Home > Eclipse (Twilight #3)(12)

Eclipse (Twilight #3)(12)
Author: Stephenie Meyer

"Does this sudden urge to see Florida have anything to do with the party at Billy's place?"

His jaw flexed. "Nothing at all. It wouldn't matter if you were here or on the other side of the world, you still wouldn't be going."

It was just like with Charlie before - just like being treated as a misbehaving child. I gritted my teeth together so I wouldn't start shouting. I didn't want to fight with Edward, too.

Edward sighed, and when he spoke his voice was warm and velvet again. "So what do you want to do tonight?" he asked.

"Can we go to your house? I haven't seen Esme in so long."

He smiled. "She'll like that. Especially when she hears what we're doing this weekend."

I groaned in defeat.

We didn't stay out late, as I'd promised. I was not surprised to see the lights still on when we pulled up in front of the house - I knew Charlie would be waiting to yell at me some more.

"You'd better not come inside," I said. "It will only make things worse."

"His thoughts are relatively calm," Edward teased. His expression made me wonder if there was some additional joke I was missing. The corners of his mouth twitched, fighting a smile.

"I'll see you later," I muttered glumly.

He laughed and kissed the top of my head. "I'll be back when Charlie's snoring."

The TV was loud when I got inside. I briefly considered trying to sneak past him.

"Could you come in here, Bella?" Charlie called, sinking that plan.

My feet dragged as I took the five necessary steps.

"What's up, Dad?"

"Did you have a nice time tonight?" he asked. He seemed ill at ease. I looked for hidden meanings in his words before I answered.

"Yes," I said hesitantly.

"What did you do?"

I shrugged. "Hung out with Alice and Jasper. Edward beat Alice at chess, and then I played Jasper. He buried me."

I smiled. Edward and Alice playing chess was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. They'd sat there nearly motionless, staring at the board, while Alice foresaw the moves he would make and he picked the moves she would make in return out of her head. They played most of the game in their minds; I think they'd each moved two pawns when Alice suddenly flicked her king over and surrendered. It took all of three minutes.

Charlie hit the mute button - an unusual action.

"Look, there's something I need to say." He frowned, looking very uncomfortable.

I sat still, waiting. He met my gaze for a second before shifting his eyes to the floor. He didn't say anything more.

"What is it, Dad?"

He sighed. "I'm not good at this kind of thing. I don't know how to start. . . ."

I waited again.

"Okay, Bella. Here's the thing." He got up from the couch and started pacing back and forth across the room, looking as his feet all the time. "You and Edward seem pretty serious, and there are some things that you need to be careful about. I know you're an adult now, but you're still young, Bella, and there are a lot of important things you need to know when you . . . well, when you're physically involved with -"

"Oh, please, please no!" I begged, jumping to my feet. "Please tell me you are not trying to have a sex talk with me, Charlie."

He glared at the floor. "I am your father. I have responsibilities. Remember, I'm just as embarrassed as you are."

"I don't think that's humanly possible. Anyway, Mom beat you to the punch about ten years ago. You're off the hook."

"Ten years ago you didn't have a boyfriend," he muttered unwillingly. I could tell he was battling with his desire to drop the subject. We were both standing up, looking at the floor, and facing away from each other.

"I don't think the essentials have changed that much," I mumbled, and my face had to be as red as his.

This was beyond the seventh circle of Hades; even worse was realizing that Edward had known this was coming. No wonder he'd seemed so smug in the car.

"Just tell me that you two are being responsible," Charlie pled, obviously wishing a pit would open in the floor so that he could fall in.

"Don't worry about it, Dad, it's not like that."

"Not that I don't trust you, Bella, but I know you don't want to tell me anything about this, and you know I don't really want to hear it. I will try to be open-minded, though. I know the times have changed."

I laughed awkwardly. "Maybe the times have, but Edward is very old-fashioned. You have nothing to worry about."

Charlie sighed. "Sure he is," he muttered.

"Ugh!" I groaned. "I really wish you were not forcing me to say this out loud, Dad. Really. But . . . I am a . . . virgin, and I have no immediate plans to change that status."

We both cringed, but then Charlie's face smoothed out. He seemed to believe me.

"Can I go to bed, now? Please."

"In a minute," he said.

"Aw, please, Dad? I'm begging you."

"The embarrassing part's over, I promise," he assured me.

I shot a glance at him, and was grateful to see that he looked more relaxed, that his face was back to its regular color. He sank down onto the sofa, sighing with relief that he was past the sex speech.

"What now?"

"I just wanted to know how the balance thing is coming along."

"Oh. Good, I guess. I made plans with Angela today. I'm going to help her with her graduation announcements. Just us girls."

"That's nice. And what about Jake?"

I sighed. "I haven't figured that one out yet, Dad."

"Keep trying, Bella. I know you'll do the right thing. You're a good person."

Nice. So if I didn't figure out some way to make things right with Jacob, then I was a bad person? That was below the belt.

"Sure, sure," I agreed. The automatic response almost made me smile - it was something I'd picked up from Jacob. I even said it in the same patronizing tone he used with his own father.

Charlie grinned and turned the sound back on. He slumped lower into the cushions, pleased with his night's work. I could tell he would be up with the game for a while.

"'Night, Bells."

"See you in the morning!" I sprinted for the stairs.

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