Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 103)
“So, Edythe, how are your parents?”
“Excellent, thank you, Chief Swan.”
“You can call me Charlie. I’m off the clock.”
“Thanks, Charlie.” She unleashed the dimples, and his face went blank.
It took him a second to recover. “So, um, you’re playing baseball tonight?”
It didn’t seem to occur to either of them that the buckets of water falling out of the sky right now should impact these plans. Only in Washington.
“Yes. Hopefully Beau doesn’t mind hanging out with my family too much.”
Charlie jumped in before I could respond. “I’d say it was the baseball he’d mind more.”
They both laughed. I shot my dad a look. Where was the best behavior I’d been promised?
“Should we be on our way?” I suggested.
“We’re not in any hurry,” Edythe said with a grin.
I hit Charlie with my elbow. Edythe’s smile got wider.
“Oh, uh, yeah,” Charlie said. “You kids go ahead, I’ve got a… a bunch of stuff to get to.…”
Edythe was on her feet in a fluid move. “It was lovely to see you, Charlie.”
“Yes. You come visit anytime, Edythe.”
“Thank you, you’re very kind.”
Charlie ran a hand through his hair self-consciously. I didn’t think I’d ever seen him so flustered.
“Will you kids be out super late?”
I looked at her.
“No, we’ll be reasonable.”
“Don’t wait up, though,” I added.
I handed her coat to her and then held the door. As she passed, Charlie gave me a wide-eyed look. I shrugged my shoulders and raised my eyebrows. I didn’t know how I’d gotten so lucky, either.
I followed her out onto the porch, then stopped dead.
There, behind my truck, was a monster Jeep. Its tires were as high as my waist. There were metal guards over the headlights and taillights, and four large spotlights attached to the crash bar. The hardtop was shiny red.
Charlie let out a low whistle. “Wear your seat belts.”
I went to the driver’s side to get the door for Edythe. She was inside in one efficient little leap, though I was glad we were on the far side of the Jeep from Charlie, because it didn’t look entirely natural. I went to my side and climbed gracelessly into my seat. She had the engine running now, and I recognized the roar that had surprised me earlier. It wasn’t as loud as my truck, but it sounded a lot more brawny.
Out of habit—she wasn’t going to start driving until I was buckled in—I reached for my seat belt.
“What—er—what is all this? How do I…?”
“Off-roading harness,” she explained.
I tried to find all the right connectors, but it wasn’t going too fast. And then her hands were there, flashing around at a barely visible speed, and gone again. I was glad the rain was too thick to see Charlie clearly on the porch, because that meant he couldn’t see me clearly, either.
I knew better than to ask if she was going to put her own harness on.
She pulled away from the house.
“This is a… um… large Jeep you have.”
“It’s Eleanor’s. She let me borrow it so we wouldn’t have to run the whole way.”
“Where do you keep this thing?”
“We remodeled one of the outbuildings into a garage.”
Suddenly her first answer sank in.
“Wait. Run the whole way? As in, we’re still going to run part of the way?” I demanded.
She pursed her lips like she was trying not to smile. “You’re not going to run.”
I groaned. “I’m going to puke in front of your family.”
“Keep your eyes closed, you’ll be fine.”
I shook my head, sighed, then reached over and took her hand. “Hi. I missed you.”
She laughed—it was a trilling sound, not quite human. “I missed you, too. Isn’t that strange?”
“You’d think I’d have learned more patience over the last hundred years. And here I am, finding it difficult to pass an afternoon without you.”
“I’m glad it’s not just me.”
She leaned over to swiftly kiss my cheek, then pulled back quickly and sighed. “You smell even better in the rain.”
“In a good way or a bad way?”
She frowned. “Always both.”
I don’t know how she even knew where we were going with the downpour—it was like a liquid gray curtain around the Jeep—but she somehow found a side road that was more or less a mountain path. For a long while conversation was impossible, because I was bouncing up and down on the seat like a jackhammer. She seemed to enjoy the ride, though, smiling hugely the whole way.
And then we came to the end of the road; the trees formed green walls on three sides of the Jeep. The rain was a mere drizzle, slowing every second, the sky brighter through the clouds.
“Sorry, Beau, we have to go on foot from here.”
“You know what? I’ll just wait here.”
“What happened to all your courage? You were extraordinary this morning.”
“I haven’t forgotten the last time yet.” Was it really only yesterday?
She was around to my side of the car in a blur, and she started on the harness.
“I’ll get those, you go on ahead,” I protested. She was finished before I got the first few words out.