He swallowed hard. “Well, we could go to dinner or something….and I could work on it later.’’
Stupid- that wasn’t a question either.
The agony and fury of my jealousy was every bit as powerful as it had been last week. I grabbed on to another tree trying to hold myself here. I was overwhelmed by my feeling of loathing. It was becoming immensely difficult to control myself. Suddenly Mike Newton’s thoughts went flashing through my mind. Vivid thoughts- Crack- the tree gave way. It happened so fast. The parking lot was crossed in a microsecond. I barely took note of the expression of horror Newton child’s face. In the midst of my jealous haze, I noticed Bella’s eyes focus and widen. Before I allowed either human to process what was right in front of them, I picked Bella up and fled into the woods. I ran as if I could fly, my legs moved at my natural speed. I carried her and the trees flew by me until I could only hear silence. Mike newton’s thoughts were banished from my mind. The wall of trees created, darkness in the forest, no sunlight could reach. I came to a place I believed to be the heart of the forest. Everything was quiet except for the girl’s heartbeat in my arms. The girl was in my arms. I was holding her warm delicate body in my arms. I gently set her down. I looked at her doe eyes. She looked perplexed, her face was pale white. I was frozen. What had I done? I brought Bella here into the woods all alone. The monster within me could be resurrected. I instantly held my breath.
She looked around, “What? Where?…How?” She looked right into my eyes. My jaw tightened. Her shoulders stiffened. “Where are we?’’
“In the Forest,” I replied calmly.
“Why did you bring me here Edward?”
I suddenly felt embarrassed; I had behaved like a jealous struck fool. My mind had become intoxicated with jealous hate. Now I was sober. This must appear utterly bizarre to her.
She looked at me questioningly. “Everything was so bright.”
I had been in front of two humans, in front of Bella, on a bright sunny day. What had I been thinking?
“How did you bring me here and why?” She said slowly. I said nothing and stayed very still.
“What is happening? Why? How can you do all these things….?” The words came spilling from her mouth. “I was with Mike!”
“I did not like what he was thinking.”
“What do you mean? Mike?”
“His fantasies were …crude….rude.’’ I kept that thought to myself.
Bella blinked. “Was something going to happen?’’
My reasons had not been so noble. “I just did not…. Appreciate his thoughts.”
“What he was thinking?” She asked with a clear question in her voice.
Everything was very quiet. I could hear a bird in the distance squeezing a tree branch, preparing to take flight.
“Am I safe here?”
“I cannot promise that.’’ The silence was even quieter around us, as those words hung between us.
“What are you, Edward?" Her voice trembled. The question came from her lips as if it had been something she thought but had not dared voice.
“You know I can’t tell you that.”
“I’m going back to school now.”
“I’m not going to stop you.’’
I felt as if I had been transported somewhere, one moment I had been there, and then I wasn’t. It all happened so fast. My eyes and bones were still vibrating. Edward presence penetrated everything around me. There was no logical explanation, but Edward was the answer.
“Am I safe here?”
“I cannot promise that.’’
The air around me went impossibly still. My question was meant to ask if I was safer here than where I had been. If that was the reason he had brought me here? He had saved my life once before, didn’t he…..Warning bells were going off in my head, but I didn’t feel afraid.
“What are you, Edward?” I let free what even my own thoughts hadn’t put into words.
“You know I can’t tell you that.”
I still wasn’t going to get an explanation, even now. I was mad. I threw my shoulders back. I felt frustrated and betrayed.
“I’m going back to school now.’’
“I’m not going to stop you.” I couldn’t tell if he was convincing me or himself.
She walked past me. Her feet avoided the moss covered twigs, and then she stopped. She was very still, just standing there.
I turned towards her. “What is it?’’
“Which way is it?” There were trees all around us. Bella was looking around perplexed.
“Oh, I’ll take you back”. I took a step toward her.
“No!” She put her hand in front of her. Of course, she didn’t want me to touch her. Bella undoubtedly was terrified. Not to mention my conduct had been ungentlemanly and rude.
“I’ll be sick.” Her eyes were wide. I took note once again of how pale her face was. I ran my hand through my hair. “I will walk with you until you reach the school, to help you find your way back.”
“O.k.” She stepped forward. “This way.” I gestured in front of me. We were walking in step. Sometimes I pointed or mentioned, to her which way to go. I kept my pace with hers. Bella stepped over a fallen tree and stumbled forward. I caught her. My ice cold hand wrapped around her warm one. She pulled back and balled her small hand into a fist, she seemed startled. I balled my own hand into a fist.
“I’m sorry.” My voice was gentle. Her heart was beating faster. She must be terrified. Why wouldn’t she be? She took a step forward again. I could tell she was blushing. I looked directly in front of me, into the encroaching forest. What had I done, subjecting Bella to this kind of danger, in a place all alone with me? We reached the edge of the forest. We could see the Fork’s high school parking lot. She stopped and looked up at me. She was about to say something. I wasn’t in a position to demand something from her, but it frustrated me that I didn’t know what she wanted to say.
“You’re not human.” It wasn’t a question.
“Are you a mythological god or creature from ancient Greece?”
I grimaced. I didn’t know how to answer her question, but all my thoughts strayed to the fact I had not apologized to her for my behavior today. “I know what this must appear like to you…strange! I’m sorry that I behaved this way towards you today. I know this must seem insolent.”
“Are you an angel?”
“No, But you could call me a demon.”
Her eyes drifted downward, a sad gesture. “Thanks…..Edward.” I realized she was thanking me for walking her back. She turned and walked back, most likely returning to where I had snatched her from.
I stayed in place perfectly still. After a moment my eyes found her picking up her bag and putting her binder and book inside it. Bella started walking towards the school doors at a calm pace. Then someone’s thoughts invaded my mind again.
He looked pale white. “Bella one minute you were there, then you weren’t”.
“What do you mean?’’
“I was talking to you, and then you were gone. I just blinked.”
“Oh. I just went to go get something from my truck. Sorry, Mike, I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”
“It’s OK. Everything was light, like a sunny day.” He looked at me and around the forest. “For a minute ...I ...I saw you… then I thought I saw him?’’
“No Mike, I don’t think so. I looked around the parking lot and towards the edge of the forest, to see if I could see him. “He isn’t here; he didn’t come to school today.”
“Oh, ya... um...right. So Bella what about the spring dance?”
“Sorry Mike, I can’t go. I have to go to Seattle.”
“Oh, well. How about another time then.”
“Maybe. I better go; I’m going to be late for class.”
“Oh, sure, I have to go to class too.”
“Bye Mike.” He didn’t look very happy.
I started walking again, then stopped, and looked towards the edge of the forest. I saw him standing there, hidden in the shadows. Those trees that made the endless forest covered him. I met his eyes. We looked at each other for a moment. Then he smiled. I held my breath. I blinked and he was gone.