Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 7)

After a few more minutes, the four of them left the table together. They all were seriously graceful—even the golden prom king. It was a strange thing to watch them in motion together. Edith didn’t look at me again.

I sat at the table with Jeremy and his friends longer than I would have if I’d been sitting alone. I didn’t want to be late for class on my first day. One of my new acquaintances, who politely reminded me that his name was Allen, had Biology II with me the next hour. We walked to class together in silence. He was probably shy like me.

When we entered the classroom, Allen went to sit at a black-topped lab table exactly like the ones I was used to at home. He already had a neighbor. In fact, all the tables were filled but one. Next to the center aisle, I recognized Edith Cullen by her unusual metallic hair, sitting next to that single open seat.

My heart started pounding a little faster than usual.

As I walked down the aisle to do my required intro for the teacher and get my slip signed, I was watching her, trying to make it covert. Just as I passed, she suddenly went rigid in her seat. Her face jerked up toward mine so fast it surprised me, staring with the strangest expression—it was more than angry, it was furious, hostile. I looked away, stunned, going red again. I stumbled over a book in the walkway and had to catch myself on the edge of a table. The girl sitting there giggled.

I’d been right about the eyes. They were black—coal black.

Mrs. Banner signed my slip and handed me a book with no nonsense about introductions and no mention of my full name. I could tell we were going to get along. Of course, she had no choice but to send me to the one open seat in the middle of the room. I kept my eyes down as I went to sit by her, confused and awkward, wondering what I could have done to earn the antagonistic glare she’d given me.

I didn’t look up as I set my book on the table and took my seat, but I saw her posture change from the corner of my eye. She was leaning away from me, sitting on the extreme edge of her chair and averting her face like she smelled something bad. Inconspicuously, I sniffed. My shirt smelled like laundry detergent. How could that be offensive? I scooted my chair to the right, giving her as much space as I could, and tried to pay attention to the teacher.

The lecture was on cellular anatomy, something I’d already studied. I took notes carefully anyway, always looking down.

I couldn’t stop myself from shooting the occasional glance at the strange girl next to me. Throughout the entire class, she never relaxed her stiff position on the edge of her chair, sitting as far from me as possible, with her hair hiding most of her face. Her hand was clenched into a fist on top of her left thigh, tendons standing out under her pale skin. This, too, she never relaxed. She had the sleeves of her white henley pushed up to her elbows, and her forearm flexed with surprisingly hard muscle beneath her pale skin. I couldn’t help but notice how perfect that skin was. Not one freckle, not one scar.

The class seemed to drag on longer than the rest. Was it because the day was finally ending, or because I was waiting for her tight fist to loosen? It never did; she continued to sit so still it looked like she wasn’t even breathing. What was wrong with her? Was this how she usually acted? I questioned my quick judgment on Jeremy’s sour grapes at lunch today. Maybe he wasn’t just resentful.

This couldn’t have anything to do with me. She didn’t know me from Adam.

Mrs. Banner passed some quizzes back when the class was almost done. She handed me one to give to the girl. I glanced at the top automatically—one hundred percent… and I’d been spelling her name wrong in my head. It was Edythe, not Edith. I’d never seen it spelled that way, but it fit her better.

I glanced down at her as I slid the paper over, and then instantly regretted it. She was glaring up at me again, her long, black eyes full of revulsion. As I flinched away from the hate radiating from her, the phrase if looks could kill suddenly ran through my mind.

At that moment, the bell rang loudly, making me jump, and Edythe Cullen was out of her seat. She moved like a dancer, every perfect line of her slim body in harmony with all the others, her back to me, and she was out the door before anyone else was out of their seat.

I sat frozen in my seat, staring blankly after her. She was so harsh. I began gathering up my things slowly, trying to block out the confusion and guilt that filled me. Why should I feel guilty? I hadn’t done anything wrong. How could I have? I hadn’t actually even met her.

“Aren’t you Beaufort Swan?” a female voice asked.

I looked up to see a cute, baby-faced girl, her hair carefully flat-ironed into a pale blond curtain, smiling at me in a friendly way. She obviously didn’t think I smelled bad.

“Beau,” I corrected her, smiling back.

“I’m McKayla.”

“Hi, McKayla.”

“Do you need any help finding your next class?”

“I’m headed to the gym, actually. I think I can find it.”

“That’s my next class, too.” She seemed thrilled, though it wasn’t such a big coincidence in a school this small.

We walked to class together; she was a chatterer—she supplied most of the conversation, which made it easy for me. She’d lived in California till she was ten, so she got how I felt about the sun. It turned out she’d been in my English class also. She was the nicest person I’d met today.

But as we were entering the gym she asked, “So, did you stab Edythe Cullen with a pencil or what? I’ve never seen her act like that.”

I winced. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had noticed. And, apparently, that wasn’t Edythe Cullen’s usual behavior. I decided to play dumb.


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