*by Stephenie Meyer*
TWILIGHT - chapter 2 - OPEN BOOK
The পরবর্তি দিন was better... and worse.
It was better because it wasn't raining yet, though the clouds were dense and opaque. It was easier because I knew what to expect of my day. Mike came to sit দ্বারা me in English, and walked me to my পরবর্তি class, with Chess Club Eric glaring at him all the while; that was flattering. People didn't look at me quite as much as they had yesterday. I sat with a big group at lunch that included Mike, Eric, Jessica, and several other people whose names and faces I now remembered. I began to feel like I was treading water, instead of drowning in it.
It was worse because I was tired; I still couldn't sleep with the wind echoing around the house. It was worse because Mr. Varner called on me in Trig when my hand wasn't raised and I had the wrong answer. It was miserable because I had to play volleyball, and the one time I didn't cringe out of the way of the ball, I hit my teammate in the head with it. And it was worse because Edward Cullen wasn't in school at all.
All morning I was dreading lunch, fearing his bizarre glares. Part of me wanted to confront him and demand to know what his problem was. While I was lying sleepless in my bed, I even imagined what I would say. But I knew myself too well to think I would really have the guts to do it. I made the Cowardlt Lion look like the terminator.
But when I walked into the cafeteria with Jessica - trying to keep my eyes from sweeping the place for him, and failing entirely - I saw that his four sibilings of sorts were sitting together at the same table, and he was not with them.
Mike intercepted us and steered us to his table. Jessica seemed elated দ্বারা the attention, and her বন্ধু quickly joined us. But as I tried to listen to their easy chatter, I was terribly uncomfortable, waiting nervously for the moment he would arrive. I hoped that he would simply ignore me when he came, and prove my suspicions false.
He didn't come, and as time passed I grew আরো and আরো tense.
I walked to Biology with আরো confidence when, দ্বারা the end of lunch, he still hadn't showed. Mike, who was taking on the qualities of a golden retriever, walked faithfully দ্বারা my side to class. I held my breath at the door, but Edward Cullen wasn't there, either. I exhaled and went to my seat. Mike followed, talking about an upcoming trip to the beach. He lingered দ্বারা my ডেস্ক till the ঘণ্টা rang. Then he smiled at me wistfully and went to his আসন দ্বারা a girl with braces and a bad perm. It looked like I was going to have to do something about Mike, and it wouldn't be easy. In a town like this, where everyone lived on শীর্ষ of everyone else, diplomacy was essential. I had never been enormously tactful; I had no practice dealing with overly friendly boys.
I was relieved that I had the ডেস্ক to myself, that Edward was absent. I told myself that repeatedly. But I couldn't get rid of the nagging suspicion that I was the reason he wasn't there. It was rediculous, and egotistical, to think that I could affect anyone so strongly. It was impossible. And yet I couldn't stop worrying that it was true.
When the school দিন was finally done, and the blush was fading out of my cheeks from the ভলিবলখেলা incident, I changed quickly back into my jeans and navy blue sweater. I hurried from the girls' locker room, pleased to find that I had successfully evaded my retriever friend for the moment. I walked swiftly out to the parking lot. It was crowded now with fleeing students. I got in my truch and dug through my bag to make sure I had what I needed.
Last night I'd discovered that Charlie couldn't cook much besides fried eggs and bacon. So I requested that I be assigned kitche detail for the duration of my stay. He was willing enough to hand over the keys to the banquet hall. I also found out that he had no খাবার in the house. So I had my shopping তালিকা and the cash from the jar in the cupboard labeled খাবার MONEY, and I was on my way to the Thriftway.
I gunned my deafening engine to life, ignoring the heads that turned in my direction, and backed carefully into a place in the line of cars that were waiting to exit the parking lot. As I waited, trying to pretend that the earsplitting rumble was coming from someone else'e car, I saw the two Cullens and the Hale twins getting into their car. It was the shiny new Volvo. Of course. I hadn't noticed their clothes before - I'd been too mesmerized দ্বারা thier faces. Now that I looked, it was obvious that they all dressed exceptionally well; simply, but in clothes that subtly hinted at designer origins. With their remarkable good looks, the style with which they carried themselves, they could have worn dishrags and pulled it off. It seemed excessive for them to have both looks and money. But as far as I could tell, life worked that way most of the time. It didn't look as if it brought them any acceptance here.
No, I didn't fully believe that. The isolation must be their desire; I couldn't imagine any door that wouldn't be opened দ্বারা that degree of beauty.
They looked at my noisy truck as I passed them, just like everyone else. I kept my eyes straight অগ্রবর্তী and was relieved when I finally was free of the school grounds.
The Thriftwas was not far from the school, just a few streets south, off the highway. It was nice to be inside the supermarket; it felt normal. I did the shopping at home, I fell into the pattern of the familiar task gladly. The store was big enough inside that I couldn't hear the tapping of the rain on the roof to remind me where I was.
When I got home, I unloaded all the groceries, stuffing them in wherever I could find an open space. I hoped Charlie wouldn't mind. I wrapped potatoes in foil and stuck them in the চুলা to bake, covered a মাংসের ফালি in marinade and balanced it on শীর্ষ of a carton of eggs in the fridge.
When I was finished with that, I took my book bag upstairs. Before startinf my homework, I changed into a pair of dry sweats, pulled my damp hair up inyo a ponytail, and checked my e-mail for the first time. I had three messages.
"Bella," my mom wrote...
Write me as soon as আপনি get in. Tell me how
you're flight was. Is it raining? I miss you
already. I'm almost finished packing for
Florida, but I can't find my পরাকাষ্ঠা blouse. Do
আপনি know where I put it? Phil says hi. Mom.
I sighed and went to the next. It was sent eight hours after the first.
"Bella," she wrote...
Why haven't আপনি e-mailed me yet? What are you
waiting for? Mom.
The last was from this morning.
If I haven't heard from আপনি দ্বারা 5:00 p.m. today
I'm calling Charlie.
I checked the clock. I still had an hour, but my mom was well known for junping the gun.
Calm down. I'm লেখা right now. Don't do
I sent that and began again.
Everything is great. Of course it's raining.
I was waiting for something to write about
School isn't bad, just a little repetitive.
I met some nice kids who sit দ্বারা me at lunch.
Your ব্লাউজ is at the dry cleaners - you
were supposed to pick it up Friday.
Charlie bought me a truck, can আপনি believe
it? I প্রণয় it. It's old, but really
sturdy, which is good, আপনি know, for me.
I miss you, too. I'll write again soon,
but I'm not going to check my e-mail every
five minutes. Relax, breathe. I প্রণয় you.
I had decided to read Wuthering Heights - the novel we were currently studying in English - yet again for the fun of it, and that's what I was doing when Charlie came home. I'd হারিয়ে গেছে track of the time, and I hurried downstairs to take the potatoes out and put the মাংসের ফালি in to broil.
"Bella?" my father called out when he heard me on the stairs.
Who else? I thought to myself.
"Hey, Dad, welcome home."
"Thanks." He hung up his gun বেল্ট and stepped out of his boots as I bustled about the kitchen. As far as I was aware, he'd never shot the gun on the job. But he kept it ready. When I came here as a child, he would always remove the bullets as soon as he walked in the door. I guess he considered me old enough now not to shoot myself দ্বারা accident, and not depressed enough to shoot myself on purpose.
"What's for dinner?" he asked warily. My mother was an imaginative cook, and her experiments weren't always edible. I was surprised, and sad, that he seemed to remember that far back.
"Steak and potatoes," I answered, and he looked relieved.
He seemed to feel awkward standing in the রান্নাঘর doing nothing; he lumbered into the living room to watch TV while I worked. We were both আরো comfortable that way. I made a সালাদ while the steaks cooled, and set the table.
I called him in when ডিনার was ready, and he sniffed appreciatively as he walked into the room.
"Smells good, Bell."
We ate in silence for a few minutes. It wasn't uncomfortable. Neither of us was bothered দ্বারা the wuiet. In some ways, we were well suited for living together.
"So, how did আপনি like school? Have আপনি made any friends?" he asked as he was taking seconds.
"Well, I have a few classes with a girl named Jessica. I sit with her বন্ধু at lunch. And there's this boy, Mike, who's very friendly. Everybody seems pretty nice." With one outstanding exception
"That must be Mike Newton. Nice kid - nice family. His dad own the sporting goods store just outside of town. He makes a good living off of all the backpackers who come through here."
"Do আপনি know the Cullen family?"
"Dr. Cullen's family? Sure. Dr. Cullen's a great man."
"They... the kids... are a little different. They don't seem to fit in very well at school."
Charlie surprised me দ্বারা looking angery.
"People in this town," he muttered. "Dr. Cullen is a brilliant surgeon who could probably work in any hospital in the world, make ten times the salary he gets here," he continued, getting louder. "We're lucky to have him - lucky that his wife wanted to live in a small town. He's an asset to the community, and all of those kids are well behaved and polite. I had my doubts, when they first moved in, with all those adopted teenagers. I thought we might have some problems with them. But they're all very mature - I haven't had one speck of trouble from any of them. That's আরো than I can say for the children of some folks who have lived in this town for generations. And they stick together the way a family should - camping trips every other weekend.... Just because they're newcomers, people have to talk."
It was the longest speech'd ever heard Charlie make. He must feel strongly about whatever people were saying.
I backpedaled. "They seemed nice enough to me. I just noticed they kept to themselves. They're all very attractive," I added, trying to be আরো complimentary.
"You should see the doctor," Charlie said, laughing. "It's a good thing he's happily married. A lot of the nurses at the hospital have a hard time concentrating on their work with him around."
We lapsed back into silence as we finished eating. He cleared the টেবিল while I started on the dishes. He went back to the TV, and after I finished washing the dishes দ্বারা hand - no dishwasher - I went upstairs unwillingly to work on my math homework. I could feel a tradition in the making.
That night it was finally quiet. I fell asleep quickly, exhausted.