Home > Eclipse (Twilight #3)(7)

Eclipse (Twilight #3)(7)
Author: Stephenie Meyer

"Please just listen for a minute. This is so much more important than some whim to drop in on an old friend. Jacob is in pain." My voice distorted around the word. "I can't not try to help him?I can't give up on him now, when he needs me. Just because he's not human all the time?. Well, he was there for me when I was?not so human myself. You don't know what it was like?." I hesitated. Edward's arms were rigid around me; his hands were in fists now, the tendons standing out. "If Jacob hadn't helped me?I'm not sure what you would have come home to. I have to try and make it better. I owe him better than this, Edward."

I looked up at his face warily. His eyes were closed, and his jaw was strained. "I'll never forgive myself for leaving you," he whispered. "Not if I live a hundred thousand years." I put my hand against his cold face and waited until he sighed and opened his eyes. "You were just trying to do the right thing. And I'm sure it would have worked with anyone less mental than me. Besides, you're here now. That's the part that matters." "If it'd never left, you wouldn't feel the need to go risk your life to comfort a dog."

I flinched. I was used to Jacob and all his derogatory slurs?bloodsucker, leech, parasite?. Somehow it sounded harsher in Edward's velvet voice.

"I don't know how to phrase this properly," Edward said, and his tone was bleak. "It's going to sound cruel, I suppose. But I've come too close to losing you in the past. I know what it feels like to think I have. I am not going to tolerate anything dangerous." "You have to trust me on this. I'll be fine." His face was pained again. "Please, Bella," he whispered. I stared into his suddenly burning golden eyes. "Please what?" "Please, for me. Please make a conscious effort to keep yourself safe. I'll do everything I can, but I would appreciate a little help." "I'll work on it," I murmured. "Do you really have any idea how important you are to me? Any concept at all of how much I love?" He pulled me tighter against his hard chest, tucking my head under his chin.

I pressed my lips against his snow-cold neck. "I know how much I love you," I answered.

"You compare one small tree to the entire forest." I rolled my eyes, but he couldn't see. "Impossible." He kissed the top of my head and sighed. "No werewolves." "I'm not going along with that. I have to see Jacob." "Then I'll have to stop you." He sounded utterly confident that this wouldn't be a problem. I was sure he was right. "We'll see about that," I bluffed anyway. "He's still my friend."

I could feel Jacob's note in my pocket, like it suddenly weighed ten pounds. I could hear the words in his voice, and he seemed to be agreeing with Edward?something that would never happen in reality. Doesn't change anything. Sorry.

Chapter 2. EVASION

I FELT ODDLY BUOYANT AS I WALKED FROM SPANISH toward the cafeteria, and it wasn't just because I was holding hands with the most perfect person on the planet, though that was certainly part of it.

Maybe it was the knowledge that my sentence was served and I was a free woman again.

Or maybe it wasn't anything to do with me specifically. Maybe it was the atmosphere of freedom that hung over the entire campus. School was winding down, and, for the senior class especially, there was a perceptible thrill in the air.

Freedom was so close it was touchable, taste-able. Signs of it were everywhere. Posters crowded together on the cafeteria walls, and the trashcans wore a colorful skirt of spilled-over fliers: reminders to buy yearbooks, class rings, and announcements; deadlines to order graduation gowns, hats, and tassels; neon- bright sales pitches - the juniors campaigning for class office; ominous, rose-wreathed advertisements for this year's prom. The big dance was this coming weekend, but I had an ironclad promise from Edward that I would not be subjected to that again. After all, I'd already had that human experience.

No, it must be my personal freedom that lightened me today. The ending of the school year did not give me the pleasure it seemed to give the other students. Actually, I felt nervous to the point of nausea whenever I thought of it. I tried to not think of it.

But it was hard to escape such an omnipresent topic as graduation.

"Have you sent your announcements, yet?" Angela asked when Edward and I sat down at our table. She had her light brown hair pulled back into a sloppy ponytail instead of her usual smooth hairdo, and there was a slightly frantic look about her eyes.

Alice and Ben were already there, too, on either side of Angela. Ben was intent over a comic book, his glasses sliding down his narrow nose. Alice was scrutinizing my boring jeans-and-a-t-shirt outfit in a way that made me self-conscious. Probably plotting another makeover. I sighed. My indifferent attitude to fashion was a constant thorn in her side. If I'd allow it, she'd love to dress me every day - perhaps several times a day - like some oversized three-dimensional paper doll.

"No," I answered Angela. "There's no point, really. Renée knows when I'm graduating. Who else is there?"

"How about you, Alice?"

Alice smiled. "All done."

"Lucky you." Angela sighed. "My mother has a thousand cousins and she expects me to hand-address one to everybody. I'm going to get carpal tunnel. I can't put it off any longer and I'm just dreading it." "I'll help you," I volunteered. "If you don't mind my awful handwriting."

Charlie would like that. From the corner of my eye, I saw Edward smile. He must like that, too - me fulfilling Charlie's conditions without involving werewolves.

Angela looked relieved. "That's so nice of you. I'll come over any time you want."

"Actually, I'd rather go to your house if that's okay - I'm sick of mine. Charlie un-grounded me last night." I grinned as I announced my good news.

"Really?" Angela asked, mild excitement lighting her always-gentle brown eyes. "I thought you said you were in for life."

"I'm more surprised than you are. I was sure I would at least have finished high school before he set me free."

"Well, this is great, Bella! We'll have to go out to celebrate."

"You have no idea how good that sounds."

"What should we do?" Alice mused, her face lighting up at the possibilities. Alice's ideas were usually a little grandiose for me, and I could see it in her eyes now - the tendency to take things too far kicking into action.

   
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