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Edward Cullen is a human. Bella Swan is a vampire. This is their story. It's only my second fan fiction, people. Please feel free to criticize it.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this... I think it'll be long, though.

17. Cracking

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1254   Review this Chapter

Angel – Chapter Seventeen


I pulled Edward outside into the courtyard. He stumbled along behind me, and I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

“Bella, what is it? Can’t you tell me now?”

I slowed to a stop, and he stopped too, looking grateful. Then he looked at me, expectantly. I realized he expected me to say something.

“Would you like to sit?” I gestured to a little bench. He sat, ignoring the fact that the wood was soggy and wet. Either he really wanted this talk, or he was too scared of me to care if it looked like he wet himself. I sighed, and didn’t sit. I paced.

“What is it, Bella? Is it really so important that you can’t tell me?”

I was surprised by the edge in his voice. He sounded… mad. “Actually, Edward,” I said, as calmly as I could, “your sister Alice implied that you wanted to talk to me.” I was still grasping at straws. I had no idea what I was going to say. A very, very large part of me wanted nothing more than to tell him…

Edward sighed and started tapping his foot irritably. “Alice would do that, too.” He grimaced. “What did she say I wanted to tell you? Did she tell you that you would have to pry the answers out of me? How much did she offer to pay you if you would report back to her and tell her what’s wrong with me?”

I bit my lip back against a few choice retorts. “She didn’t say anything like that. Just that you wanted to talk.”

He sighed again, looking deflated. “Fine. Bella Swan, I am mad at you.”

I chuckled. It was not at all the answer I expected. “Finally. A rational response. I knew you couldn’t keep up your innocent, forgiving angel streak forever.”

“Wait, what?”

Though it was tempting to hmm, haw, and look away, I looked him straight on. “Edward, you’re mad at me because of what happened that night, aren’t you? You’re mad because you saw me do something unsavory to another human being. What else? Don’t shirk away from it. It’s a perfectly natural response.”

But his face held shock. “That’s not at all what I mean. That… I’m sure you have your reasons.” For some reason, his face turned pink. “But really, I’m mad because you left without saying anything. I thought for a while that you were mad at me, or something. But then you just stopped coming…” He squared his shoulders. “I was confused. Frightened. Pick a word. Carlisle has been having nightmares. Carlisle is never wrong about anything. Alice is getting more and more paranoid by the day. Alice always has a sense of what’s coming before it happens. Your dad, disappearing. Bella, there’s something wrong going on here. Something bad is in Forks. It doesn’t feel right not having you here to fend it off.”

Wait. He was mad at me for leaving him? Some nervous reaction made me giggle. “Edward Cullen, you are the most ridiculous creature I’ve ever met.” Of course. Contrary Edward Cullen. He would want the monster there to keep him safe.

He didn’t laugh. “I’m dead serious, Bella. How could you do that? I mean, I saw what you did then. And like I said, I’m sure you had your reasons. But I know what you’re capable of. I know what you’re able to stop. If there’s something bad happening… I have this feeling that you can make things better.”

I stopped laughing. “That’s a very dangerous idea, Edward. I’d advise you not to pursue it.”

Edward lifted his chin defensively, chewing his lip in what I’d grown to recognize as a nervous habit. “Why not? How is it dangerous to want to be safe?”

And I was truly backed into a corner. Sighing, I sat down next to him, and my pants were immediately soaked. I felt him stiffen, but he didn’t lean away like a normal person would with this proximity to someone… someone like me. “Do you really think that I’m safe, Edward?”

“Why wouldn’t you be?”

All that ran through my head was shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. You’d think that after forty years of this I’d have gotten better about subtlety. “Edward, you saw me rip the head off a man. How can I be safe?”

He seemed to be hesitating, choosing his words carefully.

“Just say it.”

In a rush, he said, “You wouldn’t have done that if you weren’t trying to keep me safe. Sure, it was an overreaction. But we all make mistakes.”

I stared.

He cringed. “I’m sorry. I said something wrong, didn’t I?”

Not wanting to frighten him, I lied. “No. Not really.”

“Bella, I don’t want you to hate me. And I feel like you do. If I’m doing something wrong, just tell me.” He hesitated. “It would also help to know why, but you know… We can’t always have everything.”

God bless him. I loved Edward Cullen. Well. Not like that. I didn’t think. I hadn’t loved a human in a very, very long time. But I could have kissed him for not pushing me. Although, simultaneously, he really was begging me to give him some answers. Instead of kissing him, I looked down, unable to keep eye contact without feeling ashamed of myself.

“Edward… It isn’t that I want to lie to you. It’s just that the truth is complicated. Too complicated. And dangerous.”

He folded his hands in his lap and looked at me patiently. I felt like a horrible person. Other than Charlie, and maybe Carlisle, no other human had made me want to be so open as Edward made me want to be now. I had to knot my fingers together, to keep myself from reaching out to brush a strand of wet hair out of his inviting green eyes.

“I think I can handle the truth.”

I closed my eyes, so I didn’t have to look at him. I played with a strand of hair, worrying it too fast between my fingers. Fast enough to confuse him. I heard his intake of breath.

“The truth will only complicate things.”

“I deserve to know I’m keeping a secret for you already.”

I opened my eyes to look at him dubiously. “Do you really want to keep another secret?”

“You could think of it as a bribe.” He shrugged, making an obvious effort to lighten his expression. “You know, I’ve been wanting to know for a while, and you could tell me in exchange for your secret.”

“Edward…” Why did he make things so difficult? “It’s not that I don’t want to tell you because I enjoy keeping my little secret. Honestly. But I have to worry about what would happen if people found out. I don’t want to put you in a more vulnerable position than the one I’ve already stuck you in. You’re safer knowing the public story.”

Edward bit his lip. “I don’t care.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” I admitted. “You handle things too calmly. You’re going to crack one of these days, and it will be entirely my fault.”

Tentatively, he reached out to touch my hand. I flinched, but didn’t pull away. “Bella, I didn’t tell anyone about what happened in the alley. You can trust me.”

I wasn’t going to tell him, I wouldn’t tell him, I shouldn’t tell him. Oh, hell. He was so close, so tantalizing. He smelled so good, his warmth was so inviting. And he was so beautiful… “I’m a vampire!” I blurted, too loudly.

Edward dropped my hand, and his eyes widened.

Mike Newton, who was walking on the other side of the courtyard, turned to stare.

I felt positively ill.

“Oh. Shit.”