Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 123)
I turned and walked slowly to the bedroom, feeling their eyes following the whole way. I shut the door behind me, and then I did what I could. I showered and got dressed in clothes that fit me. I dug through the duffel bag until I found my sock full of money—I emptied it into my pocket.
I stood there for a minute, staring at nothing, trying to think of things I was allowed to think about. I came up with one idea.
I knelt by the little bedside table and opened the top drawer. Underneath the complimentary copy of the Bible, there was a stash of stationery and a pen. I took a sheet of paper and an envelope out of the drawer.
“Edythe,” I wrote. My hand was shaking. The letters were barely legible.
I love you.
Sorry—again. So sorry.
She has my mom, and I have to try. I know it may not work. I am so very, very sorry.
Don’t be mad at Archie and Jessamine. If I get away from them it will be a miracle. Tell them thank you for me. Archie especially.
And please, please don’t come after her. That’s what she wants. I can’t stand it if anyone else has to be hurt because of me, especially you. Please, this is the only thing I can ask you now. For me.
I’m not sorry that I met you. I’ll never be sorry that I love you.
I folded the paper into thirds, and then sealed it into the envelope. Eventually she would find it. I hoped she would understand. I hoped she would forgive. And most of all, I hoped she would listen.
When I walked back out to the living room, they were ready.
I sat alone this time in the back of the car. Jessamine kept shooting glances at me in the mirror when she thought I wouldn’t notice. She kept me calm, which I appreciated.
Archie leaned against the passenger door, his face pointed at Jessamine, but I knew he was watching me in his peripheral vision. How much had he seen? Was he expecting me to try something? Or was he focused on the tracker’s moves?
“Archie?” I asked.
He was wary. “Yes?”
“I wrote a note for my mom,” I said slowly. “Would you give it to her? Leave it at the house, I mean?”
“Of course, Beau.” His voice was careful—the way you spoke to someone standing on a ledge. They could both see me coming apart. I had to control myself better.
We got to the airport quickly. Jessamine parked in the center of the garage’s fourth floor; the sun couldn’t reach this deep into the concrete block. We never had to leave the shadows as we made our way to the terminal. It was terminal four, the biggest one, the most confusing. Maybe that would help.
I led the way, for once more knowledgeable about our surroundings than they were. We took the elevator down to level three, where the passengers unloaded. Archie and Jessamine spent a while looking at the departing flights board. I could hear them discussing the pros and cons of New York, Atlanta, Chicago. Places I’d never been. Places where I would never go, now.
I tried not to think about my escape. We sat in the long row of chairs by the metal detectors, and my knee kept bouncing. Jessamine and Archie pretended to people-watch, but they were really just watching me. Every inch I shifted in my seat was followed by a quick glance out of the corner of their eyes. This was hopeless. Should I run? Would they dare to stop me physically with all these people around? Or would they just follow?
Whatever I did, I was going to have to time it right. If I waited till Edythe and Carine were close, Archie would have to wait for them, right? But I couldn’t let it get too close. I was pretty sure Edythe wouldn’t care about the human witnesses when she started tracking me.
Part of me was able to make these calculated judgments. The other part was so aware that Edythe was almost here. Like every cell in my body was pulling toward her. That made it harder. I found myself trying to think of excuses to stay, to see her first and then make my escape. But that was impossible if I was going to have any chance at all to run.
Several times Archie offered to go get breakfast with me. Later, I told him. Not yet.
I stared at the arrival board, watching as flight after flight arrived on time. The flight from Seattle crept closer to the top of the board.
And then, when I had only thirty-five minutes to make my escape, the numbers changed. Her plane was ten minutes early. I had no more time.
I pulled the unmarked envelope out of my pocket and handed it to Archie.
“You’ll get this to her?”
He nodded, taking the letter and slipping it into his backpack.
“I think I’ll eat now,” I said.
Archie stood. “I’ll come with you.”
“Do you mind if Jessamine comes instead?” I asked. “I’m feeling a little…” I didn’t finish the sentence. My eyes were wild enough to convey the point.
Jessamine stood up. Archie looked confused, but—I saw with huge relief—not suspicious. He must be attributing the change in his vision to some maneuver of the tracker’s rather than a betrayal by me. He wasn’t watching me, he was watching Joss.
Jessamine walked silently beside me, her hand on the small of my back, as if she were guiding me. I pretended a lack of interest in the first few airport cafés, my head scanning for something, anything. There had to be a window, an opportunity I could use.
I saw a sign, and had an idea. Inspiration in desperation.
There was one place Jessamine wouldn’t follow me.
I had to move quickly, before Archie saw something.
“Do you mind?” I asked Jessamine, nodding to the door. “I’ll be right back.”
“I’ll be here,” she promised.
As soon as I was around the corner of the doorless entry, out of sight, I was running.