Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 52)

“A while,” she admitted.

I smiled. “Okay.”

She looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

This was better, though. Easier, with her just being herself, not worrying about keeping me in the dark. I liked being on the inside. Her world was where I wanted to be.

“Don’t laugh—but how do you come outside in the daytime?”

She laughed anyway. “Myth.”

The sound of her laughter was warm. It made me feel like I had swallowed a bunch of sunlight. My smile got bigger.

“Burned by the sun?”

“Myth.”

“Sleeping in coffins?”

“Myth.” She hesitated for a moment, and then added softly, “I can’t sleep.”

It took me a minute to absorb that. “At all?”

“Never,” she murmured. She turned to look at me with a wistful expression. I held her gaze, my eyes getting trapped in her golden stare. After a few seconds, I’d completely lost my train of thought.

Suddenly she turned away, her eyes narrowing again. “You haven’t asked me the most important question yet.”

“The most important question?” I echoed. I couldn’t think of what she meant.

“Aren’t you curious about my diet?” she asked, her tone mocking.

“Oh. That one.”

“Yes. That one,” she said bleakly. “Don’t you want to know if I drink blood?”

I winced. “Well, Jules said something about that.”

“Did she now?”

“She said you didn’t… hunt people. Your family wasn’t supposed to be dangerous because you only hunted animals.”

“She said we weren’t dangerous?” Her voice was deeply skeptical.

“Not exactly. Jules said you weren’t supposed to be dangerous. But the Quileutes still didn’t want you on their land, just in case.”

She looked forward, but I couldn’t tell if she was watching the road or not.

“So, was she right? About not hunting people?” I tried to keep my voice as even as possible.

“The Quileutes have a long memory,” she whispered.

I took that as a confirmation.

“Don’t let that make you complacent, though,” she warned me. “They’re right to keep their distance from us. We are still dangerous.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We… try,” she explained. Her voice got heavier and slower. “We’re usually very good at what we do. Sometimes we make… mistakes. Me, for example, allowing myself to be alone with you.”

“This is a mistake?” I heard the hurt in my voice, but I didn’t know if she could, too.

“A very dangerous one,” she murmured.

We were both silent then. I watched the headlights twist with the curves of the road. They moved too fast; it didn’t look real, it looked like a video game. I was aware of the time slipping away so quickly, like the black road underneath us, and I was suddenly terrified that I would never have another chance to be with her like this again—openly, the walls between us gone for once. What she was saying kind of sounded like… goodbye. My hand tightened over hers. I couldn’t waste one minute I had with her.

“Tell me more.” I didn’t really care what she said, I just wanted to listen to her voice.

She looked at me quickly, seeming startled by the change in my tone. “What more do you want to know?”

“Tell me why you hunt animals instead of people,” I said. It was the first question I could think of. My voice sounded thick. I double-blinked the extra moisture from my eyes.

Her answer was very low. “I don’t want to be a monster.”

“But animals aren’t enough?”

She paused. “I can’t be sure, but I’d compare it to living on tofu and soy milk; we call ourselves vegetarians, our little inside joke. It doesn’t completely satiate the hunger—or rather thirst. But it keeps us strong enough to resist. Most of the time.” Her tone darkened. “Sometimes it’s more difficult than others.”

“Is it very difficult for you now?” I asked.

She sighed. “Yes.”

“But you’re not hungry now,” I said—stating, not asking.

“Why do you think that?”

“Your eyes. I have a theory about that. Seems like the color is linked to your mood—and people are generally crabbier when they’re hungry, right?”

She laughed. “You’re more observant than I gave you credit for.”

I listened to the sound of her laugh, committing it to memory.

“So everything I thought I saw—that day with the van. That all happened for real. You caught the van.”

She shrugged. “Yes.”

“How strong are you?”

She glanced at me from the side of her eye. “Strong enough.”

“Like, could you lift five thousand pounds?”

She looked a little thrown by my enthusiasm. “If I needed to. But I’m not much into feats of strength. They just make Eleanor competitive, and I’ll never be that strong.”

“How strong?”

“Honestly, if she wanted to, I think she could lift a mountain over her head. But I would never say that around her, because then she would have to try.” She laughed, and it was a relaxed sound. Affectionate.

“Were you hunting this weekend, with, uh, Eleanor?” I asked when it was quiet again.

“Yes.” She paused for a second, as if deciding whether or not to say something. “I didn’t want to leave, but it was necessary. It’s a bit easier to be around you when I’m not thirsty.”

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