I toyed with my fettuccini, drowning the smooth noodles in tiny rivers of cheese. Edward and I were celebrating and mourning the end of summer at La Bella Italia, the place we frequently referred to as "our restaurant". He, of course, ordered nothing. We were both quiet, as I had just brought up his irritating refusal to turn me into one of him.
"I've said it before, Bella, I will not ruin your life so thoroughly," he said coldly, breaking the silence.
"It's not ruining my life," I countered, looking up from my food. "I'll be with you forever. That's all I want!"
"You will be with me forever," he insisted, reaching for my hand swiftly. I pulled it off the table.
"Not forever for me," I argued. "Forever for everyone. For everything. I want to be with you until the end of everything." It was difficult and unusual for me to express myself like this, to tell him exactly what I thought, what I wished for. I watched as his eyes filled with sorrow.
"I don't want you to feel that way," he whispered, his voice raspy. "I don't want you to want to become a monster so much," he moaned. He'd obviously heard the yearning in my tone.
"Well, I do," I continued stubbornly. "I really do want to be like you." His face was stoic as he stared at me.
"You don't know how hard it is," he groaned. "It's three days of intense, horrible pain, so awful that you only wish for death, and for what? An eternity of darkness and emptiness, and the pain never leaves your throat. All the time, there's only the burn, nothing else, just pain." His eyes were grave as they watched me. I couldn't help but cringe.
"I don't care," I lied quickly. "I won't think about it. As long as I'm with you, I can't feel pain."
"That's a lie," he scoffed coldly. "I've seen you, writhing in pain even if I'm there, holding your hand. And if I bite you, then all of your pain is my fault. Just like it's always been. Bella, I can't hurt you again."
"Fine!" I cried. "I'll ask Carlisle!"
"No, Bella," he said sternly, standing up and gesturing for me to do the same. He threw a twenty dollar bill on the table, though I knew that my solitary meal had been less than half that. "You will never be a vampire. This discussion is over," he finished in an undertone. I followed him to the door sulkily.
"It's not over until I'm immortal," I said firmly, staring straight ahead. He didn't answer. As we emerged onto the sidewalk, he offered his hand. I ignored it, and he soon pulled it back. He walked beside me. We did not talk or look at each other.
Soon, we encountered an old woman leaning against the wall of a building. She held out a tray of food samples.
"Try our new dessert bread?" she asked croakily. I noticed that the sign above her head read, "Mary Ann's Bakery".
"Sure," I said, reaching out for one of the toothpicks lodged in a piece. She picked it up and handed it to me.
"Yes, thank-you," said Edward, surprising me. The old woman handed him a piece. Edward turned and began to walk away. I followed, being careful not to trip as I hurried to match his quick pace.
"Why did you take it?" I whispered, inclining my head toward him.
"I was just being polite," he murmured back.
"Well, she's still watching," I informed him. "You have to eat it now." I grinned smugly and took a bite of my sample as I watched him nibble off a corner of the bread. I turned away, smirking a bit. However, as I tried to take another bite, his pale, strong hand caught my wrist and he thumbed the bread out of my hand. "What is it?" I asked, startled.
"This bread has blood in it."