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Stephenie Meyer - Eclipse

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Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 593 ally hurt you, but I wasn’t sure how bad it was going to be. 1 I’ve been going a little crazy with worrying about you ever 2 since I woke up. I didn’t know if you were going to be al- 3 lowed to visit or anything. The suspense was terrible. 4 How did it go? Was he mean to you? I’m sorry if it was 5 bad. I didn’t mean for you to have to go through that 6 alone. I was thinking I’d be there. . . .” 7 8 It took me a minute to even understand. He babbled 9 on, looking more and more awkward, until I got what he 10 was saying. Then I hurried to reassure him. 11 12 “No, no, Jake! I’m fine. Too fine, really. Of course he 13 wasn’t mean. I wish!” 14 15 His eyes widened in what looked like horror. “What?” 16 “He wasn’t even mad at me — he wasn’t even mad at 17 you! He’s so unselfish it makes me feel even worse. I wish 18 he would have yelled at me or something. It’s not like I 19 don’t deserve . . . well, much worse that getting yelled at. 20 But he doesn’t care. He just wants me to be happy.” 21 “He wasn’t mad?” Jacob asked, incredulous. 22 “No. He was . . . much too kind.” 23 Jacob stared for another minute, and then he suddenly 24 frowned. “Well, damn!” he growled. 25 “What’s wrong, Jake? Does it hurt?” My hands flut- 26 tered uselessly as I looked around for his medication. 27 “No,” he grumbled in a disgusted tone. “I can’t believe 28 this! He didn’t give you an ultimatum or anything?” 29 sh “Not even close — what’s wrong with you?” 30 reg He scowled and shook his head. “I was sort of counting on his reaction. Damn it all. He’s better than I thought.” The way he said it, though angrier, reminded me of 593 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 594 1 Edward’s tribute to Jacob’s lack of ethics in the tent this 2 morning. Which meant that Jake was still hoping, still 3 fighting. I winced as that stabbed deep. 4 5 “He’s not playing any game, Jake,” I said quietly. 6 “You bet he is. He’s playing every bit as hard as I am, 7 only he knows what he’s doing and I don’t. Don’t blame 8 me because he’s a better manipulator than I am — I 9 haven’t been around long enough to learn all his tricks.” 10 “He isn’t manipulating me!” 11 “Yes, he is! When are you going to wake up and realize 12 that he’s not a perfect as you think he is?” 13 “At least he didn’t threaten to kill himself to make me 14 kiss him,” I snapped. As soon as the words were out, I 15 flushed with chagrin. “Wait. Pretend that didn’t slip out. 16 I swore to myself that I wasn’t going to say anything about 17 that.” 18 He took a deep breath. When he spoke, he was calmer. 19 “Why not?” 20 “Because I didn’t come here to blame you for any- 21 thing.” 22 “It’s true, though,” he said evenly. “I did do that.” 23 “I don’t care, Jake. I’m not mad.” 24 He smiled. “I don’t care, either. I knew you’d forgive 25 me, and I’m glad I did it. I’d do it again. At least I have 26 that much. At least I made you see that you do love me. 27 That’s worth something.” 28 “Is it? Is it really better than if I was still in the dark?” sh 29 “Don’t you think you ought to know how you feel — reg 30 just so that it doesn’t take you by surprise someday when it’s too late and you’re a married vampire?” 594 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 595 I shook my head. “No — I didn’t mean better for me. I 1 meant better for you. Does it make things better or worse 2 for you, having me know that I’m in love with you? When 3 it doesn’t make a difference either way. Would it have 4 been better, easier for you, if I never clued in?” 5 6 He took my question as seriously as I’d meant it, 7 thinking carefully before he answered. “Yes, it’s better to 8 have you know,” he finally decided. “If you hadn’t figured 9 it out . . . I’d have always wondered if your decision would 10 have been different if you had. Now I know. I did every- 11 thing I could.” He dragged in an unsteady breath, and 12 closed his eyes. 13 14 This time I did not — could not — resist the urge to 15 comfort him. I crossed the small room and kneeled by his 16 head, afraid to sit on the bed in case I jostled it and hurt 17 him, and leaned in to touch my forehead to his cheek. 18 19 Jacob sighed, and put his hand on my hair, holding me 20 there. 21 22 “I’m so sorry, Jake.” 23 “I always knew this was a long shot. It’s not your fault, 24 Bella.” 25 “Not you, too,” I moaned. “Please.” 26 He pulled away to look at me. “What?” 27 “It is my fault. And I’m so sick of being told it’s not.” 28 He grinned. It didn’t touch his eyes. “You want me to 29 sh haul you over the coals?” 30 reg “Actually . . . I think I do.” He pursed his lips as he measured how much I meant it. A smile flashed across his face briefly, and then he twisted his expression into a fierce scowl. 595 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 596 1 “Kissing me back like that was inexcusable.” He spit 2 the words at me. “If you knew you were just going to take 3 it back, maybe you shouldn’t have been quite so convinc- 4 ing about it.” 5 6 I winced and nodded. “I’m so sorry.” 7 “Sorry doesn’t make anything better, Bella. What were 8 you thinking?” 9 “I wasn’t,” I whispered. 10 “You should have told me to go die. That’s what you 11 want.” 12 “No, Jacob,” I whimpered, fighting against the bud- 13 ding tears. “No! Never.” 14 “You’re not crying?” he demanded, his voice sud- 15 denly back to its normal tone. He twitched impatiently on 16 the bed. 17 “Yeah,” I muttered, laughing weakly at myself through 18 the tears that were suddenly sobs. 19 He shifted his weight, throwing his good leg off the 20 bed as if he were going to try to stand. 21 “What are you doing?” I demanded through the tears. 22 “Lie down, you idiot, you’ll hurt yourself!” I jumped to 23 my feet and pushed his good shoulder down with two 24 hands. 25 He surrendered, leaning back with a gasp of pain, but 26 he grabbed me around my waist and pulled me down on 27 the bed, against his good side. I curled up there, trying to 28 stifle the silly sobs against his hot skin. sh 29 “I can’t believe you’re crying,” he mumbled. “You reg 30 know I just said those things because you wanted me to. I didn’t mean them.” His hand rubbed against my shoulders. 596 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 597 “I know.” I took a deep, ragged breath, trying to con- 1 trol myself. How did I end up being the one crying while 2 he did the comforting? “It’s all still true, though. Thanks 3 for saying it out loud.” 4 5 “Do I get points for making you cry?” 6 “Sure, Jake.” I tried to smile. “As many as you want.” 7 “Don’t worry, Bella, honey. It’s all going to work out.” 8 “I don’t see how,” I muttered. 9 He patted the top of my head. “I’m going to give in 10 and be good.” 11 “More games?” I wondered, tilting my chin so that I 12 could see his face. 13 “Maybe.” He laughed with a bit of effort, and then 14 winced. “But I’m going to try.” 15 I frowned. 16 “Don’t be so pessimistic,” he complained. “Give me a 17 little credit.” 18 “What do you mean by ‘be good’?” 19 “I’ll be your friend, Bella,” he said quietly. “I won’t ask 20 for more than that.” 21 “I think it’s too late for that, Jake. How can we be 22 friends, when we love each other like this?” 23 He looked at the ceiling, his stare intent, as if he were 24 reading something that was written there. “Maybe . . . it 25 will have to be a long-distance friendship.” 26 I clenched my teeth together, glad he wasn’t looking 27 at my face, fighting against the sobs that threatened to 28 overtake me again. I needed to be strong, and I had no 29 sh idea how. . . . 30 reg “You know that story in the Bible?” Jacob asked 597 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 598 1 suddenly, still reading the blank ceiling. “The one with 2 the king and the two women fighting over the baby?” 3 4 “Sure. King Solomon.” 5 “That’s right. King Solomon,” he repeated. “And he 6 said, cut the kid in half . . . but it was only a test. Just to 7 see who would give up their share to protect it.” 8 “Yeah, I remember.” 9 He looked back at my face. “I’m not going to cut you 10 in half anymore, Bella.” 11 I understood what he was saying. He was telling me 12 that he loved me the most, that his surrender proved it. I 13 wanted to defend Edward, to tell Jacob how Edward 14 would do the same thing if I wanted, if I would let him. I 15 was the one who wouldn’t renounce my claim there. But 16 there was no point in starting an argument that would 17 only hurt him more. 18 I closed my eyes, willing myself to control the pain. I 19 couldn’t impose that on him. 20 We were quiet for a moment. He seemed to be waiting 21 for me to say something; I was trying to think of some- 22 thing to say. 23 “Can I tell you what the worst part is?” he asked hesi- 24 tantly when I said nothing. “Do you mind? I am going to 25 be good.” 26 “Will it help?” I whispered. 27 “It might. It couldn’t hurt.” 28 “What’s the worst part, then?” sh 29 “The worse part is knowing what would have been.” reg 30 “What might have been.” I sighed. 598 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 599 “No.” Jacob shook his head. “I’m exactly right for you, 1 Bella. It would have been effortless for us — comfortable, 2 easy as breathing. I was the natural path your life would 3 have taken. . . .” He stared into space for a moment, and I 4 waited. “If the world was the way it was supposed to be, if 5 there were no monsters and no magic . . .” 6 7 I could see what he saw, and I knew that he was right. 8 If the world was the sane place it was supposed to be, Ja- 9 cob and I would have been together. And we would have 10 been happy. He was my soul mate in that world — would 11 have been my soul mate still if his claim had not been 12 overshadowed by something stronger, something so 13 strong that it could not exist in a rational world. 14 15 Was it out there for Jacob, too? Something that would 16 trump a soul mate? I had to believe that it was. 17 18 Two futures, two soul mates . . . too much for any one 19 person. And so unfair that I wouldn’t be the only one to 20 pay for it. Jacob’s pain seemed too high a price. Cringing 21 at the thought of that price, I wondered if I would have 22 wavered, if I hadn’t lost Edward once. If I didn’t know 23 what it was like to live without him. I wasn’t sure. That 24 knowledge was so deep a part of me, I couldn’t imagine 25 how I would feel without it. 26 27 “He’s like a drug for you, Bella.” His voice was still 28 gentle, not at all critical. “I see that you can’t live without 29 sh him now. It’s too late. But I would have been healthier for 30 reg you. Not a drug; I would have been the air, the sun.” The corner of my mouth turned up in a wistful half- smile. “I used to think of you that way, you know. Like the 599 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 600 1 sun. My personal sun. You balanced out the clouds nicely 2 for me.” 3 4 He sighed. “The clouds I can handle. But I can’t fight 5 with an eclipse.” 6 7 I touched his face, laying my hand against his cheek. 8 He exhaled at my touch and closed his eyes. It was very 9 quiet. For a minute I could hear the beating of his heart, 10 slow and even. 11 12 “Tell me the worst part for you,” he whispered. 13 “I think that might be a bad idea.” 14 “Please.” 15 “I think it will hurt.” 16 “Please.” 17 How could I deny him anything at this point? 18 “The worst part . . .” I hesitated, and then let words 19 spill out in a flood of truth. “The worst part is that I saw 20 the whole thing — our whole life. And I want it bad, 21 Jake, I want it all. I want to stay right here and never 22 move. I want to love you and make you happy. And I can’t, 23 and it’s killing me. It’s like Sam and Emily, Jake — I 24 never had a choice. I always knew nothing would change. 25 Maybe that’s why I was fighting against you so hard.” 26 He seemed to be concentrating on breathing evenly. 27 “I knew I shouldn’t have told you that.” 28 He shook his head slowly. “No. I’m glad you did. sh 29 Thank you.” He kissed the top of my head, and then he reg 30 sighed. “I’ll be good now.” I looked up, and he was smiling. “So you’re going to get married, huh?” “We don’t have to talk about that.” 600 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 601 “I’d like to know some of the details. I don’t know 1 when I’ll talk to you again.” 2 3 I had to wait for a minute before I could speak. When 4 I was pretty sure that my voice wouldn’t break, I answered 5 his question. 6 7 “It’s not really my idea . . . but, yes. It means a lot to 8 him. I figure, why not?” 9 10 Jake nodded. “That’s true. It’s not such a big thing — 11 in comparison.” 12 13 His voice was very calm, very practical. I stared at him, 14 curious about how he was managing, and that ruined it. 15 He met my eyes for a second, and then twisted his head 16 away. I waited to speak until his breathing was under con- 17 trol. 18 19 “Yes. In comparison,” I agreed. 20 “How long do you have left?” 21 “That depends on how long it takes Alice to pull a 22 wedding together.” I suppressed a groan, imagining what 23 Alice would do. 24 “Before or after?” he asked quietly. 25 I knew what he meant. “After.” 26 He nodded. This was a relief to him. I wondered how 27 many sleepless nights the thought of my graduation had 28 given him. 29 sh “Are you scared?” he whispered. 30 reg “Yes,” I whispered back. “What are you afraid of?” I could barely hear his voice now. He stared down at my hands. “Lots of things.” I worked to make my voice lighter, but I stayed honest. “I’ve never been much of a masochist, 601 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 602 1 so I’m not looking forward to the pain. And I wish there 2 was some way to keep him away — I don’t want him to 3 suffer with me, but I don’t think there’s any way around it. 4 There’s dealing with Charlie, too, and Renée. . . . And 5 then afterward, I hope I’ll be able to control myself soon. 6 Maybe I’ll be such a menace that the pack will have to take 7 me out.” 8 9 He looked up with a disapproving expression. “I’d 10 hamstring any one of my brothers who tried.” 11 12 “Thanks.” 13 He smiled halfheartedly. Then he frowned. “But isn’t it 14 more dangerous than that? In all of the stories, they say it’s 15 too hard . . . they lose control . . . people die. . . .” He 16 gulped. 17 “No, I’m not afraid of that. Silly Jacob — don’t you 18 know better than to believe vampire stories?” 19 He obviously didn’t appreciate my attempt at humor. 20 “Well, anyway, lots to worry about. But worth it, in 21 the end.” 22 He nodded unwillingly, and I knew that he in no way 23 agreed with me. 24 I stretched my neck up to whisper in his ear, laying my 25 cheek against his warm skin. “You know I love you.” 26 “I know,” he breathed, his arm tightening automati- 27 cally around my waist. “You know how much I wish it was 28 enough.” sh 29 “Yes.” reg 30 “I’ll always be waiting in the wings, Bella,” he prom- ised, lightening his tone and loosening his arm. I pulled 602 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 603 away with a dull, dragging sense of loss, feeling the tear- 1 ing separation as I left a part of me behind, there on the 2 bed next to him. “You’ll always have that spare option if 3 you want it.” 4 5 I made an effort to smile. “Until my heart stops 6 beating.” 7 8 He grinned back. “You know, I think maybe I’d still 9 take you — maybe. I guess that depends on how much 10 you stink.” 11 12 “Should I come back to see you? Or would you rather I 13 didn’t?” 14 15 “I’ll think it through and get back to you,” he said. “I 16 might need the company to keep from going crazy. The 17 vampire surgeon extraordinaire says I can’t phase until he 18 gives the okay — it might mess up the way the bones are 19 set.” Jacob made a face. 20 21 “Be good and do what Carlisle tells you to do. You’ll 22 get well faster.” 23 24 “Sure, sure.” 25 “I wonder when it will happen,” I said. “When the 26 right girl is going to catch your eye.” 27 “Don’t get your hopes up, Bella.” Jacob’s voice was 28 abruptly sour. “Though I’m sure it would be a relief 29 sh for you.” 30 reg “Maybe, maybe not. I probably won’t think she’s good enough for you. I wonder how jealous I’ll be.” “That part might be kind of fun,” he admitted. “Let me know if you want me to come back, and I’ll be here,” I promised. 603 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 604 1 With a sigh, he turned his cheek toward me. 2 I leaned in and kissed his face softly. “Love you, Jacob.” 3 He laughed lightly. “Love you more.” 4 He watched me walk out of his room with an unfath- 5 omable expression in his black eyes. 6 7 604 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 sh 29 reg 30 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 605 27. NEEDS 1 2 I didn’t get very far before driving became impos- 3 sible. 4 5 When I couldn’t see anymore, I let my tires find the 6 rough shoulder and rolled slowly to a stop. I slumped over 7 on the seat and allowed the weakness I’d fought in Jacob’s 8 room crush me. It was worse that I’d thought — the force 9 of it took me by surprise. Yes, I had been right to hide this 10 from Jacob. No one should ever see this. 11 12 But I wasn’t alone for very long — just exactly long 13 enough for Alice to see me here, and then the few minutes 14 it took him to arrive. The door creaked open, and he 15 pulled me into his arms. 16 17 605 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 606 1 At first it was worse. Because there was that smaller 2 part of me — smaller, but getting louder and angrier every 3 minute, screaming at the rest of me — that craved a dif- 4 ferent set of arms. So then there was fresh guilt to season 5 the pain. 6 7 He didn’t say anything, he just let me sob until I began 8 to blubber out Charlie’s name. 9 10 “Are you really ready to go home?” he asked doubt- 11 fully. 12 13 I managed to convey, after several attempts, that it 14 wasn’t going to get any better anytime soon. I needed to 15 get past Charlie before it got late enough for him to call 16 Billy. 17 18 So he drove me home — for once not even getting 19 close to my truck’s internal speed limit — keeping one 20 arm wrapped tightly around me. The whole way, I fought 21 for control. It seemed to be a doomed effort at first, but I 22 didn’t give up. Just a few seconds, I told myself. Just time 23 for a few excuses, or a few lies, and then I could break 24 down again. I had to be able to do that much. I scrambled 25 around in my head, searching desperately for a reserve of 26 strength. 27 28 There was just enough for me to quiet the sobs — hold sh 29 them back but not end them. The tears didn’t slow. I reg 30 couldn’t seem to find any handle to even begin to work with those. “Wait for me upstairs,” I mumbled when we were in front of the house. He hugged me closer for one minute, and then he was gone. 606 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 607 Once inside, I headed straight for the stairs. 1 “Bella?” Charlie called after me from his usual place on 2 the sofa as I walked by. 3 I turned to look at him without speaking. His eyes 4 bugged wide, and he lurched to his feet. 5 “What happened? Is Jacob . . . ?” he demanded. 6 I shook my head furiously, trying to find my voice. 7 “He’s fine, he’s fine,” I promised, my voice low and husky. 8 And Jacob was fine, physically, which is all Charlie was 9 worried about at the moment. 10 “But what happened?” He grabbed my shoulders, his 11 eyes still anxious and wide. “What happened to you?” 12 I must look worse than I’d imagined. 13 “Nothing, Dad. I . . . just had to talk to Jacob about . . . 14 some things that were hard. I’m fine.” 15 The anxiety calmed, and was replaced by disapproval. 16 “Was this really the best time?” he asked. 17 “Probably not, Dad, but I didn’t have any alternatives — 18 it just got to the point where I had to choose. . . . Some- 19 times, there isn’t any way to compromise.” 20 He shook his head slowly. “How did he handle it?” 21 I didn’t answer. 22 He looked at my face for a minute, and then nodded. 23 That must have been answer enough. 24 “I hope you didn’t mess up his recovery.” 25 “He’s a quick healer,” I mumbled. 26 Charlie sighed. 27 I could feel the control slipping. 28 “I’ll be in my room,” I told him, shrugging out from 29 sh underneath his hands. 30 reg 607 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 608 1 “’Kay,” Charlie agreed. He could probably see the 2 waterworks starting to escalate. Nothing scared Charlie 3 worse than tears. 4 5 I made my way to my room, blind and stumbling. 6 Once inside, I fought with the clasp on my bracelet, 7 trying to undo it with shaking fingers. 8 “No, Bella,” Edward whispered, capturing my hands. 9 “It’s part of who you are.” 10 He pulled me into the cradle of his arms as the sobs 11 broke free again. 12 This longest of days seemed to stretch on and on and 13 on. I wondered if it would ever end. 14 But, though the night dragged relentlessly, it was not 15 the worst night of my life. I took comfort from that. And 16 I was not alone. There was a great deal of comfort in 17 that, too. 18 Charlie’s fear of emotional outbursts kept him from 19 checking on me, though I was not quiet — he probably 20 got no more sleep than I did. 21 My hindsight seemed unbearably clear tonight. I could 22 see every mistake I’d made, every bit of harm I’d done, the 23 small things and the big things. Each pain I’d caused Ja- 24 cob, each wound I’d given Edward, stacked up into neat 25 piles that I could not ignore or deny. 26 And I realized that I’d been wrong all along about the 27 magnets. It had not been Edward and Jacob that I’d been 28 trying to force together, it was the two parts of myself, Ed- sh 29 ward’s Bella and Jacob’s Bella. But they could not exist to- reg 30 gether, and I never should have tried. 608 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 609 I’d done so much damage. 1 At some point in the night, I remembered the promise 2 I’d made to myself early this morning — that I would 3 never make Edward see me shed another tear for Jacob 4 Black. The thought brought on a round of hysteria which 5 frightened Edward more than the weeping. But it passed, 6 too, when it had run its course. 7 Edward said little; he just held me on the bed and let 8 me ruin his shirt, staining it with salt water. 9 It took longer than I thought it would for that smaller, 10 broken part of me to cry herself out. It happened, though, 11 and I was eventually exhausted enough to sleep. Uncon- 12 sciousness did not bring full relief from the pain, just a 13 numbing, dulling ease, like medicine. Made it more bear- 14 able. But it was still there; I was aware of it, even asleep, 15 and that helped me to make the adjustments I needed 16 to make. 17 The morning brought with it, if not a brighter out- 18 look, as least a measure of control, some acceptance. In- 19 stinctively, I knew that the new tear in my heart would 20 always ache. That was just going to be a part of me now. 21 Time would make it easier — that’s what everyone always 22 said. But I didn’t care if time healed me or not, so long as 23 Jacob could get better. Could be happy again. 24 When I woke up, there was no disorientation. I opened 25 my eyes — finally dry — and met his anxious gaze. 26 “Hey,” I said. My voice was hoarse. I cleared my throat. 27 He didn’t answer. He watched me, waiting for it to start. 28 “No, I’m fine,” I promised. “That won’t happen again.” 29 sh 30 reg 609 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 610 1 His eyes tightened at my words. 2 “I’m sorry that you had to see that,” I said. “That 3 wasn’t fair to you.” 4 He put his hands on either side of my face. 5 “Bella . . . are you sure? Did you make the right choice? 6 I’ve never seen you in so much pain —” His voice broke 7 on the last word. 8 But I had known worse pain. 9 I touched his lips. “Yes.” 10 “I don’t know. . . .” His brow creased. “If it hurts you 11 so much, how can it possibly be the right thing for you?” 12 “Edward, I know who I can’t live without.” 13 “But . . .” 14 I shook my head. “You don’t understand. You may be 15 brave enough or strong enough to live without me, if that’s 16 what’s best. But I could never be that self-sacrificing. I 17 have to be with you. It’s the only way I can live.” 18 He still looked dubious. I should never have let him 19 stay with me last night. But I had needed him so much. . . . 20 “Hand me that book, will you?” I asked, pointing over 21 his shoulder. 22 His eyebrows pulled together in confusion, but he gave 23 it to me quickly. 24 “This again?” he asked. 25 “I just wanted to find this one part I remembered . . . 26 to see how she said it. . . .” I flipped through the book, 27 finding the page I wanted easily. The corner was dog-eared 28 from the many times I’d stopped here. “Cathy’s a monster, sh 29 but there were a few things she got right,” I muttered. I reg 30 610 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 611 read the lines quietly, mostly to myself. “‘If all else per- 1 ished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and 2 if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe 3 would turn to a mighty stranger.’” I nodded, again to my- 4 self. “I know exactly what she means. And I know who I 5 can’t live without.” 6 7 Edward took the book from my hands and flipped it 8 across the room — it landed with a light thud on my desk. 9 He wrapped his arms around my waist. 10 11 A small smile lit his perfect face, though worry still 12 lined his forehead. “Heathcliff had his moments, too,” he 13 said. He didn’t need the book to get it word perfect. He 14 pulled me closer and whispered in my ear, “‘I cannot live 15 without my life! I cannot live without my soul!’” 16 17 “Yes,” I said quietly. “That’s my point.” 18 “Bella, I can’t stand for you to be miserable. 19 Maybe . . .” 20 “No, Edward. I’ve made a real mess of things, and I’m 21 going to have to live with that. But I know what I want 22 and what I need . . . and what I’m going to do now.” 23 “What are we going to do now?” 24 I smiled just a bit at his correction, and then I sighed. 25 “We are going to go see Alice.” 26 27 Alice was on the bottom porch step, too hyper to wait for 28 us inside. She looked about to break into a celebration 29 sh dance, so excited was she about the news she knew I was 30 reg there to deliver. “Thank you, Bella!” she sang as we got out of the truck. 611 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 612 1 “Hold it, Alice,” I warned her, lifting a hand up to halt 2 her glee. “I’ve got a few limitations for you.” 3 4 “I know, I know, I know. I only have until August thir- 5 teenth at the latest, you have veto power on the guest list, 6 and if I go overboard on anything, you’ll never speak to 7 me again.” 8 9 “Oh, okay. Well, yeah. You know the rules, then.” 10 “Don’t worry, Bella, it will be perfect. Do you want to 11 see your dress?” 12 I had to take a few deep breaths. Whatever makes her 13 happy, I said to myself. 14 “Sure.” 15 Alice’s smile was smug. 16 “Um, Alice,” I said, keeping the casual, unruffled tone 17 in my voice. “When did you get me a dress?” 18 It probably wasn’t much of a show. Edward squeezed 19 my hand. 20 Alice led the way inside, heading for the stairs. “These 21 things take time, Bella,” Alice explained. Her tone 22 seemed . . . evasive. “I mean, I wasn’t sure things were 23 going to turn out this way, but there was a distinct possi- 24 bility. . . .” 25 “When?” I asked again. 26 “Perrine Bruyere has a waiting list, you know,” she 27 said, defensive now. “Fabric masterpieces don’t happen 28 overnight. If I hadn’t thought ahead, you’d be wearing sh 29 something off the rack!” reg 30 It didn’t look like I was going to get a straight answer. “Per — who?” 612 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 613 “He’s not a major designer, Bella, so there’s no need to 1 throw a hissy fit. He’s got promise, though, and he special- 2 izes in what I needed.” 3 4 “I’m not throwing a fit.” 5 “No, you’re not.” She eyed my calm face suspiciously. 6 Then, as we walked into her room, she turned on Edward. 7 “You — out.” 8 “Why?” I demanded. 9 “Bella,” she groaned. “You know the rules. He’s not 10 supposed to see the dress till the day of.” 11 I took another deep breath. “It doesn’t matter to me. 12 And you know he’s already seen it in your head. But if 13 that’s how you want it. . . .” 14 She shoved Edward back out the door. He didn’t even 15 look at her — his eyes were on me, wary, afraid to leave 16 me alone. 17 I nodded, hoping my expression was tranquil enough 18 to reassure him. 19 Alice shut the door in his face. 20 “All right!” she muttered. “C’mon.” 21 She grabbed my wrist and towed me to her closet — 22 which was bigger than my bedroom — and then dragged 23 me to the back corner, where a long white garment bag 24 had a rack all to itself. 25 She unzipped the bag in one sweeping movement, and 26 then slipped it carefully off the hanger. She took a step 27 back, holding her hand out to the dress like she was a 28 game show hostess. 29 sh “Well?” she asked breathlessly. 30 reg 613 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 614 1 I appraised it for a long moment, playing with her a 2 bit. Her expression turned worried. 3 4 “Ah,” I said, and I smiled, letting her relax. “I see.” 5 “What do you think?” she demanded. 6 It was my Anne of Green Gables vision all over again. 7 “It’s perfect, of course. Exactly right. You’re a genius.” 8 She grinned. “I know.” 9 “Nineteen-eighteen?” I guessed. 10 “More or less,” she said, nodding. “Some of it is my de- 11 sign, the train, the veil. . . .” She touched the white satin 12 as she spoke. “The lace is vintage. Do you like it?” 13 “It’s beautiful. It’s just right for him.” 14 “But is it just right for you?” she insisted. 15 “Yes, I think it is, Alice. I think it’s just what I need. I 16 know you’ll do a great job with this . . . if you can keep 17 yourself in check.” 18 She beamed. 19 “Can I see your dress?” I asked. 20 She blinked, her face blank. 21 “Didn’t you order your bridesmaid dress at the same 22 time? I wouldn’t want my maid of honor to wear some- 23 thing off the rack.” I pretended to wince in horror. 24 She threw her arms around my waist. “Thank you, Bella!” 25 “How could you not see that one coming?” I teased, 26 kissing her spiky hair. “Some psychic you are!” 27 Alice danced back, and her face was bright with fresh 28 enthusiasm. “I’ve got so much to do! Go play with Ed- sh 29 ward. I have to get to work.” reg 30 She dashed out of the room, yelling, “Esme!” as she dis- appeared. 614 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 615 I followed at my own pace. Edward was waiting for me 1 in the hallway, leaning against the wood-paneled wall. 2 3 “That was very, very nice of you,” he told me. 4 “She seems happy,” I agreed. 5 He touched my face; his eyes — too dark, it had been 6 so long since he’d left me — searched my expression mi- 7 nutely. 8 “Let’s get out of here,” he suddenly suggested. “Let’s go 9 to our meadow.” 10 It sounded very appealing. “I guess I don’t have to hide 11 out anymore, do I?” 12 “No. The danger is behind us.” 13 He was quiet, thoughtful, as he ran. The wind blew on 14 my face, warmer now that the storm had really passed. 15 The clouds covered the sky, the way they usually did. 16 The meadow was a peaceful, happy place today. Patches 17 of summer daisies interrupted the grass with splashes of 18 white and yellow. I lay back, ignoring the slight dampness 19 of the ground, and looked for pictures in the clouds. They 20 were too even, too smooth. No pictures, just a soft, gray 21 blanket. 22 Edward lay next to me and held my hand. 23 “August thirteenth?” he asked casually after a few min- 24 utes of comfortable silence. 25 “That gives me a month till my birthday. I didn’t want 26 to cut it too close.” 27 He sighed. “Esme is three years older than Carlisle — 28 technically. Did you know that?” 29 sh I shook my head. 30 reg “It hasn’t made any difference to them.” 615 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 616 1 My voice was serene, a counterpoint to his anxiety. “My 2 age is not really that important. Edward, I’m ready. I’ve 3 chosen my life — now I want to start living it.” 4 5 He stroked my hair. “The guest list veto?” 6 “I don’t care really, but I . . .” I hesitated, not wanting 7 to explain this one. Best to get it over with. “I’m not sure 8 if Alice would feel the need to invite . . . a few were- 9 wolves. I don’t know if . . . Jake would feel like . . . like he 10 should come. Like that’s the right thing to do, or that I’d 11 get my feelings hurt if he didn’t. He shouldn’t have to go 12 through that.” 13 Edward was quiet for a minute. I stared at the tips of 14 the treetops, almost black against the light gray of the sky. 15 Suddenly, Edward grabbed me around the waist and 16 pulled me onto his chest. 17 “Tell me why you’re doing this, Bella. Why did you 18 decide, now, to give Alice free reign?” 19 I repeated for him the conversation I had with Charlie 20 last night before I’d gone to see Jacob. 21 “It wouldn’t be fair to keep Charlie out of this,” I con- 22 cluded. “And that means Renée and Phil. I might as well 23 let Alice have her fun, too. Maybe it will make the whole 24 thing easier for Charlie if he gets his proper goodbye. Even 25 if he thinks it’s much too early, I wouldn’t want to cheat 26 him out of the chance to walk me down the aisle.” I gri- 27 maced at the words, then took another deep breath. “At 28 least my mom and dad and my friends will know the best sh 29 part of my choice, the most I’m allowed to tell them. reg 30 They’ll know I chose you, and they’ll know we’re together. 616 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 617 They’ll know I’m happy, wherever I am. I think that’s the 1 best I can do for them.” 2 3 Edward held my face, searching it for a brief time. 4 “Deal’s off,” he said abruptly. 5 “What?” I gasped. “You’re backing out? No!” 6 “I’m not backing out, Bella. I’ll still keep my side of 7 the bargain. But you’re off the hook. Whatever you want, 8 no strings attached.” 9 “Why?” 10 “Bella, I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to make 11 everyone else happy. And I don’t care about anyone else’s 12 feelings. I only need you to be happy. Don’t worry about 13 breaking the news to Alice. I’ll take care of it. I promise 14 she won’t make you feel guilty.” 15 “But I —” 16 “No. We’re doing this your way. Because my way 17 doesn’t work. I call you stubborn, but look at what I’ve 18 done. I’ve clung with such idiotic obstinacy to my idea of 19 what’s best for you, though it’s only hurt you. Hurt you 20 so deeply, time and time again. I don’t trust myself any- 21 more. You can have happiness your way. My way is always 22 wrong. So.” He shifted under me, squaring his shoulders. 23 “We’re doing it your way, Bella. Tonight. Today. The sooner 24 the better. I’ll speak to Carlisle. I was thinking that maybe 25 if we gave you enough morphine, it wouldn’t be so bad. 26 It’s worth a try.” He gritted his teeth. 27 “Edward, no —” 28 He put his finger to my lips. “Don’t worry, Bella, love. 29 sh I haven’t forgotten the rest of your demands.” 30 reg 617 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 618 1 His hands were in my hair, his lips moving softly — 2 but very seriously — against mine, before I realized what 3 he was saying. What he was doing. 4 5 There wasn’t much time to act. If I waited too long, I 6 wouldn’t be able to remember why I needed to stop him. 7 Already, I couldn’t breathe right. My hands were gripping 8 his arms, pulling myself tighter to him, my mouth glued 9 to his and answering every unspoken question his asked. 10 11 I tried to clear my head, to find a way to speak. 12 He rolled gently, pressing me into the cool grass. 13 Oh, never mind! my less noble side exulted. My head was 14 full of the sweetness of his breath. 15 No, no, no, I argued with myself. I shook my head, and 16 his mouth moved to my neck, giving me a chance to 17 breathe. 18 “Stop, Edward. Wait.” My voice was as weak as my will. 19 “Why?” he whispered into the hollow of my throat. 20 I labored to put some resolve into my tone. “I don’t 21 want to do this now.” 22 “Don’t you?” he asked, a smile in his voice. He moved 23 his lips back to mine and made speaking impossible. 24 Heat coursed through my veins, burning where my skin 25 touched his. 26 I made myself focus. It took a great deal of effort just to 27 force my hands to free themselves from his hair, to move 28 them to his chest. But I did it. And then I shoved against sh 29 him, trying to push him away. I could not succeed alone, reg 30 but he responded as I knew he would. He pulled back a few inches to look at me, and his eyes 618 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 619 did nothing to help my resolve. They were black fire. They 1 smoldered. 2 3 “Why?” he asked again, his voice low and rough. “I 4 love you. I want you. Right now.” 5 6 The butterflies in my stomach flooded my throat. He 7 took advantage of my speechlessness. 8 9 “Wait, wait,” I tried to say around his lips. 10 “Not for me,” he murmured in disagreement. 11 “Please?” I gasped. 12 He groaned, and pushed himself away from me, rolling 13 onto his back again. 14 We both lay there for a minute, trying to slow our 15 breathing. 16 “Tell me why not, Bella,” he demanded. “This had bet- 17 ter not be about me.” 18 Everything in my world was about him. What a silly 19 thing to expect. 20 “Edward, this is very important to me. I am going to do 21 this right.” 22 “Who’s definition of right?” 23 “Mine.” 24 He rolled onto his elbow and stared at me, his expres- 25 sion disapproving. 26 “How are you going to do this right?” 27 I took a deep breath. “Responsibly. Everything in the 28 right order. I will not leave Charlie and Renée without the 29 sh best resolution I can give them. I won’t deny Alice her 30 reg fun, if I’m having a wedding anyway. And I will tie myself to you in every human way, before I ask you to make me 619 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 620 1 immortal. I’m following all the rules, Edward. Your soul 2 is far, far too important to me to take chances with. You’re 3 not going to budge me on this.” 4 5 “I’ll bet I could,” he murmured, his eyes burning again. 6 “But you wouldn’t,” I said, trying to keep my voice 7 level. “Not knowing that this is what I really need.” 8 “You don’t fight fair,” he accused. 9 I grinned at him. “Never said I did.” 10 He smiled back, wistful. “If you change your mind . . .” 11 “You’ll be the first to know,” I promised. 12 The rain started to drip through the clouds just then, a 13 few scattered drops that made faint thuds as they struck 14 the grass. 15 I glowered at the sky. 16 “I’ll get you home.” He brushed the tiny beads of wa- 17 ter from my cheeks. 18 “Rain’s not the problem,” I grumbled. “It just means 19 that it’s time to go do something that will be very un- 20 pleasant and possibly even highly dangerous.” 21 His eyes widened in alarm. 22 “It’s a good thing you’re bulletproof.” I sighed. “I’m 23 going to need that ring. It’s time to tell Charlie.” 24 He laughed at the expression on my face. “Highly dan- 25 gerous,” he agreed. He laughed again and then reached 26 into the pocket of his jeans. “But as least there’s no need 27 for a side trip.” 28 He once again slid my ring into place on the third fin- sh 29 ger of my left hand. reg 30 Where it would stay — conceivably for the rest of eternity. 620 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 621 EPILOGUE — CHOICE 1 2 Jacob Black 3 4 “Jacob, do you think this is going to take too much 5 longer?” Leah demanded. Impatient. Whiney. 6 7 My teeth clenched together. 8 Like anyone in the pack, Leah knew everything. She 9 knew why I came here — to the very edge of the earth and 10 sky and sea. To be alone. She knew that this was all I 11 wanted. Just to be alone. 12 But Leah was going to force her company on me, 13 anyway. 14 Besides being crazy annoyed, I did feel smug for a 15 brief second. Because I didn’t even have to think about 16 17 621 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 622 1 controlling my temper. It was easy now, something I just 2 did, natural. The red haze didn’t wash over my eyes. The 3 heat didn’t shiver down my spine. My voice was calm 4 when I answered. 5 6 “Jump off a cliff, Leah.” I pointed to the one at my feet. 7 “Really, kid.” She ignored me, throwing herself into a 8 sprawl on the ground next to me. “You have no idea how 9 hard this is for me.” 10 “For you?” It took me a minute to believe she was seri- 11 ous. “You have to be the most self-absorbed person alive, 12 Leah. I’d hate to shatter the dream world you live in — 13 the one where the sun is orbiting the place where you 14 stand — so I won’t tell you how little I care what your 15 problem is. Go. Away.” 16 “Just look at this from my perspective for a minute, 17 okay?” she continued as if I hadn’t said anything. 18 If she was trying to break my mood, it worked. I 19 started laughing. The sound hurt in strange ways. 20 “Stop snorting and pay attention,” she snapped. 21 “If I pretend to listen, will you leave?” I asked, glanc- 22 ing over at the permanent scowl on her face. I wasn’t sure 23 if she had any other expressions anymore. 24 I remembered back to when I used to think that Leah 25 was pretty, maybe even beautiful. That was a long time 26 ago. No one thought of her that way now. Except for Sam. 27 He was never going to forgive himself. Like it was his 28 fault that she’d turned into this bitter harpy. sh 29 Her scowl heated up, as if she could guess what I was reg 30 thinking. Probably could. “This is making me sick, Jacob. Can you imagine what 622 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 623 this feels like to me? I don’t even like Bella Swan. And 1 you’ve got me grieving over this leech-lover like I’m in 2 love with her, too. Can you see where that might be a lit- 3 tle confusing? I dreamed about kissing her last night! 4 What the hell am I supposed to do with that?” 5 6 “Do I care?” 7 “I can’t stand being in your head anymore! Get over her 8 already! She’s going to marry that thing. He’s going to try 9 to change her into one of them! Time to move on, boy.” 10 “Shut up,” I growled. 11 It would be wrong to strike back. I knew that. I was 12 biting my tongue. But she’d be sorry if she didn’t walk 13 away. Now. 14 “He’ll probably just kill her anyway,” Leah said. Sneer- 15 ing. “All the stories say that happens more often than not. 16 Maybe a funeral will be better closure than a wedding. Ha.” 17 This time I had to work. I closed my eyes and fought 18 the hot taste in my mouth. I pushed and shoved against 19 the slide of fire down my back, wrestling to keep my shape 20 together while my body tried to shake apart. 21 When I was in control again, I glowered at her. She was 22 watching my hands as the tremors slowed. Smiling. 23 Some joke. 24 “If you’re upset about gender confusion, Leah . . . ,” I 25 said. Slow, emphasizing each word. “How do you think 26 the rest of us like looking at Sam through your eyes? It’s 27 bad enough that Emily has to deal with your fixation. She 28 doesn’t need us guys panting after him, too.” 29 sh Pissed as I was, I still felt guilty when I watched the 30 reg spasm of pain shoot across her face. 623 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 624 1 She scrambled to her feet — pausing only to spit in my 2 direction — and ran for the trees, vibrating like a tuning 3 fork. 4 5 I laughed darkly. “You missed.” 6 Sam was going to give me hell for that, but it was 7 worth it. Leah wouldn’t bug me anymore. And I’d do it 8 again if I had the chance. 9 Because her words were still there, scratching them- 10 selves into my brain, the pain of it so strong that I could 11 hardly breathe. 12 It didn’t matter so much that Bella’d chosen someone 13 else over me. That agony was nothing at all. That agony 14 I could live with for the rest of my stupid, too long, 15 stretched-out life. 16 But it did matter that she was giving up everything — 17 that she was letting her heart stop and her skin ice over 18 and her mind twist into some crystallized predator’s head. 19 A monster. A stranger. 20 I would have thought there was nothing worse than 21 that, nothing more painful in the whole world. 22 But, if he killed her . . . 23 Again, I had to fight the rage. Maybe, if not for Leah, it 24 would be good to let the heat change me into a creature 25 who could deal with it better. A creature with instincts so 26 much stronger than human emotions. An animal who 27 couldn’t feel pain in the same way. A different pain. Some 28 variety, at least. But Leah was running now, and I didn’t sh 29 want to share her thoughts. I cussed her under my breath reg 30 for taking away that escape, too. My hands were shaking in spite of me. What shook 624 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 625 them? Anger? Agony? I wasn’t sure what I was fighting 1 now. 2 3 I had to believe that Bella would survive. But that re- 4 quired trust — a trust I didn’t want to feel, a trust in that 5 bloodsucker’s ability to keep her alive. 6 7 She would be different, and I wondered how that 8 would affect me. Would it be the same as if she had died, 9 to see her standing there like a stone? Like ice? When her 10 scent burned in my nostrils and triggered the instinct to 11 rip, to tear . . . How would that be? Could I want to kill 12 her? Could I not want to kill one of them? 13 14 I watched the swells roll toward the beach. They disap- 15 peared from sight under the edge of the cliff, but I heard 16 them beat against the sand. I watched them until it was 17 late, long after dark. 18 19 Going home was probably a bad idea. But I was hun- 20 gry, and I couldn’t think of another plan. 21 22 I made a face as I pulled my arm through the retarded 23 sling and grabbed my crutches. If only Charlie hadn’t seen 24 me that day and spread the word of my “motorcycle acci- 25 dent.” Stupid props. I hated them. 26 27 Going hungry started to look better when I walked in 28 the house and got a look at my dad’s face. He had some- 29 sh thing on his mind. It was easy to tell — he always overdid 30 reg it. Acted all casual. He also talked too much. He was rambling about his day before I could get to the table. He never jabbered like this unless there was something that he didn’t want to say. I ignored him as best I could, concentrating on the food. The faster I choked it down . . . 625 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 626 1 “. . . and Sue stopped by today.” My dad’s voice was 2 loud. Hard to ignore. As always. “Amazing woman. She’s 3 tougher than grizzlies, that one. I don’t know how she 4 deals with that daughter of hers, though. Now Sue, she 5 would have made one hell of a wolf. Leah’s more of a 6 wolverine.” He chuckled at his own joke. 7 8 He waited briefly for my response, but didn’t seem to 9 see my blank, bored-out-of-my-mind expression. Most 10 days that bugged him. I wished he would shut up about 11 Leah. I was trying not to think about her. 12 13 “Seth’s a lot easier. Of course, you were easier than your 14 sisters, too, until . . . well, you have more to deal with 15 than they did.” 16 17 I sighed, long and deep, and stared out the window. 18 Billy was quiet for a second too long. “We got a letter 19 today.” 20 I could tell that this was the subject he’d been avoiding. 21 “A letter?” 22 “A . . . wedding invitation.” 23 Every muscle in my body locked into place. A feather 24 of heat seemed to brush down my back. I held onto the 25 table to keep my hands steady. 26 Billy went on like he hadn’t noticed. “There’s a note in- 27 side that’s addressed to you. I didn’t read it.” 28 He pulled a thick ivory envelope from where it was sh 29 wedged between his leg and the side of his wheelchair. He reg 30 laid it on the table between us. “You probably don’t need to read it. Doesn’t really matter what it says.” 626 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 627 Stupid reverse psychology. I yanked the envelope off 1 the table. 2 3 It was some heavy, stiff paper. Expensive. Too fancy for 4 Forks. The card inside was the same, too done-up and for- 5 mal. Bella’d had nothing to do with this. There was no 6 sign of her personal taste in the layers of see-through, 7 petal-printed pages. I’d bet she didn’t like it at all. I didn’t 8 read the words, not even to see the date. I didn’t care. 9 10 There was a piece of the thick ivory paper folded in half 11 with my name handwritten in black ink on the back. I 12 didn’t recognize the handwriting, but it was as fancy as 13 the rest of it. For half a second, I wondered if the blood- 14 sucker was into gloating. 15 16 I flipped it open. 17 18 Jacob, 19 20 I ’m breaking the rules by sending you this. She was 21 afraid of hurting you, and she didn’t want to make you 22 feel obligated in any way. But I know that, if things 23 had gone the other way, I would have wanted the 24 choice. 25 26 I promise I will take care of her, Jacob. Thank 27 you — for her — for everything. 28 29 sh Edward 30 reg “Jake, we only have the one table,” Billy said. He was staring at my left hand. 627 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 628 1 My fingers were clamped down on the wood hard 2 enough that it really was in danger. I loosened them one by 3 one, concentrating on that action alone, and then clenched 4 my hands together so I couldn’t break anything. 5 6 “Yeah, doesn’t matter anyway,” Billy muttered. 7 I got up from the table, shrugging out of my t-shirt as 8 I stood. Hopefully Leah had gone home by now. 9 “Not too late,” Billy mumbled as I punched the front 10 door out of my way. 11 I was running before I hit the trees, my clothes strewn 12 out behind me like a trail of crumbs — as if I wanted to 13 find my way back. It was almost too easy now to phase. I 14 didn’t have to think. My body already knew where I was 15 going and, before I asked it to, it gave me what I wanted. 16 I had four legs now, and I was flying. 17 The trees blurred into a sea of black flowing around 18 me. My muscles bunched and released in an effortless 19 rhythm. I could run like this for days and I would not be 20 tired. Maybe, this time, I wouldn’t stop. 21 But I wasn’t alone. 22 So sorry, Embry whispered in my head. 23 I could see through his eyes. He was far away, to the 24 north, but he had wheeled around and was racing to join 25 me. I growled and pushed myself faster. 26 Wait for us, Quil complained. He was closer, just start- 27 ing out from the village. 28 Leave me alone, I snarled. sh 29 I could feel their worry in my head, try hard as I might reg 30 to drown it in the sound of the wind and the forest. This was what I hated most — seeing myself through their 628 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 629 eyes, worse now that their eyes were full of pity. They saw 1 the hate, but they kept running after me. 2 3 A new voice sounded in my head. 4 Let him go. Sam’s thought was soft, but still an order. 5 Embry and Quil slowed to a walk. 6 If only I could stop hearing, stop seeing what they saw. 7 My head was so crowded, but the only way to be alone 8 again was to be human, and I couldn’t stand the pain. 9 Phase back, Sam directed them. I’ll pick you up, Embry. 10 First one, then another awareness faded into silence. 11 Only Sam was left. 12 Thank you, I managed to think. 13 Come home when you can. The words were faint, trailing 14 off into blank emptiness as he left, too. And I was alone. 15 So much better. Now I could hear the faint rustle of 16 the matted leaves beneath my toenails, the whisper of an 17 owl’s wings above me, the ocean — far, far in the west — 18 moaning against the beach. Hear this, and nothing more. 19 Feel nothing but speed, nothing but the pull of muscle, 20 sinew, and bone, working together in harmony as the 21 miles disappeared behind me. 22 If the silence in my head lasted, I would never go back. 23 I wouldn’t be the first one to choose this form over the 24 other. Maybe, if I ran far enough away, I would never have 25 to hear again. . . . 26 I pushed my legs faster, letting Jacob Black disappear 27 behind me. 28 29 sh 629 30 reg 3rd Pass Pages

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Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 631 Acknowledgments 1 2 I would be very remiss if I did not thank the many people 3 who helped me survive the birthing of another novel: 4 5 My parents have been my rock; I don’t know how anyone does this 6 without a dad’s good advice and a mom’s shoulder to cry on. 7 8 My husband and sons have been incredibly long-suffering— 9 anyone else would have had me committed to an asylum long ago. 10 11 Thanks for keeping me around, guys. 12 13 My Elizabeth—Elizabeth Eulberg, publicist extraordinaire— 14 has made all the difference to my sanity both on and off the road. 15 Few people are lucky enough to work so closely with their BFF, 16 17 and I am eternally grateful for the wholesomeness of 18 cheese-loving Midwestern girls. 19 20 Jodi Reamer continues to guide my career with genius and finesse. 21 It is very comforting to know that I am in such good hands. 22 23 It is also wonderful to have my manuscripts in the right hands. 24 Thanks to Rebecca Davis for being so in tune with the story in my head 25 26 and helping me find the best ways to express it. 27 Thanks to Megan Tingley, first for your unwavering faith in my work, 28 29 sh and second for polishing that work until it shines. 30 reg Everyone at Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers has taken such amazing care of my creations. I can tell it is a true labor of love for you all, and I appreciate it more than you know. Thank you Chris Murphy, Shawn Foster, Andrew Smith, Stephanie Voros, Gail Doobinin, Tina McIntyre, Ames O’Neill, and the many others who have made the Twilight series a success. I can’t believe how lucky I was to discover Lori Joffs, who somehow manages to be both the fastest and the most meticulous reader at the same time. I am thrilled to have a friend and accomplice who is so insightful, talented, and patient with my whining. 3rd Pass Pages

Eclipse_HCtext3p.qxp 5/4/07 3:03 PM Page 632 1 Lori Joffs again, along with Laura Cristiano, Michaela Child, and Ted Joffs, 2 for creating and maintaining the brightest star in the Twilight online universe, 3 4 the Twilight Lexicon. I truly appreciate all the hard work 5 you put into providing a happy place for my fans to hang out. 6 Thanks also to my international friends at 7 8 for a site so amazing it transcends the language barrier. 9 Kudos as well to Brittany Gardener’s fabulous work 10 11 on the Twilight and New Moon by Stephenie Meyer MySpace Group, 12 a fan site so large that the idea of keeping track of it boggles my mind; 13 14 Brittany, you amaze me. 15 Katie and Audrey, Bella Penombra is a thing of beauty. 16 17 Heather, the Nexus rocks. 18 I can’t mention all the amazing sites and their creators here, 19 20 but thank you very much to each of you. 21 22 Many thanks to my cold readers, Laura Cristiano, Michelle Vieira, 23 Bridget Creviston, and Kimberlee Peterson, for their invaluable input 24 25 and encouraging enthusiasm. 26 27 Every writer needs an independent bookstore for a friend; 28 I’m so grateful for my hometown supporters at Changing Hands Bookstore sh 29 reg 30 in Tempe, Arizona, and especially to Faith Hochhalter, who has brilliant taste in literature. I am in your debt, rock gods of Muse, for yet another inspiring album. Thank you for continuing to create my favorite writing music. I am also grateful to all the other bands on my playlist who help me through the writer’s block, and to my new discoveries, Ok Go, Gomez, Placebo, Blue October, and Jack’s Mannequin. Most of all, a gargantuan thank-you to all of my fans. I firmly believe that my fans are the most attractive, intelligent, exciting, and dedicated fans in the whole world. I wish I could give you each a big hug and a Porsche 911 Turbo. 3rd Pass Pages

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