Midnight Sun (Epilogue: Dream)
Regardless of our now quiet and semi-uneventful life, I was quite content. It had only become habit for me to stay in her room every night and each day absorb every word that came out of her mouth ¨C sarcastic or not.
Looking into the mirror I could see my dark eyes and deep blue circles under my eyes from where I hadn't hunted in a while. It was hard to take myself away from Bella for any period of time, so my hunting habits had become less gluttonous than usual. Before the prom, though I would hunt.
In the corner of my eye I caught the black bag with a post-it note with my name written on it. Alice had purchased for me a new tuxedo. Unzipping the bag, I grabbed the coat to examine it. It was made by some famous and outrageously expensive designer. But clothes, no matter what kind of an occasion, were her specialty and you just learned to not argue with her. Putting the black coat back into the closet and making sure all my accessories were there, I decided to give Charlie a call.
The phone rang a few times before I heard Charlie's gruff voice on the other end.
"Good evening, Charlie. It's Edward," I said politely, using my smooth voice.
"Ah. Yes." He coughed and cleared his throat before whispering into the phone. "She's upstairs right now." He laughed lightly. "She has no clue."
I returned his laugh. She sure seemed a little slow about something so obvious. What could she possibly be thinking we were doing tonight? Surely she had noticed all the posters around school with today's date and the words PROM plastered all over every inch of the school building.
"Thanks, Charlie. I will be there in a few minutes."
"I'll make sure she's downstairs and ready," he chuckled under his breath, still whispering.
When I arrived outside of her house I could hear her complaining to Charlie.
"So, Bells, what do you have planned for the evening? Alice showed me the dress you are wearing tonight."
"I don't know, dad. Alice wouldn't tell me, and Edward wouldn't budge either. For all I know they could be taking me to the Grammy's," her voice was clearly irritated at the lack of information we had given her.
Honestly, I was probably enjoying this much more than I should be. Usually, she is the one unlocking my secrets and me giving her all the answers. But the past two weeks have been kind of fun, especially every time she gave me her pouty face, which was absolutely adorable and almost impossible to resist. I decided before hand that if she gave me that irresistible face, I would just kiss her pouty bottom lip.
"I don't know about that. I told him to keep it in a fifteen mile radius."
"Ugh!" Bella groaned. "Did he tell you?"
During their banter I had made it quickly up the sidewalk and was standing outside the door, thoroughly enjoying their conversation.
"Nope. Not even a hint," I heard him chuckle.
"This is so annoying," she huffed.
I knocked lightly on the door, which was quickly yanked open to a smiling Charlie.
Bella was sitting on the couch, her head placed on top of her hands – which were intertwined like she was praying – with a look of pure devastation on her face. I laughed.
"Are you going to tell me now?" Her chin jutted out.
I shook my head, chuckling.
She folded her arms. "Fine."
Stepping around Charlie, I brought Bella into a deep embracing hug, like I hadn't seen her in months. Her tiny arms wrapped around me fiercely and she smiled reluctantly.
"Alice is waiting for you," I kissed her forehead and let her fragrance tingle my throat pleasantly.
Alice had become the best friend to Bella that she always envisioned, minus the scarlet red eyes ¨C which I continually refused to give her, regardless of Bella and Alice's pleas. Though it pained me to see Bella's delicate leg casted on a daily basis, I knew that my sister was taking care of her during hours I wasn't allowed into the Swan house.
I shook my head to try and dispel thoughts of Alice, now, who is planning on entrapping Bella in her gym sized closet for hours today while I go out hunting with Jasper and Emmett. Her not-so-sneaky-way of telling Bella about the transformation process of how to become a vampire was her way of taking the strain of that kind of conversation off of myself by having Bella ask me. What she seemed to not be able to comprehend is that I didn't want to have that conversation, not just because I didn't want to bring it up, but because I never wanted to have that conversation in the first place.
"You take care of my girl," Charlie commanded. "Have fun at prom," he whispered so low Bella couldn't hear.
Charlie shut the door behind us as I let Bella brace all of her weight on me and then helped her into the car.
After I dropped a scowling Bella off at my house, Emmett, Jasper and I went hunting. The trip was short lived and desperately needed. It had been almost two weeks, and I was thirstier than I thought. The warm blood of the elk soothed the ache, though it would never fully rid me of it.
"It's prom night…" Emmett chuckled on the way back home. "You know what that means?"
Oh, haha. Funny. Jasper laughed along with Emmett.
I frowned at them.
"Oh come on, Edward!" Emmett raised his hands in faux exasperation. "Did you get a hotel room or were you planning on doing it in the car?" Emmett guffawed stupidly for several minutes at his own joke.
"I'm not going to…have sex with her, Emmett." I said through clenched teeth.
"Well what do you do with her all those nights in her room?"
Jasper and Emmett were doubled over in laughter now.
"That's it!" I snapped. My foot slammed on the break and Emmett's head hit the roll bar on the jeep, putting a deep dent in it.
This time, I laughed.
"Dammit, Edward!" He screamed at me while Jasper continued to laugh insanely loud.
I looked in the rear view mirror. "You're next!" I warned Jasper.
He put his lips together in an attempt to stop his laughter, but couldn't hold it in any longer and his breath came whooshing out along with more cackling. Instead of getting even, I couldn't help myself and I joined in on the laughter while Emmett glared at me.
Rose is going to kick my ass for this.
"Yup," I replied and Emmett mock punched me in the arm.
The rest of the drive continued like this…Emmett making a sex joke, Jasper nodding in agreement and grinning widely at me in the rear view mirror while I swerved once making Jasper's head break through the hard top on the Jeep.
When we finally arrived back home, we found Rosalie scowling in the garage in her scarlet dress that fell flawlessly over her body. Emmett jumped out of the Jeep and whistled. He tried to give her a hug but she backed away.
"Ew! Take a shower and get changed. Bella is already ready," she sneered her name. I frowned at her but she just turned and got into her M3, her dress not covering an inch of her back. "I'll be waiting!" She shouted at Emmett who was already running up the stairs to their room.
When I finally walked inside and up to Alice's closet, I saw Bella. She was leaning against the wall behind Alice, her hair in intricate curls, her silk blue dress clinging just right onto her extravagant body and her free foot in delicate high heels with lace wrapping around her lower ankle. I literally had to put my tongue back in my mouth. She was stunning, though her facial expression was clearly not in league with her appearance. She had a deep scowl on her face and there was a tiny pucker between her eyebrows.
"Get dressed!" Alice demanded, though she was still wearing pants.
Kissing Bella lightly on the forehead I shot upstairs to the third floor to quickly take a shower and put on my tuxedo.
"By the way, you're late!" Alice yelled up the stairs. I'll take Bella downstairs. I'm going to get dressed and Jasper and I will meet you there.
By the time I was done, Alice and Jasper were gone and Bella was sitting on the couch downstairs talking with Esme. Rushing towards her, I pulled her up into my arms and brushed my hands lightly through her intricate curls.
"This is for you," I showed her a white lily which Alice had left on my dresser.
Blood rushed up her face, coloring it a delicious pink. The scent was spectacular.
"Thanks," she whispered.
"Here," I said while pinning it into her hair. "Now you're perfect."
Her blush turned an even darker shade of pink.
"You're not so bad yourself," her lips twitched up into a smile.
Wrapping my arm around her waist we proceeded to the door.
"Are you going to tell me where we are going now?" She looked sideways at me, anticipation obvious in her eyes.
"Not a chance," I grinned.
Her lips turned down as I helped her into my car. Carefully, I made sure that she was secure, including her dress, before I shut the door. Alice would kill me if I got her dress dirty before we even arrived at the school.
"At what point exactly are you going to tell me what's going on?" She asked tersely.
Really? Had she seriously not figure it out yet? I threw her a derisive smile.
"I'm shocked that you haven't figured it out yet."
She took in a deep breath and held it for several seconds before she spoke.
"I did mention that you looked very nice, didn't I?" She double-checked.
"Yes." My smile deepened.
Her musical heart began to pick up in pace. In anticipation or nervousness, I wasn't sure. She looked down at her attire and frowned.
"I'm not coming over anymore if Alice is going to treat me like Guinea Pig Barbie when I do," she complained.
My phone vibrated lightly before it rang. If it's Alice, I'm not answering. I put my hand into my inside jacket pocket, pulled out my phone and looked at the number. It was Bella's number. It was easy to tell who was calling me since Bella was sitting next to me. Curious as to what he was calling for, I answered.
"Charlie?" Bella's frown became more prominent on her face.
"Um. Yeah." Charlie paused, obviously unsure of how to continue. "Tyler is here to pick Bella up for prom." He said the words slowly, delicately.
I could feel my eyes widen in disbelief.
"He says that Bella told him 'yes' when he asked her to go to prom."
A grin slowly crept up my face. It was about time that Tyler get the point that Bella is taken. That she is mine!
I laughed. "You're kidding!"
"No…definitely not," I could hear Charlie's voice cracking. He was trying not to laugh.
"What is it?" Bella demanded at the same time Tyler asked, "Who are you talking to?"
This was like a dream come true. It was bad enough that I had to hear every guys fantasy at school. It was time for payback.
"Why don't you let me talk to him?" I offered.
"Um. Okay, if you think that's best."
Charlie handed the phone over to Tyler.
"Who is it?" Tyler asked curiously.
"Just answer the phone, Tyler," Charlie demanded.
"Hello, Tyler, this is Edward Cullen." I used my friendly voice, but it had an undercurrent of threat. "I'm sorry if there's been some kind of miscommunication, but Bella is unavailable tonight."
"But…prom," he spluttered.
The undercurrent in my voice became prominent as I continued. "To be perfectly honest, she'll be unavailable every night, as far as anyone besides myself is concerned. No offense. And I'm sorry about your evening."
"But…" he began, but I snapped my phone shut while I smiled widely at the thought of him standing there, dumbfounded.
When I took in a deep breath I caught a concentrated scent of Bella's blood and looked over at her immediately. Her face and neck were the same color as Rosalie's dress. Her eyes were beginning to water slightly in anger.
Oops, I hope I didn't upset her, that was not my intention. Of course, she would have handled it with more finesse than me. "Was that last part a bit too much? I didn't mean to offend you."
She gritted her teeth before staring at me in absolute and utter belligerence. "You're taking me to the prom!" She shouted.
She caught me completely off guard. So it wasn't because of my threatening voice towards Tyler, it was because of prom! Once I took in her angry expression I tried not to laugh at her vicious kitten-y face. My lips pressed together tightly and my eyes narrowed slightly in an effort not to show my humor.
"Don't be difficult, Bella."
She jerked her head to look out of the window as it sunk in.
"Why are you doing this to me?" Her voice acerbic.
I raised an eyebrow at her and pointed towards my James Bond tuxedo. "Honestly, Bella, what did you think we were doing?"
The color in her cheeks only turned a darker shade of red as water spilled over her eye lashes and down her cheeks. She quickly wiped under her eyes and looked at her tear stained hand. After watching her reaction I couldn't figure out how the prom – of all the things for tears to be spilt over ¨C was bothering her so much. Prom, of course, wasn't on my list of tear worthy subjects. She didn't even have this reaction when she met up with James in Phoenix. Her reactions now were just completely absurd!
"This is completely ridiculous. Why are you crying?" I demanded in frustration.
"Because I'm mad!" She shouted.
"Bella," I sighed, turning my gaze on her.
"What?" she muttered, folding her arms irritably.
Okay, it was time to try the dazzling trick. "Humor me," I requested while gazing deeply into her eyes.
Her shoulders hunched forward in defeat after a few seconds. "Fine," her lower lip jutted out while staring back at me, possibly trying to glare, but the tears were making it hard to read them. "I'll go quietly. But you'll see. I'm way overdue for more bad luck. I'll probably break my other leg. Look at this shoe! It's a death trap!"
She lifted her dress and pointed at her leg in horror.
"Hmmm." Her soft delicate skin was porcelain white and looked soft, warm and silky. "Remind me to thank Alice for that tonight," I teased.
"Alice is going to be there?"
Didn't Alice tell her? Didn't Bella see her?
"With Jasper, and Emmett… and Rosalie," I added.
Her eyebrows pulled together before she shook her head. I suppressed a sigh, longing to know what was going on in that head of hers.
Then, her lips pursed. "Is Charlie in on this?" She asked suspiciously.
"Of course." I grinned, and then chuckled. "Apparently Tyler wasn't, though."
Her teeth came together with an audible snap. It pleased me that his appearance at her house had a negative effect on her.
Finally, we pulled into the school parking lot, parking next to Rosalie's M3.
The sun was starting to set and the sky was turning a coppery color as the thin layer of clouds casted shadows down on the ground in odd angles turning the white fluff into red and orange. To the east the sky was showing some stars while turning purplish due to the setting sun. The sunset was beautiful, but when I got out to offer my help to Bella, the sunset was suddenly insignificant in comparison. I held out of hand and she tightened her folded arms and humpfed stubbornly. Her chin was jutting out with a superior smugness in her expression. I would have just picked her up but there were too many people in the parking lot.
I sighed. "When someone wants to kill you, you're brave as a lion — and then when someone mentions dancing…" I muttered while shaking my head.
Her expression changed to fear instantly and she gulped.
"Bella, I won't let anything hurt you," I paused, "– not even yourself. I won't let go of you once, I promise."
The fear washed away as quickly as it had placed itself on her glorious face. I was relieved at once.
"There, now," I said gently, "it won't be so bad."
Without effort I reached out pulled her to my chest, wrapping my arm around her waist and holding her hand in the other. Her warmth wrapped around my body as we walked towards the school. I held her firmly in my grasp, letting her place all her weight on me if necessary. Our progress was slow, but tonight there were no expectations and we were in no hurry.
Fork's High School prom was in their gym and as we entered Bella fully took in the decorations of balloon arches, pastel crepe paper and twisted garlands that were covering every inch of the walls. Her whimsical giggle shocked me. After all her anger, fear and constant pouting and shouting she was…smiling.
"This looks like a horror movie waiting to happen," she snickered.
Relief washed over me and I joined in with her humor.
"Well," I whispered as we approached the ticket table, "there are more than enough vampires present."
She looked over the ladies shoulder at the ticket area. On the dance floor, Emmett and Rosalie, and Jasper and Alice were floating fluidly around the enclosed circle of admirers as they danced gracefully around in their evening gowns.
That family makes me sick, look at how perfect they move.
My date probably thinks I'm ugly compared to these women.
Man I'd like to…
I shoved everyone's thoughts from my mind so I could focus on Bella. Looking down at her, she looked up at me with a look of conspiracy in her thoughts.
"Do you want me to bolt the doors so you can massacre the unsuspecting townsfolk?" She whispered.
My brow raised. "And where do you fit into that scheme?"
"Oh, I'm with the vampires, of course," she collaborated.
Though I was happy she was in better spirits, I was afraid that this conversation would turn into a 'let's turn Bella into a vampire' argument. Trying to read her face, I smiled reluctantly. "Anything to get out of dancing," I assumed.
"Anything." She smiled.
After purchasing the tickets I began pulling her to the dance floor. She literally dragged her feet. Pursing my lips, I stared down at her.
"I've got all night," I informed her, not in the least bit worried that she wouldn't fold.
Finally, her stubbornness subsided and we moved onto the dance floor next to my family. This was my first time going to the prom, though my siblings went every chance they got. Alice loved to dress up and so did Rosalie, mainly because of the stares and compliments she received.
Bella stiffened at my side and I looked down at her.
"Edward." She croaked. "I honestly can't dance!" Panic was obvious in her tone.
I sighed in exasperation. "Don't worry, silly," I whispered in her ear. "I can."
Gently, I pulled her close to my chest, her feet leaving the ground before I placed them over mine, and wrapped her arms around my neck. Without effort we twirled around the dance floor with my family and even though I tried to dispel all thoughts, the boys in the audience were also crooning over Bella. I felt smug with pride.
"I feel like I'm five years old," she giggled after several minutes of us waltzing.
Her hair was blowing around lightly with the slight breeze we were making with our dancing and her cheeks were flushed the perfect pink. "You don't look five," I breathed in her ear, hugging her closer to my body.
I'm a genius! I mean, just look at that dress on her. Alice thought as she watched us twirl around. Bella caught her eye and smiled back at Alice's grin. I think she might actually be enjoying herself…
Before Alice finished her thought another thought burst into my head. He was arguing with himself. As I twirled around to see who it was, I realized it was Jacob Black.
I can't believe I'm about to do this. Seriously ¨C he's here with her, what does my dad expect me to do? Go up to her and tell her to leave him right here on the dance floor… but my car, I really want my car up and running. Stupid master cylinder.
"Okay, this isn't half bad," Bella admitted to me, but I was too busy glaring towards the doors where Jacob was leaning.
I can do this. I can do this. I can do this. Jacob chanted over and over in his head. Why did she have to be here? Argh! He hesitated on the dance floor. Master cylinder, he reminded himself. …just remember driving around in your car, his lips twitched up. …maybe Bella in the passenger seat. The mental image was enough to make him move closer to our dancing forms.
Bella and I continued to spin without effort on the dance floor, but my eyes never left Jacob for more than a fraction of a second. My possessive side started to creep up as I watched him walked towards us.
Bella noticed my distraction. "What is it?" she looked at me curiously.
I didn't answer. She looked over her shoulder and then continued to try and focus her eyes through our continuous gyrate. Jacob continued to move towards us. His face displayed his thoughts of distress and discomfort.
Come on, Jacob. Pull yourself together! He frantically tried to calm himself. He's not actually a vampire.
He was wrong about that.
Just do it. Ask if you can cut in. I can just relay the message from dad. Jacob looked at Bella. Wow! She is positively the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. He blinked to clear his eyes, trying to get a better visual on her. Man, this is going to suck. I'm sorry, oh man I am so sorry, Bella.
A snarl came burning up my throat, but I was able to stifle most of the noise.
"Behave!" Bella hissed at me in reproach.
Behave? I wanted to argue but he was only two feet away.
Just cut in and get it over with. This is so embarrassing. Jacob's eyebrows pulled together in concentration. 'Hey, Bella. Just break up with your boyfriend…please.' He shook his head. This isn't going to be good.
Anger boiled under my cold skin. "He wants to chat with you." The severity of my thoughts was obvious in my voice.
You made it this far. Just ask. Jacob was now standing next to us.
I stopped our dancing, trying to…behave.
"Hey, Bella," Jacob addressed her, completely ignoring me. "I was hoping you would be here." Jacob lied as he smiled brightly at Bella.
"Hi, Jacob." Bella beamed back. "What's up?"
Why did she have to return his smile? She never greeted other males so warmly. What was so special about this…Jacob Black? She was just being polite. That was all.
"Can I cut in?" he asked hesitantly, swiveling towards me.
I gritted my teeth. Behave…behave…behave, I chanted over and over in my head in Bella's delicate voice. This planned conversation was angering me and now he was asking me to break my promise to Bella.
Refusing to let Jacob see my growing irritation, I kept my face absent of emotion. I knew if I were to open my mouth words not appropriate to say in front of a lady would spill out. So, instead, I just carefully placed her back on her feet and took a step backwards, my teeth still clenched tight enough to crush diamonds.
"Thanks," Jacob said pleasantly. That was easier than I imagined.
Taking a steadying breath, I nodded once and turned to walk away. Moving through the crowd I positioned myself so I could see and hear their exchange.
Venom filled my mouth when Jacob put his hands on her waist. Jealousy ripped at me when she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Without thinking, I was pushing my way back through the crowd. I was irate.
"Emmett," Alice nodded towards me. "Stop him."
He's just a kid, Edward, she reminded me.
Before I reached them, strong arms were binding me to the spot. Emmett chuckled. "Tisk tisk, bro. Here? In this crowd? Can't you pick another time to rip his arms off?"
He let go when I froze.
"I'd like to do that now," I glanced quickly towards Alice's twirling form.
You were about to do something really stupid. Trust me on that. Alice explained.
A hard laugh came from my left. "Not a chance." Emmett smirked. "Now calm down. What would Bella think?" He looked at me in mock horror.
I looked away.
It was so odd to feel this infuriated over something as small as a dance. His hands were gripping her on her waist. I wanted to grip him around his throat. I wanted him so far away from her that the wish was a strong flavor on my tongue. I was automatically sorting through the range of tortures I would bring upon him.
"Jeez, Edward. Calm down," Emmett muttered, his hand on my shoulder ¨C restraining me. My face in his mind was showing nothing but a murderous glare.
I settled on eavesdropping. Emmett leaned against the wall beside me.
"Wow, Jake, how tall are you now?" Bella looked up at Jacobs towering frame.
I growled and Emmett patted my shoulder in understanding. I deal with this kind of stuff all the time, he thought to himself. What's the big deal?
"Six-two." Jacob's thoughts were smug. In the past months he had grown several inches in height, something he was very proud of.
I watched as they swayed on the spot, not really dancing due to Bella's casted foot.
"So, how did you end up here tonight?" she questioned, but her tone was absent of curiosity, like she already knew.
Just tell her, just get it over with. He swallowed hard. If I blame it on my dad, she can't really get mad at me, can she? He frowned."Can you believe my dad paid me twenty bucks to come to your prom?" He confessed. That was easy enough, now the hard part.
"Yes, I can," Bella muttered. "Well, I hope you're enjoying yourself, at least. Seen anything you like?" she nodded to a group of girls lined up against the wall, waiting and willing for their knight and shining armor.
Her hint to him sent me a little bit of relief. He was just a friend. Nothing more.
"Yeah," he sighed. You! "But she's taken."
He glanced down at Bella's face.
Bella looked away, blush rising in her porcelain cheeks.
Dammit! She knows I meant her. You idiot!
"You look really pretty, by the way," he added apprehensively. Oh crap! Did that just come out of my mouth? How embarrassing. He hung his head slightly.
Pretty? She is much more than that! Angelic, maybe. Exquisite, yes. But pretty? Idiot.
"Um, thanks." Bella's forehead creased. "So why did Billy pay you to come here?"
It didn't go without notice, her lack of compliments back to him. Jacob noticed, I noticed…
"Burn!" Emmett bellowed.
Emmett noticed. I had almost forgotten he was standing beside me; I was so intent on listening into their conversation.
Forget it. I can't do this. Jacob argued in his mind. Master cylinder…master cylinder, he chanted over and over.
The look of discomfort on his face pleased me.
Get it over with… he grimaced.
"He said it was a 'safe' place to talk to you. I swear the old man is losing his mind."
His humorless chuckle was joined with a weak laugh from Bella.
"Is he going to say what I think he's going to say?" Emmett guffawed loudly.
"No way!" he continued to chuckle. "Human's are so hilarious! You sure know how to pick the good ones," Emmett chuckled in amusement.
"Anyway," Jacob continued. "He said that if I told you something, he would get me that master cylinder I need," he confessed with a sheepish grin. Master cylinder…you can do this. Master cylinder.
"Tell me, then. I want you to get your car finished." Bella grinned back.
There was a faint irritation close by. A young girl, only fifteen, screaming her fantasies at me through her thoughts, my name and face intertwined with them. Only if she knew what it would mean for my lips to be that close to her skin. It wouldn't be a kiss she would receive.
I pushed her thoughts from me. I had no time to deal with it.
Here goes nothing. Jacob exhaled heavily. Just set it up so you are in the clear. This isn't your fault…you were sent by your insane father. She'll understand. …right?
"Don't get mad, okay?" Jacob stared down at Bella intently.
"There's no way I'll be mad at you, Jacob," she encouraged him. "I won't even be mad at Billy. Just say what you have to."
I didn't deserve to have someone like Bella. She was forgiving, sweet and kind. She had even forgiven me for nearly taking her life.
"Well — this is so stupid, I'm sorry, Bella –" just spit it out "– he wants you to break up with your boyfriend. He asked me to tell you 'please.'" Jacob shook his head back and forth.
I can't believe I just said that.
A burst of laughter came from Emmett. "He said it. I can't believe he actually said it."
"Pay up!" Jasper held out his hand. …and I wasn't even here when the wolves were around. He grinned.
I hadn't even noticed that he was there until right now, let alone hear them making bet's over the conversation. I tuned out Jasper and Emmett's exchange.
"He's still superstitious, eh?" Bella pulled me back into the conversation. Her brush off was surely just pity. She was kind. That was all.
That's it? She's not going to get mad…or hit me? What a relief!
"Yeah. He was… kind of over the top when you got hurt down in Phoenix. He didn't believe…" He believed you were attacked by Edward, he finished in thought.
Finally, I saw the first signs of Bella's irritation as her eyes narrowed. "I fell," she infused with a little bit of steel in her voice.
She's mad. Oh crap.
"I know that," Jacob said quickly.
"He thinks Edward had something to do with me getting hurt," Bella said tersely, stating it as a fact, not a question.
Bad idea…really, really bad idea. Master cylinder? What?
They stopped swaying; Jacob's eyes looking away, Bella's eyes alight with fury. It was surprisingly strange to see her be protective over me. It was…nice, even though her anger was quite comical.
"Look, Jacob," Bella began. "I know Billy probably won't believe this, but just so you know" — Jacob looked up, his thoughts scattering wildly trying to find a way to patch up their little tiff — "Edward really did save my life. If it weren't for Edward and his father, I'd be dead."
She forgot to add that if it weren't for us, we wouldn't have had to save her in the first place.
"I know," Jacob claimed. I tried to tell him…I'm an idiot for letting him convince me to do this.
"Hey, I'm sorry you had to come do this, Jacob," Bella apologized. "At any rate, you get your parts, right?"
Forgiveness was her virtue. There was no other meaning behind her words. I don't even think she knows how to hold a grudge.
"Yeah," he muttered.
Maybe you could just leave off the last part, he thought. I mean, she got the gist of what he wanted her to know. …right?
"There's more?" Bella asked in disbelief, reading his face.
Jacob's mouth twisted down further. Why did she have to be so perceptive?
"Forget it," he mumbled, "I'll get a job and save the money myself." …bye, bye, master cylinder, his thoughts were chagrined.
Bella's cheeks turned red again, but this time in pure anger and not embarrassment.
"Just spit it out, Jacob," she hissed.
"It's so bad." He grimaced.
"I don't care. Tell me," she insisted.
I can't believe she is going to make me say this.
"Okay… but, geez, this sounds bad." He shook his head. "He said to tell you, no, to warn you, that — and this is his plural, not mine" — he lifted one hand and made little quotations marks in the air — '"We'll be watching.'"
Please don't scream.
He cringed in anticipation.
I growled at Billy's words.
Bella's response took us both off guard. She stared at him for a second and then laughed loudly.
"Sorry you had to do this, Jake." she continued to snicker.
"I don't mind that much."
Shew. He breathed a sigh of relief. Now that that is over with… He grinned. …maybe I could enjoy a dance with her. His eyes roamed over her body appreciatively. I really like how her dress falls just right on her body. She has amazing curves.
Emmett grabbed my arm when he saw Jacob's eyes undressing Bella. I leaned against the wall again, angry I had to stand through this torture.
"So," Jacob smiled. "Should I tell him you said to butt the hell out?" he asked hopefully. It would serve him right, mad old man!
"No," she exhaled. "Tell him I said thanks. I know he means well."
Gradually the song dissipated and morphed into another song. Bella instantly dropped her arms. It pleased me to see that she didn't want to continue their awkward dance. Jacob, on the other hand, was thoroughly displeased.
I made my way through the crowd.
But…I… His hands hesitated on her waist and his gaze turned toward her casted leg. Well, I can't just leave her here like this, he told himself.
"Do you want to dance again? Or can I help you get somewhere?" he asked uncertainly.
"That's all right, Jacob. I'll take it from here." I glared at him.
Gah! Jacob jumped slightly, and stared wide-eyed at me in surprise.
"Hey, I didn't see you there," he mumbled. "I guess I'll see you around, Bella." He stepped back, waving halfheartedly.
Bella grinned at him. "Yeah, I'll see you later."
She was just being courteous. It was only in her nature.
"Sorry," he said again before he turned for the door. …what a freak.
As the next song's melody began weaving its way through the crowd I pulled Bella back into my arms. She instantly warmed my body. The music was awful, so I played my own tune in my head, dancing to it instead.
Bella's eyes roamed over my face happily before she leaned her head against my chest. I tightened my arms around her and she sighed, content.
"Feeling better?" she teased.
"Not really," I said through my teeth.
"Don't be mad at Billy," she sighed, her hot breath seeping through my clothes, down to my skin. "He just worries about me for Charlie's sake. It's nothing personal."
She had it all wrong.
"I'm not mad at Billy," I revised in a curt voice. "But his son is irritating me."
Her head left my chest then. Our eyes met and the intensity of her gaze gave me the impression she was trying to read my mind.
"Why?" Her eyes grew tight in suspicion.
"First of all, he made me break my promise."
Her eyebrows crunched up in confusion. The look of perplexity made my lips twitch up.
"I promised I wouldn't let go of you tonight." I explained.
"Oh. Well, I forgive you."
"Thanks. But there's something else." I frowned. "He called you pretty," my previous anger began bubbling to the surface. "That's practically an insult, the way you look right now. You're much more than beautiful."
She giggled. "You might be a little biased."
"I don't think that's it. Besides, I have excellent eyesight."
I lifted her up, bringing her close to my chest. We continued our dancing. Her hair moved slightly with our breeze. Waves of freesia floated in the air around us.
"So are you going to explain the reason for all of this?"
What did she mean by that? Her eyes lifted to the crepe paper and her lips pursed. I understood. I decided it was time to move our conversation to a less populated place. Twirling the opposite direction we spun gracefully through the crowd toward the back door.
I wish Mike could dance like that… Jessica waved at Bella as we flew by, her eyes green with jealousy. Where are they going? Bella smiled at her. Angela was in Ben Cheney's arms, enjoying my gift to her. She deserved happiness.
Finally, we were away from all the stares and eavesdroppers. The sun was beginning to dissipate below the horizon, the sky a brilliant color of pink and orange.
Her elegant features were glowing in the coppery color of the sun. Without effort I swept her off her feet. There was a bench under two madrone trees and I walked over and sat down, Bella's delicate arms wrapped around my neck. I held her closer, never wanting this moment to end.
It doesn't have to end. We could have each other for eternity. I banished that thought immediately. The moon was already up, visible through the gauzy clouds. I looked up, wishing the sun wouldn't fade to night.
"The point?" Bella prompted softly.
"Twilight, again," I whispered. "Another ending. No matter how perfect the day is, it always has to end."
"Some things don't have to end," she muttered through her teeth.
I sighed. I knew what she was thinking…what she wanted. But I couldn't give it to her. It was best to just ignore her train of thought.
"I brought you to the prom," I said slowly, "because I don't want you to miss anything. I don't want my presence to take anything away from you, if I can help it. I want you to be human. I want your life to continue as it would have if I'd died in nineteen-eighteen like I should have."
She trembled slightly before she shook her head angrily. "In what strange parallel dimension would I ever have gone to prom of my own free will? If you weren't a thousand times stronger than me, I would never have let you get away with this."
My lips curved into a half-smile at her kittenish anger. "It wasn't so bad, you said so yourself."
"That's because I was with you."
I gazed absently back up at the moon. Prom…it was the only formal occasion that I could think of this evening. Did she think we were leaving the city? I was curious now.
"Will you tell me something?" I asked, glancing down at her in amusement.
"Don't I always?"
"Just promise you'll tell me," I insisted, grinning.
"Fine." She was suspicious.
"You seemed honestly surprised when you figured out that I was taking you here," I began.
"I was," she interjected.
"Exactly," I agreed. "But you must have had some other theory… I'm curious — what did you think I was dressing you up for?"
Her lips pursed, a slight pucker forming between her brows. "I don't want to tell you."
"You promised," I reminded her.
"What's the problem?" This should be good. Her cheeks were red, the blush filling the air with her silky aroma.
"I think it will make you mad — or sad."
Her words held some meaning, yet I couldn't grasp it. My eyebrows pulled together as I speculated the subtlety of her words. It was moments like these I wished I could read her mind.
"I still want to know. Please?"
She sighed. I waited expectantly for her answer.
"Well… I assumed it was some kind of… occasion. But I didn't think it would be some trite human thing… prom!" she sneered.
The meaning was slowly surfacing.
"Human?" I asked flatly.
Suddenly, her blush deepened to a scarlet red and she looked down, her fingers lightly tugging a piece of chiffon.
I waited in silence. She would tell me, I just had to be patient.
"Okay," her shoulders slumped as her breath rushed out. "So I was hoping that you might have changed your mind… that you were going to change me, after all."
The mingled fury and alarm was present on my face. We had this conversation already. I wasn't going to change her. I refused.
First, I was furious. Absolutely irate that she would even think I would take her soul. What did she think me capable of? Second, her blood, beyond delicious, would never be a strong enough siren call to make me…change her. What if I tried and I wasn't able to stop? What if I did change her and she forever hated me? Isabella Swan, forever stalking the night for all time, never aging, never changing… soulless. Many emotions filled my head and ran down my veins.
Her words replayed in my mind. I assumed it would be some kind of…occasion. Was she joking? She had to be, she couldn't be serious.
"You thought that would be a black tie occasion, did you?" I teased, touching the lapel of my James Bond tux in amusement.
She frowned. "I don't know how these things work. To me, at least, it seems more rational than prom does."
Yes. I wanted to say. Because what you wear will really matter when you're burning. I continued to grin at her, despite the image in my head. "It's not funny," her frown deepened.
"No, you're right, it's not," I agreed, my smile fading. "I'd rather treat it like a joke, though, than believe you're serious."
"But I am serious."
I didn't realize I was holding my breath until I let out a deep sigh. Could this really be what she wanted? "I know. And you're really that willing?"
She bit her delicate lip and nodded.
"So ready for this to be the end," I muttered to myself, "for this to be the twilight of your life, though your life has barely started. You're ready to give up everything."
"It's not the end, it's the beginning," she disagreed in a whisper of her warm breath.
"I'm not worth it," I said sadly.
"Do you remember when you told me that I didn't see myself very clearly?" she asked, raising her eyebrows. "You obviously have the same blindness."
"I know what I am." I stated. A monster.
A course of action had just occurred to me.
"You're ready now, then?" I asked, my eyes probing hers.
"Um." she gulped. "Yes?" It was a question.
I smiled at my plan before moving my lips over her soft skin. I breathed softly at the corner of her jaw, letting the flavor burn down my throat.
"Right now?" I whispered, moving my lips down her neck. She trembled under my touch. I wanted to bring our lips together fiercely, but I resisted.
"Yes," she whispered.
Her breathing began to pick up, her heart pounding out a jagged rhythm. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed her hands balled up into tight fists. She showed all the signs of distress, yet she didn't move.
I chuckled darkly, and leaned away. I was disappointed by her actions. She didn't take any action for self preservation. I was her guardian vampire, though. My protection included keeping her human.
"You can't really believe that I would give in so easily," I said with a sour edge to my mocking tone. It was with great effort that I didn't yell at her for making it so easy.
"A girl can dream."
What! I screamed in my head. My eyebrows rose. "Is that what you dream about? Being a monster?"
"Not exactly," her lips turned down. "Mostly I dream about being with you forever." There was a sad ache in her voice.
Instantly I understood. Our dreams, per say, were the same. All I wanted was to be with her forever, but for her to wish for this soulless existence to be with me was absurd. It shouldn't be allowed. In that moment I was decided. Leaving wasn't an option. I needed her, and she needed me, too. All previous thoughts of leaving her to her human life, her future, disappeared, like someone popped a balloon.
"Bella." My fingers lightly traced the shape of her lips. "I will stay with you — isn't that enough?"
She smiled gently under my fingertips. "Enough for now."
I frowned. For now, I scoffed. She was determined, but I wasn't going to concede to her wishes. I exhaled a low thundery growl.
She touched my face. "Look," she breathed. "I love you more than everything else in the world combined. Isn't that enough?"
"Yes, it is enough," I answered, smiling. "Enough for forever."
I leaned down to press my cold lips once more to her throat.