“So,” Mike said, looking at the floor, “Jessica asked me to the spring dance.”
“That’s great.” I made my voice bright and enthusiastic. “You’ll have a lot of fun with Jessica.”
“Well…” He floundered as he examined my smile, clearly not happy with my response. “I told her I had to think about it.”
“Why would you do that?” I let disapproval color my tone, though I was relieved he hadn’t given her an absolute no.
His face was bright red as he looked down again. Pity shook my resolve.
“I was wondering if… well, if you might be planning to ask me.”
I paused for a moment, hating the wave of guilt that swept through me. But I saw, from the corner of my eye, Edward’s head tilt reflexively in my direction.
“Mike, I think you should tell her yes,” I said.
“Did you already ask someone?” Did Edward notice how Mike’s eyes flickered in his direction?
“No,” I assured him. “I’m not going to the dance at all.”
“Why not?” Mike demanded.
I didn’t want to get into the safety hazards that dancing presented, so I quickly made new plans.
“I’m going to Seattle that Saturday,” I explained. I needed to get out of town anyway – it was suddenly the perfect time to go.
“Can’t you go some other weekend?”
“Sorry, no,” I said. “So you shouldn’t make Jess wait any longer – it’s rude.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” he mumbled, and turned, dejected, to walk back to his seat. I closed my eyes and pressed my fingers to my temples, trying to push the guilt and sympathy out of my head. Mr. Banner began talking. I sighed and opened my eyes.
And Edward was staring at me curiously, that same, familiar edge of frustration even more distinct now in his black eyes.
I stared back, surprised, expecting him to look quickly away. But instead he continued to gaze with probing intensity into my eyes. There was no question of me looking away. My hands started to shake.
“Mr. Cullen?” the teacher called, seeking the answer to a question that I hadn’t heard.
“The Krebs Cycle,” Edward answered, seeming reluctant as he turned to look at
I looked down at my book as soon as his eyes released me, trying to find my place. Cowardly as ever, I shifted my hair over my right shoulder to hide my face. I couldn’t believe the rush of emotion pulsing through me – just because he’d happened to look at me for the first time in a half-dozen weeks. I couldn’t allow him to have this level of influence over me. It was pathetic. More than pathetic, it was unhealthy.