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Stephenie Meyer - Eclipse

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Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 443 elsewhere — trying to figure out what was on my mind. I 1 decided he needed a hint. 2 3 My hands were slightly shaky as I unlocked my arms 4 from around his neck. My fingers slid down his neck to the 5 collar of his shirt. The trembling didn’t help as I tried to 6 hurry to undo the buttons before he stopped me. 7 8 His lips froze, and I could almost hear the click in his 9 head as he put together my words and my actions. 10 11 He pushed me away at once, his face heavily disap- 12 proving. 13 14 “Be reasonable, Bella.” 15 “You promised — whatever I wanted,” I reminded him 16 without hope. 17 “We’re not having this discussion.” He glared at me 18 while he refastened the two buttons I’d managed to open. 19 My teeth clamped together. 20 “I say we are,” I growled. I moved my hands to my 21 blouse and yanked open the top button. 22 He grabbed my wrists and pinned them to my sides. 23 “I say we’re not,” he said flatly. 24 We glowered at each other. 25 “You wanted to know,” I pointed out. 26 “I thought it would be something faintly realistic.” 27 “So you can ask for any stupid, ridiculous thing you 28 want — like getting married — but I’m not allowed to 29 sh even discuss what I —” 30 reg While I was ranting, he pulled my hands together to restrain them in just one of his, and put his other hand over my mouth. “No.” His face was hard. 443 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 444 1 I took a deep breath to steady myself. And, as the anger 2 began to fade, I felt something else. 3 4 It took me a minute to recognize why I was staring 5 down again, the blush returning — why my stomach felt 6 uneasy, why there was too much moisture in my eyes, why 7 I suddenly wanted to run from the room. 8 9 Rejection washed through me, instinctive and strong. 10 I knew it was irrational. He’d been very clear on other 11 occasions that my safety was the only factor. Yet I’d never 12 made myself quite so vulnerable before. I scowled at the 13 golden comforter that matched his eyes and tried to ban- 14 ish the reflex reaction that told me I was unwanted and 15 unwantable. 16 Edward sighed. The hand over my mouth moved under 17 my chin, and he pulled my face up until I had to look 18 at him. 19 “What now?” 20 “Nothing,” I mumbled. 21 He scrutinized my face for long moment while I tried 22 unsuccessfully to twist away from his gaze. His brow fur- 23 rowed, and his expression became horrified. 24 “Did I hurt your feelings?” he asked, shocked. 25 “No,” I lied. 26 So quickly that I wasn’t even sure how it happened, I 27 was in his arms, my face cradled between his shoulder and 28 his hand, while his thumb stroked reassuringly against my sh 29 cheek. reg 30 “You know why I have to say no,” he murmured. “You know that I want you, too.” “Do you?” I whispered, my voice full of doubt. 444 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 445 “Of course I do, you silly, beautiful, oversensitive girl.” 1 He laughed once, and then his voice was bleak. “Doesn’t 2 everyone? I feel like there’s a line behind me, jockeying for 3 position, waiting for me to make a big enough mis- 4 take. . . . You’re too desirable for your own good.” 5 6 “Who’s being silly now?” I doubted if awkward, self- 7 conscious, and inept added up to desirable in anyone’s 8 book. 9 10 “Do I have to send a petition around to get you to be- 11 lieve? Shall I tell you whose names would be on the top 12 of the list? You know a few of them, but some might sur- 13 prise you.” 14 15 I shook my head against his chest, grimacing. “You’re 16 just trying to distract me. Let’s get back to the subject.” 17 18 He sighed. 19 “Tell me if I have anything wrong.” I tried to sound de- 20 tached. “Your demands are marriage” — I couldn’t say the 21 word without making a face — “paying my tuition, more 22 time, and you wouldn’t mind if my vehicle went a little 23 faster.” I raised my eyebrows. “Did I get everything? 24 That’s a hefty list.” 25 “Only the first is a demand.” He seemed to be having a 26 hard time keeping a straight face. “The others are merely 27 requests.” 28 “And my lone, solitary little demand is —” 29 sh “Demand?” he interrupted, suddenly serious again. 30 reg “Yes, demand.” His eyes narrowed. “Getting married is a stretch for me. I’m not giving in unless I get something in return.” 445 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 446 1 He leaned down to whisper in my ear. “No,” he mur- 2 mured silkily. “It’s not possible now. Later, when you’re 3 less breakable. Be patient, Bella.” 4 5 I tried to keep my voice firm and reasonable. “But that’s 6 the problem. It won’t be the same when I’m less breakable. 7 I won’t be the same! I don’t know who I’ll be then.” 8 9 “You’ll still be Bella,” he promised. 10 I frowned. “If I’m so far gone that I’d want to kill Char- 11 lie — that I’d drink Jacob’s blood or Angela’s if I got the 12 chance — how can that be true?” 13 “It will pass. And I doubt you’ll want to drink the 14 dog’s blood.” He pretended to shudder at the thought. 15 “Even as a newborn, you’ll have better taste than that.” 16 I ignored his attempt to sidetrack me. “But that will al- 17 ways be what I want most, won’t it?” I challenged. “Blood, 18 blood, and more blood!” 19 “The fact that you are still alive is proof that that is not 20 true,” he pointed out. 21 “Over eighty years later,” I reminded him. “What I 22 meant was physically, though. Intellectually, I know I’ll be 23 able to be myself . . . after a while. But just purely physi- 24 cally — I will always be thirsty, more than anything else.” 25 He didn’t answer. 26 “So I will be different,” I concluded unopposed. “Be- 27 cause right now, physically, there’s nothing I want more 28 than you. More than food or water or oxygen. Intellectu- sh 29 ally, I have my priorities in a slightly more sensible order. reg 30 But physically . . .” I twisted my head to kiss the palm of his hand. 446 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 447 He took a deep breath. I was surprised that it sounded 1 a little unsteady. 2 3 “Bella, I could kill you,” he whispered. 4 “I don’t think you could.” 5 Edward’s eyes tightened. He lifted his hand from my 6 face and reached quickly behind himself for something I 7 couldn’t see. There was a muffled snapping sound, and the 8 bed quivered beneath us. 9 Something dark was in his hand; he held it up for my 10 curious examination. It was a metal flower, one of the roses 11 that adorned the wrought iron posts and canopy of his bed 12 frame. His hand closed for a brief second, his fingers con- 13 tracting gently, and then it opened again. 14 Without a word, he offered me the crushed, uneven 15 lump of black metal. It was a cast of the inside of his hand, 16 like a piece of play dough squeezed in a child’s fist. A half- 17 second passed, and the shape crumbled into black sand in 18 his palm. 19 I glared. “That’s not what I meant. I already know how 20 strong you are. You didn’t have to break the furniture.” 21 “What did you mean then?” he asked in a dark voice, 22 tossing the handful of iron sand to the corner of the room; 23 it hit the wall with a sound like rain. 24 His eyes were intent on my face as I struggled to ex- 25 plain. 26 “Obviously not that you aren’t physically able hurt me, 27 if you wanted to . . . More that, you don’t want to hurt 28 me . . . so much so that I don’t think that you ever could.” 29 sh He started shaking his head before I was done. 30 reg 447 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 448 1 “It might not work like that, Bella.” 2 “Might,” I scoffed. “You have no more idea what you’re 3 talking about than I do.” 4 “Exactly. Do you imagine I would ever take that kind 5 of risk with you?” 6 I stared into his eyes for a long minute. There was no 7 sign of compromise, no hint of indecision in them. 8 “Please,” I finally whispered, hopeless. “It’s all I want. 9 Please.” I closed my eyes in defeat, waiting for the quick 10 and final no. 11 But he didn’t answer immediately. I hesitated in disbe- 12 lief, stunned to hear that his breathing was uneven again. 13 I opened my eyes, and his face was torn. 14 “Please?” I whispered again, my heartbeat picking up 15 speed. My words tumbled out as I rushed to take advan- 16 tage of the sudden uncertainty in his eyes. “You don’t have 17 to make me any guarantees. If it doesn’t work out right, 18 well, then that’s that. Just let us try . . . only try. And I’ll 19 give you what you want,” I promised rashly. “I’ll marry 20 you. I’ll let you pay for Dartmouth, and I won’t complain 21 about the bribe to get me in. You can even buy me a fast 22 car if that makes you happy! Just . . . please.” 23 His icy arms tightened around me, and his lips were at 24 my ear; his cool breath made me shiver. “This is unbear- 25 able. So many things I’ve wanted to give you — and this is 26 what you decide to demand. Do you have any idea how 27 painful it is, trying to refuse you when you plead with me 28 this way?” sh 29 “Then don’t refuse,” I suggested breathlessly. reg 30 He didn’t respond. 448 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 449 “Please,” I tried again. 1 “Bella . . .” He shook his head slowly, but it didn’t feel 2 like a denial as his face, his lips, moved back and forth 3 across my throat. It felt more like surrender. My heart, rac- 4 ing already, spluttered frantically. 5 Again, I took what advantage I could. When his face 6 turned toward mine with the slow movement of his inde- 7 cision, I twisted quickly in his arms till my lips reached 8 his. His hands seized my face, and I thought he was going 9 to push me away again. 10 I was wrong. 11 His mouth was not gentle; there was a brand-new edge 12 of conflict and desperation in the way his lips moved. I 13 locked my arms around his neck, and, to my suddenly 14 overheated skin, his body felt colder than ever. I trembled, 15 but it was not from the chill. 16 He didn’t stop kissing me. I was the one who had to 17 break away, gasping for air. Even then his lips did not 18 leave my skin, they just moved to my throat. The thrill of 19 victory was a strange high; it made me feel powerful. Brave. 20 My hands weren’t unsteady now; I got through with the 21 buttons on his shirt this time easily, and my fingers traced 22 the perfect planes of his icy chest. He was too beautiful. 23 What was the word he’d used just now? Unbearable — 24 that was it. His beauty was too much to bear. . . . 25 I pulled his mouth back to mine, and he seemed just as 26 eager as I was. One of his hands still cupped my face, his 27 other arm was tight around my waist, straining me closer 28 to him. It made it slightly more difficult as I tried to reach 29 sh the front of my shirt, but not impossible. 30 reg 449 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 450 1 Cold iron fetters locked around my wrists, and pulled 2 my hands above my head, which was suddenly on a pillow. 3 4 His lips were at my ear again. “Bella,” he murmured, 5 his voice warm and velvet. “Would you please stop trying 6 to take your clothes off?” 7 8 “Do you want to do that part?” I asked, confused. 9 “Not tonight,” he answered softly. His lips were slower 10 now against my cheek and jaw, all the urgency gone. 11 “Edward, don’t —,” I started to argue. 12 “I’m not saying no,” he reassured me. “I’m just saying 13 not tonight.” 14 I thought about that while my breathing slowed. 15 “Give me one good reason why tonight is not as good 16 as any other night.” I was still breathless; it made the frus- 17 tration in my voice less impressive. 18 “I wasn’t born yesterday.” He chuckled in my ear. “Out 19 of the two of us, which do you think is more unwilling to 20 give the other what they want? You just promised to marry 21 me before you do any changing, but if I give in tonight, 22 what guarantee do I have that you won’t go running off 23 to Carlisle in the morning? I am — clearly — much less 24 reluctant to give you what you want. Therefore . . . you 25 first.” 26 I exhaled with a loud huff. “I have to marry you first?” 27 I asked in disbelief. 28 “That’s the deal — take it or leave it. Compromise, re- sh 29 member?” reg 30 His arms wrapped around me, and he began kissing me in a way that should be illegal. Too persuasive — it was 450 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 451 duress, coercion. I tried to keep a clear head . . . and failed 1 quickly and absolutely. 2 3 “I think that’s a really bad idea,” I gasped when he let 4 me breathe. 5 6 “I’m not surprised you feel that way.” He smirked. 7 “You have a one-track mind.” 8 9 “How did this happen?” I grumbled. “I thought I was 10 holding my own tonight — for once — and now, all of a 11 sudden —” 12 13 “You’re engaged,” he finished. 14 “Ew! Please don’t say that out loud.” 15 “Are you going back on your word?” he demanded. He 16 pulled away to read my face. His expression was enter- 17 tained. He was having fun. 18 I glared at him, trying to ignore the way his smile 19 made my heart react. 20 “Are you?” he pressed. 21 “Ugh!” I groaned. “No. I’m not. Are you happy now?” 22 His smile was blinding. “Exceptionally.” 23 I groaned again. 24 “Aren’t you happy at all?” 25 He kissed me again before I could answer. Another too- 26 persuasive kiss. 27 “A little bit,” I admitted when I could speak. “But not 28 about getting married.” 29 sh He kissed me another time. “Do you get the feeling 30 reg that everything is backward?” he laughed in my ear. “Tra- ditionally, shouldn’t you be arguing my side, and I yours?” “There isn’t much that’s traditional about you and me.” 451 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 452 1 “True.” 2 He kissed me again, and kept going until my heart was 3 racing and my skin was flushed. 4 “Look, Edward,” I murmured, my voice wheedling, 5 when he paused to kiss the palm of my hand. “I said I would 6 marry you, and I will. I promise. I swear. If you want, I’ll 7 sign a contract in my own blood.” 8 “Not funny,” he murmured against the inside of my 9 wrist. 10 “What I’m saying is this — I’m not going to trick you 11 or anything. You know me better than that. So there’s 12 really no reason to wait. We’re completely alone — how 13 often does that happen? — and you’ve provided this very 14 large and comfortable bed. . . .” 15 “Not tonight,” he said again. 16 “Don’t you trust me?” 17 “Of course I do.” 18 Using the hand that he was still kissing, I pulled his 19 face back up to where I could see his expression. 20 “Then what’s the problem? It’s not like you didn’t 21 know you were going to win in the end.” I frowned and 22 muttered, “You always win.” 23 “Just hedging my bets,” he said calmly. 24 “There’s something else,” I guessed, my eyes narrow- 25 ing. There was a defensiveness about his face, a faint hint 26 of some secret motive he was trying to hide behind his ca- 27 sual manner. “Are you planning to go back on your word?” 28 “No,” he promised solemnly. “I swear to you, we will sh 29 try. After you marry me.” reg 30 I shook my head, and laughed glumly. “You make me 452 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 453 feel like a villain in a melodrama — twirling my mus- 1 tache while I try to steal some poor girl’s virtue.” 2 3 His eyes were wary as they flashed across my face, then 4 he quickly ducked down to press his lips against my col- 5 larbone. 6 7 “That’s it, isn’t it?” The short laugh that escaped me 8 was more shocked than amused. “You’re trying to protect 9 your virtue!” I covered my mouth with my hand to muffle 10 the giggle that followed. The words were so . . . old- 11 fashioned. 12 13 “No, silly girl,” he muttered against my shoulder. “I’m 14 trying to protect yours. And you’re making it shockingly 15 difficult.” 16 17 “Of all the ridiculous —” 18 “Let me ask you something,” he interrupted quickly. 19 “We’ve had this discussion before, but humor me. How 20 many people in this room have a soul? A shot at heaven, or 21 whatever there is after this life?” 22 “Two,” I answered immediately, my voice fierce. 23 “All right. Maybe that’s true. Now, there’s a world full 24 of dissension about this, but the vast majority seem to 25 think that there are some rules that have to be followed.” 26 “Vampire rules aren’t enough for you? You want to 27 worry about the human ones too?” 28 “It couldn’t hurt.” He shrugged. “Just in case.” 29 sh I glared at him through narrowed eyes. 30 reg “Now, of course, it might be too late for me, even if you are right about my soul.” “No, it isn’t,” I argued angrily. “‘Thou shalt not kill’ is commonly accepted by most 453 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 454 1 major belief systems. And I’ve killed a lot of people, 2 Bella.” 3 4 “Only the bad ones.” 5 He shrugged. “Maybe that counts, maybe it doesn’t. 6 But you haven’t killed anyone —” 7 “That you know about,” I muttered. 8 He smiled, but otherwise ignored the interruption. 9 “And I’m going to do my best to keep you out of tempta- 10 tion’s way.” 11 “Okay. But we weren’t fighting over committing mur- 12 der,” I reminded him. 13 “The same principle applies — the only difference is 14 that this is the one area in which I’m just as spotless as you 15 are. Can’t I leave one rule unbroken?” 16 “One?” 17 “You know that I’ve stolen, I’ve lied, I’ve coveted . . . 18 my virtue is all I have left.” He grinned crookedly. 19 “I lie all the time.” 20 “Yes, but you’re such a bad liar that it doesn’t really 21 count. Nobody believes you.” 22 “I really hope you’re wrong about that — because 23 otherwise Charlie is about to burst through the door with 24 a loaded gun.” 25 “Charlie is happier when he pretends to swallow your 26 stories. He’d rather lie to himself than look too closely.” 27 He grinned at me. 28 “But what did you ever covet?” I asked doubtfully. sh 29 “You have everything.” reg 30 “I coveted you.” His smile darkened. “I had no right to want you — but I reached out and took you anyway. And 454 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 455 now look what’s become of you! Trying to seduce a vam- 1 pire.” He shook his head in mock horror. 2 3 “You can covet what’s already yours,” I informed him. 4 “Besides, I thought it was my virtue you were worried 5 about.” 6 7 “It is. If it’s too late for me . . . Well, I’ll be damned — 8 no pun intended — if I’ll let them keep you out, too.” 9 10 “You can’t make me go somewhere you won’t be,” I 11 vowed. “That’s my definition of hell. Anyway, I have an 12 easy solution to all this: let’s never die, all right?” 13 14 “Sounds simple enough. Why didn’t I think of that?” 15 He smiled at me until I gave up with an angry humph. 16 “So that’s it. You won’t sleep with me until we’re married.” 17 “Technically, I can’t ever sleep with you.” 18 I rolled my eyes. “Very mature, Edward.” 19 “But, other than that detail, yes, you’ve got it right.” 20 “I think you have an ulterior motive.” 21 His eyes widened innocently. “Another one?” 22 “You know this will speed things up,” I accused. 23 He tried not to smile. “There is only one thing I want 24 to speed up, and the rest can wait forever . . . but for that, 25 it’s true, your impatient human hormones are my most 26 powerful ally at this point.” 27 “I can’t believe I’m going along with this. When I 28 think of Charlie . . . and Renée! Can you imagine what 29 sh Angela will think? Or Jessica? Ugh. I can hear the gossip 30 reg now.” He raised one eyebrow at me, and I knew why. What did it matter what they said about me when I leaving soon and not coming back? Was I really so oversensitive that I 455 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 456 1 couldn’t bear a few weeks of sidelong glances and leading 2 questions? 3 4 Maybe it wouldn’t bug me so much if I didn’t know 5 that I would probably be gossiping just as condescend- 6 ingly as the rest of them if it was someone else getting 7 married this summer. 8 9 Gah. Married this summer! I shuddered. 10 And then, maybe it wouldn’t bug me so much if I 11 hadn’t been raised to shudder at the thought of marriage. 12 Edward interrupted my fretting. “It doesn’t have to be 13 a big production. I don’t need any fanfare. You won’t have 14 to tell anyone or make any changes. We’ll go to Vegas — 15 you can wear old jeans and we’ll go to the chapel with the 16 drive-through window. I just want it to be official — that 17 you belong to me and no one else.” 18 “It couldn’t be any more official than it already is,” I 19 grumbled. But his description didn’t sound that bad. 20 Only Alice would be disappointed. 21 “We’ll see about that.” He smiled complacently. “I 22 suppose you don’t want your ring now?” 23 I had to swallow before I could speak. “You suppose 24 correctly.” 25 He laughed at my expression. “That’s fine. I’ll get it on 26 your finger soon enough.” 27 I glared at him. “You talk like you already have one.” 28 “I do,” he said, unashamed. “Ready to force upon you sh 29 at the first sign of weakness.” reg 30 “You’re unbelievable.” “Do you want to see it?” he asked. His liquid topaz eyes were suddenly shining with excitement. 456 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 457 “No!” I almost shouted, a reflex reaction. I regretted it 1 at once. His face fell ever so slightly. “Unless you really 2 want to show it to me,” I amended. I gritted my teeth to- 3 gether to keep my illogical terror from showing. 4 5 “That’s all right,” he shrugged. “It can wait.” 6 I sighed. “Show me the damn ring, Edward.” 7 He shook his head. “No.” 8 I studied his expression for a long minute. 9 “Please?” I asked quietly, experimenting with my 10 newly discovered weapon. I touched his face lightly with 11 the tips of my fingers. “Please can I see it?” 12 His eyes narrowed. “You are the most dangerous creature 13 I’ve ever met,” he muttered. But he got up and moved with 14 unconscious grace to kneel next to the small bedside table. 15 He was back on the bed with me in an instant, sitting be- 16 side me with one arm around my shoulder. In his other 17 hand was a little black box. He balanced it on my left knee. 18 “Go ahead and look, then,” he said brusquely. 19 It was harder than it should have been to pick up the 20 inoffensive little box, but I didn’t want to hurt him again, 21 so I tried to keep my hand from shaking. The surface was 22 smooth with black satin. I brushed my fingers over it, hes- 23 itating. 24 “You didn’t spend a lot of money, did you? Lie to me, if 25 you did.” 26 “I didn’t spend anything,” he assured me. “It’s just an- 27 other hand-me-down. This is the ring my father gave to 28 my mother.” 29 sh “Oh.” Surprise colored my voice. I pinched the lid be- 30 reg tween my thumb and forefinger, but didn’t open it. 457 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 458 1 “I supposed it’s a little outdated.” His tone was play- 2 fully apologetic. “Old-fashioned, just like me. I can get 3 you something more modern. Something from Tiffany’s?” 4 5 “I like old-fashioned things,” I mumbled as I hesi- 6 tantly lifted the lid. 7 8 Nestled into the black satin, Elizabeth Masen’s ring 9 sparkled in the dim light. The face was a long oval, set 10 with slanting rows of glittering round stones. The band 11 was gold — delicate and narrow. The gold made a fragile 12 web around the diamonds. I’d never seen anything like it. 13 14 Unthinkingly, I stroked the shimmering gems. 15 “It’s so pretty,” I murmured to myself, surprised. 16 “Do you like it?” 17 “It’s beautiful.” I shrugged, feigning a lack of interest. 18 “What’s not to like?” 19 He chuckled. “See if it fits.” 20 My left hand clenched into a fist. 21 “Bella,” he sighed. “I’m not going to solder it to your 22 finger. Just try it on so I can see if it needs to be sized. 23 Then you can take it right off.” 24 “Fine,” I grumbled. 25 I reached for the ring, but his long fingers beat me 26 there. He took my left hand in his, and slid the ring into 27 place on my third finger. He held my hand out, and we 28 both examined the oval sparkling against my skin. It sh 29 wasn’t quite as awful as I’d feared, having it there. reg 30 “A perfect fit,” he said indifferently. “That’s nice — saves me a trip to the jeweler’s.” I could hear some strong emotion burning under the casual tone of his voice, and I stared up at his face. It was 458 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 459 there in his eyes, too, visible despite the careful noncha- 1 lance of his expression. 2 3 “You like that, don’t you?” I asked suspiciously, flutter- 4 ing my fingers and thinking that it was really too bad that 5 I had not broken my left hand. 6 7 He shrugged his shoulders. “Sure,” he said, still casual. 8 “It looks very nice on you.” 9 10 I stared into his eyes, trying to decipher the emotion 11 that smoldered just under the surface. He gazed back, and 12 the casual pretense suddenly slipped away. He was glow- 13 ing — his angel’s face brilliant with joy and victory. He 14 was so glorious that it knocked me breathless. 15 16 Before I could catch that breath, he was kissing me, his 17 lips exultant. I was lightheaded when he moved his mouth 18 to whisper in my ear — but his breathing was just as rag- 19 ged as mine. 20 21 “Yes, I like it. You have no idea.” 22 I laughed, gasping a little. “I believe you.” 23 “Do you mind if I do something?” he murmured, his 24 arms tightening around me. 25 “Anything you want.” 26 But he let me go and slid away. 27 “Anything but that,” I complained. 28 He ignored me, taking my hand and pulling me off the 29 sh bed, too. He stood in front of me, hands on my shoulders, 30 reg face serious. “Now, I want to do this right. Please, please, keep in mind that you’ve already agreed to this, and don’t ruin it for me.” “Oh, no,” I gasped as he slid down onto one knee. 459 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 460 1 “Be nice,” he muttered. 2 I took a deep breath. 3 “Isabella Swan?” He looked up at me through his im- 4 possibly long lashes, his golden eyes soft but, somehow, 5 still scorching. “I promise to love you forever — every sin- 6 gle day of forever. Will you marry me?” 7 There were many things I wanted to say, some of them 8 not nice at all, and others more disgustingly gooey and ro- 9 mantic than he probably dreamed I was capable of. Rather 10 than embarrass myself with either, I whispered, “Yes.” 11 “Thank you,” he said simply. He took my left hand and 12 kissed each of my fingertips before he kissed the ring that 13 was now mine. 14 15 460 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 461 21. TRAILS 1 2 I hated to waste any part of the night in sleep, 3 but that was inevitable. The sun was bright outside the 4 window-wall when I woke, with small clouds scuttling 5 too quickly across the sky. The wind rocked the treetops 6 till the whole forest looked as if it was going to shake 7 apart. 8 9 He left me alone to get dressed, and I appreciated the 10 chance to think. Somehow, my plan for last night had 11 gone horribly awry, and I needed come to grips with the 12 consequences. Though I’d given back the hand-me-down 13 ring as soon as I could do it without hurting his feelings, 14 my left hand felt heavier, like it was still in place, just 15 invisible. 16 17 461 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 462 1 This shouldn’t bother me, I reasoned. It was no big 2 thing — a road trip to Vegas. I would go one better than 3 old jeans — I would wear old sweats. The ceremony cer- 4 tainly couldn’t take very long; no more than fifteen min- 5 utes at the most, right? So I could handle that. 6 7 And then, when it was over, he’d have to fulfill his side 8 of the bargain. I would concentrate on that, and forget the 9 rest. 10 11 He said I didn’t have to tell anyone, and I was planning 12 to hold him to that. Of course, it was very stupid of me 13 not to think of Alice. 14 15 The Cullens got home around noon. There was a new, 16 businesslike feel to the atmosphere around them, and it 17 pulled me back into the enormity of what was coming. 18 19 Alice seemed to be in an unusually bad mood. I 20 chalked it up to her frustration with feeling normal, be- 21 cause her first words to Edward were a complaint about 22 working with the wolves. 23 24 “I think” — she made a face as she used the uncertain 25 word — “that you’re going to want to pack for cold 26 weather, Edward. I can’t see where you are exactly, because 27 you’re taking off with that dog this afternoon. But the 28 storm that’s coming seems particularly bad in that general sh 29 area.” reg 30 Edward nodded. “It’s going to snow on the mountains,” she warned him. “Ew, snow,” I muttered to myself. It was June, for cry- ing out loud. “Wear a jacket,” Alice told me. Her voice was un- 462 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 463 friendly, and that surprised me. I tried to read her face, but 1 she turned away. 2 3 I looked at Edward, and he was smiling; whatever was 4 bugging Alice amused him. 5 6 Edward had more than enough camping gear to choose 7 from — props in the human charade; the Cullens were 8 good customers at the Newton’s store. He grabbed a down 9 sleeping bag, a small tent, and several packets of dehy- 10 drated food — grinning when I made a face at them — 11 and stuffed them all in a backpack. 12 13 Alice wandered into the garage while we were there, 14 watching Edward’s preparations without a word. He ig- 15 nored her. 16 17 When he was done packing, Edward handed me 18 his phone. “Why don’t you call Jacob and tell him we’ll 19 be ready for him in an hour or so. He knows where to 20 meet us.” 21 22 Jacob wasn’t home, but Billy promised to call around un- 23 til he could find an available werewolf to pass the news to. 24 25 “Don’t you worry about Charlie, Bella,” Billy said. 26 “I’ve got my part of this under control.” 27 28 “Yeah, I know Charlie’ll be fine.” I didn’t feel so confi- 29 sh dent about his son’s safety, but I didn’t add that. 30 reg “I wish I could be with the rest of them tomorrow.” Billy chuckled regretfully. “Being an old man is a hard- ship, Bella.” The urge to fight must be a defining characteristic of the Y chromosome. They were all the same. “Have fun with Charlie.” 463 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 464 1 “Good luck, Bella,” he answered. “And . . . pass that 2 along to the, er, Cullens for me.” 3 4 “I will,” I promised, surprised by the gesture. 5 As I gave the phone back to Edward, I saw that he and 6 Alice were having some kind of silent discussion. She was 7 staring at him, pleading in her eyes. He was frowning 8 back, unhappy with whatever she wanted. 9 “Billy said to tell you ‘good luck.’” 10 “That was generous of him,” Edward said, breaking 11 away from her. 12 “Bella, could I please speak to you alone?” Alice asked 13 swiftly. 14 “You’re about to make my life harder than it needs to 15 be, Alice,” Edward warned her through his teeth. “I’d 16 really rather you didn’t.” 17 “This isn’t about you, Edward,” she shot back. 18 He laughed. Something about her response was funny 19 to him. 20 “It’s not,” Alice insisted. “This is a female thing.” 21 He frowned. 22 “Let her talk to me,” I told him. I was curious. 23 “You asked for it,” he muttered. He laughed again — 24 half angry, half amused — and strode out of the garage. 25 I turned to Alice, worried now, but she didn’t look at 26 me. Her bad mood hadn’t passed yet. 27 She went to sit on the hood of her Porsche, her face 28 dejected. I followed, and leaned against the bumper be- sh 29 side her. reg 30 “Bella?” Alice asked in a sad voice, shifting over and curling up against my side. Her voice sounded so miser- 464 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 465 able that I wrapped my arms around her shoulders in com- 1 fort. 2 3 “What’s wrong, Alice?” 4 “Don’t you love me?” she asked in that same sad tone. 5 “Of course I do. You know that.” 6 “Then why do I see you sneaking off to Vegas to get 7 married without inviting me?” 8 “Oh,” I muttered, my cheeks turning pink. I could see 9 that I had seriously hurt her feelings, and I hurried to de- 10 fend myself. “You know how I hate to make a big deal out 11 of things. It was Edward’s idea, anyway.” 12 “I don’t care whose idea it was. How could you do this 13 to me? I expect that kind of thing from Edward, but not 14 from you. I love you like you were my own sister.” 15 “To me, Alice, you are my sister.” 16 “Words!” she growled. 17 “Fine, you can come. There won’t be much to see.” 18 She was still grimacing. 19 “What?” I demanded. 20 “How much do you love me, Bella?” 21 “Why?” 22 She stared at me with pleading eyes, her long black 23 eyebrows slanting up in the middle and pulling together, 24 her lips trembling at the corners. It was a heart-breaking 25 expression. 26 “Please, please, please,” she whispered. “Please, Bella, 27 please — if you really love me . . . Please let me do your 28 wedding.” 29 sh “Aw, Alice!” I groaned, pulling away and standing up. 30 reg “No! Don’t do this to me.” 465 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 466 1 “If you really, truly love me, Bella.” 2 I folded my arms across my chest. “That is so unfair. 3 And Edward kind of already used that one on me.” 4 “I’ll bet Edward would like it better if you did this tra- 5 ditionally, though he’d never tell you that. And Esme — 6 think what it would mean to her!” 7 I groaned. “I’d rather face the newborns alone.” 8 “I’ll owe you for a decade.” 9 “You’d owe me for a century!” 10 Her eyes glowed. “Is that a yes?” 11 “No! I don’t want to do this!” 12 “You won’t have to do anything but walk a few yards 13 and then repeat after the minister.” 14 “Ugh! Ugh, ugh!” 15 “Please?” She started bouncing in place. “Please, please, 16 please, please, please?” 17 “I’ll never, never ever forgive you for this, Alice.” 18 “Yay!” she squealed, clapping her hands together. 19 “That’s not a yes!” 20 “But it will be,” she sang. 21 “Edward!” I yelled, stalking out of the garage. “I know 22 you’re listening. Get over here.” Alice was right behind 23 me, still clapping. 24 “Thanks so much, Alice,” Edward said acidly, coming 25 from behind me. I turned to let him have it, but his ex- 26 pression was so worried and upset that I couldn’t speak my 27 complaints. I threw my arms around him instead, hiding 28 my face, just in case the angry moisture in my eyes made sh 29 it look like I was crying. reg 30 “Vegas,” Edward promised in my ear. 466 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 467 “Not a chance,” Alice gloated. “Bella would never do 1 that to me. You know, Edward, as a brother, you are some- 2 times a disappointment.” 3 4 “Don’t be mean,” I grumbled at her. “He’s trying to 5 make me happy, unlike you.” 6 7 “I’m trying to make you happy, too, Bella. It’s just that 8 I know better what will make you happy . . . in the long 9 run. You’ll thank me for this. Maybe not for fifty years, 10 but definitely someday.” 11 12 “I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be willing to 13 take a bet against you, Alice, but it has arrived.” 14 15 She laughed her silvery laugh. “So, are you going to 16 show me the ring?” 17 18 I grimaced in horror as she grabbed my left hand and 19 then dropped it just as quickly. 20 21 “Huh. I saw him put it on you. . . . Did I miss some- 22 thing?” she asked. She concentrated for half a second, fur- 23 rowing her brow, before she answered her own questions. 24 “No. Wedding’s still on.” 25 26 “Bella has issues with jewelry,” Edward explained. 27 “What’s one more diamond? Well, I guess the ring 28 has lots of diamonds, but my point is that he’s already got 29 sh one on —” 30 reg “Enough, Alice!” Edward cut her off suddenly. The way he glared at her . . . he looked like a vampire again. “We’re in a hurry.” “I don’t understand. What’s that about diamonds?” I asked. “We’ll talk about it later,” Alice said. “Edward is right — you’d better get going. You’ve got to set a trap 467 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 468 1 and make camp before the storm comes.” She frowned, 2 and her expression was anxious, almost nervous. “Don’t 3 forget your coat, Bella. It seems . . . unseasonably cold.” 4 5 “I’ve already got it,” Edward assured her. 6 “Have a nice night,” she told us in farewell. 7 It was twice as far to the clearing as usual; Edward took 8 a long detour, making sure my scent would be nowhere 9 near the trail Jacob would hide later. He carried me in his 10 arms, the bulky backpack in my usual spot. 11 He stopped at the farthest end of the clearing and set 12 me on my feet. 13 “All right. Just walk north for a ways, touching as 14 much as you can. Alice gave me a clear picture of their 15 path, and it won’t take long for us to intersect it.” 16 “North?” 17 He smiled and pointed out the right direction. 18 I wandered into the woods, leaving the clear yellow 19 light of the strangely sunny day in the clearing behind me. 20 Maybe Alice’s blurred sight would be wrong about the 21 snow. I hoped so. The sky was mostly clear, though the wind 22 whipped furiously through the open spaces. In the trees it 23 was calmer, but much too cold for June — even in a long- 24 sleeved shirt with a thick sweater over the top, there were 25 goose bumps on my arms. I walked slowly, trailing my fin- 26 gers over anything close enough: the rough tree bark, the 27 wet ferns, the moss-covered rocks. 28 Edward stayed with me, walking a parallel line about sh 29 twenty yards away. reg 30 “Am I doing this right?” I called. “Perfectly.” 468 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 469 I had an idea. “Will this help?” I asked as I ran my fin- 1 gers through my hair and caught a few loose strands. I 2 draped them over the ferns. 3 4 “Yes, that does make the trail stronger. But you don’t 5 need to pull your hair out, Bella. It will be fine.” 6 7 “I’ve got a few extras I can spare.” 8 It was gloomy under the trees, and I wished I could 9 walk closer to Edward and hold his hand. 10 I wedged another hair into a broken branch that cut 11 through my path. 12 “You don’t need to let Alice have her way, you know,” 13 Edward said. 14 “Don’t worry about it, Edward. I’m not going to leave 15 you at the altar, regardless.” I had a sinking feeling that 16 Alice was going to get her way, mostly because she was to- 17 tally unscrupulous when there was something she wanted, 18 and also because I was a sucker for guilt trips. 19 “That’s not what I’m worried about. I want this to be 20 what you want it to be.” 21 I repressed a sigh. It would hurt his feelings if I told 22 the truth — that it didn’t really matter, because it was all 23 just varying degrees of awful anyway. 24 “Well, even if she does get her way, we can keep it 25 small. Just us. Emmett can get a clerical license off the In- 26 ternet.” 27 I giggled. “That does sound better.” It wouldn’t feel 28 very official if Emmett read the vows, which was a plus. But 29 sh I’d have a hard time keeping a straight face. 30 reg “See,” he said with a smile. “There’s always a compro- mise.” 469 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 470 1 It took a while for me to reach the spot where the new- 2 born army would be certain to cross my trail, but Edward 3 never got impatient with my pace. 4 5 He had to lead a bit more on the way back, to keep me 6 on the same path. It all looked alike to me. 7 8 We were almost to the clearing when I fell. I could see 9 the wide opening ahead, and that’s probably why I got too 10 eager and forgot to watch my feet. I caught myself before 11 my head bashed into the nearest tree, but a small branch 12 snapped off under my left hand and gouged into my palm. 13 14 “Ouch! Oh, fabulous,” I muttered. 15 “Are you all right?” 16 “I’m fine. Stay where you are. I’m bleeding. It will stop 17 in a minute.” 18 He ignored me. He was right there before I could finish. 19 “I’ve got a first aid kit,” he said, pulling off the back- 20 pack. “I had a feeling I might need it.” 21 “It’s not bad. I can take care of it — you don’t have to 22 make yourself uncomfortable.” 23 “I’m not uncomfortable,” he said calmly. “Here — let 24 me clean it.” 25 “Wait a second, I just got another idea.” 26 Without looking at the blood and breathing through 27 my mouth, just in case my stomach might react, I pressed 28 my hand against a rock within my reach. sh 29 “What are you doing?” reg 30 “Jasper will love this,” I muttered to myself. I started for the clearing again, pressing my palm against every- thing in my path. “I’ll bet this really gets them going.” Edward sighed. 470 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 471 “Hold your breath,” I told him. 1 “I’m fine. I just think you’re going overboard.” 2 “This is all I get to do. I want to do a good job.” 3 We broke through the last of the trees as I spoke. I let 4 my injured hand graze across the ferns. 5 “Well, you have,” Edward assured me. “The newborns 6 will be frantic, and Jasper will be very impressed with 7 your dedication. Now let me treat your hand — you’ve 8 gotten the cut dirty.” 9 “Let me do it, please.” 10 He took my hand and smiled as he examined it. “This 11 doesn’t bother me anymore.” 12 I watched him carefully as he cleaned the gash, looking 13 for some sign of distress. He continued to breathe evenly 14 in and out, the same small smile on his lips. 15 “Why not?” I finally asked as he smoothed a bandage 16 across my palm. 17 He shrugged. “I got over it.” 18 “You . . . got over it? When? How?” I tried to remember 19 the last time he’d held his breath around me. All I could 20 think of was my wretched birthday party last September. 21 Edward pursed his lips, seeming to search for the 22 words. “I lived through an entire twenty-four hours think- 23 ing that you were dead, Bella. That changed the way I 24 look at a lot of things.” 25 “Did it change the way I smell to you?” 26 “Not at all. But . . . having experienced the way it feels 27 to think I’ve lost you . . . my reactions have changed. My 28 entire being shies away from any course that could inspire 29 sh that kind of pain again.” 30 reg 471 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 472 1 I didn’t know what to say to that. 2 He smiled at my expression. “I guess that you could 3 call it a very educational experience.” 4 The wind tore through the clearing then, lashing my 5 hair around my face and making me shiver. 6 “All right,” he said, reaching into his pack again. 7 “You’ve done your part.” He pulled out my heavy winter 8 jacket and held it out for me to slide my arms in. “Now it’s 9 out of our hands. Let’s go camping!” 10 I laughed at the mock enthusiasm in his voice. 11 He took my bandaged hand — the other was in worse 12 shape, still in the brace — and started toward the other 13 side of the clearing. 14 “Where are we meeting Jacob?” I asked. 15 “Right here.” He gestured to the trees in front of us 16 just as Jacob stepped warily from their shadows. 17 It shouldn’t have surprised me to see him human. I 18 wasn’t sure why I’d been looking for the big red-brown wolf. 19 Jacob seemed bigger again — no doubt a product of 20 my expectations; I must have unconsciously been hoping 21 to see the smaller Jacob from my memory, the easygoing 22 friend who hadn’t made everything so difficult. He had his 23 arms folded across his bare chest, a jacket clutched in one 24 fist. His face was expressionless as he watched us. 25 Edward’s lips pulled down at the corners. “There had to 26 have been a better way to do this.” 27 “Too late now,” I muttered glumly. 28 He sighed. sh 29 “Hey, Jake,” I greeted him when we got closer. reg 30 472 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 473 “Hi, Bella.” 1 “Hello, Jacob,” Edward said. 2 Jacob ignored the pleasantry, all business. “Where do I 3 take her?” 4 Edward pulled a map from a side pocket on the pack 5 and offered it to him. Jacob unfolded it. 6 “We’re here now,” Edward said, reaching over to touch 7 the right spot. Jacob recoiled from his hand automatically, 8 and then steadied himself. Edward pretended not to notice. 9 “And you’re taking her up here,” Edward continued, 10 tracing a serpentine pattern around the elevation lines on 11 the paper. “Roughly nine miles.” 12 Jacob nodded once. 13 “When you’re about a mile away, you should cross my 14 path. That will lead you in. Do you need the map?” 15 “No, thanks. I know this area pretty well. I think I 16 know where I’m going.” 17 Jacob seemed to have to work harder than Edward to 18 keep the tone polite. 19 “I’ll take a longer route,” Edward said. “And I’ll see 20 you in a few hours.” 21 Edward stared at me unhappily. He didn’t like this part 22 of the plan. 23 “See you,” I murmured. 24 Edward faded into the trees, heading in the opposite 25 direction. 26 As soon as he was gone, Jacob turned cheerful. 27 “What’s up, Bella?” he asked with a big grin. 28 I rolled my eyes. “Same old, same old.” 29 sh 30 reg 473 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 474 1 “Yeah,” he agreed. “Bunch of vampires trying to kill 2 you. The usual.” 3 4 “The usual.” 5 “Well,” he said as he shrugged into his jacket to free his 6 arms. “Let’s get going.” 7 Making a face, I took a small step closer to him. 8 He bent down and swept his arm behind my knees, 9 knocking them out from under me. His other arm caught 10 me before my head hit the ground. 11 “Jerk,” I muttered. 12 Jacob chuckled, already running through the trees. He 13 kept a steady pace, a brisk jog that a fit human could keep 14 up with . . . across a level plane . . . if they weren’t bur- 15 dened with a hundred-plus pounds as he was. 16 “You don’t have to run. You’ll get tired.” 17 “Running doesn’t make me tired,” he said. His breath- 18 ing was even — like the fixed tempo of a marathoner. “Be- 19 sides, it will be colder soon. I hope he gets the camp set up 20 before we get there.” 21 I tapped my finger against the thick padding of his 22 parka. “I thought you didn’t get cold now.” 23 “I don’t. I brought this for you, just in case you weren’t 24 prepared.” He looked at my jacket, almost as if he were 25 disappointed that I was. “I don’t like the way the weather 26 feels. It’s making me edgy. Notice how we haven’t seen 27 any animals?” 28 “Um, not really.” sh 29 “I guess you wouldn’t. Your senses are too dull.” reg 30 I let that pass. “Alice was worried about the storm, too.” 474 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 475 “It takes a lot to silence the forest this way. You picked 1 a hell of a night for a camping trip.” 2 3 “It wasn’t entirely my idea.” 4 The pathless way he took began to climb more and 5 more steeply, but it didn’t slow him down. He leapt easily 6 from rock to rock, not seeming to need his hands at all. 7 His perfect balance reminded me of a mountain goat. 8 “What’s with the addition to your bracelet?” he asked. 9 I looked down, and realized that the crystal heart was 10 facing up on my wrist. 11 I shrugged guiltily. “Another graduation present.” 12 He snorted. “A rock. Figures.” 13 A rock? I was suddenly reminded of Alice’s unfinished 14 sentence outside the garage. I stared at the bright white 15 crystal and tried to remember what Alice had been saying 16 before . . . about diamonds. Could she have been trying to 17 say he’s already got one on you? As in, I was already wearing 18 one diamond from Edward? No, that was impossible. The 19 heart would have to be five carats or something crazy like 20 that! Edward wouldn’t — 21 “So it’s been a while since you came down to La Push,” 22 Jacob said, interrupting my disturbing conjectures. 23 “I’ve been busy,” I told him. “And . . . I probably 24 wouldn’t have visited, anyway.” 25 He grimaced. “I thought you were supposed to be the 26 forgiving one, and I was the grudge-holder.” 27 I shrugged. 28 “Been thinking about that last time a lot, have you?” 29 sh “Nope.” 30 reg 475 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 476 1 He laughed. “Either you’re lying, or you are the stub- 2 bornest person alive.” 3 4 “I don’t know about the second part, but I’m not lying.” 5 I didn’t like having this conversation under the present 6 conditions — with his too-warm arms wrapped tightly 7 around me and nothing at all I could do about it. His face 8 was closer than I wanted it to be. I wished I could take a 9 step back. 10 “A smart person looks at all sides of a decision.” 11 “I have,” I retorted. 12 “If you haven’t thought at all about our . . . er, conver- 13 sation the last time you came over, then that’s not true.” 14 “That conversation isn’t relevant to my decision.” 15 “Some people will go to any lengths to delude them- 16 selves.” 17 “I’ve noticed that werewolves in particular are prone to 18 that mistake — do you think it’s a genetic thing?” 19 “Does that mean that he’s a better kisser that I am?” Ja- 20 cob asked, suddenly glum. 21 “I really couldn’t say, Jake. Edward is the only person 22 I’ve ever kissed.” 23 “Besides me.” 24 “But I don’t count that as a kiss, Jacob. I think of it 25 more as an assault.” 26 “Ouch! That’s cold.” 27 I shrugged. I wasn’t going to take it back. 28 “I did apologize about that,” he reminded me. sh 29 “And I forgave you . . . mostly. It doesn’t change the reg 30 way I remember it.” He muttered something unintelligible. 476 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 477 It was quiet then for a while; there was just the sound 1 of his measured breathing and the wind roaring high 2 above us in the treetops. A cliff face rose sheer beside us, 3 bare, rough gray stone. We followed the base as it curved 4 upward out of the forest. 5 6 “I still think it’s pretty irresponsible,” Jacob suddenly 7 said. 8 9 “Whatever you’re talking about, you’re wrong.” 10 “Think about it, Bella. According to you, you’ve kissed 11 just one person — who isn’t even really a person — in your 12 whole life, and you’re calling it quits? How do you know 13 that’s what you want? Shouldn’t you play the field a little?” 14 I kept my voice cool. “I know exactly what I want.” 15 “Then it couldn’t hurt to double check. Maybe you 16 should try kissing someone else — just for comparison’s 17 sake . . . since what happened the other day doesn’t count. 18 You could kiss me, for example. I don’t mind if you want 19 to use me to experiment.” 20 He pulled me tighter against his chest, so that my face 21 was closer to his. He was smiling at his joke, but I wasn’t 22 taking any chances. 23 “Don’t mess with me, Jake. I swear I won’t stop him if 24 he wants to break your jaw.” 25 The panicky edge to my voice made him smile wider. 26 “If you ask me to kiss you, he won’t have any reason to get 27 upset. He said that was fine.” 28 “Don’t hold your breath, Jake — no, wait, I changed 29 sh my mind. Go right ahead. Just hold your breath until I 30 reg ask you to kiss me.” “You’re in a bad mood today.” 477 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 478 1 “I wonder why?” 2 “Sometimes I think you like me better as a wolf.” 3 “Sometimes I do. It probably has something to do with 4 the way you can’t talk.” 5 He pursed his broad lips thoughtfully. “No, I don’t 6 think that’s it. I think it’s easier for you to be near me 7 when I’m not human, because you don’t have to pretend 8 that you’re not attracted to me.” 9 My mouth fell open with a little popping sound. I 10 snapped it shut at once, grinding my teeth together. 11 He heard that. His lips pulled tightly across his face in 12 a triumphant smile. 13 I took a slow breath before I spoke. “No. I’m pretty 14 sure it’s because you can’t talk.” 15 He sighed. “Do you ever get tired of lying to yourself? 16 You have to know how aware you are of me. Physically, I 17 mean.” 18 “How could anyone not be aware of you physically, Ja- 19 cob?” I demanded. “You’re an enormous monster who re- 20 fuses to respect anyone else’s personal space.” 21 “I make you nervous. But only when I’m human. 22 When I’m a wolf, you’re more comfortable around me.” 23 “Nervousness and irritation are not the same thing.” 24 He stared at me for a minute, slowing to a walk, the 25 amusement draining from his face. His eyes narrowed, 26 turned black in the shadow of his brows. His breathing, so 27 regular as he ran, started to accelerate. Slowly, he leaned 28 his face closer to mine. sh 29 I stared him down, knowing exactly what he was try- reg 30 ing to do. 478 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 479 “It’s your face,” I reminded him. 1 He laughed loudly and started jogging again. “I don’t 2 really want to fight with your vampire tonight — I 3 mean, any other night, sure. But we both have a job to do 4 tomorrow, and I wouldn’t want to leave the Cullens one 5 short.” 6 The sudden, unexpected swell of shame distorted my 7 expression. 8 “I know, I know,” he responded, not understanding. 9 “You think he could take me.” 10 I couldn’t speak. I was leaving them one short. What if 11 someone got hurt because I was so weak? But what if I was 12 brave and Edward . . . I couldn’t even think it. 13 “What’s the matter with you, Bella?” The joking 14 bravado vanished from his face, revealing my Jacob un- 15 derneath, like pulling a mask away. “If something I 16 said upset you, you know I was only kidding. I didn’t 17 mean anything — hey, are you okay? Don’t cry, Bella,” 18 he pled. 19 I tried to pull myself together. “I’m not going to cry.” 20 “What did I say?” 21 “It’s nothing you said. It’s just, well, it’s me. I did 22 something . . . bad.” 23 He stared at me, his eyes wide with confusion. 24 “Edward isn’t going to fight tomorrow,” I whispered 25 the explanation. “I’m making him stay with me. I am a 26 huge coward.” 27 He frowned. “You think this isn’t going to work? That 28 they’ll find you here? Do you know something I don’t 29 sh know?” 30 reg 479 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 480 1 “No, no. I’m not afraid of that. I just . . . I can’t let him 2 go. If he didn’t come back . . .” I shuddered, closing my 3 eyes to escape the thought. 4 5 Jacob was quiet. 6 I kept whispering, my eyes shut. “If anyone gets hurt, 7 it will always be my fault. And even if no one does . . . I 8 was horrible. I had to be, to convince him to stay with me. 9 He won’t hold it against me, but I’ll always know what I’m 10 capable of.” I felt just a tiny bit better, getting this off my 11 chest. Even if I could only confess it to Jacob. 12 He snorted. My eyes opened slowly, and I was sad to see 13 that the hard mask was back. 14 “I can’t believe he let you talk him out of going. I 15 wouldn’t miss this for anything.” 16 I sighed. “I know.” 17 “That doesn’t mean anything, though.” He was sud- 18 denly backtracking. “That doesn’t mean that he loves you 19 more than I do.” 20 “But you wouldn’t stay with me, even if I begged.” 21 He pursed his lips for a moment, and I wondered if he 22 would try to deny it. We both knew the truth. “That’s 23 only because I know you better,” he said at last. “Every- 24 thing’s going to go without a hitch. Even if you’d asked 25 and I’d said no, you wouldn’t be mad at me afterwards.” 26 “If everything does go without a hitch, you’re probably 27 right. I wouldn’t be mad. But the whole time you’re gone, 28 I’ll be sick with worry, Jake. Crazy with it.” sh 29 “Why?” he asked gruffly. “Why does it matter to you if reg 30 something happens to me?” “Don’t say that. You know how much you mean to me. 480 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 481 I’m sorry it’s not in the way you want, but that’s just how 1 it is. You’re my best friend. At least, you used to be. And 2 still sometimes are . . . when you let your guard down.” 3 4 He smiled the old smile that I loved. “I’m always that,” 5 he promised. “Even when I don’t . . . behave as well as I 6 should. Underneath, I’m always in here.” 7 8 “I know. Why else would I put up with all of your crap?” 9 He laughed with me, and then his eyes were sad. 10 “When are you finally going to figure out that you’re in 11 love with me, too?” 12 “Leave it to you to ruin the moment.” 13 “I’m not saying you don’t love him. I’m not stupid. 14 But it’s possible to love more than one person at a time, 15 Bella. I’ve seen it in action.” 16 “I’m not some freaky werewolf, Jacob.” 17 He wrinkled his nose, and I was about to apologize for 18 that last jab, but he changed the subject. 19 “We’re not far now, I can smell him.” 20 I sighed in relief. 21 He misinterpreted my meaning. “I’d happily slow 22 down, Bella, but you’re going to want to be under shelter 23 before that hits.” 24 We both looked up at the sky. 25 A solid wall of purple-black cloud was racing in from 26 the west, blackening the forest beneath it as it came. 27 “Wow,” I muttered. “You’d better hurry, Jake. You’ll 28 want to get home before it gets here.” 29 sh “I’m not going home.” 30 reg I glared at him, exasperated. “You’re not camping with us.” 481 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 482 1 “Not technically — as in, sharing your tent or anything. 2 I prefer the storm to the smell. But I’m sure your blood- 3 sucker will want to keep in touch with the pack for coor- 4 dination purposes, and so I will graciously provide that 5 service.” 6 7 “I thought that was Seth’s job.” 8 “He’ll take over tomorrow, during the fight.” 9 The reminder silenced me for a second. I stared at him, 10 worry springing up again with sudden fierceness. 11 “I don’t suppose there’s any way you’d just stay since 12 you’re already here?” I suggested. “If I did beg? Or trade 13 back the lifetime of servitude or something?” 14 “Tempting, but no. Then again, the begging might be 15 interesting to see. You can give it a go if you like.” 16 “There’s really nothing, nothing at all I can say?” 17 “Nope. Not unless you can promise me a better fight. 18 Anyway, Sam’s calling the shots, not me.” 19 That reminded me. 20 “Edward told me something the other day . . . about 21 you.” 22 He bristled. “It’s probably a lie.” 23 “Oh, really? You aren’t second in command of the 24 pack, then?” 25 He blinked, his face going blank with surprise. “Oh. 26 That.” 27 “How come you never told me that?” 28 “Why would I? It’s no big thing.” sh 29 “I don’t know. Why not? It’s interesting. So, how does reg 30 that work? How did Sam end up as the Alpha, and you as the . . . the Beta?” 482 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 483 Jacob chuckled at my invented term. “Sam was the 1 first, the oldest. It made sense for him to take charge.” 2 3 I frowned. “But shouldn’t Jared or Paul be second, 4 then? They were the next to change.” 5 6 “Well . . . it’s hard to explain,” Jacob said evasively. 7 “Try.” 8 He sighed. “It’s more about the lineage, you know? 9 Sort of old-fashioned. Why should it matter who your 10 grandpa was, right?” 11 I remembered something Jacob had told me a long 12 time ago, before either of us had known anything about 13 werewolves. 14 “Didn’t you say that Ephraim Black was the last chief 15 the Quileutes had?” 16 “Yeah, that’s right. Because he was the Alpha. Did you 17 know that, technically, Sam’s the chief of the whole tribe 18 now?” He laughed. “Crazy traditions.” 19 I thought about that for a second, trying to make all 20 the pieces fit. “But you also said that people listened to 21 your dad more than anyone else on the council, because he 22 was Ephraim’s grandson?” 23 “What about it?” 24 “Well, if it’s about the lineage . . . shouldn’t you be the 25 chief, then?” 26 Jacob didn’t answer me. He stared into the darkening 27 forest, as if he suddenly needed to concentrate on where he 28 was going. 29 sh “Jake?” 30 reg “No. That’s Sam’s job.” He kept his eyes on our path- less course. 483 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 484 1 “Why? His great-granddad was Levi Uley, right? Was 2 Levi an Alpha, too?” 3 4 “There’s only one Alpha,” he answered automatically. 5 “So what was Levi?” 6 “Sort of a Beta, I guess.” He snorted at my term. 7 “Like me.” 8 “That doesn’t make sense.” 9 “It doesn’t matter.” 10 “I just want to understand.” 11 Jacob finally met my confused gaze, and then sighed. 12 “Yeah. I was supposed to be the Alpha.” 13 My eyebrows pulled together. “Sam didn’t want to step 14 down?” 15 “Hardly. I didn’t want to step up.” 16 “Why not?” 17 He frowned, uncomfortable with my questions. Well, 18 it was his turn to feel uncomfortable. 19 “I didn’t want any of it, Bella. I didn’t want anything 20 to change. I didn’t want to be some legendary chief. I 21 didn’t want to be part of a pack of werewolves, let alone 22 their leader. I wouldn’t take it when Sam offered.” 23 I thought about this for a long moment. Jacob didn’t 24 interrupt. He stared into the forest again. 25 “But I thought you were happier. That you were okay 26 with this,” I finally whispered. 27 Jacob smiled down at me reassuringly. “Yeah. It’s really 28 not so bad. Exciting sometimes, like with this thing to- sh 29 morrow. But at first it sort of felt like being drafted into a reg 30 war you didn’t know existed. There was no choice, you know? And it was so final.” He shrugged. “Anyway, I guess 484 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 485 I’m glad now. It has to be done, and could I trust someone 1 else to get it right? It’s better to make sure myself.” 2 3 I stared at him, feeling an unexpected kind of awe for 4 my friend. He was more of a grown-up than I’d ever given 5 him credit for. Like with Billy the other night at the bon- 6 fire, there was a majesty here that I’d never suspected. 7 8 “Chief Jacob,” I whispered, smiling at the way the 9 words sounded together. 10 11 He rolled his eyes. 12 Just then, the wind shook more fiercely through the 13 trees around us, and it felt like it was blowing straight off 14 a glacier. The sharp sound of wood cracking echoed off the 15 mountain. Though the light was vanishing as the grisly 16 cloud covered the sky, I could still see the little white 17 specks that fluttered past us. 18 Jacob stepped up the pace, keeping his eyes on the 19 ground now as he flat out sprinted. I curled more willingly 20 against his chest, recoiling from the unwelcome snow. 21 It was only minutes later that he dashed around to the 22 lee side of the stony peak and we could see the little tent 23 nestled up against the sheltering face. More flurries were 24 falling around us, but the wind was too fierce to let them 25 settle anywhere. 26 “Bella!” Edward called out in acute relief. We’d caught 27 him in the middle of pacing back and forth across the lit- 28 tle open space. 29 sh He flashed to my side, sort of blurring as he moved so 30 reg swiftly. Jacob cringed, and then set me on my feet. Ed- ward ignored his reaction and caught me in a tight hug. “Thank you,” Edward said over my head. His tone was 485 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 486 1 unmistakably sincere. “That was quicker than I expected, 2 and I truly appreciate it.” 3 4 I twisted to see Jacob’s response. 5 Jacob merely shrugged, all the friendliness wiped clean 6 from his face. “Get her inside. This is going to be bad — 7 my hair’s standing up on my scalp. Is that tent secure?” 8 “I all but welded it to the rock.” 9 “Good.” 10 Jacob looked up at the sky — now black with the 11 storm, sprinkled with the swirling bits of snow. His nos- 12 trils flared. 13 “I’m going to change,” he said. “I want to know what’s 14 going on back home.” 15 He hung his jacket on a low, stubby branch, and 16 walked into the murky forest without a backward glance. 17 18 486 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 487 22. FIRE AND ICE 1 2 The wind shook the tent again, and I shook with it. 3 The temperature was dropping. I could feel it through 4 5 the down bag, through my jacket. I was fully dressed, my 6 hiking boots still laced into place. It didn’t make any dif- 7 ference. How could it be so cold? How could it keep get- 8 ting colder? It had to bottom out sometime, didn’t it? 9 10 “W-w-w-w-w-what t-t-t-t-time is it?” I forced the 11 words through my rattling teeth. 12 13 “Two,” Edward answered. 14 Edward sat as far from me as possible in the cramped 15 space, afraid to even breathe on me when I was already so 16 cold. It was too dark to see his face, but his voice was wild 17 with worry, indecision, and frustration. 18 19 487 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 488 1 “Maybe . . .” 2 “No, I’m f-f-f-f-f-fine, r-r-r-really. I don’t w-w-w-want 3 to g-go outside.” 4 He’d tried to talk me into making a run for it a dozen 5 times already, but I was terrified of leaving my shelter. If 6 it was this cold in here, protected from the raging wind, I 7 could imagine how bad it would be if we were running 8 through it. 9 And it would waste all our efforts this afternoon. Would 10 we have enough time to reset ourselves when the storm was 11 over? What if it didn’t end? It made no sense to move now. 12 I could shiver my way through one night. 13 I was worried that the trail I had laid would be lost, but 14 he promised that it would still be plain to the coming 15 monsters. 16 “What can I do?” he almost begged. 17 I just shook my head. 18 Out in the snow, Jacob whined unhappily. 19 “G-g-g-get out of h-h-h-ere,” I ordered, again. 20 “He’s just worried about you,” Edward translated. “He’s 21 fine. His body is equipped to deal with this.” 22 “H-h-h-h-h-h.” I wanted to say that he should still 23 leave, but I couldn’t get it past my teeth. I nearly bit my 24 tongue off trying. At least Jacob did seem to be well 25 equipped for the snow, better even than the others in his 26 pack with his thicker, longer, shaggy russet fur. I won- 27 dered why that was. 28 Jacob whimpered, a high-pitched, grating sound of com- sh 29 plaint. reg 30 “What do you want me to do?” Edward growled, too 488 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 489 anxious to bother with politeness anymore. “Carry her 1 through that? I don’t see you making yourself useful. Why 2 don’t you go fetch a space heater or something?” 3 4 “I’m ok-k-k-k-k-k-kay,” I protested. Judging from Ed- 5 ward’s groan and the muted growl outside the tent, I 6 hadn’t convinced anyone. The wind rocked the tent roughly, 7 and I shuddered in harmony with it. 8 9 A sudden howl ripped through the roar of the wind, 10 and I covered my ears against the noise. Edward scowled. 11 12 “That was hardly necessary,” he muttered. “And that’s 13 the worst idea I’ve ever heard,” he called more loudly. 14 15 “Better than anything you’ve come up with,” Jacob an- 16 swered, his human voice startling me. “Go fetch a space 17 heater,” he grumbled. “I’m not a St. Bernard.” 18 19 I heard the sound of the zipper around the tent door 20 pulling swiftly down. 21 22 Jacob slid through the smallest opening he could man- 23 age, while the arctic air flowed in around him, a few flecks 24 of snow falling to the floor of the tent. I shivered so hard it 25 was a convulsion. 26 27 “I don’t like this,” Edward hissed as Jake zipped the 28 tent door shut. “Just give her the coat and get out.” 29 sh 30 reg My eyes were adjusted enough to see shapes — Jacob was carrying the parka that had been hanging on a tree next to the tent. I tried to ask what they were talking about, but all that came out of my mouth was, “W-w-w-w-w-w,” as the shiv- ering made me stutter uncontrollably. “The parka’s for tomorrow — she’s too cold to warm it up by herself. It’s frozen.” He dropped it by the door. “You 489 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 490 1 said she needed a space heater, and here I am.” Jacob held 2 his arms as wide as the tent allowed. As usual, when he’d 3 been running around as a wolf, he’d only thrown on the 4 bare essentials — just a pair of sweats, no shirt, no shoes. 5 6 “J-J-J-J-Jake, you’ll f-f-f-freez-z-z-ze,” I tried to com- 7 plain. 8 9 “Not me,” he said cheerfully. “I run at a toasty one-oh- 10 eight point nine these days. I’ll have you sweating in no 11 time.” 12 13 Edward snarled, but Jacob didn’t even look at him. In- 14 stead, he crawled to my side and started unzipping my 15 sleeping bag. 16 17 Edward’s hand was suddenly hard on his shoulder, re- 18 straining, snow white against the dark skin. Jacob’s jaw 19 clenched, his nostrils flaring, his body recoiling from the 20 cold touch. The long muscles in his arms flexed automati- 21 cally. 22 23 “Get your hand off of me,” he growled through his 24 teeth. 25 26 “Keep your hands off of her,” Edward answered blackly. 27 “D-d-d-don’t f-f-f-f-fight,” I pleaded. Another tremor 28 rocked through me. It felt like my teeth were going to sh 29 shatter, they were slamming together so hard. reg 30 “I’m sure she’ll thank you for this when her toes turn black and drop off,” Jacob snapped. Edward hesitated, then his hand fell away and he slid back to his position in the corner. His voice was flat and frightening. “Watch yourself.” Jacob chuckled. 490 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 491 “Scoot over, Bella,” he said, zipping the sleeping bag 1 open farther. 2 3 I stared at him in outrage. No wonder Edward was re- 4 acting this way. 5 6 “N-n-n-n-n,” I tried to protest. 7 “Don’t be stupid,” he said, exasperated. “Don’t you like 8 having ten toes?” 9 He crammed his body into the nonexistent space, forc- 10 ing the zipper up behind himself. 11 And then I couldn’t object — I didn’t want to any- 12 more. He was so warm. His arms constricted around me, 13 holding me snugly against his bare chest. The heat was ir- 14 resistible, like air after being underwater for too long. He 15 cringed when I pressed my icy fingers eagerly against his 16 skin. 17 “Jeez, you’re freezing, Bella,” he complained. 18 “S-s-s-s-sorry,” I stuttered. 19 “Try to relax,” he suggested as another shiver rippled 20 through me violently. “You’ll be warm in a minute. Of 21 course, you’d warm up faster if you took your clothes off.” 22 Edward growled sharply. 23 “That’s just a simple fact,” Jacob defended himself. 24 “Survival one-oh-one.” 25 “C-c-cut it out, Jake,” I said angrily, though my body 26 refused to even try to pull away from him. “N-n-n-nobody 27 really n-n-n-n-needs all ten t-t-t-toes.” 28 “Don’t worry about the bloodsucker,” Jacob suggested, 29 sh and his tone was smug. “He’s just jealous.” 30 reg “Of course I am.” Edward’s voice was velvet again, under 491 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 492 1 control, a musical murmur in the darkness. “You don’t 2 have the faintest idea how much I wish I could do what 3 you’re doing for her, mongrel.” 4 5 “Those are the breaks,” Jacob said lightly, but then his 6 tone soured. “At least you know she wishes it was you.” 7 8 “True,” Edward agreed. 9 The shuddering slowed, became bearable while they 10 wrangled. 11 “There,” Jacob said, pleased. “Feeling better?” 12 I was finally able to speak clearly. “Yes.” 13 “Your lips are still blue,” he mused. “Want me to warm 14 those up for you, too? You only have to ask.” 15 Edward sighed heavily. 16 “Behave yourself,” I muttered, pressing my face against 17 his shoulder. He flinched again when my cold skin touched 18 his, and I smiled with slightly vindictive satisfaction. 19 It was already warm and snug inside the sleeping bag. 20 Jacob’s body heat seemed to radiate from every side — 21 maybe because there was so much of him. I kicked my 22 boots off, and pushed my toes against his legs. He jumped 23 slightly, and then leaned his head down to press his hot 24 cheek against my numb ear. 25 I noticed that Jacob’s skin had a woodsy, musky 26 scent — it fit the setting, here in the middle of the forest. 27 It was nice. I wondered if the Cullens and the Quileutes 28 weren’t just playing up that whole odor issue because of sh 29 their prejudices. Everyone smelled fine to me. reg 30 The storm howled like an animal attacking the tent, but it didn’t worry me now. Jacob was out of the cold, and so was I. Plus, I was simply too exhausted to worry about 492 3rd Pass Pages

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