Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 136)
“I want you to listen to me very carefully, Beau. This—having you with me, getting to keep you here—it’s like I’ve been granted every selfish wish I’ve ever had. But the price for everything I want was to take the exact same thing away from you. All of your life. I’m angry with myself, I’m disappointed in myself. And I wish so much that I could bring that tracker back to life so that I could kill her myself, over and over and over again.…
“The reason I didn’t want you to be a vampire wasn’t because you weren’t special enough—it was because you are too special and you deserve more. I wanted you to have what we all miss—a human life. But you have to know, if it were only about me, if there were no price for you to pay, then tonight would be the best night of my life. I’ve been staring forever in the face for a century, and tonight is the very first time it’s looked beautiful to me. Because of you.
“Don’t you ever again think that I don’t want you. I will always want you. I don’t deserve you, but I will always love you. Are we clear?”
It was obvious that she was being totally sincere. Truth echoed in every word.
A huge grin spread across my new face. “So that’s okay, then.”
She smiled back. “I’d say so.”
“That was the one important thing I wanted to say—just, I love you. I always will. I knew that from pretty early in. So, with that being how things are, I think we can work the rest out.”
I held her face in my hands and bent down to kiss her. Like everything else, this was so easy now. Nothing to worry about, no hesitation.
It felt strange, though, that my heart wasn’t beating out a crazy drum solo, that the blood wasn’t stampeding through my veins. But something was zinging through me like electricity, every nerve in my body alive. More than alive—like all of my cells were rejoicing. I only wanted to hold her like this and I would need nothing else for the next hundred years.
But she broke away, and she was laughing. This time her laugh was full of joy. It sounded like singing.
“How are you doing this?” she laughed. “You’re supposed to be a newborn vampire and here you are, discussing the future calmly with me, smiling at me, kissing me! You’re supposed to be thirsty and nothing else.”
“I’m a lot of else,” I said. “But I am pretty thirsty, now that you mention it.”
She leaned up on her toes and kissed me once, hard. “I love you. Let’s go hunt.”
We ran together into the darkness that wasn’t dark, and I was unafraid. This would be easy, I knew, just like everything else.
EPILOGUE: AN OCCASION
“ARE YOU SURE THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?” SHE ASKED.
“I should be here.”
“Tell me if it gets to be too much.”
We were a hundred feet up in the branches of a tall hemlock, sitting side by side on a thick bough. I had my arm around her and she held my other hand in both of hers. I could feel her eyes on my face. Worried.
The branch swayed under us in the wind.
About two miles away, a caravan of cars was driving up Calawah Way with all their headlights on, though it was daytime. We were southeast and upwind, carefully situated so that we wouldn’t be close to any people. It was too far for Edythe to be able to hear much of what anyone was thinking, but that was okay. I was sure I’d be able to guess most of it.
The first car was the hearse. Right behind it was the familiar cruiser. My mom was in the passenger seat, and Phil was in the back. I recognized almost everyone in the cars that followed.
I couldn’t watch the actual funeral—it had been held inside a church building. The graveside service would have to be enough.
The hearse was overkill. There hadn’t been enough of the body that they’d found inside the burned-out shell of my truck to need a casket. If I’d been able to consult with my parents, I would have told them not to waste the money and just get an urn. But I guess if it made them feel better… Maybe they really wanted a grave to visit.
I’d seen where they were putting me—or what they thought was me. The hole was dug yesterday, right beside Grandma and Grandpa Swan. They’d both died when I was little, so I hadn’t known them well. I hoped they didn’t mind having a stranger next to them.
I didn’t know the stranger’s name. I hadn’t wanted to know every detail about how Archie and Eleanor had faked my death. I just knew that someone roughly my size who had been recently interred had taken one last trip. I assumed that all the identifiers had been destroyed—teeth, prints, etc. I felt pretty bad for the guy, but I suppose he didn’t mind. He hadn’t felt anything when the truck veered into a ravine somewhere in Nevada and burst into flames. His family had already mourned. They had a tombstone with his name on it. Like my parents had now.
Charlie and my mom were both pallbearers. Even from this distance, I could see that Charlie looked twenty years older and my mom moved like she was sleepwalking. If she hadn’t had the casket to hold on to, I’m not sure she would have been able to walk in a straight line across the cemetery lawn. I recognized the black dress she was wearing—she’d bought it for a formal party and then decided it aged her; she’d ended up going to the party in red. Charlie wore a suit I’d never seen before. I would guess it was old rather than new—it didn’t look like it would button, and his tie was a little too wide.
Phil helped, too, and Allen and his dad, Reverend Weber. Jeremy walked behind Allen. Even Bonnie Black held on to one of the brass handles while Jules pushed her chair.