As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she ...(more)
Renee and I ambled along the sidewalk, trying to stay in the range of the infrequent palm tree shadows. Though it was early, the heat was smothering. The air was so heavy with moisture that just breathing in and out was giving my lungs a workout.
"Bella?" my mother asked, looking out past the sand to the lightly crashing waves as she spoke.
"What is it, Mom?"
She sighed, not meeting my gaze. "I'm worried. . . ."
"What's wrong?" I asked, anxious at once. "What can I do?"
"It's not me." She shook her head. "I'm worried about you . . . and Edward."
Renee finally looked at me when she said his name, her face apologetic.
"Oh," I mumbled, fixing my eyes on a pair of joggers as they passed us, drenched with sweat.
"You two are more serious than I'd been thinking," she went on.
I frowned, quickly reviewing the last two days in my head. Edward and I had barely touched -- in front of her, at least. I wondered if Renee was about to give me a lecture on responsibility, too. I didn't mind that the way I had with Charlie. It wasn't embarrassing with my mom. After all, I'd been the one giving her that lecture time and time again in the last ten years.
"There's something . . . strange about the way you two are together," she murmured, her forehead creasing over her troubled eyes. "The way he watches you -- it's so . . . protective. Like he's about to throw himself in front of a bullet to save you or something."
I laughed, though I was still not able to meet her gaze. "That's a bad thing?"
"No." She frowned as she struggled for the words. "It's just different. He's very intense about you . . . and very careful. I feel like I don't really understand your relationship. Like there's some secret I'm missing. . . ."
"I think you're imagining things, Mom," I said quickly, struggling to keep my voice light. There was a flutter in my stomach. I'd forgotten how much my mother saw. Something about her simple view of the world cut through all the distractions and pierced right to the truth of things. This had never been a problem before. Until now, there had never been a secret I couldn't tell her.
"It's not just him." She set her lips defensively. "I wish you could see how you move around him."
"What do you mean?"
"The way you move -- you orient yourself around him without even thinking about it. When he moves, even a little bit, you adjust your position at the same time. Like magnets . . . or gravity. You're like a . . . satellite, or something. I've never seen anything like it."
She pursed her lips and stared down.
"Don't tell me," I teased, forcing a smile. "You're reading mysteries again, aren't you? Or is it sci-fi this time?"
Renee flushed a delicate pink. "That's beside the point."
"Found anything good?"
"Well, there was one -- but that doesn't matter. We're talking about you right now."
"You should stick to romance, Mom. You know how you freak yourself out."
Her lips turned up at the corners. "I'm being silly, aren't I?"
For half a second I couldn't answer. Renee was so easily swayed. Sometimes it was a good thing, because not all of her ideas were practical. But it pained me to see how quickly she caved in to my
trivializing, especially since she was dead right this time.
She looked up, and I controlled my expression.
"Not silly -- just being a mom."
She laughed and then gestured grandly toward the white sands stretching to the blue water.
"And all this isn't enough to get you to move back in with your silly mom?"
I wiped my hand dramatically across my forehead, and then pretended to wring my hair out.
"You get used to the humidity," she promised.
"You can get used to rain, too," I countered.
She elbowed me playfully and then took my hand as we walked back to her car.
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