Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. I can tell you're surprised. I was surprised too when I found out.

Hum Along

Faint

She fainted, literally fainted when she met Bella. Alice Brandon was not a fainter. Okay, so maybe she passed out occasionally when she heard about an amazing shoe sale or that time she was introduced to her favorite designer, but those were understandable.

This was different.

This was the I-was-just hit-by-a-freight-train-and-aliens-abducted me-and the prince-of-Wales-proposed-to-me-and-I-found-out-I'm-pregnant-with-triplets-and-I'm-a-direct-descendant-of-Jesus kind of faint. The sort of faint that took you by surprise so much that you couldn't breathe or comprehend what just happened. It was what happened when you suddenly met "the one."

The I'm-in-love faint. It happened, sure. Alice wasn't the only one. It had just never happened to her before. She had a boyfriend, after all. Girls didn't interest her in that way. And she was Bella Swan, her cousin's girlfriend, the woman he was in love with, the one he couldn't stop talking about, the one he lost his virginity to on his eighteenth birthday, the one who sat on his lap, blushing adorably whenever she was over. She was Bella Swan!

It took a long time for Alice to meet Bella. Edward was so private, and they went to different schools. She went to France every summer to indulge her love of fashion. Jasper followed her. They just didn't see each other that often.

She was introduced to Bella Swan at Edward's graduation party. It was a formal event, close family and friends only with balloons floating above their heads and a giant marble cake with a graduation cap creamed on.

'Hey, Alice. This is my girlfriend, Bella.' Then she fainted. Everyone was so concerned. They placed her on a couch and fanned her. Jasper even fetched one of her new pairs of shoes and held it under her nostrils, hoping the smell of brand new designer shoes would awaken her.

The girl with the long chestnut hair lingered in her head as she lay there unconscious. It was only a few minutes that she was out, but what a feverish time!

Everyone looked at her like she was nuts when she opened her eyes, jumped off the couch and grabbed Bella's hand, saying how wonderful it was to meet her and aren't we going to be the greatest of friends?

She could see Edward beaming out of the corner of her eye. It meant a lot to him that Alice took to Bella so fast. If only he knew just how keenly she took to her…

Boxes

Edward and Bella were going to the same college in the fall. Of course they were. They could hardly be apart for half a second without desperately needing the each other. Alice was jealous, and for the first time in her eighteen years, she was heartbroken.

She came to visit her cousin the day before they were to set off. Boxes and suitcases lined the downstairs hallway.

"Wow," she said, "You're taking a lot with you! I don't think a dorm can hold this much, Eddie."

He cringed at the horrible nickname. She called him that for her own personal revenge, though it was petty and he hadn't actually done anything wrong.

Then the little bombshell: "I'm not moving into a dorm. Bella and I are renting an apartment together."

Living…together?

"So soon?"

"Well, yes. It's not too soon, Alice. When you love someone as much as Bella and I love each other, it's not too soon. Besides, we're eighteen. We've been dating for two years. And I don't want her living in a dorm with strangers."

"Why," she snapped childishly, "afraid she'll find someone better?" Alice immediately regretted it. He looked almost fearful for a flash of a second, and then hurt.

"What's wrong with you, Alice? You've been acting weird lately. Are you okay?"

She shuffled her feet and peered down at the hardwood floor. "Just…anxious. College and all. I'm sorry Edward; I didn't mean to be rude. It's great that you two won't have to be apart." She plastered on a weak, fake smile which he didn't buy, but let pass.

"It's okay, Al. I'm nervous, too. So is Bella, what with leaving her dad all alone and going to a new place and meeting new people. She's shy, kinda like me. But I can't wait to live with her. I love her so much, Al." They were in the kitchen now as he took out a can of soda and handed it to her. "Not only can I be with her almost all of the time, but I can protect her more."

Alice scrunched her brow in confusion. "Protect?"

Edward looked uneasy. "Yeah. She's a bit of a danger magnet."

"In what way?" she asked, fearing the answer.

Edward took a deep breath. "Like last year…this guy, James, tried to…rape Bella."

Alice gasped. "What?"

"In the parking lot at school during her free period. She was going to her truck to get something and he came up behind her and…" He paused. He was upset, angry, she could tell. His eyes flashed, darkening. All of the emotions that he had felt about the incident came flooding back as he relived that day.

He told her how James had broken two of Bella's ribs and choked her as he forced her into the truck. He shuddered yet smiled when he said how Bella had fought back against the violent attack by kicking him in the groin and biting hard into his neck. She was so brave, he said. And she was, Alice agreed.

Then he recounted how a terrible feeling in the pit of his stomach forced him to ditch class early and go look for her. He always worried about her anyway, but this was worse. This was knowing.

Alice clutched the kitchen counter as her favorite cousin revealed how he had searched the cafeteria and then the parking lot until he came across the horrifying sight. James was on top of his Bella, his pants undone and bunched at his ankles. Bella's shirt was torn, her jeans unbuttoned and she was screaming for help, anyone, please! She had blood dripping from her mouth. James was yelling in pain, a hand pressed against the wound she inflicted. She took advantage and pushed him away, but he was so heavy and determined.

Then Edward came. James was flung off of her and beaten. Then Jasper came out. And Mike. And Eric. And Felix. They were outraged, disgusted. Not one of them left the scene without taking a hit at the scumbag writhing on the ground.

He was arrested. Bella was taken to the hospital. They skipped school the next day, a mental health day.

Alice let out a sigh of relief. Her poor Bella! No one had ever told her this. She talked to Edward and Esme often enough, but nobody mentioned this.

At least, she conceded in her head, Edward will be there to protect Bella.

Alice admitted that she was quite irrational when it came to her cousin and his…girlfriend.

The word caused a sick sensation to bombard her. She really had to get over this infatuation-love-she had for Bella. She didn't even know her!

So she left that day, taking one last look at the boxes in the hallway that signified two departures. She hoped that, soon, she would forget Bella Swan and move on. Jasper was her soulmate, after all. Not Bella. Never Bella.

Years

It was two years before Alice saw either of them again. In that time, she had studied hard for her degree in fashion design. She was in France, and Alice thought that no one should be unhappy in France, so she wasn't. She was her usual cheerful, shopaholic self. She danced as she walked and made it impossible to dislike her.

Except when she thought of Bella Swan. She could get really moody during those times. It was ridiculous. She'd only had a few encounters with the girl, yet she dreamed, fantasized, and contemplated her almost daily. What was she doing right now? Was she kissing Edward? Screwing him? Was she, impossibly, thinking of Alice as Alice thought of her?

Then there was Jasper. He went to school in Texas, but visited her in France during Spring break and in Seattle during the holidays and summer.

Alice was crazy about him once. Now he didn't cross her mind all that often.

She still talked to Edward on the phone sometimes. One time Bella picked up. Alice hadn't known what to say, so she ended up having verbal diarrhea and asking Bella everything from what her cup size was to if she ever wanted to ride a hot air balloon. It had amused the girl. Then Alice got the brilliant idea to take her shopping the following summer when they would both be home.

She must have been a masochist. But Bella agreed, though she confessed that she hated shopping and had little money to spend. However, she would love to spend the day getting to know Alice Brandon, for wasn't it a shame how little they knew each other? Yes, it is, and how will I not pounce on you and ruin everything when I see you next?

Edward sent her a birthday card for her twentieth birthday. Bella had signed it too and written a short note about how she was looking forward to seeing her in a few months. Enclosed was a picture of her and Edward. Alice folded the picture in half so that only Bella was visible. She placed it in her vanity mirror so she could see her everyday, pretending that Edward wasn't in the picture and that Bella was her girlfriend.

Her mom was coming to spend a few days with her for her birthday, but other than that she was without family. She wished Bella was there. Stupid Alice! You're pathetic!

Her mom noticed that something was off with her daughter as they walked outside after a day of shopping, which did nothing to make Alice feel better. It was harder to hide from her flesh and blood, especially on days like this. She hid it better from Jasper.

"Ally, what's the matter?" Tanya asked her daughter, concerned.

"Nothing." she lied. But her mother gave her that look, the one that said, 'Don't give me that bullshit.'

Alice relented, not sure how much she wanted to divulge. "I'm…confused."

"About?"

"My feelings…for someone."

Tanya raised an eyebrow. "I've never seen you unhappy, Ally. So who is it? Jasper?"

Alice shook her head.

"There's someone else?" Her mother asked, raising her brow in surprise.

Alice nodded her head, feeling ashamed, like she betrayed Jasper, a man who sincerely loved her and deserved to be loved back just the same.

"Have you…?"

"No!" Alice said, trying to calm down. "I haven't done anything with anyone else. I just have feelings for someone else and I don't know what to do about it." She bowed her head, wondering what her mother's reaction would be. She was still with Jasper, and that was not to be taken lightly.

It was silent for a few moments.

"You know, I had a boyfriend when I met your father." Tanya said. Alice perked up, curious.

"You did?"

"Yes. A good guy, too. Nathan. We were so comfortable together that I thought I was going to marry him. We even lived together. I'd dated him for four years when I met your father." She smiled, remembering. "He walked in on me in a dressing room." She chuckled. "I yelled at him and he dashed out, his face as red as a fire engine. When I came out he was leaning against the wall waiting to apologize. He was so shy and endearing. We talked for awhile, and then he asked me out. I was torn! I wanted to go, but I told him I had a boyfriend and he got embarrassed and started apologizing ten times over.

"He gave me his number, though. Said 'Just in case.' Then I went home to Nathan. I couldn't stop thinking about your father, though. It was driving me crazy. I thought I was the most rotten girlfriend in the world. So I went on with Nathan, acting like everything was alright and that I was in love with him.

"A week later he proposed. I started crying. I was so unhappy! I told Nathan then and there that I wouldn't marry him because I didn't see him in my future. A mean thing to say, I suppose, but honest. There was nothing wrong with him, just us. What I didn't say was that I saw another man as my husband. It was ridiculous. I mean, I had one conversation with a stranger and suddenly my plans are all topsy-turvy. It felt like a stupid reason to end a long, safe relationship, but I realized I had to try and at least see where it led to. I was feeling that way for a reason, after all.

"So I called him and we went on a date. Then another. And another. And a year later we got engaged and six months after that we were married. Two years after that you were born. Best decision I ever made."

"Wow. I didn't know all of that."

"Did I help at all?"

Alice grinned. "Yes. It's so complicated, though!" She threw her hands in the air. It wasn't as easy as it was with her mother. Her mom fell in love with another man, not another woman. That would have been a whole different story.

"In what way? You're not in love with Jasper, but you have stronger feelings for someone else. He's not married is he?"

Alice chuckled. "No."

"Is he really old?"

"No."

"Really young?"

"No."

"Is he gay?"

She flinched slightly at that. "No."

"Disabled?"

Alice shook her head.

"Religiously strict?"

"No."

"Fat?"

"Nope."

"Dying?"

"Not even close."

"So ugly that not even his own mother loves him?"

"Umm, no."

"Is he royalty?"

"No, but good question! I could totally attract royalty."

"Hmm, is he homeless?"

"No."

"Is he a ladies man?"

Alice laughed. "No, mom."

"I know! He's in a coma!"

Alice laughed harder. "No. Are you going to give up soon?"

"Not yet. I'm thinking. He's doesn't speak English?"

"Try again."

"He's famous?"

Too many 'He's' for Alice's liking. "No."

"He's a serial killer!"

"No, but that would be interesting."

"He's an alien?"

"Oh, obviously."

"He's a vampire!"

"Totally not my type."

"He's extremely metro-sexual! Girlier than you are! Am I right?"

"Hmmm…no! This is getting tiring. Give up?"

Her mother huffed. "Fine. What's the problem that's big enough to depress you, drive you away from Jasper Whitlock, and stop you from going after what you want like you always do? Shock me."

Alice took a deep breath. "She's a girl. And she has a boyfriend. And I'm certain she's not a lesbian. At all."

Tanya gaped at her.

"Are you disgusted with me?" Alice asked after a long silence.

Her mom quickly strode over to her, enveloping her in her arms. "Oh, baby, of course not! Just surprised! I didn't expect that at all."

"Neither did I. That's why I'm so confused. I've never felt this way about a girl before. It's just her." She began to cry, sobbing into her mother's shoulder.

"It's okay, baby. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just new to you and you don't know how to handle it. You'll move on from her and find another guy…or girl. Who knows? Maybe even Jasper."

Alice sniffled. "I don't think so, mom. And I don't want to get over her. I want her."

Tanya watched her in sympathy. "Are you going to end things with Jasper?"

"I don't know. I'm scared, and I don't want to hurt him. What if I'm supposed to be with him? What if I let him go and I regret it for the rest of my life?"

"I don't know what to say, sweetie. Play it by ear, I guess. Don't act too rashly. Just keep in mind that Jasper should be with someone who adores him like he does her. Like you used to."

"Years ago. It feels like eons." Alice said dejectedly. "Don't tell anyone mom, please?"

"Of course not."

"Not even dad."

Tanya seemed dubious. "He won't be upset with you, honey. He'll understand."

"I just don't want him to know. He'll see me differently." Alice frowned as she thought of her loving, shy, free-spirited father. Demitri Brandon was certainly the best dad ever, but what would he say if he knew that Alice was in love with a woman? She was a daddy's girl. He called her his princess and his little pixie. Would that change?

Happy birthday, Alice Brandon! You're lonely, confused, and hopelessly in love with someone you haven't seen in almost two years.

Tune

Alice had a song running through her head as she made her way through the airport collecting her baggage.

'Life could be a dream

'If only all my precious plans would come true

'If you would let me spend my whole life loving you

'Life could be a dream, sweetheart'

Her parents and Jasper were there waiting for her. Jasper was smiling so widely she thought his cheeks must be hurting. They hadn't seen each other in months.

She hadn't missed him.

'Hello, hello again, sh boom I know that we'll meet again'

She could see her mother looking between her and Jasper meaningfully, but ignored it.

Everyone hugged her. Her father was the one she hadn't seen in the longest, and it was so comforting to be his little girl again. It felt safe in his arms, like nothing mattered and no one could bother her.

'If I could take you up in paradise up above

'If you would tell me I'm the only one that you love

'Life could be a dream, sweetheart

Jasper kissed her firmly on the lips. "Oh, I've missed you so much, Al." He sighed into her hair, clutching her tightly to him. If only…

'Now every time I look at you

'Something is on my mind

'If you do what I want you to

'Baby, we'd be so fine'

Her mom could tell what she was going through, the dilemma. Alice decided to simply grin and bear it. She was good at acting happy around Jasper. He was someone she especially wanted to please, so she had all the motivation she needed.

Heartbeat

Alice's heart raced as they drove up to the house. Not because she was coming home after so long, but because she was there. She wasn't expecting that. Edward was there, too, happy to see his cousin.

They were all welcoming her home. It was the first time in a long time that the family was there together. Her cousin Emmett was even there with his wife Rose along with aunt Esme and uncle Carlisle. Her parents, Jasper, Edward, Bella, and her dad's father, grandpa Aro, and her aunts, Heidi, Kate, and Carmen and uncles Eleazar and Garrett were there to greet her, as well. It was a party. Everyone knew how Alice loved parties!

"Alice," oh god, "It's so good to see you again." Bella leaned in to embrace her. Alice couldn't breathe. Please don't faint, please don't faint. They'll be so suspicious! She was sure her mother was watching. She had a habit of doing that.

"You, too." She replied, her hand grazing Bella's back. She relished the little time she had in touching Bella, and when she pulled back she was met with dark chocolate eyes that shined. Alice sighed inwardly. Beautiful.

They sat down together and Alice easily managed to start a conversation, unwilling to let her go.

"How's college life been? Any great places to shop around that area?"

Bella chuckled and Emmett, standing close by, let out a big, boisterous laugh in return.

"That's our Alice," he said, "The little pixie can't resist talking about clothes. Tell me, did you run up any credit cards in France?" He imitated, quite badly, a French accent.

Alice glared at him. He was only being playful, she knew, but he was making her look bad in front of Bella.

"No, Emmett! Now shut up." She turned her attention back to Bella.

"I love your hair, Bella! You have to let me style it sometime. Ooh! And dress you! We have to plan our shopping trip soon." And there was Alice. She even fooled herself. Of course, she felt like her old self. But was she?

Tanya, her mom, didn't know who Alice had been talking about when she revealed that she was head over heels for a female. It would be easy to guess now that she was actually in the presence of the object of her affection, but Alice wasn't too sure she wanted her mother knowing at this point. She should act natural with everyone, like she was doing now.

Bella appeared mildly afraid at the mention of shopping, biting her lip adorably so that Alice had to suppress a groan.

"Yeah," Bella said uncertainly, "We should do that. Maybe not the whole dressing me up and doing my hair part, though."

Alice pouted. "Why not? I already have outfits lined up for you in my head. Has anyone ever told you that you look great in blue?"

Bella smiled. "Edward has. He loves it when I wear blue." Alice hid a frown and Bella leaned in closer to whisper, "Especially lingerie." She blushed at the admission.

She just had to bring up Edward didn't she? Next she was probably going to start giving intimate details of their sex life! Alice couldn't stomach that idea. She knew they were…doing it, but she preferred to push those unsavory thoughts from her mind.

"So," Alice said, "How about this Saturday?"

Bella quickly agreed, no doubt wanting to get the awful event over with. Her hatred of clothes shopping was too cute. Alice made a mental note to take her to a book store on the way home after shopping.

They chatted for a little longer about this and that. Alice was glowing and Bella was happy to finally reconnect after never really getting a chance to become close friends with her.

"Okay Alice," Edward approached them, "Stop hogging my girlfriend." He playfully scolded, moving to sit next to Bella on the couch. He wrapped an arm around her waist.

Oh, I wouldn't dream of it.

Then Jasper came up behind her, placing both of his hands on her shoulders. "Yeah, and stop hogging my girlfriend, Bella." He jibed. Alice immediately felt guilty.

Naomi

"Alice, I am not wearing this dress." Bella stated as she tried in vain to unzip the back of the maroon garment. She was in the dressing room at a pricey retail store that she would never be able to afford to shop in.

"Why?" Alice asked, standing directly outside of the door separating her from Bella. God, how she wished she was in there with her!

"Because," Bella replied, "It makes me look like a hooker. It's too tight and it makes me look like a vampire!" She was beyond annoyed at her failed attempts to remove the damned thing. "And this zipper is impossible! Can you help me?"

What? Alice gulped. "Um, sure. Of course."

Bella unlocked the door and Alice cautiously approached.

Dear mother of god! There was Bella, back arched, hand placed wantonly on her lower back as she rivaled any vixen worth mentioning. She was absolutely breathtaking. An angel sent to bring down the worst of devils and have them on their knees. Alice certainly compared herself to a devil at the moment.

She tried not to stare, but her breasts were just there to ogle and her legs on display and her arms and her ass and-

"Alice? This is kind of uncomfortable. Do you mind?"

Slowly, Alice undid the zipper, which was snagged slightly. Every inch of pale skin uncovered was memorized. If Alice was an artist, then Bella would be her muse, the subject of every painting, every sketch. But she would have to store these creations in her mind, for that was where her talent bloomed and thrived.

One of the store attendants approached them as they continued shopping. Her nametag said she was Naomi. She was a tall, dark-haired woman of about thirty with a pointy nose and a long French Braid. Alice already disliked her immensely.

"Do you two need any help?" The woman asked haughtily, sneering in Bella's direction and eyeing her clothes with distaste. Alice wanted to stab her with a stiletto.

"No," Alice replied, making sure her annoyance was obvious. Bella was peering at her feet in discomfort. Alice got even angrier. She turned back to the saleslady, who continued to act superior and all that was great. Bitch.

"We're fine, "Alice said, "You can go now." She dismissed her. Naomi looked thoroughly insulted.

Alice grinned.

"Cow." The rude woman whispered under her breath. But Alice heard it, as did Bella. Alice was pissed, but it was Bella who reacted first.

"What did you say?" Bella hissed. Right then she looked a fearsome creature, dangerous and ready to hurt someone. "Do you want to apologize to my friend here?" Naomi was silent, silly in her astonishment. Had no one ever called her on her royal bitchiness?

"I really think you should apologize." Bella insisted darkly, her brown eyes narrowed and her body posed in a fighting stance. God, she was hot! Alice couldn't keep her eyes off her. She was witnessing a whole new side of Bella.

Naomi stuttered, turning warily to Alice. "I-I'm sorry."

"That wasn't very convincing." Bella wagged her finger at the woman. "Don't you think so, Alice?" she asked, inclining her head slightly to meet Alice's bemused, glittering eyes.

"Hmm, "Alice pretended to contemplate, placing a hand under her chin, "No, I don't think it was very convincing."

"You can do better." Bella told Naomi, who was now thoroughly embarrassed.

"Sorry." She croaked. "I really am sorry. Sorry again. You're a very lovely young woman and it was wrong of me to say such a thing."

"Yes it was," Bella agreed, "now, if you don't mind too terribly, we would like to purchase this dress." She held up a pricey blue gown tauntingly in Naomi's face.

Naomi cleared her throat. "Of course."

They even got a discount.

Alice was glowing from the encounter. Bella was wonderful! As if she needed more proof. Ha! Now she was even more enthralled.

They'd exited the store and broke out into a fit of giggles, partners in crime. Bella had Alice's arm looped through her own. It was heaven.

"You were amazing!" Alice gushed as they slid into her car. "And you were so calm! You're like a psychopath!"

Bella raised an eyebrow. "Uh, thanks Alice. No one's ever told me that before. Well, a couple of my victims mentioned it in passing, but never a friend."

Silence.

Then the laughter started up again.

Alice drove them to a bookstore nearby, and Bella hugged her for her consideration.

This was by far the best day Alice had had in ages. She couldn't stop smiling, and Bella was just as bad. This was how they should always be, Alice thought.

Way

The next day, Alice found out that Bella and Edward would be leaving in two weeks, not wanting to abandon their apartment for too long. Alice was miffed.

"You're only staying for two weeks?" She and Edward were in his old bedroom where she had confronted him after barging into the house unexpectedly.

"Yes," Edward replied, "What's the problem?"

"'The problem?' The problem is that you're leaving in two weeks and I haven't seen you guys in years and now I only get a couple of weeks! Bella's my friend. I don't want to wait another two years to see her. Or you. We hardly spend any time together." She complained, sticking her lower lip out like she did when she wanted to get her way.

Edward sighed. "I know, Al. It won't be two years. You'll see us at Christmas, and you'll see us almost every day while we're in Forks. Hell, we have family dinners every night together."

"Yeah, yeah, but we don't spend quality time together."

"You were with Bella all day yesterday."

"Only one day!"

"I don't want her going off without me for a whole day again."

"Don't be such a baby! You can live without her for a day."

"Barely."

Ditto.

"I have an idea," Alice said. She had been brewing a plan since she learned that her Bella was soon to be gone. Edward already looked reluctant. "My parents have a cabin. We could stay there for a week, just me, Bella, you, and Jasper. It'd be fun! Plus, I'd stop nagging you."

"Alice," Edward said, impatient with his pint-sized cousin, "I'm not staying in a cabin in the middle of the woods, dying of heat and lack of good food for a week. Besides, we came back to spend time with our parents, too."

Alice frowned. "Fine," she stomped her foot, "I'll just ask Bella what she thinks about it."

She turned to leave. "And by the way, my parents are rich and our cabin is fully furnished, air-conditioned, and has a huge kitchen. It's more of a house than a cabin, actually. So there!" She stomped out, determined to get what she wanted.

And she did. Bella was sympathetic to her friend's plight, but said that a week was more than enough. As long as Edward was there, she would go. Edward gave in. Alice pumped her fist.

Then Emmett overheard them talking about it during dinner that night and decided that he had to "get in on that."

"A camping trip? Yeah!" Rose smacked him on the arm.

"Ow, Rosie, that hurt." She smirked.

"It's not a camping trip, Emmett," Alice said, annoyed, "we're staying in a cabin."

"One that I spent thousands of dollars to repair and make nice," Tanya chimed in, "so don't mess it up!"

"Oooh! Are there enough bedrooms for me and Rose, aunt Tanya?" Emmett asked eagerly.

Alice tried to communicate to her mother to say 'No' by shaking her head, but she was ignored with a wide, Cheshire cat grin. "Yes, Emmett, there's plenty of space. You should go with them."

Damn her mother!

Emmett whooped, earning another smack. Rose was not the type to live in the woods.

"It's okay, pookie," Emmett cooed at her, "we'll be staying in most of the time anyway, if you know what I mean." He waggled his eyebrows.

So it was settled.

Beatles on the Airwave

Jasper drove the six of them in his parents' SUV. It was a two hour drive. Everyone realized rather quickly that having the six of them cooped up in the same vehicle for hours was not the best idea.

No one could agree on what music to listen to. Jasper's taste in country music was instantly rebuffed and Emmett's rap CD was thrown out the window by Edward, whose classical music was denied because, as Emmett and Alice both put it, "It's so boring I want to chuck myself out of the car and hitchhike with Jack the Ripper."

Bella finally intervened and instructed Alice, who was sitting upfront with Jasper, to flick on the radio, and whatever came on they would listen to. Everyone was dubious, but curious as well to find out what they would be doomed to listen to.

The Beatles came on. Edward groaned. "I hate The Beatles."

Bella rubbed his back with her hands. Alice watched from the rearview mirror, jealous.

Jasper noticed, not quite placing the emotion accurately. "Alice?"

"Mmm."

"We'll be there soon. Are you okay? You seem angry."

"Oh, just…" She definitely didn't want him suspecting she was jealous, "I don't like this song. I hate hearing bad songs, if you recall."

He chuckled. "Yeah, I do." He reached an arm out and took her hand, bringing it up to lightly kiss. "I can't wait to be alone with you." She cringed. "And Emmett's dirty jokes are annoying me."

Indeed, Emmett told tasteless jokes throughout the car ride, everyone telling him at least once to shut up, except Bella, who enjoyed his humor. Alice took note of that and decided to be quiet about it from now on. If Bella liked it, then she would, too.

The cabin was beautiful. It didn't feel like a cabin at all.

"It's a mini-mansion!" Bella exclaimed, somewhat abashed at staying in such a grand place.

"Silly, Bella!" Alice said, "It's just a house. There isn't anything valuable in it, and it's only a few years old, barely used. Come on!" She led them inside where Alice turned on the air, relieving the group.

Alice already had her own bedroom, telling them they could have their pick of the rest.

Rose and Emmett took the room opposite hers and Jasper's. Bella and Edward occupied the one next to them.

"There's no internet here!" Emmett grumbled later on. Everyone laughed at him. It didn't matter, anyway, since it was dinnertime.

The girls all unpacked the food they brought and made dinner while the guys huddled in the living room.

"They're probably talking about sex." Rose said. Alice and Bella blushed.

"Probably," Alice agreed.

"Probably comparing penis sizes." Bella quipped. Rose dropped the knife she was handling in shock. Bella began laughing loudly, Alice and Rose cracking up along with her. The three of them caused so much noise that the men came in to investigate.

"What are you guys so goofy about?" Jasper asked.

"Oh, um, private stuff." Bella said. No one believed her. "None of you business."

"Sex?" Emmett suggested. Bella's face flamed.

Rose came to her rescue. "Sex dreams, for your information. We were just going over some of the weird people who have entertained us in our dreams." She snickered at their expressions.

"Who?" Edward, Emmett, and Jasper demanded collectively.

"Wouldn't you like to know!"

Actually, Alice would like to know who Bella dreamed about. Edward, no doubt. Not her. But you could be sure that Bella Swan always starred in Alice Brandon's dreams.

Deaf

Jasper snuggled up to her that night. The group had eaten dinner, played cards, and watched horror movies up until one in the morning. She couldn't help noticing how Bella went from sitting next to Edward to leaning her head on his shoulder, and finally to sitting on his lap, protected by his big strong arms. The same went with Rose and Emmett, though it had more to do with being horny than anything else.

Of course, Jasper saw all of this, too, and wished his girlfriend felt the need to be close to him. So she obliged, playing along, blending in. Pretending.

He was hard now. She felt it against her bottom as she tried to get to sleep amidst all of her whirling thoughts.

Not tonight. She didn't want that tonight. Jasper didn't pressure her, just dozed off contentedly. He was so good.

Alice slipped out of his arms once he was fast asleep.

She crept out of the room, into the hallway, her feet padding lightly against the carpet, and leaned on the wall, breathing in, out, in, wishing desperately to not think about her tonight, to be happy with what she had and not want for more.

Then she heard it.

A moan.

A grunt.

An, "Oh, Bella."

An, "Oh, Edward."

"I love you."

"I love, love, love you."

"Forever, ever, ever, you feel so good oh god I love you!"

Their words ran together, still unbearably loud and clear. Every word. Every sound.

He was inside her.

They were joined, sharing their bodies, their fluids, rubbing skin, caressing, sweating.

Alice couldn't take it.

Couldn't listen to them making love, coming, and being in love. Couldn't hear the evidence, wouldn't. Didn't want to know, wanted to ignore it, to brush away the facts.

So she ran outside into the humid night air. She was hyperventilating, she was aware, but for the life of her she was unable to will it to stop. At least she was alone. No one had to see this and ask questions.

Alas, she calmed down; sobbing soundlessly on a bench her mother had bought at an antique shop years ago.

"Alice?" came a panicked voice from the front porch. Jasper hurriedly descended the stairs, and ran to where she sat.

"Thank god!" He sighed in relief. "I woke up and you weren't there and I couldn't find you anywhere in the house. I was so worried." He gazed at her with concerned, blue eyes. Her heart bled for him. He didn't deserve this.

She'd made up her mind.

She would be good for him, be everything he needed and wanted. Bella would no longer haunt her, torment her. Jasper would be her everything from now on. She swore.

Alice took his hand, so soft and large in her own. She was determined, even if her heart was breaking. She ignored it.

"I'm sorry, Jas. I had a heck of a time trying to sleep, so I came out here instead. I'm so glad you're here now, though. I didn't wake you, did I?"

Jasper smiled. "No, baby. I just have trouble sleeping without you. All those months really took a toll, and now that you're here, my body recognizes you and simply can't bear to be without you any longer." He leaned down for a long, sensuous kiss.

"Mmm, baby, let's go to bed now," he said, grinning lazily, high off the kiss, "You must be exhausted. It's three in the morning."

Wow, she'd been out there for over an hour. Come to think of it, she was tired.

She went on her tip-toes to peck him on the lips before taking his hand once more and leading him back to bed.

T-Shirt

The six of them decided to go swimming in the lake the next day. No one got up before eleven. By one, everyone was in their bathing suits. They found a good spot about half a mile away where the trees provided shade and the ground was perfect for lounging and picnicking.

"I'm gonna fry," Bella said, eyeing the glaring sun with disdain, worrying her lip and scrunching her brows together. Alice blatantly told herself that Bella did not look adorable and maybe, kind of edible.

"Here, love, turn around," Edward instructed her. He slathered Bella's whole body in sunscreen, gingerly kissing her neck and shoulder now and again.

"Well, I can't wait to get a tan!" Rose exclaimed. "I get so pasty in Forks, it's terrible."

"Aww, baby, you look hot no matter what!" Emmett said. Rose winked at him.

"Want me to do your back?" Jasper asked Alice, hope burning in his eyes. Alice put on her biggest, most enthusiastic smile and squealed.

"Yes! Let me undo my top." Jasper gulped, staring at her breasts. "Don't look, anyone, I'm taking my bikini top off." She shouted to the group. Edward and Bella immediately turned in the other direction, both blushing. Emmett and Rose were already in the water.

She flipped over onto her stomach, undoing the strings and flinging the top to her side. Jasper gaped at her, frozen for a few moments.

Alice cleared her throat.

"Sorry." Jasper muttered, grabbing a bottle of sunscreen. Alice wiggled her toes in the air and swung her legs back and forth, humming as Jasper applied the lotion. She was, without a doubt, not hoping in the back of her mind that Bella was watching her (even though she totally was) and resisted, without trouble (lie) the urge to turn her head and see for herself.

"Hey, don't kick me." Jasper chuckled, as Alice's foot made contact with his chest.

"Oops," Alice giggled, taking the opportunity to see where everyone was. Edward and Bella were splashing around in the water and trading kisses. Rose and Emmett were nowhere to be seen.

"All done." Jasper said, clapping his hands together and standing up.

Alice, in all honesty, tried to be modest when she stood and retrieved her top, but Jasper accidentally glimpsed her small breasts, stepping back, embarrassed, with a gasp. Alice quickly moved to cover herself up. She really didn't want him to see. It made her uncomfortable, despite how confident she always seemed.

"I'll just…um, go into t-the lake." Jasper stuttered, stumbling away into the cool water to hide his erection.

A high-pitched shriek came from Bella then. Alice's gaze snapped to her, only to find that she and Edward were fooling around. He was chasing her out of the water and into the woods, both of them laughing. Alice was most definitely not annoyed or jealous (so many lies, Alice Brandon).

Rose and Emmett were still MIA, so it was just her and Jasper floating around awkwardly. Alice managed to lift the mood by jabbing him in the ribs playfully. He was ticklish…and very competitive. It was on.

A while later Bella emerged from the woods with a twig in her hair and a flushed face. She walked with purpose towards Jasper and Alice, who were recovering from their tickling match/water fight. Alice had her head in the crook of his neck as they lay on the blanket.

Bella stood in front of them. They both peered up at her.

"Don't go back there," Bella warned, "Emmett and Rose are, uh, busy. Edward and I accidentally came across them." She grinned weakly at her misfortune.

That's when Alice saw it.

Nipples.

Two of them.

Bella's nipples.

She was wearing a wet white t-shirt with nothing on underneath. Alice began blubbering.

"Bella!" She shrilled, "What happened to your shirt? What…why…how? Huh?"

Bella's face flamed. Jasper's did too, for he had also noticed and was doing his best to not peek. Two sets of breasts in one day were too much for the poor man.

Alice simply didn't bother to not stare. They were right there. Bella speedily moved her hands over her chest, stuttering incoherently.

"I, um, well…you see, Edward and I were, you know, and he lost my bikini top and now he's searching for it. We couldn't find it anywhere, so he gave me his shirt. Good thing he didn't lose my bottoms, right? Haha." She laughed nervously.

Alice wasn't laughing. She wanted to comfort her (or lick her, whichever), but all she could think about were Bella's breasts; perky little things with big round nipples. She would never get that image out of her head.

She was pretty sure Jasper was thinking along the same lines, but she just couldn't muster the courage to care.

Eventually, Edward came back, as did Emmett and Rose, a decidedly ruffled pair. Edward, when he saw Bella's shirt dilemma, decided it was time for the two of them to head back. He didn't like the idea of Emmett catching sight of Bella. He'd never let her live it down. And, really, no one should see her like that except for him!

Alice didn't speak much at all for the remainder of the day. Neither did Jasper.

Rose and Emmett stayed in their room the good part of the day, as did Bella and Edward, so there was no one to question why Alice had zoned out or why Jasper looked pained and longingly at Alice. Wanting.

Lie

Alice and Jasper lost their virginities to each other that night. She initiated it, knew he desperately wanted it, needed it.

He was not only an amazing and devoted boyfriend, he was also patient. He'd waited years for her. It was easy enough to put it off. They were in different countries most of the time, and she usually claimed to have her period or that she was simply not ready whenever they were together.

They would have done it much sooner had she not met Bella. In fact, she had been planning to do it the summer before college. But she only thought of Bella then and she couldn't concentrate on Jasper after that. She wasn't attracted to him like before.

So here they were, two twenty year-olds who'd been dating since they were fifteen and were finally consummating it. Nobody knew they were virgins. They'd been going out so long and seemed so in love that it was only natural to think they were sexually intimate. If it hadn't been for Bella, they would have been.

Alice felt guilty for keeping him waiting. For not loving him quite the way she should. The way she used to.

He was surprised when she touched his chest and kissed him. He was more surprised when she whipped off her blouse and stated, with false confidence, that she was ready and that she love, love, loved him.

Jasper was shocked, aroused beyond belief, and hesitant. Was she sure? Were they protected? He didn't have a condom.

She was on birth control and yes, she was sure.

She laid herself out for him, letting him undress her and touch her any way he pleased. This was more for him than for her, though she almost felt spiteful. Bella and Edward made love all the time. Why shouldn't she? She could be loud too and give pleasure to the man she loved. Besides, it might mask the muffled noises coming from their bedroom, as well as Emmett and Rose's. Alice wanted to be a part of the nightly rituals. She already felt like an outcast, a prisoner of her secrets and desires. Tonight she would be normal.

It hurt. A lot.

He was being careful and slow, but Alice hated the look of agonizing ecstasy displayed plainly on his beautiful features because of all the restraint he was showing. She urged him to go faster, harder. It still hurt, but she only smiled and said it felt good while he pounded into her, reveling in the act he'd yearned for with the woman he'd loved for so long.

She hoped everyone heard him moaning. It couldn't be contained, it was so amazing, and he was in ecstasy, the pace just perfect, she was perfect. He mumbled words into her neck, ear, shoulder, to himself, so lost in his pleasure that his words were disjointed and erratic.

I love, love, love, love you.

Like Edward and Bella.

And then he came.

Loudly and oh so rightly.

She didn't, but that was okay. They had done what she had wanted, what they had wanted: made love. It was all a lie though. She could admit that. Her kisses were lies, her touches, her smiles, lies, lies, lies, lies. This was no different. But she thought, in vain, perhaps, that if she made him happy, then maybe she'd be happy, too. Happy-ish, at least, for that was all she could ask for with him. Without her.

"Well, someone was busy last night." Emmett teased her the next day. She poked her tongue out at him. For once, Jasper didn't seem embarrassed. He looked proud, sated, and a bit goofy. He was an experienced man now, and could relate to Edward and Emmett.

So they had heard. Even Bella. They'd all been having sex at the same time, as it happened, but Jasper and her finished last and the walls were thin. All the better.

Bella wasn't jealous, but Alice was a daydreamer and in her head Bella was always jealous of anyone with Alice, and it was Bella on top of her last night, and Bella everyone heard through the walls.

And it was only Bella who possessed the power to give her pleasure.

And that wasn't a lie.

What the Boys See

She bought a girly magazine. Playboy. Wanted to see what all the fuss was about, but really, she was testing herself. Did other girls attract her? Surely, all of these naked bodies on display would arouse her.

But no. Only Bella. What was wrong with her? Was she a lesbian or not? Was she bisexual or was her only type Bella?

All she knew was that the exposed skin did nothing for her. In her head, she replaced the images with Bella. It was Bella posing provocatively, seducing her and wearing next to nothing. It was Bella wanting her.

Alice threw the magazine away. Absolute rubbish. What did guys see in those pictures that she missed? Men were so simple, she thought, so easy.

Dog

They were saying goodbye to each other again. Edward and Bella were leaving, hugging family and friends. It was another party, with less people this time.

The usual suspects were there: The Cullens, her parents, the Swans, and a few friends. Leah Clearwater was there with her brother Seth, cousin Jake and her girlfriend Abby. Ah, someone she could relate to. Actually, she didn't know Leah was a lesbian until recently. They weren't close or anything. She was more Bella's friend.

Alice bristled at that. Wondered if they had done anything together, experimented like girls sometimes do. No, no, no, that was unlikely. She and Edward had been with each other for ages, and Bella wasn't the type to experiment with girls. At least, that's what she told herself.

"Alice!" Bella called, racing towards her. "Ha! Found you!" She smiled. "I was wondering if we could trade email addresses so we can keep in contact. I don't know why I haven't thought of it before, but I wanted to ask you before I forgot."

"Great idea, Bella! I can't believe I didn't think of that!" Alice was more than enthusiastic. And seriously, why hadn't they been e-mailing all this time instead of getting a letter and a card twice a year? Stupid, stupid Alice.

Bella took out a pen and paper and scribbled on it, handing it to Alice. "Here," she said, "now give me yours so I can properly stalk you online."

I wish you would!

Alice wrote hers down, giving it to Bella.

"Pixie and the Beauty? Interesting name, Al." Bella said.

Alice blushed. God, she was doing that a lot lately. But she was worried that Bella would catch on. Pixie (Alice) and the Beauty (Bella). It wasn't hard to figure out, though perhaps it was only obvious to her.

"Yeah, and what about yours?" Alice said, "Swan in a box? What does that mean?"

Bella chuckled. "Um, Edward said that I was beautiful, like a Swan, and that my name fit me perfectly. But I disagreed. I'm not beautiful," Alice wanted to protest, "I said I wanted to put a box over my head sometimes. That's what inspired the name."

Alice touched her shoulder gently, "Bella, you are beautiful!" She insisted, so much conviction in her voice, but Bella raised her eyebrow in doubt. "You are, silly Bella. You just don't see yourself clearly at all."

"Eh, that's what Edward says. I still don't think it's true, but thanks." Bella said.

Alice hated to be mentioned in the same sentence with Edward.

Bella sighed. "I have to go get ice for the cooler outside, but don't leave without saying goodbye, okay?"

"Of course not! I'm staying until you leave."

"Staying with Jasper tonight?" Bella asked, a sly smile playing on her lips.

"Oh…yes, we're staying at his apartment."

"Bet you love that."

"Yeah, it's fantastic. I love him so much!"

Gah! Alice, why did you have to shout? The more you try to convince people, the more they can tell that you're lying. And who are you trying to convince? Everyone's already fooled. The only person who knows better is you!

"That's great. I love living with Edward. You must be happy not to have to be away from Jasper. I know when we were first talking about college I cried, thinking that I would never get to see Edward. He was even worse than I was! I don't know how you do it. It would kill me to be apart from Edward for so long."

"Oh, it is hard," Thinking about you, "But we manage. Once college is over, we'll be living together all the time. So, I'm looking forward to that. I just hate to be away from my Jazzy for so long." You sound pathetic. Just say you can't stand being away from her.

"You two are so good together. I'm so happy for you. We're beyond lucky to have found 'the one' so early." Bella said, sounding whimsical.

"I know, right? We're, like, so lucky." Alice replied, trying not to choke on her words.

Bella went off to the kitchen then, presumably.

That was when her mother approached.

"Hey baby," Tanya kissed her cheek, "How are you doing?" Shit. She'd been watching her, hadn't she.

Oh no! Did she know?

"I'm fine, mom. You?"

"Good. Great. Your father is taking me to Hawaii next month! I'm so excited!" Tanya was one caffeine shot away from jumping up and down and doing the twist. "I have to buy a new bikini. And get a spray tan! And do my nails. And get my legs and bikini waxed. There's so much to do!"

"Aw! I wish I was going to Hawaii. I'm so jealous!" And she was. Some more sun would do her good. The weather in Forks reflected her mood and certainly didn't help it. She already missed France.

"So is it Bella?" Tanya inquired nonchalantly, taking a sip from her wine glass.

A startled Alice began peering around the room frantically, hoping no one heard.

"Mom!" she hissed. "No, okay, no it is not Be-her. Just…shh!"

Tanya giggled, obviously a little tipsy. "Oh, honey, it is her. I saw how you were eyeing her. You looked so desperate and in pain! How can she not catch on to that?"

"Mom! Please keep it down."Alice urged, glancing around again.

"Aww, okay honey, I won't say a word. Promise. But I suggest you kiss her or something before you explode. You look constipated."

Alice groaned. "I'm walking away from you now. Dad should really take your drunk-ass home."

"Mmm, yeah, drunk sex is amazing!" She sounded like Emmett, Alice mused as she strode away. Tanya was Carlisle's sister, so it must be a Cullen trait, but she sure as hell didn't get it. Or Edward. Ugh, don't even think his name, Alice; you'll only torture yourself more.

"You dog! Get off of me!"

Bella!

Alice ran to the kitchen, her high heels clicking all the way, to find Bella up against the refrigerator being pawed at by Leah's cousin, Jake. He had her pressed to himself while his hands held her in place and his lips attacked her face. Bella was frantically trying to push him away.

"Get off her!" Alice shouted, sprinting over to them and pounding her fists on Jake's back. Bella simultaneously kneed him in the groin and scratched his neck with her fingernails. He howled and clutched at his injury in pain, allowing Bella to get free. Alice immediately pulled her to her side protectively.

"What the hell do you think you were doing?" Alice yelled, ready to beat him up.

Bella shuddered beside her, taking a deep breath. "He's had a thing for me for years. He doesn't know how to take no for an answer." She was close to tears, and Alice remembered that she had almost been raped before. She grew angrier at the thought. How dare he hurt her!

"Oh please," Jake spat, "I've been in love with you since we were kids, Bella. Why won't you give me a chance? I know you love me."

"Like hell!" Bella said. "I've never loved you, Jake. I love Edward. I only want Edward, got that? So keep your ugly mitts off me!"

Jake acted as if he'd been slapped. "You're in denial, Bella. You love it when I touch you. You wish I'd fu—"

"Shut up!"Alice cried, getting in his face. She couldn't take him even imagining doing that to Bella. "She doesn't want you, Jacob. Don't ever touch her again, or my cousins and I will pummel you. Emmett can be as scary as he looks, I promise you, and Edward will be more than happy to beat you to a pulp when he finds out you attacked his girlfriend. As for me, I'm having trouble not killing you right now. Do you have any idea how much I love Bella?" Oops. "She's like a sister to me. I'd do anything for her." That's better, Alice. That was close!

All the commotion brought in Edward, Jasper, Emmett, Rose, Carlisle, Esme, her parents, Leah, and Abby, who weren't close enough to the kitchen to hear Bella's cries over the music before. The shouting had grabbed everyone's attention, though.

"What's going on?" Edward came in, going to Bella's side. Then he saw Jacob, and his eyes narrowed. "What are you doing, Jacob?" He asked, venom dripping from voice.

"He attacked Bella." Alice said, turning her adoring but cautious gaze back to the girl in question, only to find that said girl was giving her a funny look that both worried her and sent a jolt of excitement through her.

Then Edward punched Jake.

Permanent Marker

By the time Edward and Bella departed, Jake was long gone, hauled away by a pissed off Leah and Abby. Edward hit him square in the jaw. Jake threw in a punch, too, hitting Edward's cheek, for which Bella repaid him by kneeing him in the groin. Alice thought she was awesome.

After that, Bella took care of Edward, placing an ice-pack on his cheek and trying to calm him down, kissing and caressing him and whispering things that Alice was glad she didn't hear.

She hadn't talked to Bella in the hour and a half since it happened. It felt as if a big glass wall had been put between them. By Bella. Had she said the wrong thing? She wanted to say something to her…so much. Anything, really, but nothing came to mind. Since when was Alice shy and without words? Since Bella Swan.

She didn't want to say goodbye. They probably wouldn't see each other 'til Christmas, if even then. She was in constant need of her Bella-fix, no matter how much it tormented her.

Bella, Bella, Bella, Bella…

They had to catch their flight in three hours, so it was soon time for goodbyes. Everyone took turns hugging, Alice the last to go cause she wanted more, more, more without someone going after and spoiling it.

"I'll miss you, Allie." Bella said.

"God, me too! You're my best friend. Who am I going to go shopping with?"

Bella laughed.

Then she surprised her, maintaining that weird look she had earlier that Alice couldn't place.

She kissed her.

On the cheek.

Okay, so it wasn't a freaking reason to celebrate, but come on! She'd feel that kiss for the next month.

They left.

Alice didn't get a chance to decipher the expression on Bella's lovely face. She wondered if she'd been discovered. Hoped she had…if it meant more kisses on the cheek and something happening, some acknowledgment on Bella's part.

Alice dreamed of Bella that night, even as Jasper made love to her. He'd been insatiable since they started the week before. She'd enjoyed it a little more each time, learning how to feel good, what to think, who to fantasize about to get herself off when it should have been Jasper, since he was the one touching her, loving her.

She did her best not to think about the next time she'd see Bella. It could be months. It could be next year. It was a painful possibility. She'd just have to keep dreaming until her Bella was home again.

Chutzpah

Alice was excited. Screw Christmas! It was Thanksgiving she loved. Why? Because it was on that lovely holiday that she would be in her presence again. It was sooner than she expected, than she'd hoped. Bella had told her in an e-mail that they were coming home for the holidays. They'd come back for Christmas and stay for New Years. Alice was a ball of energy from the second she read that gift of a message.

Jasper couldn't contain her. Heck, he was overjoyed that she was overjoyed.

It was counting the days that was hardest. Knowing the actual date made the reunion all the more anticipated and all the more impossible to wait for.

And yet…

"Bella!"

Alice had that glimmer in her hazel eyes, the kind that meant she was truly happy and excited. It had been four months and she was about ready to tie Bella up and never let her out of her sight again.

Bella received her hugs with less enthusiasm, but that was to be expected. She clung to Edward like duct tape, her smiles careful towards Alice, unsure and suspicious.

Too bad for her that Alice was as determined as ever. Now that it seemed Bella had an inkling of Alice's true feelings, she wanted to make them known, if only to Bella. Get it out there, see what happened, try, try, try, and don't stop. She only hoped she didn't lose Bella over this.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Al." Edward reached out to give her a one-armed hug. She returned the sentiment with all of her usual vigor.

"Eek! I'm so happy you're here! It's been forever!"

Edward chuckled. "Forever? Can't live without us, can you Alice? It must be Bella, because you were never this happy to see me."

Alice just continued grinning, wanting to be unaffected. Out of the corner of her eye she glanced Bella, who'd averted her gaze to the ground at Edward's comment. Clearly uncomfortable, Bella shifted from side to side, refusing to look at Alice, opting instead to pretend she hadn't heard.

"You're just my dork cousin," Alice quipped, enjoying Bella's reactions because she knew, Alice was certain, and she wanted to make sure Bella knew without a doubt. "Bella's my best friend. It's totally your fault, so don't complain."

Edward turned his adoring green eyes to his girlfriend, squeezing her arm, "Yes, she's amazing, isn't she? Everyone wants to hog her time and steal her away." Bella blushed as the two cousins appraised her. Edward kissed her cheek. "I'm always threatening the guys at school to keep away from her."

Damn. How many people were after her Bella? "A lot, Bella?" She pierced her with burning eyes, hoping Bella would look at her. "I bet you get asked out all the time, am I right Edward?"

"You have no idea." He huffed. "Twenty guys in our first week."

"Twenty?"

He nodded. "It was difficult keeping calm with all of them panting after her, but they eventually got the hint."

"Yes," Bella said, getting over her blushes and joining in, "but what Edward didn't mention was all the girls after him."

Edward turned to her. "What? I didn't even notice until you told me. It was like we were both being stalked. There was a Bella fan-club and an Edward fan-club. Highly unsettling."

Alice was getting impatient. If only she could get Bella alone…

"Dinner in ten minutes." Esme informed them, popping her head into the living room where everyone was assembled.

"Should we sit down, baby?" Jasper asked, coming over to her side. She nodded.

Luck was not on her side that night. As it happened, Bella sat at the opposite end of the table. She wasn't even directly visible. Alice was next to Jasper, who sat on her right, and her mother, on her left, who kept throwing her suggestive glances, bringing her hand up to her face and jabbing her finger into her palm, pointing in Bella's direction. Alice had to fight her embarrassment, not wanting to alert the man beside her. Or anyone else for that matter.

Alice knew that Edward and Bella were staying at his parents' for the holiday. She wanted desperately to finagle her way in overnight, but there was zero chance for a snowstorm and she wasn't so ill she couldn't be moved. She and Jasper were staying with her parents. Maybe…yes, if it got so late that the idea of driving all the way home seemed ridiculous. She could tell her parents to go on ahead then stay into the early morning and plead excessive tiredness as an excuse to stay. She'd find a way to get Bella alone…

It worked. Well, mostly. Edward and Bella went to bed at midnight and Esme and Carlisle were forced to endure Alice's incessant chatter up until then, at which point she innocently suggested that her and Jasper sleep over. There were certainly enough spare bedrooms.

They were glad to accommodate, and retired as soon as they showed them to their room.

Jasper fell asleep fast, as he was prone to do. It was one of the things she loved about him.

And she waited.

And waited.

For Bella to come out of her room and give Alice a chance to corner her.

All was silent…and then…

Two o' clock in the morning, the door to Bella's bedroom creaked open. Of course, it might be Edward coming out, but Alice kept vigilant watch through the door and she knew Bella's footsteps, as light as they were.

She was going into the bathroom, an empty glass in her hand. Light streamed out into the hallway and Alice could see her lovely tired face as she refilled her glass, her dark hair in messy disarray.

Alice knew this was her moment, her one chance. She put all her fear behind her and tip-toed out, closing the door, and made her way to the bathroom, Bella unaware.

The door shut with a thud, startling Bella. She gasped.

"Alice? What are you doing—?"

But Alice cut her off, smashing her lips against Bella's hungrily. It felt so good. Finally…

There was nothing like the feel of Bella's lips against her own, of Bella's hair entangled in her fingers and her body pressed against hers. It took her a minute to realize that Bella wasn't kissing back, and it made her chest hurt. She pulled back, analyzing the girl she had kept in her dreams and her heart for over two years.

"Bella?" Alice whispered, uncertain, scared. Bella didn't say anything, only catching her breath and gaping, stunned, at the girl in front of her whose hands held her face, touching her reddened cheeks.

"I knew it." Bella spoke at last. "You've been acting weird, but I…I didn't believe it. I thought I was imagining it…Why did you kiss me?"

Alice shuddered. "Because I've been wanting to kiss you for two years, five months, and three days. I'm in love with you, Bella Swan."

She waited for a reaction. Bella was blank. Alice caressed her pale cheeks patiently, soothingly, waiting, always waiting.

She felt herself get pushed back then, and Bella was gone, a bedroom door shutting in the distance as she went back to Edward.

And Alice cried. She cried because now she knew that it was hopeless, that she was hopeless and there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. That was rejection for you.

Death

Christmas came, and Bella and Edward came with it. Alice wasn't sure if she should go home. Stay in France, perhaps, and avoid the whole mess. The day after the kiss had been tense. Neither looked at the other and Bella didn't say goodbye. Alice felt another pang in her chest at that, but it was to be expected.

She didn't think she could take another visit like that, another round of rejections and reminders. If she could she would kill this whole love thing she'd acquired for Isabella Swan. It was impossible to love her and impossible to fall out of love with her. What was the point of loving someone when you couldn't actually love them?

Bride

Christmas was the enemy. Her new most loathed holiday. Why, do you ask? Well, that was the day Edward and Bella announced their engagement. Oh, congratulations you guys! Alice overdid herself on the smiles and hugs. She was so fake-happy that her face hurt. Everyone else was genuine, and no one was the wiser to Alice's state of misery.

Except Bella. Bella saw it in her eyes. All the pain and grief. The loss. She hadn't said a word to Alice in weeks, but if she had, she would've said she was sorry, that she wasn't worth the hurt, and she made a terrible job of falling for a Bella Swan of a girl.

Edward was the happiest he had ever been, and Alice tried not to hate him for it. She knew that they would make love tonight, that he would kiss her ring like they always did in romances, and that they would live happily ever after. She really didn't want to hate him.

But she kind of did.

Not Forever

Bella was going to talk to her. Needed to. Alice noticed how Bella kept looking at her, a new determination that she hadn't seen before in her brown eyes. This was the day that she was to be forever ejected from the life of Bella Swan. She just knew it. And she didn't want to hear it.

So she left. She left Christmas. Left her family and Jasper, told them she felt ill and wanted to go home and vomit in peace. Jasper was adamant about going with her. It was almost impossible to get rid of him, but in the end she confessed that she needed to be alone, no offense. She wanted him to enjoy the party and she couldn't stand the thought of him being miserable just because she was.

She took their car and drove home. Knew that her parents and Jasper wouldn't be back for hours. It was still early, and her mother wasn't nearly drunk enough for it to be considered a successful party.

Alice plopped down on her childhood bed, willing herself not to cry. Enough tears had been spilt, but she never seemed to run out.

The door rang twenty minutes later. She got up, huffing, cursing whoever interrupted her moping, and sulked down the stairs.

It was freaking cold out. Snowflakes dusted the air and landed angelically in Bella Swan's hair. Because Bella Swan was at her door. Oh. She followed her all the way here just to tell her off. She needn't have bothered. An e-mail would have done, or a nice handwritten letter. No need for dramatics and face-to-face encounters. Alice seriously didn't want to cry in front of Bella, and she was sure that's what it would come down to.

"Can I come in?" Bella asked, clearing her throat in a false confidence that Alice found adorable in the back of her mind.

Alice nodded her head, giving way so she could enter. Her gaze diverted to the floor. Bella's legs were in front of her, shifting uncomfortably from side to side. Alice preferred watching her legs than her face. That's what might trigger a breakdown.

"So…" Bella began.

"So what are you doing here?" Alice snapped, not quite meaning to sound so harsh. Bella cringed.

"I told Edward and Jasper that I was coming here. I said I was going to ask you to…be my bridesmaid and…just to make sure you're okay. Jasper was relieved. He was going to leave right after you, but I told him I'd come. Thought it'd be best."

Alice snorted. Bridesmaid? As if. But at least Jasper wasn't there. She had no desire to see him right now, or her.

"Like hell I'm going to be you bridesmaid, Bella." she hissed. "Thanks, but I plan on being far, far away on the happy occasion. I'll get the flu if I'm lucky or maybe get hit by a bus. Anything but witness you two…Just, don't ask me."

Bella sniffled, and Alice hadn't realized she was crying until then. She looked up. Her heart broke.

"Alice, I don't know what to say to you." Bella choked. "I can't reciprocate, and I don't want to lose you as a friend even though I know that's inevitable. What can I do?"

Alice was silent.

"Alice, please," Bella took her tiny hand in her own small one, grasping it tightly. Alice closed her eyes. Relished the pressure on her skin. Then shook her off.

She opened her mouth, letting the words come out without thinking. She was tired of thinking.

"I want you to say you love me. I want you to want me as much as I want you. I want you to dream about me like I dream about you. I want you to want to make love with me as much as I've been longing to. I want you to touch me, hold me, kiss me, and just…love me. Just enough to not marry him. Just enough to be with me. I just…I just want us."

Bella bit her lip, hesitating only a second before walking forward and taking Alice's face in her hands. "I can't give you all of that, Al. But I can…I can give you tonight. Not forever, but tonight. We can belong to each other. I'll take off the ring and Edward won't be my fiancé tonight. I'll be yours and you'll be mine. That's all I can give you."

That's all. Alice heard the words, the words spoken so honestly, so raw and caring. She could have Bella. Once…once or never. It wasn't necessarily good enough; nothing except possessing Bella forever would be good enough, but she didn't have that option. She had tonight. One night out of a million no-nights. It sounded ridiculous, almost. She was offering herself as some sort of parting gift, or recompense. She should reject her; tell her no, that she was crazy, and that it was a lousy offer.

But she wanted Bella, and if this was the only chance she got to have her, then she would take it. The memory might burn her 'til her dying day, but it would be real. If this was it than at least she got something, a taste; a fragment of love fulfilled.

Screw it, Alice! Stop thinking! It's now or never and you're beyond lucky that you even get a now. You will never be with her like this again. Once in a lifetime opportunity, my friend. She can be your Bella. She's tangible and willing. You can touch her like you fantasize every night about. You can go away knowing that you loved her for real and felt her on your fingertips. You can—

Alice crushed herself to Bella, fisting her by her pretty hair and kissing her with a frenzied passion that she had not known before. And the amazing part? Bella was kissing her back just as madly, just as passionately. Alice hummed, swiping her tongue across Bella's lips and being granted entrance. She probed inside her mouth, savoring the taste and the sensation, committing it all to memory.

This was their night.

Want

They made it to Alice's childhood bedroom, stumbling in and tumbling onto the bed. Alice's head was a jumbled mess, a hundred questions flying around at once. Should she go slowly, savoring the moment so it wouldn't be over before it even began? Or relent to her own body's desires and take her like she so desperately wanted to? The last thing she wanted was to regret anything, whether it was doing the wrong thing or simply neglecting to do something.

She'd regret not tasting every inch of Bella Swan. She'd regret not making Bella Swan scream in ecstasy at least once. She'd regret not treating Bella Swan like she deserved, like a prized possession, be careful Alice, like the love of her fucking life, cherish her, prove it to her, Alice.

Yes, she would prove that she meant every word she said. It might not get her another night or even another kiss, but it would sure as hell leave an imprint on Bella.

And leave Alice with the best bittersweet memory ever. Tonight was going to be the catalyst for every night for the rest of her life, for every orgasm and fantasy.

So she would do everything in her power to make it perfect. Starting with…

"Alice!"

…cupping her through her skirt. She slid her hand under the gauzy fabric and found her flimsy cotton panties. One digit maneuvered underneath, touching soft curls and caressing into the folds. Bella moaned, arching her back for more. Alice slipped the rest of her hand inside her panties and started rubbing, nibbling her neck at the same time.

The sounds Bella was making were driving her crazy, compelling her to go faster, flicking her clit and sliding her fingers against her slick folds. She was so wet. Did she cause that?

It wasn't enough for Alice. More. She removed her fingers, making Bella whimper at the loss. Her skirt and panties were quickly discarded and suddenly a head of short raven hair was between her legs.

"Right there!" Bella gasped as Alice took one long swipe at her dripping pussy. Alice was in heaven. She was actually going down on Bella Swan, giving her pleasure. She'd be happy to do this every day for the rest of her life. Alice sucked on her clit and pumped two fingers in and out of her with the utmost determination.

When Bella came, Alice recorded the sound in her head. It was divine. It was similar to an out-of-body experience. She felt nothing, thought nothing, only heard.

Then she remembered…that was it. It was over. No more. If only she could make her come one more time, if only it wasn't over just yet-

"Your turn." Bella smirked at the shocked look on her friend's face.

Then she had Alice flat on her back.

Oh, lord, she was not expecting this!

Pollyanna

Alice had never felt as sated and happy as she did then. It was bittersweet, true, but worth it.

They lay next to each other, naked. Alice had an arm wrapped around her waist underneath the covers, caressing her lover's bare skin, still sweaty and heated from their activities.

She wanted to say something cheesy like "Merry Christmas," but she refrained. This holiday had certainly turned out better than expected, and she knew no other would compare.

Bella reminded her that she had to leave at some point and couldn't stay the whole night. Alice was reluctant to let her go and held onto her tighter while she was still there.

Bella kissed her a few minutes longer before getting ready to depart, and Alice tried not to cry, but her emotions were overwhelming. Happiness, fear, elation, completion, desperation all rained upon her. She was bereft and fulfilled all at once.

"I love you." Alice whispered. She didn't want Bella to say it back, because she knew it would be a lie, or at least not love in the same sense.

"I just want you to know that." Bella nodded, grinning lazily, ruefully. But Alice didn't want to see regret in her lovely eyes. Surely she did regret it to some degree. She'd cheated on Edward, and it was worse than Alice cheating on Jasper since Bella actually loved Edward with every ounce of her being. He was her one. She could sense a certain disbelief in Bella, like she just realized what she had done and the weight of that settling on her conscience.

Alice ran her fingers through her hair soothingly. "Stop worrying. No one will know. You're not a bad person. Just a really good friend."

Bella snorted, tears leaking out of her eyes. "Yeah, right. I'm pretty sure I would dump me if I were Edward. I'm not that tolerant when it comes to…cheating. But…no one will know." She sighed. "I have to go."

Alice nodded. Everyone would be heading back soon, anyway.

"You're no too tired to drive back, are you? You look sleepy."

Bella shook her head. Staying wasn't an option. Don't delay the inevitable. Besides, she wanted to get back to Edward. Because that was who she truly loved.

They dressed in silence, Alice taking one last long look at Bella's naked body before it was covered. She walked her to the door and pulled her in for a hug.

"Thank you, Bella. You have no idea how much I…needed that. How much I love you…how much I need you. Just promise you won't forget me or stop talking to me. I can't live without you, even if we're only friends. I need you in my life. Promise." She squeezed Bella tighter.

"I promise, Al."

Alice was unusually optimistic. For the first time, she believed she might be happy with her future.

Bella smiled.

And she left.

Snowflakes drifted onto Bella's hair again. The roads were covered and Alice was getting cold standing in the doorway, but she watched until Bella was out of sight.

Hum

The mistake was letting Bella go.

Jasper and her parents returned an hour after she left and went directly to bed. Alice had changed the sheets already. It was the least she could do.

At two that morning, everyone was startled awake by the shrill ring of the phone. It was too early for calls. Jasper unwound his arm from around Alice's waist and grabbed the phone.

"Yeah?" Alice couldn't hear who was on the other line, so she watched Jasper instead, figuring it was important

"What?" He went white as a sheet. Alice frowned, but he wouldn't look at her, wouldn't say what was wrong. Shit, did he know?

"Oh my god. Y-yes. We'll be there right away." He hung up. "Oh my god, oh my god." He chanted. Alice was starting to panic now as Jasper hung up. What happened? He never got this upset. He looked freaked out and scared.

"What is it?" Alice shrieked. "Who was that?"

Jasper's eyes met hers. "That was Carlisle. Bella…Bella was in an accident."

Alice froze. The words rung in her ears.

It couldn't be. It wasn't possible. No…no…no…

"She's not dead, is she? Jasper, tell me she isn't-"

"No." Jasper said. "She's alive, but it's bad, Al. They…the doctors don't think she's going to make it. We have to get over to the hospital. He said Edward's going crazy. Let's wake up your parents. I'll drive."

Alice screamed. Jasper was shocked. She kept screaming. Her parents came rushing in.

"What's happening?" Her father asked, running over to Alice on the bed where Jasper was trying to calm her down.

"Bella's in the hospital," he explained over Alice's screaming. Alice quieted then, her screams turning into sobs. Jasper stroked her back and hugged her close. He didn't know how to react to the news, either. Scream or go numb? No one believed it.

"She hit a patch of ice," he said, "and drove into a tree. It was a head-on. They said she lost a lot of blood. She's not going to…" Alice sobbed harder. "She might not make it. We have to hurry. They don't think she'll still be alive by the time we get there."

There was no consolation to be had. Everyone was in tears, but Jasper kept his sobs at bay while he drove.

Alice thought, I should have made her stay. I shouldn't have walked out on the party. If I hadn't kissed her, this wouldn't have happened. If I hadn't fallen in love with her she'd be okay. It's my entire fault. What if she dies? How can I live without my Bella?

Edward had his head in his hands when they arrived. He was pacing in front of a door that undoubtedly housed Bella and a bunch of surgeons. He peered up when they came over to him. His eyes were red and wet. No one recalled ever seeing him so distraught.

"She's not dead, is she?" Alice demanded to know.

He didn't respond, his jaw tightening and eyes blazing with grief and worry. Maybe he blamed her, she thought.

Esme came over to them, placing a warm hand on her son's shoulder. "Carlisle's in there with her. No news yet, but we have to stay optimistic."

Everyone congregated in the waiting room, doing their best to support Edward, who was nearly catatonic. It was obvious to anyone who passed by could tell that the family was having a crisis and that one of their own was in peril.

Charlie and Renee were as inconsolable as Edward, clinging to each other desperately.

Eventually, Carlisle emerged, exhausted. His scrubs had blood on them. Her blood.

He had everyone's attention. They waited for a sign, an answer.

"Bella…"

You Are My Heart

Winter was awful.

But life could have been a thousand times worse.

But it wasn't.

Because she lived.

"Bella is alive. The surgery went well. She's still in critical condition, but the dangerous part is over. Now we just have to wait for her to wake up and start the recovery process." That's what Carlisle had told them. There were collective sobs of relief. Edward fell to the floor on his knees and thanked God and whoever else; though Alice didn't think he was actually religious. He cried happy tears then, and everyone joined in, hugging and collapsing into chairs.

It took a week for her to wake up. She had a head injury, but it would heal. Her collarbone was bruised but not broken. Her leg had a nasty gash, and she lost a lot of blood.

She would heal. She was alive.

Edward never spent more than an hour away from his Bella during her stay. They all celebrated New Years in her hospital room, and a few days later she was released.

The truth was that Edward would have killed himself if Bella died. It was a possibility that everyone thought about. Common knowledge. No, a fact. What they didn't know was that there was a nice, high bridge a few miles from there that Alice would be happy and willing to jump off of if the conclusion to this horror was Bella's death. Then they'd know all about Alice…

Gone

They got married in April. It was hard for Alice to pretend like she didn't love her in the way that she did, but she wanted Bella happy more than anything else, so she clapped and cheered and laughed with the rest of them. Even her congratulations were genuine. She was her maid of honor, too, despite it all.

And, in the end, she went back to Jasper.

Pink

Bella got pregnant a year after, and little Simone was born nine months later. Alice and Jasper were her guardians. Alice pretended that she wasn't the slightest bit jealous, bitter, depressed, hurt, hollow…

Gone But Not Really

When Jasper proposed, Alice went numb. It was right after Edward and Bella's wedding. They'd be on their honeymoon…

Alice said yes. Part of her said no, but oh well. That's how it had to be. She promised herself that Bella Swan would be in her past. Forget the whole being-in-love-with her thing.

There's Green In Your White Dress

People expected Alice to plan a huge wedding and spend a gazillion dollars making everything extravagant and perfect. So they were surprised when it turned out to be simple and intimate, but gorgeous nonetheless. It was at night, candlelit in a big tent with twinkle lights illuminating the outside.

She went for the traditional white dress but skipped the veil. Bella and Rose were her bridesmaids.

When she said "I do" she swore she felt her heart break. For the last time, she told herself. She was getting colder and acting more and more. Love was not her forte anymore. Did she love at all?

But she was good at acting, even though it hurt. It helped to be away from Bella. They still lived states apart. Or maybe that made it worse.

She'd be a great wife. Jasper was beyond happy. And Alice continued to lie. To act.

It got better, internally. She wasn't constantly at war with her heart. She did love Jasper, after all. Only…it was more your basic affection and comfortable love than your passionate, soul-mate sort of love.

Sometimes she wanted to talk to Bella and bring up their night of passion, before the terrible ending. She wanted to remind her of the touches and what it felt like to have her tongue there. That might easily ruin what friendship they did have, however, so Alice ignored the urge.

Wondered how long it would be before she snapped and had another go at her.

Knew she would eventually. Even the best actress slips up.

Bella…

Bella…

The recording was and always would be in her head, playing on a loop, over and over again.

She still dreamt of Bella…

Every.

Single.

Night.

THE END

A/N Wow, so there's my epic one-shot. I actually wasn't expecting it to be that long when I first started writing it. Sorry It just kept going. Well, if you stuck with it to the end, thanks! If you didn't, I understand. Of course you won't be reading this then…

So, I hope you like it! No flames, please. I'm a sensitive child. This is my first fanfic. I have a ton more started, but none as long as this, so don't worry.

Soundtrack:

-Sad Song -Au Revoir Simone
-Sh Boom -The Crew Cuts
-Harmony To My Heartbeat –Sally Seltmann
-Space Age Love Song –A Flock of Seagulls
-Damn! I Wish I Was Your Lover –Sophie B. Hawkins
-All Dressed Up in Dreams –The 6ths