THE SUN WAS SO DEEPLY BURIED BEHIND THE CLOUDS that there was no way to tell if it had set or not. After the long flight — chasing the sun westward so that it seemed unmoving in the sky — it was especially disorienting; time seemed oddly variable. It took me by surprise when the forest gave way to the first buildings, signaling that we were nearly home.
I WAS HAVING A BAD WEEK.
I knew that essentially nothing had changed. Okay, so Victoria had not given up, but had I ever dreamed for one moment that she had? Her reappearance had only confirmed what I’d already known. No reason for fresh panic.
In theory. Not panicking was easier said than done.
Graduation was only a few weeks away, but I wondered if it wasn’t a little foolish to sit around, weak and tasty, waiting for the next disaster. It seemed too dangerous to be human — just begging for trouble.
I felt oddly buoyant as I walked from Spanish toward the cafeteria, and it wasn’t just because I was holding hands with the most perfect person on the planet, though that was certainly part of it.
Maybe it was the knowledge that my sentence was served and I was a free woman again.
Or maybe it wasn’t anything to do with me specifically. Maybe it was the atmosphere of freedom that hung over the entire campus. School was winding down, and, for the senior class especially, there was a perceptible thrill in the air.
I don’t know why you’re making Charlie carry notes to Billy like we’re in second grade — if I wanted to talk to you I would answer them
You made the choice here, okay? You can’t have it both ways when
What part of “mortal enemies” is too complicated for you to
Look, I know I’m being a jerk, but there’s just no way around
We can’t be friends when you’re spending all your time with a bunch of
It just makes it worse when I think about you too much, so don’t write anymore
Yeah, I miss you, too. A lot. Doesn’t change anything. Sorry.
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
The circle of wolves moved closer. Once again the old Indian saw the picture of the moose as it struggled before the end came. He dropped his head to his knees. What did it matter after all? Isn’t this the law of life?
WE WERE IN A BRIGHTLY LIT, UNREMARKABLE HALLWAY. The walls were off-white, the floor carpeted in industrial gray. Common rectangular fluorescent lights were spaced evenly along the ceiling. It was warmer here, for which I was grateful. This hall seemed very benign after the gloom of the ghoulish stone sewers.
Edward didn't seem to agree with my assessment. He glowered darkly down the long hallway, toward the slight, black shrouded figure at the end, standing by an elevator.
DEMETRI LEFT US IN THE CHEERFULLY OPULENT RECEPTION area, where the woman Gianna was still at her post behind the polished counter. Bright, harmless music tinkled from hidden speakers.
"Do not leave until dark," he warned us.
Edward nodded, and Demetri hurried away.
Gianna did not seem at all surprised by the exchange, though she did eye Edward's borrowed cloak with shrewd speculation.
"Are you all right?" Edward asked under his breath, too low for the human woman to hear. His voice was rough—if velvet can be rough—with anxiety. Still stressed by our situation, I imagined.
I had the sense that i'd been asleep for a very long time—my body was stiff, like i hadn't moved once through all that time, either. My mind was dazed and slow; strange, colorful dreams—dreams and nightmares—swirled dizzily around the inside of my head. They were so vivid. The horrible and the heavenly, all mixed together into a bizarre jumble. There was sharp impatience and fear, both part of that frustrating dream where your feet can't move fast enough… and there were plenty of monsters, red-eyed fiends that were all the more ghastly for their genteel civility. The dream was still strong—i could even remember the names. But the strongest, clearest part of the dream was not the horror. It was the angel that was most clear.
ALMOST EVERYTHING WAS BACK TO NORMAL—THE GOOD, pre-zombie normal—in less time than I would have believed possible. The hospital welcomed Carlisle back with eager arms, not even bothering to conceal their delight that Esme had found life in L.A. so little to her liking. Thanks to the Calculus test I'd missed while abroad, Alice and Edward were in better shape to graduate than I was at the moment. Suddenly, college was a priority (college was still plan B, on the off chance that Edward's offer swayed me from the post-graduation Carlisle option). Many deadlines had passed me by, but Edward had a new stack of applications for me to fill out every day. He'd already done the Harvard route, so it didn't bother him that, thanks to my procrastination, we might both end up at Peninsula Community College next year.