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1. FIRST SIGHT
6. SCARY STORIES
MIND OVER MATTER
21. PHONE CALL
copyright © 2005 by Stephenie Meyer
Brown and Company
Warner Book Group
Avenue of the Americas
, New York, NY 10020 Visit
our Web site at www.lb-teens.com
Edition: September 2005
portrayed in this book are fictitious.
similarity to real
or dead, is coincidental and not
intended by the author
: a novel
/ by Stephanie Meyer. — 1st ed.
When seventeen- year
with her father
in Forks, Washington,
meets an exquisitely handsome
boy at school for whom
she feels an
overwhelming attraction and who
to realize is not wholly human. ISBN
Vampires — Fiction
. 2. High schools
— Fiction. 3. Schools —
Washington (State) — Fiction.] I. Title.
—dc22 2004024730 Printed
in the United States of America
my big sister , Emily ,
without whose enthusiasm this story might still be unfinished.
of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ,
shalt not eat of it:
in the day that thou eatest thereof
shalt surely die. Genesis
I'd never given
to how I would die — though I'd had reason
enough in the last few months
if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.
stared without breathing across
the long room
, into the dark eyes
, and he looked
it was a good way to die, in the place
of someone else
, someone I
loved. Noble, even. That ought
knew that if I'd never gone
to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death
But, terrified as I was, I couldn't
. When life offers you a dream
so far beyond
any of your expectations
to grieve when it comes to an end.
hunter smiled in a friendly
way as he sauntered forward
drove me to the airport
with the windows
rolled down. It was seventy
the sky a perfect
, cloudless blue
. I was wearing my favorite shirt
sleeveless, white eyelet lace
I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry
-on item was a parka.
Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named
Forks exists under a near
- constant cover
of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more than
place in the
States of America. It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade
that my mother
with me when I was only a few months old. It was in this town that
I'd been compelled to spend
every summer until
I was fourteen
. That was the year I finally
put my foot
past three summers
my dad, Charlie
, vacationed with me in California
for two weeks
was to Forks that I now exiled myself— an action
that I took
. I detested Forks.
loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the blistering heat
. I loved the
vigorous, sprawling city.
my mom said to me — the last of a thousand times
on the plane
. "You don't have
like me, except with short hair
and laugh lines. I felt
as I stared at her wide
childlike eyes. How could
I leave my loving, erratic, harebrained
mother to fend for herself
? Of course
she had Phil
now, so the bills
would probably get paid
be food in the refrigerator,
in her car, and someone to call when she got lost
, but still…
go," I lied
. I'd always been a bad liar
, but I'd been saying
this lie so frequently lately that it
Charlie I said hi."
see you soon," she insisted. "You can come
you want — I'll come right back as soon
you need me."
I could see the sacrifice in her eyes behind
about me," I urged
. "It'll be great. I love you,
hugged me tightly for a minute
, and then I got on the plane, and she
- hour flight
from Phoenix to Seattle
hour in a small
plane up to Port Angeles, and then
back down to Forks. Flying
doesn't bother me; the hour in
the car with Charlie, though, I
a little worried about.
been fairly nice
about the whole thing
. He seemed
genuinely pleased that I was coming
live with him for the first time with any degree
of permanence. He'd already
gotten me registered for
school and was going
to help me get a car.
it was sure
to be awkward with Charlie. Neither of us was what anyone
would call verbose, and I
what there was to say regardless. I knew he was more than a
little confused by my decision
my mother before me, I hadn't made a secret
of my distaste for Forks.
I landed in Port Angeles, it was raining. I didn't see it as an omen
— just unavoidable. I'd already
my goodbyes to the sun.
for me with the cruiser. This I was expecting, too.
Charlie is Police Chief Swan
people of Forks. My primary motivation
behind buying a car, despite
the scarcity of my funds, was
I refused to be driven around
town in a car with red and blue lights
on top. Nothing
slows down traffic
like a cop.
me an awkward, one- armed
hug when I stumbled my way off the
good to see you, Bells
," he said, smiling as he automatically
caught and steadied me. "You haven
much. How's Renée?"
fine. It's good to see you, too, Dad." I wasn't allowed
him Charlie to his face
had only a few bags. Most of my Arizona
clothes were too permeable
for Washington. My mom and I
pooled our resources to supplement my winter
wardrobe, but it was
still scanty. It all fit easily into
trunk of the cruiser.
a good car for you, really cheap
," he announced when we
were strapped in.
kind of car?" I was suspicious of the way he said "good car
opposed to just "good
it's a truck
actually, a Chevy."
did you find
you remember Billy Black
down at La Push
?" La Push is the tiny
Indian reservation on the coast.
used to go fishing
with us during
the summer," Charlie prompted.
why I didn't remember him. I do a good job of blocking
painful, unnecessary things
in a wheelchair
now," Charlie continued when I didn't respond
"so he can't drive anymore
, and he
to sell me his truck cheap."
year is it?" I could see from his change
of expression that this
was the question he was hoping I
a lot of work
on the engine
— it's only a few years
hoped he didn't think so little of me as to believe I would give up
that easily. "When did he buy it?"
bought it in 1984, I think."
he buy it new?"
no. I think it was new in the early sixties
— or late
the earliest," he admitted sheepishly.
— Dad, I don't really know anything
about cars. I wouldn't be able
to fix it if anything went wrong
I couldn't afford
Bella, the thing runs great. They don't build them
I thought to myself… it had possibilities — as a nickname, at the
cheap is cheap?" After all, that was the part
I couldn't compromise
, I kind of already bought it for you. As a homecoming gift
Charlie peeked sideways at me
a hopeful expression.
didn't need to do that, Dad. I was going to buy myself a car."
don't mind. I want you to be happy here
." He was looking ahead
at the road
when he said this. Charlie
comfortable with expressing his emotions
. I inherited that
from him. So I was looking straight
ahead as I responded.
really nice, Dad. Thanks
. I really appreciate it." No need to
add that my being happy in Forks is
impossibility. He didn't need to suffer along
with me. And I never
looked a free truck in the mouth —
now, you're welcome
," he mumbled, embarrassed by my thanks.
exchanged a few more comments on the weather
, which was wet, and that
much it for Conversation
We stared out the windows in silence.
was beautiful, of course
; I couldn't deny that. Everything was green
, their trunks covered with
their branches hanging
with a canopy of it, the ground
ferns. Even the air filtered
was too green — an alien planet
we made it to Charlie's. He still lived in the small, two-bedroom
house that he'd bought with
mother in the early days
of their marriage
. Those were the only kind
of days their marriage had — the
. There, parked on the street
of the house that never
changed, was my new — well,
to me — truck. It was a faded
red color, with big, rounded fenders
and a bulbous cab. To my intense surprise
, I loved it. I didn't know if it would run, but I could see
myself in it. Plus, it was one of
those solid iron
affairs that never gets
damaged — the kind you see at
of an accident
by the pieces of the foreign
car it had destroyed.
Dad, I love it! Thanks!" Now my horrific day tomorrow
just that much less dreadful. I
be faced with the choice
of either walking
in the rain to
school or accepting a ride
you like it," Charlie said gruffly, embarrassed again
took only one trip to get all my stuff
upstairs. I got the west
bedroom that faced out over the front yard.
room was familiar; it had been belonged to me since
I was born. The wooden floor
, the light
the peaked ceiling
, the yellowed lace curtains around the window
these were all a part of my
The only changes
Charlie had ever made were switching the crib
bed and adding
I grew. The desk now held
a secondhand computer, with the phone line
for the modem
floor to the nearest phone jack. This was a stipulation from my
mother, so that we could stay
The rocking chair
from my baby days was still in the corner
was only one small bathroom
at the top of the stairs, which I would
have to share
with Charlie. I
trying not to dwell too much on that fact
of the best
things about Charlie is he doesn't hover. He left
to unpack and get settled, a
that would have been altogether impossible for my mother. It was nice
to be alone, not to have to smile
pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the
sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape
. I wasn't in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save
that for bedtime, when I
have to think about the coming morning
High School had a frightening total
of only three hundred
— now fifty- eight
there were more than seven hundred people in my junior class
back home. All of the kids
up together — their grandparents had been toddlers
would be the new girl from the big city, a curiosity
, a freak.
if I looked like a girl from Phoenix should, I could work this to my advantage
. But physically, I'd
fit in anywhere. I should
— a volleyball player
, or a cheerleader
the things that go with living in the valley
of the sun.
I was ivory-skinned, without even the excuse of blue eyes or red
hair, despite the constant
I had always been slender, but soft
somehow, obviously not an
athlete; I didn't have the necessary hand
-eye coordination to play sports
without humiliating myself —
and harming both
anyone else who stood
I finished putting
my clothes in the old pine dresser
, I took my bag
of bathroom necessities and
to the communal bathroom to clean
myself up after the day of travel
I looked at my face in the mirror
as I brushed through my tangled, damp
hair. Maybe it was the light,
but already I looked sallower,
could be pretty — it was very clear
translucent-looking — but it all depended
color. I had no color here.
my pallid reflection in the mirror, I was forced to admit that I was lying
to myself. It wasn't just
that I'd never fit in. And if I couldn't find a niche in a school
with three thousand people, what
my chances here?
well to people my age. Maybe the truth
was that I
didn't relate well to people, period
mother, who I was closer to than anyone else on the planet, was never
in harmony with me, never on
page. Sometimes I wondered
if I was seeing the same things
through my eyes that the rest
of the world was seeing through theirs. Maybe there was a glitch
. But the cause
All that mattered was the effect
. And tomorrow would be just the beginning
well that night
, even after I was done crying. The
the rain and wind
into the background. I pulled the faded old quilt
over my head, and later
, too. But I couldn't fall
asleep until after midnight,
when the rain finally settled into a
fog was all I could see out my window in the morning, and I could feel
the claustrophobia creeping
on me. You could never see the sky here; it was like a cage
with Charlie was a quiet
event. He wished me good luck
at school. I
thanked him, knowing his hope
was wasted. Good luck tended to avoid
me. Charlie left first, off to
the police station
that was his wife
and family. After he left, I sat at the old square
oak table in one
of the three unmatching chairs and
his small kitchen
, with its dark paneled walls, bright yellow
cabinets, and white linoleum
was changed. My mother had painted the cabinets eighteen years ago in
an attempt to bring
sunshine into the house. Over the small fireplace
in the adjoining
a row of pictures. First a wedding picture
of Charlie and my mom in
, then one of the
of us in the hospital
after I was born, taken by a helpful nurse
followed by the procession of my
pictures up to last year's. Those were embarrassing to look at — I
would have to see what I
do to get Charlie to put them somewhere else, at least while
was impossible, being in this house, not to realize that Charlie had
never gotten over my mom. It made
didn't want to be too early to school, but I couldn't stay in the
house anymore. I donned my jacket —
had the feel of a biohazard suit
— and headed out into the rain.
was just drizzling still, not enough to soak me through immediately
as I reached for the house key that
under the eaves by the door
, and locked
sloshing of my new waterproof
was unnerving. I missed the normal crunch
of gravel as I walked
couldn't pause and admire
again as I wanted
; I was in a hurry to get out of the misty wet that
swirled around my head and
to my hair under my hood.
the truck, it was nice and dry. Either Billy or Charlie had obviously
cleaned it up, but the tan
still smelled faintly of tobacco, gasoline, and peppermint. The
relief, but loudly, roaring to life and then idling at top volume
Well, a truck this old was bound
. The antique radio
worked, a plus that I hadn't expected
the school wasn't difficult, though I'd never been there before. The
school was, like most other
just off the highway. It was not obvious that it was a school; only
, which declared it to be
Forks High School, made me stop. It looked like a collection
. There were so many trees and shrubs
I couldn't see its size
at first. Where was
feel of the institution? I wondered nostalgically. Where were the chain
-link fences, the metal
parked in front of the first building
, which had a small sign over
the door reading
front office. No one
was parked there, so I was sure it was off limits
, but I decided I
would get directions inside instead
circling around in the rain like an idiot
. I stepped unwillingly out
of the toasty truck cab and walked
a little stone path
lined with dark hedges. I took a deep
before opening the door.
it was brightly lit, and warmer than I'd hoped. The office was small;
a little waiting area with
folding chairs, orange-flecked commercial carpet
, notices and awards
cluttering the walls, a big clock
ticking loudly. Plants grew everywhere in large plastic pots
, as if
there wasn't enough greenery outside
The room was cut in half
by a long counter
, cluttered with wire
of papers and
colored flyers taped to its front. There were three desks behind the
counter, one of which was manned
by a large, red-haired woman
. She was wearing a purple
made me feel overdressed.
red-haired woman looked up. "Can I help you?"
Isabella Swan," I informed her, and saw the immediate awareness
light her eyes. I was expected, a
of the Chief's flighty ex-wife, come
home at last.
course," she said. She dug through a precariously stacked pile
on her desk till
the ones she was looking for. "I have your schedule
and a map of the school." She brought several
sheets to the counter to show roe.
went through my classes
for me, highlighting the best route to each
on the map, and gave me a slip
sign, which I was to bring back at the end of the day.
She smiled at me and hoped,
Charlie, that I would like it here in Forks. I smiled back as
convincingly as I could.
I went back out to my truck, other students were starting to arrive
I drove around the school, following
the line of traffic. I was glad to see that most of the cars were
older like mine, nothing flashy. At
I'd lived in one of the few lower
neighborhoods that were included
in the Paradise Valley District
It was a common thing to see a new Mercedes
in the student
lot. The nicest car here
a shiny Volvo
, and it stood out. Still, I cut the engine as soon as I
was in a spot
, so that the
volume wouldn't draw attention
looked at the map in the truck, trying to memorize it now; hopefully
I wouldn't have to walk
in front of my nose
all day. I stuffed everything in my bag,
slung the strap
over my shoulder
in a huge breath. I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was
going to bite
me. I finally
and stepped out of the truck.
my face pulled back into my hood as I walked to the sidewalk, crowded
. My plain
jacket didn't stand
out, I noticed with relief. Once
I got around the cafeteria
, building three was easy
to spot. A large
black "3" was painted on a
square on the east
corner. I felt my breathing gradually creeping toward
hyperventilation as I
the door. I tried holding
my breath as I followed two unisex
raincoats through the door.
was small. The people in front of me stopped just inside
the door to hang
up their coats
a long row of hooks. I copied them. They were two girls
, one a
, the other
, with light brown hair. At least my skin wouldn't be a standout
took the slip up to the teacher, a tall
, balding man whose desk had a
nameplate identifying him as Mr.
He gawked at me when he saw my name — not an encouraging response —
and of course I
red. But at least he sent
me to an empty desk at the back
without introducing me to the
It was harder for my new classmates to stare at me in the back, but
somehow, they managed
my eyes down on the reading list the teacher had given me. It was
Faulkner. I'd already read everything. That was comforting… and
boring. I wondered if my
me my folder
of old essays
, or if she would think that was
cheating. I went through different
arguments with her in my head while the teacher droned on.
the bell rang
, a nasal
, a gangly boy with skin problems
and hair black as an oil slick
across the aisle
Isabella Swan, aren
't you?" He looked like the overly helpful, chess
I corrected. Everyone within
a three- seat
radius turned to look at
your next class?" he asked
had to check
in my bag. "Um, Government
, with Jefferson
was nowhere to look without meeting
headed toward building four, I could show you the way…"
Definitely over-helpful. "I'm Eric
smiled tentatively. "Thanks."
got our jackets and headed out into the rain, which had picked up. I
could have sworn several
behind us were walking close enough to eavesdrop. I hoped I wasn't getting paranoid
this is a lot different than Phoenix, huh?" he asked.
doesn't rain much there, does it?"
or four times a year."
what must that be like?" he wondered.
don't look very tan."
mother is part albino."
studied my face apprehensively, and I sighed. It looked like clouds
and a sense
few months of this and I'd forget
how to use sarcasm.
walked back around the cafeteria, to the south
buildings by the gym.
Eric walked me right to the
though it was clearly
good luck," he said as I touched the handle
. "Maybe we'll
have some other classes together." He
smiled at him vaguely and went inside.
rest of the morning passed
in about the same fashion
. My Trigonometry
teacher, Mr. Varner, who I
anyway just because of the subject
he taught, was the only
one who made me stand in
of the class and introduce myself. I stammered, blushed, and tripped
over my own boots on the
to my seat.
two classes, I started to recognize several of the faces in each
class. There was always someone
than the others
who would introduce themselves and ask me questions
about how I was liking
I tried to be diplomatic, but mostly I just lied a lot. At least I
never needed the map.
girl sat next to me in both Trig
, and she walked with me
to the cafeteria for lunch
tiny, several inches shorter than my five feet
four inches, but her
dark hair made up a lot
the difference between
. I couldn't remember her name, so
I smiled and nodded as she
about teachers and classes. I didn't try to keep
sat at the end of a full table with several of her friends
, who she
introduced to me. I forgot all their names
as soon as she spoke
them. They seemed impressed by her bravery in
speaking to me. The boy
, Eric, waved
at me from across the room.
was there, sitting in the lunchroom, trying to make conversation with
seven curious strangers, that I first
were sitting in the corner of the cafeteria, as far away
from where I
sat as possible in the long room.
were five of them. They weren't talking
, and they weren't eating
though they each had a tray of
food in front of them. They weren't gawking at me, unlike most of the
other students, so it was safe
to stare at them without fear
of meeting an excessively interested pair
of eyes. But it was none
things that caught, and held, my attention.
didn't look anything alike. Of the three boys
, one was big —
muscled like a serious weight
dark, curly hair. Another was taller, leaner, but still muscular, and
honey blond. The last was lanky,
bulky, with untidy
-colored hair. He was more boyish than the
others, who looked like they
be in college, or even teachers here rather
girls were opposites. The tall one was statuesque. She had a
, the kind you saw on the
of the Sports
Illustrated swimsuit issue
, the kind that made every girl around her take a hit on her
just by being in the same room. Her hair was golden
, gently waving to
The short girl was pixielike, thin
in the extreme
, with small features
. Her hair was a deep black,
short and pointing in every direction.
yet, they were all exactly alike. Every one of them was chalky pale,
the palest of all the students
in this sunless town. Paler than me, the albino. They all had very
dark eyes despite the range in hair
They also had dark shadows under those eyes — purplish, bruiselike
shadows. As if they were all
from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken
Though their noses, all
features, were straight, perfect, angular.
all this is not why I couldn't look away.
stared because their faces, so different, so similar
, were all
devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful. They
faces you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed
pages of a fashion magazine. Or
by an old master as the face of an angel. It was hard
to decide who
was the most beautiful —
the perfect blond girl, or the bronze-haired boy.
were all looking away — away from each other, away from the other
students, away from anything
as far as I could tell. As I watched
, the small girl rose
with her tray — unopened soda,
— and walked away with a quick
, graceful lope that belonged
on a runway. I watched,
at her lithe dancer
, till she dumped her tray and glided
through the back door, faster than I
have thought possible. My eyes darted back to the others, who sat
I asked the girl from my Spanish class, whose name I'd forgotten
she looked up to see who I meant — though already knowing,
probably, from my tone
looked at her, the thinner one, the boyish one, the youngest,
perhaps. He looked at my neighbor
a fraction of a second, and then his dark eyes flickered to mine.
looked away quickly, more quickly than I could, though in a flush of
embarrassment I dropped
at once. In that brief flash
of a glance, his face held nothing of interest
— it was as if she had called
name, and he'd looked up in involuntary response, already having
decided not to answer
neighbor giggled in embarrassment, looking at the table like I did.
Edward and Emmett Cullen
, and Rosalie and Jasper Hale
. The one who
left was Alice
all live together with Dr. Cullen and his wife." She said this
under her breath.
glanced sideways at the beautiful boy, who was looking at his tray
now, picking a bagel to pieces with
pale fingers. His mouth was moving
very quickly, his perfect lips
barely opening. The other three still
away, and yet I felt he was speaking quietly to them. Strange
names, I thought. The kinds of names grandparents had. But
maybe that was in vogue
— small town names? I finally remembered
that my neighbor was
, a perfectly
name. There were two girls named Jessica in my History class back
are… very nice-looking." I struggled with the conspicuous
Jessica agreed with another giggle. "They're all together
— Emmett and Rosalie, and
and Alice, I mean
. And they live
held all the shock
and condemnation of the
town, I thought critically. But, if I was being honest, I had to
admit that even in Phoenix, it would
ones are the Cullens?" I asked. "They don't look related…"
they're not. Dr. Cullen is really young, in his twenties or early
thirties. They're all adopted. The
and sister, twins — the blondes — and they're foster children
look a little old for foster children."
are now, Jasper and Rosalie are both eighteen, but they've been with
Mrs. Cullen since they were
She's their aunt or something like that."
really kind of nice — for them to take care of all those kids like
that, when they're so young and
so," Jessica admitted reluctantly, and I got the impression
that she didn't like the doctor
for some reason. With the glances she was throwing at their adopted
children, I would presume the
was jealousy. "I think that Mrs. Cullen can't have any kids,
though," she added, as if that lessened
all this conversation, my eyes flickered again and again to the table
where the strange family
They continued to look at the walls and not eat.
they always lived in Forks?" I asked. Surely I would have
noticed them on one of my summers
she said in a voice that implied it should be obvious, even to a new
arrival like me. "They just
down two years ago from somewhere in Alaska
felt a surge of pity, and relief. Pity because, as beautiful as they
were, they were outsiders, clearly not
Relief that I wasn't the only newcomer here, and certainly
I examined them, the youngest, one of the Cullens, looked up and met
my gaze, this time with evident
in his expression. As I looked swiftly away, it seemed to me that his
glance held some kind of
one is the boy with the reddish brown hair?" I asked. I peeked
at him from the corner of my eye,
he was still staring at me, but not gawking like the other students
— he had a slightly
expression. I looked down again.
Edward. He's gorgeous, of course, but don't waste
your time. He
. Apparently none
the girls here are good-looking enough for him." She sniffed, a
grapes. I wondered
he'd turned her down.
bit my lip to hide my smile. Then I glanced at him again. His face
was turned away, but I thought his cheek appeared
lifted, as if he were smiling, too.
a few more minutes, the four of them left the table together. They
all were noticeably graceful —
the big, brawny one. It was unsettling to watch. The one named Edward
didn't look at me again.
sat at the table with Jessica and her friends longer than I would
have if I'd been sitting alone. I was
not to be late for class on my first day. One of my new
acquaintances, who considerately
me that her name was Angela
, had Biology II with me the next hour. We
walked to class
in silence. She was shy, too.
we entered the classroom, Angela went to sit at a black-topped lab
table exactly like the ones I
used to. She already had a neighbor. In fact, all the tables were filled
but one. Next to the center
I recognized Edward Cullen by his unusual
hair, sitting next to that single
I walked down the aisle to introduce myself to the teacher and get my
, I was watching
Just as I passed, he suddenly went rigid
in his seat. He stared at me
again, meeting my
with the strangest expression on his face — it was hostile,
furious. I looked away quickly, shocked,
red again. I stumbled over a book in the walkway and had to catch
myself on the edge
of a table.
girl sitting there giggled.
noticed that his eyes were black — coal black.
signed my slip and handed me a book with no nonsense about
introductions. I could tell we
going to get along. Of course, he had no choice but to send me to the
one open seat in the middle
the room. I kept my eyes down as I went to sit by him
by the antagonistic stare he'd given
didn't look up as I set my book on the table and took my seat, but I
saw his posture
change from the
of my eye. He was leaning away from me, sitting on the extreme edge
of his chair and averting his
like he smelled something bad. Inconspicuously, I sniffed my hair. It
smelled like strawberries, the scent
of my favorite shampoo. It seemed an innocent
enough odor. I let my
hair fall over my right
a dark curtain
between us, and tried to pay attention to the
the lecture was on cellular anatomy, something I'd already studied. I
always looking down.
couldn't stop myself from peeking occasionally
through the screen
my hair at the strange boy next to
During the whole class, he never relaxed his stiff position
edge of his chair, sitting as far from
as possible. I could see his hand on his left leg was clenched into a
fist, tendons standing out under his
skin. This, too, he never relaxed. He had the long sleeves of his
white shirt pushed up to his elbows,
his forearm was surprisingly hard and muscular beneath his light
skin. He wasn't nearly
as slight as
looked next to his burly brother.
class seemed to drag
on longer than the others. Was it because the
day was finally coming to a
or because I was waiting for his tight fist to loosen? It never did;
he continued to sit so still it
like he wasn't breathing. What was wrong with him? Was this his
? I questioned
judgment on Jessica's bitterness at lunch today. Maybe she was not as
resentful as I'd thought.
couldn't have anything to do with me. He didn't know me from Eve.
peeked up at him one more time, and regretted it. He was glaring down
at me again, his black eyes full
revulsion. As I flinched away from him, shrinking against my chair,
the phrase if
looks could kill
ran through my mind.
that moment, the bell rang loudly, making me jump
, and Edward Cullen
was out of his seat. Fluidly he
— he was much taller than I'd thought — his back to me, and he
was out the door before anyone
was out of their seat.
in my seat, staring blankly after him. He was so mean. It
. I began gathering
slowly, trying to block the anger
that filled me, for fear my eyes
would tear up. For some reason,
was hardwired to my tear ducts. I usually
cried when I was
angry, a humiliating tendency.
you Isabella Swan?" a male
looked up to see a cute
, baby-faced boy, his pale blond hair
carefully gelled into orderly spikes, smiling
me in a friendly way. He obviously didn't think I smelled bad.
I corrected him, with a smile.
you need any help finding your next class?"
headed to the gym, actually. I think I can find it."
my next class, too." He seemed thrilled
, though it wasn't that
big of a coincidence in a school this
walked to class together; he was a chatterer — he supplied most of
the conversation, which made it
for me. He'd lived in California till he was ten, so he knew how I
felt about the sun. It turned out he
in my English class also. He was the nicest person
I'd met today.
as we were entering the gym, he asked, "So, did you stab Edward
Cullen with a pencil or what? I've
him act like that."
cringed. So I wasn't the only one who had noticed. And, apparently,
I decided to play dumb.
that the boy I sat next to in Biology?" I asked artlessly.
he said. "He looked like he was in pain or something."
don't know," I responded. "I never spoke to him."
guy." Mike lingered by me instead of heading
dressing room. "If I were lucky
sit by you, I would have talked
smiled at him before walking through the girls' locker room door. He
was friendly and clearly admiring.
it wasn't enough to ease
Gym teacher, Coach
Clapp, found me a uniform
but didn't make me dress
down for today's class.
home, only two years of RE. were required
. Here, P.E. was mandatory
all four years. Forks was literally
my personal hell
watched four volleyball games running
simultaneously. Remembering how
I had sustained
inflicted — playing
volleyball, I felt faintly nauseated.
bell rang at last. I walked slowly to the office to return
paperwork. The rain had drifted
but the wind was strong
, and colder. I wrapped
my arms around myself.
I walked into the warm
office, I almost turned around and walked back
Cullen stood at the desk in front of me. I recognized again that
tousled bronze hair. He didn't
the sound of my entrance. I stood pressed against the back wall
, waiting for the
to be free.
was arguing with her in a low, attractive voice. I quickly picked up
of the argument. He was
to trade from sixth-hour Biology to another time — any other time.
just couldn't believe that this was about me. It had to be something
else, something that happened
I entered the Biology room. The look on his face must have been about
It was impossible that this stranger could take such
intense dislike to me.
door opened again, and the cold
wind suddenly gusted through the
room, rustling the papers on the
swirling my hair around my face. The girl who came
in merely stepped
to the desk, placed a note
, and walked out again. But Edward Cullen's back
stiffened, and he turned slowly to glare
me — his face was absurdly handsome — with piercing
eyes. For an instant
, I felt a thrill of
fear, raising the hair on my arms. The look only lasted a second, but
it chilled me more than the
wind. He turned back to the receptionist.
mind, then," he said hastily in a voice like velvet
. "I can
see that it's impossible. Thank you so
for your help." And he turned on his heel
without another look
at me, and disappeared out the
went meekly to the desk, my face white for once instead of red, and
handed her the signed slip.
did your first day go, dear
?" the receptionist asked maternally.
I lied, my voice weak
. She didn't look convinced.
I got to the truck, it was almost the last car in the lot. It seemed
like a haven, already the closest
to home I had in this damp green hole. I sat inside for a while, just
staring out the windshield
But soon I was cold enough to need the heater, so I turned the key
and the engine roared to life.
headed back to Charlie's house, fighting tears the whole way there.
next day was better… and worse
was better because it wasn't raining yet, though the clouds were dense
. It was easier
I knew what to expect
of my day. Mike came to sit by me in English,
and walked me to my next
with Chess Club Eric glaring at him all the while; that was
nattering. People didn't look at me quite
much as they had yesterday
. I sat with a big group at lunch that
included Mike, Eric, Jessica, and
other people whose names and faces I now remembered. I began to feel
like I was treading
instead of drowning in it.
was worse because I was tired; I still couldn't sleep with the wind
echoing around the house. It was
because Mr. Varner called on me in Trig when my hand wasn't raised
and I had the wrong
It was miserable because I had to play volleyball, and the one time I
didn't cringe out of the way
the ball, I hit my teammate in the head with it. And it was worse
because Edward Cullen wasn't in
morning I was dreading lunch, fearing his bizarre glares. Part of me
wanted to confront
him and demand
to know what his problem was. While I was lying sleepless in my bed,
I even imagined what I
say. But I knew myself too well to think I would really have the guts
to do it. I made the Cowardly Lion
look like the terminator.
when I walked into the cafeteria with Jessica — trying to keep my
eyes from sweeping
the place for
and failing entirely — I saw that his four siblings of sorts
sitting together at the same table, and
was not with them.
intercepted us and steered us to his table. Jessica seemed elated by
the attention, and her friends
joined us. But as I tried to listen
to their easy chatter, I was
terribly uncomfortable, waiting
for the moment he would arrive. I hoped that he would simply ignore
me when he came, and prove
my suspicions false
didn't come, and as time passed I grew more and more tense
walked to Biology with more confidence
when, by the end of lunch, he
still hadn't showed. Mike, who
on the qualities
of a golden retriever, walked faithfully by
my side to class. I held my breath at
door, but Edward Cullen wasn't there, either. I exhaled and went to
my seat. Mike followed, talking
an upcoming trip to the beach
. He lingered by my desk till the bell
rang. Then he smiled at me
and went to sit by a girl with braces and a bad perm
. It looked like
I was going to have to do
about Mike, and it wouldn't be easy. In a town like this, where
everyone lived on top of
else, diplomacy was essential
. I had never been enormously tactful; I
had no practice
overly friendly boys.
was relieved that I had the desk to myself, that Edward was absent. I
told myself that repeatedly. But I
get rid of the nagging suspicion that I was the reason he wasn't
there. It was ridiculous
to think that I could affect
anyone that strongly. It was impossible.
And yet I couldn't stop
that it was true.
the school day was finally done, and the blush was fading
out of my
cheeks from the volleyball
I changed quickly back into my jeans
and navy blue sweater. I hurried
from the girls' locker
pleased to find that I had successfully evaded my retriever friend
for the moment. I walked swiftly
to the parking
lot. It was crowded now with fleeing students. I got
in my truck and dug through my
to make sure I had what I needed.
night I'd discovered
that Charlie couldn't cook
. So I requested
I be assigned kitchen detail for the duration of my stay. He was
willing enough to hand over the keys
the banquet hall. I also found out that he had no food in the house.
So I had my shopping
list and the cash
from the jar in the cupboard labeled FOOD MONEY
, and I was on my way
to the Thriftway.
gunned my deafening engine to life, ignoring the heads that turned in
my direction, and backed carefully
a place in the line of cars that were waiting to exit
lot. As I waited, trying to pretend
earsplitting rumble was coming from someone else's car, I saw the two
Cullens and the Hale twins
into their car. It was the shiny new Volvo. Of course. I hadn't
noticed their clothes before — I'd
too mesmerized by their faces. Now that I looked, it was obvious that
they were all dressed
well; simply, but in clothes that subtly hinted at designer origins.
With their remarkable good
the style with which they carried themselves, they could have worn
dishrags and pulled it off. It
excessive for them to have both looks and money. But as far as I
could tell, life worked that way
of the time. It didn't look as if it bought them any acceptance here.
I didn't fully believe that. The isolation must be their desire
any door that wouldn't
opened by that degree of beauty
looked at my noisy truck as I passed them, just like everyone else. I
kept my eyes straight forward
was relieved when I finally was free of the school grounds.
Thriftway was not far from the school, just a few streets south, off
the highway. It was nice to be
; it felt normal. I did the shopping at home, and I fell
into the pattern of the familiar task
gladly. The store
was big enough inside that I couldn't hear
tapping of the rain on the roof to
me where I was.
I got home, I unloaded all the groceries, stuffing them in wherever I
could find an open space
Charlie wouldn't mind. I wrapped potatoes in foil and stuck them in
to bake, covered a
in marinade and balanced it on top of a carton
of eggs in the fridge.
I was finished with that, I took my book bag upstairs. Before
starting my homework
, I changed
a pair of dry sweats, pulled my damp hair up into a pony- tail
checked my e-mail for the first
I had three messages.
my mom wrote…
me as soon as you get in. Tell me how your flight was. Is it raining?
almost finished packing for Florida
, but I can't find my pink
Do you know where I
it? Phil says
sighed and went to the next. It was sent eight hours
after the first.
haven't you e-mailed me yet? What are you waiting for? Mom.
last was from this morning.
I haven't heard from you by 5:30 p.m. today I'm calling
checked the clock. I still had an hour, but my mom was well known
jumping the gun.
down. I'm writing right now. Don't do anything rash.
sent that, and began again.
is great. Of course it's raining. I was waiting for something to
write about. School
bad, just a little repetitive
. I met some nice kids who sit by me at
blouse is at the dry cleaners - you were supposed
it up Friday
bought me a truck, can you believe it? I love it. It's old, but
really sturdy, which is
you know, for me.
miss you, too. I'll write again soon, but I'm not going to check my
e-mail every five minutes.
breathe. I love you.
had decided to read Wuthering
the novel we were currently studying
in English — yet
for the fun of it, and that's what I was doing when Charlie came
home. I'd lost track
of the time,
I hurried downstairs
to take the potatoes out and put the steak in to
my father called out when he heard me on the stairs.
else? I thought to myself.
Dad, welcome home."
He hung up his gun belt
and stepped out of his boots as I bustled
about the kitchen. As far as I
, he'd never shot
the gun on the job. But he kept it ready
I came here as a child
the bullets as soon as he walked in the door. I guess
me old enough
not to shoot
myself by accident, and not depressed enough to shoot
myself on purpose
?" he asked warily. My mother was an imaginative cook,
and her experiments weren't
edible. I was surprised
, and sad, that he seemed to remember that far
and potatoes," I answered, and he looked relieved.
seemed to feel awkward standing in the kitchen doing nothing; he
lumbered into the living room to
TV while I worked. We were both more comfortable that way. I made a salad
while the steaks
and set the table.
called him in when dinner was ready, and he sniffed appreciatively as
he walked into the room.
ate in silence for a few minutes. It wasn't uncomfortable. Neither of
us was bothered by the quiet. In
, we were well suited for living together.
how did you like school? Have you made any friends?" he asked as
he was taking seconds
I have a few classes with a girl named Jessica. I sit with her
friends at lunch. And there's this boy,
who's very friendly. Everybody seems
pretty nice." With one
must be Mike Newton
. Nice kid — nice family. His dad owns the sporting
goods store just outside
town. He makes
a good living off all the backpackers who come through
you know the Cullen family?" I asked hesitantly.
Cullen's family? Sure. Dr. Cullen's a great man."
the kids… are a little different. They don't seem
to fit in very
well at school."
surprised me by looking angry.
in this town," he muttered. "Dr. Cullen is a brilliant
surgeon who could probably work in any
in the world, make ten times the salary he gets here," he
continued, getting louder. "We're lucky
have him — lucky that his wife wanted to live in a small town. He's
to the community, and all
those kids are well behaved and polite
. I had my doubts, when they
first moved in, with all those
teenagers. I thought we might have some problems with them. But
they're all very mature — I
had one speck of trouble from any of them. That's more than I can say
for the children of some
who have lived in this town for generations. And they stick
the way a family should — camping
trips every other weekend
… Just because they're newcomers, people
have to talk."
was the longest
speech I'd ever heard Charlie make. He must feel
strongly about whatever people
backpedaled. "They seemed nice enough to me. I just noticed they
kept to themselves. They're all very
I added, trying to be more complimentary.
should see the doctor," Charlie said, laughing. "It's a
good thing he's happily married
. A lot of the
at the hospital have a hard time concentrating on their work with him
lapsed back into silence as we finished eating. He cleared the table
while I started on the dishes. He
back to the TV, and after I finished washing the dishes by hand —
no dishwasher — I went
unwillingly to work on my math homework. I could feel a tradition in
night it was finally quiet. I fell asleep quickly, exhausted
rest of the week was uneventful. I got used to the routine
classes. By Friday I was able to
if not name, almost all the students at school. In Gym, the kids on
learned not to pass
the ball and to step quickly in front of me if the other team tried
to take advantage of my weakness. I
stayed out of their way.
Cullen didn't come back to school.
day, I watched anxiously until the rest of the Cullens entered the
cafeteria without him. Then I
relax and join
in the lunchtime conversation. Mostly it centered
around a trip to the La Push Ocean
in two weeks that Mike was putting together. I was invited, and I had
agreed to go, more out of
than desire. Beaches
should be hot and dry.
Friday I was perfectly comfortable entering my Biology class, no
longer worried that Edward would
there. For all I knew, he had dropped out of school. I tried not to
think about him, but I couldn't
the worry that I was responsible
for his continued absence,
ridiculous as it seemed.
first weekend in Forks passed without incident. Charlie, unused to
spending time in the usually empty
worked most of the weekend. I cleaned the house, got ahead on my
homework, and wrote my
more bogusly cheerful e-mail. I did drive to the library Saturday,
but it was so poorly stocked that I
bother to get a card; I would have to make a date to visit Olympia
Seattle soon and find a good
I wondered idly what kind of gas mileage the truck got… and
shuddered at the thought.
rain stayed soft over the weekend, quiet, so I was able to sleep
greeted me in the parking lot Monday
morning. I didn't know all their
names, but I waved back
smiled at everyone. It was colder this morning, but happily not
raining. In English, Mike took his
seat by my side. We had a pop quiz on Wuthering
It was straightforward, very
in all, I was feeling
a lot more comfortable than I had thought I
would feel by this point. More
than I had ever expected to feel here.
we walked out of class, the air was full of swirling bits
of white. I
could hear people shouting excitedly
to each other. The wind bit at my cheeks, my nose.
Mike said. "It's snowing."
looked at the little cotton fluffs that were building up along the
sidewalk and swirling erratically past my
. There went my good day.
looked surprised. "Don't you like snow?"
it's too cold for rain." Obviously. "Besides, I
thought it was supposed to come down in
— you know, each one unique
and all that. These just look like the
ends of Q-tips."
you ever seen snow fall before?" he asked incredulously.
I have." I paused. "On TV."
laughed. And then a big, squishy ball of dripping
snow smacked into
the back of his head. We both
to see where it came from. I had my suspicions about Eric, who was
walking away, his back
us — in the wrong direction for his next class. Mike appatently had
the same notion. He bent
and began scraping together a pile of the white mush.
see you at lunch, okay?" I kept walking as I spoke. "Once
people start throwing wet stuff, I go
just nodded, his eyes on Eric's retreating figure.
the morning, everyone chattered excitedly about the snow; apparently
it was the first snowfall
the new year. I kept my mouth shut
. Sure, it was drier than rain —
until it melted in your socks.
walked alertly to the cafeteria with Jessica after Spanish. Mush
balls were flying everywhere. I kept a
in my hands
, ready to use it as a shield
if necessary. Jessica
thought I was hilarious, but something
my expression kept her from lobbing a snowball at me herself.
caught up to us as we walked in the doors
, laughing, with ice melting
the spikes in his hair. He and
were talking animatedly about the snow fight
as we got in line to buy
food. I glanced toward that
in the corner out of habit
. And then I froze where I stood. There
were five people at the table.
pulled on my arm.
Bella? What do you want?"
looked down; my ears
were hot. I had no reason to feel
, I reminded myself. I hadn't
with Bella?" Mike asked Jessica.
I answered. "I'll just get a soda today." I caught up to
the end of the line.
you hungry?" Jessica asked.
I feel a little sick," I said, my eyes still on the floor.
waited for them to get
food, and then followed them to a table, my eyes on my feet.
sipped my soda slowly, my stomach churning. Twice Mike asked, with
, how I
told him it was nothing, but I was wondering if I should
it up and escape to the nurse's office for
I shouldn't have to run away.
decided to permit
myself one glance at the Cullen family's table. If
he was glaring at me, I would skip
like the coward I was.
kept my head down and glanced up under my lashes. None of them were
looking this way. I lifted my
were laughing. Edward, Jasper, and Emmett all had their hair entirely saturated
with melting snow.
and Rosalie were leaning away as Emmett shook his dripping hair
toward them. They were
the snowy day, just like everyone else — only they looked more like
a scene from a movie than
rest of us.
aside from the laughter and playfulness, there was something
different, and I couldn't quite pinpoint
that difference was. I examined Edward the most carefully. His skin
was less pale, I decided —
from the snow fight maybe — the circles under his eyes much less
noticeable. But there was
more. I pondered, staring, trying to isolate the change.
what are you staring at?" Jessica intruded, her eyes following
that precise moment, his eyes flashed over to meet mine.
dropped my head, letting my hair fall to conceal my face. I was sure,
though, in the instant our eyes met,
he didn't look harsh or unfriendly as he had the last time I'd seen
him. He looked merely curious
unsatisfied in some way.
Cullen is staring at you," Jessica giggled in my ear.
doesn't look angry, does he?" I couldn't help asking
she said, sounding confused by my question. "Should he be?"
don't think he likes
me," I confided. I still felt queasy. I put
my head down on my arm.
Cullens don't like anybody… well, they don't notice anybody enough
to like them. But he's still
looking at him," I hissed.
snickered, but she looked away. I raised my head enough to make sure
that she did, contemplating
if she resisted.
interrupted us then — he was planning
an epic battle
blizzard in the parking lot after school
wanted us to join. Jessica agreed enthusiastically. The way she
looked at Mike left little doubt that
would be up for anything he suggested. I kept silent
. I would have to
hide in the gym until the parking
the rest of the lunch hour I very carefully kept my eyes at my own
table. I decided to honor
I'd made with myself. Since he didn't look angry, I would go to
Biology. My stomach did
little flips at the thought of sitting next to him again.
didn't really want to walk to class with Mike as usual — he seemed
to be a popular
target for the
snipers — but when we went to the door, everyone besides me groaned
in unison. It was
washing all traces of the snow away in clear, icy ribbons down the
side of the walkway. I pulled
hood up, secretly pleased. I would be free to go straight home after
kept up a string
of complaints on the way to building four.
inside the classroom, I saw with relief that my table was still
empty. Mr. Banner was walking
the room, distributing one microscope and box of slides
table. Class didn't start for a few
and the room buzzed with conversation. I kept my eyes away from the
door, doodling idly on
cover of my notebook.
heard very clearly when the chair next to me moved, but my eyes
stayed carefully focused
I was drawing
said a quiet, musical
looked up, stunned that he was speaking to me. He was sitting as far
away from me as the desk
but his chair was angled toward me. His hair was dripping wet,
disheveled — even so, he
like he'd just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel. His
dazzling face was friendly, open, a
smile on his flawless lips. But his eyes were careful.
name is Edward Cullen," he continued. "I didn't have a chance
to introduce myself last week. You
be Bella Swan."
mind was spinning with confusion. Had I made up the whole thing? He
was perfectly polite now. I
; he was waiting. But I couldn't think of anything
conventional to say.
do you know my name?" I stammered.
laughed a soft, enchanting laugh.
I think everyone knows your name. The whole town's been waiting for
you to arrive."
grimaced. I knew it was something like that.
I persisted stupidly. "I meant, why did you call me Bella?"
seemed confused. "Do you prefer
I like Bella," I said. "But I think Charlie — I mean my
dad — must call me Isabella behind my back
what everyone here seems to know me as," I tried to explain,
feeling like an utter moron
He let it drop
. I looked away awkwardly.
Mr. Banner started class at that moment. I tried to concentrate as he
explained the lab we
be doing today. The slides in the box were out of order
, we had to
the slides of onion root
tip cells into the phases of mitosis they
represented and label them
We weren't supposed to use our books
. In twenty
minutes, he would be
coming around to
who had it right.
started," he commanded.
?" Edward asked. I looked up to see him smiling a
crooked smile so beautiful that I
only stare at him like an idiot.
I could start, if you wish
." The smile faded; he was obviously
wondering if I was mentally competent.
I said, flushing. "I'll go ahead."
was showing off, just a little. I'd already done this lab, and I knew
what I was looking for. It should be
I snapped the first slide into place under the microscope and
adjusted it quickly to the 40X objective
I studied the slide briefly
you mind if I look?" he asked as I began to remove the slide.
His hand caught mine, to stop me, as
asked. His fingers were ice-cold, like he'd been holding them in a
snowdrift before class. But that
why I jerked my hand away so quickly. When he touched me, it stung
hand as if an electric
had passed through us.
," he muttered, pulling his hand back immediately. However
he continued to reach
I watched him, still staggered, as he examined the slide for an even
shorter time than I had.
he agreed, writing it neatly in the first space on our worksheet. He
slide for the second, and then glanced at it cursorily.
he murmured, writing it down as he spoke.
kept my voice indifferent. "May I?"
smirked and pushed the microscope to me.
looked through the eyepiece eagerly, only to be disappointed. Dang
it, he was right.
three?" I held out my hand without looking at him.
handed it to me; it seemed like he was being careful not to touch my
took the most fleeting look I could manage
I passed him the microscope before he could ask for it. He took a swift
peek, and then
it down. I would have written it while he looked, but his clear,
intimidated me. I
want to spoil
the page with my clumsy scrawl.
were finished before anyone else was close. I could see Mike and his
partner comparing two slides
and again, and another group had their book open under the table.
left me with nothing to do but try to not look at him…
unsuccessfully. I glanced up, and he was
at me, that same inexplicable look of frustration in his eyes.
Suddenly I identified that subtle
in his face.
you get contacts?" I blurted out unthinkingly.
by my unexpected question. "No."
I mumbled. "I thought there was something different about your
shrugged, and looked away.
fact, I was sure there was something different. I vividly remembered
black color of his eyes the
time he'd glared at me — the color was striking against the
background of his pale skin and his
hair. Today, his eyes were a completely
different color: a strange
ocher, darker than butterscotch,
with the same golden tone. I didn't understand
how that could be, unless
he was lying for some
about the contacts. Or maybe Forks was making me crazy
in the literal
sense of the word.
looked down. His hands were clenched into hard fists again.
Banner came to our table then, to see why we weren't working. He
looked over our shoulders to
at the completed lab, and then stared more intently to check the
Edward, didn't you think Isabella should get a chance with the
microscope?" Mr. Banner asked.
Edward corrected automatically. "Actually, she identified three
of the five."
Banner looked at me now; his expression was skeptical.
you done this lab before?" he asked.
smiled sheepishly. "Not with onion root."
Banner nodded. "Were you in an advanced
he said after a moment, "I guess it's good you two are lab
partners." He mumbled something else
he walked away. After he left, I began doodling on my notebook again.
too bad about the snow, isn't it?" Edward asked. I had the
feeling that he was forcing himself
small talk with me. Paranoia swept over me again. It was like he had
heard my conversation with
at lunch and was trying to prove me wrong.
really," I answered honestly, instead of pretending to be normal
like everyone else. I was still trying
dislodge the stupid
feeling of suspicion, and I couldn't concentrate.
don't like the cold." It wasn't a question.
must be a difficult place for you to live," he mused.
have no idea
," I muttered darkly.
looked fascinated by what I said, for some reason I couldn't imagine.
His face was such a distraction
I tried not to look at it any more than courtesy absolutely demanded.
did you come here, then?"
one had asked me that — not straight out like he did, demanding
think I can keep up," he pressed.
paused for a long moment, and then made the mistake of meeting his
gaze. His dark gold
and I answered without thinking
mother got remarried," I said.
doesn't sound so complex
," he disagreed, but he was suddenly
sympathetic. "When did that happen
September." My voice sounded sad, even to me.
you don't like him," Edward surmised, his tone still kind.
Phil is fine. Too young, maybe, but nice enough."
didn't you stay with them?"
couldn't fathom his interest, but he continued to stare at me with
penetrating eyes, as if my dull life's
was somehow vitally important
travels a lot. He plays
ball for a living." I half-smiled.
I heard of him?" he asked, smiling in response.
not. He doesn't play well
Strictly minor league
. He moves around a lot."
your mother sent you here so that she could travel with him." He
said it as an assumption again, not
raised a fraction. "No, she did not send me here. I sent
knit together. "I don't understand," he admitted,
and he seemed unnecessarily frustrated by
sighed. Why was I explaining this to him? He continued to stare at me
with obvious curiosity.
stayed with me at first, but she missed him. It made her unhappy
so I decided it was time to
some quality time with Charlie." My voice was glum
by the time I
now you're unhappy," he pointed out.
doesn't seem fair." He shrugged, but his eyes were still
laughed without humor. "Hasn't anyone ever told you? Life isn't
believe I have
that somewhere before," he agreed dryly.
that's all," I insisted, wondering why he was still staring at
me that way.
appraising. "You put on a good show," he said
slowly. "But I'd be willing to bet that
suffering more than you let anyone see."
grimaced at him, resisting the impulse to stick out my tongue like a
five-year-old, and looked away.
tried to ignore him.
didn't think so," he murmured smugly.
does it matter to you
I asked, irritated. I kept my eyes away, watching the teacher make
a very good question," he muttered, so quietly that I wondered
if he was talking to himself.
after a few seconds of silence, I decided that was the only answer I
was going to get.
sighed, scowling at the blackboard.
you?" he asked. He sounded amused
glanced at him without thinking… and told the truth again. "Not
exactly. I'm more annoyed at myself.
face is so easy to read — my mother always calls me her open book."
the contrary, I find you very difficult to read." Despite
everything that I'd said and he'd guessed, he
like he meant it.
must be a good reader then," I replied.
He smiled widely, flashing a set of perfect, ultrawhite teeth.
Banner called the class to order then, and I turned with relief to
listen. I was in disbelief that I'd just
my dreary life to this bizarre, beautiful boy who may or may not
despise me. He'd seemed
in our conversation, but now I could see, from the corner of my eye,
that he was leaning away
me again, his hands gripping the edge of the table with unmistakable
tried to appear attentive as Mr. Banner illustrated, with
transparencies on the overhead projector, what
had seen without difficulty through the microscope. But my thoughts
the bell finally rang, Edward rushed as swiftly and as gracefully
from the room as he had last
And, like last Monday, I stared after him in amazement.
skipped quickly to my side and picked up my books for me. I imagined
him with a wagging tail.
was awful," he groaned. "They all looked exactly the same.
You're lucky you had Cullen for a
didn't have any trouble with it," I said, stung by his
assumption. I regretted the snub instantly. "I've done
lab before, though," I added before he could get his feelings hurt
seemed friendly enough today," he commented
as we shrugged into
our raincoats. He didn't seem
tried to sound indifferent. "I wonder what was with him last
couldn't concentrate on Mike's chatter as we walked to Gym, and RE.
didn't do much to hold
either. Mike was on my team today. He chivalrously covered my
position as well as his own,
my woolgathering was only interrupted when it was my turn
my team ducked warily out of
way every time I was up.
rain was just a mist as I walked to the parking lot, but I was
happier when I was in the dry cab. I got
heater running, for once not caring about the mind-numbing roar of
the engine. I unzipped my jacket,
the hood down, and fluffed my damp hair out so the heater could dry
it on the way home.
looked around me to make sure it was clear. That's when I noticed the
still, white figure. Edward Cullen
leaning against the front door of the Volvo, three cars down from me,
and staring intently in my
I swiftly looked away and threw
the truck into reverse
hitting a rusty Toyota
haste. Lucky for the Toyota, I stomped on the brake
in time. It was
just the sort of car that my truck
make scrap metal
of. I took a deep breath, still looking out the
other side of my car, and
pulled out again, with greater success
. I stared straight ahead as I
passed the Volvo, but from
peripheral peek, I would swear I saw him laughing.
I opened my eyes in the morning, something was different.
was the light. It was still the gray-green light of a cloudy day in
, but it was clearer somehow. I
there was no fog veiling my window.
jumped up to look outside, and then groaned in horror.
of snow covered the yard, dusted the top of my truck, and
whitened the road. But that
the worst part. All the rain from yesterday had frozen solid — coating
on the trees in
, and making the driveway a deadly ice slick. I had
enough trouble not falling
when the ground was dry; it might be safer for me to go back to bed
had left for work before I got downstairs. In a lot of ways, living
with Charlie was like having my
place, and I found myself reveling in the aloneness instead of being
threw down a quick bowl
of cereal and some orange juice from the
carton. I felt excited to go to
and that scared me. I knew it wasn't the stimulating learning
environment I was anticipating, or
my new set of friends. If I was being honest with myself, I knew I
to get to school
I would see Edward Cullen. And that was very, very stupid.
should be avoiding him entirely after my brainless and embarrassing
babbling yesterday. And I was
of him; why should he lie about his eyes? I was still frightened of
the hostility I sometimes felt
from him, and I was still tongue-tied whenever I pictured
face. I was well aware
my league and his league were spheres that did not touch. So I
shouldn't be at all anxious to see him
took every ounce of my concentration
to make it down the icy brick
. I almost lost my balance
when I finally got to the truck, but I managed to cling to the side
mirror and save myself. Clearly,
was going to be nightmarish. Driving
to school, I distracted myself from my fear of falling and my
unwanted speculations about
Cullen by thinking about Mike and Eric, and the obvious difference in
to me here. I was sure I looked exactly the same as I had in Phoenix.
Maybe it was just that
boys back home had watched me pass slowly through all the awkward
phases of adolescence and
thought of me that way. Perhaps it was because I was a novelty here,
where novelties were few and
between. Possibly my crippling clumsiness was seen as endearing
rather than pathetic, casting me as a
in distress. Whatever the reason, Mike's puppy dog behavior and
Eric's apparent rivalry with him
disconcerting. I wasn't sure if I didn't prefer being ignored.
truck seemed to have no problem with the black ice that covered the
roads. I drove very slowly,
not wanting to carve a path of destruction through Main Street.
I got out of my truck at school, I saw why I'd had so little trouble.
caught my eye,
I walked to the back of the truck — carefully holding the side for support
— to examine my tires
were thin chains crisscrossed in diamond shapes around them. Charlie
had gotten up who knows
early to put snow chains on my truck. My throat
suddenly felt tight.
I wasn't used to being taken
of, and Charlie's unspoken concern caught me by surprise.
was standing by the back corner of the truck, struggling to fight
back the sudden wave
of emotion the
chains had brought on, when I heard an odd sound.
was a high-pitched screech, and it was fast
becoming painfully loud.
I looked up, startled.
saw several things simultaneously. Nothing was moving in slow motion
the way it does in the movies
the adrenaline rush
seemed to make my brain work much faster, and I
was able to absorb in
detail several things at once.
Cullen was standing four cars down from me, staring at me in horror.
His face stood out from a
of faces, all frozen in the same mask
of shock. But of more immediate importance
was the dark blue
that was skidding, tires locked and squealing against the brakes
spinning wildly across the ice of the
lot. It was going to hit the back corner of my truck, and I was
standing between them. I didn't
have time to close my eyes.
before I heard the shattering crunch of the van folding around the
truck bed, something hit me, hard,
not from the direction I was expecting. My head cracked against the
icy blacktop, and I felt
solid and cold pinning me to the ground. I was lying on the pavement
behind the tan car I'd
next to. But I didn't have a chance to notice anything else, because
the van was still coming. It
curled gratingly around the end of the truck and, still spinning and
sliding, was about to collide with
low oath made me aware that someone was with me, and the voice was
impossible not to recognize.
long, white hands shot out protectively in front of me, and the van
shuddered to a stop a foot from
face, the large hands fitting
providentially into a deep dent
side of the van's body
his hands moved so fast they blurred. One was suddenly gripping under
the body of the van, and
was dragging me, swinging
around like a rag doll
's, till they
hit the tire
of the tan car. A
metallic thud hurt my ears, and the van settled, glass popping
a second ago, my legs had been.
was absolutely silent for one long second before the screaming began.
In the abrupt bedlam, I could
more than one person shouting my name. But more clearly than all the
yelling, I could hear Edward
low, frantic voice in my ear.
Are you all right?"
fine." My voice sounded strange. I tried to sit up, and realized
he was holding me against the side of
body in an iron grasp
careful," he warned as I struggled. "I think you hit your
head pretty hard."
became aware of a throbbing ache centered above
my left ear.
I said, surprised.
what I thought." His voice, amazingly, sounded like he was
in the…" I trailed off, trying to clear my head, get my bearings
. "How did you get over here so
was standing right next to you, Bella," he said, his tone
turned to sit up, and this time he let me, releasing his hold around
and sliding as far from me as
could in the limited space. I looked at his concerned, innocent
expression and was disoriented again
of his gold-colored eyes. What was I asking him?
then they found us, a crowd of people with tears streaming down their
faces, shouting at each other,
," someone instructed.
out of the van!" someone else shouted.
was a flurry of activity around us. I tried to get up, but Edward's
cold hand pushed my shoulder
stay put for now."
it's cold," I complained. It surprised me when he chuckled under
his breath. There was an edge to
were over there," I suddenly remembered, and his chuckle stopped
short. "You were by your car."
expression turned hard. "No, I wasn't."
saw you." All around us was chaos. I could hear the gruffer
voices of adults arriving on the scene. But I
held on to our argument; I was right, and he was going to admit it.
I was standing with you, and I pulled you out of the way." He
unleashed the full, devastating power
of his eyes on me, as if trying to communicate something crucial
I set my jaw.
gold in his eyes blazed. " Please
me," he pleaded, his soft voice overwhelming.
could hear the sirens now. "Will you promise to explain
everything to me later?"
he snapped, abruptly exasperated.
I repeated angrily.
took six EMTs and two teachers — Mr. Varner and Coach Clapp — to shift
the van far enough away
us to bring the stretchers in. Edward vehemently refused his, and I
tried to do the same, but the
told them I'd hit my head and probably had a concussion. I almost
died of humiliation when they
on the neck brace. It looked like the entire
school was there,
watching soberly as they loaded me in
back of the ambulance. Edward got to ride in the front. It was
worse, Chief Swan arrived
before they could get me
he yelled in panic when he recognized me on the stretcher.
completely fine, Char — Dad," I sighed. "There's nothing
wrong with me."
turned to the closest EMT for a second opinion. I tuned
him out to consider
the jumble of inexplicable
churning chaotically in my head. When they'd lifted me away from the
car, I had seen the deep
in the tan car's bumper — a very distinct
dent that fit the
contours of Edward's shoulders… as if he
braced himself against the car with enough force to damage the metal frame
then there was his family, looking on from the distance
, with expressions
to fury but held no hint
of concern for their brother's safety
tried to think of a logical solution
that could explain what I had
just seen — a solution that excluded the
that I was insane.
the ambulance got a police escort to the county
hospital. I felt
ridiculous the whole time they
unloading me. What made it worse was that Edward simply glided
through the hospital doors under
own power. I ground my teeth together.
put me in the emergency
room, a long room with a line of beds
separated by pastel
A nurse put a pressure
cuff on my arm and a thermometer under my
tongue. Since no one
pulling the curtain around to give me some privacy
, I decided I
wasn't obligated to wear the
neck brace anymore. When the nurse walked away, I quickly unfastened
the Velcro and
it under the bed.
was another flurry of hospital personnel, another stretcher brought
to the bed next to me. I
Tyler Crowley from my Government class beneath the bloodstained
around his head. Tyler looked a hundred times worse than I felt. But
he was staring anxiously at
I'm so sorry!"
fine, Tyler — you look awful, are you all right?" As we spoke,
nurses began unwinding his soiled
exposing a myriad of shallow
slices all over his forehead
ignored me. "I thought I was going to kill you! I was going too
fast, and I hit the ice wrong…" He
as one nurse started dabbing at his face.
worry about it; you missed me."
did you get out of the way so fast? You were there, and then you were
Edward pulled me out of the way."
looked confused. "Who?"
Cullen — he was standing next to me." I'd always been a
terrible liar; I didn't sound convincing
I didn't see him… wow, it was all so fast, I guess. Is he okay?"
think so. He's here somewhere, but they didn't make him use a
knew I wasn't crazy. What had happened? There was no way to explain
away what I'd seen.
wheeled me away then, to X-ray my head. I told them there was nothing
wrong, and I was right.
even a concussion. I asked if I could leave, but the nurse said I had
to talk to a doctor first. So I was
in the ER, waiting, harassed by Tyler's constant apologies and
promises to make it up to me. No
how many times I tried to convince
him I was fine, he continued to
torment himself. Finally, I
my eyes and ignored him. He kept up a remorseful mumbling.
she sleeping?" a musical voice asked. My eyes flew
was standing at the foot of my bed, smirking. I glared at him. It
wasn't easy — it would have
more natural to ogle.
Edward, I'm really sorry —" Tyler began.
lifted a hand to stop him.
blood, no foul," he said, flashing his brilliant teeth. He moved
to sit on the edge of Tyler's bed, facing
He smirked again.
what's the verdict?" he asked me.
nothing wrong with me at all, but they won't let me go," I
complained. "How come you aren't
to a gurney like the rest of us?"
all about who you know," he answered. "But don't worry, I
came to spring
a doctor walked around the corner, and my mouth fell open. He was
young, he was blond… and
was handsomer than any movie star
I'd ever seen. He was pale, though,
and tired-looking, with circles
his eyes. From Charlie's description
, this had to be Edward's father.
Miss Swan," Dr. Cullen said in a remarkably appealing voice,
"how are you feeling?"
fine," I said, for the last time, I hoped.
walked to the lightboard on the wall over my head, and turned it on.
X-rays look good," he said. "Does your head hurt? Edward
said you hit it pretty hard."
fine," I repeated with a sigh
, throwing a quick scowl toward
doctor's cool fingers probed lightly
along my skull
. He noticed when
really." I'd had worse.
heard a chuckle, and looked over to see Edward's patronizing smile.
My eyes narrowed.
your father is in the waiting room — you can go home with him now.
But come back if you feel dizzy
or have trouble with your eyesight at all."
I go back to school?" I asked, imagining Charlie trying to be
you should take it easy today."
glanced at Edward. "Does he
to go to school?"
has to spread
the good news that we survived," Edward said
Dr. Cullen corrected, "most of the school seems to be in the
no," I moaned, covering my face with my hands.
Cullen raised his eyebrows. "Do you want to stay?"
no!" I insisted, throwing my legs over the side of the bed and
hopping down quickly. Too quickly
staggered, and Dr. Cullen caught me. He looked concerned.
fine," I assured
him again. No need to tell him my balance
problems had nothing to do with hitting my
some Tylenol for the pain," he suggested as he steadied me.
doesn't hurt that bad," I insisted.
sounds like you were extremely lucky," Dr. Cullen said, smiling
as he signed my chart
with a flourish.
Edward happened to be standing next to me," I amended with a
hard glance at the subject of my
well, yes," Dr. Cullen agreed, suddenly occupied with the papers
in front of him. Then he looked
at Tyler, and walked to the next bed. My intuition flickered; the
doctor was in on it.
to stay with us just a little bit longer," he said to Tyler, and
began checking his
soon as the doctor's back was turned, I moved to Edward's side.
I talk to you for a minute?" I hissed under my breath. He took a
step back from me, his jaw
father is waiting for you," he said through his teeth.
glanced at Dr. Cullen and Tyler.
like to speak with you alone, if you don't mind," I pressed.
glared, and then turned his back and strode down the long room. I
nearly had to run to keep up. As
as we turned the corner into a short hallway, he spun around to face
do you want?" he asked, sounding annoyed. His eyes were cold.
unfriendliness intimidated me. My words
came out with less severity
than I'd intended. "You owe me
explanation," I reminded him.
saved your life — I don't owe you anything."
flinched back from the resentment in his voice. "You promised."
you hit your head, you don't know what you're talking about."
His tone was cutting.
temper flared now, and I glared defiantly at him. "There's
nothing wrong with my head."
glared back. "What do you want from me, Bella?"
want to know the truth," I said. "I want to know why I'm
lying for you."
do you think
came out in a rush.
I know is that you weren't anywhere near me — Tyler didn't see you,
either, so don't tell me I hit my
too hard. That van was going to crush us both — and it didn't, and
your hands left dents in the side
it — and you left a dent in the other car, and you're not hurt at
all — and the van should have smashed
legs, but you were holding it up…" I could hear how crazy it
sounded, and I couldn't continue
. I was
mad I could feel the tears coming; I tried to force them back by
grinding my teeth together.
was staring at me incredulously. But his face was tense, defensive.
think I lifted a van off you?" His tone questioned my sanity,
but it only made me more suspicious. It
like a perfectly delivered
line by a skilled actor
merely nodded once, jaw tight.
will believe that, you know." His voice held an edge of derision
not going to tell anybody." I said each word slowly, carefully
controlling my anger.
flitted across his face. "Then why does it matter?"
matters to me," I insisted. "I don't like to lie — so
there'd better be a good reason why I'm doing it."
you just thank me and get over it?"
you." I waited, fuming and expectant.
not going to let it go, are you?"
that case… I hope you enjoy disappointment."
scowled at each other in silence. I was the first to speak, trying to
keep myself focused. I was in danger
of being distracted by his livid, glorious face. It was like trying
to stare down a destroying angel.
did you even bother?" I asked frigidly.
paused, and for a brief moment his stunning face was unexpectedly
don't know," he whispered.
then he turned his back on me and walked away.
was so angry, it took me a few minutes until I could move. When I
could walk, I made my way slowly
the exit at the end of the hallway.
waiting room was more unpleasant than I'd feared. It seemed like
every face I knew in Forks was
staring at me. Charlie rushed to my side; I put up my hands.
nothing wrong with me," I assured him sullenly. I was still aggravated
, not in the mood for
did the doctor say?"
Cullen saw me, and he said I was fine and I could go home." I
sighed. Mike and Jessica and Eric
all there, beginning to converge on us. "Let's go," I
put one arm behind my back, not quite touching me, and led me to the
glass doors of the exit. I
sheepishly at my friends, hoping to convey that they didn't need to
worry anymore. It was a huge
the first time I'd ever felt that way — to get into the cruiser.
drove in silence. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I barely
knew Charlie was there. I was positive
that Edward's defensive behavior in the hall was a confirmation of
the bizarre things I still could
believe I'd witnessed.
we got to the house, Charlie finally spoke.
you'll need to call Renée." He hung his head, guilty.
was appalled. "You told Mom!"
slammed the cruiser's door a little harder than necessary on my way
mom was in hysterics, of course. I had to tell her I felt fine at
times before she would calm
She begged me to come home — forgetting
the fact that home was
empty at the moment — but
were easier to resist than I would have thought. I was consumed
by the mystery
And more than a little obsessed by Edward himself. Stupid, stupid,
stupid. I wasn't as eager
escape Forks as I should be, as any normal, sane person would be.
decided I might as well go to bed early that night. Charlie continued
to watch me anxiously, and it was
on my nerves. I stopped on my way to grab three Tylenol from the
bathroom. They did help, and,
the pain eased, I drifted to sleep.
was the first night I dreamed of Edward Cullen.
my dream it was very dark, and what dim light there was seemed to be
radiating from Edward's skin. I
see his face, just his back as he walked away from me, leaving me in
the blackness. No matter
fast I ran, I couldn't catch up to him; no matter how loud I called,
he never turned. Troubled, I woke
the middle of the night and couldn't sleep again for what seemed like
a very long time. After that, he
in my dreams nearly every night, but always on the periphery, never
month that followed the accident was uneasy, tense, and, at first,
my dismay, I found myself the center of attention for the rest of
that week. Tyler Crowley was
following me around, obsessed with making amends to me somehow. I
tried to convince him
I wanted more than anything else was for him to forget all about it —
especially since nothing had
happened to me — but he remained insistent. He followed me between
classes and sat at our
lunch table. Mike and Eric were even less friendly toward him than
they were to each
which made me worry that I'd gained another unwelcome fan.
one seemed concerned about Edward, though I explained over and over
that he was the hero
he had pulled me out of the way and had nearly been crushed, too. I
tried to be convincing. Jessica,
Eric, and everyone else always commented that they hadn't even seen
him there till the van was
wondered to myself why no one else had seen him standing so far away,
before he was suddenly,
my life. With chagrin, I realized the probable cause — no
one else was as aware of
as I always was. No one else watched him the way I did. How pitiful.
was never surrounded by crowds of curious bystanders eager for his
him as usual. The Cullens and the Hales sat at the same table as
always, not eating, talking only among
themselves. None of them, especially Edward, glanced my way anymore.
he sat next to me in class, as far from me as the table would allow
he seemed totally unaware of
presence. Only now and then, when his fists would suddenly ball up —
skin stretched even whiter
the bones — did I wonder if he wasn't quite as oblivious as he
wished he hadn't pulled me from the path of Tyler's van — there was
no other conclusion I could
wanted very much to talk to him, and the day after the accident I
tried. The last time I'd seen him,
the ER, we'd both been so furious. I still was angry that he wouldn't
trust me with the truth, even
I was keeping
my part of the bargain flawlessly. But he had in fact
saved my life, no matter how
done it. And, overnight, the heat of my anger faded into awed
was already seated when I got to Biology, looking straight ahead. I
sat down, expecting him to turn
me. He showed no sign that he realized I was there.
Edward," I said pleasantly, to show him I was going to behave
turned his head a fraction toward me without meeting my gaze, nodded
once, and then looked the
that was the last contact I'd had with him, though he was there, a
foot away from me, every day. I
him sometimes, unable to stop myself— from a distance, though, in
the cafeteria or parking lot. I
as his golden eyes grew perceptibly darker day by day. But in class I
gave no more notice that
existed than he showed toward me. I was miserable. And the dreams
my outright lies
, the tenor
of my e-mails alerted Renée to my depression
, and she called a few
worried. I tried to convince her it was just the weather that had me
at least, was pleased by the obvious coolness between me and my lab
partner. I could see he'd
worried that Edward's daring rescue might have impressed me, and he
was relieved that it seemed
have the opposite effect. He grew more confident, sitting on the edge
of my table to talk before
class started, ignoring Edward as completely as he ignored us.
snow washed away for good after that one dangerously
icy day. Mike
was disappointed he'd never
to stage his snowball fight, but pleased that the beach trip would
soon be possible. The rain
heavily, though, and the weeks passed.
made me aware of another event looming on the horizon
— she called
the first Tuesday of March
ask my permission
Mike to the girls' choice spring dance
you sure you don't mind… you weren't planning to ask him?" she
persisted when I told her I didn't
in the least.
, I'm not going," I assured her. Dancing was glaringly
outside my range of abilities.
will be really fun." Her attempt to convince me was halfhearted.
I suspected that Jessica enjoyed my
more than my actual company.
have fun with Mike," I encouraged.
next day, I was surprised that Jessica wasn't her usual gushing self
in Trig and Spanish. She was
as she walked by my side between classes, and I was afraid to ask her
why. If Mike had turned her
I was the last person she would want to tell.
fears were strengthened during lunch when Jessica sat as far from
Mike as possible, chatting
with Eric. Mike was unusually quiet.
was still quiet as he walked me to class, the uncomfortable look on
his face a bad sign. But he
broach the subject until I was in my seat and he was perched on my
desk. As always, I was
aware of Edward sitting close enough to touch, as distant as if he
were merely an invention
Mike said, looking at the floor, "Jessica asked me to the spring
great." I made my voice bright and enthusiastic. "You'll
have a lot of fun with Jessica."
He floundered as he examined my smile, clearly not happy with my
response. "I told her I had
think about it."
would you do that?" I let disapproval color my tone, though I
was relieved he hadn't given her an
face was bright red as he looked down again. Pity shook my resolve
was wondering if… well, if you might be planning to ask me."
paused for a moment, hating the wave of guilt that swept through me.
But I saw, from the corner of my
Edward's head tilt
reflexively in my direction.
I think you should tell her yes," I said.
you already ask someone?" Did Edward notice how Mike's eyes
flickered in his direction?
I assured him. "I'm not going to the dance at all."
not?" Mike demanded.
didn't want to get into the safety hazards that dancing presented, so
I quickly made new plans
going to Seattle that Saturday," I explained. I needed to get
out of town anyway — it was suddenly
perfect time to go.
you go some other weekend?"
no," I said. "So you shouldn't make Jess wait
any longer —
you're right," he mumbled, and turned, dejected, to walk back to
his seat. I closed my eyes and
my fingers to my temples
, trying to push the guilt and sympathy out
of my head. Mr. Banner
talking. I sighed and opened my eyes.
Edward was staring at me curiously, that same, familiar edge of
frustration even more distinct now in
stared back, surprised, expecting him to look quickly away. But
instead he continued to gaze with
intensity into my eyes. There was no question of me looking away. My
hands started to shake.
Cullen?" the teacher called, seeking the answer to a question
that I hadn't heard.
Krebs Cycle," Edward answered, seeming reluctant as he turned to
look at Mr. Banner.
looked down at my book as soon as his eyes released
me, trying to
find my place. Cowardly as ever, I
my hair over my right shoulder to hide my face. I couldn't believe
the rush of emotion pulsing
me — just because he'd happened to look at me for the first time in
a half-dozen weeks. I
allow him to have this level of influence over me. It was pathetic.
More than pathetic, it was
tried very hard not to be aware of him for the rest of the hour, and,
since that was impossible, at least
to let him know that I was aware of him. When the bell rang at last,
I turned my back to him to gather
things, expecting him to leave immediately as usual.
His voice shouldn't have been so familiar to me, as if I'd known the
sound of it all my life rather
for just a few short weeks.
turned slowly, unwillingly. I didn't want to feel what I knew I would
when I looked at his
face. My expression was wary when I finally turned to him; his
expression was unreadable.
didn't say anything.
Are you speaking to me again?" I finally asked, an unintentional
note of petulance in my voice.
lips twitched, fighting a smile. "No, not really," he
closed my eyes and inhaled slowly through my nose, aware that I was
gritting my teeth. He waited.
what do you want, Edward?" I asked, keeping my eyes closed; it
was easier to talk to him
sorry." He sounded sincere
. "I'm being very rude, I know.
But it's better this way, really."
opened my eyes. His face was very serious.
don't know what you mean," I said, my voice guarded.
better if we're not friends," he explained. "Trust me."
eyes narrowed. I'd heard that
too bad you didn't figure that out earlier," I hissed through my
teeth. "You could have saved yourself
The word, and my tone, obviously caught him off guard. "Regret
not just letting that stupid van squish me."
was astonished. He stared at me in disbelief.
he finally spoke, he almost sounded mad. "You think I regret
saving your life?"
do," I snapped.
don't know anything." He was definitely mad.
turned my head sharply away from him, clenching my jaw against all
accusations I wanted to
at him. I gathered my books together, then stood and walked to the
door. I meant to sweep
out of the room, but of course I caught the toe of my boot
door jamb and dropped
books. I stood there for a moment, thinking about leaving them. Then
I sighed and bent to pick them
He was there; he'd already stacked them into a pile. He handed them
to me, his face hard.
you," I said icily.
welcome," he retorted.
straightened up swiftly, turned away from him again, and stalked off
to Gym without looking back.
was brutal. We'd moved on to basketball. My team never passed me the
ball, so that was good,
I fell down a lot. Sometimes I took people with me. Today I was worse
than usual because my head
so filled with Edward. I tried to concentrate on my feet, but he kept
creeping back into my thoughts
when I really needed my balance.
was a relief, as always, to leave. I almost ran to the truck; there
were just so many people I wanted to
The truck had suffered only minimal
damage in the accident. I'd had
the taillights, and if
had a real paint job, I would have touched that up. Tyler's parents
had to sell their van for parts.
almost had a stroke
when I rounded the corner and saw a tall, dark
figure leaning against the side of my
Then I realized it was just Eric. I started walking again.
Eric," I called.
up?" I said as I was unlocking the door. I wasn't paying
attention to the uncomfortable edge in
voice, so his next words took me by surprise.
I was just wondering… if you would go to the spring dance with me?"
His voice broke on the last
thought it was girls' choice," I said, too startled to be
yeah," he admitted, shamefaced.
recovered my composure and tried to make my smile warm. "Thank
you for asking me, but I'm going to
in Seattle that day."
he said. "Well, maybe next time."
I agreed, and then bit my lip. I wouldn't want him to take that too
slouched off, back toward the school. I heard a low chuckle.
was walking past the front of my truck, looking straight forward, his
lips pressed together. I
the door open and jumped inside, slamming it loudly behind me. I
revved the engine deafeningly
reversed out into the aisle. Edward was in his car already, two
spaces down, sliding out smoothly in
of me, cutting me off. He stopped there — to wait for his family; I
could see the four of them
this way, but still by the cafeteria. I considered taking out the rear
of his shiny Volvo, but there
too many witnesses. I looked in my rearview mirror. A line was
beginning to form. Directly behind
Tyler Crowley was in his recently acquired used Sentra, waving. I was
too aggravated to
I was sitting there, looking everywhere but at the car in front of
me, I heard a knock on my
side window. I looked over; it was Tyler. I glanced back in my
rearview mirror, confused. His
was still running, the door left open. I leaned across the cab to
crank the window down. It was stiff. I
it halfway down, then gave up.
sorry, Tyler, I'm stuck behind Cullen." I was annoyed —
obviously the holdup wasn't my fault
I know — I just wanted to ask you something while we're trapped
here." He grinned.
could not be happening
you ask me to the spring dance?" he continued.
not going to be in town, Tyler." My voice sounded a little sharp
. I had to remember it wasn't his fault
Mike and Eric had already used up my quota of patience for the day.
Mike said that," he admitted.
shrugged. "I was hoping you were just letting him down easy."
it was completely his fault.
Tyler," I said, working to hide my irritation. "I really am
going out of town."
cool. We still have prom."
before I could respond, he was walking back to his car. I could feel
the shock on my face. I looked
to see Alice, Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper all sliding into the Volvo.
In his rearview mirror,
eyes were on me. He was unquestionably shaking with laughter, as if
he'd heard every word
had said. My foot itched toward the gas pedal… one little bump
wouldn't hurt any of them, just that
silver paint job. I revved the engine.
they were all in, and Edward was speeding away. I drove home slowly,
carefully, muttering to myself
I got home, I decided to make chicken
enchiladas for dinner. It was a
long process, and it would
. While I was simmering the onions and chilies, the phone
rang. I was almost afraid to
it, but it might be Charlie or my mom.
was Jessica, and she was jubilant; Mike had caught her after school
with her briefly while I stirred. She had to go, she wanted to call
Angela and Lauren
I suggested — with casual innocence — that maybe Angela, the shy
girl who had Biology with me,
ask Eric. And Lauren, a standoffish girl who had always ignored me at
the lunch table, could ask
I'd heard he was still available
. Jess thought that was a great idea.
Now that she was sure of Mike,
actually sounded sincere when she said she wished I would go to the
dance. I gave her my Seattle
I hung up, I tried to concentrate on dinner — dicing the chicken
especially; I didn't want to take
trip to the emergency room. But my head was spinning, trying to
analyze every word Edward
spoken today. What did he mean, it was better if we weren't friends?
stomach twisted as I realized what he must have meant. He must see
how absorbed I was by him; he
not want to lead
me on… so we couldn't even be friends… because
he wasn't interested in me at
course he wasn't interested in me, I thought angrily, my eyes
stinging — a delayed reaction to the
I wasn't interesting
And he was. Interesting… and brilliant… and mysterious… and
beautiful… and possibly able to lift
full-sized vans with one hand.
that was fine. I could leave him alone. I would
him alone. I would get through my
sentence here in purgatory, and then hopefully some school in the
Southwest, or possibly Hawaii
me a scholarship. I focused my thoughts on sunny beaches
trees as I
the enchiladas and put them in the oven.
seemed suspicious when he came home and smelled the green peppers. I
couldn't blame him —
closest edible Mexican food was probably in southern California. But
he was a cop, even if just a
cop, so he was brave enough to take the first bite. He seemed to like
it. It was fun to watch
he slowly began trusting me in the kitchen.
I asked when he was almost done.
I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to Seattle for the day a
week from Saturday… if that's
I didn't want to ask permission — it set a bad precedent — but I
felt rude, so I tacked it on at
He sounded surprised, as if he were unable to imagine something that
Forks couldn't offer.
I wanted to get few books — the library here is pretty limited —
and maybe look at some
I had more money than I was used to having, since, thanks to Charlie,
I hadn't had to pay for a
Not that the truck didn't cost
me quite a bit in the gas department
truck probably doesn't get very good gas mileage," he said,
echoing my thoughts.
know, I'll stop in Montesano and Olympia — and Tacoma if I have
you going all by yourself?" he asked, and I couldn't tell if he
was suspicious I had a secret boyfriend
just worried about car trouble.
is a big city — you could get
Phoenix is five times the size of Seattle — and I can read a map,
don't worry about it."
you want me to come with you?"
tried to be crafty as I hid my horror.
all right, Dad, I'll probably just be in dressing rooms
all day —
okay." The thought of sitting in women
stores for any
period of time immediately put him
I smiled at him.
you be back in time for the dance?"
Only in a town this small would a father
when the high school dances were.
— I don't dance, Dad." He, of all people, should understand
that — I didn't get my balance
from my mother.
did understand. "Oh, that's right," he realized.
next morning, when I pulled into the parking lot, I deliberately
parked as far as possible from the
Volvo. I didn't want to put myself in the path of too much temptation
and end up owing him a new
Getting out of the cab, I fumbled with my key and it fell into a
puddle at my feet. As I bent to get it, a
hand flashed out and grabbed it before I could. I jerked upright.
Edward Cullen was right next to
leaning casually against my truck.
do you do
I asked in amazed irritation.
what?" He held my key out as he spoke. As I reached for it, he
dropped it into my palm.
out of thin air."
it's not my fault if you are exceptionally unobservant." His
voice was quiet as usual — velvet,
scowled at his perfect face. His eyes were light again today, a deep,
golden honey color. Then I had to
down, to reassemble my now-tangled thoughts.
the traffic jam last night?" I demanded, still looking away. "I
thought you were supposed to be
I don't exist
, not irritating me to death."
was for Tyler's sake, not mine. I had to give him his chance."
I gasped. I couldn't think of a bad enough word. It felt like the
heat of my anger should
him, but he only seemed more amused.
I'm not pretending you don't exist," he continued.
to irritate me to death? Since Tyler's van didn't do the job?"
flashed in his tawny eyes. His lips pressed into a hard line, all
signs of humor gone.
you are utterly absurd
," he said, his low voice cold.
palms tingled — I wanted so badly to hit something. I was surprised
at myself. I was usually a
person. I turned my back and started to walk away.
he called. I kept walking, sloshing angrily through the rain. But he
was next to me, easily keeping pace
sorry, that was rude," he said as we walked. I ignored him. "I'm
not saying it isn't true," he continued,
it was rude to say it, anyway."
won't you leave me alone?" I grumbled.
wanted to ask you something, but you sidetracked me," he
chuckled. He seemed to have recovered
you have a multiple personality disorder?" I asked severely.
doing it again."
sighed. "Fine then. What do you want to ask?"
was wondering if, a week from Saturday — you know, the day of the
spring dance —"
you trying to be
I interrupted him, wheeling toward him. My face got drenched as I
at his expression.
eyes were wickedly amused. "Will you please allow me to finish?"
bit my lip and clasped my hands together, interlocking my fingers, so
I couldn't do anything rash.
heard you say you were going to Seattle that day, and I was wondering
if you wanted a ride."
I wasn't sure what he was getting at.
you want a ride to Seattle?"
who?" I asked, mystified.
obviously." He enunciated every syllable
, as if he were talking
to someone mentally
was still stunned. "Why
I was planning to go to Seattle in the next few weeks, and, to be
honest, I'm not sure if your truck
just fine, thank you very much for your concern." I
started to walk again, but I was too
the same level of anger.
can your truck make it there on one tank
of gas?" He matched my
don't see how that is any of your business." Stupid, shiny Volvo
of finite resources is everyone's business."
Edward." I felt a thrill go through me as I said his name, and I
hated it. "I can't keep up with
I thought you didn't want to be my friend."
said it would be better if we weren't friends, not that I didn't want
thanks, now that's all
sarcasm. I realized I had stopped walking again. We
under the shelter of the cafeteria roof now, so I could more easily
look at his face. Which certainly
help my clarity of thought.
would be more… prudent
you not to be my friend," he explained. "But I'm tired of
trying to stay
from you, Bella."
eyes were gloriously intense as he uttered that last sentence, his
voice smoldering. I couldn't
how to breathe.
you go with me to Seattle?" he asked, still intense.
couldn't speak yet, so I just nodded.
smiled briefly, and then his face became serious.
away from me," he warned. "I'll see you in class."
turned abruptly and walked back the way we'd come.
made my way to English in a daze. I didn't even realize when I first
walked in that class had already
you for joining
us, Miss Swan," Mr. Mason said in a disparaging
flushed and hurried to my seat.
wasn't till class ended
that I realized Mike wasn't sitting in his
usual seat next to me. I felt a twinge of
But he and Eric both met me at the door as usual, so I figured I
wasn't totally unforgiven. Mike
to become more himself as we walked, gaining enthusiasm as he talked
about the weather report
this weekend. The rain was supposed to take a minor break, and so
maybe his beach trip would be
I tried to sound eager, to make up for disappointing him yesterday.
It was hard; rain or no rain,
would still only be in the high forties, if we were lucky.
rest of the morning passed in a blur
. It was difficult to believe
that I hadn't just imagined what
had said, and the way his eyes had looked. Maybe it was just a very
convincing dream that I'd
. That seemed more probable than that I really appealed
to him on any level.
I was impatient and frightened as Jessica and I entered the
cafeteria. I wanted to see his face, to see if
gone back to the cold, indifferent person I'd known for the last
several weeks. Or if, by some miracle
I'd really heard what I thought I'd heard this morning. Jessica
babbled on and on about her
plans — Lauren and Angela had asked the other boys and they were
all going together —
unaware of my inattention.
flooded through me as my eyes unerringly focused on his table. The
other four were
but he was absent. Had he gone home? I followed the still-babbling
Jessica through the line,
I'd lost my appetite — I bought nothing but a bottle of lemonade. I
just wanted to go sit down
Cullen is staring at you again," Jessica said, finally breaking
through my abstraction with his
"I wonder why he's sitting alone today."
head snapped up. I followed her gaze to see Edward, smiling
crookedly, staring at me from an empty
across the cafeteria from where he usually sat. Once he'd caught my
eye, he raised one hand and
with his index finger
for me to join him. As I stared in disbelief,
he mean you
Jessica asked with insulting astonishment in her voice.
help with his Biology homework," I muttered for her benefit
. "Um, I'd better go see
could feel her staring after me as I walked away.
I reached his table, I stood behind the chair across from him,
don't you sit with me today?" he asked, smiling.
sat down automatically, watching him with caution. He was still
smiling. It was hard to believe that
so beautiful could be real. I was afraid that he might disappear in a
sudden puff of smoke
, and I
seemed to be waiting for me to say something.
is different," I finally managed.
He paused, and then the rest of the words followed in a rush. "I
decided as long as I was going
hell, I might as well do it thoroughly."
waited for him to say something that made sense. The seconds ticked
know I don't have any idea what you mean," I eventually pointed
know." He smiled again, and then he changed the subject. "I
think your friends are angry with me for
." I could feel their stares boring into my back.
may not give you back, though," he said with a wicked glint in
laughed. "You look worried."
I said, but, ridiculously, my voice broke. "Surprised, actually…
what brought all this on?"
told you — I got tired of trying to stay away from you. So I'm giving
up." He was still smiling, but his
eyes were serious.
up?" I repeated in confusion.
— giving up trying to be good. I'm just going to do what I want
now, and let the chips
may." His smile faded as he explained, and a hard edge crept
into his voice.
lost me again."
breathtaking crooked smile reappeared.
always say too much when I'm talking to you — that's one of the
worry — I don't understand any of it," I said wryly.
in plain English, are we friends now?"
he mused, dubious.
not," I muttered.
grinned. "Well, we can try, I suppose
. But I'm warning you now
that I'm not a good friend for you."
his smile, the warning was real.
say that a lot," I noted, trying to ignore the sudden trembling
in my stomach and keep my voice
because you're not listening
to me. I'm still waiting for you to
believe it. If you're smart
, you'll avoid
think you've made your opinion on the subject of my intellect clear,
too." My eyes narrowed.
as long as I'm being… not smart, we'll try to be friends?" I
struggled to sum up the confusing
sounds about right."
looked down at my hands wrapped around the lemonade bottle, not sure
what to do now.
are you thinking?" he asked curiously.
looked up into his deep gold eyes, became befuddled, and, as usual,
blurted out the truth.
trying to figure out what you are."
jaw tightened, but he kept his smile in place with some effort.
you having any luck with that?" he asked in an offhand tone.
too much," I admitted.
chuckled. "What are your theories?"
blushed. I had been vacillating during the last month between Bruce Wayne
and Peter Parker. There
no way I was going to own up to that.
you tell me?" he asked, tilting his head to one side with a
shockingly tempting smile.
shook my head. "Too embarrassing."
you know," he complained.
I disagreed quickly, my eyes narrowing, "I can't imagine
that would be frustrating at all —
because someone refuses to tell you what they're thinking, even if
all the while they're making cryptic
remarks specifically designed
to keep you up at night wondering what
they could possibly mean…
why would that be frustrating?"
better," I continued, the pent
-up annoyance flowing
"say that person also did a wide
of bizarre things — from saving your life under impossible
circumstances one day to treating you
a pariah the next, and he never explained any of that, either, even
after he promised. That, also,
got a bit of a temper, don't you?"
don't like double
stared at each other, unsmiling.
glanced over my shoulder, and then, unexpectedly, he snickered.
boyfriend seems to think I'm being unpleasant to you — he's
debating whether or not to come
up our fight." He snickered again.
don't know who you're talking about," I said frostily. "But
I'm sure you're wrong, anyway."
not. I told you, most people are easy to read."
me, of course."
Except for you." His mood shifted suddenly; his eyes turned
brooding. "I wonder why that is."
had to look away from the intensity of his stare. I concentrated
unscrewing the lid of my lemonade. I
a swig, staring at the table without seeing it.
you hungry?" he asked, distracted.
I didn't feel like mentioning that my stomach was already full — of
butterflies. "You?" I looked at
empty table in front of him.
I'm not hungry." I didn't understand his expression — it
looked like he was enjoying some private
you do me a favor
?" I asked after a second of hesitation.
was suddenly wary. "That depends on what you want."
not much," I assured him.
waited, guarded but curious.
just wondered… if you could warn me beforehand the next time you
decide to ignore me for my own
Just so I'm prepared." I looked at the lemonade bottle as I
spoke, tracing the circle
of the opening
my pinkie finger.
sounds fair." He was pressing
his lips together to keep from
laughing when I looked up.
can I have one answer in return?" he demanded.
"Not that one."
didn't qualify, you just promised one answer," he reminded me.
you've broken promises yourself," I reminded him back.
one theory — I won't laugh."
you will." I was positive about that.
looked down, and then glanced up at me through his long black lashes,
his ocher eyes scorching.
he breathed, leaning toward me.
blinked, my mind going blank
. Holy crow, how did he do
what?" I asked, dazed.
tell me just one little theory." His eyes still smoldered at me.
by a radioactive spider
?" Was he a hypnotist, too?
Or was I just a hopeless pushover?
not very creative
," he scoffed.
sorry, that's all I've got," I said, miffed.
not even close," he teased.
doesn't bother me, either," he chuckled.
not supposed to laugh, remember?"
struggled to compose
figure it out eventually," I warned him.
wish you wouldn't try." He was serious again.
if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?" He smiled
playfully, but his eyes were
I said, as several things he'd hinted fell suddenly into place. "I
you?" His face was abruptly severe, as if he were afraid that
he'd accidentally said too much.
?" I guessed, my pulse quickening as I intuitively
realized the truth of my own words.
He'd been trying to tell me that all along.
just looked at me, eyes full of some emotion I couldn't comprehend.
not bad," I whispered, shaking my head. "No, I don't
believe that you're bad."
wrong." His voice was almost inaudible. He looked down, stealing
my bottle lid and then
it on its side between his fingers. I stared at him, wondering why I
didn't feel afraid. He meant
he was saying — that was obvious. But I just felt anxious, on edge…
and, more than anything else,
The same way I always felt when I was near him.
silence lasted until I noticed that the cafeteria was almost empty.
jumped to my feet. "We're going to be late."
not going to class today," he said, twirling the lid so fast it
was just a blur.
healthy to ditch class now and then." He smiled up at me, but
his eyes were still troubled.
I'm going," I told him. I was far too big a coward to risk
turned his attention back to his makeshift top. "I'll see you
hesitated, torn, but then the first bell sent me hurrying out the
door — with a last glance confirming that
hadn't moved a centimeter.
I half-ran to class, my head was spinning faster than the bottle cap.
So few questions had been
to how many new questions had been raised. At least the
rain had stopped.
was lucky; Mr. Banner wasn't in the room yet when I arrived. I
settled quickly into my seat, aware that
Mike and Angela were staring at me. Mike looked resentful; Angela
looked surprised, and slightly
Banner came in the room then, calling the class to order. He was
juggling a few small cardboard
in his arms. He put them down on Mike's table, telling
him to start passing
them around the class.
guys, I want you all to take one piece
from each box," he said
as he produced a pair of rubber
from the pocket of his lab jacket and pulled them on. The sharp sound
as the gloves snapped into
against his wrists seemed ominous to me. "The first should be an indicator
card," he went on,
a white card with four squares marked on it and displaying it. "The
second is a four-pronged
—" he held up something that looked like a nearly toothless
hair pick "— and the third is a
micro-lancet." He held up a small piece of blue plastic and split
it open. The barb was invisible
this distance, but my stomach flipped.
be coming around with a dropper of water to prepare
your cards, so
please don't start until I get to
He began at Mike's table again, carefully putting one drop of water
in each of the four squares.
I want you to carefully prick your finger with the lancet…" He
grabbed Mike's hand and jabbed
spike into the tip of Mike's middle finger. Oh no. Clammy moisture
broke out across my forehead.
a small drop of blood on each of the prongs." He demonstrated,
squeezing Mike's finger till the
flowed. I swallowed convulsively, my stomach heaving.
it to the card," he finished, holding up the dripping
red card for us to see. I closed my
trying to hear through the ringing in my ears.
is having a blood drive in Port Angeles next weekend, so I
thought you should all know
blood type." He sounded proud of himself. "Those of you who
aren't eighteen yet will need a parent
permission — I have slips at my desk."
continued through the room with his water drops. I put my cheek
against the cool black tabletop and
to hold on to my consciousness
. All around me I could hear squeals,
complaints, and giggles as my
skewered their fingers. I breathed slowly in and out through my
are you all right?" Mr. Banner asked. His voice was close to my
head, and it sounded alarmed.
already know my blood type, Mr. Banner," I said in a weak voice.
I was afraid to raise
you feeling faint?"
sir," I muttered, internally kicking myself for not ditching
when I had the chance.
someone take Bella to the nurse, please?" he called.
didn't have to look up to know that it would be Mike who volunteered.
you walk?" Mr. Banner asked.
I whispered. Just let me get out of here, I thought. I'll crawl.
seemed eager as he put his arm around my waist and pulled my arm over
his shoulder. I leaned
him heavily on the way out of the classroom.
towed me slowly across campus. When we were around the edge of the
cafeteria, out of sight of
four in case Mr. Banner was watching, I stopped.
let me sit for a minute, please?" I begged.
helped me sit on the edge of the walk.
whatever you do, keep your hand in your pocket," I warned. I was
still so dizzy. I slumped over on
side, putting my cheek against the freezing, damp cement
my eyes. That
to help a little.
you're green, Bella," Mike said nervously.
a different voice called from the distance.
Please let me be imagining that horribly familiar voice.
wrong — is she hurt?" His voice was closer now, and he sounded upset
. I wasn't imagining it. I
my eyes shut, hoping to die. Or, at the very least, not to throw
seemed stressed. "I think she's fainted. I don't know what
happened, she didn't even stick her
Edward's voice was right beside me, relieved now. "Can you hear
I groaned. "Go away."
was taking her to the nurse," Mike explained in a defensive
tone, "but she wouldn't go any farther."
take her," Edward said. I could hear the smile still in his
voice. "You can go back to class."
Mike protested. "I'm supposed to do it."
the sidewalk disappeared from beneath me. My eyes flew open in shock.
me up in his arms, as easily as if I weighed ten pounds
instead of a
hundred and ten.
me down!" Please, please let me not vomit on him. He was walking
before I was finished talking.
Mike called, already ten paces behind us.
ignored him. "You look awful," he told me, grinning.
me back on the sidewalk," I moaned. The rocking movement
walk was not helping. He held
away from his body, gingerly, supporting all my weight with just his
arms — it didn't seem to bother
you faint at the sight of blood?" he asked. This seemed to
didn't answer. I closed my eyes again and fought the nausea with all
, clamping my lips
not even your own blood," he continued, enjoying himself.
don't know how he opened the door while carrying me, but it was
suddenly warm, so I knew we were
my," I heard a female
fainted in Biology," Edward explained.
opened my eyes. I was in the office, and Edward was striding past the
front counter toward the nurse's
Ms. Cope, the redheaded front office receptionist, ran ahead of him
to hold it open. The
nurse looked up from a novel, astonished, as Edward swung me into the
room and placed
gently on the crackly paper
that covered the brown vinyl mattress on
the one cot. Then he moved to
against the wall as far across the narrow
room as possible. His eyes
were bright, excited.
just a little faint," he reassured the startled nurse. "They're
blood typing in Biology."
nurse nodded sagely. "There's always one."
muffled a snicker.
lie down for a minute, honey; it'll pass."
know," I sighed. The nausea was already fading.
this happen a lot?" she asked.
I admitted. Edward coughed to hide another laugh.
can go back to class now," she told him.
supposed to stay with her." He said this with such assured authority
that — even though she pursed
lips — the nurse didn't argue
some ice for your forehead, dear," she said to me, and then
bustled out of the room.
were right," I moaned, letting my eyes close.
usually am — but about what in particular this time?"
I practiced breathing evenly.
scared me for a minute there," he admitted after a pause. His
tone made it sound like he was
a humiliating weakness. "I thought Newton was dragging your dead
body off to bury
it in the woods
ha." I still had my eyes closed, but I was feeling more normal
— I've seen corpses with better color. I was concerned that I might
have to avenge
Mike. I'll bet he's mad."
absolutely loathes me," Edward said cheerfully.
can't know that," I argued, but then I wondered suddenly if he
saw his face — I could tell."
did you see me? I thought you were ditching." I was almost fine
now, though the queasiness would
pass faster if I'd eaten something for lunch. On the other hand,
maybe it was lucky my stomach
was in my car, listening to a CD." Such a normal response — it
heard the door and opened my eyes to see the nurse with a cold
compress in her hand.
you go, dear." She laid
it across my forehead. "You're
looking better," she added.
think I'm fine," I said, sitting up. Just a little ringing in my
ears, no spinning. The mint
green walls stayed
could see she was about to make me lie back down, but the door opened
just then, and Ms. Cope
her head in.
got another one," she warned.
hopped down to free up the cot for the next invalid.
handed the compress back to the nurse. "Here, I don't need
then Mike staggered through the door, now supporting a sallow-looking
Lee Stephens, another boy
our Biology class. Edward and I drew
back against the wall to give
no," Edward muttered. "Go out to the office, Bella."
looked up at him, bewildered.
me — go."
spun and caught the door before it closed, darting out of the
infirmary. I could feel Edward right behind
actually listened to me." He was stunned.
smelled the blood," I said, wrinkling my nose. Lee wasn't sick
from watching other people, like me.
can't smell blood," he contradicted.
I can — that's what makes me sick. It smells like rust
… and salt
was staring at me with an unfathomable expression.
came through the door then, glancing from me to Edward. The look he
gave Edward confirmed
Edward had said about loathing. He looked back at me, his eyes glum.
better," he accused.
keep your hand in your pocket," I warned him again.
not bleeding anymore," he muttered. "Are you going back to