Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 109)
“You can’t go home, Beau.” The way she said it sounded kind of permanent.
“I don’t understand. Edythe? What do you mean?”
Archie spoke for the first time. “Pull over, Edythe.”
She flashed him a hard look and gunned the engine.
“Edythe,” Archie said. “Look at all the different ways this can go. We need to think this through.” There was a warning in his voice, and I wondered what he was seeing in his head, what he was showing Edythe.
“You don’t understand,” Edythe nearly howled in frustration. The speedometer was at one hundred and fifteen. “She’s a tracker, Archie! Did you see that? She’s a tracker!”
I felt Eleanor stiffen next to me, and I wondered what the word meant to her. Obviously it meant a lot more to the three of them than it did to me. I wanted to understand, but there was no opening for me to ask.
“Pull over, Edythe.” Archie’s voice was harder now, steely.
The speedometer inched past one-twenty.
“Do it,” he barked.
“Archie—listen! I saw her mind. Tracking is her passion, her obsession—and she wants him, Archie—him, specifically. She’s already begun.”
“She doesn’t know where—”
“How long do you think it will take her to cross Beau’s scent in town? Her plan was already set before the words were out of Lauren’s mouth.”
It was like a punch to the gut. I couldn’t breathe for a second as what she was saying finally made concrete sense. Up till now, it had all felt like something abstract, like a word problem in Math. It didn’t seem to connect to me in any real way.
I knew where my scent would lead.
“Charlie,” I gasped. And then I yelled. “Charlie! We have to go back. We have to get Charlie!”
I started ripping at the buckles that held me in place, until Eleanor grabbed my wrists. Trying to yank them back was like trying to pull out of handcuffs that were bolted into concrete.
“Edythe! Turn around!” I shouted.
“He’s right,” Archie said.
The car slowed a tiny bit.
“Let’s just look at our options for a minute,” Archie coaxed.
The car slowed again, more noticeably, and then suddenly we screeched to a stop on the shoulder of the highway. I flew against the harness and then slammed back into the seat.
“There are no options,” Edythe snarled.
“We’re not leaving Charlie!” I yelled.
She ignored me completely.
Eleanor finally spoke. “We have to take him back.”
“She’s no match for us, Edy. She won’t be able to touch him.”
Eleanor smiled a cold, strangely eager smile. “I can wait, too.”
Edythe huffed out a breath, exasperated. “You didn’t see! You don’t understand! Once she commits to a hunt, she’s unshakable. We can’t reason with her. We can’t scare her off. We’d have to kill her.”
This didn’t bother Eleanor. “Yes.”
“And the male. He’s with her. If it turns into a fight, Lauren will side with them, too.”
“There are enough of us.”
“There’s another option,” Archie said quietly.
Edythe turned on him, furious, her voice a blistering snarl. “There—is—no—other—option!”
Eleanor and I both stared at her in shock, but Archie didn’t seem surprised. The silence lasted for a long minute as Edythe and Archie stared each other down.
“Does anyone want to hear my idea?” I asked.
“No,” Edythe snapped. Archie glared at her.
“Listen,” I said. “You take me back.”
“Yes! You take me back. I tell my dad I want to go home to Phoenix. I pack my bags. We wait till this tracker is watching, and then we run. She’ll follow us and leave Charlie alone. Then you can take me any damned place you want.”
They stared at me with wide eyes.
“It’s not a bad idea, really.” Eleanor sounded so surprised, it was an insult.
“It might work—and we can’t just leave his father unprotected,” Archie said. “You know that, Edythe.”
Everyone looked at Edythe.
“It’s too dangerous—I don’t want her within a hundred miles of Beau.”
“She’s not getting through us.” Eleanor was very confident.
Archie closed his eyes for a second. “I don’t see her attacking. She’s the kind that goes around, not through. She’ll wait for us to leave him unprotected.”
“It won’t take long for her to realize that’s not going to happen,” Edythe said.
“I have to go home, Edythe.”
She pressed her fingers to her temples and squeezed her eyes shut for a second. Then she was glaring at me.
“Your plan takes too long. We’ve got no time for the packing charade.”
“If I don’t give him some kind of excuse, he’ll make trouble for your family. Maybe call the FBI or something if he thinks you’ve… I don’t know, kidnapped me.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“Yes. It does. There’s a way to keep everyone safe, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Jeep rumbled to life, and she spun us around, the tires squealing. The needle on the speedometer started to race up the dial.
“You’re leaving tonight,” Edythe said, and her voice sounded worn. “Whether the tracker sees or not. Tell Charlie whatever you want—as long as it’s quick. Pack the first things your hands touch, then get in your truck. I don’t care what Charlie says. You have fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes from the time you cross the doorstep or I carry you out.”