Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 10)
Your shirt is at the dry cleaners—you were supposed to pick it up Friday.
Charlie bought me a truck, can you believe it? It’s awesome. It’s old, but really sturdy, which is good, you know, for me.
I miss you, too. I’ll write again soon, but I’m not going to check my e-mail every five minutes. Relax, breathe. I love you.
I heard the front door bang open, and I hurried downstairs to take the potatoes out and put the steak in to broil.
“Beau?” my father called out when he heard me on the stairs.
Who else? I thought to myself.
“Hey, Dad, welcome home.”
“Thanks.” He hung up his gun belt and stepped out of his boots as I moved around the kitchen. As far as I was aware, he’d never shot the gun on the job. But he kept it ready. When I’d come here as a child, he would always remove the bullets as soon as he walked in the door. I guess he considered me old enough now not to shoot myself by accident, and not depressed enough to shoot myself on purpose.
“What’s for dinner?” he asked warily. Mom was an imaginative cook, when she bothered, and her experiments weren’t always edible. I was surprised, and sad, that he seemed to remember that far back.
“Steak and potatoes,” I answered. Charlie looked relieved.
He obviously felt awkward standing in the kitchen doing nothing; he lumbered into the living room to watch TV while I worked. I think we were both more comfortable that way. I made a salad while the steak cooked, and set the table.
I called him in when dinner was ready, and he sniffed appreciatively as he walked into the room.
“Smells good, Beau.”
We ate in silence for a few minutes. It wasn’t awkward. Both of us like quiet. In some ways, we were good roommates.
“So, how did you like school? Make any friends?” he asked as he was taking seconds.
“Well, I have a few classes with this guy named Jeremy. I sit with his friends at lunch. And there’s this girl, McKayla, who’s friendly. Everybody seems pretty nice.” With one outstanding exception.
“That must be McKayla Newton. Nice girl—nice family. Her dad owns the sporting goods store just outside of town. He makes a good living off all the backpackers who come through here.”
We ate in silence for a minute.
“Do you know the Cullen family?” I asked, trying to sound casual.
“Dr. Cullen’s family? Sure. She’s a great woman.”
“They—the kids—are a little… different. They don’t seem to fit in very well at school.”
I was surprised to see Charlie’s face get red, the way it does when he’s angry.
“People in this town,” he muttered. “Dr. Cullen is a brilliant surgeon who could probably work in any hospital in the world, make ten times the salary she gets here,” he continued, getting louder. “We’re lucky to have her—lucky that her husband wanted to live in a small town. She’s an asset to the community, and all of those kids are well behaved and polite. I had my doubts, when they first moved in, with all those adopted teenagers. I thought we might have some problems with them. But they’re all very mature—I haven’t had one speck of trouble from any of them. That’s more than I can say for the children of some folks who have lived in this town for generations. And they stick together the way a family should—camping trips every other weekend.… Just because they’re newcomers, people have to talk.”
It was the longest speech I’d ever heard Charlie make. He must feel strongly about whatever people were saying.
I backpedaled. “They seemed nice enough to me. I just noticed they kept to themselves. They’re all very attractive,” I added, trying to be more complimentary.
“You should see the doctor,” Charlie said, laughing. “It’s a good thing she’s happily married. A lot of the hospital staff have a hard time concentrating on their work with her around.”
We lapsed back into silence as we finished eating. He cleared the table while I started on the dishes. He went back to the TV, and after I finished washing the dishes by hand—no dishwasher—I went upstairs to work on my math homework. I could feel a tradition in the making.
That night it was finally quiet. I fell asleep fast, exhausted.
The rest of the week was uneventful. I got used to the routine of my classes. By Friday I was able to recognize, if not name, almost all the kids at school. In Gym, the people on my team learned not to send the ball my direction. I stayed out of their way.
Edythe Cullen didn’t come back to school.
Every day, I watched, pretending I wasn’t looking, until the rest of the Cullens entered the cafeteria without her. Then I could relax and join in the conversation. Mostly it centered around a trip to the La Push Ocean Park in two weeks that McKayla was putting together. I was invited, and I agreed to go, more out of politeness than a strong urge to hit the beach. I believed beaches should be hot, and—aside from the ocean—dry.
By Friday I was totally comfortable entering my Biology class, no longer worried that Edythe would show. For all I knew, she’d dropped out of school. I tried not to think about her, but I couldn’t totally erase the worry that I was responsible for her continued absence, ridiculous as it seemed.
My first weekend in Forks continued without incident. Charlie worked most of the time. I wrote my mom more fake cheerful e-mails, got ahead on my homework, and cleaned up the house—obviously OCD wasn’t a problem for Charlie. I drove to the library Saturday, but I didn’t even bother to get a card—there wasn’t anything interesting I hadn’t read; I would have to visit Olympia or Seattle soon, and find a good bookstore. I wondered idly what kind of gas mileage the truck got… and winced at the thought.