Chapter 8

When I regained consciousness, I felt like I was floating. My thoughts were jumbled, running through each other and sometimes not making sense at all. The body I was in felt funny, strange. As if it wasn’t mine. I could feel the limbs that were attached to it, yet somehow they felt surreal. I felt like I existed only in my mind, yet I knew that the body I was captured in was mine.

Slowly and with great effort, I opened the eyes. At first, the light was blinding and all I could see was white. Then, as my eyes started adjusting, a room came into view. A small, white chamber, with only a chair placed against the far-end wall and a bed with a body strapped to it. Curiously, I let my eyes take in the many belts that kept the body in check. It was motionless now, but judging from the belts I could only imagine it writhing and squirming against its prison. My prison.

Panting, I sat up in bed. Beads of sweat adorned my face and my body was tangled in the sheets. I had to get out, I had to get some space. Fighting my way out of the blankets, I put on a sweater over my shirt and exited my room. It was still dark outside, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t stay inside, not with this suffocating feeling. I made my way down the stairs silently, took my Dad’s keys and left the house.

The cool night air hit me as soon as I stepped outside and I halted, just to breathe in deeply. The suffocating feeling lessened, but I knew I had to get away further to completely calm down. Dropping the keys in the pocket of my sweater, I strolled away from the house. In the meanwhile, my mind was working in overdrive.

My dream had left me feeling shaken and slightly terrified. It had felt so real, yet at the same time everything in the dream had felt unreal. I had felt unreal. I frowned, I was not making sense at all. In trying to sort out my thoughts, I had only managed to make them more unintelligible.

Thinking back on last evening, I tried to find out what had caused my strange dream. I had not done much, to be honest. After talking to Edward – if you could even call it that – I had gone inside, brushed my teeth and gone to bed. For a moment I had pondered my conclusion about him, but then had fallen asleep quickly.

Even now, with an objective mind, I was still of the opinion that there was something strange about Edward Cullen. Although I could not quite put my finger on it, I knew it was something important, something big. To think of it, there was something strange about all of the Cullens I had met so far. Even about Alice, to whom I had taken an immediate liking, something was off. The way she’d stared off into the distance, almost trance-like, drawing a girl she’d never even met. And Jasper, looking tormented wherever he went. And Edward, lastly, who on that first Friday had caught my cup with a speed that I didn’t even knew was humanly possible. They were all deathly pale, but at the same time unnaturally perfect and gracious. But where did that lead me? Theories of a superhero family came to mind, but that was bizarre even to me. There had to be something else, something that made sense.

Gripping my head in frustration, I sat down on the sidewalk. I didn’t care about the drizzling that was slowly seeping through my sweater. I just wanted answers.

‘What if I’m not the hero? What if I’m.. the bad guy.’

Shaken, I looked up, but there was no one there. Of course there wasn’t, I scolded myself, it’s the middle of the night for God’s sake. My mind was playing tricks on me, I concluded. I was going mad. Yet, Edward’s voice had resounded which such clarity, such unadulterated emotion, that I could impossibly believe my mind was able to conjure up something so beautiful. It was almost as if I had heard it before, although that was impossible.

I frowned. No matter how I had heard – or thought I’d heard – his voice, perhaps what he said was right. Perhaps I had been looking in the entirely wrong direction. Could it be? Could the Cullens be something more than human, but not in a good sense? A vision of Alice came to mind and I shook my head. There was no way that she was something bad.

Looking up from the pavement, I noticed the sky was already becoming lighter and I knew I should be getting home – if only to keep the neighbors from starting rumors about me. I didn’t want them to think I was some sort of creature of the night, coming out only when the moon was high in the sky. Besides, if I was hearing the voice of a guy I barely knew inside my head, I guess it was time to go home anyway.

It was at that moment that bright lights illuminated the street and I noticed a car driving in my direction. A police car, to be exact. Wonderful, my Mom would just love me being brought home by a police officer.

The car came to a stop beside me and he turned down his window. ‘Are you alright, kid?’

I tried to smile, knowing that I shouldn’t give him any more reason to be suspicious. I mean, I was sitting on the middle of the sidewalk in the dead of night, wearing nothing but my pajamas, a sweater and some worn-out All-Stars. If that didn’t raise any red flags then I don’t know what does. ‘I am, Sir. I went out to get some air, but I guess it’s time to get going again.’

He furrowed his bushy, brown eyebrows and looked at me, concern evident in his eyes. ‘Hop in, I’ll drive you home. It’s not safe to be outside at this hour, especially not for a young girl like you.’

Walking around the car, I opened the passenger’s door and awkwardly sat myself. ‘Thank you, Sir.’

He focused his eyes on the road and nodded. ‘Don’t mention it. I have a daughter your age and I wouldn’t want her to be out at this time either.’

I nodded, turning to look out of the window. I watched as the trees flew by and couldn’t suppress a sigh. I was going back to the place that suffocated me so, with no more answers and perhaps even more questions than I’d had before.

‘Are you sure you’re alright?’

‘I am, don’t worry.’ It was then I noticed the cruiser had stopped in front of my house and I unfastened my seatbelt. Jumping out of the car, I turned to him. ‘Thank you…’

‘Chief Swan,’ he said ‘Take care, kid.’ With a last nod, he pulled the door shut and drove off.

It took me a few seconds to move, but then I quickly ascended the steps that led to the front door. Pulling the keys out of my sweater, I tried to open the door with as little sound as possible and then moved up the stairs. In the meanwhile, I kept ruminating over what I’d just heard. Swan, why did that name sound so familiar? And who was this daughter he was speaking of, I surely had never met her?

As anxious as I had been to go back to school, as disappointed I was after the first few periods on Monday. I had not seen any of the Cullens before lunch and had to literally drag myself over the campus. Derek was his usual irritating self, my social life was still painfully nonexistent and I had been putting my hopes on Alice to brighten up my day. Being the closest thing to a friend I had here in Forks, I had been desperate to see her again – especially after all the strange happenings of last week. I had resolved myself to letting them slide, not wanting to lose her friendship over something as trivial. So what she had a strange family? I mean, mine wasn’t perfect either and I knew the last thing I wanted was for her to bring up my relatives.

However, as soon as I walked into the cafeteria, I knew. My eyes had scanned the area, trying to locate the dark-haired pixy. As expected, she sat at the table in the far-end corner; the Cullens’ usual spot.

I wanted to wave at her, perhaps even go over and ask if she was alright. But that was when she looked away from me, sharing a look with Edward, and then offered me an apologetic smile. After that, she turned away, not once looking back at me.
Betrayal had cut through me and – trying not to let the hurt show – I turned to listen to what Derek was saying. I was determined to look alright, even though all I wanted was to go home and lie in bed. I would not give Edward the satisfaction of knowing he’d hurt me. All of this was his doing, I knew, seething. If it wasn’t for his interference, I was sure that Alice would have still wanted to be my friend. But he must have said something to her.

When I went to Art that day, I held the slightest hope that perhaps Alice would go back to acting normally in here, since her brother was not around to check. But I knew long before I stepped into the classroom that I shouldn’t have fooled myself. I straightened my back, then passed Alice and Jasper to go and sit at my regular table. They had not looked up, had not even seemed to notice my presence. I sighed softly, but apart from that did not show any outward sign of the hurt I felt inside.

I wanted to hate Edward Cullen, I wanted to curse his name into the deepest pits of Hell. I did.. but I couldn’t. Somehow, even after he’d ruined the one friendship I had built, I could not hate him. Somehow a piece of me still wanted to believe that he did not do it to hurt me, even though all evidence proved otherwise.

I bit my lip as I felt the tears prickling in my eyes, desperate not to let them fall. Despite that resolve, I soon felt a warm tear trailing down my cheek. I wiped it away furiously and focused my attention back on Miss Landon. Today’s assignment did not require pairs and I was not sure whether that made me feel relieved or sad. It didn’t matter though, for I knew Alice would not have come.

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