When I pulled into the driveway, Emmett's Wrangler was already sitting in the garage. Damn it. He'd beaten me home for the past couple of months now, mostly due to my inclination of preventing Bella from having a stroke. Still, it was his victorious thoughts that brought about that frustration that was so rare these days.

"I could take my own car," Bella pointed out, scrutinizing my expression. "I hate holding you back." I tightened my grip on the wheel, shaking my head. She was so perceptive, much more than I could ever dream of being.

"Bella, you have never held me back," I corrected her quietly. Suddenly, we were not talking about childish car racing anymore. "Quite the contrary, actually. You're like a stimulant." Despite my odd word choice, Bella smiled. I watched silently as she rested her forehead against the cool glass window, watching Alice and Jasper dancing through the open door.

"You always compare me to illegal substances," she mentioned, displaying her poor acting skills as a smile broke her pout. I laughed along with her, shaking my head and staring at the car ceiling.

"You have a much stronger affect than any illegal substances," I corrected her, kicking open the car door. In less than a second, I was pulling open the passenger door. With our hands entwined, we headed inside. I could almost hear their thoughts, Esme's especially.

Valedictorian, again. He's most likely going to fail the next few tests deliberately. That's so like him, to give up everything that he's worked for. Of course, he's only being fair in his mind.

Emmett, though slightly preoccupied with Rosalie, was amused by the whole situation. What a dumbass. Just make a goddamn speech at graduationā€¦ It's really not that big of a deal.

"It's a big deal to some of the others, Emmett," I muttered, knowing that he could hear me. Bella glanced up at me in confusion, but I merely shook my head and muttered, "Later." I could hear Emmett sliding open the dining room window, Rosalie's light shadow looming in the background.

"Oh, right," he snapped, his eyes lit up with amusement and his voice heavy with sarcasm. "We all know how you care so much about what those humans think." I glared at Emmett, tightening my arm around Bella's shoulders.

"I take offense to that," Bella teased, blushing slightly. Emmett's loud guffaw sounded as he slid the blinds shut.

"You're hardly a human anymore, Bella," he called. I glanced down at Bella, perturbed by the comment. That was not true, was it? Bella blushed, and she slept. Yes, my Bella slept. But was she human? She certainly did not act human. She sat with us, talked with us, talked with almost no one else. She did not have girls' night outs with anybody but Alice, and she was not concerned with her college education.

"Don't listen to him," Bella whispered, taking my face in her hands and looking me in the eye. "He's trying to embarrass us." I scoffed, searching her face.

"You don't know what he's thinking," I reminded her. Bella rolled her eyes, letting her hands drop and connect at the back of my neck.

"Then why don't you tell me?" she challenged. I blinked, yet I focused in on my favorite brother's mind.

Did that bother him? I need to watch what I say. Esme will be annoyed if he throws another fit later. It's really his fault though, after all. He should just change her already. He can't expect her to live a human life while he's here. And he's not leaving again, so he should just get on with it.

Typical Emmett. Creating an immortal was certainly not something that you 'got on with'.

"What's he thinking?" Bella persisted, glancing anxiously inside. I zoned out once more, narrowing in on his clear thoughts. They were directed towards me now, as though he was having a one-sided internal conversation.

She's pale as it is. You can't leave her like that forever. God knows she'll get hurt eventually.

I shook my head with frustration. "No, Emmett," I hissed. "Why did you say that she's 'barely human'," Comprehension filled Emmett's thoughts. I concentrated, though Bella's soft hands on my neck made it quite difficult.

Bro, she's picked up our habits. She doesn't eat much. She sits still. She barely sleeps. Damn, she doesn't even blink that much. She fits in so naturally, it's not a bad thing. Only you act like being one of us is some revolting, horrible thing. Did you ever consider what she wants?

"All the time," I muttered instinctively. Bella grimaced, perplexed.

"Is that what you think about?" I asked quietly. "All of the time?" Bella shook her head, picking up on what I meant at once.

"Of course not," she replied. "There are- things- that I think of all of the time. Immortality- being one of you, that is- is only something that I think about at night." I furrowed my brow; she had a way of throwing me off guard. Bella tangled both of her hands in her long mahogany hair, shaking her head in exasperation. Heaving a sigh, she continued.

"Every night, when you try to make me sleep, I can't help but thinkā€¦ I can't help but think that I shouldn't be sleeping," she explained. "Did it ever occur to you that I'm not even conscious half the time that we're together?" She looked at me through her eyelashes, not even reacting to the new fallen rain drops. I shook my head.

"It doesn't matter," I replied, concerned with her concern. "You sleep talk more than any regular person talks while they're awake."
"'Regular'?" Bella inquired, widening her eyes in feigned insult. I laughed.

"Bella, you and I both know that you are anything but regular."

I wrapped my arm around her waist as we both headed inside. The first stroke of lightning fell as twilight descended.