Author's Notes: This ficlet is written from Emibella's prompt on LiveJournal for the LGBT FicFest. A special thanks to my beta - siDEADde.
Prompt: Alice sees a premonition that Jessica is in some sort of danger and begins to watch her more closely. The more she digs, the more she finds out about an intimate connection between the two of them.
Disclaimer: I own nada.
One Day, Walking, I Awaken by Smellyia
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I intended to be ~ Douglas Adams
Alice followed, helpless, in the steps of the victim. Any identifying landmarks remained blurry as the pace quickened. Alice panted as the girl did, clutched the bag at her side as the girl did and resolved to stop and fight when the girl did. She knew it was a vision, but more tangible than any other she ever had. The girl turned on the spot, hands curling around the mace securely in the front pocket of the vintage paisley purse.
The late hour and fog left nothing of the moonlight and the lampposts flickered an inadequate amber glow. It had been a long time since the girl crumbled under real fear. In the years that had past, she'd learned a thing or two about what to give away to any adversary. Fear prickled up their spines, each stabbing step forcing another churn of an already sick stomach.
Facing her foe, she asked, "Why do you keep following me?"
In a voice full of rage, full of anguish, full of fear, a dark form answered, "Because I have to."
Unable to stop herself, Alice pushed forward with the intention of blocking the girl from whomever meant her harm. Instead, she only managed to push herself to the floor from the couch in her family's home. She blinked rapidly in an effort to reorient herself. Only a vision. A vision that changed the course of her life.
A closet only can hold so much. Shirts, shoes, pants and dresses take up space in large quantities. No amount of organization can make up for the spatially challenged. Alice made a mental note to discuss with Esme any renovation options of the small flat in the near future.
The flat, more like a studio rather than the grandeur she had been used to in the past, sits in the heart of the Corona Heights district of San Francisco's affluent elite. Alice has called it home for the last five years, ever since she figured out her vision took place in San Francisco, but she has recently found a reason beyond the vision to stay. The reason: Jessica Stanley.
The same Jessica Stanley who twelve years prior, played the role of twittering girl slightly jealous of Bella, but too sweet to actually be malicious. The girl who ran after the castoffs of the former Ms. Swan. The Jessica Stanley who went to UC Berkeley with dreams of escaping her monotonous life in Forks. The Jessica Stanley who was neither as stupid nor trite as the Cullens in their stratified view of people believed her to be. The same Jessica Stanley who now works for a Fortune 500 company for a day job, plays in the city wilds with other west coast Sex and the City counterparts on her free nights and only vaguely remembers Alice Cullen as an odd, but beautiful duck from a teenage existence better left forgotten.
Alice huffs in frustration tossing aside yet another shirt that cost more than the average city-dweller's weekly grocery list. Her cell phone goes off somewhere in the background, but she ignores it. She did not see the call coming. It's been years since the visions came concisely and frequently. If they were touchy in nature before, they are positively unreliable now. But Alice did not need a vision to tell her who would say hello back if she chose to answer. The options are few.
A black t-shirt, plain except for the pseudo vest accoutrement in the front lies on top of the ever-growing pile of clothes. She grabs it out of sheer frustration and pulls it over her head. The cell phone tinkles, telling Alice she has a new voicemail. It could be Bella calling to ask the casual how goes it (My husband, your meddlesome brother, put me up to this – again.), but no doubt it's Esme to hedge around the big elephant in their proverbial room, or even Rosalie. Now Rosalie wouldn't be too bad as she is blunt and cares not for elephants.
After slipping on a pair of fitted black jeans, Alice puts her feet into her favorite purple flats and shoots a cursory glance in the floor-length mirror. She sighs and goes into the living room to grab her phone and wallet, tucking them both into her pockets. She is about to walk out the front door when a thought strikes. This is San Francisco. In April. It's fucking cold here, according to the human senses. Alice shakes her head at the misstep (it has been decades since she was so rattled that she forgot the little tricks a vamp must learn to mingle in humanity), she grabs her favorite coat.
Outside the air is a mélange of California crisp and damp fog. Alice inhales, closes her eyes and pretends to feel invigorated by the cool morning dew in her nostrils. She never regrets becoming a vampire like some of her more militant family members, but every so often, the pull of being human can outweigh her average existence. Not that it's really average in comparison, but to someone who lives it, well subjectivity matters.
The soles of her shoes smack against the pavement as she walks purposefully. Her destination is as set as the horizon in the Golden State. Alice must reach the coffee shop before that inconvenient business of sparkling (profuse sweating if looking from a distance) could become issue. Honestly, in this town, Alice could probably get away with it – just blame the makeup lady at the MAC counter. These progressive folk would buy it, but she doesn't want to push her luck. She has just found what she had been searching for and starting over again is no option.
Alice approaches the little café where she spends her days and unlocks the back door. She walks in and removes her jacket only to replace it with an unflattering brown apron with the shop's logo on the front. She pins a badge on that says ALICE and snickers at the triviality of it all. She spends more money a week on shoes than what she gets in her paycheck. She does it all because in precisely forty-six minutes, Jessica Stanley will walk through that door and order a nonfat vanilla latte.
Jessica walks into her favorite coffee shop, partially due to its convenient location across the street from her office, a whole ten minutes early this morning. On any other day, the extra ten minutes of sleep could have been useful, however, today, she just felt like getting on with it. With what, she is not sure as of yet, but there is a feeling niggling the back of her brain, a moment of Déjà Vu one could say. Perhaps the feeling is the memory of a dark haired girl she saw scurrying (yes, like a rat) to the back of the shop each time she enters. Jessica is at a loss for any idea why, but she feels the pull to see the girl's face grow stronger with each almost-meeting.
As Alice stares at her reflection in the glass of the double-swing doors, her mind wanders to how she got to such a demeaning place. It does not seem like it has been so long that Jasper packed his small army rucksack and walked out of the Cullens' lives. She knew the lifestyle had been difficult on him, but she always thought he would stay – if only out of love for her. Alice snorts at her own naïveté. She now knows love is not the tie that binds. She is still unsure what exactly that tie is, but the vision she experienced five years ago has been her only bond with any real emotion. As she researched, remembered and finally fell into complete obsession with the vision, her link to Jasper broke and a new one formed. He left the day he felt the rope knot around Alice's heart for another, the day she figured out San Francisco would be her new home. She has not heard from him since and she still curses herself for not seeing his inevitable departure. It is the vision's fault. It's destroyed more than her and Jasper, but also her premonitions. But her family would only blame the obsession if asked.
Alice tries to arrange the black spikes one might call hair into some semblance of organization. The disarray is not as becoming as it is on her brother, and she sighs in frustration. Jessica's hair laid flat, smooth, silky - perfect on each occasion she saw her. If Alice could grow hers out…but she cannot. She also cannot hide the fact that her skin is still as wrinkle-free as it was twelve years ago. Her hips still fit snugly in low slung jeans, lacking that roundness a woman obtains as she matures. Her face is that of a child. Her breasts are those of a girl. She died at nineteen and will forever have the body of such. She cannot hide the fact of the matter, especially from someone who knew her when she was supposed to be that age.
It is times like these that Alice regrets her change. She used to think that nothing could make her feel like being human was a superior circumstance, but then she never faced the fear of speaking to someone like Jessica between such lengthy intervals. Alice wonders as she looks to the clock how shocking seeing her would be to Jessica. Would the girl, woman, whose eyes had deepened, voice calmed from its shrillness, fingers still tucked the errant lock of hair behind her ear, be happy to see an old schoolmate? Would Jessica forget the Cullen condescension, Alice's supposed weird persona, the boyfriend Jasper used to be? Would Jessica scream and run from the blatant truth of perpetual youth staring her before her face? Alice cannot help but to ponder these things as the bell on the door chimes and she turns to face her first customer of the day.
Jessica's mouth hangs open. Before her, with a smile she has never forgotten, stands none other than Alice Cullen. Of the Forks' Cullens. Of the family who thought themselves too fucking good to mingle with the ordinary folk in town. That is, until Bella Swan showed up in her beat up red pumpkin looking for her glass slipper.
She remembers those days acutely, the confusion that riddled her teen existence. Jessica has no wish to relive the derision again, not when she had finally found her place with people who understand her. A place where she no longer hides.
Until today. Today, standing in front of Jessica in all her glory is Alice Fucking Cullen. One of the six who reminded her daily that not only was her person not welcome, she also lacked on the surface. Jessica clamps her mouth shut, inhaling to stamp down the bubble of old insecurities threatening to break free from their locked prison.
Jessica lifts her chin. "Hello Alice."
Alice blinks three times, but besides that small movement, she is a statue. Her smiled faded after recognition set in. No emotion passes her face and today her eyes are black pools, not the gold she knew they could be. There is a menacing quality to her stare. Jessica notices that there is an imperceptible lack of breathing on Alice's part. She stays silent, staring; thinking the need to breathe will spurn Alice to talk, move, inhale.
It is then that Jessica takes full measure. Alice is still pale. Her features still remind her of a wood nymph. The mischievous beauty has not faded, but intensified with the searching sorrow emanating from her eyes. She looks just as she did at seventeen.
It is not natural.
Alice blinks, but cannot do any of the other little human functions that draw attention away from suspicion. She cannot move. From afar, Jessica seemed so insubstantial, as mythical as the pot of leprechaun's gold only fools chase. Now that she is close enough to touch, Alice is stunned into disbelief at her actual existence.
Faint from memory, but powerful from the years of yearning this mystery, Jessica's scent reaches Alice's nostrils. It is salty like the sea, fresh like the air at La Push, succulent like pomegranate. Alice stops herself from snarling, but the feral twitch in her lips and low growl that escapes proves menacing to Jessica. She steps back from Alice, fear flooding her eyes.
"What the fuck? Are you growling?"
"Wait, Jessica," pleads Alice. She reaches out to her, snapped into action. "Please. This isn't how I wanted you to see me."
"See you? You knew I live here? You've been watching me? What the fuck?" Jessica backs up further, hands shaking.
"No, it's not like that. I just…just, well….um…"
"You aren't doing a very convincing job of persuading me that you aren't a stalker. And the way you look, what the hell is that about?!" As Jessica's voice starts to rise, the shrillness from childhood returns. This time it alarms Alice rather than annoys.
"Don't be afraid. Please don't be-"
Jessica cuts Alice off, "Afraid? Shit, you show up here, working in a coffee shop, like I don't know your family has more money than Croesus, and tell me in this weird round about manner that you've been watching me. Nevermind that you don't look like you've aged a day in twelve years. I don't know any plastic surgeons who do that good of work. And to be honest, you being so close to me now makes me think in hindsight how off you and your family really were back in high school. I was just too distracted to notice it. Now what the fuck, are you doing here growling at me?"
Alice knows if she could cry, now would be the moment. Frustration sets in and while she has been living with the feeling since her visions became cloudy, Alice never learned to deal with it. In this respect, she will always be the teenager.
Balling her fists, Alice tries to force calm into her rushed words. "I'vebeenprotectingyou."
Jessica looks at her confounded. "Are you serious? What makes you think I need protection? And really, I'm more likely to take down Alexander's army before you could."
Alice snorts at the image, but will not be deterred. "I saw it. You're going to need my help."
"I don't want it."
"I don't have a choice."
"No one is holding a gun to your head."
Alice mutters, "Wouldn't matter if they did."
"What was that?"
"Nothing. Just please give me a chance."
Jessica looks closely at Alice, narrowing her eyes. She remains silent for seconds that stretch into an eternity for Alice.
Alice opens her mouth to protest, but Jessica holds her hand up.
"It's taken me a long time to escape the confused child and leave her where she belongs – in Forks. I don't go home because my parents can't or won't – I'm not quite sure – accept me for who I am. I don't wave a rainbow flag, but I also don't chase after the boys I'm suppose to find my happily ever after with. You embody so much of that time that just seeing you reminds me of that mixed up feeling. I know myself now and you are just another reminder of when I didn't. So please, leave me to my life."
"But you won't have a life if you don't let me protect you."
"Okay, so say your vision is true. Say it is and I die tomorrow," Alice sucks in an unneeded breath as Jessica sneers the word vision, sickness settling in the pit of her stomach at the thought. Her heart shatters again into a thousand pieces without the understanding of why. "If I died, it's not because you decreed it so, it's because it was my time. I can deal with that because finally after a decade I know myself. Can you say the same? Chasing after someone for whom you only spared fleeting derision a dozen years ago?" Alice is taken aback.
"I thought not," Jessica turns without waiting for an answer, bumping into the second customer of Alice's day on her way out.
Alice stands there stunned. There are no words for this in her mind, just as there were no words when the vision of Jessica initially came or when Jasper accused her of shifting her emotions in another direction. She didn't believe Jasper then about her need to protect a person being more than just a humanitarian act. She didn't believe her family reiterating the same sentiments as she packed to move to San Francisco. She didn't believe her own heart shattering just seconds before.
Weeks pass by and Alice stays in her apartment. She does not return to the coffee shop and her eyes have turned to coal. Her body occasionally convulses when she attempts to move, which is odd because she thought she would be set in a rigor mortis-like state during any extended starvation. She doesn't see even fleeting glimpses of any future anymore. Just black.
Her phone has rang ninety-six times. She does not answer the ninety-seventh on this evening. She knows it will not be Jessica on the other end because the number is not listed. Her home is not dark. The moon when in its brighter phases as it is tonight, casts a glow. She does not need this light to see from the corner of the room she has chosen, but it is helpful. Alice pulls her knees to her chest and lays her head on them, determined to stay in this spot until her heart heals from the unknown injury.
It is not long that she is in this position when a knock interrupts the silence. She didn't even hear footsteps before with her amplified hearing and convinces herself it is nothing but a figment. She does not move from her spot. There is rattling coming from the entrance of her apartment, but before Alice can register this in fact is real, her front door is pushed open with such a force, the hinges break. Alice lifts her head barely and sees the fuzzy outline of someone. She is still unsure of this actually happening as her sharpness of senses has faded in her starvation.
Alice feels a shaking, but barely hears her name being called. She is gathered in the arms of another and hangs limply; allowing whoever it is to angle open her mouth and pours warm liquid in it. She sputters a bit, but as the thick solution trickles down her throat, greediness takes over. Primordial need predominates. Alice snarls and pulls at the arms holding her sustenance. She sucks and swallows until there is nothing left. Another bag replaces the empty and the process repeats until she is satiated.
Alice, conscious thought returning, lets the arms go of her provider. She hangs her head for a moment before looking up into the eyes of her sister. "Rosalie."
"What the fuck?"
Alice flinches at the phrase, so reminiscent of the conversation that brought her to this state. "I'm sorry."
"Dammit," Rosalie snarls. She lifts up Alice and brings her to the bedroom, depositing her on the bed. "What the hell happened here?"
Alice squeezes her eyes shut and curls up on the bed before she whispers, "I don't know."
Alice opens her eyes, sits up and stares at Rosalie's impressive form. "It is not bullshit. You don't understand."
"I understand enough to know that while it's rare you answer our calls, you never go this long without iany/i communication." Rosalie sighs and sits down next to Alice. "What happened?"
"She found me."
"She? You mean the girl in the vision? That's good right? I mean you came all this way and she found you! Talk about luck."
"No, I tracked her here awhile ago. I've been keeping watch, but she found me out. It's Jessica Stanley."
Rosalie stares at Alice, dumbfounded. She has a thousand questions rushing through her mind and cannot find one to grasp on so she commands Alice to tell her everything. "Start from the beginning."
And Alice did. The very beginning. Her family knew of the vision, but Alice didn't think anyone knew of the whole picture. She told Rosalie about how her visions had been cloudy at best and how the day she told Jasper she had to move to San Francisco, he accused her of her emotions going beyond duty. She told Rosalie about how life had been lonely, but so much more purposeful after she came here and took her strategically placed job. She told Rosalie all about Jessica; how her hair fell, the flowing skirts she preferred, her European knotted scarves, how she stood a bit straighter and how in a tank top, Jessica's angular shoulders were incomparable. She told Rosalie how she smelled the day they stood face to face. She relived the conversation with Jessica. She told Rosalie how since that day, she no longer understood her own heart.
Rosalie is quiet during this confession, this purge. She doesn't look sympathetic, but her face is not harsh in disapproval. She lets Alice finish and when her shoulders shake from tearless sobs, Rosalie simply puts an arm around her. She waits for stillness to reach Alice again before speaking.
"Do you love her?" asks Rosalie.
Alice jerks, "What do you mean do I love her?"
"I cannot make the question any clearer and the last time I checked, you were in possession of all your faculties. Do you love her?"
"I feel protective of her."
"I am of the mind to think that simple protection does not include working in a coffee shop because it is convenient for stalking. Protection does not inspire weeks of starvation and complete breakdown. Protecting someone does not include your heart feeling like a Mack truck ran it over. So let me ask you again, do you love her?"
Alice looked down and said nothing, but nodded.
Patting Alice's back Rosalie said, "There, that was easy now wasn't it?"
"But I don't understand."
"What's there to understand? All this comes from one vision you had years ago. It changed you and at least you've gotten this far. Not everyone is that lucky."
"None of this makes sense."
"It's love dumbass, it's not supposed to."
"But how do I know if she'll even listen to me? I scared the shit out of her."
"Well, think on it. We've got the time." Rosalie smiled at her sister.
After a few days of feeding up Alice and making lists of all the necessary places to pit stop on a much needed shopping trip, Rosalie is ready to forcefully accompany Alice out. Even after her newfound revelation, it has not been easy for Alice to accept the truth of her feelings. Patience is not a friend of Rosalie's.
As the sun goes down one evening, Rosalie saunters out of the bedroom looking like she is dressed for a night on the town. Alice is in tired grey sweats. Rosalie arches her eyebrow and Alice sniffs.
"You think I'm joking?"
"I think you're delusional."
"You can get dressed or I can call Edward. Take your pick."
Alice's mouth gapes open. "You wouldn't dare."
"He can be here in a matter of hours, but I think you'd probably prefer to figure this out without the whole family hanging over your shoulder."
"I'm supervising. Big difference. Are you going to get dressed?"
Rosalie smirks at Alice's back as she stomps into the bedroom. She hears the shower turn on and sits down with a magazine, pleased that the first step of her plan is working out.
An hour later Alice sits opposite Rosalie in, of all places, a lounge. There are perfumed people everywhere drinking concoctions meant to stimulate their inner deviants. Most wore that day's work clothes; ties pulled loosely, blazers unbuttoned. The lighting is dim and the thumping of the music is loud. People shout over one another to say trivial things, but Alice does not need her super-hearing or Edward's mind reading capabilities to know what their words mean. All anyone wants in this room is a bit of love in its many variations: the kind that comes with rings, the kind that stops your heart then fades, the kind that lasts only hours amid a tangle of sheets and sweat. Men and women alike, that's the music to their verbal dances.
Alice looks at Rosalie pointedly. Her sister is distracted and suspicion starts to creep up Alice's neck. Rosalie is never distracted. "Are you looking for someone?"
Rosalie snaps her attention back to Alice. "No, why would you ask?" she answers, her voice a measure too high.
Alice knows there is something up. She is about to prod Rosalie further as the door to the lounge opens and the breeze it brings carries the scent of ocean and pomegranate. Alice stops, stunned, and grinds her teeth. "I can't fucking believe you."
Rosalie looks like an angel, all smiles and serenity. Alice wants to punch her face, but is too distracted by the sight of Jessica flipping her hair back as she walks directly to their table and sits at the empty seat. Rosalie's grin turns Cheshire, Alice's face pales (if that is possible) and Jessica is fidgeting. A waitress stops by at the table before the women can mutter their greetings. Jessica is the only one who orders a drink. Alice and Rosalie already have their props. The waitress brings Jessica's order, whiskey and ginger ale. They remain silent. Rosalie's smile is still in place when she cuts the silence with her voice.
"We won't bite you."
Alice's face turns horrified. Jessica, who is taking a sip of her drink, chokes, dribbling whiskey onto her chin. Alice, with inhuman reflexes, offers her a napkin. Rosalie just laughs.
"Let us cut the shit, shall we? Jessica has agreed to come meet us under the express understanding that we stop lying to her."
"I never lied!" claims Alice.
Rosalie waves off Alice.
"Okay fine. Withhold information then. The point is, she is well aware of all the events that have brought us here to this juncture," Alice's alarmed look does not stop Rosalie, "Since you have inadvertently exposed us with your impromptu meeting Alice, I decided it was in all of our best interests to explain to her what the deal is with the express understanding she keeps her mouth shut."
"I cannot believe you of all people Rosalie. With Bella you were such a-"
"With Bella I was an idiot. Not that my feelings have changed in the matter, but I have learned since that there are better ways for our family to deal with distasteful situations such as these."
"Which do not include killing me correct?" The focus shifted to Jessica, whom the sisters almost forgot.
"As easy as that would be, I fear Alice here would not be pleased."
Jessica does not look convinced, but she takes it all in stride. The rest of their meeting goes by dominated with Rosalie's questioning. She asks Jessica what transpired for her since college - got a job, if she ever visits home - why? and whether or not she was dating anybody - not at the moment. Alice is quiet for the duration, only kicking Rosalie under the table when questioning Jessica about her love life. It is not until the end that Jessica gets the nerve to ask Alice about her vision.
"Why do you think this person is me in your vision? I mean from everything Rosalie has said, it doesn't seem like you got an accurate identity."
"I can't really answer that. I just have a feeling and when I first saw you here, it all just clicked into place."
"That's an awful large cliff to leap blind don't you think?"
"No. My visions may not be reliable anymore, but this I just know."
Jessica nods her head, skepticism still evident in her eyes. "Alright. I need some time to process this all." She downs the rest of her drink and stands up. Alice's stomach clenches. "Um, I guess I'll see you two around?"
Alice is ready to jump to her feet and beg Jessica to stay. Rosalie puts an arm on her shoulder. "Yes, we'll see you around. Thanks for meeting Alice and I. Take care."
Jessica looks at Alice hard before turning and walking out of the lounge.
The next evening, Alice is still annoyed at her sister. Rosalie seems unperturbed and as they shop along the expensive shops in Union Square, she hums her buyer's adrenaline tune. Alice does not join her in stimulating the economy or celebrating her philanthropic expenditures.
"I still can't believe you did that."
"Broken records should be trashed Alice."
"I mean really, I could have handled this myself."
"Yes, rocking in the corner was definitely part of the plan."
"I don't interfere in your love life."
"Mine's not a fucking mess."
Alice opens then shuts her mouth, knowing there is no winning an argument here. Thankfully, Rosalie's attention is drawn by a large red sign – H&M. It is a huge department store overflowing with all manner of clothes. It is also loud and filled with vicious consumers. Any other time Alice could be counted amongst them, but not tonight.
"You go in. I'll meet you out here."
Without a second glance, Rosalie enters the throng of people looking for just the right pair of pants. Alice leans up against the side of the building, looking more like a wayfaring child rather than a posh San Franciscan. She closes her eyes and lets her senses take in the city.
Sewage and industrial metal intermingle with the sweat of humanity. She can hear the heartbeats of every mother, child, worker, and bum on the street. False prophets stand on the corners preaching about the apocalypse next to street artists peddling their wares – "Buy one get one free!"
Alice loves it all she realizes. The smell is her ambrosia and the sounds are music. They invade her mind and keep the demons of her past lives at bay. Progress, salvation, and death surround her in this place and she would have it no other way. The quiet trees of Forks and Jasper's safe arms never embraced her so thoroughly or made her dead body feel so alive.
She is taking in the city so intently that when a sweet trace of berry with all the acidic tinge of a lemon evoking Mediterranean nights reaches her nose, she almost misses it. Her eyes snap open and her body tenses. She knows Jessica is near and there is no willpower not to follow where the smell takes her.
Pushing through people, assaulted by each person's smell, Alice fights her way down the crowded sidewalk. She moves quickly, progressing in speed. She bumps into pedestrians left and right, but when they turn to give the rude walker a what-for, they see nothing. Alice is moving too fast for them to ever see her. The scent gets stronger and Alice pushes harder. A glimpse ahead of a paisley purse and long brown hair encourages her. She gets a sense of déjà vu and knows this is the moment. This is the scene she was a part of so long ago. This is the night where Alice is meant to change the future.
Jessica turns down a side alley off of union square. She walks the streets of San Francisco in the dark frequently. There is never a time she feels scared - until tonight.
Furtive glances behind her reveal no one following, but there is an aura of danger that is almost tangible. She expects dramatic smoke to sweep over the ground any moment to set the scene, but knows paranoia is making her imagination overactive.
Thinking herself just paranoid does not stop Jessica from increasing her pace and clutching her new purse to her side as a sort of talisman. She cannot hear footsteps behind her, but she knows someone is there. Life flashes before her: pining for the attention of Newton because she thought she should, leaving Forks and feeling freedom for the first time as she drove south on the highway, realizing it was not her roommate's brother who caught her eye, but the roommate herself, taking that first dive and placing her lips on the lips of a girl, never looking back since - until now.
Jessica stops, curls her hand around her mace and turns under the flickering street lamps to face her assailant. She notes the fog has indeed moved in. There is no moon, but as the person she knew lurked in the shadows came into the light, Jessica is not surprised.
"Why are you following me?"
"Because I have to." Alice's voice did not tinkle as it normally does in Jessica's ears. She can feel the girl's – no vampire's – pain in the grating tone of her raspy voice.
Jessica drops her hand holding the mace. She walks over to Alice and stands inches from her. She is unafraid. "Is this what you saw?"
"Yes, but I didn't understand it before now."
"Are we in danger?"
Alice's face crumbles into something akin to laughter and sobs. It startles Jessica as she is not used to lunatic vampires and no matter how cute they are, there is no guarantee who they'll have for dinner. Jessica reevaluates being brave. She stays silent and sends a questioning look to Alice as the laughter subsides.
"Don't worry. I just am so stupid. I can't believe all this time I thought…but it was all wrong. It was always me and you. I was meant to find you." Alice looks at Jessica with so much emotion and she is overrun with the pull of the feeling emanating from Alice.
"For a mythical creature, you're odder than I even thought."
Alice chuckles, chiming again. "I am very real Jessica." Alice reaches for her hand and gently grasps it. There is a frisson of heat that traverses through her body, no matter the chill her palm is now exposed to. Jessica reaches up and puts her other hand to Alice's cheek and they stare, searching for what they've both been seeking.
Jessica takes in all of Alice; her fluent alabaster skin virtually glowing in the night, her unchanged hair, her perfectly proportioned lips, her girl's body that's sustained a lifetime, her mesmerizing gold eyes. It all invites her in, perfect for a predator, and Jessica never felt so safe. "I see how very real you are Alice."