Infatuated Twilight fan Greta Abelove is convinced that Edward Cullen will find her someday--that she and Edward are meant to be. She has to have him. But what will she do when real love finds her, and in the most unbelievable triangle? If she continues to shoot for the moon, will she still land among to stars, or will she plummet back down to earth?
1. 1. Parallel
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My eyes grew glassy in combined awe and relief, emitting a dramatic sigh as a swell crept up my throat. This sensation never dulled with each now countless rereading of the four books that overtook the need for any of the other books in my rickety old shelf. I often relived the saga in my conscious and unconscious thoughts, as it was effortlessly making me do now, as I let the cover of my worn edition of Twilight drift shut upon the bound pages beneath it.
I had read and re-read the words of Bella and Edward’s inexplicably profound love from cover to cover, over and over. Sometimes I would mutter the words as I read, as if mouthing an incantation, dreaming of summoning the intensity into my own lackluster reality, only I would take Bella’s place—I hungered for that passion.
For what seemed like an endless eternity, I lay on my stomach, hovered over the precious volume and vehemently stroked the ebony spine, let my fingers graze the paper skin of the apple in the hands I knew like my own. My quest for the life that seemed to have been unknowingly penned just for me was paramount an inescapable. Walking down the street, I would look into the eyes of passing boys, seeking the golden familiarity of the only one who was neither stranger nor soul-mate but life itself. It proved a fruitless endeavor.
I was uncompromisingly convinced of my foolishness, chasing after a character in a novel, but I could not dissuade myself from my need to have him. This could not be pure fiction, I swore to myself by the minute. I would not allow myself to accept that Edward was a non-entity held in the confines of my mind, built only of the beautiful black and white words that made him the sole object of my incessant craving.
Reluctantly, I rose and swung my legs over the side of the bed, toeing the carpet in search of my bedroom slippers. Cradling the book in my arms, I wandered into the hall, stopping before my doorway. The stark silence made me realize that I was alone again. My parents had probably bid me their good-byes some hours ago while I absently waved them off, not once breaking my gaze from the ivory pages. I was becoming Bella already—blinded to all else but him—so why couldn’t he swoop down from somewhere now and change my life already?
Something rattled from somewhere behind me, making me whip my head around automatically to my bedroom window. Some absurd part of me hoped to find him crouched on my sill wearing a crooked smile and wind-whipped hair. Instead, I recognized the matted mop of ash brown hair as Lucas clambered through the gap I had left for exactly this reason. His left sneaker flailed into a cup on my desk, causing a tinny crash as a hodgepodge of pens and pencils scattered onto the carpet. His eyes widened and his mouth spread into a grimace until he collapsed into a heap beneath the window, eyeing me apologetically; though he had many, stealth had never been one of his inborn skills.
"Ow," he muttered as he dug a sharpened pencil out from under him.
"Serves you right for breaking and entering, you felon," I teased.
"Hey. The window was opened," he held his hands up in mock defense. "So technically I only did the entering part."
"Yeah, but you broke Mr. Goodwrite," I said, glancing dramatically towards his foot. His eyebrows furrowed at first but then his eyes widened again in realization as he lifted his sneaker from the shattered plastic of the pen; its sticky contents now blackened the already-grimy maroon carpet.
"OhmigoshI’msosorry!" he threw himself into a kneel next to the tragic scene that rivaled Humpty Dumpty’s fatal end.
I tossed my book back onto my bed and fisted a clump of tissues as I fell into my own kneeling position beside him. I dabbed at the glob with the tissues, shaking my head and unsuccessfully containing a smile. Only Lucas had the uncanny ability to make me release my death-grip on the manual that tied me to the object of my obsession. As he picked cautiously at the shards of plastic, webs of the ink clung to his fingertips from the pitch stain. He looked up at me and I let him see me smile so he’d know I wasn’t angry. This was what we did; this was our friendship—one of us would make a mess, and we’d clean it up together.
After Mr. Goodwrite was given a proper burial (under a mound of tissues in my trash bin), sprawled on our backs on the shaggy carpet, the remains of the dark wreckage at our feet.
The way we lay at that moment, parallel to one another, gazing up at my bare white ceiling, shoulders close but not quite touching, was a perfect illustration of our relationship. While the kids at school always taunted us as an ‘old married couple’, we knew better. We were just two parallel lines, mirror images of one another; alike in every way, so much that we were almost the same person. But like parallel lines, we never intersected; we didn’t touch.
"Greta?" his voice searched the silence, bouncing off the ceiling and back to me.
"I was watching you for a while before I came in," he confessed blankly, knowing I wouldn’t mind. He was, in every sense but the romantic, my match, so I never felt the need to hide from him.
"Mhmm," I urged.
"I’ve never seen anyone look so lost in their own house." His head swiveled to face gaze at the side of mine now.
"Oh." I rolled onto my side to meet his stare. "Just thinking about him again."
"I see." He smirked at me. He looked back toward the ceiling shaking his head.
"What?" I was interested now. He had never reacted this way to my daydreaming before.
"Have you ever considered falling for someone real, Greta?"
"Of course I’ve considered it," my voice sounded involuntarily abashed as I propped myself upon my elbows now; he was the only thing that turned Lucas and me from parallel lines into isolated points on separate planes. "It’s just, no one compares to Edward Cullen. I have to have him. He’s got to be out there somewhere. He can’t just not be."
I must’ve sounded ridiculous, even to my best friend since the third grade, because it sounded like I reasoned more for the sake of reassuring myself more than to persuade him. Still, Lucas shrugged and broke his gaze from me, fixing his eyes once more upon the ceiling.
"Just a thought," he wagered. Something about his expression made me want to press on, to find out what was fueling this sudden inquisition, but he changed the subject.
"My mom left."
I didn’t know what to say. I sat up and backed against my bed, staring at him, wide-eyed. He sat up too, leaning against my nightstand. He was absently pinching at the skin around his middle finger, obviously avoiding my eyes.
"What do you mean?" I had known his parents were having problems, but I never imagined that they couldn’t fix them. They were adults, after all. They were supposed to be able to fix anything. Once, when his parents had fought, his mom flew to Iowa to stay with her sister for a couple days; Lucas slept on my floor, curled into my old Barbie sleeping bag. every night until she came home. "When is she coming back?"
"I don’t know if she is this time." He looked at me know, but the look on his face made me wish that he would have stayed focused on picking at his finger. It made me die inside. I lunged at him, flinging my arms around his shoulders. He buried his face in my hair. His shoulders rose and fell as if he was hiccuping, but I knew—like me, he didn’t have to hide, even if he was crying. He didn’t have to be macho for me.
"Luke, you can stay here. And you can totally come through the door next time so you don’t kill anymore of my pens."
We both gave hollow chuckles and he resurfaced from my shoulder, his eyes wet and ringed in pink, matching exactly the tinge of his nose and cheeks.
"I hardly believe your parents are looking to adopt. They’re already stuck with a handful like you," he swiped at his eyes, clearing away any evidence of moisture. "Plus, my dad’s not holding up too well. I just had to get out of there for a while. I couldn’t stand seeing him just lying there on his side of their bed, watching their wedding video. He hasn’t even gone to work and I’m tired of having to answer the phone and lie to his boss. I mean, a person can only have a flu for so long."
I patted his knee. "Yeah," I offered, not knowing what else to say. Then silence befell us as we sat, cross-legged, knees to knees, just twisting at strands of the carpet.
The walls vibrated as the echo of the front door opening and shutting traveled down the hall.
"Well you’re staying at least tonight." I got up and sprinted to the living room. He made a final swipe at his eyes (he did want to be macho for my parents) and trailed behind me.
"Hey kids," my mom smiled at Lucas. My dad clapped him on the shoulder wearing a broad grin. He was probably the only boy they would ever let me be in the house with without their supervision. Even though Lucas believed they weren’t looking to adopt, I’m sure they already had in a sense, sans all the paperwork.
"Can Lucas stay over tonight?" I crept between them and curled my arms around each of their waists, looking up at both of their faces in turn. They eyed Lucas, unjudgingly, but undoubtedly noting the fading pinkish blotches around his eyes and nose.
"Of course, Lucas knows he’s welcome anytime," my dad smiled at Lucas, mussing his mop of hair.
"Thanks, Mr. and Mrs. Abelove," Lucas smiled back.
I retracted my arms from around my parents and ran back to my room, Lucas once again shadowing me. I pulled my Barbie sleeping bag down from the top shelf in my closet and unrolled it on the floor next to my bed.
We got ready for bed, smiling at each other in the vanity mirror as we brushed our teeth, hollered our goodnights to my mom and dad, and marched back to my room. He flattened himself atop the sleeping bag, folding his arms under his head, while I hopped onto my bed and under the quilt. I flung one of my pillows onto his face, which muffled his witty comeback ("Ouch, my eyeballs!") and I laughed as I curled into the circle of light created by the lamp on my nightstand.
I pulled Twilight into the yellow glow and opened it to the preface. As I flipped through the pages with renewed hunger, as if I were reading for the first time, my concentration broke as Lucas’ breathing grew heavier, until it was a light snore. I smiled down at his sleeping face, his arm thrown over his eyes.
"Goodnight, Lucas," I whispered.
I switched off the nightstand and my eyes adjusted to the faint moonlight flooding through my window. I shoved my bookmark into the inner-spine and shut it. "Goodnight, Edward," I whispered reverently, kissing the cover. I shoved it under my pillow and rested my head atop its boxy shape beneath the cushion.
Lucas’ heavy intakes of breath faltered as he muttered almost unintelligibly, his eyes still shut tight with slumber.
"At least I have you, Greta."
Only half awake at that point, I felt my lips curl in jubilation clouded by drowsiness. Though I heard Lucas’ voice say it, a dreamy haze cleared and I found myself staring into a pair golden eyes and watched in enamored amazement as the most perfect crooked smile mouthed the beautiful words.