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Chapter 18 The Hunt

    They emerged one by one from the forest edge, ranging a dozen metersapart. The first male into the clearing fell back immediately, allowingthe other male to take the front, orienting himself around the tall,dark-haired man in a manner that clearly displayed who led the pack. Thethird was a woman; from this distance, all I could see of her was thather hair was a startling shade of red.

  They closed ranks before they continued cautiously toward Edward's family, exhibiting the natural respect of a troop of predators as itencounters a larger, unfamiliar group of its own kind.

  As they approached, I could see how different they were from the Cullens.

  Their walk was catlike, a gait that seemed constantly on the edge ofshifting into a crouch. They dressed in the ordinary gear of backpackers:

  jeans and casual button-down shirts in heavy, weatherproof fabrics. Theclothes were frayed, though, with wear, and they were barefoot. Both menhad cropped hair, but the woman's brilliant orange hair was filled withleaves and debris from the woods.

  Their sharp eyes carefully took in the more polished, urbane stance ofCarlisle, who, flanked by Emmett and Jasper, stepped guardedly forward tomeet them. Without any seeming communication between them, they eachstraightened into a more casual, erect bearing.

  The man in front was easily the most beautiful, his skin olive-tonedbeneath the typical pallor, his hair a glossy black. He was of a mediumbuild, hard-muscled, of course, but nothing next to Emmett's brawn. Hesmiled an easy smile, exposing a flash of gleaming white teeth.

  The woman was wilder, her eyes shifting restlessly between the men facingher, and the loose grouping around me, her chaotic hair quivering in theslight breeze. Her posture was distinctly feline. The second male hoveredunobtrusively behind them, slighter than the leader, his light brown hairand regular features both nondescript. His eyes, though completely still,somehow seemed the most vigilant.

  Their eyes were different, too. Not the gold or black I had come toexpect, but a deep burgundy color that was disturbing and sinister.

  The dark-haired man, still smiling, stepped toward Carlisle.

  "We thought we heard a game," he said in a relaxed voice with theslightest of French accents. "I'm Laurent, these are Victoria and James."He gestured to the vampires beside him.

  "I'm Carlisle. This is my family, Emmett and Jasper, Rosalie, Esme andAlice, Edward and Bella." He pointed us out in groups, deliberately notcalling attention to individuals. I felt a shock when he said my name.

  "Do you have room for a few more players?" Laurent asked sociably.

  Carlisle matched Laurent's friendly tone. "Actually, we were justfinishing up. But we'd certainly be interested another time. Are youplanning to stay in the area for long?""We're headed north, in fact, but we were curious to see who was in theneighborhood. We haven't run into any company in a long time.""No, this region is usually empty except for us and the occasionalvisitor, like yourselves."The tense atmosphere had slowly subsided into a casual conversation; Iguessed that Jasper was using his peculiar gift to control the situation.

  "What's your hunting range?" Laurent casually inquired.

  Carlisle ignored the assumption behind the inquiry. "The Olympic Rangehere, up and down the Coast Ranges on occasion. We keep a permanentresidence nearby. There's another permanent settlement like ours up nearDenali."Laurent rocked back on his heels slightly.

  "Permanent? How do you manage that?" There was honest curiosity in hisvoice.

  "Why don't you come back to our home with us and we can talkcomfortably?" Carlisle invited. "It's a rather long story."James and Victoria exchanged a surprised look at the mention of the word "home," but Laurent controlled his expression better.

  "That sounds very interesting, and welcome." His smile was genial. "We'vebeen on the hunt all the way down from Ontario, and we haven't had thechance to clean up in a while." His eyes moved appreciatively overCarlisle's refined appearance.

  "Please don't take offense, but we'd appreciate it if you'd refrain fromhunting in this immediate area. We have to stay inconspicuous, youunderstand," Carlisle explained.

  "Of course." Laurent nodded. "We certainly won't encroach on yourterritory. We just ate outside of Seattle, anyway," he laughed. A shiverran up my spine.

  "We'll show you the way if you'd like to run with us — Emmett and Alice,you can go with Edward and Bella to get the Jeep," he casually added.

  Three things seemed to happen simultaneously while Carlisle was speaking.

  My hair ruffled with the light breeze, Edward stiffened, and the secondmale, James, suddenly whipped his head around, scrutinizing me, hisnostrils flaring.

  A swift rigidity fell on all of them as James lurched one step forwardinto a crouch. Edward bared his teeth, crouching in defense, a feralsnarl ripping from his throat.

  It was nothing like the playful sounds I'd heard from him this morning;it was the single most menacing thing I had ever heard, and chills ranfrom the crown of my head to the back of my heels.

  "What's this?" Laurent exclaimed in open surprise. Neither James norEdward relaxed their aggressive poses. James feinted slightly to theside, and Edward shifted in response.

  "She's with us." Carlisle's firm rebuff was directed toward James.

  Laurent seemed to catch my scent less powerfully than James, butawareness now dawned on his face.

  "You brought a snack?" he asked, his expression incredulous as he took aninvoluntary step forward.

  Edward snarled even more ferociously, harshly, his lip curling high abovehis glistening, bared teeth. Laurent stepped back again.

  "I said she's with us," Carlisle corrected in a hard voice.

  "But she's human," Laurent protested. The words were not at allaggressive, merely astounded.

  "Yes." Emmett was very much in evidence at Carlisle's side, his eyes onJames. James slowly straightened out of his crouch, but his eyes neverleft me, his nostrils still wide. Edward stayed tensed like a lion infront of me.

  When Laurent spoke, his tone was soothing — trying to defuse the suddenhostility. "It appears we have a lot to learn about each other.""Indeed." Carlisle's voice was still cool.

  "But we'd like to accept your invitation." His eyes flicked toward me andback to Carlisle. "And, of course, we will not harm the human girl. Wewon't hunt in your range, as I said."James glanced in disbelief and aggravation at Laurent and exchangedanother brief look with Victoria, whose eyes still flickered edgily fromface to face.

  Carlisle measured Laurent's open expression for a moment before he spoke.

  "We'll show you the way. Jasper, Rosalie, Esme?" he called. They gatheredtogether, blocking me from view as they converged. Alice was instantly atmy side, and Emmett fell back slowly, his eyes locked on James as he backed toward us.

  "Let's go, Bella." Edward's voice was low and bleak.

  This whole time I'd been rooted in place, terrified into absoluteimmobility. Edward had to grip my elbow and pull sharply to break mytrance. Alice and Emmett were close behind us, hiding me. I stumbledalongside Edward, still stunned with fear. I couldn't hear if the maingroup had left yet. Edward's impatience was almost tangible as we movedat human speed to the forest edge.

  Once we were into the trees, Edward slung me over his back withoutbreaking stride. I gripped as tightly as possible as he took off, theothers close on his heels. I kept my head down, but my eyes, wide withfright, wouldn't close. They plunged through the now-black forest likewraiths. The sense of exhilaration that usually seemed to possess Edwardas he ran was completely absent, replaced by a fury that consumed him anddrove him still faster. Even with me on his back, the others trailedbehind.

  We reached the Jeep in an impossibly short time, and Edward barely slowedas he flung me in the backseat.

  "Strap her in," he ordered Emmett, who slid in beside me.

  Alice was already in the front seat, and Edward was starting the engine.

  It roared to life and we swerved backward, spinning around to face thewinding road.

  Edward was growling something too fast for me to understand, but itsounded a lot like a string of profanities.

  The jolting trip was much worse this time, and the darkness only made itmore frightening. Emmett and Alice both glared out the side windows.

  We hit the main road, and though our speed increased, I could see muchbetter where we were going. And we were headed south, away from Forks.

  "Where are we going?" I asked.

  No one answered. No one even looked at me.

  "Dammit, Edward! Where are you taking me?""We have to get you away from here — far away — now." He didn't lookback, his eyes on the road. The speedometer read a hundred and five milesan hour.

  "Turn around! You have to take me home!" I shouted. I struggled with thestupid harness, tearing at the straps.

  "Emmett," Edward said grimly.

  And Emmett secured my hands in his steely grasp.

  "No! Edward! No, you can't do this.""I have to, Bella, now please be quiet.""I won't! You have to take me back — Charlie will call the FBI! They'llbe all over your family — Carlisle and Esme! They'll have to leave, tohide forever!""Calm down, Bella." His voice was cold. "We've been there before.""Not over me, you don't! You're not ruining everything over me!" Istruggled violently, with total futility.

  Alice spoke for the first time. "Edward, pull over."He flashed her a hard look, and then sped up.

   "Edward, let's just talk this through.""You don't understand," he roared in frustration. I'd never heard hisvoice so loud; it was deafening in the confines of the Jeep. Thespeedometer neared one hundred and fifteen. "He's a tracker, Alice, didyou see that? He's a tracker!"I felt Emmett stiffen next to me, and I wondered at his reaction to theword. It meant something more to the three of them than it did to me; Iwanted to understand, but there was no opening for me to ask.

  "Pull over, Edward." Alice's tone was reasonable, but there was a ring ofauthority in it I'd never heard before.

  The speedometer inched passed one-twenty.

  "Do it, Edward.""Listen to me, Alice. I saw his mind. Tracking is his passion, hisobsession — and he wants her, Alice — her, specifically. He begins thehunt tonight.""He doesn't know where —"He interrupted her. "How long do you think it will take him to cross herscent in town? His plan was already set before the words were out ofLaurent's mouth."I gasped, knowing where my scent would lead. "Charlie! You can't leavehim there! You can't leave him!" I thrashed against the harness.

  "She's right," Alice said.

  The car slowed slightly.

  "Let's just look at our options for a minute," Alice coaxed.

  The car slowed again, more noticeably, and then suddenly we screeched toa stop on the shoulder of the highway. I flew against the harness, andthen slammed back into the seat.

  "There are no options," Edward hissed.

  "I'm not leaving Charlie!" I yelled.

  He ignored me completely.

  "We have to take her back," Emmett finally spoke.

  "No." Edward was absolute.

  "He's no match for us, Edward. He won't be able to touch her.""He'll wait."Emmett smiled. "I can wait, too.""You didn't see — you don't understand. Once he commits to a hunt, he'sunshakable. We'd have to kill him."Emmett didn't seem upset by the idea. "That's an option.""And the female. She's with him. If it turns into a fight, the leaderwill go with them, too.""There are enough of us.""There's another option," Alice said quietly.

  Edward turned on her in fury, his voice a blistering snarl. "There — is —no — other — option!" Emmett and I both stared at him in shock, but Alice seemed unsurprised.

  The silence lasted for a long minute as Edward and Alice stared eachother down.

  I broke it. "Does anyone want to hear my plan?""No," Edward growled. Alice glared at him, finally provoked.

  "Listen," I pleaded. "You take me back.""No," he interrupted.

  I glared at him and continued. "You take me back. I tell my dad I want togo home to Phoenix. I pack my bags. We wait till this tracker iswatching, and then we run. He'll follow us and leave Charlie alone.

  Charlie won't call the FBI on your family. Then you can take me anydamned place you want."They stared at me, stunned.

  "It's not a bad idea, really." Emmett's surprise was definitely an insult.

  "It might work — and we simply can't leave her father unprotected. Youknow that," Alice said.

  Everyone looked at Edward.

  "It's too dangerous — I don't want him within a hundred miles of her."Emmett was supremely confident. "Edward, he's not getting through us."Alice thought for a minute. "I don't see him attacking. He'll try to waitfor us to leave her alone.""It won't take long for him to realize that's not going to happen.""I demand that you take me home." I tried to sound firm.

  Edward pressed his fingers to his temples and squeezed his eyes shut.

  "Please," I said in a much smaller voice.

  He didn't look up. When he spoke, his voice sounded worn.

  "You're leaving tonight, whether the tracker sees or not. You tellCharlie that you can't stand another minute in Forks. Tell him whateverstory works. Pack the first things your hands touch, and then get in yourtruck. I don't care what he says to you. You have fifteen minutes. Do youhear me? Fifteen minutes from the time you cross the doorstep."The Jeep rumbled to life, and he spun us around, the tires squealing. Theneedle on the speedometer started to race up the dial.

  "Emmett?" I asked, looking pointedly at my hands.

  "Oh, sorry." He let me loose.

  A few minutes passed in silence, other than the roar of the engine. ThenEdward spoke again.

  "This is how it's going to happen. When we get to the house, if thetracker is not there, I will walk her to the door. Then she has fifteenminutes." He glared at me in the rearview mirror. "Emmett, you take theoutside of the house. Alice, you get the truck. I'll be inside as long asshe is. After she's out, you two can take the Jeep home and tellCarlisle.""No way," Emmett broke in. "I'm with you.""Think it through, Emmett. I don't know how long I'll be gone.""Until we know how far this is going to go, I'm with you." Edward sighed. "If the tracker is there," he continued grimly, "we keepdriving.""We're going to make it there before him," Alice said confidently.

  Edward seemed to accept that. Whatever his problem with Alice was, hedidn't doubt her now.

  "What are we going to do with the Jeep?" she asked.

  His voice had a hard edge. "You're driving it home.""No, I'm not," she said calmly.

  The unintelligible stream of profanities started again.

  "We can't all fit in my truck," I whispered.

  Edward didn't appear to hear me.

  "I think you should let me go alone," I said even more quietly.

  He heard that.

  "Bella, please just do this my way, just this once," he said betweenclenched teeth.

  "Listen, Charlie's not an imbecile," I protested. "If you're not in towntomorrow, he's going to get suspicious.""That's irrelevant. We'll make sure he's safe, and that's all thatmatters.""Then what about this tracker? He saw the way you acted tonight. He'sgoing to think you're with me, wherever you are."Emmett looked at me, insultingly surprised again. "Edward, listen toher," he urged. "I think she's right.""Yes, she is," Alice agreed.

  "I can't do that." Edward's voice was icy.

  "Emmett should stay, too," I continued. "He definitely got an eyeful ofEmmett.""What?" Emmett turned on me.

  "You'll get a better crack at him if you stay," Alice agreed.

  Edward stared at her incredulously. "You think I should let her go alone?""Of course not," Alice said. "Jasper and I will take her.""I can't do that," Edward repeated, but this time there was a trace ofdefeat in his voice. The logic was working on him.

  I tried to be persuasive. "Hang out here for a week —" I saw hisexpression in the mirror and amended "— a few days. Let Charlie see youhaven't kidnapped me, and lead this James on a wild-goose chase. Makesure he's completely off my trail. Then come and meet me. Take aroundabout route, of course, and then Jasper and Alice can go home."I could see him beginning to consider it.

  "Meet you where?""Phoenix." Of course.

  "No. He'll hear that's where you're going," he said impatiently.

   "And you'll make it look like that's a ruse, obviously. He'll know thatwe'll know that he's listening. He'll never believe I'm actually goingwhere I say I am going.""She's diabolical," Emmett chuckled.

  "And if that doesn't work?""There are several million people in Phoenix," I informed him.

  "It's not that hard to find a phone book.""I won't go home.""Oh?" he inquired, a dangerous note in his voice.

  "I'm quite old enough to get my own place.""Edward, we'll be with her," Alice reminded him.

  "What are you going to do in Phoenix?" he asked her scathingly.

  "Stay indoors.""I kind of like it." Emmett was thinking about cornering James, no doubt.

  "Shut up, Emmett.""Look, if we try to take him down while she's still around, there's amuch better chance that someone will get hurt — she'll get hurt, or youwill, trying to protect her. Now, if we get him alone…" He trailed offwith a slow smile. I was right.

  The Jeep was crawling slowly along now as we drove into town. Despite mybrave talk, I could feel the hairs on my arms standing up. I thoughtabout Charlie, alone in the house, and tried to be courageous.

  "Bella." Edward's voice was very soft. Alice and Emmett looked out theirwindows. "If you let anything happen to yourself— anything at all — I'mholding you personally responsible. Do you understand that?""Yes," I gulped.

  He turned to Alice.

  "Can Jasper handle this?""Give him some credit, Edward. He's been doing very, very well, allthings considered.""Can you handle this?" he asked.

  And graceful little Alice pulled back her lips in a horrific grimace andlet loose with a guttural snarl that had me cowering against the seat interror.

  Edward smiled at her. "But keep your opinions to yourself," he mutteredsuddenly.

第十八章 猎杀

他们一个接一个地出现在密林边缘,分散着走在十几米的范围之内。(ranging a dozen meters apart.)第一个出现的男子立刻退了回去,让另一个男子走在前头,自己则紧跟着那个高大的黑发的男子。从某种程度上说,这一举动彰显着后者才是这一群人的头领。第三个是一个女性,隔着这么远的距离,我只能看见她那一头惊人的带着红影的长发。

他们紧紧地聚拢在一起,然后才警惕地继续朝着爱德华的家人走去,表现出一群结伴而行的掠食者在遭遇一群更庞大的陌生同类时的本能反应。

当他们走近的时候,我看出了他们和卡伦一家的不同之处。他们走路像猫一样,是一种似乎随时都准备着变化身形蜷下身来的步法。他们的穿着是寻常的徒步旅行者的打扮:都穿着牛仔裤和没系扣子的厚重的防水面料的恤衫。但是,他们的衣物都很破旧,而且他们都打着赤脚。男人们都理着平头,但那个女人鲜亮的橙色头发里粘满了树叶和碎树枝。

他们锐利的眼睛仔细地打量着姿势更为优美文雅的卡莱尔,艾美特和贾斯帕小心提防着走到卡莱尔的两侧,与他们会合。在没有任何交流的情况下,他们都站直了身子,换成一种更为警惕的,直立的防御姿态。

站在前头的那个男人显然是他们之中最美丽的,在那种典型的苍白的色调之下,他的肌肤是橄榄色的,他的头发乌黑发亮。他体格中等,当然,肌肉很发达,但跟艾美特的肌肉群相比简直是小巫见大巫。他轻松地笑着,隐约露出雪白的牙齿。

那个女人看上去更野蛮些,她的眼睛不停地打量着直视着她的男人们,还有环绕在我身旁的松散的人墙。她乱糟糟的头发在微风中轻轻颤动着。她的姿势显然就像猫科动物那样。第二个男人徘徊在他们身后,很不引人注目,他的体格比领头的人更纤细些,他浅棕色的头发和平板的五官都乏善可陈,他的目光僵直着,但不知怎地他的眼神看上去最为警觉。

他们的眼睛也不一样。不是我原先想到的金色或是黑色,而是一种深深的勃艮第葡萄酒的颜色,看上去既暴躁又凶恶。

那个黑发男子依然微笑着,向卡莱尔走去。

“我们觉得,我们听见了打球赛的声音。”他用一种放松的口吻说道,带着极淡的法国口音。“我是劳伦,他们是维多利亚和詹姆斯。”他指了指他身后的两个吸血鬼。

“我是卡莱尔。他们是我的家人,艾美特和贾斯帕,罗莎莉,艾思梅和爱丽丝,还有爱德华和贝拉。”他三三两两地介绍着我们,故意不让他们的注意力落到某个特定的人身上。当他说到我的名字时,我吃了一惊。

“你们还有空位让别的选手加入吗?”劳伦和蔼可亲地问道。

卡莱尔配合着劳伦友好的语气说道。“其实,我们正要结束游戏。但下次的话我们一定会很乐意的。你们打算在这个地区久留吗?”

“事实上,我们正在去北方的路上,但我们都很好奇,想看看是谁住在这附近。我们已经很久没有碰到过同类了。”

“不,这个地区通常都是空的,只有我们住在这里,偶尔会有访客经过,比方说你们。”

一触即发的紧张气氛慢慢地消失了,谈话变得随意起来。我猜贾斯帕正在用他特有的天赋在控制着局面。
“你们都在哪里狩猎?”劳伦若无其事地寒暄道。

卡莱尔并不理会隐藏在问话里的假设。“这里的奥林匹亚山脉,偶尔也会涉足南北两侧的沿海山脉。我们在这附近有个固定住所。德纳利峰附近也有一群像我们这样的定居者。”

劳伦微微震惊地站直了身子。

“固定住所?你们是怎么做到的?”他声音里的好奇显露无遗。

“你们为什么不到我们家里坐坐,这样我们可以更舒服地谈话?”卡莱尔邀请道。“这可是个很长很长的故事。”

听到“家”这个词,詹姆斯和维多利亚交换了一个惊讶的眼神,但劳伦更好地控制住了自己的表情。

“这听上去很有趣,我们很受欢迎。”他和蔼地笑着。“我们从安大略湖过来,一路上都在狩猎,还没有机会停下来梳洗一番。”他的目光欣赏地打量着卡莱尔优雅的装束。

“请不要客气,但如果你们能尽量克制避免就近在这个地区狩猎,我们会非常感激的。我们要待在这里,得不引人注目,你能明白的。”卡莱尔解释道。

“当然。”劳伦点点头。“我们确实不想侵占你们的领地。无论如何,我们会在西雅图之外进食。”他大笑起来。一阵战栗滑过我的脊背。

“我们会给你们指路,如果你们愿意和我们一起奔跑的话——艾美特和爱丽丝,你们跟爱德华和贝拉一起坐越野车走。”他若无其事地补充道。

在卡莱尔说话的当儿,有三件事碰巧同时发生了。我的头发被微风吹乱了,爱德华僵住了,而第二个男人,詹姆斯,忽然转过头来,审视着我,他的鼻孔张大了。
当詹姆斯蜷下腰向我踏出第一步的时候,所有人都迅速地僵直起来。爱德华露出牙齿,防备地蜷下腰,一阵狂野的咆哮冲出了他的喉头。

这完全不像今天早上我听到的他那种玩闹的咆哮。这绝对是我所听过的最具威胁性的声音。一阵寒意从我的头顶一直传到我的脚后跟。

“这是怎么回事?”劳伦大叫起来,丝毫没有掩饰自己的惊讶。但詹姆斯和爱德华都没有放松他们攻击性的姿势。詹姆斯做了个假动作,稍微往旁边挪了挪,爱德华立刻做出了相应的反应,也移动了身形。

“她和我们是一起的。”卡莱尔向詹姆斯断然拒绝道,明白地显示着他坚定的态度。劳伦似乎并没有像詹姆斯那样捕捉到了我的味道,但他脸上现在露出了明白过来的神情。

“你们还带了点心来?”他问道,脸上露出了怀疑的神色,不知不觉往前走了一步。

爱德华的咆哮变得更加凶狠,更加刺耳,他的上唇高高地卷起,闪亮的牙齿展露无遗。劳伦又退了回去。

“我说了,她和我们是一起的。”卡莱尔用严厉的声音更正道。

“可她是人类。”劳伦大声说道。这些话与其说是挑衅,不如说是震惊。

“是的。”艾美特显然站在了卡莱尔这边,他的眼睛注视着詹姆斯。詹姆斯慢慢地直起蜷伏的身子,但他的眼睛始终盯着我,他的鼻孔依然张得大大的。爱德华紧张地守护在我跟前,有如一头雄狮。

劳伦开了口,他的声音有着安慰的味道——试图减轻这阵突如其来的敌意。“看来我们对彼此还有许多需要相互了解的地方。”

“确实如此。”卡莱尔的声音非常冷淡。

“但我们还是很乐意接受你们的邀请。”他飞快地瞥了我一眼,又看回卡莱尔。“还有,当然,我们不会伤害那个人类女孩的。我说过,我们不会在你们的地盘狩猎。”

詹姆斯露出难以置信的神情,愤怒地瞪了一眼劳伦,然后又和维多利亚交换了一个简短的眼神。她的眼睛依然尖锐地审视着每一张脸。

卡莱尔衡量着劳伦脸上坦率的神情,半晌才说道:“我们会给你们带路。贾斯帕,罗莎莉,艾美特?”他喊道。他们几个立刻聚拢起来,挡住了我的视线。爱丽丝立刻站到了我身旁。艾美特慢慢地往后退过来,他的眼睛始终锁定着正背向我们离开的詹姆斯的身影。

“我们走,贝拉。”爱德华的声音既低沉又阴冷。

整个过程中我都像脚下生了根似的站在那里,吓得完全无法动弹。爱德华不得不抓住我的胳膊猛地一拉,才让我的魂魄归位。爱丽丝和艾美特紧紧地站在我们身旁,掩护着我。我跌跌拌拌跟着爱德华,依然因为恐惧而眩晕着。我听不见大部队是否已经离开了。当我们用人类的速度向树林边缘走去时,爱德华的不耐烦简直可以看得见摸得着了。 
 我们一走进树林,爱德华立刻把我甩到背上,一步也不停地飞奔起来。当他起跑的时候,我死死地抓牢他,别的人紧跟在他身后。我埋着头,但我的眼睛因为恐惧而睁得大大的,根本合不上眼。他们跳进黑暗得宛如幽灵出没的密林里。当爱德华全速奔跑时,他的心情总是很愉快,但现在那种情绪完全没有了,取而代之的是一种几乎要毁灭他的狂暴,这让他跑得更快了。即便他背上还背着我,别的人还是被远远地抛在了后头。

我们很快就到了越野车那里,所花的时间短得不可思议。而爱德华仅仅是在把我塞进后座上时才放慢了动作。

“给她系上安全带。”(Strap her in。。。拴住她)他向刚刚滑到我身旁坐下的艾美特下令道。

爱丽丝已经坐在了前座上,爱德华发动了引擎。引擎轰鸣着发动起来,我们向后急转,原地倒进了那条弯曲的道路。

爱德华在咆哮着什么,他的语速太快了,我根本听不懂,但听起来像是一连串的咒骂。

这趟颠簸的旅程变得比上次更糟,黑暗的降临只让一切显得更加阴森可怖。艾美特和爱丽丝各自监视着一侧的窗子。

我们冲进了主干道,可我们的速度却加快了。我看清了我们正在开往的方向。我们正在南走,远离福克斯的方向。

“我们要去哪里?”我问道。

没有人回答,甚至没有人看我一眼。

“该死,爱德华!你要带我去哪里?”

“我们得带你离开这里——越远越好——就是现在。”他没有回头,他的眼睛注视着路面。里程计显示着现在是一百零五英里的时速。

“掉头!你得带我回家!”我喊道。我挣扎着想要从身上这套愚蠢的辔头里挣脱出来,用力撕扯着那些皮带。

“艾美特。”爱德华厉声说道。

艾美特用他钢铁般的手掌按住了我的手。

“不!爱德华!不,你不能这样做。”

“我必须这样做,贝拉,现在,求你安静些。”

“我不!你得带我回去——查理会通知FBI的!他们会把你的家族彻底终结——卡莱尔和艾美特!他们会被迫离开,永远地藏起来。”

“冷静下来,贝拉。”他的声音很冷。“我们从前就去过那里了。”

“别对我指手画脚,你不能这样!你不能因为我而毁掉一切!”(Not over me, you don't! You're not ruining everything over me!此处借鉴了接力的译文。。。完全看不懂。。。)

爱丽丝第一次说话了。“爱德华,开回去。”
他瞥了她一眼,然后加速。

“爱德华,我们得好好谈谈这件事。”

“你不明白,”他挫败地吼道。我从没听过他用那么大的声音说话,他的声音在越野车狭小的空间里回荡着,振聋发聩。现在里程计上的示数几近一百五十英里。“他是个追猎者,爱丽丝,你看见了吗?他是个追猎者!”

我感到坐在我身旁的艾美特僵住了,我仔细忖度着他对这句话的反应。这话对他们三个来说意味深长,但对我却不。我试图理解这句话,但这里没有我公开发问的余地。

“把车开回去,爱德华。”爱丽丝的语气很通情达理,但却带着一种我之前没有听到过的权威的感觉。

里程计的指针一点一点地挪回了一百二十英里。

“听我说,爱丽丝。我看见了他脑子里的想法。追猎是他的爱好,他偏执于此(his passion, his obsession)——而且他想要她,爱丽丝——,就是她。他今晚就会开始狩猎。”

“他不知道去哪里——”

他打断了她的话。“你觉得他在镇里追寻她的气味能花多少时间?劳伦的话还没出口,他脑子里就已经形成计划了。”

我顿时领悟过来,知道我的味道将把他引向何方。“查理!你不能把他留在那里!你不能留下他。”我竭力要挣脱安全带。

“她是对的。”爱丽丝说道。

车子稍微减慢了速度。

“让我们花一分钟时间浏览一下我们的可选项。”爱丽丝耐心地哄着。

车子慢了下来,这回更加明显,然后忽然一个急刹车,停在了路基上。我在安全带的保护下才没有飞出去,随即重重地落回座位上。

“根本不存在任何选择。”爱德华嘶声说道。

“我不会离开查理!”我疾呼道。

他完全无视我。

“我们得把她带回去。”艾美特最终说话了。

“不。”爱德华很坚决。

“他根本赢不了我们,爱德华。他甚至没有机会摸到她的半根头发。(【的半根头发】是我加的。。。)”

“他会等着的。”

艾美特笑了。“我也能等。”

“你看不见——你不明白。一旦他决定了某个猎物,他就会坚定不移地追猎到底。我们必须杀了他。”

艾美特并没有被这个想法难倒。“这也是一个选择。”

“还有那个女人。她和他是一对。如果这最终会演变成一场战役,那个首领也会和他们站在一起。”

“我们有足够的人手。”

“还有另一个选择。”爱丽丝安静地说道。

爱德华狂怒地转过头去看着她,他的声音是一种震撼的咆哮。“没——有——另——一——个——选——择!”

艾美特和我都震惊地看着他,但爱丽丝似乎丝毫不感到意外。沉默持续了很久,爱德华和爱丽丝对视了许久,想要逼得对方低下头。

我打破了沉默。“有人想听听我的计划吗?”
“不。”爱德华咆哮道。爱丽丝瞪着他,终于被激怒了。

“听着,”我恳求道。“你带我回去。”

“不。”他打断了我的话。

我怒视着他,继续说道:“你带我回去。我告诉我爸爸我要回凤凰城的家。我会打包好行李。我们一直等到那个追猎者看到这一切为止,然后我们就跑路。他会跟着我们,留下查理一个人。那样查理就不会呼叫FBI来解决你的家人。在这之后,随你想带我去那里都行。”

他们都震惊地看着我。

“这主意不坏,真的。”艾美特的惊讶显然有些傲慢无礼。

“这会有用的——我们只要不让他父亲脱离保护就行。你知道那种事。”爱丽丝说道。

每个人都在看着爱德华。

“这太危险了——我不想让他接近她周围方圆一百码的地方。”

艾美特自信得快要爆出来了。“爱德华,他不可能从我们这里通过。”

爱丽丝思索了一分钟。“我没看见他采取进攻。他试图等到我们离开,留下她一个人的时候。”

“用不了多久他就会意识到这不会发生的。”

“我请求你,带我回家。”我试图让自己听起来坚定些。

爱德华用手指按住自己的鬓角,紧紧地闭上了双眼。

“求你了。”我用更小的声音说道。

他没有抬头。当他说话时,他的声音听起来很疲倦。

“不管那个追猎者有没有看见,你今晚就得动身。你告诉查理,你不想在福克斯多呆一分钟。什么故事管用就跟他说什么。把你手边的东西打包起来,然后回到卡车上。我不在乎他对你说什么。你有十五分钟的时间。你听见我说的话了吗?从你踏上门阶起,十五分钟。”

越野车又隆隆地发动起来,他原地急转,把我们都甩到了一旁,轮胎发出尖锐的摩擦声。里程计上的指针开始飞快地划过表盘。

“艾美特?”我问道,用强调的目光看着自己的手。

“哦,对不起。”他放开了我。

好几分钟在沉默中过去了,只有引擎的声音还在响着。然后,爱德华又开口了。

“以下是将要发生的事。当我们开到那栋房子那里时,如果追猎者不在那里,我会陪她走到门口,然后她有十五分钟的时间。”他在后视镜中注视着我。“艾美特,你守在屋子外面。爱丽丝,你守着卡车。我会一直陪她待在屋里。等她出来以后,你们两个就把越野车开回去,把一切告诉卡莱尔。”

“没门,”艾美特打断道。“我跟你是一起的。”(I'm with you. 这句很让我感动。。。一般现在时,就是说无论过去,现在和将来。。。可爱的两肋插刀的艾美特。。。)

“想清楚了,艾美特。我不知道我要离开多长时间。”

“直到我们知道事态将发展到何种地步以前,我都会和你站在一起。”(兄弟。。。真的只是兄弟。。。不抛弃,不放弃)

爱德华叹了口气。“如果追猎者在那里,”他严厉地继续说道。“我们就开过去。”

“我们会赶在他前头到达那里。”爱丽丝自信地说道。

爱德华似乎接受了这个观点。不管他和爱丽丝之间有何龃龉,现在他对她都没有任何怀疑。

“我们要怎么处理这辆越野车?”她问道。

他的声音带着生硬的味道。“你把它开回家。”

“不,我不会这样做的。”她冷静地说道。

那阵莫名其妙的滔滔不绝的低咒又开始了。

“我的卡车坐不下我们所有人。”我低声说道。

爱德华没有表现出任何听到我说话的样子。

“我想你得让我一个人开车。”我更加平静地说道。

他听到了。

“贝拉,求你了,按我说的去做,就这一次。”他咬紧了牙关,挤出这句话。
“听着,查理不是白痴。”我竭力主张道。“如果明天你也不在镇上了,他会起疑心的。”

“这毫不相干。我们会确保他的安全,这就够了。”

“那追猎者怎么办?他看见了你今晚的表现。他会认为不管你在那里,你都会和我在一起。”

艾美特看着我,再次露出几近侮辱的惊讶的神情。“爱德华,听她的。”他催促着。“我认为她是对的。”

“是的,她是对的。”爱丽丝赞同道

“我不能这样做。”爱德华的声音很冷淡。

“艾美特也得留下。”我继续说道。“他显然会好好看着艾美特。”

“什么?”艾美特转头看着我。

“如果你留下来的话,你能更好地对他的行动做出反应。”爱丽丝赞同道。

爱德华怀疑地盯着她。“你认为我应该让她一个人走?”

“当然不是,”爱丽丝说道。“贾斯帕和我会照看着她。”

“我不能这样做。”爱德华重复道,但这一次他的话语里有着一丝败北的味道。理智在他身上起作用了。(The logic was working on him.)

我试图循循善诱。“你在这里闲逛个一周——”我从后视镜里看见他的表情,立刻更正道。“——几天。让查理看到你没有绑架我,还有让那个詹姆斯徒劳地四处搜素。确保他完全得不到我的踪迹。然后来见我。当然,路上得绕些道,然后贾斯帕和爱丽丝就可以回家了。”

我看得出,他开始思考这件事。

“在哪里见你?”

“凤凰城。”当然。

“不行。他会听到你要去的地方。”他不耐烦地说道。

“很显然,你可以把这看成一种策略。他知道我们知道他在听。他绝对不会相信我要去的确实就是我所说的地方。”

“她是个恶魔。”艾美特轻笑起来。

“如果这不管用呢?”

“凤凰城有几百万人口。”我告诉他。

“找本电话簿不是什么难事。”

“我不会回家的。”

“哦?”他讯问道,语气里有着危险的意味。

“我的年纪足够大了,我能找到自己能待的地方。”

“爱德华,我们会和她在一起。”爱丽丝提醒他。

“你在凤凰城要做什么?”他严厉地问她。

“闭门不出。”

“我有点喜欢这件事。”毫无疑问,艾美特正在思索着怎样把詹姆斯逼进绝路。

“闭嘴,艾美特。”

“看吧,如果我们试图在她仍在周围的时候就去阻拦他,有人受伤的可能性会更大——她会受伤,或者是你,在竭力保护她时挂彩。现在,如果我们让他独自一人……”他的话尾消失在一个慢慢绽开的笑容中。我是对的。
“很显然,你可以把这看成一种策略。他知道我们知道他在听。他绝对不会相信我要去的确实就是我所说的地方。” 


这个。。。其实体现了贝拉对人性的深刻理解。。。开玩笑的,其实这时候他们已经基本确定詹姆斯会在那里等着贝拉,那么作为一个嗜好追猎的吸血鬼,他异常敏锐的各种感觉一定会发现有三个吸血鬼在守护着贝拉,所以他会格外多疑,当贝拉说她要去凤凰城的时候,他应该会本能的认为这只是说给他听的,所以会认定贝拉不会去凤凰城。 
 当我们开进镇里的时候,越野车在路上慢慢地行驶着。虽然方才我说出了那么勇敢的话,但我依然能感觉到自己胳膊上的毛发根根直立着。我在想着查理,他正独自一人待在家里。我试图让自己更勇敢些。

“贝拉。”爱德华的声音异常地温柔。爱丽丝和艾美特看着各自的窗外。“如果你让自己发生任何意外——不管是什么样的意外——我都会唯你是问(我都会跟你算总账)。你明白了吗?”

“明白。”我吞咽了一下。

他转头看着爱丽丝。

“贾斯帕能驾驭这样的状况吗?(贾斯帕能自我克制吗?)”

“给他点信任,爱德华。综合考虑各方面的因素,他已经做得非常,非常好了。”

“你能驾驭这样的状况吗?”

优雅的小巧的爱丽丝,蜷曲起她的嘴唇,作出一个狰狞的鬼脸,从喉咙里吼出一声咆哮。我吓得缩进了座位了。

爱德华冲她一笑。“不过,你的意见只能你自己知道。”(keep your opinions to yourself,你的意见自己留着用吧。)他忽然喃喃低语道。



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