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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 20

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"We'll have a joint party to make up for it."

"Sounds like a date."

His eyes sparkled at the word.

I needed to reign in the enthusiasm before I gave him the wrong idea��it was just that it had been a long time since I'd felt so light and buoyant. The rarity of the feeling made it more difficult to manage.

"Maybe when the bikes are finished��our present to ourselves," I added.

"Deal. When will you bring them down?"

I bit my lip, embarrassed. "They're in my truck now," I admitted.

"Great." He seemed to mean it.

"Will Billy see if we bring them around?"

He winked at me. "We'll be sneaky."

We eased around from the east, sticking to the trees when we were in view of the windows, affecting a casual-looking stroll, just in case. Jacob unloaded the bikes swiftly from the truck bed, wheeling them one by one into the shrubbery where I hid. It looked too easy for him��I'd remembered the bikes being much, much heavier than that.

"These aren't half bad," Jacob appraised as we pushed them through the cover of the trees. "This one here will actually be worth something when I'm done��it's an old Harley Sprint."

"That one's yours, then."

"Are you sure?"


"These are going to take some cash, though," he said, frowning down at the blackened metal. "We'll have to save up for parts first."

"We nothing," I disagreed. "If you're doing this for free, I'll pay for the parts."

"I don't know��" he muttered.

"I've got some money saved. College fund, you know." College, schmollege, I thought to myself. It wasn't like I'd saved up enough to go anywhere special��and besides, I had no desire to leave Forks anyway. What difference would it make if I skimmed a little bit off the top?

Jacob just nodded. This all made perfect sense to him.

As we skulked back to the makeshift garage, I contemplated my luck. Only a teenage boy would agree to this: deceiving both our parents while repairing dangerous vehicles using money meant for my college education. He didn't see anything wrong with that picture. Jacob was a gift from the gods.

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THE MOTORCYCLES DIDN'T NEED TO BE HIDDEN ANY further than simply placing them in Jacob's shed. Billy's wheelchair couldn't maneuver the uneven ground separating it from the house.

Jacob started pulling the first bike��the red one, which was destined for me��to pieces immediately. He opened up the passenger door of the Rabbit so I could sit on the seat instead of the ground. While he worked, Jacob chattered happily, needing only the lightest of nudges from me to keep the conversation rolling. He updated me on the progress of his sophomore year of school, running on about his classes and

his two best friends.

"Quil and Embry?" I interrupted. "Those are unusual names."

Jacob chuckled. "Quil's is a hand-me-down, and I think Embry got named after a soap opera star. I can't say anything, though. They fight dirty if you start on their names��they'll tag team you."

"Good friends." I raised one eyebrow.

"No, they are. Just don't mess with their names."

Just then a call echoed in the distance. "Jacob?" someone shouted.

"Is that Billy?" I asked.

"No." Jacob ducked his head, and it looked like he was blushing under his brown skin. "Speak of the devil," he mumbled, "and the devil shall appear."

"Jake? Are you out here?" The shouting voice was closer now.

"Yeah!" Jacob shouted back, and sighed.

We waited through the short silence until two tall, dark-skinned boys strolled around the corner into the shed.

One was slender, and almost as tall as Jacob. His black hair was chin-length and parted down the middle, one side tucked behind his left ear while the right side swung free. The shorter boy was more burly. His white T-shirt strained over his well-developed chest, and he seemed gleefully conscious of that fact. His hair was so short it was almost a buzz.

Both boys stopped short when they saw me. The thin boy glanced swiftly back and forth between Jacob and me, while the brawny boy kept his eyes on me, a slow smile spreading across his face.

"Hey, guys," Jacob greeted them halfheartedly.

"Hey, Jake," the short one said without looking away from me. I had to smile in response, his grin was so impish. When I did, he winked at me. "Hi, there."

"Quil, Embry��this is my friend, Bella."

Quil and Embry, I still didn't know which was which, exchanged a loaded look.

"Charlie's kid, right?" the brawny boy asked me, holding out his hand.

"That's right," I confirmed, shaking hands with him. His grasp was firm; it looked like he was flexing his bicep.

"I'm Quil Ateara," he announced grandly before releasing my hand.

"Nice to meet you, Quil."

"Hey, Bella. I'm Embry, Embry Call��you probably already figured that out, though." Embry smiled a shy smile and waved with one hand, which he then shoved in the pocket of his jeans.

I nodded. "Nice to meet you, too."

"So what are you guys doing?" Quil asked, still looking at me.

"Bella and I are going to fix up these bikes," Jacob explained inaccurately. But bikes seemed to be the magic word. Both boys went to examine Jacob's project, drilling him with educated questions. Many of the words they used were unfamiliar to me, and I figured I'd have to have a Y chromosome to really understand the excitement.

They were still immersed in talk of parts and pieces when I decided that I needed to head back home before Charlie showed up here. With a sigh, I slid out of the Rabbit.

Jacob looked up, apologetic. "We're boring you, aren't we?"

"Naw." And it wasn't a lie. I was enjoying myself��how strange. "I just have to go cook dinner for Charlie."

"Oh�� well, I'll finish taking these apart tonight and figure out what more we'll need to get started rebuilding them. When do you want to work on them again?"

"Could I come back tomorrow?" Sundays were the bane of my existence. There was never enough homework to keep me busy.

Quil nudged Embry's arm and they exchanged grins.

Jacob smiled in delight. "That would be great!"

"If you make a list, we can go shop for parts," I suggested.

Jacob's face fell a little. "I'm still not sure I should let you pay for everything."

I shook my head. "No way. I'm bankrolling this party. You just have to supply the labor and expertise."

Embry rolled his eyes at Quil.

"That doesn't seem right," Jacob shook his head.

"Jake, if I took these to a mechanic, how much would he charge me?" I pointed out.

He smiled. "Okay, you're getting a deal."

"Not to mention the riding lessons," I added.

Quil grinned widely at Embry and whispered something I didn't catch. Jacob's hand flashed out to smack the back of Quil's head. "That's it, get out," he muttered.

"No, really, I have to go," I protested, heading for the door. "I'll see you tomorrow, Jacob."

As soon as I was out of sight, I heard Quil and Embry chorus, "Wooooo!"

The sound of a brief scuffle followed, interspersed with an "ouch" and a "hey!"

"If either of you set so much as one toe on my land tomorrow��" I heard Jacob threaten. His voice was lost as I walked through the trees.

I giggled quietly. The sound made my eyes widen in wonder. I was laughing, actually laughing, and there wasn't even anyone watching. I felt so weightless that I laughed again, just make the feeling last longer.

I beat Charlie home. When he walked in I was just taking the fried chicken out of the pan and laying it on a pile of paper towels.

"Hey, Dad." I flashed him a grin.

Shock flitted across his face before he pulled his expression together. "Hey, honey," he said, his voice uncertain. "Did you have fun with Jacob?"

I started moving the food to the table. "Yeah, I did."

"Well, that's good." He was still cautious. "What did you two do?"

Now it was my turn to be cautious. "I hung out in his garage and watched him work. Did you know he's rebuilding a Volkswagen?"

"Yeah, I think Billy mentioned that."

The interrogation had to stop when Charlie began chewing, but he continued to study my face as he ate.

After dinner, I dithered around, cleaning the kitchen twice, and then did my homework slowly in the front room while Charlie watched a hockey game.
I waited as long as I could, but finally Charlie mentioned the late hour. When I didn't respond, he got up, stretched, and then left, turning out the light behind him. Reluctantly, I followed.

As I climbed the stairs, I felt the last of the afternoon's abnormal sense of well-being drain from my system, replaced by a dull fear at the thought of what I was going to have to live through now.

I wasn't numb anymore. Tonight would, no doubt, be as horrific as last night. I lay down on my bed and curled into a ball in preparation for the onslaught. I squeezed my eyes shut and�� the next thing I next I knew, it was morning.

I stared at the pale silver light coming through my window, stunned.

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