Over the last two or three entries, I have mentioned some developments at the Sparklerosa (and some very disgruntled ponies). Going into all of this, The Littlest Edward and Bella were doing pretty well; thanks to some man-to-manpire talks from Helm's Deep Aragorn, they had moved past some issues endemic to the Edward species and were carrying on in the most delightfully twee, hormone-fueled way because THANK GOD, NONE OF US COULD TAKE THE MEEBLING ANYMORE. So Little Edward played his piano for Little Bella while she baked lembas for the war effort (and pie for Purple Arwen's pantry) (and pineapple cake for
And yet... there was a shadow on their sparkle. Because, while Edward wanted to know everything about Bella... he didn't want her to know anything about him. Not his plushivorous past, not his terrible longing for fluffy, delicious suffering, and most definitely not his current employment in animal husbandry. And so she couldn't understand why he had to leave her at certain hours of the day, and she had no idea where he went. It was a little ironic, I guess, that she had spent weeks upon weeks disdaining "that twitchy weirdo" who blurted out bizarre creeper nonsense at her and fled, and now she was going into literal, white-knuckled withdrawals when he left her side (exactly her brand of heroin, I see what you did there, lol, etc).
In her sock, she tossed and mumbled; she took to lurking around doorways with sleepless, shadowed eyes. She tried to persuade him to stay with feverish protestations--
"I--I love you--you are the hottest vampire I have ever made out with--your butterscotch eyes--your tousled bronze hair--I just want to stare at you all day long and touch your icy-cold skin and listen to your heart not beating while you watch me sleep all night every night forever--"
--which... probably frightened him away even more, quite honestly. She even took to grabbing him by the lapels to get one last good huff of his cotton candy scent before he fled to his ever more impatient wards. In other words: we had flipped her ZOMG EDWARD CULLEN switch but good.
"WHERE THE HECK IS HE? I've SEEN HIM in daylight, he doesn't burst into flame, HE BURSTS INTO SPARKLE and that's really kind of messed up but that's not a secret so WHERE DOES HE GO? Is he just like lurking generally but wouldn't you do that at night? So I don't know? I mean I guess he has to eat but he won't tell me WHAT, I just made him promise he wouldn't ever kill any other girl but me so what DOES he eat? WHERE DOES HE GO?!? HOLY CROW!"
At one point she found an old trinket box of mine (I am a queen of knicknackery) that had gotten left in my sister's old room. It looked distinctly like... a coffin.
It wasn’t a coffin.
“Does he have--no, he can’t have a secret love child, that doesn’t even make sense. A... secret little sister? No--is it--is he using the toys to lure children?--no! He would never do that! Besides, Lara’s a brat, he wouldn’t want to eat her.”
Bella finally got so insistent that she actually took it up with The Littlest Edward himself. He decided to use a dazzle-faced line of rhetoric that would appeal to her sexygoth sensibilities: You must never see me feed, he intoned.
“Because she would never, ever respect me afterwards,” he added, in private, to me.
(He also didn’t mention who he was feeding.)
But it was inevitable that Bella would eventually find out. While her pies and cakes and cookies were on the cooling racks, she would slip away from Purple Arwen and continue her compulsive search. Eventually, she ran out of places upstairs to look--my room, my sister’s room, the bathroom: that was pretty much it. And so... she ventured downstairs.
Very, very slowly.
With a lot of falling over.
And the thing is--the Sparklerosa was tucked far away from the Shelfians upstairs. But the moment you got downstairs--it was right there. She couldn’t miss it.
But the ranch was strangely quiet and still--deserted, perhaps, because its denizens had heard her
When you’re about to do something you’re not supposed to do, you often look back over your shoulder, just to be sure you’re alone. It’s an instinctive gesture. You don’t actually expect to find someone behind you.
A lot of someones.
Clarice lowered her head and growled. It was (I am told) a growl not just of ovine hostility, but of a growing realization: That Girl was entirely at her mercy, and if she and the ponies disposed of her quickly, their beloved Edward need never know. It was a growl that turned into a grin--a grin that encouraged her conspirators, drew them on closer, the light glinting off the one terrible tooth of Baby Quackers even as Bella drew back, aghast--and I know it was, because a more eloquent witness then leapt onto the scene:
“BAD GIRLS! BAD! WE DO NOT HURT BELLA!” And then, the mortal blow: “CLARICE! I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU!”
Nobody got applesauce for dessert that night.
And then: the reckoning.
Little Edward hung his head; as devoted as he was to the Sparklerosa, he was very aware that Bella might see the ponies exactly the way he originally had. “What must you think of me, and all of this--rainbow--pastel... childishness. But--I love them. They need me. And--if--” But the mere idea of having to choose between his ponies and his beloved was so horrible that he couldn’t say it.
There was a long moment of silence. Bella tugged at her sleeves and pronounced judgment:
“Well, you’re a total weirdo. But you’re my weirdo. C'mon upstairs--the sheep is still staring at me, it’s freaking me out.”
Since there was no more need for secrecy, I moved the stable up to my room the next day and gave the patch of carpet between the Shelf and my dresser over to the Sparklerosa. My only requirement was that Edward keep the ponies clear of the bed, so I didn’t end up stepping on them, and that he kept them quiet at night. And thus, The Littlest Edward was always near his ladylove’s beddrawer at night, so he could watch over her from a respectable distance while still guarding his herd from the cat; the ponies could enjoy his piano playing as well; and Bella, whose kitchen had an excellent view of the ranch, was well aware of both her hero’s whereabouts and his ponies’ enduring sparkle hate. Everybody won.
Well, except Tonner Edward, of course. But even he reclaimed the now-quiet living room for himself and his heartache. He stayed down there pretty much all the time, listless and black-eyed, occasionally bothering to go outside to hunt, and barely even had the energy to inform me, “By the way, I think that dog is eating one of the Faramirs.”
(To be continued.)
(Secret Life read-through; fan community; TV Tropes page)