Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 58)
Jeremy walked ahead of me on the way to Spanish, but I didn’t care. I was still annoyed. He didn’t talk to me again until the end of class when I started shoving my books—a little too enthusiastically—into my backpack.
“You’re not sitting with us at lunch today, are you?”
His face was suspicious again, and more guarded now. Obviously, he’d thought I’d be eager to show off, to sell Edythe out to make myself look cooler. After all, Jeremy and I had been friends for a little while. Guys told each other this kind of stuff. It was probably part of the man code thing I’d invented. He’d assumed my loyalty would be with him… but now he knew he was wrong.
“Um, not sure,” I said. No point in being overconfident. I remembered too clearly what it felt like whenever she disappeared. I didn’t want to jinx myself.
He walked off without waiting for me, but then he did a little stutter step and paused on the threshold of the classroom.
“Seriously, what the hell,” Jeremy said loud enough that I could hear him—as did everyone else within a ten-foot radius.
He glanced back at me, shook his head, then stalked away.
I was in a hurry to get out the door—to see what that was about—but so was everyone else. One by one, they all stopped to look back at me before exiting. By the time I got out, I didn’t know what to expect. Irrationally, I was half-expecting to see Taylor in a sparkly prom dress and tiara.
But outside the door to my Spanish class, leaning against the wall—looking a thousand times more beautiful than anyone had a right to—Edythe was waiting for me. Her wide gold eyes looked amused, and the corners of her lips were right on the point of smiling. Her hair was still coiled up in that messy twist, and I had the oddest urge to reach down and pull the pins out of it.
Part of me was aware we had an audience, but I was past caring.
“Hungry?” she asked.
“Sure.” Actually, I had no idea if I was. My whole body felt like it was being electrocuted in a strange and very pleasant way. My nerves couldn’t process more than that.
She turned toward the cafeteria, swinging her bag into place.
“Hey, let me get that for you,” I offered.
She looked up at me with doe eyes. “Does it look too heavy for me?”
“Well, I mean…”
“Sure,” she said. She slid the bag down her arm and then held it out to me, very deliberately using just the tip of her pinkie finger.
“Er, thanks,” I said, and she let the strap fall into my hand.
I guess I should have known it would be twice as heavy as my own. I caught it before it could hit the sidewalk, then hefted it over my free shoulder.
“Do you always bring your own cinder blocks to school?”
She laughed. “Archie asked me to grab a few things for him this morning.”
“Is Archie your favorite brother?”
She looked at me. “It’s not nice to have favorites.”
“Only child,” I said. “I’m everyone’s favorite.”
“It shows. Anyway, why do you think that?”
“Seems like you talk about him most easily.”
She thought about that for a moment but didn’t comment.
Once we were in the cafeteria, I followed her to the food line. I couldn’t help staring at the back corner of the cafeteria the way I did every day. Her family was all present and accounted for, paying attention only to each other. They either didn’t notice Edythe with me, or they didn’t care. I thought about the idea Jeremy had come up with—that Edythe and I were seeing each other in secret to keep it from her family’s notice. It didn’t look like she was hiding anything from them, but I couldn’t help but wonder what they thought about me.
I wondered what I thought about them.
Just then Archie looked up and smiled across the room at me. Automatically, I smiled back, then glanced down to see if he’d actually meant the smile for Edythe. She was aware of him, but she wasn’t responding in kind. She looked sort of angry. My eyes cut back and forth between the two of them as they had some kind of silent conversation. First, Archie smiled wider, showing off teeth so white they were bright even across the length of the room. Edythe raised her eyebrows in a sort of challenge, her upper lip curling back just a tiny bit. He rolled his eyes to the ceiling and held his hands up like he was saying I surrender. Edythe turned her back to him and moved forward in the line. She grabbed a tray and started loading it up.
“I’m pretty close with all my family, but Archie and I do have the most in common,” she said, finally answering my question in a low voice. I had to duck my head down to hear her. “Some days he’s really annoying, though.”
I glanced back at him; he was laughing now. Though he wasn’t looking at us, I thought he might be laughing at her.
I was paying so much attention to this little exchange that I didn’t notice what she had on the tray till the lunch lady was ringing us up.
“That’ll be twenty-four thirty-three,” she said.
“What?” I looked down at the tray and then did a double take.
Edythe was already paying, and then gliding off toward the table where we’d sat together last week.
“Hey,” I hissed, jogging a few steps to catch up with her. “I can’t eat all that.”
“Half is for me, of course.”
She sat down and pushed the overflowing tray to the center of the table.
I raised my eyebrows. “Really.”