Home > Eclipse (Twilight #3)(11)

Eclipse (Twilight #3)(11)
Author: Stephenie Meyer

I got up and piled the dishes together without looking at Charlie. I dumped them into the sink and started the water. Edward appeared silently and grabbed a dishtowel.

Charlie sighed and gave up for the moment, though I imagined he would revisit the subject when we were alone again. He heaved himself to his feet and headed for the TV, just like every other night. "Charlie," Edward said in a conversational tone.

Charlie stopped in the middle of his little kitchen. "Yeah?"

"Did Bella ever tell you that my parents gave her airplane tickets on her last birthday, so that she could visit Renée?"

I dropped the plate I was scrubbing. It glanced off the counter and clattered noisily to the floor. It didn't break, but it spattered the room, and all three of us, with soapy water. Charlie didn't even seem to notice. "Bella?" he asked in a stunned voice.

I kept my eyes on the plate as I retrieved it. "Yeah, they did."

Charlie swallowed loudly, and then his eyes narrowed as he turned back to Edward. "No, she never mentioned it."

"Hmm," Edward murmured.

"Was there a reason you brought it up?" Charlie asked in a hard voice.

Edward shrugged. "They're about to expire. I think it might hurt Esme's feelings if Bella doesn't use her gift. Not that she'd say anything."

I stared at Edward in disbelief.

Charlie thought for a minute. "It's probably a good idea for you to visit your mom, Bella. She'd love that. I'm surprised you didn't say anything about this, though."

"I forgot," I admitted.

He frowned. "You forgot that someone gave you plane tickets?"

"Mmm," I murmured vaguely, and turned back to the sink.

"I noticed that you said they're about to expire, Edward," Charlie went on. "How many tickets did your parents give her?"

"Just one for her . . . and one for me."

The plate I dropped this time landed in the sink, so it didn't make as much noise. I could easily hear the sharp huff as my father exhaled. The blood rushed into my face, fueled by irritation and chagrin. Why was Edward doing this? I glared at the bubbles in the sink, panicking.

"That's out of the question!" Charlie was abruptly in a rage, shouting the words.

"Why?" Edward asked, his voice saturated with innocent surprise. "You just said it was a good idea for her to see her mother."

Charlie ignored him. "You're not going anywhere with him, young lady!" he yelled. I spun around and he was jabbing a finger at me.

Anger pulsed through me automatically, an instinctive reaction to his tone.

"I'm not a child, Dad. And I'm not grounded anymore, remember?"

"Oh yes, you are. Starting now."

"For what?!"

"Because I said so."

"Do I need to remind you that I'm a legal adult, Charlie?"

"This is my house - you follow my rules!"

My glare turned icy. "If that's how you want it. Do you want me to move out tonight? Or can I have a few days to pack?"

Charlie's face went bright red. I instantly felt horrible for playing the move-out card.

I took a deep breath and tried to make my tone more reasonable. "I'll do my time without complaining when I've done something wrong, Dad, but I'm not going to put up with your prejudices."

He sputtered, but managed nothing coherent.

"Now, I know that you know that I have every right to see Mom for the weekend. You can't honestly tell me you'd object to the plan if I was going with Alice or Angela."

"Girls," he grunted, with a nod.

"Would it bother you if I took Jacob?"

I'd only picked the name because I knew of my father's preference for Jacob, but I quickly wished I hadn't; Edward's teeth clenched together with an audible snap.

My father struggled to compose himself before he answered. "Yes," he said in an unconvincing voice.

"That would bother me."

"You're a rotten liar, Dad."

"Bella -"

"It's not like I'm headed off to Vegas to be a showgirl or anything. I'm going to see Mom," I reminded him. "She's just as much my parental authority as you are."

He threw me a withering look.

"Are you implying something about Mom's ability to look after me?"

Charlie flinched at the threat implicit in my question.

"You'd better hope I don't mention this to her," I said.

"You'd better not," he warned. "I'm not happy about this, Bella."

"There's no reason for you to be upset."

He rolled his eyes, but I could tell the storm was over.

I turned to pull the plug out of the sink. "So my homework is done, your dinner is done, the dishes are done, and I'm not grounded. I'm going out. I'll be back before ten-thirty."

"Where are you going?" His face, almost back to normal, flushed light red again.

"I'm not sure," I admitted. "I'll keep it within a ten-mile radius, though. Okay?"

He grunted something that did not sound like approval, and stalked out of the room. Naturally, as soon as I'd won the fight, I began to feel guilty.

"We're going out?" Edward asked, his voice low but enthusiastic.

I turned to glower at him. "Yes. I think I'd like to speak to you alone."

He didn't look as apprehensive as I thought he should.

I waited to begin until we were safely in his car.

"What was that?" I demanded.

"I know you want to see your mother, Bella - you've been talking about her in your sleep. Worrying actually."

"I have?"

He nodded. "But, clearly, you were too much of a coward to deal with Charlie, so I interceded on your behalf."

"Interceded? You threw me to the sharks!"

He rolled his eyes. "I don't think you were in any danger."

"I told you I didn't want to fight with Charlie."

"Nobody said that you had to."

I glowered at him. "I can't help myself when he gets all bossy like that - my natural teenage instincts overpower me."

He chuckled. "Well, that's not my fault."

I stared at him, speculating. He didn't seem to notice. His face was serene as he gazed out the windshield. Something was off, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Or maybe it was just my imagination again, running wild like it had this afternoon.

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