I Won't Die For You

Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight Characters.


I looked over at the man sitting next to me and cringed. It wasn't that he was ugly or unattractive, he was very nice looking. It was the way he leaned forward and let his shoulders slump in defeat. He was showing his discomfort in his body language. For some odd reason it angered me. If you choose to come to a self-help group you should be willing to put on a brave front. I actually was pissed because he was sitting the way I wanted to sit.

I finally spoke up and answered a question. I wanted to prove I was here and willing to participate fully. I felt less desperate if I could smile and nod as if it all made sense.

"I feel my childhood helped to mold me, but the clay isn't hardened. I can reshape some things if I need to," I said confidently.

My neighbor said something softly under his breath too quickly for me to catch. I turned to look at him and noticed his oddly colored eyes. It wasn't a natural color so I knew he was wearing contacts. He looked away quickly and I gave him a disapproving tisk. He wasn't even strong enough to be cynical.

The counselor went on with her counseling, but I was now too distracted to listen. Something about the guy was beyond odd. He never moved. He sat too still as if he was made of stone. I found myself watching him closely for signs of life.

I was called on to add my impression to something the class was talking about and instantly turned red from embarrassment. The guy next to me turned away so he wouldn't have to look at me. I was grateful he missed my blood soaked face vessels.

"I'm sorry, can you repeat the question?" I asked.

"Do you believe in God," the man next to me said without looking at me, giving me the question I had missed.

"Oh, um, yeah, I guess," I said without conviction.

He finally turned to face me and said, "You guess?"

I was quickly growing to dislike him very much. I smirked and said, "Well, I haven't seen much evidence of him in my life, so you'll have to excuse me if I have a bit of doubt."

He sat back in his chair so he was even with me and said, "If you don't believe in God, how can you believe in evil?"

"Oh I see," I said angrily. "My husband beat the shit out of me because he was evil, not just a pansy ass man."

The rest of the room began adding commentary to our discussion and the guy went back to his slumped posture. I wanted to scream at him to sit up and act like he was worth something, but I realized I was only projecting my feelings onto him. I made sure to sit up straight so people wouldn't know how terrified I was all the time. If I couldn't be strong emotionally, I would damn sure act like I was.

I listened to the room and tried to block out the man next to me. When the session was over we all stood and joined hands. I pulled mine quickly away and looked up at him.

"Your hands are freezing," I said loudly.

The woman on the other side of him nodded in agreement, but she had managed to refrain from a rude outburst.

"I have Reynaud's syndrome," he said softly.

"What's that?" I asked, again forgetting to use any attempt at being polite.

"My hands and feet are extremely cold," he mumbled, and crossed his arms so we couldn't take his hands.

We all chanted a mantra to stay confident and know we are worthy of love and kindness. I said the words, but they didn't penetrate like I hoped they would. I put on my jacket and headed out of the room, after grabbing the obligatory 'keep your chin up' donut.

I was walking down the sidewalk to my car with my shoulders squared, my chin raised high, and my steps wide and purposeful, just like I had been taught. I happened to glance behind me and saw the weird guy walking way too closely to me. I hadn't heard him and it freaked me out a bit.

"What do you want?" I asked, as I abruptly stopped.

He stammered a bit and wouldn't look directly at me. I wondered what had caused him to be so timid. He appeared strong enough to handle himself, but he had victim written all over his actions.

"I just, I was wondering, I thought maybe…."

Oh God, this was excruciating. Surely he wasn't asking me on a date. He finally managed to say, "May I walk you home?"

I laughed, because the thought of him offering me protection was a bit funny. It would be much safer if I walked him home. At least I would fight back if someone jumped us. I shook my head and pointed to my car. "I drove," I said. "I live in Forks."

"Oh," he replied and remained still in front of me.

"I could give you a ride," I finally added, because the silence was uncomfortable.

He looked around as if waiting for someone to tell him what to do and then finally said, "Okay."

Okay, he was going to get into my car and I would have to drive with him sitting there slumped over like a boy who dropped his ice-cream cone. I got into the driver's seat and turned to look at him. He moved quickly, almost too quickly. Usually people climbed into a car and took a moment to settle. He was buckled and ready to go instantly.

"So, what's your name?" I asked, before starting the engine.

"Edward Cullen," he said, and didn't ask mine in return.

"Which way Edward Cullen?" I laughed. He looked like he suddenly thought it was a bad idea for me to give him a ride. Maybe he had an abusive wife or father and coming home with a stranger would lead to a beating. This I understood, so I added softly. "I can drop you at a corner if it would help?"

"I live outside of Forks," he said.

My mouth fell open because I lived in Forks and I didn't know the name Cullen. It wasn't like it was a big city. My father was the police chief, so I knew almost everyone. I wondered how he ended up in Port Angeles if he didn't drive here.

"How did you get here?" I asked.

"My um…sister drove me," he said, and he was an awful liar.

There was something he was keeping quiet and I was fine with it. He was nobody to me and I wouldn't pry into his life. I started the car and drove toward Forks. The road was covered in fog and I had to drive extra slowly to see the road. Edward didn't talk so I almost forgot he was in the car. He suddenly said, "It is the next turn on the right."

"Oh my God, how can you see the road?" I said, as I slowed even more.

"I was watching the odometer," he said, and I looked down at the dash and back over at him. There was no way he could see it from where he was sitting, but I didn't question him.

I saw the faint road and pulled onto the small tree covered lane. He didn't ask me to stop so I kept going until I came to a large home in the middle of the forest. It was all white with a stark appearance. It didn't blend into its surroundings, but stood out like it didn't belong. I pulled right in front of the house at the stairs and waited for him to exit.

He hesitated and turned to look at me. "The fog is thick; can you find your way home?"

I laughed although I didn't find it funny. I had driven all this way without a word from him. Did he think his mere presence helped me find my way? "I'm fine," I said.

He got out of the car and I noticed a face peering through the curtains. I wondered if he would be in trouble for having a woman drive him home. "Hey, Edward," I called out.

He looked back into the car. "Do you want me to come in and explain anything to anyone?"

He glanced at the house as if the thought of someone watching angered him. He took a deep breath and finally nodded in agreement. I seriously didn't expect him to want me to come in. I offered just to be polite. I wasn't up for some screaming wife accusing me of chasing after her broken husband.

I turned off the car and got out hesitantly. He walked up the steps and opened the door before I even made it around the car. I followed and when I got inside he stood nervously in a beautiful entry way.

"Do you own this house?" I asked him.

"No, my parents own it," he said.

I was confused since he was obviously a grown man. Maybe he was part of some wealthy family and they bought a home for him. I nodded as if I understood and looked up to see a small woman enter the foyer.

"Hi," she said in a cheery voice.

Edward visibly cringed and I looked back at the woman and smiled. "Hi," I replied.

"I'm Alice, Edward's sister," she said, and I held out my hand and felt her cold skin just like her brothers. She also had the same strange color of eyes he had and I began to wonder if perhaps they weren't contacts after all.

"I gave him a ride," I said, and she giggled loudly as he glared at her.

I was lost and a bit confused. Edward didn't seem to cower in this place like he did at the meeting. He seemed confident around his sister and I wondered if she was the person I was supposed to be explaining to. A man and woman entered the foyer and instantly insisted that I come in. Alice was almost giddy, but Edward looked mortified at the thought I would socialize with his family. They stayed back in the shadows and I felt like they were inviting me in just to be polite so I declined.

"I have to be going," I said and reached for the door.

"Thank you for bringing our son home," the woman said.

My hand instantly fell from the handle and I asked, "Edward is your son?"

They all looked at each other as if something wrong had been said. The couple couldn't be much older than I am, yet the woman called Edward her son. I watched as they struggled to come up with an explanation and finally the woman said, "He is actually my sister's son, but she died. We think of him as our own."

I glanced at Alice and wondered how she fit into the equation, but I didn't ask. I told them all goodnight and walked back to my car. Edward followed and stood on the porch as if protecting me. I chuckled and got in to drive away.

I pulled out slowly onto the main road and leaned forward to struggle to see through the thick pea soup fog. It lifted as I pulled into town, so I sat back to relax. I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw what appeared to be Edward standing on the edge of the road. I turned my head to look behind me but there was nothing. I'm sure my imagination was playing tricks on me.

I had moved back in with my father after leaving Jake. I was certain he was disappointed. My dad loved the Black family and the idea of us joining through marriage. It was Jake's love of liquor that ended us. We tried to make it work, but he was an angry drunk who found pleasure in hitting me after a night out with the guys. I packed up my stuff and went home feeling like a failure.

My father was the one who suggested I attend the meetings in Port Angeles. He wanted his old daughter back, the one who smiled a lot and loved being by his side. I often wondered if she would ever return again.

I headed upstairs to my room and took a shower before climbing into bed. I hoped the awful dreams would stay away tonight. I knew how much they upset my father. I fell asleep and instead of dreaming of fists coming at me I dreamed of beautiful music playing softly throughout the house.


The next morning I made breakfast for my dad. He sat at the table in his uniform and read the paper. I sat across from him and watched him for a moment. He was so handsome and I wondered why he never remarried after my mother left.

"Dad, do you know the Cullens?" I asked out of the blue.

"Dr. Cullen?" he asked.

"I don't know. They live north of town in an old mansion."

"Yes, that's him. He is new to our area hospital. I understand we are very lucky to get a man with his credentials," he said without looking up from his paper.

"I met Edward Cullen," I said, and my dad finally gave me his full attention.

"Is he the single one?" he asked.


"They have three kids and two of them are married," he added.

"Have you met them?" I asked, "Because Dr. Cullen and his wife are like thirty."

He chuckled and then said, "I'm sure they are older than they look. But I understand the kids are family but not their literal children."

"Yeah, Mrs. Cullen told me Edward was her sister's son. She died," I added. "But why would he be in a group for survivors of abusive spouses if he was still single?"

"Maybe it was an abusive girlfriend," he suggested. I nodded and continued on with my breakfast as he went back to his paper.

I got dressed for the day and headed to work. I taught at the area high school and loved my job. It kept my mind off of the drama of my divorce and the kids always managed to cheer me up in some way or another.

I walked into my classroom and froze when I saw someone waiting for me. I had no idea why Edward would show up where I worked and wondered if I didn't have a stalker on my hands. I remained close to the door and asked, "What are you doing here?"

"I'm a sub today. I will be across the hallway," he said. I noticed how he wouldn't look directly at me and thought he seemed very nervous.

"Is this your first time as a sub?" I asked.

"Here it is," he said, and raised his head to look at me. I smiled to make him relax, but it only added to his nerves.

"Don't let them see your nerves. Start out really strict to get their attention and respect," I advised.

He nodded and swallowed before heading out of my room. I watched him walk past me and he seemed to be holding his breath. He didn't stand a chance with these kids. They were experts at finding weakness. I set my bag on my chair and went into the hallway to speak to the kids lining up against the wall.

"You have a sub today," I told them, and they all cheered. "He's pretty mean," I lied.

"Is he cute?" a girl asked.

I laughed and then gave her a quick nod before heading back into my room. Maybe his good looks would save him, but I doubted it. He would have to be supernatural to get through this day. The bell rang and my room filled with students. I waited until the tardy bell rang and then walked into the hallway and stood facing Edward's door with my arms crossed. Sure enough a group of boys opened the door to leave.

"Where do you think you're going?" I asked.

"Oh, we're running an errand for the sub," they lied.

"You have one strike," I told them. "If you get another one I'll have principle Banner work with you after school."

Most of the boys were athletes and knew time with the principle would get back to their coaches, so they turned around and went back into the room. I hoped they would be good for Edward, but I didn't have much expectation. He seemed too gentle and reserved to be a teacher.

I went back to my class and got them started on a project. I returned to the hallway and placed my ear against his door to see if I could hear anyone out of control. I could hear Edward talking softly and the room seemed quiet. Suddenly the door opened. I jumped back to keep from being hit in the face and saw Edward glaring at me.

"May I help you?" he asked.

"I was just seeing if you needed any help," I explained.

"I have everything under control," he said and then shut the door. I stared at the metal door which he shut so quickly. They were heavy and usually shut slowly, but his closed instantly. I felt like something was off but I couldn't quite figure out what it was.

I returned to my classroom and didn't check on him again until lunch. If his kids left because there was a sub it was up to him to deal with. I waited until the halls were empty and then stuck my head in his door to see if he needed to know where the teacher's lounge was. I found him sitting at the desk as if he knew I was coming.

"I can show you where to eat lunch," I said.

"I'm okay, I'm really not hungry," he answered.

I walked slowly toward him and watched for his reaction. He smiled and continued to sit perfectly still. "Have you taught before?" I asked.

He looked a little flustered by my question and I wondered if he thought I felt he was too young or too inexperienced for our school. He finally said, "Yeah, I've taught in Chicago."

"Oh, is that where you're from?" I asked, and planned to find out which school so I could look into it.

He didn't respond but asked his own question instead, "What do you teach?"

"I have the advanced English class for all four grades," I said. I was the only teacher aside from gym to have freshmen through seniors. I felt it gave me a unique experience and insight into the entire school. The news seemed to ruffle Edward for some reason and he looked away from my stare.

"What?" I asked, "You don't think I'm bright enough to teach advanced kids?" My own demeanor changed to one of defensiveness until I realized what I was doing. I tried to pull it back, but he had seen my weakness already. "I'm sorry," I added. "I know you didn't mean that."

"I'm sure you are well qualified for the position," he added emphatically.

I sat on one of the desk tops and shook my head. I had so far to go to rid myself of my childhood experience. I finally came out with it. "I was put in a gifted program in first grade, but my teacher told my mother I wasn't smart enough and had to go back to a public school," I admitted. "I guess I'm still carrying the rejection."

Edward's eyes darted around like he wasn't sure what to say. I could tell he stiffened a bit and I felt like I had made him uncomfortable with such personal information. I was ready to leave the room when he suddenly blurted out, "I'm sure he didn't mean you were less gifted, maybe it just wasn't the right environment for you."

"He was beyond cruel to me," I admitted. "He made me feel stupid. Then when I went to public school I was terrified of being sent back there so I pretended to struggle. I don't remember the man, but I sure remember the way he made me feel."

"I'm sorry," he said softly.

I nodded and refrained from telling him he had nothing to be sorry for. I was a high school teacher with a master's degree, it was time to let go of my bitterness. I offered him a smile and nodded to the hallway. "Come on, you have to eat something."

"I'm truly not hungry, but I would enjoy some company if you would like to eat in here," he said, and let his eyes drop so he couldn't see my expression.

"Sure," I said happily. "I'll get my lunch and be right back."

I headed across the hall and got my sack out of the bottom drawer. I came back into his room to find him moving things off the desk so I had a place to set up my meal. I laughed and pulled up a chair.

"Mr. Barr never invited me to lunch," I said, "He is the history teacher you are subbing for."

"He doesn't challenge the students enough," Edward replied. "They are further along than his lesson plan suggests."

"Are you winging it?" I asked, because if he was that kind of sub I would request him from now on.

"A bit," he said shyly, most likely acting humble because he worried about my friendship with Mr. Barr.

Since he had invited me to his desk I decided to press him for some information about his family. I wasn't sure if I should start with his sister or his supposed parents. I finally said, "So, are you related to Dr. Cullen?"

"He is my surrogate father," he said without further explanation.

"And is Alice your real sister?" I pushed.

"Real, what does that mean?"

I felt like I had offended him, but he had to admit his family dynamic was a bit odd. She had his same eyes, but that was really it. I didn't get a good enough look at his parents to see their eyes in the shadows. Alice was so tiny when he was so tall and lanky. Her features were small and dark and his were fair and long.

"I mean, is she a full sister or a cousin that you think of as a sister?"

"It's complicated," he mumbled, and it told me what I needed to know. Alice was a relative, just not a sister.

"I heard you have another sibling," I said, and then took a big bite of my sandwich.

His eyes watched me eat in fascination, as if he never saw someone eat a sandwich before. He finally said, "I have a brother, Emmett."

"And they're married?"

His eyes narrowed and he knew I had been asking about his family. I tried to act uninterested but I couldn't pull it off. I was dying to know what was going on in his life that brought him to the survivors meeting last night.

"Yes," he said after a pause. "Alice is married to Jasper, my best friend. Emmett is married to his sister, Rosalie."

I chuckled and his eyes narrowed again. I found it funny that his family was so closely related. It was almost like they had to be with each other for some reason and outsiders couldn't join in. I just hoped his surrogate mother and father were not actually brother and sister.

"What brought you to Forks? It isn't usually on anyone's radar," I questioned.

He grew very flustered and moved uncomfortably in his seat. I felt like I had asked his sexual history not just why he moved to the middle of nowhere. A student walked in and Edward instantly relaxed.

"Ms. Swan, can I work in your room where it's quiet?" she asked.

I moved my chair back and motioned for her to come over to me. I stood and held her face gently in my hands. "Are you fighting with your friends again?" I asked, knowing how much drama girls are capable of.

Her eyes filled with tears and I excused myself and walked with her back to my room. I left my half eaten sandwich on his desk but she needed someone to listen to her or this issue would drag on all week. I nodded as she told me about her problems with her best friend and I offered as much advice as I could without taking a side. I didn't see Edward again until the end of the day.


I was writing furiously on the black board in preparation for the next day's class when Edward cleared his throat. The chalk flew from my hand and I screamed automatically. Edward looked horrified and rushed forward to steady me.

"I'm sorry, I thought you heard me enter the room," he apologized.

I placed my hand on my heart and felt it racing wildly. "No, I didn't," I admitted, and then glanced down at his shoes to see why they were so silent.

"I just wanted to thank you for your assistance today. I just found out I will be back tomorrow," he added.

"Great," I said, without pointing out I hadn't really assisted him on much. He seemed to have a great grasp of the kids and the lesson plan.

"Well, goodnight," he added awkwardly and left the room.

I walked over to my window which faced the parking lot to see what kind of car he drove. I never saw him come out of the side door and wondered if his sister hadn't driven him again. Maybe he was unable to drive due to a suspended license, but surely he knew how to drive.

I finished with my preparations and walked out into the light drizzle and rushed to my car. I headed to the grocery store and picked up something to make for dinner. I wasn't sure if my father would be home so I wanted something that would keep. I wandered around the aisles until I turned a corner and ran into Mike Newton. He was the last person I wanted to see.

"Bella," he said loudly. "How in the hell are you?"

"Good," I said, as I was kicking myself mentally.

"When are you going to let me take you to dinner?" he asked, and took a step uncomfortably closer to me.

I moved back and put my small basket in front of me to keep him away. "Oh, I'm kind of seeing someone right now," I lied.

"Who?" he demanded, sure I was lying.

"Edward Cullen, he's new to the area," I said, and prayed this conversation didn't get back to Edward. Forks was small and gossip ruled the area. One little white lie could easily end up in the newspaper.

Mike let his hand reach out and run down my cheek as he said, "Come on, give me a chance."

My head turned away from his touch and I said quickly. "Don't touch me." I hadn't meant for it to sound so emphatic, but it sent chills down my spine to be touched so wontedly.

"Why are you such a bitch," Mike said, and took another step toward me.

A hand reached out from behind me and pushed Mike back so forcefully he fell into the shelves. I looked up to see Edward staring lividly at Mike. "Apologize to the lady, right now," he demanded.

"Edward, no, it's okay," I said, to spare myself from further embarrassment.

He looked stunned that I would ask him to back off. He grabbed Mike by the front of the shirt and held him right in front of me. "Apologize," he said with clenched teeth.

"I'm sorry," Mike said, without a hint of sincerity.

Edward let him go and Mike stormed off without looking back. I had no idea if Edward had heard me say we were a couple, but I wanted out of that store as quickly as possible. I turned around and darted to the checkout stand with only a few items. I didn't see where Edward went but found him as I walked toward my car.

He was leaning against it with his arms crossed and I let my head fall in shame. I walked up to where he stood and said, "I'm sorry to bring you into this. I was just looking for an excuse and knew he wouldn't recognize your name."

"I don't mind," he said, so my head raised and I looked at his face to see if he was serious. "I'm just glad I decided to come by here."

"Where's your car?" I asked, since he had left such a long time before me.

"I walked," he said and got antsy again.

"All the way from your home?" I gasped.

"It isn't that far if you know a path through the trees," he said, and I automatically looked down at his shoes again. They weren't covered in mud or leaves, but they were running shoes.

"Come on," I offered. "I'll give you a ride home."

He got in my car and I realized I had ice-cream in my bag so I asked if I could run past my place first. He only nodded so I headed to Charlie's. I expected him to stay in the car but he opened the door when I pulled into the driveway. He followed me up to the house and then took the bag from my arm so I could unlock the door.

I pulled the ice-cream out and put it in the freezer as he looked around the kitchen. "Okay, I'll take care of the rest later," I said, and picked up my keys.

"No, I'll wait," he offered and reached in to take a can of corn from the bag. I took the time to put away the rest of the groceries and then turned to face Edward.

"Ready?" I asked.

He looked at me for a moment and I suddenly felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Something was different about him, but I couldn't articulate it into words. I realized I was alone in an empty house with a man I didn't know. Maybe they moved here because he was wanted by the law?

"Did I tell you my father is the police chief?" I asked, and realized how the words sounded coming out of my mouth. I instantly tried to make it sound more natural. "He told me how lucky we are to have your father practicing here."

"I haven't met very many people," he said softly, as if apologizing for not knowing my father. It made me feel badly for thinking he was a criminal. He was just a shy guy who obviously had come out of an abusive relationship and needed a friend.

"You're welcome to stay for dinner, if you like?" I said, and kicked off my shoes.

He smiled lightly and then said, "Maybe another time. I better go. I'll jog from here."

He headed out the back door and instead of going to the front and down the road; he headed into the forest and out of sight. I had lived in Forks since I was sixteen and I had no idea where the forest led from my house. He moved here recently and already knew how to find his way through the dark woods. It gave me an uneasy feeling again, so I reached out and locked the door.

I made myself some soup and a grilled cheese sandwich before taking it to the sofa in the family room. I turned on the television and watched a vapid reality show. I worried for this generation and what would become of them. When I grew sleepy I headed up to bed and left my dad a note telling him to heat up some soup.

I put on my favorite old t-shirt and brushed my teeth before climbing into my cold bed. I snuggled under the covers and closed my eyes. I thought back to all the times Jake would come home drunk and I would pretend to be asleep. It felt good to drift safely to sleep.

A loud noise woke me up and I looked around my room to see my picture of me and my mother lying on the floor. I got out of bed and picked it up to see the glass was broken. I looked into the hallway to see if my father had gotten home and perhaps slammed a door, causing the picture to fall. His bedroom door was shut, telling me he was home, but the light was out.

I set the frame further back on my desk and got back into bed. It was difficult to fall back asleep and I kept sitting up to look around my room. I knew I was going to be tired and grumpy the next day and it was too late to take something to help me sleep. I finally headed downstairs to watch television and ended up sleeping on the couch for the rest of the night.

I heard my alarm go off upstairs and ran up to turn it off. I got in the shower and then came down to fix breakfast. My dad came in and started coffee before sitting at the table and rubbing his eyes.

"Tough night?" I asked.

"Yeah, the kids on the rez are acting up again," he groaned.

"Why does it concern you?"

"Billy wanted me to talk to them, scare them straight or something," he explained.

I nodded and kept my opinion to myself. I wondered why Billy didn't talk to his own son about right and wrong instead of worrying about the young kids.

"Watch how you slam the doors," I said. "You knocked a picture off my desk."

"I didn't slam any doors," he said, and acted offended that I would accuse him of it. I let it drop since he was obviously in a bad mood, just as I was.

I ate quickly and went upstairs to dress. I picked out a dress, purposefully wanting to look nice since Edward would be back again. I looked down to decide on which shoes and saw some mud and a leaf on my closet floor.

I picked it up and it was still wet. I glanced around the closet and noticed a footprint on the carpet in the shape of a running shoe. I got on my knees to inspect it further, realizing it was a lot bigger than my foot.

"Dad," I yelled. "Were you in my room at all?"

"No," he yelled back from the kitchen.

"Come here," I said, and felt terrified at the thought of someone in my room as I slept.

Charlie came to my closet door and looked at me on the floor. I handed him the muddy leaf and pointed at the shoe print. "Someone's been in my room," I said.

"Don't jump to conclusions," he said, and kneeled down next to me.

I was furious at his lack of concern and exploded in a rage. "You better tell Billy to keep that son-of-a-bitch away from me. I won't put up with him stalking me under my own roof."

I took my dress into the bathroom and finished my makeup before grabbing shoes and walking out in anger. Charlie was on the phone and I assumed he was having a talk with Jake. I drove to school and then sat in my car as my body shook in fear and anger. Jake terrified me and that made me angry. I wanted to move past his abuse and learn to be confident and secure, but just the thought of him watching me sleep pushed me over the edge.

I finally exited the car and headed to my classroom. I took a deep breath and tried to steady my nerves before any kids came in. I was working on my lesson plan when I glanced up to see Edward standing right in front of my desk. I screamed loudly, already wound too tightly from the footprint.

"What is wrong with you," I yelled. "Get out of here."

Edward quickly spun around and walked toward the door without saying a word. I put my head on the desk and sighed loudly. Obviously Edward was used to doing what he was told. Someone had broken him down and my yelling didn't help. I got up and made my across the hallway. I walked into the room to find Alice there. She was angry and talking softly but very forcefully to Edward. They both turned to look at me in surprise.

"I didn't mean to interrupt," I said. "I just want to apologize, Edward. I was startled and took it out on you."

I saw Alice nudge her brother and he quickly said, "No problem."

I didn't buy his affirmation and felt he was more than a little upset by my actions. I wasn't sure what to do so I went back to my room.