And the phone rang.
Alice was across the room before I could lift my head to look at it.
She pushed a button and held the phone to her ear, but she didn't speak first.
"Carlisle," she breathed. She didn't seem surprised or relieved, the way I felt.
"Yes," she said, glancing at me. She listened for a long moment.
"I just saw him." She described again the vision she'd seen. "Whatever made him get on that plane… it was leading him to those rooms." She paused. "Yes," Alice said into the phone, and then she spoke to me. "Bella?"
She held the phone out toward me. I ran to it.
"Hello?" I breathed.
"Bella," Edward said.
"Oh, Edward! I was so worried."
"Bella," he sighed in frustration, "I told you not to worry about anything but yourself." It was so unbelievably good to hear his voice. I felt the hovering cloud of despair lighten and drift back as he spoke.
"Where are you?"
"We're outside of Vancouver. Bella, I'm sorry — we lost him. He seems suspicious of us — he's careful to stay just far enough away that I can't hear what he's thinking. But he's gone now — it looks like he got on a plane. We think he's heading back to Forks to start over." I could hear Alice filling in Jasper behind me, her quick words blurring together into a humming noise.
"I know. Alice saw that he got away."
"You don't have to worry, though. He won't find anything to lead him to you. You just have to stay there and wait till we find him again."
"I'll be fine. Is Esme with Charlie?"
"Yes — the female has been in town. She went to the house, but while Charlie was at work. She hasn't gone near him, so don't be afraid. He's safe with Esme and Rosalie watching."
"What is she doing?"
"Probably trying to pick up the trail. She's been all through the town during the night. Rosalie traced her through the airport, all the roads around town, the school… she's digging, Bella, but there's nothing to find."
"And you're sure Charlie's safe?"
"Yes, Esme won't let him out of her sight. And we'll be there soon. If the tracker gets anywhere near Forks, we'll have him."
"I miss you," I whispered.
"I know, Bella. Believe me, I know. It's like you've taken half my self away with you."
"Come and get it, then," I challenged.
"Soon, as soon as I possibly can. I will make you safe first." His voice was hard.
"I love you," I reminded him.
"Could you believe that, despite everything I've put you through, I love you, too?"
"Yes, I can, actually."
"I'll come for you soon."
"I'll be waiting."
As soon as the phone went dead, the cloud of depression began to creep over me again.
I turned to give the phone back to Alice and found her and Jasper bent over the table, where Alice was sketching on a piece of hotel stationery. I leaned on the back of the couch, looking over her shoulder.
She drew a room: long, rectangular, with a thinner, square section at the back. The wooden planks that made up the floor stretched lengthwise across the room. Down the walls were lines denoting the breaks in the mirrors. And then, wrapping around the walls, waist high, a long band. The band Alice said was gold.
"It's a ballet studio," I said, suddenly recognizing the familiar shapes.
They looked at me, surprised.
"Do you know this room?" Jasper's voice sounded calm, but there was an undercurrent of something I couldn't identify. Alice bent her head to her work, her hand flying across the page now, the shape of an emergency exit taking shape against the back wall, the stereo and TV on a low table by the front right corner.
"It looks like a place I used to go for dance lessons — when I was eight or nine. It was shaped just the same." I touched the page where the square section jutted out, narrowing the back part of the room. "That's where the bathrooms were — the doors were through the other dance floor. But the stereo was here" — I pointed to the left corner — "it was older, and there wasn't a TV. There was a window in the waiting room — you would
see the room from this perspective if you looked through it."
Alice and Jasper were staring at me.
"Are you sure it's the same room?" Jasper asked, still calm.
"No, not at all — I suppose most dance studios would look the same — the mirrors, the bar." I traced my finger along the ballet bar set against the mirrors. "It's just the shape that looked familiar." I touched the door, set in exactly the same place as the one I remembered.
"Would you have any reason to go there now?" Alice asked, breaking my reverie.
"No, I haven't been there in almost ten years. I was a terrible dancer — they always put me in the back for recitals," I admitted.
"So there's no way it could be connected with you?" Alice asked intently.
"No, I don't even think the same person owns it. I'm sure it's just another dance studio, somewhere."
"Where was the studio you went to?" Jasper asked in a casual voice.
"It was just around the corner from my mom's house. I used to walk there after school…" I said, my voice trailing off. I didn't miss the look they exchanged.
"Here in Phoenix, then?" His voice was still casual.
"Yes," I whispered. "Fifty-eighth Street and Cactus."
We all sat in silence, staring at the drawing.
"Alice, is that phone safe?"
"Yes," she reassured me. "The number would just trace back to Washington."
"Then I can use it to call my mom."
"I thought she was in Florida."
"She is — but she's coming home soon, and she can't come back to that house while…" My voice trembled. I was thinking about something Edward had said, about the red-haired female at Charlie's house, at the school, where my records would be.
"How will you reach her?"
"They don't have a permanent number except at the house — she's supposed to check her messages regularly."
"Jasper?" Alice asked.
He thought about it. "I don't think there's any way it could hurt — be sure you don't say where you are, of course."
I reached eagerly for the phone and dialed the familiar number. It rang four times, and then I heard my mom's breezy voice telling me to leave a message.
"Mom," I said after the beep, "it's me. Listen, I need you to do something. It's important. As soon as you get this message, call me at this number." Alice was already at my side, writing the number for me on the bottom of her picture. I read it carefully, twice. "Please don't go anywhere until you talk to me. Don't worry, I'm okay, but I have to talk to you right away, no matter how late you get this call, all right? I love you, Mom. Bye." I closed my eyes and prayed with all my might that no unforeseen change of plans would bring her home before she got my message.
I settled into the sofa, nibbling on a plate of leftover fruit,
anticipating a long evening. I thought about calling Charlie, but I wasn't sure if I should be home by now or not. I concentrated on the news, watching out for stories about Florida, or about spring training — strikes or hurricanes or terrorist attacks — anything that might send them home early.
Immortality must grant endless patience. Neither Jasper nor Alice seemed to feel the need to do anything at all. For a while, Alice sketched the vague outline of the dark room from her vision, as much as she could see in the light from the TV. But when she was done, she simply sat, looking at the blank walls with her timeless eyes. Jasper, too, seemed to have no urge to pace, or peek through the curtains, or run screaming out the door, the way I did.
I must have fallen asleep on the couch, waiting for the phone to ring again. The touch of Alice's cold hands woke me briefly as she carried me to the bed, but I was unconscious again before my head hit the pillow.
我把自己埋进沙发里，一点一点地吃掉那碟剩下的水果，知道自己将迎来一个漫长的夜晚。我想要打电话给查理，但我不知道现在我是否应该已经到家了。 我专心致志地看着新闻，关注着佛罗里达的报道，或者关于春训的消息——罢_公，飓风，或是terrorist attacks——任何有可能让他们提前回家的事情。 永生不朽一定赋予了他们无尽的耐心。无论是贾斯帕还是爱丽丝，似乎都不觉得有必要做些什么。有一会儿，爱丽丝在描绘着她所看见的那间黑暗的屋子模糊的轮廓，细节详尽得就像是她是从电视里清清楚楚地看到的一样。但当她画着的时候，她只是坐在那里，用那双永恒的眼睛凝视着空白的墙面。贾斯帕，同样地，也没有感到丝毫迫切，既不想踱来踱去，也不想从窗帘后向外偷看，或者跑到门外去尖叫。而我，正处于这样的冲动之中。