*by Stephenie Meyer*
TWILIGHT - chapter 13 - CONFESSIONS
Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.
Now and then his lips would move, so fast it looked like they were trembling. But, when I asked, he told me he was singing to himself; it was too low for me to hear.
I enjoyed the sun, too, though the air wasn't quite dry enough for my taste. I would have liked to lie back, as he did, and let the sun warm my face. But I stayed curled up, my chin resting on my knees, unwilling to take my eyes off him. The wind was gentle; it tangled my hair and ruffled the grass that swayed around his motionless form.
The meadow, so spectacular to me at first, paled next to his magnificence.
Hesitantly, always afraid, even now, that he would disappear like a mirage, too beautiful to be real... hesitantly, I reached out one finger and stroked the back of his shimmering hand, where it lay within my reach. I marveled again at the perfect texture, satin smooth, cool as stone. When I looked up again, his eyes were open, watching me. Butterscotch today, lighter, warmer after hunting. His quick smile turned up the corners of his flawless lips.
"I don't scare you?" he asked playfully, but I could hear the real curiosity in his soft voice.
"No more than usual."
He smiled wider; his teeth flashed in the sun.
I inched closer, stretched out my whole hand now to trace the contours of his forearm with my fingertips. I saw that my fingers trembled, and knew it wouldn't escape hid notice.
"Do you mind?" I asked, for he had closed his eyes again.
"No," he said without opening his eyes. "You can't imagine how that feels." He sighed.
I lightly trailed my hand over the perfect muscles of his arm, followed the faint pattern of bluish veins inside the crease at his elbow. With my other hand, I reached to turn his hand over. Realizing what I wished, he flipped his palm up in one of those blinding fast, disconcerting movements of his. It startled me; my fingers froze on his arm for a brief second.
"Sorry," he murmured. I looked up in time to see his golden eyes close again. "It's too easy to be myself with you."
I lefted his hand, turning it this way and that as I watched the sun glitter on his palm. I held it closer to my face, trying to see the hidden facets in his skin.
"Tell me what you're thinking," he whispered. I looked to see his eyes watching me, suddenly intent. "It's still so strange for me not knowing."
"You know, the rest of us feel that way all the time."
"It's a hard life." Did I imagine the hint of regret in his tone? "But you didn't tell me."
"I was wishing I could know what you were thinking..." I hesitated.
"I was wishing that I could believe that you were real. And I was wishing that I wasn't afraid."
"I don't want you to be afraid." His voice was just a soft murmur. I heard what he couldn't truthfully say, that I didn't need to be afraid, that there was nothing to fear.
"Well, that's not exactly the fear I meant, though that's certainly something to think about."
So quickly that I missed his movement, he was half sitting, propped up on his right arm, hei left palm still in my hands. His angel's face was only a few inches from mine. I might have - should have - flinched away from his unexpected closeness, but I was unable to move. His golden eyes mesmerized me.
"What are you afraid of, then?" he whispered intently.
But I couldn't answer. As I had just once before, I smelled his cool breath in my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. It was unlike anything else. Instinctively, unthinkingly, I leaned closer, inhaling.
And he was gone, his hand ripped from mine. In the time it took my eyes to focus, he was twenty feet away, standing at the edge of the small meadow, in the deep shade of a hude fir tree. He stared at me, his eyes dark in the shadows, his expression unreadable.
I could feel the hurt and shock on my face. My empty hands stung.
"I'm... sorry... Edward," I whispered. I knew he could hear.
"Give me a moment," he called, just loud enough for my less sensitive ears. I sat very still.
After ten incredibly long seconds, he walked back, slowly for him. He stopped, still several feet away, and sank gracefully to the ground, crossing his legs. His eyes never left mine. He took two deep breaths, and then smiled in apology.
"I am very sorry." He hesitated. "Would you understand what I meant if I said I was only human?"
I nodded once, not quite able to smile at his joke. Adrenaline pulsed through my veins as the realization of danger slowly sank in He could smell that from where he sat. His smile turned mocking.
"I'm the world's best predator, aren't I?" Everything about me invites you in - my voice, my face, even my smell. As if I need any of that!" Unexpectedly, he was on his feet, bounding away, instantly out of sight, only to appear beneath the same tree as before, having circled the meadow in a half a second.
"As if you could outrun me," he laughed bitterly.
He reached up with one hand and, with a deafening crack, effortlessly ripped a two-foot-thick branch from the trunck of the spruce. I balanced it in that hand for a moment, and then threw it with blinding speed, shattering it against another huge tree, which shook and trembled at the blow.
And he was in front of me again, standing two feet away, still as a stone.
"As if you could fight me off," he said gently.
I sat without moving, more frightened of him than I had ever been. I'd never seen him so completely freed of that carefully cultivated facade. He'd never been less human... or more beautiful. Face ashen, eyes wide, I sat like a bird locked in the eyes of a snake.
His lovely eyes seemed to glow with rash excitement. Then, as the seconds passed, they dimmed. His expression slowly folded into a mask of ancient sadness.
"Don't be afraid," he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive. "I promise..." He hesitated. "I swear not to hurt you." He seemed more concerned with convincing himself than me.
"Don't be afraid," he whispered again as he stepped closer, with exaggerated slowness. He sat sinuously, with deliberately unhurried movements, till our faces were on the same level, just a foot apart.