The last chapter was Edward after what happened with Alice and all, and this chapter is Alice and Bella after what happened. And just in case y'all r wondering the same thing one of my reviewers was, in the last chapter, Bella was mad at Edward for hurting Alice. Alice has told her nothing…till this chapter.
So read on and hope you enjoy!!
Chapter Five: fraction
I walked haughtily away from Edward, leaving him soaked and gorgeous as ever, with a stunned and guilty look on his face.
I was a bit disappointed in myself for giving in. I wasn't supposed to communicate with him at all. But now I was dying to know what he had written. I did miss him, I'd be lying if I said I didn't, but only a little.
Well, that's a lie too.
I ran inside the locker building and relished in the heat. I would never have sat down in the freezing rain if Edward hadn't been there. It was difficult, but I made a point not to look him in the eyes. Then I would've really been in trouble.
Across the building from me were the girl's restrooms, and I scurried over to them, fumbling in my bag for the notebook. I pushed on the door, which was, thank goodness, unlocked, and rushed into the first stall.
I found the page with his lovely, intricate handwriting quickly, it being so different from my own. I reread what I had written, fighting against the remorseful lump that wanted to block my throat. In record time, I finished, and turned my gaze to the bottom of the page. His response read:
Yes, I did receive your letter. I got a written note from you, then and now, and that's more than I could ask for. Thank you. I know you won't accept this, but I'm sorry.
I love you so much, and I can't stand this. But I shouldn't complain. I deserve this, I know. And seeing you is enough. You're so beautiful.
See you in class. –E
Of course my eyes were swimming with tears by the end. I was trying so hard to not let them spill over, it hurt.
School was stupid and awkward, because I kept trying to avoid Edward, and I had every single class with him. At least I didn't give him any more notes.
At lunch Alice asked me to shop with her after school. I would shop with her every day after what happened, I told her.
I have a feeling I'm going to regret that.
But then I said that I wanted some explanations. I said I knew she knew what was going on with Edward, and she was going to tell me something, or I wasn't going.
"I saw this, and yes, I will spill a little," she had said cheerfully. I think she was looking forward to doing what Edward didn't want her to do.
We were heading to my house so I could leave a note for Charlie. Alice and I had been borrowing Esme's golden Sudan mini-van, and Alice had always been my favorite person to talk about nothing with, so driving with her was fun.
"So do you think we'll be driving together for a while?" Alice asked, turning to me. Even with Edward and me, I knew she got lonely during the day without Jasper.
"I told Edward at least five days, but if you wanted, we could utilize that at least a bit," I offered. I could make up with him in five days and drive with her for a while more afterward. I just loved seeing her happy.
"Okay!" she agreed, grinning. "I love you, Bella, you're a true sister. Thank you so much for staying with me through this. You must miss Edward a lot."
I smiled at her warmly and, to my horror, felt tears welling up in my overly sentimental eyes. I brushed them away and answered her.
"Surprisingly, not a ton," I said honestly.
"Are you mad at him?"
"Alice, I've been following you around like a service dog."
She laughed, making my heart automatically feel ten times lighter.
"We're here," she announced, and I looked up in surprise.
We were indeed in my driveway. I fumbled with the lock on the door, until Alice sighed with frustration and flipped the automatic switch on her door.
I rushed inside, scrambled up the stairs to my room, and snatched my purse and a heavier jacket. The weather report had gotten my hopes up.
I went back downstairs to find Alice in the kitchen, scribbling on the notepad by the phone. Just like Edward, she could impersonate my handwriting with amazing accuracy.
"Alright, done!" she announced, and tore the note off the pad, placing it on the table.
We left, making it to the Seattle area in about ten minutes. Alice immediately dragged me into the Bellevue Mall, a ridiculously big place with an airy, connected feeling, like you were in a single four-story room as long and wide as eight of the Cullen mansions.
It was a bit overwhelming.
First we went to a section that sold purses and shoes. Apparently I needed shoes and Alice needed purses. Alice pranced through the black shoes, looking at low-heeled ones conspicuously, (I'm sure just to gain my trust), and I dragged my feet after her.
"Bella," she said, turning to glare at me. "I thought you agreed to this? At least pretend you're having a good time!"
"Are you having a good time?"
"Well, yes, of course! I'm doing my favorite thing in the world, with my best friend in the world!"
I smiled. "Aww."
She glared at me.
"Alright, Alice, that was actually really sweet, and it motivated me to buckle down and do this. It could turn out to be fun," I offered, mostly to make her smile. I didn't think this would be fun at all.
I had no idea how right I was.
Alice purchased a pair of brown clogs and a pair of cute black flats for me and a pair of turquoise stiletto boots for herself. We were leaving when she yelped and told me to wait in the clothing center, then scurried back inside. She was out again shortly, holding at least eight more bags.
"Alice," I whined loudly, drawing her name out and turning several heads.
"Shh," she hissed, silencing me immediately. "Let me have my fun!" She paused, looking uncertain, and then turned back to me. She looked eager and anxious at the same time. "I'll show you when we get home." She winked slyly.
Alice grabbed my hand abruptly and dragged me to the lingerie and nightwear section.
"Alice, no!" I exclaimed, frantically tugging back on her hand.
"Bella, yes," she countered, pulling me back so fiercely that I tripped over her little foot. She caught me, and when I was standing steadily before her she gripped my shoulders and stared hard into my eyes, "Bella," she began slowly, "I've seen your pajamas, your bras and your underwear."
I blushed furiously. Of course she had, what with all of our sleepovers, not to mention her help after the 'James incident.'
"I'd say," Alice continued, disregarding my embarrassment completely. "For your sake and my approval, plus," she paused, and her brow furrowed when she said his name, "Edward's enjoyment, it's time for an upgrade."
My neck and cheeks grew even warmer when she raised her eyebrows at me, asking silently for my consent.
But the expression was enormously cocky and threatening, and I knew she wouldn't take no for an answer.
I sighed in defeat, she squealed in ecstasy, and we were off.
Alice selected multiple black, white, purple, brown, and white pairs of underwear, with just as many bras to match. She found a black silk tank-top and pajama shorts, and threw those over her arm absently, as we headed deeper into the maze of skimpy nightwear.
"Buy me something like that," I warned, making a face and pointing at a see-through silver babydoll nightgown, adorned with black lace and probably not long enough to cover my backside, "and you can be sure I'll never wear it."
She giggled, and pranced off to inspect the robes. After about ten minutes of examination, she decided upon a black fleece robe with a sewed-on belt and dark gray hearts on the gigantic pockets. She was obviously happy with the selection of this robe, as she confidently informed me "it'll keep you warm and toasty around vampires." Seeing my frown, she hastily added, "until you are one, of course."
I was also "given," Alice said, although I thought of it more as "forced to have," a sapphire blue nightgown that dangled to just above my knees, with black lace around the bottom edge and serving for the straps over my shoulders, plus a neckline that Alice assured me that Edward would die again for. The way she said that sort of scared me.
I was pretty pleased with everything she had bought me so far, for once not caring that she was spending an absurd amount of money on me. Today was for Alice.
Well, most of today.
After Alice had purchased everything, she led me to the escalators and we went to the bottom floor. I was amazed at how well she knew the place.
The bottom floor was mostly food. Mexican, Italian, Thai, Chinese, American, Mediterranean, Indian, vegetarian…absolutely every kind of food one could think up.
Alice turned to me, smiling at my awed expression, "So, what do you feel like, Bella?" she asked.
I knew I would be questioning Alice while we ate, so I decided to pick a crowded place where we could talk without being overheard. I scanned the giant "room," if you could call it that, and spotted a little Vegetarian place with a cheerful looking atmosphere, packed with booths.
"That one," I said, pointing to the large, flowery name above the entrance, "Veggies Unlimited."
"Cute," Alice said, but her face held no expression. I knew she had already seen me questioning her in the vegetarian restaurant. "Let's go."
We walked over, slower than average human pace, since I was laden with bags. Alice grew frustrated at one point and grabbed about three quarters of the them from me.
After ordering a "Veggie Salad" and chocolate milk, Alice led me over to a corner booth, which was conveniently snug between two larger booths hosting what looked like a birthday party in one and college grad celebration in the other. We slid to the wall, on opposite benches. I didn't understand why she didn't just start talking – she knew what I was going to ask.
But I gulped down some chocolate milk and asked anyway.
"Where has Edward been going?"
Alice stared at me with a bored look on her face. "Bella," she began. "I want you to remember that I can only tell you a fraction of what's going on. The rest, whether good or bad, I haven't seen yet, and will happen when it happens. I will be by your side no matter what. In the long run, though, there's only so much I can do. Only so much I can tell you. Snit-bits. Pinches. Slivers. Portions. Fractions."
I took it all in smoothly, with a practiced poker face on. I couldn't care how much she could tell me; I had to be understanding. "Okay," I said. "Where has Edward been going?"
Alice smiled slightly, I can only imagine because she'd seen several different ways I'd react to her little speech, and I responded in the way she wanted. Then she got down to business. "He's been going out."
I was silent for a while, and then I reacted, sarcasm dripping off my tongue. "Really, Alice? That's confusing. When he says goodbye and jumps out the window, how in the world could that be considered out?"
She sighed a little. "Alright," she complied. "He's been seeing a woman."
My eyes bulged and I could feel tears building up. That was no fraction; it was all I needed to know. All the other questions I had had flew out of my head like wildfire. She was telling the truth, I could see it in her face. A couple tears trickled down my cheeks. I couldn't stop looking at Alice.
Speaking of Alice, her face had gone at an alarming rate from resigned when she was telling me the news, to shock, guilt, anger, disappointment, and finally deciding on sadness.
"That came out wrong," she mumbled.
"No. No it didn't." I slid out of the booth, leaving my food untouched, and stood up. "Let's go. I feel like shopping." I was trying to sound careless, but I think I just sounded melancholy. Again.
This time is different, I reminded myself. I can still see Edward. And I have Alice. I'll live, I decided.
Alice slowly slid out of her side of the booth and stood next to me. She took one look at my face, where tears were still streaming, and pulled me into a tender hug. "You'll find out what I the whole truth soon. Very soon. Edward loves you, Bella." She pushed herself back to look me in the eye. "Honey, I'm sorry I said that. You're taking it the wrong way, but I don't see how anyone but Edward can explain the truth to you." She smiled sadly at me, and brushed my tears gently away.
I nodded weakly, but inside I was raging. As each of my tears was wiped away, so was my sadness replaced with fury. I hated him. I couldn't believe Alice when she said he loved me. He can't just come back, claim he loves me, then go off and see another woman. No, apparently he can, and he did, and I hated him for it. He broke every single one of his promises. He doesn't love me. He was lying when he convinced me to believe he did the second time. I hated him.
Alice reached out for my hand, and I placed it in hers. She clutched it, and I felt slightly better. I did have Alice. Always.
I managed a wobbly smile, and she dragged me out of the place.
"Where do you want to go?" she asked me excitedly, almost completely back to her chipper self.
I thought quickly. "I want to get my nails done. And I'd like some new curtains for my bedroom. Some that he can't see through."
She frowned at me. "We'll get the curtains first."
We walked to the nearby Joann's. In the back were tons of curtain rods, and beside them, running across the whole store, were even more curtain fabrics. I chose a curtain rod with black metal spirals on each end, and a dark sapphire blue, velvety fabric that I knew would make him crazy.
I could tell Alice wasn't particularly happy with my choice, but she held her tongue. Finished with that, we marched right back to the enormous mall and found the least busy nail place with minor difficulty. Alice got her toenails painted a vibrant red and her fingernails a lovely turquoise. Surprisingly, they went together really well. I had my toenails and fingernails both painted a deep midnight blue, quite similar to my new curtains' color.
Whenever guilt reigned its ugly head I would actually pinch myself on the arm and tell myself fiercely that he deserved it.
Once Alice and I had stuffed every last one of our purchases into the backseat and trunk of Esme's van, we were headed back. We were going to drop off Alice's bags at her house – and I think she was hoping he and I would make up – and then she was going to bring me home.
We pulled up to her house in no time, and Alice persuaded me to "just come say hi to Esme and Emmett, at the very least. Those two have been missing you the most." She told me Edward had been staying in the castle out back, so I wouldn't have to see him, either. But I could tell there was something she was keeping from me.
I walked behind Alice. She dropped her bags just inside the door. Emmett came barreling up to me, and before I knew it, I had no breath.
"Emmett...need...air..." He laughed boisterously and put me lightly back on my feet.
"So how you been, squirt?" he asked, ruffling my hair. I pushed his hand away playfully and couldn't help a smile from spreading across my cheeks.
"Okay, I guess," I responded, shrugging, feigning indifference.
Emmett gave me a look, but Esme saved the day by choosing that moment to run up to me and ask how I had been doing. She pulled me into a warm hug. I hugged back, but leaned away quickly when I realized that the motherly gesture was so comforting it was bringing tears to my eyes. Then I saw him over Emmett's shoulder. Alice said he wouldn't be here! I brushed any evidence of tears away and answered Esme.
"School's good," I said. "Easy senior stuff. Next week is final prep. week, so that should go well. I think I'm already prepared, so..." I was rambling in order to keep my eyes away from him, but stopped when I noticed Jasper and Carlisle come out of the kitchen, in deep conversation.
My eyes flitted to him and then back to Alice, who was showing Rosalie what she had bought.
"I – I should p-probably go." I stuttered nervously, beckoning furiously at Alice behind my back. "It was nice seeing you all."
I turned around and opened the door. "Come on, Alice," I said, not bothering to face the house again. The cool night air soothed my stinging eyes. I heard soft footsteps behind me, so I hissed, "Finally. It's not like you don't have eternity to show Rosalie your clothes and accessories," and marched out the door and down the stairs, keeping my back to her.
I froze. That wasn't Alice. Why wasn't Alice behind me?
"We need to talk."
I spun around swiftly, surprising both of us when I kept my balance. I didn't look in his eyes, instead I focused on the top button of his shirt.
"No. No we don't."
He sighed, and I mentally cursed Alice. It was so difficult to not start crying or hit him or scream at him or just collapse from pain and betrayal. I thought I might faint from holding it all in, but I didn't dare, knowing that he would catch me in those arms I loved so much, and I would no longer be able to restrain all of my wild emotions.
"Well, could we?"
His voice was soft, and there wasn't much hope in it, but it was as beautiful as ever.
"I thought you were okay with this," I muttered. "You said in that note that you knew you deserved this. So I don't understand. Are you trying to make me forgive you?" I thought of all the things he wanted to be forgiven for, even though he didn't know that I knew about all of them. It was too much. I was done with him. "What am I even doing talking to you?" I asked myself aloud. "I shouldn't be. I can't. Pretend I never said a thing." I risked glancing briefly into his eyes. "Goodnight, Edward." His name burned my throat.
I turned around and walked back to the car. I was ten feet away. If only my stupid feet moved a tiny bit faster – but I didn't even hear him behind me this time, so there was no way I would've known to push myself.
In any case, the next thing I knew my back was pressed up against the car and his hands were holding my waist firmly. His stomach was pushed against my rib cage, and his face was inches above my own, looking down at me. My breath caught in my throat when I looked up at him slowly; there was nothing but fiery lust in his tawny eyes.
"I'm sorry," he breathed, and his normally smooth voice was rough and husky. "I do deserve this, but Bella," he moved his face closer to my upturned one, and his breath hit me like a greedy rip tide, pulling me in and under. "I'm tired of trying to stay away from you."
His lips hit mine like a softly landing missile, and I gasped when his hands moved to my thighs.
I did love his mouth on mine, and his body on mine felt delicious, but I couldn't do this. Not after I found out he had ensnared me in his trap of fake love, only to cheat on me. He wasn't as perfect as I once thought he was.
I didn't respond to his lips on mine, instead I slid down the car and ducked stealthily under his legs, shocking myself once more with my sudden grace. He fell forward, catching himself on the van at the last second.
I smirked at his back. He turned around, and his expression was a bizarre mix of surprise, hurt, and sadness. Then it all vanished, leaving his face blank and empty.
"Goodnight, Bella," he said, his voice absolutely colorless. Guilt flickered through me, and I pushed it hastily away again.
He turned and loped fluidly back to the house, leaving me standing there. Alone, in the dark, slowly being coated with the soft drizzle.
A couple moments later I came back to myself. I rushed to the car and crawled in.
And fell to pieces.
"The name"Veggies Unlimited" was thought up by me, the TOTALLY AWESOME Mina," types my crazy little sister.
So what did you think?! Tell me!!
Oh and by the way, I do live in Washington, just north of Seattle in fact, but I haven't been to the Bellevue Mall in YEARS, and kind of made some stuff up. Although from what I remember, it IS like one gigantic room, though.
And you may have noticed that after Bella and Alice's talk in the restaurant, Edward began being referred to as "he," italicized. That wasn't meant to be read with emphasis, I just did that so you would know who I was talking about.
And just to clear things up, Alice hid her mind from Edward about the whole "telling Bella" thing, so he does NOT know she knows. But Alice was right, Bella's taking it all wrong. And I can only imagine you did too. lol. I am sorry for all of this. I hate making Edward seem like a bad guy.
At the end, I thought of that TOTALLY AWESOME – Mina's favorite phrase is apparently rubbing off on me – song by Avril, Fall To Pieces. I know it's an oldie song, well, considerably, but I LOVE it!! eh, eh??