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Chapter Thirty-Seven: A Visitor
Jacob looked surprised at my beyond-human speed movement as I sat up from lying across Bella's pillow. In his shock, he unconsciously stepped back toward the door he had just entered.
“Oh, hey,” Jacob said awkwardly. He saw that Bella was sleeping and kept his voice low. God, I don't want to wake her after all she's been through today. Charlie sure was worried about her when he called Billy this afternoon.
I nodded coldly. What did Jacob Black think he was doing, coming to Bella's room?
“Um, Charlie told my dad about Bella being sick and in the hospital, so I thought I'd come by,” Jacob mumbled, looking down at the bouquet of daisies in his hand as if he didn't know what they were. Why did I come here again? This is so weird, Jacob thought. That Cullen guy is staring at me like I'm an alien or something....
Before I could say anything, the door opened behind Jacob, and Alice nudged her way into the room. Turning to face Jacob, she said cheerily, “Oh, hi! I'm Alice Cullen. Did you come to see Bella?”
Jacob looked down at his shoes now, more awkward than ever in the light of Alice's friendliness. “Yeah. Uh, nice to meet you. I'm Jacob Black. My dad was worried about her.” His voice cracked a little in his nervousness. “About Bella, I mean.”
“Of course,” Alice said kindly. “Would you like me to put those flowers in water for you?”
Um, sure,” he said, blushing under his dark skin as he handed Alice the bouquet. I heard that the Cullen girls were pretty, but man! Even this little one takes my breath away. She's like, perfect.
“I'll be right back,” Alice said, still smiling as she slipped out of the room. Be nice to him! she scolded me.
Grinning at the boy's admiration of my sister, I cleared my throat quietly, regaining Jacob Black's attention. “Bella has been sleeping ever since she was brought in late yesterday afternoon. She's only awakened a couple of times and then for just a minute or two. I'm sorry you can't talk to her,” I stated politely, but with a stony expression; I remembered all too well his shy admiration of Bella at the Prom.
“How's she doing?” he asked, walking toward Bella's bed, his eyes fixed on her pale face. “She doesn't look so good.”
I restrained my temper at his assessment; Bella was always beautiful, even after another brush with a near-death experience. Of course she doesn't look well; she almost died today, you moron! I wanted to growl at him. But I didn't want to wake Bella or be too rude to Jacob, despite my deep-seated distrust of him. “She's better now, but it was touch-and-go for a while when her fever was high,” I said quietly, keeping my eyes fixed on Bella as well.
Jacob nodded, then noticed Bella's hand clasped around mine. “You must have been worried sick,” he said. His sympathy surprised me, but I could tell from his thoughts that he earnestly meant his kind words.
“Yes,” I breathed. “We've all been concerned. Charlie, Alice, and I have been here since she was brought in, and Carlisle treated her at our house when she first became ill and came in the ambulance with her. The influenza went into pneumonia almost immediately, but now the antibiotics are working and she should be fine.”
Jacob nodded in acknowledgment of the information. “Yeah, that's what Charlie said, only he was a lot more upset about it.” Turning to him, I raised my eyebrow at Jacob's implied criticism. Does he think that we don't care about Bella? Has he no idea what these last twenty-seven hours have put me through? Put my family through? They loved Bella as one of their own, a fact that warmed my silent heart greatly.
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