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Chapter 8 Port Angeles

    Jess drove faster than the Chief, so we made it to Port Angeles by four.

  It had been a while since I'd had a girls' night out, and the estrogenrush was invigorating. We listened to whiny rock songs while Jessicajabbered on about the boys we hung out with. Jessica's dinner with Mikehad gone very well, and she was hoping that by Saturday night they would have progressed to the first-kiss stage. I smiled to myself, pleased.

  Angela was passively happy to be going to the dance, but not reallyinterested in Eric. Jess tried to get her to confess who her type was,but I interrupted with a question about dresses after a bit, to spareher. Angela threw a grateful glance my way.

  Port Angeles was a beautiful little tourist trap, much more polished andquaint than Forks. But Jessica and Angela knew it well, so they didn'tplan to waste time on the picturesque boardwalk by the bay. Jess drovestraight to the one big department store in town, which was a few streetsin from the bay area's visitor-friendly face.

  The dance was billed as semiformal, and we weren't exactly sure what thatmeant. Both Jessica and Angela seemed surprised and almost disbelievingwhen I told them I'd never been to a dance in Phoenix.

  "Didn't you ever go with a boyfriend or something?" Jess asked dubiouslyas we walked through the front doors of the store.

  "Really," I tried to convince her, not wanting to confess my dancingproblems. "I've never had a boyfriend or anything close. I didn't go outmuch.""Why not?" Jessica demanded.

  "No one asked me," I answered honestly.

  She looked skeptical. "People ask you out here," she reminded me, "andyou tell them no." We were in the juniors' section now, scanning theracks for dress-up clothes.

  "Well, except for Tyler," Angela amended quietly.

  "Excuse me?" I gasped. "What did you say?""Tyler told everyone he's taking you to prom," Jessica informed me withsuspicious eyes.

  "He said what?" I sounded like I was choking.

  "I told you it wasn't true," Angela murmured to Jessica.

  I was silent, still lost in shock that was quickly turning to irritation.

  But we had found the dress racks, and now we had work to do.

  "That's why Lauren doesn't like you," Jessica giggled while we pawedthrough the clothes.

  I ground my teeth. "Do you think that if I ran him over with my truck hewould stop feeling guilty about the accident? That he might give up onmaking amends and call it even?""Maybe," Jess snickered. '"If that's why he's doing this."The dress selection wasn't large, but both of them found a few things totry on. I sat on a low chair just inside the dressing room, by thethree-way mirror, trying to control my fuming.

  Jess was torn between two — one a long, strapless, basic black number,the other a knee-length electric blue with spaghetti straps. I encouragedher to go with the blue; why not play up the eyes? Angela chose a palepink dress that draped around her tall frame nicely and brought out honeytints in her light brown hair. I complimented them both generously andhelped by returning the rejects to their racks. The whole process wasmuch shorter and easier than similar trips I'd taken with Renée at home.

  I guess there was something to be said for limited choices.

  We headed over to shoes and accessories. While they tried things on Imerely watched and critiqued, not in the mood to shop for myself, thoughI did need new shoes. The girls'-night high was wearing off in the wakeof my annoyance at Tyler, leaving room for the gloom to move back in.

   "Angela?" I began, hesitant, while she was trying on a pair of pinkstrappy heels — she was overjoyed to have a date tall enough that shecould wear high heels at all.

  Jessica had drifted to the jewelry counter and we were alone.

  "Yes?" She held her leg out, twisting her ankle to get a better view ofthe shoe.

  I chickened out. "I like those.""I think I'll get them — though they'll never match anything but the onedress," she mused.

  "Oh, go ahead — they're on sale," I encouraged. She smiled, putting thelid back on a box that contained more practical-looking off-white shoes.

  I tried again. "Um, Angela…" She looked up curiously.

  "Is it normal for the… Cullens" — I kept my eyes on the shoes — "to beout of school a lot?" I failed miserably in my attempt to soundnonchalant.

  "Yes, when the weather is good they go backpacking all the time — eventhe doctor. They're all real outdoorsy," she told me quietly, examiningher shoes, too. She didn't ask one question, let alone the hundreds thatJessica would have unleashed. I was beginning to really like Angela.

  "Oh." I let the subject drop as Jessica returned to show us therhinestone jewelry she'd found to match her silver shoes.

  We planned to go to dinner at a little Italian restaurant on theboardwalk, but the dress shopping hadn't taken as long as we'd expected.

  Jess and Angela were going to take their clothes back to the car and thenwalk down to the bay. I told them I would meet them at the restaurant inan hour — I wanted to look for a bookstore. They were both willing tocome with me, but I encouraged them to go have fun — they didn't know howpreoccupied I could get when surrounded by books; it was something Ipreferred to do alone. They walked off to the car chattering happily, andI headed in the direction Jess pointed out.

  I had no trouble finding the bookstore, but it wasn't what I was lookingfor. The windows were full of crystals, dream-catchers, and books aboutspiritual healing. I didn't even go inside. Through the glass I could seea fifty-year-old woman with long, gray hair worn straight down her back,clad in a dress right out of the sixties, smiling welcomingly from behindthe counter. I decided that was one conversation I could skip. There hadto be a normal bookstore in town.

  I meandered through the streets, which were filling up withend-of-the-workday traffic, and hoped I was headed toward downtown. Iwasn't paying as much attention as I should to where I was going; I waswrestling with despair. I was trying so hard not to think about him, andwhat Angela had said… and more than anything trying to beat down my hopesfor Saturday, fearing a disappointment more painful than the rest, when Ilooked up to see someone's silver Volvo parked along the street and itall came crashing down on me. Stupid, unreliable vampire, I thought tomyself.

  I stomped along in a southerly direction, toward some glass-fronted shopsthat looked promising. But when I got to them, they were just a repairshop and a vacant space. I still had too much time to go looking for Jessand Angela yet, and I definitely needed to get my mood in hand before Imet back up with them. I ran my fingers through my hair a couple of timesand took some deep breaths before I continued around the corner.

  I started to realize, as I crossed another road, that I was going thewrong direction. The little foot traffic I had seen was going north, andit looked like the buildings here were mostly warehouses. I decided toturn east at the next corner, and then loop around after a few blocks andtry my luck on a different street on my way back to the boardwalk.

   A group of four men turned around the corner I was heading for, dressedtoo casually to be heading home from the office, but they were too grimyto be tourists. As they approached me, I realized they weren't too manyyears older than I was. They were joking loudly among themselves,laughing raucously and punching each other's arms. I scooted as far tothe inside of the sidewalk as I could to give them room, walking swiftly,looking past them to the corner.

  "Hey, there!" one of them called as they passed, and he had to be talkingto me since no one else was around. I glanced up automatically. Two ofthem had paused, the other two were slowing. The closest, a heavyset,dark-haired man in his early twenties, seemed to be the one who hadspoken. He was wearing a flannel shirt open over a dirty t-shirt, cut-offjeans, and sandals. He took half a step toward me.

  "Hello," I mumbled, a knee-jerk reaction. Then I quickly looked away andwalked faster toward the corner. I could hear them laughing at fullvolume behind me.

  "Hey, wait!" one of them called after me again, but I kept my head downand rounded the corner with a sigh of relief. I could still hear themchortling behind me.

  I found myself on a sidewalk leading past the backs of severalsomber-colored warehouses, each with large bay doors for unloadingtrucks, padlocked for the night. The south side of the street had nosidewalk, only a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire protecting somekind of engine parts storage yard. I'd wandered far past the part of PortAngeles that I, as a guest, was intended to see. It was getting dark, Irealized, the clouds finally returning, piling up on the western horizon,creating an early sunset. The eastern sky was still clear, but graying,shot through with streaks of pink and orange. I'd left my jacket in thecar, and a sudden shiver made me cross my arms tightly across my chest. Asingle van passed me, and then the road was empty.

  The sky suddenly darkened further, and, as I looked over my shoulder toglare at the offending cloud, I realized with a shock that two men werewalking quietly twenty feet behind me.

  They were from the same group I'd passed at the corner, though neitherwas the dark one who'd spoken to me. I turned my head forward at once,quickening my pace. A chill that had nothing to do with the weather mademe shiver again. My purse was on a shoulder strap and I had it slungacross my body, the way you were supposed to wear it so it wouldn't getsnatched. I knew exactly where my pepper spray was — still in my dufflebag under the bed, never unpacked. I didn't have much money with me, justa twenty and some ones, and I thought about "accidentally" dropping mybag and walking away. But a small, frightened voice in the back of mymind warned me that they might be something worse than thieves.

  I listened intently to their quiet footsteps, which were much too quietwhen compared to the boisterous noise they'd been making earlier, and itdidn't sound like they were speeding up, or getting any closer to me.

  Breathe, I had to remind myself. You don't know they're following you. Icontinued to walk as quickly as I could without actually running,focusing on the right-hand turn that was only a few yards away from menow. I could hear them, staying as far back as they'd been before. A bluecar turned onto the street from the south and drove quickly past me. Ithought of jumping out in front of it, but I hesitated, inhibited, unsurethat I was really being pursued, and then it was too late.

  I reached the corner, but a swift glance revealed that it was only ablind drive to the back of another building. I was half-turned inanticipation; I had to hurriedly correct and dash across the narrowdrive, back to the sidewalk. The street ended at the next corner, wherethere was a stop sign. I concentrated on the faint footsteps behind me,deciding whether or not to run. They sounded farther back, though, and Iknew they could outrun me in any case. I was sure to trip and gosprawling if I tried to go any faster. The footfalls were definitelyfarther back. I risked a quick glance over my shoulder, and they weremaybe forty feet back now, I saw with relief. But they were both staringat me.

   It seemed to take forever for me to get to the corner. I kept my pacesteady, the men behind me falling ever so slightly farther behind withevery step. Maybe they realized they had scared me and were sorry. I sawtwo cars going north pass the intersection I was heading for, and Iexhaled in relief. There would be more people around once I got off thisdeserted street. I skipped around the corner with a grateful sigh.

  And skidded to a stop.

  The street was lined on both sides by blank, doorless, windowless walls.

  I could see in the distance, two intersections down, streetlamps, cars,and more pedestrians, but they were all too far away. Because loungingagainst the western building, midway down the street, were the other twomen from the group, both watching with excited smiles as I froze dead onthe sidewalk. I realized then that I wasn't being followed.

  I was being herded.

  I paused for only a second, but it felt like a very long time. I turnedthen and darted to the other side of the road. I had a sinking feelingthat it was a wasted attempt. The footsteps behind me were louder now.

  "There you are!" The booming voice of the stocky, dark-haired manshattered the intense quiet and made me jump. In the gathering darkness,it seemed like he was looking past me.

  "Yeah," a voice called loudly from behind me, making me jump again as Itried to hurry down the street. "We just took a little detour."My steps had to slow now. I was closing the distance between myself andthe lounging pair too quickly. I had a good loud scream, and I sucked inair, preparing to use it, but my throat was so dry I wasn't sure how muchvolume I could manage. With a quick movement I slipped my purse over myhead, gripping the strap with one hand, ready to surrender it or use itas weapon as need demanded.

  The thickset man shrugged away from the wall as I warily came to a stop,and walked slowly into the street.

  "Stay away from me," I warned in a voice that was supposed to soundstrong and fearless. But I was right about the dry throat — no volume.

  "Don't be like that, sugar," he called, and the raucous laughter startedagain behind me.

  I braced myself, feet apart, trying to remember through my panic whatlittle self-defense I knew. Heel of the hand thrust upward, hopefullybreaking the nose or shoving it into the brain. Finger through the eyesocket — try to hook around and pop the eye out. And the standard knee tothe groin, of course. That same pessimistic voice in my mind spoke upthen, reminding me that I probably wouldn't have a chance against one ofthem, and there were four. Shut up! I commanded the voice before terrorcould incapacitate me. I wasn't going out without taking someone with me.

  I tried to swallow so I could build up a decent scream.

  Headlights suddenly flew around the corner, the car almost hitting thestocky one, forcing him to jump back toward the sidewalk. I dove into theroad — this car was going to stop, or have to hit me. But the silver carunexpectedly fishtailed around, skidding to a stop with the passengerdoor open just a few feet from me.

  "Get in," a furious voice commanded.

  It was amazing how instantaneously the choking fear vanished, amazing howsuddenly the feeling of security washed over me — even before I was offthe street — as soon as I heard his voice. I jumped into the seat,slamming the door shut behind me.

  It was dark in the car, no light had come on with the opening of thedoor, and I could barely see his face in the glow from the dashboard. Thetires squealed as he spun around to face north, accelerating too quickly, swerving toward the stunned men on the street. I caught a glimpse of themdiving for the sidewalk as we straightened out and sped toward the harbor.

  "Put on your seat belt," he commanded, and I realized I was clutching theseat with both hands. I quickly obeyed; the snap as the belt connectedwas loud in the darkness. He took a sharp left, racing forward, blowingthrough several stop signs without a pause.

  But I felt utterly safe and, for the moment, totally unconcerned aboutwhere we were going. I stared at his face in profound relief, relief thatwent beyond my sudden deliverance. I studied his flawless features in thelimited light, waiting for my breath to return to normal, until itoccurred to me that his expression was murderously angry.

  "Are you okay?" I asked, surprised at how hoarse my voice sounded.

  "No," he said curtly, and his tone was livid.

  I sat in silence, watching his face while his blazing eyes staredstraight ahead, until the car came to a sudden stop. I glanced around,but it was too dark to see anything beside the vague outline of darktrees crowding the roadside. We weren't in town anymore.

  "Bella?" he asked, his voice tight, controlled.

  "Yes?" My voice was still rough. I tried to clear my throat quietly.

  "Are you all right?" He still didn't look at me, but the fury was plainon his face.

  "Yes," I croaked softly.

  "Distract me, please," he ordered.

  "I'm sorry, what?"He exhaled sharply.

  "Just prattle about something unimportant until I calm down," heclarified, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose with histhumb and forefinger.

  "Um." I wracked my brain for something trivial. "I'm going to run overTyler Crowley tomorrow before school?"He was still squeezing his eyes closed, but the corner of his mouthtwitched.

  "Why?""He's telling everyone that he's taking me to prom — either he's insaneor he's still trying to make up for almost killing me last… well, youremember it, and he thinks prom is somehow the correct way to do this. SoI figure if I endanger his life, then we're even, and he can't keeptrying to make amends. I don't need enemies and maybe Lauren would backoff if he left me alone. I might have to total his Sentra, though. If hedoesn't have a ride he can't take anyone to prom…" I babbled on.

  "I heard about that." He sounded a bit more composed.

  "You did?" I asked in disbelief, my previous irritation flaring. "If he'sparalyzed from the neck down, he can't go to the prom, either," Imuttered, refining my plan.

  Edward sighed, and finally opened his eyes.

  "Better?""Not really."I waited, but he didn't speak again. He leaned his head back against theseat, staring at the ceiling of the car. His face was rigid.

   "What's wrong?" My voice came out in a whisper.

  "Sometimes I have a problem with my temper, Bella." He was whispering,too, and as he stared out the window, his eyes narrowed into slits. "Butit wouldn't be helpful for me to turn around and hunt down those…" Hedidn't finish his sentence, looking away, struggling for a moment tocontrol his anger again. "At least," he continued, "that's what I'mtrying to convince myself.""Oh." The word seemed inadequate, but I couldn't think of a betterresponse.

  We sat in silence again. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard. It waspast six-thirty.

  "Jessica and Angela will be worried," I murmured. "I was supposed to meetthem."He started the engine without another word, turning around smoothly andspeeding back toward town. We were under the streetlights in no time atall, still going too fast, weaving with ease through the cars slowlycruising the boardwalk. He parallel-parked against the curb in a space Iwould have thought much too small for the Volvo, but he slid ineffortlessly in one try. I looked out the window to see the lights of LaBella Italia, and Jess and Angela just leaving, pacing anxiously awayfrom us.

  "How did you know where… ?" I began, but then I just shook my head. Iheard the door open and turned to see him getting out.

  "What are you doing?" I asked.

  "I'm taking you to dinner." He smiled slightly, but his eyes were hard.

  He stepped out of the car and slammed the door. I fumbled with my seatbelt, and then hurried to get out of the car as well. He was waiting forme on the sidewalk.

  He spoke before I could. "Go stop Jessica and Angela before I have totrack them down, too. I don't think I could restrain myself if I ran intoyour other friends again."I shivered at the threat in his voice.

  "Jess! Angela!" I yelled after them, waving when they turned. They rushedback to me, the pronounced relief on both their faces simultaneouslychanging to surprise as they saw who I was standing next to. Theyhesitated a few feet from us.

  "Where have you been?" Jessica's voice was suspicious.

  "I got lost," I admitted sheepishly. "And then I ran into Edward." Igestured toward him.

  "Would it be all right if I joined you?" he asked in his silken,irresistible voice. I could see from their staggered expressions that hehad never unleashed his talents on them before.

  "Er… sure," Jessica breathed.

  "Um, actually, Bella, we already ate while we were waiting — sorry,"Angela confessed.

  "That's fine — I'm not hungry." I shrugged.

  "I think you should eat something." Edward's voice was low, but full ofauthority. He looked up at Jessica and spoke slightly louder. "Do youmind if I drive Bella home tonight? That way you won't have to wait whileshe eats.""Uh, no problem, I guess…" She bit her lip, trying to figure out from myexpression whether that was what I wanted. I winked at her. I wanted nothing more than to be alone with my perpetual savior. There were somany questions that I couldn't bombard him with till we were by ourselves.

  "Okay." Angela was quicker than Jessica. "See you tomorrow, Bella…Edward." She grabbed Jessica's hand and pulled her toward the car, whichI could see a little ways away, parked across First Street. As they gotin, Jess turned and waved, her face eager with curiosity. I waved back,waiting for them to drive away before I turned to face him.

  "Honestly, I'm not hungry," I insisted, looking up to scrutinize hisface. His expression was unreadable.

  "Humor me."He walked to the door of the restaurant and held it open with anobstinate expression. Obviously, there would be no further discussion. Iwalked past him into the restaurant with a resigned sigh.

  The restaurant wasn't crowded — it was the off-season in Port Angeles.

  The host was female, and I understood the look in her eyes as sheassessed Edward. She welcomed him a little more warmly than necessary. Iwas surprised by how much that bothered me. She was several inches tallerthan I was, and unnaturally blond.

  "A table for two?" His voice was alluring, whether he was aiming for thator not. I saw her eyes flicker to me and then away, satisfied by myobvious ordinariness, and by the cautious, no-contact space Edward keptbetween us. She led us to a table big enough for four in the center ofthe most crowded area of the dining floor.

  I was about to sit, but Edward shook his head at me.

  "Perhaps something more private?" he insisted quietly to the host. Iwasn't sure, but it looked like he smoothly handed her a tip. I'd neverseen anyone refuse a table except in old movies.

  "Sure." She sounded as surprised as I was. She turned and led us around apartition to a small ring of booths — all of them empty. "How's this?""Perfect." He flashed his gleaming smile, dazing her momentarily.

  "Um" — she shook her head, blinking — "your server will be right out."She walked away unsteadily.

  "You really shouldn't do that to people," I criticized. "It's hardlyfair.""Do what?""Dazzle them like that — she's probably hyperventilating in the kitchenright now."He seemed confused.

  "Oh, come on," I said dubiously. "You have to know the effect you have onpeople."He tilted his head to one side, and his eyes were curious. "I dazzlepeople?""You haven't noticed? Do you think everybody gets their way so easily?"He ignored my questions. "Do I dazzle you?""Frequently," I admitted.

  And then our server arrived, her face expectant. The hostess haddefinitely dished behind the scenes, and this new girl didn't lookdisappointed. She flipped a strand of short black hair behind one ear andsmiled with unnecessary warmth.

  "Hello. My name is Amber, and I'll be your server tonight. What can I get you to drink?" I didn't miss that she was speaking only to him.

  He looked at me.

  "I'll have a Coke." It sounded like a question.

  "Two Cokes," he said.

  "I'll be right back with that," she assured him with another unnecessarysmile. But he didn't see it. He was watching me.

  "What?" I asked when she left.

  His eyes stayed fixed on my face. "How are you feeling?""I'm fine," I replied, surprised by his intensity.

  "You don't feel dizzy, sick, cold… ?""Should I?"He chuckled at my puzzled tone.

  "Well, I'm actually waiting for you to go into shock." His face twistedup into that perfect crooked smile.

  "I don't think that will happen," I said after I could breathe again.

  "I've always been very good at repressing unpleasant things.""Just the same, I'll feel better when you have some sugar and food inyou."Right on cue, the waitress appeared with our drinks and a basket ofbreadsticks. She stood with her back to me as she placed them on thetable.

  "Are you ready to order?" she asked Edward.

  "Bella?" he asked. She turned unwillingly toward me.

  I picked the first thing I saw on the menu. "Um… I'll have the mushroomravioli.""And you?" She turned back to him with a smile.

  "Nothing for me," he said. Of course not.

  "Let me know if you change your mind." The coy smile was still in place,but he wasn't looking at her, and she left dissatisfied.

  "Drink," he ordered.

  I sipped at my soda obediently, and then drank more deeply, surprised byhow thirsty I was. I realized I had finished the whole thing when hepushed his glass toward me.

  "Thanks," I muttered, still thirsty. The cold from the icy soda wasradiating through my chest, and I shivered.

  "Are you cold?""It's just the Coke," I explained, shivering again.

  "Don't you have a jacket?" His voice was disapproving.

  "Yes." I looked at the empty bench next to me. "Oh — I left it inJessica's car," I realized.

  Edward was shrugging out of his jacket. I suddenly realized that I hadnever once noticed what he was wearing — not just tonight, but ever. Ijust couldn't seem to look away from his face. I made myself look now,focusing. He was removing a light beige leather jacket now; underneath he wore an ivory turtleneck sweater. It fit him snugly, emphasizing howmuscular his chest was.

  He handed me the jacket, interrupting my ogling.

  "Thanks," I said again, sliding my arms into his jacket. It was cold —the way my jacket felt when I first picked it up in the morning, hangingin the drafty hallway. I shivered again. It smelled amazing. I inhaled,trying to identify the delicious scent. It didn't smell like cologne. Thesleeves were much too long; I shoved them back so I could free my hands.

  "That color blue looks lovely with your skin," he said, watching me. Iwas surprised; I looked down, flushing, of course.

  He pushed the bread basket toward me.

  "Really, I'm not going into shock," I protested.

  "You should be — a normal person would be. You don't even look shaken."He seemed unsettled. He stared into my eyes, and I saw how light his eyeswere, lighter than I'd ever seen them, golden butterscotch.

  "I feel very safe with you," I confessed, mesmerized into telling thetruth again.

  That displeased him; his alabaster brow furrowed. He shook his head,frowning.

  "This is more complicated than I'd planned," he murmured to himself.

  I picked up a breadstick and began nibbling on the end, measuring hisexpression. I wondered when it would be okay to start questioning him.

  "Usually you're in a better mood when your eyes are so light," Icommented, trying to distract him from whatever thought had left himfrowning and somber.

  He stared at me, stunned. "What?""You're always crabbier when your eyes are black — I expect it then," Iwent on. "I have a theory about that."His eyes narrowed. "More theories?""Mm-hm." I chewed on a small bite of the bread, trying to lookindifferent.

  "I hope you were more creative this time… or are you still stealing fromcomic books?" His faint smile was mocking; his eyes were still tight.

  "Well, no, I didn't get it from a comic book, but I didn't come up withit on my own, either," I confessed.

  "And?" he prompted.

  But then the waitress strode around the partition with my food. Irealized we'd been unconsciously leaning toward each other across thetable, because we both straightened up as she approached. She set thedish in front of me — it looked pretty good — and turned quickly toEdward.

  "Did you change your mind?" she asked. "Isn't there anything I can getyou?" I may have been imagining the double meaning in her words.

  "No, thank you, but some more soda would be nice." He gestured with along white hand to the empty cups in front of me.

  "Sure." She removed the empty glasses and walked away.

  "You were saying?" he asked.

  "I'll tell you about it in the car. If…" I paused.

   "There are conditions?" He raised one eyebrow, his voice ominous.

  "I do have a few questions, of course.""Of course."The waitress was back with two more Cokes. She sat them down without aword this time, and left again.

  I took a sip.

  "Well, go ahead," he pushed, his voice still hard.

  I started with the most undemanding. Or so I thought. "Why are you inPort Angeles?"He looked down, folding his large hands together slowly on the table. Hiseyes flickered up at me from under his lashes, the hint of a smirk on hisface.

  "Next.""But that's the easiest one," I objected.

  "Next," he repeated.

  I looked down, frustrated. I unrolled my silverware, picked up my fork,and carefully speared a ravioli. I put it in my mouth slowly, stilllooking down, chewing while I thought. The mushrooms were good. Iswallowed and took another sip of Coke before I looked up.

  "Okay, then." I glared at him, and continued slowly. "Let's say,hypothetically of course, that… someone… could know what people arethinking, read minds, you know — with a few exceptions.""Just one exception," he corrected, "hypothetically.""All right, with one exception, then." I was thrilled that he was playingalong, but I tried to seem casual.

  "How does that work? What are the limitations? How would… that someone…find someone else at exactly the right time? How would he know she was introuble?" I wondered if my convoluted questions even made sense.

  "Hypothetically?" he asked.

  "Sure.""Well, if… that someone…""Let's call him 'Joe,'" I suggested.

  He smiled wryly. "Joe, then. If Joe had been paying attention, the timingwouldn't have needed to be quite so exact." He shook his head, rollinghis eyes. "Only you could get into trouble in a town this small. Youwould have devastated their crime rate statistics for a decade, you know.""We were speaking of a hypothetical case," I reminded him frostily.

  He laughed at me, his eyes warm.

  "Yes, we were," he agreed. "Shall we call you 'Jane'?""How did you know?" I asked, unable to curb my intensity. I realized Iwas leaning toward him again.

  He seemed to be wavering, torn by some internal dilemma. His eyes lockedwith mine, and I guessed he was making the decision right then whether ornot to simply tell me the truth.

  "You can trust me, you know," I murmured. I reached forward, without thinking, to touch his folded hands, but he slid them away minutely, andI pulled my hand back.

  "I don't know if I have a choice anymore." His voice was almost awhisper. "I was wrong — you're much more observant than I gave you creditfor.""I thought you were always right.""I used to be." He shook his head again. "I was wrong about you on oneother thing, as well. You're not a magnet for accidents — that's not abroad enough classification. You are a magnet for trouble. If there isanything dangerous within a ten-mile radius, it will invariably find you.""And you put yourself into that category?" I guessed.

  His face turned cold, expressionless. "Unequivocally."I stretched my hand across the table again — ignoring him when he pulledback slightly once more — to touch the back of his hand shyly with myfingertips. His skin was cold and hard, like a stone.

  "Thank you." My voice was fervent with gratitude. "That's twice now."His face softened. "Let's not try for three, agreed?"I scowled, but nodded. He moved his hand out from under mine, placingboth of his under the table. But he leaned toward me.

  "I followed you to Port Angeles," he admitted, speaking in a rush. "I'venever tried to keep a specific person alive before, and it's much moretroublesome than I would have believed. But that's probably just becauseit's you. Ordinary people seem to make it through the day without so manycatastrophes." He paused. I wondered if it should bother me that he wasfollowing me; instead I felt a strange surge of pleasure. He stared,maybe wondering why my lips were curving into an involuntary smile.

  "Did you ever think that maybe my number was up the first time, with thevan, and that you've been interfering with fate?" I speculated,distracting myself.

  "That wasn't the first time," he said, and his voice was hard to hear. Istared at him in amazement, but he was looking down. "Your number was upthe first time I met you."I felt a spasm of fear at his words, and the abrupt memory of his violentblack glare that first day… but the overwhelming sense of safety I feltin his presence stifled it. By the time he looked up to read my eyes,there was no trace of fear in them.

  "You remember?" he asked, his angel's face grave.

  "Yes." I was calm.

  "And yet here you sit." There was a trace of disbelief in his voice; heraised one eyebrow.

  "Yes, here I sit… because of you." I paused. "Because somehow you knewhow to find me today… ?" I prompted.

  He pressed his lips together, staring at me through narrowed eyes,deciding again. His eyes flashed down to my full plate, and then back tome.

  "You eat, I'll talk," he bargained.

  I quickly scooped up another ravioli and popped it in my mouth.

  "It's harder than it should be — keeping track of you. Usually I can findsomeone very easily, once I've heard their mind before." He looked at meanxiously, and I realized I had frozen. I made myself swallow, thenstabbed another ravioli and tossed it in.

   "I was keeping tabs on Jessica, not carefully — like I said, only youcould find trouble in Port Angeles — and at first I didn't notice whenyou took off on your own. Then, when I realized that you weren't with heranymore, I went looking for you at the bookstore I saw in her head. Icould tell that you hadn't gone in, and that you'd gone south… and I knewyou would have to turn around soon. So I was just waiting for you,randomly searching through the thoughts of people on the street — to seeif anyone had noticed you so I would know where you were. I had no reasonto be worried… but I was strangely anxious…" He was lost in thought,staring past me, seeing things I couldn't imagine.

  "I started to drive in circles, still… listening. The sun was finallysetting, and I was about to get out and follow you on foot. And then —"He stopped, clenching his teeth together in sudden fury. He made aneffort to calm himself.

  "Then what?" I whispered. He continued to stare over my head.

  "I heard what they were thinking," he growled, his upper lip curlingslightly back over his teeth. "I saw your face in his mind." He suddenlyleaned forward, one elbow appearing on the table, his hand covering hiseyes. The movement was so swift it startled me.

  "It was very… hard — you can't imagine how hard — for me to simply takeyou away, and leave them… alive." His voice was muffled by his arm. "Icould have let you go with Jessica and Angela, but I was afraid if youleft me alone, I would go looking for them," he admitted in a whisper.

  I sat quietly, dazed, my thoughts incoherent. My hands were folded in mylap, and I was leaning weakly against the back of the seat. He still hadhis face in his hand, and he was as still as if he'd been carved from thestone his skin resembled.

  Finally he looked up, his eyes seeking mine, full of his own questions.

  "Are you ready to go home?" he asked.

  "I'm ready to leave," I qualified, overly grateful that we had thehour-long ride home together. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to him.

  The waitress appeared as if she'd been called. Or watching.

  "How are we doing?" she asked Edward.

  "We're ready for the check, thank you." His voice was quiet, rougher,still reflecting the strain of our conversation. It seemed to muddle her.

  He looked up, waiting.

  "S-sure," she stuttered. "Here you go." She pulled a small leather folderfrom the front pocket of her black apron and handed it to him.

  There was a bill in his hand already. He slipped it into the folder andhanded it right back to her.

  "No change." He smiled. Then he stood up, and I scrambled awkwardly to myfeet.

  She smiled invitingly at him again. "You have a nice evening."He didn't look away from me as he thanked her. I suppressed a smile.

  He walked close beside me to the door, still careful not to touch me. Iremembered what Jessica had said about her relationship with Mike, howthey were almost to the first-kiss stage. I sighed. Edward seemed to hearme, and he looked down curiously. I looked at the sidewalk, grateful thathe didn't seem to be able to know what I was thinking.

  He opened the passenger door, holding it for me as I stepped in, shuttingit softly behind me. I watched him walk around the front of the car,amazed, yet again, by how graceful he was. I probably should have beenused to that by now — but I wasn't. I had a feeling Edward wasn't the kind of person anyone got used to.

  Once inside the car, he started the engine and turned the heater on high.

  It had gotten very cold, and I guessed the good weather was at an end. Iwas warm in his jacket, though, breathing in the scent of it when Ithought he couldn't see.

  Edward pulled out through the traffic, apparently without a glance,flipping around to head toward the freeway.

  "Now," he said significantly, "it's your turn."

第八章 天使港

杰西开车比警长还快,所以我们四点就到了天使港。距我的上一次女孩夜间出行已经有一段时间了,所以在我体内奔涌的雌性激素让我十分亢奋。(继续膜拜梅尔。。。)我们听着烦人的摇滚乐,杰西卡含糊不清地说着和我们一起玩的男孩。杰西卡和迈克的晚餐进行得相当顺利,她希望周六晚上他们可以进展到初吻阶段。我愉快地向自己笑了笑。安吉拉只是随大流地对参加舞会感到高兴,但对埃里克真的没什么兴趣。杰西试图逼供出她喜欢的男生类型,但稍后就被我用一个关于衣服的提问给打断了,便放过了她。安吉拉向我投来感激的一瞥。

天使港是个小巧精致的专坑游客的风景点,比福克斯更漂亮,更有趣。但杰西卡和安吉拉对这里很熟,所以她们根本没在岸边的观光大道浪费时间。杰西径直开向了镇上一家大型百货商店,那里和戴着游客至上的面具的海岸区域只隔着几条街道。

海报上说这是一次半正式舞会,但我们不太能肯定那意味着什么。当我告诉杰西卡和安吉拉在凤凰城我从没参加过舞会的时候,她们两个都大吃一惊,简直难以置信。

“难道你从来都没有跟男朋友或者之类的人去过吗?”我们穿过商店的前门时,杰西卡怀疑地问道。

“真的。”我力求让她相信这一点,不想坦白承认我的跳舞问题。“我从来没有过男朋友,或者类似的人。我很少出去。”

“为什么不出去呢?”杰西卡盘问道。

“没人邀请我。”我如实答道。

她看上去仍在怀疑。“这里有人邀请你出去,”她提醒我,“可你都对他们说不。”我们正在青春时尚区,细看着一排排派对服饰。

“嗯,除了泰勒。”安吉拉默默地更正道。

“不好意思,”我喘着气说道。“你在说什么?”

“泰勒告诉每一个人他将会和你一起去正式舞会。”杰西卡用怀疑的眼神告诉我。

“他说什么?”我的声音听起来像是要窒息了。

“我告诉过你那不是真的。”安吉拉对杰西卡低声抱怨道

我沉默着,依然沉浸在打击之中,然后很快变成了愤怒。但我们已经找到衣架了,现在我们有活干了。

“这就是为什么劳伦不喜欢你。”当我们翻拣着衣服的时候,杰西卡咯咯地笑着对我说。

我把牙咬得咯咯直响。“你觉得,要是我开着我的卡车从他身上碾过去,他会不会不再对对那次事故感到内疚?他会不会放弃弥补他的过错甚至回过头来要求我补偿他?”

“也许吧。”杰西窃笑着说。“也许这就是他这样做的原因。”

这里的裙子不算很多,但她们两个都找到了不少值得试穿的衣服。我坐在更衣室里的一张矮脚凳上,靠着那块三面镜,试图控制自己七窍生烟的愤怒。

杰西在两条裙子中挣扎着——一件是长款无肩带的经典黑色礼服,另一件是及膝细肩带的铁蓝色礼服。我推荐她选蓝色那件,为什么不抓住人们的眼球呢?安吉拉选了一条淡粉色裙子,它恰到好处地裹住她纤长的身形,给她浅棕色的头发增添了几分甜美。我毫不吝啬地赞美她们,帮忙把她们不要的衣服挂回衣架上。整个过程比我在家陪蕾妮购物时要短暂和容易得多。我猜想,如果真要说是为什么的话,是因为这里的选择很有限。
我们又冲去买鞋子和饰品。当她们试穿的时候我只是在一旁看着提供意见,没有心情给自己买东西,尽管我确实需要买新鞋了。女孩之夜带来的亢奋在我回想起对泰勒的厌恶以后已经快要消失殆尽了,给忧郁留下了卷土重来的空间。

“安吉拉?”在她试穿一双粉色的装饰着皮革的高跟鞋时,我迟疑着开了口。她正为有一个足够高的舞伴而欣喜若狂,这样他就能穿高跟鞋了。

杰西卡已经逛到了珠宝柜台,留下我们两个在一起。

“怎么了?”她伸出腿,转过脚踝,想要更好地看看这双鞋。

我的勇气又用完了,只好放弃。“我喜欢这双。”

“我想我可以把它们买下来——虽然除了一条裙子它们什么也不搭。”她若有所思地说着。

“哦,别犹豫——他们正在打折呢。”我鼓励道。她微笑着,盖上那只装着一对看起来更实用的白色鞋子的盒子。

我再次尝试。“呃,安吉拉……”她好奇地抬起头。

“这是不是很正常……对卡伦家的孩子来说,”我的眼睛盯着她的鞋子。“就是,经常不来上学?”我试着让自己的声音显得漠不关心,却悲惨地以失败告终。

“是的,当天气晴好的时候他们会把所有的时间都花在徒步旅行上——甚至包括医生本人。他们都非常喜欢户外活动。”她平静地告诉我,依然在检查她想鞋子。她甚至没有问一个问题,更别提杰西卡会连珠炮似的发问的成百个问题了。我真的开始喜欢安吉拉了。

“哦。”当杰西卡折返回来向我们展示她发现的那件可以搭配她的银色鞋子的人造宝石项链时,我丢下了这个话题。

我们计划去观光大道上的一家意大利小餐厅吃晚饭,但买衣服所花的时间并没有像我们期待的那样长。杰西和安吉拉打算把她们的衣服拿回车里,再走到海港那里。我告诉她们一个小时以后在餐厅里等她们——我想去找一家书店。她们都很乐意陪我去,但我鼓励她们去玩得开心点——她们都不知道当我被书包围的时候我会多么的沉迷。这是我更情愿一个人做的事。她们向车子走去,开心地闲聊着,而我则直奔向杰西所指的方向。

我毫不费力就找到了那家书店,但它并不是我想找的那种书店。橱窗里摆满了水晶球,捕梦网,以及关于精神治疗的书。我甚至不想走进去。透过玻璃,我能看到一个五十岁左右的女人,灰色的头发直直地耷拉在她的背上。她裹着一条六十年代时就已经过时了的裙子,站在柜台后露出热烈欢迎的微笑。我认为我完全可以跳过和她对话这一步。镇上一定还有一家更正常的书店。

我漫步着穿过街道,一心希望自己正在走向闹市区,街上正挤满了下班的车流。我没太留意自己该向哪个方向走去。我正在全力应付着心头的失落。我如此努力地不让自己去想他。而安吉拉所说的……还有更多事情试图击倒我对周六的希望。当我抬头看见别人的银色沃尔沃停在路边时,我感到了一阵更为痛苦的失望,这几乎把我给击垮了。愚蠢,不可靠的吸血鬼,我自忖着。

我重重地踏着步子,向更南的方向走去,走向几家正面是玻璃墙的,看起来比较可靠的商店。但当我走过去的时候,才发现那只是一家维修店和一间闲置的店面。我还是有很多时间,没有必要现在就回过头去找杰西和安吉拉。而且在跟她们碰头以前,我确实需要把自己的情绪调整好。我用手指捋了几下头发,做了好几次深呼吸,然后继续转过街角。
当我穿过另一条街道时,我开始意识到,我走错方向了。我看到的仅有的几辆车都是往北去的,而这里的建筑看起来更像是仓库。我决定在下一个路口向东走,然后在走了几个街区原地打转,试图碰碰运气,找到另一条走回观光大道的路。

几个男人成群结队地从我正在走向的街角走出来,穿着如此随便,就好像是在下班回家的路上,但他们都脏兮兮的,看上去不像是游客。当他们走到我面前时,我意识到他们没比我大几岁。他们在大声地开着彼此的玩笑,刺耳地大笑着,相互推搡着胳膊。我飞快地躲到人行道内侧,给他们让出路来,很快地走过去,想要从他们身边走过去穿过街角。

“嘿,这儿!”当他们经过的时候,其中一个喊道。他只能是在跟我说话,因为周围根本没有别人。我下意识地抬起头,他们中的两个停了下来,另外两个还在慢慢走着。离我最近的那个体格魁梧的黑发男人看上去才二十出头,似乎就是刚刚说话的那人。他穿着一件敞开着的法兰绒衬衣,里面穿着一件肮脏的T恤衫,牛仔裤破破烂烂的,还穿着凉鞋。他向我迈了一步。

“你好。”纯粹是下意识地,我低声说道。然后我飞快地看向别处,加速向拐角处走去。我能听到他们在我身后高声大笑着。

“嘿,等等!”他们中的一个又在我背后喊道,但我继续向前冲,直到转过街角,才安下心来,松了一口气。我依然能提到从背后传来的他们得意的高笑。

我发现自己站在一条人行道上,它通向几座暗色调的大仓库背后,每一座仓库都有着巨大的供货车卸货用到车库门,因为到了晚上而紧锁着。街道南面没有人行道,只有一道高高围起的,上面安着带刺的铁丝网,保卫着高墙后存放着重要货物的远足。我看出来了,作为一个人生地不熟的访客,我离天使港那边已经相当远了。我意识到,天色越来越黯淡,云层最终又聚拢来了,堆积在西边的地平线上,让日落提前了。东边的天空依然晴朗,却灰蒙蒙的,布满了粉色和橙色的光纹。我把夹克留在了车里,一阵忽然的战栗让我紧紧地把双臂抱在胸前。一辆单厢货车从我身边开过,然后路面又变得空荡荡起来。

天忽然黑得更快了,然后当我越过自己的肩膀看向那片烦人的云彩时,我震惊地注意到两个男人正在我身后二十英尺外的地方悄无声息地向我走来。

他们是刚刚在街角和我擦身而过的那伙人,但不是刚刚和我说话的那个肤色黝黑的人。我立刻转过头,加快了脚步。一阵与天气无关的寒意又一次让我战栗起来。我的钱包用一根皮带斜挎在身上,我把它紧紧地捂在身上,就是那种你能想到的姿势,这样它就不容易被抢走了。我确切地知道我的防狼喷雾在那里——仍在我床底下的登山包里,还没开封。我身上没有多少钱,只有二十几美元。我考虑着“不小心”让我的包掉下去,然后快步走开。但是,我脑后的一个小小的,吓人的声音警告着我,他们可能会是比强盗更糟糕的人。

我专注地聆听着他们安静的脚步声,但比起他们之前发出的嘈杂的噪音,这实在是太安静了点。听起来他们也没有任何加速或者靠近我的意思。呼吸,我不得不提醒自己。你不知道他们是不是真的在跟着你。我继续快步走着,速度快得就差没跑起来,专注地盯着现在离我只有几码远的右手边的转角处。我能听到,他们和我依然保持着原来的距离。一辆蓝色的小车从南边开进这条街道,飞快地从我身边开过。我想过跳到车前把它截住,但我犹豫了。我抑制住自己的冲动,是因为不敢确定自己是不是真的被跟踪了。然后,已经太迟了。 
 我走到拐角处,飞快地瞥了一眼,发现那只是通往另一幢建筑物的断头路。我中途改变了主意。我不得不赶紧改变方向,冲过那条狭窄的车道,然后回到人行道上。这条道路在下一个拐角处中断了。那里有一个停下的标志。我把注意力集中在身后微弱的脚步声上,考虑着要不要逃跑。但是,他们听起来在背后更远的地方,而且我知道无论如何他们都会跑过我的。如果我试图跑快些,我一定会被绊到,然后躺倒在地上。脚步声显然是从后面更远的地方传来的。我冒险飞快地向肩膀后扫了一眼,然后宽慰地看到,他们现在在离我大概有四十英尺的距离。但他们都在盯着我。

我似乎永远也不可能走到拐角处。我尽量让自己的步子踏得稳一些,那两个被我远远地抛在后面的男人每一步都走得那么的轻。也许是他们意识到自己吓着我了,所以感到抱歉。我看见两辆车一路向北开进了我正在前往的那个十字路口,我宽慰地松了口气。等我离开这条荒芜的街道的时候,周围一定会有更多人的。我轻快地跳过拐角,感激地叹了口气。

然后脚下一滑,停在那里。

这条街道两旁全是空白的,没有门窗的墙。我能看见在远处两个十字路口以外的地方,有街灯,有车流,还有更多的行人,但那些都太远了。因为在这条街的中部,在西边的建筑物旁闲逛着的,正是那伙人中另外两个。当我僵在人行道上的时候,他们都兴奋地笑着看着我。然后我意识到,我没有被跟踪。

我被堵截了。
我只停顿了一秒,但却像一个世纪一样漫长。我转过身去,向路的另一头冲去。我有种沉重的感觉,知道这只是一次白费力的尝试。我身后的脚步声现在变响了。

“你来啦!”从那个健壮结实的黑发男人口中发出的浑厚的说话声打破这片紧绷的宁静,把我吓了一跳。在逐渐聚拢的黑暗中,他似乎是在向我身后看去。

“是啊。”在我试图飞快地穿过街道时,一个声音从我身后大喊着,又把我吓了一跳。“我们只是绕了点路。”

现在我不得不放慢了脚步。我把自己跟那两个闲逛的人的距离缩短得太快了。我的尖叫相当地响亮,我深吸了一口气,准备让它派上用场。但我的嗓子实在太干了,我不敢肯定我能发出多大的音量。我飞快地把钱包越过头取下来,用一只手紧紧地攥着那条皮带,准备把它交出来,或者在必要的时候当成武器用。

当我警惕着停下脚步的时候,慢慢地向街道走去的时候,那个矮胖的男人在墙那边耸了耸肩。

“离我远点。”我警告着,猜想着自己的声音听起来有力而且无畏。但我对喉咙太干的判断是正确的——音量不够。
“别这样,甜心。”他喊道,然后一片沙哑的笑声又在我背后响起。

我鼓起勇气,分腿站立,试图在恐惧中记起我知道的那些少得可怜的防身术。手腕外侧向上猛刺,有望打断鼻梁或者把它挤进脑袋里。手指向眼窝猛刺——努力向上钩起,把眼珠子剜出来。当然,还有标准的膝撞腹股沟。同一个悲观的声音在我脑海里大声说着,提醒我很有可能根本没有胜算对抗其中的一个,更何况这里有四个人。闭嘴!我赶在恐惧击倒我以前对那个声音下令。如果没人帮我,我根本不可能逃出生天。我试图吞咽了一下,好发出足够响亮的尖叫。
车灯忽然从转角处飞快地冲过来,那辆车几乎撞上了那个矮胖的男人,逼得他跳回了人行道上。我冲到路上——这辆车要么停下来,要么就得撞上我了。但那辆车出人意料地摆尾急转,骤然停在离我几英尺远的地方,乘客座的门打开了。

“上车。”一个狂怒的声音命令道。

这实在是太惊人了,那种令人窒息的恐惧瞬间消失了,一种安全感席卷了我的全身——我甚至还在街上站着呢——这一切都发生在我听到他的声音的那一刹那。我跳进座位里,猛地用力把我身后的门关上。

车里很黑,即使在门开着的时候也没有任何光线照进来,我只能借着仪表板上发出的红光勉强看清他的脸。他调转车头向北,轮胎发出尖锐的声音。车子加速得太快了,以至于急转着冲向了街道上那些吓呆了的男人。当我们径直开出街道,加速向海湾驶去的时候,我仅能瞥见他们向人行道上逃去。

“系上你的安全带。”他命令道,我这才意识到自己双手紧紧地抓着座位。我迅速服从了命令。安全带扣在一起时发出啪的一声,在黑暗中显得格外响亮。他向左急转,向前推进着,接连闯过了好几个红灯也没停下来。

但眼下我只感受到了一种绝对的安全感,完全不关心我们要去哪里。我凝视着他的脸,深深地感到宽慰,这种宽慰甚至超过了我意外得救的感觉。在微弱的光线里,我细看着他毫无瑕疵的容貌,等着我的呼吸恢复如常,直到我想起来,他脸上的神情是一种残暴的愤怒。

“你还好吧?”我问道,惊讶地发现自己的声音听起来是那么的嘶哑。

“不。”他简略地答道,依然是震怒的口吻。

我沉默地坐着,看着他的脸,他冒火的眼睛却直视着前方,直到车子忽然一个急停。我环顾四周,但外面太黑了,除了公路两旁那些模糊的黑色的树影,什么也看不见。我们已经不在镇上了。

“贝拉?”他问道。他的声音紧绷着,显然在竭力控制着自己。

“怎么了?”我的声音依然沙哑着。我试图不发出声音地清了清嗓子。

“你没事吧?”他还是没有看我,但他脸上的狂怒再明白不过了。

“是的。”我用嘶哑的声音轻轻地说着。

“请让我分神。”他下令。

“对不起,你在说什么?”

他急促地呼了口气。

“随便说些不关痛痒的事,直到我平静下来为止。”他阐释着,闭上眼睛,用拇指和食指按压着鼻梁。

“呃。”我痛苦地搜寻着脑海里的琐事。“明天上课以前我要开车从泰勒?克劳利身上碾过去。”

他依然紧紧地闭着双眼,但他的嘴角微微抽动着。

“为什么?”

“他告诉每一个人说他要带我去参加正式舞会——不管他是有病还是在努力为上次差点杀了我作补偿……嗯,你记得的,不知怎的他认为正式舞会是这样做的良好时机。所以我估计我也危害一次他的性命的话,我们俩就扯平了,他就不必再努力作补偿了。我不需要敌人,如果他肯放过我的话,也许劳伦会放弃和我做对。不过,也许我得完全摧毁他那辆森特拉。如果他没有车的话,他就没法带任何人去正式舞会了……”我不停地唠叨着。

“我听到过这些传言。”他的声音听起来镇静些了。

“真的?”我难以置信地问道,早先的怒火再次熊熊燃烧起来。“要是他从脖子以下高位截瘫,他同样也没法去参加正式舞会了。”我喃喃低语着,推敲着我的计划。

爱德华叹息着,终于睁开了眼睛。

“好些了?”

“完全没有。” 
 我等待着,但他不再说话了。他把头靠在椅背上,盯着车里的天花板。他的神情很坚毅。

“怎么回事?”我的声音低得像在耳边低语。

“有时候我会很难控制住自己的脾气,贝拉。”他也低语道,当他看向窗外的时候,眼睛眯成了两条缝。“但这对我不会有任何好处,即使我掉头回去,找到那些……”他没把话说完,便移开了视线,再次挣扎了许久,才控制住自己的怒火。“至少,”他继续说道。“这是我努力用力说服自己的借口。”

“哦。”这个词显然不够恰当,但我想不出更好的回答。

我们又一次在沉默中坐着。我瞥了一眼仪表板上的时钟。已经六点半了。

“杰西卡和安吉拉会担心的。”我低声说着。“我本来应该去跟她们碰头的。”

他一声不响地发动了引擎,流畅地掉转车头,加速冲回镇里去。我们几乎是立刻就开回了有路灯照明的地方,但车速还是太快,迂回着穿过观光大道上缓缓开着的车流里的空隙。他把车平行于路边停了下来,停在了一个我觉得对这辆沃尔沃来说有点太小的空位上,但他毫不费力地只一次就把车停好了。我向窗外望去,看见了拉?贝拉餐厅的灯光。杰西卡和安吉拉正从店里走出来,焦急地向和我们相反的方向走去。

“你怎么会知道上哪儿……?”我开了口,但随后只是摇头。我听到门开的声音,回头去,却看到他正在下车。

“你要做什么?”我问道。

“我要带你去吃晚餐。”他轻轻地微笑着,眼神却依然坚毅。他走出车外,把门关上。我解开安全带,也匆匆忙忙地下了车。他在人行道上等着我。

在我开口以前,他说话了:“在我又想去追捕他们以前,去把杰西卡和安吉拉叫住。要是我再碰上你另一些朋友,我不认为我还能管得住自己。”

他话语里的威胁让我不寒而栗。

“杰西!安吉拉!”我在她们背后大喊着,当她们回过头来时,我用力挥着手。她们转身向我冲回来,但在看清和我站在一起的人以后,脸上显而易见的宽慰瞬间变成了惊讶。她们在离我只有几英尺远的地方踌躇着。

“你上哪儿去了?”杰西卡的声音里充满了怀疑。

“我迷路了。”我羞怯地承认道。“然后我碰见了爱德华。”我向他做了个手势。

“我可以加入你们吗?”他用丝绸一样柔软的,让人无法抗拒的声音问道。我能从她们脸上吃惊的神情看出,此前他从未对她们施展过他的天赋。

“唔……当然。”杰西卡喘息着说。

“呃,事实上,贝拉,在我们等待的时候我们就吃过了——抱歉。”安吉拉坦白道。

“没关系——我不饿。”我耸耸肩。

“我觉得你最好吃点东西。”爱德华的声音很低,却充满了威严。他抬头看着杰西卡,稍稍提高了音量。“你介意我今晚开车送贝拉回家吗?这样你就不用在她吃东西的时候等着了。”

“嗯,没问题,我猜……”她咬住唇,试图从我的表情看出哪个才是我想要的。我向她使了个眼色。我什么也不想要,只想和我永远的救星待在一起。我有太多太多的问题要问了,但只有在我们独处的时候,我才能轰炸他。

“好吧。”安吉拉比杰西卡反应得更快。“明天见,贝拉……爱德华。”她抓住杰西卡的手,拖着她向车子走去。我看见她的车子离这里不远,停在了第一街上。当她们上车的时候,杰西回过头来向我挥手,她的脸上充满了好奇的渴望。我也向她们挥手,一直等到她们把车开走,才转过身去面对他。
“老实说,我一点儿也不饿。”我坚持说着,抬起头端详着他的脸。他的神情有些难以捉摸。

“就当是为了我。”(humor me。。。)

他向餐厅的大门走去,推开门,用固执的神情把门撑住。显然,已经没商量了。我顺从地叹了口气,从他身旁走过,进了餐厅。

餐厅里并不拥挤——现在是天使港的淡季。店主是女的,当她审视着爱德华的时候,我读出了她眼里的神情。她热情地有些过火地欢迎他的光临。我吃惊地发现,这居然会让我如此心烦意乱。她比我高几英寸,漂亮得简直违背了自然规律。

“有两个人的位置吗?”不管他是有意的还是无意的,他的声音都太诱人了。我看见她的眼睛飞快地瞥了我一眼,然后移开了。显然她对我的相貌平平,还有爱德华出于谨慎,在我们之间保持着的毫无身体接触的距离感到相当地满意。她把我们带到用餐区里人最多的地方的正中,一张足以坐下四个人的桌子旁。

我正要坐下,爱德华却向摇了摇头。

“也许换个更私密些的地方?”他安静地向店主坚持着。我不太敢肯定,但看上去他熟练地给了她一点小费。我从没见过有人拒绝一个座位,除了在老电影里。

“当然。”她听起来和我一样吃惊。她转身领着我们绕过一堵隔墙,走到小小的一圈卡座前——所有的卡座都是空的。“这里怎么样?”

“好极了。”他熠熠生辉的笑容一闪而过,立刻把她迷住了。

“呃。”——她摇了摇头,眨着眼睛——“你的侍者马上就到。”她步伐不稳地走开了。

“你真的不应该对别人这样做。”我批评道。“这太不公平了。”

“做什么?”

“像那样迷得她



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