Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 22)

But each time I finished answering my own question, my mind went right back to Edythe.

By the time I got home, I’d run out of new questions, so I gave up trying to think about something else. I decided to make chicken enchiladas because it would keep me busy for a while and I didn’t have that much homework. It also forced me to concentrate on all the dicing—chicken, chilies, onions. All the while, though, I kept running through Biology class again, trying to analyze every word she’d spoken to me. What did she mean, it was better if we weren’t friends?

My stomach dropped when I realized the only thing she could have meant. She must know how obsessed I was with her—it wasn’t like I was hiding it very well. She didn’t want to lead me on… so we couldn’t even be friends… because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings the way I’d hurt McKayla and Erica today. (Taylor seemed fine.) Edythe didn’t want to have to feel that guilt. Because she wasn’t interested in me at all.

Which made perfect sense, obviously, because I wasn’t interesting.

My eyes were starting to sting and tear from the onions. I grabbed a dish towel, ran it under the faucet, and then rubbed it across my eyes. It didn’t really help.

I was boring—I knew this about myself. And Edythe was the opposite of boring. This wasn’t about her secret, whatever it was, if I even remembered any of that insane moment clearly. At this point, I almost believed the story I’d told everyone else. It made a lot more sense than what I thought I’d seen.

But she didn’t need a secret to be out of my league. She was also brilliant and mysterious and beautiful and completely perfect. If she was, in fact, able to lift a full-sized van with one hand, it really didn’t matter. Either way, she was fantasy and I was the very most mundane kind of reality.

And that was fine. I could leave her alone. I would leave her alone. I would get through my self-imposed sentence here in purgatory, and then hopefully some school in the Southwest, or possibly Hawaii, would offer me a scholarship.

I tried to think about palm trees and sun while I finished dinner.

Charlie seemed worried when he came home and smelled the green peppers, but he came around after the first bite. It was kind of a strange feeling, but also a good feeling, watching as he started to trust me in the kitchen.

“Dad?” I asked when he was almost done.

“Yeah, Beau?”

“Um, I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to Seattle a week from Saturday. Just for the day.” I didn’t want to ask permission—it set a bad precedent—but the statement form sounded rude, so I added, “If that’s okay?”

“Why?” He sounded surprised, like he couldn’t imagine any reason that would make someone want to leave Forks’s town limits.

“Well, I wanted to get a few books—the library here is pretty limited. And maybe some warmer clothes.” I had a little extra money, since, thanks to Charlie, I hadn’t had to buy a car—though the truck did need a bigger gasoline budget than I’d expected—and the cold-weather clothes I’d picked up in Phoenix seemed to have been designed by people who’d never actually lived in temperatures below seventy but had once had such a climate described to them.

“That truck probably doesn’t get very good gas mileage,” he said, echoing my thoughts.

“I know, I’ll stop in Montessano and Olympia—and Tacoma if I have to.”

“Are you going all by yourself?”

“Yeah.”

“Seattle is a big city—you could get lost,” he warned.

“Dad, Phoenix is five times the size of Seattle—and I can read a map, don’t worry about it.”

“Do you want me to come with you?”

I wondered if he was really that worried about me, or if he just thought all the Saturdays he left me alone were adding up to neglect. Probably worried. I was sure that, in his head, he still pictured me as a five-year-old most of the time.

“That’s okay. It’s not going to be very exciting.”

“Will you be back in time for the dance?”

I just stared back at him until he got it.

It didn’t take him long. “Oh, right.”

“Yeah,” I said. I didn’t get my balance issues from my mom.

The next morning at school, I parked as far as possible from the shiny silver Volvo. I would keep my distance. I wouldn’t notice her anymore. She’d have nothing to complain about from here on out.

As I slammed the truck door shut, I lost my hold on the key and it splashed down in a puddle at my feet. As I bent to retrieve it, a pale hand flashed out and grabbed it first. I jerked upright, almost smacking my head into her. Edythe Cullen was right there, leaning casually against my truck.

“How do you do that?” I gasped.

“Do what?” She held out my key while she spoke. As I reached for it, she dropped it in my palm.

“Appear out of thin air?”

“Beau, it’s not my fault if you are exceptionally unobservant.” Her voice was just a murmur, muted velvet, and her lips were holding back a smile. Like she thought I was hilarious.

How was I supposed to ignore her when she wouldn’t ignore me? That was what she wanted, right? Me, out of her long, bronze-y hair? Wasn’t that what she’d said to me yesterday? We couldn’t be friends. Then why was she talking to me? Was she sadistic? Was this her idea of fun—torture the idiotic kid she could never possibly care about?

I stared at her, frustrated. Her eyes were light again today, a deep, golden honey color. My thoughts got confused, and I had to look down. Her feet were just a half-foot from mine, oriented toward me, unmoving. Like she was waiting for a response.

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