A/N: This has been a long time coming. I hope I have one or two people still interested enough to read along to see what happens next to these crazy kids.
Disclaimer: All copyrighted, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. Stephanie Meyer owns Twilight. I only play with the characters. =) Read on!
Chapter 6: Girl's Day Out
After a wonderfully exciting (and mentally exhausting) first week at my new job on the reservation, I was ready for a peaceful weekend. Of course, my delightfully energetic best friend had other ideas.
"Oh, Bella, you can't lounge around all weekend! You agreed to go shopping tomorrow with us, remember? Angie has been counting on our girl's day! She's been so looking forward to some time away from her boys…I really don't want to let her down," Alice whined. I plopped onto the sofa in the family room, where Charlie & Jazz were vegged out in front of the big-screen TV, watching a football game after work.
Alice cleared her throat in an attempt to get my attention, as if I hadn't heard her incessant bellyaching about our shopping trip for the last thirty minutes. She had not stopped talking about it since she got here. "Bella, please… I have it all planned out. You can even pick where we stop for dinner on the way home. Any place you want… I promise," She practically begged.
Charlie looked at me, giving me his fatherly glare. I knew that look. I remembered it well from when I was a little girl. In other words… play nice, Bella!
"Alright," I relented. "You know I would never let Angie down like that. What time are we leaving tomorrow?" I said with a heavy sigh.
"Yaaaay!" Alice squealed. "You won't regret it, Bella. We're going to have such a good time!"
"Ok, girls, now that it has been settled, can you please take the conversation somewhere else? We can't hear the game," Charlie pleaded.
Jazz stood up, taking Alice's hand, leading her toward the door. "Goodnight Bella, Charlie. I'll see you in the morning!" Alice called out, Jazz pulling her outside, winking at me over his shoulder.
I decided I should try to get a good night sleep, since I truly had no idea what Alice had planned for tomorrow. I had been on shopping trips with her in the past, and they were always a major event. At least I get to pick where we're going to eat. And you can bet it won't be some fru-fru tea party-type place like Alice would choose.
I was wide awake and ready for this debacle to get started when Alice, Angela and Rosalie arrived. They wasted no time with niceties; Alice was all business. They rushed me into the car, and we were on our way to Port Angeles, Alice driving like we were being chased by a pack of wolves.
"What's the rush, Alice? Bloomies closing at noon or something?" I joked as I slid across the backseat, bumping into Angela as Alice took a tight left turn.
Alice clicked her tongue at me in annoyance. "Port Angeles does not have a Bloomingdales, Bella. However, they do have some of the most precious boutiques you have ever seen," She said defiantly.
"I am certain of that, since I usually shop at department stores," I said, laughing hysterically while dodging Angela's elbow. Alice huffed in annoyance, while Rose reminded her to keep her eyes on the road.
"You know she can't stand big-box department stores," Angie whispered.
"Yeah, I know, but it is fun teasing her about it, isn't it?" I whispered back as Angie giggled, her head bobbing up and down.
As we speed down the street, I caught sight of Emmett's Jeep rounding the corner, heading toward Charlie's house. We were in such a hurry to leave that I didn't have a chance to ask Jazz what he had planned for today. Since Rose was sitting in front of me, I tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention. When she looked at me, I nodded my head in the direction of Emmett's jeep.
"I wonder what they're up to," I said curiously.
" I heard Emmett on the phone before I left, saying something about bonding over napkins and coffee filters, whatever that means," she said apathetically. Apparently whatever trouble the boys were about to get into didn't interest her in the slightest.
We shrugged it off to some silly male bonding thing and continued on our way.
The drive to Port Angeles was a lot of fun, once Alice forgave me for teasing her. I had to admit, her enthusiasm was somewhat contagious. We laughed and planned out what we would shop for and where we would stop for lunch. Then Angie filled me in on everything I had missed while I was in Florida. Her life with Ben and little Daniel had been tough at times, but she was very happy. It was obvious by the way her smile brightened when she spoke of her family.
Angie spoke excitedly about the big anniversary party she was planning for her and Ben. "All of our closest friends will be there, Bella. You have to join us. It wouldn't be the same without you," Angie said. She looked so pitiful when she begged… how could I say no?
"I'll be there. How could I turn you down? Besides I owe you both for not being at your wedding," I replied.
Alice looked back at us from the driver's seat, still weaving in and out of traffic. "How did you do that, Angela?" Alice huffed. "That was altogether too easy. Why must I always work so hard to get Bella to agree to a party, but she caves in to you on the first try?" Alice looked at Angie, then turned her attention to me in the rearview mirror.
"Eyes on the road, missy!" Angela scolded. We all giggled at Angie's motherly instincts. Even Alice couldn't help but smile.
Alice's phone buzzed from the console between the front seats, and Rosalie picked it up. "It's another text from Jazz," she reported to Alice. "You were just talking to him before we picked Bella up. Is he unable to last an hour without talking to you?" she asked, smiling.
"Aww, Rose, he is the sweetest guy ever. He misses me already. I'll text him back when we stop for gas," she said. We rolled our eyes and sighed with the pretense of disgust. I may have been giving Alice a hard time, but I was extremely happy for them. It was obvious to everyone how ecstatic they made each other.
After listening to Alice go on for what seemed like forever about the wonders of Jazz's smile, we finally arrived at our destination. "Let the shopping begin," Angela joked.
"Every woman for herself," Rosalie added with a chuckle.
Alice was right, as usual. The boutiques in Port Angeles were perfect. After trying on what had to be thousands of different ensembles in every possible combination, we all made beautiful choices.
I was glad the shopping had come to an end. Even though we had stopped for a quick lunch earlier, my stomach was growling. I didn't realize how many calories a person could burn while shopping.
I started looking around for a place to have dinner as we ambled back toward the car. We would have been done at least an hour earlier if Alice turned off her phone. Jazz's incessant texts to Alice, charming as they were, definitely slowed us down.
As we were loading our purchases into the car, I noticed Alice slinking off to the side of the building we were parked closest to, pressing buttons on her phone again like a mad woman. As soon as she returned, I started in on her. "I swear Alice. You'd think we were gone for weeks the way you keep texting him. You'll see him, as soon as we get back home," I said, in frustration. Jazz was never this attentive with other girls.
"Bella, I seem to recall a time when you couldn't be away from a certain someone without talking to him or about him for more than fifteen minutes," Alice shot back, a little too quickly for my liking.
Rosalie gasped at Alice's remark and promptly swatted Alice on the arm. "Alice, what has gotten into you lately? We promised not to talk about the guys today, and you have not kept that promise at all."
"It's alright Rose. She's right. I was like that. But guess what? I grew up," I said, trying, and failing, to hide my hurt feelings. The truth was that I was like that before I threw it all away and moved to Florida. Not a day went by that I didn't spend time with Edward. It felt wrong when we weren't together, like a part of me was missing. Maybe I was slightly envious; it would have been nice to have someone care about me as much as Jazz cared for Alice.
"Ok, I'm sorry. It was a low blow. I never should have mentioned him, Bella. You know I love you. I just want you to understand why I want to talk to Jazz all the time. You know, he's my Jazzy. I can't wait to see him again!" Alice gushed.
Knowing the fact that I've never been able to stay mad at Alice for very long, I immediately started to feel bad for the things I was saying to her. She definitely has a way of turning every argument around, so that I felt bad for disagreeing with her in the first place.
I flashed a guilty smile and she lunged at me, hugging me so tight I dropped some of my bags. "What would we do without each other?" she whispered, causing me to laugh.
"We'll never know will we?" I whispered back to her.
Since the shopping extravaganza was such a success, we each decided to wear one of our new outfits to dinner before heading home. I reminded Alice that she promised I could choose where we had dinner.
"Of course, Bella, there is a great seafood restaurant right down the street or an Italian restaurant that, I have heard, has fabulous ravioli. What do you feel like having for dinner?" Alice said, waving her arms about as she described the popular fare in the area. I spotted a sign for a little bar and grill I remembered seeing on the way into town.
"I've had Italian food twice this week, both times I was with you, Alice, and eh, seafood doesn't peak my interest. I had something a little more casual in mind," I said as I started walking toward the car, my arm interlocked with Alice. Angela and Rose looked perplexed, but shrugged and followed us swiftly.
Once in the car, I directed Alice to this tiny, whole-in-the-wall bar and grill, silently bracing myself for an argument from Alice. After seeing the disgusted look on her face as we headed toward the place, I knew I was right too.
"You have got to be kidding me. We are not going into that BAR!" Alice shrieked.
"Hey… you said it was my choice," I reminded her again as we left the car.
"Alice, give it a chance. Bella has always had good instincts with this sort of thing. It could be really fun," Rose said, backing up my decision.
"Come on girls, let's just go in and eat. I'm starving!" Angie added.
"Alright, but don't say I didn't warn you," Alice relented as she returned another text to Jazz.
We could hear the music blaring from inside before we even opened the door. I knew this was going to be exactly what we needed. A night of letting our hair down without worrying about what anyone else has to say about it. I needed this.
We walked in the double doors, and were immediately struck with the sound of a familiar tune playing from the stage in the front of the bar. The crowd was cheering on as a small group of young girls left the stage at the end of the song, and it hit me…stopping me dead in my tracks.
"EEEEEK!" Alice and Angela squealed, jumping up and down. "They have… Karaoke!" Angela yelled.
"Oh. My. God," Rosalie huffed. "There is no way we are we getting up there, making a fool of ourselves in front of all these people!" she yelled over the cheering crowd.
"Rose, nobody knows us here. They could make complete fools of themselves, and no one at home would even know about it. Let's just have a good time watching them," I pleaded, trying to console her.
"As long as no one expects me to be joining in on the performance, I'll support this insanity," she declared.
"Good, that settles it then," Alice says grabbing my arm and marching us toward the tiny stage in back of the room.
"Whoa… Alice, I'll stay with Rose to watch you and Angie sing," I said, hoping she didn't sense stage fright taking over my body at that very moment.
"Looks like you're out of luck, Bella," Alice said, motioning to Rose and Angie as they secured a table close to the stage. At least, I wouldn't have far to run to hide my embarrassment when our song was over. Crap. How did I get myself into this situation?
Although I knew it was a lost cause, I continued trying my best to convince Alice not to put me through the public humiliation of Karaoke.
"Enough, Bella. You chose this place, and I for one think it was a wonderful idea," Alice smiled, grabbing a song book from the front table, looking through the song choices. When she found what she was searching for, she handed it to the guy waiting beside her. I caught a glimpse of it as she walked by me.
"No, NO WAY! I will not sing that song! I can't believe you would even ask me to!" I screamed at her.
"Yes, you will," She cooed back at me, as if speaking to a small child.
"Why, Alice? Why would you choose that song?" I pleaded, my heart racing just thinking about how I would make it through singing that particular song at all, let alone in a room full of people.
"It's a beautiful song and perfect for your voice," Alice replied, as if this was her plan all along.
"But..." I began my rebuff before being cutoff.
"Oh, let it go, Bella. You're not going to win this one. He already has it cued up for us, and we're on next," Alice chided.
"When do I ever win?" I mumbled.
"Sorry, I couldn't hear you. What was that?" Alice asked, giggling… and texting. Again.
"Nothing," I huffed, rolling my eyes at her.
As if singing in public wasn't going to be mortifying enough, the butterflies that had been getting all nice and comfy in my stomach had decided to morph into gigantic moths, intent on causing me to blow chunks. I sat down, took a deep breath and put my head between my legs to calm myself.
"Let's go, Bella, we're up," Alice gushes. She is clearly enjoying this. I stand, Alice giving me a little push at my back. Then she proceeded to shove me onto the small stage, handing me a microphone and taking one for herself.
The music began slowly; I tried not to look at the crowd of people watching us. I wondered if I closed my eyes when I sang, maybe I would make it through without totally sucking. I knew every word of the song by heart, although I had avoided it like the plague for six years. Alice knew all too well what that song meant to me. I still didn't understand why it had to be this song tonight. My mind was reeling and my head was spinning as I tried to decide on the best approach.
Alice elbowed me in the ribs. Damn! I missed my cue to begin. Alice was quietly singing the supporting vocals. I hesitantly started singing my part, closing my eyes as the song picked up. Okay, so far so good… it was working. Maybe I could just get into the song and forget people were watching me. By the time the song was almost over I had begun to feel every word. As I swayed with the music I heard a commotion from the crowd, and I opened my eyes. When my eyes finally focused enough to see the crowd clearly, I realized the uproar had stopped…and the person that seemed to have caused it is staring right at me, his jaw dropped, mouth agape.