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Chapter 5 Blood Type

    I made my way to English in a daze. I didn't even realize when I firstwalked in that class had already started.

  "Thank you for joining us, Miss Swan," Mr. Mason said in a disparagingtone.

  I flushed and hurried to my seat.

  It wasn't till class ended that I realized Mike wasn't sitting in hisusual seat next to me. I felt a twinge of guilt. But he and Eric both metme at the door as usual, so I figured I wasn't totally unforgiven. Mikeseemed to become more himself as we walked, gaining enthusiasm as hetalked about the weather report for this weekend. The rain was supposedto take a minor break, and so maybe his beach trip would be possible. Itried to sound eager, to make up for disappointing him yesterday. It washard; rain or no rain, it would still only be in the high forties, if wewere lucky.

  The rest of the morning passed in a blur. It was difficult to believethat I hadn't just imagined what Edward had said, and the way his eyeshad looked. Maybe it was just a very convincing dream that I'd confusedwith reality. That seemed more probable than that I really appealed tohim on any level.

  So I was impatient and frightened as Jessica and I entered the cafeteria.

  I wanted to see his face, to see if he'd gone back to the cold,indifferent person I'd known for the last several weeks. Or if, by somemiracle, I'd really heard what I thought I'd heard this morning. Jessicababbled on and on about her dance plans — Lauren and Angela had asked theother boys and they were all going together — completely unaware of myinattention.

  Disappointment flooded through me as my eyes unerringly focused on histable. The other four were there, but he was absent. Had he gone home? Ifollowed the still-babbling Jessica through the line, crushed. I'd lostmy appetite — I bought nothing but a bottle of lemonade. I just wanted togo sit down and sulk.

  "Edward Cullen is staring at you again," Jessica said, finally breakingthrough my abstraction with his name. "I wonder why he's sitting alonetoday."My head snapped up. I followed her gaze to see Edward, smiling crookedly,staring at me from an empty table across the cafeteria from where heusually sat. Once he'd caught my eye, he raised one hand and motionedwith his index finger for me to join him. As I stared in disbelief, hewinked.

  "Does he mean you?" Jessica asked with insulting astonishment in hervoice.

  "Maybe he needs help with his Biology homework," I muttered for herbenefit. "Um, I'd better go see what he wants."I could feel her staring after me as I walked away.

  When I reached his table, I stood behind the chair across from him,unsure.

  "Why don't you sit with me today?" he asked, smiling.

   I sat down automatically, watching him with caution. He was stillsmiling. It was hard to believe that someone so beautiful could be real.

  I was afraid that he might disappear in a sudden puff of smoke, and Iwould wake up.

  He seemed to be waiting for me to say something.

  "This is different," I finally managed.

  "Well…" He paused, and then the rest of the words followed in a rush. "Idecided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly."I waited for him to say something that made sense. The seconds ticked by.

  "You know I don't have any idea what you mean," I eventually pointed out.

  "I know." He smiled again, and then he changed the subject. "I think yourfriends are angry with me for stealing you.""They'll survive." I could feel their stares boring into my back.

  "I may not give you back, though," he said with a wicked glint in hiseyes.

  I gulped.

  He laughed. "You look worried.""No," I said, but, ridiculously, my voice broke. "Surprised, actually…what brought all this on?""I told you — I got tired of trying to stay away from you. So I'm givingup." He was still smiling, but his ocher eyes were serious.

  "Giving up?" I repeated in confusion.

  "Yes — giving up trying to be good. I'm just going to do what I want now,and let the chips fall where they may." His smile faded as he explained,and a hard edge crept into his voice.

  "You lost me again."The breathtaking crooked smile reappeared.

  "I always say too much when I'm talking to you — that's one of theproblems.""Don't worry — I don't understand any of it," I said wryly.

  "I'm counting on that.""So, in plain English, are we friends now?""Friends…" he mused, dubious.

  "Or not," I muttered.

  He grinned. "Well, we can try, I suppose. But I'm warning you now thatI'm not a good friend for you." Behind his smile, the warning was real.

  "You say that a lot," I noted, trying to ignore the sudden trembling inmy stomach and keep my voice even.

  "Yes, because you're not listening to me. I'm still waiting for you tobelieve it. If you're smart, you'll avoid me.""I think you've made your opinion on the subject of my intellect clear,too." My eyes narrowed.

  He smiled apologetically.

   "So, as long as I'm being… not smart, we'll try to be friends?" Istruggled to sum up the confusing exchange.

  "That sounds about right."I looked down at my hands wrapped around the lemonade bottle, not surewhat to do now.

  "What are you thinking?" he asked curiously.

  I looked up into his deep gold eyes, became befuddled, and, as usual,blurted out the truth.

  "I'm trying to figure out what you are."His jaw tightened, but he kept his smile in place with some effort.

  "Are you having any luck with that?" he asked in an offhand tone.

  "Not too much," I admitted.

  He chuckled. "What are your theories?"I blushed. I had been vacillating during the last month between BruceWayne and Peter Parker. There was no way I was going to own up to that.

  "Won't you tell me?" he asked, tilting his head to one side with ashockingly tempting smile.

  I shook my head. "Too embarrassing.""That's really frustrating, you know," he complained.

  "No," I disagreed quickly, my eyes narrowing, "I can't imagine why thatwould be frustrating at all — just because someone refuses to tell youwhat they're thinking, even if all the while they're making crypticlittle remarks specifically designed to keep you up at night wonderingwhat they could possibly mean… now, why would that be frustrating?"He grimaced.

  "Or better," I continued, the pent-up annoyance flowing freely now, "saythat person also did a wide range of bizarre things — from saving yourlife under impossible circumstances one day to treating you like a pariahthe next, and he never explained any of that, either, even after hepromised. That, also, would be very non-frustrating.""You've got a bit of a temper, don't you?""I don't like double standards."We stared at each other, unsmiling.

  He glanced over my shoulder, and then, unexpectedly, he snickered.

  "What?""Your boyfriend seems to think I'm being unpleasant to you — he'sdebating whether or not to come break up our fight." He snickered again.

  "I don't know who you're talking about," I said frostily. "But I'm sureyou're wrong, anyway.""I'm not. I told you, most people are easy to read.""Except me, of course.""Yes. Except for you." His mood shifted suddenly; his eyes turnedbrooding. "I wonder why that is."I had to look away from the intensity of his stare. I concentrated onunscrewing the lid of my lemonade. I took a swig, staring at the table without seeing it.

  "Aren't you hungry?" he asked, distracted.

  "No." I didn't feel like mentioning that my stomach was already full — ofbutterflies. "You?" I looked at the empty table in front of him.

  "No, I'm not hungry." I didn't understand his expression — it looked likehe was enjoying some private joke.

  "Can you do me a favor?" I asked after a second of hesitation.

  He was suddenly wary. "That depends on what you want.""It's not much," I assured him.

  He waited, guarded but curious.

  "I just wondered… if you could warn me beforehand the next time youdecide to ignore me for my own good. Just so I'm prepared." I looked atthe lemonade bottle as I spoke, tracing the circle of the opening with mypinkie finger.

  "That sounds fair." He was pressing his lips together to keep fromlaughing when I looked up.

  "Thanks.""Then can I have one answer in return?" he demanded.

  "One.""Tell me one theory."Whoops. "Not that one.""You didn't qualify, you just promised one answer," he reminded me.

  "And you've broken promises yourself," I reminded him back.

  "Just one theory — I won't laugh.""Yes, you will." I was positive about that.

  He looked down, and then glanced up at me through his long black lashes,his ocher eyes scorching.

  "Please?" he breathed, leaning toward me.

  I blinked, my mind going blank. Holy crow, how did he do that?

  "Er, what?" I asked, dazed.

  "Please tell me just one little theory." His eyes still smoldered at me.

  "Um, well, bitten by a radioactive spider?" Was he a hypnotist, too? Orwas I just a hopeless pushover?

  "That's not very creative," he scoffed.

  "I'm sorry, that's all I've got," I said, miffed.

  "You're not even close," he teased.

  "No spiders?""Nope.""And no radioactivity?""None." "Dang," I sighed.

  "Kryptonite doesn't bother me, either," he chuckled.

  "You're not supposed to laugh, remember?"He struggled to compose his face.

  "I'll figure it out eventually," I warned him.

  "I wish you wouldn't try." He was serious again.

  "Because… ?""What if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?" He smiledplayfully, but his eyes were impenetrable.

  "Oh," I said, as several things he'd hinted fell suddenly into place. "Isee.""Do you?" His face was abruptly severe, as if he were afraid that he'daccidentally said too much.

  "You're dangerous?" I guessed, my pulse quickening as I intuitivelyrealized the truth of my own words. He was dangerous. He'd been trying totell me that all along.

  He just looked at me, eyes full of some emotion I couldn't comprehend.

  "But not bad," I whispered, shaking my head. "No, I don't believe thatyou're bad.""You're wrong." His voice was almost inaudible. He looked down, stealingmy bottle lid and then spinning it on its side between his fingers. Istared at him, wondering why I didn't feel afraid. He meant what he wassaying — that was obvious. But I just felt anxious, on edge… and, morethan anything else, fascinated. The same way I always felt when I wasnear him.

  The silence lasted until I noticed that the cafeteria was almost empty.

  I jumped to my feet. "We're going to be late.""I'm not going to class today," he said, twirling the lid so fast it wasjust a blur.

  "Why not?""It's healthy to ditch class now and then." He smiled up at me, but hiseyes were still troubled.

  "Well, I'm going," I told him. I was far too big a coward to risk gettingcaught.

  He turned his attention back to his makeshift top. "I'll see you later,then."I hesitated, torn, but then the first bell sent me hurrying out the door— with a last glance confirming that he hadn't moved a centimeter.

  As I half-ran to class, my head was spinning faster than the bottle cap.

  So few questions had been answered in comparison to how many newquestions had been raised. At least the rain had stopped.

  I was lucky; Mr. Banner wasn't in the room yet when I arrived. I settledquickly into my seat, aware that both Mike and Angela were staring at me.

  Mike looked resentful; Angela looked surprised, and slightly awed.

  Mr. Banner came in the room then, calling the class to order. He wasjuggling a few small cardboard boxes in his arms. He put them down onMike's table, telling him to start passing them around the class.

   "Okay, guys, I want you all to take one piece from each box," he said ashe produced a pair of rubber gloves from the pocket of his lab jacket andpulled them on. The sharp sound as the gloves snapped into place againsthis wrists seemed ominous to me. "The first should be an indicator card,"he went on, grabbing a white card with four squares marked on it anddisplaying it. "The second is a four-pronged applicator —" he held upsomething that looked like a nearly toothless hair pick "— and the thirdis a sterile micro-lancet." He held up a small piece of blue plastic andsplit it open. The barb was invisible from this distance, but my stomachflipped.

  "I'll be coming around with a dropper of water to prepare your cards, soplease don't start until I get to you." He began at Mike's table again,carefully putting one drop of water in each of the four squares. "Then Iwant you to carefully prick your finger with the lancet…" He grabbedMike's hand and jabbed the spike into the tip of Mike's middle finger. Ohno. Clammy moisture broke out across my forehead.

  "Put a small drop of blood on each of the prongs." He demonstrated,squeezing Mike's finger till the blood flowed. I swallowed convulsively,my stomach heaving.

  "And then apply it to the card," he finished, holding up the dripping redcard for us to see. I closed my eyes, trying to hear through the ringingin my ears.

  "The Red Cross is having a blood drive in Port Angeles next weekend, so Ithought you should all know your blood type." He sounded proud ofhimself. "Those of you who aren't eighteen yet will need a parent'spermission — I have slips at my desk."He continued through the room with his water drops. I put my cheekagainst the cool black tabletop and tried to hold on to my consciousness.

  All around me I could hear squeals, complaints, and giggles as myclassmates skewered their fingers. I breathed slowly in and out throughmy mouth.

  "Bella, are you all right?" Mr. Banner asked. His voice was close to myhead, and it sounded alarmed.

  "I already know my blood type, Mr. Banner," I said in a weak voice. I wasafraid to raise my head.

  "Are you feeling faint?""Yes, sir," I muttered, internally kicking myself for not ditching when Ihad the chance.

  "Can someone take Bella to the nurse, please?" he called.

  I didn't have to look up to know that it would be Mike who volunteered.

  "Can you walk?" Mr. Banner asked.

  "Yes," I whispered. Just let me get out of here, I thought. I'll crawl.

  Mike seemed eager as he put his arm around my waist and pulled my armover his shoulder. I leaned against him heavily on the way out of theclassroom.

  Mike towed me slowly across campus. When we were around the edge of thecafeteria, out of sight of building four in case Mr. Banner was watching,I stopped.

  "Just let me sit for a minute, please?" I begged.

  He helped me sit on the edge of the walk.

  "And whatever you do, keep your hand in your pocket," I warned. I wasstill so dizzy. I slumped over on my side, putting my cheek against thefreezing, damp cement of the sidewalk, closing my eyes. That seemed tohelp a little.

   "Wow, you're green, Bella," Mike said nervously.

  "Bella?" a different voice called from the distance.

  No! Please let me be imagining that horribly familiar voice.

  "What's wrong — is she hurt?" His voice was closer now, and he soundedupset. I wasn't imagining it. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping to die. Or,at the very least, not to throw up.

  Mike seemed stressed. "I think she's fainted. I don't know what happened,she didn't even stick her finger.""Bella." Edward's voice was right beside me, relieved now. "Can you hearme?""No," I groaned. "Go away."He chuckled.

  "I was taking her to the nurse," Mike explained in a defensive tone, "butshe wouldn't go any farther.""I'll take her," Edward said. I could hear the smile still in his voice.

  "You can go back to class.""No," Mike protested. "I'm supposed to do it."Suddenly the sidewalk disappeared from beneath me. My eyes flew open inshock. Edward had scooped me up in his arms, as easily as if I weighedten pounds instead of a hundred and ten.

  "Put me down!" Please, please let me not vomit on him. He was walkingbefore I was finished talking.

  "Hey!" Mike called, already ten paces behind us.

  Edward ignored him. "You look awful," he told me, grinning.

  "Put me back on the sidewalk," I moaned. The rocking movement of his walkwas not helping. He held me away from his body, gingerly, supporting allmy weight with just his arms — it didn't seem to bother him.

  "So you faint at the sight of blood?" he asked. This seemed to entertainhim.

  I didn't answer. I closed my eyes again and fought the nausea with all mystrength, clamping my lips together.

  "And not even your own blood," he continued, enjoying himself.

  I don't know how he opened the door while carrying me, but it wassuddenly warm, so I knew we were inside.

  "Oh my," I heard a female voice gasp.

  "She fainted in Biology," Edward explained.

  I opened my eyes. I was in the office, and Edward was striding past thefront counter toward the nurse's door. Ms. Cope, the redheaded frontoffice receptionist, ran ahead of him to hold it open. The grandmotherlynurse looked up from a novel, astonished, as Edward swung me into theroom and placed me gently on the crackly paper that covered the brownvinyl mattress on the one cot. Then he moved to stand against the wall asfar across the narrow room as possible. His eyes were bright, excited.

  "She's just a little faint," he reassured the startled nurse. "They'reblood typing in Biology."The nurse nodded sagely. "There's always one." He muffled a snicker.

  "Just lie down for a minute, honey; it'll pass.""I know," I sighed. The nausea was already fading.

  "Does this happen a lot?" she asked.

  "Sometimes," I admitted. Edward coughed to hide another laugh.

  "You can go back to class now," she told him.

  "I'm supposed to stay with her." He said this with such assured authoritythat — even though she pursed her lips — the nurse didn't argue itfurther.

  "I'll go get you some ice for your forehead, dear," she said to me, andthen bustled out of the room.

  "You were right," I moaned, letting my eyes close.

  "I usually am — but about what in particular this time?""Ditching is healthy." I practiced breathing evenly.

  "You scared me for a minute there," he admitted after a pause. His tonemade it sound like he was confessing a humiliating weakness. "I thoughtNewton was dragging your dead body off to bury it in the woods.""Ha ha." I still had my eyes closed, but I was feeling more normal everyminute.

  "Honestly — I've seen corpses with better color. I was concerned that Imight have to avenge your murder.""Poor Mike. I'll bet he's mad.""He absolutely loathes me," Edward said cheerfully.

  "You can't know that," I argued, but then I wondered suddenly if he could.

  "I saw his face — I could tell.""How did you see me? I thought you were ditching." I was almost fine now,though the queasiness would probably pass faster if I'd eaten somethingfor lunch. On the other hand, maybe it was lucky my stomach was empty.

  "I was in my car, listening to a CD." Such a normal response — itsurprised me.

  I heard the door and opened my eyes to see the nurse with a cold compressin her hand.

  "Here you go, dear." She laid it across my forehead. "You're lookingbetter," she added.

  "I think I'm fine," I said, sitting up. Just a little ringing in my ears,no spinning. The mint green walls stayed where they should.

  I could see she was about to make me lie back down, but the door openedjust then, and Ms. Cope stuck her head in.

  "We've got another one," she warned.

  I hopped down to free up the cot for the next invalid.

  I handed the compress back to the nurse. "Here, I don't need this."And then Mike staggered through the door, now supporting a sallow-lookingLee Stephens, another boy in our Biology class. Edward and I drew backagainst the wall to give them room.

   "Oh no," Edward muttered. "Go out to the office, Bella."I looked up at him, bewildered.

  "Trust me — go."I spun and caught the door before it closed, darting out of theinfirmary. I could feel Edward right behind me.

  "You actually listened to me." He was stunned.

  "I smelled the blood," I said, wrinkling my nose. Lee wasn't sick fromwatching other people, like me.

  "People can't smell blood," he contradicted.

  "Well, I can — that's what makes me sick. It smells like rust… and salt."He was staring at me with an unfathomable expression.

  "What?" I asked.

  "It's nothing."Mike came through the door then, glancing from me to Edward. The look hegave Edward confirmed what Edward had said about loathing. He looked backat me, his eyes glum.

  "You look better," he accused.

  "Just keep your hand in your pocket," I warned him again.

  "It's not bleeding anymore," he muttered. "Are you going back to class?""Are you kidding? I'd just have to turn around and come back.""Yeah, I guess… So are you going this weekend? To the beach?" While hespoke, he flashed another glare toward Edward, who was standing againstthe cluttered counter, motionless as a sculpture, staring off into space.

  I tried to sound as friendly as possible. "Sure, I said I was in.""We're meeting at my dad's store, at ten." His eyes flickered to Edwardagain, wondering if he was giving out too much information. His bodylanguage made it clear that it wasn't an open invitation.

  "I'll be there," I promised.

  "I'll see you in Gym, then," he said, moving uncertainly toward the door.

  "See you," I replied. He looked at me once more, his round face slightlypouting, and then as he walked slowly through the door, his shouldersslumped. A swell of sympathy washed over me. I pondered seeing hisdisappointed face again… in Gym.

  "Gym," I groaned.

  "I can take care of that." I hadn't noticed Edward moving to my side, buthe spoke now in my ear. "Go sit down and look pale," he muttered.

  That wasn't a challenge; I was always pale, and my recent swoon had lefta light sheen of sweat on my face. I sat in one of the creaky foldingchairs and rested my head against the wall with my eyes closed. Faintingspells always exhausted me.

  I heard Edward speaking softly at the counter.

  "Ms. Cope?""Yes?" I hadn't heard her return to her desk.

  "Bella has Gym next hour, and I don't think she feels well enough.

   Actually, I was thinking I should take her home now. Do you think youcould excuse her from class?" His voice was like melting honey. I couldimagine how much more overwhelming his eyes would be.

  "Do you need to be excused, too, Edward?" Ms. Cope fluttered. Whycouldn't I do that?

  "No, I have Mrs. Goff, she won't mind.""Okay, it's all taken care of. You feel better, Bella," she called to me.

  I nodded weakly, hamming it up just a bit.

  "Can you walk, or do you want me to carry you again?" With his back tothe receptionist, his expression became sarcastic.

  "I'll walk."I stood carefully, and I was still fine. He held the door for me, hissmile polite but his eyes mocking. I walked out into the cold, fine mistthat had just begun to fall. It felt nice — the first time I'd enjoyedthe constant moisture falling out of the sky — as it washed my face cleanof the sticky perspiration.

  "Thanks," I said as he followed me out. "It's almost worth getting sickto miss Gym.""Anytime." He was staring straight forward, squinting into the rain.

  "So are you going? This Saturday, I mean?" I was hoping he would, thoughit seemed unlikely. I couldn't picture him loading up to carpool with therest of the kids from school; he didn't belong in the same world. Butjust hoping that he might gave me the first twinge of enthusiasm I'd feltfor the outing.

  "Where are you all going, exactly?" He was still looking ahead,expressionless.

  "Down to La Push, to First Beach." I studied his face, trying to read it.

  His eyes seemed to narrow infinitesimally.

  He glanced down at me from the corner of his eye, smiling wryly. "Ireally don't think I was invited."I sighed. "I just invited you.""Let's you and I not push poor Mike any further this week. We don't wanthim to snap." His eyes danced; he was enjoying the idea more than heshould.

  "Mike-schmike." I muttered, preoccupied by the way he'd said "you and I."I liked it more than I should.

  We were near the parking lot now. I veered left, toward my truck.

  Something caught my jacket, yanking me back.

  "Where do you think you're going?" he asked, outraged. He was gripping afistful of my jacket in one hand.

  I was confused. "I'm going home.""Didn't you hear me promise to take you safely home? Do you think I'mgoing to let you drive in your condition?" His voice was still indignant.

  "What condition? And what about my truck?" I complained.

  "I'll have Alice drop it off after school." He was towing me toward hiscar now, pulling me by my jacket. It was all I could do to keep fromfalling backward. He'd probably just drag me along anyway if I did.

  "Let go!" I insisted. He ignored me. I staggered along sideways acrossthe wet sidewalk until we reached the Volvo. Then he finally freed me — Istumbled against the passenger door.

   "You are so pushy!" I grumbled.

  "It's open," was all he responded. He got in the driver's side.

  "I am perfectly capable of driving myself home!" I stood by the car,fuming. It was raining harder now, and I'd never put my hood up, so myhair was dripping down my back.

  He lowered the automatic window and leaned toward me across the seat.

  "Get in, Bella."I didn't answer. I was mentally calculating my chances of reaching thetruck before he could catch me. I had to admit, they weren't good.

  "I'll just drag you back," he threatened, guessing my plan.

  I tried to maintain what dignity I could as I got into his car. I wasn'tvery successful — I looked like a half-drowned cat and my boots squeaked.

  "This is completely unnecessary," I said stiffly.

  He didn't answer. He fiddled with the controls, turning the heater up andthe music down. As he pulled out of the parking lot, I was preparing togive him the silent treatment — my face in full pout mode — but then Irecognized the music playing, and my curiosity got the better of myintentions.

  "Clair de Lune?" I asked, surprised.

  "You know Debussy?" He sounded surprised, too.

  "Not well," I admitted. "My mother plays a lot of classical music aroundthe house — I only know my favorites.""It's one of my favorites, too." He stared out through the rain, lost inthought.

  I listened to the music, relaxing against the light gray leather seat. Itwas impossible not to respond to the familiar, soothing melody. The rainblurred everything outside the window into gray and green smudges. Ibegan to realize we were driving very fast; the car moved so steadily, soevenly, though, I didn't feel the speed. Only the town flashing by gaveit away.

  "What is your mother like?" he asked me suddenly.

  I glanced over to see him studying me with curious eyes.

  "She looks a lot like me, but she's prettier," I said. He raised hiseyebrows. "I have too much Charlie in me. She's more outgoing than I am,and braver. She's irresponsible and slightly eccentric, and she's a veryunpredictable cook. She's my best friend." I stopped. Talking about herwas making me depressed.

  "How old are you, Bella?" His voice sounded frustrated for some reason Icouldn't imagine. He'd stopped the car, and I realized we were atCharlie's house already. The rain was so heavy that I could barely seethe house at all. It was like the car was submerged under a river.

  "I'm seventeen," I responded, a little confused.

  "You don't seem seventeen."His tone was reproachful; it made me laugh.

  "What?" he asked, curious again.

  "My mom always says I was born thirty-five years old and that I get moremiddle-aged every year." I laughed, and then sighed. "Well, someone hasto be the adult." I paused for a second. "You don't seem much like ajunior in high school yourself," I noted.

   He made a face and changed the subject.

  "So why did your mother marry Phil?"I was surprised he would remember the name; I'd mentioned it just once,almost two months ago. It took me a moment to answer.

  "My mother… she's very young for her age. I think Phil makes her feeleven younger. At any rate, she's crazy about him." I shook my head. Theattraction was a mystery to me.

  "Do you approve?" he asked.

  "Does it matter?" I countered. "I want her to be happy… and he is who shewants.""That's very generous… I wonder," he mused.

  "What?""Would she extend the same courtesy to you, do you think? No matter whoyour choice was?" He was suddenly intent, his eyes searching mine.

  "I-I think so," I stuttered. "But she's the parent, after all. It's alittle bit different.""No one too scary then," he teased.

  I grinned in response. "What do you mean by scary? Multiple facialpiercings and extensive tattoos?""That's one definition, I suppose.""What's your definition?"But he ignored my question and asked me another. "Do you think that Icould be scary?" He raised one eyebrow, and the faint trace of a smilelightened his face.

  I thought for a moment, wondering whether the truth or a lie would goover better. I decided to go with the truth. "Hmmm… I think you could be,if you wanted to.""Are you frightened of me now?" The smile vanished, and his heavenly facewas suddenly serious.

  "No." But I answered too quickly. The smile returned.

  "So, now are you going to tell me about your family?" I asked to distracthim. "It's got to be a much more interesting story than mine."He was instantly cautious. "What do you want to know?""The Cullens adopted you?" I verified.

  "Yes."I hesitated for a moment. "What happened to your parents?""They died many years ago." His tone was matter-of-fact.

  "I'm sorry," I mumbled.

  "I don't really remember them that clearly. Carlisle and Esme have beenmy parents for a long time now.""And you love them." It wasn't a question. It was obvious in the way hespoke of them.

  "Yes." He smiled. "I couldn't imagine two better people." "You're very lucky.""I know I am.""And your brother and sister?"He glanced at the clock on the dashboard.

  "My brother and sister, and Jasper and Rosalie for that matter, are goingto be quite upset if they have to stand in the rain waiting for me.""Oh, sorry, I guess you have to go." I didn't want to get out of the car.

  "And you probably want your truck back before Chief Swan gets home, soyou don't have to tell him about the Biology incident." He grinned at me.

  "I'm sure he's already heard. There are no secrets in Forks." I sighed.

  He laughed, and there was an edge to his laughter.

  "Have fun at the beach… good weather for sunbathing." He glanced out atthe sheeting rain.

  "Won't I see you tomorrow?""No. Emmett and I are starting the weekend early.""What are you going to do?" A friend could ask that, right? I hoped thedisappointment wasn't too apparent in my voice.

  "We're going to be hiking in the Goat Rocks Wilderness, just south ofRainier."I remembered Charlie had said the Cullens went camping frequently.

  "Oh, well, have fun." I tried to sound enthusiastic. I don't think Ifooled him, though. A smile was playing around the edges of his lips.

  "Will you do something for me this weekend?" He turned to look mestraight in the face, utilizing the full power of his burning gold eyes.

  I nodded helplessly.

  "Don't be offended, but you seem to be one of those people who justattract accidents like a magnet. So… try not to fall into the ocean orget run over or anything, all right?" He smiled crookedly.

  The helplessness had faded as he spoke. I glared at him.

  "I'll see what I can do," I snapped as I jumped out into the rain. Islammed the door behind me with excessive force.

  He was still smiling as he drove away.

第五章 血型

我神思恍惚地向英语教室走去。我甚至没有意识到,我是在开始上课后才走进教室的,这是我第一次在英语课上迟到。

“谢谢你屈尊加入我们,史温小姐。”马森老师轻蔑地说。

我闪身冲进教室,飞快地奔到我的座位上坐下。

直到这节课结束的时候,我才意识到迈克没有像往常一样坐在我旁边。我感到一阵痛彻心扉的内疚。但他和埃里克都像以往一样在门外等着我,所以我估计自己还不致于罪无可恕。当我们一起走的时候,迈克似乎又恢复成了原来的他,开始热切地谈论着这个周末的天气预报。连绵的雨天似乎会在周末稍作停顿,所以他的海滩之旅应该是没问题的。我尽量让自己显得更热衷些,以补充昨天给他带来的失望。这很不容易:不管下不下雨,气温最高也就四十华氏度,这还得建立在我们运气好的前提下。

一个上午就这样浑浑噩噩地过去了。我很难让自己相信,爱德华所说的话,以及他注视着我的眼神,不是我自己虚构出来的。也许这只是一个太过逼真的梦境,被我跟现实混淆了。这个设想的可能性,比起我真的对他具有某种吸引力——不管程度大小——的可能性要大得多。

所以当杰西卡和我一起走进自助餐厅的时候,我既不安又害怕。我想看到他的脸,想知道他是不是又变回了过去几周里我所知道的,那个冰冷的、漠然的人。又或者,出于某种奇迹,我真的听到了今天上午我以为我听到的那些话。杰西卡喋喋不休地唠叨着她对舞会的计划——劳伦和安吉拉都邀请了别的男孩,他们都会一起去的——完全没有注意到我的心不在焉。

当我的目光准确地投向他的桌子时,失望吞没了我。另外四个人都在,只有他不在那里。他已经回家了吗?我跟着嘴巴一直没停过的杰西卡穿过人群,只觉整个身心都被碾碎了一样。我完全没有了胃口——我什么吃的都没买,只要了一瓶柠檬水。我只想快点走开坐下,独自咀嚼心中的失落。

“爱德华?卡伦又在盯着你看了。”杰西卡说着,最终打破了我对他的名字的抽象感。“我想知道他今天为什么会一个人坐。”

我猛地抬起头。追随着她的目光,我看见了爱德华。他嘴角弯弯地笑着,正盯着我看。他现在坐着的那张空桌子,与他通常坐的位置分别处在自助餐厅的两头。他一对上我的视线,就举起一只手,用食指示意我过去和他一起坐。我不敢相信地盯着他,他只好冲我使了个眼色。

“他是在叫你吗?”杰西卡问道,声音里透着近乎无礼的惊讶。

“也许他需要有人帮助他做生物作业。”为了让她觉得好受点,我低声含糊地说道。“嗯,我最好过去看看他想干嘛。”

当我走过去的时候,我能感觉到她的眼睛始终钉在我的背上。

我走到他的桌子旁,不太确定地站在他对面的椅子后。

“你今天为什么不和我一起坐呢?”他微笑着问道。

我机械地坐下来,警惕地盯着他。他依然微笑着。很难相信这样美丽的人居然存在在现实之中。我真怕他会忽然消失在一阵轻烟中,然后我惊醒过来,发觉这只是一场梦。

他似乎在等着我说点什么。

“今天有点不太一样。”最终,我成功地挤出了几个字。

“嗯……”他停顿了片刻,然后决定一口气把话说完。“我打定主意了,就算我这是在下地狱,我也要把这一切做完。”

我等着他说出意思更明确些的话。时间一分一秒地过去。

“你知道,我不明白你在说什么。”我最终还是指出来了。

“我知道。”他又笑了起来,然后转移了话题。“我觉得,因为我把你偷走了,你的朋友正在生我的气呢。”

“他们能活得下去。”我能感觉到他们烦人的目光直射着我的背。

“不过,我不打算把你还回去。”他说着,眼里闪过促狭的光芒。

我下意识地吞咽了一下。

他大笑起来:“你看起来很担心啊。”
“不,”我说道,但可笑的是,我破音了。“确实,有点吃惊……是什么导致你改变了态度呢?”

“我告诉过你了——我厌倦了,不想再把自己从你身边赶走。所以我放弃了。”他还是微笑着,但他黑金色的眸子显得很认真。

“放弃?”我迷惑地重复着他的话。

“是的——放弃强迫自己循规蹈矩。现在我只想随心所欲地做自己想做的事,那些无关紧要的琐事就由它们去吧。”(and let the chips fall where they may. Edward啊,你还可以说得再隐晦点么?)他解释着,嘴角的笑意有些黯淡,某种生硬的味道在他的语气中蔓延开来。

“你又让我迷惑了。”

那抹险些就要消失的微笑重新浮现在弯弯的嘴角上。

“当我和你说话时,我说出口的永远比想要说的还多。——这实在是个问题。”

“不用担心——我一句都没听懂。”我挖苦道。

“我就指望着这点呢。”

“所以,用通用的英语来说的话,我们现在是朋友了吗?”

“朋友……”他露出不太确定的神情,若有所思地说。

“或者不是。”我低沉地说。

他咧嘴一笑:“好吧,我们可以试试看。但我有言在先,对你来说我不会是一个很好的朋友。”撇开他的笑容不说,这个警告绝对具有现实意义。

“你已经讲过很多遍了。”我提醒他,努力让自己的声音显得正常些,不去管胃里突如其来的一阵抽搐。

“是的,那是因为你总不专心听我说话。我会一直等着,直到你相信这一点为止。如果你足够聪明,你就应该躲开我。”

“我认为,你针对我的智商这个话题所发表的意见也已经重复了很多遍了。”我眯缝起眼睛。

他一脸歉意地笑了笑。

“所以,如果我……不够聪明,我们就要试着成为朋友了吗?”我奋力总结出这个令人困惑的交换条件。

“听起来,完全正确。”

我低下头,看着自己交叠在柠檬水瓶上的双手,不知道现在该说些什么好。

“你在想什么?”他好奇地问道。

我抬起头,看进他深邃的金色双眸里,立刻被迷住了。然后,像往常一样,实话脱口而出。

“我正在努力思考你到底是什么人。”

他下巴一紧,但还是努力保持着恰如其分的微笑。

“有什么进展吗?”他唐突地问道。

“没什么进展。”我承认道。

他轻笑着:“那你的理论依据是什么?”

我脸红了。这一个月来我一直在布鲁斯?维尼(蝙蝠侠)和彼得?帕克(蜘蛛侠)之间举棋不定。但我实在不敢承认自己的这些念头。

“你不想告诉我吗?”他问道,嘴角挂着一抹太过诱人的微笑,慢慢地把头侧过我这边来。

我用力摇头:“太丢人。”

“你知道,这太让人沮丧了。”他抱怨着。

“不。”我很快地否认了,眼睛眯缝起来。“我完全无法想象这为什么会让人沮丧——仅仅因为某些人拒绝告诉你他们在想什么——即便他们一直被某人所说的某些具有特别意味的只言片语困扰着,整夜不睡地揣测着某人可能暗示着……所以,现在,这为什么会让人沮丧呢?”

他扮了个鬼脸。

“或者更有甚者,”我继续说道,被压抑已久的怨言现在全都毫无节制地爆发出来了。“这样说吧,某人做了一大堆异乎寻常的事——从某天在极不可能的情形下救了你的命,到紧接着就把你视如草芥——而且他还从不对这些行径作任何解释,甚至是在他承诺过以后。这些,同样地,丝毫不让人觉得沮丧。”

“你正在气头上,对吧?”

“我不喜欢双重标准。”

我们都板着脸,看着对方。

他的目光越过了我的肩膀,然后,毫无预兆地,他窃笑起来。

“干嘛?”

“你的男朋友似乎认为我在惹你生气——他正在思考着要不要过来结束我们的争吵。”他又窃笑起来。
“我不知道你在说什么。”我冷淡地说。“但不管怎样,我可以肯定,你是错的。”

“我没说错。我告诉你,大多数人都很容易读懂。”

“当然,不包括我。”

“是的。不包括你。”他的语气忽然一变,眼神转为沉思的神情。“我真想知道为什么。”

我不得不移开视线,以逃避他深邃的目光。我专心致志地把柠檬水瓶的盖子拧开,喝了一大口,然后心不在焉地盯着桌面。(staring at the table without seeing it目光落在桌子上,却对它视而不见……)

“你不饿吗?”他问道,试图转移我的注意力。

“不饿。”我根本不想告诉他我饱得很——憋着一肚子的惴惴不安七上八下。(my stomach was already full——of butterflies.这段翻译太要命了。。。)“你呢?”我看着他面前空空如也的桌面。

“我也不饿。”我读不懂他的表情——像是他想到了某个私底下的笑话于是暗自发笑。

“你能帮我个忙吗?”我迟疑了片刻,问道。

他忽然小心起来:“那得看情况,得看你想要什么。”

“不会太过分的。”我向他保证。

他既警惕又好奇地等待着。

“我只是想知道……下次你为了我好而决定不理会我之前,能不能先给我提个醒。我好有所准备。”我一边说着,一边埋头看着手里柠檬水瓶子,试验着要转多少圈才能用我的小指把瓶盖打开。

“听着还算合理。”我抬起头,发觉他正用力抿紧唇,以免让自己笑出来。

“非常感谢。”

“那么,作为回报我要索取一个回答咯?”他要求道。

“就一个。”

“告诉我你的一个理论。”

呜哇。“换一个。”

“你没限定我不能问什么,你刚刚承诺过的,要给我一个回答。”他提醒我。

“同样,你也违背了你的承诺。”我反将一军。

“就一个理论——我不会笑的。”

“不,你会的。”我对此相当肯定。

他垂下头,然后抬起眼,透过他又长又黑的睫毛盯着我。他黑金色的眼睛发出灼热的光芒。

“好吗?”他侧向我,低语道。(breath,好词。。。撞墙。。。)

我眨了眨眼,脑子里一片空白。干得好,他是怎么做到的?(holy crow,再次撞墙中。。。)

“呃,什么?”我晕乎乎地问道。

“告诉我吧,就说一个小小的理论。”他的眼神依然左右着我。(smoldered at me,继续撞。。。)

“嗯,好吧,被一只带放射性的蜘蛛咬了一口?”或许他还是个催眠师?又或者,我刚好是那种可悲的容易被摆布的家伙?

“你甚至根本没沾边。”他揶揄道。

“不是蜘蛛?”

“不是。”

“跟放射性无关?”

“毫无关系。”

“靠。”我叹了口气。

“氪石也耐我不何。”他轻笑着。(氪石,超人的克星。)

“你说过你不会笑的,还记得吧?”

他竭力绷住脸。

“总有一天我会猜出来的。”我警告他。

“我希望你不要轻易尝试。”他又认真起来。

“因为……?”

“如果我不是一个超级英雄呢?如果我是坏人呢?”他戏谑地笑着,眼神却深不可测。

“哦,”我说道,仿佛他暗示着的许多事情忽然间水落石出了。“我知道了。”

“真的?”他脸色陡然一沉,就好像他害怕着自己不小心又透露得太多。

“你很危险?”我猜测着,然后直觉地意识到了我所说出的真相——我的脉搏不由得加快了。他很危险。他自始至终都在试图告诉我这一点。

他只是看着我,眼里涌动着我无法理解的情绪。

“可你不是坏人。”我摇着头,低声说道。“不,我不相信你是坏人。”

“你错了。”他的声音低得几不可闻。他垂下眼帘,侵占了我的瓶盖,在手里把玩着。瓶盖在他修长的手指之间飞快地旋转着。我看着他,想知道为什么我丝毫不感到害怕。他想要表达的就是字面上的意思——这太明显了。但是,我只感到了急切的焦虑……还有,比任何感觉都要强烈的是,深深的着迷。这种感觉,和每次我靠近他时所感受到的,一模一样。

沉默一直持续着,直到我注意到自助餐厅里几近空无一人时才告一段落。

我跳了起来:“我们要迟到了。”

“我今天不去上课。”他说着,瓶盖在他的指间转得飞快,快得只剩下一个模糊的轮廓。

“为什么不去?”

“偶尔翘课有益于身心健康。”他微笑着抬头看着我,但他的眼里依然很不平静。

“好吧,那我走了。”我告诉他。我确实是个胆小鬼,所以我不敢承担万一被抓的风险。

他把注意力转回被他临时征用的瓶盖上:“那么,待会见。”
我犹豫着,挣扎着,但第一声铃响逼着我冲出门外——我最后扫了他一眼,确定他还在原处,甚至连一公分都没挪动过。

在我一路狂奔到教室的路上,我的脑子疯狂地转动着,比那个瓶盖还快。只有极少的几个问题得到了解答,而相比之下,却有更多的新问题冉冉升起。至少,雨已经停了。

我很幸运。当我到教室的时候班纳老师还没到。我飞快地坐到座位上,注意到迈克和安吉拉都在盯着我看。迈克看上去一脸忿恨,安吉拉则惊诧不已,还有些许敬畏。

然后,班纳老师走进教室,让全班都安静下来听他说话。他的手里艰难地抱着几个摇摇欲坠的小硬板纸盒。(juggle,我觉得班纳老师的个性没那么浮夸)他把东西都放到迈克的桌子上,让他把纸盒子传给全班同学。

“好啦,同学们,我要求你们每个人,从每个盒子里各拿一片。”他一边说着,一边从自己的实验室大褂的口袋里扯出一对塑胶手套,戴在手上。他用力拽着手套,把它们拉上手腕时所发出尖锐的嘎巴声对我来说是个不祥的预兆。“第一样,是一张指示剂卡片。”他继续说着,拿起一张四角上都有标识的白色卡片,向我们展示。“第二样,是四齿涂敷器——”他举起的东西看起来更像是一个几乎没有锯齿的光滑的剃毛刀片。“——然后,第三样是一把无菌微型刺血针。”他举起一个小小的蓝色塑料包装,把它撕开。在这个距离我不可能看见针上的倒钩,但我的胃还是翻腾起来。

“我会在教室里走动,用滴管往你的卡片上滴一滴水,这样卡片才算准备好,所以在我走到你那里以前先别开始。”他还是先从迈克那桌开始,小心地往每张卡片的四个角各滴了一滴水。“然后,我要你们小心地用刺血针扎一下手指头……”他抓起迈克的手,把针扎进了迈克的中指指头。哦不。我的前额上开始渗出粘湿的冷汗。

“在四齿涂敷器的四个齿上各沾一小滴血。”他还在示范着,挤压着迈克的手指直到血流出来为止。我全身痉挛地吞咽着,胃里一阵沉重。

“然后把涂敷器抹到卡片上。”他完成了,把那张四角都染红了的卡片举起来给我们看。我闭上眼睛,试图无视耳中的嗡嗡声,继续听课。
“下个周末红十字会有一辆义务献血车会开到天使港去,所以我觉得有必要让你们都知道一下自己的血型。”他听起来很自豪。“你们中未满十八岁的人需要有家长的书面同意——相关表格在我的桌子上。”

他拿着滴管,继续在教室里走来走去。我把脸贴在凉凉的黑色桌板上,试图让自己保持神志清醒。在我的周围,我的同学们开始扎自己的手指,我听到了一阵阵的尖叫声,抱怨声和傻笑声。我开始用嘴呼吸,艰难地吸气,呼气。

“贝拉,你还好吧?”班纳老师问道。他的声音离我的头很近,听起来有些惊慌失措。

“我已经知道自己的血型了,班纳老师。”我虚弱地说道。我实在不敢抬起头。

“你是不是觉得头晕?”

“是的,先生。”我含糊地说着,在心里踢了自己一脚,以免自己一有机会就放松警惕,任由自己坠入昏迷中。

“有谁能带贝拉去医务室吗?”他喊道。

我不必抬头也能知道,那个自告奋勇的家伙一定是迈克。

“你还能走路吗?”巴纳老师问道。

“能。”我低声说道。只要能让我离开这里,我想,就是爬我也要爬出去。

迈克似乎相当热衷于此,他一只手环绕在我的腰间,另一只手把我的胳膊拉过他的肩膀。我把重心靠在他身上,一路走出教室。

迈克搀扶着我,慢慢地穿过校园。当我们绕过自助餐厅的一角,走出四号楼里的班纳老师的视线范围——如果他有在看的话——的时候,我停了下来。

“让我在这里坐会儿,好吗?”我恳求道。

他扶着我坐到人行道的边上。

“还有,不管你要做什么,把你的手放回口袋里。”我警告他。我还是觉得头晕目眩。我向着与迈克相反的方向伏倒身子,把脸贴在冰冷潮湿的人行道水泥路面上,闭上了眼睛。这样能让我好受一点。

“哇噢,贝拉,你看上去脸色发青。”迈克焦急地说。

“贝拉?”另一个完全不同的声音从远处传来。
不!这个熟悉得可怕的声音可千万得是我的幻觉。

“怎么回事——她受伤了吗?”现在他的声音更近了,显得有些烦躁不安。这不是我的幻觉。我紧紧地闭着眼睛,真希望就这样死掉算了。或者,至少至少,不要吐出来。

迈克显然感受到了压力:“我想她有点头晕。我不知道是怎么回事,她甚至还没开始扎手指呢。”

“贝拉。”现在爱德华的声音就在我后面,似乎是松了一口气。“你能听见我说话吗?”

“听不见。”我gro_an着。“走开。” 
 "I'll take her,"Edward said. I could the smile still in his voice. "You can go back to class."
 “不。”迈克抗议道。“这应该是我的工作。”

忽然间,我身下的人行道消失了。我大吃一惊,飞快地睁开眼睛。爱德华把我横_抱在双臂间,轻松得就好像我只有十磅重,而非一百一十磅。

“放我下来!”拜托,拜托别让我吐在他身上。我还没说完,他就大步走了起来。

“嘿!”迈克大喊着,已被甩在了我们身后十步开外的地方。

爱德华根本不理他。“你看起来很吓人。”他咧嘴一笑,对我说道。

“把我放回人行道上。”我发出一声悲鸣。他走路带来的晃动让我很不舒服。他谨慎地把我抱开一些,不再贴着他的身体,而是只用双臂支撑着我的重量——这对他来说似乎毫不费力。

“所以说,你一看到blo_od就晕倒了?”他问道。他似乎觉得这样很有趣。

我没回答。我再次合上双眼,紧紧地闭上嘴巴,用尽全身的力气抑制住恶心的感觉。

“而且那还不是你自己的blo_od。”他自得其乐地继续说道。
我不知道他双手抱着我,是怎么把门打开的。但周围忽然暖和起来,所以我知道我们已经进了屋。

“我的天!”我听到一个女性的声音喘息着说。

“她在生物课上晕倒了。”爱德华解释道。

我睁开了眼睛。我正在办公室里。(刚开始译成总务处实在是个错误。。。)爱德华径直穿过前台,大步向医务室的门走去。科普女士——那位红发的前台接待员——奔到他前面,把门打开。那位祖母般慈祥的护士从一本小说里抬起头,大吃一惊。爱德华侧着身把我抱进房间,轻轻地把我放在那张覆盖在屋里唯一一张帆布床的吹塑床垫上的,脆弱的薄纸上。然后他穿过这间狭小的屋子,走到屋子另一头靠墙站着,尽可能站得离我远些。他的眼睛兴奋得发亮。
他轻笑起来。 

“我要带她去医务室。”迈克用辩白的口吻说道。“但她走不动了。” 

“我会带她去的”,爱德华说。我能嗅到他语气里的坚定。“你可以回去上课了。”
“她只是有点头晕。”他给那位吓得够呛的护士吃了一颗定心丸。“他们在生物课上检测血型。”

护士英明地点了点头:“总会有一两个人这样的。”

他闷笑了一声。

“躺一会儿就好,亲爱的,很快就会没事的。”

“我知道。”我叹息着说。那种恶心感快要消失了。

“你常常这样吗?”她问道。

“有时会。”我承认道。爱德华咳嗽了一声,以掩饰他又一次的轻笑。

“现在你可以回去上课了。”她告诉他。

“我认为我最好还是留在这里陪她。”他的声音里带着某种令人信服的威严。那个护士撅起了嘴,但她没有再说什么。

“亲爱的,我去拿些冰来,给你敷在前额上。”她对我说着,然后匆匆忙忙地走出了房间。

“你说的很对。”我呻吟着,闭上了眼睛。

“我通常都是对的——但这次有什么特殊之处吗?”

“翘课有益健康。”我练习着让自己更均匀地呼吸。(ditch。。。我前面给翻译成了晕迷。。。战线拉得太长果然会出问题。。。)

“在那边,有那么一会儿你把我吓坏了。”他顿了顿,承认道。他的声音听起来像是他在坦承某个丢人的弱点。“我还以为牛顿在把你的尸体拖到树林里埋掉呢。”

“哈哈。”我还是紧闭着双眼,但我能感到自己每分每秒都在好起来。

“老实说——我见过尸体,但它们的气色比你都要好些。我还在想着是不是应该替你向凶手报仇。”

“可怜的迈克,我敢打赌他一定气疯了。”

“他确实恨透我了。”爱德华乐滋滋地说。

“你不可能知道这些。”我反驳道。但随即,我忽然开始怀疑他也许能。

“我看见了他的表情——我敢这么说。”

“你怎么会看见我的?我以为你翘课了。”我现在基本已经没事了,但我想,如果我午餐有吃东西的话,恶心的感觉可能会消失得更快。另一方面,或许我的胃空空如也是件好事。

“我坐在我的车里,在听CD。”一个太过正常的答案——反而让我吃惊不小。

我听到门开了的声音。我睁开眼睛,看见护士手里正拿着一个冰袋。

“亲爱的,到这边来。”她把冰袋敷在我的额头。“你看上去好多了。”她补充道。

“我想,我已经没事了。”我说着,坐了起来。我还有一点耳鸣,但已经不再感到晕眩了。四面干净得像新刷的一样的绿色墙面好好的待在它们应该在的地方。

我看得出她想让我躺回去,但就在这时,门开了。科普女士把头伸了进来。

“又来了一个。”她发出预告。

我跳下床,把床腾出来给下一位伤员。

我把冰袋交还给那位护士:“给你,我不需要这个了。”

然后,迈克步履蹒跚地走进门来,现在他扶着的是一个脸色很差的男生。那是李?斯蒂芬斯,也是我们生物班上的。爱德华和我退到墙边站着,给他们腾出地方。

“哦不。”爱德华喃喃低语道。“到办公室外面去,贝拉。”

我抬头看他,有些不知所措。

“相信我——走吧。”

我立刻转过身去,在门关上以前抓住它,飞快地冲出了医务室。我能感觉到爱德华紧紧地跟着我。

“你居然会听我的话。”他很震惊。

“我闻到了血的味道。”我说着,皱起了鼻子。李跟我不一样,他不是因为看到别人的血而不舒服的。

“人类闻不出血的味道。”他反驳道。

“嗯,我可以——那种味道让我不舒服。闻起来就像是铁锈的味道……还有盐。”

他用一种深不可测的神情注视着我。

“怎么了?”我问道。

“没什么。”

迈克从门里出来,逐个看着我和爱德华。他向爱德华投去的眼神证实了爱德华原来说的话——充满了憎恶。他又看回我身上,眼里写满了怒气。

“你看起来好多了。”他的话里有着指责的意味。

“只管把你的手放回口袋里。”我再次提醒他。

“已经不再流血了。”他沉声说道。“你要回来上课吗?”

“你在说笑吗?那样我又得扭头就走,回到这儿来。”

“好吧,我想也是……你这周末会来吧?去海滩?”他说着,又扫了一眼爱德华。后者正一动不动地站在那张混乱不堪的柜台旁,像尊雕塑一样,看着远处的空气。
我尽量让自己的声音听起来友好些:“当然,我一定会去的。”

“十点,我们在我爸的商店门口集合。”他的眼睛又一次飞快地掠过爱德华,想知道自己是不是透露了太多信息。他的身体语言清楚地表明了这不是一个公开的邀请。

“我会去的。”我保证道。

“那么,体育馆见。”他说着,不太确定地向门口走去。

“回见。”我应声说道。他又看了我一会儿,圆圆的脸上露出了不悦。然后他耷拉着肩膀,慢吞吞地走出门去。一股不断膨胀的同情袭击了我。我思索着,想到自己还得再看一次他那张失落的脸……在体育馆里。

“体育馆。”我呻吟了一声。

“我能照看好自己。”我这才注意到,爱德华站到了我的身旁。但他紧贴着我的耳朵低声说道:“去那边坐下来,装出苍白虚弱的样子。”他的声音近乎呢喃。

这不是什么难事。我一向很苍白,而且刚刚的昏厥让我的脸沁出了一层薄汗。我坐在其中一张吱嘎作响的折叠椅上,头抵着墙,闭目养神。晕厥总让我筋疲力尽。

我听见爱德华站在柜台旁柔声说着话。

“柯普女士?”

“怎么了?”我没听见她回到她的桌子上的声音。

“贝拉的下一堂课是体育课,我觉得她还没恢复到能上体育课的地步。事实上,我觉得我应该现在就把她送回家去。您看,能不能准许她下堂课请假呢?”他的声音甜得像融化的蜂蜜一样。我甚至能想象出,他的眼神会是多么的令人难以抗拒。

“你也需要准假吗,爱德华?”柯普女士急不可耐地说道。为什么我就做不到这一点呢?

“不必了,我有高夫太太呢,她不会介意的。”

“好了,一切都安排好了。你感觉好些了吧,贝拉。”她远远地冲我喊道。我虚弱地点点头,为了显得更夸张一些,我只是略微抬了抬头。

“你能走路吗?或者你想让我再把你抱出去?”一背对着那位接待员,他立刻换上了一副挖苦的表情。

“我能自己走。”

我小心翼翼地站起来,感觉还算良好。他为我撑着门,彬彬有礼地微笑着,眼里却写着嘲弄。我走出屋外,踏入凉丝丝的雨雾里。细雨刚开始下,来得正好。感觉好极了——我头一次开始欣赏这些源源不断从天而降的雨水——它们冲刷着我的脸,洗去那些粘湿的冷汗。

“谢谢。”他紧跟着走出来,我对他说道。“可以不用上体育课,生点病也算是物有所值了。”

“不用谢。”他直视着前方,眯着眼看进雨幕里。

“那么,你会来吗?我是指,这周六?”我确实希望他能来,尽管这不太可能。我无法想象出他背着大包小包,和学校里别的孩子一起搭车旅行的情形。他和我们不是同一个世界的人。我大概只能指望他打击一下我,让我感受到足以击溃我对这次远足的热情的第一波痛苦。

“更确切些,你们要去哪里?”他还是面无表情地直视着前方。

“在拉普什那边,第一湾。”我审视着他的脸,试图读懂他的表情。他似乎眯缝起了眼睛,尽管动作极其微小。

他用眼角瞥了我一眼,挖苦地一笑。“我真的不认为我受到了邀请。”

我叹息道。“我刚刚就是在邀请你。”

“这个星期你我就别再刺激可怜的迈克了。我们都不想让他狗急跳墙吧。”他眨巴着眼。他似乎异常喜欢这个想法。

“迈克——笨蛋迈克。”我喃喃自语着,被他说“你我”时的口吻迷住了。我异常喜欢这个说法。

现在我们离停车场很近了。我下意识地转左,向我的卡车走去。某个东西抓住我的夹克,把我拉了回去。

“你以为自己在向哪里走?”他用一种被激怒了的语气问道。他正一把抓住我的夹克



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