New Moon from Edward's POV. So far I'm up to the end of Chapter 2 - Stitches.
4. Chapter 4
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Previous Chapter: “I guess I see your point…a little,” I finally permitted. “But what would I do without you?” All I could see in that circumstance was a black, empty nothingness.
“Whatever you were doing before I came along and complicated your existence,” she declared hopefully. I sighed.
“You make that sound so easy,” I told her. It would be the most difficult thing I had ever faced in my many years of being. The problem was that before I ever met Bella, all I did was wait. Wait and wait for long, arduous years for somebody like Bella to come along and complete my existence. And now that she had, I was never going to let her go.
“It should be. I’m really not that interesting,” Bella interjected my thoughts. I opened my mouth to object, when Charlie’s thoughts filled my head.
Ah, looks like Bella’s home. Probably with Edward I guess. They do seem rather close….They wouldn’t do anything like…no. Of course not. It’s Bella, he reassured himself, but his mind still carried a note of apprehension.
“Moot point,” I reminded Bella. Swiftly, I pulled her upright and arranged myself in a more proper position - one where we weren’t touching.
“Charlie?” she guessed, laughing slightly. Bella thought I was just being polite - she didn’t know the contents of Charlie’s brain. I smiled and listened to the crunch of gravel as the slightly conspicuous police cruiser pulled into the driveway. Bella reached out and took my hands firmly between her warm palms. So much for my plan to eliminate Charlie’s concern.
Charlie entered loudly, bearing a box of pizza that excreted a rank odor. But then again, that might just have been my vampiric prejudice against human food. “Hey, kids.” He grinned widely at Bella, quite relieved that his worst fears had not been confirmed. “I thought you’d like a break from cooking and washing dishes for your birthday. Hungry?”
“Sure. Thanks, Dad,” Bella replied, a twinge of annoyance in her voice. Charlie had mentioned her birthday. I sat across from her at the faded table and watched as she thoughtfully chewed two slices of lukewarm pepperoni pizza. As usual, I refused the meal, and while Charlie still thought it was odd, it no longer elicited his curiosity as it used to.
I sat quietly as they ate their nauseating dinner. “Do you mind if I borrow Bella for the evening?” I asked Charlie when they had finished.
Bella looked forcefully at Charlie, willing him with her eyes to reject my proposal. Sadly for her, Charlie didn’t seem to get the hint.
“That’s fine - the Mariners are playing the Sox tonight. So I won’t be any kind of company,” he consented. “Here.” He seized the camera from its undisturbed spot on the kitchen counter and tossed it to Bella. Not one of his best ideas ever. I stepped forward and caught the device as it narrowly avoided Bella’s outstretched hand and plummeted toward the linoleum.
“Nice save,” Charlie remarked, seemingly not comprehending that it was a mistake to expect Bella to actually catch something in the first place. “If they’re doing something fun at the Cullens’ tonight, Bella, you should take some pictures,” Charlie said, remembering the purpose of his ill-fated throw. “You know how your mother gets - she’ll be wanting to see the pictures faster than you can take them.”
“Good idea, Charlie,” I said, cautiously handing Bella the camera.
“It works,” she laughed, momentarily blinding me with the bright flash.
“That’s good. Hey, say hi to Alice for me. She hasn’t been over in a while,” Charlie said with a slightly morose expression. He had become quite attached to Alice after Bella’s fateful trip to Phoenix last spring.
“It’s been three days, Dad,” Bella reminded him. “I’ll tell her.”
“Okay. You kids have fun tonight.” He shuffled off in the direction of the living room. We were clearly cutting into game time.
As soon as Charlie had disappeared, I grinned triumphantly, gently grasping Bella’s hand and leading her in the direction of the front door. She sighed heavily and followed, resigned to her fate.
At the door of her rusty Chevy, I stopped and held the passenger side open for Bella. She reluctantly climbed in, probably because she still had difficulty locating the heavily wooded turnoff for the majestic, white house in which my family and I lived.
The hidden mansion was concealed from prying eyes by the dense vegetation that we had conveniently neglected to remove from the area surrounding it. The house - probably the largest one in Forks - was slightly too ostentatious for my taste, but as it was never seen by anyone outside of our family and Bella, I supposed it didn’t matter too much.
The ancient truck wheezed and grumbled to a start after much poking and prodding, and I wondered how much longer it would be before its decrepit condition would be a credible excuse for the car’s timely demise. After all, I wouldn’t be able to tell Bella if I accidentally mislaid certain vital car parts in the dead of night.
I began to drive north through the drizzle, using every modicum of my self control to prevent myself from plunging the gas peddle through the faded flooring in my futile attempt to lure the aging beast of a vehicle past fifty. The engine whined loudly at my urging, earning me a look of disapprobation from Bella.
“Take it easy,” she advised me.
“You know what you would love?” I said, doing my best to sell her a car I knew she would never buy. “A nice little Audi Coupe. Very quiet, lots of power…”
“There’s nothing wrong with my truck.” she informed me. “And speaking of expensive nonessentials, if you know what’s good for you, you didn’t spend any money on birthday presents.”
“Not a dime.” And it was true. Not that it wasn’t a marvelous gift. I smiled to myself, a bit smug.
I did have to warn her though. “Can you do me a favor?” I asked her, serious now.
“That depends on what it is.”
I sighed, knowing she wouldn’t be happy with my request. It could be very difficult to draw a happy medium between my family and my love sometimes. “Bella, the last real birthday any of us had was Emmett in 1935. Cut us a little slack, and don’t be too difficult tonight. They’re all very excited.”
“Fine, I’ll behave,” she granted, stunned into submission by my grim expression. Alas, that had been the easy part.
“I probably should warn you…”
“Please do,” she interjected.
“When I say they’re all excited…I do mean all of them.” I cringed minutely in my seat, dreading her reaction.
“Everyone?” she spluttered. “I though Emmett and Rosalie were in Africa.” The people of Forks were under the impression that my older siblings were studying at Dartmouth this year, although Bella was aware of their more…exotic locale.
“Emmett wanted to be here,” I pathetically attempted to defend myself.
“I know, Bella. Don’t worry, she’ll be on her best behavior.” Or at least, I hoped she would. Who know with the haughty Rose? That blond angel - or demon depending on your opinion - had a seemingly unwarranted loathing for Bella. It was part of the reason they had moved to such a ridiculous location in the first place, and while Emmett pretended to be completely in agreement with Rose, his elated thoughts notified me that he was ecstatic to be home. I wished I could divulge Rosalie’s reasons for detesting Bella, but I would never dare to reveal such a personal past without permission.
As nonchalantly as possible, I quickly changed the subject. “So, if you won’t let me get you the Audi, isn’t there anything that you’d like for your birthday?”
“You know what I want,” she murmured, almost inaudibly.
I frowned deeply. How many times could she bring this up in one day? I suddenly wished I had stuck to the topic of Rosalie. That uncomfortable topic was at least easier than the conflicting pain that now threatened to tear my heart - beating or not - in two. I felt like we’d had this argument a lot today.
“Not tonight, Bella. Please.” I wasn’t sure how much I could take before my head would explode with the impossible paradox of it all.
“Well, maybe Alice will give me what I want,” she said impertinently.
A low growl slipped from between my lips and ripped through my chest before I could pull it back. “This isn’t going to be your last birthday, Bella,” I insisted, doing my best to conceal my rage - and my pain.
“That’s not fair!” she cried. I clenched my jaw tightly to together to keep the angry words inside. If I had not been a vampire, my teeth would have shattered into countless splinters of bone.