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.
3. Chapter 3
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I was being stared down. All the old ones, the respected elders of the tribe, lined the table, Billy Black at the head. Perhaps it wasn’t his place but tonight it was. The firelight flickered off his face, casting shadows into corners. The room was growing warmer and warmer, the heat of the flame unable to escape, but I shivered under so many heavy glares.
“Samuel, I suggest you tell us now exactly what happened when you found that girl.”
I let out a breath and began as well as I could.
“I knew that there was movement. I watched the line as best I could. Then it was… still.”
I shuddered as I recalled the sudden lack of movement, the sudden calm in the air, knowing that I had failed, and yet not knowing how.
“I came back and reported to you,” I continued. “That afternoon, Charlie Swan reported his daughter missing. I’m sure you could guess my first thought. I was certain that they’d either killed or taken her. I volunteered to help search the woods near Charlie’s house, thinking that if I found the body I could… dispose of it.”
There was a murmur of approval around the table, and I was disgusted.
“When it got dark, the searchers were called off for the night. I took the opportunity to make the change and do a deeper search. I came across Bella’s scent not far from the trail. I circled multiple times. I could smell her, hear her heartbeat, but for all else I would have thought her dead.
“I changed back, went to her. When I called her name, she bolted up. She started screaming that he’d left her, and then I knew that they were gone. I asked if she’d been hurt, but she wouldn’t answer. She just kept screaming, he’d left, he’d left. Then she got quiet.”
I was quiet a minute. “She won’t forgive him for what he did,” I burst out.
There was an outbreak of murmurs, harsh whispers. Billy Black silenced them.
“What of the others?” he asked. “The younger boys?”
“They’re out on the cliffs,” I said. “Bonfires. They’re celebrating. But it’s started. The movement, the… potential of what could have happened… what should’ve happened. They’ll all be matured within the month.”
There was an uproar now. The elders jumped up, voices all around. Billy fought to bring it back down.
“We expected this,” he exclaimed. “We knew this movement would bring about changes. We’ll have to make allowances. Sam, gather them, all of them, Paul, Jared, Seth, Leah, Jake, all of them. Every child. Bring them here, now. It’s time for us all to be what we were meant to be.”
I nodded and ducked out the door, into the rain, and started running to the cliffs. Everyone? He would call them all? So many new flames. What difference would this be for me, to no longer be the only one. But Leah? Jake? Seth? All so young, all with so much hurt when they learn. Putting my head down, I ran all the faster.