Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 46)
“Of course,” the host said, sounding as surprised as I was. He led us around a partition to a small ring of booths, all of them empty. “How is this?”
“Perfect,” she said, and unleashed her smile on him.
Like a deer in headlights, the host froze for a long second, and then he slowly turned and staggered back toward the main floor, our menus still in the crook of his arm.
Edythe slid into one side of the closest booth, sitting close to the edge so that my only option was to sit facing her with the length of the table between us. After a second of hesitation, I sat, too.
Something thudded a couple of times on the other side of the partition, like the sound of someone tripping over his own feet and then recovering. It was a sound I was familiar with.
“That wasn’t very nice.”
She stared at me, surprised. “What do you mean?”
“Whatever that thing you do is—with the dimples and the hypnotizing or whatever. That guy could hurt himself trying to get back to the door.”
She half-smiled. “I do a thing?”
“Like you don’t know the effect you have on people.”
“I suppose I can think of a few effects.…” Her expression went dark for a tiny second, but then it cleared and she smiled. “But no one’s ever accused me of hypnotism by dimples before.”
“Do you think other people get their way so easily?”
She tilted her head to the side, ignoring my question. “Does it work on you—this thing you think I do?”
I sighed. “Every time.”
And then our server arrived with an expectant expression, which quickly shifted to awe. Whatever the host had told him, it had been an understatement.
“Hello,” he said, surprise making his voice monotone as he mechanically recited his lines. “My name is Sal, and I’ll be taking care of you tonight. What can I get you to drink?”
Like the host’s, his eyes never strayed from her face.
“Beau?” she prompted.
“Um, a Coke?”
I might as well not have spoken at all. The waiter just kept staring at Edythe. She flashed a grin at me before turning to him.
“Two Cokes,” she told him, and, almost like an experiment, she smiled a wide, dimpled smile right into his face.
He actually wobbled, like he was going to keel over.
She pressed her lips together, trying not to laugh. The waiter shook his head and blinked, trying to reorient. I watched sympathetically. I knew just how he felt.
“And a menu?” she added when he didn’t move.
“Yes, of course, I’ll be right back with that.” He was still shaking his head as he walked out of sight.
“You’ve seriously never noticed that before?” I asked her.
“It’s been a while since I cared what anyone thought about me,” she said. “And I don’t usually smile so much.”
“Probably safer that way—for everyone.”
“Everyone but you. Shall we talk about what happened tonight?”
“Your near-death experience? Or did you already forget?”
“Oh.” Actually, I had.
She frowned. “How do you feel?”
“What do you mean?” I hoped she didn’t turn on the hypnotist eyes and make me tell the truth, because what I felt right now was… euphoria. She was right here, with me—on purpose—I’d gotten to touch her hand, and I probably had a few hours ahead to spend with her, too, since she’d promised to drive me home. I’d never felt so happy and so off-balance at the same time.
“Are you cold, dizzy, sick…?”
The way she listed the words reminded me of a doctor’s exam. And I didn’t feel cold or sick… or dizzy in a medical way. “Should I?”
She laughed. “I’m wondering if you’re going to go into shock,” she admitted. “I’ve seen it happen with less provocation.”
“Oh. No, I think I’m fine, thanks.” Honestly, almost being murdered was not the most interesting thing that had happened to me tonight, and I hadn’t really thought much about it.
“Just the same, I’ll feel better when you have some food in you.”
On cue, the waiter appeared with our drinks and a basket of breadsticks. He stood with his back to me while he placed them on the table, then handed Edythe a menu. Done with her experiments, she didn’t so much as look at him this time. She just pushed the menu across the table to me.
He cleared his throat nervously. “There are a few specials. Um, we have a mushroom ravioli and—”
“Sounds great,” I interrupted; I didn’t care what I got—food was the last thing on my mind. “I’ll have that.” I spoke a little louder than necessary, but I wasn’t sure he really knew I was sitting here.
He finally threw a surprised glance my way, and then his attention was back to her.
“And for you…?”
“That’s all we need. Thank you.”
He waited for a second, hoping for another smile, I thought. A glutton for punishment. When Edythe kept her eyes on me, he gave up and walked away.
“Drink,” Edythe said. It sounded like an order.
I took a sip obediently, then another bigger gulp, surprised to find that I was actually pretty thirsty. I’d sucked down the entire glass before I knew it, and she slid her glass toward me.
“No, I’m fine,” I told her.
“I’m not going to drink it,” she said, and her tone added the duh.