Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 14)
Her eyebrows pushed together. “I don’t understand,” she admitted, and she seemed more frustrated by that fact than she should be.
I sighed. Why was I explaining this to her? She stared at me, waiting.
“She stayed with me at first, but she missed him. It made her unhappy… so I decided it was time to spend some quality time with Charlie.” My voice was glum by the time I finished.
“But now you’re unhappy,” she pointed out.
“And?” I challenged.
“That doesn’t seem fair.” She shrugged, but her eyes were still intense.
I laughed once. “Haven’t you heard? Life isn’t fair.”
“I believe I have heard that somewhere before,” she agreed dryly.
“So that’s it,” I insisted, wondering why she was still staring at me that way.
Her head tilted to the side, and her gold eyes seemed to laser right through the surface of my skin. “You put on a good show,” she said slowly. “But I’d be willing to bet that you’re suffering more than you let anyone see.”
I shrugged. “I repeat… And?”
“I don’t entirely understand you, that’s all.”
I frowned. “Why would you want to?”
“That’s a very good question,” she murmured, so quietly that I wondered if she was talking to herself. However, after a few seconds of silence, I decided that was the only answer I was going to get.
It was awkward, just looking at each other, but she didn’t look away. I wanted to keep staring at her face, but I was afraid she was wondering what was wrong with me for staring so much, so finally I turned toward the blackboard. She sighed.
I glanced back, and she was still looking at me, but her expression was different… a little frustrated, or irritated.
“I’m sorry,” I said quickly. “Did I… Am I annoying you?”
She shook her head and smiled with half her mouth so that one dimple popped out. “No, if anything, I’m annoyed with myself.”
She cocked her head to the side. “Reading people… it usually comes very easily to me. But I can’t—I guess I don’t know quite what to make of you. Is that funny?”
I flattened out my grin. “More… unexpected. My mom always calls me her open book. According to her, you can all but read my thoughts printing out across my forehead.”
Her smile vanished and she half-glared into my eyes, not angry like before, just intense. As if she was trying hard to read that printout my mom had seen. Then, switching gears just as abruptly, she was smiling again.
“I suppose I’ve gotten overconfident.”
I didn’t know what to say to that. “Um, sorry?”
She laughed, and the sound was like music, though I couldn’t think of the instrument to compare it to. Her teeth were perfect—no surprise there—and blinding white.
Mrs. Banner called the class to order then, and I was relieved to give her my attention. It was a little too intense, making small talk with Edythe. I felt dizzy in a strange way. Had I really just detailed my boring life to this bizarre, beautiful girl who might or might not hate me? She’d seemed almost too interested in what I had to say, but now I could see, from the corner of my eye, that she was leaning away from me again, her hands gripping the edge of the table with unmistakable tension.
I tried to focus as Mrs. Banner went through the lab with transparencies on the overhead projector, but my thoughts were far away from the lecture.
When the bell rang, Edythe rushed as swiftly and as gracefully from the room as she had last Monday. And, like last Monday, I stared after her with my jaw hanging open.
McKayla got to my table almost as quickly.
“That was awful,” she said. “They all looked exactly the same. You’re lucky you had Edythe for a partner.”
“Yeah, she seemed to know her way around an onion root.”
“She was friendly enough today,” McKayla commented as we shrugged into our raincoats. She didn’t sound happy about it.
I tried to make my voice casual. “I wonder what was with her last Monday.”
I couldn’t concentrate on McKayla’s chatter as we walked to Gym, and P.E. didn’t do much to hold my interest, either. McKayla was on my team today. She helpfully covered my position as well as her own, so I only had to pay attention when it was my turn to serve; my team knew to get out of the way when I was up.
The rain was just a mist as I walked to the parking lot, but I was still pretty damp when I got in the truck. I turned the heat up as high as it could go, for once not caring about the mind-numbing roar of the engine.
As I looked around me to make sure the way was clear, I noticed the still, white figure. Edythe Cullen was leaning against the front door of the Volvo, three cars down from me, and staring intently in my direction. The smile was gone, but at least so was the murder—for now, anyway. I looked away and threw the truck into reverse, almost hitting a rusty Toyota Corolla in my rush. Lucky for the Toyota, I stomped on the brake in time. It was just the sort of car that my truck would make scrap metal of. I took a deep breath, still looking out the other side of my car, and cautiously pulled out again. This time I made it. I stared straight ahead as I passed the Volvo, but I could see enough in my peripheral vision to know that she was laughing.
WHEN I OPENED MY EYES IN THE MORNING, SOMETHING WAS DIFFERENT.
It was the light. It was still the gloomy light of a cloudy day in the forest, but it was clearer somehow. I realized there was no fog obscuring my window.