Author's Note: This story does touch on subject matter which can be very triggering for some. While I was vague in my descriptions I feel this warning is necessary. The violence is of a particularly dark nature involving children. If you find such subject matter triggering or too much to read I kindly ask that you not read my story. I have shared this story in the hopes of sharing Alice the way I always imagined her. I do not wish to cause anyone pain.
Also, my vampires (by habit) do things like breathe and choke up when they are feeling emotional. I know there are vampire purists who will find this offensive/annoying so I am letting you all know in advance.
Disclaimers: Twilight and its characters are the property of S.M. This story does not have a beta.
"What are you doing, Alice?"
"Oh. There's this new store in Seattle, its a glass shop. The woman who opened it learned to make glass figurines from her uncle. She went to live with him after her parents died in a car accident when she was seven. Her uncle was a bachelor and had never spent much time with kids so it was a shock to both their lives when he inherited a little girl. Still, he loved her and he did the best he could with her. The figurines helped the both of them."
"Okay. But how does that..." I found myself choking on my words when Alice finally raised her head from her laptop screen to look at me-her eyes were shimmering with venom tears.
"Alice, what's wrong?"
I watched her take a deep breath and then a bright smile lit up her face. If I hadn't been her sister and best friend for the better part of a decade I might have bought her act but I knew her better than that. I crossed her and Jasper's room and sat down on the bed with her and wrapped my arms around her. I had no clue what was causing my normally chipper sister such pain but I loved her enough to want to help ease her ache.
"Nothing, nothing's really wrong. I'm just tired. I know as vampires we don't sleep but it doesn't mean we don't ever get weary. I think I need a vacation."
I nearly snorted at that last sentence; Alice had been the reason the entire family had canceled their vacation plans. Edward had filled me in on some of the whys but his brow had been furrowed all week and I had worried at what was bothering him. He'd told me yesterday that Alice had been keeping her thoughts more concealed than usual and he worried about her because he'd felt Jasper using his power more than usual. Alice had promised him that she'd merely had a surprise for the family and she had surprised Esme with the interior design project of the century...but he'd felt there was more to it than that. Still, he'd respected Alice's wishes and let it go. Now I wondered what the more to it was and if wasn't hurting my sister. She'd always tried her best to respect my privacy though so I decided to just show her that I was here for her.
"Alright. So this store, why is it on your radar?" I said, in a teasing voice, squeezing her shoulder one last time before I sat up straight.
"Oh, Bella, I wish you could see what I've seen! The owner, Lorna, she's been so sad because her uncle died and opening this shop took so much courage for her-they pretty much lived exclusively in the mountains and only came to town for supplies. She'd helped her uncle run his business from the mountain which is why its so ideal for her but she moved into town because she's been so lonely. If her shop gets the right attention she'll meet a writer for an online blog who will sweep her off her feet! They're going to be so in love and they'll have the sweetest children. If it doesn't succeed though she'll close her shop within the year and die of an infection in her mountain home. I know we don't know them and people die every day but I've seen such happiness in her eyes, to watch her die within minutes of that vision it was just, just too much. It hurts." Alice said, wrapping her arms tightly around her waist.
I watched my beautiful sister, really watched her and I realized how hard it was for her to breathe through the pain. I'd always known my sister to be sensitive and loving and for the first time I really considered the full implications of her gift. When I was in high school I'd cattily thought that Alice loved to shop just because she liked spending money and she was attracted to beautiful things. It wasn't until I'd watched her make decisions to search every antique shop in a five state radius until she'd found the perfect gift and then subtly direct Esme to it that I realized why she loved shopping so much. When Esme accidentally come across a beautiful pocket watch in an antique shop in Nevada and we'd all seen Carlisle become choked up because he'd become fascinated with them since their invention I knew why she did loved shopping so much. She loved being able to bring a bit of beauty into our lives.
I loved being a vampire and I knew for the most part Alice and Emmett agreed with me. The others were also for the most part blissful in their lives. Still, moments like those: that made our unneeded breath catch and filled us with euphoria like that were just as precious and uncommon to us as they were when we were human. Given the length of a vampire's life I definitely understood the appeal. Alice routinely pressed paused on her own existence to help increase the number of those moments for us.
Now though, now I wondered more about the darker side of Alice's gift. I'd had passing thoughts about it but I'd never really stopped to dwell on it. I was so grateful my vampire mind allowed me to help Alice scheme on how to make this young woman's shop a success while also thinking about her gift. A moment last Christmas kept coming to mind, Emmett had planned to take Rosalie away for a special Christmas/New Year's by themselves and Alice had talked him into completely replanning his trip. Rosalie had stomped her feet and even bitched that Alice had done it merely because she'd wanted them to come home early but Emmett had quickly difused their fight.
My thoughts sidetracked a bit on the topic of Emmett for a moment. Since joining this family I'd learned that a lot of my assumptions were wrong. It had humbled me and had a life-changing effect on me, even though I was already a vampire. I'd remembered Carlisle explaining to me why Edward loved giving such extravagant gifts, learning why Jasper could often be found lurking near homeless encampments, why Rosalie crocheted toys for children and donated bags of them anonymously...
Still, Alice was always a bit of an unknown. We often spent weekends giggling together and just relaxing while our men were off camping and trying extreme sport after extreme sport. I had never really dug deep into her gift though. The memory of Emmett's redirected trip and Rosalie's wrath towards Alice though made me wonder. Why had she worked so hard to redirect them? She hadn't just convinced Emmett to change one part of it, she had made sure they would be in a completely different geographical area.
"Alice, what did you see last Christmas that made you push so hard to change Emmett's plans?"
I watched my sister sigh deeply, she almost looked like she deflated into herself. She took a deep breath in though and sat up straight.
"I...I, Bella, what I saw was really ugly, are you sure you want to know?"
"You're my sister. I want to help you Alice."
"No, Alice, as pathetic as it sounds I know if I have a hard time with it you'll help me through it. You will, won't you? Let me truly be your sister and best friend and help you. Please." I swallowed painfully, even though most of our physical reactions were unneeded it didn't mean most of us didn't do them out of habit and still feel very human reflexes.
"I saw Rosalie and Emmett come across a predator. One who makes the worst of our kind look tender and gentle. This, this, male, he took pleasure in kidnapping young children and tormenting them. He would release them in the woods with trackers on them and then spend the night chasing them through the woods. When they were exhausted and spent he would take them to his cabin and violate them in the most horrid of ways. Rosalie would have heard whimpering and followed it, she would have killed the man but the child would have been so scared-he was so little, Bella-he would have run and fallen from a nearby cliff in fright. Rosalie never would have forgiven herself. She, she nearly convinced Emmett to walk into a fire with her and she would have picked a fight with a passing nomad that would have cost us Emmett. I couldn't let that happen! I had Jasper help me re-plan their trip and Emmett has always been so much more observant than people give him credit for. Together the tree of us re-planned everything and Jasper worked overtime to keep my emotions at bay. Jasper made a call to his friend Peter and gave him a tip for a hunt. Peter's mate, Charlotte, you remember her, she had a little sister who'd gone missing two summers before she was turned and children have always been special to her. They took care of him in the way he deserved and then set it up so that monster's cabin was found. It looked like he'd died hunting for his supper and so many children's parents got closure as to what had happened to their children. Well, as much closure as someone who has had their child stolen and savaged can. Still, it was something. We did something good. Something important."
I opened and closed my mouth several times. I could feel venom tears burning my eyes and I felt myself pointless clearing my throat.
"Oh, Alice." I threw my arms around her held her tightly to me. I could not stop the sobs that tore through my body. I was never so relieved the rest of the family was not home. I knew Alice would never have been so candid if we were not alone and I desperately wished I could go back in time and help them. They had succeeded though and in the future I would be there for her.
I felt Alice's tiny arms tighten around my torso almost painfully and felt quiet sobs rip through her body as well. Taking a deep breath I adjusted my arms so I could rock her softly against me and rub her back at the same time. She had carried such a heavy burden for so long.
"We'll work together in the future, Alice. I'll help you. The same way you've always helped us. I know Edward would want to help you too. Why didn't he help you at Christmas? I don't understand."
"He didn't know. Edward spent so long internalizing so much of what he hears and sees in my mind and others that when he met you I made more of an effort to block him out of certain facts. Then I just wanted to give him a honeymoon period with you without the stress and pain. He still sees some of it or he'd get suspicious; but some things, it helped me to know he didn't know. Plus, I knew you would want to help and I wanted to give you that blissful period too-where you're just enjoying your new life with your mate."
"I thank you for that Alice but I am glad that I know now. I'll talk to Edward when we go hunting too but I think we can all help each other even more. We're family."
That same easy smile lit up Alice's face only this time it filled her eyes too and I felt a deep calm fill me. Everything would be alright, no, scratch that-everything would be even better in the future. I returned her smile and we got back to planning to make Uncle Will's Glass Shop a raging success!