Chapter 9: Her Name is Bella

I move back inside the house, the air conditioned room disrupting my thoughts. It's too dark out now to see my stitching. Edward and I have been on the phone for a solid hour talking about nothing. This is what happens when I let him lead the conversation, which I do when he calls me. Edward's called me a total of three times, including this call. The first time it took him an hour to tell me his mom slapped him after he suggested she divorce his dad. The second time, after an hour and a half talking about his English class, he confessed he lost his virginity. So, I'm positive this conversation is important. He doesn't call unless he has something momentous to share.

Edward drones on about his shoes and his day at The Wedge. I love him, but there's only so much I can hear about his tricks since I don't skate. Jasper fares better with that since he skateboarded for awhile in high school and some in college.

I'm finishing up the last bit of hand sewing I can do and itching to move back to my sewing machine. It's rare that I'm motivated to follow through like this, so I want to ride this wave of productiveness. I decide to throw caution to wind and push him a bit, more than I usually do when he's in Masen mode.

"So what is it you really want to talk about? Because I know there's a reason you're calling."

"I can't just call and talk to my best friend?"

"You can. But you don't. Not unless there's something big you have to tell me."

"Well, it's not big . . ."

"But it's something . . ." I prompt, settling on the couch and getting comfortable. Jasper comes out of our bedroom and sits beside me, pulling out the Times magazine. I roll my eyes. He knows I hate that garbage.

He smiles and nudges me with his elbow then mouths, "Who?"

I mouth back, "Edward," and continue my conversation.

"I'm not sure if—well, I don't know if I should—"

"If you should what, Edward?" I say, my voice straining with my irritation.

"Well, I . . . I met someone today."

I sit up straight and grip Jasper's thigh, and he winces. "A female someone?"

"No, an alien someone."


"You're being annoying."

"You're being annoying. Will you just tell me what's going on and stop being so Masen?" I keep hold of Jasper's thigh, my heartbeat picking up in anticipation. I'm dying to know what's going on, and I can't help the giddiness that bubbles up inside me over this development. Edward has been so lonely in Arizona. He has good friends – I know that – but they don't really know him because he won't let them. We talk about it all the time, but he's not willing to concede to letting his guard down there. I try to be understanding because I don't really know what it's like to be in his shoes, but part of me wonders how much better his life would be if he'd just confide in someone other than me.

"I—she—we walked home today together . . . most of the way anyway, and she's different. She's not chatty or annoying, and she didn't look at me like I was weird or anything. She's kind of—she's—she's awkward and funny as hell."

Thank you! Now there's the Edward I know, mostly. He's getting there anyway.

"Okay, listen to me, and listen to me good."

"I'm listening," he says, laughing, his tone light.

"Tell me everything about her, and spare no detail, okay?"


"I mean it."


"So . . ."

"Her name is Bella . . ."