Psychological Warfare – Edward

By lunchtime, the news had spread around the school like wildfire. Nathan McFadden no longer owned the hottest car in the parking lot at Brevard High School. Edward Cullen had driven to school in a silver Aston Martin Vanquish.

The gossip didn't end there. Like an infantile game of telephone, the exaggerations grew rampant with each passing hour mixing in with the truths to create a childish quagmire that weighed down my mind with trivialities.

"Did you hear that Edward Cullen may actually be some Eastern European prince?"

"I hear that Nate asked Edward's girlfriend Bella out, and she laughed at him!"

"Edward has got to be the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen in my life! Figures that his girlfriend is a model."

"I think the Cullens are part of the Russian mob. How else can they afford those kinds of cars?"

"Did you see Nate? He looks so pissed!"

"Edward Cullen is definitely way hotter than Nate."

"Edward threatened to beat Nate up behind the school today after seventh period if Nate doesn't stop going after Bella Swan."

The human mind has always been amazing to me, and it never ceased to give me pause at how quickly one could become relevant with the slightest shift in circumstances. Of course, this meant that lightning quick irrelevance was always plausible as well. I longed for the time when that would happen as I continued to smile and think of gracious things to say to the fickle masses who wanted to be my friend now that I had a new jacket, killer sunglasses, and an expensive car. I laughed humorlessly at lunch as I pondered my new fame.

"What's funny?" Bella ask in a tired voice that I knew also stemmed from having to deal with her newfound notoriety. If there were anyone else at my family's table that I knew hated this just as much as I did, it was Bella.

"I'm just laughing at how easy it is to be popular. All it takes is money and the right attitude."

"I don't know Edward. Have you heard that saying? 'Show me the most popular kid in school, and I will show you the school's best liar.' I really believe that. Now more than ever," she said with an ironic smile. Alice let out a burst of laughter in response.

"Well, it's only slated to get worse. Emmett is staying after school to practice with the track team. Colin McFadden is the star sprinter. He's also the football team's ace wide receiver. I think he will be relegating himself to fame in the football stadium this season, not on the track," Rosalie said with satisfaction.

I was already wholly bored with the entire exercise. The only good thing that had come out of that scene from this morning that was taken from the pages of a soap opera was the fact that Nate had not said one thing to Bella all day. That was reason enough to suffer through the mental inundation.

Edward, don't overreact. Nate is waiting to talk to Bella after lunch. Actually, I think he's ready to take out his frustration on her. He's really angry that she laughed at him in front of his friends this morning. He won't be as nice as he has been before. You need to tell Bella so that she avoids letting him get near her. It won't help if she freaks out and punches him in the face.

I nodded darkly to Alice. I wouldn't let him have the chance to speak with her. As Bella stood up to take our tray back, I walked casually behind her and listened again to the mental stream of comments regarding how pretty she was, how gorgeous I looked, how interesting we both were, my beautiful car, etcetera. At least we knew our attempts at monopolizing the minds of our fellow students worked. As she turned after depositing the tray, I smiled at her mischievously. I eyed the dark corner behind Bella where extra tables and chairs lay propped against a large pillar. Inclining my head in that direction with a wink, I took her hand and led her there. As we rounded the corner outside of anyone's sight, I pulled her into the shadows quickly and pushed her against the wall.

"Bella?" I asked innocently as I held both her hands on the wall on either side of her head. I began kissing her languorously along her neck.

"Yes?" she gasped as I dragged the tip of my tongue slowly from her collarbone to her ear.

"I'm tired of school. I wanted to skip next period in the Vanquish. Do you think that I could find someone who would be willing to make out with Edward Cullen in his Aston Martin?" I took one of my hands away from the wall by her head and placed it on the small of her back to crush her against me.

"Edward! It's only the second day!" she said breathlessly. I knew her resistance was quickly crumbling. I pressed my lips against hers and slowly began massaging her tongue with mine.

"Do you want to join me?" I murmured against her mouth as my hand moved from her back to run slowly down her hip and back up to her neck to pull her into a rough kiss. I knew I had won the moment I felt her hands grasp my shoulders to draw herself in closer to me.

"Edward Cullen. You planned this!" she gasped quietly.

"I'm no fool," I chuckled as I pulled her from the wall, and we walked to the nearest exit without looking back.

I unlocked the door to the car, and she grabbed me by the collar of my jacket to push me into the passenger seat. I began laughing quietly as she straddled my lap and pulled her face to mine to continue the kiss we started in the cafeteria. I buried my face in her hair as I drank in her heady scent and brushed my hands across her abdomen towards her lower back to arch her body into mine as I kissed her neck. I tried to keep the intensity of our kisses at bay so that we weren't pushed over the edge. I didn't need Carlisle to receive two calls of complaint in two days. Also, Emmett would most likely never let us live that one down.

Alice's thoughts came crashing into my head with the force of a Mack truck.

Edward! Colin saw you two leave the cafeteria. He told Nate. Nate is coming outside right now, and he's moving towards your car!

I swore under my breath.

"I thought you reserved that kind of language for more intense moments of passion," Bella said with a breathless laugh. "What's wrong?" she said frowning as she saw my face.

"Nate saw us leave. He wants to talk to you. Your lovable sense of humor this morning did not sit well with him. Bella, no matter what happens I want you to stay in the car and react as little as possible. He is looking to provoke and re-establish his dominance. I really hate that he's caught us in a compromising situation," I muttered rapidly.

Bella straightened her sweater and ran her fingers through her hair as she bit her lower lip with worry.

Well, well. I wonder if I should knock on the window. Who would have thought that the quiet new girl would ditch class to hook up in a car. I sure know how to pick women. It's always the quiet ones . . .

I pursed my lips, plastered a look of supremely unconcerned arrogance on my face, and opened the car door. "Nate," I feigned mild surprise as I lifted Bella from my lap and stepped outside of the car.

"Cullen. I must say I'm impressed. You'll have to give me some pointers sometime. Hello baby," Nate said to Bella as he leaned into the car to look at Bella. He placed his hand on the door to prevent me from closing it. Bella said nothing as his eyes raked over her tousled hair and guilty face. I saw a hint of anger in her amber-colored eyes.

Damn she's fine. She looks even better when she knows she's done something wrong. At least I know that when I get rid of this thorn in my side, it won't be too hard to get what I want. If she's giving it to Cullen, she'll give it to me. I'll make sure.

"Was there something you wanted Nate?" I said through clenched teeth.

"So Isabella. I wanted to let you know that, in the future, it's not a good idea to make me look foolish in front of my friends. It makes me angry. Life is better for everyone if I'm not angry."

"I sincerely hope that you are not threatening her, McFadden," I said in as even a tone as possible.

"See it however you want to see it. She disrespected me this morning, and it doesn't matter how beautiful or special she thinks she is. I will not be disrespected. She should apologize."

"You have a problem with disrespect Nate?" Bella said incredulously. I looked at her with alarm. She was enraged.

"You've disrespected Edward and I every chance that you've gotten. You're a disgusting excuse for a boy pretending to be a man. You want me to apologize? Like hell I'll apologize to you!" she said with fury.

"Bella," I said in warning.

Nathan's eyes blazed with anger, and the cloud of malice flowing off of his skin became thick around us. This little hellcat needs a good beating. I'd sure love to give it to her . . .

I took a menacing step towards him, using every fiber of my self-control to keep my rage intact.

"Cullen. You keep your little whore under control."

I hissed through my teeth in an attempt to focus on my breathing as my sight flashed in red fury. All I had to do was reach out. I only needed my thumb and index finger . . .

"What did you just call my sister?" Jasper said as he stepped from the shadows behind a car. Emmett also materialized from nowhere to stand behind Nate threateningly. Nate took a moment to analyze the situation and took a step away from the car after deciding that self-preservation was more important than his wounded ego, for the moment.

"You'd better stay out of my way Cullen. All of you. I won't forget this." He turned and called Emmett's bluff by standing right in front of him, daring Emmett to do something. I motioned for Emmett to let him pass with extreme reluctance.

She won't get away with this. I'll still get what I want from her. I just don't have to be nice about it anymore. No more games. I can wait however long it takes. I'll relish the chance to throw it in that pretty boy's face too. His perfect little angel . . . They'll get what's coming to them. We'll make sure of it.

IMPORTANT – PLEASE READ!

Hi Everyone. Thanks so much for sticking with the story. I really appreciate your support. This is the last chapter I will post on FictionPress due to the inordinate amount of 'nastygrams' I have received from other FP users who feel that their time is better spent rudely informing me that FP is not for fanfiction rather than contributing to the world of writing in a constructive manner. Of course, I am not referring to those who politely pointed out that my work should be on FanFiction(dot)com. I appreciate the FYI in those instances.

If you want to read more, go to my profile on FictionPress and click on the homepage. It will take you to a site that hosts this story in its near-complete form. The links to the chapters are on the left-hand side of the main page and are prefaced by roman numerals. IT IS TOTALLY WORTH THE EXTRA CLICKS. You can continue this story right where it left off if you click on the chapter entitled 'Psych Warfare'.

I hate that this happened, but it was such a downer to get so many needlessly harsh comments on my 'huge' transgression. I'd rather spend my time writing than smacking people down for such an innocuous mistake.

Thanks again,

Renee