Wanna Be A Hardcore Nerdward Contest
Title: Mischief Managed
Summary: A chance encounter, a failing grade, an unexpected tutor. Leah Clearwater's summer just got interesting.
Word Count: 4,354
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer.
"Can we get popcorn?" Seth asked for the hundredth time. I rolled my eyes and looked around. The line inside the movie theater was growing longer by the minute, and I wasn't really keen on the idea of shoving my way through a bunch of weirdos dressed like wizards to get him popcorn.
"Can't you just get it now?" I asked.
He frowned. "What's the point in getting popcorn if you can't eat it during the movie? That's why they make popcorn, Leah!" My little brother stamped his foot and glared at me.
I bit my tongue and remembered that Mom and Dad had paid me twenty dollars (plus expenses) to take Seth to the movies. Life in the Clearwater house had gone downhill ever since Seth's second-grade teacher read the first book to their class. He hadn't talked about anything besides Harry fucking Potter for the past two years. The nerdy wizard kid had dominated nearly every conversation we tried to have with him, all of our pets were named after characters from the books, and his room was covered in posters from all of the movies.
"God, this is such bullshit," I muttered and slumped against the wall. Seth looked up at me with wide eyes. Fucking hell. My summer goal from my mother was to stop swearing. So far it wasn't going very well. She'd imposed that goal on me less than twenty-four hours ago, and I'd already lost five dollars. "Keep that to yourself and I'll buy you some chocolate later."
"Deal." He shrugged and went back to playing his stupid GameBoy or DS or whatever it was called.
I checked my watch and groaned. The movie started at midnight and it was barely after eleven. The place was seriously crawling with freaks. Freaks in silly t-shirts. Freaks in striped ties and sweaters. There were even freaks in black coats with wands.
It was hard not to stare as people milled into the theater and took their places in line. I mean, there were people who weren't in costume who looked like normal people, but they were so obviously…not.
"Heads up!" a voice called, and I turned just in time to be hit in the head with a large brown ball.
"What the hell?" I cried, picking up the ball and rubbing the top of my head.
"Sorry," the same voice said as a boy took the ball from my hands. He smiled at me, unaffected by my glare as I gazed into the greenest eyes I'd ever seen.
Then he pulled away and I saw that those green eyes were framed by large round glasses. His black hair was messy and there was a lightning bolt scar on his…
"Watch where you're going, Harry Fucking Potter!" I shoved him away from me and the crowd laughed.
The guy frowned and whipped his cloak around him before stalking off. I rolled my eyes and turned back to my brother. Seth shook his head sadly and ignored me. This night was really starting to suck.
"If you've got your tickets ready, we're going to go ahead and let people into the theaters!" an attendant yelled over the crowd. I pulled Seth up from the ground and pulled the tickets out of my pocket.
"Oh, crap!" I put my hand to my face and Seth looked up with a worried look on his. "I forgot the tickets!"
"Leah! We ordered them a long time ago! Online! Mom printed them out, how did you forget them?" he yelled, tears forming in his eyes. His bottom lip quivered and I bit my lip to keep from laughing.
"I'm just kidding, small fry. I've got them right here," I said, waving the tickets in front of his face.
He snatched them out of my hand and stomped away in a huff, moving so fast I had to practically run to keep up with him. Seth ran up the stairs and sat in the very top row, right smack in the middle. I got a little nauseous just walking up the steps. It was so… high.
"Can we get popcorn now?" Seth bounced in his seat and I opened one eye to glare at him. "Please?"
I sighed. "You stay here and keep our seats." Treading on a forgotten wizard's hat, I made my way out of the row, down the million stairs, and back into the lobby.
I got in line with all the other nerds and waited. I listened to them theorize about what the special effects would look like and what scenes wouldn't make the final cut of the movie. By the time I actually got to the concession I wanted to stab myself in the eye with one of their fake wands.
"Can I get a small popcorn and two cokes, please?" I asked when it was finally my turn.
The cashier snapped her gum. "You want to make it a medium for seventy-five cents more?"
I cringed at the sound. "Did I ask for a medium?"
She paused mid-crack to ponder that. "Ummm...no?"
"Then, no. I don't want to," I huffed and handed over the fourteen dollars the movie theater had just robbed me of.
I somehow made it back through the sea of freaks just in time for previews.
"You didn't get any chocolate?" Seth frowned up at me as I plonked the bucket of popcorn unceremoniously in his lap.
I glared at him and sat down. "Later," I muttered.
Then I was forced to sit through two hours and ten minutes of fighting, explosions, kissing, crying (mostly from the movie-goers), and finally the end credits. I didn't hate the movie, but fuck was I glad it was over.
"Oh, man. That was great! I can't wait to call Jake tomorrow and tell him about it. His dad wouldn't let him come. He's going to be sooo jealous!" Seth was practically bouncing down the stairs, through the lobby, and all the way to the car. I yawned and wondered how in the hell he was still wide awake.
As we approached the car I saw Harry Fucking Potter again and shot a dirty look in his direction.
He saw me.
He saw me, and then the smug fucker raised his wand to his forehead and saluted me.
I hated Harry Fucking Potter.
"Seth, come on!" I yelled down the hall of our little house. "I've got to meet my tutor at noon and I'm going to be late."
Seth grudgingly made it out of his room. With Mom and Dad working, I was on little brother duty all summer. I was also on duty with a math tutor because I'd failed Pre-Calculus and needed to pass it in order to fully pass the eleventh grade.
"Did you bring something to do?" I asked. He nodded and held up the last Harry Potter book. "How many times have you read that?"
He shrugged. "A few." I didn't have time to argue with him, so I bit my tongue and hauled ass to the library.
It was five after twelve when we got to the public library. Seth made a beeline for the kid's section while I looked around for my tutor. I knew he went to my school, but our paths never really crossed. I had only heard about him from my friend Rosalie, who described him as "tall, pale, nerdy, and obviously gay because he didn't look at my boobs at all".
Luckily, that was a decent enough description for me. I found him, just as she described, hunched over a table laden with my math book, papers, and pencils.
"Are you Edward?" I tapped him on the shoulder.
He turned to me and pushed his tortoise shell glasses up higher on his nose. They almost reminded me of Clark Kent's only…not.
"Leah? You're late." He turned his attention back to the equation he'd been working on before I had a chance to respond.
"Yeah, sorry… I have this kid brother and he's a real pain in the…never mind."
"Right," he muttered and rifled through his papers. I saw down and watched him while he did. He wasn't completely unfortunate-looking; there were some things that Rose had failed to mention. Like his thick auburn hair or his pale, clear skin or even his downright lickable jaw.
"Okay, why don't we start with some equations," he said as he turned to me and opened the book in front of him.
I gasped out loud. He had the greenest eyes I'd ever seen; only I had seen them somewhere else already. I'd seen them framed by round, black glasses under a curtain of black hair–
"Harry Fucking Potter!" I yelled before remembering I was in the library. His eyes widened for a brief moment before a smirk crossed his face.
"Oh, rude girl. It's nice to see you again."
" 'Rude girl'? You practically knocked me unconscious in a crowd of people and I'm the rude one? How'd you figure that one out?"
"Please, I barely threw it, hardly enough to knock you unconscious," he sniffed indignantly, and turned back to the book in front of him.
"Really? When's the last time you got hit in the head with a basketball? It hurt!" I complained.
"Quaffle," he said without turning to me.
"It was a quaffle, not a basketball. Now, about those equations?"
"What the hell is a quaffle? And wasn't your hair black?"
"A quaffle is a type of ball used in the game of Quidditch, which is a wizarding sport," he replied with an eye-roll as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "And it was dye. Some of which is still lingering, so can we get this started, please? I need another wash."
"Oh, sure. Let me put my academic life in the hands of someone who has to go and wash his hair," I said acidly.
"Well, regardless of my hair, I'm still in the top one percent of our class and have a 4.0," he explained haughtily. "Do you want to continue or should I find you another tutor?"
"You'll do," I muttered.
"Perfect," he snapped and pulled the book forward. We spent the next hour doing practice problems and going over equations and formulas. And– as much as I hated to admit it, Edward was really smart and he really helped.
I didn't even realize the hour was up until Seth found me and complained about being hungry.
"Sorry, kid. I lost track of time…I guess I'll see you next week, Edward?" I gathered my things and stood up.
"Yeah, just work on some of these practice problems and we'll go over them," he said before handing me a sheet of paper. "I wrote my phone number on the top in case you need to change times or anything."
"Oh. Okay." I gave him a quick smile before steering Seth out of the library and away from Edward. I wasn't sure if Seth would recognize him from the movie and start fangirling, but experience had shown me that nerds gravitated toward each other, so I had to move fast.
"Why are we running?" Seth asked, breathless.
"We're not. I just know you're hungry, that's all…"
"Are you sure?" He eyed me suspiciously and I nodded quickly and smiled a little too brightly.
"Absolutely, let's pick up a pizza."
Seth and I had lunch, then carried on the rest of the day like nothing had happened. I tried not to think about how smart Edward was and how much his explanations and little tricks helped me.
Or just exactly how green his eyes were.
"Rose, I can't go. You know I'm practically on house arrest this summer," I explained to Rosalie over the phone.
"But it's like, a once in a lifetime event, Leah!" she whined, and I buried my face in my pillow.
"I don't even like Glee, so what makes you think that I want to see them in concert?" I huffed.
"Because I'm your best friend and my mom says I can't go to Seattle by myself," she replied promptly.
Ugh. Best friend and mom guilt. I couldn't deal. She knew me too well.
"I'll ask, but I have tutoring that day, so I don't know…"
"Can't you reschedule? Didn't that Edward guy give you his number?"
"Well, yeah…how did you know that?"
"Emmett told me," she said simply. I could practically see her shrug and roll her eyes.
"How the hell does he know?"
"Leah, you really need to stop living in that little bitchy bubble of yours. Emmett and Edward are brothers," Rose explained. I gaped, and then remembered that we were on the phone, so she couldn't see the ridiculous face I was giving her.
"How is that even possible? They don't have the same name and they're like, total opposites."
She gave an exasperated sigh. "They're step-brothers."
"Stop rolling your eyes at me," I muttered.
Rose laughed. "Sorry. Listen, mom's calling me for dinner. Please think about it?"
"I will," I told her. I wouldn't.
As luck would have it, Mom actually didn't care if I went to Seattle with Rose. Something about "good behavior" and taking care of Seth. It was weird. I hadn't heard those things come from her in a long time. Well, probably since I'd hit puberty. But since I was getting suckered into going with Rose, I had to reschedule a session with Edward. Which meant I had to call him. Like, on the phone.
Not that Edward made me nervous or anything. He totally didn't.
He also totally didn't have a super-cute, crooked smile, or smell really nice, or have these really adorable freckles on his shoulders that I got to see the day the AC broke at the library and he stripped down to a thin white tank top…Nope, none of those things got to me.
Which was why I took Seth with me to tutoring the day I had to reschedule. Edward had asked me to meet him at his house instead of the library, and I wasn't quite sure what to think.
Not that he had ever shown an interest in me (I totally wasn't interested in him), but I still felt weird being alone with him at his house.
I knocked tentatively and a tall dark-haired boy answered the door. I knew Emmett from the brief moments he spent with Rose and from the football team at school. Rose was right though, I did kind of live in a bubble, so Emmett and I weren't exactly "friends".
"Hey, Leah. Ed's out back," he greeted me and pointed toward the back door. "Want to play video games?" Emmett asked Seth. I almost protested, but figured it would be easier to study without Seth distracting me. I nodded to him and made my way through the house.
I found Edward the moment I stepped outside onto the deck area of their pool. He was walking around skimming it with a net. It took me a moment to announce myself because I was a little mesmerized by the way his board shorts hung low on his hips, how the muscles in his shoulders moved, and how dear God, Harry Fucking Potter was hot.
"Hey," I called across the space between us. Edward looked up, startled, and turned quickly. As he turned, his foot caught in the open filter of the pool and he hurtle headfirst into the water.
I rushed to the side of the pool as he climbed out, sputtering water and wiping his face.
"You scared me," he coughed.
"Sorry!" I tried not to laugh but I couldn't help it. I collapsed next to him, clutching my side. "You should have seen your face!" I gasped.
Edward frowned and splashed me.
"You deserved that, rude girl," he said with an evil grin.
"I guess so," I muttered and wiped the drops of water from my face.
"Let me change and we'll get started. Did you bring Seth?"
"He's playing video games with Emmett," I explained as Edward dried off, and I tried to look anywhere but at his body, at those tight muscles and that little smattering of dark hair on his tummy that led down…
"They're about the same level, I think," Edward said with a smirk. "Actually, Seth may be a little bit smarter."
I laughed and followed him inside.
"I'll be right back. You can take a seat there if you'd like. There's soda in the fridge, too." Edward motioned to the dining room table where all our stuff was already laid out. I took out my practice problems and got a soda while Edward changed into dry clothes. He came back, wearing his glasses, his hair slicked back in some sort of Danny Zuko pompadour.
I laughed and reached out to mess it up once he'd sat down. He moved away from me quickly, and I thought I'd overstepped my boundaries a little. I didn't know why I'd just tried to touch him. Maybe because I never had…besides some accidental hand touches or foot grazes. My hand dropped to the table in defeat.
"Sorry," I muttered.
Edward gave me a quick smile, but then was all business again. "You have those problems we were working on?" I nodded and handed him my paper, then sat quietly while he went over them. He frowned and flipped the paper over in his hands a few times.
"Nothing," he mumbled.
"Something's wrong, you've got a weird look on your face."
"No, that's the thing. Nothing is wrong. You got them all right. Congratulations," he said with a weak smile.
"You don't sound very enthused that I've actually leaned anything." I took my paper from his hands and stared at it. We'd been working for weeks and I'd been studying my ass off, so he could at least show some kind of positive feedback.
"No, no, it's great. Really." He managed a small smile. "We'll just go over a few things today and next week I can give you the exam."
"Oh, okay." I nodded and gave him my full attention. Well, I tried to anyways. But I got lost in the way his hair fell across his forehead and how his lips moved when he talked.
It had been a few weeks since we'd started working together, but I was actually starting to enjoy Edward's company. Kind of. I mean, when he wasn't being a super-smart jackass or randomly throwing in some Harry Potter reference that I only understood because of my kid brother, Edward was pretty cute.
Sometimes I caught him looking at me while I worked, and I got these stupid little butterflies in my stomach. Then he'd turn away and ask me some stupid question about school or Seth. Any time the two of them got together I had to spend at least twenty minutes listening to their nerd-speak. At one point it came out that Edward was one of the moderators of an online community where people went to discuss all things Harry Potter, which led to Seth basically turning into a thirteen-year-old girl for a couple minutes while he tried to guess Edward's screen name (he couldn't tell us which one was his for "security reasons". Because their stupid site had the fucking nuclear-football codes or something?).
Seth even made me look up the site when we got home so he could read all the moderator profiles. It was embarrassing.
But somehow all these things- the conversations with my brother, the stupid website, and those damn glasses…they made Edward that much hotter to me. Apparently smart guys did it for me.
I totally kind of hated it.
"Edward, the kid is telling me that there's no chance I'd ever be sorted into Gryffindor. Tell him he's wrong," Emmett yelled from the living room, breaking me from my trance.
"You're a Hufflepuff and you know it, Em!" Edward yelled back. He laughed under his breath and gathered up our stuff. "Here's some study questions and we'll meet next Saturday, okay?"
"Sure thing, boss," I muttered and grabbed my bag.
"Hufflepuff? Really?" Emmett frowned and leaned over the couch when we walked through the living room.
"It's just a fact, Emmett. There's no need to be sad about it." Seth patted his shoulder encouragingly. For a moment I thought Emmett was going to rip his arm off.
"What would you be then?"
"Ravenclaw," Seth said with a shrug.
"And Edward?" Emmett asked.
"Probably Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. He's pretty brave to be working with Leah." Seth grinned at me and then I thought about ripping his arm off.
"Oh, so what would I be?" I stuck my hands on my hips and glared at all of them.
"Slytherin," they all answered simultaneously, then burst out laughing. I frowned and practically dragged Seth out of the house.
Later that night, I found myself stalking Edward's stupid community for any sign to help me figure out which one was him. I was starting to freak myself out a bit. When I couldn't find anything on Edward, I tip-toed to Seth's room and stole one of his books from his shelf. I needed to know what was so bad about Slytherin.
My last session with Edward approached a little faster than I wanted it to, because I wasn't quite ready to stop seeing him. School would be starting soon, and I really had no idea what would happen when it did. Would we stay on friendly terms, or would we go back to feigning ignorance of each other's existence?
I put on a nice sundress, braided my hair, and even slapped on some lipgloss before I went to the library. I'd managed to pawn Seth off on Jacob and his sisters so I could have Edward all to myself. Not that I wanted him all to myself or anything. Shit, this was getting confusing.
Edward smiled when he saw me and pulled out my chair. He handed me my exam without a word and then started playing Angry Birds on his phone, occasionally looking over to see how I was progressing. When I finished he graded it and handed it back with a huge smile.
"Eighty-nine percent," he said. I grinned and threw my arms around him, I couldn't help myself.
"Thank you," I whispered. Edward patted me awkwardly on the back and then pushed me away.
"It was all you," he replied with a shrug. He sighed and pushed his glasses up, then looked down at his feet. "I guess I won't keep you anymore. I'll drop this off at school later…"
"So that's it?" I asked sharply.
"Um…yeah, I guess." He tilted his head at me, looking perplexed. "Did you need help with anything else?"
"Never mind," I huffed; grabbing my things, I set off through the library quickly. My flip-flops slapped against the linoleum with each step and I heard his footsteps behind me.
"Leah!" He whispered my name loudly, and I finally stopped somewhere in between "Ha-" and "Hes-" in the reference section. "What's going on?"
"I don't know, Edward. I just thought…" I trailed off and pointed between us weakly. Edward's eyes widened as he comprehended my gesture.
"I'm not sure I'm your type," he whispered.
I watched him shove his hands in his pockets with a sad look on his face. I wasn't even quite sure I had a type, but if I had to pick one it would be someone smart, witty, and polite, with just the right amount of sarcasm. Someone like Edward.
I dropped my bag at my feet and stepped toward him, resting my hand on his chest and pushing him back a few steps until his back hit the shelves behind him.
"What are you doing, Leah?" His voice was suddenly husky, his amazing green eyes trained on my face.
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good," I said softly, and reached around to cup his neck, to let my fingers get lost in that pretty hair of his and just to touch him. To my surprise, he didn't pull away.
"I thought you didn't read the books." He frowned down at me like I had been lying to him all these weeks.
"I didn't. Until this week," I admitted.
"All of them?" Edward raised an eyebrow at me and I felt his arm snake around my waist and pull me closer to him. I could feel the heat pulsing between our bodies as my eyes focused on his mouth.
"Yes." I breathed the word and watched his lips curve into a little smile. "I kind of got sucked in, I guess."
Edward didn't say anything. I worried for a split second that he was going to push me away, like the other times we'd gotten this close– but he didn't.
My breath caught in my throat as he leaned down and gently pressed his lips to mine.
I pulled away, wide-eyed. Edward looked down at me and smiled. I was about to step away, not sure of how to proceed, when his arm tightened around my waist and his other hand touched my face softly.
Then he kissed me again, harder and more intensely so that I was bending back in his arms as his lips moved with mine. When his tongue parted my lips and met mine I whimpered and clutched at him, desperately pulling him closer. I wanted to taste him, to not waste any of the moment in case just it never happened again.
"Ahem." The clearing of a throat caused us to jump apart, startled. The old librarian at the end of the Reference aisle gave us a dirty, yet pointed, look before walking away. I noticed that we'd knocked a shelf of books down, but Edward didn't seem to care.
He tipped my chin toward him again, the smile on his face so bright it almost blinded me.
"Mischief managed," he said, before pressing his lips to mine one more time.