Betting on Success
The time had come for us to relocate. Again. I’d caught a few stray thoughts from several of the wary, yet still exceptionally unobservant humans, who seemed to find it odd that in the seven years of living here we seemed to lack the aging gene. 15 years have passed since Renesmee was born, and now the Cullens are relocating. Renesmee, Jacob and Bella experience the high school charade for the first time with the rest of the family. But what happens when Jacob wants to start a little bet?
2. It's On...
Rating 4/5 Word Count 1689 Review this Chapter
We were the first to arrive at school the next morning.
“Everything still looks fine, I think,” Alice assured me, as she stepped out of Rosalie’s car with a look of concentration on her face. “It’s hard to tell with those two clouding my vision.” She gestured to Jacob and Renesmee--who were currently reassuring each other in the back seat of my car--with a frustrated look on her face, as I walked round to the passenger seat and opened the door for Bella.
No one knew as much as I did, except of course Jasper, how irksome Alice found it when her visions weren’t crystal clear. Her features quickly set into a grin; she was much too excited about starting a new high school to let her psychic tendencies bother her. It wasn’t that she was enthused about attending high school herself, per se, she was more interested in observing the three of our family who had not experienced this before. As I thought about that myself, I returned her eager grin with a smirk of my own.
We had, of course, run through the plan with them the night before, and hoped they would be able to play their role well. Alice had been coaching her occasionally, but acting lessons were not yet ruled out for Bella.
In the back seat, Jake and Nessie were running through the plans one more time, more excited than anything else. “Rosalie and Jasper are twins,” Nessie started, counting them on her fingers.
“Bella, Alice, Emmett and I are adopted separately,” Jacob added, nodding.
“And I’m dad’s older sister,” Nessie finished with a snort, her thoughts reflecting on the absurdity of the situation. It was true though, my own daughter looked older than me. “Does that mean I’m my own aunt?” she giggled, and Jacob mussed her hair affectionately.
Their thoughts went down an unpleasant path after that, and I focused my attention instead on my anxious wife beside me, who stood fidgeting with the wedding band that she wore on a chain around her neck.
“It’s going to be fine, love,” I told her quietly, and she looked up at me sheepishly.
“We get to be ‘together’, right?” she asked with wide eyes.
I hurried to reassure her, but Jacob interrupted. He and Nessie had finally removed themselves from the car, and he was standing with his arm wrapped securely around her waist. “You couldn’t be apart no matter how hard you tried. Can you imagine Bella acting like she wasn’t all over Edward all the time?”
“Can you imagine her acting at all?” Emmett chuckled, and Bella drew herself up indignantly.
“I’ll have you know that I’ve been practicing my skills,” she said frostily. “I could act like we weren’t a couple,” she added a bit more doubtfully, and reluctantly tore herself from my side, though she didn’t look away from my face. I allowed myself a half-smile, and snickered when her face and thoughts alike went strangely blank. Dazzled.
Jacob laughed. “Bells, you wouldn’t last a month. A week, even.”
That got her mind running again, and she glared at him with her arms crossed stubbornly. “And you could?” she shot back angrily.
He got a cocky grin on his face, though his thoughts were more uncertain. “Nessie and I could last longer than you two,” he said after careful consideration. He was convinced of that, and from her triumphant smile, Nessie was too.
Bella scoffed. “Not likely, Jacob Black,” she muttered under her breath.
Jacob’s smile widened, and he casually shrugged away from Nessie. “Care to make it interesting, then?” His eyes flickered back and forth between the both of us, trying to sense a weakness.
I kept my face blank and my voice even as I responded. “What would be in it for us if we win?”
Jacob furrowed his brow thoughtfully, though none of his thoughts held any suggestions of interest yet. It was Nessie who finally came up with a response. “If we lose, we have to go on a date with the first person who asks us after the bet is over, and you two get to watch.”
I nodded slowly, and an evil smirk spread over Bella’s features. “That sounds fair… and if we lose?” I asked apprehensively.
A mischievous glint appeared in Jacob’s eye. “I will take no trouble to control my thoughts whenever I’m around you.” Bella and I exchanged a smirk.
“Jake,” Nessie groaned, “you remember mom’s a shield, right?”
Bella chuckled. “We’re happy to go with tha-”
“Oh no, you don’t,” Jacob growled. “Just let me come up with another one.”
I was vaguely aware of the whole family’s attention on our conversation, and I could mentally hear each person divvying up sides to bet on. I was happy to hear Alice, at least, held some faith in us.
“If you lose, you have to sleep in separate rooms for a week,” Jacob announced smugly, and Bella’s face fell. A week of celibacy.
I had to struggle to remain composed, especially when I heard Emmett snicker.
“What are the conditions?” Bella sighed.
Jacob rattled off the requirements. “No public displays of affection, no goo-goo eyes at each other, the most people can think is that you’re just friends.” He emphasised the last two words. “If anyone suspects something going on, you lose automatically,” he added as an afterthought.
“You have to flirt with at least three other people throughout the week,” Nessie interrupted.
Jacob looked at her admiringly. “Good one, Ness.” She beamed.
“OK, OK, that’s enough,” Bella grumbled. “I hope you realize that you have to do that too.”
Their smiles faltered for a second. “Piece of cake,” Jacob finally said confidently, but no one missed the waver in his voice.
“Sure, sure,” Bella smirked at him. I laughed and unthinkingly wrapped my arm around her shoulder.
“Public display of affection!” Emmett announced.
Then and there I could tell he wouldn’t be leaving any of us alone in the next week. He was far too involved in the bet. I sighed and withdrew my arm. Later, she thought cheekily, and I raised an eyebrow, causing her to burst into a fit of giggles.
“I hate it when they have their silent conversations,” Jacob grumbled. Though Bella was no mind reader, she knew me so well that it was close enough. All the miniscule expressions that crossed my face were overlooked by many, though each of them seemed to hold great significance for her.
Bella ignored his comment. “So that’s all then?”
Jacob scrunched up his face thoughtfully. “As far as I can tell. When do we start?”
Any mortals nearby? Bella asked, whilst still pretending to think. I extended my radar. Discounting the staff members already in the buildings, the closest student was two miles away, and worrying about a huge blemish on her forehead. I shook my head imperceptibly; only Bella noticed.
Her face split into a wide grin. “We start…”
And with that she reached up and pulled me into a fierce kiss so quickly not even I saw it coming. A low moan left my throat, and I was vaguely aware of a wolf-whistle coming from Emmett’s direction. Just as Renesmee was about to express her distaste at watching her parents make out (Jacob was still a bit shocked by the turn of events), Bella pulled away and wiped her mouth delicately. “…Now,” she finished innocently.
Something to remember me by, she added in her thoughts, as I joined in with the rest of the family’s laughter. I’ll miss you, she added almost wistfully. I knew I’d get in trouble for giving ‘goo-goo’ eyes to Bella, so I gave them to Alice instead. Bella laughed in my head. Technically, it wasn’t against the rules.
At that moment, the first student of the morning turned into the parking lot, and her eyes automatically swept across the virtually empty enclosure.
…Hope I’m in one of Jason’s classes… she was thinking hopefully about the boy she’d crushed on before the break. I tensed, waiting… maybe he’ll-- whoa.
Her mind went blank as her eyes zeroed in on us, which would have been fine, except that she was still behind the wheel. I tensed again, hoping she’d get a hold of herself before she collided head on with the front office. She shook her head slightly, and concentrated on parking her car safely. Who are they? Wow. Gorgeous. I wonder if the young one is available? Silly. Like he’d go for me. Wow. So beautiful. Her thoughts were growing more and more incoherent as she peeked at us in her rear-view mirror. I fought the urge to roll my eyes.
“And so it begins,” I muttered under my breath, as she contemplated who would have the best chances with me or Jacob.
Alice and Rosalie had made it clear in their body language that Jasper and Emmett were off-limits. Bella narrowed her eyes at the old car, clearly guessing the direction this girl’s thoughts were headed judging by the slight unfocus in her eyes and her gaping mouth, whilst Renesmee hissed under her breath.
…Look kind of lost. Maybe I could show them to the office… she was surreptitiously peeking at us as she gathered her bag out of the passenger side.
I chuckled. “She wants to show us to the office,” I told the family with a grin. She hesitated briefly, before turning away. I knew she had felt that flicker of fear that humans often experience in our presence; a survival instinct of sorts. The trivial part of her brain interpreted that trepidation as fear of making a fool of herself. The look on Bella’s face was not helping.
“More are on the way,” I added, as an increasing number of thoughts flickered into my radar.
“Well, we don’t want to cause any more accidents,” Alice trilled, and danced ahead of the group towards the office.
Jasper was shaking his head in resignation. “The amount of lust I’m going to be subjected to…”
Alice dropped back to his side. “But you get to take that out on me,” she told him with a devilish grin. He cheered up at that.
“Remember,” Jacob reminded us smugly as we followed, “just good friends.”