"You've got to be kidding me!" Jasper shouted. "They've gone too far this time! Someone needs to inform the media!"
Rose stomped over to where her twin brother was pouting like a toddler. "Jasper! You're making a scene. What's the matter this time!"
Jasper threw his hands up in the air. "This castle is the most significant historical site within a hundred miles and they've ruined it!"
Rose looked up at the thick stone walls and towers spiraling hundreds of feet into the air. "What do you mean ruined? It's the same as it's always been."
"No, it's not!" Jasper pointed at a cart selling t-shirts. "Look what they did!"
Rose rolled her eyes. "So what? It's a tourist trap. That's what they do! Sell junk to tourists!"
"But that's where the queen's well was! They destroyed a piece of history so that they could sell overpriced t-shirts." He glared at the crowd of people examining the bright colored shirts. "I can't believe people are actually buying them!"
Bella looked at Alice and blanched. The matching Fork's castle t-shirts that had been so cute five minutes ago now felt like a pair of bricks in her backpack. She'd have to find a way to dispose of them before her foster brother found out.
Jasper ran his fingers through his hair giving himself a mad scientist-like appearance. "What's next? Face painting in a cemetery?A food court in the throne room?"
Emmett's head snapped up. "Did someone say food? Is it time for lunch?"
Bella shook her head and smiled. Typical Emmett. In his own world until someone mentioned food.
Rose sighed. "No. Jasper is just throwing a tantrum...again."
"I'm not throwing a tantrum!" Jasper shouted, drawing the attention of several classmates. "I'm protesting the desecration of a historical site."
"Ah, I see," Emmett said. "I was wondering if you noticed the guy making balloon animals in the stables."
Jasper started grinding his teeth. "You've got to be kidding me!"
He pivoted and pushed his way through the growing crowd. As soon as he turned the corner, Emmett started to laugh.
"Let me guess," Bella said with a knowing smile. "There's no balloon guy."
Emmett smirked. "Yep."
"You really shouldn't antagonize him so much," Rose said, wrapped an arm around her boyfriend's waist. "One more historical inaccuracy and he'll have a stroke."
"He'll be fine," Emmett replied, kissed Rose on the cheek. "And if he isn't, my dad will fix him."
Emmett's adoptive father, Carlisle Cullen, was the most in-demand psychologist in Forks. If he couldn't get your head screwed straight then no one could.
Mike Newton, or "The Newt'', as he liked to call himself, snuck up and started humming the opening notes to Sweet Home Alabama.
"Hey Cullen," He said with a wide grin. "What are you going to do with all the money you'll save?"
As always, Emmett took the bait. "What money?"
"You know. The money you'll save now that buying one gift has you covered for your girlfriend and your sister."
Emmett made a noise Bella had only heard in nature documentaries. "I've told you a hundred times, Rose and I are foster siblings! That means we don't share any DNA!"
Mike chuckled. "Are you sure? The size of your feet suggests you won't be the first one to hook up at a family reunion."
"I wear a size sixteen. That's only one size above average for my height."
Mike winked at Rose, Bella, and Alice. "I'm sure your sisters aren't complaining if that's not the only part of you that's above average size."
Emmett clenched his jaw and raised his fist. Before he could strike, Rose grabbed his arm.
"Let it go, Em," she said, rubbing his bicep. "He's not worth it."
Mike smirked. "Listen to your wifey, Emmett. Won't want you to make a scene in front of all these people."
Bella looked around at the crowd. There were classmates, teachers, and a handful of employees. If things turned violent, none of them would take Emmett's side. Emmett was the unstable son of the town psychologist. He'd been held back for failing grades and suspended yearly for fighting. In sharp contrast, Mike was in the running for class valedictorian and the captain of the football team. One more win and they'd be heading to the state championship for the first time in over twenty years. He could probably stab Emmett and get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Like it or not, Emmett was best off letting The Newt get away with his crude comments.
Mr. Hobbs, their guide for the day, clapped his hands twice. "Alright, ladies and gentlemen. Let's head inside. Remember to stay together. We wouldn't want a repeat of last year."
After the incident with the chamber pots, it was a miracle Forks High students were allowed to set foot on castle grounds ever again.
"Smell ya later," Mike said and sauntered back over to his goons.
"This castle is the former home of the Mason family." Mr. Hobbs began as they passed through the gates. "Construction began in 1408."
Bella yawned. Three seconds into his speech and he'd already screwed up. It was going to be a long day.
"Actually, It was 1380," Jasper said. "Construction was completed in 1408."
Mr. Hobb's cheeks turned pink. "Let's hold all questions and comments until the end. We have a lot to see and not a lot of time to see it." He scratched his head. "Now where were we?"
Bella immediately tuned him out. She'd been coming to the castle since elementary school. She'd taken the tour, heard the legends, and stared at the royal paintings more times than she could count. At this point, she could probably give the tour herself. She discreetly slipped Emmett one of her AirPods. If they were going to spend the day bored to tears then they might as well do it to an interesting soundtrack.
Bella was almost through her favorite Beatles album when they entered the throne room. As expected, nothing had changed since her last visit. She was greeted by the same rusted suits of armor and dusty display cases.
"Please tell me that isn't what I think it is," Alice shrieked, turning slightly green. "I thought it was an April Fools day prank!"
Bella paused the music and looked to where Alice was pointing. There was a glass box in the middle of the room. Inside was a guy around their age. Jasper was right. Forks castle had gone too far this time.
Mr. Hobbs strolled over to the coffin. "This is Prince Edward. He was discovered during recent restoration attempts in the dungeon." He gestured for them to come closer. "He was cursed on his 16th birthday. According to castle legend, only a true love's kiss can break the curse and wake him from his slumber."
Bella was livid. This was real life, not a fairy tale. The poor boy had been dead for almost 400 years. All the kisses in the world couldn't revive him. He should have been buried not put on display.
"He's dreamy," Lauren whispered.
Alice snicked. "Better call the papers. Lauren finally found a date for spring formal. It's too bad he's dead though."
"This is so lame," Emmett said. "Didn't they have the budget for a mummy or something cool?"
"We're in Washington, not Egypt," Jasper said with a roll of his eyes. "We don't have mummies here."
Rose sneered. "But we do have Spirit of Halloween. It looks like someone picked his clothes from the clearance bin."
Rose was right. Edward's oversized poet shirt and velvet coat seemed more suitable for a pirate than a prince. Despite that, Bella couldn't seem to tear her eyes off him. There was something oddly familiar about Edward. She didn't recognize him from the Royal paintings or the brochure stuffed in her backpack. It was something else. It was like hearing the woods to her favorite song or coming home after a long trip. How strange for her to feel that way about a stranger who'd died long before she was born.
Bella didn't register Mr. Hobbs talking and her classmates leaving the room. She was preoccupied with memorizing every detail of Edward's face. She wondered what would have happened had he lived long enough to become king. Would he have restored Forks to its former glory or led the kingdom astray like his uncle? Bella took one last look at Edward and turned to leave. There was no sense worrying about what could have been. Edward was dead and there was nothing anyone could do to change that.
Bella was about to go looking for her classmates when Emmett jumped out from behind a suit of armor.
Hey, Bella," he hissed. "I dare you to kiss him."
Bella's jaw dropped. "No way!"
"Aww..come on. I saw the way you were looking at him." He made exaggerated kissing sounds. "Only a true love's kiss can break the curse."
"Are you insane!" Bella wrinkled her nose. "I'm not kissing a corpse!"
"It's not a corpse!" He gestured to Edwards's face. "See?"
Bella dared to take a step closer. Sure enough, Edward's eyelids were covered in plastic and his lips looked like they were made of wax. Most damning of all was his hair. It looked like someone cut it with safety scissors. It was shoulder length in the back and clipped short in the front. Emmett wore a wig just like it when he dressed up as David Bowie for Halloween. There was no double in Bella's mind. Edward was nothing more than a cheap dummy, probably a prop from an 80's movie.
Bella shook her head and laughed. "He does kind of look like a doll."
Emmett smirked. "Do you remember wax Abraham Lincoln?"
How could Bella forget? When they were in 5th grade, their class took a field trip to the Seattle Hall of Presidents. Bella had nightmares about wax Abraham Lincoln breaking into her house for weeks.
"Still worried he's coming to get you?" Emmett asked.
"No," Bella snapped.
She was a sixteen-year-old honor roll student, not a scared little kid. She'd stopped believing in monsters years ago. There were much bigger things to worry about like global warming and midterms.
"Then why won't you kiss him?" Emmett asked, puckering his lips.
"Number one, that's gross. We have no idea where this thing has been. Number two, we're in a museum. Some type of alarm will probably go off if we open the box."
"Look around you," Emmett said, gesturing to the crumbling stone and scratched display cases. "Do you really think this place has the budget for a top of the line security system?"
"I'm still not doing it."
Emmett stepped over the velvet ropes separating the casket from the rest of the room. "I'll do your chores for a week."
While the extra free time was tempting, it wasn't worth it. She'd probably end up with some nasty lip disease.
Bella crossed her arms." Nope. Not doing it."
Emmett started undoing the latches one at a time. "How about this, I'll give you my entire allowance this month."
The Cullens were generous with allowance money. Each child, regardless if they were foster or adopted, received an impressive $4oo a month. Bella had been hoping to upgrade her truck. Emmett's allowance would more than cover tires and a fresh paint job. If Jacob was willing to cut her a deal, there might even be enough money left over for a new sound system.
Hoping she wouldn't regret it later, Bella joined Emmett on the other side of the ropes. "Fine, I'll do it."
Emmett grinned and flipped the lid open. "Alright lover girl. Pucker up!"
Bella rolled her eyes when Emmett dug out his phone and started was glad she knew his password. She'd delete the video later while he was preoccupied with his picnic basket-sized lunch. There wasn't a chance she was letting anyone, especially her foster siblings, see that video.
Bella tucked a few loose strands of hair behind her ears, leaned down, and planted a quick kiss on the dummy's forehead. While she expected the smell of mildew and the taste of wax, she wasn't expecting the head to move. It was only a small twitch, yet it was enough to shave a good decade off her life.
Bella yelped and jumped back. "Emmett! He's moving!"
"Sure he is," Emmett chuckled, replaying the video on his phone. "I knew you were still afraid of these things. Just wait until the others see this." He turned towards the exit. "Let's go. It's time for lunch and I'm starving."
Bella grabbed him by the shoulders and forced him to turn around. Edward or whatever had been laying in the coffin, had sat up and started clawing at its mouth and eyes.
Emmett, whose face had drained of all color, took a cautious step forward. The monster was moaning and thrashing around in the coffin.
"I don't believe it," Emmett said, as he hit record. "Rose is never going to believe this!."
"Emmett!" Bella hissed. "Get away from there!"
The monster stopped thrashing and lunged for Emmett's wrist.
Emmett dodged its dirt-encrusted nails and slammed the coffin close. The lid struck the monster's head with a sickening thud. Emmett snapped the latches closed while muttering a string of curse words that would have earned him a month of detention.
"This can't be happening." he pinched his arm. "Come on, Emmett. Wake up. This is all a nightmare."
While the blow to its head seemed to have stunned the monster, Bella feared it wouldn't stay down for long. There was already a spider web pattern of cracks in the coffin. One swift kick and he'd be free.
Bella grabbed Emmett's wrist and pulled. "What are you waiting for, run!"