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 Port Angeles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

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Leia the werewolf
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ΔημοσίευσηΘέμα: Port Angeles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111   Σαβ 15 Αυγ 2009 - 12:50

Jess drove faster than the Chief, so we made it to Port Angeles by four. It had been a
while since I'd had a girls' night out, and the estrogen rush was invigorating. We listened
to whiny rock songs while Jessica jabbered on about the boys we hung out with. Jessica's
dinner with Mike had gone very well, and she was hoping that by Saturday night they
would have progressed to the first-kiss stage. I smiled to myself, pleased. Angela was
passively happy to be going to the dance, but not really interested in Eric. Jess tried to get
her to confess who her type was, but I interrupted with a question about dresses after a
bit, to spare her. Angela threw a grateful glance my way.
Port Angeles was a beautiful little tourist trap, much more polished and quaint than
Forks. But Jessica and Angela knew it well, so they didn't plan to waste time on the
picturesque boardwalk by the bay. Jess drove straight to the one big department store in
town, which was a few streets in from the bay area's visitor-friendly face.
The dance was billed as semiformal, and we weren't exactly sure what that meant. Both
Jessica and Angela seemed surprised and almost disbelieving when I told them I'd never
been to a dance in Phoenix.
"Didn't you ever go with a boyfriend or something?" Jess asked dubiously as we
walked through the front doors of the store.
"Really," I tried to convince her, not wanting to confess my dancing problems. "I've
never had a boyfriend or anything close. I didn't go out much."
"Why not?" Jessica demanded.
"No one asked me," I answered honestly.
She looked skeptical. "People ask you out here," she reminded me, "and you tell them
no." We were in the juniors' section now, scanning the racks for dress-up clothes.
"Well, except for Tyler," Angela amended quietly.
"Excuse me?" I gasped. "What did you say?"
"Tyler told everyone he's taking you to prom," Jessica informed me with suspicious
eyes.
"He said what ?" I sounded like I was choking.
"I told you it wasn't true," Angela murmured to Jessica.
I was silent, still lost in shock that was quickly turning to irritation. But we had found
the dress racks, and now we had work to do.
"That's why Lauren doesn't like you," Jessica giggled while we pawed through the
clothes.
I ground my teeth. "Do you think that if I ran him over with my truck he would stop
feeling guilty about the accident? That he might give up on making amends and call it
even?"
"Maybe," Jess snickered. '"If that’s why he's doing this."
The dress selection wasn't large, but both of them found a few things to try on. I sat on
a low chair just inside the dressing room, by the three-way mirror, trying to control my
fuming.
Jess was torn between two — one a long, strapless, basic black number, the other a
knee-length electric blue with spaghetti straps. I encouraged her to go with the blue; why
not play up the eyes? Angela chose a pale pink dress that draped around her tall frame
nicely and brought out honey tints in her light brown hair. I complimented them both
generously and helped by returning the rejects to their racks. The whole process was
much shorter and easier than similar trips I'd taken with Renée at home. I guess there was
something to be said for limited choices.
We headed over to shoes and accessories. While they tried things on I merely watched
and critiqued, not in the mood to shop for myself, though I did need new shoes. The
girls'-night high was wearing off in the wake of my annoyance at Tyler, leaving room for
the gloom to move back in.
"Angela?" I began, hesitant, while she was trying on a pair of pinkstrappy heels — she
was overjoyed to have a date tall enough that she could wear high heels at all.
Jessica had drifted to the jewelry counter and we were alone.
"Yes?" She held her leg out, twisting her ankle to get a better view of the shoe.
I chickened out. "I like those."
"I think I'll get them — though they'll never match anything but the one dress," she
mused.
"Oh, go ahead — they're on sale," I encouraged. She smiled, putting the lid back on a
box that contained more practical-looking off-white shoes.
I tried again. "Um, Angela…" She looked up curiously.
"Is it normal for the…Cullens" — I kept my eyes on the shoes — "to be out of school a
lot?" I failed miserably in my attempt to sound nonchalant.
"Yes, when the weather is good they go backpacking all the time — even the doctor.
They're all real outdoorsy," she told me quietly, examining her shoes, too. She didn't ask
one question, let alone the hundreds that Jessica would have unleashed. I was beginning
to really like Angela.
"Oh." I let the subject drop as Jessica returned to show us the rhinestone jewelry she'd
found to match her silver shoes.
We planned to go to dinner at a little Italian restaurant on the boardwalk, but the dress
shopping hadn't taken as long as we'd expected. Jess and Angela were going to take their
clothes back to the car and then walk down to the bay. I told them I would meet them at
the restaurant in an hour — I wanted to look for a bookstore. They were both willing to
come with me, but I encouraged them to go have fun — they didn't know how
preoccupied I could get when surrounded by books; it was something I preferred to do
alone. They walked off to the car chattering happily, and I headed in the direction Jess
pointed out.
I had no trouble finding the bookstore, but it wasn't what I was looking for. The
windows were full of crystals, dream-catchers, and books about spiritual healing. I didn't
even go inside. Through the glass I could see a fifty-year-old woman with long, gray hair
worn straight down her back, clad in a dress right out of the sixties, smiling welcomingly
from behind the counter. I decided that was one conversation I could skip. There had to
be a normal bookstore in town.
I meandered through the streets, which were filling up with end-of-the-workday traffic,
and hoped I was headed toward downtown. I wasn't paying as much attention as I should
to where I was going; I was wrestling with despair. I was trying so hard not to think about
him, and what Angela had said… and more than anything trying to beat down my hopes
for Saturday, fearing a disappointment more painful than the rest, when I looked up to see
someone's silver Volvo parked along the street and it all came crashing down on me.
Stupid, unreliable vampire, I thought to myself.
I stomped along in a southerly direction, toward some glass-fronted shops that looked
promising. But when I got to them, they were just a repair shop and a vacant space. I still
had too much time to go looking for Jess and Angela yet, and I definitely needed to get
my mood in hand before I met back up with them. I ran my fingers through my hair a
couple of times and took some deep breaths before I continued around the corner.
I started to realize, as I crossed another road, that I was going the wrong direction. The
little foot traffic I had seen was going north, and it looked like the buildings here were
mostly warehouses. I decided to turn east at the next corner, and then loop around after a
few blocks and try my luck on a different street on my way back to the boardwalk.
A group of four men turned around the corner I was heading for, dressed too casually to
be heading home from the office, but they were too grimy to be tourists. As they
approached me, I realized they weren't too many years older than I was. They were
joking loudly among themselves, laughing raucously and punching each other's arms. I
scooted as far to the inside of the sidewalk as I could to give them room, walking swiftly,
looking past them to the corner.
"Hey, there!" one of them called as they passed, and he had to be talking to me since no
one else was around. I glanced up automatically. Two of them had paused, the other two
were slowing. The closest, a heavyset, dark-haired man in his early twenties, seemed to
be the one who had spoken. He was wearing a flannel shirt open over a dirty t-shirt, cutoff
jeans, and sandals. He took half a step toward me.
"Hello," I mumbled, a knee-jerk reaction. Then I quickly looked away and walked
faster toward the corner. I could hear them laughing at full volume behind me.
"Hey, wait!" one of them called after me again, but I kept my head down and rounded
the corner with a sigh of relief. I could still hear them chortling behind me.
I found myself on a sidewalk leading past the backs of several somber-colored
warehouses, each with large bay doors for unloading trucks, padlocked for the night. The
south side of the street had no sidewalk, only a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire
protecting some kind of engine parts storage yard. I'd wandered far past the part of Port
Angeles that I, as a guest, was intended to see. It was getting dark, I realized, the clouds
finally returning, piling up on the western horizon, creating an early sunset. The eastern
sky was still clear, but graying, shot through with streaks of pink and orange. I'd left my
jacket in the car, and a sudden shiver made me cross my arms tightly across my chest. A
single van passed me, and then the road was empty.
The sky suddenly darkened further, and, as I looked over my shoulder to glare at the
offending cloud, I realized with a shock that two men were walking quietly twenty feet
behind me.
They were from the same group I'd passed at the corner, though neither was the dark
one who'd spoken to me. I turned my head forward at once, quickening my pace. A chill
that had nothing to do with the weather made me shiver again. My purse was on a
shoulder strap and I had it slung across my body, the way you were supposed to wear it
so it wouldn't get snatched. I knew exactly where my pepper spray was — still in my
duffle bag under the bed, never unpacked. I didn't have much money with me, just a
twenty and some ones, and I thought about "accidentally" dropping my bag and walking
away. But a small, frightened voice in the back of my mind warned me that they might be
something worse than thieves.
I listened intently to their quiet footsteps, which were much too quiet when compared to
the boisterous noise they'd been making earlier, and it didn't sound like they were
speeding up, or getting any closer to me. Breathe, I had to remind myself. You don't know
they're following you. I continued to walk as quickly as I could without actually running,
focusing on the right-hand turn that was only a few yards away from me now. I could
hear them, staying as far back as they'd been before. A blue car turned onto the street
from the south and drove quickly past me. I thought of jumping out in front of it, but I
hesitated, inhibited, unsure that I was really being pursued, and then it was too late.
I reached the corner, but a swift glance revealed that it was only a blind drive to the
back of another building. I was half-turned in anticipation; I had to hurriedly correct and
dash across the narrow drive, back to the sidewalk. The street ended at the next corner,
where there was a stop sign. I concentrated on the faint footsteps behind me, deciding
whether or not to run. They sounded farther back, though, and I knew they could outrun
me in any case. I was sure to trip and go sprawling if I tried to go any faster. The footfalls
were definitely farther back. I risked a quick glance over my shoulder, and they were
maybe forty feet back now, I saw with relief. But they were both staring at me.
It seemed to take forever for me to get to the corner. I kept my pace steady, the men
behind me falling ever so slightly farther behind with every step. Maybe they realized
they had scared me and were sorry. I saw two cars going north pass the intersection I was
heading for, and I exhaled in relief. There would be more people around once I got off
this deserted street. I skipped around the corner with a grateful sigh.
And skidded to a stop.
The street was lined on both sides by blank, doorless, windowless walls. I could see in
the distance, two intersections down, streetlamps, cars, and more pedestrians, but they
were all too far away. Because lounging against the western building, midway down the
street, were the other two men from the group, both watching with excited smiles as I
froze dead on the sidewalk. I realized then that I wasn't being followed.
I was being herded.
I paused for only a second, but it felt like a very long time. I turned then and darted to
the other side of the road. I had a sinking feeling that it was a wasted attempt. The
footsteps behind me were louder now.
"There you are!" The booming voice of the stocky, dark-haired man shattered the
intense quiet and made me jump. In the gathering darkness, it seemed like he was looking
past me.
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ΔημοσίευσηΘέμα: Απ: Port Angeles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111   Σαβ 15 Αυγ 2009 - 12:51

"Yeah," a voice called loudly from behind me, making me jump again as I tried to hurry
down the street. "We just took a little detour."
My steps had to slow now. I was closing the distance between myself and the lounging
pair too quickly. I had a good loud scream, and I sucked in air, preparing to use it, but my
throat was so dry I wasn't sure how much volume I could manage. With a quick
movement I slipped my purse over my head, gripping the strap with one hand, ready to
surrender it or use it as weapon as need demanded.
The thickset man shrugged away from the wall as I warily came to a stop, and walked
slowly into the street.
"Stay away from me," I warned in a voice that was supposed to sound strong and
fearless. But I was right about the dry throat — no volume.
"Don't be like that, sugar," he called, and the raucous laughter started again behind me.
I braced myself, feet apart, trying to remember through my panic what little selfdefense
I knew. Heel of the hand thrust upward, hopefully breaking the nose or shoving it
into the brain. Finger through the eye socket — try to hook around and pop the eye out.
And the standard knee to the groin, of course. That same pessimistic voice in my mind
spoke up then, reminding me that I probably wouldn't have a chance against one of them,
and there were four. Shut up! I commanded the voice before terror could incapacitate me.
I wasn't going out without taking someone with me. I tried to swallow so I could build up
a decent scream.
Headlights suddenly flew around the corner, the car almost hitting the stocky one,
forcing him to jump back toward the sidewalk. I dove into the road —this car was going
to stop, or have to hit me. But the silver car unexpectedly fishtailed around, skidding to a
stop with the passenger door open just a few feet from me.
"Get in," a furious voice commanded.
It was amazing how instantaneously the choking fear vanished, amazing how suddenly
the feeling of security washed over me — even before I was off the street — as soon as I
heard his voice. I jumped into the seat, slamming the door shut behind me.
It was dark in the car, no light had come on with the opening of the door, and I could
barely see his face in the glow from the dashboard. The tires squealed as he spun around
to face north, accelerating too quickly, swerving toward the stunned men on the street. I
caught a glimpse of them diving for the sidewalk as we straightened out and sped toward
the harbor.
"Put on your seat belt," he commanded, and I realized I was clutching the seat with both
hands. I quickly obeyed; the snap as the belt connected was loud in the darkness. He took
a sharp left, racing forward, blowing through several stop signs without a pause.
But I felt utterly safe and, for the moment, totally unconcerned about where we were
going. I stared at his face in profound relief, relief that went beyond my sudden
deliverance. I studied his flawless features in the limited light, waiting for my breath to
return to normal, until it occurred to me that his expression was murderously angry.
"Are you okay?" I asked, surprised at how hoarse my voice sounded.
"No," he said curtly, and his tone was livid.
I sat in silence, watching his face while his blazing eyes stared straight ahead, until the
car came to a sudden stop. I glanced around, but it was too dark to see anything beside
the vague outline of dark trees crowding the roadside. We weren't in town anymore.
"Bella?" he asked, his voice tight, controlled.
"Yes?" My voice was still rough. I tried to clear my throat quietly.
"Are you all right?" He still didn't look at me, but the fury was plain on his face.
"Yes," I croaked softly.
"Distract me, please," he ordered.
"I'm sorry, what?"
He exhaled sharply.
"Just prattle about something unimportant until I calm down," he clarified, closing his
eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.
"Um." I wracked my brain for something trivial. "I'm going to run over Tyler Crowley
tomorrow before school?"
He was still squeezing his eyes closed, but the corner of his mouth twitched.
"Why?"
"He's telling everyone that he's taking me to prom — either he's insane or he's still
trying to make up for almost killing me last… well, you remember it, and he think sprom
is somehow the correct way to do this. So I figure if I endanger his life, then we're even,
and he can't keep trying to make amends. I don't need enemies and maybe Lauren would
back off if he left me alone. I might have to total his Sentra, though. If he doesn't have a
ride he can't take anyone to prom…" I babbled on.
"I heard about that." He sounded a bit more composed.
"You did?" I asked in disbelief, my previous irritation flaring. "If he's paralyzed from
the neck down, he can't go to the prom, either," I muttered, refining my plan.
Edward sighed, and finally opened his eyes.
"Better?"
"Not really."
I waited, but he didn't speak again. He leaned his head back against the seat, staring at
the ceiling of the car. His face was rigid.
"What's wrong?" My voice came out in a whisper.
"Sometimes I have a problem with my temper, Bella." He was whispering, too, and as
he stared out the window, his eyes narrowed into slits. "But it wouldn't be helpful for me
to turn around and hunt down those…" He didn't finish his sentence, looking away,
struggling for a moment to control his anger again. "At least," he continued, "that's what
I'm trying to convince myself."
"Oh." The word seemed inadequate, but I couldn't think of a better response.
We sat in silence again. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard. It was past six-thirty.
"Jessica and Angela will be worried," I murmured. "I was supposed to meet them."
He started the engine without another word, turning around smoothly and speeding
back toward town. We were under the streetlights in no time at all, still going too fast,
weaving with ease through the cars slowly cruising the boardwalk. He parallel-parked
against the curb in a space I would have thought much too small for the Volvo, but he slid
in effortlessly in one try. I looked out the window to see the lights of La Bella Italia, and
Jess and Angela just leaving, pacing anxiously away from us.
"How did you know where… ?"I began, but then I just shook my head. I heard the door
open and turned to see him getting out.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"I'm taking you to dinner." He smiled slightly, but his eyes were hard. He stepped out of
the car and slammed the door. I fumbled with my seat belt, and then hurried to get out of
the car as well. He was waiting for me on the sidewalk.
He spoke before I could. "Go stop Jessica and Angela before I have to track them down,
too. I don't think I could restrain myself if I ran into your other friends again."
I shivered at the threat in his voice.
"Jess! Angela!" I yelled after them, waving when they turned. They rushed back to me,
the pronounced relief on both their faces simultaneously changing to surprise as they saw
who I was standing next to. They hesitated a few feet from us.
"Where have you been?" Jessica's voice was suspicious.
"I got lost," I admitted sheepishly. "And then I ran into Edward." I gestured toward him.
"Would it be all right if I joined you?" he asked in his silken, irresistible voice. I could
see from their staggered expressions that he had never unleashed his talents on them
before.
"Er… sure," Jessica breathed.
"Um, actually, Bella, we already ate while we were waiting — sorry," Angela
confessed.
"That's fine — I'm not hungry." I shrugged.
"I think you should eat something." Edward's voice was low, but full of authority. He
looked up at Jessica and spoke slightly louder. "Do you mind if I drive Bella home
tonight? That way you won't have to wait while she eats."
"Uh, no problem, I guess…" She bit her lip, trying to figure out from my expression
whether that was what I wanted. I winked at her. I wanted nothing more than to be alone
with my perpetual savior. There were so many questions that I couldn't bombard him with
till we were by ourselves.
"Okay." Angela was quicker than Jessica. "See you tomorrow, Bella… Edward." She
grabbed Jessica's hand and pulled her toward the car, which I could see a little ways
away, parked across First Street. As they got in, Jess turned and waved, her face eager
with curiosity. I waved back, waiting for them to drive away before I turned to face him.
"Honestly, I'm not hungry," I insisted, looking up to scrutinize his face. His expression
was unreadable.
"Humor me."
He walked to the door of the restaurant and held it open with an obstinate expression.
Obviously, there would be no further discussion. I walked past him into the restaurant
with a resigned sigh.
The restaurant wasn't crowded — it was the off-season in Port Angeles. The host was
female, and I understood the look in her eyes as she assessed Edward. She welcomed him
a little more warmly than necessary. I was surprised by how much that bothered me. She
was several inches taller than I was, and unnaturally blond.
"A table for two?" His voice was alluring, whether he was aiming for that or not. I saw
her eyes flicker to me and then away, satisfied by my obvious ordinariness, and by the
cautious, no-contact space Edward kept between us. She led us to a table big enough for
four in the center of the most crowded area of the dining floor.
I was about to sit, but Edward shook his head at me.
"Perhaps something more private?" he insisted quietly to the host. I wasn't sure, but it
looked like he smoothly handed her a tip. I'd never seen anyone refuse a table except in
old movies.
"Sure." She sounded as surprised as I was. She turned and led us around a partition to a
small ring of booths — all of them empty. "How's this?"
"Perfect." He flashed his gleaming smile, dazing her momentarily.
"Um" — she shook her head, blinking — "your server will be right out." She walked
away unsteadily.
"You really shouldn't do that to people," I criticized. "It's hardly fair."
"Do what?"
"Dazzle them like that — she's probably hyperventilating in the kitchen right now."
He seemed confused.
"Oh, come on," I said dubiously. "You have to know the effect you have on people."
He tilted his head to one side, and his eyes were curious. "I dazzle people?"
"You haven't noticed? Do you think everybody gets their way so easily?"
He ignored my questions. "Do I dazzle you ?"
"Frequently," I admitted.
And then our server arrived, her face expectant. The hostess had definitely dished
behind the scenes, and this new girl didn't look disappointed. She flipped a strand of short
black hair behind one ear and smiled with unnecessary warmth.
"Hello. My name is Amber, and I'll be your server tonight. What can I get you to
drink?" I didn't miss that she was speaking only to him.
He looked at me.
"I'll have a Coke." It sounded like a question.
"Two Cokes," he said.
"I'll be right back with that," she assured him with another unnecessary smile. But he
didn't see it. He was watching me.
"What?" I asked when she left.
His eyes stayed fixed on my face. "How are you feeling?"
"I'm fine," I replied, surprised by his intensity.
"You don't feel dizzy, sick, cold… ?"
"Should I?"
He chuckled at my puzzled tone.
"Well, I'm actually waiting for you to go into shock." His face twisted up into that
perfect crooked smile.
"I don't think that will happen," I said after I could breathe again. "I've always been
very good at repressing unpleasant things."
"Just the same, I'll feel better when you have some sugar and food in you."
Right on cue, the waitress appeared with our drinks and a basket of breadsticks. She
stood with her back to me as she placed them on the table.
"Are you ready to order?" she asked Edward.
"Bella?" he asked. She turned unwillingly toward me.
I picked the first thing I saw on the menu. "Um… I'll have the mushroom ravioli."
"And you?" She turned back to him with a smile.
"Nothing for me," he said. Of course not.
"Let me know if you change your mind." The coy smile was still in place, but he wasn't
looking at her, and she left dissatisfied.
"Drink," he ordered.
I sipped at my soda obediently, and then drank more deeply, surprised by how thirsty I
was. I realized I had finished the whole thing when he pushed his glass toward me.
"Thanks," I muttered, still thirsty. The cold from the icy soda was radiating through my
chest, and I shivered.
"Are you cold?"
"It's just the Coke," I explained, shivering again.
"Don't you have a jacket?" His voice was disapproving.
"Yes." I looked at the empty bench next to me. "Oh — I left it in Jessica's car," I
realized.
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ΔημοσίευσηΘέμα: Απ: Port Angeles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111   Σαβ 15 Αυγ 2009 - 12:51

Edward was shrugging out of his jacket. I suddenly realized that I had never once
noticed what he was wearing — not just tonight, but ever. I just couldn't seem to look
away from his face. I made myself look now, focusing. He was removing a light beige
leather jacket now; underneath he wore an ivory turtleneck sweater. It fit him snugly,
emphasizing how muscular his chest was.
He handed me the jacket, interrupting my ogling.
"Thanks," I said again, sliding my arms into his jacket. It was cold — the way my
jacket felt when I first picked it up in the morning, hanging in the drafty hallway. I
shivered again. It smelled amazing. I inhaled, trying to identify the delicious scent. It
didn't smell like cologne. The sleeves were much too long; I shoved them back so I could
free my hands.
"That color blue looks lovely with your skin," he said, watching me. I was surprised; I
looked down, flushing, of course.
He pushed the bread basket toward me.
"Really, I'm not going into shock," I protested.
"You should be — a normal person would be. You don't even look shaken." He seemed
unsettled. He stared into my eyes, and I saw how light his eyes were, lighter than I'd ever
seen them, golden butterscotch.
"I feel very safe with you," I confessed, mesmerized into telling the truth again.
That displeased him; his alabaster brow furrowed. He shook his head, frowning.
"This is more complicated than I'd planned," he murmured to himself.
I picked up a breadstick and began nibbling on the end, measuring his expression. I
wondered when it would be okay to start questioning him.
"Usually you're in a better mood when your eyes are so light," I commented, trying to
distract him from whatever thought had left him frowning and somber.
He stared at me, stunned. "What?"
"You're always crabbier when your eyes are black — I expect it then," I went on. "I
have a theory about that."
His eyes narrowed. "More theories?"
"Mm-hm." I chewed on a small bite of the bread, trying to look indifferent.
"I hope you were more creative this time… or are you still stealing from comic books?"
His faint smile was mocking; his eyes were still tight.
"Well, no, I didn't get it from a comic book, but I didn't come up with it on my own,
either," I confessed.
"And?" he prompted.
But then the waitress strode around the partition with my food. I realized we'd been
unconsciously leaning toward each other across the table, because we both straightened
up as she approached. She set the dish in front of me — it looked pretty good — and
turned quickly to Edward.
"Did you change your mind?" she asked. "Isn't there anything I can get you?" I may
have been imagining the double meaning in her words.
"No, thank you, but some more soda would be nice." He gestured with a long white
hand to the empty cups in front of me.
"Sure." She removed the empty glasses and walked away.
"You were saying?" he asked.
"I'll tell you about it in the car. If…" I paused.
"There are conditions?" He raised one eyebrow, his voice ominous.
"I do have a few questions, of course."
"Of course."
The waitress was back with two more Cokes. She sat them down without a word this
time, and left again.
I took a sip.
"Well, go ahead," he pushed, his voice still hard.
I started with the most undemanding. Or so I thought. "Why are you in Port Angeles ?"
He looked down, folding his large hands together slowly on the table. His eyes
flickered up at me from under his lashes, the hint of a smirk on his face.
"Next."
"But that's the easiest one," I objected.
"Next," he repeated.
I looked down, frustrated. I unrolled my silverware, picked up my fork, and carefully
speared a ravioli. I put it in my mouth slowly, still looking down, chewing while I
thought. The mushrooms were good. I swallowed and took another sip of Coke before I
looked up.
"Okay, then." I glared at him, and continued slowly. "Let's say, hypothetically of course,
that… someone… could know what people are thinking, read minds, you know — with a
few exceptions."
"Just one exception," he corrected, "hypothetically."
"All right, with one exception, then." I was thrilled that he was playing along, but I
tried to seem casual.
"How does that work? What are the limitations? How would… that someone… find
someone else at exactly the right time? How would he know she was in trouble?" I
wondered if my convoluted questions even made sense.
"Hypothetically?" he asked.
"Sure."
"Well, if… that someone…"
"Let's call him 'Joe,'" I suggested.
He smiled wryly. "Joe, then. If Joe had been paying attention, the timing wouldn't have
needed to be quite so exact." He shook his head, rolling his eyes. "Only you could get
into trouble in a town this small. You would have devastated their crime rate statistics for
a decade, you know."
"We were speaking of a hypothetical case," I reminded him frostily.
He laughed at me, his eyes warm.
"Yes, we were," he agreed. "Shall we call you 'Jane'?"
"How did you know?" I asked, unable to curb my intensity. I realized I was leaning
toward him again.
He seemed to be wavering, torn by some internal dilemma. His eyes locked with mine,
and I guessed he was making the decision right then whether or not to simply tell me the
truth.
"You can trust me, you know," I murmured. I reached forward, without thinking, to
touch his folded hands, but he slid them away minutely, and I pulled my hand back.
"I don't know if I have a choice anymore." His voice was almost a whisper. "I was
wrong — you're much more observant than I gave you credit for."
"I thought you were always right."
"I used to be." He shook his head again. "I was wrong about you on one other thing, as
well. You're not a magnet for accidents — that's not a broad enough classification. You
are a magnet for trouble. If there is anything dangerous within a ten-mile radius, it will
invariably find you."
"And you put yourself into that category?" I guessed.
His face turned cold, expressionless. "Unequivocally."
I stretched my hand across the table again — ignoring him when he pulled back slightly
once more — to touch the back of his hand shyly with my fingertips. His skin was cold
and hard, like a stone.
"Thank you." My voice was fervent with gratitude. "That's twice now."
His face softened. "Let's not try for three, agreed?"
I scowled, but nodded. He moved his hand out from under mine, placing both of his
under the table. But he leaned toward me.
"I followed you to Port Angeles," he admitted, speaking in a rush. "I've never tried to
keep a specific person alive before, and it's much more troublesome than I would have
believed. But that's probably just because it's you. Ordinary people seem to make it
through the day without so many catastrophes." He paused. I wondered if it should bother
me that he was following me; instead I felt a strange surge of pleasure. He stared, maybe
wondering why my lips were curving into an involuntary smile.
"Did you ever think that maybe my number was up the first time, with the van, and that
you've been interfering with fate?" I speculated, distracting myself.
"That wasn't the first time," he said, and his voice was hard to hear. I stared at him in
amazement, but he was looking down. "Your number was up the first time I met you."
I felt a spasm of fear at his words, and the abrupt memory of his violent black glare that
first day… but the overwhelming sense of safety I felt in his presence stifled it. By the
time he looked up to read my eyes, there was no trace of fear in them.
"You remember?" he asked, his angel's face grave.
"Yes." I was calm.
"And yet here you sit." There was a trace of disbelief in his voice; he raised one
eyebrow.
"Yes, here I sit… because of you." I paused. "Because somehow you knew how to find
me today… ?"I prompted.
He pressed his lips together, staring at me through narrowed eyes, deciding again. His
eyes flashed down to my full plate, and then back to me.
"You eat, I'll talk," he bargained.
I quickly scooped up another ravioli and popped it in my mouth.
"It's harder than it should be — keeping track of you. Usually I can find someone very
easily, once I've heard their mind before." He looked at me anxiously, and I realized I had
frozen. I made myself swallow, then stabbed another ravioli and tossed it in.
"I was keeping tabs on Jessica, not carefully — like I said, only you could find trouble
in Port Angeles — and at first I didn't notice when you took off on your own. Then, when
I realized that you weren't with her anymore, I went looking for you at the bookstore I
saw in her head. I could tell that you hadn't gone in, and that you'd gone south… and I
knew you would have to turn around soon. So I was just waiting for you, randomly
searching through the thoughts of people on the street — to see if anyone had noticed you
so I would know where you were. I had no reason to be worried… but I was strangely
anxious…" He was lost in thought, staring past me, seeing things I couldn't imagine.
"I started to drive in circles, still… listening. The sun was finally setting, and I was
about to get out and follow you on foot. And then —" He stopped, clenching his teeth
together in sudden fury. He made an effort to calm himself.
"Then what?" I whispered. He continued to stare over my head.
"I heard what they were thinking," he growled, his upper lip curling slightly back over
his teeth. "I saw your face in his mind." He suddenly leaned forward, one elbow
appearing on the table, his hand covering his eyes. The movement was so swift it startled
me.
"It was very… hard — you can't imagine how hard — for me to simply take you away,
and leave them… alive." His voice was muffled by his arm. "I could have let you go with
Jessica and Angela, but I was afraid if you left me alone, I would go looking for them,"
he admitted in a whisper.
I sat quietly, dazed, my thoughts incoherent. My hands were folded in my lap, and I
was leaning weakly against the back of the seat. He still had his face in his hand, and he
was as still as if he'd been carved from the stone his skin resembled.
Finally he looked up, his eyes seeking mine, full of his own questions.
"Are you ready to go home?" he asked.
"I'm ready to leave," I qualified, overly grateful that we had the hour-long ride home
together. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to him.
The waitress appeared as if she'd been called. Or watching.
"How are we doing?" she asked Edward.
"We're ready for the check, thank you." His voice was quiet, rougher, still reflecting the
strain of our conversation. It seemed to muddle her. He looked up, waiting.
"S-sure," she stuttered. "Here you go." She pulled a small leather folder from the front
pocket of her black apron and handed it to him.
There was a bill in his hand already. He slipped it into the folder and handed it right
back to her.
"No change." He smiled. Then he stood up, and I scrambled awkwardly to my feet.
She smiled invitingly at him again. "You have a nice evening."
He didn't look away from me as he thanked her. I suppressed a smile.
He walked close beside me to the door, still careful not to touch me. I remembered what
Jessica had said about her relationship with Mike, how they were almost to the first-kiss
stage. I sighed. Edward seemed to hear me, and he looked down curiously. I looked at the
sidewalk, grateful that he didn't seem to be able to know what I was thinking.
He opened the passenger door, holding it for me as I stepped in, shutting it softly
behind me. I watched him walk around the front of the car, amazed, yet again, by how
graceful he was. I probably should have been used to that by now — but I wasn't. I had a
feeling Edward wasn't the kind of person anyone got used to.
Once inside the car, he started the engine and turned the heater on high. It had gotten
very cold, and I guessed the good weather was at an end. I was warm in his jacket,
though, breathing in the scent of it when I thought he couldn't see.
Edward pulled out through the traffic, apparently without a glance, flipping around to
head toward the freeway.
"Now," he said significantly, "it's your turn."
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