Note from the translator: the characters from the Twilight saga are the property of Stephenie Meyer, and Collisions is a story by Drinou, a very talented, popular and lovely French author. I'm just the translator but I want to thank you for all your reviews and for your patience. Good reading.

Chapter 19: On the wire

Tonight, he and I were having dinner together...

Hmmm...

I returned to the table he'd just left and gulped the abandoned bottle of green tea.

Lord, help me!

ooo

7:45 pm. I arrived at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 37th Street. Nestled in my black overcoat, I propped up against a US Today newspaper vending machine that stood in the middle of the sidewalk and watched the cars passing me like a linear ballet in shades of yellow and black. What was I doing here exactly, waiting for the man who'd treated me like dirt to arrive? Something was definitely wrong in my head. I was sure about one thing, though: Jake was going to pay dearly. Not directly, because of course I was never going to tell him what his overzealousness cost me, but I would get my revenge one day or the other.

I glanced at my watch, 7:50. Just ten little minutes before the fight begins. It was not only going to be a fight against Cullen and his scathing replies. The most difficult would be against myself, against the small part of my brain that acted its own way and thought only with its hormones.

Stop hiding behind false pretenses. At least I take responsibility!

Unredeemable. No doubt, I was totally and irremediably unredeemable.

"Good evening, Isabella."

A warm breath tickled my cheek. I jumped and turned quickly to the source of this voice I'd recognize among a thousand. I then faced a rather pleasant vision: Cullen, messy hair, skinny jeans and leather jacket.

Hmm... Interesting...

Only downside, the slightly purplish bruise that marked his left cheek, and his lip swollen by the impact.

Hey, you're not gonna be picky, huh?

"Hello," I murmured, straightening myself.

He offered me his famous smile. As for me, I just avoided his gaze.

Maintain control... Do not be fooled... Keep your distance... That's a non-exhaustive list of all the recommendations I played over and over in my head.

"So, where are you taking me? I don't see any romantic little restaurant hereabout."

"We made a deal for a meal. We never talked about a restaurant."

His jaw clenched and I repressed a smile while nodding to the hot dog vendor who occupied the corner of the street.

Got you. Apparently he didn't see that one coming.

"A hot dog? Really?"

I nodded, grinning. I saw him sigh and then noticeably relax, and his smirk made its come back.

"Why not. Okay for a hot dog then, but not here. Let me take you to a place where you'll enjoy the best hot dog in New York."

"A hot dog is a hot dog. Here or elsewhere..."

"In that case where is the problem?" he retorted.

It was my turn to sigh. Though I tried to keep control of the situation, he still managed to destabilize me.

"Listen, I..."

"Trust me."

He reached out to me. I stared at him in disbelief. Had he suddenly gone mad? Or was it his new method to coax me?

"I'm not going to bite you. The deal remains the same: a simple meal. We can even take it on the go if you prefer."

"Why do you care so much about the meal? Let me be clear; if your goal is to bed me, you can drop the case immediately."

He raised an eyebrow, looking at me defiantly.

"Really? Believe me, Isabella, if I wanted to bed you, I'd be able to do so without a shadow of a doubt," he argued, smirking at me.

I sure am not against it!

Can someone please remove those unorthodox thoughts from my already greatly demented mind? Maybe I should ask Jake to punch me with the same right hook he sent to Cullen. That would put me straight.

"Right," I huffed, exasperated.

Why does no one ever care about my opinion? Pfff.

But what was I doing here again? Oh yes, Jake. He was going to pay dearly!

"Believe me."

He breathed those two words so close to my cheek that my skin was electrified. Shit. A little self-control, still!

"Let's go eat that hot dog and be done with it," I evaded, passing past him to face the fast food stand at the corner of the street.

"All right, let's go, but not here."

I glared at him.

"Please," he insisted.

His intense green eyes staring at me were unsettling. Yet for once I didn't see any arrogance in them, just a slight hint of determination, perhaps.

I pondered quickly. What difference between here and somewhere else? All I wanted was to shorten up this evening, make sure that it went as smoothly as possible and without any slip whatsoever.

"It's far from here?" I asked.

"On 6th Avenue near the Jefferson Market Library. Approximately a ten minute drive."

A Drive? The confined space of his car... Closeness... Um, bad idea... Very bad idea...

Come on, don't be prissy, it's not as if it was the first time you rode in the same vehicle as him.

I was reminded of the few minutes in his company in that cab a few months earlier. It was definitely not a good idea!

"Okay. Let's go eat those renowned hot dogs, but my own way."

"What would that be?"

"We take the subway. The Lexington station is a five minute walk in this direction," I informed him, tilting my chin north of 3rd Avenue.

"The subway? Do you really think I'll take the subway when my Maserati is parked within a stone's throw from here?"

"Actually no. But I will. Meet me there!" I said, starting to walk.

"Wait."

He ran a hand through his hair and sighed.

Am I dreaming or he's taken aback now?

"Hot dog and subway. What a package."

"No one is forcing you. Cancel your damn blackmail and you won't have to do either one or the other."

"Nice try Isabella, but I think I'll survive. This way, right?"

Nice try, perhaps, but apparently it didn't work. At least I tried. I nodded silently, hiding my sigh in the collar of my coat. The strangest thing is that I was unable to determine if it was a sigh of despair or conversely, a sigh of relief. When I said I was totally unredeemable...

Fortunately, the subway station was near. In five minutes flat, with ultra-fast walking, we arrived there. I think I'd never been in such a hurry to get to the subway as I was today, and luckily I'd put Converse shoes on and not stilettos.

If you'd put on high heels you'd already be in the emergency.

That's about right.

We went down the stairs leading to the overheated station in single file, stuck on one side as the crowd was going the opposite way using the same stairs. Once there, I took a quick glance at the map and rushed to the gates giving access to the platforms.

"Could you be kind enough to guide me?"

Edward was waiting on the other side, eyeing the magnetic card that I had mechanically pulled out of my coat and placed on the magnetic reader.

Of course he didn't have one. What would be the purpose of a Metro Card for him? I turned around and went back to him.

"You can buy a card there." I pointed a finger in the direction of the self-service kiosk.

He went and looked at the screen closely.

"Should I take the weekly pass or the standard one?"

I raised an eyebrow and bit the inside of my cheek not to burst into laughter.

"You never took the subway or what?" I openly scoffed.

"Well, last time I took it was, uh... never, actually."

I was flabbergasted. How could anyone live in New York and have never used its huge underground transport network? But the most exhilarating part in the story was that for once I had the upper hand. For once I was the knowledgeable person who mastered something better than him. And for once I'd be able to take the reins.

"Leave it to me," I instructed, sliding between him and the touch screen.

I probably should have assessed the distance better, for at the moment I slipped between him and the machine and my butt involuntarily brushed against his anatomy, a shiver roamed over my body from the tip of my toes to the roots of my hair.

Whoa!

I ignored it as best as I could, hiding my brief turmoil in the collar of my coat, which was really very useful tonight. Snapping out of my haze, I quickly tapped the screen and inserted the money to get the yellow and blue plastic rectangle at last.

"And voilà! » I exclaimed victoriously, handing him the precious pass. I may not know much about wine or sushi, but at least I knew how to use the New York City Transit.

Take that, Cullen!

"Fear not, I still have many things to teach you, Isabella," he whispered, grabbing the metro card.

Oops! We're even; it's a draw.

The subway arrived at the moment we silently accessed the platform. I was the first to rush inside, Cullen on my heels. Despite the fact it was past rush hour, the train still remained fairly loaded. I staggered between the passengers and went to stand at the back of the car. My ex-boss and incidentally fantasy on legs passed me and leaned against the wall, watching with a curious eye the crowded car in front of him.

"Welcome to the real world," I said.

Maybe it was time that he came down from his ivory tower. Life wasn't just luxury cars, traveling first class and five star hotels. Not for ordinary people in any case.

The train raced to its next stop, probably a little more brutally than usual. Unless it was the inquisitive gaze Cullen cast me, which made me lose my balance. Anyway, one second I was standing up proud and confident, and the next I found myself unsteady, my face crushed against Cullen's chest and my hands firmly gripped to his jacket.

Next time, ask him forthrightly to take you in his arms instead of collapsing on him!

"Anything broken?" he worried as he held me tight against him and straightened me up with a steady hand.

I stammered a shy "no," troubled by his scent, which had suddenly engulfed me, immediately sending me those images of the last time I had been able to smell his bewitching body fragrance. Face flushed, I tried to pull away from him but the train stopped again and the human grip behind me suddenly tightened. I was pressed against him, my nose into his leather jacket, shivers running through my body. People were pushing behind me to let even more people in, and with every newcomer, I was pressed a little more against Edward's muscular torso. His arms hadn't let go of my waist. He was holding me tight against him in a way I could have described as protective if I wasn't so suspicious about him. But mistrust or not, this was a taste of heaven, which I knew could quickly turn into hell.

The shrill beep announcing the closing of the doors resounded behind me. The train resumed its journey and I stayed in his arms like this, wishing inwardly that the three remaining stops never come, or else take a long time to come, but certainly not within the ten minutes as expected. And my desire to stop time spread when his warm breath caressed my cheek.

For a brief moment I closed my eyes and let myself be carried by the gentle rocking of the car on rails, by the heat of his body warming mine, by the pressure of his fingers on my back... I just savored the here and now, eager to make the most of it before he become him again and shatter this moment with a scathing reply.

"The subway was not such a bad idea after all," he joked.

I smiled at his comment. Even though I knew there was no hope, even though I still had reserves about him, I couldn't help but wish that he were alluding to my presence in his arms and like me, he enjoyed that moment. I wanted to pull off of him to look into his eyes and try to detect an answer, but it would definitely mark the end of this peaceful interlude.

Unfortunately, time hadn't stopped and we reached the Bryant Park station.

"It's our stop," I informed him, shifting in his arms to free myself.

He tightened his grip for a split second and I could have sworn he had just smelled my hair, then his presence around my body faded. He'd released me from his arms. It took me a moment to realize it and pull away unwillingly from his chest. I carefully avoided his stare and began to sneak between the travelers to reach the exit before the doors close.

In silence we took the escalator leading us to the exit. There was a special ebullience outside, troubled by an artificial rain. A defective fire hydrant was gushing gallons of water, forming a small, improvised geyser in the midst of the Manhattan buildings. In a slight leap, I deftly avoided the water cascading on the sidewalk and waited for Edward's instructions regarding our destination.

"It's one block down that way," he indicated with a slight pressure in my back.

Five minutes later, I discovered the famous best hot dog place in New York, a restaurant which glowing red sign could not go unnoticed.

"Gray's Papaya? It doesn't sound very New Yorker."

He ignored my remark and entered the fast food restaurant. Who would have thought seeing him one day in that kind of place, he who was so... so... so him! I joined him at the counter and greeted the employee in a red uniform waiting for us to order with a shy "hello."

"What would you like?"

Good question. I wasn't all that hungry, in fact.

"Um... A classic, thank you."

"That's all? No drink?"

I shook my head.

"You aim for the fastest, as I can see. Eager to be done with it?"

Ten minutes prior I'd have said yes without hesitation. Now I didn't really know what I wanted anymore.

"I'm not hungry, that's all," I evaded.

"It will be two classics then."

As soon as we got our order we returned outside.

"Bon appétit, Isabella."

I answered him politely. He stood still and gave me a questioning look coupled with a raised eyebrow as I tentatively took a bite in my hot dog.

"So?"

I think that the little sigh of contentment that escaped my mouth offered him the answer he was waiting for. He laughed and took a large bite of his.

"Um, not as good as I remember, but still."

This time it was my turn to laugh at the childish expression he just made.

"Good memories, it seems. Your last hot dog was that long ago?"

"Mm... years," he mumbled with his mouth full.

It was the first time that I saw him like this. He seemed so different, so free. As if the image he usually reflected just shattered to finally show who he really was: a twenty-eight year old man resembling a happy little boy.

Beware though... We're talking about Cullen here. You know, the one who screwed you to better humiliate you afterwards.

"Well I guess I had a good idea after all," I laughed. "And you used to always eat your hot dogs at this fast food place to be so adamant that we come here?"

"Mm... No... Chicago..." he enunciated with difficulty between two bites.

"Chicago? You lived there?" I inquired.

In a split second his face, which was relaxed until then, shut off for a reason I couldn't comprehend. No more laughs, or even a smile, perhaps just a spark of sadness, stealthy and fleeting.

"What did I say?" I asked, confused by the sudden coldness of his eyes.

His mask had not shattered. It was only chipped for a brief moment and resealed almost immediately.

"Let's walk."

He punctuated his words with a nod, and in one motion he stood up and started to walk.

"Uh... Okay..."

Then again, whether or not it's okay, I think you don't have a choice here.

I followed suit. He walked at a brisk pace in what appeared to be a random direction.

"So, Isabella, where does your passion for coffee come from?"

What was that?

"Excuse me?"

I stopped short. The little boy had disappeared for good to leave his place to this pure specimen of contemptuous authority. How the hell could he change like that, suddenly, without warning? Everything was going well, and all of a sudden, "bam," the one I hated so much had returned.

"You've got to have a special attraction for coffee to go back to working there, right?"

What an idiot!

I was struck by a lightning of fury.

"How dare you judge me? How do you think I landed there? Who's responsible for that?" I snapped. "You know what? I'm going home. We had a deal for a meal, you ate your hot dog so we're even," I said while backtracking.

I was really furious, full of hatred, even.

A slap! A slap! A slap!

"Oh, and since we are in a moment of truth: go to hell, Cullen! You and your fucking craving for power."

"Go to hell? Hum. Nice touch. Will you accompany me?"

Come on, just a little slap...

His smile was meant to tease yet it didn't reach his eyes.

"Do I have to remind you, Isabella, that any meal includes a dessert? Therefore I'll be forced to consider our agreement as obsolete if you leave now without completing your duty."

"Are you kidding me? You really think I'll stay here after that?"

"It's up to you. Either you stay a little longer in my company, or your friend will receive some news from my lawyer first thing tomorrow morning."

"You're just a... Ah!" I seethed. "A dessert?" I challenged him. "Okay, let's have dessert."

I walked up the street to the fast food place that we'd just left and went inside quickly.

"Two donuts please."

I was out the next minute, holding the sugary donuts in my hand.

"Here's your dessert," I smiled bitterly at him.

To me it looked like you were pulling a face.

"I don't like donuts."

Great.

"Damn, what is it that you want? You want to drive me completely crazy? In that case I can reassure you, you're very close to succeeding."

"I just want to spend some time in your company, Isabella."

"Belittling and insulting me? You were normal, and then all of a sudden you've become so... you."

"I am what I am."

"Well maybe it should be time to change."

"People don't change, Isabella. They are what they are, that's all."

I sighed. Arguing would be useless; he wouldn't change his mind anyway. I tossed the donuts in the trashcan and stared at the ballet of bright lights ahead.

"What are you thinking about?"

I shrugged.

"Please Isabella, tell me."

His voice was almost pleading now.

"I was thinking that I'd rather be anywhere else than here right now," I confessed.

It wasn't totally true, nor was it totally untrue. I just didn't know where I stood in his presence. At first this "date" was nice, I would even say it was enjoyable. And then it had turned to hell in a heartbeat, though I couldn't really fathom why. He was laughing and reminiscing, and all of a sudden...

Unless that's precisely what the problem was?

Note to myself: avoid talking about the past at the risk of seeing Edward-the-authoritarian-asshole-Cullen show up at full gallop.

"Then go home."

A little contrite chuckle escaped my throat.

"So that tomorrow Jake receives a call from your lawyer? No thank you. I haven't done all that for nothing."

"I won't press charges."

Wh-What?

I looked up in surprise and met his eyes watching me with sadness.

And here comes the return of the little boy. Go figure...

That guy must have been completely schizoaffective to change mood so fast, if not... what else could it be?

"I thought that..."

"It was just an excuse to get a meal with you."

"But why?"

This time he was the one shrugging while I stared at him in disbelief.

"Probably a fad. Let me take you home, it's getting too late to ride the subway all by yourself."

"I take it every day, you know. And besides, I want to walk."

"Good. Let's walk then. But my car is closer from here than your apartment. I'll drive you home."

"I can mana..." I began to protest before he cut me off.

"Please."

Admit that you wouldn't be against a little nocturnal ride in a Maserati.

"Okay."

He slipped his hand on my back and led me in the street. At first we walked in silence as I pondered this strange exchange. So I was a fad for him; just a whim, a fantasy. The petty toy that you play with for a while before becoming obsolete.

Delightful perspective...

I sighed. What mess had I gotten myself in once again?

"A problem?"

Cullen's voice brought me out of my thoughts.

"No."

"Why did you sigh then?"

I gave him a quick sideways glance while continuing to move forward.

"Because I don't understand."

"What?"

"You."

"There's perhaps nothing to understand, Isabella."

I studied him more openly. He was staring straight ahead, progressing at a steady pace towards the 37th Street.

"I don't believe you. There's got to be a reason for you to be so..."

I purposely left my sentence unfinished.

"So what, Isabella?"

Shit!

Was I supposed to spill all the qualifiers that I attributed to him?

Come what may. You can always run away if you need to...

"Despising, presumptuous, arrogant, authoritarian, demeaning, smug, megalomaniacal, pretentious..."

I would add bewitching, panty wetting, electrifying... incredibly and damn sexy too... or "best shag of the year"... and why not "official panties burner"... Don't you agree?

I could have kept going on and on but I had portrayed what I considered as his main characteristics and so I ended my long list of shady adjectives there.

"Lovely picture."

"And you don't care?"

"Why deny the truth, Isabella. I told you, I am what I am."

"Maybe, though you seemed different just a few minutes ago," I pointed out.

"You think so?"

I nodded silently.

"Then I'm sorry to disappoint you."

I remained speechless. Either he was burying his head in the sand, or he was deliberately omitting the reality, but in any case he couldn't deny having been different for a short while earlier. And besides it wasn't the first time I perceived that glimmer of sadness in his eyes.

The first time had been that night... The one that had cost me my pride and my job... The one during which I had stayed with him despite my desire to flee very far away...

The one during which you also had the best sex ever...

"If you say so," I sighed.

He took a few steps then stopped again.

"If you don't want any dessert, perhaps you'd like a coffee?" he asked, pointing to a Starbucks across the street.

I frowned.

"See no implication of any kind," he added, catching the change in my mood. "I just want a hot coffee and I particularly like their lemon cake."

I was wrapped up in my coat and the prospect of a hot coffee seemed rather enjoyable.

"Okay for a coffee," I sighed.

He smiled at me slightly and we crossed the avenue, his hand on the small of my back while mine were thrust deep in my pockets. The familiar smell of freshly brewed coffee seized me when we entered the place.

"What would you like?" he asked me in a soft voice.

"A hazelnut latte, please."

"Nothing to eat?"

I shook my head.

"Okay. Have a seat. I'll be right back."

I took off my coat and sat on one of the unoccupied seats. I started tapping the table nervously with my nails to the rhythm of the background music. Finding myself face-to-face with Edward Cullen after such a chaotic early evening was certainly not a brilliant idea on my part. What else could happen before I finally got home?

He returned just a few minutes later with two very hot cups in one hand and a plate in the other.

"Thanks," I said as I brought the latte to my lips.

I drank a few sips, letting the steaming liquid warm me up before I put it down on the table. Edward slid his share of lemon cake towards me and offered me to taste it.

"No thanks, I'm fine."

He then cut one piece with his fingers and brought it to his mouth still slightly swollen from Jake's punch.

I was quiet and somewhat anxious. Walking straight ahead down the street by his side was one thing, but now it was taking a more intimate turn that I had absolutely no idea how to handle. I returned my attention on my cup, as it was less dangerous than the devastating look of the sexy, mysterious and incomprehensible male before me, watching me carefully between bites of cake.

Just sexy? This guy is simply a call for sex, and in addition he's a living god in this field!

I mentally gagged myself. It was definitely not the time to remember how gifted he was with his body.

"You're very silent, Isabella."

Lord. Why did my name in his mouth sound so sexy when he whispered it so languidly?

"You're not any more talkative than I am," I pointed out to him.

"Touché."

He took a long sip of his coffee without looking away. I did the same and drank in turn before putting my cup down in front of me. Edward's hand suddenly came to my lips. I spontaneously pulled back a few inches so that he could not reach me and glared at him.

"Relax, I won't bite you," he whispered.

Hmm, too bad...

One mental slap, one! Honestly!

His hand moved closer to my face, slowly, softly, as if to not scare me, and gently his thumb brushed above my upper lip, caressing my skin. I shivered slightly. My widened eyes, staring at him with a mixture of apprehension and anticipation, blinked under this soft touch as his thumb imperceptibly migrated over my lips and laid a fine droplet of coffee stranded on the tip of his finger. My breathing hitched along with my pulse, which suddenly started racing. For a brief moment I had a vision of my lips parting slightly, allowing his thumb to wander in between, my tongue welcoming it with delight as I licked it sensually, sucked it fervidly, nibbled it ferociously...

Oh wow... it's hot, isn't it?

I blinked to regain some composure and pulled away from his hand before my brain fried all its neurons and go on strike. His dark green irises scrutinized me as a smirk loomed on his face.

The bastard. He affected me and above all he knew it. And as usual, he was fully amused by it.

"I need to go!" I exclaimed in a more piercing voice than usual.

I grabbed my bag and my coat and got up hurriedly.

Hey! Are you crazy? You put everything back down on the seat, your butt included!

"Why are you suddenly in such a hurry, Isabella?"

I narrowed my eyes at him.

"I am, that's all."

He took another long sip of his coffee and stood up in turn. Shit! He wasn't going to drop the matter!

"I can fend for myself. You don't have to accompany me," I tried.

"I know."

Still, he grabbed his jacket and put it on as he walked towards the door.

"But you do it anyway," I sighed.

"Exactly."

Let this evening end asap!

Bella-killjoy, the return. Great!

Fortunately we were not far from the 37th Street. The sooner I got away from him, the better. My subconscious had too big of a tendency to get carried away and to slip back on that slippery slope.

Admit that you like it and stop being in denial; it will be a nice vacation for me!

I walked at a brisk pace, watching the intersection of the 3rd Avenue and the 37th Street looming on the horizon. A furtive glance left, then right, and I hastily crossed it.

"Here we are at the starting point," I said nervously, scanning the horizon.

"My car is right over there," he stated, pointing to the north of the 37th Street.

"I'll take the subway from here."

His face hardened conspicuously.

"Isabella," he murmured as a rebuke, "my car is parked a few yards from here and it will take you home faster and more safely than the subway."

"Maybe, but I..."

"You said it yourself, I am, and I quote, 'authoritarian' and 'demeaning' among other things, so please let me take you home."

Say yes, you idiot!

"No."

Pfff!

"Isabella..."

"Listen, you take your car and I take the subway and everything will be fine."

"I'll take you home no matter what happens, whether it be by subway, on foot or in a car."

I couldn't help but laugh.

"And you gonna come back here with the subway all by yourself? I can already see the headlines tomorrow: Edward Cullen, lost in the subway," I giggled.

His jaw clenched but his apparent anger didn't reach his eyes, which remained playful.

"Glad to make you laugh but I think that the cab option will be less risky for my little self, unless you would just let me drive you home?"

SAY YES!

I swung awkwardly, shifting my weight from one foot to the other. Should I say yes? It was by far the most risky but also the most tempting option. What to do?

"Please," he added, holding out his hand before me.

I laid my eyes on it and studied his long, slender fingers. I was probably totally crazy. Downright nuts, even. But...

"Okay," I whispered.

Taking one last look at his outstretched hand, I moved forward, carefully avoiding it, letting my arms dangling down my body. I felt his hand landing on my elbow as I walked passed him, and then down along my sleeve until it brushed the palm of my hand with the tip of his fingers. My breathing caught in my throat at this soft electrifying sensation that reached up to my chest.

And he just brushed your hand. God in heaven, I want him!

I ignored this sensation, continuing straight ahead until his shiny and luxurious Maserati appears along the sidewalk.

Wow, nice wheels!

I glanced quickly at it. I didn't even dare to imagine the price of such an acquisition. In all likelihood it was the equivalent of several years earning, perhaps even a full decade. Suffice to say it would probably be the first and last time I got in such a vehicle.

Gallantly, he opened the passenger door and I timidly climbed in, at the same time admiring the red leather of the bucket seats. A peculiar smell, which was none other than his own, filled the enclosed space. My entire skin reacted to this bewitching fragrance. He climbed in and without a word, started the engine that roared loudly.

A soft melody immediately flooded the interior, relegating the engine noise into oblivion, leaving only the majestically sad notes around us. Goose flesh electrified my skin. It was simply beautiful.

"What is it?" I asked shyly, not daring to speak too loud to not disrupt the music.

"Le Onde by Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian pianist and composer. You like it?"

"It's sublime."

"I didn't think you liked classical music. I would have pegged you more as a pop/rock lover."

"I don't know anything about classical music but this is just... wow."

He laughed heartily, a light and sincere laugh. It was so uncommon of him that I could only join in, and so we ended up laughing together. Edward reset the melody to the beginning and I listened to it attentively, allowing each note to pervade and carry me, and far too soon for my taste the vehicle stopped in front of my building.

He parked and after a moment's hesitation turned to me and offered me one of his smiles, but this time without a hint of contempt or scorn. It was just a simple and dazzling smile.

"Thank you for this evening, Isabella. It was worth the punch I received," he added, slightly rubbing his swollen cheek.

"I can ask Jake to do it again if you want," I laughed. "I'm sure he'd be overjoyed."

"Um, no, I think once will be enough."

I smiled at him and opened the door timidly. The outside cold bit my face as I left the warmth of the luxurious car.

"Good night, Bella."

I froze in my tracks, my heart speeding up suddenly in my chest. Bella... Not Isabella, but just Bella. He'd never called me that before. I turned in surprise, but I only had the time to see a slight smile before his face tensed and he tore away, disappearing down the street.

So?

What did you think of this chapter?

Edward's shell is cracking even though it's not obvious yet.

What do you think is going to happen now?

Will Bella return to him by herself?

Will they end up together or not?

Until next time

Thanks, Lizzard43. For everything :0)

Milk

ps: at this point I feel the need to tell you that I'm not the one who decides when the update is to be posted, I always have to wait for the author's approval, which sometimes can take weeks, so even though this chapter was ready to be posted by the middle of May, I just couldn't publish it yet. Sorry for the delay...

In response to some of my readers who suggested that I start translating the next chapter while waiting for the author's approval, I'm am in the process of moving to another city at this time and I can't focus on my translations (I'm working on 4 translations) as much as I would like to. You'll just have to be patient.