Quileute Tribal School was by far the smallest high school Edward had attended. Within one large building, there were classrooms and a gymnasium. From the windows, he was impressed by the view of the Pacific Ocean as the waves tumbled onto the shore.
With a smaller than average student body, Edward recognized many of the same faces in different classes. He tried to blend in while still keeping his eyes down and smiling whenever he made eye contact. It helped him to be near Quil and Embry – they were the two he was most comfortable around. Paul's brooding stares made him uneasy, and Edward avoided him as Jacob had warned.
Despite the familiar content of Jacob's geometry, science, and English classes, Edward was interested by the culture and the way the Quileute language was incorporated into the curriculum. It was something new, and to Edward anything new was better. Though he, as well as the other members of the pack, were exhausted, yawning and tired from nights with little to no sleep. For the first part of the morning, it was like a game with the three, always seated close together. Whenever one would begin to nod off, another would kick his chair. The rest of the students and even the teachers had not acknowledged it. But, with no Quil and no Embry during fourth period History, Edward had not even realized that he had fallen asleep until the blaring of the bell awoke him. Wiping his eyes and yawning, he rose from the desk and began to file out of the classroom among the buzz of the others' voices when a female's voice caught his attention.
"Rough night, Jake?" she asked.
Edward turned to face the identity of the voice behind him. The first thing he noticed was the smile that seemed never to leave her lips as she spoke, accompanied by a charming set of dimples. Her wavy jet black hair reached down to her waist, and large, dark eyes focused on him intently.
And he had no idea who she was.
"Yeah," he said, but the word quickly turned into a yawn.
"So, what else is new, right?" she laughed.
They walked out together, and Edward looked down as she handed him a sheet of notebook paper. "What's this?"
"Oh, you know - the usual."
As his eyes scanned the tidy bubble cursive, he found that these were notes on today's lecture that he had fallen asleep during.
"Oh, no…I can't accept this," he told her, noticing Paul glaring at him as he walked by.
She held up her hand. "Why should today be any different? Besides, what you do is important, Jake. Everybody knows this."
Of course. He had recalled seeing other pages like this in Jacob's folder with the same writing and had not known what to make of it. "Thank you. That's very kind of you," Edward said to her, seeing a surprised blush arise against her olive skin. She was sweet and genuine. And her feet also seemed to be planted to the floor across from him.
"C'mon, Desiree, we have to go," another girl with short black hair urged, shooting a look of irritation at Edward as she pulled her arm away and led her down the hallway.
"Desiree," Edward called out as she walked away, happy to at least know her name.
She ignored her friends' tug and faced him. "Yes, Jacob?"
"That's a very pretty name."
Stunned, Desiree blinked, but then her dimples were present again as the grin spread across her face. Her friend tried pulling her once more, but Desiree stood there with a dumbfounded expression.
Had Jacob really gone all year accepting this girl's notes without ever thanking her? Quil and Embry appeared at his side before he could give it any more thought, their talk of hunger filling his ears and boosting the hollow feeling in his stomach. Suddenly, he was very happy it was time for lunch.
The three were finishing the contents of one tray, and beginning on another when Embry and Quil spoke. Without anything to contribute, Edward listened. So far, he had learned that Jacob was related to Quil…a second cousin. It seemed that many of the wolf pack's blood lines were joined from either Ephraim Black, who Edward knew had signed that treaty with Carlisle, or Quil Ateara or Levi Uley. This was the case; he came to find out about the other pack members within their small talk. The two seemed to be so absorbed in their own chatter that some time passed before they picked up on their buddies' silence.
Embry kicked Edward's shin underneath the table. "What's with you?"
"Yeah. Why are you so quiet lately?" Quil asked.
"I've just had a lot on my mind," Edward told them. For lack of a better explanation…
But then, it occurred to him there was something he could talk to them about…or rather, someone.
"What do you guys think of Desiree?" he asked and then took a large bite into what was his second hamburger.
Their instantaneous sour expressions made them look almost like twins, surprising Edward by their peculiar reaction, that is, until Quil spoke.
"Pee Pee Pants?"
"Yeah," Embry added. "And since when do you call her "Desiree?""
Puzzled, Edward looked from one to the other, swallowing the chunk in his mouth. "Pee Pee Pants?"
"What is with you, Jake? You were there…first grade, library, she couldn't hold it anymore…."
Embry finished the story, "And before we knew it, we were all in line watching as a stream of yellow slid down her legs. Bad day to wear a skirt."
This seemed very immature to Edward. "Yeah, but that happened…a long time ago."
Shaking his head, Quil stuffed a handful of French fries into his mouth. "Apparently not long enough to forget that."
"Why are you so interested in Desiree, huh? What happened to your obsession with Bella?"
Obsession? Edward shrugged his shoulders. "I was just curious about Desiree – she seems nice. And Bella has a boyfriend." He thought he would throw that bit in for good measure.
"I still think you could take that bloodsucker, Jake…or if you're not interested anymore, you can have Pee Pee Pants and maybe I could have Bella," Embry said as a mischievous smile came over his lips, and Quil howled with delight.
Edward's brows knit together, suddenly not feeling very fond of either one of these boys. "Back off," he warned.
Embry's hands rose in defense, and he leaned backward. "And he's back, ladies and gentlemen," he told Quil. "And, Jake, I wouldn't worry about Desiree. Someday when she's far away from La Push and nobody knows about her incontinence, she'll find a good man…."
Quil interrupted, "Yeah, and together they can share a box of Depends…."
The two boys burst into exaggerated laughter, and Edward shook his head. It was one thing to be in high school and another to have a sixteen-year-old's mentality.
"You said what?" Alice asked her as Bella nibbled on her carrot sticks. Sitting at their table in the cafeteria, Bella had just explained their exchange in the forest, and Jasper, who had appeared concerned at first now looked downright amused. "Are you crazy? He could've killed you!"
Bella was feeling pretty smug about the whole thing. She felt that despite the dangers of their relationship, their bond was unbreakable. "You would've seen that."
A grin broke out on Jasper's face, and he very nearly emitted a giggle. Alice turned to him then and elbow smacked him.
"And I'm going to see him after school," she added, trying not to let her confidence waver with Alice's tone.
"Bella, what if his control isn't what you think it is? Don't forget he attacked you." To Alice, what Bella needed was a healthy dose of fear. Alice wasn't totally convinced about the validity of Edward's sudden control. But then again, as Bella had pointed out, she had not seen any more images of Bella's grave or funeral. What she also found disturbing was that she had not seen Bella as a vampire in the future either.
"I did it," Jacob said, smiling as he lay sprawled out uncomfortably on the sofa in Edward's room and holding the cell phone to his ear.
Edward had just walked in the door of Jacob's home when the phone rang. Oh no, he thought with dread. "What did you do?"
"Calm down. I went to school."
His heart pounded in his throat. "Are you crazy? You are not ready for that!" You could've killed someone…killed Bella.
"It was fine. Everything worked out. My control has improved…dramatically. I'm telling you. I can handle it."
"I think you should still stay away from Bella."
"You tell him, Jake!" he heard Billy's voice behind him as he wheeled himself into the kitchen and grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl.
Startled, Edward nodded, wondering if Billy had heard anything else. He tucked the receiver closer to his mouth, angling his body toward the wall.
Jacob smiled at hearing the voice of his dad in the background. He really missed him. If only he knew… "I think Bella will disagree. In fact, I'm going to see her after school."
Not liking this one bit, Edward clenched his fist, tempted to pound it against the wall. "Don't forget the bonfire." Edward turned to find that Billy had wheeled back out of the kitchen. Your dad wants her to go.
"That's tonight?" Now, Jacob felt like he was really missing out. He knew it was coming up and had wanted to go to the bonfire. Of course Billy would have insisted on having him invite her. The elders would've recommended it. And Jacob wanted to take Bella, but in this wretched sparkly body it was not possible. He let out a loud sigh. "Fine."
"Did you hunt yet?" Edward asked. He was hoping this was the reason he had been able to control himself.
"Don't need to."
That's foolish. "I know Bella's expecting to see you, but I don't think you should go back to school."
"I have everything under control," he said, aware of how he was avoiding answering the question. "Speaking of school, how did it go today?"
"Oh yeah. Fine and what can you tell me about Desiree?"
There was no warning of this – he hadn't even read it in Edward's thoughts. Jacob's breath caught in his throat. "Pee Pee Pants?"
Jacob could hear the smile in Edward's thoughts. "No, no…you stay away from her," he said, the disgust mirrored in his voice. "You hear me?"
"Awww…she's such a nice girl." And she likes you. "And she's pretty." And she likes you.
He suddenly felt like hands of terror were gripping his soul. "You didn't talk to her…please say you didn't talk to her."
"I fell asleep in class. She gave me her notes afterward. I thanked her," Edward said.
"No. No! No! You are not supposed to call her by her name. You are supposed to be me!" Jacob practically shouted as dread flooded his entire being.
"Maybe you're not very nice," Edward teased, allowing a grin to overcome his lips. Now he was having fun messing with him. "I'll bet I can clear everything up with Desiree tomorrow."
"Don't you dare! Besides, Quil and Embry won't let you," he pointed out.
"Quil and Embry don't have lovely Desiree for fourth period history."
Jacob clenched his teeth together. Dammit!
I wonder what kind of flowers she likes… It's the least you can do.
"Please," Jacob said, calming his tone. "Maybe we can work something out. What do you want?"
Stay away from Bella.
"No can do. She thinks I'm you, and she's expecting to see me."
Stay away from school.
Not on your life, he thought, but instead it was easier to agree with him. After all, how would Edward know whether he hunted or not? "Okay, okay, I'll hunt."
"Yes, fine, okay, whatever. But you can't talk to her anymore."
"Tell you what. I won't initiate anything. But if she says something, I'm not going to ignore her."
"'Kay," Jacob grumbled, inwardly cursing Edward. Why did he have to be such a gentleman anyway? The very idea of talking to Pee Pee Pants made him shudder.
Hit up Emmett. He loves to hunt bears…and I'm sure you'll find something you like also.
Bleck, Jacob thought. Bear blood…animal blood – it all sounded repulsive. Bella's blood, though, even human's blood sounded as good as cold iced tea on a scorching afternoon. No, he thought, pushing that idea away and once again feeling that flame arise in his throat. As Edward's thoughts prattled on about suggesting leaving this evening to hunt wild game in Canada, Jacob heard the familiar grind into the dirt of Alice's tires over a mile away.
And Alice's thoughts. Bella and Jasper were with her. He told Edward that Bella would have to make arrangements with him for later and disconnected the call.
After Edward hung up the receiver, he was startled to find Billy looking up at him as he turned around.
"Who gave you her notes, Jake?" Billy asked.
Surprised that Billy had been listening, Edward wondered if there was anything else suspicious that he might have heard. Would he consider this cheating? "Oh…Desiree."
"Pee Pee Pants?" Now, Billy's face wore a disgusted look.
Edward rolled his eyes. "Her name is Desiree."
Billy looked at his son as though he didn't know him. "You got a thing for her now?"
Shaking his head, Edward truly felt sorry for the poor girl. "No. She's just been helping me…and I think she's nice."
"Whatever," he said. "Is Bella going tonight?"
"Yes, Dad." Edward missed Carlisle. At times, Billy had the tendency to treat him like a kid…which in Jacob's body, he was. Carlisle had always respected him, and Edward realized at that moment how much he missed his family. He did not look forward to the bonfire and had no idea what to expect, but did look forward to spending time with Bella.
After a strict warning from Alice that she would be watching, she had finally left Bella and Jacob alone in Edward's room.
Jacob's throat was on fire, but despite the allure from the aroma of Bella's blood he was relieved to find that it was not as potent to him as it had formerly been. He watched as she took a seat on the sofa and set down her backpack. Her expression was serious.
"What's wrong, Bella?"
"I was just thinking about tonight," she said, shrugging. "But it's nothing. I don't have to go."
He knew exactly what she was talking about, and there was no way she was getting out of it…despite the fact that he couldn't take her. Reminding himself to be Edward, he took a seat beside her. "Go where?"
"Jacob invited me to a bonfire in La Push. You know, sing songs and toast marshmallows…I don't have to go."
"I think you should go."
"Yeah." Jacob sidled up a little closer to her and took her hand in his, wondering if she would accept it, and then smiled as her warm grasp enveloped his. She was so fragile and perfect…and heaven help him, she smelled exquisite.
"What about Charlie? And this whole new vampire threat?"
"One of us will always be guarding him. And besides here, can you think of a safer place for you to be?"
To Bella, he was being very understanding. She smiled and rested her head against the granite of his shoulder. "I like this, Edward. I like how you and the wolves have agreed to work together."
Jacob stiffened. "We're not friends or anything."
"I know, but at least you're not out to kill each other like before."
Letting out a long sigh, he contemplated how that was true. These bloodsuckers weren't the cold, heartless leeches he had imagined, but Jacob still kind of entertained the idea of killing Edward…or at least torturing him…a little. He removed the cell phone from his pocket and handed it to her.
"Call Jacob, and I'll take you to the treaty line myself."