Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.

This O/S was co-written with Hitchy for Fandom for Texas Wildfire Relief. Without her I wouldn't have been able to contribute so thanks again BB! It was a TON of fun! This monster was beta'd by MariahajilE - a world of thanks to her for getting this in under the wire!

Without further ado ...

Three Strikes

Sender: Carlisle Cullen

Date: August 31, 2011 9:13 am

Subject: A warm welcome for the 2011-2012 school year

Recipient: Forks High Teaching Staff

Greetings, Forks High Teaching Staff, and welcome to what I'm sure will prove to be another great year! I trust that everyone had a fun, safe, and relaxing summer and that we are all rejuvenated and ready to get back to the business of educating young minds and preparing our students for the future.

There are several items of note to be addressed before the students arrive next week. Rather than hold a staff meeting the week before school begins, I have chosen to address the items here within this e-mail and trust that, while you are enjoying the last few lazy summer days, spending time with your families and friends, you will find some time to read through the items listed below and take appropriate action, as needed.

I am happy to announce that Cosmetology has been added to our list of course selections for our senior students this year and that Ms. Alice Brandon will be joining our staff as our resident expert on the subject. I know that I speak for everyone on staff in extending a warm welcome to our newest member.

The annual Shriner Debate between area schools is being held early this year in mid-November. All staff members interested in being involved with the debate team this year are asked to join Ms. Angela Weber for a brief after-school meeting in the staff room on the first day of classes.

The custodial staff would like to ask the staff to remind students about proper use of the washroom facilities on the first day of school in order to avoid another toilet paper incident similar to the one that happened at the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year. Staff, please impress upon your students that they are to respect and properly utilize all school property at all times, or they will find themselves with a non-refundable, one-way ticket to the waiting room outside of my office.

Last, but certainly not least,

As some of you may know, over the summer, The Quillayute Valley School District obtained a large government grant for school improvements which has been distributed to schools across the board. I am pleased to announce that, as the board's largest school facility, Forks High School has been awarded a sum totalling $50,000. After meeting with trustees and parent council members regarding the subject of the grant, it has been decided that the funds will be distributed between Forks High's All Star, five year district champion baseball team for new equipment and jerseys and the school library. It was decided that the funds should be split roughly 75/25 in favour of the baseball team, although I trust that Coach Edward Masen and our Library Technician Isabella Swan and I will work together to decide on final numbers for the distribution of funds as a team.

All other items of concern or importance will be discussed at our opening staff meeting next Wednesday. Coffee and snacks will be provided. Please be sure to bring your personal planners and your general course outlined for this semester's courses with you.

I look forward to seeing you all next week.

Carlisle Cullen

Principal Forks High School

Sender: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: August 31, 2011 10:17a.m.

Subject: Proposed Allocation of Grant Funding

Recipient: Carlisle Cullen, ccullen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Good Morning!

I am so pleased to hear that the grant has been given to the library. There are so many things that funding can be used for. Updated encyclopedias, upgraded software for the Literature and Art databases, and, last but certainly not least, book replacements for obsolete research material. It has been several years since there have been updates made to the materials available. It is in the best interest of the students to give them the most current reference material available. This is why I must implore you to further discuss the distribution of the grant with the larger amount to be given to the library. I feel the allocated funds should benefit the entire student body, not just the students involved in the baseball program. The Booster Club does an excellent job in raising funds to support the baseball program. The library does not have a Booster Club to support it, so it would be wonderful if it had your support. Thank you for your consideration.

I. Swan

Library Technician

Forks High School

Sender: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 2, 2011 1:32 p.m.

Subject: RE: Proposed Allocation of Grant Funding

Recipient: Carlisle Cullen, ccullen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

CC: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu


Thanks for the e–mail. It's great to be back for another year. I would have responded to you sooner, but I just returned from my trip to Hawaii late last night. Before you ask, yes, we did the hike up the dormant volcano and loved it. The black sand beach was amazing, and the waves truly were unparalleled, just like you said. If that office of yours ever becomes too stuffy and the principal gig doesn't end up working out for you long term, you should definitely look into becoming a travel agent. I'd hire you at the drop of the hat. Just saying...

The news about the grant is great. The boys and I definitely appreciate the support. I took some time this morning to look over the list of requests I gave you at the end of last year. With the crew we've got coming up this season, plus the upgrades the grant will provide, I'm pretty confident that the Forks High All Stars will be able to pull off another winning season. I've already got plans to replace half of the equipment in the gym. Emmett's working with Rosalie on an updated design for the team logo to go on the new uniforms, and I'm to place a call to a contractor friend of mine this afternoon about the bleachers and the other parts of the field we talked about upgrading last year. That should bring us up right around to the amount of 75% of the grant that you suggested in your original e-mail. We might have to cut the new scoreboard off the list, but the Booster Club is willing to help out with that, so we'll have to wait and see how the rest of the costs pan out. If we budget right and the Boosters does an extra event or two, we might be able to make it happen.

Let me know if there's anything else I missed and congratulate Miss Swan on the 25% she'll get for the library. I've done the math, and I'm sure that $12,500 will be more than enough money to replace every volume of Encyclopedia Britannica that the school owns... and then some.

Look forward to seeing you out on the field at first cut tryouts again this year,


Head of Physical Education Department

Forks High School

P.S. Miss Swan, Carlisle forwarded your e-mail so that we could work on the distribution of funds together, as suggested. I looked up those encyclopedias on-line. I'm sure both you and Carlisle would be happy to know that a brand new set retails for anywhere from $600 to $1,400. You'll probably need a new box of index cards to go with that, too. That should take you to about $1,450 - tops. If you need any help figuring out what to do with the remaining $10,000 or so, let me know. The All Stars could always use another sponsor. By the way, the 'CC' button is the one underneath the 'Recipient' button at the top of your e-mail. - Masen

Sender: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 6, 2011 8:04 a.m.

Subject: RE: Proposed allocation of Grant Funding

Recipient: Carlisle Cullen, ccullen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

CC: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu


I just wanted to thank you and your lovely wife for having me over this past Labor Day weekend. Esme is always so kind as to invite me over, and I do so enjoy my chats with her regarding educational aspects, which are often overlooked by administration, such as music, art and literature. They often seem to be bulldozed by sports programs, and the children are really the only ones who suffer. I'm so glad Esme feels as strongly as I do about the subject. It's nice to have another advocate for the students.

Mrs. Cullen has even suggested a large list of research materials which, upon discussion with Susan Marsh from the English Department, will be most useful in the coming year. Since the school board has voted for an updated required reading list, I will also require use of the allocated grant money for that since the budget for the English Department is non-existent. The responsibility falls under the budget of the library. I have also received a list of reference materials needed from our new Cosmetology instructor, Alice Brandon.

All totalled, the amount comes to $53,246.24. I do realize that this is severely over the amount of the grant funding, but I am more than willing to come to a compromise with some of the items needed for the library. As I've mentioned before, I believe that the grant should benefit all of the students of Forks High School in some form or another. My assistant, Jasper, and I have been researching all avenues to stretch the grant money as far as it will go and will continue to do so with the best interests of Forks High School in mind.

Please give Esme my regards, and I'm looking forward to seeing you both at the music benefit this weekend.

I. Swan

Library Technician

Forks High School

P.S. Mr. Masen, I'm fully aware that Carlisle has suggested that we work on this together. However I was under the impression that he wanted to be involved. You have my sincerest apologizes in regards to my failure to send you a courtesy copy of my previous email, but, as you can see, my CC: button is very much in working order now. I'd also like to bring to your attention that most of the items you mentioned needing tending to (such as bleachers, scoreboards and new uniforms) are all things that were replaced two years ago before you joined our teaching staff. The materials I'm seeking the funding for haven't been replaced since the early nineties. Being the big jock you are, I'm surprised you discovered our local library does have a copy of Email for Dummies. – I. Swan

Sender: Carlisle Cullen, ccullen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 6, 2011, 10:15 a.m.

Subject: Grant Funding Allocation

Recipient: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu ; Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Good Morning Miss Swan and Mr. Masen,

I trust that you both had an enjoyable and productive first couple of days back. The year is definitely shaping up to be busy, and I, for one, am already swamped. As you both know, the last minute boundary rearrangement at the end of summer generated a rush of registrations during the last week of summer. As a result, I find myself needing to interview and employ eleven new staff members for various departments over the course of the next week. It should come as no surprise to either of you that I choose my staff very carefully and will therefore be spending the bulk of my time this week interviewing potential candidates and contacting references.

I have heard and understand both of your requests and concerns with regards to the grant money. After speaking with my lovely wife regarding the merits of some of the research materials and software programs recommended to Miss Swan for the library and considering all that the All Stars and the Phys Ed department as a whole could benefit from the injection of funds, I find myself wishing that I had $50, 000 to grant each of you to fulfill your requests. What principal wouldn't? Unfortunately I find myself in the same position most administrators of large schools do. I have a wonderfully dedicated staff with innovative ideas and the drive to make them succeed. And, unfortunately, not enough money to budget for each of their requests.

If I had the time, I would sit and sift through the merits of each of your requests with you, weigh the options carefully, and readjust the proposed allocations of funds accordingly. Unfortunately, with the current pressure of filling the holes in staffing within the week, I simply don't have time. So I suggest that, as colleagues, the two of you discuss the needs of both of your departments and come to an agreement on the allocation of funds. I know both of you personally, as well as professionally, and trust that you will both do what is in the best interest of the student body. The grant money is expected to arrive via wire transfer to the school's holding account at the beginning of next week, and the funds will need to be deposited to the correct departments immediately. I'll expect an e-mail from one or both of you regarding the decision you have arrived at by Sunday evening, at the latest.

I am more than comfortable leaving this decision in your capable hands. Thank you for your understanding in taking care of this matter for me. I hope you are both fully aware of the fact that, had circumstances been different, I would have loved to weigh an opinion on these matters, but I'm confident that the decisions you make will be fair and just. There are no two staff members on my docket who are more capable of looking out for the students' interests than you, Edward and Isabella.

Good luck with your negotiations. I look forward to hearing from you at the end of the week.

Carlisle Cullen,


Forks High School


"Excellent," I mumbled under my breath while staring at the laptop's screen with a wry smile.

"What's doin', E?" Emmett asked as he strolled into the P.E. office carrying the sign up roster for this year's rookies. "Our boy Grady hit another homer during practice this afternoon?"

"Nope," I replied, bringing my fingers up to a steeple in front of my chin and swinging around to face him at the door. Our star batter, Grady, was fantastic at practice, as usual, but that wasn't what had me in such a good mood that I was grinning like the Cheshire cat. Not at all. Carlisle's latest e-mail was what did it for me.

"What ya got over there?" Emmett asked, eyeing the screen behind me with an eyebrow quirked. He sauntered over and handed me the team sign-up sheet before leaning his muscled up frame over my shoulder and reading what Carlisle had to say. I glanced over this year's list of rookie hopefuls as he did. He finished first and let out a low whistle when he was done.

"So, you're gonna tangle with Swan over this budget stuff, huh?" he said with a wry smile of his own.

Emmett knew all about the resistance our resident encyclopedia-pushing librarian had been putting up over the split in grant money. He was the team's assistant coach, and he and I made all of the decisions regarding the team together, along with his girlfriend Rosalie, who coached the girl's All Stars. Emmett and I went back all the way to our first day of college. We played baseball together there for four years, and he had been my best friend for the past ten years or so. I trusted his judgment more than anyone else I knew. We didn't keep secrets from each other, and we always worked well as a team, both on the field and off.

"Nothing to tangle with Miss Swan about," I said nonchalantly. "The teams need the funding. Our boys and girls teams are number one across the west coast. The school board makes money off of our publicity. Top end colleges around here scout our players first for scholarships, and parents from anywhere near our district clamour to get their kids into our school because of it. She doesn't know what she's up against here."

Emmett shrugged and nodded at the same time, not really having much else to say about that. It was true in more ways than one. The school itself and the school board both benefited quite a bit from having the All Stars to claim as their own. Publicity and higher registration meant more funding and attention in all the right places, especially when it came to things like considerations for grants.

"I don't know, man. I've never met her, but I heard that Swan is one tough cookie," Emmett volunteered. I nodded and shrugged that one off much like Emmett did with my last comment. I'd heard that, too, but I was never one to shy away from a challenge.

Miss Swan did make a strong impression on me with her last e-mail. She did a lot of research on things to do with my team for her little e-mail to strike at me, but it seemed that she got some misinformation and made the critical mistake of forgetting to look into the person she was addressing in her closing comments. I may be a sports fanatic, but I doubt that anyone who knew me would label me as simply a 'jock.' Jocks were typically known for their obsession with sports and their lack of attention to academics. My Master's degree in physiotherapy from California State University was enough to prove that my baseball scholarship was not the only thing I focused on in college.

Case in point, I was the one who spent countless after school hours over the last two years at school board meetings and events lending mouth service to the team, knowing that Forks High would be in the running for this grant. I was the one who encouraged Carlisle to bring up the benefits to having two state champion baseball teams at Forks High to the board trustees at their quarterly meetings. I was the one who laid the groundwork for the school to be considered in the first place while she was busy cataloguing the copies of National Geographic that no one reads, by the way. What a waste of money that subscription was She no doubt sipped some kind of pretentious herbal tea and shushed students for talking in her sacred 'quiet space' like every other school librarian had since the beginning of time.

Like I said, Miss Swan had no idea who she was up against. I almost single-handedly convinced the Director of Education and his trustees to give Forks High the grant. If I could persuade all of the suits up the 'big house, 'or board office as most people called it, that Forks High was a top contender for the grant, convincing one mousey librarian that the All Stars were worth more of that grant money than the library was would be a piece of cake.

While Emmett pulled the student files for all of the guys who signed up for try-outs, I started to type my next e-mail to the tough librarian in question.

Sender: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 6, 2011, 5:32 p.m.

Subject: Grant Funding

Recipient: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Miss Swan,

I trust that by now you've read Carlisle's last e-mail and know that we are on our own to figure out how the grant funding is going to be distributed. I have to admit that I was impressed with the amount of effort you seemed to put in to researching the items I mentioned to Carlisle in my own e-mail. I'd like to take a moment to make a few seemingly minor but significant corrections, though.

The scoreboards and bleachers had major maintenance done two years ago and were not, in fact, replaced. Before he left and I took over, Coach Caverson had the fifteen year old scoreboard and the ten year old bleachers coated with paint in the school colours. The bleachers are in bad shape. We had four injuries related to rotting floor boards last year alone. The ancient scoreboard is a money pit, needing new bulbs every season and uses up a ton of electricity like many old appliances do. It costs the school a lot of money in upkeep. The new digital ones are energy efficient and would cut maintenance costs down by two thirds each year (roughly $400 saved per season).

The uniforms were, in fact, replaced two years ago as you stated, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be replaced again. Our guys and girls teams are number one on the west coast for a reason. They play well, because they play hard. All of their efforts lead to a lot of dirt and grime building up on their uniforms every single game. Two years worth of that and a strong dose of sweat and teenage hormones can really stick to the fabric, if you know what I mean. If not, think of it like this. Would you prefer to cuddle up with a copy of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that two years worth of Fork's High English students have sneezed on, spilled drinks on, wiped their greasy hands on, and tossed around in their filthy backpacks at night, or would you rather have a fresh new copy for yourself?

I hear what you're saying about getting some new materials for the library for Miss Brandon's subject area. That makes sense, since we've technically added an entire department with her classes. You mentioned that Jasper Hale is your assistant? Well, his sister Rosalie coaches the girl's All Stars, and I happen to know from chatting with her that their mother works as an editor for Vogue Magazine. Maybe she can give you some tips on where to find some of that stuff at a bargain. Maybe she'll donate a free yearly subscription to the school. It's worth a shot at asking.

I also think that you're right about the students needing research material, but have you considered that you might be approaching that one from the wrong angle? The internet is where most students get their information from nowadays, Miss Swan. As a matter of fact, most students prefer to look things up via a search engine as opposed to thumbing through pages of a book in the library. If you're not familiar with it, there is a very common and reliable website that people across the globe have been using for research. It's called Google. And I'm pretty sure it's just as effective and informative as the high end reference materials you listed in your last e-mail. Not to mention, it's a lot more cost effective. If you're not familiar with the concept, you can look it up. Check Internet for Dummies. It should be catalogued right next to E-mail for Dummies in the Reference section. Maybe you should approach the IT department for funding or instructions for how to use Google. I know a guy down there named Newton. I'm sure he'd be glad to help you out.

When you work out how much money you can save off of your 'wish list' by encouraging students to use the internet, let me know. Our guys and girls teams can't warm up for games by bench pressing computers or Googling baseball stats on-line, so it looks like we could put what you'd be saving to good use.

E. Masen

Head of Physical Education Department

Forks High School

P.S. You're swinging strikes when you're making bids to spend big money on reference materials, Swan. The internet is the obvious answer to that problem. Let me know when you're ready to step up to bat with something more substantial than a twig to hit with.

I hit the send button with a smile on my face.

Take that, Miss Swan.

Time to play hardball.


I was so infuriated after reading "Coach" Masen's email. For an educated person, this man was an idiot. And not only was he an idiot, he was a pompous ass.

"Bella? Is everything all right?" my assistant, Jasper, asked softly.

I tried to quickly gather myself and gave Jasper a rundown of my communications with Carlisle and Edward Masen. I pulled up my staff email and let him see for himself Masen's latest retort.

Jasper growled.

"Don't let him belittle you, Bella. He doesn't know how educated you are, and he's apparently not aware of how much you know about him. Remember, he is probably unaware you were once an athlete yourself. Use that to your advantage. If you'd like, I can pull up the district databases and see exactly what was spent on what."

Jasper was right. I was once a state volleyball champion. I lived for the game, but I was thankful my mother pushed me to be just as good academically. I went on to college and played for my college team on a full ride volleyball scholarship, and I was hoping to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Volleyball team until one fateful game, when I went in for an attack and my teammate wasn't paying attention, I fell to the floor damaging my knee and ankle. Even with rehabilitation or physical therapy, I'd never be able to play again competitively. I'd never been so thankful that my mother insisted I get a good education, because she always said I might need it one day, and that day came sooner than I ever could have imagined.

"Thank you, Jasper. I'd really appreciate that. Vogue Magazine? Does he think we want to teach our students how to become primadonna supermodels? Good gracious, he just has no clue."

"Calm down, Bella. Let's sit and think about this rationally. Let's do our research and go in with our guns a-blazin.'"

For the next few days, I gathered as much information as Jasper and I could find. He did pull up the work orders for the bleachers and the scoreboard. I admit that I was humbled when I found that the bleachers had indeed only been repainted and the sign indeed had only been repaired. I got on the internet, that thing Mr. Masen seemed to think was so foreign to me, and began to research these things he claimed he needed.

I wracked my brain for any ideas as to how to get the things he claimed the baseball team 'had to have,' so I called my dad to see if he knew anyone who could help me with what I needed. As always, I knew he'd pull through for me. Three names and phone numbers in hand, I made the calls I needed to make.

A few days later, with all my guns loaded, I replied to Mr. Masen's email.

Sender: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 9, 2011 1:14 p.m.

Subject: Grant Funding

Recipient: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Mr. Masen,

I do apologize for the delay in my reply. I have in fact seen Carlisle's latest email, and I felt it best that I collected all my facts before addressing the issues at hand.

After some thorough research with my assistant, Jasper Whitlock – not Hale as you'd originally assumed, we discovered some rather interesting information. You are correct that the bleachers and scoreboard had only been repaired and repainted two years ago. For that mistake again, I apologize. The interesting information we discovered was that the total on the repairs was approximately $1,485.00, when the school board allocated and approved $8,000.00. Since then there have been no further work orders or invoices from the Athletic Department requesting a payout from that account. This information has been confirmed by Jasper's mother – Ilene Whitlock who is the school accountant.

Since you are so keen on being thrifty, and quick to suggest that I get in touch with Ms. Hale's mother to request a subscription to Vogue for Miss Brandon's classes, I've taken the liberty of taking care of a few of the Athletic Department's issues for you. Pacific West Steel and Aluminum has offered to provide FHS with new bleachers at cost. These new bleachers are rust free and come with a 5 – year warranty, and at $498.24 each, they are quite a bargain. I have also been in contact with Solar Score, a company located in Sequim who has agreed to donate a solar-powered scoreboard with a remote control valued at $5,995.00 to Forks High. I'm quite sure that you're also ready to scoff at the thought of a solar powered scoreboard due to the cloudy nature of our location in the Olympic Peninsula, but this particular scoreboard actually runs off of very little sunlight and has a re-chargeable battery backup. The owner of the company has also agreed to come out and install the new scoreboard for us and remove the old one at no charge. Not only is the new scoreboard considered a 'green' product, it will save the district a considerable amount of money where energy is concerned. Finally, Sue Clearwater from All Things Engravable in Port Angeles is a dear friend of my family, and she has agreed to order new uniforms for both the boys and girls teams and embroider them at cost. The beauty of these companies that have agreed to so generously provide their products and time is that they are all local and it's nice to support the businesses that over the years will continue to support our programs.

Speaking of Miss Whitlock's classes, the school board has decided that due to the large number of Forks High Students interested in the Cosmetology Program, that these particular classes be added to the curriculum as a part of the Regional Occupational Program. Cosmetology is an art that goes far beyond the superficial world in fashion magazines. Chemistry and Anatomy are two things you certainly won't learn from a subscription to Vogue, Mr. Masen. Miss Brandon's list of requirements for her classes total less than $400.00, so I'm sure we won't have trouble using the allocation for such an insignificant amount if it helps a much needed and wanted program.

As for the issue of new resource materials for the library, if you were as educated as you'd like to think you are, you'd know that internet resources such as Wikipedia and Google are not credible resources due to the fact that they can be edited by anyone. Information on the internet is often unreliable and is not acceptable for research. The school would need to subscribe to credible on-line sources such as National Geographic or even EBSCO, which now offers an online library to students who have an e-reader. EBSCO is a valuable investment, it would severely cut down on the amount of money the English Department is requesting for materials considering that students who don't have e-readers would be able to download the content onto their mobile phones. Provided that the computer system in the library is upgraded, EBSCO could potentially replace all the research materials that need updating. It will also allow the students to have updated book selections at their fingertips, books that the library has not had the budget for thus far. Titles such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games and the Twilight Saga. All titles that have helped re-introduce reading and literature to students who have yet to reap the benefits of it.

Not only would the upgrade for the library's computer system include current software for research, but it would also include software for the barcode system that nearly every school in the state has switched over to including Forks Elementary and Forks Middle School. We are the last school to switch over to this new system. It will allow the students to log in using their student ID card and see if we have a book title they are looking for as well as check to see what books they have checked out from the library and when they are due.

If it's true that we boast having the 'best athletes on the west coast', then we should educate them as such. Should something happen to these students later on in life and they are not able to continue sports as a way of life, I'm sure they'll appreciate having a solid education to fall back on, and it's our job to provide that for them. I'm sure as an 'educated' man you can understand that, Mr. Masen.

I. Swan

Library Technician

Forks High School

P.S. Good thing I took care of the bleachers, scoreboard and uniform issues, but then again your players can't warm up with them either. I'd be more than happy to lend them my twigs to hit with since I obviously can handle playing with the big boys.

I hit the send button with a satisfied smirk.

Take that Masen.

If you want to play you better bring your A game.


"Do you believe this shit?" I mumbled under my breath at Emmett. He had just finished reading over the latest e-mail from Miss Swan in what was turning into a grant budget fiasco.

I heard Emmett whistle a low note and chuckle darkly. "They sure weren't kidding about that one, were they? She seems like one tough cookie. Newton went to see her about the computers. Says she looks a lot sweeter than she sounds, if you know what I mean."

"Yeah well, at the moment she's dipping into our cookie jar so I'd rather focus on the issue at hand," I grumbled. "I really don't care if Newton gets off on loafers, baggy skirts and thick cardigans. She's a librarian, he's a tech guy – it's probably a match made in socially awkward heaven."

I clicked open a new tab on my computer screen and Googled Solar Score to look up their credentials. I had no clue how she managed to get them to agree to 'donate' a six thousand dollar solar score board to the school. There had to be a catch.

"I don't know, E. Newton did date Stanley for a while last year. She's not bad looking or awkward," he said and then snickered at my disgusted huff at the mention of Stanley-the-Snake's name. She wasn't half bad looking, but the problem with Stanley was that she was the opposite of socially awkward. She was everywhere, spoke to everyone and was in everyone's business. Not to mention that she'd repeatedly and not-so-subtly suggested that she'd like to be all up in my business - which definitely wasn't going to happen. I was single and she was single, but that was about the only thing we had in common. I liked women that were independent, smart and naturally beautiful. Stanley was clingy, overly made-up and not the brightest bulb in the Drama Department's billboard, either. She was ok… just definitely not my type.

As I glanced over the Solar Score's webpage I found what might prove to be our first stumbling block with the 'generous' donation.

"Check this out," I mumbled to Emmett as I clicked the small link to 'Sponsorships' on the bottom right hand corner of the screen. The page loaded, sporting half a dozen pictures of kids in or on various athletic arenas and fields. It turns out that Solar Score sponsored quite a few recreational and competitive sports teams in the area. The problem was that each and every team wore a jersey with the in Solar Score's logo colors with the company's name plastered across the front in large, bold lettering. School sports teams couldn't wear jerseys with sponsor's names on them – it was one of the main stumbling blocks we had in getting sponsors. The company's colors were royal blue and green, which also wouldn't work because Forks High school colors were maroon, gold and white. I was willing to bet a hundred bucks of my own money that the company was looking for visual representation in exchange for the scoreboard, and that just couldn't happen with our uniforms.

"That won't work," Emmett said decisively, picking up on what I was thinking without me having to say it.

"I know," I said, and smirked at the screen. In the back of my mind I felt a little guilty over being smug about this potential flaw with a large donation that would save the school a lot of money and potentially benefit the students. But I was starting to enjoy my little competition with Miss Swan over the grant money. She was clever and resourceful and probably a lot more intelligent then I'd originally given her credit for. She'd done her research and networked with people to get what she wanted – donations for me and more money for her. She was making this a real challenge for me, and as I was an athlete at heart, a little 'friendly competition' was what I lived for.

"What are planning, E?" Emmett said with a smirk of his own. No doubt he saw the competitive glint in my eye flare at the thought of really giving Miss Swan a run for her money. We'd played together for years and he'd seen it enough to know that once I was into it, I never backed down from a challenge.

I chuckled and shook my head.

"It's on, Em. I'm bringing the heat," I mumbled, using my old saying from our college days about brining my A game to kick the other team's ass. Miss Swan just bought herself a non-refundable ticket semi-pro's, starring yours truly. Emmett laughed and clapped me on the shoulder before wishing me luck and heading off to get ready for his last class of the day. I had the rest of the day to work in the Phys Ed office because my grade twelve class was busy attending their first assembly about applying to colleges. I had a ton of prep work to do for the health portion of the Grade 9 program that was starting next week, and some marking to do for the review quiz I'd given them the day before, but I officially had zero interest in getting that done at the moment. I planned to do it later tonight after dinner. It would take a couple hours out of my own personal time, but as a teacher that was nothing new for me.

I jotted down the phone number for Solar Score quickly and clicked back to Google, which I still believed to, be a reliable source of information if you knew how to sift through valid and invalid sources of information. There was a lot of information on the internet, and I agreed with Miss Swan about using for academic purposes to a point. A lot of the information was unreliable, irrelevant, or sometimes not even true. The students would need to learn to check up on their references and validate the claims made on various websites to make sure that what they were offering was actually what they needed. Much like I was planning on doing with all of the generous 'donations' Miss Swan had garnered for the team. It was a valuable life skill to have. Once students graduated and made their way out into the real world they were going to have to find the information they needed on a daily basis without the help of programs like EBSCO. It was a useful program; I'd used it before, but not necessarily worth the investment. If we took the time to educate the students about how to use the internet properly and taught them how to be discriminate when they researched, they could easily get by using a basic search engine to find what they needed.

I typed in Pacific West Steel, clicked search and settled in for an afternoon of validating and even a little negotiating of my own. If I was lucky, within a couple of hours I'd be firing off an e-mail to Miss Swan in the form of a Masen-Splitter. Pitching splitters was my specialty in my college days. It was why I was scouted for semi-pro teams by spring of my freshman year. Not everyone can regularly throw a fastball that dips down toward the plate at the last second – but I could. They were hard to predict and even harder to hit. Miss Swan would need some serious skills to step up to bat with her twig and hit this one out of the park.

She wants to hit with the big boys? She's got it.

Three hours, five phone calls and a couple of e-mails to Rosalie later, I was standing on the mound, winding up and getting ready to pitch with a determined smile on my face.

Sender: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 9, 2011, 3:45 p.m.

Subject: Hitting With the Big Boys

Recipient: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Miss Swan,

I have to say that I'm impressed with the amount of time and effort you put into finding donors and inexpensive alternatives to the All Star's needs. I'm sure the team members will be happy to know that their resident school librarian has been doing all she can to support their safety and promote their success, both on and off the field. I apologize for the late-day reply, but I wanted to make sure that I followed up your innovative and resourceful solutions with an equally innovative, resourceful response.

I had the opportunity to look into the arrangements you set up for the score board, bleachers and uniforms this afternoon. This is what I found out:

Solar Score was prepared to donate the expensive and very much needed score board in exchange for advertising space on our uniforms. I'm sure you're not aware of this, Miss Swan, but high schools in the QVSD can't wear sponsored gear. The school board feels that it takes away from the sport. I've arranged to speak with the owner myself tomorrow morning to see if we can work something else out. So, in short, thanks for the potential lead on this one. I'll let you know how it goes.

Pacific West made an honest donation with the materials for the bleachers, no strings attached, and that is a definite help. Unfortunately, material costs for bleachers are the inexpensive part of replacing them. It's the labor to have them put together that is costly. I spoke with my contractor friend, Demitri Aro and he has agreed to put together a team of guys to do the work for us for just over five grand. That's a couple grand cheaper than all of their competitor's pricing, so that's probably who we'll use.

I also spoke with Sue Clearwater about her offer to order and embroider our team uniforms at cost. She was really nice and eager to us help out, which is fantastic by the way, however, when I faxed over a copy of our new team logo she said it would be too complicated for her machine's to complete. She has older machines in her shop, which work fine for her purposes, but out logo is professional grade stuff and needs to be done with machines that can handle the complexity of the design. I would have kept the old logo, but it hasn't been changed or updated since the eighties, and let's face it, we can't go out and compete as state champions with uniforms that look like they were designed for the Footloose era. If we want to look like the champions we are, we need to update our style. Ms. Clearwater still offered to order the shirts for us at cost, so all we have to do now is find another company to embroider them and then we're all set. So, again, thanks for the heads up on that. Mrs. Clearwater was very helpful. She seems like a good friend to have.

Also, while we're on the topic, I spoke to a good friend of both of ours this afternoon – Carlisle Cullen. I mentioned the lack of the barcode technology in the library to him, since you brought it up. The two other schools I've taught in with this school board both had it already, so I thought it was kind of odd that Fork's High didn't. Apparently Carlisle did too, because he assumed that we already did. I have to say he was really surprised to hear you that you hadn't mentioned anything to him sooner. The school board sets aside a budget for updating basic technology in every school every year, which Carlisle was planning to use on purchasing additional iPad's for the tech department with this year. In light of finding out that the library was in need of a barcode scanning system he decided to divert the budget to purchase that for you instead. No need to thank me for that, by the way. Carlisle said that the board expects to be updating basic technology within the school as needed and would be happier spending the money on updating our library from the older archaic system to the new one. It's what the budget is meant for, unlike the grant, which is meant to be spent on upgrading or financing things that the school board does not have a budget for at all – like new scoreboards and team uniforms.

I put Miss Brandon in touch with Lillian Hale, Rosalie's mother, the editor from Vogue magazine. She has many connections in the worlds of fashion and cosmetology and has generously offered to donate some time, money and materials to our newest department. Apparently Vogue's upper level management thinks its great PR to invest in the 'budding creative youth' of the industry (her term, not mine). Miss Brandon should be working out the details of a deal that will equip her students with the latest materials and cutting edge information on hair, cosmetics and fashion – at no cost to the school.

I have to say that, after I spoke with Sue Clearwater this afternoon, I was surprised that you don't already realize what the remainder of the funds from the school board's check to the athletic department is for. The board only intended for a small amount of that to be used on the scoreboard repair. The remaining six thousand dollars is sitting in the department's slush fund to be used for the Angela B. Webber Memorial Scholarship fund at the end of this year when this cycle's selected athlete is due to graduate. The school board can only afford to grant it once every four years or so to the athlete who has demonstrated outstanding ability in their chosen sport and has maintained a solid 4.0 or above grade point average during their senior year. It's extremely difficult to earn and this cycle one of Forks High's athletes was chosen when she entered her sophomore year. She's done an exceptionally good job maintaining both her GPA and her batting average on the girl's All Star team and is hoping to use that scholarship towards her tuition next fall. As a former recipient of that scholarship eight years ago, I would have thought the answer to that inquiry would have been obvious to you, Miss Swan.

Yes, as I mentioned, Ms. Clearwater was very helpful in many ways this afternoon. She was only too happy to share how proud she was of you when you were younger for working so hard, earning the scholarship and going off to college to follow your dreams, both academically and on the volleyball court. She said that she was as devastated as you and your father were after you were injured and no longer able to play, but was ecstatic to hear from you and learn that you are giving back to the athletic department at Forks High after all these years.

As a former competitive athlete and graduate of this school, you must know how important it is, not only to the All Stars, but to the entire athletic department, that we're able to upgrade the materials and equipment in our gym's facility. Some equipment like treadmills and weight machines have not been replaced since your days at FHS. Using the grant money to upgrade those and other pieces of equipment will not only benefit the school's extra-curricular teams, but the entire student body during their Phys Ed classes.

I understand what your requests for the upgrades to the school library will provide students with, Miss Swan. The fact that I went on to earn my MPT (that's a masters in physiotherapy, by the way) after I suffered my own sport's related injury and couldn't play ball full time anymore, should tell you that I know exactly how important it is for our star athletes to focus on their educations as well as their sport. I just don't think it has to cost a fortune in pricey research materials for them to be successful. Most of the information is out there and accessible through the internet for free. If they're taught how to search for what they need properly, to be discriminate and check the validity of their resources – which are valuable tools for real life, anyway – they should have no problems achieving academic success.

So, where does that leave us in terms of dividing up this grant money? Well, Miss Swan… it seems we're at an impasse. I have to say that after talking with Sue Clearwater this afternoon I'm very curious to meet with Bella Swan, former volley ball legend at FHS and recipient of the prestigious Angela B. Webber Scholarship fund. I know its Saturday, but since Carlisle wants to have this settled by Monday morning, what would you say to meeting with me at the diner this afternoon so we can discuss this in person?

Just e-mail to let me know what works for you. I'll get the alert on my cell phone wherever I am.

Edward Masen, MPT, .

I hit send and leaned back in my chair with a satisfied and curious smirk on my face.

Not just your average dumb jock now, am I, Miss Swan? I thought wryly.

As I mulled over that thought something else occurred to me that suddenly had me feeling eager to land a meeting with the headstrong Miss swan this afternoon.

If she's been underestimating me… is it possible that I've been underestimating her?

There was only one way to find out. I threw Miss Swan the Masen Splitter alright… it was time to see if she was willing to step up to bat and take a swing at it.


I growled to myself as I pictured Coach Masen and his smug grin as he fired off another email to me. How DARE he follow behind my good intentions to check up on everything that I'd done for him and his precious All Star Teams? Perhaps he's done a very small amount of research on me, flaunting my injury and subsequent loss in my face, the fact remains that he knows very little about me. He doesn't realize that I'm a fighter, and he's going to have to dig a little deeper if he truly wants to shake me.

"Bella?" Jasper asks softly from somewhere behind me.

"Sorry … I just received another lovely reply from Coach Masen."

Jasper leaned over and scrolled through the email on my computer screen. He couldn't help but chuckle.

"Are you going to meet with him?"

"Well, I guess I have no other choice because this has to be settled by Monday."

Jasper nodded.

"Don't let him rattle you, Bella. You're smarter and know how to play the game better. Just because you've been benched doesn't mean you can't call the plays. He wants you to play his game. Just remember that it's the catcher that decides what pitch is thrown."

I nodded. Jasper was right, and if Masen wanted to play, I'd play, but my goal was to beat him at his own game.

"Hey, Jas thanks for coming in on a Saturday and helping me, and thanks for being supportive through this whole grant fiasco."

"No problem, Bella. Hey, if you need someone to talk to after you meet up with Masen, you call me, you hear?"

"I will, Jas. Thanks again."

I waited until Jasper gathered his things and left for the day before I took a deep breath and replied to Coach Masen's email.

Sender: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 9, 2011 4:05 p.m.

Subject: Little Girls Can Hit It Out of the Park

Recipient: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Mr. Masen,

I do realize that we only have a limited amount of time to resolve this issue. I would be more than happy to meet with you this evening to discuss the issues at hand. I'll meet you at the diner at 6:00 p.m.

I. Swan

Highly Underestimated Library Technician, Dr. LA, MEd

Forks High School

Soon after I hit send, I collected my things and locked up my library. Yes, it's true, I was highly overqualified for my current job position, but the truth of the matter was that I needed to stay close to Forks to care for my father. His health was declining and there were certain things he just couldn't do for himself. I'd had offers for a teaching position at the University of Oregon in Portland, Pepperdine University in Southern California as well as Boston College in Massachusetts. All of them fantastic opportunities, but I couldn't bring myself to leave my father to fend for himself or depend on people who weren't his family.

I made my way home to change out of my dusty clothes after a day of sorting through old books and cleaning shelves. I took a shower and dressed casually in a pair of dark wash jeans and a cobalt blue wrap sweater. I pulled on my favorite pair of knee high black suede boots, and dried my long chestnut hair so it hung straight down my back as opposed to pulling it up into a ponytail and clipping it out of the way. I'd never been one for dressing up to impress someone and I wasn't about to start now, and while it wasn't what I usually wore to work, it was what I was most comfortable in – next to my old volleyball uniform and my sweats.

I pulled into the parking lot of the diner at ten minutes to six. I walked in and greeted Emily whose family owned the diner and who I'd practically grown up with. She played volleyball with me in high school. She was one of the few who never looked at me with pity after my injury, instead she looked at me in admiration, and when I asked her why several months after my injury, she replied it was because of how strong I was and because I fought to not let my injury get the best of me.

"Hey Bella, how are you?"

"I'm good, Em. How are you?"

"I'm good too," She said as she patted her protruding and very pregnant belly. "I'll be better when this one finally gets here. After this one, I'm done. So … what brings you into the diner on a Saturday? You were just here with your dad on Thursday."

"I know, I'm meeting with someone to discuss grant budgeting issues."

"Ooh, fun stuff," Emily said dryly. "Just let me know if I can get you anything."

I sat for a few minutes scrolling through my phone just in case Coach Masen had emailed me back saying that he wouldn't be able to make it after all when I noticed a handsome, bronze haired man walk into the diner. He was dressed casually in a pair of dark wash jeans with a grayish button up shirt and a dark green t-shirt underneath. His hair was untamed, but I wouldn't call it bed-head, and his eyes were a sparkling green that were accentuated by the color of his t-shirt. He was gorgeous.

I quickly looked down because I didn't want to be caught gawking at him, but I could hear footsteps coming my way.

"Isabella Swan?"

"Yes?" I answered as I looked up into his bright green eyes.

"I'm …"

"Edward Masen," I breathed.

Our eyes met for a moment before his eyes moved to sweep over my sitting form.

"Yeah, I'm Edward Masen," he chuckled. "It's nice to finally meet you in person, Miss Swan."

"Nice to meet you too, Mr. Masen, but please, call me Bella."

"Are you sure you wouldn't prefer Doctor?"

"Quite sure actually. I was merely pointing out your indiscretion, Mr. Masen. Now are we going to discuss the matter of the grant allotment or would you like me to fill you in on the rest of my educational and personal achievements since you seem so interested in them?"

"That won't be necessary, Bella. I apologize for my indiscretion. Now, about this grant allotment …."

"Which reminds me, Mr. Masen, I've gone out of my way to help you with the things you supposedly 'need' for your All Star Team. Then you have the gall to call the companies I've been in contact with to check up on what I've arranged. The first item being a new scoreboard. For your information, I've spoken with the owner of the company, Waylon Forbes, who is a good friend of my father's which is why I contacted him in the first place. He is donating the scoreboard, no strings attached. He is well aware of the school district's mandate that the uniforms be free of advertisements for sponsors. He once played for Forks High School's baseball team himself. Had you bothered to speak with the owner you would have gotten the correct information instead of false information from an idiot employee.

"The second item is the bleachers. William Black is the owner of Pacific West Steel and Aluminum, and he is also a good friend of my father's. In fact, he is my father's best friend. I've spoken to Billy and he has not only agreed to sell the Athletic Department these new bleachers at COST, but he's also agreed to deliver them pre-fabricated and install them. So your contractor "friend" won't be needed after all, and neither will the expense of hiring him. Again, had you bothered to ask me or ask to speak with the owner when you called to check up on me, you would have known this information."

I realized that I had just unleashed a good part of my anger at the handsome man in front of me, but I was still so upset with the fact that he had written me off as some shy, bookworm of a librarian. Yes, I may be shy at times and I'm definitely a bookworm, but I'm certainly not stupid nor am I inept. He must also think me inferior as he didn't offer for me to call him by his first name.

He looked at me wide eyed as I finished speaking, seemingly shocked at what I had unleashed on him.

"Bella … please, call me Edward. I apologize for second guessing you. It really was good of you to extend an olive branch and make these arrangements for the Athletic Department, but the fact of the matter is that we are at an impasse here. There are things that you need for the library and there are things that I need for the Athletic Department."

"Things like equipment?"

"Yes. I realize that you're not blind to the needs of the Athletic Department, Bella, just like I'm not blind to the needs of the library, but the fact of the matter is that these kids need safe equipment to use, just like they need updated research materials. I just happen to think that safety overrules education in this instance."

I pinched my nose between my fingers and sighed.

"Edward … what I'm asking for is huge I know, but it doesn't just benefit the library. It will benefit the entire SCHOOL. I no longer need the funding for the barcoding program as Carlisle has so graciously seen to it that it will be implemented as soon as possible. I've worked in this school for the past year and a half and I've lobbied for that program as long as I've been here, but it's been overlooked until someone at the Athletic Department suggested that it was pertinent that the library receive it. How is it that you can do in a few hours what I couldn't do in a year and a half?"

"All I did was ask, Bella. I pointed it out to Carlisle that we were the only school in the District that didn't have it. I also pointed out that the iPads were being purchased for the IT Department and that the money would be better allocated in bringing us up to date with the rest of the District."

I shook my head. It was amazing that he'd been granted his request on the first try. It made me want to fight that much harder for the EBSCO program.

"Well, if asking's all it takes, Edward, then please give me enough of the grant allotment to purchase the EBSCO program and purchase the textbooks that Ms. Brandon needs."


I walked into the diner dressed casually in what I usually wear to meet with my family on the weekends. Normally, I might dress up a bit for a meeting with a colleague, but since I was invited to having dinner at my parent's place in a couple of hours and would most likely be spending a good portion of my time on the floor playing with my young niece, Maggie, I decided to stick with jeans and a t-shirt topped with a dress shirt that I left unbuttoned. After all, I was meeting with the school librarian, and it wasn't like they were generally known for keeping up with fashion.

I flashed a smile at Emily, the owner of the place who I'd gotten to know pretty well over the last couple of years through her husband Sam. I played ball recreationally on weekends to stay loose and Sam and a bunch of other guys who lived on the reservation just outside of Forks were on the team.

Emily smiled back brightly and asked what she could do for me while playfully waving off a tip from an elderly lady to her left. She was really sweet, one of the good ones. Sam was lucky man to land a girl like her. Good thing he knew it, too. He worshipped the ground his wife walked on.

"I'm supposed to be meeting with a colleague –"

She chuckled and cut me off before I could finish.

"Bella Swan?" she asked raising an eyebrow.

I smiled and chuckled with her, rubbing the back of my neck with one hand and wondering how she managed to know who I was meeting with before I even got the name out of my mouth.

"Um, yeah," I confirmed.

She tilted her head to the left.

"She's already here. Third booth from the back."

In nodded and thanked her with a smile.

She chuckled again and shook her head, smiling ruefully.

"Don't thank me yet, Masen. You've got your work cut out for you."

I shook my head and glanced at the floor as I walked away, mumbling 'so I hear' and listened to Emily tell me to let her know if I needed anything.

I slowed my roll a little bit as I approached the booth she mentioned, eyeing a pair of petite feet and slender calves clad in a set of really hot, knee high suede boots.

Huh. Not exactly the loafers I'd been expecting.

My eyes dragged up and over a crossed set of trim, but muscular thighs, wrapped in jeans, a soft blue sweater that clung to slender hips, a tiny waist, and Christ, one hell of a nice chest – not too big, not too small, just enough curve to gently balance out an overall amazing frame…

…up over a hint of cleavage – a respectable but very tempting amount…

…up over long, slender, creamy white neck…

… and into a heart shaped face with smooth, pale, flawless skin, soft pink lips with just a hint of a pout and the warmest pair of dark brown, almond shaped eyes I'd ever seen.

Her cheeks were flushed with just the slightest hint of pale pink.

Her dark, shiny hair fell softly around her, over her shoulders, framing her face.

This was so not what I'd been expecting.

She was beautiful – more than beautiful, and witty, and smart, and independent, and…

I was so screwed.

Not literally, but damn if I didn't wish I was at that point.

I heard myself say her name as if it were a question. I didn't really have complete control over my faculties at that point, but I decided to cut myself some slack. I figured that meeting one of the most gorgeous women I'd ever seen was good cause for a minor verbal filter failure. Besides, I really was questioning if I had the right table in the back of my mind at that point. I mean, Newton said she was sweet looking, but he didn't mention that she was a complete knock-out. And whoever heard of a drop-dead gorgeous librarian anyway?

"Yes?" she asked me quietly.

Well, I'll be damned. It really is her. Holy shit.

"I'm…" I started and then trailed off absently. Shocked would have been the next word out of my mouth had I not stopped. Or amazed. Or… yeah, screwed.

"Edward Masen," she mumbled, snapping me out of my stupor. She didn't sound shocked or amazed to meet me, and I could easily guess why. That helped ground me a bit. I had been strong arming this woman over budget sharing for days. I met her eyes briefly before taking one last brief look at her from head to toe, trying to memorize what I'd seen in case she never wanted to see me again after our little meeting today, which I really hoped wouldn't be the case, but I was definitely not going to hold my breath while holding out hope on this one.

I chuckled and confirmed my name, sealing my fate as the guy who'd made her life miserable for the last few days, before I slid into the booth across from her.

"It's nice to finally meet you in person Miss Swan," I said with a smile. Nice was an understatement, but I figured after harassing her for days, I'd start with a small compliment and work my way up to something better if I could.

"Nice to meet you too, Mr. Masen, but please, call me Bella," she said matter-of-factly. Her tone reminded me so much of the formal one she used in her e-mails that it made me smile.

"Are you sure you wouldn't prefer Doctor?" I asked cheekily, sliding right back into the tongue and cheek banter I'd used with her in my own messages.

"Quite sure actually. I was merely pointing out your indiscretion, Mr. Masen," she responded seriously. "Now are we going to discuss the matter of the grant allotment or would you like me to fill you in on the rest of my educational and personal achievements since you seem so interested in them?"

And there she was. The saucy, no-nonsense, determined lady I'd been haggling over the grant money with was starting out strong, reminding me of the fact that I'd completely underestimated her and offering to school me on the virtues of expensive on-line research databases for the school. This was definitely the Miss Swan I'd been dealing with… just all rolled up in a much more attractive package than I'd anticipated. And Christ… I'd be damned if her wit combined with how amazing she looked wasn't one of the most alluring combinations I'd ever come across. I'd never been the type of guy to be attracted to a woman just for her looks. I looked and admired, don't get me wrong, but I'd always liked to get sense for who a girl was before deciding if I was really and truly attracted to her or not. Not that she'd given me even the slightest hint that she cared whether or not I was attracted to her – which I most definitely was. So it really shouldn't matter what I liked or didn't like in a woman and I should probably have been considering backing down and giving her what she wanted to get on her good side if I ever did want it to matter to her…

Still, she was up for the challenge… and nothing said sexy to me more than an intelligent woman who wasn't afraid to fight for what she wanted. It was a risk to keep pushing her buttons, and I knew it, but I was so in on this one. This was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Game on, Miss Swan.

"That won't be necessary, Bella. I apologize for my indiscretion. Now, about this grant allotment …." I began, emphasizing her name and the word 'indiscretion' to convey that I'd heard her loud and clear and was definitely not planning on underestimating her again. As a matter of fact, I was hoping to learn a thing or two from her in this little battle of the wills we had going on.

She definitely didn't disappoint. As a matter of fact, she launched right into a fervent explanation about how I'd gotten several things wrong in my last e-mail to her, how she'd already anticipated and cleverly worked around the problems I'd presented her with and ultimately, how FHS really was getting a brand-new score board from Solar Score and a completely installed set of bleachers. For free. No strings attached.

By the time she was done explaining my mouth was hanging open a bit in shock at how clever and resourceful she was – and how beautifully stubborn and whole heartedly dedicated she was in getting her point across. Fact of the matter was, she kind of took my breath away.

As soon as I could force my mouth to move and stop catching flies, I apologized again for underestimating her, directly this time, but then moved on to point out that we were still at an impasse with the budget. The free scoreboard and bleachers would help out, but there was still thousands of dollars worth of old, unsafe exercise equipment to be replaced and her plans for the grant money just wouldn't allow for that.

We bantered back and forth over it a bit. She surprised me by acknowledging that she was asking for a lot. It was the first concession of any kind that she had made, and she did back it up with some serious evidence that spending the money on the library and Miss Brandon's resources would be worth it. I figured after hearing that sort of argument from her that we might be able to come to some sort of compromise.

I sighed and leaned back in my seat, staring down into my black coffee with a smirk on my face. I was right. This was fun. She was definitely giving me a run for my money – literally – but in a completely well thought out and reasonable way.

I decided that I would be the first one to bend. She had, after all, come up with some pretty amazing resources for the athletic department. The least I could do was work things in her favor a little more.

"Ok, Bella. I see your point. I'm really grateful for things you managed to do for my department so… let's see what we can work out between us here," I said suggestively before glancing up at her with one eyebrow cocked and a half smile. Would she go for it? She had to know I was suggesting a compromise with the way I worded it. I was willing to give some things up, but I was definitely not planning on giving in.

She stared at me for a moment, going completely still, her wide brown eyes locked on mine. After a few seconds she blinked a few times and jumped right back into the action.

"What have you got in mind?" she asked quietly, her brown eyes trained on my openly, but quizzically, biting her lip a bit and completely distracting me from what I had planned.

Her soft brown eyes and her teeth, sinking into that soft pouty, pink lip were probably the first signs of vulnerability I'd seen from her yet. A slow mile crept onto my face as I looked at her. She was beautiful, intelligent, witty… and she had a soft and reasonable side. I was quickly realizing that I had completely underestimated her. Not just her looks, or her ability to take on a challenge with someone like yours truly, but overall. I'd judged her before I met her, and I was swiftly being put in my place for my mistake. And I couldn't be happier about it.

"A compromise?" I suggested lightly. "We could write down our wish lists, prioritize them – together – and then decide how to divide up the money between the top few items on both of our lists."

I paused, feeling my smile stretch out into a grin as she quirked and eyebrow at me and took a moment to think seriously about my offer. I wouldn't have expected anything less. This girl was definitely too intelligent to jump into anything important head first without considering all of her options.

"You've got a deal, Edward," she said after another moment or two with a wry smile on her face. "A compromise it is."

I chuckled and nodded my head once in acceptance.

"Thanks," I breathed, seriously feeling a little relieved that she went for it and that we weren't going to spend the next hour or so battling for complete control of the grant.

"I've got my laptop in the car. My list is on it. I could run out and get it and we could do our compromising on there?" she suggested.

I frowned and shook my head. That wouldn't work for me.

"My list is at home on my computer… and to be honest I work best with paper and pen," I admitted somewhat sheepishly. It wasn't very common nowadays to run into someone like me who preferred using good old-fashioned paper and pen to computers, but I couldn't help it. I found that I just thought more clearly that way. Even throughout college I was the type to write all of my term papers by hand first, before typing up the final drafts.

"Oh," Bella said with a frown of her own. "I guess that won't work then." She sighed and looked down at her own coffee in her hands with a hint of frustration. "I was really hoping to work this out today. I have a family function tomorrow and won't be able to work on this at all. I really hate to cancel, but if Carlisle needs this by Monday…"

"Well," I said reaching up and scratching the back of my neck nervously, wondering if I should really offer what popped into my mind as soon as she spoke. I only lived a couple of blocks away, and I could always meet up with my mom and dad for dinner tomorrow. If we went back to my place we'd have everything we needed and could finish this up right away.

Ok, yeah. Why not? We're colleagues, and we're both mature adults. It was just a business meeting… in my apartment… with an incredibly attractive female colleague.

Shit. Christ.

Oh, what the hell…

I cleared my throat and started again.

"I don't live very far from here. You're welcome to come up to my place if you'd like. We can get it done and then you wouldn't have to worry about tomorrow…" I suggested as nonchalantly as I could. In reality I was kind of sweating out my nerves on the inside. Part of me just hoped she wouldn't think that I was a complete douche for inviting her up to my place to get this done. The other part just really wanted her to say yes. I was enjoying my time with her, and quite frankly, the thought of seeing this beautiful woman in my home, my space, was really hard to resist.


He wanted me to go to his place? Was he crazy? I'd just met the man for the first time not fifteen minutes prior. While he was devastatingly handsome, and didn't act like the ass he'd appeared to be in his e-mails, I wasn't sure.

I gazed at him wide-eyed completely lost in the sparkling green of his eyes just moments before and I couldn't help but bite down on my lip in anxiety over his proposal to compromise. The fact of the matter was that he was disarming me with his charm and willingness to finally work something out regarding the grant allotment - even if it was on his turf.

"Okay …" I agreed reluctantly.

"Good. Let's go see what we can come up with," he smiled wickedly.

He threw a five dollar bill on the table to cover our coffee after he told me he'd take care of it. I tried to argue, but the look on his face stopped me in my tracks. The way his eyelashes framed his eyes that seemed to hold the same pout as his lips was distracting and if I wasn't careful I'd be agreeing to highway robbery if he asked.

"Should I just follow you?" I asked.

"Sure, but if you get lost in this big city, I live just off of Bogachiel Way in the Homestead Apartments."

"I know exactly where that is, so I shouldn't have any problem getting lost in this big city."

I quickly hugged Emily on my way out and promised her that I'd call her soon. It didn't slip past me that she winked at Edward and told him to behave himself on our way out.

"I mean it Edward!" Emily called out.

"I'll take care of her, Emily. I promise."

"Uh huh, just remember I know where you live too, Masen," Emily warned.

Edward held the door for me and walked me to the car. Maybe chivalry isn't dead after all.

"What was that all about?" I asked, referring to the short conversation with Emily.

"I'm not entirely sure," Edward admitted. "But it seems that she knows you well."

"She does," I grinned. "We were on the volleyball team together in high school and are good friends."

I watched as his face fell just a bit, though I had no idea why.

I got into my VW Jetta and he closed the door behind me, pointing to a black Toyota Tundra truck. Like I had told him, I knew exactly where his apartment complex was. A couple of my friends from high school lived in that same complex. I followed him anyway, as I had no idea what building his apartment was in. He led me around to the newer buildings that had been added in the back.

Edward waited patiently as I got out and grabbed my laptop out of the backseat.

"Do you want me to get that for you?" he asked.

"Nah … I'm good."

We ascended a flight of stairs and stood awkwardly on his doorstep as he fumbled with his keys. Just standing there next to him was a very heady feeling. I think I was starting to feel lightheaded just from the proximity of him.

He led me into a very nicely decorated apartment, but still masculine. All the wood from the dining room table and barstools in the kitchen to the entertainment center, end tables and coffee table were all a rich espresso color. The leather sectional sofa was a creamy light brown color. There was a throw blanket on the end of the sofa, but other than that the room was very tidy. Even the kitchen with its white cabinets and dark countertops was tidy.

While I looked around, Edward ducked into one of the bedrooms and emerged a few moments later with a pad of paper and a pencil in his hand.

"Would you prefer to work at the table or in the living room?" He asked.

Thinking that it would be far too easy to get comfortable in the living room, I quickly chose the table.

Leading me into the kitchen area, he set down his paper and pencil and looked at me once again.

"Can I get you something to drink? A glass of wine maybe?"

Wine … hmm I bet he was expecting me to say yes to that, because the truth was that I really did enjoy a nice glass of wine once in a while as long as there was equally nice conversation to go along with it, but I didn't want him to think that I fell in to the stereotype of the quiet, reserved librarian/snobbish wine drinker. While I could be quiet, I'm not very reserved and I can actually be quite picky about my wine, but Edward didn't need to know that.

"Actually, I was hoping you had some beer."

"Beer? Uhh, yeah I do. I hope Sam Adams is okay, or I have a bottle of Blue Moon if you'd prefer that."

"Do you have any orange?"

"Yeah, in the fruit bowl on the table. Pick one and I'll slice it."

Edward looked like he'd been caught off guard when I asked for the beer, but that's good, I wanted to keep him on his toes, because I knew I needed to stay on mine.

He opened a Sam Adams for himself and the Blue Moon for me before taking the orange I'd chosen and pulling out a cutting board and knife to slice it on.

"Would you like a glass or is the bottle okay?"

"Bottle's fine."

He garnished my beer with the orange and handed it to me.

"Shall we?" he asked motioning toward the table.

I sat down across the table from him like we were two lawyers negotiating a merger. I pulled out my laptop and powered it on, knowing the entire time that I only had two items on my list; the EBSCO program and the books needed for the Cosmetology Program. I hadn't noticed he'd actually grabbed two pencils and two pads of paper, but he slid one toward me.

"Since you don't have a printer handy, I figured you could handwrite your list?" he asked with a sly grin.

I took the paper and chanced a glance in his direction just to find him writing furiously on his own pad of paper. I quickly wrote down my two requests and sat tapping my pencil against my watch nervously.

"Ya okay there, Ace?"

His use of a volleyball term didn't escape me; I just had to wonder if he understood the meaning behind it. A serve that isn't passable and results immediately in a point. I smiled at his concern.

"I'm fine, Slugger. Just waiting on you."

"I'm getting there, be patient, will ya?"

"Sure thing, Slugger."

Edward chuckled.

"Okay … hit me with it. What have ya got?"

"The EBSCO program and the books for the Cosmetology Department."

"That's it?"

"That's it. I already asked you for what I wanted, Edward."

"Bella, that's more than half of the grant allotment."

"I know, but think of all the great things we'll be able to do with that program. The English, History, Science, Information Technology AND Art Departments will all be able to use it. The students are the winners here, Edward. This will benefit them in ways you can't begin to imagine. Please, Edward. I know it's important for them to have safe equipment to use, their safety is first, but education shouldn't be discounted. Obviously you've done some checking up on me and you know that I was injured in a game, but what Sue couldn't tell you is that I fought my mom tooth and nail to play. She wanted me to study and get a good education. I didn't want to be stuck in a library studying; I wanted to be out on the court because that's where I was at my best. My best came crashing down on me the moment my teammate wasn't looking and slammed me down on the floor. I felt like I'd lost everything all in that one moment. I felt my dad's disappointment in me for not being able to go to the Olympics like we'd planned, and more importantly I'd felt disappointment in myself, for thinking I was infallible. My education saved me, Edward."

I couldn't help the tears that streamed down my face and Edward immediately came to my side.

"Hey … Bella …"

Edward carefully pulled me off the chair and into his arms. They were warmth, comfort and strength all in one neat little package. His good looks and gentlemanly charms were just a bonus. He held me until I stopped sobbing, and I could swear that he had nuzzled into my hair a bit just to breath me in, but I was so grateful for his comforting arms around me that I could have cared less. I looked up into his eyes and he was so close; I couldn't help but feel drawn to him. I closed my eyes and his soft, warm lips brushed so lightly against mine, and his lips lingered against the corner of my mouth and I kissed him back, gently nipping his bottom lip.

He groaned as he kissed me back and gradually deepened the kiss. A brush of his tongue was all it took for me to respond, my tongue sliding against his, my hands running up his chest and over his strong shoulders to tangle in the hair at the nape of his neck. His hair was so silky soft against my skin, but below the belt, he was anything but soft.

He was the first one to break the kiss, but his lips lingered on my skin.

"Fuck, Bella. You're so beautiful…"

"Your arms feel so good around me …"

Edward pulled me tighter to him and lifted me up to deposit me on top of the table. His erection was flush with my center, and I wanted him. He continued to kiss my neck, pushing my long hair over my shoulder and out of his way. I couldn't help but touch his chest since he wasn't giving me the opportunity to kiss him back. His hands ghosted up and down my back a few times before moving to my sides and stopping just below the swell of my breasts.

"Touch me …" I whispered

"Bella … I …" Edward stuttered. "I didn't bring you here to make out with you or feel you up, you know that right?"

I nodded.

"But yet you are … making out with me, I mean."

"This is true … and kissing you. God, it's so good."

"Then don't stop, Edward."

"Are you sure you want this, Bella? Because … fuck … I really do."

"Yes, but … Edward, this is new to me. You make me feel … unhinged, and a little bit scared."

"You do the same to me, Ace. This is new to me too, and I'm not going anywhere."

Then he kissed me again and that was all it took. There were sloppy wanton kisses and soft nips, but our lips never left each other. My hands found their way to his messy hair again, and his hands found the swell of my breasts, fondling them firmly before searching out the tie of my wrap sweater. Our kiss broke after he'd pushed my sweater from my shoulders. His eyes left my face to gaze at my chest and he smiled appreciatively. I'd worn a delicate, black lace bra, it made me feel strong and sexy – I'd dubbed it my 'power' bra. I grinned as I realized the power it held over Edward. He ran his hands down my shoulders and took my hands in his before he knelt on the floor. He gave my hands a gently squeeze before releasing them.

Edward made short work of pulling off my boots and socks, kissing my feet afterward. When he stood again, he looked at me with darkened, hooded eyes. I wrapped my arms around his neck and peppered kisses up his neck and along his jawline, as I made my way toward his lips; he picked me up once again and carried me toward his bedroom. Standing at the side of his bed, he set me on my feet and began to unbutton my jeans.

"Uh uh … you're wearing more than I am," I breathed. "Until you're wearing a little less, nothing else is coming off."

He shed his button up and then his t-shirt and chuckled a bit as I ogled his muscular chest, tracing my fingers along the ridges of his abs.

"Like what you see, Ace?"

"Mmmhmm," I murmured as I inched my fingers down to the button fly of his jeans.

He watched almost in amusement as I slowly unbuttoned each button. He shed his shoes and socks, moments after we walked in the door, so that was one thing less for me to worry about. I pushed his jeans off his hips and they pooled at his feet, leaving him in his grey boxer briefs. He kicked out of his jeans and once again reached for the button of my own. He slid them down the length of my legs and I held onto his shoulder as I stepped out of them. Edward caressed his hands up my legs before bringing them to rest on the swell of my hips.

"God, Bella. You're… damn. You're leaving me speechless here." He rubbed his thumbs over my hipbones in small circles staring at me seriously. "Beautiful," he murmured, almost to himself.

"So you keep telling me," I giggled. "You're pretty handsome yourself, Slugger."

His arms wound around me once again and I could feel him as he fumbled for a moment with the clasp of my bra.

"I used to be able to do this with one hand, I guess I'm out of practice," he chuckled.

I looked at him with narrowed eyes.

"What? I was once a teenage boy and I liked to make out … a lot. But it never went further than that. I had a couple serious girlfriends in college, but I was far from promiscuous, Bella."

"I'm sorry, but being out of practice isn't something I want to hear when a guy is taking off my clothes. But I appreciate your honesty, Edward. I'm not exactly virginal, but it's been … awhile."

He pulled the lace from my body and left warm, open mouthed kisses all over my heated skin.

"I want to try to erase them all if you'll let me, Ace," Edward whispered softly.

I nodded against his chest and he picked me up and laid me in the center of his large bed. His mouth made its way to my sensitive nipple, which he pinched and rolled the other one in his hand. I slipped my hand between us and rubbed my hand against his erection, making him moan in appreciation. He reached down and pulled off his boxer briefs, his engorged cock springing free. Edward was very well endowed. I sat up on my elbows and watched as he made a show of stalking toward me, a beautiful smile on his handsome face. He hooked his fingers in the soft lace of my panties and tugged at them. I lifted my hips so he could pull them from my body.

"Christ, Bella … you're bare …"

"Mmmhmm … and very, very … wet at the moment."

"Are you now?"

"Mmmhmm. What are you going to do about it?" I taunted.

He cupped my sex in his hand and swirled my clit before pushing two fingers inside me.

"Oh God. You really are wet."

"Mmmhmm … God, Edward your fingers feel so good."

He worked me over with his thumb and fingers until I was a panting, moaning, withered mess beneath him.

"Edward … I want you."

He reached over to his bedside table and pulled out a foil packet, before cupping my face in his hands and kissing me sweetly.

"Are you sure, Ace?"

I nodded and watched as he rolled the condom down his length.

He hovered over me and positioned his tip at my entrance.

"Last chance … is this what you really want?"

I kissed him this time and tugged his head closer to me to whisper in his ear.

"Just slide in to home, Edward."


"Just slide in to home, Edward," she breathed seductively… and I nearly lost my damn mind.

I could swear that at that point I was literally crazy with lust for her because when she said 'home' she stole the word right off of my tongue. Home was exactly what it felt like to me. Touching her, kissing her, feeling her smooth, creamy skin and long, lean muscles under my hands just felt right. I was so enamored with her that it felt like I was touching a woman for the first time, but at the same time it felt like I had been touching her for the last thousand years. Like her curves were made to be cradled in my palms… and I'd just met the woman. It was crazy… I was crazy for her. It didn't make any sense, but at the same time, I didn't care.

She was intelligent, witty, hard headed, sweet, sometimes even shy and insanely sexy. I was done for, and I knew it. And I couldn't have been happier about it. Crazy as I was, though, even with her – this amazing woman – and she was lying beneath me asking me to take her in that moment… I wanted more.

I slowed my roll a bit, and leaned my forehead down on hers; staring at her face until her eyelid fluttered open and she met my gaze.

"I want to take you out," I murmured quietly, picturing myself checking in for reservations somewhere, with her on my arm in a little dress and those sex-on-heels boots she'd worn today. She was quite possibly the most beautiful woman I'd ever had the privilege of laying my eyes on. But it wasn't all about that for me with her. Not even in the slightest. She'd grabbed my interest and challenged me verbally, mentally and stood toe to toe with me over that budget from the very beginning, holding her own with me in a way no other woman had done before. And now, knowing that all of that sass and intelligence was wrapped up in this amazingly hot package… I wasn't willing to let it go. I didn't want this to be brief or meaningless. I wanted it to be the beginning, like the first inning of the first game of the World Series.

"Umm… now?" Bella whispered while smirking at me and cocking an eyebrow. "It's not exactly the best time, Slugger." She rotated her hips up and against my length making me hiss and chuckled under my breath at her persistence. I cocked an eyebrow back at her and shook my head while doing a little hip rotating of my own… right above where she wanted me, grinning at the way her eyes rolled in the back of her head and her back arched underneath me when I did.

"No, not right now, Ace," I mumbled. I kissed her neck and flicked my earlobe lightly with my tongue before whispering softly in her ear. "Later this week. For dinner. Friday, Saturday… you know. Like a date."

"Hmmm," she murmured and ran her fingertips down my spine while lifting her heel up to my ass, pushing against it, making me rub her almost the right way again. "I've got a meet with the Debate Club on Friday after work," she purred back.

"Debate club," I mumbled and chuckled again while shaking my head. Of course Bella Swan coached the debate club… those kids couldn't have had a better coach if they picked one themselves.

"I'd love to see that in action, Ace. Do your students give you as a hard a time as you give me?"

She growled a tiny little sexy growl under her breath and before I knew it had one of her hands wrapped firmly around my length. She nipped at my ear very lightly with her teeth and… Christ, used her hand to put me right where she wanted me, rotating her hips against mine and sliding me about in inch or so in.

I gasped and hissed and maybe even groaned, fuck if I knew what the hell was going on that point. My brain has officially gone on hiatus the second my cock came in contact with her wet heat.

Jesus Christ this woman is so going to own my ass.

"Actually Edward," she snarked playfully, "I was hoping you were the one that was going to be giving me a hard time."

She rotated her hips again, slowly sliding the rest of the way down my cock, wrapping me up in the tightest, warmest, softest place I'd ever been…

Holy God. I think I just died and went to heaven… hot, sweet, sexy-Bella-heaven.

I groaned - loudly. She arched her back and moaned my name under her breath, then brought her hands up to my face, gently brining me back to eye level with her. We panted and leaned our foreheads together while adjusting to what had to be the world's most perfect fit two bodies had ever felt.

"Saturday," she whispered as I stared into her big brown eyes. "I like Italian, Mexican and seafood. You choose."

I gulped and nodded before kissing her softly on her lips, pulling her plump lower one between mine and releasing it at the same pace that I dragged my length out of her. When I was almost all the way out and her lip fell from between mine I whispered 'Saturday' with a small nod and then eased myself back into her body, letting my own eyes roll back as she wrapped her legs around my waist and took me in.

The only talking from that point on was done in moans, groans and whispers or gasps of our names as I gave her everything I had and, in true Bella Swan style, she kept pace with me and gave as good as she got. And she did get it good… twice, might I add.

The following Monday morning I e-mailed Carlisle with the compromise she and I had come up with at around nine that evening after my parents call, wondering why I'd missed dinner, finally dragged us out of my bed. After three hours and rounding first second and third bases on my couch, Bella and I finally came to a compromise and solution.

Sender: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 12, 2011 9:35 a.m.

Subject: RE: Allocation of Grant Funding

Recipient: Carlisle Cullen, ccullen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

CC: Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Good morning Carlisle,

Miss Swan and I were able to work out our differences over the grant funding. We partnered up and decided that a compromise that met the most important needs of both departments was best. Here is what we came up with:

Training Equipment for the Phys Ed department: $20,000

This will cover the cost of the big large machinery and equipment like treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and a few weight lifting apparatus. This does not cover the cost of new small equipment like bats, balls and gloves for the teams, as I'd hoped. But the unsafe equipment will all be replaced and we can try to approach the Booster Club for help with the rest this year and next year.

Miss Swan also managed to arrange for donations for both the scoreboard and bleachers, which eliminated a good portion of costs for me.

New uniforms for both girls and guys All Stars teams: $2,000 Again, through Miss Swan's connections we were able to get the shirts at cost, which saved us a third of what I anticipated spending here, as well.

EBSCO host database subscription & other miscellaneous research materials for the library: $20, 000 This will cover most of Miss Swan's needs in the library with the exception of replacing some older volumes of novels for the book racks. We looked up the names of a few discount book warehouses in the area that would sell the novels to us at bargain prices and Miss Swan and I have decided that the debate club and the All Stars teams can work together to hold a fundraiser next month to raise the money for the books, seeing as each and every one of those students makes use of the library resources.

The remaining $8,000 will be allotted to Miss Brandon and the Cosmetology department for the purchase of materials and resources. I approached Rosalie Hale, whose mother works fairly high up in the ranks for Vogue Magazine, and has arranged for quite a few donations to the school on Miss Brandon and the Cosmetology department's behalf. Mac Cosmetics, John Frieda and three top fashion coordinators from Vogue and Teen Vogue have volunteered to donate materials and resources.

If you have any questions, please let me know.


Head of Phys Ed Department

Forks High School

Twenty minutes later, we got a response.

Sender: Carlisle Cullen, ccullen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Date: September 12 2011, 9:53 a.m.

Subject: Grant Funding Allocation

Recipient: Edward Masen, emasen (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu ; Isabella Swan, iswan (at) fhs (dot) qvsd (dot) edu

Edward and Isabella,

I've sent the details of the grant funding allocation to be processed. I knew that I could trust the two of you to come to a viable solution that would benefit everyone involved. I have t say that I'm impressed with the creativity and ingenuity on your both of your behalves for approaching other parties to obtain donations. That was clearly very helpful, and was a great solution to the problems you were facing. It seems that the two of you make a great team.

I look forward to hearing about details for upcoming fundraisers and the arrivals of the donations. Thank you for taking this off of my plate during such a busy time.

Carlisle Cullen,


Forks High School

I read the e-mail as I hung up the phone after making reservations for two at La Bella Italia for Saturday night. I smirked and shook my head as Emmet waggled his eyebrows at me with a grin from across the room. I'd told him all about this past Saturday night. He didn't know the details, but he did know that Bella and I hooked up, and that I was completely crazy for her. I chuckled and nodded to myself without saying a word to defend my newly pussy-whipped ass. Why should I? Carlisle was right.

Bella and I make a great team.

A/N: Thanks for reading and reviews are always appreciated! =)