Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 32)

I caught a few unfriendly glances from Logan during lunch, which I didn’t really understand. Just like everyone else, I’d laughed along with his fainting stunt. But I got some clarification as we walked out of the room. I guess he didn’t realize how close I was behind him.

He ran a hand over his slicked-back, silver-blond hair. “I don’t know why Beaufort”—he said my name with a sneer—“doesn’t just sit with the Cullens now,” I heard him mutter to McKayla. I’d never noticed before what a nasal voice he had, and I was surprised now by the malice in it. I really didn’t know him well, not well enough for him to dislike me—or so I would have thought.

“He’s my friend; he sits with us,” McKayla snapped back. Loyal, but also territorial. I paused to let Jeremy and Allen pass. I didn’t want to hear any more.

Later, at dinner, Charlie seemed excited about my trip to La Push in the morning. I guessed he felt guilty for leaving me home alone on the weekends, but he’d spent too many years building his habits to break them now. And I never minded the alone time.

Of course he knew the names of all the kids going, and their parents, and their great-grandparents, too, probably. He obviously approved. I wondered if he would approve of my plan to ride to Seattle with Edythe. He seemed to like the Cullens a lot. But there was no reason to tell him about it.

“Dad, do you know a place called Goat Rocks or something like that? I think it’s south of Mount Rainier.”

“Yeah, why?”

I shrugged. “Some kids were talking about camping there.”

“It’s not a very good place for camping.” He sounded surprised. “Too many bears. Most people go there during hunting season.”

“Huh. Maybe I got it wrong.”

I meant to sleep in, but the light woke me. Instead of the same gloomy half-light I’d gotten up to for the past two months, there was a bright, clear yellow streaming through my window. I couldn’t believe it, but there it was—finally—the sun. It was in the wrong place, too low and not as close as it should be, but it was definitely the sun. Clouds still ringed the horizon, but a wide blue patch took up most of the sky. I threw on my clothes quickly, afraid the blue would disappear as soon as I turned my back.

Newton’s Olympic Outfitters was just north of town. I’d seen the store but never stopped there—not having much desire for the supplies needed to intentionally stay outdoors over an extended period of time. In the parking lot I saw McKayla’s Suburban and Taylor’s Sentra. As I pulled up next to their vehicles, I saw the kids standing around in front of the Suburban. Erica was there, and two other girls I knew from class; I was pretty sure their names were Becca and Colleen. Jeremy was there, flanked by Allen and Logan. Three other guys stood with them, including one I remembered falling over in Gym on Friday. That one gave me a dirty look as I climbed out of the truck, and then said something to Logan. They laughed loudly, and Logan pretended he was passing out. The other guy caught him at first, then let him fall. They both busted up again, Logan just lying there on the pavement with his hands behind his head.

So it was going to be like that.

At least McKayla was happy to see me.

“You came!” she called, sounding thrilled. “And I promised it would be sunny, didn’t I?”

“I told you I was coming.”

“We’re just waiting for Leann and Sean… unless you invited someone,” she added.

“Nope, it’s just me,” I lied lightly, hoping I wouldn’t get caught. But then again, it would be worth getting caught out if it meant I could spend the day with Edythe.

McKayla smiled. “Do you want to ride with me? It’s either that or Leann’s mom’s minivan.”

“Sure.”

Her smile was huge. It was so easy to make her happy.

“You can have shotgun,” she promised, and I saw Jeremy look up at us and then scowl. Not so easy to make McKayla and Jeremy happy at the same time.

The numbers worked out, though. Leann brought two extra people, so every space was necessary. I made Jeremy climb in before me so that he was wedged between McKayla and me in the front seat of the Suburban. McKayla could have been more gracious about it, but as least Jeremy seemed appeased.

It was only fifteen miles to La Push from Forks, with thick green forests edging the road most of the way and the wide Quillayute River snaking beneath it twice. I was glad I had the window seat. We’d rolled the windows down—the Suburban was claustrophobic with nine people in it—and I tried to absorb as much sunlight as possible.

I’d been to the beaches around La Push lots of times during my Forks summers with Charlie, so the mile-long crescent of First Beach was familiar. Still breathtaking, though. The water was dark gray, even in the sunlight, white-capped and heaving onto the rocky shore. Islands rose out of the steel harbor waters with sheer cliff sides, each with a spiky crown of black firs. The beach had only a thin border of actual sand at the water’s edge; after that it was a million smooth rocks that looked uniformly gray from a distance, but close up were every color a stone could be. The tide line was piled with huge driftwood trees, bleached white by the salty waves—some piled together against the forest’s edge, and some lying alone just out of reach of the waves.

There was a strong breeze coming off the waves, cool and briny. Pelicans floated on the swells while seagulls and a lone eagle circled above them. The clouds still crowded the edges of the sky, but for now the sun shone warmly in its backdrop of blue.

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