Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 12)

“Stop looking at her,” I insisted.

He snickered, but finally looked away.

McKayla interrupted us then—she was planning an epic battle of the blizzard in the parking lot after school and wanted us to join. Jeremy agreed enthusiastically. The way he looked at McKayla left little doubt that he would be up for anything she suggested. I kept silent. I wondered how many years I would have to live in Forks before I was bored enough to find frozen water exciting. Probably much longer than I planned to be here.

For the rest of the lunch hour I very carefully kept my eyes at my own table. Edythe didn’t look like she was planning to murder me anymore, so it was no big thing to go to Biology. My stomach twisted at the thought of sitting next to her again.

I didn’t really want to walk to class with McKayla as usual—she seemed to be a popular target for snowballs—but when we got to the door, everyone besides me groaned in unison. It was raining, washing all traces of the snow away in clear, icy ribbons down the side of the walkway. I pulled my hood up, hiding my smile. I would be free to go straight home after Gym.

McKayla kept up a string of complaints on the way to building four.

Once inside the classroom, I was relieved that Edythe’s chair was still empty. It gave me a minute to settle myself. Mrs. Banner was walking around the room, distributing one microscope and box of slides to each table. Class still had a few minutes before it started, and the room buzzed with conversation. I kept my eyes away from the door, doodling idly on the cover of my notebook.

I heard very clearly when the chair next to me moved, but I kept my eyes focused on the pattern I was drawing.

“Hello,” said a quiet, musical voice.

I looked up, shocked that she was speaking to me. She was sitting as far away from me as the desk allowed, but her chair was angled toward me. Her hair was dripping wet, tangled—even so, she looked like she’d just finished shooting a commercial. Her perfect face was friendly, open, a slight smile on her full, pink lips. But her long eyes were careful.

“My name is Edythe Cullen,” she continued. “I didn’t have a chance to introduce myself last week. You must be Beau Swan.”

My mind was whirling with confusion. Had I made up the whole thing? She was totally polite now. I had to say something; she was waiting. But I couldn’t think of anything normal to say.

“H-how do you know my name?” I stammered.

She laughed softly. “Oh, I think everyone knows your name. The whole town’s been waiting for you to arrive.”

I frowned, though it wasn’t as if I hadn’t guessed as much.

“No,” I persisted like an idiot. “I meant, why did you call me Beau?”

She seemed confused. “Do you prefer Beaufort?”

“Absolutely not,” I said. “But I think Charlie—I mean, my dad—must call me that behind my back—that’s what everyone here seemed to know me as.” The more I tried to explain, the more moronic it sounded.

“Oh.” She let it drop. I looked away awkwardly.

Luckily, Mrs. Banner started class at that moment. I tried to concentrate as she explained the lab we would be doing today. The slides in the box were out of order. Working as lab partners, we had to separate the slides of onion root tip cells into the phases of mitosis they represented and label them accordingly. We weren’t supposed to use our books. In twenty minutes, she would be coming around to see who had it right.

“Get started,” she commanded.

“Ladies first, partner?” Edythe asked. I looked up to see her smiling a dimpled smile so perfect that I could only stare at her like a fool.

She raised her eyebrows.

“Uh, sure, go ahead,” I sputtered.

I saw her eyes flash to the splotches blooming across my cheeks. Why couldn’t my blood just stay in my veins where it belonged?

She looked away sharply, yanking the microscope to her side of the table.

She studied the first slide for a quarter of a second—maybe less.

“Prophase.”

She switched out the slide for the next, then paused and looked up at me.

“Or did you want to check?” she challenged.

“Uh, no, I’m good,” I said.

She wrote the word Prophase neatly on the top line of our worksheet. Even her handwriting was perfect, like she’d taken classes in penmanship or something. Did anyone still do that?

She barely glanced through the microscope at the second slide, then wrote Anaphase on the next line, looping her A like it was calligraphy, like she was addressing a wedding invitation. I’d had to do the invitations for my mom’s wedding. I’d printed the labels in a fancy script font that didn’t look anything as elegant as Edythe’s handwriting.

She moved the next slide into place, while I took advantage of her diverted attention to stare. So close up, you’d think I’d be able to see something—a hint of a pimple, a stray eyebrow hair, a pore, something—wrong with her. But there was nothing.

Suddenly her head flipped up, eyes to the front of the class, just before Mrs. Banner called out, “Miss Cullen?”

“Yes, Mrs. Banner?” Edythe slid the microscope toward me as she spoke.

“Perhaps you should let Mr. Swan have an opportunity to learn?”

“Of course, Mrs. Banner.”

Edythe turned and gave me a well, go ahead then look.

I bent down to look through the eyepiece. I could sense she was watching—only fair, considering how I’d been ogling her—but it made me feel awkward, like just inclining my head was a clumsy move.

At least the slide wasn’t difficult.

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