Edward's Sister | Chapter 1: Wildcats

This seems superfluous to state, and I’m only going to do it once, but the Twilight characters don’t belong to me.  

Chapter One: Wildcats

Maggot Face Tyler doesn't scare me, even if he is thirteen and has the meanest face in the neighborhood. 

He scowls at all us girls and swings his fist at us like he's going to punch us, but ​he won't dare follow through. Rosalie would punch him back. She has twice before; the first time in second grade because he stole Emmett's candy bar, the second time just two weeks ago when he pulled my bathing suit bottoms down in front of everyone at the pond. So now, when he's trying to look like all mean as he tilts his head and hocks out a long stream of spit in my direction, I just roll my eyes. He must've taken a drink from the can of Mountain Dew at his side first, because he made it almost halfway to me, and normally he's not that good. It takes a lot of spit and force to make it past three feet. 

We’re playing baseball at the Valley Meadows Park until the high school boys kick us out around three when it’s time to practice. It’s already so hot that if I let my eyes cross, I can see heat waves above the dirt. 

"What are you doing off the pitcher's mound, asshole?” Mike yells at Tyler.
​Mike’s the catcher, and probably the best player here. He almost always cracks the ball over everyone's head, even over Jacob's and Sam's outstretched gorilla arms.

"She can't hit the ball from there, asshole. This here's Bella Bunt It." Tyler snorts. "Bella Cunt Hit It."

I grit my teeth and swing the bat towards him​ like I know what I'm doing. It's too heavy and pulls me out of step, which makes Tyler laugh harder, but it's the only bat we have until Alice and Emmett show up. It's Sunday and their parents make them go to church and eat lunch together, so they won't get here until after noon at least. 

"You're holding up the game, numb nuts," Rosalie yells. Neither she nor I have graduated to swearing in front of anyone yet, but if anyone can drive us to it, it'll be Maggot Face Tyler.  

He glares at her. She's playing third baseman on his team against his wishes purely to keep him from cheating. She flips him a double bird and Tyler spits ​in her direction, but the breeze kicks up just then and blows it onto his shirt. I bend over at the waist and blow a snot bubble I'm laughing so hard.    

"C'mon, Bella. Batter uhhhhhp!" Edward's voice is deep and commanding. Just two months ago, he couldn't talk without sounding like Mickey Mouse in the middle of a sentence. Not that he talks much. He turned twelve last month, but he seems much older​ than the rest of us​. Mom says he was born an old soul, whatever that means. Maybe that they don't laugh much? Or ​seem to know everything? Or that they ​always have to be in charge? Cause that's Edward all over.   

"One out, you guys. We gotchu, fuckers! You might as well just stand there and look pretty, Bella," Jake says, trying to sound cool. He looks over at Sam to see if he's paying attention, but Sam could care less. He's only here because Emily's here​, but she's only here because Rose is here. It's complicated.​  

I take a breath and do ​a left foot, right foot shuffle over home plate, digging the toe of my left sneaker deeper into the dirt because the ground's a little uneven. My grip is ​almost ​on the fat part of the bat, but I've got my game mindset going. A drop of sweat runs down my back​, tickling me until I squirm. 

​"Got an itchy crotch?" Tyler yelled. "Go on and scratch it, we'll wait."​

More than I'd like to knock one ​into--or ​clear over Tyler's head--I want to make Edward proud of me. Jasper's on second and Edward is up next. He expects me to at least hit the ball, even if it's an out, and I'm going to die if I miss it. For hours last night, and until Alice and her bat had to go home, he pitched me overhand balls until I hit ​more than I didn't​.    

​Suddenly Tyler whips the ball my way. I feel a breeze at my chin and jerk back so quickly that I stumble and fall hard on my butt. For a moment, my brain's all a-slosh, then I ​see 
​everyone's watching Edward walk to the pitcher's mound. I stay where I'm at on the ground. Tyler's face looks defiant, but pinched. Edward's is expressionless, which is bad news for Tyler. 

Edward can do this thing with his eyes. With his face. He doesn't have to say a word when he's angry--the look he gives you is all he needs to do to scare the crap out of you. From the way Tyler's face blanches, I don't think he likes it any better than I do. 

I have to give ​Tyler credit, though. He’s shorter than Edward—most of us are—but he’s not backing down. The seconds stretch and I finally stand, wondering if I should speak up and tell Edward I'm fine. I kinda sorta don't want everyone to remember I'm his little sister. I just want to be a player on the team. And I don't understand why Edward's making such a big deal out of this, he never has before, and this isn't fun anymore. 

"Yo," someone says. I don't know him, he's new, but he came with Jake. 

Tyler's gaze flicks to me, then back to Edward. Tyler's mouth gapes and he looks like he's going to argue, but then Edward's back goes ramrod straight and suddenly he and Tyler are nose-to-nose. I run over because no one else is, obviously, and enough is enough.

"Edward," I pant. He ignores me.  

Tyler takes a step back, then another before he lowers his gaze. I see his chest moving unevenly and feel sorry for him. He's an ugly bully, but Edward just pwnd him without saying a word in front of almost the entire kid population of Valley Meadows. Whoever wasn't here today will know all about it by dinner tonight. Tyler's days of giving noogies and wet will​is​ are numbered.

"Sorry, Bella," he mumbles to his feet. 

"It's o--"

"Say it to her."

Tyler's head snaps up. He looks this close to barfing. "I'm sorry, Bella." If he wasn't sorry before, he sure is now.  

I look at Edward. His eyes are still that black color they turn when he's angry. "Ready to play again?" I ask.

He can tell I'm embarrassed. It makes him smile, but it doesn't soften the look in his eyes. 
"Sure. Tyler's going to pitch like he knows what he's doing now." 

Actually, Tyler looks like he'd rather be in Timbuktu right now.    

"Fu​uuuuhhhh​ck!" Rosalie ​screams. I look over to see her rip off her Huskies baseball cap, and then she's hopping up and down on it like she's trying to kill it. The dirt is flying everywhere. Jasper's beside her doing ​the jiggy​. 

Wait. Beside her...  

Holy crap, Jasper stole a base! 

Then everyone's laughing and cheering, well, everyone but Rosalie, anyway.  

Jasper and Edward do a complicated hand shake thing that ends with pop and lock arm move, and we're having fun again. 

Later that night while we're watching TV in the basement, and before Mom calls lights out, I ask Edward about it. Kind of. 

"So, um..." I squirm at my end of the couch and scratch my nose, which is peeling. "Do you think I've got a shot at the Wildcats team?"

Edward acts like he doesn't hear me, but then his mouth curves into that lopsided grin of his. "They let any girl who wants on that team." 

I gape at him. "What? No. What?"

He stretches and yawns, sinking further down the couch until his head is against the armrest. Like we're sitting on a teeter-totter, my body straightens and leans forward so I can watch his face on the way down. What the heck is he saying? I've been practicing ball ever since school let out because he told me I couldn't even swing like a girl.

"Relax. They'll be glad to have you." 

I'm pissed he's looking at the TV and can't see my glare. "You lied. You said they held try outs​, a​nd that not everyone makes the team."

He push​es his cold foot against my thigh. "Not everyone does make the ​team. They turned Seth down flat last year."

Well duh! The Wildcats is a girl's team. "You think you're funny, don't you?"

"Sometimes. You make it easy."

I shove his foot off me and dive for his stomach. He’s ticklish and he’s going to pay. Only it doesn’t work that way because he doesn’t let my fingers dig into him more than two seconds before he pushes me to my back and sits on my stomach.

“I can’t breathe,” I huff.

“Stop squirming,” he laughs, but he’s got my hands trapped above my head and is tickling me. I couldn’t stop squirming if my life depended on it. Through tears of laughter, I see the glee on his face, something I don’t often see, and I’m glad, even if it’s at my expense.

“Uncle,” I gasp. “Aunt! All our cousins!”

“Say Edward is The Man.”

I laugh. And wheeze. And squirm some more.

“Saaaaay it, or I’m not going to stoooooop.”

“You … suck!”

“That’s not it.” And he doubles his efforts until I really can’t breathe.

“Ed … ward! Is … The … Man,” I say. I’m panting like Emmet’s dog after playing catch. Edward’s looking down at me with a satisfied smirk on his face, his green eyes bright. He finally looks his age.

“You are the man, you know,” I tell him. “You owned Tyler today. But why did you get so mad? He’s like that all the time.”

He backs up and climbs off of me, then resettles at his end of the couch. “He could have really hurt you, Bella. And then I’d have to hurt him.” He shrugs. “I just wanted to play ball.”

I snort. “Well, thanks. Between you and Rose, he doesn’t stand a chance against me. I don’t know why he doesn’t like me.”

Edward frowned. 



“Why are you frowning like that?”

“Because I’ve noticed. I think you should stay away from him.”

“I do. It’s not like we’re BFFs. Besides, he’s scared of you now.”

He shoots me a crooked grin, my favorite one. “Damn straight.”

“Damn straight.”

And we high five each other.

. . .

Alice wants to play Marco Polo. “This is my pool, so that’s what we’re gonna play,” she tells us. 

They have a beautiful kidney-shaped, in-ground pool that starts at three feet and goes to seven. We’re not allowed in the deep end unless an adult is watching us, something we learned the hard way at the beginning of the summer when Emmett dared to test the boundaries. We haven’t been allowed in the pool all summer, until today, July 1. We haven’t died not being able to swim in the pool, obviously, but we had a few close calls. The heat makes grumps out of us all, especially Rosalie and Edward. And Edward doesn’t need the help in that department.

“Aw, c’mon,” Emmett gripes. “It’s my pool, too, and I say we play dodge.”

They’re both wearing blue and white stripped swimsuits, looking like the twins they are, compliments of their mom. Rose and I can’t stop laughing about it, something that’s pissing Alice off something fierce.

“Maybe dodge ball wouldn’t be so bad after all,” she says lowly. 

Rose gasps. “No way. I’m not getting hit in the head with a volleyball again.”

“Yeah, ‘cause you’re already deranged,” I tell her. “Plus, I agree. I don’t want to play dodge ball.”

“We’ll use the beach ball, you babies,” Emmett says. 

“No dodge ball,” Jasper says. He’s inspecting his teeth again in the water’s reflection. He’s nuts about his teeth because he just got braces. “I don’t want my teeth knocked out.”

“Even if the beach ball could reach you, it wouldn’t knock your teeth out,” Edward drawls. “But my vote’s for tag. Who’s in?”

That’s just like him, to listen to all of us without saying a word before he takes over. And usually, everyone agrees.

“I’m in!” I say.

Alice stomps her foot. “Not it,” she growls, then does a cannonball into the water. 

And then everyone yells not it until we realize Edward … didn’t. On purpose.

He springs for Rose. “Hah!” 

“That’s not fair,” she says. “You didn’t even give me a chance to run.”

“Then run,” he tells her. She takes off into the water and Edward’s right behind her. He bops her on the head when she surfaces. I try not to let her see me laugh.

“Arrrrrrrrgh! I hate you, Edward!”

Rose is the slowest one of us, which is why Edward went after her. I think he’s mean, but I would have done the same thing. So I guess I’m mean, too, and it must run in the family.

Rose hauls herself out of the pool and takes off after me. “Let me catch you, Bella,” she huffs. “I can’t be It for the rest of the day.”

I giggle and dart out of her reach behind a chaise. I am a gazelle, all legs and speed. I spring across the chaise and round a big potted ficus plant. Pausing for a few precious seconds, I thrust my face between the leaves and stick my tongue out at her. I am un-catchable. I am like The Flash! Too fast to be cau—

The pavement rises up to greet my face and everything goes smack. Instant cold heat rushes to my nose and I’m confused. There is an echoing inside my head, which feels heavy. What the? 

“Bella. Bella!” Someone’s hands are on me, and I fight to push them off, to curl into a ball. I don’t feel right. Leave me alone.

With a groan, I finally allow myself to be turned over because the hands won’t go away. Neither will the voice. I can’t see anything at first, but the voice turns into many voices and the hands multiply. I’m being attacked!

“Stop! Help! Edward,” I yelp.

“I’m here, I’m here.” 

I feel something dangerously close to my rapidly growing nose—I am Pinocchio and must have told a whopper of a lie—and raise my hands to push myself away. And then I’m blinking up at Edward, who’s surrounded by black, silver and white stars. Whoa.

“What?” I ask.

“You fell face-first,” he said. Under furrowed eyebrows, his eyes are dark and his mouth is set firmly. He looks like he’s in pain. He’s in pain? No, I’m in pain. It starts at my forehead, sinks to my nose, and tickles my upper lip and chin. 

I groan. 

“—always getting into some kind of trouble, Emmett,” Mrs. McCarty is saying. “I turn my back for one minute, and chaos ensues. It’s enough to give me gray hair, Alice, and I’m only 34. Bella, honey, are you alright?”  

Mrs. McCarty’s dark eyes are all warm sympathy. She’s losing the scarf over her head, so I raise my arm to settle it back where it belongs.

“Uh, ow,” I croak. “Sorry.”

Her mouth curls into a wide smile, as wide as Emmett’s. Her nose is all Alice, all pert with teardrop nostrils. They both have her eyes, though, that playful, warm darkness, as dark as a watermelon seed. “You’re so pretty,” I sigh.

“She’s fine,” Edward says.

“No,” Rose corrects him. “She’s deranged.”

I look like I have a nose job for the next month. Which is what I say whenever I’m asked, unless anyone who was present at the time is around to correct me. It sucks. Can’t a girl have a secret?

The Wildcats pretend they are thrilled to have me. I still can’t hit a ball one time out of three, but if the game was four pitches to a player, well then, I would … might … hit the ball past first base. As it is, I am a pretty good bunter and since I can run, I usually make it to first base without being out. I’m not our best player, but I’m not the worst either, which is all that matters to me. 

Still, it’s clear I won’t make it as an MVP any time soon. So I go with my second go-to dream of what I want to be when I grow up: a Disney On Ice performer. I’m sure Mom won’t mind paying for lessons.

. . .

Loves until it hurts like crazy. Her schizoid imagination and tomboyish, adventuresome drive keeps her above water, despite physical and painful life setbacks. Quiet and dark like the night, she's capable of unexpected displays, much like a shooting star--she's just waiting for the right moment to be brave. 

So fiercely protective of those he loves that it gets in the way of his life. His devilishly disarming physical looks set him up for other's impossible expectations, which is why he keeps his heart tightly under wraps. He's a fencing champ, almost good at street dancing, and excellent at predicting other's moves. Because he excels at lying, it threatens to destroy what he loves most.

Likes doing make-overs, even though people believe she's in need of one the most. Her irreverent joie de vivre hides a terrifying talent to see her loved one's futures--something she has yet to come to terms with.

Won't carry her student ID because she thinks everyone should already know who she is. She's discovered that beauty is a curse, but she's determined to make it work for her and finally capture the man of her dreams (if only she knew who that was).

Always in a good mood because he goes commando. He lives for the day, for root beer and pizza, and for making Rosalie smile. A natural born leader in search of the right incentive.

Believes caring about one's teeth shows self-esteem. Because he picks up so strongly on the emotions of others, he uses a hand puppet to communicate to keep people at a distance. Too bad the one he most fears (Alice) is immune.

The evil do-gooder who has a thing for Bella. He allows her and others to believe that he’s just a golden retriever, but he’s really more like Cujo.

. . .

See you next chapter. Thoughts are welcome, good or bad.

Chapter 2

No comments: