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Chapter 24 An Impasse

    My eyes opened to a bright, white light. I was in an unfamiliar room, awhite room. The wall beside me was covered in long vertical blinds; overmy head, the glaring lights blinded me. I was propped up on a hard,uneven bed — a bed with rails. The pillows were flat and lumpy. There wasan annoying beeping sound somewhere close by. I hoped that meant I wasstill alive. Death shouldn't be this uncomfortable.

  My hands were all twisted up with clear tubes, and something was taped across my face, under my nose. I lifted my hand to rip it off.

  "No, you don't." And cool fingers caught my hand.

  "Edward?" I turned my head slightly, and his exquisite face was justinches from mine, his chin resting on the edge of my pillow. I realizedagain that I was alive, this time with gratitude and elation. "Oh,Edward, I'm so sorry!""Shhhh," he shushed me. "Everything's all right now.""What happened?" I couldn't remember clearly, and my mind rebelledagainst me as I tried to recall.

  "I was almost too late. I could have been too late," he whispered, hisvoice tormented.

  "I was so stupid, Edward. I thought he had my mom.""He tricked us all.""I need to call Charlie and my mom," I realized through the haze.

  "Alice called them. Renée is here — well, here in the hospital. She'sgetting something to eat right now.""She's here?" I tried to sit up, but the spinning in my head accelerated,and his hand pushed me gently down onto the pillows.

  "She'll be back soon," he promised. "And you need to stay still.""But what did you tell her?" I panicked. I had no interest in beingsoothed. My mom was here and I was recovering from a vampire attack. "Whydid you tell her I'm here?""You fell down two flights of stairs and through a window." He paused.

  "You have to admit, it could happen."I sighed, and it hurt. I stared down at my body under the sheet, the hugelump that was my leg.

  "How bad am I?" I asked.

  "You have a broken leg, four broken ribs, some cracks in your skull,bruises covering every inch of your skin, and you've lost a lot of blood.

  They gave you a few transfusions. I didn't like it — it made you smellall wrong for a while.""That must have been a nice change for you.""No, I like how you smell.""How did you do it?" I asked quietly. He knew what I meant at once.

  "I'm not sure." He looked away from my wondering eyes, lifting mygauze-wrapped hand from the bed and holding it gently in his, careful notto disrupt the wire connecting me to one of the monitors.

  I waited patiently for the rest.

  He sighed without returning my gaze. "It was impossible… to stop," hewhispered. "Impossible. But I did." He looked up finally, with half asmile. "I must love you.""Don't I taste as good as I smell?" I smiled in response. That hurt myface.

  "Even better — better than I'd imagined.""I'm sorry," I apologized.

  He raised his eyes to the ceiling. "Of all the things to apologize for." "What should I apologize for?""For very nearly taking yourself away from me forever.""I'm sorry," I apologized again.

  "I know why you did it." His voice was comforting. "It was stillirrational, of course. You should have waited for me, you should havetold me.""You wouldn't have let me go.""No," he agreed in a grim tone, "I wouldn't."Some very unpleasant memories were beginning to come back to me. Ishuddered, and then winced.

  He was instantly anxious. "Bella, what's wrong?""What happened to James?""After I pulled him off you, Emmett and Jasper took care of him." Therewas a fierce note of regret in his voice.

  This confused me. "I didn't see Emmett and Jasper there.""They had to leave the room… there was a lot of blood.""But you stayed.""Yes, I stayed.""And Alice, and Carlisle…" I said in wonder.

  "They love you, too, you know."A flash of painful images from the last time I'd seen Alice reminded meof something. "Did Alice see the tape?" I asked anxiously.

  "Yes." A new sound darkened his voice, a tone of sheer hatred.

  "She was always in the dark, that's why she didn't remember.""I know. She understands now." His voice was even, but his face was blackwith fury.

  I tried to reach his face with my free hand, but something stopped me. Iglanced down to see the IV pulling at my hand.

  "Ugh." I winced.

  "What is it?" he asked anxiously — distracted, but not enough. Thebleakness did not entirely leave his eyes.

  "Needles," I explained, looking away from the one in my hand. Iconcentrated on a warped ceiling tile and tried to breathe deeply despitethe ache in my ribs.

  "Afraid of a needle," he muttered to himself under his breath, shakinghis head. "Oh, a sadistic vampire, intent on torturing her to death,sure, no problem, she runs off to meet him. An IV, on the other hand…"I rolled my eyes. I was pleased to discover that this reaction, at least,was pain-free. I decided to change the subject.

  "Why are you here?" I asked.

  He stared at me, first confusion and then hurt touching his eyes. Hisbrows pulled together as he frowned. "Do you want me to leave?""No!" I protested, horrified by the thought. "No, I meant, why does my mother think you're here? I need to have my story straight before shegets back.""Oh," he said, and his forehead smoothed back into marble. "I came toPhoenix to talk some sense into you, to convince you to come back toForks." His wide eyes were so earnest and sincere, I almost believed himmyself. "You agreed to see me, and you drove out to the hotel where I wasstaying with Carlisle and Alice — of course I was here with parentalsupervision," he inserted virtuously, "but you tripped on the stairs onthe way to my room and… well, you know the rest. You don't need toremember any details, though; you have a good excuse to be a littlemuddled about the finer points."I thought about it for a moment. "There are a few flaws with that story.

  Like no broken windows.""Not really," he said. "Alice had a little bit too much fun fabricatingevidence. It's all been taken care of very convincingly — you couldprobably sue the hotel if you wanted to. You have nothing to worryabout," he promised, stroking my cheek with the lightest of touches.

  "Your only job now is to heal."I wasn't so lost to the soreness or the fog of medication that I didn'trespond to his touch. The beeping of the monitor jumped arounderratically — now he wasn't the only one who could hear my heartmisbehave.

  "That's going to be embarrassing," I muttered to myself.

  He chuckled, and a speculative look came into his eye. "Hmm, I wonder…"He leaned in slowly; the beeping noise accelerated wildly before his lipseven touched me. But when they did, though with the most gentle ofpressure, the beeping stopped altogether.

  He pulled back abruptly, his anxious expression turning to relief as themonitor reported the restarting of my heart.

  "It seems that I'm going to have to be even more careful with you thanusual." He frowned.

  "I was not finished kissing you," I complained. "Don't make me come overthere."He grinned, and bent to press his lips lightly to mine. The monitor wentwild.

  But then his lips were taut. He pulled away.

  "I think I hear your mother," he said, grinning again.

  "Don't leave me," I cried, an irrational surge of panic flooding throughme. I couldn't let him go — he might disappear from me again.

  He read the terror in my eyes for a short second. "I won't," he promisedsolemnly, and then he smiled. "I'll take a nap."He moved from the hard plastic chair by my side to the turquoisefaux-leather recliner at the foot of my bed, leaning it all the way back,and closing his eyes. He was perfectly still.

  "Don't forget to breathe," I whispered sarcastically. He took a deepbreath, his eyes still closed.

  I could hear my mother now. She was talking to someone, maybe a nurse,and she sounded tired and upset. I wanted to jump out of the bed and runto her, to calm her, promise that everything was fine. But I wasn't inany sort of shape for jumping, so I waited impatiently.

  The door opened a crack, and she peeked through.

  "Mom!" I whispered, my voice full of love and relief.

   She took in Edward's still form on the recliner, and tiptoed to mybedside.

  "He never leaves, does he?" she mumbled to herself.

  "Mom, I'm so glad to see you!"She bent down to hug me gently, and I felt warm tears falling on mycheeks.

  "Bella, I was so upset!""I'm sorry, Mom. But everything's fine now, it's okay," I comforted her.

  "I'm just glad to finally see your eyes open." She sat on the edge of mybed.

  I suddenly realized I didn't have any idea when it was. "How long havethey been closed?""It's Friday, hon, you've been out for a while.""Friday?" I was shocked. I tried to remember what day it had been when…but I didn't want to think about that.

  "They had to keep you sedated for a while, honey — you've got a lot ofinjuries.""I know." I could feel them.

  "You're lucky Dr. Cullen was there. He's such a nice man… very young,though. And he looks more like a model than a doctor…""You met Carlisle?""And Edward's sister Alice. She's a lovely girl.""She is," I agreed wholeheartedly.

  She glanced over her shoulder at Edward, lying with his eyes closed inthe chair. "You didn't tell me you had such good friends in Forks."I cringed, and then moaned.

  "What hurts?" she demanded anxiously, turning back to me. Edward's eyesflashed to my face.

  "It's fine," I assured them. "I just have to remember not to move." Helapsed back into his phony slumber.

  I took advantage of my mother's momentary distraction to keep the subjectfrom returning to my less-than-candid behavior. "Where's Phil?" I askedquickly.

  "Florida — oh, Bella! You'll never guess! Just when we were about toleave, the best news!""Phil got signed?" I guessed.

  "Yes! How did you guess! The Suns, can you believe it?""That's great, Mom," I said as enthusiastically as I could manage, thoughI had little idea what that meant.

  "And you'll like Jacksonville so much," she gushed while I stared at hervacantly. "I was a little bit worried when Phil started talking aboutAkron, what with the snow and everything, because you know how I hate thecold, but now Jacksonville! It's always sunny, and the humidity reallyisn't that bad. We found the cutest house, yellow, with white trim, and aporch just like in an old movie, and this huge oak tree, and it's just afew minutes from the ocean, and you'll have your own bathroom —" "Wait, Mom!" I interrupted. Edward still had his eyes closed, but helooked too tense to pass as asleep. "What are you talking about? I'm notgoing to Florida. I live in Forks.""But you don't have to anymore, silly," she laughed. "Phil will be ableto be around so much more now… we've talked about it a lot, and what I'mgoing to do is trade off on the away games, half the time with you, halfthe time with him.""Mom." I hesitated, wondering how best to be diplomatic about this. "Iwant to live in Forks. I'm already settled in at school, and I have acouple of girlfriends" — she glanced toward Edward again when I remindedher of friends, so I tried another direction — "and Charlie needs me.

  He's just all alone up there, and he can't cook at all.""You want to stay in Forks?" she asked, bewildered. The idea wasinconceivable to her. And then her eyes flickered back toward Edward.

  "Why?""I told you — school, Charlie — ouch!" I'd shrugged. Not a good idea.

  Her hands fluttered helplessly over me, trying to find a safe place topat. She made do with my forehead; it was unbandaged.

  "Bella, honey, you hate Forks," she reminded me.

  "It's not so bad."She frowned and looked back and forth between Edward and me, this timevery deliberately.

  "Is it this boy?" she whispered.

  I opened my mouth to lie, but her eyes were scrutinizing my face, and Iknew she would see through that.

  "He's part of it," I admitted. No need to confess how big a part. "So,have you had a chance to talk with Edward?" I asked.

  "Yes." She hesitated, looking at his perfectly still form. "And I want totalk to you about that."Uh-oh. "What about?" I asked.

  "I think that boy is in love with you," she accused, keeping her voicelow.

  "I think so, too," I confided.

  "And how do you feel about him?" She only poorly concealed the ragingcuriosity in her voice.

  I sighed, looking away. As much as I loved my mom, this was not aconversation I wanted to have with her. "I'm pretty crazy about him."There — that sounded like something a teenager with her first boyfriendmight say.

  "Well, he seems very nice, and, my goodness, he's incrediblygood-looking, but you're so young, Bella…" Her voice was unsure; as faras I could remember, this was the first time since I was eight that she'dcome close to trying to sound like a parental authority. I recognized thereasonable-but-firm tone of voice from talks I'd had with her about men.

  "I know that, Mom. Don't worry about it. It's just a crush," I soothedher.

  "That's right," she agreed, easily pleased.

  Then she sighed and glanced guiltily over her shoulder at the big, roundclock on the wall.

   "Do you need to go?"She bit her lip. "Phil's supposed to call in a little while… I didn'tknow you were going to wake up…""No problem, Mom." I tried to tone down the relief so she wouldn't gether feelings hurt. "I won't be alone.""I'll be back soon. I've been sleeping here, you know," she announced,proud of herself.

  "Oh, Mom, you don't have to do that! You can sleep at home — I'll nevernotice." The swirl of painkillers in my brain was making it hard toconcentrate even now, though, apparently, I'd been sleeping for days.

  "I was too nervous," she admitted sheepishly. "There's been some crime inthe neighborhood, and I don't like being there alone.""Crime?" I asked in alarm.

  "Someone broke into that dance studio around the corner from the houseand burned it to the ground — there's nothing left at all! And they lefta stolen car right out front. Do you remember when you used to dancethere, honey?""I remember." I shivered, and winced.

  "I can stay, baby, if you need me.""No, Mom, I'll be fine. Edward will be with me."She looked like that might be why she wanted to stay. "I'll be backtonight." It sounded as much like a warning as it sounded like a promise,and she glanced at Edward again as she said it.

  "I love you, Mom.""I love you, too, Bella. Try to be more careful when you walk, honey, Idon't want to lose you."Edward's eyes stayed closed, but a wide grin flashed across his face.

  A nurse came bustling in then to check all my tubes and wires. My motherkissed my forehead, patted my gauze-wrapped hand, and left.

  The nurse was checking the paper readout on my heart monitor.

  "Are you feeling anxious, honey? Your heart rate got a little high there.""I'm fine," I assured her.

  "I'll tell your RN that you're awake. She'll be in to see you in aminute."As soon as she closed the door, Edward was at my side.

  "You stole a car?" I raised my eyebrows.

  He smiled, unrepentant. "It was a good car, very fast.""How was your nap?" I asked.

  "Interesting." His eyes narrowed.

  "What?"He looked down while he answered. "I'm surprised. I thought Florida… andyour mother… well, I thought that's what you would want."I stared at him uncomprehendingly. "But you'd be stuck inside all day inFlorida. You'd only be able to come out at night, just like a realvampire." He almost smiled, but not quite. And then his face was grave. "I wouldstay in Forks, Bella. Or somewhere like it," he explained. "Someplacewhere I couldn't hurt you anymore."It didn't sink in at first. I continued to stare at him blankly as thewords one by one clicked into place in my head like a ghastly puzzle. Iwas barely conscious of the sound of my heart accelerating, though, as mybreathing became hyperventilation, I was aware of the sharp aching in myprotesting ribs.

  He didn't say anything; he watched my face warily as the pain that hadnothing to do with broken bones, pain that was infinitely worse,threatened to crush me.

  And then another nurse walked purposefully into the room. Edward satstill as stone as she took in my expression with a practiced eye beforeturning to the monitors.

  "Time for more pain meds, sweetheart?" she asked kindly, tapping the IVfeed.

  "No, no," I mumbled, trying to keep the agony out of my voice. "I don'tneed anything." I couldn't afford to close my eyes now.

  "No need to be brave, honey. It's better if you don't get too stressedout; you need to rest." She waited, but I just shook my head.

  "Okay," she sighed. "Hit the call button when you're ready."She gave Edward a stern look, and threw one more anxious glance at themachinery, before leaving.

  His cool hands were on my face; I stared at him with wild eyes.

  "Shhh, Bella, calm down.""Don't leave me," I begged in a broken voice.

  "I won't," he promised. "Now relax before I call the nurse back to sedateyou."But my heart couldn't slow.

  "Bella." He stroked my face anxiously. "I'm not going anywhere. I'll beright here as long as you need me.""Do you swear you won't leave me?" I whispered. I tried to control thegasping, at least. My ribs were throbbing.

  He put his hands on either side of my face and brought his face close tomine. His eyes were wide and serious. "I swear."The smell of his breath was soothing. It seemed to ease the ache of mybreathing. He continued to hold my gaze while my body slowly relaxed andthe beeping returned to a normal pace. His eyes were dark, closer toblack than gold today.

  "Better?" he asked.

  "Yes," I said cautiously.

  He shook his head and muttered something unintelligible. I thought Ipicked out the word "overreaction.""Why did you say that?" I whispered, trying to keep my voice fromshaking. "Are you tired of having to save me all the time? Do you want meto go away?""No, I don't want to be without you, Bella, of course not. Be rational.

  And I have no problem with saving you, either — if it weren't for thefact that I was the one putting you in danger… that I'm the reason that you're here.""Yes, you are the reason." I frowned. "The reason I'm here — alive.""Barely." His voice was just a whisper. "Covered in gauze and plaster andhardly able to move.""I wasn't referring to my most recent near-death experience," I said,growing irritated. "I was thinking of the others — you can take yourpick. If it weren't for you, I would be rotting away in the Forkscemetery."He winced at my words, but the haunted look didn't leave his eyes.

  "That's not the worst part, though," he continued to whisper. He acted asif I hadn't spoken. "Not seeing you there on the floor… crumpled andbroken." His voice was choked. "Not thinking I was too late. Not evenhearing you scream in pain — all those unbearable memories that I'llcarry with me for the rest of eternity. No, the very worst was feeling…knowing that I couldn't stop. Believing that I was going to kill youmyself.""But you didn't.""I could have. So easily."I knew I needed to stay calm… but he was trying to talk himself intoleaving me, and the panic fluttered in my lungs, trying to get out.

  "Promise me," I whispered.

  "What?""You know what." I was starting to get angry now. He was so stubbornlydetermined to dwell on the negative.

  He heard the change in my tone. His eyes tightened. "I don't seem to bestrong enough to stay away from you, so I suppose that you'll get yourway… whether it kills you or not," he added roughly.

  "Good." He hadn't promised, though — a fact that I had not missed. Thepanic was only barely contained; I had no strength left to control theanger. "You told me how you stopped… now I want to know why," I demanded.

  "Why?" he repeated warily.

  "Why you did it. Why didn't you just let the venom spread? By now I wouldbe just like you."Edward's eyes seemed to turn flat black, and I remembered that this wassomething he'd never intended me to know. Alice must have beenpreoccupied by the things she'd learned about herself… or she'd been verycareful with her thoughts around him — clearly, he'd had no idea thatshe'd filled me in on the mechanics of vampire conversions. He wassurprised, and infuriated. His nostrils flared, his mouth looked as if itwas chiseled from stone.

  He wasn't going to answer, that much was clear.

  "I'll be the first to admit that I have no experience withrelationships," I said. "But it just seems logical… a man and woman haveto be somewhat equal… as in, one of them can't always be swooping in andsaving the other one. They have to save each other equally."He folded his arms on the side of my bed and rested his chin on his arms.

  His expression was smooth, the anger reined in. Evidently he'd decided hewasn't angry with me. I hoped I'd get a chance to warn Alice before hecaught up with her.

  "You have saved me," he said quietly.

  "I can't always be Lois Lane," I insisted. "I want to be Superman, too." "You don't know what you're asking." His voice was soft; he staredintently at the edge of the pillowcase.

  "I think I do.""Bella, you don't know. I've had almost ninety years to think about this,and I'm still not sure.""Do you wish that Carlisle hadn't saved you?""No, I don't wish that." He paused before continuing. "But my life wasover. I wasn't giving anything up.""You are my life. You're the only thing it would hurt me to lose." I wasgetting better at this. It was easy to admit how much I needed him.

  He was very calm, though. Decided.

  "I can't do it, Bella. I won't do that to you.""Why not?" My throat rasped and the words weren't as loud as I'd meantthem to be. "Don't tell me it's too hard! After today, or I guess it wasa few days ago… anyway, after that, it should be nothing."He glared at me.

  "And the pain?" he asked.

  I blanched. I couldn't help it. But I tried to keep my expression fromshowing how clearly I remembered the feeling… the fire in my veins.

  "That's my problem," I said. "I can handle it.""It's possible to take bravery to the point where it becomes insanity.""It's not an issue. Three days. Big deal."Edward grimaced again as my words reminded him that I was more informedthan he had ever intended me to be. I watched him repress the anger,watched as his eyes grew speculative.

  "Charlie?" he asked curtly. "Renée?"Minutes passed in silence as I struggled to answer his question. I openedmy mouth, but no sound came out. I closed it again. He waited, and hisexpression became triumphant because he knew I had no true answer.

  "Look, that's not an issue either," I finally muttered; my voice was asunconvincing as it always was when I lied. "Renée has always made thechoices that work for her — she'd want me to do the same. And Charlie'sresilient, he's used to being on his own. I can't take care of themforever. I have my own life to live.""Exactly," he snapped. "And I won't end it for you.""If you're waiting for me to be on my deathbed, I've got news for you! Iwas just there!""You're going to recover," he reminded me.

  I took a deep breath to calm myself, ignoring the spasm of pain ittriggered. I stared at him, and he stared back. There was no compromisein his face.

  "No," I said slowly. "I'm not."His forehead creased. "Of course you are. You may have a scar or two…""You're wrong," I insisted. "I'm going to die.""Really, Bella." He was anxious now. "You'll be out of here in a few days. Two week at most."I glared at him. "I may not die now… but I'm going to die sometime. Everyminute of the day, I get closer. And I'm going to get old."He frowned as what I was saying sunk in, pressing his long fingers to histemples and closing his eyes. "That's how it's supposed to happen. How itshould happen. How it would have happened if I didn't exist — and Ishouldn't exist."I snorted. He opened his eyes in surprise. "That's stupid. That's likegoing to someone who's just won the lottery, taking their money, andsaying, 'Look, let's just go back to how things should be. It's betterthat way.' And I'm not buying it.""I'm hardly a lottery prize," he growled.

  "That's right. You're much better."He rolled his eyes and set his lips. "Bella, we're not having thisdiscussion anymore. I refuse to damn you to an eternity of night andthat's the end of it.""If you think that's the end, then you don't know me very well," I warnedhim. "You're not the only vampire I know."His eyes went black again. "Alice wouldn't dare."And for a moment he looked so frightening that I couldn't help butbelieve it — I couldn't imagine someone brave enough to cross him.

  "Alice already saw it, didn't she?" I guessed. "That's why the things shesays upset you. She knows I'm going to be like you… someday.""She's wrong. She also saw you dead, but that didn't happen, either.""You'll never catch me betting against Alice."We stared at each other for a very long time. It was quiet except for thewhirring of the machines, the beeping, the dripping, the ticking of thebig clock on the wall. Finally, his expression softened.

  "So where does that leave us?" I wondered.

  He chuckled humorlessly. "I believe it's called an impasse."I sighed. "Ouch," I muttered.

  "How are you feeling?" he asked, eyeing the button for the nurse.

  "I'm fine," I lied.

  "I don't believe you," he said gently.

  "I'm not going back to sleep.""You need rest. All this arguing isn't good for you.""So give in," I hinted.

  "Nice try." He reached for the button.

  "No!"He ignored me.

  "Yes?" the speaker on the wall squawked.

  "I think we're ready for more pain medication," he said calmly, ignoringmy furious expression.

  "I'll send in the nurse." The voice sounded very bored.

   "I won't take it," I promised.

  He looked toward the sack of fluids hanging beside my bed. "I don't thinkthey're going to ask you to swallow anything."My heart rate started to climb. He read the fear in my eyes, and sighedin frustration.

  "Bella, you're in pain. You need to relax so you can heal. Why are youbeing so difficult? They're not going to put any more needles in you now.""I'm not afraid of the needles," I mumbled. "I'm afraid to close my eyes."Then he smiled his crooked smile, and took my face between his hands. "Itold you I'm not going anywhere. Don't be afraid. As long as it makes youhappy, I'll be here."I smiled back, ignoring the ache in my cheeks. "You're talking aboutforever, you know.""Oh, you'll get over it — it's just a crush."I shook my head in disbelief— it made me dizzy. "I was shocked when Renéeswallowed that one. I know you know better.""That's the beautiful thing about being human," he told me. "Thingschange."My eyes narrowed. "Don't hold your breath."He was laughing when the nurse came in, brandishing a syringe.

  "Excuse me," she said brusquely to Edward.

  He got up and crossed to the end of the small room, leaning against thewall. He folded his arms and waited. I kept my eyes on him, stillapprehensive. He met my gaze calmly.

  "Here you go, honey." The nurse smiled as she injected the medicine intomy tube. "You'll feel better now.""Thanks," I mumbled, unenthusiastic. It didn't take long. I could feelthe drowsiness trickling through my bloodstream almost immediately.

  "That ought to do it," she muttered as my eyelids drooped.

  She must have left the room, because something cold and smooth touched myface.

  "Stay." The word was slurred.

  "I will," he promised. His voice was beautiful, like a lullaby. "Like Isaid, as long as it makes you happy… as long as it's what's best for you."I tried to shake my head, but it was too heavy. "'S not the same thing,"I mumbled.

  He laughed. "Don't worry about that now, Bella. You can argue with mewhen you wake up."I think I smiled. '"Kay."I could feel his lips at my ear.

  "I love you," he whispered.

  "Me, too.""I know," he laughed quietly.

  I turned my head slightly… searching. He knew what I was after. His lips touched mine gently.

  "Thanks," I sighed.

  "Anytime."I wasn't really there at all anymore. But I fought against the stuporweakly. There was just one more thing I wanted to tell him.

  "Edward?" I struggled to pronounce his name clearly.

  "Yes?""I'm betting on Alice," I mumbled.

  And then the night closed over me.

第二十四章 僵局

我睁开眼睛,对上了一盏明亮的白色的灯。我在一间陌生的房间里,一间全白的房间。我身边的墙上覆满了长长的垂直百叶窗。在我的头顶上,耀眼的灯光让我的视线模糊起来。我躺在一张硬邦邦的,很不平坦的床上,床边还装着栏杆。枕头很扁,凹凸不平。附近的某处传来了一阵恼人的蜂鸣声。我希望这意味着我还活着。死亡不应该这么不舒服。

我的手上插满了透明的软管,一根管子一样的东西缠在我的脸上,就在我的鼻子下方。我抬起手,想把它拿开。

“不,你不能。”冰冷的手指抓住了我的手。

“爱德华?”我稍稍转过头去,他的脸离我的脸只有数英寸远,他的下巴靠在了我的枕头的边缘。我再次意识到自己还活着,这一次还带着感激和兴高采烈的情绪。“哦,爱德华,我非常抱歉!”

“嘘,”他嘘声示意我安静下来。“现在一切都没事了。”

“发生了什么事?”我记不太清了,当我试图回想的时候,我的脑子抗拒着我。

“我来得太迟了。我本来很有可能赶不上的。”(I was almost too late. I could have been too late。。。这句,我猜测是这个意思。。。)他耳语着,声音里充满了痛苦。

“我太蠢了,爱德华。我以为他抓住了我妈妈。”

“他欺骗了我们所有人。”

“我得打电话给查理和我妈妈。”我模模糊糊地意识到这一点。(透过一阵迷糊的薄雾,我意识到这件事。) 
“爱丽丝打过电话了。蕾妮就在这里——嗯,在这间医院里。她现在去吃点东西了。”

“她在这里?”我试图坐起来,但我的脑子晕得更厉害了,他的手温柔地把我推回枕头上去。

“她很快就会回来的,”他保证道。“而且你得一动不动得待在这里。”

“可你是怎么告诉她的?”我惊慌失措地说道。我对被安抚丝毫不感兴趣。我妈妈在这里,而我正从一次吸血鬼的袭击下康复过来。“为什么你要告诉她我在这里呢?”

“你从两截楼梯上掉了下来,撞破了窗子。”他顿了顿。“你得承认,这是有可能发生的。”

我叹了口气,这个动作让我隐隐作痛。我低下头,看着被单下的自己,那一团巨大的隆起是我的腿。

“我的情况有多糟?”我问道。

“你折断了一条腿,四根肋骨。你的头盖骨上有一些裂缝,你皮肤上每一英寸都伤痕累累。你还流了很多血。他们给你输了许多血。我不喜欢这样——这让你有一阵子闻起来都很不对劲。”

“这对你来说一定是个不错的变化。”

“不,我喜欢你的味道。”

“你做了什么?”我安静地问道。他立刻明白了我的意思。

“我不能肯定。”他看向别处,避开了我怀疑的眼睛。他从床上拿起我裹着纱布的手,温柔地握在自己手里,小心翼翼地避免扯断那根把我连到其中一台监视器上的电线。

我耐心地等着他没说完的话。

他叹了口气,依然拒绝对上我的目光。“我根本没办法……停下来。”他低声说道。“根本不可能。但我做到了。”他最终抬起头,几乎微笑起来(with half a smile)。“我一定很爱你。”
“我尝起来跟闻起来一样好吗?”我报以一笑。笑容扯痛了我的脸。

“还要更好些——甚至比我想象过的还有好。”

“对不起。”我道歉道。

他翻着眼睛,看着天花板。“在所有应该道歉的事情中(,你却选了这个)。”

“那我应该为什么而道歉?”

“为你差一点就让自己永远地离开我。”

“对不起。”我再次道歉。

“我知道你为什么要这样做。”他的声音有着安抚的味道。“当然,这样做还是很不理智。你应该等着我的,你应该告诉我的。”

“你不会让我走的。”

“是的,”他用冷酷的语气赞同道。“我不会这样做的。”

某些很不愉快的回忆开始闯入我的脑海。我颤抖着,然后畏缩起来。

他立刻焦急起来。“贝拉,怎么了?”

“詹姆斯怎么了?”

“在我把他从你身上拖开以后,艾美特和贾斯帕料理了他。”他的语气里有着一种尖锐的后悔。

这话让我困惑起来。“我没看见艾美特和贾斯帕在那里。”

“他们不得不离开那间屋子……到处都是血。”

“可你留下来了。”

“是的,我留下来了。”

“还有爱丽丝和卡莱尔……”我惊奇地说道。

“他们也爱你,你知道的。”

痛苦的画面(在我脑海里)一闪而过,我最后一次看见爱丽丝时的情景提醒了我某件事。“爱丽丝看了那卷带子没?(tape。。。但是,前文明明说的是数码摄像机。。。难道要译成视频?)”我焦急地问道。

“是的。”一丝新的声响使他的声音阴沉起来。(这一声回答使他的声音阴暗起来。)那是一种全然的憎恨的语气。

“她几乎一直待在黑暗里,这就是为什么她什么都不记得了。”

“我知道。她现在全明白了。”他的声音很平坦,但他的脸阴沉着,写满了狂怒。

我试图用我空着的手去够他的脸,但某样东西阻止了我。我低下头,看见静脉注射管正扯着我的手。

“呃。”我退缩了。

“怎么了?”他担心地问道。他被分了神,但还不够。他眼里的阴郁依然没有完全褪去。

“针头。”我解释着,看向别处,不敢再看我手上的针头。我把注意力集中在一块扭曲的天花板砖上,试图不去理会肋骨传来的疼痛,深呼吸着。

“害怕针头。”他低声对自己说着,摇了摇头。“哦,一只暴虐成性的吸血鬼,想要把她折磨致死,当然,没问题,她逃出去去见他。另一方面,一根静脉注射针……”

我转了转眼睛。我很高兴地发现,至少,这个回应动作不会让我疼痛。我决定改变话题。

“你为什么会在这里?”我问道。 
 他起先困惑地盯着我,然后,痛苦浸染了他的眼神。他皱起眉,他的额头皱了起来。“你想要我离开吗?”

“不!”我断然否认,被这个想法吓坏了。“不,我是说,我妈妈会怎么看待你在这里这件事?在她回来以前,我得把这个故事给理顺了。”

“哦,”他说道,他的前额又变得像大理石般光滑平整了。“我来凤凰城是为了把我的感受告诉你,好说服你回到福克斯。”他睁大的眼睛显得那么诚恳和真挚,连我自己都差点要相信他了。“你同意和我见面,于是开车来我和卡莱尔还有爱丽丝住的宾馆——当然,我是在家长的监管下来这里的。”他一本正经地加上这句话。(virtuously。。。)“但在来我房间的路上,你失足从楼梯上摔了下来……当然,剩下的部分你都知道了。不过,你不需要记住所有的细节。你已经有了一个很好的借口,那些更详尽的细节你可以装作有点糊涂蒙混过去。”

我思考了片刻。“这个故事还有很多漏洞。比方说,根本没有窗子被撞碎。”

“当然有。”他说道。“爱丽丝对伪造证据兴趣浓得有些过头。所有证据都被处理得相当有说服力——如果你愿意的话,你甚至可以起诉那家宾馆。你不需要担心这个。”他保证着,用最轻柔的力度抚摩着我的脸颊。“你现在唯一的任务就是养好身体(康复)。”

我对他的抚摩毫无反应,但这既不是因为我依然沉浸在痛苦之中,也不是因为药物带来的麻木。监视器的蜂鸣声忽然毫无规律地上下跃动起来——现在他不再是唯一一个能听到我的心丢脸地砰然乱跳(心跳失律)的人了。 
 “这会很令人尴尬的。”我低声自言自语道。

他轻笑起来,然后一丝好奇的(若有所思的/揣测的)神情在他的眼里一闪而过。“嗯,我想知道……”

他慢慢得俯下身来,那阵嘈杂的蜂鸣声疯狂地加速着,甚至是在他的唇吻上我之前。但是,在他的唇用最温柔的力度压下来时,蜂鸣声停住了。

他立刻退回去,一脸的担忧,直到监视器表明我的心脏已经重新启动,他焦虑的神情才转为咖unwanted。

“看样子,我得比平常更小心得跟你相处才行。”他皱起眉。

“我还没结束和你的这个吻呢,”我抱怨着。“不要逼我在这里扑过去。”

他咧嘴一笑,然后弯下身子轻轻地把他的唇压上我的唇。监视器抓狂了(暴走了)。

但随后,他的唇紧绷起来。他退了回去。

“我想我听到了你妈妈(的动静)。”他说着,又咧嘴笑了起来。

“别离开我。”我喊出声来,一阵蛮不讲理的汹涌的恐惧席卷了我。我不能让他走——他会再度从我身旁消失不见的。

只是短短的一秒钟,他就读懂了我的眼里的恐惧。“我不会的。”他严肃地保证道。然后,他笑了起来。“我会打个盹。”

他离开我床边的那张硬邦邦的塑料椅子,坐到我床脚的那张青绿色人造革躺椅上去。他完全躺了下去,闭上了眼睛。他真的一动不动。

“别忘了呼吸。”我讽刺地低声说道。他深吸了一口气,依然闭着眼睛。 
 现在连我都能听见我妈妈的声音了。她正和某人说着话,也许是个护士。她听起来既疲倦又担心。我真想从床上跳起来跑到她那里,安慰她冷静下来,向她保证一切都很好。但我现在的状态根本不可能做任何形式的跳跃动作,所以我只能安静地等着。

门被猛地退开了,她从门外偷看着。

“妈妈!”我低声说着,我的声音里充满了热爱(深情)和宽慰。

爱德华依旧维持着一动不动地睡在躺椅上的姿势,她看在眼里,踮着脚走的我的床边。

“他一直待在这里(他一直不肯离开),不是吗?”她低声自言自语着。

“妈妈,我真高兴看到你!”

她俯下身子,温柔地拥抱着我,我感觉到热泪正从我脸上留下来。

“贝拉,我真担心!”

“对不起,妈妈。但现在没事了,已经没事了。”我安慰着她。

“我真高兴,我最终看到你睁开眼睛了。”她在我的床沿上坐了下来。

我忽然意识到我还不知道现在是什么时候。“我的眼睛是从什么时候起闭上的?”(我睡了多久?)

“今晚是星期五,亲爱的,你睡了很长一段时间。”

“星期五?”我吃了一惊。我试图记起那件事是哪天发生的……但我不愿意去想它。(。。。我也忘记是哪天了。。。前文里梅尔有提过吗?)

“他们不得不一直给你使用镇静剂,用了好长一段时间,甜心——你弄出了很多伤口。”

“我知道。”我能感觉到这些伤口的存在。

“你真幸运,卡伦医生就在那里。他真是个好人……不过,太年轻了点。他看上去更像一个模特,而非医生……”

“你见到卡莱尔了?”

“还有爱德华的妹妹爱丽丝。她是个可爱的女孩。”

“她确实是。”我完全赞成。

她越过自己的肩膀,瞥了一眼爱德华,后者依然躺在那张椅子上,紧紧地闭着双眼。“你还没告诉过我,你在福克斯交了个这么好的朋友。”

我畏缩了一下,然后呻吟起来。

“有哪里疼吗?”她担忧地问道,回过头来。爱德华的眼睛飞快地瞥了一下我的脸。

“我很好。”我向她保证道。“我只是刚刚想起来不能乱动。”他又回到他那个伪装的睡眠里去了。

我充分利用了我妈妈那一瞬间的分神,努力不让话题回到我那绝对称不上诚实的举动上。“菲尔在哪里?”我迅速问道。

“佛罗里达——哦,贝拉!你根本猜不到!就在我们要离开的时候,最好的消息来了!”

“菲尔拿到了合约?”我猜测着。

“是的!你是怎么猜到的!太阳队,你能相信吗?”

“太棒了,妈妈。”我竭尽全力,尽可能说得更热情些,尽管我根本不知道那意味着什么。

“你会喜欢杰克逊维尔的。”我茫然地盯着她,她滔滔不绝地说着。“当菲尔开始跟亚克朗市队沟通的时候,我还有些担心,因为那里到处都是冰雪,你知道我有多讨厌寒冷。但现在,杰克逊维尔!那里总是阳光灿烂,潮湿也没那么糟糕。我们找到了一所最可爱的房子,黄色的,装饰着白边,还有一个像老电影里那样的门廊,还有那棵巨大的橡树。而且那里离海边只有几分钟路程,你还能有你自己的浴室……”
“等等,妈妈?”我打断了她的话。爱德华依然闭着眼睛,但他的样子太紧张了,根本不像是在睡觉。“你在说什么?我不打算去佛罗里达。我住在福克斯。”

“可你不必这样做了,笨蛋。”她大笑起来。(我终于明白了,laugh是笑出声的笑,smile是不出声的笑,区别原来在这里。。。)“现在菲尔能有更多的时间在附近了……我们已经就这个问题谈过很多次了,我打算作出让步,在他客场比赛的日子里,有一半时间陪着你,一半时间陪他。”

“妈妈。”我迟疑着,想知道怎样才能最圆滑得处理这件事。“我想要住在福克斯。我已经融入了那里的学校,我也有一两个闺蜜了”——我提醒了她关于朋友的事,她又瞥了一眼爱德华,所以我试着换了个方向——“还有,查理需要我。他在那里老是一个人,而且他完全不会烹饪。”

“你想要留在福克斯?”她不知所措地问道。这个想法对她来说太不可思议了。然后她的眼睛飞快地看向了爱德华。“为什么?”

“我告诉过你——学校,查理——”我耸了耸肩。这不是个好主意。

她的双手无助地在我身上徘徊着,试图找出一块安全的地方拍一下我。她最终拍了拍我的额头,只有那里没有包着绷带。

“贝拉,甜心,你讨厌福克斯。”她提醒我。

“那里没那么糟。”

她皱起眉,来来回回地看着爱德华和我,这次她看得不慌不忙,显然是故意的。

“是因为这个男孩吗?”她耳语道。

我张开嘴想要撒谎,但她的眼睛正仔细地审视着我的脸,我知道她会从我脸上看出来的。

“他是其中一部分原因。”我承认道。没有必要坦白交代这部分有多大。“所以,你找机会跟爱德华交谈过了?”我问道。

“是的。”她迟疑着,看着他优雅的安静的姿势。“我想要和你谈谈这件事。”

啊—噢。“什么事?”我问道。

“我觉得这个男孩爱上你了。”她指责道,依然把声音压得很低。(accused,。。。为什么要用这个词。。。因为他跟她抢女儿?)

“我也这样觉得。”我向她吐露道。

“那么,你对他有什么感觉?”她只能勉强掩饰住自己语气里汹涌的好奇。
我叹了口气,看向别处。尽管我是那么的爱着我的妈妈,这依然不是一个我能和她交流的话题。“我对他简直着了迷。”瞧——这听起来像是一个十几岁的小孩在谈到她的初恋男友时会说的话。

“嗯,他似乎很不错,还有,我的天,他帅得简直让人难以置信,但你太年轻了,贝拉……”她的声音很没自信。就我所记得的情况而言,这是自我八岁时起,她头一次这么接近于竭力使自己听起来具有家长的威信。我认出了我和她谈男人时,那种通情达理但坚定不移的口气。(reasonable-but-firm,这绝对是个熟语,但我就是不会翻。。。。)

“我知道,妈妈。别担心这个。这只是一见倾心的狂热。”我安抚着她。

“没错。”她赞同着,很容易就开心起来了。

然后她叹了口气,满怀歉意地越过自己的肩膀看向墙上的那个大圆钟。

“你要离开了吗?”

她咬住唇。“菲尔过会儿会打电话来……我不知道你醒了。”

“没关系,妈妈。”我试图让自己的如释重负不那么明显,这样她就不会觉得受伤了。“我不会孤单的。”

“我很快回来。我要睡在这里,你知道的。”她宣布道,显然很为自己感到自豪。

“哦,妈妈,你不必这样做!你可以睡在家里——我根本没注意到这样做的差别(我不介意的)。”止痛药在我脑子里带来的眩晕现在让我更难集中注意力了,尽管,很显然,我已经睡了好几天了。
“我只是很不安。”她怯懦得承认道。“附近的街区发生了一些犯罪行为,我不想要独自待在家里。”

“犯罪?”我警惕地问道。

“有些人闯进了我们家拐角处的那间舞蹈教室,把它烧成了白地——什么都没留下来!然后他们还留了一辆偷来的车在门口。你还记得吗,你以前曾经去过那里上舞蹈课呢,甜心?”

“我记得。”我颤抖着,然后畏缩起来。

“我可以留下来,宝贝,只要你需要我。”

“不,妈妈,我很好。爱德华会陪着我的。”

她脸上的表情写着这就是她想留下来的原因。“今晚我会回来的。”与其说是一个保证,这听起来更像是一个警告。当她说话的时候,她又瞥了一眼爱德华。

“我爱你,妈妈。”

“我也爱你,贝拉。你走路的时候请更当心点,甜心,我不想失去你。”

爱德华的眼睛依然闭着,但一个大大的咧嘴一笑在他脸上一闪而过。

一个护士匆匆忙忙地走进来,检查了我身上所有的软管和电线。我妈妈亲吻了我的前额,轻拍了一下裹着纱布的手,然后离开了。

那个护士正在检查我的心电监护仪所打印出来的纸条。

“你感觉很不安吗,甜心?你的心率在这个点上有点儿高。”

“我很好。”我向她保证道。

“我会告诉你的注册护士(护理师)你醒了。她会在一分钟之内过来看你的。”

一等她关上门,爱德华立刻出现在了我床边。 
 “你偷了一辆车?”我扬起眉毛。

他微笑着,没有半点悔改的意思。“那是辆好车,非常快。”

“你的小睡怎么样?”我问道。

“非常有趣。”他眯起眼睛。

“什么?”

他垂下头去,答道:“我很惊讶。我以为佛罗里达……还有你妈妈……好吧,我以为那正是你想要的。”

我无法理解地盯着他。“可你在佛罗里达得终日困住屋里。你只能在夜里外号粗,就像一个真正的吸血鬼一样。”

他几乎要微笑起来了,但最终没有笑。然后他的脸黯淡下来。“我会待在福克斯,贝拉。或者某个类似于福克斯的地方。”他解释道。“某个我不会再伤害到你的地方。”

起初,我没有立刻领会他的话。我继续茫然地盯着他,那些话一个字一个字地输入我的脑海里,就像是一个可怕的谜团一样。我只能勉强注意到我的心跳加速的声音。不过,当我的呼吸变得紊乱起来的时候,我才意识到我的肋骨传来的表示伉仪的剧痛。

他什么也没说,他警惕地看着我的脸。那种与破碎的骨头无关的疼痛,那种更加糟糕,糟糕到好无止境的疼痛,威胁着要把我碾碎。

然后,另一个护士目的明确地走进了房间。爱德华又一动不动地像块石头一样,她训练有素的眼睛把我的神情看在眼里,然后转向那些监视器。

“是时候再吃点止痛药了,甜心?”她友好地问道,轻叩了一下那个静脉注射器的瓶子。(。。。正常的护士应该是本能地去调整输液的流速计吧。。。至少我见到的护士都是这样干的。。。要是我输液时有人敲我的输液瓶子我一定会疯给他看。。。不知道它正跟我的心脏联通着么。。。) 
 “不,不用。”我喃喃低语着,试图去掉自己声音里的痛苦。“我什么也不要。”我无法承受在这个时候闭上眼睛。

“没有必要这样逞强,甜心。如果你不那么强迫自己忍耐(不憋着那么多压力),情况会更好些。你需要休息。”她等待着,但我只是摇了摇头。

“好吧。”她叹了口气。“等你准备好的时候,请按呼唤铃。”

她严厉地看了一眼爱德华,然后又瞥了一眼那台机器(我猜是心电监护仪。。。),眼里更多的是不安,最终离开了。

他冰冷的双手落在我的脸上。我睁得大大的眼睛盯着他。

“嘘,贝拉,冷静下来。”

“不要离开我。”我用破碎的声音恳求道。

“我不会的。”他保证道。“现在放松下来,等会儿我再把护士叫进来给你打镇静剂。”

但我的心跳依然没有慢下来。

“贝拉。”他焦急地轻拍着我的脸。“我哪里也不去。只要你需要我,我会一直待在这里。”

“你发誓,你不会离开我?”我低声说道。至少,我在竭力控制自己的喘息。我的肋骨在颤抖着。

他把手放在我的脸两侧(他用双手捧起我的脸),然后把脸侧向我的脸。他的眼睛睁大,显得很严肃。“我发誓。”

他呼出的气息是那么的慰藉人心。这似乎让我呼吸的疼痛减轻下来。他继续看着我的眼睛,直到我的身体慢慢放松下来,那阵蜂鸣声恢复到一种正常的节奏。他的眼睛很黑,今天他的眸色更接近于黑色而非金色。

“好些了?”他问道。

“是的。”我谨慎地说道。

他摇了摇头,然后喃喃低语着某些我无法理解的句子。我想我听到了“过度反应”这个词。

“你为什么要说这些。”我耳语着,竭力不让自己的声音发颤。“你厌倦了不得不全天候地救援我吗?你想要我离开你吗?”

“不,我不能没有你,贝拉,当然不能。讲道理一点。我对拯救你也毫无意见——如果不是因为事实上我正是那个让身陷险境的人的话……我正是让你现在待在这里的原因。”

“是的,你正是原因所在。”我皱起眉。“让我待在这里……活着的原因。”

“仅仅是活着。”他的声音几近耳语。“包裹在绷带和石膏里,几乎没法动弹。” 
 “我不是在说我最近一次濒于死亡的经历。”我说着,有些生气起来。“我在想别的事情——你可以选择的。如果不是因为你,我会在福克斯的公墓里腐烂掉。”

他因为我的话而畏缩了一下,但那种饱受折磨的神情依然没有离开他的眼底。

“不过,这还不是最糟糕部分。”他继续耳语着,表现得就好像我什么也没说一样。“不是看到你躺在地板上……扭曲着,伤痕累累。”他的声音有些梗咽。“不是以为我已经来得太迟。甚至不是听到了你痛苦的尖叫——这一切令人难以忍受的记忆都将会在我无尽的余生中纠缠着我。不,最糟糕的是那种感觉……我知道我没法停下来。我确信我会亲手杀了你的。”

“可你没有。”

“我会的。只差一点(这太容易了)。”

我知道我必须保持冷静……但他正在试图说服自己离开我,恐惧在我的肺部里挣扎着,想要冲出来。

“向我保证。”我耳语着。

“什么?”

“你知道的。”现在我开始生气了。他太固执地决心要详细描述那些消极的事情。

他听出了我语气的变化。他的眼神紧绷起来。“我不够坚强,没法让自己离开你,所以我猜你得用你自己的方式离开……不管这会不会杀了你。”他粗鲁地补充道。

“很好。”尽管,他没有做出保证——这是我无法回避的事实。恐惧只能勉强维持着。我再也没有气力控制自己的愤怒了。“你告诉过我你是怎么停下来的……现在我要知道为什么。”我诘问道。

“为什么?”他警惕地重复道。

“为什么你要这样做。为什么你不让毒液继续传播下去?那样现在我就像你一样了。” 
 爱德华的眼睛变成了全然的黑色,我想起来了,这是他永远也不想让我知道的事。爱丽丝一定在一心一意地想着自己的事情……或者当他在附近的时候,她一定对自己的想法很小心——很显然,他完全不知道她已经向我灌输了吸血鬼转变的技术性细节。他很惊讶,也生气了。他的鼻孔张大了,他的嘴巴看上去就像是用石头凿出来的一样。

他不打算回答,这很明白。

“首先,我得承认我对亲密关系没什么亲身体会。”我说道。“但这更合乎逻辑……男人和女人应当稍微平等些……就像是,不能老是他们中的一个突然出现然后拯救另一个。他们应该平等的,互相援助。”

他把手臂交叠在我的床边,然后把下巴放在自己的手臂上。他的表情平静下来,他的愤怒遏制住了。很显然他已经决定了不对我发火了。我希望我有机会在他抓到爱丽丝以前警告她。

“你确实救了我。”他安静地说着。

“我不能总当露易丝?莱恩。”我坚持着。“我也想当超人。”(露易丝好像没跟超人在一起。。。为什么呢?)

“你不知道你自己在要求着什么。”他的声音很温柔,他紧张地盯着枕头套的边缘。

“我想我知道。”

“贝拉,你不知道。我花了将近九十年的时间去思考这件事,而我还是不能确定。”

“你希望卡莱尔没有救你吗?”

“不,我不希望那样。”他停顿了片刻,然后继续说道。“但我的生命已经结束了。我不必放弃任何东西。”

“你就是我的生命。失去你是唯一能伤害我的事。”我能更好地说出这话了。承认我有多么需要他变得容易了。

可是,他非常地冷静。他做出了决定。

“我不能这样做,贝拉。我不能让那样的事发生在你身上。”

“为什么不能?”我的喉头沙哑着,我大声地说出了那句话,尽管我本意并不想这样大声说的。“别告诉我这太艰难了!在今天以后,或者我猜那已经是很多天以前的事了……无论如何,在那之后,这就不算什么。”

他瞪着我。

“那疼痛呢?”他问道。

我脸色发白。我没法控制住自己。但我试图不让自己的神情表现得太明白。我记起来那种感觉……火焰在我的血管里燃烧着。

“这是我的问题。”我说道。“我能把握住。”

“在情况失控的时候,勇气也许会很有帮助的。”(It's possible to take bravery to the point where it becomes insanity)

“这不是问题。就三天。有什么大不了的。”

爱德华又扮了个鬼脸。我的话提醒了他,我比他所希望的知道得更多。我看着他强抑住自己的愤怒,看着他的眼神变得揣度起来。

“查理?”他简要地问道。“蕾妮?”

时间在沉默中一分一秒地过去,我挣扎着想要回答他的问题。我张开嘴巴,但发不出声音。我又闭上了嘴巴。他等待着,然后露出了胜利的神情。因为他知道我没法如实回答。
“看,这也不是问题。”我最终喃喃低语道。当我撒谎的时候,我的声音总是没法让人信服。“蕾妮总会为自己做出选择——她也想要我这样做。而查理能恢复过来,他过去一直是一个人。我不能永远为他们操心。我有我自己的人生要过。”

“确实如此。”他猛地说道。“而我不能结束你的人生。”

“如果你在等我奄奄一息的时候,那我有好消息要告诉你!我就在这里!(我已经奄奄一息了!)”

“你会好起来的。”他提醒我。

我深吸了一口气,让自己冷静下来,不去理会这个动作带来的一阵痉挛的疼痛。我瞪着他,他瞪了回来,脸上没有半点让步。

“不,”我慢慢地说道。“我不会的。”

他的前额皱了起来。“当然你会的。你只会留下一两个伤疤……”

“你错了。”我坚持说道。“我会死的。”

“真的,贝拉。”现在他焦急起来了。“你只需在这里待上几天就能出院了。最多两周。”

我瞪着他。“我也许不会在现在死去……但我终有一日会死去的。每一天,每一分钟,我都在离死亡更近。而且我会变老的。”

他听着我说的话,皱起了眉头,把他长长的手指压在鬓角,然后闭上了眼睛。“这正是应该发生的事情。这是本来应该发生的事情。如果我没有出现的话,这早该发生了——而我根本不应该出现。”

我哼了一声。他惊讶地睁开眼睛。“这太愚蠢了。就像是某个人刚刚赢得了一张彩票,把钱都领走了,然后说‘看,让我们回到从前,事情应该是那样子的,那样会更好些。’我不会买账的。(我不会接受这种说法的)”

“我绝对不是一份彩票大奖。”他咆哮着。

“没错。你要好多了。”

他翻了翻眼睛,然后启唇说道(set his lips。。。):“贝拉,我们不会再继续讨论这个话题了。我拒绝诅咒你陷入无尽的黑夜。到此为止。”

“如果你认为这事就这样结束了,那你就太不了解我了。”我警告他。“你不是我认识的唯一一个吸血鬼。” 
 他的眼睛又变暗了。“爱丽丝没这个胆量。”

然后有一瞬间,他看上去是那么可怕。我情不自禁地想要相信这一点——我想象不出有人能勇敢与他面对面。

“爱丽丝已经看到了,不是吗?”我猜测着。“这就是为什么她说这些会让你心烦。她知道我会成为像你们那样的人……终有一日会的。”

“她错了。她也看见过你的死亡,但这也没有发生。”

“你永远也逮不到我和爱丽丝打赌。”("You'll never catch me betting against Alice."。。。我真没弄明白这句在说什么。。。。)

我们都盯着对方,瞪了很久很久。屋里安静得只能听到机器的呼呼声,蜂鸣声,滴水声,还有墙上的钟的滴答声。最终,他的表情缓和下来了。

“所以,我们现在进行到哪儿了?”我想知道。

他毫无幽默地轻笑起来。“我相信,这叫僵局。”

我叹了口气。“哎唷。”我低声说道。

“你感觉怎么样?”他问道,眼睛盯着呼唤护士的那个按钮。

“我很好,”我撒了谎。

“我不会相信你的。”他温柔地说道。

“我不想睡过去。”

“你需要休息。这些争论对你没好处。”

“那么,投降吧。”我暗示着。

“不错的尝试。”他伸手去够那个按钮。

“不!”

他不理会我。

“怎么了?”墙上传来的说话声问道。

“我想我们已经准备好使用更多的止痛药了。”他冷静地说道,完全不顾我狂怒的神情。

“我会去叫护士。”那个声音听起来很厌烦。

“我不会服药的。”我保证道。

他看向挂在我床边的那个输液袋。“我不认为他们会要你吞药片的。”

我的心率开始加快了。他看懂了我眼里的害怕,然后挫败地叹了口气。

“贝拉,你很疼。你需要休息,这样你才能康复。为什么你要这么难相处呢?他们不会拿针扎你了。”

“我不怕针头。”我咕哝着说道。“我只是害怕闭上眼睛。”

于是,他弯弯坏笑,用双手捧起我的脸:“我告诉过你,我不会去任何地方的。别害怕。只要这能让你快乐,我会一直待在这里。”
我报以一笑,不去理会脸颊上的隐隐作痛。“你在说永远,你知道的。”

“哦,你会克服的——这只是一见倾心的狂热。”

我难以置信地摇了摇头——这让我头晕眼花。“当蕾妮接受这个说法时我大吃一惊。我知道你了解得更清楚。”

“当人类实在是件美妙的事。”他告诉我。“事情会改变的。”

我的眼睛眯缝起来。“别屏住呼吸。”

他大笑起来,这时,护士走了进来,手里挥舞着一支注射器。

“打扰了。”她唐突地向爱德华说道。

他站了起来,穿过房间走到这间小屋子的另一头,倚在墙上。他把双臂交叠在胸前,等待着。我的目光一直停留在他身上,我依然惴惴不安着。他冷静地看着我的眼睛。

“你在这儿,甜心。”那个护士微笑着,把药物注射到我的软管里。“现在你会感觉好些的。”(继续题外



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