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The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon

The Twilight Saga 2: New Moon: Page 82

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Didn't he have enough to deal with already? I would have never imagined that Jake

could be so petty and just plain mean. Tears sprang, smarting, into my eyes, but they were not tears of sadness. I had been betrayed. I was suddenly so angry that my head throbbed like it was going to explode.

"Is he still here?" I hissed.

"Yes. He's waiting for us there." Edward told me, nodding toward the slender path that divided the dark fringe of the forest in two.

I jumped out of the car, launching myself toward the trees with my hands already balled into fists for the first punch.

Why did Edward have to be so much faster than me?

He caught me around the waist before I made the path.

"Let me go! I'm going to murder him! Traitor!" I shouted the epithet toward the trees.

"Charlie will hear you," Edward warned me. "And once he gets you inside, he may brick over the doorway."

I glanced back at the house instinctively, and it seemed like the glossy red bike was all I could see. I was seeing red. My head throbbed again.

"Just give me one round with Jacob, and then I'll deal with Charlie." I struggled futilely to break free.

"Jacob Black wants to see me. That's why he's still here."

That stopped me cold��took the fight right out of me. My hands went limp. They fight; Paris falls.

I was furious, but not that furious.

"Talk?" I asked.

"More or less."

"How much more?" My voice shook.

Edward smoothed my hair back from my face. "Don't worry, he's not here to fight me. He's acting as�� spokesperson for the pack."


Edward looked at the house again, then tightened his arm around my waist and pulled me toward the woods. "We should hurry. Charlie's getting impatient."

We didn't have to go far; Jacob waited just a short ways up the path. He lounged against a mossy tree trunk as he waited, his face hard and bitter, exactly the way I knew it would be. He looked at me, and then at Edward. Jacob's mouth stretched into a humorless sneer, and he shrugged away from the tree. He stood on the balls of his bare feet, leaning slightly forward, with his trembling hands clenched into fists. He looked bigger than the last time I'd seen him. Somehow, impossibly, he was still growing. He would tower over Edward, if they stood next to each other.

But Edward stopped as soon as we saw him, leaving a wide space between us and Jacob. Edward turned his body, shifting me so that I was behind him. I leaned around him to stare at Jacob��to accuse

him with my eyes.

I would have thought that seeing his resentful, cynical expression would only make me angrier. Instead, it reminded me of the last time I'd seen him, with tears in his eyes. My fury weakened, faltered, as I stared at Jacob. It had been so long since I'd seen him��I hated that our reunion had to be like this.

"Bella," Jacob said as a greeting, nodding once toward me without looking away from Edward.

"Why?" I whispered, trying to hide the sound of the lump in my throat. "How could you do this to me, Jacob?"

The sneer vanished, but his face stayed hard and rigid. "It's for the best."

"What is that supposed to mean? Do you want Charlie to strangle me? Or did you want him to have a heart attack, like Harry? No matter how mad you are at me, how could you do this to him?"

Jacob winced, and his eyebrows pulled together, but he didn't answer.

"He didn't want to hurt anyone��he just wanted to get you grounded, so that you wouldn't be allowed to spend time with me," Edward murmured, explaining the thoughts Jacob wouldn't say.

Jacob's eyes sparked with hate as he glowered at Edward again.

"Aw, Jake!" I groaned. "I'm already grounded! Why do you think I haven't been down to La Push to kick your butt for avoiding my phone calls?"

Jacob's eyes flashed back to me, confused for the first time. "That's why?" he asked, and then locked his jaw, like he was sorry he'd said anything.

"He thought I wouldn't let you, not Charlie," Edward explained again.

"Stop that," Jacob snapped.

Edward didn't answer.

Jacob shuddered once, and then gritted his teeth as hard as his fists. "Bella wasn't exaggerating about your�� abilities," he said through his teeth. "So you must already know why I'm here."

"Yes," Edward agreed in a soft voice. "But, before you begin, I need to say something."

Jacob waited, clenching and unclenching his hands as he tried to control the shivers rolling down his arms.

"Thank you," Edward said, and his voice throbbed with the depth of his sincerity. "I will never be able to tell you how grateful I am. I will owe you for the rest of my�� existence."

Jacob stared at him blankly, his shudders stilled by surprise. He exchanged a quick glance with me, but my face was just as mystified.

"For keeping Bella alive," Edward clarified, his voice rough and fervent. "When I�� didn't."

"Edward��," I started to say, but he held one hand up, his eyes on Jacob.

Understanding washed over Jacob's face before the hard mask returned. "I didn't do it for your benefit."

"I know. But that doesn't erase the gratitude I feel. I thought you should know. If there's ever anything in my power to do for you��"

Jacob raised one black brow.

Edward shook his head. "That's not in my power."

"Whose, then?" Jacob growled.

Edward looked down at me. "Hers. I'm a quick learner, Jacob Black, and I don't make the same mistake twice. I'm here until she orders me away."

I was immersed momentarily in his golden gaze. It wasn't hard to understand what I'd missed in the conversation. The only thing that Jacob would want from Edward would be his absence.

"Never," I whispered, still locked in Edward's eyes.

Jacob made a gagging sound.

I unwillingly broke free from Edward's gaze to frown at Jacob. "Was there something else you needed, Jacob? You wanted me in trouble��mission Accomplished. Charlie might just send me to military school. But that won't keep me away from Edward. There's nothing that can do that. What more do you want?"

Jacob kept his eyes on Edward "I just needed to remind your bloodsucking friends of a few key points in the treaty they agreed to. The treaty chat is the only thing stopping me from ripping his throat out right this minute."

"We haven't forgotten," Edward said at the same time that I demanded, "What key points?"

Jacob still glowered at Edward, but he answered me. "The treaty is quite specific. If any of them bite a human, the truce is over. Bite, not kill," he emphasized. Finally, he looked at me. His eyes were cold.

It only took me a second to grasp the distinction, and then my face was as cold as his.

"That's none of your business."

"The hell it��" was all he managed to choke out.

I didn't expect my hasty words to bring on such a strong response. Despite the warning he'd come to give, he must not have known. He must have thought the warning was just a precaution. He hadn't realized��or didn't want to believe��that I had already made my choice. That I was really intending to become a member of the Cullen family.

My answer sent Jacob into near convulsions. He pressed his fists hard against his temples, closing his eyes tight and curling in on himself as he tried to control the spasms. His face turned sallow green under the russet skin.

"Jake? You okay?" I asked anxiously.

I took a half-step toward him, then Edward caught me and yanked me back behind his own body. "Careful! He's not under control," he warned me.

But Jacob was already somewhat himself again; only his arms were shaking now. He scowled at Edward with pure hate. "Ugh. I would never hurt her."

Neither Edward or I missed the inflection, or the accusation it contained. A low hiss escaped Edward's lips. Jacob clenched his fists reflexively.

"BELLA!" Charlie's roar echoed from the direction of the house. "YOU GET IN THIS HOUSE THIS INSTANT!"

All of us froze, listening to the silence that followed.

I was the first to speak; my voice trembled. "Crap."

Jacob's furious expression faltered. "I am sorry about that," he muttered. "I had to do what I could��I had to try��"

"Thanks." The tremor in my voice ruined the sarcasm. I stared up the path, half-expecting Charlie to come barreling through the wet ferns like an enraged bull. I would be the red flag in that scenario.

"Just one more thing," Edward said to me, and then he looked at Jacob. "We've found no trace of Victoria on our side of the line��have you?"

He knew the answer as soon as Jacob thought it, but Jacob spoke the answer anyway. "Trie last time was while Bella was�� away. We let her think she was slipping through��we were tightening the circle, getting ready to ambush her��"

Ice shot down my spine.

"But then she took off like a bat out of hell. Near as we can tell, she caught your little female's scent and bailed. She hasn't come near our lands since."

Edward nodded. "When she comes back, she's not your problem anymore. We'll��"

"She killed on our turf," Jacob hissed.

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