Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 39)

But what, then? I asked myself. There was no rational explanation for how I had survived the van. I listed again in my head the things I’d observed myself: the inhuman beauty, the impossible speed and strength, the eye color shifting from black to gold and back again, the pale, cold skin. And more—small things that registered slowly—how they never seemed to eat, the disturbing grace with which they moved. And the way she sometimes spoke, with unfamiliar cadences and phrases that better fit the style of the historical romances my mom loved than that of a twenty-first-century classroom. She had skipped class the day we’d done blood typing. She hadn’t said no to the beach trip till I told her where we were going. She seemed to know what everyone around her was thinking… except me. She’d told me she was the villain, dangerous.…

Could the Cullens be vampires?

Well, they were something. Something outside the boundaries of normal and sane was happening in this nothing little town. Whether it was Jules’s cold ones or my own superhero theory, Edythe Cullen was not… human. She was something more.

So then—maybe. That would have to be my answer for now.

And then the most important question of all. What was I going to do about it?

If Edythe was a vampire—I could barely make myself think the word—then what should I do? Involving someone else was definitely out. I couldn’t even believe myself; anyone I tried to talk to about it would have me committed.

Only two options seemed practical. The first was to take her advice: to be smart, to avoid her as much as possible. To cancel our plans, and to go back to ignoring her as far as I was able. To pretend there was an impenetrable glass wall between us in the one class where we were forced together. To tell her she was right, and then never talk to her again.

And it hurt—just the idea—more than it should. More than I felt I could stand. I switched gears, skipping on to the next option.

I could do nothing different. After all, if she was something… sinister, she’d done nothing too bad so far. In fact, I would be a dent in Taylor’s fender if she hadn’t acted so fast. So fast, I argued with myself, that it might have been sheer reflexes. But if it was a reflex to save lives, how bad could she be? My head spun in circular questions, no answers.

There was one thing I was sure of, if I was sure of anything. The black-gowned Edythe with the sharp teeth and nails was just the embodiment of the word Jules had said, and not the real Edythe. Even so, when I’d shouted in horror as the werewolf lunged, it wasn’t fear for the wolf that had me screaming No. It was terror that she would be hurt. Even while she was calling to me with sharp-edged fangs, I was afraid for her.

And I knew that in that I had my answer. I didn’t know if there ever was a choice, really. I was already in too deep. Now that I knew—if I knew—what could I do about it? Because when I thought of her, of her voice, her hypnotic eyes, the magnetic way her body pulled mine toward her, all I wanted was to be with her right now. Even if… but I didn’t want to think the word again. Not here, in the silent forest. Not while the rain made it dark as dusk under the canopy and made noises like footsteps across the matted ground. I shivered and jumped up, worried that somehow the path would have disappeared with the rain.

But it was there, winding its way out of the dripping green gloom. I took longer strides now, and I was surprised, as I nearly ran through the trees, at how far I had come. I started to wonder if I was heading out at all, or following the path farther into the forest. Before I could get too panicky, though, I began to see some open spaces through the branches. And then I could hear a car passing on the street, and I was suddenly free, Charlie’s lawn under my feet.

It was just noon when I got back inside. I went upstairs and got dressed for the day, clean jeans and a t-shirt, since I was staying indoors. It didn’t take too much effort to concentrate on my task for the day, a paper on Macbeth that was due Wednesday. I settled into outlining a rough draft, more relaxed than I’d felt since… well, since Thursday afternoon, if I was being honest.

That had always been my way, though. Making decisions was the painful part for me, the part I agonized over. But once the decision was made, I just followed through—relieved that the choice was made. Sometimes the relief was mixed with despair, like my decision to come to Forks. But it was still better than wrestling with the alternatives.

This decision was almost too easy to live with. Dangerously easy.

The rest of the day was quiet, productive—I finished my paper before eight. Charlie came home with a large catch, and I made a mental note to pick up a book of recipes for fish while I was in Seattle next week. The spikes of adrenaline I felt whenever I thought of that trip were no different than the ones I’d felt before I’d taken my walk with Jules. They should be different, but I didn’t know how to make myself feel the right kind of fear.

I slept dreamlessly that night, beat from getting up so early. For the second time since arriving in Forks, I woke to the bright yellow light of a sunny day. I staggered to the window, stunned to see that there was hardly a cloud in the sky. I opened the window—surprised when it opened silently, without sticking, though I hadn’t opened it in who knows how many years—and sucked in the relatively dry air. It was nearly warm, and hardly windy at all. My blood drummed in my veins.

Charlie was finishing breakfast when I came downstairs, and he picked up on my mood immediately.

“Nice day out,” he commented.

“Yeah,” I agreed with a grin.


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