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Chapter 13 Confessions

   Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, thoughI'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faintflush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousandsof tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still inthe grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, hisscintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut,though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in someunknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.

  Now and then, his lips would move, so fast it looked like they weretrembling. But, when I asked, he told me he was singing to himself; itwas too low for me to hear.

  I enjoyed the sun, too, though the air wasn't quite dry enough for mytaste. I would have liked to lie back, as he did, and let the sun warm myface. But I stayed curled up, my chin resting on my knees, unwilling totake my eyes off him. The wind was gentle; it tangled my hair and ruffledthe grass that swayed around his motionless form.

  The meadow, so spectacular to me at first, paled next to his magnificence.

   Hesitantly, always afraid, even now, that he would disappear like amirage, too beautiful to be real… hesitantly, I reached out one fingerand stroked the back of his shimmering hand, where it lay within myreach. I marveled again at the perfect texture, satin smooth, cool asstone. When I looked up again, his eyes were open, watching me.

  Butterscotch today, lighter, warmer after hunting. His quick smile turnedup the corners of his flawless lips.

  "I don't scare you?" he asked playfully, but I could hear the realcuriosity in his soft voice.

  "No more than usual."He smiled wider; his teeth flashed in the sun.

  I inched closer, stretched out my whole hand now to trace the contours ofhis forearm with my fingertips. I saw that my fingers trembled, and knewit wouldn't escape his notice.

  "Do you mind?" I asked, for he had closed his eyes again.

  "No," he said without opening his eyes. "You can't imagine how thatfeels." He sighed.

  I lightly trailed my hand over the perfect muscles of his arm, followedthe faint pattern of bluish veins inside the crease at his elbow. With myother hand, I reached to turn his hand over. Realizing what I wished, heflipped his palm up in one of those blindingly fast, disconcertingmovements of his. It startled me; my fingers froze on his arm for a briefsecond.

  "Sorry," he murmured. I looked up in time to see his golden eyes closeagain. "It's too easy to be myself with you."I lifted his hand, turning it this way and that as I watched the sunglitter on his palm. I held it closer to my face, trying to see thehidden facets in his skin.

  "Tell me what you're thinking," he whispered. I looked to see his eyeswatching me, suddenly intent. "It's still so strange for me, not knowing.""You know, the rest of us feel that way all the time.""It's a hard life." Did I imagine the hint of regret in his tone? "Butyou didn't tell me.""I was wishing I could know what you were thinking…" I hesitated.

  "And?""I was wishing that I could believe that you were real. And I was wishingthat I wasn't afraid.""I don't want you to be afraid." His voice was just a soft murmur. Iheard what he couldn't truthfully say, that I didn't need to be afraid,that there was nothing to fear.

  "Well, that's not exactly the fear I meant, though that's certainlysomething to think about."So quickly that I missed his movement, he was half sitting, propped up onhis right arm, his left palm still in my hands. His angel's face was onlya few inches from mine. I might have — should have — flinched away fromhis unexpected closeness, but I was unable to move. His golden eyesmesmerized me.

  "What are you afraid of, then?" he whispered intently.

  But I couldn't answer. As I had just that once before, I smelled his coolbreath in my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. Itwas unlike anything else. Instinctively, unthinkingly, I leaned closer, inhaling.

  And he was gone, his hand ripped from mine. In the time it took my eyesto focus, he was twenty feet away, standing at the edge of the smallmeadow, in the deep shade of a huge fir tree. He stared at me, his eyesdark in the shadows, his expression unreadable.

  I could feel the hurt and shock on my face. My empty hands stung.

  "I'm… sorry… Edward," I whispered. I knew he could hear.

  "Give me a moment," he called, just loud enough for my less sensitiveears. I sat very still.

  After ten incredibly long seconds, he walked back, slowly for him. Hestopped, still several feet away, and sank gracefully to the ground,crossing his legs. His eyes never left mine. He took two deep breaths,and then smiled in apology.

  "I am so very sorry." He hesitated. "Would you understand what I meant ifI said I was only human?"I nodded once, not quite able to smile at his joke. Adrenaline pulsedthrough my veins as the realization of danger slowly sank in. He couldsmell that from where he sat. His smile turned mocking.

  "I'm the world's best predator, aren't I? Everything about me invites youin — my voice, my face, even my smell. As if I need any of that!"Unexpectedly, he was on his feet, bounding away, instantly out of sight,only to appear beneath the same tree as before, having circled the meadowin half a second.

  "As if you could outrun me," he laughed bitterly.

  He reached up with one hand and, with a deafening crack, effortlesslyripped a two-foot-thick branch from the trunk of the spruce. He balancedit in that hand for a moment, and then threw it with blinding speed,shattering it against another huge tree, which shook and trembled at theblow.

  And he was in front of me again, standing two feet away, still as a stone.

  "As if you could fight me off," he said gently.

  I sat without moving, more frightened of him than I had ever been. I'dnever seen him so completely freed of that carefully cultivated facade.

  He'd never been less human… or more beautiful. Face ashen, eyes wide, Isat like a bird locked in the eyes of a snake.

  His lovely eyes seem to glow with rash excitement. Then, as the secondspassed, they dimmed. His expression slowly folded into a mask of ancientsadness.

  "Don't be afraid," he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionallyseductive. "I promise…" He hesitated. "I swear not to hurt you." Heseemed more concerned with convincing himself than me.

  "Don't be afraid," he whispered again as he stepped closer, withexaggerated slowness. He sat sinuously, with deliberately unhurriedmovements, till our faces were on the same level, just a foot apart.

  "Please forgive me," he said formally. "I can control myself. You caughtme off guard. But I'm on my best behavior now."He waited, but I still couldn't speak.

  "I'm not thirsty today, honestly." He winked.

  At that I had to laugh, though the sound was shaky and breathless.

  "Are you all right?" he asked tenderly, reaching out slowly, carefully,to place his marble hand back in mine.

   I looked at his smooth, cold hand, and then at his eyes. They were soft,repentant. I looked back at his hand, and then deliberately returned totracing the lines in his hand with my fingertip. I looked up and smiledtimidly.

  His answering smile was dazzling.

  "So where were we, before I behaved so rudely?" he asked in the gentlecadences of an earlier century.

  "I honestly can't remember."He smiled, but his face was ashamed. "I think we were talking about whyyou were afraid, besides the obvious reason.""Oh, right.""Well?"I looked down at his hand and doodled aimlessly across his smooth,iridescent palm. The seconds ticked by.

  "How easily frustrated I am," he sighed. I looked into his eyes, abruptlygrasping that this was every bit as new to him as it was to me. As manyyears of unfathomable experience as he had, this was hard for him, too. Itook courage from that thought.

  "I was afraid… because, for, well, obvious reasons, I can't stay withyou. And I'm afraid that I'd like to stay with you, much more than Ishould." I looked down at his hands as I spoke. It was difficult for meto say this aloud.

  "Yes," he agreed slowly. "That is something to be afraid of, indeed.

  Wanting to be with me. That's really not in your best interest."I frowned.

  "I should have left long ago," he sighed. "I should leave now. But Idon't know if I can.""I don't want you to leave," I mumbled pathetically, staring down again.

  "Which is exactly why I should. But don't worry. I'm essentially aselfish creature. I crave your company too much to do what I should.""I'm glad.""Don't be!" He withdrew his hand, more gently this time; his voice washarsher than usual. Harsh for him, still more beautiful than any humanvoice. It was hard to keep up — his sudden mood changes left me always astep behind, dazed.

  "It's not only your company I crave! Never forget that. Never forget I ammore dangerous to you than I am to anyone else." He stopped, and I lookedto see him gazing unseeingly into the forest.

  I thought for a moment.

  "I don't think I understand exactly what you mean — by that last partanyway," I said.

  He looked back at me and smiled, his mood shifting yet again.

  "How do I explain?" he mused. "And without frightening you again… hmmmm."Without seeming to think about it, he placed his hand back in mine; Iheld it tightly in both of mine. He looked at our hands.

  "That's amazingly pleasant, the warmth." He sighed.

  A moment passed as he assembled his thoughts.

   "You know how everyone enjoys different flavors?" he began. "Some peoplelove chocolate ice cream, others prefer strawberry?"I nodded.

  "Sorry about the food analogy — I couldn't think of another way toexplain."I smiled. He smiled ruefully back.

  "You see, every person smells different, has a different essence. If youlocked an alcoholic in a room full of stale beer, he'd gladly drink it.

  But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic.

  Now let's say you placed in that room a glass of hundred-year-old brandy,the rarest, finest cognac — and filled the room with its warm aroma — howdo you think he would fare then?"We sat silently, looking into each other's eyes — trying to read eachother's thoughts.

  He broke the silence first.

  "Maybe that's not the right comparison. Maybe it would be too easy toturn down the brandy. Perhaps I should have made our alcoholic a heroinaddict instead.""So what you're saying is, I'm your brand of heroin?" I teased, trying tolighten the mood.

  He smiled swiftly, seeming to appreciate my effort. "Yes, you are exactlymy brand of heroin.""Does that happen often?" I asked.

  He looked across the treetops, thinking through his response.

  "I spoke to my brothers about it." He still stared into the distance. "ToJasper, every one of you is much the same. He's the most recent to joinour family. It's a struggle for him to abstain at all. He hasn't had timeto grow sensitive to the differences in smell, in flavor." He glancedswiftly at me, his expression apologetic.

  "Sorry," he said.

  "I don't mind. Please don't worry about offending me, or frightening me,or whichever. That's the way you think. I can understand, or I can try toat least. Just explain however you can."He took a deep breath and gazed at the sky again.

  "So Jasper wasn't sure if he'd ever come across someone who was as" — hehesitated, looking for the right word — "appealing as you are to me.

  Which makes me think not. Emmett has been on the wagon longer, so tospeak, and he understood what I meant. He says twice, for him, oncestronger than the other.""And for you?""Never."The word hung there for a moment in the warm breeze.

  "What did Emmett do?" I asked to break the silence.

  It was the wrong question to ask. His face grew dark, his hand clenchedinto a fist inside mine. He looked away. I waited, but he wasn't going toanswer.

  "I guess I know," I finally said.

  He lifted his eyes; his expression was wistful, pleading.

   "Even the strongest of us fall off the wagon, don't we?""What are you asking? My permission?" My voice was sharper than I'dintended. I tried to make my tone kinder — I could guess what his honestymust cost him. "I mean, is there no hope, then?" How calmly I coulddiscuss my own death!

  "No, no!" He was instantly contrite. "Of course there's hope! I mean, ofcourse I won't…" He left the sentence hanging. His eyes burned into mine.

  "It's different for us. Emmett… these were strangers he happened across.

  It was a long time ago, and he wasn't as… practiced, as careful, as he isnow."He fell silent and watched me intently as I thought it through.

  "So if we'd met… oh, in a dark alley or something…" I trailed off.

  "It took everything I had not to jump up in the middle of that class fullof children and —" He stopped abruptly, looking away. "When you walkedpast me, I could have ruined everything Carlisle has built for us, rightthen and there. If I hadn't been denying my thirst for the last, well,too many years, I wouldn't have been able to stop myself." He paused,scowling at the trees.

  He glanced at me grimly, both of us remembering. "You must have thought Iwas possessed.""I couldn't understand why. How you could hate me so quickly…""To me, it was like you were some kind of demon, summoned straight frommy own personal hell to ruin me. The fragrance coming off your skin… Ithought it would make me deranged that first day. In that one hour, Ithought of a hundred different ways to lure you from the room with me, toget you alone. And I fought them each back, thinking of my family, what Icould do to them. I had to run out, to get away before I could speak thewords that would make you follow…"He looked up then at my staggered expression as I tried to absorb hisbitter memories. His golden eyes scorched from under his lashes, hypnoticand deadly.

  "You would have come," he promised.

  I tried to speak calmly. "Without a doubt."He frowned down at my hands, releasing me from the force of his stare.

  "And then, as I tried to rearrange my schedule in a pointless attempt toavoid you, you were there — in that close, warm little room, the scentwas maddening. I so very nearly took you then. There was only one otherfrail human there — so easily dealt with."I shivered in the warm sun, seeing my memories anew through his eyes,only now grasping the danger. Poor Ms. Cope; I shivered again at howclose I'd come to being inadvertently responsible for her death.

  "But I resisted. I don't know how. I forced myself not to wait for you,not to follow you from the school. It was easier outside, when I couldn'tsmell you anymore, to think clearly, to make the right decision. I leftthe others near home — I was too ashamed to tell them how weak I was,they only knew something was very wrong — and then I went straight toCarlisle, at the hospital, to tell him I was leaving."I stared in surprise.

  "I traded cars with him — he had a full tank of gas and I didn't want tostop. I didn't dare to go home, to face Esme. She wouldn't have let me gowithout a scene. She would have tried to convince me that it wasn'tnecessary…"By the next morning I was in Alaska." He sounded ashamed, as ifadmitting a great cowardice. "I spent two days there, with some oldacquaintances… but I was homesick. I hated knowing I'd upset Esme, and the rest of them, my adopted family. In the pure air of the mountains itwas hard to believe you were so irresistible. I convinced myself it wasweak to run away. I'd dealt with temptation before, not of thismagnitude, not even close, but I was strong. Who were you, aninsignificant little girl" — he grinned suddenly — "to chase me from theplace I wanted to be? So I came back…" He stared off into space.

  I couldn't speak.

  "I took precautions, hunting, feeding more than usual before seeing youagain. I was sure that I was strong enough to treat you like any otherhuman. I was arrogant about it.

  "It was unquestionably a complication that I couldn't simply read yourthoughts to know what your reaction was to me. I wasn't used to having togo to such circuitous measures, listening to your words in Jessica'smind… her mind isn't very original, and it was annoying to have to stoopto that. And then I couldn't know if you really meant what you said. Itwas all extremely irritating." He frowned at the memory.

  "I wanted you to forget my behavior that first day, if possible, so Itried to talk with you like I would with any person. I was eageractually, hoping to decipher some of your thoughts. But you were toointeresting, I found myself caught up in your expressions… and every nowand then you would stir the air with your hand or your hair, and thescent would stun me again…"Of course, then you were nearly crushed to death in front of my eyes.

  Later I thought of a perfectly good excuse for why I acted at that moment— because if I hadn't saved you, if your blood had been spilled there infront of me, I don't think I could have stopped myself from exposing usfor what we are. But I only thought of that excuse later. At the time,all I could think was, 'Not her.'"He closed his eyes, lost in his agonized confession. I listened, moreeager than rational. Common sense told me I should be terrified. Instead,I was relieved to finally understand. And I was filled with compassionfor his suffering, even now, as he confessed his craving to take my life.

  I finally was able to speak, though my voice was faint. "In the hospital?"His eyes flashed up to mine. "I was appalled. I couldn't believe I hadput us in danger after all, put myself in your power — you of all people.

  As if I needed another motive to kill you." We both flinched as that wordslipped out. "But it had the opposite effect," he continued quickly. "Ifought with Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper when they suggested that now wasthe time… the worst fight we've ever had. Carlisle sided with me, andAlice." He grimaced when he said her name. I couldn't imagine why. "Esmetold me to do whatever I had to in order to stay." He shook his headindulgently.

  "All that next day I eavesdropped on the minds of everyone you spoke to,shocked that you kept your word. I didn't understand you at all. But Iknew that I couldn't become more involved with you. I did my very best tostay as far from you as possible. And every day the perfume of your skin,your breath, your hair… it hit me as hard as the very first day."He met my eyes again, and they were surprisingly tender.

  "And for all that," he continued, "I'd have fared better if I had exposedus all at that first moment, than if now, here — with no witnesses andnothing to stop me — I were to hurt you."I was human enough to have to ask. "Why?""Isabella." He pronounced my full name carefully, then playfully ruffledmy hair with his free hand. A shock ran through my body at his casualtouch. "Bella, I couldn't live with myself if I ever hurt you. You don'tknow how it's tortured me." He looked down, ashamed again. "The thoughtof you, still, white, cold… to never see you blush scarlet again, tonever see that flash of intuition in your eyes when you see through mypretenses… it would be unendurable." He lifted his glorious, agonized eyes to mine. "You are the most important thing to me now. The mostimportant thing to me ever."My head was spinning at the rapid change in direction our conversationhad taken. From the cheerful topic of my impending demise, we weresuddenly declaring ourselves. He waited, and even though I looked down tostudy our hands between us, I knew his golden eyes were on me. "Youalready know how I feel, of course," I finally said. "I'm here… which,roughly translated, means I would rather die than stay away from you." Ifrowned. "I'm an idiot.""You are an idiot," he agreed with a laugh. Our eyes met, and I laughed,too. We laughed together at the idiocy and sheer impossibility of such amoment.

  "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…" he murmured. I looked away,hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.

  "What a stupid lamb," I sighed.

  "What a sick, masochistic lion." He stared into the shadowy forest for along moment, and I wondered where his thoughts had taken him.

  "Why… ?" I began, and then paused, not sure how to continue.

  He looked at me and smiled; sunlight glinted off his face, his teeth.

  "Yes?""Tell me why you ran from me before."His smile faded. "You know why.""No, I mean, exactly what did I do wrong? I'll have to be on my guard,you see, so I better start learning what I shouldn't do. This, forexample" — I stroked the back of his hand — "seems to be all right."He smiled again. "You didn't do anything wrong, Bella. It was my fault.""But I want to help, if I can, to not make this harder for you.""Well…" He contemplated for a moment. "It was just how close you were.

  Most humans instinctively shy away from us, are repelled by ouralienness… I wasn't expecting you to come so close. And the smell of yourthroat." He stopped short, looking to see if he'd upset me.

  "Okay, then," I said flippantly, trying to alleviate the suddenly tenseatmosphere. I tucked my chin. "No throat exposure."It worked; he laughed. "No, really, it was more the surprise thananything else."He raised his free hand and placed it gently on the side of my neck. Isat very still, the chill of his touch a natural warning — a warningtelling me to be terrified. But there was no feeling of fear in me. Therewere, however, other feelings…"You see," he said. "Perfectly fine."My blood was racing, and I wished I could slow it, sensing that this mustmake everything so much more difficult — the thudding of my pulse in myveins. Surely he could hear it.

  "The blush on your cheeks is lovely," he murmured. He gently freed hisother hand. My hands fell limply into my lap. Softly he brushed my cheek,then held my face between his marble hands.

  "Be very still," he whispered, as if I wasn't already frozen.

  Slowly, never moving his eyes from mine, he leaned toward me. Thenabruptly, but very gently, he rested his cold cheek against the hollow atthe base of my throat. I was quite unable to move, even if I'd wanted to.

   I listened to the sound of his even breathing, watching the sun and windplay in his bronze hair, more human than any other part of him.

  With deliberate slowness, his hands slid down the sides of my neck. Ishivered, and I heard him catch his breath. But his hands didn't pause asthey softly moved to my shoulders, and then stopped.

  His face drifted to the side, his nose skimming across my collarbone. Hecame to rest with the side of his face pressed tenderly against my chest.

  Listening to my heart.

  "Ah," he sighed.

  I don't know how long we sat without moving. It could have been hours.

  Eventually the throb of my pulse quieted, but he didn't move or speakagain as he held me. I knew at any moment it could be too much, and mylife could end — so quickly that I might not even notice. And I couldn'tmake myself be afraid. I couldn't think of anything, except that he wastouching me.

  And then, too soon, he released me.

  His eyes were peaceful.

  "It won't be so hard again," he said with satisfaction.

  "Was that very hard for you?""Not nearly as bad as I imagined it would be. And you?""No, it wasn't bad… for me."He smiled at my inflection. "You know what I mean."I smiled.

  "Here." He took my hand and placed it against his cheek. "Do you feel howwarm it is?"And it was almost warm, his usually icy skin. But I barely noticed, for Iwas touching his face, something I'd dreamed of constantly since thefirst day I'd seen him.

  "Don't move," I whispered.

  No one could be still like Edward. He closed his eyes and became asimmobile as stone, a carving under my hand.

  I moved even more slowly than he had, careful not to make one unexpectedmove. I caressed his cheek, delicately stroked his eyelid, the purpleshadow in the hollow under his eye. I traced the shape of his perfectnose, and then, so carefully, his flawless lips. His lips parted under myhand, and I could feel his cool breath on my fingertips. I wanted to leanin, to inhale the scent of him. So I dropped my hand and leaned away, notwanting to push him too far.

  He opened his eyes, and they were hungry. Not in a way to make me fear,but rather to tighten the muscles in the pit of my stomach and send mypulse hammering through my veins again.

  "I wish," he whispered, "I wish you could feel the… complexity… theconfusion… I feel. That you could understand."He raised his hand to my hair, then carefully brushed it across my face.

  "Tell me," I breathed.

  "I don't think I can. I've told you, on the one hand, the hunger — thethirst — that, deplorable creature that I am, I feel for you. And I thinkyou can understand that, to an extent. Though" — he half-smiled — "as youare not addicted to any illegal substances, you probably can't empathize completely.

  "But…" His fingers touched my lips lightly, making me shiver again.

  "There are other hungers. Hungers I don't even understand, that areforeign to me.""I may understand that better than you think.""I'm not used to feeling so human. Is it always like this?""For me?" I paused. "No, never. Never before this."He held my hands between his. They felt so feeble in his iron strength.

  "I don't know how to be close to you," he admitted. "I don't know if Ican."I leaned forward very slowly, cautioning him with my eyes. I placed mycheek against his stone chest. I could hear his breath, and nothing else.

  "This is enough," I sighed, closing my eyes.

  In a very human gesture, he put his arms around me and pressed his faceagainst my hair.

  "You're better at this than you give yourself credit for," I noted.

  "I have human instincts — they may be buried deep, but they're there."We sat like that for another immeasurable moment; I wondered if he couldbe as unwilling to move as I was. But I could see the light was fading,the shadows of the forest beginning to touch us, and I sighed.

  "You have to go.""I thought you couldn't read my mind.""It's getting clearer." I could hear a smile in his voice.

  He took my shoulders and I looked into his face.

  "Can I show you something?" he asked, sudden excitement flaring in hiseyes.

  "Show me what?""I'll show you how I travel in the forest." He saw my expression. "Don'tworry, you'll be very safe, and we'll get to your truck much faster." Hismouth twitched up into that crooked smile so beautiful my heart nearlystopped.

  "Will you turn into a bat?" I asked warily.

  He laughed, louder than I'd ever heard. "Like I haven't heard that onebefore!""Right, I'm sure you get that all the time.""Come on, little coward, climb on my back."I waited to see if he was kidding, but, apparently, he meant it. Hesmiled as he read my hesitation, and reached for me. My heart reacted;even though he couldn't hear my thoughts, my pulse always gave me away.

  He then proceeded to sling me onto his back, with very little effort onmy part, besides, when in place, clamping my legs and arms so tightlyaround him that it would choke a normal person. It was like clinging to astone.

  "I'm a bit heavier than your average backpack," I warned.

  "Hah!" he snorted. I could almost hear his eyes rolling. I'd never seenhim in such high spirits before.

   He startled me, suddenly grabbing my hand, pressing my palm to his face,and inhaling deeply.

  "Easier all the time," he muttered.

  And then he was running.

  If I'd ever feared death before in his presence, it was nothing comparedto how I felt now.

  He streaked through the dark, thick underbrush of the forest like abullet, like a ghost. There was no sound, no evidence that his feettouched the earth. His breathing never changed, never indicated anyeffort. But the trees flew by at deadly speeds, always missing us byinches.

  I was too terrified to close my eyes, though the cool forest air whippedagainst my face and burned them. I felt as if I were stupidly sticking myhead out the window of an airplane in flight. And, for the first time inmy life, I felt the dizzy faintness of motion sickness.

  Then it was over. We'd hiked hours this morning to reach Edward's meadow,and now, in a matter of minutes, we were back to the truck.

  "Exhilarating, isn't it?" His voice was high, excited.

  He stood motionless, waiting for me to climb down. I tried, but mymuscles wouldn't respond. My arms and legs stayed locked around him whilemy head spun uncomfortably.

  "Bella?" he asked, anxious now.

  "I think I need to lie down," I gasped.

  "Oh, sorry." He waited for me, but I still couldn't move.

  "I think I need help," I admitted.

  He laughed quietly, and gently unloosened my stranglehold on his neck.

  There was no resisting the iron strength of his hands. Then he pulled mearound to face him, cradling me in his arms like a small child. He heldme for a moment, then carefully placed me on the springy ferns.

  "How do you feel?" he asked.

  I couldn't be sure how I felt when my head was spinning so crazily.

  "Dizzy, I think.""Put your head between your knees."I tried that, and it helped a little. I breathed in and out slowly,keeping my head very still. I felt him sitting beside me. The momentspassed, and eventually I found that I could raise my head. There was ahollow ringing sound in my ears.

  "I guess that wasn't the best idea," he mused.

  I tried to be positive, but my voice was weak. "No, it was veryinteresting.""Hah! You're as white as a ghost — no, you're as white as me!""I think I should have closed my eyes.""Remember that next time.""Next time!" I groaned.

  He laughed, his mood still radiant.

  "Show-off," I muttered.

   "Open your eyes, Bella," he said quietly.

  And he was right there, his face so close to mine. His beauty stunned mymind — it was too much, an excess I couldn't grow accustomed to.

  "I was thinking, while I was running…" He paused.

  "About not hitting the trees, I hope.""Silly Bella," he chuckled. "Running is second nature to me, it's notsomething I have to think about.""Show-off," I muttered again.

  He smiled.

  "No," he continued, "I was thinking there was something I wanted to try."And he took my face in his hands again.

  I couldn't breathe.

  He hesitated — not in the normal way, the human way.

  Not the way a man might hesitate before he kissed a woman, to gauge herreaction, to see how he would be received. Perhaps he would hesitate toprolong the moment, that ideal moment of anticipation, sometimes betterthan the kiss itself.

  Edward hesitated to test himself, to see if this was safe, to make surehe was still in control of his need.

  And then his cold, marble lips pressed very softly against mine.

  What neither of us was prepared for was my response.

  Blood boiled under my skin, burned in my lips. My breath came in a wildgasp. My fingers knotted in his hair, clutching him to me. My lips partedas I breathed in his heady scent.

  Immediately I felt him turn to unresponsive stone beneath my lips. Hishands gently, but with irresistible force, pushed my face back. I openedmy eyes and saw his guarded expression.

  "Oops," I breathed.

  "That's an understatement."His eyes were wild, his jaw clenched in acute restraint, yet he didn'tlapse from his perfect articulation. He held my face just inches fromhis. He dazzled my eyes.

  "Should I… ?" I tried to disengage myself, to give him some room.

  His hands refused to let me move so much as an inch.

  "No, it's tolerable. Wait for a moment, please." His voice was polite,controlled.

  I kept my eyes on his, watched as the excitement in them faded andgentled.

  Then he smiled a surprisingly impish grin.

  "There," he said, obviously pleased with himself.

  "Tolerable?" I asked.

  He laughed aloud. "I'm stronger than I thought. It's nice to know.""I wish I could say the same. I'm sorry." "You are only human, after all.""Thanks so much," I said, my voice acerbic.

  He was on his feet in one of his lithe, almost invisibly quick movements.

  He held out his hand to me, an unexpected gesture. I was so used to ourstandard of careful non-contact. I took his icy hand, needing the supportmore than I thought. My balance had not yet returned.

  "Are you still faint from the run? Or was it my kissing expertise?" Howlighthearted, how human he seemed as he laughed now, his seraphic faceuntroubled. He was a different Edward than the one I had known. And Ifelt all the more besotted by him. It would cause me physical pain to beseparated from him now.

  "I can't be sure, I'm still woozy," I managed to respond. "I think it'ssome of both, though.""Maybe you should let me drive.""Are you insane?" I protested.

  "I can drive better than you on your best day," he teased. "You have muchslower reflexes.""I'm sure that's true, but I don't think my nerves, or my truck, couldtake it.""Some trust, please, Bella."My hand was in my pocket, curled tightly around the key. I pursed mylips, deliberated, then shook my head with a tight grin.

  "Nope. Not a chance."He raised his eyebrows in disbelief.

  I started to step around him, heading for the driver's side. He mighthave let me pass if I hadn't wobbled slightly. Then again, he might nothave. His arm created an inescapable snare around my waist.

  "Bella, I've already expended a great deal of personal effort at thispoint to keep you alive. I'm not about to let you behind the wheel of avehicle when you can't even walk straight. Besides, friends don't letfriends drive drunk," he quoted with a chuckle. I could smell theunbearably sweet fragrance coming off his chest.

  "Drunk?" I objected.

  "You're intoxicated by my very presence." He was grinning that playfulsmirk again.

  "I can't argue with that," I sighed. There was no way around it; Icouldn't resist him in anything. I held the key high and dropped it,watching his hand flash like lightning to catch it soundlessly. "Take iteasy — my truck is a senior citizen.""Very sensible," he approved.

  "And are you not affected at all?" I asked, irked. "By my presence?"Again his mobile features transformed, his expression became soft, warm.

  He didn't answer at first; he simply bent his face to mine, and brushedhis lips slowly along my jaw, from my ear to my chin, back and forth. Itrembled.

  "Regardless," he finally murmured, "I have better reflexes."

第十三章 自白

阳光下的爱德华太惊人了,我还是没能习惯这件事,尽管整个下午我都在盯着他看。他的肌肤,雪白中带着昨天的狩猎之旅带来的淡淡红晕,简直在闪闪发光,就好像有千万颗极小的钻石镶嵌在上面一样。他静静地躺在草地上,看上去是那么的完美,他的衬衫敞开着,露出宛如雕刻成的,光辉夺目的胸膛,他闪闪发光的手臂袒露着。他微微发着光的,淡紫色的眼睑紧闭着,但是,当然他不可能是在睡觉。他就像一座完美的雕像,是用某种未知的,光滑如大理石,灿烂如水晶的石头雕刻而成的。

时不时地,他的嘴唇飞快地动着,仿佛是在颤抖。但是,当我问道的时候,他告诉他在哼着歌,因为声音太低了所以我听不见。

我同样在享受着阳光,尽管就我的品位而言,这里的空气还不够干爽。我本可以仰躺着,就像他那样,让阳光温暖着我的脸,但我还是蜷伏着躺在那里,下巴紧贴着我的膝盖,不情愿让自己的目光从他身上移开。风是那么的柔和,它吹乱了我的头发,吹皱了小草,摇曳的芳草围着他静止不动的身躯。

这片草地起初对我来说是那么的壮丽,但和他的华美比起来,便逊色多了。

我迟疑着,即使是现在,我也总是担心着,生怕他会像海市蜃楼一样消失,他太美丽了,根本不像现实存在的……我迟疑着伸出了一根手指,轻抚着近在咫尺的,他闪烁着微光的手背。我又一次震惊于那完美的肌理,光洁如绸缎,冰冷如石头。当我再次抬头看去时,他的眼睛睁开了,正看着我。今天他的眼睛是奶油糖果的颜色,在狩猎以后,变得更明亮,更温暖了。一抹轻快的笑容浮现在他毫无瑕疵的唇角。

“我没吓到你吗?”他打趣地问道,但我能听出他柔软的声音里真正的好奇。

“不比平常多。”

他笑得更深了,他的皓齿在阳光下闪闪发光。

我缓缓地挪到更近的地方,张开手伸过去,用指尖描摹着他小臂的轮廓。我看见自己的手指在颤抖着,知道这一切都逃不过他的注意。

“你介意吗?”我问道,因为他又闭上了眼睛。

“不。”他说着,没有睁开眼。“你不会想象到这是什么样的感觉。”他叹息着。

我轻柔地用手抚过他手臂上完美的肌肉,跟随着他肘弯上浅浅的淡蓝色静脉的纹路。我伸出另一只手,想把他的手掌翻过来。他意识到了我想做什么,立刻把掌心翻过来,动作快得看不见,简直让人仓皇失措。他的动作让我吓了一跳,我的手指在他手臂上停滞了片刻、

“对不起。”他低声说道。我立刻抬起头,看到他金色的眼睛又闭上了。“和你在一起让我很放松,很容易做回我自己。”

我拿起他的手,向自己翻过来,这样我就能看见阳光在他手心里闪烁着。我把他的手拿得更靠近自己的脸,试图看清楚藏在他肌肤里的刻面。(the hidden facets。。。)

“告诉我你在想什么。”他耳语道。我抬起头,看见他正看着我,眼神忽然紧绷起来。“这对我来说很是很奇怪,没办法知道你在想什么。”

“你知道,除你之外的我们所有人始终都是这样,不会知道别人在想什么。”

“这是一种艰难的生活。”他语气里的悔意是我自己想象出来的吗?“但你不告诉我。”

“我只是在希望着我能知道你在想什么……”我迟疑着。

“还有呢?”

“我在希望着我能相信你是真实存在的。我还希望我不是在害怕。”

“我不想让你害怕。”他的声音仅仅是一种柔和的喃喃低语。我听出了他无法深信不疑地说出口的事情——我不必感到害怕,这里没有什么可怕的。 
 “嗯,我并没有感到确切的害怕,尽管这确实是要思考的事。”

他的动作太快了,我完全没看见他移动。他半坐起来,用右臂支撑着身体,他的左手掌依然在我的手里。他天使般的面孔离我的脸只有几英寸远。我本可能——本应该——因为他出乎意料的接近而退缩的,但我没法移动。他金色的眸子催眠了我。

“那么,你在害怕着什么?”他专注地看着我,耳语道。

但我没有回答。就像之前我曾经试过一次那样,我闻到了他冰冷的呼吸,呼在我脸上。甜腻,美味,这种香味让我口齿生津。它不像别的任何味道。我本能地,不假思索地靠得更近些,轻嗅着。

然后他消失了,他的手从我的手中挣脱出来。当我凝眸望去的时候,他已在二十英尺外,站在这片小小的草地的边缘,在一棵巨大的杉树的浓重的树荫里。他注视着我,他的眼睛在阴影里暗沉着,他的表情难以读懂。

我能感到自己脸上的痛楚和震惊。我空空的手心刺痛着。

“我……很抱歉……爱德华。”我低声说着。我知道他能听见。

“给我一点时间。”他喊道,声量仅仅是我敏感的耳朵刚能听到的程度。我一动不动地坐着。

在漫长得难以置信的十分钟以后,他用对他来说相当缓慢的速度走过来。他停在了在几英尺外的地方,优雅地坐到了地上,盘起腿。他的目光从未离开过我的眼睛。他做了两次深呼吸。然后满怀歉意地笑了。

“我非常抱歉。”他迟疑道。“如果我说我也只是个人类,你能明白我的意思吗?”

我点了点头,没法对他的笑话微笑。作为一种对危险的响应,肾上腺素在我的血管里奔涌着,但也在慢慢地平息下来。他能从他坐着的地方闻到这一切。他的笑容变得嘲讽起来。

“我是这个世界上最棒的掠食者,不是吗?我的一切都在邀请着你——我的声音,我的容貌,甚至是我的气味。就好像我需要这些一样!”出人意料的是,他站起来跳开了,立刻消失在我的眼前,然后出现在之前的同一棵树下。他在半秒钟内就绕了这片空地一圈。

“就好像你能从我身旁逃脱。”他痛苦地大笑着。

他伸出一只手,然后随着一声震耳欲聋的爆裂声,他毫不费力地从那棵云杉的树干上扯下一根直径达两英尺的树枝。他单手把它举了片刻,然后把它扔出去,速度快得看不见。那根树枝在另一棵巨树上砸得粉碎,砸得那棵巨树一阵震动,带起一阵颤动的风。

然后他又出现在了我面前,站在两英尺外的地方,安静得像一块石头。

“就好像你能把我击退。”他温柔地说道。

我一动不动地坐在那里,被他吓到了,比我曾经体会过的还要更害怕。我从没见过他如此彻底地从那张小心翼翼的,有教养的假面具下解放出来。他从未像现在这样,更不像人类……或者更加美丽。我的脸色发灰,眼睛睁大了,我坐在那里,就像一只被蛇的目光锁住了小鸟。

他可爱的眼睛似乎因为一阵鲁莽的兴奋而闪闪发光。然后,随着时间一分一秒地过去,它们黯淡下来。他的表情慢慢地变成了一个写满了古老的悲伤的面具。

“别害怕。”他喃喃低语道,他天鹅绒般的声音充满了无心的诱惑。“我保证……”他犹豫了一下。“我发誓我不会伤害你的。”他不止是在说服我,他似乎更想让他自己坚信这一点。
“别害怕。”他又一次低声耳语道,走得更近些,步子缓慢得夸张。他弯曲着身子坐下来,故意让动作显得从容不迫,直到我们脸在同一水平线上,只有一步之遥。

“请原谅我。”他用正式的语气说道。“我能控制住自己了。你碰巧赶上了我失去警戒。但现在我非常规矩。”

他等待着,但我还是没法说话。

“不瞒你说,我今天不渴。”他眨了眨眼。

对此我不得不大笑起来,但我的声音很虚弱,几乎透不过气来。

“你还好吗?”他体贴地问道,慢慢地伸出手,小心地,把他宛如大理石般的手放到我手中。

我看着他光洁冰冷的手,然后看向他的眼睛。它们是那么的温和,充满了悔意。我看回他的手,然后不慌不忙地让我的指尖回到他手上,轻描着他掌心的线条。我抬起头,羞怯地笑了。

他报以一笑,那笑容是那么的耀眼。

“那么我们说到哪里了,在我表现得这么粗鲁以前?”他用上个世纪早期的那种文雅的韵律问道。

“不瞒你说,我不记得了。”

他微笑着,但他的神情有些羞愧。“我想我们正谈到你为什么会害怕,在那些显而易见的原因之外。”

“哦,没错。”

“嗯。”

我低下头,看着他的手,漫无目的地在他光洁的,如彩虹般绚丽的掌心里涂鸦着。时间一分一秒地过去了。

“我总是那么容易感到沮丧。”他叹息着说。我看进他的眼睛里,意外地领悟到,这一刻每一点每一滴对他来说都是新的,正如对我一样。即使他拥有着这么多年来深不可测的经历,这对他来说,也很艰难。我从这个念头中得到了勇气。

“我很害怕……因为,出于,嗯,显而易见的原因,我不能和你在一起。而我害怕的是,我很想和你在一起,这种愿望甚至远比我应有的还要强烈。”我说着,低下头看着他的手。对我来说,这样大声地说出口实在很困难。

“是的。”他缓慢地赞同道。“这是应该害怕的事,确实。想要和我在一起。这实在不应该成为你最大的兴趣。”

我皱起眉。

“我应该很久以前就离开的。”他叹息着。“我应该现在就离开。但我不知道我能不能做到。”

“我不想让你离开。”我悲伤地咬着唇说道,又一次低下了头。

“这正是我应该离开的原因。但别担心。我本来就是一个自私的家伙。我太渴望得到你的陪伴了,甚至没办法去做我应该做的事。”

“我很高兴。”

“别这样!”他抽回了他的手,这一次更温柔些。他的声音比平常要刺耳得多。相对他而言是刺耳,但还是比任何人类的声音都要美丽。我很难跟上他的步调——他突如其来的心情变化总把我抛在一步之外,让我独自彷徨。

“我渴望的可不止是你的陪伴!永远不要忘了这一点。永远不要忘记,我对你的危险性,远胜于我对其他任何人的威胁。”他停了下来,我看过去,只见他向森林里凝望着,却对一切视而不见。

我思索了片刻。

“我不认为我确切地明白了你的意思——最后的那个部分。”我说道。

他回过头来,看着我,笑了。他的心情又变了。

“我要怎么解释呢?”他若有所思地说着。“不能再吓到你了……呃嗯。”不假思索地,他把手放回了我手里,我用双手紧紧地握住他的手。他看着我们的手。

“这种感觉愉快得惊人,这种温暖。”他叹息着说。

片刻之后,他整理好了自己的思路。

“你知道每个人喜欢不同的味道是怎么一回事?”他开始了。“有些人喜欢巧克力口味的冰淇淋,另一些人则更喜欢草莓?”

我点点头。

“很抱歉要用食物来分析——我想不出别的方法来解释。”

我微笑着。他报以悲惨的一笑。

“你看,每个人闻起来都不一样,有着不同的本质。如果你把一个酒鬼锁在一间放满坏掉的啤酒的屋子里,他会很想喝酒。但他能忍住,如果他愿意的话,如果他是一个改过自新的前酒鬼。现在,假设你在房间里放上一杯百年白兰地,最宝贵的,最好的科涅克白兰地——让整个屋子里都弥漫着它温暖的芳香——你想他接下来会怎么做呢?”
我们沉默地坐着,看着彼此的眼睛——努力想要看懂对方的想法。

他首先打破了沉默。

“也许这个比喻不太恰当。也许克制自己不去喝白兰地太容易了。大概,我应该用瘾君子来代替酒鬼举例的。”

“那么你是在说,我是你个人品牌的海_落_因?”我揶揄着,试图让气氛轻松些。

他很快地笑了,似乎很感激我的努力。“是的,你确实是我个人品牌的海_落_因。”

“这种情况经常发生吗?”我问道。

他抬起头,越过树梢望着远处,思索着他的回答。

“我和我的兄弟们谈过这件事。”他依然看着远方。“对贾斯帕来说,你们中的每一个人都是一样的。他是最晚才加入我们的家族的。对他而言,单单是克制渴望就已经让他挣扎不已了。他还没有时间去体会不同的气味,不同的味道。”他很快地看向我,他的神情充满了歉意。

“对不起。”他说道。

“我不介意。请不用担心冒犯我,或者吓到我,或者诸如此类的事。那是你思考的方式。我能理解,或者至少我会试着去理解。随你用什么方式,只要能解释就行。” 
 
 
 作者:暮色如故    2009-2-16 12:27   回复此发言   
 
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452 回复:【翻译】冲动地决定自己翻译《暮色》(持续更新中) 
 他深吸了一口气,然后再次凝望着天空。

“所以贾斯帕不能肯定他是否遇到过这样的人”——他迟疑着,寻找着合适的词——“这样有吸引力,正如你之于我。这让我觉得这是不可能的。艾美特戒酒的时间更长一些,可以这么说,而他能理解我所说的意思。他说有两次,对他来说,一旦尝试,第二次的诱或就比上一次更为强烈。”

“那你呢?”

“从未试过。”

这话在温暖的微风中停留了片刻。

“艾美特做了什么?”我问道,打破了沉默。

我问错问题了。他的脸阴沉下来,他的手在我的手里紧紧地握成了拳头。他看向别处。我等待着,但他不打算回答。

“我猜,我已经知道了。”我最终说道。

他抬起眼,他的神情里充满了渴望和恳求。

“即使是我们中最坚强的人也会旧瘾复发,不是吗?”

“你在询问什么?我的许可吗?”我的声音比我本来计划的还要尖锐。我试图让自己的语气更友好些——我能猜得出来,他的诚实一定折磨着他。“我是指,已经没有希望了,对吧?”我居然能如此冷静地谈论自己的死亡!

“不,不!”他立刻懊悔不已。“当然有希望!,我是说,我当然不会……”他把那个没说完的句子晾在了一旁。他的目光灼烧着我的眼睛。“这对我们来说不一样。艾美特……那两个只是他偶然遇到的陌生人。那已经是很久以前的事了,那时他还不够……不能够像现在这样那么有经验,那么谨慎。”

他陷入了沉默,专注地看着我。我思考着,然后得出了结论。

“所以如果我们的初见是在……哦,在一条黑暗的小路上,或者别的什么地方……”我的声音渐渐低了下来。

“我竭尽全力克制自己,才没有在那间坐满了孩子的教室正中间跳起来——”他突兀地停下来,看向别处。“当你从我身旁走过时,我差点就要毁掉了卡莱尔为我们苦心筑造的一切,就在那一刻,就在那里。要不是我最终克制住了自己的渴望,好吧,要不是那么多年来我都克制着,我肯定无法阻止自己。”他停下来,阴沉着脸注视着那些树。

他冷酷地看了我一眼,我们都在回想着。“你那时一定认为我疯了。”

“我只是不能理解为什么。你这么快就开始讨厌我了……”

“那时对我来说,你就像是某种恶魔,是直接从我自己的炼狱里被召唤出来,来毁掉我的。你的肌肤上散发着的芬芳……我本以为它会让我在第一天就发狂了。那一个小时里,我想到了一百种不同的方式把你从这个房间里引诱出去,让你落单。但我把所有这些想法都击退了,我想到了我的家族,想到我能为他们做什么。我不得不冲出去,在我说出任何让你跟着的话以前离开……”

他抬起头,注视着我脸上难以置信的神情,我正试图消化他痛苦的回忆。他金色的眼睛在睫毛下焦灼着,催眠而致命。

“那时你一定会跟着来的。”他保证道。

我努力用平静的语气说:“而且毫无疑虑。” 
 他皱起眉,看着我的手,让我从他眼中的魔力里解脱出来。“然后,当我试图重新安排我的课表,徒劳地想要避开你的时候,你就在那里——在那间密闭的,温暖的小屋子里,你的香气简直让我发狂。我几乎差点就要对你得手了。那里只有另一个脆弱的人类——太容易处理了。”

我在温暖的阳光里颤抖着,从他的眼里再次寻回了自己的回忆,在这时我才意识到那时候的危机。可怜的柯普夫人。我再次战栗着,因为想到我只差一点点就会无意地导致了她的死亡。
“但我抵抗住了。我不知道自己是怎么做到的。我强迫自己不要停下来等你,不要跟着你离开学校。在外头,当我再也闻不到你的时候,我可以更容易地思考,更容易地作出正确的选择。快到家的时候,我让别的人下了车——我太羞愧了,不敢告诉他们我的意志是那么的薄弱。他们只知道出了非常严重的状况——然后我直奔医院找卡莱尔,告诉他我要离开。”

我震惊地看着他 。
“我和他交换了车子——他的车子有满满一箱油,而我不想停下来。我不敢回家,不敢面对艾思梅。如果我去见她,她一定不会让我走的。她会竭力说服我这毫无必要……”

“第二天早上我到了阿拉斯加。”他听起来很羞愧,就好像在承认自己是多么的怯懦一样。“我在那里待了两天,和一些老相识在一起……但我很想家。我讨厌想到,我让艾思梅伤心了,还有余下的几个,我不是亲人胜似亲人的家人。在高山上纯净的空气里,很难想象你的味道是那么的不可抗拒。我说服自己,逃跑是一种示弱的行为。在此之前我能很好地抵抗诱或,虽然它们都没有这样强烈,甚至没有这样接近,但我很坚强。而你,一个不起眼的小女孩”——他忽然咧嘴一笑——“能把我从我想去的地方赶走?所以我回来了……”他看向空中。

我说不出话来。

“我做足了准备,去狩猎,喝得甚至比必要的还要多,然后再去见你。我确信我足够坚强,可以像对待任何别的人类一样对待你。我对此很是自负。

毫无疑问,情况很复杂,因为我没办法简单地通过读你的想法来知道你对我的反应。我很不习惯,却又不得不采取如此迂回的措施,从杰西卡的脑子里听你说的话……她脑子里的并非原话,将就着去听实在是件恼人的事。而且我不知道你说的是否真的是字面上的意思。这一切都格外让人气愤。”想起这些,他不由得皱起了眉头。

“我想让你忘记我第一天时的举动,如果可能的话,所以我试着和你说话,像我和任何人所做的那样。我确实是渴望心切,想要破译你的一些念头。但你太有趣了,我发现自己被你的表情迷住了……而且你时不时会用你的手或者你的头发扰动空气,那股香味又一次刺痛了我……

当然,然后你差点就要在我眼前被撞死。事后我想出了一个极好的借口,解释那时候我为什么会那样做——因为如果我不去救你的话,你的血就会在我面前喷溅出来,我不认为我能阻止自己暴露我们的身份。但我只是事后才想到这个借口的。那一刻,我所能想到的只是,‘不该是她’。”

他闭上眼睛,沉浸在自己痛苦的自白中。我聆听着,渴望得有些不合常理。常识告诉我,我应该感到恐惧。但相反地,我很宽慰,因为我最终知晓了一切。而且,我对他所遭受的折磨充满了怜悯,即使是在现在,即使这时他正坦白着他渴望夺走我的生命。

我终于可以说话了,虽然我的声音是那么的微弱。“在医院里?”

他的眼睛飞快地转向我的眼睛。“我心惊胆寒。我不敢相信自己居然把我们放到了如此危险的境地,把自己置于你的股掌之下——在所有人中,偏偏选中了你。就好像我需要另一个动机来杀了你一样。”当这话说出口的时候,我们都畏缩了一下。“但这却起了反作用。”他紧接着继续说道。“我跟罗莎莉,艾美特还有贾斯帕大吵一架,因为他们提议现在正是时候……那是我们争辩得最激烈的一次。但卡莱尔站在我这边,还有爱丽丝。”当他说到她的名字时,他做了个鬼脸。我想不出为什么。“艾思梅告诉我,我可以做任何我想做的事,只要我肯留下来。”他宠溺地摇了摇头。 
 “第二天,我一直在偷听所有和你说话的人的想法。我很震惊,你居然遵守了诺言。我根本无法理解你。但我知道我不能和你再有任何牵连了。我竭尽全力,尽可能地远离你。可每一天你的肌肤上散发出来的香气,你的呼吸,你的头发……这一切都像第一天那样深深地撼动着我。”

他又一次对上了我的眼睛,他的眼神温柔得惊人。

“而在经历了这一切之后,”他继续说道。“我确实有所改进。虽然最初我暴露了我们所有人的真面目,虽然此时,此地——没有目击者,也没有什么能阻止我——我还是有可能伤害你。”

我的人类本能让我不得不问道:“为什么?”

“伊莎贝拉。”他仔细地拼读出我的全名,然后开玩笑地用他空着的手弄乱了我的头发。他不经意的触碰让一阵震撼传遍了我的全身。“贝拉,如果我伤害了你,我绝对不会让自己活下去。你不知道这将会怎样地折磨着我。”他垂下头,再次羞愧起来。“只要想到你将变得僵硬,苍白,冰冷……再也看不到你羞怯的红晕,再也看不到当你看穿我的伪装时眼里一闪而过的直觉……这一切简直让人无法忍受。”他抬起那双明亮的,充满歉意的眼睛,看着我的眼眸。“现在你是这个世界上对我来说最重要的事情了。至少对我来说是最重要的。”

我的脑海里一片混乱,我们的对话居然急转直下走到了这个方向上。刚才我们还在讨论着那个愉快的关于我迫在眉睫的死亡的话题,现在我们竟然在相互告白了。他等待着,尽管我低着头开始研究我们之间相握的手,我知道他金色的眼睛正注视着我。“你已经知道我的感觉了,当然,”我最终说道。“我就在这里……这,大致翻译过来的话,是指我宁愿死,也不愿离开你。”我皱起眉。“我是个傻瓜。”

“你确实是个傻瓜。”他赞同地大笑起来。我们的目光交汇在一起,然后我也大笑起来。我们一起为这种白痴的,全无可能的行径大笑了许久。

“那么,狮子爱上了绵羊……”他喃喃低语道。我看向别处,掩饰着自己的眼神,因为我被这句话震撼了。

“多么愚蠢的绵羊。”我叹息着说。

“多么病态的,嗜好受虐的狮子。”他凝望着那片幽暗的森林,许久许久,我想知道是什么样的想法让他沉浸其中。

“为什么……?”我开了口,但又停住了,不知道怎么说下去。

他看着我,笑了,阳光闪耀在他的脸上,他的齿间。

“怎么了?”

“告诉我,你刚才为什么要从我身边逃开。”

他的笑容消失了。“你知道为什么。”

“不,我是说,更确切些,我做错了什么?我得提高警惕,你知道,所以我最好开始了解我不应该做什么。这个,比方说”——我轻抚着他的手背——“似乎没问题。”

他又笑了起来:“你什么也没做错,贝拉。这是我的错。”

“可我想要帮上忙,如果我可以的话,不让情况变得对你来说更难熬。”

“嗯……”他沉思了片刻。“这只取决于你离我多近。大多数人类都会本能地躲开我们,被我们的异己性排斥着……我不希望你靠得太近。还有你的喉咙的味道。”他突然停下来,想看看自己是否吓到我了。

“好吧,那么,”我轻率地说道,试图缓和忽然紧绷起来的气氛。我收起下巴。“不让喉咙露出来。”

这起作用了。他大笑起来:“不,真的,这比别的任何事都要更惊人。”(it was more the surprise than anything else。。。我不知道Edward指的是什么,到底是藏起喉咙呢,还是喉咙的味道?)

他抬起那只闲着的手,温柔地放到我的脖子上。我僵直地坐在那里,他的触碰带来的寒意是一种本能的警告——警告我应该感到恐惧。但我却一点儿也不害怕。但是,却有另一种感觉……

“你看,”他说着,“好极了。”

我的血液在奔涌着,我真希望我能让它平静下来,我能感觉到,这会让每件事都更糟——我的脉搏在血管里砰砰作响。当然他能听见这一切。

“你脸颊上的红晕太可爱了。”他喃喃低语道。他温柔地抽出了另一只手,我的手无力地落在膝盖上。轻柔地,他拂过我的脸颊,然后用他宛如大理石般的双手捧起我的脸。

“千万别动。”他耳语着,好像我还不够僵硬一样。

他的目光从未离开过我的眼睛,慢慢地,他向我侧过来。然后出乎我意料的,却非常温柔地,他把冰冷的脸颊贴上了我的颈窝。我根本没法动弹,即使我确实想要这样做。我聆听着他平稳的呼吸声,看着阳光和微风在他红铜色的头发上轻舞着,这大概是他身上最像人类的部分。
他的双手从容而缓慢地滑落下来,慢慢滑过我的脖子。我颤栗着,我能听到他屏住了呼吸。但他的手没有停下来,他们轻柔地移向我的肩膀,然后停住了。

他的脸慢慢地向下移,他的鼻子轻轻擦过了我的锁骨。他最终让自己一侧的脸颊温柔地压在我的胸口。

聆听着我的心跳。

“啊。”他叹息着。

我不知道我们这样一动不动地坐了多久。也许有好几个小时。最终,我脉搏的悸动平息下来,但他没有挪动,也没有说话,只是抓着我。我知道这样随时都有可能擦枪走火,我的生命会就此了结——快得我甚至不会注意到。而我也没法让自己害怕。我无法思考任何事情,只知道他在触碰着我。

然后他放开了我



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