"How about next weekend?" I said.
There was a brief pause before Alice replied, "No, still sunny."
I sighed in exasperation. After weeks of applications and schoolwork, along with Charlie's constant nagging and overbearing behavior, I had decided that it was time for a break. What better than a short vacation to Jacksonville? It seemed like ages ago that Edward had pried up the floorboards to recover my pictures, CD, and the plane tickets, but since then the plane tickets had lied somewhat dejected on my dresser. It wasn't that I was unhappy to have them, but they had seemed unimportant compared to other things I had lost when Edward left. Now, however, the tickets seemed to scream at me every morning, yelling, "Use me! Use me!" And I wanted to. Now that Edward was back, it seemed unfair that I ignored everyone else for so long. It was bad enough that Charlie had had to witness me in my zombie state, but my mother had not even had that. She had received nothing but second-hand accounts of my wasting away and a few sporadic emails that I couldn't even remember sending.
"Alice, do you have any idea when it isn't going to be sunny?"
"Bella, Edward can manage to stay indoors for a few days. I don't know why you are putting me through this. I've used my talent for a few trivial things before, but this is getting ridiculous."
I sighed. Alice was right; for the past few weeks, I had asked for an updated weather report every time I saw her. It seemed impossible that it was always sunny in Jacksonville, but it was. Just like it was almost always cloudy here in Forks. "Alice," I said, trying to ignore her annoyed look, "I'm just so excited about going to Florida. I know I'll have to pick a weekend eventually, but I want it to be perfect. I know it's unfair to always be asking, but really, who wouldn't take advantage of a perfect weatherman? You should think about becoming a meteorologist, Alice. I know it wouldn't be a ton of fun, but think how much people would benefit from actually knowing what the weather will be. Plus, with your sparkling personality…"
Alice cut me off. "Yes, Bella. And not just my personality would sparkle under those news station lights. Remember that tiny little thing about trying to be inconspicuous?" She laughed at my abject expression. "Bella, you can be so silly. Fine, let me start checking other weekends. You know it gets a little less certain the farther I go, but maybe I'll see some clouds in the near future."
She closed her eyes in concentration as I drummed my fingers on the kitchen table. I wondered when Edward and Jasper would get back. Charlie had left for the weekend for a fishing trip, and although his strict rules were still in effect, he had decided that it was alright if Alice stayed over the house to keep me company. I wondered why he thought I would obey his house arrest when he was gone, but I found no reason to leave. Edward had joined Alice's and my little party and even Jasper had come intermittently to the house. I began wondering what we would do that night when Alice gave a little exultant noise.
"Two weekends from now it will be cloudy. I'm certain." A satisfied smile crossed her lips.
I looked down at the calendar in front of me. "No, that won't work."
Alice stared at me incredulously. "What do you mean that won't work? I've been checking the weather for weeks, I finally find some cloud cover, and you say, 'That won't work?'"
"Well, Phil's going to be out of town."
"Does that matter? Renee will still be home, right?"
"Yes, I guess. She said she wasn't going to any of the early season away games because of work, but I'd rather Phil be there."
"Well, you know how my mom can be: eccentric, unconventional, a tad disapproving about certain things… I know Edward won't care, but Phil keeps my mom a little bit more grounded. Plus, if she's worried about Edward and I being too serious, she won't be as likely to say anything with Phil around."
"Oh, Bella. Fine, let me go a little further. Any problems with three weeks from now?"
I looked at the calendar again, "No, that should be fine. Thanks, Alice."