Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 44)

Her eyes glared forward for another half-second, and then her door slammed shut and we were reversing at what felt like about sixty.

“Fine,” she huffed.

The car spun in a tight arc as we raced backward around a corner, and then suddenly we were speeding forward.

“Put on your seat belt,” she told me.

I had to drop her arm to obey, but that was probably a good idea anyway. It wasn’t exactly a normal thing, holding on to a girl like that. Still… I was sad to let go.

The snap as the belt connected was loud in the darkness.

She took a sharp left, then blew through several stop signs without a pause.

But I felt oddly at ease, and totally unconcerned about where we were going. I stared at her face—lit only by the dim dashboard lights—and felt a profound relief that went beyond my lucky escape.

She was here. She was real.

It took me a few minutes of staring at her perfect face to realize more than that. To realize that she looked super, super pissed.

“Are you okay?” I asked, surprised by how hoarse my voice was.

“No,” she snapped.

I waited in silence, watching her face while her eyes glared straight ahead.

The car came to a sudden, screeching stop. I glanced around, but it was too dark to see anything besides the vague outline of dark trees crowding the roadside. We weren’t in town anymore.

“Are you hurt at all, Beau?” she asked, her voice hard.

“No.” My voice was still rough. I tried to clear my throat quietly. “Are you?”

She looked at me then, with a kind of irritated disbelief. “Of course I’m not hurt.”

“Good,” I said. “Um, can I ask why you’re so mad? Did I do something?”

She exhaled in a sudden gust. “Don’t be stupid, Beau.”

“Sorry.”

She gave me another disbelieving look and then shook her head. “Do you think you would be all right if I left you here in the car for just a few—”

Before she could finish, I reached out to grab her hand where it rested on the gearshift. She reacted by freezing again; she didn’t pull her hand away.

It was the first time I’d really touched her skin, when it wasn’t accidental and just for a fraction of a second. Though her hand was as cold as I expected, my hand seemed to burn from the contact. Her skin was so smooth.

“You’re not going anywhere without me.”

She glared at me, and like before, it was as if she were waiting for me to let go instead of just yanking free like she could easily have done.

After a moment, she closed her eyes.

“Fine,” she said again. “Give me a moment.”

I was okay with that. I kept my hand lightly on hers, taking advantage of her closed eyes to stare openly. Slowly, the tension in her face started to relax until it was smooth and blank as a statue. A beautiful statue, carved by an artistic genius. Aphrodite, maybe. Was that the one who was supposed to be the goddess of beauty?

There was that faint fragrance in the car again—something elusive that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

Then her eyes opened, and she looked slowly down at my hand.

“Do you… want me to let go?” I asked.

Her voice was careful. “I think that might be for the best.”

“You’re not going anywhere?” I checked.

“I suppose not, if you’re that opposed.”

Unwillingly, I pulled my hand from hers. It felt like I’d been holding a handful of ice cubes.

“Better?” I asked.

She took a deep breath. “Not really.”

“What is it, Edythe? What’s wrong?”

She almost smiled, but there was no humor in her eyes. “This may come as a surprise to you, Beau, but I have a little bit of a temper. Sometimes it’s hard for me to forgive easily when someone… offends me.”

“Did I—”

“Stop, Beau,” she said before I could even get the second word fully out. “I’m not talking about you.” She looked up at me with her eyes wide. “Do you realize that they were serious? That they were actually going to kill you?”

“Yeah, I kinda figured they were going to try.”

“It’s completely ridiculous!” It seemed like she was working herself up again. “Who gets murdered in Port Angeles? What is it with you, Beau? Why does everything deadly come looking for you?”

I blinked. “I… I have no answer for that.”

She tilted her head to one side and pursed her lips, exhaling through her nose. “So I’m not allowed to go teach those thugs a lesson in manners?”

“Um, no. Please?”

She sighed a long, slow sigh, and her eyes closed again. “How disagreeable.”

We sat in silence for a moment while I tried to think of something to say that would make up for… I guess, disappointing her? That was what it seemed like—that she was disappointed I was asking her not to go looking for multiple armed gangsters who had… offended her by threatening me. It didn’t make much sense—and even less so when you factored in that she had asked me to stay in the car. She was planning to go on foot? We’d driven miles away.

For the first time since I’d seen her tonight, the word Jules had said popped into my mind.

Her eyes opened at the same moment, and I wondered if she’d somehow known what I was thinking. But she just looked at the clock and sighed again.

“Your friends must be worried about you,” she said.

It was past six-thirty. I was sure she was right.

[X]

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