Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 18)

“What do you want?” she asked, sounding annoyed. Her eyes were cold.

Her unfriendliness intimidated me. My words came out with less certainty than I’d planned. “You owe me an explanation,” I reminded her.

“I saved your life—I don’t owe you anything.”

I flinched back from the resentment in her voice. “Why are you acting like this?”

“Beau, you hit your head, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Her tone was cutting.

Her anger only made me more sure that I was right, though. “There’s nothing wrong with my head.”

She turned up the heat of her glare. “What do you want from me, Beau?”

“I want to know the truth,” I said. “I want to know why I’m lying for you.”

“What do you think happened?” she snapped.

It was harder to say the words out loud, where I could hear the crazy. It shook my conviction, but I tried to keep my voice even and calm.

“I know that you weren’t standing next to me—Taylor didn’t see you, either, so it’s not concussion damage. That van was going to crush us both—but it didn’t. It looked like your hands left dents in the side of it—and your shoulders left a dent in the other car, but you’re not hurt at all. The van should have smashed my legs, but you were holding it up.…” It just kept sounding worse and worse. I couldn’t continue.

She was staring at me, her eyes wide and incredulous. But she couldn’t entirely hide the tension, the defensiveness.

“You think I lifted a van off you?” Her tone questioned my sanity, but there was something off. It was like a line delivered by a skilled actor—so hard to doubt, but at the same time, the frame of the movie screen reminded you nothing was actually real.

I just nodded once.

She smiled, hard and mocking. “Nobody will believe that, you know.”

“I’m not going to tell anybody.”

Surprise flitted across her face, and the smile faded. “Then why does it matter?”

“It matters to me,” I said. “I don’t like to lie—so there’d better be a good reason why I’m doing it.”

“Can’t you just thank me and get over it?”

“Thank you,” I said, and then folded my arms. Waiting.

“You’re not going to let it go, are you?”

“Nope.”

“In that case… I hope you enjoy disappointment.”

She scowled at me, and I stared back, thoughts scattered by how beautiful her anger was. I was the first to speak, trying to keep myself focused. I was in danger of being totally distracted. It was like trying to stare down a destroying angel.

“If you were going to be like this about it,” I said, “why did you even bother?”

She paused, and for a brief moment her perfect face was unexpectedly vulnerable.

“I don’t know,” she whispered.

And then she turned her back on me and walked away.

It took me a few minutes until I was able to move. When I could walk, I made my way slowly to the exit at the end of the hallway.

The waiting room was unpleasant, like I’d expected. It seemed like every face I knew in Forks was there, staring at me. Charlie rushed to my side; I put up my hands.

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” I assured him, abruptly aggravated by the whole crazy situation.

“What did the doctor say?”

“Dr. Cullen saw me, and she said I was fine and I could go home.” McKayla, Jeremy, and Erica were all there, beginning to converge on us. “Let’s go,” I urged.

Charlie put one arm out toward me, like he thought I needed support. I retreated quickly toward the exit doors, waving halfheartedly at my friends. Hopefully they would forget about this by tomorrow.

Unlikely.

It was a huge relief—the first time I’d ever felt that way—to get into the cruiser.

We drove in silence. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts that I barely knew Charlie was there. I was positive that Edythe’s defensive behavior in the hall was a confirmation of the bizarre things I still could hardly believe I’d seen.

When we got to the house, Charlie finally spoke.

“Um… you’ll need to call Renée.” He hung his head, guilty.

I was appalled. “You told Mom?”

“Sorry.”

I slammed the cruiser’s door a little harder than necessary on my way out.

My mom was in hysterics, of course. I had to tell her I felt fine at least thirty times before she would calm down. She begged me to come home—forgetting the fact that home was empty at the moment—but her pleas were easier to resist than I would have thought. I was consumed by the mystery Edythe presented. And more than a little obsessed with Edythe herself. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I wasn’t as eager to escape Forks as I should be, as any normal, sane person would be.

I decided I might as well go to bed early that night. Charlie continued to watch me anxiously, and it was getting on my nerves. I stopped on my way to grab three Tylenol from the bathroom. They did help, and, as the pain eased, I drifted to sleep.

That was the first night I dreamed about Edythe Cullen.

4. INVITATIONS

IN MY DREAM IT WAS VERY DARK, AND WHAT DIM LIGHT THERE WAS seemed to be radiating from Edythe’s skin. I couldn’t see her face, just her back as she walked away from me, leaving me in the blackness. No matter how fast I ran, I couldn’t catch up to her; no matter how loud I called, she never turned. I got more and more frantic to get to her, until that anxiety woke me. It was the middle of the night, but I couldn’t sleep again for what seemed like a very long time. After that, she was in my dreams nearly every night, but always on the edges, never within reach.

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