I looked forward to see Alice, Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper all sliding into the Volvo. In his rearview mirror, Edward’s eyes were on me. He was unquestionably shaking with laughter, as if he’d heard every word Tyler had said. My foot itched toward the gas pedal… one little bump wouldn’t hurt any of them, just that glossy silver paint job. I revved the engine.
But they were all in, and Edward was speeding away. I drove home slowly, carefully, muttering to myself the whole way.
When I got home, I decided to make chicken enchiladas for dinner. It was a long process, and it would keep me busy. While I was simmering the onions and chilies, the phone rang. I was almost afraid to answer it, but it might be Charlie or my mom.
It was Jessica, and she was jubilant; Mike had caught her after school to accept her invitation. I celebrated with her briefly while I stirred. She had to go, she wanted to call Angela and Lauren to tell them. I suggested – with casual innocence – that maybe Angela, the shy girl who had Biology with me, could ask Eric. And Lauren, a standoffish girl who had always ignored me at the lunch table, could ask Tyler; I’d heard he was still available. Jess thought that was a great idea. Now that she was sure of Mike, she actually sounded sincere when she said she wished I would go to the dance. I gave her my Seattle excuse.
After I hung up, I tried to concentrate on dinner – dicing the chicken especially; I didn’t want to take another trip to the emergency room. But my head was spinning, trying to analyze every word Edward had spoken today. What did he mean, it was better if we weren’t friends?
My stomach twisted as I realized what he must have meant. He must see how absorbed I was by him; he must not want to lead me on… so we couldn’t even be friends… because he wasn’t interested in me at all.
Of course he wasn’t interested in
me, I thought angrily, my eyes stinging – a delayed reaction to the onions. I wasn’t interesting. And he was. Interesting… and brilliant… and mysterious… and perfect… and beautiful… and possibly able to lift full-sized vans with one hand.
Well, that was fine. I could leave him alone. I would leave him alone. I would get through my self-imposed sentence here in purgatory, and then hopefully some school in the Southwest, or possibly Hawaii, would offer me a scholarship. I focused my thoughts on sunny beaches and palm trees as I finished the enchiladas and put them in the oven.
Charlie seemed suspicious when he came home and smelled the green peppers. I couldn’t blame him – the closest edible Mexican food was probably in southern California. But he was a cop, even if just a small-town cop, so he was brave enough to take the first bite. He seemed to like it. It was fun to watch as he slowly began trusting me in the kitchen.