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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 72

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"Yes. She knows everything," Edward told me.

"Does she know they're going to kill her someday?"

"She's knows it's a possibility," he said.

That surprised me.

Edward's face was hard to read
. "She's hoping they'll decide to keep her."

I felt the blood leave my face. "She wants to be one of them?"

He nodded once, his eyes sharp on my face, watching my reaction.

I shuddered. "How can she want that?" I whispered, more to myself than really looking for an answer. "How can she watch those people file through to that hideous room and want to be a part of that?"

Edward didn't answer. His expression twisted in response to something I'd said.

As I stared at his too beautiful face, trying to understand the change, it suddenly struck me that I was really here, in Edward's arms, however fleetingly, and that we were not��at this exact moment��about to be killed.

"Oh, Edward," I cried, and I was sobbing again. It was such a stupid reaction. The tears were too thick for me to see his face again, and that was inexcusable. I only had until sunset for sure. Like a fairy tale again, with deadlines that ended the magic.

"What's wrong?" he asked, still anxious, rubbing my back with gentle pats.

I wrapped my arms around his neck��what was the worst he could do? Just push me away��and hugged myself closer to him. "Is it really sick for me to be happy right now?" I asked. My voice broke twice.

He didn't push me away. He pulled me tight against his ice-hard chest, so tight it was hard to breathe, even with my lungs securely intact. "I know exactly what you mean," he whispered. "But we have lots of reasons to be happy. For one, we're alive."

"Yes," I agreed. "That's a good one."

"And together," he breathed. His breath was so sweet it made my head swim.

I just nodded, sure that he did not place the same weight on that consideration as I did.

"And, with any luck, we'll still be alive tomorrow."

"Hopefully," I said uneasily.

"The outlook is quite good," Alice assured me. She'd been so quiet, I'd almost forgotten her presence. "I'll see Jasper in less than twenty-four hours," she added in a satisfied tone.

Lucky Alice. She could trust her future.

I couldn't keep my eyes off of Edward's face for long. I stared at him, wishing more than anything that the future would never happen. That this moment would last forever, or, if it couldn't, that I would stop existing when it did.

Edward stared right back at me, his dark eyes soft, and it was easy to pretend that he felt the same way. So that's what I did. I pretended, to make the moment sweeter.

His fingertips traced the circles under my eyes. "You look so tired."

"And you look thirsty," I whispered back, studying the purple bruises under his black irises.

He shrugged. "It's nothing."

"Are you sure? I could sit with Alice," I offered, unwilling; I'd rather he killed me now than move one inch from where I was.

"Don't be ridiculous." He sighed; his sweet breath caressed my face. "I've never been in better control of that side of my nature than right now."

I had a million questions for him. One of them bubbled to my lips now, but I held my tongue. I didn't want to ruin the moment, as imperfect as it was, here in this room that made me sick, under the eyes of the would-be monster.

Here in his arms, it was so easy to fantasize that he wanted me. I didn't want to think about his motivations now��about whether he acted this way to keep me calm while we were still in danger, or if he just felt guilty for where we were and relieved that he wasn't responsible for my death. Maybe the time apart had been enough that I didn't bore him for the moment. But it didn't matter. I was so much happier pretending.

I lay quiet in his arms, re-memorizing his face, pretending��

He stared at my face like he was doing the same, while he and Alice discussed how to get home. Their voices were so quick and low that I knew Gianna couldn't understand. I missed half of it myself. It sounded like more theft would be involved, though. I wondered idly if the yellow Porsche had made it back to its owner yet.

"What was all that talk about singers?" Alice asked at one point.

"La tua cantante," Edward said. His voice made the words into music.

"Yes, that," Alice said, and I concentrated for a moment. I'd wondered about that, too, at the time.

I felt Edward shrug around me. "They have a name for someone who smells the way Bella does to me. They call her my singer��because her blood sings for me."

Alice laughed.

I was tired enough to sleep, but I fought against the weariness. I wasn't going to miss a second of the time I had with him. Now and then, as he talked with Alice, he would lean down suddenly and kiss me��his glass-smooth lips brushing against my hair, my forehead, the tip of my nose. Each time it was like an electric shock to my long dormant heart. The sound of its beating seemed to fill the entire room.

It was heaven��right smack in the middle of hell.

I lost track of the time completely. So when Edward's arms tightened around me, and both he and Alice looked to the back of the room with wary eyes, I panicked. I cringed into Edward's chest as Alec��his eyes now a vivid ruby, but still spotless in his light gray suit despite the afternoon meal��walked through the double doors.

It was good news.

"You're free to leave now," Alec told us, his tone so warm you'd think we were all lifelong friends. "We ask that you don't linger in the city."

Edward made no answering pretence; his voice was ice cold. "That won't be a problem."

Alec smiled, nodded, and disappeared again.

"Follow the right hallway around the corner to the first set of elevators," Gianna told us as Edward helped me to my feet. "The lobby is two floors down, and exits to the street. Goodbye, now," she added pleasantly. I wondered if her competence would be enough to save her.

Alice shot her a dark look.

I was relieved there was another way out; I wasn't sure if I could handle another tour through the underground.

We left through a tastefully luxurious lobby. I was the only one who glanced back at the medieval castle that housed the elaborate business facade I couldn't see the turret from here, for which I was grateful.

The party was still in full swing in the streets. The street lamps were just coming on as we walked swiftly through the narrow, cobbled lanes. The sky was a dull, fading gray overhead, but the buildings crowded the streets so closely that it felt darker.

The party was darker, too. Edward's long, trailing cloak did not stand out in the way it might have on a normal evening in Volterra. There were others in black satin cloaks now, and the plastic fangs I'd seen on the child in the square today seemed to be very popular with the adults.

"Ridiculous," Edward muttered once.

I didn't notice when Alice disappeared from beside me. I looked over to ask her a question, and she was gone.

"Where's Alice?" I whispered in a panic.

"She went to retrieve your bags from where she stashed them this morning."

I'd forgotten that I had access to a toothbrush. It brightened my outlook considerably.

"She's stealing a car, too, isn't she?" I guessed.

He grinned. "Not till we're outside."

It seemed like a very long way to the entryway. Edward could see that I was spent; he wound his arm around my waist and supported most of my weight as we walked.

I shuddered as he pulled me through the dark stone archway. The huge, ancient portcullis above was like a cage door, threatening to drop on us, to lock us in.

He led me toward a dark car, waiting in a pool of shadow to the right of the gate with the engine running. To my surprise, he slid into the backseat with me, instead of insisting on driving.

Alice was apologetic. "I'm sorry." She gestured vaguely toward the dashboard. "There wasn't much to choose from."

"It's fine, Alice." He grinned. "They can't all be 911 Turbos."

She sighed. "I may have to acquire one of those legally. It was fabulous."

"I'll get you one for Christmas," Edward promised.

Alice turned to beam at him, which worried me, as she was already speeding down the dark and curvy hillside at the same time.

"Yellow," she told him.

Edward kept me tight in his arms. Inside the gray cloak, I was warm and comfortable. More than comfortable.

"You can sleep now, Bella," he murmured. "It's over."

I knew he meant the danger, the nightmare in the ancient city, but I still had to swallow hard before I could answer.

"I don't want to sleep. I'm not tired." Just the second part was a lie. I wasn't about to close my eyes. The car was only dimly lit by the dashboard controls, but it was enough that I could see his face.

He pressed his lips to the hollow under my ear. "Try," he encouraged.

I shook my head.

He sighed. "You're still just as stubborn."

I was stubborn; I fought with my heavy lids, and I won.

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