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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 54

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"I was searching for you," he told me. He was half-jogging through the rain, up the beach toward the road. "I followed the tire tracks to your truck, and then I heard you scream��" He shuddered. "Why would you jump, Bella? Didn't you notice that it's turning into a hurricane out here? Couldn't you have waited for me?" Anger filled his tone as the relief faded.

"Sorry," I muttered. "It was stupid."

"Yeah, it was really stupid," he agreed, drops of rain shaking free of his hair as he nodded. "Look, do you mind saving the stupid stuff for when I'm around? I won't be able to concentrate if I think you're jumping off cliffs behind my back."

"Sure," I agreed. "No problem." I sounded like a chain-smoker. I tried to clear my throat��and then winced; the throat-clearing felt like stabbing a knife down there. "What happened today? Did you�� find her?" It was my turn to shudder, though I wasn't so cold here, right next to his ridiculous body heat.

Jacob shook his head. He was still more running than walking as he headed up the road to his house. "No. She took off into the water��the bloodsuckers have the advantage there. That's why I raced home��I was afraid she was going to double back swimming. You spend so much time on the beach��" He trailed off, a catch in his throat.

"Sam came back with you�� is everyone else home, too?" I hoped they weren't still out searching for her.

"Yeah. Sort of."

I tried to read his expression, squinting into the hammering rain. His eyes were tight with worry or pain.

The words that hadn't made sense before suddenly did. "You said�� hospital. Before, to Sam. Is someone hurt? Did she fight you?" My voice jumped up an octave, sounding strange with the hoarseness.

"No, no. When we got back, Em was waiting with the news. It's Harry Clearwater. Harry had a heart attack this morning."

"Harry?" I shook my head, trying to absorb what he was staying. "Oh, no! Does Charlie know?"

"Yeah. He's over there, too, with my dad."

"Is Harry going to be okay?"

Jacob's eyes tightened again. "It doesn't look so great right now."

Abruptly, I felt really sick with guilt��felt truly horrible about the brainless cliff dive. Nobody needed to be worrying about me right now. What a stupid time to be reckless.

"What can I do?" I asked.

At that moment the rain stopped. I hadn't realized we were already back to Jacob's house until he walked through the door.
The storm pounded against the roof.

"You can stay here," Jacob said as he dumped me on the short couch. "I mean it��right here I'll get you some dry clothes."

I let my eyes adjust to the dark room while Jacob banged around in his bedroom. The cramped front room seemed so empty without Billy, almost desolate. It was strangely ominous��probably just because I knew where he was.

Jacob was back in seconds. He threw a pile of gray cotton at me. "These will be huge on you, but it's the best I've got. I'll, er, step outside so you can change."

"Don't go anywhere. I'm too tired to move yet. Just stay with me."

Jacob sat on the floor next to me, his back against the couch. I wondered when he'd slept last. He looked as exhausted as I felt.

He leaned his head on the cushion next to mine and yawned. "Guess I could rest for a minute��"

His eyes closed. I let mine slide shut, too.

Poor Harry. Poor Sue. I knew Charlie was going to be beside himself. Harry was one of his best friends. Despite Jake's negative take on things, I hoped fervently that Harry would pull through. For Charlie's sake. For Sue's and Leah's and Seth's��

Billy's sofa was right next to the radiator, and I was warm now, despite my soaked clothes. My lungs ached in a way that pushed me toward unconsciousness rather than keeping me awake. I wondered vaguely if it was wrong to sleep�� or was I getting drowning mixed up with concussions�� ? Jacob began softly snoring, and the sound of it soothed like a lullaby. I fell asleep quickly.

For the first time in a very long time, my dream was just a normal dream. Just a blurred wandering through old memories��blinding bright visions of the Phoenix sun, my mother's face, a ramshackle tree house, a faded quilt, a wall of mirrors, a flame on the black water�� I forgot each of them as soon as the picture changed.

The last picture was the only one that stuck in my head. It was meaningless��just a set on a stage. A balcony at night, a painted moon hanging in the sky. I watched the girl in her nightdress lean on the railing and talk to herself.

Meaningless�� but when I slowly struggled back to consciousness, Juliet was on my mind.

Jacob was still asleep; he'd slumped down to the floor and his breathing was deep and even. The house was darker now than before, it was black outside the window. I was stiff, but warm and almost dry. The inside of my throat burned with every breath I took.

I was going to have to get up��at least to get a drink. But my body just wanted tc he here limp, to never move again.

Instead of moving, I thought about Juliet some more.

I wondered what she would have done if Romeo had left her, not because he was banished, but because he lost interests What if Rosalind had given him the time of day, and he'd changed his mind? What if, instead of marrying Juliet, he'd just disappeared?

I thought I knew how Juliet would feel.

She wouldn't go back to her old life, not really. She wouldn't ever have moved on, I was sure of that. Even if she'd lived until she was old and gray, every time she closed her eyes, it would have been Romeo's face she saw behind her lids. She would have accepted that, eventually.

I wondered if she would have married Paris in the end, just to please her parents, to keep the peace. No, probably not, I decided. But then, the story didn't say much about Paris. He was just a stick figure��a placeholder, a threat, a deadline to force her hand.

What if there were more to Paris?

What if Paris had been Juliet's friend? Her very best friend? What if he was the only one she could confide in about the whole devastating thing with Romeo? The one person who really understood her and made her feel halfway human again? What if he was patient and kind? What if he took care of her? What if Juliet knew she couldn't survive without him? What if he really loved her, and wanted her to be happy?

And�� what if she loved Paris? Not like Romeo. Nothing like that, of course. But enough that she wanted him to be happy, too?

Jacob's slow, deep breathing was the only sound in the room��like a lullaby hummed to a child, like the

whisper of a rocking chair, like the ticking of an old clock when you had nowhere you needed to go��It was the sound of comfort.

If Romeo was really gone, never coming back, would it have mattered whether or not Juliet had taken Paris up on his offer? Maybe she should have tried to settle into the leftover scraps of life that were left behind. Maybe that would have been as close to happiness as she could get.

I sighed, and then groaned when the sigh scraped my throat. I was reading too much into the story. Romeo wouldn't change his mind. That's why people still remembered his name, always twined with hers: Romeo and Juliet. That's why it was a good story. "Juliet gets dumped and ends up with Paris" would have never been a hit.

I closed my eyes and drifted again, letting my mind wander away from the stupid play I didn't want to think about anymore. I thought about reality instead��about jumping off the cliff and what a brainless mistake that had been. And not just the cliff, but the motorcycles and the whole irresponsible Evel Knievel bit. What if something bad happened to me? What would that do to Charlie? Harry's heart attack had pushed everything suddenly into perspective for me. Perspective that I didn't want to see, because��if I admitted to the truth of it��it would mean that I would have to change my ways. Could I live like that?

Maybe. It wouldn't be easy; in fact, it would be downright miserable to give up my hallucinations and try to be a grown-up. But maybe I should do it. And maybe I could. If I had Jacob.

I couldn't make that decision right now. It hurt too much. I'd think about something else.

Images from my ill-considered afternoon stunt rolled through my head while I tried to come up with something pleasant to think about�� the feel of the air as I fell, the blackness of the water, the thrashing of the current�� Edward's face�� I lingered there for a long time. Jacob's warm hands, trying to beat life back into me�� the stinging rain flung down by the purple clouds�� the strange fire on the waves��

There was something familiar about that flash of color on top of the water. Of course it couldn't really be fire��

My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a car squelching through the mud on the road outside. I heard it stop in front of the house, and doors started opening and closing. I thought about sitting up, and then decided against that idea.

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