Jessica Stanley was not a quitter. If there was one lesson her family taught her, it was that not trying was equivalent to losing. She learned from a very young age that she absolutely could not stand losing. And that failure was just another reason to get back on the dang horse as her dad said and try again for the gold.
This single-minded determination helped her win quiz bees and science fairs and she held on to it with each panicked breath close to hyperventilating as she walked towards Edward Cullen. He was the new boy in town who was causing a stir among the female population of Forks High with his biologically blessed chiseled face and enough gel in his hair that had to be a fire hazard. They didn't get a lot of new people in Forks and everyone was curious about him and his family. She and her friends had stared at the Cullens across the cafeteria and whispered among themselves.
Edward Cullen had sat at the chair furthest out from their table giving them a good view of his long legs as he stabbed at the plate of spaghetti he had not taken one bite of. She stared because she couldn't help herself. Humans liked pretty things and he was a very pretty thing. Probably as Vitruvian as he could get.
"You interested in the ginger, Jess?" Lauren almost cooed in that catty way she was so good at. "You might be in luck. I heard he's single."
"Oh?" She pretended to be uninterested, giving more attention to her fruit cup. "No upperclassmen girls vying for his attention?"
"I heard they are but he rejected them," Lauren gave her that smile of hers that was bound to cause her trouble. "Do you wanna make a bet on it? You ask him out and if he says yes, I'll get you those jeans you'd been eyeing for weeks."
There were a pair of jeans at a store in Port Angeles she'd had her eye on but had been more than her allowance could afford. Lauren came from a more affluent family than her and had no such issues. She had been waiting for the jeans to finally go on sale but getting them earlier and for free was too good to pass up. Even when at the back of her mind, she knew the chances of her actually winning this bet were close to none.
She timed it when he wasn't surrounded by his siblings. He was by his locker, head in a book and uncaring about what was happening around him. She summoned all the courage she could muster and stopped in front of him, clearing her throat. He didn't immediately look up, his distractingly golden eyes sizing her up from the soles of her faded Converses to the rhinestones in her headband.
She tried not to squirm and failed. Instead, she stuttered out a "Hi."
He didn't say anything, book still open in his hands. She tried to read the cover but only saw 'Faulkner' before he closed it and put it under his arm. He finally asked, "Can I help you?"
"Um, no," She laughed nervously, feeling lightheaded. "I was just wondering if…if you're doing anything this weekend?"
He stared at her for a moment. The gold of his irises reminded her the countless hours she watched National Geographic on TV and the programs about lions. Lions reminded her of the Lion King and Simba and Nala and that Elton John song 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight?'. And she did not feel any love at that moment only abject terror.
He questioned, "Why?"
"I was wondering if you wanted to go out…" She cleared her throat, feeling bile rising up her esophagus. "Go out with me?"
He blinked. She waited. She looked to her right and at the end of the hall were her friends watching her and she wanted to run to them and just say that she changed her mind. But that would be quitting and Jessica Stanley did not do that.
She turned back to Edward in shock. "What?"
"No," He said, bluntly. "I don't want to go out with you."
"Like…" She tried to process what was happening. "Ever?"
"Like ever," He repeated her with a dry mocking tone that turned her shock into irritation. "I will never be interested."
She gaped at him like a fish. Fish reminded her of Finding Nemo and Dory being sad that Martin didn't like her. And she suddenly felt like sobbing like that dang blue fish because this hurt. This really hurt.
She turned tail and ran, making a beeline for the girl's bathroom. Angela and Lauren followed her and they spent they spent an hour with her crying in a stall and Angela tried to make her feel better. Lauren cursed out Edward and his genitals and disturbing imagery with what she could do with a pair of scissors. They were late for their next class and did not care.
All Jessica knew was that she hated Edward Cullen. He only saw her as some stupid girl not worthy of his time. And she would never be stupid enough again to think he wasn't an arrogant pretentious jerk. Like ever. His stupid voice haunted her for days.
Senior Year was putting Jessica's anxiety through the roof. She was waiting to hear back from Stanford, wondering if her clearly unrequited crush on Mike was tragic or pathetic, and immensely saddened at the future separation from her best friends. She also had to worry about Student Council, Senior Prom, Yearbook, and volleyball practice. And she just wanted to take a very long nap and not bother with everything. That wasn't happening anytime soon.
She was on her way to her next class when she saw Eric talking to some Sophomore girls. Making her way to him before he could escape her again, she grabbed unto his arm and dragged him away. He was forced to crouch down a bit to her height which wasn't that low as he was on the shorter side of the boys. She demanded, "Where are my photos, Eric?"
He looked panicked. "Tomorrow. I'll get them to you tomorrow."
"Last Thursday you said Friday," She retorted. "And last Friday, you said Monday. It's Monday now, Eric. Is tomorrow for you going to be Friday?"
He scratched at the back of his head in embarrassment. "Sorry, Jess. I'll get them in by tomorrow. Promise."
"Tuesday of this week," She clarified. "Not next week or next month or next year."
"Okay, okay," He began to back away, hands up in surrender. "Tomorrow, Tuesday, they will be there."
"They better be!" She called out as he escaped.
When she became the Yearbook Editor, she didn't think she had to chase down people for the dang photographs. At this rate, their yearbook would just be blank pages if she didn't get people moving. Frustrated with her classmates, she made her way to her AP Chemistry class nearly missing the bell. Adding to her mood was having to breathe near Forks High's very own My Chemical Romance reject.
She scowled as she made her way to the back of the class and took the empty seat beside Edward Cullen. Normally, she would've paired up with anyone else but she made the mistake of being almost late on the first day of the class and ended up with Gerard Way's lesser cousin. From her peripheral vision, she noticed he was glaring at her again. He liked doing that and she added it to her mental list of his deficiencies which seemed to get longer each year.
Thankfully, next year she would be in college (hopefully Stanford) and she would be miles and miles away from super pale boys with too much hair gel. Speaking of, she needed to keep him away from the Bunsen burner lest he burn like a vampire in the sun. That reminded her of that old Dracula spoof film where Dracula died at the end cause Igor opened the window. That made her smile and she ignored Edward's intensifying glare.
She continued to ignore him as she focused on the lesson. Chemical bonds were more interesting than Edward Cullen anyway.
"Molecules and compounds are also held together by bonds that are weaker or more temporary than covalent or ionic bonds," Mr. West explained. "A hydrogen bond is a weak intermolecular force that results from an attraction between a positively charged hydrogen atom in one molecule and a negatively charged atom in a nearby molecule."
She raised her hand. "So, in a hydrogen bond, it's sort of like opposites attract?"
Mr. West nodded. "To a certain degree. It's still an attraction between both hydrogen atoms. Not really opposite. Similar but different."
She raised her hand again. "But still temporary?"
He gave a small smile. "Like a lot of things in life, yes. Now, the weakest intermolecular force is a van der Waals force which is the forced attraction between atoms of any element…"
Jessica dutifully took down her notes, making sure to keep them as tidy and organized with pens with different colored inks. Edward was still watching her as she doodled little cartoon atoms on the corners of her notebook. She continued to ignore him. She reminded herself that her time around him was temporary like those dang hydrogen bonds and it gave her some comfort.
Even if the thought of leaving home and being around people she'd known all her life terrified her, Edward Cullen wouldn't be at Stanford. He would probably be at some Ivy League school far away from her where he could torment other girls. And she would forget all about him. She couldn't wait.
Jessica was going to kill Eric if he did not have those photos this morning. She would drown him in Lake Pleasant and nobody would find his body till spring. Lauren had just parked her car and they were crossing the parking lot to the school entrance when she heard the screech of tires. She recognized Tyler's blue van and froze like a shocked dear.
This is it, Jess. Which would've been the last thought in her short life as her painful death came at her. Except cold hands grasped her around the waist and pulled her out of the way to safety, faster than any human should be capable of being. Tyler's car crashed into a nearby Chevy.
She stared wide-eyed at the blue van and then down at the pale hands still wrapped around her waist. She looked up and saw Edward Cullen staring down at her, his golden eyes wide and terrified. He smelled sweet like the sugary toothpaste her little sister liked. She began to tremble, her breath quickening as the shock kept her still in his arms.
"Jess!" Angela ran over to them. "Are you okay?"
Lauren came with her, eyeing Edward's touch on her warily. He dropped his hands and pulled away, turning and walking towards the school entrance like nothing happened. Angela hugged her and began checking for any injuries. Mike and Eric had opened the car door and pulled out an unconscious Tyler.
She felt dazed like she was in a dream and stared at the school entrance where Edward had disappeared to.
"Jessica," Lauren's firm grip on her shoulder pulled her back to the present. "Are you hurt?"
"No," She answered, remembering the cold touch that came at the last second. "He saved me."
And for the life of her, she did not know how or why.
I'm taking a break from Voices. And I'm gonna be doing this fic for a while. This came about cause I marathoned the Twilight movies in one night with my friend. And I spent the majority of it gushing about how adorable Anna Kendrick is. And that led to me wanting a fic with Jessica and I thought about how funny it would be to write Edward with a mind he doesn't like (cause he's such a creep in the movies and he made it really hard to like him).
1. In the books, Jessica canonically had a crush on Edward with imaginations he found 'disturbing' and apparently she asked him out at some point and he rejected her.
2. Jessica's personality I have free reign to do what I want as I did with Equinox. She's definitely tougher than Angela and that's not a bad thing. I saw Jessica as that overachiever straight A student who had no problem telling you she was smarter than you. She's also high key anxious all the time and rambles a lot in her head.
(In high school, I was the Editor of the school newspaper and knew the pain of having to push people to submit their work on time so Jessica losing it at Eric is based on a moment I had with this guy named Allen. Cause for fuck's sakes, Allen. We had an email you could just send it to.)
3. Jessica going to Stanford is based more on the movies. In the books, she went to some school in California.
4. Mr. West is based and named after my high school Science teacher. They should've paid him more.
5. No Bella. We don't need her.
6. Chapter title is from the Taylor Swift song 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'.