暮光之城 05

暮光之城 05

 

2. OPEN BOOK

The next day was better… and worse.

 

It was better because it wasn’t raining yet, though the clouds were dense 濃密 and opaque 陰暗. It was easier because I knew what to expect of my day. Mike came to sit by me in English, and walked me to my next class, with Chess Club Eric glaring at 怒目而視 him all the while; that was nattering 抱怨. 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 踐踏 water, instead of drowning in it.

 

It was worse because I was tired; I still couldn’t sleep with the wind echoing 迴響around the house. It was worse because Mr. Varner called on me in Trig 三角 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 畏縮 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 害怕 lunch, fearing his bizarre 古怪 glares 注目. 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 Cowardly 懦弱的 Lion look like the terminator 終結者.

 

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 siblings 兄弟姐妹of sorts 相同 were sitting together at the same table, and he was not with them.

 

Mike intercepted 攔住 us and steered 引導 us to his table. Jessica seemed elated 興高采烈 by the attention, and her friends quickly joined us. But as I tried to listen to their easy chatter 閒話, I was terribly uncomfortable, waiting nervously for the moment he would arrive. I hoped that he would simply ignore 忽略me when he came, and prove my suspicions 懷疑false.

 

He didn’t come, and as time passed I grew more and more tense 緊張. I walked to Biology with more confidence when, by the end of lunch, he still hadn’t showed. Mike, who was taking on the qualities of a golden retriever 獵犬, walked faithfully by my side to class. I held my breath at the door, but Edward Cullen wasn’t there, either. I exhaled 呼氣and went to my seat. Mike followed, talking about an upcoming trip to the beach. He lingered 逗留 by my desk till the bell rang. Then he smiled at me wistfully 渴望地and went to sit by a girl with braces and 牙齒矯正器 a bad perm  燙髮. 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 top of everyone else, diplomacy 外交was essential. I had never been enormously tactful 技巧; I had no practice dealing with overly friendly boys.

 

I was relieved that I had the desk to myself, that Edward was absent. I told myself that repeatedly. But I couldn’t get rid of the nagging 嘮叨的 suspicion that I was the reason he wasn’t there. It was ridiculous, and egotistical 自我中心, to think that I could affect anyone that strongly. It was impossible. And yet I couldn’t stop worrying that it was true.

 

When the school day was finally done, and the blush 臉紅 was fading out of my cheeks from the volleyball 排球 incident, I changed quickly back into my jeans and navy blue 深藍色 sweater. I hurried from the girls’ locker room, pleased to find that I had successfully evaded 逃避 my retriever 獵犬friend for the moment. I walked swiftly out to the parking lot. It was crowded now with fleeing students. I got in my truck 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 kitchen detail for the duration 期間 of my stay. He was willing enough to hand over the keys to the banquet 宴會 hall. I also found out that he had no food in the house. So I had my shopping list and the cash from the jar 罐in the cupboard 廚櫃 labeled FOOD MONEY, and I was on my way to the Thriftway.

 

I gunned 發動 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’s 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 迷住 by their faces. Now that I looked, it was obvious that they were all dressed exceptionally well; simply, but in clothes that subtly 微妙地 hinted at designer origins. With their remarkable good looks, the style with which they carried themselves, they could have worn dishrags 抹布 and pulled it off 達成目標. It seemed excessive 過份 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 bought 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 by that degree of beauty.

 

They looked at my noisy truck as I passed them, just like everyone else. I kept my eyes straight forward and was relieved when I finally was free of the school grounds. The Thriftway 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, and I fell into the pattern of the familiar task gladly. The store was big enough inside that I couldn’t hear the tapping 輕拍聲 of the rain on the roof to remind me where I was.

 

When I got home, I unloaded 打開 all the groceries 雜貨, stuffing 塞入 them in wherever I could find an open space. I hoped Charlie wouldn’t mind. I wrapped potatoes in foil 鋁箔 and stuck them in the oven 烤箱to bake, covered a steak in marinade 滷汁and balanced 平衡 it on top of a carton 盒of eggs in the fridge.

 

When I was finished with that, I took my book bag upstairs. Before starting my homework, I changed into a pair of dry sweats 汗衫, pulled my damp hair up into a pony-tail 馬尾, and checked my e-mail for the first time. I had three messages.

 

“Bella,” my mom wrote

Write me as soon as you get in. Tell me how your flight was. Is it raining? I miss you already. I’m almost finished packing for Florida, but I can’t find my pink blouse 短上衣. Do you 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 you e-mailed me yet? What are you waiting for?

Mom.

 

The last was from this morning.

Isabella,

If I haven’t heard from you by 5:30 p.m. today I’m calling Charlie. I checked the clock. I still had an hour, but my mom was well known for jumping the gun 魯莽行事.

 

Mom,

Calm down. I’m writing right now. Don’t do anything rash. Bella.

 

I sent that, and began again.

 

Mom,

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 by me at lunch.

Your blouse is at the dry cleaners 烘乾機 – you were supposed to pick it up Friday.

Charlie bought me a truck, can you believe it? I love it. It’s old, but really sturdy 強壯, which is good, you 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 love you.

Bella.

 

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 lost track of the time, and I hurried downstairs to take the potatoes out and put the steak in to broil烤架.

 

“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 belt and stepped out of his boots 長筒鞋as I bustled 忙碌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 子彈 as soon as he walked in the door. I guess he considered me old enough now not to shoot myself by accident, and not depressed enough to shoot myself on purpose.

 

“What’s for dinner?” he asked warily 謹慎地. 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 kitchen doing nothing; he lumbered 移動 into the living room to watch TV while I worked. We were both more comfortable that way. I made a salad while the steaks cooked, and set the table.

 

I called him in when dinner was ready, and he sniffed 嗅 appreciatively 欣賞地 as he walked into the room.

 

“Smells good, Bell.”

 

“Thanks.” We ate in silence for a few minutes. It wasn’t uncomfortable. Neither of

us was bothered by the quiet. In some ways, we were well suited for living together.

 

“So, how did you like school? Have you 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 friends 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 owns the sporting goods 運動用品 store just outside of town. He makes a good living off all the backpackers who come through here.”

 

“Do you know the Cullen family?” I asked hesitantly 猶豫.

“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 by looking angry.

 

“People in this town,” he muttered 低聲咕嚕. “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 有用人材 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 絲毫 of trouble from any of them. That’s more 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 I’d ever heard Charlie make. He must feel strongly about whatever people were saying.

 

I backpedaled 後退.

 “They seemed nice enough to me. I just noticed they kept to themselves 獨往獨來. They’re all very attractive,” I added, trying to be more complimentary 恭維.

 

“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 陷入back into silence as we finished eating. He cleared the table while I started on the dishes. He went back to the TV, and after I finished washing the dishes by hand — no dishwasher — I went upstairs unwillingly to work on my math homework. I could feel a tradition in the making 正在形成.

 

That night it was finally quiet. I fell asleep quickly, exhausted. The rest of the week was uneventful 平靜. I got used to the routine of my classes. By Friday I was able to recognize, if not name, almost all the students at school. In Gym, the kids on my team learned not to pass me the ball and to step quickly in front of me if the other team tried to take advantage of my weakness. I happily stayed out of their way. Edward Cullen didn’t come back to school.

 

Every day, I watched anxiously until the rest of the Cullens entered the cafeteria without him. Then I could relax and join in the lunchtime conversation. Mostly it centered around a trip to the La Push Ocean Park in two weeks that Mike was putting together. I was invited, and I had agreed to go, more out of politeness than desire. Beaches should be hot

and dry. By Friday I was perfectly comfortable entering my Biology class, no longer worried that Edward would be there. For all I knew, he had dropped out of school. I tried not to think about him, but I couldn’t totally suppress 壓制 the worry that I was responsible for his continued absence, ridiculous as it seemed 雖然看起來荒謬.

 

My first weekend in Forks passed without incident. Charlie, unused to spending time in the usually empty house, worked most of the weekend. I cleaned the house, got ahead on my homework, and wrote my mom more bogusly 贗造 cheerful e-mail. I did drive to the library Saturday, but it was so poorly stocked 貯存 that I didn’t bother to get a card; I would have to make a date to visit Olympia or Seattle soon and find a good bookstore.

 

I wondered idly what kind of gas mileage 里程the truck got… and shuddered 顫慄at the thought. The rain stayed soft over the weekend, quiet, so I was able to sleep well. People greeted me in the parking lot Monday morning. I didn’t know all I did drive to the library Saturday, but it was so poorly stocked that I didn’t bother to get a card; I would have to make a date to visit Olympia or Seattle soon and find a good bookstore. I

wondered idly what kind of gas mileage the truck got… and shuddered at

the thought.

 

The rain stayed soft over the weekend, quiet, so I was able to sleep well.

People greeted me in the parking lot Monday morning. I didn’t know all their names, but I waved back and smiled at everyone. It was colder this morning, but happily not raining. In English, Mike took his accustomed seat by my side. We had a pop quiz on Wuthering Heights. It was straightforward 明確, very easy.

 

All in all, I was feeling a lot more comfortable than I had thought I would feel by this point. It was more comfortable than I had ever expected to feel here.

 

When we walked out of class, the air was full of swirling bits of white. I could hear people shouting excitedly to each other. The wind bit at my cheeks, my nose.

 

“Wow,” Mike said. “It’s snowing.”

 

I looked at the little cotton fluffs 蓬鬆物 that were building up along the sidewalk and swirling 旋轉 erratically 不穩定地past my face.

 

“Ew.” Snow. There went my good day.

 

He looked surprised. “Don’t you like snow?” “No. That means it’s too cold for rain.” Obviously. “Besides, I thought it was supposed to come down in flakes 雪花 — you know, each one unique and all that. These just look like the ends of Q-tips 棉花棒.”

 

“Haven’t you ever seen snow fall before?” he asked incredulously 不置信地.

“Sure I have.” I paused. “On TV.”

 

Mike laughed. And then a big, squishy 柔軟的 ball of dripping snow smacked 啪打 into the back of his head. We both turned to see where it came from. I had my suspicions about Eric, who was walking away, his back toward us — in the wrong direction for his next class. Mike apparently 明顯地 had the same notion.

 

He bent over and began scraping 刮together a pile of the white mush 糊狀物.

 

“I’ll see you at lunch, okay?” I kept walking as I spoke. “Once people start throwing wet stuff, I go inside.”

 

He just nodded, his eyes on Eric’s retreating 撤退figure. Throughout the morning, everyone chattered 閒聊 excitedly about the snow; apparently it was the first snowfall of the new year. I kept my mouth shut. Sure, it was drier than rain — until it melted in your socks 襪子.

 

I walked alertly 警覺地 to the cafeteria with Jessica after Spanish. Mush 糊狀的balls were flying everywhere. I kept a binder 紙夾 in my hands, ready to use it as a shield 擋板if necessary. Jessica thought I was hilarious 熱鬧, but something in my expression kept her from lobbing 投擲 a snowball at me herself.

 

Mike caught up to us as we walked in the doors, laughing, with ice melting the spikes 穗 in his hair. He and Jessica were talking animatedly 歡快地 about the snow fight as we got in line to buy food. I glanced toward that table in the corner out of habit. And then I froze where I stood. There were five people at the table. Jessica pulled on my arm.

 

“Hello? Bella? What do you want?”

I looked down; my ears were hot. I had no reason to feel self-conscious,

I reminded myself. I hadn’t done anything wrong.

 

“What’s with Bella?” Mike asked Jessica.

“Nothing,” I answered. “I’ll just get a soda today.” I caught up to the end of the line.

“Aren’t you hungry?” Jessica asked.

“Actually, I feel a little sick,” I said, my eyes still on the floor.

 

I waited for them to get their food, and then followed them to a table, my eyes on my feet. I sipped my soda slowly, my stomach churning. Twice Mike asked, with unnecessary concern, how I was feeling.

 

I told him it was nothing, but I was wondering if I should play it up and escape to the nurse’s office for the next hour.

 

Ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to run away.

I decided to permit myself one glance at the Cullen family’s table. If he was glaring at me, I would skip Biology, like the coward I was.

 

I kept my head down and glanced up under my lashes. None of them were looking this way. I lifted my head a little.

 

They were laughing. Edward, Jasper, and Emmett all had their hair entirely saturated 飽滿 with melting snow. Alice and Rosalie were leaning away as Emmett shook his dripping hair toward them. They were enjoying the snowy day, just like everyone else — only they looked more like a scene from a movie than the rest of us.

 

But, aside from the laughter and playfulness, there was something different, and I couldn’t quite pinpoint 指出 what that difference was. I examined Edward the most carefully. His skin was less pale, I decided —flushed from the snow fight maybe — the circles under his eyes much less noticeable 引人注意. But there was something more. I pondered 沉思, staring, trying to isolate the change.

 

“Bella, what are you staring at?” Jessica intruded 闖入, her eyes following my stare.

 

At that precise 準確的 moment, his eyes flashed over to meet mine.

I dropped my head, letting my hair fall to conceal my face. I was sure, though, in the instant our eyes met, that he didn’t look harsh or unfriendly as he had the last time I’d seen him. He looked merely curious again, unsatisfied in some way.

 

“Edward Cullen is staring at you,” Jessica giggled 傻笑 in my ear.

“He doesn’t look angry, does he?” I couldn’t help asking.

“No,” she said, sounding confused by my question. “Should he be?”

“I don’t think he likes me,” I confided. I still felt queasy 嘔吐. I put my head down on my arm.

“The Cullens don’t like anybody… well, they don’t notice anybody enough to like them. But he’s still staring at you.”

“Stop looking at him,” I hissed 噓聲說.

 

She snickered 竊笑, but she looked away. I raised my head enough to make sure

that she did, contemplating 沉思 violence if she resisted.

Mike interrupted us then — he was planning an epic 史詩battle of the blizzard 大風雪 in the parking lot after school and wanted us to join. Jessica agreed enthusiastically.

 

The way she looked at Mike left little doubt that she would be up for anything he suggested. I kept silent. I would have to hide in the gym until the parking lot cleared. For the rest of the lunch hour I very carefully kept my eyes at my own table. I decided to honor the bargain 交易I’d made with myself. Since he didn’t look angry, I would go to Biology. My stomach did frightened little flips 翻滾at the thought of sitting next to him again.

 

I didn’t really want to walk to class with Mike as usual — he seemed to be a popular target 目標 for the snowball snipers 狙擊手 — but when we went to the door, everyone besides me groaned 呻吟 in unison 一致地. It was raining, washing all traces 痕跡of the snow away in clear, icy ribbons down the side of the walkway. I pulled my hood 風帽up, secretly pleased. I would be free to go straight home after Gym.

 

Mike kept up a string of complaints on the way to building four. Once inside the classroom, I saw with relief that my table was still empty. Mr. Banner was walking around the room, distributing 分發 one microscope and box of slides 載玻片 to each table. Class didn’t start for a few minutes, and the room buzzed 嗡嗡with conversation. I kept my eyes away from the door, doodling 亂畫 idly on the cover of my notebook.

 

I heard very clearly when the chair next to me moved, but my eyes stayed carefully focused on the pattern I was drawing.

 

“Hello,” said a quiet, musical voice.

 

I looked up, stunned that he was speaking to me. He was sitting as far away from me as the desk allowed, but his chair was angled toward me. His hair was dripping wet, disheveled — even so, he looked like he’d just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel. His dazzling 令人目眩face was friendly, open, a slight smile on his flawless 無瑕疵lips. But his eyes were careful.

 

“My name is Edward Cullen,” he continued. “I didn’t have a chance to introduce myself last week. You must be Bella Swan.”

 

My mind was spinning with confusion. Had I made up the whole thing? He was perfectly polite now. I had to speak; he was waiting. But I couldn’t think of anything conventional to say.

 

“H-how do you know my name?” I stammered 口吃.

He laughed a soft, enchanting 迷人的 laugh.

“Oh, I think everyone knows your name. The whole town’s been waiting for you to arrive.”

 

I grimaced 扮鬼臉. I knew it was something like that.

“No,” I persisted stupidly. “I meant, why did you call me Bella?”

He seemed confused. “Do you prefer Isabella?”

“No, I like Bella,” I said. “But I think Charlie — I mean my dad — must call me Isabella behind my back — that’s what everyone here seems to know me as,” I tried to explain, feeling like an utter moron 傻瓜.

 

“Oh.” He let it drop. I looked away awkwardly.

Thankfully, Mr. Banner started class at that moment. I tried to concentrate as he explained the lab we would be doing today. The slides in the box were out of order. Working as lab partners, we had to separate the slides of onion root tip cells into the phases of mitosis they represented and label them accordingly. We weren’t supposed to use our

books. In twenty minutes, he would be coming around to see who had it right.

 

“Get started,” he commanded.

“Ladies first, partner?” Edward asked. I looked up to see him smiling a crooked 彎曲smile so beautiful that I could only stare at him like an idiot.

 

“Or I could start, if you wish.” The smile faded; he was obviously wondering if I was mentally competent.

 

“No,” I said, flushing 臉紅. “I’ll go ahead.”

 

I was showing off 炫耀, just a little. I’d already done this lab, and I knew what I was looking for. It should be easy. I snapped  放入the first slide  載玻片 into place under the microscope and adjusted 調整 it quickly to the 40X objective 目標.

 

I studied the slide briefly.

My assessment was confident. “Prophase 初期.”

 

“Do you mind if I look?” he asked as I began to remove the slide. His hand caught mine, to stop me, as he asked. His fingers were ice-cold, like he’d been holding them in a snowdrift before class. But that wasn’t why I jerked 急拉 my hand away so quickly. When he touched me, it stung 刺 my hand as if an electric current電流 had passed through us.

 

“I’m sorry,” he muttered 低聲說, pulling his hand back immediately. However, he continued to reach for the microscope. I watched him, still staggered, as he examined the slide for an even shorter time than I had.

 

“Prophase,” he agreed, writing it neatly in the first space on our worksheet 作業指. He swiftly switched out the first slide for the second, and then glanced at it cursorily.

 

“Anaphase,” he murmured, writing it down as he spoke.

 

I kept my voice indifferent. “May I?”

He smirked 嘻笑 and pushed the microscope to me.

 

I looked through the eyepiece eagerly, only to be disappointed. Dang it, he was right.

“Slide three?” I held out my hand without looking at him.

 

He handed it to me; it seemed like he was being careful not to touch my skin again.

I took the most fleeting look I could manage.

 

“Interphase 中間相.” I passed him the microscope before he could ask for it. He took a swift peek, and then wrote it down. I would have written it while he looked, but his clear, elegant script intimidated me. I didn’t want to spoil the page with my clumsy scrawl.

 

We were finished before anyone else was close. I could see Mike and his partner comparing two slides again and again, and another group had their book open under the table.

Which left me with nothing to do but try to not look at him… unsuccessfully. I glanced up, and he was staring at me, that same inexplicable 無法說明的 look of frustration in his eyes. Suddenly I identified that subtle difference in his face.

 

“Did you get contacts?” I blurted 模糊說出 out unthinkingly.

He seemed puzzled by my unexpected question. “No.”

 

“Oh,” I mumbled 含糊說. “I thought there was something different about your

eyes.”

He shrugged, and looked away.

In fact, I was sure there was something different. I vividly 生動地 remembered

the flat black color of his eyes the last time he’d glared at me — the color was striking against the background of his pale skin and his auburn 赤褐色的hair. Today, his eyes were a completely different color: a strange ocher 黃土色, darker than butterscotch 褐色脆絣, but with the same golden tone. I didn’t understand how that could be, unless he was lying for some reason about the contacts 隱形眼鏡. Or maybe Forks was making me crazy in the literal sense of the word.

 

I looked down. His hands were clenched 緊握into hard fists 拳頭 again.

Mr. Banner came to our table then, to see why we weren’t working. He looked over our shoulders to glance at the completed lab, and then stared more intently 專心 to check the answers.

 

“So, Edward, didn’t you think Isabella should get a chance with the microscope?” Mr. Banner asked.

 

“Bella,” Edward corrected automatically. “Actually, she identified three of the five.”

 

Mr. Banner looked at me now; his expression was skeptical懷疑.

“Have you done this lab before?” he asked.

I smiled sheepishly 靦腆地. “Not with onion root.”

“Whitefish 白鮭 blastula 囊胚?”

“Yeah.”

 

Mr. Banner nodded. “Were you in an advanced placement program in Phoenix?”

“Yes.”

“Well,” he said after a moment, “I guess it’s good you two are lab partners.” He mumbled something else as he walked away. After he left, I began doodling 亂畫 on my notebook again.

 

“It’s too bad about the snow, isn’t it?” Edward asked. I had the feeling that he was forcing himself to make small talk with me. Paranoia 偏執狂 swept over me again. It was like he had heard my conversation with Jessica at lunch and was trying to prove me wrong.

 

“Not really,” I answered honestly, instead of pretending to be normal like everyone else. I was still trying to dislodge 逐出the stupid feeling of suspicion, and I couldn’t concentrate.

 

“You don’t like the cold.” It wasn’t a question.

“Or the wet.”

“Forks must be a difficult place for you to live,” he mused 沉思.

“You have no idea,” I muttered 低聲咕嚕 darkly.

 

He looked fascinated by what I said, for some reason I couldn’t imagine.

His face was such a distraction 分心物 that I tried not to look at it any more than courtesy 禮貌 absolutely demanded.

 

“Why did you come here, then?”

No one had asked me that — not straight out like he did, demanding.

“It’s… complicated.”

“I think I can keep up 跟上,” he pressed 堅持.

 

I paused for a long moment, and then made the mistake of meeting his gaze. His dark gold eyes confused me, and I answered without thinking.

 

“My mother got remarried,” I said.

“That doesn’t sound so complex,” he disagreed, but he was suddenly sympathetic. “When did that happen?”

 

“Last September.” My voice sounded sad, even to me.

“And you don’t like him,” Edward surmised 推測, his tone still kind.

“No, Phil is fine. Too young, maybe, but nice enough.”

“Why didn’t you stay with them?”

 

I couldn’t fathom his interest, but he continued to stare at me with penetrating eyes, as if my dull life’s story was somehow vitally important.

 

“Phil travels a lot. He plays ball for a living.” I half-smiled.

“Have I heard of him?” he asked, smiling in response.

“Probably not. He doesn’t play well. Strictly minor league. He moves around a lot.”

“And your mother sent you here so that she could travel with him.” He said it as an assumption 推測 again, not a question.

 

My chin 下顎 raised a fraction 一點點 . “No, she did not send me here. I sent myself.”

His eyebrows 眉毛 knit 打結  together. “I don’t understand,” he admitted, and he seemed unnecessarily frustrated by that fact.

I sighed. Why was I explaining this to him? He continued to stare at me with obvious curiosity.

 

“She stayed with me at first, but she missed him. It made her unhappy… so I decided it was time to spend some quality time with Charlie.” My voice was glum 悶悶不樂by the time I finished.

 

“But now you’re unhappy,” he pointed out.

“And?” I challenged.

 

“That doesn’t seem fair.” He shrugged, but his eyes were still intense.

I laughed without humor. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you? Life isn’t fair.”

 

“I believe I have heard that somewhere before,” he agreed dryly 不露表情.

“So that’s all,” I insisted, wondering why he was still staring at me that way.

 

His gaze became appraising 評估. “You put on a good show,” he said slowly.

“But I’d be willing to bet that you’re suffering more than you let anyone see.”

I grimaced 做鬼臉 at him, resisting the impulse 衝動 to stick out my tongue like a

five-year-old, and looked away.

 

“Am I wrong?”

I tried to ignore him.

“I didn’t think so,” he murmured smugly.沾沾自喜

 

“Why does it matter to you?” I asked, irritated. I kept my eyes away, watching the teacher make his rounds.

 

“That’s a very good question,” he muttered, so quietly that I wondered if he was talking to himself. However, after a few seconds of silence, I decided that was the only answer I was going to get.

 

I sighed, scowling 皺眉頭 at the blackboard.

“Am I annoying you?” he asked. He sounded amused.

 

I glanced at him without thinking… and told the truth again. “Not exactly. I’m more annoyed at myself. My face is so easy to read — my mother always calls me her open book.” I frowned.

“On the contrary, I find you very difficult to read.” Despite everything that I’d said and he’d guessed, he sounded like he meant it.

 

“You must be a good reader then,” I replied.

“Usually.” He smiled widely, flashing a set of perfect, ultrawhite 超白的teeth.

 

Mr. Banner called the class to order 守秩序then, and I turned with relief to listen. I was in disbelief that I’d just explained my dreary 可怕的life to this bizarre 古怪, beautiful boy who may or may not despise me. He’d seemed engrossed 全神貫注in our conversation, but now I could see, from the corner of my eye, that he was leaning away from me again, his hands gripping 捉住 the edge of the table with unmistakable tension 緊張.

 

I tried to appear attentive as Mr. Banner illustrated, with transparencies 幻燈片 on the overhead projector 投影機, what I had seen without difficulty through the microscope. But my thoughts were unmanageable.

 

When the bell finally rang, Edward rushed as swiftly and as gracefully from the room as he had last Monday. And, like last Monday, I stared after him in amazement.

 

Mike skipped 跳 quickly to my side and picked up my books for me. I imagined him with a wagging 擺動的 tail.

 

“That was awful,” he groaned. “They all looked exactly the same. You’re lucky you had Cullen for a partner.”

 

“I didn’t have any trouble with it,” I said, stung by his assumption. I regretted the snub 冷落 instantly. “I’ve done the lab before, though,” I added before he could get his feelings hurt.

 

“Cullen seemed friendly enough today,” he commented as we shrugged into our raincoats. He didn’t seem pleased about it.

 

I tried to sound indifferent. “I wonder what was with him last Monday.”

 

I couldn’t concentrate on Mike’s chatter as we walked to Gym, and RE. didn’t do much to hold my attention, either. Mike was on my team today.

 

He chivalrously covered my position as well as his own, so my wool-gathering 白日夢 was only interrupted when it was my turn to serve 發球; my team ducked 躲避 warily 小心翼翼out of the way every time I was up.

 

The rain was just a mist as I walked to the parking lot, but I was happier when I was in the dry cab. I got the heater running, for once not caring about the mind-numbing 使心靈麻木 roar of the engine. I unzipped 拉開拉鍊 my jacket, put the hood down, and fluffed 使鬆散 my damp hair out so the heater could dry it on the way home.

 

I looked around me to make sure it was clear. That’s when I noticed the still, white figure. Edward Cullen was leaning against the front door of the Volvo, three cars down from me, and staring intently in my direction.

 

I swiftly  迅速地 looked away and threw the truck into reverse 倒轉 , almost hitting a rusty 生鏽的Toyota Corolla in my haste. Lucky for the Toyota, I stomped 用力綵on the brake in time. It was just the sort of car that my truck would make scrap metal of. I took a deep breath, still looking out the other side of my car, and cautiously 小心地pulled out again, with greater success. I stared straight ahead as I passed the Volvo, but from a peripheral周圍 peek 偷看 , I would swear I saw him laughing.

 

32hsiung@pchome.com.tw

雄伯

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