People say that she was a monster.
All of my life I looked to my sister as a reference point: Rosalie the beautiful, Rosalie the cunning, Rosalie the cruel. I stared at her golden curls while her back was turned, observing of the elegant cut of her gown as I obsessed over the swaths of snowy skin that glowed against the green fabric of her dress. She achieved perfection with an air of utter disregard, impossibly gorgeous, and I looked on with a mixture of pride and envy. She was my sister, after all. My sister to adore and idolize and hate with all my heart.
She never made it easy, though.
Rosalie had a way with me, a way of pulling apart and leaning in and comprehending. She picked me to pieces with her long regal hands, and I let her do it…sometimes. Sometimes I let her do it, and sometimes she took what she wanted without my permission. I would stand there glaring back into her flinty gaze, and Rosalie would smile at me, just like she smiled at all the boys, and she would promise me a world of pain with that look. Even when we were young I could tell that Rosalie was crazy.
"Rosalie, have you seen my black kitten heels? I thought I had them here just a moment ago."
Releasing a sigh of frustration, I picked up the blanket draped across my bedroom couch and looked beneath it, finding nothing but a pair of crumpled pantyhose.
Huffing, I dropped the blanket and stomped off barefoot across my room, barely glancing at my reflection as I went to find my sister. I already knew what I looked like, as I had spent the last hour inspecting my tight black dress and knee-high stockings . There may have been a few hairs out of place or a strap slipping sneakily down my shoulder, but it didn't matter. Rosalie wasn't somebody to impress, and besides…it wasn't as though I could ever do anything that would make her envious of me.
Without knocking, I walked into her room, and I experienced a flash of anger as I saw her lying lazily across the length of her bed, scanning a magazine with boredom.
"I called your name."
Silence filled the space, and I felt a tendon in my neck tighten painfully. Rosalie leisurely flipped the page without glancing up at me once, and I struggled to control my temper.
"Have you seen my heels?"
I waited, but Rosalie continued reading, eyebrow flickering only slightly. A growl began to rumble in my throat, and Rosalie finally looked up as she heard it, setting her magazine down. She wasn't smiling, but I could sense that she was smug about something, and that made me even more suspicious.
"Retract your claws," she drawled unkindly, eyes twinkling as she gave me a rude once-over. "I haven't seen your kitten heels anywhere."
I had no idea if she was telling the truth. Rosalie could be so impenetrable and secretive at times that even Edward found it hard to tell what she was thinking.
"Where did you put my shoes, Rosalie?"
"Why ask me when you can just have one of your little visions? Maybe you left them in Wonderland, with your friend the Mad Hatter."
She picked up her magazine and began to read again. My head pounded, and I felt my cheeks flush with heat.
"Where are they?"
She turned the page, and I began to pant.
The sound of my voice exploded through the room, and Rosalie paused, lifting her eyebrows.
Snapping, I flew towards her in a blur of motion, but Rosalie was faster; she caught me in mid-lunge and slammed me against the wall with a bone-shattering crunch, drawing her fist back to punch me. Barely spotting the danger in time, I rolled sideways just as the wall splintered, and a hole was left where my head had been. Leaping away fearfully, I bared my fangs as I tried to scramble backwards, but she grabbed me by my ankles and started to drag me back towards her, relentless despite my thrashing. Kicking out blindly, I caught her in the jaw, and the world seemed to freeze as she let out a blood-curdling screech. The sound alerted whoever was downstairs that a bloody fight had erupted between the two females of the house, but even as I heard them thundering up the stairs, I knew that they weren't going to get there in time; Rosalie had me on the floor beneath her in three seconds flat, and the breath whooshed out of me as she leaned too close.
"You're lucky Esme is here to save you," she hissed in that horribly seductive tone of hers, forcing her lips against my ear as her hand grasped my neck like a rope. I stilled instantly, and her nails pricked my pale skin. "If she wasn't, I'd make you beg."
Esme's voice sounded only a few seconds away, but Rosalie didn't let go just yet; I sucked in a mouthful of breath as she stuck out her pink tongue, and she licked me from clavicle to chin.
"Rosalie! Get off of her this instant!"
Sliding backwards, she stood up as I jumped to my feet in humiliation, blushing a burning shade of pink. I couldn't process what had just happened, but Esme didn't seem to notice; on the contrary, all of her attention was focused on Rosalie.
"What the hell do you think you were doing? Christ, you're over a hundred years old, you should know better!"
"She started it," Rosalie shot back with amusement, smirking at me in a predatory fashion. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and I looked in the other direction.
"Rosalie stole my shoes," I complained, and Esme looked at me.
"What shoes, Alice?"
"My black kitten heels."
"Oh, Alice…I'm sorry. I borrowed those from you last night. They're in my closet."
Looking apologetically at me, I suddenly felt very stupid: Esme had borrowed my shoes, not Rosalie. Feeling my face turn even pinker than it already was, I looked down at my bare feet. I would never live this down.
Silence filled the room for a moment, and then, horribly, I felt Rosalie's mouth by my ear.
"It's ok, Alice. I'm sure that you didn't mean to accuse me…you were just a little presumptuous, that's all."
Looking up, I saw Esme nod at me encouragingly, and I sighed.
"Yes, Rosalie, I suppose I was."
"Now don't be upset, Alice," Rosalie admonished, putting on a face of pseudo-disapproval. "We all make mistakes sometimes. You'll just have to be more careful in the future."
"That's the spirit," Esme said, and she came in between us. "It's always better to kiss and make up, especially over little things like this. Now, once you girls are finished, I want you both downstairs. We're going to the opera tonight, remember?"
Esme left the room, and I was left alone with Rosalie again. Feeling my body begin to heat up, I turned to go, but Rosalie's arm jutted out.
"She said to leave when we're finished, Alice, and we haven't finished yet."
Fuming, I brushed her arm aside and muttered,
"What are you talking about? I said I was sorry and you accepted it. We're through here."
Rosalie grabbed me by my arms, spun me around, and pulled me forwards. Before I knew what was happening, her mouth was pressed against mine, and her tongue wiggled between my lips as I tried to gasp. Instead of inhaling air, I accidentally sucked her tongue in deeper, and Rosalie's fingers found one of my nipples, pinching roughly. Coughing, I pushed against Rosalie's shoulders and she let me go, glaring at me with blue eyes gone black.
"Esme told us to kiss and make up, remember? Now, get out of my room and go change your dress. You can't go to the opera looking like that."
Opening my mouth defensively, I looked down at my dress and saw that it had ripped all the way up to my navel.
"You…you ruined…you just…"
Spinning me around, she shoved me into the hallway and slammed the door shut in my face. I stood there dumbly for a few seconds, unable to believe what had just happened, and then Esme called up,
"Are you girls almost ready? The boys will be back soon."
Swallowing, I could still taste Rosalie's sugary lip gloss on my mouth, and I awkwardly walked back to my room, touching my lips as I stepped inside and closed the door. A wall suddenly seemed like a feeble barrier between me and Rosalie, but there was nothing to be done about it now; stepping into my closet to pick out a new dress for the evening, I decided that the next time that something of mine went missing, I would search every room in the house before ever asking Rosalie.