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The Ripple Effect

Summary:
What if Bella’s parents never divorced & she was a normal girl. Best friends with Jacob Black for all her life & suddenly the Cullen’s moved to Forks. Everything is Alternate Universe, Romance, drama and friendships galore.


Notes:


8. Chapter 8: First date

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 5825   Review this Chapter

Chapter 8: First date

I wasn’t sure if last night was real. Edward was in my room while I slept so soundly, the thought made me wince. My hope was that I hadn't said anything embarrassing. Renee and Charlie had to break it to me years ago that I was a talker in my sleep. If Edward heard my innermost intimate thoughts, then my life was over.

There was a note on my love-seat. ‘See you in a few.’ I beamed at the perfect script. It looked like something straight out of an Austen novel. I laughed; Jane writing vampires into her stories. I couldn’t help but shake my head thinking of how different ‘Mansfield Park’ would have been.

I slowly got dressed, agonizing over every choice. 'Corduroys,' I thought, 'really,' while slipping them on; it was going to get colder later in the afternoon. Reaching for one of my many turtlenecks and a nice t-shirt my outfit was complete. Alice had threatened to take me shopping for weeks. Now I wondered if I should let her get me something that differed from my bland Washington wardrobe.

A horn beeped outside. 'Please don't let that be him, Renee would love that,' I rolled my eyes. There was a soft knock on the door and the butterflies began. I wondered if he knew I couldn’t stomach the idea of breakfast. Renee and Charlie’s voices reverberated through my floorboards as they greeted him in the living room. Edward’s brilliant voice was music to my ears, as he officially introduced himself to Charlie, it was sweet. I had to get down there. With one quick check in the mirror, my teeth brushed and ready to go; I rushed down the stairs, skipping the last step. With utter amazement, I landed on my two feet in one piece.

My first impression was of Edward’s beautiful bronze hair. The rain, which should have drenched him like a wet dog, instead made him look amazing as he met me with those golden orbs. He smiled; it was that crooked smile that I dreamed about. My father grunted watching our exchange. Edward seemed to remember that my parents were in the room, as he tore his gaze from me shyly.

“I would like to take Bella out, Sir, if you don’t mind. There’s a few places I would like to show your daughter a mile or so east of La Push."

Charlie looked him up and down; I was hoping he would be biased. That he would see Edward as more than just a boy, but as Doctor Carlisle’s son, whom he admired. I held my breath, biting my lip waiting. Edward exchanged a knowing glance with me, he had to be reading my father’s mind.

“Well I don’t see a problem with it,” Renee said. It was hard for my mother not to fall for Edward’s charms.

“Will Alice be there?” she asked.

Edward shook his head. “Oh no, Alice is spending time with her boyfriend.”

The way he enunciated her, made my heart begin to race. The moment wasn’t lost on Charlie as he sighed.

'Her boyfriend?' I thought. 'The way he said it, was this a date?' I pondered, blushing at the idea that I could possibly be Edward’s girlfriend. My thoughts were turning foolish, as Charlie rubbed his morning stubble.

“Well, you two be careful,” Charlie announced. Edward beamed, his excitement was infectious.

My parents watched us carefully as Edward opened the front door, grinning like the Cheshire cat on our way to the Volvo. It was going to take some getting used to, Edward’s ways, as I stepped into his car while he politely waited. He walked deliberately; my parents must have still been watching us through the front window. When Edward carefully sat beside me, he smiled before starting the Volvo.

“That was fun,” he said, sarcasm dripping from his soothing voice.

“Oh yes. There’s nothing like Charlie grilling you.” I laughed as he started the car, pulling slowly from my house.

“Are they still watching?” I questioned, turning towards my front door.

“Yes,” he answered a grin brightening his face.

“Did you have to tell them where we were going?” he shrugged, gripping the steering wheel, signaling I had asked a complicated question.

“This way I have to bring you back,” he replied. The edge to his voice thrilled me. My body didn’t respond the way it should. I knew most girls would be afraid of him, but I was enthralled. I didn’t care if he ever brought me back, Edward had won me over, I was his. I blushed at the thought.

“Where are we going?” I asked, when I was sure I could speak coherent sentences.

He smiled playfully, his eyes on mine waiting a moment before answering.

“Canada,” he laughed my eyes went wide before he shook his head.

“Or at least, very close” he snickered, looking forward for a moment before glancing back at me.

“I’m sorry Bella; I can’t seem to control myself when I’m with you.” His smile fell to a look of pain as he shook a thought away.

“You seem to be doing fine,” I replied pouting for a moment.

He sighed, wincing.

“I guess it helps that you can’t smell me. I’d be in trouble then, huh?” I said it playfully, hoping he would stop brooding. I didn’t want him to force himself with me. I hoped he didn’t feel he had to take me out today.

We were quiet for a moment as the Volvo reached speeds that would have given Forks Cruiser’s a run for their money.

“Did you supe up this thing or something?” I chuckled, using some picked up lingo absorbed from Jacob and his friends over the years.

“Rosalie, she likes cars,” he replied. I giggled, imagining Rosalie covered in car grease working under Edward’s Volvo.

“So that’s her quirk,” I said it quietly knowing Edward would hear.

“Yes, exactly,” he answered a smile creeping up the corners of his perfect mouth.

“And the others?” I questioned as he sighed. I wondered if this was okay, if he wanted to share that part of himself.

“We all have gifts in our own ways. Not all of them are as obvious as others.”

I nodded, thinking about what he meant. We were silent again and I watched the trees whiz by knowing he was watching me. When we finally slowed and he stopped next to a clearing, I was confused.

“Where are we?” he laughed, hopping out of the car and speeding to let me out.

“Uh, somewhere,” he sighed averting my gaze.

“I was thinking of taking you to the movies, and then maybe to a museum or something,” he looked down embarrassed. “But I didn’t want our first...” he paused and I was hanging on his every word, “date to be normal.”

I smiled thinking of going to the movies with Edward, how bored he would have been.

“Too bland?” I sighed, smiling as he stared at me intently.

“No, because you are special.” I blushed now and wondered if that was his intent. A smile played on his lips before continuing, “And I have never been on a date before.”

He shook his head, laughing at himself.

“Never?” I asked while following him towards the woods.

He shook his head.

“Never, no one ever...” He stared my way again, letting me come closer. “caught my attention before.” I couldn’t stand it any longer and was sure my legs would give out. The way he made me feel was unbearable. He stopped, turning towards me suddenly; he was excited and it reminded me of Alice.

“Close your eyes, Bella,” he commanded. My heart leapt when he said my name, it would take some getting used to.

I did as he said and could feel his arms pick me up quickly. The air began to rush by, as I felt the ground crunching under his feet. We came to a slow stop and my stomach was queasy. I tried to take long drawn out breaths to steady myself. I couldn’t distinguish the reasoning behind my queasiness. Was it from being in Edward’s arms or the distance we had just covered in a few minutes? The feeling did remind me of jet lag, not that I had ever been out of Washington.

I looked around, there was a clearing far ahead, a patch of sunlight glittered off the morning dew. Edward led the way; I wished he would take my hand. He kept his head down, slowly clearing a path for me. I tried to take every detail in, the small, purple flowers that basked in the warm glow, the plush, green grass as it waved softly to and fro. It was a small circle in the middle of a vast forest. This must have taken Edward years to find. I supposed he had time for the discovery. He cleared his throat and my attention was on him. He looked apprehensive, if he could blush, he would. I smiled awkwardly waiting.

“This is where I go sometimes...” he started while unbuttoning his shirt. I didn’t even notice he was without a jacket, wondering when he took it off. My heart raced as he continued backwards towards the awaiting rays. I stood motionless, unable to move, while my gaze was glued to him as he proceeded.

“When it’s sunny out,” he sighed one-step away from revealing his point. The light hit his perfect skin as he looked up meeting the star. I gasped, covering my mouth hoping not to upset him.

It was magnificent. His skin reflected the rays like tiny pools of pure crystal water. There was as shine, a perfect brilliance as he moved throwing the beams this way and that. It was more luminous than a diamond necklace, more opulent than anything I could have ever imagined.

“We attract too much attention,” he finally said; looking to me tearing his eyes away from the sun.

“It’s beautiful,” I blurted out, he sighed, wincing. My eyes were drawn to his exposed chest, while he began buttoning his shirt.

“But I can see why you would hide it from others,” I added, willing my lips to stay shut.

Edward seemed reserved as he looked down before meeting my eyes.

“I knew I should not have brought you here, Bella,” he began, the brooding Edward taking over the moment.

“I’m glad you did.” He shook his head as I made my way towards the clearing.

“I’m not scared of you. I know that despite what you may fear, you wouldn’t hurt me.”

He locked his jaw before responding. “You have no idea what I’m capable of.” It was my turn to be angry.

“Super strength, hearing, you’re fast. You have a weak spot for being a hero,” I added, trying humor to lighten the mood.

His demeanor changed slightly as he shook his head, his wall was weakening.

“I have killed before.” It was the answer to a question I would have never asked. Something I knew he had to bring up on his own.

“It’s not who you are, I don’t care.” If he could have cried, I believed he would, I couldn’t imagine the guilt he was feeling. I wanted to touch him, reaching out, he froze letting me take his hand.

“How long have you, been a vegetarian?” I asked, trying to make a point.

“Long enough,” he smiled. “But I’m always worried; I hunt more times than the others,” he let slip. I could see him wince, waiting for my response. He released my hand, and the lack of coldness left me feeling empty.

I circled him now and we were standing towards the center of the clearing. I couldn’t keep my eyes off his face, he shimmered and glowed, it was intoxicating. I smirked, he didn’t need the light to be completely breath-taking, but this was extreme. He moved quickly, keeping his gaze intact, it excited me but I had to keep my thoughts straight.

“What was it like, before you became a vegetarian?” The pain returned to his face for an instant. His stance changed as he balled his fists at the memories.

“You have no idea of the bloodlust for a young vampire. With my gift...” he quirked an eyebrow at me, before continuing, “I could hear what everyone around me was thinking. I tried to justify my hunger, anything to keep me feeding. I would pick off rapists, murderers, criminals who I believed didn’t deserve life.” I shuddered, imagining what it must have been like to be inside their heads.

Edward took my reaction with another grimace, as he looked away. I couldn’t let him believe I was afraid of him.

“And then?” I asked soothingly.

“Carlisle came back for me, showed me another way. I haven’t disappointed him since,” he looked at me longingly. I was sure I’d be a puddle in the meadow if I didn’t look away now. His gaze had locked me in place, I was stunned.

“I can’t imagine what that must have been like for you. Having to hear those horrible thoughts of those men.” He shook his head.

“Don’t try to justify it, Bella, I was a killer.” I reached for him again but he moved away, leaning on a tree, watching me.

“It is what you did, but not who you are,” I replied, hoping to change the subject. He eased a bit at my words as I looked around the meadow, sighing and breathing in the lush scents.

“Where did you ever find this place?” I asked laughing, looking at him trying to change my tactic. His mood had lightened, a smile almost visible on his face.

“I came across it some years ago, this is my private place.” He gazed down embarrassed, trying to find the right words.

“I’ve wanted to bring you here for a while.” My face reddened, the heat burning my cheeks while biting my bottom lip with a sigh. My legs were like jelly as I gave way sitting down on my jacket, letting the sun warm my skin.

“I’m glad you did.” He walked towards me slowly. I pretended not to notice, as he stalked me, like a cautious shy cat. I smiled wondering if he’d circle around me like my old cat, Muffins, used to, before finding a place on the grass. He was so gentle, so graceful, and was beside me quickly, always watching.

“Does your family know about this place?” I asked, leaning towards him slightly, my hand could feel the coldness as our touch was merely inches away.

“I’m sure Alice does,” he answered, his voice serious.

We sat there silently for a while, he didn't breathe. I wanted to remember this moment, this clearing as vividly as my imagination allowed. I felt at peace here, and almost cried at the beauty of the day.

After a few minutes, the silence began to overtake us. It was nice and peaceful; I felt like Edward wanted me. I could feel him watching my every move, the quietness suddenly was too much to bear.

"I don't care what you say, Edward," I sighed. "I don’t believe you'll ever hurt me and I want to be with you."

I couldn't believe these very words were coming out of my mouth. Me, Bella Swan, the girl with the word void written across her face was asking a boy to want her.


I was opening my heart out to him. He sighed.

"I know," he whispered.

He knew? Did he feel the same way?

"What am I going to do with you Bella?" he asked

"I don't know," I smiled turning to him. His eyes were fierce, beautiful and piercing. He took my breath away as he always did. I was completely gone; I don't know how I became like this. How did I go from the girl who didn't care, to the girl who cared too much? I wondered if he felt the same way, God I hoped he did.

I motioned to get up, and he followed so quickly, helping me get to my feet.

"Would you like to walk back?" I laughed, shaking my head.

For five seconds in Edward's arms, I would gladly put up with the nausea, I was doomed.

"Should I close my eyes?" I asked.

"Yes, I think that would be best." I did as he instructed, closing my eyes as he picked me up again.

This time I paid close attention to the way our skin touched. Despite his cold embrace, it felt electrifying to touch him. I knew he could hear my heart, because he chuckled as it sped out of control.

"You can open your eyes, Bella," he murmured.

We were in front of the Volvo, my hands intertwined behind his neck not willing to let go. I stared at his lips, what it would take to just lean up towards them? 'No,' I told myself, 'not yet Bella.'

"Do you want me to take you home?" he asked,

I looked around as he steadied me on my feet. The sun was barely in the middle of the sky, we had been gone for two maybe three hours.

"No," I said, sounding desperate, panicked.

"Maybe," I surmised. "Maybe I can show you a place I like to go." He grinned, that crooked grin that drove me crazy.

"Where you like to go?" he asked playfully.

"Yes, it's not as nice as this, but it does the trick." He shook his head letting me into the Volvo.

"Where to?" he asked as I buckled my seatbelt.

"To Port Angeles, there's a great book store." He smirked knowing exactly which one I meant.

He kept stealing glances at me as we sped down the road.

"Do you have to call your parents?" I shook my head.

"I'm pretty sure Renee trusts you, or has a crush on you." He laughed as I blushed.

I was sure he had read my Mother's thoughts and knew about as much already.

"Your Mother has a very nice mind," he said slowly, testing out the words as they flowed. "Sometimes I listen in, wondering if that's what you would sound like," he added.

If I could have turned tomato red, I was sure that was the color on my cheeks.

"She does?" I asked as he nodded.

"She's a very sweet woman," he countered.

"And Charlie?" I inquired, way too excited.

He tilted his head. "Charlie is very hard to read, he reminds me of you."

"Oh," I said, thinking. Charlie was hard to read, but not a complete blank slate like me.

We were silent for a moment as he eased into the parking lot. I was still trying to get used to driving with Edward. How smoothly we got from point A to point B. A couple of heads turned as we made our way to the bookstore. I was sure they were wondering what this beautiful boy could be doing with me. I shook off the feeling, there was nothing that could bring me down today. I didn't care what other people thought, this was one of the happiest days of my life nothing was going to ruin it.

I ran to the fiction section as Edward followed me.

"You've probably read all of these, haven't you?" I asked.

"I've had a while, Bella," he answered smirking

"Yeah," I wondered what it might have been like to be able to read all these books.

I didn't want to say what I was thinking, what it was like to be a vampire. To have all this time on your hands, to have all of eternity. And possibly, and this made me blush, but to be with the one you love forever.

"So which books haven't you read?" I questioned as he shrugged.

"I don't know, why don't you pick one out?"

"Okay," I answered. "Why don't we start with fiction," I smirked.

"That's a very good place to start," he smiled, following me to the beginning of the section.

"Now I'm not going to go for the classics." I beamed. "I know you too well I bet you even read those before," I said pointedly.

I pointed to a selection.

"Yes," he said as I winced. I hadn't even heard of the title. I grabbed the book handing it too him.

"Alright, next."

I pointed to another book. "Yes," he answered.

I squinted trying to make out the title of this book. I couldn't understand it.

"It's in German," I stammered. He smirked, entertained.

"You become acquainted with other languages, Bella, when you have nothing else to do." I hadn't thought of that, while there were libraries full of books to read if you had an eternity, there was also vast languages to master.

"You should hear Alice, she's amazing at linguistics." I blushed, running my hands across the Austen section.

"You are not going to pick Jane?"

"Oh no," I laughed. "I'm sure you've already read these."

"As you have," he smiled.

"So you noticed?" I was flirting. Me, Bella Swan, flirting with a gorgeous one hundred year old vampire in a bookstore.

"Of course."

"When do you sleep?" I asked, he shook his head.

"We don't sleep, Bella," he grinned. "I watch you sleep though."

He looked embarrassed, as if he couldn't control his words anymore than I could.

"You're more intriguing than any book. I've barely touched my favorites for weeks."

"You've been watching me for weeks?" I questioned.

How long had he felt this way about me?
I wondered, my heart racing, I was sure it was seconds from giving way.

"You're very engaging, Bella. When you dream, it's the most fascinating thing I've ever witnessed," I knew he meant it, his eyes were smiling.

"Is there anything you haven't read here?"

“Maybe,” he mused. “Has anything new come out in the last few weeks?”

I laughed, heading over to the new release table as Edward slowed behind me. He looked lost in thought and I surmised that it was best to ignore him, let him come to me.

"Say something," he said as I looked through the new release section.

"Say anything."

"What?" I inquired confused.

"That guy," he groaned through his clenched jaw as I looked up noticing a balding man leering at me.

“He’s...” he paused. I was beginning to understand what Edward meant. The guy looked creepy. "His mind..."

"Maybe we should go," I stammered. "I have to pay for these."

"I want to rip his head off," he growled.

"No, Edward you shouldn't."

I grabbed his hand, hoping to calm him and dragged him to the front of the store towards the checkout section.

Edward looked like a cat on alert, his back slightly arched ready to pounce. His eyes were down, watching our hands intertwined as I reached the counter.

"All set?" the cashier asked, as I let go of Edward's hand. He still seemed alert but not as fierce.

"Maybe I'll report him," he whispered in my ear. "An anonymous tip?"

I paid the cashier, who was blushing as much as I was. Edward's breath was so sweet, it was intoxicating and addicting. She glanced at me, probably wondering who I was to him. Most likely rationalizing that we were brother and sister or cousins.

He stopped outside of a pay phone, his long slender pale fingers speeding through 911. He disguised his voice, making the tip. He described strange and intricate details as I turned away. I didn't want to know exactly what the man had done. Edward knew how long the guy would be in there and told the police to hurry. We watched the scene unfold from Edward's Volvo, as he monitored the man inside.

"He has no idea, he's still watching some women," Edward commentated for me. No doubt editing the worst of the man's intentions.

Edward's hands gripped the steering wheel tightly.

"Edward?" I asked as he looked to me, his eyes becoming darker by the second. I saw the cruiser's lights flash as they stopped outside of the store.

Edward growled for a moment before he eased a bit.

"They have him," he announced.

We watched as the bald man was cuffed and thrown into the back of the cruiser. Edward seemed to want to jump after him, and I was glad he had control.

"See, you are the hero," I said shyly, elated. He tensed a bit.

"Just one less bad guy to do something to you, Bella," he said, "If you had any idea what was going through his mind, but he's gone now."

"Thanks to you," I added. "Thanks to your quirk," I said playfully. I was flirting again, sure my attempt seemed pathetic.

The sun was already setting; the hours sped by when we were together. My stomach betrayed me as it growled. Food was the last thing from my mind, but Edward had heard it.

"Are you hungry, Bella?" he asked.

"Oh, that's embarrassing." He smiled as he turned into the parking lot of a pretty Italian restaurant.

I had eaten at this place twice before, once on my sixteenth birthday and my eighth grade graduation before that. Charlie didn't care for Port Angeles that much, so we never visited that often. I had come a few times after getting my license, dragging Angela and Jessica but we hadn't been in a while.

When the waiter asked where we would like to sit, Edward motioned for a dark corner. He didn't seem to like the young man much.

"Is something wrong?" I asked as we settled down.

"No," he replied. "Just, human males."

"Yes?" I asked, unsure of what he meant.

"I don't think I can get used to the way they think when I'm with you," he replied making me blush.

The waiter was good looking I guess, but nothing compared to Edward.

"Oh," I said, not willing to process his thoughts.

"Yeah," he nodded.

"Well you have no idea how they look at you. Look over there," I pointed to a girl who was waitressing in another section; she played with her hair as his gaze left her.

"Or the cashier at the bookstore. It doesn't even affect you anymore does it? The way women see you?" He smiled, making me wonder if he knew I was including myself.

"How do they see me?" he asked, knowing the answer already.

"Oh, you know, you dazzle them." He shook his head annoyed.

"It's because of the way I am," he paused as the waiter approached.

"Anything to drink?"

"Coke please," I answered.

"Two," Edward motioned looking back to me, shaking his head.

My eyes and thoughts were all on Edward.

"My voice, the way I look, even the way I smell. They're all part of what I am, as if I would need any of it," he finished, looking away.

"It seems you can't accept the way you are, just like I couldn't accept that I used to be such a klutz."

"Used to be?" he asked raising his eyebrows.

"You weren't here when I was younger, it was worse. Sure I trip once and a while now, but I was constantly covered in scrapes and bruises."

He winced, turning towards the window lost in thought.

"So you're a perfectly sculpted, killing machine, who saves klutzes, like me, and puts away the bad guys. How long are you going to continue to punish yourself?"

The words came out with no warning and he winced instantly.

"You know, sometimes you just have to let go."

He shook his head. "Bella, I am letting go." He rested his hands on the table, palms up. "I'm with you; maybe you don't understand how hard this is for me."

"No, maybe not," I sighed as the waiter brought our sodas.

"Are you ready to order?" he asked. I had barely glanced at the menu and picked it up, searching for something I could eat.

"Um, mushroom ravioli," I smiled handing him the menu. He nodded looking to Edward who waved him away.

"Nothing for me."

We sat in silence again and I wondered how we got to this point. It almost felt like an argument. I wanted him for the first time to be able to see through my eyes the way I saw him.

"It's too bad you can't read my mind, Edward," I blurted out, quietly sipping my drink as he stared at me, dumbfounded.

"Then maybe you could see how wonderful you truly are." I blushed, looking down.

I had let him into my heart and he was slowly crawling inside. I knew there was no going back, either Edward would occupy this space forever, or my heart would be ripped in two. Just watching him, torture himself, pained me. I wanted the bruiting to end. It was that moment where I wished I wasn't so fragile, I wished to be just like Edward.

He stared at me in silence for a while as I finished my soda. Slowly, he pushed his drink to me as the waiter came placing my entree down. He smirked at me, trying to get my attention, and I blushed looking away annoyed.

“Anything else I can get you?” he asked.

“She’s fine,” Edward answered. It was almost a growl as the waiter quickly left us. He shook his head annoyed as I picked up my fork spearing a piece of pasta.

“What do you mean?” he finally asked, picking up our conversation where it left off.

I shrugged, making him wait, as I slowly chewed my food.

“You’re always so self-deprecating, sometimes I wish you would just accept the fact that this is the way things are.” I didn’t look at him as I said this, his golden eyes narrowed a hint of blackness around the rim.

He eased a bit. “I give up, Bella,” he said, smiling now.

I gazed at him shocked. He shrugged, his pearly whites flashing.

“I’ve been trying to tell you how dangerous I am, how being with me could get you killed or worse.” He winced and I knew he was thinking of me becoming like him.

I smiled victorious.

“It’s good that you finally accepted defeat, Edward Cullen,” I laughed, popping another ravioli into my mouth.

He watched me eat silently for a few more minutes. A blonde walked by two times too many, she was a customer and kept going to the ladies room.

“I think you have another admirer, Edward,” I said, pushing my empty plate away.

He shrugged.

“I prefer brunettes.” He grinned.

“Any dessert?” the waiter asked as I shook my head, stuffed.

“Just the check please,” Edward requested without taking his eyes from me. The waiter was already placing the black leather envelope into Edward’s hands.

“It’s all set,” Edward quickly answered as he got up handing the money to the man.

I stood up, completely full and happy. Edward lifted my jacket, placing it over my shoulders, as I slipped my arms through. He grabbed my hand as we walked out of the restaurant and to the car.

“This was my first date too.” I blushed, wondering why I hadn’t admitted it this morning. He laughed.

“I know,” he smiled.

I looked at him confused, “You know?”

He shook his head, “I’m a telepath remember? I’ve spent many hours listening to the same boys you have gone to school with for all your life.”

I shook my head enamored, as he let me into his car. We were quiet, lost in thought as he sped down the highway back to Forks.

“So Carlisle is a doctor, no question what his ability is. All that blood.” I finally broke the silence as a chill ran down my back. I hated hospitals and blood grossed me out, it was a big reason why my diet had turned to mainly vegetables as of late.

Edward smiled, nodding.

“And Emmett is very strong, even for one of us,” he added.

“Esme.” I paused wondering what made Esme special; she was so warm and inviting. “She’s a mother,” I finished. It all made perfect sense in that moment. A woman had to be a saint to adopt five teenaged vampires.

Edward laughed, looking to me, his eyes were playful, nothing like the tortured orbs at the restaurant.

“What about Jasper?” I inquired. Edward shrugged looking to the highway for an instant, before back at me.

“Maybe I should let Alice explain Jasper,” he teased, sensing my insatiable curiosity.

“Or he can tell you all about it himself,” he laughed, shaking his head at the thought.

“Jasper never talks to me, I don’t even know if he talks.” Edward chuckled a full belly laugh, it made my heart warm, he was letting go.

“That’s because Jasper’s new at this whole thing,” he waved his hand in the air for a moment, perfectly graceful and fluid.

“Oh,” I answered.

“Exactly, every day is a challenge for my brother.” His face turned to a frown and I had to change the subject.

“Alice and Jasper always seem so in love.” He smiled and my tactic had worked.

“They are,” he looked at me, his gaze lingering for a moment. I blushed as he turned down a familiar road and I knew we were already seconds from my street.

“It’s a Sunday, Bella, I should get you home early.” He stopped outside of my house and I didn’t want the night to end.

“This was amazing, Edward, thank you.” He smiled, looking at my lips before nodding.

“Thank you for coming out with me, for trusting me.” I sighed, leaning on the back of the seat as the street lights blinked on. It was as if they were signaling the end of one of the greatest days of my life.

“Will I see you tomorrow?”

He nodded. “Of course.”

I shyly smiled, taking a deep stabilizing breath.

“Tell Alice I said hello.” He laughed, jumping out of the car and opening my door for me.

“Haven’t you learned yet, Bella?” he surmised shaking his head.

“You’re a gentleman, Edward, in a time where the very word is lost.”

He looked down and I wondered how he would look blushing.

“There is still time to get out, you know?” Edward commented lightly, taking my hand and examining it as we walked to my front door.

“The same goes for you too.” I smiled while he shook his head.

“No, it’s too late for me.” I held my breath, if this was a normal date he would have kissed me. If this was any other guy from school, he would have tried weeks ago. But this was Edward, and even holding his hand was exhilarating.

“Good night, Edward,” I said painfully.

My longing to feel his lips on mine almost made me step forward, but I didn’t want to rush it. Besides, I had never kissed a boy and the idea freaked me out, until Edward came along.

“Good night, Bella.” He smiled, leaning his forehead on mine.

It was perfect, I hoped he couldn’t see me blush in the darkness but I had no idea how good his night-vision was. He smiled slowly, releasing my hand as I slipped into my house. I leaned on the door for a minute before Renee cleared her throat.

“Good date?” she asked. I had no idea how long she had been watching me.

“Y-yeah,” I answered, slowly regaining the feeling in my legs, making my way to the stairs. “I’m just going to bed.”

Renee laughed. “It’s only seven, Bells.”

I didn’t respond, she laughed again watching me go.

“I’m here if you want to talk," my mother offered.

I waved at her before closing my door to my room and collapsing on the bed.

I couldn’t stop thinking about him, the smoothness of his hands, the way he held me to him when we were flying across the forest. Edward Cullen had become my world. In such a small amount of time, I had fallen head over heels. I laughed, finally able to understand the meaning behind the saying. I was exhausted from the day and my body shook with tired laughter while easing into a slumber.