Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 49)

“That wasn’t the first time,” she said. “Your number was up the first day I met you. It’s not twice you’ve almost died, it’s three times. The first time I saved you… it was from myself.”

As clearly as if I were back in my first Biology class, I could see Edythe’s murderous black glare. I heard again the phrase that had run through my head in that moment: If looks could kill…

“You remember?” she asked. She stared at me now, her perfect face very serious. “You understand?”

“Yes.”

She waited for more, for another reaction. When I didn’t say anything, her eyebrows pulled together.

“You can leave, you know,” she told me. “Your friends are still at the movie.”

“I don’t want to leave.”

She was suddenly irritated. “How can you say that?”

I patted her hands, totally calm. This was something I had already decided. It didn’t matter to me if she was… something dangerous. But she mattered. Where she was, was where I wanted to be.

“You didn’t finish answering my question,” I reminded her, ignoring the anger. “How did you find me?”

She glared at me for a moment, like she was willing me to be angry, too. When that didn’t work, she shook her head and huffed a sigh.

“I was keeping tabs on Jeremy’s thoughts,” she said, like it was the most normal thing. “Not carefully—like I said, it’s not just anybody who could get themselves murdered in Port Angeles. At first I didn’t notice when you set off on your own. Then, when I realized that you weren’t with him anymore, I drove around looking for someone who had seen you. I found the bookstore you walked to, but I could tell that you hadn’t gone inside. You’d gone south, and I knew you’d have to turn around soon. So I was just waiting for you, randomly searching through the thoughts of everyone I could hear—to see if anyone had noticed you so I would know where you were. I had no reason to be worried… but I started to feel anxious.…” She was lost in thought now, staring past me. “I started to drive in circles, still… listening. The sun was finally setting, and I was about to get out and follow you on foot. And then—” She stopped suddenly, her teeth clenching together with an audible snap.

“Then what?”

She refocused on my face. “I heard what she was thinking. I saw your face in her head, and I knew what she was planning to do.”

“But you got there in time.”

She inclined her head slightly. “It was harder than you know for me to drive away, to just let them get away with that. It was the right thing, I know it was, but still… very difficult.”

I tried not to picture what she would have done if I hadn’t made her drive away. I didn’t want to let my imagination run wild down that particular path.

“That’s one reason I made you go to dinner with me,” she admitted. “I could have let you go to the movie with Jeremy and Allen, but I was afraid that if I wasn’t with you, I would go looking for those people.”

My hand still rested on top of hers. My fingers were starting to feel numb, but I didn’t care. If she didn’t object, I’d never move again. She kept watching me, waiting for a reaction that wasn’t going to come.

I knew she was trying to warn me off with all this honesty, but she was wasting the effort.

She took a deep breath. “Are you going to eat anything else?” she asked.

I blinked at my food. “No, I’m good.”

“Do you want to go home now?”

I paused. “I’m not in any hurry.”

She frowned like my answer bothered her.

“Can I have my hands back now?” she asked.

I snatched my hand away. “Sure. Sorry.”

She shot me a glance while she pulled something from her pocket. “Is it possible to go fifteen minutes without an unnecessary apology?”

If it was unnecessary for me to apologize for touching her, did that mean she liked it? Or just wasn’t actually offended by it?

“Um, probably not,” I admitted.

She laughed once, and then the waiter showed up.

“How are you do—” he started to ask.

She cut him off. “We’re finished, thank you very much, that ought to cover it, no change, thanks.”

She was already out of her seat.

I fumbled for my wallet. “Um, let me—you didn’t even get anything—”

“My treat, Beau.”

“But—”

“Try not to get caught up in antiquated gender roles.”

She walked away, and I rushed to follow, leaving the stunned waiter behind me with what looked like a hundred-dollar bill on the table in front of him.

I passed her, hurrying again to get the door, ignoring what she’d said about antiquated roles. I knew she was faster than I could probably imagine, but the half-filled room of watching people forced her to act like she was one of them. She gave me a strange look when I held the door open—like she was kind of touched by the gesture, but also annoyed by it at the same time. I decided to overlook the annoyed part, and I scrambled past her to hold the car door, too. It opened easily—she’d never locked it. Her expression was more amused than anything at this point, so I took that as a good sign.

I almost ran to the passenger side of the car, trailing my hand across the hood as I moved. I had the nerve-wracking feeling that she was regretting telling me so much, and she might just drive off without me and disappear into the night. Once I was inside, she looked pointedly at my seat belt until I put it on again. I wondered for a second if she was some kind of safety-first absolutist—until I noticed that she hadn’t bothered with hers, and we were racing off into the light traffic without a hint of caution on her part.

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