Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 99)
“Really?” This didn’t shock me the way she thought it would. It only made me more curious.
“That doesn’t repulse you?”
“I guess… it sounds reasonable.”
She laughed one sharp laugh and then started pulling me forward again, through a hall similar to the one downstairs, walking slowly. “From the time of my new birth, I had the advantage of knowing what everyone around me was thinking, both human and non-human alike. That’s why it took me ten years to defy Carine—I could read her perfect sincerity, understand exactly why she lived the way she did.
“It took me only a few years to return to Carine and recommit to her vision. I thought I would be exempt from the… depression… that accompanies a conscience. Because I knew the thoughts of my prey, I could pass over the innocent and pursue only the evil. If I followed a murderer down a dark alley where he stalked a young girl—if I saved her, then surely I wasn’t so terrible.”
I tried to imagine what she was describing. What would she have looked like, coming silent and pale out of the shadows? What would the murderer have thought when he saw her—perfect, beautiful, more than human? Would he even have known to be afraid?
“But as time went on, I began to see the monster in my eyes. I couldn’t escape the debt of so much human life taken, no matter how justified. And I went back to Carine and Earnest. They welcomed me back like the prodigal. It was more than I deserved.”
We’d come to a stop in front of the last door in the hall.
“My room,” she said, opening it and pulling me through.
Her room faced south, with a wall-sized window like the great room below. The whole back side of the house must be glass. Her view looked down on the wide, winding river, which I figured had to be the Sol Duc, and across the forest to the white peaks of the Olympic Mountain range. The mountains were much closer than I would have thought.
Her western wall was covered with shelf after shelf of CDs; the room was better stocked than a music store. In the corner was a sophisticated-looking sound system, the kind I was afraid to touch because I’d be sure to break something. There was no bed, only a deep black leather sofa. The floor was covered with a thick, gold-colored carpet, and the walls were upholstered with heavy fabric in a slightly darker shade.
“Good acoustics?” I guessed.
She laughed and nodded.
She picked up a remote and turned the stereo on. It was quiet, but the soft jazz number sounded like the band was in the room with us. I went to look at her mind-boggling music collection.
“How do you have these organized?” I asked, unable to find any rhyme or reason to the titles.
“Ummm, by year, and then by personal preference within that frame,” she said absently.
I turned, and she was looking at me with an expression in her eyes that I couldn’t read.
“I was prepared to feel… relieved. Having you know about everything, not needing to keep secrets from you. But I didn’t expect to feel more than that. I like it. It makes me… happy.” She shrugged and smiled.
“I’m glad,” I said, smiling back. I’d worried that she might regret telling me these things. It was good to know that wasn’t the case.
But then, as her eyes dissected my expression, her smile faded and her eyebrows pulled together.
“You’re still waiting for the running and the screaming, aren’t you?” I asked.
She nodded, fighting a smile.
“I really hate to burst your bubble, but you’re just not as scary as you think you are. I honestly can’t imagine being afraid of you,” I said casually.
She raised her eyebrows, and then a slow smile started spreading across her face.
“You probably shouldn’t have said that,” she told me.
And then she growled—a low sound that ripped up the back of her throat and didn’t sound human at all. Her smile got wider until it changed from a smile into a display of teeth. Her body shifted, and she was half-crouched, her back stretched long and curved in, like a cat tensed to pounce.
I didn’t see her attack—it was much too fast. I couldn’t even understand what was happening. For half a second I was airborne and the room rolled around me, upside down and then right side up again. I didn’t feel the landing, but suddenly I was on my back on the black couch and Edythe was on top of me, her knees tight against my hips, her hands planted on either side of my head so that I couldn’t move, and her bared teeth just inches from my face. She made another soft noise that was halfway between a growl and a purr.
“Wow,” I breathed.
“You were saying?” she asked.
“Um, that you are a very, very terrifying monster?”
She grinned. “Much better.”
“And that I am so completely in love with you.”
Her face went soft, her eyes wide, all the walls down again.
“Beau,” she whispered.
“Can we come in?” a low voice asked from the door.
I flinched and probably would have smacked my forehead against Edythe’s if she hadn’t been so much faster than I was. In another fraction of a second, she’d pulled me up so that I was sitting on the sofa and she was next to me, her legs draped over mine.
Archie stood in the doorway, Jessamine behind him in the hall. Red started creeping up my neck, but Edythe was totally relaxed.
“Please,” she said to Archie.