Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 117)

Something about his tone made me wonder. “How long?”

“Twenty-eight years.”

“Twenty-eight…? You had to wait twenty-eight years? But couldn’t you…?”

He nodded. “I could have found her earlier. I knew where she was. But she wasn’t ready for me yet. If I’d come too early, she would have killed me.”

I gasped and stared at her. She raised an eyebrow at me, and I looked back at Archie. He laughed.

“But Edythe said you were the only one who could hold your own against her—?”

Jessamine hissed—not like she was mad, like she was annoyed. I glanced at her again and she was rolling her eyes.

“We’ll never know,” Archie said. “If Jess was really trying to kill Edythe, rather than just playing…? Well, Jess has a lot of experience. Seeing the future isn’t the only reason why I can keep up with Edythe—it’s also because it was Jess who taught me how to fight. Lauren’s coven all had their eyes on Eleanor—she’s pretty spectacular, I grant you. But if it had come to a fight, Eleanor wouldn’t have been their problem. If they’d taken a closer look at my darling”—he blew her a kiss—“they would have forgotten all about the strong girl.”

I remembered the first time I’d seen Jessamine, in the cafeteria with her family. Beautiful, like the others, but with that edge. Even before I’d put it into words inside my own head, I’d sensed there was something about her that matched up with what Archie was telling me now.

I looked at Archie.

“You can ask her,” he said. “But it’s not going to happen.”

“He wants to know my story?” Jessamine guessed. She laughed once—it was a dark sound. “You’re not ready for that, Beau. Believe me.”

And though I was still curious, I did believe her.

“You said humans were harder… but you seem to see me pretty well,” I noted.

“I’m paying attention, and you’re right here,” Archie said. “Also, the two-second head starts are simpler than the weather. It’s the long term that won’t hold still. Even an hour complicates things.”

Archie kept me updated on what was happening with the others—which was mostly nothing. Joss was good at running away. There were tricks, Archie told me. Scents couldn’t be tracked through water, for example. Joss seemed to know the tricks. A half dozen times the trail took them back toward Forks, only to race off in the other direction again. Twice Archie called Carine to give her instructions. Once it was something about the direction in which Joss had jumped off a cliff, the other time it was where they would find her scent on the other side of a river. From the way he described it, he wasn’t seeing the hunter, he was seeing Edythe and Carine. I guessed he would see his family the most clearly. I wanted to ask for the phone, but I knew there wasn’t time for me to hear Edythe’s voice. They were hunting.

I also knew I was supposed to be rooting for Edythe and the others to succeed, but I could only feel relieved as the distance between her and Joss got larger, despite Archie’s help. If it meant I would be stuck here in this hotel room forever, I wouldn’t complain. Whatever kept her safe.

There was one question that I wanted to ask more than the others, but I hesitated. I think if Jessamine hadn’t been there, I might have done it sooner. I didn’t feel the same ease in her presence that I did now with Archie. Which was probably only because she wasn’t trying to make me feel that way.

When I was eating—dinner? Maybe, I couldn’t remember which meal I was on—I was thinking about different ways to ask. And then I caught a look on Archie’s face and I knew that he already knew what I was trying to ask, and unlike my dozens of other questions, he was choosing not to answer this one.

My eyes narrowed.

“Was this on Edythe’s lists of instructions?” I asked sourly.

I thought I heard a very faint sigh from Jessamine’s corner. It was probably annoying listening to half a conversation. But she should be used to that. I’d bet Edythe and Archie never had to speak out loud at all when they talked to each other.

“It was implied,” Archie answered.

I thought about their fight in the Jeep. Was this what it was about?

“I don’t suppose our future friendship is enough to shift your loyalties?”

He frowned. “Edythe is my sister.”

“Even if you disagree with her on this?”

We stared at each other for a minute.

“That’s what you saw,” I realized. I felt my eyes get bigger. “And then she got so upset. You already saw it, didn’t you?”

“It was only one future among many. I also saw you die,” he reminded me.

“But you saw it. It’s a possibility.”

He shrugged.

“Don’t you think I deserve to know, then? Even if there’s only the slightest chance?”

He stared at me, deliberating.

“You do,” he finally said. “You have the right to know.”

I waited.

“You don’t know fury like Edythe when she’s thwarted,” he warned me.

“It’s none of her business. This is between you and me. As your friend, I’m begging you.”

He paused, then made his choice. “I can tell you the mechanics of it, but I don’t remember it myself, and I’ve never done it or seen it done, so keep in mind that I can only tell you the theory.”

“How does someone become a vampire?”


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