"Smells Like Teen Spirit," or "The Time Edward Went to Cheerleading Camp"
a "Hardcover Paranormal Romance" outtake
Disclaimer: Twilight and it's characters are owned by Stephanie Meyer.
This was inspired by a suggestion that 3sunrises gave me that I write about the time Edward went away to cheerleading camp. It was part of the fandom4LLS compilation.
I was busy putting my records away in my new room when Emmett came in. He watched me for a minute.
"What is your system? It's not alphabetical." He frowned at the shelves.
"Autobiographical," I said, placing Neil Young's "Harvest" on the "Contemplative" shelf. "By emotion"
"So you are organizing your music by the emotions you have when you listen?" Emmett asked.
"Yep," I said, picking up The Cure's "Disintegration" and putting it on the "Nobody Understands Me" shelf.
"You need hobbies outside the house, Edward," Emmett said.
"We're in Montana, Emmett," I answered. "What hobbies am I going to take up? 4H? Rodeo? There's no bull in this state that's going to let me ride it."
"Well, I have an idea…" Emmett smiled at me. Then I saw what he was thinking.
"She would totally owe you," Emmett pleaded. "So would I. Please, Edward?"
"Why?" I asked, horrified by what my brother was asking of me.
"Carlisle says it's too risky unless you go with her and make sure she's not attracting too much suspicion." Emmett put his hands together in a prayer position. "Pleeeeze?"
"No. End of story. There is no way." I put down my Peter Frampton album. Which had been a mistake in itself.
But then Rosalie started in on me. And then Esme and Carlisle joined in. For the next three weeks my whole family hounded me about it, reminding me about all the things Rosalie had missed out on as a young woman, how she would do the same for me if there were something I really wanted. When all I really, desperately, wanted was to not do this.
But they wore me down. Mostly, I just couldn't stand the sad, disappointed, hurt look on Rosalie's face
My family had asked some embarrassing things of me in the sixty-odd years we had been together, but this was the ultimate in embarrassing requests. But I found it hard to say no to Rosalie once she really got going on her "robbed of a normal life" thing.
And so it was that I found myself in the parking lot of the Thompson Falls High gymnasium with ten sleepy teenage girls and two decidedly unmasculine teenage boys in October of 1991, on my way to a delightful weekend at cheerleading camp.
My argument that they hadn't even had cheerleading when Rose was a teenage girl held no sway. Especially after Carlisle reminded me that they hadn't had fuel-injected engines, prog rock, and headphones, either. I was a particular fan of headphones, had been ever since they had come on the market. In fact, I had rather a nice collection of them before I got married. But that's another story.
You might ask yourself why Rose insisted on going to cheerleading camp. It was certainly a question that I had asked. I wanted it to be about artistic expression or about athleticism or getting in touch with the young women of this generation. But in reality, it was a combination of Rose's vanity and Emmett's perversion. Still, there I found myself.
Coach Reynolds blew that abysmal whistle of his and we got into the school bus to Coeur d'Alene. It wasn't enough that I had to join these twelve of my fellow students, but I would soon be subjected to a whole camp full of shrill, earnest, hormonal adolescents all pumped up on Madonna and Crystal Lite. Oh, joy.
I made Rose sit next to me. All the other kids knew we were siblings, but at least this way none of them could molest me in the confines of the bus. I will admit to hoping that it would drive off a cliff, however, as awkward as it would have been to explain our miraculous survival. I got bored of Rose's ruminations upon her lip gloss, however, and I got out my CD player to listen to some music.
"Chopin, huh?" A voice came from across the aisle.
I looked over to see Brett, one of my roommates for this week of torment. "I play violin," he said.
I nodded to him. Rose elbowed me.
"Piano," I said. He smiled and said "Cool."
"Edward, right?" I nodded. "I've got connections in Coeur d'Alene." I just looked at him blankly, wondering who would brag about such a thing. "You know, to get some booze."
I looked at Rose. She nodded, raising an eyebrow at me.
"Great," I said. "That'll be...major.". Brett nodded at me.
To my colossal relief, he was actually more attracted to Rose than me, but I still had my concerns about Keith, the other male cheerleader. He had some less than wholesome ideas about what he'd like to see me wearing and more of a liking of dance music than I felt comfortable with.
The rest of the drive went smoothly, despite the fact that the bus did not burst into flames, forcing the trip to be cancelled.
The camp was being held in a somewhat remote set of cabins a ways out of town, which was nice because that way Rosalie and I could still eat while we were here, with minimal traveling. As long as the hairspray fumes and raucous cheers of our companions didn't frighten all the local wildlife away, that is.
We were ensconced in a half dozen charming rustic cabins and told to be in the main building at noon for the opening address.
One of the cretins in my cabin put on some music and I was treated, again, to Brian Adams explaining that everything he did, he did for me. Vomit. I put my headphones back on.
Luckily, I had the foresight to remove them before answering the query of one of my cabin-mates, lest he think I read minds (ha ha). His name was also Brian, as was everyone's in those days, and he was asking me if I was dating that hot blonde I had shown up with.
"No, she's my foster sister," I answered. "She has a boyfriend, though. An enormous, slightly unstable boyfriend."
Brian shrugged and changed the subject to some of the other girls at camp while Brett tried to change the CD and Keith fidgeted with his hair in the mirror.
We completed our male grooming rituals and went out to the main building. I sat next to Rosalie again as we listened to schedules, clapped through motivational speeches and finally saw a performance by the camp coordinators that appalled me.
"I'm going to have to…" I looked at Rosalie. She nodded at me with a smile.
"Rose," I hissed at her. "I cannot put my hands there! No way! Not on you. Not on any of these girls. It's perverse!"
"Edward," she whispered soothingly. "It's like dancing."
"Dancing doesn't involve having ones hands on a young ladies…nether regions!" I hissed back. "You realize that eighty percent of the people here want to have sex with me? If I'm constantly grabbing at their genitalia…nothing good can come of this."
"Edward," Rose said, shaking her head at me. "I guarantee you, these people will get to know you and they will get over their uncontrollable urges. Your personality is an excellent chastity device."
"Thanks," I said, slumping in my seat. There was no getting out of this, no matter how worried I was about my person being molested. It would attract too much negative attention. Plus, Rose was right. People's libidos did tend to cool off after exposure to my decidedly anti-social personality.
We spent part of the evening in an execrable game of charades, something mind readers really shouldn't be forced to play, if you ask me. But I could see that Rose was having a good time, so I persisted.
I finally was able to retreat to the cabin and was looking forward to spending some time enjoying the quiet, pretending to sleep.
My cabin cohabitants had other plans, however. Brett's "connections" had scored him some alcohol and the other guys in the cabin, with the exception of yours truly and another guy who said that it was "Satan's poison," proceeded to get drunk on a noxious combination of Jack Daniels and Mr. Pibb.
So as not to attract any more attention than I needed to, I joined them and pretended to get drunk with them.
We discussed girls in extremely ungentlemanly terms and then made up insane escapades we had embarked upon in the previous summer. Or, I listened while they made stuff up and said "She's ok," about every girl they mentioned.
It got chilly (for the humans) and, while the other guys got out their sweatshirts, Brett pulled out a plaid flannel shirt.
"What the hell?" Keith said, laughing. "You steal that off some farmer?"
"No, man," Brett said. "This is totally the style."
"In Iowa," one of the other guys said, and they all laughed drunkenly.
"Like we're not in Idaho," I said. Brian and whatever his name was looked at me with scorn.
"Alright, Farmer Joe," Brian said. "You stay here with your farmhand buddy. I'm going to go see if I can't get some action."
Brian staggered off of the deck and wandered in the direction of the girl's cabins, the two others following him.
"I have a question for you." I looked at Brett, who slipped the Vanilla Ice CD out of the boom box and replaced it with Pearl Jam's "Ten." "You seem like a relatively normal guy. Why are you cheerleading?"
Brett laughed. "I could ask you the same. Except I'm not sure how normal you are."
"What do you mean?" I asked, concerned.
"I mean, you have no interest in either the girls or the boys at school, and yet - you're here?"
"I'm doing a favor for my sister," I said. He nodded.
"I'm here to get closer to Rachel," he responded. Rachel, Rachel…. I had no idea who he was talking about. But then her face flashed into his thoughts and I remembered her. Quiet, brunette, not the brightest young woman ever. I shrugged.
"Cool," I said. "I like your CD, by the way." I gestured towards the boom box. "Pearl Jam is ok."
"Thanks, man," Brett said. He got up and dusted himself off. "I'm going to bed. See you in the morning, Edward." I waved and felt just slightly less pissed off about being here. At least there was one other person who didn't like Madonna.
The next day descended quickly back into the abyss of popular music and shrill teenage voices from whence it had come. No matter how much effort I made to not touch teenage girls, it was impossible to perform many of the idiotic and pointless maneuvers that were required of me without doing so. I was pleased, however, to see that Rose continued to be thrilled by her experience. The girls were being friendly to her, and they had even engaged in a host of rituals that Rose had been unable to participate in as a young woman, like painting each other's fingernails and something called "MASH." A ridiculous exercise in fortune telling that I would be reminded of when Alice joined us later.
Unfortunately, I was to be married to Britney Wallace and we would have 6 children, live in a motorhome and drive a Jaguar. Fat chance, Britney. And how would we have cared for six children in a motorhome? And why a motorhome when we could afford a Jaguar? It made no sense.
The following evening brought a renewed interest on the part of my roommates to infiltrate cabins inhabited by girls. I decided, since he had saved me from the groping fingers of the above-mentioned Britney, that I wanted to do Brett a favor and attempt to arrange a liaison with the remote but fetching Rachel.
I snuck up to her cabin, listening for an opportunity to speak to her or otherwise manipulate the situation to my benefit. All I could think was, how cool I would be in the eyes of my new "friend" if I were able to secure him a chance with the girl he liked.
Since she showed no signs of coming out of the cabin, I realized that I would have to actually contact her myself and knocked on the door.
A young woman I was not acquainted with answered the door. I bowed.
"May I please speak with Rachel?" I asked. She looked at me coyly.
"Which one?" she asked. I was stuck. I had not anticipated that there would be more than one Rachel within, and I had no idea what Brett's paramour's last name was.
"Um, the one who goes to Thompson Falls?" I asked, naming our shared high school. The young woman disappeared, to be replaced by the Rachel in question.
"Hi, Rachel," I said, bowing again. "I'm Edward Cullen. I was wondering if you would be interested in meeting someone who is interested in you….romantically,, that is, later by the wooden beaver statue."
Rachel, who I will remind you was not terribly bright but at least kept her mouth shut most of the time, nodded shyly at me and blushed.
"Excellent," I said. "One hour?" I asked. She nodded again and I gave her and her companions a wave as I trotted off the deck of their cabin, eager to give Brett the news of my largesse and skill at arranging things.
Brett agonized for an excessive amount of time about whether to wear the flannel. I insisted that he stay true to himself and even assisted him in the creation of a mix tape of his favorite grunge-rock songs to give to Rachel.
Imagine my surprise when, not ten minutes after their scheduled rendezvous time, Brett came back with the clear imprint of someone's hand on his pale face and a disgruntled look.
"What happened?" I asked.
"I kissed her," Brett said, sitting down on his bunk and beginning to pull the tape out of his cassette with irritation, piling the brown ribbons onto the ground.
"And?" I pried.
"She was under the impression that you were meeting her," Brett said, with a glare at me. I was horrified. How could I have read this so wrong?
"Brett," I said, holding up my hands. "I have no interest in Rachel. I didn't even know who she was before you pointed her out."
Brett nodded sadly. "I know," he said. "It's not your fault. She was a total bitch about it, though. She even insulted the flannel. I was wrong about her being a cool girl."
He finished destroying the tape and then gave me a smile. "Hey, at least I don't have to do cheerleading anymore."
Brett cheered up after we paid a visit to Rose. She stole him a few gross wine coolers, and then she and I packed him off to bed before talking over the events of the day.
"Well, I appreciate you doing this with me, Edward," she said. "You better go make sure he doesn't choke on his own vomit."
If you were to ask me why I love my sister I would tell you any number of things. There are the things I respect about her: her compassion for others, her love for Emmett, her passion for justice, and her championing of the underdog. But if you had asked me in the 1990's, I would have described the look of shame on Rachel's face when she had to attend breakfast that morning at cheerleading camp, her head half-way shaved and a large, dastardly mustache drawn on her face with permanent marker.
Maybe it was mean of Rose to do that. But it made Brett happy.
Cheerleading just wasn't in the cards for us, though. We ended up having to leave Thompson Springs pretty quickly after there was unusually sunny weather that winter, and we missed so much school and work that it became suspicious. I think Rose had gotten kind of tired of it, anyway. But she was thankful for the opportunity and I was repaid generously years later when I got myself into my own romantic misunderstanding. But that's another story.
What we both got out of the experience was that rare and dangerous experience of making friends with humans. Our ability to coexist with humans would definitely come in handy when I fell in love with one. But I digress.
a/n: Thanks for reading! xoxo JuJu