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Stephenie Meyer - Eclipse

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Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 293 I left with the first column of civilians to convey them to 1 Houston. 2 3 “I remember that one night very clearly. 4 “We reached the city after dark. I stayed only long 5 enough to make sure the entire party was safely situated. 6 As soon as that was done, I got myself a fresh horse, and I 7 headed back to Galveston. There wasn’t time to rest. 8 “Just a mile outside the city, I found three women on 9 foot. I assumed they were stragglers and dismounted at 10 once to offer them my aid. But, when I could see their 11 faces in the dim light of the moon, I was stunned into si- 12 lence. They were, without question, the three most beau- 13 tiful women I had ever seen. 14 “They had such pale skin, I remember marveling at it. 15 Even the little black-haired girl, whose features were 16 clearly Mexican, was porcelain in the moonlight. They 17 seemed young, all of them, still young enough to be called 18 girls. I knew they were not lost members of our party. I 19 would have remembered seeing these three. 20 “‘He’s speechless,’ the tallest girl said in a lovely, deli- 21 cate voice — it was like wind chimes. She had fair hair, 22 and her skin was snow white. 23 “The other was blonder still, her skin just as chalky. 24 Her face was like an angel’s. She leaned toward me with 25 half-closed eyes and inhaled deeply. 26 “‘Mmm,’ she sighed. ‘Lovely.’ 27 “The small one, the tiny brunette, put her hand on the 28 girl’s arm and spoke quickly. Her voice was too soft and 29 sh musical to be sharp, but that seemed to be the way she in- 30 reg tended it. 293 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 294 1 “‘Concentrate, Nettie,’ she said. 2 “I’d always had a good sense of how people related to 3 each other, and it was immediately clear that the brunette 4 was somehow in charge of the others. If they’d been mili- 5 tary, I would have said that she outranked them. 6 “‘He looks right — young, strong, an officer. . . . ’ The 7 brunette paused, and I tried unsuccessfully to speak. ‘And 8 there’s something more . . . do you sense it?’ she asked the 9 other two. ‘He’s . . . compelling.’ 10 “‘Oh, yes,’ Nettie quickly agreed, leaning toward me 11 again. 12 “‘Patience,’ the brunette cautioned her. ‘I want to keep 13 this one.’ 14 “Nettie frowned; she seemed annoyed. 15 “‘You’d better do it, Maria,’ the taller blonde spoke 16 again. ‘If he’s important to you. I kill them twice as often 17 as I keep them.’ 18 “‘Yes, I’ll do it,’ Maria agreed. ‘I really do like this one. 19 Take Nettie away, will you? I don’t want to have to protect 20 my back while I’m trying to focus.’ 21 “My hair was standing up on the back of my neck, 22 though I didn’t understand the meaning of anything the 23 beautiful creatures were saying. My instincts told me that 24 there was danger, that the angel had meant it when she 25 spoke of killing, but my judgment overruled my instincts. 26 I had not been taught to fear women, but to protect them. 27 “‘Let’s hunt,’ Nettie agreed enthusiastically, reaching 28 for the tall girl’s hand. They wheeled — they were so sh 29 graceful! — and sprinted toward the city. They seemed to reg 30 almost take flight, they were so fast — their white dresses 294 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 295 blew out behind them like wings. I blinked in amaze- 1 ment, and they were gone. 2 3 “I turned to stare at Maria, who was watching me curi- 4 ously. 5 6 “I’d never been superstitious in my life. Until that sec- 7 ond, I’d never believed in ghosts or any other such non- 8 sense. Suddenly, I was unsure. 9 10 “‘What is your name, soldier?’ Maria asked me. 11 “‘Major Jasper Whitlock, ma’am,’ I stammered, unable 12 to be impolite to a female, even if she was a ghost. 13 “‘I truly hope you survive, Jasper,’ she said in her gen- 14 tle voice. ‘I have a good feeling about you.’ 15 “She took a step closer, and inclined her head as if she 16 were going to kiss me. I stood frozen in place, though my 17 instincts were screaming at me to run.” 18 Jasper paused, his face thoughtful. “A few days later,” 19 he finally said, and I wasn’t sure if he had edited his story 20 for my sake or because he was responding to the tension 21 that even I could feel exuding from Edward, “I was intro- 22 duced to my new life. 23 “Their names were Maria, Nettie, and Lucy. They 24 hadn’t been together long — Maria had rounded up the 25 other two — all three were survivors of recently lost bat- 26 tles. Theirs was a partnership of convenience. Maria 27 wanted revenge, and she wanted her territories back. The 28 others were eager to increase their . . . herd lands, I sup- 29 sh pose you could say. They were putting together an army, 30 reg and going about it more carefully than was usual. It was Maria’s idea. She wanted a superior army, so she sought out specific humans who had potential. Then she gave us 295 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 296 1 much more attention, more training than anyone else had 2 bothered with. She taught us to fight, and she taught us to 3 be invisible to the humans. When we did well, we were 4 rewarded. . . .” 5 6 He paused, editing again. 7 “She was in a hurry, though. Maria knew that the mas- 8 sive strength of the newborn began to wane around the 9 year mark, and she wanted to act while we were strong. 10 “There were six of us when I joined Maria’s band. She 11 added four more within a fortnight. We were all male — 12 Maria wanted soldiers — and that made it slightly more 13 difficult to keep from fighting amongst ourselves. I fought 14 my first battles against my new comrades in arms. I was 15 quicker than the others, better at combat. Maria was 16 pleased with me, though put out that she had to keep re- 17 placing the ones I destroyed. I was rewarded often, and 18 that made me stronger. 19 “Maria was a good judge of character. She decided to 20 put me in charge of the others — as if I were being pro- 21 moted. It suited my nature exactly. The casualties went 22 down dramatically, and our numbers swelled to hover 23 around twenty. 24 “This was considerable for the cautious times we lived 25 in. My ability, as yet undefined, to control the emotional 26 atmosphere around me was vitally effective. We soon be- 27 gan to work together in a way that newborn vampires had 28 never cooperated before. Even Maria, Nettie, and Lucy sh 29 were able to work together more easily. reg 30 “Maria grew quite fond of me — she began to depend upon me. And, in some ways, I worshipped the ground she 296 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 297 walked on. I had no idea that any other life was possible. 1 Maria told us this was the way things were, and we be- 2 lieved. 3 4 “She asked me to tell her when my brothers and I were 5 ready to fight, and I was eager to prove myself. I pulled to- 6 gether an army of twenty-three in the end — twenty-three 7 unbelievably strong new vampires, organized and skilled 8 as no others before. Maria was ecstatic. 9 10 “We crept down toward Monterrey, her former home, 11 and she unleashed us on her enemies. They had only nine 12 newborns at the time, and a pair of older vampires control- 13 ling them. We took them down more easily than Maria 14 could believe, losing only four in the process. It was an 15 unheard-of margin of victory. 16 17 “And we were well trained. We did it without attract- 18 ing notice. The city changed hands without any human 19 being aware. 20 21 “Success made Maria greedy. It wasn’t long before she 22 began to eye other cities. That first year, she extended her 23 control to cover most of Texas and northern Mexico. Then 24 the others came from the South to dislodge her.” 25 26 He brushed two fingers along the faint pattern of scars 27 on his arm. 28 29 sh “The fighting was intense. Many began to worry that 30 reg the Volturi would return. Of the original twenty-three, I was the only one to survive the first eighteen months. We both won and lost. Nettie and Lucy turned on Maria even- tually — but that one we won. “Maria and I were able to hold on to Monterrey. It qui- eted a little, though the wars continued. The idea of 297 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 298 1 conquest was dying out; it was mostly vengeance and 2 feuding now. So many had lost their partners, and that is 3 something our kind does not forgive. . . . 4 5 “Maria and I always kept a dozen or so newborns ready. 6 They meant little to us — they were pawns, they were 7 disposable. When they outgrew their usefulness, we did 8 dispose of them. My life continued in the same violent 9 pattern and the years passed. I was sick of it all for a very 10 long time before anything changed . . . 11 12 “Decades later, I developed a friendship with a new- 13 born who’d remained useful and survived his first three 14 years, against the odds. His name was Peter. I liked Peter; 15 he was . . . civilized — I suppose that’s the right word. He 16 didn’t enjoy the fight, though he was good at it. 17 18 “He was assigned to deal with the newborns — babysit 19 them, you could say. It was a full-time job. 20 21 “And then it was time to purge again. The newborns 22 were outgrowing their strength; they were due to be re- 23 placed. Peter was supposed to help me dispose of them. 24 We took them aside individually, you see, one by one . . . 25 It was always a very long night. This time, he tried to con- 26 vince me that a few had potential, but Maria had in- 27 structed that we get rid of them all. I told him no. 28 sh 29 “We were about halfway through, and I could feel that reg 30 it was taking a great toll on Peter. I was trying to decide whether or not I should send him away and finish up my- self as I called out the next victim. To my surprise, he was suddenly angry, furious. I braced for whatever his mood might foreshadow — he was a good fighter, but he was never a match for me. 298 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 299 “The newborn I’d summoned was a female, just past 1 her year mark. Her name was Charlotte. His feelings 2 changed when she came into view; they gave him away. 3 He yelled for her to run, and he bolted after her. I could 4 have pursued them, but I didn’t. I felt . . . averse to de- 5 stroying him. 6 7 “Maria was irritated with me for that . . . 8 “Five years later, Peter snuck back for me. He picked a 9 good day to arrive. 10 “Maria was mystified by my ever-deteriorating frame of 11 mind. She’d never felt a moment’s depression, and I won- 12 dered why I was different. I began to notice a change in 13 her emotions when she was near me — sometimes there 14 was fear . . . and malice — the same feelings that had given 15 me advance warning when Nettie and Lucy struck. I was 16 preparing myself to destroy my only ally, the core of my 17 existence, when Peter returned. 18 “Peter told me about his new life with Charlotte, told 19 me about options I’d never dreamed I had. In five years, 20 they’d never had a fight, though they’d met many others 21 in the north. Others who could co-exist without the con- 22 stant mayhem. 23 “In one conversation, he had me convinced. I was ready 24 to go, and somewhat relieved I wouldn’t have to kill 25 Maria. I’d been her companion for as many years as 26 Carlisle and Edward have been together, yet the bond be- 27 tween us was nowhere near as strong. When you live for 28 the fight, for the blood, the relationships you form are ten- 29 sh uous and easily broken. I walked away without a backward 30 reg glance. 299 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 300 1 “I traveled with Peter and Charlotte for a few years, 2 getting the feel of this new, more peaceful world. But the 3 depression didn’t fade. I didn’t understand what was wrong 4 with me, until Peter noticed that it was always worse after 5 I’d hunted. 6 7 “I contemplated that. In so many years of slaughter and 8 carnage, I’d lost nearly all of my humanity. I was undeni- 9 ably a nightmare, a monster of the grisliest kind. Yet each 10 time I found another human victim, I would feel a faint 11 prick of remembrance for that other life. Watching their 12 eyes widen in wonder at my beauty, I could see Maria and 13 the others in my head, what they had looked like to me 14 the last night that I was Jasper Whitlock. It was stronger 15 for me — this borrowed memory — than it was for any- 16 one else, because I could feel everything my prey was feel- 17 ing. And I lived their emotions as I killed them. 18 19 “You’ve experienced the way I can manipulate the 20 emotions around myself, Bella, but I wonder if you realize 21 how the feelings in a room affect me. I live every day in a 22 climate of emotion. For the first century of my life, I lived 23 in a world of bloodthirsty vengeance. Hate was my con- 24 stant companion. It eased some when I left Maria, but I 25 still had to feel the horror and fear of my prey. 26 27 “It began to be too much. 28 “The depression got worse, and I wandered away from sh 29 Peter and Charlotte. Civilized as they were, they didn’t reg 30 feel the same aversion I was beginning to feel. They only wanted peace from the fight. I was so wearied by kill- ing — killing anyone, even mere humans. 300 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 301 “Yet I had to keep killing. What choice did I have? I 1 tried to kill less often, but I would get too thirsty and 2 I would give in. After a century of instant gratification, I 3 found self-discipline . . . challenging. I still haven’t per- 4 fected that.” 5 6 Jasper was lost in the story, as was I. It surprised me when 7 his desolate expression smoothed into a peaceful smile. 8 9 “I was in Philadelphia. There was a storm, and I was 10 out during the day — something I was not completely 11 comfortable with yet. I knew standing in the rain would 12 attract attention, so I ducked into a little half-empty 13 diner. My eyes were dark enough that no one would notice 14 them, though this meant I was thirsty, and that worried 15 me a little. 16 17 “She was there — expecting me, naturally.” He chuck- 18 led once. “She hopped down from the high stool at the 19 counter as soon as I walked in and came directly toward me. 20 21 “It shocked me. I was not sure if she meant to attack. 22 That’s the only interpretation of her behavior my past had 23 to offer. But she was smiling. And the emotions that were 24 emanating from her were like nothing I’d ever felt before. 25 26 “‘You’ve kept me waiting a long time,’ she said.” 27 I didn’t realize Alice had come to stand behind me again. 28 “And you ducked your head, like a good Southern gen- 29 sh tleman, and said, ‘I’m sorry, ma’am.’” Alice laughed at the 30 reg memory. Jasper smiled down at her. “You held out your hand, and I took it without stopping to make sense of what I was doing. For the first time in almost a century, I felt hope.” 301 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 302 1 Jasper took Alice’s hand as he spoke. 2 Alice grinned. “I was just relieved. I thought you were 3 never going to show up.” 4 They smiled at each other for a long moment, and then 5 Jasper looked back to me, the soft expression lingering. 6 “Alice told me what she’d seen of Carlisle and his fam- 7 ily. I could hardly believe that such an existence was pos- 8 sible. But Alice made me optimistic. So we went to find 9 them.” 10 “Scared the hell out of them, too,” Edward said, rolling 11 his eyes at Jasper before turning to me to explain. “Em- 12 mett and I were away hunting. Jasper shows up, covered 13 in battle scars, towing this little freak” — he nudged Al- 14 ice playfully — “who greets them all by name, knows 15 everything about them, and wants to know which room 16 she can move into.” 17 Alice and Jasper laughed in harmony, soprano and bass. 18 “When I got home, all my things were in the garage,” 19 Edward continued. 20 Alice shrugged. “Your room had the best view.” 21 They all laughed together now. 22 “That’s a nice story,” I said. 23 Three pairs of eyes questioned my sanity. 24 “I mean the last part,” I defended myself. “The happy 25 ending with Alice.” 26 “Alice has made all the difference,” Jasper agreed. 27 “This is a climate I enjoy.” 28 But the momentary pause in the stress couldn’t last. sh 29 “An army,” Alice whispered. “Why didn’t you tell me?” reg 30 302 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 303 The others were intent again, their eyes locked on 1 Jasper’s face. 2 3 “I thought I must be interpreting the signs incorrectly. 4 Because where is the motive? Why would someone create 5 an army in Seattle? There is no history there, no vendetta. 6 It makes no sense from a conquest standpoint, either; no 7 one claims it. Nomads pass through, but there’s no one to 8 fight for it. No one to defend it from. 9 10 “But I’ve seen this before, and there’s no other explana- 11 tion. There is an army of newborn vampires in Seattle. 12 Fewer than twenty, I’d guess. The difficult part is that 13 they are totally untrained. Whoever made them just set 14 them loose. It will only get worse, and it won’t be much 15 longer till the Volturi step in. Actually, I’m surprised 16 they’ve let this go on so long.” 17 18 “What can we do?” Carlisle asked. 19 “If we want to avoid the Volturi’s involvement, we will 20 have to destroy the newborns, and we will have to do it 21 very soon.” Jasper’s face was hard. Knowing his story now, 22 I could guess how this evaluation must disturb him. “I can 23 teach you how. It won’t be easy in the city. The young ones 24 aren’t concerned about secrecy, but we will have to be. It 25 will limit us in ways that they are not. Maybe we can lure 26 them out.” 27 “Maybe we won’t have to.” Edward’s voice was bleak. 28 “Does it occur to anyone else that the only possible threat 29 sh in the area that would call for the creation of an army 30 reg is . . . us?” Jasper’s eyes narrowed; Carlisle’s widened, shocked. 303 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 304 1 “Tanya’s family is also near,” Esme said slowly, unwill- 2 ing to accept Edward’s words. 3 4 “The newborns aren’t ravaging Anchorage, Esme. I 5 think we have to consider the idea that we are the targets.” 6 7 “They’re not coming after us,” Alice insisted, and then 8 paused. “Or . . . they don’t know that they are. Not yet.” 9 10 “What is that?” Edward asked, curious and tense. 11 “What are you remembering?” 12 13 “Flickers,” Alice said. “I can’t see a clear picture when I 14 try to see what’s going on, nothing concrete. But I’ve been 15 getting these strange flashes. Not enough to make sense 16 of. It’s as if someone’s changing their mind, moving from 17 one course of action to another so quickly that I can’t get a 18 good view. . . .” 19 20 “Indecision?” Jasper asked in disbelief. 21 “I don’t know. . . .” 22 “Not indecision,” Edward growled. “Knowledge. Some- 23 one who knows you can’t see anything until the decision is 24 made. Someone who is hiding from us. Playing with the 25 holes in your vision.” 26 “Who would know that?” Alice whispered. 27 Edward’s eyes were hard as ice. “Aro knows you as well 28 as you know yourself.” sh 29 “But I would see if they’d decided to come. . . .” reg 30 “Unless they didn’t want to get their hands dirty.” “A favor,” Rosalie suggested, speaking for the first time. “Someone in the South . . . someone who already had trouble with the rules. Someone who should have been destroyed is offered a second chance — if they take 304 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 305 care of this one small problem. . . . That would explain 1 the Volturi’s sluggish response.” 2 3 “Why?” Carlisle asked, still shocked. “There’s no rea- 4 son for the Volturi —” 5 6 “It was there,” Edward disagreed quietly. “I’m sur- 7 prised it’s come to this so soon, because the other thoughts 8 were stronger. In Aro’s head he saw me at his one side and 9 Alice at his other. The present and the future, virtual om- 10 niscience. The power of the idea intoxicated him. I would 11 have thought it would take him much longer to give up 12 on that plan — he wanted it too much. But there was also 13 the thought of you, Carlisle, of our family, growing 14 stronger and larger. The jealousy and the fear: you hav- 15 ing . . . not more than he had, but still, things that he 16 wanted. He tried not to think about it, but he couldn’t 17 hide it completely. The idea of rooting out the competi- 18 tion was there; besides their own, ours is the largest coven 19 they’ve ever found. . . .” 20 21 I stared at his face in horror. He’d never told me this, but 22 I guessed I knew why. I could see it in my head now, Aro’s 23 dream. Edward and Alice in black, flowing robes, drifting 24 along at Aro’s side with their eyes cold and blood-red. . . . 25 26 Carlisle interrupted my waking nightmare. “They’re 27 too committed to their mission. They would never break 28 the rules themselves. It goes against everything they’ve 29 sh worked for.” 30 reg “They’ll clean up afterward. A double betrayal,” Ed- ward said in a grim voice. “No harm done.” Jasper leaned forward, shaking his head. “No, Carlisle 305 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 306 1 is right. The Volturi do not break rules. Besides, it’s much 2 too sloppy. This . . . person, this threat — they have no 3 idea what they’re doing. A first-timer, I’d swear to it. I 4 cannot believe the Volturi are involved. But they will be.” 5 6 They all stared at each other, frozen with stress. 7 “Then let’s go,” Emmett almost roared. “What are we 8 waiting for?” 9 Carlisle and Edward exchanged a long glance. Edward 10 nodded once. 11 “We’ll need you to teach us, Jasper,” Carlisle finally 12 said. “How to destroy them.” Carlisle’s jaw was hard, but 13 I could see the pain in his eyes as he said the words. No 14 one hated violence more than Carlisle. 15 There was something bothering me, and I couldn’t put 16 my finger on it. I was numb, horrified, deathly afraid. And 17 yet, under that, I could feel that I was missing something 18 important. Something that would make some sense out of 19 the chaos. That would explain it. 20 “We’re going to need help,” Jasper said. “Do you think 21 Tanya’s family would be willing . . . ? Another five mature 22 vampires would make an enormous difference. And then 23 Kate and Eleazar would be especially advantageous on our 24 side. It would be almost easy, with their aid.” 25 “We’ll ask,” Carlisle answered. 26 Jasper held out a cell phone. “We need to hurry.” 27 I’d never seen Carlisle’s innate calm so shaken. He took 28 the phone, and paced toward the windows. He dialed a sh 29 number, held the phone to his ear, and laid the other hand reg 30 against the glass. He stared out into the foggy morning with a pained and ambivalent expression. 306 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 307 Edward took my hand and pulled me to the white love- 1 seat. I sat beside him, staring at his face while he stared at 2 Carlisle. 3 4 Carlisle’s voice was low and quick, difficult to hear. I 5 heard him greet Tanya, and then he raced through the sit- 6 uation too fast for me to understand much, though I could 7 tell that the Alaskan vampires were not ignorant of what 8 was going on in Seattle. 9 10 Then something changed in Carlisle’s voice. 11 “Oh,” he said, his voice sharper in surprise. “We didn’t 12 realize . . . that Irina felt that way.” 13 Edward groaned at my side and closed his eyes. “Damn 14 it. Damn Laurent to the deepest pit of hell where he be- 15 longs.” 16 “Laurent?” I whispered, the blood emptying from my 17 face, but Edward didn’t respond, focused on Carlisle’s 18 thoughts. 19 My short encounter with Laurent early this spring was 20 not something that had faded or dimmed in my mind. I 21 still remembered every word he’d said before Jacob and his 22 pack had interrupted. 23 I actually came here as a favor to her. . . . 24 Victoria. Laurent had been her first maneuver — she’d 25 sent him to observe, to see how hard it might be to get to 26 me. He hadn’t survived the wolves to report back. 27 Though he’d kept up his old ties with Victoria after 28 James’s death, he’d also formed new ties and new relation- 29 sh ships. He’d gone to live with Tanya’s family in Alaska — 30 reg Tanya the strawberry blonde — the closest friends the Cullens had in the vampire world, practically extended 307 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 308 1 family. Laurent had been with them for almost a year pre- 2 vious to his death. 3 4 Carlisle was still talking, his voice not quite pleading. 5 Persuasive, but with an edge. Then the edge abruptly won 6 out over the persuasion. 7 8 “There’s no question of that,” Carlisle said in a stern 9 voice. “We have a truce. They haven’t broken it, and nei- 10 ther will we. I’m sorry to hear that. . . . Of course. We’ll 11 just have to do our best alone.” 12 13 Carlisle shut the phone without waiting for an answer. 14 He continued to stare out into the fog. 15 16 “What’s the problem?” Emmett murmured to Edward. 17 “Irina was more involved with our friend Laurent than 18 we knew. She’s holding a grudge against the wolves for 19 destroying him to save Bella. She wants —” He paused, 20 looking down at me. 21 “Go on,” I said as evenly as I could. 22 His eyes tightened. “She wants revenge. To take down 23 the pack. They would trade their help for our permission.” 24 “No!” I gasped. 25 “Don’t worry,” he told me in a flat voice. “Carlisle 26 would never agree to it.” He hesitated, then sighed. “Nor 27 would I. Laurent had it coming” — this was almost a 28 growl — “and I still owe the wolves for that.” sh 29 “This isn’t good,” Jasper said. “It’s too even a fight. reg 30 We’d have the upper hand in skill, but not numbers. We’d win, but at what price?” His tense eyes flashed to Alice’s face and away. I wanted to scream out loud as I grasped what Jasper meant. 308 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 309 We would win, but we would lose. Some wouldn’t 1 survive. 2 3 I looked around the room at their faces — Jasper, Al- 4 ice, Emmett, Rose, Esme, Carlisle . . . Edward — the faces 5 of my family. 6 7 309 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 sh 30 reg 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 310 1 1 4 . D E C L A R AT I O N 2 3 “You can’t be serious,” I said Wednesday after- 4 noon. “You’ve completely lost your mind!” 5 6 “Say whatever you like about me,” Alice answered. 7 “The party is still on.” 8 9 I stared at her, my eyes so wide with disbelief it felt like 10 they might fall out and land on my lunch tray. 11 12 “Oh, calm down, Bella! There’s no reason not to go 13 through with it. Besides, the invitations are already sent.” 14 15 “But . . . the . . . you . . . I . . . insane!” I spluttered. 16 “You’ve already bought my present,” she reminded me. 17 “You don’t have to do anything but show up.” 18 I made an effort to calm myself. “With everything that 19 is going on right now, a party is hardly appropriate.” 20 21 310 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 sh 29 reg 30 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 311 “Graduation is what’s going on right now, and a party 1 is so appropriate it’s almost passé.” 2 3 “Alice!” 4 She sighed, and tried to be serious. “There are a few 5 things we need to get in order now, and that’s going to 6 take a little time. As long as we’re sitting here waiting, we 7 might as well commemorate the good stuff. You’re only 8 going to graduate from high school — for the first 9 time — once. You don’t get to be human again, Bella. 10 This is a once-in-a-lifetime shot.” 11 Edward, silent through our little argument, flashed her 12 a warning look. She stuck out her tongue at him. She was 13 right — her soft voice would never carry over the babble 14 of the cafeteria. And no one would understand the mean- 15 ing behind her words in any case. 16 “What few things do we need to get in order?” I asked, 17 refusing to be sidetracked. 18 Edward answered in a low voice. “Jasper thinks we 19 could use some help. Tanya’s family isn’t the only choice 20 we have. Carlisle’s trying to track down a few old friends, 21 and Jasper is looking up Peter and Charlotte. He’s consid- 22 ering talking to Maria . . . but no one really wants to in- 23 volve the southerners.” 24 Alice shuddered delicately. 25 “It shouldn’t be too hard to convince them to help,” he 26 continued. “Nobody wants a visit from Italy.” 27 “But these friends — they’re not going to be . . . vege- 28 tarians, right?” I protested, using the Cullens’ tongue-in- 29 sh cheek nickname for themselves. 30 reg “No,” Edward answered, suddenly expressionless. 311 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 312 1 “Here? In Forks?” 2 “They’re friends,” Alice reassured me. “Everything’s 3 going to be fine. Don’t worry. And then, Jasper has to 4 teach us a few courses on newborn elimination. . . .” 5 Edward’s eyes brightened at that, and a brief smile 6 flashed across his face. My stomach suddenly felt like it 7 was full of sharp little splinters of ice. 8 “When are you going?” I asked in a hollow voice. I 9 couldn’t stand this — the idea that someone might not 10 come back. What if it was Emmett, so brave and thought- 11 less that he was never the least bit cautious? Or Esme, so 12 sweet and motherly that I couldn’t even imagine her in a 13 fight? Or Alice, so tiny, so fragile-looking? Or . . . but I 14 couldn’t even think the name, consider the possibility. 15 “A week,” Edward said casually. “That ought to give us 16 enough time.” 17 The icy splinters twisted uncomfortably in my stom- 18 ach. I was suddenly nauseated. 19 “You look kind of green, Bella,” Alice commented. 20 Edward put his arm around me and pulled me tightly 21 against his side. “It’s going to be fine, Bella. Trust me.” 22 Sure, I thought to myself. Trust him. He wasn’t the one 23 who was going to have to sit behind and wonder whether 24 or not the core of his existence was going to come home. 25 And then it occurred to me. Maybe I didn’t need to sit 26 behind. A week was more than enough time. 27 “You’re looking for help,” I said slowly. 28 “Yes.” Alice’s head cocked to the side as she processed sh 29 the change in my tone. reg 30 312 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 313 I looked only at her as I answered. My voice was just 1 slightly louder than a whisper. “I could help.” 2 3 Edward’s body was suddenly rigid, his arm too tight 4 around me. He exhaled, and the sound was a hiss. 5 6 But it was Alice, still calm, who answered. “That really 7 wouldn’t be helpful.” 8 9 “Why not?” I argued; I could hear the desperation in 10 my voice. “Eight is better than seven. There’s more than 11 enough time.” 12 13 “There’s not enough time to make you helpful, Bella,” 14 she disagreed coolly. “Do you remember how Jasper de- 15 scribed the young ones? You’d be no good in a fight. You 16 wouldn’t be able to control your instincts, and that would 17 make you an easy target. And then Edward would get hurt 18 trying to protect you.” She folded her arms across her 19 chest, pleased with her unassailable logic. 20 21 And I knew she was right, when she put it like that. I 22 slumped in my seat, my sudden hope defeated. Beside me, 23 Edward relaxed. 24 25 He whispered the reminder in my ear. “Not because 26 you’re afraid.” 27 28 “Oh,” Alice said, and a blank look crossed her face. 29 sh Then her expression became surly. “I hate last-minute can- 30 reg cellations. So that puts the party attendance list down to sixty-five. . . .” “Sixty-five!” My eyes bulged again. I didn’t have that many friends. Did I even know that many people? “Who canceled?” Edward wondered, ignoring me. “Renée.” 313 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 314 1 “What?” I gasped. 2 “She was going to surprise you for your graduation, but 3 something went wrong. You’ll have a message when you 4 get home.” 5 For a moment, I just let myself enjoy the relief. What- 6 ever it was that went wrong for my mother, I was eternally 7 grateful to it. If she had come to Forks now . . . I didn’t 8 want to think about it. My head would explode. 9 10 The message light was flashing when I got home. My feel- 11 ing of relief flared again as I listened to my mother describe 12 Phil’s accident on the ball field — while demonstrating a 13 slide, he’d tangled up with the catcher and broken his 14 thigh bone; he was entirely dependent on her, and there 15 was no way she could leave him. My mom was still apolo- 16 gizing when the message cut off. 17 18 “Well, that’s one,” I sighed. 19 “One what?” Edward asked. 20 “One person I don’t have to worry about getting killed 21 this week.” 22 He rolled his eyes. 23 “Why won’t you and Alice take this seriously?” I de- 24 manded. “This is serious.” 25 He smiled. “Confidence.” 26 “Wonderful,” I grumbled. I picked up the phone and 27 dialed Renée’s number. I knew it would be a long conver- 28 sation, but I also knew that I wouldn’t have to contribute sh 29 much. reg 30 I just listened, and reassured her every time I could get a word in: I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t 314 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 315 hurt. She should concentrate on helping Phil get better. I 1 passed on my “get well soon” to Phil, and promised to call 2 her with every single detail from Forks High’s generic 3 graduation. Finally, I had to use my desperate need to 4 study for finals to get off the phone. 5 6 Edward’s patience was endless. He waited politely 7 through the whole conversation, just playing with my hair 8 and smiling whenever I looked up. It was probably super- 9 ficial to notice such things while I had so many more im- 10 portant things to think about, but his smile still knocked 11 the breath out of me. He was so beautiful that it made it 12 hard sometimes to think about anything else, hard to con- 13 centrate on Phil’s troubles or Renée’s apologies or hostile 14 vampire armies. I was only human. 15 16 As soon as I hung up, I stretched onto my tiptoes to 17 kiss him. He put his hands around my waist and lifted me 18 onto the kitchen counter, so I wouldn’t have to reach as far. 19 That worked for me. I locked my arms around his neck 20 and melted against his cold chest. 21 22 Too soon, as usual, he pulled away. 23 I felt my face slip into a pout. He laughed at my ex- 24 pression as he extricated himself from my arms and legs. 25 He leaned against the counter next to me and put one arm 26 lightly around my shoulders. 27 “I know you think that I have some kind of perfect, un- 28 yielding self-control, but that’s not actually the case.” 29 sh “I wish,” I sighed. 30 reg And he sighed, too. “After school tomorrow,” he said, changing the sub- ject, “I’m going hunting with Carlisle, Esme, and Rosalie. 315 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 316 1 Just for a few hours — we’ll stay close. Alice, Jasper, and 2 Emmett should be able to keep you safe.” 3 4 “Ugh,” I grumbled. Tomorrow was the first day of fi- 5 nals, and it was only a half-day. I had Calculus and His- 6 tory — the only two challenges in my line-up — so I’d 7 have almost the whole day without him, and nothing to 8 do but worry. “I hate being babysat.” 9 10 “It’s temporary,” he promised. 11 “Jasper will be bored. Emmett will make fun of me.” 12 “They’ll be on their best behavior.” 13 “Right,” I grumbled. 14 And then it occurred to me that I did have one option 15 besides babysitters. “You know . . . I haven’t been to La 16 Push since the bonfire.” 17 I watched his face carefully for any change in expres- 18 sion. His eyes tightened the tiniest bit. 19 “I’d be safe enough there,” I reminded him. 20 He thought about it for a few seconds. “You’re proba- 21 bly right.” 22 His face was calm, but just a little too smooth. I almost 23 asked if he’d rather I stayed here, but then I thought of the 24 ribbing Emmett would no doubt dish out, and I changed 25 the subject. “Are you thirsty already?” I asked, reaching 26 up to stroke the light shadow beneath his eye. His irises 27 were still a deep gold. 28 “Not really.” He seemed reluctant to answer, and that sh 29 surprised me. I waited for an explanation. reg 30 “We want to be as strong as possible,” he explained, still reluctant. “We’ll probably hunt again on the way, looking for big game.” 316 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 317 “That makes you stronger?” 1 He searched my face for something, but there was 2 nothing to find but curiosity. 3 “Yes,” he finally said. “Human blood makes us the 4 strongest, though only fractionally. Jasper’s been thinking 5 about cheating — adverse as he is to the idea, he’s nothing 6 if not practical — but he won’t suggest it. He knows what 7 Carlisle will say.” 8 “Would that help?” I asked quietly. 9 “It doesn’t matter. We aren’t going to change who 10 we are.” 11 I frowned. If something helped even the odds . . . and 12 then I shuddered, realizing I was willing to have a stranger 13 die to protect him. I was horrified at myself, but not en- 14 tirely able to deny it, either. 15 He changed the subject again. “That’s why they’re so 16 strong, of course. The newborns are full of human blood — 17 their own blood, reacting to the change. It lingers in the 18 tissues and strengthens them. Their bodies use it up 19 slowly, like Jasper said, the strength starting to wane after 20 about a year.” 21 “How strong will I be?” 22 He grinned. “Stronger than I am.” 23 “Stronger than Emmett?” 24 The grin got bigger. “Yes. Do me a favor and challenge 25 him to an arm-wrestling match. It would be a good expe- 26 rience for him.” 27 I laughed. It sounded so ridiculous. 28 Then I sighed and hopped down from the counter, be- 29 sh cause I really couldn’t put it off any longer. I had to cram, 30 reg 317 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 318 1 and cram hard. Luckily I had Edward’s help, and Edward 2 was an excellent tutor — since he knew absolutely every- 3 thing. I figured my biggest problem would be just focus- 4 ing on the tests. If I didn’t watch myself, I might end up 5 writing my History essay on the vampire wars of the 6 South. 7 8 I took a break to call Jacob, and Edward seemed just as 9 comfortable as he had when I was on the phone with 10 Renée. He played with my hair again. 11 12 Though it was the middle of the afternoon, my call 13 woke Jacob up, and he was grouchy at first. He cheered 14 right up when I asked if I could visit the next day. The 15 Quileute school was already out for the summer, so he told 16 me to come over as early as I could. I was pleased to have 17 an option besides being babysat. There was a tiny bit more 18 dignity in spending the day with Jacob. 19 20 Some of that dignity was lost when Edward insisted 21 again on delivering me to the border line like a child be- 22 ing exchanged by custodial guardians. 23 24 “So how do you feel you did on your exams?” Edward 25 asked on the way, making small talk. 26 27 “History was easy, but I don’t know about the Calcu- 28 lus. It seemed like it was making sense, so that probably sh 29 means I failed.” reg 30 He laughed. “I’m sure you did fine. Or, if you’re really worried, I could bribe Mr. Varner to give you an A.” “Er, thanks, but no thanks.” He laughed again, but suddenly stopped when we turned the last bend and saw the red car waiting. He 318 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 319 frowned in concentration, and then, as he parked the car, 1 he sighed. 2 3 “What’s wrong?” I asked, my hand on the door. 4 He shook his head. “Nothing.” His eyes were narrowed 5 as he stared through the windshield toward the other car. 6 I’d seen that look before. 7 “You’re not listening to Jacob, are you?” I accused. 8 “It’s not easy to ignore someone when he’s shouting.” 9 “Oh.” I thought about that for a second. “What’s he 10 shouting?” I whispered. 11 “I’m absolutely certain he’ll mention it himself,” Ed- 12 ward said in a wry tone. 13 I would have pressed the issue, but then Jacob honked 14 his horn — two quick impatient honks. 15 “That’s impolite,” Edward growled. 16 “That’s Jacob,” I sighed, and I hurried out before Jacob 17 did something to really set Edward’s teeth on edge. 18 I waved to Edward before I got into the Rabbit and, 19 from that distance, it looked like he was truly upset about 20 the honking thing . . . or whatever Jacob was thinking 21 about. But my eyes were weak and made mistakes all the 22 time. 23 I wanted Edward to come to me. I wanted to make 24 both of them get out of their cars and shake hands and be 25 friends — be Edward and Jacob rather than vampire and 26 werewolf. It was as if I had those two stubborn magnets in 27 my hands again, and I was holding them together, trying 28 to force nature to reverse herself. . . . 29 sh I sighed, and climbed in Jacob’s car. 30 reg 319 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 320 1 “Hey, Bells.” Jake’s tone was cheerful, but his voice 2 dragged. I examined his face as he started down the road, 3 driving a little faster than I did, but slower than Edward, 4 on his way back to La Push. 5 6 Jacob looked different, maybe even sick. His eyelids 7 drooped and his face was drawn. His shaggy hair stuck out 8 in random directions; it was almost to his chin in some 9 places. 10 11 “Are you all right, Jake?” 12 “Just tired,” he managed to get out before he was over- 13 come by a massive yawn. When he finished, he asked, 14 “What do you want to do today?” 15 I eyed him for a moment. “Let’s just hang out at your 16 place for now,” I suggested. He didn’t look like he was up 17 for much more than that. “We can ride our bikes later.” 18 “Sure, sure,” he said, yawning again. 19 Jacob’s house was vacant, and that felt strange. I real- 20 ized I thought of Billy as a nearly permanent fixture there. 21 “Where’s your dad?” 22 “Over at the Clearwaters’. He’s been hanging out there 23 a lot since Harry died. Sue gets lonely.” 24 Jacob sat down on the old couch that was no bigger 25 than a loveseat and squished himself to the side to make 26 room for me. 27 “Oh. That’s nice. Poor Sue.” 28 “Yeah . . . she’s having some trouble. . . .” He hesi- sh 29 tated. “With her kids.” reg 30 “Sure, it’s got to be hard on Seth and Leah, losing their dad. . . .” “Uh-huh,” he agreed, lost in thought. He picked up 320 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 321 the remote and flipped on the TV without seeming to 1 think about it. He yawned. 2 3 “What’s with you, Jake? You’re like a zombie.” 4 “I got about two hours of sleep last night, and four the 5 night before,” he told me. He stretched his long arms 6 slowly, and I could hear the joints crack as he flexed. He 7 settled his left arm along the back of the sofa behind me, 8 and slumped back to rest his head against the wall. “I’m 9 exhausted.” 10 “Why aren’t you sleeping?” I asked. 11 He made a face. “Sam’s being difficult. He doesn’t trust 12 your bloodsuckers. I’ve been running double shifts for two 13 weeks and nobody’s touched me yet, but he still doesn’t 14 buy it. So I’m on my own for now.” 15 “Double shifts? Is this because you’re trying to watch 16 out for me? Jake, that’s wrong! You need to sleep. I’ll be 17 fine.” 18 “It’s no big deal.” His eyes were abruptly more alert. 19 “Hey, did you ever find out who was in your room? Is there 20 anything new?” 21 I ignored the second question. “No, we didn’t find any- 22 thing out about my, um, visitor.” 23 “Then I’ll be around,” he said as his eyes slid closed. 24 “Jake . . . ,” I started to whine. 25 “Hey, it’s the least I can do — I offered eternal servi- 26 tude, remember. I’m your slave for life.” 27 “I don’t want a slave!” 28 His eyes didn’t open. “What do you want, Bella?” 29 sh “I want my friend Jacob — and I don’t want him half- 30 reg dead, hurting himself in some misguided attempt —” 321 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 322 1 He cut me off. “Look at it this way — I’m hoping I can 2 track down a vampire I’m allowed to kill, okay?” 3 4 I didn’t answer. He looked at me then, peeking at my 5 reaction. 6 7 “Kidding, Bella.” 8 I stared at the TV. 9 “So, any special plans next week? You’re graduating. 10 Wow. That’s big.” His voice turned flat, and his face, al- 11 ready drawn, looked downright haggard as his eyes closed 12 again — not in exhaustion this time, but in denial. I real- 13 ized that graduation still had a horrible significance for 14 him, though my intentions were now disrupted. 15 “No special plans,” I said carefully, hoping he would 16 hear the reassurance in my words without a more detailed 17 explanation. I didn’t want to get into it now. For one 18 thing, he didn’t look up for any difficult conversations. 19 For another, I knew he would read too much into my 20 qualms. “Well, I do have to go to a graduation party. 21 Mine.” I made a disgusted sound. “Alice loves parties, and 22 she’s invited the whole town to her place the night of. It’s 23 going to be horrible.” 24 His eyes opened as I spoke, and a relieved smile made 25 his face look less worn. “I didn’t get an invitation. I’m 26 hurt,” he teased. 27 “Consider yourself invited. It’s supposedly my party, so 28 I should be able to ask who I want.” sh 29 “Thanks,” he said sarcastically, his eyes slipping closed reg 30 once more. “I wish you would come,” I said without any hope. “It would be more fun. For me, I mean.” 322 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 323 “Sure, sure,” he mumbled. “That would be very . . . 1 wise . . .” His voice trailed off. 2 3 A few seconds later, he was snoring. 4 Poor Jacob. I studied his dreaming face, and liked what 5 I saw. While he slept, every trace of defensiveness and bit- 6 terness disappeared and suddenly he was the boy who had 7 been my very best friend before all the werewolf nonsense 8 had gotten in the way. He looked so much younger. He 9 looked like my Jacob. 10 I nestled into the couch to wait out his nap, hoping he 11 would sleep for a while and make up some of what he’d 12 lost. I flipped through channels, but there wasn’t much on. 13 I settled for a cooking show, knowing, as I watched, that 14 I’d never put that much effort into Charlie’s dinner. Jacob 15 continued to snore, getting louder. I turned up the TV. 16 I was strangely relaxed, almost sleepy, too. This house 17 felt safer than my own, probably because no one had ever 18 come looking for me here. I curled up on the sofa and 19 thought about taking a nap myself. Maybe I would have, 20 but Jacob’s snoring was impossible to tune out. So, instead 21 of sleeping, I let my mind wander. 22 Finals were done, and most of them had been a cake- 23 walk. Calculus, the one exception, was behind me, pass or 24 fail. My high school education was over. And I didn’t 25 really know how I felt about that. I couldn’t look at it ob- 26 jectively, tied up as it was with my human life being over. 27 I wondered how long Edward planned to use this “not 28 because you’re scared” excuse. I was going to have to put 29 sh my foot down sometime. 30 reg If I were thinking practically, I knew it made more 323 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 324 1 sense to ask Carlisle to change me the second I made it 2 through the graduation line. Forks was becoming nearly 3 as dangerous as a war zone. No, Forks was a war zone. Not 4 to mention . . . it would be a good excuse to miss the 5 graduation party. I smiled to myself as I thought of that 6 most trivial of reasons for changing. Silly . . . yet still 7 compelling. 8 9 But Edward was right — I wasn’t quite ready yet. 10 And I didn’t want to be practical. I wanted Edward to 11 be the one. It wasn’t a rational desire. I was sure that — 12 about two seconds after someone actually bit me and the 13 venom started burning through my veins — I really 14 wouldn’t care anymore who had done it. So it shouldn’t 15 make a difference. 16 It was hard to define, even to myself, why it mattered. 17 There was just something about him being the one to 18 make the choice — to want to keep me enough that he 19 wouldn’t just allow me to be changed, he would act to 20 keep me. It was childish, but I liked the idea that his lips 21 would be the last good thing I would feel. Even more em- 22 barrassingly, something I would never say aloud, I wanted 23 his venom to poison my system. It would make me belong 24 to him in a tangible, quantifiable way. 25 But I knew he was going to stick to his marriage 26 scheme like glue — because a delay was what he was 27 clearly after and it was working so far. I tried to imagine 28 telling my parents that I was getting married this sum- sh 29 mer. Telling Angela and Ben and Mike. I couldn’t. I reg 30 couldn’t think of the words to say. It would be easier to tell them I was becoming a vampire. And I was sure that at 324 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 325 least my mother — were I to tell her every detail of the 1 truth — would be more strenuously opposed to me get- 2 ting married than to me a becoming vampire. I grimaced 3 to myself as I imagined her horrified expression. 4 5 Then, for just a second, I saw that same odd vision of 6 Edward and me on a porch swing, wearing clothes from 7 another kind of world. A world where it would surprise no 8 one if I wore his ring on my finger. A simpler place, where 9 love was defined in simpler ways. One plus one equals 10 two. . . . 11 12 Jacob snorted and rolled to his side. His arm swung off 13 the back of the couch and pinned me against his body. 14 15 Holy crow, but he was heavy! And hot. It was swelter- 16 ing after just a few seconds. 17 18 I tried to slide out from under his arm without waking 19 him, but I had to shove a little bit, and when his arm fell 20 off me, his eyes snapped open. He jumped to his feet, 21 looking around anxiously. 22 23 “What? What?” he asked, disoriented. 24 “It’s just me, Jake. Sorry I woke you.” 25 He turned to look at me, blinking and confused. 26 “Bella?” 27 “Hey, sleepy.” 28 “Oh, man! Did I fall asleep? I’m sorry! How long was 29 sh I out?” 30 reg “A few Emerils. I lost count.” He flopped back on the couch next to me. “Wow. Sorry about that, really.” I patted his hair, trying to smooth the wild disarray. “Don’t feel bad. I’m glad you got some sleep.” 325 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 326 1 He yawned and stretched. “I’m useless these days. No 2 wonder Billy’s always gone. I’m so boring.” 3 4 “You’re fine,” I assured him. 5 “Ugh, let’s go outside. I need to walk around or I’ll pass 6 out again.” 7 “Jake, go back to sleep. I’m good. I’ll call Edward to 8 come pick me up.” I patted my pockets as I spoke, and re- 9 alized they were empty. “Shoot, I’ll have to borrow your 10 phone. I think I must have left his in the car.” I started to 11 unfold myself. 12 “No!” Jacob insisted, grabbing my hand. “No, stay. 13 You hardly ever make it down. I can’t believe I wasted all 14 this time.” 15 He pulled me off the couch as he spoke, and then led 16 the way outside, ducking his head as he passed under the 17 doorframe. It had gotten much cooler while Jacob slept; 18 the air was unseasonably cold — there must be a storm on 19 the way. It felt like February, not May. 20 The wintry air seemed to make Jacob more alert. He 21 paced back and forth in front of the house for a minute, 22 dragging me along with him. 23 “I’m an idiot,” he muttered to himself. 24 “What’s the matter, Jake? So you fell asleep.” I 25 shrugged. 26 “I wanted to talk to you. I can’t believe this.” 27 “Talk to me now,” I said. 28 Jacob met my eyes for a second, and then looked away sh 29 quickly toward the trees. It almost looked like he was reg 30 blushing, but it was hard to tell with his dark skin. I suddenly remembered what Edward had said when he 326 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 327 dropped me off — that Jacob would tell me whatever he 1 was shouting in his head. I started gnawing on my lip. 2 3 “Look,” Jacob said. “I was planning to do this a little 4 bit differently.” He laughed, and it sounded like he was 5 laughing at himself. “Smoother,” he added. “I was going 6 to work up to it, but” — and he looked at the clouds, 7 dimmer as the afternoon progressed — “I’m out of time to 8 work.” 9 10 He laughed again, nervous. We were still pacing 11 slowly. 12 13 “What are you talking about?” I demanded. 14 He took a deep breath. “I want to tell you something. 15 And you already know it . . . but I think I should say it 16 out loud anyway. Just so there’s never any confusion on the 17 subject.” 18 I planted my feet, and he came to a stop. I took my 19 hand away and folded my arms across my chest. I was sud- 20 denly sure that I didn’t want to know what he was build- 21 ing up to. 22 Jacob’s eyebrows pulled down, throwing his deep-set 23 eyes into shadow. They were pitch black as they bored into 24 mine. 25 “I’m in love with you, Bella,” Jacob said in a strong, 26 sure voice. “Bella, I love you. And I want you to pick me 27 instead of him. I know you don’t feel that way, but I need 28 the truth out there so that you know your options. I 29 sh wouldn’t want a miscommunication to stand in our way.” 30 reg 327 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 328 1 15. WAGER 2 3 I stared at him for a long minute, speechless. I 4 could not think of one thing to say to him. 5 6 As he watched my dumbfounded expression, the seri- 7 ousness left his face. 8 9 “Okay,” he said, grinning. “That’s all.” 10 “Jake —” It felt like there was something big sticking 11 in my throat. I tried to clear the obstruction. “I can’t — I 12 mean I don’t . . . I have to go.” 13 I turned, but he grabbed my shoulders and spun me 14 around. 15 “No, wait. I know that, Bella. But, look, answer me 16 this, all right? Do you want me to go away and never see 17 you again? Be honest.” 18 19 328 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 sh 29 reg 30 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 329 It was hard to concentrate on his question, so it took 1 a minute to answer. “No, I don’t want that,” I finally ad- 2 mitted. 3 4 Jacob grinned again. “See.” 5 “But I don’t want you around for the same reason that 6 you want me around,” I objected. 7 “Tell me exactly why you want me around, then.” 8 I thought carefully. “I miss you when you’re not there. 9 When you’re happy,” I qualified carefully, “it makes me 10 happy. But I could say the same thing about Charlie, Ja- 11 cob. You’re family. I love you, but I’m not in love with you.” 12 He nodded, unruffled. “But you do want me around.” 13 “Yes.” I sighed. He was impossible to discourage. 14 “Then I’ll stick around.” 15 “You’re a glutton for punishment,” I grumbled. 16 “Yep.” He stroked the tips of his fingers across my 17 right cheek. I slapped his hand away. 18 “Do you think you could behave yourself a little better, 19 at least?” I asked, irritated. 20 “No, I don’t. You decide, Bella. You can have me the 21 way I am — bad behavior included — or not at all.” 22 I stared at him, frustrated. “That’s mean.” 23 “So are you.” 24 That pulled me up short, and I took an involuntary 25 step back. He was right. If I wasn’t mean — and greedy, 26 too — I would tell him I didn’t want to be friends and 27 walk away. It was wrong to try to keep my friend when 28 that would hurt him. I didn’t know what I was doing here, 29 sh but I was suddenly sure that it wasn’t good. 30 reg “You’re right,” I whispered. 329 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 330 1 He laughed. “I forgive you. Just try not to get too mad 2 at me. Because I recently decided that I’m not giving up. 3 There really is something irresistible about a lost cause.” 4 5 “Jacob.” I stared into his dark eyes, trying to make him 6 take me seriously. “I love him, Jacob. He’s my whole life.” 7 8 “You love me, too,” he reminded me. He held up his 9 hand when I started to protest. “Not the same way, I 10 know. But he’s not your whole life, either. Not anymore. 11 Maybe he was once, but he left. And now he’s just going 12 to have to deal with the consequence of that choice — me.” 13 14 I shook my head. “You’re impossible.” 15 Suddenly, he was serious. He took my chin in his hand, 16 holding it firmly so that I couldn’t look away from his in- 17 tent gaze. 18 “Until your heart stops beating, Bella,” he said. “I’ll be 19 here — fighting. Don’t forget that you have options.” 20 “I don’t want options,” I disagreed, trying to yank my 21 chin free unsuccessfully. “And my heartbeats are num- 22 bered, Jacob. The time is almost gone.” 23 His eyes narrowed. “All the more reason to fight — 24 fight harder now, while I can,” he whispered. 25 He still had my chin — his fingers holding too tight, till 26 it hurt — and I saw the resolve form abruptly in his eyes. 27 “N —” I started to object, but it was too late. 28 His lips crushed mine, stopping my protest. He kissed sh 29 me angrily, roughly, his other hand gripping tight around reg 30 the back of my neck, making escape impossible. I shoved against his chest with all my strength, but he didn’t even seem to notice. His mouth was soft, despite the anger, his lips molding to mine in a warm, unfamiliar way. 330 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 331 I grabbed at his face, trying to push it away, failing 1 again. He seemed to notice this time, though, and it ag- 2 gravated him. His lips forced mine open, and I could feel 3 his hot breath in my mouth. 4 5 Acting on instinct, I let my hands drop to my side, and 6 shut down. I opened my eyes and didn’t fight, didn’t 7 feel . . . just waited for him to stop. 8 9 It worked. The anger seemed to evaporate, and he 10 pulled back to look at me. He pressed his lips softly to 11 mine again, once, twice . . . a third time. I pretended I was 12 a statue and waited. 13 14 Finally, he let go of my face and leaned away. 15 “Are you done now?” I asked in an expressionless voice. 16 “Yes,” he sighed. He started to smile, closing his eyes. 17 I pulled my arm back and then let it snap forward, 18 punching him in the mouth with as much power as I 19 could force out of my body. 20 There was a crunching sound. 21 “Ow! OW!” I screamed, frantically hopping up and 22 down in agony while I clutched my hand to my chest. It 23 was broken, I could feel it. 24 Jacob stared at me in shock. “Are you all right?” 25 “No, dammit! You broke my hand!” 26 “Bella, you broke your hand. Now stop dancing around 27 and let me look at it.” 28 “Don’t touch me! I’m going home right now!” 29 sh “I’ll get my car,” he said calmly. He wasn’t even rub- 30 reg bing his jaw like they did in the movies. How pathetic. “No, thanks,” I hissed. “I’d rather walk.” I turned toward the road. It was only a few miles to the border. As 331 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 332 1 soon as I got away from him, Alice would see me. She’d 2 send somebody to pick me up. 3 4 “Just let me drive you home,” Jacob insisted. Unbe- 5 lievably, he had the nerve to wrap his arm around my waist. 6 7 I jerked away from him. 8 “Fine!” I growled. “Do! I can’t wait to see what Edward 9 does to you! I hope he snaps your neck, you pushy, obnox- 10 ious, moronic DOG!” 11 Jacob rolled his eyes. He walked me to the passenger 12 side of his car and helped me in. When he got in the 13 driver’s side, he was whistling. 14 “Didn’t I hurt you at all?” I asked, furious and an- 15 noyed. 16 “Are you kidding? If you hadn’t started screaming, I 17 might not have figured out that you were trying to punch 18 me. I may not be made out of stone, but I’m not that soft.” 19 “I hate you, Jacob Black.” 20 “That’s good. Hate is a passionate emotion.” 21 “I’ll give you passionate,” I muttered under my breath. 22 “Murder, the ultimate crime of passion.” 23 “Oh, c’mon,” he said, all cheery and looking like he 24 was about to start whistling again. “That had to be better 25 than kissing a rock.” 26 “Not even remotely close,” I told him coldly. 27 He pursed his lips. “You could just be saying that.” 28 “But I’m not.” sh 29 That seemed to bother him for a second, but then he reg 30 perked up. “You’re just mad. I don’t have any experience with this kind of thing, but I thought it was pretty in- credible myself.” 332 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 333 “Ugh,” I groaned. 1 “You’re going to think about it tonight. When he 2 thinks you’re asleep, you’ll be thinking about your op- 3 tions.” 4 “If I think about you tonight, it will be because I’m 5 having a nightmare.” 6 He slowed the car to a crawl, turning to stare at me 7 with his dark eyes wide and earnest. “Just think about 8 how it could be, Bella,” he urged in a soft, eager voice. 9 “You wouldn’t have to change anything for me. You know 10 Charlie would be happy if you picked me. I could protect 11 you just as well as your vampire can — maybe better. And 12 I would make you happy, Bella. There’s so much I could 13 give you that he can’t. I’ll bet he couldn’t even kiss you 14 like that — because he would hurt you. I would never, 15 never hurt you, Bella.” 16 I held up my injured hand. 17 He sighed. “That wasn’t my fault. You should have 18 known better.” 19 “Jacob, I can’t be happy without him.” 20 “You’ve never tried,” he disagreed. “When he left, you 21 spent all your energy holding on to him. You could be 22 happy if you let go. You could be happy with me.” 23 “I don’t want to be happy with anyone but him,” I in- 24 sisted. 25 “You’ll never be able to be as sure of him as you are of 26 me. He left you once, he could do it again.” 27 “No, he will not,” I said through my teeth. The pain of 28 the memory bit into me like the lash of a whip. It made 29 sh me want to hurt him back. “You left me once,” I reminded 30 reg 333 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 334 1 him in a cold voice, thinking of the weeks he’d hidden 2 from me, the words he’d said to me in the woods beside 3 his home. . . . 4 5 “I never did,” he argued hotly. “They told me I 6 couldn’t tell you — that it wasn’t safe for you if we were 7 together. But I never left, never! I used to run around your 8 house at night — like I do now. Just making sure you 9 were okay.” 10 11 I wasn’t about to let him make me feel bad for him now. 12 “Take me home. My hand hurts.” 13 He sighed, and started driving at a normal speed, 14 watching the road. 15 “Just think about it, Bella.” 16 “No,” I said stubbornly. 17 “You will. Tonight. And I’ll be thinking about you 18 while you’re thinking about me.” 19 “Like I said, a nightmare.” 20 He grinned over at me. “You kissed me back.” 21 I gasped, unthinkingly balling my hands up into fists 22 again, hissing when my broken hand reacted. 23 “Are you okay?” he asked. 24 “I did not.” 25 “I think I can tell the difference.” 26 “Obviously you can’t — that was not kissing back, 27 that was trying to get you the hell off of me, you idiot.” 28 He laughed a low, throaty laugh. “Touchy. Almost sh 29 overly defensive, I would say.” reg 30 I took a deep breath. There was no point in arguing with him; he would twist anything I said. I concentrated on my hand, trying to stretch out my fingers, to ascertain 334 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 335 where the broken parts were. Sharp pains stabbed along 1 my knuckles. I groaned. 2 3 “I’m really sorry about your hand,” Jacob said, sound- 4 ing almost sincere. “Next time you want to hit me, use a 5 baseball bat or a crowbar, okay?” 6 7 “Don’t think I’ll forget that,” I muttered. 8 I didn’t realize where we were going until we were on 9 my road. 10 “Why are you taking me here?” I demanded. 11 He looked at me blankly. “I thought you said you were 12 going home?” 13 “Ugh. I guess you can’t take me to Edward’s house, can 14 you?” I ground my teeth in frustration. 15 Pain twisted across his face, and I could see that this af- 16 fected him more than anything else I’d said. 17 “This is your home, Bella,” he said quietly. 18 “Yes, but do any doctors live here?” I asked, holding up 19 my hand again. 20 “Oh.” He thought about that for a minute. “I’ll take 21 you to the hospital. Or Charlie can.” 22 “I don’t want to go to the hospital. It’s embarrassing 23 and unnecessary.” 24 He let the Rabbit idle in front of the house, deliberat- 25 ing with an unsure expression. Charlie’s cruiser was in the 26 driveway. 27 I sighed. “Go home, Jacob.” 28 I climbed out of the car awkwardly, heading for the 29 sh house. The engine cut off behind me, and I was less sur- 30 reg prised than annoyed to find Jacob beside me again. “What are you going to do?” he asked. 335 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 336 1 “I am going to get some ice on my hand, and then I am 2 going to call Edward and tell him to come and get me and 3 take me to Carlisle so that he can fix my hand. Then, if 4 you’re still here, I am going to go hunt up a crowbar.” 5 6 He didn’t answer. He opened the front door and held it 7 for me. 8 9 We walked silently past the front room where Charlie 10 was lying on the sofa. 11 12 “Hey, kids,” he said, sitting forward. “Nice to see you 13 here, Jake.” 14 15 “Hey, Charlie,” Jacob answered casually, pausing. I 16 stalked on to the kitchen. 17 18 “What’s wrong with her?” Charlie wondered. 19 “She thinks she broke her hand,” I heard Jacob tell him. 20 I went to the freezer and pulled out a tray of ice cubes. 21 “How did she do that?” As my father, I thought Char- 22 lie ought to sound a bit less amused and a bit more con- 23 cerned. 24 Jacob laughed. “She hit me.” 25 Charlie laughed, too, and I scowled while I beat the 26 tray against the edge of the sink. The ice scattered inside 27 the basin, and I grabbed a handful with my good hand and 28 wrapped the cubes in the dishcloth on the counter. sh 29 “Why did she hit you?” reg 30 “Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed. “Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him. I ground my teeth and went for the phone. I dialed Ed- ward’s cell. “Bella?” he answered on the first ring. He sounded more than relieved — he was delighted. I could hear the 336 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 337 Volvo’s engine in the background; he was already in the 1 car — that was good. “You left the phone . . . I’m sorry, 2 did Jacob drive you home?” 3 4 “Yes,” I grumbled. “Will you come and get me, please?” 5 “I’m on my way,” he said at once. “What’s wrong?” 6 “I want Carlisle to look at my hand. I think it’s 7 broken.” 8 It had gone quiet in the front room, and I wondered 9 when Jacob would bolt. I smiled a grim smile, imagining 10 his discomfort. 11 “What happened?” Edward demanded, his voice going 12 flat. 13 “I punched Jacob,” I admitted. 14 “Good,” Edward said bleakly. “Though I’m sorry you’re 15 hurt.” 16 I laughed once, because he sounded as pleased as Char- 17 lie had. 18 “I wish I’d hurt him.” I sighed in frustration. “I didn’t 19 do any damage at all.” 20 “I can fix that,” he offered. 21 “I was hoping you would say that.” 22 There was a slight pause. “That doesn’t sound like 23 you,” he said, wary now. “What did he do?” 24 “He kissed me,” I growled. 25 All I heard on the other end of the line was the sound 26 of an engine accelerating. 27 In the other room, Charlie spoke again. “Maybe you 28 ought to take off, Jake,” he suggested. 29 sh “I think I’ll hang out here, if you don’t mind.” 30 reg “Your funeral,” Charlie muttered. 337 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 338 1 “Is the dog still there?” Edward finally spoke again. 2 “Yes.” 3 “I’m around the corner,” he said darkly, and the line 4 disconnected. 5 As I hung up the phone, smiling, I heard the sound of 6 his car racing down the street. The brakes protested loudly 7 as he slammed to a stop out front. I went to get the door. 8 “How’s your hand?” Charlie asked as I walked by. 9 Charlie looked uncomfortable. Jacob lolled next to him on 10 the sofa, perfectly at ease. 11 I lifted the ice pack to show it off. “It’s swelling.” 12 “Maybe you should pick on people your own size,” 13 Charlie suggested. 14 “Maybe,” I agreed. I walked on to open the door. Ed- 15 ward was waiting. 16 “Let me see,” he murmured. 17 He examined my hand gently, so carefully that it 18 caused me no pain at all. His hands were almost as cold as 19 the ice, and they felt good against my skin. 20 “I think you’re right about the break,” he said. “I’m 21 proud of you. You must have put some force behind this.” 22 “As much as I have.” I sighed. “Not enough, apparently.” 23 He kissed my hand softly. “I’ll take care of it,” he 24 promised. And then he called, “Jacob,” his voice still quiet 25 and even. 26 “Now, now,” Charlie cautioned. 27 I heard Charlie heave himself off of the sofa. Jacob got 28 to the hall first, and much more quietly, but Charlie was sh 29 not far behind him. Jacob’s expression was alert and eager. reg 30 “I don’t want any fighting, do you understand?” Char- 338 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 339 lie looked only at Edward when he spoke. “I can go put 1 my badge on if that makes my request more official.” 2 3 “That won’t be necessary,” Edward said in a restrained 4 tone. 5 6 “Why don’t you arrest me, Dad?” I suggested. “I’m the 7 one throwing punches.” 8 9 Charlie raised an eyebrow. “Do you want to press 10 charges, Jake?” 11 12 “No.” Jacob grinned, incorrigible. “I’ll take the trade 13 any day.” 14 15 Edward grimaced. 16 “Dad, don’t you have a baseball bat somewhere in your 17 room? I want to borrow it for a minute.” 18 Charlie looked at me evenly. “Enough, Bella.” 19 “Let’s go have Carlisle look at your hand before you 20 wind up in a jail cell,” Edward said. He put his arm 21 around me and pulled me toward the door. 22 “Fine,” I said, leaning against him. I wasn’t so angry 23 anymore, now that Edward was with me. I felt comforted, 24 and my hand didn’t bother me as much. 25 We were walking down the sidewalk when I heard 26 Charlie whispering anxiously behind me. 27 “What are you doing? Are you crazy?” 28 “Give me a minute, Charlie,” Jacob answered. “Don’t 29 sh worry, I’ll be right back.” 30 reg I looked back and Jacob was following us, stopping to close the door in Charlie’s surprised and uneasy face. Edward ignored him at first, leading me to the car. He helped me inside, shut the door, and then turned to face Jacob on the sidewalk. 339 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 340 1 I leaned anxiously through the open window. Charlie 2 was visible in the house, peeking through the drapes in 3 the front room. 4 5 Jacob’s stance was casual, his arms folded across his 6 chest, but the muscles in his jaw were tight. 7 8 Edward spoke in a voice so peaceful and gentle that it 9 made the words strangely more threatening. “I’m not go- 10 ing to kill you now, because it would upset Bella.” 11 12 “Hmph,” I grumbled. 13 Edward turned slightly to throw me a quick smile. His 14 face was still calm. “It would bother you in the morning,” 15 he said, brushing his fingers across my cheek. 16 Then he turned back to Jacob. “But if you ever bring 17 her back damaged again — and I don’t care whose fault it 18 is; I don’t care if she merely trips, or if a meteor falls out 19 of the sky and hits her in the head — if you return her to 20 me in less than the perfect condition that I left her in, you 21 will be running with three legs. Do you understand that, 22 mongrel?” 23 Jacob rolled his eyes. 24 “Who’s going back?” I muttered. 25 Edward continued as if he hadn’t heard me. “And if you 26 ever kiss her again, I will break your jaw for her,” he prom- 27 ised, his voice still gentle and velvet and deadly. 28 “What if she wants me to?” Jacob drawled, arrogant. sh 29 “Hah!” I snorted. reg 30 “If that’s what she wants, then I won’t object.” Edward shrugged, untroubled. “You might want to wait for her to say it, rather than trust your interpretation of body lan- guage — but it’s your face.” 340 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 341 Jacob grinned. 1 “You wish,” I grumbled. 2 “Yes, he does,” Edward murmured. 3 “Well, if you’re done rummaging through my head,” 4 Jacob said with a thick edge of annoyance, “why don’t you 5 go take care of her hand?” 6 “One more thing,” Edward said slowly. “I’ll be fighting 7 for her, too. You should know that. I’m not taking any- 8 thing for granted, and I’ll be fighting twice as hard as you 9 will.” 10 “Good,” Jacob growled. “It’s no fun beating someone 11 who forfeits.” 12 “She is mine.” Edward’s low voice was suddenly dark, 13 not as composed as before. “I didn’t say I would fight fair.” 14 “Neither did I.” 15 “Best of luck.” 16 Jacob nodded. “Yes, may the best man win.” 17 “That sounds about right . . . pup.” 18 Jacob grimaced briefly, then he composed his face and 19 leaned around Edward to smile at me. I glowered back. 20 “I hope your hand feels better soon. I’m really sorry 21 you’re hurt.” 22 Childishly, I turned my face away from him. 23 I didn’t look up again as Edward walked around the car 24 and climbed into the driver’s side, so I didn’t know if Ja- 25 cob went back into the house or continued to stand there, 26 watching me. 27 “How do you feel?” Edward asked as we drove away. 28 “Irritated.” 29 sh He chuckled. “I meant your hand.” 30 reg 341 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 342 1 I shrugged. “I’ve had worse.” 2 “True,” he agreed, and frowned. 3 Edward drove around the house to the garage. Emmett 4 and Rosalie were there, Rosalie’s perfect legs, recognizable 5 even sheathed in jeans, were sticking out from under the 6 bottom of Emmett’s huge Jeep. Emmett was sitting be- 7 side her, one hand reached under the Jeep toward her. It 8 took me a moment to realize that he was acting as the jack. 9 Emmett watched curiously as Edward helped me care- 10 fully out of the car. His eyes zeroed in on the hand I cra- 11 dled against my chest. 12 Emmett grinned. “Fall down again, Bella?” 13 I glared at him fiercely. “No, Emmett. I punched a 14 werewolf in the face.” 15 Emmett blinked, and then burst into a roar of laughter. 16 As Edward led me past them, Rosalie spoke from un- 17 der the car. 18 “Jasper’s going to win the bet,” she said smugly. 19 Emmett’s laughter stopped at once, and he studied me 20 with appraising eyes. 21 “What bet?” I demanded, pausing. 22 “Let’s get you to Carlisle,” Edward urged. He was star- 23 ing at Emmett. His head shook infinitesimally. 24 “What bet?” I insisted as I turned on him. 25 “Thanks, Rosalie,” he muttered as he tightened his arm 26 around my waist and pulled me toward the house. 27 “Edward . . . ,” I grumbled. 28 “It’s infantile,” he shrugged. “Emmett and Jasper like sh 29 to gamble.” reg 30 342 3rd Pass Pages

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