Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 36)

“Werewolves have enemies?”

“Only one.”

I stared at her, too eager, trying to disguise my impatience as entertainment.

“So you see,” Jules continued, “the cold ones are traditionally our enemies. But this pack that came to our territory during my great-grandmother’s time was different. They didn’t hunt the way others of their kind did—they weren’t supposed to be dangerous to the tribe. So my great-grandmother made a truce with them. If they would promise to stay off our lands, we wouldn’t expose them to the pale-faces.” She winked at me.

“If they weren’t dangerous, then why…?”

“There’s always a risk for humans to be around the cold ones, even if they’re civilized like this clan alleged they were. You never know when they might get too hungry to resist.” She deliberately worked a thick edge of menace into her tone.

“What do you mean, ‘civilized’?”

“They claimed that they didn’t hunt humans. They supposedly were somehow able to prey on animals instead.”

I tried to keep my voice casual, but I was pretty sure I failed. “So how does it fit in with the Cullens? Are they like the cold ones your great-grandmother met?”

“No.…” She paused dramatically. “They are the same ones.”

She must have thought the expression on my face meant only that I was engrossed in her story. She smiled, pleased, and continued.

“There are more of them now, a new female and a new male, but the rest are the same. In my great-grandmother’s time they already knew of the leader, Carine. She’d been here and gone before your people had even arrived.” She was fighting another smile, trying to keep the tone serious.

“And what are they?” I finally asked. “What are the cold ones?”

“Blood drinkers,” she replied in a chilling voice. “Your people call them vampires.”

I stared out at the rough surf after she answered, not sure what my face was giving away. Do you think I could be scary? Edythe’s voice repeated in my head.

“You have goose bumps on your neck,” Jules laughed delightedly.

“You’re a good storyteller,” I told her, still staring into the waves.

“Thanks, but you’re just cold. It’s crazy stuff, isn’t it? No wonder my mom doesn’t want us to talk about it to anyone.”

I couldn’t control my expression enough to look at her yet. “Don’t worry, I won’t give you away.”

“I guess I just violated the treaty.” She threw her head back and laughed.

“I’ll take it to the grave,” I promised, and then a shiver ran down my spine.

“Seriously, though, don’t say anything to Charlie. He was pretty mad at my mom when he heard that some of us weren’t going to the hospital since Dr. Cullen started working there.”

“I won’t say anything to Charlie, of course not.”

“So, do you think we’re a bunch of superstitious natives or what?” she asked in a playful tone, but with a hint of worry. I still hadn’t looked away from the ocean.

So I turned and smiled at her as normally as I could.

“No. I think you’re very good at telling scary stories, though. I still have goose bumps, see?” I yanked back the sleeve of my jacket to show her.

“Cool.” She grinned.

And then we both heard the sound of the beach rocks clattering against each other. Our heads snapped up at the same time to see McKayla and Jeremy about fifty yards away, walking toward us.

“There you are, Beau,” McKayla called in relief, waving her arm over her head.

“Is that your girlfriend?” Jules asked, picking up the edge in McKayla’s voice. I was surprised it was so obvious.

“No, why does everyone think that?”

Jules snorted. “Maybe because she wants them to.”

I sighed.

“You ever need a break from these friends of yours, let me know.”

“That sounds cool,” I said, and I meant it. I didn’t know if it was because we’d known each other longer, if not well, or if it was because Jules was so easygoing, but I already felt more comfortable with her than I did with any of the kids I’d be riding home with.

McKayla had reached us now, with Jeremy a few paces back, struggling to keep up. McKayla looked Jules up and down once, then turned to me in a move that was strangely dismissive of Jules. Jules snorted quietly again.

“Where have you been?” McKayla asked, though the answer was right in front of her.

“Jules here was just giving me the guided tour of First Beach.” I smiled at Jules and she grinned back. Again, it was like we had a shared secret. Of course, that was true now.

“Well,” McKayla said, eyeing Jules again. “We’re packing up. Looks like it’s going to rain.”

We all glanced up—the clouds were thick and black and very wet-looking.

“Okay,” I said. “I’m coming.”

“It was nice to see you again,” Jules emphasized, and I guessed she was messing with McKayla.

“It really was. Next time Charlie comes down to see Bonnie, I’ll come with.”

Her grin stretched across her entire face, showing her straight white teeth. “That would be cool.”

“And thanks,” I added in a low voice, not quite casual enough.

She winked at me.

I pulled up my hood as we trudged across the rocks toward the parking lot. A few drops were beginning to fall, making black spots on the stones where they landed. When we got to the Suburban the others were already loading everything back in. I crawled into the backseat by Allen and Taylor, announcing that I’d already had my turn in the shotgun position. Allen just stared out the window at the building storm, and Logan twisted around in the middle seat to occupy Taylor’s attention, so I was free to lay my head back over the seat, close my eyes, and try very hard not to think.

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