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Chapter 19 Goodbye

    Charlie was waiting up for me. All the house lights were on. My mind wasblank as I tried to think of a way to make him let me go. This wasn'tgoing to be pleasant.

  Edward pulled up slowly, staying well back from my truck. All three ofthem were acutely alert, ramrod straight in their seats, listening toevery sound of the wood, looking through every shadow, catching everyscent, searching for something out of place. The engine cut off, and Isat, motionless, as they continued to listen.

  "He's not here," Edward said tensely. "Let's go." Emmett reached over tohelp me get out of the harness.

  "Don't worry, Bella," he said in a low but cheerful voice, "we'll takecare of things here quickly."I felt moisture filling up my eyes as I looked at Emmett. I barely knewhim, and yet, somehow, not knowing when I would see him again aftertonight was anguishing. I knew this was just a faint taste of thegoodbyes I would have to survive in the next hour, and the thought madethe tears begin to spill.

  "Alice, Emmett." Edward's voice was a command. They slithered soundlesslyinto the darkness, instantly disappearing. Edward opened my door and tookmy hand, then drew me into the protecting enclosure of his arm. He walkedme swiftly toward the house, eyes always roving through the night.

  "Fifteen minutes," he warned under his breath.

  "I can do this." I sniffled. My tears had given me an inspiration.

  I stopped on the porch and took hold of his face in my hands. I lookedfiercely into his eyes.

  "I love you," I said in a low, intense voice. "I will always love you, nomatter what happens now.""Nothing is going to happen to you, Bella," he said just as fiercely.

  "Just follow the plan, okay? Keep Charlie safe for me. He's not going tolike me very much after this, and I want to have the chance to apologizelater.""Get inside, Bella. We have to hurry." His voice was urgent.

  "One more thing," I whispered passionately. "Don't listen to another wordI say tonight!" He was leaning in, and so all I had to do was stretch upon my toes to kiss his surprised, frozen lips with as much force as I wascapable of. Then I turned and kicked the door open.

  "Go away, Edward!" I yelled at him, running inside and slamming the doorshut in his still-shocked face.

  "Bella?" Charlie had been hovering in the living room, and he was alreadyon his feet.

  "Leave me alone!" I screamed at him through my tears, which were flowingrelentlessly now. I ran up the stairs to my room, throwing the door shutand locking it. I ran to my bed, flinging myself on the floor to retrievemy duffel bag. I reached swiftly between the mattress and box spring tograb the knotted old sock that contained my secret cash hoard.

  Charlie was pounding on my door.

  "Bella, are you okay? What's going on?" His voice was frightened.

  "I'm going borne," I shouted, my voice breaking in the perfect spot.

  "Did he hurt you?" His tone edged toward anger.

  "No!" I shrieked a few octaves higher. I turned to my dresser, and Edwardwas already there, silently yanking out armfuls of random clothes, whichhe proceeded to throw to me.

  "Did he break up with you?" Charlie was perplexed.

   "No!" I yelled, slightly more breathless as I shoved everything into thebag. Edward threw another drawer's contents at me. The bag was prettymuch full now.

  "What happened, Bella?" Charlie shouted through the door, pounding again.

  "I broke up with him!" I shouted back, jerking on the zipper of my bag.

  Edward's capable hands pushed mine away and zipped it smoothly. He putthe strap carefully over my arm.

  "I'll be in the truck — go!" he whispered, and pushed me toward the door.

  He vanished out the window.

  I unlocked the door and pushed past Charlie roughly, struggling with myheavy bag as I ran down the stairs.

  "What happened?" he yelled. He was right behind me. "I thought you likedhim."He caught my elbow in the kitchen. Though he was still bewildered, hisgrip was firm.

  He spun me around to look at him, and I could see in his face that he hadno intention of letting me leave. I could think of only one way toescape, and it involved hurting him so much that I hated myself for evenconsidering it. But I had no time, and I had to keep him safe.

  I glared up at my father, fresh tears in my eyes for what I was about todo.

  "I do like him — that's the problem. I can't do this anymore! I can't putdown any more roots here! I don't want to end up trapped in this stupid,boring town like Mom! I'm not going to make the same dumb mistake shedid. I hate it — I can't stay here another minute!"His hand dropped from my arm like I'd electrocuted him. I turned awayfrom his shocked, wounded face and headed for the door.

  "Bells, you can't leave now. It's nighttime," he whispered behind me.

  I didn't turn around. "I'll sleep in the truck if I get tired.""Just wait another week," he pled, still shell-shocked. "Renée will beback by then."This completely derailed me. "What?"Charlie continued eagerly, almost babbling with relief as I hesitated.

  "She called while you were out. Things aren't going so well in Florida,and if Phil doesn't get signed by the end of the week, they're going backto Arizona. The assistant coach of the Sidewinders said they might have aspot for another shortstop."I shook my head, trying to reassemble my now-confused thoughts. Everypassing second put Charlie in more danger.

  "I have a key," I muttered, turning the knob. He was too close, one handextended toward me, his face dazed. I couldn't lose any more time arguingwith him. I was going to have to hurt him further.

  "Just let me go, Charlie." I repeated my mother's last words as she'dwalked out this same door so many years ago. I said them as angrily as Icould manage, and I threw the door open. "It didn't work out, okay? Ireally, really hate Forks!"My cruel words did their job — Charlie stayed frozen on the doorstep,stunned, while I ran into the night. I was hideously frightened of theempty yard. I ran wildly for the truck, visualizing a dark shadow behindme. I threw my bag in the bed and wrenched the door open. The key waswaiting in the ignition.

  "I'll call you tomorrow!" I yelled, wishing more than anything that I could explain everything to him right then, knowing I would never be ableto. I gunned the engine and peeled out.

  Edward reached for my hand.

  "Pull over," he said as the house, and Charlie, disappeared behind us.

  "I can drive," I said through the tears pouring down my cheeks.

  His long hands unexpectedly gripped my waist, and his foot pushed mineoff the gas pedal. He pulled me across his lap, wrenching my hands freeof the wheel, and suddenly he was in the driver's seat. The truck didn'tswerve an inch.

  "You wouldn't be able to find the house," he explained.

  Lights flared suddenly behind us. I stared out the back window, eyes widewith horror.

  "It's just Alice," he reassured me. He took my hand again.

  My mind was filled with the image of Charlie in the doorway. "Thetracker?""He heard the end of your performance," Edward said grimly.

  "Charlie?" I asked in dread.

  "The tracker followed us. He's running behind us now."My body went cold.

  "Can we outrun him?""No." But he sped up as he spoke. The truck's engine whined in protest.

  My plan suddenly didn't feel so brilliant anymore.

  I was staring back at Alice's headlights when the truck shuddered and adark shadow sprung up outside the window.

  My bloodcurdling scream lasted a fraction of a second before Edward'shand clamped down on my mouth.

  "It's Emmett!"He released my mouth, and wound his arm around my waist.

  "It's okay, Bella," he promised. "You're going to be safe."We raced through the quiet town toward the north highway.

  "I didn't realize you were still so bored with small-town life," he saidconversationally, and I knew he was trying to distract me. "It seemedlike you were adjusting fairly well — especially recently. Maybe I wasjust flattering myself that I was making life more interesting for you.""I wasn't being nice," I confessed, ignoring his attempt at diversion,looking down at my knees. "That was the same thing my mom said when sheleft him. You could say I was hitting below the belt.""Don't worry. He'll forgive you." He smiled a little, though it didn'ttouch his eyes.

  I stared at him desperately, and he saw the naked panic in my eyes.

  "Bella, it's going to be all right.""But it won't be all right when I'm not with you," I whispered.

  "We'll be together again in a few days," he said, tightening his armaround me. "Don't forget that this was your idea." "It was the best idea — of course it was mine."His answering smile was bleak and disappeared immediately.

  "Why did this happen?" I asked, my voice catching. "Why me?"He stared blackly at the road ahead. "It's my fault — I was a fool toexpose you like that." The rage in his voice was directed internally.

  "That's not what I meant," I insisted. "I was there, big deal. It didn'tbother the other two. Why did this James decide to kill met There'repeople all over the place, why me?"He hesitated, thinking before he answered.

  "I got a good look at his mind tonight," he began in a low voice. "I'mnot sure if there's anything I could have done to avoid this, once he sawyou. It is partially your fault." His voice was wry. "If you didn't smellso appallingly luscious, he might not have bothered. But when I defendedyou… well, that made it a lot worse. He's not used to being thwarted, nomatter how insignificant the object. He thinks of himself as a hunter andnothing else. His existence is consumed with tracking, and a challenge isall he asks of life. Suddenly we've presented him with a beautifulchallenge — a large clan of strong fighters all bent on protecting theone vulnerable element. You wouldn't believe how euphoric he is now. It'shis favorite game, and we've just made it his most exciting game ever."His tone was full of disgust.

  He paused a moment.

  "But if I had stood by, he would have killed you right then," he saidwith hopeless frustration.

  "I thought… I didn't smell the same to the others… as I do to you," Isaid hesitantly.

  "You don't. But that doesn't mean that you aren't still a temptation toevery one of them. If you had appealed to the tracker — or any of them —the same way you appeal to me, it would have meant a fight right there."I shuddered.

  "I don't think I have any choice but to kill him now," he muttered.

  "Carlisle won't like it."I could hear the tires cross the bridge, though I couldn't see the riverin the dark. I knew we were getting close. I had to ask him now.

  "How can you kill a vampire?"He glanced at me with unreadable eyes and his voice was suddenly harsh.

  "The only way to be sure is to tear him to shreds, and then burn thepieces.""And the other two will fight with him?""The woman will. I'm not sure about Laurent. They don't have a verystrong bond — he's only with them for convenience. He was embarrassed byJames in the meadow…""But James and the woman — they'll try to kill you?" I asked, my voiceraw.

  "Bella, don't you dare waste time worrying about me. Your only concern iskeeping yourself safe and — please, please — trying not to be reckless.""Is he still following?""Yes. He won't attack the house, though. Not tonight."He turned off onto the invisible drive, with Alice following behind.

   We drove right up to the house. The lights inside were bright, but theydid little to alleviate the blackness of the encroaching forest. Emmetthad my door open before the truck was stopped; he pulled me out of theseat, tucked me like a football into his vast chest, and ran me throughthe door.

  We burst into the large white room, Edward and Alice at our sides. All ofthem were there; they were already on their feet at the sound of ourapproach. Laurent stood in their midst. I could hear low growls rumbledeep in Emmett's throat as he set me down next to Edward.

  "He's tracking us," Edward announced, glaring balefully at Laurent.

  Laurent's face was unhappy. "I was afraid of that."Alice danced to Jasper's side and whispered in his ear; her lips quiveredwith the speed of her silent speech. They flew up the stairs together.

  Rosalie watched them, and then moved quickly to Emmett's side. Herbeautiful eyes were intense and — when they flickered unwillingly to myface — furious.

  "What will he do?" Carlisle asked Laurent in chilling tones.

  "I'm sorry," he answered. "I was afraid, when your boy there defendedher, that it would set him off.""Can you stop him?"Laurent shook his head. "Nothing stops James when he gets started.""We'll stop him," Emmett promised. There was no doubt what he meant.

  "You can't bring him down. I've never seen anything like him in my threehundred years. He's absolutely lethal. That's why I joined his coven."His coven, I thought, of course. The show of leadership in the clearingwas merely that, a show.

  Laurent was shaking his head. He glanced at me, perplexed, and back toCarlisle. "Are you sure it's worth it?"Edward's enraged roar filled the room; Laurent cringed back.

  Carlisle looked gravely at Laurent. "I'm afraid you're going to have tomake a choice."Laurent understood. He deliberated for a moment. His eyes took in everyface, and finally swept the bright room.

  "I'm intrigued by the life you've created here. But I won't get in themiddle of this. I bear none of you any enmity, but I won't go up againstJames. I think I will head north — to that clan in Denali." He hesitated.

  "Don't underestimate James. He's got a brilliant mind and unparalleledsenses. He's every bit as comfortable in the human world as you seem tobe, and he won't come at you head on… I'm sorry for what's been unleashedhere. Truly sorry." He bowed his head, but I saw him flicker anotherpuzzled look at me.

  "Go in peace," was Carlisle's formal answer.

  Laurent took another long look around himself, and then he hurried outthe door.

  The silence lasted less than a second.

  "How close?" Carlisle looked to Edward.

  Esme was already moving; her hand touched an inconspicuous keypad on thewall, and with a groan, huge metal shutters began sealing up the glasswall. I gaped.

   "About three miles out past the river; he's circling around to meet upwith the female.""What's the plan?""We'll lead him off, and then Jasper and Alice will run her south.""And then?"Edward's tone was deadly. "As soon as Bella is clear, we hunt him.""I guess there's no other choice," Carlisle agreed, his face grim.

  Edward turned to Rosalie.

  "Get her upstairs and trade clothes," Edward commanded. She stared backat him with livid disbelief.

  "Why should I?" she hissed. "What is she to me? Except a menace — adanger you've chosen to inflict on all of us."I flinched back from the venom in her voice.

  "Rose…" Emmett murmured, putting one hand on her shoulder. She shook itoff.

  But I was watching Edward carefully, knowing his temper, worried abouthis reaction.

  He surprised me. He looked away from Rosalie as if she hadn't spoken, asif she didn't exist.

  "Esme?" he asked calmly.

  "Of course," Esme murmured.

  Esme was at my side in half a heartbeat, swinging me up easily into herarms, and dashing up the stairs before I could gasp in shock.

  "What are we doing?" I asked breathlessly as she set me down in a darkroom somewhere off the second-story hall.

  "Trying to confuse the smell. It won't work for long, but it might helpget you out." I could hear her clothes falling to the floor.

  "I don't think I'll fit…" I hesitated, but her hands were abruptlypulling my shirt over my head. I quickly stripped my jeans off myself.

  She handed me something, it felt like a shirt. I struggled to get my armsthrough the right holes. As soon as I was done she handed me her slacks.

  I yanked them on, but I couldn't get my feet out; they were too long. Shedeftly rolled the hems a few times so I could stand. Somehow she wasalready in my clothes. She pulled me back to the stairs, where Alicestood, a small leather bag in one hand. They each grabbed one of myelbows and half-carried me as they flew down the stairs.

  It appeared that everything had been settled downstairs in our absence.

  Edward and Emmett were ready to leave, Emmett carrying a heavy-lookingbackpack over his shoulder. Carlisle was handing something small to Esme.

  He turned and handed Alice the same thing — it was a tiny silver cellphone.

  "Esme and Rosalie will be taking your truck, Bella," he told me as hepassed. I nodded, glancing warily at Rosalie. She was glowering atCarlisle with a resentful expression.

  "Alice, Jasper — take the Mercedes. You'll need the dark tint in thesouth."They nodded as well.

  "We're taking the Jeep." I was surprised to see that Carlisle intended to go with Edward. Irealized suddenly, with a stab of fear, that they made up the huntingparty.

  "Alice," Carlisle asked, "will they take the bait?"Everyone watched Alice as she closed her eyes and became incredibly still.

  Finally her eyes opened. "He'll track you. The woman will follow thetruck. We should be able to leave after that." Her voice was certain.

  "Let's go." Carlisle began to walk toward the kitchen.

  But Edward was at my side at once. He caught me up in his iron grip,crushing me to him. He seemed unaware of his watching family as he pulledmy face to his, lifting my feet off the floor. For the shortest second,his lips were icy and hard against mine. Then it was over. He set medown, still holding my face, his glorious eyes burning into mine.

  His eyes went blank, curiously dead, as he turned away.

  And they were gone.

  We stood there, the others looking away from me as the tears streakednoiselessly down my face.

  The silent moment dragged on, and then Esme's phone vibrated in her hand.

  It flashed to her ear.

  "Now," she said. Rosalie stalked out the front door without anotherglance in my direction, but Esme touched my cheek as she passed.

  "Be safe." Her whisper lingered behind them as they slipped out the door.

  I heard my truck start thunderously, and then fade away.

  Jasper and Alice waited. Alice's phone seemed to be at her ear before itbuzzed.

  "Edward says the woman is on Esme's trail. I'll get the car." Shevanished into the shadows the way Edward had gone.

  Jasper and I looked at each other. He stood across the length of theentryway from me… being careful.

  "You're wrong, you know," he said quietly.

  "What?" I gasped.

  "I can feel what you're feeling now — and you are worth it.""I'm not," I mumbled. "If anything happens to them, it will be fornothing.""You're wrong," he repeated, smiling kindly at me.

  I heard nothing, but then Alice stepped through the front door and cametoward me with her arms held out.

  "May I?" she asked.

  "You're the first one to ask permission." I smiled wryly.

  She lifted me in her slender arms as easily as Emmett had, shielding meprotectively, and then we flew out the door, leaving the lights brightbehind us.

第十九章 永别(再见)

查理正等着我。屋里所有的灯都开着。我试图想出让他放我离开的方法,但我的脑子里一片恐怖。这不会是一件令人愉快的事情。

爱德华慢慢地把车开进去,恰好停在我的卡车后方。他们三个都异常警惕,僵直地坐在座位上,聆听着树林里的每一丝声响,监视着每一处阴影,捕捉着每一缕气息,搜寻着任何不对头的迹象。引擎关掉了,我一动不动地坐着,他们继续聆听着。

“他不在这里。”爱德华紧张地说道。“我们走。”艾美特伸出手帮我解开了安全带。

“别担心,贝拉。”他用极低却愉悦的声音说道。“我们会很快把这里的事情处理好的。”

我看着艾美特,眼里盈满了泪水。我才刚刚认识他,而且,一想到今晚之后我们是否还有机会相见,我就感到深深的痛苦。我知道,这只是一种隐隐的永别的滋味。在接下来的一个小时里,我将被迫成为幸存者。这个念头让我的泪水奔涌而出。

“爱丽丝,艾美特。”爱德华的话是一个命令。他们悄无声息地潜入黑暗之中,立刻消失了。爱德华为我打开门,拉住我的手,把我拽进他的臂弯所筑起的堡垒之中。(protecting enclosure。。。保护壳。。。)他拥着我迅速向屋子走去,眼睛始终飘忽不定地扫视着夜幕下的一切。

“十五分钟,”他压低声音警告道。

“我能做到的。”我用鼻音答道。泪水启发了我的灵感。

我停在了门廊里,用双手捧起他的脸。我狠狠地看着他的眼睛。(I looked fiercely into his eyes。。。就是怎么样看不够的那种看。。。大家意会吧。。。)

“我爱你。”我紧张地低声说道。“不管现在正发生着什么样的事,我都会一直爱着你。”

“你不会有事的,贝拉。”他说道,同样狠狠地看着我。

“一定要按计划行事,好吗?为了我,保护好查理。在这件事以后,他不会很喜欢我的,我希望稍后还有能有机会向他道歉。”

“进去,贝拉,我们得赶时间。”他的声音很紧迫。

“还有一件事。”我激动地低声说道。“不管今晚我再说什么,不要听!(不要往心里去!)”他侧下身来,所以我只需踮起脚尖,倾尽全力亲吻他吃惊得僵住了的唇。然后我转过身去,踹开门。
“走开,爱德华!”我冲他嚷嚷着,跑进屋里,用力砸上门,把他依然震惊的脸关在了门外。

“贝拉?”查理已在起居室里徘徊多时了,他立刻站起身来。

“不要管我!”我泪流满面,冲他尖叫道。我的泪水不停地流淌着。我奔上楼梯冲回房里,重重撞上门,落上锁。我冲到床边,爬到地板上找到我的露营双肩包。我飞快地伸出手,在床垫和盒子之间扒拉着,抓起了那只用来存放我的私房钱的打了结的旧袜子。

查理用力地敲着我的门。

“贝拉,你没事吧?发生了什么事?”他的声音显然是吓坏了。

“我能承受。”我大喊着,我的声音嘶哑得恰到好处。

“他欺负你了?”他的语气逐渐转为愤怒。

“没有!”我的声音又升了几个八度,尖叫道。我转身朝着衣柜,爱德华已经在那里了,正沉默地把乱七八糟的衣物抱出来,然后抛给我。

“他和你分手了?”查理有些不知所措。

“没有!”我大叫道,稍微有些气喘吁吁,因为我正把所有东西都塞进双肩包里。爱德华把另一口衣橱里的东西扔给我。现在这只双肩包已经很满了。

“发生了什么事,贝拉?”查理从门外喊道,又开始砸门了。

“我甩了他!”我嚷嚷回去,努力对付着书包上的拉锁。爱德华万能的双手拨开了我的手,不费吹灰之力把它拉上了。他仔细地让我的胳膊挎上背带。(他仔细地帮我背上书包。)

“我会在卡车里等你——走!”他耳语道,把我推向门,然后消失在了窗外。

我打开门,粗鲁地推开查理挤过去,一面与沉重的书包做斗争,一面跑下楼梯。

“发生了什么事?”他紧跟在我身后,大喊道。“我还以为你喜欢他。”

他在厨房里抓住了我的手肘。他依然很困惑,但他握得很紧。

他看我转过身来看着他,我能从他脸上看出来,他一点儿也不想让我离开。我只能想出一种脱身的办法,但这会多重地伤害他。我单是想到这个办法,就开始厌恶自己了。可我没时间了,我得保护他。

我抬起头,怒视着我的父亲,新的一波泪水因为我即将要做的事从我眼中涌出。

“我确实喜欢他——这就是问题所在。我不能再这样做了!我不能在这里扎下根来!(我不能对这里有任何留恋!)我不想落得像妈妈一样,被困住这个愚蠢的乏味的小镇里!我不会犯下像她那样的错误——我甚至无法在这里再待一分钟!”

他的手无力地从我的胳膊上落下,就好像我正用电椅处死他一样。我转身离开一脸震惊和受伤的神情的他,径直向大门冲去。

“贝尔,你没有必要现在就走。现在是晚上。”他在我身后低声说道。

我没有转身。“如果我累了,我会睡在卡车里。”

“只要再等一周就行,”他依然像得了战争疲劳症似的,恳求道。“到那时候蕾妮就会回来了。”

情况完全偏离了我的计划。“什么?”
查理继续恳切地说着,我迟疑了一下的时候,他甚至像抓住了救命稻草似的语无伦次起来。“你出去的时候,她打过电话来。佛罗里达那边的事情不太顺利,如果这周末菲尔还不能签约的话,他们就会回到亚利桑那州。响尾蛇队的助理教练说他们也许会有一个游击手的空缺。”

我摇着头,试图理清自己混乱的思绪。每一秒的流逝都会让查理的处境变得更加危险。

“我有钥匙。”我喃喃低语着,拧动了把手。他离我太紧了,正一脸茫然地,向我伸出一只手。我不能再把时间白白浪费在和他争执上了。我不得不更进一步地打击他。

“让我走(放过我),查理。”我在复述着多年以前我母亲走出这同一扇门时所说的最后一句话。我尽可能更怒气冲冲地说着,用力扯开门。“这一切根本毫无意义(这根本没用),不是吗?我真的,真的讨厌福克斯!”

我所说的残忍的话奏效了——当我冲进夜幕里时,查理大受打击,僵在了门阶上。我异常地害怕着空荡荡的前院。我没命地朝卡车跑着,幻想着有一个黑色的阴影正尾随着我。我把包扔到拖斗里,猛地扯开门。钥匙已经在点火器里待命了。

“我明天再给你打电话!”我大喊道,恨不得现在就把所有的事情给他解释清楚。我知道,我也许再也没有机会跟他解释了。我加大油门,把车开走了。

爱德华伸出手按住我的手。

“把车停在路边。”当查理和房子一同消失在车后时,他说道。

“我能开。”我说着,眼泪在我的脸颊上肆意地流淌着。

他长长的胳膊出人意料地抱住我的腰,他的脚把我的脚从油门上挤到一边去。他把我从他的膝上抱过去,解开我紧握着方向盘的双手。忽然间,他已经坐到了驾驶员的位置上。卡车甚至没有偏离原来的方向哪怕一英寸的距离。

“你找不到我家的房子。”他解释到。

灯光忽然从我们车后照上来。我看着车后窗,眼睛因为惊恐而睁得大大的。

“那只是爱丽丝。”他向我保证道。他又牵住了我的手。

我的脑海里全是查理站在车道上的情景。“追猎者呢?”

“他听到了你的演出的最后部分。”爱德华冷酷地说道。

“查理呢?”我恐惧地问道。

“追猎者正跟着我们。现在他正紧随在我们身后跑着。”

我的身子开始发冷。

“我们跑得过他吗?”

“不能。”但在他说话的时候,他加速了。卡车的引擎哀号着以示伉仪。

感觉上,我的计划忽然变得得不那么尽善尽美了。

我向后看着,盯着爱丽丝的车头灯。这时,卡车震颤了一下,一个黑影扒在了窗外。

我令人毛骨悚然的尖叫只持续了不到一秒,爱德华的手便牢牢掩住了我的口。

“那是艾美特!”

他放开我的嘴巴,用胳膊抱紧我的腰。

“没事的,贝拉。”他保证道。“你会很安全的。”

我们飞快地开过安静的小镇,开上了往北的高速路。

“我没注意到你还是那么讨厌小镇里的生活。”他没话找话地说道。我知道他在试图分散我的注意力。“你看上去适应得相当好——尤其是最近这一阵。也许我应该好好表扬一下自己,我让你的生活变得更有趣些了。” 
 “我的表现并不好。(我太过分了)”我更正道,低着头看着自己的膝盖,无视他的努力转移话题。“这是我妈妈离开他时说过的话。你可以这样说,我是在暗箭伤人。”

“别担心。他会原谅你的。”他微笑了一下,但笑意并没有传到他的眼睛里。

我失望地看着他,他看见里我眼里毫不掩饰的恐惧。

“贝拉,一切都会顺利的。”

“可我不能和你在一起的时候,不能算是事事顺利。”我低声说道。

“再过几天,我们就能在一起了。”他说着,用胳膊紧紧地抱住我。“别忘了,这是你自己想出来的办法。”

“这是最好的办法——当然,确实是我自己想出来的。”

他报以一笑,但那笑容却是那么的凄凉,而且立刻就消失了。

“为什么会发生这样的事?”我问道,声音凄凉。(my voice catching.。。。声音很有感染力)“为什么是我?”

他用阴暗的目光注视着前方的路面。“都是我的错——我真是个白痴,居然让你爆露在这样的危险之下。”他话语里显然有着压抑不住的怒气。(The rage in his voice was directed internally.) 
 “我不是这个意思,”我固执地说着。“大不了,我就在这里。不应该把他们两个牵扯进来的。(我个人认为他们两个是指爱丽丝和艾美特。。。)为什么詹姆斯会决定杀死一个刚刚见面的人呢。到处都是人类,为什么是我?”

他踌躇着,思索了许久,才说道。

“今天晚上,我曾经好好地研读过他的心思。”他用低沉的声音说道。“我不敢肯定,一旦他看见你之后,我还能有什么办法来阻止这件事(他想杀你这件事)。这件事有一部分原因在你身上。”他的声音有些扭曲。“如果你的味道不是那么骇人的甜美,他也许就不会费事想要杀你了。但当我保护你的时候……好吧,这让情况变得更糟了。虽然不管怎么说,这一点对他的行为的辩护作用几近于无,但他原来确实不是那么执着的家伙。他认为自己是个地地道道的捕猎者。追踪就是他存在的意义,而除了挑战他对生活别无所求。忽然间,我们向他献上了一个精彩绝伦的挑战——一个庞大的家族,一群强有力的战士下定决心要保护那个脆弱的一分子。你根本想象不到他现在有多么的心满意足。这是他最喜欢的游戏,而我们的参与促成了他曾经历过的最令人兴奋的游戏。”他的语气里充满了浓浓的厌恶。

他停顿了片刻。

“但是,如果那时我袖手旁观的话,他也许会当场杀了你的。”他说着,话语里是那么绝望的挫败感。

“我还以为……对别人来说我闻起来……并没有像你闻到的那样好。”我迟疑地说道。

“确实不是。但这并不意味着你对他们来说就不是个诱或。如果你曾那样吸引过那个追猎者——或者别的一些追猎者——就像你曾对我施加的魔力一样,那意味着我们当场就会打起来了。”

我不寒而栗。

“我不认为,现在除了杀死他,还能有别的什么办法。”他喃喃低语着。“卡莱尔不喜欢这样。”

我能听到轮胎开过桥面的声音(。。。怎么听出来的。。。吱嘎吱嘎的木桥?),但在一片黑暗之中我根本看不见河流。我知道我们快到了。我得现在就问他。

“你杀死过吸血鬼吗?”

他用复杂莫测的眼神瞪着我,声音忽然变得严厉起来。“唯一能够确实杀死一个吸血鬼的办法,就是把他撕成碎片,然后一片片地全部烧掉。”

“另外两个人会和他一起作战吗?”

“那个女人会。但我不能肯定劳伦的想法。他们之间并没有多深的渊源——他只是出于方便才和他们在一起的。他对詹姆斯在草地上的表现深为窘迫……”

“可詹姆斯和那个女人——他们会试图杀死你吗?”我问道,声音生硬。

“贝拉,不要浪费你的时间为我担心。你唯一需要担心的是保证你自己的安全还有——千万,千万——不要鲁莽行事。”

“他还在跟着吗?”

“是的。但他不会袭击我们家。至少今晚不会。”
他掉转车头,把车开进那条看不见的车道。爱丽丝紧跟在后面。

我们径直开进了屋子。屋里灯火通明,但还是不能削弱那片蠢蠢欲动的密林里的黑暗。卡车还没停住,艾美特已经替我把门打开了。他把我从座位上拉出来,把我像一个足球似的团在他宽广的胸前,然后带着我冲进门。

我们闯进了那间巨大的白色的屋子,爱德华和爱丽丝在我们两旁守护着。他们都在那里。一听到我们进来的声音,他们立刻站了起来。劳伦站在他们之中。我能听到艾美特从喉咙深处发出的隆隆的低吼声,他把我放在爱德华身旁。

“他在追踪我们。”爱德华宣布道,眼睛恶狠狠地盯着劳伦。

劳伦一脸沮丧。“我就怕这件事。”

爱丽丝舞到贾斯帕身旁,在他耳畔低语着,她的嘴唇飞快地颤抖着,低声说着话。他们一起飞奔上楼。罗莎莉看着他们,迅速跑到了艾美特身侧。她美丽的眼睛里写满了紧张——但当她不情愿地瞄向我的脸时——却写满了狂怒。

“他想做什么?”卡莱尔用冷漠的语气问劳伦。

“我很抱歉。”他答道。“恐怕,在你的儿子维护着她的时候,他就已经开始行动了。”

“你能阻止他吗?”

劳伦摇了摇头。“一旦詹姆斯开始动手,就没有任何事物能阻止他。”

“我们会阻止他的,”艾美特保证道。他的意思再明确不过了。

“你不可能打倒他的。我活了三百年,却从没见过像他这样的家伙。他是个全然的致命杀手。所以我才加入了他的巫会。”

当然,他的巫会,我想着。空地上的领导秀只不过,是场作秀。

劳伦摇着头。他困惑地瞥了我一眼,然后转过身去向着卡莱尔。“你确定这值得吗?”

爱德华愤怒的咆哮充斥着整个房间。劳伦畏缩地退了一步。

卡莱尔严肃地看着劳伦。“恐怕你得做出选择了。”

劳伦明白了。他仔细地思索了片刻。他的眼睛看着每一张面孔,最终扫视着这张明亮的房间。

“我对你们在这里所开创的生活很好奇。可我不想卷进这件事里。我跟你们毫无过节,但我也不想和詹姆斯作对。我想我会去北方——去加入德纳里峰的那个巫会。”他踌躇着。“不要低估詹姆斯。他头脑很灵光,有着无与伦比的判断力。他在人类时间里也是如鱼得水,游刃有余,就像你一样。而且他不会像你那样一头扎进……我很抱歉,事情居然发展到了这样不可挽回的地步。真的,很抱歉。”他垂下了头,但我看到他又困惑地瞥了我一眼。

“一路顺风。”查理正式地回答道。

劳伦又长长地环顾了四周一圈,然后快步走出门去。

沉默只持续了不到一秒。

“还有多近?”卡莱尔看向爱德华。

艾思梅已经行动了起来,她的手按上墙上的一个隐藏着的按钮,然后,只听一声轻响,巨大的金属百叶窗开始降下来封闭住了玻璃墙。我张大了嘴。
“在河那边,离这里大约三英里的地方。他正在兜着圈子跟那个女人碰头。”

“计划是什么样的?”

“我们会把他引走,然后贾斯帕和爱丽丝带着她往南走。”

“然后呢?”

爱德华的语气如同下达死刑的命令。“一等到贝拉脱身,我们就猎杀他。”

“我猜现在没有别的选择了。”卡莱尔冷着脸赞同道。

爱德华转向罗莎莉。

“带她上楼,跟她交换衣服。”爱德华命令道。她铁青着脸,用难以置信的神情看着他。

“为什么是我?”她咬着牙嘶声说道。“她对我来说算什么?纯粹是一个威胁——一个你所选择的,殃及我们所有人的危险分子。”

我因为她话语里的怨恨而畏缩了一下。

“罗斯……”艾美特喃喃低语着,把一只手放在了她肩上。她却甩开了他的手。

但我只是当心地看着爱德华,我知道他的脾气,我担心着他的反应。

他让我大吃一惊。他看向别处,就好像她根本没说话一样,就像是她根本不存在一样。

“艾思梅?”他冷静地问道。

“当然没问题。”艾思梅喃喃低语道。

只是心跳半拍的瞬间,艾思梅就已经站到了我身旁。她轻轻松松地把我抱在怀里,跃上了楼梯,我甚至来不及因为震惊而大口大口地喘气。

“我们要做什么?”我喘息着说道,她把我带到二楼走廊深处的一间黑暗的屋子里。

“试着把气味混淆。这应付不了多久,但也许能帮你脱身。”我能听到她的衣服落到地上的声音。

“我不认为我能穿上……”我踌躇着,但她突然伸出手把我的恤衫从我头上拽下来。我飞快地把我的牛仔裤脱掉。她递给我一件衣服,感觉像是一件恤衫。我挣扎着把胳膊从衣服上正确的洞里伸出来。我才穿好,她又把她的休闲裤递给了我。我拉起裤子,却没法把脚伸出来。这裤子太长了。她灵巧地把裤筒卷了几下,这样我就能站起来了。不知何时,她已经穿上了我的衣服。她把我拉回楼梯口,爱丽丝正在那里等着,一只手上拿着一只小巧的皮包。她们一人抓住我一只胳膊,半提着我跃下了楼梯。

很显然,在我们不在的时候,楼下已经把事情都安排好了。爱德华和艾美特正准备离开,艾美特肩上背着一个看上去很沉的背包。卡莱尔正把某个小物件递给艾思梅。他转过身,递给了爱丽丝一模一样的东西——那是一只小巧的银色手机。

“艾思梅和罗莎莉会把你的卡车开走,贝拉。”他走过我身旁时说道。我点了点头,小心地瞥了一眼罗莎莉。她正用忿恨的神情瞪着卡莱尔。

“爱丽丝,贾斯帕——你们开那辆黑色的梅赛德斯。你们需要在黑暗的掩护下向南走。”(【黑色的】三个字是我根据语义补的)

他们都点了点头。

“我们开那辆越野车。”

我惊讶地发现卡莱尔打算和爱德华一起走。我忽然感觉到了一阵锥心的恐惧,我意识到了,他们已经组成了狩猎队。

“爱丽丝,”卡莱尔问道,“他们会咬饵吗?(他们会上钩吗?)”

每个人都看着爱丽丝,她闭上眼睛,变得异常僵硬。

她终于睁开了眼睛。“他会追踪你。那个女人会跟着卡车。我们得赶在他们上钩以后离开。”她的语气很肯定。 
 “我们走。”卡莱尔开始向厨房走去。

爱德华却立刻出现在了我身旁。他用钢铁般的胳膊把我抱住,紧紧地把我压向他的胸膛。他似乎完全没有意识到他的家人都在看着。他把我的脸拉向他的脸,把我从地板上抱起来。在那最短暂的一秒里,他冰冷而坚硬的唇抵住了我的唇。然后,一切都结束了。他把我放下来,依然捧着我的脸,他明亮的眸子灼烧着我的眼。

当他转身离开的时候,他的眼睛黯淡下来,变得异常地冷酷。

然后,他们都走了。

我们站在原地,别人都扭头不看我,因为泪水正无声地从我脸上流淌下来。

沉默依然继续着,这时,艾思梅手里的电话震动起来。她立刻把它贴在了耳朵上。

“现在。”她说道。罗莎莉昂首阔步地朝前门走去,看也不看我的方向。但在她走过我身旁的时候,艾思梅轻轻抚摩了我的脸庞。

“保重。(平安)”当她们冲出大门的时候,她的低语在她们身后回荡着。我听见我的卡车发动起来,发出雷鸣般的声音,然后那声音消失在了远处。

贾斯帕和爱丽丝都在等着。但貌似在爱丽丝的手机发出蜂鸣声前,她就已经把它贴在了耳朵上。

“爱德华说那个女人已经跟上了艾思梅。我去开车。”她消失在爱德华所去的方向的阴影里。

贾斯帕和我面面相觑。他站到了走廊的尽头,离我远远的……提防着。

“你知道,你错了”。他安静地说着。

“什么?”我喘息着说道。

“我能感觉到你现在的感觉——你值得我们做这些。”

“我不值得。”我喃喃低语着。“如果他们发生了什么意外,这一切将会是徒劳。”

“你错了。”他重复着,友好地冲我笑着。

我什么也没听见,但随后爱丽丝就从前门走了进来,伸着胳膊向我走过来。

“可以吗?”她问道。

“你是第一个问我意见的人。”我挖苦地笑着。

她用纤细的胳膊把我抱起来,简直和艾美特一样轻松。她用保护的姿势掩护着我,然后我们冲出了门,让身后的灯光亮着。



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