Chapter 1: Race Against Time
A/N: I've been writing this story off and on for months, and aside from a few close friends, I haven't had the courage to show anybody. I finally feel confident, and I'm proud enough of this story to post it at last.
I'm not sure how long this story will end up being, but I have several chapters written already and have plans for quite a few more. Oh, and if you're not cool with girl-on-girl, I suggest you run very far away. :)
Disclaimer: I am not Stephanie Myer. If I was, Edward would never have ended up with Bella, Alice would feature much more prominently in the book, and I'd be publishing this as a book to make millions of dollars instead of posting it on the internet. As it is, I'm borrowing these lovely characters briefly and am keeping them hostage in basement – I mean…taking them on a lovely vacation with me. Yes. That's it.
Set in New Moon. Alice returns to Forks to find Bella after a strange vision leads her home. She never had the courage to tell her best friend of her feelings, but maybe she'll finally find her voice…
The very first thing I noticed about this vision was the change in how I perceived it. It was as if I was there, standing on the sheer cliff side beside the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. I could smell the salt in the air from the sea below me and feel the gentle breeze as it blew onto my face…these were senses I had never been aware of in visions.
But they were so…dull. The sea that spread around me was a blank gray mass broken only by the occasional white streaks as the water churned angrily. I could not distinguish one drop from the other, could not perceive the spectrum of colors that I would have normally seen when light hit the spray that lashed at the rocks below the cliff I stood on. The air on my face felt like one mass pushing against my skin, not a million gentle breaths moving against my body. The salt from the seawater was so faint, so far off, when it should be dominating my nose.
Though there should be other smells…the exhaust fumes from cars that had recently passed on the road nearby, the slightly damp earth beneath my feet, the girl next to me…the one whose scent I had come to know so well that it was branded forever upon my mind, the smell I could mentally conjure up in a moment's notice…almost imperceptible, despite the fact that I stood a mere five feet away from her.
But her beauty would not be diminished. She stood frozen on the cliff's edge, staring down at the water, her mouth in a slight frown as if she was deep in thought. Her hair fluttered gently around her face as the wind picked up slightly, and although I could not see each individual strand as I normally did, I still felt the all-too-familiar urge to run my fingers through it.
Even with my senses so dull, I could still make note of the differences in her since last we had seen each other. She had lost weight, clearly; her clothes hung off her and she appeared even more fragile than before. She was paler, too, her skin having lost what little tan it had once absorbed under the Arizona sun. But most frightening of all were her eyes. What I had come to know as the two brownest, clearest, most beautiful eyes in the world…the eyes which held the gaze that haunted my memory, the eyes that always made me feel so vulnerable when they met mine, once so powerful and full of life…they now seemed a dull gray, a perfect mirror of the sea they gazed upon. The small spark, the fire that had once been present was gone without a trace.
Bella…oh god, Bella, what happened to you? I thought to myself, though I already knew the answer. We had left her. No…he had left her. I had to remember that. She was mourning his loss. Not mine.
I felt a brief flare of anger within me as I saw her looking so lost, so dead…it was his fault! He had left her and caused her this pain; caused her to withdraw like this…Immediately the anger subsided, replaced quickly with guilt. I could not be mad at Edward. He had done what was best, removed us from her to protect her…
All of my thoughts took only fractions of a second, and were silenced immediately by the sound of Bella sighing softly next to me. I turned to look at her, watching as she took a deep breath. What was she doing?
It happened so fast. One moment she was staring out to sea, motionless, and the next, she was hurtling off the cliffside. My body tensed in horror as I watched her fragile body twist and arch before she hit the water with a splash that even my annoyingly weak ears could hear over the sounds of the rushing waves. I watched the ripples she had made in the surf, wanting to cry out but finding no sound in my throat…the seconds ticked by and still she did not resurface, and now my voice seemed to find itself…
My piercing scream echoed through the stillness of the house as my eyes shot open to stare into the eyes of my family standing motionless around me, their stone faces twisted into expressions of worry. Several thoughts hit me at exactly the same instant:
That vision…I saw it differently, as if I was…human?
Quickly drowned out by:
Bella! Oh god, Bella…she can't be gone, no, this can't be happening…
Which was lightly shoved aside and replaced with:
Edward. EDWARD. I'm gonna kill him…
In the end, I was only able to express the last one, at least for the moment.
His face hovered in the air to my right, looking shocked. The idea to punch him in the face entered my mind, and my fist flew out the instant I thought of it so that he wouldn't have a chance to read my mind. Amazingly, I made contact, causing him to fly back several feet. Edward looked stunned and slightly confused. He stared at me as if I was a book written in a different language.
"Alice…" he whispered softly, but I cut him off.
"She JUMPED! You wanted to protect her from other vampires, Edward? Did you forget what she might do to HERSELF?"
Everyone else in the room gasped at my words, but Edward and I held each other's gazes. I knew he had seen through me. My pain was mirrored on his face as we both thought of the girl we loved falling from a cliff…
But I had another thought in mind as well. I had never felt anger like this before. I had resented Edward for so long now, ever since I had first laid eyes on Bella. I had hated myself for having such strong feelings towards my brother's girlfriend, then had hated myself even more when all my rage had centered on Edward. I had managed to keep my anger hidden from even him, keeping my thoughts on other things whenever I figured he could hear me, but I could never hide my disgust from myself. He had her, he loved her. That was fine with me, or it should have been.
Still…the irrational anger had persisted, despite my best efforts to repress it. But there was no way I would've ever been able to hide that vision from him, and now he knew.
He took a long blink and opened his mouth to speak before closing it again and tilting his head to the side, squinting his eyes and staring at me in confusion. Finally he managed to whisper, "Alice…I suspected your feelings, I just had no way of knowing that this would happen…" His voice broke at the end of his words and the confusing look on his face fell away as he turned from me, realization hitting him square in the face. His expression was frozen in horror, his body trembled, and he almost seemed to die in front of me. Somewhere in the back of my brain, the rational part of me that was his loving sister felt deep pity for him. But at the moment, it was buried under quite a bit of anger.
"Save it, Edward. I'm going to clean up your mess." I turned to the front door and was standing beside my car seconds later. I reached for the door and froze as another vision hit me. Good, Edward would not follow. He had already given up, but I hadn't.
I unlocked the door as I heard someone approach from behind me. I glanced backwards and sighed. Jasper.
"In a bit of a rush…"
"You love her, don't you?" He blurted out. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. It had been so stupid of me to assume he didn't know; he knew my emotions better than anybody. There was no point in lying.
"Yes," I said simply. His hard expression didn't change. "I'm sorry, Jasper."
"I knew it. I felt it every time you looked at her. I even felt your anger towards Edward."
A moment passed. My hand was still on the door handle, waiting for him to be finished so that I could leave.
He must have sensed my impatience. "Am I keeping you?" he asked with an edge in his voice. Once again, I saw no point in lying.
He sighed, his face now looking simply sad. "I love you, Alice."
I turned to look him in the eye, trying to express how sorry I was for all of this. "I love you too, Jasper. Just not in the way you think. Not anymore." I opened the car door, got in, and started it. He stood as still as a statue as he watched me back down the dirt road.
As soon as I was out of his sight, I gunned the accelerator, racing to Forks, praying that I was not too late.
As I pulled up to Bella's driveway, I let out a small sigh of relief when I saw her parked truck. It was dark as I got out of my Porsche; the journey had taken most of the day at top speed. Charlie's cruiser was gone, so I didn't bother to knock and simply burst through the front door.
Her scent…oh my god. More intense relief struck me, as well as a stab of pain in my chest and a burning in my throat.
My eyes found her immediately. She was standing by the couch, her eyes locked onto mine. As I watched her recognize me, a spark flashed from her eyes. For a moment she looked just like the Bella I had left.
"A-Alice…" her voice broke as she spoke, her body now visibly trembling. She looked at me with fear, as if she was scared to believe that I was really there. More pain in my still heart.
She launched herself at me then, latching onto me and breathing heavily as sobs shook her body. My arms locked around her tightly, though I was very careful. She felt as if she might break in my arms.
"Bella…oh thank god, you're ok…"
She turned her tear-stained face to mine, looking as if she was going to say something, but then another sob hit and she simply buried her face in the crook of my neck. I held her, rubbing her back gently and making soothing noises. The joy I felt at seeing her alive was warring with the guilt I felt at causing her so much pain. After what seemed like an eternity, her tears ran dry and her body fell still, apparently too tired to even tremble anymore.
"Alice…" she repeated, her voice less shaky than before, "Alice, why did you leave?"
Her voice was thick with pain and I felt as if I could cry with her. I felt a strange sensation, a slight tingle behind my eyes…and then it faded as my throat decided I wasn't paying enough attention to it and began to burn even hotter. I winced, both from the thirst and from her words.
Her eyes caught my motion and she stared up at me, reading all of the guilt in my expression. She looked as if she would break down again so I quickly lifted her into my arms and took her to the couch, laying her down as I spoke, breathing very carefully.
"Bella…I am so sorry, I left because I thought it was best for you…we all did. After what happened with James, and then Jasper's reaction to your blood at the party…we couldn't put you at risk anymore, we didn't think you could take it or that you should have to suffer through any of it, just for our sake…"
She interrupted me with a soft whisper, "No…you sound just like him…"
I knew who "him" was. Her eyes began to water again and I gently pulled her head against my chest. "I'm sorry, I hated the idea, I fought against it the hardest…but in the end I still left. I wouldn't have left Bella; I swear I wouldn't have left if I had known what you were going to do when we were gone!"
She sniffled, looking up at me with a confused look on her face. "What was I going to do?"
I returned the look, thoroughly confused myself. I had seen Bella jump from a cliff, meaning she had to have been at least contemplating suicide, and I hadn't had a vision of her since then to tell me that she had changed her mind. But then, the vision had been odd…and although the sensations I had experienced in them had seemed strange, they also, in a way, seemed familiar. I couldn't remember my human life, but I would have bet my entire closet that humans saw and felt things in a way quite similar to the way I had seen and felt them in the vision. That had to mean something…my vision might have been defective.
That thought frightened me. My visions have never led me astray like this before. Still, I decided to tell Bella what I had seen. "I saw you jump from the bluffs…"
Her body stiffened in my arms and her eyes went wide. "You saw that?" she asked in a voice so quiet I doubted any human could have heard it.
"Yes Bella…you went under water and you…" I forced the words out, "…you didn't come back up."
"Oh my god…" her hand flew to cover her mouth.
"But I'm glad I made it before you actually…" I couldn't find it within myself to finish that sentence.
"No, Alice…I already did that."
"No, wait!" she held up her hands and looked at me pleadingly, "It was for fun, I swear!"
She might as well have just announced that being hit on the head with a baseball bat was a pleasuring experience. "…Fun?"
"Yes…" she sighed heavily, "I saw some of Jake's friends jumping from the bluffs and it looked…well, at the time it looked kind of stupid, but later when I went back I was bored and I just kind of wondered what it would be like and I just…jumped."
Scratch the baseball bat and replace it with an 18-wheeler. Now you have the look I was giving her.
"We leave town…and suddenly you're jumping off of cliffs…for FUN?"
She winced, "Well, when you put it like that…"
I slapped my forehead. A loud "CRACK" echoed through the entire house at the impact, making Bella wince again.
I forced my brain to concentrate through the haze that had settled thickly over my brain at the scent of her blood. The girl had no sense of self-preservation…but of course, I already knew that. Here I was, a thirsty vampire, with my arms around her. Bella was a trouble magnet.
I shook my head to clear it. The motion was so quick that I knew Bella hadn't picked up on it. I couldn't think about my thirst right now…I had to focus…
Bella had been under the water. The fall hadn't looked terribly lethal but she hadn't come out of the water. I opened my mouth to voice my thoughts out loud when she interrupted me, "Don't worry, I won't do that again. Jake having to save me from drowning once is quite enough."
I took a long blink. So long that I think she actually noticed it. "…Jake?" I asked.
"My…friend, Jacob Black. I've known him since we were kids. He was near the cliffs when I went under, and he went in and saved me."
Why the HELL did I not see that? Something weird was going on here. "Tell me about your friend."
She smiled, and while it wasn't nearly as bright or as beautiful as it had once been, even though it looked so strained…it was the most beautiful sight I had seen in a long time. I felt that strange tightness return to my chest, and I groaned audibly as the fire in my throat raged stronger. I pulled away from her quickly and turned my head to the side, stopping my lungs from taking in oxygen. She stiffened next to me.
"Alice?" Hurt was evident in her words, but I couldn't risk taking a breath to answer her, so I held my hand up, signaling her to wait a moment. The seconds ticked by and I could feel her hard gaze on me. I swallowed a few times and the fire receded, if only slightly. You haven't hunted…that was SO STUPID…Of course I hadn't hunted; my only thought had been getting here in time. I hadn't even been sure if she was going to be here.
I took a few test breaths. It was better than before, but it still took all of my willpower to resist pouncing on the girl next to me. I had to hunt, and soon.
"Sorry, Bella…your scent is…" I closed my eyes tightly and buried my face in a pillow. I could still smell her on it, but it was fainter. I focused instead on Charlie's scent, which was a bit stronger since he sat here watching TV almost every night. Not that his didn't smell like food, either, but at least it wasn't nearly as…intoxicating…oh god. I felt the pillow tear a bit in my fingers as I pressed it even closer to my face.
I heard Bella mutter a soft "Oh," and felt the couch cushion shift as she eased herself away from me. The thought that she actually had to back away from me made me hurt almost as much as the thirst itself. For the first time I actually felt…monstrous. I could understand Edward a bit more, a thought that made me even more disgusted with myself.
I pulled the pillow off my face. Alright…Jacob could wait. I needed to hunt now. I stood up and said quickly, in as few breaths as possible, "Haven't hunted. Need to. Now. Scent…"
I forced the words out, bolting upright and heading for the door, stopping only when I heard "WAIT!"
My body quivered but I stopped short, one hand on the doorknob, the other covering my nose and mouth.
"Will you come back?" Her voice was so full of desperation that I again mentally kicked myself for ever having left her in the first place. I nodded quickly.
I nodded again, and then I ripped the door open and raced out into the night.
I tore through the trees, having no idea where I was going, but not really caring at the moment. As long as I was far away from Bella's scent, anywhere was fine with me.
I have no idea how long I kept going, but at some point I drew myself up against a tree trunk and took a deep breath, the first I had dared to take since I left the house. I was greeted with the familiar scents of trees, woodland creatures, and the general stillness of the forest. I sighed heavily and let my body sink down until I sat at the base of the tree trunk. Burying my head in my arms, I took in gulps of Bella-free air. I felt worse than I had felt in a long time.
To be feeling that strongly…to be having to force myself from lunging for the throat of the girl I loved, that was not normal. Having no memory of my human life, being a vampire was all I knew how to be. It was who I was. Part of the job description was a constant thirst for human blood, one I had been learning to fight practically since the very first memories of my waking. And until I had met Bella…for decades, I had gained nearly unwavering control over my thirst. But she nearly made me forget who I was.
Her blood was the blood of an angel's, tempting me every moment I was around her, lingering in my nose even after distance was placed between us. Even as I walked in the door, expecting to find…what the hell had I been expecting to find? Bella's coffin in the living room with people gathered around it? Charlie sobbing uncontrollably on the kitchen table, fingering the gun at his belt?
No…some part of me knew she was alive, had to get to her. Because her blood smelled sweeter than the blood of any human I had ever met. No…because I owed it to Edward. NO…I growled inwardly, it was not him. Another voice said it then, even though I really didn't want to think of it right now.
You came because you are hopelessly in love with Isabella Swan.
I bit down on my lip. Yes, I was in love with her. But even through all that, even though I had felt such intense relief to find her standing in her living room, some part of me had still wanted to tear her throat out.
I squeezed my eyes shut tightly.
I felt my body shake.
Go on monster, cry if you can.
That strange tingling returned behind my eyes.
I'd seen people do it thousands of times. But I wasn't like them. My body stopped shaking and the tingling gently faded into nothing. I stood up now; I had to hunt. I had to return to Bella before she thought I'd disappeared again.
A/N: Voila! There you have it, chapter 1. I just want to get a bit of feedback before posting chapter 2, so reviews would be immensely immense. Love ya'll! :D