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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 51

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"There's no comparison."

"How fast can you�� ?"

"Run?" he finished my question. "Fast enough. What can I measure it by? We caught�� what was his name? Laurent? I imagine that means more to you than it would to someone else."

It did mean something to me. I couldn't imagine that��the wolves running faster than a vampire. When the Cullens ran, they all but turned invisible with speed.

"So, tell me something I don't know," he said. "Something about vampires. How did you stand it, being around them? Didn't it creep you out?"

"No," I said curtly.

My tone made him thoughtful for a moment.

"Say, why'd your bloodsucker kill that James, anyway?" he asked suddenly.

"James was trying to kill me��it was like a game for him. He lost. Do you remember last spring when I was in the hospital down in Phoenix?"

Jacob sucked in a breath. "He got that close?"

"He got very, very close." I stroked my scar. Jacob noticed, because he held the hand I moved.

"What's that?" He traded hands, examining my right. "This is your funny scar, the cold one." He looked at it closer, with new eyes, and gasped.

"Yes, it's what you think it is," I said. "James bit me."

His eyes bulged, and his face turned a strange, sallow color under the russet surface. He looked like he was about to be sick.

"But if he bit you�� ? Shouldn't you be�� ?" He choked.

"Edward saved me twice," I whispered. "He sucked the venom out��you know, like with a rattlesnake." I twitched as the pain lashed around the edges of the hole.

But I wasn't the only one twitching. I could feel Jacob's whole body trembling next to mine. Even the car shook.

"Careful, Jake. Easy. Ca in down."

"Yeah," he panted. "Calm." He shook his head back and forth quickly. After a moment, only his hands were shaking.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, almost. Tell me something else. Give me something else to think about."

"What do you want to know?"

"I don't know." He had his eyes closed, concentrating. "The extra stuff I guess. Did any of the other Cullens have�� extra talents? Like the mind reading?"

I hesitated a second. This felt like a question he would ask of his spy, not his friend. But what was the point of hiding what I knew? It didn't matter now, and it would help him control himself.

So I spoke quickly, the image of Emily's ruined face in my mind, and the hair rising on my arms. I couldn't imagine how the russet wolf would fit inside the Rabbit��Jacob would tear the whole garage apart if he changed now.

"Jasper could�� sort of control the emotions of the people around him. Not in a bad way, just to calm someone down, that kind of thing. It would probably help Paul a lot," I added, teasing weakly. "And then Alice could see things that were going to happen. The future, you know, but not absolutely. The things she saw would change when someone changed the path they were on��"

Like how she'd seen me dying�� and she'd seen me becoming one of them. Two things that had not happened. And one that never would. My head started to spin��I couldn't seem to pull in enough oxygen from the air. No lungs.

Jacob was entirely in control now, very still beside me.

"Why do you do that?" he asked. He tugged lightly at one of my arms, which was bound around my chest, and then gave up when it wouldn't come loose easily. I hadn't even realized I'd moved them. "You do that when you're upset. Why?"

"It hurts to think about them," I whispered. "It's like I can't breathe�� like I'm breaking into pieces��"It was bizarre how much I could tell Jacob now. We had no more secrets.

He smoothed my hair. "It's okay, Bella, it's okay. I won't bring it up again. I'm sorry."

"I'm fine." I gasped. "Happens all the time. Not your fault."

"We're a pretty messed-up pair, aren't we?" Jacob said. "Neither one of us can hold our shape together right."

"Pathetic," I agreed, still breathless.

"At least we have each other," he said, clearly comforted by the thought.

I was comforted, too. "At least there's that," I agreed.

And when we were together, it was fine. But Jacob had a horrible, dangerous job he felt compelled to do, and so I was often alone, stuck in La Push for safety, with nothing to do to keep my mind off any of my worries.

I felt awkward, always taking up space at Billy's. I did some studying for another Calculus test that was coming up next week, but I could only look at math for so long. When I didn't have something obvious to do in my hands,

I felt like I ought to be making conversation with Billy��the pressure of normal societal rules. But Billy wasn't one for filling up the long silences, and so the awkwardness continued.

I tried hanging out at Emily's place Wednesday afternoon, for a change. At first it was kind of nice. Emily was a cheerful person who never sat still. I drifted behind her while she flitted around her little house and yard, scrubbing at the spotless floor, pulling a tiny weed, fixing a broken hinge, tugging a string of wool through an ancient loom, and always cooking, too. She complained lightly about the increase in the boys' appetites from all their extra running, but it was easy to see she didn't mind taking care of them. It wasn't hard to be with her��after all, we were both wolf girls now.

But Sam checked in after I'd been there for a few hours. I only stayed long enough to ascertain that Jacob was fine and there was no news, and then I had to escape. The aura of love and contentment that surrounded them was harder to take in concentrated doses, with no one else around to dilute it.

So that left me wandering the beach, pacing the length of the rocky crescent back and forth, again and again.

Alone time wasn't good for me. Thanks to the new honesty with Jacob, I'd been talking and thinking about the Cullens way too much. No matter how I tried to distract myself��and I had plenty to think of: I was honestly and desperately worried about Jacob and his wolf-brothers, I was terrified for Charlie and the others who thought they were hunting animals, I was getting in deeper and deeper with Jacob without ever having consciously decided to progress in that direction and I didn't know what to do about it��none of these very real, very deserving of thought, very pressing concerns could take my mind off the pain in my chest for long. Eventually, I couldn't even walk anymore, because I couldn't breathe. I sat down on a patch of semidry rocks and curled up in a ball.

Jacob found me like that, and I could tell from his expression that he understood.

"Sorry," he said right away. He pulled me up from the ground and wrapped both arms around my shoulders. I hadn't realized that I was cold until then. His warmth made me shudder, but at least I could breathe with him there.

"I'm ruining your spring break," Jacob accused himself as we walked back up the beach.

"No, you're not. I didn't have any plans. I don't think I like spring breaks, anyway."

"I'll take tomorrow morning off. The others can run without me. We'll do something fun."

The word seemed out of place in my life right now, barely comprehensible, bizarre. "Fun?"

"Fun is exactly what you need. Hmm��" he gazed out across the heaving gray waves, deliberating. As his eyes scanned the horizon, he had a flash of inspiration.

"Got it!" he crowed. "Another promise to keep."

"What are you talking about?"

He let go of my hand and pointed toward the southern edge of the beach, where the flat, rocky half-moon dead-ended against the sheer sea cliffs. I stared, uncomprehending.

"Didn't I promise to take you cliff diving?"

I shivered.

"Yeah, it'll be pretty cold��not as cold as it is today. Can you feel the weather changing? The pressure? It will be warmer tomorrow. You up for it?"

The dark water did not look inviting, and, from this angle, the cliffs looked even higher than before.

But it had been days since I'd heard Edward's voice. That was probably part of the problem. I was addicted to the sound of my delusions. It made things worse if I went too long without them. Jumping off a cliff was certain to remedy that situation.

"Sure, I'm up for it. Fun."

"It's a date," he said, and draped his arm around my shoulders.

"Okay��now let's go get you some sleep." I didn't like the way the circles under his eyes were beginning to look permanently etched onto his skin.

I woke early the next morning and snuck a change of clothes out to the truck. I had a feeling that Charlie would approve of today's plan just about as much as he would approve of the motorcycle.

The idea of a distraction from all my worries had me almost excited. Maybe it would be fun. A date with Jacob, a date with Edward�� I laughed darkly to myself. Jake could say what he wanted about us being a messed-up pair��I was the one who was truly messed up. I made the werewolf seem downright normal.

I expected Jacob to meet me out front, the way he usually did when my noisy truck announced my arrival.

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