Home > Eclipse (Twilight #3)(14)

Eclipse (Twilight #3)(14)
Author: Stephenie Meyer

Phil was busy - the high school baseball team he coached was in the playoffs - and being alone with Edward and me had only sharpened Renée's focus. As soon as the hugs and squeals of delight were out of the way, Renée began to watch. And as she'd watched, her wide blue eyes had become first confused and then concerned.

This morning we'd gone for a walk along the beach. She wanted to show off all the beauties of her new home, still hoping, I think, that the sun might lure me away from Forks. She'd also wanted to talk with me alone, and that was easily arranged. Edward had fabricated a term paper to give himself an excuse to stay indoors during the day.

In my head, I went through the conversation again. . . .

Renée and I ambled along the sidewalk, trying to stay in the range of the infrequent palm tree shadows. Though it was early, the heat was smothering. The air was so heavy with moisture that just breathing in and out was giving my lungs a workout.

"Bella?" my mother asked, looking out past the sand to the lightly crashing waves as she spoke.

"What is it, Mom?"

She sighed, not meeting my gaze. "I'm worried. . . ."

"What's wrong?" I asked, anxious at once. "What can I do?"

"It's not me." She shook her head. "I'm worried about you . . . and Edward."

Renée finally looked at me when she said his name, her face apologetic.

"Oh," I mumbled, fixing my eyes on a pair of joggers as they passed us, drenched with sweat.

"You two are more serious than I'd been thinking," she went on.

I frowned, quickly reviewing the last two days in my head. Edward and I had barely touched - in front of her, at least. I wondered if Renée was about to give me a lecture on responsibility, too. I didn't mind that the way I had with Charlie. It wasn't embarrassing with my mom. After all, I'd been the one giving her that lecture time and time again in the last ten years.

"There's something . . . strange about the way you two are together," she murmured, her forehead creasing over her troubled eyes. "The way he watches you - it's so . . . protective. Like he's about to throw himself in front of a bullet to save you or something."

I laughed, though I was still not able to meet her gaze. "That's a bad thing?"

"No." She frowned as she struggled for the words. "It's just different. He's very intense about you . . . and very careful. I feel like I don't really understand your relationship. Like there's some secret I'm missing. . . ."

"I think you're imagining things, Mom," I said quickly, struggling to keep my voice light. There was a flutter in my stomach. I'd forgotten how much my mother saw. Something about her simple view of the world cut through all the distractions and pierced right to the truth of things. This had never been a problem before. Until now, there had never been a secret I couldn't tell her.

"It's not just him." She set her lips defensively. "I wish you could see how you move around him."

"What do you mean?"

"The way you move - you orient yourself around him without even thinking about it. When he moves, even a little bit, you adjust your position at the same time. Like magnets . . . or gravity. You're like a . . . satellite, or something. I've never seen anything like it."

She pursed her lips and stared down.

"Don't tell me," I teased, forcing a smile. "You're reading mysteries again, aren't you? Or is it sci-fi this time?"

Renée flushed a delicate pink. "That's beside the point."

"Found anything good?"

"Well, there was one - but that doesn't matter. We're talking about you right now."

"You should stick to romance, Mom. You know how you freak yourself out."

Her lips turned up at the corners. "I'm being silly, aren't I?"

For half a second I couldn't answer. Renée was so easily swayed. Sometimes it was a good thing, because not all of her ideas were practical. But it pained me to see how quickly she caved in to my trivializing, especially since she was dead right this time.

She looked up, and I controlled my expression.

"Not silly - just being a mom."

She laughed and then gestured grandly toward the white sands stretching to the blue water.

"And all this isn't enough to get you to move back in with your silly mom?"

I wiped my hand dramatically across my forehead, and then pretended to wring my hair out.

"You get used to the humidity," she promised.

"You can get used to rain, too," I countered.

She elbowed me playfully and then took my hand as we walked back to her car.

Other than her worries about me, she seemed happy enough. Content. She still looked at Phil with goo- goo eyes, and that was comforting. Surely her life was full and satisfying. Surely she didn't miss me that much, even now. . . .

Edward's icy fingers brushed my cheek. I looked up, blinking, coming back to the present. He leaned down and kissed my forehead.

"We're home, Sleeping Beauty. Time to awake."

We were stopped in front of Charlie's house. The porch light was on and the cruiser was parked in the driveway. As I examined the house, I saw the curtain twitch in the living room window, flashing a line of yellow light across the dark lawn.

I sighed. Of course Charlie was waiting to pounce.

Edward must have been thinking the same thing, because his expression was stiff and his eyes remote as he came to get my door for me.

"How bad?" I asked.

"Charlie's not going to be difficult," Edward promised, his voice level with no hint of humor. "He missed you."

My eyes narrowed in doubt. If that was the case, then why was Edward tensed as if for a battle?

My bag was small, but he insisted on carrying it into the house. Charlie held the door open for us.

"Welcome home, kid!" Charlie shouted like he really meant it. "How was Jacksonville?"

"Moist. And buggy."

"So Renée didn't sell you on the University of Florida?"

"She tried. But I'd rather drink water than inhale it."

Charlie's eyes flickered unwillingly to Edward. "Did you have a nice time?"

"Yes," Edward answered in a serene voice. "Renée was very hospitable."

   
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