Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 51)
“Don’t worry about me,” she said. “I can handle it.”
I took her hand, and she curled her fingers very lightly around mine for one short second, then dropped her hand back to the gearshift. Carefully, I placed my hand over the top of hers again. I ran my thumb along the outside of her hand, tracing from her wrist to the tip of her pinkie finger. Her skin was so soft—not that it had any give at all, no, but soft like satin. Smoother, even.
“The suspense is killing me, Beau,” she whispered.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know how to start.”
Another long moment of silence, just the purr of the engine and the sound of my hitching breath. I couldn’t hear hers at all. I traced back down the side of her perfect hand.
“Why don’t you start at the beginning,” she suggested, her voice more normal now. Practical. “Is this something you thought up on your own, or did something make you think of it—a comic book, maybe, or a movie?”
“Nothing like that,” I said. “But I didn’t think of it on my own.”
“It was Saturday—down at the beach.”
I risked a glance up at her face. She looked confused.
“I ran into an old family friend—Jules, Julie Black. Her mom, Bonnie, and Charlie have been close since before I was born.”
She still looked confused.
“Bonnie’s one of the Quileute leaders.…”
Her confused expression froze in place. It was like all the planes of her face had suddenly hardened into ice. Oddly, she was even more beautiful like that, a goddess again in the light of the dashboard dials. She didn’t look very human, though.
She stayed frozen, so I felt compelled to explain the rest.
“There was this Quileute woman on the beach—Sam something. Logan made a comment about you—trying to make fun of me. And this Sam said your family didn’t come to the reservation, only it sounded like she meant something more than that. Jules seemed like she knew what the woman was talking about, so I got her alone and kept bugging her until she told me… told me the old Quileute legends.”
I was surprised when she spoke—her face was so still, and her lips barely moved.
“And what were those legends? What did Jules Black tell you I was?”
I half-opened my mouth, then closed it again.
“I don’t want to say it,” I admitted.
“It’s not my favorite word, either.” Her face had warmed up a little; she looked human again. “Not saying it doesn’t make it go away, though. Sometimes… I think not saying it makes it more powerful.”
I wondered if she was right.
“Vampire?” I whispered.
Nope. Saying it out loud didn’t make it any less powerful.
Funny how it didn’t sound stupid anymore, like it had in my room. It didn’t feel like we were talking about impossible things, about old legends or silly horror movies or paperback books. It felt real.
And very powerful.
We drove in silence for another minute, and the word vampire seemed to get bigger and bigger inside the car. It didn’t feel like it belonged to her, really, but more like it had the power to hurt her. I tried to think of something, anything to say to erase the sound of it.
Before I could come up with anything, she spoke.
“What did you do then?”
“Oh—um, I did some research on the Internet.”
“And that convinced you?” She was very matter-of-fact now.
“No. Nothing fit. Lots of it was really stupid. But I just—”
I stopped abruptly. She waited, then stared at me when I didn’t finish.
“You what?” she pushed.
“Well, I mean, it doesn’t matter, right? So I just let it go.”
Her eyes grew wider and wider, and then suddenly they were narrowed into little slits, glaring at me. I didn’t want to point out to her again that she should probably be watching where she was going, but her speed had crept up to past ninety-five now, and she seemed totally unaware of the twisting road ahead of us.
“It doesn’t matter?” she half-shouted at me, her voice going shrill and almost… metallic. “It doesn’t matter?”
“No. Not to me, anyway.”
“You don’t care if I’m a monster? If I’m not human?”
Finally she stared at the road again, her eyes still long slashes of anger across her face. I could feel the car accelerating under me.
“You’re upset. See, I shouldn’t have said anything,” I mumbled.
She shook her head, then answered through her teeth. “No, I’d rather know what you’re thinking, even if what you’re thinking is insane.”
She blew out an exasperated sigh, and then it was quiet again for a few minutes. I stroked my thumb slowly up and down her hand.
“What are you thinking about now?” she asked. Her voice was calmer.
“Um… nothing, really.”
“It drives me crazy, not knowing.”
“I don’t want to… I don’t know, offend you.”
“Spit it out, Beau.”
“I have lots of questions. But you don’t have to answer them. I’m just curious.”
“How old you are.”
I stared at her for a minute, till half her mouth twitched up into a smile.
“How long have you been seventeen?” I asked.