Saturday, July 31, 2010
Happy Happy Birthday! :):):)
Alice watched him quietly for several minutes as he futzed with the ingredients, but the mess kept getting bigger. She kept trying to chew the smile off her lips, because if she didn't get it under control, she was going to bust out laughing.
"Shit!" Jasper swore, a flour mushroom cloud erupting in his face. Wiping his already-caked hands over the apron he'd put on, he tried to clear some of the powder from his eyes, only to get egg and butter in them.
That was all the restraint she had. Her normal trill of giggles announced her and he spun to face her. "Aww, dammit!"
"I love you for trying, baby," she said with a smile, approaching the culinary disaster. "As much as I would have loved to try your ... cooking, I think we can just pop down to Bella's place and share an apple pancake, yeah?"
His lower lip jutted out in defeat. "I wanted to ... do something special for your birthday," he whispered. Then he sneezed, more of the pancake mix flying around like ash. "It's the first since we got together."
She felt that tug in her belly, the one she felt since the day she met him, and she grinned wide. "Jasper, there will be plenty of opportunity," she assured him.
Reaching behind him, she grabbed his bare ass and squeezed. "Besides, seeing you in just an apron, covered in ... ingredients—" she giggled, "—was better than the pancakes could have ever been."
Happy birthday, dearest! May you have many more, surrounded by those who love you and appreciate your kind heart and beautiful spirit. You are one of the bestest friends a girl could have. xoxo, Amelie
I can feel his eyes on me the moment he enters the room.
It has gone well, better than I expected on my first day at the front of a schoolhouse – my schoolhouse, where I ought to be sitting on the back row with Alice and Rosalie and giggling as Miss Denali attempts to rally us into practicing our long division and dictating passages of A Tale of Two Cities.
But that is no longer my place, not anymore.
Some of the younger children can’t hide their surprise when they see me standing in front of the blackboard, all starched up in one of Mama’s hand-me-downs, my hair pinned up as best as her tired fingers could manage. It is because of Mama, and her tired brown eyes, and the way she looks at night when she counts up the money and there isn’t enough for the rent and the food and the little ones, that I agreed to replace Miss Denali as Forks’ teacher, at least until they find an older woman – a more experienced woman – to come out here from the East and settle down and give us a proper education.
I can’t understand what woman would want to be out here, in the constant rain, the endless green of trees and moss and undergrowth.
But Miss Denali came.
And then she fell in love with Mr. Marcus.
A married woman can’t teach. Not in this time, when a wife’s proper place is at the home and hearth, minding her husband’s dinner, his house and his children.
So now here I stand, and as I feel his eyes dancing up and down my body, I quake in my shoes, suddenly unsure of whether or not I really can handle this responsibility.
“Please sit down,” I say, as brusquely as possible, not wanting to look up and meet his eyes. “Class will be starting shortly.”
There is a moment of silence, only broken by the scuffling of shoes, a few whispers in the back – someone gives a cry of pain, then irritation. Laughter. I clear my throat, and like fog, the sounds clear away.
Except for his voice.
It is the first sign of him being contrary. Like a fish swimming against the current, his voice cuts through the obedient schoolchildren sitting around him as he speaks.
“Well, now…these teachers seem to be getting younger and younger.”
I remind myself to take the little ones aside after class, give them a pat on the cheek and some licorice from where Ms. Denali left it in the drawer. They all sit, stoic, little noses turned up, not a sound out of any of them.
The elders, though, they laugh – a loud, shocking guffaw that makes my face redden, and even though I’m not looking at him, I know that he’s smirking.
I don’t know who he is, not yet at least, but I know that I have to find that out now.
“Ladies and gentlemen!”
My voice rises higher than I wanted it to, cracking on the last note. They shush – most of them, at least – the rest sinking down in their seats, eying me, snickering.
I hear Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory – girls who I used to consider my friends, who I would sit at during lunch and trade slices of cake and gossip and laugh over the fresh-faced, blushing boys who stumbled past our sanctuary. Their giggles sting, and it is then that I know that I have to put myself above this.
I pluck up all the nerve, all the fury stinging in the tears in the corners of my eyes, and I look at him right in the eye.
He is beautiful, all green eyes and wild reddish-brown hair that sticks up in tufts over his head and sweat-slicked to his forehead. His lips are pink rose petals that curve upwards into a smirk when he realizes I am staring, and I look down quickly, feeling my face flush all over again, and knowing that my traitor skin will reflect the blood for him to see.
“Please sit down, Mister,” I tell him coolly, not looking at him again because I will fluster and my tongue will tie up my words.
But he is rude.
I have to remember that.
“It’s Mr. Masen,” he responds, still leaning close to me, almost over the desk. I can tell he is smiling. There is a smug, taunting edge to his voice, the way Emmett sounds when he’s finally grabbed hold of a girl, about to kiss her like Georgie Porgie and see if she cries. “Edward Masen, Jr.”
I want to repeat his name after him, taste it on my tongue. I wonder if he was one of those boys who sat in front of me last year, looking up girls’ skirts, making faces at the teacher’s back, turning around occasionally and smirking at the little plain-faced, pale girl trying to sink down into her seat.
But I’m not a blushing student.
I am the teacher.
And somehow, the teacher in me manages to buck up and say in a stern voice, “Regardless of your name, Mr. Masen, I would advise you to sit down and attend to your studies.”
For a moment, we are just looking at each other. I don’t even notice the scowls my former friends are giving me – or the pity in Rose and Alice’s eyes – and the whispers and giggles and suggestions passing through the rows. His eyes are narrowed, as though he is studying me, and I am sure that in a moment, he will be raising his eyebrow, the way Father used to when he knew I was keeping something away from him.
But he doesn’t.
He doesn’t challenge me at all.
He just smirks at me one more time and slides into one of the back rows with the senior students, propping his head up on his elbows, watching me.
And I know that I am not going to get anything done today.
Because I’m going to know that he’s staring at me.
A replacement can’t come soon enough.
Friday, July 30, 2010
See, the thing about being a werewolf is that I have no superpowers of the mind. Mind reading doesn’t count when it’s only with the pack; admit it, we got robbed.
I still couldn’t do pre-cal to save my life. Or anyone else’s, and fortunately for them, I didn't have to. And creative writing? I remember thinking my English teacher was out to kill me. There was one midnight, on a Thursday night right before our first creative writing assignment was due, that I thought smoke was coming out of my ears. I swear, I smelled smoke.
Our assignment was to write a narrative essay about someone important to us, and a time they taught us something that made a difference in our lives. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I couldn’t think of anyone or anything. I mean, I could, but if I’d written about any of that stuff, my teacher would have flunked me for making such crazy shit up.
And I’m still not real clear on what the hell a narrative essay is. I thought the narrative was the dude who told the story. So, I know I’m the dude, but what’s the story? Argh. Fur-for-brains isn’t just what my mother calls me anymore.
I kept coming back to her, my mom, even though I just knew if I turned in an Important Person essay about my mother, the other guys would never let me live it down, seeing as I don’t have a vagina and all. My father would have been a more obvious choice, especially since he died. Dying makes people saints, after all, and he even died before I wolfed out so you’d think there would have been SOMEthing I could write about.
But no matter how hard I tried, all I could think about was my mom, pizza, Gina, carrot cake, …and smoke. Seriously. I smelled smoke. It smelled like wood burning, and I know my brain‘s not made out of wood, so I got up to check it out.
Turned out Leah had fallen asleep smoking outside and her cigarette was burning a hole in the porch. She yelled at me for fucking waking her up even though I figured I’d saved her ass from being engulfed in bitch-eating flames, and then Mom came out and yelled at us both. Leah took her up on the fight, so I snuck away to keep working on my paper.
Mom came into my room when they were done and kept yelling at me ‘cause I still hadn’t picked up my laundry off the floor. I didn’t want to fight with her, since I still had to somehow pull a narrative essay out of my ass, so I picked it all up real quick. It took me like a minute and a half. She was the only one who cared if my room was dirty or clean anyway. I didn’t see how it made any difference at all ’cause it was just going to get dirty again, and I made the mistake of telling her that.
She got tears in her eyes like she was about to cry, so I changed the subject real quick, asked the first thing that came to mind.
“Mom, what’s a narrative essay?”
“It’s a story, Seth.”
I rolled my eyes. I had to. “Mom, I know, but what KIND of story? The narrative tells the story, but what KIND of story does he tell?”
“The narrator, Seth. The narrator is the person who tells the story. The story itself is a narrative. As long as it’s a story, where something is happening, and not just explaining the history of Forks or how to build a boat or something, it’s a narrative.”
“…seriously? That‘s it? Just a story?”
“Yeah. Just a story.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.”
She made a sad face and I immediately felt bad.
“I know you didn’t make it up, Mom. I’m sorry. It’s just… I feel really stupid sometimes. And I hate having to write stupid papers that are so hard and no fun, and then I‘m just gonna throw ‘em in the recycle bin next week. And I don‘t get WHY I have to learn this stuff if I don‘t even wanna be a writer.”
“I just used it and I’m not a writer. I‘m just a mom.”
“Yeah, but you know everything,” I joked. I seriously needed her to stop looking so sad.
“I don’t, Seth. And everyone has to do things they don’t want to do. Sometimes, you do them because you find out later what they were good for. And sometimes, you find out later they weren’t good for anything after all. But it’s hard to know in advance, and doing things for no reason is better than never doing anything at all.”
I didn’t really get it and I was about to tell her that, but suddenly she just hugged me.
“And sometimes, you do things just to make someone else happy, and that reason's just fine, even if no one else understands.”
That made even less sense, and I was starting to feel awkward because she wasn’t letting go of me. Oh shit, was she finally crying? But she wasn’t, hallelujah, and when she finally let go, she said she was going to bed.
Well, at least I knew what to write. A story. A story about… shit. Oh well. I ended up writing about how Leah almost burned down the house and how my mom told me what a narrative essay was. It took me all night, but right before I dragged ass to school the next morning, Mom made me my favorite for breakfast: sausage, and grilled peppers, and eggs scrambled with milk, and toast with lots of butter, plus I got a D, which is not an F, on the paper, AND I didn’t have to read it out loud in front of the class, so I felt like I’d scored a good day after all.
Did you get that? A narrative essay is a story, and you don’t even have to narrate it to the class.
I’m so fucking confused.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I hope you have a fantastic day.... you deserve it more than anyone else I know.
You are a genuinely kind, compassionate and thoughtful friend. I don't know what I'd do without you.
Be watching for something to appear in your inbox. :)