“Do you have obsessive-compulsive disorder?” he asked when I was done.
Huh. Maybe. But at least I had a good excuse this time. “We’re a bit sensitive to blood around here. I’m
sure you can understand that.”
“Oh.” He wrinkled his nose again.
“Why not make it as easy as possible for him? What he’s doing is hard enough.”
“Sure, sure. Why not?”
I pulled the plug, and let the dirty water drain from the sink.
“Can I ask you something, Bella?”
“What’s it like — having a werewolf for a best friend?”
The question caught me off guard. I laughed out loud.
“Does it creep you out?” he pressed before I could answer.
“No. When the werewolf is being nice,” I qualified, “it’s the best.”
He grinned widely, his teeth bright against his russet skin. “Thanks, Bella,” he said, and then he grabbed
my hand and wrenched me into one of his bone-crushing hugs.
Before I had time to react, he dropped his arms and stepped away.
“Ugh,” he said, his nose wrinkling. “Your hair stinks worse than your room.”
“Sorry,” I muttered. I suddenly understood what Edward had been laughing about earlier, after breathing
“One of the many hazards of socializing with vampires,” Jacob said, shrugging. “It makes you smell bad.
A minor hazard, comparatively.”
I glared at him. “I only smell bad to you, Jake.”
He grinned. “See you around, Bells.”
“Are you leaving?”
“He’s waiting for me to go. I can hear him outside.”
“What’s wrong with her?” Charlie wondered.
“She thinks she broke her hand,” I heard Jacob tell him. I went to the freezer and pulled out a tray of ice
“How did she do that?” As my father, I thought Charlie ought to sound a bit less amused and a bit more
Jacob laughed. “She hit me.”
Charlie laughed, too, and I scowled while I beat the tray against the edge of the sink. The ice scattered
inside the basin, and I grabbed a handful with my good hand and wrapped the cubes in the dishcloth on
“Why did she hit you?”
“Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed.
“Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him.
I ground my teeth and went for the phone. I dialed Edward’s cell.
“Bella?” he answered on the first ring. He sounded more than relieved — he was delighted. I could hear
the Volvo’s engine in the background; he was already in the car — that was good. “You left the phone . .
. I’m sorry, did Jacob drive you home?”
“Yes,” I grumbled. “Will you come and get me, please?”
“I’m on my way,” he said at once. “What’s wrong?”
“I want Carlisle to look at my hand. I think it’s broken.”
It had gone quiet in the front room, and I wondered when Jacob would bolt. I smiled a grim smile,
imagining his discomfort.
“What happened?” Edward demanded, his voice going flat.
“I punched Jacob,” I admitted.
“Good,” Edward said bleakly. “Though I’m sorry you’re hurt.”
I laughed once, because he sounded as pleased as Charlie had.
“I wish I’d hurthim. ” I sighed in frustration. “I didn’t do any damage at all.”
“I can fix that,” he offered.
“I was hoping you would say that.”
There was a slight pause. “That doesn’t sound like you,” he said, wary now. “What did hedo ?”
“He kissed me,” I growled.
All I heard on the other end of the line was the sound of an engine accelerating.
In the other room, Charlie spoke again. “Maybe you ought to take off, Jake,” he suggested.
“I think I’ll hang out here, if you don’t mind.”
“Your funeral,” Charlie muttered.
“Is the dog still there?” Edward finally spoke again.
“I’m around the corner,” he said darkly, and the line disconnected.
As I hung up the phone, smiling, I heard the sound of his car racing down the street. The brakes
protested loudly as he slammed to a stop out front. I went to get the door.
“How’s your hand?” Charlie asked as I walked by. Charlie looked uncomfortable. Jacob lolled next to
him on the sofa, perfectly at ease.
I lifted the ice pack to show it off. “It’s swelling.”
“Maybe you should pick on people your own size,” Charlie suggested.
“Maybe,” I agreed. I walked on to open the door. Edward was waiting.
“Let me see,” he murmured.
He examined my hand gently, so carefully that it caused me no pain at all. His hands were almost as cold
as the ice, and they felt good against my skin.
“I think you’re right about the break,” he said. “I’m proud of you. You must have put some force behind
“As much as I have.” I sighed. “Not enough, apparently.”
He kissed my hand softly. “I’ll take care of it,” he promised. And then he called, “Jacob,” his voice still
quiet and even.
“Now, now,” Charlie cautioned.
I heard Charlie heave himself off of the sofa. Jacob got to the hall first, and much more quietly, but
Charlie was not far behind him. Jacob’s expression was alert and eager.
“I don’t want any fighting, do you understand?” Charlie looked only at Edward when he spoke. “I can
go put my badge on if that makes my request more official.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Edward said in a restrained tone.
“Why don’t you arrest me, Dad?” I suggested. “I’m the one throwing punches.”
Charlie raised an eyebrow. “Do you want to press charges, Jake?”
“No.” Jacob grinned, incorrigible. “I’ll take the trade any day.”
“Dad, don’t you have a baseball bat somewhere in your room? I want to borrow it for a minute.”
Charlie looked at me evenly. “Enough, Bella.”
“Let’s go have Carlisle look at your hand before you wind up in a jail cell,” Edward said. He put his arm
around me and pulled me toward the door.
“Fine,” I said, leaning against him. I wasn’t so angry anymore, now that Edward was with me. I felt
comforted, and my hand didn’t bother me as much.
We were walking down the sidewalk when I heard Charlie whispering anxiously behind me.
“What are you doing? Are you crazy?”
“Give me a minute, Charlie,” Jacob answered. “Don’t worry, I’ll be right back.”
I looked back and Jacob was following us, stopping to close the door in Charlie’s surprised and uneasy
Edward ignored him at first, leading me to the car. He helped me inside, shut the door, and then turned
to face Jacob on the sidewalk.
I leaned anxiously through the open window. Charlie was visible in the house, peeking through the
drapes in the front room.
Jacob’s stance was casual, his arms folded across his chest, but the muscles in his jaw were tight.
Edward spoke in a voice so peaceful and gentle that it made the words strangely more threatening. “I’m
not going to kill you now, because it would upset Bella.”
“Hmph,” I grumbled.
Edward turned slightly to throw me a quick smile. His face was still calm. “It would bother you in the
morning,” he said, brushing his fingers across my cheek.
Then he turned back to Jacob. “But if you ever bring her back damaged again — and I don’t care
whose fault it is; I don’t care if she merely trips, or if a meteor falls out of the sky and hits her in the head
— if you return her to me in less than the perfect condition that I left her in, you will be running with three
legs. Do you understand that, mongrel?”
Jacob rolled his eyes.
“Who’s going back?” I muttered.
Edward continued as if he hadn’t heard me. “And if you ever kiss her again, Iwill break your jaw for
her,” he promised, his voice still gentle and velvet and deadly.
“What if she wants me to?” Jacob drawled, arrogant.
“Hah!” I snorted.
“If that’s what she wants, then I won’t object.” Edward shrugged, untroubled. “You might want to wait
for her tosay it, rather than trust your interpretation of body language — but it’s your face.”
“You wish,” I grumbled.
“Yes, he does,” Edward murmured.
“Well, if you’re done rummaging through my head,” Jacob said with a thick edge of annoyance, “why
don’t you go take care of her hand?”
“One more thing,” Edward said slowly. “I’ll be fighting for her, too. You should know that. I’m not
taking anything for granted, and I’ll be fighting twice as hard as you will.”
*Taken from Eclipse book