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“Bella,” Edward murmured to me while Emmett listened closely, “do you remember a few months ago, I asked you to do me a favor once you were immortal?” That rang a dim bell. I sifted through the blurry human conversations. After a moment, I remembered and I gasped, “Oh!” Alice trilled a long, pealing laugh. Jacob poked his head around the corner, his mouth stuffed with food. “What?” Emmett growled. “Really?” I asked Edward. “Trust me,” he said. I took a deep breath. “Emmett, how do you feel about a little bet?” He was on his feet at once. “Awesome. Bring it.” I bit my lip for a second. He was just so huge. “Unless you’re too afraid… ?” Emmett suggested. I squared my shoulders. “You. Me. Arm-wrestling. Dining room table. Now.” Emmett’s grin stretched across his face. “Er, Bella,” Alice said quickly, “I think Esme is fairly fond of that table. It’s an antique.” “Thanks,” Esme mouthed at her. “No problem,” Emmett said with a gleaming smile. “Right this way, Bella.” I followed him out the back, toward the garage; I could hear all the others trailing behind. There was a largish granite boulder standing up out of a tumble of rocks near the river, obviously Emmett’s goal. Though the big rock was a little rounded and irregular, it would do the job. Emmett placed his elbow on the rock and waved me forward. I was nervous again as I watched the thick muscles in Emmett’s arm roll, but I kept my face smooth. Edward had promised I would be stronger than anyone for a while. He seemed very confident about this, and I felt strong. That strong? I wondered, looking at Emmett’s biceps. I wasn’t even two days old, though, and that ought to count for something. Unless nothing was normal about me. Maybe I wasn’t as strong as a normal newborn. Maybe that’s why control was so easy for me. I tried to look unconcerned as I set my elbow against the stone. “Okay, Emmett. I win, and you cannot say one more word about my sex life to anyone, not even Rose. No allusions, no innuendos—no nothing.” His eyes narrowed. “Deal. I win, and it’s going to get a lot worse.” He heard my breath stop and grinned evilly. There was no hint of bluff in his eyes. “You gonna back down so easy, little sister?” Emmett taunted. “Not much wild about you, is there? I bet that cottage doesn’t have a scratch.” He laughed. “Did Edward tell you how many houses Rose and I smashed?” I gritted my teeth and grabbed his big hand. “One, two—” “Three,” he grunted, and shoved against my hand. Nothing happened. Oh, I could feel the force he was exerting. My new mind seemed pretty good at all kinds of calculations, and so I could tell that if he wasn’t meeting any resistance, his hand would have pounded right through the rock without difficulty. The pressure increased, and I wondered randomly if a cement truck doing forty miles an hour down a sharp decline would have similar power. Fifty miles an hour? Sixty? Probably more. It wasn’t enough to move me. His hand shoved against mine with crushing force, but it wasn’t unpleasant. It felt kind of good in a weird way. I’d been so very careful since the last time I woke up, trying so hard not to break things. It was a strange relief to use my muscles. To let the strength flow rather than struggling to restrain it. Emmett grunted; his forehead creased and his whole body strained in one rigid line toward the obstacle of my unmoving hand. I let him sweat—figuratively—for a moment while I enjoyed the sensation of the crazy force running through my arm. A few seconds, though, and I was a little bored with it. I flexed; Emmett lost an inch. I laughed. Emmett snarled harshly through his teeth. “Just keep your mouth shut,” I reminded him, and then I smashed his hand into the boulder. A deafening crack echoed off the trees. The rock shuddered, and a piece—about an eighth of the mass—broke off at an invisible fault line and crashed to the ground. It fell on Emmett’s foot, and I snickered. I could hear Jacob’s and Edward’s muffled laughter. Emmett kicked the rock fragment across the river. It sliced a young maple in half before thudding into the base of a big fir, which swayed and then fell into another tree. “Rematch. Tomorrow.” “It’s not going to wear off that fast,” I told him. “Maybe you ought to give it a month.” Emmett growled, flashing his teeth. “Tomorrow.” “Hey, whatever makes you happy, big brother.” As he turned to stalk away, Emmett punched the granite, shattering off an avalanche of shards and powder. It was kind of neat, in a childish way. Fascinated by the undeniable proof that I was stronger than the strongest vampire I’d ever known, I placed my hand, fingers spread wide, against the rock. Then I dug my fingers slowly into the stone, crushing rather than digging; the consistency reminded me of hard cheese. I ended up with a handful of gravel. “Cool,” I mumbled. With a grin stretching my face, I whirled in a sudden circle and karate-chopped the rock with the side of my hand. The stone shrieked and groaned and—with a big poof of dust—split in two. I started giggling.