"Alice," I moaned, trying to lean out of her reach. She was attacking me with a hairbrush, the worst of weapons.
"It wouldn't be so bad if you would just cooperate," she said, her bell-like voice tinged with impatience. I muttered a few incoherent curses as she clicked the curling iron a couple times. Edward was lounging by the door. He'd told me that he didn't want to go any more than I did, but he was enjoying my discomfort way too much. I remembered the moment when Alice had popped the question, of course. I didn't forget anything anymore.
"Oh, Bella!" she'd called sweetly. I could already tell that I wasn't going to like what she was going to say. I sighed, reluctantly getting up. I'd been playing a game with Renesmee, Jacob, and Edward. Renesmee touched my face, showing me her curiosity. I shrugged, and turned to Edward. He had his eyebrows raised, a small surprised smile on his lips.
"What?" I asked, him, slipping my hand into his.
"Well… I'd better let her tell you. She'll be angry if I do it," he said, pulling me into the other room where Alice was standing, three envelopes clutched in her hand.
"Uh-oh," I murmured. Her smile was huge, and she had a mischievous look. "What is it?"
"Oh, not much. Just a little get together," she said cryptically. I frowned, taking a deep breath. I could smell the paper in her hand. The hands of the mailman, and the post office workers, and… Mike?
"Alice," I said in a no-nonsense tone. She laughed, practically bouncing up and down with excitement, waving the letters.
"Class reunion! Formal dance and everything!" she giggled. I narrowed my eyes.
"No. Oh no."
"Yes. Oh, yes, yes, yes!"
"No way! I am not going!" I folded my arms, adding to my denial.
"Yes you are! Me and Edward and you! You're eyes are brown enough, and it's supposed to rain tomorrow. No, yes, no, and I don't care. They'll deal with it," she said, answering my questions before I asked them.
"But Alice, what about… you know, how much I've changed?" I complained. She shook her head.
"I said I don't care. They'll adjust. Charlie did," she argued.
"What, are we going to make Jake phase in front of the whole world?" I shot back. Jake peeked in the room, Nessie's head right under his.
"I heard my name?" he said, watching curiously.
"No, of course not. They can just deal with it," Alice said, ignoring him.
I'd fought for ten minutes, a new record. Hey, you try arguing with a super-smart being that can see the future. It's not easy. I caved eventually. Edward did nothing to help. I think he really did want to go.
So I was locked in the bathroom with Alice and enough equipment to make Ugly Betty look like Rhianna. She'd already shoved me into a dress. A horrible, dreadful, dress.
Okay, so it wasn't actually that bad. It was a light blue silk, with thick bunches of cloth that hung down over my shoulders. The rest was tight and form-fitting, ending just above my knees. Along with that were white heels that wrapped around my leg. In my old, human body, I couldn't last ten seconds in them. I had a necklace with some sort of blue stones draped over my collarbones, a matching bracelet and earrings, and more of the blue stones woven into my curled hair.
Edward was wearing a suit with a blue flower that matched my dress, and the stitching on the suit was the same blue. He looked flawless. Like a god. Like Edward Cullen.
Alice had a white cocktail dress with an open back, all the way down to her waist. Together, we looked unearthly, beautiful, dazzling. I understood how Edward seemed to dazzle people so easily. I did sometimes without even noticing. I didn't try, but people were still stunned.
We took the Volvo, of course. Renesmee wanted to come, but Alice and Edward said that it would probably be better to go slowly. It would be rough enough on everyone to take in my changes. So Jacob had gotten to take her running. Lucky dog, I thought, climbing carefully into the car. Edward was driving, and Alice was sitting in the backseat.
Sensing my nerves, Edward slipped a CD in and flashed me my favorite crooked grin. My lullaby started to play, and I sighed, settling into the seat and closing my eyes, letting the music wash over me.
We arrived before the lullaby ended, and Edward took my arm and escorted me out like a proper gentleman. I was proud of my new balance- I walked gracefully to the doors of the gym, where the dance was being held.
"Take a deep breath," Edward whispered, too low for anyone else to hear. I nodded, taking his advice, then stepping inside.
The music seemed loud and intrusive after the quiet ambience from my lullaby. I fought back a wince at the unnecessary volume. I expanded my 'shield' for a second to let Edward hear my thoughts on the party. He nodded in understanding.
I'd gotten very good at lifting my shield. I could hold it off for about two minutes before it snapped back. We'd gone to visit the Denali a few times, and Kate had helped me practice using my shield to cover others. I was still brilliant at it, but I didn't want to get rusty.
As soon as we stepped in, almost everyone turned to stare. Oh, Alice! I thought. Stupid, stupid, stupid idea! Someone approached hesitantly.
"Be-Bella?" Mike said, looking shocked. Jessica was clinging to his arm.
I nodded, smiling, subtly examining their faces. I hadn't seen them since the change, and I was shocked how easy they were to read. Mike was dazzled, and Jessica was smiling, but I could see a hatred buried beneath it. How had I missed that? She was… jealous?
"I… wow! Wow, Bella you've really… changed. I mean that in a good way," he said, stumbling over his words. I resisted the urge to laugh. Dazzling people was really fun.
"I guess I have," I said, deciding not to use my 'rough' voice I usually used with humans. Edward sent me a slightly surprised look for an instant, then his face was smooth again.
"Bella!" Angela called, Ben coming with her. "You look… wonderful," she said.
"She does," Edward put in, wrapping his arm around my waist. From his tone, I knew he'd caught Mike thinking something he didn't like.
"You're going to be busy tonight," Angela giggled, poking me. I frowned.
"What do you mean?" I asked, using the last of my air. Steeling my nerves, I took a breath. It wasn't too bad. I'd already had enough practice, and the air was thick with cologne and perfume.
"Didn't you read the invitations?" she said, surprised. I shook my head. Alice had told us what we needed to know, I thought… I glanced over at her, and she smiled innocently, dancing away. Beside me, Edward let out a low growl. It was covered by the music, though, so nobody else heard it.
"It's a… well, I don't know exactly what it's called, but when someone asks you to dance, you can't say no. Girls and guys," she explained. I went rigid.
"What?!" I exclaimed. Mike and Jessica took a step back, and Edward tightened his grip around my waist.
"Careful, love," he breathed. I. Was. Furious.
"Where'sAlice?" I hissed, speaking too fast. He put a hand on each side of my face, making me stare into his eyes.
"It's fine," he whispered. Almost as if he'd gotten Jasper's ability, a calm washed over me. The electricity was back, though, and it took most of my self control to keep myself from diving at him. Not to attack, obviously.
I smiled, lifting the shield just enough for him to know that I was okay. He nodded, removing his hands cautiously.
The whole time, Mike, Jessica, Angela, and Ben had been watching with confused and slightly frightened faces. I tried to look unthreatening and innocent, and luckily, they let the subject drop.
We talked and danced. I met all of my old friends, and even some not-friends. Lauren still hated me, worse if possible since my change. It might've been because her date (some boy I didn't recognize. He was from Oklahoma.) oogled at me the whole time. Everything was fine until the first slow dance.
I groaned, as did Edward. Mike had taken advantage of a moment when Edward was talking with Alice and sprung the question. Edward hadn't heard him thinking about it because he was scolding Alice, and he'd been trying to ignore everyone's thoughts to avoid harming anyone over naughty thoughts.
As soon as the first two notes played, Mike and Jessica were there. Jessica had asked Edward to dance. Reluctantly, Edward and I separated. Mike put his hands on my waist, and I put mine on his shoulders, careful to not touch his bare skin and shock him with my cold skin.
We slowly rotated awkwardly. It was odd being the one who was coordinated. Mike nearly stepped on my toes four times. I just stared over his shoulder, and he looked around at the other couples. There was so much space between us that we could've fit a third person in.
Thankfully, it was a short song, and we pulled apart quickly. He made an attempt at a smile, and we walked back to our dates. It looked like Edward and Jessica didn't have a good time, either. Jessica was talking nonstop, and I could tell that Edward was struggling to pretend to pay attention. I gave him a sympathetic look, and took his hand.
Through the night, I had to dance with Tyler (he had a sprained ankle from another car crash, so dancing was really hard, and it didn't get any easier the second or third times), Eric (who babbled on about his advanced college classes both times), and another time with Mike. Edward and I only got two dances. I swear, whoever made the playlist for the dance was trying to cram in as many slow dances as possible.
The only reason Edward and I didn't get many dances was because Alice argued with us. She told us to let others enjoy our company. We'd have all of eternity. They only had a couple decades. Her guilt-based arguments didn't work on Edward so much as me.
The night seemed to end suddenly. The meal had come shortly after my first dance with Mike. We'd just picked at our food, not eating anything, of course. Lauren jumped on my apparent lack of appetite (I had plenty of appetite, just not for that kind of food) and asked if I was anorexic. She claimed that I'd become pretty from not eating, and that I probably belonged to some weird anorexic cult that the Cullens were part of. She'd stopped after an icy glare and a too-white smile.
So the meal was over, the dance was over, and it was time to head home.
"Thank god that's over," I grumbled from inside the Volvo.
"It wasn't that bad," Alice said.
"Not for you, it wasn't. You only danced three times," Edward accused. She giggled.
"Only because I told everyone that Jasper was coming back from an extensive hunting trip with Emmett tonight."
"I should've told them that we had a daughter."
"But then they would've wanted to meet her. And I know what they'd say if they saw a girl who looked four years old and had the mind of an adult."
"Oh, stop it. It's over, and that's what matters," I put in, fiddling with the radio. Edward flashed me a grin.
"It's really late. We'll have to sleep in tomorrow, won't we?" he said. I grinned back, and Alice made a face.
"Guys! I'm right here!" she complained. We ignored her, kissing for a moment. I wasn't worried that Edward was driving. I was worried about how much time we'd get to 'sleep'. And how fast I could shred that dress.