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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 8

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I held my arm close to my side. The slight pressure burned, and I wrinkled my nose. The anesthetic was apparently losing its effectiveness.

"How was it?" Charlie lounged across the sofa with his bare feet propped up on the arm. What was left of his curly brown hair was crushed flat on one side.

"Alice went overboard. Flowers, cake, candles, presents��the whole bit."

"What did they get you?"

"A stereo for my truck." And various unknowns.


"Yeah," I agreed. "Well, I'm calling it a night."

"I'll see you in the morning."

I waved. "See ya."

"What happened to your arm?"

I flushed and cursed silently. "I tripped. It's nothing."

"Bella," he sighed, shaking his head.

"Goodnight, Dad."

I hurried up to the bathroom, where I kept my pajamas for just such nights as these. I shrugged into the matching tank top and cotton pants that I'd gotten to replace the holey sweats I used to wear to bed, wincing as the movement pulled at the stitches. I washed my face one-handed, brushed my teeth, and then skipped to my room.

He was sitting in the center of my bed, toying idly with one of the silver boxes.

"Hi," he said. His voice was sad. He was wallowing.

I went to the bed, pushed the presents out of his hands, and climbed into his lap.

"Hi." I snuggled into his stone chest. "Can I open my presents now?"

"Where did the enthusiasm come from?" he wondered.

"You made me curious."

I picked up the long flat rectangle that must have been from Carlisle and Esme.

"Allow me," he suggested. He took the gift from my hand and tore the silver paper off with one fluid movement. He handed the rectangular white box back to me.

"Are you sure I can handle lifting the lid?" I muttered, but he ignored me.

Inside the box was a long thick piece of paper with an overwhelming amount of fine print. It took me a minute to get the gist of the information.

"We're going to Jacksonville?" And I was excited, in spite of myself. It was a voucher for plane tickets, for both me and Edward.

"That's the idea."

"I can't believe it. Renee is going to flip! You don't mind, though, do you? It's sunny, you'll have to stay inside all day."

"I think I can handle it," he said, and then frowned. "If I'd had any idea that you could respond to a gift this appropriately, I would have made you open it in front of Carlisle and Esme. I thought you'd complain."

"Well, of course it's too much. But I get to take you with me!"

He chuckled. "Now I wish I'd spent money on your present. I didn't realize that you were capable of being reasonable."

I set the tickets aside and reached for his present, my curiosity rekindled. He took it from me and unwrapped it like the first one.

He handed back a clear CD jewel case, with a blank silver CD inside.

"What is it?" I asked, perplexed.

He didn't say anything; he took the CD and reached around me to put it in the CD player on the bedside table. He hit play, and we waited in silence. Then the music began.

I listened, speechless and wide-eyed. I knew he was waiting for my reaction, but I couldn't talk. Tears welled up, and I reached up to wipe them away before they could spill over.

"Does your arm hurt?" he asked anxiously.

"No, it's not my arm. It's beautiful, Edward. You couldn't have given me anything I would love more. I can't believe it." I shut up, so I could listen.

It was his music, his compositions. The first piece on the CD was my lullaby.

"I didn't think you would let me get a piano so I could play for you here," he explained.

"You're right."

"How does your arm feel?"

"Just fine." Actually, it was starting to blaze under the bandage. I wanted ice. I would have settled for his hand, but that would have given me away.

"I'll get you some Tylenol."

"I don't need anything," I protested, but he slid me off his lap and headed for the door.

"Charlie," I hissed. Charlie wasn't exactly aware that Edward frequently stayed over. In fact, he would have a stroke if that fact were brought to his attention. But I didn't feel too guilty for deceiving him It wasn't as if we were up to anything he wouldn't want me to be up to. Edward and his rules��

"He won't catch me," Edward promised as he disappeared silently out the door . . and returned, catching the door before it had swung back to touch the frame. He had the glass from the bathroom and the bottle of pills in one hand.

I took the pills he handed me without arguing��I knew I would lose the argument And my arm really was starting to bother me.

My lullaby continued, soft and lovely, in the background.

"It's late," Edward noted. He scooped me up off the bed with one arm, and pulled the cover back with the other. He put me down with my head on my pillow and tucked the quilt around me. He lay down next to me��on top of the blanket so I wouldn't get chilled��and put his arm over me.

I leaned my head against his shoulder and sighed happily.

"Thanks again," I whispered.

"You're welcome."

It was quiet for a long moment as I listened to my lullaby drift to a close. Another song began. I recognized Esme's favorite.

"What are you thinking about?'" I wondered in a whisper.

He hesitated for a second before he told me. "I was thinking about right and wrong, actually."

I felt a chill tingle along my spine.

"Remember how I decided that I wanted you to not ignore my birthday?" I asked quickly, hoping it wasn't too clear that I was trying to distract him.

"Yes," he agreed, wary.

"Well, I was thinking, since it's still my birthday, that I'd like you to kiss me again."

"You're greedy tonight."

"Yes, I am��but please, don't do anything you don't want to do," I added, piqued.

He laughed, and then sighed. "Heaven forbid that I should do anything I don't want to do," he said in a strangely desperate tone as he put his hand under my chin and pulled my face up to his.

The kiss began much the same as usual��Edward was as careful as ever, and my heart began to overreact like it always did. And then something seemed to change. Suddenly his lips became much more urgent, his free hand twisted into my hair and held my face securely to his. And, though my hands tangled in his hair, too, and though I was clearly beginning to cross his cautious lines, for once he didn't stop me. His body was cold through the thin quilt, but I crushed myself against him eagerly.

When he stopped it was abrupt; he pushed me away with gentle, firm hands.

I collapsed back onto my pillow, gasping, my head spinning. Something tugged at my memory, elusive, on the edges.

"Sorry," he said, and he was breathless, too.
"That was out of line."

"I don't mind," I panted.

He frowned at me in the darkness. "Try to sleep. Bella."

"No, I want you to kiss me again."

"You're overestimating my self-control."

"Which is tempting you more, my blood or my body?" I challenged.

"It's a tie." He grinned briefly in spite of himself, and then was serious again. "Now. why don't you stop pushing your luck and go to sleep?"

"Fine," I agreed, snuggling closer to him. I really did feel exhausted. It had been a long day in so many ways, yet I felt no sense of relief at its end. Almost as if something worse was coming tomorrow. It was a silly premonition��what could be worse than today?' Just the shock catching up with me, no doubt.

Trying to be sneaky about it, I pressed my injured arm against his shoulder, so his cool skin would sooth the burning. It felt better at once.

I was halfway asleep, maybe more, when I realized what his kiss had reminded me of: last spring, when he'd had to leave me to throw James off my trail, Edward had kissed me goodbye, not knowing when��or if��we would see each other again. This kiss had the same almost painful edge for some reason I couldn't imagine. I shuddered into unconsciousness, as if I were already having a nightmare.

I FELT ABSOLUTELY HIDEOUS IN THE MORNING. I HADN'T slept well; my arm burned and my head ached. It didn't help my outlook that Edward's face was smooth and remote as he kissed my forehead quickly and ducked out my window. I was afraid of the time I'd spent unconscious, afraid that he might have been thinking about right and wrong again while he watched me sleep. The anxiety seemed to ratchet up the intensity of the pounding in my head.

Edward was waiting for me at school, as usual, but his face was still wrong. There was something buried in his eyes that I couldn't be sure of��and it scared me. I didn't want to bring up last night, but I wasn't sure if avoiding the subject would be worse.

He opened my door for me.

"How do you feel?"

"Perfect," I lied, cringing as the sound of the slamming door echoed in my head.

We walked in silence, he shortening his stride to match mine. There were so many questions I wanted to ask, but most of those questions would have to wait, because chey were for Alice: How was Jasper this morning? What had they said when I was gone? What had Rosalie said? And most importantly, what could she see happening now in her strange, imperfect visions of the future? Could she guess what Edward was thinking, why he was so gloomy? Was there a foundation for the tenuous, instinctive fears that I couldn't seem to shake?

The morning passed slowly.

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