a/n: extra special pats on the back to bigblueboat and jennej from PTB. This one was especially ugly and they had to work hard to make it presentable.
"I have very poor and unhappy brains for drinking: I could wish courtesy would invent some other custom of entertainment."
"Uh, this is awkward." I look from Bella's face to Esme's.
"I guess you'll have to let Bella have the cabin." Esme is smiling at she like she loves me, but I know she doesn't. If she loved me, she would give me a room of my own.
"Esme!" I whine, but she gives me a stern look. "Can't we just talk to Carlisle about getting a bigger place?"
"We're not going to be able to move everything and set up a suitable place to hunt with our new arrivals." Esme tries to sound understanding, but I continue to sulk.
"Who was the guy?" When I hear the voice, realize that I have totally forgotten about Jane's arrival. I look at her, trying to make a subtle head gesture to Bella while doing my best "don't ask" face.
Jane apparently doesn't do subtle because she says, "What?" She glances between Esme and me. "I just wanted to know who the guy Alice took off with is?"
"Jesus, Jane." I hiss at her, and she shakes her head at me in confusion. I guess having a boss who just sucks all the thoughts out of your head has made Jane really dense when it comes to non-verbal communication.
"My boyfriend." Bella snaps out of her trance and looks at Jane.
Jane mouths, "Oh."
"Bella, dear," Esme murmurs to Bella. "Edward will get his stuff out of the cabin, and you can stay out there."
"That's very kind of you." Bella smiles tightly at me. "As soon my boyfriend is done having sex with that woman in my room, I'll get started on packing." Bella shakes her head and walks out the door.
Esme is the one head-gesturing this time, telling me to follow Bella. I do what she says, but it's a little weird. I don't really know what to say to her. This kind of sucks. I just follow her as she wanders out to the gazebo and sits down. It's far enough away from the house that we can't hear the philandering sounds.
"Do you want to be alone?" I ask Bella. She shakes her head.
"I guess you told me that this was going to happen." Bella grimaces at me as she says it.
"I don't think I got the chance to tell you to your face," I respond. And then realize that was kind of mean. I am practically biting my own tongue off trying to not say, "I told you so."
"I think you made your point clear, though. If you want to say 'I told you so' you can." She looks at me seemingly without rancor, but I think it's a trap.
"No," I answer. "I'm good with you saying it."
She laughs. I am startled. I don't think I've ever seen her laugh. She's beautiful when she laughs.
"I didn't think Jasper and I were going to be together forever," she admits, rolling her eyes. "In fact, this is a little bit of a relief." She leans back on the bench and spreads her arms out on the ledge of the gazebo.
"Why were you with him?"
She looks at me. "He changed me. I didn't know any other of our kind until I came here." She shrugs.
I'm a little shocked by this admission because she always comes off as such a badass. The thought that she would be afraid to be alone is a little weird to me. I decide to tell her so.
"Are you saying that you may not know me very well?" she asks with a laugh. "You have made zero effort to get to know me, Edward. I thought that was the idea."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you like me because you can't read my mind. It's the ultimate in misogyny; you hate what's in a woman's head so much you can't bear to be intimate with any woman whose mind you can hear."
I'm clearly getting into dangerous ground here because she seems relaxed, but her words are…scary. Unfortunately, I just don't have the instinct for self-preservation I should have. Also, she's dead wrong.
"You're dead wrong," I tell her. "It has nothing to do with women's thoughts. I wouldn't want to have sex with a man, either." She raises an eyebrow at me.
"You know what I mean." I shake my head at her. "You don't know what it's like. You can't be intimate with someone if you are hearing and seeing every thought in their head the whole time. It's…distracting."
I point my finger at her. I'm actually really mad now. "You aren't any better than I am. You don't know what it's like being like this. You assume you know what it's like and that I'm a big woman-hater." Bella's eyes go a little wide at this outburst of mine. For whatever reason, I decide to continue. Because I'm an enormous asshole who never wants to get laid, apparently.
"Plus," I continue, "how am I supposed to get to know you, Bella? You are either putting off this angry-girl attitude or hiding in your room. I'd love to get to know the mind of the woman who is out here fighting with me, but I suspect you're only out here because that scumbag Whitlock is banging some Volturi chick in your hiding place."
Bella stares at me as I wind down my little tirade. Then she gets up and walks to where I'm standing. I watch her carefully, but again, I have no idea what she's going to do or say. I'm therefore completely unnerved when she grabs my shirt and pulls me to her. She plants this hot, passionate kiss on my lips, but before I can respond, she pulls away.
"What was I thinking about just then, Edward?" Her voice is low and sexy.
"I don't…I have no idea." I shake my head at her. I'm hoping she'll do it again.
"I was thinking about how much I despise you." She turns on her heel and strides out of the gazebo into the forest.
"I don't believe you!" I call after her. Just because I like having the last word.
Then I have to text Emmett to tell him. Because not only am I not a misogynist but also, I am apparently a teenage girl myself.
"Bella kissed me," I text. I don't get a response back after a few minutes, so I text him again. "I don't think she LIKES me but she kissed me." No response. This starts to worry me so, I go into the house to see if Carlisle has heard from him.
Carlisle is talking with Jane, but they're having to talk kind of loud over the sound of Whitlock and Kaleidoscope-head having sex. Still. I mean, I know we have, like, unlimited stamina, but this is kind of gaudy.
"Have you heard from Emmett?" I ask Carlisle. He shakes his head at me, but he isn't worried. He doesn't know Emmett as well as I do. Emmett is inseparable from his phone. It's part of his hand, practically.
"No, I haven't. Where is Bella?" Carlisle is all focused on the welfare of his patients, like the responsible vampire-rehab supervisor he is.
"She went…hunting, I guess." I rub my head with embarrassment. "I'm not sure. I'm assuming she went hunting."
"You don't know?" Carlisle tilts his head at me in an ultra-patronizing way. "Her…lover is carrying on upstairs with someone else and you didn't think to keep an eye on her?"
"First of all, it sounds creepy when you say 'lover.'" I raise one finger to enumerate the things wrong with what he said. "Second, she and I got in a fight." I raise the second finger. Then I realize how bad what I said sounds. So I try to fix it.
"Well, we got into an argument, but then she kissed me before she ran into the forest." I keep talking, and Carlisle's face is just getting more and more stunned. So is Jane's. Which is kind of funny if you know her.
"I know that sounds really bad, but-"
"Yeah, it sounds really bad." Jane adds.
"Nobody asked you, Jane." I snap at her. Right before I hit the ground, clutching my head as the pain hits me.
"Ow, ow, ow!" I writhe around on the ground.
Carlisle shakes his head at Jane. The pain stops.
"I'm sorry, Jane." I pick myself up off the floor and smile at her broadly. "What did you want to say regarding my personal business? I can't wait to hear it."
"Edward, you need to go find Bella and make sure she's all right." Carlisle picks up the phone. "I'll check on Emmett for you. I'm sure he's fine, though."
"Sure." I leave the room, just pleased to get away from Jane.
"Oh, Edward?" Carlisle's voice follows me out. And I can hear his thoughts. Goddammit. "Take Jane with you so she can start to learn her way around."
I gesture for Jane to follow me. She skips out the door with me. Kids.
"So, where's Emmett anyway?" Jane asks me as we walk out to the forest.
"He's down in California on a film set." I tell her. I'm trying to not be the one to tell her about Emmett's little crush. She totally has a thing for him, and I totally have a thing for not having any more agonizing pains in my head.
"So, how are things in Italy?" I ask. I really want to know how she and that crazy little thing upstairs with Whitlock got sent here.
"Same old thing." Jane shrugs. "Caius is still convinced that there's a conspiracy against him. Aro's crazy. Marcus doesn't care."
Jane has actually summed up the masters pretty successfully, but I am shocked at her irreverence. Jane is Aro's pet. Her loyalty has always been absolute, which is the only reason she's here in Carlisle's crazy-house instead of in the bottom of a fireplace in the castle. I'm dying to know what's happened to get her in trouble.
"How'd you get sent here, anyway?" I give her my most charming smile. It usually works on Jane. She's always been a bit boy-crazy. It comes from having been stuck at fourteen forever.
"Alice and I were just having some fun," she says petulantly. "It gets so boring in the castle!"
"So? What did you two do?"
Jane looks at me mischievously. "You know those 'So You Think You Can Dance?' shows?" I nod and see the image in her head.
"We went on one of those, just for fun."
"You went on television?" I can't believe she's still alive.
"It was East Romanian public access!" she whines. "It's not like anyone is going to see it!"
"You're lucky Aro likes you so much," I say. "Come on. I think I caught Bella's scent." I start off into the woods, but the buzzing of my phone makes me stop.
It's from Emmett. "Dude, you HAVE to come down here." I start to text him back when I get a text from Carlisle. "Come back to the house ASAP."
Jane and I turn back to the house and start running. Bella catches up with us. She's got her phone out, too.
"I got a text from Carlisle," she says. "It says there's an emergency?" She joins us running back to the house.
"Yeah, I got it too," I tell her. I can't tell if she's still mad at me. "I think it has something to do with Emmett."
We get back to the house, and I can see Carlisle is rattled. That doesn't happen very often.
"Emmett has met with something of an emergency," Carlisle says.
"I got a text from him asking me to go down there right away," I tell Carlisle.
"It seems that Miss Hale met with a bit of an accident. " Carlisle is doing that thing where he pinches the bridge of his nose. "Emmett was concerned that she wouldn't make it, and I understand he's somewhat taken by her."
"He changed her," I said. Then I start to laugh.
"I don't think that this is an appropriate time for laughter, Edward." Carlisle looks at me sternly. "This could be quite serious."
"I'm going to help him get her back here safely," I say, still laughing. They're all looking at me strangely.
"Well, I think we should talk about the best course of action." Carlisle gestures for me to sit down.
I'm still laughing, and I know Carlisle is going to get irritated about my defiance, but I can't really sit and have a freakin' meeting with him when Emmett's in trouble.
"What's so funny?" Jane asks.
"Emmett asked for my help," I tell Carlisle, ignoring Jane. "I'm going down there."
"I'll go with you," Bella says. I stop laughing and look at her with surprise. Her help would probably be great, actually. No self-respecting Disney star, train wreck or not, wants to wake up covered in blood, looking at two male vampires and a werewolf. That actually sounds like the plot for an adult film, if I did that kind of thing.
I just can't figure out why she wants to go with me after our gazebo fight. But I smile and say, "Thank you, Bella."
And then the laughter comes back.
"Edward, for the love of God, what are you laughing about?"
I chuckle and point to Esme. "I have no idea where you're going to put all these guests. You've already moved me out of every place that has a roof."
"There's always the gazebo." Esme says, shaking her head at me.
"Or the garden shed," Carlisle adds.
"He can stay with me," Bella says.
I think she likes me.
a/n: Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! xoxo JuJu