Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 29)
“Oh no,” Edythe murmured. “Go out to the office, Beau.”
I looked down at her, confused.
I spun and caught the door before it closed, floundering out of the infirmary. I could feel Edythe right behind me.
“You actually listened to me,” she said, surprised.
“I smelled the blood.” Leann wasn’t sick from just watching other people. Much less embarrassing, I thought.
“People can’t smell blood,” Edythe contradicted.
“I can—that’s what makes me sick. It smells like rust… and salt.”
She was staring at me with a wary expression.
“What?” I asked.
McKayla came through the door then, glancing from Edythe to me and back again.
“Thanks so much for your help, Edythe,” she said, her sickly sweet tone a pretty good indication that Edythe was right about the loathing thing. “I don’t know what Beau here would have done without you.”
“Don’t mention it,” Edythe replied with an amused smile.
“You look better,” McKayla said to me in the same tone. “I’m so glad.”
“Just keep your hand in your pocket,” I cautioned her again.
“It’s not bleeding anymore,” she told me, her voice going back to normal. “Are you coming to class?”
“No thanks. I’d just have to turn around and come back.”
“Yeah, I guess.… So are you going this weekend? To the beach?” While she spoke, she flashed a dark look toward Edythe, who was standing against the cluttered counter, motionless as a sculpture, staring off into space.
I didn’t want to upset her more. “Sure, I said I was in.”
“We’re meeting at my parents’ store at ten.” Her eyes flickered to Edythe again, and I could tell she was worried she was giving out too much information. Her body language made it clear this wasn’t an open invitation.
“I’ll be there,” I promised.
“I’ll see you in Gym, then,” she said, moving uncertainly toward the door.
“Yeah, see you,” I replied.
She looked at me again, her round face slightly pouting, and then as she walked through the door, her shoulders slumped. Guilt lanced through me, the same as yesterday. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but it seemed like it just kept happening. I thought about looking at her disappointed face all through Gym.
“Ugh, Gym,” I muttered.
“I can take care of that.” I hadn’t heard Edythe walk over, but now she spoke from right beside me, making me jump. “Go sit down and look pale,” she instructed in a whisper.
That wasn’t a challenge; I was usually pale, and the recent episode had left a light sheen of sweat on my face. I sat in one of the creaky folding chairs and rested my head against the wall with my eyes closed. Fainting was exhausting.
I heard Edythe speaking softly at the counter.
I hadn’t heard the man return to his desk, but he answered, “Yes?”
“Beau has Gym next hour, and I don’t think he feels well enough. Actually, I was thinking I should drive him home. Do you mind excusing him from class?” Her voice was like melting honey. I could guess how much more overwhelming her eyes would be.
“Do you need to be excused, too, Edythe?” Mr. Cope’s voice broke.
Why couldn’t I do that to people?
“No, I have Mr. Goff,” Edythe said. “He won’t mind.”
“Okay, it’s all taken care of. You feel better, Beau,” Mr. Cope called to me. I nodded weakly, hamming it up just a bit.
“Can you walk, or do you want me to help you again?” With her back to the receptionist, her expression turned sarcastic.
I stood carefully, and I was still fine. She opened the door for me, her smile polite but her eyes mocking. I felt stupid as I walked through the door, out into the cold, fine mist that had just begun to fall. But it felt good—the first time I’d enjoyed the never-ending moisture falling out of the sky—as it washed the sweat off my face.
“Thanks for that,” I said when she’d followed me out. “It’s almost worth getting sick to miss Gym.”
“Anytime,” she promised. She stared past me into the rain.
“So are you going? This Saturday—the beach trip?” I was hoping she would, though it seemed unlikely. I couldn’t picture her loading up to carpool with the rest of the kids from school; she didn’t belong in the same world. But just wishing that she might gave me the first thrill of enthusiasm I’d felt for the outing.
“Where are you all going?” She was still staring ahead, expressionless, but her question made me hope she was considering it.
“Down to La Push, to First Beach.”
I watched her face, trying to read it. I thought I saw her eyes narrow just slightly.
She finally looked up at me and smiled. “I really don’t think I was invited.”
“I just invited you.”
“Let’s you and I not antagonize poor McKayla any more this week. We don’t want her to snap.” Her eyes danced, like she was enjoying the idea more than she should.
“Fine, whatever,” I grumbled, preoccupied by the way she’d said you and I. I liked it more than I should.
We were at the parking lot now, so I angled toward my truck. Something caught my jacket and yanked me back half a step.
“Where are you going?” she asked, surprised. Her little hand had a fistful of my jacket. She didn’t look like she’d even planted her feet. For a second I couldn’t answer. She denied being a superhero, but my mind couldn’t seem to frame it another way. It was like Supergirl had left her cape at home.