"Of course he does." Her tone was almost gloating now. "You have the most beautiful voice in the universe. Who wouldn't love it?"

"Do you have a backup plan?" Rosalie asked then, leaning over the back of the sofa with the same wondering, gloating look on her face that was on Bella's. "What if he's a she?"

Bella wiped the back of her hand under her wet eyes. "I kicked a few things around. Playing with Renee and

Esme. I was thinking... Ruh-nez-may."

"Ruhnezmay?"

"R-e-n-e-s-m-e-e. Too weird?"

"No, I like it," Rosalie assured her. Their heads were close together, gold and mahogany. "It's beautiful. And one of a kind, so that fits"

"I still think he's an Edward."

Edward was staring off into space, his face blank as he listened.

"What?" Bella asked, her face just glowing away. "What's he thinking now?"

At first he didn't answer, and then - shocking all the rest of us again, three distinct and separate

gasps - he laid his ear tenderly against her belly.

"He loves you," Edward whispered, sounding dazed. "He absolutely adores you."

In that moment, I knew that I was alone. All alone.

I wanted to kick myself when I realized how much I'd been counting on that loathsome vampire. How stupid - as if you could ever trust a leech! Of course he would betray me in the end.

I'd counted on him to be on my side. I'd counted on him to suffer more than I suffered. And, most of all, I'd counted on him to hate that revolting thing killing Bella more than I hated it.

I'd trusted him with that.

Yet now they were together, the two of them bent over the budding, invisible monster with their eyes lit up like a happy family.

And I was all alone with my hatred and the pain that was so bad it was like being tortured. Like being dragged slowly across a bed of razor blades. Pain so bad you'd take death with a smile just to get away from it.

The heat unlocked my frozen muscles, and I was on my feet.

All three of their heads snapped up, and I watched my pain ripple across Edward's face as he trespassed in my head again.

"Ahh," he choked.

I didn't know what I was doing; I stood there, trembling, ready to bolt for the very first escape that I could think of.

Moving like the strike of a snake, Edward darted to a small end table and ripped something from the drawer there. He tossed it at me, and I caught the object reflexively.

"Go, Jacob. Get away from here." He didn't say it harshly - he threw the words at me like they were a life preserver. He was helping me find the escape I was dying for.

The object in my hand was a set of car keys.

17. WHAT DO I LOOK LIKE? THE WIZARD OF OZ? YOU NEE

HEART? GO AHEAD. TAKE MINE. TAKE EVERYTHING I HAVE.

I sort of had a plan as I ran to the Cullens' garage. The second part of it was totaling the bloodsucker's car on my way back.

So I was at a loss when I mashed the button on the keyless remote, and it was not his Volvo that beeped and flashed its lights for me. It was another car - a standout even in the long line of vehicles that were mostly all drool-worthy in their own ways.

Did he actually mean to give me the keys to an Aston Martin Vanquish, or was that an accident?

I didn't pause to think about it, or if this would change that second part of my plan. I just threw myself into the silky leather seat and cranked the engine while my knees were still crunched up under the steering wheel. The sound of the motor's purr might have made me moan another day, but right now it was all I could do to concentrate enough to put it in drive.

I found the seat release and shoved myself back as my foot rammed the pedal down. The car felt almost airborne as it leaped forward.

It only took seconds to race through the tight, winding drive. The car responded to me like my thoughts were steering rather than my hands. As I blew out of the green tunnel and onto the highway, I caught a fleeting glimpse of Leah's gray face peering uneasily through the ferns.

For half a second, I wondered what she'd think, and then I realized that I didn't care.

I turned south, because I had no patience today for ferries or traffic or anything else that meant I might have to lift my foot off the pedal.

In a sick way, it was my lucky day. If by lucky you meant taking a well-traveled highway at two hundred without so much as seeing one cop, even in the thirty-mile-an-hour speed-trap towns. What a letdown. A little chase action

might have been nice, not to mention that the license plate info would bring the heat down on the leech. Sure, he'd buy his way out of it, but it might have been just a little inconvenient for him.

The only sign of surveillance i came across was just a hint of dark brown fur flitting through the woods, running parallel to me for a few miles on the south side of Forks. Quil, it looked like. He must have seen me, too, because he disappeared after a minute without raising an alarm. Again, I almost wondered what his story would be before I remembered that I didn't care.

I raced around the long U-shaped highway, heading for the biggest city I could find. That was the first part of my plan.

It seemed to take forever, probably because I was still on the razor blades, but it actually didn't even take two hours before I was driving north into the undefined sprawl that was part Tacoma and part Seattle. I slowed down then, because I really wasn't trying to kill any innocent bystanders.

This was a stupid plan. It wasn't going to work. But, as I'd searched my head for any way at all to get away from the pain, what Leah'd said today had popped in there.

That would go away, you know, if you imprinted. You wouldn't have to hurt over her anymore.

Seemed like maybe getting your choices taken away from you wasn't the very worst thing in the world. Maybe feeling like this was the very worst thing in the world.

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