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Eclipse

By´╝ÜStephenie Meyer


1. ULTIMATUM
Bella,
I don't know why you're making Charlie carry notes to Billy like we're in second grade - if I
wanted to talk to you I would answer the
You made the choice here, okay? You can't have it both ways when
What part of 'mortal enemies' is too complicated for you to
Look, I know I'm being a jerk, but there's just no way around
We can't be friends when you're spending all your time with a bunch of
It just makes it worse when I think about you too much, so don't write anymore
Yeah, I miss you, too. A lot. Doesn't change anything. Sorry.
Jacob
I ran my fingers across the page, feeling the dents where he had pressed the pen to the paper
so hard that it had nearly broken through. I could picture him writing this - scrawling the
angry letters in his rough handwriting, slashing through line after line when the words came
out wrong, maybe even snapping the pen in his too-big hand; that would explain the ink
splatters. I could imagine the frustration pulling his black eyebrows together and crumpling
his forehead. If I'd been there, I might have laughed.Don't give yourself a brain hemorrhage,
Jacob, I would have told him.Just spit it out.
Laughing was the last thing I felt like doing now as I reread the words I'd already
memorized. His answer to my pleading note - passed from Charlie to Billy to him, just like
second grade, as he'd pointed out - was no surprise. I'd known the essence of what it would
say before I'd opened it.
What was surprising was how much each crossed-out line wounded me - as if the points of
the letters had cutting edges. More than that, behind each angry beginning lurked a vast pool
of hurt; Jacob's pain cut me deeper than my own.
While I was pondering this, I caught the unmistakable scent of a smoking burner rising from
the kitchen. In another house, the fact that someone besides myself was cooking might not
be a cause for panicking.
I shoved the wrinkled paper into my back pocket and ran, making it downstairs in the nick of
time.
The jar of spaghetti sauce Charlie'd stuck in the microwave was only on its first revolution
when I yanked the door open and pulled it out.
"What did I do wrong?" Charlie demanded.
"You're supposed to take the lid off first, Dad. Metal's bad for microwaves." I swiftly
removed the lid as I spoke, poured half the sauce into a bowl, and then put the bowl inside
the microwave and the jar back in the fridge; I fixed the time and pressed start.
Charlie watched my adjustments with pursed lips. "Did I get the noodles right?"
I looked in the pan on the stove - the source of the smell that had alerted me. "Stirring helps,"
I said mildly. I found a spoon and tried to de-clump the mushy hunk that was scalded to the
bottom.
Charlie sighed.
"So what's all this about?" I asked him.
He folded his arms across his chest and glared out the back windows into the sheeting rain.
"Don't know what you're talking about," he grumbled.
I was mystified. Charlie cooking? And what was with the surly attitude? Edward wasn't here
yet; usually my dad reserved this kind of behavior for my boyfriend's benefit, doing his best to
illustrate the theme of "unwelcome" with every word and posture. Charlie's efforts were
unnecessary - Edward knew exactly what my dad was thinking without the show.
The wordboyfriend had me chewing on the inside of my cheek with a familiar tension while I
stirred. It wasn't the right word, not at all. I needed something more expressive of eternal
commitment. . . . But words likedestiny andfate sounded hokey when you used them in
casual conversation.
Edward had another word in mind, and that word was the source of the tension I felt. It put
my teeth on edge just to think it to myself.
Fiancée. Ugh. I shuddered away from the thought.
"Did I miss something? Since when do you make dinner?" I asked Charlie. The pasta lump
bobbed in the boiling water as I poked it. "Ortry to make dinner, I should say."
Charlie shrugged. "There's no law that says I can't cook inzz my own house."
"You would know," I replied, grinning as I eyed the badge pinned to his leather jacket.
"Ha. Good one." He shrugged out of the jacket as if my glance had reminded him he still had
it on, and hung it on the peg reserved for his gear. His gun belt was already slung in place -
he hadn't felt the need to wear that to the station for a few weeks. There had been no more
disturbing disappearances to trouble the small town of Forks, Washington, no more sightings
of the giant, mysterious wolves in the ever-rainy woods. . . .
I prodded the noodles in silence, guessing that Charlie would get around to talking about
whatever was bothering him in his own time. My dad was not a man of many words, and the
effort he had put into trying to orchestrate a sit-down dinner with me made it clear there
were an uncharacteristic number of words on his mind.

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