*by Stephenie Meyer*
TWILIGHT - chapter 9 - THEORY
We were in front of Charlie's house. The lights were on, my truck in its place, everything utterly normal. It was like waking from a dream. He stopped the car, but I didn't move.
"Do you promise to be there tomorrow?"
I considered that for a moment, then nodded. I pulled his jacket off, taking one last whiff.
"You can keep it - you don't have a jacket for tomorrow," he reminded me.
I handed it back to him. "I don't want to have to explain to Charlie."
"Oh, right." He grinned.
I hesitated, my hand on the door handle, trying to prolong the moment.
"Bella?" he asked in a different tone - serious, but hesitant.
"Yes?" I turned back to him too eagerly.
"Will you promise me something?"
"Yes," I said, and instantly regretted my unconditional agreement. What if he asked me to stay away from him? I couldn't keep that promise.
"Don't go into the woods alone."
I stared at him in blank confusion. "Why?"
He frowned, his eyes were tight as he stared past me out the window.
"I'm not always the most dangerous thing out there. Let's leave it at that."
I shuddered slightly at the sudden bleakness in his voice, but I was relieved. This, at least, was an easy promise to honor. "Whatever you say."
"I'll see you tomorrow," he sighed, and I knew he wanted me to leave now.
"Tomorrow, then." I opened the door unwillingly.
"Bella?" I turned and he was leaning toward me, his pale, glorious face just inches from mine. My heart stopped beating.
"Sleep well," he said. His breath blew in my face, stunning me. It was the same exquisite scent that clung to his jacket, but in a more concentrated form. I blinked, thoroughly dazed. He leaned away.
I was unable to move until my brain had somewhat unscrambled itself. Then I stepped out of the car awkwardly, having to use the frame for support. I thought I heard him chuckle, but the sound was too quiet for me to be certain.
He waited till I had stumbled to the front door, and then I heard his engine quietly rev. I turned to watch the silver car disappear around the corner. I realized it was vey cold.
I reached for the key mechanically, unlocked the door, and stepped inside.
Charlie called from the living room. "Bella?"
"Yeah, Dad, it's me." I walked in to see him. He was watching a baseball game.
"You're home early."
"Am I?" I was surprised.
"It's not even eight yet," he told me. "Did you girls have fun?"
"Yeah - it was lots of fun." My head was spinning as I tried to remember all the way back to the girls' night out I had planned. "They both found dresses."
"Are you all right?"
"I'm just tired. I did a lot of walking."
"Well, maybe you should go lie down." He sounded concerned. I wondered what my face looked like.
"I'm just going to call Jessica first."
"Weren't you just with her?" he asked, surprised.
"Yes - but I left my jacket in her car. I want to make sure she brings it tomorrow."
"Well, give her a chance to get home first."
"Right," I agreed.
I went to the kitchen and fell, exhausted, into a chair. I was really feeling dizzy now. I wondered if I was going to go into shock after all. Get a grip, I told myself.
The phone rang suddenly, startling me. I yanked it off the hook.
"Hello?" I asked breathlessly.
"Hey, Jess, I was just going to call you."
"You made it home?" Her voice was relieved... and surprised.
"Yes. I left my jacket in your car - could you bring it to me tomorrow?"
"Sure. But tell me what happened!" she demanded.
"Um, tomorrow - in Trig, okay?"
She caught on quickly. "Oh, is your dad there?"
"Yes, that's right."
"Okay, I'll talk to you tomorrow, then. Bye!" I could hear the impatience in her voice.
I walked up the stairs slowly, a heavy stupor clouding my mind. I went through the motions of getting ready for bed without paying any attention to what I was doing. It wasn't until I was in the shower - the water too hot, burning my skin - that I realized I was freezing. I shuddered violently for several minutes before the steaming spray could finally relax my frigid muscles. Then I stood in the shower, too tired to move, until the hot water began to run out.
I stumbled out, wrapping myself securely in a towel, trying to hold the heat from the water in so the aching shivers wouldn't return. I dressed for bed swiftly and climbed under my quilt, curling into a ball, hugging myself to keep warm. A few small shudders trembled through me.
My mind still swirled dizzily, full of images I couldn't understand, and some I fought to repress. Nothing seemed clear at first, but as I fell gradually closer to unconsciousness, a few certainties became evident.
About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him - and I didn't know how potent that part might be - that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.