What if Bella had jumped off the cliff and it wasn't just Alice who had seen it happen? What if Jacob hadn't been there?
Disclaimer: The Twilight series belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
"BELLA!" the angel roared.
I pursed my lips against the frozen liquid that surrounded my thrashing form. My throat burned in its quest for more air – air that I knew I couldn't provide. I remembered reading in a magazine the peacefulness of drowning, written by someone who obviously had never been in the icy depths I was stuck in now. The burning in my throat increased and my body reflexed against the pain, drawing in a deep breath.
"Bella, no! Please, please no! Bella, kick! Swim! Bella, please, please, please..." the angelic voice continued to scream. I could barely hear him now... the comfort of it was fading against the pain I felt now.
The shock was sickening, my stomach clenching against the invading water and causing me to spasm once again. My body took in more of the frozen, black water and I realized with a trembling fear that I couldn't stop. My throat would continue to suck in, desperately searching for air, smothering me in water. My arms felt heavy and fell to my sides, my legs dragging me down further into the icy depths.
This is it... I thought, brutally, I'm going to die now... It's time to give up. Time to pass on...
"Don't say that!" the beautiful voice growled, "You can make it. You have to keep trying, Bella!"
So tired... too tired... I couldn't try anymore. My body continued to drag into the depths, my mind mercifully dragging up the image of Edward's beautiful face. I love you...
"Bella! Bella!" the voice sobbed. The last thing I heard was a terrible, but beautiful roar of agony.
And then it was black.
"Bella!" I screamed, my eyes flashing their vision back to the room where Jasper waited with a terrified expression tainting his beautiful features. I stared at him with wild eyes, almost feeling the pound of a nonexistent heart coursing through my veins. Jasper grasped my arms, staring into my eyes with worry in his eyes.
"What happened? What happened to Bella?" Jasper's voice came out in a whisper, his golden eyes pained. I barely had to say a word. I knew that he had already guessed the severity of the situation the moment I screamed.
"Bella... Bella, she..." the words came out in choked gasps. Air wasn't a necessity and yet my breaths were coming in and out in erratic spasms, interrupting each word I tried to speak. Jasper rubbed my arms soothingly, patient. I swallowed slowly and tried again, "Bella jumped. She jumped off a cliff. She... she..."
If tears were a possibility, they would have come spilling down my cheeks at this moment. The pain was indescribable. Soulless creatures or not... that was more Edward's argument than mine... we still had all the feelings of a normal human. Perhaps stronger. I felt every desire to cry and yet there was nothing there. I buried my head in Jasper's waiting chest, enveloped in his strong arms, "Dead."
His breath caught in his throat, his arms tightening around my small frame. I listened to his silent chest that would never hold a beat and that did not, for a moment, hold the patten of breathing. I slowly dragged myself out of his comfort to stare at his face. He stared back at me, uncomprehending. I frowned and repeated the words that tore me apart inside, "Bella's dead, Jasper."
"She can't..." Jasper started, pain twisting in his face. We all cared for Bella deeply, but I knew the pain that twisted Jasper's features was a fearful pain. Fear for what would happen when news of Bella's death finally made it back to Edward. I was certain of the outcome once that happened... no one would ever bet against me.
"I told him..." the words were growled out, a fury of emotions bubbling within me. I stood slowly and walked towards the door.
"Where are you going?" Jasper managed to speak, his voice cracking. He stared at me, his expression confused and then aghast, "You're not going to tell Edward, are you? You know what he'll do! He'll catch the next flight and be in Volterra before we know what to do!"
I stared at him with a small, sad smile and in a flash I was at his side once again. I reached out, my cold hands cupping his face and pulling it to meet mine. I rested my forehead upon his, staring into his depth less golden eyes. He stared back at me, waiting. "You're silly, darling," I whispered softly, brushing my thumb soothingly against his cheek, "Trust me, I'm not about to tell Edward what's happened. I'm going to Charlie."
"Charlie, but why...?" Jasper asked, his brow etching together.
"I care about Bella and her family. I don't want Charlie to go through this all alone. I'm going to see what I can do to help him," I spoke and Jasper's expression smoothed into one of caring. I went on, still stroking his cheek, "I want to make this as easy as I can."
He reached up to hold me hand, pressing it harder against his cheek before releasing it, kissing me softly on the lips before pulling away, "Keep yourself safe, Alice."
I grinned up at him before turning toward the door. I walked a few paces, pausing with my hand on the door. I turned back to glance at him, "Always."
The rain was rushing down hard against the window of the plane as we settled in Seattle. The attendant droned on needlessly about our many choices and their pleasure in our choice of their airline. I rolled my eyes, lifting my head from the back of the seat to stare forward. The patrons wanted nothing more than to leave this plane and I was in the same boat, my left wrist already wrapped with the bindings of my bag. I would need very little where I was going. Just a simple backpack.
"Thank you for flying with us!" the attendant's cheery voice invaded my ears as I walked off the plane, closing my eyes involuntarily against the noise. I did not want to be here as it was, but I could not see a good reason out of this situation. She had made her choice for both of us when she jumped from that cliff.
The airport was bustling in the morning traffic. The airport I had left was nearly vacant in the early morning hours, but it was now the afternoon and people were eager to get to their destinations. I walked smoothly to the parking lot, pausing only where necessary. I was eager to get to Forks before any whisper of the news spread.
The street was mercifully full of cabs waiting for the first loads of the day. I stepped up to the closest cab, swinging my bag inside and sliding in to gracefully seat myself. I looked up to the cab driver with a small smile, reciting the address of Charlie Swan's home.
"But that's so far!" he said with a hint of annoyance. I had expected as much and handed him a persuasive amount.
"Will this cover it?" my smile never faltered.
"Oh... uh..." he stared down at the amount, counting it swiftly before whipping his gaze back to me, "Yes, yes... this will do. Please, buckle up, miss."
My smile widened for the small instant that he spoke to me and faded as he turned away. I snapped the buckle into place, the click loud in the otherwise silent cab. I stared out the window at the rain streaked streets.
"What's in Forks?" he questioned me. I stared at his license, displayed on the back of his seat. James Witamier.
"Family," I answered simply, pulling at a stray strand of fabric that had come loose on my backpack. I was not in the mood for small talk and prayed that my short answer would make that more than obvious.
"You must like the rain to be going to Forks," he said with a booming laugh. I threw a quick glance at him and provided his watching eyes with a laughing smile.
"Oh, yes. I love the rain," I said with a small laugh. I did, at least that was true. I had always preferred the rain to a sunny day. The sun felt to hot on my skin... I would rather be chilled than extremely hot. There was only so much clothing you could take off before becoming indecent... but you could always pile on the blankets.
The small talk ceased after that. He had answered only with another booming laugh of his own before returning his attentions to the road. In turn, I turned my attentions back to the streets, watching as the rain drenched cars drove around the cab. I closed my eyes and sighed silently, waiting for the journey to finally end.
She had passed three hours ago and I had jumped the first plane to Seattle. There wouldn't be enough time for the situation to get thrown out of hand, thankfully. All I had to do was investigate the scene and then meet up with Charlie. All would be well.
The journey was much shorter than I had expected it to be. I was on the plane and off in a matter of moments, it seemed. Perhaps the anxiousness that continued to surge through my veins had sped up the process. I was dying inside with thoughts of Bella and Edward... of Charlie, the poor man. I could only imagine what this was going to do to him.
I was in no immediate hurry and I had no strong desire to steal a car once I arrived in Seattle. It wouldn't make much sense to drive a stolen vehicle to Charlie's house. I reached one of the many cabs that had lined up in the rain drenched streets, sliding into one of the open seats. I provided the cab driver with Charlie's address.
"You've got to be kidding me, I w-" the cab driver started. I rolled my eyes and tossed up more than enough money to convince him otherwise. He grabbed the wad and stared at it wordlessly before grinning back at me, "Forks it is."
The ride wouldn't take very long, quicker if the cab driver was anxious to get back to the city. I relaxed in my seat, closing my eyes against the same terrible thoughts that continued to penetrate my thoughts. Edward was going to go to Volterra... he was going to insist on ending his existence, on joining Bella in the afterlife.
I could only hope that there would be something that would convince him to do otherwise.
I stared out over the cliff, standing next to Bella's vehicle. The keys were still in the ignition and the waters were as cold and dead as the poor girl that had been consumed in them. I knew that the likelihood that she would be found was slim to none. There had been a terrible storm and her body would be swept out to the seas, buried deep under the current.
A tear rolled down my cheek and I brushed at it angrily, turning back to the truck beside me. It was my truck now, in some sense. I slipped into the driver's seat and gunned the engine, screaming in surprise at the monstrous roar of the engine. Calming myself with a laugh, I turned the truck in the direction of my home. The truck was very slow... much slower than I was used to. The truck seemed to scream in protest when I attempted to push it past 60 miles an hour. Frowning, I lowered my speed and continued.
I watched warily as a cab pulled away from the house... my house. A beautiful girl stood outside, her skin as pale as the moon, black hair sticking up in a pixie appearance. Her eyes flew upon my truck. Even from this distance, I could see the brilliant orbs of ebony, dark circles under her lids. Despite that, she was amazingly gorgeous.
I shook my head, slipping out of the truck rather gracefully. I shut the door and turned to face the pixie. She stared at me with wide eyes, a look of shock on her features, "Um... wow..." I mumbled, walking closer to her, "You look like you've seen a ghost."
She didn't say anything. She continued to stare and I became slightly uncomfortable. What was it about me that was so interesting, "Can I help you, miss?"
I stared at the very familiar truck that pulled up towards Charlie's house as my cab pulled away. It felt as though ice had filled my veins, slowing the movements of my body. How was it possible that her truck was driving up to the house.
The shock only deepened as she stepped out of the car, perhaps more beautiful that I remembered. Her chocolate brown hair fell down past her shoulders in graceful waves, not a sight of frizz even in the presence of rain. Curious brown eyes stared back at me, staring out from a face of beautiful features. Her lips were fuller, her eyes more pronounced with full lashes of jet black. Despite all this, though... she was still her.
As she stepped closer, her scent flooded my nose. I had missed her scent. The decadent floral scent that I had become so accustomed to wrapped around me. She stared at me warily for a brief moment, a reaction I noted. Then her question... her confusing question...
"Can I help you, miss?" her voice. She said we had musical voices, but she was deaf to her own voice, apparently. I had missed her so much. My old friend. But that question... could she help me? Miss? Not Alice? Did she... know me?
"Bella?" I whispered softly, staring at the girl. A hint of recognition flooded her eyes and then something else... "Bella, don't you remember me?"
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