Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 64)

“Ostentatious,” she muttered as she slid past me.

I hurried around to the passenger side and climbed in.

“What kind of car is that?”

“An M3,” she said as she tried to back out of the space without hitting anybody.

“Um, I don’t speak Car and Driver.”

She carefully maneuvered her way free. “It’s a BMW.”

“Okay, I know that one.”

We pulled away from the school and it was just the two of us. The privacy felt like freedom. There was no one watching or listening here.

“Is it later yet?” I asked her.

She didn’t miss the significance in my tone.

She frowned. “I suppose it is.”

I kept my expression neutral while I waited for her to explain. She watched the road, pretending like she actually needed to, and I watched her face. A few different expressions flickered across it, but they changed so fast I wasn’t able to interpret them. I was starting to wonder if she was just going to ignore my question when she stopped the car. I looked up, surprised. We were already at Charlie’s house, parked behind my truck. It was easier to ride with her, I decided, when I didn’t look until it was over.

She was staring at me when I looked back, seeming to measure me with her eyes.

“And you want to know why you can’t see me hunt?” she asked. Her voice was serious, but her expression was a little amused. Not at all like it had been in the cafeteria earlier.

“Yes. And why you seemed so… mad when I asked.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Did I frighten you?” The question sounded hopeful.

“Did you want to?”

She tilted her head to one side. “Maybe I did.”

“Okay then, sure, I was terrified.”

She smiled, shook her head, and then her face was serious again. “I apologize for reacting like that. It was just the thought of you being near… while we hunted.” Her jaw tightened.

“That would be bad?”

She answered through her teeth. “Extremely.”

“Because…?”

She took a deep breath and stared through the windshield at the thick, rolling clouds that seemed to press down, almost within reach.

“When we hunt”—she spoke slowly, unwillingly—“we give ourselves over to our senses… govern less with our minds. Especially our sense of smell. If you were anywhere near me when I lost control that way…” She shook her head, still staring unhappily at the heavy clouds.

I kept my expression empty, expecting the swift flash of her eyes to judge my reaction that followed. But our eyes held, and the silence deepened—changed. Flickers of the electricity I’d felt this afternoon began to charge the atmosphere as she gazed without blinking into my eyes. It wasn’t until my head started to swim that I realized I wasn’t breathing. When I drew in a jagged breath, breaking the silence, she closed her eyes.

“Beau, I think you should go inside now.” Her low voice wasn’t so smooth—more like raw silk now—and her eyes were on the clouds again.

I opened the door, and the arctic draft that burst into the car helped clear my head. Afraid I was so lightheaded that I might stumble, I stepped carefully out of the car and shut the door behind me without looking back. The whir of the automatic window unrolling made me turn.

“Oh, Beau?” she called after me. She leaned toward the open window with a small smile on her lips.

“Yeah?”

“Tomorrow it’s my turn.”

“Your turn to what?”

She smiled wider, flashing her gleaming teeth. “Ask the questions.”

And then she was gone, the car speeding down the street and disappearing around the corner before I could even put my thoughts in order. I smiled as I walked to the house. It was clear she was planning to see me tomorrow, if nothing else.

That night Edythe starred in my dreams, as usual. However, the climate of my unconsciousness had changed. It thrilled with the same electricity that had charged the afternoon, and I tossed and turned restlessly, waking often. It was only in the early hours of the morning that I finally sank into an exhausted, dreamless sleep.

When my alarm went off, I was still beat, but wired at the same time. After I showered, I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror while I combed through my wet hair. I looked the same as always, and yet there was something different. My hair was dark and too thick, my skin too pale, and my bones were all shaped the same underneath, no change there. My eyes were the same light blue staring back at me… but I realized they were the culprits. I’d always thought it was the color that made them—and by extension, the rest of my face—look so uncertain, but though the color hadn’t changed, the lack of resolve had. The boy who looked back at me today was determined, sure of his course. I wondered when that had happened. I thought I could probably guess.

Breakfast was the usual, quiet event I expected. Charlie fried eggs for himself; I had my bowl of cereal. I wondered if he had forgotten about this Saturday.

“About this Saturday…,” he began, like he could read my mind. I was getting really paranoid about that specific concern.

“Yes, Dad?”

He walked across the kitchen and turned on the faucet. “Are you still set on going to Seattle?”

“That was the plan.” I frowned, wishing he hadn’t brought it up so I wouldn’t have to compose careful half-truths.

He squeezed some dish soap onto his plate and swirled it around with the brush. “And you’re sure you can’t make it back in time for the dance?”

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