Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own Twilight. I don't even own a copy—but my sister does, and I steal it all the time.
I sighed, staring wistfully at the mane of long black hair weaving through the crowd. He was so graceful. In my mind, I saw his perfectly sculpted arms and—though, unfortunately I didn't have any firsthand experience—chest. In my imagination, I saw him leaning towards me, his full lips pursed, his eyes filled with longing and love, and then—
"Earth to Bella! Come in, Bella!" Alice, my best friend, got a mock grave look on her pixie-like features. "Commander Rose? I think we've lost Cadet Bella in the bottomless pit of Jacob Black la-la-land."
I snapped out of it and rolled my eyes, exasperated. "Give it a rest, guys," I mumbled, hiding my blush behind my long brown hair.
Unfortunately, my hair didn't hide my blush thoroughly enough, as Alice's older brother, Edward Cullen, snorted. "Wow, Swan," he commented in a superior, older-brother sort of way. "You've really hit an all-time low to be crushing on Black! What, Newton's puppy-dog loyalty bore you already?"
My face turned tomato red, and instead of showing him how much his comment had hurt, I lashed out in anger.
"Well, Mr. Cullen," I spat the name, "Mr. Can't-get-a-prom-date-so-I'll-stay-home-and-play-video-games-wallowing-in-self-pity. You seem to have a lot to say on this matter. What's it to you?!"
His green eyes hardened, and I think he might have even blushed a little. "I'm sorry, Bella," he said in a quieter voice. "I just…don't think he's good enough for you, that's all."
I rolled my eyes. He had the most outrageous mood swings. "Whatever," I said coldly. "Just forget that I even thought about a god like Jacob Black wanting a freak like me."
Edward's face was frozen in shock and—somewhere—I think there was a trace of guilt.
Giving up on Edward, giving up on Jacob, and giving up on life in general, I stormed away from the lunch table, and when I looked up, I was surprised there wasn't a storm cloud hovering above my head. I heard Edward calling after me, but I just kept on marching over to the ladies' bathroom.
Once I got there, I closed my eyes and counted.
"Bella are you ok?" Rosalie's worried voice came from the doorway, right on time.
"Don't worry, Bells," said Alice as she followed Rose into the bathroom. "My brother's an a-hole, no doubt about it.
I shook my head, a frown twisting my face. "What if he was right?"
"Right about what, sweetie?" asked Alice as she comfortingly wrapped her tiny arms around my shoulders.
"About me…not being good enough for Jacob," I all but whispered.
"Oh, honey," Rosalie said, sitting next to me, so I was in between both of them. "He actually said that he wasn't good enough for you."
I moaned in frustration at their cluelessness. "First of all, that's impossible! Second of all, it's just…reverse psychology. He meant that I wasn't good enough for him!"
"Bella, that's just your crappy self-esteem, not Edward," Alice teased, then turned serious again. "You know, I can arrange it that you and Jacob can become friends…at least." She winked and nudged my ribs—hard—and I finally cracked a smile.
"Really?" I asked, touched by her willingness. "But…how?"
"You really want to know?" she asked, a mischievous glint in her eye that I knew from experience should worry me.
"Uh…should I?" Forget worried, I was nail-bitingly afraid.
Alice ignored my question and turned to Rose. "You know that thing…with that person…at that random place…"
Rosalie's face lit up. "Oh yeah! With the girl and the guy and the sick chimpanzee?"
"Exactly!" Alice started bouncing up and down. I turned to Rose, the saner of my two companions, and raised a skeptical eyebrow.
"A chimpanzee?" I questioned.
Her look told me that I didn't want to know. Which meant that I. Did. Not. Want. To. Know. And that I'd be scarred for life if I did, in fact know.
"Okay, so the long and the short of it is that we know for a fact that Jacob and Edward are childhood enemies," Alice started.
"So, if you and Jacob become friends," she raised up a hand at my protest, "Just. Friends."
"For now," Alice said with a wicked smirk.
"Yes, for now," Rose amended. "You and Jacob become close friends, and don't worry—we have all of that under control—and then you and Edward pretend to go out! Jacob will be totally jealous!"
"Wait…" I rubbed my ear, positive that I had misheard them. "I go out with who, exactly?"
Alice's smile faltered. "Erm…Edward."
"But he'd know that it wasn't real!" Rosalie rushed in to assure me. "You'd just have to be heavy on the PDA and mushy stuff around Jacob." I made a face, at the fact that PDA and Edward were actually categorized together.
"I don't know guys…" I trailed off.
Alice glared at me. "Do you want Jacob or don't you?"
I rolled my eyes at her. "Of course I do, but—"
"And are you willing to use any means necessary, no matter how humiliating at the time?"
"Well duh, but—"
"And do you not think that my plans are always brilliant?"
"Uh, Alice? Do you remember Christmas at my house that year, with the plastic reindeer, a plate of cookies, a Santa hat, and Emmet?"
She scowled at me. "It's not my fault! If you hadn't left the cookies out in the open, and within Emmet's reach, the oven wouldn't have exploded, and—"
"Emmet is 6'5", Alice—everything is within his reach!" I sighed, exasperated.
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Whatever, guys! Bella, are you in or aren't you?"
I closed my eyes for two seconds, then opened them again, determined. "I'm in."
I really didn't mean to hurt Bella's feelings. I didn't know she was so sensitive about this whole Black issue. I can't believe she likes him! Out of all people, it had to be Jacob Black. He was the first person to beat me up when he was still bigger than I am, and he would always tease me. Just because he was football captain, he thought he was better than me. I don't even like football!
Just then, the girls came back from…whatever it is they do when one of them is crying. Like…a group hug or…something.
Or plotting my imminent doom.
The look that was in her deep, chocolate eyes had sealed my fate. I would have jumped off a cliff that very instant, had she asked me to.
Bella walked up to me timidly. "Uh Edward…can I ask you for a favor?"
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