Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 100)

Archie didn’t seem to have noticed that we were doing anything unusual. He walked to the center of the room and folded himself onto the floor in a motion so graceful it was kind of surreal. Jessamine stayed by the door, and, unlike Archie, she looked a little shocked. She stared at Edythe’s face, and I wondered what the room felt like to her.

“It sounded like you were having Beau for lunch,” Archie said, “and we came to see if you would share.”

I stiffened until I saw Edythe grin—whether because of Archie’s comment or my reaction, I couldn’t tell.

“Sorry,” she replied, throwing a possessive arm around my neck. “I’m not in a mood to share.”

Archie shrugged. “Fair enough.”

“Actually,” Jessamine said, taking a hesitant step into the room, “Archie says there’s going to be a real storm tonight, and Eleanor wants to play ball. Are you game?”

The words were all normal, but I didn’t quite understand the context. It sounded like Archie might be a little more reliable than the weatherman, though.

Edythe’s eyes lit up, but she hesitated.

“Of course you should bring Beau,” Archie said. I thought I saw Jessamine throw a quick glance at him.

“Do you want to go?” Edythe asked. Her expression was so eager that I would have agreed to anything.

“Sure. Um, where are we going?”

“We have to wait for thunder to play ball—you’ll see why,” she promised.

“Should I bring an umbrella?”

All three of them laughed out loud.

“Should he?” Jessamine asked Archie.

“No.” Archie seemed positive. “The storm will hit over town. It’ll be dry enough in the clearing.”

“Good,” Jessamine said, and the enthusiasm in her voice was—unsurprisingly—catching. I found myself getting excited about the idea, though I wasn’t even sure what it was.

“Let’s call Carine and see if she’s in,” Archie said, and he was on his feet in another liquid movement that made me stare.

“Like you don’t already know,” Jessamine teased, and then they were gone.

“So… what are we playing?” I asked.

“You will be watching,” Edythe clarified. “We will be playing baseball.”

I looked at her skeptically. “Vampires like baseball?”

She smiled up at me. “It’s the American pastime.”


IT WAS JUST BEGINNING TO RAIN WHEN EDYTHE TURNED ONTO MY street. Up until that moment, I’d had no doubt that she’d be staying with me while I spent a few hours in the real world.

And then I saw the black, weathered sedan parked in Charlie’s driveway—and heard Edythe mutter something angry under her breath.

Leaning away from the rain under the shallow front porch, Jules Black stood behind her mother’s wheelchair. Bonnie’s face was impassive as rock while Edythe parked my truck against the curb. Jules stared down, looking mortified.

Edythe’s low voice was furious. “This is crossing the line.”

“She came to warn Charlie?” I guessed, more horrified than angry.

Edythe just nodded, answering Bonnie’s stare with narrowed eyes.

At least Charlie wasn’t home yet. Maybe the disaster could be averted.

“Let me deal with this,” I suggested. Edythe’s glare looked a little too… serious.

I was surprised that she agreed. “That’s probably best. Be careful, though. The child has no idea.”

“Child? You know, Jules is not that much younger than I am.”

She looked at me then, her anger gone. She grinned. “Oh, I know.”

I sighed.

“Get them inside so I can leave,” she told me. “I’ll be back around dusk.”

“You can take the truck,” I offered.

She rolled her eyes. “I could walk home faster than this truck moves.”

I didn’t want to leave her. “You don’t have to go.”

She touched my frown and smiled. “Actually, I do. After you get rid of them”—she glared in the Blacks’ direction—“you still have to prepare Charlie to meet your new girlfriend.”

She laughed at my face—I guess she could see exactly how excited I was for that.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want Charlie to know about Edythe. I knew he liked the Cullens, and how could he not like Edythe? He’d probably be insultingly impressed. But it just seemed like pushing my luck. Trying to drag this too-beautiful fantasy down into the sludge of boring, ordinary life didn’t feel safe. How could the two coexist for long?

“I’ll be back soon,” she promised. Her eyes flickered over to the porch, and then she darted in swiftly to press her lips to the side of my neck. My heart bounced around inside my ribs while I, too, glanced at the porch. Bonnie’s face was no longer impassive, and her hands clutched at the armrests of her chair.

“Soon,” I said as I opened my door and stepped out into the rain. I could feel her eyes on my back as I jogged to the porch.

“Hey, Jules. Hi, Bonnie,” I greeted them, as cheerfully as I could manage. “Charlie’s gone for the day—I hope you haven’t been waiting long.”

“Not long,” Bonnie said in a subdued tone. Her dark eyes were piercing. “I just wanted to bring this up.” She gestured to a brown paper sack resting on her lap.

“Thanks,” I said automatically, though I had no idea what it could be. “Why don’t you come in for a minute and dry off?”


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