Home > Eclipse (Twilight #3)(6)

Eclipse (Twilight #3)(6)
Author: Stephenie Meyer

"You've done nothing wrong, Bella." I took a deep breath. "I need to make it better, Edward. I owe him that. And it's one of Charlie's conditions, anyway?" His face changed while I spoke, turning hard again, statue-like. "You know it's out of the question for you to be around a werewolf unprotected, Bella. And it would break the treaty if any of us cross over onto their land. Do you want us to start a war?" "Of course not!" "Then there's really no point in discussing the matter further." He dropped his hand and looked away, searching for a subject change. His eyes paused on something behind me, though his eyes stayed wary. "I'm glad Charlie has decided to let you out?you're sadly in need of a visit to the bookstore. I can't believe you're reading Wuthering Heights again. Don't you know it by heart yet?"

"Not all of us have photographic memories," I said curtly. "Photographic memory or not, I don't understand why you like it. The characters are ghastly people who ruin each others' lives. I don't know how Heathcliff and Cathy ended up being ranked with couples like Romeo and Juliet or Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. It isn't a love story, it's a hate story."

"You have some serious issues with the classics," I snapped. "Perhaps it's because I'm not impressed by antiquity." He smiled, evidently satisfied that he'd distracted me. "Honestly though, why do you read it over and over?" His eyes were vivid with real interest now, trying?again?to unravel the convoluted workings of my mind. He reached across the table to cradle my face in his hand. "What is it that appeals to you?"

His sincere curiosity disarmed me. "I'm not sure," I said, scrambling for coherency while his gaze unintentionally scattered my thoughts. "I think it's something about the inevitability. How nothing can keep them apart?not her selfishness, or his evil, or even death, in the end?."

His face was thoughtful as he considered my words. After a moment he smiled a teasing smile. "I still think it would be a better story if either of them had one redeeming quality." "I think that may be the point," I disagreed. "Their love is their only redeeming quality." "I hope you have better sense than that?to fall in love with someone so?malignant." "It's a bit late for me to worry about who I fall in love with," I pointed out. "But even without the warning, I seem to have managed fairly well." He laughed quietly. "I'm glad you think so."

"Well, I hope you're smart enough to stay away from someone so selfish. Catherine is really the source of all the trouble, not Heathcliff." "I'll be on my guard," he promised. I sighed. He was so good at distractions. I put my hand over his to hold it to my face. "I need to see Jacob." His eyes closed. "No."

"It's truly not dangerous at all," I said, pleading again. "I used to spend all day in La Push with the whole lot of them, and nothing every happened."

But I made a slip; my voice faltered at the end because I realized as I was saying the words that they were a lie. It was not true that nothing had ever happened. A brief flash of memory?an enormous gray wolf crouched to spring, baring his dagger-like teeth at me?had my palms sweating with an echo of remembered panic.

Edward heard my heart accelerate and nodded as if I'd acknowledged the lie aloud. "Werewolves are unstable. Sometimes the people near them get hurt. Sometimes, they get killed."

I wanted to deny it, but another image slowed my rebuttal. I saw in my head the once beautiful face of Emily Young, now marred by a trio of dark scars that dragged down the corner of her right eye and left her mouth warped forever into a lopsided scowl. He waited, grimly triumphant, for me to find my voice.

"You don't know them," I whispered. "I know them better than you think, Bella. I was here the last time." "The last time?" "We started crossing paths with the wolves about seventy years ago?. We had just settled near Hoquiam. That was before Alice and Jasper were with us. We outnumbered them, but that wouldn't have stopped it from turning into a fight if not for Carlisle. He managed to convince Ephraim Black that coexisting was possible, and eventually we made the truce."

Jacob's great-grandfather's name startled me.

"We thought the line had died out with Ephraim," Edward muttered; it sounded like he was talking to himself now. "That the genetic quirk which allowed transmutation had been lost?." He broke off and stared at me accusingly. "Your bad luck seems to get more potent every day. Do you realize that your insatiable pull for all things deadly was strong enough to recover a pack of mutant canines from extinction? If we could bottle your luck, we'd have a weapon of mass destruction on our hands."

I ignored the ribbing, my attention caught by his assumption?was he serious?

"But I didn't bring them back. Don't you know?" "Know what?" "My bad luck has nothing to do with it. The werewolves came back because the vampires did." Edward stared at me, his body motionless with surprise. "Jacob told me that your family being here set things in motion. I thought you would already know?." His eyes narrowed. "Is that what they think?" "Edward, look at the facts. Seventy years ago, you came here, and the werewolves showed up. You come back now, and the werewolves show up again. Do you think that's a coincidence?" He blinked and his glare relaxed. "Carlisle will be interested in that theory."

"Theory," I scoffed.

He was silent for a moment, staring out the window into the rain; I imagined he was contemplating the fact that his family's presence was turning the locals into giant dogs.

"Interesting, but not exactly relevant," he murmured after a moment. "The situation remains the same." I could translate that easily enough: no werewolf friends.

I knew I must be patient with Edward. It wasn't that he was unreasonable; it was just that he didn't understand. He had no idea how very much I owed Jacob Black?my life many times over, and possibly my sanity, too.

I didn't like to talk about that barren time with anyone, and especially not Edward. He had only been trying to save me when he'd left, trying to save my soul. I didn't hold him responsible for all the stupid things I'd done in his absence, or the pain I had suffered. He did.

So I would have to word my explanation very carefully. I got up and walked around the table. He opened his arms for me and I sat on his lap, nestling into his cool stone embrace. I looked at his hands while I spoke.

   
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