Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 69)
“Oh yeah,” he muttered. Then he smiled at me apologetically. “So I guess it’s good you’ll be gone Saturday.… I’ve made plans to go fishing with the guys from the station. The weather’s supposed to be real warm. But if you wanted to put your trip off till someone could go with you, I’d stay home. I know I leave you here alone too much.”
“Dad, you’re doing a great job,” I said, hoping my relief didn’t show. “I’ve never minded being alone—I’m too much like you.” I grinned at him, and he smiled his crinkly-eyed smile.
I slept better that night, too tired to dream again. When I woke to the pearl gray morning, I felt almost high, my mood was so optimistic. The tense evening with Bonnie and Jules seemed harmless enough now; I decided to forget it completely. I caught myself whistling while I was yanking a comb through my hair, and later again as I hurtled down the stairs. Charlie noticed.
“You’re cheerful this morning,” he commented over breakfast.
I shrugged. “It’s Friday.”
I hurried so I would be ready to go the second Charlie left. I had my bag packed, shoes on, teeth brushed, but even though I rushed to the door as soon as I was sure Charlie would be out of sight, Edythe was faster. She was waiting, windows down, engine off.
I didn’t hesitate this time as I climbed into the passenger seat. She flourished her dimples, and my chest did its mini–heart attack thing. I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful—human, goddess, or angel. There was nothing about her that could be improved upon.
“How did you sleep?” she asked. I wondered if she knew just how irresistible her voice was, if she made it that way on purpose.
“Fine. How was your night?”
“Can I ask what you did?”
“No.” She grinned. “Today is still mine.”
She wanted to know about people today: more about my mom, her hobbies, what we’d done in our free time together. And then the one grandmother I’d known, my few school friends—and then I was going red in patches when she asked about girls I’d dated. I was relieved that I’d never really dated anyone, so that particular conversation couldn’t last long. She seemed surprised at my lack of romantic history.
“So you never met anyone you wanted?” she asked in a serious tone that made me wonder what she was thinking about.
“Not in Phoenix.”
Her lips pressed together into a thin line.
We were in the cafeteria at this point. The day had sped by in the pattern that was rapidly becoming routine. I took advantage of her brief pause to take a bite of my sandwich.
“I should have let you drive yourself today,” she said suddenly.
I swallowed. “Why?”
“I’m leaving with Archie after lunch.”
“Oh.” I blinked, disappointed. “That’s okay, it’s not that far of a walk.”
She frowned at me impatiently. “I’m not going to make you walk home. We’ll go get your truck and leave it here for you.”
“I don’t have my key with me.” I sighed. “I really don’t mind walking.” What I minded was losing my time with her.
She shook her head. “Your truck will be here, and the key will be in the ignition—unless you’re afraid someone might steal it.” She laughed at the thought.
“Okay,” I agreed. I was pretty sure my key was in the pocket of a pair of jeans I wore Wednesday, under a pile of clothes in the laundry room. Even if she broke into my house, or whatever she was planning, she’d never find it. She seemed to feel the challenge in my consent. She smirked, overconfident.
“So where are you going?” I asked as casually as I could manage.
“Hunting,” she answered grimly. “If we’re going to be alone together tomorrow, I’m going to take whatever precautions I can.” Her face was suddenly sad… and pleading. “You can always cancel, you know.”
I looked down, afraid of the persuasive power of her eyes. I would not let her talk me out of our day alone, no matter how real the danger might be. It doesn’t matter, I repeated in my head.
“No,” I whispered, glancing back at her face. “I can’t.”
“Perhaps you’re right,” she murmured. Her eyes almost seemed to darken in color as I watched.
I changed the subject. “What time tomorrow?” I asked, already depressed by the thought of her leaving now.
“That depends.… It’s a Saturday. Don’t you want to sleep in?” she offered.
“No,” I answered too fast, and she grinned.
“Same time as usual, then?”
I nodded. “Where should I pick you up?”
“I’ll come to your place, also as usual.”
“Um, it doesn’t help with the Charlie situation if an unexplained Volvo is left in the driveway.”
Her smile was superior now. “I wasn’t intending to bring a car.”
She cut me off. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll be there, no car. No chance that Charlie will see anything out of the ordinary.” Her voice turned hard. “And then, if you don’t come home, it will be a complete mystery, won’t it?”
“Guess so,” I said, shrugging. “Maybe I’ll get on the news and everything.”
She scowled at me and I ignored it, chewing another bite of my lunch.
When her face finally relaxed—though she still didn’t look happy—I asked, “What are you hunting tonight?”