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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 59
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Then I yawned loudly.
All was quiet in the kitchen.
I stretched and groaned.
"Alice?" I asked innocently; the soreness rasping in my throat added nicely to the charade.
"I'm in the kitchen, Bella," Alice called, no hint in her voice that she suspected my eavesdropping. But she was good at hiding things like that.
Charlie had to leave then��he was helping Sue Clearwater with the funeral arrangements. It would have been a very long day without Alice. She never spoke about leaving, and I didn't ask her. I knew it was inevitable, but I put it out of my mind.
Instead, we talked about her family��all but one.
Carlisle was working nights in Ithaca and teaching part time at Cornell. Esme was restoring a seventeenth century house, a historical monument, in the forest north of the city. Emmett and Rosalie had gone to Europe for a few months on another honeymoon, but they were back now. Jasper was at Cornell, too, studying philosophy this time. And Alice had been doing some personal research, concerning the information I'd accidentally uncovered for her last spring. She'd successfully tracked down the asylum where she'd spent the last years of her human life. The life she had no memory of.
"My name was Mary Alice Brandon," she told me quietly. "I had a little sister named Cynthia. Her daughter��my niece��is still alive in Biloxi."
"Did you find out why they put you in�� that place?" What would drive parents to that extreme? Even if their daughter saw visions of the future��
She just shook her head, her topaz eyes thoughtful. "I couldn't find much about them. I went through all the old newspapers on microfiche. My family wasn't mentioned often; they weren't part of the social circle that made the papers. My parents' engagement was there, and Cynthia's." The name fell uncertainly from her tongue. "My birth was announced�� and my death. I found my grave. I also filched my admissions sheet from the old asylum archives. The date on the admission and the date on my tombstone are the same."
I didn't know what to say, and, after a short pause, Alice moved on to lighter topics.
The Cullens were reassembled now, with the one exception, spending Cornell's spring break in Denali with Tanya and her family. I listened too eagerly to even the most trivial news. She never mentioned the one I was most interested in, and for that I was grateful. It was enough to listen to the stories of the family I'd once dreamed of belonging to.
Charlie didn't get back until after dark, and he looked more worn than he had the night before. He would be headed back to the reservation first thing in the morning for Harry's funeral, so he turned in early. I stayed on the couch with Alice again.
Charlie was almost a stranger when he came down the stairs before the sun was up, wearing an old suit I'd never seen him in before. The jacket hung open; I guessed it was too tight to fasten the buttons. His tie was a bit wide for the current style. He tiptoed to the door, trying not to wake us up. I let him go, pretending to sleep, as Alice did on the recliner.
As soon as he was out the door, Alice sat up. Under the quilt, she was fully dressed.
"So, what are we doing today?" she asked.
"I don't know��do you see anything interesting happening?"
She smiled and shook her head. "But it's still early."
All the time I'd been spending in La Push meant a pile of things I'd been neglecting at home, and I decided to catch up on my chores. I wanted to do something, anything that might make life easier for Charlie��maybe it would make him feel just a little better to come home to a clean, organized house. I started with the bathroom��it showed the most signs of neglect.
While I worked, Alice leaned against the doorjamb and asked nonchalant questions about my, well, our high school friends and what they been up to since she'd left. Her face stayed casual and emotionless, but I sensed her disapproval when she realized how little I could tell her. Or maybe I just had a guilty conscience after eavesdropping on her conversation with Charlie yesterday morning.
I was literally up to my elbows in Comet, scrubbing the floor of the bathtub, when the doorbell rang.
I looked to Alice at once, and her expression was perplexed, almost worried, which was strange; Alice was never taken by surprise.
"Hold on!" I shouted in the general direction of the front door, getting up and hurrying to the sink to rinse my arms off.
"Bella," Alice said with a trace of frustration in her voice, "I have a fairly good guess who that might be, and I think I'd better step out."
"Guess?" I echoed. Since when did Alice have to guess anything?
"If this is a repeat of my egregious lapse in foresight yesterday, then it's most likely Jacob Black or one of his�� friends."
I stared at her, putting it together. "You can't see werewolves?"
She grimaced. "So it would seem." She was obviously annoyed by this fact��very annoyed.
The doorbell rang again��buzzing twice quickly and impatiently.
"You don't have go anywhere, Alice. You were here first."
She laughed her silvery little laugh��it had a dark edge. "Trust me��it wouldn't be a good idea to have me and Jacob Black in a room together."
She kissed my cheek swiftly before she vanished through Charlie's door��and out his back window, no doubt.
The doorbell rang again.
I SPRINTED DOWN THE STAIRS AND THREW THE DOOR open.
It was Jacob, of course. Even blind, Alice wasn't slow.
He was standing about six feet back from the door, his nose wrinkled in distaste, but his face otherwise smooth��masklike. He didn't fool me; I could see the faint trembling of his hands.
Hostility rolled off of him in waves. It brought back that awful afternoon when he'd chosen Sam over me, and I felt my chin jerk up defensively in response.
Jacob's Rabbit idled by the curb with Jared behind the wheel and Embry in the passenger seat. I understood what this meant: they were afraid to let him come here alone. It made me sad, and a little annoyed. The Cullens weren't like that.
"Hey," I finally said when he didn't speak.
Jake pursed his lips, still hanging back from the door. His eyes flickered across the front of the house.
I ground my teeth. "She's not here. Do you need something?"
He hesitated. "You're alone?"
"Yes." I sighed.
"Can I talk to you a minute?"
"Of course you can, Jacob. Come on in."
Jacob glanced over his shoulder at his friends in the car. I saw Embry shake his head just a tiny bit. For some reason, this bugged me to no end.
My teeth clenched together again. "Chicken" I mumbled under my breath.
Jake's eyes flashed back to me, his thick, black brows pushing into a furious angle over his deep-set eyes. His jaw set, and he marched��there was no other way to describe the way he moved��up the sidewalk and shrugged past me into the house.
I locked gazes with first Jared and then Embry��I didn't like the hard way they eyed me; did they really think I would let anything hurt Jacob?��before I shut the door on them.
Jacob was in the hall behind me, staring at the mess of blankets in the living room.
"Slumber party?" he asked, his tone sarcastic.
"Yeah," I answered with the same level of acid. I didn't like Jacob when he acted this way.
"What's it to you?"
He wrinkled his nose again like he smelled something unpleasant. "Where's your 'friend'?" I could hear the quotation marks in his tone.
"She had some errands to run. Look, Jacob, what do you want?"
Something about the room seemed to make him edgier��his long arms were quivering. He didn't answer my question. Instead he moved on to the kitchen, his restless eyes darting everywhere.
I followed him. He paced back and forth along the short counter.
"Hey," I said, putting myself in his way. He stopped pacing and stared down at me. "What's your problem?"
"I don't like having to be here."
That stung. I winced, and his eyes tightened.
"Then I'm sorry you had to come," I muttered. "Why don't you tell me what you need so you can leave?"
"I just have to ask you a couple of questions. It shouldn't take long. We have to get back for the funeral."
"Okay. Get it over with then." I was probably overdoing it with the antagonism, but I didn't want him to see how much this hurt. I knew I wasn't being fair. After all, I'd picked the bloodsucker over him last night. I'd hurt him first.
He took a deep breath, and his trembling fingers were suddenly still. His face smoothed into a serene mask.
"One of the Cullens is staying here with you," he stated.
"Yes. Alice Cullen."
He nodded thoughtfully. "How long is she here for?"
"As long as she wants to be." The belligerence was still there in my tone. "It's an open invitation."
"Do you think you could�� please�� explain to her about the other one��Victoria?"
I paled. "I told her about that."
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