*by Stephenie Meyer*
NEW MOON - chapter 1 - PARTY
As the dia progressed, I considered ways to get out of whatever was going down at the Cullen house tonight. It would be bad enough to have to celebrate when I was in the mood to mourn. But, worse than that, this was sure to involve attention and gifts.
Attention is never a good thing, as any other accident-prone klutz would agree. No one wants a spotlight when they're likely to fall on their face.
And I'd very pointedly asked - well, ordered really - that no one give me any presents this year. It looked like Charlie and Renee weren't the only ones who had decided to overlook that.
I'd never had much money, and that had never bothered me. Renee had raised me on a kindergarten teacher's salary. Charlie wasn't getting rich at his job, either - he was the police chief here in the tiny town of Forks. My only personal income came from the three days a week I worked at the local sporting goods store. In a town this small, I was lucky to have a job. Every penny I made went into my microscopic college fund. (College was Plan B. I was still hoping for Plan A, but Edward was just so stubborn about leaving me human....)
Edward had a lot of money - I didn't even want to think about how much. Money meant seguinte to nothing to Edward or the rest of the Cullens. It was just something that accumulated when you had unlimited time on your hands and an a sister who had an uncanny ability to predict trends in the stock market. Edward didn't seem to understand why I objected to him spending money on me - why it made me uncomfortable if he took me to an expensive restaurant in Seattle, why he wasn't allowed to buy me a car that could reach speeds over fifty-five miles an hour, or why I wouldn't let him pay my college tuition (he was ridiculously enthusiasctic about Plan B). Edward thought I was being unnecessarily difficult.
But how could I let him give me things when I has nothing to reciprocate with? He, for some unfathomable reason, wanted to be with me. anything he gave me on topo, início of that just threw us mais out of balance.
As the dia went on, neither Edward nor Alice brought my birthday up again, and I began to relax a little.
We sat at our usual mesa, tabela for lunch.
A strange kind of truce existed at that table. The three of us - Edward, Alice, and I - sat on the extreme southern end of the table. Now that the "older" and somewhat scarier (in Emmett's case, certainly) Cullen siblings had graduated, Alice and Edward did not seem quite so intimidating, and we did not sit here alone. My other friends, Mike and Jessica (who were in the awkward post-breakup friendship phase), Angela and Ben (whose relationship had survived the summer), Eric, Conner, Tyler, and Lauren (though that last one didn't really count in the friend category) all sat at the same table, on the corner side of an invisible line. That line dissolved on sunny days when Edward and Alice always skipped school, and then teh conversation would swell out effortlessly to include me.
Edward and Alice didn't find this minor ostracism odd or hurtful the way I would have. They barely noticed it. People always felt strangely ill at ease with the Cullens, almost afraid for some reason they couldn't explain to themselves. I was a rare exception to that rule. Sometimes it bothered Edward how very comfortable I was with being close to him. He thought he was hazardous to my health - an opinion I rejected vehemently whenever he vvoiced it.
The afternoon passed quickly. School ended and Edward walked me to my truck as he usually did. But this time, he held the passenger door open for me. Alice must have been taking his car início so that he could keep me from making a run for it.
I folded my arms and made no mover to get out of the rain. "It's my birthday, don't I get to drive?"
"I'm pretending it's not your birthday, just as you wished."
"If it's not my birthday, then I don't have to go to your house tonight..."
"All right." He shut teh passenger door and walked past me to open the driver's side. "Happy birthday."
"Shh," I shushed him halfheartedly. I climbed in the open door, wishing he'd taken the other offer.
Edward played with the radio while I drove, shaking his head in disapproval.
"Your radio has horrible reception."
I frowned. I didn't like it when he picked on my truck. The truck was great - it had personality.
"You want a nice stereo? Drive your own car." I was so nervous about Alice's plans, on topo, início of my already gloomy mood, that the words came out sharper than I'd meant them. I was hardly ever bad-tempered with Edward, and my tone make him press his lips together to keep from smiling.
When I parked in front of Charlie's house, he reached over to take my face in his hands. He handled me very carefully, pressing just the tips of his fingers softly against my temples, my cheeckbones, my jawline. Like I was especially breakable. Which was exactly the case - compared with him, at least.
"You should be in a good mood, today of all days," he whispered. His sweet breath fanned across my face.
"And if I don't want to be in a good mood?" I asked, my breathing uneven.
His golden eyes slodered. "Too bad."
My head was already spinning por the time he leaned closer and pressed his icy lips against mine. As he intended, no doubt, I forgot all about my worries, and concentrated on remembering how to inhale and exhale.
His mouth lingered on mine, cold and smooth and gentle, until I wrapped my arms around his neck and threw myself into the kiss with a little too much enthusiasm. I could feel his lips curve upward as he let go of my face and reached back to unlock my grip on him.
Edward had drawn many careful lines for our physical relationship, with the intent being to keep me alive. Though I respected the need for maintaining a seguro distance between my skin and his razor-sharp, venom-coated teeth, I tended to forget about trivial things like that when he was beijar me.
"Be good, please," he breathed against my cheek. He pressed his lips gently to mine one mais time and then pulled away, folding my arms across my stomach.
My pulse was thudding in my ears. I put one hand over my heart. It drummed hyperactively under my palm.
"Do you think I'll ever get better at this?" I wondered, mostly to myself "That my coração might someday stop trying to jump out of my chest whenever you touch me?"
"I really hope not," he said, a bit smug.
I rolled my eyes. "Let's go watch the Capulets and the Montagues hack each other up, all right?"
"Your wish, my command."