Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 42)

The Port Angeles plan was back on again for tonight, and it was all the more welcome because Logan couldn’t make it. I couldn’t wait to get out of town so I could stop glancing over my shoulder, hoping to see her appearing out of the blue the way she always did. I committed to being in a good mood so that I wouldn’t annoy Jeremy and Allen. Maybe I could find a decent bookstore while I was out. I didn’t want to think that I might be looking alone in Seattle this weekend. She wouldn’t really cancel without even telling me, would she? But then, who knew what social rules vampires felt compelled to follow?

After school, Jeremy followed me home in his old white Mercury so that I could ditch my truck, and then we headed to Allen’s. He was waiting for us. My mood started to lift as we drove out of the town limits.


JEREMY DROVE FASTER THAN THE CHIEF, SO WE MADE IT TO PORT ANGELES by four. He took us to the florist first, where the glossy woman behind the counter quickly upsold Allen from roses to orchids. Allen made decisions fast, but it took Jeremy a lot longer to figure out what he wanted. The saleswoman made it sound like all the details would be really important to the girls, but I had a hard time believing anyone could care that much.

While Jeremy debated ribbon colors with the woman, Allen and I sat on a bench by the plate glass windows.

“Hey, Allen…”

He looked up, probably noticing the edge in my voice. “Yeah?”

I tried to sound more like I was just randomly curious, like I didn’t care what the answer was.

“Do the, uh, Cullens miss school a lot—I mean, is that normal for them?”

Allen looked over his shoulder through the window while he answered, and I was sure he was being nice. No doubt he could see how awkward I felt asking, despite how hard I was trying to play it cool.

“Yeah, when the weather’s good they go backpacking all the time—even the doctor. They’re all really into nature or something.”

He didn’t ask one question, or make one snide comment about my obvious and pathetic crush. Allen was probably the nicest kid at Forks High School.

“Oh,” I said, and let it drop.

After what felt like a long time, Jeremy finally settled on white flowers with a white bow, kind of anticlimactic. But when the orders were signed and paid for, we still had extra time before the movie was set to start.

Jeremy wanted to see if there was anything new at the video game store a few blocks to the east.

“Do you guys mind if I run an errand? I’ll meet you at the theater.”

“Sure.” Jeremy was already towing Allen up the street.

It was a relief to be alone again. The field trip was backfiring. Sure, Allen’s answer had been encouraging, but I just couldn’t force myself into a good mood. Nothing helped me think about Edythe less. Maybe a really good book.

I headed in the opposite direction from the others, wanting to be by myself. I found a bookstore a couple of blocks south of the florist, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. The windows were full of crystals, dream-catchers, and books on spiritual healing. I thought about going inside to ask directions to another bookstore, but one look at the fifty-year-old hippie smiling dreamily behind the counter convinced me that I didn’t need to have that conversation. I would find a normal bookstore on my own.

I wandered up another street, and then found myself on an angled byway that confused me. I hoped I was heading toward downtown again, but I wasn’t sure if the road was going to curve back in the direction I wanted or not. I knew I should be paying more attention, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what Allen had said, and about Saturday, and what I was supposed to do if she didn’t come back, and then I looked up and saw someone’s silver Volvo parked along the street—not a sedan, this was an SUV, but still—and suddenly I was mad. Were all vampires this unreliable?

I trudged off in what I thought was a northeasterly direction, heading for some glass-fronted buildings that looked promising, but when I got to them, it was just a vacuum repair shop—closed—and a vacant space. I walked around the corner of the repair shop to see if there were any other stores.

It was a wrong turn—just leading around to a side alley where the dumpsters were. But it wasn’t empty. Staring at the huddled circle of people, I tripped on the curb and staggered forward noisily.

Six faces turned in my direction. There were four men and two women. One of the women and two of the men quickly turned their backs to me, shoving their hands in their pockets, and I had the impression that they were hiding the things they’d been holding. The other woman had dark black hair, and she looked strangely familiar as she glared in my direction. But I didn’t stop to figure out how I knew her. When one of the men had spun around, I’d gotten a quick glimpse of what looked a lot like a gun stuffed into the back of his jeans.

I started walking forward, crossing the mouth of the alley and heading on to the next street, like I hadn’t noticed them there. Just as I was out of view, I heard a voice whisper behind me.

“It’s a cop.”

I glanced behind me, hoping to see someone in uniform, but there was no one else on the empty street. I was farther off the main road than I’d realized. Picking up the pace, I watched the pavement so I wouldn’t trip again.

I found myself on a sidewalk leading past the backs of several gray warehouses, each with large bay doors for unloading trucks, padlocked for the night. The south side of the street had no sidewalk, only a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire protecting some kind of engine parts storage yard. I’d wandered far past the part of Port Angeles that guests were supposed to see. It was getting dark now—the clouds were back and piling up on the western horizon, creating an early sunset. I’d left my jacket in Jeremy’s car, and a sharp wind made me shove my hands in my pockets. A single van passed me, and then the road was empty.


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