Chapter 22

Who knew Derek could be this much fun?! I know I surely didn’t. Hell, I even told him that I didn’t. He’d laughed at that, offered me another drink and we’d continued to talk about anything and everything. I was currently listening to a story about him and his brother, something about a stolen bike? I wasn’t sure what it was about exactly, but I felt content just listening to hear him talk animatedly, wildly gesturing with his hands to explain some things. I found myself laughing along with him easily, like we’d been friends for years. Why hadn’t we been friends for years?

‘… and then Mom found out what we were doing and she grounded Ryan and me for a month.’ He concluded, emptying glass. ‘Want another one?’

I looked down at my own glass, finding it empty. Had Derek forgotten to fill it last time? ‘Yeah sure!’ I sat down on the windowsill, pushing some of the empty and half-empty cups aside. This party was so much more fun than I’d expected it to be! There were those cheesy chips that I loved so much, music that was actually decent to listen to and, not to forget, alcohol. This was so much better than sitting home alone, pining over friends who turned out not to be friends, who pretty much stabbed me in the back and left me for dead. I mean, I had truly liked the Cullens, had treated them like friends and had never even been put back by the fact that they were vampires. Yet some random girl shows up and they all drop me like she’s so freaking special. So her blood smells good, so what? I mean, did that give them the right to throw me away like yesterday’s paper? Did I mean that little to them? I tried swallowing the lump in my throat. Apparently.

‘Here you go, Miss,’ a cup was presented in front of me and – confused – I looked up to see Derek standing in front of me.

‘Thanks..’ I mumbled, taking the cup from him. Somehow, my mood had dropped drastically, making me want to go home and cry myself to sleep. Taking a small sip from my drink, I sighed. ‘I think I’ll just…-’

‘Why can’t it always be like this?’ Derek suddenly asked, catching my attention. ‘I like you, Dalia..’ He moved his arm, putting his hand on top of my mine and squeezing it.

The sensation of skin to skin sent an immediate reaction through my body, making my hairs stand up and a shiver to pass down my skin. ‘Please let go of me,’ I tried pulling my hand from his, but to no avail.

‘I know you like me, too. If only you could see past your infatuation with that stupid Cullen.’

Let go, let go, let go, let go. Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. My heartbeat sped up and then fell back, faster and slower, faster and slower. Don’t touch me. I felt cold sweat break out all over my skin and my mind was spinning. Finally breaking from his grasp, I stumbled away from Derek, out of the door. Someone tried to catch my arm, but I pushed them off. Don’t touch me. The warmth spread over my skin like a wave, engulfing me in a disgusting, sticky warmth and the feeling of hands touching my body. Please, don’t. I was dying, I wanted to die. Please, not again. Let me die, please.

‘I see you are awake again.’

I jumped at his voice, wreaking my body against its prison. ‘Don’t touch me.’

‘Calm down, you are safe. Nothing can happen to you, no one can harm you here.’ The care giver stood by my bed; close, but far enough to keep another panic attack from starting. ‘Now tell me what happened. As far as I know, you never had a full panic attack in Forks, did you?’

Despite not wanting to trust him, I nodded. ‘It’s my first.’

‘What triggered it? Was it Edward, did he do something?’

‘No he didn’t.’ Somehow, although a part of me wondered how this man knew who Edward was, a bigger part of me felt the need to defend my friend. How dared this man suggest that he would ever do anything to me?

‘You have to talk to me about things, Dalia. If you don’t talk about them, I cannot help you. It’s all in your head.’

His words still rang through my head when I woke up to a whole different voice.

‘What were you thinking? Drinking yourself to the point of passing out, going out in the middle of the night. Are you trying to prove something, Dalia?’

I pulled my arm from his grasp and sat up, throwing him an offended look. ’No I didn’t, Edward. But how kind of you to stop by and actually care about how I am doing for once.’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘That it would have been nice if you had warned me before running off to Alaska for a week. Or perhaps letting me in about anything that is going on in your life. Or perhaps even respecting me enough to tell me that you don’t give two shits about me.’

He bit his lip, his eyes blazing. ‘I’m bringing you home. I’m not having this conversation with you, not while you’re too drunk to even remember we had this conversation tomorrow.’

‘Don’t treat me like a child, Edward Cullen. Don’t you freaking dare. You can’t just leave me alone for an entire week and expect to come back without things changing. You don’t want me in your life, fine. But then don’t expect to be in mine.’ I turned, walking back to the house of the Jeffers’ – which was only fifty feet from where we were standing.

‘Where are you going now?’

‘Why don’t you just read my mind? I mean, isn’t that what you always do? Invade other people’s privacy but shutting everyone out of your life. But if you really wish to know, I’m going to get Georgina and take her home. You know, like real friends would do.’

‘Georgina went home three hours ago. But I suppose you knew that, right. As a real friend would.’

’Don’t talk to me about friends, Cullen. I might me completely pissed, but at least I care about my friends. You wouldn’t even recognize one if it stood right before you. In fact, return to me when you know what the word ‘friend’ even means.’ I snapped at him, starting to make my way into the other direction, hoping that I would find my house sometime tonight. I clung to my anger, desperately wishing to ignore the stinging sensation in my eyes.

‘You want to know why I didn’t tell you? You want to know why I didn’t share with you what’s going on? Because I knew you would take it like this. I knew that you would think somehow it was because of you and push me away.’

‘I didn’t have to push you away. You went willingly. Besides, you are wrong.’ Tears were now freely streaming down my cheeks, but I refused to wipe them off. ‘You’re wrong. If you want to be with perfect little Bella freaking Swan, please do so. I don’t care. I don’t care if you marry the girl, have her goddamn babies and pledge your eternal love to her. I don’t care a single thing about anything you do, Edward. And you know why? Because we’re not friends. And we were never friends.’

He frowned ‘What’s this all about? What does Bella Swan have to do with this?’

Crossing my arms in front of my chest, I stared at him defiantly. ‘You tell me, Cullen. You’re the one who drove all the way to Alaska to keep himself from killing her. Besides, Alice told me enough.’

The anger on his face made room for confusion, then understanding. ‘That’s why you’re so hurt? Because you think that I will drop you for Bella Swan..’ He closed the distance in a second, pulling me to his chest. ’I love you, Dalia, and nothing and nobody in the world can change that. Even if what Alice has seen will actually happen, you’re my best friend and I promise you nothing can come between us.’

I pushed down the sting the word ‘friend’ had brought me, buried it deep within my heart along with all other hopes and desires that I would never be able to see through. Instead, I wrapped my arms around him as well, savoring the feeling of being in his arms, being safe, being wanted. ‘Don’t leave me.’

‘How are you feeling?’

I pushed my head up from the table, careful not to spill the cup of coffee that stood there. My head was aching, my stomach upset and on top of all that, I hadn’t been able to sleep at all that night. Luckily for me, though, Edward had been nice enough to keep my drunken self company. ‘Just peachy.’

He chuckled. ‘Drink something, it will help.’

‘Yes, if you want to speed up the vomiting, that is.’ Rolling my eyes, I chanced a sip of the black coffee anyway. I mean, it could hardly get any worse. Dropping my head back on the table, I sighed in the realization that it actually could – and in fact; had gotten worse.

‘You know,’ my bronze haired vampire best friend started cautiously, taking a seat on the other chair. ‘I think I’m going to talk to her.’


‘Bella. There’s something about her that fascinates me.’

I turned my head to give him one of the most annoyed look that I could muster. ‘And what, pray tell, may that be? No character and a tendency to make everything about her?’

‘Jealousy doesn’t suit you.’

’And falling for boring girls doesn’t suit you.’

‘She’s not boring.’

I cocked an eyebrow, pushing away the painful observation that he did not even try to deny the first part. ‘Really? Well, there must be something extraordinarily interesting in her mind to make you say that, because as far as I can judge, she has about as much personality as our doormat.’

He stayed silent for a moment, sparking my interest. What had he read in her thoughts? ‘Let’s just forget about it, okay? Forget I even mentioned it.’

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