I did not see much of Jasper's guests for the two sunny days that they were in Forks. I only went home at
all so that Esme wouldn't worry. Otherwise, my existence seemed more like that of a specter than a
vampire. I hovered, invisible in the shadows, where I could follow the object of my love and obsessionwhere
I could see her and hear her in the minds of the lucky humans who could walk through the
sunlight beside her, sometimes accidentally brushing the back of her hand with their own. She never
reacted to such contact; their hands were just as warm as hers.
The enforced absence from school had never been a trial like this before. But the sun seemed to make
her happy, so I could not resent it too much. Anything that pleased her was in my good graces.
Monday morning, I eavesdropped on a conversation that had the potential to destroy my confidence
and make the time spent away from her a torture. As it ended up, though, it rather made my day.
I had to feel some little respect for Mike Newton; he had not simply given up and slunk away to nurse
his wounds. He had more bravery than I'd given him credit for. He was going to try again.
Bella got to school quite early and, seeming intent on enjoying the sun while it lasted, sat at one of the
seldom used picnic benches while she waited for the first bell to ring. Her hair caught the sun in
unexpected ways, giving off a reddish shine that I had not anticipated.
Mike found her there, doodling again, and was thrilled at his good luck.
It was agonizing to only be able to watch, powerless, bound to the forest's shadows by the bright
She greeted him with enough enthusiasm to make him ecstatic, and me the opposite.
See, she likes me. She wouldn't smile like that if she didn't. I bet she wanted to go to the dance with me.
Wonder what's so important in Seattle...
He perceived the change in her hair. "I never noticed before-your hair has red in it."
I accidentally uprooted the young spruce tree my hand was resting on when he pinched a strand of her
hair between his fingers.
"Only in the sun," she said. To my deep satisfaction, she cringed away from him slightly when he tucked
the strand behind her ear.
It took Mike a minute to build up his courage, wasting some time on small talk.
She reminded him of the essay we all had due on Wednesday. From the faintly smug expression on her
face, hers was already done. He'd forgotten altogether, and that severely diminished his free time.
Finally he got to the point-my teeth were clenched so hard they could have pulverized granite-and even
then, he couldn't make himself ask the question outright.
"I was going to ask if you wanted to go out."
"Oh," she said.
There was a brief silence.
Oh? What does that mean? Is she going to yes? Wait-I guess I didn't really ask. He swallowed hard.
"Well, we could go to dinner or something...and I could work on it later." Stupid-that wasn't a question
The agony and fury of my jealousy was every whit as powerful as it had been last week. I broke another
tree trying to hold myself here. I wanted so badly to race across the campus, too fast for human eyes,
and snatch her up-to steal her away from the boy that I hated so much in this moment I could have kill
him and enjoyed it.
Would she say yes to him?
"I don't think that would be the best idea."
I breathed again. My rigid body relaxed.
Seattle was just an excuse, after all. Shouldn't have asked. What was I thinking? Bet it's that freak,
"Why?" he asked sullenly.
"I think..." she hesitated. "And if you ever repeat what I'm saying right now I will cheerfully beat you to
I laughed out loud at the sound of a death threat coming through her lips. A jay shrieked, startled, and
launched itself away from me.
"But I think that would hurt Jessica's feelings."
"Jessica?" What? But... Oh. Okay. I guess... So... Huh.
His thoughts were no longer coherent.
"Really, Mike, are you blind ?"
I echoed her sentiment. She shouldn't expect everyone to be as perceptive as she was, but really this
instance was beyond obvious. With as much trouble as Mike had had working himself up to ask Bella
out, did he imagine it wasn't just as difficult for Jessica?
It must be selfishness that made him blind to others. And Bella was so unselfish, she saw everything.
Jessica. Huh. Wow. Huh. "Oh," he managed to say.
Bella used his confusion to make her exit. "It's time for class, and I can't be late again."
Mike became an unreliable viewpoint from then on. He found, as he turned the idea of Jessica around
and around in his head, that he rather liked the thought of her finding him attractive. It was second
place, not as good as if Bella had felt that way.
She's cute, though, I guess. Decent body. A bird in the hand...
He was off then, on to new fantasies that were just as vulgar as the ones about Bella, but now they only
irritated rather than infuriated. How little he deserved either girl; they were almost interchangeable to
him. I stayed clear of his head after that.
When she was out of sight, I curled up against the cool trunk of an enormous madrone tree and I danced
from mind to mind, keeping her in sight, always glad when Angela Weber was available to look through.
I wished there was someway to thank the Weber girl for simply being a nice person. It made me feel
better to think that Bella had one friend worth having.
I watched Bella's face from whichever angle I was given, and I could see that she was sad again. This
surprised me-I thought the sun would be enough to keep her smiling. At lunch, I saw her glance time and
time again toward the empty Cullen table, and that thrilled me. It gave me hope. Perhaps she missed
She had plans to go out with the other girls-I automatically planned my own surveillance-but these plans
were postponed when Mike invited Jessica out on the date he'd planned for Bella.
So I went straight to her home instead, doing a quick sweep of the woods to make sure no one
dangerous had wandered too close. I knew Jasper had warned his one-time brother to avoid the townciting
my insanity as both explanation and warning-but I wasn't taking any chances. Peter and Charlotte
had no intention of causing animosity with my family, but intentions were changeable things...
All right, I was overdoing it. I knew that.
As if she knew I was watching, as if she took pity on the agony I felt when I couldn't see her, Bella came
out to the backyard after a long hour indoors. She had a book in her hand and a blanket under her arm.
Silently, I climbed into the higher branches of the closest tree overlooking the yard.
She spread the blanket on the damp grass and then lay on her stomach and started flipping through the
worn book, as if trying to find her place. I read over her shoulder.
Ah-more classics. She was an Austen fan.
She read quickly, crossing and recrossing her ankles in the air. I was watching the sunlight and wind play
in her hair when her body suddenly stiffened, and her hand froze on the page. All I saw was that she'd
reached chapter three when she roughly grabbed a thick section of pages and shoved them over.
I caught a glance of a title page, Mansfield Park. She was starting a new story-the book was a
compilation of novels. I wondered why she'd switched stories so abruptly.
Just a few moments later, she slammed the book angrily shut. With a fierce scowl on her face, she
pushed the book aside and flipped over onto her back. She took a deep breath, as if to calm herself,
pushed her sleeves up and closed her eyes. I remembered the novel, but I couldn't think of anything
offensive in it to upset her. Another mystery. I sighed.
She lay very still, moving just once to yank her hair away from her face. It fanned out over her head, a
river of chestnut. And then she was motionless again.
Her breathing slowed. After several long minutes her lips began to tremble. Mumbling in her sleep.
Impossible to resist. I listened as far out as I could, catching voices in the houses nearby.
Two tablespoons of flour...one cup of milk...
C'mon! Get it through the hoop! Aw, c'mon!
Red, or blue...or maybe I should wear something more casual...
There was no one close by. I jumped to the ground, landing silently on my toes. This was very wrong,
very risky. How condescendingly I'd once judged Emmett for his thoughtless ways and Jasper for his lack
of discipline-and now I was consciously flouting all the rules with a wild abandon that made their lapses
look like nothing at all. I used to be the responsible one.
I sighed, but crept out into the sunshine, regardless.
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I avoided looking at myself in the sun's glare. It was bad enough that my skin was stone and inhuman in
shadow; I didn't want to look at Bella and myself side by side in the sunlight. The difference between us
was already insurmountable, painful enough without this image also in my head.
But I couldn't ignore the rainbow sparkles that reflected onto her skin when I got closer. My jaw locked
at the sight. Could I be any more of a freak? I imagined her terror if she opened her eyes now...
I started to retreat, but she mumbled again, holding me there.
Nothing intelligible. Well, I would wait for a bit.
I carefully stole her book, stretching my arm out and holding my breath while I was close, just in case. I
started breathing again when I was a few yards away, tasting the way the sunshine and open air affected
her scent. The heat seemed to sweeten the smell.
My throat flamed with desire, the fire fresh and fierce again because I had been away from her for too
I spent a moment controlling that, and then-forcing myself to breathe through my nose-I let her book
fall open in my hands. She'd started with the first book... I flipped through the pages quickly to the third
chapter of Sense and Sensibility , searching for something potentially offensive in Austen's overly polite
When my eyes stopped automatically at my name-the character Edward Ferrars being introduced for
the first time-Bella spoke again.
"Mmm. Edward." She sighed.
This time I did not fear that she had awoken. Her voice was just a low, wistful murmur. Not the scream
of fear it would have been if she'd seen me now.
Joy warred with self-loathing. She was still dreaming of me, at least.
"Edmund. Ahh. Too....close..."
Ha! She wasn't dreaming of me at all, I realized blackly. The self-loathing returned in force. She was
dreaming of fictional characters. So much for my conceit.
I replaced her book, and stole back into the cover of the shadows-where I belonged. The afternoon
passed and I watched, feeling helpless again, as the sun slowly sank in the sky and the shadows crawled
across the lawn toward her. I wanted to push them back, but the darkness was inevitable; the shadows
took her. When the light was gone, her skin looked too pale-ghostly. Her hair was dark again, almost
black against her face.
It was a frightening thing to watch-like witnessing Alice's visions come to fruition. Bella's steady, strong
heartbeat was the only reassurance, the sound that kept this moment from feeling like a nightmare.
I was relieved when her father arrived home.
I could hear little from him as he drove down the street toward the house. Some vague annoyance...in
the past, something from his day at work. Expectation mixed with hunger-I guessed that he was looking
forward to dinner. But his thoughts were so quiet and contained that I could not be sure I was right; I
only got the gist of them.
I wondered what her mother sounded like-what the genetic combination had Bella started awake,
jerking up to a sitting position when the tires of her father's car hit the brick driveway. She stared
around herself, seeming confused by the unexpected darkness. For one brief moment, her eyes touched
the shadows where I hid, but they flickered quickly away.
"Charlie?" she asked in a low voice, still peering into the trees surrounding the small yard.
The door of his car slammed shut, and she looked to the sound. She got to her feet quickly and gathered
her things, casting one more look back toward the woods.
I moved into a tree closer to the back window near the small kitchen, and listened to their evening. It
was interesting to compare Charlie's words to his muffled thoughts. His love and concern for his only
daughter were nearly overwhelming, and yet his words were always terse and casual. Most of the time,
they sat in companionable silence.
I heard her discuss her plans for the following evening in Port Angeles, and I refined my own plans as I
listened. Jasper had not warned Peter and Charlotte to stay clear of Port Angeles. Though I knew that
they had fed recently and had no intention of hunting any where in the vicinity of our home, I would
watch her, just in case. After all, there were always others of my kind out there. And then, all those
human dangers that I had never much considered before now.
I heard her worry aloud about leaving her father to prepare dinner alone, and smiled at this proof to my
theory-yes, she was a care-taker.
And then I left, knowing I would return when she was asleep.
I would not trespass on her privacy the way the peeping tom would have. I was here for her protection,
not to leer at her in the way Mike Newton no doubt would, were he agile enough to move through the
treetops the way I could. I would not treat her so crassly.
My house was empty when I returned, which was fine by me. I didn't miss the confused or disparaging
thoughts, questioning my sanity. Emmett had left a note stuck to the newel post.
Football at the Rainier field-c'mon! Please?
I found a pen and scrawled the word sorry beneath his plea. The teams were even without me, in any
I went for the shortest of hunting trips, contenting myself with the smaller, gentler creatures that did
not taste as good as the hunters, and then changed into fresh clothes before I ran back to Forks.
Bella did not sleep as well tonight. She thrashed in her blankets, her face sometimes worried, sometimes
sad. I wondered what nightmare haunted her...and then realized that perhaps I really didn't want to
When she spoke, she mostly muttered derogatory things about Forks in a glum voice. Only once, when
she sighed out the words "Come back" and her hand twitched open-a wordless plea-did I have a chance
to hope she might be dreaming of me.
The next day of school, the last day the sun would hold me prisoner, was much the same as the day
before. Bella seemed even gloomier than yesterday, and I wondered if she would bow out of her plansshe
didn't seem in the mood.
But, being Bella, she would probably put her friends' enjoyment above that of her own.
She wore a deep blue blouse today, and the color set her skin off perfectly, making it look like fresh
School ended, and Jessica agreed to pick the other girls up-Angela was going, too, for which I was
I went home to get my car. When I found that Peter and Charlotte were there, I decided could afford to
give the girls an hour or so for a head start. I would never be able to bear following behind them, driving
at the speed limit-hideous thought.
I came in through the kitchen, nodding vaguely at Emmett's and Esme's greetings as I passed by
everyone in the front room and went straight to the piano.
Ugh, he's back. Rosalie, of course.
Ah, Edward. I hate to see him suffering so. Esme's joy was becoming marred by concern. She should be
concerned. This love story she envisioned for me was careening toward a tragedy more perceptibly
Have fun in Port Angeles tonight, Alice thought cheerfully. Let me know when I'm allowed to talk to
You're pathetic. I can't believe you missed the game last night just to watch somebody sleep, Emmett
Jasper paid me no mind, even when the song I played came out a little more stormily than I'd intended.
It was an old song, with a familiar theme: impatience.
Jasper was saying goodbye to his friends, who eyed me curiously.
What a strange creature, the Alice-sized, white-blond Charlotte was thinking. And he was so normal and
pleasant the last time we met.
Peter's thoughts were in sync with hers, as was usually the case.
It must be the animals. The lack of human blood drives them mad eventually, he was concluding. His
hair was just as fair as hers, and almost as long. They were very similar-except for size, as he was almost
as tall as Jasper-in both look and thought. A well matched pair, I'd always thought.
Everyone but Esme stopped thinking about me after a moment, and I played in more subdued tones so
that I would not attract notice.
I did not pay attention to them for a long while, just letting the music distract me from my unease. It
was hard to have the girl out of sight and mind. I only returned my attention to their conversation when
the goodbyes grew more final.
"If you see Maria again," Jasper was saying, a little warily, "tell her I wish her well."
Maria was the vampire who had created both Jasper and Peter-Jasper in the latter half of the nineteenth
century, Peter more recently, in the nineteen forties. She'd looked Jasper up once when we were in
Calgary. It had been an eventful visit-we'd had to move immediately. Jasper had politely asked her to
keep her distance in the future.
"I don't imagine that will happen soon," Peter said with a laugh-Maria was undeniable dangerous and
there was not much love lost between her and Peter. Peter had, after all, been instrumental in Jasper's
defection. Jasper had always been Maria's favorite; she considered it a minor detail that she had once
planned to kill him. "But, should it happen, I certainly will."
They were shaking hands then, preparing to depart. I let the song I was playing trail off to an
unsatisfying end, and got hastily to my feet.
"Charlotte, Peter," I said, nodding.
"It was nice to see you again, Edward," Charlotte said doubtfully. Peter just nodded in return.
Madman, Emmett threw after me.
Idiot, Rosalie thought at the same time.
Poor boy. Esme.
And Alice, in a chiding tone. They're going straight east, to Seattle. No where near Port Angeles. She
showed me the proof in her visions.
I pretended I hadn't heard that. My excuses were already flimsy enough.
Once in my car, I felt more relaxed; the robust purr of the engine Rosalie had boosted for me-last year,
when she was in a better mood-was soothing. It was a relief to be in motion, to know that I was getting
closer to Bella with every mile that flew away under my tires.
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I did not see much of Jasper's guests for the two sunny days that they were in Forks. I only went home at