Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 81)
“Beau?” she asked, anxious now.
“I might need to lie down,” I gasped.
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
It took me a few seconds to remember how to loosen my fingers. Then everything seemed to come undone at the same time, and I half-fell off her, stumbling backward until I lost my footing and finished the other half of the fall.
She held out her hand, trying not to laugh, but I refused her offer. Instead, I stayed down and put my head between my knees. My ears were ringing and my head whirled in queasy circles.
A cold hand rested lightly against the back of my neck. It helped.
“I guess that wasn’t the best idea,” she mused.
I tried to be positive, but my voice was hollow. “No, it was very interesting.”
“Hah! You’re as white as a ghost—no, worse, you’re as white as me!”
“I think I should have closed my eyes.”
“Remember that next time.”
I looked up, startled. “Next time?”
She laughed, her mood still flying.
“Show-off,” I muttered, and put my head down again.
After a half-minute, the swirling motion slowed.
“Look at me, Beau.”
I lifted my head, and she was right there, her face just inches from mine. Her beauty was like a sucker punch that left me stunned. I couldn’t get used to it.
“I was thinking, while I was running—”
“About not hitting trees, I hope,” I interrupted breathlessly.
“Silly Beau. Running is second nature to me. It’s not something I have to think about.”
“Show-off,” I muttered again.
She smiled. “No, I was thinking there was something I wanted to try.” She put her hands on my face again.
I couldn’t breathe.
She hesitated. It felt like a test, making sure this was safe, that she was still in control of herself.
And then her cold, perfect lips pressed very softly against mine.
Neither of us was ready for my reaction.
Blood boiled under my skin, burned in my lips. My breath came in a wild gasp. My fingers tangled in her hair, locking her face to mine. My lips opened as I breathed in her heady scent.
Immediately, she turned to unresponsive stone beneath my lips. Her hands gently, but forcibly, pushed my face back. I opened my eyes and saw her expression.
“Whoops,” I said.
“That’s an understatement.”
Her eyes were wild, her jaw clenched in restraint. My face was still just inches from hers, my fingers twisted through her hair.
“Should I…?” I tried to disengage myself, to give her some room.
Her hands didn’t release me.
“No, it’s tolerable. Wait for a moment, please.” Her voice was polite, controlled.
I kept my eyes on hers, watching as the excitement in them faded and gentled.
She grinned, obviously pleased with herself. “There.”
“Tolerable?” I asked.
She laughed. “I’m stronger than I thought. It’s nice to know.”
“And I’m not. Sorry.”
“You are only human, after all.”
I sighed. “Yeah.”
She freed her hair from my fingers, and then she was on her feet in one of her lithe, nearly invisible movements. She held her hand out again, and this time I took it and pulled myself up. I needed the support; my balance hadn’t returned yet. I wobbled slightly as I took a step away from her.
“Are you still reeling from the run, or was it my kissing expertise?” She seemed very human as she laughed now, careless and lighthearted. She was a new Edythe, different than the one I’d known, and I was even more besotted by her. It would cause me physical pain to be separated from her now.
“Maybe you should let me drive.”
“Uh, I think I’ve had enough of your need for speed for today.…”
“I can drive better than you on your best day,” she said. “You have much slower reflexes.”
“I believe you, but I don’t think my truck could handle your driving.”
“Some trust, please, Beau.”
My hand curled around the key in my pocket. I pursed my lips, like I was deliberating, then shook my head with a tight grin.
“Nope. Not a chance.”
She raised her eyebrows, grabbed a fistful of my t-shirt, and yanked. I nearly stumbled into her, catching myself with one hand against her shoulder.
“Beau, I’ve already expended a great deal of personal effort at this point to keep you alive. I’m not about to let you get behind the wheel of a vehicle when you can’t even walk straight. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”
“Drunk?” I objected.
She leaned up on her tiptoes so that her face was closer to mine. I could smell the unbearably sweet fragrance of her breath. “You’re intoxicated by my very presence.”
“I can’t argue with that.” I sighed. There was no way around it—I couldn’t resist her in anything. I held the key high and dropped it, watching her hand flash like lightning to catch it without a sound. “Take it easy. My truck is a senior citizen.”
She dropped my shirt and ducked out from under my hand.
“So you’re not affected at all? By my presence?”
She turned back and reached for my hand, holding it to her face again. She leaned into my palm, her eyes sliding closed. She took a slow, deep breath.
“Regardless…,” she murmured. Her eyes flashed open and she grinned. “I have better reflexes.”