Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 111)
“She’s not here,” Edythe hissed. “Let’s go.”
Eleanor reached over to undo the harness. “Don’t worry, Beau,” she said in a low but cheerful voice. “We’ll take care of things here quickly.”
I felt the strangest sense of sadness as I looked at Eleanor’s gorgeous and terrifying face. I barely knew her, but somehow, not knowing when I would see her again was awful. I knew this was the easiest goodbye I would have to survive in the next hour, and the thought made my stomach churn.
“Archie, El.” Edythe’s voice was a command. They slipped soundlessly into the darkness and were gone.
I crawled out after Eleanor, and Edythe was already there.
“Fifteen minutes,” she said through her teeth.
I nodded, then stopped.
“One thing.” I bent down and kissed her once hard. “I love you. Whatever happens now, that doesn’t change.”
“Nothing is going to happen to you, Beau.”
“Keep Charlie safe for me.”
I nodded again, and then, with one backward glance at her, I jumped onto the porch and threw the front door open with a loud bang. I lurched inside and kicked the door shut behind me.
I suddenly knew what I was going to do, and I was already horrified at myself.
Charlie’s face appeared in the hallway. “Beau?”
“Leave me alone,” I snapped.
My eyes were starting to feel red and wet, and I knew I was going to have to get it together if I was going to do this right—protect Charlie, protect the Cullens, and make this plan work. It would be easier if I wasn’t looking at him.
I wheeled and ran up the stairs, then slammed my bedroom door closed and locked it. I threw myself on the floor and yanked a duffel bag out from under the bed. Then I shoved my hand between the mattress and box spring, searching till I found the knotted tube sock with my cash hoard.
Charlie pounded on my door. “Beau, are you okay? What’s going on?”
“I’m going home!” I yelled.
I turned to the dresser, and Edythe was already there, silently yanking out armfuls of clothes that she then threw at me. I caught what I could and stuffed it into the bag.
“So I guess your date didn’t go so well.” Charlie’s voice was confused but calmer.
“Ugh, stay out of it, Charlie,” I growled.
“Did she break up with you?”
“I broke up with her.”
Edythe didn’t react to what I was saying. She was totally focused. She swept my stuff off the top of the dresser and into the bag with one arm.
“Why?” Charlie asked, surprised. “I thought you really liked this girl.”
“I do—too much.”
“Um… that’s not how that works, son.”
Edythe zipped the bag up—apparently my packing time was over. She hung the strap on my shoulder.
“I’ll be in the truck—go!” she whispered, and she pushed me toward the door. She vanished out the window.
I unlocked the door and shoved past Charlie. My bag knocked a picture off the wall as I hurtled down the stairs.
Charlie ran after me and grabbed the strap of my bag, hauling me back a step.
“Are you doing drugs, Beau?” he demanded.
“Slow down. I don’t understand. Tell me what happened.”
He had a tight grip on the strap. I could leave it, but that would put a hole in my story. I was going to have to do this the hard way.
I turned to look at him, hoping the red in my eyes looked like anger.
“I’ll tell you what happened,” I said in the hardest voice I could manage. “I had a great night with the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen—and we talked about the future. The way she sees it—it’s just like you. She’s going to stay here the rest of her life. She’s going to get married and have kids and never leave. And for a second, that all actually made sense to me. I’m losing myself here—I’m getting sucked in. If I don’t run now, I’ll never get out!”
“Beau, you can’t leave now,” he whispered. “It’s nighttime.”
“I’ll sleep in the truck if I get tired.”
“Just wait another week,” he pleaded, looking shell-shocked. “Renée will be back by then.”
This completely derailed me. “What?”
Relief flashed across Charlie’s face when I hesitated. “She called while you were out. Things aren’t going so well in Florida, and if Phil doesn’t get signed by the end of the week, they’re going back to Arizona. The assistant coach of the Sidewinders said they might have a spot for another shortstop.”
I shook my head, trying to get back on track. Every passing second put Charlie in more danger.
“I have a key,” I muttered, turning the knob. He was too close, one hand still locked on my bag, his face dazed. I couldn’t lose any more time arguing with him. I was going to have to hurt him further.
“Just let me go, Charlie,” I said through my teeth. I threw the door open. “It didn’t work out, okay? I really, really hate Forks!”
The cruel words did their job—Charlie’s hand dropped from my bag. His mouth fell open with surprise while a deep pain surfaced in his eyes. I turned my back on him and stalked out the door. I couldn’t let him see my face now.
I tried to keep my walk angry, but I wanted to sprint. The dark yard seemed full of extra shadows that I was pretty sure were just my imagination. But not totally positive. I hurled my bag into the bed of the truck and wrenched the door open. The key was waiting in the ignition.