Author's Note: Again, I'm sorry for all the delayed updates. But honestly? Summer is busier than a regular school year. Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
Alice was bouncing and Rosalie was calm. They were waiting for me patiently – and impatiently – as I parked my car neatly into my driveway. I got out of my car in vampire speed and joined them.
"Alice," I greeted them. "Rosalie."
"Bella," Rosalie said, with a tentative smile.
"How's Renesmee?" Alice asked as I produced my key out of my pocket.
"She made Edward promise to bring you to the next visit," I informed her as I let them inside. "Apparently, you're taking her shopping."
"Excellent!" Alice said, grinning. She plopped down on the living room couch, looking right at home. "So what I saw earlier was accurate."
Rosalie was more composed. In fact, she looked rather anxious. "So...what's this all about?" she asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked, sitting down on an armchair.
I smiled in amusement. "You mean, what am I going to do to you?"
If she had been human, she would've flushed with embarrassment. "Well, that's not what I really had in mind, but ultimately...yes."
"Oh, Rose," Alice said, rolling her eyes. "Bella just had our best interests at heart. We're going to be separated for a while – with us going to North Carolina, and her and Edward going to Seattle – so I'm sure she just wanted a goodbye get-together with just us, girls. Right, Bella?"
I rose from my seat, heading upstairs to change into more comfortable clothes. "Whatever you say, Alice. Make yourselves at home."
By the time I came back down about thirty seconds later, Alice had changed into pink pajamas, and she was trying to coax Rosalie into a silky red set. "Come on, Rose, what's a sleepover without pajamas?"
"Technically, it's not a sleepover because we can't sleep-"
They both stopped at my arrival. Rosalie looked awkward, and Alice merely looked appalled at my baggy sweats and T-shirt. "Bella!"
"I am not wearing anything you brought, Alice," I muttered, sitting next to Rosalie. "So just cut it out. You can change, Rosalie," I added. "I want you to be comfortable."
This was going to take some time. We were obviously not as close as we'd both hoped to be. How long would it take? A decade? A century?
Cut it out. I watched as Rosalie snapped at Alice for pestering her and began changing out of her fashionable outfit. Are you really going to be around the Cullens for that long?
Edward. Was he perhaps right? What if, deep down, I really was thinking that I belonged with him?
That was a long time ago. Decades ago. I didn't want a relationship like that anymore, for fear I would get hurt again. Least of all, not with Edward.
"So, Bella," Alice said, satisfied with Rosalie's more comfortable attire now. "What are we doing?"
I was jerked awake from my thoughts. I glanced out the darkened window. "Well, it's midnight. Nothing to do. I thought we'd just talk."
I stared at her intently until she looked uncomfortable. I switched on my gift so that her pictures were floating around her: the asylum, the old vampire, James, and her transformation.
"I thought we could talk history," I said softly.
Rosalie inclined her head. "History?" she prompted.
"Well, I am the only one who is quite aware of what really happened to Alice..." I murmured. "And I thought she should be informed."
Alice froze, her eyes wide. And then, she pounced on me. "You know what happened to me?" she all but shrieked. "You know?"
"Quite clearly," I replied. "I'm watching it play out again. It's quite...disturbing. Are you sure you want to know?"
She grabbed my hand. "Tell me, Bella," she whispered. "Please tell me."
I focused on her early years. "Mary Alice Brandon," I began. "Daughter of a jeweler and pearl trader. You lived in a middle-class home in Biloxi, Mississippi with your parents and sister Cynthia, who happened to be nine years younger than you."
Alice sank back against the couch, watching me carefully. "Go on."
Rosalie looked apprehensive, but she, too, was curious. She curled up next to Alice.
"You had the gift of foresight, even as a little girl," I continued quietly. "You could predict the weather quite well, and you could see if a guest would possibly be dropping by. But as you grew older, you grew more hesitant to express your predictions..."
I shifted through her early childhood and moved onto her teen years. I narrowed my eyes slightly at her father, who was telling Alice off for voicing lies. I was not fond of him.
"People began talking about you. They thought you strange and mysterious, but your mother loved you greatly – she instructed you not to speak of your premonitions.
"But sometimes, you just couldn't resist. You warned a friend not to marry a certain man, for his family had a history of insanity. The friend whispered to others about your strange ability instead of blaming herself or her husband. When your favorite cousin decided go west to seek his fortune, you tried to persuade him not to go. He died in a road accident, and your aunt and uncle blamed you for jinxing his trip."
Alice was paler than usual, and Rosalie had taken her hand in reassurance. But she nodded for me to go on. She needed to hear this.
"And then..." I hesitated, lingering on her human self and the terrifying vision that she'd had. "You saw your mother being murdered in the woods on her way to town. You warned her, and she listened. She locked the doors and kept you and your sister inside. But when your father returned a few days later after a business trip, he scolded you for spouting such nonsense and ordered you never to speak of it again.
"But you kept seeing the vision. Despite your father's carelessness, your mother tried to listen to you as often as she could – she carried a pistol for emergencies when she left the house. But eventually, she, too, grew careless.
"One night, you had a clear vision of a man running your mother's buggy off the road, but she had already left the house. You ran after her, but you saw the man riding away. It was too late. Your mother's death was declared accidental, and despite your protests, everyone ignored you."
Alice swallowed hard. She looked terrified, but she looked at me. She wanted me to go on.
"Your father remarried a young woman only ten years older than you within six months of your mother's death. She was quite cold to you, but she took a liking to your sister. You were suspicious of her, but your father didn't listen to you.
"And then, you saw a vision of a man standing over you with a knife. Your father was giving him money. You realized too late...you had told the wrong person that you were aware."
Alice's eyes widened. "You mean...you mean, my own father killed my mother? He tried to kill me?"
I stared at her. "You ran for your aunt and uncle's house, but they cast you out. You ran to the town marshal's house, but your aunt and your father were already there. You were accused of being mad, and you were sent to an asylum two counties away. Only few people knew what really happened to you, and others thought you dead.
"You had to endure electroshock therapy. That's why you can't remember anything. You lost memory of your unhappy past, and your naturally cheerful disposition returned."
She looked devastated. "I don't believe it."
I squinted at the pictures. I shifted past them, skipping to the old vampire. "There was a vampire working at the asylum, and he became intrigued with your obvious gift. He tried his best to keep you from shock treatments, and he visited you often, bringing hidden objects with him to see if you could guess right.
"And then..." I paused. "You already know. James caught your scent in your hometown. You saw a vision of him finding you, and you told the vampire. He suggested options, plans – anything to keep you safe. Nothing would work...but you saw that changing you would be very close. He bit you and hid you, and he put himself in James's path to delay him. He wasn't strong enough to defeat him."
"Oh, god, Alice," Rosalie whispered. "I'm so sorry."
Alice was shaking her head, confused. "This is more than I imagined."
"James left you alone. There wasn't much blood in you to drink from when he arrived, so he left. He considered you his only failure until...you know. Until me.
"And you know what happened from there. You awoke alone. Your psychic gift was greatly enhanced, and you could see the best future for yourself. Your first vision...Jasper."
Alice stared at me, looking amazed. "Bella..."
"You practiced vegetarian diet," I said. "You met up with Jasper in that diner. And you found the Cullens." I smiled ruefully. "That's all."
There was a long period of silence as Alice processed everything. When she spoke again, she seemed back to her normal self, only, she seemed a lot more relieved to have finally found out about her past.
"Wow," she said, smiling. "That's a lot to take in."
I watched her carefully. "Are you okay?"
She hugged me tightly. "Yes, I'm okay. I'm more than okay. Thank you so much, Bella. You've given me a great present. Thank you."
Rosalie smiled too. "Thank goodness you've found us," she said lightly.
"That's quite impressive, Bella," Alice said, pulling away. "You really can see the past quite clearly. Is there anything else you can see about us?"
I glanced at Rosalie, who instantly looked away uncomfortably. She knew that I could see her past, but I recognized her message: Don't talk about it.
"I can see exactly how you met the Cullens," I said mildly. "How Edward found his things in the garage after you stole his room – the look on his face is priceless."
Alice laughed, the tinkling sound echoing throughout the house. "Yes, it was quite funny."
"That's amazing, Bella," Rosalie said sincerely. "I think you've given Alice the best present anyone has ever given her."
"Hardly," I mumbled. "She didn't have a good human life. No offense, Alice."
"None taken," Alice said brightly. "But you're right. I didn't have a good human life, but I'm glad I know."
"Can you see your past, Bella?" Rosalie asked quietly.
I looked at her thoughtfully. I had never considered the question, but I knew the answer. "Yes...and no. To an extent, I can see it..." I trailed off, not knowing how to explain.
"Care to elaborate?" Alice prompted.
I stared into space. "I think...it's more like I can...remember. I can't see my past if I turn on my gift, but my memory is there. And it's like I can see myself as a baby, and then early childhood...teenaged years..." I smiled sadly. "Edward."
They were silent. Finally, Rosalie spoke bemusedly, "You mean, you have a clear memory of your human life?"
I shook my head slowly. "No, it's not clear. It's hazy, like someone put a veil over the pictures. But I think it's safe to assume that, while my memories of my human life fades over time like yours does, I have a clearer memory of it."
Alice smiled. "That's fascinating."
"I wish I can see it," Rosalie said wistfully. "The pictures that you're always talking about."
"I bet Edward can see it," Alice said thoughtfully. "If Bella removed her shield."
"I've shown it to him," I said. "His own past, of course. Not mine."
Alice looked shocked. "And he never told me! That brother of ours..."
"Lucky mind-reader," Rosalie agreed.
I smiled innocently. "So that's the reason I called you here. I thought you should know about your past, Alice. Since we're done here, you can just-"
"We're not leaving!" Alice interrupted, glaring. "We just got here, Bella. We're gossiping, doing our nails, and just spending the entire night with us girls only."
"No buts! So, Bella. Why did you decide to go to Seattle?"
"You did. After Edward told you what I saw. Stop lying."
"Is there any chance of you talking him out of coming with me?"
"So you can run?" She snorted. "I don't think so."
"I won't run," I said defensively, stung. "Why would I? I've done nothing wrong."
"He loves you," she said seriously. "Just let him come, or he'll throw a fit."
"We don't want him going back to zombie mode again," Rosalie added.
"What would he do in Seattle?" I asked impatiently.
She shrugged. "You're planning on getting another degree. You can bet your ass he's going to be majoring in the same thing. Anything to keep you in his sight."
"And to keep you away from other men," Alice said slyly.
I couldn't hide my exasperation. "Do you really think I'd be interested in human men? Maybe it's because I'm a vampire now, but they're so childish!"
"Well, they are children," Alice pointed out. "Compared to us."
"Bella's not that old," Rosalie said, grinning. "She's only about forty."
"That's pretty young," Alice agreed.
"And to be in love with such an old man..." Rosalie murmured.
"Alright, both of you, get out."
They giggled. "No way!" they chorused.
I scowled. "If I called Edward, you two would instantly be out of my house."
"If you called Edward, he would come kick us out and stay with you," Alice said smugly.
"No, he...wouldn't," I countered, but I sounded uncertain, even to my own ears.
"Want to find out?" Rosalie asked, reaching for her phone.
They burst out into a fit of giggles while I glared at them. Why, oh why, did I ever suggest a girl's night? Should I call Esme to rescue me?
AN: I know it's a short chapter, compared to how much you've all been waiting for my updates. But I hope you still enjoyed it! Review?