For some reason my steps slowed as I reached the clearing. As though I was preparing myself physically and mentally for approaching Bella.
I knew she needed time, and I was willing to give her that, but not here, out in the open where she could be hurt. I quickly thought of some counter-arguments for whatever argument she might pose, remembering all too well her stubborn streak.
She was lying on the grass almost in the exact place where we’d both lain that first time. Her arms were extended on either side, her dark hair fanning out behind her. Even in the near darkness of the encroaching evening, I could see the intense sparkle of her eyes, one of her newly acquired assets after the change.
“Bella?” I whispered, knowing she would hear me.
She lifted her head and smiled at me. This heartened me – it was as though she had never left and was still the same sunny Bella.
“I’d forgotten how peaceful it was here, Edward. Only I can hear everything now, even the bugs in the grass. Is it like that for you, too?”
“Yes, it’s like that for me, too,” I said as I sat down next to her.
She sat up and turned her luminous gaze on me. “I keep wondering when I’m going to get hungry.”
It took everything in me to remain seated. I almost jumped out of my skin, hearing her say that.
“You’re not hungry? Are you sure?”
“Maybe I have to wait for the three days to be over?”
“No, Bella, it’s not like that. You should be hungry. Ravenous, in fact. It was like that for me, for Rosalie, for Emmett – even Carlisle couldn’t go without feeding for too long.”
“Edward, I swear I’m not hungry. I feel fine. Better than fine.”
It was true that the dark shadows under her eyes seemed to have lifted, but her eyes themselves were a brilliant red, no longer the warm brown they had been before the change.
“Not even for an irritable grizzly?”
She smiled at my poor attempt for a joke, then turned serious again. “I kept waiting for the thirst to overpower me, but it hasn’t. Maybe there’s something wrong with me.”