Contest Name: Mix It Up Contest
Title: The Lion Or The Lamb
Penname: Melanie Carter
Rating/ Disclaimer: T
Summary: Bella has long been facinated by the shy awkward boy she sits next to in Biology... Bella and Edward but not as you know them. An entry for the Mix It Up Contest.
To see all the stories that are a part of this contest please visit:
www .fanfiction-challenges. blogspot. com
A/N: This one shot is for the Mix It Up Contest hosted by FWC. I have always wondered if Twilight would have been much different if Bella had been the vampire controlling her thirst and Edward the clumsy human. Bella is still just a human here but this contest gave me the perfect excuse to put my theory to the test. I hope you enjoy and please do vote at www (dot) fanfiction-challenges (dot) blogspot (dot) com
The Lion Or The Lamb by Melanie Carter
I watched from under my lashes as he dropped his books for the third time today. Not that I was counting. He awkwardly bent to retrieve them as quickly as possible and swept a quick glance around the room to see if anyone had seen him. He was safe. No one ever paid attention to Edward Cullen. No one – expect from me.
No one saw past the shy, clumsy exterior and saw the intelligent, passionate man inside. They only took in the messy appearance and never once dwelled on his vivid green eyes or his strong jaw. Of course, there were some girls naturally who thought they were special and approached him. But he only seemed embarrassed and, if anything, downright annoyed at their advances. So, he lived in the background of life – never standing out, never drawing attention to himself. I think he liked it that way.
And I liked it too. In fact, I adored it. Because, in truth, I lied when I said no one notices him. I notice him. All the time. Since his very first day at this school, I had been fascinated with him. This boy, whose parents had been killed when he was young, had arrived with his adoptive family and changed my life. Despite his withdrawn tendencies, he was in the forefront of my mind – always. Everything from his copper coloured hair and full pink lips, to the way he wrote as if he was from another time. I analysed everything he did, everything he said, every breath he took. I was obsessed. I needed him in my life like a user needed heroin. It was just a shame I hardly ever spoke to him.
In the precious hour we shared everyday during Biology class, I focused on saying as little words to him as possible. The first lesson, I had been so stunned by him I couldn't even force my mouth open to introduce myself. I had just sat staring at him like he was something to eat. And my addiction of him escalated from there. I knew if I tried to have a conversation with him now, I would humiliate myself by saying something I shouldn't, like the fact I was ninety-nine percent sure I was in love with him. And I couldn't, wouldn't, risk that for anything. I would rather have an hour with him in silence than have him turn away from me even for a second.
Also, he seemed to be afraid of me. I have no idea why. Maybe it was because I was pretty much a mute, only bashfully mumbling words when absolutely necessary and spending the rest of my time desperately clinging onto my self control. Because I would jump him right there if I could. Or maybe it was just me personally. Maybe this gentle soul was scared of my dark brooding eyes and their piercing stare. I was the most pathetic, forlorn person I knew and that often worried me. What I wouldn't long to be free like Charlie – have a child's mind in my almost adult body. But, I wasn't like that. I felt as though I was really a hundred and ten, only trapped in this seventeen year old body in some wicked twist of fate. I forced my gaze away from his still crouched figure and stared out the window. I was the worst kind of person. It was for this reason I didn't allow this kind of introspection very often.
I sat frozen for a couple of minutes until Edward finally finished collecting his scattered books and plonked down beside me. He was in no way graceful – another thing I loved. I decided right then I would try and make the effort today – speak to him properly at least. As if on cue, he gave me the perfect excuse to put my plan into practice. While I still mulled over ways to strike up a conversation with him, he carefully set about pulling a sheet of paper from his notepad to work on. Only, Edward Cullen wasn't careful by any stretch of the imagination. Instead of simply tearing the page from its binding as the rest of us would do, he tugged sharply of the edge of the leaf. In a way only Edward can, he lost his grip and, instead of neatly pulling the paper from the pad, elbowed me in the side. Hard.
"Erm, oh – sorry," he garbled quickly. I turned my head to him slowly and was delighted to find his cheeks were flushed pink. Edward Cullen blushes? God kill me now. He turned a deeper shade of red when he realised I was watching him still and I summoned up the courage I had felt so sure of just moments before. I could do this. I was just talking to him. Just talking. I could control myself. I could do that. I smiled weakly at him for a second before it dropped and I forced myself to say: "It's okay."
I swallowed hard. He nodded to himself as though checking off in his mind that he had caused no serious damage this time and turned back to face the teacher's desk. It struck me that I was losing him. My previous anti-social behaviour had been carefully carved in his mind and he wasn't expecting me to say another word. Think, Bella! I quickly let my satchel fall the floor and cleared my throat once.
"Sorry, I seem to have forgotten my notepad. May I borrow some of you paper, please?" Jeesh, Bella, way to sound like a complete idiot. He moved his head to look at me, surprise written all over his face but, bless him, he nodded in agreement all the same. It suddenly occurred to me that asking Edward to get me a piece of paper posed some risk to my side, as it was likely he would end up hitting me again – accidental as it was. He open his pad slowly as though he thought I was suddenly going to changed my mind for some reason, not paying attention at all. Instead, his eyes were trained solely on me, though they were guarded and unsure. But just the thrill of him looking at me! At me! I felt blessed just to be in his sightline, let alone being able to hold his gaze. Even if it was because he was wary of me.
"Ouch, paper cut!" he gasped unexpectedly and snapped his head to look at his hand. He was right. A large drop of blood was slowly spilling down his index finger where he had cut himself. See what I mean about being clumsy? It was just a sheet of paper. Anyone else could have managed it! He didn't even seem to make an effort to look after himself. But I realised, as I watched him shake his hand as his cut undoubtedly began to sting, that it was the most endearing characteristic. He must know how inept he was and yet he still carried on without a fuss. It must be unbelievably irritating to have the knowledge that you will fall over today, and you will drop your books or you lunch or your pens. I couldn't live with it. I knew I would become some form of recluse, avoiding anything that may embarrass me.
"Here, let me?" I offered, reaching towards the pad. He nodded numbly as he reached into his pocket to retrieve a rumpled tissue and I realised he was blushing again. Or perhaps he had never stopped. It was difficult to tell and I was surprised I had never noticed before.
"No, no, it's fine," he insisted and went to move the notepad out of my way. Our fingertips didn't even touch but, somehow, I felt a spark in the air between them, as though they were conducting against each other. I subconsciously gasped out loud at the sensation and pulled my hand back. I looked at my finger, which still buzzed, in wonderment.
"Sorry," he mumbled and busied himself with the paper. How was he so seemingly unaffected by this? I wish I hadn't freaked out and pulled my hand back. To touch his skin would have been like touching a live socket – electrifying. This... magnetism between us was phenomenal but Edward obviously hadn't felt a thing. I returned back to reality at this dismal thought just in time to see Edward rip the sheet he held delicately between his fingertips in half as he tried to remove it from the pad. No, he was oblivious. Of course he hadn't noticed, Bella. You're the one with the problem. You're the one fixated with him.
"I'll just have the ripped piece," I mumbled dejectedly and reached my hand out. If only I had the courage to take his hand in mine now and bask in the feeling. But I couldn't. My heart would beat out if I did that. Edward handed me the ripped sheet and I took it from him before twisting in my seat to face the front of the room and Mr Banner.
So, I had failed. I had tried to talk to him and seem like a normal human being and I had failed. Miserably. I resolved then to just get through this lesson and then never talk to Edward Cullen ever again. It was obvious I couldn't restrain myself around him so it was just better this way. He didn't realise the favour I was giving him by walking away. I just had to hang on for... I quickly checked the clock on the wall – thirty five minutes. I had lasted months; I could do this.
But the overwhelming thought of forsaking him seemed to throw my mind into overdrive. I couldn't help but stare at him the whole lesson, drinking in every last drop of him and memorising every contour of his face, just in case I never had the chance ever again. In some alternate universe, I would be allowed to have him and there would be nothing weird about gawping at him like this. I stayed frozen, my eyes concentrated on him for the entire thirty five minutes. I knew he was beginning to get nervous of my tiresome gaze but I couldn't help it. I didn't want to lose him but I knew there was just no way I could have him. His eyes flicked to mine momentarily and he shifted uneasily in his seat. I held my breath as I caught sight of his green eyes. He always seemed to be able to dazzle me with the simplest of actions. He somehow had the ability to scatter my thoughts with a wave of his hand and send my whole mind into disarray.
In the beginning, I had tried to run away. I had realised I was getting in too deep and had attempted to change my schedule. I begged with Mrs Cope to switch me to another class but she said it just wasn't possible. So, I next did what any other normal teenage girl would do. I cut class. For over a week I avoided Mr Banner's class as though my life depended on it. I also hid at lunch and refused to go to the cafeteria. I was convinced if I just steered clear of him I would be able to control the strong, unfamiliar urges that seemed to run through me every time I was near him. And then I was caught out. While I was preoccupied running from Edward, I totally forgot about Mr Banner. So, when I ran into him one day in between lessons and he asked me where I had been that morning and, in fact, for the last week, I drew a blank. He handed me a detention card and phoned home.
Now, I was pretty much forced by Charlie to attend this class more than any other. I had to show him my work from that day every night once he got home and then show him my homework once I had completed it. It was the first time Charlie had ever seemed to implement some form of strict disciplinary routine for me, despite him being sheriff of this town. He was an extraordinary cop, but when it came to his own daughter… I swear Charlie was away with the fairies.
So, now everyday for the past three months, I had been subjected to this torture. To sit so close to him and not be able to wrap my arms around him – it killed me every time. At least with my new resolve I wouldn't have to worry about that any more. I wouldn't have to try and rack my brain for some way to reach out to him and address him. I could just sit here – mysterious and pensive as I have always seemed to him and let my life carry on miserably. I would just let him and his siblings fade into they background, like they seemed to do for everybody else.
But, my resolve was growing ever weaker. Just as I talked myself into leaving all this turmoil behind, he would cast a side ways glance at me and I would be right back where I started. It was so frustrating that I actually had to grip the table for support at some points. By the end of the lesson, I could take it no more and I jumped up from my seat the second the bell went. I breezed towards the door and disappeared as quickly as I could, leaving Edward behind to fumble with his books.
I stopped when I was in the middle of the next corridor over. I had done it. I had physically walked away. Now to put the rest behind me. I didn't need Edward Cullen – it was pointless to think I did. Away from his presence I felt strong, as though I could actually follow through with the bravado and determination I felt. He had never been and would never be anything more to me than a boy I sat next to in my junior high year. There. Simple as that. I let go of a breath I hadn't been aware I was holding and took off again down the corridor towards the gym.
…Only to walk straight into Edward Cullen's chest.
I froze instantly taking in the way his arms hovered around me, ready to steady me in case I fell. I calculated the exact environment around me, knowing deep down I would reflect obsessively on this later.
"Sorry," I huffed, slightly miffed at myself for turning away from my previous resolve so quickly.
"My fault," he reasoned back. I risked a glance to his face and realised he was blushing a-goddamn-gain! Oh God, why must you taunt me so? Dangling all I want so close to my nose, but then forever whipping it harshly away again?
"Well… I have a lesson," I muttered stepping out to barge past him. I don't know how to explain it, he just made me so… angry. Angry at him for being so enticing and drawing me in so effortlessly and angry at myself for being tempted by him in the way I was. If only he loved me back…
Edward made no attempted to let me past, though he did waver slightly as though he was afraid of me. But, he stood his ground and took this chance to look down at me fiercely and stare me out. He was so cute when he did that, like he thought he was being all fearsome or something.
"Bella, why do you hate me?" he asked me quietly. For a moment, all I could do was stare at him in disbelief.
"Hate you? I don't hate you?" I spat at him. I knew I never seemed to come across in a very good light to him but I never thought I gave the impression I hated him. How could he think that? All the emotions I had ever felt towards him and he believed the predominant one was hate? "You couldn't be further from the truth, Edward."
I bowed my head momentarily as I realised I said too much. Surely now he would work out how much I was absorbed by him. But instead he just shook his head quickly and looked at me as though I was mad. Or as though he was mad. But let's be fair, nothing about this, or me, or him screamed 'normal'.
"I don't understand," he admitted, still shaking his head. I wanted so badly to reach out and touch his face, rub those worry lines from his crushed brow but I just didn't trust myself. After I moment, I shook my head too to clear out all those persuasive thoughts and decided I would have to explain to him how I didn't hate him. Perhaps, I wouldn't go so far as to let slip that I was pretty sure I was actually falling in love with him, but at least I could try and make him accept me as a friend. That seemed almost like heaven compared to the cold turkey approach I had been so willing to take mere moments before.
"Look, Edward, can I give you a lift home tonight?" I asked. Maybe in the cab of my old Chevy I could convince him he could trust me and count on me as an acquaintance. He blinked wildly a couple of times before he answered.
"I can drive myself. I do own a Volvo…" he argued almost angrily. It was suddenly very, very adorable. I laughed out loud at him and once more fought the urge to reach out and touch him.
"I don't judge your driving abilities one bit, Edward, if they're anything compared to your ability to carry your books," I teased gently and a thrill shot through me as he blushed once more.
"Please, Edward," I continued more seriously. "I just have a tough time controlling myself around you. I think it's only fair if I explain myself once and for all. Please, just let me give you a lift home."
He paused for a moment sizing me up and I worried once more that I had said too much. But then he nodded quickly and mumbled quickly to me 'I'll get Alice to take the Volvo' before hurrying past me and down the hall. I took in a deep breath as the odd calmness his company cast on me began to wear off. What was I thinking? A whole car journey with Edward? I would never survive. It would go so awfully wrong, I could tell even now. It would be the death of me. Or him. I didn't know which. And I wish I never had to find out.
But I realised with a defeated sigh that I couldn't back out now. He thought I hated him. I couldn't bear him to think I hated him. I had to try and convince him otherwise, if only it didn't mean I had to spend time with him. Why couldn't he… why couldn't he just accept that I didn't hate him and we could all just get back to our day. I could go home by myself, take a shower, do my homework, and then wallow in my own self-misery and loathing and loneliness until sleep relieved me. But no, now I had to convince the one person in the world I cared for most that I didn't despise him, all without letting out my true feelings.
I started walking back toward the gym resolved on planning how I would try and save this train wreck of a day. I didn't even know what I could say to Edward. Maybe I shouldn't expressly tell him that I wished we could be friends and scare him off, but chat and talk to him instead – really find out about him and show him that I truly did care. I finalised my plan as I walked my way through Badminton and got dressed again in double speed so I could meet him outside school.
He seemed to walk along the sidewalk with some uneasiness, as though there was some hidden danger ready to strike him down at any moment. He kept glancing round nervously and, when he finally caught sight of me, he blushed and his shoulders seemed to slump forward as though some great trouble had suddenly been lifted from his shoulders. He walked right up to me and smiled weakly.
"I didn't think you would really wait for me," he confessed quietly.
"Of course I would," I replied appalled. "Shall we go?"
I stalked towards my truck without another word to him. I felt anger flare in my stomach. He didn't even trust me enough to keep to my word. How could I have ever let this happen? I pulled open the passenger door with more force than necessary then marched round to the driver's side and yanked that door open too before climbing inside. When Edward finally caught up with me, he faltered briefly at the door before joining me. He seemed to shrink into his seat, as I put the car into drive, as though he really didn't want to be there. I sighed to myself and forced myself to calm down. Where was the point in pushing him further away with my anger? I glanced sideways at him and realised he was breaking my first car rule. I took another cleansing breath so there was not a trace of irritation in my voice when I spoke to him.
"Could you put your seatbelt on for me, please Edward?" I asked, as serenely and calmly as I could. He shot a fugitive glance at me but complied all the same. "Thank you. Daughter of the Sheriff and all – I was brought up to obey ever law there is."
I winked at him at that and his eyes seemed to space out briefly. Then he shook his head once before turning to stare out the windshield.
"We don't have to drive in silence," I offered after several minutes had passed. It was raining as usual and the windows of the cab had begun to steam up, making the inside seem extra warm and cosy. I flipped the heater up a little and took one hand off the steering wheel to lower the hood that was covering my head. The silence continued for a few more minutes before Edward finally spoke.
"Can I ask you something?" he said quietly into the still cab.
"Depends what it is," I reasoned. Nice way to cover yourself, Swan.
"If you don't hate me, then why do you always seem to want to avoid me?"
I fixed my gaze firmly on the road ahead. How do I answer that one? Edward was enormously observant for someone I only spent an hour with each day.
"Next," I insisted with a growl. I couldn't answer that.
"But, I'm just interested in why you don't ever seem to want to talk to me or… or be my friend!" He seemed to be able to get irritated as easily as I did. I would have laughed, if I wasn't so annoyed myself.
"I have never not wanted to be your friend!" I retaliated. "I just think it's better if we're not. Better for both of us, but that doesn't mean I don't want us to be."
We lapsed back into silence at my cryptic words. Smooth move, Bella. 'I want to be friend, but I don't'. That was sure to clear a lot of things up for him. I took my eyes off the road for a second to glance at him. He sat turned away from me, staring out the window with his shoulders slumped forward. I leant forward slightly so I could see him face. Edward Cullen was pouting? I didn't think I would see the day.
"Are you throwing a strop?" I asked incredulously. I expected him to give me a sullen 'no' and turn back to the window, but he didn't. Then again, Edward never seemed to do anything I expected him to.
"Yes!" he replied. I laughed at him. He was so delectable when he was angry! "You wanted to talk, so I spoke to you and now you won't even answer my question properly, even though it's what you wanted in the first place!"
I forced my stare back on the road and chuckled freely. He had a point. This is what I had planned to do on our journey together, but now we were actually here, I seemed to be avoiding it. I made the turn up his road then and stopped laughing abruptly. If I wanted to tell him I had to do it now before it was too late. Who could tell if he would even want to talk to me again in the morning?
"Okay," I said. "Ask me anything. I promise to answer."
"Promise," I assured him. I instantly regretted it. If he asked me a difficult question he would insist I told him the answer and I couldn't lie to him. This could only spell disaster.
"Okay then." He thought for a moment. "If you want to be my friend, but you think it's better if we weren't and you don't hate me, does that mean you would like to be my friend but not a friend, a… something else? Like, are you protecting yourself by not letting us get closer?"
I gripped to the steering wheel tighter. How could one person be so perceptive? And, moreover, how the hell was I going to answer that?
"That's two questions," I noted desperately trying to buy myself some time.
"Tell me the truth."
I pulled up outside his house at that moment and killed the engine. I unclasped the seatbelt slowly before I turned to him reluctantly.
"Yes, I'm afraid of getting close to you. You scare me. A lot actually." I laughed weakly. "All I've wanted is to be your friend since you first arrived in Forks, and I'm getting tired of trying to stay away from you now."
"So don't," he almost whispered into the cab.
"Don't try and stay away from me, Bella. Just…" He fluttered his eyes wildly as he thought of what to say. "Maybe we could just hang out, you know, and be friends. I know you don't want to be but, please, give me a chance."
I nodded as his words settled in. He didn't one hundred percent believe me that I didn't dislike him in some way but at least it was a start.
"Okay," I agreed. After talking to him for so long without totally messing it up, I was half beginning to believe I could actually do this – function like a sane human being around Edward. "Anyway, I have to go."
Part of me didn't want to leave but I knew when not to push my luck. And I really did have to get home. He nodded sadly in reply and unfastened his seatbelt. I gripped onto the steering wheel as he opened the door and slid his long legs out.
"Hey, Edward?" I said as an after thought. "Can I pick you up for school tomorrow?"
He seemed baffled for a moment.
"If you want. Why?"
"Because then I have to give you a lift home again, of course." I smiled warmly at him. He blushed lightly and his eyes unfocused slightly before he nodded his consent and stepped down from the truck. I watched him make his way to his front door with a smile on my face, before I turned the truck's engine on and roared back down the lane.
I now had two chances to spend time alone with Edward tomorrow, plus our lesson together. I felt sure in myself that I could get through it and knew, as we learnt more about each other and began to trust ourselves more, I would be able to spend more and more time with him. As I sped along the darkening roads, I resolved to ask him more about himself in the morning. I would ask about his siblings and his foster parents and really get to know him. All the way home my thoughts were filled with Edward, just as they had been for the last five months, but this time the thought was tinged with happiness. I had always been Edward's, even without him knowing, and from the way he spoke today I got the feeling that maybe – just maybe – Edward could soon be mine too.