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Stephenie Meyer - Eclipse

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Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 493 anything — tired from just staying awake so late, and 1 aching from the muscle spasms. My body relaxed slowly as 2 I thawed, piece by frozen piece, and then turned limp. 3 4 “Jake?” I mumbled sleepily. “Can I ask you some- 5 thing? I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, I’m hon- 6 estly curious.” They were the same words he’d used in my 7 kitchen . . . how long ago was it now? 8 9 “Sure,” he chuckled, remembering. 10 “Why are you so much furrier than your friends? You 11 don’t have to answer if I’m being rude.” I didn’t know the 12 rules for etiquette as they applied to werewolf culture. 13 “Because my hair is longer,” he said, amused — my 14 question hadn’t offended him, at least. He shook his head 15 so that his unkempt hair — grown out to his chin now — 16 tickled my cheek. 17 “Oh.” I was surprised, but it made sense. So that was 18 why they’d all cropped their hair in the beginning, when 19 they joined the pack. “Then why don’t you cut it? Do you 20 like to be shaggy?” 21 He didn’t answer right away this time, and Edward 22 laughed under his breath. 23 “Sorry,” I said, pausing to yawn. “I didn’t mean to pry. 24 You don’t have to tell me.” 25 Jacob made an annoyed sound. “Oh, he’ll tell you any- 26 way, so I might as well. . . . I was growing my hair out be- 27 cause . . . it seemed like you liked it better long.” 28 “Oh.” I felt awkward. “I, er, like it both ways, Jake. 29 sh You don’t need to be . . . inconvenienced.” 30 reg He shrugged. “Turns out it was very convenient to- night, so don’t worry about it.” 493 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 494 1 I didn’t have anything else to say. As the silence 2 lengthened, my eyelids drooped and shut, and my breath- 3 ing grew slower, more even. 4 5 “That’s right, honey, go to sleep,” Jacob whispered. 6 I sighed, content, already half-unconscious. 7 “Seth is here,” Edward muttered to Jacob, and I sud- 8 denly understood the point of the howling. 9 “Perfect. Now you can keep an eye on everything else, 10 while I take care of your girlfriend for you.” 11 Edward didn’t answer, but I groaned groggily. “Stop 12 it,” I muttered. 13 It was quiet then, inside at least. Outside, the wind 14 shrieked insanely through the trees. The shimmying of 15 the tent made it hard to sleep. The poles would suddenly 16 jerk and quiver, pulling me back from the edge of uncon- 17 sciousness each time I was close to slipping under. I felt so 18 bad for the wolf, the boy that was stuck outside in the snow. 19 My mind wandered as I waited for sleep to find me. 20 This warm little space made me think of the early days 21 with Jacob, and I remembered how it used to be when he 22 was my replacement sun, the warmth that made my empty 23 life livable. It had been a while since I’d thought of Jake 24 that way, but here he was, warming me again. 25 “Please!” Edward hissed. “Do you mind!” 26 “What?” Jacob whispered back, his tone surprised. 27 “Do you think you could attempt to control your 28 thoughts?” Edward’s low whisper was furious. sh 29 “No one said you had to listen,” Jacob muttered, defi- reg 30 ant, yet still embarrassed. “Get out of my head.” 494 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 495 “I wish I could. You have no idea how loud your little 1 fantasies are. It’s like you’re shouting them at me.” 2 3 “I’ll try to keep it down,” Jacob whispered sarcastically. 4 There was a brief moment of silence. 5 “Yes,” Edward answered an unspoken thought in a mur- 6 mur so low I barely made it out. “I’m jealous of that, too.” 7 “I figured it was like that,” Jacob whispered smugly. 8 “Sort of evens the playing field up a little, doesn’t it?” 9 Edward chuckled. “In your dreams.” 10 “You know, she could still change her mind,” Jacob 11 taunted him. “Considering all the things I could do with 12 her that you can’t. At least, not without killing her, that is.” 13 “Go to sleep, Jacob,” Edward murmured. “You’re start- 14 ing to get on my nerves.” 15 “I think I will. I’m really very comfortable.” 16 Edward didn’t answer. 17 I was too far gone to ask them to stop talking about me 18 like I wasn’t there. The conversation had taken on a dream- 19 like quality to me, and I wasn’t sure I was really awake. 20 “Maybe I would,” Edward said after a moment, answer- 21 ing a question I hadn’t heard. 22 “But would you be honest?” 23 “You can always ask and see.” Edward’s tone made me 24 wonder if I was missing out on a joke. 25 “Well, you see inside my head — let me see inside 26 yours tonight, it’s only fair,” Jacob said. 27 “Your head is full of questions. Which one do you want 28 me to answer?” 29 sh “The jealousy . . . it has to be eating at you. You can’t 30 reg 495 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 496 1 be as sure of yourself as you seem. Unless you have no 2 emotions at all.” 3 4 “Of course it is,” Edward agreed, no longer amused. 5 “Right now it’s so bad that I can barely control my voice. 6 Of course, it’s even worse when she’s away from me, with 7 you, and I can’t see her.” 8 9 “Do you think about it all the time?” Jacob whispered. 10 “Does it make it hard to concentrate when she’s not 11 with you?” 12 13 “Yes and no,” Edward said; he seemed determined to 14 answer honestly. “My mind doesn’t work quite the same as 15 yours. I can think of many more things at one time. Of 16 course, that means that I’m always able to think of you, al- 17 ways able to wonder if that’s where her mind is, when she’s 18 quiet and thoughtful.” 19 20 They were both still for a minute. 21 “Yes, I would guess that she thinks about you often,” 22 Edward murmured in response to Jacob’s thoughts. “More 23 often than I like. She worries that you’re unhappy. Not 24 that you don’t know that. Not that you don’t use that.” 25 “I have to use whatever I can,” Jacob muttered. “I’m 26 not working with your advantages — advantages like her 27 knowing she’s in love with you.” 28 “That helps,” Edward agreed in a mild tone. sh 29 Jacob was defiant. “She’s in love with me, too, you reg 30 know.” Edward didn’t answer. Jacob sighed. “But she doesn’t know it.” “I can’t tell you if you’re right.” 496 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 497 “Does that bother you? Do you wish you could see 1 what she’s thinking, too?” 2 3 “Yes . . . and no, again. She likes it better this way, and, 4 though it sometimes drives me insane, I’d rather she was 5 happy.” 6 7 The wind ripped around the tent, shaking it like an 8 earthquake. Jacob’s arms tightened around me protectively. 9 10 “Thank you,” Edward whispered. “Odd as this might 11 sound, I suppose I’m glad you’re here, Jacob.” 12 13 “You mean, ‘as much as I’d love to kill you, I’m glad 14 she’s warm,’ right?” 15 16 “It’s an uncomfortable truce, isn’t it?” 17 Jacob’s whisper was suddenly smug. “I knew you were 18 just as crazy jealous as I am.” 19 “I’m not such a fool as to wear it on my sleeve like you 20 do. It doesn’t help your case, you know.” 21 “You have more patience than I do.” 22 “I should. I’ve had a hundred years to gain it. A hun- 23 dred years of waiting for her.” 24 “So . . . at what point did you decide to play the very 25 patient good guy?” 26 “When I saw how much it was hurting her to make her 27 choose. It’s not usually this difficult to control. I can 28 smother the . . . less civilized feelings I may have for you 29 sh fairly easily most of the time. Sometimes I think she sees 30 reg through me, but I can’t be sure.” “I think you were just worried that if you really forced her to choose, she might not choose you.” Edward didn’t answer right away. “That was a part of it,” 497 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 498 1 he finally admitted. “But only a small part. We all have our 2 moments of doubt. Mostly I was worried that she’d hurt 3 herself trying to sneak away to see you. After I’d accepted 4 that she was more or less safe with you — as safe as Bella 5 ever is — it seemed best to stop driving her to extremes.” 6 7 Jacob sighed. “I’d tell her all of this, but she’d never 8 believe me.” 9 10 “I know.” It sounded like Edward was smiling. 11 “You think you know everything,” Jacob muttered. 12 “I don’t know the future,” Edward said, his voice sud- 13 denly unsure. 14 There was a long pause. 15 “What would you do if she changed her mind?” Jacob 16 asked. 17 “I don’t know that either.” 18 Jacob chuckled quietly. “Would you try to kill me?” 19 Sarcastic again, as if doubting Edward’s ability to do it. 20 “No.” 21 “Why not?” Jacob’s tone was still jeering. 22 “Do you really think I would hurt her that way?” 23 Jacob hesitated for a second, and then sighed. “Yeah, 24 you’re right. I know that’s right. But sometimes . . .” 25 “Sometimes it’s an intriguing idea.” 26 Jacob pressed his face into the sleeping bag to muffle 27 his laugher. “Exactly,” he eventually agreed. 28 What a strange dream this was. I wondered if it was sh 29 the relentless wind that made me imagine all the whisper- reg 30 ing. Only the wind was screaming rather than whisper- ing . . . “What is it like? Losing her?” Jacob asked after a quiet 498 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 499 moment, and there was no hint of humor in his suddenly 1 hoarse voice. “When you thought that you’d lost her for- 2 ever? How did you . . . cope?” 3 4 “That’s very difficult for me to talk about.” 5 Jacob waited. 6 “There were two different times that I thought that.” 7 Edward spoke each word just a little slower than normal. 8 “The first time, when I thought I could leave her . . . that 9 was . . . almost bearable. Because I thought she would for- 10 get me and it would be like I hadn’t touched her life. For 11 over six months I was able to stay away, to keep my prom- 12 ise that I wouldn’t interfere again. It was getting close — 13 I was fighting but I knew I wasn’t going to win; I would 14 have come back . . . just to check on her. That’s what I 15 would have told myself, anyway. And if I’d found her rea- 16 sonably happy . . . I like to think that I could have gone 17 away again. 18 “But she wasn’t happy. And I would have stayed. That’s 19 how she convinced me to stay with her tomorrow, of 20 course. You were wondering about that before, what could 21 possibly motivate me . . . what she was feeling so need- 22 lessly guilty about. She reminded me of what it did to her 23 when I left — what it still does to her when I leave. She 24 feels horrible about bringing that up, but she’s right. I’ll 25 never be able to make up for that, but I’ll never stop try- 26 ing anyway.” 27 Jacob didn’t respond for a moment, listening to the 28 storm or digesting what he’d heard, I didn’t know which. 29 sh “And the other time — when you thought she was 30 reg dead?” Jacob whispered roughly. 499 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 500 1 “Yes.” Edward answered a different question. “It will 2 probably feel like that to you, won’t it? The way you 3 perceive us, you might not be able to see her as Bella any- 4 more. But that’s who she’ll be.” 5 6 “That’s not what I asked.” 7 Edward’s voice came back fast and hard. “I can’t tell 8 you how it felt. There aren’t words.” 9 Jacob’s arms flexed around me. 10 “But you left because you didn’t want to make her a 11 bloodsucker. You want her to be human.” 12 Edward spoke slowly. “Jacob, from the second that I re- 13 alized that I loved her, I knew there were only four possi- 14 bilities. The first alternative, the best one for Bella, would 15 be if she didn’t feel as strongly for me — if she got over 16 me and moved on. I would accept that, though it would 17 never change the way I felt. You think of me as a . . . liv- 18 ing stone — hard and cold. That’s true. We are set the 19 way we are, and it is very rare for us to experience a real 20 change. When that happens, as when Bella entered my 21 life, it is a permanent change. There’s no going back. . . . 22 “The second alternative, the one I’d originally chosen, 23 was to stay with her throughout her human life. It wasn’t 24 a good option for her, to waste her life with someone who 25 couldn’t be human with her, but it was the alternative 26 I could most easily face. Knowing all along that, when 27 she died, I would find a way to die, too. Sixty years, sev- 28 enty years — it would seem like a very, very short time to sh 29 me. . . . But then it proved much too dangerous for her to reg 30 live in such close proximity with my world. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did. Or hung over us . . . 500 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 501 waiting to go wrong. I was terrified that I wouldn’t get 1 those sixty years if I stayed near her while she was human. 2 3 “So I chose option three. Which turned out to be the 4 worst mistake of my very long life, as you know. I chose to 5 take myself out of her world, hoping to force her into the 6 first alternative. It didn’t work, and it very nearly killed us 7 both. 8 9 “What do I have left but the fourth option? It’s what 10 she wants — at least, she thinks she does. I’ve been trying 11 to delay her, to give her time to find a reason to change 12 her mind, but she’s very . . . stubborn. You know that. I’ll 13 be lucky to stretch this out a few more months. She has 14 a horror of getting older, and her birthday is in Septem- 15 ber. . . .” 16 17 “I like option one,” Jacob muttered. 18 Edward didn’t respond. 19 “You know exactly how much I hate to accept this,” Ja- 20 cob whispered slowly, “but I can see that you do love 21 her . . . in your way. I can’t argue with that anymore. 22 “Given that, I don’t think you should give up on the 23 first alternative, not yet. I think there’s a very good chance 24 that she would be okay. After time. You know, if she 25 hadn’t jumped off a cliff in March . . . and if you’d waited 26 another six months to check on her. . . . Well, you might 27 have found her reasonably happy. I had a game plan.” 28 Edward chuckled. “Maybe it would have worked. It 29 sh was a well thought-out plan.” 30 reg “Yeah.” Jake sighed. “But . . . ,” suddenly he was whis- pering so fast the words got tangled, “give me a year, bl — Edward. I really think I could make her happy. She’s 501 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 502 1 stubborn, no one knows that better than I do, but she’s ca- 2 pable of healing. She would have healed before. And she 3 could be human, with Charlie and Renée, and she could 4 grow up, and have kids and . . . be Bella. 5 6 “You love her enough that you have to see the advan- 7 tages of that plan. She thinks you’re very unselfish . . . are 8 you really? Can you consider the idea that I might be bet- 9 ter for her than you are?” 10 11 “I have considered it,” Edward answered quietly. “In 12 some ways, you would be better suited for her than an- 13 other human. Bella takes some looking after, and you’re 14 strong enough that you could protect her from herself, and 15 from everything that conspires against her. You have done 16 that already, and I’ll owe you for that for as long as I 17 live — forever — whichever comes first. . . . 18 19 “I even asked Alice if she could see that — see if Bella 20 would be better off with you. She couldn’t, of course. She 21 can’t see you, and then Bella’s sure of her course, for now. 22 23 “But I’m not stupid enough to make the same mistake 24 I made before, Jacob. I won’t try to force her into that first 25 option again. As long as she wants me, I’m here.” 26 27 “And if she were to decide that she wanted me?” Jacob 28 challenged. “Okay, it’s a long shot, I’ll give you that.” sh 29 reg 30 “I would let her go.” “Just like that?” “In the sense that I’d never show her how hard it was for me, yes. But I would keep watch. You see, Jacob, you might leave her someday. Like Sam and Emily, you wouldn’t have a choice. I would always be waiting in the wings, hoping for that to happen.” 502 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 503 Jacob snorted quietly. “Well, you’ve been much more 1 honest than I had any right to expect . . . Edward. Thanks 2 for letting me in your head.” 3 4 “As I said, I’m feeling oddly grateful for your presence 5 in her life tonight. It was the least I could do. . . . You 6 know, Jacob, if it weren’t for the fact that we’re natural en- 7 emies and that you’re also trying to steal away the reason 8 for my existence, I might actually like you.” 9 10 “Maybe . . . if you weren’t a disgusting vampire who 11 was planning to suck out the life of the girl I love . . . 12 well, no, not even then.” 13 14 Edward chuckled. 15 “Can I ask you something?” Edward said after a moment. 16 “Why would you have to ask?” 17 “I can only hear if you think of it. It’s just a story that 18 Bella seemed reluctant to tell me about the other day. 19 Something about a third wife . . . ?” 20 “What about it?” 21 Edward didn’t answer, listening to the story in Jacob’s 22 head. I heard his low hiss in the darkness. 23 “What?” Jacob demanded again. 24 “Of course,” Edward seethed. “Of course! I rather wish 25 your elders had kept that story to themselves, Jacob.” 26 “You don’t like the leeches being painted as the bad 27 guys?” Jacob mocked. “You know, they are. Then and now.” 28 “I really couldn’t care less about that part. Can’t you 29 sh guess which character Bella would identify with?” 30 reg It took Jacob a minute. “Oh. Ugh. The third wife. Okay, I see your point.” “She wants to be there in the clearing. To do what little 503 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 504 1 she can, as she puts it.” He sighed. “That was the second- 2 ary reason for my staying with her tomorrow. She’s quite 3 inventive when she wants something.” 4 5 “You know, your military brother gave her the idea just 6 as much as the story did.” 7 8 “Neither side meant any harm,” Edward whispered, 9 peace-making now. 10 11 “And when does this little truce end?” Jacob asked. 12 “First light? Or do we wait until after the fight?” 13 14 There was a pause as they both considered. 15 “First light,” they whispered together, and then laughed 16 quietly. 17 “Sleep well, Jacob,” Edward murmured. “Enjoy the 18 moment.” 19 It was quiet again, and the tent held still for a few min- 20 utes. The wind seemed to have decided that it wasn’t go- 21 ing to flatten us after all, and was giving up the fight. 22 Edward groaned softly. “I didn’t mean that quite so lit- 23 erally.” 24 “Sorry,” Jacob whispered. “You could leave, you 25 know — give us a little privacy.” 26 “Would you like me to help you sleep, Jacob?” Edward 27 offered. 28 “You could try,” Jacob said, unconcerned. “It would be sh 29 interesting to see who walked away, wouldn’t it?” reg 30 “Don’t tempt me too far, wolf. My patience isn’t that perfect.” Jacob whispered a laugh. “I’d rather not move just now, if you don’t mind.” 504 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 505 Edward started humming to himself, louder than 1 usual — trying to drown out Jacob’s thoughts, I assumed. 2 But it was my lullaby he hummed, and, despite my grow- 3 ing discomfort with this whispered dream, I sank deeper 4 into unconsciousness . . . into other dreams that made bet- 5 ter sense. . . . 6 7 505 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 sh 30 reg 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 506 1 23. MONSTER 2 3 When I woke up in the morning, it was very 4 bright — even inside the tent, the sunlight hurt my eyes. 5 And I was sweating, as Jacob had predicted. Jacob was snor- 6 ing lightly in my ear, his arms still wrapped around me. 7 8 I pulled my head away from his feverishly warm chest 9 and felt the sting of the cold morning on my clammy 10 cheek. Jacob sighed in his sleep; his arms tightened un- 11 consciously. 12 13 I squirmed, unable to loosen his hold, struggling to lift 14 my head enough to see. . . . 15 16 Edward met my gaze evenly. His expression was calm, 17 but the pain in his eyes was unconcealed. 18 19 “Is it any warmer out there?” I whispered. 20 21 506 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 sh 29 reg 30 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 507 “Yes. I don’t think the space heater will be necessary 1 today.” 2 3 I tried to get to the zipper, but I couldn’t free my arms. 4 I strained, fighting against Jacob’s inert strength. Jacob 5 muttered, still fast asleep, his arms constricting again. 6 7 “Some help?” I asked quietly. 8 Edward smiled. “Did you want me to take his arms all 9 the way off?” 10 “No, thank you. Just get me free. I’m going to get heat 11 stroke.” 12 Edward unzipped the sleeping bag in a swift, abrupt 13 movement. Jacob fell out, his bare back hitting the icy 14 floor of the tent. 15 “Hey!” he complained, his eyes flying open. Instinc- 16 tively, he flinched away from the cold, rolling onto me. I 17 gasped as his weight knocked the breath out of me. 18 And then his weight was gone. I felt the impact as Ja- 19 cob flew into one of the tent poles and the tent shuddered. 20 The growling erupted from all around. Edward was 21 crouching in front of me, and I couldn’t see his face, but 22 the snarls were ripping angrily out of his chest. Jacob was 23 half-crouched, too, his whole body quivering, while 24 growls rumbled through his clenched teeth. Outside the 25 tent, Seth Clearwater’s vicious snarls echoed off the rocks. 26 “Stop it, stop it!” I yelled, scrambling awkwardly to 27 put myself between them. The space was so small that I 28 didn’t have to stretch far to put one hand on each of their 29 sh chests. Edward wrapped his hand around my waist, ready 30 reg to yank me out of the way. “Stop it, now,” I warned him. 507 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 508 1 Under my touch, Jacob began to calm himself. The 2 shaking slowed, but his teeth were still bared, his eyes fu- 3 riously focused on Edward. Seth continued to growl, a 4 long unbroken sound, a violent background to the sudden 5 silence in the tent. 6 7 “Jacob?” I asked, waiting until he finally dropped his 8 glare to look at me. “Are you hurt?” 9 10 “Of course not!” he hissed. 11 I turned to Edward. He was looking at me, his expression 12 hard and angry. “That wasn’t nice. You should say sorry.” 13 His eyes widened in disgust. “You must be joking — 14 he was crushing you!” 15 “Because you dumped him on the floor! He didn’t do it 16 on purpose, and he didn’t hurt me.” 17 Edward groaned, revolted. Slowly, he looked up to 18 glare at Jacob with hostile eyes. “My apologies, dog.” 19 “No harm done,” Jacob said, a taunting edge to his voice. 20 It was still cold, though not as cold as it had been. I 21 curled my arms around my chest. 22 “Here,” Edward said, calm again. He took the parka off 23 the floor and wrapped it over the top of my coat. 24 “That’s Jacob’s,” I objected. 25 “Jacob has a fur coat,” Edward hinted. 26 “I’ll just use the sleeping bag again, if you don’t mind.” 27 Jacob ignored him, climbing around us and sliding into the 28 down bag. “I wasn’t quite ready to wake up. That wasn’t sh 29 the best night’s sleep I ever had.” reg 30 “It was your idea,” Edward said impassively. Jacob was curled up, his eyes already closed. He yawned. 508 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 509 “I didn’t say it wasn’t the best night I’ve ever spent. Just 1 that I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I thought Bella was never 2 going to shut up.” 3 4 I winced, wondering what might have come out of my 5 mouth in my sleep. The possibilities were horrifying. 6 7 “I’m glad you enjoyed yourself,” Edward murmured. 8 Jacob’s dark eyes fluttered open. “Didn’t you have a 9 nice night, then?” he asked, smug. 10 “It wasn’t the worst night of my life.” 11 “Did it make the top ten?” Jacob asked with perverse 12 enjoyment. 13 “Possibly.” 14 Jacob smiled and closed his eyes. 15 “But,” Edward went on, “if I had been able to take your 16 place last night, it would not have made the top ten of the 17 best nights of my life. Dream about that.” 18 Jacob’s eyes opened into a glare. He sat up stiffly, his 19 shoulders tense. 20 “You know what? I think it’s too crowded in here.” 21 “I couldn’t agree more.” 22 I elbowed Edward in the ribs — probably giving my- 23 self a bruise. 24 “Guess I’ll catch up on my sleep later, then.” Jacob 25 made a face. “I need to talk to Sam anyway.” 26 He rolled to his knees and grabbed the door’s zipper. 27 Pain crackled down my spine and lodged in my stom- 28 ach as I abruptly realized that this could be the last time I 29 sh would see him. He was going back to Sam, back to fight 30 reg the horde of bloodthirsty newborn vampires. 509 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 510 1 “Jake, wait —” I reached after him, my hand sliding 2 down his arm. 3 4 He jerked his arm away before my fingers could find 5 purchase. 6 7 “Please, Jake? Won’t you stay?” 8 “No.” 9 The word was hard and cold. I knew my face gave away 10 my pain, because he exhaled and half a smile softened his 11 expression. 12 “Don’t worry about me, Bells. I’ll be fine, just like I al- 13 ways am.” He forced a laugh. “’Sides, you think I’m going 14 to let Seth go in my place — have all the fun and steal all 15 the glory? Right.” He snorted. 16 “Be careful —” 17 He shoved out of the tent before I could finish. 18 “Give it a rest, Bella,” I heard him mutter as he re- 19 zipped the door. 20 I listened for the sound of his retreating footsteps, but 21 it was perfectly still. No more wind. I could hear morning 22 birdsong far away on the mountain, and nothing else. Ja- 23 cob moved in silence now. 24 I huddled in my coats, and leaned against Edward’s 25 shoulder. We were quiet for a long time. 26 “How much longer?” I asked. 27 “Alice told Sam it should be an hour or so,” Edward 28 said, soft and bleak. sh 29 “We stay together. No matter what.” reg 30 “No matter what,” he agreed, his eyes tight. “I know,” I said. “I’m terrified for them, too.” 510 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 511 “They know how to handle themselves,” Edward as- 1 sured me, purposely making his voice light. “I just hate 2 missing the fun.” 3 4 Again with the fun. My nostrils flared. 5 He put his arm around my shoulder. “Don’t worry,” he 6 urged, and then he kissed my forehead. 7 As if there was any way to avoid that. “Sure, sure.” 8 “Do you want me to distract you?” He breathed, run- 9 ning his cold fingers along my cheekbone. 10 I shivered involuntarily; the morning was still frosty. 11 “Maybe not right now,” he answered himself, pulling 12 his hand away. 13 “There are other ways to distract me.” 14 “What would you like?” 15 “You could tell me about your ten best nights,” I sug- 16 gested. “I’m curious.” 17 He laughed. “Try to guess.” 18 I shook my head. “There’re too many nights I don’t 19 know about. A century of them.” 20 “I’ll narrow it down for you. All of my best nights have 21 happened since I met you.” 22 “Really?” 23 “Yes, really — and by quite a wide margin, too.” 24 I thought for a minute. “I can only think of mine,” I 25 admitted. 26 “They might be the same,” he encouraged. 27 “Well, there was the first night. The night you stayed.” 28 “Yes, that’s one of mine, too. Of course, you were un- 29 sh conscious for my favorite part.” 30 reg 511 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 512 1 “That’s right,” I remembered. “I was talking that 2 night, too.” 3 4 “Yes,” he agreed. 5 My face got hot as I wondered again what I might have 6 said while sleeping in Jacob’s arms. I couldn’t remember 7 what I’d dreamed about, or if I’d dreamed at all, so that 8 was no help. 9 “What did I say last night?” I whispered more quietly 10 than before. 11 He shrugged instead of answering, and I winced. 12 “That bad?” 13 “Nothing too horrible,” he sighed. 14 “Please tell me.” 15 “Mostly you said my name, the same as usual.” 16 “That’s not bad,” I agreed cautiously. 17 “Near the end, though, you started mumbling some 18 nonsense about ‘Jacob, my Jacob.’” I could hear the pain, 19 even in the whisper. “Your Jacob enjoyed that quite a lot.” 20 I stretched my neck up, straining to reach my lips to 21 the edge of his jaw. I couldn’t see into his eyes. He was 22 staring up at the ceiling of the tent. 23 “Sorry,” I murmured. “That’s just the way I differen- 24 tiate.” 25 “Differentiate?” 26 “Between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Between the Jacob 27 I like and the one who annoys the hell out of me,” I ex- 28 plained. sh 29 “That makes sense.” He sounded slightly mollified. reg 30 “Tell me another favorite night.” “Flying home from Italy.” 512 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 513 He frowned. 1 “Is that not one of yours?” I wondered. 2 “No, it is one of mine, actually, but I’m surprised it’s on 3 your list. Weren’t you under the ludicrous impression I 4 was just acting from a guilty conscience, and I was going 5 to bolt as soon as the plane doors opened?” 6 “Yes.” I smiled. “But, still, you were there.” 7 He kissed my hair. “You love me more than I deserve.” 8 I laughed at the impossibility of that idea. “Next would 9 be the night after Italy,” I continued. 10 “Yes, that’s on the list. You were so funny.” 11 “Funny?” I objected. 12 “I had no idea your dreams were so vivid. It took me 13 forever to convince you that you were awake.” 14 “I’m still not sure,” I muttered. “You’ve always seemed 15 more like a dream than reality. Tell me one of yours, now. 16 Did I guess your first place?” 17 “No — that would be two nights ago, when you finally 18 agreed to marry me.” 19 I made a face. 20 “That doesn’t make your list?” 21 I thought about the way he’d kissed me, the concession 22 I’d gained, and changed my mind. “Yes . . . it does. But 23 with reservations. I don’t understand why it’s so impor- 24 tant to you. You already had me forever.” 25 “A hundred years from now, when you’ve gained 26 enough perspective to really appreciate the answer, I will 27 explain it to you.” 28 “I’ll remind you to explain — in a hundred years.” 29 sh “Are you warm enough?” he asked suddenly. 30 reg 513 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 514 1 “I’m fine,” I assured him. “Why?” 2 Before he could answer, the silence outside the tent was 3 ripped apart by an earsplitting howl of pain. The sound 4 ricocheted off the bare rock face of the mountain and filled 5 the air so that it seared from every direction. 6 The howl tore through my mind like a tornado, both 7 strange and familiar. Strange because I’d never heard such 8 a tortured cry before. Familiar because I knew the voice at 9 once — I recognized the sound and understood the mean- 10 ing as perfectly as if I’d uttered it myself. It made no dif- 11 ference that Jacob was not human when he cried out. I 12 needed no translation. 13 Jacob was close. Jacob had heard every word we’d said. 14 Jacob was in agony. 15 The howl choked off into a peculiar gurgled sob, and 16 then it was quiet again. 17 I did not hear his silent escape, but I could feel it — I 18 could feel the absence I had wrongly assumed before, the 19 empty space he left behind. 20 “Because your space heater has reached his limit,” Ed- 21 ward answered quietly. “Truce over,” he added, so low I 22 couldn’t be sure that was really what he’d said. 23 “Jacob was listening,” I whispered. It wasn’t a question. 24 “Yes.” 25 “You knew.” 26 “Yes.” 27 I stared at nothing, seeing nothing. 28 “I never promised to fight fair,” he reminded me qui- sh 29 etly. “And he deserves to know.” reg 30 514 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 515 My head fell into my hands. 1 “Are you angry with me?” he asked. 2 “Not you,” I whispered. “I’m horrified at me.” 3 “Don’t torment yourself,” he pleaded. 4 “Yes,” I agreed bitterly. “I should save my energy to 5 torment Jacob some more. I wouldn’t want to leave any 6 part of him unharmed.” 7 “He knew what he was doing.” 8 “Do you think that matters?” I was blinking back 9 tears, and this was easy to hear in my voice. “Do you think 10 I care whether it’s fair or whether he was adequately 11 warned? I’m hurting him. Every time I turn around, I’m 12 hurting him again.” My voice was getting louder, more 13 hysterical. “I’m a hideous person.” 14 He wrapped his arms tightly around me. “No, you’re 15 not.” 16 “I am! What’s wrong with me?” I struggled against his 17 arms, and he let them drop. “I have to go find him.” 18 “Bella, he’s already miles away, and it’s cold.” 19 “I don’t care. I can’t just sit here.” I shrugged off Jacob’s 20 parka, shoved my feet into my boots, and crawled stiffly to 21 the door; my legs felt numb. “I have to — I have to . . .” I 22 didn’t know how to finish the sentence, didn’t know what 23 there was to do, but I unzipped the door anyway, and 24 climbed out into the bright, icy morning. 25 There was less snow than I would have thought after the 26 fury of last night’s storm. Probably it had blown away 27 rather than melted in the sun that now shone low in the 28 southeast, glancing off the snow that lingered and stabbing 29 sh 30 reg 515 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 516 1 at my unadjusted eyes. The air still had a bite to it, but it 2 was dead calm and slowly becoming more seasonable as 3 the sun rose higher. 4 5 Seth Clearwater was curled up on a patch of dry pine 6 needles in the shadow of a thick spruce, his head on his 7 paws. His sand-colored fur was almost invisible against 8 the dead needles, but I could see the bright snow reflect off 9 his open eyes. He was staring at me with what I imagined 10 was an accusation. 11 12 I knew Edward was following me as I stumbled toward 13 the trees. I couldn’t hear him, but the sun reflected off his 14 skin in glittering rainbows that danced ahead of me. He 15 didn’t reach out to stop me until I was several paces into 16 the forest shadows. 17 18 His hand caught my left wrist. He ignored it when I 19 tried to yank myself free. 20 21 “You can’t go after him. Not today. It’s almost time. And 22 getting yourself lost wouldn’t help anyone, regardless.” 23 24 I twisted my wrist, pulling uselessly. 25 “I’m sorry, Bella,” he whispered. “I’m sorry I did that.” 26 “You didn’t do anything. It’s my fault. I did this. I did 27 everything wrong. I could have . . . When he . . . I shouldn’t 28 have . . . I . . . I . . .” I was sobbing. sh 29 “Bella, Bella.” reg 30 His arms folded around me, and my tears soaked into his shirt. “I should have — told him — I should — have said —” What? What could have made this right? “He shouldn’t have — found out like this.” “Do you want me to see if I can bring him back, so that 516 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 517 you can talk to him? There’s still a little time,” Edward 1 murmured, hushed agony in his voice. 2 3 I nodded into his chest, afraid to see his face. 4 “Stay by the tent. I’ll be back soon.” 5 His arms disappeared. He left so quickly that, in the 6 second it took me to look up, he was already gone. I was 7 alone. 8 A new sob broke from my chest. I was hurting every- 9 one today. Was there anything I touched that didn’t get 10 spoiled? 11 I didn’t know why it was hitting me so hard now. It 12 wasn’t like I hadn’t known this was coming all along. But 13 Jacob had never reacted so strongly — lost his bold over- 14 confidence and shown the intensity of his pain. The sound 15 of his agony still cut at me, somewhere deep in my chest. 16 Right beside it was the other pain. Pain for feeling pain 17 over Jacob. Pain for hurting Edward, too. For not being 18 able to watch Jacob go with composure, knowing that it 19 was the right thing, the only way. 20 I was selfish, I was hurtful. I tortured the ones I loved. 21 I was like Cathy, like Wuthering Heights, only my op- 22 tions were so much better than hers, neither one evil, nei- 23 ther one weak. And here I sat, crying about it, not doing 24 anything productive to make it right. Just like Cathy. 25 I couldn’t allow what hurt me to influence my decisions 26 anymore. It was too little, much too late, but I had to do 27 what was right now. Maybe it was already done for me. 28 Maybe Edward would not be able to bring him back. And 29 sh then I would accept that and get on with my life. Edward 30 reg would never see me shed another tear for Jacob Black. 517 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 518 1 There would be no more tears. I wiped the last of them 2 away with cold fingers now. 3 4 But if Edward did return with Jacob, that was it. I had 5 to tell him to go away and never come back. 6 7 Why was that so hard? So very much more difficult 8 than saying goodbye to my other friends, to Angela, to 9 Mike? Why did that hurt? It wasn’t right. That shouldn’t 10 be able to hurt me. I had what I wanted. I couldn’t have 11 them both, because Jacob could not be just my friend. It 12 was time to give up wishing for that. How ridiculously 13 greedy could any one person be? 14 15 I had to get over this irrational feeling that Jacob be- 16 longed in my life. He couldn’t belong with me, could not 17 be my Jacob, when I belonged to someone else. 18 19 I walked slowly back to the little clearing, my feet 20 dragging. When I broke into the open space, blinking 21 against the sharp light, I threw one quick glance toward 22 Seth — he hadn’t moved from his bed of pine needles — 23 and then looked away, avoiding his eyes. 24 25 I could feel that my hair was wild, twisted into clumps 26 like Medusa’s snakes. I yanked through it with my fingers, 27 and then gave up quickly. Who cared what I looked like, 28 anyway? sh 29 reg 30 I grabbed the canteen hanging beside the tent door and shook it. It sloshed wetly, so I unscrewed the lid and took a swig to rinse my mouth with the ice water. There was food somewhere nearby, but I didn’t feel hungry enough to look for it. I started pacing across the bright little space, feeling Seth’s eyes on me the whole time. Because I wouldn’t look at him, in my head he became the boy 518 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 519 again, rather than the gigantic wolf. So much like a 1 younger Jacob. 2 3 I wanted to ask Seth to bark or give some other sign if 4 Jacob was coming back, but I stopped myself. It didn’t 5 matter if Jacob came back. It might be easier if he didn’t. 6 I wished I had some way to call Edward. 7 8 Seth whined at that moment, and got to his feet. 9 “What is it?” I asked him stupidly. 10 He ignored me, trotting to the edge of the trees, and 11 pointing his nose toward the west. He began whimpering. 12 “Is it the others, Seth?” I demanded. “In the clearing?” 13 He looked at me and yelped softly once, and then 14 turned his nose alertly back to the west. His ears laid back 15 and he whined again. 16 Why was I such a fool? What was I thinking, sending 17 Edward away? How was I supposed to know what was go- 18 ing on? I didn’t speak wolf. 19 A cold trickle of fear began to ooze down my spine. 20 What if the time had run out? What if Jacob and Edward 21 got too close? What if Edward decided to join in the 22 fight? 23 The icy fear pooled in my stomach. What if Seth’s dis- 24 tress had nothing to do with the clearing, and his yelp had 25 been a denial? What if Jacob and Edward were fighting 26 with each other, far away somewhere in the forest? They 27 wouldn’t do that, would they? 28 With sudden, chilling certainty I realized that they 29 sh would — if the wrong words were said. I thought of the 30 reg tense standoff in the tent this morning, and I wondered if I’d underestimated how close it had come to a fight. 519 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 520 1 It would be no more than I deserved if I somehow lost 2 them both. 3 4 The ice locked around my heart. 5 Before I could collapse with fear, Seth grumbled 6 slightly, deep in his chest, and then turned away from his 7 watch and sauntered back toward his resting place. It 8 calmed me, but irritated me. Couldn’t he scratch a mes- 9 sage in the dirt or something? 10 The pacing was starting to make me sweat under all 11 my layers. I threw my jacket into the tent, and then I went 12 back to wearing a path across the center of the tiny break 13 in the trees. 14 Seth jumped to his feet again suddenly, the hackles on 15 the back of his neck standing up stiffly. I looked around, 16 but saw nothing. If Seth didn’t cut it out, I was going to 17 throw a pinecone at him. 18 He growled, a low warning sound, slinking back 19 toward the western rim, and I rethought my impatience. 20 “It’s just us, Seth,” Jacob called from a distance. 21 I tried to explain to myself why my heart kicked into 22 fourth gear when I heard him. It was just fear of what I 23 was going to have to do now, that was all. I could not al- 24 low myself to be relieved that he’d come back. That would 25 be the opposite of helpful. 26 Edward walked into view first, his face blank and 27 smooth. When he stepped out from the shadows, the sun 28 shimmered on his skin like it did on the snow. Seth went sh 29 to greet him, looking intently into his eyes. Edward nod- reg 30 ded slowly, and worry creased his forehead. 520 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 521 “Yes, that’s all we need,” he muttered to himself before 1 addressing the big wolf. “I suppose we shouldn’t be sur- 2 prised. But the timing is going to be very close. Please have 3 Sam ask Alice to try to nail the schedule down better.” 4 5 Seth dipped his head once, and I wished I was able to 6 growl. Sure, he could nod now. I turned my head, annoyed, 7 and realized that Jacob was there. 8 9 He had his back to me, facing the way he’d come. I 10 waited warily for him to turn around. 11 12 “Bella,” Edward murmured, suddenly right beside me. 13 He stared down at me with nothing but concern showing 14 in his eyes. There was no end to his generosity. I deserved 15 him now less than I ever had. 16 17 “There’s a bit of a complication,” he told me, his voice 18 carefully unworried. “I’m going to take Seth a little ways 19 away and try to straighten it out. I won’t go far, but I 20 won’t listen, either. I know you don’t want an audience, no 21 matter which way you decide to go.” 22 23 Only at the very end did the pain break into his voice. 24 I had to never hurt him again. That would be my mis- 25 sion in life. Never again would I be the reason for this look 26 to come into his eyes. 27 I was too upset to even ask him what the new problem 28 was. I didn’t need anything else right now. 29 sh “Hurry back,” I whispered. 30 reg He kissed me lightly on the lips, and then disappeared into the forest with Seth at his side. Jacob was still in the shadow of the trees; I couldn’t see his expression clearly. 521 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 522 1 “I’m in a hurry, Bella,” he said in a dull voice. “Why 2 don’t you get it over with?” 3 4 I swallowed, my throat suddenly so dry I wasn’t sure if 5 I could make sound come out. 6 7 “Just say the words, and be done with it.” 8 I took a deep breath. 9 “I’m sorry I’m such a rotten person,” I whispered. “I’m 10 sorry I’ve been so selfish. I wish I’d never met you, so I 11 couldn’t hurt you the way I have. I won’t do it anymore, I 12 promise. I’ll stay far away from you. I’ll move out of the 13 state. You won’t have to look at me ever again.” 14 “That’s not much of an apology,” he said bitterly. 15 I couldn’t make my voice louder than a whisper. “Tell 16 me how to do it right.” 17 “What if I don’t want you to go away? What if I’d 18 rather you stayed, selfish or not? Don’t I get any say, if 19 you’re trying to make things up to me?” 20 “That won’t help anything, Jake. It was wrong to stay 21 with you when we wanted such different things. It’s not 22 going to get better. I’ll just keep hurting you. I don’t want 23 to hurt you anymore. I hate it.” My voice broke. 24 He sighed. “Stop. You don’t have to say anything else. 25 I understand.” 26 I wanted to tell him how much I would miss him, but 27 I bit my tongue. That would not help anything, either. 28 He stood quietly for a moment, staring at the ground, sh 29 and I fought against the urge to go and put my arms reg 30 around him. To comfort him. And then his head snapped up. 522 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 523 “Well, you’re not the only one capable of self-sacrifice,” 1 he said, his voice stronger. “Two can play at that game.” 2 3 “What?” 4 “I’ve behaved pretty badly myself. I’ve made this much 5 harder for you than I needed to. I could have given up 6 with good grace in the beginning. But I hurt you, too.” 7 “This is my fault.” 8 “I won’t let you claim all the blame here, Bella. Or all 9 the glory either. I know how to redeem myself.” 10 “What are you talking about?” I demanded. The sud- 11 den, frenzied light in his eyes frightened me. 12 He glanced up at the sun and then smiled at me. “There’s 13 a pretty serious fight brewing down there. I don’t think it 14 will be that difficult to take myself out of the picture.” 15 His words sank into my brain, slowly, one by one, and 16 I couldn’t breathe. Despite all my intentions to cut Jacob 17 out of my life completely, I didn’t realize until that pre- 18 cise second exactly how deep the knife would have to go 19 to do it. 20 “Oh, no, Jake! No, no no no,” I choked out in horror. 21 “No, Jake, no. Please, no.” My knees began to tremble. 22 “What’s the difference, Bella? This will only make it 23 more convenient for everyone. You won’t even have to 24 move.” 25 “No!” My voice got louder. “No, Jacob! I won’t let you!” 26 “How will you stop me?” he taunted lightly, smiling to 27 take the sting out of his tone. 28 “Jacob, I’m begging you. Stay with me.” I would have 29 sh fallen to my knees, if I could have moved at all. 30 reg 523 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 524 1 “For fifteen minutes while I miss a good brawl? So that 2 you can run away from me as soon as you think I’m safe 3 again? You’ve got to be kidding.” 4 5 “I won’t run away. I’ve changed my mind. We’ll work 6 something out, Jacob. There’s always a compromise. 7 Don’t go!” 8 9 “You’re lying.” 10 “I’m not. You know what a terrible liar I am. Look in 11 my eyes. I’ll stay if you do.” 12 His face hardened. “And I can be your best man at the 13 wedding?” 14 It was a moment before I could speak, and still the only 15 answer I could give him was, “Please.” 16 “That’s what I thought,” he said, his face going calm 17 again, but for the turbulent light in his eyes. 18 “I love you, Bella,” he murmured. 19 “I love you, Jacob,” I whispered brokenly. 20 He smiled. “I know that better than you do.” 21 He turned to walk away. 22 “Anything,” I called after him in a strangled voice. 23 “Anything you want, Jacob. Just don’t do this!” 24 He paused, turning slowly. 25 “I don’t really think you mean that.” 26 “Stay,” I begged. 27 He shook his head. “No, I’m going.” He paused, as if 28 deciding something. “But I could leave it to fate.” sh 29 “What do you mean?” I choked out. reg 30 “I don’t have to do anything deliberate — I could just do my best for my pack and let what happens happen.” He 524 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 525 shrugged. “If you could convince me you really did want 1 me to come back — more than you wanted to do the self- 2 less thing.” 3 4 “How?” I asked. 5 “You could ask me,” he suggested. 6 “Come back,” I whispered. How could he doubt that I 7 meant it? 8 He shook his head, smiling again. “That’s not what I’m 9 talking about.” 10 It took me a second to grasp what he was saying, and 11 all the while he was looking at me with this superior ex- 12 pression — so sure of my reaction. As soon as the real- 13 ization hit, though, I blurted out the words without 14 stopping to count the cost. 15 “Will you kiss me, Jacob?” 16 His eyes widened in surprise, then narrowed suspi- 17 ciously. “You’re bluffing.” 18 “Kiss me, Jacob. Kiss me, and then come back.” 19 He hesitated in the shadow, warring with himself. He 20 half-turned again to the west, his torso twisting away 21 from me while his feet stayed planted where they were. 22 Still looking away, he took one uncertain step in my direc- 23 tion, and then another. He swung his face around to look 24 at me, his eyes doubtful. 25 I stared back. I had no idea what expression was on my 26 face. 27 Jacob rocked back on his heels, and then lurched for- 28 ward, closing the distance between us in three long 29 sh strides. 30 reg 525 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 526 1 I knew he would take advantage of the situation. I ex- 2 pected it. I held very still — my eyes closed, my fingers 3 curled into fists at my sides — as his hands caught my face 4 and his lips found mine with an eagerness that was not far 5 from violence. 6 7 I could feel his anger as his mouth discovered my pas- 8 sive resistance. One hand moved to the nape of my neck, 9 twisting into a fist around the roots of my hair. The other 10 hand grabbed roughly at my shoulder, shaking me, then 11 dragging me to him. His hand continued down my arm, 12 finding my wrist and pulling my arm up around his neck. 13 I left it there, my hand still tightly balled up, unsure how 14 far I could go in my desperation to keep him alive. All the 15 while his lips, disconcertingly soft and warm, tried to 16 force a response out of mine. 17 18 As soon as he was sure I wouldn’t drop my arm, he 19 freed my wrist, his hand feeling its way down to my 20 waist. His burning hand found the skin at the small of 21 my back, and he yanked me forward, bowing my body 22 against his. 23 24 His lips gave up on mine for a moment, but I knew he 25 was nowhere close to finished. His mouth followed the 26 line of my jaw, and then explored the length of my neck. 27 He freed my hair, reaching for my other arm to draw it 28 around his neck like the first. sh 29 reg 30 Then both of his arms were constricted around my waist, and his lips found my ear. “You can do better than this, Bella,” he whispered huskily. “You’re overthinking it.” I shivered as I felt his teeth graze my earlobe. 526 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 527 “That’s right,” he murmured. “For once, just let your- 1 self feel what you feel.” 2 3 I shook my head mechanically until one of his hands 4 wound back into my hair and stopped me. 5 6 His voice turned acidic. “Are you sure you want me to 7 come back? Or did you really want me to die?” 8 9 Anger rocked through me like the whiplash after a heavy 10 punch. That was too much — he wasn’t fighting fair. 11 12 My arms were already around his neck, so I grabbed 13 two fistfuls of his hair — ignoring the stabbing pain in 14 my right hand — and fought back, struggling to pull my 15 face away from his. 16 17 And Jacob misunderstood. 18 He was too strong to recognize that my hands, trying 19 to yank his hair out by the roots, meant to cause him pain. 20 Instead of anger, he imagined passion. He thought I was 21 finally responding to him. 22 With a wild gasp, he brought his mouth back to mine, 23 his fingers clutching frantically against the skin at my 24 waist. 25 The jolt of anger unbalanced my tenuous hold on self- 26 control; his unexpected, ecstatic response overthrew it en- 27 tirely. If there had been only triumph, I might have been 28 able to resist him. But the utter defenselessness of his sud- 29 sh den joy cracked my determination, disabled it. My brain 30 reg disconnected from my body, and I was kissing him back. Against all reason, my lips were moving with his in strange, confusing ways they’d never moved before — because I didn’t have to be careful with Jacob, and he cer- tainly wasn’t being careful with me. 527 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 528 1 My fingers tightened in his hair, but I was pulling him 2 closer now. 3 4 He was everywhere. The piercing sunlight turned my 5 eyelids red, and the color fit, matched the heat. The heat 6 was everywhere. I couldn’t see or hear or feel anything that 7 wasn’t Jacob. 8 9 The tiny piece of my brain that retained sanity screamed 10 questions at me. 11 12 Why wasn’t I stopping this? Worse than that, why 13 couldn’t I find in myself even the desire to want to stop? 14 What did it mean that I didn’t want him to stop? That my 15 hands clung to his shoulders, and liked that they were 16 wide and strong? That his hands pulled me too tight 17 against his body, and yet it was not tight enough for me? 18 19 The questions were stupid, because I knew the answer: 20 I’d been lying to myself. 21 22 Jacob was right. He’d been right all along. He was 23 more than just my friend. That’s why it was so impos- 24 sible to tell him goodbye — because I was in love with 25 him. Too. I loved him, much more than I should, and 26 yet, still nowhere near enough. I was in love with him, 27 but it was not enough to change anything; it was only 28 enough to hurt us both more. To hurt him worse than I sh 29 ever had. reg 30 I didn’t care about more than that — than his pain. I more than deserved whatever pain this caused me. I hoped it was bad. I hoped I would really suffer. In this moment, it felt as though we were the same person. His pain had always been and would always be my 528 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 529 pain — now his joy was my joy. I felt joy, too, and yet his 1 happiness was somehow also pain. Almost tangible — it 2 burned against my skin like acid, a slow torture. 3 4 For one brief, never-ending second, an entirely differ- 5 ent path expanded behind the lids of my tear-wet eyes. As 6 if I were looking through the filter of Jacob’s thoughts, I 7 could see exactly what I was going to give up, exactly 8 what this new self-knowledge would not save me from los- 9 ing. I could see Charlie and Renée mixed into a strange 10 collage with Billy and Sam and La Push. I could see years 11 passing, and meaning something as they passed, changing 12 me. I could see the enormous red-brown wolf that I loved, 13 always standing as protector if I needed him. For the tini- 14 est fragment of that second, I saw the bobbing heads of 15 two small, black-haired children, running away from me 16 into the familiar forest. When they disappeared, they took 17 the rest of the vision with them. 18 19 And then, quite distinctly, I felt the splintering along 20 the fissure line in my heart as the smaller part wrenched 21 itself away from the whole. 22 23 Jacob’s lips were still before mine were. I opened my 24 eyes and he was staring at me with wonder and elation. 25 26 “I have to leave,” he whispered. 27 “No.” 28 He smiled, pleased by my response. “I won’t be long,” 29 sh he promised. “But one thing first . . .” 30 reg He bent to kiss me again, and there was no reason to re- sist. What would be the point? This time was different. His hands were soft on my face 529 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 530 1 and his warm lips were gentle, unexpectedly hesitant. It 2 was brief, and very, very sweet. 3 4 His arms curled around me, and he hugged me securely 5 while he whispered in my ear. 6 7 “That should have been our first kiss. Better late than 8 never.” 9 10 Against his chest, where he couldn’t see, the tears 11 welled up and spilled over. 12 13 530 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 531 24. SNAP DECISION 1 2 I lay facedown across the sleeping bag, waiting 3 for justice to find me. Maybe an avalanche would bury me 4 here. I wished it would. I never wanted to have to see my 5 face in the mirror again. 6 7 There was no sound to warn me. Out of nowhere, Ed- 8 ward’s cold hand stroked against my knotted hair. I shud- 9 dered guiltily at his touch. 10 11 “Are you all right?” he murmured, his voice anxious. 12 “No. I want to die.” 13 “That will never happen. I won’t allow it.” 14 I groaned and then whispered, “You might change 15 your mind about that.” 16 “Where’s Jacob?” 17 18 531 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 532 1 “He went to fight,” I mumbled into the floor. 2 Jacob had left the little camp joyfully — with a cheer- 3 ful “I’ll be right back” — running full tilt for the clear- 4 ing, already quivering as he prepared to shift to his other 5 self. By now the whole pack knew everything. Seth Clear- 6 water, pacing outside the tent, was an intimate witness to 7 my disgrace. 8 Edward was silent for a long moment. “Oh,” he finally 9 said. 10 The tone of his voice worried me that my avalanche 11 wasn’t coming fast enough. I peeked up at him and, sure 12 enough, his eyes were unfocused as he listened to some- 13 thing I’d rather die than have him hear. I dropped my face 14 back to the floor. 15 It stunned me when Edward chuckled reluctantly. 16 “And I thought I fought dirty,” he said with grudging 17 admiration. “He makes me look like the patron saint of 18 ethics.” His hand brushed against the part of my cheek 19 that was exposed. “I’m not mad at you, love. Jacob’s more 20 cunning than I gave him credit for. I do wish you hadn’t 21 asked him, though.” 22 “Edward,” I whispered to the rough nylon. “I . . . I . . . 23 I’m —” 24 “Shh,” he hushed me, his fingers soothing against my 25 cheek. “That’s not what I meant. It’s just that he would 26 have kissed you anyway — even if you hadn’t fallen for 27 it — and now I don’t have an excuse to break his face. I 28 would have really enjoyed that, too.” sh 29 “Fallen for it?” I mumbled almost incomprehensibly. reg 30 “Bella, did you really believe he was that noble? That 532 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 533 he would go out in a flame of glory just to clear the way 1 for me?” 2 3 I raised my head slowly to meet his patient gaze. His 4 expression was soft; his eyes were full of understanding 5 rather than the revulsion I deserved to see. 6 7 “Yes, I did believe that,” I muttered, and then looked 8 away. But I didn’t feel any anger at Jacob for tricking me. 9 There wasn’t enough room in my body to contain any- 10 thing besides the hatred I felt toward myself. 11 12 Edward laughed softly again. “You’re such a bad liar, 13 you’ll believe anyone who has the least bit of skill.” 14 15 “Why aren’t you angry with me?” I whispered. “Why 16 don’t you hate me? Or haven’t you heard the whole story 17 yet?” 18 19 “I think I got a fairly comprehensive look,” he said in 20 a light, easy voice. “Jacob makes vivid mental pictures. 21 I feel almost as bad for his pack as I do for myself. Poor 22 Seth was getting nauseated. But Sam is making Jacob fo- 23 cus now.” 24 25 I closed my eyes and shook my head in agony. The sharp 26 nylon fibers of the tent floor scraped against my skin. 27 28 “You’re only human,” he whispered, stroking my hair 29 sh again. 30 reg “That’s the most miserable defense I’ve ever heard.” “But you are human, Bella. And, as much as I might wish otherwise, so is he. . . . There are holes in your life that I can’t fill. I understand that.” “But that’s not true. That’s what makes me so horrible. There are no holes.” “You love him,” he murmured gently. 533 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 534 1 Every cell in my body ached to deny it. 2 “I love you more,” I said. It was the best I could do. 3 “Yes, I know that, too. But . . . when I left you, Bella, I 4 left you bleeding. Jacob was the one to stitch you back up 5 again. That was bound to leave its mark — on both of 6 you. I’m not sure those kinds of stitches dissolve on their 7 own. I can’t blame either of you for something I made nec- 8 essary. I may gain forgiveness, but that doesn’t let me es- 9 cape the consequences.” 10 “I should have known you’d find some way to blame 11 yourself. Please stop. I can’t stand it.” 12 “What would you like me to say?” 13 “I want you to call me every bad name you can think of, 14 in every language you know. I want you to tell me that 15 you’re disgusted with me and that you’re going to leave so 16 that I can beg and grovel on my knees for you to stay.” 17 “I’m sorry.” He sighed. “I can’t do that.” 18 “At least stop trying to make me feel better. Let me 19 suffer. I deserve it.” 20 “No,” he murmured. 21 I nodded slowly. “You’re right. Keep on being too un- 22 derstanding. That’s probably worse.” 23 He was silent for a moment, and I sensed a charge in 24 the atmosphere, a new urgency. 25 “It’s getting close,” I stated. 26 “Yes, a few more minutes now. Just enough time to say 27 one more thing. . . .” 28 I waited. When he finally spoke again, he was whisper- sh 29 ing. “I can be noble, Bella. I’m not going to make you reg 30 choose between us. Just be happy, and you can have what- 534 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 535 ever part of me you want, or none at all, if that’s better. 1 Don’t let any debt you feel you owe me influence your de- 2 cision.” 3 4 I pushed off the floor, shoving myself up onto my 5 knees. 6 7 “Dammit, stop that!” I shouted at him. 8 His eyes widened in surprise. “No — you don’t under- 9 stand. I’m not just trying to make you feel better, Bella, I 10 really mean it.” 11 “I know you do,” I groaned. “What happened to fight- 12 ing back? Don’t start with the noble self-sacrifice now! 13 Fight!” 14 “How?” he asked, and his eyes were ancient with their 15 sadness. 16 I scrambled into his lap, throwing my arms around 17 him. 18 “I don’t care that it’s cold here. I don’t care that I stink 19 like a dog right now. Make me forget how awful I am. 20 Make me forget him. Make me forget my own name. 21 Fight back!” 22 I didn’t wait for him to decide — or to have the chance 23 to tell me he wasn’t interested in a cruel, faithless monster 24 like me. I pulled myself against him and crushed my 25 mouth to his snow-cold lips. 26 “Careful, love,” he murmured under my urgent kiss. 27 “No,” I growled. 28 He gently pushed my face a few inches back. “You 29 sh don’t have to prove anything to me.” 30 reg “I’m not trying to prove something. You said I could have any part of you I wanted. I want this part. I want every 535 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 536 1 part.” I wrapped my arms around his neck and strained to 2 reach his lips. He bent his head to kiss me back, but his 3 cool mouth was hesitant as my impatience grew more pro- 4 nounced. My body was making my intentions clear, giv- 5 ing me away. Inevitably, his hands moved to restrain me. 6 7 “Perhaps this isn’t the best moment for that,” he sug- 8 gested, too calm for my liking. 9 10 “Why not?” I grumbled. There was no point in fight- 11 ing if he was going to be rational; I dropped my arms. 12 13 “Firstly, because it is cold.” He reached out to pull the 14 sleeping bag off the floor; he wrapped it around me like a 15 blanket. 16 17 “Wrong,” I said. “First, because you are bizarrely moral 18 for a vampire.” 19 20 He chuckled. “All right, I’ll give you that. The cold is 21 second. And thirdly . . . well, you do actually stink, love.” 22 23 He wrinkled his nose. 24 I sighed. 25 “Fourthly,” he murmured, dropping his face so that he 26 was whispering in my ear. “We will try, Bella. I’ll make 27 good on my promise. But I’d much rather it wasn’t in re- 28 action to Jacob Black.” sh 29 I cringed, and buried my face against his shoulder. reg 30 “And fifthly . . .” “This is a very long list,” I muttered. He laughed. “Yes, but did you want to listen to the fight or not?” As he spoke, Seth howled stridently outside the tent. My body stiffened to the sound. I didn’t realize my left hand was clenched into a fist, nails biting into my 536 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 537 bandaged palm, until Edward took it and gently smoothed 1 my fingers out. 2 3 “It’s going to be fine, Bella,” he promised. “We’ve got 4 skill, training, and surprise on our side. It will be over 5 very soon. If I didn’t truly believe that, I would be down 6 there now — and you’d be here, chained to a tree or some- 7 thing along those lines.” 8 9 “Alice is so small,” I moaned. 10 He chuckled. “That might be a problem . . . if it were 11 possible for someone to catch her.” 12 Seth started to whimper. 13 “What’s wrong?” I demanded. 14 “He’s just angry that he’s stuck here with us. He knows 15 the pack kept him out of the action to protect him. He’s 16 salivating to join them.” 17 I scowled in Seth’s general direction. 18 “The newborns have reached the end of the trail — it 19 worked like a charm, Jasper’s a genius — and they’ve 20 caught the scent of the ones in the meadow, so they’re 21 splitting into two groups now, as Alice said,” Edward 22 murmured, his eyes focused on something far away. “Sam’s 23 taking us around to head off the ambush party.” He was so 24 intent on what he was hearing that he used the pack plural. 25 Suddenly he looked down at me. “Breathe, Bella.” 26 I struggled to do what he asked. I could hear Seth’s 27 heavy panting just outside the tent wall, and I tried to 28 keep my lungs on the same even pace, so that I wouldn’t 29 sh hyperventilate. 30 reg “The first group is in the clearing. We can hear the fighting.” 537 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 538 1 My teeth locked together. 2 He laughed once. “We can hear Emmett — he’s enjoy- 3 ing himself.” 4 I made myself take another breath with Seth. 5 “The second group is getting ready — they aren’t pay- 6 ing attention, they haven’t heard us yet.” 7 Edward growled. 8 “What?” I gasped. 9 “They’re talking about you.” His teeth clenched to- 10 gether. “They’re supposed to make sure you don’t es- 11 cape. . . . Nice move, Leah! Mmm, she’s quite fast,” he 12 murmured in approval. “One of the newborns caught our 13 scent, and Leah took him down before he could even turn. 14 Sam’s helping her finish him off. Paul and Jacob got an- 15 other one, but the others are on the defensive now. They 16 have no idea what to make of us. Both sides are feint- 17 ing. . . . No, let Sam lead. Stay out of the way,” he mut- 18 tered. “Separate them — don’t let them protect each 19 other’s backs.” 20 Seth whined. 21 “That’s better, drive them toward the clearing,” Ed- 22 ward approved. His body was shifting unconsciously as he 23 watched, tensing for moves he would have made. His 24 hands still held mine; I twisted my fingers through his. At 25 least he wasn’t down there. 26 The sudden absence of sound was the only warning. 27 The deep rush of Seth’s breathing cut off, and — as I’d 28 paced my breaths with his — I noticed. sh 29 I stopped breathing, too — too frightened to even reg 30 538 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 539 make my lungs work as I realized that Edward had frozen 1 into a block of ice beside me. 2 3 Oh, no. No. No. 4 Who had been lost? Theirs or ours? Mine, all mine. 5 What was my loss? 6 So quickly that I wasn’t exactly sure how it happened, I 7 was on my feet and the tent was collapsing in ragged shreds 8 around me. Had Edward ripped our way out? Why? 9 I blinked, shocked, into the brilliant light. Seth was all 10 I could see, right beside us, his face only six inches from 11 Edward’s. They stared at each other with absolute concen- 12 tration for one infinite second. The sun shattered off Ed- 13 ward’s skin and sent sparkles dancing across Seth’s fur. 14 And then Edward whispered urgently, “Go, Seth!” 15 The huge wolf wheeled and disappeared into the forest 16 shadows. 17 Had two entire seconds passed? It felt like hours. I was 18 terrified to the point of nausea by the knowledge that 19 something horrible had gone awry in the clearing. I 20 opened my mouth to demand that Edward take me there, 21 and do it now. They needed him, and they needed me. If I 22 had to bleed to save them, I would do it. I would die to do 23 it, like the third wife. I had no silver dagger in my hand, 24 but I would find a way — 25 Before I could get the first syllable out, I felt as if I was 26 being flung through the air. But Edward’s hands never let 27 go of me — I was only being moved, so quickly that the 28 sensation was like falling sideways. 29 sh I found myself with my back pressed against the sheer 30 reg 539 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 540 1 cliff face. Edward stood in front of me, holding a posture 2 that I knew at once. 3 4 Relief washed through my mind at the same time that 5 my stomach dropped through the soles of my feet. 6 7 I’d misunderstood. 8 Relief — nothing had gone wrong in the clearing. 9 Horror — the crisis was here. 10 Edward held a defensive position — half-crouched, his 11 arms extended slightly — that I recognized with sicken- 12 ing certainty. The rock at my back could have been the an- 13 cient brick walls of the Italian alley where he had stood 14 between me and the black-cloaked Volturi warriors. 15 Something was coming for us. 16 “Who?” I whispered. 17 The words came through his teeth in a snarl that was 18 louder than I expected. Too loud. It meant that it was far 19 too late to hide. We were trapped, and it didn’t matter 20 who heard his answer. 21 “Victoria,” he said, spitting the word, making it a 22 curse. “She’s not alone. She crossed my scent, following 23 the newborns in to watch — she never meant to fight with 24 them. She made a spur-of-the-moment decision to find 25 me, guessing that you would be wherever I was. She was 26 right. You were right. It was always Victoria.” 27 She was close enough that he could hear her thoughts. 28 Relief again. If it had been the Volturi, we were both sh 29 dead. But with Victoria, it didn’t have to be both. Edward reg 30 could survive this. He was a good fighter, as good as Jasper. If she didn’t bring too many others, he could fight 540 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 541 his way out, back to his family. Edward was faster than 1 anyone. He could make it. 2 3 I was so glad he’d sent Seth away. Of course, there was 4 no one Seth could run to for help. Victoria had timed her 5 decision perfectly. But at least Seth was safe; I couldn’t see 6 the huge sandy wolf in my head when I thought his 7 name — just the gangly fifteen-year-old boy. 8 9 Edward’s body shifted — only infinitesimally, but it 10 told me where to look. I stared at the black shadows of the 11 forest. 12 13 It was like having my nightmares walk forward to 14 greet me. 15 16 Two vampires edged slowly into the small opening of 17 our camp, eyes intent, missing nothing. They glistened 18 like diamonds in the sun. 19 20 I could barely look at the blond boy — yes, he was just 21 a boy, though he was muscular and tall, maybe my age 22 when he was changed. His eyes — a more vivid red than I 23 had ever seen before — could not hold mine. Though he 24 was closest to Edward, the nearest danger, I could not 25 watch him. 26 27 Because, a few feet to the side and a few feet back, Vic- 28 toria was staring at me. 29 sh 30 reg Her orange hair was brighter than I’d remembered, more like a flame. There was no wind here, but the fire around her face seemed to shimmer slightly, as if it were alive. Her eyes were black with thirst. She did not smile, as she always had in my nightmares — her lips were pressed 541 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 542 1 into a tight line. There was a striking feline quality to the 2 way she held her coiled body, a lioness waiting for an 3 opening to spring. Her restless, wild gaze flickered be- 4 tween Edward and me, but never rested on him for more 5 than a half-second. She could not keep her eyes from my 6 face any more than I could keep mine from hers. 7 8 Tension rolled off of her, nearly visible in the air. I 9 could feel the desire, the all-consuming passion that held 10 her in its grip. Almost as if I could hear her thoughts, too, 11 I knew what she was thinking. 12 13 She was so close to what she wanted — the focus of her 14 whole existence for more than a year now was just so close. 15 16 My death. 17 Her plan was as obvious as it was practical. The big 18 blond boy would attack Edward. As soon as Edward was 19 sufficiently distracted, Victoria would finish me. 20 It would be quick — she had no time for games 21 here — but it would be thorough. Something that it 22 would be impossible to recover from. Something that even 23 vampire venom could not repair. 24 She’d have to stop my heart. Perhaps a hand shoved 25 through my chest, crushing it. Something along those lines. 26 My heart beat furiously, loudly, as if to make her target 27 more obvious. 28 An immense distance away, from far across the black sh 29 forest, a wolf’s howl echoed in the still air. With Seth reg 30 gone, there was no way to interpret the sound. The blond boy looked at Victoria from the corner of his eye, waiting on her command. He was young in more ways than one. I guessed from 542 3rd Pass Pages

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