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Edward in P.E.

Summary:
When the Cullens comes back at the end of New Moon, Edward and Alice get Mrs. Cope to change their schedules so that they end up in the same gym class as Bella.


Notes:
I wrote this story because some people in the "Edward in PE" thread on the Twilight Lexicon asked me to. It was really fun! Thanks to the wonderful Wendi for beta-reading it and fixing all my grammar/spelling issues and for all the wonderful suggestions.


2. Edward Plays Baseball

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 4741   Review this Chapter

I literally heard the roar of the ancient red truck from a mile away. Not many people could boast the “literally” part of that statement, but then again, not many people were undead teenagers with supersonic hearing either. The straining engine emitted an irritating squeal as metal ground on metal somewhere in the bowels of the rusty monstrosity. I wrinkled my nose with distaste. The fact that Jacob Black had rebuilt the vehicle made me like it even less I tried to picture her in the sporty little Audi coup that I’d nearly purchased as a present for her disastrous birthday party last fall. Maybe—if I was lucky—she’d let me buy it for her for graduation. In my book, anyways, a German sports car was a better present than the “gift” Carlisle had promised her.

The enormous truck rumbled into the parking lot and pulled to a stop in the empty parking space next to my Volvo. As the small girl in the driver’s seat turned the key to silence the engine, every muscle in my body flinched into rigidity, preparing for the onslaught I knew was coming.

Five…four…three…two…one…

The truck’s door opened. I squeezed my eyes shut and braced myself as the scent hit me like a ton of bricks. I swallowed the venom that oozed unbidden in my mouth, sending my aching stomach into spasms. My mind reeled, my throat burned, and I felt my lumbar spine arch involuntarily as I struggled to maintain control. As I clenched my teeth, I dug my fingernails into my palms, willing the pain in my hands to distract me from the aching need running through every sinew in me. I was ready to jump out of my skin—every instinct demanded that I kill.

Breathe Edward…just breathe…I thought. I steadied myself, concentrating on taking air in through my nose and out through my mouth. I’d long ago given up the strategy of not breathing around her—it made it too hard to talk. What’s the point of having an excellent vocabulary in seven languages if you don’t even get to use it to impress your girlfriend? I kept my eyes closed as I heard the thwap of two sneakers landing on the pavement and the slam of the creaky truck door. I analyzed the sound of her gait as she rounded the front of the truck, suffering silently.

For all the pain she caused me, I had to admit that the struggle was far more tolerable than it used to be. Even though she smelled just as wonderful and just as terrible as ever, I knew that she wasn’t really in any danger from me anymore. It’d taken months of practice, but I’d finally perfected the art of chaining up the hunger within me when it begged for relief. Whenever it reared its ugly head, I violently shoved it down with the unbridled power that she kindled in me. When I wielded my love for her like a weapon, the creature backed down, submissively ducking its head and retreating to its cave where it would sulk miserably. Every day I battled it. Every day I won. Mind over matter.

What’s more, I’d survived Bella’s death, and in a way, my own. The pain gnawing at me now was nothing in comparison to the agony that had ripped me to shreds when I'd stood before the Volturi, begging them for annihilation...knowing that having tasted true love, I couldn’t endure spending eternity alone. Without her, I’d felt as though someone had spoken the Deplorable Word, wiping out all life, leaving my world in a sterile shamble of dust and ruin. How could I go on? How could I exist without her? There had been no option but extinction. But just in the nick of time, she’d come to my rescue, racing around the globe to become my savior. The very idea of messing up the precious second chance that we’d been blessed with because I was thirsty was no longer even plausible in my mind. There wasn’t a chance that I could murder her…not any more. That didn’t mean that it was easy for me now though…not by any means.

“Hi Edward.”

“Good morning Bella,” I said quietly, in the worshipful voice I reserved only for her. Willing myself to move normally, I opened my eyes and was instantly mesmerized. Before me stood a skinny girl with a pale, heart-shaped face, too-full lips, and tiny hands…the most extraordinary human being I’d met a century.

There were three things in the world that never ceased to astonish me…things too mysterious for me to comprehend. The first was that Bella’s mind—the only mind in the world that I really longed to read—was hidden from me. The second was that Bella’s blood—the only blood in the world that I really longed to drink—was forbidden from me. The third was that Bella’s heart—the only heart in the world that I really longed to win—was already mine.

I hadn’t gotten a chance to talk to her after gym the previous day. Alice had sensed a warm front coming into the area that would briefly split the cloud cover over Forks High School. At three o’clock, when school got out, we saw that the parking lot would be bathed in brilliant sunshine. We were forced to ditch sixth hour and leave school in a hurry to avoid suspicion. Since Bella not only had work after school, but was three chapters behind in Calculus, I’d taken Emmett up on his twelve-hour family paintball challenge. Even Esme and Carlisle had joined in for that one. Jasper had amped up everyone's fight or flight response, makeing the whole experience intoxicatingly thrilling. The seven of us had raced around the woods with glee, hiding in trees and shooting from behind rocks...smearing one another with the oily neon-colored goo. In the end, Alice had won, though I had to let the rest of the family know that she cheated. She “saw” Emmet sneaking up behind her and used the opportunity to slam him with no less than fifty-seven paintballs. Rosalie had somehow ended up in the river, plastered with thick brown mud. It’d been immeasurably fun, as much fun as I was capable of having without Bella, but the longing to return to her underscored the whole experience like an itch. Had it really only been eighteen hours since I saw her shocked expression on the soccer field? It felt like eternity. I smiled tenderly at her, losing myself in those wide brown eyes. I reached to touch her face, enthralled…fascinated. To my surprise, she ducked away and glared at me.

I frowned, confused. I hadn’t expected this. I examined her guarded posture, flashing eyes, and pressed lips, deducing that she must be angry. It was always so hard to tell with her. My usual way of knowing that someone had issues with me was the gushing stream of livid thoughts boring into my head from theirs.

“Edward Anthony Masen Cullen…” she said icily. Despite her biting tone, I wasn’t convinced. Her heart was pounding—not in the deep steady pulse of true anger—but erratically, the way it always did when she was thrilled to see me. What was this? Was she playing a game? I decided to play along.

“Isabella Marie Swan…” I replied in a light, mocking tone. I bowed, still painfully aware of the mouth-watering aroma tumbling off of her. “To what do I owe the honor of your apparent wrath?” Her lips parted and she stepped back, looking as though she’d just been insulted.

“As if you didn’t know!” she said, scowling. I smirked at her, attempting to “dazzle” her with my eyes. “Oh stop that!” she cried. I froze. She looked like she was going to cry. I dropped the smirk. She really was upset.

“You’re angry with me?” I said, bewildered.

“Duh,” she said, rolling her eyes.

“Too angry for a kiss?” I whispered seductively, offering a crooked smile as I reached to embrace her. Intentionally, I exhaled once in her direction. Her eyes unfocused slightly and she breathed faster, dizzy. For a moment, she looked helpless, but she quickly regained her composure and wiggled away.

“None of that. I’m not speaking to you until you apologize for that stunt that you pulled yesterday in gym!” she said furiously. I couldn’t help myself…I laughed.

“Oh! Is that all?” I said cheerfully. She looked royally put out.

“I don’t need you to let me win!” she protested. “How am I supposed to maintain my dignity with you and Alice plotting to make me goalie-girl soccer queen?”

“I’m terribly sorry…I didn’t realize that you performing well in a sport would make you look undignified,” I said.

“You…you…” her sharp voice trailed off unable to find the right word.

“Horrid bloodthirsty monster?” I finished for her, beaming. She crossed her arms and glowered.

“Apologize!”

“No…I don’t think I will,” I said, eyes twinkling. “At least not yet.” Her brown eyes demanded an explanation, and I bit my lip, grinning helplessly. “You’re so cute when you’re mad.”

“FINE!” she shouted. With that, she turned on her heel, storming off towards the school. I started to follow her, but thought better of it and stayed where I was.

“I love you!” I called after her. Though her heart skipped a beat, she didn’t look back…instead she muttered something that sounded vaguely like ‘stupid-gorgeous-graceful-jerk’ as she stomped away. If she had been raised differently, I’m sure that she would have been making rude gestures at me the whole way. I watched her walk, my eyes lingering on the curves of her hips and the shine of her rich hair and let out a resigned sighed.

She had it all wrong, of course. I didn’t switch to her gym class to protect her from rogue tennis balls or to ward off all the hormone-filled boys who liked the way her legs looked in volleyball shorts. I had a very practical reason for my change of schedule. What Bella didn’t know about me was that the first hour of my acclimating to her scent after being parted from her for long periods of time was invariably difficult—after that hour, it got easier. Getting used to her scent was like swimming in cold water: it was better to just jump in and stay in—getting the initial shock over with at once—than to keep getting in and out. To have to re-acclimate all over again in sixth hour would be quite inconvenient. Doable, of course, but harder. How was I supposed to explain that without frightening her or making her feel bad? “Hey Bella, I’m sorry, but you can’t go to work today, because if you do, I’ll have to get used to your scent again. Oh…and you can’t go out with any of your friends. Actually, how ‘bout if you just have absolutely no life outside of me? It’d ease my suffering considerably.” I shook my head grimly. There was just no polite way to say something like that. Since good manners were such a rarity in American culture, I’d decided from the very beginning that I’d simply make sure that she never found out just how difficult saying “good morning” was for me. She certainly had enough to worry about without something that morbid hanging over her head.

Bella and Cullen are fighting…I wasn’t expecting that. This is a good omen. Maybe she hasn’t forgiven him for dumping her last fall. I still can’t believe that he broke up with her. What was he thinking?

I didn’t have to look up to know that it was Mike Newton whose voice was bouncing through the frontal lobe of my cerebral cortex. An irrational wave of annoyance flooded me. The blond boy slammed his car door, hoisted his backpack over his shoulder, and walked towards the building.

I thought for sure that when Cullen left that I’d finally have a chance with her. There’s no way that I could compete with his looks, his money, or even his car…

I rolled my eyes in exasperation at the inaccuracy of his shallow notions. I knew Bella well enough to know that none of those things served as the basis for our relationship. What exactly it was about me that drew her, however, mystified me. Her life had turned into a walking nightmare since I’d waltzed into it. I followed the baby-faced child from about twenty paces behind, listening to his melodramatic thoughts.

I’ve had a crush on her for over a year now. I’ve tried to move on, but I can’t. I want to know her better, but she just won’t open up to me. Even when he was gone, it was like she didn’t even know that I existed! I went out of my way to be a friend to her at school. I tried talking to her at work. I tried just about everything possible to get her attention, but nothing worked. What’s wrong with me? I’m good looking. I’m good at sports. I’m a nice guy. Why is she so oblivious to how much I care?

I chuckled, despite myself. I matched Mike’s pace, and walked by his side.

“Would you like to know why Bella never responded to your advances?” I asked quietly. He started, and then looked at me with a rather stunned expression.

How the heck did he do that? Mike thought. It’s like he was reading my mind or something.

“You’re too safe,” I explained in a bored tone. ”Too nice, too normal, too predictable. Bella likes men who are dangerous. Not very wise on her part, of course, but it does make her life more interesting.”

“She didn’t seem to like you much this morning,” Mike retorted.

“A minor setback,” I replied calmly. “It’s nothing.”

So cocky. So overconfident, Mike thought. What the heck does she see in him? And what does he mean by “dangerous”? He’s not planning on hurting her, is he? I’ll kill him if he ever lays a hand on her! I suppressed a laugh. Somehow “Mike the Vampire-Slayer” didn’t sound like a hit show.

As we entered the building, the drone of hundreds of voices filled my head. I let them mingle with the audible voices, refusing to focus on any but his. He was thinking about Bella, therefore, his thoughts mattered to me. He kept quickening his pace, hoping to lose me. I kept up, amused. When we got to first hour, he took a seat as far from me as possible.

Bella stumbled into class two minutes late. She must have been yelling at Alice in the hallway for her contributions to the gym incident. As she self-consciously closed the door behind her, the air in the room swirled and eddied, bombarding me with the scent of her blood. I braced myself once more, waiting with a mixture of dread and gladness for her to take her place by my side. To my disbelief, however, she didn’t join me in the back row. Instead she took the only other empty seat in the room, which happened to be next to Newton. Anger erupted in me and I involuntarily let out a hiss of aggression. Eric Yorkie, who was unfortunate enough to be sitting in front of me, turned around and gave me a funny look. I loudly pretended to cough, and the grease-head turned back around, satisfied. I eyed Bella and Mike suspiciously. What on earth could she be up to?

I tried to flirt. It worked better than I thought it would.”

I suddenly remembered the words she’d spoken during that fateful car ride home from Port Angeles, and my fury melted as I recalled the way she’d charmed the poor Quileute boy into unwittingly breaking the ancient treaty, revealing my secrets. She was a better flirt than she gave herself credit for. So was that her strategy? Was she trying to force me to apologize by making me jealous? I grinned, entertained. Very well. If she insisted on playing this game, I’d watch with keen interest. It was bound to be more interesting than listening to a history lecture that I could have easily taught.

“Why aren’t you sitting next to Cullen?” Mike whispered, leaning towards Bella, carefully avoiding the eye of the surly teacher who was droning on about the spread of Western Civilization.

“I don’t like him very much right now,” she whispered back, glancing at me from the corner of her eye.

“You ‘don’t like him very much’ as in you two are having a little lover’s quarrel, or you ‘don’t like him very much’ as in you’re no longer dating?” Mike demanded in a low voice.

“That depends,” she whispered. “He did something to make me angry. I’m waiting for him to apologize.” She glanced my way again…so briefly that it was almost imperceptible…but I knew that she was trying to gauge my reaction. I winked at her. She grimaced.

I may have a chance. I may have a chance…Mike thought. I rubbed my hands together in delight. This was going to be good.

For the rest of the day, the charade continued. Bella walked with Mike everywhere, but her eyes were always on me. Every time I caught her looking my way, I’d blow her an obvious kiss and her heart would thud. It was all too easy…she wasn’t fooling me for a second. At lunch, she wiggled between Mike and Angela, leaving no room for me, so I merely sat a few tables away by myself, conspicuously watching her as I played with my useless human food. (Alice had a midday rendezvous with Jasper. I didn’t bother to ask what they’d be doing. I just hoped that whatever it was, it wasn’t in the back seat of the Volvo.)The buzz of curious thoughts that filled the cafeteria let me know that her apparent animosity towards me hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Bella’s not sitting with Edward. What? So now she thinks she’s too good for even him? Lauren Mallory’s snide thoughts rang out.

Oh great! Jessica Stanley seethed. Now Bella’s got Mike drooling all over her again? Isn’t it enough that she’s dating the hottest guy in the world? Ugh! She makes me sick. She’s so anorexic looking now, too! Is that really what guys are into? She pushed aside her sandwich as if it were infected with the plague and sipped her Aquafina.

wonder if we’re going to play baseball in gym? It’s so nice out today…thought David Greenman. I breathed a sigh of relief. At least someone in this school was normal.

English essay due that I forgot to write. Should I skip class to work on it or just turn it in late…thought Morgan Jones.

oh I hope they didn’t break up. She was so miserable without him. I was so relieved when he came back and she could just be happy again…I smiled. Angela Webber had been rooting for us.

I could do it now. I’ve got her here next to me. No…not now. What was it that Captain Jack Sparrow said? Oh yeah. ‘Not yet. Wait for the opportune time.’ Okay. Now may not be that moment. But I’m going to do it today. Carpe Diem…right? These pathetically unoriginal thoughts were, of course, from the ever persistent Mike Newton.

“Mike,” said Bella suddenly, “I never properly thanked you.”

Huh? What? Oh goodness… she’s talking to me! She’s thanking me? Am I getting my hopes up for nothing, or does she actually seem into me for once? Mike wondered. He ran his fingers through his spiky blond hair and cleared his throat. “For what?” he said, voice cracking. Though everyone appeared to be engaged in conversation around them, it was obvious from their thoughts that more than one person was listening in.

Oh God! The girl has no shame. Listen to her buttering him up to eat him like a crescent roll…spewed Lauren Mallory’s vicious mental tone.

What in the world? Is Bella flirting with Mike? It can't be. Everyone knows she's totally indifferent to him...thought Jackie Penoyer.

“For being so nice to me when I was acting like a zombie last fall,” Bella said. “For caring about me, even though most other people were treating me like a social outcast. For still being my friend when I was being rude. It meant a lot. I alienated a lot of people because I was depressed. You never gave up on me. Thank you.” She was staring into his surprised blue eyes with an expression of genuine gratitude.

She noticed me. She noticed me! Should I tell her to drop that zero and get with this hero? Gah! That’s the lamest line in the world. What’s wrong with me? Mike thought. Bella smiled demurely, looking at him through those thick lashes.

“Bella…” Mike began. But at that moment, the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. Bella stood, glancing at me quickly out of the corner of her eye. I waved casually, making no secret of the fact that I was enjoying myself. She narrowed her eyes, pausing briefly before she swept off to the girl’s locker room.

I whistled cheerily to myself as I shed my khakis and Dr. Martins for Nike sweatpants and tennis shoes.

He’s losing his girlfriend and he has the nerve to be happy? Mike’s pestilent thoughts drilled into my head. I gave him a mischievous look as I tied my shoes. He glared at me coldly, with utmost loathing.

David Greenman got his wish—Coach Clapp ushered us over to the baseball diamond and had us count off “one, two, one, two,” to divide up into teams. I ended up on a team with Bella, Mike and Angela. Alice, Tyler and Conner were on the opposite team, along with the snotty girls with the poisonous thoughts.

Hey Edward! Alice thought. I glanced her way. Her entire posture was relaxed, her jet-black hair was royally mussed up, and her skin was less pale than usual. Jasper’s potent aroma hung about her like a cloud of sweet perfume. I gave her a knowing look, which she ignored.

Is Bella raging mad at you? She asked. I looked up at the sky, then down at the grass. She sighed. She’s going to try to get back at you. You need to be careful. I grinned hugely, shrugging. She cast me a wary look with her honey-colored eyes.

Our team lost the coin toss, so Alice’s team got to bat first. My team made me pitcher. Bella was stuck out in right field where Mike—who was on second base—could cover her position if need be. I sighed. Gym was always a nuisance, but baseball was especially bad. Carlisle’s thunderstorm athletic events had ruined all of us for the ordinary. It wasn’t just that we had to dumb down our skills and move all slowly that made the farce unenjoyable—it was the uncomfortable risk that one of us would accidentally hurt a human if we didn’t control our strength. I felt sorry for our team’s catcher.

The game was dreadfully boring. Over and over I tossed the ball with less than a hundredth of the strength I was typically capable of hurling it, but it still wasn’t human enough. The first three players quickly struck out.

Edward…my tiny, pixie-like sister thought disapprovingly, as she passed me on her way to the outfield. I playfully swept her into a rough brotherly hug, lifting her struggling little body off the ground.

“Don’t do anything stupid now,” she warned me. I probed her mind, but it was too late. I’d missed whatever vision it was that she’d just had. Oh well. Couldn’t have been too bad, could it?

On the bench, I kept making eyes at Bella, trying to get her attention, which she ignored as she pretended to hang on Mike’s every word. Finally, it was my turn to bat. Tyler Crowley wound up, preparing to pitch the ball to me.

Now’s the time! I better not mess this up, came Mike’s thoughts from the bench.“Hey Bella,” he said. She glanced up. “You’re not going to prom with Cullen again this year, are you?”

“With Edward,” she corrected. She paused. “No, actually…I’m not going with him.”

WHAT? I turned, incredulous, to stare at the both of them. Since wedding plans were apparently out the window, I’d turned my romantic schemes to devising an elaborately complicated prom agenda. Alice had bought material for her dress and had been working on a design. I had a tux picked out and had scrounged the fields of the forest for the perfect wildflowers to make into a corsage for her. I’d composed and recorded a CD of romantic music to play in the Aston Martin that night. I’d hidden several little surprise presents in locations all over the mansion, which I was planning for her find through means of a scavenger hunt. She couldn’t possibly be thinking about going with someone else. Flirting with Mike to make me jealous was one thing. Foiling my plans for prom night was hitting below the belt.

“STRIKE ONE!” the coach cried. I looked up, dazed. Tyler’s ball had whizzed right by me. Bella’s face was smug. The catcher tossed the ball back at Tyler. I angrily gripped the bat a little too hard. The wood splintered slightly beneath my icy fingers.

“Well then,” Mike continued. “If you’re not going with Edward, is it because you already told that kid from La Push that you’d take him? Is that what it is? Did you already commit to him?”

I froze. Jealousy bubbled over me like a fever, exploding in a blast of fury. Mike had named the only person in the world with the power to threaten the foundation of my existence. Images I’d seen in the dog’s head flashed through my mind unbidden: Black and Bella curled up in each other’s arms, sitting on the beach; Black and Bella hanging out in his garage, laughing as he tinkered on some engine; Black climbing through Bella’s window late at night, sitting on her bed, sharing secrets with her. I cringed as the worst image came to mind. I saw Bella’s face in his hands as he leaned in, ready to press his lips against hers. I couldn’t stop the swells of indignation that cried out for the filthy werewolf to get his hands off of her. One from my own memory swirled to join the rest: Black crashing prom last year to steal a dance with her, delivering a warning from the Pack. His foul presence had marred an otherwise perfect evening. She wouldn’t dare go to prom with him…would she?

“STRIKE TWO!” the coach cried. I suddenly jerked out of my thoughts, realizing that I was supposed to be playing baseball, and that even by dismal human standards, I wasn’t doing it well. I spit venom on the ground in frustration.

“No,” Bella said, shaking her head. “Jake’s not even speaking to me right now. I never asked him to go with me anyways.”

“Well then,” said Mike, sounding much braver than he had before. “I was wondering...would you like to go with me?”

Tyler wound the ball back and hurled it straight towards me. This time I was ready…more than ready…I was seething. Vile Mike Newton had the audacity to ask Bella Swan—my Bella Swan—to prom. I’d teach him a lesson he’d never forget. Using my super-human vision, I measured with remarkable accuracy the velocity of the approaching ball, the speed and direction of the wind, the trajectory of the ball’s approach, and the distance from the home plate to Mike’s car. I solved the vector problem in my head, and determined the exact measure of force (in Newtons, ironically) that it would take to send the ball smashing through Mike’s windshield. I knew that I wasn’t thinking rationally, but I didn’t care. There had to be justice. I slammed the bat into the ball and sent it whizzing over the fence, straight into the parking lot.

EDWARD! Alice’s voice shouted in my head. YOU IMBICILE! I WARNED YOU NOT TO DO IT! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU??? But it was too late. I heard the sound of glass shattering in the distance as I rounded first base.

“Mike…” I heard from across the field. “I’m very flattered, but I’m afraid that I’m not going to the dance at all,” Bella said sheepishly.

What was that? I thought, skidding effortlessly into the home plate.

What was that? Mike thought, his Hummer limousine plans dissipating from his disappointed mind in a poof of smoke.

What was that? Alice thought, her dreams of Bella all dolled up in a black and silver strapless satin gown swirling quickly down the drain.

“I’m sorry Mike,” said Bella in a serious voice, “I know you don’t want to hear this…but I’m going to Seattle that weekend.”