The smell of the blood was making me dizzy. My ears rang. If he took me to the hospital, there would be no way to keep this from Charlie. Edward lifted me effortlessly, while Carlisle kept the pressure steady on my arm. Edward's face was like stone.
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Alice was there. Carlisle's black bag was already on the table, a small but brilliant desk light plugged into the wall. Edward sat me gently into a chair, and Carlisle pulled up another. He went to work at once. Edward stood over me, still protective, still not breathing. But his jaw was rigid; his eyes burned with the intensity of the thirst he fought, so much worse for him than it was for the others.
Get some fresh air. Carlisle decided to intercede. I'm sure he's upset with himself, and I doubt he'll listen to anyone but you right now. Edward's eyes narrowed as we ganged up on him, but, finally, he nodded once and sprinted smoothly through the kitchen's back door. I was sure he hadn't taken a breath since I'd sliced my finger. A numb, dead feeling was spreading through my arm.
Though it erased the sting, it reminded me of the gash, and I watched Carlisle's face carefully to distract me from what his hands were doing. His hair gleamed gold in the bright light as he bent over my arm. I could feel the faint stirrings of unease in the pit of my stomach, but I was determined not to let my usual squeamishness get the best of me. There was no pain now, just a gentle tugging sensation that I tried to ignore. No reason to get sick like a baby.
If she hadn't been in my line of sight, I wouldn't have noticed Alice give up and steal out of the room. With a tiny, apologetic smile on her lips, she disappeared through the kitchen doorway. His relaxed calm was only more amazing set in direct contrast with everyone else's reaction. I couldn't find any trace of anxiety in his face.
He worked with quick, sure movements. The only sound besides our quiet breathing was the soft plink, plink as the tiny fragments of glass dropped one by one to the table. Though the rest of them had given up the traditional diet of vampires just as absolutely as Carlisle had, he was the only one who could bear the smell of my blood without suffering from the intense temptation. Clearly, this was much more difficult than he made it seem.
And weren't around any blood? I was surprised at how much glass there seemed to be in my arm. I was tempted to glance at the growing pile, just to check the size, but I knew that idea would not be helpful to my no-vomiting strategy. It didn't make sense to me—the years of struggle and self-denial he must have spent to get to the point where he could endure this so easily.
Besides, I wanted to keep him talking; the conversation kept my mind off the queasy feeling in my stomach. His dark eyes were calm and thoughtful as he answered. What I enjoy the very most is when my… enhanced abilities let me save someone who would otherwise have been lost. It's pleasant knowing that, thanks to what I can do, some people's lives are better because I exist.
Even the sense of smell is a useful diagnostic tool at times. I mulled that over while he poked around, making sure all the glass splinters were gone. Then he rummaged in his bag for new tools, and I tried not to picture a needle and thread. You didn't choose this kind of life, and yet you have to work so hard to be good.
The smell was strange; it made my head spin. The syrup stained my skin. But I'm trying to understand what you were thinking…" His face was suddenly serious again, and I wondered if his thoughts had gone to the same place that mine had.
Wondering what I would be thinking when—I refused to think if—it was me. The smell of alcohol burned in my nose. I didn't understand what he was doing, even when he lit the match. Then he threw it onto the alcohol-soaked fibers, and the sudden blaze made me jump. But never, in the nearly four hundred years now since I was born, have I ever seen anything to make me doubt whether God exists in some form or the other.
Not even the reflection in the mirror. Religion was the last thing I expected, all things considered. My own life was fairly devoid of belief. Charlie considered himself a Lutheran, because that's what his parents had been, but Sundays he worshipped by the river with a fishing pole in his hand.
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Renee tried out a church now and then, but, much like her brief affairs with tennis, pottery, yoga, and French classes, she moved on by the time I was aware of her newest fad. It's a long shot, I'll admit," he continued in an offhand voice. But I hope, maybe foolishly, that we'll get some measure of credit for trying. I couldn't imagine anyone, deity included, who wouldn't be impressed by Carlisle. Besides, the only kind of heaven I could appreciate would have to include Edward. Carlisle guessed the direction of my thoughts again.
God and heaven exist… and so does hell.
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But he doesn't believe there is an afterlife for our kind. The lightbulb flicked on over my head.
His strength, his goodness, the brightness that shines out of him—and it only fuels that hope, that faith, more than ever. How could there not be more for one such as Edward? Could you take away his soul? If he'd asked me whether I would risk my soul for Edward, the reply would be obvious. But would I risk Edward's soul? I pursed my lips unhappily. That wasn't a fair exchange. Carlisle sighed.
He laughed, abruptly lightening the mood. You're going to have to work this out with him. I think, in most other ways, that I've done the best I could with what I had to work with. But was it right to doom the others to this life? I can't decide. I imagined what my life would be like if Carlisle had resisted the temptation to change his lonely existence… and shuddered. He stared unseeingly out the black windows. I realized Carlisle's memory of them, despite the brevity of their contact, would be perfectly clear.
Her name was Elizabeth. Elizabeth Masen. His father, Edward Senior, never regained consciousness in the hospital. He died in the first wave of the influenza. But Elizabeth was alert until almost the very end. Edward looks a great deal like her—she had that same strange bronze shade to her hair, and her eyes were exactly the same color green. She hurt her own chances of survival trying to nurse him from her sickbed. I expected that he would go first, he was so much worse off than she was.
- New Moon by Stephenie Meyer.
- New Moon - Twilight Saga Book 2 Synopsis?
- New Moon by Stephenie Meyer!
When the end came for her, it was very quick. It was just after sunset, and I'd arrived to relieve the doctors who'd been working all day. That was a hard time to pretend—there was so much work to be done, and I had no need of rest. How I hated to go back to my house, to hide in the dark and pretend to sleep while so many were dying.
I'd grown attached—always a dangerous thing to do considering the fragile nature of humans.
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I could see at once that she'd taken a bad turn. The fever was raging out of control, and her body was too weak to fight anymore. The fever was so high, she probably couldn't even tell how unnaturally cold mine felt. Everything felt cold to her skin. Her eyes were hard, like stones, like emeralds.
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