Chapter 19

I was sitting in English, half listening to the teacher’s starting his rant about one book or another, half pondering over what the day had brought so far. At first I had been glad that Edward had let the nightmare – or whatever it had been – pass, but now I almost wished he had interrogated me about it. I was glad that the rumors about me were over, but almost wished they weren’t because now all I could hear was Bella Swan’s name. Was that even fair? I mean, could I really dislike a girl simply because she’d gotten attention of someone who was only a friend? I suppose I did, regardless of whether it was fair or not. She’d looked friendly, though, a silent beauty behind her timid demeanor. And somehow, somehow that only made it worse, for it made it only more obvious that she’d gotten Edward’s attention without doing a single thing for it.

I bit my lip, trying to drive the hateful thoughts out of my mind. The poor girl had probably never wanted his attention in the first place. She was just curious about the Cullens, like everyone else.

A soft knock interrupted Mr. Mason’s lecture and my thoughts and everyone looked up in surprise to see no one other than Edward Cullen enter the classroom. Now, when I said that the rumor about me and him had passed, that didn’t mean that he wasn’t still stared at. Then again, I suppose he was already long before I had even set foot in this school.

Walking up to Mr. Mason, I noticed something was different about him: though his movements were still graceful and catlike, there was something forced about them, his muscles tensed up.

‘Miss River, follow Mr. Cullen to the principal’s office, please.’ I was surprised by his words to say the least. What had I done? Had I done something or was this just Edward trying to get me out of class. Judging from the looks of him, something was definitely wrong.

Instead of voicing my confusion, I just nodded, throwing my untouched notepad and pen into my bag and hoisting in onto my shoulder. Mentally, I was already having an cross examination of my own. Edward’s face, however, betrayed nothing.

I waited for the class door to shut behind me, then I turned to him. ‘What’s going on?’

‘Not here.’

‘You can’t just pull me out of class looking like this and not tell me what’s wrong. Is it my family, is someone hurt? Is Jasper, did he…?’

‘They’re all fine. No one’s hurt. Not yet, at least.’

‘Not yet? What’s that supposed to mean? Edward, what’s wrong?’

He didn’t answer as he pulled me outside, into the pouring rain. I wanted to protest, tell him that even though he couldn’t catch a cold, I certainly could, but decided against it when I saw his face. Dragging me to the Volvo, reality suddenly caught up with me.

‘I can’t just leave school. English just started and I doubt they will believe my appointment with the “principal” took the rest of the day.’

‘Carlisle will write you a note,’ the bronze haired vampire said simply, starting the engine. ‘Please,’ he suddenly begged, his pleading eyes turning to me ‘You need to distract me. I don’t know what I will do if I..’

‘I don’t understand,’ I put a hand through my hair and sighed ‘what’s going on?’

He sped off the parking lot, in the direction of the high way. Something was definitely wrong.. ‘Just talk, alright. About anything.’

I thought about that, what could I talk about? I mean, normally I had no trouble talking to Edward and I would just spew nonsense whenever and wherever. Then again, he had never acted like this before. That is, of course, if you didn’t count those few days in which he had wanted to cut my head clean off of my shoulders.

‘Can you please keep your thoughts to yourself?’

‘Yeah, sorry, I got distracted. So, ehm, I heard there’s going to be snow in Forks. I never really liked snow, to be honest. Then again, I’ve never really seen a lot of it back in LA. We did go on ski holidays, sometimes, but I always stayed inside with a cup of warm chocolate and a lot of blankets.’

‘Can you ski?’ His voice was still hard and his hands still wrought around the steer wheel.

‘I got some lessons when I was a kid, so I know the basics. I never really mastered it though, I am better at ball sports. Unless I get hit by one, that is.’ I chuckled, remembering the incident all too clearly.

‘Did you and your sister get along better when you were younger?’

‘I eh..’ I frowned, thinking back on the ski holidays I’d been on, but not recalling her to be there. ‘I guess not. Since she is good at practically everything she does, I suppose she was always outside, whereas I preferred to sit inside with a book. I really wasn’t that social.’

‘You still aren’t,’ Edward pointed out through clenched teeth.

I dared sneaking a look at him. Although his knuckles were still white from gripping the steer wheel, I noticed his face was less strained and he actually had stopped accelerating – which was also nice, since I had no death wish. ‘Are you alright?’

‘No, but I am getting there.’

‘That’s good, because I am running out of stories to tell.’

‘We should go back, school’s almost out and I don’t want you to be home late.’ We’d driven on the high way around Forks for most of the afternoon, me telling stories and Edward just listening silently. We both knew that it were all trivialities, but I had decided not to ask about it anymore. If he was ready to tell me, he would. We were currently sitting in a small diner, where he’d treated me with pancakes and a milkshake. I had offered to share, but – as always – he wanted to know nothing about that. So I had sipped from my milkshake contently, thinking about how much happier I was spending my afternoon with Edward than in school. ‘My parents don’t really care,’ I shrugged.

Instead of responding, he shook his head and stood. ‘I’m going to pay, then I’ll bring you home.’

As I waited for him to return, I thought about just how strange a day it had been. It had been difficult to imagine that it had only been this morning when we’d seen Bella Swan for the first time. It felt like days ago. I hated myself for having been jealous of the attention he’d given her, especially now that my friend was distressed and I somehow was still selfishly glad that I got to spend time with him. I had no reason – and above all: no right – to be jealous, I told myself sternly.

When I saw Edward returning, I pushed away the jealousy, instead thinking happy, non-selfish thoughts. Whatever was going on, he needed me to be there for him.

‘Are you ready to go?’

‘All set!’ I jumped off of my chair and followed him out. Let me tell you, you never really get used to the rain. I had been living for a bit less than half a year in Forks now and I still hoped that one day, the endless rain showers would stop. Because truthfully, it only becomes more and more irritating. The wet underwear, the complete uselessness of doing your hair since it would be rained on anyway, the nearby beach that you could never go to since it was never dry anyway. I sighed, Forks really was my personal hell.

‘Do you mind if we go to the secretary at school first? There is something I need to do.’

I shook my head. ‘Not at all, Fitz.’

A small smile crept onto his face. ‘You will never bore of calling me that, will you?’

I pretended to contemplate his question ‘Probably not. You’re lucky you’re only stuck with me for one human life time, otherwise you’d kill yourself from having to put up with me.’

His smile grew. ‘I wish it could be like this forever, if only because you make me laugh about myself sometimes.’

Although his words warmed me inside, they also hurt because I knew he’d never see me as more than that; a friend. I locked those thoughts away, though, and instead smiled. ‘You’d regret it two seconds after eternity begins.’

We had stopped on the school parking lot. Edward was already undoing his seatbelt and was looking at me expectantly. ‘You are allowed to come with me, you know.’

‘I thought you were just going to leave the window open,’ I answered, dryly. ’But what joy that I am actually allowed to be in your presence, lucky me.′ I was overdoing the happy, cheerful friend act a bit, but if that kept the grumpy, uptight Edward that hauled me out of class at bay, it was worth it. ‘So what exactly are we going to do?’

I am going to switch classes. You are just going to be there and keep me from starting a massacre.’

I nodded. ‘Right, because of course I would be able to stop a raging vampire.’

‘Then you’d at least die knowing you tried doing the right thing.’

I wanted to say something really witty in return, but at that moment we entered the secretary office and I knew it was better to keep myself from saying anything vampire or – for that matter – massacre related. Instead, I took a seat on one of the empty chairs, leaving Edward to try and change classes. I mean, it was the middle of the year, little chance that they would let him switch.

As I sat, I picked up something about a biology class and a Mrs. Cope repeatedly saying that it wasn’t possible. Like I said, little chance. Especially in a school as small as Forks High, where everything was practically planned to fit. No empty seats in other classes, no extracurricular activities that you could take up. In short, a really boring place for five vampires who’d been through high school a dozen times.

I noticed the atmosphere in the room change before I actually noticed what was going on. I saw the glimpse of a girl leaving the small office, the cold winter wind blowing inside, chilling me to the bone. But I forgot all of that the moment I looked up at Edward.

His face was turned to look at something next to me, his expression so menacing, so inhuman that it scared even me. His black eyes looked ferocious and for a moment, I thought I even heard him growl.

Forcing myself to take my eyes off of him, I looked at the receiving end of such menace. At first, I couldn’t see her face, because of the brown locks that hid it from sight. Then, as I leaned forward, I took in her delicate, heart shaped face, her translucent skin, the big brown eyes that were now wide with surprise and perhaps.. fear? I wondered what she had done to deserve this treatment.

‘Never mind, then. I can see that it’s impossible. Thank you so much for your help.’

I followed him as he all but flew from the room, sending an apologizing look to the flabbergasted looking Bella Swan.

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