Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 141)

Bonnie harrumphed, but didn’t answer.

“Please,” Carine said, and her voice was much kinder than either of the others’. “We’ve never hurt anyone here. We won’t start now. It would be better for us not to leave immediately, otherwise we would go without an argument.”

“You don’t want to look guilty,” Bonnie agreed sarcastically.

“No, we would rather not,” Carine said. “And in truth, we are not in breach.”

Bonnie looked at me. “Then where is Beau? Do you expect me to believe he’s inside that thing that bears some slight resemblance to him?” Hurt was strong in her voice, but so was hate. I was surprised by her reaction. Did I really seem so different? Like I wasn’t even here?

“Bonnie, it’s me,” I said.

She winced at my voice.

I was out of air. I gripped Edythe’s hand and took a shallow breath. Still upwind, it was okay.

“I know I look and sound a little different, but I’m still me, Bonnie.”

“So you say.”

I raised my free hand helplessly. “I don’t know how to convince you. What I told Sam was true—another vampire bit me. She would have killed me, too, except that the Cullens got there in time. They didn’t do anything wrong. They were always trying to protect me.”

“If they hadn’t gotten involved with you, this would never have happened! Charlie’s life wouldn’t be broken in pieces—you’d still be the boy I knew.”

I’d had this argument before, and I was prepared. “Bonnie, there’s something you didn’t know about me.… I used to smell really good to vampires.”

She flinched.

“If the Cullens hadn’t been here, those other vampires would still have come to Forks. They might have killed more than me while they were here, but I can promise you, if Charlie had survived, he would be missing me just the same. And there would be nothing left of the boy you used to know. You might not be able to see it, but I’m still here, Bonnie.”

Bonnie shook her head, less angry, though, I thought. More sad. She looked at Carine. “I’ll concede that the treaty is intact. Will you tell me your plans?”

“We’ll stay here another year. We’ll leave after Edythe and Archie graduate. It will look natural that way.”

Bonnie nodded. “All right. We’ll wait. I apologize for our infraction tonight. I…” She sighed. “It was a mistake. I was… overwrought.”

“We understand,” Carine said softly. “There was no harm done. Maybe even some good. It’s better to understand each other as much as possible. Perhaps we could even talk again some—”

“The treaty is unbroken,” Bonnie said in a hard voice. “Don’t ask any more from us.”

Carine nodded once.

Bonnie looked at me again and her face fell.

The breeze shifted.

Edythe and Carine both grabbed my arms at the same time. Bonnie’s eyes went wide and then narrowed angrily. Sam snarled once.

“What are you doing to him?” Bonnie demanded.

“Protecting you,” Edythe snapped.

The dark brown wolf took a half-step forward.

I took a quick breath, preparing myself to run if it was bad.

It was bad.

Bonnie’s scent was like fire as it rushed down my throat, but it was more than just pain. It was a thousand times more appealing than any of the animals I’d hunted, not even in the same class. It was like someone waving a perfectly cooked filet mignon in front of me after I’d been living on stale crackers for a year. But more than that. I’d never tried drugs, but I thought Edythe’s heroin comparison might be the closer version.

And yet, while I wanted to quench my thirst… badly… I knew instantly that I didn’t have to. I wouldn’t want to be any closer to her, no, but I was pretty sure I could handle it even then. I’d expected that when the newborn thing reared its ugly head, I wouldn’t be able to think or decide. That I wouldn’t be a person anymore, I’d be an animal.

I was still me. A very thirsty me, but me.

It only took half a second for me to figure all this out.

“No, don’t worry, Bonnie,” I said quickly. “I’m new to this, and they don’t want me to… lose it, you know? But I’m okay.”

Edythe slowly took her hand off my arm. Carine looked at me, her face kind of… awed.

Bonnie’s eyes were still narrowed, but I could see she was confused, too. She hadn’t expected me to act so much like myself, maybe. I decided to take advantage of the unexpected opportunity. I took another breath, and though it hurt just as badly, I knew I was fine.

“So it sounds like I won’t have a chance to talk to you again,” I said. “And I’m sorry it’s that way. I guess I don’t understand all the rules yet. But since you’re here, if I could just ask one favor…”

Her face got hard again. “What?”

“My dad.” My breath did that weird hitching thing again and I had to take a second before I could go on. Edythe put her hand on my back, but it was for comfort this time. “Please, just… take care of him? Don’t let him be alone too much. I never wanted to do this to him… or my mom. That’s the hardest part of all this. For me, it’s fine. I’m good. If only there was anything I could do to make it better for them, I would, but I can’t. Could you please watch out for him?”

Bonnie’s face went blank for a minute. I couldn’t read it. I wished I could hear like Edythe did.


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