时间：2020-12-15 05:48:33 作者：凯迪拉克 浏览量：64078
Bonasera nodded. The Don followed the stretcher into the embalming room and Bonasera trailed after him. The corpse was on one of the guttered tables. Don Corleone made a tiny gesture with his hat and the other men left the room.
“Fudge,” said Mr. Leslie. But he could not afford to quarrel with his rich connection.
"I'll want you both here with me," the Don said. He rose, stretching, and took his son by the arm. "Santino, get some sleep tonight, you look like the devil himself. Take care of yourself, you won't be young forever."
I was to learn later that Elijah Muhammad's tales, like this one of "Yacub," infuriated the Muslims ofthe East. While at Mecca, I reminded them that it was their fault, since they themselves hadn't doneenough to make real Islam known in the West. Their silence left a vacuum into which any religiousfaker could step and mislead our people.
Bands of bill-stickers, bribed for the occasion, started in every direction, carrying with them the decrees and proclamations.
"Go and get him."Still the strange rabbit made no move. The wind rose and the long grass beganto flutter and ripple in the dip between them. From behind, Blackberry said,"You wanted me, Hazel?""I'm going over to speak to that rabbit," said Hazel. "I want you to come withme.""Can I come?" asked Pipkin.
"What?" I demanded. "You look so guilty—like you've committed a crime.""I feel guilty," I muttered. "So you seduced your all-too-willing husband. That's not a capital offense."He seemed to be teasing. My cheeks got hotter. "The word seduced implies a certain amount of premeditation.""Maybe that was the wrong word," he allowed. "You're not angry?"He smiled ruefully. Tm not angry.""Why not?""Well. . ." He paused. "I didn't hurt you, for one thing. It was easier this time, to control myself, tochannel the excesses." His eyes flickered to the damaged frame again. "Maybe because I had a betteridea of what to expect."A hopeful smile started to spread across my face. "I told you that it was all about practice."He rolled his eyes. My stomach growled, and he laughed. "Breakfast time for the human?" he asked. "Please," I said, hopping out of bed. I moved too quickly, though, and had to stagger drunkenly to regainmy balance. He caught me before I could stumble into the dresser. "Are you all right?""If I don't have a better sense of equilibrium in my next life, I'm demanding a refund."I cooked this morning, frying up some eggs—too hungry to do anything more elaborate. Impatient, Iflipped them onto a plate after just a few minutes. "Since when do you eat eggs sunny-side up?" he asked. "Since now.""Do you know how many eggs you've gone through in the last week?" He pulled the trash bin out fromunder the sink—it was full of empty blue cartons. "Weird," I said after swallowing a scorching bite. "This place is messing with my appetite." And mydreams, and my already dubious balance. "But I like it here. Well probably have to leave soon, though,won't we, to make it to Dartmouth in time? Wow, I guess we need to find a place to live and stuff, too."He sat down next to me. "You can give up the college pretense now—you've gotten what you wanted. And we didn't agree to a deal, so there are no strings attached."I snorted. "It wasn't a pretense, Edward. I don't spend my free time plotting like some people do. Whatcan we do to wear Bella out today?" I said in a poor impression of his voice. He laughed, unashamed. "I really do want a little more time being human." I leaned over to run my hand across his bare chest. "Ihave not had enough."He gave me a dubious look. "For this?" he asked, catching my hand as it moved down his stomach. "Sex was the key all along?" He rolled his eyes. "Why didn't i think of that?" he muttered sarcastically. "Icould have saved myself a lot of arguments."I laughed. "Yeah, probably.""You are so human," he said again. "I know."A hint of a smile pulled at his lips. "We're going to Dartmouth? Really?""I'll probably fail out in one semester.""I'll tutor you." The smile was wide now. "You're going to love college.""Do you think we can find an apartment this late?"He grimaced, looking guilty. "Well, we sort of already have a house there. You know, just in case.""You bought a house?""Real estate is a good investment."I raised one eyebrow and then let it go. "So we're ready, then.""I'll have to see if we can keep your 'before' car for a little longer___""Yes, heaven forbid I not be protected from tanks."He grinned. "How much longer can we stay?" I asked. "We're fine on time. A few more weeks, if you want. And then we can visit Charlie before we go toNew Hampshire. We could spend Christmas with Renee___"His words painted a very happy immediate future, one free of pain for everyone involved. TheJacob-drawer, all but forgotten, rattled, and i amended the thought—for almost everyone. This wasn't getting any easier. Now that I'd discovered exactly how good being human could be, it wastempting to let my plans drift. Eighteen or nineteen, nineteen or twenty... Did it really matter? I wouldn'tchange so much in a year. And being human with Edward... The choice got trickier every day. "A few weeks," I agreed. And then, because there never seemed to be enough time, I added, "So I wasthinking—you know what I was saying about practice before?"He laughed. "Can you hold on to that thought? I hear a boat. The cleaning crew must be here."He wanted me to hold on to that thought. So did that mean he was not going to give me any moretrouble about practicing? I smiled. "Let me explain the mess in the white room to Gustavo, and then we can go out. There's a place in thejungle on the south—""I don't want to go out. i am not hiking all over the island today. I want to stay here and watch a movie."He pursed his lips, trying not to laugh at my disgruntled tone. "All right, whatever you'd like. Why don'tyou pick one out while I get the door?""I didn't hear a knock."He cocked his head to the side, listening. A half second later, a faint, timid rap on the door sounded. Hegrinned and turned for the hallway. I wandered over to the shelves under the big TV and started scanning through the titles. It was hard todecide where to begin. They had more DVDs than a rental store. I could hear Edward's low, velvet voice as he came back down the hall, conversing fluidly in what Iassumed was perfect Portuguese. Another, harsher, human voice answered in the same tongue. Edward led them into the room, pointing toward the kitchen on his way. The two Brazilians lookedincredibly short and dark next to him. One was a round man, the other a slight female, both their facescreased with lines. Edward gestured to me with a proud smile, and I heard my name mixed in with aflurry of unfamiliar words. I flushed a little as I thought of the downy mess in the white room, which theywould soon encounter. The little man smiled at me politely. But the tiny coffee-skinned woman didn't smile. She stared at me with a mixture of shock, worry, andmost of all, wide-eyed fear. Before I could react, Edward motioned for them to follow him toward thechicken coop, and they were gone. When he reappeared, he was alone. He walked swiftly to my side and wrapped his arms around me. "What's with her?" I whispered urgently, remembering her panicked expression. He shrugged, unperturbed. "Kaure's part Ticuna Indian. She was raised to be more superstitious—oryou could call it more aware—than those who live in the modern world. She suspects what I am, orclose enough." He still didn't sound worried. "They have their own legends here. The Libishomen—ablood-drinking demon who preys exclusively on beautiful women." He leered at me. Beautiful women only? Well, that was kind of flattering. "She looked terrified," I said. "She is—but mostly she's worried about you.""Me?""She's afraid of why I have you here, all alone." He chuckled darkly and then looked toward the wall ofmovies. "Oh well, why don't you choose something for us to watch? That's an acceptably human thing todo.""Yes, I'm sure a movie will convince her that you're human." I laughed and clasped my arms securelyaround his neck, stretching up on my tiptoes. He leaned down so that I could kiss him, and then his armstightened around me, lifting me off the floor so he didn't have to bend. "Movie, schmovie," I muttered as his lips moved down my throat, twisting my fingers in his bronze hair. Then I heard a gasp, and he put me down abruptly. Kaure stood frozen in the hallway, feathers in herblack hair, a large sack of more feathers in her arms, an expression of horror on her face. She stared atme, her eyes bugging out, as I blushed and looked down. Then she recovered herself and murmuredsomething that, even in an unfamiliar language, was clearly an apology. Edward smiled and answered in afriendly tone. She turned her dark eyes awayand continued down the hall. "She was thinking what I think she was thinking, wasn't she?" I muttered. He laughed at my convoluted sentence. "Yes.""Here," I said, reaching out at random and grabbing a movie. "Put this on and we can pretend to watchit."It was an old musical with smiling faces and fluffy dresses on the front. "Very honeymoonish," Edward approved. While actors on the screen danced their way through a perky introduction song, I lolled on the sofa,snuggled into Edward's arms. "Will we move back into the white room now?" I wondered idly. "I don't know.... I've already mangled the headboard in the other room beyond repair—maybe if welimit the destruction to one area of the house, Esme might invite us back someday."I smiled widely. "So there will be more destruction?"He laughed at my expression. "I think it might be safer if it's premeditated, rather than if I wait for you toassault me again.""It would only be a matter of time," I agreed casually, but my pulse was racing in my veins. "Is there something the matter with your heart?""Nope. Healthy as a horse." I paused. "Did you want to go survey the demolition zone now?""Maybe it would be more polite to wait until we're alone. You may not notice me tearing the furnitureapart, but it would probably scare them."In truth, I'd already forgotten the people in the other room. "Right. Drat."Gustavo and Kaure moved quietly through the house while I waited impatiently for them to finish andtried to pay attention to the happily-ever-after on the screen. I was starting to get sleepy—though,according to Edward, I'd slept half the day—when a rough voice startled me. Edward sat up, keepingme cradled against him, and answered Gustavo in flowing Portuguese. Gustavo nodded and walkedquietly toward the front door. "They're finished," Edward told me. "So that would mean that we're alone now?""How about lunch first?" he suggested. I bit my lip, torn by the dilemma. I was pretty hungry. With a smile, he took my hand and led me to the kitchen. He knew my face so well, it didn't matter thathe couldn't read my mind. "This is getting out of hand," I complained when I finally felt full. "Do you want to swim with the dolphins this afternoon—burn off the calories?" he asked. "Maybe later. I had another idea for burning calories.""And what was that?""Well, there's an awful lot of headboard left—"But I didn't finish. He'd already swept me up into his arms, and his lips silenced mine as he carried mewith inhuman speed to the blue room. 7. UNEXPECTEDThe line of black advanced on me through the shroud-like mist. I could see their dark ruby eyes glintingwith desire, lusting for the kill. Their lips pulled back over their sharp, wet teeth—some to snarl, some tosmile. I heard the child behind me whimper, but I couldn't turn to look at him. Though I was desperate to besure that he was safe, I could not afford any lapse in focus now. They ghosted closer, their black robes billowing slightly with the movement. I saw their hands curl intobone-colored claws. They started to drift apart, angling to come at us from all sides. We weresurrounded. We were going to die. And then, like a burst of light from a flash, the whole scene was different. Yet nothing changed—theVolturi still stalked toward us, poised to kill. All that really changed was how the picture looked to me. Suddenly, I was hungry for it. I tvanfec/them to charge. The panic changed to bloodlust as I crouchedforward, a smile on my face, and a growl ripped through my bared teeth. I jolted upright, shocked out of the dream. The room was black. It was also steamy hot. Sweat matted my hair at the temples and rolled down mythroat. I groped the warm sheets and found them empty. "Edward?"Just then, my fingers encountered something smooth and flat and stiff. One sheet of paper, folded in half. I took the note with me and felt my way across the room to the light switch. The outside of the note was addressed to Mrs. Cullen. I'm hoping you won't wake and notice my absence, but, if you should, I'll be back very soon. I've justgone to the mainland to hunt Go back to sleep and I'll be here when you wake again. I love you. I sighed. We'd been here about two weeks now, so I should have been expecting that he would have toleave, but I hadn't been thinking about time. We seemed to exist outside of time here, just drifting along ina perfect state. I wiped the sweat off my forehead. I felt absolutely wide awake, though the clock on the dresser said itwas after one. I knew i would never be able to sleep as hot and sticky as I felt. Not to mention the factthat if I shut off the light and closed my eyes, I was sure to see those prowling black figures in my head. I got up and wandered aimlessly through the dark house, flipping on lights. It felt so big and emptywithout Edward there. Different. I ended up in the kitchen and decided that maybe comfort food was what I needed. I poked around in the fridge until I found all the ingredients for fried chicken. The popping and sizzling ofthe chicken in the pan was a nice, homey sound; I felt less nervous while it filled the silence. It smelled so good that I started eating it right out of the pan, burning my tongue in the process. By thefifth or sixth bite, though, it had cooled enough for me to taste it. My chewing slowed. Was theresomething off about the flavor? I checked the meat, and it was white all the way through, but I wonderedif it was completely done. I took another experimental bite; I chewed twice. Ugh—definitely bad. Ijumped up to spit it into the sink. Suddenly, the chicken-and-oil smell was revolting. I took the wholeplate and shook it into the garbage, then opened the windows to chase away the scent. A coolish breezehad picked up outside. It felt good on my skin. I was abruptly exhausted, but i didn't want to go back to the hot room. So I opened more windows inthe TV room and lay on the couch right beneath them. I turned on the same movie we'd watched theother day and quickly fell asleep to the bright opening song. When I opened my eyes again, the sun was halfway up the sky, but it was not the light that woke me. Cool arms were around me, pulling me against him. At the same time, a sudden pain twisted in mystomach, almost like the aftershock of catching a punch in the gut. Tm sorry," Edward was murmuring as he wiped a wintry hand across my clammy forehead. "So muchfor thoroughness. I didn't think about how hot you would be with me gone. I'll have an air conditionerinstalled before I leave again."I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying. "Excuse me!" I gasped, struggling to get free of his arms. He dropped his hold automatically. "Bella?"I streaked for the bathroom with my hand clamped over my mouth. I felt so horrible that I didn't evencare—at first—that he was with me while I crouched over the toilet and was violently sick. "Bella? What's wrong?"I couldn't answer yet. He held me anxiously, keeping my hair out of my face, waiting till I could breatheagain. "Damn rancid chicken," I moaned. "Are you all right?" His voice was strained. "Fine," I panted. "It's just food poisoning. You don't need to see this. Go away.""Not likely,Bella.""Go away," I moaned again, struggling to get up so I could rinse my mouth out. He helped me gently,ignoring the weak shoves I aimed at him. After my mouth was clean, he carried me to the bed and sat me down carefully, supporting me with hisarms. "Food poisoning?""Yeah," I croaked. "I made some chicken last night. It tasted off, so I threw it out. But I ate a few bitesfirst."He put a cold hand on my forehead. It felt nice. "How do you feel now?"I thought about that for a moment. The nausea had passed as suddenly as it had come, and I felt like Idid any other morning. "Pretty normal. A little hungry, actually."He made me wait an hour and keep down a big glass of water before he fried me some eggs. I feltperfectly normal, just a little tired from being up in the middle of the night. He put onCNN—we'd beenso out of touch, world war three could have broken out and we wouldn't have known—and I loungeddrowsily across his lap. I got bored with the news and twisted around to kiss him. Just like this morning, a sharp pain hit mystomach when I moved. I lurched away from him, my hand tight over my mouth. I knew I'd never make itto the bathroom this time, so I ran to the kitchen sink. He held my hair again. "Maybe we should go back to Rio, see a doctor," he suggested anxiously when I was rinsing my mouthafterward. I shook my head and edged toward the hallway. Doctors meant needles. "I'll be fine right after I brushmy teeth."When my mouth tasted better, I searched through my suitcase for the little first-aid kit Alice had packedfor me, full of human things like bandages and painkillers and—my object now—Pepto-Bismol. Maybe Icould settle my stomach and calm Edward down. But before I found the Pepto, I happened across something else that Alice had packed for me. I pickedup the small blue box and stared at it in my hand for a long moment, forgetting everything else. Then I started counting in my head. Once. Twice. Again. Theknock startled me; the little box fell back into the suitcase. "Are you well?" Edward asked through the door. "Did you get sick again?""Yes and no," I said, but my voice sounded strangled. "Bella? Can I please come in?" Worriedly now. "O... kay?"He came in and appraised my position, sitting cross-legged on the floor by the suitcase, and myexpression, blank and staring. He sat next to me, his hand going to my forehead at once. "What's wrong?""How many days has it been since the wedding?" I whispered. "Seventeen," he answered automatically. "Bella, what is it?"I was counting again. I held up a finger, cautioning him to wait, and mouthed the numbers to myself. I'dbeen wrong about the days before. We'd been here longer than I'd thought. I started over again. "Bella!" he whispered urgently. "I'm losing my mind over here."I tried to swallow. It didn't work. So I reached into the suitcase and fumbled around until I found thelittle blue box of tampons again. I held them up silently. He stared at me in confusion. "What? Are you trying to pass this illness off as PMS?""No," I managed to choke out. "No, Edward. I'm trying to tell you that my period is five days late."His facial expression didn't change. It was like I hadn't spoken. "I don't think I have food poisoning," I added. He didn't respond. He had turned into a sculpture. "The dreams," I mumbled to myself in a flat voice. "Sleeping so much. The crying. All that food. Oh. Oh. Oh"Edward's stare seemed glassy, as if he couldn't see me anymore. Reflexively, almost involuntarily, my hand dropped to my stomach. "Oh!" I squeaked again. I lurched to my feet, slipping out of Edward's unmoving hands. I'd never changed out of the little silkshorts and camisole I'd worn to bed. I yanked the blue fabric out of the way and stared at my stomach. "Impossible," I whispered. I had absolutely no experience with pregnancy or babies or any part of that world, but I wasn't an idiot. I'd seen enough movies and TV shows to know that this wasn't how it worked. I was only five days late. If I was pregnant, my body wouldn't even have registered that fact. I would not have morning sickness. Iwould not have changed my eating or sleeping habits. And I most definitely would not have a small but defined bump sticking out between my hips. I twisted my torso back and forth, examining it from every angle, as if it would disappear in exactly theright light. I ran my fingers over the subtle bulge, surprised by how rock hard it felt under my skin. "Impossible," I said again, because, bulge or no bulge, period or no period (and there was definitely noperiod, though I'd never been late a day in my life), there was no way I could be pregnant The onlyperson I'd ever had sex with was a vampire, for crying out loud. A vampire who was still frozen on the floor with no sign of ever moving again. So there had to be some other explanation, then. Something wrong with me. A strange South Americandisease with all the signs of pregnancy, only accelerated... And then I remembered something—a morning of internet research that seemed a lifetime ago now. Sitting at the old desk in my room at Charlie's house with gray light glowing dully through the window,staring at my ancient, wheezing computer, reading avidly through a web-site called "Vampires A-Z." Ithad been less than twenty-four hours since Jacob Black, trying to entertain me with the Quileute legendshe didn't believe in yet, had told me that Edward was a vampire. I'd scanned anxiously through the firstentries on the site, which was dedicated to vampiremyths around the world. The Filipino Danag, the Hebrew Estrie, the Romanian Varacolaci, the ItalianStregoni benefici (a legend actually based on my new father-in-law's early exploits with the Volturi, notthat I'd known anything about that at the time)... I'd paid less and less attention as the stories had grownmore and more implausible. I only remembered vague bits of the later entries. They mostly seemed likeexcuses dreamed up to explain things like infant mortality rates—and infidelity. No, honey, I'm nothaving an affair! That sexy woman you saw sneaking out of the house was an evil succubus. I'mlucky I escaped with my life! (Of course, with what I knew now about Tanya and her sisters, Isuspected that some of those excuses had been nothing but fact.) There had been one for the ladies, too. How can you accuse me of cheating on you—just because you've come home from a two-year seavoyage and I'm pregnant? It was the incubus. He hypnotized me with his mystical vampirepowers.... That had been part of the definition of the incubus—the ability to father children with his hapless prey. I shook my head, dazed. But... I thought of Esme and especially Rosalie. Vampires couldn't have children. If it were possible, Rosaliewould have found a way by now. The incubus myth was nothing but a fable. Except that... well, there was a difference. Of course Rosalie could not conceive a child, because shewas frozen in the state in which she passed from human to inhuman. Totally unchanging. And humanwomen's bodies had to change to bear children. The constant change of a monthly cycle for one thing,and then the bigger changes needed to accommodate a growing child. Rosalie's body couldn't change. But mine could. Mine did. I touched the bump on my stomach that had not been there yesterday. And human men—well, they pretty much stayed the same from puberty to death. I remembered arandom bit of trivia, gleaned from who knows where: Charlie Chaplin was in his seventies when hefathered his youngest child. Men had no such thing as child-bearing years or cycles of fertility. Of course, how would anyone know if vampire men could father children, when their partners were notable? What vampire on earth would have the restraint necessary to test the theory with a human woman? Or the inclination? I could think of only one. Part of my head was sorting through fact and memory and speculation, while the other half—the partthat controlled the ability to move even the smallest muscles—was stunned beyond the capacity fornormal operations. I couldn't move my lips to speak, though I wanted to ask Edward to please explain tome what was going on. I needed to go back to where he sat, to touch him, but my body wouldn't followinstructions. I could only stare at my shocked eyes in the mirror, my fingers gingerly pressed against theswelling on my torso. And then, like in my vivid nightmare last night, the scene abruptly transformed. Everything I saw in themirror looked completely different, though nothing actually was different. What happened to change everything was that a soft little nudge bumped my hand—from inside mybody. In the same moment, Edward's phone rang, shrill and demanding. Neither of us moved. It rang again andagain. I tried to tune it out while I pressed my fingers to my stomach, waiting. In the mirror my expressionwas no longerbewildered—it was wondering now. I barely noticed when the strange, silent tears started streamingdown my cheeks. The phone kept ringing. I wished Edward would answer it—I was having a moment. Possibly thebiggest of my life. Ring! Ring! Ring! Finally, the annoyance broke through everything else. I got down on my knees next to Edward—I foundmyself moving more carefully, a thousand times more aware of the way each motion felt—and patted hispockets until I found the phone. I half-expected him to thaw out and answer it himself, but he wasperfectly still. I recognized the number, and I could easily guess why she was calling. "Hi, Alice," I said. My voice wasn't much better than before. I cleared my throat. "Bella? Bella, areyou okay?""Yeah. Urn. Is Carlisle there?""He is. What's the problem?""I'm not... one hundred percent... sure___""Is Edward all right?" she asked warily. She called Carlisle's name away from the phone and thendemanded, "Why didn't he pick up the phone?" before I could answer her first question. "I'm not sure.""Bella,what's going on? I just saw—""What did you see?"There was a silence. "Here's Carlisle," she finally said. It felt like ice water had been injected in my veins. If Alice had seen a vision of me with a green-eyed,angel-faced child in my arms, she would have answered me, wouldn't she? While I waited through the split second it took for Carlisle to speak, the vision I'd imagined for Alicedanced behind my lids. A tiny, beautiful little baby, even more beautiful than the boy in my dream—a tinyEdward in my arms. Warmth shot through my veins, chasing the ice away. "Bella, it's Carlisle. What's going on?""I—" I wasn't sure how to answer. Would he laugh at my conclusions, tell me I was crazy? Was I justhaving another colorful dream? "I'm a little worried about Edward.... Can vampires go into shock?""Has he been harmed?" Carlisle's voice was suddenly urgent. "No, no," I assured him. "Just... taken by surprise.""I don't understand, Bella.""I think... well, I think that... maybe... I might be ..." I took a deep breath. "Pregnant."As if to back me up, there was another tiny nudge in my abdomen. My hand flew to my stomach. After a long pause, Carlisle's medical training kicked in. "When was the first day of your last menstrual cycle?""Sixteen days before the wedding." I'd done the mental math thoroughly enough just before to be able toanswer with certainty. "How do you feel?""Weird," I told him, and my voice broke. Another trickle of tears dribbled down my cheeks. "This isgoing to sound crazy—look, I know it's way too early for any of this. Maybe I am crazy. But I'm havingbizarre dreams and eating all the time and crying and throwing up and... and... I swear something movedinside me just now."Edward's head snapped up. I sighed in relief. Edward held his hand out for the phone, his face white and hard. "Urn, I think Edward wants to talk to you.""Put him on," Carlisle said in a strained voice. Not entirely sure that Edward could talk, I put the phone in his outstretched hand. He pressed it to his ear. "Is it possible?" he whispered. He listened for a long time, staring blankly at nothing. "And Bella?" he asked. His arm wrapped around me as he spoke, pulling me close into his side. He listened for what seemed like a long time and then said, "Yes. Yes, I will."He pulled the phone away from his ear and pressed the "end" button. Right away, he dialed a newnumber. "What did Carlisle say?" I asked impatiently. Edward answered in a lifeless voice. "He thinks you're pregnant."The words sent a warm shiver down my spine. The little nudger fluttered inside me. "Who are you calling now?" I asked as he put the phone back to his ear. "The airport. We're going home."Edward was on the phone for more than an hour without a break. I guessed that he was arranging ourflight home, but I couldn't be sure because he wasn't speaking English. It sounded like he was arguing; hespoke through his teeth a lot. While he argued, he packed. He whirled around the room like an angry tornado, leaving order ratherthan destruction in his path. He threw a set of my clothes on the bed without looking at them, so Iassumed it was time for me to get dressed. He continued with his argument while I changed, gesturingwith sudden, agitated movements. When I could no longer bear the violent energy radiating out of him, I quietly left the room. His manicconcentration made me sick to my stomach—not like the morning sickness, just uncomfortable. I wouldwait somewhere else for his mood to pass. I couldn't talk to this icy, focused Edward who honestlyfrightened me a little. Once again, I ended up in the kitchen. There was a bag of pretzels in the cupboard. I started chewing onthem absently, staring out the window at the sand and rocks and trees and ocean, everything glittering inthe sun. Someone nudged me. "I know," I said. "I don't want to go, either."I stared out the window for a moment, but the nudger didn't respond. "I don't understand," i whispered. "What is wrong here?"Surprising, absolutely. Astonishing, even. But wrong? No. So why was Edward so furious? He was the one who had actually wished out loud for a shotgunwedding. I tried to reason through it. Maybe it wasn't so confusing that Edward wanted us to go home right away. He'd want Carlisle tocheck me out, make sure my assumption was right—though there was absolutely no doubt in my head atthis point. Probably they'd want to figure out why I was already so pregnant, with the bump and thenudging and all of that. That wasn't normal. Once I thought of this, I was sure I had it. He must be so worried about the baby. I hadn't gotten aroundto freaking out yet. My brain worked slower than his—it was still stuck marveling over the picture it hadconjured up before: the tiny child with Edward's eyes—green, as his had been when he washuman—lying fair and beautiful in my arms. I hoped he would have Edward's face exactly, with nointerference from mine. It was funny how abruptly and entirely necessary this vision had become. From that first little touch, thewhole world had shifted. Where before there was just one thing i could not live without, now there weretwo. There was no division—my love was not split between them now; it wasn't like that. It was morelike my heart had grown, swollen up to twice its size in that moment. All that extra space, already filled. The increase was almost dizzying. I'd never really understood Rosalie's pain and resentment before. I'd never imagined myself a mother,never wanted that. It had been a piece of cake to promise Edward that I didn't care about giving upchildren for him, because I truly didn't. Children, in the abstract, had never appealed to me. They seemedto be loud creatures, often dripping some form of goo. I'd never had much to do with them. When I'ddreamed of Renee providing me with a brother, I'd always imagined an older brother. Someone to takecare of me, rather than the other way around. This child, Edward's child, was a whole different story. I wanted him like I wanted air to breathe. Not a choice—a necessity. Maybe I just had a really bad imagination. Maybe that was why I'd been unable to imagine that I wouldlike being married until after I already was—unable to see that I would want a baby until after one wasalready coming.... As I put my hand on my stomach, waiting for the next nudge, tears streaked down my cheeks again. "Bella?"I turned, made wary by the tone of his voice. It was too cold, too careful. His face matched his voice,empty and hard. And then he saw that I was crying. "Bella!" Hecrossed the room in a flash and put his hands on my face. "Are you in pain?""No, no—"He pulled me against his chest. "Don't be afraid. We'll be home in sixteen hours. You'll be fine. Carlislewill be ready when we get there. We'll take care of this, and you'll be fine, you'll be fine.""Take care of this? What do you mean?"He leaned away and looked me in the eye. "We're going to get that thing out before it can hurt any partof you. Don't be scared. I wont let it hurt you.""That thing?" Igasped. He looked sharply away from me, toward the front door. "Dammit! I forgot Gustavo was due today. HIget rid of him and be right back." He darted out of the room. I clutched the counter for support. My knees were wobbly. Edward had just called my little nudger a thing. He said Carlisle would get it out. "No," I whispered. I'd gotten it wrong before. He didn't care about the baby atall. He wanted to hurt him. The beautifulpicture in my head shifted abruptly, changed into something dark. My pretty baby crying, my weak armsnot enough to protect him.... What could I do? Would I be able to reason with them? What if I couldn't? Did this explain Alice'sstrange silence on the phone? Is that what she'd seen? Edward and Carlisle killing that pale, perfect childbefore he could live? "No," I whispered again, my voice stronger. That could not be. I would not allow it. I heard Edward speaking Portuguese again. Arguing again. His voice got closer, and I heard him grunt inexasperation. Then I heard another voice, low and timid. A woman's voice. He came into the kitchen ahead of her and went straight to me. He wiped the tears from my cheeks andmurmured in my ear through the thin, hard line of his lips. "She's insisting on leaving the food she brought—she made us dinner." If he had been less tense, lessfurious, I knew he would have rolled his eyes. "It's an excuse—she wants to make sure I haven't killedyou yet." His voice went ice cold at the end. Kaure edged nervously around the corner with a covered dish in her hands. I wished I could speakPortuguese, or that my Spanish was less rudimentary, so that I could try to thank this woman who haddared to anger a vampire just to check on me. Her eyes flickered between the two of us. I saw her measuring thecolor in my face, the moisture in myeyes. Mumbling something I didn't understand, she put the dish on the counter. Edward snapped something at her; I'd never heard him be so impolite before. She turned to go, and thewhirling motion of her long skirt wafted the smell of the food into my face. It was strong—onions andfish. I gagged and whirled for the sink. I felt Edward's hands on my forehead and heard his soothingmurmur through the roaring in my ears. His hands disappeared for a second, and I heard the refrigeratorslam shut. Mercifully, the smell disappeared with the sound, and Edward's hands were cooling myclammy face again. It was over quickly. I rinsed my mouth in the tap while he caressed the side of my face. There was a tentative little nudge in my womb. It's okay. We're okay,I thought toward the bump. Edward turned me around, pulling me into his arms. I rested my head on his shoulder. My hands,instinctively, folded over my stomach. I heard a little gasp and I looked up. The woman was still there, hesitating in the doorway with her hands half-outstretched as if she had beenlooking for some way to help. Her eyes were locked on my hands, popping wide with shock. Her mouthhung open. Then Edward gasped, too, and he suddenly turned to face the woman, pushing me slightly behind hisbody. His arm wrapped across my torso, like he was holding me back. Suddenly, Kaure was shouting at him—loudly, furiously, her unintelligible words flying across the roomlike knives. She raised her tiny fist in the air and took two steps forward, shaking it at him. Despite herferocity, it was easy to see the terror in her eyes. Edward stepped toward her, too, and I clutched at his arm, frightened for the woman. But when heinterrupted her tirade, his voice took me by surprise, especially considering how sharp he'd been with herwhen she wasn't screeching at him. It was low now; it was pleading. Not only that, but the sound wasdifferent, more guttural, the cadence off. I didn't think he was speaking Portuguese anymore. For a moment, the woman stared at him in wonder, and then her eyes narrowed as she barked out along question in the same alien tongue. I watched as his face grew sad and serious, and he nodded once. She took a quick step back andcrossed herself. He reached out to her, gesturing toward me and then resting his hand against my cheek. She repliedangrily again, waving her hands accusingly toward him, and then gestured to him. When she finished, hepleaded again with the same low, urgent voice. Her expression changed—she stared at him with doubt plain on her face as he spoke, her eyesrepeatedly flashing to my confused face. He stopped speaking, and she seemed to be deliberatingsomething. She looked back and forth between the two of us, and then, unconsciously it seemed, took astep forward. She made a motion with her hands, miming a shape like a balloon jutting out from her stomach. I started—did her legends of the predatory blood-drinker include this? Could she possibly know somethingabout what was growing inside me? She walked a few steps forward deliberately this time and asked a few brief questions, which heresponded to tensely. Then he became the questioner—one quick query. She hesitated and then slowlyshook her head. When he spoke again, his voice was so agonized that I looked up at him in shock. Hisface was drawn with pain. In answer, she walked slowly forward until she was close enough to lay her small hand on top of mine,over my stomach. She spoke one word in Portuguese. "Morte,"she sighed quietly. Then she turned, her shoulders bent as if the conversation had aged her, andleft the room. I knew enough Spanish for that one. Edward was frozen again, staring after her with the tortured expression fixed on his face. A fewmoments later, I heard a boat's engine putter to life and then fade into the distance. Edward did not move until I started for the bathroom. Then his hand caught my shoulder. "Where are you going?" His voice was a whisper of pain. "To brush my teeth again.""Don't worry about what she said. It's nothing but legends, old lies for the sake of entertainment.""I didn't understand anything," I told him, though it wasn't entirely true. As if I could discount somethingbecause it was a legend. My life was circled by legend on every side. They were all true. "I packed your toothbrush. I'll get it for you."He walked ahead of me to the bedroom. "Are we leaving soon?" I called after him. "As soon as you're done."He waited for my toothbrush to repack it, pacing silently around the bedroom. I handed it to him when Iwas finished. "I'll get the bags into the boat.""Edward—"He turned back. "Yes?"I hesitated, trying to think of some way to get a few seconds alone. "Could you... pack some of thefood? You know, in case I get hungry again.""Of course," he said, his eyes suddenly soft. "Don't worry about anything. We'll get to Carlisle in just afew hours, really. This will all be over soon."I nodded, not trusting my voice. He turned and left the room, one big suitcase in each hand. I whirled and scooped up the phone he'd left on the counter. It was very unlike him to forget things—toforget that Gustavo was coming, to leave his phone lying here. He was so stressed he was barely himself. I flipped it open and scrolled through the preprogrammed numbers. I was glad he had the sound turnedoff, afraid that he would catch me. Would he be at the boat now? Or back already? Would he hear mefrom the kitchen if I whispered? I found the number I wanted, one I had never called before in my life. I pressed the "send" button andcrossed my fingers. "Hello?" the voice like golden wind chimes answered. "Rosalie?" I whispered. "It's Bella. Please. You have to help me."BOOK TWOJacobAnd yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays. William ShakespeareA Midsummer Night's DreamAct III, Scene iPREFACE Life sucks, and then you die. Yeah, I should be so lucky.
He started, bewildered like a deep sleeper suddenly awoke; violent shudderings ran for a moment over his frame; then it strengthened again with its former unnatural strength; the demon raged within him in renewed fury as he tore his robe which Numerian held as he lay at his feet from the feeble grasp that confined it, and, striding up to the pile of idols, stretched out his hands in solemn deprecation. ‘The high priest has slept before the altar of the gods!’ he cried loudly, ‘but they have been patient with their well-beloved; their thunder has not struck him for his crime! Now the servant returns to his service — the rites of Serapis begin!’