“Why the traffic jam last night?” I demanded, still looking away. “I thought you were supposed to be pretending I don’t exist, not irritating me to death.”
“That was for Tyler’s sake, not mine. I had to give him his chance.” He snickered.
“You…” I gasped. I couldn’t think of a bad enough word. It felt like the heat of my anger should physically burn him, but he only seemed more amused.
“And I’m not pretending you don’t exist,” he continued.
“So you are trying to irritate me to death? Since Tyler’s van didn’t do the job?” Anger flashed in his tawny eyes. His lips pressed into a hard line, all signs of humor gone.
“Bella, you are utterly absurd,” he said, his low voice cold.
My palms tingled – I wanted so badly to hit something. I was surprised at myself. I was usually a nonviolent person. I turned my back and
started to walk away.
“Wait,” he called. I kept walking, sloshing angrily through the rain. But he was next to me, easily keeping pace.
“I’m sorry, that was rude,” he said as we walked. I ignored him. “I’m not saying it isn’t true,” he continued, “but it was rude to say it, anyway.”
“Why won’t you leave me alone?” I grumbled.
“I wanted to ask you something, but you sidetracked me,” he chuckled. He seemed to have recovered his good humor.
“Do you have a multiple personality disorder?” I asked severely.
“You’re doing it again.”
I sighed. “Fine then. What do you want to ask?”
“I was wondering if, a week from Saturday – you know, the day of the spring dance – “
“Are you trying to be funny?” I interrupted him, wheeling toward him. My face got drenched as I looked up at his expression.
His eyes were wickedly amused. “Will you please allow me to finish?”
I bit my lip and clasped my hands together, interlocking my fingers, so I couldn’t do anything rash.
“I heard you say you were going to Seattle that day, and I was wondering if you wanted a ride.”
That was unexpected.
“What?” I wasn’t sure what he was getting at.
“Do you want a ride to Seattle?”
“With who?” I asked, mystified.
“Myself, obviously.” He enunciated every syllable, as if he were talking to someone mentally handicapped.
I was still stunned. “Why?”
“Well, I was planning to go to Seattle in the next few weeks, and, to be honest, I’m not sure if your truck can make it.”
“My truck works just fine, thank you very much for your concern.” I started to walk again, but I was too surprised to maintain the same level of anger.
“But can your truck make it there on one tank of gas?” He matched my pace again.
“I don’t see how that is any of your business.” Stupid, shiny Volvo owner.
“The wasting of finite resources is everyone’s business.”
“Honestly, Edward.” I felt a thrill go through me as I said his name, and I hated it. “I can’t keep up with you. I thought you didn’t want to be my friend.”
“I said it would be better if we weren’t friends, not that I didn’t want to be.”
“Oh, thanks, now that’s all cleared up.” Heavy sarcasm. I realized I had stopped walking again. We were under the shelter of the cafeteria roof now, so I could more easily look at his face. Which certainly didn’t help my clarity of thought.
“It would be more… prudent for you not to be my friend,” he explained. “But
I’m tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella.”
His eyes were gloriously intense as he uttered that last sentence, his voice smoldering. I couldn’t remember how to breathe.
“Will you go with me to Seattle?” he asked, still intense.