Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined (Page 13)
“Metaphase,” I said.
“Do you mind if I look?” she asked as I started to remove the slide. Her hand caught mine, to stop me, as she was speaking. Her fingers were ice cold, like she’d been holding them in a snowdrift before class. But that wasn’t why I jerked my hand away so quickly. When she touched me, it stung my hand like a low-voltage electric shock.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured, quickly pulling her hand back, though she continued to reach for the microscope. I watched her, a little dazed, as she examined the slide for another tiny fraction of a second.
“Metaphase,” she agreed, then slid the microscope back to me.
I tried to exchange slides, but they were too small or my fingers were too big, and I ended up dropping both. One fell on the table and the other over the edge, but Edythe caught it before it could hit the ground.
“Ugh,” I exhaled, mortified. “Sorry.”
“Well, the last is no mystery, regardless,” she said. Her tone was right on the edge of laughter. Butt of the joke again.
Edythe calligraphied the words Metaphase and Telophase onto the last two lines of the worksheet.
We were finished before anyone else was close. I could see McKayla and her partner comparing two slides again and again, and another pair had their book open under the table.
Which left me with nothing to do but try not to look at her… unsuccessfully. I glanced down, and she was staring at me, that same strange look of frustration in her eyes. Suddenly I identified that elusive difference in her face.
“Did you get contacts?” I blurted out.
She seemed puzzled by my apropos-of-nothing question. “No.”
“Oh,” I mumbled. “I thought there was something different about your eyes.”
She shrugged, and looked away.
In fact, I knew there was something different. I had not forgotten one detail of that first time she’d glared at me like she wanted me dead. I could still see the flat black color of her eyes—so jarring against the background of her pale skin. Today, her eyes were a completely different color: a strange gold, darker than butterscotch, but with the same warm tone. I didn’t understand how that was possible, unless she was lying for some reason about the contacts. Or maybe Forks was making me crazy in the literal sense of the word.
I looked down. Her hands were clenched into fists again.
Mrs. Banner came to our table then, looking over our shoulders to glance at the completed lab, and then stared more intently to check the answers.
“So, Edythe…,” Mrs. Banner began.
“Beau identified half of the slides,” Edythe said before Mrs. Banner could finish.
Mrs. Banner looked at me now; her expression was skeptical.
“Have you done this lab before?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Not with onion root.”
Mrs. Banner nodded. “Were you in an advanced placement program in Phoenix?”
“Well,” she said after a moment, “I guess it’s good you two are lab partners.” She mumbled something else I couldn’t hear as she walked away. After she left, I started doodling on my notebook again.
“It’s too bad about the snow, isn’t it?” Edythe asked. I had the odd feeling that she was forcing herself to make small talk with me. It was like she had heard my conversation with Jeremy at lunch and was trying to prove me wrong. Which was impossible. I was turning paranoid.
“Not really,” I answered honestly, instead of pretending to be normal like everyone else. I was still trying to shake the stupid feeling of suspicion, and I couldn’t concentrate on putting up a socially acceptable front.
“You don’t like the cold.” It wasn’t a question.
“Or the wet.”
“Forks must be a difficult place for you to live,” she mused.
“You have no idea,” I muttered darkly.
She looked riveted by my response, for some reason I couldn’t imagine. Her face was such a distraction that I tried not to look at it any more than courtesy absolutely demanded.
“Why did you come here, then?”
No one had asked me that—not straight out like she did, demanding.
“I think I can keep up,” she pressed.
I paused for a long moment, and then made the mistake of meeting her gaze. Her long, dark gold eyes confused me, and I answered without thinking.
“My mother got remarried,” I said.
“That doesn’t sound so complex,” she disagreed, but her tone was suddenly softer. “When did that happen?”
“Last September.” I couldn’t keep the sadness out of my voice.
“And you don’t like him,” Edythe guessed, her voice still kind.
“No, Phil is fine. A little young, maybe, but he’s a good guy.”
“Why didn’t you stay with them?”
I couldn’t understand her interest, but she continued to stare at me with penetrating eyes, as if my dull life’s story was somehow vitally important.
“Phil travels most of the time. He plays ball for a living.” I half-smiled.
“Have I heard of him?” she asked, smiling in response, just enough for a hint of the dimples to show.
“Probably not. He doesn’t play well. Just minor league. He moves around a lot.”
“And your mother sent you here so that she could travel with him.” She said it as an assumption again, not a question.
My hunched shoulders straightened automatically. “No, she didn’t. I sent myself.”