Quintessence

Chapter Two: Batesian Mimicry

- is a form of mimicry typified by a situation where a harmless species has evolved to imitate the warning signals of a harmful species directed at a common predator.

Bella

The nerve of that guy! How dare he exploit my only weakness! If I could run him over and his precious Aston Martin! Grrr…

I was still steaming, and a bit greasy when I reached home. I was miffed that Edward the- world- revolves-around-me Cullen wanted to con our best friends into something, I already knew that, I was not stupid, but I was livid that he could see through me.

I hated that he was able to read my emotions like I was wearing a big blinking neon sign! Seriously that boy will be the death of me! And how the hell did he not get Tanya Denali? He was a jock, wasn't he, the prime meat, so why the hell didn't Tanya like him?

The nerve of him to call me stuck up! He probably has some weird fungal infection on his patootie that Tanya did not want to be with him!

I was still brewing and spitting sparks when my mom opened up the door of our house. "Baby girl, what's got you so late?" She asked her hands on her hips. My mom was a wee thing, and I was already a head taller than her.

"Sorry mom, the truck broke down on me again."

She peered at me and scowled at my face. "You're covered in engine grease, again! Charles look at your daughter, prettiest kid on this damn block and she's covered in engine grease!"

My dad snorted in front of his perch on the living room T.V. "Prettiest? Renee don't make me puke!" Yep, that's my dad, always a boost for morales.

"Speak for yourself old man, with that moustache you look like a gorilla trying to fit into civilization!" My dad sputtered and then sighed.

"Damn it, I loose again!"

My mom's tinkling laughter filled the room. "Well Charlie, your kid is, afterall, hounded by Harvard, Cambridge and now, Darthmouth. My mom held three envelopes in her hands."

I squealed like the obssessive college freak that I was.

"Go on sweetie, what's your newest offers?"

I ripped open Harvard first, it was my dream!

"Harvard University – 100% scholarship including tuition and other fees for the duration of my study, both pre-medicine and medicine proper, including masterals and doctorates if wanted, a housing spot in Greek Row, free of charge, in the Alumni Housing project, and a whopping ten thousand dollar per semester allowance! And no more need for any entrance tests, or SAT's. I'm already accepted with open arms!"

That seriously made my day. I threw the last two letters to my mom. Whatever Cambridge or Darthmouth had to offer, I was going to Harvard. It was my dream school.

"Hey kiddo! Since you won't need your college money anymore, what do you say we buy you a new car? That old monster needs a rest, carting your heavy butt back and forth!"

I smiled and rolled my eyes at my dad. He may be insulting and stuff, but he's a gooey marshmallow inside, always worried for his only girl.

"The truck is fine dad, no need to replace it. Keep the college money, it will come handy when I need to pay my stocks at a hospital."

My dad nodded and my mom gave me a fierce hug.

"Go upstairs and change, alright? Dinner will be ready soon?"

I ran upstairs in utter glee, tucking the envelope in my Harvard folder. I was ready to be a student there, this is all my dreams coming true! I tossed my phone to the bed and stalked to my bathroom to wash my face and change out of my clothes.

Harvard was always my dream, well mine and Jake's. We would both go to med school, I'd be a neurosurgeon and he's going to be in cardio. But a month ago, when the applications for Harvard came, he never sent his. Tanya, he told me, wouldn't get into Harvard with her SAT's. And if he passed Harvard, his dad won't let him go anywhere else.

So he threw Harvard to the wind and is now applying to UW, which is also a good school, but come on, Harvard is Ivy League! What's worse, he shifted to engineering, because Tanya was taking up engineering as well.

I sighed and dropped myself to the bed. This summer was going to be hectic. It's a good thing Harvard already gave me an easy route to college and alleviated one of my biggest problems. My mom is going to be calling at this moment, confirming my acceptance into Harvard. In a week or so, I'd get my incoming letter and I'd probably be one of the early acceptances.

My phone blared out at me. Weird, no one ever called me since Jake got a girl friend, and Alice is hanging with Jasper right now. An unknown number flashed on my screen.

"Hello?"

There was a slight pause and a chuckle. "Hey, Swan, why do you sound like I'm a kidnapper or something."

I rolled my eyes, I knew that melodious voice anywhere. "How the hell did you get my number Cullen?"

"Well, I caught my twin sister making out with Jazz in our back yard, so I snuck in her room and took a peek at her phone."

"Wait, back up a second, you managed to sneak into Alice's room? How in the world did you do that?"

"Who would ever think I'd need anything from Alice's pink explosion of a room? If anything else I avoid it like the plague, you know, like Jedi-Mind Master."

I giggled at his Star Wars reference. Who knew Cullen was a Sci-Fi geek. "Therein young Skywalker lies the power of the force. Why are you bugging me Cullen?"

He laughed and I heard him move around and the soft click of a door closing. "Hey, where are you even?"

"Sorry, I had to lock myself in our attic. Alice may come barging in my room."

I laughed at him. "She does that often doesn't she. Anyway, answer my question!"

"I just got my early acceptance to Harvard today. Figured you did too."

My eyes grew wide. "You're in too? Scholarship, no SAT's, Greek Row?"

"Pretty much, though, I still have to write this essay. Apparently I suck in literature!"

I snickered. Cullen was never good in English, he was quiet as a pack mule in that subject. "Well, I'm sure you can wing it. Its just an essay, formality you know."

"I do, because my deadline is at the end of the first semester! Don't tell anyone though! This essay is my perfect excuse to escape Alice." His smug tone dripped all over my phone.

"You're secret is safe with me. Anyhow, if that's all…"

He cleared his throat. "Listen, I've been thinking about this afternoon, and the whole, you know, Jacob-Tanya thing…"

"Cullen.."

"No, just hear me out okay. I don't have any solid ideas or anything yet, but, we could talk about it? I mean, Black has thrown away Harvard, because face it, T isn't that smart, but there is still late admissions for him, and Tanya had always dreamed to be in Julliard."

That was a shocker. "Tanya wants to be a performer?"

"Yeah, she wants to be a actress, stage. She's decent, you know. She won an acting award in a play competition in Julliard back in Middle School. She always had a knack for it, but she knows Black can't be in Julliard. Auditions are by the end of the first semester."

I laughed at that. "Yeah, Jake is a spaz when it comes to the arts, or music, or anything really."

"So you see, they are both giving up they're dreams for each other. And they're not even good together, they aren't for each other!"

"So, what are you saying?"

"I'm saying, as good, loyal best friends, we should help them see that they aren't good for each other."

"How do you propose we do that Cullen?

"Look, we'll be practically attached at the hip this summer. I mean, we have to train for the decathlon, and I have soccer practice and you're next door in the swim team, and then we're both volunteers at the beach on weekends. We have a lot of time!"

I scrunched my eyebrows. "How the hell did you know my schedule Cullen?"

He sniggered. "I have sources and resources."

I rolled my eyes. Everyone knew Mrs. Cope would give the lesson plans submitted to her if Edward Cullen smiles. In disgust I scoffed at Cullen.

"Look, since you already know so much, and it seems you have a plan brewing in that big head of yours, and we have decathlon practice tomorrow, why don't we just talk there?"

"Why, do you have something to do tonight?"

"Yeah, Cullen, I have to think about this."

He was silent for a while. I sighed. "I'm not saying I don't want to do it, I'm just saying I need to think about it, alright?"

"No, no, its fine. But, lower your voice."

He was whispering now. "What? Why?"

"Shhhhh! Lower your voice."

I grumbled and whispered. "What is up your arse Cullen?"

"Why, you want to see my arse?"

"Oh, for the love of-"

"Shhh… I think Alice is snooping around!"

I giggled at his tone. He sounded panicked and I could her him fluttering around.

Suddenly I heard a banging sound. "EDWARD ANTHONY CULLEN, WHY WERE YOU SNOOPING IN MY ROOM! DON'T HIDE FROM ME I KNOW YOU ARE HERE!"

I laughed as Alice's high pitched voice screeched. "Busted, Cullen."

"Shit, I gotta go save my life, Swan. I'll see you at practice tomorrow, we'll talk about this then. How the hell did she know I was in there?"

"You're forgetting your sister is psychic!"

He groaned and sighed. "She won't leave until I show myself."

"Then you better go show yourself before she find a blunt object to kill you with. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye Cullen, and please don't die on me, Sectionals is three months away."

"Gee, Swan I am touched by your concern."

"EDWARD!"

Alice's voice was getting nearer. I let out peals of laughter again. "I'll hang up now, Cullen. Go save your ass."

"Wait, Swan!"

"What?"

"What is with you and my ass? You've mentioned it twice now."

I blushed pink and scowled. "I hope Alice catches you, asshole!"

"See again with the ass." Yep, I pretty much walked into that. I sighed again. Cullen will be the death of me.

"You never quit do you?"

"Nope!"

"You're unbelievable! I'm leaving you to deal with your psycho twin!"

He laughed at me then. "THERE YOU ARE!"

He audibly gulped. "Shit, I really need to go now! I'll see you tomorrow okay?"

"You said that so many times. Alright, I'm hanging up."

"Night, Swan."

"Night, Cullen. Be safe!"

His laughter was the last sound I heard before I hung up.

My mom poked her head in my room. "Bella? I've been calling you for five minutes! What's going on?"

I squeezed my phone in between my pillow. I don't want my mom to know I'd been talking with Cullen. She'll probably freak out. "I must have dozed off mom."

"You sure? I heard you laughing a minute ago, were you talking to someone?"

"No, mom. I must have been sleep talking."

I was a bad liar. I knew it, but hell, my mom adored the Cullens. After all, she was best friends with Esme Cullen, and I knew they'd be plotting something when they learn of this.

My mom eyed me quizically before shrugging.. "If you say so, baby girl. Get yourself down already, okay?"

She smiled at me and I nodded.

Who knew talking to Edward Cullen would actually be fun? Still, he gave me a lot to think about. I knew Tanya was not the brightest bulb in the bunch, actually she was as dumb as a turnip.

But in my slight, okay, humungous grudge for her, I somehow forgot that she was just a teenage, idealistic kid with big dreams. Just because her dreams does not cover a summa cum laude and an Ivy League diploma and a successful career in the academe does not make her dream any less important.

And if she was throwing that all away for Jake, and I know Jake is throwing away his dream for her, it would fall on me and Cullen to make them realize they are making a big mistake. And if on the side, I could get Jake to see that he belongs with me, and somehow help Cullen make Tanya realize that they are meant to be, then it would be easier for everyone involved wouldn't it?

"BELLA! Get yourself down here now, or we're eating without you!

I jogged down the stairs into the kitchen. I must put a bit more thought into this. Still, working with Edward Cullen was enlightening. In a way, in a completely selfish way, I was glad to have someone know what I am going through, and simply let someone know the truth about everything.

~Quintessence~

Edward

My ears are still ringing from my twin sister's high pitched voice. I was insulted beyond measure and as of now, Alice is persistently calling me a perverted idiotic stalkerish dickhead who doesn't have the balls to ask out a perfectly nice girl.

I sighed at the tell tale signs of the brewing head ache Alice has the complete capacity to provoke. So what if I snuk in and stole Bella Swan's number? Swan didn't seem to mind.

In all my years in Forks, I've never seen anyone more contradictory than Bella Swan. She's smart, intelligent, extremely wise for her age. She embraces her idealism, and she's a bit of a feminist. She's completely active in extra-curricular activities, and one of those people who can address a thousand and still, they will all listen to her.

The funny thing is, Bella Swan is not much good on making friends. Sure, she's revered, she's idolized, she's even feared, but she's not considered equal. To some, I'm sure they find her ego suffocating. Swan is a prideful woman, I can deduce that from her own learning of her truck.

And another thing, Swan is perpetually happy. Its like she's content with the way her life is. Who wouldn't be after all? She's a Harvard scholar, she's going to be a great doctor, she has her life mapped out in front of her. She's very self sufficient that she almost does not care about friends.

Key word: almost. From what I've seen of Swan, she also needs people to trust, be herself, joke around with. Granted she searches for people with depth, but still she craves friends as much as the next guy.

Black was her only friend. Alice, well, Alice is friends with everyone so that is saying something, but Black was Swan's person. Just like Tanya is mine. In my position friends are very easy to come by, which makes it all the more harder to pick out who is real and who is not. Fact is, Tanya and I had been friends even before I turned into the me I am. She was my only friend back in my puppy fat, geeky hair style days, and if she stayed with me, and defended me back then, she's as real as they get.

I forgot the time I actually fell in love with her. I only know now for sure, when she started a relationship with Black. If I believed that Jacob Black would be a better man for her, I would gladly let her go, but as it is, she was giving up a lot of things. I couldn't let Tanya do that.

All her life she wanted to go to Julliard and be a star like her mom. Truth be told, Carmen Denali was one of the country's best. When she died, Tanya swore to be just like her. Now she's giving up that promise for Jacob Black. Its just not right.

And being her very great best friend, it fell to me to save her from this delusion, didn't it? I just hope Swan will be aboard on my plan.

~Quintessence~

Bella

"Is a genetic disease that is caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome."

"Trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down Syndrome. Give me the two methods of torture used in the Spanish Inquisition."

"Rope cure and Water cure. What is the square root of pi.?"

"1.. What is the metal that alchemists tried to convert silver and copper into?"

I smirked as his eyes widened. Then his angelic face turned into a five year old scowl. "Damn it, Swan!"

I laughed and licked my index finger lining up my imaginary score board. "That's ten to zero in an hour, Cullen. You're in bad shape. Maybe the jock virus is getting to you?"

He growled at me. "How the hell am I supposed to know you're a freak who knows the exact square root of pi? And what the hell do I know of alchemists? I'm in here for the Math part, you're in for whatever is left."

I raised my eyebrows at him. "You knew about the Spanish Inquisition."

He sighed and turned his eyes to heaven. "My sister is dating Jasper Hale, I am on the soccer team with Jasper Hale, I'm friends with Jasper Hale, are you getting my point here, Swan?"

His lips were still in that pout that I can't help but giggle. What? Edward Cullen was adorable when he's not all cocky and arrogant. "Right, right, Jasper could give me a run for my money in History class. I've got to bust my arse to memorize all the things he just magically knows."

Edward smiled. He had this crooked smile that seems to light up his face and makes him look younger and lighter. His eyes twinkled and crinkled. He was such a child. "Jazz is a history buff. He leaves and breathes history. Did you know that Carnegie- Mellon and Cambridge are offering him a scholarship?"

"For history? They could not go wrong with Jasper. That boy is legend! So, did he choose a school yet?"

Edward's eyes darkened and shadowed. "Jazz is undecided."

I pursed my lips. Jasper had wanted to be a history professor, he told the whole class himself at the start of the year. "But- it's a big opportunity. Carnegie-Mellon has a great anthropology program and Cambridge is the center for historical culture. Why can't he decide?"

Edward stood up and paced, to the wide window at the east of the Honor Society Library, the home of the school's decathlon team. This will be our sanctuary for the next year. Only the president and vice president of the society are allowed inside this library.

It was smaller, compared to the school's library, but it was perfect. The doors were smoked glass, the walls white washed, at the eastern corner, where Edward was standing, was a bay of large windows that showed a perfect view of the forest, and of the sun rise, on the north are plush couches, where you could settle in for a leisure reading. Over by the west and south corners are rows upon rows of books.

References, art, novels from the Renaissance to the contemporary era, and all of them within grasp. At the heart of the atrium was the study table, where our books are currently sprawled on, and an IPod dock by the side. It was a beautiful and scenic library, perfect for studying.

"Alice is going to the London Institute for Fashion and Arts."

I was broken out of my reverie and turned to look at Edward. The window framed him in a picturesque background, the forest was glimmering with the glow of the rising sun – it was only seven in the morning – and his face was profiled, his jaw tense and his eyes speaking of a million thoughts. The spirit of the forest, watching over his domain.

The artist in me yearned for the image. Reaching down into my bag, I drew my camera, something I never leave home without for moments like this. At the sound of my shutters, Edward turned to me.

His face looked incredulous for a moment and then he grinned. "See something you like, Swan?"

I felt my face heat up. "I'm sorry, its just, you looked… I'm sorry."

He chuckled and sat down across from me again, idly flipping his book. "You know Swan you're kind of cute."

I felt my face flush again. "Shut your trap Cullen. I'm a photographer, you fit into the mood, it would kill my artist soul not to capture you."

He looked at me quizzically. "I never knew you were into art. I always thought you were this stuck up person."

I stuck my tongue out at him. "There's a lot people don't know about me."

He grinned again and looked away. "Yeah, I can sympathize with that."

I cleared my throat and willed the embarrassment away. "So, you were saying? About Alice..?"

He turned back to me and clucked his tongue. "Come on Swan, just say I'm handsome, no need to divert the topic."

I turned my nose into the air and he broke out in laughter. "Alright, truce, I'm leaving it alone. Alice, as I said, is going to the London Institute, to be a fashion designer."

"I know, but how is that relevant to anything?"

"That's why Jazz is undecided."

Oh. Oh! Jasper won't go to Cambridge or Carnegie- Mellon because Alice would be half way across the world.

"But that's just, stupid! I mean, they'd see each other again. Its not like Jazz could take up fashion at the Institute."

"He plans to take history at the Institute. Art History."

I felt myself grimace as Edward scowled deeply. "Art.. History. Oh, dear God." I stuttered. Jasper was literally flushing his future down the toilet.

"I know. He'd end up as a miserly teacher. Jasper is a good kid, a good teacher. I just don't understand why he would give up all that for Alice. And Alice has every right to go to London Institute, its her dream, she's following it, Jasper doesn't have to follow."

"We could talk some sense into them you know, make them realize this is not… what they…. Oh!"

Cullen turned to look at me as understanding dawned on my face. "Alice threatened to break up with Jasper if he will persist in his Art History crap. He realized that one day he and Alice will get back together, when they've fulfilled dreams and stuff. That was why they were snogging on the lawn yesterday."

He took a deep breath and turned to me again. "Alice and Jazz are perfect, which is why they can pursue this and know they'd end up together. Do you think they are like that? Do you think they're meant for each other?"

He didn't have to tell me who he was talking about. "No, I don't believe that."

"There must be a reason why we're not together with them. I know mine. I kept my emotions to myself, I told Tanya to wait for me, until I've reached my dreams, I told her that love and relationships were not important. She believed I don't have the time for it, for her, and so she moved on. But I love her, and I realize how unfair it was to her to make her wait, just wait on me. She doesn't deserve that."

I gulped and closed my eyes. Edward gave Tanya a semblance of hope, of something more. She just couldn't wait, I never gave Jake anything.

"I.. I was selfish. The decathlon, Harvard, being the valedictorian was all that mattered to me. I even told Jake I would never get married. I told him I have to reach my dreams first. I refused to hang out, go home late, go out, I was a stuck up. I was never fun. I refused fun. I stuck with my schedules, never missed a class, or practice. Everything about me is perfect. I'm boring and unfair. I kept him around, and I knew he felt something more, but I ignored it and I.. I…. exploited him."

I felt him tap my hand. "We can change what we did wrong Bella. But we have to help each other."

"Cullen.. this is dangerous territory we're breaching."

"We're both smart, we'll get through it. You and I prove to Black and Tanya that we can be what they want. We pretend to date each other, which I am sure you already deduced, I prove to Tanya I can commit to a relationship, you prove to Black you want one, and that you know how to have fun. They'll be back to us in no time."

"And if your plan fails?"

"Then at least we tried. Wasn't it you that said we have to eradicate the what ifs and the maybes in life? This is your chance Swan! And if we succeed we'll be perfect!"

"Yeah, but I never planned on fake dating just to do that."

"Its life, you deal with the cards you are dealt with. Come on Swan, we're leaving this town in a year! Just live a little."

I sighed. "I can't believe I am doing this."

His face broke out in a sunny smile. "You're doing it?"

"Yes, Cullen, okay? I'm doing it!"

He suddenly grabbed my hand and slung my back around his shoulder. "Well, then, we must begin planning immediately."

He dragged me to the door. "Wait, Cullen, we can't just leave! We have to study!"

He turned to me and kept a firm grip on my wrist. "Swan, you gotta live a little. You know the freaking square root of pi! You can win sectionals blind folded!"

I smirked at him. "Impressed?"

He rolled his eyes. "Whatever you say dork, now, would you please come with me?"

I grinned at him and tugged my bag from his shoulder. "Just let me get my books."

He smiled again. "Excellent."

As I turned around and snatched my remaining books, I can't help but feel it was Edward Cullen's smile that dragged me into this situation. That damned crooked smile could make you do anything. Again, as I said, who knew Edward Cullen was adorable?