderful donation that Team EPOV made to Alex's Lemonade Stand for The Fandom Gives Back on behalf of this story. I don't think I will ever have the words to truly express my gratitude for the heart that they had shown in their generous act. These people represent the best of what this fandom can be.
TLammy60, Katmom, Hopestreet, Martydog, jsarbee, Patsy, Jaustenlover, cahabalily, squarepancake, mallmouse, cloudcullen, ChrisR, Sherilynn, kismet1496, melj28, Vican, Esmegrace, liketoread, autumnmissa, mds220, iamtrouble08, fonsy, nikicolecole, angrybadgergirl, ctinaw, spellboundagain, myra30, missjessxoxo, jmp233, fergie, sammielynnsmom, mrsfrieden, fbeighs, kikkinz, nitareality, belledejour, Hibbleton, rms33, foosman, edwardsbrunette, dragonfly2000 and lisamichelle17.
Also to my Posse, who gave a donation in Elemental's name- Ciaobella27, Spanglemaker9, ScarlettLetters, MeadowC and WriteOnTime.
Of course, I have to thank again, WriteOnTime, who beta'd these chapters and ScarlettLetters for her continued support as part of Team Elemental.
Thank you to keepingupwiththekids.
Please note that these are all scenes that were requested by Team EPOV. They are in order of the main story Elemental, that is in Bella's POV. You will need to read that first in order for these next few chapters to make sense.
I was confused as to why Dad was welcoming the Swans back to the Coven after they had been exiled for almost nineteen years. More specifically, Renee Swan, who had been exiled for trying to kill Mom. Something truly serious must be happening for him to order Charlie and Renee Swan back to Forks.
We are a strong Coven, so much so that other Covens came to us for help with their foundations and rituals for protection of the areas they governed. We did not need the Swan family, so why was it so important for them to return?
As I'm the future leader of the Coven, Dad talked to me about every aspect of Coven business to prepare me for my succession. He never hid information from me before now. The only answer I was able to get out of him was that other Covens had been attacked and he was devising a plan to keep our Coven safe. In order to do this, he needed all thirteen families present for his plan to work.
Dad had been in his study at all hours with the door closed for the past few weeks. I would walk by every so often to see if I could catch something of his phone conversations. No such luck.
Mom had caught me standing outside the door a few times, before she went inside to talk with Dad. She would give me one of her gentle smiles, asking me for my patience, even when I noticed her features were marred with worry.
Was she worried about what was hurting other Covens, or the fact that the woman who tried to kill her was moving back to Forks?
My thoughts were so focused on Coven business and my family that I didn't realize how tightly I had been holding onto the steering wheel while driving. I relaxed my grip knowing that I had to remain calm. Giving in to these darker thoughts would keep me from being objective with the return of the Swan family and Coven business.
Turning onto the road that lead home, I lightly ran my thumb across the dial, raising the volume on my car stereo as my IPod shuffled to one of the more aggressive songs in my collection. I let the thumping of the drums and bass wash over me, releasing me of my thoughts as the adrenaline surged through my veins and I gave in to the music.
With the first curve in the road, I saw Rose and Alice, my twin, standing in the driveway talking. I lightly hit the horn, but didn't stop. I wasn't in the mood to get into another conversation about the Swan girl.
Alice was excited that Charlie and Renee had a daughter about our age. She was hoping for another shopping buddy. Personally, I thought my twin was mental. She was always trying to see the positive side of things, even with the Swan family. For all we knew, the daughter was an exact replica of the mother.
Grandpa had said that Renee Swan, nee McCarty, had been a power-hungry girl that wanted nothing more than to be the next leader in the Coven alongside Dad. When she didn't fulfill that goal, she went crazy and tried to kill my Mom.
I started to feel the anger come back and quickly leaned over to turn the volume up another notch to try to push it away.
Don't lose focus…the Coven comes first, then personal wants second.
It was one of the mantras that Dad had instilled in me since I could remember.
Taking another curve, I could see the Swan house up ahead with two cars parked in the circular driveway. The McCarty family had been in and out of the house, getting it ready for the arrival of the Swan family. It had been vacant since Granny Swan died this past winter. It had been sitting there shrouded in stillness, waiting for life to fill it again. It had always unnerved me since I was a young child. I felt like it was watching me.
Passing by, I saw the figure of a girl standing by the front door. I couldn't make out her features, only a curtain of dark hair that surrounded what looked like pale skin. Most likely the daughter.
My gut clenched knowing that I would have to deal with her soon, especially since she was in the same grade as me and Alice. Mom wanted me to be on my best behavior to try to welcome her, but I had to see what the Swan girl was made of first before I offered a hand of friendship.
She could be just like her mother…or some fangirl, like my cousin Lauren who had the annoying habit of running to me with all her problems, trying to court my favor in some way.
God, I hope she's not like Lauren.
EPOV (Chapters Four and Five)
"Edward!" I heard Mom call from the front porch of the cabin.
I was nearly half-way into the back seat of my car, trying to get a handle on the all the foiled wrapped containers that Mom insisted were necessary. Food that she had to have for the annual end-of-summer barbeque with the Coven.
"Yes?" I replied, balancing one container on top of the other as I stepped away from the car and started walking towards Mom.
She was using one of her delicate-looking hands as a shade over her eyes and a small smile graced her features.
"Emmett is ready to start grilling the burgers. Drop those cupcakes on the counter and take the pan of marinated meat out to him," she said, running her free hand down my arm as I passed her on the porch.
I was uncomfortable in any sort of social occasion. It always turned into an opportunity for someone to try to get inside information about the Coven business, or for a girl to get too flirty. So, Mom kept me busy with running errands during a big get-together like this. It was the only time I saw my cousin Lauren as an asset, rather than the screeching harpy that she is. If a girl became too flirty, Lauren would run the girl off scared for her life.
"Edward!" yelled a screeching feminine voice that sounded just like a harpy.
Fuck my life.
I knew that she had problems with getting picked on by the kids at school. She had self-esteem issues, but there were days that I didn't care if she was part of my responsibility as a future leader of this Coven. I just wanted her to go away and leave me in peace. I wanted to have fun today with Emmett and Jasper. I was even going to bow out of the egg race so Emmett could win this time. Not to mention, Alice was now mated to Jasper and would probably only pair up with him for all events that called for a two-man job.
It was a little depressing to think about, that Alice and I were now considered adults in the Coven.
"Edward!" came the shriek again, although much closer.
I had been making my way over to the first grill that Principal Weber would cook on for the people in his area of the yard. I could see that he had been preparing the grill for my arrival with the meat patties.
Turning my head briefly to see Lauren skipping over to me, I kept walking over to the grill, since I knew Lauren would latch onto my arm and most likely make me lose the one of the heavy pans I was holding.
"Hi Lauren," I gave a small greeting as I finally made it to the grill.
"Edward, thank you," Principal Weber said with a smile, as he took the top pan from me.
"When you have a chance, I think we'll need more buns here," he requested politely.
"Sure," I replied, turning away to walk to the other grill where Emmett was waiting. As if on cue, Lauren wrapped one of her arms through mine. She pressed her body along mine, filling the area with her overly-sweet scent.
"Mom said that the Swan girl was coming today," Lauren started with a touch of questioning in her voice.
I knew that her questioning was to gauge my feelings on the subject. She would then adjust herself to copy me. It would be nice if a girl, outside of my small group of friends, would give me her real opinion instead of trying to endear herself to me in some way. I learned to give very brief answers to try and side-step that problem.
Still, they kept trying, especially Jessica Stanley and Lauren.
"Hi Lauren, hi Edward!" Jessica called out from somewhere to my right, big smile in place.
I glanced over and saw her standing with Mike and Tyler. Lauren waved enthusiastically back, as she gripped my arm a little harder. Jessica lost her smile as she saw Lauren draped around me once again.
I just nodded with a small polite greeting in return.
God, I hope she imprints with Mike.
Yeah, she was another member of what Alice called the "Edward Cullen Fan Club". I think if I was any other guy, I might be interested in some of those "members", but I learned pretty quickly many of those girls didn't see me. They saw what I could give them in terms of status or material wealth.
None of them asked me about what I wanted for my life.
I saw that I was nearing Emmett. His back was to me with Rose at his side. She was most likely the one getting the grill ready for cooking, since she had the gift of Fire. I smirked at the thought. Emmett would never admit out loud that Rose had to do it for him in front of me.
"Hey, Emmett! You ready for this meat?" I called out to let them know I was coming.
Emmett swung around with a big, good-natured grin on his face. It fell into a smirk when he saw that Lauren was with me.
His eyebrows rose in inquiry, wanting to know if he needed to set up a diversion to get rid of her. I widened my eyes in return telling him "Yes!"
"Oh, I'm always ready for your meat Edward…" Emmett cooed in return, batting his lashes.
"Ew…that's gross Emmett!" Lauren said snottily beside me.
I rolled my eyes at Emmett since I knew Lauren couldn't see me. Emmett gave me a mischievous smile in return.
"Edward, are you trying to get into my husband's pants again?" Rose asked without turning around. Her focus was clearly on the fire in front of her.
"Of course not, Rose. It's your husband who is trying to get into mine," I replied calmly, setting the pan of hamburger patties down on the small shelf connected to the grill. Lauren was still firmly wrapped around my arm.
"You know it, big boy," Emmett mimicked in a raspy female voice, before he blew me kisses.
"Okay, this is really getting weird. I'm going to go talk to Jessica," Lauren announced, and walked away without saying goodbye.
We all stood still for a moment, waiting for Lauren to move out of ear-shot, and then burst into laughter.
"That was too easy," Rose claimed, finally turning to greet me with a hug.
"Thank you for saving me…again," I smiled down at her after she released me.
"Of course," she said, getting back to the grill.
"Do you guys need any more buns or anything?" I asked, turning to go back to the cabin to make another food run.
"Nah… I've got what I need here," Emmett said waving me away to continue with my "errands".
Luckily, neither Jessica nor Lauren noticed me as I walked by quietly on my way to the cabin to get the next round of food stuff to bring out to the grills or tables. Thankfully, I was able to avoid them for the next half-hour, until I spotted Jasper and Alice talking with Emmett and Rose. I started to make my way to them and noticed that they were talking to a dark haired girl, who had her back to me.
She had the same coloring as the girl I saw standing in front of the Swan House the other day.
Just then, I heard a swift movement coming towards me and I looked over to see Lauren coming to join me. As was her usual maneuver, she linked her arm though mine.
"Edward, where have you been?" She asked coyly, slapping my chest in what I was sure she thought was a flirtatious move.
I fucking hated it when she did that shit.
"Helping Mom," I replied simply.
I kept moving towards my twin and friends, my eyes firmly fixed on the back of the brunette girl.
"Don't worry Bella, I'll do all of the hard work!" I heard Emmett call over to the girl, before he looked up at me with a wide, shit-eating grin.
"Hey Cullen, you're going down this year!!" Emmett yelled over to me.
I felt my competitive streak rise in me. Emmett always wanted to challenge me to some sort of game, whether it was Guitar Hero or simply who could finish their slice of pizza first. It was all in good fun and possibly just what I needed today to relax.
Alice turned to face me with a big smile, most likely sensing that I was up for the games that were held every year between the families. They were probably talking about the egg race.
"What do you think Edward? Think we can take him?" she asked.
"Oh Edward, you always win, I think you should!" Lauren's voice was back to screeching as she yet again, slapped my chest.
Time to put the game face on for Emmett.
"Absolutely," I replied, letting Emmett know that I wasn't going to let him have it easy with my expression and voice.
It was then that the brunette girl turned to face me.
She was pretty, in a sort of natural way, but what got my attention were her eyes. They were a deep brown that looked as if they were staring into the very essence of my being. I was a little taken aback by their depths as a shiver of unease ran up my back…or was it something else I felt? It was unknown, this feeling.
I barely noticed Alice coming up to stand next to the girl and wrapping her arm around her in a friendly gesture.
"Edward, this is Bella, the new girl I told you about. Bella, this is my twin Edward," Alice happily announced.
So, I was right. This was the Swan girl. Yes, the face resembled something of her mother's from the pictures I had seen of her.
As if it came from a distance, Lauren made some noise beside me.
"Sorry Bella. This is my cousin Lauren," Alice said, her voice much more subdued this time. Alice knew that Lauren might not be open to the Swan girl, since she was also aware of her family's past history.
"Hi," Lauren replied, wrapping her arm tighter around me.
The Swan girl looked over at Lauren, breaking our stare-down, taking in her arm wrapped around mine in a gesture of possession. Her eyebrow cocked up slightly in question.
I frowned, not liking that Lauren was basically draped all over me. This was kind of embarrassing. I had meant to show some sort of position of strength when I was introduced to the Swan girl. So if the Swan girl had anything going on in that head of hers that even remotely resembled something that would hurt this Coven, like her mother did, she would need to think again. I would not allow it.
The girl looked back at me for a second, her eyes connecting with mine, widening slightly in possible fear. She looked away again, as her attention was brought back to the conversation she was having with Lauren.
"So, she's another Dirt Element?" Lauren rather rudely asked my sister, completely ignoring the Swan girl.
I said nothing. I needed to see what she was made of before I decided that she was worthy of my friendship. I may be her next leader, but the friendship aspect had to be earned.
'Yes, I am Earth," she replied politely.
Her voice was soft, yet firm at the same time. Pleasant almost. Definitely not a screecher, thank God.
"A dime a dozen…" I heard Lauren say beside me with a sneer.
"Lauren!" Alice admonished, throwing me a quick confused look as to why I wasn't helping.
"Oh please. It's true! There are more Earth Witches than there are Air or Fire," Lauren said, not backing down to my twin's request.
"So you are an Air or Fire Witch?" The girl spoke again, retaining her poise.
I let my mind wander as Alice and Lauren went back and forth a few more times. The girl looked calm, but her eyes were alight with something…like a spark of fire.
Jasper was walking towards us, noticing his mate was getting irritated.
"Edward," he said in greeting with his hand out for me to shake, trying to break up the squabble.
I smiled in return, happy for the diversion, and took his hand in mine for a quick shake. Rose was walking over to stand on the other side of the Swan girl, in what looked like a move of defense against Lauren.
As for Lauren, she went into full-on flirt mode with Jasper. I looked at Alice to see that she was ready to strangle her, but Rose stepped in with a well-timed witty retort. A small laugh came from the Swan girl.
Was she amused by Rose's words?
Lauren huffed and stiffened at the laugh. I knew that she was ready to do battle and take down the girl.
This would not be pretty.
Before I could say anything, Alice was ready with a well-placed scolding, "Lauren, you know better."
Thankfully Lauren left shortly afterwards. She may be dumb in certain instances, but I think she finally got the message that no one was going to side with her against the Swan girl.
Jasper came over afterwards with raised eyebrows, "Edward, only you could provoke such an argument."
"What do you mean?" I asked confused.
"Lauren was trying to mark you as hers in front of Bella," Jasper stated.
"Uh…yeah," I really hated this topic. Lauren had been increasingly trying to hang around me, ever since I turned eighteen.
I couldn't help but look over at the Swan girl to see if I could glean anything from her expression. Nothing. Jasper changed the subject to other things such as the start of school and further Witch studies. Alice joined us along with the girl, who seemed to lose her tongue and blushed at me through most of the conversation.
She wasn't another screecher like Lauren or Jessica, but the blushing was making me nervous. I didn't need another "fangirl" making eyes at me or even trying to worm her way to my side to ask for some favor.
"So Ed, whatdya say? Want to put a little wager on the Egg Run?" Emmett queried from my other side, breaking me from my thoughts.
Ahhh…game time is almost here.
My competitive streak was in gear.
"You know that I will completely kick your ass. Again. Why bother running against me?" I smirked at Emmett.
I had yet to see him win the egg race.
"I have a feeling that I'll win this year," Emmett said, pointing with his thumb towards his chest.
I just shook my head at him.
"So about that wager…," Emmett began again.
"Emmett, Emmett, Emmett… I just don't want to embarrass you again in front of everyone. Give it up. But if you really want to put some money on it, go ahead. I have no problem taking it from you," I taunted.
Emmett gave a devilish smile and called Rosalie over to be the safe-keeper of the money for the bet.
Rose couldn't be the safe-keeper, she was his partner.
I was confused. "Wait, isn't Rose your partner?"
"Nope, I've got another member of 'Team McCarty' lined up for the race," Emmett said proudly as he gave the Swan girl, his cousin, a one-armed hug.
I looked down at the girl to see that she looked really nervous. The Swan girl didn't come across as the sporty type.
"I see," I said with a smile, looking back at Emmett. "Good Luck Em, she looks absolutely frightened and may end up crushing the egg. Are you sure you want her as your teammate?" I pushed, trying to undermine his burst of self-confidence.
"I have every faith in Bella." Emmett replied, with a look of pure determination that came across as almost comical.
"Good, 'cause you're going to need it," I said flatly, giving the girl one more glance before I left to go speak with Tyler to see if he planned to join the race.
Lauren tried to cozy up to me again while I was speaking with Tyler and Mike. Her voice was like the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard in my ear, speaking of how she disliked the Swan girl. All conversation stopped when her name was brought up in our group.
"She seems really shy," Tyler offered, taking a peek over my shoulder.
"Don't let it fool you. I have a feeling from what I have seen of her that she is a lot like her mother," Lauren gossiped.
"Uh…okay," Tyler replied, not seeming to buy Lauren's brand of news. He looked at me and rolled his eyes.
"She's kinda cute," Mike said leaning to the side to see around me.
"Mike!" Lauren screeched beside me.
Oh Mike, you are one stupid guy…
Mike snapped back into place, looking at Lauren with fear in his eyes.
"She's plain and wears bargain clothes that barely fit…" Lauren started a rant directed at Mike, clearly angry that he seemed to show some sort of attraction to the Swan girl.
Alice and Jasper joined us in the middle of it, both giving me the same look of "Again?"
Feeling my ears start to bleed with her babbling, I excused myself using the "Need to see about the food for Mom" explanation. I walked away, heading for the cabin where I would hide for the next half hour. Alice and Jasper would forgive me for being rude, but they knew I needed space before I told Lauren to shut the fuck up…and I couldn't lose my cool in front of everyone.
"All of your actions will reflect this Coven." I could hear my Dad's voice instruct me in my head.
"You need to lead by example, if you want the respect of the Coven." His phantom voice continued as I neared the cabin.
"Allowing yourself to get overly emotional is a form of weakness. It will not only damage the people around you, but your connection to your Element as well."
"Don't lose focus. The Coven comes first, then personal wants second."
By the time I reached the cabin, I was a lot calmer. Mom didn't have anything else for me to do, so I sat down in the breakfast nook and stared out the window, enjoying the peace of not having to be on show.
"Edward, are you okay?" Mom asked me softly from behind as she ran her hand through my hair.
I just shrugged my shoulders noncommittally, not really wanting to talk about my frustrations with her.
She dropped an affectionate kiss on top of my head. "If you want to talk…" she offered.
"I'm…fine," I told her quietly.
"Alright," she said before leaving to go outside.
What could I say to her and what could she do to help me in return? This was my problem. I was now an adult in the Coven and expected to have a certain amount of my shit together. I couldn't go whining to Mom when I was feeling overwhelmed. Talking to Dad about my feelings was mostly out of the question too. He was extremely busy with this thing he was keeping quiet.
I was worried about Mom. She had not shown one way or the other how she felt about the return of the Swans. I knew that she would not want to let her personal feelings get involved if this was a move that benefitted the Coven. Any problem of my own seemed to pale in comparison to what she must be going through with the Swans.
On top of it all was the Swan girl, who I had to be cordial to since she had shown that she indeed had powers. She was quiet and had the look of someone constantly apologizing for taking up space. Her gawking made me a little uncomfortable. I knew that I wasn't bad looking, but the staring always made me feel like I had food stuck in my teeth or that I had my shirt on wrong.
Alice had called last night to speak about how much she liked her. My twin usually had excellent taste in people, but I worried that it had been only a day and Alice couldn't possibly know the girl that well. Time would tell if she was anything like her mother. I would just have to be vigilant until she showed her true colors.
Glancing at my watch, I saw that it was nearly time to start the games. The egg race would be the first game for the older kids and adults. I had to go find Alice first. Rising from the chair, I mentally prepared myself for the games and having to be on show in the Coven as the ideal Witch.
Fuck…just one day.
One day to stay in bed and not have to go out into public pretending everything was perfect.
Leaving the cabin, I was stopped a few times on my way to the area set aside for the games by different members of the Coven asking for some sort of favor of me. It ranged from anything from one of the younger Witches starting high school this year to help in petitioning my Dad to move certain business requests forward in exchange for freebies or a bribe.
I couldn't say that I was surprised by the offer of a bribe. It was something that happened every so often when a Witch had a personal stake in the deal. Knowing my Dad, he worked to keep things fair and stayed away from that sort of thing. Besides, Mom would never allow it.
"Edward!" Alice waved to me from her position near the starting line. Jasper was standing next to her.
I waved back with a smile, letting her know that I saw her and Jasper.
I felt a small pang in my gut as my twin and her mate turned to each other, with special smiles on their faces, talking intimately. Their relationship was one of those things you see in films, where the girl and guy fall instantly in love and they live happily ever after. I wasn't sure if I envied the ease of their relationship or wanted to gag at seeing my sister and good friend make lovey-dovey eyes at each other.
As I finally neared them, they broke apart with Jasper giving me a good-natured slap to my arm with a "Good luck." and walking to stand with the other bystanders.
"So, brother dear, what's the game plan?" Alice smiled up at me.
I smiled down at her, loving how my twin had a way of making me remember to enjoy life.
"To win the game of course," I replied, letting myself give in to the playfulness of the situation.
"I think Emmett has a chance to beat us this year with Bella as his partner," Alice said.
I frowned a little, thinking about the Swan girl…Bella.
"Edward, why didn't you say anything when Lauren was being bitchy toward her?" she asked me seriously.
"I was trying to see what type of person she was," I told her, folding my arms across my chest.
"Edward! She's new and I told you that she was a good person," my twin retaliated.
"You never know, Alice. I've seen it happen enough times within this Coven that people may show you one side of themselves and then when you least expect it, they show the truth. I need to see what she is made of and so far, what I've seen, I'm not that impressed," I argued back.
She shook her head at me, "You can be a real moron sometimes, Twin."
I narrowed my eyes at her and was about to reply, but we heard the sounds of our competition starting to take their places around us, making it hard to continue this conversation.
Glancing over to my left, I saw that Emmett was standing with Rose and the girl.
I started to stretch my legs, getting ready for the run. I couldn't help but egg Emmett on one more time, to try and jostle his concentration. He really took these games seriously.
"So, ready to lose again?" I asked, knowing that my eat-shit grin was firmly upon my lips.
Emmett's face showed his resolve to win and he growled at me in return. I laughed. I caught a glimpse of the Swan girl looking at me with wide eyes and looked away. That same uncomfortable feeling washed over me. I really didn't know what to make of her.
I didn't have time to think further about it as Dad called out in a loud voice, first getting everyone's attention and then announcing the rules that I could have quoted by heart. Alice came to stand beside me just as Mom was handing out the eggs. She gave us a proud smile and wished us luck.
"Ready, Alice?" I asked, getting ready to pick up her petite body.
"Absolutely," she said.
"Places everyone!!!" yelled out Mr. Crowley, Tyler's dad, who was standing next to Dad.
"Got a hold of the egg?" I asked, waiting for Alice to give me the okay before I picked her up into my arms.
"Yup, I'm ready," she said, putting her focus on the egg.
I gently picked her up and held her close to me. She weighed nothing, so this race was usually a cinch for us. I mentally prepared myself for the run, letting the adrenaline start to seep into both my mind and body.
"Let's do this," I told Alice quietly.
"Run fast and stay focused, Edward. I have a feeling that Emmett may win this one," Alice told me softly.
I was a little stunned since her usual reply was "It's cake!"
"On your marks!"
I walked over to the starting line, trying to push away the words that Alice just uttered, to get my head back into the game.
Air, be at my back, helping to push me forward.
I took off down across the lawn with Alice firmly in my grasp, keeping myself in a rhythmic pace so I wouldn't tire near the end when I needed to make a final push over the line.
I could hear the people who came to watch the race cheer us on, but I pushed that aside as well. There was no room to give into my ego. All of my attention had to be on the run. As I made the turn to run back, I saw that I was slightly in the lead, but I couldn't feel relief. Emmett had covered more ground this time. The Swan girl was smaller than Rose, which probably helped him with his speed.
"Hurry, Edward!" Alice said.
I didn't allow myself to look, but I sensed that Emmett was keeping pace with me. Looking into the crowd, I could see them more excited than usual…and they were looking to my right, where Emmett would be.
A few more steps and we crossed the line. I slowed down immediately, letting Alice slide out of my arms as she still held the egg. Mr. Crowley was walking this way, but he stopped in front of Emmett. Moments later, Crowley held up the egg shouting "the winner!"
I was incredulous. Emmett finally won the egg race? I was so going to kick his ass during the rest of the games…and maybe a few rounds of Guitar Hero.
I gave small laugh looking down at Alice who had a big smile on her face, looking towards the winners. Emmett was currently swinging his cousin around, who was laughing in return.
It made my smile grow wider at how carefree it sounded.
Emmett put the Swan girl down after a few spins and reached for Rose, who was beaming like a proud mate. Their lips quickly found each other and latched on in a slightly embarrassing display of PDA.
They really had no shame about showing their affection.
The Swan girl looked away from them and turned her head in my direction. She had a blush spread across her features, clearly uncomfortable with her cousin's exhibition. She glanced up at me and gave me a shy look.
"I'm King of the Egg Race!" Emmett shouted, pulling the Swan girl to his side, as Mr. Crowley walked over to them to take a picture for the scrapbook that would be assembled later.
I saw Jasper make his way over with Alice under his arm to congratulate them.
"Thanks for the win, Em. I'm a hundred bucks richer!" I heard Jasper announce as I moved closer to the group.
"You bet on me to win?" Emmett asked incredulous, his face was a priceless display of excitement.
"Alice said I should," Jasper replied.
What? My Twin turned traitor to her own team?
"I had a feeling that you two would win," Alice said, tapping her finger to her temple as she spoke to the Swan girl.
"Congratulations Emmett. It looks like you actually managed to beat me." I told Emmett, who still was flushed with victory.
"I told you with Bella on my side that I would win," Emmett boasted.
"Well, there is still the pie-eating contest. Too bad that you won't be able to use her for that one, she's too small and would probably hinder your chances," I replied, trying to get under his skin for the next competition we would enter against each other.
"Emmett, maybe you should take his advice on this one. With all his talk, I bet his mouth is big enough to devour a whole pie in one go. There's no way you could beat that," the girl said with an edge to her voice.
I looked down at the girl and saw that spark once again in her eyes. She had fight in her, but how far would that go?
Rosalie's laugh broke the tension. "Well Edward, looks like one less girl you need to worry about for your fan club."
I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment. It was one thing to joke about my "fan club" with my friends, but when someone who didn't know me was listening, it sounded bad.
Alice tugged on my shirt roughly with a warning before she pulled me to the side.
"What, Alice?" I asked looking down at her, extremely annoyed.
'What? What do you mean what?" she rounded on me with an angry look on her face. "Be nice to Bella!"
"Me? Alice…who is this girl?" I flat-out asked my twin.
"Edward, you are not even giving her a chance. You've been snotty to her and even let Lauren basically attack her. So, twin, I think you need to apologize to her and show her that you are actually a likable person and not the idiot you've been acting like for the past hour," she said, with arms waving in all directions.
I huffed out a breath in frustration.
Alice reached forward and placed a hand on my arm. "Edward, I know you are stressed and are worried that Bella will be like her mother, but you need to try to be polite since she is new. Besides, I don't think she is like that at all."
"Fine," I mumbled, feeling like an ass.
Alice's smile returned and she pointed to a place behind me. I turned to see the Swan girl walking towards the woods.
"Go…be nice," she said and gave me a little push.
I followed the girl's steps and stopped a few feet behind her when I saw that she wasn't going to move any further. She may have had her back to me, but her movements indicated that she as having a conversation with herself, in her head.
I stood and watched her, trying to see if she would reveal any of those innermost thoughts.
As if sensing something behind her, she turned around quickly and jumped in fright letting out a loud curse. With her hand over her heart, she just stared at me with wide eyes.
…and she kept staring.
Annoyed, I crossed my arms over my chest and waited for her to calm herself. She seemed to realize that she was staring and looked away from me.
Thank god…that was driving me nuts.
"Edward, please…," I heard Alice say, sensing her arrival just seconds before she spoke.
I looked down at her as she reached out to place her hand on my arms, giving me her best puppy dog eyes. Alice really wanted me to be friendly with the Swan girl. I reminded myself that as future Leader, I needed to put away my personal thoughts and treat the girl with respect as our fellow Witch.
I dropped my arms and turned to face the girl.
"I would like to apologize for my behavior earlier," I told the Swan girl in my formal voice.
"I apologize for mine as well. I was out of line with my comment," she replied in a soft voice that bordered on the same formality that I just gave, but her eyes darted back and forth between Alice and me.
Was she trying to gain my sister's sympathy?
I gave her a nod to let her know that I was finished and turned away to go find Emmett for the next competition.
At least the Swan girl had public manners and was able to return the formal apology.
Only time would tell what she was really made of, but I would wait and watch.