Chapter 20

Edward did not visit me that night, nor was he there when I woke up. I had expected him to at least sent me a text, telling me what had kept him from following through with his nightly routine. Nothing. I will admit that I had gotten a little grumpy – okay, so perhaps very grumpy – after that, disliking him for putting me down like that. It was only after a healthy breakfast of cereal and skimmed milk that I even considered other options. Which was when a thought occurred to me. Hadn’t he acted terribly weird and vampire-ish the other day? Perhaps he had just spent the night trying to recover from whatever it had been. Yes, that must be it, I concluded, a small smile creeping up at my face. I truly was a terrible friend; liking the idea of my friend hurting more than the idea of him just not being interested in me.

With a renewed sense of hope, I skipped into the hallway, grabbing my coat and bag. Edward would always pick me up at 8 o’clock sharp. As I waited for the last minute to pass, I thought of a way to say that I was angry with him for not telling me he wasn’t coming, but at the same time saying that if something was wrong, I was there for him. Naturally, I came up with nothing.

As the digital clock on the microwave turned to 8:00, I threw open the front door and stepped into the pouring rain. Here, I stopped.

Looking around in confusion, I noticed there was no silver Volvo on our driveway, nor in front of the house. I gazed around me once more, thinking that perhaps I had missed it due to the rain and perhaps my morning brain. Still nothing.
Moving back to stand by the door, I dug my phone out of one of my pockets, but there were no new messages. I opened a new draft. Fitz, where are you? I waited a couple more minutes, then began typing again. Are you okay? Still nothing.

I sighed, knowing that whatever was going on wasn’t good. Edward would normally text back within a minute. Selecting his number, I pressed the call button. Waiting impatiently, I watched as our neighbor got out of the house, his briefcase held over his head, making a run for his car. I believe my Mom had said he was an accountant or something like that.

I dropped the phone back in my pocket, realizing that he wouldn’t suddenly pick up if I just called him enough times.
Fortunately for me, a back-up plan presented itself to me in the form of my older sister – which was good, as I had been about to contemplate just walking to school. Following her to the car, I hoped against hopes that she wouldn’t think anything of it.

Pulling out of our driveway, she kept her eyes firmly on the rear-view mirror. I was glad about this, as it meant that at least she wouldn’t talk to me, but on the other hand was wondering whether she’d even noticed I was there. Soon, however, I’d wish she hadn’t. ‘So where’s your boyfriend?’

That same question had been asked to me over and over. And I hated it. Not so much because it was tiring getting asked the same question all day – although it kind of was – but more so because the truth was that I didn’t know either. I stared at the particular stranger that had asked me this time; she was a bit older than me, with brown, curly hair and an over excessive use of the word ‘like’. Like, that was so annoying. ‘I don’t know.’

‘But aren’t you two, like, always together?’

I hated this part in particular. What was I supposed to say? “You’re right. Edward come out, she’s seen through us.” Idiotic girl. ‘We’re friends, that’s all.’

She – I just remembered her name was Jessica – nodded, her bouncy hair moving along. ‘Alright, well, nice talking to you, Delia.’

Sighing as she walked away, I didn’t even bother correcting her. Instead, I continued on my way to the cafeteria, glad that at least I wouldn’t be submitted to endless questioning there. Everyone felt too intimidated by the Cullens to approach me.
As I entered the big room, I was glad to notice that at least the other Cullens were there. Although the absence of my favorite, bronze haired vampire both annoyed and saddened me, it was good to know that at least they hadn’t all ran. Taking a seat at their table, I gazed at the others.

The first thing I noticed when I looked around was that the others looked all pretty relaxed. Not at all like one would imagine a family looking when their brother just ran away from home without a word. Then I realized the reason for that. ‘You knew that he’d be gone?’ I was almost shouting, but found that I didn’t care – betrayal and confusion running through me.
Alice was the first to recover from my outburst, her perfect eyebrows furrowing. ‘What do you mean, Dalia?’

‘Edward. You knew that he’d be gone and you didn’t tell me anything! Do you know how worried I was when he didn’t show up? When I called his number and he didn’t pick up? Of course you don’t, because you’d have known what happened to him, anyway!’ Suddenly fuming, I stood from my chair resolutely and stormed out of the cafeteria.

Blindly, I ran to the ladies room, preparing for a very dramatic, teenage drama series like, bout of crying. Fate, however, stopped me from having a moment of self-pity before I had even gotten to it, as I crashed into someone.

We both tumbled to the floor, a mess of limbs, moans and books. I was the first one to recover and sat up, my head pounding and the world still spinning around me. As I took in the havoc, I realized she must have been carrying some of her books in her hands for they were tossed all around the hallway.

I scrambled to my feet, suppressing the urge to pity myself even more after this accident, and dusted myself off. Then, I looked down to see that the other person was still in the process of getting up. Being the gentleman – gentle lady? – that I was, I started picking up her books, knowing that if I’d wait any longer, students would start using them as a makeshift football.

By the time she’d gotten back on her feet, I had recovered all of her books and handed them to her, careful not to touch her. I was about to turn on my heel and continue my teenage angst moment when her soft voice called me back.

‘Hey, aren’t you Dalia River?’

Turning around softly, I repressed a sigh of annoyance. Soon she’d ask about..-

‘Aren’t you friends with Edward Cullen?’ And there it was.
I looked up at her, ready to tell her that once again, yes I was friends with Edward and no, I didn’t know where Edward was. But as I was about to tell her this, I noticed exactly who she was. The chocolate brown hair, the pale skin and the big, warm eyes. How could I have missed it? ‘Yeah,’ I breathed ‘You’re Bella Swan, right?’

She smiled softly. ‘You are the first to immediately call me that.’ Then, as if she had to gather all her courage, she looked up to meet my eyes for the first time. ‘I was afraid I had done something wrong yesterday, since he acted really cold and now he’s not at school..’

For the second time that day, anger flashed through me. Why did she have to make this about her? What made her think that she, an insignificant human girl, could have such an impact on Edward? I clenched my teeth together. ‘I am sure he’s just ill.’

She looked like she wanted to say something, but – probably after noticing the not-so-friendly looks I was giving her – just nodded.

Walking past her, I already regretted my little outburst. Not only did she look ready to cry, I also realized that perhaps I was just acting out my own irritation about the fact that Edward hadn’t told me anything. And so, I promised myself that I would make it up to her one day.

As I was about to enter the ladies room, a small hand on my arm made me pull back. Turning around, I found the little black haired pixy standing in front of me. ‘Let’s talk outside.’

I nodded, although the last thing I wanted to do was listen to her apologies. Following her through the double doors, we came to a stop. I crossed my arms in front of my chest, both because of the cold and because it made me look more menacing.

‘Look, Dalia, I..’ She looked down at her feet – the most human looking thing I had ever see her do. ‘I thought he’d told you.’

’Told me what?’

‘Edward’s gone to Alaska, to visit the Denali coven and to get himself together.’

‘Alaska?!’ I shout-whispered, not wanting to have any of the smokers overhear our conversation. ‘When will he be back?’

Alice shrugged. ‘When he is ready.’

‘Don’t pretend like you haven’t seen his future.’

Putting a hand through her hair, she sighed. ‘It’s not that simple. When his decision changes, the future changes with it. Although his urge to come back and start a mass massacre isn’t as strong as when he was still nearer, I don’t know when he’ll be ready.’

’I don’t understand. Why has he gone to Alaska? Why does he need to get himself together? Why..’ I sighed as well. ‘What has happened, Alice?’

‘Edward has met his singer.’

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