Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 9)

I didn’t want to be arrogant, but I was pretty sure she was into me, which was a strange feeling. Girls hadn’t noticed me much at home. I wondered if I wanted her to like me. She was sort of pretty and everything, but her attention made me feel a little uncomfortable. Why was that? Because she’d picked me instead of the other way around? That was a stupid reason. Ego running wild, like it had to be my decision first. Still, it was not as stupid as the other possibility I’d thought of—I really hoped it wasn’t because of the time I’d spent staring at Edythe Cullen yesterday, but I was kind of afraid that was it. Which was about the stupidest thing possible, really. If I based my reaction to a girl’s looks off a face like Edythe’s, I was doomed. That was fantasy, not reality.

I was glad that I had the desk to myself, that Edythe wasn’t here. I told myself that again and again. Still, I couldn’t get rid of this annoying feeling that I was the reason she was gone. It was ridiculous, and egotistical again, to think that I could affect anyone that much. It was impossible. But I couldn’t stop worrying about it.

When the school day was finally done, and the patches of red were fading out of my face from the latest volleyball incident, I changed quickly back into my jeans and heavy sweater. I rushed from the locker room, glad to find that I had successfully evaded McKayla for the moment. I hurried out to the parking lot. It was crowded now with fleeing students. I got in my truck and dug through my backpack to make sure I still had what I needed.

It was no secret that Charlie couldn’t cook much besides fried eggs and bacon. Last night, I’d requested that I be assigned kitchen detail for the duration of my stay. He was willing enough to let me take over. A quick search revealed that he had no food in the house. So I had my grocery list and the cash from the jar in the cupboard labeled FOOD MONEY, and I was headed to the Thriftway.

I gunned the thunderous engine to life, ignoring the heads that turned in my direction, and backed into a place in the line of cars that were waiting to exit the parking lot. As I waited, trying to pretend that the earsplitting rumble was coming from someone else’s car, I saw the two Cullens and the Hale twins walking up to their car. It was the shiny new Volvo. Of course. I hadn’t noticed their clothes before—I’d been too mesmerized by their faces. Now that I looked, it was obvious that they were all wearing stuff that probably cost more than my entire wardrobe. Attractive as they all were, they could have worn garbage sacks and started a trend. It seemed like too much for them to have both looks and money. Though, as far as I could tell, life worked that way most of the time. It didn’t look like it bought them any popularity here.

But I couldn’t really believe that. The isolation had to be something they chose; I couldn’t imagine any door their beauty wouldn’t open for them.

They looked at my noisy truck as I passed them, just like everyone else. Except they weren’t anything like anyone else. I saw that the big blond guy—Royal, it must be. Figured. Anyway, Royal had his hand casually on the hip of the really tall girl with the dark curly hair, who looked like she was just as familiar with the weight room as he was. He had to be a good two inches taller than even I was, but he only had a half-inch on her. Though he was obviously pretty sure of himself, I was still kind of surprised he felt comfortable doing that. Not that she wasn’t hot—she was super, mega hot—but not… approachable. Like, not even the Rock would dare to whistle at her, if you know what I mean. The blond girl caught me looking, and the way her eyes narrowed made me turn straight ahead and punch the gas. The truck didn’t go any faster, the engine just grumbled even louder.

The Thriftway was not far from the school, a few streets south, off the highway. It was nice to be inside the supermarket; it felt normal. I did most of the shopping at home, and I fell easily into the pattern of the familiar job. The store was big enough inside that I couldn’t hear the tapping of the rain on the roof to remind me where I was.

When I got home, I unloaded all the groceries, reorganizing the cupboards till everything was in a place that made sense. Charlie’s system was kind of haphazard. I hoped Charlie wouldn’t mind, that he wasn’t OCD about his kitchen the way I was. Once I was satisfied with the organization, I worked on the prep for dinner.

I kind of have a sixth sense about my mom. I realized, as I was sticking the marinade-covered steak into the fridge, that I hadn’t let her know I’d made it yesterday. She was probably freaking out.

I ran up the stairs two at a time and fired up the old computer in my room. It took a minute to wheeze to life and then I had to wait for a connection. Once I was online, three messages showed up in my in-box. The first was from yesterday, while I was still en route.

“Beau,” my mom wrote.

Write me as soon as you get in. Tell me how your flight was. Is it raining? I miss you already. I’m almost finished packing for Florida, but I can’t find my pink blouse. Do you know where I put it? Phil says hi. Mom.

I sighed, and went to the next. It was sent six hours after the first.

Beau,

Why haven’t you e-mailed me yet? What are you waiting for? Mom.

The last was from this morning.

Beaufort Swan,

If I haven’t heard from you by 5:30 p.m. today I’m calling Charlie.

I checked the clock. I still had an hour, but Mom was known for jumping the gun.

Mom,

Calm down. I’m writing right now. Don’t do anything crazy.

Beau.

I sent that, and then started the next, beginning with a lie.

Everything is great. Of course it’s raining. I was waiting for something to write about. School isn’t bad, just a little repetitive. I met some okay kids who sit by me at lunch.

[X]

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