Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 20)
“So,” McKayla said, looking at the floor instead of at me. “Jeremy said that you don’t do dances.”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
She looked at me then, her expression hurt and a little angry. I hadn’t even told her no yet, and I already felt guilty.
“Oh,” she said. “I thought maybe he was making it up.”
“Uh, sorry, no. Why would he make up a story like that?”
She frowned. “I think he wants me to ask him.”
I forced a smile. “You should. Jeremy’s great.”
She shrugged. “I guess.” Then she took a deep breath and looked me straight in the eye with a quick, nervous smile. “Would this ‘I don’t dance’ thing change if I was the one asking you to go?”
From the corner of my eye, I saw Edythe’s head suddenly tilt in my direction. Like she was listening to my answer, too.
It took me a little too long to respond. I still felt guilty, but mostly distracted. Was Edythe listening?
“Um, sorry, again.”
McKayla’s face fell. “Would it change if someone else asked you?”
Did Edythe see how McKayla’s eyes flickered in her direction?
“No. It’s a moot point anyway. I’m going to be in Seattle that day.” I needed to get out of town—two Saturdays from now was the perfect time to go.
“Does it have to be that weekend?” McKayla asked.
“Yeah. But don’t worry about me. You should take Jeremy. He’s much more fun than I am.”
“Yeah, I guess,” she mumbled, and she turned to walk back to her seat. I watched her shoulders slump forward, and I felt horrible. I closed my eyes and pushed my fingers against my temples, trying to force McKayla’s dejected posture out of my head. Mrs. Banner started talking. I sighed and opened my eyes.
Edythe was staring straight at me, that familiar expression of frustration even more obvious now in her black eyes.
I stared back, surprised, expecting her to look away. She didn’t. Her eyes kept boring into mine, like she was trying to find something really important inside them. I continued to stare also, totally unable to break the connection, even if I wanted to. My hands started to shake.
“Miss Cullen?” the teacher called, looking for the answer to some question I hadn’t heard.
“The Krebs Cycle,” Edythe answered, seeming reluctant as she turned to look at Mrs. Banner.
I put my head down, pretending to stare at my book, as soon as her eyes released me. It bothered me—the rush of emotion pulsing through me, just because she’d happened to look at me for the first time in six weeks. It wasn’t normal. It was actually pretty pathetic, and probably more than that. Unhealthy.
I tried hard not to be aware of her for the rest of the class, or, since that was impossible, at least not to let her know that I was aware of her. When the bell finally rang, I turned away from her to stack up my books, expecting her to rush out as usual.
Her voice shouldn’t sound so familiar, like I’d been hearing it all my life instead of just an hour here and there a few weeks ago.
I turned slowly toward her, not wanting to feel what I knew I would feel when I looked at her too-perfect face. I’m sure my expression was guarded; hers was unreadable. She didn’t say anything.
“Yes?” I asked.
She just looked at me.
“So… um, are you… or are you not talking to me again?”
“Not,” she said, but her lips curled up into a smile, her dimples flashing.
“Okay…” I looked away—down at my hands, then over toward the chalkboard. It was hard to concentrate when I looked at her, and this conversation wasn’t making much sense.
“I’m sorry,” she said, and there was no joke in her voice now. “I’m being very rude, I know. But it’s better this way, really.”
I looked at her again; her expression was totally serious now.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“It’s better if we’re not friends,” she explained. “Trust me.”
My eyes narrowed. I’d heard that one before.
She seemed surprised by my reaction. “What are you thinking?” she asked.
“I guess… that it’s too bad you didn’t figure this out earlier, saved yourself the regret.”
“Regret?” My answer seemed to have caught her off guard. “Regret for what?”
“For not letting Taylor’s van crush me when it had the chance.”
She looked completely shocked. She stared at me for a minute, wide-eyed, and when she finally spoke she almost sounded mad.
“You think I regret saving your life?” The words were quiet, just under her breath, but still pretty intense.
I glanced quickly toward the front of the room, where a couple of kids were still lingering. I caught one of them looking at us. He looked away and I turned back to Edythe.
“Yeah,” I said, just as quietly. “I mean, what else? Seems kind of obvious.”
She made the strangest sound—she exhaled through her teeth and it was like a hiss. She still looked mad.
“You’re an idiot,” she told me.
Well, that was my limit.
It was bad enough that I was so fixated on this girl, bad enough that I thought about her all the time, dreamed about her every night. I didn’t need to sit here like the moron she thought I was and just stare while she insulted me. I grabbed my books and lurched out of my chair, knowing all the while that she was right—I was an idiot, because I wanted to stay, even if all I got to hear was more abuse from her. I needed to get out of the room as fast as possible, so of course, I tripped over the threshold and half-fell through the doorway, my books scattering across the sidewalk. I stood there for a second with my eyes closed, thinking about leaving them. Then I sighed and bent to pick them up.