Chapter 26, An Occasion

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 Edward helped me into his car, being very careful of the wisps of silk and chiffon, and the flowers he'd just pinned into my elaborately styled curls, He ignored the angry set of my mouth. When he had me settled, he got in the driver's seat and headed back out the long, narrow drive.

"At what point exactly are you going to tell me what's going on?" I asked grumpily. I really hated surprises. And he knew that.

"I'm shocked that you haven't figured it out yet." He threw a mocking smile in my direction, and my breath caught in my throat. Would I ever get used to his perfection?

"I did mention that you looked very nice, didn't I?" I verified.

"Yes." He grinned again. I'd never seen him dress in black before, and, with the contrast against his pale skin, his beauty was absolutely surreal. That much I couldn't deny, even if the fact that he was wearing a tuxedo made me very nervous.

Not quite as nervous as the dress. Or the shoes. The stiletto heels, held on only by satin ribbons, certainly weren’t going to help me with my ability to trip over air.

"I'm not coming over anymore if Alice is going to treat me like Guinea Pig Barbie when I do," I griped. I'd spent the better part of the day in Alice's staggeringly vast bathroom, a helpless victim as she played hairdresser and cosmetician. Whenever I fidgeted or complained, she reminded me that she didn't have any memories of being human, and asked me not to ruin her vicarious fun. Then she'd dressed me in the most ridiculous dress deep blue, frilly and off the shoulders, with French tags I couldn't read. A dress more suitable for a runway than Forks. Nothing good could come of our formal attire, of that I was sure. Unless but I was afraid to put my suspicions into words, even in my own head.

I was distracted then by the sound of a phone ringing. Edward pulled his cell phone from a pocket inside his jacket, looking briefly at the caller ID before answering.

"Hello, Stefan," he said warily.

"Stefan?" I frowned.

 Stefan had been difficult since his return to Forks. He had compartmentalized my bad experience into two defined reactions. Toward Carlisle he was almost worshipfully grateful. On the other hand, he was stubbornly convinced that Edward was at fault because, if not for him, I wouldn't of  been hunted down by James in the first place. And Edward was far from disagreeing with him. These days I had rules that hadn't existed before: curfews and visiting hours, mostly set up bu Damon.

Something Stefan was saying made Edward's eyes widen in disbelief, and then a grin spread across his face.

"You're kidding!" He laughed.

"What is it?" I demanded.

He ignored me. "Why don't you let me talk to him?" Edward suggested with evident pleasure. He waited for a few seconds.

"Hello, Tyler, this is Edward Cullen." His voice was very friendly, on the surface. I knew it well enough to catch the soft edge of menace. What was Tyler doing at my house? The awful truth began to dawn on me. I looked again at the inappropriate dress Alice had forced me into.

"I'm sorry if there's been some kind of miscommunication, but Bella is unavailable tonight." Edward's tone changed, and the threat in his voice was suddenly much more evident as he continued. "To be perfectly honest, she'll be unavailable every night, as far as anyone besides myself is concerned. No offense. And I'm sorry about your evening." He didn't sound sorry at all. And then he snapped the phone shut, a huge smirk on his face.

My face and neck flushed crimson with anger. I could feel the rage-induced tears starting to fill my eyes.

He looked at me in surprise. "Was that last part a bit too much? I didn't mean to offend you."

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