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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 37

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There was no place I could hide. There was no one who could help me.

I realized, with a nauseous roll of my stomach, that the situation was worse than even that. Because all those facts applied to Charlie, too. My father, sleeping one room away from me, was just a hairsbreadth off the heart of the target that was centered on me. My scent would lead them here, whether I was here or not.

The tremors rocked me until my teeth chattered.

To calm myself, I fantasized the impossible: I imagined the big wolves catching up to Laurent in the woods and massacring the indestructible immortal the way they would any normal person. Despite the absurdity of such a vision, the idea comforted me. If the wolves got him, then he couldn't tell Victoria I was here all alone. If he didn't return, maybe she'd think the Cullens were still protecting me. If only the wolves could win such a fight��

My good vampires were never coming back; how soothing it was to imagine that the other kind could also disappear.

I squeezed my eyes tight together and waited for unconsciousness��almost eager for my nightmare to start. Better that than the pale, beautiful face that smiled at me now from behind my lids.

In my imagination, Victoria's eyes were black with thirst, bright with anticipation, and her lips curled back from her gleaming teeth in pleasure. Her red hair was brilliant as fire; it blew chaotically around her wild face.

Laurent's words repeated in my head. If you knew what she had planned for you ��

I pressed my fist against my mouth to keep from screaming.

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EACH TIME THAT I OPENED MY EYES TO THE MORNING light and realized I'd lived through another night was a surprise to me. After the surprise wore off, my heart would start to race and my palms would sweat; I couldn't really breathe again until I'd gotten up and ascertained that Charlie had survived as well.

I could tell he was worried��watching me jump at any loud sound, or my face suddenly go white for no reason that he could see. From the questions he asked now and then, he seemed to blame the change on

Jacob's continued absence.

The terror that was always foremost in my thoughts usually distracted me from the fact that another week had passed, and Jacob still hadn't called me. But when I was able to concentrate on my normal life��if my life was really ever normal��this upset me.

I missed him horribly.

It had been bad enough to be alone before I was scared silly. Now, more than ever, I yearned for his carefree laugh and his infectious grin. I needed the safe sanity of his homemade garage and his warm hand around my cold fingers.

I'd half expected him to call on Monday. If there had been some progress with Embry, wouldn't he want to report it? I wanted to believe that it was worry for his friend that was occupying all his time, not that he was just giving up on me.

I called him Tuesday, but no one answered. Were the phone lines still having problems? Or had Billy invested in caller I.D.?

On Wednesday I called every half hour until after eleven at night, desperate to hear the warmth of Jacob's voice.

Thursday I sat in my truck in front of my house��with the locks pushed down��keys in hand, for a solid hour. I was arguing with myself, trying to justify a quick trip to La Push, but I couldn't do it.

I knew that Laurent had gone back to Victoria by now. If I went to La Push, I took the chance of leading one of them there. What if they caught up to me when Jake was nearby? As much as it hurt me, I knew it was better for Jacob that he was avoiding me. Safer for him.

It was bad enough that I couldn't figure out a way to keep Charlie safe. Nighttime was the most likely time that they would come looking ior me, and what could I say to get Charlie out of the house? If I told him the truth, he'd have me locked up in a rubber room somewhere. I would have endured that��welcomed it, even��if it could have kept him safe. But Victoria would still come to his house first, looking for me. Maybe, if she found me here, that would be enough for her. Maybe she would just leave when she was done with me.

So I couldn't run away. Even if I could, where would I go? To Renee? I shuddered at the thought of dragging my lethal shadows into my mother's safe, sunny world. I would never endanger her that way.

The worry was eating a hole in my stomach. Soon I would have matching punctures.

That night, Charlie did me another favor and called Harry again to see if the Blacks were out of town. Harry reported that Billy had attended the council meeting Wednesday night, and never mentioned anything about leaving. Charlie warned me not to make a nuisance of myself��Jacob would call when he got around to it.

Friday afternoon, as I drove home from school, it hit me out of the blue.

I wasn't paying attention to the familiar road, letting the sound of the engine deaden my brain and silence the worries, when my subconscious delivered a verdict it must have been working on for some time without my knowledge.

As soon as I thought of it, I felt really stupid for not seeing it sooner. Sure. I'd had a lot on my mind��revenue-obsessed vampires, giant mutant wolves, a ragged hole in the center of my chest��but

when I laid the evidence out, it was embarrassingly obvious.

Jacob avoiding me. Charlie saying he looked strange, upset. . . . Billy's vague, unhelpful answers.

Holy crow, I knew exactly what was going on with Jacob.

It was Sam Uley. Even my nightmares had been trying to tell me that. Sam had gotten to Jacob. Whatever was happening to the other boys on the reservation had reached out and stolen my friend. He'd been sucked into Sam's cult.

He hadn't given up on me at all, I realized with a rush of feeling.

I let my truck idle in front of my house. What should I do? I weighed the dangers against each other.

If I went looking for Jacob, I risked the chance of Victoria or Laurent finding me with him.

If I didn't go after him, Sam would pull him deeper into his frightening, compulsory gang. Maybe it would be too late if I didn't act soon.

It had been a week, and no vampires had come for me yet. A week was more than enough time for them to have returned, so I must not be a priority. Most likely, as I'd decided before, they would come for me at night. The chances of them following me to La Push were much lower than the chance of losing Jacob to Sam.

It was worth the danger of the secluded forest road. This was no idle visit to see what was going on. I knew what was going on. This was a rescue mission. I was going to talk to Jacob��kidnap him if I had to. I'd once seen a PBS show on deprogramming the brainwashed. There had to be some kind of cure.

I decided I'd better call Charlie first. Maybe whatever was going on down in La Push was something the police should be involved in. I dashed inside, in a hurry to be on my way.

Charlie answered the phone it the station himself.

"Chief Swan."

"Dad, it's Bella."

"What's wrong?'"

I couldn't argue with his doomsday assumption this time. My voice was shaking.

"I'm worried about Jacob."

"Why?" he asked, surprised by the unexpected topic.

"I think�� I think something weird is going on down at the reservation. Jacob told me about some strange stuff happening with the other boys his age. Now he's acting the same way and I'm scared."

"What kind of stuff?" He used his professional, police business voice. That was good; he was taking me seriously.

"First he was scared, and then he was avoiding me, and now�� I'm afraid he's part of that bizarre gang down there, Sam's gang. Sam Uley's gang."

"Sam Uley?" Charlie repeated, surprised again.


Charlie's voice was more relaxed when he answered. "I think you've got it wrong, Bells. Sam Uley is a great kid. Well, he's a man now. A good son. You should hear Billy talk about him. He's really doing wonders with the youth on the reservation. He's the one who��" Charlie broke off mid-sentence, and I guessed that he had been about to make a reference to the night I'd gotten lost in the woods. I moved on quickly.

"Dad, it's not like that. Jacob was scared ofhim."

"Did you talk to Billy about this?" He was trying to soothe me now. I'd lost him as soon as I'd mentioned Sam.

"Billy's not concerned."

"Well, Bella, then I'm sure it's okay. Jacob's a kid; he was probably just messing around. I'm sure he's fine. He can't spend every waking minute with you, after all."

"This isn't about me," I insisted, but the battle was lost.

"I don't think you need to worry about this. Let Billy take care of Jacob."

"Charlie��" My voice was starting to sound whiney.

"Bells, I got a lot on my plate right now. Two tourists have gone missing off a trail outside crescent lake." There was an anxious edge to his voice. "This wolf problem is getting out of hand."

I was momentarily distracted��stunned, really��by his news.

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