Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 47)

“Right,” I said and, because I was still thirsty, I downed hers, too.

“Thanks,” I muttered, while the word I didn’t want to think swirled around my head again. The cold from the soda was radiating through my chest, and I had to shake off a shiver.

“You’re cold?” she asked, serious now. Like a doctor again.

“It’s just the Coke,” I explained, fighting another shiver.

“Don’t you have a jacket?”

“Yeah.” Automatically, I patted the empty seat next to me. “Oh—I left it in Jeremy’s car,” I realized. I shrugged, and then shivered.

Edythe started unwinding a bone-colored scarf from around her neck. I realized that I’d never once really noticed what she was wearing—not just tonight, but ever. The only thing I could remember was the black gown from my nightmare.… But though I hadn’t processed the particulars, I knew that in reality she always wore light colors. Like tonight—under the scarf she had on a pale gray leather jacket, cut short like motorcycle gear, and a thin white turtleneck sweater. I was pretty sure she usually kept her skin covered, which made me think of the deep V of the black dream gown again, and that was a mistake. A patch of warmth started to bloom on the side of my neck.

“Here,” she said, tossing the scarf to me.

I pushed it back. “Really, I’m fine.”

She cocked her head to the side. “The hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, Beau,” she stated. “It’s not a lady’s scarf, if that’s what’s bothering you. I stole it from Archie.”

“I don’t need it,” I insisted.

“Fine, Royal has a jacket in the trunk, I’ll be right—”

She started to move, and I reached out, trying to catch her hand, to keep her there. She evaded my grasp, folding her hands under the table, but didn’t get up.

“Don’t go,” I said softly. I knew my voice sounded too intense—she was just going out to her car, not disappearing forever—but I couldn’t make it sound normal. “I’ll wear the scarf. See?”

I grabbed the scarf from the table—it was very soft, and not at all warm, the way it should be after coming off someone’s body—and started to wrap it around my neck. I’d never worn a scarf that I could remember, so I just wound it in a circle until I ran out of fabric. At least it would cover the red on my neck. Maybe I should own a scarf.

This one smelled amazing, and familiar. I realized this was a hint of the fragrance from the car. It must be her.

“Did I do it right?” I asked her. The soft knit was already warming to my skin, and it did help.

“It suits you,” she said, but then she laughed, so I guessed that meant the answer was no.

“Do you steal a lot of things from, um, Archie?”

She shrugged. “He has the best taste.”

“You never told me about your family. We ran out of time the other day.” Was it only last Thursday? It seemed like a lot longer.

She pushed the basket of breadsticks toward me.

“I’m not going into shock,” I told her.

“Humor me?” she said, and then she did the thing with the smile and the eyes that always won.

“Ugh,” I grumbled as I grabbed a breadstick.

“Good boy,” she laughed.

I just gave her a dark look as I chewed.

“I don’t know how you can be so blasé about this,” she said. “You don’t even look shaken. A normal person—” She shook her head. “But then you’re not so normal, are you?”

I shook my head and swallowed. “I’m the most normal person I know.”

“Everyone thinks that about themselves.”

“Do you think that about yourself?” I challenged.

She pursed her lips.

“Right,” I said. “Do you ever consider answering any of my questions, or is that not even on the table?”

“It depends on the question.”

“So tell me one I’m allowed to ask.”

She was still thinking about that when the waiter came around the partition with my food. I realized we’d been unconsciously leaning toward each other across the table, because we both straightened up as he approached. He set the dish in front of me—it looked pretty good—and turned quickly to Edythe.

“Did you change your mind?” he asked. “Isn’t there anything I can get you?” I didn’t think I was imagining the double meaning in his offer.

“Some more soda would be nice,” she said, gesturing to the empty glasses without looking away from me.

The waiter stared at me now, and I could tell he was wondering why someone like Edythe would be looking at someone like me that way. Well, it was a mystery to me, too.

He grabbed the glasses and stalked off.

“I imagine you have a lot of questions for me,” Edythe murmured.

“Just a couple thousand,” I said.

“I’m sure.… Can I ask you one first? Is that unfair?”

Did that mean she was going to answer mine? I nodded eagerly. “What do you want to know?”

She stared down at the table now, her eyes hidden under her black lashes. Her hair fell forward, shielding more of her face.

The words weren’t much more than a whisper. “We spoke before, about how you were… trying to figure out what I am. I was just wondering if you’d made any more progress with that.”

I didn’t answer, and finally she looked up. I was glad for the scarf again, though it couldn’t hide the red I could feel creeping up into my face now.


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