She was hurting, in more ways then one. She hated him for doing this to her. She hated herself for letting him do this to her. So what happens when she sees him again? When Laurent confronts Bella in the meadow, she is rescued just in the nick of time by the werewolves. But what if the werewolves were a second too late?
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11. Chapter 9
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1595 Review this Chapter
All night, I fretted about what exactly I was going to say to Edward the next day. I still hadn’t come to a straight decision about how I felt towards him. I was aware of the love I felt for him, but was also aware of the hours I spent grieving over him, and therefore I still held a bit of a grudge. Do I talk to him? Ignore him? Run into his arms and declare that I’ve had plenty of time, and have come to the conclusion that I still love him? Play it cool, and see what happens?
Sadly, the one that looked the best to me was option 3, but I knew that if I had any dignity at all I wouldn’t follow through with it. Instead, I decided option 4 was better suited to my mission, and concluded that in order to keep my emotions in check I would simply have to act casually around him, and act like absolutely nothing happened last night. In fact, after concluding that I would indeed stay, nothing really did happen. We stood there awkwardly for about ten minutes and then he left, leaving me alone and giving me way too much time to think.
The stress of my ambivalence over, I worked on homework until about 7, and then got dressed and ready for school. Ditching my usual “comfort” look, I decided to give Frances a shot and let her pick me out something decent to wear. After all, if I planned to make Edward’s life a little miserable today, I might as well be thorough. After refusing to wear several outfits consisting of jeans three sizes to small and shirts that exposed my stomach and way too much cleavage – I still wasn’t quite unused to breathing and those clothes made it impossible to breathe, Frances finally pulled out something decent. It was a pair of jeans that, although they were low cut and a dark indigo color, actually fit me, and a black cowl necked sweater that didn’t let my boobs hang out. Frances, thrilled with my lack of resistance today, decided to make the most of her opportunity and paint my face, straighten my hair, and find some obnoxious shoes for me.
Well, if I was going to hell anyways, I might as well do it thoroughly.
As I walked to lunch, I was nervous. Not for the same reason I as yesterday—yesterday I was more concerned about Edward’s reaction to me then anything else—today, I was worried about my reaction to him. Would I be able to keep up the act? I remembered how easily he had kissed me yesterday, and how easily I had fallen under his spell, and cringed. Get a hold of yourself, Bella.
I immediately walked to the Cullen’s table, noticing that Frances, Gabriel, and Aaron were already there. Instead of taking the empty spot next to Edward, I opted for the seat next to Gabriel, and greeted everyone warmly. Play it cool.
Lunch passed quickly, and I congratulated myself. I had done fantastically, if I did say so myself. I acted completely natural, and instead of ignoring Edward, which would have been way too obvious, I talked to him just as I would talk to Jasper or Emmett. I could tell he was getting disappointed, and this only fed my ego.
After lunch, I made it to 6th hour Chemistry. As I was sitting at my lab table—the other seat unoccupied, just has it had been yesterday—doodling on my binder, I heard the clearing of someone’s throat, and looked up into dark golden eyes: Edward.
Dang! I had thought the only time I would see him at lunch! I wasn’t prepared for any one-on-one conversations! He hadn’t been here yesterday! Had he transferred? Was he actually here yesterday, but in a different seat? And it dawned on me… he had been here, but had been hiding out in his car.
Shoot—he was sitting down in the seat next to me, looking as nervous and awkward as I felt. “Hey,” he said softly.
I smiled, “Hey.”
Keep cool. Act casual. This is Jasper sitting next to you… what do you do? I reassured myself in my head. I opened my mouth to speak, but then decided against it, and went back to doodling on my binder. He sat there for a minute longer, and then leaned down to rummage through his bag. Mrs. Klein, our Chemistry teacher, began to take roll, and then immediately moved onto today’s lecture—something involving acids and bases—giving us no time to chat, which was fine by me.
However, mid-way into her lecture, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and a note was pushed in front of me.
Have you had enough time yet?
I let my eyes glance over to his face, and he was looking at me, a hopeful smile on his face.
I sighed, and took out a pen.
I had to think about what I was going to say next—my heart and my mind were engaged in another war: My heart still wanted dearly to throw my arms around him, and tell him I had had plenty of time. However, my mind thought otherwise.
I just—no. I need more time.
I passed this to him, and waited for his reply.
Why? Please. You’re killing me. Today at lunch was… miserable. And I can’t even accuse you of avoiding me this time, because you weren’t. It was worse. Please, Bella. I love you, I always have.
The last line thrilled me, but I fought not to show it. Instead, I focused on the rest of the note—yes! My plan was most definitely working. Now, how to reply…
Miserable? You’re miserable? How do you think I’ve felt for the last forty years?
I know how you felt—I felt exactly the same. I told you already, I left for your safety. And if you suffered so much, then why can’t we just go back to the way things were?
I took a moment to laugh at how absolutely ridiculous it was that we were passing such detailed notes in class, but then continued, grateful for the time to carefully plan out each response.
I just… can’t. You can kiss me, and tell me you love me as many times as you want, but it doesn’t change the past. I don’t trust you with my heart anymore… it’s already been mangled past full recovery, thanks to you.
I’m… sorry doesn’t even begin to cover the guilt I feel. But that’s just part of your plan, isn’t it? These mind games you are trying to play? I may not be able to read your mind, but if the way you kissed me last night was any indication, I’m betting that you feel the same for me as I do for you.
How dare you… Okay. If that’s how you want to play it, then you’re right. I love you. I always have, and probably always will. It doesn’t change anything.
It doesn’t change anything? You are absurd. It changes everything. Bella, if what you said is true, then why must you keep playing these mind games? If you suffered as much as you say you did, then you’re hurting yourself just as much as you’re hurting me. Please, Bella—don’t do this.
His words struck a chord in me, and the dizzying realization that he was right stopped my pen from following through with my original intentions to tell him off. Instead, I merely scrawled an address at the bottom of the page and wrote beneath it:
8:00. Be there, sharp.
He took the word “sharp” to heart. As the clock reached 7:59 (and 58 seconds) the doorbell rang. Frances, Aaron, and Gabriel were all seated around me in the front room, and they gave me knowing glances as I walked up to the door, and then exited out the back door, to give me some privacy.
I opened the door, revealing Edward, and motioned for him to come inside. Neither of us spoke. I sat down in the beaten up leather recliner we had in our living room, and he sat down across from me on the couch. We sat in silence for a few minutes, neither wanting to speak first. Finally, I cleared my throat, and broke the calm.
“Edward, I’m sorry.”
He looked up at me then, his liquid gold eyes burning with a determined hope.
“Your… note… made me see the truth. You’re right: I’m only hurting myself by denying my true feelings. I’ve been playing silly mind games all week, trying futilely to make you suffer the way I did. But I’m not going to hide it any longer: No matter how much I’ve tried to deny it, I’m afraid that I still love you.”
His eyes lit up as I uttered that last phrase, and he stood, smiling an uneven smile that looked familiar to me. Crossing the space between us, he took my face in his unnaturally warm hands. “Ever since I saw you in the clearing, I’ve been waiting to hear you say that.” And he kissed me again.
But this time, with consent from both my mind and my heart, I kissed him back.
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