An Introduction to Swirl and Daisy: The Non-Romantic Romance
Disclaimer: Any Twilight characters that may appear in this story belong to Stephenie Meyer. The remainder is my original work. No reproduction is allowed without my written consent.
A/N: Thank you to xsecretxkeeperx for betaing!
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The First Time She Said the F-Word
. . .
HTML was taunting me. It might as well have been one of Tolkien's mind-numbing sonnets.
My messy bun flopped uselessly against the back of the computer chair with the rest of my head. "It's no use. I've read this line twenty-three times. I can't figure out what's wrong with it and the t-shirt colors still aren't alternating properly."
Edward walked over and kneeled down to look at the computer screen. He studied it for about a minute, before taking off his glasses and rubbing his forehead. "I have no idea what I'm looking at. Where did this code come from?"
"I wrote it last night."
"From scratch?" I nodded. "Bella, this is incredibly complex work."
Something between a laugh and grunt croaked its way from my throat. "Don't I know it? But it doesn't matter if it doesn't work. And it does not work. And I don't know why."
"I wish I could be of more help. I know basic HTML, but this is beyond advanced. You have surpassed me, young padawan."
"Please," I said tiredly, "no Elvish nicknames today."
"Wait. No. Entirely different fandom," he said, shaking his head. "You've been looking at this too long. Take a break. Come back with fresh eyes."
Months of going between school and MyT-Spot were beginning to take their toll. I didn't need a break. I needed a life. "Look at me." My head slumped towards him. "I am tired. I am a mess. I am ugly."
Edward kissed the tip of my nose. "You may be tired and a mess, but you are never ugly." He always had been a liar. "Now, why don't you take a break and let me look over this? Maybe I can catch something if I try very, very hard."
"Fine." I stood and stretched my arms towards the ceiling. "You can look but don't touch."
He eyed an exposed sliver of skin. "That does tend to be my lot in life."
Normally this would have been the part of the conversation where I hiked up my shirt further and told him he could touch if he wanted. My new resolve not to pressure Edward into things he wasn't ready for (and my unshaved legs) prevented me from doing so.
I walked over to his bookshelf instead. Different editions of The Lord of the Rings occupied the entire top shelf. Below that, the books were organized neatly by size. I smiled fondly when one caught my particular attention. I'd bet a shiny penny Edward was the only teenage boy in the state of Washington that kept a Yellow Pages with the rest of his prized novels.
"Can I borrow your phone?" I asked, pulling the Yellow Pages from the shelf.
"You want to order take-out?"
I flipped to the B section. "Nope. I have something else in mind." Plucking his new, silver cell phone off the dresser, I settled down comfortably in the middle of the carpet with the Yellow Pages and punched in a number.
"Odyssey Bookshop," a chipper woman said.
"'Ello!" I said in a highly affected British accent. "Do you have any Harry Potter merchandise?"
Edward spun around. "What the hell are you doing?"
I smiled brightly and pointed at the phone.
"Yes, we carry the books."
"Hmm. I'm looking more for collectors memorabilia—puzzles, movie sticker books, items of that nature."
"Uh, I'm afraid we don't have that in stock. If you have something specific in mind, I can try ordering it into the store?"
"No, it's quite all right. I appreciate your time. Cheerio!"
"What was that?" Edward asked.
"That is how I plan on keeping myself entertained for the next thirty minutes," I said, running a finger down the bookstore listings. I clucked my tongue at how few there were around here.
"Okay, that really explains things. And the accent?"
"Um, hello. Obviously I don't want them to recognize my voice. Anyway, it's funner."
"It's more fun."
"That's the spirit. You want to try one?"
"No, I mean, it's more fun because funner isn't a word."
"Whatever," I said, already dialing in the next phone number.
Edward frowned. "You're seriously going to sit there and make prank calls for the next half hour?"
"It's not prank calling. I want to beef up my Harry Potter collection."
"Shh!" There was a click, signaling the pick-up of the call.
"Hello. Port Book and News."
"Bonjour! I am looking for something zat is, 'ow do you say, 'Arry Potter?"
Edward eventually couldn't help but join in the fun. He wouldn't actually make the calls, but he chuckled along with my many accents (all fantastic, I must say), and went online to find stores in the Seattle area when the ones around Forks turned out to be utterly useless.
"Hey, this one looks promising," Edward said. "It's called Fantasy Books and Movies."
"Nice." A store that specialized in the fantasy genre was bound to have some good memorabilia. "Give me the number."
"Hello?" a bored male voice said after the fifth ring.
"Howdy, there," I drawled in a Jasper-esque cadence. "Is this Fantasy Books and Movies?"
"Fantastic. I was wonderin' if you carried any Harry Potter merchandise that wasn't the books?"
"This is an adult bookstore, Ma'am."
With the employee's uninterested tone and manner, it took a moment to understand the slight. "You know what?" I said, dropping the accent. "I am so sick and tired of people saying Harry Potter is only for kids. It transcends age."
"No, do not try arguing with me. Just because Harry is a kid in the first book does not mean he doesn't deal with adult themes and situations."
Edward was bent over the computer keyboard in hysterics. The stupid Ringer was enjoying this way too much. I threw the Yellow Pages at him but missed by at least a foot, which only spurred me on.
"And come on! People grow up! Harry has to deal with death and— and a lot of other things you can't imagine."
"This is an ADULT bookstore."
What did that even mean, besides that the people who ran Fantasy Books and Movies were ageist pigs? Why did they bother if they weren't going to sell real fantasy like Harry Potter?
Unless… unless… slowly, so slowly, it dawned on me. Edward's smug face took on a whole new meaning. The arse had set me up! Adult bookstore. As in… "Oh. Fuck."
There was a pause on the other end of the line. "Exactly."