"It's so COLD here. Is it always like this?"
Now, I admit, I keep the air conditioning on pretty cold upstairs; my family called me The Polar Bear (yes, really) when I was a teenager, back when I reigned supreme with my Thermostat of Terror on the upper floor of the old house. And in this house, once again, I have full control of The Upper Realm, and I command a chilly kingdom. But we were downstairs in the kitchen at the time, which meant that the AC wasn't even on because we were having a "cold snap" (for May) of 65 degrees.
"What? This is Alabama. If you can't even hack it here--"
"Back in Phoenix, it would be at least a hundred degrees right now."
"Oh, whatever! You're from" --I grabbed the packing box she'd arrived in-- "MINOOKA, ILLINOIS."
"I. AM. COLD." She folded her arms and hugged herself. "I don't even want to know how cold it gets when it rains. Does it rain a lot here? Stupid rain."
And then she fell over. Yes, clumsiness comes standard with The Littlest Bella.
Isabella Marie Swan
Date of birth: September 13, 1987
Special abilities: Accident prone and attracts bad luck
Yes, those are her abilities. Although they did leave out mental blocking and power whining.
(As a side note, Edward's stats on the other side of the box have at least been spell-checked this time.)
"All right, let's go upstairs--"
"Ugh. Is this where I meet the family?" She rolled her eyes. "Everywhere I go, everyone always wants to crowd around and meet the new girl, it's so embarrassing. I mean, you'd think they wouldn't be interested in someone so pale and slim and unusually intelligent."
"Mm," I said. "Actually, I was going to try to sneak you in as unobtrusively as possible. The blonde with the shield, I'm pretty sure she wants to scratch your eyes out. And watch out for the one in the corset if you see her around, she'll cut a bitch. And by bitch I mean you."
Bella blinked for a moment; she was quiet on the way up, but on the threshold of my room, she recovered her whiny equilibrium. "Are there a lot of guys? Guys are the worst. I mean, girls always whisper behind your back about how your eyes can't really be so chocolate brown, but guys actually come up and try to talk to you. I hope none of them want to, you know, ask me out all at once or anything--"
I pointed to each of the guys, none of whom had noticed us yet:
"And they're all twice your height," I added.
She sniffed. "Good. None of them will bother me, then."
"Well, I do happen to know someone just your size, if you'd like to meet him--he won't bother you or anything, but if you'd at least like to be acquainted with someone on the same eye level as you..."
"Well, I mean... I guess." She shifted back and forth from foot to foot. "I mean... you could just point him out or something. I don't actually want to... talk to anyone." She folded her arms more tightly around herself: "I'm sorry, I'm just really cold. Do you have anything--"
Suddenly I felt sorry for her. "Look, one of the girls has some winter stuff she's not wearing right now, I'll see if she can share."
So of course Lyra came bounding over, wanting to meet the new girl--who was standing on the file cabinet, tapping one foot impatiently while she shivered.
Lyra narrowed her eyes. "You've never killed anyone."
(Okay, I'll give that one to Bella: that really was a weird question. Non-question. Whatever.)
Bella looked down at Pan, who looked up and gave her the stink-eye. "What is that, like... a possum or something?"
"Right now I am A FERRET," said Pan, bristling.
"Whoa... okay," said Bella, stepping back. And then she fell over.
Fortunately she fell onto Lyra's winter coat, which was obviously too big for Bella--it was longer than she was tall--but the gloves kind of fit, maybe, in an oven mitt kind of way, and Lyra's cap gave her a babushka kind of look.
"That's hot," Bella said dryly, surveying her reflection in the cheap little mirror off my dresser. "Thanks, Lara. I guess."
So while the girls were busy getting bad impressions of each other, I sneaked out to grab The Littlest Edward--but he was already there, peeking around the door frame.
"You don't have to talk to her just yet," I whispered. "No pressure. She wants to play it low-key for a while--"
"You told her about me?"
"I didn't tell her anything, I just said there was someone else her size. She wasn't the least bit interested in meeting anyone else, even after I pointed them all out," I said encouragingly.
He stared from the shadows of the hall, looking a little green around the gills. Bella was awkwardly wandering around the top of my file cabinet, picking at her cuticles and reading the titles of my books.
"Well? What do you think?"
But I never heard what his original impression of The Littlest Bella was, because just then, the air conditioning kicked in.
Oh God. Somehow, that had totally slipped my mind.
He clutched the corner of the frame and--well, I guess you'd say he convulsed a little. "She's scented!" he gasped, his eyes shocked wide. "It's like--like--"
"I know, I know. Freesia, or maybe lavender. Even though freesia and lavender smell nothing alike."
"You can smell it too?"
I sighed. "Think you can handle it?"
"I don't know--" he whimpered, his knuckles white.
"Oh, at least give it a shot and try to talk to her! Or just WAVE. You spent hours in the cabinet with Clarice!"
"But this..." His voice dropped to the tiniest whisper: "This is different."
"Well, you better make your move quick, because you've got competition," I said, jerking my head.
I'd felt him behind us even before I turned to look, and it was not a good feeling. I'd told myself that we would be okay, that she wouldn't tempt Tonner Edward--The Littlest Bella didn't have luscious rooted curls; she wasn't showing any skin, not even a wrist; and she was crankier than even I'd expected. But apparently she had one hell of a flavor wafting out there into the hall, because when I turned around,
Tonner Edward was behind us, already leaning forward as if readying himself to spring, his eyes keen and black and shining.
The Littlest Edward whipped around before I'd even finished speaking--by the time I had turned all the way around they were both way down in their predator crouches, bristling and snarling (although the sound coming from The Littlest Edward was naturally more of a higher-pitched RRRREWR), and just when I thought they might settle it with A Motherfucking Hair-Off, The Littlest Edward LEAPED.
The last thing I heard as they tumbled out of sight was a tiny huff from the file cabinet: "Oh, that is so mature."
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