a/n: This trainwreck is better for having been attended to by Jcat5507 and AnthroBug from Project Team Beta. They did the best they could. Also, I don't own Twilight.
"The primary fact that we fail to recognize is our total inability to form a true partnership with another human being."
Pg 53, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
Another thing I hate about California? They're weird about their fruit. I'm totally not trying to be clever here. They are really bizarre and vigilant about whether you're transporting fruit across state lines. I guess it's ok to be in a van full of supernatural creatures with a screaming soon-to-be vampire Lindsey Lohan in the back, but you try to bring an apricot into Southern Oregon, and you're in big trouble.
Which is exactly what Seth is trying to do.
"You can't take that out of the state," the stoic young state trooper says to us as Seth pulls the offending orange fruit out of his bag.
"Seriously?" Seth is incredulous. "It's just an apricot."
"Seth," I murmur. "Just give him the apricot." I'm worried that Officer Tree Fruit is going to hear Rosalie in the back. She isn't exactly really a "quiet changer."
"What if I just eat it?" Seth asks the officer. "Can I transport it in my stomach?"
"That would be fine," the humorless young man says I can feel the glare from behind his aviators.
"What if I threw it back up a mile from here?" Seth asks clearly not taking this seriously. "Would I be in trouble then?"
"Shut up, Seth!" I hiss at him.
"Are we going to have a problem?" Officer Mirror Eyes is reaching for his little shoulder radio.
"No," I say, grabbing the fruit from Seth and throwing it out my window. And then getting out and throwing it in the garbage can, because I can hear the fruit police thinking about citing me for littering. "We're good."
Seth drives away from the station, laughing while I stare at him.
Finally, he looks at me. "What?" he asks.
"Are you crazy? What was that?" I gesture back behind us. "You do realize we've got tabloid-bait changing into a vampire in the back of the van, and you're attracting unnecessary attention from the California Highway Patrol?"
Seth shrugs. "I just thought it was silly that they get so hard core about fruit."
"Yeah, it's funny, but there's a time and a place, right?"
"Sorry, man," Seth isn't really sorry, but I decide not to get into it.
"How are you guys doing back there?" Seth yells over his shoulder into the back of the van where Emmett and Bella are hovering over Rosalie Hale. Rosalie is dressed much more demurely now, and Bella washed a ton of makeup off of her. She looks so innocent. Emmett can't tear his eyes away. Sucker.
"She's ok," Bella answers. She's trying to keep Rosalie calm by stroking her head and arms. Emmett wants to be doing the same, but Bella told him not to be so "handsy."
I turn back to Seth. "So how did you guys leave stuff with Kurt?"
He looks at me blankly.
"You know Kurt? Our agent? Surely you guys did some kind of cleanup so that it won't be weird that Rosalie and you guys disappeared at the same time?" Seth continues to look at me blankly. He glances back to Emmett. Who is in la-la land.
I shake my head. "So, as far as everyone on set knows, Emmett and Rosalie and you all up and disappeared at the same time, and TMZ and People magazine and everyone else in the world is going to be looking for us?"
Seth nods slowly.
I sigh. "Cool." I run my fingers through my hair, which hasn't been brushed in at least three days, and probably looks fantastic. "Alrighty." I shake my head.
"I have an idea," Seth says.
I look at him suspiciously. "Is it as good as your fruit-discussion idea? Because that was not your best stuff."
"No," Seth says. "I think this might resolve the girl issue, though." He gestures toward the back.
"Seth, if you could resolve the 'girl issue' back there, I would kiss you. With tongue." I see Seth's horrified look. "Only metaphorically, of course."
"I was thinking that when she wakes up she could call them up and quit. Say some Hollywood shit like she needs to go on a cleanse or that she's having a 'creative struggle' with the character. I don't know."
"I actually think that's a good idea." I nod at Seth. "I think it should be rehab, though. It would be both believable and true, in a way."
Seth grins at me. "Yeah, we can even fake her death! People die in rehab all the time!"
"Yeah, then she's just going to have to hide for the rest of her...life, or whatever." I shake my head in disgust at Emmett. "Nice work, sport!" I yell to the back of the van. "You finally decide to change that special someone, and you choose the most high profile, media-trainwreck you can. You dad's gonna be pissed!"
I'm just messing with Emmett, but then it occurs to me that Aro may, in fact, be pissed. Oops.
How Edward Met Emmett:
It was 1973. Some lame stuff had happened like Watergate and the designated hitter in baseball. But some cool stuff also went down like Pink Floyd releasing "Dark Side of the Moon," and Edward was forced to serve on the Volturi guard for ten years.
Which should have been lamer than Nixon, except that he met Emmett.
He was positive that all the vampires "living" in Volterra were going to be the same: power-hungry, overly-European ghouls. He liked Aro, but that was mostly because he had never met another mind reader. But even Aro got a little weird and out of touch. Like, most of his references tended to be pre-World War I. Not to mention Marcus, who thought it was still the dark ages, apparently. He'd probably been wearing his robe since then, too, judging from the smell.
The place was all dusty and "Dracula's castle" and full of total junior-high intrigue, and Edward was really starting to dread having to be there when he met Emmett.
Emmett had just gotten back from a trip to Switzerland, and he came upon Edward trying to get Aro's old Victrola working so he could listen to some music that wasn't from the local "golden oldies" radio station.
"You like opera?" Edward heard someone talking to him from the hallway outside of the music room.
"What?" Edward looked up to see a big, friendly-looking guy who was clearly lost.
"You like opera?" Emmett repeated. "I don't, but if you do, hey, whatever floats your boat."
Edward shook his head. If he didn't know better, he would think he was hallucinating. Some big, friendly American redneck asking him if he liked opera? Whatever floats your boat?
"No," he answered. "I don't care for opera. Why do you ask?"
"Because that's all Aro has," the big man gestured toward a dusty stack of records on the ground. "Although there might be a "Yes, We Have No Bananas" in there. If that's your thing." Emmett shrugged and gave him a friendly smile. Then he extended his hand to Edward.
"I'm Emmett, by the way."
Edward took his hand warily. He had no idea how someone so friendly and non-ghoulish had ended up here.
"Edward," he said. "I'm new here."
Emmett raised an eyebrow at him. "I'm guessing not by choice. I mean, no offense to the brothers but...it's hard to attract new talent, and you're clearly not a newborn."
"Yeah," Edward smiled grimly. "It was this or the incinerator." He looked back at the Victrola. "Well, I'm gonna keep working on this. I have some records I want to play." He gestured to his brand-new Pink Floyd album.
"Aw, that's a great album!" Emmett enthused, picking it up.
"You've heard it?" Edward asked. He had been looking forward to hearing this album for days.
"Yeah, some girl was playing it at this party I went to in Zurich. It's trippy!" Emmett put the album down and looked at Edward's project. He reached down and tapped the side of the cabinet.
"You're gonna have to reconfigure it to play 33s, you know?" Emmett looked at Edward and then back down at the ancient machine. "All you gotta do is switch out the motor, or maybe you could just re-gear it." Emmett leaned over the machine and started to work on it.
Edward watched with admiration as Emmett took Aro's dusty Victrola apart and put it back together. Then they listened to "Dark Side of the Moon" together, hissing at the guard members who came by to see what they were listening to. After that, they went out and bought a better quality record player so they could listen to some of Edward's records. And after that, they played practical jokes on Demitri. It was the beginning of a great friendship, built on their mutual appreciation of popular culture and making fun of each other.
Aro was thrilled that his favorite "son" had found someone to bond with in Volterra. He wanted Emmett to be happy, and he had often seemed ill-at-ease there. But he was less than thrilled when Edward's ten years of service were up and Emmett wanted to leave with his friend.
"We'll come back and visit," Emmett told Aro. The leader of the vampire world was wearing something that looked for all the world like a pout. "Who else is going to make sure you guys don't blow the place up with that washing machine of yours?"
"These robes need to be washed frequently," Aro responded, embarrassed at Emmett's reminder that they were constantly breaking the washing machine.
"Yeah, and another dryer malfunction would be tragic." Emmett glared at Caius.
"It was not my job to clean the lint trap," Caius hissed at him. "If it's so important, perhaps you should stay. You may clean the lint trap for all of eternity."
"Caius," Aro barked. "Enough. Felix has promised to clean the lint trap, and he knows that the consequence for not doing so will be severe. Emmett has done a great deal for us, and if he wants to spread his wings a bit, he is entitled." Aro seemed to almost choke up on this last statement. He waved his creepy, white hands at Emmett and Edward. "Go, boys. Have fun."
Edward and Emmett bowed respectfully to the kings and left Volterra before Aro could change his mind. They both knew that Aro would call them back on the lightest of pretenses when he missed Emmett. They headed for America with its decent sound systems, modern plumbing, and pretty girls.
I make a mental note to have Emmett tell his spooky dad about Rosalie before Aro hears about her rom someone else. Now is apparently not a good time given that he's hardly spoken since Rosalie started her transformation.
We get back to Forks largely intact: although, next time we do a road trip in the Western United States, I need to remind Seth to rent something with a CD player. To my surprise, when we get there Whitlock and his new girlfriend have surfaced.
"Bella," Jasper tries to get Bella's attention as she's unloading Rosalie from the van. Esme has prepared my room for our new addition. I'm not even mad since I'm hoping Bella will let me kick it with her in the cabin.
Bella ignores him as she carries the blonde woman up the stairs.
"Bella. Please." Whitlock follows her. I know he just wants to apologize to her, but I love it when her bad attitude is directed at someone who isn't me.
"She's not going to speak with you right now." Whitlock's new girlfriend has changed out of her ghoul robes and is wearing a surprisingly modern pair of jeans and a blouse. Plus, major high heels because she's, like, four-feet tall.
"Dude," I say to Whitlock. "That's going to get super annoying, huh?" I point to his little Magic 8 Ball mate. I mean, I can't imagine being around someone who was right all the time.
Whitlock frowns at me and then looks at her. His face takes on that goofy look he gets right before they disappear upstairs to have sex for five days. Ugh.
"Whoah!" I say to him, waving my arms. "Let Bella get her stuff out of your room before you, you know."
"Sick! They're not going to do that again, are they?" Jane comes into the living room. She's still wearing her weirdo, old-school vampire duds - velvet dress and mary-janes. She looks all "Flowers in the Attic."
"We've got things to do," the little black-haired freak says. She points her finger at me. "You and Bella are going to have to go deal with the producers for your movie before this Rosalie Hale disappearance story gets out of control." She looks at Jasper. "Emmett's going to need you to keep her calm when she wakes up." She frowns at Jane. "You need to get Emmett on the phone with Aro so he can tell him about Rosalie before Caius finds out."
"Bossy," I say to Jasper, raising an eyebrow at him. "You like that sort of thing, huh?"
"Edward!" I hear Bella's voice coming from upstairs. "You better get up here!"
I run up the stairs faster than Aro can figure out someone's favorite color.
Yeah, I know. You don't even have to say it.
a/n: Thanks for reading and reviewing and all that business. Xoxo JuJu