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Terms of Endearment

Summary:
Terms of Endearment by Marauder by Midnight During lunch on a regular school day, Bella finds Edward's attention diverted to another couple. Something's on his mind, and Bella has her suspicions that it has something to do with "what's best for her." Marauder by Midnight's cupcake challenge entry.


Notes:
Written for the cupcake challenge :)


1. Terms of Endearment

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1208   Review this Chapter

Terms of Endearment
By Marauder by Midnight

“You’re joking, right?” I stifled the laugh that was bursting to come out of my mouth. Edward glared at me before resuming his current task.

I couldn’t believe what he was doing. I took a sip of my coke again and watched Edward concentrate on the couple sitting at the other end of the table. I could hear Angela and Ben murmuring to each other, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. It was hard not to giggle at Edward’s sudden fascination with Angela and her boyfriend.

“Don’t eavesdrop on their conversation. It’s rude.” Edward showed no sign of hearing me. I couldn’t imagine what they could have been saying to have such a hold on him. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit upset with his behavior today, but I knew there had to be a reason. A good reason.

The lunch bell rang, and he swiftly and fluidly stood up, as if nothing unusual had occurred. However, the glazed look in his eyes and the hard line his lips formed told me otherwise.

I fidgeted, nervous about what was going through Edward’s mind. Was he thinking about how wonderfully happy I would be without him? Or was he looking for a way around my transformation? The fool never was a fast learner (okay, maybe that’s not completely true, but why doesn’t he just give up?!). Well, whatever it was, he can just forget –

“Bella?” Great, now he shows concern. We had reached our desks, but instead of sitting down, I had been frowning at him. Guessing the source of my disapproval, Edward rolled his eyes and muttered low enough for only me to hear, “We’ll talk about it later. Please. It’s not what you think.”

I was sure he had absolutely no idea what I was thinking, so the last bit didn’t reassure me at all. For the next two classes, I was overcome with worry and was preparing to deliver a scathing speech about what “for my own good” meant to me.

We left school together but wordlessly. Mike noticed the rift between us and gave me a small wave goodbye and a good-luck smile in the parking lot. I climbed into the driver’s seat of my antique truck and was grateful for the roar of its engine, which was loud enough to drown out my despairing thoughts.

I drove a few minutes in silence (or as much silence my truck could afford). When I finally composed myself well enough to speak, I asked as nonchalantly as I could, “So…why were you eavesdropping on Angela?”

I glanced at Edward. He had stiffened noticeably, but his hands weren’t clenched. A good sign? His eyes didn’t have that blank look he usually took on when he knew I would fight something. On the contrary, his eyes, golden today, seemed to show…was that…discomfort?

Christ, I had never seen Edward so…squirmy. Even when three hungry vampires had shown interest in me, he’d been ferocious, shielding me with his entire body. Even when I lay, tangled in a nest of tubes, he had been relaxed, laughing at my discomfort. Even when we both almost lost our lives, he had still been so tender.

“Bella, watch the road.”

“Sorry.”

He looked at me warily as I turned my attention back to getting us home safe. The odds of me getting into a wreck were minimal – okay, pretty high – but Edward liked to chant that every time my mind wandered to something other than driving, even when the streets were empty, like now.

“So what is it?” This time, I was careful not to look over at him and risk another earful.

“I was thinking how you need a bit more human in you before – “

“No,” I abruptly cut him off. I was angry beyond belief. Not what you think, my ass.

He sighed with exasperation. “If you’d just let me finish.” I locked my jaw with some difficulty. After a pause, he continued, “I was thinking you need a bit more human in you before your transformation and…our imminent marriage.”

We had pulled up in the driveway now, but neither of us moved to exit the truck.

“Angela and Ben’s love for the other is incomparable to the love we have for each other, yet I figured, since they were human, they could teach me a bit about human courtship. We never really went through that, and as your first and probably last boyfriend – “

“Definitely last.”

Edward couldn’t hold his chuckle. “All right, as your first and definitely last boyfriend, I thought it would only be fair if you experienced what other girls go through.”

I laughed this time, intrigued on what Edward could’ve learned from picking the brains of hormonal teenage girls. “The first step is to ask you out.” Edward cleared his throat dramatically. “Bella, will you go out with me?”

Only the insane could have refused such a velvet-lined request. It’s a good thing I considered myself among the mentally stable. “Yes, Edward.” As calm as I tried to appear, the syncopations of my heartbeat betrayed me.

Edward smiled triumphantly, probably from my unspoken response rather than my words. “Good.” I could see him mentally checking that off the list. “Now the next step would be to take you on a nice romantic date, but, I figured we had enough of those.”

“Oh, well, I don’t know about enough…”

“The third step,” Edward continued as if he hadn’t heard me, but I saw his grin widen, “would be to establish nicknames.”

I froze. “Nicknames?”

His eyes glinted mischievously. “Angela calls Ben ‘darling,’ and he calls her ‘Angie.’”

I jumped at the opportunity. “Good enough. Isabella, Bella?”

“On the other hand,” Edward was really good at ignoring me when he chose to, “Jessica had called Mike ‘pumpkin’ while they were together, and Eric Yorkie calls Katie Marshall ‘pudding.’” He cocked his head to one side innocently. “You know, humans have an obsession to name themselves after food. Is that to entice us?” he snickered.

I was afraid of what his addled brains would come up with next. “Bella is fine,” I repeated, and before he could say another word, I whisked as gracefully as I could out of my truck (I still managed to trip on the perfectly smooth concrete).

He followed me into the kitchen, his crooked smile still plastered to his face. “I can’t believe you’re going to give up all ties to the human race and not even embrace your traditions, Bella.”

I rolled my eyes and wished he’d drop it. “Because, my éclair, traditions are meant to be broken.” I pulled out the chicken I was to prepare for dinner.

“Well, I happen to think you need a bit of human in you before it’s too late, my little bon bon.”

Ech. “Bon bon?” I repeated incredulously. Before Edward could reply, I heard a car pulled up into the driveway. Charlie. The unnecessary, and useless, visiting hours Charlie had set for Edward were laughable.

Edward smiled. “Until tonight…cupcake.”

The damn vampire disappeared before I could lob a cold chicken wing at him.