Midnight Sun (Twilight #1.5)(2)

by Stephenie Meyer

Edward Cullen.

Reflex reaction. I turned to the sound of my name being called, though it wasn'tbeing called, just thought.

My eyes locked for a small portion of a second with a pair of wide, chocolatebrownhuman eyes set in a pale, heart-shaped face. I knew the face, though I'd neverseen it myself before this moment. It had been foremost in every human head today. Thenew student, Isabella Swan. Daughter of the town's chief of police, brought to live hereby some new custody situation. Bella. She'd corrected everyone who'd used her fullname...

I looked away, bored. It took me a second to realize that she had not been the oneto think my name.

Of course she's already crushing on the Cullens, I heard the first thoughtcontinue.

Now I recognized the 'voice.' Jessica Stanley - it had been a while since she'dbothered me with her internal chatter. What a relief it had been when she'd gotten overher misplaced infatuation. It used to be nearly impossible to escape her constant,ridiculous daydreams. I'd wished, at the time, that I could explain to her exactly whatwould have happened if my lips, and the teeth behind them, had gotten anywhere nearher. That would have silenced those annoying fantasies. The thought of her reactionalmost made me smile.

Fat lot of good it will do her, Jessica went on. She's really not even pretty. Idon't know why Eric is staring so much...or Mike.

She winced mentally on the last name. Her new infatuation, the genericallypopular Mike Newton, was completely oblivious to her. Apparently, he was not asoblivious to the new girl. Like the child with the shiny object again. This put a meanedge to Jessica's thoughts, though she was outwardly cordial to the newcomer as sheexplained to her the commonly held knowledge about my family. The new student musthave asked about us.

Everyone's looking at me today, too, Jessica thought smugly in an aside. Isn't itlucky Bella had two classes with me...I'll bet Mike will want to ask me what she's - I tried to block the inane chatter out of my head before the petty and the trivialcould drive me mad.

"Jessica Stanley is giving the new Swan girl all the dirty laundry on the Cullenclan," I murmured to Emmett as a distraction.

He chuckled under his breath. I hope she's making it good, he thought.

"Rather unimaginative, actually. Just the barest hint of scandal. Not an ounce ofhorror. I'm a little disappointed."

And the new girl? Is she disappointed in the gossip as well?

I listened to hear what this new girl, Bella, thought of Jessica's story. What didshe see when she looked at the strange, chalky-skinned family that was universallyavoided?

It was sort of my responsibility to know her reaction. I acted as a lookout, forlack of a better word, for my family. To protect us. If anyone ever grew suspicious, Icould give us early warning and an easy retreat. It happened occasionally - some humanwith an active imagination would see in us the characters of a book or a movie. Usuallythey got it wrong, but it was better to move on somewhere new than to risk scrutiny.

Very, very rarely, someone would guess right. We didn't give them a chance to test theirhypothesis. We simply disappeared, to become no more than a frightening memory...I heard nothing, though I listened close beside where Jessica's frivolous internalmonologue continued to gush. It was as if there was no one sitting beside her. Howpeculiar, had the girl moved? That didn't seem likely, as Jessica was still babbling to her.I looked up to check, feeling off-balance. Checking on what my extra 'hearing' could tellme - it wasn't something I ever had to do.

Again, my gaze locked on those same wide brown eyes. She was sitting rightwhere she had been before, and looking at us, a natural thing to be doing, I supposed, asJessica was still regaling her with the local gossip about the Cullens.Thinking about us, too, would be natural.

But I couldn't hear a whisper.

Inviting warm red stained her cheeks as she looked down, away from theembarrassing gaffe of getting caught staring at a stranger. It was good that Jasper wasstill gazing out the window. I didn't like to imagine what that easy pooling of bloodwould do to his control.

The emotions had been as clear on her face as if they were spelled out in wordsacross her forehead: surprise, as she unknowingly absorbed the signs of the subtledifferences between her kind and mine, curiosity, as she listened to Jessica's tale, andsomething more...fascination? It wouldn't be the first time. We were beautiful to them,our intended prey. Then, finally, embarrassment as I caught her staring at me.

And yet, though her thoughts had been so clear in her odd eyes - odd, because ofthe depth to them; brown eyes often seemed flat in their darkness - I could hear nothingbut silence from the place she was sitting. Nothing at all.

I felt a moment of unease.

This was nothing I'd ever encountered before. Was there something wrong withme? I felt exactly the same as I always did. Worried, I listened harder.All the voices I'd been blocking were suddenly shouting in my head....wonder what music she likes...maybe I could mention that new CD... MikeNewton was thinking, two tables away - fixated on Bella Swan.

Look at him staring at her. Isn't it enough that he has half the girls in schoolwaiting for him to... Eric Yorkie was thinking sulfurous thoughts, also revolving aroundthe girl.

...so disgusting. You'd think she was famous or something... Even Edward Cullen, staring... Lauren Mallory was so jealous that her face, by all rights, should be dark jade in color. And Jessica, flaunting her new best friend. What a joke... Vitriol continued to spew from the girl's thoughts.

...I bet everyone has asked her that. But I'd like to talk to her. I'll think of a more original question... Ashley Dowling mused.

...maybe she'll be in my Spanish... June Richardson hoped.

...tons left to do tonight! Trig, and the English test. I hope my mom... Angela Weber, a quiet girl, whose thoughts were unusually kind, was the only one at the table who wasn't obsessed with this Bella.

I could hear them all, hear every insignificant thing they were thinking as it passed through their minds. But nothing at all from the new student with the deceptively communicative eyes.

And, of course, I could hear what the girl said when she spoke to Jessica. I didn't have to read minds to be able to hear her low, clear voice on the far side of the long room. "Which one is the boy with the reddish brown hair?" I heard her ask, sneaking a look at me from the corner of her eye, only to look quickly away when she saw that I was still staring.

If I'd had time to hope that hearing the sound of her voice would help me pinpoint the tone of her thoughts, lost somewhere where I couldn't access them, I was instantly disappointed. Usually, people's thoughts came to them in a similar pitch as their physical voices. But this quiet, shy voice was unfamiliar, not one of the hundreds of thoughts bouncing around the room, I was sure of that. Entirely new.