I closed my eyes, wishing that I wasn’t there, that everything had not happened, hoping that I was somehow still living in Forks, but I was in the same spot when I reopened them. The interior of the plane was still bland, the stewardesses still seemed fake, and the ones I had once considered family were slowly becoming a distant memory. Even as I tried to remember how Edward had looked the moment he had ripped my heart out, I realized there were noticeable holes in my memory of him.
I guess my head really is like a sieve.
My stomach gurgled, reminding me I had failed to eat before boarding the plane, and I twisted in discomfort. I knew I should eat, should make some attempt to keep myself healthy, but I just couldn’t find the will to care. All purpose and meaning had vacated my body, expunged from my chest, leaving behind a pulsating wound. I attempted to redirect my thoughts, but found it nearly impossible; I was either focusing on Edward, Alice…or the rest of the Cullens.
When the captain came on the loudspeaker, I was startled out of my thoughts. He informed the passengers we were beginning our descent into Jacksonville. My heart started to slow down when the intercom cut off, and I glanced out the window. There were sparse clouds in the bright blue sky, and the sun made the ground shimmer below. The difference between where I’d been and where I was going was stark in contrast. Forks had constant cloud cover, with rain soaking the town most of the year. I wasn’t sure what the average rainfall for Jacksonville was, but I was positive it wouldn’t come close to Washington’s.
I took a breath and gripped the armrests as I felt the pain in my chest return. Despite my better judgment, I thought back to everything that had happened since I first left my mother. I had discovered love, vampires, and heartbreak in less than eight months.
Funny, it seems so short…now that I’ve lost everything that mattered.
Edward had ghosted into my life and had left just as quickly—or, had he? The ragged hole in my heart blazed as I remembered the shocking end to my stay in Forks, Washington.
One week; that was how long it had taken for me to regain motion after I had been found. Edward had left me in the middle of the forest in the freezing rain, and I had mistakenly tried to follow him through the trees. I ended up being found by one of the boys from the reservation—three hours after he had vanished. However, that wasn’t the worst of it all…not by a long shot. I sucked in a mouthful of air as one of the most devastating memories came back to me.
Despite Charlie’s suggestion I take another week off, I’d convinced myself going back to school was the best move. I wasn’t sure why I made this decision; I couldn’t really see the benefit of it. The halls of Forks High School would only be a memento of everything I had lost. Regardless, an hour after waking up, I found myself driving into the familiar parking lot.
Pulling into school was a harsh reminder of the town I lived in; everyone who saw me looked as if they expected me to spontaneously combust. Even Mike, Jessica, Tyler, and Eric, my human friends, were trying not to make it obvious that they were gawking. Apparently, the word had spread about the break up and how I’d been found in the woods. Perfect…even more attention than I desired.
With a heavy sigh, I started my journey to first period English, a class I had once shared with Edward and Alice, but stopped after only a few steps. Parked in the first spot, closest to the front door, was a familiar shiny, silver Volvo.
I refused to believe that it was the same one—maybe some student had been inspired by the Cullens and had purchased one just like Edward’s—but the familiar license plate quickly superseded any doubt I had. As my body rediscovered motion, I couldn’t help but stare at the car as I passed it. The hole, carved in the center of my chest, began to throb.
I tried my hardest not to run to English, debating with myself the purpose behind their presence. Secretly, I hoped Edward had reconsidered and decided that he wanted me as a distraction for a little longer. That notion was quickly written off; he’d made it quite clear in the forest that he was through with me.
I stopped a few yards from the door and gasped when I saw Alice glide through the doorway. Hope blossomed inside me; just because he‘d wanted a clean break with me didn't mean Alice and I couldn't be friends. Feeling a bit more positive about the situation, I headed into the classroom and fought back a sob when I saw Edward in his normal seat.
My eyes lowered to the floor as I passed them, and I tried desperately not to glance in their direction when forced to retrieve my notebook and pencil from my backpack. Their presence caused knots in my stomach and pains in my entire body, but still I said nothing to them. I was beginning to wonder if I’d go crazy with all the questions in my head when I heard an achingly beautiful voice call to me.
“Bella?” Edward’s voice was soft, but still loud enough for me to hear him. I shifted in his direction, cringing when the sight of him caused an increase in my agony, ceasing my ability to breathe. “I’m sorry, I know our being here must seem…unexpected.”
“I…uh…um,” I stammered, clearly taken back by his appearance, his voice—his everything. The memories of the past six months came rushing back to me, and I fought the crushing loneliness and rejection that now accompanied them. Regardless of the pain, I put forward my best smile, which was more like a grimace. “Yeah, I was starting to question your definition of ‘not existing.’”
I didn’t mean to sound so snarky, but it definitely came out that way. A devious smirk appeared on Alice’s—who was sitting behind him—face. My face had heated up as I flushed and quickly turned to the front of the class, embarrassed.
“Yes,” Edward answered with a chuckle that sent tingles up my spine. “Well, Carlisle applied to take part in a ten month research study involving breast cancer. It’s not nationwide, or anything, but it would attract undue attention if he suddenly pulled out. So, we’re here until the end of the summer.”
“Oh,” was the only response I had, understanding exactly what he hadn’t said. He was there because he couldn’t leave without jeopardizing the anonymity of his family’s secret—not because he wanted to be with me. The information set my insides ablaze and threatened to turn me into a pile of ash. As the tears I held back tried to break through, I wondered how I was still standing.
“Bella.” I glanced over and noticed that Edward looked even more pained than I did. However, his face hardened quickly and his golden eyes flashed in the fluorescent lights. “My being here certainly doesn’t change anything.”
“I...I... n-never said it did.”
“Miss?” The stewardess tapped me on the shoulder with an impatient expression on her face. “Are you all right?”
I glanced around the plane, finding it relatively empty, and noticed we had already arrived at the airport. My face flushed when I realized I had reminisced through the entire landing process. The woman continued to stare at me, the look on her face growing more and more disturbed by the minute. So, to save us both the awkwardness, I muttered something about being tired, retrieved my carry-on luggage and headed out of the aircraft, pretending I didn’t hear the errant whispers trailing behind me.
The Jacksonville Airport was smaller than the one in Seattle and not nearly as busy. I skulked over to the baggage claim and waited in a line with others I recognized from my flight. A few yards away, I could see the food court shining like a beacon, and my stomach growled in response to the thought of food. I hadn’t eaten the snacks the airline had provided, nor any form of breakfast, and I was suffering because of it.
A buzzing sound caught my attention moments before the conveyor belt began to spin, and I knew it was only a matter of time before the bags would come. Unfortunately, as the seconds ticked by, the wheels in my head began turning and my mind recalled a much similar incident. There was another time when I had been waiting for something—or more like someone.
In spite of what Edward had said in the forest, the Cullens were still in Forks. I had seen Edward and Alice in school, but had yet to see evidence of the remaining Cullens. Part of me was beginning to wonder if I was imagining the two figures sitting next to me in school; was I so desperate that I had taken to imagining those things? However, after seeing the instructors speak to them in class, I felt somewhat relieved.
Ever since that first day, when Edward had reminded me that nothing had changed, I had received nothing but silence from the two Cullens. Even when we were paired up for an in-class assignment, they did all the work before distancing themselves from me. It was at times like those where I would simply wait out the remainder of class in the bathroom, tears pouring down my cheeks. I wasn’t sure which was worse: Edward and Alice being there, silent as ghosts, or disappearing completely.
I just wanted to speak to Alice, for her to tell me everything was going to turn out okay for me, like old times. There was so much I wanted to say to her, so many questions I needed answered. As I walked to History class, I saw the tiny pixie leave the room and walk to the water fountain. Knowing she didn’t need water told me that she was trying to mask her inhumanity by acting human. It was my chance.
Without stopping, I made a beeline for her, not sure what I planned on saying. Before long I was standing right behind her.
“Alice.” I couldn’t believe how weak and hollow my voice sounded. When she didn’t move from the water fountain, I continued. “Please talk to me. I need you, Alice…more than ever.”
At that, she turned around and stared at me with dead eyes. There was no emotion there, just vacant space where life once dwelled.
“You said I was like the sister you never had,” I muttered and my bottom lip quivered slightly. “Did you mean it—or were you just trying to make me feel welcome when I really wasn’t?”
“Why won’t you speak to me?” I couldn’t fathom why she would do that, or why she would continue to stare at me like I was speaking a foreign language to her. We had been such good friends; why did that have to change? “Alice?”
As the bell above rang twice, warning the students that class was about to begin, Alice pulled out a compact mirror and checked her appearance before flitting across the hallway through the open door. All I could do was stand there and feel another piece of me shatter to dust, realizing that everything I believed about Alice Cullen was a lie.
Static from the loudspeaker above shook me from my memories; I was chagrined to realize I was the only one still standing at the baggage claim. I picked up my suitcase from the spinning platform and headed toward the front of the airport.
Despite the probability Renee and Phil were waiting for me, I decided to stop and get some form of sustenance. The food court wasn’t elaborate, or fully stocked, but they did have a small café with fresh sandwiches, salads, and coffee. While I wasn’t much of a coffee person, I found my mouth watering over the turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich, promptly paying for it.
Once I took a seat at one of the tall tables, I switched on my cell phone and noticed I had three text messages from my mother. One told me they’d be there to pick me up; the second mentioned they were running late; the third said they were waiting at the front of the airport, by the American Airlines counter.
I smiled softly, feeling how much I had missed my erratic mother and sent them a text explaining that I had stopped for a quick bite to eat before heading out. Without waiting to see if she’d reply right away, I unwrapped my meal and began to eat quickly. I was halfway through the second part of the sandwich when I realized this was the first time I’d eaten since the night before. The thought made me uneasy, and in an effort to chase away the negative thoughts that were arising, I decided to people watch.
It wasn’t as much fun as it had been in other airports. The best people watching I’d ever experienced was at the Los Angeles airport, LAX, after an impromptu visit to the west coast with Renee. There had been more people than I could count. Of course, I was very little at the time.
As the moments went by—the time between travelers becoming longer and longer—I started to look inward for entertainment. I had so many memories associated with airports—too many to count. As I looked down at my sandwich, the majority of it eaten, I was mentally pushed into the past once again.
For the past five days, I had been blatantly ignored by Alice and Edward, finally reaching my boiling point. If Edward wanted me out of his life, that was fine. It hurt, but there was nothing I could do about it. I needed Alice.
I made the decision a few minutes before the end of my Advanced Trig class, the one class I didn’t share with Alice or Edward; I would find Alice before lunch and not let her leave until she spoke to me. All I wanted was one word, or syllable, from Alice to let me know she’d heard me. Even if she told me to go away and leave her alone, it would still be something. Maybe it was a desperate, ridiculous, and pointless effort, but I still planned on doing it anyway
After class, I walked over toward the cafeteria, remembering Edward and I would always beat her there. However, as I moved at a snail’s pace and waiting for her to make an appearance, I realized that she was either already inside or was running really late. Without stopping to think for too long, I entered the lunch room and stopped.
Across the space, I could see Edward and Alice were already seated at their normal table by the window, and sitting beside them with Edward’s arm draped over her shoulder, was Jessica Stanley. The three of them laughed hysterically, as we once did together. My stomach felt heavy, and I fought the urge to vomit right there on the floor.
Edward hated Jessica; he told me so himself. So, why would he act like she was a friend of his? Unless…she was his new distraction? The very thought of Jessica supplanting me at Edward’s side was abhorred, and I fought against it. Would Edward do such a thing? Pick someone I knew as a distraction?
He’d rather be with someone he hates…than be with me, I thought morosely and hung my head. As I pondered the turn of events, Jessica glanced over and, with a haughty smile, waved at me. With that final nail into my coffin, I turned and walked out the door.
The clouds in the sky had gotten progressively darker throughout the school day, and I noticed they were almost black as I walked outside. Without stopping to note how cold the wind was, I moved into the courtyard and took a seat on one of the many stone benches. The students sitting on the lawn began to take shelter in nearby buildings. I didn’t.
I still couldn’t believe that they could do such a thing. How could Edward pick Jessica as a distraction? How could Alice let him do that to me? How could Jessica be so callous? Was no one on my side? I felt a trail of moisture run down my cheek, and I reached up to wipe away the tear. There was no sense crying over it. Edward had made his choice; I had to live with it.
A few more drops of water trailed down my face, and it took me a moment to realize what was happening. The sky had opened up and provided Forks with its own personal waterfall. I felt a bit of pressure on my shoes and found puddles forming around my ankles. In spite of the cold water seeping through my clothing, I remained where I was.
“Bella!” A familiar voice called to me from far away, and I lifted my gaze to see Eric Yorkie standing underneath an overhanging awning, beckoning me with both hands. “What are you doing? Get out of the rain!”
Before I could answer him, I caught sight of Angela running across the courtyard, towel in one hand umbrella in the other. She stopped in front of me, thrusting the umbrella over my head, and turned over her shoulder.
“Eric!” She practically had to scream over the large blasts of thunder. “Come help me!”
He narrowed his eyes at her doubtfully, but quickly flipped the hood of his sweater over his head and ran in our direction. Once there, Angela forced the umbrella in his hands while she wrapped the towel around my shoulders.
“Don’t worry, Bella,” she said softly and sympathetically. “We’ve got you.”
The two of them wrapped their arms around my waist and escorted me into the main building. I was thankful they didn’t take me back into the cafeteria; the last thing I needed was for Jessica and the Cullens to focus on me. I had suffered enough embarrassment for the day.
Once in the warm building, I realized just how wet my clothes were. The material clung to me and the water felt a few degrees warmer than ice. My teeth began to chatter, and I instinctively wrapped my arms around myself, but the discomfort I felt over the frigid water was nothing compared to the emotional wound I had received.
“I can’t believe she would do that,” Angela was grumbling to Eric as she blotted my hair and clothes with the towel. I had never seen Angela so angry, and the puckered face she was making was borderline hilarious. If I hadn’t been so devastated, I probably would have chuckled. “Bella’s never been anything but nice to her and this is how she repays her? Someone should really punch her in the face!”
“N-N-N…” I attempted to tell them that no one needed to tell anyone anything. Edward had chosen Jessica over me; there was nothing anyone could do.
“And I’m astounded that Edward would act like that.” Angela growled, her voice getting noticeably more hostile. “I mean, I understand that break ups happen and everything, but did he have to be so cruel?”
“Yeah, I know,” Eric agreed, shaking his head. “I still don’t understand what she saw in Cullen. He’s just not a nice person, you know? None of them are. Did you see how quickly the short one shoved Bella off?”
I tried to distance myself from their conversation, but it was extremely difficult. Whenever I heard the name “Cullen,” my ears automatically tuned in to whatever was being said; it was as if my body had been reprogrammed to seek out anything having to do with the elusive family. Even then, while my clothes were sopping wet, I was still hanging on to Angela and Eric’s every word.
“Hey, guys, what’s up?”
I groaned, internally, in response to the bright, cheerful voice belonging to Mike Newton. He had never missed the opportunity to hit on me—even when Edward and I had been a couple. Standing there, though, he balked at the sight of me before laughing heartily.
“What happened, Bella?” Despite the humorous tone in his voice, I saw a flash of genuine concern in his eyes as he wrapped his arm around my shoulders. He really was a good person, and a great friend to have—if only friendship was all he wanted. “Did you get stuck in the rain?”
“S-Something l-l-like th-that,” I muttered through chattering teeth.
“Well, I think that’s the best I can do with this,” Angela said with a huff and leaned away from me, towel in hand. “Bella, would you like to go to the nurse? I think they might have some dry clothes you can use.”
I didn’t want to go. The nurse and I had an unfriendly relationship; anyone who came in more than once a month did. However, the thought of sitting next to Alice and Edward like that swayed my decision. The humiliation would be too much to bear, especially since Jessica was in my next class, as well.
“Okay.” Angela said with a determined expression, looping one of her arms around my waist after I had agreed to go to the nurse. However, it was quite evident she wasn’t strong enough to escort me on her own, which pained me with guilt. She shouldn’t have had to do it anyway—I should’ve been able to take myself.
“Let me help you,” Mike said, wrapping his arm around me with a warm smile.
The vibration of my cell phone snapped me out of my thoughts. My mother had text me, wondering where I was and questioning why it was taking so long for me to finish eating. Glancing at the clock on the wall, I was shocked to realize I had been sitting at the table for about twenty minutes. Without stopping, I threw away my garbage, picked up my luggage and began power-walking to the front of the airport.
The pain had started coming in regular intervals, and I tried my best to fight against it. There were little things in the airport that sidelined me, bringing back memory after memory. The worst had been a bathroom with two entrances, which had made me think of my encounter with James. My knees weakened, and not wanting to risk freaking out in the airport, I kept my eyes focused on the floor.
I also made a vain attempt to stand up straighter, realizing that Renee might see my awkward posture and worry. Then again, my mother was relatively unobservant when it came to those things. There was a chance she would hardly even notice.
As I rounded the corner, I couldn’t help the overwhelming emotions I felt when I saw my mom and Phil standing beyond the glass doors. Despite being caught up in her own world, Renee was great at being there for me when I needed a shoulder or an ear. She had been there through my first crush, my first bully, and through my first heartbreak.
I picked up my pace and found myself in Renee’s arms within moments of exiting the airport. Once the warmth of her embrace enveloped me, the tears began to stream down my face. Sometime, in between the “I missed you” and the “we’re glad you’re back,” I had been passed from Mom to Phil. Although I thought he was a little young for her, Phil was an amazing guy and equally easy to get along with. As his arms tightened around me, he whispered, “Everything’s going to be okay,” into my ear.
That was the very first time anyone had used those words since Edward had broken up with me.
When we separated, all of us red-faced and out of breath, Phil took my luggage, and we headed to the car. The entire time, my mother was gripping me tenaciously, almost like she was afraid I’d disintegrate should she release me. How wise my mother could be at times.
I quickly got the impression that Charlie had coached Mom and Phil on the events that led to the move. Even though I hoped I was wrong, the side glances and facial expressions were dead giveaways. I did my best to ignore them, but it was tough.
I was happy when the silence finally ceased, and Renee began to fill me in on the house I was moving into. Renee and Phil had purchased a waterfront property—Mom always did love to swim—back in March. As we sat in the humid car, she elaborated on the details she’d given me when they had first bought it.
“You have your own bathroom,” she gushed, gesturing wildly in her usual manner and shifted in her seat to look at me. “It’ll be just like old times, honey.”
I smiled lightly but remained quiet in the back seat. Despite her anticipation and insistences, things would not be like old times. The scars I bore were going to stay with me for a very long time. Everything that would have pleased me about the new house, the move, and life would only serve as a reminder of everything I’d lost. Renee had always used the phrase “Home is where the heart is” to describe each house we’d lived in when I was younger. If that saying were true, then my heart was up in the clouds…with Edward.
It was a fifteen-minute drive from the airport to the house, and Mom filled every second with chatter. She informed me about her job as a substitute teacher at the elementary school down the street, the names of the neighbors, the yoga class she had taken up on Saturday mornings, and, most importantly, the school I would be attending.
“We’re scheduled for a walk-through with the principal tomorrow,” she said as we pulled up to the house. “Make sure you get up early—our tour starts at ten in the morning.”
I groaned, remembering that my body was still on Washington time, but agreed anyway.
The house was possibly the biggest Renee had ever lived in. It was one story but wide and surrounded by trees. Beyond the structure, I could see a small dock leading to the sparkling waters of a lake. I sighed a little, content that my mother was being taken care of, before letting Renee and Phil escort me inside.
They gave me a short tour—Phil could see I was tired and wanting of a shower—which was in my bedroom. The walls of my room were a pallid yellow color, with strange paintings on the walls, and a full size bed in the center. It had to be at least twice the size of my room in Forks, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing. However, as I spied the door that led to my own private bathroom, I nodded in approval.
“Well,” Phil said, resting his hand on my mom’s shoulder. “We’ll let you get comfortable.”
“We’ll be in the living room…if you need anything,” Renee said nervously and left the room in a bit of a hurry.
Phil shook his head when I gave him a look that questioned my mom’s sudden departure. “We’re really happy you’re home, Bella.”
With that, he turned and shut the door behind him, leaving me alone in my new room…in my new life.
I stood there for a moment, not exactly sure what I was supposed to do, appraising the place that was meant to be my new home. As the seconds passed, and the reality of the situation sunk further in, my composure crumbled. I sank to my knees, overcome with despair, and I felt my body begin to writhe as the memories returned.
The tears were pouring down my face as I drove through the wet streets of Forks. After receiving some dry clothes from the nurse, I was granted time to go home and change. I found it very strange, seeing as Nurse Hammond would rather me suffer through the day in sweat-stained loaner clothes than allow me any form of comfort. However, instead of speculating her motives, I seized the opportunity to leave campus. It was on the way out to my truck when I had the revelation—when I realized exactly what I had to do.
The previous week, Renee had extended an invite to come live with her again. I had deluded myself into thinking that my place was in Forks with my memories of Edward. However, after discovering the Cullens were still in town—and that they wanted nothing to do with me—the one thing I wanted to do was run.
The moment I was inside my house, I was up the stairs, desperate to get out as fast as possible should I change my mind. I packed my suitcases in less than twenty minutes and gathered my toiletries in even less time. Staring at my empty closet and bare shelves, I realized there was something I had forgotten to do; I’d forgotten to tell Charlie.
I made the decision to wait until he got home before I told him. There was no reason why his job should suffer, because I was having a meltdown. I also knew he was going to be very upset, and would attempt to convince me to stay, just as he had when I’d left during Spring Break. Although the circumstances had been different, I couldn’t believe Edward was making me leave home for the second time in less than a year.
The hours passed by quickly, possibly because I was dreading the conversation with my dad, and before I knew it, Charlie was unlocking the front door. I was sitting in the living room when he came in, and judging by the look on his face, he wasn’t happy.
“Would you like to tell me why you left school, young lady?” Charlie’s nostrils flared, but he couldn’t hide the panic in his eyes. I could easily tell that he was extremely worried about me. “I come back to the office to find a message from Ms. Cope saying that you never came back after something involving clothes.” I remained silent. “What’s going on, Bells? Is this about him leaving?”
“The Cullens are still in Forks,” I said and shuddered at my own words, all the painful events that had led to this moment crushed me. “Edward and Alice are in school.”
Charlie’s face showed many emotions—anger, shock, pity, and caution—before he took a seat beside me on the couch. We were silent for a few minutes, both of us staring at the other, not sure what to say.
“And…” Charlie motioned for me to continue.
“And they want nothing to do with me,” I responded and felt my chest heave as I struggled to choke the words out.
“Why that miserable bastard…I should go over…no, I should call Carlisle...I should…argh!” For a moment, I thought Charlie was going to kill someone. I’d never seen him that furious before. However, after a few seconds, he took a deep breath and said, “What do you want to do, Bells?”
“I…uh,” I stammered, suddenly feeling embarrassed about my decision. “I was thinking about taking Mom up on her offer.”
“Oh.” Charlie’s shoulders fell, and his gaze found the floor.
“I just think it’s for the best,” I rationalized and tried to get my dad to look at me. “This could be a fresh start.”
“Are you really going to let him chase you off?” Charlie’s head snapped up as he spoke, and I was shocked at the anger in his eyes. “You’re really going to leave home because of some boy?”
I didn’t know what to say; everything Charlie said was the truth. But what more could I do? Knowing that Edward was showering Jessica with affection was hardly bearable; seeing it would kill me. I had to preserve whatever form of dignity I still had.
“Bells, if you think this is a good idea, I’ll support you,” Charlie hedged and ran a hand through his hair. “I just hate to lose you again.”
“You won’t lose me, Dad,” I promised and offered him a smile, or as close to one as I could manage. “I could visit—or we could do San Diego again.” He nodded, halfheartedly. “We’ll figure something out.”
“All right, kiddo,” Charlie said, defeated. “When are you planning on leaving?”
“Uh,” I glanced down at my suitcases, “today.”
“How about tomorrow?” Charlie glanced at the clock. “It’s a four hour drive to Seattle, Bells, and a long flight on top of that.”
I conceded and retreated to my room for the rest of the night, taking time to set my alarm clock for six in the morning, and when the sun rose the next day, I was ready to go. Charlie was less compliant, and I had to continuously poke my head in his room to make sure he had actually woken up. I did feel a little bad for making him get up so early, so I made it up to him by scrambling some eggs.
It took us five and a half hours to pack up the car, drive to Seattle, and purchase my one way ticket to Florida. The previous night, Charlie had called and let Renee know what was happening; so there was no worry that Mom would be surprised, or that I would be stranded at the airport.
Charlie and I hugged one another, an awkward move for both of us, but as the seconds passed, neither one of us tried to pull away. The past eight months had brought us closer together, and I was thankful for it. In fact, I actually felt like I’d miss my dad.
As the aircraft pulled away, I peered out the window and spied my dad waving slowly to me. I knew he wouldn’t see me, but I did it anyway. I stared out the window until we were high in their air. Once the ground was a spot below, I leaned back and chuckled. I laughed because, a few seconds prior, I had thought I’d seen someone standing behind Charlie. He had a familiar mop of bronze hair, wearing a blue shirt, with extremely pale skin. That was ridiculous, of course; why would Edward have come to see me off?