*by Stephenie Meyer*


Under the shelter of the cafeteria roof's overhang, Jessica was waiting, her eyes about to bug out of their sockets. Over her arm, bless her, was my jacket.
"Hey, Jessica," I said when we were a few feet away. "Thanks for remembering." She handed me my jacket without speaking.
"Good morning, Jessica," Edward said politely. It wasn't really his fault that his voice was so irresistable. Or what his eyes were capable of.
"Er... hi." She shifted her wide eyes to me, trying to gather her jumbled thoughts. "I guess I'll see you in Trig." She gave me a meaningful look, and I supressed a sigh. What on earth was I going to tell her?
"Yeah, I'll see you then."
She walked away, pausing twice to peek back over her shoulder at us.
"What are you going to tell her?" Edward murmured.
"Hey, I thought you couldn't read my mind!" I hissed.
"I can't," he said, startled. Then understanding brightened his eyes. "However, I can read hers - she'll be waiting to ambush you in class."
I groaned as I pulled off his jacket and handed it to him, replacing it with my own. He folded it over his arm.
"So what are you going to tell her?"
"A little help?" I pleaded. "What does she want to know?"
He shook his head, grinning wickedly. "That's not fair."
"No, you not sharing what you know - now that's not fair."
He deliberated for a moment as we walked. We stopped outside the door to my first class.
"She wants to know if we're secretly dating. And she wants to know how you feel about me," he finally said.
"Yikes. What should I say?" I tried to keep my expression very innocent. People were passing us on their way to class, probably staring, but I was barely aware of them.
"Hmmm." He paused to catch a stray lock of hair that was escaping the twist on my neck and wound it back into place. My heart spluttered hyperactively. "I suppose you could say yes for the first... if you don't mind - it's easier than any other explanation."
"I don't mind," I said in a faint voice.
"And as for the other question... well, I'll be listening to hear the answer to that one myself." One side of his mouth pulled up into my favorite uneven smile. I couldn't catch my breath soon enough to respond to that remark. He turned and walked away.
"I'll see you at lunch," he called over his shoulder. Three people walking in the door stopped to stare at me.
I hurried into class, flushed and irritated. He was such a cheater. Now I was even more worried about what I was going to say to Jessica. I sat in my usual seat, slamming my bag down in aggravation.
"Morning, Bella," Mike said from the seat next to me. I looked up to see an odd, almost resigned look on his face. "How was Port Angeles?"
"It was..." There was no honest way to sum it up. "Great," I finished lamely. "Jessica got a really cute dress."
"Did she say anything about Monday night?" he asked, his eyes brightening. I smiled at the turn the conversation had taken.
"She said she had a really good time," I assured him.
"She did?" he said eagerly.
"Most definitely."
Mr. Mason called the class to order then, asking us to turn in our papers. English and then Government passed in a blur, while I was worried about how to explain things to Jessica and agonized over whether Edward would really be listening to what I said through the medium of Jess's thoughts. How very inconvenient his little talent could be - when it wasn't saving my life.
The fog had almost dissolved by the end of the second hour, but the day was still dark with low, oppressing clouds. I smiled up at the sky.
Edward was right, of course. When I walked into Trig Jessica was sitting in the back row, nearly bouncing off her seat in agitation. I reluctantly went to sit by her, trying to convince myself it would be better to get it over with as soon as possible.
"Tell me everything!" she commanded before I was in the seat.
"What do you want to know?" I hedged.
"What happened last night?"
"He bought me dinner, and then he drove me home."
She glared at me, her expressioon stiff with skepticism. "How did you get home so fast?"
"He drives like a maniac. It was terrifying." I hoped he heard that.
"Was it like a date - did you tell him to meet you there?"
I hadn't thought of that. "No - I was very surprised to see him there."
Her lips puckered in disappointment at the transparent honesty in my voice.
"But he picked you up for school today?" she probed.
"Yes - that was a surprise, too. He noticed I didn't have a jacket last night," I explained.
"So are you going out again?"
"He offered to drive me to Seattle Saturday because he thinks my truck isn't up to it - does that count?"
"Yes." She nodded.
"Well, then, yes."
"W-o-w." She exaggerated the word into three syllables. "Edward Cullen."
"I know," I sgreed. "Wow" didn't even cover it.
"Wait!" Her hands flew up, palms toward me like she was stopping traffic. "Has he kissed you?"
"No," I mumbled. "It's not like that."
She looked disappointed. I'm sure I did, too.
"Do you think Saturday...?" She raised her eyebrows.
"I really doubt it." The discontent in my voice was poorly disguised.
"What did you talk about?" She pushed for more information in a whisper. Class had started but Mr. Varner wasn't paying close attention and we weren't the only ones still talking.
"I don't know, Jess, lots of stuff," I whispered back. "We talked about the English essay a little." A very, very little. I think he mentioned it in passing.
"Please, Bella," she begged. "Give me some details."
"Well... okay, I've got one. You should have seen the waitress flirting with him - it was over the top. But he didn't pay any attention to her at all." Let him make what he could of that.
"That's a good sign," she nodded. "Was she pretty?"
"Very - and probably nineteen or twenty."
"Even better. He must like you."
"I think so, but it's hard to tell. He's always so cryptic," I threw in for his benefit, sighing.
"I don't know how you're brave enough to be alone with him," she breathed.
"Why?" I was shocked, but she didn't understand my reaction.
"He's so... intimidating. I wouldn't know what to say to him." She made a face, probably remembering this morning or last night, when he's turned the overwhelming force of his eyes on her.
"I do have trouble with incoherency when I'm around him," I admitted.
"Oh well, he is gorgeous." Jessica shrugged as if this excused any flaws. Which, in her book, it probably did.
"There's a lot more to him than that."
"Really? Like what?"
I wished I had let it go. Almost as much as I was hoping he'd been kidding about listening in.
"I can't explain it right... but he's even more unbelievable behind the face." The vampire who wanted to be good - who ran around saving people's lives so he wouldn't be a monster... stared toward the front of the room.
"Is that possible?" She giggled.
I ignored her, trying to look like I was paying attention to Mr. Varner.
"So you like him, then?" She wasn't about to give up.
"Yes," I said curtly.
"I mean, do you really like him?" she urged.
"Yes," I said again, blushing. I hoped that detail wouldn't register in her thoughts.
She'd had enough with the single syllable answers. "How much do you like him?"
"Too much," I whispered back. "More than he likes me. But don't see how I can help that." I sighed one blush blending into the next.
Then, thankfully, Mr. Varner called on Jessica for an answer.
She didn't get a chance to start on the subject again during class, and as soon as the bell rang, I took evasive action.
"In English, Mike asked me if you said anything about Monday night," I told her.
"You're kidding! What did you say?!" she gasped, completely sidetracked.
"I told him you said you had a lot of fun - he looked pleased."
"Tell me exactly what he said, and your exact anser!"
We spent the rest of the walk dessecting sentence structures and most of Spanish on a minute description of Mike's facial expressions. I wouldn't have helped draw it out for as long as I did if I wasn't worried about the subject returning to me.