Sam, Jared, Paul, Quit... they don't seem to mind.

None of themhave a mind of their own.

You don't want to imprint?

Hell, no!

That's just because you're already in love withher. That would go away, you know, if you imprinted. You wouldn't have to hurt over her anymore.

Do you want to forget the way you feel about Sam?

She deliberated for a moment. think I do.

I sighed. She was in a healthier place than I was.

But back to my original point, Jacob. I understand why your blond vampire is so cold - in the figurative sense. She's focused. She's got her eyes on the prize, right? Because you always want the very most what you can never, ever have.

You would act like Rosalie? You would murder someone - because that's what she's doing, making sure no one interferes with Bella's death - you would do that to have a baby? Since when are you a breeder?

I just want the options I don't have, Jacob. Maybe, if there was nothing wrong with me, I would never give it a thought.

You would kill for that?I demanded, not letting her escape my question.

That's not what she's doing. I think it's more like she's living vicariously. And... if Bella askedme to help her with

this...She paused, considering. Even though I don't think too much of her, I'd probably do the same as the bloodsucker.

A loud snarl ripped through my teeth.

Because, if it was turned around, I'd want Bella to do that for me. And so would Rosalie. We'd both do it her way.

Ugh! You're as bad as they are!

That's the funny thing about knowing you can't have something. It makes you desperate.

And.. . that's my limit Right there. This conversation is over.


It wasn't enough that she'd agreed to stop. I wanted a stronger termination than that.

I was only about a mile from where I'd left my clothes, so I phased back to human and walked. I didn't think about our conversation. Not because there wasn't anything to think about, but because I couldn't stand it. I would not see it that way - but it was harder to keep from doing that when Leah had put the thoughts and emotions straight into my head.

Yeah, I wasn't running with her when this was finished. She could go be miserable in La Push. One little Alpha command before I left for good wasn't going to kill anybody.

It was real early when I got to the house. Bella was probably still asleep. I figured I'd poke my head in, see what was going on, give 'em the green light to go hunting, and then find a patch of grass soft enough to sleep on while human. I wasn't phasing back until Leah was asleep.

But there was a lot of low mumbling going on inside the house, so maybe Bella wasn't sleeping. And then I heard the machinery sound from upstairs again - the X-ray? Great. It looked like day four on the countdown was starting off with a bang.

Alice opened the door for me before I could walk in.

She nodded. "Hey, wolf."

"Hey, shortie. What's going on upstairs?" The big room was empty - all the murmurs were on the second floor.

She shrugged her pointy little shoulders. "Maybe another break." She tried to say the words casually, but I could see the flames in the very back of her eyes. Edward and I weren't the only ones who were burning over this. Alice loved Bella, too.

"Another rib?" I asked hoarsely.

"No. Pelvis this time."

Funny how it kept hitting me, like each new thing was a surprise. When was I going to stop being surprised? Each new disaster seemed kinda obvious in hindsight.

Alice was staring at my hands, watching them tremble.

Then we were listening to Rosalie's voice upstairs.

"See, I told you I didn't hear a crack. You need your ears checked, Edward."

There was no answer.

Alice made a face. "Edward's going to end up ripping Rose into small pieces, I think. I'm surprised she doesn't see that. Or maybe she thinks Emmett will be able to stop him."

"I'll take Emmett," I offered. "You can help Edward with the ripping part."

Alice half-smiled.

The procession came down the stairs then - Edward had Bella this time. She was gripping her cup of blood in both hands, and her face was white. I could see that, though he compensated for every tiny movement of his body to keep from jostling her, she was hurting.

"Jake," she whispered, and she smiled through the pain.

I stared at her, saying nothing.

Edward placed Bella carefully on her couch and sat on the floor by her head. I wondered briefly why they didn't leave her upstairs, and then decided at once that it must be Bella's idea. She'd want to act like things were normal, avoid the hospital setup. And he was humoring her. Naturally.

Carlisle came down slowly, the last one, his face creased with worry. It made him look old enough to be a doctor for once.

"Carlisle," I said. "We went halfway to Seattle. There's no sign of the pack. You're good to go."

"Thank you, Jacob. This is good timing. There's much that we need." His black eyes flickered to the cup that Bella was holding so tight.

"Honestly, I think you're safe to take more than three. I'm pretty positive that Sam is concentrating on La Push."

Carlisle nodded in agreement. It surprised me how willingly he took my advice. "If you think so. Alice, Esme, Jasper, and I will go. Then Alice can take Emmett and Rosa - "

"Not a chance," Rosalie hissed. "Emmett can go with you now."

"You should hunt," Carlisle said in a gentle voice.

His tone didn't soften hers. "I'll hunt when he does," she growled, jerking her head toward Edward and then flipping her hair back.

Carlisle sighed.

Jasper and Emmett were down the stairs in a flash, and Alice joined them by the glass back door in the same second. Esme flitted to Alice's side.