A/N: All characters, etc., belong to Ms. Meyer. This holds for all chapters, though I am only writing it this once. Special thanks to the incomparable prettypinkbookworm for her great beta read of the entire story. This is for all of you who thought Morning Star was a roller coaster of angst... Enjoy.
"Alice!" Esme's stern voice rang through the house. Edward cocked an eyebrow, a slow grin spreading across his face.
"Oh, this is going to be good. Come on." He reached a hand to me, pulling me to my feet and hustling me downstairs at vampire speed.
Esme stood in front of the hall closet, surrounded by a heap of clothing and bags. A few items had landed on top of Esme, too, making her look like some sort of bag lady. Alice shifted from foot to foot.
"You didn't have to let it land on you, Esme," Alice argued, her lips already forming into a pretty pout.
Esme picked filmy tank top out of her hair and fixed Alice with a firm stare. "I know, Alice, but I needed to make a point. Your shopping habit has gotten out of control." She turned the tank top over in her hand; the tags were still on it. "This is from over a year ago, Alice. You don't even wear the things you buy, and you are slowly taking over every available space in the house. The closets are becoming booby traps. I can't take it any more. You're going to have to take care of it. Now."
She crossed her arms and waited for Alice to say something.
A look of panic crossed Alice's face. "But what do you want me to do, Esme?"
Esme's face softened. "I'm not going to tell you what to do, Alice," she responded. "You'll have to come up with your own proposal. But whatever you decide, I want this mess – all your messes – cleaned up within a week." She plucked a bra off of her shoulder and, dangling it between her perfectly manicured fingers, dropped it to the floor. Then, she turned and disappeared back into the kitchen.
Alice stood in the middle of the heap and looked around her. "What am I going to do, Edward?" Her voice was plaintive.
"Can't you tell, Alice?" he snickered. I shot him in the side with my elbow, and then grimaced. I had hit my funny bone.
Alice stomped a foot. "Not funny," she growled under her breath.
"How about a garage sale?" I asked. Edward and Alice stared blankly at me.
"A garage sale? What's that?" Edward said, his curiosity plain.
"Oh, come on. You've lived for a hundred years and don't know what a garage sale is? How about a yard sale?" I asked, racking my brain for other terms they might have heard. "You don't remember ever driving around a neighborhood seeing signs for one of those?"
"Nope, it's not ringing a bell," Alice said, shaking her head.
I giggled. For as worldly as the Cullens were, they sure were naïve about a lot of things.
"Well," I began, "let me introduce you to how the other half lives. When normal people get tired of their things, or need to make space in their houses, they hold a garage sale. They gather all the things they no longer need or want, put little stickers on them for prices, plaster the neighborhood with signs, and hope that people come and buy their junk from them. You get money, they get your stuff. It's a win-win."
Alice looked at me, her nose wrinkling with disgust. "Strangers come and pick over your things?"
I nodded. "Sometimes even people you know," I added solemnly.
"Oh, this is perfect!" Edward rubbed his hands together with delight. "You know everyone in Forks would want to come to our sale. The curiosity alone would be a big draw."
"Nooooo!" wailed Alice, but when a blank look flitted across her face, I knew she had seen her future, and it was a yard sale.
I chuckled. They had no idea what they were in for.