Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 30)

I wondered if it was supposed to bother me that she was so much stronger than I was, but I hadn’t been insecure about things like that for a long time. Ever since I’d outgrown my bullies, I’d been fairly well satisfied. Sure, I’d like to be coordinated, but it didn’t bother me that I wasn’t good at sports. I didn’t have time for them anyway, and they’d always seemed a little childish. Why get so worked up about a bunch of people chasing a ball around? I was strong enough that I could make people leave me alone, and that was all I wanted.

So, this small girl was stronger than I was. A lot. But I was willing to bet she was stronger than everyone else I knew, kids and adults alike. She could take Schwarzenegger in his prime. I couldn’t compete with that, and I didn’t need to. She was special.

“Beau?” she asked, and I realized I hadn’t answered her question.

“Uh, what?”

“I asked where you were going.”

“Home. Or am I not?” Her expression confused me.

She smiled. “Didn’t you hear me promise to take you safely home? Do you think I’m going to let you drive in your condition?”

“What condition?”

“I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you have a weak vasovagal system.”

“I think I’ll survive,” I said. I tried to take another step toward my truck, but her hand didn’t free my jacket.

I stopped and looked down at her again. “Okay, why don’t you tell me what you want me to do?”

Her smile got wider. “Very sensible. You’re going to get into my car, and I am going to drive you home.”

“I have two issues with that. One, it’s not necessary, and two, what about my truck?”

“One, necessary is a subjective word, and two, I’ll have Archie drop it off after school.”

I was distracted by the casual reminder that she had siblings—strange, pale, beautiful siblings. Special siblings? Special like her?

“Are you going to put up a fuss?” she asked when I didn’t speak.

“Is there any point in resisting?”

I tried to decipher all the layers to her smile, but I didn’t get very far. “It warms my cold heart to see you learning so quickly. This way.”

She dropped her fistful of jacket and turned. I followed her willingly. The smooth roll of her hips was just as hypnotic as her eyes. And there wasn’t a downside to getting more time with her.

The inside of the Volvo was just as pristine as the outside. Instead of the smell of gasoline and tobacco, there was just a faint perfume. It was almost familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Whatever it was, it smelled amazing.

As the engine purred quietly to life, she played with a few dials, turning the heat on and the music down.

“Is that ‘Clair de Lune’?” I asked.

She glanced at me, surprised. “You’re a fan of Debussy?”

I shrugged. “My mom plays a lot of classical stuff around the house. I only know my favorites.”

“It’s one of my favorites, too.”

“Well, imagine that,” I said. “We have something in common.”

I expected her to laugh, but she only stared out through the rain.

I relaxed against the light gray seat, responding automatically to the familiar melody. Because I was mostly watching her from the corner of my eye, the rain blurred everything outside the window into gray and green smudges. It took me a minute to realize we were driving very fast; the car moved so smoothly I didn’t feel the speed. Only the town flashing by gave it away.

“What’s your mother like?” she asked suddenly.

Her butterscotch eyes studied me curiously while I answered.

“She kind of looks like me—same eyes, same color hair—but she’s short. She’s an extrovert, and pretty brave. She’s also slightly eccentric, a little irresponsible, and a very unpredictable cook. She was my best friend.” I stopped. It made me depressed to talk about her in the past tense.

“How old are you, Beau?” Her voice sounded frustrated for some reason I couldn’t imagine.

The car stopped, and I realized we were at Charlie’s house already. The rain had really picked up, so heavy now that I could barely see the house. It was like the car was submerged in a vertical river.

“I’m seventeen,” I said, a little confused by her tone.

“You don’t seem seventeen,” she said—it was like an accusation.

I laughed.

“What?” she demanded.

“My mom always says I was born thirty-five years old and that I get more middle-aged every year.” I laughed again, and then sighed. “Well, someone has to be the adult.” I paused for a second. “You don’t seem much like a junior in high school, either.”

She made a face and changed the subject.

“Why did your mother marry Phil?”

I was surprised that she remembered Phil’s name; I was sure I’d only said it once, almost two months ago. It took me a second to answer.

“My mom… she’s very young for her age. I think Phil makes her feel even younger. Anyway, she’s crazy about him.” Personally I didn’t see it, but did anyone ever think anyone was good enough for his mom?

“Do you approve?” she asked.

I shrugged. “I want her to be happy, and he’s who she wants.”

“That’s very generous.… I wonder…”


“Would she extend the same courtesy to you, do you think? No matter who your choice was?” Her eyes were suddenly intent, searching mine.


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