a/n: First, to my loverly beta, Tara, *shouts* THANK YOU! Love you! Second to Lisa for pre-reading for me, thank you! *huge hugs* Finally to for Stephenie Meyer and The Beatles, you guys own the names; I own the storyline.
I've known Rosalie Hale since I was one. Now here we are, sixteen and juniors at Forks High School. Of course she's popular; the girl everyone wants to be friends with, the girl every guy wants to date. I guess I am no exception to this envy and desire. She's beautiful, with her flowing long blonde hair and naturally tan flawless skin. She's smart. She's a cheerleader. She always says the right thing at the right time. Yes, she is the perfect package.
Just because I've known her my whole life doesn't mean our paths necessarily cross often. It is a small town, but even we have our clicks. She's friends with the likes of Jessica and Lauren. She dates guys like Mike and, currently, Emmett. My friends, Jasper, Ben and Angela, are the outcasts. We aren't the nerds. We aren't geeks or emos or jocks. We just...are.
Rose and I have a few classes together, and I catch myself staring at her more and more. Sometimes she catches me too. She just smiles politely and turns back to her gossiping hoard. I, of course, look away and turn a billion shades of red, purple, blue and maybe even orange.
In speech class, our teacher says he's tired of the same people always buddying up on school projects, so this time he is going to assign partners. I get assigned to Rosalie, and I'd be lying if I said my stomach didn't do a little flip when Mr. Warren read our names together. We move to sit together and discuss some ideas for our project, making plans to meet at her house after her cheerleading practice.
I show up to Rose's house more nervous than I have ever been before. She answers the door all smiles, looking so cute in her oversized t-shirt and basketball shorts. Her makeup is all gone, and her long blond hair is pulled back in a ponytail. She welcomes me in and my heart begins to race.
As soon as the door shuts behind me, we hug each other tight. Though it is unknown to everyone except our parents and Jasper, the fact is that Rose and I are good friends. During the years when my mom and her dad dated, we were inseparable. Even after they broke up, we continued "seeing" each other, but have always been quiet about it outside of the comfort of our homes. It's just easier this way.
"I have pizza rolls, cokes and a movie waiting for us in the living room. I figure we can sit comfortably on the floor if we have to do school work."
"Sounds good to me," I laugh nervously and we get settled on the floor. I see she has Across The Universe ready to play - she knows my weakness for The Beatles. We start the movie and get to work, stopping to sing with a song or two or all of them. Along the way, my nerves settle down. Then, as soon as the credits finish rolling, we start it over again.
We work more this second time through. She has her hand resting on my knee, occasionally tapping her fingers as she thinks. Her fingers start tapping to the song "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and my stomach is instantly in knots again. I set my pencil down and pause with my hand hovering over Rose's. As soon as my hand touches hers, she tries to pull it back. "I'm so sorry!" As her hand lifts, I hold on and lace my fingers in between hers. She looks up at me confused then gasps. She recognizes the longing in my eyes for her.
My ears are drumming as my heart pounds hard and heavy. Finally, I risk it all and lean in. My lips press into hers and my eyes flutter shut. Rose doesn't lean in, but she doesn't pull away either, and I want more.
My lips part as my tongue dares to caress her full bottom lip. It tastes like watermelon lip gloss, so delicious. Her lips finally start to move with mine, and our bodies lean into each other more. Suddenly, a warm hand is cupping my face, and I tilt into it.
I want to tell Rose everything with my kiss. I want her to feel all my desires and experience all my dreams. Our tongues and lips dance in time with my heartbeat, and her thumb caresses my cheek. A soft moan escapes me.
Before my kiss could spill any more secrets, Rose pulls away, breathless and panting, looking exactly how I feel. "I'm sorry," she says, her eyes cast down. I only smile and begin to lift my hand to touch her cheek. Her eyes shift and our intertwined hands are in her line of sight. Her expression changes, and she yanks her hand from mine.
"Why'd you do that?" She isn't yelling or angry, but my heart feels ripped out just the same and sits bleeding in her palm.
Just then, the front door shuts, making us both jump. "I-I-I-I-I'm s-s-s-sorry." My jaw is trembling as I come to my senses and gather up my books to rush out.
"Wait!" I hear Rose say behind me, but I don't stop.
I rush passed Rosalie's dad, "Hi, Mr. Swan. Bye, Mr. Swan," and shut the door a little too hard behind me.
I drive off. Alone in the car, the pang of rejection settles into my chest. Instead of turning right toward home, I go left to the nature trails. When I get there, I throw the car in park and head down my favorite trail and hike to my thinking spot, an overturned tree. I sit there, even as it starts to rain hard enough to penetrate the treetops.
"Stupid! Why'd you kiss her? WHY!" As I berate myself, I kick the tree with the heel of my foot.
"I can't believe I did that." I lick my lips and can still taste her watermelon lip gloss. My anger at myself turns into tears. Her lips were so soft and warm. I touch my cheek, where her hand, smooth as silk, caressed me as she kissed me back. "Wait, she kissed me back!" I realize, as I begin pacing. I can feel the anger rising again. "Why did you kiss me then turn me away?" I yell at the treetops.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid! Now you've done it! You kissed your best friend. She'll never talk to you again." I fall to my knees, sobbing again.
I cry myself dry and decide I should head home, especially since I'm shivering from the cool air and my now completely-drenched clothes. I get in the car and see it's almost 11:30 pm. "DAMN IT!" I'm an hour and a half late. On the way home, I work on my "I'm dying inside but you will never see it" face. I get home, feeling very nervous, but walk in to face the music.
I can see mom sitting on the sofa, her back turned toward me, with Carlisle squatting in front of her. His eyes meet mine and they both stand. The worry on her face turns to relief as she runs over to me, tears flowing down her face. "Oh Alice, my baby... Are you okay?" She sees my red eyes and nose, but continues to scan over my whole body, checking for injury.
"Yes, mom. I'm fine," I try to convince her with my croaky voice. She'll never see my bleeding wound and she just hugs me tight until Carlisle clears his throat.
Carlisle, unlike mom, is pissed, though I see the relief in his eyes before his tongue-lashing begins.
"You realize you're an hour and a half late? What were you doing? You're soaked!"
He gestures at me and shakes his head as his hands fall down at his side.
"I know you left Rose's house a long time ago. She called, you know. Worried. Do you have any idea how concerned we all were?" His voice is getting louder and his pacing faster with every question, when he suddenly stops to stare me in the eye.
"I went looking for you, Alice. To make sure you weren't flipped off the road or something." He starts walking bad and forth again. "And here you come, traipsing in like nothing. What in the hell were you thinking?" I opened my mouth to answer, but he cut in before I could say anything.
"I let you take the car, and this is what you do? You run off for two hours. TWO HOURS! You know what?" He stops pacing and crosses his arms.
"I'm done. Esme, do you have anything to add?" She had taken a step back while Carlisle was tearing into me, so I turn to look at her. Her eyes are swollen, and tears are still streaming down her face. She shakes her head, but locks eyes with me. I know she feels the same as Carlisle, but is just letting him do all the talking.
"Okay. You're grounded for two weeks. No dates. No friends. No phone. Definitely no car expect going to and from school. Rose may come over only to work on your speech project. Is that understood?" I nod silently. "Go to your room."
"Yes, sir." I walk toward the stairs, shivering from the damp clothes, but pause before I go up and glance over my shoulder. "Mom? Dad? I'm sorry."
"Thank you for that. Now go shower, then go to bed."
"Yes, sir. Goodnight. Love you both." I head to my room and gather my stuff to shower.
Even the scalding water couldn't wash away my guilt, regret and broken confidence. I'm still all alone, only now, I'm alone and someone knows my secret. Panic hits me. What if Rose says something? We have been good friends outside of school, but at school we run with different crowds. What if she tells them? Everyone will know! "Jasper." His name is a whisper in the water.
Oh my god, Jasper… my boyfriend. The Texas cowboy whose hand I hold. The gentleman I don't kiss because I don't feel that spark. My boyfriend – My cover.
I sit on the shower floor worrying until the hot water starts to cool off. I get out and get dressed, noticing that it's just after midnight. Back in my room, mom is sitting on the edge of my bed, her hands clasped in her lap. The tears I thought were dried up start falling again. I run over to her, climb on her lap and wrap my arms around her neck. "Momma, I'm so sorry."
"Talk to me, baby girl." I merely sob, unable to speak, snot oozing from my nose. She hands me a tissue and gingerly rubs my back. We lay back on the bed, mom still comforting me.
I finally catch my breath and tell her the only thing I could think of. "I think Jasper and I are going to break up." I didn't lie.
"Oh, Alice. What happened?"
"It's just… things are different between us. I'll be fine, it's just hard. Ya know?"
I blow my nose again, in the least lady-like fashion possible. Mom takes the tissue and tosses it into the trash, handing me a clean one. Laying there in her protective hold, the tears subside and I yawn.
"You need to get to sleep."
"I 'uho," I say through another yawn. "Good night, Momma."
She tucks me into bed. "Good night, Ali. I love you, baby." She bends down and kisses my forehead then rubs her nose against mine. I drift off to sleep.
I'm sitting between Jessica and Lauren in speech class when Mr. Warren announces that he's choosing our project partners and looks directly at us. Lauren and Jessica complain, and I roll my eyes. Lauren hears she's paired with Tyler and huffs loudly. Jess and I laugh, but then Jessica gets Edward, and, though she acts like she's annoyed, I know she's secretly a little happy. She's had a crush on him since he came here, but he's a brooding loner, so she could never been seen dating him. Still, we giggle at her, too. I get assigned to Alice.
"That totally, like, sucks!"
"Yeah, you're going to have to do, like, ALL the work! Ask for a different partner."
"Hey, it was his choice, I'm sure I can't change his mind." I gesture at our teacher and turn to look at Lauren. "Why don't you as for a different partner? You know Tyler isn't all there after his accident." I make my fake copycat voice, "You'll be doing all the work." She shies away, full of guilt, and I should feel bad for bringing it up, because his accident was her fault, after all, but I don't.
"But she's so weird!" They say in unison. I just roll my eyes.
"I guess we'll just see." I know better. Alice is smart, loves projects and is very crafty. This is will be an easy 'A' for the both of us.
Alice moves to sit next to me, and of course she already has ten ideas. She's spouting them off like a hyper squirrel on coffee, and as soon as she's done with one, Alice is already telling me her next suggestion within the same breath. They are all really good ideas, but I don't act overly enthused by any of them. We have an understanding when we're at school, so my reaction isn't anything she doesn't expect. We finally decide on one, and make plans to meet at my house after cheerleading practice.
She shows up looking like my Alice. I open the door and she's nervously hugging her notebook, but wearing her backpack. I figure it's just because it's been a while since we've hung out and shrug it off. She has on an oversized t-shirt, which I know is Jasper's, along with some black leggings and her canvas shoes. All her dark, smoky makeup is gone, and I smile when I see her tiny ponytail with all the bobby pins unsuccessfully holding back those stray black hairs. Her hair is way too short for ponytails, but still she loves to pull it back. Makes no sense to me but, that's Alice.
We are busy working on our class assignment and listening to Across The Universe for the second time. It isn't until her hand covers mine that I realize it's on her knee. I figure she's going to move my hand, so I lift it, but instead of letting go, her fingers thread through mine. I glance at our hands. Her tiny, pale palm barely covers my big, tan hand. She squeezes, and I look at her. Our eyes lock and my heart skips a beat.
I have looked at her a million times, but, deep in her eyes, there was something new. There was a desire that I have seen in many eyes, but never before have hers said so much to me. She leans in and her eyes close just before her lips touch mine. I sit there, unmoving, eyes crossed, looking at her, trying to figure out what to do. Then I feel it. Her mouth shifts, and a hot tongue is lightly touching my bottom lip. A spark shoots through my whole body. She's everywhere.
I lean into her kiss and my tongue tastes her. It's sweet from the coke we were just drinking. With our breasts pressed together, my free hand cups her face and strokes her cheek. She tilts her head into my hand, her lips never leaving mine. It feels so good.
Needy, but sweet.
Different, but perfect.
Alice moans quietly, and I quickly pull away, completely breathless, but angry. Who was she to kiss me? I open my eyes and see our hands still joined. I yank my hand away, feeling simultaneously confused for liking it, and bad for pulling away so sharply.
"Why'd you do that?" The words are already leaving my lips, so all I can do is change my tone. I'm not mad, but it's too late. The front door clicks shut, and we both jump. I look at Alice, and she's trying not to cry as she gathers her books and notes. She tells dad bye as she rushes out the door.
"What was that about?" Of course dad would notice. He's always thought of her as a daughter, even after he and Esme broke up thirteen years ago.
"She's late getting home. We were just working on our speech project."
"Ah, ok." He didn't sound convinced. "Have you talked to Bella today?"
My mind is still reeling from what happened.
"Hello, Rosalie?" He's waving his hand in front of my face.
"Have you. Talked to. Your sister. To-day?"
"Oh, yeah, Bella called earlier and said that she needs some money."
He walks off grumbling. Bella used to be the practical one, but now she always needs money for her little college adventures. She's more of a prissy princess than I will ever be.
"Dad? I'm going to bed. Goodnight!" I give him a quick kiss and run off to my room.
I am a cheerleader, top of my class, popular and always have a boyfriend. Alice is a little more eccentric. She's very perky, annoyingly so sometimes, and dresses in what she claims is the fashion of Italy. She goes through magazines then makes all her own clothes. The problem is, we're in Forks, not Italy, so people think she's a little out there. Still, she doesn't care. She is always true to herself, while I always mostly conform.
I flop onto my bed and touch my lips with my fingers. I can still feel her lips on mine. It felt so good, but wasn't the same kissing my boyfriend. "How did this happen?"
I think back on my and Alice's relationship.
Esme's husband died of some weird flu right after Alice was born, and Renee left dad when I was one. Bella was seven years old and in second grade already. He had no choice but to put me in daycare. It turned out to be the same daycare where Esme took Alice, but of course, I don't remember back that far. Dad and Esme hit it off and started to date. They had been dating for two years when she was in a horrible car accident. She broke her back when her car flew off a cliff one rainy night. She was in the hospital for a very long time, and that's when she met Dr. Cullen. Those two are soul-mates, without a doubt, and have been inseparable ever since.
Even dad could see it. She and dad ended things on a good note and are still friends. She would bring Alice over often and we'd have play dates. The two of us became best friends. Alice is like that old teddy bear you hide under your pillows - she catches your tears and listens to your problems, but you don't flaunt her in front of your friends.
I remember the day that Alice told dad all about how Renee treated me. She told him about all the times that I would call her crying because Renee made sure to tell me how much of an accident I was. How she was ready to leave when she got knocked up again and was forced to stick around longer. How she never wanted me. After that, dad never made me go back. Bella went to see her a few more times, but came home early from her last visit and never talked about why. She hasn't been back since then either.
Lately, I noticed Alice had been looking at me more, and, of course, I would smile at her. I'm not a rude person. My friends would just ask things like "What does she want?" I would just shrug. "Well, you should, like, tell the freak to mind her own damn business."
I never speak a word against Alice, but I never defend her either, which is probably just as bad.
I glance at my clock. Alice should be home by now, and I have to call. I need to tell her… I don't know. As the phone rings, my nerves get the better of me, and, just as I'm about to hang up, Carlisle answers.
"Hi, Mr. Cullen, may I speak to Alice?"
"Rosalie? Alice isn't home yet."
FUCK! His dad mode kicks in, and I instantly felt like shit for ratting her out. I just never imagined she wouldn't go home. It's too late for her to see Jasper…
"Rose! Are you there?"
"Sorry, sir, I didn't hear you."
"I asked how long ago she left."
"Um…" I check my clock again. "A-about thirty minutes ago."
"Was she mad or upset? Did she say anything?"
I say the first thing that pops into my head. "We fought over Jasper." It isn't a good lie. Everyone loves him. Trouble-maker or not, he's one of the last true gentlemen, but I didn't know what else to say.
"Rose, let me speak to Charlie."
"Dad! Mr. Cullen would like to talk to you." I yell down the stairs and wait for him to pick up.
"If she comes back, tell her to call right away. Do you hear me?"
"Hello, Carlisle, how are…" I hang up the phone, scared.
Panicking, I sit down at my desk and do the only thing I can.
It's 6:30 am, and my alarm clock is yelling at me from my dresser. Throwing two pillows and shouting at it only managed to knock some perfume bottles to the floor, so I get up and trudge across the room to turn it off. I tossed and turned all night, so I feel completely exhausted. I go to the bathroom and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Going to bed with wet hair is definitely not a good idea. My hair is crazy, sticking up in all directions. Crying isn't my friend either. My eyes are swollen and red. I grab a washcloth and run it under cold water, then sluggishly make my way back to my room to lie on my bed, placing the cool rag over my eyes.
I'm late! In a rush, I get up and grab the first clothes I get my hands on: a t-shirt that Carlisle brought from one of his medical conferences and my old holey jeans. I can't find any clean socks, but throw on my tennis shoes anyway. I put some gel in my hair and spike it all over. God, that looks ridiculous. I stick my head under the tub faucet and wash out the gel, then fix my hair as best as I can. In other words, I don't do a damn thing other than comb it. Today, I don't really care. I run out the door without breakfast, noticing that Mom and Dad are already gone.
It feels good to be at school. All I want is to forget that last night ever happened. I smile when I see Jasper waiting for me at my locker. "Hey."
"Hey, sweetheart." He kisses my cheek, completely unphased by my disheveled appearance.
When I open my locker, a folded note falls out , my name written on it in a handwriting I instantly recognize as Rose's. My heart races and panic takes over. I jump as the first bell rings, and Jasper, looking at me odd, quickly kisses my cheek goodbye.
"I'll see ya after class, okay?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, after class. Bye." I wave nervously and try my best to smile as if nothing is wrong.
I bend down and pick up the note as he walks away. The hallway is quickly clearing, but instead of going to class, I head to the restroom. With trembling hands, I open the letter and read.
I'm sorry I got you into trouble. I thought you were home. I never would have called if I knew! I swear! Anyway… I figure you're grounded, so I wanted to write this quick note to let you know that I'm going to be really busy this week with cheerleading practice and all. I know what I need to work on for our project, and I'll do my part. We'll put it together in class.
PS. I'm not going to tell anyone what happened. I'm sorry, but I don't feel the same way. I don't think you need to come over anymore.
I fold and tuck the letter into my back pocket and hold on to the sink so I don't fall as I start to feel faint. I can't breathe; I can't see. My knees finally buckle and I hit the floor. Letting go of the sink, I hug my chest and rock back and forth.
Please don't. No… I can't lose her. Rose, please.
I swipe at my nose with my jacket to catch the snot and tears. Suddenly, two arms wrap around me. I jump, recognizing the scent of Jasper before my eyes clear enough to see him.
"Jasper! What are you doing in here? You're going to get in trouble!"
"I don't care. You need me. Let's go. You're going home."
I have no will to argue as he helps me into my car and begins to drive. We get to my house, and he carries me into the kitchen, sitting me on one of the breakfast bar stools.
"I heard yer stomach growlin'. What do you want to eat?" He's opening cabinets, looking for food.
"Cereal's fine. I'll get it."
"Sit yer beautiful butt down, sugar. I'll get it. Uh, where is it?"
I laugh and tell him where everything is, and we sit in silence as I eat. Lying on the counter was a note from mom:
I called the school and told them you weren't feeling well today. Love you! ~Mom
We both read it, and I look up at him. "You're going to caught skipping."
"So? I'm a trouble-maker, remember? It's what I do best. Besides, I've been good lately. I'm overdue."
I feel guilty. "You shouldn't be getting into trouble over me."
"Hon, every good thing I've done has been for you. This is no different. Every thing I do is for you. You should know that by now."
I start to cry again, and Jasper is right there, holding me tight. I don't know how he does it, but he always makes me feel better.
"What's wrong, Alice?"
Between sobs, I manage to tell him, "I don't deserve you." I wrap my arms around his neck, not wanting him to leave me too.
He picks me up again, walks us to the living room and sits down on the love seat, settling me on his lap. My head rests perfectly in the crook of his neck.
"Tell me what's going on, please? You know I'm always here for you Ally-Cat."
I sit up with his arms still around me, glance at him and crack a smile. "You shouldn't be so nice to me, Tom-Cat." The events of last night replay in my head. My smile falls, and I watch the polish fly off my nails as I nervously pick at it.
"I kissed someone." I can't look at him. I don't want to see his anger. Hate. Disappointment. He doesn't say anything and he doesn't let me go.
"I kissed… SHIT!" He jumps at my sudden exclamation, and our eyes finally meet. "I kissed Rose."
I pull the letter out of my pocket and hold it for a minute before handing it to Jasper. His arms leave me to open it, and I feel vulnerable. I turn away, tears streaming down my face as he reads it.
A growl escapes Jasper, and I turn to face him. He's red and looks pissed.
"I'm…" I begin.
"I thought she was better than that! She's such a cold-hearted bitch!"
"No! Don't say that! You weren't there, Jasper! You don't know! She kissed me back, she did! I swear! She kissed me back. S-s-s-she hiccup kissed me hiccup b-b-b-back…"
I'm holding onto Jasper for dear life, sobbing yet again. I can't let him go, or else he'll leave me too.
"Alice, I want you to listen to me." He pushes me away and tilts my face up with a finger under my chin. "I still love you."
I open my mouth to protest when he cuts me off. "Stop! Listen. I'm here, Alice, as a friend. I think I always knew. You change when you see her. I feel it. I'll always love you, Alice. Always."
And I feel it. I feel his love, and I know that he means every word. I realize in that moment that I do love Jasper. I lean in and press my lips to his. No sexual need or awkward "trying it out to see if it fits" moment, just passionate, friendly love. He's my best friend. He's my everything.
I laugh, effectively breaking the kiss. Jasper has a questioning look on his face.
"Our first kiss and it's us breaking up."
He grins and hugs me. "There's no breaking us up, darlin'."
We spend the rest of the day on the couch, laughing, cuddling, tickling each other, watching movies and just enjoying ourselves. We leave in time to drop him back off at school so he can catch the bus home.
Excerpt from a letter to myself for our class time capsule:
To everyone else, it appeared that Jasper and I were still going out. We held hands and gave quick kisses hello and goodbye. We felt it was easier to just be ourselves and let everyone else think what ever they wanted. It wasn't anyone's business anyway. I told mom that we broke up, but that we were still friends. He was over at the house every holiday and any chance in between.
Rose and I didn't talk again, other than when required at school. We were already drifting apart, I just hastened our split. When mom asked why she hadn't been over, I shrugged and told her we just grew apart. I will always cherish the friendship we had. She kept her word and never told anyone what happened.
I will love Jasper forever, and will never love another man more.
As to where I see myself in ten years, I hope to be running my own clothing store and to have a wonderful girlfriend that I don't have to hide. I want to tell the world who Alice Brandon is. I hope that Jasper has a great wife and many little Jaspers. Mostly, I just want to be happy. ~ME~