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A Darker Moon

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“Here,” said Alice, tucking a small package into Bella’s hand. “Use this. Bathroom. Change. We’re landing soon.”

“What is it?” Bella asked, as Alice turned back to her phone.

“Menstrual cup,” she said offhandedly.

“What?”

“Mens-tru-al cup.” She pronounced the syllables crisply, and then lowered her voice. “We’re going to Voltura , Bella.” She looked at her before she added, “I don’t know what we’re going to encounter, but you can’t be smelling of blood, as much as it can be helped.”

“Um,” said Bella, blanching.

“It comes with instructions,” Alice said, pretending to ignore Bella’s embarrassment, flicking her hand in the direction of the bathrooms at the rear of the plane.

Bella pocketed the small package, and unbuckled her seatbelt, stumbling over the even floor. She walked carefully back to the plane’s lavatories. Alice could hear her swallow over her uncertain steps.

Perhaps , she wondered, the girl’s got some sense in her now. Enough to know how dangerous this is. Maybe, she thought bitterly, our being away did some good . She stopped the next thought, the one that contradicted this, and went back to the plans on her phone.

Bella walked as calmly as she could, and closed the bathroom door, grateful for the moment alone. She doesn’t know , she told herself silently. That’s good. Focus on getting to Edward in time.

Edward.

Her stomach twisted, the worry eating at it. We’ll get there in time . She repeated this to herself, stilling the stronger feelings that were clawing up the sides of her chest.

There were other, darker things, trying to slither out of the confines of bruises and tender places, but those too, were shoved back into the manageable confines of denial.