A/N: This is probably my first fanfiction in about…hmm…let's see…probably five years. I don't own anything Stephenie Meyer created, and I kind of doubt she'd want to be associated with this particular story anyway
Carlisle was late for the meeting by about a half an hour, and Bella figured that, as a human, the wait would be unbearable. Now, her vampire body sat sweat less and poised in her father-in-law's office, her pale hand on Edward's, waiting for news she was told would "affect the entire family."
"You have to know what this is," Bella said to her silent husband, still visibly impressed with the bells that rang from her voice. "It's not about Renesmee is it? Is she in some kind of trouble? You'd tell me if…"
"It's not Nessie," Edward cut in before Bella could think the rest of her phrase.
Sighing at the butchering of her daughter's name, Bella leaned back in her chair like a human would and pouted lightly. "Well what then? Is Esme okay? Rosalie? Alice?"
From the way Edward stiffened at the mention of the last name, Bella inferred the answer. "Oh no," she said, "did something happen to Alice?"
"You could say that," Edward said gruffly, "but not what you're thinking."
"Edward, Alice is like a sister to me! If you know something, tell me!" Bella shrieked. Even without an accelerating heart rate, Bella still experienced real terror when she felt her loved ones were threatened. "I thought we agreed not to keep things from each other anymore."
This statement brought a guilty expression to Edward's face. "I'm sorry, Bells. It wasn't my idea. Carlisle wanted to be able to explain it to you himself, but it's hard to keep secrets around here. Bella, Alice and Jasper are getting a divorce."
Relief that Alice hadn't fallen to some freakish vampire flu mutation, combined with shock at the unexpected news overcame Bella. "But…Jasper is her soul mate!"
"I know," Edward said, "but apparently that bitch…"
"Edward!" Bella said. She had rarely ever heard her husband swear before, even in battle or at the height of climax he kept his speech mild and proper.
"I'm sorry," he winced, "I meant the original definition; I tend to get my vernacular mixed up sometimes."
"Female dog?" Bella guessed. "Leah? What does Leah have to do with this? Oh god...Jasper isn't sleeping with her is he? He wouldn't, she wouldn't…"
"You're right," Edward said, "but apparently Alice would."
At this point, the office door opened and in-came Carlisle. "Sounds like you got the conversation started without me," he said, though there was no humor in his voice.
"She insisted," Edward said, like a small child accusing a sibling of his own wrongdoing.
Carlisle nodded gravely and took a seat. "It is hard to keep secrets around here, which is why it's so unfortunate when they arise."
"Alice and Jasper love each other," Bella said, "and Leah…Leah's not a lesbian!"
"Leah may not be a lesbian," Carlisle agreed, "and your friend, Jacob isn't a pedophile."
"You mean to tell me that Leah imprinted on Alice?" Bella covered her mouth in shock. When she finally regained composure, she said, "I thought imprinting was about breeding. And lesbians can't breed, so how can they imprint. How can Leah imprint at all?"
"Unfortunately, none of us really knows," Carlisle said, "you two haven't lived with us for a while, so it has been less obvious to you but the connection between them is every bit as intense as Jacob's with Renesmee."
"I don't believe it," Edward huffed, leaning forward in his chair, "it doesn't work like that."
"Edward, please stay seated," Carlisle said, "this hasn't been easy for anyone, especially not for Leah. She had her heartbroken when her boyfriend imprinted on another girl. How do you think she feels doing that to Jasper, taking the woman he loves away from her and knowing she's the reason he's heartbroken?"
"Well it's not her fault though," Bella said softly, "werewolves can't control their imprinting."
"I'm not blaming Leah," Edward said, "but Alice should know what this is doing to Jasper."
"She does," Carlisle said. "They're both going through very difficult times and they need our understanding right now. All of them."
When the meeting adjourned, Bella and Edward decided to talk privately in Edward's old room.
"Are you really homophobic?" Bella asked, a bit surprised that she missed such a central fact about her soul mate.
"Homosexuality," Edward said, "it wasn't done in my time."
"It was always done, people just didn't talk about it," Bella said.
"Even still," Edward said, "I'm just not very comfortable with the idea. If that's what people choose for themselves, that's fine, but I never expected it to hit so close to home."
"And I never expected to marry a vampire," Bella said, "I really don't mean to be overly harsh or anything but you can't really judge lesbians when you're a vampire whose one in a million human-vampire hybrid daughter is probably going to marry a werewolf."
Even though their recent encounter with the Voltouri had taught them that the werewolves weren't really werewolves, the label had stuck.
Edward sighed, and then looked at his feet, "I am sorry Bella. I just never expected my own sister, with a…"
"Please don't call her a dog," Bella said, "I thought we were over that."
"We were," Edward glowered, "until one imprinted on my sister."
"One imprinted on your daughter," Bella said, "the only difference here is that they're lesbians."
"You're not seriously telling me you approve of this?" Edward asked. "You're okay with Alice leaving her husband of over sixty years to be with a teenage girl?"
"I approve of what makes my best girlfriend happy," Bella said, "besides, this is probably hurting her a lot more than it's hurting us."
"Given the circumstances, I'd prefer you didn't call her your best girlfriend anymore," Edward said.
"Makes you jealous?" Bella laughed lightly.
He growled, like his old pre-married jealous self. "I'm probably being overly dramatic, but I look back on your friendship and she saw you naked before I did. You took showers together while your leg was in a cast…"
"It wasn't a big deal," Bella said, "she was just helping me…"
"Still," Edward said, "had I known I would not have allowed it, and you had countless 'slumber parties' with you when I was concerned about your safety."
"Right," Bella said, "meaning if she was going to move in on your girlfriend, she had plenty of opportunities to do it. But she didn't."
"She didn't because it was wrong," Edward said, "and so is this."
"I'm going to talk to Alice," Bella said, "you do what you're going to do and I'll let you know how it goes."
Bella knocked a few times on Alice's door before Jasper told her, "she's not here."
"Do you...know where I could find her?" Bella asked.
"Probably at La Push," Jasper said, "I don't know, that's not fair. She left earlier because she thought we needed some time apart to think about things. It hurts to wonder what 'thinking' might involve on her end."
"I'm so sorry Jazz," Bella said, sincerely. She remembered what it had felt like when Edward left her, and how many times she had wished she could die and only stayed alive knowing that the world was a bit brighter with him in it. "I know she didn't mean to hurt you," she added, as if it were any consolation.
"That's part of what hurts," Jasper said, "it's harder when there's no one to hate. I can't hate Alice, I never could, and Leah just seems like a confused teenage girl. I can't blame her for what she can't help, but that doesn't make it hurt any less."
Considering how easily Jasper could control the moods of those around him, Bella was impressed with how thoroughly defeated he seemed.
"I don't want to leave you, but I think I should call her," Bella said.
"I couldn't blame you," Jasper said, "it'd probably be nice for her to know she still has a friend like you."
Bella's heart broke a bit at how concerned he still seemed to be for Alice, even after Alice had so completely broken his heart. "I think I will," Bella said, "thanks."
Even though she knew Jasper would be able to hear her downstairs or upstairs, Bella made her call in the living room to at least put physical if not auditory distance between them before she dialed Alice's number.
"Hi, Alice," Bella said. "Listen, Edward and Carlisle told me about what happened so I thought I'd give you a call and see if you're okay. If you need to talk, I can come find you."
"You're not mad at me?" Alice asked. "I understand if you are."
"Edward is Edward," she said, "but I'm not mad at you. Where are you?"
"I'm at the beach, just outside La Push," Alice said. "I'm supposed to see Leah when she gets off work. I'm going to give her my decision today."
"Really?" Bella asked. "Where have I been lately? I shouldn't be this oblivious."
"It's not you," Alice said, "you and Edward have been busy with parenting and your newborn sex drive."
"Just when Emmitt stops," Bella sighed. "Anyway, I'll be there in a few."
After informing Edward, Bella got into the "after car" she had driven to the Cullen mansion and slammed onto the road. As many times as she had questioned Edward's driving as a human, and told herself she would never push 80 on residential streets, as a vampire she found mortal speeds hard to tolerate. In a few minutes she was at the beach, where Alice was sitting with her knees to her chest in a black hoodie and rolled up jeans.
"Looks like I'm developing the telltale lesbian fashion deficiency, eh?" Alice attempted to joke. Bella offered a half smile and sat beside her. "No, actually I've just been pretty uninterested in clothes for the past few weeks. It used to be that I was a beautiful girl with a beautiful boyfriend/husband and we both looked gorgeous. I was living a dream. But then this happened, and everything has been so confusing."
"When did it happen?" Bella asked.
"When you were pregnant," Alice said, "and Leah went off on you about hurting Jacob."
"I remember that," Bella said, with a slight bitterness in her tone.
"Well we ushered her out of the house fairly quickly, our eyes met, and it was like nothing else existed. It was stupid and cheesy and amazing. One minute she's yelling at my poor, pregnant friend and the next minute she's a goddess to me and I'm in love with her," Alice said.
"So you are in love with her then," Bella said.
"Yeah," Alice said, "I've always been a pretty open person so the thought of being with a girl really doesn't bother me," she said, "but then there's Jasper, the man I've been with for longer than most couples mean when they say 'til death do us part,' and I panicked. Leah did too. We agreed that it couldn't happen, she didn't want to be a 'home wrecker' any more than I wanted to hurt Jasper."
"But it didn't work that way?" Bella guessed.
"Not exactly," Alice smiled awkwardly, and Bella guessed that if Alice could blush, she would be right now.
"What happened?" Bella asked.
"Nothing I'm proud of doing while I was still with Jasper," Alice sighed. "Anyway, we went back and forth trying to make something work and eventually Jasper just took me aside and told me he wanted a divorce. I tried pretty feebly to argue with him, but he told me that he didn't want me to stay if I had to work to love him more than someone else. I felt like shit, but I eventually accepted. That was a few days ago, and I haven't seen Leah in about a week, so today I told her I was going to let her know my decision. She's going to meet me here in about ten minutes."
Alice's expression was a mixture of panic and excitement. Bella smiled in response, thinking of what the werewolves always said, "it's hard to resist that kind of devotion."
"Jasper still cares about you," Bella said, "but I think eventually he'll be okay."
"I know," Alice sighed, "I mean, I thought I was 100% sure that I'd never want anyone but Jasper. But then I met Leah," Alice smiled, "she's an incredibly strong person considering what she's been through. She's basically been heartbroken and near-friendless for years and she still blames herself for her father's death. Imagine, transforming into the only female werewolf in Quilette history and instantly losing your father. I loved Jasper, but I'd always know what he was getting me for Christmas and I always knew when he was trying to surprise me. With Leah, it's almost like I get to experience a dose of humanity. She's going to be here in ten minutes, and I have no idea how she'll react to my news or how we'll work out being together if she accepts me. We can't exactly hang out in the Cullen house."
"You'll find a way to make it work," Bella said, "Edward and I didn't have an easy time of it, but we did it."
"You didn't have to break anyone's heart to be with him," Alice reminded her. "You think the family was stand-offish toward you, you have no idea what I have to face."
"Carlisle supports you," Bella offered, "and I do. I think the others will too if you give them some time."
sees me as 'one of the guys' now," Alice said, "which is
plenty awkward. Rosalie put in her two cents before finding
something else to fuss about, and Edward…"
"Edward is very traditional," Bella said, "I've had to grow up quite a bit to make this work, and I think he has too."
"Undoubtedly," Alice said, "you've changed species, yet I'd say Edward has gone through more of a transformation than you have since you've been together."
Bella smiled, imagining the brooding boy in her science class who begged the guidance counselors to rearrange his schedule so he could see as little of her as possible.
"She'll probably be here pretty soon," Bella said, "you probably don't want me here for this, do you?"
"I don't exactly want to kick you off the beach when you drove down here just to see me," Alice said, "but yes some alone time would be nice."
Shortly after Bella took off, Alice found herself nearly knocked over with an embrace. "Leah," she smiled.
"Hey Alice," Leah smiled back with an eagerness that suggested the girl had not had reason to smile in a long time. After a quick peck on the lips, Leah remembered that her fate with Alice was not sealed and took a step back. "So," she tucked a piece of raven hair behind her ear, "you wanted to tell me something?"
"Let's walk," Alice suggested.
It was delightfully cliché, two lovers strolling on the beach together, even if they were rather unordinary lovers.
"First of all, I think I made my decision a while ago that whatever happened with Jasper, I wanted to be with you. I haven't been sure because I've been with Jasper so long, but a few days ago he told me he wants a divorce."
"I'm sorry," Leah said, "I never would have intentionally imprinted on someone who was already taken."
"I know," Alice said, "and he knows too. That was why he decided this would be the best thing. He knew that if he tried to stay with me, he would always be getting hurt. He would always be the third wheel in his own relationship, so he decided it would be best for us both to move on. I know it's going to be hard for all of us, but I want us to be together. Is that okay with you?"
Leah's grin felt strange on her unaccustomed face. "I'd kind of be a hypocrite to say no," she said. Alice stood on her tiptoes to kiss her girlfriend on the lips. There were likely going to be a million things to work through if this was going to work, but for the moment, the biggest obstacle was gone.