*by Stephenie Meyer*


"Good morning." His voice was silky. "How are you today?" His eyes roamed over my face, as if his question was something more than simple courtesy.
"Good, thank you." I was always good - much more than good - when I was near him.
His gazed lingered on the circles under my eyes. "You look tired."
"I couldn't sleep," I confessed, automatically swinging my hair around my shoulder to provide some measure of cover.
"Neither could I," he teased as he started the engine. I was becoming used to the quiet purr. I was sure the roar of my truck would scare me, whenever I got to drive it again.
I laughed. "I guess that's right. I suppose I slept just a little bit more than you did."
"I'd wager you did."
"So what did you do last night?" I asked.
He chuckled. "Not a chance. It's my day to ask questions."
"Oh, that's right. What do you want to know?" My forehead creased. I couldn't imagine anything about me that could be in any way interesting to him.
"What's your favorite color?" he asked, his face grave.
I rolled my eyes. "It changes from day to day."
"What's your favorite color today?" He was still solemn.
"Probably brown." I tended to dress according to my mood.
He snorted, dropping his serious expression. "Brown?" he asked skeptically.
"Sure. Brown is warm. I miss brown. Everything that's supposed to be brown - tree trunks, rocks, dirt - is all covered up with squashy green stuff here," I complained.
He seemed fascinated by my little rant. He considered for a moment, staring into my eyes.
"You're right," he decided, serious again. "Brown is warm." He reached over, swiftly, but somehow still hesitantly, to sweep my hair back behind my shoulder.
We were at the school by now. He turned back to me as he pulled into a parking space.
"What music is in your CD player right now?" he asked, his face as somber as if he'd asked for a murder confession.
I realized I'd never removed the CD Phil had given me. When I said the name of the band, he smiled crookedly, a peculiar expression in his eyes. He flipped open a compartment under his car's CD player, pulled out one of thirty or so CD's that were jammed into the small space, and handed it to me.
"Debussy to this?" He raise an eyebrow.
It was the same CD. I examined the familiar cover art, keeping my eyes down.
It continued like that for the rest of the day. While he walked me to English, when he met me after Spanish, all through the lunch hour, he questioned me relentlessly about every insignificant detail of my existence. Movies I'd liked and hated, a few places I'd been and the many places I wanted to go, and books - endlessly books.
It couldn't remember the last time I'd talked so much. More often than not, I felt self-conscious, certain I must be boring him. But the absolute absorption of his face, and his never-ending stream of questions, compelled me to continue. Mostly his questions were easy, only a very few triggering my easy blushes. But when I did flush, it brought on a whole new round of questions.
Such as the time he asked my favorite gemstone, and I blurted out topaz before thinking. He'd been flinging questions at me with such speed that I felt like I was taking one of those psychiatric tests where you answer with the first word that comes to mind. I was sure he would have continued down whatever mental list he was following, except for the blush. My face reddened because, until very recently, my favorite gemstone was garnet. It was impossible, while staring back into his topaz eyes, not to remember the reason for the switch. And, naturally, he wouldn't rest until I'd admitted why I was embarrassed.
"Tell me," he finally commanded after persuasion failed - failed only because I kept my eyes safely away from his face.
"It's the color of your eyes today," I sighed, surrendering, staring down at my hands as I fiddled with a piece of my hair. "I supposed if you asked me in two weeks I'd say onyx." I'd given more information than necessary in my unwilling honesty, and I worried it would provoke the strange anger that flared whenever I slipped and revealed too clearly how obsessed I was.
But his pause was very short.
"What kind of flowers do you prefer?" he fired off.
I sighed in relief, and continued with the psychoanalysis.
Biology was a complication again. Edward had continued with his quizzing up until Mr. Banner entered the room, dragging the audiovisual frame again. As the teacher approached the light switch, I noticed Edward slide his chair slightly farther away from mine. It didn't help. As soon as the room was dark, there was the same electric spark, the same restless craving to stretch my hand across the short space and touch his cold skin, as yesterday.
I leaned forward on the table, resting my chin on my folded arms, my hidden fingers gripping the table's edge as I fought to ignore the irritational longing that unsettled me. I didn't look at him, afraid that if he was looking at me, it would only make self-control that much harder. I sincerely tried to watch the movie, but at the end of the hour I had no idea what I'd just seen. I sighed in relief again when Mr. Banner turned the lights on, finally glancing at Edward; he was looking at me, his eyes ambivalent.
He rose in silence and then stood still, waiting for me. We walked toward the gym in silence, like yesterday. And also like yesterday, he touched my face wordlessly - this time with the back of his cool hand, stroking once from my temple to my jaw - before he turned and walked away.