ENTRY FOR THE PLOT BUNNY CONTEST

Story Name: Final Count

Penname: Iwant2sparkle

Rating: M

Word Count (not including header/author's note): 6,364

To see other entries in the Plot Bunny Contest, please visit the following C2:
http:/www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/community/Plot_Bunny_Contest/82048/


PromptPlot Bunny: Bella and Edward are both running for student council president. There's a very heated

love/hate relationship. You decide who wins.

Disclaimer: Twilight isn't mine. Neither is the plot bunny. I only own the words.

To the owner of the plot bunny, I hope you are pleased with what I've come up with. : )


~Bella~

"Please remember to support the baseball team tomorrow night as they face the Port Angeles Tigers."

Mrs. Cope's nasally, monotone voice rang out through the loud speaker mounted at the top corner of my homeroom, a replica of the same ancient, brown speak box that was mounted in every classroom throughout the school. A few of my fellow students' heads bobbed slightly as they tried to keep from falling asleep. It was a challenge most mornings even for me to keep awake during the morning announcements. I made a mental note to add that to my tiny list of things I would try to change if elected. Keyword, "try." Maybe we could appoint a member of the cheerleading squad to do it. Scratch that. I'm not sure which would be more annoying - Mrs. Cope or a Red Bull loaded cheerleader.

"Also, remember that the student council elections are next Monday. Please remember to freshen up on your candidates' platforms and be ready to vote Monday at noon. We will gather in the auditorium at 2pm that day for results."

Platforms? What fucking platforms? It was an election for student council president, not the governor. Jeez. To hear her speak, one would think we had some kind of input into something. Anything. However, the biggest responsibility given to the student council president was overseeing the prom committee with the SC advisor.

This whole ridiculous process all started when Alice and Rosalie urged me to run, convincing me that it would look great on my college applications to be Student Council President during my senior year of high school. Knowing I needed all the help I could get for scholarships, I agreed. I thought I had it in the bag, too. Eric Yorkie was the only other candidate when I signed up. Granted, he was quite popular among the geeks, but I figured I could take him. That was until a notice was given to us listing the candidates for each position on the student council. Right there, in bold letters under my own, was his name. Edward Cullen.

Edward and I had somewhat of a history. We grew up together and were very close for a long time. I had always felt that I just connected with him much easier than with anyone else. Then we hit that period during your middle school years when everyone changes and the cliques begin to form. We simply didn't hang around with the same people and slowly distanced ourselves from one another.

We gradually developed a bit of a rivalry in academics. He was smart, but I was too. My advantage was that I only ran track whereas he played baseball which required year-round training. My training wasn't so tough. So in the end, I had more time to study and usually was always a notch above him in our class academic standings.

I had managed to avoid him for the first semester of my junior year. We had different classes and hung out in completely different groups.

I wasn't so lucky during second semester. He ended up in my Biology class and, as fate would have it, we shared a lab table.

We were cordial, but nothing more. Still, as much as we tried to avoid one another, that annoying electric current I felt whenever he was near insistently bugged me. After our "run-in" at one of Newton's parties last year, I tried to avoid him at all costs and believed the feeling was mutual.

"Earth to Bella." I was brought back to the present by a perfectly manicured hand waving in front of my face. "It's time to go." I focused on Rosalie's face and rose from my desk, grabbing my books in the process.

We stopped in the hall in front of Alice's homeroom. She appeared at the doorway along with Jasper Whitlock, Cullen's best friend. She was giggling...and flirting. She was consorting with the enemy. Traitor.

She saw us waiting and hastily made her goodbyes with a silly smile and wave. I heard Rose snicker beside me.

"You know," I started. "If there were any secrets I had to hide during this election, I'd have to let you go. You could be a spy for the opposing team." It was no secret to Rosalie or me that Alice harbored a crush on Jasper since our freshman year. I thought he had the hots for her too, but both were apparently too chicken to do anything about it.

"Oh, please, you drama queen." She rolled her eyes and lightly smacked my shoulder. "We were just talking. I wouldn't give away your secrets if you had any," she cooed to me like I was a tiny toddler in the middle of a tantrum. Maybe I was. The stress of this silly election, along with life in general, was starting to weigh heavily on my mind.

"Are you excited about the election?" she asked. "It's going to be great! I just know you're going to win!"

I shook my head in denial. With Edward Cullen running, there was no way. The votes from the cheerleaders, softball team and general female population I had counted on would now be cast for an auburn-haired, fast-pitch throwing, hot piece of the male species. One gaze from him and the majority of the student body defined by an "o" with a little cross under it would fall at his feet. I certainly wasn't blind, and was secretly once in that majority. I'd since learned my lesson there.

"Alice, I seriously doubt I can sway the votes I had counted on back to my side. I mean, look at that." I motioned down the hall to where said candidate in question stood surrounded by a group giggling girls ranging from freshmen to seniors. His hands were propped on the door frame above him, his shirt riding up just a bit to reveal a sliver of a happy trail that disappeared into what I knew all too well were grey boxer briefs.

Alice slowly contemplated my remark before suddenly stopping us in the middle of the hall, causing a terrified looking freshman to run into Rosalie. She glared at him and pushed him away. He scampered off little a scolded puppy.

"If you can't beat him, join him. Right?" Alice's eyes were wide with revelation. I could practically see the light bulb pop on above her head.

"What?"

"Bella, there's a party at Mike Newton's house tomorrow after the baseball game," she said excitedly.

Memories of the last party I went to was enough to turn me off to that idea.

"Uh, no. No parties, Alice."

"Bella, just listen. Please?" I nodded for her to continue. "It's after the biggest rivalry game we have. The entire baseball team will be there. Not to mention the football team, basketball team..." She trailed off with one eyebrow raised. I immediately understood what she was saying.

"I like where you're going with this, Alice," Rosalie spoke as she watched the drool fest. "That's an excellent idea. Bella, all you have to do is show off the goodies a bit. You know... the ones you keep hidden under those t-shirts and baggy jeans. Flirt a little. What harm could it do? Fight fire with fire."

I debated for a moment on whether or not the idea was even morally right. It had to be some kind of exploitation, or coercion on my part, right? Was I over thinking it? Most likely. Would this inner monologue ever stop? Probably not.

I was jerked out of my inner musing by the sound of his deep laugh and annoying giggles. I glanced back down the hall to see him now speaking animatedly to his adoring crowd, whose numbers had grown in the past few moments. Judging by his exaggerated movements and gestures, he was no doubt retelling some baseball tale to his admiring fans. The whole scene disgusted me and solved my inner debate. I turned and caught the attention of my best friends.

"Count me in."

~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~

"Holy shit, Bella. You look...hot." Alice's eyes were bugged out of her head. That's what they get for thinking I couldn't take care of myself. I read Cosmo and Seventeen, thank you very much.

"Hell, yes, you do. If I played for the other team, I'd totally come on to you. And vote for you." Well, that was unexpected. And it made me blush.

"Um, thanks, Rose. I think."

Rosalie and Alice had arrived to pick me up most likely expecting to have to redo whatever I had done to myself to get ready. I had surprised them by actually being perfectly capable of making myself look presentable.

I found a tiny distressed denim miniskirt in the back of my closet I had purchased on a whim but had never worn. I had strategically snipped a little slit down the collar of a fitted white ribbed tank top to show off the small amount of cleavage I had created due to a wonderful little push up bra that I owned. When paired with my patent black leather peep-toe heels, the outfit screamed "Man-eater".

Perfect.

I dug out the hot rollers to give my hair a little extra bounce and applied dark eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara. It was all a little extreme for me, but there were girls who did this shit everyday for school. I seriously doubted I would be the most "made-up" girl there. While I felt completely out of my element, it was totally empowering. I was a woman on a mission.

It was times like this that I really missed my mom. She would've given me a pep talk and helped with my makeup. She would've wound my hair on the rollers. She was the main reason I was so focused on this mission. She made me promise that I'd go to college and I was going to find a way to get there.

"This'll do?" I asked.

"Absolutely," Rosalie replied.

"Good," I nodded as I slid on my green leather jacket. "Let's go."

"Let's go get you some votes!" Alice cheered.

~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~

We pulled up to Mike Newton's house around nine o'clock. The entire lawn was already littered with cars and bodies. Music blasted from the open windows. It was a good thing he didn't have neighbors. The cops would've already been called, and my ass would've been dragged out of there by my dad. After he had a heart attack thanks to how I was dressed

Mike's parents had taken a business trip out of town for the weekend, but they weren't oblivious to what went on in their absence. Parties happened at Newton's house every time his parents were out of town. However, it was a well known fact that the Newton's did not keep alcohol in their house, so I suspect they thought we were only dancing or studying or talking or whatever they thought teenagers did. Their only request was that we stayed away from the breakables and cleaned up behind ourselves.

What they failed to realize that a lot of my fellow classmates had older brothers and sisters, so the booze flowed freely. Somehow, the alcohol contributions were kept on the mum and the Newton's never found out.

My nerves were on edge as we weaved through the cars and approached the porch. This was only my second time to attend one of these ridiculous gatherings and last time, it didn't end well.

I carefully climbed the few stairs up to the wrap-around porch and was about to disappear inside with Alice and Rose when I heard a low whistle from the left. I looked over to see the quarterback of the Spartan football team, my ex-whatever-you-want-to-call-him-but- not-quite-boyfriend, Jacob Black, propped up against the railing. He was surrounded by his little minions.

As much as I wanted to flip him off as I passed, I remembered my reason for even being at this stupid party. I signaled Alice and Rosalie to hold on for a moment and walked over to the group.

"Bella," Jacob said with a grin. "You look fucking hot. How come you never dressed like that when we were dating?"

Patience, Bella. Patience. Think of the votes.

"Thank you, Jacob. I'll take that as a compliment." I smiled my best smile and turned my attention to the rest of the guys who were shamelessly ogling my chest. Five minutes of flirting later, I scored nine votes from Jacob and his friends. They also agreed to put in a good word for me with the rest of the team the next morning at weight training.

I started back toward Alice and Rose, who were standing a few feet away and watching the whole scene with pleased faces. I was stopped by Jacob, again, before I could slip inside.

"Hey, Bella." He was suddenly shy as he stopped in front of me. "Do you think you might, uh, want to go out to dinner with me one night? You know…for old time's sake?"

No, no and hell, no.

"Jacob, it's better that we don't, you know? We are much better off friends, don't you think?" He smiled ruefully and nodded.

We had been on and off for most of our sophomore and junior years, but it just didn't work for us. We were too stubborn and too different. He was the jock-I was the bookworm.

"I appreciate the gesture, Jacob, but no. Thank you." I smiled at him as he leaned down to envelope me in a hug.

"I hope you kick ass in that election, Bells. I'll be rooting for you." I hugged him back and once again turned back to the girls.

As we stepped over the threshold of the door, a flash of bronze caught my eye. Edward Cullen stood on the opposite end of the porch, and he was staring me down. He wasn't necessarily giving me the evil eye. In fact, I couldn't quite decipher his expression. When he realized I had caught him looking me up and down, his lips quirked into a cocky expression. I rolled my eyes and headed inside.

The party proved to be a good idea. I saw heads turn and felt eyes on me as I mingled with the entire crowd, not solely the male population. I received several more promised votes and had a chance to speak with some people that I normally wouldn't have had a chance to talk with.

I was in the kitchen getting a drink when the night started to turn sour. I poured myself a glass of Pepsi, the same thing I had been drinking all night. I just wasn't in the mood to drink alcohol. The last time I had was in this house and it completely impaired my judgment.

I turned to find Alice or Rosalie and instead found myself face to…well…chest with Edward Cullen.

"I know what you're doing." His voice was calm but a complete contradiction to his expression which was irritated.

"What?"

"Being dressed like that," he gestured to my body. "I know what you're doing. You're seducing people into voting for you."

"So what if I am? It's not like you don't flirt with every girl school in hopes of swaying her your way." When he didn't answer, I muttered, "That's what I thought."

I went to move past him so I could continue to find Alice and Rose, but as my luck would have it, someone bumped into him as they passed. He in turn crashed into me and sent the Pepsi I was holding all over my white tank top. I shrieked from the cold and darted off to find the nearest restroom.

I slipped into the hall bathroom, slammed the door behind me and yanked the tank top off to quickly stick it under cold water. As the brown liquid washed down the drain, I stuck my head out the door to see if anyone was around to find Alice or Rosalie. Much to my surprise, the only person out there was Edward.

"Could you go find Alice or Rose for me?"

"Are you ok? I'm sorry about that." He pushed off the opposite wall and came to the door.

"It's fine. I just need one of them. And I'm going to need a dryer or something."

"Is there not something in there you can use?"

"No, Edward," I replied sarcastically. "Dryers are usually located in the laundry room."

He rolled his eyes and pushed through the door. I was too stunned to stop him. He didn't pay any attention to me and started rummaging though the cabinet under the bathroom sink. He pulled out a hair dryer and turned to hand it to me.

"Here... This should do-" He paused midsentence when he finally noticed that I was standing in front of him in a bra and miniskirt. And let's not forget the heels.

"Uh…"

"Sorry. My shirt's in there," I said as I pointed to the sink.

"Shit. I'm sorry. I didn't even think about that when I came in." He apologized and sounded truly remorseful, but that didn't keep him from gawking. I felt naked under his intense gaze.

"Could you, you know, not stare?"

Instead of looking away like I thought he would, a sly smirk stretched across his lips.

"Why? Does it make you uncomfortable?" He slowly walked toward me. I had no other place to go except back against the wall.

"Maybe. A little,.Yes." My voice sounded meek, even to myself.

"I seem to be having a little bit of déjà vu. I remember seeing you like this last year. Well, we were lying down in a bed, but still." He had to bring that shit up.

Last year at one of Newton's infamous parties, I found myself in a bit of a predicament with Edward. Jacob and I were on the outs again and from what I had heard, Edward had just broken up with his girlfriend. I had been drinking, was quite tipsy and ended up in a bedroom with him. Clothes were shed, things got heated. We were just about to rid ourselves of underwear and my virginity, when Jacob burst through the door with Tanya, Edward's ex, hot on his heels. Jacob and Tanya both tried to stake claims on their respective exes. In the end, no one knew who was telling the truth. Edward and I were pissed off at the situation and placed the blame for the drunken make-out session on each other. It lingered in the air between us for months. There were dirty glares and snarky comments thrown at each other on top of our existing rivalry. As much as I wanted to say that it was because I didn't like him at all, I knew it wasn't true. That was the hottest make-out session I had ever had. I was pissed that we couldn't again.

"Edward, last time was a mistake. We were both drunk."

"I know...but I remember it. Don't you? It was perfect. Don't you remember the way our bodies pressed together like we were made for each other? You remember, don't you, Bella?" His deep, sexy voice repeatedly crooned in my ear as his body pressed against mine. One of his hands ghosted up my side and rested on the curve of my hip while the other stroked my upper arm. My entire body broke out in gooseflesh at his touch.

"Edward, I don't think we should..." I was cutoff by his mouth crashing against mine with such a force that I fell back against the wall with a thud. My hands clutched at his biceps, sculpted from his years of pitching and batting. The harder he kissed me, the harder I gripped. The thought that my short nails would leave a mark on his arms swiftly passed through my head.

Our impromptu kiss was rapidly turning into something more. He guided me along the wall to the corner. I was trapped. Willingly. His hand trailed down my body, over the curve of my bottom and down to the crease of my knee. He paused momentarily before lifting it quickly, causing my short skirt to ride up around my waist. He started panting and grinding his hips against me. I half moaned, half squeaked at the friction. It was too much, yet not enough.

A knock at the door broke our spell and his body stilled against mine.

"Go the fuck away," he called out. It was worthless to send them away. The moment was over and I was mortified. I had promised myself to never succumb to his charm again and look where that got me.

With flaming cheeks, I pushed him off of me and went to the sink to dry my shirt. I could feel him staring holes in my back as I plugged up the dryer and turned it on, but I couldn't look at him. I stood there running the hot air over my tank, willing it to dry as quickly as possible, and continued to ignore him.

"Bella, I..." I held up a hand to silence him and offered no comments in return. After a moment, he gave up and darted out the door, slamming it behind him.

I was humiliated, ashamed and embarrassed. When I emerged from the bathroom in my still damp tank, Alice was standing propped on the opposite wall, arms folded across her chest.

"Were you in there with Edward Cullen?"

I kept my eyes trained on the floor and slowly nodded.

"What were you doing?" Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. I couldn't bring myself to tell her the truth so I just shrugged and walked back to the living area. She was hot on my trail, shooting questions at me left and right. The room was overcrowded and my mind was overworked. I weaved through the bodies and found myself on the porch moments later. Rosalie was outside, drinking and laughing with a big guy from the football team. She smiled when she saw me but her face dropped when she took in my expression and the pissed off look on Alice's face. Excusing herself, she flew over to us.

"What's going on?"

"Could we just go?"

"Are you sure you've finished? I mean there's quite a large crowd here. The guys have all been drooling to get a moment alone with you."

I cringed and shook my head.

"I think I've accomplished what I needed to. If you guys aren't ready to leave, it's ok. I can catch a ride."

Rose's face was full of curiosity, but I begged with her with my eyes to let it go. She grimaced slightly and took me by the hand.

"Let's go."

As we headed back down to the car, I glanced back at the house. The orange glow of a cigarette caught my eye and I saw Edward propped against the corner of the porch, smoking and staring at me intensely. He took one last drag, flicked the butt into the yard and walked off.

The ride to my house was quiet. I expected the third degree from the girls but Rose seemed to understand that I didn't want to talk and Alice reluctantly kept her mouth shut.

When Rose pulled into my driveway, I told them both that I would explain everything tomorrow. They nodded in response and said their goodnights. I had never been more grateful that my friends were so understanding and knew me well enough to leave it alone, even though I knew it was killing Alice to not know the details of what happened.

Once inside, I darted up the stairs, stripped off the clothes and climbed into a hot shower, trying to wash away the memories of the way his mouth and hands felt on my body. Much to my dismay, soap did nothing to help.

~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~

The next afternoon, I sat at a table in the back of the library in town, nose deep in books, finalizing details for my research paper for English.

The previous night weighed heavily on my mind and I just wanted to forget it all. It was like an itch I couldn't quite scratch. Yet again I was faced with unfinished business that answered to the name Edward Cullen. .

I pulled out one of the Greek mythology books from the stack I had collected and flipped it open. I started making notes and had finally begun to concentrate on my task at hand when I heard the chair scrape beside me. There was no escaping him.

"Finishing your research paper?" he asked. I nodded in response.

"What are you doing yours on?"

"Greek mythology," I responded shortly.

"Huh," was his reply. A few moments passed and as much as I tried to focus, I ended up reading the same paragraph three times. I exhaled loudly and threw my pen down. I looked up to see him staring at me as if I were a complication math equation that he was trying to solve

"Is there something I can do for you?"

"Why is this election so important to you?" Well that was abrupt and unexpected.

"Um... "

"I'm just trying to figure out why you went to the lengths you went to last night to get a few votes. It's not like you'll have any kind of power."

"I know that. It's more of a status thing. Something I can add to my scholarship applications. I need all the help I can get and scholarship committees love that kind of crap."

"Your dad can't help you with college?" I huffed at his intrusion into my personal life.

"What business is it of yours?" Like I wanted to tell him my business.

"Look, Bella, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to understand why this is so important to you." His deep green eyes were genuinely curious and drew me in so gradually that before I knew it I was spilling everything to him.

"If you must know, it's because I really need a scholarship. My dad depleted his retirement fund when my mom got sick. The insurance only covered so much. With her extra medical needs and funeral costs, he ran well past what he had saved up and is still paying on her medical bills. I can't ask him for money for college. I just…can't. I have the grades and I'm working on getting a higher ACT score. I just need the social activities."

He nodded his understanding and remained quiet for a few moments.

"Look, you didn't hear this from me, but Eric Yorkie got disqualified Friday afternoon. The principal found him in the boys' bathroom with Jessica Stanley."

"Jessica Stanley?" That was quite a shocker. The biggest geek was with the head cheerleader? That didn't make sense at all.

"So Principal Greene threw him out of the race?" I asked.

"Right there on the spot. He thought Eric was 'persuading' Jessica to vote for him." I giggled loudly before I realized my goof and quieted down.

"So anyway, if I was to drop out, that would leave it wide open for you. You would be unopposed."

"No!" My outburst caused a few of the library patrons to turn my way. "No," I repeated, quietly this time. "If I win, I want to win fair and square, not by forfeit." He mulled over my words while we locked in a stare down.

"Fine. I'll see you at school tomorrow."

"Fine. Good luck."

"You too. And Bella?" He leaned closer to my ear. "I thoroughly enjoyed myself last night. When this election mess is over, we need to explore that a little further."

He weaved through the tables and walked out the door leaving me speechless and wanting.

~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~

School was a bit chaotic Monday morning. Finals had started and everyone was rushing to get to class on time. After handing in my finished research paper and whizzing through my English and Calculus exams, I was relieved to be able to sit in art class and goof off with Alice. Our final projects had been handed in the week before so we were free to study for other things or just chat. Alice drilled me once again about the party. I had spoken with her and Rose briefly Sunday morning, but both had family functions to attend and only received the short version of the story. I filled her in on what took place at the library.

"I think he really likes you, Bella. I've seen him watching you before. I thought you guys just despised each other, but now that I think of it, he was never glaring at you, just watching." She tapped her chin thoughtfully, lost in her own little world of matchmaking and crystal ball reading.

Lunchtime came. The cafeteria was packed and long lines had formed at the tables that had been setup for voting. A teacher stood next to the voting box that was deemed for each class. Since the seniors were graduating and could give two shits as to who was going to be president next year, they didn't vote.

Names were taken, checked off on the enrollment list and ballots were given.

I stood in the junior line with Alice. When it was her turn, I saw her mark a bold "x" in the box next to my name, along with a choice for vice president, secretary and treasurer. She dropped it in the slot and skipped to the side. Mrs. Cope, our ballot guard, flipped through the sheets on her clipboard, marked off my name and handed me the tiny slip of paper and a pen. I hesitated, pen in midair, contemplating on how selfish it was to vote for myself. But then I thought about my mother and all the times she talked to me about college and how she wished that I would grow up and be successful. Her smile in my mind's eye and her voice in my head was the driving force of my decision. I marked an "x" beside my name before I could change my mind, checked off a choice for the other offices and dropped the slip in the box. I shoved the pen in Mrs. Cope's hand and walked over to join Alice.

My nerves were on edge, so I just grabbed lemonade and an apple for lunch before joining Rosalie at our usual table. She and Alice immediately launched into gossip about what all occurred at Newton's party and between whom. I barely paid attention. My eyes focused on picking tiny pieces of peeling off of my apple. The one time I did look up, my eyes focused across the room on none other but Edward Cullen. He was sitting in his chair, casually reading a book. His knee bounced quickly like he was nervous but the rest of his posture gave the impression of perfect ease. His eyes darted up from the page and our gazes locked momentarily. I blushed, looked away and tried to focus my attention on the girls' conversation.

Two o'clock rolled around and we were all ushered into the auditorium. Edward and I were pulled aside and led to the stage where we were placed in seats close to the podium. Mr. Greene stepped up to the microphone and gave a ridiculously long speech about how we were the next generation and deserved to have a strong leader who would guide us in our last year before we were let loose to follow our futures. Apparently, the faculty took the duties of this position a little more seriously than we did.

As he rambled on for a while more, my eyes wandered the room and landed on Mrs. Cope and Mr. Banner back behind the curtain looking intently at a sheet of paper. They picked up clipboards and flipped through the pages attached. I recognized them as the student rolls. She cradled her head in her hands like something was giving her a headache. He was shaking his in puzzlement. They stopped flipping suddenly and their eyes landed on Edward. He didn't notice. He had his gaze fixed on the edge of the stage.

They conversed once more and she nodded before making her way to whisper in Mr. Greene's ear. He looked over at Edward and I immediately wondered if Edward had done something to disqualify himself.

"What did you do?" I hissed.

His eyes shot to my face. "What?" I pointed over to Mr. Greene who still had his eyes trained on Edward. He finally spoke, not directly to the audience, but his voice still poured through the auditorium speakers since he was so close to the microphone.

"It seems, Mr. Cullen and Miss Swan, that we have a tie." A murmur flowed through the student body out in the crowd. A tie? Was that even possible? How in the world could we have a tie?

"It also seems that Mr. Cullen has not cast his vote." My eyes shot to Edward who was eyeing me warily.

"Why haven't you voted?" I interrogated.

"I don't know. I just didn't want to."

"Well, you have to." And then it hit me like a ton of bricks-Edward's vote was the only one left. He held the deciding vote. .

"Perfect," I mumbled to myself.

As Edward begrudgingly took the ballot from Mr. Greene, I scanned the crowd. Everyone was watching the spectacle on stage. I found my friends and locked eyes with Alice. Her shocked face turned into a sympathetic one. I couldn't take it anymore. Everyone knew this was the deciding vote and I was obviously the loser.

"Mr. Greene, I'm not feeling so well," I fibbed. He looked up from where he was receiving the ballot back from Edward.

"You can wait just one moment, Miss Swan. We're almost done."

I sighed loudly and slumped back in the chair without as much as a glance in Edward's direction. He kept his back to me and his head held down. Mr. Greene unfolded the ballot, read it and handed it to Mrs. Cope.

"Well, ladies and gentlemen, it looks like you have yourselves a new president for next year." He turned to Edward with a smug smile.

I jumped out of my seat and off the stage and was on my way down the aisle when Mr. Greene started once more.

"Your new student council president for next year is... Isabella Swan!" There were cheers and screams and I stopped in my tracks.

Alice came charging down the aisle and tackled me in a hug. Rosalie latched on also and soon we were surrounded by people.

But all I could see was him.

He stood on the stage staring at me. His hands were shoved in his pockets and a small smile played at his lips as he watched the group gather around me. I couldn't believe that he had voted for me.

I was distracted by the constant repeats of "Congratulations" that rang in my ears. By the time I could thank everyone and make my way back to the stage, he was gone. Ms. Berty, the student council advisor, cornered me and started talking about the plans she had for next year. I nodded and agreed where appropriate, anxious to find Edward and demand an explanation. By the time she finished her spiel, my eyes had glazed over and most of the student body had left campus.

I darted out the door to the parking lot. I had every intention on going straight to Cullen's house. I wanted an explanation. My plans were halted, however, when I spotted him sitting on the tailgate of my truck. I approached him hesitantly, slightly peeved at what he did.

"Why did you do that?" I sounded slightly less intimidating than I hoped.

"Because you need it and you deserve it."

"That's it?"

"Yes. Bella, the only reason I ran was because Jasper bet me I couldn't win, which means I owe him now. I'm not looking forward to helping him clean out his garage, by the way, which is what I promised I'd do if I lost. Plus I would probably be too busy with baseball training during the spring to fulfill any duties that may come my way. You're the obvious better choice and I know that you would do a better job. Congratulations."

I wasn't really sure how to respond to his little speech so I just muttered a quiet, "Thank you."

"One more thing-there's a committee at my dad's hospital that awards a full scholarship to U-Dub every year. I'm ineligible since my dad is on the committee, but I could get you the information if you'd like." He looked at me like he was waiting on me to fly off the handle for his offering. It was disarming to see him be this apprehensive about something. Like he was the old Edward, from when we were kids. The one I missed so much.

"Thank you, Edward. I would very much appreciate that."

"You're welcome." We were quiet for a few moments, each of us absorbed in our on thoughts.

"Edward?"

"Hmmm?"

"When are you going to help Jasper clean out his garage?" His brow gathered in concentration.

"I don't know. Probably this weekend since this is the last week of school. Why?"

"I was just thinking, maybe Alice and I could join you guys. I don't know how much help we'd be, but we could bring pizza."

His face broke out into a breathtaking smile.

"I think we'd love some help."


A/N: A HUGE thank you to Shaelove for being a lightening fast beta in the final hour. Also much love and thanks to emilydmamaof3 aka EmDempster, jadsmama and ladauphine for pre-reading.