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?
4. 4. Likeness
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The Monday sun shone through my window, dancing across my eyelids and making me officially wake up. After the intense weekend, I was surprised by how rested I felt. Instead of making my way to the bathroom, I dressed then wandered down the hallway and pushed the door of the guest bedroom open to find Lucas lying with his arms behind his head, already dressed for school, just smiling up at the ceiling. I couldn’t help but smile too.
He turned to look at me and I waved as I made my way to perch myself on the foot of his bed.
“Greta, I feel so…good,” he shook his head incredulously.
“I know, I do too,” I patted his knee.
“I bet you’re probably wondering why I never told you about being ‘adopted’,” he made air quotes around the last word. To be honest, I hadn’t wondered it since he had first told me, but my curiosity was renewed now.
“Well, a little, but I kind of understand,” I spoke down to my twiddling thumbs instead of looking at him.
“Actually, it’s not that I was embarrassed, if that’s what you were thinking.”
I looked at him now. That had been the only conclusion I had even bothered to draw. What else was there? Reading the bewilderment on my face, he answered my unspoken question.
“Believe it or not, there’s a lot more to the story that I’m just not ready to talk about. But when I am ready, you’ll be the first to know.”
We smiled twin smiles.
I rose and he trailed me to the bathroom like he always did.
In the kitchen, my mom had once again gone out of her way to prepare a banquet for us before she and my dad had left for work. This time, there was a mound of ham-and-cheddar eggs aside a plate of crispy bacon strips, and a bowl full of Grandma Rosemary’s hash browns. Dad had written on a napkin, “Have a good day at school, kids! –Mom and Dad”.
Lucas beamed, taking in the whole sight, and we dug in.
“You ready for the dissection lab?” I nudged him with the ebony spine of the faithful companion in my hands.
“You mean with Erica Can’t-finish-talking Finney? I suppose I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I have a better partner in the poor frog,” he mussed his mop of hair in anticipation the imminent hour of random factoids spewed from the bottomless pit that was Erica Finney. I laughed at frown that couldn’t manage to dim his happiness.
As we wandered campus grounds, the towering blur that by the fountain in the quad came sprinting toward us, coming into focus as Charles Goode. I linked my arm in Lucas’ and held my breath, fearing I might just float away with how suddenly lightheaded I felt. Lucas rolled his eyes and the merriment faded from every angle of his face.
“Hey, Lucas, Greta,” he nodded to us both but his gaze lingered on my face with his heart-stopping crooked smile.
“Hey,” Lucas nodded back, his expression suddenly gaunt.
“Huh,” I managed dumbly, internally cursing my inarticulate stupor.
“You two have a good weekend?” Charles’ eyebrows crept up his forehead in sincere wonder; he managed to look like he genuinely cared what kind of weekend we had had.
“Actually, we had a brilliant weekend. I moved in at Greta’s place,” Lucas puffed out his chest victoriously while Charles looked momentarily deflated despite the way he towered over us both. I elbowed Lucas in the ribs, knowing what he wanted to imply by this declaration.
“Really,” he stated, searching my face for some validation. I actually managed to nod, though I was riddle with annoyance at Lucas’ territorial behavior and incoherence in Charles’ mere presence.
“Yeah, that’s right,” Lucas piped, removing his arm from mind and instead, laying it across my shoulders. I stared at him icily and he coughed out a chuckle when his eyes met mine.
“That does sound brilliant,” Charles smiled. “Well I’ve got to get to homeroom, but while Erica’s chatting up Lucas in Biology, I’ll see you in our corner, Greta,” he let his finger graze the bottom of my chin and my knees nearly gave way beneath me. Lucas’ grasp tightened around my shoulders. He groaned loudly once Charles had disappeared around the corner.
“What was all that about you moving in?” I swatted Lucas in the chest with my book. More than a just a security blanket, it always stood up for me.
“It’s not like I lied,” he shrugged, spinning the dial on our locker.
“I know but you knew what he would think,” I moaned, leaning against the neighboring lockers.
“So? Let him think what he wants. He’s a jerk,” I flinched as he pulled out our binders.
“And what made you come to that conclusion?”
“Well for one thing, he totally pummeled you with a door. And second, he just is.”
I had to laugh at Lucas’ faulty reasoning.
“First of all, the door was an accident. As for your second reason, that’s just mean. You don’t need to get all yard dog on me. He’s just my lab partner.”
“Just your lab partner, huh? What’s with all the fluttering eyelashes and stuttering every time he comes around then?”
I blushed. “That’s not fair.” I wrapped my arms tightly around Twilight, hoping it’d defend me on its own somehow.
“That’s what I thought.”
Homeroom and second period seemed to drag on for eternity. I left fingernail imprints in the paperback cover of my book, squeezing it in anticipation of Biology. I couldn’t contain my giddiness. The Biology lab, I thought to myself. Just like Bella and Edward.
“You’re going to rip that poor book in half,” Lucas eyeballed the bound pages straining under my knotted fingers as we made our way to the Science building.
“Oops,” I mumbled, locking it in a bear-hug instead. We wandered through the door of the lab. I was nearly knocked off my feet by the odd smell in the air. Some kind of chemical smell hung in the air. A tank of frogs croaked noisily from the counter of the instructor’s lab. Each station was supplied with a dissection tray and a set of tools; a beam of light glinted off a scalpel from the lab station Lucas and I passed as we entered. My stomach began twisting around itself.
Lucas left me to sit at Station 2, where Erica greeted him with a frivolous, “Hi, Lucas! Did you know that the frogs we’re dissecting today are American Bullfrogs, or Rana catesbeiana…”. He smiled feebly at her in stunned silence. I couldn’t help but giggle.
The one-minute bell for passing period rang and Charles’ seat next to me was still empty. I kept peeking around the supply cabinet that blocked my view of the door, but he never came. The last bell rang and Mrs. Crass was snapping a pair of yellow rubber gloves onto her pudgy hands.
“Good morning, class. As you all know, today is the big day. I know how excited you all are, but before we get started, let’s take care of attendance,” her voice boomed. I wasn’t ready to hear her yet—my eyes were trained on the door now; I had scooted my chair out from behind the supply cabinet so I had a constant view of it.
“Elizabeth Aaron,” Mrs. Crass called.
“Here,” Elizabeth raised her hand from Station 8.
“Here,” I murmured, whipping my head around to face her only momentarily, before I redirected my focus on the door.
“Present,” Hannah’s singsong voice echoed from Station 3 as she peered from behind Erica Finney.
Lucas’ arm darted into the air. “Here.”
Soon, Mrs. Crass was calling Erica Finney and I knew what name was coming next.
“Charles Goode,” Mrs. Crass called tentatively. Silence practically bounced off the air ducts on the ceiling. Mrs. Crass looked up for the first time from her clipboard, peering over the rim of her spectacles. “Charles Goode?” she called again.
Again, no answer.
“That’s unfortunate…he just sacrificed fifteen percent of his final grade.” The pit in my stomach grew, not in remorse for Charles’ grade, but for the empty seat beside me. My stare bore into the blue plastic seat beside me as if I expected him to materialize suddenly.
“Ms. Abelove, it appears you will have to join one of your peers’ partnerships after all,” Mrs. Crass appraised me monotonously; for some reason, the way she spoke made me feel as if she was blaming me for Charles’ absence.
“She can join us,” Lucas practically fell off his stool, waving me over.
“Very well,” Mrs. Crass returned her attention to the roll sheet as I swung my backpack over my shoulder and pulled a spare stool up to Station 2, next to Lucas.
“I wonder where Goode disappeared to,” Lucas whispered, ignoring the lecture about bullfrogs and the ethics of our dissection lab that was spewing from Erica Finney. I just shrugged, inspecting the cover of my beloved book, tracing the outline of the apple with my little finger. Then it hit me. I beamed at Lucas and he responded with a cautious, confused smirk.
“Lucas, he’s a vampire!” I whisper-shouted. My eyes darted to Erica momentarily, but she was still going on about the lifespan of the average male bullfrog.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Lucas squinted at me incredulously, though something in his voice sounded off—angry but curious.
“It totally fits!” I squealed under my breath. “It’s just like in Twilight. Maybe he can’t stand to be around bullfrogs because of his diet—he’s must be a ‘vegetarian’,” I air-quoted the word, “and a defenseless little frog on a dissection tray is like handing him a plate of hors d’oeuvres. He’s afraid to be exposed!”
Lucas stared at me, biting down hard, making his jaw rigid.
“Greta, no,” he stated flatly.
“Why not? It fits and you know it.”
“First of all, it would be a blood typing lab that he would out him, if we were basing this on your precious book. Second, it’s just a book. Be real, Greta,” his voice was harsh and condescending. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from him, my best friend.
Around us, other lab pairs had already begun. Armed with goggles and aprons, people huddled over frogs that were pinned belly up to lab trays. Erica was already started on ours and she was just about to plunge the scalpel into the pale green belly when the queasiness crept back into my gut, combining with the hurt from Lucas’ words. I slapped one hand over my mouth while the hand that had been curled around Twilight wiped at my forehead.
“Greta?” Lucas eyed me skeptically. “If this is your little way of living your storybook fantasy, you’re insane.”
The scene in the book of Mike hauling Bella to the nurse during the blood typing lab flickered in my head. I almost smiled, reveling in the similarity. Maybe Edward—Charles—would be there on the way to the nurse’s office if I allowed this sensation to overwhelm me. Before I could decide that it was ridiculous idea, intense warmth started creeping up my throat.
“Greta, are you alright?” Lucas rubbed my shoulder. “You look green.”
Green—the word made me take one final glance at the little rubbery body in the tray Erica was leaning over. In an instant, I was falling backward in slow motion off my stool.
I awoke to the familiar white cork paneled ceiling. I looked over to the seat by the door and saw Lucas sitting there, arms crossed, wearing an irate expression.
“Are you going to make a habit out of this?” Charles’ voice rang from the corner opposite the foot of the cot I was cradled in. I stared at him, seeing his golden eyes first, then noticing the thick white bandage around the knuckles of his right hand. “Kind of a weakling, this one,” he nodded toward Lucas.
“Oddly enough, only since you came around,” Lucas spat.
Charles turned back to me wearing crooked grin. The pit in my stomach was replaced by a hollow in my chest. My frantic heart beat recklessly against my ribs.
“What happened to you?” I muttered weakly, pointing at his hand.
“Oh,” he looked down at his hand as if he had forgotten it was part of his body. “Punched a wall,” he stated matter-of-factly.
“Mrs. Crass said you lost fifteen percent of your grade because you were absent. You should tell her what happened,” I informed.
“What’d you do that for anyway, genius?” Lucas pressed unsympathetically.
Charles muttered something unintelligible.
“What?” I asked.
“I just have temper issues, okay?” his roar rattled the loose cabinets of bandages and medicine bottles.
Lucas and I just stared at him, taken aback. We hadn’t expected him to react so harshly like that after what now seemed an innocent question from Lucas.
“I’m going to go find Nurse Joyce. We’ll need a pass back to class.” Lucas disappeared too quickly out the door.
“Um,” I began, but didn’t know what to continue with.
“My family doesn’t have the money to cover my prescription so I didn’t get to take my medication this morning. After I saw you and Lucas together this morning and he told me about moving in, it took all my strength not to punch his face in. That’s why I had to run off to ‘homeroom’. The poor wall of the gym took the grunt of my little fit.”
I gawked at him. I was suddenly terrified of him. Every ounce of infatuation had drained and been replaced with the fear of Lucas, or even myself, being the next wall he might punch. I pushed wedged myself between the walls that cornered the cot.
“Why would you even care if Lucas moved in?” My voice sounded cold all of a sudden; I had never imagined using this tone toward him.
“Isn’t it obvious, Greta?” He looked at me like he was a hairline away from hysterics, a wild gleam in his golden eyes. I imagined them turning deep crimson—thirsty. I couldn’t stop staring at him. He crumpled next to the cot, gazing up at my face.
“I’m sorry,” I didn’t know what else to say. Everything I had dreamed about him was shattered. I had been so stupid. He wasn’t the god-like Edward-incarnate I had so hastily pegged him as. He was just a boy.
“Don’t be afraid, Greta, please,” he begged.
I rose from the cot. “I’m sorry,” I repeated and followed Lucas out the door.