Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 101)
I pretended I didn’t notice her intense scrutiny as I unlocked the door and waved them inside ahead of me. Jules gave me a half-smile as she walked by.
“Let me take that,” I offered as I turned to shut the door. I exchanged one last look with Edythe—she was perfectly still as she waited, her eyes serious.
“You’ll want to put that in the fridge,” Bonnie instructed as she handed me the package. “It’s a batch of Holly Clearwater’s homemade fish fry. Charlie’s favorite. The fridge keeps it drier.”
“Thanks,” I repeated with more emotion. “I was running out of ways to cook fish, and he’s bound to bring more home tonight.”
“Fishing again?” Bonnie asked. She was suddenly intent. “Down at the usual spot? Maybe I’ll run by and see him.”
“No,” I lied quickly. “He was headed someplace new… but I have no idea where.”
She stared at my face, her eyes narrowing. It was always so obvious when I tried to lie.
“Julie,” she said, still eyeing me. “Why don’t you go get that new picture of Aaron out of the car? I’ll leave that for Charlie, too.”
“Where is it?” Jules asked. Her voice sounded kind of down. I glanced at her, but she was staring at the floor, her black brows pulling together.
“I think I saw it in the trunk,” Bonnie said. “You may have to dig for it.”
Jules stalked back out into the rain.
Bonnie and I faced each other in silence. After a few seconds, the quiet started to feel awkward, so I turned and headed to the kitchen. I could hear her wet wheels squeak against the linoleum as she followed.
I fit the paper bag into a space on the top shelf of the fridge, and then turned slowly to meet the eyes I could feel boring into me.
“Charlie won’t be back for a long time.” My voice was almost rude.
She nodded in agreement, but said nothing.
“Thanks again for the fish fry,” I hinted.
She continued nodding. I sighed and leaned back against the counter.
“Beau,” she said, and then she hesitated.
“Beau,” she said again, “Charlie is one of my best friends.”
She spoke each word carefully in her deep voice. “I noticed you’ve been spending time with one of the Cullens.”
“Yes,” I repeated.
Her eyes narrowed again. “Maybe it’s none of my business, but I don’t think that is such a good idea.”
“You’re right,” I agreed. “It is none of your business.”
She raised her thick eyebrows at my tone. “You probably don’t know this, but the Cullen family has an unpleasant reputation on the reservation.”
“Actually, I did know that,” I said in a hard voice. She looked surprised. “But that reputation couldn’t be deserved, could it? Because the Cullens never set foot on the reservation, do they?” I could see that my less-than-subtle reminder of the agreement that both bound and protected her tribe pulled her up short.
“That’s true,” she agreed, her eyes guarded. “You seem… well informed about the Cullens. More informed than I expected.”
I stared her down. “Maybe even better informed than you are.”
She pursed her thick lips as she considered that. “Maybe,” she allowed, but her eyes were shrewd. “Is Charlie as well informed?”
She had found the weak spot in my armor.
“Charlie likes the Cullens a lot,” I said. She obviously understood my evasion. Her expression was unhappy, but not surprised.
“It’s not my business,” she said. “But it may be Charlie’s.”
“Though it would be my business, again, whether or not I think that it’s Charlie’s business, right?”
I wondered if she even understood my confused question as I struggled not to say anything compromising. But she seemed to. She thought about it while the rain picked up against the roof, the only sound breaking the silence.
“Yes.” She finally surrendered. “I guess that’s your business, too.”
I sighed with relief. “Thanks, Bonnie.”
“Just think about what you’re doing, Beau,” she urged.
“Okay,” I agreed quickly.
She frowned. “What I meant to say was, don’t do what you’re doing.”
I looked into her eyes, filled only with concern for me, and there was nothing I could say.
The front door banged loudly.
“There’s no picture anywhere in that car.” Jules’s complaining voice reached us before she did. She rounded the corner. The shoulders of her t-shirt were stained with the rain, her long hair dripping.
“Hmm,” Bonnie grunted, suddenly detached, spinning her chair around to face her daughter. “I guess I left it at home.”
Jules rolled her eyes dramatically. “Great.”
“Well, Beau, tell Charlie”—Bonnie paused before continuing—“that we stopped by, I mean.”
“I will,” I muttered.
Jules was surprised. “Are we leaving already?”
“Charlie’s gonna be out late,” Bonnie explained as she rolled herself past Jules.
“Oh.” Jules looked disappointed. “Well, I guess I’ll see you later, then, Beau.”
“Sure,” I agreed.
“Take care,” Bonnie warned me. I didn’t answer.
Jules helped her mother out the door. I waved briefly, glancing swiftly toward my now-empty truck, and then shut the door before they were gone.