"How could you give her a kitchen where she will burn herself or cut herself or get her hair caught in the refrigerator or drown in the sink and it's up so high you know she'll fall off and break off her legs or impale herself on a thumbtack you dropped and HE'S WATCHING HER! HE'S WATCHING HER!!"
"What? No he's not, he's over--EDWARD! EDWARD BIG-ASS CULLEN! YES, YOU!"
And I executed a vehement finger-point/thumb-jerk maneuver that I know you would recognize if you saw it, and which basically translated to "Your ass: OUT IN THE HALL." It was the hair peeking over the top of the printer that gave him away, of course, although I can't believe I hadn't seen him sooner.
(Bella was too busy grumbling over her mammoth strawberries to notice any of this, thankfully.)
I smacked him for good measure: "BE LESS CREEPY!"
He folded his arms sulkily. "I just wanted to see if I could hear her thoughts--"
"THAT IS NOT 'LESS CREEPY'!"
"Can you hear them?" he asked The Littlest Edward abruptly.
"No..." he said slowly, realizing it for the first time: "... I can't."
"There. I just wanted to confirm it. I thought perhaps she required a closer range, but apparently it doesn't matter."
"Okay, well, now that your little science experiment is over, QUIT IT."
"I am not in any way breaking the terms of our agreement."
"I didn't say you were. I said you were BEING CREEPY, which is subject to a completely different set of rules, namely STOP."
"She does talk in her sleep, though, I did hear that much."
"WHAT DID SHE SAY WHAT DID SHE SAY???"
"I'm not telling you--"
"I SAID STOP IT."
He smirked and retired from the field--to all of two feet away, "casually" examining my medicine drawer (the second lowest of the stackable plastic drawers) so as to have an excuse to hang around.
Of course, The Littlest Edward was still in a lather even though he had vanquished his rival for the moment: "But she's still up there, you said she falls down a lot, she's in danger, HOW COULD YOU PUT HER UP THERE ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND--"
"Well, but if she's up there by the printer, he can't stake her out from there at night--I'm trying to help you out here, man--"
Now, hindsight (of which you have the advantage) being what it is, I think you all know what ends up happening. You all know that she's going to fall off the printer tableshelf; this much is obvious. Well, maybe not--I suppose she could have set my printer on fire with her dueling stoves. My point is, Bella's kitchen was obviously a catastrophe in the making, and even at the time, I knew it--but she was almost within my very arm's reach if I was at my desk; I figured I would be able to keep an eye on her, or at least try. What did not occur to me from there in the doorway of my room, a diagonal line of fifteen feet away, was that disaster would strike within minutes of the first time I walked away.
Now, I saw everything that happened next, but I didn't quite process those two seconds until after the fact. What I heard was the tiny clatter of plastic and a shrill scream. What happened was, Bella stepped backwards without looking, tripped over the--pot? basket? It was from a Strawberry Shortcake playset, that's all I know--full of tiny doll plates (which went flying) and fell between the shelves and the cupboard (which also went flying), and of course there was nothing between her and thin air at that point, since it was the edge of the tableshelf.
What I did was stare helplessly, with a quick glance to my side at the Edwards and then back to the shelf, by which point the entire incident was... over. And what I saw (playing it back in my mind now) was the same look of rigid horror on each Edward's face, which then exploded into jealous panic as they turned, looked at each other, and immediately began to battle for the privilege of saving The Littlest Bella from the equivalent of a six-story fall.
Keep in mind that we're dealing with sparklepire super-speed here, which is the only way I can justify those two asshats FIGHTING at a time like this--perhaps they thought they had time to hash it out and then save Bella. Actually, I doubt they were thinking at all, because their rumble took the form of wrestle-crawling their way towards the table-shelf, and if either one got ahead, the other one grabbed him and pulled him back. And don't think that The Littlest Edward was the noble put-upon hero either--as you've already seen, when His Bella is at stake, he can summon some crazy-ass super-strength, and he was dragging Tonner Edward back by the ankle just as vehemently as a sparklepire three times his size. And meanwhile, there's Bella faaaaalling, faaaaallinnnnng, and here I am making a succession of WTF faces in slo-mo.
And then Serafina swooped in, grabbed her, and set her down on the carpet.
And then Bella fell over.
"Thanks, I guess," she gasped, white as a sheet. Serafina nodded and went on her way.
The Edwards, sprawled out on the carpet mid-tussle, finally noticed that their heroics were unneeded.
"BOTH OF YOU! GO TO YOUR ROOM!"
The Littlest Edward hung his head and crept off to his ponies, but I held Tonner Edward back. And then I smacked him. Again.
"BE LESS CREEPY. FEEL MORE SHAME. LEAVE HER ALONE."
"I can't help it," he said feverishly. "When I'm around her--I act without even thinking, I can't think of of anything but her--"
"Well, then, we're just going to have to keep you away from her, aren't we?"
"I should be the one to watch over her," he ran on as if I hadn't even spoken, "I would keep her safe, I would carry her everywhere, her feet would never even touch the ground. I would wrap her in my coat--I would carry her like a papoose--no! I would make a Snugli to carry her, always next to my cold, dead heart--"
"Would it sparkle?"
He glared at me.
"Your Snugli, I mean, not your dead heart."
"He doesn't deserve her, you know. He can't protect her. Not the way I can."
"Yeah, by rolling her up and stuffing her in your pocket. GIVE IT UP, FOR REAL."
He was about to storm off when I pulled him back (again). "Okay, look. I gotta know. What was she saying in her sleep? And tell me the truth."
The whole thing is that this is how Book!Edward realizes that Bella Cares For Him Omg, because she's moaning his name in her sleep. You know, while he's watching her. In the darkness of her room. From the rocking chair in the corner. But it had occurred to me suddenly--why was Tonner Edward so hung up on The Littlest Bella? Was it because she was the only game in town and her Outrageous Flavor was driving him insane? Or was it because she had... said something? Because he had been watching her sleep, after all--and with his hearing, I'm sure he could have heard each individual snore. And if she had said something significant--but how could she? She didn't even know who they were, their names, anything--had she said something, known something, I couldn't possibly have expected? And if she had, was he even interpreting it correctly?
"I miss the cactus," he said finally. "She said, and I quote, 'It's so cold here, I miss the cactus, cactus, I miss the cactus, everyone's so tall, so tall, does nobody wear pants but me, why are they so mean to me, possum, why is there a possum, never get the sticky out of my hair, too cold, cookies are good, I like sprinkles.' "
And he trudged off back to my sister's room as if he had lost a battle.
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