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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 39

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He looked behind him, and I knew where his eyes would go. Every one of them was turned for Sam's reaction.

Sam nodded once, his face unperturbed. He made a brief comment in an unfamiliar, liquid language��I could only be positive that it wasn't French or Spanish, but I guessed that it was Quileute. He turned and walked into Jacob's house. The others, Paul, Jared, and Embry, I assumed, followed him in.

"Okay." Jacob seemed a bit less furious when the others were gone. His face was a little calmer, but also more hopeless. His mouth seemed permanently pulled down at the corners.

I took a deep breath. "You know what I want to know."

He didn't answer. He just stared at me bitterly.

I stared back and the silence stretched on. The pain in his face unnerved me. I felt a lump beginning to build in my throat.

"Can we walk?" I asked while I could still speak.

He didn't respond in any way; his face didn't change.

I got out of the car, feeling unseen eyes behind the windows on me, and started walking toward the trees to the north. My feet squished in the damp grass and mud beside the road, and, as that was the only sound, at first I thought he wasn't following me. But when I glanced around, he was right beside me, his feet having somehow found a less noisy path than mine.

I felt better in the fringe of trees, where Sam couldn't possibly be watching. As we walked, I struggled for the right thing to say, but nothing came. I just got more and more angry that Jacob had gotten sucked in�� that Billy had allowed this�� that Sam was able to stand there so assured and calm��

Jacob suddenly picked up the pace, striding ahead of me easily with his long legs, and then swinging around to face me, planting himself in my path so I would have to stop too.

I was distracted by the overt grace of his movement. Jacob had been nearly as klutzy as me with his never-ending growth spurt. When did that changed?

But Jacob didn't give me time to think about it.

"Let's get this over with," he said in a hard, husky voice.

I waited. He knew what I wanted.

"It's not what you think." His voice was abruptly weary. "It's not what I thought��I was way off."

"So what is it, then?"

He studied my face for a long moment, speculating. The anger never completely left his eyes. "I can't tell you," he finally said.

My jaw tightened, and I spoke through my teeth. "I thought we were friends."

"We were." There was a slight emphasis on the past tense.

"But you don't need friends anymore," I said sourly. "You have Sam. Isn't that nice��you've always looked up to him so much."

"I didn't understand him before."

"And now you've seen the light. Hallelujah."

"It wasn't like I thought it was. This isn't Sam's fault. He's helping me as much as he can." His voice turned brittle and he looked over my head, past me, rage burning out from his eyes.

"He's helping you," I repeated dubiously. "Naturally."

But Jacob didn't seem to be listening. He was taking deep, deliberate breaths, trying to calm himself. He was so mad that his hands were shaking.

"Jacob, please," I whispered "Won't you tell me what happened? Maybe I can help."

"No one can help me now." The words were a low moan; his voice broke.

"What did he do to you?" I demanded, tears collecting in my eyes. I reached out to him, as I had once before, stepping forward with my arms wide.

This time he cringed away, holding his hands up defensively. "Don't touch me," he whispered.

"Is Sam catching?" I mumbled. The stupid tears had escaped the corners of my eyes. I wiped them away with the back of my hand, and folded my arms across my chest.

"Stop blaming Sam." The words came out fast, like a reflex. His hands reached up to twist around the hair that was no longer there, and then fell limply at his sides.

"Then who should I blame?" I retorted.

He halfway smiled; it was a bleak, twisted thing.

"You don't want to hear that."

"The hell I don't!" I snapped. "I want to know, and I want to know now."

"You're wrong," he snapped back.

"Don't you dare tell me I'm wrong��I'm not the one who got brainwashed! Tell me now whose fault this all is, if it's not your precious Sam!"

"You asked for it," he growled at me, eyes glinting hard. "If you want to blame someone, why don't you point your finger at those filthy, reeking bloodsuckers that you love so much?"

My mouth fell open and my breath came out with a whooshing sound. I was frozen in place, stabbed through with his double-edged words. The pain twisted in familiar patterns through my body, the jagged hole ripping me open from the inside out, but it was second place, background music to the chaos of my thoughts. I couldn't believe that I'd heard him correctly. There was no trace of indecision in his face. Only fury.

My mouth still hung wide.

"I told you that you didn't want to hear it," he said.

"I don't understand who you mean," I whispered.

He raised one eyebrow in disbelief. "I think you understand exactly who I mean. You're not going to make me say it, are you? I don't like hurting you."

"I don't understand who you mean," I repeated mechanically.

"The Cullens," he said slowly, drawing out the word, scrutinizing my face as he spoke it. "I saw that��I can see in your eyes what it does to you when I say their name."

I shook my head back and forth in denial, trying to clear it at the same time. How did he know this? And how did it have anything to do with Sam's cult? Was it a gang of vampire-haters? What was the point of forming such a society when no vampires lived in Forks anymore? Why would Jacob start believing the stories about the Cullens now, when the evidence of them was long gone, never to return?

It took me too long to come up with the correct response. "Don't tell me you're listening to Billy's superstitious nonsense now," I said with a feeble attempt at mockery.

"He knows more than I gave him credit for."

"Be serious, Jacob."

He glared at me, his eyes critical.

"Superstitions aside," I said quickly. "I still don't see what you're accusing the... Cullens"��wince��"of. They left more than half a year ago. How can you blame them for what Sam is doing now?"

"Sam isn't doing anything, Bella. And I know they're gone. But sometimes�� things are set in motion, and then it's too late."

"What's set in motion? What's too late? What are you blaming them for?"

He was suddenly right in my face, his fury glowing in his eyes. "For existing," he hissed.

I was surprised and distracted as the warning words came in Edward's voice again, when I wasn't even scared.

"Quiet now, Bella. Don't push him," Edward cautioned in my ear.

Ever since Edward's name had broken through the careful walls I'd buried it behind, I'd been unable to lock it up again. It didn't hurt now��not during the precious seconds when I could hear his voice.

Jacob was fuming in front of me, quivering with anger.

I didn't understand why the Edward delusion was unexpectedly in my mind. Jacob was livid, but he was Jacob. There was no adrenaline, no danger.

"Give him a chance to calm down," Edward's voice insisted.

I shook my head in confusion. "You're being ridiculous," I told them both.

"Fine," Jacob answered, breathing deeply again. "I won't argue it with you. It doesn't matter anyway, the

damage is done."

"What damage?"

He didn't flinch as I shouted the words in his face.

"Let's head back. There's nothing more to say."

I gaped. "There's everything more to say! You haven't said anything yet!"

He walked past me, striding back toward the house.

"I ran into Quil today," I yelled after him.

He paused midstep, but didn't turn.

"You remember your friend, Quil? Yeah, he's terrified."

Jacob whirled to face me. His expression was pained. "Quil" was all he said.

"He's worried about you, too. He's freaked out."

Jacob stared past me with desperate eyes.

I goaded him further. "He's frightened that he's next."

Jacob clutched at a tree for support, his face turning a strange shade of green under the red-brown surface. "He won't be next," Jacob muttered to himself. "He can't be. It's over now. This shouldn't still be happening. Why? Why?" His fist slammed against the tree. It wasn't a big tree, slender and only a few feet taller than Jacob. But it still surprised me when tht trunk gave way and snapped off loudly under his blows.

Jacob stared at the sharp, broken point with shock that quickly turned to horror.

"I have to get back." He whirled and stalked away so swiftly that I had to jog to keep up.

"Back to Sam!"

"That's one way of looking at it," it sounded like he said. He was mumbling and facing away.

I chased him back to the truck. "Wait!" I called as he turned toward the house.

He spun around to face me, and I saw that his hands were shaking again.

"Go home, Bella. I can't hang out with you anymore."

The silly, inconsequential hurt was incredibly potent.

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