DISCLAIMER: my plot, SM's characters and backstory…sadly…
A/N: This is the story of "the great cape incident of 2015" as referenced in Chapter 9 of Black Friday Alice Cullen Style. Obviously, post Breaking Dawn, Alice and Bella POVs.
The great cape incident of 2015
I was so excited, it was Nessie's first Prom and we were finally going dress shopping. I had been planning this for years, but wanted to wait until this year to find the perfect dress of the latest style. Luckily, she was much more into fashion than her mother, so she was actually excited about the prospect of shopping for a new dress. The only reason Bella was even going was because Nessie was; normally she just made me pick something out for her while I went by myself.
I was driving, with Nessie sitting in the front seat anxious to get to the shopping and Bella glumly sulking in the back. Rose already had her dress, and didn't care to spend time with grumpy Bella, so she went hunting with the boys.
"Uh, Alice, isn't the mall the other direction?" Bella spoke up from the backseat as I turned onto the highway.
"Silly Bella, we aren't going to be able to find Nessie's first prom dress at some backwater mall store. This is the way to the airport. I thought it was obvious that we would be going to Milan." For my best friend, Bella didn't really know me that well sometimes. I shook my head; shopping at the mall! She is crazy!
"MILAN! As in ITALY! Are you CRAZY?? Turn this car around RIGHT NOW!" Bella looked pretty angry in the backseat, but my vision of the three of us strolling through the fashion district in Milan was still rock solid. I couldn't always see Nessie, but I was getting better over time. So when visions with her were so clear, I knew there was no doubt that they'd come true. I sped up; I didn't want to miss our flight.
"Calm down Bella, we are going to have a great time, I've seen it." I tapped my head to remind her.
"Yeah, please Mom? I want to have a cutting edge dress, this is important to me." Nessie reached back and rested her hand on Bella's, undoubtedly showing her how happy she'd be in a super fancy designer dress on the day of the prom.
Bella slumped back in her seat, giving in to our plans. "Fine, but I'm not going in some sort of couture costume. Not after that bridesmaids dress you made me wear for your last wedding Alice." She crossed her arms and looked out the window for the rest of the ride.
I thought briefly about the dress she was referring to; perhaps it had been a little over the top. A few too many feathers and beads for the small town wedding we were trying to pull off. Sure, Bella and Rose looked amazing, but not everyone there could appreciate the whole look. "Okay, no couture. But that doesn't count out new styles, just as long as they are available in regular shops, right?"
"Yes, as long as it is available for normal people to buy, I will consider it."
We had arrived at the airport; I parked in the short-term lot since we would be returning that evening. We walked quickly toward the international terminal after I pulled out three empty carryon suitcases from the trunk and passed them out, along with passports and tickets.
"You always come prepared, don't you Alice?" Nessie was still amazed when I managed to have the perfect thing for a situation available exactly when needed. After all the years with the rest of my family taking it for granted, it was nice to impress someone for a change.
"Well, we could have bought suitcases over there, but I saw how much your mom would have protested to the wasteful spending, so I figured we might as well be prepared." I sighed lightly; I had really been looking forward to new luggage. Now I was going to have to talk Jasper into taking a trip with me somewhere so I could have another excuse.
"Pardon me for trying to teach my daughter the value of a dollar. With the way we spend money in this family, she is never going to learn to be fiscally responsible. You can't know what situations will happen in the future where that will be important for her. Plus, that kind of stuff just makes her look like a spoiled rich kid to the rest of the students at school and I don't want to put her through that right away. It is inevitable in the long run with our family, but I truly want us to make an effort for her first trip through high school." Bella glared at me, repeating back the argument that I've heard countless times.
Nessie took my hand, and showed me how happy she was just spending time with the two of us. "I agree with Mom, Alice. I mean, I don't actually think I'm in danger of becoming irresponsible, but the perception is something I could deal without if possible this time around. Thanks for understanding." She also showed me girls in school whispering to each other when she walked in the first day decked out in designer clothes with a Hermes backpack. Oh, that explained why she wanted a new backpack; I thought it was awfully silly of her to worry about it getting ruined, she should have known I would have bought her another.
"You should have told me Ness. You know I can't see your future very clearly, I had no idea what was going on. Are you sure you don't just want to go to Macy's and pick something up from the sale rack?" I looked up at her and fluttered my lashes; I knew she wouldn't make me do that, but I wanted her to know that her happiness was truly all that mattered.
"Silly Alice, I don't really care anymore! That was two years ago, and we all know those girls are jealous skanks anyway. Everyday school is one thing, prom is a whole different story; I want the best damn dress there is for this thing. I want Jake to be proud to have me on his arm." She grabbed me with one hand and Bella with the other, still holding her suitcase and dragged us to the terminal.
Bella growled lightly at the mention of Jake. "He better be proud of you no matter what you're wearing."
"Mom! Honestly, you guys need to get over this. I think Dad is handling it better than you at this point. Are you jealous or something?" Nessie was showing us both her memories of when the family explained to her Bella and Jake's relationship prior to her birth. I giggled, having seen exactly how this would play out. Bella didn't take it quite as well. She ripped her hand out of Nessie's grasp and stood absolutely still, staring her daughter down.
"Renesmee Carlie Cullen. Did you just imply that I was jealous of Jake's relationship with you? Because that sounds an awful lot like 'no Mom, I don't want to get a fancy dress in Italy for the Prom, in fact, I don't want to go to the Prom at all' to me. It also sounds very similar to 'yes Mom, eating only human food for a year would be a wonderful experience for me.' Did I hear you correctly young lady?" If looks could kill, Nessie would have been a smoldering pile of ashes at that point. I slowly dropped her hand and backed away, letting the mother/daughter bonding moment continue without interruption. It would be much more entertaining this way.
Nessie started backing up herself, having rarely incurred Bella's wrath in this way. Lucky for her, she though quickly on her feet, a talent that she was blessed with from her father. "N-no Mom, I was just joking! Chillax! Of course I know that isn't true. I know you are just protective of me, no matter who my boyfriend is. I just get frustrated sometimes because most girls don't have to deal with so much baggage when it comes to their parents accepting their boyfriends; and most boyfriends aren't as deeply and unconditionally committed and as capable of protecting as Jake is in the first place!"
Bella pulled Nessie into a tight hug, stroking her hair lightly. "I know sweetie, it is a lot to deal with. We are doing the best we can, but it is tough. I'm glad you can understand the uniqueness of the situation, and I'm sorry that you have to go through all this. In a few more years all of this awkwardness will just be funny memories for us to rehash at parties. Now, just because you don't have to eat it as punishment for a year doesn't mean you can't eat any human food. I know how much you love those giant cupcakes at the coffee shop in the International terminal. Let's go get one of those before we board the plane."
I walked back over and gave Nessie a quick hug. Bella had let her go to grab the suitcases and was leading our small parade through the crowds to the security line. Nessie showed me her whole plan as we made our way to the First Class line, and I couldn't help but chuckle as the images flashed past me.
Nessie getting Bella to feel guilty, using the previous conversation to really drive the sentiment home.
Nessie and I talking Bella into getting a more unique dress than she felt comfortable with, promising we'd also wear dresses of a similar fashion.
Nessie and I conveniently finding ways to NOT wear the unusual accessory at the last minute, but forcing Bella to.
Bella being the center of attention at the Prom with her designer dress, decidedly not happy with the two of us.
Really, we let Nessie spend much too much time with Emmett. At least it appeared that the outcome was simply that all the girls were jealous over the trendiness of Bella's dress, not that she looked ridiculous. However, she hated being the center of attention for any reason. I checked the future and saw it all happening just how Nessie had it planned; it looked as though I was going to have to give in to some of Bella's fashion demands to make amends for this. It was totally going to be worth it when it was all over with!
We made it through security without any problems and soon enough we were in the air, headed toward Milan. I was bouncing in my seat with excitement; I couldn't wait to start trying on dresses!
Honestly, the things I put myself through for Alice and Nessie. I love them both dearly, but I truly detest shopping. And flying across the Atlantic Ocean for specialty shopping is possibly the worst thing I can think of to do, aside from visiting the Volturi – although that might be a toss up. Thank goodness I am fluent in Italian now; at least I won't let Alice talk me into something ridiculous because she is stretching the truth in her translation.
We got off the plane and made our way to the car Alice had waiting for us; obviously, she had this well planned. The two of them were chatting about colors and fabrics as we made our way through the city streets. I tuned them out and thought some more about the discussion Nessie and I had in the airport. Edward and I often talked about the challenges that Nessie had to face compared with a mortal child; I wished that there was a way for her to experience a normal life on occasion. Surely flying to Italy to pick out a prom dress was far from normal, but if she had to endure all the negatives of our lifestyle, she might as well be allowed to enjoy the positives. I decided to fully engage in the shopping trip and make sure she had a wonderful time planning for her first prom.
"So, what colors do you have in mind Ness? I know Jake always loves when you wear pink – although I'm not sure why. I always think blue complements your complexion the best."
"He finds it ironic when I wear pink, he loves the idea of me wearing something so feminine since I am so NOT feminine in so many other ways. I think I will look for something pink and frilly, as long as it doesn't look too wrong on me." I carefully scrutinized my daughter, taking in her physical traits: taller than most women, stronger than virtually anyone besides our family members, confidence radiating from her in everything she does. Even the grace with which she walked was laced with power, giving the impression of an elite athlete as opposed to the runway model that Rosalie always reminded me of.
"I can definitely see the irony there. If pink and frilly is what you want, pink and frilly is what you will get. Come on Alice, lead us to the pink and frilly store!" I jumped out of the car as it pulled over to the side of the road, presumably at our first destination. While I was still unenthusiastic about finding a dress myself, I was beginning to become excited about helping my daughter find her perfect dress.
"I know just where to go, of course. It is just up this alley, it won't take very long to get there. I think we'll find everything we need there." Alice shared a knowing look with Nessie; I must have missed something when I was tuned out during the ride here. I better make sure Alice is going to be buying Nessie some kind of fancy lingerie for underneath the dress; I don't think Edward will be able to handle that just yet.
We weaved in and out of the other pedestrians and their umbrellas; of course, it was raining off and on all day, so we were safe from the sun. When we rounded the corner as we exited the alley, the first thing I noticed was a window full of mannequins wearing brilliantly shimmering capes. I giggled as they reminded me of a row of vampires, lined up and sparkling in the sun; exactly what we would have looked like if the sun had decided to grace us with its presence in that moment. "You know, if we had capes like this, we could almost blend in if we got caught in the sun, at least for a moment or two." I was still pondering the possibilities when Alice dragged me into the store.
"That's probably true. And they have every color possible; maybe we can each get one to match our dresses!" My supposedly mature daughter was jumping up and down and clapping her hands at the thought. Alice grabbed her and dragged her over toward the backof the store.
"Calm down Nessie! There is plenty of time to find our matching accessories. First, you need a dress. Now, you just go into the dressing room and your mother and I will bring in everything we can find we think you'll like. Bella, you get the dresses you think will look good on her, try and find some pink and frilly ones too. I'll focus on what my visions show and the more unusual options for all three of us." Alice was pointing in all directions and talking so fast that I could barely understand her. Instantly, three salespeople were following us, juggling all the dresses that Alice was tossing to them. After about 5 minutes, I noticed a trend in her tosses and realized each person's pile represented potential dresses for one of us. So I started adding to their piles for Nessie and me. I didn't even bother wasting time on Alice, she would certainly be able to find her perfect dress all on her own. After 10 more minutes, Alice led our makeshift parade into the dressing room, where we found Nessie relaxing in a cushy robe, sipping on some champagne.
"Champagne? Just make sure you'll be fine for the flight home." Nessie knew her limits, thanks to Emmett's experimentations on the rare occasions we allowed him to babysit.
"Thanks mom. I'll be fine, don't worry. Now, let's get this fashion show on the road!" She grabbed a couple of dresses from her pile and slid into her dressing room. Alice and I followed along and soon we began to draw quite a crowd of both customers and salespeople as we strutted our stuff through the dressing area with each new dress we tried on.
Several hours and hundreds of laughs later, we had each picked out our favorite dresses. Alice had decreed that we didn't need to even bother looking at any other stores, so we spent all of our time at Valentino. Of course, even I knew we could simply have gone to Nordstom's to find Valentino in the States, but Alice quickly explained just how wrong I was.
"Sure, we could have done that if we wanted styles from 3 years ago and the same dress as every other high school girl. But Nessie deserves the latest trends, like these capes. Do you think we could have found such a selection in Nordstrom's? We would have been lucky to find one or two." She did have a point. With the selection available in Italy, we were each able to find a cape that matched our dress; although my dress was part of the original cape collection, so it was part of the overall dress design to begin with.
"That's right Aunt Alice. And now we can all match! Do you know what color Aunt Rose's dress is, can we get one for her too?" In that moment, Nessie seemed like the little girl she never really had a chance to be, eager to have something in common with her older family members. I was initially a little hesitant at the whole cape idea, but she seemed so set on all of us matching, I couldn't bear to say no. And since it was part of my dress, it wasn't as obvious, so I wasn't worried about people noticing it as much as they would if it was a stand along accessory.
"Rose's dress is candy apple red, as usual, and I already picked up her cape. Let's go pay for everything and head back to the airport. We only have about an hour to make our flight." Alice motioned to the stack of clothes that the salesperson was carrying toward the counter when she talked about Rose's cape, indicating that it was somewhere in the pile. We followed her, and kept our distance so we had plausible deniability when it came to the total bill; I had no desire to know how much this little expedition cost us, even if we did bring our own luggage.
"Let's help pack the suitcases sweetie. That way we can make sure we have as much time to get to the airport as possible. We can obviously stay here tonight if we need to, but I seem to recall you having a date, right?" Nessie and I moved to the side of the counter, carefully stacking the dresses, shoes, jewelry and capes into the suitcases as Alice paid, all three of us finishing up at the same time. We each took a suitcase and quickly exited the store, walking back down the alley to where the car had dropped us off. As we hit the sidewalk, the car smoothly pulled in to a stop, in the exact place it had dropped us off. I shot Alice a questioning look, and she waved her cell phone. Of course, I must have missed when she called the driver to let him know we were ready to be picked up.
We made it to the airport with 20 minutes to spare, and made it home in plenty of time for Nessie to get ready for her evening with Jacob. If she hadn't slept on the plane, I would have balked at her spending more time out after such a long day, but an 8 hour nap on the plane was plenty of sleep for her. All in all we had been gone for an entire day, but to Alice and I it didn't much matter. Our husbands were out hunting for the weekend anyway, so they got home at roughly the same time we did. When their car pulled into the driveway shortly after we finished unpacking, I complimented my sister on her planning skills.
"Alice, you really do have a knack for planning. I wasn't too excited about this whole Italy trip, but it was a wonderful way to pass the time while the boys were away hunting. Thank you for taking us on such a wonderful trip. I think I might actually enjoy the prom this time around."
"Thanks Bella! I'm glad you had a good time, I just knew you would if you had an open mind. And I think that this is going to be one of the best proms ever!"
BPOV (at the Prom)
"That damn pixie!! She had to have seen this coming, and just stood by and let it all happen. And I have a nagging feeling that my darling daughter has something to do with this as well." I was furious, and currently hiding in the music room at the high school with Edward trying unsuccessfully to calm me down.
"Bella, love, this isn't as bad as it seems. So, you just happened to pick THE hottest dress in the fashion world right now. The way I saw it, you were the one that brought up the capes in the first place." Did I mention he was unsuccessful in trying to calm me down?
"Just whose side are you on? You know better than I do that it was all a set up. I'm sure there is much more to this story than I have figured out yet. But I will figure it out, and you WILL tell me what you know. If you don't, consider yourself part of the punished." He should know better; it was rare that I got this angry, but when I did there was no reasoning with me. Alice must have figured it was worth whatever punishment I will inevitably dole out, so she made her decision with eyes wide open. Nessie, on the other hand, is still young and has too many bad influences around her between Alice, Emmett and Jacob. I'll probably cut her a little slack, but not right now.
"Calm down honey. You heard the photographer, it wasn't more than an hour ago that the Central High prom committee called to cancel and they had to go to the second school on the list. Alice couldn't have known that they would be featuring a photo spread of our Prom in Cosmopolitan magazine and that they would pick you for the cover. She probably just wanted to see all the girls drooling over the dress. Don't be too hard on her. Why don't you demand a reprieve from her shopping dictatorship for a year or something like that? She's feeling really guilty, I'm sure she'll go for it."
"Well, now, that is a good idea. She's never let me off the hook on shopping for very long, but I could use this to my advantage. And the photographer did say I could have editorial input on which picture they use, so at least I can kind of control what gets out there. At least it wasn't Nessie, that definitely would have been worse!" I was starting to see the upside to this ridiculous situation. I really should have gone with my instincts and fled the scene the minute the other girls at the dance flocked to me oohing and aahing over my dress. I was just so reluctanct to miss such an important rite of passage for Nessie, so I stuck it out and tried to ignore all the excited chattering around me. By the time the photographer came in, it was too late to leave. How I, the most fashion challenged in the family, had managed to single handedly pick out the most popular "it" dress of the season, I'll never know. And I can't blame it on Alice or Nessie, because the minute I saw the dress in the shop, I knew it was the one for me. They didn't even have to try and persuade me to buy it. I tried on others just for fun, but I knew immediately that this would be the one.
"Let's go talk to Alice and give her your punishment offer." Edward took me by the hand and led me to where most of our family had gathered outside of the gym.
"Okay Alice, I have an offer for forgiveness. I'll forget this ridiculous evening happened if you don't take me shopping for a whole year, AND I get to pick out my own prom dress next year, by myself and you let me wear it no matter what. How does that sound?" I gave Alice a very serious look as I laid the offer on the table. Everyone around us watched anxiously; it seemed such a silly thing, but these types of negotiations had been known to take hours.
Emmett was walking up the hallway toward us, and had almost reached us when Alice blurted out her answer. "It's a deal. I'll take it. Let's shake on it to make it official." She stuck out her hand, and I was reaching for it when Emmett interrupted us.
"Hey guys, what's going on? I just got back from Central High, man was that place a mess after the 'accident' with the water pipes. Alice, what did they ever do to you that made you want to ruin their prom decorations?" I yanked my hand back from Alice and leveled her with a glare. She glanced around helplessly, as I weighed my options for revenge. She visibly cringed when I briefly decided on having a bonfire using all her luggage and all the couture dresses she'd collected over the years. Finally, I smiled at her and announced my sentence. "Ten years, no shopping. Take it or leave it, and I think you know your other choice." I casually held my hand out to her.
"Absolutely take it! 10 years it is. Thank you Bella for being so understanding. I'm, uh, going to go back to the dance now. C'mon Jasper, they're playing our song." She grabbed my hand in a brief shake and then she and Jasper disappeared into the crowd. Nessie grabbed Jake's hand and tried to follow, but I cut them off first.
"Not so fast young lady. Don't think you are getting off that easy. I'm still thinking about your punishment, but I wouldn't plan on any hunting trips anytime soon, if you catch my drift. But enjoy the rest of your night, we'll talk about it tomorrow." I gave her a quick hug and sent her back to the dance floor.
"Let's go and show them how it's done, shall we love?" I pulled Edward out to the dance floor and let the rest of the room melt away.
A/N: Thanks to all my faithful readers and reviewers. You guys rock my world :) check out the poll on my profile to pick the next tale I do for this story – or just put it in your review or PM me. I already have a few votes for Edward's car getting painted, so that may be next!