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Seducing Ms Swan

Summary:
AU Post-New Moon. Bella never jumped, Alice never had her vision and Edward never came back. Six years later, Bella is struggling to make a new life for herself as a teacher in Rochester, New York. How will she fare when a very familiar student crops up in her classroom? Will she be able to remain professional, or will old ties get in the way? Edward is convinced that getting Bella back is just a matter of 'persuasion', but Bella isn't prepared to be that cooperative. What's more, she's in the grip of a dark secret which threatens to prevent her from loving ever again. Bella Swan is slipping under...


Notes:
Thankyou to twike for beta work. Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


8. Innuendo

Rating 3.8/5   Word Count 5406   Review this Chapter

*~*~*~*

Uh-Oh, We're In Trouble

Something's Come Along And It's Burst Our Bubble
Yeah, Yeah! Uh-Oh, We're In Trouble

*~*~*~*

“Stop it Edward, this has nothing to do with you.” Bella said angrily, her eyes flashing.

I felt myself swell with anger. “Yes it does!”

“No it doesn’t! It’s no concern of yours what I do with my life; you made that pretty clear when you left. Now out of my way please!” Her words hit me like lightning. You made that pretty clear when you left. Did that mean… could that mean what I thought it did? Could it be that maybe Emmett and Jasper were right, that Bella still believed my parting words of rejection? But that was so stupid! If she loved me and I loved her then the only thing keeping us apart was a huge, awful misunderstanding. I opened my mouth, but before I could form words Bella had swerved the bike unexpectedly and was speeding full-pelt across the parking lot.

“BELLA COME BACK!” I shouted desperately. She didn’t stop and my eyes instantly zeroed in on the motorbike. Perhaps if I ran at it from just the right angle, I could stop the confounded thing and pull Bella off of it without hurting her. My feverish plans were interrupted by Esme’s thoughts.

Don’t you DARE touch that bike Edward! She ordered me, It’s far too dangerous- what if you missed and sent her flying to the ground?

I swore with frustration. I knew Esme was right, but I couldn’t bear to just stand here and watch Bella speed away from me, still believing that I didn’t love her. I tried to shout at her again, but it was obvious she wasn’t listening. I caught the end strand of what she was saying to Alice. “- can pick me up at 11.00!” she shouted, her words almost lost to the deafening sound of the motorcycle’s engine. I came to a stuttering halt next to Alice, still roaring at Bella to stop but to absolutely no avail. She flashed us all a winning smile, before whipping past of us and shooting out of the parking lot onto the road, where she was quickly swallowed up by Friday night traffic. My family stood in a stunned silence, staring wide-eyed at the space where she had just been.

Emmett whistled appreciatively. “Damn!” he said, very impressed, “Since when did Bella become such a badass?”

There was a silence for a second and then my siblings exploded into laughter. Carlisle and Esme, on the other hand, continued to watch the spot where Bella had disappeared onto the road, shocked.

Finally, Carlisle spoke. “What… what just happened?” he asked, confused.

“Well it would seem that Edward managed to screw up yet another perfect opportunity to make up with Bella, so we will all have to endure this drama for a bit longer,” Rosalie sighed looking at me with irriation, “It would also seem that, despite all the odds, Bella Swan finally grew a backbone.” Rosalie raised her eyebrows as though the very concept was unbelievable. The others laughed again.

“Will you stop?!” I growled angrily at them all, “Can’t you see how serious this is? Bella was just riding a motorbike-”

“-very well, by the looks of it-” Alice inserted

“- and none of you can see how dangerous that is?” I challenged them, ignoring Alice’s comment.

“Yeah sure,” Emmett said, “it’s dangerous, but are you seriously telling me that you weren’t slightly turned on by that? She was wearing leather! It was hot, wasn’t it Jasper?”

We all turned to look at Jasper, who looked slightly taken aback at suddenly being shoved under the spotlight.

“Don’t you DARE answer that-” I began warningly.

“Uh yeah, it was from where I was standing,” he said, causing Emmett to laugh loudly again. I growled at them both, but Jasper just shrugged sheepishly at me. Well what am I meant to say? It was.

“Alright boys, that’s enough drooling over foxy Bella,” Alice said, but we could all see she found the situation deeply amusing. Her words suddenly reminded me of something.

“What did Bella mean ‘you can pick me up at 11:00?’” I demanded.

“Rosalie and I are taking Bella shopping,” she said smoothly. I gaped at her.

“I thought I told you to stay away from her!”

Alice narrowed her eyes at me and she suddenly looked positively dangerous. “And since when did you have full control of what I do and who I see, Edward Cullen?”

“Since it involved Bella!” I said angrily.

“Oh get over yourself Edward, she’s my friend too! You don’t have sole ownership rights to her you know! She’s not an object!”

I know that, you’re the one who always treated her like some sort of overgrown doll!”

Carlisle cleared his throat and we both looked up. “What?!” we asked, irritated.

“Children please, stop bickering,” Esme sighed. We both ruffled at the use of the word ‘children’, but Esme raised her eyebrow as if daring us to correct her. We both sighed.

“Sorry Mom,” we said in unison, hanging our heads like seven year olds.

“That’s better,” she nodded, satisfied. “Now, unless any of you have any objections, I suggest that we go home; we still have a guest to prepare for.” I groaned again; I had almost forgotten about Tanya’s impending visit. Both Carlisle and Esme shot me reprimanding looks. You promised to behave, Edward, Esme admonished me. I sighed, frustrated.

“Okay fine,” I said reluctantly, “but can I go and check on Bella first? I want to make sure she got home without crashing.” I looked away embarrassed; I knew Emmett would scoff at my sentimentality and Esme would glow smugly. I decided Carlisle was the safest bet in terms of keeping his expression neutral, so I focused on him.

Don’t be embarrassed Edward, he thought, I’m glad that you’re acting responsibly again. Perhaps next time you’ll be able to have an entire conversation with Bella without raising your voice. He added, slightly amused. I winced, but before I could respond Carlisle spoke out loud.

“That’s fine, but you’ll need to take someone in the car with you; there’s only space for five in the Mercedes,” he said, before turning to survey the family. He was clearly deciding which one of my siblings I was least likely to start a fight with. He did not consider Esme because we all knew she wanted to get home and prepare for Tanya’s arrival, although how you could ‘prepare’ for a guest that didn’t eat or sleep, I had no idea. “Jasper can go with you,” Carlisle finally said. It was the most sensible choice; Jasper was the sibling I argued with least and if I did get angry he could just calm me straight down again. Jasper nodded dutifully and leant down to kiss Alice, before heading off towards my car.

“See you later,” I muttered to the rest of my family, following Jasper. As I opened the door and sat down in the driver’s seat, Bella’s parting words were running through my head again. It’s no concern of yours what I do with my life; you made that pretty clear when you left. Was I right in assuming that she was still under the delusion I didn’t love her? It would certainly help to explain her erratic behaviour towards me. Or was I, as I had been so many times of late, just misinterpreting the signs again and imagining things that were not there? I groaned, slamming my foot down on the pedal and reversing out of the space at top speed.

“Tonight,” I said to Jasper, turning and exiting onto the road, “was an absolute disaster.” I was following the familiar route to Bella’s apartment that I had already haunted so many times since we had come to Rochester.

Well yeah, Jasper thought, having returned to our usual means of conversation now that we were alone, it wasn’t great. But it wasn’t a total failure either.

“How do you figure that?” I asked, racing through the lights just as they went red and turning right at the intersection.

Well at least we can be sure of one thing now, Jasper replied.

“And what’s that?” I asked despondently as I turned onto Bella’s street, bringing the car to much slower speed so that I could peer through her window.

How Bella feels about you.

“What do you mean?” I questioned, not really listening as I strained to catch a glimpse of Bella. I had just seen her walk past the window, apparently unharmed, when Jasper spoke out loud, distracting me completely.

“She loves you Edward,” he said simply, a smile on his face.

“What?!” I gasped, “How could you tell??” Jasper rolled his eyes at me.

“Just because your and Alice’s powers don't work on Bella doesn’t mean mine doesn’t.”

“You mean-” I said, hardly daring to believe what I was hearing.

“Yep,” he grinned, “her love for you was coming off in waves; it was so strong I could even feel it from the parking lot when you were both still in the courtyard. Speaking of which, I thought you told us you were going to stop trying to seduce her?” he looked at me with a smirk.

“I did!” I said, surprised, glancing back to her window, “I was just talking to her.”

Jasper shook his head, amused. “Well whatever you were doing, you did it well; at one point she could hardly keep from throwing herself at you.”

“Really?” I felt a huge smile crossing my face. That must have been why she reacted so violently when I freed her from her rucksack. I suddenly felt ecstatically happy, more so than I had for years. If Jasper was correct, if what he was saying was true, then I was only one simple conversation away from being with Bella again.

“I’m not saying that you won’t have your work cut out winning her back,” Jasper said hastily, “you hurt her really badly Edward and she’s still in an awful lot of pain emotionally. Plus she’s got a lot of anger towards you- something which isn’t helped by the way you keep losing your temper with her.”

I nodded seriously, but it was hard to feel too downhearted; Bella loved me!

“There was something else though,” Jasper said, interrupting my inner celebrations, “it was weird; I could hardly even tell what the emotion was at first, I’ve never detected it from her before. In fact the only person who ever normally feels that way is you.”

“What was it?” I asked, suddenly alarmed. What could Bella possibly be feeling that was foreign to Jasper?

“Guilt,” Jasper answered, frowning, “and self loathing,” he added, almost as an after-thought. “She absolutely detests herself Edward. It was so strong; it was painful for me to just be around her. But the weirdest thing was the nature of it; she was feeling it all the time, yet it didn’t seem to cause her too much pain. It was almost as if she’s so used to hating herself that the emotion has sort of just faded into the background. It’s normal for her now.”

I stared at Jasper, stricken. “But why?” I asked, my chest tight; the thought that my angel, so perfect in every single way, could possibly feel so horrible about herself was excruciating. I was different- I was a monster and had taken innocent lives- my self-hatred was unavoidable, but for Bella to feel the same way? What did she even have to feel guilty about? She had never sinned in her life. It was insane.

Jasper just shook his head, worriedly. “I have no idea; I can only tell you what she’s feeling, not why. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that she feels guilty over a single event; the emotion seemed too concentrated for several. But whatever the reason, I can tell you now that it’s not something which will change quickly. The guilt is so embedded in her now- it’ll be near impossible to rip it away. When you do finally get back together, it’ll still take months- maybe even years- to heal her completely.”

“I don’t care,” I said instantly, “I’ll be here for her for eternity, and whatever it takes to make things better, I’ll do it.”

Jasper looked at me quizzically. “For eternity?” he asked, “do you realise what that means Edward? What you’ll have to do?”

“Yes,” I said, bowing my head. Bella would have to become a vampire. I had been mulling the concept over ever since we had returned to Rochester and although my mind still told me it was wrong to take away Bella’s life, my heart pleaded otherwise. I had already experienced what it would be like to lose Bella and I was certain that I could not cope with that again. I did not want to steal her soul, but I was resigned to the fact that I could not, would not let her go again. I wanted to be by her side forever… if she’d have me.

I looked back to Bella’s window; the drapes were drawn. She must have closed them unnoticed by me during my conversation with Jasper. I wondered whether she had seen us and then, with a heavier heart, I wondered whether she was still angry at me about the motorcycle. The happiness I had felt at Jasper’s initial information had deflated, to be replaced by an ominous sense of foreboding. I took one last glance at Bella’s covered window and sighed dejectedly, before pulling away from the curb and driving back down the street. “We better get back to the house,” I murmured to Jasper, “Esme will kill us if we’re not there to greet Tanya.”

Even as I sped into the snow covered driveway that led to our secluded mansion on the south bank of Lake Ontario, just outside Rochester, I knew I was too late. Not only could I hear the rest of the family’s voices, but their thoughts were ricocheting around inside of my head like particles of over-excited gas, making it ache. A quick glance at Jasper’s pained expression showed me that their emotions were similarly hyperactive. I drove the car to the front of the house and cut the engine, causing the lights to go out. Jasper and I sat there silently in the dark for a few moments, both unwilling to leave the sanctuary of the car.

We’d best go in, Jasper thought, without making any motion to move.

“Yes,” I nodded, staring unseeingly out of the windshield. There was a long pause as both of us just sat still, reluctant to leave the sanctuary of the quiet vehicle.

Come on, Jasper finally thought decisively, we can’t put it off forever. Let’s go inside before she comes out he-

The car door suddenly swung open with a loud WHOOSH. Too late, I thought wryly. Standing with her hands on her hips, framed by the light that was flooding from the open front doors of the house, was a slim figure with long strawberry blonde hair and mischievous eyes. Tanya.

“Hello boys,” she said wickedly, an impish smile stretching across her ruby red painted lips. Jasper and I uncurled from our seats immediately and abandoned the car which, until two seconds ago, had been a safe haven. Tanya raised an eyebrow teasingly at me. Oh Edward, she thought coyly, you’re that eager to greet me? I should drop by more often.

“Good Evening Tanya,” I said stiffly. My patience with Tanya was even shorter than usual after all my confrontations with Bella and I knew that I was going to have be extra careful if I didn’t want to disappoint Esme and Carlisle by being ‘unpleasant’ to our guest.

Tanya let out a low, sultry laugh. “Feeling a little formal tonight, are we Edward? Never fear; I’m sure we’ll straighten that out soon enough. The night is still young you know…” she let her sentence trail off suggestively. My hands clenched into fists and she laughed delightedly again, before turning her gaze to Jasper.

“I see you still have your work cut out with this one Jazz,” she said, nodding at me amusedly, “keeping him calm must be a full time job.”

“Something like that,” Jasper said. His eyes were already searching over Tanya’s shoulder frantically for Alice, hoping that she’d come to save him.

“Let’s go inside,” I said to Tanya, as politely as I could. If I was forced to spend time with her then I wanted to do so in front of lots of witnesses; that would hopefully reduce the chances of anything undesirable happening.

“As you wish,” Tanya purred at me, taking hold of my hand and pulling me up the steps so fast that I barely had time to protest. We entered the hallway where Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, Carlisle and Esme were waiting for us. I immediately pulled my hand from Tanya’s grasp, but not before I got a glance of Emmett who was practically doubled up in silent laughter. Having fun, Edward? He grinned. I glared at him. Alice jumped up from where she had been sitting on the wide staircase and ran over to wrap her arms around Jasper’s waist.

“Hi,” she smiled, standing on tiptoes to kiss his cheek. He smiled back and fingered her short black locks lovingly.

“Missed you,” he murmured back, linking his fingers through hers and bringing them to his lips, kissing them softly. From the corner of my eye I saw Tanya edge towards me and I instantly put more space between us. Don’t you dare get any ideas, I thought uselessly at her, ignoring the fact she wouldn’t be able to hear a word of it.

“How was Bella?” Alice asked Jasper, oblivious to the fact that everybody else was watching them.

“Bella?” Tanya interjected instantly, her eyes suddenly alight with curiosity.

I groaned, glaring at Alice. “Nice one,” I whispered bitterly.

Alice looked stricken. Sorry Edward, I didn’t think!

“Bella,” Tanya said, rolling the name across her tongue like it belonged to some sort of odd food, “wasn’t that the name of Edward’s human?” Nobody answered at first; instead they all just looked at me with baited breath. I didn’t say anything; I was trying too hard to stop myself from attacking Tanya for the casual way in which she had referred to Bella. Finally Carlisle spoke for me.

“Yes,” he said to Tanya, “Edward met Bella back in Forks six years ago-”

“I remember…” Tanya looked at me smugly and a knowing grin crossed her face. She was the one you ran away from, wasn’t she Edward? Do you remember the way you came running to me after you first met? What an interesting visit that was…

I growled involuntarily at her as memories of the time she had tried to seduce me came flashing into her head. “Stop.” I ordered her curtly.

She glanced at me, her eyes smouldering, before turning to face Carlisle again. “But isn’t the girl history? I thought you left Forks to escape her?” I was now so tense that I felt like I was going to explode; Jasper gave me an alarmed look and sent me a reinforced wave of calm. Keep it together, Edward, his thoughts cautioned me.

Rosalie stepped forward to address Tanya. “We did leave,” she said, “but she’s turned up here in Rochester. She’s teaching at the school we’ve been attending.” Tanya’s smile grew even wider.

Really?” she asked, turning an entertained gaze on me, “she’s your teacher?” I jerkily inclined my head in acknowledgement, inwardly preparing myself for the insinuations Tanya’s mind would conjure from that piece of information; her grin grew even broader at my reaction. And you still have feelings for her? She thought, her smile turning devilish. Well, well, who knew Edward Cullen could be so very kinky?

I was immediately assaulted with scandalously inappropriate mental pictures of myself dressed in nothing but a school tie and boxers as Tanya pushed me up against a wall, kissing me passionately… I felt my hands convulse as they darted out to throttle her, but I stopped myself just in time and staggered backwards, reaching out blindly for Jasper’s calming touch. He gripped my arm again, sending sedating waves through me.

“Edward!” Esme cried, shocked.

“Oh it’s okay Esme,” Tanya said, laughter rumbling in her low, rich voice. I like it when you get angry Edward, she thought seductively, go straight ahead; punish me if it gives you a release.

I cringed again and clutched my head in my hands. Make it stop! Make the innuendos stop!

“So Tanya,” Carlisle said hastily after anxiously noting my distress, “would you like to see the rest of the house?” He gestured towards the stairs and Esme, understanding his aim, immediately walked towards them. Tanya looked from Carlisle to me, clearly seeing the motive behind his question.

“Sure, why not?” she replied, There’ll be plenty of time to play with you later, she thought and winked at me unashamedly before following Esme up the stairs. As soon as she was out of sight I let out a deep breath, sinking to the floor. I could feel my siblings’ eyes on me, half amused, half sympathetic.

“Are you okay?” Alice asked, cautiously. I just moaned and shook my head. I could still hear Tanya’s thoughts from upstairs; she kept randomly sending me new imaginings of me in various states of undress, each one more creative than the last. I felt like I had walked into a low budget porn film.

“Oh come on Edward, it can’t be that bad,” Emmett said, rolling his eyes. I couldn’t even growl at him; I was too busy focusing on not killing Tanya.

“Trust me, it really is,” Jasper said, wincing as a new wave of Tanya’s lust mingled with my repulsion hit him. Emmett’s eyes widened as he looked at Jasper and me, both of us wearing similarly nauseated expressions.

“Okay, that’s it,” I choked out, as I an image of Tanya whipping me with my own tie floated into my head, “I’m getting out of here.”

“She’s only doing it to get a rise out of you Edward-” Rosalie said, clearly unimpressed by my weakness. I squirmed at her choice of words; five minutes’ worth of Tanya’s thoughts had caused me to see innuendos everywhere. Jasper sensed my embarrassment and couldn’t help but laugh, which caused Emmett to cotton on and begin to guffaw loudly.

“What?” Rosalie asked, irritated, “why are you both laugh-” she paused and a wicked smile crossed her face as it clicked. “Oh.”

“I’m leaving now,” I said quickly, not wanting this to continue. “Coming, Emmett?”

He grinned, clearly wanting to join in on the ‘Edward humiliation’,

“I don’t know, are you?” This caused all of them to break out into laughter again, including Alice and Rosalie. I groaned again.

“Hilarious Emmett, your originality astounds me,” I said bitingly, my voice dripping with sarcasm.

"That's what she said!" Emmett guffawed.

I cringed. “I’m going hunting," I muttered, "enjoy yourselves.”

“Oh, we will,” Emmett replied, waggling his eyebrows at me. I growled, frustrated, and ran through the door, unwilling to listen to any more of this. “Oh don’t be like that Edward, it’s just a joke!” Emmett called after me over the others’ laughter.

“We better go with him,” I heard Jasper chuckle, “c’mon Emmett.” In the distance I faintly heard both of my brothers say farewell to their wives, before chasing after me, spouting catcalls and provocative comments the whole way. I sighed.

“This is going to be a long night,” I muttered to myself, skirting the lake as I darted towards the woods where we usually hunted.

“That’s not the only thing that’s long Edward!” Emmett cried, guffawing and I flinched. Their laughter rang into my ears as I charged into the cover of the trees.

Why me?

It was the early hours of Saturday evening before I finally felt ready to return to the house. In the intervening hours my brothers and I had killed enough animals to create a considerable dent in local wildlife statistics and drunk so much blood that our eyes were the lightest they had been in weeks. Our only interruption had been when Alice had rung to request the usage of Emmett’s jeep; even more snow had fallen overnight, causing road conditions that were less than suitable for a Porsche. I was thankful for the opportunity to calm myself down, but it had come at an extreme cost- mainly Emmett and Jaspers’ incessant teasing and by the time I got back to the house I was sure that I had heard enough dirty jokes to last me an eternity.

All was quiet as we walked through the front doors; there was no sign of the rest of the family. “Where is everybody?” Jasper asked, perplexed. I glanced back out to the driveway, which was mainly cast in shadows by the setting sun. Emmett’s jeep had gone- and presumably Rosalie and Alice with it- but the other vehicles were still there.

“Well Rose and Alice must still be with Bella,” Emmett said, sauntering through to the living room and throwing himself down on the couch, where he grabbed two games console controllers, tossing one to Jasper.

“Wanna play?” he asked me, but I just shook my head. My stomach had clenched at the mention of Bella; Tanya’s arrival had blown almost all thoughts of her from my mind. I instantly began to wonder whether Bella had enjoyed her day out with my sisters and then, more pressingly, whether she had said anything to them about me. I doubted that Alice would have said much to her- she knew that I wanted to sort things out with Bella on my own- but I wasn’t so sure about Rosalie. I started to feel very uneasy; the last thing I wanted was for Bella to get some garbled second-hand version of my apology from Rosalie.

Suddenly I heard voices from the backyard and I looked out to see Carlisle and Esme walking towards us hand in hand, their skin sparkling slightly in the sun’s dying rays. They looked like they were coming from the lake, which was all very well, but still left Tanya missing. Then I felt something move three floors above. I narrowed my eyes; the only room on the fourth floor was…

“TANYA!” I bellowed, “GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” I bolted up three flights stairs at lightning speed, bursting through my bedroom door to find her sitting on my bed, dressed in a shamefully low-cut top and a garment so short it hardly even resembled a skirt.

That’s right, get an eyeful. She smiled wickedly. “Nice of you to join me darling,” she drawled, her eyes dancing. This is going to be fun… she thought.

“Get. Off. Now.” I growled at her threateningly. She raised her eyebrows at me challengingly, before a devious smile crossed her face.

Make me.

I gritted my teeth; the knowledge that she thrived on my anger only served to make me even more irate. “Tanya, if you don’t get the hell out of my room RIGHT NOW-”. Suddenly, my phone rang. I checked the caller info- it was Alice. I shot Tanya a ‘this isn’t over’ death look, before flipping the cell open. “Hello?” I asked brusquely.

“Edward?”

“What do you want Alice? I’m kind of busy at the moment,” murdering Tanya, I added in my mind.

“I’m just ringing to tell you that Rose and I are on our way home… and we’re bringing Bella,” Alice trilled happily down the phone.

I froze, shocked. “S-she’s coming here?”

“Yep!” Alice practically sang, “tell Esme not to worry, I’ve already bought human food. See ya in five!”

“Alice wait, I-” I shouted down the phone, but she had already hung up. I stared at it in my hand, thunderstruck. I hadn’t expected to see Bella so soon after our argument and I was suddenly doubtful, despite Jasper’s assurances that she loved me the night before. What if he had been wrong? What should I say to her? Would she still be too angry over the motorcycle incident to even talk to me?

“So, Bella’s coming here!” a voice from behind me said and I whipped around to see Tanya watching me from my bed. I was surprised to see that she wasn’t affronted or irritated in any way- just slightly amused. Tanya had always found the fact that I was ‘in love’ with a human as vaguely interesting- a reason for curiosity, but not exactly a huge deal. She was certain that my feelings for Bella were nothing more than an odd crush, stemming from the fact that I was fascinated by her humanity. It had definitely never been reason enough for her to stop all her advances towards me.

“Yes,” I said shortly. I had absolutely no desire to talk to Tanya about this subject, least of all when I was so stressed. I didn’t wait for her to ask me questions, but exited the room and began to run downstairs. “Carlisle? Esme?” I called, not even bothering to look back for Tanya. They both appeared almost instantly at my side. I briefly filled them in on the situation and their resultant exclamations of delight caused Jasper and Emmett to come curiously out of the lounge.

“What’s going on?” Emmett asked.

“Bella’s coming!” Esme smiled widely. Emmett whooped and Jasper sent me a significant look. This is your chance, Edward, he thought to me. I nodded very briefly at him, before turning back to Esme, who had already launched into full ‘Mom mode’.

“Emmett, you can go warm up the oven for Bella’s food, Jasper and Carlisle can move the cars into the garage and I’ll go tidy up the lounge.” She paused for breath and turned to look me up and down critically. “Edward, go and change.”

“What?” I asked distractedly, my thoughts still on Bella.

“Go and change out of those clothes; you look an absolute sight,” Esme tutted. I looked down at scuffed jeans and slightly ripped shirt- results from a day’s hard hunting. I opened my mouth to protest, but Esme and the others had already whisked from the room in a hurry of preparation, leaving just me and Tanya standing alone in the hallway. She was still smiling slightly. All this for a human! She thought curiously, I wonder what she’s like? Then she noticed me watching her and her face cracked into another coquettish smirk.

“So Edward,” she purred, “would you like help getting out of those dirty clothes?”

I scowled at her. “I’m not going to put on new clothes,” I said petulantly- like I could think of clothing at a time like this.

“Who said anything about putting on new ones?” Tanya provocatively, “I was just asking whether you wanted to take those ones off.” I growled at her and she grinned innocently, “What? I’m just trying to help!”

“Sure, very helpful,” I muttered angrily, turning away.

“Oh don’t be like that,” she said, putting her arm around my waist and drawing herself in towards me. I looked at her with narrowed eyes; she was planning something- I could tell by the way she was purposefully blocking her thoughts.

“Tanya, what are you doing-” I began, but before I could complete the sentence I felt her grab the material of my shirt and rip it away from me with full force. The seams snapped and the poor garment tore completely away, leaving me standing topless in the middle of the hallway.

“Tanya!” I hissed, livid, “What the hell did you do that for?”

“Would you like help removing the rest too?” she said, leaning in, her voice low and sultry.

I swelled with anger about to roar at her, but before I could even form words, there was a quick gasp from the other side of the room. We both spun around, I half naked and Tanya holding the tattered remains of my shirt, her hand still resting compromisingly on my bare chest. Unnoticed by either of us, the front door had swung open to reveal…

Oh shit.

"Bella!"