1. Cheer up
'Bella? Can I come in?' Alice's soft voice floated through the bathroom door. When had she got here?
'Sure.' I replied, splashing my face with icy water one last time and turning to face the tiny girl who had silently flitted into the room.
'Are you OK?' She sounded concerned. I put on my most convincing smile and nodded.
'Course I am. It's just…' I tailed off, but as always, she knew exactly what I meant. Alice nodded.
'You knew that telling Charlie would be hard. But it's over now, and Edward will be back soon.' She shrugged her delicate shoulders and her usual grin returned to her face. I smiled back, trying to banish the dark mood telling Charlie about my impending marriage to Edward had brought on.
'So how come you came over? Did Charlie say anything to you when you came in?' Alice's grin widened. It had turned into the expression that caused me instant dread every time I saw it. It was the exited smile she wore when she had a plan.
'I saw that Charlie would be pretty upset-' She put one hand up to stop me from interrupting when she saw my grimace at her words, knowing exactly what I was going to say. Sometimes I wondered why I even bothered talking to Alice at all; she always knew how our conversations would go before we had them. 'He's fine though, Bella, he just needs time to get used to the idea. I came over because I saw you, sitting alone, pining for my brother. So I figured you could use some cheering up since Edward won't be back till tonight.'
I rolled my eyes. I hated how both Alice and Edward always felt the need to look after me. As if I couldn't be left alone without supervision. But Alice had a point; moping around wouldn't make anything better. I thought about Charlie, how he would be hurting for days because of what I had told him. Because of me. But I wouldn't go back on my word just to please Charlie, I was a legal adult, and someday he would have to accept that.
Edward and I had planned to tell Charlie about the wedding together, but when he left to go hunting with Carlisle and Jasper that morning, I made an impulsive decision that Charlie might appreciate being told by me alone. I thought maybe I could butter him up easier if Edward wasn't there to put him in a fowl mood. The fact that I had made the decision to tell him only minutes before I did it was the reason that Alice had only just found out.
'Right. So what were you planning to do to cheer me up then?' I was suspicious. If it was more wedding planning I would have to hit myself over the head with Alice's gigantic wedding folder. And I wasn't sure how well Edward would react to that when he got home. The grin on Alice's pixie features only grew wider.
'Well, I thought since Edward will be back later, and you guys totally never go out anywhere, the two of you could join me and Jasper and Rose and Emmett when we go out tonight!' The mere fact that the expression that dominated Alice's face told me that she expected me to show enthusiasm at this announcement. It was enough to bring on more suspicion, and a heavy feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.
'Go out…where?' I managed to ask. Part of me didn't want to know the answer. Alice must have sensed my unease at her excitement, and her smile dimmed a fraction, making her look marginally less scary.
'We're going to that club that just opened in Seattle. It's supposed to be great. Of course, it won't be as good as on of my parties, but I just know you'll love it.'
A club?! I wondered if Alice knew me at all. Clubbing was pretty much my worst nightmare.
'No. Way. Alice, you know I hate anything like that! I only went to your stupid graduation party because you forced me to. Besides, Charlie would never go for it.' I hadn't expected my argument to help me much, but I at least expected some kind of doubt to cross Alice's face. But, as usual, no such luck.
'Don't be silly Bella, I already asked Charlie, he's fine with it, so don't think you're going to get out of it that way. Besides, do you really think Charlie's disapproval would stop you from doing anything?' Her look told me she didn't just mean clubbing. 'He's no match for me, Bella, you know that. And he's really going to have to get used to you going out sometimes, I mean, you're engaged, he can't expect you to stay in alone every night.' Something about the naughty gleam in her eyes when she said this made me blush. 'Oh, and don't call my party stupid, it was legendary and you know it.'
I sighed. There was no winning against Alice. But there was one part of that I had a hard time believing.
'Charlie agreed to me driving all the way to Seattle with all you guys to go to a club?' I knew Alice was persuasive, but no one was that persuasive.
The glint in her eye faded slightly as she shrugged.
'I didn't tell him the truth, of course. He would have freaked. I just told him you were going to see a movie with me and Rose and then coming back for another slumber party so that we could sort out some wedding details.' She took my hand and dragged me down the hall and into my bedroom. 'I told him Edward was visiting family friends with Carlisle and wouldn't be back till tomorrow afternoon. He doesn't suspect anything.' Alice looked very pleased with herself. It kind of made me want to hit her. Kind of. Not that it would do any damage, I would most likely break another finger like when I punched Jacob. Why couldn't I have normal friends, ones that weren't indestructible?
'Alice, come on, you know I hate dancing. And crowds. And, well, everything else about this! I thought you were my friend!' I decided pleading was going to be my best option. Not that I had much of a chance whatever I decided to do.
'Believe me, Bella, you will enjoy this.' She smirked and tapped her temple with a little white finger before pushing me down onto the bed and flinging my closet doors open with a flourish. I sighed, biting back my next round of pleas, knowing it would make no difference. Alice was now practically in my closet, examining every item of clothing I owned, making disapproving noises every so often, and then snorting with disgust as she pulled out my oldest, most dishevelled sweater. It also happened to be one of my favourites.
'What, may I ask, is this?' She held it right up to my face.
'A sweater.' I replied in a small voice. She had a dangerous look in her honey coloured eyes. I marvelled at how an article of clothing could be quite so offensive to her.
'This,' She held the frayed piece of fabric at arms length. 'Is not a sweater.' And with that, she tore it from the hanger faster than I could make any protestations, and sent it flying through the open window with a tiny flick of her wrist. I stood up, outraged.
'ALICE! You can't do that!' She just looked at me, her perfectly groomed dark eyebrows rising in a convincing look of innocence. I didn't fall for it. 'You can't just throw my clothes out of my window! Just wait till Edward gets back; I'll tell him you know!' Even to my own ears, that sounded lame. Clearly, Alice agreed with me.
'Oh, come on Bella, even Edward has enough fashion sense to agree that next door's trashcan is the best place for that hideous piece of cloth you call a sweater. I can't believe you, I go out of my way to buy you new clothes, ones that make you look really hot, and you still wear this stuff!' She gestured to my, I had to admit, slightly pathetic looking collection of clothes hanging limply in the wardrobe.
Still bubbling with irritation at the cheek of the tiny pixie that had barged into my house and began to abuse the contents of my closet, I sat back on the bed and folded my arms across my chest. I wanted her to know that I had definitely not forgiven her. I thought she was supposed to be cheering me up.
At that moment, a soft knock on my bedroom door broke through my grouchy mood.
'Bells? Alice? Are you girls OK in there?' It was Charlie. Darn it, he must have heard my outburst.
Alice, of course, beat me to the door, opening it to reveal a pale, nervous looking Charlie. The sight of him brought back my earlier feelings of guilt. He clearly still hadn't got over my announcement.
'Hey Charlie! Bella and I were just discussing how nice it will be to have a girls only movie trip tonight.' I automatically let out a tiny snort of disgust and disbelief. Luckily, only Alice seemed to have heard it. She shot me a warning look that clearly told me that I would seriously regret it if I didn't play along. Reluctantly, I forced a smile onto my face. Alice gave me a tiny, satisfied wink, and turned her attention back to Charlie. 'We were also talking about how Bella's desperately in need of some new clothes. And since Edward is out of town, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity for a shopping trip. Of course, we don't have too long, but we have time to drive down to Port Angeles.'
This time, I couldn't stop the noise of horror that escaped me at her words. Alice hadn't said anything about shopping. That was the last thing I needed.
Charlie seemed to consider this for a moment, before glancing from Alice's angelic face that was a picture of innocent excitement, to mine, which I guessed must have looked more like a picture of agony.
'Well, I suppose you haven't got any new clothes for a real long time, Bells.' He began slowly. I knew that tone. Darn it, he was going to let me go. 'Maybe Alice is right, it will be nice for you to spend some time out of the house away from…things.' It looked like Charlie had to stop himself from saying something else. Something that sounded suspiciously like the name of my fiancée. He still hadn't forgiven him for leaving me all those months ago. And the news of our engagement only heightened the dislike.
'Great!' Alice gave Charlie a tiny hug, making him turn bright red and splutter something about me having a good time, before hurriedly backing out of the room, closing the door behind him. 'Well, that was easy.' Alice commented as soon as we were alone.
'Alice, we are not going shopping. And I am not going clubbing tonight.' I growled, trying to sound intimidating.
'Of course you are, Bella. And don't bother arguing, I know how this is going to end, remember.' She smiled at me sweetly, grabbing my hand and leading me out of my room and down the stairs towards the front door. 'You'll enjoy yourself. I promise.' She added as she pushed me out of the door towards one of the Cullen cars, I didn't know or care enough about different car makes to be able to decipher which one.
After shouting bye to Charlie, and that I would see him tomorrow, Alice had me in the car and we were speeding away from the house, gathering speed, driving in the direction of Port Angeles.