88LAklnC uAWn 8CCk 2ţ LuWA8u'S ÞCv

l do noL own LwlllahLţ all characLers and rlahLs eLc belona Lo SLephenle
MeverŦ

Chapter 9
l ushered 8ella Lhrouah Lhe crowds of SeaŴ1ac alrporLţ one arm wound
around her walsLţ Lhe oLher arasplna Lhe casesŦ lL realsLered dlmlv LhaL l
should have used a luaaaae Lrollevţ buL l was passed carlna abouL Lhe
human facade nowŦ
We had spenL Lhe fllahLs home ln uncomforLable sllence as l Lrled Lo read
her face for anv slans as Lo how she felLţ buL she had deLermlnedlv
avolded mv aazeŦ l assumed she was bevond fear for her llfe and bevond
furv aL me for endanaerlna her ln Lhls wavŦ l was sLuck ln a plL of despalrŤ
anarv aL mv lanoranceţ anarv aL mv selflshness and worsL of allţ uLLerlv
Lerrlfled for Lhe woman l loved bevond all else ln Lhls worldŦ
l heard Lhem before l saw LhemŤ our famllv walLlna anxlouslv for our
arrlvalŦ Mv faLher was runnlna over hls plan for lmmedlaLe acLlon ln hls
headţ mv moLher's nerves were sLreLched LauLŦ lootţ poot JeotsŦ 1bev
most be so oftolJţ she worrledŦ Allce was screamlna lnLernallvŦ l jost coo´t
see!! Poweverţ lL was 8osalle's LhouahLs whlch were Lhe loudesLŦ 1here
was boLh a flavour of exclLemenL and anxleLv Lo Lhem as we came lnLo
vlewţ and an lmaae swam before her eves of her coolna over a cherublc
babv ln her armsŦ Lven Lhenţ noLhlna cllcked lnLo placeŦ 8ella Lurned Lo me
and flnallv meL mv aazeŦ l had become so used Lo readlna her expresslonsţ
buL l could sLlll noL belleve whaL l sawŦ ln her sofLţ chocolaLe eves Lhere
wos fear buL Lhere someLhlna elseŤ a look LhaL seemed Lo plead wlLh me
for undersLandlnaŦ WlLh a squeeze of mv hand she released herself from
mv arasp and ran sLralahL lnLo 8osalle's ouLsLreLched armsŦ kosolle´sŦ We
all sLood llke sLaLuesŦ ln LhaL second l reallzed l had been LoLallv and
uLLerlv wronaŦ 8ella wasn'L scared for bet llfeŤ she was scared for whaLever
was arowlna lnslde of herţ and she had Lurned Lo Lhe one person who
would be auaranLeed Lo supporL herŦ
urlvlna home from Lhe alrporL was llke de[à vu from lasL sprlna afLer our
perllous vlslL Lo volLerraŦ LxcepL Lhere were Lwo kev dlfferencesŦ LasL
sprlna l had held a sleeplna 8ella ln mv arms ln Lhe backseaLŤ now lL was
8osalle's arms around mv wlfeŦ And lasL sprlna we had [usL escaped our
encounLer wlLh deaLhŤ now we were headlna Lowards lLŦ
We all saL ln sllenceŤ 8osalle's eves borlna lnLo Lhe back of mv head and
Lhlnklna menaclna LhouahLsŦ LmmeLL's face was serlous for onceţ as he
reclLed Lhe sLaLs of everv baseball Leam he knew ln hls headŦ Mv mood
swuna from aaonv Lo anaerŦ noL anarv wlLh 8ellaŦ never wlLh 8ellaŦ 8uL aL
mvŦŦŦ mv slsLerŦ lf vou could sLlll call her LhaLţ whaL wlLh her Lrvlna Lo
desLrov mv reason for exlsLlna [usL so she could fulfll her dreams of
moLherhoodŦ
When we aoL homeţ LmmeLL Look Lhe cases ouL of Lhe Lrunk of Carllsle's
MercedesŦ l walkedţ ln a sLuporţ behlnd 8osalle who was cradllna 8ella llke
a chlld ln her armsţ aazlna down aL her affecLlonaLelvŦ She Look 8ella
lmmedlaLelv upsLalrs Lo chanae from her pasLel blue coLLon dress LhaL was
LauL from her expandlna Lorsoţ lnLo a baaav sweaLshlrL and sweaLpanLsŦ
When we were all lnsldeţ saL and sLood around 8ella who lav on Lhe
couchţ 8osalle hoverlna defenslvelvţ Carllsle flnallv broke Lhe Lense
sllenceŦ Pe knew whaL 8ella was dolna buL he had Lo ttvŦ
º8ellaţ we need Lo aeL LheŦŦŦfeLus ouL of vouŦ l'm sorrvţ lL's farţ far Loo
danaerousŦŦŦ" he aLLempLed Lo reason wlLh herŦ
She cluLched her bloaLedţ moLLled sLomach as lf proLecLlna lL from hearlna
such wordsŦ ºno! l won'L leL vou!" she aaspedţ alanclna desperaLelv for
º8oseŦŦŦ"
8osalle arowled loudlvţ her llps pulllna back Lo reveal her aleamlnaţ razorŴ
sharp LeeLhŦ º?ou dare come anvwhere near usţ Carllsle!" she hlssed aL
hlmŦ Pe ralsed hls hands llke a neaoLlaLor savlna he wasn'L armedŦ 8osalle
Lurned Lo 8ella and her feaLures Lransformed lnLo a severe buL
affecLlonaLe vlsaaeŦ ºuon'L llsLen Lo Lhemţ 8ellaţ" she whlsperedţ uralna
her wlLh her evesŦ ºLvervLhlna wlll be floeŦ"
º8ellaţ vou can'L survlve Lhls!" l crledţ mv volce breaklnaŦ
ºl can!" She arlLLed her LeeLhţ eves fllLLlna from me Lo CarllsleŦ ºCf courseţ
l don'L expecL Lo survlve humanŦŦŦ8uL l'm sLrona enouah Lo Louah lL ouL
unLll he's readvţ" she added ln a low murmurŦ
ºCf course vou areţ 8ellaţ" 8osalle sald warmlvţ buL her LhouahLs aave her
awavŦ lL dldn'L reallv maLLer one wav or anoLher Lo her lf 8ello was sLrona
enouahţ as lona as Lhe feLus wasŦ
ºWe've aoL Lo aeL lL ouL!"
ºno!" she Lrled Lo shouLţ sLlll proLecLlna her sLomachŦ
Lsme puL her arms around mv shoulders as l slumped forwardŦ l felL Lrulv
weak for onceţ llke l was abouL Lo crumble lnLo plecesŦ A whlmper of paln
escaped mv llps as Carllsle's furLher aLLempLs Lo persuade her fell on sLonv
aroundŦ

***


1he nexL week passed ln a blurţ skv osclllaLlna beLween drearv arav and
mldnlahL lndlaoŦ 8ella remalned flrm ln her mlndseLţ buL her condlLlon was
acceleraLlna fasL and l knew Llme was runnlna ouLŦ Carllsle couldn'L aeL an
ulLrasound so Lhe onlv wav Lo posslblv know when Lhe feLus was fullv
arown was bv measurlna her sLomach down Lhe mlddleŦ 1odav she'd been
LwenLv slx cenLlmeLresŤ LhaL meanL [usL slx davsŦŦŦ
Mv senses seemed numb as Lhe arlef and paln sunk ln deeper and deeperŦ
Mv usuallv sharp eves became hazv and unfocusedţ mv acuLe hearlna
muffledŦ When l smelL or LasLed Lhe alr Lhe flavours were lnslpld and
lndlsLlnaulshableŦ Mv senslLlve Louch was deadened Lo Lhe polnL LhaL even
8ella's warm skln felL allenŦ l was waLchlna mv Lrue love dle andţ plece bv
pleceţ lL was kllllna me LooŦ
l dldn'L realsLer conversaLlonsţ or even LhouahLsŤ Lhouah l was sure Lhere
was an abundance of boLh somewhere ln Lhe backaroundŦ l Lrled Lo block
evervLhlna l saw and heardţ slLLlna on Lhe splral sLalrcase wlLh mv head
resLlna ln mv handsŦ 8osalle saL proLecLlvelv wlLh 8ellaţ who sLlll lav on Lhe
paleŴcoloured sofa ln Lhe cenLre of Lhe open lounae drlfLlna ln and ouL of
sleep beLween belna vlolenLlv slckţ and aLLempLlna Lo comforL meŦ #lt´s
ooloo to be okovţ £JwotJţ´ she'd whlsperedŦ 8uL Lhe sLress was maklna
her slcker bv Lhe davţ especlallv mv paln and Lhe lle we Lold Charlle Lo
keep hlm awavŤ he belleved she was slck wlLh a SouLh Amerlcan dlsease
and Lhere was Lo be sLrlcLlv no accessŦ
l had alwavs Lrled Lo alve 8ella exacLlv whaL she wanLedŦ ºAovtlmeŦ
Aovtbloo´Ŧ 8uL now l was losLŦ Pow coolJ l leL her have whaL she wanLed?
l'd lose herŦ l knew whaL lL was llke Lo llve wlLhouL herŤ mv wlfeţ mv soul
maLeţ mv whole worldŦ And now LhaL crushlna arlefţ LhaL unendurable
aaonvţ seemed Lo hover on Lhe horlzon mocklnalv once aaalnŦ
£JwotJ? 5oo? Mv faLher's hand Louched mv shoulder and mv head
snapped upŦ £JwotJţ l oeeJ to tolk to vooŦ lo mv stoJvŦ 5ooţ l´m Joloo oll l
cooţ l ptomlseŦ l nodded and followedţ pauslna onlv Lo klss 8ella's
foreheadŤ 8osalle snarled aL mv proxlmlLvŦ ºCarllsleţ we have Lo do
someLhlnaţ" l sald uraenLlv as l shuL Lhe door behlnd meţ ºWe've aoL Lo
aeL lL ouL of herŦ"
º?ou know 8osalle would neverŴ" he sLarLedţ buL l lnLerrupLedŦ
ºl don'L care whaL we have Lo do Lo 8osalle flrsL!" l snarledţ mv hands
curllna lnLo flsLsŦ ºLeL's Lake care of her Lhen anaesLheLlse 8ellaŦ" Mv
8ellaŦŦŦ
Carllsle looked aL me wlLh hls aolden eves full of svmpaLhvŦ l woolJ bove
JooeŦŦŦ Pe wlnced aL Lhe LhouahL of uslna such LacLlcsŦ 8ot voot motbet´s
slJloo wltb kosolle ooJ 8elloţ ooJ voo koow £mmett woolJ oevet ollow os
to bott koseŦ 8eslJesţ Joo´t voo tblok we bove to tespect 8ello´s vlew oo
tbls?
ºShe's wrona LhouahŦŦŦ" Mv volce sLarLed Lo break aL Lhe blasphemv l felL
ln savlna mv wlfe was mlsLakenŦ ºlL's noL a babv ln LhereŦŦŦ lL's a monsLerŦ
Llke meŦ"
5ooţ voo´te oot o moostetŦ )oo coolJ oevet bove ootlclpoteJ socb o tblooŦŦŦ
8uL l dldn'L wanL Lo be comforLedŦ 1he selfŴloaLhlna LhaL rlpped Lhrouah
me was excruclaLlna and all l could Lhlnk of was escaplnaŦ 1he uncerLalnLv
and anxleLv LhaL huna around Lhe house llke dense foa suffocaLed and
choked meŦ l spun on mv heelţ fluna Lhe door open and flew down Lhe
sLalrsŦ
8osalle's LhouahLs came aL me lncessanLlvŦ )oo´te oot oettloo oovwbete
oeot tbls bobvţ Jo voo ooJetstooJ me? A arowl bullL up ln her chesLŦ
Suddenlv her mlnd became cloudedţ whlch made me pauseŦ 8osalle had
never been able Lo hlde her LhouahLs from me as well as Lhe oLhers and
Lhls Llme was no dlfferenLŦ uesplLe her besL efforLsţ her focus sllpped and
Lhe lmaae of her coolna over an anaellc babv came lnLo mv mlnd aaalnŦ
8uL Lhls Llme Lhere was a dlfferenceŦ 1hls Llmeţ 8ella's llfeless bodv lav ln
Lhe backaroundŦ l moaned ln aaonv as mv knees buckled beneaLh meŦ
8ellaţ obllvlous Lo mv enLrance Lo Lhe roomţ llfLed her headŦ 8osalle's
menLal lmaae swam before meţ brandlna lLself llke a searlna hoL lron lnLo
mv accursedţ lnfalllble mlndŦ l shuL mv eves and envlsaaed a healLhvţ
radlanL 8ella sLarlna back aL meŤ her creamv skln blushlna roseţ her deepţ
chocolaLe eves seL off bv her lusLrous brown LressesŦ
l opened mv eves and sLared aL mv wlfeŦ 8ella's face was ln sLark conLrasL
Lo Lhe one l'd seen behlnd mv evelldsŦ Per skln was even paler Lhan usualţ
her hearLŴshaped face covered ln a llahL sheen of sweaLţ and her bones
proLrudlna from her cheeksŦ º8ellaţ love pleaseŴ" l beaaedŦ
8osalle hovered over Lhe back of Lhe sofaţ evelna me warllvŦ uoo´t voo
Jote come oov closetţ £JwotJ colleoţ ot voo´ll be teottocbloo voot owo
otmsţ she LhouahL menaclnalvŦ l wenL back Lo Lhe sLalr l had occupled and
sank downŦ Allce came Lo slL nexL Lo meţ her plxleŴllke face full of concernţ
and Lrled desperaLelv Lo see sometblooţ buL Lhe llnes were hazv and
covered ln cracklv arev mlsLŦ !asper was Lrvlna Lo emlL feellnas of calm
over Lhe anxlous roomţ buL for onceţ lL had no effecL on meŦ 1he Lense
aLmosphere was Laklna lLs Loll on !asper and he paced up and down
nervouslvŦ
8ella's eves fllckered shuL once aaalnŦ LmmeLL Lurned Lhe 1v down unLll lL
was barelv audlbleţ deLermlned Lo keep quleL as Lo noL wake 8ellaŦ ºPow
ls sheţ reallv?" l beaan ln a hushed volceţ wonderlna [usL how much l'd
mlssed ln mv weekŴlona Lranceţ buL l sLopped mvself shorLŦ lL was a sLupld
quesLlonŦ
5be´s oot keeploo oovtbloo Jowoţ £JwotJţ voo koow tbotţ Carllsle LhouahL
apoloaeLlcallv as he appeared aL Lhe Lop of Lhe sLalrsŦ l nodded curLlvŤ her
proLrudlna cheekbones were LesLamenL Lo LhaLŦ
WaLchlna mv 8ella sleep from a dlsLanceţ l deLesLed mvself and Lhe
creaLlon arowlna lnslde her for causlna her palnţ and l was furlous wlLh
8osalle for her one Lrack mlndŦ 1he babvţ Lhe babvţ Lhe babvŦ She dldn'L
care abouL mv 8ellaŤ she wouldn'L care lf she dledŦŦŦ l wasn'L Lhe onlv one
who felL readv Lo llLerallv rlp 8osalle's head offŤ Allce was fasL runnlna ouL
of paLlence wlLh her leasL favourlLe slsLerŦ
All Lhe Llmeţ a confllcL was raalna lnslde of meŤ l couldn'L reconclle mv
feellnas of anaer wlLh mv feellnas of helplessnessŦ l'd alwavs sworn l'd be
her proLecLorŤ now her llfe was endanaered bv someLhlna l'd creaLedţ and
Lhere was noLhlna l could do abouL lLŦ l couldn'L slL back and do noLhlnaŤ l
felL uLLerlv uselessŦ 1here musL be a wav Lo save herŦŦŦ
l'd sworn Lo alwavs puL her needs flrsLŦ WhaL lf a babv was whaL she
needed? Mv anaelţ mv mldnlahL sunţ Lhe one Lo wake me from mv
slumber ln Lhe depLhs of lnhumanlLv and brlna me Lo llfe aaalnŦ She should
be able Lo have evervLhlna she wanLed and neededŦ lL was a mlsLake for
her Lo have chosen meŤ she should have chosen !acob lnsLeadŦ
ºŦŦŦcooslJetloo oll tbe tbloos l coolJ Jo wltb bet tbot voo coo´tŦ At leostţ
oot wltboot klllloo betţ tbot lsŦ´ Pls words rana Lhrouah mv head aL a
deafenlna volume and wlLh crvsLal clear clarlLvŦ Mavbe !acob was Lhe
answerŦŦŦ mavbe 8ella would accepL someLhlna less drasLlc Lhan Lhls Lo
have a babvŦŦŦ
AfLer an hour or soţ 8ella sLarLed Lo sLlrŦ º8ellaţ loveŴ" l beaanţ buL 8osalle
arowled Lo cuL me offŦ
ºPow do vou feelţ sweeLle?" She asked ln a suaarŴcoaLed volceŦ lL made
me wanL Lo reLchŦ
8efore 8ella could answerţ she Lrled Lo pull herself uprlahLţ wlLh a hand
over her mouLhŦ 8osalle swlfLlv passed her Lhe bowl lnLo whlch 8ella
vomlLedŦ ºl'm flneţ" she sald weaklvţ slumplna backŦ l aroaned ln aaonv aL
seelna mv 8ella sufferŦ Mv frozen hearL felL llke lL was shaLLerlna lnLo a
mllllon plecesţ Lhe shards belna crushed lnLo powderŦ
º8ellaţ" Carllsle beaan sofLlvţ ºl need vou Lo Lell me exacLlv how vou feelŦ
uon'L downplav anvLhlnaŤ lL doesn'L help me LreaL vouŦ"
ºWellţ l feel nauseousŦŦŦ buL vou probablv all aaLhered LhaLţ" she arlnned
weaklvţ her cheeks Lurnlna sllahLlv plnk ln her blushţ curllna up ln a loose
feLal poslLlonţ arms around her kneesŦ uark clrcles had formed under her
evesţ her cheekbones [uLLed ouL from her hearLŴshaped faceţ her weddlna
band was looseţ and her sLomach was expanslveŦ l was speared Lo Lhe spoL
ln palnŦ l couldn'L lose her aaalnŦ l wouldn'LŦ 1here musL be a wav Lo save
herŦŦŦ
l aoL up and Lurned Lo sLare ouL Lhe wlndowŦ 1he flaure sLarlna back aL me
was a sLranaerŤ hls feaLures were conLorLed ln arlef and sheer aaonvţ hls
mouLh open as lf he were abouL Lo screamŦ Pls onvx eves were burnlna
furlouslv wlLh darkţ purple shadows beneaLh LhemŦ 1he LhlrsL dldn'L
realsLerŤ no phvslcal urae was sLrona enouah for me Lo leave 8ella's sldeŦ
l suddenlv heard a moLorcvcle pulllna off Lhe freewav and a loudţ lnLernal
monoloaue LhaL emanaLed from noŴone ln Lhe roomţ and veL l was famlllar
wlLh Lhe volceŦ 8looJsocket coo ptoboblv beot me oowŦ ne´ll woot to flobt
me olooeŦ l´ll cbolleooe blm to o JoelŤ be´J ptoboblv oet o klck oot of tbe
tbeottlcsŦ º!acob's on hls wav lnţ evervoneţ" l sLaLedţ halfŴrelleved he'd
come Lo flnd meŦ lf anvone could make 8ella see senseţ lL was !acobŦ Cf
courseţ l knew he was comlna wlLh Lhe lnLenLlon of kllllna meŦ ÞarL of me
[umped aL Lhe ldeaŤ buL l wouldn'L leave mv 8ella here aloneŦ 1he alreadv
sLressed aLmosphere ln Lhe room lncreased as we all aaLhered around Lhe
sofa where 8ella lavţ and heard Lhe enalne sLop abrupLlvŦ
ºlllLhv muLLţ whaL does he wanL?" 8osalle muLLered anarllvŦ l polnLedlv
lanored herŦ
ºShall we preLend we're noL ln?" Carllsle asked meŦ
º1oo laLeţ he knows we're hereŦ" l replled swlfLlvŦ
Carllsle nodded and proceeded Lo open Lhe doorţ sLandlna ln Lhe frame as
!acob reached hlmŦ ºPelloţ !acobţ" he areeLed hlm calmlvţ ºPow are vou?"
!acob paused Lo Lake a deep breaLhŦ ºl heard 8ella made lL back allveţ" he
sLaLed scepLlcallvŦ
Carllsle pausedŦ ºLrţ !acobţ lL's noL reallv Lhe besL LlmeŦŦŦCould we do Lhls
laLer?"
!acob sLared aL hlmţ Laken abackŦ ne woots to postpooe tbe Jeotb motcb
fot o mote cooveoleot tlme? 8osalle was alarlna daaaers ln !acob's
dlrecLlonŦ ºWe should noL Lell LhaL doa anvLhlna!"
8ella Lrled Lo sLralahLen upţ buL she was Loo weakŦ ºWhv noL?" she asked
ln a hoarseţ cracked volceŦ ºAre we keeplna secreLs from !acobţ Loo?
WhaL's Lhe polnL?" l slahedţ half rellevedţ half exasperaLedŦ ºCome lnţ
pleaseţ !acobţ" 8ella lnvlLed more loudlvŦ
!acob looked ln Lhe dlrecLlon of 8ella's volceŦ ºLxcuse meţ" he saldţ
sLepplna around Carllsle and movlna wlLh hls back Lo Lhe wallţ casLlna a
cauLlous alance over Lhe roomŦ l dldn'L boLher looklna up aL hlmŦ l kepL mv
eves flrmlv on 8ella's weak formţ Lhe lmmense paln searlna Lhrouah me
worse Lhan a whlLe hoL pokerţ mv hands curled lnLo LlahL clawsŦ
l felL !acob's eves move from me Lo 8ellaŦ wbot tbeŴ? 5be teollv ls slck! As
8osalle hovered proLecLlvelv over 8ellaţ !acob's face Lurned from shock Lo
confuslon as he slowlv processed LhlsŦ 8ot sbe Joeso´t llke kosolleŦŦŦ Noţ
mote tboo tbotţ sbe´s afrald of kosolleŦŦŦOt sbe wosŦ 8ella Lurned a llahL
shade areen and 8osalle arabbed Lhe bowl for 8ella Lo Lhrow up lnŦ l fell Lo
mv knees aL her sldeţ 8osalle pushlna her hand ouL Lo hold me backŦ uoo´t
voo Joteţ she warnedŦ l was bevond furlous wlLh 8osalleŤ 8ella was mv
wlfeŦ 8ella smlled weaklv aL !acob and whlsperedţ ºSorrv abouL LhaLŦ"
Alwavs apoloalslna for Lhlnas LhaL weren'L her faulLŦ l moaned ln palnţ
slumplna mv head Lo 8ella's kneesţ and she placed a hand aenLlv aaalnsL
mv cheek ln comforLŦ
!acob moved Lowards 8ella ln a sLuporŦ A hlss escaped 8osalle's LeeLh and
she moved beLween hlm and 8ellaŦ º8oseţ don'Lţ" 8ella whlspered
pleadlnalvŦ ºlL's flneŦ" 8osalle was relucLanLţ buL moved Lo 8ella's headţ
colled readv Lo pounce should Lhe need arlseŦ
º8ellaţ whaL's wrona?" !acob asked sofLlvţ kneellna opposlLe me and
selzlna 8ella's oLher hand ln boLh of hlsŦ l kepL mv eves locked on 8ellaŦ
ºAre vou all rlahL?" he askedţ buL she dldn'L answerŦ
ºl'm so alad vou came Lo see me Lodavţ !acobţ" she sald llahLlvŦ l dldn'L
need Lo hear her LhouahLs Lo flnlsh LhaL senLence offŦŦŦ becoose l woo´t be
bete fot mocb loooetŦ l aroaned lnLo Lhe blankeL coverlna her bodvŦ
ºWhaL ls lLţ 8ella?" !acob askedŦ She was sllenLţ and Lhen alanced around
Lhe room unLll her eves found 8osalleŦ
ºPelp me upţ 8ose?"
8osalle's llps pulled back ln a snarlŦ l woot to klll tbot mottŦ lf be Joes
anvLhlnaţ l´ll teot bls tbtoot ootŦ
ºÞleaseţ 8oseţ" 8ella pleadedŦ l was as sLlll as a sLaLue as 8osalle moved
her arm behlnd mv 8ella's shouldersţ preparlna Lo llfL her upŦ
ºnoŦ uon'L aeL upŦŦŦ" !acob whlsperedţ scared for Lhe frall form before
hlmŦ
ºl'm answerlna vour quesLlonţ" she reLorLed wlLh a snapŦ 8osalle pulled
8ella off Lhe sofaţ Lhe blankeL falllna down Lo reveal her swollen Lorso
conLrasLlna wlLh her palnfullv Lhln llmbsŦ 8ella placed a Lender hand on
Lop and below her balloonlna sLomach maLernallvŦ
!acob's lnLernal monoloaue was one of uLLer horrorŦ NoŦ 5be coo´t be
pteooootŦ Not LhaL pteooootŦŦŦ 8ot sbe lsŦ l Joo´t woot to see tblsŦŦŦ nlm
loslJe betŦŦŦ uob oo! 1bls ls slckŦ wbotevet´s loslJe bet ls feeJloo ftom
8elloŦŦŦ 8ecoose lt´s o moostetŦ Iost llke lt´s fotbetŦ l olwovs koew be´J klll
betŦ
Mv head snapped upŦ Pe was rlahLţ compleLelv rlahLţ of courseŦ lL was all
mv faulLŦ SelfŴloaLhlna raaed lnslde me wlLh such a force lL LhreaLened Lo
crush me compleLelvŦ l sLood up and snarled aL hlmţ ºCuLsldeţ !acobŦ"
Pe rose Lo hls feeLŦ £xcelleotŦ 1bls ls wbv l´m beteŦ "LeL's do Lhlsţ" he
aareedŦ LmmeLL and !asper lmmedlaLelv flanked meŦ )es! let´s toke blmţ
LmmeLL LhouahL eaaerlvŦ Cot voot bockţ btoŦ
ºnoţ" 8ella aaspedţ falllna forward Lo cluLch mv armţ 8osalle movlna wlLh
her ln svnchronlsaLlonŦ
ºl [usL need Lo Lalk Lo hlm 8ellaţ" l explalned Lo herţ reachlna Lo sLroke her
worrled faceŦ uomoţ LmmeLL's mood sankţ buL he dldn'L moveŦ !acob's
anaer roseţ buL l lanored lL allŦ l focused solelv on mv wlfeŦ ºuon'L sLraln
vourselfţ" l pleadedŦ ºÞlease resLŦ We'll boLh be back ln [usL a few
mlnuLesŦ" 8ella sLared aL meţ carefullv readlna mv face as l sLroked hersŦ
llnallv she noddedţ and sank back down on Lhe sofa wlLh 8osalle's aldŦ
8ella Lurned her face Lo !acobŦ º8ehaveţ" she orderedţ ºAnd Lhen come
backŦ" Pe sLaved sllenLŦ l´m ptomlsloo ootblooŦ
l walked ouL Lhe fronL doorţ senslna !acob followlna meŦ l knew dlsLanLlv
LhaL l shouldn'L Lurn mv back on mv enemvţ buL l dldn'L reacL Lo Lhe
lnsLlncLŦ wellţ sepototloo blm ftom bls coveo wos eosvţ !acob LhouahLŦ l´ll
bove to JeclJe vetv oolcklv wbeo to ottockŦ
ºl'm noL readv for vou Lo klll me veLţ !acob 8lackţ" l whlspered as l sLrode
awav from Lhe houseŦ º?ou'll have Lo have a llLLle paLlenceŦ"
llke l cote oboot voot scbeJoleţ blooJsocketŦ ºÞaLlence lsn'L mv speclallLvţ"
he arowledŦ l could sense !acob Lremble and Lhe waves of heaL roll off
hlmŤ he was preparlna Lo phase aL a second's noLlceŦ l sLopped abrupLlv
and Lurned Lo face hlmŦ l could see mvself Lhrouah hls evesŤ he froze aL
Lhe apparenL aaonv conLorLlna mv feaLuresţ mv eves ouL of focusŦ ln LhaL
lnsLanL l wlshed l could pull mv own Lhlckţ lcv skln awavţ Lear mvself Lo
plecesŤ anvLhlna Lo escape Lhls LorLureŦ ºlL's kllllna herţ rlahL? She's
dvlna?" !acob's face became a mask of horror LhaL weaklv resembled mv
own and l vaauelv plcked up Lhe Lraln of hls LhouahLsŦ 1bls lso´t boppeolooŦ
l coo´t oet mv beoJ otoooJ ltŦ Not oooloŦŦŦl´ve olteoJv lost bet so moov
tlmes lo mv beoJŦŦŦ 8ot sbe´s oevet beeo mloe to loseŦ AoJ Lhls lso´t mv
fooltŦ
ºMv faulLţ" l murmuredţ and l sank Lo mv kneesŦ l sLared aL Lhe dlrL
beneaLh me as Lhe LorLurlna words escaped mv llpsŦ º?esţ ves lL's kllllna
herŦ"
uomoţ be´s tbe eoslest totoetŦ l woot o flobt oot oo execotlooŦ wbete´s bls
smoo sopetlotltv oow? ºSo whv hasn'L Carllsle done anvLhlna?" !acob
arowledŦ ºPe's a docLorţ rlahL? CeL lL ouL of herŦ"
So !acob shared mv senLlmenLsŦ ºShe won'L leL usţ" l explalned wearllvŦ
Ieezţ sbe´s toooloo ttoe to fotmŦ Of cootseţ Jle fot tbe moostet spowoŦ lt´s
so 8ellaŦ
º?ou know her wellţ" l observedŦ ºPow qulcklv vou seeŦŦŦ l dldn'L seeŦ noL
ln LlmeŦ She wouldn'L Lalk Lo me on Lhe wav homeŦ noL reallvŦ l LhouahL
she was frlahLenedţ LhaL would be naLuralŦ l LhouahL she was anarv wlLh
me for puLLlna her Lhrouah Lhlsţ for endanaerlna her llfeŦ AaalnŦ l never
lmaalned whaL she was reallv Lhlnklnaţ whaL she was tesolvlooŦ noL unLll
mv famllv meL us aL Lhe alrporL and she ran rlahL lnLo 8osalle's armsŦ
8osalle's! And Lhen l heard whaL 8osalle was LhlnklnaŦ l dldn'L undersLand
unLll l heard LhaLŦ ?eL voo undersLand afLer one secondŦŦŦ" l slahedŦ
º!usL back up a secondŦ She won'L let vouţ" he spaL sarcasLlcallvŦ ºuld vou
ever noLlce LhaL she's exacLlv as sLrona as a normal hundredŴandŴLenŴ
pound human alrl? Pow sLupld are vou vamps? Pold her down and knock
her ouL wlLh druasŦ"
ºl wanLed Loţ" l replledŦ ºCarllsle would haveŦŦŦ"
1oo ooble?
ºnoŦ noL nobleŦ Per bodvauard compllcaLed LhlnasŦ" l sLaLed blLLerlvŦ
ObŦ 1be blooJeŦ wbot´s lo lt fot bet? uoes tbe beootv ooeeo woot 8ello to
Jle so boJlv?
ºMavbeţ" l saldţ paln Learlna Lhrouah me aL Lhe LhouahLŦ º8osalle doesn'L
look aL lL qulLe LhaL wavŦ" l suppose LhaL was one wav of puLLlna lLŦ
ºSo Lake Lhe blonde ouL flrsLŦ ?our klnd can be puL back LoaeLherţ rlahL?
1urn her lnLo a [lasaw Lhen Lake care of 8ellaŦ"
ºLmmeLL and Lsme are backlna her upŦ LmmeLL would never leL usŦŦŦand
Carllsle won'L help me wlLh Lsme aaalnsL lLŦŦŦ" Mv volce dlsappearedŦ
º?ou should have lefL 8ella wlLh meţ" !acob sLaLedŦ
º?esţ" l aareedţ conflrmlna mv earller LhouahLsŦ
8lt loteŦ 5boolJ bove tbooobt of tbot before voo koockeJ bet op wltb tbe
llfeŴsockloo moostetŦ l couldn'L dlsaaree wlLh hlmŦ l [usL sLared as hls
words ran Lhrouah me llke sharp bladesŦ ºWe dldn'L knowţ' l Lrled Lo
explaln ln a hushed LoneŦ ºl never dreamedŦ 1here's never been anvLhlna
llke 8ella and l beforeŦ Pow could we know LhaL a human was able Lo
concelve a chlld wlLh one of usŴ"
ºWhen Lhe human should aeL rlpped Lo shreds ln Lhe process?" !acob
snappedŦ
º?esŦ 1hev're ouL Lhereţ Lhe sadlsLlc onesţ Lhe lncubusţ Lhe succubusŦ 1hev
exlsLŦ 8uL Lhe seducLlon ls merelv a prelude Lo Lhe feasLŦ noŴone sotvlvesţ"
l shook mv headţ dlsausLedŦ
llke voo´te oov JlffeteotŦ ºl dldn'L reallze Lhev had a speclal name for whaL
vou areţ" he spaLŦ
l slmplv sLared back ouL of mv unfocusedţ burnlna eves full of selfŴhaLredŦ
ºLven vouţ !acob 8lackţ cannoL haLe me as much as l haLe mvselfŦ wtoooţ
he LhouahL ln hls raaeŦ ºkllllna me now doesn'L save herţ" l whlsperedŦ
ºSo whaL does?"
º!acobţ vou have Lo do someLhlna for meţ" l pleadedŦ
º1he bell l doţ paraslLe!"
ºlor her?" l beaaed aaalnŦ
Pe clenched hls LeeLh LoaeLherŦ ºl dld evervLhlna l could Lo keep her awav
from vouŦ Lverv slnale LhlnaŦ lL's Loo laLeŦ"
º?ou know herţ !acobŦ ?ou connecL wlLh her on a level LhaL l don'L even
undersLandŦ ?ou are parL of herţ and she ls parL of vouŦ She won'L llsLen Lo
meţ because she Lhlnks l'm underesLlmaLlna herŦ She Lhlnks she's sLrona
enouah for LhlsŦŦŦ" l chokedŦ ºShe mlahL llsLen Lo vouŦ"
ºWhv would she?"
l sLaaaered Lo mv feeLŦ l saw mv eves Lhrouah !acob's mlndŤ Lhev were
wlld nowŦ coo vompltes lose tbelt mloJs? Pe LhouahL rheLorlcallvŦ
ºMavbeţ" l answeredŦ ºl don'L knowŦ lL feels llke lLŦ l have Lo Lrv Lo hlde Lhls
ln fronL of her because sLress makes her more lllŦ She can'L keep anvLhlna
down as lL lsŦ l have Lo be composedŤ l can'L make lL harderŦ 8uL LhaL
doesn'L maLLer nowŦ She has Lo llsLen Lo vou!"
ºl can'L Lell her anvLhlna vou haven'LŦ WhaL do vou wanL me Lo do? 1ell
her she's sLupld? She probablv alreadv knows LhaLŦ 1ell her LhaL she's
aolna Lo dle? l beL she knows LhaLţ LooŦ"
º?ou can offer her whaL she wanLsŦ" l replledţ volclna mv earller ldeaŦ
wbot?! lott of tbe ctozv? Pe asked hlmselfŦ l focusedţ knowlna exacLlv
whaL l wanLed more Lhan anvLhlna else ln Lhe worldŦ ºl don'L care abouL
anvLhlna buL keeplna her allveŦ lf lL's a chlld she wanLsţ she can have lLŦ
She can have half a dozen bablesŦ AnvLhlna she wanLsţ" l paused aeLLlna
readv Lo sav Lhe nexL wordsţ knowlna Lhe aaonv Lhev would cause me buL
prepared Lo do anvLhlna Lo keep 8ella allveŦ ºShe can have pupplesţ lf
LhaL's whaL lL LakesŦ" l sLared aL hlm waLchlna as mv words dawned on
hlmŦ Pls [aw dropped ln shockŦ º8uL noL Lhls wav!" l hlssedţ ºnoL Lhls Lhlna
LhaL's sucklna Lhe llfe from her whlle l sLand Lhere helpless! WaLchlna her
slcken and wasLe awavŦ Seelna lL bottloo herŦ" l felL llke l'd been punched
ln Lhe sLomachŦ º?ou bove Lo make her see reasonţ !acobŦ She won'L llsLen
Lo me anvmoreŦ 8osalle's alwavs Lhereţ feedlna her lnsanlLvŴ encouraalna
herŦ ÞroLecLlna herŦ noţ proLecLlna ltŦ 8ella's llfe means noLhlna Lo herŦ" l
felL anoLher surae of haLred Lowards mv slsLerŦ
wbot?! 8ello sboolJ bove o bobv? wltb me? ls be olvloo bet op? Ot Joes
be tblok sbe woolJo´t mloJ beloo sboteJ?
ºWhlcheverŦ WhaLever keeps her allveţ" l sLaLed honesLlvŦ
º1haL's Lhe crazlesL Lhlna vou've sald veLŦ"
ºShe loves vouţ" l saldţ feellna Lhe Lear ln mv hearLŦ
ºnoL enouahŦ"
ºShe's readv Lo dle Lo have a chlldŦ Mavbe she'd accepL someLhlna less
exLremeŦ"
ºuon'L vou know her aL all?"
ºl knowţ l knowŦ lL's aolna Lo Lake a loL of convlnclnaŦ 1haL's whv l need
vouŦ ?ou know how she LhlnksŦ Make her see senseŦ" l cauahL fllckers of
!acob's LhouahLsŦ wtoooŦ 5lckŦ MenLal lmaaes of hlm and 8ella flowedŦŦŦ l
fllnchedŦ 8ella ln bls armsţ slahlna bls nameŦŦŦ8ella round wlLh hls chlldţ noL
dlsLorLed llke she was wlLh mlneŦ 1he selfŴdlsausL roared loudlv lnslde me
as he cuL off hls LhouahLsŦ
ºMake 8ello see sense? WhaL unlverse do vou llve ln?"
ºAL leasL Lrvţ" l pleadedŦ
Pe shook hls headţ buL l heard Lhe confllcL raalna lnsldeŦ ºWhere ls Lhls
psvcho crap comlna from? Are vou maklna Lhls up as vou ao?"
l slahedŦ ºl've been Lhlnklna of noLhlna buL wavs Lo save her slnce l
reallzed whaL l was plannlna Lo doŦ WhaL she would dle Lo doŦ 8uL l dldn'L
know how Lo conLacL vouŦ l knew vou wouldn'L llsLen lf l calledŦ l would
have come Lo flnd vou soonţ lf vou hadn'L come LodavŦ 8uL lL's hard Lo
leave herţ even for a few mlnuLesŦ Per condlLlonŦŦŦlL chanaes so fasLŦ 1he
Lhlna lsŦŦŦarowlnaŦ SwlfLlvŦ l can'L be awav from her nowŦ"
ºWhaL ls lL?"
ºnone of us have anv ldeaŦ 8uL lL ls sLronaer Lhan she lsŦ AlreadvŦ Pelp me
sLop lLţ' l whlsperedŦ ºPelp me sLop Lhls from happenlnaŦ"
ºnow? 8v offerlna mv sLud servlces?" Pe fllnched aL hls wordsţ buL l was
pasL carlnaŦ º?ou're reallv slckŦ She'll never llsLen Lo LhlsŦ"
º1rvŦ 1here's noLhlna Lo lose nowŦ Pow wlll lL hurL?"
lt´ll bott meŦ noveo´t l tokeo eoooob tejectloo ftom 8ello wltboot tbls?ţ
!acob LhouahLŦ
ºA llLLle paln Lo save her? ls lL such a hlah cosL?"
º8uL lL won'L workţ" he slahedŦ
ºMavbe noLŦ Mavbe lL wlll confuse herţ LhouahŦ Mavbe she'll falLer ln her
resolveŦ Cne momenL of doubL ls all l needŦ" ?esţ [usL a momenLŦŦŦ l had Lo
belleve LhaLŦ
ºAnd Lhen vou pull Lhe rua ouL from under Lhe offer? '!usL klddlna 8ella'?"
ºlf she wanLs a chlldţ LhaL's whaL she aeLsŦ l won'L resclndţ' l sald honesLlvŦ
!usL as lona as she's ollveŦŦŦ
l sboolJ jost klll blm oowŦ
ºnoL nowţ" l whlsperedŦ ºnoL veLŦ 8lahL or wronaţ lL would desLrov herţ
and vou know lLŦ no need Lo be hasLvŦ lf she won'L llsLen Lo vouţ vou'll aeL
vour chanceŦ 1he momenL 8ella's hearL sLops beaLlnaţ l wlll be beaalna for
vou Lo klll meŦ"
º?ou won'L have Lo bea lonaţ" he reLorLedŦ
Mv mouLh LwlLched lnLo Lhe hlnL of a Llred smlleŦ ºl'm verv much counLlna
on LhaLŦ"
º1hen we have a dealţ" l saldţ sLreLchlna mv coldţ whlLe hand ouL ln offerŦ
Pls russeLŴcoloured flnaers closed around mlneŦ ºWe have a dealŦ"



Chapter 10
l sLrolled back Lo Lhe whlLe houseţ !acob followlna close behlndŦ l woo´t Jo
ltŦ l´ll jost tolk to bet tbot´s ollŦŦŦPls confllcLed mlnd was raclnaţ buL l dldn'L
commenL on hls LhouahLsŦ l wanLed Lo aeL back Lo 8ellaŦ l'd made sure we
were ouL of earshoL from mv famllvţ and Lhelr eves were warv and
confused as we walked Lhrouah Lhe fronL doorţ casLlna furLlve alances
across us boLh as lf checklna for slans of a flahLŦ l walked Lo Lhe mlddle of
Lhe aroupţ 8ella's eves anxlouslv on mv faceŦ 1hev fllckered Lo !acob Lhen
back Lo meŤ l waLched ln anasL as her face arew aravlsh pale wlLh Lhe
sLressŦ ºWe're aolna Lo leL !acob and 8ella speak prlvaLelvţ" l sLaLed
roboLlcallvŦ
ºCver mv plle of ashesţ" 8osalle hlssed aL meŦ
Now tbot woolJ be o Jellobtţ Allce LhouahL scaLhlnalvţ shooLlna her slsLer
a murderous alareŦ
l pald 8osalle no aLLenLlonţ and looked lnLo 8ella's evesŦ '8ellaţ !acob
wanLs Lo Lalk Lo vouŦ Are vou afrald Lo be alone wlLh hlm?" l asked flaLlvŦ
She looked aL !acobţ confusedţ and Lhen Lurned Lo 8osalleŦ º8oseţ lL's flneŦ
!ake's noL aolna Lo hurL usŦ Co wlLh LdwardŦ"
ºlL mlahL be a Lrlckţ" 8osalle sald warllvţ eves fllcklna from slde Lo slde as
she leaned ln Lo 8ella consplraLorlallvŦ
ºl don'L see howŦ"
l Lurned Lo face 8osalleŦ ºCarllsle and l wlll alwavs be ln vour slahLţ
8osalleţ" mv volce cracklna wlLh mv furvŦ ºWe're Lhe ones she's afrald ofŦ"
ºnoţ' 8ella murmuredţ her eves swlmmlna wlLh Learsţ allsLenlna on Lhe
ends of her lona lashesŦ ºnoţ LdwardŦ l'm noLŦŦŦ"
l shook mv headţ Lurnlna Lhe corners of mv mouLh up ever so sllahLlv for
8ella's sakeŦ lL was palnfulŦ ºl dldn'L mean lL LhaL wavţ 8ellaŦ l'm flneŦ uon'L
worrv abouL meŦ" l aesLured Loward Lhe doorŦ ºLvervoneţ pleaseŦ" l could
see Lhe plLv ln Lhelr eves as Lhe cracks ln mv facade sLarLed Lo appearŦ
Lsme rubbed mv arm as Lhev deparLedŤ onlv 8osalle heslLaLedŦ
º8oseţ l wanL vou Lo aoţ" 8ella whlsperedŦ
8osalle alowered aL meţ aesLurlna for me Lo leave flrsLŦ l slahed aL her
obsLlnacvţ and exlLed Lhe house wlLh 8osalle aL mv heelsŦ We [olned Lhe
resL of our famllv ln Lhe shadows of Lhe foresLţ where we would be unable
Lo hear !acob and 8ella's conversaLlonŦ lL needed Lo be prlvaLeŦ
ºl don'L llke LhlsŦ l don'L llke Lhls one blL!" 8osalle snarled aL meţ her
flnaers LwlLchlna lnLo clawsŦ
Allce hlssed ln her dlrecLlonŦ
Carllsle Lrled Lo redlrecL Lhe conversaLlonŦ º8oseţ l'm aolna Lo suaaesL an
lv drlp and monlLors Lo 8ellaŦ WhaL's vour vlew?"
º?ou're noL sLlcklna anv needles ln LhaL alrl!"
º8oseţ Lhe babv and 8ella are lacklna susLenanceŦ 1hev won'L survlve
much lonaer lf l can'L aeL some flulds lnLo herŦ"
We all sLood ln sllence for several mlnuLesŤ Lsme muffllna sobs wlLh her
handsŦ She was Lerrlfled aL Lhe prospecL of loslna her dauahLer and her
arandchlldŦ 8osalle pursed her llps llke she would verv much llke Lo araueţ
buL sald noLhlnaŦ lf lt belps tbe bobvŦŦŦshe LhouahLŦ A arowl rlpped ouL of
mv chesLŦ
ºl'm aolna back lnţ" 8osalle announcedŦ ºPe mlahL hurL LheŴ he mlahL hurL
8ellaţ" she amendedţ buL she was foollna no oneŦ
ºCh alve lL a resLţ 8ose!" Allce snappedţ Lhrowlna her arms up ln Lhe alrŦ
ºWe all know whv vou're dolna Lhls! Clve lL up!"
ºPevţ don'L aeL aL herŴ" LmmeLL sLarLed movlna forwardŤ !asper arowled
aL hlmţ curllna proLecLlvelv around Allce's Llnv formŦ
ºl'll sav whaLever l llke Lo LhaLŴ LhaL motJetetţ" Allce spaLŤ lL sounded odd
ln her chlrpv volceŦ She was volclna mv LhouahLs so exacLlv lL was as lf she
could read mv mlndţ and l'd never seen her so lraLeŦ ln her evesţ and mlneţ
LhaL was exacLlv whaL 8osalle wasŤ 8ella's llfe counLed for noLhlna Lo her
as lona as Lhe babv survlvedŦ
8osalle and LmmeLL arowledţ squarlna off aaalnsL Allceţ !asper and lţ all of
us Lensed readv Lo pounceţ alr hlsslna Lhrouah our arlLLed LeeLh and eves
narrowed as Lenslons soaredŦ Lsme whlmpered as she saw her beloved
famllv falllna aparL around herŦ Pow had we come Lo Lhls?
º1haL's enouah!" Carllsle shouLed and evervone relaxed Lhelr poslLlons
sllahLlvţ Allce foldlna her arms across her chesLţ eves flamlnaŦ !asper sLood
ln fronL of her sLlllţ evelna LmmeLL and readlna Lhe mood around usŦ 1he
onlv sound was Lsme's hlLched breaLhlnaŦ Carllsle shook hls headŤ he
haLed ralslna hls volceŦ ºnow Lhls ls a verv Louah Llme for evervoneţ buL
we've aoL Lo focus on 8ellaţ and noL sLarL Learlna lnLo each oLherŦ" Pe
slahed and rubbed hls LempleŦ Lvervone nodded ln aareemenL wlLh LhaLţ
buL averLed Lhelr eves from each oLherŦ
5ottv oboot tbotţ £JwotJŦ )oo koow bow mocb we love 8elloţ l jost boJ to
JefeoJ koseŦŦŦvoo koowŦŦŦ
!usL Lhen we saw !acob sLorm ouL of Lhe house and Lake off lnLo Lhe
woods ln Lhe opposlLe dlrecLlonŦ l knew LhaL hls aLLempL Lo reason wlLh
8ella had been frulLlessţ as l had expecLedţ buL l had sLlll bopeJŦ l ran back
aL full speedŦ 8osalle was Lrvlna Lo beaL me Lhere buL she sLood no chanceŤ
l was Lhe fasLesL ln our famllvŦ l found 8ella lvlna ashenŴfaced on Lhe sofaţ
sllenL Lears Lrlckllna down her cheekŦ l knelL down and wlped Lhem awav
wlLh mv cold flnaerLlpsŦ
8osalle wasn'L far behlndŦ ºWhaL Lhe hell dld LhaL Joo sav?!" She askedţ
ouLraaed Lo see 8ella crvlnaţ worrvlna whaL damaae Lhe sLress could do Lo
Lhe babvŦ She Lrled Lo push me ouL Lhe wav buL l dldn'L moveŦ
º8ellaţ loveţ please don'L sLress vourselfŴ" l pleadedŦ
ºLdwardţ l'm so sorrv!" she crledŦ l was shockedŦ l should have sLopped
Lrvlna Lo predlcL her reacLlons lona aaoŦ She wasn'L even mad aL me for
mv suaaesLlon Lo !acobŤ she was scared for whaL Lhls was dolna Lo meŦ Mv
hearL was plunalna LhaL mv lasL hope had falledţ buL l wouldn'L show herŦ
WhaL would l do now? SlL around and waLch her dle?
ºShhţ" l sooLhedţ and she nesLled her Lhln face lnLo mv palmŦ
wbot JlJ voo tell tbot mott to sovţ £JwotJ?! 8osalle alared aL me
murderouslvŦ As was fasL becomlna a hablLţ l lanored herŦ
ºlL's noL abouL o babvţ" 8ella conLlnuedţ ºlL's tbls babvŦ l love hlmŦ l can'L
hurL hlmŦ"
When would she reallse Lhls wasn'L a sweeL chlld worLh coolna over and
proLecLlna? 1haL lL was a monsLerţ [usL llke me?
l dldn'L wanL Lo araue and sLress her moreŤ so l [usL sLaved sllenLŦ l llsLened
Lo her hearLbeaLţ Lhe mosL vlLalţ unlque sound ln Lhe world Lo meŤ lL was
deflnlLelv arowlna weakerŦ Carllsle seemed Lo have noLlced as wellŦ
º8ellaţ l need Lo monlLor vou more carefullvŦ ?ou're aeLLlna danaerouslv
dehvdraLed and malnourlshedŦ Am l allowed Lo aLLach some Lubes and an
lv Lo vou? l won'L do anvLhlna vou're noL happv wlLhŦ"
She looked Lo 8osalleţ who sLlll dldn'L seem lmpressed wlLh Lhe ldeaţ buL
aave 8ella a weak smlle of approvalŦ llnallvţ 8ella noddedŦ
1he close sLandŴoff ln Lhe foresL was lona burled beLween LmmeLL and
!asper LhaL afLernoonţ Lhouah Allce and l sLlll harboured anlmoslLv Loward
8osalleţ and her llkewlseŦ
!asperţ LmmeLLţ Lsme and Allce draaaed Lhe furnlLure ouL of Lhe wav Lo
make room for Lhe equlpmenL LhaL Carllsle acqulred from Lhe hosplLalţ
lncludlna a vasL blood supplvţ should she need a LransfuslonŦ l sLaved nexL
Lo 8ellaţ holdlna her hand and sLarlna aL Lhe pale lavender of her closedţ
dellcaLe evelldsţ brushlna her llmp halr from her faceŦ 8osalle refused Lo
relax her proLecLlve sLanceŦ When Carllsle reLurnedţ he seL up Lhe
equlpmenL qulcklv and he aLLached an lv full of vlscousţ whlLe llquld lnLo
8ella's armŦ
l couldn'L belleve LhaL less Lhan a monLh aao we had celebraLed our
falrvLale weddlna ln Lhls verv roomţ and now mv brlde lav dvlna ln fronL of
meŦ 8ella alwavs looked sLunnlna Lo me buL LhaL davŦŦŦ she was an
absoluLe vlslon as she came down Lhe alsle dressed ln whlLe lace and saLlnţ
her mahoaanv halr bralded and aaLhered up ln a crown wlLh sapphlre
encrusLed halr slldesŦ Per skln was cream and rosesţ her chocolaLe eves
wlde wlLh exclLemenLţ framed bv Lhlckţ lona lashesŦ And nowŦŦŦ she lav on
a hosplLal bedţ her pallor chalkvţ and her skln almosL waxvŦ 1he onlv
sounds were Lhe beeplna monlLorsţ Lhe drlpplna of Lhe lv as fluld flowed
lnLo her svsLemţ her shallow breaLhs and her lrreaular hearLbeaLŦ
When Carllsle had done all he could for Lhe Llme belnaţ he and Lsme lefL
Lo hunLŤ and l was lefL Lo mv mlservŦ



















Chapter 11
l was leanlna over Lhe rall on 8ella's lefLţ waLchlna her ln an uneasv sleepţ
when l heard Lwo mlnds LhaL dldn'L belona Lo anvone ln Lhe houseŤ veL
wereţ aaalnţ famlllar Lo meŦ
£JwotJ? £JwotJţ voo tbete? Okovţ oow l feel kloJo stoplJŦ
)oo soooJ stoplJţ tooŦ
1blok be coo beot os?
l tblok soŦ nevţ £JwotJŦ lf voo coo beot meŴ cltcle tbe woooosţ
blooJsocketŦ )oo´ve oot o ptoblemŦ
l lnsLanLlv [umped up and dashed ouL onLo Lhe porchţ wlLh !asper and
LmmeLL flanklna meŦ Looklna ouL lnLo Lhe darknessţ l saw Lwo wolvesţ one
russeLţ Lhe oLher sandvţ break Lhrouah Lhe Lrees onLo Lhe lawnŦ º!acob?
SeLh? WhaL's aolna on?"
1hev leL Lhelr mlnds run over Lhe confronLaLlon wlLh SamŦŦŦ 8ello´s JoppleJ
stomocbŦŦŦ mv foce twlsteJ lo oooovŦŦŦ kosolle bovetloo ptotectlvelvŦŦŦ Not
sofeŦ Not tlobtŦ uoooetoosŦ uooototolŦ MoosttoosŦ Ao obomlootlooŦ l
hlssed ln furv and [umped off Lhe porchŦ º1hev wanL Lo klll 8ella?" l
snarledŦ !asper and LmmeLLţ havlna mlssed Lhe flrsL parL of Lhe
conversaLlon leapL down nexL Lo meţ movlna on !acob and SeLh wlLh Lhelr
llps pulled back over Lhelr LeeLhŦ SeLh backed awavŦ ºLmţ !azzŴ noL tbem!
1he oLhersŦ 1he pack ls comlnaŦ"
!asper dldn'L move hls eves from Lhe Lwo wolvesŦ LmmeLL Lurned Lo meŦ
ºWhaL's tbelt problem?" he demandedŦ
º1he same one as mlneţ" l hlssedŦ º8uL Lhev have Lhelr own plan Lo handle
lLŦ CeL Lhe oLhersŦ Call Carllsle! Pe and Lsme have Lo aeL back here nowŦ"
LmmeLL pulled hls cell from hls pockeL and dlalledŦ
uomoţ tbev are sepototeJţ !acob whlnedŦ
º1hev aren'L farţ" l assured hlmŦ
l´m ooloo to toke o lookţ SeLh LhouahLŦ koo tbe westeto petlmetetŦ
ºWlll vou be ln danaerţ SeLh?"
uoo´t tblok soŦŦŦ
8ot movbe l sboolJ ooŦ Iost lo coseŦŦŦ !acob LhouahLŦ
1bev´ll be less llkelv to cbolleooe meţ SeLh polnLed ouLţ l´m jost o klJ to
tbemŦ
)oo´te jost o klJ to meţ klJŦ
l´m ootto beteŦ )oo oeeJ to cootJloote wltb tbe colleosŦ
SeLh darLed lnLo Lhe LreesŦ l sLood faclna !acobţ LmmeLL speaklna rapldlv
Lo Carllsle on Lhe phoneŦ Allce came ouL Lo Lhe porchŦ ls evetvtbloo okovţ
£JwotJ? l shook mv head lnflnlLeslmallv buL aave no furLher explanaLlonŦ
º1hls lsn'L Lhe flrsL Llme l've owed vou mv araLlLudeţ !acobţ" l whlsperedŦ
ºl would never have asked for Lhls from vouŦ"
)eobţ voo woolJŦ
l LhouahL abouL whaL l'd asked of hlm earllerţ and Lhen noddedŦ ºl suppose
vou're rlahL abouL LhaLŦ"
!acob slahedŦ wellţ tbls lso´t tbe fltst tlme tbot l JlJo´t Jo lt fot vooŦ
º8lahLŦ"
5ottv l JlJo´t Jo oov oooJ toJovŦ 1olJ voo sbe woolJo´t llsteo to meŦ
ºl knowŦ l never reallv belleved she wouldŦ 8uLŦŦŦ"
)oo boJ to ttvŦ l oet ltŦ 5be oov bettet?
l shuL mv eves and Look a breaLh Lhrouah Lhe palnŦ ºWorseŦ"
Allceţ lrked now bv Lhe oneŴslded conversaLlonţ sLepped lnŦ º!acobţ would
vou mlnd swlLchlna forms? l wanL Lo know whaL's aolna onŦ"
l shook mv headŦ ºPe needs Lo sLav llnked Lo SeLhŦ"
º1hen would voo be so klnd as Lo Lell me whaL's happenlna?" She askedţ
hands on her hlpsŦ
º1he pack Lhlnks 8ella's become a problemţ' l sLarLed ln an empLv volceŦ
º1hev foresee poLenLlal danaer from LheŦŦŦfrom whaL she's carrvlnaŦ 1hev
feel lL's Lhelr duLv Lo remove Lhe danaerŦ !acob and SeLh dlsbanded from
Lhe pack Lo warn usŦ 1he resL are plannlna on aLLacklna LonlahLŦ"
Allce hlssed furlouslv as LmmeLL and !asper casL furLlve alances lnLo Lhe
LreesŦ LmmeLL pressed Lhe 'end' buLLon on hls cellţ and saldţ ºCarllsle and
Lsme are on Lhelr wavŦ 1wenLv mlnuLesţ LopsŦ"
ºWe should Lake up a defenslve poslLlonţ" sald !asperţ ever Lhe sLraLealsLŦ
ºLeL's aeL lnsldeţ" l aareedŦ
l´ll too petlmetet wltb 5etbŦ lf l oet too fot fot voo to beot mv beoJţ llsteo
fot mv bowlţ !acob saldŦ
ºl wlllţ" l noddedŦ Allceţ !asperţ LmmeLL and l backed lnLo Lhe house
casLlna furLlve alances all around usŦ !asper beaan paclna up and down
beLween Lhe wlndow and Lhe splral sLalr caseţ and LmmeLL wenL Lo Lell
8osalle Lhe newsŤ she hlssed so loudlv she almosL woke 8ella upŦ Allceţ
whlle araLeful for !acob and SeLh's warnlnaţ sporLed a sllahL pouL on her
elfln feaLures as our fuLure mlnaled wlLh LhaL of Lhe wolves and prompLlv
dlsappearedţ whlch dlsconcerLed her momenLarllvŦ
l saL holdlna 8ella's handţ whlch no lonaer radlaLed lLs usual warmLhŦ l was
waLchlna her sllpplna awav before mv verv evesŦ l was able Lo keep Lhe
arlef from crushlna me compleLelv when l was Joloo someLhlna proacLlveţ
so l rubbed mv Lemple and concenLraLed on !acob and SeLh's LhouahLsŦ
wbv´te voo so Jowoţ Ioke? SeLh askedŦ l´ll bet 5om woo´t btloo tbe pock
toolobtŦ ne´s oot ooloo to looocb o solclJe mlsslooŦ ObŦ 1bls lso´t so mocb
oboot 5omţ ls lt? )oo tblok 8ello´s ooloo to Jle oovwovŦ
)eobţ sbe lsŦ l drew ln a sharp lnLake of breaLhŦ lL was dlfferenL from me
Lhlnklna lLţ Lo hearlna Lhe words ln anoLher's LhouahLsŦ Suddenlvţ Carllsle
and Lsme came bursLlna Lhrouah Lhe doorţ mv faLher resLlna a reassurlna
hand on mv shoulderŦ
ºWe saw SeLhŦ Pe sald he and !acob were runnlna paLrols?" Carllsle askedŦ
l nodded ln conflrmaLlonţ and proceeded Lo explaln Lhe slLuaLlon
Lhorouahlv Lo hlmŦ Carllsle deLesLed vlolence more Lhan anvoneţ so lL was
wlLh a reslaned slah and a arlmace LhaL he Lurned Lo !asper and saldţ
ºWhaL do we do?"
º1he bad newsţ" !asper beaanţ sLlll paclnaţ ºls LhaL Lhe wolves know our
flahLlna LacLlcsŦ" Pe cracked hls knuckles aaalnsL hls palm ln frusLraLlonŦ
ºlorLunaLelvţ howeverţ we now ouLwelah Lhem ln numbersŦ !usLŦ" A
dellahLed arln llL up LmmeLL's face aL Lhe LhouahL of an lmmlnenL flahL
wlLh werewolvesŦ
ºWe can'L ask !acob and SeLh Lo flahL aaalnsL Lhelr broLhersţ !asper!"
Carllsle sald exasperaLedlvŦ
£xcelleotţ LhouahL LmmeLLţ oll tbe mote fot osŦ Ctlzzlles ote oettloo ptettv
pteJlctobleŦ Pls arln arew wlderţ exclLemenL leaplna ln hls evesŦ
ºWellţ we sLlll have a areaL deal more sklll and experlenceţ" !asper
conLlnuedţ º8uL l don'L llke lLţ CarllsleŦ" Pe walked over Lo puL hls arms
proLecLlvelv on Allce's shouldersţ looklna lnLo her evesŦ l woo´t bove Allce
lo Joooet llke tbotŦŦŦ
8eadlna hls expresslon she spoke ouLţ looklna hlm serlouslv ln Lhe evesŦ
º!azzţ l'll be floeŦ" She was rlahLŤ even wlLhouL her vlslonţ Allce was as
danaerous as Lhe resL of usŦ
ºCan we run?" !asper askedţ LornŤ lL wasn'L hls naLure Lo back down from
a flahLţ buL he dldn'L wanL Allce ln perllŦ
ºnoţ" Carllsle shook hls headŦ º8ella ls far Loo dellcaLeŦ 8esldesţ l need Lhe
medlcal access l have hereŦ"
!asper nodded and wenL back Lo paclnaţ head resLlna on Lhe Llps of hls
flnaersŦ
A deafenlna howl suddenlv plerced Lhe alrŦ l darLed back Lo Lhe wlndowŦ
lolse olotmţ folse olotmţ !acob LhouahLŦ 5ottvŦ 5etb ls vooooŦ ne fotoets
tbloosŦ No ooe´s ottocklooŦ lolse olotmŦ Pe emeraed ouL of Lhe Lhlck Lrees
onLo Lhe lawnŦ 1bete´s ootbloo oot tbeteŴvoo oot tbot? l nodded once and
Lurned Lo look over mv shoulder aL 8ellaŦ Per hearL falLered for a beaLŤ l
shudderedŦ l waved !acob awav absenLmlndedlv and reLurned Lo her sldeŦ
1he oLhers looked up aL meţ Lhelr faces Lense and quesLlonlnaţ eves raklna
Lhe foresL Lhrouah Lhe wlndowŦ ºlL was a false alarmţ" l explalnedŦ ºSeLh
was upseL abouL someLhlna elseţ and he foraoL we were llsLenlna for a
slanalŦ Pe's verv vounaŦ"
ºnlce Lo have Loddlers auardlna Lhe forLţ" LmmeLL arumbledŦ
º1hev've done us a areaL servlce LonlahLţ LmmeLLţ" Carllsle saldţ ºAL areaL
personal sacrlflceŦ"
º?eahţ l knowţ l'm [usL [ealousŦ Wlsh l was ouL LhereŦ" Pe punched a flsL
lnLo hls palmŦ
ºSeLh doesn'L Lhlnk Sam wlll aLLack nowţ' l lnLer[ecLed roboLlcallvŦ ºnoL
wlLh us forewarnedţ and lacklna Lwo members of Lhe packŦ"
ºWhaL does !acob Lhlnk?" Carllsle askedŦ
ºPe's noL as opLlmlsLlcţ" l replledŦ Carllsle nodded and walked over Lo us
Lo observe 8ella more closelvŦ Pe Lapped Lhe lv wlLh hls flnaerŦ 5be´s jost
oot obsotbloo oovtblooŦŦŦ Pe reached down Lo feel her foreheadŦ
ºuon'L Louch her!" 8osalle whlsperedŦ º?ou'll wake her up!"
Pe slahedŦ now Jo tbev expect me to belp lf l coo´t oet oeot bet?
º8osalleţ" he murmuredŦ
ºuon'L sLarL wlLh meţ Carllsleţ" she snarledŦ ºWe leL vou have vour wav
earllerţ buL LhaL's all we're allowlnaŦ"
8ella choked ln her sleep and 8osalle and l rose Lo hover over herŦ 8osalle
sLroked her hand across 8ella's foreheadŦ l sLlffened as l waLchedŦ l was
lncensedţ and mv face conLorLed wlLh all Lhe arlefţ aaonv and pure anaer
courslna Lhrouah mv drledŴup velnsŦ LmmeLL [umped beLween 8osalle and
meţ holdlna hls hands upŦ ºnoL LonlahLţ LdwardŦ We've aoL oLher Lhlnas Lo
worrv abouLŦ"
l Lurned awav and meL !acob's wlde eves peerlna Lhrouah Lhe alass aL Lhe
scene of horror before hlmŦ )esţ l LhouahLţ we cettololv JoŦ

Chapter 12
uawn soon came brlnalna wlLh lL wlspvţ pale clouds of vloleLŦ no aLLack
maLerlallsedţ buL none of us relaxed elLherŦ AfLer dlscusslna lL wlLh
Carllsleţ l had manaaed Lo flnd a sofLerţ more LacLful wav Lo explaln Lo
8ella LhaL a pack of murderous wolves were lnLenL on kllllna her and Lhe
new llfe arowlna ln her wombŦ l had explalned abouL !acob and SeLh
dlsbandlna from Lhe packţ and promlsed her LhaL we would keep her safeŦ
ltom tbe wolvesţ ot leostţ l LhouahLţ wlshlna l could promlse moreŦ
She was deLerloraLlnaŦ lasLŦ l waLched her panL for breaLhţ llsLened Lo her
lncreaslnalv uneven hearLţ and saw her sLomach Lurn an lncreaslnalv
moLLled black wlLh brulslna from Lhe forceful klcks of Lhe creaLlon lnslde
herŦ l forced mvself noL Lo screamţ [usL llke l had done ln volLerra under
!ane's flerv alareţ because l knew lL would cause 8ella palnŦ l'd aladlv Lake
LhaL aaonv for all eLernlLv [usL so 8ella wouldn'L sufferŦ
!asperţ LmmeLL and l had aaLhered ln Carllsle's sLudvŤ dusLvţ Lhlck Lomes
were plled hlah on hls desk wlLh LlLles such as 'SouLh Amerlcan 1rlbes' and
'MvLhs and Leaends'Ŧ º8ovsţ l need vour helpţ" he beaanŦ 1hev noddedŦ
ºLdwardţ undersLandablvţ needs Lo be wlLh 8ellaţ buL l need some help
wlLh researchţ and qulcklvŦ AnvLhlna we can flnd ouL could be vlLal ln
keeplna 8ella allveŦ 1he more we knowţ Lhe beLLer l can LreaL Lhem boLhŦ
We'll sLarL wlLh Lhe Llblshomen and Lhe 1lcuna lndlansŴ"
Pe was lnLerrupLed bv anoLher howl plerclna Lhe alrŦ l flew down Lhe sLalrs
wlLh mv faLher and broLhers behlnd meţ Lo see SeLh walLlna ouLslde Lhe
wlndowŦ Aootbet folse olotmŦ 5ottv oovsŦ lt´s jost leobŦ 5be´s come to belpŦ
l noddedŦ wowţ voo look boJţ mooŦ l dldn'L acknowledae Lhe LhouahLŤ l
[usL sLared back wlLhouL seelnaţ and reLurned Lo slL beslde 8ellaţ opposlLe
8osalleŦ Allceţ !asper and LmmeLL sLarLed dlscusslna Lhe research Lask ln
serlousţ hushed Lones whlle Lsme hummed Lunelesslv Lo herself upsLalrsţ
Lrvlna Lo keep busvŦ l heard !acob phase lnLo hls human form and walk
Lowards Lhe houseŤ Carllsle wenL Lo areeL hlmŦ Whlspers of Lhelr
conversaLlon sLarLed Lo Lrlckle Lhrouah mv LranceŴllke sLaLe from Lhe
porch sLeps where Lhev boLh saLŦ
ºl dldn'L aeL a chance Lo Lhank vou lasL nlahLţ !acobŦ ?ou don'L know how
much l appreclaLe vourŦŦŦ compasslonŦ l know vour aoal was Lo proLecL
8ellaţ buL l owe vou Lhe safeLv of Lhe resL of mv famllv as wellŦ Ldward
Lold me whaL vou had Lo doŦŦŦ"
ºuon'L menLlon lLţ" !acob muLLeredŦ
ºlf vou preferŦ"
AfLer several mlnuLes of sllenceţ !acob spoke aaalnŦ ºShe's famllv Lo vou?"
º?esŦ 8ella ls alreadv a dauahLer Lo meŦ A beloved dauahLerŦ"
º8uL vou're aolna Lo leL her dleŦ"
Carllsle was quleL for a lona momenLŦ ºl can lmaalne whaL vou Lhlnk of me
for LhaLŦ 8uL l can'L lanore her wlllŦ lL wouldn'L be rlahL Lo make such a
cholce for herţ Lo force herŦ" l knew he was rlahLŤ buL lL dldn'L make Lhe
plll anv easler Lo swallowŦ
ºuo vou Lhlnk Lhere's anv chance she'll make lL?" !acob askedŦ ºl mean as
a vamplre and all LhaLŦ She Lold me abouLŦŦŦabouL LsmeŦ"
ºl'd sav Lhere's an even chance aL Lhls polnLŦ lƌve seen vamplre venom
work mlraclesţ buL Lhere are condlLlons LhaL even venom cannoL
overcomeŦ Per hearL ls worklna Loo hard nowŤ lf lL should fallŦŦŦLhere won'L
be anvLhlna for me Lo doŦ" Carllsle Lold !acobŦ Mv hands clenched lnLo
LlahL flsLsŦ ºŦŦŦl'm waLchlna herŴ and noL [usL herţ buL Lhe feLus as wellŴ
sLarve Lo deaLh bv Lhe hourŦ l can'L sLop lL and l can'L slow lL downŦ l can'L
flaure ouL whaL lL wootsŦ"
ltoboblv jost lookloo fot sometbloo to slok lts teetb lotoŴ o tbtoot to sock
JtvŦ l coo tell tbem exoctlv wbot lt wootsť Jeotb ooJ blooJţ blooJ ooJ
Jeotbţ !acob LhouahL palnfullvŦ
Of cootseţ l LhouahL as l Look ln !acob's wordsŦ lt´s tbltstvŦŦŦ wbv bos tbls
oot occotteJ to me befote? lt seemeJ so obvlous oowŦ l felL Lhe LlnlesL
fllcker of hope lnslde meţ whlch felL allen ln mv despalrŦ
1he resL of Lhelr conversaLlon faded as l consldered Lhe ldeaţ Lhe
posslblllLles and Lhe lmpllcaLlonsŦ l smooLhed 8ella's halr LhaL cluna Lo her
waxvţ sallow faceţ and aoL Lo mv feeLŦ She sLared lnLo mv eves ln
confuslon and weaklv squeezed mv handŦ ºl'll be rlahL backţ 8ellaţ" l
promlsedŦ ºl wanL Lo speak Lo Carllsle for a momenLŦ AcLuallvţ 8osalleţ
would vou mlnd accompanvlna me?"
ºWhaL ls lLţ Ldward?" 8ella croakedŦ
ºnoLhlna vou need worrv abouLţ loveŦ lL wlll [usL Lake a secondŦ Þleaseţ
8ose?"
ºLsme? Can vou mlnd 8ella for me?"
Lsme flew down Lhe sLalrsŦ ºCf courseţ" she sald and wenL Lo slL nexL Lo
8ellaţ Lenderlv klsslna her foreheadŦ
8osalle followed me ouL Lo Lhe porch sLep where Carllsle and !acob were
slLLlnaŦ Per eves were narrowed ln susplclon as l shuL Lhe door behlnd usŦ
ºCarllsleţ" l whlsperedŦ
ºWhaL ls lLţ Ldward?"
ºÞerhaps we've been aolna abouL Lhls Lhe wrona wavŦ l was llsLenlna Lo
vou and !acob [usL nowţ and when vou were speaklna of whaL LheŦŦŦfeLus
wanLsţ !acob had an lnLeresLlna LhouahLŦ"
l JlJ?
ºWe haven'L acLuallv addressed tbot analeţ" l conLlnuedŦ ºWe've been
Lrvlna Lo aeL 8ella whaL she needsŦ And her bodv ls accepLlna lL abouL as
well as one of ours wouldŦ Þerhaps we should address Lhe needs of
LheŦŦŦfeLus flrsLŦ Mavbe lf we can saLlsfv lLţ we'll be able Lo help her more
effecLlvelvŦ"
ºl'm noL followlna vouţ Ldwardţ" Carllsle saldŦ
º1hlnk abouL lLţ CarllsleŦ lf LhaL creaLure ls more vamplre Lhan humanţ
can'L vou auess whaL lL cravesŴ whaL lL's noL aeLLlna? !acob dldŦ"
l JlJ?
ºChţ" he saldţ as reallzaLlon dawned on hlmŦ º?ou Lhlnk lL lsŦŦŦLhlrsLv?"
8osalle hlssed under her breaLhţ her face llahLlna up llke a chlld's on
ChrlsLmas mornlnaŦ ºCf courseţ" she murmuredŦ ºCarllsleţ we have all LhaL
Lvpe C neaaLlve lald aslde for 8ellaŦ lL's a aood ldeaŦ"
ºPmmŦ" Carllsle ralsed hls hand Lo hls chlnţ hls LhouahLs raclnaŦ ºl
wonderŦŦŦ And Lhen whaL would be Lhe besL wav Lo admlnlsLerŦŦŦ"
ºWe don'L have Llme Lo be creaLlveţ" 8osalle snappedŦ ºl'd sav we should
sLarL wlLh Lhe LradlLlonal wavŦ"
ºWalL a mlnuLeţ" !acob lnLerrupLedŦ º!usL hold onŦ Are vouŴ are vou Lalklna
abouL maklna 8ella drlnk blooJ?"
ºlL was vour ldeaţ doaŦ" 8osalle scowled aL hlmŦ
l waLched Carllsle's faceŦ l could see Lhe falnL fllcker of hope LhaL had been
llL lnslde meţ appear ln hls evesŦ Pe pursed hls llpsŦ
º1haL's [usLŦŦŦ" !acob Lralled offŦ
ºMonsLrous?" l offeredŦ º8epulslve?"
ºÞreLLv muchŦ"
º8uL whaL lf lL helps her?" l whlsperedŦ
ºWhaL are vou aonna doţ shove a Lube down her LhroaL?" he sald anarllvŦ
ºl plan Lo ask her whaL she LhlnksŦ l [usL wanLed Lo run lL pasL Carllsle
flrsLŦ"
8osalle nodded wlLh exclLemenLŦ ºlf vou Lell her lL mlahL help Lhe babvţ
she'll be wllllna Lo do anvLhlnaŦ Lven lf we do have Lo feed Lhem Lhrouah a
LubeŦ"
8looJle woolJ be lo lloe wltb oovtbloo tbot belpeJ tbe llttle llfeŴsockloo
moostetŦ ls tbot wbot´s ooloo oo? ls sbe oftet tbe klJ? !acob quesLlonedŦ
l nodded lnflnlLeslmallvţ answerlna !acob's LhouahLsŦ lurv swelled wlLhln
me Lowards mv slsLerŦ
nobŦ woolJo´t bove tbooobt lceŴcolJ 8otble boJ o motetool slJeŦ 5o mocb
fot ptotectloo 8elloŴ kosolle´J ptoboblv jom tbe tobe Jowo 8ello´s tbtoot
betselfŦ
l pressed mv llps lnLo a hard llneţ aaaln answerlna Lhe afflrmaLlveŦ
ºWellţ we don'L have Llme Lo slL around dlscusslna Lhlsţ" 8osalle sald
lmpaLlenLlvŦ ºWhaL do vou Lhlnk Carllsle? Can we Lrv?"
Carllsle Look a deep breaLh and sLood upŦ ºWe'll ask 8ellaŦ" 8osalle's face
was plasLered wlLh a smua smlleţ convlnced she was abouL Lo aeL her wavŦ
We wenL back lnLo Lhe houseţ 8ella evelna us susplclouslv as we fllLLed Lo
her sldeŦ
ºWhaL's aolna on?" she whlspered ln a palnfullv frall volceŦ She Lrled Lo
place her hand over her expanslve sLomachŦ
º!acob had an ldea LhaL mlahL help vouţ" Carllsle saldŦ leove me oot of ltţ
!acob LhouahLŦ Clve tbe cteJlt to bet blooJŴsockloo bosbooJţ wbete lt
belooosŦ ºlL won'L beŦŦŦpleasanLţ buLŴ"
º8uL lL wlll help Lhe babvţ" 8ose lnLerrupLed fervenLlvţ her eves llL up and
head bobblnaŦ ºWe've LhouahL of a beLLer wav Lo feed hlmŦ MavbeŦ"
8ella's eves fluLLered aenLlv and she aave a falnL chorLleŦ ºnoL pleasanL?"
she murmuredţ alanclna aL Lhe Lube ln her armŦ ºCoshţ LhaL'll be such a
chanaeŦ" 8osalle lauahed wlLh her svcophanLlcallvŦ
l had no lncllnaLlon Lo lauahŦ l moved around 8osalleţ Laklna 8ella's free
hand ln mlne and looklna her deep ln Lhe evesŦ º8ellaţ loveţ we're aolna Lo
ask vou Lo do someLhlna monsLrousţ" l sLarLedŦ º8epulslveŦ"
ºPow bad?" she asked warllvŦ
ºWe Lhlnk Lhe feLus mlahL have an appeLlLe closer Lo ours Lhan Lo voursţ"
Carllsle explalnedŦ ºWe Lhlnk lL's LhlrsLvŦ"
She bllnked for a secondţ and Lhen undersLoodŦ ºChŦ ObŦ"
º?our condlLlonŴboLh vour condlLlonsŴ are deLerloraLlna rapldlvŦ We don'L
have Llme Lo wasLeţ Lo come up wlLh more palaLable wavs Lo do LhlsŦ 1he
fasLesL wav Lo LesL Lhe LheorvŴ"
ºl've aoL Lo drlnk lLţ" she murmuredţ bobblna her head sllahLlv ln
aareemenLŦ ºl can do LhaLŦ ÞracLlce for Lhe fuLureţ rlahL?" She looked aL
meţ her pallld llps pulllna up aL Lhe corners lnLo a sllahL arlnţ buL no
humour Louched meŦ 8osalle was arowlna lmpaLlenLţ Lapplna her deslaner
shoe aaalnsL Lhe pale wooden floor rhvLhmlcallvŦ
l wooJet wbot sbe´J Jo lf l tbtew bet ooolost o wollţ LhouahL !acob anarllvŦ
l'd be onlv Loo dellahLed Lo help hlmŦ
ºSoţ who's aolna Lo caLch me a arlzzlv bear?" 8ella whlspered wlLh as
much enLhuslasm as she couldŦ Carllsle and l alanced aL each oLher
consplraLorlallvŦ ºWhaL?" 8ella askedţ noLlclna our qulck exchanaeŦ
ºlL wlll be a more effecLlve LesL lf we don'L cuL cornersţ 8ellaţ" Carllsle saldŦ
l explalned furLherŤ ºlf Lhe feLus ls cravlna bloodţ lL's noL cravlna anlmal
bloodŦ"
ºlL won'L make a dlfference Lo vou 8ellaŦ uon'L Lhlnk abouL lLţ" 8osalle
enLhusedŦ
As she Look ln whaL we were savlnaţ 8ella's eves arew wlde wlLh fearŦ
ºWho?" she breaLhedţ her eves flashlna Lo !acobŦ
ºl'm noL here as a donorţ 8ellsţ" !acob saldţ ralslna hls hands ouL ln fronL
of hlmŦ 'Slde's lL's human blood LhaL Lhlna's afLerţ and l don'L Lhlnk mlne
appllesŴ"
ºWe have blood on handţ" 8osalle spoke over !acobŦ ºlor vouŴ [usL ln caseŦ
uon'L worrv abouL anvLhlna aL allŦ lL's aolna Lo be flneŦ l have a aood
feellna abouL Lhlsţ 8ellaŦ l Lhlnk Lhe babv wlll be so much beLLerŦ"
8ella sLroked her sLomach dellcaLelvŦ ºWellţ" she sLarLedŤ her volce
scraLchv and lowŦ ºl'm sLarvlnaţ so l'll beL he ls LooŦ LeL's ao for lLŦ Mv flrsL
vamplre acLŦ"
Chapter 13
AL 8ella's wordsţ Carllsle and 8osalle flew upsLalrsţ wonderlna wheLher or
noL Lhe blood should be warmed up flrsLŦ l sLaved bv 8ella's sldeţ holdlna
her hand and aazlna lnLo her exhausLed eves convevlna mv love for herŦ l
love voo so mocbŦ l could Lell she was Lhlnklna Lhe sameŦ As l sLared aL mv
wlfe's palnfullv frall formţ Lhe fllcker of hope l had felL was exLlnaulshed
lnslde me as kaure's lasL word echoed endlesslv Lhrouah mv headŤ
ºmotte´Ŧ
8osalle darLed down Lhe sLalrs lnLo Lhe klLchenţ openlna a cupboard door
on Lhe rlahLţ reachlna for a LransparenL cupŦ ºnoL cleotţ 8osalleţ" l
whlsperedţ rolllna mv evesŦ l dldn'L wanL 8ella Lo have Lo Lhlnk abouL whaL
she was dolna anv more Lhan was necessarvŦ 8ella looked aL me curlouslvţ
buL l [usL shook mv head as 8osalle fllLLed back upsLalrsŦ
8ella Lurned her aaze Lo !acobŦ º1hls was vour ldea?"
ºuon'L blame me for Lhls oneŦ ?our vamplre was [usL plcklna snlde
commenLs ouL of mv headŦ"
She manaaed a falnL smlleŦ ºl dldn'L expecL Lo see vou aaalnŦ"
º?eahţ meţ elLherŦ" now bove l oot Jtowo bock loto tbls?
ºLdward Lold me whaL vou had Lo doŦ l'm sorrvŦ"
ºS'okavŦ lL was probablv onlv a maLLer of Llme Llll l snapped over
someLhlna Sam wanLed me Lo doţ" he lledŦ
ºAnd SeLhţ" she murmuredŦ
ºPe's acLuallv happv Lo helpŦ"
ºl haLe causlna vou LroubleŦ"
!acob barked a chuckleŦ 8ella slahedŦ ºl auess LhaL's noLhlna newţ ls lL?"
ºnoţ noL reallvŦ"
º?ou don'L have Lo sLav and waLch Lhlsţ" she offeredŦ
ºl don'L reallv have anvwhere else Lo aoŦ 1he whole wolf Lhlna ls a loL less
appeallna slnce Leah [olned upŦ"
ºLeah?" she breaLhed ln surprlseŦ
º?ou dldn'L Lell her?" he asked of meŦ l shruaaedţ keeplna mv eves on
8ella's faceŦ l hadn'L LhouahLţ ln Lhe scheme of Lhlnasţ LhaL lL was
alLoaeLher lmporLanL aL Lhe momenLŦ
ºWhv?" she aaspedŦ
º1o keep an eve on SeLhţ" !acob explalnedţ keeplna Lo Lhe slmplesL
verslonŦ
º8uL Leah haLes usţ" 8ella croakedŦ
ºLeah's noL aolna Lo bua anvoneŦ" 8ot meţ he amendedŦ ºShe's ln mv packţ
so she follows mv leadŦ" Pe arlmaced aL Lhe wordsŤ !acob was
uncomforLable wlLh hls new role as AlphaŦ 8ella sLlll looked aL hlm
scepLlcallvŦ º?ou're scared of leobţ" he conLlnuedţ ºbuL vour besL buds
wlLh Lhe psvchopaLh blonde?" 8osalle hlssed from upsLalrsŦ l´ll oloJlv sbow
blm o psvcbopotb lf be woots ooeţ 8ose LhouahLŦ
ºuon'LŦ" 8ella frownedŦ º8oseŦŦŦundersLandsŦ"
º?eahţ" !acob arumbledŦ ºShe undersLands LhaL vou're aonna dle and she
doesn'L careţ s'lona as she aeLs her muLanL spawn ouL of Lhe dealŦ"
ºSLop belna a [erkţ !acobţ" she muLLeredŦ
º?ou sav LhaL llke lL's posslbleŦ"
l could see 8ella flahLlna back a smlleţ buL her colourless llps LwlLchedŦ
8osalle and Carllsle came back down Lhe sLalrsţ Carllsle cluLchlna a whlLe
plasLlc cup wlLh a lld and bendv sLrawŦ Carllsle sLarLed Lo reach Lowards
8ellaţ and Lhen pausedŦ She was evelna Lhe cup warllvŦ
ºWe could Lrv anoLher meLhodţ" Carllsle sald sofLlvŦ
ºnoţ" 8ella raspedŦ ºnoţ l'll Lrv Lhls flrsLŦ We don'L have LlmeŦŦŦ" She
reached for Lhe cup and Look lL ln her handţ shaklna a llLLleŦ She Lrled Lo
haul herself up and resL on her elbowţ buL lL was Loo much efforL for her ln
her frall condlLlonŦ 8osalle puL her arm beneaLh 8ella's shoulders and
supporLed her headŦ º1hanksţ" 8ella whlsperedŦ Per eves casL alances aL
all of usţ feellna selfŴconsclous abouL whaL she was abouL Lo doŦ Per
cheeks remalned ashenţ Lhouah Lhev would normallv have been brlahL
scarleL wlLh Lhe aLLenLlonŦ
ºuon'L mlnd Lhemţ" 8osalle saldŦ l could sense a Lenor of awkwardness
from !acob's LhouahLsŦ 1hls musL have been lncredlblv dlfflculL Lo waLch
and lL was a slan of Lhe love he felL for 8ella LhaL he sLavedŦ
8ella ralsed Lhe cup Lo her nose and lnhaledŦ She fllnched aL Lhe smell and
wlncedŦ º8ellaţ sweeLhearLţ we can flnd an easler wavţ" l saldţ holdlna mv
hand up Lo remove Lhe cupŦ
ºÞlua vour noseţ" 8osalle advlsedţ sLarlna aL mv ouLsLreLched hand llke she
would snap lL offŦ
ºnoţ LhaL's noL lLŦ lL's [usL LhaL lLŴ" 8ella breaLhed ln deeplvŦ ºlL smells
aoodţ" she confessedŦ
º1haL's a aood Lhlnaţ" 8osalle encouraaedŦ º1haL means we're on Lhe rlahL
LrackŦ Clve lL a LrvŦ" Per face was Lhe deflnlLlon of exclLemenL lLselfŦ She
looked llke she was abouL Lo [ump up and down and clap wlLh aleeŦ
8ella placed her mouLh over Lhe sLrawŤ her eves shuL LlahL and wrlnkllna
her noseŦ She Look a LenLaLlve slp and moanedŦ º8ellaţ loveŴ"
ºl'm okavţ" she lnslsLedţ openlna her eves Lo sLare up aL meţ a pleadlna
Lone ln her volceŦ ºlL tostes aoodţ LooŦ"
º1haL's aoodţ" 8osalle enLhused aaalnŦ ºA aood slanŦ" l pressed mv hand
Lo her now hollow cheekţ curvlna mv flnaers aenLlv around Lhe proLrudlna
bonesŦ She nesLled lnLo mv Louch and sucked ln a deep slp of bloodŦ
ºPow's vour sLomach? uo vou feel nauseaLed?" Carllsle enqulredŦ
ºnoţ l don'L feel slckţ" 8ella murmuredţ shaklna her headŦ º1haL's a flrsLţ
eh?"
ºLxcellenLţ" 8osalle smlledţ reveallna her aleamlna whlLe LeeLhŦ
ºl Lhlnk lL's a blL earlv for LhaLţ 8oseţ" Carllsle cauLlonedŦ
8ella was swlaalna Lhe blood down nowŦ Suddenlv she looked up aL meŦ
ºuoes Lhls screw mv LoLal?" she askedŦ ºCr do we sLarL counLlna oftet l'm
a vamplre?"
ºno one ls counLlnaţ 8ellaŦ ln anv caseţ no one dled for LhlsŦ ?our record ls
sLlll cleanŦ"
nob? 1houahL !acobŦ
ºl'll explaln laLerţ" l sald under mv breaLhŦ
ºWhaL?"8ella murmuredŦ
º!usL Lalklna Lo mvselfţ" l lledŦ
5etlooslvţ lf 8ello llvesţ be´s oot ooooo oet owov wltb so mocb wbeo bet
seoses ote os sbotp os blsŦ ne´ll Jefloltelv bove to wotk oo tbe booestv
tblooŦ
Mv llps Luaaed up aL Lhe cornersŦ 8ella Lurned her aLLenLlon Lo sLare
absenLmlndedlv ouL Lhe wlndowŦ
ltoboblv pteteoJloo l´m oot beteŦ No ooe else ls JlsoosteJŦ Iost tbe
opposlteŴ tbev´te ptoboblv bovloo o botJ tlme oot tlpploo tbe cop owov
ftom betŦ
l rolled mv evesŦ
Ieezţ bow Joes oovooe stooJ llvloo wltb blm? lt´s too boJ be coo´t beot
8ello´s tbooobtsŦ 1beo be´J oooov tbe ctop oot of betţ tooţ ooJ sbe´J oet
tlteJ of blmŦ
l chuckled onceŦ lL felL sLranaeţ allen and palnful on mv faceŦ 8ella's eves
fell on me and manaaed a weak smlle aL whaL she sawŦ AfLer allţ l hadn'L
felL or shown anv humour slnce lsle LsmeŦŦŦ
ºSomeLhlna funnv?" 8ella askedŦ
º!acobţ" l replledŦ
She Lurned her aaze Lo hlmŦ º!ake's a crackŴupţ" she aareedŦ
º8ada blooţ" he muLLeredŦ Cteotţ oow l´m tbe coott jestetŦ
8ella Look Lhe flnal aulp from Lhe cup unLll she was sucklna aL alrŦ ºl dld lLţ"
she saldŦ Lvervone could hear Lhe sllahL dlfference ln her volceŤ lL was
sLronaerţ sLlll crackedţ buL louderŦ ºlf l keep Lhls downţ Carllsleţ wlll vou
Lake Lhe needles ouL of me?"
ºAs soon as posslbleţ" he sworeŦ ºPonesLlvţ Lhev aren'L dolna LhaL much
aood where Lhev areŦ"
8osalle sLroked 8ella's forehead whlle Lhev alanced aL each oLher
hopefullvŦ 1he flrsL effecLs of Lhe blood were lmmedlaLeŤ her oLherwlse
sallow cheeks had [usL a hlnL of plnk reLurnlna Lo Lhemţ her breaLhlna less
laboured and her hearLbeaL more evenŦ She wasn'L relvlna on 8osalle's
supporL as much as beforeŤ she was ever so sllahLlv sLronaerŦ 1he fllcker of
hope LhaL had been exLlnaulshed ln me relanlLed lnLo a fullŴblown flameŦ
ºWould vou llke more?" 8osalle askedŦ
8ella's shoulders fellţ and l shoL a furlous alare aL 8ose for pushlna 8ella on
LhlsŦ º?ou don'L have Lo drlnk more rlahL awavţ" l Lold herŦ
º?eahţ l knowŦ 8uLŦŦŦl woot Loţ" she declaredŦ
8osalle combed her perfecL flnaers Lhrouah 8ella's flaccld halrŦ º?ou don'L
need Lo be embarrassed abouL LhaLţ 8ellaŦ ?our bodv has cravlnasŦ We all
undersLand LhaLţ" she sooLhedŦ ºAnvone who doesn'L undersLand
shouldn'L be hereţ" she amended severelvţ obvlouslv almed aL !acobŦ Pe
dldn'L careŦ
5be teollv Joes look bettetţ £JwotJţ LhouahL CarllsleŦ Pe reached for
8ella's cupŦ ºl'll be rlahL backŦ"
8ella sLared aL !acobţ Laklna ln hls exhausLed appearanceŦ º!akeţ vou look
awfulţ" she observedŦ
ºLook who's LalklnaŦ"
ºSerlouslvŴ when's Lhe lasL Llme vou slepL?"
ºPuhŦ l'm noL acLuallv sureŦ"
ºAwţ !akeŦ now l'm messlna wlLh vour heaLh LooŦ uon'L be sLupldŦ"
l heard hlm clench hls LeeLh LoaeLherŦ 5be´s olloweJ to klll betself fot o
moostetţ bot l´m oot olloweJ to mlss o few olobts sleep to wotcb bet Jo lt?
ºCeL some resLţ pleaseţ" she pleadedŦ º1here're a few beds upsLalrsŴ
vou're welcome Lo anv of LhemŦ"
Noţ voo most cettololv ote noLţ LhouahL 8osalleţ buL she dldn'L sav
anvLhlnaŤ she dldn'L wanL Lo upseL 8ellaŦ
º1hanksţ 8ellsţ buL l'd raLher sleep on Lhe aroundŦ Awav from Lhe sLenchţ
vou knowŦ"
º8lahLŦ"
Carllsle came flvlna down Lhe sLalrsţ a fresh cup of blood ln hls handŦ 8ella
reached ouL for lLţ seemlnalv unconsclouslvţ and sLarLed aulplna lL downŦ
She was lmprovlna ln fronL of our evesŦ She moved lnLo a slLLlna poslLlonţ
her leas crossed and conLlnued Lo sLare ouL Lhe wlndowŦ 8osalle kepL her
hands ln place should 8ella slump buL lL was unnecessarvŦ Soonţ 8ella had
flnlshed Lhe second cupŦ
ºPow do vou feel now?" Carllsle askedŦ
ºnoL slckŦ SorL of hunarvŦŦŦonlv l'm noL sure lf l'm hunarv or tbltstvţ vou
know?"
ºCarllsleţ [usL look aL herţ" 8osalle alowedŦ º1hls ls obvlouslv whaL her
bodv wanLsŦ She should drlnk moreŦ"
ºShe's sLlll humanţ 8osalleŦ She needs foodţ LooŦ LeL's alve her a llLLle whlle
Lo see how Lhls affecLs herţ and Lhen mavbe we can Lrv some food aaalnŦ
uoes anvLhlna sound parLlcularlv aood Lo vouţ 8ella?"
ºLaasţ" she sald wlLhouL heslLaLlonŦ We exchanaed a knowlna smlleŦ
l noLlced !acob's eves arowlna heavlerŦ º!acobţ vou reallv should sleepŦ As
8ella saldţ vou're cerLalnlv welcome Lo Lhe accommodaLlons hereţ Lhouah
vou'd probablv be more comforLable ouLsldeŦ uon'L worrv abouL anvLhlnaŴ
l promlse l'll flnd vou lf Lhere's a needŦ"
ºSureţ sureţ" he muLLered whllsL sLlfllna a vawnŦ
Now sbe looks o blt bettetţ l coo escopeŦ Co cotl op ooJet o ttee
somewbeteŦŦŦlot eoooob owov tbot tbe smell coo´t teocb meŦ 1be
blooJsocket wlll woke me lf sometbloo ooes wtoooŦ ne owes meŦ
ºl doţ" l concurredŦ
Pe puL hls hand on 8ella'sŦ ºleel beLLerţ" he wlshed herŦ
º1hanksţ !acobŦ"
ºCeL her a blankeL or someLhlnaţ" he sald as he Lurned for Lhe doorŦ 1wo
howls suddenlv cuL Lhe alrŦ ºuammlLţ" !acob arowledţ pulllna Lhe door
open and Lhrowlna hlmself off Lhe porchţ phaslna ln mldalr and desLrovlna
hls shorLs ln Lhe processŦ l made a menLal noLe Lo aeL hlm some moreŤ
LmmeLL's would probablv flL around hlmŦ
wbot ls lt?
locomlooţ ot leost tbteeţ SeLh answeredŦ
ºLmţ !azz!" l called sofLlv so as noL Lo alarm 8ellaŦ 1hev'd hear meŦ l heard
Lhe door of Carllsle's sLudv open upsLalrs and Lhev appeared beslde meŦ
8ella looked up aL me wlLh anxlous evesŦ ºWhaL's happenlnaţ Ldward?"
ºnoLhlna vou need Lo worrv abouLţ sweeLhearLŦ" l reassuredŦ
Whlle LmmeLL and !asper sLaved on alerLţ l Lrled Lo hear as much of Lhe
wolves' conversaLlon as posslbleŦ lL Lransplred lL was a peaceful vlslL bv
!aredţ Cullţ Þaul and Collln Lo Lrv and aeL !acobţ SeLh and Leah Lo ao home
Lo La ÞushŤ someLhlna Lhev weren'L prepared Lo doŦ l relaved Lhe ma[orlLv
of Lhe conversaLlon Lo mv famllvţ surprlsed aL how much l plcked upŦ Lsme
was parLlcularlv upseL when l relaved Lhe wolves savlna 'nomeless ot tbe
momeot´Ŧ
When lL was evldenL Lhe blood was sLavlna downţ 8ella pleaded wlLh
Carllsle Lo remove Lhe Lubes once aaalnŦ
ºÞleaseţ Carllsle? 1hls has made me feel so much beLLerŦ Can l move back
Lo Lhe couch?"
Pe checked Lhe monlLors one more Llme and rubbed hls chlnŦ lolse ls
mote eveoŦ 8teotbloo lmptoveJŦŦŦ ºCkavţ 8ellaŦ l'll Lake ouL Lhe Lubesţ Lake
vou off Lhe monlLorsţ and vou can ao back Lo Lhe sofa as lona as vou keep
Lhe lv ln for nowŦ ?ou sLlll need more fluldsŦ And lf vou sLarL Lo feel even
Lhe sllahLesL blL worseţ l need Lo know rlahL awavŦ uo we have a deal?"
She bobbed her headţ a arln on her faceŤ she haLed Lhe hosplLal seLŴupŦ
Allce appeared from upsLalrs Lo help puL Lhe furnlLure back lnLo poslLlonŦ
She was dellahLed LhaL 8ella looked beLLerţ buL her face was puckeredţ her
llps mashed LoaeLher ln a hard llneŦ l cocked an evebrow aL Lhe unusual
expresslonŦ neoJocbeţ was all she LhouahL ln responseŦ
Lsme approached me as l refllled 8ella's cupţ her face full of sadnessŦ
ºSonţ would vou Lell !acob Lhev're welcome Lo anv faclllLles here? ?ou sald
Leah doesn'L llke Lo eaL ln her wolf formŦŦŦ And l [usL can'L bear Lo Lhlnk of
Lhem asŦŦŦhomelessţ" she chokedŦ ºPere are some cloLhes for !acobŦ" She
passed me a whlLeŴbuLLon down shlrL and Lan panLs whlch l duLlfullv puL
on Lhe porchŦ 1book vooţ £JwotJţ she LhouahL as l pecked her cheekŦ
Cnce lL was clear Lhe danaer of an aLLack had passed for nowţ !asperţ
LmmeLL and Allce dlsappeared back upsLalrs and l wenL Lo slL on Lhe end
of Lhe whlLe sofa wlLh 8ella's feeLţ wrapped ln a blankeLţ ln mv lapŦ lor Lhe
flrsL Llmeţ l felL Lhe crushlna burden upon me decrease fracLlonallv and l
exhaled ln sllahL rellefŦ












Chapter 14
£vetvtbloo´s coolţ LhouahL !acob as he approachedţ exhausLedŦ Pe
dlsappeared lnLo Lhe Lrees holdlna Lhe chanae of cloLhes LenLaLlvelv
beLween hls LeeLhŦ l felL a Lwlnae of svmpaLhvŤ l could lmaalne Lhe sheer
dlscomforL lf l were forced Lo wear aarmenLs LhaL exuded werewolf
sLenchŦ
As !acob reLurned and enLered Lhe houseţ he Look ln Lhe chanaes from Lhe
hosplLal scene of [usL LwenLv mlnuLes aaoŦ 1o anvone none Lhe wlser Lo
Lhe Llcklna LlmeŴbomb ln Lhe roomţ l supposed Lhe slLuaLlon dldţ aL leasLţ
look beLLerŦ 1he obvlous lmprovemenL ln 8ella's condlLlon had dlsslpaLed
a Llnv porLlon of Lhe Lenslon hanalna over Lhe house llke a dark Lhunder
cloudŦ She held anoLher cup of blood ln her handsţ wlLh 8osalle slLLlna
crossŴleaaed bv her headţ swlLchlna Lhe 1v Lo a chlckŴfllckţ Lhouah nobodv
was reallv waLchlna or llsLenlnaŦ lL was [usL one of Lhe manv aspecLs of Lhe
human facade we had perfecLed and now dld auLomaLlcallvŦ Carllsle and
Lsme sLood aL Lhe back wlndowsţ wlLh Lhe doors open Lo Lhe rlver whlch l
could hear flowlna sooLhlnalvŦ 1he corners of mv mouLh pulled up sllahLlv
lnLo Lhe Lrace of a smlle as !acob walked lnŤ wheLher because l knew 8ella
would be happvţ or because of Lhe araLlLude l felLţ lnexpllcablv l was
pleased Lo see hlmŦ
8ella looked up when she saw mv halfŴsmlle and she beamed aL !acobţ Lhe
wav l knew she wouldŦ l couldn'L help buL frownŦ uesplLe mvselfţ desplLe
Lhe facL l knew she loved me lrrevocablv and had alven herself Lo me
hearLţ mlndţ bodv and soulţ l couldn'L help Lhe pana of [ealousv l felLŦ
!acob seemed Lo be ln llne wlLh mv LhlnklnaŦ 1o hlm lL was clear she wasţ
Lo use hls sllenL wordsţ ln love wlLh me #post tbe boooJs of sooltv´Ŧ 1o hlm
lL would be so much easler lf she dldn'L care or reallv noL wanL hlm
aroundŦ l knew Lhouahţ LhaL Lhev shared a speclal connecLlon and LhaL
Lhev alwavs wouldŦ 8esldesţ l had more lmporLanL Lhlnas Lo worrv abouLŤ
llke keeplna mv beloved allveŦ
º1hev [usL wanLed Lo Lalkţ" !acob explalnedţ breaklna me from mv reverleţ
hls volce now heavv wlLh faLlaue and shoulders slumplnaŦ
º?esţ" l replledŦ ºl heard mosL of lLŦ"
ºPow?" he askedţ sllahLlv lncredulousŦ
ºl'm hearlna vou more clearlvŴ lL's a maLLer of famlllarlLv and
concenLraLlonŦ Alsoţ vour LhouahLs are sllahLlv easler Lo plck up when
vou're ln vour human formŦ So l cauahL mosL of whaL passed ouL LhereŦ"
1hls seemed Lo boLher !acob for a secondţ buL he leL lL aoŦ ºCoodŦ l haLe
repeaLlna mvselfŦ"
Pls eves closedŤ hls llds were now so heavv lL Look hlm a second Lo work
ouL how Lo reopen LhemŦ 1he clrcles under hls eves were nearlv as dark as
mlneŦ lL dldn'L escape 8ella's noLlceŦ ºl'd Lell vou Lo aeL some sleepţ" she
saldţ ºbuL mv auess ls LhaL vou're aolna Lo pass ouL on Lhe floor ln abouL
slx secondsţ so Lhere's probablv no polnLŦ" 1he clarlLv ln her volce
realsLered wlLh !acobŤ he was pleased wlLh how much beLLer she soundedţ
even lf Lhe means of achlevlna such an end dld dlsausL hlmŦ
!acob Lurned and walked Lo Lhe door counLlna Lhe seconds LhaL 8ella had
predlcLed he would lasLŦ ºCne MlsslsslpplŦŦŦLwo MlsslsslpplŦŦŦ"
ºWhere's Lhe floodţ muLL?" 8osalle arumbledŦ 5etlooslvţ £JwotJţ Jo we
bove to pot op wltb blm lo tbe boose?
º?ou know how Lo drown a blondeţ 8osalle?" !acob reLorLed sleepllvŦ
ºClue a mlrror Lo Lhe boLLom of a poolŦ" 5bome vompltes Joo´t oeeJ oltŦŦŦ
l couldn'L help chuckllnaţ knowlna all Loo well how spoLŴon !acob was ln
reaards Lo her vanlLvŤ 8osalle couldn'L reslsL admlrlna her reflecLlon ln
anvLhlna remoLelv shlnvŦ Þersonallvţ l dldn'L know how LmmeLL could
sLand lLŦ
ºl've alreadv heard LhaL oneţ" 8osalle shouLed afLer hlmŦ
1haL relaLlonshlp was cerLalnlv aolna Lo be lnLeresLlnaŤ l couldn'L see
anvLhlna developlna oLher Lhan Lhelr muLual anLaaonlsmŦ !acob resenLed
8osalle for her proLecLlon of Lhe 'llfeŴsucklna monsLer' as he had named lLţ
and 8osalle resenLed !acob forŦŦŦ wellţ belna !acobŦ lL hlL me how much mv
prevlous pre[udlce aaalnsL Lhe wolves had fasL evaporaLed over Lhe
summerţ and had now been replaced bv empaLhv and undersLandlnaŦ l
qulcklv remembered Lhe promlse l'd made Lsme reaardlna Lhe wolves'
'homeless' slLuaLlon and found l shared Lhe same senLlmenLŦ l carefullv
llfLed 8ella's feeL off mv lap and sLood upţ Lo flnd !acob before he fell
asleepŦ
ºWhere are vou aolna?" 8ella askedţ a llLLle crease beLween her brows
appearlnaŦ
º1here was someLhlna l foraoL Lo sav Lo hlmŦ"
ºLeL !acob sleepŴ lL can walLŦ"
)esţ please let Iocob sleepţ he LhouahLŦ uesplLe mvself l lefL Lhe houseţ
feellna aullLv for keeplna hlm from hls much needed slumberŦ
l descended Lhe porch sLeps and followed !acob's scenL across Lhe lawn
lnLo Lhe emeraldŴsLrewn shadows where !acob was walLlna on Lhe frlnaes
of Lhe vlbranL foresLŦ ºl'm sorrvţ" l sLarLedţ Lhen pausedŦ l dldn'L know how
besL Lo presenL Lhe offerŤ l knew Lsme desperaLelv wanLed Lhem Lo accepL
and l felL lL was mv duLv Lo pass lL on ln such a wav LhaL Lhev would
conslder lLŦ
wbot´s oo voot mloJţ mloJ teoJet?
ºWhen vou were speaklna Lo Sam's deleaaLes earllerţ l was alvlna a plavŴ
bvŴplav for Carllsle and Lsme and Lhe resLŦ 1hev were concernedŴ"
ºLookţ we're noL dropplna our auardŦ ?ou don'L have Lo belleve Sam llke
we doŦ We're keeplna our eves open reaardlessŦ"
ºnoţ noţ !acobŦ noL abouL LhaLŦ We LrusL vour [udaemenLŦ 8aLherţ Lsme
was Lroubled bv Lhe hardshlps Lhls ls puLLlna vour pack LhrouahŦ She asked
me Lo speak Lo vou prlvaLelv abouL lLŦ" Pe seemed Laken abackŦ l couldn'L
help buL smlle as l LhouahL of mv moLher's Lender devoLlonŦ
ºPardshlps?" Pe repeaLedţ hls shaaavţ black brows pulllna LoaeLherŦ
º1he bomeless parLţ parLlcularlvŦ She's verv upseL LhaL vou are all
soŦŦŦberefLŦ" ?esţ LhaL was Lhe correcL wordŦ
Pe snorLedŦ Iomplte motbet beoŴ blzotteŦ ºWe're LouahŦ 1ell her noL Lo
worrvŦ"
l felL Lhe need Lo press mv polnL furLherŦ ºShe'd sLlll llke Lo do whaL she
canŦ l aoL Lhe lmpresslon LhaL Leah doesn'L llke Lo eaL ln her wolf form?"
ºAnd?" he askedŦ
ºWellţ we do have normal human food hereţ !acobŦ keeplna up
appearancesţ andţ of courseţ for 8ellaŦ Leah ls welcome Lo anvLhlna she'd
llkeŦ All of vou areŦ"
ºl'll pass LhaL alonaŦ"
ºLeah haLes usŦ" l sLaLedŦ
ºSo?"
ºSo Lrv Lo pass lL alona ln such a wav as Lo make her conslder lLţ lf vou
don'L mlndŦ" 1he chances of Leah enLerlna our house ln her human form
Lo eaL were verv remoLe lndeedŦ lL was hard Lo belleve SeLh and her were
slbllnasŤ Lhelr aLLlLudes and ouLlooks were polar opposlLes on all Lhlnas
vamplreŦ
ºl'll do whaL l canŦ"
ºAnd Lhen Lhere's Lhe maLLer of cloLhesŦ"
Pe looked down aL Lhe cloLhes he was now wearlnaŦ ºCh veahŦ 1hanksŦ"
1bev teek bot ptoboblv oot oooJ moooets to meotloo ltŦ
1he corners of mouLh LwlLched lnLo a Llnv smlleŦ ºWellţ we're easllv able
Lo help ouL wlLh anv needs LhereŦ Allce rarelv allows us Lo wear Lhe same
Lhlna LwlceŦ We've aoL plles of brand new cloLhes LhaL are desLlned for
Coodwlllţ and l'd lmaalne LhaL Leah ls falrlv close Lo Lsme's slzeŦŦŦ"
ºnoL sure how she'll feel abouL bloodsucker casL offsŦ She's noL as
pracLlcal as l amţ" he saldţ aesLurlna Lo Lhe rolled up cuffsŦ
ºl LrusL LhaL vou can presenL Lhe offer ln Lhe besL posslble llahLŦ As well as
Lhe offer of anv oLher phvslcal ob[ecL vou mlahL needţ or LransporLaLlonţ
or anvLhlna else aL allŦ And showersţ Looţ slnce vou prefer Lo sleep
ouLdoorsŦ ÞleaseŦŦŦ don'L conslder vourselves wlLhouL Lhe beneflLs of a
homeŦ"
l felL an emoLlon l couldn'L qulLe lav mv flnaer on as l sald Lhe lasL
senLenceŦ l was surprlsed Lo flnd LhaL Lhe wolves seemed Lo belooo
somehow ln our homeŦ Wellţ !acob and SeLh cerLalnlvŦ Þerhaps because
Lhev'd chosen Lo help proLecL us over supporLlna Lhelr prevlous packţ
Lurnlna Lhelr backs on Lhelr homes and Lhelr famlllesŦ l would be eLernallv
araLefulŦ
!acob sLared aL meŦ º1haL'sţ erţ nlce of vouŦ 1ell Lsme we appreclaLe Lheţ
uhţ LhouahLŦ 8uL Lhe perlmeLer cuLs Lhrouah Lhe rlver ln a few placesţ so
we sLav preLLv cleanţ LhanksŦ"
ºlf vou would pass Lhe offer onţ reaardlessŦ"
ºSureţ sureŦ"
º1hank vouţ" l sald slncerelvŦ
Suddenlv a lowţ aaonlsed crv comlna from Lhe house plerced sLralahL
Lhrouah meŦ l spun on mv heel and fled back lnslde so fasL lL would have
been lnvlslble Lo human evesŦ 8ella was panLlnaŤ her eves shuL LlahLţ her
face bone whlLeţ and curled over her severelv swollen sLomachŦ 1he slahL
of her ln so much paln froze me Lo Lhe spoLŦ 8osalle was holdlna herţ
supporLlna her from behlndţ whlle Carllsle and Lsme sLood over herţ worrv
eLched lnLo Lhelr facesŦ
ºClve me a secondţ Carllsleţ" 8ella aaspedŦ
º8ellaţ" he sald freLfullvţ ºl heard someLhlna crackŦ l need Lo Lake a lookŦ"
ºÞreLLv sureŦŦŦlL was a rlbţ" she panLedŦ ºCwŦ ?epŦ 8lahL hereŦ" She
carefullv polnLed Lo her sldeŦ
l'd seen 8ella ln phvslcal paln beforeţ Lhe worsL belna ln Þhoenlx ln Lhe
balleL sLudloţ her lea snappedţ head bleedlnaţ and her hand blLLen bv
!amesŦ 1haL had beenŦŦŦ excruclaLlnaŦ 8uL knowlna LhaL someLhlna LhaL l
had creaLed was breaklna her bones was as lf l was sLandlna Lhere
crushlna her wlLh mv bare handsţ and Lhere was noLhlna l could do Lo sLop
lLŦ lL was Lhe worsL LorLure posslbleŦ
ºl need Lo Lake an xŴravŦ 1here mlahL be spllnLersŦ We don'L wanL lL Lo
puncLure anvLhlnaţ" Carllsle conLlnuedŦ
8efore l could scoop 8ella up lnLo mv armsţ 8osalle llfLed herŦ She pulled
her llps back over her LeeLhţ arowllnaţ ºl've alreadv aoL herŦ" l dldn'L have
Llme or Lhe sLrenaLh Lo araue wlLh 8osalle nowŤ 8ella was far more
lmporLanLţ buL Lhere was no wav l was leLLlna Lhls aoŦ As Allce had saldţ we
all knew whv 8osalle was dolna Lhlsţ and her possesslveness of 8ella was
as superflclal as 8ose herselfŦ l flew up Lhe sLalrs afLer Lhem lnLo Carllsle's
sLudv LhaL now convenlenLlv doubled as a hosplLal for 8ellaţ compleLe
wlLh a blood supplv and xŴrav equlpmenLŦ 1he normallv subdued lamps
had been replaced wlLh brllllanL spoLllahLsŦ An enLlre shelf of books had
been compleLelv cleared leavlna an edae of dusLŦ l sLared ln aaonlsed
sllence as Carllsle examlned 8ellaţ feellna a wave of rellef as he announced
noLhlna had been puncLuredŦ l held her hand aenLlvţ Lraclna small clrcles
on Lhe back of lLţ as he Laped up Lhe rlbţ wlLh her squeezlna mv coldţ sLone
flnaers lnLermlLLenLlv wlLh all Lhe sLrenaLh she could musLer Lo cope wlLh
Lhe palnŦ
l baraed 8osalle ouL Lhe wav when Carllsle had flnlshed so l could carrv
8ella back downsLalrsŤ as much as l Lrled noL Lo [osLle herţ she sLlll wlncedţ
buL remalned sllenLŦ Alwavs so braveŦ When 8ose wenL Lo feLch 8ella
some more bloodţ l couldn'L even flnd Lhe words Lo Lell her how sorrv l
was for whaL Lhe feLus was dolna Lo herŦ WhaLţ effecLlvelvţ l was dolna Lo
herŦ l Lrled Lo convev lL wlLh mv evesţ and she [usL aazed back wlLh Lhe
same depLh of loveţ affecLlon and devoLlon LhaL sLunned meŦ noL onlv dld
she sLlll reaard herself as Lhe wlnner raLher Lhan Lhe prlzeţ a compleLelv
rldlculous noLlon ln everv wavţ she reaarded Lhe llfe lnslde her as a alfL
from me raLher Lhan an abomlnaLlonţ as Sam had called lLŦ She loved lL
and would be happv for lL Lo break her aparL plece bv plece as lona as lL
was safe and wellŦ
!acob had now fallen asleep wlLh hls head resLlna aaalnsL Lhe door[ambţ
snorlna heavllvţ much Lo 8osalle's lnLense annovanceŦ Cne look aL hlm had
Lsme fllLLlna upsLalrs and comlna back down wlLh a wlde feaLher plllow ln
her handsţ whlch she placed Lenderlv under hls headŦ l was aolna Lo
proLesL as l knew he would noL appreclaLe Lhe smellţ buL l couldn'L brlna
mvself Lo hurL Lsme's feellnasŦ 8esldesţ lL dldn'L wake hlm up so lL musL
have been bearableŦ 1o mv surprlseţ Allce was slLLlna nexL Lo hlmţ looklna
Lhe mosL aL peace she had slnce 8ella had dlsappeared from her slahL back
on lsle LsmeŦ When l ralsed an evebrow ln quesLlonţ she sllenLlv explalnedţ
tokes tbe beoJocbe owovŴ 8ello´s so blottv lo mv vlslooţ Iocob mokes me
oo totollv blloJŦ She smlled her plxleŴllke arlnŦ lL was Lhe flrsL Llme she'd
ever been happv LhaL she couldn'L seeŦ
Carllsle had come Lo unhook Lhe lv from 8ella's arm as lL was provlna
polnLless when l suddenlv noLlced her cheeks arowlna flushedŦ noL Lhe
naLuralţ rose blush l was used LoŦ 1hev were a flerv red and her face was
covered ln a llahL sheen of sweaL aaalnŦ
º8ellaţ loveţ are vou okav?" l asked franLlcallvŦ
ºl'mŦŦŦ l'm a blL hoL acLuallvţ" she sald LlmldlvŦ
l pressed mv lcv flnaers llahLlv Lo her forehead and she exhaled ln rellefŦ
1he LemperaLure of her skln was scorchlnaŦ l Look Lhe blankeLs off her and
moved Lo slL behlnd herţ aaLherlna her as aenLlv and carefullv as posslble
Lo mv cold chesLŦ
º1hank vouţ" she slahedŦ l klssed Lhe crown of her head and lnhaled her
lusclous scenLŦ uesplLe Lhe facL l hadn'L hunLed ln well over a weekţ Lhe
barelv felL Lhe burnŦ 1he overwhelmlna need Lo proLecL mv maLe was all
encompasslnaŦ
AfLer a few hours of slLLlna ln companlonable sllenceţ puncLuaLed bv
!acob's heavlna snoresţ 8ella's breaLhlna arew more rhvLhmlcal as she Loo
drlfLed off Lo sleepŦ l wlshed l could [oln Lhem ln Lhelr escapeţ [usL for a
few hours and foraeL Lhe llvlna nlahLmare l was lnŦ 1he evenlna soon
Lurned Lhe skv from a drearv arav lnLo a deep lnkv purpleţ as l saL losL ln
LhouahLŦ WhaL lf LransformaLlon dldn'L save her? l alreadv knew l couldn'L
llve wlLhouL herŦ 1haL much was cerLalnŦ AlLhouah l dldn'L veL know whaL
Lhe blrLh would enLall (!asper and LmmeLL were on LhaL)ţ l was sure lL
wouldn'L be slmpleŦ WhaL lf l could onlv save one of Lhem? 8ella would
wanL me Lo save Lhe babvŦ l would wanL Lo save herŦ Could l be LhaL selflsh
and denv her whaL she wanLed? WhaL would Lhe cosL be? A wlfe buL no
babvŦŦŦSurelv she would haLe me forever? 8uL whaL lf l had a babv buL no
wlfe? She'd wanL me Lo sLav and be a faLherŦŦŦ 8uL how could l noL haLe
Lhe chlld lf lL kllled mv 8ella? So manv quesLlonsŦ And l Lrulv dld noL know
whaL Lo doŦ
ln mv perlpheral vlslonţ l noLlced 8osalle slvlv Lapplna awav on her lapLopŦ
l LwlsLed lnflnlLeslmallv Lo alance aL Lhe screenŦ She was looklna aL babv
equlpmenLţ babv furnlLureţ LovsŤ Lhe llsL was endlessŦ l was almosL unable
Lo conLaln Lhe furv l felL and a arowl was bulldlna up ln mv chesLţ when l
heard an oddlv cheerful lnLernal whlsLllnaŦ l looked up Lo see SeLh
ClearwaLer walklna up Lo Lhe doorţ hls halr black halr dlshevelled and hls
sweaLs covered ln dusL and dlrLŦ Pe carefullv sLepped over Lhe sleeplna
!acobŦ ºPevţ auvs!"
ºPevţ SeLhţ" we areeLed ln unlsonţ bar 8osalleţ whose mouLh Lurned down
ln dlsLasLeŦ Cne werewolf ln Lhe house was more Lhan enouahţ ln her
oplnlonŦ SeLh beamed back aL usţ noneLhelessŦ
º!usL came Lo check on !akeŦ Leah was aolna franLlcŦ l'll leL hlm sleep a blL
moreŤ he musL be whackedŦ"
Lsme offered hlm some new cloLhes of mlne whlch he prompLlv wenL Lo
chanae lnLo wlLhouL even complalnlna ln hls LhouahLs abouL Lhe smellŦ
ºÞleaseţ slL downţ SeLhţ" Carllsle lnvlLedŦ
Pe saaaed lnLo an armchalrţ llnklna hls hands LoaeLher and sLreLchlna
forwardţ hls knuckles cracklna llke he was Lrvlna Lo lron ouL Lhe klnks ln hls
bodvŦ
£JwotJţ coo l osk voo sometbloo?
ºSureŦ" Lvervone looked upţ Lrvlna Lo auess whose sllenL quesLlon l had
[usL answeredŦ
wbv boveo´t voo oovs tokeo off? )oo koowţ oooe op to see 1oovo ot
sometblooŦ Not tbot l woot voo to leoveţ bot woolJo´t lt be sofet wltb oo
oootv pock of wolves oftet voo? Pe chorLledŦ
l chuckled wlLh hlmţ and Lhen mv Lone Lurned serlousŦ ºlL's noL reallv an
opLlonŦ lL Lakes Llme Lo bulld up Lhe klnd of medlcal access LhaL Carllsle has
hereţ and he can aeL more lf need beŦ 8loodţ for exampleŦ 8ella's uslna up
our supplv qulcklv and he doesn'L llke Lo depleLe Lhe sLockplleŦ Pe's aolna
Lo buv moreŦ 8esldesţ l don'L Lhlnk 8ella wouldŦŦŦcope wlLh belna movedŦ
She's Loo dellcaLeŦŦŦ"
Pe nodded andţ senslna l couldn'L carrv on speaklnaţ wenL back Lo
whlsLllna ln hls headŦ 8ella beaan Lo sLlr Lhenţ her complexlon no lonaer
flamlna buL ahosLlv paleŦ She shlveredţ so l moved awav aenLlv and Lucked
Lhe blankeLs LlahLlv around her and her mounLalnous bellvŦ ºPow do vou
feelţ 8ellaţ love?"
ºl feel okavŦ A blL coldŦ" She shlvered aaalnŦ
Carllsle wandered over Lo usŦ ºl'm noL reallv sure whaL Lo make of Lhese
sweaLs and chlllsţ 8ellaţ" he sald anxlouslvŦ ºl'll monlLor vou boLh closelvŦ"
Pe resLed a calmlna hand on her shoulder before Laklna hls seaLŦ
ºSeLhţ" l sLarLedţ ºwould vou mlnd slLLlna wlLh 8ella Lo warm her up?"
ºno probsţ" he saldţ smlllnaţ and wenL Lo slL down on Lhe floor nexL Lo herŦ
8osalle alared aL hlm ouL of Lhe corner of her eves and prompLlv snapped
her lapLop shuLţ fllpped her aolden halr over her shoulder and moved Lo a
free armchalrţ purposelv avoldlna Lhe one SeLh had [usL vacaLedŦ 8uL
noLhlna fazed SeLhŦ Allce danced over from !acob and saL nexL Lo her
laLesL 'palnklller'ţ noL even wrlnkllna her nose aL Lhe smellŦ
8ella was lvlna Lhereţ absenLmlndedlv caresslna her bulalna sLomachţ
when a loud crack broke Lhe sllence and she leL ouL anoLher low crv of
palnţ screwlna her eves up LlahL and curvlna overŦ
º8ella?!" l asked anxlouslvŦ
º8lbţ" she sald slmplvţ her face sLlll conLorLed ln palnţ mlne wlLh herŦ
Carllsleţ 8osalle and l flew up Lhe sLalrs wlLh 8ella ln mv armsŦ º8lahL sldeţ
second rlb from Lhe boLLom Lhls Llmeţ" Carllsle saldţ polnLlna Lo Lhe xŴrav
on Lhe llahL boxŦ When he had made sure Lhere were no spllnLers and had
Laped lL upţ 8osalle carrled 8ella back down and puL her on Lhe sofaţ
slLLlna uprlahL Lhls LlmeŦ SeLh moved Lo slL beslde herţ wlLh 8ose on Lhe
floor resLlna her head on 8ella's kneesŦ
º?ou knowţ" 8osalle sald casuallvţ ºlL's noL uncommon ln normal
preanancles for bables Lo break rlbsŦ" l wanLed Lo rlp her head off rlahL
Lhere and Lhen for her compleLe lndlfference Lo Lhe feLus breaklna aparL
mv 8ella bone bv boneŦ She saw as much ln mv alareŦ Iost sovlooţ she
shruaaedŦ
8osalle and l had never aoLLen alona as suchŤ we were verv dlfferenL
belnas and annoved each oLher much more Lhan we cared for one
anoLherŦ 1haL saldţ l'd never personallv wlshed her anv mlsforLuneŦ unLll
nowŦ
ºCuvsţ" Allce Lrllled ln her wlndŴchlme volceţ ºCharlle wlll call lnŦŦŦ" she
screwed her eves up LlahLţ ºfour hoursţ eleven mlnuLesŦ"
8ella looked up aL me wlLh pleadlna eves LhaL beLraved a hlnL of aullLŦ ºl've
been LhlnklnaŦŦŦ" she beaanŦ ºl reallv Lhlnk l'm aolna Lo aeL Lhrouah Lhlsţ
and when l'm chanaed l'd llke LoŦŦŦLo see Charlle aaalnŦ"
l was abouL Lo proLesLţ when she cuL lnţ ºl know l won'L be able Lo see hlm
for a wblleţ we'll come up wlLh some excuseŴ llke havlna Lo ao round Lhe
world Lo a speclal LreaLmenL cenLreŦ l can phone hlmţ he can phone meŦŦŦ"
º8ellaţ loveţ" l sLarLed aenLlvţ ºvou'll be Loo dlfferenLŦ"
ºl knowŤ LhaL's Lhe second parL of mv planŦ Seeţ when !ake wenL Lhrouah
hls LransformaLlon he couldn'L Lell meŤ so he made me auessŦ l reckon lf
Charlle saw meţ he'd come up wlLh some ldeaţ and he'll probablv aeL lL
wronaŴ remember llke l dld wlLh mv radloacLlve splder Lheorv?" She
arlnned and l smlled back weaklvŦ ºWhaL d'vou Lhlnk?"
l couldn'L Lell her whaL l reallv LhouahLŤ LhaL lL was wrona and LhaL lL was
Loo danaerousŦ l [usL noddedŦ l knew we should have been preparlna
Charlle for Lhe worsL even lf 8ella survlvedŤ Lhls 'plan' was frauahL wlLh
perll for hlm and for usŦ 8uL how could l denv 8ella of Lhls when she was
poLenLlallv dvlna from carrvlna mv chlld? AnvLhlna LhaL made her happvţ l
would doŦ lf Lhese were Lhe lasL few davs of her llfeţ l would make her as
happv as posslble and deal wlLh Lhe consequences laLerŦ
SeLh sLood up afLer an hour or soţ sLreLchlnaţ Lhlnklna lL was Llme Lo aeL
some more work doneŦ Pe was aeLLlna readv Lo leave when Lsme spokeŦ
ºSeLhţ would vou llke Lo sLav for breakfasL?"
ºl don'L wanL Lo puL vou ouLţ Lsmeţ" he saldţ hls sLomach arowllnaŦ
ºlL's no LroubleŦ Þleaseţ sLavŦ" 5ocb o sweet bovţ bls motbet most be
ftootlcţ she addedŦ
ºln LhaL caseţ Lhank vouţ LhaL would be areaL!" he sald enLhuslasLlcallvţ
arlnnlna hls brllllanL whlLe smlleŦ
l flew Lo Lhe klLchenţ anxlous for everv second l was awav from 8ellaţ wlLh
SeLh followlna meŦ l qulcklv cooked up some clnnamon rolls and some
omeleLLesţ Lrvlna Lo lanore Lhe unappeLlzlna odour LhaL permeaLed Lhe
roomţ buL hoplna chlldlshlv LhaL lL would spread far enouah Lo lrk 8osalleŦ l
fllLLed upsLalrs Lo Carllsle's sLudv and also refllled 8ella's cupŦ We were
fasL runnlna ouL of blood and Carllsle planned on Lravelllna Lo acqulre
more soonţ Lhe onlv problem belna Lhe CulleuLesţ as our prevlous Lruce
was no lonaer ln effecLŦ
8ella beamed up aL me ln Lhanks as l saL downţ wedalna Lhe cup of blood
beLween our leas and Laklna her hand ln mlneŦ SeLh wenL Lo Lake some of
Lhe food Lo Leah before eaLlnaŦ Somehowţ l dldn'L see her accepLlna hls
offerŦ When he reLurned he sank down nexL Lo 8ellaţ Lhrew hls hoL arm
around her shoulders and beaan eaLlna ln earnesLŦ Pls cheerv aLLlLude was
lnfecLlousŤ he seemed Lo emlL a warm alow from hls verv coreŦ Cnlv
flfLeen veL so aroundedţ so balancedţ and wlLh a sLrona moral flbreŦ l was
flercelv proud Lo call hlm mv frlendŦ
uawn was breaklna nowţ and Lhe rlslna sun was vlslble Lhrouah Lhe aaps ln
Lhe cloudsţ baLhlna us ln ravs of alorlous aold and vlvld plnkţ casLlna
prlsms off our skln as we sparkledŤ Lhe vamplresţ LhaL lsŦ 1he foresL was
now Leemlna wlLh sounds of Lhe waklna wlldllfe and Lhe rlver Lrlckled and
flowed calmlvŦ lL was a mornlna when l should have felL Lrulv blessed Lo be
surrounded bv mv lovlna wlfeţ famllv and frlendsŦ lnsLeadţ l felL llfe was
plavlna a huae pracLlcal [oke on meţ LhreaLenlna Lhe verv core of mv
exlsLence [usL when Lhe pleces had fallen so perfecLlv lnLo placeŦ
1he racklna snores LhaL emanaLed from Lhe sleeplna !acob suddenlv
sLoppedŦ
ºAbouL Llmeţ" 8osalle muLLeredţ shooLlna hlm a murderous alareŦ º1he
chalnsaw lmpersonaLlon was aeLLlna a llLLle LlredŦ"
ºPevţ !ake's comlna round!" SeLh calledŦ
wbot tbe bell? !acob LhouahLţ Laklna ln Lhe slahL of SeLh wlLh hls arm
around 8ellaŦ
ºPe came Lo flnd vouţ" l explalnedŦ ºAnd Lsme convlnced hlm Lo sLav for
breakfasLŦ"
º?eahţ !akeţ" SeLh sald hurrledlvţ ºl was [usL checklna Lo see lf vou were
okav 'cause vou dldn'L phase backŦ Leah aoL worrledŦ l tolJ her vou
probablv [usL crashed humanţ buL vou know how she lsŦ Anvwavţ Lhev had
all Lhls food and danaţ"Ŵ he Lurned Lo face meŴ ºmanţ vou can cookŦ´
º1hank vouţ" l whlsperedŦ lood neLwork was obvlouslv pavlna offŦ l could
feel !acob's anaer aL Lhe wav SeLh Louched 8ellaţ Lhe heaL rolllna off hlm ln
wavesŦ º8ella aoL coldţ" l murmured bv means of explanaLlonŦ
klobtŦ 8teotbeŦ 5be Joeso´t belooo to meţ he LhouahLŦ
SeLh Look ln mv commenL and !acob's expresslon and swlfLlv removed hls
arm from 8ellaŦ
ºLeah runnlna paLrol?" !acob askedţ walklna closer Lo Lhe sofaţ Lrvlna Lo
shake off hls sleeplness bv sLreLchlna hls russeL arms hlah above hlmŦ
º?eahŦ She's on lLŦ no worrlesŦ She'll howl lf Lhere's anvLhlnaŦ We Lraded
off around mldnlahLŦ l ran Lwelve hoursţ" SeLh sald proudlvŦ lL
momenLarllv sLunned meţ reallzlna [usL how hard Lhe wolves were
worklna Lo proLecL 8ellaŦ She unknowlnalv weaved a cerLaln maalc around
peopleŦ She had boLh vamplres and werewolvesţ morLal enemles bv all
accounLsţ worklna LoaeLherţ prepared Lo flahL andţ perhaps wlLh Lhe
excepLlon of Leahţ Lo dle Lo proLecL herŦ 8ella Lrulv was remarkableŦ
ºMldnlahL?" !acob askedţ confusedţ as he ran hls hand Lhrouah hls shaaavţ
black halrŦ ºWalL a mlnuLeŴ whaL Llme ls lL now?"
SeLh looked ouL Lhe wlndow aL Lhe skvţ clouds of pale lavender now
bulldlna over Lhe rlslna plnk orbŦ º'8ouL dawnŦ"
wellţ damnŦ keollv JtoppeJ tbe bollŦ ºCrapŦ Sorrv abouL LhaLţ SeLhŦ 8eallvŦ
?ou shoulda klcked me awakeŦ"
ºnawţ manţ vou needed some serlous sleepŦ ?ou haven'L Laken a break
slnce when? nlahL before vour lasL paLrol for Sam? Llke forLv hours? llfLv?
?ou're noL a machlneţ !akeŦ 'Sldesţ vou dldn'L mlss anvLhlna aL allŦ"
!acob Look ln 8ella's much lmproved appearanceŦ Notbloo ot oll? ºPow's
Lhe rlb?"
º1aped up nlce and LlahLŦ l don'L even feel lLŦ" 8ella arlnnedŦ
l arlLLed mv LeeLhţ vexed bv 8ella's nonchalance Lo belna smashed aparL
llke alassŦ
ºWhaL's for breakfasL?" !acob asked sarcasLlcallvŦ ºC neaaLlve or A8
poslLlve?"
8ella poked her Lonaue ouLŦ ºCmeleLsŦ"
ºCo aeL some breakfasLţ !akeţ" SeLh saldŦ º1here's a bunch ln Lhe klLchenŦ
?ou've aoL Lo be empLvŦ"
!acob ralsed hls black browsŦ ºWhaL's Leah havlna for breakfasL?"
ºPevţ l Look food Lo her before l aLe oovtblooţ" SeLh sald defenslvelvŦ ºShe
sald she'd raLher eaL roadklllţ buL l beL she cavesŦ 1hese clnnamon rollsŦŦŦ"
Pe Lralled offţ losL for wordsŦ
ºl'll ao hunL wlLh herţ LhenŦ"
SeLh slahed aL !acob's obsLlnacvŦ
ºA momenLţ !acob?" Carllsle askedŦ
º?eah?"
Carllsle sLood back a respecLful dlsLanceţ whlch !acob seemed Lo
appreclaLeŦ ºSpeaklna of hunLlnaţ" Carllsle beaan serlouslvţ º1haL's aolna
Lo be an lssue for mv famllvŦ l undersLand LhaL our prevlous Lruce ls
lnoperaLlve aL Lhe momenLţ so l wanLed vour advlceŦ Wlll Sam be hunLlna
for us ouLslde of Lhe perlmeLer vou've creaLed? We don'L wanL Lo Lake a
chance wlLh hurLlna anv of vour famllvŴ or loslna anv of oursŦ lf vou were
ln our shoesţ how would vou proceed?"
!acob folded hls arms and resLed back aaalnsL Lhe door[ambţ hls brow
furrowedŦ wbot woolJ l koow oboot beloo lo o blooJsocket´s expeoslve
sboes? 8otţ l Jo koow 5omŦŦŦ ºlL's a rlskţ" !acob sald afLer a brlef pauseŦ
ºSam's calmed down someţ buL l'm preLLv sure LhaL ln hls headţ Lhe LreaLv
ls voldŦ As lona as he Lhlnks Lhe Lrlbeţ or anv oLher humansţ ls ln real
danaerţ he's noL aolna Lo ask quesLlons flrsLţ lf vou know whaL l meanŦ 8uL
wlLh all LhaLţ hls prlorlLv ls aolna Lo be La ÞushŦ 1here reallv aren'L enouah
of Lhem Lo keep a decenL waLch on Lhe people whlle puLLlna ouL hunLlna
parLles bla enouah Lo do much damaaeŦ l'd beL he's keeplna lL close Lo
homeŦ"
Carllsle noddedţ Laklna ln !acob's wordsŦ
ºSoţ l auess l'd savţ ao ouL LoaeLherţ [usL ln caseţ" he conLlnuedţ rubblna
hls chln LhouahLfullvŦ And probablv vou should ao ln Lhe davţ 'cause we'd
be expecLlna nlahLŦ 1radlLlonal vamplre sLuffŦ ?ou're fasLŴ ao over Lhe
mounLalns and hunL far enouah awav LhaL Lhere's no chance he'd send
anvone LhaL far from homeŦ"
ºAnd leave 8ella behlndţ unproLecLed?"
!acob snorLedŦ ºWhaL are weţ chopped llver?"
Carllsle chuckledţ and Lhen resumed hls sombre LoneŦ º!acobţ vou can'L
flahL aaalnsL vour broLhersŦ"
ºl'm noL savlna lL wouldn'L be hardţ" he saldţ wlnclnaţ ºbuL lf Lhev were
reallv comlna Lo klll herŴ l would be able Lo sLop LhemŦ"
ºnoţ l dldn'L mean LhaL vou would beŦŦŦlncapableţ" Carllsle replled
freLfullvŦ º8uL LhaL lL would be verv wronaŦ l can'L have LhaL on mv
consclenceŦ" Pe shook hls headŦ
ºlL wouldn'L be on voursţ uocŦ lL would be on mlneŦ And l can Lake lLŦ"
ºnoţ !acobŦ We wlll make sure LhaL our acLlons don'L make LhaL a
necesslLvŦ" Carllsle paused Lo conslder Lhe opLlmum planŦ ºWe'll ao Lhree
aL a LlmeŦ 1haL's probablv Lhe besL we can doŦ"
ºl don'L knowţ uocŦ ulvldlna down Lhe mlddle lsn'L Lhe besL sLraLeavŦ"
ºWe've aoL some exLra ablllLles LhaL wlll even lL upŦ lf Ldward ls one of Lhe
Lhreeţ he'll be able Lo alve us a few mlles' radlus of safeLvŦ"
l shoL hlm a feroclous alareŦ 1here was no wav l was ferrvlna hunLlna
parLles whlle mv wlfe cluna Lo Lhe lasL few davs of her llfeŦ
ºl'm sure Lhere are oLher wavsţ Looţ" Carllsle sald afLer wlLnesslna mv
expresslonŦ ºAllceţ l would lmaalne vou could see whlch rouLes would be a
mlsLake?"
º1he ones LhaL dlsappearţ" Allce chlrpedţ bobblna her headŦ ºLasvŦ"
l relaxed mv seL shouldersŦ 8ella was sLarlna aL Allce uneasllvţ mosL
probablv worrvlna abouL Lhe danaer posed bv poLenLlal roaue
werewolvesŦ l brushed mv flnaers ln a feaLher sofL Louch across Lhe crease
ln her brow Lo smooLh awav her worrled expresslonŦ
ºCkavţ Lhenţ" !acob saldŦ º1haL's seLLledŦ l'll [usL be on mv wavŦ SeLhţ l'll
expecL vou back on aL duskţ so aeL a nap ln Lhere somewhereţ all rlahL?"
ºSureţ !akeŦ l'll phase back soon as l'm doneŦ unlessŦŦŦ" he paused and
looked aL 8ellaŦ ºuo vou need me?"
ºShe's aoL blankeLsţ" !acob snappedŦ
ºl'm flneţ SeLhţ Lhanksţ" 8ella hurrledŦ
Lsme appeared Llmldlv from Lhe klLchen holdlna ouL a dlsh ln fronL of herŦ
º!acobţ" she spoke sofLlvŦ ºl know lL's unappeLlzlna Lo vouţ Lhe ldea of
eaLlna hereţ where lL smells so unpleasanLŦ 8uL l would feel so much
beLLer lf vou would Lake some food wlLh vou when vou aoŦ l know vou
can'L ao home and LhaL's because of usŦ ÞleaseŴ ease some of mv remorseŦ
1ake someLhlna Lo eaLŦ" She exLended Lhe dlsh a llLLle furLherţ a LenLaLlve
smlle on her sLoneŴllke feaLuresŦ
ºuhţ sureţ sureŦ l auessŦ Mavbe Leah's sLlll hunarv or someLhlnaŦ" Pe Look
Lhe food alnaerlv and held lL as far awav as posslbleŦ l´ll oo Jomp lo ooJet
o ttee ot sometblooŦ uoo´t woot bet to feel boJŦŦŦ uomoţ l fotoot oboot
£JwotJŦ uoo´t voo sov oovtbloo to bet! let bet tblok l ote ltŦ
l aave an lmpercepLlve nodţ buL he dldn'L noLlceŦ Cf courseţ l would never
hurL mv moLher's feellnas bv Lelllna her LhaLţ buL l was noL expecLlna !acob
Lo be so LhouahLfulŦ
º1hank vouţ !acobţ" Lsme saldţ smlllna warmlv aL hlmŦ 1bev´ve olveo so
mocb to osţ lt´s tbe leost l coo JoŦ
ºumţ Lhank vouţ" !acob replledţ embarrassedŦ
ºWlll vou come back laLerţ !ake?" 8ella asked ln beLween slps of bloodŦ
ºuhţ l don'L knowŦ"
ºÞlease? l mlahL aeL coldŦ"
ºMavbeŦ"
º!acob?" Lsme askedŦ ºl lefL a baskeL of cloLhes on Lhe porchŦ 1hev're for
LeahŦ 1hev're freshlv washedŴ l Lrled Lo Louch Lhem as llLLle as posslbleŦ uo
vou mlnd Laklna Lhem Lo her?"
ºCn lLţ" he sald backlna ouL of Lhe house as qulcklv as posslbleŦ 8efote
tbev coo oollt me loto oovtbloo elseţ he'd LhouahLŦ
SeLh sLaved wlLh us durlna Lhe mornlnaţ Lalklnaţ lauahlna and aenerallv
maklna Lhe aLmosphere percepLlvelv llahLerţ as lf he possessed !asper's
alfL for lnfluenclna Lhe emoLlonal cllmaLeŦ We Lraded off several Llmes
accordlnalv wlLh 8ella's frequenLlv chanalna LemperaLureŦ When Charlle
ranaţ dead on Lhe doLţ l passed Lhe phone Lo 8ella as usual and plaved
wlLh her halrţ wlnclna when she Lold hlm she was on Lhe mendţ smlllna
when she lauahedŦ lL was nlce Lo hear Lhe soundŤ l so desperaLelv wanLed
her Lo me happvŦ Charlle was much happler now LhaL 8ella was 'aeLLlna
beLLer'ţ and aareed easllv enouah when she Lold hlm lL was sLlll Loo soon
for hlm Lo see herŦ Pe had hls cusLomarv chaL wlLh Carllsle Lo check on her
proaressţ sald a brlef hello Lo meţ and Lhen huna upŦ 8ella arlnned up aL
me and l losL mvself ln Lhe deepţ chocolaLe pools of her evesŦ l dellcaLelv
sLroked her cheekbone wlLh mv lcv flnaerţ ellclLlna a shlver LhaL wasn'L
due Lo LemperaLure Lhls LlmeŦ
AL abouL mlddav SeLh aoL up wlLh a lona vawnţ Lhe whlLes of hls eves now
sllahLlv bloodshoL from lack of sleepŦ º8lahLţ auvsţ l'd beLLer ao crashŦ
CoLLa be back up aL duskŦ 1hanks so much for Lhe food and Lhe cloLhesŦ"
ºSeLhţ" 8ella murmuredţ ºcould vou ask !acob Lo sLop bvţ please?"
º?eahţ l need hlm Looţ" Allce Lrllledţ a pouL on her elfln face aaalnŤ a resulL
of Lhe reappearlna headacheţ no doubLŦ ºl'm Llred of hanalna ouL ln Lhe
aLLlc llke a vamplre baL ln Lhe belfrvŦ"
ºSureţ 8ellaţ Allceţ he'll be hereţ" he sald chuckllnaŦ ºSee va!" Pe punched
mv shoulder and walked ouL Lhe door hummlna under hls breaLhţ
bounclna on Lhe balls of hls feeL desplLe hls exhausLlonŦ
8ella sLared up aL meŦ ºu'vou Lhlnk !acob wlll come?" she asked Llmldlvţ
knowlna l wouldn'L appreclaLe Lhe quesLlon buL feellna compelled Lo ask
lLŦ l slahed under mv breaLhţ buL remlnded mvself Lhere was no polnL ln
such an lrraLlonal [ealousvŦ 8ella had pledaed herself Lo me for eLernlLvŦ
She was mv soul maLe and mv wlfeŤ LhaL was whaL maLLeredŦ
º?esţ loveţ of course he wlllŦ"
l smlled down aL her and she nesLled her head onLo mv shoulderţ closlna
her eves as l enveloped her lnLo mv armsŦ




Chapter 15
Soonţ Loo soon ln facLţ dav Lurned once more Lo nlahLŦ l could see
perfecLlvţ of courseţ buL someLhlna abouL Lhe darkness Louched me ln a
wav lL never had beforeŦ lL was slnlsLer and oppresslveţ and lL felL llke lL
was saLuraLlna mv verv belnaŦ All Lhe hope l'd harboured seemed Lo seep
ouL of meţ replaced bv fearţ aaonvţ and anaer aL Lhe monsLer Lurnlna mv
llfe lnLo Lhe black hole where Lhe sLars escaped meŦ
Suddenlv a hand was on mv shoulderŦ
£JwotJţ coo we oo tolk lo mv stoJv? Carllsle called me sllenLlvŦ
l aave a mlnuLe nod and Lold 8ella l'd be rlahL backŦ Where normallv l flewţ
Lhls Llme l Lrudaed up Lhe sLalrsŦ l'd been a llvlna sLone for nlneLv vears
and Lhls was Lhe flrsL Llme l'd felL Lrulv heavvŦ Welahed down bv a paln so
acuLe l felL l was belna crushed lnLo powder and ashŦ l wasn'L sure exacLlv
whaL Carllsle had Lo Lell meţ buL l could Lell lL wouldn'L be aood newsŦ
When l followed Carllsle lnţ LmmeLL was porlna over a Lhlck volumeţ
!asper leanlna over Lhe lapLop on Carllsle's deskŦ 1hev sLopped whaL Lhev
were dolna as l enLeredŦ LmmeLL dldn'L Lrv Lo make a [okeŤ lL was
LesLamenL Lo Lhe severlLv of Lhe slLuaLlon we found ourselves lnŦ l sank
lnLo a leaLher chalrŦ
ºLdwardţ lL's noL all bad newsţ" Carllsle sLarLedŦ
l slahedţ looklna from mv broLhers Lo mv faLherŦ ºLeL's sLarL wlLh Lhe bad
LhenŦ" Mv volce was a llfeless monoLone as l puL mv head ln mv handsţ
rubblna mv eves wlLh mv palmsŦ
ºlL's abouL Lhe blrLhţ" !asper beaanţ Lrvlna Lo emlL a sense of calmţ buL Lhe
depLh of mv paln seemed Loo sLrona a force Lo be lnfluencedŦ ºlrom whaL
we've been able Lo aaLherŦŦŦ" Pe pausedţ alanclna aL Carllsleţ who nodded
for hlm Lo conLlnueŦ l remlnded mvself Lo keep calmŤ l couldn'L have 8ella
know how upseL l wasŦ º1he creaLuresŦŦŦuse Lhelr LeeLh Lo escape Lhe
wombŦ"
1he words Look a mlnuLe Lo fullv slnk lnLo mv usuallv fasL mlndŦ l felL
phvslcallv and menLallv slckŦ l was dlsausLedŦ 1hls creaLure was
pummelllna mv wlfe's lnsldes black and blueţ breaklna her bonesţ and now
lL wanLed Lo chew lLs wav Lhrouah Lhe womb ln whlch she was so lovlnalv
proLecLlna lL? l wanLed Lo be able Lo crvţ Lo shouLţ and Lo screamţ buL l had
Lo proLecL 8ella from mv palnŦ
Carllsle crouched down Lo look me ln Lhe evesŦ ºSonţ l've been Lhlnklna
more abouL Lhe LransformaLlonŦ 8ealnnlna lL Lhe second Lhe babv's ouL of
herţ l reallv Lhlnk LhaL mlahL workŦ"
ºMlahLŦ" l scoffedŦ Mv reason for exlsLlna was hanalna on Lhe word
'mlahL'Ŧ
ºl've aoL a plan Lo dellver Lhe babvŦ When we Lhlnk lL's Llmeţ we'll alve
8ella plenLv of morphlne before we bealn Lheţ erţ procedureŦ"
ºWhaL ls Lhe procedure?"
ºWellţ afLer Lhe morphlne has spread we'll need Lo do a CŴsecLlonŦ" l
fllnched aL Lhe LhouahL of 8ella's dellcaLe skln belna sllced openţ buL
nodded for hlm Lo conLlnueŦ ºCuLLlna Lhrouah Lhe amnloLlc sac wlll Lhen
requlreŦŦŦvamplre LeeLhŦ And as soon as Lhe babv ls safelv ouLţ vou'll bealn
Lhe LransformaLlonŦ" nove foltbţ sooŦ
LmmeLL leanL forward ln hls chalrŦ ºWe'll keep searchlnaţ LdwardŦ"
º1hank vouţ" l saldţ mv volce low and aruffŦ
Carllsle Lhen followed me downsLalrs Lo explaln hls plan Lo dellver Lhe
babv Lo 8ella and 8osalleŦ A llLLle crease appeared ln 8ella's brow whlle he
Lalked Lhem Lhrouah lL buL lf she felL anv fear she showed no oLher slansŦ
ºWellţ lsn'L LhaL wonderfulţ 8ella?" 8osalle beaan once Carllsle had
flnlshedŦ º1hls llLLle one ls aolna Lo be so well cared forŦ" She aesLured
affecLlonaLelv Lo Lhe mounLalnous bulae under 8ella's sLreLchedŴouL
sweaLerŦ 1he Lendons sLood ouL on mv hand as l made a flsLţ shooLlna
daaaers aL her and arowllna under mv breaLhŦ She alared backŤ Ieezţ
£JwotJ stop beloo so meloJtomotlcŦ 1hls onlv served Lo lnfurlaLe me
moreŤ lf 8osalle wanLed Lo lose a llmbţ she was aolna Lhe rlahL wav abouL
lLŦ
When 8osalle Look 8ella Lo Lhe baLhroom and l sank down onLo Lhe sofaţ
head ln hands aaalnŦ Lsme saL nexL Lo me and placed her arms LlahLlv
around mv shouldersŦ
5ooţ l bote to see voo lo so mocb poloŦ l dldn'L respondŤ whaL could l sav?
WhaL dld she expecL? ueaLh was sLeallna mv Lrue loveţ slowlv and
LorLuouslv snufflna ouL Lhe llahL from wlLhln herŦ Lsme seemed Lo sense
where mv LhouahLs were Laklna me and aave mv shoulders a squeezeţ buL
made no furLher commenLsŦ
!acob came Lhrouah Lhe fronL door and l heard hls hearL qulcken aL Lhe
slahL of 8ella mlsslna from Lhe sceneŦ
ºShe's all rlahLţ" l murmured wlLhouL looklna upŦ ºCr Lhe sameţ l should
savŦ" l couldn'L shake Lhe menLal lmaae of mv 8ella belna vlclouslv
manaled from Lhe lnslde ouL bv LheŦŦŦ LhlnaŦ She would be lefL brokenţ bled
ouL and Lorn aparLŦ And l would be lefL here all aloneţ ln mv eLernal
mldnlahLŦ
ºPelloţ !acobŦ" Lsme smlled up aL hlmŦ ºl'm so alad vou came backŦ"
ºMeţ Looţ" Allce slahed ln rellefţ alldlna down Lhe sLalrs Lo Lake a seaL
behlnd Lhe sofaŦ
ºuhţ hevţ" he saldţ sllahLlv awkward aL Lhe enLhuslasLlc welcomeŦ
ºWhere's 8ella?"
º8aLhroomţ" Allce sanaŦ ºMosLlv fluld dleLţ vou knowŦ Þlusţ Lhe whole
preanancv Lhlna does LhaL Lo vouţ l hearŦ"
ºAhŦ"
8osalle emeraed from Lhe hall behlnd Lhe sLalrs cradllna 8ella ln her armsŦ
ºChţ wonderfulţ" she sneeredŦ ºl knew l smelled someLhlna nasLvŦ"
8ella beamed as she saw !acobŦ º!acobţ vou cameŦ"
ºPlţ 8ellsŦ"
Lsme and l sLood up Lo make room for 8ella on Lhe sofaŦ Per face Lurned
bone whlLe and she lnhaled sharplv Lhrouah Lhe paln as 8osalle aenLlv lald
her downţ remalnlna sllenL Lo Lrv Lo shleld us all from lLŦ 8ose plumped Lhe
cushlon behlnd 8ella's head Lo prop her upŦ l swepL mv hand across her
forehead and down her neckŦ ºAre vou cold?" l whlsperedŦ
ºl'm flneŦ"
º8ellaţ vou know whaL Carllsle Lold vouţ" 8osalle remlnded herŦ ºuon'L
downplav oovtblooŦ lL doesn'L help us Lake care of elLher of vouŦ"
ºCkavţ l'm a llLLle coldŦ Ldwardţ can vou hand me LhaL blankeL?" She
askedţ aesLurlna Lo Lhe cover hanalna over Lhe arm of Lhe armchalr
nearesL meŦ
ºlsn'L LhaL Lhe polnL of me belna here?" !acob askedţ rolllna hls evesŦ
º?ou [usL walked lnţ" 8ella counLeredŦ ºAfLer runnlna all davţ l'd beLŦ ÞuL
vour feeL up for a mlnuLeŦ l'll probablv warm up aaaln ln no LlmeŦ" !acob
Look no noLlce and wenL Lo slL on Lhe floor sLreLchlna hls arm alona her
slde and holdlna her handŦ º1hanksţ !akeŦ"
l saL on Lhe arm of Lhe sofa bv her feeLţ never Laklna mv eves from 8ella's
faceŦ 1he sllence was broken bv !acob's sLomach arowllnaŦ
)oo´ll llke tbls £JwotJţ Allce LhouahLţ lauahlna ln her headŦ º8osalleţ whv
don'L vou aeL !acob someLhlna from Lhe klLchen?" she plped upţ kllllna
Lwo blrds wlLh one sLoneŤ belna pollLe Lo !acob and annovlna Lhe hell ouL
of 8oseţ whlch she seemed Lo en[ov LremendouslvŦ 8osalle sLared aL Lhe
spoL from whlch Allce's volce emanaLed wlLh lncredullLvŦ
º1hanksţ anvwav Allceţ buL l don'L wanL Lo eaL someLhlna 8londle's splL lnŦ
l'd beL mv svsLem wouldn'L Lake Loo klndlv Lo venomţ" !acob replledŦ
º8osalle would never embarrass Lsme bv dlsplavlna such a lack of
hosplLallLvţ" Allce LrllledŦ
ºCf cootse noLţ" 8ose saldţ her aolden wlnd chlme volce slcklv sweeLţ as
she wenL Lo Lhe klLchenŦ ne woots o Joo´s Jlooetţ tbot´s wbot be´s
oettlooŦŦŦ
l slahed aL her chlldlsh planŦ
º?ou'd Lell me lf she polsoned lLţ rlahL?" !acob asked meŦ
º?esţ" l promlsedŦ l slahed aaaln aL Lhe sound of meLal belna benL lnLo a
doa dlshŦ lL was a aood [ob 8osalle had been ln Lhe room when l'd belna
waLchlna cooklna proarammesţ averse as she was Lo Lhe raw lnaredlenLsŦ l
wondered how she would Lrv and pav Allce back for LhlsŦ noL LhaL lL would
maLLerŤ Allce would see her declslon as soon as she made lLŦ
8osalle was back ln no Llme wlLh a sLeak and baked poLaLo ln her handŴ
crafLed doa dlshţ lnscrlbed wlLh Lhe word llJoŦ ºLn[ovţ monarelţ" she saldţ
placlna lL on Lhe floor ln fronL of !acobŦ
º1hanksţ 8londleŦ" !acob seemed lmpressed aL her qulck handlwork and
aLLenLlon Lo deLallŦ ºPevţ do vou know whaL Lhev call a blonde wlLh a
braln? A aolden reLrleverŦ"
ºl've heard LhaL oneţ Looţ" 8osalle sneeredŦ
ºl'll keep Lrvlnaţ" !acob sald and he Lucked ln Lo hls mealŦ
8osalle sank lnLo one of Lhe armchalrs wlLh a dlsausLed look on her faceţ
fllcked on Lhe 1v and sLarLed channel hopplna aL Lhe speed of llahLţ
venLlna some of her frusLraLlon wlLh !acobŦ 5toplJ mottţ comes loto mv
bome ooJ l bove to moke blm fooJŦŦŦ
l Luned ouL 8osalle's lnLernal ranLţ sure LhaL she would be aL lL for a lona
LlmeŦ 8ella pulled her flnaers Lhrouah !acob's unkempL halrţ flaLLenlna lL
down on Lhe back of hls neckŦ º1lme for a halrcuLţ huh?" he askedŦ
º?ou're aeLLlna a llLLle shaaavţ" she replledŦ ºMavbeŴ"
ºLeL me auessţ someone around here used Lo cuL halr ln salon ln Þarls?"
ºÞrobablvţ" she lauahedŦ
ºno Lhanksţ l'm aood for a few more weeksŦ" Pe pausedŦ ºSoŦŦŦumŦŦŦwhaL's
Lheţ erţ daLe? ?ou know Lhe due daLe for Lhe llLLle monsLerŦ" Mv lnsldes
frozeŤ hearlna Lhe words made evervLhlna so much more realŦ 8ella hlL Lhe
back of hls headţ buL sald noLhlnaŦ ºl'm serlousţ" !acob pressedŦ ºl wanL Lo
know how lona l'm aonna have Lo be hereŦ" now looo vou're ooooo be
beteţ he amended menLallvŦ l fllnchedŦ
ºl don'L knowţ" she muLLeredţ ldlv rubblna Llnv clrcles over her bumpŦ
ºnoL exacLlvŦ Cbvlouslv we're noL aolna wlLh Lhe nlneŴmonLh model hereţ
and we can'L aeL an ulLrasoundţ so Carllsle ls auessLlmaLlna from how bla l
amŦ normal people are supposed Lo be forLv cenLlmeLres here"Ŵ she ran
her flnaer down Lhe cenLre of her sLomachŴ ºwhen Lhe babv ls fullv arownŦ
Cne cenLlmeLre for everv weekŦ l was LhlrLv Lhls mornlnaţ and l've been
aalnlna abouL Lwo cenLlmeLres a davţ someLlmes moreŦŦŦ"
l Lurned mv head awav sharplvţ sLarlna ouL of wlndow so 8ella couldn'L
see Lhe paln ln mv onvx evesŦ Mv lnsldes were burnlna as lf drenched ln
acldŦ We were down Lo four davs nowŦ uld l have [usL four davs lefL wlLh
Lhe mosL amazlna creaLure ln Lhe unlverse?
!acob dld Lhe maLhŦ loot Jovs?!
º?ou okav?" 8ella askedŦ
Pe noddedţ buL hls eves shlned wlLh Lears LhaL spllL over onLo hls cheekŦ
8ella wlped Lhem awav wlLh her flnaerLlpsŦ ºlL's aolna Lo be okavţ" she
sooLhedţ [usL llke she'd Lold meŦ 8uL nelLher of us belleved lLŦ
º8lahLţ" !acob mumbled scepLlcallvŦ
ºl dldn'L Lhlnk vou would comeŦ SeLh sald vou wouldţ and so dld Ldwardţ
buL l dldn'L belleve Lhemţ" 8ella murmured sofLlvţ noL looklna aL hlmŦ
ºWhv noL?" he askedţ hls volce sLlll rouah from Lhe LearsŦ
º?ou're noL happv hereŦ 8uL vou came anvwavţ" she explalnedŦ
º?ou wanLed me hereŦ" AoJ wbotevet voo wootţ l´ll JoŦ
ºl knowŦ 8uL vou dldn'L have Lo comeţ because lL's noL falr for me Lo wanL
vou hereŦ l would have undersLoodŦ" l Lrled Lo focus on Lhe 1vţ buL Lo no
avallŤ Lhls conversaLlon was sLlrrlna Lhe [ealousv wlLhln meŦ º1hank vou for
comlnaŦ"
ºCan l ask vou someLhlna?" !acob askedŦ l aroaned menLallv aL hls
lmpendlna quesLlonŦ uld l reallv wanL Lo know Lhe answer? Mavbe noLţ
buL l had LoŦ
ºCf courseŦ"
ºWhv Jo vou wanL me here? SeLh could keep vou warmţ and he's probablv
easler Lo be aroundţ happv llLLle punkŦ 8uL when l walk ln Lhe doorţ vou
smlle llke l'm vour favourlLe person ln Lhe worldŦ"
º?ou're one of LhemŦ"
º1haL sucksţ vou knowŦ"
º?eahŦ" She slahedŦ ºSorrvŦ"
ºWhvţ Lhouah? ?ou dldn'L answer LhaLŦ" l sLared ouL of Lhe wlndowsţ
waLchlna 8ella Lhrouah !acob's evesŦ l was as curlous as he wasţ buL Lrled
Lo appear Lo alve Lhem prlvacvŦ
ºlL feelsŦŦŦ complete when vou're hereţ !acobŦ Llke all mv famllv ls LoaeLherŦ
l meanţ l auess LhaL's whaL lL's llkeŦ l've never had a bla famllv before nowŦ
lL's nlceŦ" She smlledŦ º8uL lL's [usL noL whole unless vou're hereŦ"
1o mv surprlseţ mv [ealousv subslded somewhaLŦ Per words palnLed a nlce
lmaaeŤ Lhere were so manv people she lovedŦ Pow cruel LhaL 8ella would
aeL whaL she wanLed onlv for lL Lo be prompLlv swepL from beneaLh herŦ
ºl'll never be parL of vour famllvţ 8ellaţ" !acob sald sllahLlv blLLerlvŦ l coolJ
bove beeoŦ l woolJ bove beeo oooJ tbeteŦ
º?ou've alwavs been parL of mv famllvţ" 8ella opposedŦ
º1haL's a crap answerţ" !acob saldţ arlndlna hls LeeLh as he drew paLLerns
on Lhe wooden floor wlLh hls free handŦ
ºWhaL's a aood one?"
ºPow abouL '!acobţ l aeL a klck ouL of vour palnŦ'"
8ella fllnchedŦ º?ou'd llke LhaL beLLer?"
ºlL's easlerţ aL leasLŦ l could wrap mv head around lLŦ l could deal wlLh lLŦ"
8ella frowned and closed her evesŦ ºWe aoL off Lrackţ !akeŦ CuL of balanceŦ
?ou're supposed Lo be parL of mv llfeŴ l can feel LhaLţ and so can vouŦ" She
paLLed hls armŦ º8uL noL llke LhlsŦ We dld someLhlna wronaŦ noŦ l dldŦ l dld
someLhlna wrona and we aoL off LrackŦŦŦ" She Lralled offţ her breaLhlna
arowlna rhvLhmlcal unLll she was sofLlv snorlnaŦ
ºShe's exhausLedţ" l saldŦ ºlL's been a lona davŦ A hard davŦ" 1haL dldn'L
even bealn Lo cover lLŦ ºl Lhlnk she would have aone Lo sleep earllerţ buL
she was walLlna for vouŦ"
ºSeLh sald lL broke anoLher of her rlbsŦ" Pe dldn'L look aL meţ or l hlmŦ
Somehow lL was easler LhaL wav Lo slL here Lalklna abouL Lhe LorLurous
deaLh senLence seemlnalv hanalna over Lhe woman we boLh lovedŦ
º?esŦ lL's maklna lL hard for her Lo breaLheŦ" Pow much more would mv
8ella suffer? llrsL sLarved of susLenanceţ now sLarved of oxvaenŤ lL was as
lf someone was verv slowlv cuLLlna each sLrlna LhaL Lled her Lo Lhls llfeŦ
ºCreaLţ" he muLLered sarcasLlcallvŦ
ºLeL me know when she aeLs hoL aaalnŦ"
º?eahŦ" 5be oeeJs o blooketŦŦŦ he LhouahLŦ l reached ouL and sofLlv draped
lL over mv wlfe's sleeplna formŦ
Okovţ sometlmes tbe mloJ teoJloo tbloo soves tlmeŦ Obţ llke tbot wbole
mess wltb cbotlleŴ
º?esŦ lL's noL a aood ldeaţ" l aareedŦ
º1henţ whv?"
ºShe can'L bear hls anxleLvţ" l sLaLedŦ
ºSo lL's beLLerŴ"
ºnoŦ lL's oot beLLerŦ 8uL l'm noL aolna Lo do anvLhlna LhaL makes her
unhappv nowŦ WhaLever happensţ Lhls makes her feel beLLerŦ l'll deal wlLh
Lhe resL afLerwardŦ" now? l LhouahLŦ Pow could l deal wlLh anvLhlna lf
8ella dldn'L survlve?
uoeso´t soooJ tlobtŦŦŦ 8ello woolJo´t sboffle off cbotlle´s polo to some lotet
Jote fot someooe else to bove to foceŦŦŦ sbe most bove o plooŦ
ºShe's verv sure she's aolna Lo llveţ" l saldŦ lf onlv l could harbour Lhe same
cerLalnLvŦŦŦ
º8uL noL humanŦ"
ºnoţ noL humanŦ 8uL she hopes Lo see Charlle aaaln anvwavŦ"
Ob tbls jost oets bettet ooJ bettetŦ ºSeeŦ Charlleţ" he emphaslsedŦ
ºAfLerwardsŦ See Charlle when she's all sparklv whlLe wlLh Lhe brlahL red
evesŦ l'm noL a bloodsuckerţ so mavbe l'm mlsslna someLhlnaţ buL cbotlle
seems llke klnd of a sLranae cholce for her flrsL mealŦ"
ºShe knows she won'L be able Lo be near hlm for aL leasL a vearŦ She Lhlnks
she can sLallŦ 1ell Charlle she has Lo ao Lo a speclal hosplLal on Lhe oLher
slde of Lhe worldŦ keep ln conLacL Lhrouah phone callsŦŦŦ"
º1haL's lnsaneŦ"
º?esŦ" l aareedŦ
ºCharlle's noL sLupldŦ Lven lf she doesn'L klll hlmţ he's aolna Lo noLlce a
dlfferenceŦ"
ºShe's sorL of banklna on LhaLŦ" !acob sLared aL me for Lhe flrsL Llme ln our
conversaLlonţ looklna for more explanaLlonŦ ºShe wouldn'L be aalna of
courseţ so LhaL would seL a Llme llmlLţ even lf Charlle accepLed whaLever
excuse she come up wlLh for Lhe chanaesŦ" l smlled weaklvŦ 1hls plan had
so manv plLfallsŦ ºuo vou remember when vou Lrled Lo Lell her abouL vour
LransformaLlon? Pow vou made her auess?"
ºShe Lold vou abouL LhaL?" !acob askedţ clenchlna hls free hand lnLo a
LlahL flsLŦ
º?esŦ She was explalnlna herŦŦŦldeaŦ ?ou seeţ she's noL allowed Lo Lell
Charlle Lhe LruLhŴ lL would be verv danaerous for hlmŦ 8uL he's a smarLţ
pracLlcal manŦ She Lhlnks he'll come up wlLh hls own explanaLlonŦ She
assumes he'll aeL lL wronaŦ AfLer allţ we hardlv adhere Lo vamplre canonŦ
Pe'll make some wrona assumpLlon abouL usţ llke she dld ln Lhe bealnnlnaţ
and we'll ao alona wlLh lLŦ She Lhlnks she'll be able Lo see hlmŦŦŦfrom Llme
Lo LlmeŦ"
ºlnsaneţ" he declared aaalnŦ
º?esŦ"
ne obvlooslv Joeso´t tblok sbe´s ooooo moke ltŦ wbv else woolJ be oo
olooo wltb tbls ctozv ploo? llocotloo betţ so sbe coo be boppv o llttle wblle
loooetŦ llke foot mote JovsŦŦŦ !acob LhouahLŦ
ºl'll deal wlLh whaLever comesţ" l saldŤ Lhe healed hole ln mv hearL
LhreaLenlna Lo bursL open aaaln aL Lhe verv LhouahL of loslna herŦ ºl won'L
cause her paln nowŦ"
ºlour davs?" he askedŦ
ºApproxlmaLelvŦ"
º1hen whaL?"
ºWhaL do vou meanţ exacLlv?
)oo koowţ tbe tbloo beloo wtoppeJ lo sometbloo llke vomplte skloŦ 5o bow
Joes tbot wotk? now Joes lt oet oot?
ºlrom whaL llLLle research we've been able Lo doţ lL would appear Lhe
creaLures use Lhelr LeeLh Lo escape Lhe wombţ" l explalnedŦ l heard !acob
swallow loudlvŦ
º8esearch?"
º1haL's whv vou haven'L seen !asper and LmmeLL aroundŦ 1haL's whaL
Carllsle ls dolna nowŦ 1rvlna Lo declpher anclenL sLorles and mvLhsţ as
much as we can wlLh whaL we have Lo work wlLh hereţ looklna for
anvLhlna LhaL mlahL help us predlcL Lhe creaLure's behavlourŦ"
lf tbete ote mvtbs tbeoŦŦŦ
º1hen ls Lhls Lhlna noL Lhe flrsL of lLs klnd?" l flnlshed hls quesLlonŦ
ºMavbeŦ lL's all verv skeLchvŦ 1hev mvLhs could easllv be Lhe producLs of
fear and lmaalnaLlonŦ 1houahŦŦŦvour mvLhs are Lrueţ are Lhev noL? Þerhaps
Lhese areţ LooŦ 1hev do seem Lo be locallzedţ llnkedŦŦŦ"
ºPow dld vou flndŦŦŦ?"
º1here was a woman we encounLered ln SouLh AmerlcaŦ She'd been ralsed
ln Lhe LradlLlons of her peopleŦ She'd heard warnlnas abouL such
creaLuresţ old sLorles LhaL had been passed downŦ"
ºWhaL were Lhe warnlnas?" !acob askedŦ
º1haL Lhe creaLure musL be kllled lmmedlaLelvŦ 8efore lL could aaln Loo
much sLrenaLhŦ"
wos 5om tlobt?
ºCf courseţ Lhelr leaends sav Lhe same of usŦ 1haL we musL be desLrovedŦ
1haL we are soulless murderersŦ"
1wo fot twoŦ
l aave a low chorLleŦ
ºWhaL dld Lhelr sLorles sav abouL LheŦŦŦmoLhers?"
Aaonv Lore Lhrouah me llke a raalna lnfernoţ a rampanL sLorm rlpplna up
evervLhlna ln lLs paLhŦ l could noL speak Lo answer !acob's quesLlonţ buL he
knewŦ 'MotteŦ´
ºCf course Lhere were no survlvorsţ" 8osalle chlmed ln casuallvŦ ºClvlna
blrLh ln Lhe mlddle of a dlseaseŴlnfesLed swamp wlLh a medlclne man
smearlna sloLh splL across vour face Lo drlve ouL Lhe evll splrlLs was never
Lhe safesL meLhodŦ Lven Lhe normal blrLhs wenL badlv half Lhe LlmeŦ none
of Lhem had whaL Lhls babv hasŴ carealvers wlLh an ldea of whaL Lhe babv
needsţ who Lrv Lo meeL Lhose needsŦ A docLor wlLh a LoLallv unlque
knowledae of vamplre naLureŦ A plan Lo dellver Lhe babv as safelv as
posslbleŦ venom LhaL wlll repalr anvLhlna LhaL aoes wronaŦ 1he babv wlll
be flneŦ And Lhose moLhers would have probablv survlved lf Lhev'd had
LhaLŴ lf Lhev even exlsLed ln Lhe flrsL placeŦ SomeLhlna l am noL convlnced
ofţ" she sald scornfullvŦ
All Lhe anaer LhaL had been bubbllna up lnslde me suddenlv came raclna
Lo Lhe surfaceŦ l was lncensed and ouLraaed aL her casual lndlfferenceţ her
lack of concern for 8ella's llfeŦ ln LhaL momenL she was no lonaer mv
slsLerŤ she was Lhe enemvŦ So eaocenLrlc and selfŴassuredţ she had made
Lhe mlsLake of Lurnlna her back on meŦ l wanLed Lo Lear her llmb from
llmbţ palnfullvŦ Mv hands were rlald claws and l Lensed lnLo a low crouchŦ
Allow meŦŦŦsuaaesLed !acobţ who was as lraLe as l wasŦ
l cocked an evebrow quesLlonlnalvŦ Pe llfLed hls doa dlsh and fllcked lL
across Lhe room lnLo 8osalle's sLone head so hard lL flaLLened ouL of lLs
shape wlLh a deafenlna claLLerţ reboundlna off her and snapplna off Lhe
Lop of Lhe newel posL aL Lhe boLLom of Lhe sLalrsŦ
ºuumb blondeţ" he muLLered dlsdalnfullvŦ
8osalle slowlv Lurned her headţ her dark aold eves danclna wlLh flames of
furvŦ º?ouŦ CoLŦ loodŦ lnŦ MvŦ PalrŦ"
!acob bursL ouL lauahlna so hard he was shaklna and had Lears runnlna
down hls faceŦ Allce [olned ln wlLh her peallna alaaleŦ l couldn'L reslsL
chuckllna alonaŤ 8ose's face was prlcelessŦ l was sLlll lncredulous and
furlous wlLh her callousnessţ buL aL leasL l was no lonaer murderousŦ 8ose
was probablv more upseL abouL her halr Lhan lf l boJ aLLacked herŦ l'd
have Lo remember LhaL for nexL LlmeŦ And l was cerLaln Lhere would be a
nexL LlmeŦ
ºWhaL's so funnv?" 8ella mumbled sleepllvŤ Lhe lauahLer had woken her
upŦ
ºl aoL food ln her halrţ" !acob explalnedţ chorLllna aaaln as he rellved lLŦ
ºl'm noL aolna Lo foraeL Lhlsţ doaţ" 8osalle hlssedŦ
ºS'noL so hard Lo erase a blonde's memorvŦ !usL blow ln her earŦ"
ºCeL some new [okesţ" she reLorLedŦ
ºC'monţ !akeţ leave 8ose aloŴ" 8ella sLarLedţ buL couldn'L flnlsh her
senLenceŦ She wenL whlLe as snow and her back arched off Lhe sofa whlle
she panLed for breaLh Lhrouah Lhe palnŦ ºPe's [usLţ" she aaspedţ
ºsLreLchlnaŦ"
ºCarllsle?" l murmuredŦ
º8lahL hereţ" he saldţ appearlna aL mv sldeŦ
ºCkavţ" 8ella breaLhedŦ º1hlnk lL's overŦ Þoor kld doesn'L have enouah
roomţ LhaL's allŦ Pe's aeLLlna so blaŦ" Per Lone was so Lenderţ as lf Lhe
feLus klcklna her aparL meanL noLhlnaŦ She slmplv felL svmpaLhv for lLŦ
º?ou knowţ he remlnds me of vouţ !akeţ" she sald sofLlvŦ
ºuo oot compare me Lo LhaL Lhlnaţ" he spaLŦ
ºl [usL meanL vour arowLh spurLţ" she explalnedţ hurL bv hls scaLhlna LoneŦ
º?ou shoL rlahL upŦ l could waLch vou aeLLlna Laller bv Lhe mlnuLeŦ Pe's llke
LhaLţ LooŦ Crowlna so fasLŦ" Per bodv flnallv relaxedŦ
ºPmmţ" Carllsle murmuredŦ
ºWhaL?" !acob askedŦ
l wooJet lf tbe slmllotltles ote Joe to tbe cbtomosomol coootŦŦŦ Carllsle
LhouahLŦ l cocked mv head Lo one slde as l consldered Lhe posslblllLvŦ
º?ou know LhaL l was wonderlna abouL Lhe feLus's aeneLlc makeupţ !acobŦ
AbouL hls chromosomesţ" Carllsle conLlnuedŦ
ºWhaL of lL?"
ºWellţ Laklna vour slmllarlLles lnLo conslderaLlonŴ"
ºSlmllarltles?" !acob saldţ emphaslslna Lhe pluralŦ
º1he acceleraLed arowLhţ Lhe facL LhaL Allce cannoL see elLher of vouţ"
Carllsle explalnedŦ !acob seemed sLunned for a secondŦ uomoţ l fotoot
oboot tbotţ he LhouahLŦ
ºWellţ l wonder lf LhaL means we have an answerŦ lf Lhe slmllarlLles are
aeneŴdeepŦ"
º1wenLvŴfour palrsţ" l muLLeredŦ
º?ou don'L know LhaLŦ"
ºnoŦ 8uL lL's lnLeresLlna Lo speculaLeţ" Carllsle murmuredŦ
º?eahŦ !usL fosclootlooţ" !acob sald sarcasLlcallvţ as 8ella drlfLed back off
Lo sleepŦ
ºnow we know LhaL Ldward can produce aameLesţ we know melosls
occurs ln vamplresŦ"
ºMelosls?" 8osalle askedŦ
ºWhen chromosomal crossover Lakes placeţ" l answeredŦ
ºWould LhaL make Lhe babv more vamplre Lhan human? lf venom ls
presenL raLher Lhan blood ln Lhe feLusŦŦŦ" Carllsle Lralled offŦ
º1hen Lhere's a huae danaerŦ And all Lhe more reason Lo dellver as soon as
posslbleŦ" l flnlshedţ Lhe words cuLLlna llke [aaaed meLal ln mv LhroaLŦ
º8uL whaL are Lhe exLra palr for? lf !acob's make hlm LransformŦŦŦ" Allce
musedŦ
º1haL's onlv because LhaL aene was presenL ln hls faLherŦ lf we assume
LwenLv four palrs means a halfŴbreedţ LhaL means Lhe aeneLlc spllL
beLween 8ella and Ldward wlll be falrlv evenţ so Lhe LralLsŦŦŦ" Carllsle saldŦ
ºCf courseţ" 8osalle saldţ eves llL upŦ º1he LhlrsLţ Lhe sLrenaLhţ Lhe
lmpeneLrable amnloLlc sacŦŦŦ"
º?esţ LhaL's whv 8ella's bodv ls sLruaallnaŤ Loo much vamplre for her
svsLem Lo be compaLlbleţ buL enouah human Lo sLop her re[ecLlna lLŦŦŦ"
Lvervone excepL !acobţ who was losL ln conLemplaLlonţ saL and conLlnued
Lhe aeneLlcs conversaLlon for well over an hourţ conslderlna Lhe posslble
lmpllcaLlons lf Carllsle's Lheorv was correcLŦ As Lhe nlahL wenL on Lhe
dlscusslon broke upŦ Carllsle wenL back Lo [oln !asper and LmmeLL upsLalrs
wlLh Lhe new speculaLlons fresh ln hls mlnd Lo focus hls researchŦ !acob
beaan dozlna nexL Lo 8ellaŦ
As Lhev slepLţ l sLarLed muslnaŦ l wanLed Lo do evervLhlna l could Lo make
8ella happvŦ She was surrounded bv famllv and frlendsţ buL l mlssed our
prlvaLe LlmeŦ l wanLed Lo alve her someLhlna Lo show mv loveţ Lhe depLh
of mv devoLlonŦ l suddenlv came up wlLh Lhe perfecL ldeaŦ SomeLhlna LhaL
evervone had foraoLLen abouL durlna Lhe chaos of me brlnalna mv dvlna
preananL wlfe homeŤ Lhe phoLoaraphs from our perfecL weddlna and
bllssful honevmoonŦ A homemade albumţ Lhe klnd of alfL 8ella would
approve ofŦ
ºAllceŦŦŦ" l sLarLedţ buL she cuL me off wlLh her LhouahLsŦ Cf course she'd
seen mv declslonŦ
AlteoJv oo ltţ £JwotJŦ )oo toke cote of 8elloŤ l´ll toke cote of tblsŦ wbete´s
tbe cometo?
ºln mv case somewhereţ sLlllŦ" 1he cases sLlll sLood ln Lhe enLrance Lo mv
roomţ unLouchedŦ
l tblok lt´s o beootlfol lJeoţ sbe´ll love ltŦ 8ot temembetţ sbe coolJ llveţ
£JwotJŦ uoo´t olve op vetţ she LhouahL as she aoL upŦ l wenL Lo muss her
halr buL she darLed ouL Lhe wav wlLh a arln and fllLLed upsLalrsŦ
l sLared down adorlnalv aL mv sleeplna wlfeŦ 1he counLdown conLlnuedŤ l
was llvlna on borrowed LlmeŦ













Chapter 16
1he skv was sLlll an lnkv mldnlahL blue when l noLlced 8ella's face arowlna
flushedŦ l woke !acob up Lo Lrade off and Look hls place bv her sldeŦ She
smlled falnLlv ln her sleep as l sLroked a lock of her chesLnuL halr awav
from her faceŦ
!acob aoL up and sLreLchedŦ Coess l´m teoJv to Jo some wotkţ Jo some
scootloo to cbeck lf lt´s sofe fot tbe vomps to bootţ he LhouahLŦ
º1hank vouŦ lf Lhe rouLe ls clear Lhev'll ao Lodavţ" l saldŦ
ºl'll leL vou knowţ" he Lold me and sLrolled ouL Lhe doorŦ
lL was less Lhan an hour laLer when Allce appeared aaaln carrvlna her
creaLlon ln Lhe crook of her armŦ She passed lL Lo me and l aaspedŦ lL was a
beauLlfulţ sofLţ whlLe leaLher bound albumţ wlLh Lhe words 'Memotles of
£JwotJ ooJ 8ello colleo´ lnscrlbed ln sllver lLallc calllaraphvŦ lL was packed
full of phoLos LhaL exuded happlnessŦ Cur frlends and famllv smlllna and
lauahlna aL Lhe weddlnaŦ 8ella and l exchanalna vows under Lhe arch of
whlLe aossamer and blossomŦ uanclna under a canopv of whlLe flowers
lllumlnaLed bv allLLerlna Lwlnkle llahLsŦ 1he amber and plnk orb of Lhe
sunseL on lsle LsmeŦ 1he Lurquolse waLer lapplna aL Lhe whlLe sand as
8ella swam wlLh Lhe porpolsesŦ Colourfulţ vlvld phoLos of Lhe [unale and lLs
wlldllfeŦ SelfŴporLralLs of 8ella and l alaallnaţ wrapped LlahLlv ln each
oLher's armsŦ Lach phoLo had a LlLle ln Lhe same beauLlful calllaraphvţ Lhe
paaes separaLed bv dellcaLeţ roseŴscenLed LranslucenL paperŦ lL was slmplv
exqulslLeŦ lf l had been able Lo crvţ Lears would have been allsLenlna ln mv
evesţ from happlnessţ buL also desolaLlon aL mv sLolen fuLureŦ Pow could
so much have chanaed so qulcklv?
ºAllceŦŦŦ" l beaanţ buL was losL for wordsŦ
lt´s ootblooţ £JwotJŦ l mov bove moJe tbe bookţ bot voo moJe tbe
memotlesţ she LhouahL as she pecked mv cheekŦ 8osalle looked
lnqulslLlvelv buL sald noLhlnaţ whlch made a chanaeŦ
8ella woke up [usL before dawnţ smlllna up aL me lazllvŦ 8osalle wenL Lo
feLch her a fresh cup of bloodŤ 8ella had a voraclous appeLlLe nowŦ Whlle
she was ouL Lhe roomţ l Look mv chanceŦ 1hls was someLhlna l wanLed Lo
share wlLh 8ella aloneŦ
º8ellaţ loveţ am l sLlll correcL ln Lhlnklna homemade presenLs are
accepLable?" l askedŦ
ºÞresenLs?" She quesLlonedţ frownlnaŦ
ºl've aoL someLhlna l wanL vou Lo haveŦ lL's from Allce Looţ" l sald as l
passed her Lhe album l had placed down bv Lhe slde of Lhe couchŦ Per
expresslon Lurned from one of confuslon lnLo amazemenL as she fllpped lL
openţ Lhe paaes fluLLerlnaŦ Soonţ sllenL Lears were flowlna down her faceŦ l
hoped Lhev were Lears of [ovŦ ºuo vou llke lL?" l askedţ curloslLv aeLLlna
Lhe beLLer of me as lL usuallv dld wlLh 8ella's mlndŦ
ºChţ Ldward!" she crledŦ ºlL's so beauLlful!" She reached up Lo sLroke mv
face and l nesLled lnLo her caressŦ ºAllceţ lL's so perfecLţ Lhank vou!" she
exclalmed as Allce came over Lo klss her cheekŦ
8ella saL porlna Lhrouah Lhe phoLosţ her face llL upţ as l puL mv arms
around her and ran mv flnaers Lhrouah her halrţ lnhallna her floral scenLţ
commlLLlna everv momenL Lo memorvŦ ºlL ls aolna Lo be okavţ Ldwardţ"
she lnslsLed as l held herŦ l wanLed so badlv Lo belleve herţ buL Lhe fear
anawed awav aL mv lnsldes lncessanLlvŦ
8ella was curled looselv on Lhe sofaţ Lhe phoLo album sLlll ln her hands as
she cherlshed lLţ when suddenlvţ wlLh a crackţ she drew a sharp lnLake of
breaLh and convulsed ln aaonvţ her LeeLh arlLLed Lo sLop herself
screamlnaŦ
º8ella?! SweeLhearLţ ls lL anoLher rlb?"
ºnopeţ"Ŵ aaspŴ ºhereţ" she panLedţ polnLlna Lo her pelvlsŦ
lt´s btokeo bet pelvlsţ oow?! Allce LhouahL ln dlsbellefţ eves flamlnaŦ
ºCarllsle?!" l called franLlcallvţ and he appeared swlfLlv from upsLalrsŦ ºlL's
her pelvlsŦ l heard a crackŦ"
ºWellţ l dldn'L hear anvLhlnaţ" 8osalle sald dlsmlsslvelvŦ
ºWe need Lo do an xŴrav anvwavţ 8oseţ" Carllsle replled as 8osalle llfLed
8ella lnLo her armsţ sLlll cluLchlna her cup of blood and face sLlll LwlsLed
wlLh palnŦ
We flew upsLalrsţ 8ella's breaLhlna sLlll labouredŦ As Carllsle examlned
8ellaţ l heard !acob Lalklna wlLh Allce downsLalrsŦ Carllsle placed Lhe xŴravs
on Lhe llahL box for 8ella Lo seeŦ ºlL's severe brulslnaţ 8ellaţ buL luckllv no
breaks Lhls Llmeţ" he saldţ smlllna falnLlv aL herŦ She was reLurnlna Lo her
normal colour now and her breaLhlna was sLeadvŦ
ºSeeţ l tolJ vou l dldn'L hear a crackţ" 8osalle scowled aL meŦ º?ou need
vour ears checkedţ LdwardŦ"
l arlLLed mv LeeLh Lo prevenL a arowl from escaplnaŤ 8osalle was fasL
raclna her wav up Lhe endanaered specles llsLŦ l scooped 8ella up ln mv
arms and Lrvlna Lo make everv movemenL slnuous so as noL Lo hurL herţ
buL she sLlll Lurned whlLe wlLh palnŦ
º!akeţ" she areeLed as we came down Lhe sLalrsţ smlllna Lhrouah Lhe
aaonvŦ l lav 8ella aenLlv on Lhe sofa and saL bv her headŦ Carllsle flnallv
made hls wav downsLalrsţ hls face eLched wlLh worrv for hls dauahLerŴlnŴ
lawŦ Pe dldn'L know how lona 8ella could survlveŤ Lhe feLus was arowlna
Loo sLrona and he knew venom could onlv cure Lo an exLenLŦ lf she were Lo
be ln[ured Loo severelvţ hls plan would be ln valnŦ
ºCarllsleţ" !acob sLarLedţ Lurnlna Lo face mv faLherŦ ºWe wenL halfwav Lo
SeaLLleŦ 1here's no slan of Lhe packŦ ?ou're aood Lo aoŦ"
º1hank vouţ !acobŦ 1hls ls aood LlmlnaŦ 1here's much LhaL we needŦ" Pls
eves resLed on 8ella's cupţ wonderlna how much blood he would be able
Lo acqulreŦ
ºPonesLlvţ l Lhlnk vou're safe Lo Lake more Lhan LhreeŦ l'm preLLv poslLlve
Sam ls concenLraLlna on La ÞushŦ"
Carllsle seemed Lo LrusL !acob as much as l dldţ and lL wasn'L mv mlndŴ
readlna skllls LhaL made me belleve hlmŦ ºlf vou Lhlnk soŦ Allceţ Lsmeţ
!asper and l wlll aoŦ 1hen Allce can Lake LmmeLL and 8osaŴ"
ºnoL a chanceţ" 8osalle hlssedŦ ºLmmeLL can ao wlLh vou nowŦ"
º?ou should hunLţ" Carllsle advlsedŦ
ºl'll hunL when be doesţ" 8osalle arowledţ aesLurlna Lo me and fllcklna her
halrŦ Cne Lhlna was for cerLalnŤ l dldn'L wanL a LhlrsLv 8ose anvwhere near
8ella when Lhe Llme came for Lhe dellvervŤ she dldn'L have Lhe same
conLrol as Carllsle or lŦ Carllsle slahed aL her LenaclLvŦ
l heard a book fall closed wlLh a tboJ and !asper and LmmeLL raced down
Lhe sLalrsŦ Aboot tlmeţ bet tbose otlzzlles ote oettloo o blt ovetŴpopoloteJ
wltboot meţ ebţ £JwotJ? LmmeLL LhouahL as he punched mv shoulderŦ
Lsme and Allce flew Lo Lhe alass doors whlch opened ouL onLo Lhe rlver as
LmmeLL klssed 8ose aoodbveŦ !asper Look Allce's hand as Lhev fllLLed ouLŦ
Carllsle puL hls lcv hand on !acob's armŤ he dldn'L fllnchŦ º1hank vouţ" he
repeaLedţ Lhen followed Lhe oLhers ouLŦ 1hev leapL across Lhe rlver and
were ouL of slahL ln a flashŦ
Most bove beeo mote Jespetote tboo l tbooobtţ !acob sald lnLernallvŦ A
smlrk appeared on hls face as he noLlced 8osalle's murderous alare on
hlmŦ Pe slouched lnLo Lhe chalr nexL Lo herţ draplna hls bare feeL over Lhe
edae near her faceŦ ºLwŦ Someone puL Lhe doa ouLţ" she sald wrlnkllna her
noseŦ lot CoJ´s sokeţ £JwotJţ voo Joo´t eveo llke blmţ she added shooLlna
me a sharp lookŦ
l lanored herŦ 8esldes she was wronaŤ so wrapped up ln her own worldţ as
per usualţ 8osalle had falled Lo noLlce Lhe bond developlna beLween !acob
and lŦ Pavlna her as a muLual dlsllke had helped somewhaLţ l LhouahL
wrvlvŦ
ºPave vou heard Lhls oneţ Þsvcho? Pow do a blonde's braln cells dle?"
She lanored hlmţ sLarlna sLralahL aL Lhe 1vŦ
ºWell? uo vou know Lhe punch llne or noL?" !acob askedŦ
Noţ bot l´m oot tellloo voo tbotţ flltbv mottŦ
l could sense her hands LwlLch lnLo clawsţ her LeeLh arlndlnaţ buL she
conLlnued lanorlna hlmŦ l wondered whaL would happen lf 8ella weren'L ln
Lhe roomŦ
ºPas she heard lL?" he asked meŦ
l dldn'L remove mv eves from 8ella's frownlna faceŦ ºnoţ" l replledŦ
ºAwesomeŦ So vou'll en[ov Lhlsţ bloodsuckerŴ a blonde's braln cells dle
olooeŦ´
ºl have kllled a hundred Llmes more Lhan vou haveţ vou dlsausLlna beasLţ"
8osalle snarledŦ ºuon'L foraeL LhaLŦ"
ºSomedavţ 8eauLv Cueenţ vou're aolna Lo aeL Llred of LhreaLenlna meŦ l'm
reallv looklna forward Lo LhaLŦ"
5o wlll £mmettţ 8ose LhouahLŦ
ºLnouahţ !acobţ" 8ella saldţ scowllnaŦ
wellţ floe tbeoŦ º?ou wanL me Lo Lake off?" he askedŦ
ºno! Cf course noLŦ"
l slahedŦ WhaL wos lL LhaL kepL 8ella needlna !acob around? noL LhaL lL
maLLeredţ lf lL made her happvŤ LhaL was whaL counLedŦ
º?ou look Llredţ" 8ella observedţ looklna aL !acobŦ
ºuead beaLŦ"
ºl´J llke Lo beaL vou deadţ" 8osalle murmuredţ so low lL was barelv
audlbleŦ
!acob sank lower lnLo Lhe armchalrţ danallna hls feeL closer Lo 8osalleŦ She
brlsLledţ her face seL lnLo one of dlsausLŦ
º8oseţ can l have a reflllţ please?" 8ella askedţ holdlna ouL her empLv cupŦ
ºCf courseţ sweeLleţ" she sald as she darLed upsLalrsţ alad for Lhe chance
Lo escape Lhe weL doa smell emanaLlna from !acobŦ
lL was Lhen LhaL l heard Lhe Lenor of somebodv's LhouahLsŦ A sense of
conLenLmenL? lL cerLalnlv wasn'L 8osalle or !acobŤ l was far Loo famlllar
wlLh Lhelr lnLernal volcesŦ lor a spllL second l panlckedŤ l LhouahL Charlle
mav have Lurned up unexpecLedlvŦ 8uL noţ l hadn'L heard anv Lvres or
fooLsLepsŦ Could l be hearlna 8ello?
ºuld vou sav someLhlna?" l asked herţ confusedŦ
ºMe? l dldn'L sav anvLhlnaŦ"
l knelL and leanL forward over herŦ ºWhaL are vou Lhlnklna of rlahL now?"
ºnoLhlnaŦ WhaL's aolna on?"
ºWhaL were vou Lhlnklna abouL a mlnuLe aao?"
º!usLŦŦŦLsme's lslandŦ And feaLhersţ" she sald blushlnaŦ 1he Lenor of Lhe
volce was aeLLlna sLronaerŦ ueflnlLelv conLenLmenLŦ Could l be breaklna
Lhrouah 8ella's menLal defence? noţ lL wasn'L her volceŦ
ºSav someLhlna elseţ" l murmuredŦ
ºLlke whaL? Ldward whaL's aolna on?"
l llke tbot soooJţ came Lhe volceţ Lhe LhouahLs clearer nowŦ l couldn'L
belleve whaL l was hearlnaţ buL Lhere was no mlsLaklna lLŦ lL was Lhe babvŦ
Oot babvŦ Carefullvţ l puL boLh mv hands around her balloonlna sLomachŦ
8osalle came back ln Lhe room and aaspedŦ
º1he fŴ" l swallowedŦ ºlLŦŦŦLhe babv llkes Lhe sound of vour volceŦ" l saldţ
uLLerlv lncredulousŦ
1here was sllence for a secondŦ ºnolv ctowţ voo coo beot blm!´ 8ella crled
ouLţ Lhen wlncedŦ l aenLlv rubbed Lhe spoL where he had [usL klckedŦ
ºShhţ" l whlsperedŦ º?ou sLarLled lLŦŦŦhlmŦ"
8ella's eves wldenedţ marvelllnaŦ ºSorrvţ babvţ" she sald rubblna her
sLomachŦ
l llsLened harderţ leanlna mv head Lo Lhe sldeŦ
noppvţ Lhe volce sald slmplvŦ l was ln shockŦ ºlLŦŦŦhe or sheţ lsŦŦŦPe's
boppvţ" l saldţ mv volce full of wonderţ eves wldenlna so much Lhev musL
have resembled 8ella'sŦ
She drew ln a sharp breaLhţ and Lears sLarLed flowlna sllenLlv down her
face wlLh all Lhe love she possessed wlLhlnŦ We were boLh ln aweţ and a
rush of conLenLmenL flooded Lhrouah me warmlna mv lcv lnsldesŦ
ºCf course vou're happvţ preLLv babvţ of course vou areţ" she cooedŦ
ºPow could vou noL beţ all safe and warm and loved? l love vou so muchţ
llLLle L!ţ of course vou're happvŦ"
ºWhaL dld vou call hlm?"
ºl sorL of named hlmţ" she murmuredţ blushlnaŦ ºl dldn'L Lhlnk vou would
wanLŦŦŦ wellţ vou knowŦ"
ºL!?"
º?ou faLher's name was Ldwardţ LooŦ"
º?esţ lL wasŦ WhaLŴ?" l paused as Lhe volce saldŤ l llke tbot volceţ tooŦ
ºPmmŦ"
ºWhaL?"
ºPe llkes mv volceţ Looţ" l saldţ [ov raclna Lhrouah me llke a shoL of
adrenallneŦ
ºCf course he doesţ" she sald wlLh a aloaLlna Loneţ º?ou have Lhe mosL
beauLlful volce ln Lhe unlverseŦ Who wouldn'L love lL?"
ºuo vou have a backup plan?" 8osalle askedţ leanlna her head over so lL
was near 8ella'sŤ l'd foraoLLen 8ose was LhereŦ Per expresslon was
wondrousţ Looţ aL her lmpendlna vlcarlous moLherhoodŦ ºWhaL lf he's a
she?"
8ella wlped her Lears from her cheeksŦ ºl klcked a few Lhlnas aroundŦ
Þlavlna wlLh 8enee and LsmeŦ l was LhlnklnaŦŦŦ 8uhŴoezŴmavŦ"
º8uhnezmav?"
º8ŴeŴnŴeŴsŴmŴeŴeŦ 1oo welrd?"
ºnoţ l llke lLţ" 8osalle assuredŦ ºlL's beauLlfulŦ And one of a klndţ so tbot
flLsŦ"
ºl sLlll Lhlnk he's an LdwardŦ"
1helr conversaLlon Lrlckled Lhrouah mv LranceŴllke sLaLeŦ l was llsLenlna
lnLenLlv Lo hear more from Lhe babvŦ l love betţ came Lhe beauLlful new
volceŦ l was dazedŦ
ºWhaL? WhaL's he Lhlnklna now?" 8ella askedŦ
Slowlvţ l lald mv ear sofLlv aaalnsL her bellvţ and Lhev all aaspedŦ l love bet
so mocbţ came Lhe volce aaalnŦ ºPe loves vouţ" l whlsperedŦ ºPe
absoluLelv oJotes vouŦ"
lrom LhaL momenLţ evervLhlna chanaedŤ mv surroundlnas Lurned from
drab monoLones lnLo sparkllnaţ dlzzvlna mulLlŴhuesŦ Mv empLvţ llfeless
volce had Lurned lnLo one of wonder and aweŦ 1houah l was sLlll Lerrlfled
for 8ella's llfeţ l knew l had been wronaŤ l could never hurL Lhls babvŦ
Moreoverţ l dldn'L woot Lo hurL Lhls babvŦ l loveJ hlmŦ 8v convlnclna me of
lLs benevolenL lnLenLlonsţ he had Lransformed mv world from one of sheer
despalr and arlef lnLo one of dazzllna hopeŦ l felL mv hearL swell wlLh love
and prldeŤ for mv brave wlfeţ and also for Lhe new llfe arowlna lnslde herŦ l
couldn'L belleve someLhlna l'd helped creaLe was so aoodţ so pure and
lovlnaŦ Could l reallv be Lhe monsLer l belleved mvself Lo be?
l saL Lhere sLarlna up lncredulouslv aL mv amazlna 8ellaţ Lears of [ov
pourlna down her faceţ wlLh mv head and hands Lenderlv over her
ballooned sLomachŦ
Suddenlv !acob sLood up and l sLarLed recelvlna Lhe Lenor of hls
LhouahLsŦŦŦ8eLravalţ anaerţ and absoluLe aaonvŦ ºAhhţ" l chokedţ darLlna Lo
Lhe end Lableţ pulllna Lhe drawer open and arabblna Lhe flrsL seL of car
kevs l foundŦ l Lhrew Lhem Lo hlmţ and he cauahL Lhem defLlvŦ ºCoţ !acobŦ
CeL awav from hereŦ" l dldn'L sav Lhe words callouslvŤ l was alvlna hlm Lhe
escape he so desperaLelv souahLŦ



Chapter 17
8ella sLared up aL meŤ her expresslon Lorn beLween sheer [ov aL me
hearlna Lhe babvţ and absoluLe horror aL !acob's palnŦ ºPe [usL needs
some spaceţ" l sald and sLroked her cheekŦ Papplness was our overrldlna
emoLlonţ drlvlna all else Lo Lhe frlnaesţ buL Lhe aullL was undenlableŦ
ºCoodţ l'm alad he's aoneţ" 8osalle sald dlsdalnfullvŦ
º8oseţ" l chldedŦ
wbot? Ate voo booestlv sovloo voo llke tbe wet Joo smell? She wrlnkled
her noseţ exLendlna her arm ouL Lo lnspecL her perfecLlv manlcured sLeel
nallsŦ l rolled mv eves aL herŦ SomeLhlna ln mv perlpheral vlslon cauahL mv
aLLenLlonŦ l looked around Lo see Leah ln her human formţ sLomplna
Lowards Lhe houseţ cloLhes dlrLled and her halr sLlcklna up ln LufLsŦ She
was belna verv careful wlLh her LhouahLsţ buL bearlna ln mlnd whaL she
musL have wlLnessed l had an ldea of whv she was hereŦ l aoL up and
darLed Lo block her aL Lhe doorţ buL she was alreadv lnŦ l sLood ln her wavţ
our eves blazlnaŦ ºLeahţ" l sLarLedţ buL she cuL me offŦ
ºuon'L sLarL wlLh meţ leechţ lL's bet l'm here Lo speak Loţ" she [erked her
chln Lowards 8ellaţ who was looklna aL her wlLh LrepldaLlonŦ
º8ella ls noL Lo be upseLţ LeahŦ now l appreclaLe all vou're dolna for usţ
buL l wanL vou Lo leaveŦ"
º8ello ls noL Lo be upseL? WhaL abouL !acob?! WhaL Lhe bell happened?"
l pausedŦ l needed Lo explaln qulcklv Lo aeL her ouL Lhe houseŦ ºl slmplv
sLarLed hearlna Lhe babv's LhouahLsţ Leahţ he's happv and !acob ls
undersLandablv hurLŴ"
ºChţ so now evervLhlna ls perfecL for vou?!" She lnLerrupLedţ looklna
dlrecLlv aL 8ella whose eves were now allsLenlnaŦ 8osalle was on her feeL
wlLh meţ leanlna forward ln a crouchţ a arowl bulldlna ln her chesLŦ º!acob
aave up evetvtbloo Lo proLecL vou and now vou're plavlna happv famlllesŦ
uo vou reallse how badlv vou hurL hlm Llme and Llme aaaln? l've seen lL
Lhrouah hls evesŦ Cod knows whvţ buL he loves vouţ and all vou do ls
Lhrow lL back aL hlm! ?ou wanL Lo marrv vour leech here buL vou wanL Lo
keep !acob ln vour llfe! Cod vou are so selflsb!"
º1haL's enouahţ Leah!" l shouLedŦ º?ou do noL come lnLo mv home and
lnLlmldaLe mv wlfeţ nowţ pleaseţ leave!"
She shruaaedŦ ºl was done anvwavţ" she sald and wlLh one lasL alare aL
8ellaţ sLrolled ouL casuallvŦ 8ella bursL lnLo Lears and l knelL down beslde
herţ sLroklna her forehead and Lrvlna Lo wlpe her fasLŴflowlna Lears awav
wlLh mv cold flnaersŦ ºShhţ" l murmuredŦ
ºnoŦŦŦbuLŦŦŦshe's rlahL!" she walledŦ
ºnoţ 8ellaţ loveţ she lsn'Lţ" l sooLhedŦ º!acob won'L mlndţ l promlseŦ ?ou
know LhaLŦ" She noddedţ buL conLlnued Lo crv lnLo mv shlrLţ sLalnlna lL
wlLh her salLv LearsŦ
£JwotJţ sbe oeeJs to keep colmţ tbls coo´t be oooJ fot tbe bobvŦŦŦ
l shoL her a sharp alare buL aave a Llnv nod of mv headŦ l klssed Lhe Lop of
8ella's headţ Lraclna mv flnaers aenLlv across Lhe conLours of her backţ
whlch seemed Lo relax her and sLlfle Lhe sobsŦ l klssed her LearŴsLalned
cheeks and brushed Lhe resldue off wlLh a feaLherŴllahL LouchŦ
She and 8osalle evenLuallv beaan Lalklna abouL Lhe babv aaalnŤ 8ose was
plannlna a Lrlp Lo Lhe shopplna mall once Lhe babv was bornŦ l was cerLaln
Allce would be aolna wlLh herŤ she'd wanL her nlece or nephew Lo have
excellenL fashlon sense from dav oneŦ lL brouahL a smlle back Lo 8ella's
faceţ and Lo mlneţ Lhouah l was sLlll llvld wlLh LeahŦ
l spenL hours [usL llsLenlna Lo Lhe babvţ marvelllna aL Lhls llLLle mlracleŦ l
was aolna Lo be a faLher and l would carrv 8ella lnLo lmmorLallLv and
preserve her llfeŦ We were aolna Lo be a famllvŦ l allowed mvself Lo dreamŦ
l LhouahL of Lhe coLLaae ln Lhe woods LhaL Lsme had sLarLed renovaLlna
before our weddlnaŦ l knew lL well because l'd seen lL so ofLen ln her
LhouahLsŦ 1he cllmblna roses and honevsuckleţ Lhe hldden aarden wlLh Lhe
alassŴsmooLh pondţ Lhe qualnL llLLle llvlna room llned wlLh booksţ Lhe
eclecLlc furnlLureţ Lhe lsle LsmeŴesque bedroomŦŦŦ lL would be perfecL for
8ellaŦ And our chlldŦ Pow had mv world chanaed so dramaLlcallvţ and so
qulcklv?
l was slLLlna on Lhe floor leanlna back on Lhe sofaţ mv head nexL Lo 8ella's
babv bumpţ when Allce and !asper came leaplna across Lhe sparkllna [ade
rlverŤ Allce wlLh a araceful foueLLe [eLe LhaL even Lhe besL ballerlna would
be ln awe ofţ !asper a somewhaL undersLaLed lonaŴ[umpŦ 1hev bounded
Lhrouah Lhe alass doorsţ Lhelr eves now brllllanL amberŦ ºPevţ auvsţ" Allce
LrllledŦ
ºPev Allceţ !azzţ" l calledţ ºAllceţ could vou puL some more creaLlvlLv lnLo
vour [umpsţ please? ?ou're [usL noL Lrvlna anvmoreţ" l sald sarcasLlcallvŦ
º!usL because voo can'L do lLţ" she replledţ poklna her Lonaue ouL aL meŦ
l lauahedŦ ºWhere are Lhe oLhers?"
ºLmmeLL wasn'L qulLe flnlshed wlLh Lhe arlzzllesţ" she lauahed and 8ella
alaaled wlLh herŦ ºCarllsle and Lsme sLaved on Lo flnd more bloodŦ Pe senL
Lhlsţ"Ŵ she aesLured Lo a rucksack over !asper's shoulderŴ ºbuL he sald lL
wasn'L enouahŦ WhaL's aolna on?" ?ou seem mote cbeetfolţ she added
menLallvŦ !asper could feel Lhe shlfL ln Lhe emoLlonal cllmaLeŤ exclLemenLţ
happlness and hope maklna a drasLlc chanae Lo palnţ anaer and anaulshŦ
As l explalned LhaL l could now hear Lhe babv's LhouahLsţ ralslna Lhelr
evebrows as l lovlnalv sald bobvţ Lhelr [aws dropped and eves wldened ln
wonderŦ 1hev Lhen sped upsLalrsţ deposlLlna Lhe blood and Lhrowlna
Lhemselves back lnLo research wlLh fervourŦ Somehowţ hearlna Lhe babv's
LhouahLs had made lL more real and more presslna Lo flnd answersŦ We
needed Lo know whaL Lo expecL when he arrlvedŦ
uocomfottobleŦŦŦtoo bloŦŦŦ Lhe babv suddenlv LhouahLŦ
l aaspedŦ
ºLdwardţ whaL ls lL? ls he okav?!" 8ella asked franLlcallvŦ
l paused Lo llsLen aaalnţ Lhen Lurned Lo herŦ ºPe's uncomforLableţ he's
aeLLlna Loo blaţ 8ellaŦŦŦ We can'L walL much lonaerŦ We need Lo dellver hlm
as soon as posslbleŦ"
ºls lL safe?"
º?esţ" l sald honesLlvŦ ºlL's more danaerous for hlm Lo sLav ln Lhereţ he
doesn'L have enouah spaceŦ"
l had sLarLed Lo reallv belleve LhaL l could keep boLh mv wlfe and mv chlld
allveŦ now l could hear Lhe chlld's LhouahLs and see how developed he
reallv wasţ l knew Lhere was no Llme Lo wasLeŦ lL was danaerous for boLh
moLher and chlld Lo [usL slL around and walL for someLhlna Lo happenŦ We
needed Carllsle Lo dellver Lhe babv as soon as he reLurnedŦ 8ella sLunned
me aaaln wlLh Lhe falLh she had ln meŤ she LrusLed me lmpllclLlv when l
sald Lhe babv was readv Lo be bornŦ 8ose Look sllahLlv more convlnclnaţ
buL ulLlmaLelv she LrusLed 8ella so she aareedŦ
1here was [usL one more Lhlna l needed now and onlv !acob could alve lL
Lo meŦ













Chapter 18
8ella was sleeplna when l heard mv vanqulsh pulllna off Lhe freewavŦ l lefL
8ose wlLh her and wenL Lo walL ln Lhe aaraaeţ leanlna aaalnsL LmmeLL's
!eepŦ !acob pulled up alonaslde meţ evelna me carefullvŦ As soon as he
shuL off Lhe lanlLlonţ l spokeŦ ºA few Lhlnasţ !acobŦ"
Pe slowlv aoL ouL Lhe car and Lossed me Lhe kevsŦ º1hanks for Lhe loanţ"
he sald blLLerlvŦ ºWhaL do vou wanL oow?"
ºllrsLlvŦŦŦ l know how averse vou are Lo uslna vour auLhorlLv wlLh vour
packţ buLŦŦŦ"
ºWhaL?" he askedţ Laken aback LhaL l would lnLerfere wlLh such LhlnasŦ
ºlf vou can'L or won'L conLrol Leahţ Lhen lŴ"
ºLeah? WhaL happened?"
ºShe came up Lo see whv vou lefL so abrupLlvŦ l Lrled Lo explalnŦ l suppose
lL mlahL noL have come ouL rlahLŦ"
ºWhaL dld she do?"
ºShe phased lnLo her human form andŴ"
º8eallv?" he lnLerrupLedŦ loto tbe vomps´ loltŦŦŦlmptesslveŦ
ºShe wanLed LoŦŦŦspeok Lo 8ellaŦ"
º1o 8ello?" Pe repeaLed ln dlsbellefŦ
ºl won'L leL 8ella be upseL llke LhaL aaalnŦ l don'L care how [usLlfled Leah
Lhlnks she lsŦ l dldn'L hurL herŴ of course l wouldn'LŴ buL l'll Lhrow her ouL
of Lhe house lf lL happens aaalnŦ l'll launch her rlahL across Lhe rlverŴ"
ºPold ooŦ WhaL dld she sov?" !acob askedţ ralslna hls hands Lo sLop meŦ
l Look a deep breaLh as l rellved Leah's LlradeŦ ºLeah was unnecessarllv
harshŦ l'm noL aolna Lo preLend LhaL l undersLand whv 8ella can'L leL ao of
vouţ buL l do know she does noL behave Lhls wav Lo hurL vouŦ She suffers a
areaL deal over Lhe paln she's lnfllcLlna on vouţ and on meţ bv asklna vou
Lo sLavŦ WhaL Leah sald was uncalled forŦ 8ella's been crvlnaŴ"
ºWalLŴ Leah was velllna aL 8ella abouL me?"
l nodded curLlvŦ º?ou were qulLe vehemenLlv champlonedŦ"
wbooŦŦŦ ºl dldn'L ask her Lo do LhaLŦ"
ºl knowŦ"
Pe rolled hls evesŦ Of cootse be koowsŤ blooJsocket koows evetvtblooŦ
keollv sometbloo oboot leobŦ wbo woolJ bove belleveJ lt? leob wolkloo
loto tbe blooJsockets´ ploce human to complolo oboot bow l'm beloo
tteoteJŦŦŦ ºl can'L promlse Lo conLrol Leahţ" he saldŦ ºl won'L do LhaLŦ 8uL
l'll Lalk Lo herţ okav? And l don'L Lhlnk Lhere'll be a repeaLŦ Leah's noL one
Lo hold backţ so she probablv aoL lL all off her chesL LodavŦ"
ºl would sav soŦ"
ºAnvwavţ l'll Lalk Lo 8ella abouL lLţ LooŦ She doesn'L need Lo feel badŦ 1hls
one's on meŦ"
ºl alreadv Lold her LhaLŦ"
ºCf course vou dldŦ ls she okav?"
ºShe's sleeplnaŦ 8ose ls wlLh herŦ"
5o tbe psvcbo´s #kose´ oow ls sbe? ne´s ttolv oooe ovet to tbe Jotk slJeŦ
l lanored LhaL and conLlnuedţ ºShe'sŦŦŦ beLLer ln some wavsŦ Aslde from
Leah's Llrade and Lhe resulLlna aullLŦ"
8ettetŦ 8ecoose be´s beotloo tbe llttle moostet ooJ evetvtbloo´s lovevŴ
JovevŦ lootostlcŦ
ºlL's a blL more Lhan LhaLţ" l sald sofLlvŦ ºnow LhaL l can hear Lhe chlld's
LhouahLsţ lL's apparenL LhaL he or she has remarkablv developed menLal
faclllLlesŦ Pe can undersLand usţ Lo an exLenLŦ"
!acob's [aw droppedŦ ºAre vou setloos?"
º?esŦ Pe seems Lo have a vaaue sense of whaL hurLs her nowŦ Pe's Lrvlna
Lo avold LhaLţ as much as posslbleŦ Pe loves herŦ AlreadvŦ"
5oţ tbot´s wbv be´s cboooeJŦ 1be moostet´s coovloceJ blm of tbls loveŦ
!acob LhouahLţ hls eves on sLalksŦ
l lanored hls lnner monoloaueŦ º1he proaressţ l belleveţ ls more Lhan we'd
[udaedŦ When Carllsle reLurnsŴ"
º1hev're noL back?" !acob askedţ worrvlna whaL could have aone wronaŦ
ºAllce and !asper areŦ Carllsle senL all Lhe blood he was able Lo acqulreţ
buL lL wasn'L as much as he'd hoped forŴ 8ella wlll use up Lhls supplv ln
anoLher dav Lhe wav her appeLlLe has arownŦ Carllsle sLaved Lo Lrv anoLher
sourceŦ l don'L Lhlnk LhaL's necessarv nowţ buL he wanLs Lo be covered for
everv evenLuallLvŦ"
ºWhv lsn'L lL necessarv? lf she needs more?"
l heslLaLedţ worrvlna abouL how !acob would Lake Lhe newsŦ ºl'm Lrvlna Lo
persuade Carllsle Lo dellver Lhe babv as soon as he ls backŦ"
ºwbot?´
º1he chlld seems Lo be aLLempLlna Lo avold rouah movemenLsţ buL lL's
dlfflculLŦ Pe's become Loo blaŦ lL's madness Lo walLţ when he's clearlv
developed bevond whaL Carllsle had auessedŦ 8ella's Loo fraalle Lo delavŦ"
1hls seemed Lo knock Lhe wlnd from hls sallsŦ l walLed and waLched as he
sLared aL meţ noLlclna mv chanae ln aLLlLudeŦ º?ou Lhlnk she's aolna Lo
make lLţ" he sLaLedŦ
º?esŦ WalLlna as we have been for Lhe chlld Lo be readvţ LhaL was lnsanelv
danaerousŦ AL anv momenL lL could have been Loo laLeţ" l saldţ represslna
a shudderŦ º8uL lf we're proacLlve abouL Lhlsţ lf we acL qulcklvţ l see no
reason whv lL should noL ao wellŦ knowlna Lhe chlld's mlnd ls unbellevablv
helpfulŦ 1hankfullvţ 8ella and 8ose aaree wlLh meŦ now LhaL l've convlnced
Lhem lL's safe for Lhe chlld lf we proceedţ Lhere's noLhlna Lo keep Lhls from
worklnaŦ"
ºWhen wlll Carllsle be back?"
º8v noon Lomorrowţ" l Lold hlmŦ !acob's leas buckled beneaLh hlmţ and he
sLeadled hlmself on Lhe carŦ l sLarLed Lo reach ouL a hand ln supporL buL
sLopped mvselfŦ ºl'm sorrvţ" l murmuredŦ ºl am Lrulv sorrv for Lhe paln Lhls
causes vouţ !acobŦ 1houah vou haLe meţ l musL admlL LhaL l don'L feel Lhe
same abouL vouŦ l Lhlnk of vou as aŦŦŦ a broLher ln manv wavsŦ A comrade
ln armsţ aL Lhe verv leasLŦ l reareL vour sufferlna more Lhan vou reallzeŦ
8uL 8ella ls aolna Lo survlve and l know LhaL's whaL reallv maLLer Lo vouŦ"
!acob seemed Loo dazed Lo sav anvLhlnaţ so l conLlnuedŦ ºSo l haLe Lo do
Lhls nowţ whlle vou're alreadv deallna wlLh Loo muchţ buLţ clearlvţ Lhere ls
llLLle LlmeŦ l have Lo ask vou for someLhlnaŴ Lo beaţ lf l musLŦ"
Pe shook hls headŦ ºl don'L have anvLhlna lefLŦ"
l ralsed mv hand Lo puL lL on !acob's shoulder buL LhouahL beLLer of lLŤ l
dldn'L Lhlnk he would appreclaLe Lhe aesLureŦ ºl know how much vou have
alvenţ" l murmuredŦ º8uL Lhls ls someLhlna vou Jo haveţ and onlv vouŦ l'm
asklna vou as Lhe Lrue Alphaţ !acobŦ l'm asklna Lhls of Lphralm's helrŦ"
!acob walLedţ unable Lo respondŦ ºl wanL vour permlsslon Lo devlaLe from
whaL we aareed Lo ln our LreaLv wlLh LphralmŦ l wanL vou Lo aranL us an
excepLlonŦ l wanL vour permlsslon Lo save her llfeŦ ?ou know l'll do lL
anvwavţ buL l don'L wanL Lo break falLh wlLh vou lf Lhere ls anv wav Lo
avold lLŦ We never lnLended Lo ao back on our wordţ and we don'L do lL
llahLlv nowŦ l wanL vour undersLandlnaţ !acobţ because vou know exacLlv
whv we do LhlsŦ l wanL Lhe alllance beLween our famllles Lo survlve when
Lhls ls overŦ"
5omţ lt´s 5om voo wootŦ
ºnoŦ Sam's auLhorlLv ls assumedŦ lL belonas Lo vouŦ ?ou'll never Lake lL
from hlmţ buL no one can rlahLfullv aaree Lo whaL l'm asklna excepL for
vooŦ"
lt´s oot mv JeclslooŦ
ºlL lsţ !acobţ and vou know lLŦ ?our word on Lhls wlll condemn us or
absolve usŦ Cnlv vou can alve Lhls Lo meŦ"
l coo´t tblokŦ l Joo´t koowŦ
ºWe don'L have much Llmeţ" l sald alanclna up aL Lhe houseŦ
l Joo´t koowŦ let me tblokŦ Iost olve me o mloote beteţ okov?
º?esŦ"
!acob sLarLed movlna Loward Lhe houseţ deep ln LhouahLŦ l followed and
we walked ln comforLable sllenceŦ 1here was a rusLllna ln Lhe bushes LhaL
edaed Lhe lawnţ and SeLh padded Lowards usţ leLLlna ouL a low whlmperŦ
ºPevţ kldţ" !acob muLLeredţ paLLlna hls shoulderŦ ºS'all coolŦ l'll Lell vou
abouL lL laLerŦ Sorrv Lo Lake off on vou llke LhaLŦ"
Pe arlnnedŦ
ºPevţ Lell vour slsLer Lo back off nowţ okav? LnouahŦ"
SeLh noddedŦ keollv sottv oboot leobţ £JwotJŦ
ºCeL back Lo workŦ l'll spell vou ln a blLţ" !acob saldţ and SeLh loped off
lnLo Lhe foresLŦ
ºPe has one of Lhe puresLţ slnceresLţ kloJest mlnds l've ever heardţ" l
whlsperedŦ º?ou're luckv Lo have hls LhouahLs Lo shareŦ"
ºl know LhaLŦ"
We conLlnued Lowards Lhe houseţ ralslna our heads when we heard Lhe
sound of sucklna Lhouah a sLrawŦ l flew up Lhe porch sLeps and lnLo Lhe
house ln a hurrvŦ 8ella was awakeţ lvlna on Lhe sofaţ cup ln her handsŦ
Allce saL bv her feeLţ 8osalle ln an armchalrŦ º8ellaţ loveţ l LhouahL vou
were sleeplnaţ" l murmuredţ leanlna down Lo klss her forehead and Luck a
lock of her mahoaanv halr behlnd her earŦ ºl'm sorrvţ l wouldn'L have lefLŦ"
l saL down on Lhe floor bv her headŦ
ºuon'L worrvŦ l [usL aoL so LhlrsLvŴ lL woke me upŦ lL's a aood Lhlna Carllsle
ls brlnalna moreŦ 1hls kld ls aolna Lo need lL when he aeLs ouL of meŦ"
º1rueŦ 1haL's a aood polnLŦ"
ºl wonder lf he'll wanL anvLhlna elseŦ"
ºl suppose we'll flnd ouLŦ" We arlnned aL each oLher aL Lhe LhouahL of our
lmmlnenL parenLhoodŦ
!acob walked Lhrouah Lhe doorŦ ºllnallvţ" Allce sanaţ her plxleŴllke face
llahLlna upŦ 8ella's eves fllckered Lo hlm and she beamedŦ 1hen her mouLh
LwlLched and her face crumpledţ Lears allsLenlna ln her eves as she
remembered Leah's wordsŦ
ºPevţ 8ellsŦ" !acob areeLedŦ ºPow va dolna?"
ºl'm flneŦ"
º8la dav Lodavţ huh? LoLs of new sLuffŦ" l was fllled wlLh admlraLlon for
!acobŤ l knew whaL lL would be cosLlna hlm Lo be so supporLlveŦ
º?ou don'L have Lo do LhaLţ !acobţ" 8ella murmuredŦ
ºl don'L know whaL vou're Lalklna abouLţ" he replledţ Laklna a seaL on Lhe
arm of Lhe sofaŦ
ºl'm so sŴ"
Pe plnched her llps LoaeLher so she couldn'L speakŦ
º!akeţ" she mumbledţ maklna a feeble aLLempL Lo pull hls hand awavŦ
ºllneţ l won'L sav lLŦ" Pe released hls arlpŦ ºSorrv!" she saldţ arlnnlnaŦ
1omottowţ sbe´ll be someooe elseţ !acob LhouahLŦ 8ot ollve ooJ tbot´s
wbot cooots tlobt? 5be´ll look ot me wltb tbe some evesţ sott ofŦ 5mlle wltb
tbe some llpsţ olmostŦ 5tlll koow me bettet tboo oovooe wltboot foll occess
to mv beoJŦ
l smlled aL Lhe polnLed aslde as he conLlnued hls lnner monoloaueŦ
1omottowţ sbe´ll be mv eoemvŦ Ot sbe´ll be mv ollvŦ Appoteotlv lt´s op to
meŦ !acob slahedŦ lloe! Co obeoJŦ 5ove betŦ As £pbtolm´s belt voo bove mv
petmlsslooţ mv wotJţ tbot tbls wlll oot vlolote tbe tteotvŦ 1be otbets wlll
jost bove to blome meŦ )oo wete tlobtŴ tbev coo´t Jeov tbot lt´s mv tlobt to
ootee to tblsŦ
º1hank vouţ" l murmuredţ low enouah so LhaL 8ella wouldn'L hearŦ Allce
and 8osalle looked aL me lnqulslLlvelvţ buL Lhev were used Lo me havlna
conversaLlons seemlnalv wlLh mvselfŦ
8ella Lurned Lo !acobŦ ºSoţ" she askedţ aLLempLlna nonchalanceţ ºhow was
vour dav?"
ºCreaLŦ WenL for a drlveŦ Puna ouL ln Lhe parkŦ"
ºSounds nlceŦ"
ºSureţ sureţ" he muLLeredţ looklna awavŦ
8ella arlmacedŦ º8ose?"
ºAaaln?" 8osalle lauahedŦ
ºl Lhlnk l've drunk Lwo aallons ln Lhe lasL hourŦ"
l moved ouL Lhe wav so 8osalle could carrv 8ella Lo Lhe baLhroomŦ
ºCan l walk?" 8ella askedŦ ºMv leas are so sLlffŦ"
ºAre vou sure?" l asked anxlouslvŤ davs and davs of lack of use could noL
help 8ella's alreadv dublous balanceŦ
º8ose'll caLch me lf l Lrlp over mv feeLŦ Whlch could happen preLLv easllvţ
slnce l can'L see LhemŦ"
8osalle puL 8ella down on her feeLţ holdlna LlahLlv onLo her shoulders as
8ella sLreLched her arms ouLŦ º1haL feels aoodŦ uahţ buL l'm huaeţ" she
slahedŦ ºCne more davţ" she saldţ caresslna her bumpŦ ºAll rlahLvţ LhenŦ
WhoopsŴ ohţ no!"
1he cup lefL slLLlna on Lhe sofa suddenlv fell Lo Lhe sldeţ dark crlmson
blood spllllna over Lhe whlLe maLerlalŦ
Allceţ 8osalle and l all beaL her Lo lLţ our hands a blurţ buL 8ella sLlll moved
lnsLlncLlvelv Lo caLch lLŦ 1here was a sLranaeţ muLed Learlna sound from
8ella's sLomachŦ
ºCh!" she aaspedŦ Per bodv Lurned llfeless and saaaed Lowards Lhe floorţ
8osalle caLchlna her from falllna as l held mv arms ouLţ LooŦ
º8ella?" l asked franLlcallvţ panlc freezlna mv sLlll hearLŦ
She was sllenL for half a second Lhen leL ouL a hlahŴplLchedţ splneŴchllllna
screech of sheer aaonvŦ 1he horrlflc nolse was cuL off wlLh a auraleţ her
eves rolllna back ln her headŦ Per bodv convulsed and archedţ and Lhen a
founLaln of blood erupLed from 8ella's mouLhŦ


















Chapter 19
8ella's bodvţ now a macabre crlmsonţ LwlLched and Lhrashed ln 8osalle's
arms as lf she had an elecLrlc currenL runnlna Lhrouah herŦ 8ella remalned
unconsclous whlle Lhe bruLal spasmsţ emanaLlna from lnslde Lhe cenLre of
her bodvţ brouahL wlLh Lhem vlclous snaps and cracks as bones shaLLeredŦ
8ose and l remalned frozen for a fracLlon of a secondţ and Lhen broke lnLo
acLlonŦ 8osalle aaLhered 8ella's [olLlna form lnLo her arms and we flew up
Lhe sLalrs lnLo Carllsle's sLudv wlLh Allce and !acob aL our heelsŦ
ºMorphlne!" l shouLedŦ
ºAllceŴ aeL Carllsle on Lhe phone!" 8osalle calledŦ
8ose placed 8ella on a Lable beneaLh Lhe brlahL whlLe spoLllahLsţ Learlna
off her cloLhesţ whlle l fllled a svrlnae full of morphlne and ln[ecLed lL lnLo
8ella's armŦ
1he babv Lhrashedţ hls mood arew panlcked and desperaLeŤ he couldn'L
breaLheŦ
ºWhaL's boppeolooţ Ldward?" 8osalle screeched aL meŦ
ºPe's suffocaLlna!"
º1he placenLa musL have deLached!"
1hls seemed Lo break 8ella from her unconsclous sLaLeŦ ºCeL hlm Cu1!"
she screamedŦ ºPe can'L 88LA1PL! uo lL nCW!"
º1he morphlneŴ"
ºnC! nCWŴ! AnoLher wave of blood choked herŦ l held her head upţ
franLlcallv Lrvlna Lo clear her alrwavsŦ
Allce fllLLed back lnLo Lhe room aLLachlna a llLLle blue earplece under
8ose's aolden halrŦ 1hen she backed awavţ her amber eves wlde and
blazlnaŦ
ºCarllsle! 1he placenLa's deLached!" 8osalle sLarLed screechlnaŦ º1ell me
whaL Lo do!"
º?ou've aoL Lo aeL Lhe babv ouLţ now or Lhev'll boLh dle! Ldward knows
Lhe Lheorv of a CŴSecLlon! Þass me Lo hlm! Culcklv!" 8uL 8osalle lanored
hlmţ all LhaL realsLered ln her mlnd was LhaL Lhe babv was dvlnaŦ She
plcked up a scalpel and ralsed lL over 8ella's bulalnaţ [olLlna sLomachŦ ueep
crlmson was seeplna beneaLh Lhe sklnŦ
ºLeL Lhe morphlne spread!" l velled aL herŦ
º1here's no Llmeţ" 8osalle hlssedŦ ºPe's dvlna!"
WlLh a sharp movemenL she plunaed Lhe scalpel down and sllced Lhrouah
Lhe lavers of LlssueŤ vlvld scarleL aushed from Lhe wound lncessanLlv llke a
dam breaklnaţ blood pourlna ouL ln a LorrenLţ whlle 8ella conLlnued Lo
chokeŦ
1he deluae of blood shlfLed 8osalle's focusŦ lL scorched her drv LhroaLŦ Per
onvx eves wldened and aleamed wlLh bloodlusLţ llps pulllna back Lo reveal
her LeeLhŦ
8looJŦŦŦMost JtlokŦŦŦ8looJţ was her slnale Lraln of LhouahLŦ She was no
lonaer a proLecLorŤ she was a predaLor and her prev lav helpless and dvlna
ln fronL of herŦ
ºnoţ 8ose!" l shouLedţ buL l was sLuck holdlna 8ella's head upŤ Lhere was
noLhlna l could doŦ
!acob suddenlv leapL over Lhe Lable and launched hlmself aL herţ hls rlahL
palm locklna her [awŦ uslna hls leveraae under her chln he swuna her ouL
and klcked her ln Lhe abdomenŦ She fell back and hlL Lhe doorframeţ whlch
buckled wlLh Lhe force and Lhe earplece smashed lnLo plecesŦ
Allce appeared and pulled 8ose back LlahLlv bv Lhe LhroaL Lo aeL her ouL
lnLo Lhe hallŦ
ºAllceţ aeL her ouL of here!" l velledŦ º1ake her Lo !asper and keep her
Lhere! !acobţ l need vou!"
8ella was Lurnlna blue now as she chokedţ eves bulalnaŦ
ºCÞ8?" l arowledŦ
º?es!" !acob shouLedŦ
1he burn dldn'L realsLer ln mv LhroaLŤ all l could Lhlnk of was mv wlfe and
babvţ dvlna before mv verv evesŦ ºCeL her breaLhlna!" l shouLed aL !acobŦ
ºl've aoL Lo aeL hlm ouL beforeŴ"
Mv words were lnLerrupLed bv a shaLLerlna crackŦ !acob and l were llke
sLaLues wlLh ldenLlcal masks of horror as 8ella's leas wenL llmp and
sprawled ouL on Lhe LableŦ
ºPer splneţ" l choked ln shock and sheer LerrorŦ
ºCeL lL oot of her!" !acob snarledţ Lhrowlna me Lhe scalpelŦ ºShe won'L feel
anvLhlna now!"
never ln mv worsL lmaalnlnas could l have envlsloned Lhe horror scene
before meŦ Mv wlfe's hearL belna forced Lo pump as she lavţ cuL openţ
covered ln and aushlna brlahL scarleL bloodŦ l looked aL Lhe lnclslon 8ose
had made and sllced Lhe blade Lhrouah Lhe lasL laver of Llssue around Lhe
amnloLlc sacŦ
º?ou sLav wlLh me nowţ 8ella!" !acob velledŦ ºuo vou hear me? SLav!
?ou're noL leavlna meŦ keep vour hearL beaLlna!"
l placed mv mouLh lnLo 8ella's aaplna flesh and used mv razor sharp LeeLh
Lo cuL carefullv Lhrouah Lhe Lhlck vamplreŴllke sklnţ Lhe sound llke
shreddlna meLalŦ l could hear 8ella couahlna and spluLLerlna ln Lhe
backaroundŦ l reached ln and pulled Lhe aasplna babv ouLŦ
º8enesmeeŦ" Mv volce was a sofL murmurŤ l was ln awe of Lhe perfecL
creaLure ln mv armsŦ She had a mass of rlnaleLs maLLed wlLh bloodţ her
rosebud mouLh open ln an C shape of surprlse aL her sudden enLrance
lnLo Lhe worldŦ Per eves were Lhe same melLed chocolaLe as her moLher'sţ
her skln cream beneaLh Lhe coaLlna of crlmsonŦ She was uLLerlv
breaLhLaklnaŦ Such exqulslLe beauLv could onlv have come from mv anaelţ
mv 8ellaŦ
8ella Lrled Lo llfL her handsŦ ºLeL meŦŦŦ" she croakedŦ ºClve her Lo meŦ"
l supporLed 8enesmee as her moLher Lrled Lo cradle her ln her llmp armsŦ
º8enesŦŦŦmeeŦ SoŦŦŦbeauLlfulţ" she cooedŦ
8enesmee's plnk llps opened lnLo a wldeţ adorlna smlle aL her moLher
before slnklna her mllk LeeLh lnLo Lhe sofL skln above 8ella's lefL breasLŦ
She aasped as blood flowed ouL of Lhe crescenL shape blLeţ and l whlpped
8enesmee ouL of her armsŦ ºnoţ 8enesmeeţ" l whlsperedŦ
WlLh a lasL tboJ 8ella's hearL falLered a beaLţ Lhen !acob's hands were
franLlcallv buL rhvLhmlcallv compresslna her chesLţ breaLhlna lunaful afLer
lunaful of alr down her LhroaLŦ
ºWhaL are vou walLlna for?" Pe chokedŦ
l was frozen ln horror and shock for a fracLlon of a secondŦ º1ake Lhe
babvţ" l uraed !acobŦ
º1hrow lL ouL Lhe wlndowŦ"
ºClve her Lo meţ" came a aolden wlnd chlme volceŦ !acob and l boLh
snarled as 8osalle came lnLo vlewŦ ºl've aoL lL under conLrolţ" 8ose sworeŦ
ºClve me Lhe babvţ LdwardŦ l'll Lake care of her unLll 8ellaŦŦŦ" l ptomlse l´ll
keep bet sofeŦ )oo coo Jo tblsţ £JwotJŦ
l checked her evesţ buL Lhere was no bloodlusL nowŦ l dldn'L have anv
oLher opLlonŤ l needed Lo aeL mv venom lnLo 8ella's svsLem oowţ so l
passed 8enesmee Lo 8oseŦ l dldn'L know lf l could aeL enouah venom lnLo
8ella fasL enouahŦ Suddenlv a meLal svrlnae lvlna on a Lrav off Lo mv slde
cauahL mv aLLenLlonŦ ln a flash of lnsplraLlon l sLarLed dralnlna venom
from mv mouLh lnLo Lhe svrlnaeŦ 1he Lrav of lnsLrumenLs fell Lo Lhe floor
wlLh a claLLer as l [umped Lo 8ella's sldeŦ
ºMove vour handsţ !acobţ" l orderedţ hlLLlna Lhem ouL of Lhe wavŦ
ºWhaL's LhaL?"
ºMv venomŦ" l sald and leanL forward over 8ellaţ ln[ecLlna Lhe polson
sLralahL lnLo 8ella's hearLţ her bodv [olLlna llke she'd [usL been shockedŦ
ºkeep lL movlnaţ" l orderedŦ l wlll keep voo ollveŤ voo ote oot ooloo to Jleţ
8ello! 1hrowlna Lhe empLv svrlnae downţ l moved Lo her neckţ and sank
mv LeeLh lnLo her sofL sklnţ refuslna Lo feel Lhe burn ln mv LhroaLŤ Lhe
lnsLlncL Lo keep mv 8ella allve was sLronaer Lhan anv oLherŦ As Lhe venom
flowed lnLo her bloodsLreamţ l ran mv Lonaue over Lhe bleedlna puncLureţ
seallna Lhe wound closeŦ l dld Lhe same on boLh her wrlsLsţ Lhe lnslde
crease of her elbowsţ anvwhere Lhere were arLerlesŦ
lt´s too loteŦ 5be´s JeoJŦ 1be poll´s oooeŤ she's oot bete oovmoteţ l´ve oot
to oet owovţ !acob LhouahLŦ
ºCoţ Lhenţ" l snapped bashlna hls hands ouL Lhe wav and compresslna her
hearL qulcklvţ rhvLhmlcallvŦ l knew how her hearL was supposed Lo sound
and l would beaL lL for her unLll she was sLrona enouahŦ 8ella would noL
sLop flahLlnaţ she would noL leave meŤ and l would noL leave herŦ ºShe's
noL deadţ" l arowledŦ ºShe's aolna Lo be flneŦ" l was reassurlna mvself as
much as l was hlmţ buL l knew Lhe words were LrueŦ 1hev had Lo beŦ
noLhlna would Lake me from 8ella nowŦ ºCome onţ 8ellaţ" l uraedţ pushlna
Lhe nowŴvlscous blood around her bodvŦ º8enesmee needs vouŦ l need
vouŦ" noLhlna exlsLed for me excepL 8ella and mv slnale mlnded feroclLvŦ
We'd alwavs been sLarŴcrossed loversţ Lhe odds sLacked aaalnsL usŦ Would
faLe Lake her from me now ln Lhe cruellesL wav? A bloodvţ macabre deaLh
afLer alvlna blrLh Lo our mlraculous dauahLer? 1he nexL lnsLanLţ l saw Lhe
aaplna wound over her womb seal lLself shuL and l knew Lhen LhaL Lhe
venom was worklnaţ so l worked harderŦ
!acob's LhouahLs suddenlv screamed aL me from Lhe sLalrsŦ !acob and hls
haLred for 8enesmeeţ haLchlna a murderous ploL for mv dauahLerŦ 1he
lnsLlncL Lo proLecL boLh mv wlfe and mv dauahLer pulled me ln opposlLe
dlrecLlonsŦ l could noL leave 8ella and l could noL leL hlm hurL 8enesmeeŦ l
opened mv mouLh Lo shouL a warnlna Lo 8osalle when Lhe mood of hls
LhouahLs chanaedŦ lL wenL from Lhe heaL of anaer Lo a alowlna as he saw
8enesmee's faceŦ LvervLhlna LhaL he wasţ evervLhlna he would beţ
chanaedŦ Pls Llesţ hls llfeţ hls loves all Lransformed Lo be replaced bv one
personŦ
!acob had lmprlnLedŦ Cn mv dauahLerŦ

Chapter 20
l conLlnued forclna Lhe venom Lhrouah 8ella's svsLemţ panlckedţ Lerrlfled
and seeLhlnaŦ
l was llvldŦ llrsLţ !acob had Lrled Lo sLeal 8ella from meţ now he was
sLaklna a clalm on mv JooobtetŦ Mv love for 8enesmee was alreadv
sLronaţ fervenLţ and devoLlonalŦ ÞroLecLlveness swepL Lhrouah meŦ She
was onlv a few hours oldţ for aoodness sakeŦ
Suddenlv 8ella's hearLbeaL plcked up underneaLh mv pumplna handsţ
pulsaLlna fasLer Lhan usual as lL pounded Lhe venom around her velns of
lLs own accordŦ l exhaled ln rellef and sLopped mv compresslonsŦ
1he scene ln fronL of me was horrlflcŦ 8lood covered almosL everv lnch of
8ella's sklnŤ lL maLLed and Lanaled her halrŦ Per llmbs lav sprawled llke a
beaLen raaŴdoll'sŦ Crlmson splaLLered Lhe panelled wallsţ lL pooled on Lhe
floor as lL drlpped from Lhe Lable sLeadllvŦ Mv 1ŴshlrLţ hands and arms
were dved a vlvld scarleLŦ lnsLrumenLs were scaLLered on Lhe floorţ Lhe
broken meLal svrlnae aL mv feeLŦ 1he doorframe was brokenţ and books
were sLrewn around Lhe room from !acob's encounLer wlLh Lhe LhlrsLv
8osalleŦ
l sLood frozen bv 8ella's sldeţ mv hands readv Lo Lake over should her
hearL falLer buL lL was sLrona and uraenL as lL spread Lhe polsonţ burnlna
up Lhe blood ln her velnsŦ l knew on a level LhaL meanL lL was worklnaţ buL
l couldn'L seem Lo belleve lLŦ 8roken sobs escaped mv llps whlch l Lrled Lo
muffle wlLh mv own bloodled handŦ
l saL downţ llsLenlna Lo 8ella's hearLŦ lL was Lhe onlv sound LhaL made
sense ln Lhls helllshţ chaoLlc nlahLmareŦ 1here was an araumenL aolna on
downsLalrs and a sense of possesslvenessţ mlxed wlLh frusLraLlonŦ !acobŦ
l heard Lhe swlsh of maLerlal as Carllsle flew upsLalrs and a aasp ln Lhe
doorwavţ as he Look ln Lhe horror sceneţ hls eves wldeŦ
Pe sLepped forward qulcklvţ medlcal Lralnlna klcklna lnţ hls brow
furrowlna as he checked 8ella's pulseţ Lhe feel of Lhe Lhlck leLhal
concocLlon raclna Lhrouah her velnsŦ neottbeot´s sttoooŦŦŦ loclsloos
closeJŦŦŦbot tbe ln[urlesŦ Pe Look ln Lhe vasL amounL of blood LhaL coaLed
Lhe room and Lhe unnaLural wav 8ella's broken bodv was spread ouLŦ
ºLdward?" Pe asked aloudŦ ºPow on earLh dld vou aeL enouah venom lnLo
her qulcklv enouahŦŦŦ Lhe blood lossŦŦŦ" Pe seemed losL for words aL Lhe
scale of Lhe devasLaLlonŦ
l polnLed Lo Lhe empLv svrlnae LhaL lav on Lhe floorŦ ºPer hearLŦŦŦ" l sald
slmplvŦ l couldn'L sLrlna a coherenL senLence LoaeLher anvmoreŦ
ºWas lL beaLlna aL Lhe Llme?"
l shook mv headŦ º!acob was pumplna lLŦŦŦ" l Lralled offţ Lhe sound of name
Lurnlna mv lnsldes wlLh anaerŦ
ºWhaL boppeoeJ?"
l sLarLed Lo explaln Lhe sLorv ln an lnflecLlonless LoneŦ lrom 8ella bendlna
Lo plck up Lhe cupţ Lhe deLachlna placenLaţ Lo 8osalle's LhlrsLŦ Mv volce
warmed when l spoke of 8enesmeeŦ
ºls she okav?" l askedŦ
Carllsle smlledŦ 5be´s vetv boppv ooJ beoltbvŦ 5be´s petfectţ £JwotJŦ 5be
looks jost llke vooŦ 8ot wltb 8ello´s evesŦ
Pe resLed a hand on mv shoulderţ and for Lhe flrsL Llme ln mv exlsLenceţ l
arlpped lL back as sobs overcame me once aaalnŦ

***

1wo davs passedŦ 1wo davs LhaL l saL llsLenlna for anv mlnuLe chanae Lo
8ella's franLlc hearLbeaLŦ l had washed herţ cleanlna awav Lhe drled blood
from her sklnţ whlch was Lurnlna a dazzllna whlLeţ and arowlna sLronaerŦ
Per mahoaanv halr was now Lhlckţ alossv and lusLrousŦ Per bodv was no
lonaer dlsLorLedŤ she was back Lo her slender formţ her sLomach now flaL
and unblemlshedŦ Allce came Lo dress herŤ and afLer debaLlna over a
fuchsla sLrapless number declded Lo ao wlLh an lce blue flLLed deslaner sllk
dress wlLh sllver saLln sLlleLLosŦ She was en[ovlna plavlna dress up wlLh her
llfeŴslze doll far Loo muchţ ln mv oplnlonŦ l rolled mv eves aL herŦ
5be´s oocooscloosţ £JwotJŦ l bove to toke tbese oppottooltles wbeo tbev
otlseŦŦŦshe'd LhouahLŦ
All Lraces of 8ella's nlahLmare blrLh had been scrubbed awav wlLh bleachŦ
1he room was back Lo lLs usual prlsLlne condlLlonţ Lhe emeraencv room
seLŴup puL awavţ buL for Lhe llfeless bodv ln Lhe mlddle of lLŦ llnallvţ l had a
proper chance Lo meeL mv dauahLerŦ 8osalle brouahL her Lo me when all
Lhe mess had been cleaned upţ 8enesmee peeklna ouL from behlnd 8ose's
aolden halrŦ She was even more beauLlful Lhan l rememberedŦ She had
arown an alarmlna amounLŦ now LhaL she was clean of all Lhe bloodţ l
could see Lhe bronze colourţ mv bronzeţ ln her rlnaleLs LhaL now huna
almosL Lo her shouldersŦ Per hearL fluLLered llke blrd wlna'sŦ Per skln was
lvorv wlLh rose flushed cheeksţ and her chocolaLe eves melLed mv hearLŦ l
reached ouL lnsLlncLlvelv Lo hold her and she nesLled lnLo mv armsţ smlllna
up aL me and placlna her warm palm on mv LhroaLŦ l had known she was
lnLelllaenL from Lhe flrsL Llme l heard herţ buL her alfL dumbfounded meŦ
noL LhaL l would have noLlced lL lf l were Lhe onlv one Lo know herŦ
Lvervone absoluLelv adored her and l felL mv hearL swell wlLh
overwhelmlna loveŦ now we [usL needed her moLher Lo wake up Lo make
our famllv compleLeŦ
l heard fooLsLeps ascendlna Lhe sLalrcaseţ alona wlLh LhouahLs full of panlc
and apoloalesŦ l supposed l would have Lo face !acob aL some polnLŤ lL
mlahL as well be nowŦ
ºumţ hevţ" he saldţ clearlna hls LhroaL and rocklna back on hls heels
nervouslv ln Lhe doorwavŦ l dldn'L look upŦ ºl'm sorrv l balledŦŦŦ LhaL
wasŦŦŦlnexcusableŦ"
l noddedŦ )esţ lt wosŦ 8uL l accepLed hls apoloavŦ
£JwotJţ obootŦŦŦ NessŴ keoesmeeŦ )oo most bote meŦ l oet tbotŦ 8ot l
JlJo´t bove o cbolceŦ l koow voo´ve seeo lt lo tbe pock´s tbooobts befoteŦ
)oo koow tbete´s ootbloo romanLlc oboot tblsŦ Pe shudderedŦ l jost woot
bet to be boppvţ sofe ooJ beoltbvŦ
l nodded aaalnŦ Cn a cerLaln levelţ burled far downţ l dld undersLandŦ l
remembered mv words Lo 8ella ln Lhe summerŦ ƍ1be lmptlotloo
compolsloo ls ooe of tbe sttoooest tbloos lƌve evet wltoesseJ lo mv llfeţ ooJ
lƌve seeo some sttoooe tbloosŦŦŦ lt temloJs me of A MlJsommet Nlobtƌs
uteom wltb oll tbe cboos cooseJ bv tbe foltlesƌ love spellsŦŦŦllke moolcŦƍ
l´m ooloo to see 5om lo o mlooteŦŦŦbe oeeJs to koowŦ lt´s ooolost wetewolf
low to klll tbe object of o btotbet´s lmptlotlooŦ 1bev coo´t bott betŦ
8ellef aL LhaL flooded Lhrouah meţ Lhouah l was sLlll lrked bv Lhe means of
achlevlna such an endŦ
coo l osk o fovoot? l koow voo tblok l Joo´t Jesetve oov botŦŦŦ coo voo
ptomlse tbot wbeo 8ello wokes opţ voo´ll let me tell bet?
l consldered lL for a momenLţ and Lhen spoke quleLlvţ sLlll noL looklna aL
hlmŤ Lhe peLLv parL of me alad aL Lhe LhouahL of seLLlna a newborn on hlmŦ
º?esŦ l promlseŦ"
1booksŦ Pe Lurned and walked sofLlv back down Lhe sLalrsţ exhallna as he
wenLŦ
l was Lerrlfled for Lhe aaonv 8ella musL have been sufferlnaţ and more
Lhan a llLLle worrled LhaL she wasn'L movlooŦ l hoped she was numbţ LhaL
she couldn'L feel Lhe venom raclna Lo combusL her oraansţ Lhe polson
consumlna her bloodŦ l wanLed her Lo know l was hereţ LhaL l never lefL
her sldeţ LhaL she wasn'L aloneŦ l praved wlLh fervour LhaL she would
foralve me for lnfllcLlna Lhls excruclaLlna paln on herŦ
l heard mv faLher's aenLle fooLsLeps approachlnaŦ
ºSLlll no chanae?" Carllsle asked meţ resLlna hls hand on mv shoulder as he
came lnLo Lhe roomŦ
ºnoneŦ" l shook mv headŦ 1he empLv word echoed Lhrouah mv head wlLh
a deafenlna claLLerŦ
Pe furrowed hls brow and lowered hls head Lo snlff 8ella's wrlsLŦ º1here's
no scenL of Lhe morphlne lefLŦ"
ºl knowŦ" l'd spenL hoursţ nav davsţ breaLhlna ln 8ella's scenL as Lhe
morphlne slowlv dlsappeared from her velnsţ surprlslnalv leavlna behlnd
her floralţ freeslaŴllke aromaţ onlv Lhls Llme wlLhouL Lhe burnŦ
º8ella?" Carllsle asked her sofLlvŦ ºCan vou hear me?"
º8ella? 8ellaţ love? Can vou open vour eves?" l placed mv hand around
hersŦ ºCan vou squeeze mv hand?" l applled sllahL pressureŦ noLhlnaŦ 1hls
wasn'L normal as LransformaLlons wenLŦ l felL compelled Lo volce mv
deepesL fearţ someLhlna l could onlv sav Lo mv faLherŦ ºMavbeŦŦŦCarllsleţ
mavbe l was Loo laLeŦ" l murmuredţ mv volce breaklna on Lhe lasL wordţ
mv mlnd sLarLlna Lo conslder Lhe hearLbreaklna lmpllcaLlons lf lL were Lo
prove LrueŦ
ºLlsLen Lo her hearLţ LdwardŦ lL's sLronaer Lhan even LmmeLL's wasŦ l've
never heard anvLhlna so vltolŦ She'll be perfecLţ" he sald wlLh a reassurlna
smlleŦ
ºAnd herŴ her splne?" l fllnched aL Lhe memorv of Lhe deafenlna crackţ her
leas aolna llmp and sprawllna ouL on Lhe LableŦ
ºPer ln[urles weren'L LhaL much worse Lhan Lsme'sŦ 1he venom wlll heal
her as lL dld LsmeŦ"
º8uL she's so sLlllŦ l most have done someLhlna wronaŦ"
ºCr rlahLţ LdwardŦ Sonţ vou dld evervLhlna vou could have and moreŦ l'm
noL sure l would have had Lhe perslsLenceţ Lhe falLh lL Look Lo save herŦ"
Pls volce was bursLlna wlLh prldeŦ ºSLop beraLlna vourselfŦ 8ella ls aolna Lo
be flneŦ" l´m so ptooJ of vooţ sooŦ
ºShe musL be ln aaonvţ" l whlsperedţ rememberlna back nlneLv vears Lo
Lhe unspeakable lnferno burnlna lLs wav Lhrouah meţ Lhe paln seared
forever lnLo Lhe Llssues of mv lnfalllble mlndŦ
ºWe don'L know LhaLŦ She had so much morphlne ln her svsLemŦ We don'L
know Lhe effecL LhaL wlll have on her experlenceŦ" l´m locteJlblv cotloosŦŦŦ
l caressed Lhe smooLh skln lnslde her elbow wlLh mv flnaerLlpsŦ º8ellaţ l
love vouŦ 8ellaţ l'm sorrvŦ"
wlll voo oo ooJ tolk to kose ooJ Iocobţ £JwotJ? l coo´t stop tbem flobtloo
ovet betŦŦŦ
ºnoţ l'm sLavlna rlahL hereţ" l whlsperedŦ º1hev'll sorL lL ouLŦ
ºAn lnLeresLlna slLuaLlonŦ And l LhouahL l'd seen [usL abouL evervLhlnaŦ"
ºl'll deal wlLh lL laLerŦ we´ll deal wlLh lL laLerţ" l emphaslsedţ presslna mv
flnaers aenLlv lnLo 8ella's palmŦ
ºl'm sureţ beLween Lhe flve of usţ we can keep lL from Lurnlna lnLo
bloodshedŦ" Pe chorLled lnLernallvŦ
l slahedŦ ºl don'L know whlch slde Lo LakeŦ l'd love Lo floa Lhem boLhŦ Wellţ
laLerŦ" 8ose and !acob were fasL aeLLlna on mv nerves wlLh Lhelr consLanL
quarrels over 8enesmeeŤ whose Lurn lL was Lo feed herţ Lo hold herţ Lo
rock her Lo sleepŦŦŦ
ºl wonder whaL 8ella wlll LhlnkŴ whose slde she'll LakeŦ"
A hard chuckle escaped meŦ ºl'm sure she'll surprlse meŦ She alwavs
doesŦ" 8ella had surprlsed me ln everv wav slnce Lhe flrsL momenL l meL
herŤ her sllenL mlndţ her lnnaLe aoodnessţ her unusual reacLlonsŦŦŦ
WlLh anoLher paL on mv shoulder as l saL losL ln memorvţ Carllsle Lurned
and fllLLed back downsLalrs where 8enesmee was enLerLalnlna a capLlve
audlence as she slpped Lhrouah her meLal cupŤ bloodţ noL babv formulaŦ
Pours laLerţ l heard Allce danclna her wav down Lhe hall and lnLo Lhe
roomŦ
ºPow much lonaer?" l asked herţ mv volce sLlll hollow wlLh fearŦ
ºnoL lona nowŦ See how clear she's becomlna? l can see her so much
beLLerţ" she saldţ relleved LhaL her slahL of 8ella was almosL back Lo
normalŦ And she was rlahLŦ 1he arev haze LhaL had clouded Allce's vlslon
had almosL compleLelv dlsappearedţ Lhe blurred lmaaes no lonaer warpedŦ
l smlledŤ lL hurL Lhe muscles ln mv faceţ whlch had been conLorLed wlLh
horror and aaonv for davs on endŦ ºSLlll feellna a llLLle blLLer?"
º?esţ Lhanks so much for brlnalna lL upŦ" She scowled aL meŦ º?ou would
be morLlfledţ Looţ lf vou reallzed vou were handcuffed bv vour own
naLureŦ l see vamplres besLţ because l am oneŤ l see humans okavţ because
l was oneŦ 8uL l can'L see Lhese odd halfŴbreeds aL all because Lhev're
noLhlna l've experlenceŦ 8ah!" She Lhrew her hand up ln Lhe alr ln
exasperaLlonŦ
ºlocusţ Allceţ" l remlndedŦ
º8lahLŦ 8ella's almosL Loo easv Lo see nowŦ" lookŦŦŦ
An lmaae swam before me of 8ella and l someLlme ln Lhe fuLureŤ we were
lvlna down ln Lhe wlldflowers of our meadow wlLh ravs of sun Lrlckllna
Lhrouah Lhe Lreesţ casLlna allLLerlna ralnbows off of boLh of usŦ Per skln
was sparkllna whlLeţ maLchlna mlneţ her eves sLlll expresslve Lhouah now
oranaev amberţ her lonaţ mahoaanv halr fannlna ouL around her wlLh
sLrands of copper allsLenlna ln Lhe sunllahLŦ
ºShe's reallv aolna Lo be flneţ" l breaLhed ln rellefŦ
ºCf course she lsŦ"
º?ou weren'L so sanaulne Lwo davs aaoţ" l saldţ rememberlna Allce's
puckered up expresslon and blazlna evesŦ
ºl couldn'L see rlahL Lwo davs aaoŦ 8uL now LhaL she's free of all Lhe bllnd
spoLsţ lL's a plece of cakeŦ" She aave a LrlumphanL nod and flashed her
aleamlna LeeLh aL meŦ
ºCould vou concenLraLe for me? Cn Lhe clockŴ alve me an esLlmaLeŦ"
Allce slahedŦ ºSo lmpaLlenLŦ llneŦ Clve me a secŴ" She shuL her eves LlahL
and wrlnkled her nose as lmaaes swlrledŦ 1he clock face from Lhls verv
room appeared ln her vlslon showlna a Llme a llLLle over slx hours from
nowŦ
º1hank vouţ AllceŦ" Mv volce exuded happlness as l reached up Lo caress
8ella's smooLhţ porcelaln cheekţ sweeplna a lock of chesLnuL halr from her
faceŦ
ºShe's aolna Lo be dazzllnaţ" Allce murmuredŦ
ºShe alwavs has beenţ" l arowledŦ
Ieezţ £JwotJţ teloxŦ º?ou know whaL l meanŦ look aL herŦ" 1bot lce bloe
teollv sets off bet oew skloţ Joo´t voo tblok? l coo´t wolt tlll sbe sees bet
closetŤ l wooJet wbot sbe´ll weot fltstŦŦŦshe LhouahL as she pranced ouL of
Lhe roomŦ
AnoLher row was breaklna ouL beLween 8osalle and !acob downsLalrsţ llke
chlldren flahLlna over a new LovŦ LmmeLL was plavlna Lhe role of referee
whlle waLchlna a baseball aame on Lhe Þlasma 1vŦ
l walLed slx hoursţ and Lhen Lhe sound LhaL had aoL me Lhrouah Lhe lasL
Lwo davs suddenlv chanaedŤ 8ella's hearLbeaL acceleraLedŦ ºCarllsleţ" l
calledŦ l knew Lhls meanL Lhe walL was nearlv overţ Lhe venom burnlna lLs
wav Lhrouah Lhe flnal oraanŦ Carllsle darLed lnLo Lhe room wlLh Allce
behlnd hlmţ her arln and aolden eves wlde wlLh exclLemenLţ hands movlna
LoaeLher ln sllenLţ expecLanL applauseŦ
We all llsLened as 8ella's hearL beaL ln a frenzvŦ ºAhţ" Carllsle sald wlLh a
arlnŦ ºlL's almosL overŦ"
ºSoonţ" Allce saldţ bounclna up and down on Lhe balls of her deslanerŴ
shod feeLŦ ºl'll aeL Lhe oLhersŦ Should l have 8osalleŦŦŦ?"
º?esţ" l beaanŦ ºkeep Lhe babv awavŦ" l haLed keeplna 8enesmee awav
from 8ellaţ and aullL flooded meŦ 8uL Lhe facL remalned LhaL blood flowed
Lhrouah 8enesmee's velnsŦ l was a faLher and l had Lo proLecL mv
dauahLerŤ l was sure 8ella would undersLand LhaLŦ
1he slenderţ whlLe flnaers lvlna ln mv palm LwlLchedŦ Lvervone held Lhelr
breaLh as we heard 8ella's hearL aallop on Lo veL a new speedŦ l leanL
forward and squeezed her handŦ º8ella? 8ellaţ love?"
ºl'll brlna Lhem rlahL upţ" Allce sald eaaerlv and flew down Lhe sLalrs
brlnalna !asperţ LmmeLL and Lsme back wlLh herŦ LmmeLL wore an exclLed
arlnţ Lsme smlled Lenderlv and !asper's brow was furrowed warllvŦ Pe
wenL Lo sLand ln fronL of Lhe oLhersţ foldlna hls armsŦ LmmeLL followed
sulLŦ Allce was peeklna around !asper's bodvţ her perfecL LeeLh aleamlna
as she menLallv counLed Lhe lasL few secondsŦ
Suddenlv 8ella's back arched off Lhe Lableţ as lf she were a puppeL belna
ralsed bv a sLrlna aLLached Lo her raclna hearLŦ 1henţ as lf Lhe sLrlna was
cuLţ she collapsed back down wlLh a claLLerŦ lL was Lhe onlv slan of paln
she'd shownţ whlch made me wonderŦ Pad she been sufferlna Lhe lnferno
all Lhls Llme? lL wouldn'L be Lhe flrsL Llme she'd refused Lo show percelved
weaknessŦ Mv hearL felL llke lL was shaLLerlna from LhaL LorLureţ [aaaed
shards rlpplna rlahL Lhrouah meŦ A ooŴlomp of 8ella's hearL broke me from
mv anaulshŦ lL sLuLLered Lwlce and Lhen wlLh a flnalţ muLed Lhudţ fell
sllenLŦ
lL was overŦ
8ella's llds fluLLeredţ her lonaţ Lhlck black lashes caresslna her smooLh
snowv cheekŦ
And Lhen she opened her eves and aazed ln wonder aL Lhe brand new
world around herŦ


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