Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 86)

I took a deep breath. “I’m good.”

He looked at my pajamas, and then made a little harrumph sound in the back of his throat like he was surprised.

“You heading to bed, too?” I asked.

“Yeah, I guess. I’ve got an early one again tomorrow.”

“Okay. ’Night.”

“Yeah.”

I walked into my room, glad that the bed wasn’t visible from where Charlie was standing, then shut the door firmly behind me.

Edythe hadn’t moved even a fraction of an inch. I smiled and her lips twitched; she relaxed, and she was suddenly human again. Or close enough. I went back to sit next to her. She twisted to face me, pulling her legs up and crossing them.

“I’m not sure how I feel about that shirt,” she said. Her voice was so quiet that I didn’t have any worries that Charlie would hear us.

“I can change.”

She rolled her eyes. “Not you wearing it—its entire existence.” She reached out and brushed her fingers across the smiling pig. My pulse spiked, but she politely ignored that. “Should he be so happy to be food?”

I had to grin. “Well, we don’t know his side of the story, do we? He might have a reason to smile.”

She looked at me like she was doubting my sanity.

I reached out to hold her hand. It felt really natural, but at the same time, I couldn’t believe I was so lucky. What had I ever done to deserve this?

“Your dad thinks you might be sneaking out,” she told me.

“I know. Apparently I look keyed up.”

“Are you?”

“A little more than that, I think. Thank you. For staying.”

“It’s what I wanted, too.”

My heart started beating… not faster exactly, but stronger somehow. For some reason I would never understand, she wanted to be with me.

Moving at human speed, she unfolded her legs and draped them across mine. Then she curled up against my chest again the way she seemed to prefer, with her ear against my heart, which was reacting probably more than was necessary. I folded my arms around her and pressed my lips to her hair.

“Mmm,” she hummed.

“This…,” I murmured into her hair, “… is much easier than I thought it would be.”

“Does it seem easy to you?” It sounded like she was smiling. She angled her face up, and I felt her nose trace a cold line up the side of my neck.

“Well,” I said breathlessly. Her lips were brushing the edge of my jaw. “It seems to be easier than it was this morning, at least.”

“Hmm,” she said. Her arms slid over my shoulders and then wrapped around my neck. She pulled herself up until her lips were brushing my ear.

“Why is that”—my voice shook embarrassingly—“do you think?”

“Mind over matter,” she breathed right into my ear.

A tremor ran down my body. She froze, then leaned carefully back. One hand brushed across the skin just under the sleeve of my t-shirt.

“You’re cold,” she said. I could feel the goose bumps rise under her fingertips.

“I’m fine.”

She frowned and climbed back to her original position. My arms weren’t willing to let her go. As she slid out of them, my hands stayed on her hips.

“Your whole body is shivering.”

“I don’t think that’s from being cold,” I told her.

We looked at each other for a second in the dark.

“I’m not sure what I’m allowed to do,” I admitted. “How careful do I need to be?”

She hesitated. “It’s not easier,” she said finally, answering my earlier question. Her hand brushed across my forearm, and I felt goose bumps again. “But this afternoon… I was still undecided. I’m sorry, it was unforgivable for me to behave as I did.”

“I forgive you,” I murmured.

“Thank you.” She smiled and then was serious as she looked down at the bumps on my arm. “You see… I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough.…” She lifted my hand and pressed it to her cheek, still looking down. “And while there was still that possibility that I might be… overcome”—she breathed in the scent at my wrist—“I was… susceptible. Until I made up my mind that I was strong enough, that there was no possibility at all that I would… that I ever could…”

I’d never seen her struggle so hard for words. It was so human.

“So there’s no possibility now?”

She looked up at me finally and smiled. “Mind over matter.”

“Sounds easy,” I said, grinning so that she knew I was teasing.

“Rather than easy I would say… herculean, but possible. And so… in answer to your other question…”

“Sorry,” I said.

She laughed quietly. “Why do you apologize?” It was a rhetorical question, and she went on quickly, putting a finger to my lips just in case I felt like I needed to explain. “It is not easy, and so, if it is acceptable to you, I would prefer if you would… follow my lead?” She let her finger drop. “Is that fair?”

“Of course,” I said quickly. “Whatever you want.” As usual, I meant that literally.

“If it gets to be… too much, I’m sure I will be able to make myself leave.”

I frowned. “I will make sure it’s not too much.”

“It will be harder tomorrow,” she said. “I’ve had the scent of you in my head all day, and I’ve grown amazingly desensitized. If I’m away from you for any length of time, I’ll have to start over again. Not quite from scratch, though, I think.”

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