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Generated image Jacob has always been willing to do anything for Bella. Now Bella is willing to let him do anything for her. Edward is a little more convincing, Jacob a little more usable, and Bella just a little more vindictive. “He left me! No, no, no! How could he do this? How could he leave me? No, no, he can’t leave me! He left me!” she sobbed. “He left me!” Bella choked, caught her breath. Raised her head, eyes glittering. HE LEFT ME.


2. Chapter 2

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I fought Sam Uley all the way out of the woods. I had tried to get up and run, but he had caught my wrist and tried to talk some sense into me. I hadn’t wanted that, no, not at all. I had wrenched, twisted, bucked madly, and when I could not get away, I had turned on him. I sent the first hit home, cracking him in the nose. That got his attention.

With my arms trapped behind me, there was little I could do as he frog marched me through the foliage to the path, only yards from where I’d thought myself lost forever. I fought vainly to get away, but he was strong. When we reached the edge of the woods, he called out, and people converged on us. I was swarmed, dozens of faces swimming in front of my eyes, dozens of voices questioning, dozens of people wanting to know, why, why, why? That was the million dollar question wasn’t it. I grew still in Sam’s arms, and he eased his hold. And the wet concrete swirled up to meet me.

I was semiconscious, my head wanting to slow, just for a moment, to catch up, to process. I heard my father’s voice, Charlie’s, yelling for a doctor, felt hands on me once more, pulling me as the questions had pulled me before. I was moved, carried away and I didn’t want to go. I had things to do, places to go, a lying, heartbreaking, vampire boyfriend to crush.

But no, I chided myself as I was lowered down. No, no, no, can’t do that can we. Must plan these things, must think them out. I allowed the doctor to poke and prod at me, ignoring his questions while I thought.

Make him hurt. That was all I could think. Make him hurt, make him hurt, make him hurt. Because if I could make him hurt like he made me hurt, it was possible that we could cancel each other out.

It seems that I must have slowly fallen asleep, because when I next opened my eyes, the house was dark. I could hear the soft noises Charlie made when he slept, and knew that he must have left his door open so he could hear me if I called. I sat up slowly and a blue afghan pooled around my lap. I was wearing the clothes I had had on when it had happed, and I found myself shivering. I was so cold.

I stood slowly, my joints creaking stiffly. Hugging my arms around my middle, I tried to warm myself up by pacing quietly back and forth across the floor. It didn’t work, so I tiptoed up the stairs into the bathroom and shut the door.

I turned the shower on as hot as it would go, then pulled the curtain closed and waited while the room filled up with steam. The mirror fogged and I pulled off my clothes and stuffed them deep into the hamper. Stepping into the water I bit back a cry at the sting of the spray. I let it fall down over my face, soaking my hair and running over my shoulders. I watched my skin turn red from the heat, and jumped when I heard a knock on the door.

“Bella? You ok?”

“Yes,” I called, a lie. “I’m ok.”

It must have satisfied him because he said no more. I remained in the shower for as long as I could stand the heat, then stepped out and toweled off roughly. Charlie’s flannel bath robe hung on the back of the door where it always did, unused and unloved, but I pulled it down and wrapped it around myself gratefully. I left the bathroom in a cloud of steam, and trailed slowly back downstairs.

Once I settled onto the couch, I tucked my legs underneath me and clicked on the TV. I muted it so it wouldn’t bother Charlie, then flicked through the channels. I decided on Animal Planet, watching while a lion silently stalked some poor creature through tall, waving grasses. Absently I reached for the afghan and curled beneath it.

Seconds later I looked down at myself and realized how tightly I was ensconed. It was then that I realized I would never be warm again. The ice was inside me, and it was there to stay.