Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer.

not beta'd

prompt - scarf

"Bella, honey, thanks for coming," Esme said, already on her way back inside the house. "You don't know how hard it is getting a sitter with such short notice."

I did know. It was Friday night.

Closing the door behind me, I sniffed appreciatively at the air. Popcorn, for sure. And maybe something sweet. Caramel? I kicked my boots off and added them to the small pile of shoes near the front door. The rain was coming down hard now, and I didn't want to track mud and water down the Cullen's immaculate floor.

"It's fine," I said, finally joining Esme in the kitchen. "I like babysitting."

"It's your age usually have plans on the weekend, you know?"

Oh, I knew all right, but if I started thinking about that I was going to get all pissed off again. And just...damn it. Not now. Not here, for God's sake. "It's fine," I repeated, brushing my bangs away.

"Riley and Royce are playing video games, so they should stay out of your hair, and Embry's still napping," she said, looking at something on her phone. "Edward's been in and out all day. You know how he is."

I nodded, glancing at a huge pan on the stove.

"Yeah, that kettle corn is ready...the boys have been begging for it all day...there's plenty of stuff to drink in the fridge...and, uh...that's it. I left money by the phone for pizza." She glanced out the kitchen window, frowning at the wind and rain. "Might want to order sooner than later, though. I heard it might get worse."

Smiling, I handed her keys over. "I got it. Now go, before you're late."

"All right. This could go longer than anticipated; I don't know what time I'll be in..."

"No worries. If I have to stay the night, I will."

Sighing, she wrapped a soft-looking green scarf loosely around her neck. "You sure? If you have to go, call Edward and make him stay – it's the least he can do."

"Esme, go!" I laughed. "We'll be fine!"

"Okay, okay," she said, smiling ruefully.

She left the kitchen, and a couple of minutes later, the front door slammed shut. I went to make sure it was locked, which it was, and then wandered in to the den, where Royce and Riley Cullen were battling it out on the Playstation.

"Hey guys."

"Hey, Bella," Royce mumbled, eyes never leaving the screen. Riley, younger by two years, just scowled in concentration. He was by far the more ornery of the two.

I rolled my eyes and left, wanting to check on Embry before settling down with a book.

Just as Esme had said, he was fast asleep in his little blue room, thumb stuck in his mouth. I tucked his blanket in, watching as he snuggled down deeper.

Downstairs, I adjusted the baby monitor so that I'd be able to hear when Embry awoke before curling up in the book nook. A corner of the Cullen's huge kitchen, the book nook was a cozy window seat with oversized cushions and a blanket. I always hung out in it while babysitting.

I also liked it because I could see the driveway. I'd just passed chapter three when a familiarly frumpy grey minivan pulled up. A bunch of boys spilled from it, their shouts audible even from where I sat. Frowning, I licked my finger and turned the page, hoping they'd just be in and out. I wasn't in the mood to deal with the noise and the obnoxiousness.

Or the tightening in my stomach, the uncertain skip in my heart.

The front door opened, filling the foyer with voices as well as the dull roar of falling rain. Sighing, I put my book down. I just knew they were going to end up in the kitchen. They were teenage boys, after all.

So much for peace and quiet.

"Hey, Bella," Emmett shouted, making a beeline for me.

"Inside voice, Emmett."

He ignored me and ruffled my hair. "Yo, what's that smell? I'm starving."

"Kettle corn?" Jasper asked, lingering near the stove. "Did you make this, Bella? If you did, will you marry me?" Jake and James were right behind him, already grabbing bowls from beside the sink.

Emmett swiped a wet kiss across my cheek and went to the fridge. "Ed, where's that fancy cheese your mom bought they other day? I saw her taking it out..."

Edward walked over to me, hands in his pockets. "Hey."

Biting my thumbnail, I turned my face to the window.

"You still mad?" he asked, his voice abruptly closer.

Shrugging, I continued gazing out the window as if the monochromatic, wet world out there was so interesting. The wind had picked up, making the trees do a wild dance, their branches bowing sharply. A couple of them tapped at the glass right by my face. I realized I could see my reflection in the window, as well as Edward's, hovering close. I shivered and closed my eyes.

"Go be with your friends," I whispered.

"Don't be like that," he said.

"Leave me alone."


"Ugh. What?" I asked, side eyeing him.

"How long's my mom been gone? You staying tonight?"

I shrugged, opening my book and staring down at it pointedly. The boys left the kitchen, taking their rowdiness, and probably most of the kettle corn, with them.

"Do you need a ride home?" he asked. "Later on?"

"Charlie said he'd come."

Water swished down the gutters. The branches tapped urgently at the window. A couple of rooms away, the guys harassed Riley and Royce, their uproarious laughter echoing like thunder.

"I hate this." Edward's voice was lower now, gritty, undertones of desperation subtle.

It made my chest hurt. I bit too close to the skin of my thumb, wincing.

"I miss you," he said.

I looked at him, at the green-made-almost-grey of his eyes. They were a lot brighter in the sunshine.

"I miss you too."