Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 120)
“Would you have any reason to go there now?” Archie asked.
“No. I haven’t been back since my mom quit—it’s probably been ten years.”
“So there’s no way it could be connected with you?” Archie asked intently.
I shook my head. “I don’t even think the same person owns it. I’m sure it’s just another dance studio, somewhere else.”
“Where was the studio your mother went to?” Jessamine asked, her voice much more casual than Archie’s.
“Just around the corner from our house. It’s why she took the job—so I could meet her there when I walked home from school.…” My voice trailed off as I watched the look they exchanged.
“Here in Phoenix, then?” she asked, still casual.
“Yes,” I whispered. “Fifty-eighth and Cactus.”
We all stared in silence at the drawing.
“Archie, is that phone safe?” I asked.
“The number just traces back to Washington,” he told me.
“Then I can use it to call my mom.”
“She’s in Florida, right? She should be safe there.”
“She is—but she’s coming home soon, and she can’t come back to that house while…” A tremor ran through my voice. I was thinking about Victor searching Charlie’s house, the school in Forks where my records were.
“What’s her number?” Archie asked. He had the phone in his hand.
“They don’t have a permanent number except at the house. She’s supposed to check her messages regularly.”
“Jess?” Archie asked.
She thought about it. “I don’t think it could hurt—don’t say where you are, obviously.”
I nodded, reaching for the phone. I dialed the familiar number, then waited through four rings until my mother’s breezy voice came on, telling me to leave a message.
“Mom,” I said after the beep, “it’s me. Listen, I need you to do something. It’s important. As soon as you get this message, call me at this number.” Archie pointed to the number already written on the bottom of his picture. I read it carefully, twice. “Please don’t go anywhere until you talk to me. Don’t worry, I’m okay, but I have to talk to you right away, no matter how late you get this call, all right? I love you, Mom. Bye.” I closed my eyes and prayed that no unforeseen change of plans would bring her home before she got my message.
Then we were back to waiting.
I thought about calling Charlie, but I wasn’t sure what I could say. I watched the news, concentrating now, watching for stories about Florida, or about spring training—strikes or hurricanes or terrorist attacks—anything that might send them home early.
It seemed like immortality granted endless patience, too. Neither Jessamine nor Archie seemed to feel the need to do anything at all. For a while, Archie sketched the vague outline of the dark room from his vision, as much as he could see in the light from the TV. But when he was done, he simply sat, looking at the blank walls. Jessamine, too, seemed to have no urge to pace, or to peek through the curtains, or to punch holes in the wall, the way I did.
I fell asleep on the couch, waiting for the phone to ring.
21. PHONE CALL
WHEN I WOKE UP, I KNEW IT WAS TOO EARLY. I WAS GETTING MY DAYS and nights reversed. The TV was on—the only light in the room—but the sound was muted. The clock on the TV said it was just after two in the morning. I could hear the sound of quiet voices speaking too quickly, and I figured that was what had woken me. I lay still on the couch for a minute, waiting for my eyes and ears to adjust.
I realized that it was strange that they were talking loud enough to wake me, and I sat up.
Archie was leaning over the desk, Jessamine next to him with her hand on his back. He was sketching again.
I got up and walked over to them. Neither one of them looked up, too engrossed in Archie’s work.
I went around to Archie’s other side to see.
“He saw something else,” I said quietly to Jessamine.
“Something’s brought the tracker back to the room with the VCR, but it’s light now,” she answered.
I watched as Archie drew a square room with dark beams across its low ceiling. The walls were paneled in wood, a little too dark, out of date. The floor had a dark carpet with a pattern in it. There was a large window against the south wall, and an opening through the west wall led to the living room. One side of that entrance was stone—a large tan stone fireplace that was open to both rooms. The focus of the room from this perspective, the TV and VCR, balanced on a too-small wooden stand, were in the southwest corner of the room. An old sectional sofa curved around in front of the TV, a round coffee table in front of it.
“The phone goes there,” I whispered, pointing.
They both stared at me.
“That’s my mom’s house.”
Archie was across the room, phone in hand, dialing. I stared at the faithful rendering of my family room. Uncharacteristically, Jessamine slid closer to me. She lightly touched her hand to my shoulder, and the physical contact seemed to make her calming influence stronger. The panic stayed dull, unfocused.
Archie’s lips blurred, he was talking so fast—his voice was just a low buzzing impossible to understand.
“Beau,” he said. I looked at him numbly.
“Beau, Edythe is coming. She and Eleanor and Carine are going to take you somewhere, hide you for a while.”
“Edythe is coming?”
“Yes, she’s catching the first flight out of Seattle. We’ll meet her at the airport, and you’ll leave with her.”