“I still can’t believe that the one you choose to have a crush on is Carlisle” Bella teased as we prepared dinner for Charlie. He was busy watching the game.
“C’mon, Bella, you of all people should know that we don’t choose how we feel.” I pointed out.
She pressed on. “You’re not even gonna deny it? That you like him?” She paused her movements while I continued to get the salad ready.
I shrugged. “What’s not to like? And remember, you like him, too. Everyone likes him. He’s a likeable guy.”
Bella scoffed. “You know what I mean. I don’t like him the way you like him.”
“Well, there are certainly other people who do. Like, say, Esme? Y’know, his mate?”
Bella shook her head impatiently. “I already told you, it’s not what you think. They’re not…involved, exactly. They’re friends, best friends, but the reason they’re together is because Carlisle wanted a stable life for a family, if he should have one. He turned Edward before he turned Esme; he wanted his ‘adopted’ son to have the best life possible.”
I kept my eyes focused on the lettuce I was rinsing. “That’s admirable of him. I still won’t be a homewrecker, whether or not he’s ‘involved’ with his wife.” Suddenly, I fully processed what Bella had originally said. “Hey, what’s wrong with Carlisle? Actually, I can answer that for you: there’s nothing wrong with Carlisle.”
Bella held up her hands in mock-surrender. “I didn’t mean anything by it, I swear. I’m just saying…he’s the father figure! There’s Emmett, Jasper, Edward…”
I brandished the lettuce I was holding at her. “If you’re gonna try to imply that I have ‘daddy issues’ because I like Carlisle, I WILL beat you with this. I don’t care if you’re an invincible, immortal supermodel now.” I went back to patting the greens dry. “Anyway, none of the people you just mentioned are available in any way, shape, or form. Which you’re well aware of. At least, I hope you are, ‘cuz otherwise I’ll have to tell Edward to step up his game. You still don’t know he’s into you. That’s dense even for you, Bella.” I grinned as Bella hip-checked me gently in retaliation. She was getting better at knowing her own strength.
“I’m really not trying to imply that. I just…we were talking about how you don’t choose how you feel, and it’s interesting to me that out of all the Cullens, you fall for Carlisle.”
I giggled. “I hate to break it to you, Bella, but the Cullens aren’t the only dateable people in Forks. In fact, I’d say they’re the least dateable, you’re just special so they made an exception for you. A friggin’ huge exception.” Bella bumped my shoulder playfully, giggling as well.
I began chopping the lettuce. “Also, I’m surprised at you, Bella. You’re being pretty sexist by not mentioning any of the Cullen women.” I looked up when I heard Bella stop. She was staring at me with wide eyes; it made me laugh out loud. “So, I guess you didn’t know, then?”
Bella shook her head minutely. “No…I didn’t. So…you’re into…both?”
I shrugged and returned to my task. “It’s more like how I feel about people isn’t based on gender. It’s based on their personalities. I don’t really know what to call myself: I could be asexual, or pansexual, or bisexual. Personally, I think I’m probably ace because I don’t get what the big deal is about sex. But I’m not super concerned with what to call it. I know who I am and what I like; that’s what matters.”
“So…do you like any of the other Cullens?”
I laughed. “No: they’re just as unavailable as their mates are. But I appreciate how well you’re taking this. When I told Charlie, I thought he was gonna have a heart attack.”
“Oh my God, you told Charlie?”
“I don’t like hiding who I am, Bella. I had enough of that at home. It kinda just came out one night, all on its own. He was trying to ‘bond’ with me, like the sweetheart he is, so he asked if there were any high school boys I had my eye on. I said no, but I really like Angela Weber. His eyes got huge, kinda like yours did, and after sputtering for a while, he mumbled that the Webers were a good family. I was kinda being a brat because Angela was more of a friend than a crush. But if she was single, I’d go for it, so I thought Charlie should know.”
I scowled a bit. “Anyway, I wanted to know how Charlie would react. I know he’s a good man, but I’ve had bad experiences with people like that in the past, especially in a small town like Forks. He’s letting me stay in your room until I get my feet under me, and I needed to know if my landlord is queerphobic.”
A cool hand landed on my back, rubbing soothingly. “I understand. I’m sorry if I reacted poorly. Thanks for telling me. For trusting me.”
I smiled. “You reacted fine, Bella. Don’t worry. You even thanked me, which scores you major points.” I winked.
Bella smiled back at me. As she returned to cooking, she said “I haven’t forgotten that you have a crush Carlisle.”
I groaned in frustration. “Alice has been a bad influence on you.”