I tried very hard not to be aware of him for the rest of the hour, and, since that was impossible, at least not to let him know that I was aware of him. When the bell rang at last, I turned my back to him to gather my things, expecting him to leave immediately as usual.
“Bella?” His voice shouldn’t have been so familiar to me, as if I’d known the sound of it all my life rather than for just a few short weeks.
I turned slowly, unwillingly. I didn’t want to feel what I knew I would feel when I looked at his too-perfect face. My expression was wary when I finally turned to him; his expression was unreadable. He didn’t say anything.
“What? Are you speaking to me again?” I finally asked, an unintentional note of petulance in my voice.
His lips twitched, fighting a smile. “No, not really,” he admitted.
I closed my eyes and inhaled slowly through my nose, aware that I was gritting my teeth. He waited.
“Then what do you want, Edward?” I asked, keeping my eyes closed; it was easier to talk to him coherently that way.
“I’m sorry.” He sounded sincere. “I’m being very rude, I know. But it’s better this way, really.”
I opened my eyes. His face was very serious.
“I don’t know what you mean,” I said, my voice guarded.
“It’s better if we’re not friends,” he explained. “Trust me.” My eyes narrowed. I’d heard that before.
“It’s too bad you didn’t figure that out earlier,” I hissed through my teeth. “You could have saved yourself all this regret.”
“Regret?” The word, and my tone, obviously caught him off guard. “Regret for what?”
“For not just letting that stupid van squish me.” He was astonished. He stared at me in disbelief.
When he finally spoke,
he almost sounded mad. “You think I regret saving your life?”
“I know you do,” I snapped.
“You don’t know anything.” He was definitely mad.
I turned my head sharply away from him, clenching my jaw against all the wild accusations I wanted to hurl at him. I gathered my books together, then stood and walked to the door. I meant to sweep dramatically out of the room, but of course I caught the toe of my boot on the door jamb and dropped my books. I stood there for a moment, thinking about leaving them. Then I sighed and bent to pick them up. He was there; he’d already stacked them into a pile. He handed them to me, his face hard.
“Thank you,” I said icily. His eyes narrowed.
“You’re welcome,” he retorted.
I straightened up swiftly, turned away from him again, and stalked off to Gym without looking back.
Gym was brutal. We’d moved on to basketball. My team never passed me the ball, so that was good, but I fell down a lot. Sometimes I took people with me. Today I was worse than usual because my head was so filled with Edward. I tried to concentrate on my feet, but he kept creeping back into my thoughts just when I really needed my balance.
It was a relief, as always, to leave. I almost ran to the truck; there were just so many people I wanted to avoid. The truck had suffered only minimal damage in the accident. I’d had to replace the taillights, and if I’d had a real paint job, I would have touched that up. Tyler’s parents had to sell their van for parts.
I almost had a stroke when I rounded the corner and saw a tall, dark figure leaning against the side of my truck. Then I realized it was just Eric. I started walking again.