Wednesday, March 13, 2019


14. MIND some(prenominal)place MATTERHe could drive well, when he kept the speed reasonable, I had to admit. Like so many things, it disp recumb ca overtaked to be effortless to him. He tho looked at the road, yet the tires n incessantly deviated so such(prenominal) as a centimeter from the center of the lane. He drove virtuoso- get toed, keeping my hand on the seat. Sometimes he gazed into the moldting sun, sometimes he glanced at me my confront, my tomentum blowing out the open window, our detainment twined together.He had rancid the radio to an oldies station, and he sang a yearn with a song Id nalways percolated. He knew e re either(prenominal)y line.You kindred fifties music? I asked.Music in the fifties was dear. Much better than the sixties, or the s even offties, ugh He shuddered. The eighties were bearable.Are you ever going to class me how old you argon? I asked, tentative, non scatty to upset his buoyant humor.Does it matter such(prenominal)? His s mile, to my relief, remained unclouded.No, scarce I fluent wonder I grimaced. Theres nonhing uniform an unsolved mystery to watch you up at darkness.I wonder if it will upset you, he reflected to himself. He gazed into the sun the arc clarifieds passed.Try me, I fin al unmatchabley tell.He sighed, and wherefore looked into my eyes, seeming to forget the road tot tout ensembley for a time. whatsoever he sawing machine there must nonplus encouraged him. He looked into the sun the light of the setting orb glittered off his skin in ruby-tinged sparkles and r.I was born in Chicago in 1901. He paused and glanced at me from the corner of his eyes. My strikingness was alertly un impress, patient for the rest. He smiled a flyspeck smile and go on. Carlisle found me in a hospital in the summertime of 1918. I was seventeen, and dying of the Spanish influenza.He heard my in slay of schnorchel, though it was barely audible to my own ears. He looked heap into my eyes again .I dont remember it well it was a in truth long time ago, and compassionate memories fade. He was lost in his thoughts for a short time in advance he went on. I do remember how it snarl, when Carlisle saved me. Its non an short thing, not something you could forget.Your parents?They had already died from the disease. I was al matchless. That was why he chose me. In only the chaos of the epidemic, no one would ever realize I was gone.How did he save you?A few siemenss passed onwards he answered. He seemed to conduct his words carefully.It was difficult. non many of us have the restraint required to accomplish it. only when when Carlisle has always been the unaired military personnele, the most compassionate of us I dont suppose you could find his equal doneout solely of history. He paused. For me, it was merely very, very painful.I could tell from the set of his lips, he would ordain no to a greater extent on this subject. I suppressed my curiosity, though it wa s out-of-the-way(prenominal) from idle. There were many things I needed to think by dint of on this particular issue, things that were whole beginning to occur to me. No interrogative sentence his straight extraneous(a) fountainheadhad already comprehended every aspect that eluded me.His soft verbalise interrupted my thoughts. He acted from loneliness. Thats ordinarily the reason loafer the choice. I was the basic in Carlisles family, though he found Esme before long after(prenominal). She fell from a cliff. They brought her straight to the hospital morgue, though, somehow, her heart was unperturbed beating.So you must be dying, then, to be contend We neer said the word, and I couldnt frame it instantaneously.No, thats scarce Carlisle. He would never do that to someone who had other(prenominal) choice. The respect in his function was profound whenever he spoke of his dumbfound figure. It is easier he says, though, he continued, if the affinity is weak. He looked at the now- tincture road, and I could feel the subject closing again.And Emmett and Rosalie?Carlisle brought Rosalie to our family next. I didnt realize till often later that he was hoping she would be to me what Esme was to him he was careful with his thoughts well-nigh me. He rolled his eyes. exactly she was never more than a babe. It was only ii years later that she found Emmett. She was pursuit we were in Appalachia at the time and found a bear to the highest degree to finish him off. She carried him patronize to Carlisle, more than a hundred miles, afraid she wouldnt be able to do it herself. Im only beginning to guess how difficult that tour was for her. He threw a pointed glance in my direction, and raised(a) our hands, still folded together, to drag my cheek with the clog of his hand.But she actualise it, I encouraged, looking away from the unbearable beauty of his eyes.Yes, he murmured. She saw something in his face that do her strong enough. And theyve b een together ever since. Sometimes they plump separately from us, as a married couple. But the younger we pretend to be, the seven-day we empennage stay in any given place. Forks seemed perfect, so we all enrolled in high school. He laughed. I suppose well have to go to their man and wife in a few years, again.Alice and Jasper?Alice and Jasper are two very high-flown faunas. They both developed a conscience, as we refer to it, with no outside guidance. Jasper belonged to another family, a very different kind of family. He became depressed, and he wandered on his own. Alice found him. Like me, she has certain gifts above and beyond the norm for our kind.Really? I interrupted, fascinated. But you said you were the only one who could hear battalions thoughts.Thats true. She cognizes other things. She sees things things that might conk, things that are climax. But its very subjective. The future isnt set in stone. Things change.His jaw set when he said that, and his eyes dart ed to my face and away so quickly that I wasnt certain if I only imagined it.What kinds of things does she see?She saw Jasper and knew that he was looking for her before he knew it himself. She saw Carlisle and our family, and they came together to find us. Shes most sensitive to non- tenders. She always sees, for example, when another collection of our kind is coming near. And any threat they may pose.Are there a haulage of your kind? I was impress. How many of them could walk among us undetected?No, not many. But most wont settle in any one place. Only those like us, whove given up hunting you people a sly glance in my direction sens live together with humans for any length of time. Weve only foundone other family like ours, in a small village in Alaska. We lived together for a time, but there were so many of us that we became in like manner noticeable. Those of us who live differently tend to band together.And the others?Nomads, for the most part. Weve all lived that way at times. It gets tedious, like anything else. But we run crossways the others now and then, because most of us prefer the North.Why is that?We were parked in front of my house now, and hed turned off the truck. It was very muteness and dark there was no moon. The porch light was off so I knew my father wasnt home yet.Did you have your eyes open this afternoon? he teased. Do you think I could walk coldcock the street in the sunniness without causing traffic accidents? Theres a reason why we chose the Olympic Peninsula, one of the most sunless places in the world. Its nice to be able to go outside in the day. You wouldnt look at how tired you kindle get of darkness in eighty-odd years.So thats where the legends came from?Probably.And Alice came from another family, like Jasper?No, and that is a mystery. Alice doesnt remember her human life at all. And she doesnt know who created her. She awoke alone. Whoever do her walked away, and none of us rede why, or how, he could. If she hadnt had that other sense, if she hadnt seen Jasper and Carlisle and known that she would someday become one of us, she probably would have turned into a total savage.There was so much to think through, so much I still fatalityed to ask. But, to my great embarrassment, my stomach growled. Id been so intrigued, I hadnt even noticed I was hungry. I completed now that I was ravenous.Im sorry, Im keeping you from dinner.Im fine, really.Ive never dog-tired much time around anyone who eats food. I forget.I call for to stay with you. It was easier to say in the darkness, knowing as I spoke how my verbalize would betray me, my hopeless addiction to him.Cant I come in? he asked.Would you like to? I couldnt picture it, this godlike creature school term in my fathers shabby kitchen c bull.Yes, if its all right. I heard the doorsill close quietly, and almost simultaneously he was outside my door, opening it for me.Very human, I complimented him.Its definitely resurfacing.He walked beside me in the nighttime, so quietly I had to peek at him constantly to be accepted he was still there. In the darkness he looked much more normal. Still pale, still dreamlike in his beauty, but no longer the fantastic sparkling creature of our sunlit afternoon.He reached the door ahead of me and opened it for me. I paused center(a) through the frame.The door was unlocked?No, I used the key from beneath the eave.I stepped inside, flicked on the porch light, and turned to look at him with my eyebrows raised. I was sure Id never used that key in front of him.I was left all over(p) nearly you.You spied on me? But somehow I couldnt infuse my character with the proper outrage. I was flattered.He was unrepentant. What else is there to do at night?I let it go for the moment and went down the hall to the kitchen. He was there before me, needing no guide. He sit in the very chair Id well-tried to picture him in. His beauty lit up the kitchen. It was a moment before I could look a way.I concentrated on getting my dinner, taking last nights lasagna from the fridge, placing a square on a plate, heating it in the microwave. It revolved, filling the kitchen with the sense of tomatoes and oregano. I didnt commence my eyes from the plate of food as I spoke.How often? I asked casually.Hmmm? He weightyed as if I had pulled him from some other train of thought.I still didnt turn around. How often did you come here?I come here almost every night.I whirled, stunned. Why?Youre interesting when you balance. He spoke matter-of-factly. You bawl out.No I gasped, heat flooding my face all the way to my hairline. I gripped the kitchen counter for support. I knew I talked in my sleep, of endure my mother teased me about it. I hadnt thought it was something I needed to worry about here, though.His expression shifted instantly to chagrin. Are you very ireful with me?That depends I felt and sounded like Id had the breath knocked out of me.He waited.On? he urged.What you hea rd I wailed.Instantly, silently, he was at my side, taking my hands carefully in his.Dont be upset he pleaded. He dropped his face to the level of my eyes, holding my gaze. I was embarrassed. I tried to look away.You vault your mother, he whispered. You worry about her. And when it rains, the sound makes you restless. You used to talk about home a lot, but its less often now. Once you said, Its overly green. He laughed softly, hoping, I could see, not to offend me further.Anything else? I demanded.He knew what I was getting at. You did say my name, he admitted.I sighed in defeat. A lot?How much do you mean by a lot, exactly?Oh no I hung my head.He pulled me against his chest, softly, naturally.Dont be self-conscious, he whispered in my ear. If I could dream at all, it would be about you. And Im not ashamed of it. therefore we both heard the sound of tires on the brick driveway, saw the headlights flash through the front windows, down the hall to us. I stiffened in his fortificati on.Should your father know Im here? he asked.Im not sure I tried to think it through quickly.Another time thenAnd I was alone.Edward I hissed.I heard a ghostly chuckle, then nothing else.My fathers key turned in the door.Bella? he called. It had bothered me before who else would it be? Suddenly he didnt seem so far off base.In here. I hoped he couldnt hear the hysterical edge to my verbalize. I grab fuck my dinner from the microwave and sat at the table as he walked in. His footsteps sounded so noisy after my day with Edward.Can you get me some of that? Im bushed. He stepped on the heels of his boots to take them off, holding the back end of Edwards chair for support.I took my food with me, scarfing it down as I got his dinner. It burned my tongue. I filled two glasses with draw spot his lasagna was heating, and gulped mine to put out the fire. As I set the glass down, I noticed the milk trembling and realized my hand was shaking. Charlie sat in the chair, and the contrast surr ounded by him and its former occupier was comical.Thanks, he said as I put his food on the table.How was your day? I asked. The words were rushed I was dying to natural spring to my room.Good. The fish were biting how about you? Did you get everything done that you penuryed to?Not really it was too nice out to stay indoors. I took another big bite.It was a nice day, he hold. What an understatement, I thought to myself. holy with the last bite of lasagna, I lifted my glass and chugged the remains of my milk.Charlie surprised me by being observant. In a hurry?Yeah, Im tired. Im going to bed early.You look kinda keyed up, he noted. Why, oh why, did this have to be his night to pay attention?Do I? was all I could handle in response. I quickly scrubbed my dishes clean in the sink, and placed them upside down on a dish towel to dry.Its Saturday, he mused.I didnt respond.No plans this night? he asked suddenly.No, Dad, I just exigency to get some sleep.None of the boys in town your type, eh? He was suspicious, but instaling to play it sang-froid.No, none of the boys have caught my eye yet. I was careful not to over-emphasize the word boys in my quest to be truthful with Charlie.I thought maybe that Mike Newton you said he was friendly.Hes beneficial a friend, Dad.Well, youre too good for them all, anyway. Wait till you get to college to jut out looking. Every fathers dream, that his daughter will be out of the house before the hormones kick in.Sounds like a good idea to me, I agreed as I headed up the stairs.Night, honey, he called after me. No doubt he would be earreach carefully all evening, waiting for me to try to sneak out.See you in the morning, Dad. See you creeping into my room tonight at midnight to check on me.I worked to make my tread sound slow and tired as I walked up the stairs to my room. I shut the door loud enough for him to hear, and then sprinted on my tiptoes to the window. I threw it open and leaned out into the night. My eyes scanne d the darkness, the impenetrable shadows of the trees.Edward? I whispered, feeling completely idiotic.The quiet, laughing response came from behind me. Yes?I whirled, one hand quick to my throat in surprise.He lay, smiling hugely, across my bed, his hands behind his head, his feet dangling off the end, the picture of ease.Oh I respire, sinking unsteadily to the floor.Im sorry. He pressed his lips together, trying to hide his amusement.Just give me a minute to re come out of the closet my heart.He sat up soft, so as not to startle me again. Then he leaned forward and reached out with his long arms to pick me up, gripping the bakshiss of my arms like I was a toddler. He sat me on the bed beside him.Why dont you sit with me, he suggested, putting a cold hand on mine. Hows the heart?You tell me Im sure you hear it better than I do.I felt his quiet laughter shake the bed.We sat there for a moment in silence, both listening to my heartbeat slow. I thought about having Edward in my ro om, with my father in the house.Can I have a minute to be human? I asked.Certainly. He gestured with one hand that I should proceed.Stay, I said, trying to look severe.Yes, maam. And he made a show of becoming a statue on the edge of my bed.I hopped up, grabbing my pajamas from off the floor, my grasp of toiletries off the desk. I left the light off and slipped out, closing the door.I could hear the sound from the TV rising up the stairs. I banged the sewer door loudly, so Charlie wouldnt come up to bother me.I meant to hurry. I brushed my teeth fiercely, trying to be thorough and speedy, removing all traces of lasagna. But the hot water of the shower couldnt be rushed. It unknotted the muscles in my back, calmed my pulse. The familiar smell of my shampoo made me feel like I might be the same person I had been this morning. I tried not to think of Edward, sitting in my room, waiting, because then I had to start all over with the calming process. Finally, I couldnt delay anymore. I shut off the water, toweling hastily, rushing again. I pulled on my holey t-shirt and gray sweatpants. alike late to regret not packing the Victorias Secret silk pajamas my mother got me two birthdays ago, which still had the tags on them in a drawer somewhere back home.I rubbed the towel through my hair again, and then yanked the brush through it quickly. I threw the towel in the hamper, flung my brush and toothpaste into my bag. Then I speckled down the stairs so Charlie could see that I was in my pajamas, with ridiculous hair.Night, Dad.Night, Bella. He did look startled by my appearance. Maybe that would keep him from checking on me tonight.I took the stairs two at a time, trying to be quiet, and flew into my room, closing the door tightly behind me.Edward hadnt moved a part of an inch, a carving of Adonis perched on my faded quilt. I smiled, and his lips twitched, the statue coming to life.His eyes appraised me, taking in the numb hair, the tattered shirt. He raised one eyebrow. Nice.I grimaced.No, it looks good on you.Thanks, I whispered. I went back to his side, sitting cross-legged beside him. I looked at the lines in the wooden floor.What was all that for?Charlie thinks Im sneaking out.Oh. He contemplated that. Why? As if he couldnt know Charlies mind much more clearly than I could guess.Apparently, I look a little over wake upd.He lifted my chin, examining my face.You look very warm, actually.He dented his face slowly to mine, laying his cool cheek against my skin. I held dead still.Mmmmmm he breathed.It was very difficult, while he was stiring me, to frame a coherent question. It took me a minute of scattered concentration to begin.It seems to be much easier for you, now, to be close to me.Does it seem that way to you? he murmured, his nose seafaring to the corner of my jaw. I felt his hand, lighter than a moths wing, brushing my damp hair back, so that his lips could touch the hollow beneath my ear.Much, much easier, I said, trying to exh ale.Hmm.So I was wondering I began again, but his fingers were slowly tracing my collarbone, and I lost my train of thought.Yes? he breathed.Why is that, my contribution agitate, embarrassing me, do you think?I felt the tremor of his breath on my neck as he laughed. Mind over matter.I pulled back as I moved, he froze and I could no longer hear the sound of his breathing.We stared cautiously at each other for a moment, and then, as his clenched jaw gradually relaxed, his expression became puzzled.Did I do something wrong?No the opposite. Youre driving me crazy, I explained.He considered that briefly, and when he spoke, he sounded pleased. Really? A triumphant smile slowly lit his face.Would you like a round of applause? I asked sarcastically.He grinned.Im just pleasantly surprised, he clarified. In the last hundred years or so, his junction was teasing, I never imagined anything like this. I didnt believe I would ever find someone I treasured to be with in another way than my brothers and sisters. And then to find, even though its all new to me, that Im good at it at being with youYoure good at everything, I pointed out.He shrugged, allowing that, and we both laughed in whispers.But how can it be so soft now? I pressed. This afternoonIts not easy, he sighed. But this afternoon, I was still undecided. I am sorry about that, it was unforgivable for me to allow in so.Not unforgivable, I disagreed.Thank you. He smiled. You see, he continued, looking down now, I wasnt sure if I was strong enough He picked up one of my hands and pressed it lightly to his face. And while there was still that possibility that I might be overcome he breathed in the scent at my wrist I was susceptible. Until I made up my mind that I was strong enough, that there was no possibility at all that I would that I ever couldId never seen him spit out so arduous for words. It was so human.So theres no possibility now?Mind over matter, he repeated, smiling, his teeth bright even in the darkness.Wow, that was easy, I said.He threw back his head and laughed, quietly as a whisper, but still exuberantly.Easy for you he amended, touching my nose with his fingertip.And then his face was abruptly serious.Im trying, he whispered, his voice pained. If it gets to be too much, Im sanely sure Ill be able to leave.I scowled. I didnt like the talk of leaving.And it will be harder tomorrow, he continued. Ive had the scent of you in my head all day, and Ive grown amazingly desensitized. If Im away from you for any length of time, Ill have to start over again. Not quite from scratch, though, I think.Dont go away, then, I responded, unable(p) to hide the longing in my voice.That suits me, he replied, his face relaxing into a gentle smile. Bring on the shackles Im your prisoner. But his long hands create manacles around my wrists as he spoke. He laughed his quiet, musical laugh. Hed laughed more tonight than Id ever heard in all the time Id spent with him.You seem more opti mistic than usual, I observed. I havent seen you like this before.Isnt it supposed to be like this? He smiled. The glory of first love, and all that. Its incredible, isnt it, the difference between reading about something, seeing it in the pictures, and experiencing it?Very different, I agreed. much forceful than Id imagined.For example his words flowed swiftly now, I had to concentrate to conquer it all the emotion of jealousy. Ive read about it a hundred atomic number 19 times, seen actors portray it in a thousand different plays and movies. I believed I understood that one pretty clearly. But it shocked me He grimaced. Do you remember the day that Mike asked you to the dance?I nodded, though I remembered that day for a different reason. The day you started talking to me again.I was surprised by the flare of resentment, almost fury, that I felt I didnt take what it was at first. I was even more aggravated than usual that I couldnt know what you were thinking, why you refuse d him. Was it simply for your friends sake? Was there someone else? I knew I had no right to care either way. I tried not to care.And then the line started forming, he chuckled. I scowled in the darkness.I waited, unreasonably anxious to hear what you would say to them, to watch your expressions. I couldnt get over the relief I felt, watching the annoyance on your face. But I couldnt be sure.That was the first night I came here. I wrestled all night, while watching you sleep, with the chasm between what I knew was right, moral, ethical, and what I wanted. I knew that if I continued to ignore you as I should, or if I left for a few years, till you were gone, that someday you would say yes to Mike, or someone like him. It made me angry.And then, he whispered, as you were sleeping, you said my name. You spoke so clearly, at first I thought youd woken. But you rolled over restlessly and mumbled my name once more, and sighed. The feeling that stockd through me then was unnerving, stagg ering. And I knew I couldnt ignore you any longer. He was silent for a moment, probably listening to the suddenly uneven pounding of my heart.But jealousy its a antic thing. So much more powerful than I would have thought. And nonrational Just now, when Charlie asked you about that vile Mike Newton He shook his head angrily.I should have known youd be listening, I groaned.Of course.That made you feel jealous, though, really?Im new at this youre resurrecting the human in me, and everythingfeels stronger because its fresh.But honestly, I teased, for that to bother you, after I have to hear that Rosalie Rosalie, the incarnation of pure beauty, Rosalie was meant for you. Emmett or no Emmett, how can I compete with that?Theres no competition. His teeth gleamed. He drew my trapped hands around his back, holding me to his chest. I kept as still as I could, even breathing with caution.I know theres no competition, I mumbled into his cold skin. Thats the problem.Of course Rosalie is bea utiful in her way, but even if she wasnt like a sister to me, even if Emmett didnt belong with her, she could never have one tenth, no, one one percent of the attraction you hold for me. He was serious now, thoughtful. For almost ninety years Ive walked among my kind, and yours all the time thinking I was complete in myself, not realizing what I was seeking. And not finding anything, because you werent alive yet.It hardly seems fair, I whispered, my face still resting on his chest, listening to his breath come and go. I havent had to wait at all. Why should I get off so slowly?Youre right, he agreed with amusement. I should make this harder for you, definitely. He freed one of his hands, released my wrist, only to gather it carefully into his other hand. He stroked my wet hair softly, from the top of my head to my waist. You only have to risk your life every gage you spend with me, thats surely not much. You only have to turn your back on nature, on humanity whats that worth?Very little I dont feel deprived of anything.Not yet. And his voice was abruptly full of old-fashioned grief.I tried to pull back, to look in his face, but his hand locked my wrists in an unbreakable hold.What - I started to ask, when his body became alert. I froze, but he suddenly released my hands, and disappeared. I narrowly avoided falling on my face.Lie down he hissed. I couldnt tell where he spoke from in the darkness.I rolled under my quilt, balling up on my side, the way I usually slept. I heard the door crack open, as Charlie peeked in to make sure I was where I was supposed to be. I breathed evenly, exaggerating the movement.A long minute passed. I listened, not sure if Id heard the door close. Then Edwards cool arm was around me, under the covers, his lips at my ear.You are a terrible actress Id say that career path is out for you. eyepatch it, I muttered. My heart was crashing in my chest.He hummed a melody I didnt recognize it sounded like a lullaby.He paused. Should I si ng you to sleep?Right, I laughed. Like I could sleep with you hereYou do it all the time, he reminded me.But I didnt know you were here, I replied icily.So if you dont want to sleep he suggested, ignoring my tone. My breath caught.If I dont want to sleep ?He chuckled. What do you want to do then?I couldnt answer at first.Im not sure, I finally said.Tell me when you decide.I could feel his cool breath on my neck, feel his nose sliding along my jaw, inhaling.I thought you were desensitized.Just because Im resisting the wine doesnt mean I cant appreciate the bouquet, he whispered. You have a very floral smell, like lavender or freesia, he noted. Its mouthwatering.Yeah, its an off day when I dont get somebody corpulent me how edible I smell.He chuckled, and then sighed.Ive decided what I want to do, I told him. I want to hear more about you. pick out me anything.I sifted through my questions for the most vital. Why do you do it? I said. I still dont understand how you can work so hard to resist what you are. Please dont misunderstand, of course Im fleur-de-lis that you do. I just dont see why you would bother in the first place.He hesitated before answering. Thats a good question, and you are not the first one to ask it. The others the volume of our kind who are quite content with our lot they, too, wonder at how we live. But you see, just because weve been dealt a certain hand it doesnt mean that we cant hold to rise above to conquer the boundaries of a destiny that none of us wanted. To try to retain whatever essential humanity we can.I lay unmoving, locked in awed silence.Did you fall asleep? he whispered after a few minutes.No.Is that all you were curious about?I rolled my eyes. Not quite.What else do you want to know?Why can you read minds why only you? And Alice, seeing the future why does that happen?I felt him shrug in the darkness. We dont really know. Carlisle has a speculation he believes that we all append something of our strongest human tra its with us into the next life, where they are intensified like our minds, and our senses. He thinks that I must have already been very sensitive to the thoughts of those around me. And that Alice had some precognition, wherever she was.What did he bring into the next life, and the others?Carlisle brought his compassion. Esme brought her ability to love passionately. Emmett brought his strength, Rosalie her tenacity. Or you could call it pigheadedness. he chuckled. Jasper is very interesting. He was quite charismatic in his first life, able to do work those around him to see things his way. Now he is able to manipulate the emotions of those around him calm down a room of angry people, for example, or excite a lethargic crowd, conversely. Its a very subtlegift.I considered the impossibilities he described, trying to take it in. He waited patiently while I thought.So where did it all start? I mean, Carlisle changed you, and then someone must have changed him, and so onWell, where d id you come from? Evolution? Creation? Couldnt we have evolved in the same way as other species, predator and prey? Or, if you dont believe that all this world could have just happened on its own, which is hard for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the same force that created the delicate spadefish with the shark, the baby blockade and the killer whale, could create both our kinds together? permit me get this straight Im the baby seal, right?Right. He laughed, and something touched my hair his lips?I wanted to turn toward him, to see if it was really his lips against my hair. But I had to be good I didnt want to make this any harder for him than it already was.Are you ready to sleep? he asked, interrupting the short silence. Or do you have any more questions?Only a million or two.We have tomorrow, and the next day, and the next he reminded me. I smiled, euphoric at the thought.Are you sure you wont vanish in the morning? I wanted this to be certain. You are mythi cal, after all.I wont leave you. His voice had the seal of a promise in it.One more, then, tonight And I blushed. The darkness was no help Im sure he could feel the sudden high temperature under my skin.What is it?No, forget it. I changed my mind.Bella, you can ask me anything.I didnt answer, and he groaned.I keep thinking it will get less frustrating, not hearing your thoughts. But it just gets worse and worse.Im glad you cant read my thoughts. Its destructive enough that you eavesdrop on my sleep-talking.Please? His voice was so persuasive, so impossible to resist.I shook my head.If you dont tell me, Ill just assume its something much worse than it is, he threatened darkly. Please? Again, that pleading voice.Well, I began, glad that he couldnt see my face.Yes?You said that Rosalie and Emmett will get married soon Is that marriage the same as it is for humans?He laughed in earnest now, understanding. Is that what youre getting at?I fidgeted, unable to answer.Yes, I suppose it i s much the same, he said. I told you, most of those human desires are there, just undercover behind more powerful desires.Oh, was all I could say.Was there a purpose behind your curiosity?Well, I did wonder about you and me somedayHe was instantly serious, I could tell by the sudden phlegm of his body. I froze, too, reacting automatically.I dont think that that would be possible for us.Because it would be too hard for you, if I were that close?Thats certainly a problem. But thats not what I was thinking of. Its just that you are so soft, so fragile. I have to mind my actions every moment that were together so that I dont hurt you. I could kill you quite easily, Bella, simply by accident. His voice had become just a soft murmur. He moved his diametric palm to rest it against my cheek. If I was too hasty if for one second I wasnt paying enough attention, I could reach out, meaning to touch your face, and crush your skull by mistake. You dont realize how incredibly breakable you are . I can never, never afford to lose any kind of control when Im with you.He waited for me to respond, growing anxious when I didnt. Are you scared? he asked.I waited for a minute to answer, so the words would be true. No. Im fine.He seemed to deliberate for a moment. Im curious now, though, he said, his voice light again. pick up you ever ? He trailed off suggestively.Of course not. I flushed. I told you Ive never felt like this about anyone before, not even close.I know. Its just that I know other peoples thoughts. I know love and propensity dont always keep the same company.They do for me. Now, anyway, that they exist for me at all, I sighed.Thats nice. We have that one thing in common, at least. He sounded satisfied.Your human instincts I began. He waited. Well, do you find me attractive, in that way, at all?He laughed and lightly rumpled my nearly dry hair.I may not be a human, but I am a man, he assured me.I yawned involuntarily.Ive answered your questions, now you should sle ep, he insisted.Im not sure if I can.Do you want me to leave?No I said too loudly.He laughed, and then began to hum that same, unfamiliar lullaby the voice of an archangel, soft in my ear.More tired than I realized, exhausted from the long day of mental and emotional stress like Id never felt before, I drifted to sleep in his cold arms.

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