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Chapter 20 Impatience

    When I woke up I was confused. My thoughts were hazy, still twisted up indreams and nightmares; it took me longer than it should have to realizewhere I was.

  This room was too bland to belong anywhere but in a hotel. The bedsidelamps, bolted to the tables, were a dead giveaway, as were the longdrapes made from the same fabric as the bedspread, and the genericwatercolor prints on the walls.

  I tried to remember how I got here, but nothing came at first.

  I did remember the sleek black car, the glass in the windows darker thanthat on a limousine. The engine was almost silent, though we'd racedacross the black freeways at more than twice the legal speed.

  And I remembered Alice sitting with me on the dark leather backseat.

  Somehow, during the long night, my head had ended up against her graniteneck. My closeness didn't seem to bother her at all, and her cool, hardskin was oddly comforting to me. The front of her thin cotton shirt wascold, damp with the tears that streamed from my eyes until, red and sore,they ran dry.

  Sleep had evaded me; my aching eyes strained open even though the nightfinally ended and dawn broke over a low peak somewhere in California. Thegray light, streaking across the cloudless sky, stung my eyes. But Icouldn't close them; when I did, the images that flashed all too vividly,like still slides behind my lids, were unbearable. Charlie's brokenexpression — Edward's brutal snarl, teeth bared — Rosalie's resentfulglare — the keen-eyed scrutiny of the tracker — the dead look in Edward'seyes after he kissed me the last time… I couldn't stand to see them. So Ifought against my weariness and the sun rose higher.

  I was still awake when we came through a shallow mountain pass and thesun, behind us now, reflected off the tiled rooftops of the Valley of theSun. I didn't have enough emotion left to be surprised that we'd made athree-day journey in one. I stared blankly at the wide, flat expanse laidout in front of me. Phoenix — the palm trees, the scrubby creosote, thehaphazard lines of the intersecting freeways, the green swaths of golfcourses and turquoise splotches of swimming pools, all submerged in athin smog and embraced by the short, rocky ridges that weren't really bigenough to be called mountains.

  The shadows of the palm trees slanted across the freeway — defined,sharper than I remembered, paler than they should be. Nothing could hidein these shadows. The bright, open freeway seemed benign enough. But Ifelt no relief, no sense of homecoming.

  "Which way to the airport, Bella?" Jasper had asked, and I flinched,though his voice was quite soft and un-alarming. It was the first sound,besides the purr of the car, to break the long night's silence.

  "Stay on the I-ten," I'd answered automatically. "We'll pass right by it."My brain had worked slowly through the fog of sleep deprivation.

  "Are we flying somewhere?" I'd asked Alice.

  "No, but it's better to be close, just in case."I remembered beginning the loop around Sky Harbor International… but notending it. I suppose that must have been when I'd fallen asleep.

  Though, now that I'd chased the memories down, I did have a vagueimpression of leaving the car — the sun was just falling behind thehorizon — my arm draped over Alice's shoulder and her arm firm around mywaist, dragging me along as I stumbled through the warm, dry shadows.

  I had no memory of this room.

   I looked at the digital clock on the nightstand. The red numbers claimedit was three o'clock, but they gave no indication if it was night or day.

  No edge of light escaped the thick curtains, but the room was bright withthe light from the lamps.

  I rose stiffly and staggered to the window, pulling back the drapes.

  It was dark outside. Three in the morning, then. My room looked out on adeserted section of the freeway and the new long-term parking garage forthe airport. It was slightly comforting to be able to pinpoint time andplace.

  I looked down at myself. I was still wearing Esme's clothes, and theydidn't fit very well at all. I looked around the room, glad when Idiscovered my duffel bag on top of the low dresser.

  I was on my way to find new clothes when a light tap on the door made mejump.

  "Can I come in?" Alice asked.

  I took a deep breath. "Sure."She walked in, and looked me over cautiously. "You look like you couldsleep longer," she said.

  I just shook my head.

  She drifted silently to the curtains and closed them securely beforeturning back to me.

  "We'll need to stay inside," she told me.

  "Okay." My voice was hoarse; it cracked.

  "Thirsty?" she asked.

  I shrugged. "I'm okay. How about you?""Nothing unmanageable." She smiled. "I ordered some food for you, it's inthe front room. Edward reminded me that you have to eat a lot morefrequently than we do."I was instantly more alert. "He called?""No," she said, and watched as my face fell. "It was before we left."She took my hand carefully and led me through the door into the livingroom of the hotel suite. I could hear a low buzz of voices coming fromthe TV. Jasper sat motionlessly at the desk in the corner, his eyeswatching the news with no glimmer of interest.

  I sat on the floor next to the coffee table, where a tray of food waited,and began picking at it without noticing what I was eating.

  Alice perched on the arm of the sofa and stared blankly at the TV likeJasper.

  I ate slowly, watching her, turning now and then to glance quickly atJasper. It began to dawn on me that they were too still. They neverlooked away from the screen, though commercials were playing now. Ipushed the tray away, my stomach abruptly uneasy. Alice looked down at me.

  "What's wrong, Alice?" I asked.

  "Nothing's wrong." Her eyes were wide, honest… and I didn't trust them.

  "What do we do now?""We wait for Carlisle to call.""And should he have called by now?" I could see that I was near the mark.

   Alice's eyes flitted from mine to the phone on top of her leather bag andback.

  "What does that mean?" My voice quavered, and I fought to control it.

  "That he hasn't called yet?""It just means that they don't have anything to tell us."But her voice was too even, and the air was harder to breathe.

  Jasper was suddenly beside Alice, closer to me than usual.

  "Bella," he said in a suspiciously soothing voice. "You have nothing toworry about. You are completely safe here.""I know that.""Then why are you frightened?" he asked, confused. He might feel thetenor of my emotions, but he couldn't read the reasons behind them.

  "You heard what Laurent said." My voice was just a whisper, but I wassure they could hear me. "He said James was lethal. What if somethinggoes wrong, and they get separated? If something happens to any of them,Carlisle, Emmett… Edward…" I gulped. "If that wild female hurts Esme…" Myvoice had grown higher, a note of hysteria beginning to rise in it. "Howcould I live with myself when it's my fault? None of you should berisking yourselves for me —""Bella, Bella, stop," he interrupted me, his words pouring out so quicklythey were hard to understand. "You're worrying about all the wrongthings, Bella. Trust me on this — none of us are in jeopardy. You areunder too much strain as it is; don't add to it with wholly unnecessaryworries. Listen to me!" he ordered, for I had looked away. "Our family isstrong. Our only fear is losing you.""But why should you —"Alice interrupted this time, touching my cheek with her cold fingers.

  "It's been almost a century that Edward's been alone. Now he's found you.

  You can't see the changes that we see, we who have been with him for solong. Do you think any of us want to look into his eyes for the nexthundred years if he loses you?"My guilt slowly subsided as I looked into her dark eyes. But, even as thecalm spread over me, I knew I couldn't trust my feelings with Jasperthere.

  It was a very long day.

  We stayed in the room. Alice called down to the front desk and asked themto ignore our maid service for now. The windows stayed shut, the TV on,though no one watched it. At regular intervals, food was delivered forme. The silver phone resting on Alice's bag seemed to grow bigger as thehours passed.

  My babysitters handled the suspense better than I did. As I fidgeted andpaced, they simply grew more still, two statues whose eyes followed meimperceptibly as I moved. I occupied myself with memorizing the room; thestriped pattern of the couches, tan, peach, cream, dull gold, and tanagain. Sometimes I stared at the abstract prints, randomly findingpictures in the shapes, like I'd found pictures in the clouds as a child.

  I traced a blue hand, a woman combing her hair, a cat stretching. Butwhen the pale red circle became a staring eye, I looked away.

  As the afternoon wore on, I went back to bed, simply for something to do.

  I hoped that by myself in the dark, I could give in to the terrible fearsthat hovered on the edge of my consciousness, unable to break throughunder Jasper's careful supervision.

  But Alice followed me casually, as if by some coincidence she had growntired of the front room at the same time. I was beginning to wonderexactly what sort of instructions Edward had given her. I lay across the bed, and she sat, legs folded, next to me. I ignored her at first,suddenly tired enough to sleep. But after a few minutes, the panic thathad held off in Jasper's presence began to make itself known. I gave upon the idea of sleep quickly then, curling up into a small ball, wrappingmy arms around my legs.

  "Alice?" I asked.

  "Yes?"I kept my voice very calm. "What do you think they're doing?""Carlisle wanted to lead the tracker as far north as possible, wait forhim to get close, and then turn and ambush him. Esme and Rosalie weresupposed to head west as long as they could keep the female behind them.

  If she turned around, they were to head back to Forks and keep an eye onyour dad. So I imagine things are going well if they can't call. It meansthe tracker is close enough that they don't want him to overhear.""And Esme?""I think she must be back in Forks. She won't call if there's any chancethe female will overhear. I expect they're all just being very careful.""Do you think they're safe, really?""Bella, how many times do we have to tell you that there's no danger tous?""Would you tell me the truth, though?""Yes. I will always tell you the truth." Her voice was earnest.

  I deliberated for a moment, and decided she meant it.

  "Tell me then… how do you become a vampire?"My question caught her off guard. She was quiet. I rolled over to look ather, and her expression seemed ambivalent.

  "Edward doesn't want me to tell you that," she said firmly, but I sensedshe didn't agree.

  "That's not fair. I think I have a right to know.""I know."I looked at her, waiting.

  She sighed. "He'll be extremely angry.""It's none of his business. This is between you and me. Alice, as afriend, I'm begging you." And we were friends now, somehow — as she musthave known we would be all along.

  She looked at me with her splendid, wise eyes… choosing.

  "I'll tell you the mechanics of it," she said finally, "but I don'tremember it myself, and I've never done it or seen it done, so keep inmind that I can only tell you the theory."I waited.

  "As predators, we have a glut of weapons in our physical arsenal — much,much more than really necessary. The strength, the speed, the acutesenses, not to mention those of us like Edward, Jasper, and I, who haveextra senses as well. And then, like a carnivorous flower, we arephysically attractive to our prey."I was very still, remembering how pointedly Edward had demonstrated thesame concept for me in the meadow.

   She smiled a wide, ominous smile. "We have another fairly superfluousweapon. We're also venomous," she said, her teeth glistening. "The venomdoesn't kill — it's merely incapacitating. It works slowly, spreadingthrough the bloodstream, so that, once bitten, our prey is in too muchphysical pain to escape us. Mostly superfluous, as I said. If we're thatclose, the prey doesn't escape. Of course, there are always exceptions.

  Carlisle, for example.""So… if the venom is left to spread…" I murmured.

  "It takes a few days for the transformation to be complete, depending onhow much venom is in the bloodstream, how close the venom enters to theheart. As long as the heart keeps beating, the poison spreads, healing,changing the body as it moves through it. Eventually the heart stops, andthe conversion is finished. But all that time, every minute of it, avictim would be wishing for death."I shivered.

  "It's not pleasant, you see.""Edward said that it was very hard to do… I don't quite understand," Isaid.

  "We're also like sharks in a way. Once we taste the blood, or even smellit for that matter, it becomes very hard to keep from feeding. Sometimesimpossible. So you see, to actually bite someone, to taste the blood, itwould begin the frenzy. It's difficult on both sides — the blood-lust onthe one hand, the awful pain on the other.""Why do you think you don't remember?""I don't know. For everyone else, the pain of transformation is thesharpest memory they have of their human life. I remember nothing ofbeing human." Her voice was wistful.

  We lay silently, wrapped in our individual meditations.

  The seconds ticked by, and I had almost forgotten her presence, I was soenveloped in my thoughts.

  Then, without any warning, Alice leaped from the bed, landing lightly onher feet. My head jerked up as I stared at her, startled.

  "Something's changed." Her voice was urgent, and she wasn't talking to meanymore.

  She reached the door at the same time Jasper did. He had obviously heardour conversation and her sudden exclamation. He put his hands on hershoulders and guided her back to the bed, sitting her on the edge.

  "What do you see?" he asked intently, staring into her eyes. Her eyeswere focused on something very far away. I sat close to her, leaning into catch her low, quick voice.

  "I see a room. It's long, and there are mirrors everywhere. The floor iswooden. He's in the room, and he's waiting. There's gold… a gold stripeacross the mirrors.""Where is the room?""I don't know. Something is missing — another decision hasn't been madeyet.""How much time?""It's soon. He'll be in the mirror room today, or maybe tomorrow. It alldepends. He's waiting for something. And he's in the dark now."Jasper's voice was calm, methodical, as he questioned her in a practicedway. "What is he doing?" "He's watching TV… no, he's running a VCR, in the dark, in another place.""Can you see where he is?""No, it's too dark.""And the mirror room, what else is there?""Just the mirrors, and the gold. It's a band, around the room. Andthere's a black table with a big stereo, and a TV. He's touching the VCRthere, but he doesn't watch the way he does in the dark room. This is theroom where he waits." Her eyes drifted, then focused on Jasper's face.

  "There's nothing else?"She shook her head. They looked at each other, motionless.

  "What does it mean?" I asked.

  Neither of them answered for a moment, then Jasper looked at me.

  "It means the tracker's plans have changed. He's made a decision thatwill lead him to the mirror room, and the dark room.""But we don't know where those rooms are?""No.""But we do know that he won't be in the mountains north of Washington,being hunted. He'll elude them." Alice's voice was bleak.

  "Should we call?" I asked. They traded a serious look, undecided.

  And the phone rang.

  Alice was across the room before I could lift my head to look at it.

  She pushed a button and held the phone to her ear, but she didn't speakfirst.

  "Carlisle," she breathed. She didn't seem surprised or relieved, the wayI felt.

  "Yes," she said, glancing at me. She listened for a long moment.

  "I just saw him." She described again the vision she'd seen. "Whatevermade him get on that plane… it was leading him to those rooms." Shepaused. "Yes," Alice said into the phone, and then she spoke to me.

  "Bella?"She held the phone out toward me. I ran to it.

  "Hello?" I breathed.

  "Bella," Edward said.

  "Oh, Edward! I was so worried.""Bella," he sighed in frustration, "I told you not to worry aboutanything but yourself." It was so unbelievably good to hear his voice. Ifelt the hovering cloud of despair lighten and drift back as he spoke.

  "Where are you?""We're outside of Vancouver. Bella, I'm sorry — we lost him. He seemssuspicious of us — he's careful to stay just far enough away that I can'thear what he's thinking. But he's gone now — it looks like he got on aplane. We think he's heading back to Forks to start over." I could hearAlice filling in Jasper behind me, her quick words blurring together intoa humming noise.

  "I know. Alice saw that he got away." "You don't have to worry, though. He won't find anything to lead him toyou. You just have to stay there and wait till we find him again.""I'll be fine. Is Esme with Charlie?""Yes — the female has been in town. She went to the house, but whileCharlie was at work. She hasn't gone near him, so don't be afraid. He'ssafe with Esme and Rosalie watching.""What is she doing?""Probably trying to pick up the trail. She's been all through the townduring the night. Rosalie traced her through the airport, all the roadsaround town, the school… she's digging, Bella, but there's nothing tofind.""And you're sure Charlie's safe?""Yes, Esme won't let him out of her sight. And we'll be there soon. Ifthe tracker gets anywhere near Forks, we'll have him.""I miss you," I whispered.

  "I know, Bella. Believe me, I know. It's like you've taken half my selfaway with you.""Come and get it, then," I challenged.

  "Soon, as soon as I possibly can. I will make you safe first." His voicewas hard.

  "I love you," I reminded him.

  "Could you believe that, despite everything I've put you through, I loveyou, too?""Yes, I can, actually.""I'll come for you soon.""I'll be waiting."As soon as the phone went dead, the cloud of depression began to creepover me again.

  I turned to give the phone back to Alice and found her and Jasper bentover the table, where Alice was sketching on a piece of hotel stationery.

  I leaned on the back of the couch, looking over her shoulder.

  She drew a room: long, rectangular, with a thinner, square section at theback. The wooden planks that made up the floor stretched lengthwiseacross the room. Down the walls were lines denoting the breaks in themirrors. And then, wrapping around the walls, waist high, a long band.

  The band Alice said was gold.

  "It's a ballet studio," I said, suddenly recognizing the familiar shapes.

  They looked at me, surprised.

  "Do you know this room?" Jasper's voice sounded calm, but there was anundercurrent of something I couldn't identify. Alice bent her head to herwork, her hand flying across the page now, the shape of an emergency exittaking shape against the back wall, the stereo and TV on a low table bythe front right corner.

  "It looks like a place I used to go for dance lessons — when I was eightor nine. It was shaped just the same." I touched the page where thesquare section jutted out, narrowing the back part of the room. "That'swhere the bathrooms were — the doors were through the other dance floor.

  But the stereo was here" — I pointed to the left corner — "it was older,and there wasn't a TV. There was a window in the waiting room — you would see the room from this perspective if you looked through it."Alice and Jasper were staring at me.

  "Are you sure it's the same room?" Jasper asked, still calm.

  "No, not at all — I suppose most dance studios would look the same — themirrors, the bar." I traced my finger along the ballet bar set againstthe mirrors. "It's just the shape that looked familiar." I touched thedoor, set in exactly the same place as the one I remembered.

  "Would you have any reason to go there now?" Alice asked, breaking myreverie.

  "No, I haven't been there in almost ten years. I was a terrible dancer —they always put me in the back for recitals," I admitted.

  "So there's no way it could be connected with you?" Alice asked intently.

  "No, I don't even think the same person owns it. I'm sure it's justanother dance studio, somewhere.""Where was the studio you went to?" Jasper asked in a casual voice.

  "It was just around the corner from my mom's house. I used to walk thereafter school…" I said, my voice trailing off. I didn't miss the look theyexchanged.

  "Here in Phoenix, then?" His voice was still casual.

  "Yes," I whispered. "Fifty-eighth Street and Cactus."We all sat in silence, staring at the drawing.

  "Alice, is that phone safe?""Yes," she reassured me. "The number would just trace back to Washington.""Then I can use it to call my mom.""I thought she was in Florida.""She is — but she's coming home soon, and she can't come back to thathouse while…" My voice trembled. I was thinking about something Edwardhad said, about the red-haired female at Charlie's house, at the school,where my records would be.

  "How will you reach her?""They don't have a permanent number except at the house — she's supposedto check her messages regularly.""Jasper?" Alice asked.

  He thought about it. "I don't think there's any way it could hurt — besure you don't say where you are, of course."I reached eagerly for the phone and dialed the familiar number. It rangfour times, and then I heard my mom's breezy voice telling me to leave amessage.

  "Mom," I said after the beep, "it's me. Listen, I need you to dosomething. It's important. As soon as you get this message, call me atthis number." Alice was already at my side, writing the number for me onthe bottom of her picture. I read it carefully, twice. "Please don't goanywhere until you talk to me. Don't worry, I'm okay, but I have to talkto you right away, no matter how late you get this call, all right? Ilove you, Mom. Bye." I closed my eyes and prayed with all my might thatno unforeseen change of plans would bring her home before she got mymessage.

  I settled into the sofa, nibbling on a plate of leftover fruit, anticipating a long evening. I thought about calling Charlie, but Iwasn't sure if I should be home by now or not. I concentrated on thenews, watching out for stories about Florida, or about spring training —strikes or hurricanes or terrorist attacks — anything that might sendthem home early.

  Immortality must grant endless patience. Neither Jasper nor Alice seemedto feel the need to do anything at all. For a while, Alice sketched thevague outline of the dark room from her vision, as much as she could seein the light from the TV. But when she was done, she simply sat, lookingat the blank walls with her timeless eyes. Jasper, too, seemed to have nourge to pace, or peek through the curtains, or run screaming out thedoor, the way I did.

  I must have fallen asleep on the couch, waiting for the phone to ringagain. The touch of Alice's cold hands woke me briefly as she carried meto the bed, but I was unconscious again before my head hit the pillow.

第二十章 急不可耐(焦急)

当我醒来的时候,我很困惑。我的思绪一片迷茫,依然纠结在梦境和梦魇之中。我花了比平时更长的时间才意识到自己身在何方。

只有在宾馆里才会有这样乏味的房间。(这样乏味的房间不可能属于任何地方,除了宾馆。)床头的壁灯,桌子上的抽屉把手,还有用和床单相同的布料做成的长长的窗帘,墙上挂着的庸俗的水粉画,都该死地泄露了这一点。

我试图记起自己是怎么到这里来的,但起初却什么也想不出来。

我确实还记得那辆光滑的黑色轿车,车窗上的玻璃颜色比豪华轿车上的还深。即使是在我们用超过法定时速两倍的速度开过黑暗中的高速公路时,那车的引擎依然悄无声息。

然后我想起来了,爱丽丝和我一起坐在黑色的皮制后座上。不知怎的,在度过了漫长的一夜之后,我的头最终靠在了她花岗岩般的颈窝上。我的亲近似乎丝毫没有影响到她,而奇怪的是,她冰冷坚硬的肌肤对我来说很舒适。她身上单薄的纯棉恤衫冷冰冰的,被我眼里源源不绝的泪水打湿了。直到我的眼睛变得又红又肿,我的泪水才流干。
睡意一直躲着我。我疼痛的双眼一直紧绷地睁着,直到夜晚终于结束,破晓降临于加利福尼亚州某处低矮的山坡上。那道灰白的光,冲破无云的天空,刺痛了我的眼睛。但我还是不能把眼睛闭上。一旦我闭上双眼,一幕幕鲜活的画面就会在我的脑海中闪现着,仿佛正在我眼前发生着一样,这简直让人忍无可忍。查理受伤的神情——爱德华露出牙齿,野蛮地咆哮着——罗莎莉忿恨的目光——追猎者让人无处遁形的监视——爱德华最后一次吻过我后,眼里冷酷的神情……我难以忍受看见这些画面。所以我和自己的倦意斗争着,任凭太阳越升越高。

当我们开进一条浅浅的山道时,我依然清醒着。太阳从我们身后照过来,折射在太阳谷酒店的平顶屋顶上。我们只用了一天的时间就走完了三天的路程,但我几乎没有多余的气力来感到惊讶。我茫然地盯着眼前那片开阔平坦的城市。凤凰城——棕榈树,低矮的木馏油,高速路十字路口上杂乱的白线,一块块葱绿的高尔夫球场,还有星星点点宛如绿宝石的游泳池,这一切都浸淫在一片薄雾之中,坐落在低矮多石的群山环抱之中,那些丘陵小得不足以成之为山峰。

棕榈树在高速路的两旁洒下歪斜的树影——那些清晰的树影,比我记忆里的还要棱角分明,颜色浅淡得出奇。没有什么能藏在那些树影里。这条明亮的开阔的高速路显得很是情切。但我却毫无宽慰之情,丝毫没有回到家的感觉。

“去机场走哪条路,贝拉?”贾斯帕问道,让我畏缩了一下,尽管他的声音是那么的温柔,毫无警惕之意。这是这一夜以来,除了汽车的嗡嗡声外,打破这片漫长的沉默的第一个声响。

“沿着I10公路开下去,”我机械地答道。“我们会经过机场。”

我的脑子因为缺乏睡眠而昏昏沉沉的(陷在缺乏睡眠带来的迷雾里),反应很慢。

“我们要飞去别的地方吗?”我问爱丽丝。

“不,但离机场近些会更好些,只是以防万一。”

我想起来了,我的故事是从国际航空港脚下开始的……但不会在这里结束。我猜就是在这个时候,我睡着了。

在我追溯着自己的记忆的时候,我找回了离开车子时留下的模糊的印象——太阳刚刚落到地平线后——我的胳膊搭在爱丽丝的肩膀上,她的一只手臂稳稳地扶住我的腰,一路拖着我。我跌跌拌拌地穿过温暖干燥的林荫道。

我对这间屋子毫无记忆。

我看着床头柜上的电子钟,红色的数字显示着现在是三点钟,但它们并没有指出现在是晚上还是白天。没有一丝光能穿透那些厚重的窗帘,但屋里被灯光照亮了。

我僵硬地爬起身,摇摇晃晃地走到窗前,拉起窗幔。

屋外一片漆黑。所以,现在是凌晨三点。从我的房间看出去,能看见空荡荡的高速路,还有新建的机场昼夜停车楼。能够准确地辨别出时间和地点让我稍微舒服了一些。
我低头看了看自己。我依然穿着艾思梅的衣服,它们根本不合身。我环顾房间,欣慰地发现我的登山包正放在那张矮脚梳妆台上。

我正要走过去找几件干净衣服,一阵轻轻的敲门声让我跳了起来。

“我能进来吗?”爱丽丝问道。

我深吸了一口气:“当然可以。”

她走进来,用过于谨慎的目光审视着我。“你看上去还能睡更久。(你看起来应该再睡一会儿)”她说道。

我只是摇了摇头。

她掠到窗前,没有发出半点声响,把窗帘安全地拉起来,然后转过身来向着我。

“我们得待在屋子里。”她告诉我。

“好的。”我的声音嘶哑,有些破音。

“渴了?”她问道。

我耸耸肩。“我还好。你呢?”

“没什么大不了的。(一切都在控制之中)”她微笑着。“我给你拿了点食物,放在前头的房间里了。爱德华提醒过我,你得比我们更频繁得进食,而且吃得更多。”

我立刻警觉起来。“他打过电话来?”

“没有。”她说着,看着我耷拉下了脸。“他是在我们离开以前说的。”

她小心地牵起我的手,带着我走出房门,走到酒店套房的起居室里。我听到电视里传来的低低的嗡嗡说话声。贾斯帕一动不动地坐在角落里的桌子旁,他正兴趣索然地看着新闻。

我坐在靠近咖啡桌的地板上,桌上放着一大盘食物。我开动了,却完全没有注意到自己在吃什么。

爱丽丝坐在沙发的扶手上,和贾斯帕一样目光涣散地看着电视。

我一边慢腾腾地吃着,一边看着她,时不时飞快地瞥一眼贾斯帕。我渐渐明白过来,他们太僵硬了。他们的目光始终没有离开屏幕,尽管现在正播放着广告。我推开盘子,我的胃骤然痉挛起来。爱丽丝低下头看着我。

“发生了什么事,爱丽丝?”我问道。

“什么事也没有。”她的眼睛睁得大大的,显得很诚恳……但我根本不相信。

“我们现在在做什么?”

“我们在等卡莱尔打过来。”

“而他这会儿早该打过来了,对吗?”我看得出来,我已经很接近答案了。爱丽丝的眼睛掠过放在她的皮包顶上的手机,然后看回我的眼睛。

“这意味着什么?”我的声音在颤抖,我竭力稳住它。“他到现在还没打过来?”

“这仅仅意味着他们没有什么可告诉我们的。”

可她的声音太平坦了,我几乎透不过气来。

贾斯帕忽然站到了爱丽丝身后,离我比平常更近些。

“贝拉,”他用让人宽心得可疑的语气说道。“你什么也不用担心。你在这里很安全。”

“我知道。”

“那为什么你会这样害怕呢?”他困惑地问道。他大概是感觉到了我情绪的波动,但他没有读懂这背后的原因。

“你听到劳伦说的话了。”我的声音几近耳语,但我敢肯定他们能听见我说话。“他说过詹姆斯是致命的。万一出了什么差错,他们落单了呢?如果他们中的某人发生了什么意外,卡莱尔,艾美特……爱德华……”我吞咽了一下。“如果那个野蛮的女人伤到了艾思梅……”我的声音拉得更高了,一阵竭斯底里的痕迹开始显现在话语里。“这都是我的错,我怎么能有脸活下去呢?你们本来都不必为了我冒险——”

“贝拉,贝拉,打住。”他打断我的话。他的话说得那么快,我几乎跟不上了(几乎无法理解)。“你在担心着不必要的顾虑(你的担心都是多余的/错误的),贝拉。在这件事上,你得相信我——我们没有人身陷险境。事实上,你已经承受了太多的劳累了。不必再加上毫无必要的担心。听我说!”他命令道,因为我正看向别处。“我们的家族很强大。我们唯一害怕的是失去你。”

“可你们为什么要——”

这一次,爱丽丝打断了我,用她冰冷的手指抚摸着我的脸颊。“爱德华独自一人已经过了将近一个世纪了。现在,他终于找到了你。你看不出来他的变化,但我们能,因为我们和他在一起待了这么长的时间。如果他失去了你,你认为我们有谁还想在下一个百年里看着他的眼睛吗?”
当我凝望着她漆黑的眸子时,我的愧疚慢慢地消失了。一阵平静席卷了我的全身,但是有贾斯帕在这里,我不敢相信自己的感觉。

这真是漫长的一天。

我们终日待在房间里。爱丽丝给前台打电话,让他们不必现在过来打扫房间。窗子一直关着,电视一直开着,但根本没人看。食物会定期地摆到我面前。随着时间的推移,爱丽丝包上的银色手机似乎变得越来越庞大起来。

我的保姆们比我更擅于控制自己的焦虑。当我坐卧不安,踱来踱去的时候,他们只是变得更加沉寂,完全变成了两尊塑像,只有在我走动的时候,他们的目光才会难以察觉地追随着我。为了让自己忙碌起来,我没事找事地熟悉着这个房间:长椅上的条纹图案,黄褐色,桃红色,奶油黄,暗金色,然后又是黄褐色。有时我会盯着那些抽象的图案,对着那些形状胡思乱想着,找出各种图画来,就好像孩提时我对着云朵寻找图画一样。我研究出了一只蓝色的手,一个正在梳头的女人,还有一只伸着懒腰的猫。但当那个浅红色的圆圈变成一只凝视着我的眼睛时,我移开了视线。

当下午终于被打发掉时,我回到了床上,只是想找点事干。我希望当我独自一人待在黑暗里时,我能够肆无忌惮地流下徘徊在自己意识的边缘,在贾斯帕细心的监督下无法决堤的泪水。
 但爱丽丝警惕地跟着我走了进来,就好像她碰巧在同一时间厌倦了待在前面的屋子里。我开始怀疑爱德华究竟给了她什么样的指示。我斜躺在床上,她在我身旁坐下来,交叠着腿。起初我并不理会她,却忽然间觉得很疲倦,很想睡觉。但几分钟以后,贾斯帕的缺席使得我的恐惧再度复苏,变得显著起来。我迅速放弃了睡觉的打算,用胳膊抱住腿,蜷成了一个球。

“爱丽丝?”我问道。

“嗯?”

我让自己的声音显得非常平静。“你觉得他们现在在做什么?”

“卡莱尔想把那个追随者引到尽可能北的地方,等着他接近,然后掉转方向伏击他。艾思梅和罗莎莉打算一直往西走,只要那个女人还跟着她们,她们就会继续走下去。如果她改变了方向,她们会径直赶回福克斯照看你爸爸。所以我觉得,如果他们不打电话来,是因为一切顺利。这意味着追随者离得很近,他们不想让他偷听到电话的内容。”

“那艾思梅呢?”

“我想她一定回到福克斯了。她不能在那个女人有可能听到的情况下打电话。我估计他们都只是太过谨慎。”

“你真的认为他们很安全?”

“贝拉,我们得跟你说多少次,我们真的没有面临危险?”

“可是,你会告诉我事实吗?”

“是的。我永远对你实话实说。”她的声音很真挚。

我深思了片刻,然后确定她说的是实话。

“那么,告诉我……你是怎么变成吸血鬼的?”

我的问题让她措手不及。她沉默了。我翻过身去看着她,她的神情似乎很矛盾。

“爱德华不想让我告诉你这些。”她坚定地说道,但我感觉到,她并不赞同这一点。

“这不公平。我想我有权利知道。”

“我知道。”

我看着她,等待着。

她叹了口气。“他会非常,非常生气的。”

“这跟他没关系。这是你我之间的事。爱丽丝,作为朋友,我恳求你。”不知怎的,现在,我们成了朋友——正如她一定早就知道,我们自始至终都将会是朋友。

她用明亮聪慧的眼睛看着我……同时在抉择着。

“我会告诉你这件事技术层面上的细节,”她最终说道。“但我不记得自己是怎么转变的,而且我也从没做过,或者看到过这件事。所以,请记住,我只能告诉你理论部分。”

我在等着。
 “作为掠食者,我们拥有大量天生的武器,简直像个天然武器库一样——很多,很多,多得甚至超出必要的范围。强壮,速度,敏锐的感觉,更别提像爱德华,贾斯帕和我这些人,还拥有额外的感觉能力。而且,就像食人花一样,对我们的猎物来说我们很有吸引力。”

我一动不动地,想起了在那块草地上,爱德华曾那么激烈地向我印证着这种观点。

她露出大大的不祥的笑容。“我们还拥有另一种相当多余的武器。我们是有毒的,”她说着,露出闪闪发光的牙齿。“这种毒液并不致命——仅仅是让人无力反抗。(incapacitating。。。我觉得翻成乏力有点弱。。。)它作用得非常慢,通过血液循环来流遍全身,因此,一旦被咬,我们的猎物就会感到全身都在剧痛,根本无法从我们跟前逃走。这基本上是多余的,就像我说的那样。如果我们靠得那么近,猎物是根本不可能逃脱的。当然,也有例外。例如,卡莱尔。”

“所以……如果任由毒液流遍……”我喃喃低语道。

“要完成转变得花上好几天的功夫,这得基于有多少毒液进入了血液循环,还有毒液注入的地方离心脏的距离远近。只要心脏还在跳动,毒液就会继续流动,治愈所有伤口,在流经之处改变身体的构造。最后,当心脏停止跳动时,转变就完成了。但整个过程中,每一分每一秒,那个受害者都会巴不得立刻死去。”

我颤抖了一下。

“你看,这不是什么愉快的事情。”

“爱德华说过这是一件很艰难的事……我不太明白。”我说道。

“在某种程度上,我们很像鲨鱼。一旦我们尝到了鲜血的滋味,或者甚至只是闻到血的味道,就会很难控制住自己不继续喝下去。有时我们根本不可能控制住自己。所以你看,一旦咬了某人,一旦尝到了血,我们就会开始变得狂暴起来。这对双方来说都很艰难——一方要承受对血液的渴求,另一方要承受痛苦。”

“为什么你认为你不记得了呢?”(Why do you think you don't remember?原话。。。我读起来也觉得奇怪。。。。)

“我不知道。对其他人来说,转变的痛苦是他们对人类生活的最深刻的记忆。我却完全不记得当人类时的事。”她的声音充满了渴望。

我们沉默地躺着,沉浸在各自的思绪中。

时间一分一秒地过去了,我几乎忘记了她的存在,完全陷入了深思。

然后,毫无预警地,爱丽丝从床上跳起来,轻盈地落到地上站住。我猛地抬起头,吃惊地看着她。

“某些事改变了。”她的声音很紧迫,不再和我说话了。

她伸手推门的那一刻,贾斯帕把门打开了。他显然听到了我们的对话,还有她的突然惊呼。他把手放到她肩膀上,领着她走到床前,让她坐到床边上。
“你看见了什么?”他看着她的眼睛,紧张地问。她的眼睛专注着凝视着某些非常遥远的事物。我紧挨着她坐下来,倚过身子捕捉她低低的飞快的声音。

“我看见一个房间。一个长长的房间,到处都是镜子。地板是木制的。他在房间里,等待着。还有金色的……镜子上有一条金边。”

“那个房间在哪里?”

“我不知道。还缺少一些信息——另一方还没做出决定。”

“还有多久?”

“很快。他今天就会在那间满是镜子的房间里,又或许是明天。这得看情况。他在等待着什么。他现在正在黑暗之中。”

贾斯帕的声音很冷静,很有条理,他轻车熟路地向她提问道。“他在做什么?”

“他在看电视……不,他在放录像,周围一片黑暗,他正在别的某个地方。”

“你看得出他在哪里吗?”

“不能,太黑了。”

“那间满是镜子的房间,那里还有别的什么吗?”

“就是镜子,还有金色。那是一道金带,环绕着整个房间。还有一张黑色的桌子,上面放着一个大型音箱和一台电视。他正在那里摆弄着那盘录像带,但不像在那间黑屋子里那样看着它。这就是他在等着的那间房间。”她涣散的目光慢慢集中起来,然后落到了贾斯帕的脸上。

“没有别的了吗?”

她摇了摇头。他们看着彼此,一动不动。

“这意味着什么?”我问道。

有那么一会儿,他们谁也没有回答。然后,贾斯帕看向我。

“这意味着追猎者改变了计划。他做出了某个决定,这个决定把他带到了那间满是镜子的房间,还有那个黑屋子。”

“但我们不知道那些房间在哪里?”

“没错。”

“但我们确切地知道,他不会在华盛顿山脉的北边,也不会被猎杀。他会躲过他们。”爱丽丝的声音很绝望。

“我们要打电话吗?”我问道。他们交换了一个严肃的神情,拿不定主意。

这时,电话响了起来。
我还没来得及抬起头看着电话,爱丽丝已经穿过了房间。

她按下一个键,把电话举到耳边,但起初她并没有说话。

“卡莱尔,”她屏息说道。她似乎既没有感到惊讶,也没有感到宽慰,而那两种情绪都是我正感受到的。

“是的。”她说着,瞥了我一眼。然后有很长一段时间她只是在听,没有说话。

“我刚刚看见了他。”她把她看见的景象又描述了一遍。“某件事让他登上了那班飞机……把他带到了那些房间那里。”她停顿了片刻。“是的,”爱丽丝对着电话里说道,然后对我说话。“贝拉?”

她把电话遥遥伸向我。我飞奔过去。

“你好?”我屏息问道。

“贝拉。”爱德华说道。

“噢,爱德华!我担心极了!”

“贝拉,”他挫败地叹了口气。“我告诉过你,你什么都不用担心,操心你自己的事就行。”听到他的声音的感觉美好得让人难以置信。我感觉到,当他说话时,笼罩在我头顶的绝望的乌云逐渐淡去,消失不见了。

“你在哪里?”

“我们在温哥华城外。贝拉,对不起——我们失去了他的踪迹。他似乎对我们起了疑心——他一直小心地跟在足够远的距离之外,我根本没法听到他的想法。但现在他离开了——看样子他坐上了一架航班。我们认为他正径直回到福克斯,从头开始。”我能听到爱丽丝正在我背后和贾斯帕说着话,她飞快的话语全都挤在一起,模糊成一阵嗡嗡的杂音。

“我知道。爱丽丝看见他脱身了。”

“不过,你不必担心。他找不到任何线索能把他带到你身边。你只需要待在那里,等我们再次找到他为止。”

“我很好。艾思梅正和查理一起吗?”

“是的——那个女人待在镇上。她进了屋子,但那时查理正在工作。她根本没能靠近他,所以别害怕。有艾思梅和罗莎莉看着,他会很安全的。”

“她在做什么?”

“也许是在发掘线索。夜里她在镇里四处游荡。罗莎莉跟着她穿过了机场,镇上的所有道路,还有学校……贝拉,她正在掘地三尺,但什么也没找到。”

“你保证查理很安全?”

“是的,艾思梅不会让他离开自己的视线的。我们很快也会到那里去。如果追猎者跑到福克斯附近的任何地方,我们就能抓住他了。”

“我很想你。”我低声说道。

“我知道,贝拉。相信我,我知道。就像是你把一半的我带走了一样。”

“那么,来把你的另一半带走吧。”我故意向他挑衅道。

“马上,只要我能,我就会来。但我首先得保证你安全。”他的声音很艰难。(他的声音听起来备受煎熬)

“纵然我让你经历了那么多事情(吃了那么多苦头),你能相信,我也爱着你吗?”

“是的,我确信无疑。”

“为你,我会尽快赶过来。”

“我等着。”

通话刚刚结束(才挂上电话),那片惨淡的愁云又席卷了我。
我转过身去,想把电话还给爱丽丝,却发现她和贾斯帕正伏在桌子上。爱丽丝正在一张宾馆信纸画着速写。我倚在沙发背上,越过她的肩膀看着。

她在画一个房间:一个长长的,方形的房间,房间后部是一个更为模糊的,方形的隔间。(模糊那里是thinner,稀薄。。。)地上铺着木制的地板,纹路纵穿了整个房间。墙上是一溜儿的镜子,镜子间的缝隙装饰着衬边。然后,环绕在墙面上,齐腰高的地方,是一条长长的衬边。爱丽丝说过,那条衬边是金色的。

“这是一间芭蕾舞教室。”我忽然认出了那个熟悉的轮廓,说道。

他们惊奇地看着我。

“你知道这间屋子?”贾斯帕的声音听起来很冷静,但在冷静之下,涌动着我无法辨别的某种情绪。爱丽丝俯下头看着自己的作品,她的手飞快地掠过纸面,一个紧急出口的轮廓浮现在屋后的墙上,那台立体声和电视机出现在了房间前部右边的角落里。

“看上去像是我去上过舞蹈课的地方——那时我八岁,或者九岁。它的布局和这屋子一样。”我点着纸面,指着房间后部忽然变窄的,那个突兀的方形隔间。“那地方是浴室——这些门通向其他的舞厅。但那台立体声原本在这里。”——我指点着左边的屋角——“它要更旧些,而且也没有那台电视。在等候室里有一扇窗子——如果你透过它看过去的话,你能从这个角度把整间屋子尽收眼底。”

爱丽丝和贾斯帕都盯着我看。

“你确定这是同一间屋子?”贾斯帕问道,语气依然平静。

“不,完全不能——我猜大多数舞蹈教室看上去都是这个样子——同样的镜子,同样的扶杆。”(翻到这里我才明白那些金色的衬边就是扶杆。。。我喷。。。看接力版的时候书里始终在说那是一道金色的拱边。。。)我的手指描着镜子上的那圈芭蕾扶杆。“只是这轮廓看起来很熟悉。”我点住那扇门,它就在我记忆中那扇门的位置上。

“你现在有什么非去那里不可的理由吗?”爱丽丝问道,打破了我的深思。

“没有,我差不多有十年没去过那里了。我是个蹩脚的舞者——他们通常把我安排在后排朗诵。”我坦白道。

“所以那里跟你毫无关系?”爱丽丝专心地问道。

“没有,我甚至不知道它是否是由同一个人开办的。我敢肯定那是别处的某家舞蹈教室。”

“你去上课的那家教室在哪里?”贾斯帕用不经意的语气问道。

“就在我母亲的房子的那条街道上的拐角处。我过去一放学就走过去……”我说着,话音渐渐消失了。我没有错过他们交换的眼神。

“那么,是在凤凰城?”他的声音依然漫不经心。

“是的,”我低声说道。“仙人掌街五十八号。”

我们都沉默地坐在那里,盯着那幅画。

“爱丽丝,那个电话安全吗?”

“是的,”她向我保证。“那个号码只能被追溯到华盛顿去。”

“那么等会儿我可以用它打给我妈妈。”

“我以为她正在佛罗里达。”

“是的——但她很快就要回家了,她不能在这时候回家,在……”我的声音颤抖起来。我在想着爱德华说过的某件事,那个红发的女人曾去过查理的家,去过学校,那里都有我的记录。

“你要怎么和她联系?”

“他们没在家里装固定电话——她会频繁地检查自己的短信。”

“贾斯帕?”爱丽丝问道。

他思索着这件事。“我不认为这件事有什么坏处——当然,你得确保不说出你所在的地方。”
我迫不及待地抓过电话,拨下了我最熟悉的那组号码。响了几声以后,我听到了我母亲活泼的声音,让我在嘟声后留言。

“妈妈,”嘟声过后,我说道。“是我。听着,我需要你做一件事。这很重要。你一收到这条留言,就立刻打给我,打这个号码。”爱丽丝已经站到了我身旁,在她那幅图的边角上写下了电话号码。我清清楚楚地念了两遍。“求你,在跟我通话以前,哪里都别去。别担心,我很好,但我得立刻跟你谈话,不管你多晚接到这通留言。好吗?我爱你,妈妈。再见。”我闭上眼睛,全心全意地祈祷她在接到我的留言以前,情况不要发生任何计划之外的改变让她赶回家。
我把自己埋进沙发里,一点一点地吃掉那碟剩下的水果,知道自己将迎来一个漫长的夜晚。我想要打电话给查理,但我不知道现在我是否应该已经到家了。 我专心致志地看着新闻,关注着佛罗里达的报道,或者关于春训的消息——罢_公,飓风,或是terrorist attacks——任何有可能让他们提前回家的事情。 永生不朽一定赋予了他们无尽的耐心。无论是贾斯帕还是爱丽丝,似乎都不觉得有必要做些什么(来打发时间)。有一会儿,爱丽丝在描绘着她所看见的那间黑暗的屋子模糊的轮廓,细节详尽得就像是她是从电视里清清楚楚地看到的一样。但当她画着的时候,她只是坐在那里,用那双永恒的眼睛凝视着空白的墙面。贾斯帕,同样地,也没有感到丝毫迫切,既不想踱来踱去,也不想从窗帘后向外偷看,或者跑到门外去尖叫。而我,正处于这样的冲动之中。 
我一定是在等着电话再次响起的时候,在沙发上睡着的。爱丽丝把我抱到床上的时候,她冰冷的手的触感让我半梦半醒,但还没等我的头落到枕头上,我就又睡着了。



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