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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 61

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Her eyes were dazed and far away, her face drawn and whiter than bone. Her slim body trembled to an inner turmoil.

"Alice, what's wrong?" I cried. I put my hands on her face, trying to calm her.

Her eyes focused on mine abruptly, wide with pain.

"Edward," was all she whispered.

My body reacted faster than my mind was able to catch up with the implications of her reply. I didn't at first understand why the room was spinning or where the hollow roar in my ears was coming from. My mind labored, unable to make sense of Alice's bleak face and how it could possibly relate to Edward, while my body was already swaying, seeking the relief of unconsciousness before the reality could hit me.

The stairway tilted at the oddest angle.

Jacob's furious voice was suddenly in my ear, hissing out a stream of profanities. I felt a vague disapproval. His new friends were clearly a bad influence.

I was on the couch without understanding how I got there, and Jacob was still swearing. It felt like there was an earthquake��the couch was shaking under me.

"What did you do to her?" he demanded.

Alice ignored him. "Bella? Bella, snap out of it. We have to hurry."

"Stay back," Jacob warned.

"Calm down, Jacob Black," Alice ordered. "You don't want to do that so close to her."

"I don't think I'll have any problem keeping my focus," he retorted, but his voice sounded a little cooler.

"Alice?" My voice was weak. "What happened?" I asked, even though I didn't want to hear.

"I don't know," she suddenly wailed. "What is he thinking?!"

I labored to pull myself up despite the dizziness. I realized it was Jacob's arm I was gripping for balance. He was the one shaking, not the couch.

Alice was pulling a small silver phone from her bag when my eyes relocated her. Her fingers dialed the numbers so fast they were a blur.

"Rose, I need to talk to Carlisle now." Her voice whipped through the words. "Fine, as soon as he's back. No, I'll be on a plane. Look, have you heard anything from Edward?"

Alice paused now, listening with an expression that grew more appalled every second. Her mouth opened into a little O of horror, and the phone shook in her hand.

"Why?" she gasped. "Why would you do that, Rosalie?"

Whatever the answer was, it made her jaw tighten in anger. Her eyes flashed and narrowed.

"Well, you're wrong on both counts, though, Rosalie, so that would be a problem, don't you think?" she asked acidly. "Yes, that's right. She's absolutely fine��I was wrong�� It's a long story�� But you're wrong about that part, too, that's why I'm calling�� Yes, that's exactly what I saw."

Alice's voice was very hard and her lips were pulled back from her teeth. "It's a bit late for that, Rose. Save your remorse for someone who believes it." Alice snapped the phone shut with a sharp twist of her fingers.

Her eyes were tortured as she turned to face me.

"Alice," I blurted out quickly. I couldn't let her speak yet. I needed a few more seconds before she spoke and her words destroyed what was left of my life. "Alice, Carlisle is back, though. He called just before��"

She stared at me blankly. "How long ago?" she asked in a hollow voice.

"Half a minute before you showed up."

"What did he say?" She really focused now, waiting for my answer.

"I didn't talk to him." My eyes flickered to Jacob.

Alice turned her penetrating gaze on him. He flinched, but held his place next to me. He sit awkwardly, almost as if he were trying to shield me with his body.

"He asked for Charlie, and I told him Charlie wasn't here," Jacob muttered resentfully.

"Is that everything?" Alice demanded, her voice like ice.

"Then he hung up on me," Jacob spit back. A tremor rolled down his spine, shaking me with it.

"You told him Charlie was at the funeral," I reminded him.

Alice jerked her head back toward me "What were his exact words?"

"He said, 'He's not here,' and when Carlisle asked where Charlie was, Jacob said, 'At the funeral.'"

Alice moaned and sank to her knees.

"Tell me Alice," I whispered.

"That wasn't Carlisle on the phone," she said hopelessly.

"Are you calling me a liar?" Jacob snarled from beside me.

Alice ignored him, focusing on my bewildered face.

"It was Edward." The words were just a choked whisper. "He thinks you're dead."

My mind started to work again. These words weren't the ones I'd been afraid of, and the relief cleared my head.

"Rosalie told him I killed myself, didn't she?" I said, sighing as I relaxed.

"Yes," Alice admitted, her eyes flashing hard again.

"In her defense, she did believe it. They rely on my sight far too much for something that works so imperfectly. But for her to track him down to tell him this! Didn't she realize�� or care�� ?" Her voice faded away in horror.

"And when Edward called here, he thought Jacob meant my funeral," I realized. It stung to know how close I'd been, just inches away from his voice. My nails dug into Jacob's arm, but he didn't flinch.

Alice looked at me strangely. "You're not upset," she whispered.

"Well, it's really rotten timing, but it will all get straightened out. The next time he calls, someone will tell him�� what�� really��" I trailed off. Her gaze strangled the words in my throat.

Why was she so panicked? Why was her face twisting now with pity and horror? What was it she had said to Rosalie on the phone just now? Something about what she'd seen�� and Rosalie's remorse; Rosalie would never feel remorse for anything that happened to me. But if she'd hurt her family, hurt her brother��

"Bella," Alice whispered. "Edward won't call again. He believed her."

"I. Don't. Understand." My mouth framed each word in silence. I couldn't push the air out to actually say the words that would make her explain what that meant.

"He's going to Italy."

It took the length of one heartbeat for me to comprehend.

When Edward's voice came back to me now, it was not the perfect imitation of my delusions. It was just the weak, flat tone of my memories. But the words alone were enough to shred through my chest and leave it gaping open. Words from a time when I would have bet everything that I owned or could borrow on that fact that he loved me.

Well, I wasn't going to live without you, he'd said as we watched Romeo and Juliet die, here in this very room. But I wasn't sure how to do it�� I knew Emmett and Jasper would never help�� so I was thinking maybe I would go to Italy and do something to provoke the Volturi�� You don't irritate them. Not unless you want to die.

Not unless you want to die.

"NO!" The half-shrieked denial was so loud after the whispered words, it made us all jump. I felt the blood rushing to my face as I realized what she'd seen. "No! No, no, no! He can't! He can't do that!"

"He made up his mind as soon as your friend confirmed that it was too late to save you."

"But he�� he left! He didn't want me anymore! What difference does it make now? He knew I would die sometime!"

"I don't think he ever planned to outlive you by long," Alice said quietly.

"How dare he!" I screamed. I was on my feet now, and Jacob rose uncertainly to put himself between Alice and me again.

"Oh, get out of the way, Jacob!" I elbowed my way around his trembling body with desperate impatience. "What do we do?" I begged Alice. There had to be something. "Can't we call him? Can Carlisle?"

She was shaking her head. "That was the first thing I tried. He left his phone in a trash can in Rio��someone answered it��" she whispered.

"You said before we had to hurry. Hurry how? Let's do it, whatever it is!"

"Bella, I��I don't think I can ask you to��" She trailed off in indecision.

"Ask me!" I commanded.

She put her hands on my shoulders, holding me in place, her fingers flexing sporadically to emphasize her words. "We may already be too late. I saw him going to the Volturi�� and asking to die." We both cringed, and my eyes were suddenly blind. I blinked feverishly at the tears. "It all depends on what they choose. I can't see that till they make a decision.

"But if they say no, and they might��Aro is fond of Carlisle, and wouldn't want to offend him��Edward has a backup plan. They're very protective of their city. If Edward does something to upset the peace, he thinks they'll act to stop him. And he's right. They will."

I stared at her with my jaw clenched in frustration. I'd heard nothing yet that would explain why we were still standing here.

"So if they agree to grant his favor, we're too late. If they say no, and he comes up with a plan to offend them quickly enough, we're too late. If he gives into his more theatrical tendencies�� we might have time."

"Let's go!"

"Listen, Bella! Whether we are in time or not, we will be in the heart of the Volturi city. I will be considered his accomplice if he is successful. You will be a human who not only knows too much, but also smells too good.

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