Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 70)
“Whatever we find in the park. We aren’t going far.” She stared at me, a little frustrated and a little amused by my casual reference to her unusual life.
“Why are you going with Archie? Didn’t you say he was being annoying?”
She frowned. “He’s still the most… supportive.”
“And the rest of them?” I asked hesitantly, not sure I really wanted to know. “What are they?”
Her brow puckered. “Incredulous, for the most part.”
I glanced toward them. They sat staring off in different directions, exactly the same as the first time I’d seen them. Only now there were just the four of them; their perfect, bronze-haired sister was mine, for this hour at least.
“They don’t like me,” I guessed.
“That’s not it,” she disagreed, but her eyes were too innocent. “They don’t understand why I can’t leave you alone.”
I frowned. “Me, either.”
She smiled. “You’re not like anyone I’ve ever known, Beau. You fascinate me.”
Part of me was sure she was making fun of me—the part that couldn’t escape the fact that I was the most boring person I knew. “I can’t understand that,” I said.
“Having the advantages I do,” she murmured, touching one finger to her forehead, “I have a better-than-average grasp of human nature. People are predictable. But you… you never do what I expect. You always take me by surprise.”
I looked away, my eyes hitting their default position—the back corner of the cafeteria where her family sat. Her words made me feel like a science experiment. I wanted to laugh at myself for expecting anything else.
“That part is easy enough to explain.” I felt her eyes on my face, but I couldn’t look at her yet. I was sure she would see the self-contempt in my eyes. “But there’s more,” she went on, “and it’s not so easy to put into words—”
I was still staring absently at the Cullens while she spoke. Suddenly Royal turned his head to look directly at me. Not to look—to glare, with dark, cold eyes. I wanted to look away, but I was frozen by his overt antagonism until Edythe broke off mid-sentence and made an angry noise under her breath—a kind of hiss.
Royal turned his head, and I was relieved to be free. I looked back at Edythe, my eyes wide.
“That was definitely dislike,” I muttered.
Her expression was pained. “I’m sorry about that. He’s just worried. You see… it’s dangerous for more than just me if, after spending so much time with you so publicly…” She looked down.
“If this ends… badly.” She dropped her head into her hands, obviously in anguish. I wanted to comfort her somehow, to tell her that nothing bad would ever happen to her, but I didn’t know the right words. Automatically, I reached out to place my hand lightly against her elbow. She was wearing just a long-sleeved t-shirt, and the cold soaked through to my hand immediately. She didn’t move, and as I sat there I slowly realized that what she’d said should frighten me. I waited for that fear to come, but all I could feel was an ache for her pain.
She still had her face in her hands.
I tried to speak in a normal voice. “And you have to leave now?”
“Yes.” She let her hands drop. I kept my hand against her forearm. She looked at the place where we were connected, and she sighed. Suddenly her mood shifted and she grinned. “It’s probably for the best. We still have fifteen minutes of that wretched movie left to endure in Biology—I don’t think I could take any more.”
I jumped, yanking my hand back. Archie—taller than I’d thought, his hair just a shadow of dark stubble against his scalp, his eyes dark as ink—was suddenly standing behind Edythe’s shoulder.
Edythe greeted him without looking away from me. “Archie.”
“Edythe,” he answered, imitating her tone with a mocking twist. His voice was a soft tenor, velvety like hers.
“Archie, Beau—Beau, Archie,” she introduced us, a wry smile on her face.
“Hello, Beau.” His eyes glittered like black diamonds, but his smile was friendly. “It’s nice to finally meet you.” Just the lightest stress on the finally.
Edythe flashed a dark look at him.
It was not hard for me to believe that Archie was a vampire. Standing two feet away from me. With dark, hungry eyes. I felt a bead of sweat roll down the back of my neck.
“Um, hey, Archie.”
“Are you ready?” he asked her.
Her voice was cold. “Nearly. I’ll meet you at the car.”
He left without another word; the way he moved was so fluid, so sinuous, it made me think of dancers again, though it wasn’t really that human.
I swallowed. “Should I say ‘have fun,’ or is that the wrong sentiment?”
“‘Have fun’ works as well as anything.” She grinned.
“Have fun, then.” I tried to sound enthusiastic, but of course she wasn’t fooled.
“I’ll try. And you try to be safe, please.”
I sighed. “Safe in Forks—what a challenge.”
Her jaw tightened. “For you it is a challenge. Promise.”
“I promise to try to be safe,” I recited. “I was meaning to deal with the laundry… or is that too hazardous a task? I mean, I could fall in or something.”
Her eyes narrowed.
“Okay, okay, I’ll do my best.”