The one and only disclaimer: New girls who hate attention, brooding boyfriends, shopaholic best friends, underage hunks without shirts and other characterizations typical of the Twilight series belong to Stephenie Meyer. The rest I made up. It'd be cool if you didn't outright steal, etc, etc.

This is mostly just an exercise to try and rediscover my writing groove. These will be short, sometimes beta'd and sometimes not, and I make no promises that by the end there will be any coherent plot or point.

But there could be. You never know.

Love and warre are all one. . . . It is lawfull to use sleights and stratagems to . . . attaine the wished end. [1620 T. Shelton tr. Cervantes' Don Quixote ii. xxi.]

. . . . .

"You can't do that."

"Why not?"

"Because you can only use one card."

"That doesn't make any sense."

"What do you mean 'that doesn't make any sense?' That's how the game is played."

"Yeah, but you said it's called 'War,' right? Well, if I was going into battle against someone much stronger than me, I wouldn't just send one little puny guy to defend my kingdom. So I'm using three cards. If you add them all up, they beat your nine."

Edward's dad owed him big time. He'd promised to entertain this girl while their fathers talked, to be nice to her, but jeez. She didn't even understand the rules to War, a card game only half a notch above Go Fish on the complexity scale.

"Bella, that's cheating. The rules say we only flip one card each."

"But my rules make more sense in the real world."

"But this is a game."

"Ugh, fine!" Bella snatched two of her cards up and shoved them back into her deck at random. If Edward had dared to tell her she had to put them back on top, he'd have had his head bitten off. He knew that. He kept his mouth shut.

"Ha!" she exclaimed as the pair each flipped their next card. "I win."

"Uh, no, you don't."


"I have an ace. You have a ten. I win."

"Aces are only worth one!"

"In some games. In this one, aces are high cards," he explained, summoning all of his patience.

"That's ridiculous. What is the point of changing the value of the cards from game to game?"

"It's just how it is."

"Well, let's change it."

"We're not going to change it. This game's been played this way for like a million years."

She raised a skeptical eyebrow.

"Okay, so not a million. But my grandfather said his grandfather played it with him, so it's been around for a really long time."

"Well, in a million years, things change. You may have noticed that us humans no longer live in caves or think it's acceptable to carry clubs around."

"You're just upset because you're losing."

"I'm upset because there's no way for me to be winning. This game is completely based on luck!"

"Most card games are."

"Well, that's stupid."

"So are you forfeiting?"

"No!" She flipped another card to reveal an ace of her own. "There! According to all of your silly rules, I win this round," she gloated as she swept the cards up and placed them on the bottom of her pile.

Edward didn't have the heart to tell her that, in this version of the game, his two actually did beat her ace. It was a stupid rule anyway.