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The Twilight Saga Collection part 2

By´╝ÜStephenie Meyer


WE ENDED UP ON THE BEACH AGAIN, WANDERING AIMlessly. Jacob was still full of himself for engineering my escape.

“Do you think they’ll come looking for you?” he asked, sounding hopeful.

“No.” I was certain about that. “They’re going to be furious with me tonight, though.”

He picked up a rock and chucked it into the waves. “Don’t go back, then,” he suggested again.

“Charlie would love that,” I said sarcastically.

“I bet he wouldn’t mind.”

I didn’t answer. Jacob was probably right, and that made me grind my teeth together. Charlie’s blatant preference for my Quileute friends was so unfair. I wondered if he would feel the same if he knew the choice was really between vampires and werewolves.

“So what’s the latest pack scandal?” I asked lightly.

Jacob skidded to a halt, and he stared down at me with shocked eyes.

“What? That was a joke.”

“Oh.” He looked away.

I waited for him to start walking again, but he seemed lost in thought.

“Is there a scandal?” I wondered.

Jacob chuckled once. “I forget what it’s like, not having everyone know everything all the time. Having a quiet, private place inside my head.”

We walked along the stony beach quietly for a few minutes.

“So what is it?” I finally asked. “That everyone in your head already knows?”

He hesitated for a moment, as if he weren’t sure how much he was going to tell me. Then he sighed and said, “Quil imprinted. That’s three now. The rest of us are starting to get worried. Maybe it’s more common than the stories say. . . .” He frowned, and then turned to stare at me. He gazed into my eyes without speaking, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration.

“What are you staring at?” I asked, feeling self-conscious.

He sighed. “Nothing.”

Jacob started walking again. Without seeming to think about it, he reached out and took my hand. We paced silently across the rocks.

I thought of how we must look walking hand and hand down the beach — like a couple, certainly — and wondered if I should object. But this was the way it had always been with Jacob. . . . No reason to get worked up about it now.

“Why is Quil’s imprinting such a scandal?” I asked when it didn’t look like he was going to go on. “Is it because he’s the newest one?”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“It’s another one of those legend things. I wonder when we’re going to stop being surprised that they’re all true?” he muttered to himself.

“Are you going to tell me? Or do I have to guess?”

“You’d never get it right. See, Quil hasn’t been hanging out with us, you know, until just recently. So he hadn’t been around Emily’s place much.”

“Quil imprinted on Emily, too?” I gasped.

“No! I told you not to guess. Emily had her two nieces down for a visit . . . and Quil met Claire.”

He didn’t continue. I thought about that for a moment.

“Emily doesn’t want her niece with a werewolf? That’s a little hypocritical,” I said.

But I could understand why she of all people might feel that way. I thought again of the long scars that marred her face and extended all the way down her right arm. Sam had lost control just once when he was standing too close to her. Once was all it took. . . . I’d seen the pain in Sam’s eyes when he looked at what he’d done to Emily. I could understand why Emily might want to protect her niece from that.

“Would you please stop guessing? You’re way off. Emily doesn’t mind that part, it’s just, well, a little early.”

“What do you mean early?”

Jacob appraised me with narrowed eyes. “Try not to be judgmental, okay?”

I nodded cautiously.

“Claire is two,” Jacob told me.

Rain started to fall. I blinked furiously as the drops pelted my face.

Jacob waited in silence. He wore no jacket, as usual; the rain left a spatter of dark spots on his black T-shirt, and dripped through his shaggy hair. His face was expressionless as he watched mine.

“Quil . . . imprinted . . . with a two-year-old?” I was finally able to ask.

“It happens.” Jacob shrugged. He bent to grab another rock and sent it flying out into the bay. “Or so the stories say.”

“But she’s a baby,” I protested.

He looked at me with dark amusement. “Quil’s not getting any older,” he reminded me, a bit of acid in his tone. “He’ll just have to be patient for a few decades.”