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Chapter 16 Carlisle

    He led me back to the room that he'd pointed out as Carlisle's office. Hepaused outside the door for an instant.

  "Come in," Carlisle's voice invited.

  Edward opened the door to a high-ceilinged room with tall, west-facingwindows. The walls were paneled again, in a darker wood — where they werevisible. Most of the wall space was taken up by towering bookshelves thatreached high above my head and held more books than I'd ever seen outsidea library.

  Carlisle sat behind a huge mahogany desk in a leather chair. He was justplacing a bookmark in the pages of the thick volume he held. The room washow I'd always imagined a college dean's would look — only Carlislelooked too young to fit the part.

  "What can I do for you?" he asked us pleasantly, rising from his seat.

   "I wanted to show Bella some of our history," Edward said. "Well, yourhistory, actually.""We didn't mean to disturb you," I apologized.

  "Not at all. Where are you going to start?""The Waggoner," Edward replied, placing one hand lightly on my shoulderand spinning me around to look back toward the door we'd just comethrough. Every time he touched me, in even the most casual way, my hearthad an audible reaction. It was more embarrassing with Carlisle there.

  The wall we faced now was different from the others. Instead ofbookshelves, this wall was crowded with framed pictures of all sizes,some in vibrant colors, others dull monochromes. I searched for somelogic, some binding motif the collection had in common, but I foundnothing in my hasty examination.

  Edward pulled me toward the far left side, standing me in front of asmall square oil painting in a plain wooden frame. This one did not standout among the bigger and brighter pieces; painted in varying tones ofsepia, it depicted a miniature city full of steeply slanted roofs, withthin spires atop a few scattered towers. A wide river filled theforeground, crossed by a bridge covered with structures that looked liketiny cathedrals.

  "London in the sixteen-fifties," Edward said.

  "The London of my youth," Carlisle added, from a few feet behind us. Iflinched; I hadn't heard him approach. Edward squeezed my hand.

  "Will you tell the story?" Edward asked. I twisted a little to seeCarlisle's reaction.

  He met my glance and smiled. "I would," he replied. "But I'm actuallyrunning a bit late. The hospital called this morning — Dr. Snow is takinga sick day. Besides, you know the stories as well as I do," he added,grinning at Edward now.

  It was a strange combination to absorb — the everyday concerns of thetown doctor stuck in the middle of a discussion of his early days inseventeenth-century London.

  It was also unsettling to know that he spoke aloud only for my benefit.

  After another warm smile for me, Carlisle left the room.

  I stared at the little picture of Carlisle's hometown for a long moment.

  "What happened then?" I finally asked, staring up at Edward, who waswatching me. "When he realized what had happened to him?"He glanced back to the paintings, and I looked to see which image caughthis interest now. It was a larger landscape in dull fall colors — anempty, shadowed meadow in a forest, with a craggy peak in the distance.

  "When he knew what he had become," Edward said quietly, "he rebelledagainst it. He tried to destroy himself. But that's not easily done.""How?" I didn't mean to say it aloud, but the word broke through my shock.

  "He jumped from great heights," Edward told me, his voice impassive. "Hetried to drown himself in the ocean… but he was young to the new life,and very strong. It is amazing that he was able to resist… feeding… whilehe was still so new. The instinct is more powerful then, it takes overeverything. But he was so repelled by himself that he had the strength totry to kill himself with starvation.""Is that possible?" My voice was faint.

  "No, there are very few ways we can be killed." I opened my mouth to ask, but he spoke before I could.

  "So he grew very hungry, and eventually weak. He strayed as far as hecould from the human populace, recognizing that his willpower wasweakening, too. For months he wandered by night, seeking the loneliestplaces, loathing himself.

  "One night, a herd of deer passed his hiding place. He was so wild withthirst that he attacked without a thought. His strength returned and herealized there was an alternative to being the vile monster he feared.

  Had he not eaten venison in his former life? Over the next months his newphilosophy was born. He could exist without being a demon. He foundhimself again.

  "He began to make better use of his time. He'd always been intelligent,eager to learn. Now he had unlimited time before him. He studied bynight, planned by day. He swam to France and —""He swam to France?""People swim the Channel all the time, Bella," he reminded me patiently.

  "That's true, I guess. It just sounded funny in that context. Go on.""Swimming is easy for us —""Everything is easy for you," I griped.

  He waited, his expression amused.

  "I won't interrupt again, I promise."He chuckled darkly, and finished his sentence. "Because, technically, wedon't need to breathe.""You —""No, no, you promised." He laughed, putting his cold finger lightly to mylips. "Do you want to hear the story or not?""You can't spring something like that on me, and then expect me not tosay anything," I mumbled against his finger.

  He lifted his hand, moving it to rest against my neck. The speed of myheart reacted to that, but I persisted.

  "You don't have to breathe?" I demanded.

  "No, it's not necessary. Just a habit." He shrugged.

  "How long can you go… without breathing?""Indefinitely, I suppose; I don't know. It gets a bit uncomfortable —being without a sense of smell.""A bit uncomfortable," I echoed.

  I wasn't paying attention to my own expression, but something in it madehim grow somber. His hand dropped to his side and he stood very still,his eyes intent on my face. The silence lengthened. His features wereimmobile as stone.

  "What is it?" I whispered, touching his frozen face.

  His face softened under my hand, and he sighed. "I keep waiting for it tohappen.""For what to happen?""I know that at some point, something I tell you or something you see isgoing to be too much. And then you'll run away from me, screaming as yougo." He smiled half a smile, but his eyes were serious. "I won't stop you. I want this to happen, because I want you to be safe. And yet, Iwant to be with you. The two desires are impossible to reconcile…" Hetrailed off, staring at my face. Waiting.

  "I'm not running anywhere," I promised.

  "We'll see," he said, smiling again.

  I frowned at him. "So, go on — Carlisle was swimming to France."He paused, getting back into his story. Reflexively, his eyes flickeredto another picture — the most colorful of them all, the most ornatelyframed, and the largest; it was twice as wide as the door it hung nextto. The canvas overflowed with bright figures in swirling robes, writhingaround long pillars and off marbled balconies. I couldn't tell if itrepresented Greek mythology, or if the characters floating in the cloudsabove were meant to be biblical.

  "Carlisle swam to France, and continued on through Europe, to theuniversities there. By night he studied music, science, medicine — andfound his calling, his penance, in that, in saving human lives." Hisexpression became awed, almost reverent. "I can't adequately describe thestruggle; it took Carlisle two centuries of torturous effort to perfecthis self-control. Now he is all but immune to the scent of human blood,and he is able to do the work he loves without agony. He finds a greatdeal of peace there, at the hospital…" Edward stared off into space for along moment. Suddenly he seemed to recall his purpose. He tapped hisfinger against the huge painting in front of us.

  "He was studying in Italy when he discovered the others there. They weremuch more civilized and educated than the wraiths of the London sewers."He touched a comparatively sedate quartet of figures painted on thehighest balcony, looking down calmly on the mayhem below them. I examinedthe grouping carefully and realized, with a startled laugh, that Irecognized the golden-haired man.

  "Solimena was greatly inspired by Carlisle's friends. He often paintedthem as gods," Edward chuckled. "Aro, Marcus, Caius," he said, indicatingthe other three, two black-haired, one snowy-white. "Nighttime patrons ofthe arts.""What happened to them?" I wondered aloud, my fingertip hovering acentimeter from the figures on the canvas.

  "They're still there." He shrugged. "As they have been for who knows howmany millennia. Carlisle stayed with them only for a short time, just afew decades. He greatly admired their civility, their refinement, butthey persisted in trying to cure his aversion to 'his natural foodsource,' as they called it. They tried to persuade him, and he tried topersuade them, to no avail. At that point, Carlisle decided to try theNew World. He dreamed of finding others like himself. He was very lonely,you see.

  "He didn't find anyone for a long time. But, as monsters became the stuffof fairy tales, he found he could interact with unsuspecting humans as ifhe were one of them. He began practicing medicine. But the companionshiphe craved evaded him; he couldn't risk familiarity.

  "When the influenza epidemic hit, he was working nights in a hospital inChicago. He'd been turning over an idea in his mind for several years,and he had almost decided to act — since he couldn't find a companion, hewould create one. He wasn't absolutely sure how his own transformationhad occurred, so he was hesitant. And he was loath to steal anyone's lifethe way his had been stolen. It was in that frame of mind that he foundme. There was no hope for me; I was left in a ward with the dying. He hadnursed my parents, and knew I was alone. He decided to try…"His voice, nearly a whisper now, trailed off. He stared unseeinglythrough the west windows. I wondered which images filled his mind now,Carlisle's memories or his own. I waited quietly.

   When he turned back to me, a gentle angel's smile lit his expression.

  "And so we've come full circle," he concluded.

  "Have you always stayed with Carlisle, then?" I wondered.

  "Almost always." He put his hand lightly on my waist and pulled me withhim as he walked through the door. I stared back at the wall of pictures,wondering if I would ever get to hear the other stories.

  Edward didn't say any more as we walked down the hall, so I asked,"Almost?"He sighed, seeming reluctant to answer. "Well, I had a typical bout ofrebellious adolescence — about ten years after I was… born… created,whatever you want to call it. I wasn't sold on his life of abstinence,and I resented him for curbing my appetite. So I went off on my own for atime.""Really?" I was intrigued, rather than frightened, as I perhaps shouldhave been.

  He could tell. I vaguely realized that we were headed up the next flightof stairs, but I wasn't paying much attention to my surroundings.

  "That doesn't repulse you?""No.""Why not?""I guess… it sounds reasonable."He barked a laugh, more loudly than before. We were at the top of thestairs now, in another paneled hallway.

  "From the time of my new birth," he murmured, "I had the advantage ofknowing what everyone around me was thinking, both human and non-humanalike. That's why it took me ten years to defy Carlisle — I could readhis perfect sincerity, understand exactly why he lived the way he did.

  "It took me only a few years to return to Carlisle and recommit to hisvision. I thought I would be exempt from the… depression… thataccompanies a conscience. Because I knew the thoughts of my prey, I couldpass over the innocent and pursue only the evil. If I followed a murdererdown a dark alley where he stalked a young girl — if I saved her, thensurely I wasn't so terrible."I shivered, imagining only too clearly what he described — the alley atnight, the frightened girl, the dark man behind her. And Edward, Edwardas he hunted, terrible and glorious as a young god, unstoppable. Wouldshe have been grateful, that girl, or more frightened than before?

  "But as time went on, I began to see the monster in my eyes. I couldn'tescape the debt of so much human life taken, no matter how justified. AndI went back to Carlisle and Esme. They welcomed me back like theprodigal. It was more than I deserved."We'd come to a stop in front of the last door in the hall.

  "My room," he informed me, opening it and pulling me through.

  His room faced south, with a wall-sized window like the great room below.

  The whole back side of the house must be glass. His view looked down onthe winding Sol Duc River, across the untouched forest to the OlympicMountain range. The mountains were much closer than I would have believed.

  The western wall was completely covered with shelf after shelf of CDs.

  His room was better stocked than a music store. In the corner was asophisticated-looking sound system, the kind I was afraid to touchbecause I'd be sure to break something. There was no bed, only a wide andinviting black leather sofa. The floor was covered with a thick golden carpet, and the walls were hung with heavy fabric in a slightly darkershade.

  "Good acoustics?" I guessed.

  He chuckled and nodded.

  He picked up a remote and turned the stereo on. It was quiet, but thesoft jazz number sounded like the band was in the room with us. I went tolook at his mind-boggling music collection.

  "How do you have these organized?" I asked, unable to find any rhyme orreason to the titles.

  He wasn't paying attention.

  "Ummm, by year, and then by personal preference within that frame," hesaid absently.

  I turned, and he was looking at me with a peculiar expression in his eyes.

  "What?""I was prepared to feel… relieved. Having you know about everything, notneeding to keep secrets from you. But I didn't expect to feel more thanthat. I like it. It makes me… happy." He shrugged, smiling slightly.

  "I'm glad," I said, smiling back. I'd worried that he might regrettelling me these things. It was good to know that wasn't the case.

  But then, as his eyes dissected my expression, his smile faded and hisforehead creased.

  "You're still waiting for the running and the screaming, aren't you?" Iguessed.

  A faint smile touched his lips, and he nodded.

  "I hate to burst your bubble, but you're really not as scary as you thinkyou are. I don't find you scary at all, actually," I lied casually.

  He stopped, raising his eyebrows in blatant disbelief. Then he flashed awide, wicked smile.

  "You really shouldn't have said that," he chuckled.

  He growled, a low sound in the back of his throat; his lips curled backover his perfect teeth. His body shifted suddenly, half-crouched, tensedlike a lion about to pounce.

  I backed away from him, glaring.

  "You wouldn't."I didn't see him leap at me — it was much too fast. I only found myselfsuddenly airborne, and then we crashed onto the sofa, knocking it intothe wall. All the while, his arms formed an iron cage of protectionaround me — I was barely jostled. But I still was gasping as I tried toright myself.

  He wasn't having that. He curled me into a ball against his chest,holding me more securely than iron chains. I glared at him in alarm, buthe seemed well in control, his jaw relaxed as he grinned, his eyes brightonly with humor.

  "You were saying?" he growled playfully.

  "That you are a very, very terrifying monster," I said, my sarcasm marreda bit by my breathless voice.

  "Much better," he approved.

   "Um." I struggled. "Can I get up now?"He just laughed.

  "Can we come in?" a soft voice sounded from the hall.

  I struggled to free myself, but Edward merely readjusted me so that I wassomewhat more conventionally seated on his lap. I could see it was Alice,then, and Jasper behind her in the doorway. My cheeks burned, but Edwardseemed at ease.

  "Go ahead." Edward was still chuckling quietly.

  Alice seemed to find nothing unusual in our embrace; she walked — almostdanced, her movements were so graceful — to the center of the room, whereshe folded herself sinuously onto the floor. Jasper, however, paused atthe door, his expression a trifle shocked. He stared at Edward's face,and I wondered if he was tasting the atmosphere with his unusualsensitivity.

  "It sounded like you were having Bella for lunch, and we came to see ifyou would share," Alice announced.

  I stiffened for an instant, until I realized Edward was grinning —whether at her comment or my response, I couldn't tell.

  "Sorry, I don't believe I have enough to spare," he replied, his armsholding me recklessly close.

  "Actually," Jasper said, smiling despite himself as he walked into theroom, "Alice says there's going to be a real storm tonight, and Emmettwants to play ball. Are you game?"The words were all common enough, but the context confused me. I gatheredthat Alice was a bit more reliable than the weatherman, though.

  Edward's eyes lit up, but he hesitated.

  "Of course you should bring Bella," Alice chirped. I thought I saw Jasperthrow a quick glance at her.

  "Do you want to go?" Edward asked me, excited, his expression vivid.

  "Sure." I couldn't disappoint such a face. "Um, where are we going?""We have to wait for thunder to play ball — you'll see why," he promised.

  "Will I need an umbrella?"They all three laughed aloud.

  "Will she?" Jasper asked Alice.

  "No." She was positive. "The storm will hit over town. It should be dryenough in the clearing.""Good, then." The enthusiasm in Jasper's voice was catching, naturally. Ifound myself eager, rather than scared stiff.

  "Let's go see if Carlisle will come." Alice bounded up and to the door ina fashion that would break any ballerina's heart.

  "Like you don't know," Jasper teased, and they were swiftly on their way.

  Jasper managed to inconspicuously close the door behind them.

  "What will we be playing?" I demanded.

  "You will be watching," Edward clarified. "We will be playing baseball."I rolled my eyes. "Vampires like baseball?""It's the American pastime," he said with mock solemnity.

第十六章 卡莱尔

他把我带回了那个他指点过的房间,卡莱尔的办公室。他只在房门外停顿了一瞬。

“进来。”卡莱尔的声音邀请道。

爱德华打开了门。这是一间有着高高的天花板,和朝西的长窗的屋子。墙面上也镶嵌着木嵌板,是一种颜色更深的木头——能看见的墙面都是这样的。而大部分的墙面都被高耸过我头顶的书架挡住了。这里面的藏书甚至比我在外头见到的一座图书馆的书还要多。

卡莱尔坐在一张巨大的桃心木书桌后,坐在一张皮椅上。他正把一张书签放进他手里的一册厚厚的书里。这间屋子是我想象过的一个大学校长的办公室的样子——只不过卡莱尔太年轻了,和这里不太相称。

“我能为你们做些什么?”他从座位上站起来,和蔼地问道。

“我想向贝拉展示一些我们的历史,”爱德华说道。“嗯,事实上,是你的历史。”

“我们并非有意要打扰您的。”我道歉道。

“没关系。你们打算从哪段听起?”

“御夫座。”(The Waggoner,我一直不明白什么意思。。。也许是得名于那面犹如星辰密布的墙壁。。。)爱德华答道,轻轻地把一只手放到我的肩膀上,让我转过身去面向我们刚刚走进来的那个门。每次他触碰我的时候,哪怕是再寻常不过的接触,我的心都会作出清晰可闻的反应。更何况还有卡莱尔在旁边,这就更令人尴尬了。 
 现在我们正对着的这面墙和别的墙都不一样。这面墙上没有书架,却挂满了各种尺寸的镶着相框的照片。有些是模糊生硬的彩色照片,另一些则是黯淡的黑白照片。我试图找出某种逻辑,某个这些收藏品所共有的主题,但在我匆忙的审视中,我没有任何发现。

爱德华把我拉到了最左边,让我站到了一张装裱在一个简朴的木框里的小小的方形油画前。这幅油画在众多尺寸更大,颜色更鲜亮的油画里并不显眼,它是用各种色调的深褐色画成的。它描绘了一个微缩的城市,那里到处是陡峭的斜屋顶,散落在各处的几座高塔露出窄窄的塔尖。一条宽广的河流填满了远景,河上横跨着一座桥梁,桥上布满了看上去像是小巧的教堂的建筑。

“十七世纪五十年代的伦敦。”爱德华说道。

“我年少时的伦敦。”卡莱尔补充道,他站在离我们只有几英尺远的地方。我畏缩了一下,我根本没听到他走近的声音。爱德华紧握住我的手。

“你愿意讲这个故事吗?”爱德华问道。我稍微转过头,想看看卡莱尔的反应。

他对上了我的目光,笑了起来。“我很乐意。”他回答道。“但我确实有点赶时间。医院今天早上给我打了电话——斯诺医生请了一天病假。另外,你对这个故事的熟悉程度不亚于我。”他补充道,瞥了一眼爱德华。
这实在是个奇怪的难于理解的混合体——那位每天关心着镇上事务的医生正陷于关于他早年在十七世纪的伦敦的经历的讨论之中。

知道他是为了我才这样大声说话,也是件让人困扰的事。

卡莱尔再次向我温和地一笑,然后离开了房间。

我看着这张小小的关于卡莱尔的家乡的图画,看了许久。

“后来发生了什么?”我最终问道,抬头看着爱德华,他正注视着我。“在他意识到自己发生了什么事以后?” 
 他看回了那些油画上,而我看到了是什么样的图画吸引了他的兴趣。那是一张更大的风景画,用各种黯淡的秋色画成的——森林中的一片空荡荡的,晦暗的草地,远处是一座险峻的山峰。

“当他知道自己变成了什么以后,”爱德华安静地说道。“他十分厌恶这一点。他试图毁灭自己。但这不是件容易的事?”

“怎样?”我并不是有意要这样大声地说出来的,但这些话在震惊中冲口而出。 
“他从很高的海拔上跳了下来。”爱德华告诉我,他的声音很冷淡。
“他试图把自己溺死在海里……但他刚刚经历了新生,非常年轻,也非常强壮。最惊人的是他居然能够忍耐住……不进食……在他还是新手的时候。那时那种本能会更为强烈,几乎可以征服一切。但他是如此地厌恶自己,他的信念是如此地坚强,居然想要饿死自己。”

“这可能吗?”我的声音很微弱。
“不,没有多少方法能杀死我们。”

我张开嘴想要提问,但在我出声以前他就说话了。

“所以他非常的饥饿,而且最终虚弱起来。他在远离人群的地方流浪,他认识到自己的意志力也在变得薄弱。一连好几个月他在夜里游荡着,寻找着最孤寂的地方,嫌恶着自己。”

“一天晚上,一群野鹿经过了他隐藏的地方。他因为饥渴而变得狂暴,于是不假思索地袭击了它们。他恢复了强壮,然后意识到他还有一个选择,可以不必变成他所惧怕的卑鄙的怪物。他的前生难道没有吃过鹿肉吗?之后的一个多月里他新的人生观形成了。他可以活下去,而不必成为一个魔鬼。他又找回了他自己。”

“他开始更好地利用他的时间。他总是那么的聪明,充满了求知欲。现在他有了无穷无尽的时间。他在夜间学习,在白天做计划。他游到了法国,然后——”

“他游到法国?”

“人们一直都能游过那道海峡,贝拉。”他耐心地提醒我。

“我猜,这倒是真的。只是在这样的上下文里听到它实在是很有趣。继续。”

“游泳对我们来说是件轻而易举的事——”

“每件事对你来说都是轻而易举。”我死咬着不放。

他在等待着,他的表情有些发笑。

“我不会再打断你了,我保证。”

他阴暗地轻笑起来,然后继续说完他的话。“因为,就技术层面而言,我们不需要呼吸。”

“你——”

“不,不,你保证过的。”他大笑起来,伸出一根冰冷的手指轻轻点住我的唇。“你想不想听故事了?”

“你不能像这样忽然向我提起某件事,然后又不许我说话。”我在他的手指下喃喃低语着。

他移开他的手,挪到我的颈窝上。我的心跳速度立刻做出了反应,但我依然坚持着。

“你不需要呼吸?”我诘问道。

“不,这毫无必要。只是一种习惯。”他耸耸肩。

“你能走多远……如果不呼吸?”

“我猜,不能确定。我不知道。这会有点不舒服——不能闻到味道。”

“有点不舒服。”我随声附和着。

我没太注意自己的表情,但这让他阴沉起来。他收回了手,一动不动地站着,他的眼睛紧张地看着我的脸。沉默在延续着。他的五官凝固成了石像。

“怎么了?”我低声说着,轻抚着他僵住的脸。

他的脸在我的手下柔和起来,他叹息着:“我依然等着它发生。”

“等着什么发生?”

“我知道总会有那么一刻,我告诉你的某件事,或者你看到的某件事,将会超出你的承受范围。然后你就会从我身旁逃开,尖叫着逃走。”他半笑着说道,但他的眼神依然很认真。“我不会阻止你。我想要这样的事情发生,因为我想让你安全些。但是,我还是想和你在一起。这两个愿望根本无法调和……”他打住了话头,看着我的脸,等待着。

“我哪里也不会去的。”我保证道。

“我们等着瞧。”他说着,又笑了起来。

我冲他皱起眉。“那么,继续——卡莱尔游到了法国。”
他顿了顿,又回到了他的故事。他转过身去看向了另一幅画面——所有画里最色彩斑斓的一幅,装裱得最为华丽的,也是最巨大的。它紧挨着门挂着,是门的两倍宽。那幅油画里溢满了穿着波浪纹的学士服的欢快的人物,他们有的站在长柱周围,有的站在大理石的阳台上。我说不清这是否代表了某个希腊神话,或者这些漫步在云端之上的人物是否出自圣经故事。

“卡莱尔游到了法国,然后继续在欧洲游历,访问那里的学府。夜里他研究音乐,科学,和医学——然后从中发现了他的职业,他的苦修,他可以拯救人类的生命。”他的神情变得敬畏,几近虔诚。“我无法恰当地描述这种挣扎。卡莱尔经过了两个世纪的痛苦的努力才完善了他的自我控制。现在他可以完全对人类血液的味道免疫,可以不受任何困扰地做他所热爱的工作。他从中找到了长久的平和感,在医院里……”爱德华移开视线,盯着空气,看了许久。忽然他似乎想起了自己的目的,他指点着我们面前的那幅巨大的画。

“他在意大利求学的时候,遇到了那里的其他人。他们比伦敦下水道里的那些幽灵更加开化,更有教养。”

他触到画在最高的阳台上的,看起来相对稳重的那四个人,沉着地低下头看着他们之下的一片混乱。我仔细地审视那群人,然后恍然大悟,吃惊地大笑起来,因为我认出了那个金发的男人。

“索利梅纳的灵感被卡莱尔的朋友大大地激发了,他经常把他们画成天神。”爱德华轻笑起来。“阿罗,马库斯,凯厄斯,”他说着,指点着另外三个人,两个是黑发,一个是如雪白发。“艺术的夜间保护人。”

“他们发生了什么事?”我大声提问道,我的指尖在离油画上的人物只有一公分的地方徘徊着。

“他们还在那里。”他耸耸肩。“他们在那里不知道待了几千年。卡莱尔只和他们待了很短的一段时间,只有几十年。他非常地钦佩他们的礼貌,他们的高尚,但他们固执地试图治愈他对‘他天生的食物来源’的厌恶,他们是这样称呼的。他们试图说服他,而他也试图说服他们,但双方都没有收到效果。在那时,卡莱尔决定去新世界试试。他梦想着能找到别的像他自己这样的人。他非常地孤独,你知道。

在很长一段时间里,他没有找到任何人。但是,随着怪物逐渐成为神话故事的内容,他发现自己可以毫无芥蒂地和没有戒心的人类相处,就好像他是他们之间的一员一样。他开始实践自己的医术。但他所渴望的伙伴关系依然躲着他,他不敢冒任何风险,去尝试亲密的关系。”

“当西班牙流感开始蔓延的时候,他在芝加哥的一家医院里上夜班。他心里有一个想法,已经形成了许多年了,他也几乎已经决定要去付诸行动了——既然他找不到志同道合的人,他可以自己创造一个。他不能完全肯定自己的转变是否能够顺利进行,所以他一直犹豫着。而且他不情愿去偷走别人的人生,就像他自己被偷走了人生一样。在他发现我的时候,他的想法成型了。我已经没救了,和一群奄奄一息的人待在一个病房里。他看护过我的父母,知道我已经成了孤儿。他决定试一试……”

他的声音,现在几近耳语,终于停住了。他视若无睹地向西边的窗外望去。我想知道充斥在他脑子里的是什么样的画面,是卡莱尔的回忆还是他自己的。我安静地等待着。

当他回过头来看向我时,一种温柔的天使般的微笑点亮了他的神情。

“所以现在我们又回到了开始的地方。”他作出了结语。
“那么,你一直都跟卡莱尔在一起吗?”我想知道。

“大部分时候是。”他轻柔地把手放到我的腰间,拥着我向门外走去。我回头看着那满墙的照片,想知道我是否听到其它的故事。

当我们走过走廊的时候,爱德华只字不提,所以我问道。“大部分?”

他叹了口气,似乎很不情愿回答。“好吧,我有过一段典型的青春期中的叛逆期——大约在我……新生……被创造出来的十年之后,你想怎么称呼都行。我对他那种禁欲的生活不感兴趣,而且我厌恶他遏制我的欲望。所以我离开了,独自过活了一段时间。”

“真的?”我被激起的好奇远胜于我的惊讶,也超出了我应该好奇的程度。

他能分辨出来。我隐隐约约地意识到我们正在走上通往另一层的楼梯,但我完全没有注意到自己周围的环境。

“那没有击退你吗?”

“没有。”

“为什么没有呢?”

“我猜……这听起来很合理。”

他厉声笑着,比之前笑得还要响。我们现在已经走到了楼梯顶上,站在了另一个镶嵌着木地板的走廊里。

“从我重获新生时起,”他喃喃低语道。“我就获得了知晓周围每一个人的想法的优势,不管对方是否是人类。这就是为什么我在过了十年之后才敢挑衅卡莱尔——我能读到他全然的真挚,确切地理解他为什么要过着这样的生活。”

“但只过了几年,我又回到了卡莱尔身边,重新接受他的观点。那时候我想着,我可以得到解脱的,从那种……沮丧……中得到赦免,并且是伴随着一种良心的产生的沮丧。因为我能知道我的牺牲品的想法,我可以略过那些无辜者,而只去猎食那些坏人。如果我追踪着一个在暗巷里偷偷靠近一个年轻女孩的谋杀犯——如果我救了她,那么的确我就没那么坏了。”

我颤抖着,太过清晰地想象出了他所描述的情景——深夜的小巷,受惊的女孩,尾随着她的那个阴暗的男人。还有爱德华,正在狩猎的爱德华,可怕又威武,宛如一个年轻的神明,不停地追赶着。那个女孩,她会更加感激,还是更加惊恐呢?

“但随着时间的推移,我开始从自己的眼中看见了那个怪物。不管我的行为多么正义,我都无法逃避自己夺走了那么多人命的罪过。然后我回到了卡莱尔和艾思梅的身边。他们热切地欢迎我这个游子归来。这远比我应得的还要多。”

我们停在了走廊尽头的最后一扇门前。

“我的房间。”他向我介绍道,打开门,然后把我拉进去。

他的房间朝南,有整整一面墙的落地窗,就像楼下的那个大房间一样。这栋屋子的后墙一定全是玻璃。他的视野囊括了那条蜿蜒的Sol Duc河,一直穿过那片未被涉足过的密林,直到奥林匹亚山脉。这片山脉比我相信的还要更近些。

西面的墙上摆满了一个接一个架子的CD。他房间里的库存比一家音像店里的还多。角落里是一套看上去久经世故的音响系统,是那种我不敢轻易触碰的音响,因为我知道我一定会打坏什么东西的。这里没有床,只有一张宽大的让人动心的黑色皮沙发。地上铺着厚厚的金色的地毯,墙上贴满了一种厚重的颜色稍深的织物。(应该是录音棚里的那种吸音材料,为了照顾其他吸血鬼过于敏感的听力。。。)
“不错的音响?”我猜测着。

他轻笑起来,点了点头。

他拿起遥控器,打开了音响。这音乐很安静,但这柔和的爵士乐的鼓点听起来就像是那个正在演奏的乐队就在屋里和我们在一起一样。我走过去看他那些令人惊叹的音乐收藏。

“你是怎么把这些编排起来的?”我问道,没法找出这些名称排练的韵律或理由。

他有些走神。

“呃嗯,按年份排,然后每一排按照个人喜好排。”他心不在焉地说着。

我回过头,他正用一种罕见的眼神看着我。

“什么?”

“我原以为我会觉得……很宽慰。让你知道所有的事情,不必再向你保守秘密。但我没想到我会感受到更多。我喜欢这样。这让我感觉……很快乐。”他耸耸肩,轻快地笑着。

“我很高兴。”我说着,报以一笑。我本来还在担心他会后悔告诉我这些事情。知道情况完全不是这回事,感觉真的很好。

但随后,他的眼睛剖析着我的神情,他的微笑消失了,他的额头皱了起来。

“你还在等着我尖叫着跑开,对吗?”我猜测着。

一抹微弱的笑容浮上他的唇,他点了点头。

“我讨厌打破你的幻想,但你真的没有你自己认为的那样可怕。我根本不觉得你可怕,真的。”我若无其事地撒谎道。

他停顿下来,明显是难以置信地扬起了眉毛。然后他露出了一个大大的坏笑。

“你真的不应该这样说的。”他轻笑着说。

他咆哮着,从喉咙深处发出一阵低吼声,他的嘴唇向后蜷起,露出了他完美无瑕的牙齿。他的身形忽然改变了,半蜷伏着身子,紧绷得像一只即将猛扑过来的狮子。

我瞪着他,向后退去。

“你不会这样做的。”

我根本没看见他向我扑过来——这一切太快了。我只发觉自己忽然间就在半空中,然后我们一起撞到了沙发上,把它撞到了墙上。整个过程中,他的手臂一直像一个铁笼子一样保护着我——我没有受到任何冲击。但我依然透不过气来,努力想让自己在沙发上坐起来。

他不让我这样做。他让我蜷伏在他的胸前,缩成了一个球。他的铁臂紧紧地抱住我,比铁链还要牢固。我有些担忧地注视着他,但他显然控制得很好,他的下颌松懈着,咧嘴一笑。他的眼睛很明亮,眼里只有笑意。

“你在说什么?”他开玩笑似的咆哮着。

“我说,你是个非常,非常可怕的怪物。”我说道,但我的讽刺稍有些瑕疵,因为我的声音依然有些喘不过气来。

“这就好多了。”他深表赞许。

“呃嗯,”我挣扎着。“我现在能起来了吗?”

他只是大笑着。

“我们能进来吗?”一个柔和的声音在走廊外响起。

我挣扎着想要挣脱出来,但爱德华只是稍微让我调整了一下,这样我就能用比较正常的姿势坐在他的膝盖上了。我看见,门口的是爱丽丝,还有紧跟在她身后的贾斯帕。我的脸颊灼热起来,但爱德华还是一副怡然自得的样子。

“进来吧。”爱德华依然安静地轻笑着。

爱丽丝似乎不觉得我们的拥抱有任何不寻常之处。她走了进来——几乎是在翩翩起舞,她的动作是那么的优雅——走到了屋子的中间,然后叠起腿蜷坐在地板上。但是,贾斯帕却停在了门外,他的表情有些许震惊。他注视着爱德华的脸,我想知道他是否透过他不同寻常的敏感感受到了这里的气氛。

“听起来你正要把贝拉当成午餐,我们过来看看你是否愿意分一杯羹。”爱丽丝宣布道。

“抱歉,我不相信我还有剩余的可供分享。”他回答道,他的胳膊满不在乎地紧抱着我。

“确实如此。”贾斯帕说着,不再有所顾忌地笑了起来,走进房间里。“爱丽丝说今晚将要有一场真正的暴风雨,艾美特想去打棒球,你来吗?”

这些话很寻常,但它的逻辑关系却让我困惑起来。但我还是抓住了一点,爱丽丝比天气预报员要更可靠些。 
 爱德华的眼睛亮了起来,但他踌躇着。

“你当然得带上贝拉。”爱丽丝唧唧喳喳地说着。我想我看见贾斯帕飞快地瞥了她一眼。

“你想去吗?”爱德华兴奋地问着我,他的神情简直是活力四射。

“当然。”我不能让这样一张脸失望。“呃嗯,我们要去哪里?”

“我们得等到雷雨天才能打球——你会看到这是为什么的。”他保证道。

“我需要带把伞吗?”

他们都大笑起来。

“她需要吗?”贾斯帕问爱丽丝。

“不。”她相当肯定。“暴风雨只会横扫整个小镇。那块空地上将会相当干爽。”

“那么,很好。”自然地,贾斯帕话语里的热情很有感染力。我发现自己也热切起来,甚至远甚于恐惧的僵直。

“我们去看看卡莱尔会不会加入。”爱丽丝跳起来,落到门口,她敏捷的动作能让任何一个芭蕾演员心灰意冷。

“就好像你不知道一样。”贾斯帕揶揄着,然后他们鱼贯而出。贾斯帕不引人注目地随手关上了门。

“我们要打什么球?”我盘问道。

“你会看到的,”爱德华澄清道。“我们要打棒球。”

我睁圆了眼睛。“吸血鬼喜欢棒球?”

“这是美国人的消遣。”他假装一本正经地说道。



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