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Midnight Sun: A Continuation

I wrote this back in 2008 and posted it to another website, that is no longer online. So I thought I would share it here. Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edward's POV), was a project started by Stephenie Meyer which got illegally leaked online, so she gave it up indefinitely. This starts where Stephenie Meyer left off, completing Chapter 12, and takes us into Chapter 16. I wanted to get at least as far as the meadow scene and the kiss! I hope you enjoy! I'd love your feedback! Tweet @jiiiian ►►► MORE CHAPTERS ►►►  photo Banner2.jpg

Read Stephenie Meyer's Midnight Sun before you read this. http://stepheniemeyer.com/midnightsun.html

1. Chapter 12 Complications (continued)

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Chapter 12 Complications (continued)

As soon as I was clear of her sight, clear of her electric pull if I was being honest with myself, I accelerated to my more normal speed. It was only for Bella’s sake that I drove so slowly. And yet she still seemed surprised when we arrived to Charlie’s house so quickly. As I pulled off on our hidden drive, I immediately sank with a sense of dread. The thoughts of my family were screaming at me as they listened to my approach. I parked beside my Vanquish. I frowned as Rosalie contemplated turning it into a giant lump of scrap metal. Definitely ostentatious…. I hardly ever got to drive it. With a resounding sigh, I headed toward the house. I might as well get this over with.

Carlisle was home from the hospital having received a worried call from Esme. Alice was resolved; Emmett’s only concern was Rosalie’s fury. Jasper and Rosalie were taking it the worst.

How dare you! Idiot! Moron! What were you thinking? How could you do this to us?

She is a danger. She can’t be allowed to know so much. She is going to ruin everything!

Aww, damn, man! You know whose side I have to choose here. You’re losing it!

It’s okay, Edward. I saw this coming eventually. Does this mean I can…?

She is obviously good for Edward. I haven’t seen him this happy in decades. When can we meet her?

Edward has been alone so long. He is strong enough to make this work. Now our family can be complete.

I didn’t say a word as I came through the door. Everyone immediately congregated in the dining room once again. It was clear another family meeting was an order. I took my place at the head of the table. I didn’t even need to look up to know all eyes were on me. The angry thoughts were verbal daggers in my head. I winced anticipating the firing squad. Rosalie spoke first.

“How dare you risk everything we’ve made for ourselves here! “ Rosalie screamed. “What if she talks? What if you… what if she gets hurt?!?”

“You know that this puts us all at risk.” Jasper was always methodical. “Rules have been violated. She can’t be allowed to know so much about our world. Our entire existence is now in jeopardy. If they catch wind of this…”

“I doubt the Volturi would bother themselves over one little girl in the Olympic Peninsula, half way around the world.” I countered.

“I think we have to trust that Edward knows what he is doing in this case.” Carlisle was always too trusting. If he only knew the torment of my own decisions; I am already in too deep. And he was also very wrong. I had no idea what I was doing. How selfish am I to subject this girl to all the danger that came with being a Cullen? “So the girl now knows our secret. Okay, we have to deal with the ramifications of that. We all knew it might come to this. Let’s deal with this rationally.”

Rosalie just pouted and glared menacingly at me. She stayed silent apart from the mental abuse towards me piercing through her mind. Of course she was more concerned with how it would affect her, not the family.

“I don’t see any harm in her knowing.” I had to warm a little to Emmett. “I am more concerned with… what happens after?” After he eventually kills her.

“That won’t happen!” I objected.

“Sorry, man.” Emmett muttered. But you know it could happen. I wouldn’t blame you…

I just frowned in retort. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Alice’s only two outcomes she saw for Bella’s future. Neither were permissible. I still was desperate for a third option, but I didn’t see anything I could do to change the path.

“We don’t have to worry about that happening. I have faith in Edward. He knows who is he. I am not concerned at all that he will cause any harm to Bella.” It was comforting to know Carlisle truly believed his words. His undoubted trust in me made me want for him to be right. Made me want to be the man Carlisle saw in me. Yes. I could be strong for my family.

“Bella won’t say anything.” Alice looked off into space. I saw where her thoughts were taking her. She smirked lightly. “See Edward? It will be very soon.” And… Rosalie will come along… eventually.

Esme didn’t say a word through the entire discussion, but afterwards just came and gave me a mother’s embrace. Just be happy, son. If she is what brings out this new joy I see in you now. That makes me so happy. Esme was always filled with such unconditional love for her family. I didn’t want to challenge that love by making a mistake with Bella… I calmed myself in that notion as I made my way to my piano. At first I played for Esme, who seemed pleased, but soon was back to being distracted with her blue prints. Esme had a soft spot for remodels. So my fingers directed me to another tune I had recently perfected. The song that I didn’t know who it was for until I was done composing it. Bella’s Lullaby.

I heard Rosalie’s complaints from the other room. She was sick of hearing this song. I also knew that the underlying reason was entirely vane. She really did like the song, she more tired of it because of its reference. It was a song for Bella. Not for her… for Bella. She also hadn’t composed her own music in quite some time, She resented the fact that I was better at it. She was the next best pianist apart from me, but only because I practiced more than her. She and Emmett spent most nights together, often just staring at each other, unmoving, for hours on end. Sometimes their love was expressed more physically and I tried to ignore their thoughts in those instances. It was just one of those unspoken things that was part of being a Cullen. It was hard sometimes living with three happy couples. From what Carlisle has said, the love is intense.

It is not normal nature for our kind to love… but once the emotion is experienced, the change is permanent. In my own solitude, I normally escaped to my piano. The music that flowed from my mind to my fingers was normally enough to drown out my family, whose thoughts I tried to suppress most courteously. So what brought me to the piano now? Not solitude, surely not. What was this feeling I was so recently blind to… hope? I smiled in spite of myself as I lingered on the final keys of the sorrowful lullaby and my thoughts were immediately back to the source of the newfound hope. Bella…

Bella who couldn’t get one day without injury it seemed. I was grateful her forehead had not bruised from her badminton incident. I don’t think I could have bared knowing she was hurt in such a way, and I shuddered to think what the monster in me would consider of the gathering of blood. She seemed like such an easy bruiser, though. Her skin so pale I could quite literally watch the flow of blood through her cheeks when she blushed. How I loved to see that involuntary rouge of her face. How I longed to see that face again. I searched in my own memories of her face but decided it wasn’t satisfying enough. I had to see her again. Now. I couldn’t wait to be with Bella again.

I waited in the shadows of the woods behind her house. I could vaguely watch her through Charlie’s thoughts as he watched her prepare dinner for them. It was clear he cared intensely for her, but he was also filled with a father’s worry. He also felt faintly bad that she was so grown up. He had missed much of her childhood and they were virtual strangers. And now she was too grown up. Already the mother, he thought, taking care of me, when it should be the other way around. He felt guilty about leaving her alone so much. He wondered if there was something they could do together so she wasn’t alone all of the time. He also briefly wondered if Bella might find a boy she liked in this town to brighten her life a little, but quickly dismissed the thought out of his own discomfort at the idea.

Bella and Charlie did not converse much during dinner. She asked him about work, and he said it was slow, but he was thinking about the animal attack recently that boggled his deputies, however he didn’t want Bella to be concerned so failed to mention it. He in turn asked Bella about school. I was pleased again to notice through his thoughts that blush I craved to see when she replied, “We watched a movie in Biology today.” The conversation ended there, with Charlie having even more unspoken questions in his head. But those questions were forgotten as soon as he turned on the television to watch a game, and Bella did the dishes.

I was annoyed that I could no longer see her through Charlie’s thoughts, so I repositioned myself so that I could watch her through the kitchen window. She was staring off in space. She seemed deep in thought, and I suppressed a chuckle when the dish she was rinsing slid through her slippery fingers and broke in two pieces on the counter. I heard the shatter, and the violent curse that followed through her lips. She guiltily turned her head to the living room to listen… but Charlie hadn’t even noticed. I held my breath after Bella dried her hands and went back to retrieve the broken pieces. Please don’t cut your hands! I wanted to scream to her, but the worry was unnecessary. It seemed even Bella was capable of avoiding the sharp edges of the broken platter. She disposed of the pieces into the garbage and paid much more attention with the last few items in the soapy water.

When she was done was said goodnight to Charlie and I heard her creaking up the stairs. A few slams of drawers and doors and I heard the shower running. I normally would give women the respect of privacy in such situations, but I couldn’t help to wonder what she was thinking as the hot water streamed over her delicate figure. I heard her sigh once and reveled in the idea of it. I inhaled deeply. Even from here I could appreciate what the steaming water did to her scent. Intensified it. Floral almost. And what flavor was her shampoo… hmm. Strawberries. Interesting. It wasn’t a moment too soon when the water was off and she was back in her room. I repositioned myself again outside her bedroom window and propped myself against the foundation in front of her house. I heard the creak of her bed and within minutes her breathing had slowed and I knew she was asleep.

I once again climbed through her window and took my customary place in the rocking chair, but soon I became very restless. I wanted to get closer. Without even thinking twice about it, I was beside her. I leaned towards her still wet hair and breathed in deeply. The burn was still there in my throat, but not as violent, and with it replaced a deeper sense of desire. I had to touch her again. The need was so intense I didn’t even think about resisting. Her arm was draped lazily over her chest atop her blanket and I consciously held my breath as I reached towards her dainty fingers. One sensation was enough to control in this case. I paused only briefly before my fingertips lightly caressed the back of her hand. Ouch! The monster growled within. This was as exhilarating as it was painful. She is so warm. I braved another sweep down her arm and watched the goose bumps that resulted. Why did I have to be so cold?

I slumped. There was so much wrong with me wanting to be here, to touch her like this. Never before did I have to try so hard to suppress my natural urges. Never before would I have dared to be this close to any human, let alone one that I was so hungry for… and in so many more ways than one. Ugh! Enough for now. I dragged the blanket softly from under her arm and pulled it back over her, taking care not to let our skin touch again. The movement stirred her and she opened her eyes and immediately met my own. “Edward…” she sighed. Oh no! How am I going to explain…? But before I could even complete my own thought, her eyes were closed again, fast asleep. She said my name once more and something about electricity? But I doubted she’d remember anything in the morning.

I left her side then and started planning on what I may ask her tomorrow when it was my turn to interrogate. I decided I had no idea where to start. I started to look around her room for ideas. I scanned her CDs and the mess of books stacked on a nearby shelf. She slept restlessly and awoke several more times and I wondered if she could sense my intrusion. But her possessions gave me little information about her and I soon was frustrated once again that sleep evaded me. If my family didn’t have to keep up the façade of normal nighttime human needs, or better yet, if sleep wasn’t a necessity for Bella, how much more could I know about her? But the thought angered me… for Bella should never be lacking of the need to sleep. And I once again fought Alice’s vision out of my head… Bella with hungry red eyes. No! It couldn’t happen! I made myself relax back on the chair, and by early morning, Bella had finally relaxed herself into a deep sleep. Hmm, interesting… perhaps our bodies are more in tune with each other’s physiologically.

It was clear Bella would dream no more and only hours remained until we would be back together (as far as she was concerned), so I left to head back home so I could change for the new school day. I was mildly aware that Rosalie was still fuming about Bella knowing our secret, but she was also too vane for her thoughts to long be away from her most favorite subject… herself. She was busy in front of the mirror deciding what to wear that day. Emmett was upset because Jasper had beaten him at chess once again, (no doubt with a little help from Alice).

Esme was busy replacing the food in the refrigerator with a new stock. We never had visitors, yet we still liked to keep up appearances, just in case. People would be suspicious if we didn’t keep food in the house. Alice was helping her by artfully displaying a bowl of fruit on the island counter. Carlisle’s car was gone; he had already left for work.

I ascended the stairs and entered my own bedroom, however ironic the name, since I didn’t own one. I walked past the shelves that housed my library of books and music. Bella seemed to enjoy reading. Perhaps I should ask her about the sort of books she likes tomorrow. It is likely I have read most of them. Another effect of having an over-abundance of alone time these past decades, I have read the most books of anyone else in the family, except perhaps Carlisle. There was no rhyme nor reason to this library. Probably anyone could find something of interest on these shelves. From Science, Philosophy, and historical references to cheap romance novels, mystery thrillers, and a Expert’s Guide to All Things Aston Martin. My CD collection was even more extensive. Music has just always been a part of my… existence.

I entered my closet and sighed at the rows of plastic wrapped garments that were my wardrobe. Alice did most of the clothes shopping in this house… for everybody besides Rosalie who had her own taste of luxury. I swear she thought it a sin to wear an item of clothing more than once. I sniffed out a long-sleeve cotton shirt and a pair of denim. Perhaps if my skin was more adequately covered I could be closer to Bella without fear she’d cringe at my chilled touch. No, I shouldn’t think that way. But if it would make her more comfortable… I changed quickly and stared at the clock impatiently for two hours, barely moving. When it was FINALLY time, I breezed through the house to the garage and sped off towards Charlie’s in my Volvo.

I was still a couple miles away, but I only just heard just the tail end of the conversation.

It’s a girl’s choice.” Bella uttered. What was a girl’s choice? What did I miss? What was she talking about??? I wanted to know.

“Oh” was all Charlie offered. What do I know about her choice of boys? And he left it at that.

A wave a jealousy swept through me. What about her choice of boys? But then a stronger wave interfered and I realized it was happiness because I was the one she said yes to. Perhaps she had told him about our Seattle trip. That made me feel better. I had to wait around the corner to their road until I heard Charlie’s cruiser pull away from the house and it was safe to pull into her driveway behind her truck. I heard Bella stomp down the stairs and I was slightly concerned she had fallen until the front door opened and she appeared in the frame. She looked tired, but at the very least happy to see me. She didn’t even bother to lock the dead-bolt. That was so Bella- so trusting to leave her house open to danger- not like a lock on a door would stop most predators.

As she approached the car, all worries left me for the moment and I couldn’t help but smile as she blushed shyly before opening the car door. “Good morning.” It’s about time. It was only then I noticed the bags under her eyes. She had slept rather restlessly last night. “How are you today?”

“Good, thank you.” She was very cheery, despite how exhausted she looked.

“You look tired.”

“I couldn’t sleep,” she confessed. She flipped her hair over her shoulder. Did she know what effect that had on me?

“Neither could I,” I teased. She smiled softly as I started the car and pulled out of the driveway. Then she laughed as if to her own joke.

“I guess that’s right. I supposed I slept just a little bit more than you did.”

“I’d wager you did.”

“So what did you do last night?” she asked. For a brief moment, I thought she was going to call me out, but I glanced quickly and her expression was totally aloof.

I chuckled because if she only knew what I was doing last night, I could only imagine the embarrassed fury she would fling at me. “Not a chance. It’s my day to ask questions.”

“Oh that’s right” she frowned disappointedly. ‘What do you want to know?” Her forehead creased in such a way that it made me wonder what she wanted to hide from me. Didn’t she know that everything about her was interesting to me?

Although desperate for my turn as the interrogator, I was not quite prepared with questions. So I asked the silliest question, which was the first to pop in my head. “What is your favorite color?” Did I seriously just ask that? She’s not four! But she didn’t seem to mind.

“Probably brown.”

I snorted. I actually snorted. What a strange girl. What a strange choice! But I quickly smoothed my face. Hmm, maybe there is a story there? “Brown?”

“Sure. Brown is warm. I miss Brown.” The corners of her lips fell. “Everything that’s supposed to be brown- tree trunks, rocks, dirt- is all covered up with squashy green stuff here,” she complained.

Fascinating! I gave her a quick once over. Her brown hair looked so warm and inviting. I would love to be able to run my fingers through it, and those eyes… those brown eyes. So penetrating and so warm. “You’re right,” I concluded. “Brown is warm.” And before I knew it, my hand was in unison with my thoughts. I swept the hair out of her face and behind her shoulder. I didn’t like when she hid any part of her face from me.

My head was swimming with desire from that touch. I still had traces of her scent on my fingertips and I was trying so desperately to keep my hands from touching her again. I pulled into the school lot and watched her as I found a parking space. I needed another distraction. Just keep her talking. She must keep talking… and I had to know more. “What music is in your CD player right now?” I asked as seriously as I could muster.

She squinted her eyes trying to remember and then her expression calmed as she said the name of the band. I smiled when she said it. I opened the CD compartment and fished around the three dozen or so CDs I had stored in there and pulled out the same CD. Her eyes popped open in recognition.

Interesting choice, I thought. I usually listen to this CD when I particularly want to drown out the thoughts of others. “Debussy to this?” I said, raising an eyebrow to tease her just a little. She hid her eyes in what I can only assume was a bit of embarrassment.

I walked Bella to her English class, and then headed to Calculus. I took my seat and immediately started scanning the minds of students in Bella’s English class. Mr. Mason was already deep in discussion about the novel they were currently studying. Nobody was paying any notice of Bella, so I wasn’t able to watch her. I caught a brief glimpse of her through Mike, who was trying very hard to ignore Bella. Huh… what’s up with that? He seemed to be upset with Bella for some reason. I wasn’t sure how I felt about his harsh thoughts towards her now. I didn’t particularly like listening through Mike when I could help it, but I had sort of counted on him in his awareness of Bella. I scanned the rest of her classmates with no luck, so I gave up to a bad job. Instead I concentrated on preparing the deluge of questions for when Bella and I were alone once again during lunch time. By the time I picked her up after her Spanish class, my mind formed enough questions to last an entire evening.

We walked in silence to the cafeteria and we walked through the lunch line together again. This time I allowed her to choose what she wanted and I took the same for myself in case she wanted more. Not until we sat down at “our” table did I begin the rampage of questions. I asked her about her mother, what her favorite activity was in Phoenix. I asked about her childhood and her favorite movies. We had a fairly extensive discussion about books – I was right- reading was a passion for her. I was pleased she enjoyed so many of the classics I also was very familiar with. She blushed often and I feared she would eventually find a question too embarrassing or difficult to answer, but she kept replying to them so I kept on asking. I was asking them so fast and with such deliberation, most of her replies were becoming one word answers. Only when she flushed did I push further for more detail.

“What is your favorite book?”

“Wuthering Heights.”

What is your favorite food?”

“Scrambled eggs.”

“What is your favorite gemstone?”

“Topaz.” Flush. Hmm. Why would that be so embarrassing? I had to ask for more details on that one.

“Why topaz?” I inquired.

She just shook her head and motioned for the next question. But I wasn’t going to let her off that easy- not after all the difficult things I revealed about myself (and therefore my whole family) yesterday. I tried to “dazzle” the answer out of her. I was getting fairly good at figuring out how to do that. I found if I looked her right in the eyes, her face would kind of go blank and she’d blurt out just about anything. But alas, she absolutely refused to look at me, no doubt for this very reason. This ought to be good, I thought, and decided I would not take no for an answer. What is she trying to hide from me?

‘Tell me.” I demanded.

She finally peeked up at me and sighed. “It’s the color of your eyes today.” She played nervously with her hair. “I suppose if you asked me in two weeks I’d say onyx.”

I contemplated that briefly. It clearly bothered her to reveal so much. It also stirred a new ocean of conflicting emotions on my part. Did I want her to feel so intensely about me? Yes. Yes I did. But should she feel so intensely? No. Definitely not. But she said it was too late. Maybe she was right, although I couldn’t think that way. Well, I would just leave that to deal with later. My hesitation lasted all of two seconds.

“What kind of flowers do you prefer?” I kept it up all through lunch and during our walk to Biology.

Only when Mr. Banner entered the classroom hauling the video equipment once again did I allow her to catch her breath from the last hour of inquiries. I also needed a break. She gave me much to think about. I moved my chair slightly further away from hers than I wanted to, but I needed the extra distance to be able to make room in my head for some seriously needed introspective time. I could see now from her reaction that she clearly was still adamant in her belief about feeling stronger for me than my own reciprocation for her. How could she really believe that? A trait of our kind is that all of our sensations are intensified. Our sight is so crystal clear, we could distinguish each individual beat of a hummingbird’s wings from across a city block. Our hearing allowed us to pinpoint a single heartbeat in an arena of populace. Our sense of smell could locate our prey miles out. A human’s view of the world was so hazy in comparison to what we experience. I above all knew that to be true after viewing the world through countless human eyes during my existence in this life. This damned life. So wouldn’t it also be true of love?

Most of our kind travel alone or in groups of no more than two or three, often out of convenience or necessity of the kill, rather than a sense of camaraderie. If ever the partnership becomes inessential, they will part ways without hesitation. My family is the largest coven of vampires in the world, as far as we’ve come across so far. Our closeness is deeper than a random pairing of hunters. We are quite literally a family in that we would do anything for each other. Fight for each other. Die for each other. But once that sentiment is experienced by a vampire, that bond endures perpetually. So definitely the vampiric emotion of love was much more in intensity to that of a human, whose minds were so fickle.

No. I am a monster and I am dangerous. Dangerous for Bella. She should not feel this way about me. But it also made me so intensely happy that she seemed to care regardless how irrational it may be.

Bella didn’t look at me all through class and seemed to actually be interested in watching the video, so I let her be, though I paid no attention at all to the random moving imagery. By the time Mr. Banner turned the lights back on, I decided I didn’t care. I was still deep in thought as class ended and I walked her to Gym. She looked concerned at my apparent ambivalence and I wanted to reassure her that I was still hers as long as she wanted me. I reached out to stroke down her jaw line with the back of my hand before I turned to walk away.

Spanish went by in a haze. Mike was still angry at Bella and was ignoring her completely during Gym. After yesterday, I imagined Bella was keeping out of everybody’s way. And apparently no one was paying any attention to her so I couldn’t watch her like I wanted to. It was very frustrating. As soon as the bell rang I ran the back way around the classroom buildings at a much faster speed than I ought to have towards the gym, only alarming one couple on the way who were making out in the shadows. But they quickly dismissed me.

I waited for Bella to exit the gym before I carried on with my probing. There was so much more I wanted to know about her. I really just loved to hear her talk. I asked more difficult questions which required more thoughtful, drawn-out answers from her. We sat in the car for hours in front of her house. The more she talked, the more fascinated I became, and the more questions I wanted answered. It wasn’t until I heard Charlie’s cruiser approach down the road did I hesitate. “Are you finished?” She breathed with relief. No doubt Bella was not used to being the center of attention for so long. But she better get used to it. She was the center of my world.

“Not even close- but your father will be home soon.”

“Charlie!” she gasped. She looked towards the sky. “What time is it?”

“It’s twilight,” I murmured, looking towards the western sky, though hidden behind clouds. I thought of the thousands of sunsets I had seen in my time and the dusk that followed. How I had taken them for granted until now. Twilight occurs just before the sun rises in the morning and just after the sun sets in the evening. The sky generally remains bright and blue for some time after the sun sets. The French call it L'heure bleue. The Blue Hour. Most romantics cherish this hour and it is favored by photographers and painters.

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I turned to Bella and saw her head was tilted in apparent confusion. “It’s the safest time of day for us,” I explained. “The easiest time. But also the saddest, in a way… the end of another day, the return of the night.” I allowed myself an awkward smile for her benefit. “Darkness is so predictable, don’t you think?”

“I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.” But she frowned then, “Not that you see them here much.”

I had to laugh at that. She had told me all about Phoenix this afternoon and I was certain that in the desert at night, without all the ambient intrusion of city lights, the stars would definitely be a glorious site to see.

“Charlie will be here in a few minutes. So unless you want to tell him that you’ll be with me Saturday…” I raised an eyebrow. Then I could stay here and be introduced properly, and give me some more incentive to bring you back.

“Thanks, but no thanks.” She started the gather her things and flexed her shoulders. Humans weren’t used to sitting still for so long. “So is it my turn tomorrow then?”

Ugh. What more could she possibly want to know about me? Plus there was still so much I wanted to know… “Certainly not!” I faked anger. “I told you I wasn’t done, didn’t I?”

“What more is there?” Oh, if she only knew…

“You’ll find out tomorrow,” I said simply. And I reached past her to open her door and reveled in the flutter her heart made when I leaned past her. Just then, I heard another car approaching… closer than Charlie even, and heard the unmistakable thoughts of one Billy Black. My hand froze on the door handle. Billy was a Quileute elder and was very much aware of my family and what we truly were. Our story was passed down from his grandfather, whose treaty we were now obliged to.

“Not good,” I grumbled.

“What is it?” The concern in her voice startled me. I glanced at her briefly and she looked truly worried.

“Another complication.” It would be best to leave right now. Perhaps he would think this was crossing the line. I pushed her door open with unnecessary force and immediately distanced myself from Bella as the car pulled up to the curb in front of us.

“Charlie’s around the corner,” I warned. I stared right into Billy’s eyes and his alarmed and confused expression only equaled the fury of his thoughts of finding me near this house. How dare he! He has no right to interfere. I have not broken his mighty treaty. He has to only look beside him to see the true offender in that regard! My own defiance crept up and I revved the engine and peeled rubber as I sped away from Bella, who watched in true confused horror as I disappeared down the road.