Quickie: Whoa, it's been a long time. I don't really have an excuse. Sorry!

Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer came up with this brilliant story. She made up the characters, including Edward, though the two Edwards in his head are my creation.


Plans and Vans

When I got home, I distracted myself by playing with my family. There was a wrestling contest between the three males and Alice and Rosalie cheered us on from the sidelines. Emmett's crazy strong, true, but Jasper's cleverer and I'm a wee bit faster. It almost evened out.

Jasper slipped out of Emmett's headlock and playfully hid behind Alice, which was always amusing because of the huge height difference. Emmett approached them, making the girls begin to giggle as the two boys circled Alice. I leaned against the wall, waiting for my turn. Suddenly, Emmett changed his mind and raced over to Rosalie, practically knocking her over.

"Emmett!" she scolded though her laughter. …you overstuffed teddy bear… Her thoughts took a turn I politely locked out. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled her face up to meet his. I closed my eyes for propriety's sake, but Emmett's thoughts were louder than a jack hammer. I waited until his thoughts were floating from their bedroom before loosening my eyelids. Jasper offered his arm politely to Alice, like a natural suitor. She accepted it and they walked into the house.

good night, Edward… Alice told me.

And they were gone. I released a breath of air into a nice puff. It was chilly enough outside that I could see mist rising from my lips. I sat in the cool grass and just stared at the sky. The lights inside the house were turned off (Esme and Carlisle were spending the weekend together in the mountains).

All I could think about was Bella. Every word she said to me… I couldn't figure out why I was so intrigued by her. Why did I want to listen to her talk for hours? Any type of conversation would be satisfactory. Maybe I should make an effort to be her friend. Maybe this was good practice for my control. Maybe I could make Carlisle proud.

Or maybe I was fooling myself. She smelled so enticing, like warm food used to be when I was a human. Maybe that was why I couldn't pull myself away. It wasn't her; it was her blood. She smelled like some floral meadow, like a garden I wanted to lie in for hours. I wanted to taste that garden. Maybe that was why I talked to her.

But if that was the case, why was I taking my time? It would be very easy to kill her.

The word kill cut at my head. "Kill" and "Bella" did not go together. Something deep in my being hissed at the thought of her dead. Not just her dead, but by my doing.

I needed time to figure myself out, and I took that whole morning and came up with nothing. All I decided was that I would talk to her today as I did yesterday, trying to appear casual. I couldn't let on that I was conflicted. I could not show her my vulnerability. I knew so little about her. I had to stay safe.

The sunlight lit the sky behind the clouds, filtering down into our little town. I went back into the house to change (humans don't accept wearing the same clothes two days in a row anymore). I was determined to learn more about her without her learning more about me.

When the five of use "younger" Cullens and Hales piled into the car, the roads had slick ice covering them. I smiled to myself as I turned the keys.

oh, god, he's such a maniac when he drives. He better not get use into an accident…

I turned my eyes to Jasper. "Name the last time I got into an accident."

Jasper looked to his nearest ally for help. "Alice, is it safer to have him drive or someone else?"

She was all apologetic to him, not even looking at me. "He wins, Jasper."

don't make me regret saying that, Edward…

"Wouldn't dream of it," I muttered back to her.

I slammed on the accelerator and we sped off to school, slowing to a more human speed as we turned around the bend into the school parking lot. I parked excellently. We all left the car, though I was slower than the others. As I locked the doors up, another car drove into the lot. Bella's red truck was driving into a spot four cars down.

Edward…

That was all the warning Alice would bother giving me. They all went inside, undoubtedly by Alice's convincing them to leave me.

you owe me…

And then her thoughts turned away from me. I shook my head and looked back to Bella. She was examining her tires with a looked of gratefulness. I focused on them to see why: snow chains. And by her expression, Charlie put them there, not her.

I was beginning to plan my conversation starter when a screech pained my ears.

There were only two things in my vision: Bella and the dark blue van heading right towards her.

No!

Not her!

I felt my face contort, and before I thought about it, I was running towards her with one goal and one only: keep her safe.

I slammed into her, pushing her to the ground, only wincing as I heard her head hit the pavement. She was out of harm's way… almost.

It was still heading for her.

I couldn't resist the curse I muttered under my breath as I put my hands out to stop the van.

Just get it away from Bella, I told myself. And so I did.

Once the van was safely away, I turned my attention to her. Her eyes were closed and her breath wasn't strong.

"Bella?" I asked quietly.

She didn't respond.

I said her name over and over, getting louder and more frantic. I was trying to figure out if she was okay. I pulled her against me so that I could find enough facts that she was alive. Breath, pulse…

"Bella? Are you all right?" I could hear people beginning to mutter.

"I'm fine," she finally said back. She sounded anything but. Little liar. She began to try and move.

"Be careful. I think you hit your head pretty hard."

She released a simple "ow" as she brought her hand to her head. She required so much convincing. It was humorous. I finally released the breath I was holding. She was going to be all right.

"That's what I thought."

She looked as if she was focusing to say something to me. I waited patiently.

"How in the… How did you get over here so fast?"

Oh, no.

Think fast, Edward!

"I was standing right next to you." I was forcing her to believe me. All traces of my relaxation were gone. I was tense again. I realized that I was holding her and had to let her go as she sat up. She was too warm, too close.

There was a flurry of people to get the driver – Tyler – out of the van. Who cared?

Bella tried to get up more, so I stopped her. "Just stay put for now," I told her, knowing that her head would be hurting from this.

"But it's cold," she whined. I chuckled slightly, not knowing if she was referring to the weather or to me. "You were over there." I stopped chuckling. "You were by your car."

No, she couldn't have seen me…

"No, I wasn't," I told her, forcing her to believe again.

"I saw you."

crap, Edward, I'm sorry, I didn't see that. I had no idea. I didn't have time to stop you when it happened. Edward, don't be mad, please… I looked up quickly to Alice and nodded, just enough to know that I wasn't blaming her.

I was blaming me.

"Bella, I was standing with you, and I pulled you out of the way." Just accept it, I willed her.

"No." She was obviously determined. If I could convince her, I had to beg for her to believe.

"Please, Bella."

"Why?"

"Trust me." What else could I say? How else could I convince her to believe something we both knew to be false? She needed to believe.

"Will you promise to explain everything to me later?"

What!? She drove a hard bargain, but I had no time to haggle.

"Fine," I snapped, frustrated with her. Besides, she hit her head hard enough that she might forget later. Also, "later" for me is indefinite.

"Fine," she replied, matching my tone for who-knows-what reason.

An ambulance came to take Tyler, Bella, and myself to the hospital. I made sure Bella was tied down, but didn't take a stretcher myself ("No, I'm sure. I'm okay. Ask Carlisle: I'm hard to injure.").

I ignored the voices of my siblings yelling at me vehemently. I just wanted to get Bella to the hospital.

But why? Why had I done something so stupid for her? What had she done to gain my respect like that? Nothing! My siblings were right to yell. I knew that I would have to face a tirade of arguments as soon as I made it home. I would take my time going home. I had to. It wasn't safe there for me.

We got to the hospital and I simply walked through the doors. Tyler and Bella got rolled off to some room. I headed straight for Carlisle's office. I opened the doors without thinking or knocking, somewhat similar to how I reacted when I ran off. I could tell by his shocked expression that that was what he was thinking of, too.

"No, Carlisle, I'm not running off. I just need to talk to you. Try not to comment just yet. Look, someone was about to get hit by a van that was skidding, and before I could rationally think it out, I saved her."

Her? The single word vibrating in his thoughts. It was so embarrassing.

"Yes, her. Bella. She's in the hospital right now."

"What do you mean by 'saved'?" He was staring at me. I couldn't lie.

"I knocked her out of the way and then stopped the van from hitting her with my body."

He sucked in his breath and closed his eyes. "So, you were standing next to her?"

How could I answer that? I lowered my head. He felt like my father: he was asking me a simple question, one that I was too ashamed to answer. I considered lying but, no.

Quickie: Woot! I did it! I'll get the next chapter up in about a week. Wish me luck!