Author's Note: I'm excited about this story. I like how it begins and I really feel (hope) that I can keep this going and continue it and finish it. I wanted to write something that expressed the agonizing feeling of anxious, insecure jealousy. I hope my story does a good job of it. I really feel that the song, The Ocean by Tegan & Sara, does the job perfectly. That's why i wanted to use the song as a jumping off point. If you just listen to it (you have to, by the way), you can feel that insecurity and that irrational jealousy. I want to write about it very much, I've myself experienced what I'm putting Alice through in this story. It sucks. It makes for a marvelous, angsty story.
Also, I have got to say that yes, I realize that my knowledge of canon is dismal. There are so many places where I'm probably off, but not only do I not know Twilight canon very well, the tweaks help my story. So just know that I know I'm misinformed.
Any questions, feel free to message me.
I own nothing.
It's like me to have my silent moments. It's like me to be mute, deep in thought. Ageless as we are, my family and I know the value of silence, of thought, of contemplation before speech; we have time for it, death not in our futures. A method that most humans don't feel they have the time to practice. Say, act, do, now, right now; they are impulsive creatures, these humans.
But when I'm lost in thought all weekend, no one bothers me. (Perfectly understandable.)
My introspection is no cause for grave concern. (She'll come out of it when she's ready.)
When my body language is a thundercloud, however, and my few words are exceedingly curt, I draw attention to myself. Riding in the backseat on the way to school on Monday, my arms are folded like a fence across my chest and I stare at my knees. (Something must be wrong.)
It's an Edward-like disposition to adopt; or Rosalie, perhaps. The cold side of their moodiness spectrum is often downright icy, but that's not me. No, I'm in a state of constant cheer no matter what. Grin and bear it, that's Alice.
But I can't.
Edward's pale bronze eyes sweep me up and down, silently concerned as the tires fly over the asphalt ribbon that runs among towering trees. The car darts in and out of mottled shadows; it's going to rain later this afternoon. It's quiet as Emmett drives, quiet like groggy humans just waking up and driving to school. It isn't that, though, since we don't sleep; the five of us are just lost in our thoughts. I don't have to be a mindreader like Edward to know that they are gently worried for me, curious as to why I'm so troubled. I lean into the door, eyes on the kaleidoscope of green whipping past the window, closed off from everything.
Daring them to try to engage me, defiant and impassive. This attitude is so very unlike me. As Edward watches me, his brow furrowed lightly, my muscles tighten under his gaze. Him of all people, I don't want it. I don't want to sit near him, I don't want to think of him, I don't want his curious pity. It only clenches my throat, and I am besieged by thought after thought after thought. He's like a brother to me; we share a name, even. I know him so well, but now he seems foreign to me. He's distant from me, from my own doing, from my own actions, and there's a sort of jealousy and anger I feel towards him that I never would feel if I still felt like I knew him. He has done nothing wrong, it's all been my own doing, mainly, but still I can't stand to look at him. To think that he… My only blessing is that he can't read my mind. And that he can neither read Bella's…
…If I imagine you, body next to another.
It had kept me restless all night the previous night, these thoughts. We don't sleep, our kind, but nighttime is so peaceful that we tend to lie in solitude, wrapped up in quiet. Resting. But all night I couldn't sit still, I couldn't find anything like peace in the pitch darkness of my cold bedroom. In the cold darkness of my borderline-obsessive thoughts. (It wasn't like me to be this way…)
What was Bella doing now? Was she sleeping? Could she quiet her racing mind and rest, was she able to? I knew Edward and his tendency to visit her as she slept. I knew the way he would steal in through her window, kept unlocked for his entrance, and slip in bed beside her to cool her sleep. Wrap his pale arms around her and tighten. The picture flashed in and out of my head, and I nearly went mad hating myself for my inability to fall asleep and escape this.
I wondered if Edward was still in our house, or if he was blanketing Bella in her bed. My feet carried me to his bedroom in the east wing of the house, and I quietly pushed open his door.
"Yes?" his voice said from the shadows. He lounged his made bed, yellow gaze fixed on the ceiling.
"Nothing." An ineffable sort of relief filled me as I returned back down the hallway. He was here with me. Well, not really with me. The events of the past few days had distanced me terribly. Alone in his own bed, though, preferable to Bella's.
This sort of jealousy, this dark ugly feeling in me, it was so new. My family didn't know how to treat me. I didn't think about them, though. I thought of Bella, alone too in her bed. The temptation to fill that narrow void next to her flitted through my head and faded as quickly as it had come. Leave her in peace, Alice. Let her think.
It was so good to think of her warm and alone, sleepless with worry. Much better than Edward's velvet embrace upon her, driving my kiss from her mind.
I wondered, though, what or who would be her first thought upon waking. I lied down back in my room and waited for sunrise.
When you wake what is it that you think of most?
When your bed is empty do you really sleep alone?
If I imagine you, body next to another.
In the car I'm anywhere but where my body is. My mind is back on Sunday, pacing, back on Saturday, pacing, back on Friday, arching… It's not fair, the way I'm meant to worry this way. I know I have pieces of Bella, and for that I should be, am grateful; the jigsaw puzzle pieces that are her friendship, her laugh, her secrets, her touch. But I can't grasp all of the pieces, not when they're not mine to collect. I can't solve this puzzle. Part of her belongs to Edward, half or perhaps more is a whole with him. And me? Sometimes I get to thinking that I'm nothing but a simple tryst, a mistake. Sometimes I get to thinking that I'm in love with her.
I don't know when it happened, but it did. We were never meant to be; each of us destined to be happy with a different vampire. Jasper and I eternally. Edward and she until she perishes. But somehow we became close friends, and that was good. Somehow I fell for her, and that was bad. Somehow it all came to a head, and now I can't shake the inevitable sensation of helpless spite.
We were never meant to be. This, I fear as I press against the car door, pretending to be alone, is a futile sort of affair that will only serve to slight me. The tires continue to peal along, and Edward sighs beside me; I think that I might envy him terribly, and try not to blame Bella.
It's surprising, hard to believe, that I hadn't had a premonition about this. Well… no, no perhaps I had seen it coming. Just not by way of the usual trance. It was more intuition, an inkling shivering its way up my skin in the past couple of slow, rainy weeks. The previous day, Thursday, it was like acting; going through motions, body knowing anticipation far before the head. Wednesday, carried back to Tuesday, Monday, was like thoughtful suffocation, linked to the unchaste curiosity that had been simmering for a week prior. What if (unrealized, incoherent) I'm in love?
Skating delicately around this is another peculiarity, that of telling behavior. For example,
"And then he said," Bella went on, "something pretty snide about Edward, and about the rest of you, probably, I don't know. I wasn't really listening."
"Mike's just jealous," I said airily, digging my hands into the pockets of my jacket and smiling. We turned a corner of the school building together, stepping from damp grass to the slick sidewalk, headed for the parking lot.
"I think," Bella mused, looking up to the flat gray clouds, "someone needs to teach him a lesson." She glanced sidelong at me.
"Come on, Dracula," she chided, nudging me (the innocent contact was delightful), "be my bodyguard, would you? Use your superpowers to rip him a new asshole or something."
"Hostile, aren't we?" The corners of my mouth twitched as Bella giggled helplessly. I'd never had a friend like this, human or otherwise, who I could laugh like this with. Emmett was the closest to good-humored; the others tended to be touchy and somewhat dramatic. And this attitude permeated, causing us all to become sensitive about the subject of our little problem. Bella, however… She made it better, lighter, making remarks like that which would probably scandalize Rosalie. And, furthermore, Bella was a breath of fresh air. Being around her, it felt good. She was the best friend I'd had in a long, long time, the only human to know my family's secret, a wonder of a girl who didn't care. She made me feel happy.
She also made me feel… strange. It wasn't just the intoxicating smell of her blood that seemed to sharpen my senses and quicken my nonexistent heartbeat; though, admittedly, that must have been some part of it. I'd recently come to the realization that my best friend was beautiful. It had come as somewhat of a shock, the way it crept up on me. Like, one day I just went to school and noticed the way Bella's clear eyes sparkled when she laughed. So then I wanted to see her laugh more often, to be the one to make her light up like Aurora Borealis. So then I longed to be around her more often. So then her smile tended to title my thoughts. So then I began to dream of kissing that smile on her lips…
Looking back I can see that for exactly what it was, but at the time I didn't really recognize that I was falling for me best friend. Would I have tried to stop it? Perhaps, but the fact that she was a girl might have been the least of the reasons.
I loved a girl once. Years and years ago, I had already fallen in love with a girl; far before that kind of thing was even close to as accepted as it is today. She was from New York City and lived up the street from us in Grange, North Dakota. She was a restless kind of girl, full of energy and big plans and going absolutely stir crazy in the slow mining town we lived in. Her energy was contagious, invigorating me, the way she would go on for hours about her hero, Amelia Earhart, or the way she kissed me for the first time when we were in an abandoned mineshaft, exploring on another of her thrill-seeking adventures that she so often dragged me on. I fell in love with that girl… but six months later Pearl Harbor was bombed, and within a matter of weeks she was out of that town the first chance she got, and within a matter of months she was piloting a medicinal supply plane that was shot down over France.
Am I gay? Really, I prefer to avoid labels such as that. Applying to me, at least, they're rather unreliable and transparent. I let love happen to me; it's just a coincidence that of the three times it has happened, twice it's been with girls.
But I couldn't have admitted that third one on Thursday, as it was not yet developed into a state of clarity. All I knew was that as Bella laughed, she put a hand over her mouth to try and stifle the sound, and that was just far too adorable. I could see why Edward loved her.
Then she did a curious thing. As we walked, as my laughter meshed with hers, Bella snaked her arm through the crook of my elbow and pulled us tighter. It was perfect, it was seamless, this action, and flowed just as smoothly as when best friends went arm in arm, or when boyfriend and girlfriend went arm in arm. It was a simple, harmless thing, this action, but it was unexpected; all I knew was that Bella was smiling shyly at her feet and that that was a peculiar but charming thing for her to do, for she had never had a coy moment like this with me. I smiled and squeezed her arm, not sure what to expect, and felt warmth from Bella's body blossom up the entire left side of my body.
That Thursday was the last of the strange, telling behavioral changes; unless of course I counted the peculiar, loaded glances that flickered between Bella and I in the silence of study hall. It was no longer just her looks or her smile that were causing my gut to clench; it was specific actions such as these. My subconscious wondered why and longed for her to secretly want me too.
"See you around eight then," Bella called as she climbed into her truck. Her cryptic smile gave me pause; I waved goodbye absently as she drove away, wishing I could read her. Now I knew how Edward felt… I found myself identifying with him so much more lately. But I waved that comparison away. Even more prevalent than the fact that I was skirting thoughts of my feelings for Bella was the fact that I was skirting thoughts of Edward… Bella's boyfriend. My brother. He definitely did not bear thinking about; I don't know how I could have even handled bringing him into the mix.
I was looking forward to that night; Friday night spent with my best friend, curled up in her room watching movies. Like normal teenagers. Back home, Edward read my body language and, grinning in fond amusement, asked if I was looking forward to the night ahead. He was happy for my good relationship with his girlfriend, for my happiness, for my enthusiasm for this simple pleasure that was a human-like girls' night. He wasn't going to be jealous, even having no real chances to enjoy himself and be normal besides Bella. She alone was enough for him as, I suppose, she was for me. I smiled vaguely, distractedly, and affirmed.
I took the Jeep to Bella's and after I parked I walked up to her porch and rang the bell. Though I felt far less comfortable being shown in by Charlie (both of us smiling shyly and unable to think of any small talk) than I would have if I had scaled the roof and crept in Bella's window, the normalcy felt… nice. I was a regular teenage girl who used the front door and awkwardly greeted my friend's dad. I wasn't Edward. Though I did have to admit that there was something about the intrigue of sneaking into Bella's room that tugged at me. I cleared my throat as I ascended the dark stairwell to shake the thought; it was odd, thinking about creeping into my best friend's bedroom. What a strange, nocturnal, licentious thing to do. Vampiristic. Sexual. It was hard to know which adjective made my skin crawl more.
One chick flick later, Bella and I were in the middle of a violent slasher film. She would thoughtfully cover my eyes when the machete flashed and blood spurted, all the while screaming and jumping in delighted terror at all the right places and squeezing my arm with her other hand. We were sunk low under the quilt and holding our breath as the movie's suspenseful climax simmered.
"I can't watch," Bella murmured, her face buried in my shoulder.
"Her flashlight won't work," I narrated in a low voice, whispering in her ear. She squirmed, burrowing further into the safety of my shoulder with her hands in a death grip on my arm.
"She is so dead!" I heard Bella exclaim in a muffled voice. Her ragged breathing permeated my sweater and steamed on my skin, and I closed my eyes for a moment since she couldn't see my face. I drank in the sensory overload of her proximity, of her irresistible scent… But it had to be resistible, no way on earth I could give in to my instincts and drain her of every last drop. And it struck me again that I was so very much like Edward. Yes, I and the rest of my family had to deal with temptation of the carnivorous nature often, but I found myself assuming a burden of temptation that I hadn't felt this strongly in years. This was it, this was Edward's pull, deep in the pit of his stomach, that I knew now influenced the both of us like a rudder. But I was sick of thinking about him, of realizing our similarities that really only seemed to surface when it came to Bella… and why was that? Why was this a problem at all? Could it be hardly credible that there was anything else about Bella to resist than just her blood? The foggy notion of attraction was just barely taking shape in my gut as Bella clung to me in the dark, under the muted glow of the TV screen.
It was near the end of the film, the action speeding up to extreme suspense and gore, but somehow it seemed Bella and I were tuned out. We lay side by side, eyes glued to the screen and heads together, but, strangest of all, there was an air of distraction. It was as though we lay there, pressed intimately close, and we were acutely aware of our bodies. Something buzzed in me; in informal premonition, one could say. An inkling of the present, not the future, but all the while intuitive. A premonition that right now, at this second… that Bella's hair tumbled over my left shoulder and smelled so good. That she yawned, a perfectly natural (and endearing) movement, and I realized with a jolt that I hadn't yawned in decades and had never even noticed. That our fingers were brushing under the quilt. She was gazing at the TV screen, but ever neuron seemed to draw towards me. She wasn't seeing what she was looking at, her mind was on me… There was no way to even know this. My imagination extrapolated from her apparent preoccupation with her thoughts. Still, the possibility gave me a strange thrill.
Bella turned her head and looked me in the eyes. "You know," she said quietly, "I can never seem to get over it, the way Edward sticks around me. Even though it puts him through hell having to exercise such will power and concentration like he does, you know?"
I nodded, inwardly kicking myself for having nothing to say. But I couldn't very well tell her that Edward wasn't the only one.
She looked down and bit her lip. "It's just on my mind all the time. I mean, what a sacrifice for him. I can't imagine what that's like."
"It certainly isn't easy," I said after a slight pause. "But for you, the sacrifice he makes is worthwhile. Yeah, it's a struggle for him to be around you, but you're worth it." I loathed talking about him now.
"What's it…" Bella paused, staring at the window and collecting her thoughts. "What's it like?" She turned back to me.
It was my turn to look away. I stared at the carpet, chewing my lip and trying to think, and channeled my own feelings. "You're prey," I began bluntly. "And you smell fantastic. You know this, Edward's explained it all to you; the temptation of the whole thing. But, I don't know, how can I explain this…" I trailed off, looking up to the ceiling for inspiration and blowing my hair out of my eyes. "It's like… It's like when you have a cavity. You know you shouldn't test it, you shouldn't suck air over that crack because it's going to hurt so bad, but for some reason you just compulsively want to, have to so bad. But you've got to focus every muscle to ignore it, even though that means you're thinking about it every second and consciously neglecting it; and that makes time go so slow. You want to test the pressure of that cavity so bad to make sure it still hurts, and you know it will, and you know that you shouldn't, but you can't make those desires go away." I finished my winded explanation and looked over at Bella, searching for understanding in her deep brown eyes. She gazed at me for a second, processing. "That's the closest I can get to what it's like," I added sheepishly.
"So I'm…" Bella said slowly. "I'm a cavity?" She raised an eyebrow at me.
I smiled. "You get cavities from eating a lot of sweets. Which you are."
Bella blushed and looked down, snuggling closer to me. She looked down at the crook of my elbow thoughtfully, turning over what I'd said in her mind.
"Have you ever been in love with a human, Alice?" she asked softly, toying with a corner of the quilt. That question must have arose as she thought about how deep my insight was, as she must have caught the shadow of experience in my words.
I gazed over at Bella's window. How much that window must know. It's seen inhuman creatures creep into a sleeping girl's bedroom. It's seen secret rendezvous carried out in the hushed silence of the night. It's seen warm embraces, cold embraces, baited breath, sentinels watching from the rocking chair as Sleeping Beauty lies. I wondered what it was seeing now, I wondered where this particular moment fit in the story that it was piecing together. I wanted to lie to Bella, to cut this wonderful stillness in the air that was an extension of her eyes meeting mine and her pulse washing over my body. I wanted to leave this subpar to Edward's moments of vulnerability with her, to keep it less vivid and less meaningful. That was only fair, after all; I'm only Alice. I'm not her knight, I shouldn't make her feel so at ease that she slips her warm, slightly sweating hand in mine. But she did.
"Yes," I said simply, softly raking my fingernails across the palm of Bella's hand.
"Oh," she murmured. "Yeah, I thought you might have, the way you knew so well how to express that feeling."
A pause in which my breath stayed suspended in some stinging chamber of my lungs, in which I thought back to a girl with dreams bigger than the sky she wanted to fly, in which I thought back to a girl who had stirred me like the heartbeat I thought I had lost forever.
"Will you tell me about them?" Bella asked, almost in a whisper, as she gazed up at me.
"Well," I said hoarsely, unsticking my tongue from the roof of my mouth, "The first was more than sixty years ago. We went to the same high school, and she was…" I forced down a lump in my throat. "She was incredible." Once more forced the lump back, and continued. "She joined up to help during the war and was killed in '42."
Bella turned her body more towards me and squeezed my hand. There was nothing more she needed to say than that, just the simple pressure of her fingers intertwined in mine and her compassionate eyes looking up at me.
"And the second?"
In that terrible moment I had absolutely no words, and I was hit by a moment of clarity so awfully real and naked that there was nothing more I could do than look into her eyes. That was it, everything I ever had to say, crumpled and heaped into my pupils, and I could not for the life of me do anything else. I just looked with terrible yearning guilt etched all over me, and there could have been nothing more telling.
Bella's lips parted and she gulped, pained understanding dawning across her face. And then she surprised me, confirmed my crude premonitions, destroyed something in me that knew life made sense. She leaned over me, silky hair tumbling across my neck, and kissed me. She kissed me in a way that led me to believe that she knew she wanted this, that crushed any of my sense of order. She kissed me in a way that led me to believe that she wanted this, that she had wanted this for days or maybe weeks. Her kiss, a mesh of lips and twenty fingers beginning to delicately trail on skin, communicated want and solemnity and repressed guilt. And I opened my mouth to her, feeling her tongue enter and embody the entrance of her persona into my consciousness, where I thought that yes, I had been falling for this girl and now I had hit the ground.
The marvelous improbability of me lying side by side with Bella on her bed, kissing her with our bodies pressed against one another's and with the intention of never stopping, fueled me. It was delicious, dark, slow, packed with the wants and the emotions that Bella and I had either never vocalized or never realized. She breathed into my mouth, a sort of impatient, helplessly rapturous sound. And again I was struck by how beautiful she was, even when my eyes were closed. She was just so breathtaking. And breathtaking also was the way she pressed close, the way her warm skin felt against my cold. The way she muttered that I was beautiful as she kissed her way down my neck and I whispered her name.
She told me to tell her to stop if at any time I felt overwhelmed by her tantalizing scent, warmth, human essence. But I felt more clear as my lips pressed against her abdomen than ever. She said okay and pulled off my shirt. The credits began to crawl up the TV screen.
The car pulls into the parking lot and the ride is concluded, having passed in complete silence. As we ease into a parking spot, I glance at my familiar surroundings out the window and catch a chance glimpse of a certain beat-up pickup truck a few yards away. Another unorthodox premonition evolves in me, and this one makes me sick to my stomach (the only signal for this omen). I try not to think about what Bella had said to me after we… after we fell into each other. As I had all weekend, turning my natural sleeplessness into pure, bloodshot insomnia. I also try not to think of Edward, the cold form next to me unbuckling his seatbelt, how he had been wronged and betrayed and how he had ruined everything. As I had for an indeterminate period of time. I couldn't bear to look at him.
… If I imagine you, body next to another.
A/N: Don't worry, you'll find out what happened immediately after Bella and Alice "hooked up" in the next chapter. It's kind of important, after all.
Reviews are nice. :)