When we last left off, Bella and Darcyward were about to kiss on the piano bench at Emmett's house when Rosalie interrupted them.
I do not own Twilight, I'm just trying to improve my crappy "dialouge."
Edward and Emmett walked us home in silence, then bade us goodnight at our front door. I wasted no time making my way up the staircase and into my bedroom. I shut the door and locked it without saying so much as one word to my sister or anyone else for that matter. I didn't even want to speak with Rosalie about her unusually sour mood or why she'd barged in on Edward and I while we were at the piano. Frankly, I had other matters I needed to sort before I was even prepared to think of anything else.
I simply wanted to close off everyone and everything, to be completely alone in my thoughts and feelings. At the moment I felt entirely alone on the inside and desperately needed my surroundings to reflect the same. For as long as I could remember, I craved solitude, not because disliked the company of others, but simply because I often felt as if others never truly understood me. I couldn't relate to them, nor they to me. Secondly, I'd always been able to find peace and comfort in being alone, of indulging myself in my own thoughts. Following my own lead was always an innate need I had.
But now, I just wanted to be alone because it was the second best thing to what I really wanted—to be with Edward Cullen.
I had wanted Edward to kiss me. It wasn't merely a desire borne from curiosity or even lust. I was drawn to him, almost mindlessly, like a moth to a flame. When a person is extremely hungry, all they can think of is food, so much so that it drowns out anything else in the brain. This was akin to that same sort of effect—when I looked at his face, saw his lips, felt his breath, smelled his skin, all I could think of was getting him as close to me as possible, and kissing seemed like the best way to go about that.
I sat on my bed after getting changed for the night and tried to further examine my feelings. I couldn't rightly discern why it was that I felt such a strong pull toward this person I'd only just met or why he muddled my emotions so thoroughly that one moment I cried and the next moment I was happy. I considered myself a very even keel person and it was unsettling to feel my emotions shift so suddenly and unpredictably.
Honestly, I didn't even like Edward. He was arrogant, sullen, ill-mannered. He'd slighted me multiple times and I'd only just met him. But there was something about him. It was simultaneously alluring yet completely maddening. I wanted him to argue with me so that I could best him with my keen sense of logic, only to kiss the inside of his palm to assure him that he was still a worthy adversary. I wanted to tease him so he'd scowl but then laugh along with me. Everything was becoming its own contradiction.
I slipped under the covers of my bed and was about to turn out the light on the bedside table when my phone chirped, indicating that I had a text message. It was from Edward.
Smiling, I gave the obligatory response.
Only Edward Cullen would tell a knock-knock joke about a Nineteenth century German philosopher. I rolled my eyes and played along.
His answer comes back within seconds.
Meh, who cares?
That did give me a good laugh and brightened my mood. There was nothing like a little nihilism to cheer a girl up. It was as if Edward could read my mind. Every cynic loves a partner in misery, no matter how much they deny it. I myself would've denied it vehemently just a few days ago.
I texted him back.
Thank you. I needed a laugh.
After a few minutes, the phone chirped again.
Isabella, you should only ever be happy. "A light heart lives long."
I smiled again and offered him a witty turn of phrase in reply.
Edward, is your love's labors lost?
I smiled when I read his prompt answer.
Not if I can help it.
Goodnight, Isabella. Sleep well.
I woke the next morning in a considerably better frame of mind. I dreamt of Edward all night—he'd say something sweet or give me that kiss we were supposed to have in the parlor at Emmett's house.
After breakfast, Rosalie sought me out in my bedroom to have a word with me. Despite my good mood, I was being rather aloof with her, barely saying a word to her at the table during out meal.
"Bella," she began. "Can you talk for a moment?" she asked.
"Of course. Come in," I replied, folding my knees to my chest so that she could sit at the foot of my bed.
"Yesterday, at Emmett's house, when I said it was time to go…I knew that you and Edward were about to kiss," she explained.
I looked down at the carpet, studying a bit of fluff that had landed there. As close as I was to my sister, I never discussed boys with her. I didn't discuss boys with anyone, actually, because I'd never had a reason to discuss them at all. There were a handful of them who seemed nice or better than average looking, but once I tried holding a conversation of any length with them, my interest would peter out.
There really was no way around it. I'd never met anyone like Edward before.
"Rosalie, I…" I tried to say but she interrupted me.
"I didn't think it was a good idea, Bella. I'm sorry to say that. You hardly know him. Besides, Emmett told me something, I don't know if it means anything but when I saw the two of you…" she explained, but now it was my turn to interrupt.
"What did Emmett tell you? Spit it out Rosalie," I urged, my tone getting firm now.
"Emmett has a cousin named Tanya who's visiting for the summer. She and Edward spend a lot of time together."
"What does that mean? She's his girlfriend?"
"I don't know. Emmett was just talking about what he'd been up to lately and it seemed like it was always the three of them doing things together."
I took a deep breath and sighed. The cynic in me was laughing hysterically at the hopeful romantic in me. I guess I should've known it was too good to be true. Of course other girls would show interest in Edward. Besides, he'd been callous and rude to me—he was being pleasant enough now, but who knew how long that would last.
"You're right, Rosalie. It's probably best that I keep him at arm's length. I wouldn't have kissed him had I known about this Tanya person. I suppose you did me a favor," I said, the disappointment in my voice very evident to my older sister.
"I'm sorry, Bella," she replied, putting her arms around me for a hug. I fought the urge to cry for some silly reason. I was more upset at myself than anything, to be honest. I'd gotten carried away and let my emotions overrule my sense of reason. I disappointed myself.
Somehow Rosalie managed to coax me into going to the mall with her and Alice. My knee-jerk reaction after my talk with her was to text Edward and tell him I wasn't going to the dance, but Rosalie convinced me not to. She reminded me that we were going in a group and that this wasn't necessarily a date. Edward did ask me to 'go with him' but if he could hang out with Emmett's cousin all the time, I could ride to the dance with him and back. Not to mention, I still had my doubts as to whether he really wanted to go with me or was simply pressured into it by Emmett. In the end, I reasoned that going with him meant nothing.
A few hours later I found myself stuck in Hot Topic while my sisters browsed and I contemplated suicide. Actually I would've considered this a mercy killing—dying to escape the chattering, squeaking ninnies who ambled around all this distasteful commercialism. It was euthanasia, really.
"Bella!" I heard Alice call.
I turned and looked at my sister holding up some hideous flower shaped barrette.
"What?" I replied.
"Lend me your debit card, please?" she asked, pouting at me pitifully.
"Come on, Bella, be nice," she whined.
"Why not just put an actual flower in your hair? They're cheaper and they smell nicer," I said, making a fruitless attempt to employ logic with her.
"But it wouldn't be as pretty," she sulked.
Just then a guy standing next to her handed a twenty dollar bill to the cashier. Alice turned and looked at him. I instantly objected.
"That's not necessary," I said.
"It's fine, I insist," he said with a charming smile and looking right at my sister. He had boyish good looks, with wavy blond hair and clear blue eyes.
"Thanks," Alice replied. She looked like she'd been hit over the head with a blunt object.
"Thank you—um…" I said, struggling because I didn't know his name.
"Jasper," he replied, putting his hand out for me to shake it.
We all introduced ourselves as we made our way out of the store. Jasper was quite friendly and soon we were chatting with him as we walked and found ourselves at the food court.
"Would you like to have lunch?" I asked.
"Sure, sounds good," he replied with that same charming smile.
Jasper and Alice were engrossed in conversation for most of the meal but eventually I got to ask a few questions myself.
"So, Jasper, do you live in Port Angeles?" I asked.
"Actually. I live in Forks. Well, I just moved there," he replied. "My dad is a doctor, he got a job at the new hospital," he explained.
This was interesting. I remembered Mrs. McCarty mentioning that there were three doctors coming to Forks—Dr. McCarty, Dr. Cullen and a third, who I believed was a psychiatrist if I remembered correctly.
"Oh, we've met Emmett and Edward," Rosalie chimed in, who'd obviously just realized the same thing I did. Jasper's face changed ever so slightly, but then he smiled again.
"Yeah, all three of our dads got jobs here. They've been friends since medical school," he said.
We chatted a bit longer and then resumed walking around the mall after finishing lunch. Jasper joined us for a while, talking to Alice mostly. At one point, Rosalie grabbed Alice and dragged her into a clothing store to show her something. Jasper and I waited outside, sitting on a wooden bench.
"So how long have you lived in Forks?" he asked.
"All my life," I replied. "I guess it's alright. I'd like to move out of Washington when I go to college," I added. On an impulse, I asked Jasper some questions that I was very curious to know the answers to.
"So, are you close friends with Edward?" I asked.
"Kind of, I guess. Mostly I see him a lot because our dads are friends. Otherwise, I don't really know if I'd hang out with him to be honest," he revealed.
"Really?" I replied. I was rather surprised by this. Edward and Emmett seemed as thick as thieves. It didn't look at all as if they had to be friends—it was obvious they wanted to be.
"To be honest, and I'd like to keep this private, but Edward isn't always the most decent person. He can be a little manipulative and dishonest," he explained.
I couldn't exactly be shocked by what Jasper had said. Edward did seem like two different people to me at times, and hearing about Tanya only seemed to confirm what Jasper was telling me.
"Somehow I'm not really surprised by that," I mused.
"I hate saying it about him. I wish it wasn't true. He's done some things—I don't want to get into exactly what, but he let me take the blame for them. My parents were furious and I got into a lot of trouble over things I didn't do. So, you can say I'm a little bitter," he revealed, his mouth in a firm straight line as he stared directly in front of him.
"Sorry about that, Jasper," I offered.
Thankfully the awkward silent that fell upon us was interrupted when Alice and Rosalie came out of the store. My feet were killing me and I was desperate to get back home at that point, especially since I did have two more final exams before school would be over. Jasper walked us to my truck and even carried our bags for us.
"Well, it was nice meeting you ladies," Jasper said with a smile.
"Nice meeting you," Alice fawned, making me slightly nauseous.
I tried to put Edward out of my mind as much as possible. I distracted myself with studying, mostly. But before I knew it, my eyes would drift away from the pages of my textbook and I'd stare off and daydream about him. I'd think about the person Jasper described and the person I'd spent time with. I had to admit, I was excited at the idea of seeing him and going to the dance. I wanted to be back on the piano bench, waiting for him to kiss me.
The week finally came to an end and by Friday afternoon my sisters had worked themselves into near hysteria over getting ready for the dance that evening. I failed to see why it was necessary for people's emotions to reach a fever pitch—it was only a dance in a high school gymnasium. But one would think my sisters were making decisions of life-altering proportions when deliberating over whether to use the frosted cherry lip gloss or the frosted strawberry lip gloss.
"Are you sure the world won't stop turning if you don't pick the right lip gloss, Alice?" I asked facetiously.
"Bella, make fun all you want, this is important. Some people like to look their best," she huffed.
I just rolled my eyes and walked away. I felt I looked perfectly fine. I wore my favorite pale blue dress with a flowing skirt that came up above my knee. I put a real flower in my hair just to irritate Alice.
Edward and Emmett arrived just on time. To my surprise, they had a girl with them.
"Hi," I said as they walked through the door. "I'm Bella," I said, offering my hand to shake hers.
"Hi," she replied, looking around with a bored expression on her face. She shook my hand like I was a leper, hardly touching it at all.
"Bella," Emmett chimed in. "This is my cousin Tanya. She's spending the summer with us. She's from Los Angeles," he added.
She did certainly look like someone from a big city. She had beautiful long blonde hair with deep blue eyes. Her tiny red dress didn't cover much but it looked expensive. Tossing her hair from her shoulder, she let out a long impatient sigh.
My mother corralled us all into the living room. Emmett and Edward both looked quite handsome wearing suits and ties. Edward's black jacket and skinny tie accentuated the deep green color of his eyes. I tried not to be too obvious that I noticed this, but he did catch my gaze. I turned my head my head quickly and stared at the clock on the wall instead.
"Hello, Isabella," he said, forcing me to look at him again. I was simultaneously glad and frustrated at having to do so. I turned and faced him; his mouth was turned up into that evil little smirk again. The one that made my blood boil even though I missed seeing it this past week.
"Hello, Edward," I replied in a soft voice.
"Well, it was nice of you boys to take the girls to the dance," Mother said, absolutely overflowing with joy at prospect of any of us dating a wealthy guy from a respectable family. Edward and Emmett smiled back at her uncomfortably.
"Of course, it's no surprise that Rosalie can attract attention, as pretty as she is," Mother gushed. Poor Rosalie looked mortified. "Now, Bella does usually go unnoticed but she has many other wonderful traits!" she exclaimed, making me feel like the ultimate consolation prize. Emmett shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other, and Tanya looked even more eager to leave. Edward's face turned dark in irritation, most likely at my mother's constant advertisement of how eligible her daughter's were.
"Mother!" I snapped through clenched teeth. My face must have been beet red. I felt humiliated.
Alice came down the stairs just then, thankfully, and I practically dragged her out the door. Rosalie and the guys followed quickly behind me, no doubt also desperate to get away from my mother's completely unfiltered yammering.
We all piled into Emmett's car—with him and Rosalie in the front. I wanted to sit next to Alice but she hopped in just behind Tanya and took the seat next her. Tanya didn't hide her frustration at not being able to sit with Edward. She all but glowered at my sister like she could strangle her.
So once again I was stuck next to Edward and his glare, which had returned to annoy and torment me. As if my mother's foolishness hadn't done enough, now I had to sit and endure his melancholic brooding. I turned away and stared out the window instead. I watched the large trees and green grass blur past us, wishing I could have just stayed home and disappeared into a book, where I had no mother who embarrassed me, where no one made me feel second best, where I could just forget who I was.
Sitting lost in my own misery, I felt something on my hand. I looked down on my lap and saw Edward's fingers lightly stroking my knuckles. I just watched them for a minute, how they gracefully strummed back and forth across my skin.
I knew all these things about Edward, what Jasper and Rosalie had told me, how Edward himself had acted toward me, but I didn't care. It didn't matter because I was feeling horribly alone and he was trying to remind me that I wasn't alone, that he was there trying to comfort me. Not to mention, there was still that unstoppable force that drew me to him no matter what.
I glanced over at his face. He looked at me quizzically, like he wanted to say something but wasn't sure if he should. Instead he gave me a small smile. His hand left mine and brushed against my cheek, wiping away the single tear I'd just shed. He shifted over towards me and put his arm around my shoulders very gently and tentatively, not sure if I would allow it, but I did. I rested my head in the space between his collarbone and his jaw. I felt him kiss the top of my head. His fingers gradually tangled into my hair, his palm over my temple and ear.
I felt perfect in that moment, absolutely pristine and perfect.
We arrived at the school where small crowds of people dressed in their nicest suits and dresses had already gathered. Edward and I pulled away from each other when the car stopped and doors began to open. It was as if we were both woken up from sleep and shook ourselves awake to come back to reality—to the reality where I didn't know what to believe about him or whether to trust him, where he probably didn't understand me at all and most likely didn't even care to try to.
I walked with Alice and attempted not to pay attention to where Edward was or whether he was looking at me. If he was, he no doubt had that same scowl on his face as he always did. We walked into the gymnasium where they'd decorated the ceiling with streamers and balloons. There were tables pushed off to the side, along with a buffet with finger foods, punch and soda. I lost Alice to her giggly friends and Rosalie was engrossed in conversation with Emmett. I sighed and walked about the room, hoping to become invisible. Finally, I took an empty seat at one of the tables.
I felt someone tap my shoulder. I turned and saw Edward with a plastic cup of punch in each hand. I get up from my seat and took the cup from him.
"For you," he said holding a cup out to me.
"Thank you," I replied, taking it from him.
We started wandering around the perimeter of the gym, slowly walking as we drank.
"You look pretty tonight," he told me, yet looking awkward into his cup of punch.
"I don't know why you say that to me," I answered plainly, not particularly caring if it offended him.
"You don't, really?" he replied, looking angry but at the same time defeated and exasperated. "Why can't I even compliment you, Isabella? Do you find me that unbearable?" he added.
I looked at him. Frankly, I just wanted to understand. Why did someone who seemed so arrogant and elitist even bother with me? Why? Like my mother said, I didn't attract attention. Why did he call me beautiful, comfort me when I was upset, and try to kiss me? Did he just want something from me? Surely other, more desirable girls would be more than willing to spend time with him.
Not really in the mood to talk, I simply finished my punch in several large gulps and walked over to the punch bowl to refill my cup, leaving him to stand several feet from me. He looked lost in thought when I turned and faced him again. I quickly finished my punch once again, feeling oddly lightheaded.
"Be careful, this punch has everclear in it," Edward warned.
"Ever-what?" I asked, feeling slightly foggy-headed.
"Alcohol, Isabella. It has some fairly strong alcohol in it," he explained with a smile. "I've tasted it before," he reveals.
"Oh," I said, looking down at my cup in curiosity.
Alice walked over to me, bubbling over in excitement. Once Rosalie was done introducing Emmett to every last person she knew, the two of them also joined us to drink some punch and pass the time. Soon the group grew bigger with various friends who came over to talk and Edward and I eventually drifted away from one another. Before I knew it, some slow music had started playing and people were forming couples to go and dance together. I was hoping Edward would ask me to dance but he didn't. I wasn't sure where he was, actually. Before I could locate him, someone else approached.
"Hi Bella," I heard a familiar voice say. I looked over to see Mike Newton standing in front of me. I spent most of the evening praying that I wouldn't run into him but of course I'd never have luck that good, so here he was, ready to inflict himself on me.
"Hello, Mike," I replied back in an empty, emotionless voice.
We had a little bit of small talk before Mike started going on an enormous tangent that was too boring and inconsequential for me to follow. Finally, he only stopped long enough to ask me to dance and I begrudgingly agreed. At least if I danced with him I didn't have to listen to him talk.
We got to the dance floor where Emmett and Rosalie were already swaying back and forth with their arms around each other in a loose hug. Mike tried to pull me close to him but I resisted. Not enough spiked punch on the world would erode my resolve. Unfortunately for me, he just kept talking, something about being on the baseball team.
If it were up to me, I'd avoid Mike Newton at every turn but I couldn't. His mother was close with mine and we've been neighbors with the Newtons for years. In fact, I know my mother would be over the moon if Mike and I dated—she hinted at it constantly, how athletic he was, how proud he made his parents. In other words, my mother liked to point out things that made no difference to me whatsoever when decided whether or not I found someone interesting.
The second the music ended, I pulled away from him and headed straight for the punch bowl. Much to my chagrin, Mike was following right behind me. Before I even left the dance floor, Edward suddenly appeared in front of me and blocked my path. He must have been waiting for me to finish dancing with Mike.
"Isabella?" he said, his face looking serious and slightly stern. I just looked at him. "May I have the next dance?" he asked politely. His tone sounded like I didn't have a choice but to say yes, so I simply nodded my head. He shot Mike a glare before walking away. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Attempting to discern why Mike was the object of Edward's scorn required more energy than I could muster.
I made my way to the snack table and the punch bowl and pour myself another cupful. I'd not been paying attention to whether Mike was still following me, and luckily, he wasn't. I noticed him chatting, his hands very animated, to a group of guys who were all just like him—athletes who liked sports cars and girls who'd go to make out point with them. Those guys all looked and acted the same to me.
Finishing the last of my cup of punch, I turned to throw it in the trash when I felt someone's gaze on me. I looked toward it and saw Edward, just a few feet from me, watching me. His expression had softened and he was no longer scowling. He was smirking, however, which by now I'd come to expect. I was feeling the full effect of the spiked punch, and it lightened my mood considerably. I admitted to myself that I wished I could just hate him, but I couldn't. The pull was too irresistible. So when he walked up to me, I couldn't help but smile.
"It's my turn for a dance," he said, holding his hand out for me to take it. I placed my palm against his and felt his fingers lace through mine. He wasn't holding my hand, I noted to myself, but rather joined it with mine. I liked that.
Dancing with Edward felt like the opposite of dancing with Mike. I wanted Edward to hug me close, to wrap his long arms around my waist and feel his hands on my back. I wanted to press my nose into his neck and breathe him in completely, to rest my forearms on his broad shoulders with my fingers tangled in his messy hair. I wanted all of those things and when Edward turned and looked at me once we'd reached the center of the dance floor, I could tell he wanted those things too.
"May I hold you?" he asked, uncertain of whether I'd permit him to do more than a formal stance.
"Could I say 'no'?" I asked back.
"You can say whatever you like," he replied, cocking his eyebrow and smiling.
"I'd like to say 'no' but I can't," I argued weakly, looking up into his eyes.
"Then what can you say?" he asked in a soft voice.
"I can only say 'please.' So please hold me, Edward," I replied, blushing as I held my arms out to him. He came to me and enveloped me in his embrace in one swift movement. He seemed more eager than I thought. I had the impression that I was at his mercy but I was beginning to realize that perhaps he felt just as helpless and desperate as me.
I rested my head on his chest and felt him kiss my hair like he'd done in the car. He had one hand on my shoulder blade and the other on the small of my back. I simply melted into him, letting his embrace take over me completely. I kept one hand on his chest, next to my face and the other on the back of his neck, my thumb stroking the edge of his hairline.
"You've bewitched me, Isabella," he confessed. His comment perplexed me. How could I have such command over him without even trying? Surely he knew that I could hardly control my own emotions around him, let alone control his.
I looked up at his face, resting my chin on his chest. Wearing my ballet flats with no heels made me quite a bit shorter than him, but I liked that. He looked back at me with a sweet but bemused expression, like he was waiting for me to challenge him, to say something sarcastic.
"I hardly think it's comparable to what you've done to me," I replied.
"Must you always disagree with me?" he asked playfully, shaking his head slightly.
"I'm not disagreeing with you, I'm merely pointing out something significant," I countered with a slight shrug, not backing down.
"You shut up."
"No, you shut up."
"You started it," I accused, raising my eyebrow at him.
"Yes, I told you to shut up first," he countered, looking so smug I could hardly stand it.
"Alright, make me," I dared, squinting at him.
"If only I knew how—you wouldn't make me so insane," he lamented, jutting his lip out at me, as if his sweet, handsome pouting would make a difference.
"The feeling is mutual, Edward," I complained back at him, rolling my eyes.
"God, you're infuriating when you do that, when you make that impetuous face and roll your eyes at me," he said, glaring at me and grinding his jaw. I felt his arms tighten around me.
"As if I find your smug expression delightful," I shot back, not realizing that I'd fisted my hand into a ball as it rested on his chest, crumpling his shirt in my grasp.
"I am not smug, Isabella," he insisted, his words clipped. His hand went up into the hair on the back of my head, coiling several thick locks around his fingers.
"I am not impetuous, Edward," I argued back, pulling the material of his shirt down toward me.
"No, you're worse. You're captivating, and intelligent, and beautiful," he murmured, his lips so full and delicious looking that I couldn't take my eyes off of them.
"You're worse," I insisted as his hand gently tugged my hair, forcing my face to line up perfectly with his. "You make me forget that I should hate you, hate you with a…"
"Passion?" he whispered, his warm breath on my lips. It gave me goose bumps.
My hand moved itself from gripping his shirt to cupping itself against his cheek. I felt his grasp on my hair loosen as he placed his palm on the side of my face.
"Yes," I breathed softly. I wasn't only saying 'yes' to what he'd just said, I was saying 'yes' to everything. 'Yes,' please kiss me. 'Yes,' make me incapable of hating you. 'Yes,' help me finally find someone who understands me, who likes me the way I am. I was saying 'yes' to all those things and a million other hopes and wishes I had.
I closed my eyes and felt his lips on mine. I instantly felt a chill, very much like the feeling you get when you say 'someone's walked over my grave,' after you shiver involuntarily. His mouth was soft, but his whiskers bristled. The contrast felt good. It all felt good. His thumb played up and down against my cheek, and my hand went into his messy hair, holding on to him as if he'd disappear at any moment. I felt his other hand rub the small of my back, playing with the way it lightly sloped at my tailbone.
Our kissing became more intense, and I sighed lightly into his mouth, leaving my lips parted—an unabashed invitation on my part to feel more than just his lips. He didn't disappoint me. His tongue gently eased into my mouth almost immediately, as if he'd been waiting for me to show him that was what I wanted. I definitely did want it, and it was even more amazing than I'd thought it would be. His touch was gentle but not lacking in enthusiasm at all. I could tell he wanted me. I could tell by the way he kept pulling me closer, kissing me slightly harder, making me breathe faster. I felt a rush of excitement that caused my heart to beat wildly in my chest.
Neither of us wanted to, but we were forced to break our kiss due to an extreme lack of oxygen on both our parts. Gasping and with our eyes glazed over, we both stood and stared before laughing. It was funny to see how we'd gotten so carried away. I looked down at my feet, feeling self conscious after getting so lost in the moment. We'd managed to dance through two songs now and I hardly noticed the time pass.
Edward suddenly pulled away from me and I saw someone approach us from the corner of my eye. It was Tanya.
"I'm sorry to interrupt," she said with an artificial smile. "But Edward promised me a dance earlier, and I'm holding him to it," she added, holding her hand out to him. His face was expressionless. If he was disappointed, he didn't show it.
"Come, I'm sure Bella appreciates you making her feel less lonely, isn't that right, Bella?" she pressed, turning to face me.
I gave a weak smile and nodded as I felt a wave of nausea hit me. Her words of ridicule stung harshly and I was certain she'd meant them that way. I turned my back to them and walked quickly. I wanted to run but was afraid I'd knock into someone, or worse, get my foot caught on something and fall.
Increasing my pace, I found my way outside and into the parking lot. I walked as fast as I could, doing nothing but watching the asphalt under my feet. I heard Edward call my name behind me but I just kept going. Soon his footfalls became louder and louder, until his hand seized my shoulder, forcing me to stop.
"Isabella," he said, spinning me around and holding both my arms. "Don't run away from me," he demanded, looking agitated.
"I'm not running away from you! I'm taking a walk and I want to be alone," I answered loudly, trying to squirm out of his grasp. "Why don't you leave me alone, Edward, why?" I shouted.
"Because I can't!" he yelled back at me. "Do you know how hard I tried? I tried not thinking about you and I couldn't. So, I texted you all week and you never replied to a single one. It just made me think about you even more," he added. His green eyes were so intense as they looked right into mine. "You drove me out of my mind," he said loudly through pursed lips. "Three times, Isabella," he added, letting go of one of my arms to hold up three fingers, "three times I drove past your house, wanting to see you," he confessed, his voice getting softer. "I wanted to see you so much," he said, sounding defeated.
"Why should I believe you? Maybe I am just a lonely girl to you. But I'm not lonely. I just like being alone—there's a difference. I want to be alone," I said, my tears betraying my words.
"I don't want to be around you because I think you're lonely," he argued, looking insulted at my accusation. I just looked away from him and shook my head, indicating that he hadn't convinced me of anything.
"If you don't believe me, Isabella, believe this," he murmured, taking my hand and placing it on his chest. I felt his heart beating rapidly, as if he'd been running, when in reality he hadn't been; he wasn't even winded from walking to catch up with me. "Why do you think my heart is beating so fast? Because I pity you? Because I'm toying with you?" he asked, my hand pressed between his chest and his palm.
I looked up at him, at his pained expression, and it was almost more than I could stand.
"I just want to be alone," I pleaded, very unconvincingly. "Just leave me alone," I said softly, resting my head on his shoulder. His hand went to my cheek, stroking it softly.
"I know. I want to leave you alone, and never think about you again," he whispered into my hair.
"I don't want you around me," I replied, wrapping my arm around his waist tightly. "I wish you'd just go away," I added, lifting my face to his and staring at his lips. They looked so warm and inviting.
"I wish you'd let me, I don't want to be around you at all," he told me, staring back at my lips in return.
I tried to push him off me but all I did instead was use the lapels of his jacket to pull him toward me. His hand gently nudged the back of my head so that I had no choice but to lean my face into his.
"I hate you," I whispered.
"I hate you, too," he whispered back.
This time I initiated a kiss, closing my eyes and moving my lips against his hurriedly, not being able to wait a second longer. He responded with just as much impatience, taking a deep breath as his arm pulled me into him so tightly, it was almost painful. Our lips ground together and we moaned loudly, not being able to contain ourselves any longer.
"Edward," I gasped, pulling away from him. "Please, take me out of here. I don't care where we go, I just want to get out of here," I insisted.
"I'll ask Emmett to drive us to my house. I can take you home from there," he offered, playing with a lock of my hair.
"OK. My parents don't expect me back any time soon. We don't even have a curfew tonight," I said, smiling at him. He smiled right back, a big smile that showed the little creases on the sides of his mouth.
"Wait right here," he replied, turning quickly on his heel.
A few minutes later, Emmett was taking us to Edward's house. Pulling into the huge driveway, I was slightly stunned at the size of his home. It was a large, modern structure with lots of big windows overlooking the acres of greenery around it.
As we got out of the car, I thanked Emmett and asked him to tell Rosalie that I wouldn't be back home until late, and that if my parents asked to tell them I was at my friend Angela's house. I quickly texted her to ask her to cover for me if need be. I dreaded doing this, not because I was lying but because I'd never done anything like this before and I knew Rosalie and Angela were going to want to know every detail of why I needed to lie. I did feel slightly guilty for deceiving my parents, mostly because I didn't like being dishonest to my father but I rationalized that it was only this once.
"Where are your parents?" I asked, noticing that the house had very few lights on.
"We still have our house in Seattle. They're spending the weekend there," he explained. "My mom wanted me to come with them, but I…really wanted to see you, and she was fine with me staying here. They trust me," he added with that smug smile.
Edward helps me through the front door by gently placing his hand on the small of my back, urging me to go ahead of him. His small gestures of kindness and manners are in stark contrast to the way he's behaved around me before, and I don't want to be suspicious that he has other motives but I can't help it.
We walked through the large foyer and living room and I took in how tastefully decorated his home was. We made our way into a huge kitchen with a center island and various pots and pans hanging from hooks on the ceiling. The looked spotless, its granite countertops and stainless steel appliances gleaming under the soft track lighting.
"Can I offer you something to eat or drink?" he asked politely.
"Actually, that punch hasn't been too kind to me. Would it be alright if I made myself a piece of toast and a cup of coffee?" I asked shyly.
"No, it would not be alright," he replied with a smile. "Because I'd like to make them for you," he added, showing me to a seat at the breakfast bar. I smiled and sat down, watching him move about the room, preparing my snack.
Edward took the seat next to me after bringing over two cups of coffee and a plate of toast. We chatted for a long while as we sat and sipped our drinks. We talked about our favorite subjects at school and our various hobbies. He told me about his love for music and piano in particular, but he also loved science—astronomy especially.
"I love looking up at the stars," he said. "I've had a telescope ever since I was really little. Space just really fascinates me, how huge and limitless it is. Makes me want to go out and explore it," he revealed.
"Do you like going to new places and seeing new things?" I asked.
"Oh, definitely. I don't want to stay in one place forever. Seattle was OK, but I want to see other cities. I've traveled a little with my parents, but I want to go on my own and take my time. One day I will," he said with a determined smile.
"I'd love to do that," I agreed with a sigh. "Forks is so small and I've been to Seattle so many times. I want to travel to all over and see all kinds of things," I said wistfully.
"Hey, I've got an idea. Come upstairs with me," he said, standing up. I got up from my seat and he took my hand, squeezing it gently.
He led me to his bedroom, to an entire wall full of books from floor to ceiling.
"Where would you like to go?" he asked with a grin.
"To go?" I replied, confused by his question.
"Yes, pick a place to visit and I'll try my best to take you there," he said. I still didn't fully understand but answered him anyway.
"England," I answered impulsively. It was the first place I could think of.
"Very good, I can definitely take you there," he said with a smile and a nod. He pulled a large hardcover book from the shelf—it looked like a glossy coffee table book about travel. The word 'England' appeared across the front cover.
He took my hand again and led me to the bed. He sat and placed the book next to him, then pulled me onto his lap. He put the book over us and flipped it open to the first page.
"Let's go to England," he said sweetly. We sat contentedly, perusing all the pictures and reading the little factoids and anecdotes out loud to each other. Edward tried reading in a funny English accent in an attempt to make me laugh. I rolled my eyes at him and giggled despite myself.
"There you go again, looking impetuous and rolling your eyes," he chided softly.
"It's not my fault your accent is terrible," I countered, my mouth betraying me by turning up into a smile. He closed the book and tossed it to floor with a thud.
"Well, we're done with the book. Thank you for going to England with me," he said.
"Thank you for taking me," I replied sheepishly. I felt his arms tighten around my waist.
"Where do you want to go next?" he asked in a soft voice, lightly rubbing my chin with his thumb.
"I don't want to go anywhere."
"You don't? Why not?"
"Because I'm already where I want to be."
"So am I."
"Kiss me again, Edward," I whispered.
His lips found mine and it was just as magical as the first time. This time I was actually more nervous because we were alone and in private. A voice in my head told me I was being extremely foolish and entirely too trustworthy but I was just completely entranced by Edward. I knew Rosalie wouldn't approve but I didn't care. She was only a year older than me, and at almost seventeen, I felt I knew just as much as she did about people. I honestly didn't trust or have faith in most of them but Edward made me forget all that. He made me forget how cynical I was, how disconnected I felt from the rest of the world. But Edward didn't draw me out of my little cocoon—he didn't force me out into the harsh light of day. Instead, he simply curled up next to me. He found my little hiding place, where it was safe and dark and just wanted to be in it with me, keeping me warm and secure.
"Edward," I sighed as his lips traveled along my jaw and down my neck.
"Isabella, so beautiful," he whispered back into my skin.
I caressed his hair softly, letting my fingers slowly graze across the side of his head. I heard him kick off his shoes before he pulled us down so that we were lying in the center of his big king-sized bed. I kicked off my ballet flats, my toes curling of their own volition as our kissing became more heated. I felt my skin flush when our hands began roaming around each others bodies. It was wonderful, intoxicating and delicious. But the intensity of it also scared me a little. I pulled away from him, interrupting our kiss.
"Can we…this might," I tried to say, my tongue being completely uncooperative because of how awkward I felt.
"We won't do anything you don't feel comfortable doing," he reassured me in a soft voice. "I'm happy just to be close to you."
"Thank you," I replied, smiling sheepishly. "I do like kissing you; it feels like we've always been kissing, but it also makes the butterflies in my stomach flutter all over," I confessed as I felt my face heat up.
"I could kiss you forever, but I doubt you'd let me because you enjoy being cruel to me. I'm lucky you let me kiss you at all," he teased.
"You're lucky if I ever let you kiss me again after that comment," I replied, poking him in the arm.
"See, you are cruel," he teased again.
"Cruel because I won't reward you for teasing me?"
"Kissing you isn't a reward. It's hard work," he argued playfully, twirling a lock of my hair.
"Is that right? Well, then let me not keep you from your arduous task," I quip, scratching his chin. Laughing, he leaned forward and put his mouth on mine, gently coaxing my lips open with his soft tongue. I obliged and let the warm wetness of it go past my teeth and tease my own tongue lightly.
We kissed for what seemed like minutes when it was really over an hour. By then, we were panting and breathless but neither of us cared. I stifled a yawn—it had been a very long day.
"Would you like to rest for a bit?" Edward asked, seeing me yawn and noticing my sleepy eyes. I nodded softly and felt him pull a blanket over us. I settled into the crook of his neck and as soon as his arms were wrapped around me, I dozed off with a glowing smile on my face, happily curled up in my little cocoon.