2-11 Lewistown, Montana

It was about two weeks after I saw the vision of him throwing the piano bench that I knocked on Edward’s door. Motown, today. Carlisle and he had gone to some sort of concert in Detroit some time earlier.

Jasper thought it was kind of odd. He’s a southerner; integration confused him. But there was no denying that Edward was happier listening to the records he brought back.

Edward’s room was at the top of the stairs, and when he played a record, the sound drifted down through the whole house. Sometimes the floors would pulsate. Esme pretended to be annoyed, but really, I think she liked knowing he was up there, listening to music.

We could pretend he was being happy.

I listened to the Temptations crooning through Edward’s door, and was steeling myself to knock when the door swung open and I almost fell into the room.

Edward looked slightly amused.

“Hi,” I said.

“Can I help you?”

“I was just figuring that out,” I told him, and he actually laughed.

“I know.” He tapped the side of his head. “You think loud.”

I walked into his room and sat down. Edward doesn’t pretend he has any need for a bed; never has. He’s big on nice couches, though, and this one was the best I’d seen so far. I plunked down on it, letting myself fall back into the cushions. The Temptations blasted so loudly I could feel my eardrums vibrating.

Edward crossed the room and turned them down.


He shrugged, and sat on a stool, with his legs splayed wide to either side.

Neither of us said anything for a long time. In my mind, I was busy replaying the vision. The bench shattering against the wall; the look on his face as Jasper shattered his cheekbone. Esme crying. Carlisle holding Edward and Jasper apart.

Edward blinked.

“What was that in answer to?”

“I don’t know. That’s what I was coming to ask.”

He put his hands between his legs, pressing down on the stool with the heels of his palms and pushing himself forward so that the whole stool rocked back and forth. It creaked a little, and made little thunking noises as first the front legs, then the back came free of the floor and then plopped back down.

I thought it would be nice to be able to read Edward’s mind. This got a titter of laughter from him. But then he went all solemn again and kept thinking.

Finally, he shook his head.

“I don’t know what it would have been,” he said. “I’m glad you stopped it, whatever it was.”

He blanched.

“Are you enjoying the Temptations?” I asked, and he smiled. Edward has this shy way of smiling, when he’s smiling for real. Where he looks up from under his eyelashes, and you know that he’s actually being genuine.

“We’re going to make small talk, now?”

I shrugged. “We don’t have to.”

He stood up. The stool made one last thunk onto the floor and sat silent.

“Great,” he said. “I’ll talk to you later, Fr—Alice.”

I got up.

He plugged a set of headphones into the LP player, clamping them over his ears. The big silver discs dwarfed his head, making him look disproportionate to his body. Then he flopped down on the couch and closed his eyes. His foot moved in time with the music.


It was an improvement.


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