Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 63)
She raised one hand, hesitant, conflict clear in her eyes, and then quickly brushed her fingertips across the line of my jaw. Her fingers were icy like always, but the trail they left on my skin was almost like a burn that hadn’t turned painful yet.
She spun without a word and walked swiftly away from me.
I stumbled into the gym, lightheaded and unstable, and dressed down in a trance, barely aware of the other people around me. Reality didn’t fully set in until I was handed a racket.
It wasn’t very heavy, but I knew that didn’t matter. In my hands, it was dangerous. I could see a few of the other kids eyeing me and the racket. Then Coach Clapp ordered us to choose our own partners, and I figured I was about to be the last guy up against the wall.
But I’d underestimated McKayla’s loyalty. She came to stand next to me right away.
“You don’t have to do this, you know,” I told her.
She grinned. “Don’t worry, I’ll keep out of your way.”
Sometimes it was really easy to like McKayla.
It didn’t go smoothly. I’m not sure how I did it, but I managed to hit myself in the head with my racket and clip McKayla’s shoulder on the same swing. I spent the rest of the hour in the back corner of the court, the racket held behind my back. Despite being handicapped by me, McKayla was pretty good; she won three games out of four single-handedly, then gave me an unearned high five when the coach finally blew the whistle ending class.
“So,” she started as we walked off the court.
“You and Edythe Cullen, huh?” Her tone was just slightly hostile.
“Yeah, me and Edythe Cullen,” I replied. I’m sure she could hear the sound of wonder in my voice.
“I don’t like it,” she muttered.
“Well, you don’t actually have to.”
“So she just snaps her fingers and you heel?”
She scowled at me. I turned my back on her and walked away. I knew I would be last against the wall tomorrow, but I didn’t care. By the time I was dressed I’d forgotten all about McKayla. Would Edythe be outside, or should I go wait by her car? What if her family was there? She’d parked right next to Royal’s car. Just thinking about Royal’s face in the cafeteria had me wondering if I should walk home. Had she told them that I knew? Was I supposed to know that they knew that I knew? What was the etiquette on vampire acknowledgments? Did a nod work?
But when I walked out of the gym, Edythe was there. She stood in the shade of the gym building, though the clouds were still black, with her hands laced together in front of her. Her face was peaceful now, a small smile turning up just the corners of her lips. The thin sweater didn’t look like enough, and though I knew it was stupid, I wanted to take my jacket off and wrap it around her. As I walked to her side, I felt a strange sense of harmony—like everything was right in the world as long as I was close to her.
“Hi.” I could feel the huge, goofy smile on my face.
“Hello.” Her answering smile was brilliant. “How was Gym?”
I was suddenly suspicious. “Fine.”
“Really?” Her eyebrows shot up. “How’s your head?”
She started walking slowly toward the parking lot. I automatically fell into step with her.
“You were the one who mentioned how I’d never seen you in Gym—it made me curious.”
“Great,” I said. “Fantastic. Well, sorry about that. I don’t mind walking home if you don’t want to be seen with me.”
She laughed musically. “It was very entertaining. Though I wouldn’t have minded if you’d hit that girl just a little harder.”
As she glanced behind us, her mouth flattened into a straight line. I turned to see what she was looking at—McKayla’s blond hair bobbing as she walked away.
“It’s been a while since someone besides family thought those kinds of words about me. I don’t think I like it.”
I felt a sudden pang of anxiety for McKayla.
Edythe read my expression and laughed again. “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t hurt your friend. If I did, who else would agree to be your badminton partner?”
It was hard to process. Edythe was just so… delicate. But when she said this, it was clear that she was more than confident in her abilities. If she wanted McKayla—or anyone—hurt, it would be very bad news for that person. She was dangerous, I knew this, but I kept running into a wall when I tried to believe it. I changed the subject.
“What kinds of words has your family been thinking about you?”
She shook her head. “It’s not fair to judge people on their thoughts. Those are supposed to be private. It’s actions that count.”
“I don’t know.… If you know someone can hear, isn’t that the same thing as saying it out loud?”
“Easy for you to say.” She grinned. “Controlling your thoughts is very difficult. When Royal and I butt heads, I think much worse things about him, and I do say those words out loud.” She laughed her ringing laugh again.
I hadn’t been watching where we were going, so I was surprised when we had to slow, blocked from Edythe’s car by a crowd of kids. There was a circle around Royal’s red convertible, two deep, mostly guys. Some of them looked about to drool. None of her family was around, and I wondered if she’d asked them to give her some space.
None of the car enthusiasts even looked up when I edged by them to get Edythe’s door.