Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 23)

I looked past her, toward the school, and said the first dumb things that came into my mind. “Why the traffic jam last night? I thought you were supposed to be pretending I don’t exist.”

“Ah. That was for Taylor’s sake. She was figuratively dying for her chance at you.”

I blinked. “What?” Irritation from yesterday’s memory bled into my voice. I hadn’t thought Edythe and Taylor were friends. Did Taylor ask her…? That didn’t seem likely.

“And I’m not pretending you don’t exist,” she continued like I hadn’t spoken.

I met her eyes again, trying hard to keep my mind focused, no matter how golden they seemed, or how long her lashes were against her pale violet lids.

“I don’t know what you want from me,” I told her.

It was annoying how my thoughts seemed to explode straight through my lips when I was near her, like I had no filter at all. I would never have spoken this way to another girl.

The amused half-smile disappeared, and her face was suddenly guarded.

“Nothing,” she said too quickly, almost like she was lying.

“Then you probably should have let the van take me out. Easier that way.”

She stared for a second, and when she answered, her voice was cold. “Beau, you are utterly absurd.”

I must be right about the torture thing. I was just a way for her to pass time in this boring town. An easy mark.

I was past her in one long stride.

“Wait,” she said, but I forced myself to keep moving, not to look back.

“I’m sorry, that was rude,” she said, somehow right next to me, keeping pace though my legs were probably twice as long as hers. “I’m not saying it wasn’t true, but it was rude to say it out loud.”

“Why won’t you leave me alone?”

“I wanted to ask you something, but you sidetracked me.”

I sighed and slowed, though she didn’t seem like she was having a hard time keeping up. “Fine.” I was such a sucker. “What do you want?”

“I was wondering if, a week from Saturday—you know, the day of the spring dance—”

I stopped, wheeling to look down at her. “Is this funny to you?”

She stared up at me, seeming oblivious to the drizzling rain that was falling. She was apparently wearing no makeup at all—nothing smudged or ran. Of course, her face was just that perfect naturally. For a second, I was actually angry—angry that she had to be so beautiful. Angry that her beauty had made her cruel. Angry that I was the object of her cruelty, and even though I knew it, I still couldn’t successfully walk away from her.

Her amused expression was back, the hint of dimples threatening on her cheeks.

“Will you please allow me to finish?” she asked.

Walk away, I told myself.

I didn’t move.

“I heard that you were going to Seattle that day, and I wondered if you wanted a ride.”

That was not what I was expecting.

“Huh?”

“Do you want a ride to Seattle?”

I wasn’t sure where her joke was heading now. “With who?”

“Myself, obviously.” She enunciated every syllable, like she thought maybe English wasn’t my first language.

“Why?” Where was the punch line?

“Well, I was planning to go to Seattle in the next few weeks, and to be honest, I’m not sure if your truck can make it.”

Finally, I was able to start walking again, goaded by the insult to my truck.

“Make fun of me all you want, but leave the truck out of it,” I said.

Again, she kept up easily. “Why would you think that I’m making fun of you?” she asked. “The invitation is genuine.”

“My truck is great, thanks.”

“Can your truck make it to Seattle on one tank of gas?”

Before the truck, I’d never cared one way or another about any car, but I could feel a prejudice against Volvos forming.

“I don’t see how that’s your problem.”

“The wasting of finite resources is everyone’s problem,” she said primly.

“Seriously, Edythe.” I felt a charge go through me as I said her name aloud, and I didn’t like it. “I can’t keep up with you. I thought you didn’t want to be my friend.”

“I said it would be better if we weren’t friends, not that I didn’t want to be.”

“Oh, wow, great, so that’s all cleared up.” Thick sarcasm. I realized I had stopped walking again. I looked down at her rain-washed face, clean and perfect, and my thoughts stuttered to a halt.

“It would be more… prudent for you not to be my friend,” she explained. “But I’m tired of trying to stay away from you, Beau.”

There was no humor in her face now. Her eyes were intense, narrowed, the long lines of her lashes stark black against her skin. Her voice had a strange heat to it. I couldn’t remember how to breathe.

“Will you accept a ride with me to Seattle?” she demanded, voice still burning.

I couldn’t speak, so I just nodded.

A quick smile reshaped her face, and then she was serious again.

“You really should stay away from me,” she warned. “I’ll see you in class.”

She spun on her heel and then walked quickly back the way we’d come.

5. BLOOD TYPE

I WALKED TO ENGLISH IN A KIND OF DAZE. I DIDN’T REALIZE WHEN I first came through the door that class had already started.

Ms. Mason’s irritated voice was my first clue. “Thank you for joining us, Mr. Swan.”

[X]

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