Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 48)
What could I say? Had I made progress? Or just stumbled into another theory even more stupid than radioactive spiders? How could I say that word out loud, the one I’d been trying not to think all night?
I don’t know what my face must have looked like, but her expression suddenly softened.
“It’s that bad, then?” she asked.
“Can I—can we not talk about it here?” I glanced at the thin partition that separated us from the rest of the restaurant.
“Very bad,” she murmured, half to herself. There was something very sad and… almost old about her eyes. Tired, defeated. It hurt me in a strange way to see her unhappy.
“Well,” I said, trying to make my voice lighter. “Actually, if I answer your question first, I know you won’t answer mine. You never do. So… you first.”
Her face relaxed. “An exchange, then?”
The waiter returned with the Cokes. He set them on the table without a word this time and disappeared. I wondered if he could feel the tension as strongly as I could.
“I suppose we can try that,” Edythe murmured. “But no promises.”
“Okay.…” I started with the easy one. “So what brings you to Port Angeles tonight?”
She looked down, folding her hands carefully on the empty table in front of her. She glanced up at me from under the thick lashes, and there was a hint of a smile on her face.
“Next,” she said.
“But that’s the easiest one!”
She shrugged. “Next?”
I looked down, frustrated. I unrolled my silverware, picked up my fork, and carefully speared a ravioli. I put it in my mouth slowly, still looking down, chewing while I thought. The mushrooms were good. I swallowed and took a sip of Coke before I looked up.
“Fine, then.” I glared at her, and continued slowly. “Let’s say, hypothetically, that… someone… could know what people are thinking, read minds, you know—with just a few exceptions.” It sounded so stupid. There was no way, if she wouldn’t comment on the first one…
But then she looked at me calmly and said, “Just one exception. Hypothetically.”
It took me a minute to recover. She waited patiently.
“Okay.” I worked to sound casual. “Just one exception, then. How would something like that work? What are the limitations? How would… that someone… find someone else at exactly the right time? How would she even know I was in trouble?” My convoluted questions weren’t making any sense by the end.
“Hypothetically?” she asked.
“Well, if… that someone—”
“Call her Jane,” I suggested.
She smiled wryly. “If your Hypothetical Jane had been paying better attention, the timing wouldn’t have needed to be quite so exact.” She rolled her eyes. “I’m still not over how this could happen at all. How does anyone get into so much trouble, so consistently, and in such unlikely places? You would have devastated Port Angeles’s crime rate statistics for a decade, you know.”
“I don’t see how this is my fault.”
She stared at me, that familiar frustration in her eyes. “I don’t, either. But I don’t know who to blame.”
“How did you know?”
She locked eyes with me, torn, and I guessed she was wrestling against the desire to just tell me the truth.
“You can trust me, you know,” I whispered. I reached forward slowly, to put my hand on top of hers, but she slid them back an inch, so I let my hand fall empty to the table.
“It’s what I want to do,” she admitted, her voice even quieter than mine. “But that doesn’t mean it’s right.”
“Please?” I asked.
She hesitated one more second, and then it came out in a rush.
“I followed you to Port Angeles. I’ve never tried to keep a specific person alive before, and it’s much more troublesome than I would have believed. But that’s probably just because it’s you. Ordinary people seem to make it through the day without so many catastrophes. I was wrong before, when I said you were a magnet for accidents. That’s not a broad enough classification. You are a magnet for trouble. If there is anything dangerous within a ten-mile radius, it will invariably find you.”
It didn’t bother me at all that she was following me; instead I felt a strange surge of pleasure. She was here for me. She stared, waiting for me to react.
I thought about what she’d said—tonight, and before.… Do you think I could be scary?
“You put yourself into that category, don’t you?” I guessed.
Her face turned hard, expressionless. “Unequivocally.”
I stretched across the table again, ignoring her when she pulled back slightly once more, and laid my hand on top of hers. She kept them very still. It made them feel like stone—cold, hard, and now motionless. I thought of the statue again.
“That’s twice now,” I said. “Thank you.”
She just stared at me, her mouth twitching into a frown.
I tried to ease the tension, make a joke. “I mean, did you ever think that maybe my number was up the first time, with the van, and you’re messing with fate? Like those Final Destination movies?”
My joke fell flat. Her frown deepened.
She angled her face down again, her hair falling across her cheeks, and I could barely hear her answer.