A/N: Wow, another chapter out so quickly. I'm really getting my writing flow back. Thanks to all you who review. It's like heroine to a writer! I always need more.
Chapter 8: Lullabies
In the darkness vampires can see as if it were day. Another advantage, I guess you could say, to being an immortal being. Though there weren't enough of those to out-way the disadvantages, I thought as I passed through the trees practically unseen by the wildlife.
We left as soon as Carlisle came home from his shift at the hospital and went all the way to Mount Rainier. Emmett had already downed a bear and was sharing with Rosalie. Jasper and Alice were tracking a herd of deer while Esme, Carlisle and I were focusing on a couple of bucks. Their scent, though not as appetizing as humans, was easy to track. We had the bucks in no time and after we were full we met near a rocky stream.
"So what do you want to do now?" Emmett asked, wiping some blood from his face. He was always one to play with his food and by the look of his torn, bloodied clothes, tonight was no exception.
"Maybe we could go to Seattle and enjoy the night life." Alice prompted.
"I'm not going in public with him looking like that." Rosalie smiled, playfully pushing Emmett away from her. He pushed her back and they started to wrestle.
"This is Edward's night," Esme reminded us. "Let's let him decide."
The only problem was I didn't want to do anything. Tonight's hunt didn't do what I had hoped it would. I wanted to relax, to fall back into who I was before Bella came, but I knew I'd never be able to get her out of my existence. I was slowly turning into the world's first clinically depressed vampire.
"I think we should just go home. I need to get ready if I'm to leave before dawn."
Their thoughts were hoping I would change my mind out here, but they were suddenly realizing I was going to leave. I looked at them each in turn, wishing I didn't have to leave them, wanting…I don't know what. When I landed on Alice's face she hid it from me and she was singing in her head. She only ever did that when she wished to hide her thoughts from me. I was about to ask her about that when Carlisle suggested we all leave.
I was going to travel light so all I took with me was a few thousand dollars and my I-pod, fully loaded with my most favorite music. Alice promised she'd box up my cds and treat them as if they were ancient artifacts when they moved.
"Edward?" Jasper knocked on my open door. I was standing in the middle of the room, looking at my wall of music and books, saying my final farewells.
Can we talk? He thought, after I turned to him. I nodded and he came into the room and shut the door.
"Do you have to leave?" He asked, pleading in his eyes.
"Yes, I do." I felt sorry to leave him here.
"Maybe Alice and I can go with you. I don't think I'm doing this human thing right."
I laughed, "Jasper, you're doing fine. You're heart is in the right place and no one can look down on you for making a mistake."
He sighed, "Yes, but one mistake means a person dying. Sometimes I think life was easier in the south with Maria. No restraint, pure instinct, a little tactics. I thought it was what we were made for." He paused.
"And then you grew tired of being a monster." I finished for him. I, too, was tired of being the stuff nightmares were made of. "It gets easier the longer you do it. Look at Carlisle. He can be around bleeding people and not even notice."
"Yeah, it'll probably take me twice as long." He paused again. "What do you think happens to our kind when we…if we ever die?"
"I honestly don't know." Though I had a gut feeling that we just disappeared. Where was there a heaven for vampires whose existence depended on the deaths of others? My theories on the subject were not what I wanted to leave with Jasper, though. Let Carlisle feed him the sugar and fluff of the afterlife.
"We're going to miss you." Jasper said, and gave me a hug. "As soon as I graduate I'm going to come find you, okay? I think Alice can live without me for a few months." He smiled, then left me to myself.
After feeling myself prepared I said my goodbyes and left. It was around two in the morning, the stars were glimmering through the clouds and the lack of wind caused everything to be still and silent.
I sauntered around town for a while, imagining what it would look like in twenty years or so. It had changed so drastically since the last time we were in the area, I wondered what new changes waited to be made. That was when I caught her scent. I was near the school, where her scent was strongest. Without knowing what I was doing I followed it through town, to the outskirts where a small neighborhood, nestled next to the forest, was.
So this is where Bella lives. I smiled up at the little two-story house. It looked so normal, so like every other house on the street, but inside was the strangest human I had ever met. I stood there for who knows how long, casually listening in on the neighbors thoughts, their dreams. Everyone within a mile radius was asleep. I made a tour of the outside of the house, smelling her scent, before climbing my way up a tree and peered into the nearest window.
I couldn't hear any thoughts in there. Officer Swan's dreams were low and mellow in the room on the other side of the house. This had to be Bella's room, I surmised. I leapt through the air and landed on the roof just above the window, without making a sound. I leaned over to peer inside and saw a sparsely decorated room; closet open, full of clothes, desk with an outdated computer on it, hamper and there in the center was the bed.
"Bella." I whispered her name, so low and sweet on my tongue. I inhaled deeply and caught her scent, much stronger here.
Without realizing what I was doing I opened her window, luckily it was unlocked. I slid into the room and closed the window behind me, then turned to stare at the sleeping form on the bed. The little light coming from outside gave her a dull, ethereal glow. I walked slowly towards her and stared at her face, the curve of her cheek, her lips, her closed eyes, the way her hair flowed over her pillow and down the bed. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life. I felt an ache within me, knowing I would leave her here for some other guy to sweep off her feet, kiss her, hold her hand…
I ground my teeth together thinking who that man might be. I pictured Mike kissing her, and it sent a fury within me, the likes of which I had never known. She stirred, taking me out of my thoughts. She began to move restlessly in bed, her sheets becoming entangled around her feet.
"Shh," I said as gently as I could. I knelt down by her bed and began to hum a song, the tune coming to me as I stared at her. Slowly she calmed and I gently straightened her sheets out for her. When she had settled back down I leaned over her, holding my breath, and kissed her warm, soft cheek.
I felt the warmth course through my body, exhilarating and all consuming. I backed away quickly, afraid I'd wake her. I shook myself and wondered what kind of pervert would sneak into a girl's room, sing her a lullaby and kiss her?
"Goodbye Bella." I said, then walked towards the window.
"Hmm…" Her voice stopped me. I turned, afraid she had awakened. She was still asleep, a small smile on her face. "Stay. Edward."
I was next to her bed in less than a second. Did she just say my name? She said, "Stay." Right? I willed her to speak again, cursing once more my inability to read her mind.
"Edward." She whispered, then turned over onto her side so she was facing me.
"Yes?" I said.
Needless to say I stayed the entire night. I stood in a shadowy corner of her room and watched her sleep. She didn't speak again, but grew restless once more, and I hummed the song again, causing her to calm. She was so delicate, so breakable and I never wanted to be with anyone else as much as I wanted to be with her. How I wished she had asked me to the dance. If only I was the one guy in the school she had wanted to go with.
Remembering she was going to Seattle I cringed. As accident prone as she was, what would a trip to Seattle do to her? And her truck? I stared out the window at her ancient truck. Sure it was built like a tank, but the brakes on that thing couldn't be all too good. The possibilities of anything bad happening to Bella next weekend were just too high. I couldn't leave her. Even if I couldn't be with her, I couldn't let anything harm her.
It was in that moment I decided to stay. I suddenly understood why Alice never talked me out of leaving, she knew I wouldn't. Did she see tonight? Did she still see Bella coming over, meeting my parents?
All too soon I knew the sun would began to rise and I knew I had to leave. I needed to get back home before the others went to school without me. I gave one last longing look at Bella, then snuck out her window, happy once more.
Walking back home, I felt elated that I had finally resolved what to do. I was to stay, and that was final. No longer would I have to hide from my feelings. I was falling in love with Bella, and that was the fact of the matter. Whether she loved me or not was another matter.
I stared up into the sky, slowly going light with the sun rising. There, up between the tufts of cloud, was Venus, the Morning Star. Goddess of Love, she now looked down on me and smiled. I felt grateful that I had finally found what I'd been searching for.
"Edward?" Rosalie was shocked to see me walking up the gravel driveway. She was on her way to the garage, apparently getting into her car.
"Yep, it's me." I said, smiling.
At that moment Alice, Jasper and Emmett stepped out of the house, only two of which were surprised to see me. Knew you'd come back. Alice smiled down at me.
"Did you know he was coming back?" Rosalie asked, turning to look at Alice as she skipped down the steps.
"Uh-huh." Was all she would answer.
"I swear, you too have more secrets than the rest of us combined." Rosalie huffed. "I suppose we're going to pile into the Volvo again?"
"You're chariot awaits." I smiled, and got into the front seat.
"Oh, Edward, I forgot to tell you, they're doing blood typing in Biology today." Alice said as I began driving to school. "Oh, and I already told Carlisle and Esme. Didn't want them worrying about you."
"Thanks." I said, then flipped through the cd's in my car, searching for Debussy. Claire de Lune always seemed to compliment my happy moods.
"Ugh, Edward, do we have to suffer with you?" Rosalie called from the back while Emmett nuzzled her neck.
"Thanks for coming back. Now I'm stuck back here again with these two." Jasper punched the back of my seat playfully.
I felt so exhilarated, being back and knowing myself and what I was feeling better than I ever had. I turned the music up, much to Rosalie's dislike, and enjoyed the rest of the ride. As I pulled the car into the parking lot I made a quick scan to see if Bella was here yet. She had had a slightly restless night and I wondered if she was refreshed. Her car was nowhere in sight.
"You guys go ahead, I'm going to stay behind a while." The others looked at me a little quizzically, then walked off towards their first class.
I heard her truck shortly thereafter, and began walking towards school, hoping I'd be able to intercept her as she went to her first class. I watched as her truck pulled in, and park on the opposite side of the lot from my Volvo. I grinned.
Bella seemed more beautiful than even last night, which I found hard to believe. It seemed me coming to terms with my growing love for her opened my eyes to her true beauty. I watched as she got out of the truck, grabbed her things and slammed the door shut. She was about to lock the door when her keys began to fall. While she was distracted I moved as fast as I could without anyone seeing, and stood next to her.
"Gah!" She exclaimed, standing up, her keys dripping water having fallen into a puddle. "How do you do that?" She demanded, a little annoyed.
"Do what?" I asked, smiling.
"Appear out of thin air?" She waved her hand around in the air, causing the keys to jingle and splash water everywhere.
"Bella, it's not my fault if you are exceptionally unobservant." I couldn't help but laugh at the obvious stress she was under trying to understand me. I figured now was a good time to ask her to let me drive her to Seattle. I'd feel much better knowing she was safe with me.
As if to change the subject she asked about the hold up in the parking lot the other day and why I was suddenly not pretending she didn't exist. I laughed, remembering the embarrassing situation I had put her in.
"That was for Tyler's sake. I had to give him his chance."
"You…" She flung her fist at me, jingling with keys, apparently at a loss for words.
"And I'm not pretending you don't exist."
"So you are trying to irritate me to death? Since Tyler's van didn't do the job?"
I was suddenly reminded of that time I almost lost her to Tyler's inept driving. I couldn't believe she still believed I regretted saving her that day.
"Bella, you are so absurd sometimes." I said.
She stared at me, trying to figure out her next move. She seemed to give up because she turned on her heel and began walking to school.
"Bella," I called, "wait!" She kept walking, though, but I wasn't going to be put off that easily.
I hurried so that I was next to her, matching my stride with hers. "I'm sorry, that was rude," I said. "But I'm not saying it isn't true…but it was rude to say."
"Why won't you leave me alone?" She said under her breath, avoiding eye contact with me and everyone else that began to stare at us.
"I wanted to ask you something, but you sidetracked me," I laughed. It felt so good to hear her voice and I kept picturing her last night, in her bed. She had asked me to stay, so here I was.
"Do you have a multiple personality disorder, or something?"
"You're doing it again." I said through gritted teeth.
She sighed, "Fine then. What do you want to ask me?"
Well, here was my chance. If I hadn't already completely blown my chance with her, her answer to my question would let me know. "I was wondering if, a week from Saturday—you know, the day of the spring dance—"
"Are you trying to be funny?" She demanded, apparently angry.
"Well you please allow me to finish?" I stopped her.
After she had calmed, I began again. "I heard you say you were going to Seattle that day, and I was wondering if you wanted a ride."
She looked shocked, her lips parted, unable to speak. "What?" She finally managed to say.
"Do you want a ride to Seattle?" I repeated.
"With who?" She looked around as if I was hiding a prospective date behind my back, or in my pocket.
Very slowly, so she wouldn't misunderstand, I said, "Myself, obviously."
I waited for her answer, thankful I didn't have the human tendencies to have an accelerated heart beat, or sweaty palms at times like these.
"Why?" She asked, confused.
"Well, I was planning to go to Seattle in the next few weeks, and, to be honest, I'm not sure you truck can make it." I figured that was a good enough excuse.
"My trucks works just fine." She said, defensively. "Thank you very much for your concern."
No, that wasn't how that conversation was supposed to go. Why couldn't she see the advantages of having me drive her? "But can you truck make it there on one tank of gas?" I offered.
"I don't see how that is any of your business."
"The wasting of finite resources is everyone's business." I pointed out.
She stopped and turned to me, not quite looking me in the eye. "Honestly, Edward," I felt such a thrill as she said my name. "I can't keep up with you. I thought you didn't want to be my friend."
"I said it would be better if we weren't friends," I corrected, "not that I didn't want to be."
"Oh, thanks," She said, exasperated, "now that's all cleared up."
I tried to clarify. "It would be more…prudent for you not to be my friend. I'm acting completely selfishly here and I'm tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella." She looked up into my eyes and for a moment I expected her to run from me, sensing the evil that was there. All the time we were talking her scent was flooding my senses. Part of me still wanted to taste her, to have her blood flood my mouth, but slowly I was beating that part into submission. Perhaps, right now when that feeling was overcrowding me, she would sense it and act responsibly for once. No matter how much I wished she wouldn't.
"Will you go with me to Seattle?" I asked again, wondering if she had forgotten the question.
There was a long pause and for a moment I was afraid she'd say no. She simply nodded her head and I couldn't help feel happy. I had succeeded where others had failed. Was I conceited enough to believe she preferred me to all the other boys at school?
"I'm glad." I said, truly, though I couldn't help but warn her, "You really should stay away from me. I'll see you in class."
I turned quickly before she could recant and headed towards my first class