14. Even More Complications
I drove off but I stayed close. I abandoned my conspicuous silver car on some deserted stretch of dirt road in the middle of the forest less than a mile from Bellas house and then went back, hiding in the trees behind the house. I listened intently.
Charlie was home, his thoughts overjoyed that he and his friend Billy Black could finally make up after there fight over none other than, of course the Cullens. Billy Black was convinced that we were all some sort of bloodsucking demons. Wherever did he get that silly idea?
Billys thoughts were more suspicious. Of course, his subconscious had recognized me when he had pulled up but at first he was refusing to admit that there was a possibility that his best friends daughter could be involved with the leeches of Forks. He had quite a few creative nicknames to us, bloodsucking demons and leeches of Forks being the more tame ones. My favorite had to be and I quote - those goddamned, bottom-feeding parasites.
I was on edge the whole time, waiting for Billy to mention something about me. I knew I was eavesdropping and that eavesdroppers hear stuff that they dont want to, but I wasnt sure how Charlie would react if he heard from Billy of all people that his daughter had been Edward Cullens car. Especially since Billy knew we were vampires. Not that Charlie believed that but still.
But he didnt say anything. He sat and watched a game with Charlie and left. I was surprised to say the least. Billy hated us. The whole night he was itching to say something, his thoughts bouncing off the sides of head. His friendship with Charlie held him back, though. The last time he had mentioned my family, they had gotten into a huge fight. What would Charlie think if he knew Billy was right about us?
After the Blacks had left, I took my car home, being careful to avoid Rosalie. Thankfully, she wasnt in the garage which meant she wasnt as mad anymore. She was always in the garage working on some car when she was furious.
I was back at Bellas only minutes later. I crept in through her window and sat down in her rocking chair. I put my elbows on my knees and leaned my chin in my hands. She didnt talk much that night but I was ok with just watching her. She was so beautiful. I wanted to smack myself for ever thinking she was plain, normal. Just like every other human. She was nothing like any other human or even vampire that I had ever seen.
I pulled up in front of her house the next morning the second Charlie was gone. I rolled down my windows and killed the engine before Bella could even get out the front door. I smiled at her as she climbed into the car, more confident than before. She looked even more gorgeous this morning, her hair curling just right around her pale face and a blue shirt on. Was she purposely trying to taunt me?
How did you sleep? I asked.
Fine. Who was your night?
I smiled again. Pleasant. I could see the frustration on her face as she realized that she was missing out on something.
Can I ask what you did?
No, I said, grinning even more. Today is still mine.
I wanted to know everything about the girl sitting next to me. I knew her favorite everythings now but I wanted to know about her life. Not being able to read her mind was definitely getting on my nerves but it was also a good thing. I wasnt used to having to ask people things or having to wait for them to answer out loud. It was nice to have a normal conversation for once. I hadnt had one in the past eighty years.
Eventually I couldnt help but ask of her romantic history. It was killing me not knowing if she had ever felt this way for anyone.
So youve never met anyone you wanted? I asked.
Not in Phoenix, she answered and I knew she was being honest.
I pressed my lips together in a hard line. I still didnt know what to make about the fact that she was thinking about me right then. Despite the fact that I couldnt read her mind, I knew that she meant she had found someone here. That someone was me. It was dangerous for her to love me but I didnt know if I could live if she didnt love me back. I had never been this confused.
We were at lunch, sitting at our typically table. Bella picked at a bagel and took a bite out of it.
I should have let you drive yourself today, I said randomly.
Bellas face fell noticeably. I wish I knew what she was thinking. Why?
Im leaving with Alice after lunch.
She blinked heavily and for once I could read what was on her face. Confusion and disappointment. Oh. Thats okay, its not that far of a walk.
I frowned at her. She was so stubborn. Im not going to make you walk home. Well go get your truck and leave it here for you.
I dont have my keys with me, she said with a sigh. I really dont mind walking. She really was that stubborn.
I shook my head. Your truck will be here, and the key will be in the ignition unless youre afraid someone might steal it. I laughed a bit at myself. I doubt I could pay anyone to steal that thing.
All right. Bella pursed those amazing lips of hers. I wished I could sweep her into my arms and kiss her. What a human thought of me. Instead I just smirked at her, knowing she was thinking I could never find her keys. Yet I knew they were still in the pocket of the pair of jeans lying on the floor of her room.
So where are you going? Bella asked curiously.
Hunting, I answered, not able to keep the grimness out of my voice. If Im going to be alone with you tomorrow, Im going to take whatever precautions I can. You can always cancel, you know, I added, almost pleading. There was such great possibility that she would never come home. Id never be able to forgive myself if that happened.
She almost seemed to consider my pleas for a moment before looking up at me and whispering, No. I cant.
Perhaps youre right, I muttered. We were both in this too far already.
What time will I see you tomorrow? Bella asked in an obvious attempt to change the subject.
its Saturday. Dont you want to sleep in? Id be seeing her a lot earlier than she would be seeing me so it didnt matter if she wanted to sleep in. I wouldnt be missing out on anything.
No, she answered to quickly and I tried to suppress a smile of amusement.
The same time as usual, then. Will Charlie be there?
No, hes fishing tomorrow. Bella beamed for some reason. Would it be too much to ask for me to be able to read her mind?
Of course, my thoughts lingered to the worse. And if you dont come home, what will he think?
I have no idea, Bella answered, almost uncaring. He knows Ive been meaning to do the laundry. Maybe hell think I fell in the washer.
I scowled at her. It was so possible for Bella that it made me mad. She scowled back but of course my anger beat hers.
What are you hunting tonight? Bella asked after she gave up.
Whatever we find in the park. We arent going far. It was kind of cute how she could refer to my unusual eating habits so casually.
What are you going with Alice?
I frowned. Alice is the most
And the others? What are they?
My eyebrows scrunched together and I could momentarily hear my familys thoughts from across the room. They were thinking about us, of course. Incredulous, for the most part.
I saw her peek at my family. They dont like me. It wasnt a question.
Thats not it, I said but I knew my eyes gave me away. I knew theyd like her once they got to know her but right now they werent sure. They dont understand why I cant leave you alone.
Neither do I, for that matter, Bella said with a grimace. Again, I wanted to kiss her and tell her how much I loved her, let her know that there was no way I could leave her alone. It was so human. I was getting so controlled by my emotions that I barely recognized myself anymore.
I stared into her deep, chocolate eyes. I told you you dont see yourself clearly at all. Youre not like anyone Ive ever known. You fascinate me.
Bella glared at me, almost like she thought I was teasing her. I smiled back.
Having the advantages that I do I touched my temple lightly, the ultimate sign of reading minds I have a better than average grasp of human nature. People are predictable. But you
you never do what I expect. You always take me by surprise.
For some reason she still didnt seem to believe me. She looked away from me again. I had never been this unsure as to what to say. I knew exactly what I was feeling. What I had just said was just the surface of why I wanted to be around her but I wasnt sure how to explain that to her. She was so unsure that she seemed to take everything I said in the wrong way.
That part is easy enough to explain, I continued, staring at her even though she refused to meet my gaze. But theres more
and its not so easy to put into words
I broke off as I heard Rosalies hateful thoughts. I realized that she was staring right at Bella and Bella was staring back. I hissed, really softly so that I didnt scare the humans around us yet I knew it was just loud enough for Rose to hear the menace. Bella looked at me, startled.
Im sorry about that, I told her. Shes just worried. You see
its dangerous for more than just me if, after spending so much time with you so publicly
I looked down.
If? Bella prompted.
If this ends
badly. If you become the meal. I dropped my head into my hands. It was too horrible a thought. I could see the Bella from some of Alices visions, the Bella laying in my arms, broken and covered in blood. Dead.
And you have to leave now? Bella asked, obviously trying to break the awful silence.
I looked up at her, trying to shake away the thought of her dead and drained. Yes. Then I smiled, trying to lighten the mood. Its probably for the best. We still have fifteen minutes of that wretched movie left to endure in Biology I dont think I could take any more.
Bella jumped slightly and I could feel Alice standing behind me. Alice, I greeted, refusing to look away from Bella.
Edward, she greeted back while she was really thinking, Introduce us. Please. You know the two of us are going to be great friends but that cant happen if you never find the courtesy to introduce us.
I complied begrudgingly. I wanted to keep Bella all to myself. Alice, Bella Bella, Alice, I said, gesturing with my hand, a wry smile on my face.
Hello, Bella, Alice said, exuberant. Its nice to finally meet you. I dont think Bella realized what Alice meant by finally but I did. As I said, I wanted to keep Bella all to myself.
Hi, Alice, Bella whispered. I couldnt tell if she was scared or just shy.
Are you ready? Alice asked me. I still hadnt looked at her.
Nearly. Ill meet you at the car.
And she was gone, moving at human speed of course. There was no reason to startle the humans.
Should I say have fun, or is that the wrong sentiment? Bella asked, finally looking back at me.
I smiled. No, have fun works as well as anything.
Have fun, then. She was trying to sound like she meant it but I knew she was just as sad about me leaving as I was.
Ill try. And you try to be safe, please.
Safe in Forks what a challenge, she said.
For you it is a challenge. My mood darkened. Promise.
I promise to try to be safe, Bella recited like it was a Boy Scout oath. Ill do the laundry tonight that ought to be fraught with peril.
Dont fall in, I mocked.
Ill do my best.
I stood and she rose too. Neither of us wanted to leave the other and it was obvious. There was almost this magnetic pole trying to keep me from leaving.
Ill see you tomorrow, she said with a sigh.
It seems like a long time to you, doesnt it? I mused, voicing what we both seemed to be feeling.
Ill be there in the morning, I promised. I love you, I wanted to add. Instead I just smiled and reached across the table to stroke her cheek. For the third I wanted to kiss her. Wouldnt that be the perfect goodbye? Again, so human. But would I be able to handle it? No, I wasnt sure I could. That close, her scent would be overpowering. It was already almost too strong.
So I just left, dreading every minute until tomorrow morning.