Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 19)
The month that followed the accident was uneasy, tense, and, at first, embarrassing.
I found myself the center of attention for the rest of the week, which really sucked. Taylor Crowley was super annoying, following me around, coming up with different hypothetical ways to make it up to me. I tried to convince her that what I wanted more than anything else was for her to forget about it—especially since nothing had actually happened to me—but she wouldn’t give up. She found me between classes and sat at our now-crowded lunch table. McKayla and Erica didn’t seem to like that; they flashed more side-eye at her than they did at each other, which made me worry that I’d gained another unwelcome fan. Like being into the new kid was the latest fad.
No one was worried about Edythe—no one followed her around or asked for her eyewitness account. I always included her in my version; she was the hero—she had pulled me out of the way and nearly been crushed, too, but all anyone ever said was that they hadn’t even realized she was there until the van was pulled away.
I wondered a lot about why no one else had noticed her standing so far away by her car, before she was suddenly and impossibly saving my life. There was only one solution I could think of, and I didn’t like it. It had to be because no one else was so aware of Edythe. No one watched her the way I did. It was pathetic, and kind of stalkerish.
People avoided Edythe the same way they usually did. The Cullens and the Hales sat at the same table they always sat at, not eating, talking only to each other. None of them ever glanced my way anymore.
When Edythe sat beside me in class, as far away as possible, like usual, she seemed totally unaware that I was sitting there next to her. Like my seat was empty. Only now and then, when her fists would suddenly ball up—skin stretched even whiter over her knuckles—did I wonder if she wasn’t as entirely oblivious as she seemed.
I wanted very much to continue our conversation from the hospital hallway, and the day after the accident I tried. She’d been so furious when we talked before. And, even though I really wanted to know what had actually happened and I thought I deserved the truth, I also knew I had been pretty pushy, considering that she had just saved my life and all. I didn’t think I’d thanked her properly.
She was already in her chair when I got to Biology. She didn’t turn when I sat down, just kept staring straight ahead. She showed no sign that she knew I was there.
“Hey, Edythe,” I said.
She turned her head half an inch toward me, but her eyes stayed focused on the blackboard. She gave me one little half-nod, then turned her face away from me.
And that was the last contact I’d had with her, though she was there, a foot away from me, every day. I watched her sometimes, unable to stop myself—always from a distance, though, in the cafeteria or parking lot. I watched as her golden eyes grew noticeably darker day by day (then abruptly, they were honey-colored again. And the slow progression toward black would start over). But in class I gave no more notice that she existed than she showed toward me. It was miserable. And the dreams continued.
She wished she hadn’t pushed me out of the way of Taylor’s van. I couldn’t think of any other explanation. Since she obviously preferred me dead, she was pretending that I was.
Despite my outright lies, the tone of my e-mails got my mom worked up. She called a few times, demanding to know I was okay. I tried to convince her it was just the rain that had me down.
McKayla, at least, was pleased by the obvious coolness between my lab partner and me. I guessed she’d been worried that the shared trauma would have bonded us or something. She got more confident, sitting on the edge of my table to talk before Biology class started, ignoring Edythe as completely as Edythe ignored us.
The snow washed away for good after that one dangerously icy day. McKayla complained that she’d never gotten to stage her big snowball fight, but she was happy that the beach trip would soon be possible. The rain continued heavily, though, and the weeks passed.
I hadn’t really been aware of how much time was passing. Most days looked the same—gray, green, and more gray. My stepdad had always complained that Phoenix didn’t have seasons, but as far as I could tell, Forks was much worse. I had no idea spring was anywhere near appearing until I was walking to the cafeteria with Jeremy one rainy morning.
“Hey, Beau?” he asked.
I wanted to hurry out of the rain, but Jeremy was barely shuffling forward. I slowed my pace to match his.
“What’s up, Jeremy?”
“I was just wondering if anyone’s asked you to the spring dance yet. You know, it’s girls’ choice.”
“Oh. Um, no.”
“Huh. Do you want… I mean, do you think McKayla will ask you?”
“I hope not,” I said, maybe a little too fast.
He looked up at me, surprised. “Why not?”
“I don’t do dances.”
We shuffled forward for a minute in silence. He was thoughtful. I was impatient to get out of the drizzle.
“Do you mind if I tell her that?” he asked.
“No. That’s probably a good idea. I don’t want to have to tell anyone no if I don’t have to.”
“When’s the dance again?”
We were close to the cafeteria now. He pointed to a bright yellow poster advertising the dance. I’d never noticed it before, but it was curling around the edges and a little washed out, like it had been up for a while.
“A week from Saturday,” he said.
I was pretty sure Jeremy had already said something when, the next morning, McKayla was not her usual bubbly self in English. At lunch she sat away from both Jeremy and me, and she didn’t say much to anyone. She stayed quiet as she walked with me to Biology, but she came over like usual to sit on the edge of my lab table. As always, I was too aware of Edythe sitting close enough to touch, but still so far away she might as well have been a product of my imagination.