Tenth grade was the start of many tragic snapshots to be pasted into Jessica Stanley's Scrapbook of Pain.
Edward and Bella began dating at the beginning of tenth grade. She asked him in a note during eighth period algebra. Jessica was not there to witness these events, but Lauren was and told her everything in lurid description.
"So I was talking to Jenna about this groovy lava lamp I bought at Spencer's and she was like, 'Oh that's so cool' and I said, 'I know, right?' and then Mr. Porter was like, "Mallory, can you shut your trap for five minutes?' and I was like, 'Whatever, dude. Not like I'm going to use this stuff in the real world''. I mean, who goes out and calculate sales tax? That's what cash registers are for."
Jessica stepped on Lauren's foot with her Doc Martins which translated to: Get to the point you stupid bitch.
"Anyway," Lauren continued, glaring at Jessica. "I saw Bella pass Edward this note and since I was behind him I could read it, y'know? It said something like, 'Do you want to go out, or something?'"
"That's so lame," Jessica said.
She tried to act cool, but inside she felt her organs shrivel up. She thought that those two were done with each other. Edward never mentioned that he liked her. She was under the impression that he didn't like girls altogether. The only lady he wanted to be with was her and her alone. It was selfish, but it made her feel wanted.
At lunch, Edward sat with Bella every other day. One day he would sit with Jessica and Angela and the next day he would sit with Bella and her friends. Angela tried to engage Jessica in conversation when Edward was missing, but she was unresponsive.
"This thing is really messing you up," Angela finally said one day at lunch.
"What thing?" Jessica asked. She was mutilating her napkin, throwing the pieces at a slumbering Emmett.
"The whole Edward-Bella thing!" Angela exclaimed, exasperated.
Ever since puberty Jessica had been acting insanely passive aggressive making her a pain in the ass to talk to about feelings. Jessica liked to pretend the feelings were never there in the first place. She neatly locked them away in the back of her head.
Jessica remained silent. She just kept ripping apart her napkins (now with more force than necessary) until Angela confiscated them. She was secretly grateful that she didn't have to worry about men (well…there was Ben Cheney, but Angela would never admit that to anyone ever).
"Why is their thing such a problem for you?" Angela asked.
"It's not a problem," Jessica replied. "I think they're the perfect couple. He's emotionally stunted and she's a cow. That's material right there."
Angela rolled her eyes. Pretty soon, Jessica's bottled up emotions were going to spew all over everyone like a shaken up Dr. Pepper. Angela didn't want to be around for that.
"Maybe you should talk to him about it," Emmett mumbled.
Jessica chucked her empty strawberry milk carton at his head. "Shut up. What do you know?"
"Please. I'm a relationship guru."
"Since Rosalie and I started dating."
Emmett had asked Rosalie to be his girlfriend over the summer. She had said yes much to everyone's shock and confusion. No one was quite sure what she saw in him besides his gradually improved good looks. Half the girls in the tenth grade were going gaga over him when they weren't writing Mrs. Edward Cullen in their notebooks a gazillion times.
The tension between Jessica and Edward the following weeks was so tangible you could slice it with a knife. She refused to speak with him if Bella was present. And if they did magically decide to talk to each other, Edward couldn't say Bella's name without Jessica making a snide comment.
He didn't like where Jessica's attitude was going. Edward liked Bella and didn't feel comfortable when Jessica demeaned her.
"I think she's mad because you aren't paying attention to her anymore," Alice suggested when he asked her for advice.
Alice was a senior in high school now and took beginner psychology. She had convinced herself that she knew everything about the human psyche. Edward was her favorite patient.
"I try to talk to her," Edward argued. "But she ignores me."
"You have a new woman in your life," Alice said, her nose stuck in a psych book. "I think she's jealous."
Edward didn't believe his sister (mostly because she was failing psychology). Something else must have been wrong. Maybe it was her parents again. She wasn't talking about them as much as she used to. The cul-de-sac parents loved to get together and gossip about the Stanley's marriage. Esme didn't care for gossiping, but Edward knew she didn't think their marriage was going so smooth either.
He decided to confront her. Normally, Edward would have let Jessica work this out herself, but things were getting dire. He honestly missed her old self, not the quiet, bitter girl she was turning into.
It was a Sunday morning when he decided to pounce. Jessica was outside raking the leaves for her dad. He had strained his back at work and was making Jessica do his chores for extra money. She bitched and moaned about it, but still did it for the cash. There was a pair of roller-skates she was dying to get her hands on.
Edward casually passed by, stopped and called out her name. She didn't look up.
"Jess!" he called again. "Jess! Jess, you know I'm here. I want to ask you something."
Jessica pursed her lips and glowered at him. "I'm busy."
"It'll only take a second."
She begrudgingly complied. Edward cleared his throat and said, "Is…is there anything going on with you? I mean…your acting really distant."
Jessica perked up. He was actually worried about her? Here she thought he was stuck on Cloud Nine with Bella. Jessica played off her excitement by acting cool. She was getting good at that.
"No. I'm fine."
"If there's anything going on with your parents…" Edward trailed off, afraid of what she might say. Would she yell at him for poking around in her personal life? Well, he was her best friend after all. It was his right to snoop. Hell, it was his right to know.
Jessica smiled the first genuine smile she had smiled in ages. It felt nice to do something besides frown. Didn't smiling help you live longer? Or was that laughing?
"I'm fantastic," she said, feeling her heart swell like a balloon.
"Do you want to hang out later?" Edward asked.
"Can we go bowling?" Jessica said. "I haven't been bowling in ages. I love those stupid clown shoes they make you wear. And I can slide on the lanes like in Grease 2."
The girl was coming back. Edward felt his faith in humanity restored.
"Alright. It's a date."
Jessica's heart burst.
Jessica peered out her window at ten o'clock. She had been at home all day waiting for Edward to pick her up for their bowling "date". He never came, and she never considered going over to the Cullen's to pick him up herself.
Now she was looking out her window at the scenic view of Edward and Bella kissing. Jessica felt like crying. Warm tears stung her eyes, but she hurriedly wiped them away. She didn't want her mother catching her crying. Counselors would be called and tea would be made. Jessica hated tea.
She watched Edward and Bella kissing and imagined what it would be like if she was the one kissing Edward.
She shook the sordid thoughts out of her head, trying to forget the sensation. Jessica had never been kissed. There were quick pecks on the cheeks by those stupid ex-boyfriends she thought she liked. Either they were too polite or she was too scared.
Now she pictured Edward's arms wrapped around her and his scent and the feeling of lips.
Jessica shut the blinds, changed into her nightgown and went to bed feeling warm all over.
The second tragic event came in the form of an epiphany.
Jessica was in love with Edward.
Maybe it was love. She didn't know what to call it. All she knew was that whenever he was around her now Jessica's face would turn red and her brain would close down for business. It was probably a phase. Her head was telling her things that weren't true. It orchestrated day dreams that made her cheeks turn the same shade as her cherry lip balm.
"Snap out of it!" Jessica would say as she scolded herself in the bathroom mirror. "You are going insane. That's the only explanation. Insanity."
Because Edward was her friend and you don't love your friends. At least not in that way.
And yet the thoughts lingered and the sight of him sent her heart into a frenzy. A laser light show turned horribly wrong.
Jessica decided she had to do something about this before she went off the deep end. She stuck a post-it in Edward's locker telling him to meet her in the tree house after school that day. She half-expected him not to show up.
But Edward was already there waiting for her when she arrived at the tree house. She stood at the bottom of the ladder staring up at him.
"What's with that look?" he asked, frowning.
"Are you a ghost?" Jessica teased. "You can't really be my Edward. He's never this reliable."
Edward flushed. "Shut up. What do you want?"
Jessica climbed up the ladder and sat down next to him. She put on a big show of straightening out the creases in her dress and fixing her hair. Her legs felt like Jell-O. Was she really ready to go through with this?
"How are things with you and Bella?" Jessica managed. Her voice was shaking.
"Why do you always have to ask about that?" Edward sighed. "Can't we talk about something else?"
"I haven't had a civilized conversation with you in months," Jessica said. Tears were threatening to spill out of her eyes at any second. She mentally sucker punched herself. "Do you like the same things? Ninja Turtles? Power Rangers?"
"What about you?" Edward said, smirking. "Hello Kitty? Where's Waldo?"
"I can beat anyone at Where's Waldo. I'm practically an expert."
An uncomfortable silence followed. Jessica could feel the gap that had developed between them over the last few months. She wanted to throw her arms around him and hug him until the moon came up. She wanted to kiss him until her lips fell off.
Jessica looked down at her shoes. She hated these new fucked up feelings.
"I…" she began.
Edward looked at her, concerned. "What?"
"I just wanted to tell you…" Jessica took a deep breath like she was going underwater. "I love you."
Edward looked puzzled for a moment. Then he grinned and said, "Yeah. I love you too, Jess. Your practically my sister."
Jessica's mouth tasted sour. She wanted to suck back the words she had just said. Rewind time.
"I-I'll see you later, okay?" she quickly made her way back down the ladder, to solid ground. "I got stuff to do at home."
Edward watched her run into her house and slam the back door, almost shattering the glass. He heard her mother ask what was wrong and the 'nothing's and 'I'm fine's. Edward could see Jessica in her bedroom. She was pacing around, talking to herself.
Their gazes met for a brief moment before she shut the curtains.
A/N: Sorry this took so long!!! I'm sure the next chapter won't be so long a wait :D Because next time on the Jessica and Edward saga: it's prom time and crazy shit always happens at proms (ex: murders). I'm sure there won't be any one those in this story (dundunDUN!).