Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 15)

I jumped up to look outside, and then groaned.

A fine layer of snow covered the yard, dusted the top of my truck, and whitened the road. But that wasn’t the worst part. All the rain from yesterday had frozen solid—coating the needles on the trees in crazy patterns, and making the driveway a deadly ice slick. I had enough trouble not falling down when the ground was dry; it might be safer for me to go back to bed now.

Charlie had left for work before I got downstairs. In a lot of ways, living with Charlie was like having my own place, and I found myself enjoying the space rather than feeling lonely.

I threw down a quick bowl of cereal and some orange juice from the carton. I felt excited to go to school, and that worried me. I knew it wasn’t the stimulating learning environment I was anticipating, or seeing my new set of friends. If I was being honest with myself, I knew I was eager to get to school because I would see Edythe Cullen. And that was very, very stupid.

Maybe a few of the other girls were intrigued by the novelty of the new kid, but Edythe wasn’t a McKayla or an Erica. I was well aware that my league and her league were spheres that did not touch. I was already worried that just looking at her face was giving me unrealistic expectations that would haunt me for the rest of my life. Spending more time looking at her—watching her lips move, marveling at her skin, listening to her voice—was certainly not going to help with that. I didn’t exactly trust her anyway—why lie about her eyes? And of course, there was the whole thing where she might have at one point wanted me dead. So I should definitely not be excited to see her again.

It took every ounce of my concentration to make it down the icy brick driveway alive. I almost lost my balance when I finally got to the truck, but I managed to cling on to the side mirror and save myself. The sidewalks at school would be complex today… so much potential for humiliation.

My truck seemed to have no problem with the black ice that covered the roads. I drove very slowly, though, not wanting to carve a path of destruction through Main Street.

When I got out of my truck at school, I discovered why I’d had so little trouble. Something silver caught my eye, and I walked to the back of the truck—carefully holding the side for support—to examine my tires. There were thin chains crisscrossed in diamond shapes around them. Charlie had gotten up who knows how early to put snow chains on my truck.

I frowned, surprised that my throat suddenly felt tight. That wasn’t the way it was supposed to work. I probably should have been the one to think about putting chains on his tires, if I could figure out how to do that. Or at least I should have helped him with the chore. It wasn’t his job.…

Except that, actually, it kind of was. He was the parent. He was taking care of me, his son. That was how it worked in books and on TV shows, but it made me feel upside down in a strange way.

I was standing by the back corner of the truck, struggling to contain the sudden wave of emotion the snow chains had brought on, when I heard a strange sound.

It was a high-pitched screech, and almost as soon as I registered it, the sound was already painfully loud. I looked up, startled.

I saw several things simultaneously. Nothing was moving in slow motion, the way it does in the movies. Instead, the adrenaline rush seemed to make my brain work faster, and I was able to absorb in clear detail a few things all at once.

Edythe Cullen was standing four cars down from me, mouth open in horror. Her face stood out from a sea of faces, all frozen in the same mask of shock. Also, a dark blue van was skidding, tires locked and squealing against the brakes, spinning wildly across the ice of the parking lot. It was going to hit the back corner of my truck, and I was standing between them. I didn’t even have time to close my eyes.

Just before I heard the shattering crunch of the van folding around the truck bed, something hit me, hard, but not from the direction I was expecting. My head cracked against the icy blacktop, and I felt something solid and cold pinning me to the ground. I realized I was lying on the pavement behind the tan car I’d parked next to. But I didn’t have a chance to notice anything else, because the van was still coming. It had curled gratingly around the end of the truck and, still spinning and sliding, was about to collide with me again.

“Come on!” She said the words so quickly I almost missed them, but the voice was impossible not to recognize.

Two thin, white hands shot out in front of me, and the van shuddered to a stop a foot from my face, her pale hands fitting exactly into a deep dent in the side of the van’s body.

Then her hands moved so fast they blurred. One was suddenly gripping under the body of the van, and something was dragging me, swinging my legs around like a rag doll’s, till they hit the tire of the tan car. There was a groaning metallic thud so loud it hurt my ears, and the van settled, glass popping, onto the asphalt—exactly where, a second ago, my legs had been.

It was absolutely silent for one long second. Then the screaming started. In the abrupt chaos, I could hear more than one person shouting my name. But more clearly than all the yelling, I could hear Edythe Cullen’s low, frantic voice in my ear.

“Beau? Are you all right?”

“I’m fine.” My voice sounded strange. I tried to sit up, and realized she was holding me against the side of her body. I must have been more traumatized than I realized, because I couldn’t budge her arm at all. Was I weak with shock?

“Be careful,” she warned as I struggled. “I think you hit your head pretty hard.”

I became aware of a throbbing ache centered above my left ear.