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Stephenie Meyer - Eclipse

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Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 343 “Emmett will tell me.” I tried to turn, but his arm was 1 like iron around me. 2 3 He sighed. “They’re betting on how many times 4 you . . . slip up in the first year.” 5 6 “Oh.” I grimaced, trying to hide my sudden horror as I 7 realized what he meant. “They have a bet about how many 8 people I’ll kill?” 9 10 “Yes,” he admitted unwillingly. “Rosalie thinks your 11 temper will turn the odds in Jasper’s favor.” 12 13 I felt a little high. “Jasper’s betting high.” 14 “It will make him feel better if you have a hard time 15 adjusting. He’s tired of being the weakest link.” 16 “Sure. Of course it will. I guess I could throw in a few 17 extra homicides, if it makes Jasper happy. Why not?” I 18 was babbling, my voice a blank monotone. In my head, I 19 was seeing newspaper headlines, lists of names. . . . 20 He squeezed me. “You don’t need to worry about it 21 now. In fact, you don’t have to worry about it ever, if you 22 don’t want to.” 23 I groaned, and Edward, thinking it was the pain in my 24 hand that bothered me, pulled me faster toward the house. 25 My hand was broken, but there wasn’t any serious dam- 26 age, just a tiny fissure in one knuckle. I didn’t want a cast, 27 and Carlisle said I’d be fine in a brace if I promised to keep 28 it on. I promised. 29 sh Edward could tell I was out of it as Carlisle worked to 30 reg fit a brace carefully to my hand. He worried aloud a few times that I was in pain, but I assured him that that wasn’t it. 343 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 344 1 As if I needed — or even had room for — one more 2 thing to worry about. 3 4 All of Jasper’s stories about newly created vampires had 5 been percolating in my head since he’d explained his past. 6 Now those stories jumped into sharp focus with the news 7 of his and Emmett’s wager. I wondered randomly what 8 they were betting. What was a motivating prize when you 9 had everything? 10 11 I’d always known that I would be different. I hoped 12 that I would be as strong as Edward said I would be. 13 Strong and fast and, most of all, beautiful. Someone who 14 could stand next to Edward and feel like she belonged 15 there. 16 17 I’d been trying not to think too much about the other 18 things that I would be. Wild. Bloodthirsty. Maybe I 19 would not be able to stop myself from killing people. 20 Strangers, people who had never harmed me. People like 21 the growing number of victims in Seattle, who’d had fam- 22 ilies and friends and futures. People who’d had lives. And I 23 could be the monster who took that away from them. 24 25 But, in truth, I could handle that part — because I 26 trusted Edward, trusted him absolutely, to keep me from 27 doing anything I would regret. I knew he’d take me to 28 Antarctica and hunt penguins if I asked him to. And I sh 29 would do whatever it took to be a good person. A good reg 30 vampire. That thought would have made me giggle, if not for this new worry. Because, if I really were somehow like that — like the nightmarish images of newborns that Jasper had painted in my head — could I possibly be me? And if all I wanted 344 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 345 was to kill people, what would happen to the things I 1 wanted now? 2 3 Edward was so obsessed with me not missing anything 4 while I was human. Usually, it seemed kind of silly. There 5 weren’t many human experiences that I worried about 6 missing. As long as I got to be with Edward, what else 7 could I ask for? 8 9 I stared at his face while he watched Carlisle fix my 10 hand. There was nothing in this world that I wanted more 11 than him. Would that, could that, change? 12 13 Was there a human experience that I was not willing to 14 give up? 15 16 345 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 346 1 16. EPOCH 2 3 “I have nothing to wear!” I moaned to myself. 4 Every item of clothing I owned was strewn across my 5 6 bed; my drawers and closets were bare. I stared into the 7 empty recesses, willing something suitable to appear. 8 9 My khaki skirt lay over the back of the rocking chair, 10 waiting for me to discover something that went with it 11 just exactly right. Something that would make me look 12 beautiful and grown up. Something that said special occa- 13 sion. I was coming up empty. 14 15 It was almost time to go, and I was still wearing my fa- 16 vorite old sweats. Unless I could find something better 17 here — and the odds weren’t looking good at this 18 point — I was going to graduate in them. 19 20 346 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 347 I scowled at the pile of clothes on my bed. 1 The kicker was that I knew exactly what I would have 2 worn if it were still available — my kidnapped red blouse. 3 I punched the wall with my good hand. 4 “Stupid, thieving, annoying vampire!” I growled. 5 “What did I do?” Alice demanded. 6 She was leaning casually beside the open window as if 7 she’d been there the whole time. 8 “Knock, knock,” she added with a grin. 9 “Is it really so hard to wait for me to get the door?” 10 She threw a flat, white box onto my bed. “I’m just 11 passing through. I thought you might need something to 12 wear.” 13 I looked at the big package lying on top of my unsatis- 14 fying wardrobe and grimaced. 15 “Admit it,” Alice said. “I’m a lifesaver.” 16 “You’re a lifesaver,” I muttered. “Thanks.” 17 “Well, it’s nice to get something right for a change. 18 You don’t know how irritating it is — missing things the 19 way I have been. I feel so useless. So . . . normal.” She 20 cringed in horror of the word. 21 “I can’t imagine how awful that must feel. Being nor- 22 mal? Ugh.” 23 She laughed. “Well, at least this makes up for missing 24 your annoying thief — now I just have to figure out what 25 I’m not seeing in Seattle.” 26 When she said the words that way — putting the two 27 situations together in one sentence — right then it 28 clicked. The elusive something that had been bothering 29 sh me for days, the important connection that I couldn’t 30 reg 347 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 348 1 quite put together, suddenly became clear. I stared at her, 2 my face frozen with whatever expression was already in 3 place. 4 5 “Aren’t you going to open it?” she asked. She sighed 6 when I didn’t move immediately, and tugged the top of 7 the box off herself. She pulled something out and held it 8 up, but I couldn’t concentrate on what it was. “Pretty, 9 don’t you think? I picked blue, because I know it’s Ed- 10 ward’s favorite on you.” 11 12 I wasn’t listening. 13 “It’s the same,” I whispered. 14 “What is?” she demanded. “You don’t have anything 15 like this. For crying out loud, you only own one skirt!” 16 “No, Alice! Forget the clothes, listen!” 17 “You don’t like it?” Alice’s face clouded with disap- 18 pointment. 19 “Listen, Alice, don’t you see? It’s the same! The one who 20 broke in and stole my things, and the new vampires in 21 Seattle. They’re together!” 22 The clothes slipped from her fingers and fell back into 23 the box. 24 Alice focused now, her voice suddenly sharp. “Why do 25 you think that?” 26 “Remember what Edward said? About someone using 27 the holes in your vision to keep you from seeing the new- 28 borns? And then what you said before, about the timing sh 29 being too perfect — how careful my thief was to make no reg 30 contact, as if he knew you would see that. I think you were right, Alice, I think he did know. I think he was using those holes, too. And what are the odds that two different 348 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 349 people not only know enough about you to do that, but 1 also decided to do it at exactly the same time? No way. It’s 2 one person. The same one. The one who is making the 3 army is the one who stole my scent.” 4 5 Alice wasn’t accustomed to being taking by surprise. 6 She froze, and was still for so long that I started counting 7 in my head as I waited. She didn’t move for two minutes 8 straight. Then her eyes refocused on me. 9 10 “You’re right,” she said in a hollow tone. “Of course 11 you’re right. And when you put it that way. . . .” 12 13 “Edward had it wrong,” I whispered. “It was a test . . . 14 to see if it would work. If he could get in and out safely as 15 long as he didn’t do anything you would be watching out 16 for. Like trying to kill me. . . . And he didn’t take my 17 things to prove he’d found me. He stole my scent . . . so 18 that others could find me.” 19 20 Her eyes were wide with shock. I was right, and I could 21 see that she knew it, too. 22 23 “Oh, no,” she mouthed. 24 I was through expecting my emotions to make sense 25 anymore. As I processed the fact that someone had created 26 an army of vampires — the army that had gruesomely 27 murdered dozens of people in Seattle — for the express 28 purpose of destroying me, I felt a spasm of relief. 29 sh Part of it was finally solving that irritating feeling that 30 reg I was missing something vital. But the larger part was something else entirely. “Well,” I whispered, “everyone can relax. Nobody’s trying to exterminate the Cullens after all.” “If you think that one thing has changed, you’re 349 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 350 1 absolutely wrong,” Alice said through her teeth. “If some- 2 one wants one of us, they’re going to have to go through 3 the rest of us to get to her.” 4 5 “Thanks, Alice. But at least we know what they’re 6 really after. That has to help.” 7 8 “Maybe,” she muttered. She started pacing back and 9 forth across my room. 10 11 Thud, thud — a fist hammered against my door. 12 I jumped. Alice didn’t seem to notice. 13 “Aren’t you ready yet? We’re gonna be late!” Charlie 14 complained, sounding edgy. Charlie hated occasions about 15 as much as I did. In his case, a lot of the problem was hav- 16 ing to dress up. 17 “Almost. Give me a minute,” I said hoarsely. 18 He was quiet for half a second. “Are you crying?” 19 “No. I’m nervous. Go away.” 20 I heard him clump down the stairs. 21 “I have to go,” Alice whispered. 22 “Why?” 23 “Edward is coming. If he hears this . . .” 24 “Go, go!” I urged immediately. Edward would go ber- 25 serk when he knew. I couldn’t keep it from him for long, 26 but maybe the graduation ceremony wasn’t the best time 27 for his reaction. 28 “Put it on,” Alice commanded as she flitted out the sh 29 window. reg 30 I did what she said, dressing in a daze. I’d been planning to do something more sophisticated with my hair, but time was up, so it hung straight and boring as on any other day. It didn’t matter. I didn’t 350 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 351 bother to look in the mirror, so I had no idea how Alice’s 1 sweater and skirt ensemble worked. That didn’t matter, 2 either. I threw the ugly yellow polyester graduation robe 3 over my arm and hurried down the stairs. 4 5 “You look nice,” Charlie said, already gruff with sup- 6 pressed emotion. “Is that new?” 7 8 “Yeah,” I mumbled, trying to concentrate. “Alice gave 9 it to me. Thanks.” 10 11 Edward arrived just a few minutes after his sister left. 12 It wasn’t enough time for me to pull together a calm 13 façade. But, since we were riding in the cruiser with Char- 14 lie, he never had a chance to ask me what was wrong. 15 16 Charlie had gotten stubborn last week when he’d 17 learned that I was intending to ride with Edward to the 18 graduation ceremony. And I could see his point — parents 19 should have some rights come graduation day. I’d con- 20 ceded with good grace, and Edward had cheerfully sug- 21 gested that we all go together. Since Carlisle and Esme had 22 no problem with this, Charlie couldn’t come up with a 23 compelling objection; he’d agreed with poor grace. And 24 now Edward rode in the backseat of my father’s police car, 25 behind the fiberglass divider, with an amused expression — 26 probably due to my father’s amused expression, and the 27 grin that widened every time Charlie stole a glance at 28 Edward in his rearview mirror. Which almost certainly 29 sh meant that Charlie was imagining things that would get 30 reg him in trouble with me if he said them out loud. “Are you all right?” Edward whispered when he helped me from the front seat in the school parking lot. “Nervous,” I answered, and it wasn’t even a lie. 351 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 352 1 “You are so beautiful,” he said. 2 He looked like he wanted to say more, but Charlie, in 3 an obvious maneuver that he meant to be subtle, shrugged 4 in between us and put his arm around my shoulders. 5 “Are you excited?” he asked me. 6 “Not really,” I admitted. 7 “Bella, this is a big deal. You’re graduating from high 8 school. It’s the real world for you now. College. Living on 9 your own. . . . You’re not my little girl anymore.” Charlie 10 choked up a bit at the end. 11 “Dad,” I moaned. “Please don’t get all weepy on me.” 12 “Who’s weepy?” he growled. “Now, why aren’t you ex- 13 cited?” 14 “I don’t know, Dad. I guess it hasn’t hit yet or some- 15 thing.” 16 “It’s good that Alice is throwing this party. You need 17 something to perk you up.” 18 “Sure. A party’s exactly what I need.” 19 Charlie laughed at my tone and squeezed my shoul- 20 ders. Edward looked at the clouds, his face thoughtful. 21 My father had to leave us at the back door of the gym 22 and go around to the main entrance with the rest of the 23 parents. 24 It was pandemonium as Ms. Cope from the front office 25 and Mr. Varner the math teacher tried to line everyone up 26 alphabetically. 27 “Up front, Mr. Cullen,” Mr. Varner barked at Edward. 28 “Hey, Bella!” sh 29 I looked up to see Jessica Stanley waving at me from reg 30 the back of the line with a smile on her face. 352 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 353 Edward kissed me quickly, sighed, and went to go 1 stand with the C’s. Alice wasn’t there. What was she go- 2 ing to do? Skip graduation? What poor timing on my 3 part. I should have waited to figure things out until after 4 this was over with. 5 6 “Down here, Bella!” Jessica called again. 7 I walked down the line to take my place behind Jessica, 8 mildly curious as to why she was suddenly so friendly. As 9 I got closer, I saw Angela five people back, watching Jes- 10 sica with the same curiosity. 11 Jess was babbling before I was in earshot. 12 “. . . so amazing. I mean, it seems like we just met, and 13 now we’re graduating together,” she gushed. “Can you be- 14 lieve it’s over? I feel like screaming!” 15 “So do I,” I muttered. 16 “This is all just so incredible. Do you remember your 17 first day here? We were friends, like, right away. From the 18 first time we saw each other. Amazing. And now I’m off to 19 California and you’ll be in Alaska and I’m going to miss 20 you so much! You have to promise that we’ll get together 21 sometimes! I’m so glad you’re having a party. That’s per- 22 fect. Because we really haven’t spent much time together 23 in a while and now we’re all leaving. . . .” 24 She droned on and on, and I was sure the sudden return 25 of our friendship was due to graduation nostalgia and 26 gratitude for the party invite, not that I’d had anything to 27 do with that. I paid attention as well as I could while I 28 shrugged into my robe. And I found that I was glad that 29 sh things could end on a good note with Jessica. 30 reg Because it was an ending, no matter what Eric, the 353 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 354 1 valedictorian, had to say about commencement meaning 2 “beginning” and all the rest of the trite nonsense. Maybe 3 more for me than for the rest, but we were all leaving 4 something behind us today. 5 6 It went so quickly. I felt like I’d hit the fast forward 7 button. Were we supposed to march quite that fast? And 8 then Eric was speed talking in his nervousness, the words 9 and phrases running together so they didn’t make sense 10 anymore. Principal Greene started calling names, one after 11 the other without a long enough pause between; the front 12 row in the gymnasium was rushing to catch up. Poor Ms. 13 Cope was all thumbs as she tried to give the principal the 14 right diploma to hand to the right student. 15 16 I watched as Alice, suddenly appearing, danced across 17 the stage to take hers, a look of deep concentration on her 18 face. Edward followed behind, his expression confused, 19 but not upset. Only the two of them could carry off the 20 hideous yellow and still look the way they did. They stood 21 out from the rest of the crowd, their beauty and grace other- 22 worldly. I wondered how I’d ever fallen for their human 23 farce. A couple of angels, standing there with wings intact, 24 would be less conspicuous. 25 26 I heard Mr. Greene call my name and I rose from my 27 chair, waiting for the line in front of me to move. I was 28 conscious of cheering in the back of the gym, and I looked sh 29 around to see Jacob pulling Charlie to his feet, both of reg 30 them hooting in encouragement. I could just make out the top of Billy’s head beside Jake’s elbow. I managed to throw them an approximation of a smile. Mr. Greene finished with the list of names, and then 354 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 355 continued to hand out diplomas with a sheepish grin as we 1 filed past. 2 3 “Congratulations, Miss Stanley,” he mumbled as Jess 4 took hers. 5 6 “Congratulations, Miss Swan,” he mumbled to me, 7 pressing the diploma into my good hand. 8 9 “Thanks,” I murmured. 10 And that was it. 11 I went to stand next to Jessica with the assembled 12 graduates. Jess was all red around the eyes, and she kept 13 blotting her face with the sleeve of her robe. It took me a 14 second to understand that she was crying. 15 Mr. Greene said something I didn’t hear, and everyone 16 around me shouted and screamed. Yellow hats rained 17 down. I pulled mine off, too late, and just let it fall to the 18 ground. 19 “Oh, Bella!” Jess blubbered over the sudden roar of 20 conversation. “I can’t believe we’re done.” 21 “I can’t believe it’s all over,” I mumbled. 22 She threw her arms around my neck. “You have to 23 promise we won’t lose touch.” 24 I hugged her back, feeling a little awkward as I dodged 25 her request. “I’m so glad I know you, Jessica. It was a good 26 two years.” 27 “It was,” she sighed, and sniffed. Then she dropped her 28 arms. “Lauren!” she squealed, waving over her head and 29 sh pushing through the massed yellow gowns. Families were 30 reg beginning to converge, pressing us tighter together. I caught sight of Angela and Ben, but they were sur- rounded by their families. I would congratulate them later. 355 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 356 1 I craned my head, looking for Alice. 2 “Congratulations,” Edward whispered in my ear, his 3 arms winding around my waist. His voice was subdued; he’d 4 been in no hurry for me to reach this particular milestone. 5 “Um, thanks.” 6 “You don’t look like you’re over the nerves yet,” he noted. 7 “Not quite yet.” 8 “What’s left to worry about? The party? It won’t be 9 that horrible.” 10 “You’re probably right.” 11 “Who are you looking for?” 12 My searching wasn’t quite as subtle as I’d thought. 13 “Alice — where is she?” 14 “She ran out as soon as she had her diploma.” 15 His voice took on a new tone. I looked up to see his 16 confused expression as he stared toward the back door of 17 the gym, and I made an impulse decision — the kind I 18 really should think twice about, but rarely did. 19 “Worrying about Alice?” I asked. 20 “Er . . .” He didn’t want to answer that. 21 “What was she thinking about, anyway? To keep you 22 out, I mean.” 23 His eyes flashed down to my face, and narrowed in sus- 24 picion. “She was translating the Battle Hymn of the Re- 25 public into Arabic, actually. When she finished that, she 26 moved on to Korean sign language.” 27 I laughed nervously. “I suppose that would keep her 28 head busy enough.” sh 29 “You know what she’s hiding from me,” he accused. reg 30 356 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 357 “Sure.” I smiled a weak smile. “I’m the one who came 1 up with it.” 2 3 He waited, confused. 4 I looked around. Charlie would be on his way through 5 the crowd now. 6 “Knowing Alice,” I whispered in a rush, “she’ll proba- 7 bly try to keep this from you until after the party. But 8 since I’m all for the party being canceled — well, don’t go 9 berserk, regardless, okay? It’s always better to know as 10 much as possible. It has to help somehow.” 11 “What are you talking about?” 12 I saw Charlie’s head bob up over the other heads as he 13 searched for me. He spotted me and waved. 14 “Just stay calm, okay?” 15 He nodded once, his mouth a grim line. 16 In hurried whispers I explained my reasoning to him. 17 “I think you’re wrong about things coming at us from all 18 sides. I think it’s mostly coming at us from one side . . . 19 and I think it’s coming at me, really. It’s all connected, it has 20 to be. It’s just one person who’s messing with Alice’s vi- 21 sions. The stranger in my room was a test, to see if some- 22 one could get around her. It’s got to be the same one who 23 keeps changing his mind, and the newborns, and stealing 24 my clothes — all of it goes together. My scent is for them.” 25 His face had turned so white that I had a hard time fin- 26 ishing. 27 “But no one’s coming for you, don’t you see? This is 28 good — Esme and Alice and Carlisle, no one wants to 29 sh hurt them!” 30 reg 357 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 358 1 His eyes were huge, wide with panic, dazed and horri- 2 fied. He could see that I was right, just as Alice had. 3 4 I put my hand on his cheek. “Calm,” I pleaded. 5 “Bella!” Charlie crowed, pushing his way past the 6 close-packed families around us. 7 “Congratulations, baby!” He was still yelling, even 8 though he was right at my ear now. He wrapped his arms 9 around me, ever so slyly shuffling Edward off to the side as 10 he did so. 11 “Thanks,” I muttered, preoccupied by the expression 12 on Edward’s face. He still hadn’t gained control. His hands 13 were halfway extended toward me, like he was about to 14 grab me and make a run for it. Only slightly more in con- 15 trol of myself than he was, running didn’t seem like such a 16 terrible idea to me. 17 “Jacob and Billy had to take off — did you see that 18 they were here?” Charlie asked, taking a step back, but 19 keeping his hands on my shoulders. He had his back to 20 Edward — probably an effort to exclude him, but that 21 was fine at the moment. Edward’s mouth was hanging 22 open, his eyes still wide with dread. 23 “Yeah,” I assured my father, trying to pay enough at- 24 tention. “Heard them, too.” 25 “It was nice of them to show up,” Charlie said. 26 “Mm-hmm.” 27 Okay, so telling Edward had been a really bad idea. Al- 28 ice was right to keep her thoughts clouded. I should have sh 29 waited till we were alone somewhere, maybe with the rest reg 30 of his family. And nothing breakable close by — like win- dows . . . cars . . . school buildings. His face brought back 358 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 359 all my fear and then some. Though his expression was past 1 the fear now — it was pure fury that was suddenly plain 2 on his features. 3 4 “So where do you want to go out for dinner?” Charlie 5 asked. “The sky’s the limit.” 6 7 “I can cook.” 8 “Don’t be silly. Do you want to go to the Lodge?” he 9 asked with an eager smile. 10 I did not particularly enjoy Charlie’s favorite restau- 11 rant, but, at this point, what was the difference? I wasn’t 12 going to be able to eat anyway. 13 “Sure, the Lodge, cool,” I said. 14 Charlie smiled wider, and then sighed. He turned his 15 head halfway toward Edward, without really looking at him. 16 “You coming, too, Edward?” 17 I stared at him, my eyes beseeching. Edward pulled his 18 expression together just before Charlie turned to see why 19 he hadn’t gotten an answer. 20 “No, thank you,” Edward said stiffly, his face hard and 21 cold. 22 “Do you have plans with your parents?” Charlie asked, 23 a frown in his voice. Edward was always more polite than 24 Charlie deserved; the sudden hostility surprised him. 25 “Yes. If you’ll excuse me. . . .” Edward turned abruptly 26 and stalked away through the dwindling crowd. He 27 moved just a little bit too fast, too upset to keep up his 28 usually perfect charade. 29 sh “What did I say?” Charlie asked with a guilty expression. 30 reg “Don’t worry about it, Dad,” I reassured him. “I don’t think it’s you.” 359 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 360 1 “Are you two fighting again?” 2 “Nobody’s fighting. Mind your own business.” 3 “You are my business.” 4 I rolled my eyes. “Let’s go eat.” 5 The Lodge was crowded. The place was, in my opinion, 6 overpriced and tacky, but it was the only thing close to a 7 formal restaurant in town, so it was always popular for 8 events. I stared morosely at a depressed-looking stuffed elk 9 head while Charlie ate prime rib and talked over the back of 10 the seat to Tyler Crowley’s parents. It was noisy — everyone 11 there had just come from graduation, and most were chat- 12 ting across the aisles and over the booth-tops like Charlie. 13 I had my back to the front windows, and I resisted the 14 urge to turn around and search for the eyes I could feel on 15 me now. I knew I wouldn’t be able to see anything. Just as 16 I knew there was no chance that he would leave me un- 17 guarded, even for a second. Not after this. 18 Dinner dragged. Charlie, busy socializing, ate too 19 slowly. I picked at my burger, stuffing pieces of it into my 20 napkin when I was sure his attention was somewhere else. 21 It all seemed to take a very long time, but when I looked 22 at the clock — which I did more often than necessary — 23 the hands hadn’t moved much. 24 Finally Charlie got his change back and put a tip on the 25 table. I stood up. 26 “In a hurry?” he asked me. 27 “I want to help Alice set things up,” I claimed. 28 “Okay.” He turned away from me to say goodnight to sh 29 everyone. I went out to wait by the cruiser. reg 30 I leaned against the passenger door, waiting for Charlie 360 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 361 to drag himself away from the impromptu party. It was al- 1 most dark in the parking lot, the clouds so thick that there 2 was no telling if the sun had set or not. The air felt heavy, 3 like it was about to rain. 4 5 Something moved in the shadows. 6 My gasp turned into a sigh of relief as Edward appeared 7 out of the gloom. 8 Without a word, he pulled me tightly against his 9 chest. One cool hand found my chin, and pulled my face 10 up so that he could press his hard lips to mine. I could feel 11 the tension in his jaw. 12 “How are you?” I asked as soon as he let me breathe. 13 “Not so great,” he murmured. “But I’ve got a handle 14 on myself. I’m sorry that I lost it back there.” 15 “My fault. I should have waited to tell you.” 16 “No,” he disagreed. “This is something I needed to 17 know. I can’t believe I didn’t see it!” 18 “You’ve got a lot on your mind.” 19 “And you don’t?” 20 He suddenly kissed me again, not letting me answer. 21 He pulled away after just a second. “Charlie’s on his way.” 22 “I’ll have him drop me at your house.” 23 “I’ll follow you there.” 24 “That’s not really necessary,” I tried to say, but he was 25 already gone. 26 “Bella?” Charlie called from the doorway of the restau- 27 rant, squinting into the darkness. 28 “I’m out here.” 29 sh Charlie sauntered out to the car, muttering about im- 30 reg patience. 361 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 362 1 “So, how do you feel?” he asked me as we drove north 2 along the highway. “It’s been a big day.” 3 4 “I feel fine,” I lied. 5 He laughed, seeing through me easily. “Worried about 6 the party?” he guessed. 7 “Yeah,” I lied again. 8 This time he didn’t notice. “You were never one for the 9 parties.” 10 “Wonder where I got that from,” I murmured. 11 Charlie chuckled. “Well, you look really nice. I wish 12 I’d thought to get you something. Sorry.” 13 “Don’t be silly, Dad.” 14 “It’s not silly. I feel like I don’t always do everything for 15 you that I should.” 16 “That’s ridiculous. You do a fantastic job. World’s best 17 dad. And . . .” It wasn’t easy to talk about feelings with 18 Charlie, but I persevered after clearing my throat. “And 19 I’m really glad I came to live with you, Dad. It was the 20 best idea I ever had. So don’t worry — you’re just experi- 21 encing post-graduation pessimism.” 22 He snorted. “Maybe. But I’m sure I slipped up in a few 23 places. I mean, look at your hand!” 24 I stared down blankly at my hands. My left hand rested 25 lightly on the dark brace I rarely thought about. My bro- 26 ken knuckle didn’t hurt much anymore. 27 “I never thought I needed to teach you how to throw a 28 punch. Guess I was wrong about that.” sh 29 “I thought you were on Jacob’s side?” reg 30 “No matter what side I’m on, if someone kisses you without your permission, you should be able to make your 362 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 363 feelings clear without hurting yourself. You didn’t keep 1 your thumb inside your fist, did you?” 2 3 “No, Dad. That’s kind of sweet in a weird way, but I 4 don’t think lessons would have helped. Jacob’s head is 5 really hard.” 6 7 Charlie laughed. “Hit him in the gut next time.” 8 “Next time?” I asked incredulously. 9 “Aw, don’t be too hard on the kid. He’s young.” 10 “He’s obnoxious.” 11 “He’s still your friend.” 12 “I know.” I sighed. “I don’t really know what the right 13 thing to do here is, Dad.” 14 Charlie nodded slowly. “Yeah. The right thing isn’t al- 15 ways real obvious. Sometimes the right thing for one per- 16 son is the wrong thing for someone else. So . . . good luck 17 figuring that out.” 18 “Thanks,” I muttered dryly. 19 Charlie laughed again, and then frowned. “If this party 20 gets too wild . . . ,” he began. 21 “Don’t worry about it, Dad. Carlisle and Esme are go- 22 ing to be there. I’m sure you can come, too, if you want.” 23 Charlie grimaced as he squinted through the wind- 24 shield into the night. Charlie enjoyed a good party just 25 about as much as I did. 26 “Where’s the turnoff, again?” he asked. “They ought to 27 clear out their drive — it’s impossible to find in the dark.” 28 “Just around the next bend, I think.” I pursed my lips. 29 sh “You know, you’re right — it is impossible to find. Alice 30 reg said she put a map in the invitation, but even so, maybe everyone will get lost.” I cheered up slightly at the idea. 363 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 364 1 “Maybe,” Charlie said as the road curved to the east. 2 “Or maybe not.” 3 4 The black velvet darkness was interrupted ahead, just 5 where the Cullens’ drive should be. Someone had wrapped 6 the trees on either side in thousands of twinkle lights, im- 7 possible to miss. 8 9 “Alice,” I said sourly. 10 “Wow,” Charlie said as we turned onto the drive. The 11 two trees at the entry weren’t the only ones lit. Every twenty 12 feet or so, another shining beacon guided us toward the 13 big white house. All the way — all three miles of the way. 14 “She doesn’t do things halfway, does she?” Charlie mum- 15 bled in awe. 16 “Sure you don’t want to come in?” 17 “Extremely sure. Have fun, kid.” 18 “Thanks so much, Dad.” 19 He was laughing to himself as I got out and shut the 20 door. I watched him drive away, still grinning. With a 21 sigh, I marched up the stairs to endure my party. 22 23 364 24 25 26 27 28 sh 29 reg 30 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 365 17. ALLIANCE 1 2 “Bella?” 3 Edward’s soft voice came from behind me. I turned to 4 5 see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair wind- 6 blown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, 7 just like he had in the parking lot, and kissed me again. 8 9 This kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, 10 too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine — 11 like he was afraid we only had so much time left to us. 12 13 I couldn’t let myself think about that. Not if I was go- 14 ing to have to act human for the next several hours. I 15 pulled away from him. 16 17 “Let’s get this stupid party over with,” I mumbled, not 18 meeting his eyes. 19 20 365 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 366 1 He put his hands on either side of my face, waiting un- 2 til I looked up. 3 4 “I won’t let anything happen to you.” 5 I touched his lips with the fingers of my good hand. 6 “I’m not worried about myself so much.” 7 “Why am I not surprised by that?” he muttered to him- 8 self. He took a deep breath, and then he smiled slightly. 9 “Ready to celebrate?” he asked. 10 I groaned. 11 He held the door for me, keeping his arm securely 12 around my waist. I stood frozen there for a minute, then I 13 slowly shook my head. 14 “Unbelievable.” 15 Edward shrugged. “Alice will be Alice.” 16 The interior of the Cullens’ home had been trans- 17 formed into a nightclub — the kind that didn’t often ex- 18 ist in real life, only on TV. 19 “Edward!” Alice called from beside a gigantic speaker. 20 “I need your advice.” She gestured toward a towering 21 stack of CDs. “Should we give them familiar and comfort- 22 ing? Or” — she gestured to a different pile — “educate 23 their taste in music?” 24 “Keep it comforting,” Edward recommended. “You 25 can only lead the horse to water.” 26 Alice nodded seriously, and started throwing the edu- 27 cational CDs into a box. I noticed that she had changed 28 into a sequined tank top and red leather pants. Her bare sh 29 skin reacted oddly to the pulsing red and purple lights. reg 30 “I think I’m underdressed.” “You’re perfect,” Edward disagreed. 366 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 367 “You’ll do,” Alice amended. 1 “Thanks.” I sighed. “Do you really think people will 2 come?” Anyone could hear the hope in my voice. Alice 3 made a face at me. 4 “Everyone will come,” Edward answered. “They’re all 5 dying to see the inside of the reclusive Cullens’ mystery 6 house.” 7 “Fabulous,” I moaned. 8 There wasn’t anything I could do to help. I doubted 9 that — even after I didn’t need sleep and moved at a much 10 faster speed — I would ever be able to get things done the 11 way Alice did. 12 Edward refused to let me go for a second, dragging me 13 along with him as he hunted up Jasper and then Carlisle 14 to tell them of my epiphany. I listened with quiet horror 15 as they discussed their attack on the army in Seattle. I 16 could tell that Jasper was not pleased with the way the 17 numbers stood, but they’d been unable to contact anyone 18 besides Tanya’s unwilling family. Jasper didn’t try to hide 19 his desperation the way Edward would have. It was easy to 20 see that he didn’t like gambling with stakes this high. 21 I couldn’t stay behind, waiting and hoping for them to 22 come home. I wouldn’t. I would go mad. 23 The doorbell rang. 24 All at once, everything was surreally normal. A perfect 25 smile, genuine and warm, replaced the stress on Carlisle’s 26 face. Alice turned the volume of the music up, and then 27 danced to get the door. 28 It was a Suburban-load of my friends, either too ner- 29 sh vous or too intimidated to arrive on their own. Jessica was 30 reg 367 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 368 1 the first one in the door, with Mike right behind her. Ty- 2 ler, Conner, Austin, Lee, Samantha . . . even Lauren trail- 3 ing in last, her critical eyes alight with curiosity. They all 4 were curious, and then overwhelmed as they took in the 5 huge room decked out like a chic rave. The room wasn’t 6 empty; all the Cullens had taken their places, ready to put 7 on their usual perfect human charade. Tonight I felt like I 8 was acting every bit as much as they were. 9 10 I went to greet Jess and Mike, hoping the edge in my 11 voice sounded like the right kind of excitement. Before I 12 could get to anyone else, the bell rang again. I let Angela 13 and Ben in, leaving the door wide, because Eric and Katie 14 were just reaching the steps. 15 16 I didn’t get another chance to panic. I had to talk to 17 everyone, concentrate on being upbeat, a hostess. Though 18 the party had been billed as a joint event for Alice, Ed- 19 ward, and me, there was no denying that I was the most 20 popular target for congratulations and thanks. Maybe be- 21 cause the Cullens looked just slightly wrong under Alice’s 22 party lights. Maybe because those lights left the room dim 23 and mysterious. Not an atmosphere to make your average 24 human feel relaxed when standing next to someone like 25 Emmett. I saw Emmett grin at Mike over the food table, 26 the red lights gleaming off his teeth, and watched Mike 27 take an automatic step back. 28 sh 29 Probably Alice had done this on purpose, to force me reg 30 into the center of attention — a place she thought I should enjoy more. She was forever trying to make me be human the way she thought humans should be. 368 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 369 The party was a clear success, despite the instinctive 1 edginess cause by the Cullens’ presence — or maybe that 2 simply added a thrill to the atmosphere. The music was 3 infectious, the lights almost hypnotic. From the way the 4 food disappeared, that must have been good, too. The 5 room was soon crowded, though never claustrophobic. 6 The entire senior class seemed to be there, along with 7 most of the juniors. Bodies swayed to the beat that rum- 8 bled under the soles of their feet, the party constantly on 9 the edge of breaking into a dance. 10 11 It wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be. I followed 12 Alice’s lead, mingling and chatting for a minute with 13 everyone. They seemed easy enough to please. I was sure 14 this party was far cooler than anything the town of Forks 15 had experienced before. Alice was almost purring — no 16 one here would forget this night. 17 18 I’d circled the room once, and was back to Jessica. She 19 babbled excitedly, and it was not necessary to pay strict at- 20 tention, because the odds were she wouldn’t need a re- 21 sponse from me anytime soon. Edward was at my side — 22 still refusing to let go of me. He kept one hand securely at 23 my waist, pulling me closer now and then in response to 24 thoughts I probably didn’t want to hear. 25 26 So I was immediately suspicious when he dropped his 27 arm and edged away from me. 28 29 sh “Stay here,” he murmured in my ear. “I’ll be right back.” 30 reg He passed gracefully through the crowd without seem- ing to touch any of the close-packed bodies, gone too quickly for me to ask why he was leaving. I stared after 369 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 370 1 him with narrowed eyes while Jessica shouted over the 2 music eagerly, hanging on to my elbow, oblivious to my 3 distraction. 4 5 I watched him as he reached the dark shadow beside 6 the kitchen doorway, where the lights only shone inter- 7 mittently. He was leaning over someone, but I couldn’t see 8 past all the heads between us. 9 10 I stretched up on my toes, craning my neck. Right 11 then, a red light flashed across his back and glinted off the 12 red sequins of Alice’s shirt. The light only touched her face 13 for half a second, but it was enough. 14 15 “Excuse me for a minute, Jess,” I mumbled, pulling my 16 arm away. I didn’t pause for her reaction, even to see if I’d 17 hurt her feelings with my abruptness. 18 19 I ducked my way through the bodies, getting shoved 20 around a bit. A few people were dancing now. I hurried to 21 the kitchen door. 22 23 Edward was gone, but Alice was still there in the dark, 24 her face blank — the kind of expressionless look you see 25 on the face of someone who has just witnessed a horrible 26 accident. One of her hands gripped the door frame, like 27 she needed the support. 28 sh 29 “What, Alice, what? What did you see?” My hands reg 30 were clutched in front of me — begging. She didn’t look at me, she was staring away. I followed her gaze and watched as she caught Edward’s eye across the room. His face was empty as a stone. He turned and disappeared into the shadows under the stair. The doorbell rang just then, hours after the last time, 370 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 371 and Alice looked up with a puzzled expression that 1 quickly turned into one of disgust. 2 3 “Who invited the werewolf?” she griped at me. 4 I scowled. “Guilty.” 5 I’d thought I’d rescinded that invitation — not that 6 I’d ever dreamed Jacob would come here, regardless. 7 “Well, you go take care of it, then. I have to talk to 8 Carlisle.” 9 “No, Alice, wait!” I tried to reach for her arm, but she 10 was gone and my hand clutched the empty air. 11 “Damn it!” I grumbled. 12 I knew this was it. Alice had seen what she’d been 13 waiting for, and I honestly didn’t feel I could stand the 14 suspense long enough to answer the door. The doorbell 15 peeled again, too long, someone holding down the button. 16 I turned my back toward the door resolutely, and scanned 17 the darkened room for Alice. 18 I couldn’t see anything. I started pushing for the stairs. 19 “Hey, Bella!” 20 Jacob’s deep voice caught a lull in the music, and I 21 looked up in spite of myself at the sound of my name. 22 I made a face. 23 It wasn’t just one werewolf, it was three. Jacob had let 24 himself in, flanked on either side by Quil and Embry. The 25 two of them looked terribly tense, their eyes flickering 26 around the room like they’d just walked into a haunted 27 crypt. Embry’s trembling hand still held the door, his 28 body half-turned to run for it. 29 sh Jacob was waving at me, calmer than the others, 30 reg 371 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 372 1 though his nose was wrinkled in disgust. I waved back — 2 waved goodbye — and turned to look for Alice. I squeezed 3 through a space between Conner’s and Lauren’s backs. 4 5 He came out of nowhere, his hand on my shoulder 6 pulling me back toward the shadow by the kitchen. I 7 ducked under his grip, but he grabbed my good wrist and 8 yanked me from the crowd. 9 10 “Friendly reception,” he noted. 11 I pulled my hand free and scowled at him. “What are 12 you doing here?” 13 “You invited me, remember?” 14 “In case my right hook was too subtle for you, let me 15 translate: that was me uninviting you.” 16 “Don’t be a poor sport. I brought you a graduation 17 present and everything.” 18 I folded my arms across my chest. I didn’t want to fight 19 with Jacob right now. I wanted to know what Alice had 20 seen and what Edward and Carlisle were saying about it. I 21 craned my head around Jacob, searching for them. 22 “Take it back to the store, Jake. I’ve got to do some- 23 thing. . . .” 24 He stepped into my line of sight, demanding my at- 25 tention. 26 “I can’t take it back. I didn’t get it from the store — I 27 made it myself. Took a really long time, too.” 28 I leaned around him again, but I couldn’t see any of the sh 29 Cullens. Where had they gone? My eyes scanned the dark- reg 30 ened room. “Oh, c’mon, Bell. Don’t pretend like I’m not here!” 372 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 373 “I’m not.” I couldn’t see them anywhere. “Look, Jake, 1 I’ve got a lot on my mind right now.” 2 3 He put his hand under my chin and pulled my face up. 4 “Could I please have just a few seconds of your undivided 5 attention, Miss Swan?” 6 7 I jerked away from his touch. “Keep your hands to 8 yourself, Jacob,” I hissed. 9 10 “Sorry!” he said at once, holding his hands up in sur- 11 render. “I really am sorry. About the other day, I mean, 12 too. I shouldn’t have kissed you like that. It was wrong. I 13 guess . . . well, I guess I deluded myself into thinking you 14 wanted me to.” 15 16 “Deluded — what a perfect description!” 17 “Be nice. You could accept my apology, you know.” 18 “Fine. Apology accepted. Now, if you’ll just excuse me 19 for a moment . . .” 20 “Okay,” he mumbled, and his voice was so different 21 from before that I stoppd searching for Alice and scruti- 22 nized his face. He was staring at the floor, hiding his eyes. 23 His lower lip jutted out just a little bit. 24 “I guess you’d rather be with your real friends,” he said 25 in the same defeated tone. “I get it.” 26 I groaned. “Aw, Jake, you know that’s not fair.” 27 “Do I?” 28 “You should.” I leaned forward, peering up, trying to 29 sh look into his eyes. He looked up then, over my head, 30 reg avoiding my gaze. “Jake?” He refused to look at me. 373 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 374 1 “Hey, you said you made me something, right?” I 2 asked. “Was that just talk? Where’s my present?” My at- 3 tempt to fake enthusiasm was pretty sad, but it worked. 4 He rolled his eyes and then grimaced at me. 5 6 I kept up the lame pretense, holding my hand open in 7 front of me. “I’m waiting.” 8 9 “Right,” he grumbled sarcastically. But he also reached 10 into the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out a small 11 bag of a loose-woven, multi-colored fabric. It was tied 12 shut with leather drawstrings. He set it on my palm. 13 14 “Hey, that’s pretty, Jake. Thanks!” 15 He sighed. “The present is inside, Bella.” 16 “Oh.” 17 I had some trouble with the strings. He sighed again and 18 took it from me, sliding the ties open with one easy tug of 19 the right cord. I held my hand out for it, but he turned the 20 bag upside down and shook something silver into my hand. 21 Metal links clinked quietly against each other. 22 “I didn’t make the bracelet,” he admitted. “Just the 23 charm.” 24 Fastened to one of the links of the silver bracelet was a 25 tiny wooden carving. I held it between my fingers to look 26 at it closer. It was amazing the amount of detail involved 27 in the little figurine — the miniature wolf was utterly 28 realistic. It was even carved out of some red-brown wood sh 29 that matched the color of his skin. reg 30 “It’s beautiful,” I whispered. “You made this? How?” He shrugged. “It’s something Billy taught me. He’s better at it than I am.” 374 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 375 “That’s hard to believe,” I murmured, turning the tiny 1 wolf around and around in my fingers. 2 3 “Do you really like it?” 4 “Yes! It’s unbelievable, Jake.” 5 He smiled, happily at first, but then the expression 6 soured. “Well, I figured that maybe it would make you re- 7 member me once in a while. You know how it is, out of 8 sight, out of mind.” 9 I ignored the attitude. “Here, help me put it on.” 10 I held out my left wrist, since the right was stuck in the 11 brace. He fastened the catch easily, though it looked too 12 delicate for his big fingers to manage. 13 “You’ll wear it?” he asked. 14 “Of course I will.” 15 He grinned at me — it was the happy smile that I 16 loved to see him wear. 17 I returned it for a moment, but then my eyes shot re- 18 flexively around the room again, anxiously scanning the 19 crowd for some sign of Edward or Alice. 20 “Why’re you so distracted?” Jacob wondered. 21 “It’s nothing,” I lied, trying to concentrate. “Thanks 22 for the present, really. I love it.” 23 “Bella?” His brows pulled together, throwing his eyes 24 deep into their shadow. “Something’s going on, isn’t it?” 25 “Jake, I . . . no, there’s nothing.” 26 “Don’t lie to me, you suck at lying. You should tell me 27 what’s going on. We want to know these things,” he said, 28 slipping into the plural at the end. 29 sh He was probably right; the wolves would certainly be 30 reg 375 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 376 1 interested in what was happening. Only I wasn’t sure what 2 that was yet. I wouldn’t know for sure until I found Alice. 3 4 “Jacob, I will tell you. Just let me figure out what’s hap- 5 pening, okay? I need to talk to Alice.” 6 7 Understanding lit his expression. “The psychic saw 8 something.” 9 10 “Yes, just when you showed up.” 11 “Is this about the bloodsucker in your room?” he mur- 12 mured, pitching his voice below the thrum of the music. 13 “It’s related,” I admitted. 14 He processed that for a minute, leaning his head to one 15 side while he read my face. “You know something you’re 16 not telling me . . . something big.” 17 What was the point in lying again? He knew me too 18 well. “Yes.” 19 Jacob stared at me for one short moment, and then 20 turned to catch his pack brothers’ eyes where they stood in 21 the entry, awkward and uncomfortable. When they took 22 in his expression, they started moving, weaving their way 23 agilely through the partiers, almost like they were danc- 24 ing, too. In half a minute, they stood on either side of Ja- 25 cob, towering over me. 26 “Now. Explain,” Jacob demanded. 27 Embry and Quil looked back and forth between our 28 faces, confused and wary. sh 29 “Jacob, I don’t know everything.” I kept searching the reg 30 room, now for a rescue. They had me backed into a corner in every sense. “What you do know, then.” They all folded their arms across their chests at exactly 376 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 377 the same moment. It was a little bit funny, but mostly 1 menacing. 2 3 And then I caught sight of Alice descending the stairs, 4 her white skin glowing in the purple light. 5 6 “Alice!” I squeaked in relief. 7 She looked right at me as soon as I called her name, de- 8 spite the thudding bass that should have drowned my 9 voice. I waved eagerly, and watched her face as she took in 10 the three werewolves leaning over me. Her eyes narrowed. 11 But, before that reaction, her face was full of stress and 12 fear. I bit my lip as she skipped to my side. 13 Jacob, Quil, and Embry all leaned away from her with 14 uneasy expressions. She put her arm around my waist. 15 “I need to talk to you,” she murmured into my ear. 16 “Er, Jake, I’ll see you later . . . ,” I mumbled as we 17 eased around them. 18 Jacob threw his long arm out to block our way, bracing 19 his hand against the wall. “Hey, not so fast.” 20 Alice stared up at him, eyes wide and incredulous. “Ex- 21 cuse me?” 22 “Tell us what’s going on,” he demanded in a growl. 23 Jasper appeared quite literally out of nowhere. One sec- 24 ond it was just Alice and me against the wall, Jacob block- 25 ing our exit, and then Jasper was standing on the other 26 side of Jake’s arm, his expression terrifying. 27 Jacob slowly pulled his arm back. It seemed like the 28 best move, going with the assumption that he wanted to 29 sh keep that arm. 30 reg “We have a right to know,” Jacob muttered, still glar- ing at Alice. 377 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 378 1 Jasper stepped in between them, and the three were- 2 wolves braced themselves. 3 4 “Hey, hey,” I said, adding a slightly hysterical chuckle. 5 “This is a party, remember?” 6 7 Nobody paid any attention to me. Jacob glared at Al- 8 ice while Jasper glowered at Jacob. Alice’s face was sud- 9 denly thoughtful. 10 11 “It’s okay, Jasper. He actually has a point.” 12 Jasper did not relax his position. 13 I was sure the suspense was going to make my head ex- 14 plode in about one second. “What did you see, Alice?” 15 She stared at Jacob for one second, and then turned to 16 me, evidently having chosen to let them hear. 17 “The decision’s been made.” 18 “You’re going to Seattle?” 19 “No.” 20 I felt the color drain out of my face. My stomach 21 lurched. “They’re coming here,” I choked out. 22 The Quileute boys watched silently, reading every un- 23 conscious play of emotion on our faces. They were rooted 24 in place, and yet not completely still. All three pairs of 25 hands were trembling. 26 “Yes.” 27 “To Forks,” I whispered. 28 “Yes.” sh 29 “For?” reg 30 She nodded, understanding my question. “One carried your red shirt.” I tried to swallow. Jasper’s expression was disapproving. I could tell he 378 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 379 didn’t like discussing this in front of the werewolves, but 1 he had something he needed to say. “We can’t let them 2 come that far. There aren’t enough of us to protect the town.” 3 4 “I know,” Alice said, her face suddenly desolate. “But it 5 doesn’t matter where we stop them. There still won’t be 6 enough of us, and some of them will come here to search.” 7 8 “No!” I whispered. 9 The noise of the party overwhelmed the sound of my 10 denial. All around us, my friends and neighbors and petty 11 enemies ate and laughed and swayed to the music, oblivi- 12 ous to the fact that they were about to face horror, danger, 13 maybe death. Because of me. 14 “Alice,” I mouthed her name. “I have to go, I have to 15 get away from here.” 16 “That won’t help. It’s not like we’re dealing with a 17 tracker. They’ll still come looking here first.” 18 “Then I have to go to meet them!” If my voice hadn’t 19 been so hoarse and strained, it might have been a shriek. 20 “If they find what they’re looking for, maybe they’ll go 21 away and not hurt anyone else!” 22 “Bella!” Alice protested. 23 “Hold it,” Jacob ordered in a low, forceful voice. “What 24 is coming?” 25 Alice turned her icy gaze on him. “Our kind. Lots of 26 them.” 27 “Why?” 28 “For Bella. That’s all we know.” 29 sh “There are too many for you?” he asked. 30 reg Jasper bridled. “We have a few advantages, dog. It will be an even fight.” 379 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 380 1 “No,” Jacob said, and a strange, fierce half-smile spread 2 across his face. “It won’t be even.” 3 4 “Excellent!” Alice hissed. 5 I stared, still frozen in horror, at Alice’s new expression. 6 Her face was alive with exultation, all the despair wiped 7 clean from her perfect features. 8 She grinned at Jacob, and he grinned back. 9 “Everything just disappeared, of course,” she told him 10 in a smug voice. “That’s inconvenient, but, all things con- 11 sidered, I’ll take it.” 12 “We’ll have to coordinate,” Jacob said. “It won’t be 13 easy for us. Still, this is our job more than yours.” 14 “I wouldn’t go that far, but we need the help. We aren’t 15 going to be picky.” 16 “Wait, wait, wait, wait,” I interrupted them. 17 Alice was on her toes, Jacob leaning down toward her, 18 both of their faces lit up with excitement, both of their 19 noses wrinkled against the smell. They looked at me im- 20 patiently. 21 “Coordinate?” I repeated through my teeth. 22 “You didn’t honestly think you were going to keep us 23 out of this?” Jacob asked. 24 “You are staying out of this!” 25 “Your psychic doesn’t think so.” 26 “Alice — tell them no!” I insisted. “They’ll get killed!” 27 Jacob, Quil, and Embry all laughed out loud. 28 “Bella,” Alice said, her voice soothing, placating, “sep- sh 29 arately we all could get killed. Together —” reg 30 “It’ll be no problem,” Jacob finished her sentence. Quil laughed again. 380 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 381 “How many?” Quil asked eagerly. 1 “No!” I shouted. 2 Alice didn’t even look at me. “It changes — twenty-one 3 today, but the numbers are going down.” 4 “Why?” Jacob asked, curious. 5 “Long story,” Alice said, suddenly looking around the 6 room. “And this isn’t the place for it.” 7 “Later tonight?” Jacob pushed. 8 “Yes,” Jasper answered him. “We were already plan- 9 ning a . . . strategic meeting. If you’re going to fight with 10 us, you’ll need some instruction.” 11 The wolves all made a disgruntled face at the last part. 12 “No!” I moaned. 13 “This will be odd,” Jasper said thoughtfully. “I never 14 considered working together. This has to be a first.” 15 “No doubt about that,” Jacob agreed. He was in a 16 hurry now. “We’ve got to get back to Sam. What time?” 17 “What’s too late for you?” 18 All three rolled their eyes. “What time?” Jacob re- 19 peated. 20 “Three o’clock?” 21 “Where?” 22 “About ten miles due north of the Hoh Forest ranger 23 station. Come at it from the west and you’ll be able to fol- 24 low our scent in.” 25 “We’ll be there.” 26 They turned to leave. 27 “Wait, Jake!” I called after him. “Please! Don’t do this!” 28 He paused, turning back to grin at me, while Quil 29 sh and Embry headed impatiently for the door. “Don’t be 30 reg 381 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 382 1 ridiculous, Bells. You’re giving me a much better gift 2 than the one I gave you.” 3 4 “No!” I shouted again. The sound of an electric guitar 5 drowned my cry. 6 7 He didn’t respond; he hurried to catch up with his 8 friends, who were already gone. I watched helplessly as Ja- 9 cob disappeared. 10 11 382 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 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 383 18. INSTRUCTION 1 2 “That had to be the longest party in the history 3 of the world,” I complained on the way home. 4 5 Edward didn’t seem to disagree. “It’s over now,” he 6 said, rubbing my arm soothingly. 7 8 Because I was the only one who needed soothing. Ed- 9 ward was fine now — all the Cullens were fine. 10 11 They’d all reassured me; Alice reaching up to pat my 12 head as I left, eyeing Jasper meaningfully until a flood of 13 peace swirled around me, Esme kissing my forehead and 14 promising me everything was all right, Emmett laughing 15 boisterously and asking why I was the only one who was 16 allowed to fight with werewolves. . . . Jacob’s solution had 17 them all relaxed, almost euphoric after the long weeks of 18 19 383 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 384 1 stress. Doubt had been replaced with confidence. The 2 party had ended on a note of true celebration. 3 4 Not for me. 5 Bad enough — horrible — that the Cullens would fight 6 for me. It was already too much that I would have to allow 7 that. It already felt like more than I could bear. 8 Not Jacob, too. Not his foolish, eager brothers — most 9 of them even younger than I was. They were just oversized, 10 over-muscled children, and they looked forward to this like 11 it was picnic on the beach. I could not have them in danger, 12 too. My nerves felt frayed and exposed. I didn’t know how 13 much longer I could restrain the urge to scream out loud. 14 I whispered now, to keep my voice under control. 15 “You’re taking me with you tonight.” 16 “Bella, you’re worn out.” 17 “You think I could sleep?” 18 He frowned. “This is an experiment. I’m not sure if it 19 will be possible for us all to . . . cooperate. I don’t want 20 you in the middle of that.” 21 As if that didn’t make me all the more anxious to go. 22 “If you won’t take me, then I’ll call Jacob.” 23 His eyes tightened. That was a low blow, and I knew it. 24 But there was no way I was being left behind. 25 He didn’t answer; we were at Charlie’s house now. The 26 front light was on. 27 “See you upstairs,” I muttered. 28 I tiptoed in the front door. Charlie was asleep in the sh 29 living room, overflowing the too-small sofa, and snoring reg 30 so loudly I could have ripped a chainsaw to life and it wouldn’t have wakened him. 384 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 385 I shook his shoulder vigorously. 1 “Dad! Charlie!” 2 He grumbled, eyes still closed. 3 “I’m home now — you’re going to hurt your back sleep- 4 ing like that. C’mon, time to move.” 5 It took a few more shakes, and his eyes never did open 6 all the way, but I managed to get him off the couch. I 7 helped him up to his bed, where he collapsed on top of the 8 covers, fully dressed, and started snoring again. 9 He wasn’t going to be looking for me anytime soon. 10 Edward waited in my room while I washed my face and 11 changed into jeans and a flannel shirt. He watched me un- 12 happily from the rocking chair as I hung the outfit Alice 13 had given me in my closet. 14 “Come here,” I said, taking his hand and pulling him 15 to my bed. 16 I pushed him down on the bed and then curled up 17 against his chest. Maybe he was right and I was tired enough 18 to sleep. I wasn’t going to let him sneak off without me. 19 He tucked my quilt in around me, and then held me 20 close. 21 “Please relax.” 22 “Sure.” 23 “This is going to work, Bella. I can feel it.” 24 My teeth locked together. 25 He was still radiating relief. Nobody but me cared if 26 Jacob and his friends got hurt. Not even Jacob and his 27 friends. Especially not them. 28 He could tell I was about to lose it. “Listen to me, Bella. 29 sh This is going to be easy. The newborns will be completely 30 reg 385 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 386 1 taken by surprise. They’ll have no more idea that were- 2 wolves even exist than you did. I’ve seen how they act in a 3 group, the way Jasper remembers. I truly believe that the 4 wolves’ hunting techniques will work flawlessly against 5 them. And with them divided and confused, there won’t 6 be enough for the rest of us to do. Someone may have to sit 7 out,” he teased. 8 9 “Piece of cake,” I mumbled tonelessly against his chest. 10 “Shhh,” he stroked my cheek. “You’ll see. Don’t worry 11 now.” 12 He started humming my lullaby, but, for once, it didn’t 13 calm me. 14 People — well, vampires and werewolves really, but 15 still — people I loved were going to get hurt. Hurt be- 16 cause of me. Again. I wished my bad luck would focus a 17 little more carefully. I felt like yelling up at the empty 18 sky: It’s me you want — over here! Just me! 19 I tried to think of a way that I could do exactly that — 20 force my bad luck to focus on me. It wouldn’t be easy. I 21 would have to wait, bide my time. . . . 22 I did not fall asleep. The minutes passed quickly, to my 23 surprise, and I was still alert and tense when Edward 24 pulled us both up into a sitting position. 25 “Are you sure you don’t want to stay and sleep?” 26 I gave him a sour look. 27 He sighed, and scooped me up in his arms before he 28 jumped from my window. sh 29 He raced through the black, quiet forest with me on reg 30 his back, and even in his run I could feel the elation. He ran the way he did when it was just us, just for enjoyment, 386 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 387 just for the feel of the wind in his hair. It was the kind of 1 thing that, during less anxious times, would have made 2 me happy. 3 4 When we got to the big open field, his family was 5 there, talking casually, relaxed. Emmett’s booming laugh 6 echoed through the wide space now and then. Edward set 7 me down and we walked hand in hand toward them. 8 9 It took me a minute, because it was so dark with the 10 moon hidden behind the clouds, but I realized that we 11 were in the baseball clearing. It was the same place where, 12 more than a year ago, that first lighthearted evening with 13 the Cullens had been interrupted by James and his coven. 14 It felt strange to be here again — as if this gathering 15 wouldn’t be complete until James and Laurent and Victo- 16 ria joined us. But James and Laurent were never coming 17 back. That pattern wouldn’t be repeated. Maybe all the 18 patterns were broken. 19 20 Yes, someone had broken out of their pattern. Was it 21 possible that the Volturi were the flexible ones in this 22 equation? 23 24 I doubted it. 25 Victoria had always seemed like a force of nature to 26 me — like a hurricane moving toward the coast in a 27 straight line — unavoidable, implacable, but predictable. 28 Maybe it was wrong to limit her that way. She had to be 29 sh capable of adaptation. 30 reg “You know what I think?” I asked Edward. He laughed. “No.” I almost smiled. “What do you think?” 387 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 388 1 “I think it’s all connected. Not just the two, but all 2 three.” 3 4 “You’ve lost me.” 5 “Three bad things have happened since you came 6 back.” I ticked them off on my fingers. “The newborns in 7 Seattle. The stranger in my room. And — first of all — 8 Victoria came to look for me.” 9 His eyes narrowed as he thought about it. “Why do 10 you think so?” 11 “Because I agree with Jasper — the Volturi love their 12 rules. They would probably do a better job anyway.” And 13 I’d be dead if they wanted me dead, I added mentally. “Re- 14 member when you were tracking Victoria last year?” 15 “Yes.” He frowned. “I wasn’t very good at it.” 16 “Alice said you were in Texas. Did you follow her 17 there?” 18 His eyebrows pulled together. “Yes. Hmm . . .” 19 “See — she could have gotten the idea there. But she 20 doesn’t know what she’s doing, so the newborns are all out 21 of control.” 22 He started shaking his head. “Only Aro knows exactly 23 how Alice’s visions work.” 24 “Aro would know best, but wouldn’t Tanya and Irina 25 and the rest of your friends in Denali know enough? Lau- 26 rent lived with them for so long. And if he was still 27 friendly enough with Victoria to be doing favors for her, 28 why wouldn’t he also tell her everything he knew?” sh 29 Edward frowned. “It wasn’t Victoria in your room.” reg 30 “She can’t make new friends? Think about it, Edward. 388 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 389 If it is Victoria doing this in Seattle, she’s made a lot of new 1 friends. She’s created them.” 2 3 He considered it, his forehead creased in concentration. 4 “Hmm,” he finally said. “It’s possible. I still think the 5 Volturi are most likely . . . But your theory — there’s 6 something there. Victoria’s personality. Your theory suits 7 her personality perfectly. She’s shown a remarkable gift for 8 self-preservation from the start — maybe it’s a talent of 9 hers. In any case, this plot would put her in no danger at 10 all from us, if she sits safely behind and lets the newborns 11 wreak their havoc here. And maybe little danger from the 12 Volturi, either. Perhaps she’s counting on us to win, in the 13 end, though certainly not without heavy casualties of our 14 own. But no survivors from her little army to bear witness 15 against her. In fact,” he continued, thinking it through, “if 16 there were survivors, I’d bet she’d be planning to destroy 17 them herself. . . . Hmm. Still, she’d have to have at least 18 one friend who was a bit more mature. No fresh-made 19 newborn left your father alive. . . .” 20 He frowned into space for a long moment, and then 21 suddenly smiled at me, coming back from his reverie. 22 “Definitely possible. Regardless, we’ve got to be prepared 23 for anything until we know for sure. You’re very percep- 24 tive today,” he added. “It’s impressive.” 25 I sighed. “Maybe I’m just reacting to this place. It 26 makes me feel like she’s close by . . . like she sees me now.” 27 His jaw muscles tensed at the idea. “She’ll never touch 28 you, Bella,” he said. 29 sh In spite of his words, his eyes swept carefully across the 30 reg 389 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 390 1 dark trees. While he searched their shadows, the strangest 2 expression crossed his face. His lips pulled back over his 3 teeth and his eyes shone with an odd light — a wild, fierce 4 kind of hope. 5 6 “Yet, what I wouldn’t give to have her that close,” he 7 murmured. “Victoria, and anyone else who’s ever thought 8 of hurting you. To have the chance to end this myself. To 9 finish it with my own hands this time.” 10 11 I shuddered at the ferocious longing in his voice, and 12 clenched his fingers more tightly with mine, wishing I 13 was strong enough to lock our hands together perma- 14 nently. 15 16 We were almost to his family, and I noticed for the first 17 time that Alice did not look as optimistic as the others. 18 She stood a little aside, watching Jasper stretching his 19 arms as if he were warming up to exercise, her lips pushed 20 out in a pout. 21 22 “Is something wrong with Alice?” I whispered. 23 Edward chuckled, himself again. “The werewolves are 24 on their way, so she can’t see anything that will happen 25 now. It makes her uncomfortable to be blind.” 26 Alice, though the farthest from us, heard his low voice. 27 She looked up and stuck her tongue out at him. He 28 laughed again. sh 29 “Hey, Edward,” Emmett greeted him. “Hey, Bella. Is reg 30 he going to let you practice, too?” Edward groaned at his brother. “Please, Emmett, don’t give her any ideas.” “When will our guests arrive?” Carlisle asked Edward. Edward concentrated for a moment, and then sighed. 390 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 391 “A minute and a half. But I’m going to have to translate. 1 They don’t trust us enough to use their human forms.” 2 3 Carlisle nodded. “This is hard for them. I’m grateful 4 they’re coming at all.” 5 6 I stared at Edward, my eyes stretched wide. “They’re 7 coming as wolves?” 8 9 He nodded, cautious of my reaction. I swallowed once, 10 remembering the two times I’d seen Jacob in his wolf 11 form — the first time in the meadow with Laurent, the 12 second time on the forest lane where Paul had gotten an- 13 gry at me. . . . They were both memories of terror. 14 15 A strange gleam came into Edward’s eyes, as though 16 something had just occurred to him, something that was 17 not altogether unpleasant. He turned away quickly, before 18 I could see any more, back to Carlisle and the others. 19 20 “Prepare yourselves — they’ve been holding out on us.” 21 “What do you mean?” Alice demanded. 22 “Shh,” he cautioned, and stared past her into the dark- 23 ness. 24 The Cullens’ informal circle suddenly widened out into 25 a loose line with Jasper and Emmett at the spear point. 26 From the way Edward leaned forward next to me, I could 27 tell that he wished he was standing beside them. I tight- 28 ened my hand around his. 29 sh I squinted toward the forest, seeing nothing. 30 reg “Damn,” Emmett muttered under his breath. “Did you ever see anything like it?” Esme and Rosalie exchanged a wide-eyed glance. “What is it?” I whispered as quietly as I could. “I can’t see.” 391 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 392 1 “The pack has grown,” Edward murmured into my ear. 2 Hadn’t I told him that Quil had joined the pack? I 3 strained to see the six wolves in the gloom. Finally, 4 something glittered in the blackness — their eyes, higher 5 up than they should be. I’d forgotten how very tall the 6 wolves were. Like horses, only thick with muscle and 7 fur — and teeth like knives, impossible to overlook. 8 I could only see the eyes. And as I scanned, straining 9 to see more, it occurred to me that there were more than 10 six pairs facing us. One, two, three . . . I counted the pairs 11 swiftly in my head. Twice. 12 There were ten of them. 13 “Fascinating,” Edward murmured almost silently. 14 Carlisle took a slow, deliberate step forward. It was a 15 careful movement, designed to reassure. 16 “Welcome,” he greeted the invisible wolves. 17 “Thank you,” Edward responded in a strange, flat tone, 18 and I realized at once that the words came from Sam. I 19 looked to the eyes shining in the center of the line, the 20 highest up, the tallest of them all. It was impossible to 21 separate the shape of the big black wolf from the darkness. 22 Edward spoke again in the same detached voice, speak- 23 ing Sam’s words. “We will watch and listen, but no more. 24 That is the most we can ask of our self-control.” 25 “That is more than enough,” Carlisle answered. “My 26 son Jasper” — he gestured to where Jasper stood, tensed 27 and ready — “has experience in this area. He will teach us 28 how they fight, how they are to be defeated. I’m sure you sh 29 can apply this to your own hunting style.” reg 30 “They are different from you?” Edward asked for Sam. 392 3rd Pass Pages

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