Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 102)
And then I had nothing to do but wait. After a few seconds staring at the empty kitchen, I sighed and started cleaning. At least it kept my hands busy. Not so much my thoughts. Now that I was away from Jessamine’s mood fix, I was able to really stress out about what I’d agreed to. But how hard could it be? Edythe said I wouldn’t have to play. I tried to convince myself it would be fine while scrubbing just a little too hard.
I was just finishing the bathroom when I finally heard Charlie’s car in the drive. I stacked the cleaning supplies in alphabetical order under the sink while listening to him come in the front door. He started banging around under the stairs, stowing his tackle.
“Beau?” he called.
“Hey, Dad,” I yelled back.
When I got downstairs, he was scrubbing his hands in the kitchen sink.
“Where’s the fish?” I asked.
“Out in the deep freeze.”
“I’ll go grab a couple while they’re fresh—Bonnie dropped off some of Holly Clearwater’s fish fry this afternoon.” I tried to sound enthusiastic.
“She did?” Charlie’s eyes lit up. “That’s my favorite!”
Charlie cleaned up while I got dinner ready. It wasn’t long before we were both at the table, eating in silence. Charlie was obviously enjoying the food. I was wondering how on earth I was supposed to broach the subject of my new… girlfriend.
“What did you do with yourself today?” he asked, snapping me out of my thoughts.
“Well, this afternoon I just hung out around the house.…” Only the very recent part of this afternoon, actually. I tried to keep my voice upbeat, but my stomach was hollow. “And this morning I was over at the Cullens’.”
Charlie dropped his fork.
“Dr. Cullen’s place?” he asked in astonishment.
I pretended not to notice his reaction. “Yeah.”
“What were you doing there?” He hadn’t picked his fork back up.
“Well, I sort of have a date with Edythe Cullen tonight, and she wanted to introduce me to her parents.”
He stared at me like I’d just announced that I’d spent the day knocking over liquor stores.
“What, Dad? Didn’t you just tell me that you wanted me to socialize?”
He blinked a few times, then picked up his fork. “Yeah, I guess I did.” He took another bite, chewed slowly, and swallowed. “And didn’t you just tell me that none of the girls in town are your type?”
“I didn’t say that, you did.”
“Don’t get touchy with me, kid, you know what I mean. Why didn’t you say something? Was I being too nosey?”
“No, Dad, it’s just… this is all kind of new, okay? I didn’t want to jinx it.”
“Huh.” He reflected for a minute while he ate another bite. “So you went to meet her folks, eh?”
“Er, yeah. I mean, I already knew Dr. Cullen. But I got to meet her father.”
“Earnest Cullen is great—quiet, but very… kind, I guess is the best word for it. There’s something about him.”
“Yeah, I noticed that.”
“Meeting the parents, though. Isn’t that kind of serious? Does that mean she’s your girlfriend?”
“Yeah.” This wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be. I felt a strange sense of pride, being able to claim her this way. Kind of Neanderthal of me, but there it was. “Yeah, she’s my girlfriend.”
“You’re telling me.”
“Do I get a visit, too?”
I raised one eyebrow. “Will you be on your best behavior?”
He lifted both hands. “What, me? Have I ever embarrassed you before?”
“Have I ever brought a girl over before?”
He huffed, then changed the subject. “When are you picking her up?”
“Um, she’s meeting me here. See—you do get a visit. She’ll probably be here soon, actually.”
“Where are you taking her?”
“Well, I guess the plan is that we’re going to go… play baseball with her family.”
Charlie stared at me for one second, and then he busted up. I rolled my eyes and waited for him to finish. Eventually, he pretended to wipe tears out of his eyes.
“I hope you’re getting that out of your system now.”
“Baseball, huh? You must really like this girl.”
I thought about just shrugging that off, but I figured he’d see through me anyway. “Yeah,” I said. “I really do.”
I heard an unfamiliar engine roar up to the house, and I looked up in surprise.
After a few seconds, the doorbell rang, and Charlie jumped up. I ran around him and beat him to the door.
“Pushy much?” he muttered under his breath.
I hadn’t realized how hard it was pouring outside. Edythe stood in the halo of the porch light, looking like a model in an ad for raincoats.
I heard Charlie’s breath catch in surprise. I wondered if he’d ever seen her up close before. It was kind of unnerving.
Even when you were used to it. I just stared at her, gobsmacked.
She laughed. “Can I come in?”
“Yeah! Of course.” I jumped back out of her way, knocking into Charlie in the process.
After a few seconds of bumbling around, I had her jacket hung up and had both her and Charlie sitting down in the living room. She was in the armchair, so I went to sit next to Charlie on the sofa.