Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 72)

So really, the only thing that could help Charlie at all would be if I taped a note to the door tomorrow that read I changed my mind, and then got in my truck and drove to Seattle after all. I knew Edythe wouldn’t be angry, that a part of her was hoping for exactly that.

But I also knew that I wasn’t going to write that note. I couldn’t even imagine doing it. When she came, I would be waiting.

So I guess I was choosing her over everything. And though I knew I should feel bad—wrong, guilty, sorry—I didn’t. Maybe because it didn’t feel like a choice at all.

But all of this was only if things went badly, and I was nearly ninety percent sure that they wouldn’t. Part of it was that I still couldn’t make myself be afraid of Edythe, even when I tried to picture her as the sharp-fanged Edythe from my nightmare. I had her note in my back pocket, and I pulled it out and read it again and again. She wanted me to be safe. She’d dedicated a lot of personal effort lately to ensuring my survival. Wasn’t that who she was? When all the safeties were off, wouldn’t that part of her win?

The laundry wasn’t the best job for keeping my mind busy. As much as I tried to focus on the Edythe I knew, the one I loved, I couldn’t help picturing what ending badly might look like. Might feel like. I’d seen enough horror flicks to have some preconceived notions, and it didn’t look like the very worst way to go. Most of the victims just seemed sort of limp and out of it while they were… drained. But then I remembered what Edythe had said about bears, and I guessed that the realities of vampire attacks were not much like the Hollywood version.

But it was Edythe.

I was relieved when it was late enough to be acceptable for bedtime. I knew I would never get to sleep with all this crazy in my head, so I did something I’d never done before. I deliberately took unnecessary cold medicine—the kind that knocked me out for a good eight hours. I knew it was not the most responsible choice, but tomorrow would be complicated enough without me being loopy from sleep deprivation on top of everything else. While I waited for the drugs to kick in, I listened to Phil’s CD again. The familiar screaming was oddly comforting, and somewhere in the middle of it, I drifted off.

I woke early, having slept soundly and dreamlessly thanks to the drug abuse. Though I was well rested, I was on edge and jittery—now and then, almost panicked. I showered and threw clothes on, dressing in layers out of habit, though Edythe had promised sun today. I checked out the window; Charlie was already gone and a thin layer of clouds, white and cottony, covered the sky in a temporary-looking way. I ate without tasting the food, rushing to clean up when I was done. I’d just finished brushing my teeth when a quiet knock had me vaulting my way down the stairs.

My hands were suddenly too big for the simple deadbolt, and it took me a second, but finally I threw the door open, and there she was.

I took a deep breath. All the nerves faded to nothing, and I was totally calm.

She wasn’t smiling at first—her face was serious, even wary. But then she looked me over and her expression lightened. She laughed.

“Good morning,” she chuckled.

“What’s wrong?” I glanced down to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything important, like shoes, or pants.

“We match.” She laughed again.

She had on a light tan sweater with a scoop neck, a white t-shirt on underneath, and jeans. My sweater was the exact same shade, though that and my white tee both had crew necks. My jeans were the same color blue, too. Only, she looked like a runway model, and I knew that I did not.

I locked the door behind me while she walked to the truck. She waited by the passenger door with a martyred expression that was easy to un-derstand.

“You agreed to this,” I reminded her as I unlocked her door and opened it.

She gave me a dark look as she climbed past me.

I got in my side and tried not to cringe as I revved the engine very loudly to life.

“Where to?” I asked.

“Put your seat belt on—I’m nervous already.”

I rolled my eyes but did what she asked. “Where to?” I repeated.

“Take the one-oh-one north.”

It was surprisingly difficult to concentrate on the road while feeling her eyes on my face. I compensated by driving more carefully than usual through the still-sleeping town.

“Were you planning to make it out of Forks before nightfall?”

“This truck is old enough to be the Volvo’s grandfather—have a little respect.”

We were soon out of the town limits, despite her pessimism. Thick underbrush and dense forest replaced the lawns and houses.

“Turn right on the one-ten,” she instructed just as I was about to ask. I obeyed silently.

“Now we drive until the pavement ends.”

I could hear a smile in her voice, but I was too afraid of driving off the road and proving her right to look over and be sure.

“And what’s there, at the pavement’s end?” I wondered.

“A trail.”

“We’re hiking?”

“Is that a problem?”

“No.” I tried to make the lie sound confident. But if she thought my truck was slow…

“Don’t worry, it’s only five miles or so and we’re in no hurry.”

Five miles. I didn’t answer, so that she wouldn’t hear the panic in my voice. How far had I hiked last Saturday—a mile? And how many times had I managed to trip in that distance? This was going to be humiliating.

We drove in silence for a while. I was imagining what her expression would look like the twentieth time I face-planted.


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