It was dark outside, the only light radiating from the disco balls inside. Edward was somehow standing twenty feet away next to a rundown Nativity scene, though I was pretty sure that I had been only a yard or two behind him. I shrugged this thought off, pulling my cardigan tighter around me as I approached him. His eyes were on the sky the whole time.
When I reached him, there were three feet between us. He did not seem to notice me there, so I simply stood there and pretended to be admiring the stars. As I had predicted, he was silent for eternity. But when he did speak, I jumped out of my reverie at once.
"I don't really enjoy parties," he admitted, almost vulnerably. "Do you?" I bit my bottom lip, shrugging. Sometimes I was under the impression that he was planning on writing my biography.
"They're not all that horrible," I replied tentatively, glancing back inside. Edward blinked in shock, obviously expecting a different answer. Slowly, the corner of his mouth twitched.
"You're lying," he pointed out, and I blushed. At the same time, I was angry. He was right; the only reason that I came was for my mother's dream of me being a socialite like her. As if reading my mind, Edward added, "You take great pleasure in pleasing your parents. That's why your hair is curled, and that's why you refused that beer in there."
"How do you always do that?" I demanded, turning around to face him. He smirked, melting my unwilling heart.
"Do what?" he countered, making me scoff.
"You know damn well 'what'," I snapped, though I instantly regretted it. I did not like upsetting him.
"Are you referring to your predictability?" he teased. "Because in that case it's you're fault, not mine." I rolled my eyes, clucking my tongue against the roof of my mouth.
"Is that why you asked me to come outside?" I whispered softly, deciding that guilt might soften him up a bit. "To ridicule my motives?" Edward smiled crookedly, forcing me to look away.
"No," he answered simply. I turned towards him, furrowing my brow as I waited for an explanation. He simply stared off at the constellation, focusing on Orion. I followed his gaze, trying to focus on the stars. This didn't work out too well.
"Seriously," I sighed, staring at his jaw line until his eyes met mine, "How do you do it?" Edward cocked an eyebrow.
"I'd like to hear your theories first," he challenged, and I set my jaw.
"Fine," I began. "My first one is that you're a Soviet spy. You've singled me out because of my father's position in the army." To my embarrassment, Edward let out a loud laugh. Just hearing him chuckle made me grin, though I made a great effort to hide it.
"That's your first theory?" he confirmed, clearly patronizing me. "In that case, would you mind if I took you back to the P.O.W. camp and held you hostage?" I shook my head, playing along.
"Go ahead," I joked, "but then you won't get to hear my second theory." Edward sighed, leaning against the burlap awning of the Nativity scene and smiling.
"Tell me," he surrendered. "I guess there won't be any P.O.W. action." I stuck my jaw in the air.
"Certainly not," I confirmed. "But theory two might possibly involve some trouble with the law. You see, I have this hypothesis that you're a stalker. I'm not sure what type, exactly, but it definitely involved some illegal activity. What do you say to that?" Edward shrugged.
"That's sound legitimate," he replied, "but you're wrong. Any others?" I considered this. The honest answer was 'yes', but I could not bring myself to admit it.
"Maybe... just idiotic ideas though," I blurted out.
"And 'stalker' and 'war spy' don't qualify as idiotic ideas?" Edward countered, winking at me. I blushed, glancing down at my hands.
"Well, I've considered wizard, fortune teller, vampire, mind-reader and... just a good people-reader?" I muttered, all in one breath. I expected Edward to laugh again, but he was quite solemn.
"Why?" he demanded. I shrugged, slightly frightened by his sudden abruptness.
"Well you seem to know what people are thinking..." I answered, sounding quite foolish.
"No," Edward snapped, shaking his head impatiently. "Why 'vampire'? Vampires can't read minds." I laughed, buttoning my cardigan.
"'Vampires can't read minds'?" I repeated, dumbfounded, "How about 'Vampires don't exist at all'. You can't define things that are not even real." Edward frowned, considering this.
"I suppose so," he agreed slowly, "But it's still a theory of yours?" I shrugged.
"Not the dominant one. I like the whole Prisoner of War idea, honestly." Edward laughed, sending chills up my spine.
"I'll let you go back inside," he offered, and my heart failed. True, I could hear my favorite song playing from the church basement, but I did not want to share him with anybody else; it was honestly miraculous that nobody else had claimed him yet.
But I was completely helpless as he led me back to the party, his ghostly hand cold on my elbow and his topaz eyes warm on face.